I don’t know about you, but I think anthologies are pretty cool! This week I’ve got a treat for you in the form of four very talented authors, here to tell you about their stories in a book called Rainbow’s End!
Who Are You?

Rainbow's End, Cara Putman, nicole o'dell, geocache, geocachingWe are Valerie Comer, Annalisa Daughety, Nicole O’Dell and Cara Putman, the authors of the novella anthology, Rainbow’s End. Here’s the official stuff about us:

Valerie Comers life on a small farm in western Canada provides the seed for stories of contemporary inspirational romance. Like many of her characters, Valerie and her family grow much of their own food and are active in the local foods movement as well as their church. She only hopes her creations enjoy their happily ever afters as much as she does hers, shared with her husband, adult kids, and adorable granddaughters.

Annalisa Daughety, a graduate of Freed-Hardeman University, writes contemporary fiction set in historic locations. Annalisa lives in Arkansas with three spoiled dogs and is hard at work on her next book. She loves to connect with her readers through social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Nicole O’Dell, founder of Choose NOW Ministries and host of Choose NOW Radio: Parent Talk and Teen Talk, is a youth culture expert who writes and speaks to preteens, teenagers, and parents about how to prepare for life’s tough choices. She’s author of YA fiction, including the popular Scenarios for Girls interactive fiction series and the Diamond Estates Series, and non-fiction for teens including Girl Talk, 2/1/12, which she wrote with her two daughters based on their popular advice column. Hot Buttons, O’Dell’s non-fiction series for parents helps pre-empt peer pressure by tackling tough issues.

Cara C. Putman lives in Indiana with her husband and four children. She’s an attorney, teacher at her church, and contract lecturer or adjunct faculty at a local community college and Big Ten University. She has loved reading and writing from a young age and now realizes it was all training for writing books. An honors graduate of the University of Nebraska and George Mason University School of Law, Cara loves bringing history and romance to life. You can learn more about Cara and her books on her website, Facebook, twitter, and pinterest.

Our anthology, Rainbow’s End, celebrates the latest craze, geocaching!

Join a geocaching adventure in the spectacular Lake of the Ozarks wilderness, with Lyssa, the reluctant volunteer whose former nemesis is now her chief sponsor; Madison, a city girl paired with an outdoorsy guy who gets on her very last nerve; cautious Reagan, who meets an equally cautious guy; and Hadley, who doesn’t know enough about guys to realize she’s met a womanizer. Will they find the treasure they’re looking for … or something else entirely?

Curious about what geocaching is? Take a look at this short video to find out:

What are your writing roots?

Valerie: I began applying myself to learning the craft of writing in the winter of 2002. I joined ACFW in 2007 and finaled in the speculative fiction arena of Genesis in 2007, ’08, and ’09. I attended my first ACFW conference in 2009. By this time I’d created my own niche of contemporary romance in which to write. . .but no one was willing to take a chance on me. As 2010 rolled into 2011, I’d completed nine full-length novels, the last two or three of which were actually getting to be pretty good. At least I thought so! I was beginning to feel some frustration at not picking up an agent or a contract. Can anyone relate?

geocaching, treasure map, rainbows end, nicole odell, valerie comerAnnalisa: Like many of you, I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember—I wrote my first story when I was in the first grade and stapled the pages together to look like a book. But getting up the courage to seek publication took me a long time. In 2007, I finaled in the Genesis contest and pitched the idea for a series about park rangers. Fast forward to the following year at the ACFW Conference—I was one of Barbour’s surprise contracts (for the three book Walk in the Park series, set in National Parks) and Love is a Battlefield (the first book in the series) won first place in the Genesis contest contemporary romance category. That conference will always be on the highlight reel of my life!

Cara: I’ve been writing since third grade when we wrote short stories in a journal. Then as a teen I tried my hand at a couple novels. But I didn’t write to get published until 2005 when the itch to write wouldn’t go away. I received my first contract at my second ACFW conference – I will never forget that moment!

Nicole: I started writing for publication in 2007 with a bunch of devotionals for Barbour—201 to be exact, which got my foot in the door. In 2008, I was in the right place at the right time and a clever idea earned me a two-book deal for unwritten work, then another one not long after that. You might think that I’ve had it easy. But, I’ll tell you, I’ve learned so much since those first books. I wish I’d known half of what I know now, and I can really see the value in not rushing the process. Yes, I had books published with little experience and with relative ease. But, though I’m very proud of them, how much of those books would I change or improve upon now if I had the chance? There’s something to be said for putting in the time and doing the hard work to learn the craft.

 

Where did the idea for Rainbow’s End come from?

Valerie: When my husband and I began geocaching a few years ago, we found bits of natural history and interesting hiking trails in our area we hadn’t known existed. And as I hiked up these mountain trails, I began thinking how fun it would be to use geocaching as a backdrop for a contemporary romance story. In “Topaz Treasure,” closet-believer Lyssa Quinn steps out of her comfort zone to help coordinate the Rainbow’s End geocaching hunt her church is using as an outreach event and comes face to face with her ex-humanties professor and nemesis in the faith. Can she trust that he’s changed?

