For almost a month now, I've been giving sneak peeks into MY story in the novella collection releasing TOMORROW! But today, I'm passing the torch and letting Heather Greer post about her story and why winter is such an intrinsic part of it. Be sure to read to the end so you won't miss the next clue in our scavenger hunt!
Spring is too wet and the ground is a big muddy mess. Summer is too hot and not even the draw of a great glass of lemonade can make it less so. Autumn is perfect. Always. Winter is often cold and dark.
Why, then, did I choose winter for my novella, Sugar and Spice? While the temperatures may leave something to be desired, I cannot deny the beauty of the season.
Despite the cold, there’s beauty in winter. When snow blankets the bare branches of trees and rests on the needles of evergreens set against a wintery blue sky, the result is breathtaking. When sunlight hits the snow-covered ground creating an ocean of sparkling diamonds out of the field behind my house, the two sights blend with the unique hush accompanying snow to evoke a sense of serenity.
The Love in Any Season Social Media Scavenger Hunt beings September 23rd! To celebrate the release of their new novella collection, Love in Any Season, the authors are hosting a fun social media scavenger hunt.
Here are the details: The Scavenger hunt opens September 23, 2022 and entries must be received by 11:59pm on October 4, 2022. One winner will be drawn from correct entries and announced on our social media pages on October 5, 2022. The winner will receive a $60 Amazon gift card. The contest is open to US only.
Many of our clues are found on social media sources that aren't our own. Each author will keep a post like this one where links to new clues will be updated each day. Here are the other places where you can connect with each of the authors:
I've said it before, and I'll say it again. One of the biggest blessings of being an author is getting to know other authors. For the last few years, I've been a part of the group Inspy Romance and been able to get to know quite a few of the other authors there, too. One of them is Toni Shiloh, and ... well, she's pretty amazing. So, today, I wanted to let you get to know her, too. Keep reading to find out more about Toni and her newest release (which I'm so excited about!). And make sure you read all the way to the bottom for a fun giveaway opportunity!
Congratulations on your book releasing next week. I'm very excited about it because I read the first one earlier this year and am looking forward to going back to Ọlọrọ Ilé. What was the hardest part of creating the island and all of its history and culture? What was your favorite part?
Thanks so much for having me! Creating Ọlọrọ Ilé was definitely fun for me. I think the hardest part of creating the history and culture was deciding what fit other colonized countries as well as fit the culture I was creating. I've never thought of myself as particularly political or even a history buff, so I felt a little out of depth in this area. But fortunately, there are so many books and articles on the topic. My favorite part was delving into part of Nigerian culture and what makes it it. 🙂
I know the heroine in this book is a fashionista. How did you pick her career? What was the most interesting thing you discovered in doing research for her?
I thought being in the arts and being creative fit Iris's personality the best. She's bubbly and joyful and I could just imagine her as a child playing dress up with dozens of dolls and creating her own fashion show. The most interesting thing I discovered was their sales process. When they're in winter season, they're already a couple of season ahead. It made sense and made me realize why you can buy swimsuits in the winter/springtime before the season has even hit.
Happy Christmas in July! Welcome to the 2022 Christmas in July Reader Blog Tour & Giveaway, which runs July 15-22, 2022 (contest closes at 8 p.m. Eastern on 7/22). At the bottom of each author’s blog post, you will find the name of a Christmas song. Write them all down and provide the provide all song titles (26 in total) on this Google form. Click here for a list of all participating authors and their links!
Note: You must grab all the song titles from every author in the 2022 Christmas in July Reader Blog Tour & Giveaway to be eligible to win the grand prize of a $520 Amazon gift card, plus a copy of each participating author's book OR first place prize of a copy of each participating author's book. At the end of this blog post is a link to the next blog, and so on, to the final blog post (26 authors in all).
July is a great month for talking beach Christmas, right? Because usually when you think of the beach, you think summer. Well, in my novella, Mistletoe Make-believe, (and in all the novellas in the collection), our characters are spending Christmas on the beach. In my story, it's St Simons Island, Georgia, just off the coast of Brunswick.
I've spent several weeks at St Simons. Once, on my honeymoon (perfect!) and once a few years ago when we took the kids. It's absolutely gorgeous, so when I was invited to write a story for this beachy Christmas collection, I knew it's where I wanted my characters to go.
