Tuesday, February 06, 2018

SWEETWATER ROMANCES - A Valentine Sampler - Various Authors - One Free Book

How did the idea for the collection come about?
In early December, I was studying the market and noticing how the Christmas collections had taken off with high sales. Two random thoughts collided—first, we are writers of romance and, second, an upcoming holiday is all about romantic affection. What if we could get something short and sweet ready in time for Valentine’s Day? Each piece would be like a chocolate in a sampler box, the first one making the reader want to “taste” the next. After one night of mulling it over, I pitched the idea to publisher Cynthia Hickey. She posted it on our authors’ Facebook group to test interest. I think the collection filled in half an hour! She set the length at 6,000 words and then slammed down the deadline –January 1st! Oh my, that put all of us in a scramble!

Are the stories connected, and if so, how?
We decided the stories would be linked, and the interacting characters would be the merchants in town. We designed a town square where the proprietors could be right down Main Street from each other. The next thing we had to do was claim a business. I wanted the town hardware store, and then Cynthia picked the candy shop, Renee the café, Martha Lou the bakery, Brandi the boutique, Jennifer the vet clinic and Christina the photography studio. Before it could grow into a tangled mess, Cynthia sent out a message—name and describe your hero and heroine!

What’s the hardest thing about writing a part of a collection?
From my perspective as a writer, I wanted to protect the integrity of the other writer’s story. For instance, my heroine Willow goes into the candy store to buy her hardware guy Evan a treat. Cynthia’s character Lori interacts with her. I knew Lori’s name and what she looked like, but lacked any information about Sweet Nothings candy shop. Cynthia gave me a general description of the shop layout, so I fleshed out the scene. Once completed, I forwarded the scene right to her for review and approval. How funny looking back, she mainly changed the apron Lori wore to red and ruffled. So Valentine-y!

To prevent any inconsistencies, I became the editor/reviewer for the collection. Our use of names turned into a comedy of errors, so I focused on that aspect to make sure the right guy showed up with his correct love interest whenever two story-lines merged. Secondary characters also had to coordinate – even off-the-page characters merely referred to had to match. The brick-and-mortar town seemed to become authentic the more we described it, which was fascinating to watch develop.

How did collaborating with the team impact you?
By the third story I reviewed (Renee’s), I realized how sweeping the creativity process is in the discipline of fiction writing. The imagination aspect was epic, as we started with a rote description of a town built around a central park. When the authors populated it with characters that began to share their hopes and dreams, it truly breathed life into the setting. That sensation was elevating for me, making me want to read on to know more. By the way, Renee Riva is so genuinely funny, and it leaks into her writing with understated charm. Everybody in town comes to see her heroine, Shelby, at the cafe!

What did you want the reader to take away?
I remember thinking, if we can get this to be seamless, the reader will be taken away to Sweetwater and anticipate the arrival of Valentine’s Day just like our townsfolk. We can hold them there suspended and let them enjoy the romance of it all. Our job was to sweep them away! Most of the couples end up at Annie Bob’s B and B for a table-for-two buffet on Valentine’s night. You’d think that outcome would be predictable, considering the common setting, but the readers are in for a real treat! Questions will be asked, but maybe not the ones you might expect! This collection is all about love, whether it lands at first sight or takes a decade to mature. Romance readers are sure to be pleased with the variety offered by this sweet sampler.

Please give us a peek at your story.
Toolbox Trinkets begins with the quintessential query into love: a newcomer, Willow Stevens, peeks into the hardware store’s front window from Main Street and sees shopkeeper Evan Masterson laboring over an intricate project at the front counter. Dubious about finding help for a complicated remodeling job, she chooses to enter the store questing for assistance and finds so much more. Evan’s capability and Willow’s vulnerability match up in an unexpectedly harmonic project-for-two. That sweet peek leads off the sampler, and romance strikes seven times—all right down the block!

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
In the vastly circulating sea of good advice to authors, I think the advice that strikes a resonating truth for me is “write your next book.” So many writers get bogged down with cyclic editing or endless marketing. Yes, there’s much ancillary work to be done, but without a well-written book at the core, it’s all meaningless. Go sit down and write your next book. By the middle segment, you should be thinking “series” or at least “follow-up book.” Writing should be a fresh river, not a staccato set of stagnant pools. Time will go fluid if you devote yourself to the task of completing a full manuscript. Enjoy the euphoria of penning “The End” and then regroup and do it all over again.

