Friday, July 19, 2019

Never Will I Ever . . . by Jordyn Redwood

If you are like me, maybe you’ve used this phrase at certain times in your life as an adamant statement of refusal. The first time I used this phrase with meaning was my senior year of college. I said, “Never will I ever move to Kansas, Wyoming, Utah, or Nebraska.” Now before I offend every person that lives in those states know that I didn’t have any personal animosity it was just a strong personal preference.

Where did I end up living after nursing school? Kansas. For thirteen years. Thirteen amazing years. I met my husband there. I had my two daughters there. Kansas is where I learned that I loved pediatric nursing. Kansas is where I decided to work on fulfilling my dream of becoming an author. Now, Kansas holds a special place in my heart.

The next time I used this phrase was when I was thinking about what kind of books I would write. I’m a thriller girl. Suspense is what I read. This is what I write. “Never will I ever write romance.” I said this more than a few times. What happens? I feel a nudge to enter one of the Love Inspired contests. I did it begrudgingly. I did it to essentially get God off my back.
Fine. I’ll do this but stop keeping me up at night thinking about it. Okay? Deal.

That was three novels ago and I love my Love Inspired family. It was one of the best things that ever happened to my writing career.

I think when people who love God say this, He takes it as a personal challenge. He knows we’re against it . . . He also knows this is a way He can shine through us. A lot of people knew I didn’t want to write romance so now that I do they ask why. I can’t claim it was my desire to do it. It’s a story I share about how God kept me up one night about a contest that’s first deadline was three days away.

Hmm . . . three days. God does some amazing things in three days. 

As believers, God will use our lives so people can see Him. In our weakness, He shines! In those moments when we have said, “Never will I ever . . .” and we do that very thing, people will wonder why. 

I’m curious, have any of you ever said this statement and did God use you in a special way doing it?

Never will I ever
. . . be careful using those words. It may be the very thing God uses you to do.


Jordyn Redwood is a nursing supervisor by day, suspense novelist by night. She hosts Redwood’s Medical Edge, a blog devoted to helping authors write medically accurate fiction. Her first two medical thrillers, Proof and Poisongarnered starred reviews from Library JournalProof was shortlisted for the 2012 ForeWord Review’s BOTY Award2013 INSPY Award and the 2013 Carol AwardPoison shortlisted for the 2014 INSPY Award and the 2014 Selah Award. Her novel, Taken Hostage, won the 2018 Stiletto Award in published romantic suspense. Fugitive Spy recently finaled in the Selah award and the Stiletto Contest. In addition to her novels, she blogs regularly at Redwood’s Medical Edge and the Love Inspired blog. You can connect with Jordyn via FacebookTwitterPinterest, her website and via e-mail at 

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Rest for the Writer

For those who follow the liturgical readings of the Church, today’s scripture -- Matthew 11:28-30 -- provided inspiration for this blog post.

On July 5, I submitted my current work in progress, Dangerous Amish Inheritance, to my editor and headed to Florida the next day for a family beach vacation. This year, we stayed at Crystal Beach, on the outskirts of Destin, Florida, where the water is sparkling clear and the white sand is silky soft. I have three adult children and four adorable grandchildren so we need a large condo with a pool. Because the beach is our happy place, my husband and I always rent waterfront accommodations for the family that provide spectacular views from sunup to sunset.

The adults rise early and enjoy coffee on the balcony. Some days we see dolphin frolicking in the waves and dark patches of fish swimming in large, undulating schools. Pelicans and seagulls fly overhead, then dive into the water for their morning meal. From our lofty perch, we watch fishing vessels with huge nets and private chartered boats head out to sea while fisherman on the shore cast their lines, hoping for a good catch.

Once the children are up and fed, we don our suits and sunscreen and head to the beach with chairs and umbrellas and inner tubes and floats to spend the day enjoying the sun, sand and water.

Destin Lifeguards trained each morning in front of our condo.
Notice them on their rescue boards.

