Books by Craftie Ladies

Saturday, August 23, 2014


With no family to watch over them, it's up to Fran Morris to take care of her younger sister, even if it means marrying a total stranger. Gruff, strong and silent, her new husband is a cowboy down to the bone. He wed Fran to protect her, not to love her, but her heart has never felt so vulnerable.

Trail boss Edgar White already has all the responsibility he needs at his family's ranch in Bear Creek, Wyoming. He had intended to remain a bachelor forever, but he can't leave Fran and her sister in danger. And as they work on the trail together, Edgar starts to soften toward his unwanted wife. He already gave Fran his name…can he trust her with his heart?

Friday, August 22, 2014

Friday Sisterhood with Vickie Mcdonough

Family Status: Married, four grown sons, but two still live at home 
What Is Your Favorite Beverage: Coke
What Is Your Favorite Food: Just one? Being honest--French silk pie
What Is Your Favorite Thing to do During Free Time: Read
Who Has Been the Most Influential Person in Your Life: My dad
First Book You Fell in Love With: A Gown of Spanish Lace by Janette Oke
A Book You Wish You’d Written: Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers
First Book Published: My first published work was a novella in a collection called A Stitch in Time. First actual book was Sooner or Later
Most Recent Book: Call of the Prairie, book 2 in my Pioneer Promises series
Out Next: Song of the Prairiebook 3 in my Pioneer Promises series
How Many Have You Written: 34 
What Do You Know Now That You Wish You’d Known Then: The skills of writing
What is Your Favorite Bible Story: The story of Jesus
What is Your Favorite Bible Verse: Jeremiah 29:11
What is Your Favorite Hymn: He Lives 
What is an Ongoing Prayer Request You Have: That my sons who are not walking with God would turn back to Him

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Art Journaling

One of the hobbies I've been pursuing lately is art journaling. I talk a lot about it when I'm talking with friends, mostly because art journaling has been so beneficial to me, both in my writing, but also in my personal growth. I recently spent some time talking with Cheri Gregory, one of the authors of the book, The Cure for the Perfect Life, about my art journaling journey. She made a video of our Skype session, and I think it's the perfect introduction to my passion.

Have you ever done any art journaling? I'd love to hear about your experiences! And, if you're interested in learning more about art journaling, I'm going to be launching an online art journaling class soon, so visit my website and sign up to receive more information when it's available!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Down to the Line by Leann Harris

little dish
Have you ever seen Romancing the Stone? Well I just lived through the opening scene of that movie. My latest book was due 8/15, which I didn't make.  (I have to thank my editor for suggesting 8/15 for the due date instead of 7/15.) I did nothing for the last week and a half but write and proof. My husband did the shopping and cooking, but when he didn't go to the store, we ran out of nearly everything. Soured milk, no bread, nothing to eat unless we bought it.

Well, I was doing the happy dance after I copied the book on my flash drive and dumped it back in the little dish where I keep it. When I added something to the book, I looked for the drive and didn't find it. I kept looking and looking for the drive and found it in my cup of tea beside my computer. I raced into my husband's office and told him what I did. Put it in a bowl of rice to let it dry out was his advice. I ran out of our regular rice and had to use my husband's expensive sticky rice which he uses to make mushubi (sp). (That's spam, rice, wrapped in seaweed.)

Well, the husband was right. My drive was okay, but I didn't need that excitement. And I got a new back up flash drive.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Action or Description?

    I’m a word nerd. I adore analogies, metaphors, beautiful, poetic language. Take a look at these:

    “Autumn in the Lowcountry of South Carolina is usually as slow and sweet as tawny port, and just as sleepily intoxicating.”  Saltwater Creek by Anne Rivers Siddons

     “Rain fell like tiny silver teardrops from the tired sky. Somewhere behind a bank of clouds lay the sun, too weak to cast a shadow on the ground below.” On Mystic Lake by Kristin Hannah

     I admire writers like these whose pens seem to spill out onto the page with the perfect word or a phrase that turns a mundane description into a work of art. But some readers argue that it slows things down too much. They want a fast pace, skip the description, and get to the action. And that’s okay. We all like different things.

    Which one are you? Do you enjoy plenty of figurative language in books? Or would you rather skip the descriptions and get on with the action?

