A New Giveaway and the Story Behind it

This week I’d like to give you a glimpse into a new historical fiction novel in a bit different way. Author Amanda Cabot and her publisher are hosting a three-prize package giveaway to celebrate the release of A Borrowed Dream, the second novel in her current trilogy.

The idea of giving away the book and its predecessor, A Stolen Heart, wasn’t surprising, but I was curious about the other prizes being including and I asked Amanda why she chose those things, assuming they must be connected to the story in some way. 

Here’s her response: 

Well, when Revell’s Marketing Director first asked me for gift ideas to go along with the books, I was stumped. I asked her to let me think about it, but the ideas flowed more like the proverbial molasses in January than clear water. It wasn’t writer’s block – after all, how can you have block over an apparently simple question? – but something was keeping me from being creative.

That’s when I realized I needed to ask my characters for their ideas.

On Thursday, March 4, 1881, a late winter ice storm strands two of schoolteacher Catherine Whitfield’s pupils in the small town of Cimarron Creek, Texas. Neither Hannah, the too silent daughter of handsome rancher Austin Goddard, nor Seth Dalton, whose frequent bruises suggest his father is far from the gentle man Austin is, can reach their ranches. So Catherine takes them home with her, never dreaming the simple action will have dramatic consequences.

The next morning, I (Amanda) sat all three of these characters at Catherine’s kitchen table and asked the simple question, “What are your favorite things?”

“Popcorn,” Seth declared.

I stared at him, startled by his response. I would have expected him say pencils and paper since he loved to sketch. “Why popcorn?”

He gave Catherine a shy smile. “Because she let me make it all by myself. She trusted me.” And trust wasn’t something he’d been given before.

I nodded as I turned to Hannah. “What about you?”

Her reply was the one I’d anticipated. “A music box like the one I used to have before …” She stopped abruptly, clapping her hand over her mouth as if she’d said too much.

Knowing I would get no more from her at this point, I posed the same question to Catherine.

“Books. A whole room with floor-to-ceiling shelves filled with books.”

And just that simply, I had my answers for my publisher.

Seth would have popcorn, but not ordinary popcorn. No, indeed. He’d get gourmet Texas popcorn. Hannah’s request was almost as easy to fulfill, with a beautifully carved music box that looks like it could have been made in the nineteenth century. Catherine’s wish posed the biggest challenge. We obviously couldn’t give away a room of books, but we could – and did – find a beautiful jigsaw puzzle of a book-filled room that looked like her dream.

So there you have it – the story behind the three gift packs for A Borrowed Dream. I hope you’ll enter the contest http://bit.ly/2ptas6E and that I’ve intrigued you enough to add A Borrowed Dream to your TBR pile.

Sandra: You’ve certainly hooked me. Readers, be sure to click through to enter the rafflecopter giveaway. If you have a question for Amanda, leave it in the comments below.


Here’s a little bit more about A Borrowed Dream:

There is no such thing as an impossible dream . . .

Catherine Whitfield is sure that she will never again be able to trust anyone in the medical profession after the local doctor’s treatments killed her mother. Despite her loneliness and her broken heart, she carries bravely on as Cimarron Creek’s dutiful schoolteacher, resigned to a life where dreams rarely come true.

Austin Goddard is a newcomer to Cimarron Creek. Posing as a rancher, he fled to Texas to protect his daughter from a dangerous criminal. He’s managed to keep his past as a surgeon a secret. But when Catherine Whitfield captures his heart, he wonders how long he will be able to keep up the charade.

With a deft hand, Amanda Cabot teases out the strands of love, deception, and redemption in this charming tale of dreams deferred and hopes becoming reality.

 Amanda Cabot is the bestselling author of more than thirty novels including the Texas Dreams trilogy, the Westward Winds series, the Texas Crossroads trilogy, A Stolen Heart, and Christmas Roses. A former director of Information Technology, she has written everything from technical books and articles for IT professionals to mysteries for teenagers and romances for all ages. Amanda is delighted to now be a fulltime writer of Christian romances, living happily ever after with her husband in Wyoming.

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Goodreads Giveaway for Another Day Another Dali

Yes, I’m back! And ecstatic to have all my grandsons safely at home in time to celebrate my youngest daughter’s wedding next weekend.  🙂

So…if you’re reading between the lines, yup, life is still crazy busy around here.  😉

This little guy was born almost 12 weeks early at 1 lb 14 oz!

But ooohhh so good!

Another Day Another Dali, the second instalment in my Serena Jones Mysteries series, releases October 18th


And to celebrate, my publisher is sponsoring a Goodreads Giveaway of 5 copies open to members in the US and Canada, so…

If you’re part of the Goodreads book club, hop on over and enter by clicking here.