If you were following the news last week, you heard about Tropical Storm Barry that blew into the Gulf. By Wednesday afternoon, the waves were rough and eventually strong enough to force us out of the water. We scurried to the pool but kept watch on the rising surf and encroaching storms.

Thursday morning, the beaches were closed and double red flags alerted beachgoers to stay out of the water. The pool provided lots of fun for the little ones in between intermittent rain showers. When inclement weather moved us indoors, we played cards and board games. Being together made the week special in spite of the storms.

At week’s end, we packed our cars for the long trip home and said goodbye to the beach with hopes of returning next year. The vacation provided wonderful family time but also offered a relaxing getaway that refreshed and renewed all of us. 

Water uplifts me spiritually. I feel even more deeply connected to the Lord when I’m at the beach as I bask in the awesome glory of His creation. He is an amazing God!

How do you “find rest for yourself,” as mentioned in Matthew? Sometimes extended getaways don’t work into busy schedules, yet we still need peaceful moments of renewal. What are the ways you regroup in spite of full calendars and hectic lives?

Wishing you abundant blessings this summer along with moments of refreshment and renewal,
Debby Giusti

SUMMER OF SUSPENSE features 16 stories by your favorite Christian Authors.
Pre-order now for only 99 cents!!!
Available Aug 6th. Post-release price: $9.99.

Here’s a sneak peek at ON THE RUN…
When Annalise Bonner reports a murder at Lakeside Lab’s guarded compound, security wants her silenced. Her only hope is Matt Mayor, the man she loved and left because of a covert military assignment. Now she must trust Matt again, not only with her life but also her heart.

Knowing she’s in danger, Matt secrets Anna away from the remote Tennessee research enclave to the Amish community of Ethridge and on to the North Georgia Mountains as a multistate manhunt mounts. Running out of options to keep Anna safe, Matt will sacrifice anything—including his life—to save the woman he loves.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

What is wrong with this picture?

Hi Everyone! Danica Favorite here, and I wanted to talk about cover mistakes today.

One of the big complaints on my last book, HER COWBOY INHERITANCE, was that the cover was wrong. I got a really nasty review from someone who refused to read the book because if the cover was that wrong, then I clearly knew nothing about horses, so the book would be wrong. UGH!

I'll admit, I was kind of upset by that review. Especially because I'd just gotten my next cover, THE COWBOY'S FAITH, and I immediately knew what was wrong with that cover. As someone who spends several days a week watching her kids ride, and has horses, I know what I'm writing about. I chatted with my editor, who was understanding, and really, what we both came down to is that while our art department is fantastic, they live in Canada. My editor, who lives in New York, doesn't always understand that we do things differently here in the west. I sometimes laugh at her questions on my manuscript, because what's obvious to me is totally foreign to her, and we're in the same country!

Which brings me back to my covers with the glaring errors. I want to say that yes, it's crazy that the art department didn't get this piece right- at least from the perspective of someone who sees it every day. But they don't! So this was such a good lesson for me in communicating very specifically what I mean by certain things. I can't assume that we're on the same page.

And that's something I want readers to know. I remember a while back, a reader was really nasty about a friend's cover because "real cowboys don't wear hats indoors." As I read that comment, I was sitting indoors with a bunch of cowboys who still wore their hats. Even that assumption about cowboys is completely based on which region you live in. So when you see a cover of a book that has features that you don't think are right, I hope you'll take some time to consider a few things:
1. The author doesn't always have control over the minute details of their cover.
2. The author and cover artist don't always understand what the other means by something.
3. Your perspective as a viewer of the cover is based on your experiences, which might be different from the author's. Which means the cover might be correct.

All that to say, when we see a cover or read a detail in a book that doesn't resonate with us, we definitely need to take a step back and consider the above. As Christians, I think we need to lead the way with grace, and to be loving in how we address those "mistakes." That's one of the areas in my own life that God has been showing me I need to do better at, so I hope that is helpful to you as well.

