Monday, August 13, 2018

Allie Pleiter and the giant zucchini...

It's garden season, which means that certain bumper crops are showing up among friends and neighbors.  My husband and I were at a farm stand over the weekend buying sweet corn, and saw this:

A sign said: FREE

This was the smallest of the "Jumbo Zucchini" pile, and who can resist free garden produce?

So, today is the day I figure out what to do with this vegetable windfall. I've been given recipes for cheezy bites, lemon cake, lasagna, zucchini boats (or in this case, yachts), and of course making them into spaghetti noodles (also called "zoodles"). Even pickles--and keeping it by the door to defend myself against intruders--have been suggested.

This is certainly more than one meal's worth of zucchini. So chime in with your favorite uses/recipes!

By the way, I've got a new book out later this month that I hope you'll enjoy. It involves a whopping amount of snow--not zucchini--but the results are just as enjoyable!

Snowed in with the best man at a wedding weekend, florist Kelly Nelson can’t help but notice that the handsome widower seems overwhelmed raising his young daughter. So Kelly is delighted when her own daughter befriends the girl. But when the little matchmakers target Kelly and Bruce with an adorable Valentine’s Day plot, will the reluctant single parents give love a second chance?

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Sunday Scripture

Holy Trinity, Szymon Czechowicz, 1756-58,
Lithuanian Art Museum. [PD-US]

Brothers and sisters:
Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God,
with which you were sealed for the day of redemption. 
All bitterness, fury, anger, shouting, and reviling
must be removed from you, along with all malice. 
And be kind to one another, compassionate,
forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ.

So be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love,
as Christ loved us and handed himself over for us
as a sacrificial offering to God for a fragrant aroma.
Ephesians 4:30 - 5:2

If you have any prayer needs, please mention them in the comments section so we can join you in prayer. You do not need to include specific names or situations of a private nature, just say that you have a prayer request. The Lord knows your heart and the needs you have. It is a privilege and honor to pray with you and for you.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

New for August from Our Love Inspired Suspense Authors

Jean C. Gordon here with four new must buys from our Love Inspired Suspense authors. Just click on a cover to purchase it. And to learn more about Margaret, Dana, Virginia,and Lenora , click on their names. Baby Pursuit
by Margaret Daley 

On a kidnapper’s trail…
Lone Star Justice never fails

Minutes after his baby nephew is kidnapped, Texas Ranger Dallas Sanders traces the crime to a child trafficking ring hiding in plain sight. As he and local sheriff Rachel Young race to expose the sinister conspiracy, they’re determined to keep their relationship professional. But when Rachel’s infant daughter is also abducted, can she and Dallas rescue the children in time…and survive to have a future together?
Amish Country Ambush
by Dana R. Lynn 

Hidden in Plain Sight
An Amish Country Justice story

After police dispatcher Elise St. Clair’s home is invaded by her murderous brother-in-law, her nephew is hidden in Amish Country by her cleaning lady. Now relying on police officer Ryan Parker is Elise’s only hope of reuniting with the child…and evading the killer. And Elise and Ryan quickly discover their temporary partnership has long-term potential—if they can stay alive. Case Cover-up
by Virginia Vaughan 

She’ll risk everything to uncover her past
The first thrilling Covert Operatives tale

An infant is believed to have been murdered thirty years ago—but investigative journalist Dana Lang is convinced she’s that baby. Now someone’s willing to kill to stop her investigation. And only secretive deputy Quinn Dawson, whose grandfather may have faked Dana’s death to protect her, can keep her safe. But a killer’s dead set on burying the past—and them—for good.

