It’s hard to believe, but last month I turned in my first manuscript to my publisher for editing. As always, God’s timing is perfect. I turned in my manuscript on a Wednesday and that Friday, my mother-in-law ended up in the hospital. It’s been a few whirlwind weeks of tests without answers and lots of appointments. She is doing okay, but every day is different. Most days she can care for herself, but then there are days that she needs help with even walking.
Before all this happened it was my goal to have a short story written and edited for my newsletter subscribers and the draft of my second book 3/4 of the way done before edits on my first book came back. I’m happy to announce that I have met at least ONE of those goals (though I am a good way closer to my second book goal than before all this happened). I even created a cover, which is substantially better than the cover I designed for the deleted chapter. Without further ado, here is the cover and blurb for my short story:
Banking on Love
She expected to save her brother, not rob a bank.
When Eunice Reed discovers her younger brother has been arrested for public intoxication, she travels from Cincinnati to Chicago to save him from himself. But public intoxication is the least of their problems. Irvin is tangled up with a dangerous bank robber. Will the love and ingenuity of a sister be enough to save Irvin from making the biggest mistake of his life?
This short story is exclusively for my newsletter subscribers. Not one yet? You can sign up here. My newsletter crew members are the first to know about titles, book covers, launch team member callouts, contests, and they get a monthly chance at winning a $15 Amazon gift card.
So was this post a shameless plug for my newsletter? Yep, but I put a lot of work into this 7500-word baby, and it’s one I hope you’ll enjoy.
So I’m highjacking my normal schedule and doing the last Tuesday of the month today because the news of signing a contract couldn’t wait. Here is the video if you want to watch the news as I nervously announced it on Facebook Live, or below is the transcript, minus my many ums, but still full of run-on sentences. Until I had to listen to myself to type up the transcript, I didn’t realize how much I say “and,” “so,” or “just” when talking. So forgive my inarticulate speaking. I do much better teaching than I do speaking. LOL
THANK YOU so much for supporting me and encouraging me through this journey. Not much will change for my blog posts, they will still primarily be book reviews of Historical Romance/Fiction. 🙂 If you want to join my newsletter crew, you can sign up to the right, or you can visit www.bitly.com/ccaudillwrites.
So I guess I am going live now. Hi, it’s a little nerve-wracking to be online in front of everybody but I am so excited to come before you on Facebook Live as best I can to share some amazing news of God’s grace and mercy and His blessing in my writing journey. But a wise friend told me to kill a few seconds to give people to click the Facebook Live link to kind of catch up, and I don’t want anyone to miss out on this news. I am going to try and follow comments but I’m not sure if I can. This is my first Facebook Live.
The most important thing that I want you to get from this announcement today is that God sees you, He knows your heart, and loves you anyways, and He enjoys showing you that love in ways you never expected or dreamed.
So I always have written but I never really dreamed of publication. It was something I thought was “Yeah, that would be cool one day,” but that wasn’t something I sought. God really pushed me into pursuing publication about five years ago, and as much as I would love to spend time telling you God’s grace and mercy and how He’s worked through me in that, that’s not what this announcement is about.
God is the fulfiller of promises and the giver of dreams. So it is with great joy, and awe, and gratefulness that I announce that God has seen fit to bless me with a three-book contract with Kregel Publications for my Secret Service Historical Romance Series.
This was such big news that I had to do it live as best I could. I wish you could be here and have a cup of tea, some chocolate, and really get to celebrate it with me, but I had to share. This writing journey has just been filled with so many twists and turns, ups and downs, and guys you are the ones who have been there supporting me and encouraging me, and I just want to say thank you. This writing journey would not have been what it is without you. I just want to say thank you so so much.
It’s my humble prayer that you will be blessed by these stories as I have been. This is a long publication process. So the first book won’t actually come out until early 2022, even though my first manuscript is due October 15th of this year. But between now and then, there is going to be title reveals, cover reveals, call for launch team members, contests, and just any way I can get interactive with you, get to know you, and get you excited about this story as much as I am.
My newsletter subscribers are the first people to find anything out so there are quite a few of you out there that already knew this news. But if you want to join my newsletter and be in the loop and see all those things first hand, I will pop that link down in my comments here in a little bit.
