Books by Craftie Ladies

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A New Direction!

I'm excited to announce that I'm starting a brand new contemporary series set in a fictional town in Colorado just north of Denver.  All the books will be set in this new town, Village Green: Offering love, faith and a place to call home in Colorado. What's so fun about this new series is that it's loosely connected with my Charity House historical series.  In fact, the hero and heroine in CLAIMING THE DOCTOR'S HEART are descendants of characters in the historical books.  Charity House plays a role as well.
 
Writing this book wasn't easy, primarily because I had to create this fictional town.  I first had to figure out the connection between the historical books and the contemporary books.  I originally thought I would focus on Charity House, maybe turn the Old West orphanage for prostitutes' mistakes into a new kind of ministry.  I came up with several ideas but none of them seemed to fit.  So...Charity House became this rambling old structure the hero buys with the idea of raising his family there.  As the series continues, this will become the official gathering spot for holidays and special occasions.

Once I had the connection figured out (loose as it is) I need to populate the town.  In this book, the hero is a direct descendent of the hero in THE LAWMAN CLAIMS HIS BRIDE and the heroine is a direct descendent of the hero from THE MARSHAL TAKES HIS BRIDE.  I gave them each several siblings and poof...I now had lots of future heroes and heroines.
Next, I had to figure out more specifics about Village Green, itself.  Here's what I decided. Village Green, Colorado.  Founded 1899 by Jonathon Hawkins.  Population: 15,902.  Elevation: 4,984.

I still had to create businesses and places for my characters to frequent for fun.  Enter Hawkins Park, where the hero and heroine first meet.  I also gave the town a minor league baseball team, the Village Green Bobcats.  Since most of my characters are in the medical profession I had to give the town the Village Green Hospital.  The hero and the heroine's brother own a Family Medical practice.
Now came the really fun part.  Local businesses.  My heroine's best friend owns Senor O'Toole's, a cross between an Irish Pub and a Mexican Cantina.  The specialty of the house is Shepherd's Pie with a Mexican flare.  Since this is a small town, I added the Wash and Spins, a hybrid business that's a laundromat and a dance studio.  There's also Pizza Italiano and a ski shop still to be named.  Fun, fun, fun...

So, any thoughts as the name of the ski shop?  Leave a comment and you'll be entered into a drawing for a copy of CLAIMING THE DOCTOR'S HEART, an April 2014 release!
Here's the official blub:  After losing her high-powered job, Olivia Scott finds herself back home in Colorado. She never imagined she'd be taking care of kids, let alone being the nanny to longtime crush Dr. Connor Mitchell's adorable twin girls. But what began as a favor to the handsome widower is growing into something more. Connor's confused by his growing feelings for his best friend's little sister. She's become a beautiful woman with a caring soul, but he can't risk his—or his girls'—heart. Olivia's planning to head back to her city life. Unless this small-town doctor can convince her to stay…forever.  

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Shepherd's Bride and Inspiration

Patricia Davids here.
My latest book, The Shepherd's Bride, is in stores now. I do love the cover. It fits the story perfectly.
As I was writing this story, I thought often about the 23rd Psalm and how the Lord is our shepherd.

You might think my story is about how a shepherd takes care of his flock, but it's really about how a young woman takes care of her family and helps a young shepherd who has lost his way.

Lizzie is a woman with a mission. She has to find a home for her three sisters before her oldest sister is forced to marry a horrible man. What Lizzie doesn't have is much time, but what she does have is courage and determination.

I enjoy research and visiting a sheep farm during lambing season was the perfect way to spend an informative day. I'll never forget the sight of the lambs leaping and playing together. I hope you enjoy my story, too.

My question for you is: Who is the bravest person you know?
My husband, when he was facing death from cancer, was truly a brave man. I imagine you have known someone brave, too. Who is it?

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Soldier's Secrets Interview

How exciting to have Brigitte Dubois, the heroine from The Soldier’s Secrets written by Naomi Rawlings, an April 2014 release from Love Inspired Historical.