Monday, August 18, 2014

Sending our babies off to school

            At new faculty orientation today, I sat with a table full of young professors just beginning their academic careers. 
            “I just sent my oldest child to kindergarten,” one of them told me, his eyes filled with sadness.
            “I remember those days,” I say. And I do, especially today, because today, I sent my youngest child to college.
            I remember my son’s first day of kindergarten. How proud I was that he could count past one hundred, how happy I was that the teacher greeted him with a big smile, and the little girl next to him with a big hug. Happy butterflies flitted across the wall in between cheerful ABCs. The room was an altogether happy place.
             Still, I walked from that room with tears streaming down my face and an ache in my heart.
            Today, I didn’t get to meet my son’s teacher; I didn’t get to walk into his classroom. I didn’t get to meet his classmates.
            I realize that my son is perfectly capable of being happy and successful in college.  
            But my heart aches. Just as it did thirteen years ago when I left my chubby faced cherub in kindergarten that first day.
            I want to say to this young professor siting across from me, relish every moment.
            When you drop your child off at kindergarten, the years stretch before you, and you can’t even imagine high school graduation, and certainly not this first day of college.
            But you blink, and it happens. Your blue-eyed baby boy turns into a strong, smart, handsome young man who stands head and shoulders above you.
            This should have gotten easier for me. I’ve already sent four children to college. Yet each leaving rips a little piece of my heart.
            Yesterday, my best friend and I leafed through pictures of when the children were little with cone-shaped birthday hats on their heads, their happy smiles stained bright blue with birthday cake icing. We laughed and cried together.
            My best friend sent her youngest child to college today, too.
            The Bible tells us to give thanks, and it’s times like these that I must.
            And I do. I give thanks for all the joy this child has brought to me.  I give thanks for the times he made me laugh, the fun I had making friends with parents at all the little league games and Vacation Bible Schools, the football games and the band concerts.
            I trust that God’s gentle hand will ease my grief, and the grief of all the other mothers who on this day are sending their babies off to school.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

A Heart to Heal Interview

How exciting to have  Max Jones, the hero from A HEART TO HEAL written by Allie Pleiter an August 2014 release from Love Inspired Romance.

1.       Max, tell me the most interesting thing about you.
Youd probably say something like hes in a wheelchair but hes still so cool, but Id say its that I go sailing, skiing, play hockey, and make a mean cheeseburger.
2.  What do you do for fun?
I do everything other guys do for funsports, I drive a cool car, I enjoy good food.  Lately, I enjoy provoking Heather Browningmostly because shes so easy to ruffle and shes pretty when shes mad.
3.  What do you put off doing because you dread it?
Paperwork. I work as a spokesperson for Adventure Access showcasing all the great sports and recreational activities for people with disabilities.  Its a great job, but even great jobs have boring paperwork.  I turn everything in lateIm not really an organized kind of guy.
4.  What are you afraid of most in life?
I spend a lot of my time getting people to notice me instead of the wheelchair.  One of these days I might not be able to pull that off.  The last thing I want to do is fade into the woodwork.
5.  What is the most important thing to you?
I want people to take me seriously.  To treat me like theyd treat any other drop-dead hunky charismatic guycan you tell Im known for my healthy self image?  Seriously, I want a full, satisfying life like every other person.  I just do it on wheels.
6.  Do you read books? If so, what is your favorite type of book?
Books?  I read sports magazines and that kind of thing.  Heather is the school person, you should go ask her.  I bet she reads two or three a week.  But I have been reading up on things to help Simon, the high school student Heather has me mentoring. 
7.  If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Id go back to being the me who could walk.  Only, I was pretty much of a jerk back then, so Id want to be a less obnoxious version of the walking me.
8.  Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet?
Who needs a pet when you drive the coolest adaptive car on the planet? 
9. If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why?

Me, Id want to go forward in time.  They are developing all these amazing robotics to help people walk right now, so Id want to zing 50 years ahead to where all those gizmos are perfected and available.  Think of what I could do!

