Guest Author Elizabeth Maddrey – Group Projects Really Can Be Fun

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

elizabethmaddreyheadshotToday’s guest author is Elizabeth Maddrey. Elizabeth began writing stories as soon as she could form the letters properly and has never looked back. Though her practical nature and love of math and organization steered her into computer science for college and graduate school, she has always had one or more stories in progress to occupy her free time. When she isn’t writing, Elizabeth is a voracious consumer of books and has mastered the art of reading while undertaking just about any other activity. She loves to write about Christians who struggle through their lives, dealing with sin and receiving God’s grace.

Elizabeth lives in the suburbs of Washington D.C. with her husband and their two incredibly active little boys. She invites you to interact with her at her website or on Facebook.

You can also find her on the web here:

Elizabeth Maddrey is a semi-reformed computer geek and homeschooling mother of two who loves romance and a good happily ever after.

Group Projects Really Can Be Fun

by Elizabeth Maddrey

WorkingIf you’re like me, the words “group project” put a little stab of fear right in your belly and brings back all sorts of childhood school memories that reside on the other side of pleasant. One of the things I’ve always loved about writing is that it’s an individual pursuit. Maybe even solitary. As an introvert, I don’t mind solitary. And yet, there’s an incredible community amongst writers as well, and I’m grateful that I can count many friends from within that community.

Still, when I was chatting with one of those friends and she broached the idea of an 18-month group project, I had to stop and catch my breath. Could I do it? Or was it doomed to be a repeat of school, where one or two people do all the work and everyone else gets the credit? Despite a qualm or two, I signed on. And I’m so very glad I did.

The project is a multi-author series set in the fictional town of Arcadia Valley, Idaho. Each author will release a novella and three-book series set in this town. Our characters overlap and interact with one another from book to book, so the police officer you see mentioned in one may end up being a main character in another author’s book, and so forth. As you might expect, keeping details consistent has been a huge task, but so far between files in a drop box and careful beta reading, I think we’re doing a good job.

Working with the other authors in this group project has been an absolute delight, and it’s put to rest some of those group project qualms left over from school. Sure, we’ve had a few times when we had to all step back and take a deep breath before resuming a discussion—we’re humans, after all. But in the end, we made the decisions that needed to be made in a way that, I believe, has left everyone content. The series that has resulted is, I hope, going to delight readers. And really, that’s the best thing a writer can hope for.

Arcadia Valley Romance kicked off on January 10th with the release of Romance Grows in Arcadia Valley. My contribution to this novella box set is Loaves & Wishes and I’d love to share a little excerpt to close out my guest post today.

Ruth cleared her throat as she sat. Maybe it was better to blurt it out and be done. “Naomi passed away three weeks ago.”

Corban stared at her, his mouth open in a tiny O. Slowly, his lips came together and the furrows in his forehead deepened. He set the glass down with a thunk on the antique table by his elbow, completely missing the lace doohickey that would protect the wood. “I’m sorry. What?”

Ruth’s fingers itched to move the glass but she willed herself to stay still, perched on the edge of the settee. “She had cancer. And apparently never told anyone. I’ve been her best friend since kindergarten, we talk every week, and she only told me she was sick when it was clear that treatment wasn’t a viable option. Her obituary was in the local paper.”

“I told the guys watching the farm to read and recycle them. Nothing ever happens around here that’s worth saving a newspaper. I’m not even sure why I still subscribe, except that Ernie’s been a family friend for so long. She’d been acting odd. I knew I should have pushed.”

“You two were close?” Ruth watched his face. He looked shocked, certainly, but not as destroyed as a man in love should be.

“Not like you mean.” He offered a slight smile. “Though there were plenty of old ladies at church who were hopeful. No, Naomi was like a little sister to me. When she bought this place so my parents could move south, it seemed natural to keep an eye on her at first. And then…” He shrugged. “Then we were friends.”

“Naomi could make anyone into a friend.” Ruth’s heart cracked open a little wider. How was she supposed to go through life without her? “I’m sorry you had to find out from me.”

Corban nodded and stood. “I’ll be on my way. I… my number’s in her book. If you ever need anything, just give a shout.”

“Thanks.” He probably hadn’t heard her, given that he’d been striding into the hall before she’d managed to get the word out. The kitchen door slammed.

Ruth sagged against the back of the stuffy little couch and took several long swallows of her lemonade. She was going to make a success of her friend’s business. She had to. For Naomi, and for herself. And handsome, abrupt neighbors weren’t going to get in her way.

elizabeth-maddrey-novella_webRomance Grows in Arcadia Valley includes:

Spring’s Blessing (Seasons of Faith) by Mary Jane Hathaway
Life gets complicated for Charlotte MacGregor when a motherless child and a handsome widower encroach on her carefully laid plans. Will she keep her heart above the fray, or take a leap of faith?

Loaves and Wishes (A Baxter Family Bakery Romance) by Elizabeth Maddrey
Inheriting her friend’s Bed and Breakfast in Idaho is a second chance to succeed, but falling for the farmer next door wasn’t in the plan.

Sheltered Hearts (Romance from the Heart) by Lee Tobin McClain
A curvy jilted bride gets stranded in a snowstorm with a handsome restaurant cook who’s not what he seems to be.

Sow in Love (A Garden Grown Romance) by Valerie Comer
A real estate consultant’s ideas for fulfilling a living trust are shot down by the elderly greenhouse owner’s grandson, but some of the arrows piercing her heart come directly from Cupid’s bow.

The Scent of Romance (Legacy of the Heart) by Danica Favorite
A high-powered lawyer must convince a woman determined to protect her family’s legacy to sell the family farm to his father’s development company, but finds his heart leading him away from everything he’s spent his life trying to accomplish.

A Romance Rekindled (A Homegrown Love Story) by Annalisa Daughety
When a formerly engaged couple find themselves thrown together after more than a decade apart, neither of them are thrilled about it. Can they let go of the past and consider a future together? Or are there some wounds that cannot be healed?

This entry was posted in encouragement for writers, Guest Authors, Sharpening Our Writing by Tamera Kraft. Bookmark the permalink.

About Tamera Kraft

Tamera Kraft has been a children’s pastor for over 20 years. She is the leader of a ministry called Revival Fire For Kids where she mentors other children’s leaders, teaches workshops, and is a children’s ministry consultant and children’s evangelist. She is also a writer and has curriculum published including Kid Konnection 5: Kids Entering the Presence of God published by Pathway Press. She is a recipient of the 2007 National Children’s Leaders Association Shepherd’s Cup for lifetime achievement in children’s ministry.

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