Follow my journey toward publication. Laugh, cry, point and stare-- it's all good. I'll leave a trail so that you, my fellow author, may have a straighter path to finding your own elusive publishing contract. Adventure awaits. Let's travel together...

Saturday, May 31, 2014

COTT's May Clash Results

The results of the Clash are IN. Drum roll please....

And the winner is....

A Bridge Unbroken
a Miller's Creek Novel
by Cathy Bryant

Congratulations, Cathy!

And a big congrats also to our other participants. Thank you for playing!
Nancy Kimball with Chasing the Lion, Richard Mabry with Critical Condition, Sharon Srock with Pam, and Katie Ganshert with A Broken Kind of Beautiful

Read what COTT voters had to say about Cathy Bryant's newest book!
  • Each one just gets better, Cathy Bryant!!
  • Cathy Bryant is a wonderful author. Her books have great characters and are filled with suspense and great spiritual depth. I just read A Bridge Unbroken and it didn't disappoint.
  • Cathy Bryant is fast becoming my very favorite author! Her books are so well written and keep me so engrossed in the story line, it is hard to put down. Definitely a winner!!
About the book:

Letting go to build a bridge...

Dakota Kelly wants her painful past to disappear. Her plan to start afresh is derailed when she co-inherits her late grandfather’s farm with Chance Johnson, the man responsible for the scars on her heart. But Chance isn’t the only ghost from the past. Someone else is out to get her and will stop at nothing to get what he wants. Will Chance and Dakota lay aside their grudges to restore the old farmhouse and bridge, or will evil forces sabotage their attempts at forgiveness?

* * *

by Cathy Bryant

The question I get asked most often as an author is: "What's the story behind this particular story?" For A Bridge Unbroken, a Christian romantic suspense and the latest Miller's Creek novel, the inspiration came from three very specific areas.

1. Home Renovation

My hubby and I seem to have a penchant for buying fixer-uppers. Usually I enjoy the process, but this time? Not so much.

We moved to the Santa Fe, New Mexico area in the spring of 2013 for my husband's work as a pastor of praise and worship. Since I'm a country girl at heart and like to have my critters--in this case, chickens, rabbits, and a 75-pound German Shepherd who thinks she's a Chihuahua--we found a cabin in the lovely

Sangre de Cristo mountains. To keep it short, let me just say that this house has been the fixer-upper of all fixer-uppers. While we've accomplished the most difficult tasks, like kitchen and bathroom fixes, we still have a long way to go. (You can see pics HERE.)

So when I took time off from the renovation to write A Bridge Unbroken, I knew a house renovation would be part of the storyline. In the story the heroine, a frightened runaway on the run from an abusive boyfriend, co-inherits her late-grandfather's farm and dilapidated farmhouse with a man responsible for scars on her heart. Unusual conditions are attached to the inheritance, and the two must work together to renovate the farmhouse. (You can watch the book trailer HERE and read a sample chapter HERE.)

2. Writing

I love to write--to plot out scenes, develop characters, and wrangle with words until I find just the right one. I also love interacting with reader friends. My career as a writer had hit an all-time high and my book sales followed suit...

...until we moved to our remote mountain location where it took us months to get internet service.
I made weekly trips to McDonald's to try to stay on top of things, but it wasn't enough. I watched in dismay as my book sales plummeted. To make matters worse, I had no time for writing because of the home renovation.

It was a natural leap to make Dakota (the heroine of A Bridge Unbroken) a writer. I could literally feel her angst at needing to keep her writing career afloat while renovating a broken-down heap of a farmhouse. Yeah, that was easy to write.

3. Forgiveness
When I began praying about the spiritual theme of the story, the answer that came immediately was forgiveness. Quite frankly, I wasn't elated. I often struggle with forgiving others. I've always been very sensitive, the kind who wears my heart on my sleeve. And anytime you leave your heart on your sleeve for any length of time, someone will come along who thinks it's their job to rip into it.

Then something interesting happened. Everywhere I looked I found messages of forgiveness--a devotional magazine, my scripture reading for the day, a social media post--they were everywhere! I delved into scripture, quickly reminded of things I'd known since childhood, but had chosen to overlook. Things like: forgiveness isn't an option or a suggestion, forgiveness is an act of the will, forgiveness is an act of obedience, and more.

I realized during this process that much of the world's teaching on forgiveness had crept into my belief system. And I wasn't alone! Friends had many of the same ideas, none of which were anywhere in God's Word. Worldly messages like: forgiveness is something you do for yourself, forgive and forget, and forgive if...
I'm always amazed at how much the Lord teaches me through my writing. Between penning A Bridge Unbroken and its companion Bible study, The Fragrance of Crushed Violets, God managed to get me back on track in the matter of forgiveness.

