Shannon here: Leeann Betts shares how her latest novella collection with 3 other authors came together. Comment or answer the question in this post to enter the drawing for an e-book copy of Always a Wedding Planner. Deadline: June 12th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Leeann:
My latest novella collection released June 1st, so I thought I’d share the stories in the collection to give you an idea of the fun stories and great authors I had the privilege of collaborating with.
First, from Toni Shiloh, Finally a Sweetheart:
When I wrote Finally A Sweetheart, the characters unveiled themselves pretty quickly. I knew that Felicity Edwards wanted a family, had a heartbreaking backstory, and loved God with all her heart. Then I moved on to my hero, Will Davenport. He was an older brother and an owner of his own barbershop. But he’d been burned by love and that made him a little wary.
In my story, Felicity Edwards is a wedding cake baker who dreams of having a family one day. She deals with the conflict of knowing when to be vulnerable, feeling like she’s worthy of love, and opening her heart to new possibilities. The biggest takeaway I hope readers will leave with is that you can trust God with it all. He’ll see you through the trials and tribulations. He’ll strengthen you when you’re weak. Bless you with wisdom when you’re conflicted on an issue. I hope that people see the humanity in Felicity and the desire to be
better as a person.
Toni Shiloh is a wife, mom, and Christian fiction writer. Once she understood the powerful saving grace thanks to the love of Christ, she was moved to honor her Savior. She writes to bring Him glory and to learn more about His goodness. Learn more & connect:
Next, from RL Ashly, Hemmed In:
Kiki Bell is a forty-something seamstress who creates wedding gowns, bridesmaids’ dresses, veils, and any wedding attire ordered by clients. She enjoys working with her best friends and together they help brides feel beautiful on their special day. She inherited her late aunt and uncle’s farm and dreams of turning it into a wedding venue. Kiki adopted her late sister and brother-in-law’s children. Her niece and nephew Tressa and Jack Torres are her world. Kiki believes she is past the age of matrimony. Who would notice a single mom with two teenagers?
Bing Kelley is a forty-something fireman and local crooner. As a confirmed bachelor-till-the-rapture, previous relationships have taught him that women are complicated and who has time for that? But when a fire introduces him to Kiki Bell he is smitten. He is the proud owner of a large black lab named Oxford that specializes in eating.
Sometimes minor characters provide comic relief. In Hemmed In, it is Oxford. The pooch is the size of a coffee table and has a mind of his own. When my kids were still at home, we had a dog that would catch balls and never return them. Another canine would bury his bones and forget where he put them.
Hemmed In focuses on God’s relationship with us and our relationships with others. When I was writing the story, I chose the following verse as the theme. “Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me.” (Psalm 139:5)
As a professional seamstress, a garment or project without a hem looks sloppy and is unfinished. The fabric unravels and deteriorates over time. The item lasts longer and is more serviceable if it has a hem. Recognizing God’s protection and leading in our lives reminds me of a finished seam.
R.L. ASHLY is a master seamstress with a Master of Arts degree in Literature (May, 2019). She hopes to pursue a Ph.D. in Literature in the near future. A mother and grandmother, she is active in her local writing community, never says never to a home improvement task, and strives to one day write the Great American Novel.
RL Ashly writes on the run. She enjoys a good mystery with a complicated plot. Iced tea is her beverage of choice. Hemmed In is her first traditionally published novel. Learn more & connect:
My (Leeann Betts) story, The Worst-Kept Secret:
In The Worst-Kept Secret, Cassie Blackthorn and Brady Millman are complete opposites. Cassie sees Brady as an extroverted playboy completely out of touch with reality. How the man keeps a business running is a mystery to her. Rumors around town say he came to Colorado because of the legalized marijuana. The first time she meets Brady, he looks like he’s coming off a weekend bender, and his limousine—the one she wants to rent for a client—smells like a brewery. And a vomitorium.
For Brady, he’s not so sure about this Cassie woman. Why does she seem so standoffish? Why doesn’t she like him? Or is it men in general she distrusts? From what he can gather, she’s a workaholic who never has any fun. So why is he drawn to her? Is it true that opposites attract?
