Tag Archive | Christmas

When a Rejection Bears Fruit

I started writing in 2009. One novel through National Novel Writing Month. Had fun. Kept writing, clueless about all I didn’t know about writing and publishing fiction.

logoIn 2012 I wrote a historical novella A Wisconsin Christmas Blessing. I submitted it to a company called Pelican Book Group who was putting together a Christmas collection of novellas. The submission process resulted in a request for the full manuscript. Naive me – I thought I had it made. I was going to be published.

Not so fast, Susan. 

I got a rejection letter from one of the editors. But I didn’t get just a rejection letter. I received a 1 1/2 page (when I printed it out) email. She said: “I would like to list the most common errors to point out some things  that might help you prepare your manuscript for re-submission.” Six specific areas of growth to be exact. SIX! Talk about humbling.

fragileblessings1-copyDetailed, informative and time-consuming. As disappointed as I was at the rejection, I felt honored at her willingness to help me, a novice writer, grow. I sent her a thank you note for all the time she took to write that email and help me.

prism-new-logoI sat on that story for a few years. Time can often equal growth and wisdom if we let it! After I became an Acquisitions Editor with Prism Book Group another opportunity for a Christmas series of novellas arose so I rewrote my novella using all the tools that this fabulous and compassionate editor had given me. It was contracted, renamed and Fragile Blessings was published in 2015 to great reviews.

Now this is where it gets really weird. Prism Book Group was recently acquired by Pelican Book Group as one of their imprints. This also means that all my published works are now technically Pelican books (under the Prism Book Group imprint). So in essence, Pelican did end up publishing my novella! To be honest, the editor had given me an open door to resubmit that I had never taken her up on. God knew.

So now I will be part of a team of editors who I get to work with, one of whom was integral in helping me grow in my writing. Since that rejection, I’ve published two novellas, a collection of short stories, three novels (and a fourth coming soon) and have seven more books contracted. And another two with my agent.

Here are some of the lessons I learned that hopefully will help others: 

  1. Listen to the feedback you get from rejections. Not all of it will be right – but you can always learn something.
  2. Don’t give up. Maybe that story isn’t the one that’s going to sell, keep writing. Obviously, I didn’t stop at one novella given how many stories I’ve written. Write long, write short. Just don’t quit.
  3. Trust in God’s timing. My story wasn’t ready for publication in 2012 but after some conferences and growth and writing more stories in between, when I went back to that novella, I had better skills to apply to make it publishable.
  4. Don’t burn bridges. Can you imagine if I had sent a scathing note to that editor? She would have told her boss and do you think that woman would have been as eager to bring me on as an editor? It’s a small world in Christian publishing and while yes, we are commanded to forgive, it doesn’t mean that you’ll be trusted with the bigger tasks God might have in store with you down the line.
  5. Relish the new opportunities for growth. That editor is now someone who I’ll be working more closely with now with the books I edit and I hope and anticipate I’ll learn even more on my journey because I hope I never stop improving my stories or my editing for others.
  6. It’s okay to laugh. I am giggling at God’s path that led me here. I never in my wildest dreams would have imagined this journey he’s had me on and the blessings of the people He’s brought in my path. Writing (and editing) is hard. Pouring your soul on paper is not without risk and life itself throws us curveballs all the time. I’m grateful for the people God’s placed in my life to help me get to those next steps.

I’ve kept that editor’s name private for now… she knows who she is and my hope is that you’ll treat every editor you meet, not as your enemy, but as someone who really can help you grow, even when you get a rejection letter.

Oh, and I almost forgot. Fragile Blessings tied for second place as an inspirational short at OKRWA International Digital Awards for 2016. Not too shabby for a story that was initially rejected, right?

How about you, if you write, do you have any stories of things you’ve learned through the “rejection” process?

Writer Wednesday: Cathe Swanson

cathesquareToday I want to introduce you to Cathe Swanson. She’s been a valuable member of our ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writer’s) group and just released her first novella! So proud of you Cathe!

When did you decide that you would be an author? Was it something you fell into, felt called to… ?