But you probably want to know a little bit about the series. So I’m a huge fan of stories that have danger, history, love, hope, and that’s exactly like the type of story that I write. The series that I’ve been contracted to publish is about the Secret Service during the 1880’s. It focuses on three particular Secret Service operatives, and this was the era before they protected the president.
The Secret Service has an amazing history that is just so fascinating, and I won’t go into all the details and bore you, I promise I won’t. I could spend hours on it, but during the time of my story, they were focused on hunting down counterfeiters and arresting them. I read some amazing first-hand accounts by those operatives from that time period. I can’t wait to share some of those stories that have been inspired by that. And especially the women that I threw into their lives. Because I’m cruel and I’m evil, and I like it.
Life isn’t easy and I certainly don’t make it easy for my characters, and I just hope through their experiences and through the story that you read that you will have some excitement and entertainment, but that you also see how God will work through our lives in the good times and the bad times, and the really really bad times. God is always there and His hope is always there, and so that’s the underlying theme of the Secret Service series.
But before I sign off, I do want to share with you the Bible verses that have been the guide for my writing journey. And it comes from 1 Peter 4:10 -11 and it says: “Based on the gift each one has received, use it to serve others, as good managers of the varied grace of God. If anyone speaks, it should be as one who speaks God’s words; if anyone serves, it should be from the strength that God provides, so that God may be glorified through Jesus Christ in everything. To Him belong the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.”
It is only through God’s grace and mercy that I’ve been given this opportunity. I pray that this gift He’s given me will be something that glorifies Him today, tomorrow, and forever, and that through this writing, that you will know exactly how much He loves you.
So, thank you so much for your continued support on this writing journey. I’ll throw up the newsletter link here in the comments if you’d like to keep in the loop that way. Again, thank you so much, guys. You’ll never know exactly how much your support means to me. God bless, have a great weekend, and thank you, thank you, thank you.
I’m considering doing an every-other-month book club via my website and Facebook author page. Is this something you would be interested in?
I’ve always wanted to be part of a book club, but I’ve never had the joy of having local readers with similar tastes. I thought it would be great to get together with others who like reading Christian Historical Romance (like you!) and have our own online book club. I’m still trying to sort the idea out, but before I put too much effort into it, I wanted to have your feedback.
My current thought is to vote on a Christian Historical Romance novel, pick a day where we come together via Zoom (or just posts online) to discuss the book, play a game or two, and participate in a giveaway. I’d send discussion questions ahead of time because if you are like me, you need time to think and process. It would be an event you sign up for ahead of time and wouldn’t necessarily have to participate every time.
If I did it, I think the schedule would be January, March, May, July, September, and early November (to avoid holiday hassles).
The first one would be pretty short notice for this July, but the book options I’m thinking are:
Welcome to a new feature I’m doing this year during the last week of each month. The topics of Notes from the Author’s Desk will vary. Sometimes it will be fascinating research I’ve discovered, exciting writing updates I want to share, or just something reading related. I’ve left this open as a sort of whatever fits the needs post.
If you have questions you’d like answered, send me an email and it could become one of the topics for a Notes from the Author’s Desk. I look forward to sharing a bit of my writing world with you!
What’s in the Writing Works for 2020?
The New Year has brought a new challenge which I never thought I’d face, the writing of a Civil War novel with the potential for a series. This is not a time period I have ever really desired to write in–not because it isn’t filled with potential story ideas, but because I understand both sides of the War and felt I could never do it justice.
Kentucky has the unique history of being a border state and ending more Confederate in their leanings after the War than at the beginning of the War. It was a state who could see both sides of the argument, had their own polarized opinions, and struggled to remain politically neutral. As a (nearly) life-long Kentuckian, I’ve grown up with this unique viewpoint as the grounding for my understanding of the Civil War. Neither the North or South were villains.
To communicate this in a story, to give an honest view of the people during the Civil War which is today, still such a delicate topic, has intimidated me beyond belief. Pre-Civil War, great! Post-Civil War, you got it! But to write during that period? No thanks, never will it be on my agenda.
