An Echo Ridge Anthology
Rachelle J. Christensen is a mother of five who writes romance and mystery/suspense and solves the case of the missing shoe on a daily basis. She graduated cum laude from Utah State University with a degree in psychology and a minor in music. She enjoys singing and songwriting, playing the piano, running, motivational speaking, and, of course, reading.
Rachelle is the award-winning author of six books, including Wrong Number, Diamond Rings Are Deadly Things, and What Every 6th Grader Needs to Know, as well as the Rone Award-winning novella Silver Cascade Secrets. She and her family live on a farm in Idaho.
Visit www.rachellechristensen.com to learn more about upcoming books.
Social Media Links
Facebook Author Page http://www.facebook.com/rachellechristensenauthor
Author Website http://rachellechristensen.com/
Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3327139.Rachelle_J_Christensen
Amazon Author Page for Rachelle: http://www.amazon.com/Rachelle-J.-Christensen/e/B002UO5H48/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_2?qid=1427567936&sr=1-2
Author News signup: http://eepurl.com/eFD3o
Connie Sokol is a mother of seven, and a favorite local and national speaker for over fifteen years. She is a TV core contributor “Studio 5 with Brooke Walker” and a national blogger for www.ksl.com. She is one of seven female hosts of The Living Room, an online value-based radio show where they dish on life, loving, and learning (www.fromthelivingroom.com). Mrs. Sokol is a bestselling author who has written 14 books, including her fiction: Christmas Kisses: An Echo Ridge Anthology, and Caribbean Crossroads; and her nonfiction: What Every 6th Grader Needs to Know, Faithful, Fit & Fabulous, Simplify & Savor the Season, Create a Powerful Life Plan, and 40 Days with the Savior. Mrs. Sokol marinates in time spent with her family and eating decadent treats. For her TV segments, blog, podcasts and more, visit www.conniesokol.com.
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Lucy McConnell has always been a reader and a writer. Once caught up in a story, she disappears into a cave until the first draft is done. She writes fantasy, clean romance, Christian romance, historical fiction, and cookbooks (under the name Christina Dymock.) Her Christmas romance, Blue Christmas, was a top seller in seven Amazon categories on its own and in thirteen as part of the Christmas in Snow Valley Anthology.
When she’s not writing, you can find her volunteering at the elementary school or church; shuttling kids to baseball, soccer, basketball, or football, depending on the time of year; skiing with her family; wakeboarding; cycling; baking; cooking; or curled up with a good book.
Social Media Links: https://lucymcconnell.wordpress.com/
You can sign up for her newsletter and get the latest news here: http://wordpress.us8.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=bdba9ddb2c66cd77463f64638&id=9c679d9a1a
HEATHER TULLIS has been reading romance for as long as she can remember and has been publishing in the genre since 2009. She has published more than twenty books. When she’s not dreaming up new stories to write, or helping out with her community garden, she enjoys playing with her dogs and cat, inventing new ways to eat chocolate, and hanging out with her husband.
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Cami Checketts is an idealist who dreams of helping children around the world but can’t keep up with the four in her own home. Cami lives in a beautiful valley in Northern Utah where she enjoys running, biking, and swimming during the two months of the year it isn’t snowing. A portion of the proceeds from Cami’s books will be donated to The Child & Family Support Center. For more information on this worthy cause, please go to www.cachecfsc.org
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Let’s get a sneak peek into one of these great stories!
5 Random Facts about Rachelle and her story
- Rachelle loves multi-colored Christmas lights on the tree and as a child used to love getting under the tree and looking up through the branches at the lights and ornaments.
- Her first visit to New York state was when she was seven months pregnant with her fourth child and attending a writing conference in Chautauqua. She also visited Niagara Falls.
- She met her husband on Halloween at Utah State University.
- Rachelle loves chickens and cats and they get along well together on her little farm in Idaho.
- She is brainstorming the next novella for Echo Ridge and is super excited to tell the next love story from New York.
Rachelle’s snippet from Hope for Christmas:
“Stupid Christmas tree,” she muttered. If it weren’t for Megan, she’d skip Christmas altogether. The holiday was a slap in the face to someone like Anika— a divorced, single mom with a deadbeat ex. She hadn’t been able to locate Jimmy after he’d been released from jail the last time, but she was tired of hiding from him. When she moved to Echo Ridge a year ago, she decided a fresh start would be the best solution to her problems. The sleepy little New York town had been full of promises and hope, but after losing her job two months ago when Megan was hospitalized with pneumonia, everything had changed. Although the state had helped pay for Megan’s treatment, Anika had fallen farther and farther behind.
Her chest tightened when she thought about what was around the next corner. This job was temporary, and Anika had run out of options. If she didn’t find something soon, she’d be evicted from her one bedroom apartment.
