Julie B. Cosgrove’s The Bunco Biddies Keep Sleuthing

shimer_college_bridge_club_1942

By Shimer College (1942 yearbook of Shimer College) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Have you ever gathered around a group of elderly ladies who have known each other for years? My mother had a “crowd” who called themselves The Bridge Club. Back during WWII, they would gather to play cards once a week to help keep each other sane while the hubbies were off to battle. I was not born yet, but my siblings tell me that they gathered during the day while the older ones were in school and younger ones napped on the cool floor of the kitchen.

By the time I came along, the activities had grown to include barbecues and shared vacations at the beach with the husbands and kids. Yet, the ladies still played Bridge weekly…for decades! No one could pull any punches with the others. They knew each other way too well. It was a hoot to eavesdrop on some of their conversations. “Now, Mary, you always react that way…” “When did you ever like her, dear?” “Honey, you and I both know….” They were so different in social backgrounds, lifestyles and financial security, yet loved each other intensely, bound by years of companionship.

Although all are now deceased save one, growing up around these amazing women became the inspiration for my Bunco Biddies Mysteries, twelve active senior citizens living in a retirement community. They play Bunco every Thursday while sharing recipes and mild gossip. When crime begins to encroach their small town of Alamoville, Janie, the widow of a renown Austin detective, decides they can help the struggling police department solve crimes—much to the chagrin of her son-in-law, Blake, who has recently become Chief Detective.

Threes, Sixes, & Thieves is the third one in the series. It released last December and is actually based on an experience I had as a church secretary. We were on lockdown for six hours as swarms of police conducted a manhunt for a person who’d shot a patrol officer. Our church became their command center. Of course I had to write about it!

When thieves begin to burgle residences with only three and sixes in the address, Janie detects a pattern and enlists the Bunco Biddies to stake out the one she thinks may be next. They call it in, and after a scuffle of gunshots, one escapes. The manhunt begins. When no one can locate the arresting officer later, she suspects something dicey.

The first, Dumpster Dicing, won Best Cozy 2017 by the Texas Association of Authors, and is about the newest resident, a grouchy old man who didn’t get along with anyone, ending up dead in the community dumpster. Did he unpack too much of his dicey past?

The second, Baby Bunco, involves an abandoned newborn in a vacant condo’s bathtub. Since no one has heard from the Lord that they will have children in their old age like Sarai, the Biddies suspect this could be the birth of a new crime wave.

The fourth one, Til Dice Do Us Part, releases later this summer, if all goes well with the publishing house, Pelican Book Group.

I am also under contract with Write Integrity Press for a new mystery series called The Relatively Seeking Mysteries. Don’t you love that title? The Editor in Chief’s teenage daughter came up with it. The three books will revolve around three thirty year old friends who begin to delve into genealogies and discover a few skeletons others want kept in the ancestral closets. The first, One Leaf Too Many, is scheduled to launch in November, 2018.


Besides writing mysteries, I am also a digital missionary. That means I write, and mostly edit, devotional and inspirational articles for the internet branch of Campus Crusades. The two websites, TheLife.com (faith-based) and IssuesIFace.com, (more secularized because we believe Jesus meets us in the middle of our messes), generated over 14 million clicks in 2017 alone. Over 550,000 worldwide internet viewers were exposed to the Gospel. Many persecuted Christians use the sites as their main contact with other believers.  IIF is now being translated into Spanish, French, Hindi and Arabic, and our prayer is to add seven more languages in the next five years. Working with translators, we are also seeking mentors in those languages, as well as English, to communicate online with people who read our articles and want to find out more about the Christian life. My own blog, Where Did You Find God Today, has readership in over fifty countries.

Julie Cosgrove

When I am not editing or writing, I cozy up on my sofa with my two housecats and read, watch clean mysteries on TV, or play word games with friends. I also conduct women’s and writers’ workshops.

For more information on my books and my ministry, go to www.juliebcosgrove.com.