1.     Brigitte, tell me the most interesting thing about you.
Interesting? Let’s see. I’ve lived through the first half of the French Revolution—quite a feat, if you know much about that era. My husband, however, was killed over a year ago.
2.     What do you do for fun?  Fun? Well, I take in washing and mending to help afford food for my five children. Is that what you mean by “fun?”
3.     What do you put off doing because you dread it?
I need to tell Jean Paul the truth—as in, why I came to his farm at all. I’m not who I’m pretending to be. If only speaking the truth could be simple rather than complicated.
4.     What are you afraid of most in life?
I need to keep my children safe, and if you know much about my father-in-law, Alphonse Dubois, you’ll understand why I fear for my children’s safety.
5.     What do you want out of life?
I don’t ask for much, really. Safety for my children and a peaceful cottage far away from Alphonse. If only having those things didn’t mean betraying the man I’m growing to love.
6.     If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
That I ever agreed to take part in Alphonse’s foolish plan. It’s been nothing but trouble and heartache, and I’m beginning to fear the children and I won’t survive the coming storm.
7.     Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet?
No pet, but I am a little fond of Jean Paul’s mare, Sylvie.
8.     Can you tell us a little interesting tidbit about the time period you live in?
It’s the French Revolution, just after the Reign of Terror. All but my husband survived that terrible time, but even though our countrymen have stopped killing each other from within, we still fight wars against England, Spain, and Prussia. Sometimes I fear the fighting will never end.


Saturday, April 12, 2014

FEATURED BOOK: The Soldier's Secrets by Naomi Rawlings


Divided Loyalties 
Brigitte Dubois will do anything to keep her family safe. When she is blackmailed by her father-in-law, his quest for revenge leaves her no choice. To protect her children, she must spy on the man who may have killed her husband. But Jean Paul Belanger is nothing like she expected. The dark, imposing farmer offers food to all who need it, and insists on helping Brigitte and her children. 
Everything Jean Paul did was in the name of liberty. Even so, he can never forgive himself for his actions during France's revolution. Now a proud auburn-haired woman has come to his home seeking work and has found her way into his reclusive heart. But when she uncovers the truth, his past could drive them apart….

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Thursday Sisterhood with Danica Favorite

Family Status: Married with two girls at home- the Princess and the Cowgirl, and two adult step children. I also have a Dog, who is my favorite (just ask the rest of the family, and they will tell you that he is my favorite), and some chickens. Currently, the chickens are Lacy, Nyssa, and Gwennie, but the kids are trying to talk me into getting more.

Also, I have an inordinate amount of love for my chickens. And, since I mentioned pets, I should also give a shout-out to the toilet fish. We have a fish. It lives on the toilet. I can never remember its name, so I call it the toilet fish.

What Is Your Favorite Beverage: Tea

What Is Your Favorite Food: Really, you have to ask that? I JUST had to give up chocolate for health reasons, among a few other things, and so these days, all of my favorite foods are off-limits. I'm currently trying to get satisfaction by biting the heads off cinnamon bears.

What Is Your Favorite Thing to do During Free Time: I'm sorry, what is this thing you call free time? If I had free time, I'd read more. I also like to make art, knit, and travel.

Who Has Been the Most Influential Person in Your Life: I am a terrible interviewee because I HATE questions like this. My answers change a lot, maybe I'm fickle. But really, there's not a MOST person. A lot of people have been influential in my life in different ways. Camy Tang and Cheryl Wyatt (yes, the LIS and LI authors) are two of my best friends and they have taught me so much about friendship and grace, and with where I'm at in my life right now, I've been really clinging to the things they've taught me. Also, my friend Kay has been really amazing in helping me free my creative spirit. Hmm... those are all current. I can't think of any in the past at the moment.

First Book You Fell in Love With: The Secret of the Old Clock

A Book You Wish You’d Written: Pride and Prejudice

First Book Published: Coming November 2014!

Most Recent Book:Coming November 2014!

Out Next: After my November release, I'll have a follow up coming Spring 2015.

How Many Have You Written: I lost count... somewhere around 20 or so. This should be an encouragement to folks who'd like to be published and feel like it's taking FOREVER. If I can do it, so can you.

