Assignments for Fun and Profit

If you’re still waiting for that first book contract and wondering if that magical moment will ever arrive, maybe you should consider writing on assignment. This can give you tremendous encouragement while bringing in some income to help boost your writer’s ego.

I’ve had some great experiences writing on assignment, especially in the children’s market. I’ve published devotions and Sunday school and Vacation Bible School curriculum. Though writing curriculum might sound kind of boring, it was actually quite fun. The shorter projects built up my resume and eventually led to book length assignments. The first book I wrote on assignment was a craft/curriculum book written as a stand-alone title or as a complementary title for the publisher’s Sunday school curriculum. I got to use my creative side to devise crafts while testing my writing skills. Then I put it all together in a book that I hope was fun for kids, parents, and teachers to use.

My first fiction titles were also written on assignment. I belonged to a Christian writer’s organization in Kansas City and received their monthly newsletter. When I read that one of the organization’s directors had been hired as editor for a new series to be published by Barbour Publishing, I inquired about the possibility of new writers for this series. I was told the publisher was indeed looking for writers and was asked to submit a sample chapter. After following the publisher’s guidelines, I sent in my sample and soon learned I was one of six authors chosen to write the Camp Club Girls series.

That assignment provided much experience in the writing and publishing world and made a great addition to my resume. I learned to write on a deadline and how the editing process works.

So for anyone who is frustrated by repeated rejections from publishers, consider looking for assignments. Publishers that offer writing assignments can be found in Writer’s Markets or by networking at conferences. This doesn’t mean you have to give up your dream of writing your own novel, but it might make a publisher look twice at your submission when you already have a list of book credits on your resume.

There is no substitute for a good book

We’ve all heard the expression “like a kid in a candy store.” However, I think it would be safe to say that among us Inkspers, we’re more like “voracious readers in a book store.” That’s why I think we’re so excited to share the books we want to read this year with you!

(Stay tuned at the end for a giveaway of a book that just came out January 1 from one of our own Inkspers!)

Here are three books that I am looking forward to diving into this year. Two of them I received as Christmas gifts, while the third is one that I won on another writing blog from the author herself. All take place around World War II, one of my favorite eras to read about.

Butterfly violin JPGThe Butterfly and the Violin by Kristy Cambron

The beautiful cover of this book caught my eye, while the description really captured my attention. I love stories that center around a present day protagonist searching for clues to a past mystery, and the fact that this has a musical element to it sealed the deal. And there’s a sequel coming out in April!

Manhattan art dealer Sera James watched her world crumble at the altar two years ago, and her heart is still fragile. Her desire for distraction reignites a passion for a mysterious portrait she first saw as a young girl–a painting of a young violinist with piercing blue eyes.

In her search for the painting, Sera crosses paths with William Hanover–the grandson of a wealthy California real estate mogul–who may be the key to uncovering the hidden masterpiece. Together Sera and William slowly unravel the story behind the painting’s subject: Austrian violinist Adele Von Bron.

A darling of the Austrian aristocracy of 1942, talented violinist, and daughter to a high-ranking member of the Third Reich, Adele risks everything when she begins smuggling Jews out of Vienna. In a heartbeat, her life of prosperity and privilege dissolves into a world of starvation and barbed wire. As Sera untangles the secrets behind the painting, she finds beauty in the most unlikely of places: the grim camps of Auschwitz and the inner recesses of her own troubled heart.

The Lost Wife by Alyson RichmanLost Wife JPG

I became interested in this story initially because the back cover blurb mentions the concentration camp Terezin. One of the lesser known camps, Terezin housed many of Europe’s musicians, composers, writers, and artists, who continued to create during their imprisonment there before being sent to their deaths at Auschwitz.

In pre-war Prague, the dreams of two young lovers are shattered when they are separated by the Nazi invasion. Then, decades later, thousands of miles away in New York, there’s an inescapable glance of recognition between two strangers…

Providence is giving Lenka and Josef one more chance. From the glamorous ease of life in Prague before the Occupation, to the horrors of Nazi Europe, The Lost Wife explores the power of first love, the resilience of the human spirit- and the strength of memory.

