Friday, November 29, 2013

Author, author... Sweetwater Springs Christmas

As one of the contributing authors of Sweetwater Springs Christmas, please welcome a guest post by...

 Linda Carroll-Bradd

Behind The Scenes of Writing For An Anthology

By Linda Carroll-Bradd

Early this summer I was thrilled to be invited to contribute to a Christmas anthology of western historical stories set in Debra Holland’s Montana Sky world. In addition to being one of Debra’s editors, I enjoy her series of sweet historical romances. The eleven participating authors did a bit of brainstorming to make sure we didn’t duplicate on names or professions, and checked a fact here or there about details where our stories would overlap. Then we retreated to our writing spaces to create the collection of stories that became Sweetwater Springs Christmas.

My original plot involving a female doctor coming to town to receive training didn’t work because Debra has that role already planned for a future book. But she said we could tie the short story to any of our current works. Several other authors have series set in Montana or nearby and they made their connections. I have a contemporary novel that released in October, Rekindled Dreams, that is set in Montana so I made the heroine of Wishes On A Star an ancestor to the hero in the contemporary. The tie-in may be one that only I appreciate but it’s there.

Because 1895 is the latest in the 1800s I’ve ever set a story, I jumped onto Google and Wikipedia to start checking out the early 1890s. I studied inventions, historic events, clothing fashions, etc. My minor in college was Women’s Studies so I knew women were involved in rallies and speeches forwarding the cause of women’s suffrage during these years. Based on information included in a journal found in Rekindled Dreams, the heroine was from a ranching family who help found her northern Montana hometown.

So how did women’s suffrage and an isolated ranch fit together? I made Richelle Quaid the youngest child and only daughter in the family, somewhat pampered, and Daddy dotes on her. The family is wealthy enough that she has attended academies and finishing schools and traveled to stay with relatives in other parts of America. Raised with only brothers, she’s outspoken so she can be heard and is adept at ranch skills and chores. Her counterpoint, hero Landon Howard, is a rancher and horse breeder who is visiting Sweetwater Springs to bring a horse to be used for stud services. Because the boarding house in town was already reserved (by characters in someone else’s story), my hero had to know someone in town with whom he could stay. So I made Landon friends with the banker and his widowed sister who wishes she could monopolize his time. A bit of fun there.

Sweetwater Springs Christmas released November 18th and already has some nice reviews on Amazon. A print version should be available next month in time for Christmas shopping. The participating authors are: E. Ayers, MJ Frederick, Debra Holland, Paty Jager, Jill Marie Landis, Linda MacLaughlin, Trish Milburn, Bev Pettersen, Tori Scott, Cynthia Woolf…and me.

Blurb for Wishes On A Star:

Free-spirit Richelle Quaid is outspoken, confident and a little bit spoiled. She sets tongues wagging with her bloomers and bicycle but also catches the eye of visiting rancher Landon Howard. An incident with her bicycle causes his prize colt to bolt into the cold Montana night. As Richelle and Landon track the animal together, they can’t fight their growing attraction. Will a wish made on a star foretell their future?


As a child, Linda was often found lying on her bed reading about characters having exciting adventures in places far away. Upon reaching a landmark birthday, she decided to write one of those romances she loved so much. Easier said than done. Perseverance paid out and twelve years later, she received her first call from a publisher and a confession story was published. Now Linda writes heartwarming contemporary and historical stories with a touch of humor, and many have a tie to her previous home of Texas.

Linda currently lives in the southern California mountains with her husband of 34 years and their two much-loved dogs, Shiba Inu Keiko and terrier mix Phoenix.


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