Welcome to the Starfish Shores Launch Party!

Me, Mary and Tanya

Me, MJ and Tanya out to dinner at one of the yummy seafood restaurants in Orange Beach.

Two of my best friends in all the world are fellow writers MJ Fredrick and Tanya Michaels. I have so much in common with them, love spending time with them when I can (we live in three different states), and so it was only natural that we’d end up writing something together at some point. We’re celebrating that end product today with a world-famous Lair Launch Party!

Swept Away for Christmas, A Starfish Shores Holiday is a collection of three Christmas novellas set in our fictional town of Starfish Shores on the Gulf Coast of Alabama. It combines two things I love and adore — Christmas and the beach! Back in June, MJ, Tanya and I traveled to the coast and spent a weekend doing on-site research in Orange Beach, Alabama, and brainstorming on the condo balcony overlooking the ocean. Seriously, we really did work. :) On-site research helps when you’re trying to capture the sights, sounds, smells, the feel of a place. It helps to make the world three-dimensional. We ate at local seafood restaurants, walked along the beach, watched as people took their flashlights out on the beach at night to find little crabs washing up in the surf. We hit the local tourist bureau and came away with lots of wonderful information that led to the formation of characters and the plots of the three stories. And MJ and I spent a day hanging out on the local fishing pier, which was really interesting.

Then we came back and wrote our stories, exchanged them to do edits, and had my husband design the cover as well as a book video.

Here’s what you’ll find in the collection:

Christmas isn’t always snow-covered with a frosty chill in the air. Sometimes it’s sandy beaches with balmy breezes.

And sometimes we find love in the most unexpected places, a place like Starfish Shores.

Swept Away for ChristmasHere Comes McBride by Tanya Michaels
 
Shelby James has only truly loved one man — but Finn McBride broke her heart when emotional baggage from his past came between them. Now, Shelby is serving as maid of honor at a beach wedding where Finn is the best man. Will reuniting with Finn be a Christmas miracle, or the worst mistake she’s ever made?

Two Hearts a Leaping by MJ Fredrick

After a break-up with her high school sweetheart, Harley Blume retreats to her brother’s home in Starfish Shores to lick her wounds and figure out what she’s doing next. But her brother is in the Coast Guard reserves and heading out of town, leaving her in the care of Liam Channing, his best friend since they played college football together. She’s never been able to keep her tongue in her mouth when good-looking, easy-going Liam is around. How is she going to find her way if she can’t keep her balance?

Crusin’ for a Kiss by Trish Milburn

When Avery Phillips loses her magazine job right before Christmas, she heads back home to Starfish Shores to spend the holidays with the grandparents who raised her. The plan is to hit the job search hard so that she has a new position when the New Year arrives. What isn’t part of the plan is heading up a remodeling effort at her family’s beach motel or falling for the man helping to save the business into which her grandparents put a lifetime of work. As Christmas draws closer, will Avery stick to the original plan to leave town again or take a chance with Luke Taylor and a new life she never expected?
~~

This collection is the first of what we plan to be several seasonal collections set in Starfish Shores. We’re about to embark on the brainstorming and planning for the next one for release sometime in the spring.

To celebrate our launch, I’m giving away an electronic copy of Swept Away for Christmas as well as a Christmas ornament, both just in time for the upcoming holiday season. In fact, I think Swept Away for Christmas would be a great Christmas gift this year. :) It’s available in electronic format from the major online retailers as well as a paperback version from Amazon. To get more chances to win today, please share this blog post via your social media and post a comment telling us where you’ve shared it. You’ll get one entry for every place you share.

Comments

56 thoughts on “Welcome to the Starfish Shores Launch Party!

  1. 1
    Kaelee says:

    Trish ~ You are branching out all over. I just about bought your Paranormal today.

    Congratulations on the Starfish Shores series. It sounds delightful.

  2. 2
    pjpuppymom says:

    Love the sound of this anthology! Congrats to Trish, Tanya and MJ. I’m looking forward to reading all three stories.

  3. 3
    flchen1 says:

    Trish, MJ, and Tanya, this sounds fabulous! I do love anthologies, and holiday stories hit the spot (I have a tendency to read them no matter what time of year it is!) Congrats, and looking forward to picking this up! I’m glad to hear this is just the first of hopefully many you’ll create together! Glad you’re enjoying the process of brainstorming as much as the writing and finished product! Did you read each other’s stories along the way? :)

    And tweeted:
    https://twitter.com/flchen1/status/389993737226448896

  4. 4
    Amy Conley says:

    Wow sound the sound of this anthology. Perfect Christmas as far as I can tell, no snow, no cold. :)
    I tweeted (moonprincess111) and shared on FB (Amy Anderson Conley).

