If I knew then what I know now, Memory Box Secrets never would have been written. Still, of all the books I’ve written, it probably tells my favorite story. Goes to show that not knowing everything about the craft at once can be a good thing.
Prevailing wisdom says that while series are popular, having the hero/heroine be the same throughout the series isn’t terribly wise, and that makes sense. When you follow the same H/H from book to book, there’s always back story and character development that needs to be carried from one book to the next, and it’s very difficult to write a sequel that can be read as a standalone without weighing it down.
So, why did I do it? Well, this wisdom didn’t come to me until after the first three books were written. Chain of Mercy (Coming Home, book #1) was the first novel I ever penned. When I attended my first conference and took a plotting class from James Scott Bell, I learned that I really had two books in one. So, I chopped that first book in half, added meat to both books, and suddenly I had completed two entire novels!
Since then, the story in Memory Box Secrets has become perhaps my favorite (if it’s possible to choose a favorite). It’s very complex, has several story lines going on, and those stories are seen from five (yes, five!) points-of-view (another thing I wouldn’t recommend and would never do again!). Yet, each of those points-of-view plays an important role in the main story. Every subplot comes together in the end, maybe not tying the story into a neat little bow, but each story and each character is an integral part of the story’s rich tapestry.
And then there’s the subject matter of Memory Box Secrets. One of the subplots deals with a young, unmarried couple who’ve decided to give their baby up for adoption. I’ve read a lot of stories about adoption, and they’re all beautiful, but too many of them lay guilt on the birth parents rather than lauding them for doing something beautiful, loving, and courageous. Memory Box Secrets is my standing ovation for birth parents who choose to go the adoption route. I hope I do them justice.
So there’s a peek into the writing of Memory Box Secrets. I hope you enjoy this story as much as I do.
Pre-Order Memory Box Secrets on Amazon.
Will also be available at Barnes & Noble on release day.
I’m especially giddy over the books listed in this week’s Novel Anticipation! I LOVE giving shout outs to friends when their books release, and this month, two friends are celebrating! I’m Snoopy Dancing with both Stacy Monson (Her debut!!!) and Rose Ross Zediker. And then, of course, Memory Box Secrets will officially release on April 21, but you can pre-order it >here<.
Kiera Simmons’ career as a high-profile fashion model ends abruptly when a failed relationship nearly lands her in jail. Now she forges a quiet life helping teens understand their eternal value in a world saturated with the distorted messages of society.
Peter Theisen is on the fast track to everything the celebrity life promises with every step of his meteoric rise in the music world orchestrated by his ambitious manager.
Their sweet, unexpected romance is threatened by her past and his future, a life-changing diagnosis, and financial devastation. As they struggle to find their way back to each other, and to the One who matters most, the allure of wealth and fame may jeopardize everything.
Donna Greene Is the Ultimate Survivor
Twenty years ago, a horrible accident nearly destroyed her family’s business. And everyone still blames her former fiancé, Jamie Martin. Donna’s managed to thrive, despite life’s many curveballs. But when Jamie crosses her path at Cheyenne Frontier Days, Donna isn’t prepared for the feelings that still endure after all these years.
Party boy Jamie is a changed man in every way—except for the love he still harbors for the only woman who made him whole. Jamie’s newfound faith could pave the way for a second chance at his first love…if Donna can find it in her heart to forgive.
MEMORY BOX SECRETS
by Brenda S. Anderson
Newlyweds Richard and Sheila Brooks have it all. Sheila is pregnant. Richard’s business is flourishing. Their formerly broken lives have been mended, and life couldn’t be better.
Or so they thought.
Just a few years ago, Richard had thrived in Manhattan’s fast-paced business world, yet that’s the very place he abandoned his faith. Now that his faith is restored, he never planned to return to that old life. But then the New York corporation that once rejected him calls, begging him to come back. Richard knows returning is unwise, but his gut is telling him to go.
Sheila yearns to have something from her childhood to pass on to her child, but when her parents abandoned her years ago, they took all remnants of her past with them. Then, out of the blue, her aging father calls, asking to be let back into her life. Her head screams “no”, but her traitorous heart is saying “yes.”
If Richard and Sheila answer these calls from their pasts, will they risk breaking what they’ve spent so much time mending?
I *met* Debbie Lynne Costello a few years back via her fantastic blog, Fiction Addiction Fix, a blog that spotlights book giveaways. They’ve generously posted my giveaways, so when Debbie’s debut release Sword of Forgiveness came out, I had to return the favor. Her debut is already piling up the 5-star reviews.
