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

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Feeling Thankful in the New Year

Last week, it was 15 degrees one night with a light snow on the ground and rural Arkansas was shut down. This week it's 70 degrees. Typical weather for us. As the new year kicks off, I'm eating healthier and exercising more - my annual goal. And feeling thankful.

When I was a teenager, my older cousin became an aunt. It hit me then, since I’m an only child, I'd never have a niece or nephew. My mom said I could be an aunt through marriage, but I said it wouldn't be the same.

Until I started dating Grant. He already had a four-year old nephew when I met him. I loved Jason from the beginning. He was a cute kid and the nephew I never thought I’d have. He became a Christian in his teens and grew into a fun young man with a great sense of humor.

Until ten years ago, in his late twenties, he became a different person. Unkempt, angry, and distant. He stopped working, moved in with a family member, and basically became a hermit. We were a bit slow to realize the change in him came from drug use. Determined not to enable him and with a young, impressionable son to think about, Grant and I took the tough love route, and basically cut Jason out of our lives.

We only saw him at the few family gatherings he was clean enough to attend over the years. It was painful to see the shadow of himself he’d become. Through those years, I prayed for him. But as time wore on, I gave up on him, wrote him off, decided he was too far gone and we’d never get him back. I still prayed, but I basically only went through the motions, expecting nothing to change, and that we’d eventually get a phone call that he was dead.

But I forgot how big God is. Jason got caught – not for the first time – but on a more serious charge than in the past. This time, no one bailed him out for three months. And while he sat in jail, God got a hold of him. We were skeptical. He went to court and got five years parole with weekly drug tests he can’t fake his way through. If he messes up once, he goes to prison.

Once he got out of jail, he came to church the next Wednesday night. He was clean, neat, well-groomed, and smelled good. I hugged him and told him how happy I was to see him there. That I expected him to come on Sunday morning and night too. He promised he would. He did and kept coming. I was still skeptical. He attended Celebrate Recovery at another church and the only time he missed ours was when he went to services with his CR friends.

As time passed, I saw a change. He got a job and got his own place. He went to the altar, prayed out loud, and started teaching our teens class. I stopped being skeptical, told him I was proud of him, and started enjoying him. At family gatherings, going to movies together, and eating out for lunch. I’d forgotten how much I missed him and routinely cry just from the joy of having him back. 

This past year, we celebrated family birthdays, Thanksgiving, and Christmas with Jason. He’s thirty-nine now and he’s been clean for over a year. He's still in church, attends weekly chapel services at a local Christ-based drug rehab facility, has gotten involved in a jail ministry, and recently started a Bible study for ex-addicts.

Life lesson learned - If you have a family member on drugs, don’t give up on them. I don't regret the tough love route, but I do regret writing Jason off. God is bigger than drugs.

Connect with Shannon Online:

Look for her next Love Inspired title, Winning over the Cowboy, available for preorder on March 21st!


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Anticipated Reads for 2017

We're fully into 2017. It's hard to believe that another year has come and gone. There are a lot of great books I'm looking forward to this year. Here are just a few that are on my TBR list!

Guardian by Terri Reed (I LOVE💗 this cover!)

Plain Target by Dana R. Lynn

The Solider and the Single Mom by Lee Tobin McClain

Moving Target by Lynette Eason

Still Life by Dani Pettrey

What books are you excited about this year?

Monday, January 9, 2017

Don't Miss a Single Book

Did you know you can have the Craftie Ladies' and other Love Inspired Romance, Suspense, and
Historical books automatically delivered directly to your home or email box every month? All you have to do is sign up for the Harlequin Love Inspired Readers Service. You'll get free books and prizes for signing up and special member perks while you belong. Click below for more information.

Friday, January 6, 2017

A New Year and lots to celebrate--Lenora Worth

Hi and Happy New Year. This is the first Friday of 2017. I had hoped to accomplish a lot this week but not everything fell into place. So I'm off to a bad start. But I have a whole year to get things right.

I did let go of some things I had scheduled for this year. Sometimes, in spite of our best efforts, we just can't do it all. I'm finishing up some projects and I'm about to get into the thick of things with a new multi-book contract for Love Inspired and Love Inspired Suspense.

I will also be celebrating twenty years with Love Inspired Books this year. I sold to LI in 1996 and my first book, The Wedding Quilt, came out at the end of 1997. So I've been here since the beginning. The other day I walked into a big bookstore and became overwhelmed with the many, many books I wanted to buy and read. I thought "How did I ever get one published?" Now I'm at seventy-five books and counting. Recently, I reached a milestone with LI and Harlequin. Sixty-five books published with this particular publisher! But I'm still not sure how I did it!

