Friday, October 28, 2016

Blast From The Past – Guess the author

It's that time when we glimpse into the past of one of our Craftie Ladies. The first reader to correctly guess this month's author will receive a print copy (US only) of one of her current releases.

Ready? Here we go…

This is a photo of me and my mom in Minnesota. Both of my parents are from Minnesota, but they married and moved to Nebraska before I was born. We spent nearly every weekend in the summer in Minnesota. My grandfather had a cabin on a beautiful lake, and we'd take the pontoon boat out in the morning and watch the sunrise.

In the winter we'd go ice fishing or ride snowmobiles over the lake. Minnesota was a very different world from Nebraska, and it always seemed magical. Not to mention all the relatives spoiled my brother and me since we lived so far away!

Do you know who this is?  Well, here's one more hint. This author writes for Love Inspired Historical.

Leave your guess in the comments to be entered in the contest. And be sure to look for more clues in the comment section throughout the day.


Good luck!


Mary Alford

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

City Country Girl

Last year, my parents and I went on a road trip to Mableton, GA, where we’d lived during my formative years—age seven to twelve—and still have family there. I’d agreed to speak at a writers conference and arranged to visit with family and friends during our stay.

On our ten hour drive—we made frequent stops at Krystals. Arkansas doesn't have them, so we loaded up while we could. If you've never had one of their burgers, I'm told they're similar to White Castles. Anyway in between Krystals, I learned some things.

I knew my parents were both born and raised near the rural Arkansas town where we live now. I knew they moved to Michigan when I was a year old, then we’d trekked to Indiana, a suburb of Chicago, and finally Mableton. My aunt and uncle made the trek also and still live there with both of my cousins in the area also. But I’d never thought to ask why we made all those moves.

With time to kill, I asked. Turns out we followed the pipeline to Michigan, then Indiana, then Illinois. The pipeline dried up when I was seven, but there was a housing boom in Atlanta. What really fascinated me was that we never had anywhere to land during any of those moves. With each trek, my dad found a job and a place to live once we got where we were going. My parents moved on faith. With a baby—toddler—child in tow.

When we first moved to Georgia, Daddy and my uncle found jobs in carpentry in Atlanta. My aunt and uncle found a house pretty quickly in Mableton. We found a huge house that had been cut up into apartments. For about a month, we lived in the apartment house and on the weekends, we drove around looking for a house. Without knowing a soul or much about the areas we visited. On one of our weekend jaunts, they found a rent house five minutes away from my aunt and uncle.

We moved in. There were lots of kids in the neighborhood close to my age and my school was at the end of our block. It was a walk to school, stay at home mom, jump rope and ride bikes in the street kind of neighborhood. An idyllic place to grow up with woods on two corners. I don’t even know who owned the woods, but Daddy built us a fort in them and all the kids spent hours there every day.

When I was nine, my grandfather died. My parents had always planned to move home to rural Arkansas. Grandpa’s death set the plan in motion as my parents faced the fact that their parents wouldn’t be around forever. We made the move home the summer I turned twelve. My aunt, uncle, and cousins were supposed to follow. But my oldest cousin got married and they ended up staying in Georgia.

At first, I thought my life was over. My cousins visited every summer, but they weren’t here. Twelve is an awkward age anyway and especially as the new girl. I didn’t feel like I fit in. I’d always lived in a neighborhood and close to a city. Here, the houses were spread out with a quarter of a mile in between and a small city ten miles away. The trek to Little Rock is over an hour. My plan was to graduate and move back to Georgia. Until I met my future husband when I was fourteen.

Over the years, rural Arkansas has grown on me. The houses are closer together now, but there are still lots of woods and space in between. My husband pastors our church in the  city ten miles away. Now with a population of seven thousand, it would be way too big for me to live in and I sure don’t want to reside anywhere near Little Rock traffic.

During our stay in Georgia last summer, we visited with our former neighbors and friends. Only one man still lives in the old neighborhood and a lot of my friends’ parents have passed away. My old idyllic neighborhood isn’t the same. The woods are gone. The street has too much traffic for playing in the streets. Our old house is run down. It was a too short and bittersweet visit.