She pulled the tree trunk upright and began putting together the sections of the tree. It took much longer than it should have with bits of the white flock crumbling and sticking to her clothes. One of the branches refused to straighten, the end was all twisted and it took her nearly ten minutes to smooth out the kinks. Anika grumbled to herself about the fake tree and its apparent mission to annoy her by not snapping together correctly. She fiddled with the pre-lit strands that had to be connected in several places. There were three different cords to test the lights, but she couldn’t get them all to work together. The box said the lights were supposed to twinkle, but Anika couldn’t even get more than one strand to turn on at a time. She grumbled and stepped back— on Megan’s dolls. Anika’s foot turned, she gasped, and fell forward into the tree with a shriek.
Before she could react to the fake evergreen needles poking her in the face, strong hands pulled her back from the mass of lights and cords.
“Are you hurt?”
Anika blinked and looked up at the man who had spoken. Her mouth opened and closed, and she shook her head. If Enrique Iglesias had come to her rescue then she was definitely going to thank the blasted Christmas tree. She rubbed a hand over her face and saw that he wasn’t Enrique, but with the shadow of scruff along his chin and his slightly mussed black hair against caramel skin, he could be Enrique’s younger brother. Anika shook her head. She was gawking, and hadn’t answered his question. “I’m not sure,” she said.
“Let’s get you away from this tree. I don’t think it likes you.” He cupped his hand under her forearm, carefully lifting her off the ground.
Anika winced when she put weight on her foot. “Ouch. I kind of twisted my ankle.”
“Sit down right here and I can take a look at it.” His dark hair matched his chocolate brown eyes and Anika found herself wondering again if Enrique did have a younger brother.
He helped her sit, leaning next to the wood paneling of her checkout station. He crouched down and held out his hand. “I’m Carlos Rodriguez. I’m a volunteer fireman, so I have some medical training. Mind if I take a look?” He had a Spanish accent, not heavy, but alluring, and Anika listened to him appreciatively.
“Oh, it’s just my ankle. I’m sure it’ll be fine in a few minutes.” Anika winced again when she moved her toes. “My name’s Anika Fletcher.” She held out her hand and Carlos shook it, his grip firm, yet gentle at the same time. Anika tore her eyes away from him and reached down to examine her ankle. It didn’t appear to be swelling, but every tendon around the bone ached. Maybe she should have him look at it. “Ugh, this is just what I didn’t need tonight.” She leaned over and massaged the tender side of her ankle. It wouldn’t cost her anything to have him look at it. “Okay, maybe I’d better have you look.” She moved back so that Carlos could see her ankle.
He leaned over and gently pulled her pant leg up. His fingers were warm, and he pressed lightly around her ankle. Anika’s heart sped up— it was hard to ignore the flutter in her stomach as he carefully examined her foot. He looked over at her and smiled. “There might be a little swelling later, but it’s a good sign that it’s not turning colors. You need to ice it and wrap it to stabilize the area.”
Anika let out the breath she’d been holding when he released her foot. “Okay, thanks for your help. I was trying to get that dang tree figured out. It definitely doesn’t like me and the feeling is mutual.”
Carlos walked over to the tree, now standing almost ten feet tall, and shifted a few branches. Then he crouched down by the electrical outlet. “You know, this could be considered a fire hazard.”
And now a Q&A with the Author.
What is your favorite part of writing?
I love it when I’m excited about a new story! When I have a solid outline and can speed through scenes that I’ve rehearsed in my head, I feel like I’m on a writer’s high. I love creating something new.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
In Hope for Christmas, I wanted to show a different side of the holiday from the point of view of Anika who sees Christmas as something to dread rather than enjoy. I wanted her to feel like a real person–one that we can be on the lookout for this Christmas.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I’ve always loved writing. When I was a little girl, I would take a spiral bound notebook and sit in the horse pasture dreaming up poems and stories. After I graduated from college and had a little free time to write something other than essays and term papers, I rediscovered my love of writing.
Give us an insight into how your writing day/time is structured?
Laugh with me for just a minute because once upon a time, I had a thought that I could have a structured day of writing in my lovely office at home. Reality check with five kids means that I write in the car during piano lessons, hole up in a hiding place for twenty minutes for a sprint, and schedule write-ins at my parent’s house to meet my goals. I still kind of have a dream that life will settle down and work with my “schedule”. In the meantime, I squeeze in writing wherever I can.
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I always learn so many interesting things from writing my books. I love the little research gems that me and this awesome group of authors shared about upstate New York, small towns, old-fashioned department stores, soda fountains, and more.
What is the thing you struggle with the most while writing? And how do you defeat it?
I really struggle with my desire to have time to write down all the ideas in my head. There’s so much work involved with each book, and it’s not just writing. There’s tons of marketing, promotion, events, and other parts of producing a book that often aren’t seen. Sometime I go days without writing anything on my novel and I feel rotten about my progress, but thank goodness I have an amazing husband who is very understanding. He does his best to help me get time and keep things in perspective. Together we work to make my writing possible and at the same time I can feel good about spending time with my family and always putting my family first. Hopefully, I have a lot of years left to write so I’m working on balance and hoping the words will come out all right in the end.