Thursday, June 29, 2017

Research by Sandra Orchard

Research is fun! You get to learn new things, see new places, meet interesting people. What’s not to like? 

Unless… you’re writing about snakes, and feel compelled to step into a pit of them to experience the emotions your heroine would feel. In that case, might I suggest having your head examined first? A visit to a psychiatrist would be interesting research, don’t you think?

When conducting your research, don’t just settle for what you can pick up from an internet search or a book from the library. Talk to people in the various fields depicted in your novel. Visit the environments and/or locations depicted—whether a hospital or a factory or a farm or a circus—and get a sense of the atmosphere and rhythm of the place. Ask lots of questions. Jot down lots of details—sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and textures. 

Choosing which details to use and how is a an art in itself, but if you don’t know the details, you’ll inevitably fall back on stereotypical descriptions and they won’t be nearly as interesting. 

My Serena Jones Mysteries are fun romps, so it was only fitting that the research for them should be an adventure. It started with reading online articles about art crime, including blogs by purportedly retired art thieves—I’m not kidding! 

From there, I devoured biographies of the best known art detectives and books on art and forgery. I even took an online course with the University of Glasgow on Art & Antiquities Crime, which proved to be a fabulous way to “meet” several experts in the field. 

But the real adventure started after I settled on a location for the series. I wanted to attend a conference in St. Louis, so I contacted the FBI headquarters there to see if I might visit. After I filled out all the appropriate online forms, and promised them my firstborn child, I was approved! And bonus—of the mere 13 members of the FBI Art Crime Team, one of them happened to be located in St. Louis. He even called me at my home to get started on answering my questions before I visited. They also assigned me a media relations person out of DC who continued to answer new general questions that cropped up while writing the novels. 

The lesson to be learned here is that many organizations are just as eager as you are to have the facts about them depicted correctly in novels and scripts. And many professionals are more than happy to share their knowledge and expertise with a conscientious writer. But you’ll never know unless you ask! 

Over Maya Dead Body, the final instalment in Sandra Orchard’s art crime mystery series releases July 4th. In the meantime…

Goodreads Members can enter this 5-book Giveaway:

Back Cover Blurb: Crime doesn’t take a vacation

FBI Special Agent Serena Jones arrives on Martha’s Vineyard with her family, ready for a bit of R&R and a lot of reminiscing as they celebrate the engagement of an old family friend. But when a suspicious death tied to an antiquities smuggling ring interrupts her picture-perfect trip, she’s soon entangled in the investigation.
Propelled into danger, Serena must stay the course and solve this case before anyone else dies. But just how is she supposed to do that when the two men in her life arrive on the scene, bringing with them boatload of romantic complications—and even a secret or two?

Sandra Orchard is the award-winning author of several books, including A Fool and His Monet; Another Day, Another Dali; and the Port Aster Secrets series. The winner of six Canadian writing Awards and a Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, Sandra has also received a HOLT Medallion Award of Merit, a National Readers’ Choice Award, and a Daphne du Maurier Award. She lives in Ontario, Canada. Learn more at


Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Critique Group: A Great Writing Tool by Cindy Ervin Huff

Submitting our manuscripts to the scrutiny of publishers and editors never gets easy. No matter novice or veteran there is always the chance of rejection. Editing our own words is a good skill to learn. But we all know we don’t always see the blaring errors. I once sent out a homemade Christmas Card with the words ‘The angles rejoiced at his coming.” After mailing out fifty cards I saw my typo. Ugh.

Friends will laugh and love you anyway. But publishers are not so forgiving. One way I have found to hone my craft and improve my chances of publication is joining a critique group. I am part of two wonderful groups of serious writers. Each group is small. My online group has five members, and my local group has six. We are serious writers with a goal of publication. Over the years most of us have achieved that goal. We continue to meet, helping each other fix weak parts in our words.

I need these fellow-writers. They see those angles that should be angels and the storylines that just aren’t working. They keep me humble while encouraging me to press on. I would have to pay a lot of money for the edits these friends share with me. I’ve learned to find my mistakes more easily thanks to them. My POV is clearer. My voice is my own. And I’ve learned how to receive correction with grace. This has made my experience with editors at conferences more productive. I can walk away from a less than stellar appointment with a professional attitude because critiques are part of my journey.

We all need edits and input on our creations. A critique group is a great place to find them. Our writing improves as we learn from one another. Don’t let fear keep you from adding this tool to your craft box. The more we know the faster we grow. For me seeing the edits on my own paper is easier to understand than reading a craft book.

