Thursday, March 22, 2018

Something to Celebrate

Hello, this is Katy Lee. Yesterday I got the call every romance writer hopes to have. I was told I was a 2018 RITA® Finalist for my Amish Romance One Simple Wish.

Now I know this is a suspense day on the blog, but I hope you don't mind taking a break to hear about my blessing...and a blessing it is.

A little over a year ago my appendix went. But it didn't just happen. I actually wasn't feeling well for a year before I landed in the hospital. And during that year, I couldn't write through the pain.

Then right before Thanksgiving, I was asked if I would consider writing an Amish Romance. This would be different from my normal suspense, and I wasn't sure I could do that, especially since it had been over a year since I wrote anything. But I said yes, I'll do it. I signed the contract, and that week my appendix burst. 

Now, I'll spare you all the details on what that was like and jump to my recovery and how I now had two months to write a book through it. I was thankful I was alive and could still be used to share God's message to my readers. I could have tried to cancel my contract. I'm sure people would have understood, but something told me this book had to be written, and it had to be me.

So, for two months I didn't just twiddle my thumbs in bed, but rather put my fingers to the keyboard. I knew only a little about the Amish, but God always equips the called. And He did. It amazed me how He sent the right people my way who had the resources and knowledge I needed to make my story authentic. And when I typed THE END I had a book that celebrated life. 

Every one of my stories has a little piece of me in them. A message that comes out of something I have gone through. I can only hope my readers come away with the hope I felt while putting words down on the pages.

Thank you all for joining in with me on my celebration. And thank you to RWA® 

Now back to your regular Thursday Suspense programming.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Another Side to the Ladies of Love Inspired Romance

Many of the Ladies of Love Inspired Romance write more than their Love Inspired Books. Here are some of this month's other new releases. Just click on the covers to buy them. And to learn more about Mary and Margaret, click on their names.
Love's Deadly Secrets
by Mary Alford

Can Isabelle Dunn remember what happened the night her friend died, or will she take those memories to her grave?
Isabelle Dunn’s past was wiped away one night when the car she was driving went over the side of the mountain, killing her best friend. Isabelle knows she is lucky to be alive. If it weren’t for her fiancé’s quick action, she might have died that night. Yet it isn’t long before Isabelle comes to realize everything she was told about the accident was a lie, and the man who claims to be her fiancé, is really a cold-blooded killer.

To stay alive, Isabelle flees Buffalo Ridge, Wyoming while looking back over her shoulder. When she stops to catch some sleep just inside the city limits sign for Sweet Grove, Texas, she has no idea how much the quaint little town, and Texas Ranger Seth Walker, will change her life for the better. Ranger Seth Walker had written love out of his life after he watched his twin sister die at the hands of someone she loved. Seth wasn’t able to save Sarah. Can he protect Isabelle now?

Forced into hiding until they can untangle the web of deceit Detective Paul Hardwick has spun, unexpectedly, Seth and Isabelle can’t stop the attraction they feel for each other from turning to love.
With Seth’s help and God’s protection, will Isabelle remember what really happened the night her friend died before Paul Hardwick can silence those memories forever?

Inspirational Romantic Suspense Novella
Buy: Amazon
Eye of the Storm
by Mary Alford

Former CIA Agent Kate Reagan finds herself in the middle of storm that has disrupted her life for six years. When Kate’s entire team was killed by the terrorist they’d been chasing for months, Kate finds the only way to save her life is to pretend to lose it.

After moving dozens of times through the years, Kate ends up in the small mountain town of Soaring Eagle, Wyoming where everything about the place screams of the home she’s been longing for.

Running into Deputy Sheriff Brady Connors, Kate finds herself attracted to the handsome frontier lawman right away, but having a future is not possible while the enemy is still stalking her.

Inspirational Romantic Suspense Novella
Buy: Amazon

by Margaret Daley

Murder. On the Run. Second Chances.
Luke Michaels' relaxing camping trip ends when he witnesses a woman being thrown from a bridge. He dives into the river to save her, shocked to find her wrapped in chains. As a canine search and rescue volunteer, Luke has assisted many victims, but never a beauty whose defeated gaze ignites his primal urge to protect. When Megan Witherspoon’s killers make it clear they won't stop, Luke fights to save her, but can he keep her alive long enough to find out who is after her?

Everyday Heroes Series: Inspirational Romance

Buy: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple, Kobo and Google Play

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Sunday Scripture

Crucifixion scene with Madonna and Saint John
the Evangelist, done by a painter known as
Master of the Gubbio Cross, 1285-1320.

Some Greeks who had come to worship at the Passover Feast
came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, 
and asked him, "Sir, we would like to see Jesus."
Philip went and told Andrew; 
then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus.
Jesus answered them, 
"The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.
Amen, amen, I say to you, 
unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, 
it remains just a grain of wheat; 
but if it dies, it produces much fruit.
Whoever loves his life loses it,
and whoever hates his life in this world
will preserve it for eternal life.
Whoever serves me must follow me, 
and where I am, there also will my servant be.
The Father will honor whoever serves me.