This picture was at the Varsity, another restaurant we miss since moving. Awesome slaw dogs, which is a hot dog with chili and cole slaw. They don't have these in Arkansas either. But we manage to get by. We get a chili dog from Sonic and then drive through Kentucky Fried Chicken for cole slaw. My Georgia friends thought that was really funny. That's my cousin back row left and my parents on the right. Mama's the one with her eyes closed, a family trait. It's usually me--I'm in the middle wearing lavendar. The other three are friends from the old neighborhood.

In hindsight, I’m thankful for the moves we made. For parents who stepped out on faith and trusted God to find that idyllic neighborhood and lifelong friends for us. I’m thankful for the brushes with city life and our final move to the country that made me who I am. For the Texas born husband He had waiting for me in rural Arkansas and the life we’ve built here. I’m thankful our fourteen year old son loves country life, even though he thinks I’m too city because I don’t like getting dirty.

That's him a few years ago with a baby calf at my parents' farm just to give you a glimpse of what my life is like now. We don't have a farm or any animals other than dogs and cats, but we live across a hayfield from my parents who have cows, a donkey, a horse, and a dog. Sometimes it smells like a barn lot around here, but I wouldn't have it any other way. As long as I don't have to get dirty, that is.

So what about you? Are you city or country? Do you like to get dirty? Ever had a slaw dog?

The Cowboy Next Door 
A charming cowboy moving in next door shouldn't be bad news. But veterinarian Ally Curtis knows Cody Warren—she'd never forget the boy who left her when she needed him most. Cody is doing everything he can to show his beautiful neighbor he's not the wild bull rider he once was, from helping her find homes for her beloved strays, to protecting her when her business is threatened. But Cody has a secret that keeps him from fully reaching out. Yet as they continue to work together to promote her shelter, he can't keep himself from hoping that Ally might have a home for him…in her heart.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Renew Yourself

With life pulling us in a dozen different directions each day, we all find ourselves extremely busy and stressed out by what must be done. Between work, day to day chores and responsibilities, it’s easy to become exhausted and just plain old worn out. Which is why we all need someplace where we can go to unplug for the world and just renew ourselves.

For me as an author, between the deadlines, the edits, and all the other things that come with publishing, it’s been an exhausting six months and I feel like I’m limping to the finish line. I’m sure all the other craftie ladies can relate.

One of my favorite Bible verses, Isaiah 40:31, talks about renewing your strength.

Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.

My husband and I have a special place that we go each year to renew our spirits. We have a little cabin at the foot of a mountain in Colorado that just makes the cares of the world disappear. We’ve been going to this particular place for more than ten years now and it never lets us down.  
There’s just something about the mountains that seep into your spirit and make it hard to worry about anything. I can see God’s majesty everywhere I look. It’s one of the reasons why I chose Colorado as a location for Rocky Mountain Pursuit, my latest Love Inspired Suspense.

 But this year in particular, my husband and I didn’t get to make the trip to Colorado. Instead, we made small trips that have helped to renew us physically and mentally and we’re hoping to make a quick trip to Colorado in November for some more renewing.

So, what about you? Where is your favorite place to renew yourself?


Everyone believes agent Jase Bradford is dead—everyone but Reyna Peterson. Only he can protect her now that someone wants the information her CIA husband died to secure. As the one member of their spy team not killed, Jase must remain in the shadows. Yet when Reyna leads the enemy right to his mountain refuge and blows his cover, Jase risks his life for hers. As his best friend's beautiful widow scales the walls around his heart, whether out of loyalty or love, he makes it his duty to secure her safety. But when their pursuers trap them in the snowy Colorado mountains, will it become his final mission?