So I plan on celebrating a lot this year. In February, I'll enjoy the release of the fifth book in my "Men of Millbrook Lake" series. I will miss these characters and the small Florida town of Millbrook Lake. But I hope you'll be able to read this last installment:

And I plan to actually read more books this year, too. You can help someone else read by taking a picture of yourself with a good book and posting it to Twitter with the hashtag #magicofstorytelling

Disney will make sure a child gets a book if you do!  Here's what I shared:

I hope you have a year full of good books, good friend and great times. What are your plans for this new year?

Thursday, January 5, 2017

A Year of Anticipation

Lisa Jordan sharing with you this morning! 

I’ve read different posts on Facebook about how 2017 is going to be somebody’s great year!

I can understand the desire for a fresh start with a clean slate, especially if the previous year stole your joy, your hopes, and caused a lot of pain.

For me, though, January 1st seemed like any other day. I didn’t have an overwhelming desire to make a long list of resolutions. In fact, I don’t make resolutions at all.

Instead, I chose one word as my key focus for the year. I use this word in my prayers, my journaling, how I approach my relationships, and in my careers—I have a day job in addition to writing novels.

I’ve done this since 2009, and it’s made a difference in how I approach my dreams and the goals I put in place to make those dreams happen.

For 2016, I chose Thrive as my word. I wanted to Thrive in my health, in my relationships, and in my writing. Ironically, my health took a downturn and I spent the summer in crippling pain. My writing didn’t thrive the way I had anticipated and mapped out. However, several relationships strengthened. And God was with me the entire time—during the pain, during the disappointments, during the celebrations.

This year I’ve chosen Anticipation. Originally, I had different words in mind—joy and courage, which I had melded into courageous joy, but during our Christmas Eve service, our pastor spoke about Anticipation. He said, “Turn anticipation into participation to give God the opportunity to move in our lives.”

God whispered, “That’s your word—anticipation.”

At that moment, I felt such peace.

I’ve pondered my dreams and outlined goals for 2017. Moving beyond my comfort zone requires some stretching, but that’s the only way we grow, right? I’ve chosen a new adventure with my writing. I’m facing a fear in my day job and stepping out in faith to achieve a new milestone.

So what does anticipation look like for my year? I have no idea. But I know with God leading the walk, I have nothing to fear. I will go wherever the Lord leads me because that participation, even if I do feel fearful, will give Him the opportunity to move in my life. Since He knows what’s best for me, that’s the ultimate goal for anyone.

Your Turn: Do you make resolutions? Do you choose a word as a focus? Perhaps you create goals? Or maybe you do something completely different? Please share.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

All Things Amish: Love Inspired Books is Doing an Amish Blitz

Good morning everyone.

Cate here today to wish you a happy 2017.

One of the things I love best about the Love Inspired editors is how they're always looking to give new authors a chance to break into the line. I was blessed to sell through the Killer Voices contest back in 2014. That contest focused on LIS. Before that there was Speed Dating with an Editor. More recently, From Blurb to Book (all lines) and Manuscript Matchmakers (for LIH) have resulted in a lot of new sales.

So some of us were wondering, what will be the hot new contest for 2017.

We soon got our answer - AMISH!

Just before the holidays, this info posted by the LI editors:

Love Inspired is always seeking new authors and you could be one of them!
Do you have a Christian contemporary romance that celebrates all things Amish? If so, we would love to see it!
We publish clean Christian romances that are 55,00 words, with a faith element. The romance must be the focus of the book, and both the hero and heroine should be Amish (we are open to all sects: Old Order, New Order, Mennonite, etc.). Characters may question their faith within the story, but ultimately both the hero and heroine must remain Amish at the end of the book (we prefer they not leave the community). We also prefer not to see mixed Amish/non-Amish relationships, unless the non-Amish character joins the Amish church at book’s end. As with any other romance, we also are looking for engaging, emotional plots, appealing characters and a happy ending.
Submission dates: Monday, January 9, 2017 – Tuesday, January 31st 2017 at 11:59 p.m. EST
What Love Inspired needs to see:
  • A cover letter that introduces your book and includes any previous publishing credits, writing contest wins, or affiliations.
  • A 3-5 page synopsis. What happens in your book—tell us the key moments, the crucial twists and turns, and how it ends! Show us what drives your story forward, including the internal and external conflicts your hero and heroine face to get to their happily ever after.
  • The first chapter of your manuscript (up to 25 pages).
What you get:
  • A quick response! Skip the slush pile and hear back from Harlequin within 20 business days after the submission period ends.
  • Editorial feedback for every Love Inspired appropriate story received.
  • The possibility of having your novel published in the Love Inspired line!

For the full writing guidelines for Love Inspired, check out our page on Submittable here.
On January 9, 2017 you can submit your proposal for #AmishBlitz on the Submittable page, which will go live on that date.
And check out the hashtag #AmishBlitz on Twitter, as well as following @MelissaEndlich, @ShanaAsaro, @gigiquin, @EmilyRodmell, @Elizabeth_Mazer, and @DinaJDavis. We’ll be sharing tips, insider know-how, our wishlists and more throughout the #AmishBlitz.
Any questions? Leave a comment. We can’t wait to hear from you!
Are you in?

