Friday, February 22, 2013

SECRETLY SMITTEN - Colleen Coble, Kristin Billerbeck, Diann Hunt, and Denise Hunter - One Free Book on This Blog Plus Much More

Today, I'm introducing you to a dynamic writing team. I think you'll love them and the book they wrote. This the second book in this series that they've written. I know you'll probably want to go back and get a copy of the first one. Now introducing, Colleen Coble.

I know that this is a collaboration. How did this story come about?
Diann had always moaned the fact she’d never been able to do a project with the three of us. Denise, Kristin and I had done several projects together. I went to our editor Ami McConnell and pitched the idea to her. She was very enthusiastic, and Smitten was the result.

Did you find it easy to work together on it?
Not just easy but a dream! We know each other so well, and we could anticipate even the dialogue each of us might have our characters say.

How did collaborating with this team impact you?
It’s made us even closer.

What is the hardest thing about writing as a team?
In this case, there wasn’t anything hard about it for me. I can see where it might be difficult if any of us had had egos or didn’t know each other so well.

What are you reading right now?
Gone Girl. Those characters are downright scary crazy.

How did you choose your characters’ names?
I use a book titled The Baby Name Survey Book: What People Think About Your Baby’s Name. It’s super helpful!

I may have to get a copy of that book myselg. Would you want to work on another book together?
Not only would I want to, but we’re in that process right now! J

Good. I know the readers want more. What do you want to tell us about the book?
It’s a heartwarming, romantic book with a fun mystery running through all four romances. You’ll want to visit Vermont after reading it!

Please give us the first page of the book.
Wrapping paper lay strewn around the floor in a happy crumple of color. Tess Thomas handed her cousin one last gift and suppressed a smile. Nat would blush when she saw the filmy negligee Tess had bought. But Tess knew if anyone would look great in the gown, it was her cousin. It was something Tess would never purchase for her- self. But then what need would she have of a honeymoon gown anyway?

While Natalie began to rip paper with abandon, Tess glanced around the packed parlor of their grandmother’s old house. Their friends had all shown up for the bridal shower and there wasn’t space for another chair. A few women even sat on the floor with their backs propped against the wall. That was what Tess loved about the small town of Smitten, Vermont. Neighbors were like family. And they’d all pulled together in amazing ways this past year as they worked to put Smitten on the map as a town based on tourism—a romantic destination, in fact. There were so many new businesses, including a big hotel that had taken over the old lumber mill.

Their Great-aunt Violet bustled in with a tray of cookies and tea. “Tess, dear,” she whispered. “I’m not sure these gluten free things are worth eating.”

The cookies were as lopsided as Violet’s red lipstick.

Where can our readers find you on the Internet?
My website is . I love to hear from readers!

Thank you, Colleen. Now, readers, here's Kristin Billerback.

I know that this is a collaboration. How did this story come about?
We have been friends for so long.  Writing is such a lonely sport and our connection online, helping each other to get published, was born of a love for the written word and each other.  Denise Hunter, Colleen Coble, and Kristin Billerbeck had all done novellas together, but Diann Hunt was missing from our collaborations and we wanted to do one that featured all of us.  That’s how Smitten was born.

Did you find it easy to work together on it?
We know each other very well, so for the first book we used the personalities as we are, but changed the names to protect the innocent. (Or the guilty, depending upon your take.)  It’s so easy for us to work together because we know each other’s strengths and weaknesses.  So one person can pick up the slack in one area and in the end, we have a cohesive story because that’s how friendship is – connections based on similarities and differences.

What is the hardest thing about writing as a team?
Finding the time to get all the facts straight on the overarching theme of the book.  Even though we meet together to write and come up with our storylines, it’s not always possible to fit together the puzzle pieces in that short amount of time.

What are you reading right now?
East of Eden by John Steinbeck.

How did you choose your characters’ names?
Colleen picked Zoe, my heroine.  She was a minor character in the first Smitten. William means to protect and because Zoe craved small town life and the safety of her location, I wanted a name that provided for her that element of guarding over her.

Would you want to work on another book together?
Of course.  It’s so much easier to be motivated when someone else is expecting something of you.

What do you want to tell us about the book?
I think this book (Secretly Smitten) is very tightly woven together.  I loved the overarching theme story that runs through each novella and how it all comes together in the end.

Please give us the first page of the book.
Zoe Thomas perched herself atop the metal ladder and straightened the wooden sign that read Cupid’s Arrow Matchmaking Services. She looked down at her older sister, who stood on Main Street’s brick walkway. “Better?”

“A little higher on the right,” Clare called up. Zoe wondered if it would ever be straight according to Clare’s exacting standards.

She pressed upward and peered down again to the brick sidewalk. “Now?”

“Perfect,” Clare confirmed.

Zoe breathed a sigh of relief, amazed that Clare hadn’t produced a level from the overalls she wore. Clare could survive in the woods for an eternity with all that came out of those gardener pockets of hers. Zoe jumped from the ladder and brushed her hands together. Seeing the hand-painted calligraphy announcing her business made everything so real.

