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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 The technology was probably out-of-date when I wrote it the first time!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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Snow Angels and Christmas Stalkings Christmas Stocking MASH-UP

Last month, I was blessed with a visit from one of my favorite people – Chautona Havig! We have been friends for a long time, and this year, we were part of the Christmas Lights team of authors. We had a terrific time together and came up with lots of good ideas for the future. One of the fun things we did was make a Christmas stocking to give away – a Snow Angels and Christmas Stalkings Mash-up stocking!

Here’s the story from Chautona’s point of view. Opinions expressed may not reflect those of the management…

It began innocently enough–just two friends shopping in Michael’s. We did the usual… you know, finding cool things, spending WAY too much money, laughing! Talking! But… but then this happened:

Christmas Stocking giveaway

And today’s the day!

Yep! It’s time! After terrorizing Michael’s with our incessant videos, we bought the stocking and filled that sucker! I’m a sucker for stockings, so that really does fit. Just sayin’.

What’s in this knitted sock of surprises? Well, if I tell you, it won’t be a surprise! Oh, all right. Here goes! First a couple of pictures….

Christmas Stocking GIveaway

Trip the Light Fantastic

  • A bag of “Life Is Too Short for Bad Coffee” brand coffee!
  • Beeswax lip balm
  • Beeswax lotion (from scandalous “naked bees”).
  • A “complete collection” of Miss Marple books… in miniature. And readable!
  • A set of hand-crafted book-inspired notecards
  • A set of mini notebooks because I love those little things!
  • A notepad for taking notes while reading so you can bless the author with a thoughtful review! (Or do it THIS way and save time and trees!)
  • An absolutely stunning, handmade, beaded bookmark. Seriously. GORGEOUS.
  • Various author “swag”
  • Chocolate (not shown. I ate it and have to replace it. Just kidding. Didn’t buy it yet).
  • Fuzzy socks (to keep your toes warm while you read!)
  • Tea bags (spicy goodness!)
  • Trip the Light Fantastic paperback
  • Snow Angels paperback
  • Christmas Stalkings paperback

A perfect gift for you or any book-loving friend. International entries are welcome, but the stocking will only be shipped to a US or APO address. Sorry. This thing’s heavy!

Of course, the only way to truly appreciate how this Christmas stocking is a “mash-up” of Snow Angels and Christmas Stalkings is to read both books in the Christmas Lights Collection. Of course, we recommend you read ALL the books in the collection. April’s madcap mystery, Vikki’s heartwarming tale of second-chances and the Lord’s provision. But… guess what?

There’s More Stocking Goodness…

Sorta. You see… we have NEWS!!!

New Year's RevolutionsChristmas Stalkings has a prequel/sequel coming out. That’s right, there’s more of Wendy, Neal, Wanda, Peter, and gang! The book is available for pre-order now and will release on 12.31.16. That’s right. New Year’s Revolutions, the “rest of the story” releases on New Year’s Eve! I’ve even got a COOL BONUS for it! Prepare to revolutionize your life in 2017–and watch my progress as I fumble and bumble to do the same! WOOT!

and…

Snow AngelsBaggage Claim, the delightful story that it is, isn’t the only book Cathe has written. She’s coming out with the second book in the Great Lakes Series: Baggage Claim. It’s available for pre-order now! and releases on 2.14.16. Valentine’s Day. It’s like we’ve got this holiday theme going or something!

Ben’s on a race against time and with the last people he ever thought he’d want helping him. His kids are in hiding, and his own life may be in danger. Find out what’s going on at Great Lakes Therapy in Baggage Claim!

and…

Spilled Ink Hidden CoverApril Hayman has the next in her Heirlooms of Deception series coming out in Winter of 2017. That’s right! There’s more to Trip the Light Fantastic! See Landry in his natural environment… and meet Ree! His niece and his arch enemy–his sister!

Stay tuned on April’s site and social media for her upcoming COVER REVEAL! This is just a mock cover to whet your appetite!

 

Here’s an image to share! We’d really appreciate it!

stocking giveaway

(note: links in this post are likely affiliate links which provide a tiny commission for us at no extra cost to you.)
What do you like to put in a Christmas stocking?

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Christmas Lights Giveaway ~ Enter to Win this Gorgeous Nativity Scene

I am happy to announce the release of my first published book, Snow Angels, as part of the novella collection, Christmas Lights. It’s exciting for any debut author, but I’ve been especially blessed in the process. Not only did I get to partner with fellow ACFW authors Vikki Kestell, Chautona Havig and April Hayman, but I had a great team of ladies who helped me with pre-reading, proofreading and promoting the book.  Not many authors have that kind of encouragement with their first book. I’m grateful.

In celebration of the book launch, we are having a special giveaway.  This beautiful 3-piece nativity display is handcrafted in Ukraine and will be shipped to the winner directly from the artist.  Each of the pieces is 8″ tall, 20″ long and 5.5″ deep. Use battery-operated votive candles or a string of lights to create a scene of shadows and silhouettes. You can display the pieces separately or use them together on a mantel or on top of a piano or bookcase. It’s absolutely lovely. In addition to this, we are giving away two $5 Amazon gift cards, just in time for Christmas shopping!

Christmas Lights Grand Prize

CLICK HERE to enter the giveaway, and check out the Christmas Lights website for more pictures of the nativity scene and information about the giveaway.