Here’s the back cover blurb for Sword of Forgiveness:
After the death of her cruel father, Brithwin is determined never again to live under the harsh rule of any man. Independent and resourceful, she longs to be left alone to manage her father’s estate. But she soon discovers a woman has few choices when the king decrees she is to marry Royce, the Lord of Rosencraig. As if the unwelcome marriage isn’t enough, her new husband accuses her of murdering his family, and she is faced with a challenge of either proving her innocence or facing possible execution.
Royce of Hawkwood returns home after setting down a rebellion to find his family brutally murdered. When all fingers point to his betrothed and attempts are made on his life, Royce must wade through murky waters to uncover the truth. Yet Brithwin’s wise and kind nature begin to break down the walls of his heart, and he soon finds himself in a race to discover who is behind the evil plot before Brithwin is the next victim.
Sounds like a page-turner, doesn’t it? To get to know the hero and heroine even better, Brithwin and Royce sat down for a short interview. I love how this interview captures their personalities!
Royce, what was your first impression of Brithwin?
(He glances over at Brithwin and smiles) That she was one of the most beautiful woman I’d ever laid eyes on. (He chuckles) And that she thought very highly of herself even dressed in rags.
(Brithwin raises her eyebrows) That’s only half of the story, tell them the rest.
(Royce gives her an innocent look) ’Tis the truth love. She asked what my first impression of you was. ’Twas just I thought you a servant.
What about you, Brithwin? What was your first impression of Royce?
Not as good as his was of me. I mayhap thought him a fine looking man if I could have seen past the way he held himself with much authority. I was not interested in being another man’s chattel again.
Royce, if you have a son someday would you encourage him to be a knight, knowing he could face danger every single day?
If that is what he wishes to do. I would hope and pray that my influence on his life would make him a man of honor who would defend the weak and less fortunate. And for the danger, yes, there is danger, but a God who says our days are numbered will not allow him die before his time.
Brithwin, if you have a daughter someday what would you like for her?
To marry a man who loves her more than life itself, a man who treats her as if she were the most precious thing on this earth, and a man who loves the Lord with all his heart.
(Royce grins) You want her to marry someone like her father, then.
(Brithwin’s eyes soften) Indeed. Just like her father.
Royce, is there one person in particular that you look up to?
The person who I looked up to the most was my father. He was a good man who loved his family and was fair to everyone regardless of status. I can only hope my son will look up to me for all the right reasons as I did him.
Brithwin, who was the most influential person in your life?
So many people impacted my life. Half of the people in this castle helped me through my earlier years in spite of punish should my father find out. I could narrow it down to two for I’m not sure if I would say Thomas or Pater. They both were important to me. Perhaps the best way to answer this is to say that Pater influenced me spiritually while Thomas looked after me and influenced me in most of the social ways.
What would the perfect life look like to you, Royce?
My parents would live and be able to meet my beautiful wife.
What about you, Brithwin?
I think I am living it.
(Royce cocks an eyebrow) Did you have to show me up on that, Love?
(Brithwin smirks) You are just jealous because you didn’t think of it.
Royce, were you jealous of the fact that your brother would inherit Rosen Craig?
(Royce chuckles again) Heavens, no! Growing up I was always relieved that I didn’t have to sit and listen to all the villiens’ complaints come in when my father sat in court . I used to tease Bryce as I ran out the portal when father would tell him he needed to stay and learn how to make fair judgments.
Was it hard growing up as an only child, Brithwin?
My growing up years were hard. But they would have been harder if I had siblings that were subjected to the same thing as I was. I’m glad I didn’t have any. I only had to look out for myself. It would have been much harder had I needed to protect a brother or sister.
Thank you for taking the time out of what I know is a very busy schedule with all of your responsibilities. Is there anything either of you would like to say to the readers, Brithwin?
Yes, please come visit us in Sword of Forgiveness. We’d love to have you.
Royce, anything you’d like to say?
See you in Cumberland.
Debbie Lynne Costello has enjoyed writing stories since she was about eight years old. She raised her family and then embarked on her own career of writing the stories that had been begging to be told. She and her husband have four children and live in upstate South Carolina. She has worked in many capacities in her church and is currently the Children’s Director. Debbie Lynne has shown and raised Shetland Sheepdogs for eighteen years and still enjoys litters now and then. In their spare time, she and her husband take pleasure in camping and riding their Arabian and Tennessee Walking horses.
Get in touch with Debbie~
Purchase Sword of Forgiveness at Amazon.
Debbie has graciously offered to give away one copy of Sword of Forgiveness, your Choice of paperback or Kindle version in the continental US and outside the continental US, a Kindle version. To enter, leave a question for Brithwin and/or Royce in the comments section below.
This contest ends Sunday, April 12, 2015 at 11:59 pm CST. I will post the winner on Monday, April 13, 2015. Winner will be chosen via Random.org.