So... do you know what's wrong with these two covers?

About Danica Favorite:

A self-professed crazy chicken lady, Danica Favorite loves the adventure of living a creative life. She and her family recently moved in to their dream home in the mountains above Denver, Colorado.  Danica loves to explore the depths of human nature and follow people on the journey to happily ever after. Though the journey is often bumpy, those bumps are what refine imperfect characters as they live the life God created them for. Oops, that just spoiled the ending of all of Danica’s stories. Then again, getting there is all the fun.

You can connect with Danica at the following places:

Coming Danica's most recent release:

His secret past. His second chance.

Three Sisters Ranch could be his way home…

When inexperienced rancher Nicole Bell starts training her troubled mare, Fernando Montoya has just the expertise she needs. But helping Nicole brings Fernando dangerously close to revealing the secret he’d rather keep hidden: he learned the skill in prison. While the horse draws them together, can Fernando find a way to tell her the truth…and keep it from pulling them apart? 

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

When Everything Old is New Again by Tracey J Lyons

     The scent, the smell, the feel of a new book never gets old for me.  And this month is the official release date for my new book with Love Inspired. My very first Love Inspired and my first in the Amish genre.  A Love for Lizzie was this germ of an idea and then over the months it grew into a full fledged story. Writing this book was not without it's trials and tribulations. And I guess, looking back, I have this same experience with all of the books I've written. The difference this time around is the fact that I'm with a new to me publisher and a new to me genre. 

     I've enjoyed researching and embracing the Amish culture. I'm learning the ropes at my publishing house. I think the old part of this was the discipline of writing the novel; sitting at my desk every day and producing words! The new has been meeting so many new readers. Readers who love Love Inspired books, and readers who love the Amish genre. And of course seeing the germ of an idea, turn into a sold book! I absolutely love when the book arrives. I love opening that box and taking out the first book, which I always sign and give to my husband. I really get a kick out of seeing the book on the store shelves. And, as I've said, I've done this before, but holding A Love for Lizzie in my hands was like seeing my book for the first time. Yes, it's old hat, but the feeling bursting inside of me were those of being a debut author all over again.  

I'd like to take this time to thank each and every one of you who take the time to visit this blog. And I'd like to thank you for making this old-time author feel new again! 

Wishing you all the best of summer! 


A Love For Lizzie
Harlequin Love Inspired July 2019
buy link

"Readers will be rooting for Lizzie in Tracey Lyons’ newest offering, A Love for Lizzie!  Tracey has a terrific way of creating multidimensional characters who are both likable and compelling. I’m already looking forward to Tracey Lyons’ next book!" ~NYT and USA Today bestselling author Shelley Shepard Gray 

Childhood friends joined by a painful past…Can love blossom between them?

After her father falls ill, Lizzie Miller and her family desperately need help to keep the farm going during harvesttime. Neighbor Paul Burkholder is eager to lend a hand—and to court Lizzie. But Paul has a secret that he fears could push Lizzie away. Can they finally heal from a tragedy in their pasts…and open their hearts to each other?

Copyright © 2019 by Harlequin Enterprises Limited
Cover copy text used by arrangement with Harlequin Enterprises Limited.

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Monday, July 15, 2019

Summer Sparkles

 Summer has always been my favorite season. As a child--and later as a teacher--June's arrival brought weeks of delicious freedom. I loved it!
But down here in Georgia, summer also brings some serious heat. As I've grown--ahem--older--I've liked that aspect of the season less and less. In fact this year I found myself dreading summer, and that made me kinda sad. Summer and I have been besties for a long time, and I don't want to forget about her good points.
So, I've been paying a little extra attention to the gifts and the lessons this summer has given me. I thought I'd share a few of them here--just in case I'm not the only one whose relationship with summer has hit a rough patch.

Summer makes me lazy, but our chickens? Not so much! They've been laying faithfully. We have enough eggs to share even though our hens are older and lay only every other day. But the eggs they do lay are bigger--so that's a good lesson for this older hen! Good to know I can pace myself and still be a faithful producer.