Love Comes Home JPGLove Comes Home by Ann H. Gabhart

I was blessed to win a copy of this from Ann, and since it is the third in a series, I had to read the other two before tackling this one (Angel Sister and Small Town Girl). I am so glad I did, because the characters are just wonderful! I absolutely fell in love with Jay and Kate, and I can’t wait to read how they move on after the war.

World War II is finally over and the people of Rosey Corner are busy welcoming the boys home. The Merritt sisters in particular are looking toward the future. Kate is eager to start a family and live out her dream of happily ever after with Jay. Evangeline wants a beautiful house and encourages Mike to pastor a big-town church. Victoria wants what can never be–a life with a man who will never come back. And little Lorena is growing up and wondering more and more about her birth family.

Through heartfelt storytelling, readers join these endearing characters as they walk an uncertain road. Each sister must learn to hold her plans with a loose hand, trusting that God will guide and strengthen them as they share the joys and sorrows of life in their little corner of the world.

GIVEAWAY!

Our very own Rose Ross Zediker will be giving away a copy of her newest release, Dakota Love, which came out January 1. I’ll let Rose tell you a little more about it tomorrow, but please leave a comment on any of our Inksper blog posts in the next two weeks to be included in the drawing!

Community

The past year or so of my writing journey has been a bit rocky, to say the least. The worst part was fearing I’d truly lost my love for writing. It seemed to be totally dried up. I couldn’t write new words. I didn’t even have energy for editing (my favorite part of writing). I felt like my grandbaby looks in the photo below (no, she didn’t get hurt!).

Six month baby! 186The last few months, however, I’ve noticed the tiniest flicker of interest deep inside. I pulled up a story I hadn’t worked on for quite awhile. It was fun getting reacquainted with the characters. I puttered around with it, writing in fits and starts.

But last week, things changed. I climbed into my car withCamp Utmost 3 other women writers and off we went to a writer’s retreat in Missoula, Montana. Four women in a car for hours on end. We could have gotten lost in the wilderness of North Dakota (I think that’s an oxymoron) and had plenty to eat for a month. Chocolate, fruit, licorice, brownie crisps, nuts, crackers… We ate for 16+ hours out and 16+ hours back, and still had food left over! And the amount of luggage for a long weekend? Too ridiculous to mention…

But it wasn’t the food that got me energized about writing again. And much as I love, love, LOVE the mountains, it wasn’t the scenery that did it. It was the writers, most of whom I didn’t know before the retreat started on Friday.

Writers can be weird people. We live with movies playing non-stop in our heads (complete with theme music), have conversations with people we make up, and get upset if those people do things we don’t want them to do. Definitely weird. But also sensitive, caring, hopeful, expectant, faithful, and encouraging. Best of all, encouraging.

Group shoulder rubThese gals (and 1 guy) were at all stages of the writing journey – just starting out to multi-published. Many were stuck in their plots, or wrestling with unruly characters. But what struck me the most was how absolutely encouraging everyone was to everyone else. (We’re giving shoulder rubs in this photo, not doing the bunny hop!)

“What do you write? How is that going for you? How can I help you?” Over and over these questions were asked as we got to know each other. Asked and answered. It was amazing. At times we laughed ourselves into tears. We hugged. We wrote ideas and encouragement on post-its for each other. We shared communion, worshipped together, and Human foosballlaughed hysterically while trying to play human foosball.

It was EXACTLY what I needed. And God knew that. I believe He handpicked everyone who was there so just the right group gathered to worship, write, and encourage. Next year the group may look completely different, and THAT will be just the right group. But this was the right group for me. And the right time and place.

I returned home tired, stiff (after hours and hours in the car), and totally re energized. I WANT to write. I’m excited again about this journey. I’m eager to see what’s around the next bend. And most importantly, I believe in myself and my writing again.

Book displays and photo bombersI prayed that the weekend would bring much-needed answers and renewed energy. I got that and so much more in the community of other writers. What a blessing!

 

Taking a Break

This summer, I planned to at least get half of my book with an Oct. 15th deadline written. At least 22,500 words. During the school year, that’s two weeks if I’m really on a roll. But summer is different. My twelve year old is home which means my husband is around more too. They want to go play and I want to go with them. My son and I love whiling away entire days in our above ground pool. But I didn’t want to wait until the middle of August and have an entire book to write by the middle of Oct.