After a book dryspell in March, April’s reading list is pouring books, so much so that I have to break this post into two parts. A lot of gritty women’s fiction is coming out this month, for which I’m very happy.
I’ve read from all the authors on today’s list, and know I should expect quality reads from each of them.
Question: Have you read books by any of the authors mentioned below:
Every morning, Carmen Hart pastes on her made-for-TV smile and broadcasts the weather. She’s the Florida panhandle’s favorite meteorologist, married to everyone’s favorite high school football coach. They’re the perfect-looking couple, live in a nice house, and attend church on Sundays. From the outside, she’s a woman who has it all together. But on the inside, Carmen Hart struggles with doubt. She wonders if she made a mistake when she married her husband. She wonders if God is as powerful as she once believed. Sometimes she wonders if He exists at all.
After years of secret losses and empty arms, she’s not so sure anymore. Until Carmen’s sister—seventeen year old runaway, Gracie Fisher—steps in and changes everything. Gracie is caught squatting at a boarded-up motel that belongs to Carmen’s aunt, and their mother is off on another one of her benders, which means Carmen has no other option but to take Gracie in. Is it possible for God to use a broken teenager and an abandoned motel to bring a woman’s faith and marriage back to life? Can two half-sisters make each other whole?
The 1757 New York frontier is home to the Oneida tribe and to British colonists, yet their feet rarely walk the same paths.
On the day Fort William Henry falls, Major Reginald Aubrey is beside himself with grief. His son, born that day, has died in the arms of his sleeping wife. When Reginald comes across an Oneida mother with newborn twins, one white, one brown, he makes a choice that will haunt the lives of all involved. He steals the white baby and leaves his own child behind. Reginald’s wife and foundling daughter, Anna, never suspect the truth about the boy they call William, but Reginald is wracked by regret that only intensifies with time, as his secret spreads its devastating ripples.
When the long buried truth comes to light, can an unlikely friendship forged at the wood’s edge provide a way forward? For a father tormented by fear of judgment, another by lust for vengeance. For a mother still grieving her lost child. For a brother who feels his twin’s absence, another unaware of his twin’s existence. And for Anna, who loves them both—Two Hawks, the mysterious Oneida boy she meets in secret, and William, her brother. As paths long divided collide, how will God direct the feet of those who follow Him?
After her father and stepmother’s accidental death, Kelli Huddleston sorts through their belongings and learns a shocking secret. Years before, her father faked his death during a boat wreck at sea — and faked Kelli’s as well. He’d run from a wife, a son, and a daughter back in Tennessee, meaning Kelli has a family she’s never known. She’s already cashed the payout on her dad’s life insurance check and looks at it as her ticket to a new life. The lure and puzzle of digging into this hidden past is too much to resist, and she soon finds herself in Tennessee.
When the trip threatens to open doors to the past better left shut, and her plans for the future are threatened, Kelli must make an agonizing choice that will change her life forever.
When a Lost Child warning blasts over the mall’s PA system, toy store manager Carly Mason finds the little girl playing with a stuffed rabbit. Something about five-year-old Penny Tremaine is different. An ex-social worker, Carly recognizes that Penny suffers fetal alcohol effects, and a piece of Carly’s own past suddenly confronts her. Never again will Carly become involved with a client. The risks are far too great. But something about Penny — and Penny’s handsome father — tugs at Carly’s heart. Before she has time to think it through, she agrees to a much-needed job as a nanny.
Dr. Ryan Tremaine knows he messed up his life. But this summer he will redeem himself. With his ex-wife remarried and on a trip far away, his two teenage sons and Penny are living under his roof full time. Ryan is dedicated to his sink-or-swim list, a plan to reconnect with his children. The first step: recruiting Carly Mason to be Penny’s nanny. Ryan never anticipated being so drawn to Carly, an attraction Carly seems to fight as much as he does. Could Carly be the missing piece that helps his family stay afloat, or will their blossoming romance only complicate things further?
I *met* Heidi McCahan about a year ago when our debut novels were about to come out via the same publisher. Now Heidi’s sophomore release, Covering Home, has hit the shelves, and I couldn’t be more excited for her. I haven’t read it yet, but it’s on my read-very-soon list.
Here’s the back cover blurb for Covering Home:
On assignment in Japan, television personality turned sportscaster Britt Bowen is determined to land an interview with the most reclusive pitcher in baseball and prove she can succeed in a demanding profession. A relationship with a self-absorbed professional athlete is the last thing Britt needs.
Shunning all media attention, former All-Star pitcher Caleb Scott is focused on rebuilding his career in Japan, far from his past and the horrible tragedy that nearly ruined him. Then he meets Britt, who is everything he vowed to avoid.
