Saturday, February 18, 2012

What They’re Saying about Gina Welborn’s Debut Novella

– Oh, and a Little about Gina, Too!

If you’ve been following Inkwell Inspirations this week, you know we’re celebrating Gina Welborn and the release of Sugarplum Hearts, Gina’s first novella, which is part of Barbour’s Highland Crossings anthology.

And if you’ve been following us this week, you also know the premise of Sugarplum Hearts. But just in case, I’ll give you a short reminder.

Set in colonial North Carolina, each book in Highland Crossings is connected by an heirloom brooch from Scotland. In Gina’s story, Seren Cardew sells confections that half the town believes are filled with poison. Seren would desperately love to open and confectionary. Enter Finley Sinclair, a hero who has regular conversations with the Lord, and the story quickly becomes a page-turner.

The first time I read this story, before it was published, I enjoyed it. But I loved it even more the second time. And just for the record, all the novellas in this collection look stellar and I can’t wait to read each one.

Since Gina’s debut was met with raves, I thought I’d share some of them with you.

From two of Gina’s co-authors in the collection:

I’m tattling on Gina here, but she called me all stressed and worrying about her story. She said something like, “Mine seems so light and silly compared to the rest of you.” To which I responded with something like, “We need light and silly to counteract those of us who write a little dark. Even Shakespeare had comic relief.”

In other words, Gina’s story is the meringue atop the lemon pie, that which makes the whole treat complete lighter than custard, but most definitely not simple. ~~Laurie Alice Eakes

Gina has a humorous voice in her writing that will delight and entertain readers long after the story is read.
~~Jennifer Hudson Taylor, award winning author of Highland Blessings and Highland Sanctuary

And from some of the Inkies:

Gina has a unique, standing-in-front-of-you style of writing. By that I mean you can almost imagine Gina spinning the tale for a group of friends as you sit rapt in front of her, elbows on knees, chin on fists. Her wit lives in her words and her warmth radiates through her characters. Bravo, Gina! ~~Jennifer AlLee

Gina Welborn's Sugarplum Hearts is as sweet and satisfying as the confections made by heroine Seren Cardew, and as strong and appealing as Finley Sinclair, the man determined to win her.  A real treat! ~~DeAnna Julie Dodson, author of In Honor Bound

It was so sweet, wasn't it? No pun intended! ~~Niki Turner

The perfect recipe of memorable characters, inspiration, and delicious plot twists, Gina Welborn’s Sugarplum Hearts is as sweet and satisfying as its name implies. ~~ Susanne Dietze

And finally, from an Inky of few words:

I have to tell you that when I heard the initial plot for Gina’s novella, I had to laugh. Seriously? Some hunky hero trying to sell candy to colonials? Well, thought I, only Gina would come up with that one. And only Gina could pull it off, too.

(Am I only the one who thought this? That’s okay if I am.)

stolen from Deb's earlier post
Part of the pleasure of reading Gina’s novella was recognizing her ‘voice’ in the first two pages. And, take this next bit with a piece of comfit… cough cough, it’s not really about the plot here. It’s all about falling for two incredible characters.  First, Gina has a way with setting and she’s taught me a lot. But it’s her skill in characterization that pulled me through the whole book in one sitting (I was prone at the time but I don’t want to say ‘in one lying’). I kept the last chapter for the second night because I wasn’t ready to say goodbye.

I wanted to be Seren Cardew and I certainly fell in love with Finley.  I wanted to travel past Miss Keen’s house and wave at her, and watch Finley Sinclair square his shoulders before entering the Confectionary.  I loved this story Gina. Thank you. (And I’m including parenthetical thoughts…just for you.) ~~Debra E. Marvin

Along with Gina’s fabulous giveaway (see below), I’ll also be giving away a copy of Highland Crossings. Just leave a comment below to be entered in both giveaways, but be sure to include an encrypted version (at dot com) of your email address so we can reach you.

In honor of her release, Gina is doing a giveaway this week of a gift basket that includes all kinds of goodies including a copy of Highland Crossings. Please leave a comment any day this week with your e-mail address (safely) to be entered in the drawing!

Ultimate Sugarplum Hearts Giveaway includes:
  • copy of Highland Crossings
  • copy of Blue Like Jazz
  • four spice mixes
  • cranberry bread mix
  • cheesecake dessert ball mix
  • crepe cookbook
  • set of Pampered Chef bamboo bowls
Suzie Johnson has won several awards for her inspirational novels (writing as Susan Diane Johnson), including the Maggie, Lone Star, Heart of the West, and Beacon awards, and has been a finalist in the Touched by Love, Finally A Bride, Linda Howard Award for Excellence, and Virginia's Fool For Love contests. She is a member of ACFW, RWA, and is a cancer registrar at her local hospital. The mother of a wonderful young man who makes her proud every day, she lives with her husband and naughty little cat on an island in the Pacific Northwest. And although the beaches are rocky instead of sandy, lined with Madronas and Evergreens instead of Palm trees, and the surf is much too cold for wading, it is still the perfect spot for writing romantic fiction. You can visit her blog, Suzie's Writing Place at


  1. I'm glad you have some real reviews here Suzie. I cant wait to go the whole anthology!

    Okay so you made me look like an Inky with lots of words.

