Thursday, January 02, 2014

A MATCH MADE IN TEXAS - Carol Cox, Mary Connealy, Regina Jennings, Karen Witemeyer - Three Free Books

Dear Readers, there were a lot of really good novella collections that I received in 2013. I read most of them and loved them. But this collection if my very favorite

Welcome, Carol Cox. How did your story for the collection come about?
I spent a number of years in Fort Worth while my husband was in seminary. During our time there, I fell in love with Texas. One of the reasons I was thrilled to take part in this collection was that it gave me an opportunity to write a story set in a state that still has a claim on my heart. An idea had been percolating in the back of my mind for quite a while about a young woman hired to help keep an eye on an older woman who is prone to flights of fantasy … or is her mind really a lot sharper than anyone suspects? A Match Made in Texas provided a perfect vehicle for bringing that story to life.

What other books have you had published?
This novella marks a milestone for me, since No Match for Love is my 30th published title. I’ve written novels and novellas for several different publishers in varied genres, including contemporary romance, contemporary cozy mysteries, and historicals. The historicals outnumber the others by far. You can find a complete bibliography of all my titles on my website:

What is the hardest thing about writing a part of a novella collection?
No Match for Love is my 12th novella, so I’m very familiar with the process of putting a collection together. Some only have a unifying theme—a season, holiday, locale, etc. But in a collection like this, where the stories are intertwined, characters and locations overlap. It’s vital to keep them all straight, and that can be a tricky process! I felt very blessed to be part of a team that was so easy to work with and worked hard to keep all those details straight.

How did collaborating with this team impact you?
There’s something special about joining forces in a project like this. I love the brainstorming and sharing of ideas that goes on! Of the other three authors, Mary is the only one I’ve met in person. Working with all of them was a joy, and getting acquainted with Karen and Regina online was a real bonus. I hope to have the pleasure of meeting them face to face one day!

Are you a member of American Christian Fiction Writers? If so, why?
I’ve been a member of ACFW since the beginning, back when it was known as ACRW (American Christian Romance Writers). Living in a somewhat isolated area, I don’t have many opportunities to connect with other writers locally. When I heard about a new group forming that would be devoted to Christian writers, I jumped at the chance to be a part of it. It’s such a blessing to be able to be a part of an organization like this, even though most of my connections are online rather than in person. The things I’ve learned through ACFW and the relationships I’ve formed with a number of the other members are priceless.
Where can my readers find you on the Internet?
I love connecting with readers online! You can find me:
at my website:
I also blog on Writes of Passage on the first and third Saturdays of every month:

Thank you for a wonderful interview, Lena. I appreciate all the support you’ve given over the years more than I can say!

It’s been my pleasure to help promote your books I love them, and the Writes of Passage blog is on that I’ve followed and read a long time.

Welcome, Mary Connealy. How did your story for the collection come about?
Karen, Regina, Carol, and I are all Bethany House authors and Bethany wanted a novella collection. They hunted around for authors who had similar styles. We are all historical authors, who can write in a light-hearted style, plus we had time and were eager to do it. So we brainstormed story ideas and pitched them to Bethany House and we came up with this Matchmaker idea that we all loved.

What are you reading right now?
I am right this minute reading (brace yourself LOL) A Match Made in Texas. I hadn’t read the other stories in the collection. I finished Karen’s book on Christmas Eve. I am so in love with her Archer family that I was dying to get my hands on this book, and I finally had time late at night Christmas Eve after all the festivities were over AND I’d managed to launch myself into an insomniac fit, probably because of an overindulgence in caffeine laden things like chocolate. But I had the book at hand and just loved it. I didn’t get back to it last night but I’m looking forward to reading through the whole collection.

What other books have you had published?
C’mon, Lena, you don’t want the list and you know it. A Match Made in Texas is my … I’m gonna say 27th book. Mostly all romantic comedy with cowboys—though I’ve done a few other things. And last spring I signed a new contract with Bethany to keep doing this for a while, so the next book from them Stuck Together, which is book #3 in the Trouble in Texas series comes in June then we start a new series in September called the Wild at Heart series, book #1 is Tried and True.

I didn’t have those two books scheduled on my blog, so I just scheduled them. What is the hardest thing about writing a part of a novella collection?
Well, there was nothing about this that really counted as hard, so when I say hardest part it wasn’t hard at all. But we did start each of these books in the same town, Dry Gulch, Texas. My book stayed in Dry Gulch but Karen, Regina, and Carol took there “show on the road” you might say. They started there and immediately left. Still that start forced us to get our story straight about Dry Gulch. How big was it? Was there a train? What was the name of the General Store? Was anyone mentioning names of the characters in town and if so, what are those names. I had the son of the banker be my hero, the Whitfield Bank. So if anyone mentions the bank, they need to call it the Whitfield Bank. Karen’s heroine’s long deceased father owned the General Store. I had a General Store called Claasens. So she mentions the store as part of her backstory and then she has to say the old name and get the current name right, or at least not get it wrong. So we had to get a few of those facts straight, but that just gave us a change to talk to each other and that was always fun.

