Because my focus this month is the anthology Christian fiction off the beaten path and writing short stories, I decided to feature another anthology. This book has a special place in my heart because it contains my first published work, “Debt to Pay”. But more than that, it showed me that I could write more than my YA crime novel.
I’d worked for years on that novel. I’d occasionally stir the interest of an agent, who’d ask for sample chapters and my business plan. Then they’d always turn it down. I hadn’t considered writing a short story until this opportunity came.
Forcing my imagination outside the world I’d invented for my novel released a creative flow I didn’t realize I had. My imagination had grown stale, working with the same characters, in the same setting. I’d lost a lot of my enthusiasm for writing fiction. The challenge of the short story showed me that I was more than a one-book writer.
Once I got “Debt to Pay” out the door, my imagination took off in all sorts of new directions. I was excited to create stories again. Below are summaries of the nine stories. For a chance to win From the Lake to the River, click here to enter a chance to win the anthology. Deadline is 5 p.m. EST, November 13.
“EVIE’S LETTER” BY CINDY THOMSON
Historical fiction. A group of ladies in Cardington, Ohio, are answering letters to Santa. One letter from the daughter of a Confederate soldier asks for something more difficult than giving toys and candy. The women must decide if they can put aside their sorrow for the sake of a child.
“CHRISTMAS ANGELS” BY CAROLE BROWN
Historical fiction. Her mother called her a failure, and maybe she was. Her husband was gone—in the service, yes, but if he loved her—really loved her, why didn’t he write? Or call? Or send the money she needed?
What she needed was a miracle…and that wasn’t going to happen.
“COLD READ” BY SHARYN KOPF
Time Slip. When Stephie Graham volunteered to direct The Rainmaker at the historic Holland Theatre in Bellefontaine, Ohio, she might not have thought it all through. Like how hard it can be to find six male cast members for a small community production. But then Andy Tremont moseys into the audition—and into her heart.
In case things weren’t difficult enough, the theatre might have a ghost named Juniper who’s trying to keep Stephie and Andy from getting together. There was, in fact, a Juniper who took the Holland stage in 1933 and sang about her broken heart, certain she had lost her chance at love.
But maybe God has a plan for both women that is beyond what either could ever imagine.
“FRED’S GIFT” BY BETTIE BOSWELL
Contemporary. Widowed mother Dawn is filled with regrets concerning her aging father. Is it too late to make up for lost time? Or, will she find peace and perhaps a new love as her father’s final journey is revealed?
SOLDIER’S HEART BY TAMERA LYNN KRAFT
Historical fiction. Noah Andrews, a soldier with the Ohio Seventh Regiment can’t wait to get home now that his three year enlistment is coming to an end. He plans to start a new life with his young wife. Molly was only sixteen when she married her hero husband. She prayed every day for him to return home safe and take over the burden of running a farm. But they can’t keep the war from following Noah home. Can they build a life together when his soldier’s heart comes between them?
SURPRISED BY LOVE BY SANDRA MERVILLE HART
Historical fiction. Set during the tragic 1913 Great Miami River Flood in Troy, Ohio.
Lottie’s feelings for an old school crush blossom again during the worst flood her town has endured in years.
Desperate circumstances throw Lottie and Joe together. Can tragedy unite the couple to make her long-buried dream of winning his love come true?
SUMMER SONG BY MICHELLE LEVGINE
Contemporary. Dani has growing doubts about mixing marriage and a music ministry on the road. Then again, with as little time as she and Kurt can spend together, despite working for the same ministry, she might never see that engagement ring. Four weeks at a teen music boot camp gives them time together, but the egos and politics that converge in one place might threaten everything.
DEBT TO PAY BY JPC ALLEN
Country noir. While cutting wood near their home in Wayne National Forest, a teenager and his older brother stumble across a dying millionaire, who claims his plane was rigged to crash. Do the brothers seek justice or cash in?
COURTESY TURN BY REBECCA WILLIAMS WATERS
Contemporary. Recently widowed Lori returns to square dancing as she tries to open a new chapter in her life.