A good romance needs romantic tension, and one of the best ways is if each character has a secret they’re trying to keep from the love interest and from others. I think a good romance also needs a few light moments. From the disastrous limo interview, to the puking pastor, to the coffee debacle, and even the car accident, while each of these were serious moments, I hoped to create an atmosphere of “what more could go wrong?” for both the reader and the characters.
The theme for The Worst-Kept Secret is that we can’t hide anything from God. He already knows. Yet we spend so much time making excuses, taking unnecessary detours, and simply avoiding the truth.
My goal is that readers will finish reading this story with a better understanding that God wants to be the center of our entire life, not just our prayer life, our Sunday or church life, or our private thought life. He longs to be included in every decision we make, in how we vote, in how we spend our money, and in how we treat the disadvantaged and disenfranchised in our neighborhoods and the world. We are all weak, broken vessels in dire need of a Savior, and presenting Him—and us—in this light is my heart’s desire.
Leeann Betts writes contemporary romantic suspense, while her real-life persona, Donna Schlachter, pens historical romantic suspense. Together she and Donna have published more than 30 novellas and full-length novels. Stay connected so you learn about new releases, preorders, and presales, as well as check out featured authors, book reviews, and a little corner of peace. Plus: Receive a free ebook simply for signing up for our free newsletter! Leeann’s Website
And last but never least, Taste and See, from Davalynn Spencer:
Chef Saffron Delarosa can’t let her wedding-planning partners learn she is suddenly tasteless, and with a nosy handyman working on her house and heart, keeping her secret may be impossible.
It’s not a matter of poor taste. Chef Saffron Delarosa has no taste after contracting a serious sinus infection on her vacation. When she returns home, the gas company is turning off the gas. As director of Food & Beverages for Weddings by Design, Ronnie needs her appliances—and she needs to keep her sudden disability a secret from her business partners. Unable to afford a traditional plumber, she agrees to let the friend of a client repair the leak.
Ty Ellicott runs a few steers, owns a rope business, and does odd jobs for friends. As a favor, he agrees to stop by Ronnie Delarosa’s place for a quick-fix gas leak and runs into a woman who makes him wonder if God had a plan after all. Not only does he figure out beautiful, bull-headed “Ronnie” Delarosa’s secret, he’s determined to win her heart and hand and make her a permanent part of his life.
DAVALYNN SPENCER is a Publisher’s Weekly and ECPA bestselling author with novellas in three Barbour collections, The 12 Brides of Christmas, The 12 Brides of Summer, and The Cowboy’s Bride. She won the Will Rogers Gold Medallion for Inspirational Western Fiction and is the author of ten additional titles, both contemporary and historical. She blogs monthly for Christian Authors Network, Heroes, Heroines & History, contributes to the American Christian Fiction blog, and writes her own weekly inspirational blog. She appears on an area radio broadcast, Write Time Radio, and teaches writing workshops when not wrangling Blue the Cowdog and mouse detectors Annie and Oakley. Get a free book and Quarterly Author Update: Davalynn’s Newsletter
About the Setting
Pronounced “LOVE-lund” rather than “Love-LAND” by locals, the “Sweetheart City” snugs against the Front Range at the mouth of the Big Thompson River in Northern Colorado. The river originates in Rocky Mountain National Park and courses through Estes Park before tumbling down to the eastern plains.
Having the business housed in a 1940s bungalow at the edge of town was our first setting detail. I live in a post-World War II house similar to the one in the book. Turning bedrooms into office space was ideal, since we’ve done the same in our own house. My office is in the basement of our house, and if you drew a line to separate my space from hubby’s, you’d have what Cassie’s office looks like. Pared down, lots of storage for the paper files I—she—insists on.
Can’t wait for the drawing? Worried you won’t win? Get your copy now!
Question for readers: Tell us about a unique place you’ve lived that has had its own “claim to fame”, just as Loveland, Colorado is also called The Sweetheart City.
Come back June 8th for Beth Westcott!