I have to tell you a funny story, Mary. I host a critique group in my home. Many newer authors have too much backstory in their first chapter. I've written it so many times, I started saying "too much BS." A while back, one of the new authors almost fell off her chair when she saw that. How did collaborating with this team impact you?
Mainly it gave me a chance to get to know Karen, Regina, and Carol better and that was great. We had a lot of fun writing this book.

How do you choose your characters’ names?
After 27 books, naming characters is just part of the landscape of my life, Lena. You know how that is. I name more people by noon on Wednesday than most people do in a lifetime. The main characters take a little thinking as do villains but there are a lot of secondary characters too and some of those names just don’t MATTER. It just needs to be done. Sometimes I name them by clicking on some random link on Google and just skimming some news article until a likely name jumps out at me. I try to be careful about that. I don’t think I’ve got any secondary characters named Tim Tebow, at least not yet.

Mary, you are so funny, Mary. What did you want the reader to take away from your story?
My main goal in my books is to entertain. I’m trying all the time to write the best, most entertaining book I’m capable of writing. If someone gets a deeper message from it, well that’s probably an accident.

Where can my readers find you on the Internet?
Petticoats and Pistols
My Blog
My Website
My Newsletter
Follow me on Twitter:

Welcome, Regina Jennings. What are you reading right now?
I am reading The Hole in Our Holiness by Kevin DeYoung, A Million Little Ways by Emily P. Freeman, and The Headmistress of Rosemere by Sarah E. Ladd.

I just finished reading The Headmistress of Rosemere last week. I loved it. What other books have you had published?
Like A Match Made in Texas my other books are historical romances and usually involve Western settings. My first two releases are Love in the Balance and Sixty Acres and a Bride, and I’m really excited about the upcoming spring release Caught in the Middle which stars a buffalo-hunting woman and a railroad tycoon.

What is the hardest thing about writing a part of a novella collection?
I’ve never written anything shorter than 95,000 words, so this was a huge shift for me. While plotting I kept thinking of subplots, secondary characters, changes in settings, and then I’d remember that I have a quarter of the words I’m used to having. That was difficult. On the other hand, my favorite scenes are always those that feature the romance. An Unforeseen Match gave me permission to stack those scenes up one after another, without apology.

How do you choose your characters’ names?
In this novella I kept thinking of my heroine as Faith but then I realized that she’s losing her eyesight and we can’t have Blind Faith, can we? Her name is now Grace.

Clayton Weber shares a last name with a friend of mine whom I used to babysit. Now she’s a librarian in Florida and yes, I’ll try to take credit for that.

What did you want the reader to take away from your story?
I want to remind them that they are capable of accomplishing great things. In the story, Grace fears that she has nothing left to contribute to the world because she is losing her sight, but with Clayton’s help she learns ways to compensate for her disability. In real life, our oldest daughter suffers from severe dyslexia and is a patron of the Library for the Blind. While visiting their facilities, we’ve met blind staff members who work fulltime shelving the audiotapes and books. With modified computers they keep tabs on their circulation and answer emails. There seems to be no limit to what they can do, and that opinion was solidified through the biographies I read about visually impaired people.

My research inspired me to look again at my excuses and ask myself if I’m really doing all I can, and I hope this story inspires others, too.
Where can my readers find you on the Internet?
Several places, and I hope they do come alooking! I love getting to know readers.
Facebook - website:

Welcome, Karen Witemeyer. How did your story for the collection come about?
My story, A Cowboy Unmatched, came about because I really wanted to write a happy ending for the last of the Archer brothers. Travis and Jim had found their true loves in Short-Straw Bride. Crockett and Joanna had their happy ending in Stealing the Preacher. But the youngest Archer, Neill, still needed his story told. I had so much fun turning the tables and putting a pretty (and very pregnant) widow on the business end of a shotgun to meet him when he arrived to work on her roof. Since the reclusive Archers were always scaring visitors off their land with the threat of firepower, this seemed poetic.

When I started reading your story and realized it was an archer brother, I was thrilled. What are you reading right now?
Right now I am reading a western Christmas novella by Kaki Warner titled Miracle in New Hope. It's excellent.