Where can you be found on the Internet?
My website has my complete booklist, my new release blog and a newsletter sign-up button (please do!): http://cindymamos.wixsite.com/natureink
Find me on Facebook at: https://facebook.com/natureinkbooks
Twitter at @cindymamos
Also follow me on my Amazon author page and on Goodreads.

Thank you so much, Lena, for having us on your blog today! And before it’s too late…
Let me wish you a Happy Valentine’s Day!

It’s my pleasure, and thank you.

New in town, Willow Stevens arrives at The Master’s Toolbox hardware store, hoping to get some assistance with a detailed home improvement project. Caught soldering a seam for his latest metal-craft project, Evan Masterson soon becomes interested in another type of bond—right in time for Valentine’s Day. When Willow offers to help with his Etsy page and shares an idea to improve the store’s garden section, how can Mr. Fix-it refuse? Find out why Evan’s toolbox might need a trinket to guard it from here on out.

When romance flutters down on Sweetwater, Kansas, the hardware store marks love’s epicenter!

About the Author
Cindy M. Amos writes inspirational romance from the heartland of Kansas, where living close to the land always leads to love. She enjoys wildflowers, border gardens, and canning produce from the summer vegetable garden. The Amos family owns a five-generation ranch in the magnificent Flint Hills of central Kansas, where the prairie offers endless inspiration for her stories.

How did the idea for the collection come about? Cindy M. Amos pretty much said it all. It was a very fast turnaround and done more or less as an experiment. If this set does well, we’ll do more holiday themed short story sets.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
This is the advice I give all my authors. You won’t be found if you don’t promote. Advertise, interact with your readers, and write the next book.

Where can you be found on the Internet?
Connect with me on FaceBook
Sign up for my newsletter and receive a free short story
Follow me on Amazon

Whisper Sweet Nothings
Lori Clark had made a life for herself after the love of her life left her ten years before with no explanation. She'd married, had a child, been widowed, owned a business...now Drake Langley was back in her life with an incredible story and professing a love for her that never went away.

How can she forgive someone who broke her heart? Can she learn to trust again and accept the love Drake offers?

Multi-published and Amazon and ECPA Best-Selling author Cynthia Hickey has sold over a million copies of her works since 2013. She has taught a Continuing Education class at the 2015 American Christian Fiction Writers conference, several small ACFW chapters and RWA chapters. She and her husband run the small press, Winged Publications, which includes some of the CBA’s best well-known authors. She lives in Arizona with her husband, one of their seven children, two dogs, one cat, and three box turtles. She has eight grandchildren who keep her busy and tell everyone they know that “Nana is a writer.”

How did your story for the collection come about?
I wanted to write about a bakery and a girl who had to bake her own birthday cake because her birthday was on a holiday. Added in the long-time boy friend she’d like to whom she wanted to be more and there was the story. It was fun to write and add in characters from other stories.

What is the hardest thing about writing a part of a collection?
Making sure I had the facts right about other characters and places.

Where can my readers find you on the Internet?

Martha Rogers is a multi-published author and writes a weekly devotional for ACFW. Martha and her husband Rex live in Houston, Texas where they are active members of First Baptist Church. They are the parents of three sons and grandparents to eleven grandchildren and great-grandparents to four. Martha is a retired teacher with twenty-eight years teaching Home Economics and English at the secondary level and eight years at the college level supervising student teachers and teaching freshman English. She is the Director of the Texas Christian Writers Conference held in Houston in August each year, a member of ACFW, ACFW WOTS chapter in Houston, and a member of the writers’ group, Inspirational Writers Alive.

Lilly and Landon have known each other since they were pre-teens, but love has been a secret held in their hearts. He plans a special Valentine’s Day for her as it is also her birthday. However, Hudson Barnes, the new man in town may be the one to derail all of Landon’s secret preparations. Valentine’s Day will either be the end of ten years of procrastination or be the penalty for not declaring his love before now.

A peek into my story Sweetwater Café:

Welcome to the Sweetwater Cafe in the small town of Sweetwater, Kansas, where EVERYBODY knows your name!

For Shelby Smith, enough is enough. After six years of working the BBQ Lunch Special under the overbearing eye of grumpy, Great Aunt Beula, Shelby is ready to get out of Dodge... until a handsome, young, newcomer walks into the cafe one frosty February morning.

Can Chase Tanner change the direction this city wannabe is heading, and help to heal a family at the same time?

C'mon in for a BBQ Sweetwater Burger and find out!