What Do You Know Now That You Wish You’d Known Then: That as much time as you spend unpublished WAITING, the waits are equally as long when you're published, so be prepared to make waiting the story of your life. :)

What is Your Favorite Bible Story: SERIOUSLY, I hate questions having to identify my favorite anything. I change my mind ALL. THE. TIME. Right now, it's Jonah, because we're doing a great Bible study on Jonah at my church, and it's been really impactful on me.

What is Your Favorite Bible Verse: I have a lot of favorites, but let's go with the summary of the Bible in one verse. Amos 5:4 "This is what the Lord says to Israel, Seek me and you shall live."

What is Your Favorite Hymn: I'm extremely fond of the Doxology. We sing variations of it every Sunday. It goes through my head a lot, especially when I'm out walking, and sometimes I think I even move in tune to it. I probably look silly doing it, but it makes me happy.

 What is an Ongoing Prayer Request You Have: Why are these questions so hard??? My ongoing prayer request is big with lots of pieces that are hard to explain, so I'll do my best and hope it makes sense. I'm in a weird season of transition and figuring out my life, healing some past wounds, and working on deepening my relationship with God. There's a very amorphous project in my head that has a bunch of pieces, but so far, I don't know what it all means, or how to put it together, so I'm just holding them, and praying for God to give me direction.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Surprised by a book?



Surprises in books? My fave! Nothing is a faster turn off than an author giving me what I expected. Can you relate? I can think of a few books that have surprised me. I enjoyed The Spellman Files, by Lisa Lutz because I was expecting kind of chick lit mystery. Did I get that? Nope. Heroine is a 28 year old toughie with a soft spot for her sister and a penchant for disastrous relationships who works for her private investigator parents. What’s more, the book shifts in time from the present (where someone important has disappeared) to the past, where the seeds of the situation were born. Lutz surprised me at every turn. How wonderful, no? 

The last book that surprised the beejeebers out of me was Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn. Can’t say I always liked all the surprises (a few I thought were over done and it was hard to find characters to root for) but boy that book had more twists than a bag of licorice! Seriously!

So what books have surprised you in a good way?

Monday, April 7, 2014

Glad you could stop by this spring Monday. Up here the thermometer is rising and the sun is gaining heat and water is flowing everywhere.

Carolyne Aarsen here and I'd like to tell you a bit about my latest release. A Father in the Making is the third book in the Hearts of Hartley Creek series where I finally get to tell Mia Verbeeks story. Mia has made a few showings in some of my other books and I'm glad that she finally gets her own story. Mia is the mother of two boys and twin girls and after her flower shop and home burns down, she ends up having to stay, with her children, on her friend, Evangeline's, ranch. Trouble is so does Evangeline's future brother-in-law, Nate. Nate is a rambling man who prefers not to be tied down. Mia has been burnt by her ex and feels the only way she can take care of her kids is to keep her heart to herself. But when her son, traumatized by the fire, connects with Nate, Mia is forced to work with him for the sake of her beloved son. As they spend time together, they realize each other's strengths. But can they put past hurts behind them?

One of the fun things I did with this book was finish the story of a secondary character, Captain Jeff Deptuck. Captain Deptuck is a real life fireman who bought a chance to be featured in one of my books at an auction that my son's training class held for the Stollery Children's hospital in Edmonton. He wanted to initially be a villain, but when I met him at my son's graduation ceremony I realized I couldn't do that to him. Jeff shows up in all three of the books and in this last book he gets his own, happy ever after. I hope you have a chance to read A Father in the Making. If you want to find out more about me and my books, stop by my website, www.carolyneaarsen.com.

Take care and happy reading.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Perilous Waters Interview

1. Tell us a little about yourself and how you came to be in the midst of such suspense.

My name is Sam Steele. I’m an FBI agent, with our art crime team. Art crime is overlooked by a lot of police departments. Yet, it’s a seventy-billion-dollar-a-year crime with criminals using paintings as collateral to finance everything from arms, drugs and money-laundering deals. Not to mention the cost of lost history and culture. We got a lead on this current case when we got a tip that a stolen Native American painting was being sold out of Skagway, Alaska, to the Robbins’ Gallery. 