But it doesn’t take long before Caleb is battling his attraction toward Britt. While she works to uncover his secrets, she can’t deny she’s drawn to his wounded soul. At a crossroads, Caleb must decide if he can break free from his past mistakes and give love another chance. And Britt must choose between advancing her career … or falling in love.
Both Heidi and I share the love of baseball, and with the major league season opener next week (yah!), I thought this would be the perfect time to welcome her to my blog. Heidi then handed the interview over to her hero, Caleb Scott.
Caleb, thanks for joining us today! We have just a few questions that’ll help readers get to know you better.
What’s your favorite book?
Bang the Drum Slowly by Mark Harris
On a date, would you prefer an adrenaline-fueled adventure or a romantic candlelit dinner?
A romantic candlelit dinner
What kind of drink do you order at Starbucks?
A Venti mocha
If you could invite three people to dinner, living or dead, who would you choose?
Shoeless Joe Jackson, because he has one of the most fascinating stories in baseball history. Randy Johnson, since he’s a successful pitcher I look up to and I’d like to ask his advice on a few things. My grandfather, Abe Scott, because he’s legendary in Wyoming for his bull riding skills. I’d love to hear a few of his stories.
When you book a vacation, do you go to the beach or the mountains?
I grew up on a ranch in Wyoming so I didn’t spend a lot of time at the beach. The mountains are a little more exciting, in my opinion. If I could pick a third option, I’d have to say fly-fishing in Montana is my ideal way to spend the off-season.
Which baseball stadium is your favorite?
It’s hard to choose a favorite. Each one has unique characteristics and it depends on if you’re playing there or just enjoying a game with your family and friends. As a player, Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia will always be special to me, since we won the World Series there.
Tell us something unique about you.
Let’s see … I have seven brothers and one of them is my identical twin.
Do you have a quote that inspires you?
“Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.” –Babe Ruth
It’s a good reminder that we should learn from our failures. They are preparation for future successes.
What’s the best gift you could ever receive?
A generous donation to my foundation, Mandy’s Kids, which benefits disadvantaged youth in Denver, Colorado. We make sure kids have backpacks full of food on Friday afternoons so they don’t go hungry on the weekends, summer camps so they can enjoy the outdoors, and community centers so they have a safe, healthy place to go after school.
Thank you, Caleb, for joining us today! It was a joy meeting you!
And thank you, Heidi, for sharing Caleb with us.
A Pacific Northwest girl at heart, Heidi was blessed to spend her formative years in Alaska. Her unique upbringing, coupled with Alaska’s breathtaking scenery, fueled her active imagination and loosely inspired her debut novel, Unraveled.
Heidi graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Sports Medicine from Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington and a Master’s Degree in Athletic Training from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. After a brief career as a Certified Athletic Trainer, Heidi married her husband, Steve. They live in North Carolina with their three active little boys.
When Heidi isn’t stepping on Legos, chauffeuring the boys around suburbia or watching one of their many sporting events, she loves to read and write heartwarming romance.
Get in touch with Heidi~
Purchase Covering Home~
Available exclusively at Amazon: http://amzn.com/B00S1PCKJU
Heidi has graciously offered to give away one e-book copy of Covering Home! To enter, leave a question for Caleb in the comments.
This contest ends Sunday, April 12, 2015 at 11:59 pm CST. I will post the winner on Monday, April 13, 2015. Winner will be chosen via Random.org.
Last Friday my lovely daughter and I had a fantastic evening out at Wine and Canvas. It’s a brilliant business that makes artists out of EVERYONE, along with offering a varied selection of food and drink for sale. This concept has become popular across our nation as several similar businesses have popped up. In the Twin Cities area alone, I’ve discovered five similar companies.
For one price, each attendee is provided with an apron, a blank canvas, a plate of paints, and several paintbrushes.
Then an instructor leads the students through a step-by-step process, much of which makes no sense at the time, but if you’re smart, you follow their lead. Our first step was to paint the background with blue and green. As you can see, each individual artist already has their own interpretation of the instruction. My daughter blended her colors in a smooth flow while I created crisscross patterns. (Oh, and that plate in between the canvases? That was filled with Honeycrisp apple slices and a creamy brown sugar apple dip. Oh my! it was die for!)
Once the background dried, then we got to work on the Eiffel Tower. The instructor led us line by line until we came up with this skeleton:
After the basic structure was built, all we had to do was fill it in, and ta da! we had completed our masterpieces! Out of 50+ attendees, no two pictures were alike, but they were all fabulous! (No, the bugs weren’t part of the process, I’m just hiding the innocent )
It’s great fun, and I can’t wait to do it again!
Question: Have you ever participated in a similar class?