Thursday, May 14, 2020

#GuestPost - "Mail Order Beatrice" by Caroline Clemmons

Writing In A Multi-Author Project (MAP)

The past few years I have found writing in multi-author projects entertaining and successful. I’m referring to independently published works and not those like, for instance, Harlequin. In the event you’re not familiar with how a MAP functions, I’ll explain.

The MAP creator comes up with the premise which may or may not involve the location. For instance, each of the Matchmaker’s Ball series takes place in Creede, Colorado. On the other hand, the Pinkerton Matchmaker Series has the couple marrying in Denver, Colorado, but may then involve any location (usually west of the Mississippi). One of my favorite of those I’ve written this year, STUART, Bachelors and Babies Series, involves a bachelor who somehow becomes in charge of a baby under two. My latest two releases, MAIL-ORDER VICTORIA and MAIL-ORDER BEATRICE, are part of the Widows, Brides, and Secret Babies series. Both involve a baby that is a surprise to the groom when he meets his bride’s train or stage. (Victoria’s groom had surprises for her, too.)

The length is also a variable set by the series organizer. They may be as short as a 20,000 word story or as long as a 55,000 book. Occasionally one might see a longer MAP, but those are rare.

If readers like the premise, hopefully they will want to read the entire series. If they do, an author can gain new fans. All authors want more of those!

Truthfully, creating a book to someone else’s specifications is a little more difficult. I find the most difficult are the Pinkerton Matchmaker Series books because they involve (1) a mystery and (2) it takes place somewhere new and/or involves a new skill that involves research. I love research but tend to fall down rabbit holes when I start studying a subject—i.e. time drain.

The ease or difficulty can be as simple as how well the creator has planned and explained the parameters. If she constantly makes changes or additions, authors can waste a lot of writing time redoing an outline or even a manuscript. Experienced creators know to have this all set in guidelines BEFORE anyone starts writing.

Now you know all the things to appreciate the next time you read a multi-author project title. I hope this helps authors decide whether or not to join a multi-author project. 


Widows, Brides, and Secret Babies Series book 10
Caroline Clemmons
Historical western romance, sweet


Beatrice “Attie” Kendall has to escape from home with her six-week-old son. With the limited financial help of her kind brother, she goes to Atlanta where she consults a matchmaker. After the hard life Attie’s been dealt for her twenty years, she’ll finally have a good home with nice people and a friend nearby. In fact, her husband and their home seem too good to be true. Does she dare trust that her life has really changed?

Tate Merritt isn’t ready to get married but he gives in to his grandfather’s coercing. Grandpa raised him and Tate tries to please the older man. Tate doesn’t know what to think about this mail-order bride. She isn’t at all the wife he imagined—plus, she showed up with a baby! The child’s a cute little thing but Tate isn’t sure how he feels about her surprising him. How can he trust a woman whose story keeps changing?

Life presents obstacles to further complicate Attie and Tate’s marriage. They’ll have to work together to solve their problems and protect their family. Can they trust one another enough to make this marriage work?

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Here’s an excerpt of when they meet:

Tate’s misgivings grew as the stage came closer. By the time the vehicle stopped in front of them, he was ready to turn tail and run for home. He’d given his word, though, and he never broke his word. That meant he’d stand here and look halfway pleased his bride had arrived—if she had.

First person off the stage was a pretty brunette. She turned back and took a basket from inside the stage and held it while a beautiful blonde stepped out. The blonde took the basket and hugged the brunette.

Reg walked up to the brunette. “You must be Hannah. I’m Reggie.” They walked off to where his parents stood.

Grandpa nudged him. “Son, are you nailed to the boardwalk?”

He came out of his reverie and walked to the blonde. She was a pretty woman and had a real sweet expression on her face.

“I’m Tate Merritt. Are you Beatrice Bishop?”

“I am. My friends call me Attie, but whichever you please is fine.”

“Shall I take the basket?”

“If you don’t mind.” She handed it to him and removed the cloth she had covering the basket.

He glanced at the contents then stared. “It… It’s a baby. I didn’t know you were bringing a baby. Is this kid yours?”

Her chin came up. “His name is Wade. I’m a widow, you see, and Wade is my son.”

Grandpa had strolled over and peered at the basket’s contents. “Well, I’ll be if that isn’t a cute little sprout. Wade you say? Looks like a fine boy.”

Her face radiated such joy her beauty increased. “He is a very good boy. I’m fortunate to have him.”

She looked at Tate. “I didn’t have a chance to let you know I was bringing him but the matchmaker said from what your minister wrote that she was sure you’d not mind. Your preacher mentioned what a kind and loving family yours was.”

Grandpa stood there grinning like a fool which certainly was no help.

“You’re here so I suppose we’ll manage. We’re due at the church now. I’ll load your luggage if you’ll show me which is yours.”

Grandpa reached for the basket. “I’ll take charge of my great-grandson.”

Muttering under his breath, Tate escorted his used bride to the pile of luggage the stage driver had set on the boardwalk.

Attie reached for a carpetbag. “This and that small trunk there. The brown one.”

“That’s all?”

“It is.” She raised her chin again—defiantly, he thought, but he supposed it could have been the difference in their height.

He gauged her size and judged her to be about six or seven inches over five feet. Her eyes were the brightest blue he’d ever seen. In addition to being wrinkled from the trip, her dress was plain and frayed at the cuffs and the hem.

Reg and his father loaded a large trunk and valise onto their wagon.

Reg laughed. “Funny our mail-order brides being friends, isn’t it? Guess you’re going to the church next so we’ll see you there.”

“You know Mr. Spencer?” His used bride touched his arm and appeared excited. “Why, that’s wonderful. Hannah and I are good friends. I hope we can visit them sometimes.”

He hefted her trunk and a heavy carpetbag. “Sure I know him. Guess I know about everyone in this county and the next. There aren’t that many of us.”

She kept step with him. “I get the feeling you’re not happy about the baby and me being a widow instead of never wed. I can understand that but I hope you won’t send me back.”

He stopped and looked at her. “Attie, I’m not sending you back. I can’t help being a little upset because I didn’t know you had a baby or that you were a widow.”

He started walking again. “I had this picture in my head. Give me a little time to get my mind changed around to the real you.”


Through a crazy twist of fate, Caroline Clemmons was not born on a Texas ranch. To compensate for this illogical error, she writes about handsome cowboys, feisty ranch women, and scheming villains in a tiny office her family calls her pink cave. She and her Hero live in North Central Texas cowboy country where they ride herd on their two rescued indoor cats and dog as well as providing nourishment for outdoor critters.

The books she creates in her pink cave have made her a bestselling author and won awards. She writes sweet to sensual romances about the West, both historical and contemporary as well as time travel and mystery. Her series include the Kincaids, McClintocks, Stone Mountain Texas, Bride Brigade, Texas Time Travel, Texas Caprock Tales, Pearson Grove, and Loving A Rancher as well as numerous single titles and contributions to multi-author sets. When she’s not writing, she loves spending time with her family, reading her friends’ books, lunching with friends, browsing antique malls, checking Facebook, and taking the occasional nap. Find her on her blog, website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Pinterest.

Join her and other readers at Caroline’s Cuties, a Facebook readers group at for special excerpts, exchanging ideas, contests, giveaways, recipes, and talking to like-minded people about books and other fun things.

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