My books, including my romance novellas, suspense, and contemporary women’s novels are available on Amazon.  https://www.amazon.com/Julie-B-Cosgrove/e/B0078N9F80/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1523491464&sr=1-2-ent

 

Successful Marketing of a Collaborative Work

By Jennifer Hallmark

**Previously published on the Seriously Write Blog.

Congratulations! You’ve been asked to join a book compilation. Maybe a friend needs your short story that’s been sitting stagnant in that file folder for a short story collaboration. Or perhaps you’ve been asked to write a novella to go with a series on, let’s say romantic suspense. Or maybe like me, you’ve been asked to contribute to a book with nine other authors, each adding her style and character to make the story unique.

One nagging fear floats in the back of your mind, keeping you from sending that email with a resounding “Yes, I’ll do it.”

Marketing.

To many, marketing is the hardest part of being a writer, whether you write novels, articles, or blog. The thoughts of marketing a book that’s not totally yours can seem daunting. It can, however, be done and actually even be enjoyable.

Yes, I said enjoyable.

Let’s take Unlikely Merger, the third book compilation I’d been privileged to take part in. Here’s the blurb:

No longer needed as her father’s nurse, Mercy Lacewell attempts to step into his shoes at his acquisitions firm. That means travel, engaging strangers, and making final decisions—nothing she feels equipped to do. If her best friend has her way, Mercy will simply marry one of the single, available men she meets, but they overwhelm her. So handsome and kind. And so many. Even if she felt obliged, how could she ever choose?

Should she shove all attraction aside and focus on her father’s business, or is God warming her heart with the possibility of forever?

It proved to be a great story. How could ten women and a publisher work together to make Unlikely Merger successful? The key was simple.

Teamwork.

Tracy Ruckman, former publisher at Write Integrity Press, said it like this:

“During our collaborative projects, we stress the importance of cross-promotion. Collaborations give authors a chance to focus their marketing on each other instead of themselves, and their efforts benefit everyone involved.”

It’s the golden rule of book compilations.

Or as it says in Matthew 7:12 in the Message Bible: “Here is a simple, rule-of-thumb guide for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them…”

Our contributors invited each other to write blog posts. We shared each author’s social media updates: Facebook posts, tweets, Google plus, and more. We belonged to a closed Facebook group where we encouraged each other, shared prayer requests, and talked about the book.

In short, we esteemed one another better than ourselves. At the end of the day, each person was lifted up and everyone had a good time. Best of all, marketing had become a learning experience that we can carry to our next project.

Which for me was another compilation called Not Alone: A Literary and Spiritual Companion for those Confronted with Infertility and Miscarriage, which released in December of 2015.

It proved to be another opportunity to enjoy marketing. With a team.

The secret of significant and successful marketing.

Click to tweet: The key to significant and successful collaborative book marketing is none other than the Golden Rule. #kindness #marketing

Writing Prompt: Allie stared at the email. They wanted her to write a romance novella for a box set? Did they not realize her love life was…

Springtime and Winners

Spring has arrived! Well, it’s still chilly here and there’s snow in other parts of the country but it’s supposed to be spring. :) Here, at the new Inspired Prompt Blog, we have more winners…

Kimberly Rose Johnson offered an e-copy of The Reluctant Groom to one blessed commenter. Its been won by Kathy Houser. Congrats!

Caryl Kane has been picked to win a print copy of Carrie Turansky‘s latest novel, Across the Blue.  Congratulations!

Readers, Dee Dee Chumley is giving an e-book of Some Form of Grace to Rory Lemond 

THANK YOU to all our faithful readers for taking the time to stop by and comment.

And continue to leave comments while you wait to see if you might be our next winner!

Research on the Road – the Hideout Guest Ranch in Shell, Wyoming

By June Foster

My husband and I have traveled in our RV off and on for the last fifteen years. Beginning in 2010, I sensed the Lord calling me to write Christian fiction. I soon discovered traveling and writing fiction are best buddies. Every destination offers a setting for a book—one where I’ve actually walked the streets or roamed the countryside.

Last summer, I had the privilege of experiencing the most intriguing research on the road ever. We parked at Shell Campground in Wyoming at the base of the Big Horn Mountains for the entire summer. And most exciting, a very expensive, upscale guest ranch only a few miles away provided ample information.

