Christmas Christian romance anthology benefits Wyoming pregnancy help clinic

Christmas Christian romance anthology benefits Wyoming pregnancy help clinic

If you binge-watch Hallmark and/or Great American Family romantic Christmas movies, then a collection of holiday stories that benefits a pro-life pregnancy center will make your heart merry!  

One reviewer of A Merry Heart, a collection of 10 different romance stories written by 10 different authors, said, “It’s like binge-watching Hallmark movies but even better!” Book sales showcase the popularity of this 800+page book.  

“Sales are on track to be at least twice what we did with the last anthology. We’ve broken through $1,000 in royalties,” Candace Sessums, one of the anthology’s organizers, told Pregnancy Help News in early December. 

She and co-organizer, Michelle Kampmeier distributed a call-out for authors and stories earlier in the year after creating and releasing a Mother’s Day anthology in the spring. That book featured six authors; the holiday book increased the number of contributors to 10.

All proceeds from the books’ sales go to a pro-life pregnancy help organization. The May book benefited Abundant Life Pregnancy Resource Center in Texas. Sales from the holiday collection will be donated to True Care Women’s Resource Center in Wyoming. None of the authors receive financial revenue from the project.

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Upon learning True Care was selected to receive the proceeds from A Merry Heart, President and CEO Jessica Baxter said, “It was such a surprise and an incredible blessing that we were chosen. There are so many worthy organizations! We are just honored, honored that they would place that investment and trust in us, that those funds would be utilized for the work God has … and He’s going to use it for His glory and for the good of those who love Him, just as He says.”

Tweet This: Proceeds from a collection of 10 Christian romance stories benefit a pregnancy help medical clinic in Wyoming.

Kampmeier commented on why True Care was selected.

“It’s a place outside our area [Arizona, Texas], a place that’s reputable, a place that’s doing the work we’ve wanted to support since the beginning of this project,” she said. “That made it a very easy choice.”

“I believe in pro-life, but I also believe in full family nurturing. True Care is obviously doing that,” Sessums said. “It’s about saving babies, but it’s also about helping women and fathers, and so that was something that definitely appealed to me and made the choice easy.”

Reasons for increased sales

Sessums attributes the increase in sales to three reasons.

“First, it’s a Christmas anthology,” she said. “Christmas collections do very well, I think, especially for this genre (Christmas/sweet romance). We’re looking for feel-good, holiday stories that get us in the mood for Christmas. Also, I think the charity aspects speaks to people.”

Increasing the number of authors also contributes, she said.

“We have 10 this time; last time we had six, so there’s more reach (to readers),” she said. “We’re selling more paperbacks this time, which is interesting because it’s more expensive this time because it’s bigger.”

Kampmeier agreed.

“The Christmas aspect, gift-giving, and the season for charity does help, as well as the increase in the number of authors so there’s a greater reach,” she said.

“I think the Christmas aspect helped us find more authors,” Sessums added. “Authors were excited to do a Christmas anthology. We shared the sign-up form in a lot of [Facebook] groups [for authors].”

“God is definitely driving this,” Sessums said. “He’s working amazingly through this.”

Engaging authors

Three writers from the May book returned for the holiday collection. Seven of the 10 writers are new to the charity, pro-life holiday collection. Tina Dee, who writes historical and contemporary romance under the pen name, Kaitlene Dee, was drawn to the anthology because she supports pregnancy centers and she understands what women experiencing unplanned pregnancies feel. 

“In the late 80s, I was trying to find my way with the Lord and found out I was pregnant with an unplanned pregnancy,” she said. “I didn’t know what to do, where to turn, and didn’t feel equipped to parent a child, a child I very desperately wanted. I just didn’t feel I was enough, and my situation in life was in turmoil before the pregnancy. Because of these things, and several other overbearing factors, I decided the best decision for my baby was adoption. I was directed by my pastor to a life pregnancy center for help.”

She placed a second child with the same adoptive family not long thereafter. She said she is happy to be an author in A Merry Heart, her first contribution to the project known as “Books4Babies.”

“This is the first time I’ve written a story for the anthology. It was fun getting to know the other authors and sharing in this project to benefit little ones,” Dee said.

Like Dee, romance and non-fiction author Aminata Coote contributed a story to the anthology for the first time. Coote, who lives in Jamaica and has published Christian devotionals, found the Books4Babies project appealing for various reasons when she learned about it from an author Facebook group.

“As a reader, I love anthologies; I find so many new authors through anthology reading,” she said. “I wanted to be a part of that because I also meet author friends … I’ve met so many new people. And when I saw the cause they’re supporting, I thought, ‘Yeah. I can get behind this.’”

Not only is this the first time she’s contributed to Books4Babies, but the collection is the first anthology to which she’s contributed.

Her story, The Doctor’s Christmas Miracle, is a contemporary grumpy-guy/sunshine-girl tale as a woman returning to her hometown has to work alongside a doctor for a hospital fundraiser. The doctor, like Scrooge, lacks Christmas spirit, totally opposite his fundraising co-chair. 

“He has that ‘come to Jesus moment’ and then the romance grows,” Coote said.

Dee’s story, A Family for Christmas, is a historical tale about a marriage of convenience between a widower and a governess.

“She blesses their time together while they’re all visiting mutual friends,” she said. “He proposes a marriage of convenience for his children to have a mother—he didn’t plan on falling in love with her after assuring her they would never have a real marriage or children of their own.”

Book available through end of January

A Merry Heart, available in print and e-book formats, remains on sale through the end of January via Amazon. 

Baxter said she is impressed with how the project brings authors together and how they connect with readers.

“I especially love that they are able to put together ten individuals who had not only a similar writing style or subject matter of clean, Christian fiction, but also that they all love the same mission and ministry opportunity – I think that’s such a rarity,” Baxter said. “Candace and Michelle have this calling to put this together … a beautiful picture of using the skills God has given them [and the authors] in various ways. Obviously, they are writers but then utilizing those writing skills to benefit a place like True Care and bless the people who buy the book, having them be able to read a number of different authors and expose those people to different authors – it’s just exponentially wonderful!”

Dee acknowledged the readers and purchasers of A Merry Heart for supporting the project, and therefore, supporting pregnancy organizations and the families they assist.

“Thank you for supporting Books-4-Babies anthologies with your purchase or reading in KU [Kindle Unlimited],” she said. “Babies, and people in crisis situations, as well as foster and adoptive families, are directly blessed with your purchases or Kindle Unlimited readthrough of these anthologies. Thank you for prayers for the anthology and participating authors as well. All stories are donated by the authors and all proceeds are donated to the chosen life pregnancy center for that particular project. Lord bless you all for your support!”

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