“Can’t you just feel the love? Imagine Smitten being bitten by its own love bug. And Nat’s marriage to Carson was the perfect kickoff to my new business.” Zoe’s heart filled with possibilities, seeing the fruits of her labor. The tired storefront looked fresh and inviting with its newly painted, wood-paned windows and a gold-framed “services offered” announcement. She’d draped two small crystal chandeliers

Where can our readers find you on the Internet?

Thank you, Kristin. Now we'll talk to Diann Hunt. 

Please share something unique about your leading lady and man.
My heroine learns about sheep while my hero learns about his leading lady. J

Did you anticipate when writing Smitten that it would become a series?
That was my hope, mainly, because I love the whole concept of Smitten and it’s a “town” I enjoy visiting.

What has been your favourite experience of this collaboration with friends?
Growing a town together—starting with the blossoming friendship that began between us years ago.

Do readers get to find out how Natalie, Julie, Shelby and Reese are doing in Secretly Smitten?
There are snapshots here and there of former townsfolks.

What is it about this series that has captured readers’ imaginations?
Life gets crazy busy and sometimes it’s nice to slow down and get to know people. Like stopping for pie in Mayberry (if you’re lucky enough to not get arrested by Barney Fife).

How do you like to be romanced?
Unexpected surprises, shared coffee in the morning, a movie, an impulsive slow dance in the family room.

Thank you, Diann. Now we'll welcome Denise Hunter to the blog.

I know that this is a collaboration. How did this story come about?
Since Smitten is a series, and there are 4 authors working together, we were pretty deliberate about planning the plot. We met at a cabin in Indiana and brainstormed the idea for Secretly Smitten with our editor. Since we’re all such close friends, it was not only productive, but loads of fun as well.

Did you find it easy to work together on it?
It sure helps that we’re besties! Working together was so much fun.

How did collaborating with this team impact you?
It was fun to turn something that’s normally done alone into a group project. I think working together drew us closer.

What is the hardest thing about writing as a team?
With this project, it was definitely the coordination of details. Since our characters overlap each story and since there’s an overarching plot throughout the 4 novellas, it was challenging to divvy up what goes into whose story and make sure we didn’t contradict one another. Having great editors helped too!

What are you reading right now?
Actually I’m judging the RITA contest, so I’m reading those entries.

How did you choose your characters’ names?
I have a baby name book that lists the names by personality types. I always fall back on this book for naming my characters.

Would you want to work on another book together?
We’ve already done 2 Smitten books and are currently working on our 3rd, so yes!

What do you want to tell us about the book?
One of my favorite elements about the Smitten books, other than the yummy romances, is the friendship factor. Each of the Smitten books feature the friendship of our 4 heroines. We really need women in our lives to come along side us and cheer us on.

Please give us the first page of the book.
Love Blooms by Denise Hunter
Chapter One
Clare Thomas smoothed out the hardwood mulch, spreading it under the newly planted hostas. Partridgeberry now carpeted her mother’s flower bed with green, but soon it would bloom with fragrant white flowers, and its red fruit would add a splash of color come fall. 

The realization that it looked ten times better than it had three hours ago soothed her wounded spirits.

Anna Thomas dumped the last load of mulch from the wheelbarrow. “That should do it.” She blew her long bangs from her face, picked up the shovel, and spread the load with the vigor of someone half her age.

“It looks beautiful, girls.” Clare’s sister Tess set a tray of iced lemonade on the porch table. Her blue eyes were lit with a joy that only comes from new love.

Not that Clare knew anything about that.

“Thank goodness we’re almost done.” Her younger sister, Zoe, pulled off her pink garden gloves and appraised the sky. “Looks like it’s about to rain.”

Clare breathed in the scent of loamy dirt and rain, hoping the organic fragrance would relieve her unrest. “Smells like it too.”

“God’s going to water my new plants,” Anna said. “Isn’t he thoughtful?”

Oh, yeah, all was coming up roses now that everyone was in love. Everyone but her. Clare chided herself for the selfish thought. She was happy for her sisters, thrilled for her mom. Still, they all had romance and candlelit dinners and kisses, and she had . . .


Where can our readers find you on the Internet? 

Thank you, ladies for this fun interview.

Secretly Smitten, an Evening of Giggles, Gab, and Prizes

The "gals" are celebrating the release of Secretly Smitten with a fun Live Webcast on February 28th. It was changed from the February 5th date on the graphic above. They'll be debuting the *NEW* animated Smitten trailer, giving away tons of prizes, dishing on the book and their friendship. They'll also be wrapping up the Secretly Smitten blog tour, answering audience questions and testing your trivia skills. Don't miss the fun and bring your friends. Click here to RSVP and set up a reminder.

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Secretly Smitten - paperback
Secretly Smitten - Kindle

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Google +, Feedblitz, Facebook, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link.


Hannah said...

I've been wanting to read this book since I finished the first one :) Thanks for the giveaway!
Hannah P

Susan H said...

Love the interviews! They sound like such great friends! The Smitten books sound wonderful and I can't wait to read both of them.

