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Follow my journey toward publication. Laugh, cry, point and stare-- it's all good. I'll leave a trail so that you, my fellow author, may have a straighter path to finding your own elusive publishing contract. Adventure awaits. Let's travel together...



Saturday, June 20, 2015

COTT's Sizzling Summer Reading Clash!


Looking for some awesome take-me-away Summer Reading?

Check out these new releases and I dare you to tell me which one you'd put on the top of your reading list. We offer contemporary and historical romance, a little fantasy, danger, mystery, suspense!
Vote for your next most likely read, and leave the author a word of encouragement, then share with your friends. 

Scroll down, vote in the survey box, and come back next week for the Reveal!

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Fantasy

Rachel A. James

To unite the kingdoms and bring peace, Princess Alena must enter into a royal marital alliance, but when the handsome physician, Sherwin, befalls her, matters become complicated. Torn between obligations to her young son and country, she faces a difficult decision, will Alena obey the king’s orders, or choose to follow her heart?
*****

Romance

Jennifer Rodewald

Friendship, love, and then betrayal...for Jamie Carson one thing becomes clear: Andrew needs a savior, and she cannot be it. Will Andrew allow the hand of grace to redeem his legacy of addiction, or will he and Jamie remain the casualties of heartbreak?
*****

Suspense

Heather Day Gilbert 

Tess Spencer loves her low-key job at the Crystal Mountain Spa, which allows her plenty of down-time with her one-year old daughter and lawyer husband, Thomas. But when a pool installation turns up eight skeletons in the spa's back yard, Tess becomes entangled in a sleuthing job destined to go awry...even as she sifts through layers of deceit, Tess realizes too late that a serial killer's sights have zeroed in on her.
*****

Contemporary Romance

Amanda Cabot 

Marisa St. George has lost her dream job and come home to manage the struggling Rainbow’s End resort in the small Texas town where she grew up. The only silver lining is Blake Kendall, a new guest who is making her believe in love at first sight. But is he really who she thinks he is? 
*****

Historical Romance

Sarah Loudin Thomas 

When family tragedy derails Henry Phillips’s college studies, he consoles himself with his fiddle and the family farm. His grandmother’s helper, Margaret Hoffman, is always around, ready to push his buttons, and it seems she doesn’t care about his troubles. But Margaret has her own problems. Henry and Margaret soon find themselves relying on each other as they face potential loss and find healing in the most surprising places. 
*****
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Friday, June 12, 2015

COTT Spotlight on: Diamonds or Donuts

Good morning! I'm very excited to have Lucie Ulrich with us here today to tell us about her new release, Diamonds or Donuts. First, isn't this such a fun cover? Wow!
Blurb:
Sarah Alexander’s marriage to millionaire Logan Montgomery is put on hold when Logan is offered the opportunity to go on an extended archeological dig in Egypt. Though not happy with his decision, Sarah supports her fiancĂ©, despite the fact she’s already given up her apartment and teaching position.

When Sarah’s best friend, Pippa, suggests Sarah move to Sunset Cove, she figures a new town, new job, and new friends are just what she needs to help her through the separation. If she’d known one of those friends would turn out to be kind-hearted, good-looking, well-built, Officer Kevin Jenkins, she might have figured a little harder.

Though Sarah goes out of her way to keep her relationship with Kevin on a friends-only basis, it’s clear their feelings for one another are teetering toward something more. Now Sarah must make the most important decision of her life. Will she choose the man who can shower her with diamonds or the one who isn’t able to offer much more than free donuts?
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This sounds like a WHOLE lot of fun! (And really makes me want a donut.) Want a sneak peek? Lucie was kind enough to share an excerpt with us today, too.

Short Excerpt:

Sarah changed into her pajamas, pulled out the sofa bed, and crawled under the sheets. Sleep, however, didn’t come easily. She wanted to talk to Logan—needed to talk to him, but it wasn’t possible.

When sleep finally came, it was accompanied by dreams of missed phone calls, arguments, and misunderstandings. There might even have been a fight between Logan and Kevin, but it was all too blurry to remember. She awoke with a headache and heartache.