So to answer the question of the story behind this story, it all boils down to three things: home renovation, writing, and most importantly, forgiveness.

* * *

Cathy Bryant is the author of the popular Miller’s Creek Novels, set in the fictional back-roads country town of Miller’s Creek, Texas…where folks are friendly, the iced tea is sweet, and Mama Beth’s front porch beckons. Her passion is to tell heart-stirring stories about God’s life-changing grace. A native Texan, Cathy currently resides in the beautiful Sangre de Cristo mountains of northern New Mexico with her minister husband of over thirty years. When she’s not spinning tales about the fine folks of Miller’s Creek, you can find her rummaging through thrift stores, hiking through the wilderness, or up to her elbows in yet another home improvement project in the mountain cabin she calls home. You can find more about Cathy and her books at CatBryant.com. Cathy also likes to interact with reader friends in the following places:

Visit www.clashofthetitles.com for more Clashes, Contests, and Author News!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

COTT April Releases!

Summer's on the way. We have five great books to add to your beach bags. To take readers back in time, there's a historical novel set in ancient Rome. Or relax with a southern romance with mystery and suspense. Then check out a medical suspense, a contemporary novel and contemporary romance--all fantastic stories. Let us know by voting below which  of these you'll put on the top of your list.

Thanks to all of our contributors!

Betrayal made him a slave, and love made him a gladiator. Faith would give him the courage to rescue an empire.

A frightened runaway with a checkered past co-inherits her grandfather's farm with the man responsible for the scars on her heart. Can Chance and Dakota lay aside old hurts and grudges to build...A BRIDGE UNBROKEN?

A celebratory dinner party becomes a nightmare for The nightmare begins for Dr. Shannon Frasier when a man is shot dead on her lawn, reviving emotions from a similar incident a decade ago. The rough voice on the phone asks, "What did he say before he died?" and won't give up until Shannon tells him--even if she doesn't know.

Pam's divorce broke her heart, the cruelty of her ex husband broke her spirit, a bottle of skeeping pills almost took her life. Now, with Alan's return to Garfiekd, OK, Pam must learn that buied secrets and carfully cultivated indifference do not equal forgiveness.

Nobody cares about Ivy Clark's broken past as long as she looks beautiful for the camera. This is the only life Ivy knows—so when it starts to unravel, she’ll do anything to hold on, even move to Greenbriar, South Carolina to model wedding dresses for her stepmother. Here Davis Knight, her mysterious new photographer, sees through the facade and challenges everything Ivy has come to believe about beauty and worth.

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Monday, May 12, 2014


We've all been waiting. It's been six months since submissions opened for the Olympia. A panel of readers narrowed down the top three entries and then a distinguished *industry professionals assessed and scored those excerpts to bring us to this moment.

The time has come and I am so very excited to announce to you that the winner of the 2014 Olympia is...


For her story titled Reclaimed

About Reclaimed

Suzanna Wilton has had a hefty share of heartache in her twenty-seven years. Left heartbroken by a marriage cut short, she leaves city life to take up residency in a tiny Nebraska town. Her introduction to her neighbor Paul Rustin is a disaster. Assuming he’s as undermining as the other local cowboys she’s already met, Suzanna greets him with a heavy dose of hostility.

Though Paul is offended by Suzanna’s unfriendliness, she often invades his thoughts. Intrigued by the woman who lives down the road, and propelled by a sense that she carries a painful burden, he frequently drops by to offer help as she adjusts to rural living.

Just as Paul’s kindness begins to melt Suzanna’s frozen heart, a conflict regarding her land escalates in town. Even in the warmth of Paul’s love, resentment continues to strangle her fragile soul. Will Suzanna ever find peace?

Author Bio:

Jennifer Rodewald is passionate about the Word of God and the powerful vehicle of story. Four kids and her own personal superman make her home in southwestern Nebraska delightfully chaotic.

Aiming to live with boundless enthusiasm, her creed is vision, pursuit and excellence. Blessed with a robust curiosity, she loves to research. Whether she’s investigating the history of a given area, the biography of a Christian icon, or how nature declares the glory of God, her daily goal is to learn something new.

Jen lives in a lovely speck of a town where she watches with amazement while her children grow up way too fast, gardens, plays with her horses, and marvels at God’s mighty hand in everyday life.You can find her at thefreeslavesdevotion.com 

Congratulations, Jennifer! We are honored to be a part of your journey and look forward to watching what God has in store for your writing career.

In addition to a tour through COTT's Blog Alliance, Jennifer will be receiving a beautiful plaque to commemorate her win and an internet radio interview with Cynthia Simmons!

*Final round judges:
AMANDA LUEDEKE--Agent, Macgregor Literary Agency
MARCY DYER--Editor, Prism Book Group
ROSSLYN ELLIOTT--Author and 2011 COTT Laurel Award Winner