I was a reader as a child, and being an author was my dream job. I wanted to create stories, preferably in series like Little House in the Big Woods, Anne of Green Gables or the Nancy Drew mysteries. But I didn’t; I just found more books to read. Later, when I was homeschooling my sons, I wanted to write better stories for boys. But I didn’t; I was too busy teaching them.  I wrote devotionals for ministry events and some articles for a boys’ magazine and newsletters for different organizations, but I never wrote fiction. Then, just after my youngest son graduated, I decided to participate in NaNoWriMo. I finished the 50,000 words in about a week, and I kept going. The story fell from my fingertips. It consumed me. I thought about my characters all the time. I wrote bits and pieces on scraps of paper while I was driving (even more dangerous than texting). I wrapped up that manuscript at about 175,000 words, and then I just kept writing more books.

What’s your pet peeve?

I object to man-bashing: memes or cartoons that mock men, implying that women are smarter than men, or television shows in which the men are portrayed as bunglers and the women are more intelligence. This is not sexual equality. It is sexism.

What was your most embarrassing moment as a writer?

My best friend is married to a chief of police in a small town out west. I called her one evening with a question about whether or not a woman could be compelled to testify against her husband in a criminal court case and then more specifically if that woman could be questioned by the police during the investigation and be pressured to answer their questions. She said her husband wasn’t home right then, but she thought it was best to avoid answering any questions without a lawyer there. I thanked her for that non-answer and went back to my story. She called back ten minutes later – she had called her husband out of a city council meeting to ask him what I should do. She thought my question was about ME! Oops.

What has been your most difficult challenge as an author?

Self-discipline and avoiding the “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” trap. I am easily distracted and have many things I enjoy doing, from gardening to cardmaking, so if I sit down to write and my character has an upcoming appointment, it reminds me that I need to check my planner for the time of my own upcoming appointment. Then I see that one of my grandchildren has a birthday coming up, so I open Amazon to do some shopping. Then I think about party ideas, which is even worse, because I open up Pinterest. Or I might decide to make her a card or go to the basement to get wrapping paper and see a box of Christmas fabric and bring that upstairs and see a piece with holly berries on it and decide to go outside and check on the boxwood tree and pick some branches to make a centerpiece… By then, my husband is home and I need to cook dinner. I love to write, but I am squirrelly.

How do you process rejections and/or negative reviews?

As a brand new author, I’ve been very blessed with encouraging reviews.  When the negative comments and reviews come, as I know they will, I might get discouraged for a while, but I usually bounce back quickly. I am pretty good at weighing the value of other people’s opinions and responding accordingly. I hope I will be humble enough to accept criticism.

What do you feel is the best success so far in your writing career?

Um… Snow Angels? Actually, I think my best success is that I have pushed myself to become more open about my work. I’ve written for years without telling anyone or letting anyone read my stories. I tend to be a very private person, almost reclusive, and you just can’t do that as a modern author.

snowangels-bigcoverWhat would be your top three pieces of advice to newer, up and coming authors?

There aren’t many authors newer than me, but I would tell them:

1.  Find a supportive writing community. That doesn’t mean a group of people who will applaud everything you do, but they should be encouraging you in your efforts – just as you will encourage them – and celebrating your successes. I prefer a group with a Christian worldview because that defines me and my writing. I like online communities because I can engage from home when I have time to do so, but in-real-life groups are very beneficial.

2.  Never stop learning how to be a better writer. Attend workshops and seminars, read writing craft books, find beta readers and critique partners. I am a podcast junkie. I listen to writing and book marketing podcasts while I garden, clean house, drive, or work out (okay… that’s a lie. I haven’t worked out in months.) Most importantly, read good books.

3.  Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do – including writing books – glorify God. Before we are Christian authors, we are Christians. Not everything you write has to be evangelical, but remember that everything you write is a witness.

As a Christian author, what would you like your legacy to be?

Like all Christian authors, I would like to lead others to salvation, bring attention to terrible social injustices, end hunger and bring about world peace. Those are impressive goals, but I think I am better at touching people’s hearts on a more personal level. In Snow Angels, I created characters like Hub, a Vietnam veteran. Instead of just showing his sad plight and having him sitting around being homeless, I wanted the reader to see him as a regular guy with his own personality, engaging in daily life in community with others.  I like to write entertaining stories that make readers laugh and maybe cry a little, but I hope that they will also be inspired to see other people more clearly – not as stereotypes, but as individuals, as God sees them.

What is your current work in process?

I am currently working on revisions for Baggage Claim, a book I wrote for NaNoWriMo a few years ago. It’s part of the Great Lakes collection, set about two years before Snow Angels, and will introduce Phoebe. It is scheduled to be released in mid-February.

