Freelance Writing: Book Compilations

By Jennifer Hallmark

Book compilations. Freelance writing. Can the two be combined? Isn’t a compilation a bunch of novellas yoked together?


A compilation is, in simpliest terms, a gathering or compiling of different items to produce a finished product. So, yes, a book compilation can be several novellas that fit together. Christmas and romance compilations are very popular.

But I’ve been part of four compilations that did not fit the novella template. The first I was part of, gathered by Tracy Ruckman, then of Write Integrity Press, was a novella called A Dozen Apologies. I was asked to contribute a chapter to the work which consisted of one novella. Later, Tracy asked me to contribute a chapter to another novella, Unlikely Merger.

I also took part in a short story compilation, Sweet Freedom A La Mode, compiled by Jennifer Slattery. She added two of my short stories to the compilation which centered around the Fourth of July.

Lastly, I contributed an essay to the non-fiction book, Not Alone: A Literary & Spiritual Companion for Those Confronted with Infertility & Miscarriage, edited by Jessica Snell. I shared my difficult journey of a miscarriage that I hoped would help others dealing with this type of tragedy.

Four compilations. Four different works that had different contracts, expectations, and three different editors and publishers. But since a freelance writer is a writer who is self-employed, writing for book compilations is a good way to supplement your income. If you are prolific, you can make a living at it. Or at least make a little money while you write the next Great American Novel.

I love being part of a book compilation because the writing was fun and I enjoyed working with different editors and people who also took part in the work. It was a great learning experience for me and proved to be helpful as I prepare to launch my first novel next June.

I asked some of my friends the same question and they said:

I love being part of a book compilation because…

Julie Arduini: “I love being part of a book compilation because it allows the opportunity to work with some of my favorite authors. Before I started writing to publish, I was a voracious reader. The authors are talented and writing with them made me want to stretch and grow in my craft. Readers also are able to enjoy the creativity that evolves when the compilation has a theme, like A Christmas to Remember. The authors take that one premise and write. Not one story is the same, and yet they are sewn together by the theme. Mixing the authors and theme together creates a beautiful tapestry that I pray is a gift to readers when they open our compilation.”

Find Julie’s book at Amazon.

Eva Marie Everson: There is the challenge–and as an author I love challenges–to writer tighter than usual. I cannot tell my story in 100,000 words. Or even 85,000. I have 20-25,000 words to draw readers in, keep them in, and take them to a satisfying conclusion. A Southern Season was my first attempt at this. Much harder than I thought, but incredibly satisfying when I was done. And I got to work with great authors like Claire Fullerton, Ane Mulligan, and Linda W. Yezak!

Find Eva Marie’s book at Amazon.

Claire Fullerton: Being a contributor to a book compilation gives the great gift of camaraderie to a writer. There is supportive resonance in group association, and I find the act of being a team-player rife with motivation. I was recently invited to be a contributor to a compilation of four novellas, in a book titled A Southern Season (Firefly Southern Fiction.) Four authors contributed to this book, with the only guidelines being that each novella was to be set in the South, during one of the four seasons. I chose the autumn, and felt as I wrote my novella that I was upholding my end of what would be a book comprised of a year’s full cycle. Because autumn is a month I associate with decline, I chose to set my novella at a Memphis funeral, replete with bouts of nostalgia, Southern customs, and social mores. Though I have been given the proof, intentionally I have not read the contributions of the three other authors who contributed to the book. I am waiting until the November 1st release of A Southern Season, and am looking forward to reading its entirety, with the satisfaction that will come from being a part of this compilation.

Find Claire’s book at Amazon.

Ginger Solomon: “I feel blessed to join with other authors in group sets because we all write with similar goals in mind, glorifying God in our writing and blessing our readers with clean stories. And it’s a great opportunity for readers to find out if they like what I write while getting other great books to read at the same time.”

Find Ginger’s book at Amazon.

Elizabeth Maddrey: “I love being part of a book compilation because it’s a great chance to be introduced to new readers who are fans of author friends but who are new to me.”

Find Elizabeth’s book at Amazon.
Linda Yezak: I love being in a compilation because it affords me the opportunity to write in genres other than my brand. I get a kick out of it. In November this year, my novella Ice Melts in Spring will be released from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolina’s Firefly imprint. This is my first purely Christian Women’s Fiction novella, meaning that if you take the Christian theme out, the story will crumble. In August of 2018, my first historical romance novella, Loving a Harvey Girl, will be released through LPC’s Smitten imprint. Ordinarily, I write contemporary “cowboy” romance, so going off track is fun!
Find Linda’s compilation book at Amazon.

