Renee Riva has been writing stories ever since she won her first writing contest in the second grade. She combines her memories of a happy childhood( growing up in a big Italian family with a bunch of noisy siblings she wouldn’t trade for anything in the world), the heart of a “hopeful” romantic, and adds a big dose of gentle humor to delight the hearts of readers. She loves writing romantic comedies and both contemporary and historical novellas about young love.
Welcome to my blog, Renee. I understand that seven of the Forget-Me-Not-Romance Authors have each written a short story. What was the inspiration for Sweetwater Romances: A Valentine Sampler?
In early December, one of our Forget-me-not-romance authors was noticing how much readers liked romantic Christmas collections. It made her think first, we are writers of romance, and, second, an upcoming holiday is all about romantic affection. What if we could get something short and sweet ready in time for Valentine’s Day? Each piece would be like a chocolate in a sampler box, the first one making the reader want to “taste” the next. After one night of mulling it over, she pitched the idea to our publisher Cynthia Hickey. She posted it on our authors’ Facebook group to test interest. The collection filled in half an hour! She set the length at 6,000 words and then slammed down the deadline –January 1st! Oh my, that put all of us in a scramble!
Please tell us about your short story that you wrote.
My story, Sweetwater Café, revolves around Shelby Smith who has been a waitress at the café for six years. She’s hoping for a reason to leave Sweetwater, when a handsome woodworker arrives in town to restore a historical barn. Here’s my best description of what happens next:
Welcome to the Sweetwater Cafe in the small town of Sweetwater, Kansas, where EVERYBODY knows your name! For Shelby Smith, enough is enough. After six years of working the BBQ Lunch Special under the overbearing eye of grumpy, Great Aunt Beula, Shelby is ready to get out of Dodge... until a handsome, young, newcomer walks into the cafe one frosty February morning. Can Chase Tanner change the direction this city wannabe is heading, and help to heal a family at the same time? C'mon in for a BBQ Sweetwater Burger and find out!
Are any of the stories connected to one another, such as: Do the characters know one another or live in the same town?
Yes! We are all connected! There are seven shops in Sweetwater, Kansas, and we each chose our shop to be in charge of, and were free to visit other shops. We have: A café, hardwood store, B&B, candy shop, dress boutique, photography shop, and a bakery. Willow from Toolbox Trinkets comes to my café for lunch. I (Shelby), go to the Bon Bon Boutique to buy a dress for my hot Valentine date with Chase. Chase goes to Sweet Nothings to buy chocolate for Shelby. A few of the couples go to a Valentine Dinner at the B&B. The challenge was coordinating with the other authors so we had all of our stories in sync with one another. Fortunately, Cindy Amos, bless her heart, read all of our stories to make sure they jived with the others!
List the website of each author so my readers can check out their recent and past books they have written?
Cynthia Hickey Multi-published and Amazon and ECPA Best-Selling author Cynthia Hickey has sold over a million copies of her works since 2013. She has taught a Continuing Education class at the 2015 American Christian Fiction Writers conference, several small ACFW chapters and RWA chapters. She and her husband run the small press, Winged Publications, which includes some of the CBA’s best well-known authors. She lives in Arizona with her husband, one of their seven children, two dogs, one cat, and three box turtles. She has eight grandchildren who keep her busy and tell everyone they know that “Nana is a writer”.
Website at www.cynthiahickey.com
Cindy M. Amos is a freelance nature writer with nonfiction publications in numerous national magazines for ministry work and mentoring students in the sciences. From a career in natural resources management and endangered species conservation along the Atlantic coast, she now writes nature-infused inspirational fiction about people living close to the land from her post in the Midwest.
Jennifer AlLee~ For the first 10 years of her life, Jennifer AlLee lived above a mortuary in Hollywood, California, one block away from Hollywood and Vine. Over the years, she worked in numerous fields, including as a church secretary and an administrative assistant at a cable company, but whatever the position, writing always became part of the job description. In 2007, her first novel was published. Since then, she's published 11 novels and quite a few novellas with five different publishing houses. While she's thrilled to be living her dream as an author, Jennifer considers raising her amazing son to be her best creative achievement.
Martha Rogers is a multi-published author and writes a weekly devotional for ACFW. Martha and her husband Rex live in Houston, Texas where they are active members of First Baptist Church. They are the parents of three sons and grandparents to eleven grandchildren and great-grandparents to four. Martha is a retired teacher with twenty-eight years teaching. Find Martha at: www.marthawrogers.com
Christina Rich, a mother of four children, a grandmother of one, a romance author with Harlequin’s inspirational line, Love Inspired, Forget Me Not Romances, and photographer, and is currently working on several non-fiction books.
Brandi Boddie writes historical and contemporary romance. She resides in Texas, where she loves spending time with her husband and dogs, a cocker spaniel and a schnauzer who both aspire to be food critics.