Pippa’s bedroom door opened and she appeared makeup applied, dressed and ready for church. She stopped short at the side of the couch. “Yikes! Who did you wrestle with last night?”

“Crazy dreams.” Sarah pushed herself to a seated position and ran a hand through the tangles in her hair.

Sitting on the edge of the bed, Pippa placed a hand on Sarah’s arm. “What’s going on?”

Tears clouded Sarah’s vision. “Guess I’m having a harder time dealing with Logan’s absence than I thought I would.” She blew out a breath. “I should be planning my wedding, not moving into a new apartment. Alone.”

“It’s barely been a month since he broke the news. Your reaction is normal. I’m sure it’ll get better with time.”

“He got mad at me yesterday.”

“Who? Logan?”

His harsh tone replayed in Sarah’s head. She nodded. “He was upset that I didn’t have dinner with his folks, and we parted on less than loving terms.”

“Oh, honey, I’m so sorry. You seemed to be having such a good time with Kevin that I never suspected anything.”

Her headache intensified. “Yeah, that’s another thing. I’m starting to feel guilty about spending time with Kevin. He’s a great guy and I like him a lot, but I’m afraid I might be giving him the wrong idea.”

Pippa’s eyes widened. “Like how? I know better than to think you’ve been flirting with him.”

“No, nothing like that.” Sarah thought back to last night and the other times they’d been together. Had she been flirting? Had he? “It’s just that I really like him. We’re so comfortable together, I forget he’s a gorgeous, well-built guy and I’m an engaged woman.
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Ruh-roh Methinks someone's in trouble! The kind that's oh-so-fun to watch unfold. ;-)

A few questions for Lucie:

1. Diamonds or Donuts is an interesting title. How did you come up with it?

My first two novels delve deeply into the world of hurting people. Physical and emotional scars, feuding brothers, and long-kept family secrets barely scratch the surface. Before tackling another such story, I felt the need to try my hand at something more lighthearted. I decided to play around with the idea of a girl who has to make a choice between two men—one rich, the other not. When I decided to make “the other man” a policeman, the title came very quickly. I love being able to begin a story with the title already decided.

2. Is there a message or moral to your story?

Absolutely! Even though Diamonds or Donuts is a light read, there is substance to the story. I don’t like flighty characters—at least not lead characters, and I didn’t want that to be the case with Sarah. I chose to show her struggle between remaining faithful to her fiancĂ©, while battling her emerging feelings for another man. One reviewer spoke about Sarah’s moral compass being right where it should be, which is exactly what I was going for. When we think we know what’s best for us, God often has different plans.

3. Share a bit about your writing process.

I don’t outline, so I take things as they come. I do have notes and ideas, and I usually know how my books will begin and how they will end. For me, the best part is watching the characters evolve, and allowing them to take me along for the ride. I’m always thrilled when I see something one way in my head, but my characters beg to disagree. Needless to say, the characters win the majority of the time.

4. If you had to do it again, would you change anything in your book?

There are a number of things I would change in books one and two, but I can honestly say that I wouldn’t change a thing in Diamonds or Donuts. It was a blast to write. I love all the characters, the setting, and especially the ending. 

Those are the best! :) Thanks so much for sharing with us today, Lucie. Readers, you can get a copy of the book at the following links:

Video teaser by Videos By O:
 

About the Author:
Lucie Ulrich took her time becoming a writer. Not much of a reader as a child, writing was of no interest to her--until she joined a church drama team. The desire to write a skit, and not simply act out someone else's was so strong, that once she started, she couldn't seem to stop. That first skit led to her becoming the drama team director, then eventually, the performing arts director at a small Christian school.

Lucie's first novel was penned under a tree in a field in Holland. Though her first, second, and third attempts never saw the light of day, parts of each of them became the foundation for "Broken Vessels," her first published work. No longer involved with the performing arts, Lucie enjoys going on photo shoots with her husband, and taking long (or short) road trips. She hopes to find inspiration as she and her husband explore the four corners of the United States.

