Sunday, March 24, 2013

A Trio of Authors from The Land of Lakes

Today I have a fun and unusual book I want to introduce to our GLIAS readers: an anthology of 17 delightful short stories all together in a volume entitled "Love in the Land of Lakes."
My home RWA chapter in Minnesota, Midwest Fiction Writers (the chapter I share with our very own Cat Schields) decided to try its hand at creating an anthology of stories based on our famous 10,000 lakes. (Minnesota actually has closer to 15,000 official lakes!)  "Love in the Land of Lakes" is the result of many hours of hard work, dedication, and talents-put-to-great-use, and it's a fun project I'm thrilled to be part of.
Each of the 17 stories is a 5000-word (or so) romance set on a Minnesota lake. There's a love story for every taste: humor, historical, paranormal, gay, mystery . . . and it's all PG-13 rated so this is truly a book anyone can enjoy.  Today I've brought two authors from the anthology to visit. Please welcome Naomi Stone and Mary Schenten. I'm going to join them (along with our short story characters) to give you a little taste of what you'll find in the book "Love in the Land of Lakes."

About “Love in the Land of Lakes”

Minnesota is the land of 10,000 lakes, and just as many love stories. Love in the Land of Lakes brings you seventeen of these stories, from two childhood sweethearts connecting on the end of a dock on a warm summer's evening, to a city boy's chaotic weekend at his girlfriend's primitive cabin. We bring you the story of a savvy horse who leads her owner to love in post–Civil War farm country, and the haunting romance of an ageless gambler who inhabits a historic riverboat and charms the boat's new owner.

A kaleidoscope of sunshine, snowstorms, and thunderstorms grace our contemporary, mystery, historical, and paranormal stories as the authors of Midwest Fiction Writers spin lovely romances that will send you drifting into happily ever afters.

All proceeds from this book will benefit Midwest Fiction Writers in providing learning opportunities for writers of all levels.

About Our Guests Today
NAOMI STONE  lives with her imaginary husband and actual cats in an unconventional household in Minneapolis, with one, two, or sometimes three other people, depending on the day of the week. She enjoys reading fantasy, singing folk and filk songs and has an obsession with bookmarks--especially the fabulous collection at

MARY SCHENTEN Although born in Wisconsin, Mary spent her adult life in Minnesota, now residing in St. Cloud. She has had a number of short stories published in online magazines. Her taste runs toward mystery and suspense.

LIZBETH SELVIG (ME!) writes fun, heartwarming contemporary romance for Avon Books. She won the Romance Writers of America’s prestigious Golden Heart® award in 2010 with her debut novel "The Rancher and the Rock Star," which was released in February, 2012. She’s a born and bred Minnesotan, and loves hiking, horseback riding and quilting.

Questions for Naomi Stone:

LIZ: Welcome Naomi! Thanks for coming to visit today. Can you start by telling us about your story in the anthology?
NAOMI:  My story is "The Wind From the Lake" and it tells the story of two very different-minded friends who meet again as adults on the shores where they played together as children. 

LIZ: How did you come up with the idea for the story?
NAOMI: My strongest associations with Minnesota lakes come from childhood summers
spent playing along the shore of Jewett Lake - and fishing and swimming
there with my siblings, cousins and other young friends.

I've always loved both fantasy and science fiction, but the two are very
different mindsets - often at odds. I found it amusing to give voice to
those arguments through a pair of prospective lovers. As much as they might
find the other's perspective frustrating, they are too interested in
rapprochement to dismiss it out of hand

LIZ: Hank is the hero from your short story--I'd like him to answer the next few questions: If you were a cartoon character, who would you be?
HANK: I'd be Mr. Peabody, from the old Rocky and Bullwinkle show.

LIZ: Can you tell me three things that are in your pocket right now?
HANK:  My multi-tool has a lot more than three handy devices, but I've also
got my smart phone and a whole lot of lake water from that dunking…

LIZ: Back to Naomi. You have other published works--what books can readers find from you and what's  next for Naomi Stone?
NAOMI: My contemporary paranomal "Sweet Mercy" is out now and I'm very excited by the upcoming release of my first full-length novel, 'Spirited!' coming up April 2nd from Champagne Books. It tells the tale of a djinni, the woman who frees him, and their adventures in saving her friends from a succubus demon called a lilit.
Questions for Mary Schenten: 

LIZ: Welcome Mary! Could you tell us about your anthology short story. 
MARY:  My story, Lake Secrets, explores the relationship between best friends and their differing views of the former boyfriend of one of them. Gretchen wholeheartedly disapproved of Elly’s choice for a lover and is dismayed because she thinks Elly is still isn’t over her breakup. She wants all the details on how it happened. Elly needs to guard every word to keep from telling too much.

