This month I am featuring two of my earlier books. Although now re-released, Face of Mary was first published in A Woodland Christmas. It was one of the first proposals I put together on my own. At the time Barbour published 4-author Christmas anthologies, usually with an interesting setting and preferably with something that tied the stories together. The setting was the Piney Woods of East Texas, through which I travelled many times on my way from Idabel, Oklahoma, to seminary in Fort Worth. The connecting thread: an itinerant wood carver. Tamela Hancock Murray, Ramona K. Cecil, and Janelle Mowery sent the proposal with me.
The story of a man looking for a woman to be the model for Mary, the mother of Jesus, had bugged me for years. The story is the most obvious retelling of the Christmas story of all of my holiday novellas. Mary “Polly” Jessup believes she is engaged to her friend’s much older brother, Joseph “Joey” Carpenter. Only once she’s grown, he returns engaged to someone else.
A Woodland Christmas contains all four of the novellas featuring Gabriel Noel. It’s one of my favorite collections, one I wish more people had discovered. Now is your chance! Janelle Mowery’s story continued in a full-fledged series and Ramona’s award-winning story is set in an Indian orphanage. Tamela Hancock Murray had the brilliant idea of reuniting Gabe with his family and giving him his own romance.
Do you ever wonder how long to let a publisher hold on to your proposal? This one took at least two years from proposal to contract, then at least a year from then until publication.
Note: Face of Mary is also in A Texas Christmas and Lawmen and the Lawless.