So, I set up a schedule. Write Monday through Friday from 10:00 pm to 2:00 am and sleep until 10:00 am. The first week was VBS and I’m the craft lady. I was too exhausted to stay up late. After VBS, my schedule worked for a few weeks. My son even had three basketball camps scheduled which meant I got to write during the day. But on day three of the second camp, we got a phone call. He’d hurt his arm and the mom who called thought it was broken. We rushed to a town 30 minutes away knowing he was in pain and waiting for us.

Once we got there, we spent another 45 minutes on the road taking him to his doctor where we learned his wrist was indeed broken. In our rural town, the specialists come to town two days a week. We got an appointment the next day and after a sleepless night for all of us, we took him to have it set.

It could have been worse, but the broken bone rattled me. His summer came to screeching halt. He was home more, had friends over less, couldn’t play basketball, and couldn’t even swim in the pool. His bummer summer became our bummer summer. Life became about trying to occupy a twelve year old boy with a broken arm. My night owl schedule wasn’t working because no one went to bed before midnight and my office is in a corner of the living room.

But I kept plugging along anyway. Churning out words. Boring words with boring characters in a boring story. I didn’t like it, didn’t like them, didn’t like anything about it.

The third basketball camp came along and we talked to the coach about our son doing drills and shooting practice. The coach agreed and even recruited an older boy who’d broken his arm earlier in the year to work one on one with our son. A whole week of him getting to go to basketball camp and having fun. A whole week to try to save this book.

And then I got the revisions for my January release from my editor. Guess what I did during basketball camp?

I finished my edits and we went on vacation. Exactly a week after our return, company was scheduled to arrive. So of course, I spent that time furiously cleaning my house. The book was at a stand still. I hated the book and readers would hate it too. I decided not to worry about it. I had 15,000 words at this point. Bad words with boring characters, but still 15,000 words. I made plans to hit it hard once school started and turn this book around.

My unintentional three week break culminated with a nice visit with my cousins. Mid way through their stay, I was putting my makeup on for the day and it hit me. If this character was that character’s sibling–oh my– the complications that would arise. This character that I’ve been doing backflips to explain his presence in town would have a reason to come to town. His sibling connection would cause all kinds of conflict between the hero and heroine. No, my hero and heroine do not learn they are siblings. But characters’ close to them do forcing the hero and heroine to take sides and it swirls into an awesome conflict.

I’ve always plotted at my best during mindless, repetitive tasks. Driving the road I know so well, I could drive it with my eyes closed. Mowing the yard. Going for a walk. Taking a shower. Putting on makeup. When doing something I don’t have to think about, my best ideas come. And at one point, long ago and before I was published, I realized that a break can often get my creativity stirring. But since I’ve had deadlines, I haven’t felt I have time to take a break except between my first draft and editing phase.

My cousins left and our son got his cast off last week. We spent his final week before school started having fun. We swam, he had a friend over, he played basketball, and we did final shopping for school. My break morphed into a full month.

Yesterday, he went back to school. I started my story over, wrote 1700 words, and wove the new sibling connection into what I’d already written. I love this story. I love these characters. And I hope readers do too.

Lesson learned–when you hate the book–try taking a break. Even if you don’t think you have time for one.

Aromatique

Since Rose’s new release, Sweet on the Cowgirl features a hometown business, the inkspers are sharing products and companies close to home.

Once upon a time, back in 1982, Miss Patti Upton mixed up a batch of Arkansas native botanicals such as acorns, pine cones, gumballs and hickory nuts just for fun. She added fragrance with spices and oils and called her creation The Smell of Christmas. Miss Patti placed her creation in a friend’s gift shop and decorative room fragrance quickly turned into an overnight success. The Smell of Christmas remains the company’s flagship fragrance.

Many people confuse Miss Patti’s creation with potpourri. But potpourri is mostly dried flowers and wood chips. Decorative room fragrance has large botanicals, so it’s pleasing to the eye and the nose. Numerous scents, candles, and bath and body products have been added to Aromatique’s line of products.

Aromatique SeashellsHow do I know so much about it? I live ten miles from Aromatique and I worked in the corporate offices for seven years until my son was born. The Smell of Christmas is my favorite scent. But  Sea Shells is my favorite display. I mean sea shells, which I love, that smell good. I’m all over that.

