Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Flowers in January?

by Jill Kemerer

Where I live in northern Ohio, winter is drab and colorless. Spring flowers don't poke through the ground until late March or early April. I'm always amazed when I see pictures on Facebook of daffodils and tulips popping up in January from other parts of the country.

I find ways to bring flowers and plants into my January life. We have a little tree in our formal dining room. Just looking at the delicate branches and pretty leaves brings hope that the grays, browns and whites of winter will soon pass.

Our church was disposing of unclaimed poinsettia plants a few weeks ago. I brought one home. It had some crispy edges, but it's doing nicely in our front living room. The crimson blossoms and deep green leaves are a welcome jolt of color in our home.

My poinsettia--so far, so good!

Sometimes I'll shop the clearance floral section at our local supermarket. A discounted bouquet brightens any day. They are good for my soul.

Other ways I find color in winter?

- Hiking the trails in our metroparks. Evergreen trees, holly berries, purple branches, yellow grass--all contrast with an overcast white sky.

- Borrowing a Birds & Blooms magazine from our library. Nothing like paging through pictures of beautiful gardens to fight the winter blahs.

- Using neon sticky notes when working and bright colored pens to write in my day planner.

- Buying colorful fruits and vegetables. Oranges seem more vibrant on a January day. Romaine is greener. Strawberries and blueberries add flavor and color to a smoothie.

- Watching a television show or movie set on a beach. HGTV has plenty of options.

Winter seems long and drab for northern states, but I make the best of it.

When do spring flowers appear where you live?

Have a terrific day!

Monday, January 23, 2017

Craftie Ladies ~ Love Inspired Contemporary February Releases

Jean C. Gordon here with what's new from our talented Craftie Ladies Love Inspired Contemporary writers. To buy these wonderful books, just click the book covers. And to learn more about the authors, click on their names.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01HB74HY4/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1Courting the Cowboy
by Carolyne Aarsen 
Looking for inspiration, artist Ella Langton rents a cabin in the isolated Porcupine Hills of Alberta. She didn't count on having neighbors, but rancher Cord Walsh and his three children are just a stone's throw away. Still healing from a tragic accident, Ella has no plans of reaching out, but she's having a hard time keeping them out of her yard…and her thoughts. And when little Suzy ropes Ella into helping her with an art project, she can't help her growing feelings for the girl's rugged daddy. With three persistent children, Cord and Ella may find their fenced-off hearts opening up sooner than they thought!

https://www.amazon.com/Lawmans-Secret-Son-Home-Dover/dp/0373622597/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1483109049&sr=1-1&keywords=the+lawman%27s+secret+sonThe Lawman's Secret Son
by Lorraine Beatty 
Police officer Seth Montgomery knows all about order—but his world is thrown into chaos when he learns he has a five-year-old son. With little Jack suddenly in his care, Seth turns to neighbor Carrie Fletcher for help. Given her checkered past, Carrie prefers to keep to herself, but there's no denying she cares for the boy—and her feelings for charming Seth are rapidly developing, too. When someone from Carrie's past shows up threatening to jeopardize the life she's worked so hard to build, Carrie will have to fight for her future with the new family she's found…or risk losing everything.

https://www.amazon.com/Cowboys-Texas-Family-Cowboy-League-ebook/dp/B01G1EI6DG/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1475357563&sr=1The Doctor's Texas Baby
by Deb Kastner 
When Carolina Mason shows up in Haven, Texas, after a three-year absence, no one is more surprised than town veterinarian Wyatt Harrow. Especially when he sees Carolina's two-year-old son, Matty. Their son. How could she have kept his child a secret? Carolina doesn't deny the boy is his. She thought she was doing what was best for everyone when she left, but she realizes she was wrong. Though Wyatt is eager to make up for lost time with Matty, Carolina's not so sure that extends to her. Can these former sweethearts navigate their complicated past to make a family for their son?

https://www.amazon.com/Her-Lakeside-Family-Millbrook-Lake/dp/0373622570/ref=tmm_mmp_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=Her Lakewide Family
by Lenora Worth 
Landing a renovation job for a wealthy Millbrook Lake client is a coup for contractor Davina "Dani" Connell—one that could give her business a much-needed boost. But Santo Alvanetti could be trouble in more ways than one. Dark, brooding and distractingly handsome, this recently widowed father of three is surrounded by sadness and shadows, much like his home. All good reasons not to become emotionally involved. They may be complete opposites, but there's something irresistible about Santo. Dani's determined to give him and his children the new home and future they deserve. But could she also be the wife and mom they need?