Christmas Lights novella collection is going to be FREE From Dec 15 to Dec 19. Also, we are having a great giveaway: http://christmaslightscollection.com/christmas-stocking-mash/  The actual giveaway form is here: https://promosimple.com/ps/abb4  but it doesn’t list everything in the stocking.

My new book, Baggage Claim, is available for preorder at http://amzn.to/2gwfFnW It will be released – God willing – on February 14.

christmas-lights-boxLinks to social media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CatheSwanson

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CatheSwanson

Instagram: https://instagram.com/CatheSwanson

My blog: http://catheswanson.com/blog

My newsletter: http://catheswanson.com/newsletter/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/CatheSwan…

BookBub Author Page: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/cathe-swanson

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/catheswans…

Latest Book Release :    Christmas Lights – a novella collection

 

Spatzle Speaks: Cowboy Christmas Novellas (Book Reviews)

Prism Book Group is releasing several Christmas novellas about cowboys–just in time for the holidays! Since they all release today, I had no choice but to give them to you all in one post.

A Love Valley Christmas

Mary Ball has written a sweet story of love and faith with A Love Valley Christmas. Susie Aleman is a widow running a mercantile in Love Valley called Spurs. When she’s not working she’s raising her sixteen-year-old son, Zam. Life is comfortable with her work, friends, and faith. When newcomer Ty Porter strolls into her store Susie’s heart beats faster.

Ty’s not looking for a love connection. He’s made his mistakes in his past and faith isn’t something he understands. But it’s just possible that Christmas, a sweet woman, and her son might just hold the life he’s been searching for.

When Susie Aleman isn’t running Spurs, a mercantile in Love Valley, she’s raising her sixteen-year-old son, Zam. She’s content with life and relies on no one but God. Then Ty Porter moves to Love Valley and stampedes into her heart.

This isn’t your young love story – but is a sweet tale of reluctant love over the holiday season.

Crazy Woman Christmas

In Crazy Woman Christmas, author Renee Blare brings us a unique Christmas tale. Bianca Kolceski has made her share of mistakes and after running away from her parents in shame. Having turned her life around, she’s finally decided to return home to Texas for Christmas. A blizzard in Wyoming forces her off the road.

Devon Dawson doesn’t do Christmas as he grieves the loss of his parents. The cowboy is on his way home to hunker down during the storm when he spies a little car buried in the snow. Helping out Bianca he has no other option than to take her to his ranch.

Life is hard in the blizzard and two strangers with painful pasts learn about faith and love during the Christmas season.

 

 

Hats Off!

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Nancy Bolton has given us a wonderful story in Hats Off. This cover is different from the others because it is historical taking place in Oregon in the 1920’s. Kay, a widow, has moved there to be with her brother and his wife. She works making shirts and the lining for custom hats. She’d known love once but could there be a second chance for her?

Aaron is a quiet man who does his job but one night gets drunk and is discovered by Kay who gets her brother Philip to care for the man. He intrigues her in their fiew shy interactions. She steps out and tries new things including challenging the quiet man with his own dark past. Their brief interactions ignite sparks quickly.

Love bloom in the cold of winter as both learn that sometimes, hope at Christmas, is a powerful thing if one is willing to reach for it.

 

Hill Country Homecoming 

61-yqchy2zlJulie Cosgrove’s latest release is a Texas story that takes place in Hill Country Homecoming. Sarah Mansfield is used to living large on her daddy’s dime. The only reason she’s returning home to the ranch is for the annual holiday party and announce her engagement to a rich man, Trey Simpson. The down side is having to see her father’s ranch manager, Travis Wallace, a guy who she sees as a loser. As her dreams are about to come true a harsh reality snatches it all away as responsibility for the ranch falls to her.

Travis sees the beautiful Sarah as beautiful but impossible. But when push comes to shove her perseverance in learning the ranch business begins to earn his respect. As he answers questions about the true meaning of Christmas, he begins to wonder if Sarah might not be the girl for him after all. But only a miracle will convince him of that.

A Christmas love triangle filled with suspense, faith and love.