During my years at the company, I got to shop at the company store, where the products slightly damaged in shipping and returned from stores landed. My entire house was decorated with containers, candles, and decorative fragrance. I miss that and since my son has allergies, I’m no longer able to have Aromatique products in my house. Not even Sea Shells.

But my characters have enjoyed it. When I was writing my Arkansas series books, I used an Arkansas product in each story. A Walk in the Woods was given as a gift to my heroine in White Doves. That fragrance has been retired since, but scents are often revamped, renamed, and returned to the line later. Aromatique is still going strong with a full line of scents to tease the eye and can be ordered online. Google it and just look at all the goodies.

Don’t forget to enter the drawing for Rose’s book!sweet on the cowgirl2

Laura Barnes Wants to Be a Cowgirl

Laura has always dreamed of being a trick rider in her family’s Wild West show. But her father will only allow her to perform if she disguises herself as Mr. Buckskin Jones. When soda-pop king Guy Roberts shows up to do business with her family, Laura is torn between keeping her identity under wraps and revealing her growing feelings for Guy. 

Guy is drawn to Laura’s poise and beauty, but he, too, guards a secret. As their affection for each other grows, Guy begins to think about a future that includes Laura. When both their secrets suddenly come to light, their romance will face the ultimate showdown.

Every time you leave a comment between Mon., Aug. 4 and Fri., Aug. 15  at midnight, central time, you are entered to win a copy of Sweet on the Cowgirl. 

Order your copy of Sweet on the Cowgirl today!

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Discovering New Authors

For the next two weeks, the Inkspers will be sharing what we’re reading. I have my favorite go to authors. When I’m between deadlines, I like the longer length novels. And if you’ve hung around here for long, you know my favorite is Denise Hunter. When I have deadlines, I go for the shorter reads and love Lenora Worth. But Denise and Lenora can’t write fast enough to keep me in books.

I’ve been on a search for new authors for the last year or so. I’ve tried a few and liked the first book, but was disappointed with the second. Or the books are a bit more women’s fiction than romance. I like women’s fiction if it has a happy ending, but I love the straight romance where the point of view is strictly hero and heroine and the story centers on the couple.

Luckily, I’ve found two authors who don’t disappoint – Becky Wade and Melissa Tagg. And luckily, Denise had a new release this spring. So here’s what I’ve read lately:

I’d read the first book in the series last year and was looking forward to Jade’s story. I always fall in love with Denise’s heroes and Daniel didn’t disappoint. So sweet, so supportive, such a good kisser. I love stories where the hero has silently loved the heroine for years. And I officially crowned Denise Queen of the Kissing Scene after reading:

Dancing with Fireflies

Jade returns home to Chapel Springs after years of protecting her fragile heart. Then along comes Daniel, making her long to dance again.
Creative and complicated, Jade McKinley felt like a weed in a rose garden growing up in Chapel Springs. When she left, she thought she’d never look back. But now, pregnant, alone, and broke, she has no other choice but to return.

The mayor of Chapel Springs, Daniel Dawson, has been an honorary member of the McKinley family for years. While his own home life was almost non-existent, Daniel fit right into the boisterous McKinley family. He’s loved Jade for years, but she always saw him as a big brother. Now that she’s back, his feelings are stronger than ever.

As Jade attempts to settle in, nothing feels right. God seems far away, she’s hiding secrets from her family, and she’s strangely attracted to the man who’s always called her “squirt.” Finding her way home may prove more difficult than she imagined.

I loved Meant to Be Mine. Loved the characters, the conflict, and the banter. A lot of the times cute banter between the hero and heroine is too cute and gets on my nerves. But the banter between Ty and Celia was funny, sparkling, and electric. The chemistry between these two sizzled. And I loved the hero’s character arc. It was fascinating to watch him turn into the man Celia deserved. Definitely a keeper. And I’m looking forward to the next Becky Wade title. Meant to Be Mine

Meant to Be Mine

Ty Porter has always been irresistible to Celia Park. All through high school–irresistible. When their paths cross again after college–still irresistible. This time, though, Ty seems to feel exactly the same way about Celia. Their whirlwind romance deposits them at a street-corner Las Vegas wedding chapel.