I’d love it if you’d help me spread the word too. This giveaway has already been going on for a couple of weeks and I only just clued into it!

Here is a twitter blurb that I think will work for those on twitter (ducking head, because I’m not on it): Love #mysteries? Check out Sandra Orchard’s #Goodreads #Giveaway #AnotherDayAnotherDali @RevellBooks bit.ly/GR-ADAD

With everything going on in our family these past few months, marketing hasn’t exactly been on my radar. But thank you once again to all of you who have been praying for my grandsons these past few months. We couldn’t be happier with how they are both thriving.

Have a great week!


Herbal Remedies – Hype or Helpful?

Join me at the

Fresh Fiction Blog

for a guest post about herbal remedies related to my

Port Aster Secrets mystery series


Leave a comment there for a chance to win a copy of Desperate Measures, a mug and some tea!

(ends June 21st)

Danger on the Mountain ~ Discussion & Giveaway

What a pleasure it has been to once again be working my way through my to-be-read pile! Last week, I read fellow LIS author, Lynette Eason’s newest release, Danger on the Mountain. 

I can always count on a fast-paced suspense with a satisfying romance when I pick up one of Lynette’s books, and Danger on the Mountain didn’t disappoint. It started with a shoot-em-up-bank-holdup-near-kidnapping and tensions remained high straight through to the explosive finale.

The hero Reese is a new deputy in the small town of Rose Mountain–a man still trying to heal from the loss of his wife and child.

I asked Lynette what inspired her to write his story. Here’s her answer:

Well, he needed one. 🙂 Reese was a character in a previous story, Holiday Hideout. I just loved his character in that book and decided he needed his own story. And sure enough, as soon as I started writing it, and brought a woman into his life, he just came alive. I really like Reese’s story and hope readers will too!

Lynette and I first got to know each other when we roomed together at the 2010 Writer’s Police Academy. We’re the ones on either end, and in true cop form, we’ve smudged out the faces in between to protect their identities. ~grin~

For those readers not familiar with Lynette, she’s the award winning, best-selling author of several romantic suspense novels, including Too Close to Home, Don’t Look Back, and A Killer Among Us. She writes for Revell as well as Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense line. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America. Lynette graduated from the University of South Carolina and went on to earn her master’s degree in education from Converse College. She lives in South Carolina with her husband and two children.

And…did I mention she’s very generous?

Lynette is giving away THREE copies of Danger on the Mountain. Just join the conversation below to be entered, then come back next Monday when the three winners will be announced.

Your Turn: Reese is determined to get the person who’s after Maggie and her baby. He couldn’t help his wife and daughter, but this is something he can do. He can catch the bad guy for Maggie. What does this tell you about Reese’s personality? Yes, I’m making you think to be entered in the giveaway. 🙂

Fun Friday ~ Guest Beth Vogt & Book Giveaway

I’m thrilled to have Beth K. Vogt as my guest today. I met Beth a couple of years ago at an ACFW conference and have enjoyed “talking books” with her ever since. Beth believes God’s best often waits behind the doors marked “Never.” She is an established magazine writer and former editor of Connections, MOPS International’s leadership magazine. And now…is a multi-contracted author!

I invited her to stop by and talk about characters. Take it away, Beth…


I’ve heard people say they don’t waste their time reading fiction. Oh, the stories they are missing!

I see a novel as a wonderful opportunity – an invitation, really – to explore and to question, while “living” the literary lives of people like PJ Sugar (a favorite Susan May Warren heroine), or Joy Ballard (thank you, Rachel Hauck) or Anne with an “e” (compliments of L.M. Montgomery), or even my own Kendall Haynes, who wrestles with life not going according to plan in my upcoming novel, Catch a Falling Star (May 2013, Howard Books).

Kendall’s story was prompted by a conversation I had with a good friend – mixed with a little bit of “what if?”

I write fiction, so all of my characters are imaginary, right?

Well, sort of.

I’ve borrowed my friends’ names and loaned them to the people living between the “Once Upon and Time” and “Happily Ever After” in my books. And, no, I’ve never used a friend’s name for a villain. There are limits to friendship.

I’ve also given my main characters the same jobs as some of my friends, although none of them rescue bad-boy llamas like Aunt Nita in my debut novel, Wish You Were Here.

So far all my fictional characters live where I do (Colorado), although I take “novelist’s license” on the details of their homes. You won’t find me giving a street address for anyone, but I do mention specific locations like the Air Force Academy or a favorite restaurant or two. (On the Border, anyone?)

The most realistic aspect of the imaginary people in my stories? They confront true-to-life problems – the same issues you and I deal with. Things like:

· falling in love with the wrong person

· wrestling with the consequences of a poor choice

· navigating dicey family relationships

· unraveling misconceptions about God

· Choosing between forgiveness and unforgiveness

More specifically, I’ve had characters deal with topics like cutting and pornography and divorce and child abduction and infertility and adoption and singleness.