A critique group won’t get you instant success but overtime your writing gets tighter. And you develop wonderful friendships with other writers. We all know they’re the only ones who truly understand us. And that comradery goes a long way to building our confidence as a writer.

Are you a critique group member? How big is your group? Any special tips for making it helpful to all members?


Cindy Huff, a multi-published writer and 2014 Editor’s Choice winner for her first novel Secrets and Charades which releases in March 2017. As president of the Aurora Illinois chapter of Word Weavers she has a passion to encourage other writers on their journey. Check out her blog Jubilee Writer or visit with her on social media.

Amazon Author page:

Facebook Author page:


Tuesday, June 27, 2017

When Your Heart’s Not In It by Deb Kastner

For me, and I expect for most authors, writing is a great joy—and sometimes utter misery. I can’t not write. Sometimes the words gloriously fly from my fingers. Scenes come to me so fast and hard it’s all I can do to record them on paper (or my laptop, depending on the day.) Other days, not so much. I call it writing in blood. Every word is painful, and, at the moment, at least, feels like utter crap. Sometimes I go back the next day and discover my words weren’t quite as bad as they’d felt when I was writing them. Other times? Yeah. Utter crap. Thankfully, even crap can be edited—or deleted, as the case may be.
Deb Kastner

Numerous books have been written and courses made about how to change your habits to be a more productive writer and how to use your time most efficiently. I often listen to these books and talks while exercising and am always looking for new ways to do better.

But sometimes it’s not about working harder or better. Sometimes it’s just about surviving. When life gets the best of you, writing is no longer at the top of your list. It may not be on your list at all. 

This year has been an especially difficult one for our family. Last September, my husband Joe suffered a double stroke. He won’t ever recover from that. He now tires easily and walks with a limp, not to mention the painful nerve problems. We’ve learned that there is no such thing as normal, not even a new normal. Life literally changes in an instant and continues to change. Then, when we finally started to settle down, our granddaughter started showing signs of emotional trauma from events that had occurred earlier in her life. Again, life just seems to stop while we deal with the immediate crisis and try to figure out how to move on from there.

Looking back on this year, I’ve learned a few things to do when life throws a wrench at you.

  1. Duck and cover. If you need to take time off of your writing, do it. Your emotional well is empty. You are needed elsewhere. Take whatever time you need. Your writing will be there when you return.
  2. Be kind to yourself. This isn’t the time to beat yourself up because your daily word-count is suffering. Take time to unwind and rewind. In the long run, you’ll recover faster and get back to your story.
  3. Ask for help. When I was in the hospital with Joe, people from my family and church would call and ask if they could help. My tendency was to thank them and say no. It wasn’t until my mother was in the hospital for a back surgery that I realized people are asking because they want—sometimes need—to do something. Let them offer a listening ear or a shoulder to cry on. They may want to cook you a meal or sit with your loved one so you can get a shower and a couple of hours of sleep.
  4. Keep your agent and editor up-to-date. If you’ve got something major going on that might affect your output, they will want to be in the loop. If you need to get an extension, ask for it now. Don’t wait until the day before the book is due. I write full time, so I was concerned about the time I had to take off to be with Joe in the hospital. But then I realized that no matter what kind of work I did, I would have taken off to be there with him.
  5. Gently re-enter the race. Reread your synopsis or outline and what you’ve written to date to remind yourself where you are and where your story is going. As your crisis settles, try giving yourself small writing sprints to get back into your writing project. Get your feet wet again, and pretty soon you’ll be swimming as well as ever.
I hope this year will be full of blessings and finished writing projects for you, but if a crisis comes your way, give yourself a pass. Writing takes an emotional effort. You may not have anything left to give. And that’s okay!

What do you do when life gets you down and writing becomes impossible? I’d love to hear your comments and suggestions below.

About the Author
~~Love Courageously~~

Publisher's Weekly Bestselling, award-winning author of 30 novels, Deb Kastner enjoys writing contemporary inspirational western stories set in small communities. She feels especially blessed to be able to include faith as a natural and genuine part of her characters' lives. 

Deb lives in beautiful Colorado with her husband and a pack of miscreant mutts. She is blessed with three adult daughters and two grandchildren. Her favorite hobby is spoiling her grandchildren, but she also enjoys reading, watching movies, listening to music (The Texas Tenors are her fav), singing in the church choir, and exploring the Rocky Mountains on horseback.