The next morning they wake to a marriage certificate and a dose of cold reality. Celia’s ready to be Ty’s wife, but Ty’s not ready to be her husband. He’s a professional bull rider, he lives on the road, and he’s long planned to settle down with the hometown girl he’s known since childhood.

Five and a half years pass. Celia’s buried her dreams so that she can afford to raise her daughter. Ty’s achieved all of his goals. Or thought he had, until he looks again into the eyes of the woman he couldn’t forget and into the face of the child he never knew he had.

How much will Ty sacrifice to win back Celia’s trust and prove to her that their spontaneous marriage can still become the love of a lifetime?

After I read Becky’s 2nd title, Undeniable Yours last year, I found her debut My Stubborn Heart and loved it to. The achingly hurting hero tugged at my heartstrings. And the patient heroine drawing him out, then watching him go back insideMy Stubborn Heart himself, but determined to stick with him. So sweet, so tender. My favorite line: His gaze sought out Kate first, locking on her for a split second that caused her nerves to sizzle. Wow, I wish I’d written that. And once again, there was great banter. I officially crown Becky Wade the Queen of Banter.

My Stubborn Heart

Kate Donovan is burned out on work, worn down by her dating relationships, and in need of an adventure. When Kate’s grandmother asks Kate to accompany her to Redbud, Pennsylvania, to restore the grand old house she grew up in, Kate jumps at the chance.

Yet, she discovers a different kind of project upon meeting the man hired to renovate the house. Matt Jarreau is attractive and clearly wounded — hiding from people, from God, and from his past. Kate can’t help but set her stubborn heart on bringing him out of the dark and back into the light… whether he likes it or not.

I fell in love with Blake in the first book of Melissa Tagg’s series, Made to Last, even though he wasn’t the hero. I’ve long been waiting for his story and thoroughly enjoyed Here to Stay. I loved Autumn and she was a worthy heroine for him. My favorite part – the bathtub – funny and heartbreaking all at the same time. The book perfectly explained Blake’s nomad lifestyle and what sent him there. I guess I’m a sucker for wounded heroes. I haven’t crowned Melissa yet, but I’m looking forward to her next book. By the third title, I’ll probably have her crown figured out.

Here to Stay

After playing nomad for five years, Blake Hunziker has finally had enough of adventure. Not sure what reception he’ll get from everyone back in Whisper Shore, he’s stunned at not only a warm welcome from Here to Stayhis hometown but also a job offer. The job is his if he can successfully pull off the annual Christmas Festival. If only he knew the first thing about coordinating events. . .

If there’s one thing Autumn Kingsley knows, it’s Whisper Shore. For years, she’s been stuck running her family’s inn when all she wants is to see the world. Now she has a visit scheduled from a potential investor who could take over the inn, as well as a dream job offer in Paris. But with just two weeks to whip the inn into shape, her chance at escape is a long shot.

The Hunzikers and the Kingsleys may not get along, but Blake knows Autumn’s the only one who can help him. She agrees to a trade–she’ll help with the Festival and he’ll help with inn repairs. But what was meant to be a simple deal quickly becomes much more than that when the guy who’s done running away joins forces with the girl who can’t wait to leave.

Have you read any of these titles? Have you discovered a new author lately? Any contemporary romance authors you love? I’d love to find some more new authors to love.

So Not a Camper

We’re celebrating the release of Shari’s Camp Club Girls release, McKenzie’s Oregon Operation included in the 3 in 1 volume, Operation: Excitement!

When I tell people I never went to church camp, they always seem shocked. I guess they assume this preacher’s wife grew up in church. But I didn’t start consistently attending until I was twelve. And our church was very small. Small as in twelve members who were all related to me on my mom’s side or my dad’s. There weren’t any kids my age. There were some younger cousins five and under, but I don’t remember camp ever being mentioned. If our church had sent kids to camp, I wouldn’t have gone. I’m not the rough it type.

Gold Hiking SandalsI’ve always said my idea of camping would be a motor home with electricity, great air conditioning, and plumbing. But I like Dawn’s idea better – a cabin with electricity, great air conditioning, and plumbing. With accommodations like that, I probably wouldn’t go outside. I don’t like bugs, heat, humidity, or critters such as ticks and snakes, and I’m extremely allergic to poison ivy. Camping in a cabin in the fall would be nice.

