Authors produce romance anthology to benefit pregnancy centers

Authors produce romance anthology to benefit pregnancy centersThe romance anthology You have Made My Heart benefitting pregnancy help is available in paperback and e-book

When authors Candace Sessums and Michelle Kampmeier met online a few years ago, little did they realize the important assignment they would receive from the Lord later at nearly the same time for the same cause.

Both had published books under different pen names. As often happens in the writing world, the internet introduced them to one another. As each sought direction for their creative endeavors about a year ago, God brought them together again.

“I started thinking about writing more faith-based romance, and I actually thought about doing anthologies once they overturned Roe v. Wade,” Kampmeier said. “I didn't have any experience of putting it together and organizing it or anything like that, so I sort of let the idea go. About two weeks later, Candice messaged me and said something like, “Hey, I was thinking about doing anthologies for pregnancy centers – do you want to participate?’ I was like, ‘God is so good! Like, how amazing is this, that he put it right back on my radar after I'd sort of given up on it, and put a person in my life who knew exactly the things that I didn't know how to do?’ It worked out so beautifully!”

Each woman wrote two stories, creating a full four-story collection, plus Sessums added a short story, making the project “a four-and-a-half” collection of romance stories. The anthology, Let Every Heart, was published last November and sold for a limited time. The sales proceeds went to Choices Pregnancy Center of Greater Phoenix, an organization in Arizona where Kampmeier resides.

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The work continues

Now, the two authors have come together once again, this time with a six-story collection and four more authors. The six writers are creating a second anthology, You Have Made My Heart, to be released in time for Mother’s Day. Book sale proceeds will again benefit a pregnancy center, this one in Texas where Sessums lives.

“With this one, we’re going to donate proceeds to Abundant Life Pregnancy Resource Center in Athens, Texas,” she said. “A friend of mine was constantly sharing about this center in Athens, which is not far from where I live. Specifically, they were posting a need for diapers which they were providing to mothers. So, I was seeing lots of good work they were doing, and my friend said his church was very active with them. Our hope is to find charities and life organizations that may be smaller, local community organizations that really need this type of help. I reached out to them and told them what I was hoping to do, and they were very excited.”

The anthology, which was scheduled for release on May 2, 2023, will be available on Amazon as a Kindle e-book or in paperback format. The e-book price is set at $3.99, and the print version will sell for $25. 

The authors made the e-book available for preorder for a short time, on sale for only .99 cents. 

Like the Christmas collection, this romance anthology will be on sale for a limited time, likely through July, Sessums said. 

Candace Sessums

The authors involved with the spring book project, in addition to Sessums and Kampmeier (whose pen names are Corilyn Holloway and Michelle Kamp, respectively) are Emily Dana Botrous, Deb Goodman, Katherine Moore, and the writer of this story, Gayle M. Irwin. Some of the sweet romance stories include topics of single dads, second chances, family sagas, and animal rescues. 

Each author contributed money to pay for promotion, including advertising. Additionally, each author will write blogs and publicize the publication on their social media accounts and with their newsletter lists. Kampmeier, who is also an editor, will format the book this month, and Sessums crafted the graphics, saving money on production costs.

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A second Christmas anthology planned

Another Christmas-themed anthology is planned for 2023, featuring some of the same writers. 

“I'm so touched by the absolute blessing of the women and authors that want to give to this cause,” Sessums said. 

Michelle Kampmeier

A different pregnancy resource center will be chosen as the benefactor for the holiday book collection, she said.

“I am going to talk to the authors that are going to be working with us and probably the authors working on this set as well and see if they have any organizations that they are familiar with that they would like to see considered for the next donation,” Sessums said. “We want to find places that our authors know and trust so we can make it a good decision on offering the donation.”

Two annual anthologies a year are planned for 2023 and 2024, she added, each benefitting a different U.S.-based pro-life pregnancy center or organization.

Sessums and Kampmeier raised nearly $300 for the Arizona center last year, and since the project came together quickly and just the two of them wrote and produced it, Kampmeier said she was “pleased” with the outcome. She believes with additional authors and time (the 2023 project started in January); more money can be raised for the Texas organization. However, she does not focus on the sales, leaving that to Someone who knows all things. 

“We know that we can write books, we can sell some books. and whatever we can raise for these pregnancy centers is great; we’re just going to let God work,” she said.

Sessums is excited about the timing of this anthology.

“I think these are going to be very fun, heartwarming, sweet stories that will just be perfect for Mother's Day,” she said. “Grab a paperback and send it to your mom or sister or friend, and support life!”

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