When Jennifer and Cassandra Robbins, heiresses to the gallery being run by their guardian until their approaching 25th birthday, booked a cruise to Alaska, I knew I didn’t have time to set up a sting by my usual methods. So I decided to book my parents, widowed brother, my nephew and myself on the same cruise, under the pretense of celebrating our parents’ 40th wedding anniversary, with the goal of befriending the women in order to gather the evidence against them that I needed. 

2. Tell us about the woman you are investigating, Jennifer Robbins. What was your first impression? When did you know it was love?

Jennifer and her twin sister Cassandra were raised in a small rural Washington State community, where her mother taught art and her father managed a store. Then her mother’s art was discovered and the family moved to Seattle where they opened what quickly became a lucrative art gallery. 

Sadly, the girls lost their parents in a tragic accident at seventeen and became wards of the gallery’s curator. However, unlike her sister who works at the gallery and seems to love the glamorous parties and publicity that goes along with it, Jennifer works for a charitable foundation, seems to embrace a quiet and humble lifestyle and claims to be a believer. 

I was skeptical at first. I’d been duped before by a beautiful woman that almost cost me a case. But from the first time I met Jennifer, I felt an undeniable attraction to her beauty inside and out. My family adored her, too, especially my nephew who she helped win at dominoes. Spending time with her and my family felt like old times, the idyllic life I’d once dreamed about having, before...

Well, never mind that. When did I know it was love? 

Looking back now, I’d have to say it was the first time I saved her life. I remember saying “I won’t let you go.” And ever since, I haven’t wanted to.

3. What strengths/skills do you have? What is your greatest weakness?

I guess my greatest talent is that I can be whoever or whatever I need to be to get the job done. My greatest weakness is probably my incessant need to prove myself.

4. What scares you?

The thought of making a wrong call, a mistake that could cost someone his or her life.

5. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I would’ve walked through the sorrow and grief with my extended family after my cousin died, instead of moving a continent away to avoid it.

6. Where are you in your faith at the start of your story?

I take my faith very seriously, but I realize now that I used work to avoid things I hadn’t wanted to face and as a result wasn’t truly living.

7. Where are you in your faith at the end of the story?

I learn what it means to really trust and realize that my family forgives me for my mistakes and wants to be a part of my life, and I’m finally able to embrace the life God wants for me.

8. What is the one thing you would never do?

Now? Lie to the woman I love.

9. What is the most unusual thing about you?

I guess I would have to say that although I’m a believer, I have posed as many a criminal, usually by posing as an unscrupulous private collector willing to overlook a masterpiece’s provenance for the opportunity to own it, in order to recover it and bring bad guys to justice.

10. What do you hope people will learn from your experience in this story?

Love is worth the risk.

Check out more bonus features for Perilous Waters by Sandra Orchard, as well as for her other books at: http://sandraorchard.com/extras/bonus-book-features/


Saturday, April 5, 2014

FEATURED BOOK:Perilous Waters by Sandra Orchard

Under Suspicion

For FBI agent Sam Steele, there's no room for error or emotions on his latest undercover assignment. Getting close to gallery owner Jennifer Robbins while on an Alaskan cruise is the only way to catch her dealing stolen art. Out on the icy seas, Jen suddenly goes from suspect to victim when she's targeted by a deadly enemy. And Sam's mission goes from investigating an art crime to protecting the woman who's begun to melt his heart. As danger looms closer, he'll do anything to save her life—even if it costs him his own.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Thursday Sisterhood with Jean C. Gordon