The Rancher's New Family 

Rachel Perez needs a handyman to spruce up her in-home day care. So when she "wins" ex-soldier Seth Howell in a bachelor auction, she's glad he can swing a hammer. But when freewheeling Seth suddenly inherits a two-year-old and a sprawling ranch, he's got to grow up fast. Seth admires Rachel's kindness and easy way with kids, so he seeks her help in finding his footing as a father. And single mom Rachel sees how determined Seth is to do right by little Caden. Between his toddler and her teenager, they've got plenty of responsibilities. Finding time for love seems out of the question—but soon they're forging a new family…together.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Follow Your Passion by Mary Manners

I love to write. Penning stories is definitely my passion. I have been writing since before I knew how to form letters (I would scribble on paper and then share my story aloud). To me, writing is akin to breathing; I must engage in it to have life.

I am a pantster by nature, but I do begin each story by creating a notebook that contains basic story ideas and elements, as well as character traits and descriptions. This is especially necessary when constructing stories that are part of a series. My favorite part of writing is when a character does something completely unexpected. It’s so much fun to see where a story takes me.

One week, during middle school, I had a particularly rough time. I remember asking my dad why certain things happen. To answer, he brought home a poster of a dog in a washtub with the headline, “Is today really necessary?” He told me to use life experiences in my writing, and it worked. Now, when I write, I think of him and understand the purpose in certain life events.

I love coffee and scented candles. I never listen to music while I am creating, but scents really put me in the mood to write. If I am working on a Christmas novella in the summer, a pine-scented candle really helps to create an aura of the holiday season. My favorite writing days begin at about 4 am with a cup of black coffee and a veil of pre-sunrise darkness. It’s cool to create an entire alternate universe and watch it come alive while the world is still nestled soundly in bed.

To all new writers, my advice is to stick with it. Successful writers carry on even when it’s not fun, or they don’t feel like writing. You cannot wait for your muse to visit. You must go out and chase that muse, tackle him and drag him home. I spent many years running marathons. This training has helped me tremendously to stay true to my path as a writer, especially when the going gets tough. Never, ever give up.


Lila Brooks believes in fairytale endings for everyone but herself. She coaxes her dream of opening a wedding shop into reality when she commissions Morgan Holt to transform a run-down Victorian house into an all-inclusive bridal boutique, Diamond Knot Dreams. Clover Cove’s residents have whispered that the house is filled with spirits, but superstitions have no place in Lila's life.

Morgan Holt spent the better part of his youth transplanted from one foster home to another. Separated from his older brother, Gunnar, at an early age, they’re reunited shortly after Morgan’s arrival to Clover Cove. But the last thing Morgan wants is to trust his heart again to a family—or a woman as beautiful as Lila Brooks. He has plans to finish work on the Victorian and then ride off into the sunset, a move he’s perfected over the years.

Soon Lila and Morgan have a chance at their own Happily Ever After, but will events from the past destroy their future?

Mary Manners is a country girl at heart who has spent a lifetime exploring her joy of writing. She has two sons, a daughter, and three beautiful grandchildren. She currently lives along the sunny shores of Jacksonville Beach with her husband Tim.

A former teacher as well an intermediate school principal, Mary spent three decades sharing her love of learning. While growing up in Chicago, Mary worked her way through a variety of jobs including paper girl, hot dog vendor, grocery store cashier, lifeguard, swim instructor, pizza chef, and nanny. Many of these experiences led to adventures that bring humor and insight to her stories. Mary loves long sunrise runs, ocean sunsets, and flavored coffee.

Connect with Mary at her website: “Like” her author page on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

Friday, June 23, 2017

The Story Behind the Art by C. Kevin Thompson

C. Kevin Thompson

Do you read books or poems, hear songs, look at pictures or paintings, and wonder, how did the author come up with this? What does it mean? Is there some simple elegance to this piece? Or is there a deeper meaning hidden by my lack of knowledge about the origins?

Art is richer when you (the reader, the listener, the viewer) know the “backstory.” That’s why doing interviews as an author is so important, especially when you can peel back some layers and allow your audience to see you as a real person or how you come up with your stories.

I’ve been doing blog interviews for some time now, both as a guest and as the interviewer, but the importance of this concept was truly “brought home” to me recently.