3 Questions Wednesday with Betty Thomason Owens

Betty Thomason Owens

It’s been about a year since I last interviewed myself on 3QW, so I figure it’s about time to invite myself back. Especially, since I’ve recently released a new book.

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m one of the founders of this blog. So I’ve been around for a while. I’m an elder, sort of. So, on to the questions–

Can you describe yourself in three words?

Betty: Harder than expected! Who made up these questions?

You know who came up with this one. Her initials are BTO. Surely you have three words? Aren’t you a writer?

Betty: Quiet. Encourager. Silly.

Those don’t really go together, do they? But I’ll take them. Now, second question–

Someone offers you a fully-paid writing research trip to any place you desire to go. Where would it be and why?

Betty: Oh, this one’s easy. No, wait. My first thought was to spend a summer in the Puget Sound and research my mother’s family. I’ve been there, briefly, but to spend weeks there, really getting to know it—that stirs my imagination. However, if I had to choose another country, I’d research the other side of the family—in Scotland. Or maybe just throw caution to the wind and head to Greece, or Italy. I have a long list, actually.

That’s okay. We’ll pass on the list. Now, here’s the one I think is most difficult:

If someone made a movie of your life, what would be the theme song?

Betty: No Longer Slaves…no longer a slave to fear—I am a child of God, who drowned my fear in perfect love. Because of Him, I’m sure of who I am and more certain of my calling. Sometimes I start my day singing that song. I usually can’t remember anything beyond the first stanza, but it doesn’t matter, I sing it anyway.

Have you ever been a winner? You know that overwhelming sensation that everything is right with the world? Sometimes, it only lasts a minute. But one day, it will last forever. I’m no longer a slave to fear and oppression and my own lack of self-worth.

Preach it, Sister! That’s actually a good choice. I remember you when you were afraid to make eye contact with people. God’s been good to us, hasn’t He?

Betty: Yes, He has.

So, tell us a little about the book you’re giving away to one of our readers—why you wrote it, and what you hope readers will take away from the story.

Betty: It’s the final book in the Legacy series, Rebecca’s Legacy. I wrote it because I was under contract to write three books. OK, that may be why I sat down to write this novel, but almost from her birth in book one (Amelia’s Legacy), I wanted to tell Amy Juliana’s story. She had a rough start in life. Maybe that’s the reason she felt the need to work so hard to please others.

I hope and pray my readers will sense and know the heart of this story. As I wrote some of the scenes, I focused on the prodigal’s return, that overwhelming sensation of love and forgiveness. Unbelievable, sometimes, that we can be forgiven, even though we don’t deserve forgiveness. It’s the Grace of God, given freely to those who believe.

Click to Tweet: This week’s 3 Questions Wednesday guest is author Betty Thomason Owens. Comment on the blog post to win a copy of her #NewRelease – #historicalromance Rebecca’s Legacy, final book in the Legacy series. U.S. addresses only, please!

Rebecca’s Legacy, Book 3, Legacy Series

What will it take to teach a spoiled heiress that the greatest legacy is love?

Nancy and Robert Emerson’s daughter Amy Juliana is doing her best to follow in Mom’s rebellious footsteps.

Her desperate attempt to escape Dad’s control comes at the worst possible time. A threat against their family and Sanderson Industries has Robert Emerson taking extra steps to guarantee his family’s safety. He sends Amy, an heiress and a debutante, to the country to work on a produce farm run by Aunt Rebecca. Humiliated and angry, Amy contemplates a path that will lead her even farther from home, away from Dad’s protection.

Will Aunt Rebecca’s quiet strength and unconditional love be enough to still the prodigal daughter’s rebellious ways, and open her heart to the plight of others around her?

Matt Wordsworth is the man Robert calls upon to help keep his daughter in line. She thinks the guy is an old fuddy-duddy. By the time her ideas about him begin to change, it may be too late. When an old friend tests her loyalty, she is forced to face her past to overcome a guilty conscience. But, is she playing into the hands of the enemy?

