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My Creative Calling Came Early

juhlarik-HR-3Thank you so much for stopping by. I’m glad you came.

You know the old saying–“Hindsight is 20/20,” right? That phrase has never been more true than with my writing. Every child is born with a yearning to imagine and create, though it takes different forms for each child. Some pour their creativity out in paintings or drawings. Others choose crafts. Still others express their creativity with music.

My creative avenue was writing, and I believe it has been in my blood since the day I was born. I have photos of myself as a young toddler with pencil and paper in hand, scribbling before I was old enough to know how to write. I fell in love early in life with books, when my mom would take me and my older brothers to the library, then let us snuggle in next to her to read what treasures we’d found. It was a very special day each week when the Bookmobile drove into my neighborhood and I got to peruse the shelves there. By the time I was five, I began sneaking out of bed at night to cut notebook paper into quarters, staple the pages into booklets, draw pictures of earthworms on each page, and write stories about the wiggly little creatures. And when I wasn’t doing these things, I was dreaming up elaborate stories to act out with my best friend each day that we’d play together. But even then, I didn’t recognize the gift that was inside me.

It wasn’t until I was twelve that the writing bug really hit me. That was the age that “playing pretend” was getting to be kid’s stuff, and my friends were moving on to chatting about more mature topics, like the cute boys they had crushes on. Sure, that was all fun, but I missed the worlds I’d created in my imagination, and I missed acting out the lives of my made-up people. So when a good friend mentioned that she was writing a novel, it sparked the idea that I could keep on doing those things and not be branded a baby or a fool by my peers. I just had to write those elaborate imaginings down! (Thank you, Holly Zimmerman, for the inspiration. We lost track of each other long ago, but I wish I could tell you that you are one of the main reasons I am a writer today).

In high school, I served on my alma mater’s literary magazine staff, where the idea of seeing my writing published first started to germinate. After high school, I went on to major in writing at the University of Tampa where I began my first novel-length project. That story was a practice field that would teach me much of what I needed to know about writing novels. It took six years to finish the first full draft, and another four years to rewrite, edit, and polish it into something I could show to publishers. (Yes, it was published many moons ago–along with a second stand-alone novel, but both have long been out of print). 

My early adult life was spent in working various day jobs while staying up all hours of the night to fit in some writing time. I never gave up the dream of writing and being published, but in those early days, it was more difficult since it had to be fit around job, home, and family. It has only been in the last seven years that I’ve been able to stay at home and write on a full-time basis. God has blessed me with three publishing contracts so far (see my books here), and I have lots of stories in mind to write, so here’s hoping there’ll be more to come in the near future.

Thank you again for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed reading the nutshell version of my writing and publishing journey, and I hope you’ll look for my books!

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Cameo Courtships Collection

I have some exciting news! As of a few weeks ago, I signed my tenth contract!

Cameo Courtships Contract

The Cameo Courtships Collection will feature four historical romance novellas set between 1852 and 1895, with two stories taking place in Pennsylvania, one in Colorado, and one in Louisiana. The idea behind the collection is that an heirloom cameo, once owned by Queen Victoria herself, is passed between various memebers of a family, and while in possession of the piece, each heroine will find her love of a lifetime.

Cameo

My story, titled Taming Petra, is about an unladylike, buckskin-clad frontierswoman who falls for a straight-laced preacher. The two team up to retrieve the heirloom cameo she loses to a cheating brothel owner during a high-stakes poker game in 1875 Colorado.

I’ll begin writing this story in the next week or so, and the collection will release on June 1, 2019. Hope you’ll look for the Cameo Courtships Collection, as well as my two other 2019 releases–my first novel, Sand Creek Serenade (coming in March) and another 4-in-1 historical romance collection, Smitten Presents: The Cowboys (coming in August). And as always, thank you for your support!