Saturday, January 21, 2017

20 years and counting

Hi Terri Reed here, did you know Love Inspired was celebrating 20 years! Click on this link for more details:  http://bit.ly/2jcBi0v 
Save 20% off any Love Inspired, Love Inspired Historical or Love Inspired Suspense title with code LINSP20**.**Get 20% off any Love Inspired, Love Inspired Historical or Love Inspired Suspense title, print and ebook. One-time use only. Valid from June 1, 2016–February 28, 2017, at 11:59 p.m. ET.

I remember when I first heard about the Love Inspired line.  I was so excited. I thought this might be the perfect fit for me. The year was 1996 and Harlequin announced the new series line at an Romance Writers of America conference. My first conference!  I prayed then and there that God would allow me to one day write for them. I also knew that I had to do my part in making that dream come true. Determination is a powerful thing. I learned everything I could about Love Inspired and about writing in general, but specifically for Harlequin, over the next seven years and finally sold a book to Love Inspired in 2003 titled Love Comes Home.  My second book with Love Inspired, A Sheltering Love, was a Romance Writers of America RITA finalist.
Both books were released in a special classic edition in 2009.

Fall in love again with these uplifting stories from Terri Reed
Twelve years ago, Dr. Rachel Maguire followed her faith into medicine, choosing her career over love. But time never diminished her feelings for Josh Taylor, and now God is giving Rachel another chance--if she can overcome the pain of the past.
With her faith as strong as her shoulders, Claire Wilcox opens a shelter for runaways. But it's her mysterious handyman who causes her sleepless nights. As their attraction grows, Nick Andrews must decide if he can trust in God's power to heal.

Since that first sale to Love Inspired I've written over forty books.  In 2007 I began writing mainly for the Love Inspired Suspense line.  It's crazy to me that so much time has passed since that first conference but it has been a joy-filled journey of doing what I love.  I thank God every day for his blessing and I pray that readers of the Love Inspired lines are blessed by our stories.
Happy New Year and may 2017 be filled with good books and many blessings.

Friday, January 20, 2017

What Are We Writing

By Margaret Daley

Author: Louise M. Gouge
Title: Cowboy Lawman's Christmas Reunion
Hero and Heroine: Justice Gareau and Evangeline Benoit
Line: Love Inspired Historical
One paragraph from the page you are currently on: (Since I've turned in the ms, I thought I'd offer the book's first paragraph:
Sheriff Justice Gareau ducked around the corner of the Esperanza train depot, hoping he hadn’t been spotted by the woman who’d stepped off the train. He felt downright foolish. Usually people hid from him if they’d done something wrong, and he sure hadn’t done anything wrong. No, it was that woman who’d done wrong by him and ruined his life. No. “Ruined” was too harsh, because he had a pretty good life these days. But she’d sure broken his heart. He’d subsequently promised himself he’d never give that deepest part of himself to any woman.
 Due date: January 15, 2017
Word count goal today: Just turned in the completed manuscript
Something cool learned recently from research:  I learned about the history of Christmas villages, called putzes by the Moravians, and how the custom grew from simple Nativity scenes to entire towns with trains and working parts.

Author: Pamela Tracy
Title: TBA
Hero and Heroine:  Heather Graves and Tom Riley
Line:  Harlequin Heartwarming
One paragraph from the page you are currently on:  
He opened the door for her, ever the gentleman.  This time he didn’t put a hand on top of her head to make sure she didn’t hit it as he was guiding her in.  Instead, he touched her back and heat seared. No, no, no. This was the man who every time she started to trust him, suddenly brought up Rachel Ramsey.  And, judging by his tone, his eyes, his profession even, his heart wasn’t big enough for the three of them.
His touch, though, sent a different message.
Due date:  January 31st
Word count goal today: 1500 words
Something cool learned recently from research:  If a member of the church confesses to his pastor, the pastor can utilize
clergy-penitent privilege meaning the pastor can refrain from testifying in a court of law.