I like my fiction flavored with reality.

How about you?

Your Turn: When was the last time you read a novel and forgot you were turning the pages of a book? Do you have a character who is so realistic that you’re drawn back to that story again and again to re-read scenes?


Wish You Were Here, Beth’s debut Christian romance novel, released May 2012. Her next book, Catch a Falling Star releases May 2013. She’s giving away a copy of Wish You Were Here to one lucky commenter. Winner will be announced Monday.

About Wish You Were Here: 
Allison Denman is supposed to get married in five days, but everything is all wrong. The huge wedding. The frothy dress. And the groom. Read more

Visit with Beth at bethvogt.com.

I’m Back and Have I got News! And a Giveaway!!

I hope you are enjoying a happy, healthy summer! 
I’ve missed our conversations and look forward to more. I  have so much I want to tell you about!

The Big News is…
Deep Cover won the 2012 Canadian Christian Writing Award for Romance! 
And my sweet husband was there to share the celebration with me. 

Fun News
After a harrowing night before, we had a fabulous time celebrating our 25th anniversary in Alaska. I plan to share more pics and stories with you in the coming weeks. We met so many interesting people and the scenery was breathtaking!
Bigger News
We arrived home from Alaska to an offer from Love Inspired Suspense for a fourth novel!! 
Finding Home features an antique Cadillac so hubby and I enjoyed a cruise around the peninsula in the name of research.  
The novel will, of course, be a suspense, but thankfully none of those nasty things I’d do to my heroine’s car happened while we were out and about.

Last but NOT least
 My author copies of my October release arrived on Friday, so… I want to celebrate being back to blogging by giving away a copy this week. 
Please leave comments today, Wednesday, and/or Friday for a chance to receive an early copy. I’ll post the winner’s name next Monday. 

Your Turn: What have you been up to this summer?

P.S. Aspiring Writers, if you plan to attend the American Christian Fiction Writer’s conference in September, I’m one of the authors doing critiques and there’s still a couple of weeks left to sign up for one.

Chatting with Author Jessica Nelson

Today I’ve invited Jessica Nelson, author of Love on the Range, to join us to answer some questions about how she creates her characters. First let me introduce you. I first met Jessica online after she was contracted by Love Inspired and then in person at last year’s ACFW conference. She’s a sweetheart.

  In keeping with her romantic inclinations, Jessica married two days after she graduated high school.

She believes romance happens every day, and thinks the greatest, most intense romance comes from a God who woos people to himself with passionate tenderness.

When Jessica is not chasing her three beautiful, wild little boys around the living room, she can be found staring into space as she plots her next story. Or she might be daydreaming about a raspberry mocha from Starbucks. Or thinking about what kind of chocolate she should have for dinner that night.

…Is it any wonder her boys are wild?!

Jessica, thanks so much for joining us. Could you tell us a little about your research into the early days of the FBI? 

Sure! I have NO FBI experience *grin* But when I worked at the bank years ago, several good-looking FBI agents worked in our upstairs office, which triggered my interest long before I wrote this book.
At my first writing conference, I spoke with a well-known, kind agent who pointed out that he thought the name Striker sounded like the CIA, which he didn’t think had started at the time of my book. He was right. So I stuck with the FBI which was formed around 1909.

I played on the FBI website, read their history, and discovered the Mann Act of 1910. I took a bunch of liberty with this law but it really did exist due to some moral hysteria (or so certain writers claim). Whatever the case, there really were instances of women being transported for immoral purposes, and The Bureau of Investigation became somewhat involved with it (though little history of actual abductions). It’s fascinating. 🙂

How do you come up with your characters? 

How do I come up with my characters? I honestly used to think I just made them up as I wrote. But now, four manuscripts in, I’m starting to see some real similarities in my heroines to people in my life.

For example, Gracie is the heroine in Love On The Range. Curious, emotional, and verbose, I thought she was a work of fiction.

After refining the story, I asked my mom to read it. And cringed. It suddenly hit me how similar my mother and Gracie are. I certainly didn’t mean to model her after my mom, but no one in my family can deny their similarities.

Characters are thrilling to create. Hopefully in the future my muse will abstain from writing family members into my romances.

Your Turn: Are you a writer? If so, how do you think up a character? If you’re a reader, who is your favorite character? What is it about him or her that snagged your loyalty?  