 

And The Winner Is…

2018 Selah Finalist StickerIt was a pins and needles kind of week for me. Wednesday, May 23, was the date that the Selah Awards were to be announced, and all day, I was anxious for 7 PM ET to arrive. Of course, I couldn’t be at Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference this year (drat! I missed everyone!!!), but they were kind enough to try and set up a live feed for those like me who couldn’t attend. The live feed wasn’t without its issues, but the word did trickle out. Slowly…very, very slowly! LOL

I was stunned to learn that my novella, The Outcast’s Redemption (part of the Secret The Secret Admirer Romance CollectionAdmirer Romance Collection) WON for the best western title in 2018! I say stunned because it was facing very stiff competition–two wonderful novel-length entries, one by Jayme Mansfield and the other by Donna L. H. Smith. I thought for sure that my 20,000-word novella didn’t have much chance, since novels provide so much more opportunity to develop characters and plotlines. But Lucky and Maisie’s story won! I’m very humbled and honored!

But there are so many wonderful 2018 Selah Winners to celebrate, so here they are:

Children’s Picture Books
 
My First Day of School by Michelle Medlock Adams
Worthy Kids/Ideal
Melinda Rumbaugh and Peggy Schaefer, editors
Steve Laube, Agent
 
Middle Grade Novel
 
Stranded on Thin Ice by Sharon CassanoLochman
Ontario Shore Publishing
 
YA Fiction
 
Escape to Vindor by Emily Golus
Taberah Press
Mary Beth Dahl & Vie Herlocker, Editors
 
Contemporary Romance
The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck by Bethany Turner
Revell / Baker Publishing Group
Kelsey Bowen, Editor
Jessica Kirkland, Agent

Contemporary Women’s Fiction
 
A Fragile Hope by Cynthia Ruchti
Abington Press
Ramona Richards, Jamie Clarke Chavez, Editor
Wendy Lawton
 
First Novel
 
Still Waters by Lindsey P. Brackett
Firefly Southern Fiction/Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas
Jennifer Slattery, Eva Marie Everson, Editors
 
 
Historical/Biblical
 
With This Peace by Karen Campbell Prough
Firefly Southern Fiction/Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas
Amberlyn Dwinnell, Eva Marie Everson, Editors
Linda Glaz, Agent
 
Historical Romance
 
My Heart Belongs in Ruby City, Idaho: Rebecca’s Plight by Suzanne Dietze
Barbour Publishing
Rebecca Germany, Editor
Tamela Hancock Murray, Agent
 
Mystery/Suspense
 
The Faithful One by Michele Chynoweth
Morgan James Publishing
 
Novella
 
Keara’s Escape by Anne Greene
Forget Me Not Romances
Cynthia Hickey, Editor
 
Romantic Suspense
Unintended Consequences by Dan Walsh
Bainbridge Press
Cindi Walsh, Editor
 
Speculative Fiction
 
The Revisionary by Kristen Hogrefe
Write Integrity Press
Marji Laine Clubine, Editor
 
Western
 
The Outcast’s Redemption (The Secret Admirer Romance Collection) by Jennifer Uhlarik
Barbour Publishing
Rebecca Germany, Editor
Julie Gwinn, Agent
 
NONFICTION BOOKS
 
Bible Study
 
The Unexplainable Church: Reigniting the Mission of the Early Believers, by Erica Wiggenhorn
Moody Publishers
Pam Pugh, Editor
 
Christian Life
 
7 Steps to Get Off Sugar & Carbohydrates by Susan Neal
Christian Yoga
Janis Whipple, Editor
Cyle Young, Agent
 
General Nonfiction
 
Spiritual Prepper by Jake McCandless
WND Books
Geoff Stone, Editor
Cyle Young, Agent
 
Inspiration & Gift
 
Loved Baby: 31 Devotions Helping You Grieve & Cherish Your Baby After Pregnancy Loss by Sarah Philpott, PhD
Broadstreet Publishing
David Sluka, Editor
Blythe Daniel, Agent
 
Memoir
Forgiveness in the First Degree by Randol Hammer & Phillip Robinson (with Margot Starbuck)
FaithHappenings Publishers
Kelly Boeving, Editor
Greg Johnson, Agent
 
 
2018 Selah Books of the Year
(This year, only two books—one fiction, one nonfiction—received two perfect scores. And so, this year we are awarding the Selah Book of the Year award to both genres.)
 