Betty Thomason Owens is an award-winning writer of historical fiction, contemporary fiction, and fantasy-adventure. She’s an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), where she leads a critique group, and is V.P./Secretary of the Louisville area ACFW group. She’s also a speaker, a mentor assisting other writers, co-founder of a blog dedicated to inspiring writers, and serves on the planning committee for the Kentucky Christian Writers Conference.

Her writing credits include the Legacy Series, and the southern historical Kinsman Redeemer Series (Book 1, Annabelle’s Ruth, is a 2015 Grace Award winner, and has recently been translated into Spanish). She has two fantasy-adventure novels, The Lady of the Haven and A Gathering of Eagles, in a second edition published by Sign of the Whale BooksTM, an imprint of Olivia Kimbrell PressTM.

When she’s not writing, Owens is a part-time bookkeeper, who loves to travel and spend time with her family.

Betty would like to invite you to her Facebook author page, Twitter, GoodReads, Pinterest, Instagram, Amazon Author Page. And she posts weekly on her blog, Hello, Thursday Morning, found at

Julie B. Cosgrove’s The Bunco Biddies Keep Sleuthing


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, (faith-based) and, (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

My books, including my romance novellas, suspense, and contemporary women’s novels are available on Amazon.


3 Questions Wednesday with Marji Laine

Happy Wednesday! It’s my pleasure to welcome author and publisher, Marji Laine, to Inspired Prompt.

Good morning, Marji. Can you describe yourself in 3 words?

 Marji: Young-at-heart – an elementary spirit in a nearing senior body. Computerific – I can usually make it do what I want, if it’s working at all. Laughing – if I can’t laugh at myself, I’m missing out on some fun!

Sounds like you’d be a fun person to hang out with. 🙂 Next question…

Someone offers you a fully-paid writing research trip to any place you desire to go. Where would it be and why?

Marji: I feel like I got that last summer when my kids sent hubby and me on an Alaskan cruise. But for research, I would want to visit castles in Europe. I’d be torn between the beauty of Germany or my personal ancestry in Scotland, but I think I’d lean toward the Scottish highlands. And I’d be ready to dabble a bit in some historical romances!

Castle visiting would be so cool. Last question: 

If someone made a movie of your life, what would be the theme song?

Marji: Canon in D. Starts out so simple and gets more and more complicated (and full and beautiful) as the song goes on. Yeah, that’s pretty much been my life!

So pretty. Marji, thank you so much for taking the time to visit with us here at Inspired Prompt.

Readers, Marji is offering an e-copy  of her book, Ain’t Misbehaving to one commenter.

Click to tweet: Author and publisher Marji Laine is our guest today on 3 Questions Wednesday @InspiredPrompt #interview #giveaway

Ain’t Misbehaving

Annalee Chambers: Poised, wealthy, socially elite.

Annalee Chambers floated through life in a pampered, crystal bubble until she smashed it with a single word. Dealing with the repercussions of that word might break her, ruin her family, and land her in jail.

True, Annalee’s crime amounted to very little, but not in terms of community service hours. Her probation officer encouraged her with a promise of an easy job in an air-conditioned downtown environment. She didn’t expect her role to be little better than a janitor at an after-school daycare in the worst area of town. Through laughter and a few tears, Annalee finds out that some lessons are learned the hard way, and some seep into the soul unnoticed.

Carlton Whelen hides behind the nickname of CJ so people won’t treat him like the wealthy son of the Whelen Foundation director. Working at the foundation’s after-school program delights him and annoys his business-oriented father. When a gorgeous prima donna is assigned to his team, he not only cringes at her mistakes but also has to avoid the attraction that builds from the first time he sees her.

AIN’T MISBEHAVING encourages acceptance:
•Of things that can’t be changed.
•Of people who are different.
•Of lessons learned.
•Of oneself.

What can a bunch of downtown kids teach a Texas princess?

Marji Laine is a“graduated” homeschooling mom of four who is grateful to her twins for not forcing her into the empty nest season just yet. She now spends more time in her role as executive editor for Write Integrity Press than she does crafting her own stories, but she loves both jobs.

When she’s not wearing the publishing hat, she directs a children’s choir, teaches 10th grade girls Sunday school, and sings in the adult choir at her church. She also leads a high school and college weekly Bible study and has a monthly radio talk show.