"I am troubled now. Yet what should I say?
'Father, save me from this hour'?
But it was for this purpose that I came to this hour.
Father, glorify your name."
Then a voice came from heaven, 
"I have glorified it and will glorify it again."
The crowd there heard it and said it was thunder; 
but others said, "An angel has spoken to him."
Jesus answered and said, 
"This voice did not come for my sake but for yours.
Now is the time of judgment on this world; 
now the ruler of this world will be driven out.
And when I am lifted up from the earth, 
I will draw everyone to myself."
He said this indicating the kind of death he would die.
John 12:20-33

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.

Friday, March 16, 2018

"The Call'

Terri Reed here reminiscing about the day I received the call from Love Inspired.  The year was 2003. It was February and I was driving a mini-van load of kids to school--only two of which were mine. I had this new, fancy flip phone and it rang. 
This was before the ‘no cellphone while driving law’. 
I answered, anticipating that the call would be regarding my father, who had recently passed away, so I wasn’t looking forward to talking to whoever was on the line. Thankfully, I was greatly surprised when this nice woman said she was an editor with Harlequin Love Inspired and she wanted to buy my book.

As I came to a stoplight, I remember asking, "Is this for real?"
She laughed and said yes it was. She wanted to talk terms. Flabbergasted, I stammered that I was driving and would have to call her back.  She graciously agreed to wait.
In a bit of an excited stupor, I got all the kids to their classes and then I called my critique partners, both wrote for Harlequin, but not one of them answered their phones!
So sitting in the parking lot of my kid’s school, I took a deep breath, and with pen and paper in hand, I called the editor back. I furiously wrote down everything she said and then told her I would have to, once again, call her back when I returned home to look at my calendar for due dates for the next book.  She was very nice about being put off a second time, which I appreciated.
On my way home I tried my critique partners once more and finally reached one. She walked me through the terms and realistic due dates for the next manuscript so I was ready to agree to a contract with Harlequin. I called the editor back and we talked for a long time about the book she was buying. She gave me some feedback right then but said I would also get her critique in writing. I couldn’t wait. When I hung up, I screamed and danced around my living room. I’m not sure what my dog thought but she barked and danced around with me.

I wrote five books for Love Inspired before I moved to Love Inspired Suspense.
My most recent books Tracking Danger and Mission to Protect are my forty-first and forty-second books, respectively.  This has been the best job I could have hoped for.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Tropical Musings

Christine Johnson here today, and I’d like to offer everyone suffering through the spate of winter storms a glimpse of summer. Some of my non-LIH books are set in 1850s Key West. There’s nothing like the beauty of the tropics to give us a boost on those gloomy days.

Bahama house in Key West

This is one of the older homes in Key West. It was actually built in the Bahamas, disassembled and brought to Key West after the 1846 hurricane! Having suffered through Hurricane Irma, I can see why the owner resorted to this tactic. We have building supply stores and a road to the mainland. Key West had neither of those in 1846. They relied on ships to bring supplies. It could be a long wait. 

Fort Jefferson at the Dry Tortugas National Park

Speaking of ships and remote destinations, you can still visit one of the United State’s most remote National Parks, Dry Tortugas National Park, where Fort Jefferson is located. It’s a couple hour ferry ride or a seaplane ride from Key West to get there. The fort takes up nearly the entire island.

Fort Zachary Taylor

Key West has its own fort, named Fort Zachary Taylor, which was originally built offshore with a sand spit connecting it to the land. Now it’s completely landlocked. The storms and flow of the sea are constantly changing the shape of every key (island) in the chain. Hurricanes birth new islands and remove others.

Dry Tortugas islands

But I love the colors the best. The waters have a wide range of blues and turquoises, and then there are the flowers. Many have been brought to the island from other locations, but they are still beautiful.

Quailberry flower

My Keys of Promise series is set in this area in the 1850s, when Key West looked very different from today. In March, April and May, I will be hosting book club discussions on each of the three books at the free Women’s Bible Café Book Club online. 

Love's Rescue coverOur March discussion of Love’s Rescue has begun, but you are certainly welcome to join in. See

Thank you for sharing this walk through one of my favorite places.

Christine Johnson
Would-Be Mistletoe Wife (December 2017, LIH)
Freedom’s Price (Revell, June 2017)

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

The Romance of Writing Romances by Sarah Price

Excerpt from Hills of Wheat 

(by yours truly, Sarah Price)

“So,” he began, “now that we are headed home, what are we supposed to talk about?” He looked at her. “In an Amish courtship, that is.”  
Courtship? “Jake,” she said, her tone a simple reprimand.   
“That is what this is the beginning of, Sylvia, isn’t it?”   
“I can’t work for you anymore,” she blurted out. The words surprised her more than they did Jake. “I just can’t, Jake.”   
Silence. But only for a moment. “Okay, I can see that. It wouldn’t be proper for a courting couple to be alone in the house, right?”   
She couldn’t believe what she heard. Courting couple? Was he serious? She actually started to laugh. “I’m not courting you, Jake Edwards!”  
He looked at her, his eyebrows raised as he said, “I do believe you are. You are walking home with me from a singing, aren’t you? That’s how it all begins. You said so yourself. And here we are.”   
She shook her head in disbelief. He was the most peculiar man and persistent. “What on earth would you want with an Amish girl?”   
“Woman,” he corrected.   
“You are very forward,” she scolded, but good-naturedly.   
“Ah, yes.” He walked closer to her, his arm brushing against hers. “Now we are starting to get to know each other. That’s part of the ritual, isn’t it?”   
She was starting to relax, despite herself. “You didn’t answer my question, Jake.”   
“I thought we weren’t going to ask questions …” He nudged her with his shoulder.