Nonfiction:
 
Under Inspiration & Gift
Loved Baby: 31 Devotions Helping You Grieve & Cherish Your Baby After Pregnancy Loss by Sarah Philpott, PhD
Broadstreet Publishing
David Sluka, Editor
Blythe Daniel, Agent
Fiction
Still Waters by Lindsey P. Brackett
Firefly Southern Fiction/Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas
Jennifer Slattery, Eva Marie Everson, Editors

Congrats to all! The Selahs had over 200 entries this year, and the competition was steep! I’m so honored to be a part!

2018 Selah Award Finalists

2018 Selah Finalist StickerI am happy to share the 2018 Selah Award Finalists. There are some wonderful books and authors on the list, and I’m humbled that two of my titles are listed among them! The Secret Admirer Romance Collection

The Outcast’s Redemption from “The Secret Admirer Romance Collection” made the cut in the western category. 

OfRagsAndRichesCover copy

 

Union Pacific Princess from “Of Rags and Riches Romance Collection” was among the novella finalists. Such a great honor!

 

Winners will be announced at the Awards Ceremony of Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference on May 23, 2018. The ceremony will also be available on Facebook Live.

Congrats to all my fellow finalists!!! Here is the complete list.

2018 Selah Awards Finalist
Listed Alphabetically by  Book Title
 
Children’s 
 
Children’s Picture Books
 
Does God Take Naps by Crystal Bowman & Teri McKinley
I Love you the Mostest by Michelle Medlock Adams (Illustrated by Paige Snedeker)
My First Day of School by Michelle Medlock Adams
 
Fiction
 
Middle Grade Novel
 
Stranded on Thin Ice by Sharon CassanoLochman
The Wish I Wished Last Night by Shelley Pierce
Trial at the Ridge by Kinsey M. Rockett
 
YA Fiction
 
Escape to Vindor by Emily Golus
Merlin’s Wood by Anne Hamilton
Suburban Dangers by Megan Whitson Lee
 
Contemporary Romance
 
Magnolia Storms by Janet W. Ferguson
Saving Parker by Dan Walsh
The Secret Life of Bethany Hollenbeck by Bethany Turner
 
Contemporary Women’s
 
Abide With Me by Shellie Arnold
A Fragile Hope by Cynthia Ruchti
The Long Highway Home by Elizabeth Musser
 
First Novel
 
Still Waters by Lindsey P. Brackett
Tinsel in a Tangle by Laurie Germaine
Turtles in the Road by Rhonda Rhea and Kaley Rhea
 
Historical/Biblical
 
Devil in the Dust by Cara Luecht
The Gates of Sheol by Karl A. Bacon
With This Peace by Karen Campbell Prough
 
Historical Romance
 
My Heart Belongs in Ruby City, Idaho by Suzanne Dietze
The Return by Suzanne Woods Fisher
The Sound of Rain by Sarah Loudin Thomas
 
Mystery/Suspense
 
Anchored by Death by Catherine Finger
Murder is No Accident by Ann H. Gabhart
The Faithful One by Michele Chynoweth
 
Novella
 
Abundance of the Heart by Connie Stevens
Keara’s Escape by Anne Greene
Union Pacific Princess by Jennifer Uhlarik
 
Romantic Suspense
 
Doubly Dead by Lisa Wessel
Moving Target by Lynette Eason
Unintended Consequences by Dan Walsh
 
Speculative Fiction
 
Children of the Forgotten by Charles Franklin
The Genesis Tree by Heather LL FitzGerald
The Revisionary by Kristen Hogrefe
 