What is the hardest thing about writing a part of a novella collection?
The hardest thing is making sure little details match up. We purposely tried to keep our stories linked yet separate so there would be less overlap and fewer details to try to coordinate. But even so, our editor still found a few discrepancies that we needed to tweak. For example, I originally described the town of Dry Gulch as a dusty, one-horse town with only a handful of buildings. Since most of my story took place outside of town, this worked well for me. However, other stories that took place more in town, described Dry Gulch as a much more developed place. So I adjusted my description to match theirs. Editors are such a blessing!

Yes, they are. We authors couldn’t do without them. How do you choose your characters’ names?
I love using historically accurate names. I often visit the Social Security website and search their database of popular names by year. You can search all the way back to 1880. A fabulous resource! I also love using biblical names. However, my Archer brothers were extra fun because I named them each for a hero from the Alamo – Travis, Crockett, Bowie (who only answers to Jim), and Neill. Neill was named for the commander who had to leave the Alamo to care for an ill family member and therefore survived because he was absent when Santa Ana laid siege.

What did you want the reader to take away from your story?
Galatians 6:2 says we are to “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” While many of us are good at helping others with their burdens, we often refuse to let others help us carry our own. Whether it be pride that keeps us from accepting help or fear that others will let us down or think us weak, it is hard to ask for help. Yet that is what the brotherhood of Christ is all about. Carrying each other’s burdens. That is the message of Neill and Clara’s story. Not only are we to be willing and eager to serve others in their time of need, but we are also to step out in trust and humility and allow others to serve us in the same way. 

Are you a member of American Christian Fiction Writers? If so, why?
Yes. I have been a member of ACFW since 2005. I credit this organization with launching my career. From pairing me with online critique partners, to providing an email loop where new authors can ask questions of seasoned veterans, to hosting national conferences where authors can interact with agents and editors from the top Christian publishing houses, ACFW is a Christian author’s best friend. I met both my editor and my agent at their conferences, and I truly believe I wouldn’t be published today without that contact.

Where can my readers find you on the Internet?
The easiest place to find information about my books is on my website at:
I also love to interact with readers through Facebook and the two group blogs I contribute to: (A western romance blog) (A Christian fiction blog of bestselling authors) 

Thank you, Carol, Mary, Regina, and Karen, for sharing with us today.

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
A Match Made in Texas -
Match Made in Texas, A: A Novella Collection -
Match Made in Texas, A: A Novella Collection - 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, Linkedin, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link.


collettakay said...

I'd love to win a copy of this book!

Colletta from PA

Mary Connealy said...

Blind Faith, Regina? I'm sitting here laughing and typing at the same time. LOL

Mary Connealy said...

Now I'll tell a little Carol Cox story.
I've been a fan ever since Ticket to Tomorrow, book #1 of her A Fair to Remember Series. I just loved that book, Carol.
Carol and I were writing for Barbour together and we only knew each other in the way most authors do, online, but I felt like we knew each other a little. She'd been at it longer but Ticket to Tomorrow came out about a year before Petticoat Ranch my first book...anyway, not the point of my story.
I went to ICRS and I was walking outside the hotel on the sidewalk and who should emerge from a car than ANGELA HUNT!
Well, I am a huge fan. Of course I'm too scare to go up and speak to her but I'm also too much of a huge dork not to stare at her so
I wasn't watching where I was going and I stepped off a curb and fell.....

And I handed HARD......right in the arms of Carol Cox.

Carol saved me.

I don't supposed she saved me from being humiliated in front of Angela, who no doubt saw me at my most awkward (not that hard to catch me in such a situation)

But anyway, Carol, I will always remember you as the woman who saved me from at least doing a full FACE PLANT in front of Angela Hunt.
And you're a good writer, too.
God bless you.

Mary Connealy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Regina Jennings said...


I'm glad I caught that, aren't you? I'd probably have to go to sensitivity training or something.

Great story about Carol, and great interviews ladies.

Unknown said...

I am from nw wisconsin and today its 22 below... a reading day too cold to venture out... please enter me...

Mary Connealy said...

That comment deleted by author wasn't me saying something naughty that I regretted. (admit it, you're all wondering). It was just me posting the same thing accidentally twice.

Mary Connealy said...

Karen, I still can't believe you couldn't figure out a way to stretch the Archer brothers stories out for another book.

I LOVE THOSE STORIES. Short Straw Bride was possibly my favorite book of the year last year and when it started popping up on all the award lists I wasn't one bit surprised.

But having two of them find true love in one book was just a wasted opportunity!

I was so glad you were doing Neill's story in our novella. Fantastic.

Elaine K said...