Christmas Lights - a novella collection

Christmas Lights is a collection of four inspirational novellas, each with a different theme and genre. Vikki’s The Heart of Joy is a beautifully-crafted, gentle historical romance from her Prairie Heritage series.  April’s madcap comedy, Trip the Lights Fantastic, features eccentric characters who will delight you. Chautona’s Christmas Stalkings  is surprisingly suspenseful for a book about a woman who decorates Christmas trees for each of her seven cats!

Snow Angels by Cathe Swanson

 

 

 

My contribution to the collection is Snow Angels.  Lisa, Pete and their friends are oh-so-human, living with human issues in a fallen world. It’s sad and it’s funny, and I think it’s a story of God redeeming the years the locusts have eaten. He washes us clean and gives us hope for the future.  I hope you enjoy it.

 

Kind words for Snow Angels:

“I haven’t laughed this hard in a while, nor cried as much. In this funny, poignant novella, Cathe Swanson reminds our jaded world just what the holidays are all about. Looking forward to seeing this author in other works. Highly recommended.”  Andrea S.

This delightful tale is full of surprises and Christmas spirit. I loved how complex the characters were, and how you unfold each story as you weave your way through the book… One of the most wonderful aspects of this book is the humor. If you need a good laugh, and spiritual encouragement this holiday season, “Snow Angels,” is the book for you.”  Kristen S.

It is equal parts hilarious and heart-wrenching and deals with some real-life hard stuff while never losing sight of the hope to be found in Jesus. For a debut work, it is stellar! I absolutely can’t wait to read more from this author!”  Tina C.

I haven’t laughed so much in AGES. Cathe Swanson masterfully weaves a rich story of realistic people with genuine faults and problems in such a way that you love them, want to shake them, and cheer when they ‘get it.’  And all the while, she punctuates each scene with humor, grace, and the beauty of what the Lord does in our lives when we don’t push Him back.”  Chautona H.

 

Christmas Lights available on October 15, 2016 – Preorder now!

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Re-light the Candles of Good Cheer

Re-Light the Candles of Cheer - Cathe SwansonI have a little book of George W. Truett’s Christmas sermons from 1928-1944… I don’t remember where it came from, but I keep it because I like seasonal books. His style was simple and conversational, light on Scripture but full of truth and kindness.  The imagery of “re-lighting the candles of good cheer” has a poignant appeal. This passage from his 1932 Christmas sermon is as applicable today as it was then:

At this Season for accentuated emphasis upon home reunions, and upon friendships both old and new, let us worthily re-light the candles of good cheer and cooperative helpfulness, for those who are experiencing privations and restrictions which lay a heavy toll upon their homes and hearts. May we so voice our understanding sympathy and good will, as to give them new heart and hope, for all the days and duties ahead. Let us especially voice our best cheer for the little children and the aged; for the orphan and the underprivileged; for the poor and the needy; for the afflicted and the unfortunate; for the lonely and the discouraged; for the derelict and the unfriended. May we be experts in doing good to all, and in giving hurt to none.                           George W. Truett, D.D.

Voice Our Best Cheer

In my new book, Snow Angels, the main character is confronted with all of these people and – in spite of her initial reluctance – Lisa reaches out with both the kindness and helpfulness Dr. Truett encourages in all of us. I like his emphasis on more than just the good deeds – he also wanted us to “relight the candles of good cheer,” to “voice our understanding sympathy and good will,” and especially to “voice our best cheer.” Our object is to “give them new heart and hope.”

God Loves a Cheerful Giver

People are encouraged when we reach out to them with more than just a helping hand. We need to extend our best cheer, understanding sympathy and good will. That was harder for Lisa. She wanted to write a check instead of showing up to help, and then she wanted to “fix” people. Dr. Truett’s sermon reminds us that we are called to more than write checks, hand out food and shovel driveways.

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.          Leo Buscaglia

Don’t wait for Christmas! We all have that power.  Smiles and kind words cost us nothing at all and are so easy to give!  Can you relight a candle of good cheer for someone today?

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Christmas is Coming Early for Me!

Snow Angels by Cathe Swanson - Part of the Christmas Lights novella collectionThis year, my biggest Christmas gift is coming in October. It’s very exciting to be anticipating the release of my first published book, Snow Angels, as part of the Christmas Lights novella collection.

Things got pretty wild here for a while – nine days before my editor’s deadline,  I ended up in the hospital having an emergency appendectomy! Laparoscopic surgery is amazing, and it all went smoothly, but the nurse and some of my friends were right when they cautioned me to go slowly.  I feel great, but I get tired out quickly.

I finished the Snow Angels manuscript, revised it, and sent it off to the editor with ten minutes to spare before the deadline – and then I immediately wanted it back again, because I thought of so many things that needed to be changed.  She wouldn’t give it back, so now I have to wait for her first round of corrections and revisions.  I keep pestering her:

     “Are you finding many typos?”

    “What do you think of the sweater scene?”

    “Do you like Pete?”

    “Do you think Lisa’s reaction to the sick child is realistic?”

She’s very patient with me. 🙂

Christmas Lights Novella Collection

I have been helping market books for a couple years now, and I like doing it, so I am very much looking forward to an exciting book launch for Christmas Lights.  I’ve known Chautona for years, and it’s been fun getting to know  Vikki Kestell and  April Hayman as we work on this novella collection.  Look for some fun events as the launch date approaches! We’re even putting together a musical book trailer!

And the cover!

I love, love, LOVE the cover for my book!  It was designed by the multi-talented Chautona Havig, a good friend and gifted writer, and I’m going to be unwrapping it slowly.  She also designed the cover for the entire Christmas Lights novella collection box set. Isn’t it beautiful?

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