Western
 
Meghan’s Choice by Donna L. H. Smith
Rush by Jayme H. Mansfield
The Outcast’s Redemption by Jennifer Uhlarik
 
 
Nonfiction Books
 
Bible Study
 
Breaking the Chains (compiled & edited by Katy Kauffman)
Following God Onto the Stage by Alisa Hope Wagner
The Unexplainable Church: Reigniting the Mission of the Early Church by Erica Wiggenhorn
 
Christian Life
 
7 Steps to Get Off Sugar & Carbohydrates by Susan Neal
Marriage: Make It Or Break It by Andrea Merrell
When God Says Wait by Elizabeth Laing Thompson
 
General Nonfiction
 
Rhinestones on My Flip-Flops by Jane Jenkins Herlong
Spiritual Prepper by Jake McCandless
The God You Need to Know by Linda Evans Shepherd
 
Inspiration & Gift
 
Loved Baby: 31 Devotions Helping You Grieve & Cherish After Pregnancy Loss by Sarah Philpott, PhD
Ordinary Graces: Word Gifts for Any Season by Lucinda Secrest McDowell
Too Blessed to be Stressed: Inspiration for Every Day by Debora M. Coty
 
Memoir
 
Forgiveness in the First Degree by Margot Starbuck, Randol Hammer, & Phillip Robinson
Just a Little Girl by Victoria Sarvadi (With Allison Bottke)
Your Dream God’s Plan by Tiffany Smiling

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First Love Forever Romance Collection Giveaway

First Love Forever Romance CollectionHey, everyone! It’s official! The First Love Forever Romance Collection released yesterday–April 1, 2018. What a delightful Easter gift. If you haven’t yet heard about this collection, here’s a description:

A first love is never easily forgotten…
and coming face to face with that person again can be awkward when the heartstrings are still holding on to the “what ifs.”

In settings from 1865 to 1910, nine couples are thrown back on the same path by life’s changes and challenges. A neighbor returns from law school. An heiress seeks a quick marriage. A soldier’s homecoming is painful. A family needs help. A prodigal son returns. A rogue aeronaut drops from the sky. A runaway bridegroom comes home. A letter for aid is sent. A doctor needs a nurse. Can love rekindle despite the separation of time and space?

The nine authors of the First Love Forever Romance Collection are doing a Rafflecopter giveaway for our newest release. Please stop by and enter! There are many wonderful prizes up for grabs! Take a look at some of the wonderful prizes, then enter, enter, enter! Best wishes, everyone!

FirstLoveForeverGiveaway

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My First Novel

Sand Creek Serenade Signing 2So I had a real thrill recently. I had the pleasure of signing my first-ever contract for a full-length novel on Monday, March 19, 2018. Smitten Historical Romance will be putting my novel, Sand Creek Serenade, out in about a year. Here’s me signing the deal!

Sand Creek Serenade is a historical romance set in 1864 Colorado Territory. My heroine, Sadie Hoppner, is a young female doctor finishing her medical studies under the watchful eye of her older brother, Dr. Ben Hoppner. They both practice medicine at Fort Lyon where Ben is the fort’s surgeon and a Captain in the Army, and where Sadie has received special permission from the post’s commander, Major Ned Wynkoop. Sadie receives attention from both her brother’s best friend, Lieutenant Gabriel Farrington, and also the Cheyenne brave, Five Kills. You’ll have to read the story to find out who the real hero is!

I’ll keep you posted on release date, the cover, and any other pertinent information as we get closer to this story’s big day! Thanks for your interest!

 

Making Mistakes: Takeaway from The Mail Order Mistake

By Kathleen Y’Barbo

The Mail-Order Brides CollectionHave you heard the joke about the guy who thought he made a mistake? Well, turns out he was wrong.

We laugh at that joke, but the truth of it is sobering. We’ve all made mistakes, whether we acknowledge that fact or not. Maybe you put your trust in the wrong person.  Or perhaps you made a choice that you were certain would fix all your problems only to have the situation end in disaster.