Last summer, I had my first and only brush with camping when my local writers group, ACFW AR had a retreat at a church camp. We slept in squeaky bunk beds with ladders in the middle of one side and the open side against the wall. We all chose the bottom bunks, but the top might have been better. Crawling out the hole beside the ladder was a bit like crawling out of the birth canal. The showers were and toilets were all in one long room in stalls with shower curtains.

I was completely unprepared and never dreamed we’d go hiking. I brought two pairs of wedge sandals–no tennis shoes. But never one to use my shoes as an excuse, I went on the prayer walk in my gold and rhinestone sandals. It turned out to be a mountain climbing expedition and my shoes became forever known as my hiking boots. Those are the intrepid hikers above: Debbie Sheetrum, Rosie Baldwin, Ann McCauley, and me.

This year, our writers group found a Bed & Breakfast used for Christian retreats. Talk about accommodations. Technically, it couldn’t beRustic Retreat called camping, but it was my idea of camping. Nice beds, rustic decor, and very comfy with two bathrooms. The mosquitoes were thick, so I didn’t step outside except when I arrived and when I left. I don’t like the smell of Off. They need to come up with a perfume scented version. I told you, I don’t rough it.

Comment or share your camp experience to enter the drawing for a copy of Operation: Excitement!

Operation Excitement!Join the Camp Club Girls on a series of clue-filled adventures and cheer them on as they crack the case in this entertaining 3-in-1 story collection. Whether the Camp Club Girls are vanquishing vermin in Vermont, searching for stolen sea lion pups on the Oregon Coast, or investigating peculiar elk stampedes in Estes Park, you’ll encounter six charming characters who combine their mystery-solving skills to save the day.

 

A Child of the 70’s – Faaaar Out!

I have loved all the Inksper choices of crooners so far. What a great mix of talent!

My heart throb growing up was John Denver. I’m a child of the 70’s and one of the biggest names in music back then was Henry John Deutschendorf, Jr. Well, okay – maybe that was his REAL name. We all knew and loved him as John Denver. I still do!

John DenverHe started as a folk singer and ended up as one of the biggest names in music worldwide. I think either you were (are) a John Denver fan or you weren’t (and probably still aren’t!). What I loved about his music was the often profound messages (especially about the environment) usually wrapped in fun. Okay, so Grandma’s Feather Bed wasn’t exactly profound but it was fun!!

His concern for the environment went far beyond his songs. He lived what he believed, spoke often about conservation issues, and actually walked his talk. But for this teenager, it was songs like Annie’s Song, Leaving on a Jet Plane, Rocky Mountain High (now one of Colorado’s 2 official songs), and my all time favorite, Sunshine on My Shoulders, that touched my heart.

I went to many of his concerts (like every time he came through town), andJohn Denver2 loved the fact that he was married to a Minnesotan for many years (Annie Martell). Somehow that made him a kindred spirit!

He died in 1997 flying his experimental plane, which was a sad way to silence his music and his passion for the environment.

So were you a John Denver fan?

Giveaway:

Shannon will be sending a copy of Rodeo Song to one lucky commenter. Every time you leave a comment in the next two weeks, your chances of getting your hands on it will increase. The giveaway ends on Friday, June 20 at midnight, central time, and is open to continental U.S. residents only.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Give Me Michael

I’ve always loved gravely voices. Joe Cocker, Kim Karnes, Bonnie Tyler, Michael Bolton. My favorite Bolton songs, How Am I Supposed to Live Without You, I Found Someone, and Steel Bars. I also loved his classic rock album with his cover of Dobie Gray’s Drift Away and the Bee Gees’ To Love Somebody.

Many moons ago, I went to a Michael Bolton concert. No, he doesn’t have dark hair or green eyes, but he has pretty blue eyes, great bone structure, and that voice. So my friend and I were sitting in the nose bleed seats when we noticed lots of commotion in the lobby. The lobby was above the oblong arena with a door and stairs down into the stadium every 100 feet or so. We could see people running around the lobby and finally realized that Michael Bolton was running through the lobby with a herd of women chasing him.

