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Baggage Claim Blog Tour and a Giveaway with a Grand Prize

Grand Prize Baggage Claim Blog Tour Giveaway

Celebrate Lit’s Baggage Claim Blog Tour

Baggage Claim is being featured in an online book tour until April 10th. I’ve been blessed by several kind reviews from experienced book reviewers. It’s interesting to read other people’s perspectives on my story. Some people found it suspenseful, others not so much. Most of them liked the children. Some readers thought the book is very romantic, some found it not very romantic at all.  A few people were surprised by the romance!

(Note: I am not good at writing romance. My editor laughed at my first attempt at the kissing scene. I spent two hours rewriting those two lines and then realized I hadn’t actually described the kiss – just the lead-up to it. That’s how I left it.)

The Grand Prize

Celebrate Lit, the organizer of the blog tour, is hosting a giveaway for readers. I enjoyed putting together a grand prize package that reflects my own interests and – hopefully – appeals to readers. I included:

A decorative suitcase

Suitcase… baggage… get it?? I collect beautiful chipboard boxes. Well, not “collect”, exactly. I just keep buying them because they are beautiful. I usually get them on sale at Michaels and then try to find things to store in them so I can justify my purchases. Michaels also has inexpensive, pretty photo/shoe boxes, too, and I use them to store crafting supplies, projects, and all sorts of other things. Sometimes, I even use them for photos and shoes. (Cathe takes a deep breath and curbs her enthusiasm) This suitcase has metal clasps and a leather handle. Isn’t it pretty?

A paperback copy of Baggage Claim

I will sign it if you want me to. 🙂

An assortment of handmade cards

I love making cards. It’s like scrapbooking for the person with a short attention span. Instant gratification. Besides, in this digital age, getting real mail is a treat. I have included 14 assorted cards: birthdays, babies, weddings, get well, thinking of you, sympathy, congratulations and a couple that are blank inside.  They were fun to make, knowing they would be going to a reader!

A box of Earl Grey tea and a pretty cup

Tazo teas are nice. I like most kinds of tea, but I usually drink coffee, so I decided a full-size coffee mug would be preferable to a dainty teacup.

A handmade quilted mug rug

I have been a quilter and teacher of quiltmaking for over 25 years. My website, GloryQuilts, has more information about that side of me. Mug rugs seemed remarkably silly when I first saw them, but I use them every day. They’re like an oversized coaster or snack mat. I also use one for a mouse pad sometimes. When I give them as a gift or sell them, I include this poem on a tag:

This useful little mug rug
for your table or your desk,
is a safe and pretty coaster
where your coffee mug can rest.
It makes a handy mouse pad
and a crumb catcher, too,
so enjoy your morning coffee
with a muffin and the news.

How to enter the contest

Visit the Celebrate Lit website or any of the blogs listed there to enter the contest. No purchase is necessary. You can earn bonus entries, too!

Celebrate Lit

Tell me…

I’m interested in your opinions. Do you enter many giveaways? What kind of prizes appeal to you?  A free Kindle? Books? Gift cards? Packages like this one? Leave a comment and let me know.

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Happy Valentine’s Day to Me – Baggage Claim is Here!

Roses for Valentine's Day and for Baggage Claim

My wonderful, supportive husband brought me TWO dozen roses today: one for Valentine’s Day and one to congratulate me on the release of Baggage Claim. Isn’t he amazing? I sure do love him. In addition to working hard so I can stay home and write, he’s been so patient as I worked on preparing Baggage Claim for publication!

Baggage Claim

It’s a little like having a baby, but instead of nine months, Baggage Claim took me nearly nine years to produce. I started it in 2009 for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), All of my sons had finally graduated from high school, and after all those years of homeschooling, I had some free time to do “me” things! Then I got a real job and didn’t have time for writing anymore. I looked at it every so often, made a few edits, changed a few plot points… and then put it away again. After a few years, I forced myself to finish it, and then I set it aside again. I started an outline for a sequel. (Oh – I  was also working on a few other books, all of which followed that pattern. I have a very short attention span.)

Squirrel!

Then I got serious (lost the day job) and decided to write a Christmas novella for a collection with my good friend, Chautona Havig, and two other authors. It didn’t take me long to realize that the novella – Snow Angels – was meant to be connected to Baggage Claim and its sequel. Having a commitment to other people forced me to finish that book and get it edited and polished up for publication. Once the novella was published, I had to get Baggage Claim cleaned up and ready to go.
Baggage Claim by Cathe SwansonIt was then that I realized how truly BAD Baggage Claim was.  It didn’t need to be cleaned up; it needed to be torn apart and rewritten. So I did it. The book needed humor, so I gave the children more distinct personalities and put my heroine into unexpected predicaments. I wanted more suspense, so I made the villain a little more villainous.

I had to update everyone’s ages, so the entire calendar was adjusted. The technology was probably out-of-date when I wrote it the first time!

 

I couldn’t have done it without them…

As I prepared Baggage Claim for publication, I had one advantage that most new authors lack: an amazing team of pre-readers. If Baggage Claim is fit to read, it’s because of their help and input. It was a team effort – and it kept me humble! I love those ladies. And in the end, I love Baggage Claim, and I’m itching to start Real Religion, the second book in the Great Lakes series.

Announcing the winners

Valentine's Day Giveaway

Thanks to all of you who entered the giveaway contest! I will be sending paperback copies of Snow Angels to three winners: Olivia R, Debbie M, and TerriSue B!  If you haven’t read it yet, I hope you will enjoy it! I think it’s a fun story!

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Valentine’s Day Snow Angels Giveaway!