Author: Lorraine Beatty    
Title: Nina and Bret’s story
Hero and Heroine: Bret Fulton Nina Johnson
Line:  Love Inspired
One paragraph from the page you are currently on:  
A cool morning breeze blew a strand of Nina Johnson’s hair across her eyes. She pulled it away, her gaze riveted on the building in front of her. Had the cab driver made a mistake and left her at the wrong place? Pulling her phone from her purse and brought up the address. 557 E. Warren Ave. her spirits sagged. She should never have agreed to come here. But then where else would she have gone? Kathryn Bettencourt was her closest friend. She’d been there for her since college, through the marriage and the dark days afterward. When she’d asked her to come down to Hastings, Mississippi and take over her psychology practice while she and her husband took an advantage of a job in Spain for the next few months, she hadn’t been able to refuse. Her position as in corporate psychologist at Duncan and Stone had been eliminated. The call from her friend had been a blessing. Until now. 
Due date:  Proposal due Feb 28th
Word count goal today: 1000
Something cool learned recently from research:  still researching.

Author: Jean C. Gordon
Title: TBD: I'm calling it Marc's Story for now.
Hero and Heroine: Marc Delacroi and Fiona Bryce
Line:  Love Inspired Romance
One paragraph from the page you are currently on:  
He watched her leave, back straight, steps measured. But he’d come to want more. So much more. And he couldn’t help feeling he’d failed Fiona. He’d have to let go himself—of his dreams of him and Fiona and Stella as a family and keep Fiona as Stella’s aunt, like his sisters. He knew better than to pursue fixing something he couldn’t fix again. He’d go it alone. It would be easier that way.
Due date:  February 1, 2017
Word count goal today: 1,200
Something cool learned recently from research:  The Town of Ticonderoga, NY, holds an annual End of Winter Carnival in March.

Author: Jolene Navarro
Title: Lone Star Bride
Hero and Heroine: Sofia De Zavala & Jackson McReed
Line:  LIH
One paragraph from the page you are currently on: 
 He made sure to smile, hoping it didn’t look as tight as it felt. An image of Lilly on her parents’ porch as he asked her to marry 
him flashed across his mind. Closing his eyes, he forced it away. He should be running, but he couldn’t humiliate Sofia and leave her abandoned like that.
For better or worse, he would soon have another wife.
I’m so sorry, Lilly.
Due date: Monday 23, 2017  
Word count goal today: Editing
Something cool learned recently from research: This was so much fun. I discovered that on parts of the Old Spanish trail (from San Antonio to New Orleans) in the late 1830s retired pirates owned some of the cattle crossings! Cowboys and Pirates in the same place for a very short period in history. These are not good pirates, but what fun in fiction, right? 

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Ah, technology.. Love it or hate it?

Hi Everyone, Danica Favorite here, and I am posting to let you know of a rather embarrassing mistake I made. :( I was scheduled to post here today, and I was so proud of myself, because I made the post, scheduled it, and was thinking, YES!! I am on top of my game.

Imagine my surprise when I got online this morning and checked my post, and found it wasn't here. So I did my due diligence and looked at it to see where I'd gone wrong. Um, I posted it to the wrong blog. :( Fortunately, it does not look like I stole anyone else's date, YAY, but unfortunately, it's posted somewhere else. I can't decide if I should grab it and put it here, or if I should leave it and you guys can just go see it.  Let me know in the comments which is better for you.

Oh, and if you want to read the actual post that was supposed to go here, you can find it over on the Love Inspired Authors blog.

In the meantime, I'd love to hear your funny tech mess up stories. I think this is the biggest I've had in a while, but trust me, since my day job is stuff like this, I make mistakes all the time.

