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Amy Lou Jenkins is the award-winning author of Every Natural Fact: Five Seasons of Open-Air Parenting

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Featured Anthology Series:
Chocolate for Women

and

Chocolate for Teens

Several years ago I asked my husband to NOT give me chocolate for Mothers Day.  I love chocolate, but I'm always tempted to eat the whole box.  Smart guy that he is ( He choose me-- didn't he?) he found a sweet no calorie chocolate option. I unwrapped the delicious Chocolate for a Woman's Soul. Guess what? I devoured the enriching stories and gained plenty--but nothing that showed on the scale or waist. 

When released the Chocolate series had immediate mass market appeal. With over two million copies in print and a variety available in 18 languages, Chocolate has been a  Book-of-the-Month Club selection and has appeared on a variety of best-seller lists since published in May, Ď97. 

Editor and writer Kay Allenbough has graciously granted  Anthologies Online an interview and peek into her inspirational world.--

Chocolate for a Woman's Dreams: ...
 

Chocolate for a Woman's Spirit: ...

 Chocolate for a Woman's Courage: ...

Chocolate for a Lover's Heart:...

I understand you were inspired, Goosebumps and all, to write the acclaimed "Chocolate for a Woman's Soul." What gave you the fortitude to follow through when you had no previous book publishing experience?

Eight years ago, I was standing before a mirror combing my hair when a remarkable thing happened -- a mountain top experience! God spoke to me. His voice was calm, loving and melodic. I felt His words travel through my left ear and out the right one. His exact words were, "Write a book for women; youíre a woman of courage."

My first reaction was euphoria. I had heard Godís voice! For an hour, my creativity soared. I knew exactly what Iíd do. I would collect true stories that would encourage and inspire women around the world. Because I was in the midst of Godís grace, my seeing was clear. I could visualize the difference the stories would make in womenís lives.

One hour later, the elation I felt dissolved. Fear took its place. God must surely have a good sense of humor. I certainly had never thought of myself as courageous. I found myself thinking, Who do you think you are? Youíve never written a book before! And even more frightening was the prospect of doing book signings, and radio and television interviews. My ego had already taken my biggest fears and projected them ahead to what Iíd be doing several years from then -- maybe!

Instinctively know that without a doubt I would follow the guidance, yet I felt what I was being asked to do was way over my head. But How could I say "No" to God? So, I placed one foot forward and one foot back -- not fully trusting that if God was involved, all would be well.

In this state of moving ahead, yet holding back, my physical body reacted to my emotional fear,

 Chocolate for a Mother's Heart:...

 

  Chocolate for a Woman's Blessings : ...

 

 Chocolate for a Woman's Heart & Soul

 and soon severe back spasms brought me to my knees. Talk about trying to hold back Godís river of creativity with my body! These spasms lasted a long time Ė taking on a life of their own. So I stood at the computer for two years while creating the first Chocolate book, Chocolate for a Womanís Soul, because it hurt to sit!

I could have experienced joy if I hadnít been so fearful. What amazing arrogance on my part to fear the gift of guidance when God was in charge! Being grateful would have worked a lot better.

Not all decisions are easy. Just as I knew writing the first Chocolate book wouldnít be easy, in my soul I knew that it was mine to do. I just needed to ignore my fear as best I could and take the project on Ė one step at a time -- learning along the way. Once I saw the Chocolate series as a God-job, I could set my ego aside and let Him take control. Ironically, I was learning how to be courageous. I will never hold back and miss the glory of being on my path again!


How have your "Chocolate stories" touched the lives of your readers?

- Kay Allenbaugh lets her readers answer this one.

 

 

Chocolate for a Teen's Spirit:

 

Chocolate for a Teen's Heart:...

 

Chocolate for a Teen's Soul:  

 

coming soon  Chocolate for a Teen's Dreams:...

Comments from Teen Girls:

"I like the books very much. The stories help the way people feel." Summer C.

 

"I love reading your books. They have some really good stories about growing up, relationships and stories that are good for your heart." Megan

 

"This was the first time I've read a Chocolate book and I really enjoyed it. Surely, I will look forward to reading more of your books. May you inspire more readers and change the lives of more people especially teens like me. God bless!" Rosemarie H.

 

"I just wanted to thank you personally for influencing my life through your books. They have taught me lessons about life and helped me to discover things about my self I did not know." Kaydee R.

 

"Hello! I just want to thanks for inspiring me in writing my story. I'm not yet done in reading Chocolate for a Teen's Heart, but each day before I go to bed I read at least two chapters. Thank you!" Gretchen U.

Comments from Women:

 

Chocolate for a Woman's Heart: ...

  

coming soon Chocolate for a Woman's Soul, Vol. 2: ...

 

Chocolate for a Woman's Heart: Stories...

 

  Chocolate Para El Corazon De LA Mujer

Chocolate for the Woman's Soul 

"I loved Chocolate for a Womanís Dreams. I believe any book that uplifts the spirit of women is great and welcoming." Kimberly O.

 

"I love your books so much, they are one of my best book collections ever! Thanks!" Mary Ann

"I love chocolate books! Keep up the good work." Sheena

"This is my first book in your series, and it was hard for me to put down, I loved every story. You can be sure I WILL read every book you publish. I also would like to publish a story in one of your books. Thank you for writing these books and letting us share with you the moments we have that inspired our lives." Teresa O.

"I really like these stories. My goal is to read them all. They are even better than the Chicken Soup books." Angela R.



Many of our readers are writers. Could you share some common problems you find in submissions, which cause them to be rejected?

Let me first say that I gratefully appreciate receiving stories, and I appreciate the vulnerability expressed in them all.

My existing format calls for stories between two and four pages in length. The best examples of the kinds of stories that work are in a Chocolate displayed on my website (www.chocolateforwomen.com).

Unique stories with twists and turns are always welcome. Heartwarming endings regardless of the obstacle thatís been overcome are necessary. Readers also enjoy stories of following your intuition and listening to Divine guidance. Interesting love stories are appreciated, as well as stories of children and pets. I always add a few humorous stories to each Chocolate book; however, those slots fill up quickly.

Unfortunately, I receive far more stories regarding illness or death of a loved one than I am able to include. Stories memorializing loved ones (unless the circumstances make for a unique tale) will not mean as much to the readers as they do the writers, so I usually pass on them.

What are your plans for the future of the Chocolate series?

At this point in time, the series is ongoing with a Chocolate book for teen girls and one for women published each year with Simon & Schuster. I welcome stories from women and teen girls and they may be sent to me via email or sent to:

PO Box 2165,

Lake Oswego, OR 97035

My email is kay@allenbaugh.com.