Mixed-Up Christmas

61fixigogxlDixie Jo Jarchow gives us a sweet tale in Mixed-Up Christmas. Mix Malone is done riding bulls. He’s broken too many bones, suffered too many head injuries to ride anymore in spite of the fame and fortune it has provided for him and his family. He pulls into town in the middle of a snow storm and stops at the Outlaw Cafe.

Blossom Deavers isn’t quite sure what to do with the beaten up cowboy who passes out in her empty cafe. When his family begins to threaten him as she simply befriends the cowboy and listens to his own dreams as hers are falling apart, she decides maybe it is time to move on. Christmas isn’t about dreams anyway, is it?

This is a story about broken dreams, broken families and the hope of Christmas and courage.

 

The Cowboy’s Miracle

61mwix1nxqlPenelope Marzec brings us The Cowboy’s Miracle. Rodeo star and veterinarian, Seth Holmes is running from men who are hunting him down, due to his father’s crimes. He searches for a home that might belong to grandparents he didn’t know he had but instead finds Gariella Cavallo.

Gabriella has been living on the farm of a woman who had been like a grandmother other and Seth threatens to upset the security of her future in raising alpacas, managing a greenhouse and carriage house that she rents out.

When someone targets the alpacas, Seth’s veterinarian skills come in handy. But can Seth penetrate the wall of fear around Gabriella’s heart while protecting her from those who are pursuing him?

Love, suspense, and alpacas. A great Christmas read.

If you like novellas with cowboys during the holidays, any and all of these novellas will fit the bill. I give each one five bones because I’m a dog, and that’s how I roll. 5 bones for blog

Spatzle Baganz, book reviewer for the silygoos blog because that's how we roll.

Spatzle Baganz, book reviewer for the silygoos blog because that’s how we roll.

 

Spatzle Speaks: Snow Angels (Book Review)

snow-angels-coverIt’s not too early for a Christmas story, is it? I don’t think so, especially when mom snuggles up to me to read it. Snow Angels is Cathe Swanson’s debut novel.

Lisa is a widow still locked inside a prison of grief and self-recrimination. Pete is not who he initially appears to be. She thinks he’s homeless but has potential. Pete thinks Lisa is bossy and treats him with disrespect. Never mind that he was kind of mean to her when they first met at Thanksgiving at the Community Center, or that his beard was raggedy and his clothes and smell were more like a hobo than the director he really was.

Misconceptions abound as Lisa works through her grief and finds new purpose that snowballs far beyond her original plans to help one man. She gives him a job that employs many more and he allows it because, in spite of her bossiness, she’s doing great work.

Going outside her comfort zone puts her face to face with someone else who struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder and who chooses to stay stuck. The mirror reflects Lisa’s own reality and as she struggles to come to grips with her past, she’s also forced to acknowledge a growing attraction to the shabbily-dressed man she’s tried to help.

As truths come to light, both Pete and Lisa have to come clean. Without using the Scripture, Cathe Swanson illustrates the concept that God washes us white as snow. It’s not always an easy process but the relationships we build on the way make the journey worthwhile.

This book is a novella -but a long one which means I got extra snuggles as she read it. It is well worth the read for a glimpse into our own misconceptions about the homeless and downtrodden as well as moving past our mistakes into a “new normal.” I applaud Ms. Swanson’s debut effort! It’s a Christmas story that goes deep to the heart of what really matters. I give it five bones, because I’m a dog. I don’t do stars.

5 bones for blog

Spatzle Baganz, book reviewer for the silygoos blog because that's how we roll.

Spatzle Baganz, book reviewer for the silygoos blog because that’s how we roll.

Love’s Christmas Novellas (Book Reviews)

I should have had this post of up weeks ago but seemed to be deficient in remembering how to enter my blog (in spite of my notes to the contrary. Holiday ditziness? I apologize for that but it is still possible for you to get these books in time for Christmas – definitely on your e-reader (.99 each!) or to get the print copies. Because of this delay I’m not waiting to post this on Friday as I normally would!

I have to confess that with these compilations – I’ve not had a chance to read EVERY novella but since they come from Prism Book Group I’m confident they are great stories!

Love’s Christmas PAST

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FRAGILE BLESSINGS (Susan M. Baganz)

Is it vain for me to promote my own novella first? I wrote this because I was intrigued with pioneer life and set it in my home state of Wisconsin out where my grandparents were raised and lived. I’ve always been fascinated with way people deal with death and in our day and age we expect so much of modern medicine. But back then? They didn’t have the answers . . . so how would one young couple cope? The story took me places I didn’t expect as Grant and Lily live through unexpected tragedy and blessings. I hope you’ll enjoy their journey to love and hope as much as I did writing it.