If you are interested, check out the page on the Harlequin Community Forum - Amish Blitz.

So, I'd love to talk about the appeal of Amish fiction. If you write it, what about it appeals to the writer in you?

If you read it, similar question - what is the appeal?

Is there anything you'd like to see done that you haven't seen so far?

Personally, I never had more than a passing knowledge of Amish culture. I'd driven through Lancaster County, eaten at some family-style Amish restaurants. I guess I knew as much as the ordinary person. But then I started doing some research for part of a book I'm working on, and I found myself drawn to the deep faith and abiding trust in God that seems to be a strong part of their lives. In particular, the Amish willingness to forgive spoke to me. Forgiveness is something so many of us find difficult.

If you're interested in learning more about general Amish spiritual beliefs, there are a couple of books I recommend.

Amish Grace: How Forgiveness Transcended Tragedy

The Amish Way: Patient Faith in a Perilous World

 Even if you're not planning to write Amish, they are interesting reads.

So, is anyone out there planning on entering this Amish blitz? We'd love to welcome you to the Love Inspired Family. 

Saturday, December 31, 2016

New Year's Eve--plans?

HI Terri Reed here, can you believe it's New Year's Eve?
Our family will be joining another family for a game night. We'll have food and fun and leave early to get home to be with the dogs before all the ruckus starts. Every year there are fireworks!

Do you all have plans for this evening?

Stay safe, everyone. And have a Happy New Year's Eve.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Baby, It's Cold Outside: Not Really

Howdy, Pamela Tracy here, and I live in sunny Arizona.

Yup, that's right.  I haven't shoveled snow in a decade.  And, my family literally gets in hubby's car and drives for an hour just to play in snow.  Then, when we get cold, it's back in the car and return to T-shirt and jeans weather.

That doesn't mean we don't appreciate the ambiance of the season.

The weekend before Christmas we head to Williams and the Polar Express.
Here, my son accept hot, hot, hot chocolate

We've arrived at the North Pole.
No, I didn't allow my son to disconnect our car from the rest of the train

Here's Santa discussing Naughty and Nice with my son

The next day, once we got off the train and slept
we headed to Jerome, Arizona, explored back roads
We found a cool bridge over a stream

In Phoenix, we went to the best Christmas house in town.
Nope, not ours.  Isn't it cool!

This is my favorite.
And, yes, my 11-year-old often asks me if there's still a Santa Clause.
As for me, I still hear the bell.

Back home, I remember that besides falling in love with a handsome man,
I fell in love with a plumber!
This is Christmas Eve.

This is today.
I am losing my patio.  Seems that where the pipe broke is not a good place.
Me?  I'm thinking new patio!
Hubby is thinking that the broken cement look is workable.
Note that he is wearing a long sleeve shirt because Baby, it's cold outside.
So, what is it like where you're at?

Pamela Tracy writes for both Love Inspired and  Heartwarming.  Her next release is Holding Out for a Hero, an April 2016 release.

Wednesday, December 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 this author’s upcoming release.

Ready? Here we go…

Here's a photo from my high school days fifty-four years ago. My friend Milton and I were singing a scene from Annie Get Your Gun, the song "Anything you can do, I can do better," in a talent show at Alamosa High School, my alma mater.

Can you guess who this is?  Well, here's one more hint. This author has a December release.  

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

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Books for Christmas?

     It’s almost a rule: Writers are readers first and last. We love books. We love words. So it will come as no surprise that some authors (like me) love books as gifts.  Love, love, love! This Christmas my girls blessed me with several to add to my TBR (to be read) stack. I have a few more on my iPad. Well, maybe more than a few. 😉 While e-books are wonderfully convenient and I read lots of books that way, I have to confess I’m still a hard copy girl who loves the feel and smell of a printed book.

     What’s your preferred way to read? Print or ebook? Did you get any books for Christmas? What were they?

Monday, December 26, 2016

Craftie Ladies ~ Love Inspired Suspense December 2016 Release

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

Rookie K-9 Unit Christmas

by Lenora Worth
Holiday High Alert
After a cryptic note appears in the playground at Josie Callahan's daycare center, rookie K-9 officer Dalton West vows to protect Josie and the kids she loves—especially his daughter, Maisy. And with a stalker closing in, the widower and his four-legged partner are all that stand between Josie and a deadly Christmas.

Surviving Christmas by Valerie Hansen
When single dad Sean Murray returns from a war zone and discovers someone is following him, he turns to his old friend K-9 officer Zoe Trent for help. But as the threat escalates, can Zoe and her police dog find whoever is menacing Sean and his son…and make sure this Christmas isn't their last?