LIZ: How did you come up with the idea for the story?
MARY: I like suspense and mystery, and I like to have some kind of an unexpected twist to my stories. 

LIZ: I'm going to ask your main character Elly a couple of questions if I can. If you were given the ability to travel back in time, where would you go?
ELLY: I wish I could go back and restart my friendship with Gretchen. We met when I was very insecure and Gretchen’s tough, take-charge manner made things easy for me. She bossed me around and told me how to behave so I didn’t have to make my own decisions. My friends and family didn’t understand and thought Gretchen was mean, but I knew she was trying to help me be as strong as she was. Eventually I learned to think for myself but I’ve never been able to get Gretchen to back off and treat me as an equal. She still acts like I’m a younger, not-too-bright sister who needs her guidance.

LIZ: What will always make you smile, even on a bad day?
ELLY: My memories of Dex. He was the most handsome and charming man I ever dated. Until things went wrong, it was the happiest I’d ever been. He treated me as though I was as smart and witty as he was. He made me feel like the most desirable woman on the face of the earth

LIZ: What sound or noise do you love? 
ELLY: I love the sound of the wind whispering through dried autumn leaves, those on the trees and those that have already fallen to the ground. There is a sadness to fall because things are dying in preparation for the cold winter. The rustling of the leaves reminds me that this death is temporary and they’ll be back in the spring to live and bloom again.  
LIZ:  And back to Mary again:  What other writing have you done? 
I have several stories published through various online and hard copy publications, some flash fiction, one personal essay, some mystery. I still have hopes of completing an entire novel manuscript some day. 

Questions for Me (Liz): 

LIZ: My story is call "What's Up Dock?" and it's tells what happens when Sophie Tollefsrud, staying at her grandmother's cabin to mend a broken heart, is convinced the handsome new neighbor is an escaped killer burying bodies in his backyard.

ME: Alex Cross is the misunderstood hero of  this story--here are a couple of questions for him. Alex, what question are you never asked in interviews, but wish you were?
ALEX: Well, I have to say, my fans have asked some strange things, but never what Sophie asked me after the storm we survived the other night, and that was: "Are you the murderer I heard about on the radio?"

ME: What are you most afraid of?
ALEX: After this week at my friend's cabin? Raccoons. They're the craziest beasts on the planet. Give me a moose any day.

A short excerpt from "What's Up Dock?" 
     Should she call Sheriff Clint with her suspicions? Then again, what suspicions, really? He was tall. He was clueless about raccoons. He wasn’t chatty. That might describe half the people she knew. So she’d keep an eye on him, but calling the police at this point would be ridiculous overreaction.

Alex Crosby stopped near the cabin, turned and gave a wave. Her fears faded completely away.
Sophie didn’t see hide nor hair of him again until the next morning when the clang of something striking metal sent her and her mug of coffee wandering to the side deck where she and Gran kept their planter garden. By this time of summer, the pots and window boxes overflowed with colorful flowers, and heady floral scents made the best aromatherapy available on Earth. Today, across the Montgomery’s expansive lawn, Alex Crosby bent over a freshly dug, rectangular hole.
     Even at 8:30 a.m., sweat stains mottled the back of his light blue t-shirt where it stretched across his shoulders. Sophie couldn’t stop the hormonal jump of her pulse, and it surprised her. She was usually quite practical around men. Her relationship with Nick had been calm and intelligent, reflecting the educators they were. This leaping-heart-rate silliness had to be the temporary reaction to an educator cheating on an educator.
     She shut down the memories and dragged her eyes resolutely from her new neighbor. As she turned away, however, she saw the bag—black plastic, longer than a normal trash bag, and suspiciously lumpy in several worrisome places. In fact, it looked to be about five-foot-five.
     The ‘duh’ moment struck like Maxwell’s silver hammer.
     Alex Crosby. A.C. Arthur Cantwell? He’d been uncomfortable at their only meeting. He’d told her he had a “project.” Now his hole was the exact length of the body bag.
     Surreptitiously she watched, and her heart fell further into concern with every shovelful of dirt Alex—or Arthur—tossed from the hole. He worked maniacally, checking his watch every few minutes until, at last, he stopped and leaned on his shovel. Sophie held her breath.
     The inevitable came within seconds. He rolled the black bag into the shallow depression. Sophie backed away from the deck rail, sick to her stomach as if she’d witnessed the woodchopper scene from a horror movie. With her hand over her mouth, she stumbled backward into three brimming flowerpots, sending them clattering across the decking. From across the expanse of lawn, Alex popped his head up, and the blood in her veins iced.
     “Good morning!” He lifted a hand in cheerful greeting. She stared in disbelief.