Sometimes, you discover an author and read every one of her books you can get your hands on. Because they're that good. Janet Ferguson is one of those authors for me. I found her through a freebie on one of her stories, won another one in a giveaway, and then I was hooked. Her tales are sweet and fun, with characters to root for and settings you want to visit. And today, I get the pleasure of introducing Janet to you. Make sure you read all the way to the bottom to find out more about her newest book set to release later this month.
Hi Janet, most of your recent books have been set near the coast in Georgia and the gulf (including my favorite--St Simons Island, GA). Do you have a favorite beach you've visited? Why?
It’s so hard to choose just one! I’ve loved all of them. The beach I end up going to most often is Fort Morgan, Alabama. It’s fairly close—four hours or so—and it’s a little less crowded and less commercialized on the peninsula. I usually go in the fall, and the temperatures are mild, but the Gulf is still warm. The butterflies migrate through the area sometime in October. Sometimes, I’m blessed to be there to see them.
Ooh! I need to check that beach out. It sounds amazing, and I love butterflies. What is it about the beach that makes you long to set stories there?
I love the beach. It’s like God opens a treasure chest and sprinkles prizes around for us to find. Shells, porpoise, heron, sand dollars, starfish, sunsets, the ocean breeze, sea turtles, glowing jellyfish, the stars, and the waves as constant as His love, and so much more.
Looking for something fun and bookish to do over the next few weeks? Scrivenings Press is hosting a 12 Days of Christmas bash on their facebook page. Swing by from December 13 through 24th to play fun games, chat with authors about some of their holiday favorites, and possibly win some bookish prizes. Each day one person who participates will win an ebook of their choice. And at the end of the week, someone is going to win the promise of an ecopy of every book Scrivenings is publishing next year (over 25 books!). And don't forget the recipes you can receive, too. ;-)
We hope you'll come by and party with us as the holidays approach. It's a great way to end 2020.
Do you love cowboy romances? I know I do. If you're like me, then you're in for a treat today. I'm chatting here with Shannon Taylor Vannatter, who writes cowboy romances. I had the pleasure of meeting Shannon at the KenTen writer's retreat a few years ago, and look forward to seeing her again this August at the same place. I'm also thrilled that she is now one of my editors at Scrivenings Press. Read on to learn more about Shannon, as well as how to be entered into an amazing giveaway she's doing right now to celebrate her new release.
Shannon, you've released almost 20 books now, right? What keeps you going and gives you inspiration?
Actually, my 18th will release in March 2021. I can’t not write. I’ve tried. When I take a break, that’s usually when inspiration strikes. I’m inspired when I learn something new, hear an odd phrase, or see a headline. I also find tons of inspiration in being with other writers, just hanging out, or attending conferences. Being with other creative people inspires me and anything that interests me usually ends up in a book.
Today, I'm interviewing my fellow author Hope Toler Dougherty. Her fourth book is about to release, and I know the one story of hers I've read was excellent so I'm looking forward to reading more. Read on to learn more about this author and check out how you could possibly win a free copy of her book.
Hope, this is your fourth book, right? Does this book have connections to any of your other stories, or are they all stand-alone?
Forever Music is a stand-alone; however, I hope it becomes the first in a series. (I’m trying!) I like to revisit characters; for example, Jack Windham is a friend of Mary Wade’s in Rescued Hearts. He didn’t get a lot of page time in that novel, but he’s back in Forever Music as Ches’s uncle. He and his wife are an important part of Ches’s story. He’s really a cool character, and I enjoyed getting to know him better. I hope readers will, too.
The last few years have introduced me to some amazing authors, and this one is no different. I met Candace West in person last June at the Ken Ten Writing retreat, but we've also gotten to know each other online, too. I've been blessed to be able to read both of her historical fiction novels, and let me tell you--they're gritty and emotional, full of love and forgiveness. I think you'll enjoy them, too. So, let's take a few moments so you can learn a bit more about Candace and her stories.
Candace, this is your second book. When you wrote your first book, did you already have this story in mind, or did it come to you later?
By the time I finished Lane Steen, I knew that I wanted to resolve Earl and Lorena’s story. Only until last year, however, did I finally make it happen. When I began the story, I had no idea how to get those two back together, especially after the things Earl had done. I brainstormed for awhile before putting the final plot together. In between, the characters took over and shifted the story as I wrote. They were full of surprises!
Welcome to birthday week! We're celebrating my birthday all week long with a short story I wrote just for the occasion, as well as a chance for you to win some ice cream. Want more information or to see the list of scavenger hunt clues you're looking for? Check it out here. If you missed yesterday's part of the story, it's here (you'll want to read it first).
