Betwixt Two Hearts ~ A Crossroads Collection

I felt very honored to be invited to participate in the new Crossroads Collection: Betwixt Two Hearts. I bought the first three when they came out, and I enjoyed the unique concept – a collection of novellas that are each free-standing book but tied together in a theme, and one full-length book by Amanda Tru that connects them all.  (Note – most of the “novellas” are more like full-length books.)

Betwixt Two Hearts - a Crossroads Collection by Amanda Tru, Cathe Swanson, Chautona Havig, Carol Moncado, Kari Trumbo, and Alana TerryIn Betwixt Two Hearts,  Amanda opens the collection with a story about two people establishing an online matchmaking agency. Not a dating site, mind you, but a real matchmaking agency with the goal of setting up marriages.  Each of the subsequent books is a contemporary Christian romance about two people who meet through the Betwixt Two Hearts agency. In addition to mine, you’ll find delightful stories by Amanda Tru, Kari Trumbo, Alana Terry, Carol Moncado, Chautona Havig. and ME.

Mine is The Swedehearts Glory Quilt, the second book in my Glory Quilts series. It’s lighthearted – mostly – and features some of the same characters from The Christmas Glory Quilt.  David Reid is a sincere Christian man, eager to move on in his life. He’s an engineer, so he’s got a plan.  But is it God’s plan for him, or is it David’s?  Eleanor has no plan. Her loving, well-intentioned family wants to control her life and doesn’t understand why she would abandon the plan they made for her. So Eleanor runs away to find herself.

David signs up for Betwixt Two Hearts because he wants a wife. Eleanor’s motives are not so pure. She wants a fake boyfriend, to convince her parents she’s doing just fine in her new life.

Readers say they like flawed characters, so I’ve tried to make Eleanor a very human, flawed person. Even when she’s most annoyed with her family, she acknowledges that they’re good people.  But she occasionally crosses the line between a reasonable attempt at independence into selfishness and even lying, “gaming the algorithm” to get the perfect match and then being unwilling to confess when she finds out how much she likes the man they choose for her.  I hope her conflicted emotions resonate with readers.

As I write this, I am impatiently waiting for the publication of The Swedehearts Glory Quilt in paperback, repeatedly checking my email and hitting the refresh button on Amazon. I’m hoping to see it today, so I can share my beautiful cover! The picture on the cover is from 85mm Photography in Minneapolis – artistic, amazing wedding photographers.  They’ve “captured” Eleanor and David perfectly. 

I made a new quilt for this book – as is my plan for the whole series! – and will be offering the pattern as a bonus to anyone who purchases (or reads in Kindle Unlimited) the Betwixt Two Hearts collection or the Swedehearts Glory Quilt paperback before March 31.  More on that later.

 

In other news….

The Christmas Glory Quilt by Cathe SwansonThe Kindle version of The Christmas Glory Quilt is now available for Kindle and in paperback. (It’s free for Kindle Unlimited subscribers, of course, )

If you read and enjoyed it in the Comfort & Joy Christmas Lights collection, I’d be thrilled and grateful if you’d leave a review on the Amazon page or on Goodreads. Thank you!

If you missed the free Christmas Glory Quilt pattern,  you can purchase it on Etsy. The Swedehearts pattern will be available after March 31.

 

Comfort & Joy

Comfort & Joy - The 2018 Christmas Lights Collection, with Alana Terry, Toni Shiloh, April Hayman, Cathe Swanson and Chautona HavigThis week, I’m finishing up my Christmas novella, The Christmas Glory Quilt. It will be my contribution to the 2018 Christmas Lights novella collection: Comfort & Joy.  This year’s collection is going to be bigger and better than ever before,  with contemporary Christian Christmas stories from Alana Terry, April Hayman, Toni Shiloh, Chautona Havig and me.  Isn’t it a beautiful cover?

Frost Heaves by Alana Terry
The Trouble with Christmas Cheer by April Hayman
Deck the Shelves by Toni Shiloh
The Christmas Glory Quilt by Cathe Swanson
The Ghosts of New Cheltenham by Chautona Havig

Comfort & Joy will be available exclusively on Amazon on October 15th. We’re looking for a few more launch team members, to help share the news. If you are interested in getting a free advance reader copy of the book and participating in our very fun Facebook group, please click HERE for more information and fill out the form.

 

The Christmas Glory Quilt

The Christmas Glory Quilt by Cathe Swanson - in the 2018 Christmas Lights Collection, Comfort & JoyThe Christmas Glory Quilt will be the first in a series with a seasonal quilt theme – Autumn Glory Quilt, Easter Glory Quilt, etc. (I still need to work on those titles!) Being an overachiever, I designed a quilt to go with the book and plan to offer the pattern as a bonus for early purchasers of the book.  It was a busy summer – and I had to write the book! – so it took a long time just to get it pieced.

Yesterday morning, my good friend and book cover designer, the multi-talented Chautona Havig, said, “I need pictures of the quilt, draped around two people. Now.” So I dropped everything and quilted. For nine hours, I sat at the dining room table and quilted. I finished about six o’clock and my husband helped me take pictures. Triumphantly, I sent them to Chautona.

But they weren’t good enough. An iPhone 5S may take good pictures for posting online, even indoors, but they aren’t good enough to use on the front of a printed book. I thought, “All that work, for nothing. I wasted the whole day, when I should have been working on the book, cleaning house, making dinner, taking a shower…”

Have you even done something difficult and then it fell short? Wasn’t good enough? Did it crush you? Make you feel like a failure? In my head, I know that now I have a finished quilt. I need to figure out how to get a better picture. It will be challenging, but I will make it work out. In my heart, I am disappointed. Deflated. Frustrated. I have to do the pictures all over again and I’m further behind on my book.

Redeeming the Time

But there was a grain of something good in the experience, and it wasn’t the quilt or the pictures. For about half an hour, my husband and I had a wonderful time together.

What we needed was a “green screen” picture of the quilt wrapped around two people. Chautona was going to cut out the quilt part of the picture and superimpose it on the purchased picture of these two attractive models. Kind of like paper dolls, if you remember those.

 

 

 

 

 

So the quilt had to be draped just right, to fit the existing picture. My husband hung a black sheet on the wall, and we set the laptop, open to the picture of the models, on a chair in front of us. To get the right angle, we put the phone/camera on top of a stepladder on top of the piano bench. We practiced standing in the right position first, and then we worked on arranging the quilt.

The thing is, those models are wrapped in a soft, stretchy knit blanket. A brand new quilt is stiff. It doesn’t drape. But we tried. We wrapped up in it, as best we could, then we scooted forward to push the camera button and scooted back, trying to get into position before the ten-second timer went off. It was hilarious. We laughed together, harder than we have in years. We have more ‘blooper’ shots than usable pictures. In most of them, we were rolled up like a burrito or shaped like a Christmas tree. Sometimes, the camera snapped the picture before we were ready.

 

And we laughed and laughed. My husband said, “We know how to do Friday night!” It was a good time, and it will be a sweet memory. Marriage is hard, and sometimes the fun is just drained away. Sometimes we – like many married couples – go along from day to day, doing what has to be done. So I spent a day making that quilt, and even though my original purpose wasn’t achieved, the time was redeemed. God knew we needed that “date night” more quilt pictures. Isn’t He wonderful?

Comfort & Joy

I look forward to sharing more about The Christmas Glory Quilt soon. I’m having so much fun writing it!  All of the books in this year’s collection, Comfort & Joy, are enjoyable, so watch for updates on the Comfort & Joy Facebook page.