We've had plenty of rain which has resulted in our first ever
bumper blueberry crop! I begged for blueberry ideas on Facebook, and I was immediately provided with an avalanche of delicious recipes!

Peaches are in abundant supply, too! I wasn't sure I'd get any this year because our closest peach supplier retired. But a local friend told me her son's commute took him right past a peach-packing place. He picked up some seconds for me to can and freeze!
And so blueberries and peaches reminded me what an incredible blessing kind and helpful friends can be--both the ones I've come to know through Facebook and the ones I know in "real life."

Oh, and here's a cute one--while picking blueberries with my kids, we saw that a little bird had
built her nest right in the middle of the best-producing bush. It was a bird version of a bed and breakfast! This bold mama bird wasn't afraid to go after what she wanted--and she offered me a good lesson in gumption and practicality!

Of course the abundant rain also meant a bumper crop of weeds! This batch of green beans came from the weediest garden we've ever had! But hey--that just means you don't have to be perfect to be productive, right? And who doesn't need a reminder of that from time to time?

Once I started looking, I saw summer sparkles everywhere!


 In the cheerfulness of this busy worker, pausing to smile for my camera as she wrapped up my purchase.

In the kind gentleness of my oldest son, steadying his eighty-four year old grandmother at his sister's piano recital.

                                           And in the brave enthusiasm of my
                                          three-year-old niece as she took her
                                          her first steps into the exciting                                                                world of ballet.

Yes, this searing hot summer has turned out to be pretty wonderful after all. And it's zipping by--cooler days will be here before we know it! In the meantime, let's crank up those air conditioners, slice some watermelon and collect our sparkling summer blessings like lightning bugs in a mason jar!

So tell me, sweet friends--what's making your summer shine?

Available now!

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Sunday Scripture

The Good Samaritan, Jacob Jordaens, c 1616, Louvre.
There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test Jesus and said,

"Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
Jesus said to him, "What is written in the law?
How do you read it?"
He said in reply,
"You shall love the Lord, your God,
with all your heart,
with all your being,
with all your strength,
and with all your mind,
and your neighbor as yourself."
He replied to him, "You have answered correctly;
do this and you will live."

But because he wished to justify himself, he said to Jesus,
"And who is my neighbor?"
Jesus replied,
"A man fell victim to robbers
as he went down from Jerusalem to Jericho.
They stripped and beat him and went off leaving him half-dead.
A priest happened to be going down that road,
but when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side.
Likewise a Levite came to the place,
and when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side.
But a Samaritan traveler who came upon him
was moved with compassion at the sight.
He approached the victim,
poured oil and wine over his wounds and bandaged them.
Then he lifted him up on his own animal,
took him to an inn, and cared for him.
The next day he took out two silver coins
and gave them to the innkeeper with the instruction,
'Take care of him.
If you spend more than what I have given you,
I shall repay you on my way back.'
Which of these three, in your opinion,
was neighbor to the robbers' victim?"
He answered, "The one who treated him with mercy."
Jesus said to him, "Go and do likewise."

