Peace, Love and Romance for Baby Boomers

Back from my break...I  found this lovely  anthology, Peace, Love and Romance for Baby Boomers (like me) and as I had pre-ordered it, the book landed straight into my Kindle today, August 25, date of publication, flying in from the US though I live in Italy - Ah, the wonders of the digital age and exactly the kind of read I needed to extend the happy days of summer... As announced on Amazon (see here):
For a limited time, ten of today's hottest and bestselling authors bring you Peace, Love & Romance - a collection of full-length novels (some sweet, some sizzling!) all celebrating women who have loved, lost, and triumphed. 
And here's the enticing cover:

Even before publication, it was already ranked 158th in the Kindle Store in the category "women's fiction - humor" (on August 24). Impressive!

It is also available on other platforms: Barnes and Noble (click here), Kobo (here) and Apple iTunes (here).

An anthology organized by 10 authors...I was immediately curious about how they managed it and they were kind enough to answer my questions.

My first question: How did it all start? How did all 10 of you get together?  

Jennifer Theriot (author of Out of the Box Regifted) explains, answering all my questions at one go (it makes sense, the whole project started with her):

Diane Rinella and I are officially confirmed partners in crime. We’ve been friends for over two years and we talk almost every day by phone on my commute home from work. Nine months ago, I called her and told her I had an idea, to which she replied “Dear GAWD!”  Our constant ideas get us into trouble more often than not, so I spilled the details and she immediately said “Hell YES!”

From there, we went on a ‘do diligence’ hunt for the perfect mix of authors and books for the anthology.

Our main focus was books that were written about Boomer/GenX women – strong, and all of who had experienced heartache and triumphed. We laugh, because this process has been a nine-month ordeal – just like a pregnancy. It was ‘conceived’ and developed from there – complete with all the elements of a traditional pregnancy. Elation, skepticism, fear, tears, determination, more tears and a diet of organization, task assignment, daily affirmations and planning. I’m so happy with our choices…. the child we’ve birthed is one that we are so pleased to announce and have given the name, Peace, Love and Romance. What a beautiful name and a testament to women everywhere!

Diane Rinella (author of Scary Modsters and Creepy Freaks):  In a world where everyone seems to have published a book, finding authors for this set was a lot harder than anyone would expect. We had so many requirements -- the biggest ones being that the book had to be not only well written, but also a good fit. The author also had to be dedicated to success. Working on a set like this is like being a firefighter, because at any moment you may need to jump to action on an opportunity. The experience is grueling, and no one has time to pick up anyone's slack.

Robyn Roze (author of Chain of Title): How you got together: I was approached by an author in the anthology who'd read my book and thought it would be a good fit with the theme of the box set. I was slated as the tenth and final author. How things change! Within a few months, we went from ten authors down to four. We could've called it a day, but we believed in our message of celebrating women who have loved, lost, and triumphed. We stayed positive and focused, loaded our Kindles, and found six talented authors to join us on this journey.

Aubree Lane (author of Tahoe Blues):  I was asked to join the anthology when the first set of authors fell apart. Please don’t refer to me as part of the second string (I’m trying my best not too, lol). Jennifer, Diane, Christine, Kelly and I have known each other and our work well. It was inevitable we end up working together.

Dee Ernst (author of A Different Kind of Forever): This is easy! I was approached by one of the organizers and said ‘yes” right away.  Being part of an anthology, particularly one with these caliber of writers, was a no-brainer for me.

Nan Reinhardt (author of Sex and The Widow Miles): Honestly, I sort of came along toward the end and I think I got involved because Christine read Sex and the Widow Miles, liked it, and thought it would be a good addition to the anthology. I was surprised and flattered that they wanted me to participate. It's been lovely meeting other authors who write to this niche--Baby Boomers. We've been dismissed and ignored for such a long time even though we all know that women just get better as they age! I got so tired of reading books about little twenty-something’s who had no life experience and perfect bodies. I couldn't find the kind of heroines and heroes I wanted to read about, so I wrote them myself. Surprised the heck out of me that other women my age were interested enough to buy my books. Surprised me, but thrilled me too!