Saturday, August 16, 2014


The Courage To Hope 
Guidance counselor Heather Browning is desperate. She needs a mentor to help Simon, a disabled student who is struggling at Gordon Falls High School. Unfortunately, hotshot Max Jones is her only option. Confrontational and cavalier, Max uses his flashy persona to hide the bitterness he's felt since his life-changing accident. Perpetually cautious, Heather finds Max's bad-boy bravado as intriguing as it is infuriating. But as Heather and Max work together to build Simon's self-confidence, they begin to trust each other. Max has never been slow and careful with anything. Can he be gentle with Heather's heart? 
Gordon Falls: Hearts ablaze in a small town.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Friday Sisterhood with Merrillee Whren

Family Status: married with two grown daughters

What Is Your Favorite Beverage: wild cherry diet pepsi

What Is Your Favorite Food:It’s hard to pick just one. Favorite snack: Cheetos, Favorite meat: filet mignon, Favorite fruit: strawberries, Favorite veggie: broccoli, Favorite takeout: Pizza

What Is Your Favorite Thing to do During Free Time: play tennis or read

Who Has Been the Most Influential Person in Your Life: My mother. She read to me when I was young, not just short story books, but whole novels. That created a love for books.

First Book You Fell in Love With: Old Bones The Wonder Horse

A Book You Wish You’d Written: I’ve never wanted to have written someone else’s book, but I have wished to be able to evoke reader emotions like other authors I have read.

First Book Published: The Heart’s Homecoming, a 2005 Love Inspired

Most Recent Book: Book out now: My 2003 Golden Heart Winner, A Place to Call Home as in indie book

Next: Coming in January 2015 Second Chance Reunion, Love Inspired

How Many Have You Written: I wrote eight books before I sold one. The January 2015 book will be my 13th published book. 

What Do You Know Now That You Wish You’d Known Then: Every writer has his or her own process when writing a book and his/her timeline for a career.

What is Your Favorite Bible Story: The story of Ruth

What is Your Favorite Bible Verse: Isaiah 40:29-31

What is Your Favorite Hymn: Old Time Hymn: “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day”  New: “My Lighthouse” 

What is an Ongoing Prayer Request You Have: For the health of my daughter who has Crohn’s disease

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Forest Ranger's Christmas - October 2014

Leigh Bale here. I've got a new book coming out in October titled THE FOREST RANGER'S CHRISTMAS. This delightful story is centered around a woman who is concerned about her ailing grandfather. She has just a few weeks to persuade him to leave his small town and move closer to her Las Vegas home. But after seventy-five happy years in his house, Gramps isn’t going anywhere. Josie can’t imagine what’s so great about Camlin. When she meets single dad and forest ranger Clint Hamilton, she quickly begins to see the appeal. Clint shows Josie the joys of living in a close-knit community, especially at Christmas. She’s soon falling for the town, Clint’s charm and his adorable daughter.

This book makes a great holiday gift. AND...I'd love to giveaway a couple of autographed copies of the book right here today! Can you tell me what state in the U.S. this story takes place?  I'll send books to the first two people to get it right. Enjoy! :)

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Allie Pleiter on a different kind of hero

I like to do things a little differently.  I drive a crazy little car called a Nissan Cube, I like unusual clothes that no one else has, and I’m probably one of a very few female James Bond fanatics you’ll ever meet.  If it’s a little off the beaten path, I like it.

My readers tell me that’s what they like most about my books—there always just a little bit different.  After all, you wouldn’t just expect any old hero from a woman who’s written the books I have:  where the heroine is the voice of an animated owl, a plot that is basically Zorro meets Lois Lane, and a WWI hero who gets forced to knit as a promotional stunt.

So, if I’m going to tackle the bad boy hero, he’s got to have something truly unique about him.  Max Jones from A HEART TO HEAL certainly fits that bill!  Fans of THE FIREFIGHTER’S MATCH will know Max as JJ Jones’s brother.  Max fell during a climbing accident and now takes on life “on wheels”—hence the nickname “Hot Wheels.”  While his wheelchair hasn’t slowed him down one bit, Max has a lot of inner healing to do.  

When high school guidance counselor Heather Browning gets stuck with Max as a mentor to a gawky freshman boy who also uses a wheelchair, she has serious doubts as to how things will work out.  She eventually learns that sometimes God forges partnerships we never would have imagined.  Turns out Heather has some healing to do as well.  She and Max have a lot to teach each other—and young Simon, the high school student, does his own teaching and learning in this tender, funny story.

I’m delighted that Romantic Times gave this book it’s Top Pick designation and a 4.5 star review.  It’s  a very special story for me, and I hope it will be for you as well.

What about you?  What are some unique heroes that have captured your heart?

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Faith and Forgiveness

I’m so excited about my Love Inspired Suspense debut OUT OF HIDING. As a young girl, Sadie Lane witnessed the murder of her parents. Thrust into Witness Protection, she never forgot what happened—or the man who was responsible.