Social Media:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/inspywriter
Twitter: https://twitter.com/LucieUlrich
Website: http://lucieulrich.com/

**Come visit us next week for our next Clash featuring May releases, hosted by Lisa Lickel!**

Monday, June 1, 2015

COTT Victory Goes To...

We Have A Winner!
Congratulations to Dawn Crandall! Her book, The Captive Imposter, won this month's clash!

Thank you all for voting, and a special thank you to all of our authors this month!

Here are a few of our voter comments:

  • Dawn Crandall is a very gifted writer. She is a master @ blending romance & suspense !
  • Dawn!  You know I love your books so much that I dream about the character!! :)
  • I love the writing style of Dawn Crandall. This is one of my favorite books. Keep up the good work Dawn
  • The Everstone Chronicles series is not to be missed! The characters are so absorbing and their story compelling. Readers, keep a look out for these and future stories by author Dawn Crandall! You will be glad you did. YaY, Dawn Crandall; thank you for sharing your story adventures.

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The Captive Imposter by Dawn Crandall

Sent away for protection, hotel heiress Estella Everstone is living under an assumed name in the awkward presence of her ex-fiance. However, as hotel manager Dexter Blakeley, slowly captures her heart, will the layers of family secrets and the knowledge of her true identity end up severing his love for her?




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The Captive Imposter is book three in THE EVERSTONE CHRONICLES. Here are some reviews for the series:
PRAISE FOR THE EVERSTONE CHRONICLES

“Romantic! Engaging and absorbing! Dawn Crandall brings America’s Gilded Age to life on the page with vintage amour and emotional depth.”— KRISTY CAMBRON, author of The Butterfly and the Violin

“Visit a bygone era filled with romance, intrigue, and characters who will stay with you long after you close the book. Dramatic and engaging, THE EVERSTONE CHRONICLES is one series you won’t want to miss.”— MICHELLE GRIEP, author of Brentwood’s Ward

PRAISE FOR THE HESITANT HEIRESS

*Winner of the 2015 Gayle Wilson Award for Excellence Romance Writers of America book contest

“Delving deep into the human heart with prose as polished as beach stones, THE HESITANT HEIRESS is a marvelous romance and an impressive debut.”— LORI BENTON, author of Burning Sky

“Dawn Crandall is a new author to watch!”— ELIZABETH CAMDEN, author of Against the Tide and Beyond All Dreams 

PRAISE FOR THE BOUND HEART

“Dawn Crandall’s second novel in the Everstone Chronicles is an intense, powerful journey of one woman’s search for true love and true forgiveness. It is a beautiful reminder to us that nothing is too broken for God to piece together with the power of his grace. Lawry is a delightful and consistent hero worth falling for and Meredyth’s desperate longing for wholeness comes to its full completion in being loved well! Absolutely beautiful.”— PEPPER BASHAM, author of The Thorn Bearer (May 2015)

“In THE BOUND HEART, Dawn Crandall creates a cast of broken characters whose struggles spoke to me from the prologue.”— CARA PUTMAN, author of Shadowed by Grace

PRAISE FOR THE CAPTIVE IMPOSTER

“Dawn Crandall is a fresh new voice in inspirational romance, and her latest offering, THE CAPTIVE IMPOSTER, does not disappoint! Estella is sweet but imperfect, intelligent but not harsh. Blakeley is handsome: mysterious and contradictory, the perfect Byronic hero. Is Estella the woman to soften his hardened heart and is he the man to help her put her past firmly behind her? Creepy, mysterious settings with lots of lush, sensory details escort the reader through the pages as we wonder—will her secret spill? As more and more people learn the truth about this imposter, that coming reveal might just change everything.”— SANDRA BYRD, author of Mist of Midnight (March 2015)

“A blend of elegant drama and mystery, THE CAPTIVE IMPOSTER tells the story of a love unexpected. Dawn Crandall quickly became a favorite author with her first two books, and the element of hidden identity in The Captive Imposter entwines with the style I’ve come to expect from Crandall—resulting in one satisfying read.”— RACHELLE REA, author of The Sound of Diamonds (June 2015)

Find them all on Amazon:
Book 1, The Hesitant Heiress
Book 2, The Bound Heart
Book 3, The Captive Imposter

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{About Dawn Crandall}

Dawn Crandall writes long inspirational historical romantic suspense. She has a BA in Christian Education from Taylor University and lives in northeast Indiana with her ever-supportive husband, her three cats [Lilly, Pumpkin and Clover] and their newest addition, a little baby boy named Rhett (March 2014).