Here's a list of the stories and authors from "Love in the Land of Lakes"

Bobbers 'N Bait - The evocative marketing gimmick at the new bait store in town has the fishing outfitter all hot and bothered.
A Cut Above the Rest - Rachel knew that a simple haircut had the power to change someone’s life. What she wasn’t counting on though, was how it would change hers.
Lira & Gavril - A dilapidated riverboat brings together a passionate historic preservationist and a man who called it home during the Victorian era.
Rosemary Heim
Lake Dreams - Olivia had her life all planned out. All except for that one impulsive night with her childhood crush. Can he convince her the result is worth the risk?
Hook, Line and Stinker - An LA makeover artist comes home to Minnesota and must use all her skills to tame a wild man.
Kathy Johnson
Snowbound - Caught in a snowstorm, the last person she expects to need her help is the man she loved but lost to someone else.
Rose Marie Meuwissen
Dancing in the Moonlight - Anna Thorstad never imagined reopening her parents' lake cabin would also open her heart to love again.
Barbara Mills
Hooked - An avid outdoorswoman takes her city born and raised boyfriend for a chaotic weekend at her family's primitive cabin on the lake.
J.S. Overmier
Henrietta's Man - A savvy horse carries her Civil War-torn soldier north in search of healing and a future.
Coming Home - A young widow’s faith and courage are tested when she falls in love with her husband’s best friend.
Her Stranger - Each night a stranger comes to Rachel’s cabin door. What is it that makes her fall into his arms?
Lake Secrets - A weekend getaway at the scene of the crime has Elly struggling to keep a secret from her best friend.
Unwrapped - Movie star Sloan Leighton sells love; she doesn’t believe in it. Then one frozen midnight on the shores of Lake Superior, everything changes.
The Bouncing Bobber - Will a budding romance, sidetracked by youth and ambition, be what it takes to lure Jacob and Nate back into love’s net?
What's Up Dock? - Sophie’s handsome new neighbor is burying body bags in his garden. But he’s afraid of raccoons—how could he be a killer?
Naomi Stone
Wind from the Lake - Wishing on a star? Alien contact? When childhood friends Connie and Hank meet again, they don't need to believe in anything but each other.
Roadside Catch - She swore off relationships with doctors, until one finds her injured on the roadside and has her rethinking the possibilities.

Midwest Fiction Writers 
Title: Love in the Land of Lakes
Publisher: Createspace
Available at Amazon, Smashwords, and AllRomanceebooks



  1. Sounds like lots of great stories !!
    Welcome to GLIAS, gals !!


  2. Thanks, Angi! I think all of us had a lot of fun with this!

  3. Oh, those were fun interviews! Great characters and stories, ladies, as were all the stories.

    1. Hey Jody!
      Thanks for visiting here -- wasn't it fun to be part of this?? Glad you enjoyed the mini-interviews!

  4. Sounds great! Good luck with it!

    1. Thanks Alexa! It's been a nice way to fund-raise for our chapter!

  5. Fun interviews. These sound like nice stories.


    1. It's always nice to hear from you bn100 :-) Hope you get a chance to give the stories a read!

  6. Great charcter interviews. Now I wish I was done with all the tax returns and could start reading the anthology! Congratulations, Ladies!!

    1. Hi Nan!
      Just think--you still have all the fun to look forward to! Taxes always do get finished--never fear!

  7. Thanks, Angi. Thanks, Jody! Thanks for commenting, and thanks for stopping by, Nan and Alexa! and our mystery person, bn100. :)

  8. I'm haven't read very many novels or stories but these write-ups are certainly interesting and might change my ways!