Books by Craftie Ladies

Saturday, September 20, 2014

FEATURED BOOK AND INTERVIEW: RANCHER UNDER FIRE BY VICKIE McDONOUGH



SABOTAGE AT ANGELFIRE RANCH 
Jackson Durant would go to any lengths to protect his young daughter and his ranch. He knows the puzzling incidents on his homestead are no accidents. Someone is after him…but who? And why? Reporter Mariah Reyes is determined to find out. She never expected her pursuit of a story on the reclusive rancher would endanger her life—nor that she'd fall for the cowboy. But when Jackson's daughter is kidnapped, she'll do anything to help save the little girl—even if it means becoming a target herself.

INTERVIEW:
Today we're welcoming Jackson Durant, the hero of Rancher Under Fire by Vickie McDonough, a September, 2014, release by Love Inspired Suspense. 

Wow, you've just had quite an adventure.   
1.  Tell us a little about yourself and how you came to be in the midst of such suspense. I used to be a pro quarterback but now I’m a rancher. I left football the day my daughter was born. I didn’t want her raised in the cut-throat world I lived in back then. We’ve had a good, quiet life—at least until recently. Weird things started happening several months ago. Fences have been cut and my horses have gotten out. A stock tank was shot full of holes. And there’s more. At first, I thought it might be teens, although most of the youth around here tend to look up to me, so I don’t think it’s one of them. But I don’t have any enemies—at least none that I know of. So who could be doing these destructive things? And why?

2.  So, during the book you met Mariah Reyes. Tell us a bit about her.  What was your first impression? First impressions? She nearly ran over my daughter. I was more than a little angry when I met her. I just wanted her gone. When did you know it was love? I have no clue. Maybe during the worst days of my life when Mariah stuck by my side and tried to help me through them.

3.  What strengths/skills do you have? Physically, I’m strong. I was in sports all my life, and now I’m a rancher, doing physical work every day. I’d like to think I’m smart and have a good head for horses. What is your greatest weakness? That’s easy—my daughter.

4.  What scares you? That something will happen to Hailey. I lost my wife in a car accident, so I know how fast life can change

5. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I’d change the man I was in the past. Back then, I enjoyed being a celebrity. Enjoyed being in the limelight and the life that came with it at times. I had no goal but to succeed in football and make as much money as I could, and be popular. I didn’t care if I had to run down someone else to obtain that. I was selfish and shallow.

6.  Where are you in your faith at the start of your story? I’m a godly man. I attend church and read my Bible. Like all people, I could be closer to God, but I believe in Him and trust Him.

7.  Where are you in your faith at the end of the story?  My faith has certainly been tested. I’m much closer to God now. He got me through the worst days of my life—got me through a time when I didn’t know if I could go on.
8. You've got a scripture at the beginning of the story.  Tell us why this scripture is significant.
“But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31
I’ve always had an attraction to eagles. They’re magnificent birds, and there are many things about them I find interesting. Did you know they mate for life? Anyway, this was one of the first scriptures that I memorized. I’ve remembered it during hard times, especially those I endured lately.

9. If you could be a dessert what would you be and why? Come on now—that’s a dumb question. Ask me something about horses.




Friday, September 19, 2014

Carol Award Finalist: Debra Clopton

Today at the Craftie Ladies we complete our salute to our authors who rise to the top and prove that Christian fiction rocks! 


Please join me in welcoming Debra Clopton.

Her novella, 
AN EVER AFTER SUMMER. 
is a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers' Carol Award.


What inspired you to write your finaling book?