All the best…

Mary Alford

Monday, October 24, 2016

Craftie Ladies Suspense ~ October 2016 Releases

Below are new releases from our talented Love Inspired Suspense writers. To buy these wonderful books, just click the book cover. And to learn more about the authors, click on their names. Risk Reunion
by Margaret Daley

When district attorney Tory Carson returns home after a long day in court prosecuting a gang leader, she finds her house trashed. Concerned that the vandalism is connected to the trial, the local police chief calls the Texas Rangers…and her former love Cade Morgan responds. Tory's history with Cade—and the secret they share—makes her reluctant to let him back into her life. But Tory doesn't want to choose between bringing down a gang leader and protecting her teenage daughter. With the threat escalating the longer she tries the case, the safest place for Tory and her daughter is at Cade's ranch. But can Cade protect them long enough for Tory to bring the criminal to justice?
Lakeside Peril
by Lenora Worth 

Chloe Conrad suspects foul paly in the plane crash that killed her sister--and she's determined to hire private investigator Hunter Lawson to prove it. But convincing the former Special Forces operative to help isn't easy, especially since he blames her family for his sister's death. Hunter sees something familiar in Chloe's hunt for justice--and he can't leave her unprotected when he realizes the killer's switched focus to her. As they search for clues, he's beginning to wonder if his enemy's daughter could be the person who helps him heal from his painful past. But neither of them will have a future unless they find a way to unravel the twisted conspiracy that threatens both their lives

Saturday, October 22, 2016


Terri Reed here, hoping you're having a wonderful weekend. Have you heard? Harlequin has many of your favorite authors backlist ebooks on sale now through October 25th. 
Many of the Craftie Ladies books are included! Link to the sale page on the Harlequin site below picture.  A great time to stock up!*&isort=globalpop&method=and&view=grid&af=pb:01%20format:ebook

Friday, October 21, 2016

What Are We Writing? By Margaret Daley

What Are We Writing?By Margaret Daley

Author:  Patricia Johns

Title: Marrying the Runaway Bride
Hero and Heroine: Chance and Sadie
Line:  Love Inspired
One paragraph from the page you are currently on: 
Nana’s dollhouse was located in “the study,” which was a room too small for a bed, and since it had a window, it was also not suitable for closet space. Nana had turned this room into her crafting space, and was therefore where the dollhouse sat on display. This dollhouse had been a formative part of Sadie’s childhood. She’d spent hours just staring into the tiny rooms, soaking in every perfect detail. Nana’s dollhouse was four stories of sky blue, Victorian elegance on the outside, but inside, the rooms were carefully decorated in a 1950s style. The house opened on hinges, so that even more rooms were available once the two back wings had swung out on either side. The center of the house had a staircase that led up to the very top floor—a tiny attic room with a cot and a rickety little dresser.
Due date:  Feb 1
Word count goal today: 2000 words
Something cool learned recently from research:  I'm researching dollhouses for this book, and I'm loving all the tiny details that are possible in a dollhouse! I think I've found my new hobby.  

Author: Jolene Navarro

Title: Lone Star Bride
Hero and HeroineSofia De Zalavla & Jackson McCreed
Line: Love Inspired Historical (my first historical!)
One paragraph from the page you are currently on:  
The glossy black coat laid over powerful muscles flexing with each step. Long solid legs covered the ground in fluid motion. The stallion tossed his head, sending his mane flying over his arched neck.
Sofia was in love. "He's gorgeous."
Maria, Rose's granddaughter, leaned in closer to her. "They say he's from Kentucky." The younger women sighed. "I've never seen anything like him."
Kentucky? I thought he came over from Ireland." Not once had Maria shown an interest in horses. Frowning, she turned to get a better look at the man working the horse.
Oh, my.
Due date:  November 7, 2016 release date July 1 2017
Word count goal today: As many as I can get after work tonight! At least 1,500 Something cool learned recently from research:  In researching 1838 cattle drives between San Antonio and New Orleans I discovered that a few retired pirates got into the cattle business. One opened a cattle station and controlled the river crossing between Texas and Louisiana. I got very excited at the thought of being able to have cowboys and pirates on the pages together. 