Amazon | B&N | Harlequin | Kobo | Google Play | iBooks
Rescue Operation

Racing to rescue a child  
Danger heats up in the Military K-9 Unit series
A little boy is missing, and it’s up to search-and-rescue K-9 handler Ava Esposito and her dog to find him…before the Red Rose Killer does. FBI special agent Oliver Davison is hot on the trail of the escaped convict and joins forces with Ava. But when the killer turns his crosshairs on them, Oliver must protect them all before time runs out.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Researching the Amish -- Vannetta Chapman

Amish garden, Shipshewana, Indiana
One of the most frequent questions I’m asked is “How did you become interested in the Amish?” Since I’m new to Love Inspired, I thought it would be fun to share that story here.

My first agent was Mary Sue Seymour. I had written several books, and she’d pitched them to publishers. We always ended up in the top 3 books they were considering, and then they’d pass. I couldn’t figure out what was going on!

Finally Mary Sue wrote me an email and told me that I should write an Amish book. This was in 2009, and there were a lot of Amish books coming out--even more than now. She had publishers calling her asking for more Amish! I thought about it a few minutes and then told her “No.” I was so afraid to tell my agent no, but as I explained to her, we have no large Amish communities in Texas, only a very small one in Beeville and they don’t even have a store to visit. I’d never met an Amish person!
Amish school, Cashton, Wisconsin

Mary Sue wrote me back and said she understood. Then she wrote me another email, this one quite long, explaining that I could learn, research, visit, and then write that book. I prayed and fumed and worried and tossed and turned that night, and then finally I decided that if she was going to be my agent I should accept her advice--so I said “Yes!” That was the 9th book I’d written, and the first book we sold. Abingdon Press bought it, and A Simple Amish Christmas released in 2010 and was a huge success.

Since then I’ve published 4 novellas and 16 Amish books (romances and mysteries), including my most recent with Love Inspired, A Widow’s Hope. My husband and I have visited a lot of Amish communities in the last 9 years--communities in Indiana, Ohio, Wisconsin, Colorado, Pennsylvania, and Oklahoma. I’ve met a lot of Amish folks, and I feel fortunate to count them as my friends. I’ve learned a lot, and I’m so glad that Mary Sue pushed me beyond my comfort zone.

What about you? Have you ever done something that scared you just a little and then changed your life in some way? I certainly never saw myself becoming an Amish author! (PS--I would love you to stop by my webpage and look around. You can do so here or follow me on Facebook here.)

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Calling All Volunteers — Jean C. Gordon

No, I don't have a project I want your help with. Rather, I thought it would be fun to hear what kind of volunteer activities the Love Inspired Ladies and readers are involved in. For my self, I volunteer Tuesday and Saturday mornings at the Book Nook at our church (and other random hours sorting and shelving books). This week we are deep in getting ready for one of our semi-annual "Huge" Sales.

Our Book Nook was started by a lovely woman named Joy (who is a joy) to help the church with heating costs about ten years ago when fuel oil costs spiked. It sells donated books of all kinds, puzzles, DVDs, CDs, record albums, and VHS tapes for a $1 or less. (All Bibles are free.) 

But the Book Nook has evolved into so much more. It's a gathering place to share a cup of coffee and baked goods, as well as fellowship, with people in our community.  And a way to promote reading and literacy.

For instance we:
  • Invite teachers to come and pick out 20 free books for their classrooms
  • Give every child/student infant to college student one free book each time they visit
  • Encourage college students to check us out for books they may need for literature classes
  • Send books to service members serving overseas through our local VFW. (Sadly, we're discouraged from including romance books.)
My husband Mark and me at the
Friendship Festival last year

  • Have provided books to a prison ministry
  • Offer children's books free for the taking at our church's Evangelism Committee table at our community's annual Friendship Festival each August, along with cold water
  • Make free books available at our elementary school's book sales for children who don't have money to buy new books at the sales. So, they don't feel left out.
And last fall, one of the other volunteers took a box of books to hand out to trick or treaters along with a candy treat.

While the Book Nook can be hard work, it's also very rewarding, and our core group of volunteers, along with some of our regular patrons, have all become good friends.

Who's next?