A MEDIEVAL CHRISTMAS (Rachel A. James)

Tales of old with noble (and not so honorable) knights and ladies of grace and beauty. Set at Christmas-time this story explores the journey of young Nola as she faces the consequences of believing the pretty lies of a nobleman who turns out to be a skunk. When the solution is not as noble as she would prefer and out of a desperate desire to save her family from scandal, Ms. James takes Lady Nola on a journey fraught with danger, wonder and a chance for love if she’s brave enough to accept it.

CHRISTMAS BELLS (Jewell Tweedt)

This is the one story I’ve not yet read but look forward to perhaps during Christmas break. Ms. Tweedt tells a tale of a widow, Connie Rose Simonson, who manages two cafe’s on the frontier and seeking the perfect Christmas for her son. Dr. James Connor has poured out himself in caring for the citizens of an influenza ravaged town. From the description of her story it sounds like heavenly intervention helps these two lonely souls find love. I’m looking forward to reading it!

 

Love’s Christmas PRESENT 

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LOVE AGAIN (Paula Mowery)

Ms. Mowery has a gift for sweet romances and this novella is no exception. Ben Jacobsen has suffered the loss of his wife which meant abandoning his military career to care for his two young children. He moves back in with his parent’s in Myrtle Beach to start life afresh with his in-laws seeking to defeat him at every turn.

Jenna Campbell has moved to the same town to work as a Children’s minister. Coming off a dysfunctional relationship with a guy, she’s not really interested in romance. But something about helping the young widower with his children might have her changing her mind.

But could Ben love again without betraying the memory of his deceased wife?

BACKWARDS CHRISTMAS (Brooke Williams)

Brooke Williams writes a tale filled with humor and adventure. Noelle Richards lives in South Pole, Alaska and enjoys all the holiday festivities of the Backwards Christmas the town celebrates.

Chris Furst has disdain for the holiday. As a sled-dog trainer he loves two things: his dogs and Noelle Richards. The one thing he’s not in love with is CHristmas and the reason for the season. Jesus.

When Chris finds his life in danger though, the tables turn and he’s the one in need of rescue and Noelle and Christ are his only hopes. Maybe love can redeem the holiday for him after all.

ALL’S FAIR IN LOVE & ARSON (Sharon McGregor)

I can hardly wait to read this novella by Sharon McGregor. It sounds like a fun romantic suspense! Bella comes home to care for her injured mother, run her mom’s shop and apparently also needs to take on her mom’s role in the Christmas theater production, a musical o less! The theme is a well-known mystery that seems more bizarre as the days progress. Add in a serial arsonist and the fact that her high school sweetheart, Jake, is now police chief and the holiday is going to be like nothing she or this town had ever seen before.

These books are all fabulous gifts – for you or for someone you love who enjoys reading. So order quickly and snuggle up over the holiday, with your favorite hot beverage, the lights on the tree and a fuzzy blanket and enjoy these novellas filled with warmth, romance and adventure. I know that’s what I’ll be doing!

Merry Christmas! 

 

Do You Make Jesus Look Stupid?

IMG_20131214_090959_409I’m stepping out on a limb here because something has bothered me a lot lately with social media.

Christians are making statements and polarizing themselves over things that are inconsequential. Oh, I know, you believe your views are important and I respect that, but please, hear me out here.

Does your firm stance and insulting words about whether someone is Republican or Democrat show the winsomeness of Christ?

Or whether you believe in Creation or Evolution?

Or, whether everyone should say “Merry Christmas?”

I’m not saying that these things are unimportant. What I want to propose though is that the militant stand that many take might be doing more to alienate those from the truth of the gospel and the holiness of this time of year than attract them to it.

Insulting someone to try to win them to your point of view is the equivalent of throwing manure on them rather than the sweet aroma of baking Christmas cookies. It doesn’t work.

Our opponents are fellow image bearers of Christ, whether we agree with their political, cultural or theological positions on things.

I have my perspective and stand on issues too, and some I feel strongly about. However, the reason I initially went to pursue a degree in Christian counseling was because I saw too often that the words and behaviors of many Christians were a stumbling block to unbelievers.