Sigh. Romance. 
One of my favorite things about writing for Love Inspired is creating the romantic element of the story Most of my novels are written in the Amish setting which, for me, adds a greater challenge to the process of crafting high tension among the characters. Many people find the entire concept of Amish lifestyle as being poetically romantic, yet the idea of Amish “romance” is a foreign concept itself.  
Courting couples do not enjoy candlelit dinners, passionate dates, or exciting weekends away from family and friends. At least not typically. So how does a writer create a sexually tense situation that does not cross the respectful boundaries of a culture that emphasizes religious obedience and personal morality?

On March 27th, my novel, Hills of Wheat, re-releases as a Love Inspired Walmart exclusive. I wrote this novel almost ten years ago and I dared to experiment with the storyline. So often readers of the Amish genre fantasize about what lie would be like if a person joined the Amish culture. However, I took a different angle. What if a young woman fell in love with an Englischer and left the Amish community while still living among it? 
Jake Edwards is a well-to-do Englischer who leaves his life in Connecticut to move into a small, abandoned farm next to the Lapp family. When he encounters the shy Sylvia, sparks fly. The only problem is that she fights the attraction. Jake, however, is quite the romantic lead. 
At the time of the original release of the novel, my readers swooned over Jake Edwards. Frankly, I was a little nervous about Jake Edwards because he was such an Englische man. In fact, in my original novel, there was a "scene" that I had to edit for the re-release.  It wasn't graphic, but it was suggestive. I thought it was beautiful. Other readers agreed. A few didn't mirror the sentiment of the majority.  (sigh) 
Despite that one little blip, Jake is a very romantic lead character. 
For starters, the way that Jake protects Sylvia from the outside world while refusing to shield her from his own attentions creates a high-level of tension that eventually sways Sylvia to choose love over everything else she has ever known. And just as she gives herself over to her heart, she learns that things are not always what they seem. Through her exposure to the world of the Englische, the reader quickly grows to love both characters even more. 
And, of course, Jake was originally so worldly--having worked on Wall Street--that his shift into the world of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania created a world of romance in itself. His determination to leave it all behind and his attraction to young Sylvia added volumes to the tension within himself as well as with her. 
To me, the creation of anticipation and excitement in a setting where physical passion is frowned upon (both by the Amish characters as well as the readers of the genre) is my favorite part of writing. There is a build-up that is based upon emotional need as opposed to sexual desire. The focus is on the characters and how their relationship evolves. In today’s world with heightened emphasis on sexuality, it is a welcome change to concentrate on poignant storylines that build up the passionate sentiments and not just what happens behind closed doors. 
Sylvia Lapp and Jake Edwards are, without doubt, my favorite couple that I have written about (with the exception of my Plain Fame stars, Amanda Beiler and Alejandro Diaz). Their pure, tender love emboldens the imagination and satisfies every romantic among us.
P.S. If you cannot wait until March 27th for the Walmart copy, here is the eBook version on Amazon.

Monday, March 12, 2018

New for March from Our Love Inspired Suspense Authors

Jean C. Gordon here with two new must buys from our Love Inspired Suspense authors. Just click on the covers to purchase them. And to learn more about Maggie and Dana, click on their names. The Littlest Target
by Maggie K. Black 

Nanny and baby on the run
A taut thriller in the True North Heroes series

When her boss’s wife is murdered before her eyes, nanny Daisy Hayward flees with her infant charge. But she can’t escape danger. Someone wants the baby and will kill Daisy to get him. In the Canadian wilderness, a paramedic saves them. But when Daisy is framed for murder and labeled a kidnapper, will Max Henry help her...or turn her in?
Treacherous Trails
by Dana Mentink 

Falsely accused
Can she escape the real killer?

In this Gold Country Cowboys story, farrier Ella Cahill is accused of murder—and only former marine Owen Thorn, her brother’s best friend, can help clear her name. Now with someone trying to kill Ella, Owen must protect her…despite his promise to her brother to stay away from her. But can they work together to find the true killer before she becomes the next to die?

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Sunday Scripture

Sunday Scripture

Jesus Talking to Nicodemus, William Hole, 19th C.

Jesus said to Nicodemus:
“Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, 
so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 
so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, 
so that everyone who believes in him might not perish 
but might have eternal life.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, 
but that the world might be saved through him.
Whoever believes in him will not be condemned, 
but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, 
because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
And this is the verdict,
that the light came into the world, 
but people preferred darkness to light,
because their works were evil.
For everyone who does wicked things hates the light
and does not come toward the light, 
so that his works might not be exposed.
But whoever lives the truth comes to the light, 
so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God.
John 3:14-21

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.