Author:  Jean C. Gordon

Title: I'm just calling it Marc's Story for now
Hero and Heroine: Marc Delacroix and Fiona Bryce
Line:  Love Inspired Romance
One paragraph from the page you are currently on: 
Fiona folded the letter back into the envelope. The only question she had was why, Maire? And she wasn’t sure she was up to the answer.
Due date:  Proposal due: October 31.
Word count goal today: 1,200 to 1,500
Something cool learned recently from research: I don't know if it's exactly "cool," but 20% of people diagnosed with Crohn's disease are under age 20.

Author: Louise M. Gouge

Title: Working title: Cowboy Lawman
Hero and Heroine: Justice Gareau and Evangeline Benoit
Line: Love Inspired Historical
One paragraph from the page you are currently on:
As he strode up Main Street, a glance over his shoulder revealed that she continued to watch him through one of the front windows. After her heartbreaking betrayal, why did that please him? And what could he do to get over it?  
Due date: January 2017
Word count goal today: 1000
Something cool learned recently from research:  Toy trains have been made from the early to mid 1800s. The first ones were pulled by a string. Next came windup and clockwork models. Electric model trains came after 1900.

Author: Terri Reed

Title: Christmas Novella 2017, part of the Classified K-9 Unit continuity
Hero and Heroine: FBI K-9 agent Tim Ramsey and baker Vickie Petrov
Line: Love Inspired Suspense
One paragraph from the page you are currently on:
She’d trained for this. Determined to never again let anyone hurt her, she’d taken self-defense classes at the local community center. She bent her elbows, cupped her left hand over her right fist and used her right elbow as battering ram into her attacker’s ribcage as she twisted toward her assailant.  If she could face him, then she would have the use of her knees, feet and hands to strike out with, to disable him.
Due date: Feb 2017
Word count goal today: 1000
Something cool learned recently from research: Many serial arsonist call in their crime because they are trying to gain attention.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Love is a Compromise

At the end of this month, my husband and I will celebrate our 27th wedding anniversary. We’ve never done anything elaborate to celebrate except for our 25th anniversary when we renewed our wedding vows. Usually, our celebrations revolve around dinner and maybe a movie.

This year, my husband suggested we go away for the weekend. Totally onboard with that idea, I asked where he wanted to go. He said, “How about salmon fishing?” I responded, “Sure!”

My husband's latest brown trout.
Well, here’s the thing. My husband loves fishing. He’s an avid outdoorsman, particularly fishing. He’s also a professional fly tyer, so he loves fly fishing. And if he’s able to go salmon fishing, all the better.

Me? Well, not a huge fan. I dislike fish. The smell makes me gag. I don’t have very much fishing savvy. The fish see me coming and breathe a sigh of relief because they know I'm no threat to their demise. In fact, my hubby laughs when I stuff my pockets with paper towels and hand sanitizer so, in the off chance I catch a fish, I won’t have to touch it with my bare hands. Gross. 

But I do love my husband. So very much. 

Through the years, he’s done many things that I’ve really enjoyed and he hasn’t, but he’s done them anyway. If he wants to float a line, I’ll slip into my hip waders and cast my rod with the best of them...or at least, pretend I know what I’m doing.

You see, that’s what being married for twenty-seven years is all about—compromise. Any relationship worth savoring is about give and take. It’s about making decisions as a team with an open mind and being willing to make sacrifices for one another.

Even though I’m not so crazy about fishing, I love spending time with my husband. Seeing his happiness on the water fills me with joy, especially when he shares stories about his childhood or when we reminisce about past fishing excursions with our two sons, like the time when our youngest hooked Hubby in the back of the knee with a fishing hook, and I had to take him to the ER to get it out. Where we live, we bask in the beauty of the kaleidoscope of autumn colors. So, with the tranquil waters flowing around us, the sounds of nature serenading us, we will spend quality time with each other sharing an experience that will create a permanent memory. Because love is about compromise.

What about you? How have you compromised with a loved one? How did you end up being blessed by doing something you may not have wanted to?