Luke 10: 25-37

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, July 12, 2019

Bang! Crash! Boom! My Writing Is Under Construction

Sorry I’m late! When I got home from a mini-holiday last night, I had big plans to post my blog nice and early. Then the construction crew took over outside at 7am. 
Here’s a picture of what my street looks like right now. I have a dump truck blocking my driveway, a long trench where the end of my lawn once was, and the constant banging and thrumming of noise. My power has been going out. Everything in my house from the walls, to my coffee cup, to the laptop I’m writing on has been shaking. And the construction crew had to lay down planks for me when I tried to leave my driveway. 
Needless to say the dogs are not happy. The entrance to their favorite park has disappeared too. Apparently the construction project will be going on for months. So, don’t be surprised if I end up writing a construction worker villain into my next book!
The book I have out this month marks the end of the longest project I’ve ever done. Cold Case Secrets  is the last of a four book series about the Henry brothers, four Canadian men—two in law enforcement, one paramedic and one military—whose lives were all impacted by the murder of their sister Faith when they were young. They've been my favorite characters I've ever created, as I worked out how they’ve all supported each other, faced their battles and grown in different ways. Cold Case Secrets also ended up being the hardest book I’ve ever written, as I had to figure out how to finally solve Faith’s murder and bring her killer to justice.
I always find it helps to think about who I’d get to play my characters in a movie, and these are the pictures of “Jacob”, “Trent”, “Max” and “Nick” that I looked at while writing this series. (How many actors do you recognize?) 
I have missed writing about them very much since finishing this book and am also incredibly thankful for all the readers who’ve written to me about them. I also loved being able to bring so many characters from both this series and other books together for the big finale scene, and figure out how the heroes and heroines of five different books would all work together in a crisis.
The banging and crashing just stopped outside and the house had stopped shaking. 
My guess is that everyone has taken a break for lunch or somebody has given them an early start to their July weekend.
Any and all advice about writing through the construction chaos outside is very welcome! 

How do you work through chaos?

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Confessions of a Foodie by Belle Calhoune

Okay! I'm about to come clean. My family loves to eat out at restaurants. In good times and in bad, we tend to seek comfort in a nice restaurant where we can eat and talk and bond. There's something about eating at a new venue that feels particularly exciting to us. Will the food be good? So-so? Do they serve Sangria? Are those Yelp reviews truthful? Will it become a family favorite?

Chicken and waffles seem to be all the rage at the moment and we've enjoyed some all around the world. The best had to be Roscoe's House of Chicken and Waffles in California.

For me, food is a joyful thing. And I've come to realize it's something to celebrate. When my brother was terminally ill he lost his appetite. For the first time in his life he didn't want to eat and the smell of food made him sick. I think it reinforced to me the idea that life is short and one never knows when things in your life will change. SAVOR the well as the food.

These are some pictures from our Paris trip. I smile when I look at the earthy looking dish with the potatoes. It was really exciting to enjoy different cuisine.

Earthy French was delicious.

My daughter and I at a cafe on the Champs Elysees! We enjoyed the best mussels. 

Sometimes I decide not to post all my dining pics on my author page because I don't want to give the impression that we eat out all the time. It's usually for celebration purposes, and since life has been good lately, we've had a lot to celebrate. Praise the Lord! But in the future, I'm going to share more, because enjoying food is a wonderful thing. Recently we celebrated Fourth of July at my sister Karen's house and she brought out a dessert my mother used to serve us. It brought back all those wonderful childhood memories and it felt like my mother was sitting right there with us even though we lost her back in 2000.

When I was growing up in a family of seven we rarely ate out. I totally understand why. I wouldn't eat out if I had to pay the tab for five kids either! But when we did it was usually while on vacation or the occasional seafood outing in Cape Cod where we had a summer house. We recently took my dad out for father's day at a seafood place on the South Shore of Boston. There's nothing better than fried clams and scallops!

Fried Scallops. Sheer perfection. No one does seafood better than Massachusetts.

I still believe dining out as a family is a celebratory thing. Graduations! Honor roll! My daughter's first big job in New York City! A film deal! We celebrate it all! And I love it.

A different take on chicken and waffles at my niece's graduation celebration.

Spicy fish taco wrapped in lettuce.

Italian food. Lasagna, one of my all-time favorites.

Who among us doesn't love a churro? With chocolate sauce?

Calamari, one of our favorite dishes. 

French toast with flair!

Apple crumble with vanilla ice cream. all time favorite meal. I've eaten it in more restaurants than I can recall.

Edamame. It's so good...and good for you.

Dining out is enjoyable for my family. It allows us relaxing time during which we can catch up on the day to day stuff and talk about goals and dreams. Recently we went out for Mexican food and I spotted this sign. It still cracks me up!!!