February 14th is the Big Day!

In honor of the long-awaited release of Baggage Claim, the first novel in my Great Lakes series, I’m giving away three paperback copies of the Snow Angels, the companion novella. The winners will be selected on Valentine’s Day, when Baggage Claim is released.

 

The Great Lakes Collection

Baggage Claim is set shortly before Snow Angels and takes place in the suburbs of Chicago and in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It’s a romantic suspense novel – suitable for Valentine’s Day! – but it’s funny, too, with the antics of the hero’s four young children. I think you’ll enjoy it.

Baggage Claim by Cathe Swanson

The next book, Real Religion, will return to Hope House and the Unity Plenkiss Community Center, which you may have visited in Snow Angels.  You will find familiar faces there, including Pete and Lisa. More suspense, more romance, more comedy…

I’m still mulling over ideas for the last book in the series, tentatively titled Higher Ground. Tally, from Snow Angels, might be a good heroine for that book, or maybe someone new.  I also like romances with older people (not OLD – I mean people in their mid-30’s to late 40’s). And I would like to take it back up north to the Upper Peninsula. Maybe I will need another book in the series. What do you think?

Pre-order Baggage Claim

There are just a few more days to get Baggage Claim at the special pre-order price! It will be available in paperback and also for Kindle. Kindle Unlimited readers can read it for FREE, or Amazon Prime members can borrow it as their monthly free read. (The same is true for Snow Angels.)

Valentine's Day Giveaway

Enter to Win!

In the meantime, I am giving away three paperback copies of Snow Angels! Winners can opt to receive a kindle version of the book if they prefer. International entries are welcome, but winners outside the United States will receive a digital copy instead of a paperback copy.

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Doesn’t Dad Deserve a Mother’s Day?

bradkids711

It’s not fair.

We all know that moms and dads are equally important in their children’s lives, but the days we set aside to honor them – Mother’s Day and Father’s Day – are very different. I read online (so it must be true) that Americans spend $7 billion dollars more on Mother’s Day than on Father’s Day. The Hallmark cards are funnier on Father’s Day. Churches treat Mother’s Day with reverence and sensitivity and Father’s Day is an opportunity for sermons one “how to do it better.”  I know it probably bugs me more than it does the men, but it does bug me, so I wrote about it in one of my books. That’s an advantage of being an author. You can spout off your opinions and attribute them to fictional characters.

In my story “Baggage Claim,” Ben Taylor goes in search of his biological father. He finds Jonah Campbell,  who is delighted to learn that he has a son and four young grandchildren – and he especially likes the children’s nanny, Agatha. This is a scene between Agatha and Jonah, getting in the car after church on Father’s Day.

It’s a work in progress, before editing. Remember:  don’t judge books by the first draft!


“So.” Agatha’s voice was challenging. “What did you think of your first Father’s Day service?”

The children had been talking about Fathers Day all week, reveling in their secrets and nearly revealing them in the process. Jonah had been surprised to find himself included in the “father” category, but he loved it.

“It was good.” He tried to think of something more to say. “It was an encouraging message,” he said. “Lots of good ideas.”

“Yes, the pastor had a lot of advice. Did you pick up one of those papers in the back? The ones listing additional resources for learning to be a good father?”

She was trying to make a point. Had he missed something? “I got one for Ben. It looked like it was directed more to the younger dads, but some of it would probably apply to me, too, with the boys.”

“It was terrible!” The words burst out of her, startling him. He’d thought it was good – an old-fashioned exhortation.

“You didn’t like it?”

“Oh, it was fine. But why today?”

“It’s Father’s Day.” It made sense to him. He buckled his seat belt and flipped up the sun visor.

Agatha gave him an exasperated look, the one she usually directed at Ben. “What kind of church service do you see on Mothers Day?”

Was it a trick question? Jonah opened his mouth to say that he didn’t usually pay attention to Mothers Day sermons, hoping to make a joke of it and diffuse her irritation, but she didn’t wait for a response.

“Mothers get nothing but praise. It’s not a lecture on how to be a better mother. Can you imagine how well it would go over if the pastor said, ‘Step up, Mothers. Scripture tells us you need to be a nurturing influence in your children’s lives. Don’t let your busy life be an excuse for failing to train them up.’ And then telling them he has a list of helpful books and websites for them?”

He choked on laughter. She didn’t stop. “And laying on a guilt trip, even telling them they need to meet their husband’s needs first. Can you imagine? No, Mothers get nothing but admiration. Fathers get jokes and lectures. It’s not fair!”

It was an insightful perspective. Jonah’s laughter died. “When Cindy and I went to church, they always made a point of including everyone. Like aunts and babysitters. They always mentioned that some women weren’t able to become pregnant, or had lost children or their mother had died.”

“Right! You don’t hear that on Father’s day.” Agatha said. She mimicked a southern preacher, “And we want to remember today that there are many men who are hurting because they are not yet fathers.”

“No, I didn’t hear that today,” Jonah said. “You’re right. But it’s good to have a sermon on fatherhood. Some of us need help.”

“Not on Fathers Day. It’s supposed to be a day to honor fathers, not nag them or make them feel guilty.”

“True!” He started the truck and entered the train exiting the church parking lot. “You should have a talk with Pastor Martin.”

“Maybe I will.”

He looked at her elegant profile. Maybe she would.


None of my guys are overly-sensitive. They would all rather have a grilled burger for Father’s Day than beautiful cards, flowers and chocolate. Too much gushiness would embarrass them and make them wonder what I’m up to. But I do want to show them respect and honor them for their dedication to loving and training up their children.

What makes your man feel valued and respected on Father’s Day?