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Paris in springtime, Shakespeare & Company....research is just so fun! ---Roxanne Rustand

My daughter and I went to Paris in May--my treat, but she had to do the planning, as I was busy with a book deadline and couldn't let myself concentrate on anything else.   I'm so thankful for her hard work

She made list after list, developed an Excel spreadsheet, and ultimately had our two weeks planned by the hour.

Of course, we didn't exactly adhere to The Plan, but it gave us a great structure so that we could make good use of every single day.  If I'd gone alone I would have wandered around missing everything that proved to be a great memory!

The photo of the Eiffel Tower was taken during our dinner cruise on the Seine.

As a writer, I was fascinated with the Shakespeare & Company bookstore, which is on the Left Bank very close to Notre Dame. The store began in 1919 in a  different location, was closed during the Nazi occupation and is now a booklovers dream--crowded, twisting aisles through towering bookshelves, little hide-aways with  easy chairs tucked here and there, charming signs posted in unexpected places, like "Be not inhospitable to strangers, lest they be angels in disguise."  And, of course, there are the bookstore cats.

The most fascinating part of the store's history to me are the "Tumbleweeds," the writers who have come and gone through the decades. For generations, writers wandering into Paris have been welcomed to stay in the shop for free, sleeping in random cots throughout the store, if they would work in the store two hours a day, promise to read a book each day, and also promise to write for however long they stayed.

The other requirement is that they type a one-page biography, and now the store literally has thousand of these--many from illustrious writers of days gone by, such as  Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Jack Kerouac and Anais Nin--to name just a very few. And still, many avid writers both young and old who have yet to make their mark are welcomed to stay. What a fascinating tradition!  My big regret is that this store was on our itinerary and I enjoyed seeing it, but I had no idea of the depth of its history until my curiosity was spurred and I looked it up online after we got home.  I am completely frustrated this morning, by the way---I cannot find the photos I took of the bookstore!  I've looked, and looked....but finally had to get this blog posted. are the Eiffel tower,  some beautiful stained glass (I believe this is from Notre Dame, and just part of the gardens at Versailles. Our tour guide said that all of those trees you see in the garden are actually on little platforms with wheels, so they can be wheeled into a vast storage area (right under my feet, from where  I took the photo) for protection in the winter!

Our travels were fun, and I used them as research for a new novella, Christmas in Paris, which is part of the new Sweet Christmas Kisses  anthology, which is now available for pre-sale on Amazon for just 99 cents!

Best wishes to you all,
Roxanne Rustand

Tuesday, August 7, 2018


😎The Glamorous Life of a "Famous" Author 

by Valerie Hansen

Ah, yes, the secret life of a published author. Who wouldn't want to step into those famous shoes? Why, she must live in a mansion with servants and a cook and a limo driver that looks like those models on the book covers. Hahahahahaha!

If those things were what God thought I needed to do my job and write about my Christian faith, I have no doubt He would have given them to me. But I don't. And my life in the rural Ozarks is so blessed, so wonderful, it sometimes takes my breath away. So does spring pollen but that's another story! 😜 As long as I don't run out of allergy medicine or bug repellent I'll be fine right here.

This is my desk and the place where I work. I used to write in longhand then type my manuscripts on a borrowed typewriter! Even after I finally switched to a computer I had it sitting on a sewing table and spread out the pages on my ironing board. (Why not? I never ironed!) My hubby finally insisted I needed a real desk and bought me this one. I love it! And it holds a lot more stuff than an ironing board.😄

Do I have a cook? Nope. And since I had not been practicing my culinary skills in years, when I suddenly had to start feeding myself it was quite an adventure. Note the paper plate? I don't have a dishwasher, either. I know, I know, there goes your image of my ultra glamorous life. I confess to blowing up the potato in my microwave. I had pierced it for the oven but when it wasn't done on time, I stuck it in to nuke it. How was I to know it had "healed over" in the oven?!