Granted, we are all in the process of sanctification–and I am at times as guilty as anyone of being obnoxious about things I believe strongly in. However, I believe as Christians we need to have an extra filter on our conversations on-line. The filter of the question: “Will this bring honor to Christ and make Him desirable for others to pursue?”

Yes, I know Christianity is objectionable to many. But consider this. Is it because of the truths of the Bible itself,or could it be due to the way those who claim to be Christians behave and respond to the world around them?

I’m not going to tell you what to believe about how you educate your child, whether or not you should vaccinate or if you should be for or against Obamacare. I respect the fact that there are people on both sides of the aisle of these issues. And that’s okay. (No. Really. It is.). God can be honored and glorified in many of the diverse opinions we hold depending on the manner in which we hold them.

Does that make sense? I believe God can be glorified in the family that chooses public school as well as  those who homeschool (or private). God leads and guides us all in different ways because He desires to shine His light in all the dark corners of the world. When we can love others in spite of their views on abortion (gasp!) or how they vote, we elevate their dignity as humans created in the image of God above our own agendas. Do we have to negate what we believe in to do that? NO! But we can love and listen and even disagree without disrespecting those who hold opposing views. We can stand for truth, certainly, but let us do it with grace.

Ultimately our goal is to win the world to Jesus, but if  the world sees us as fighting about minor issues as to what color of skin Jesus or Santa had or get militant about boycotting stores that say “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” then how does that draw them closer to the very Savior we proclaim to worship and adore? When we do things like this we are slamming the door of the inn in their face and tell them they can’t belong with us because of some corporate policy dictated to them by a handful of people removed from the day to day interaction at a cash register.

Go ahead and say Merry Christmas in response to a benign greeting. Sometimes those employees are obeying orders but can respond to your comment with their own Merry Christmas when you open the door instead of being hostile. And the sweetness of Christ will prevail instead of more animosity.

This goes beyond Christmas – but the war seems to be more heated than ever at this season. Christianity is not supposed to intentionally alienate people from the truths of the Gospel. The gospel can do that on it’s own but those who believe in Him should not. We hold our faith as a precious and beautiful gift of grace that is meant to be shared, not horded.

A Door County Christmas (Book Review)

I have to admit, I did not read this book at Christmas-time. I read it after. And I loved it! A Door County Christmas is a compilation project that highlights the work of four authors: Eileen Key, Becky Melby, Rachael Phillips and Cynthia Ruchti.  The cool thing is that while these four stories are all stand-alones, they all share a common link to an eccentric innkeeper, Lola Peterson, who has gifted someone in each with a Christmas Cactus that will bloom when love does.

Not all of Lola’s targets for “happily-ever-after” are fully on board or even really care if love, or a cactus, blooms.

Cynthia Ruchti’s tale The Heart’s Harbor involves a young woman, Amanda, seeking a brief respite from her life and failed romance.  Unsuspecting of Lola’s intentions, Amanda, who starts out as a guest,  is quickly left to manage the inn. With the help of Lola’s son, Jordon, together they face a series of challenges as they gear up for the annual and much anticipated Christmas Tea. Will love bloom by then? It’s a spritely adventure and one I thoroughly enjoyed.

Rachael Phillips story Ride with Me into Christmas takes a look at a widow, Joanna, as she struggles to not only keep the cactus alive, but to deal with her new neighbor (also a widower). Eventually a mutual love of bicycling bring the two together, in spite of opposition. Will they be together come tea time? It’s a sweet story of love between 50-somethings – and utterly delightful.

Eileen Key tells a unique tale in My Heart Be Still with a look at the enduring love of two octogenarians and their own matchmaking efforts even when their home might be sold out from underneath them by the closest kin, a greedy woman who desperately wants the house gone. What will this spunky older couple do to keep their home and perhaps develop a more friendly family?  A sweet and at times, silly, story.

The final novella, by author Becky Melby is Christmas Crazy and involves an interesting mystery man, a rundown theater company, and Jillian, who is somehow supposed to pull everything together for a glorious rebirth. Can she trust dark Latin eyes and do the job? Will love bloom in her heart?

A delightful grouping of stories against the glistening backdrop of Door County, Wisconsin, one of the State’s most coveted get-a-way locations. If you can’t make the trip in reality, then enjoy it here. You’ll be glad you did.