Pro Life Tip: Never tell God you’re never going to do something. It’s an almost guarantee He will call you to it. So here I am, researching my bottom off to gain a clear understanding of the war and all of its many facets. The Civil War is so incredibly large in scope that it is impossible to become an expert on every area, so I started wide and narrowed down to what actually ended up being my own state’s involvement with the War.
The Research and Project Focus
It wasn’t my intention, but it’s where God led me. He also led me to examine war correspondents–who were the self-proclaimed “Bohemian Brigade”; the little talked or written about laundresses of the armies; the Confederate capture of Columbus, KY; the Battle of Belmont, MO (just across the river from Columbus); and the Battles of Fort Henry and Fort Donelson.
So far I have over 60,000 words typed up in research notes. That’s the length of a small novel. That doesn’t even count the 20,000 or so words typed up for character descriptions, brainstorming, my “sloppy synopsis”, and other tools I use to help develop my story before getting to the actual draft. And all of this is since Christmas break–just over a month.
No wonder I haven’t read much in the fiction world. I HAVE read about sixteen non-fiction research books (in part and in whole) and countless online resources, with plans for a couple of research trips in the works.
It’s still too early to share much about the story, but watch for posts on the last Tuesday of the month to learn what’s going on with the project and my writing world.
What I CAN tell you is this story involves a Kentucky woman with Successionist leanings whose brother has enlisted in the Union Army. Circumstances come about to bring her to be a laundress in her brother’s company. Throw in a war correspondent, a suspicious Union officer, and conflicted loyalties and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.
I’m still hammering out details and examining plausibility for many things, but I’m excited for where God is leading this story so far. So come back each month to check out research, Civil War stories, sneak peeks at my progress, or any other news that may arise this year.
A Question (or two) for You
What part of Civil War history interests you? What do you wish you knew more about? Anything you wish you saw more of in Civil War fiction?
Do you set reading goals? or participate in reading challenges?
Last year was the first I’d ever tried, and it didn’t quite go like I anticipated. Not only did I not read all the books I’d listed here last year on my beginning of the year goal page, I read less than I wanted to in general.
When I reevaluated my reading year, I discovered I read a ton more non-fiction than I first supposed, few of which I logged into Goodreads. I also read several full-length novels for critque partners…all of which are books not yet published and so can’t be entered into Goodreads. (But let me tell y’all, there are some AMAZING stories coming out in 2020.)
So this year, instead of claiming what and how many books I’m going to read at the beginning of the year, I’m just going to give myself freedom to have an ambiguous list with a mixture of fiction, non-fiction, and not-yet-published. 🙂
I AM going to start of my 2020 TBR pile with these books on top:
1865 – Marietta Hughes never wanted to be a spy, but the family legacy of espionage is thrust upon her as the War Between the States rolls on. Unknown to her, the Knights of the Golden Circle – a Confederate secret society bent on destroying the Union her brother died for – has been meeting in a hidden lair beneath her home. Faced with the secrets of her late husband and his brother, whom she thought she could trust with anything, Marietta’s world tilts out of control. Can she right it by protecting a Union agent infiltrating the KGC?
Slade Osborne, an undercover Pinkerton agent, is determined to do whatever is necessary to end the conflict between the North and the South. When he infiltrates this secret cell, it isn’t just their inner workings that baffle him – it’s the beautiful woman who seems to be a puppet for the new leader and yet…so much more.
Do they dare trust each other in this circle of intrigue? Will their shared faith sustain them? And can Mari and Slade stymie the enemy long enough to see their beloved country reunited?
A feisty army laundress must disarm a grieving Confederate captain’s pride to win his heart. A minister’s daughter abandoned during war must rely on faith to survive. A wounded widower feels God has forsaken him. Will her devout care bring medicine to his soul or rub salt in his wounds? Ellen White is assigned to attend a debilitated artillery captain after the Battle of Second Manassas. She offers God’s strength, but Gideon Sharpe would rather rely on his own. He would prove himself devoted to his motherless infant daughters, the sort of father he never had.Ellen longs for the security of a home and to feel cherished. Can a jaded and broken man be God’s plan to fulfill her fondest hopes?
Can Love Form Amidst Tensions of War?