A little about my current release:

The Nanny Agreement 
Widower Silas Jones needs a mother for his daughter, and marriage could help his former sweetheart repair her tattered reputation. Yet he can't blame Rose Stone when she refuses a marriage of convenience after he once broke her heart, marrying another woman to save his family's farm. He's blessed Rose agrees to be his nanny. If only she'd look at him again with the warmth she shows little Milly… 
Rose's tarnished past hasn't quelled her spirit. She's building a good life in Colorado with her infant son—and the glimmer of a future with Silas. But when his in-laws try to claim Milly, Rose must decide if the makeshift family she and Silas have forged can reopen her heart to love.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Some Things I’ve Learned From My Characters

As an author, it’s in my DNA to make up characters and throw them into situations that test their faith and sometimes push them to their personal limit. In each situation, the characters have issues in their life that they must be overcome before they can find their happily ever after.

As someone who writes Inspirational Romantic Suspense, there is an element of danger in each of my stories. It adds another wrinkle to the dilemma the characters face.

But sometimes when I making up stories in my head, I find that my characters actually teach me a thing or two about life.

For instance, in Forgotten Past, Faith McKenzie taught me that no matter how dark the road ahead of you may seem, if you have someone to travel it with you, you’ll never have to face the darkness alone.
JT Wyatt taught me that there is such a thing as second chances in this life, no matter how painful the starting over might be.

Teddy Warren and Derek Thomas taught me that if you have a few good friends to back you up and believe in you, even if you don’t believe in yourself, you can make it through just about anything.  

In Rocky Mountain Pursuit, Jase Bradford taught me that true men of valor still exist. They serve our country in all branches of the military and they sacrifice their safety to protect ours. Jase taught me that you never leave a man behind. And when one of your comrades dies suspiciously, you will move heaven and earth to bring their killer to justice.
Reyna Peterson taught me that you don’t have to serve in the military to risk your life for your country.

Eddie Peterson taught me that there are some things in life that are worth chancing everything to protect.

In my upcoming June 2017 LIS – Deadly Memories, Ella Weiss taught me that you can survive just about anything as long as you have faith. And CIA Agent Kyle Jennings taught me that sometimes, all you have to cling to in life is hope.

So what about you? Whether you’re an author or a reader, we all have characters that speak to us. What have some of your favorite characters taught you about life?


All the best…


Mary Alford

Deadly Memories – Coming June 2017


Amnesia may be keeping Ella Weiss from remembering her past—but not from saving the little boy who's been her fellow prisoner the last seven years. After managing to escape her cell, all she wants is to find where little Joseph is being kept. Instead she runs straight into CIA agent Kyle Jennings. Kyle isn't sure if Ella is actually a kidnap victim or if she's working for the gunrunner he's been after. One thing he is certain of is her uncanny resemblance to the wife he thought he'd buried. To save a child's life and stop a terrorist from slipping through his fingers, he'll need to uncover the secrets of Ella's past—and whether or not she's really the woman he's never stopped loving.  

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

You know you're a writer if... by Leann Harris

You know you're a writer if... 1. You have multiple pieces of paper all over your desk, kitchen, purse with the best way to say the sentence you were just writing. 2. You miss your 20th high school reunion because you didn't read the invite carefully and it was the week before. Your take away is wouldn't that make a good story? 3. You pick up the newspaper in another town and see they've discovered a body and think, how could I use that? 4. You spend to much time at Starbucks people watching, seeing if you can come up with an idea. 5. You're in line at a restaurant for lunch, and the guy two people ahead would be the perfect hero (looks-wise) for your latest book. When he catches you, you stumble back and mumble an
excuse. 6. You cold call the police, doctor, vet, the local florist to ask if you could interview them to help with background for your latest hero/heroine. (I've developed some nice friendships with the police.) 7. You tell your husband not to come near you or your computer while writing or else... 8 The husband willingly educates another husband on the pitfalls of living with a writer. 9. You can't read your hand writing when you jotted the brilliant idea you had at 4 AM. Now, I'm sure my fellow writers can add their points to my list.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Craftie Ladies ~ Love Inspired HIstorical January Release

Jean C. Gordon here with what's new from our talented Craftie Ladies Love Inspired Historical writers. To buy this wonderful book, just click the book cover. And to learn more about the author, click on her name.