May Canadians enter this? I'd be thrilled to read this book on our long winter evenings!
Great interviews -- with all the authors!
And I'm making a list of more books to add to my wish list as a result of reading this post!
elaineking1 at hotmail dot com

Lisa Medeiros said...

I love all the authors involved in this novella! :) can't wait to read! (I live in Ontario)

Karen Witemeyer said...

How fun to read everyone's comments!

Mary - Hearing praise like that from an author I admire as much as you is a thrill! If I could write with your speed, I would have been happy to spit out more Archer books, but alas - I'm slow as molasses and can only write one novel a year. I figured it would be too hard to stretch a series out that long, so the novella worked out perfectly. I could get it done and out to readers quickly and in marvelous company with you, Carol, and Regina.

Unknown said...

I am looking forward to this book.

Candice said...

Love all these authors! Can't wait to read this book!
I am from Texas.

Britney Adams said...

Such a fabulous group of authors! I can't wait to read this novella collection!!

Britney Adams, TX

Carol Cox said...

Mary, the story you shared is one of my favorite ICRS memories...which may say a whole lot more about me and my strange sense of humor than I want to admit. Considering that we were both dressed for a banquet, and I was wearing heels (which, trust me, does NOT happen on a regular basis!), I thought we did incredibly well to stagger around gracefully (sort of) instead of winding up in a heap on the side of the road.

And as far as I know, no one took a photo, which was even better. Can you imagine having that moment available on YouTube? Scary! LOL

Mary Connealy said...

Jewels, I just read that it's supposed to be FOUR DEGREES at kick off time for the Packers game on Sunday and the game is NOT SOLD OUT...which would be the first NOT sold out game, I think they said 1959? For a Packers game.
Isn't the ground shaking in Wisconsin quaking at such a terrible development? Of course there are THREE DAYS LEFT.

Mary Connealy said...

btw kickoff is at 3:30 so four degrees will be the HIGH!

Mary Connealy said...

AND in case anyone is interested...
All three of my classic trilogies are on sale right now.

Lassoed in Texas Trilogy
Montana Marriage Trilogy
Sophie's Daughters Trilogy

All on sale as ebooks for $2.99 right now Kindle, Nook whatever.

Mary Connealy said...

CAROL, you remember that?

I thought you might save people all the time. You did it so well I thought maybe you were sort of Supergirl.

Just business as usual.

I guess I made an IMPRESSION.

Rebecca said...

I love these authors and would love a chance to win a copy of their newest book.

Susan said...

I love the writings of all these women and would love to get my hands on this book! Congratulations to you all and Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

Would love to win. Angela in Ky

Anonymous said...

I would love to win a copy of this book !! Sounds wonderful !! I live in NY state - upstate , about 1 1/2 hr from the city !!

Anonymous said...

This book sounds great - and, what a combination of authors! I'd love to win one.

Courtney from Arkansas

Vera Godley said...

I've really been wishing for a copy of A Match Made in Texas, so maybe this is that magic moment! Would love to read. I enjoy these authors very much!

I'm in the middle of NC about halfway between the Atlantic Ocean and the beautiful NC mountains.

Stephanie J said...

I would love to win this book!
Steph from Ohio

Unknown said...

Love all these authors and would really enjoy this new book! Have a blessed New Year each and every one of you!

Diane from Roswell, New Mexico

Karla Baker said...

Reading right now. On third section, which is Carol's section. One more to go. Good book, as usual. Would love to win one.

Notes from Karla's Korner said...

Reading right now. On third section, which is Carol's section. One more to go. Good book, as usual. Would love to win one.

Sharon Pena said...

I am born and raised in southern California, but my parents were both from Texas. I would love to win a copy of "A MATCH MADE IN TEXAS"!

scottsgal said...

I went to UT Austin so Texas has a place in my heart too. Would love to read this
Cheryl in IL

Unknown said...

I enjoyed the interview, but I have really emjoyed reading the comments. I can't wait to read all four of theses, but I especially look forward to Neill's story. Short Straw Bride was my favorite read of 2013

Tonja S. In Virginia

pol said...

thanks for sharing today, these are some lovely ladies and am anxious to read this book, would be a bonus to win it. I love that pretty girl in the red dress on the cover-sure catches your eye.
Happy New Year all

Paula O(
a reader and fan in Ga

Pam K. said...

I've read and enjoyed books by all these authors and am especially looking forward to reading Neill's story since I really liked the Archer brothers in Karen's prior books. I'd love to win a copy of A Match Made in Texas.


Anonymous said...

Can't wait to read this one. Sounds like a great read.

Jean said...

Sounds like I would love these!!!

