Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Hallmark Movies, Hot Chocolate, and Inspiration

It's that time of year when the Hallmark Channel provides a constantly running venue of Christmas stories certain to take us 'home' to those cozy small towns that touch our hearts. I grew up in a cozy small town that would have, at one time, been the prefect Hallmark movie setting. I have to admit, I'm a sucker for a small town--houses with picket fences, town squares, a little hamlet where everyone knows everyone and life is good all the time.

I recently treated myself to a Hallmark Christmas movie marathon, complete with a mug of hot chocolate. And inspiration struck. I was transported to a small town in the mountains of Southwestern Pennsylvania, in the region where I grew up. One of my favorite places to visit is the little town of Ohiopyle and the state park by the same name, in particular the falls. As I watched movies titled Christmas in _________ (fill in the blank), a kernel of a story took seed.

I thought I was writing a short story about Christmas in the fictional town of Falls Village, but patterned after Ohiopyle. My characters, however, had minds of their own and a longer love story to tell. What came of ten days of writing is Falling for Mr. Christmas: A Second Chance Holiday Romance novella.

If you're captivated by small town romances and second chance stories set at Christmastime, you'll no doubt enjoy Falling for Mr. Christmas, It's a sweet story of finding love when and where you don't expect it.

Now available in ebook and paperback at Amazon.com and at Smashwords

Other Christmas stories you might enjoy are: Reinventing Christmas, A Kiss for Christmas, and Upon A Midnight Clear. All available at Amazon.com

I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas.


Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Remembering Dorothea Benton Frank

The literary world lost a bright and shining star with the passing of Dorothea Benton Frank. I feel as though I lost a friend, even though I'd only met Dorothea twice at book signings--hers, not mine. The first time, she was scheduled to sign on a Friday evening in Memphis. I got myself there two hours early. And when no one showed, I wondered what had happened. Did I get the date wrong? In my eagerness to make sure I got a great seat, I walked right past the sign that said the event had to be rescheduled because Ms. Frank's flight was delayed. It also said she would be there the next morning at ten a.m. and would bring donuts. I was there at nine. True to her word, she brought the donuts, even having insisted her driver stop along the way so she could personally buy them and deliver them to those of us who came back to see her.

At the second event a few years ago, I met friends at the bookstore, all of us eager to hear Dorothea speak. She came to the event accompanied by her daughter, Victoria, who is equally lovely. The banter between mother and daughter was a delight to behold. Dottie Frank was engaging, self-deprecating, and captivating as she talked about her writing and her beloved Low Country.

This Pennsylvania girl fell in love with the Low Country--its mystique, its beauty, and its people--through books like Sullivan's Island, Bull Island, Folly Beach, Isle of Palms, and Shem Creek, among others. The beauty of her writing is that she took me to these places, introduced me to characters that were real, and she made me want to see the Low Country through her eyes. She made me want to be a better writer.

I have loved every single Dorothea Benton Frank book I've read, and I'm sure I've read them all. I also loved Dorothea Benton Frank, the author, and the woman I met only twice. It was easy to fall in love with her vibrancy, her humor, her ability to tell a great story, and her ability to laugh, often at herself. She will be so deeply missed, and her passing leaves a hole in the literary fiber that no one will fill.

My heart aches for her family, especially her precious Teddy. She clearly loved that little boy with every bit of her being. I know she will live on for him in the memories he holds and the stories that will be shared about what a special grandmother he had and how much she loved him.

May she rest with the angels.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019


Imagine you are an author (or perhaps you are). We often have characters whose stories we put on hold, or those characters that don't develop the way we want them to, or the ones that we discover are strong enough that they deserve their own stories. In any case, we put them on the back burner for a while.

Do you ever wonder what happens to those characters? We're told to write our characters 'real,' make them come to life on the page. Well, what if they did come to life--those discarded characters? What if they mysteriously found their way into an idyllic small town (much like the one you created as a setting for your stories) and where they waited. And then, one day, their author, their creator finds herself stranded in that small town. This is their opportunity--the one they've waited for. The universe has created the perfect storm. They're determined to get their stories told and the happy endings they all deserve. And you're not going anywhere until they do.

In the midst of this unbelievable mystery bordering on a fantasy, you meet the one man who could be your own second chance at love--and you didn't conjure this one. He's real, and he's sexy and kind, and he's interested. But you're so busy writing everyone else's happy ending, you almost leave your own...Unwritten.

Author Amanda McDonnell finds herself stranded in a small Texas town that’s not even on the map. She is soon confronted by a mystery and caught up in an impossible fantasy.
It seems the characters she had discarded from her stories have come to life in Elderberry, Texas—and now they’re demanding their happy endings.

In the midst of trying to understand the impossible, Amanda finds the one man with whom she could write her own happy ending.

She’s gives herself the best possible advice: Just trust your heart. You won’t go wrong.

Available now in ebook at Amazon and Smashwords.
Coming soon in paperback.