Life for me is one grand adventure after another, from a well failure in the middle of a winter storm, to being stranded by high water, to finding a neighbor's cows in my flowerbeds, to deciding I needed a third dog and choosing a puppy, (what was I thinking?) to running over a piece of sharp metal and killing 2 tires at the same time, to deciding to pressure wash my house myself and powering the painted layer off the disintegrating siding, to learning to mow the lawn on a zero-turn machine and running into a fence post that tweaked the deck out of alignment, to... Well, you get the idea.

I love my life. I love the place where God has planted me. I love the books I am still being asked to write on a regular basis. And I love and trust the Lord. What more could anyone ask? I have reissued books coming soon, then a new K-9 Christmas story for Dec. These are the covers. Bless you all and may you find the divine joy that underlies even the most difficult days.

Monday, August 6, 2018

A Walk on the Wild Side - ASU's student crime scene lab EEK by Pamela Tracy

I'm lucky enough to belong to a fabulous RWA group called Desert Rose.  This past Saturday we had an excursion to a student crime scene lab. When it was first announced, my hand was in the air.  I love, love, love romantic suspense.

Yes, I know, crime scene and romance not necessarily two words that go together.  But, think of Turner and Hooch, Castle, etc.

Here's a big thank you to Kim and Leslie Jones for introducing the greater Phoenix romance authors to Kimberly Kobojeck, who stood at the door like a spider and said, "Come into my web.  I'll hook you."  Er, she didn't really say that, but I'm a writer so took a little liberty.

Just inside the door we are welcomed
by one of Kobojeck's contemporaries

Soon, we are at a crime scene.
There are lots of clues.
We see pills - was it an overdose.
We see a glove - who left it behind, was the victim smothered.
We see blood spatter (Yes, it is spatter, not splatter) on the lamp shade.
And, then, there's the baseball bat.

Blood is everywhere
And so is the crime lab technician

Did you know that if there's blood spatter on the wall
And the guilty party paints over it
It will still be found.
Oh, yeah.
And, the piece of wood with all the spots...
Well, it's paint - latex, primer, base coat, etc

Fingerprints are an amazing thing.
John Dillinger tried to get rid of his.
Even twins do not have the same.
And, now there's something about the indentations on your ears being individual
But really, now that we have DNA testing, do we really need all the above.
Oh, yeah

Here we have a few Desert Rosers, ready to solve the crime!

Pamela Tracy's favorites genre to write is suspense.
Go figure.
Her next is The Soldier's Valentine.
It's heavy on romance, though.
And light on suspense.
But, the suspense is there.
Just no crime scene.
This time.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Sunday Scripture

"I Am the Bread of Life"

View through the window of a small chapel that overlooks
Jerusalem and the Temple Mount.

When the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there,
they themselves got into boats
and came to Capernaum looking for Jesus. 
And when they found him across the sea they said to him,
"Rabbi, when did you get here?" 
Jesus answered them and said,
"Amen, amen, I say to you,
you are looking for me not because you saw signs
but because you ate the loaves and were filled. 
Do not work for food that perishes
but for the food that endures for eternal life,
which the Son of Man will give you. 
For on him the Father, God, has set his seal." 
So they said to him,
"What can we do to accomplish the works of God?" 
Jesus answered and said to them,
"This is the work of God, that you believe in the one he sent." 
So they said to him,
"What sign can you do, that we may see and believe in you? 
What can you do? 
Our ancestors ate manna in the desert, as it is written:
He gave them bread from heaven to eat."
So Jesus said to them,
"Amen, amen, I say to you,
it was not Moses who gave the bread from heaven;
my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 
For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven
and gives life to the world."

So they said to him,
"Sir, give us this bread always." 
Jesus said to them,
"I am the bread of life;

whoever comes to me will never hunger,
and whoever believes in me will never thirst."
John 6:24-35

If you have any prayer needs, please mention them in the comments section so we can join you in prayer. You do not need to include specific names or situations of a private nature, just say that you have a prayer request. The Lord knows your heart and the needs you have. It is a privilege and honor to pray with you and for you.