Actually my agent Natasha Kern wanted me to try my hand at a historical and asked me if I thought I could squeeze a novella into my schedule. I was busy but no way could I pass up an opportunity to collaborate with Mary Connealy, Margaret Brownley and Robin Lee Hatcher so I agreed and was so glad I did. It was a joy from beginning to end. My story was to be set in Summer and all of them were about mail order brides. When I set down to brainstorm ideas I started looking at popular names from the 1870’s and, like happens to me a lot, when I saw the name Melvina and then the name Eldora the magic happened-I instantly saw Melvina Eldora Smith in my mind and the wonderful opening line popped into my head:

A born killer, Melvina Eldora Smith killed three people by the age of one: her mother at birth, her father of a broken heart and her poor, poor uncle Mutt outside a bar with a runaway buggy…

I instantly had to find out who this girl was! I felt for her and saw an unloved child grown up into a spunky young woman who’d unjustly had a lot of horrible things blamed on her all of her life by her bitter aunt. And of course I wanted to see her with a happy ending! 

How does your faith play into your stories?

I live my faith each day in a natural way, it is just a part of me. Like everyone, I struggle sometimes and am always striving to be a better person, to make a difference. It’s an ongoing process. I let my faith play into my stories in the same way, letting my characters walk naturally with their faith too. There is ebb and flow and each story’s faith element is dictated by the book and the character as I’m writing it. I let God lead on that discovery and I pray about it constantly as I write.

What is your favorite part of writing?

I love the creative process-that moment when I’m writing and then something unexpectedly ties together perfectly and beautifully-I call it a God moment-completely orchestrated by Him. I just love that! And with this story started with the opening line coming to me so perfectly and in an instant.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on Counting on a Cowboy book 2 in my new Four of Hearts Romance series coming out from Harper Collins Christian in 2015. Book 1 Betting On Hope comes out Feb 2015. I’m thrilled about the books and hoping my readers love them too. They are about 3 brothers, cowboys, running their family ranch the Four of Hearts Ranch in Wishing Springs, Texas. These are longer books than my Mule Hollow series but have the same feel and a great supporting cast of characters I think my readers will love. I tried very hard to give Wishing Springs that Mule Hollow feeling, but with a twist. 
 


Tell us about your Carol Award finaling book.

Like I said above it’s a sweet story that will have you rooting for this wonderful girl, Melvina Eldora Smith (Ellie). She’s nineteen, lost everyone who ever loved her at birth and decides to become a mail order bride when she reads an ad by a man looking for a mother for his baby-who has also lost her mother at birth. Ellie has a lot of love to give and needs love desperately-as does Mathew the hero. I so enjoyed Ellie’s spirit-she is just so full of expectations and hope. It was my first historical and my version of a Cinderella story. I’m loving that it’s up for this award because it was such a joy to write. It can be bought alone as an ebook or as a collection called a Bride For All Seasons. The 4 novellas in the collection are tied together by a meddling mail order bride magazine editor who takes the letters he receives and edits them, tweaks them to “help” the people find love. The only problem is when the brides reach their destinations things are not as they seemed and it makes for very comical situations!

 Sounds like a fun read.

Thanks for joining us today, Debra. We look forward to cheering you on at the Carols!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Novel Crossings

Terri Reed here, filling in for Teri Wilson

I just had an unexpected blessing pop into my inbox.  My book was featured in Novel Crossing.
This is a neat website to find Christian books.  If you haven't discovered this site, take a moment and explore.
http://www.novelcrossing.com/news/september-releases-scenes-21250?showprivate=1




Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Getting Visual

Hi all, Winnie Griggs here.  I've just recently started work on a brand new book--this one is scheduled to come out next December and will have a Christmas tone.  I'm a fairly visual person - though you probably couldn't tell that from my books since I tend to use descriptions sparingly.

But because I need to really have an image firmly in mind, one of the first things I do when I'm developing my story is start a pinterest board and begin pinning images that relate to the story - hero, heroine, significant secondary characters, homes, pets, etc. - anything that will help me really 'see' the people and elements of my story.

And I spend just as much time finding the images of the animals in my books as I do the people.  For the last hour I've been searching for just the right images for the pets in my book - a dog for the hero and a cat for one of the children.  It's one of those instances where I have only a vague idea of what I want but as soon as I see it there's an immediate connection.

For the last book I turned in (Second Chance Hero that will come out next May) I knew I wanted the hero, a real tough guy, to have a small, perky dog, an animal that seems totally at odds with who he appears to be.  And I had the perfect animal in mind, my daughter's dog.  This is his picture:



Besides setting up a board for each of my books, I've also set up a separate board for the animals that play major parts in my books.  You can see it HERE.