He came into the arena and ran to the opposite end from the stage and sang Georgia on My Mind to the people in the North Forty. I teased my friend that he sang it for me since I spent most of my growing up years in Georgia.

That night, I dreamed I was in the lobby when Michael ran through. In the dream, he grabbed my hand, took me onstage with him, sang Georgia on My Mind to me, and asked me to have dinner with him after the concert.

My response, “I’m married.” Then I woke up.

I thought it was the funniest dream I’d ever had. I told my husband, family, and friends about it and got lots of laughs. Years later after I started writing I thought, hey there’s a book in that Michael Bolton dream.

I wrote the book in 2001 and I think it was my 8th manuscript. I changed it up a bit. In the original draft, the hero was a wild rocker with lots of booze and women surrounding him. The heroine only went to his concert as a favor to a friend and wasn’t impressed when he pulled her onstage, but he was taken with her. I named the hero Garrett Steele as a nod to Michael’s Steel Bars. The book got lots of rejections since I hadn’t fully learned the craft of writing back then.

When Harlequin bought the Heartsong Presents line and I got the opportunity to continue my rodeo series, I dug up that old concept. I changed the hero to a country singer to fit the rodeo theme, reformed him a bit, and made the heroine his high-school sweetheart. I rewrote the book from beginning to end using all the writing techniques I’d learned since then. Rodeo Song released in April.

These days I listen mainly to Christian music and my new favorite gravel voiced guy is Todd Agnew. I can’t really say I’d want Todd to serenade me about Jesus. So my dream serenade remains Michael Bolton.

I’m giving away a copy of Rodeo Song.

Rodeo Song

JENNA WENTWORTH FOUND THE MAN OF HER DREAMS

But when silken-voiced Garrett Steele set out for stardom, he left Jenna—and his cowboy past—far behind. A chance encounter at one of his concerts propels him back into Jenna’s life. But, once burned by love, Jenna must guard her heart against the captivating singer.
Once upon a time, Garrett vowed he’d be a success, no matter what. But that path shattered his soul. His reunion with Jenna makes him long for things he once took for granted. Now he must show her that he’s found what he was looking for all along…right here in his hometown.

To enter the drawing, tell us who your dream serenade is.

Little House on the Prairie – Best TV Show – Best Hair

We’re celebrating Rose’s book, The Widow’s Suitor. Since it’s a prairie romance, my thoughts turn to The Little House on the Prairie TV show.

PaI had several Little House books, but I don’t think I ever read any of them. I read parts, but mostly I watched the show. My friend and I played Little House in my playhouse. She was Laura – she had dark hair and was shorter than me. I was Mary – I had blond hair then. We’d help our pretend Ma cook huge pots of berry stew and wait for our pretend Pa to come home. I think Carrie was always asleep.

When I got a little older, I was in love with Pa. He was so steady, wise, and handsome. And that hair. HeAdam & Mary had the best hair ever. Later, there was Adam – Mary’s husband – he had great hair too. Even Albert had great hair. I watched every episode until it went off the air. Then I watched the reunion movies until they stopped making them.

As an adult, I realize I’d never have survived the prairie days. I’d have scandalized people worse than Scarlett O’Hara by declaring it was too ridiculously hot to wear those long dresses. One brush with a prairie fire and I’ve have been done.

So let’s talk favorite episode. Mine was when the bear attacked Mr. Edwards. I loved Mr. Edwards and it was torture for me to watch. But for some reason, that one sticks out in my mind.

What was your favorite episode?

 

widows_suitorLet us know below to be entered in a drawing for a copy of Rose’s The Widow’s Suitor. Then, come back every day for the next two weeks and comment some more. The more often you comment, the more times your name will be entered into the drawing. Want to order Rose’s book today? Then click here

 

Drawing is open to continental U.S. residents only and will be open until Friday, June 6 at midnight, central time zone.

Let us know below to be entered in a drawing for a copy of Rose’s The Widow’s Suitor. Then, come back every day for the next two weeks and comment some more. The more often you comment, the more times your name will be entered into the drawing. Want to order Rose’s book today? Then click here

Drawing is open to continental U.S. residents only and will be open until Friday, June 6 at midnight, central time zone.