Family Status: Married, two kids, two grandchildren
What Is Your Favorite Beverage: Tonic water
What Is Your Favorite Food: Cheesecake  
What Is Your Favorite Thing to do During Free Time: Read and check on my family and friends on Facebook
Who Has Been the Most Influential Person in Your Life: My parents (They made me feel I could do anything I wanted to do.)
First Book You Fell in Love With: The Secret Garden
First Book Published: Bachelor Father (Avalon Books)
Most Recent Book: Small-Town Midwife
Out Next: Nothing scheduled, but I’m working on that
How Many Have You Written: Ten  
What Do You Know Now That You Wish You’d Known Then: How much time authors need to spend on publicity and other book-related tasks in addition to actually writing the book
What is Your Favorite Bible Story: The story of Mary Magdalene.  
What is Your Favorite Bible Verse: Psalm 55:22: Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you. He will never let the righteous be shaken. (Also, one of the hardest for me to follow)
What is Your Favorite Hymn: A toss-up between Amazing Grace and What Child Is This 
What is an Ongoing Prayer Request You Have: For God to help me be more accepting.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

A Fool for Love Inspired Suspense Any Day of the Year

Hi Everyone! Sandra Orchard here. Happy April Fool's Day!

I'm super-excited that my long-awaited (at least by me :) ) cruise ship story, Perilous Waters, will finally hit store shelves later this week.

I loooooved everything about writing this book, from revisiting--in my imagination--the breathtaking sights and sounds, tastes and scents of an Alaskan cruise to researching the fascinating world of Art Crime investigations to creating a cast of characters I would enjoy writing about for two more books.



I've also had great fun creating tons of bonus features for YOU, including a blog each Monday of this past month on its evolution, in which I shared such things as the art crime news story that sparked the idea for the novel, location pics and more.

You can check them out on my Bonus Features Page by clicking here. And...my to-swoon-for-hero will be interviewed right here on Sunday!

Perilous Waters was my first novel not set in the Niagara Region, where I've lived all my life. Yet, ironically, it was also my first novel set in REAL places instead of fictional towns created to suit my story.



So...as I wrote, my mind walked the halls of the Island Princess cruise ship on which I'd traveled, and the streets of Skagway and Ketchikan and Juneau.

I rode the same bus my heroine and her twin sister rode and when I looked across at the train in the pic below, I knew the bad guy had to be on it. (not saying it ended up that way in the story, mind you ;) )



If you read the book and then visit my 'On Location on an Alaskan Cruise' page, you'll recognize several scenes from the story.

Perhaps it was the novelty of an utterly new experience and setting that made writing this book such a labor of love. The energy has definitely carried over into the connected books as I dig deeper into the lives of characters I've grown to love.

It makes me want to explore another unique setting for my next book. It's a good excuse for a summer vacation. Right? :)

Any suggestions?! 

Sandra Orchard is a multi-award-winning Canadian author of inspirational romantic suspense/mysteries with Love Inspired Suspense and Revell. An active member in American Christian Fiction Writers, The Word Guild, and Romance Writers of America, she enjoys helping writers hone their skills. To find out more about her novels, and to read interesting bonus features, please visit www.sandraorchard.com or connect at www.Facebook.com/SandraOrchard 

Monday, March 31, 2014

RWA and Conference by Leann Harris

This year I'm going to the RWA conference in San Antonio. I haven't been in a number of years and am looking forward to seeing old friends and enjoying several days of immersing myself in workshops, fellowship, and learning.  I also belong to ACFW and try to alternate years going to ACFW and RWA.

I've been a member of RWA since a friend hauled me to my first RWA conference in Dallas.  I will tell you that I was overwhelmed with information, but determined to get published. I cried every night of the conference realizing I was so far from publication, but I had a road map. After that conference, a chapter was established in my town, and I went every month. They taught me how to write, showed me the business side of writing, and gave me contacts.  Only another writer will understand when you say, "My hero isn't cooperating."

RWA is an educational organization.  I've had other writers (male) comment how organized RWA conferences are. He learned so much.  He went to a science fiction conference and workshops were named, but they sat around and just talked on the topic.  Most RWA members are women (need I say more) and we are nurturers.  (I'll teach you.)  RWA members have migrated to Mystery and SF and it has effected how those conferences are now organized.

If your interested in learning to write, check out either RWA or  ACFW websites. They list local chapters where you can learn and make friends.  A word of warning: you will have to join the national organization as well as the local chapter.  The picture is at my first signing at RWA.  Ignore the huge glasses and my eyes half closed. I'll sign at conference my latest book, A Ranch to Call Home this year.