My next book, Her Holiday Family, comes out in November and it features a different kind of dog, a stray that one of the children in the book rescues.  The dog eventually worms his way into the hearts of the whole family (and it's a BIG family).

And because I just received my author copies of this book, I'd like to give one away to one of the lovely readers who leaves a comment today.  So leave a comment and tell me, do you like books that include animals with strong supporting roles?  And how important is it to you that the author provide a lot of description?

~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~

What happens when a straight-laced young widow’s home is invaded by ten rambunctious orphans and their handsome caretaker just in time for the holidays...
 
Reserved widow Eileen Pierce never considered herself the kind of woman who was cut out to be a mother. She wouldn't know what to do with one child, much less ten. But when handyman Simon Tucker is stranded in town with a group of young orphans just before Thanksgiving, she discovers she can't just turn them away.


Simon knows there's more to Eileen than meets the eye. Though his easygoing demeanor immediately clashes with her buttoned-up propriety, Simon's kindness soon melts Eileen's stern facade. Simon and the children already upended Eileen's quiet, orderly life. Will they do the same to her guarded heart?

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Celebrating with Friends!

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of attending the launch party for not one, but TWO of my friends who are celebrating their first published books!

Ane signing a copy of her book for her waiting fans!
Many in Christian publishing know Ane Mulligan; her exuberant spirit, her keen sense of fun and her inability to say ‘no’ to any job, large or small. Ane came into my life five years ago when she invited me to join a small group called the Seedwriters. Since my arrival back in Georgia, we’ve talked story and structure, brainstormed more books than either of us could ever possibly write and become the dearest of friends. She’s my sounding board when I need to bounce ideas off of, and my partner in crime. Seeing her book, Chapel Springs Revival get published and the overwhelming response it’s received has blessed me clean down to my arthritic toes!


Jim meeting his fans!
I’d never met anyone with honest-to-goodness ties to the Mafia until I met Jim Hall. The lone male in our Seedwriters hen house, Jim is a gentle man with a ready smile and a heart completely sold out to Jesus. When he speaks, it’s will a conviction for those most people would steer clear of. Jim bravely shares his story of life in the Mafia--from standing trial in front of a federal judge he and others in the organization had plotted to murder to the soul changing events which led him into full time ministry and to writing his story, Connected; From Godfather to God the Father. Jim has encouraged and challenged me, both as a writer and as a person. But best of all, he’s read and posted reviews of my books on Amazon--now that’s a real friend!



      
Congratulations to Ane and Jim on a successful book launch!


Hearts Rekindled

"I'm Here to See My Daughter."

She never thought she'd see John Davenport again. Merrilee Daniels Davenport's former husband has returned to their small Georgia town after fighting in the Pacific. And now the soldier is bearing a letter from the little girl he didn't know he had. Merrilee wishes that she and her daughter could lean on John's able shoulders, but her new assignment as a homeland informant won't allow it.

Twelve years have only made Merrilee more beautiful in John's eyes. Back then, he was the proud fool who walked away. Now all he wants is to prove he can be the husband she deserves, and the daddy his daughter needs.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Craftie Ladies - Love Inspired Suspense Sept 2014 Releases



Listed below are the upcoming releases from our talented Love Inspired Suspense writers here at Craftie Ladies of Romance.  To purchase any of these wonderful books, just click on the book covers.  And to learn more about the authors, click on their names.






SABOTAGE AT ANGELFIRE RANCH

Jackson Durant would go to any lengths to protect his young daughter and his ranch. He knows the puzzling incidents on his homestead are no accidents. Someone is after him…but who? And why? 

Reporter Mariah Reyes is determined to find out. She never expected her pursuit of a story on the reclusive rancher would endanger her life—nor that she’d fall for the cowboy. But when Jackson’s daughter is kidnapped, she’ll do anything to help save the little girl—even if it means becoming a target herself.