We were listening to Sirius/XM radio on the way to the beach over Memorial Day weekend. They were doing a countdown of the Top 100 most influential rock-n-roll songs of all time. I’m not sure who put the list together, but like so many of these kinds of countdowns, I took issue with many of the selections as well as where some were ranked.

However, one particularly interesting part of this countdown was an interview they did with Robert Lamm, one of the members of the group Chicago. Leading into the next song in the Top 100 (I forget which number it was), they replayed an interview from some time back wherein Lamm explained how he came up with the name to the song, 25 or 6 to 4. Have you ever wondered how that song got its name? Me, too.

Lamm told the story of how—at the time he wrote the song—he was staying in an upstairs apartment with some immigrants from Europe in the Los Angeles/Hollywood area. It was early in the morning, and he’d been up all night, feeling the pressure of having to come up with songs that rivaled the ones found on the band’s debut album, which released in January 1969 with Columbia Records, and sold over one million copies. The band had just returned from a successful European tour and needed to complete the song list for the LP which would become Chicago II.

Lamm tells the story of how the music for the song came easy to him. Being the keyboardist for the group, this song actually started with a guitar riff. The rest of the notes flowed and were on paper quickly, but the lyrics? Not so much. He scribbled lines down. Some rhymed. Some still needed a match. He saw a bar across the street with “dancing lights against the sky.” There were airplanes, too, flying in and out of LAX. More dancing lights.

At one point, he looked at his watch. Squinting, he couldn’t tell exactly what time it was. At first, he thought it was twenty-five ’til four. Then, he said no, it’s twenty-six minutes until 4:00 a.m. “Is it twenty-five or six to four?” Noticing the line “25 or 6 to 4” rhymed with a line he’d penned earlier ending with the word “floor,” he jotted it down as well, thinking it would serve for now as a working title.

Soon, what Robert Lamm had was, in his words, “a song about writing a song.” So, when you click on the lyrics below and listen to the song itself, it just may take on a whole new persona. I know it did for me. Now, when I hear the song and think about it being “a song about writing a song,” the lyrics not only make perfect sense, but they almost seem comical.

Sometimes, simple is better than complex when it comes to art. Knowing the story behind the art is always useful, too. But what it does more than anything is allow the reader/listener/viewer to realize the Robert Lamm’s of the world are just like us. They struggle. They lie awake at night, trying to “think of something to say.” They feel the pressure of their last success pushing them to be better, to improve in their craft, not knowing “how much more they can take.” Yet, these are all things we, as writers, wrestle with every day. So, be encouraged. Who knows, maybe someday, you’ll write a book on writing a book.

I’ll bet it will look and sound very similar to the song below, as you sit at your computer, staring at the clock, wondering, “Is it 3:35 or 3:34 a.m.?”

Song Video (Live Version) of 25 or 6 to 4
Lyrics to 25 or 6 to 4

Something ominous lurks under the waters.

Dr. Evelyn Sims, a brilliant marine biologist, is being watched. Her husband's mysterious death at sea—with the only survivor of the Greenback telling a shocking, unbelievable tale—has thrown her personal life into chaos. Her scientific views are being scrutinized. Her husband's office and their home are investigated. Called in by the FBI to help solve the mystery, Evelyn is thrust into her toughest research project ever...and forced into a maze of deception and betrayal.

Micah Gregson, the Coast Guard captain who rescued the Greenback, is determined to find out why a special unit at the FBI—the one assigned to cryptozoological cases—is involved.

Together Evelyn and Micah will uncover a plot more deadly than anything the ocean could ever produce. One that will either save Evelyn's life and redeem her career, or destroy everything she—and myriad others—stand for.

C. KEVIN THOMPSON is an ordained minister with a B.A. In Bible (Houghton College, Houghton, NY), an M.A. in Christian Studies (Wesley Biblical Seminary, Jackson, MS), and an M.Ed. in Educational Leadership (National-Louis University, Wheeling, IL). He presently works as an assistant principal in a middle school.

His Blake Meyer series is out! 30 Days Hath Revenge - A Blake Meyer Thriller: Book 1, is now available! Book 2 of the Blake Meyer Series, Triple Time, is now available! Book 3, The Tide of Times, will be out in August 2017! Also, the second edition of The Serpent’s Grasp will be out in June 2017 through Hallway Publishing!

Kevin is a huge fan of the TV series 24, The Blacklist, Blue Bloods, and Criminal Minds, loves anything to do with Star Trek, and is a Sherlock Holmes fanatic, too.

