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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Hays & Emma

I had a blast visiting with everyone yesterday! The winner of a print copy of Seven Brides for Seven Texans from yesterday's post is: Bonnie Roof!!!

Don't forget to comment on today's post! I'll announce another winner tomorrow.

Over the course of the next seven weeks, the authors from the Seven Brides for Seven Texans novella collection will fill this blog with fun post all about the Hart brothers from Hartville, Texas. You'll learn more about the authors, the Hart brothers and their brides, and the inspiration behind each novella. Along with all that, we'll be giving away lots and lots of prizes!!

Each author will blog for one week in the order her story falls in the collection. Here's a rundown:


Week One: Nov. 28-Dec 2 ~ Gabrielle Meyer
Week Two: Dec. 5-9 ~ Lorna Seilstad
Week Three: Dec. 12-16 ~ Amanda Barratt
Week Four Dec 19-23 ~ Keli Gwyn
Week Five Dec 26-30 ~ Susan Page Davis
Week Six Jan 2-6 ~ Vickie McDonough
Week Seven Jan 9-13 ~ Erica Vetsch

Yesterday I told you a little about my story, First Comes Love, and one of the reasons I wanted to be the first one in the collection. Today I'd love to tell you more about my hero and heroine, Hays & Emma, and share one of my favorite memories of collaborating on this collection.


It was fun to create the character of Hays Hart. As the youngest brother, I wanted him to be charming and carefree. He didn't have the misfortune of going off to war, and he doesn't carry the burden to prove anything to his pa. Instead, he spent his early years as one of the only brothers on the ranch when his mother died and when his brothers left. He quickly learned how to cover his own pain so he wouldn't add any more grief to his pa's. He loves to make people happy, and if he can shoulder someone's troubles, he will, no matter the cost. Most of his brothers had lived full lives before he was old enough to know what was happening, and he feels he has a lot of catching up to do. If he can marry first, it will make his pa proud and it will prove to the rest of his brothers that he's not a child anymore.

Since Hays is rarely serious, I wanted Emma Longley to be his complete opposite. She is the oldest child of Reverend and Mrs. Luke Longley (the hero and heroine from my first novella Four Brides and a Bachelor in The Most Eligible Bachelor Collection). She grew up in central Minnesota and has come to Hartville with her family, since her father is the new pastor in town. She has also agreed to be the school teacher, but she doesn't care for Texas and plans to head back to Minnesota as soon as she fulfills her teaching contract in two months. At first, she dislikes Hays' carefree attitude, but she soon realizes that his personality compliments hers, and they begin to fall in love.


One of the benefits of a continuity series like Seven Brides for Seven Texans is that when the novella ends you don't have to say goodbye to the characters you've come to love. Hays and Emma show up in each novella throughout the collection, and you'll see that their story continues long after they say 'I do.'

Once I created the character sketches for Hays and Emma, I posted them to our group Facebook page which allowed the other authors to use them in their stories (we each did this). So Hays shows up several times throughout the collection, and his fun, easy-going personality shines in each story. Emma is right beside him, tempering his carefree nature with a little dose of her calm demeanor.

It was a blast to write a novella for this collection because of the authors I worked with. I knew almost all of them before, but I know Erica Vetsch better than the others. Erica and I both live in Minnesota and we have a plethora of things in common (we both write historical romances, we both homeschool/homeschooled our children, we LOVE history, we write for a couple of the same group blogs, and so much more). Though we live about three hours apart, we meet once a month half way between in the Twin Cities before our monthly ACFW chapter meeting. We have so much fun laughing and visiting at these monthly get-togethers, I'm sure the other patrons wonder what we're drinking in our tea. :)

Erica and I had talked about getting together at my house for a weekend retreat, and it just so happened that we had scheduled the retreat about a month before the novellas were due to our editor. Erica had asked each author to send her their novellas early so she could read through them for continuity. I asked if she wanted help, and she said yes.

Over the course of about forty-eight hours, we took turns reading six of the seven stories out loud, in chronological order. That's about 150,000 words! By the end of the weekend, it felt as if Erica and I had lived in Hartville for those two days and all the characters in the collection had truly come to life. We stopped to get a little sleep, eat a few meals, and go to a dinner theater, but that's about it! We fell in love with each hero, oohed and aahed over their love stories, and marveled at the amazing authors we were blessed to work with. It was the most fun I've had in a long time and one of my favorite memories while collaborating for this collection.