UNSAFE TERRITORY 

When a mysterious toxin threatens lives and livelihoods near the border between the U.S. and Canada, Dr. Tessa Cleary is called to trace the source. But when the no-nonsense doctor is forced to work with border patrol agent Jeff Steele, she finds the lone wolf's dedication to his job—and country—chipping away at the walls around her heart. 

Just as Tessa and Jeff are about to uncover the toxin's deadly source, armed thugs kidnap them in the forest. Now they must trust each other to survive before time runs out for everyone. 


Northern Border Patrol: Keeping the U.S.–Canadian border safe









Sunday, September 14, 2014

FEATURED BOOK AND INTERVIEW: HER HOMETOWN HERO BY MARGARET DALEY




Home to a Cowboy 
In a split second, a tragic accident ends Kathleen Somers's ballet career. Her dreams shattered, she returns home to the Soaring S ranch…and her first love. Suddenly the local veterinarian, Dr. Nate Sterling, goes from her ex to her champion. With the help of a lively poodle therapy dog, the cowboy vet sets out to challenge Kathleen's strength and heal her heart. He'll show her there's life beyond dance, even if it means she leaves town again. But maybe, just maybe, he'll convince her there's only one thing in life worth having…and he's standing right in front of her. 
Caring Canines: Loving and loyal, these dogs mend hearts.
INTERVIEW:
How exciting to have Kathleen (Kit) Somers, the heroine from Her Hometown Hero, a September 2014 release from Love Inspired Romance .

1.  Kathleen, tell me the most interesting thing about you.
I have danced a solo on the New York stage in a renown ballet—a dream come true.
2.  What do you do for fun?
Dance and dance—until I lost part of my leg. Now I'm trying to figure that out.
3.  What do you put off doing because you dread it?
Housework—so boring and it ends up dirty in no time and has to be done all over again and again.
4.  What are you afraid of most in life?
Never being able to dance again.
5.  What is the most important thing to you?
Finding a new meaning for my life and figuring out how I feel about my high school sweetheart, Dr. Nate Sterling.
6.  Do you read books? If so, what is your favorite type of book?
Not much because I never had time practicing my ballet all the time. Dance was everything to them.
7.  If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I wish I had my leg back. I wish I could take back those few seconds when I crossed the street.
8.  Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet?
A medium sized poodle named Lexie who came from the Caring Canines Organization. She is a therapy dog and just what I needed to work through my problems and help me emotionally to recover.
9. If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why?
To that moment before I stepped off the curb to cross the street. Now I realize dance isn't everything in my life, that there is much more to enjoy.


Saturday, September 13, 2014

FEATURED BOOK AND INTERVIEW: COWBOY TO THE RESCUE BY LOUISE M. GOUGE

Captivated by the cowboy 
Though Georgia belle Susanna Anders agrees to accompany her father on a silver prospecting trip to Colorado, her heart belongs to the South. Then charming cowboy Nate Northam saves her father's life and gives them shelter at his ranch. Feeling gratitude is only natural, but falling for a Yankee? Both of their families would be outraged. 
While Susanna's father recovers at the Northams' home, Nate can't help being drawn to the sweet Southern beauty…and wishing he were free to think of courtship. That is until shocking revelations compel both Nate and Susanna to choose where their loyalties lie—fettered to the past or to the promise of a bold new love…. 
Four Stones Ranch: Love finds a home out West

INTERVIEW:
How exciting to have Nate Northam, the hero from Cowboy to the Rescue, written by Louise M. Gouge, a September 2014 release from Love Inspired Historical Romance.