  5. 5

    Hi all! Thanks for helping us celebrate our launch. As a reader, I *love* holiday novellas. They’re such a festive treat for me during what can be a very hectic time of year. From October to January, I have very little time to curl up with a 500+ page book! (I save those for taking kids to the pool in the summer.) As a writer, I loved getting to work with two such wonderful people. But note to self: don’t let people take pictures of you w/ windblown “beach hair” or it could end up on a blog for the whole world to see LOL!

  6. 6
    Helen says:

    Congrats Trish, MJ and Tanya

    I do love the sound of these stories I too love the beach and Christmas and here in Australia the beach is the perfect place to spend a hot Christmas :)

    I look forward to reading this one off to share on facebook

    Have Fun
    Helen

  7. 7

    Love the cover! He did a great job. One thing I’ve observed about you is that you always form very strong friendships that last many years and cross geographic boundaries!

    • 7.1

      Aww, thanks Steph. And you know you’re one of my oldest writing friends (as in we’ve known each other a long time, not that you’re old). :)

      I do love having friends all around the world, something that I would have never imagined when I was a teenager.

  8. 8
    MJ Fredrick says:

    It was my first collaboration, and so much fun! I played hooky the last day of school to fly out to Trish’s, but totally worth it!

    • 8.1

      It was a lot of fun. I have traditionally not been much of a group project sort of person, hated them in school. But I think if you find the right people to work with, they can really be rewarding and lots of fun.

  9. 9

    Flchen1 asked if we read each other’s stories as went along…

    Like Trish said, we got together & brainstormed the basics together, what type of story we each wanted to do (wedding stories are a fave of mine) and making sure all our heroes didn’t have the same name or anything :-)

    Once we got home, we pretty much worked indpendently except for sending each other descriptions of places & people that overlap the stories. When it was all dine, we swapped & proofread each other’s stuff which was fun! I thoroughly enjoyed Trish’s & MJ’s stories

    • 9.1

      I really liked the way we did it. We had enough overlap to give the three stories the feel of being in the same place, but it wasn’t so much overlap that you have to read one for another to make sense or where we had to run every detail of our stories past each other. I think we hit just the right balance of overlap.

  10. 10

    And thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone speeading the word online!

  11. 11
    Deb says:

    Oooh, I love Christmas stories and I really do like novellas. Congratulations to all three of you! Trish, I love the cover! That’s very clever and so perfect for the anthology. I can’t wait to read the stories!

    • 11.1

      Thanks so much, Deb. Yeah, we got really lucky at finding some nice artwork for the cover. I’ve always loved starfish, so it seems fitting that it ending up being part of our town’s name.

  12. 12
    Shannon says:

    I want Christmas novels for the plane ride, but anthologies are great for the in-between times during a long holiday vacation, except when they’re so good that I find myself saying, “it’ll only take me another 20 minutes, I promise.”

    I’ve done the Thanksgiving at the beach holiday in Myrtle Beach but never Christmas.

    As for Christmas in warm locales, I celebrated in Texas and North Carolina. One Christmas day, it was in the 70s and my friend’s husband decided the only real manly way to celebrate was to buy a turkey deep fryer. That way he could do brisket in the smoker and a turkey in the fryer.

    My memories of North Carolina is an annual Christmas eve party that I started to provide “strays,” other singles a place to go before midnight mass. I had a vaulted cieling so I had a 7′ artificial tree; each year, guests brought me new ornaments so the tree decorating process took forever as I remembered who gave me what and when and why. Some of the singles married and brought their spouses. After a few years, my married friends, hearing about the festivities, asked about coming. By the time, I moved I was joking that I needed really good weather so that I could use the balcony to accomodate the crowd. And yes, one of my Texas friends came and set up a lumunaria (sp?) for my walk way.

    • 12.1

      Shannon, your tradition in North Carolina sounds wonderful.

      The main reason I hate that Christmas is during cold weather is that when you always have to travel, I don’t like worrying about snow and ice. Hubby and I had one Christmas where we hit a snowstorm and slid off the road twice. It took us twice as long to get home. Never again. Our families know that if it’s going to snow, I’m not driving anywhere. :)

      • 12.1.1
        Shannon says:

        My mother has been ill off and on. My brother, her primary care giver, has been planning for a year to go with his family to Hawaii for the holidays. So this Christmas I’m taking to the hopefully not snowy skies. And I hoping for not slippery roads. I definitely understand your desire not to travel.