Jean K
West Palm Beach,FL

Melanie Backus said...

What a great lineup! Great authors make great books!

Melanie Backus, TX

Mary Preston said...

Lovely to meet everyone here thank you.

Mary P


Charlotte Kay said...

Loved the interviews!!!!!!!
I would love to win this book!!!!!
Thanks for the chance!

Charlotte Kay, Ohio

Cindy W. said...

I would so love to win a copy of A Match Made in Texas. I wanted it for Christmas but I didn't find it under my tree. Thank you for the chance to win a copy.

Smiles from Indiana,
Cindy W.

Unknown said...

A Match Made in Texas, written by four of my favorite authors would be such a honor to read. Absolutely love their books! thank you for featuring them.

Library Lady said...

The "older lady" character in her book sounds a lot like my Mom, Bless her heart!
We have all those authors books in the church library. I would love to win this one to add to our collection.
Janet E.

Bookishqueen said...

I have wanted to read this!

Rebekah TN

EJ said...

Definitely want to read "A Match Made in Texas" since it has 4 great authors. And this born & raised AZ girl now living in the midwest is freezing today which makes it a good day to say inside & read - they are saying that we aren't even going to be seeing zero very much for the next 5 days - brrr. Elaine in Iowa

Tam631 said...

Looks like a nice read....

Tami from Niles, MI

Anonymous said...

Would love A Match Made In Texas! Thank you for all your hard work! Chris Bures from FL! Yes, we are excited to wear a sweater and jeans today . . . it is like in the 50's!!! Yeah. That said I am praying for heat for all of you up north, esp my baby girl (20yr old) at Asbury U. just south of Lexington, KY! She's freezing! Thanks for the giveaway!

Dixie n Dottie said...

Thanks for this great opportunity!

Patty said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Patty said...

Four great authors! I am especially looking forward to Karen's story.

Patty in SC

Deanna said...

I would love to win this...Thanks.

Barbara Wenner said...

I would love to win a copy of this book.Barbara from Paris Tx.

Barbara Wenner said...

I would love to win a copy of this book.Barbara from Paris Tx.

Judy said...

I would love to win a copy of this book!

Judy B from Indiana

Cynthia A. Lovely said...

Excellent line-up of some of my favorites. From upstate NY...
cllyrics (at) gmail (dot) com

Susan Johnson said...

I love to read historical stories set in Texas. This looks like a great book. I would love to win a copy.

Susan Odessa, Texas

Anonymous said...

I would love to win this book! I'm from So. IL. Donna d[dot]brookmyer[at]yahoo[dot]com

bonton said...

I SO enjoyed each of the 4 posts!

A perfect opportunity to sample the writing of 4 different authors, some of which, I have yet to read. Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy of "A Match Made in Texas"!


Abbi Hart said...

I am so excited for this novella collection it's not even funny! I absolutely cannot wait to read Neill's story! I love the Archer brothers so much and I was extremely excited when I found out about this novella! I'm also really excited for Mary's novella since I've read and loved all of her other 27 books (I'm counting the one she wrote as Mary Nealy)!
I am looking forward to Carol's and Regina's as well since I've enjoyed the books I've read of theirs so far!
Thanks for the chance to win!
Abbi (PA)

sm said...

I've read a few collections or collaborations in the last couple months, and I loved them. Different authors writing the book, either with the same town, same family in diff. generations, or different locations, etc. Such fun! Hope to win this book. Love the cover-red! sharon, Ca wileygreen1(at)yahoo(dot)com

Lourdes said...

Love the interviews, would love to win.

Lourdes Long Island, NY

apple blossom said...

Thanks for the chance to win sounds like a fun book to read.

live in ND

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Judy Cooper said...

I had already added "A Match Made in Texas" to my to read list, but after reading your interviews, I really am eager to get to it. The authors are some of my favorites, as well as Texas and cowboys. Thank you again for brightening up my day. Judy C. in Louisiana.

Lis K said...

Sounds like a really fun book and I love the cover! It sets the tone of the book already.

Lis K from Virginia
garfsgirl [at] hotmail [dot] com

Teela said...

Just like the 63 comments before me, I would love to read this book! After reading interesting books, I pass them along to a friend of mine that will turn 90 this Feb. 1st. Or send to Colorado Springs to a family member to read and then place in her church library. I'm in TN and just recently became a "churchless pastor's wife"...I guess y'all know what that means. Blessings, Teela

A Cooking Bookworm said...

This sounds like a great novella that my MIL would love!! Of course, I'll have to read it first before giving it to her! ;-)

Binghamton, NY

mybabyblessings AT gmail DOT com