    Lets get some more people in the drawing today.

    What a great giveaway!

  2. This sounds like something I'd love. I always enjoy a book with a unique twist. Please enter me!

    pam(at) daysong (dot) com

  3. Good morning ladies,

    It's a windy, rainy day here on my island. The perfect day to snuggle up with Sugarplum Hearts.

    Deb, I'm planning to read the entire anthology, too. Every novella looks great.

    Pam, you are entered! Have a blessed day!

  4. Loved your review, Suzie! And I loved Sugarplum Hearts.

    DeAnna and I both used the phrase "sweet and satisfying" to describe it. Because it's TRUE! DeAnna, we're twinsies today.

  5. Niki said it was sweet, too. So you can be triplets! :-)

  6. Gina's novella is not silly and it is not light per se. I thought she did a great job with this novella especially it being her debut. Very well done and consistent with the other novellas in the collection yet reflecting a slightly later time period, obviously, since later in the storyline. Well done, Gina.

  7. Well, sweet, silly, light, it sounds great to me! Thanks for the chance to win!


  8. I don't think anyone meant to imply that Gina's book is silly. Laurie said Gina worried that it was silly, but she didn't say it was. And I think "sweet" was used in relation to the heroine's candy-making skills.

    It's a wonderful book, and anyone who knows me knows I only review books that I would read a second or third time.

    Silly? I consider most of the Mr. Monk books silly. I enjoy them, laugh while reading them, but probably would never read them again.

    I'm already reading Sugarplum Hearts a second time. I don't do that with "silly".

    This book is well worth reading - more than once.

  9. Thanks Carrie and Candy for stopping by. Carrie, I'm glad you enjoyed the book! Candy, I'm positive you'll enjoy it, too.

    Candy, you are entered in the drawing. Carrie, did you want to be in the drawing as well? If so, can you leave me your encrypted email address?

  10. Sounds like a great book! I am adding it to my TBR list!
    Thanks for the giveaway!
    Jakki36 (at) yahoo (dot) com

  11. Great, Jakki. I've added you to the drawing. Thanks for visiting!

  12. Oh, Suzie, I feel horrid for not responding yesterday. This was one of those moments when life literally limits what one can do.

    Your post made me LOL so many places. And smile. Oh, Deb, I almost got teary-eyed at your parenthetical use.

    My favorite paragraph was this:
    "I have to tell you that when I heard the initial plot for Gina’s novella, I had to laugh. Seriously? Some hunky hero trying to sell candy to colonials? Well, thought I, only Gina would come up with that one. And only Gina could pull it off, too."

    Yeah, I supposed I do have some warped plot ideas. Sadly, I can't write them all.

    Umm, Carrie, 'twas I who described my story as silly. To be candid, sometimes I think I need to be more serious in what I write. Not that I'm trying to be funny. In fact, what I think is serious, some people (Dina) find humorous. Still, I suppose that's my (hear Deb gasp) author voice. Hmm.

    My next novella is fairly serious. For me.

    No dead bodies, though.

  13. Gina, we loved hosting Jeremy this weekend, along with the band from Norman, OK. He told us that you are an author so I Googled you. Maybe you can make it back to OK sometime and come visit us. Our location has played a part in the writing of a couple books and a Bible Study for those doing short term missions.

  14. I'm hoping this giveaway is still going. I have not read a book by Gina Welborn and would love to. So please enter me if there is still time.
    jrs362 at hotmail dot com

  15. Gina's giveaway is over, squiresj, but mine isn't. I won't be drawing a name until Monday evening. So you're in the drawing for the book. Thanks for stopping by.

  16. I used the number generator at to draw for the book, and Pam's number came up. Pam, I'll be contacting you, and I hope you'll enjoy the book.


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We, the ladies of Inkwell Inspirations, would love to give free stuff to everybody. Since we can't, we will often have a giveaway in conjunction with a specific post. Unless otherwise stated, one winner will be drawn from comments left on that post between the date it was published and the end of the giveaway as determined in the post. Entries must be accompanied by a valid email address. This address is used only to contact the commenter in the event that he/she is the winner, and will not be sold, distributed, or used in any other fashion. The odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. NO PURCHASE, PLEDGE, OR DONATION NECESSARY TO ENTER OR TO WIN. ALL FEDERAL, STATE, LOCAL AND MUNICIPAL LAWS AND REGULATIONS APPLY. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.