Tomorrow is a big day! It's the official release of Seven Brides for Seven Texans. To celebrate, we'll be sharing a grand prize here on the blog and I'll let you know how you can enter to win. We're also hosting a live Facebook Party from 3:00-5:30 p.m. EST. Be sure to RSVP so you're sent updates and reminders! There will be more chances to win prizes at the party.

We want to give away as many copies of the collection as possible, so be sure to visit the Goodreads giveaway, as well!

On Friday, I'll share about some of the challenges I faced setting a story in Texas! And why I chose for Emma to originate from Minnesota...

Now I'd love to hear from you! If you're married, are you married to someone who's your complete opposite? Have you relocated from where you grew up (like Emma)? What were some of your challenges when you moved? Or did you stay in your hometown (like Hays)? What are some of the challenges of staying? Do you have a friend who you have a lot in common with (like Erica and I)? What are some of those things?

Don't forget to comment! I'll choose one winner from today's comments and announce them on the blog tomorrow (be sure to comment before midnight tonight!).

Gabrielle Meyer
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26 comments:

  1. My husband and I sound a lot like this couple! I am much more serious and tend to be a bit of a worrier. I also tend to be pretty stubborn. He is pretty much the complete opposite so we tend to complement each other well, but also frustrate the other at times!

    I am from MI originally and he is from VA but we had been settled in SC for long before we met. I can't see us moving anywhere else at this point.

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    1. Isn't it funny that opposites really do attract? It does lend itself to many pros and cons. :) Hopefully more pros! I imagine SC is a lot different from Michigan. Do you miss the winters? ;)

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  2. Hubby and I are both - opposites in many areas and then quite the same in others. It is hard to explain that! It works well, we compliment each other just when needed. I'm the free spirit and he's the OCD one. ;) We both grew up in the small town in MI we still live in now. That was nice! Nothing new for each of us to go through.

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    1. My husband and I sound similar to you and your husband. We are opposites in all the right ways. We also live in the same town we grew up in Minnesota. We did live in Iowa for a year and a half while he finished school, but as soon as he collected his diploma, we were back. :)

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  3. My husband and I are complete opposites. He has always been fun loving and carefree while I am a worrier. We grew up in the same small town in southern Indiana but since marriage we have moved all over i.e. Chicago, Phoenix & Yuma, Arizona, Texas, etc because in our younger days he had wanderlust. We have settled in Indianapolis now. Sorry to say most of my friends are gone, guess I have lived too long. (smile)

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    1. I once heard someone say they had no desire to live to be 100, because most of the people they loved would be gone. There is probably some truth to that. I imagine moving that many times would feel both adventurous and wearisome, depending on how you look at it. I enjoyed Indianapolis when I was there a few years ago. Sounds like you picked a good place to settle.

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  4. Congratulations to Bonnie!

    My husband and I are both native Californians and enjoy living in the Golden State. For the past 23 years we've been privileged to live in the heart of the Gold Country.

    I'm a feelings-oriented person married to a logical-minded guy. Makes for some interesting interactions. :-)

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    1. Though I haven't met your Gwynly, I can see that you both compliment each other well. I find that most marriage are comprised of the logical-minded man and the feelings-oriented woman. I'm sure it was a good combination for your daughter growing up. :) Your California roots are strong! I love hearing you talk about your home state and town.

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    1. Hello Terressa! I saw your other comment in my email, but can't seem to find it here! I'll post it again: "
      My husband and I are most definitely complete opposites. I had moved across state for school and met him just as I was graduating and hoping to move on...I still haven't left 16 years later. And it's still a challenge...I like the small town feel and have always wanted that but sometimes I miss the bigger town feel I grew up in."

      I hear you. I grew up in a small town, and live here still, but I shudder to think of living in a big city! (The opposite of you.) It's interesting how much our upbringing affects us throughout life. I'm thankful I met my husband in high school and we were both happy to stay in a small town.