What then? Do you wonder where God was and how He allowed that to happen? To those of us who believe He controls everything, such a mistake can cause us to ask hard questions of Him.

When May Conrad moved in with her kindly neighbor after fire destroyed her home, she certainly didn’t expect to be throw into the center of a Pinkerton investigation and be considered a prime suspect in a string of mail fraud crimes involving mail order brides. After all, she felt God was taking care of her. But was He? May certainly doesn’t think so when an infuriating Pinkerton detective insists her next choice is between helping him capture that kindly neighbor or be tossed into jail.

Can you think of a time when you were forced into a situation where none of the options were good? Maybe you had an idea of what your life was going to be like, and then God came in and did something totally different.  Something unexpected. Something uncomfortable. I know I’ve been there. And while you’re in the middle of that something unexpected and uncomfortable, you might be wondering where God is and why He’s allowing this to happen. You may even wonder if God has turned away and forgotten about you.

Good news! He hasn’t forgotten. In fact, He is absolutely and certainly using this unexpected and uncomfortable thing. What’s He using it for? Sometimes looking back that answer is obvious. Other times there may never be an answer this side of heaven as to why He has allowed something into your life.

Through it all, there is one thing that never changes and is always true: God never makes mistakes. He’s never wrong. And he never leaves you when you do. If you get nothing else from The Mail Order Mistake, please do not miss that.

I know May didn’t. I hope you won’t.

###

Blurb: The Mail-Order Mistake by Kathleen Y’Barbo
1855, Texas
Pinkerton detective Jeremiah Bingham is investigating a mail-order bride scam bankrupting potential grooms. When unsuspecting orphan May Conrad answers his false ad, she becomes the prime suspect in the case.

Bio:MOB--Kathleen Y'Barbo Turner

Bestselling author Kathleen Y’Barbo is a multiple Carol Award and RITA nominee with than ninety novels, novellas, and nonfiction books to her credit, and over two million copies of these books in print in the US and abroad. A tenth-generation Texan and certified paralegal, she is the winner of the Inspirational Romance of the Year by Romantic Times magazine and a number of Reader’s Choice awards as well as a nominee for an RT Career Achievement Award. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Novelists Inc. Kathleen loves interacting with her fans and with book clubs. To connect with her through social media or send her an email, check out the links on her website at www.kathleenybarbo.com.  And don’t miss signing up for her newsletter so you’ll be the first to know about new books. She’s got five coming out in 2017!

 

 

 

The Importance Of Secondary Characters

by Noelle Marchand

The Mail-Order Brides CollectionImagine the sound of a single cello playing a melody—deep, rich, vibrant. Now, imagine two violins and a viola joining in. Suddenly, what was once simple becomes complex with each instrument bringing out a new quality in the others. This is exactly what secondary characters do for main characters.  I always try to create well-rounded characters to interact with hero and heroine.

However, in writing The Outlaw’s Inconvenient Bride, I gained a better understanding of the importance of secondary characters within a novel. Never before had I tasked these characters with so much responsibility. With a huge portion of the story taking place in an outlaw gang’s secluded hideout, the six outlaws who lived there needed to provide external conflict, help set the tone of the story, and make the time period seem believable.

It was also paramount, due to the short nature of a novella, that these characters be immediately distinct from each other. I ensured this by researching accounts of real outlaws who lived during the old west. Inspired, my imagination went into overdrive. I created six characters complete with a list of their past crimes, endowed with a weapon of choice, unique character traits, motives for mayhem, and outlaw monikers. Meet all six members of the Renegade gang in The Outlaw’s Inconvenient Bride.

 

After a gang of outlaws uses a mail-order bride advertisement to trick an innocent woman into servitude, an undercover lawman must claim the bride—even if it puts his mission in jeopardy. 

 

http://www.noellemarchand.com/books

 

MOB--Noelle MarchandNoelle Marchand is an award-winning author and a proud Texas-native. She enjoys spending time with family, dancing, and going on daytrips.