Giveaway: Leave a comment for a chance to win my gently read copy of Love on the Range 

Connect with Jessica at:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJessicaNelson  

And the Winner is…

Many thanks to all who joined us this week to help celebrate the launch of Katy Lee’s debut romantic suspense. Without further ado, the winner of an Ecopy of

is… Melissa Tagg. Congratulations, Melissa, please email me to let me know what format (nook, kindle etc) you wish to receive and the email addy to which to gift it.

Fun Friday – A Novelist Daughter Shares

Today I’m welcoming Katy Lee’s daughter to my blog to share her perspective on what it’s like to live with a writer. Take it away…#1

For the past two years, I’ve watched my mom go from dreamer to success, and I’ve learned a few secrets along the way. Perhaps some of you will relate.

Here are my top ten observations:
10. Practice makes perfect! When following your dreams, never give up practicing. (Thanks, Mom, for this one. I won’t forget it no matter what I am striving for!)

9. Thinking about writing is NOT doing it. (I hear this one a lot—usually when she is driving me to all of my sport activities which is then keeping her from her writing. Once again, thanks, Mom!)

8. I love this one! The road to success has to include little mini-parties along the way. I especially love the parties with cupcakes with chocolate sprinkles on top!

7. Being an artist, I’ve learned from watching my mom that writing and drawing are related. While Mom is describing the human anatomy, I enjoy drawing it. (Get your minds out of the gutter! I mean people! I enjoy drawing people. Check out my latest drawing. What d’ya think?)

6. This one I’m still a little bummed about. I’ve learned just because you’re in the family, doesn’t mean you’ll make it in the book. In Momma’s new release, her character, Mel is a gamer. I made myself her “go-to” person on everything virtual. The character Cassie was based on me! I was so excited! Until Cassie had a run-in with the delete button.

5. Another thing I’ve learned is that typing cute messages into her manuscript is not as funny to her as it is to me. (I don’t understand why though, because it is pretty funny.)

4. I’ve learned that it is normal for her to carry-on full conversations with absolutely no one. If you have a writer in the family, don’t admit them to the hospital just yet.

3. This one goes along with number four. Remember! Their characters are real to them. Just nod and go along with them when they are telling you what so-and-so is doing today. And still, don’t admit them to the hospital!

2. I can’t stress this one enough. An “Enter at Your Own Risk” sign should not be taken lightly. Even if you’re bleeding, DO NOT DISTURB! (First Aid classes will help with this situation. You will need to learn how to stitch your own wounds.)

And for my number one observation of living with a writer…drum roll please!…..
1. “Get out of here!” means I love you. “Get the heck out of here!” means I really love you.

I love you Mom! I wish you the best success in selling your book.
And PLEASE, do not ground me…
Number One Kid

Thanks so much Audrey! I think your mom has another budding young writer in the family. 

Your Turn: Readers, this is your last chance to leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Katy’s book. I hope you’ve enjoyed the introduction as much as I’ve enjoyed having Katy here.

Let’s Chat about Real Virtue

Monday, I introduced Katy Lee and her book Real Virtue. Today I’d like to talk about some questions the story raised.

This was a very thought-provoking book for me. The heroine has self-esteem issues, because of always being placed second to her schizophrenic mother’s welfare. However, she has become a successful business woman, thanks in large part, she believes, to the inspiration of a virtual reality game she plays in which she’s beautiful and people don’t snicker at her because she has a weird mother.

Many people live similar kinds of dual lives aside from virtual reality games. They are one person online, outgoing and friendly chatting on blogs or Facebook, but perhaps are shy and withdrawn or simply housebound in their immediate physical world. Sometimes they are more “connected” to their online “friends” than the people in their home or those sitting next to them in the lunch room.

That came home to me one day when my daughter learned my “writing news” from my Facebook page before I went downstairs to tell my family in person. Yes, I “told” my fans, before my family! Ack!

Moreover, the internet, like TV before it, has changed many people’s perception of reality. Online we can be the person we may not feel we can be in real life. There is positive value to this and dangers.

The hero in Real Virtue helps the heroine to see her true value and worth, as he has always seen her and as God sees her–not her skewed virtual reality version (in all its layers of meaning…from the virtual reality of living with a schizophrenic mother to her virtual gaming)

He shows her how to listen to her mother, to really listen to the truth mixed in with the schizophrenic babbling. The characterization is compelling. There are so many layers of meaning and depth to this book.

Your Turn: What are some of the benefits you’ve experienced in participating in online communities? What dangers concern you about the increasing popularity of cyber-living?

For those who missed Monday’s post, this week I’m giving away an Ecopy of Katy’s book to one lucky commenter. If you’re worried that this is a techno book that you wouldn’t relate to, it’s not. I was a bit concerned about that as I started the first chapter, but the heroine is soon drawn back to her small home town which is where the story takes place. And if you’re reading this blog, you’re online enough to totally relate to that aspect of the story.