1.  Nate, tell me the most interesting thing about you.
Interesting? I don’t know about interesting. I’m just an ordinary cowboy. Well, I guess I’m a little more than a cowboy, because my family owns the ranch. Yeah, so I guess I’m a rancher. But that’s not to say I don’t work as hard as or harder than our hired hands. I’m the oldest of four children and have two brothers and a sister. That means I have a responsibility to set a good example for them. I try real hard to do that.
2.  What do you do for fun?
Fun? Well, now, there’s not much time for fun on a ranch, but I do enjoy helping to build our growing community. I really like barn raisings, when all my neighbors work together to help each other, and especially the picnic that goes along with it. A side of beef roasting on an open pit all day. All the ladies bringing their best dishes to share. Makes me hungry just to think about it. A barn dance in the new barn at the end of the day. Dancing with a pretty little southern gal named Susanna Anders. Can’t get much more fun than that.
3.  What do you put off doing because you dread it?
Promise you won’t let this get out, but I dread reporting ranch issues to my dad, whom everyone calls the Colonel (yes, with a capital C). Seems I can’t ever please the man. He’s too busy coddling my next younger brother, Rand, who’s doing all he can to be a genuine prodigal son. The Colonel served with distinction under General Sherman in the War, so his favoritism for his lazy son doesn’t make much sense to me.
4.  What are you afraid of most in life?
I’m afraid I’ll become like the older brother in Jesus’ story in the Bible about the prodigal son. Yes, I’m the one who works hard all the time. Yes, my brother Rand is irresponsible and gets out of work to go gambling whenever he can. But I figure the older brother, while he had an honest beef about the whole situation, was pretty self-righteous. That’s being a Pharisee, and I don’t want to be that. Jesus condemned those who were proud of their own righteousness. Makes me shudder just to think about not pleasing the Lord.
5.  What do you want out of life?
I’d like to get married—to Miss Susanna, of course, build my own home down the road from the big house on the ranch, raise some children. I love the land and the work we do on it, so this is where I want to stay.
6.  What is the most important thing to you?
Working hard, taking care of my family, pleasing the Lord, all so I can look at myself in the mirror every day without shame.
7.  If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I do have a tendency to want to do everything perfectly, probably because the Colonel will yell at me if I don’t. I’d like to be able to relax and not worry about such things quite so much.
8.  Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet?
Oh, yeah. We have a passel of dogs on the ranch. The Colonel brought them over from Scotland to herd cattle. It’s an experiment that has more or less success, but you can’t beat those cute little critters for companionship.
9. Can you tell us a little interesting tidbit about the time period you live in?


Not having lived in any other time, I can’t think of much, except that people in our community help each other out. We care about each other. We all go to church and try to live the way the Lord wants us to. I can’t think of any better way to live.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Carol Award Finalist: Dana Mentink

Today at the Craftie Ladies we continue our salute to our authors who rise to the top and prove that Christian fiction rocks! 

Please join me in welcoming Dana Mentink.

Her book, 
JUNGLE FIRE. 
is a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers' Carol Award.


What inspired you to write your finaling book?

My mother lived in Guatemala for a short time and I remember writing a paper about the national bird when I was in fifth grade. My agent approached me about writing a suspense novel about a missionary caught in a deadly situation and the setting popped into my mind.

How does your faith play into your stories?

God is the author of the universe. I just strive to encourage people to give their struggles to God. He’s the only one that can give us the happy endings we yearn for!

What is your favorite part of writing?

That moment, that precious instant, when I have a brainstorm at some random time that makes me say, “Yes! THAT’S the perfect plot twist!”

What are you working on now?

I’m writing a book for Harlequin’s Hearwarming, which is a wholesome romance, and kicking off a four book suspense series for Love Inspired Suspense. I also teach third grade, so I’ve got many young writers to coach!

Tell us about your Carol Award finaling book.
I’d love to, here’s the blurb.
Nina Truman is a missionary nurse, serving in a tiny Guatemalan town not far from the Mexican border.  It’s a fulfilling life, tending to the village poor, a way to serve in the country from which she was adopted. The day she leaves on furlough, is the day her life falls apart. Her bus is ambushed and she must flee from forces who inexplicably wish her dead. Trapped between a ruthless drug lord and his assassins, a corrupt police chief, and colleagues with ulterior motives, her friends may prove just as deadly as her enemies as she uncovers a plot tangled deep in the roots of her own past.
Nina’s only hope of survival lies in the hands of Shaw Wilder, a man who despises missionaries and the God they serve.  His skill is in handling a land mine detection dog, not helping a woman he blames for the death of his sister. When the lethal drug kingpin El Escorpion seeks to capture Nina, and the local police are no help, Shaw has to choose: flee into the Guatemalan jungle with a naive woman who has vowed never to take a life or follow his own spiritual demons and walk away. His choice may leave them both imprisoned in a jungle from which neither will escape.