  13. 13
    Jo Robertson says:

    Delightful post, Trish. I do enjoy holiday settings in “unusual” places. Christmas at the beach sounds wonderful.

    Congratulations on the new release. How much fun is it do set location research! I’m envious.

    • 13.1

      Thanks, Jo. I really do love site research. I’ve done it at the beach, in the Tennessee mountains, Wyoming, the Texas Hill Country and Salem, Mass.

  14. 14
    catslady says:

    Congratulations on your new book . I just love the cover too!

  15. 15

    Trish, this sounds great! Setting a Christmas story at the beach is a change of pace, and it sounds like fun. Congrats to you, MJ, and Tanya!

    • 15.1

      Thanks, Nancy. Hubby and I were at the beach a few years back right before Christmas. It was so fun to drive around and see how people had decorated for the holidays there. I did actually see lights on palm trees. And there was a condo in the building next to us that had a big corner glass window facing the ocean, and they had a pretty Christmas tree lit there.

  16. 16

    Congratulations, Trish, Tanya and MJ!

    This sounds like such a fun project and three great stories!!

    Sadly, I had way too many warm Christmases in Florida. At least in North Texas there’s usually a bite in the air, so I almost feel like I’m back in Ohio where we often had very snowy Christmases!!

    • 16.1

      Thanks, Suz. The thing is, I think all the snowy Christmas stuff is pretty and very traditional. It just is a pain when you have to travel, and I hate being cold.

  17. 17
    Pat Cochran says:

    Congratulations to MJ, Tanya, and Trish on the launch of your anthology! I LOVE anthologies! And this is a Christmas-themed book. I LOVE Christmas stories!! This sounds like the perfect combination
    for me! I will be ordering this book right away! Enjoy the party and, please, have a Mimosa for me!!

    Pat C.

  18. 18

    LOL – Love the idea of reseaching beaches and then writing the trip off as a business expense. Gotta love being a writer :-) .

    The stories sound great and the timing absolutely fabulous. I think it’s great that you chose a beach setting as there’s lots of setting potential for romance, and it’s not overdone. WIshing you three great sales!

    • 18.1

      Thanks, Donna. Yeah, every time I go to the beach, I get more ideas for stories, even little setting details. I was just at a different beach over the weekend, and I came away inspired again.

  19. 19
    bn100 says:

    This sounds interesting

  20. 20
    Janie Mason says:

    Sounds like a fun read. And tell your husband he did a great job on the cover!

  21. 21
    MJ Fredrick says:

    Y’all’ve been busy, lol! I’m one, here in Texas, who has had more than her fair share of warm Christmases down here in Texas! I’d love a good, cold Christmas. Tanya and I were amused that in our stories, the heroines were never too cold (we both like the AC) and Trish’s was always freezing (like Trish!)

  22. 22

    Congrats on your new release, Trish!! Hmm, brainstorming on the beach sounds just about perfect to me. Can’t wait to read this one!

  23. 23
    Marcy Shuler says:

    The book sounds fabulous. Congratulations, Trish!

  24. 24
    Becke Turner says:

    Trish,
    I agree with Christie about brainstorming on the beach. Sounds like the perfect place to come up with great stories.

    Congratulations.
    b

  25. 25
    Caren Crane says:

    Trish, MJ and Tanya, this is awesome! I love the Gulf coast, especially in Alabama. I spent many a summer at Gulf Shores, since my father lived in LA (Lower Alabama). :D

    We spent a memorable Christmas in San Destin one year. The year I was pregnant with my middle child, actually. It’s a perfect time to be at the Gulf, since there are few tourists and lots of empty sand. We had a great time and made some wonderful memories. I can’t wait to read this book, since I am a huge fan of all three of you! :D

    • 25.1

      Thanks, Caren. It is a wonderful time of year to go because the crowds aren’t there. On the warmer days, it’s great to walk on the beach with all that solitude.

  26. 26

    How fantastic! A Christmas anthology set in LA (Lower Alabama!) Orange Beach is such a great sandy destination. And all three of these stories sound like great Christmas reads. I collect Christmas anthologies so I have something to read to keep me in the Christmas spirit during the rotten retail season at Walmart!