So, the setting of my WIP is a Wyoming ranch I call Sunlight Peaks. The book, A Home For Fritz, will be out in May.

The owner of the exclusive guest ranch, The Hideout, was congenial and took me around the entire ranch in his open-air Jeep. (I’m glad I didn’t have to pay for a week’s stay at $3500.) I saw fields where his horses grazed, the barns and corral, the main complex that housed the elegant dining room and ranch offices, and guest quarters. He graciously showed me inside one of the guest rooms where, of course, my heroine stays during her visit.

But my research didn’t end there. I asked permission to interview the wranglers, which the owner granted. Since my hero is a wrangler, the chats were invaluable. I asked questions like: what do you like the most about your job? The least? Does management allow you to fraternize with the guests? Can you have a dog? Lots of others that related to the story.

Really exhilarating was the opportunity to visit the Big Horn Mountains. The entrance was only a five mile drive from the campground. In one of the mountain ranges is what the locals call the eye of the needle. It’s an opening in the rock which if you are at the pull-off on the mountain road at sunset, you have an exquisite view. Thus, I called my guest ranch Sunlight Peaks Guest Ranch. My hero and heroine fall in love as they witness the eye at sunset.

While in Wyoming, we attended a church in Greybull and got to know many of the locals. This was research in the sense that I based some of the characters on these delightful people. Not to mention the owners of the Shell Campground where we stayed.

The bottom line is: research on the road is the best, most effective type for an author. I lived the Wyoming life for three amazing months in 2017.

Click to tweet: June Foster: I soon discovered traveling and writing fiction are best buddies. #research #romance

Writing Prompt: Jed kicked at the dirt clod by his boot. Crazy woman. She’d be his or…


An award-winning author, June Foster is a retired teacher with a BA in education and MA in counseling. Her characters find themselves in tough situations but overcome through God’s power and the Word.

She writes edgy topics wrapped in a good story. To date, she’s seen sixteen contemporary romances and several short stories published. Find June online at junefoster.com.


June’s newest novel, A Home For Fritz, won’t release until May so she agreed to share with us a few of her newer books. 🙂

Letting Go

When Pastor Zack Lawrence loses his wife and unborn child, he can’t find the motivation to minister at his church in Oak Mountain, Alabama. Though Ell Russell has loved Zack since they were kids, she must abandon any hope for a life with him. Can Zack find love again or will he shred Ella’s heart once more?

Buy link: http://tinyurl.com/ybqmnc2v

 

Prescription for Romance

Though Scott Townsend made a commitment to the Lord, he can’t relinquish bitterness toward his younger brother after he squanders their parents’ money. When a beautiful, young pharmacist seeks affirmation and challenges Scott’s values, he must uphold his upbringing.   

Buy link:  http://tinyurl.com/y8jtqvuw 

Abide With Me by Shellie Arnold

Today we’d like to welcome author, Shellie Arnold, to the blog. Her latest book in The Barn Church series, Abide With Me, is a great Southern fiction read. But I’ll let her tell you a little more about herself and her book..

Glad you could join us, Shellie. Do you have any interesting writing rituals?

Shellie: For many years I struggled to write anywhere except at home in my office, when my family was gone. I think my “mommy” brain simply wouldn’t let me concentrate except under those conditions. Then I trained myself to use music as a device to create my writing “environment.” Now, I have a sort of Pavlovian reflex to a few different soundtracks—not kidding. A couple of worship albums, the soundtrack from the movie Solaris, and Islands: Essential Einaudi CD by Ludovico Einaudi. (I love Einaudi’s piano music) With my earbuds in, I can write almost anywhere. 🙂 I always start with worship music to get my heart and mind and spirit in the right place, then usually switch after about twenty minutes.

What are your books about?

Shellie: I write and speak about marriage issues. My passion is sharing everything I’ve learned the hard way about marriage. I want to support and give hope to marriages. My novels are about the “perfect storms” in marriage: what happens when my weaknesses hit yours head-on, and we’re both left wondering if anything can be salvaged.