To connect with Kevin and learn more, please visit:

Kevin’s Writer’s Blog:
Facebook:                              C. Kevin Thompson – Author Fan Page  
Twitter:                                  @CKevinThompson
Goodreads:                            C. Kevin Thompson

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Do You Remember Your First Story Idea by Terri Weldon

I still remember the idea for my first book. My creative mind had been soaking up every word of the contemporary Christian romances I had started reading. Then suddenly I devised a story idea. It was over the top, gut wrenching, and filled with angst. A daughter abandoned by her prostitute mother is determined to confront the woman she hates, the woman she blames for everything wrong in her life. When she lands on her mother’s door step, it’s too late. She learns her mother has died.

Time for total honesty here – I still like the storyline! At the time I wrote the book the plot was too difficult for me. The book needed a more experienced author. Trust me there was much more to the storyline than I told you above. 

I waited a few years. I even penned my first book, which resides in a drawer in an old filing cabinet. Then Love Inspired Romance advertised a contest. All I had to do was send in my completed manuscript, and if I won, I could become a published author. Oh, hope springs eternal. As fast as possible I penned the entire book and carted it down to my local post office. When the winner of the contest was announced, her name wasn’t Terri Weldon. 

Even after that I didn’t give up. I probably didn’t write as much as I should have and I let too much time elapse, but I didn’t throw in the towel. Even today I’m still plugging along. Sometimes I miss the young woman who wrote that novel with such confidence.  In my heart I knew I was destined to be published and I believed it would happen. And it did, but not for many many years and not with that book. 

Still, no matter how many new story ideas I come up with, I don’t think any of them will ever replace the excitement I felt when I devised the first one. 

What about you? What was your first story idea? I’d love to hear all about it. 

Ellie Alexander is in love. And the only thing sweeter would be if Libby, Natalie, and Stephanie, her three unmarried, unattached granddaughters, could find the same happiness. Maybe with a little help from her and her beau Blake Parker . . .

A Match Made in Williamstown by Lady of Love Inspired Romance Jean C. Gordon — Libby Schuyler has avoided dating since her break-up with college-sweetheart Jack Parker. Out of nowhere, Jack shows up claiming Ellie is swindling his grandfather, Blake, through a travel agency partnership they’ve formed. Libby and Jack team up to protect their grandparents and get to the bottom of Ellie and Blake’s business and romantic relationship. While Libby and Jack fight their reignited attraction, Ellie and Blake conspire to bring the two together.

A Match Made in Sheffield by Terri Weldon— Natalie Benton bounced from one foster home to another until she landed on Ellie Alexander’s doorstep. Natalie’s vagabond childhood caused her to yearn for a secure life, which led to Natalie’s five-year plan: complete her law degree, marry the perfect man, become a partner at Montgomery, Haynes, and Preston, and produce one child. Getting arrested wasn’t in Natalie’s plan. Needing a public defender wasn’t in her plan. Falling for Grady Hunter, her public defender, definitely wasn’t in her plan. Can Grady convince Natalie there is more to life than her five-year plan? Is Ellie the only one who sees a future for Natalie and Grady?

A Match Made in Freedom by Lisa Belcastro — Stephanie Gould loves life on Martha’s Vineyard . . . until she runs into Kay and Tim, her former business partner and her ex-fiancĂ©, who just returned from their honeymoon. Surprised by the heartache she thought was gone, Stephanie heads to the Berkshires to visit family and friends. Arriving in Stockbridge, Stephanie meets Captain Henry Lewis. Little does Stephanie know, her grandmother has already met Henry, and Ellie thinks Henry is perfect. Stephanie has no interest in dating, Henry included. If only Henry didn’t turn up everywhere Stephanie goes. When he walks up beside her at the Norman Rockwell Museum, Stephanie can’t deny her attraction, but she’ll do her best to fight it.

Buy Links

Amazon Kindle & Print: 
Nook, iBooks & Kobo:
Barnes & Noble Print:  

Terri Weldon is a lead analyst by day and an author by night. She enjoys gardening, reading, and shopping for shoes. One of her favorite pastimes is volunteering as the librarian at her church. It allows her to shop for books and spend someone else’s money! Plus, she has the great joy of introducing people to Christian fiction. She lives with her family in Oklahoma. Terri has two adorable Westies – Crosby and Nolly Grace. She is a member of ACFW and OCFW, a local chapter of ACFW. Terri is the award winning author of The Christmas Bride Wore Boots.