I can be found on the internet here:
Amazon Central

Renee Riva has been writing stories ever since she won her first writing contest in the second grade. She combines her memories of a happy childhood (growing up in a big Italian family with a bunch of noisy siblings she wouldn’t trade for anything in the world), the heart of a “hopeful” romantic, and adds a big dose of gentle humor to delight the hearts of readers. Renee has published two children’s picture books with Waterbook/Random House: Izzy the Lizzy and Guido’s Gondola, a humorous , family trilogy published by David C. Cook: Saving Sailor, Taking Tuscany, and Heading Home. She currently has nine Forget Me Not Romances and Take Me Away Books with Winged Publications. She loves writing romantic comedies and both contemporary and historical novellas about young love.

Before becoming an author, Renee wrote for Madison Park Greeting Cards as an in-house contributing editor. Her articles have appeared in Our Family Magazine and Guideposts. Renee is a touring author for schools, has belonged to Get Lit: sponsoring authors to visit small rural schools in Washington State, and has a weekly booth at Market at the Parkway in Richland, Washington all summer long. Her website is www.reneeriva.com  and she can be contacted through through this site.

What is the hardest thing about writing a part of a collection? 
We had a lot of fun brainstorming the name of the town, then details about different businesses and characters. The tricky part is continuity. We want to have characters cross into other stories to reflect the small town community, but have to make sure they're portrayed accurately. One author, Cindy Amos, read all the stories to make sure nothing was out of whack. That was a big help!

What is the best piece of advice you received as an author?
Just keep writing. Careers will have ups and downs, but no matter what, a writer writes. And I've never doubted that I am a writer. LOL

For the first 10 years of her life, Jennifer AlLee lived above a mortuary in Hollywood, California, one block away from Hollywood and Vine. Over the years, she worked in numerous fields, including as a church secretary and an administrative assistant at a cable company, but whatever the position, writing always became part of the job description. In 2007, her first novel was published. Since then, she's published eleven novels and quite a few novellas with five different publishing houses. While she's thrilled to be living her dream as an author, Jennifer considers raising her amazing son to be her best creative achievement.

Thank you all for sharing this new collection with us. My readers and I love novella collections.

Readers, here’s a link to the book.
Sweetwater Romances: A Valentine Sampler

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. You must follow these instructions to be in the drawing. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory or country if outside North America. (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 Goodreads, Google+, Feedblitz, Facebook, Twitter, 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:


Emma said...

I am looking forward to reading "SWEETWATER ROMANCES .Pa.Thank you for the opportunity to win. Have a wonderful week.

Linda Kish said...

Everything sounds terrific. It would be such fun to read these stories.

Linda in CA

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Natalya Lakhno said...

What a delightful post! Love is in the air :)
Lena, thank you for hosting so many great authors.
Enjoyed reading! Blessings to the authors in their ministry of writing.
Natalya from CA

Vivian Furbay said...

Just in time for Valentine's Day. All the stories mentioned sound interesting. Would enjoy reading this book. Vivian Furbay of CO

Kay Garrett said...

What a fabulous idea that came to fruition in "SWEETWATER ROMANCES"!

I think it's great that several authors worked together making the stories link in great detail of business' on the same street with the characters interacting while telling several love stories among the townspeople. I know it's a collection that I'm sure will be very well received and one that I'd love to read.

Valentine's Day has an extra meaning to me. My parents met on a blind date and were married seven days later on Valentine's Day. I've always been one to LOVE Valentine's Day and love stories. :)

Thanks for the chance to win a copy of this amazing collection!
Kay from Mountain View, AR
2clowns at arkansas dot net

Beth Gillihan said...

I love these kind of collections. These stories all sound great. Thanks for giving me another book for my wish list.

Beth in Montana

VanG said...

This sounds like a delightful collection, and I would love to read them all. Thanks for the chance! 😉
VanG in NC

Danielle H. said...

I enjoy reading novellas and these sound really fun. Danielle from MI

Paula said...

This collection sounds right up my reading alley. I love small town stories! Paula from Missouri! Thanks

Anonymous said...

Would love to win

Lena Nelson Dooley said...

Anonymous, I hope you come back to read the comments again. You must put in the information required as listen in the lower part of the post to enter the drawing.

Pam Graber said...

I love these novella collections! And, centering them on Valentine's Day? What's not to love there? Would love to win the set!

Pam in OH

Shelia64 said...

looks like a great read! Shelia from MS

Connie said...

Thanks for sharing about these authors and their books!
Connie from KY

Sharon Richmond Bryant said...

Enter me in your awesome giveaway!!
Conway SC.