Annalisa: I didn’t know anything about geocaching before working on Rainbow’s End, but now I tell people all the time what a cool hobby it is. In fact, I wish the Rainbow’s End treasure hunt was a real event, because I’d be the first to sign up! In “Beneath the Surface,” Madison Wallace finds herself going back to her tiny hometown after being away for many years. There were definitely some parallels going on in my own life as I wrote the novella. I moved away from my own small town when I left for college and lived in the city for several years. At the same time I was writing the novella, I was in the process of buying a house and some land near my hometown. I loved getting to write Madison’s struggles with going back to her roots as I was going through the same thing.

Cara: I’d heard of geocaching and think it would be great fun to do with my husband and kids. Unfortunately, deadlines didn’t give me a chance to try it last summer when I was writing “Love’s Prize.” Someday, I’d love to replicate the hunt that I sent my characters on – without the suspense! I think we’ve all had a time in our lives when we wondered what was true and if it was time to let go of our plans and surrender to God’s will. That’s exactly the struggle that Reagan and Colton experience in the midst of the summer’s adventures.

Nicole: I knew nothing about geocaching when we started this project. But, like my character, Hadley, in “Welcome Home, Love, I’ve struggled with physical issues over the years. In fact, I once lost well over 100 pounds and reached a fit-and-trim size four. Then, just as I’d started to get used to my new size and started believing I was actually the new me, I got pregnant with triplets and the doctor told me I needed to gain 100 pounds. No joke. I was able to use a lot of my personal inner-battles as I walked Hadley through hers.

 

What are the stories about?

Topaz Treasure, by Valerie Comer Closet believer Lyssa Quinn steps out of her comfort zone to help coordinate the Rainbow’s End geocaching hunt her church is using as an outreach event. She’s not expecting her former humanities prof–young, handsome, anti-Christian Kirk Kennedy–to be at the Lake of the Ozarks at all, let along in a position to provide sponsorship to the treasure hunt. How can she trust someone who once shredded her best friend’s faith?

Beneath the Surface, by Annalisa Daughety When Madison Wallace’s sister signs the two of them up to participate in the Rainbow’s End Treasure Hunt, Madison is less than thrilled. She isn’t the most outdoorsy girl in the world, so spending two months traipsing around the Ozarks isn’t her idea of fun. Especially when her sister has to back out at the last minute. Grant Simmons loves the outdoors. He jumps at the chance to participate in the treasure hunt with his grandfather, but when the elderly man’s health takes a turn for the worse, Grant is without a partner. When Madison and Grant find themselves teamed up for the treasure hunt, their differences quickly rise to the surface. Will Madison be able to break through Grant’s walls and get him to open up? Can Grant look past Madison’s polished exterior to see that beneath the surface is a heart of gold? If these polar opposites can find common ground, they might find a love worth treasuring.

Love on a Dime, by Cara C. Putman Reagan Graham, an intense thinker with an artsy flare, has never been one to tempt fate. Instead, she’s played it safe by following everyone’s expectations for her, rather than her own heart. When her parents told her to get a safe degree like accounting, when she wanted to explore photography, Reagan acquiesced. But after four years of making numbers march in orderly rows, she’s fried. She takes two months off to join her kid brother Ryan in the Ozarks for the Rainbow’s End geocaching treasure hunt. He’s there for the treasure . . . she’s there to photograph the beauty of God’s creation to her heart’s content. Then she meets Ryan’s frat brother and teammate. Colton Woodill, a non-traditional student her own age, is nothing like she expected. A deep thinker like Reagan, Colton is spending the summer before law school trying to relax. His plan doesn’t include falling in love before law school graduation, but the more time he spends with Reagan, he can’t remember why. Will Reagan and Colton risk their hearts and their safe plans to take a risk on love?

Welcome Home, Love, Nicole O’Dell After winning her life-long battle to get fit, Hadley Parker thinks it’s time for a reward. The couch potato is gone; now it’s time to say goodbye to the wallflower. Determined, and about to turn thirty, Hadley signs up for the annual Rainbow’s End Treasure Hunt as a gift to herself. Unskilled in handling attention from good-looking men, Hadley nearly makes a huge mistake by falling for Brad, a fellow competitor and confirmed bachelor. Youth pastor and hunt director, Noah Templeton, tries to warn her before things go too far, but Hadley mistakes his sincerity for jealousy. Will she see past the syrupy compliments of the ill-intentioned womanizer? And will Noah manage to remind Hadley that the treasures she truly seeks are already within her . . . and right in front of her?

We’d love to give away a copy of Rainbow’s End! Just leave a comment to enter to win!!

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