Christine Ardigo (author of Cheating to Survive): Just a few months into publishing my first books, I was asked to join the PLR group by Jennifer Theriot.  I remember clearly reading the message over and over again, shocked that anyone even knew who I was, and that they thought my book was a great fit for this anthology. Before even finding out all the details, I immediately said Yes, Yes Yes, and have learned so much about each author in the past 9 months.

Jill Cox Vogt (author of The Fizgig): Getting together with this group was meant to be. Rebecca Warner, an author I admire, was asked to be in the anthology, and when the authors were looking for a tenth contributor, she suggested that my novel The Fizgig would be a good fit. They discussed it, and the next thing I knew I was doing a happy dance because I was in.

Kelly Cozzone (author of Tropical Nightmares): I've been friends with Diane Rinella and Jennifer Theriot for a couple of years. They approached me about joining them in Peace, Love & Romance and I jumped at the chance to work with them again. We collaborated last summer on the anthology, Love, Honor and Hope and had a great time.

Rebecca Warner (author of Doubling Back To Love): Author Jennifer Theriot and I met on a book promotion site when we read and reviewed each other's books. Jennifer felt that my book would be a good fit for the Peace, Love, & Romance anthology, and was gracious enough to invite me to join her and nine other authors in this endeavor.

Q: What were the challenges over the 9 months it took you to put this together?

Diane Rinella: No one could decide on the darn cover! The minute we would be close to deciding, someone would toss in a money wrench!

Robyn Roze:  Building consensus is difficult enough when you're in the same room with people, let alone in cyberspace. Words read on a screen don't have a tone of voice, body language, or facial cues by which one can gauge mood or intent. It becomes incredibly important to interact and project from a positive, non-judgmental place. Otherwise, it would be quite easy to slide into disarray and lose the necessary momentum.

Aubree Lane: Trying to pull together ten authors who have commitments, deadlines, families, day jobs, along with a multitude of other things going on in their lives is almost impossible. Like Yoda says, “Do or don’t do. There is no try.”  You have to resign yourself to working a bunch of really late nights. It helps to have a bottle of wine on hand when it gets overwhelming.

Dee Ernst: My biggest challenge has been keeping up with some of these other writers!  Talk about energy - not to mention, becoming much more active on social media than I’m used to.

Nan Reinhardt: I've only been on board for the last three months, so I can't speak to the birth of the idea, but I would say figuring out how each of would fit into the plan was a big challenge. We all have different skills, different amounts of time and money that we can contribute to the cause. Some of us have full-time jobs that suck up so many hours in the day--I'm a freelance editor and I usually run several projects concurrently, so making time is a huge factor for me. Also, there is the experience thing. I've never done an anthology, never done any of the promotional events that the others have, so I'm flying blind frequently. I'm kind of a bad promoter--I'm shy and I'm not used to putting myself out there, so it's good that we have enough different personalities.

Christine Ardigo:10 different women with 10 different personalities, ideas, and opinions can either destroy a group, or bring out the best in each other.  Understanding, support, and encouragement along the way, can help each author grow and learn from one another. When more experienced authors guide the others in a loving way, it can only inspire them to want to help more. A good leader motivates the members, makes each one feel important, and appreciates all their hard work, knowing how stressful this could be.

Jill Cox Vogt: Accomplishing the success of this anthology is not without its challenges. How do I eat minestrone soup and type at the same time? How do I keep up with the group on Facebook when it is banned at work, and I can only sneak some peeks on my phone. How big do I let that pile of laundry grow in the living room while I promote Peace, Love, and Romance? Time management, getting together necessary tools such as a website! - and my needy computer skills in comparison to these savvy women's are at the top of my challenges list. I am inspired by others’ challenges as well. 