Ooo...sounds exciting.

Thanks for joining us today, Dana. We'll be cheering you on at the Carols.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Honoring our First Responders

Hi everyone, Sandra Orchard here. This past weekend, I had the privilege of attending the Writers’ Police Academy and September 11th is such an appropriate day to share a little about it with you. 

The anniversary of the bombing of the Twin Towers is an iconic reminder to us of how First Responders run toward danger when everyone else is running the other way. 


My Nov release, Identity Withheld features a firefighter hero

It’s probably why we Love Inspired writers so often like to portray them as the heroes or heroines of our books, especially our suspense books. 

My 2015 release, features a paramedic heroine
At the academy, we experienced firsthand the challenge of the split second decisions First Responders often have to make. It was telling to me that the biggest fear of many of the police officers polled was that of a traffic stop going bad. 

As they explained, they have no idea who or what is in the car when they pull it over.
 

The bad guy is behind the officer with a gun to his head
A telling reminder of this came home to one participant who was fortunate to be able to join an officer in a night-time ridealong. At a traffic stop, she’d noticed that the officer touched the rear of the car before going to the driver’s window, and when backup joined him, because circumstances warranted an arrest, the second officer who arrived also touched the car. 

When she asked the officer about it later, he said, because if he shot me and drove off, when they find the car, his prints will help prove it was at the scene of the crime. 


Could you imagine having that thought run through your head however many times a night you’re required to pull over a car that’s driving erratically on the road? 


As a romantic suspense writer, I especially appreciated how open and honest many of the seasoned officers were about the psychological and relationship challenges of the job. For a rookie, it can be a more than a little heady and tempting to have “badge bunnies” seek you out or to have a good-looking woman offer you her phone number as thanks for not giving her that speeding ticket. 

See what a little sweet talk can do ;)


For female officers, having a relationship with a civilian is a challenge. The men get razzed for dating a woman who can beat him up or who carries a gun…as you can imagine. 


That is only a small taste of all we learned and experienced. Check out more pics on my blog: http://www.SandraOrchard.com/blog and next Monday, on my blog, I will share self-protection/defense tips for women that we learned. Tips every women should know. Be sure to pop by and read it, next Monday, and share with your loved ones.



Wednesday, September 10, 2014

My Favorite Place

I've had the good fortune to live in and travel to many different places in my life. Some that sound very exotic, like St. Lucia and Iceland. Others that are more homegrown, like Michigan, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Texas. But of all the places I've been, the one I love the most is Ouray, Colorado. True, my books are set there, but every time I visit this town, I fall in love all over again.

Why?

Let me start by giving you a little perspective. I'm currently a suburbanite living on the flatlands of Texas. I'm surrounded by highways and virtually every parcel of land is being bulldozed in order to build more homes or businesses. Old buildings aren't restored, they're torn down to make way for something more modern. 

But Ouray... 

Everywhere I look, there are mountains. And I don't mean in the distance. In Ouray, they are up-close and personal. Stand anywhere in town and you are enveloped by thirteen and fourteen thousand foot peaks. Trees perch on minuscule outcroppings, planted by the hand of God.

In Ouray, seventy percent of the town's Victorian buildings are still in use.
They revel in their history. No bulldozing going on here.

In Ouray, I can feel as though I'm on top of the world.

And marvel in alpenglow, when God paints barren gray rock the most incredible shade of red/orange/pink.

In my book, Ouray is like no place else on earth.

Do you have favorite place? I'd love to hear about it.