She and her husband of 30 years live in a suburb on the north side of Dallas with their twins and their own version of Hank the cow dog, a rescue mutt that rides herd on the entire household. Marji prefers mountains to beaches, dogs to cats, Alaska to the Caribbean, entrees to dessert, and white roses to most any other flower. Her favorites include “Live PD,” the Hallmark channel, Hand and Foot Canasta, NASCAR, and worship music.

You can learn more about Marji and her books at her author pages on and and her website,

3 Questions Wednesday with Deborah Dee Harper

Welcome to 3 Questions Wednesday!

Deborah Dee Harper

Deborah Dee Harper writes “humorous and inspirational books for both children and adults.” She says that God has given us “a sense of humor with which to appreciate those aspects of human behavior we can’t quite explain any other way.” So, with that in mind, let’s see how she answers our 3 questions.

Question: What inspires you?

Deborah: This is not a particularly unique answer, but nature inspires me. I am awed at the beauty and diversity of what God has created for us. There are many places on earth where man has never stepped, yet there are so many beautiful things in those places—grass, flowers, waterfalls, streams, wildlife, etc. Even though He knows no one will ever venture to those areas, He still provides the precious flora and fauna, water sources, and geographical elements to take our breath away. Perhaps it’s for His own Glory that He does this. I hope so.

I’m also inspired by music. Listening to Christian music gets my blood pumping and never fails to motivate me to write for His Glory.

It may not be unique, but it’s still a good answer. Nature has a way of reflecting God’s glory–His word often uses natural images to reveal deep truths.

Just for fun–You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be and why?

Deborah: I’d be a bright yellow. For one thing, I love yellow, but in addition I like the connotation it holds—light, the sun, bright and beautiful flowers, lemons, and all other sorts of cheerful and hopeful associations. I like to bring light and humor and inspiration to my readers through lots of humor, and I associate yellow with all of those writing elements.

I’m not really surprised by your answer–lovers of the color yellow are generally in a good mood most of the time, and display a wonderful sense of humor. They are often shrewd, intellectual. 

Final Question–As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Deborah: As a child, I wanted to be a “stewardess,” the term used back then for flight attendants. I decided I’d work for PanAm airlines, now defunct, and fly exclusively to Italy. There I’d immerse myself in the beauty and culture of Italy while waiting for my next trip home. I even thought about taking lessons in Italian, but once I figured out I wasn’t going to find a tutor in our small town, and that PamAm wouldn’t guarantee me exclusive rights to an Italy run all the time (seniority and all that), I gradually lost interest. It’s a good thing, too, because I’m not fond of flying, hate crossing big bodies of water, and I’m not that crazy about heights!

It would’ve been fun, though, had it worked out and had you not been afraid of those things. Lol! Thank you, Deborah Dee Harper,  for visiting 3 Questions Wednesday.

Readers, here’s more about Deborah and her books–

Deborah Dee Harper currently resides with her daughter and granddaughter in Alaska, where she writes inspiration and humorous books for both children and adults and takes thousands of photographs. When she isn’t writing or taking photos, she stalks moose and other wildlife, survives earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, endures the long, dark, frigid winters, revels in the endless summer days, and is awestruck by the rippling northern lights of the Alaskan night skies. She also leaps mountains in a single bound and wrestles grizzly bears along hiking trails. (Not really. Just making sure you were paying attention.) Whenever she can, she loves being with her daughter, son-in-law, and three grandsons in Kentucky, and her son, daughter-in-law, and two more grandsons in Michigan. (For real.)

Click to Tweet: Find out how author Deborah Dee Harper answered our 3 Questions!

Heaven help the president!

What would you do if you discovered, by accident, no less, that the President of the United States was attending your daughter’s wedding in less than two weeks?

Panic. You’d panic, I tell you.

That’s what the parents of the bride, Pastor Hugh Foster and his wife Melanie did. Add in a severe storm, crazy senior citizens who believe the POTUS lied his way into office, a crumbling, but historic church you happen to pastor, a cranky Secret Service agent, a four-year-old grandchild-to-be you know nothing about, and a son-in-law-to-be whose faith in the Lord has waned, and well … you’ve got yourself a humdinger of a wedding. Not to mention that that same future son-in-law is a University of Michigan Wolverines fan (gasp! … not a Michigan State Spartan fan) and prefers sweet tea for unsweetened. My gosh, what is the world coming to?