During the clash between Union and Confederacy, quiet Tennessean Pearl MacFarlane is compelled to nurse both Rebel and Yankee wounded who seek refuge at her family’s farm. She is determined to remain unmoved by the Yankee cause—until she faces the silent struggle of Union soldier Joshua Wheeler, a recent amputee. The MacFarlane family fits no stereotype Joshua believed in; still he is desperate to regain his footing—as a soldier, as a man, as a Christian—in the aftermath of his debilitating injury. He will use his time behind enemy lines to gather useful intelligence for the Union—if the courageous Rebel woman will stay out of the line of danger.
So be on the lookout for these reviews to come up soon!
If you noticed the Civil War theme to the books, it’s because I’m researching and writing my own Civil War novel. Remember how I said I read a lot of non-fiction? This year is no different. I’ve already read three research books for the Civil War with sixteen more on my desk as I type. I can’t wait to share more with you.
What are your reading goals and challenges this year? Are there any books I should put on my reading radar?
So I had intended to post my review of Yours Truly, Thomas this week, but God woke me up at 2:30 in the morning and wouldn’t let me go until I wrote this…and I think it will apply to everyone out there on some level.
So in case you are feeling rejected, unworthy, and unwanted, you’re not alone.
Yesterday I received a rejection on my manuscript…again. The simple answer is I only need one “Yes” to move me from “aspiring” author to “published” author, but the reality is the “No” still hurts.
And it hurts no matter what form it comes in, whether it be a rejection in a relationship, career, or long awaited goal…because deep down, we all want to be accepted and loved by our peers. I know God wants to be King of our Heart and that we should not value other’s opinion of ourselves (or our writing) above HIS opinion. But the human condition, such as it is, struggles and still hungers for the approval of others.
Maybe this is just the revelation of my sinful heart. In fact, I know it is. But the first step in changing is accepting you have a problem, and so I stand here before you saying I have a People Problem. I’m a people pleaser.
Yet, I’ve always felt like the square peg trying to fit into the round hole. Oh, everyone likes me well enough, but I never seem to quite fit in. When everyone was reading Harry Potter (I did try people) and romance novels, I was reading stories like The Three Musketeers, Treasure Island, War of the Worlds. When romance authors today do polls of their favorite romance movies or novels, I’m woefully ill-equipped. I’ve not seen most of them, and the ones I did see were snarky and sarcastic (Ten Things I Hate About You). The only classic romance novels I read were Pride and Prejudice, Emma, and a few required reading at school. While I enjoyed them well enough, it’s the adventure stories that draw me.
I love the action of battles between good and evil. The romance of the hero rescuing the girl, or even the girl rescuing the guy. I like complex stories that engage the mind. Movies like Now You See Me and The Tourist.
Kiss scenes gross me out. I seriously cannot watch them…and I’m a married woman, for heaven’s sake! My husband is the romantic one, and while I love it, I don’t seem to have the same knack for it as him. And I feel awful, because it doesn’t mean I love him any less, I just am not good at creating surprises for him that are romantic.
I feel so woefully out of place in this world, and yet, I’m supposed to market myself? Get people interested in what I have to say? There is a quote I wish I could use from a dear friend’s manuscript here, but since it’s yet unpublished I can’t. Suffice it to say, she taught me, it’s not the words I have to say, but the words Christ has to say through me.
May the stories that well up from within me come from His precious place. Because I am not enough, and I think that is the point.
We are not enough…without Him.
We are not good enough, because only He is.
My words will fail and be forgotten, but His words have stood the test of time, crossed barriers they should have never crossed, and been spread across the world and cultures despite strong suppression in many places.
I’m still hurting. I still have no idea where I fit in this marketing world. I still feel like my crazy story ideas are square pegs trying to fit into round holes. But I’m choosing to rest in His words.
Specifically, in Psalm 139.
So if you are like me, and you struggle to find your worth, whether it be in the midst of a relationship or career rejection, or just in the midst of living everyday life, this Psalm is for you. It was written with YOU in mind. And even if you have read it a million times, slow down, read it out loud word for word, and really soak it in.
Any emphasis below is my own, but I encourage you to pray over it. To write His words on your heart.
Because no matter what the world says about you, Jesus wants you. Wants you so bad that he choose to suffer to rescue you. His story is the greatest romance story ever written, and you are His CHOSEN bride.