Sunday, April 13, 2014

Snippet Sunday, April 13, 2014

          Welcome back! Here is another short snippet from my newly released sweet contemporary novel, The Friendship Star Quilt, co-written with Stephanie Michels. This week’s lines pick up where last week’s snippet left off:

          “He turned the lights off while you were still waiting?” Anne had met George Connors many times in the two years she’d worked at The Stitching Post. She couldn’t imagine the shop owner behaving so cruelly.
          The child nodded. “He told me I had to wait outside.”
          Anne poked her head out the door and glanced at the ice cream shop. Sure enough, Freeze! was dark and empty. “Well, come inside. I won’t make you wait in the rain. What’s your name, honey?”
          “Jennie… Jennie Carmichael.”
          “My name is Anne, Jennie,” she told the child, giving her a reassuring smile. “Would you like me to call your father and let him know you’re here?”


          The Friendship Star Quilt is now available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords, as well as other ebook outlets.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

New Release!

I am so pleased to announce the release of The Friendship Star Quilt, co-written with Stephanie Michels. This is the second book in the Stitching Post series, about a group of women who belong to a quilting group in Grandville, Michigan.
Here is the back cover blurb for The Friendship Star Quilt:

Anne Brown loves her job at The Stitching Post Quilt Shop in Grandville, Michigan, but she keeps a suitcase packed so she can leave at a moment's notice. Living under the radar, she longs for a normal life, but settles for listening to family stories told by the friendly ladies of the quilting club who meet at the shop on Tuesday evenings. When she meets Brad, the handsome band director of an area high school and his adorable daughter, Anne begins to hope for a happily ever after of her own. But someone has far different plans.

Brad Carmichael is juggling the demands of his job as band director at Rivertown High School with trying to be a better father to his daughter. When Brad is late picking Jennie up from a birthday party, the pretty young clerk from the local quilt shop comes to his rescue. Kind-hearted and talented, Anne becomes a vital part of his and Jennie’s lives. Until her past threatens to destroy their relationship.

To celebrate the release of The Friendship Star Quilt, Stephanie Michels and I are visiting the blogs of several authors over the next ten days. Their names are listed below, and as soon as I get the links to those blogs, I’ll hyperlink their names to the posts. In the meantime, you can get your copy at one of these outlets (click the name to go to their website): Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords.

Here are the blogs Stephanie and I will visit:

Thursday, April 10: Kathy Wheeler
Friday, April 11: MarySchiller
Saturday, April 12: Genuine Jenn
Monday, April 14: Lynn Spangler
Tuesday, April 15: Kristin Wallace
Wednesday, April 16: Linda Carroll-Brad
Thursday, April 17: Connie Bretes
Friday, April 18: Joy Dent
Saturday, April 19: Diane Burton

 Please come and visit any or all of these authors' blogs - we'll have a special gift for those who come and leave comments! 

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Snippet Sunday

I’m so sorry I haven’t participated in Snippet Sunday the last two week! Life is going at mach speed lately. One reason is the upcoming release of The Friendship Star Quilt, the second in a series about a group of quilters. Here’s the opening:

At the sound of the door opening, she looked up to greet the newcomer. But her guest wasn’t a customer or a quilter.
Instead, a little blond cherub about six or seven years old stood in the doorway, studying the store with wide eyes.
“Do you need something, sweetie?” Anne asked.
The little girl turned soulful blue eyes in her direction. “It’s raining outside, and my daddy hasn’t come to pick me up yet. Is it okay if I wait in here?”
“Sure. Where was your dad supposed to pick you up?”
“The ice cream shop next door. I was at Suzy’s birthday party, but everyone else is gone now. And the ice cream man turned the lights off so I couldn’t stay there.”

The Friendship Star Quilt, by Stephanie Michels and me, will be out THIS WEEK thanks to Astraea Press! 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Connecting with Readers

          This has been an extremely challenging week.
          I received edits for my historical novella last Friday, just before leaving for a weekend scrapbooking retreat. I got permission to hold off working on the edits while I got caught up on my scrapbooks and had a great time with friends. 
          So then I got home on Sunday afternoon and dived into the week. The first part of the week is always hectic - I took care of my grandkids, went to a band rehearsal, went to make hats with my sewing group, taught classes, went to orchestra rehearsal - all while trying to write and edit. 
          Not much got done.
          For some reason the edits this time were much more difficult for me to do. I’m not sure if it’s because there seemed to be more edits, or if this particular editor and I didn’t see eye to eye on certain things. What should have been a two-day job ended up taking all week. 
          I’d also signed up to host at a facebook event for authors and readers of sweet romance. Since I was still struggling with edits I started to wish I hadn’t made the commitment. But thanks to my writing partner, Stephanie Michels, I had a few gift cards to give away, so I quickly threw together a quick script, and I did my first shift on Thursday evening. 
          What fun! my hour wasn’t well attended, but the half-dozen ladies there were so warm and welcoming and engaged with each other. It was so much fun I was inspired to get a few more prizes together for my second shift on Saturday. Again, interacting with people who loved to read (as well as engage in a lot of my other hobbies) was so uplifting. I actually got my edits done and sent!
I can’t do a facebook party EVERY week, but in this case it did the trick and got me out of my funk. Thank you, ladies.