Mindy Obenhaus lives in Texas with her husband and two of her five children. Her debut novel, The Doctor’s Family Reunion, is a finalist in ACFW’s 2014 Carol Awards and her second book, Rescuing the Texan’s Heart, is a September 2014 release. When she’s not writing, Mindy enjoys cooking, reading and spending time with her grandkids. You can learn more about Mindy and Ouray at www.mindyobenhaus.com.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Frantic? Who, me?

Hi! Louise Gouge here.

Picture this: You are living your dream. You get paid to do the thing you love most. Life is good.

BUT!

It’s always the “buts” in life that give us grief, right? Let me explain how this works in my situation.

When I was a young girl, I dreamed of being an artist of some sort: an opera singer, an actress, a writer. As time passed, I had fun singing in church and acting in church dramas, but my greatest satisfaction came when I married my sweetheart and we raised a family. When my children were nearly grown, I started writing. After working for years to hone my craft, I was blessed with book contracts, and I’ve been writing under contract for almost twenty years. Of my three childhood dreams, this one had actually come true.

Yea! Dreams fulfilled! Right?

Yes, absolutely. But here’s my “but.” Writing under contract means that I have a set amount of time to complete my novel and a date by which I must submit it to my editor. This is important because my publishers have all of their book releases carefully planned. If I don’t get my manuscript to them on time, it interrupts their schedule. They have to scramble to fill that spot. My spot! Thus, extended deadlines affect not only the publisher, but also the writer’s career. A responsible writer lives up to her contract and meets that all-important deadline. Sometimes it’s easier to do than others. Sometimes, as a deadline approaches, we writers get a little frantic.

Frantic? I can do frantic. In fact, lately, frantic has become my modus operandi. (At left, see Louise in a not-so-frantic mood at Busch Gardens in Tampa, FL.)

You see, in addition to writing, I have a “day job.” For two days a week, I’m also a college professor of English and humanities. I have lessons to plan, classes to teach, and papers to grade. That leaves only four days to write. (I take Sundays off.) Not a lot of time to write a well-planned, well researched novel.

In addition, I have a busy family life. My widowed daughter and two grandchildren live with my husband and me, and the children are homeschooled. On the days when I’m writing in my home office, I have the privilege of listening to piano or guitar practice. Music to write by! Even when they start learning a new song and make many mistakes.

Of course there are many other school activities going on all the time. Sometimes, another homeschool family comes to our house so the moms can share their individual expertise with the other children. On those days, recess takes place right outside my window, another form of music to my ears.
Early this year, one of our sons was diagnosed with brain cancer. After surgery, he's now on chemo, but still manages to pastor his church, which my husband and I attend. For many weeks, I was privileged to take part in his care, driving him to appointments, etc., until he was able to drive again.

In the management of our house, we adults take turns fixing supper. My turn usually falls on days when I need to get a lot more words on the page or when I’m particularly inspired and don’t want to lose the thoughts churning through my brain. We can’t order in pizza or Chinese all of those times! So I cook. My grandson particularly likes my chicken pot pie, an all-day project to make!
(At left, our family, including those who live in their own houses and I'm sure don't have nearly the chaos we do.)

Just this morning, we were all in our small kitchen fixing breakfast. Hubby was getting ready for work, daughter and both grandchildren were preparing for their day, and we all needed to keep on schedule. Chaos reigned, and I wondered if I would ever get to my computer to work on my book that’s due on October 1, especially since I’ve reached a plot point that doesn’t seem to want to work for me. Ack! Writer’s block.

But when I finally made it to my computer, all the right words seemed eager to get on the page. I sailed past the block, maybe because being with my family loosened something inside of me. After all, no success in the writing world can match the worth of a loving family.

So, yes. I’m living my dream of being a published author. Yes, I spend many days being frantic as I trudge/gallop/limp/sprint toward my next deadline. But in the end, it’s all worth it. I love my books. I love my readers. And I love my family most of all. I wouldn’t change my life, no matter how frantic, for anything.

This coming Saturday, my upcoming novel, Cowboy to the Rescue, will be featured right here on CraftieLadies. Please come back and leave a comment. Next Monday, I’ll be giving away one copy of the book to someone living in the U. S. or Canada. I hope to see you there!