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
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!).
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