For the Sake of the Children
by Danica Favorite  
Widower Silas Jones needs a mother for his daughter, and marriage could help his former sweetheart repair her tattered reputation. Yet he can't blame Rose Stone when she refuses a marriage of convenience after he once broke her heart, marrying another woman to save his family's farm. He's blessed Rose agrees to be his nanny. If only she'd look at him again with the warmth she shows little Milly…
Rose's tarnished past hasn't quelled her spirit. She's building a good life in Colorado with her infant son—and the glimmer of a future with Silas. But when his in-laws try to claim Milly, Rose must decide if the makeshift family she and Silas have forged can reopen her heart to love.

Friday, January 13, 2017

What We're Reading

Mary Alford What  I just finished:  
Gathering Shadows by Nancy Mehl.

What I'm currently reading: 
Buried Memories by Carol J. Post and Mountain Ambush by Hope White. 

What I'm planning to read next:
 Moving Target by Lynette Eason (Can't wait for this one.) 

Barbara Phinney
What I just finished: 


What I'm currently reading: 

The Collected Stories of Isaac Besher Singer.  Very interesting.

What I plan to read next: 
The Final Crumpet by Ron and Janet Benrey

Louise M. Gouge

What I just finished:The Price of Privilege by Jessica Dotta, third in a suspense series about a young woman whose identity is shrouded in deadly secrets. A gripping saga!

What I'm currently reading:
My Enemy, My Heart by Laurie Alice Eakes, a Regency/War of 1812 set partly on the sea and partly on English soil. Very romantic and reminiscent of the wonderful old high seas adventure movies of the past.

What I plan to read next:
Wed on the Wagon Train by Tracy Blalock, December LIH release. This is Tracy's first LIH, and I'm sure I'll become a fan. 


Deb Kastler
What I just finished: 

Made to Crave by Lysa Terkeurst  (Audio) This is not a diet book, but a devotional way of life eating book. While I didn't agree with everything she said, she has a lot of great points on making sure our whole focus is on God. Oh--and she's hysterically funny.

What I'm currently reading:
The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick.  This is WAY different than the books I usually pick up, but I absolutely love it. I'm enthralled by the strength of character development and the clever plot. 

What I will be reading next: 
The Queen's Fool by Philippa Gregory. (Audio) I've been making my way through Ms. Gregory's books. Not sure her historical research is completely accurate, but she is a great storyteller. 

Pamela Tracy:
I just finished reading: Body & Soul.  It's a paranormal YA by Stacey Kade.  I gave it 5 stars on Goodreads.  It's third in a series and did not disappoint.

I'm currently reading: 
(book) Never Say No to a Rock Star by Glenn Berger.  It's a memoir of working in the music industry circa 1970s&80s.  I'm only 20 pages in and so far I'm liking it.  Right now, I'm with Paul Simon on a bench and he's struggling started his lone career without Garfunkel (I always missed Garfunkel.  Felt the same way when Brooks and Dunn decided to go solo).
(Audio) The Collector by Nora Roberts.  I'm on the road over an hour a day driving back and forth to work.  About two months ago, I'd had it with audio books that were not keeping my interest, so I grabbed a tried and true.  Nora.  Now I'm listening one every two weeks and she's not disappointing.  What I like best about the collector is the clues she's handing out, that I'm catching (color of shirts, shoes).

Next on my list: 
Not really sure.  I just bought the River of Time series by Lisa Bergen.

Jean C. Gordon
What I just finished: 
Once A Wife (A Mother's Heart Book 2) by Patricia Keelyn. This author and series is new to me. I'll probably read more.

What I'm currently reading: 
Mistletoe and Sage by Lyn Cote. Still whittling down my holiday TBR list. As usual, Lyn doesn't disappoint.

What I plan to read next: 
The Cowboy's Holiday Blessing by Brenda Minton, the next to last holiday book I have left.

Merrillee Whren
What I just finished: 
A Love Like Ours by Becky Wade

What I'm currently reading: 
Until I Found You by Victoria Bylin

Next on my list: 
Hamilton by Ron Chernow  

Danica Favorite
What I just finished: 
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater (on audio!)

What I am reading now: 
Historical newspapers to research my current book.

What I am reading next: Mending the Doctor’s Heart by Sophia Sasson