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  6. Congratulation, Bonnie!
    Loved these thoughts on writing with others! What fun for you and Erica to get together to read all the stories. Yes, the not having to say goodbye to beloved characters is a great point about continuities.
    As a teen, I tearfully left my home state of Kansas to move to Connecticut. God's plan.....falling in love with a guy who moved there from Texas....and living happily ever after.....including moving to a number of other states. Moving from home can be a good thing!

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    1. I agree. Moving from home can be a good thing. I tearfully left my beloved Minnesota as a young bride (to live in Iowa for a year and a half while my husband finished college), but coming back was such a wonderful feeling. Slowly, many of our friends who left after high school are coming back home. A few a year. It's fun to reconnect with people who left for about 15 years. There are others, though, who will never come home--but it's fun to follow their lives on Facebook and see that they are all happy in their new homes. I love that we have the option to live where we choose.

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  7. My husband and I are opposites like Hays and Emma, and I was the one who relocated from KS to MN! One of the biggest challenges for me was the weather...I was ready for spring on March 1st! Minnesotans laugh at this notion. :) And I am glad we are friends, Gabe! I can't believe how much we have in common, and I love your company! :)

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    1. Does the laugh sound something like this: "Muahahaha!" :) You and Peter compliment each other so well. I love hearing you talk about him. It's very evident that you're best friends. And I'm glad we're friends, too. :) When are we getting together again? I don't want to have to wait too long!

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  8. My hubby and I are complete opposites. In fact we hated each other when we first met. But I did think he was very cute. We met through my best friend who was dating mu hubby's roommate. We did move to a small town after we were married. Still close enough to the big city, but not all the traffic . I don't really have a best friend except for my hubby. I tell him everything and we love each other's company. Funny how we started out hating each other and now here we are 34 years later.

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    1. Those cute ones will get you every time! :) It's fun to hear how many couples are opposites. It's amazing, really. Living in a small town, close enough to the big city to enjoy all the amenities, is really the best of both worlds, isn't it? We live about thirty minutes from a major shopping area (still not a huge town by some standards), but it's a perfect distance to enjoy a bit of rural life with everything we need in driving distance.

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  9. My husband and I were similar in many ways, but opposite in some. I'm outgoing, he was shy. My husband grew up in Wisconsin and then Florida. I grew up in Texas. We lived in Texas for ten years and then moved to Minnesota. After he passed away, I remained. I love Minnesota. And I love the friends I've made here. I'm content with God's placement.
    (Gabrielle, good to see you last night.)

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    1. I wondered where that southern accent came from. :) It was so good to see you last night, too! I wish we could have chatted a bit longer. How fun that Julie put you ladies in her book! Did you crack it open right away to try to find your character? Sorry to hear that your husband passed away. I'm happy you chose to stay. Minnesota loves you, too. :)

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  10. I have been waiting for this book ever since I saw you in our local Christian bookstore and you told me about it. I have even added it to my Christmas list for my husband. Speaking of husbands...we are opposites in many ways, but I think that helps us to balance out our family. We are better together than we are separate. I am the one who is living in my hometown in Minnesota; my husband moved halfway across the country from his. That's after we meet in a third location... Sometimes staying is hard because you are so close to your family that it can be hard to start new traditions without hurting feelings or feeling slightly guilty. On the other hand, we haven't been able to travel to see my husband's family in quite some time, which brings its own guilt.

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  11. Go Bonnie!!! My husband and I are opposites but you know what they say...We have several of the same likes but he tends to see the glass half empty but I always see the glass half full. Never the less, we celebrated 41 years of marriage last month.

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    1. 41 years! Congratulations, Melanie! Opposites balance each other out nicely (or frustrate sometimes!). But all marriages are about give and take, and seeing life through the perspective of someone else.

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  12. Go Bonnie!!! My husband and I are opposites but you know what they say...We have several of the same likes but he tends to see the glass half empty but I always see the glass half full. Never the less, we celebrated 41 years of marriage last month.

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  13. Yes! I remember meeting you. I will be at Bethany Books on Saturday, December 17th signing copies of my books if you get a chance to stop by. I totally understand the pros and cons of staying in your hometown and struggling to create your own traditions, etc. My husband and I have been married 15 years and it took a long time to figure things out with extended family. But we love having family close and raising our children with their grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.

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    1. This comment was for Nichole!! :)

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    2. I'm excited! I will have to stop in and see you. :)

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