Abide With Me is the third novel in my Barn Church series. Books one and two are: The Spindle Chair and Sticks and Stones. For this series, I created a fictional town in southern Alabama. In this small town is a church that’s a renovated barn. Each book in the series looks at a different marriage within that church body. I focus on one problem that can be present in a marriage—always an issue I’ve encountered or am still facing—and go deep into why the couple is where they are, and what God is trying to do in them and in their marriage.

Abide With Me is the story of Angelina and Nicholas Rousseau. They’ve been married ten years, they’re both believers, and their marriage is a disaster. Using both points of view, I look at what brought them to this place of unhappiness and discontentment.

What is your favorite part of the book?

Shellie: That’s a tough question! My favorite part of this book…well, without giving away the storyline, I think I have two favorite parts. The first would be the opening scene when Angelina attends a friend’s wedding in Las Vegas. Her heart and emotions have been so suppressed, so controlled, she’s unable to handle so much “happy” around her, even though she’s happy for her friend, the bride. Angie even stuns herself with her reaction, and I really like that image—the idea a wife’s yearnings are such a powerful force.

My second (and equally) favorite part would be when Nicholas is in jail, waiting in an interview room to speak again with his attorney, and he’s just seen Angelina for the first time in months. I take him to a really low place. He “hits bottom,” if you will, which is sometimes what it takes to get our attention, isn’t it? I really enjoyed writing how he begins to see not only the condition of his marriage, but what he contributed to its dysfunction.

Is there a message in your book you hope readers will grasp?

Shellie: Yes! Honestly, I thought this book would be first in the series, but God had other ideas. Abide With Me is the message of my heart, the message I wish I could say to every marriage. That every time we say no to God, we’re saying no to our mate and our marriage. That’s a tough truth. One God has been teaching me for almost thirty-two years now. But I think it’s the bottom line, the litmus test for every action and decision in marriage: Is my behavior righteous? Am I doing what God wants me to do?

In our everyday lives, I think it’s easy to overlook our mate, or demand our own way, to withhold forgiveness, to hold a grudge—even without realizing. I wanted to highlight how easy that is to do, and what the consequences would ultimately be for two people who were extremely in love when they married, but ten years later have almost nothing to show for their marriage. I also wanted to show how God can redeem that marriage, or any marriage. I truly believe God can redeem, heal, and restore anything—I’m living proof of that. I believe any marriage can thrive when both parties listen to God.

Where can readers find you online?

Shellie: My web site: www.shelliearnold.com (find my blog, FREE e-cards gallery, sign up for my newsletter, view my events page, and learn of new products and teachings soon to be available on DVD)

Find me: Facebook, Your Marriage Resources, Twitter, Youtube: Your Marriage resources, Pinterest,

Link to purchase on Amazon: https://tinyurl.com/yad6j9ak


Abide With Me

After ten years of marriage to the only man she’s ever loved, why is Angelina so unhappy?

Angelina Rousseau pours all her emotions into her paintings. When she meets a handsome stranger at a friend’s wedding in Las Vegas, she believes she’s discovered why she’s so lonely—she simply married the wrong man. 

Nicholas Rousseau is a highly successful industrial engineer and has the Midas touch with his investments. Only in his marriage is he a failure. 

When Nick is arrested for real estate fraud, Angelina is as uncertain of his innocence as she is certain she should end their marriage. But the authorities believe Angelina is as guilty as Nick. To protect her own future, she must return to the opulent home she abandoned and sell her cherished possessions to finance Nick’s defense. Nick desires to reconnect with his estranged wife, but examining their emotionally bankrupt marriage proves more difficult than he imagined. And, even if they discover what went wrong between them, Nick could still spend the rest of his life in prison. 

Could “having it all” cost Nick and Angie more than they ever imagined? 


Shellie Arnold is a writer and speaker on marriage and family. She truly believes—despite baggage, neglect, or mistakes—if a husband and wife listen to God, they can live happily even after. Her passion is sharing how God is helping her do exactly that. She maintains a blog at www.shelliearnold.com and is the founder of YOUR MARRIAGE resources. Shellie is a mother of three and has home schooled for over twenty years. She lives in Ohio with her husband of thirty-one years.