Susan from Texas

Amy C said...

I'm a new fan of Colleen and would love this book. Hope all are feeling better now.
Amy C

Katie G. said...

Please enter me! I've wanted to read this for a while now! I live in NC.

Linda Kish said...

I would love to win a copy of this book.


lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Norma S said...

Thank you for giving me a chance to win your and your friends book, it great that you have friends that you feel at ease with. It sounds like a great book.Hope i win it. Can't wait to read it. God bless you all.
Norma Stanforth from Ohio

Ruth Smith said...

I would like a copy of this book. Their covers are beautiful. Also these ladies are my favorite authors. Colleen, Diann and Denise are my Indiana girls. - I live in Indiana at the opposite end of the state from them.

G. said...

I would love to win Secretly Smitten!

I love that Smitten is a series, just wish I could read all of them now.

I admire each author and love the way these friends love and support each other.

Praying for each of you.

Melissa said...

I have the first book, and would love to win this second book! =)

I live in Kansas.

Jo said...

Loved the interview. This sounds like such a wonderful book. Thanks for the giveaway!


Jennifer said...

I've been praying really hard for a close girlfriend since I have always been the outsider. Thankfully I have a good husband and four boys. I love small towns.
You are all so blessed with one another and with a wonderful gift of writing. God bless.
Jenny from Ky.

Casey said...

My sister LOVES the Smitten books. I'd love to win this for her. :)


Melody said...

This sounds wonderful! Ive read some of their individual books but not as a team.

Donna, TX

Veronica Sternberg said...

I'm really looking forward to reading this one! I'm in MN.

Jackie Tessnair said...

I would love to win this book.Thanks for the chance.Jackie Tessnair N.C.

sharon m said...

I like reading a book series and this looks good with the Western themes. sharon, san diego

Bakersdozen said...

I have read books from 3 out of the 4 authors of this book and I would love to read this. I am from S. California. vidomich(at)yahoo(dot)com

Mary Preston said...

I do love to read about how writers collaborate.

I'm sure I will need to go back for the first book too.

Mary P


Merry said...

I'd love to visit Smitten again, please add me to the drawing. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I loved getting to meet all 4 of these ladies today. So glad Smitten is a series and am looking forward to reading all of them. Blessings, Susan Fryman Alamogordo, New Mexico

Terri B. said...

I love reading all kinds of book and have lots of girlfriends, so I think I would enjoy this book written by girlfriends.
Mazatlan, Mexico

Ginger Solomon said...

I enjoyed Smitten and feel sure I would enjoy this one as well.

Ginger in AL

Library Lady said...

I would love to win, "Secretly Smitten" to add to our church library collection.
Thanks for giving me the opportunity to do so.
Janet E.

Jean said...

I have wanted to read this book for a long time. Thank you for the opportunity.

Jean Kropid
West Palm Beach, FL

Abigail Richmond said...

Can't wait to read this book! Thanks for the chance to win a copy!

Blanch, N.C.

sharon m said...

I really like the idea of 4 authors collaborating on 4 related romances, all in one book. These authors are all new to me. sharon, san diego

Lane Hill House said...

I missed Smitten ~ I would like to have the opportunity to win Secretly Smitten! Thank you. Kathleen ~ Missouri

Anonymous said...

would love to win a copy.
angela from kY

Melody said...

One comment can surely not be enough! I really want to read this book!

Donna, TX

Lourdes said...

Great interview can't wait to read Secretly Smitten.

Lourdes Dix Hills NY

Sarah said...

Enter me!!!
Thanks for the giveaway and God Bless!!!

Kandra said...

choose me!
Kandra in TN

Lyndie Blevins said...

Thanks for the opportunity to get this book.
Lyndie Blevins

Duncanville, Texas

Bookishqueen said...

Looks like a good book.
Rebekah TN

apple blossom said...

thanks for the chance to win this book
live in ND

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Bethany said...

I would love to be entered! I live in Ohio :-)

Cbus.blogger at gmail dot com

karenk said...

thanks for the chance to read this wonderful story

kmkuka at yahoo dot co
...from PA...

Nancee said...

Great interview, Lena! I'd love the opportunity to win a copy. Thank you!
Nancee in Michigan

Lisa E. said...

I loved the first Smitten! I been anxiously awaiting Secretly Smitten's release. Those ladies are amazing authors. I'd love to win!

Lisa E. in Washington State

Sharon Richmond said...

Enter me this book looks great!!
Sharon Richmond

Anonymous said...

Would love to win this book. Sounds good, and good authors. Thanks! Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com

Cyndi said...

LOVED the first one and am eagerly anticipating this one! :)

Cyndi W.
Tuscaloosa, AL

rubynreba said...

Please enter me. Looks like a really good book.
Beth from Iowa

Sylvia said...

I'm from NC and am currently reading Smitten. If Secretly Smitten is as good as the first one then I know what I have to look forward.

Is it true that Smitten is being turned into a movie? I heard that somewhere.


Heidi said...

Thanks for a chance to win!
Heidi from San Diego, CA