Readers can connect with Terri: Website: or Blog: Seriously Write

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Quitting Is Not An Option by Betty Thomason Owens

Up one day, down the next. A good review? You’re on cloud nine. One star and a reader’s derision? You’re curled up in a fetal position, seeking solace. Such is the writer’s life.

Whether you’re looking for reviews of a newly released novel, waiting for a critique to come back, or a return email from your editor—you’re on tenterhooks! On tenterhooks: phrase meaning one is in a state of uneasy suspense or painful anxiety. That describes it pretty well, doesn’t it?

I remember my first critiques, not long after I joined ACFW and ventured onto “Scribes,” their main critique loop. I went through numerous emotions as I peered at the computer screen with all that red stuff and all those comment bubbles. I cried. I ranted. I raved.

Who is this person, anyway? What does she know about writing? Then my questions changed. Who do I think I am, and what do I know about writing? Am I really this bad a writer? Maybe…I should quit.

Sound familiar? At this point, a writer really needs someone to hold their hand. They need a mentor, or a friend who is also a writer, one who understands the ups and downs of the craft. Whether you meet them at a coffee shop, chat on Facebook, phone, or via email, this person can help you navigate the writer’s life. Remember, though—it’s a system of give and take. If you expect them to encourage you when you’re down, you should be willing to return the favor when they’re having a tough time.

Quitting is not an option. If you’re called to write, you have to write. You can’t quit. So get over it. Close that awful critique for a while. Don’t come back to it until you’re ready. How will you know when you’re ready? When you start thinking, “Hmmm…maybe she was right. Maybe that sentence is confusing.” Or, you realize if a couple of your critique partners found a passage unclear, or a plotline unbelievable, it probably is. This is when you’re ready. Now open the file, and start at the beginning. Work your way through, make your changes—one at a time. Think each one through. Do more research if necessary, to smooth your point of view or plot point.

Perfect your work, then resubmit it to your critique group. Don’t be dismayed if it comes back again, all marked up. Remain teachable. It’s a little like playing guitar. When you start out, your fingertips will scream at you. But as you practice, you’ll form callouses. The skin thickens. This protects your fingers from the wear and tear of the strings. Regular critiques will build your confidence. You don’t want to be calloused, but you will develop the ability to take criticism and deal with it properly. Believe it or not, you’ll survive the learning process. Soon, those chapters will come back with fewer red marks, and the comment balloons will be filled with praise of your writing.

Now, about those reviews…

Have you had to deal with the thought quitting? What made you persevere?


Betty Thomason Owens is a multi-published, award-winning author of historical fiction, and fantasy-adventure. She is an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), where she leads a critique group, and serves as vice-president/secretary of the Louisville area group. She’s a mentor, assisting other writers, and a co-founder of a blog dedicated to inspiring writers. She also serves on the planning committee of the Kentucky Christian Writers Conference.

Her writing credits include a 20’s era romance, Amelia's Legacy (2014), Carlotta’s Legacy (2016) Books 1 & 2, Legacy Series from Write Integrity Press (WIP), and the Grace-Award-winning Annabelle’s Ruth (2015), and Sutter’s Landing (2017), Books 1 & 2, Kinsman Redeemer Series, also from WIP. She has two fantasy-adventure novels, The Lady of the Haven and A Gathering of Eagles, in a second edition published by Sign of the Whale BooksTM, an imprint of Olivia Kimbrell PressTM.

Sutter’s Landing
Still reeling from tragic losses, Connie and Annabelle Cross face life with their signature humor and grace, until fresh hope arrives on their doorstep.

In early spring of 1955, Annabelle Cross and her daughter-in-law, Connie have nearly made it through the first winter on their own. Then the skies open up as West Tennessee and much of the south endures one of the worst floods in history. As many of their neighbors endure losses due to the flooding, Annabelle and Connie sit tight on dry ground.

As spring gives way to summer, Annabelle begins to dread Connie’s upcoming marriage and removal to Sutter’s Landing. Though she’s happy to note the growing affection between Alton Wade and her daughter-in-law, their marriage means Annabelle will be on her own for the first time in her life.

Connie’s doubts increase when Alton’s bigoted brother Jensen uses every opportunity to drive a wedge between them. Is she doing the right thing? Did she move too quickly? Unexpected summer visitors and anticipation of a new neighbor provide diversion and open possibilities for both Annabelle and Connie.