          Goal time: Other than the hats I hemmed on Tuesday, the only sewing I did was to make these sachets which I gave away on Saturday night. And I’m STILL trying to find time to read - I WILL get Savage Deception read - soon!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Rone Award and Not-so-crafty March


          Last week I shared the great news that The Calico Heart was nominated for a RONE award (Reward of Novel Excellence) in the Contemporary-General category. So NOW IS THE TIME TO VOTE! Please go to and cast your vote for The Calico Heart. You'll have to register at the website, but it's free. My co-author Stephanie Michels and I thank you!
          The month of March, according to the craft websites and magazines, is craft month. I’m supposed to be crafting a couple of stories. But after a wonderfully productive first week (I was on spring break from GVSU) things have really gone downhill. The first part of my week is always busy – on Mondays I take care of my two youngest grandkids who are at the ages when I can’t just let them play. Little Mr. T is not quite one year old and loves to put things in his mouth. His sister is three, and she’s a good kid, but I can’t leave her in front of the television all day. On Tuesdays I sew with either my quilting group at church or else my hat making group. And then I go to campus and teach. 
          So it’s usually Wednesday before I can get anything done. But I’ve been busy with marketing and other chores – laundry needs to be folded, my mom’s house had to be checked on a regular basis while she was out of town, and my husband occasionally feels neglected. 
          Anyway, I started the month with a goal of 50,000 words. At the end of the first week I was over one-third of the way there. But after almost three weeks, I’m not quite halfway there. I’m going to have to do some serious typing for the last ten days of the month. 
          As for the rest of my goals: 
Crafting/sewing:  I completed one quilt top at church on Tuesday morning, and that’s ALL I got done so far! But this weekend I’m going to a scrapbooking retreat so I’m going to get a LOT of pages put together for my family scrapbooks.

Reading: not much reading. I manage to read a page or two at a time while I’m waiting for things to happen, so there’s not a lot of progress. Hope to have another title done soon!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

RONE Award Nomination

          Last week one of my publishers notified me that The Calico Heart, the first book in the Stitching Post series, was nominated for a RONE award. RONE stands for Reward of Novel Excellence, and the books are selected from among those read and reviewed by the staff at InD’tale Magazine. 
          Today I received a facebook message from a staff member at InD’tale, asking for my email address so that she could send my nominee badge. Of course I responded right away, and I’m so proud to display it here! What a great honor! My co-author and I are so thrilled, and we’ll be asking all of you to vote, starting next Monday. I’ll have all the details here, as well as on my Facebook page.
          As for my week:
Sewing/crafting - I haven’t managed to do any sewing, except at my bi-weekly hat group. On Wednesday I went to another card-making session at Christi Waite’s home. Here are the cards I made there.
Reading - other than a few minutes here and there on my phone, I haven’t had a chance to sit and read! Still working on RT Wolfe’s Savage Deception. So many books, so little time!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Spring Break...or Spring Work?

          It has been a busy week! I was on spring break from GVSU, but I was gone almost every day from morning until night. But the great thing is that I was busy doing things I love. On Monday I took care of my grandkids during the day and rehearsed with the Zeeland Community Band at night. On Tuesday, I went to my quilting group at church, then had lunch with them, and  then made cards at Christi Waite’s home. And then I spent my only evening at home. 
          On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday I spent the day cooped up in a classroom at GVSU. I participated in a writing retreat - faculty members are encouraged to write - dissertations, articles, and other scholarly tomes - and if seats are left over, other faculty can come and write “other” things, like fiction. I’ve always managed to snag a seat, and in three days (we wrote from 9 am until 5) I cranked out almost 12,000 words! Not enough to finish the Winter NaNo challenge, but good enough that I don't have to be ashamed of my output. Each evening, though, I had a different commitment - but the opera, dinner with my daughters, and watching my grandson perform in the school musical were great ways to spend the time!
          So now it’s Saturday. I got to sleep in, but I’m getting ready to go to my writers’ group meeting. I’m going to learn about marketing and social media. All important things for an author nowadays. I’m going to learn how to put my writing out in front of people who will read it. And then I’m going to come home and write some more. 
         There will be time for resting…eventually!

Sewing/crafting: other than the quilt top (pictured above) and the cards I made on Tuesday, I haven’t been able to get anything done!

Reading: Thanks to my smart phone, I got some reading done in little ten minute increments while waiting for people or events. I started reading Bluebonnets for Ellie by Sandra Nachtlinger.