Contemporary Fiction

Always A Wedding Planner. Guest Post by the Authors.

Always a Wedding Planner —
Genre: Contemporary romance anthology
Release date: June 1st  
Love Is Only Business for 4 Wedding Planners Discover how keeping secrets from each other threatens four women’s friendships, wedding business, and own ability to find love in Loveland, Colorado. Business partners Felicity Anderson, the cake baker; Kiki Bell, the seamstress; Cassie Blackthorn, the coordinator; and Chef Saffron Fare are best of friends in a town that is a romantic wedding destination for many couples—who work together at Weddings by Design to make every bride’s special day perfect. Could each falling into their own romance be the key to working out their differences and learning to trust each other—and God—with their futures? Buy link: Goodreads:  

Story Behind the Story 

Toni Shiloh: When I was first presented with the opportunity to join the Always a Wedding Planner collection, I immediately jumped at the chance to have a character who was a wedding cake baker because . . . cakes! Although I have no experience baking on that level, I do love to bake. So, I delved into the world of cake baking and pinned way more cakes then was necessary on my Pinterest board for inspiration.

But I also wanted to create a character who had a deep desire to be married but couldn’t. Through brainstorming and maybe inspiration I saw through real life, I came up with a character who wasn’t able to have kids. 

Felicity Edwards never knows when is the perfect time to tell a guy she’s dating that she’s interfile. This is a major conflict in her life and the reason she feels she’s remained single. But when Will Davenport walks into the story, she has to decide if being vulnerable is worth the risk. 

RL Ashly: A family is a group of people that love each other and are concerned about the growth and well-being of each member. Hemmed In is a story based on a family that does not look like everyone else’s. I wanted to focus on a non-traditional family, a family that should be celebrated for its uniqueness. Several of my aunts either went through a divorce or became widows. My uncles were classy men who married my aunties and became wonderful fathers to my cousins. The word “step” was relegated to something one climbed to get into their homes. It never referred to adults or children. That left a profound impact on me.

As a single parent myself, I understand the load one must bear raising children alone. Single parents are not given enough credit for the heavy load they bear. The financial, emotional, and physical challenges were difficult. The blessings too many to count. The relationship with God so deep.

My children are grown so the single parent load is lighter, and my aunts and uncles have gone on to heaven. Their legacy served as the inspiration for this story.

Leeann Betts: The idea for The Worst-Kept Secret is sort of autobiographical, in that I’m an introvert and my hubby is an extrovert. I can see that this combination works in our marriage, because I’m the one who builds relationships with people we meet through getting comfortable enough to talk to them by asking questions, while hubby does the meeting and introductions. I suspected we weren’t unique in our personality types, so decided to try this pairing in a story.

A good romance needs romantic tension, and one of the best ways is if each character has a secret they’re trying to keep from the love interest and from others. Since this is a faith-based book, I didn’t want that secret to be something so serious as to call into question their salvation, so I based the secrets on struggles they were already having in their own lives.

I think a good romance also needs a few light moments. From the disastrous limo interview, to the puking pastor, to the coffee debacle, and even the car accident, while each of these were serious moments, I hoped to create an atmosphere of “what more could go wrong?” for both the reader and the characters.

Davalynn Spencer:  When asked to be a part of this novella collection, I chose to represent the Director of Food & Beverage for the company Weddings by Design. What would be this young woman’s secret that threatened her friendships and career? What could she not afford to lose?

Of course—her senses of smell and taste!

This seemed like a perfect setup, one that I felt fairly confidant was not an overcooked obstacle in story development. Imagine my stunned silence when I discovered that one of my culinary  advisors for the story had suffered the exact same malady as my cooking character. 

From all three of my advisors, I learned a lot about cooking from experience, habit, and observation. I learned about the safety measures required in a commercial kitchen, and how stressful the job can be. Often pressure builds internally as well as on top of the stove.

I learned also that cooking for a family is not the same as cooking professionally in a commercial kitchen for the paying public. One of my advisors stayed very close to the frontline, sharing her experiences in the food-service industry and as a university’s Special Events Coordinator. Check out the dedication to this book and maybe you can tell who it was.


TONI SHILOH is a wife, mom, and Christian fiction writer. Once she understood the powerful saving grace thanks to the love of Christ, she was moved to honor her Savior. She writes to bring Him glory and to learn more about His goodness.

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R.L. ASHLY is a master seamstress with a Master of Arts degree in Literature (May, 2019). She hopes to pursue a Ph.D. in Literature in the near future. A mother and grandmother, she is active in her local writing community, never says never to a home improvement task, and strives to one day write the Great American Novel. 

RL Ashly writes on the run. She enjoys a good mystery with a complicated plot. Iced tea is her beverage of choice. Hemmed In is her first traditionally published novel.


LEEANN BETTS writes contemporary romantic suspense, while her real-life persona, Donna Schlachter, pens historical romantic suspense. Together she and Donna have published more than 30 novellas and full-length novels. 

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DAVALYNN SPENCER is a Publisher’s Weekly and ECPA bestselling author with novellas in three Barbour collections, The 12 Brides of Christmas, The 12 Brides of Summer, and The Cowboy’s Bride. She won the Will Rogers Gold Medallion for Inspirational Western Fiction and is the author of ten additional titles, both contemporary and historical. She blogs monthly for Christian Authors Network, Heroes, Heroines & History, contributes to the American Christian Fiction blog, and writes her own weekly inspirational blog. She appears on an area radio broadcast, Write Time Radio, and teaches writing workshops when not wrangling Blue the Cowdog and mouse detectors Annie and Oakley. 

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