A former bookseller at Barnes & Noble, Dawn didn't begin writing until her husband found out about her long-buried dream of writing a book. Without a doubt about someday becoming traditionally published, he encouraged her to quit her job in 2010 in order to focus on writing The Hesitant Heiress. It didn't take her long to realize that writing books was what she was made to do. Dawn is represented by Joyce Hart of Hartline Literary.

Dawn is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, secretary for the Indiana ACFW Chapter (Hoosier Ink), and associate member of the Great Lakes ACFW Chapter.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

COTT Announces Winner of 2015 Olympia!


by Michelle Massaro
Good morning, lovers of the written word! We have some big news to share today: The Olympia has a winner!

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Please give a virtual hand to Kelly Goshorn!!




Bio
Kelly Goshorn is an aspiring novelist currently masquerading as a virtual assistant and a Target cashier who believes everybody needs a little more love and romance in their life. Ever since Laura Ingalls peered into Almanzo Wilder’s eyes and called him “Manly,” she has been a pushover for historical romances. Kelly weaves her affinity for history and her passion for God into uplifting stories of love, faith and family set in nineteenth century America.  She is a member of Romance Writers of America and American Christian Fiction Writers.  Kelly earned her B.A. in Social Studies Education from Messiah College and her M.Ed. in History Education from The Pennsylvania State University. She has been enjoying her own happily-ever- after with her husband and best friend, Mike, for nearly 25 years. When she is not writing, Kelly enjoys spending time with her young adult children, scrapbooking with friends, board gaming with her husband, and spoiling her Welsh corgi, Levi. Kelly writes from her home near the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Purcellville, Virginia.

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Kelly's entry, A Love Restored, was chosen as winner based on the scoring by a panel of non-industry readers and then our panel of industry professionals*. Here's a bit about her story:


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A Love Restored

She was nothing like the woman he’d envisioned for his bride, but he was everything she’d ever dreamed of—until a promise from his past threatened their future.

Twenty-year old Ruth Ann Sutton doesn’t measure up to society’s vision of a perfect lady. She would rather read Jules Verne or teach Negro children to read and write than join the Women’s Benevolent Aid Society or practice her voice lessons. Her pert opinions and less than perfect figure kept many suitors away, and when Ruth Ann accepts a position teaching at the new Freedman’s School, it threatens the only marriage offer she is likely to receive. Should she risk life as a lonely spinster or reinvent herself to accept a proposal from a man who doesn’t love her?

Determined to rise above his meager beginnings, Benjamin Saunders reputation as a fast learner and hard worker earn him the opportunity to apprentice with a surveyor—a position that will garner the respect of other men. All he needs now is a woman to share his promising future. When Benjamin has a chance encounter with Ruth Ann Sutton, he is smitten with her pretty face, quick wit, and feisty personality, but can he overcome a promise from his past to marry a woman other men would envy?
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Sorry, readers, this book is not yet published! So we'll all have to wait and see where Kelly's publishing journey takes her and this manuscript. We at COTT hope to see this book in print one day soon.

Congratulations, Kelly!

In addition to a tour through COTT's Blog Alliance, Kelly will be receiving a beautiful plaque to commemorate her win and an internet radio interview with Cynthia Simmons!

A HUGE Thank-you to our reader panel and especially to
our *Final Round judges:

Karen Ball--Agent, Steve Laube Literary Agency
Becky Philpott-- Acquisitions Editor, Harper Collins
Becky Wade-- Award-winning Author