Instead of staying hidden, Sadie becomes a private investigator and searches out Igor Vladimir, the man who killed her parents. Sadie joins forces with FBI agent Kip Moore to track down Igor and bring an end to his criminal network. Although Kip doesn’t know the real reason that Sadie wants justice, he stands by her side.

Sadie has the strength to face danger head on because of her faith. It’s also her faith that pushes her to re-examine her motives. She knows deep within her heart that she desperately wants revenge against Igor for what he did. But she also knows that seeking that revenge is wrong. Kip also faces some past struggles and cannot forgive those who wronged him. Instead he has lived in a dark, painful place.

As they travel on this journey together, faith and forgiveness come to the forefront. Sometimes it is very difficult to forgive when you have been terribly wronged. The courage that it takes to forgive is found through faith. In fighting their battles, Sadie and Kip learn from each other and learn how faith can make a way.

How do you approach forgiving someone? Especially when you feel like you’ve been wronged? What role does faith play for you in that process?

This vow has kept P.I. Sadie Lane safe ever since she saw her parents murdered and then entered Witness Protection. But when she gets a lead on the long-ago killer she can't forget, Sadie joins forces with a dashing FBI agent leading his own investigation into the crime boss. Kip Moore makes her yearn to trust, but protocol demands Sadie keep her true identity hidden. Secrecy is all that has kept her alive. As they venture deep undercover into her target's syndicate, Sadie finds herself in over her head. Kip is her only hope as she comes face-to-face with a killer from her past. A deadly past that now threatens her future…and Kip's.

Buy Links: Amazon, BN

Monday, August 11, 2014

Knocking on Doors with Jolene Navarro

We live by faith, Not by sight - 2 Corinthians 5:7
     I’m fascinated with doors, love them. Walking the French Quarter in New Orleans last summer, I took more pictures of doors than anything else.

 Doors are a strong symbolism for opportunities and rejections. How do we handle an opened door? Afraid of the unknown or do you have the faith to walk through with courage?
 How do we react when confronted with a closed door? There are times we want to bang on the locked door until our fist is bloody and our throat raw, or imagine going Chuck Norris on the thing that keeps us from our perfect life. Denying us what we think we desire the most. The one thing that would make us happy. 


In my August release, the heroine, Vickie, had been beating on a closed door. Her husband wanted out of their marriage so he could move on to better things. She fought as long as she could to save the marriage.
Now she’s back in her hometown wanting to be strong for her kids. Is she so focused on the closed door she might miss the opened door?

I have learned that closed doors can be the greatest gift, forcing us to find a new path.
Yes, faith is believing in what you can’t see, but I also think we need to see with faith. If we take the time to look we can see God’s love in the most unlikely places.

Have you ever yelled at a closed door only to learn later it was a blessing that you didn't get it open?

 Excerpt from LONE STAR HERO available now
For a moment, she imagined them all together as a real family. Her gaze traveled the outline of his cabin. The cabin he built. If she had been brave enough to make the right choices in high school, this warm home and special man could’ve been hers. The reality of it hit her hard. Jake made is easy to image reconnecting with him, but she had to put her life back in order, starting with two kids that needed her to be strong.
Her baggage weighted too much to drop on Jake’s steps. Friendship with Jake sounded easy. Vickie knew her heart would fly right past friendship and into dangerous territory of rekindling that first love.
She couldn’t afford to make any more wrong choices. Time to grow up.  “Jake, your mother’s right. I’m not what you need.”
He leaned forward, elbows planted on his knees. “Why don’t you and my mother let me decide what I need?”
The intense stare of his eyes seared right to her unreliable heart. She couldn’t handle that look right now. Vickie stepped back. “I’ve got to go. The kids are waiting for me at my parent’s house. Bye Jake.” Teeth clenched, she ran all to her car.

Jolene Navarro’s Bio:
Jolene, a seventh generation Texan, knows that, as much as the world changes, people stay the same. Good and evil. Vow-keepers and heart breakers. Jolene married a vow-keeper who showed dancing in the rain never gets old.
Her life and her stories are filled with faith, family, dirty dishes and all of life's wonderful messiness.  Jolene teaches art at an inner city high school. When she's not hanging out with her four almost grown kids, she loves creating her own world of family and love. You can connect with Jolene on facebook and her blog at