When the lights came back on, Cassandra tried to see through the smoke lingering in the air. If it didn’t dissipate soon, the fire detector would start blaring. She waved her hand through the wisps and glanced this way and that. No sign of that handsome guy who had grinned at her over Sarah’s shoulder. Had she only imagined him? He looked just like how she pictured Mykal in her book.
“Birthday girl first.” Sarah gave Cassandra a gentle push toward the table laden with food. “You have to fix your plate before anyone else can and we’re starving.”
In a haze, Cassandra added dibs and dabs to her plate. Sandwiches, chips, pickles, carrot sticks. She wasn’t even hungry, really. Not after the huge lunch and the big bowl of ice cream this afternoon. Laden with food, she glanced around the living area, wondering where she should sit. Maybe she could just slip down the hall and disappear while everyone was preoccupied with feeding themselves, too.
No such luck. Three steps in that direction, and the handsome stranger was in front of her, a cup of red liquid in his hands. Her feet and heart faltered at the same moment. Why, oh why, was she wearing yoga pants at a time like this?
“Hi. You must be Cassandra.” His grin spread lazily across his tan face.
“Unfortunately, yes.” She couldn’t help but smile back at him. “Though I’d rather be just about anywhere besides here.”
“Really?” He took a sip of his drink. “Not a fan of parties?”
“Don’t get me wrong. Lucy and Sarah are great. And I appreciate how much effort went into this.” She shrugged and looked down at her plate, wondering why she had picked up three pickles. “I just had this crazy plan to spend the whole day reading. And thanks to well-intentioned friends and family, I still have about a third of the book left.”
“That’s the worst.” He scooped her plate out of her hands and motioned with his head. “I’ve got an idea.”
She followed him through the crowd, She didn’t even know who he was, and yet she already trusted him. Lucy jumped up and down and waved at her, a big grin on her face. What was she mouthing? Cassandra shook her head and then quickly caught up with her dinner.
He glanced around when he reached the living room wall, then slipped behind the curtains. What? His hand reached out and pulled her behind, too. He shoved the French door open and escorted her out onto their tiny balcony. The warm night air wrapped around her, and the noise from inside was muffled as he pulled the door closed behind them.
She laughed. “Don’t you think Lucy and Sarah will be mad if I hide out here?”
“Is it your birthday or theirs?” His eyes crinkled at the edges as he smiled. He pulled out a patio chair with a flourish and motioned for her to sit. “How’s this?”
“I’ll be right back.” He didn’t wait for her to answer, but slipped back inside.
Was he going to fill a plate and join her? The other chair was full of Lucy’s wilting herb garden. Maybe she should start moving the pots. She hesitated. Would that seem too forward? This had been his idea, but maybe he had just intended to help her and then disappear again.
Her heart ached at the thought.
The party noise increased again as he came back out the door. He set a cup of punch on the table next to her plate. Then, from behind his back, he pulled out the book she’d left on her bed earlier along with the book lamp that lived on her bedside table.
He gave her a wink as he presented his findings to her. “I won’t tell. But everyone deserves to have what they most want for their birthday.”
“That’s amazing.” She ran her hand over the cover and then looked back up at the guy who reminded her of the hero. “How can I thank you?”
He held out an envelope and grinned. “Give me a call when it’s not your birthday.”
He disappeared back inside before she could say anything else. She hadn’t even caught his name. With trembling fingers, she pulled out a simple birthday card.
“I hope you don’t mind my forwardness.” His writing was neat and straight inside the card. “When Lucy told me about you, I couldn’t turn down her invitation to come tonight. I hope you have a wonderful birthday. Call me as soon as you’re free.”
Mark. His name was Mark Borden. The same name as the author of the book. Really?
She traced his number with her fingertips and smiled again. She’d have to thank Lucy for the best birthday present ever. But not right now. Right now, she had a date in Andorya. She’d work out her date with her real-life hero tomorrow. When she was thirty-years-and-one-day old.
That's it. What did you think? Is this something you'd like to do again in the future?
I'll give you a few days to turn in your answers and the winner will be announced next Thursday, September 5th. Thanks so much for joining us this week as we celebrated my birthday (and Cassandra's). ;-)
This is a place for me to tell you about what I'm writing, talk about the process or where some of my ideas came from, or even have other authors come in and talk about their books.
Authors I Love to Read (in no particular order)