Thursday, February 14, 2013

Guest Blogger: Lorna Collins, Author of Sweet Romance Anthologies

It came to me in the middle of the night, as so many creative ideas do. I awoke with the idea of a book about four sisters. As children, they are each given a special snowflake by their great-aunt along with a poem about how special they are. In the body of the book, the sisters tell their own stories of how their snowflakes changed their lives. At the end, they reunite and share their experiences with each other.

Since sleep eluded me, I got up, went to the computer, and wrote the book’s prologue.

I knew I wanted to write one of the novellas that would make up the heart of the book, but I also thought it might be more interesting with three different writers for the others.

My first thought was my friend Sherry Derr-Wille. We’d met at a conference the year before. I’d read a couple of her books and knew that her style would work well for what I had in mind. I emailed the prologue to her, and she was excited about the concept. Since she had first choice of the sisters, she chose the youngest, Carole.

She said she would talk to another friend of hers whom I’d met at the same conference, but this person became very ill and couldn’t take part.

I next contacted Christie Shary, who was a member of our writing group. She’d just finished a novel and was willing to contribute. She chose the number two sister, Sonata.

I decided I’d take the oldest sister, Allegra, but that still left the third sister, Melody.

Another author from our writing group at first agreed to do that one, but shortly afterward decided she didn’t have the time. Yet another group member, Luanna Rugh, overheard us talking and asked about the project. By the end of our conversation, she had not only agreed to take Melody but had plotted her novella completely.

Our first book, Snowflake Secrets was accepted by Whiskey Creek Press even before it was finished because the owner of the company loves anthologies. It was a finalist for the Dream Realm and Eric Hoffer Awards.

We decided to do a second, Seasons of Love, this time without the through-story. This is the only one of our books written in third person. The novellas each have a different seasonal theme. My own, “Winter’s Song,” is based on a true story.

We discussed writing another and agreed we preferred related stories told in the first-person voices of the characters. Directions of Love is about four friends who grew up together. Then each moves away in a different geographical direction. They return to their home town for their twentieth high school reunion. This book won the EPIC eBook Award for best romance anthology of 2011.

We were on a roll and really enjoyed doing these, so I suggested a Christmas book. We added debut author, Cheryl Gardarian for An Aspen Grove Christmas, published in December of 2010.

Our latest anthology, The Art of Love, will be published in September of 2013. We’re currently working on two more.

As the setting for our books, we created the fictional town of Aspen Grove, Colorado. It was inspired by several of the small mining towns in the mountains outside of Denver. By now, the town has become so familiar we feel as though we could visit there. Several of our readers have told us they’d like to do the same.

Our special collaborative effort has been very rewarding for all of us. We chose sweet romance because that’s what we all like to read. Throughout the series, we’ve recycled local businesses and characters. Many reappear in subsequent books. They’ve taken on lives of their own.

If you’re looking for a sweet romantic read this Valentine’s Day, why not pick up one of ours?

Lorna Collins was raised in Alhambra, California and attended California State University at Los Angeles where she majored in English.

Between 1998 and 2001, she worked in Osaka, Japan on the Universal Studios theme park with her husband, Larry. Their memoir of that experience, 31 Months in Japan: The Building of a Theme Park was a 2006 EPPIE finalist and named as one of Rebeccas Reads Best Nonfiction books of 2005.

Their mysteries, Murder…They Wrote and Murder in Paradise were published by Whiskey Creek Press in ebook and paperback formats. They plan several more in this series.
In addition to the five romance anthologies, Lorna has written and a fantasy/mystery/romance called Ghost Writer, published by Oak Tree Press.

All their books are available from the publishers, on Amazon, Kindle, Barnes & Noble, Nook, their website (, and other online book outlets. Follow Lorna’s blog at And follow her on Twitter @LornaCollins.

Lorna & Larry now reside in Dana Point, CA where Larry enjoys surfing nearly every day and Lorna spends time with family and friends. They have several more books in the queue.


Unknown said...

I am very big fan of romantic comics and books. I love it. Thanks for a very interesting sharing.

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Cheryl said...

Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate it.