Kelly Cozzone: The challenges were trying to find the right mix of books and authors.  When you're working on a project such as this, it takes a ton of teamwork.  It's not a project to take on lightly.  Meshing personalities and strengths and weaknesses is a huge undertaking in order to make sure everything got done.  Thank goodness we're all thick skinned! LOL

Rebecca Warner: For me, the greatest challenge was keeping up with these savvy and experienced authors. They not only wrote great books, they also knew how to market those books through networking and social media--something which I had not learned to the same degree. But they were very generous in sharing their knowledge and pushing me to step up my game. 

Q: Advice  on how to do something as complex as this and do it well... 

Diane Rinella: Democracies are great, but if I had to do it all over again, I think I would go with majority rules. While I am thrilled that everyone bought in 100%, it made the process take forever.

Robyn Roze: The real estate maxim is: location, location, location. The anthology maxim should be: organization, organization, and organization. We each have different strengths and weaknesses. And it's important to allow each author in the group to leverage her strengths, but also be willing to step outside her comfort zone to learn new things. Doing so not only benefits the group and successful outcome of the project but the individual as well.

Aubree Lane: My best advice is to have a great plan. Then have a back-up plan for your back-up plan. Brace yourself for a wild ride, laugh when things go wrong and rejoice when they don’t.

Dee Ernst: I’m just taking orders here, so the only advice I have is to be lucky enough to fall in with some very savvy and hard-working women!

Nan Reinhardt: This is my first one, so I'm not the one to give advice. I can say that having experienced authors surely is important, people who know how things work and who can guide those of us who are newbies. Also, being organized seems to be very important and making sure we all agree on how things are going happen. We all signed a contract together--that was significant. But, as I said, I'm the greenhorn here and am learning a lot from the more experienced marketers and promoters in the group. I'm impressed as hell at their level of energy and their knowledge!

Christine Ardigo: Good organization of projects is important. Having a set schedule, following it, having one new task a day to work on and perfect before moving on to the next, is critical. Insuring each task is understood, perfected and completed, guarantees nothing is missed, everyone is up to speed, and no one gets lost. Communication in imperative as well, and all members should be included in every discussion so as not to confuse anyone. Of course, all 10 authors treated as equals, promotes close bonds and life long friendships. This can only strengthen the team, thus bringing out everyone's enthusiasm and pure enjoyment to work on this every single day for months on end. How lucky I am to found that kind of group. I hope you feel our excitement, too, when reading our stories!  I think we included a fantastic collection of novels that will resonate with every women in some way. Enjoy!

Jill Cox Vogt: For me, to do something and to do it well is a journey of thinking positively even when it’s gloomy and envisioning the outcome exactly how it should be even when fog creeps in. It is wanting other people to appreciate it as much as possible. I am often struck by a quote by Marie Curie:  “Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained.”
Yes, we must believe. Working with such a smart, savvy, skilled, talented, wonderful group of women makes it easy to believe. They have done far more than I have to make this anthology happen. They give me support and encouragement and help when I need it. They have truly become my friends.

Kelly Cozzone:  Decide on a theme, a leader, and stick too it. Make sure the leader is strong and able to multitask.  Diane took the bull by the horns and ran with it. She's done an incredible job too.  However, leading a project combining 10 books and 10 women authors is not for the faint of heart!!!

Rebecca Warner: To do something like this well, there has to be strong leadership within the group to set goals, and cooperative efforts on everyone's part to do whatever is necessary to meet those goals in a timely manner. We were lucky to have two strong leaders, Diane--who kept her foot in our back to push us along, and Jennifer, who gently took us by the hand and tugged us along. They kept us focused and productive, though all of the authors have a lot of self-motivation. We built a team, and developed the same mentality for winning--which we will do when we hit a best-seller list!

Thank you all for answering my questions...And I believe we have all learned for your experience and we are (certainly I am!) looking forward to reading your books.

UPDATE: Six days after publishing, this book had already garnered 22 customer reviews and 91% of them rating 5 stars. Unsurprisingly, the book has been pushed up in Amazon's best-selling rankings (date of observation: 31 August 2015):