Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Lyn Cote's Fun Weekend



Lyn Cote here--Just got back from a fun weekend. My dh and I drove to Minneapolis last Friday. We arrived around supper time and treated ourselves to a Rib Feast at Tony Roma's at the Mall of America. I hadn't been to the MOA since last year. But that was for a booksigning with a crowd of authors so I didn't have any shopping time. I didn't do a lot of shopping but my dh cetainly studied the Craftsman tool section of Sears.

The next day, I attended a very interesting day-long workshop featuring Michael Hauge, a screenwriting teacher and script doctor in Hollywood. This was sponsored by Midwest Fiction Writers. Anyway, it was great to see friends there that I hadn't seen for a long time and the buffet was yummy! And the workshop gave me deeper insight into the characters of the Love Inspired romance I'm writing right now. So a day well spent!

Then we drove down to St Ansgar Iowa to spend a few nights at The Blue Belle Inn B and B, one of my favorite places in Iowa or anywhere really. Sherrie Hansen Decker, the proprietress, bought the decrepit Victorian for $18,000 just before the city was going to tear it down. Six months later she with the help of her family renovated it and opened it for business. Each room in the bed & breakfast has a name and theme, such as "Never Never Land," "The Wrinkle in Time," "The Secret Garden." This time we stayed in "Anne's House of Dreams," the Anne referred to is of course Anne of Green Gables. Sherrie and her dh are writers too, so we had a lot to talk about.
Anne's House of Dreams

Monday morning my dh and I headed back to Wisconsin. It was a quiet but "gusty" drive home. After a lovely weekend away, we unloaded the car only to find out that two of our beloved cats had gotten out!

Since we live in a forest, which has many other animals who think cats are a delicacy, we had a tense period till we found the youngest cat who belongs to my daughter in the garage. Whew! Just what we all needed to up our blood pressure.

Have any of you stayed at a B and B? I've only been inside one other B and B, but I can't believe that there are too many as lovely as The Blue Belle Inn! Drop by her website and see what she did with a house the town was ready to demolish.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Old friends, old loves


This is Janet Tronstad here saying hi from sunny Southern California. I just got off the phone with an old friend (someone I dated for a few years a decade ago). His call reminded me once again of how wonderful it is to have 'old' friends. He remembers so much of where I've been that there's no reason to explain and explain. I have a couple of female friends who've known me forever as well and I love them all. It reminds me of that nostalgic television show Cheers that will be forever remembered as the place where 'everyone knows my name.' Being with my long-time friends makes me feel that way, but some other places do as well -- church for one, times with my brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews for another. How about you? Where are the places or times when you feel known?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Hero Interview from A Texas Ranger's Family

Interview with the hero from A Texas Ranger’s Family by Mae Nunn:

1. Daniel Stabler, tell me the most interesting thing about you.
As much as I love my work in law enforcement, I’m first and foremost a daddy and a family man. I was raised on my family’s West Texas ranch but I always knew I wanted to get my degree in criminology and become a Ranger. Then my daughter came along and all my plans to focus on my career flew out the window. My wife, Erin, left us when Dana was only a week old and that’s when my baby girl became the center of my world.

2. What do you do for fun?
Every summer my family hosts a huge barbeque cook off to help support a Christian boys home. I use my vacation time, take Dana with me and we work the cattle while my brother pulls the event together. It’s great fun being home again, making sure my daughter learns ranching values and enjoying all the crazy efforts and amazing barbeque of the competitors.

3. What do you put off doing because you dread it?
I really hate to go off and leave Dana while I travel during investigations. She’s sixteen now, quite an independent young lady with her purple hair and pierced eyebrow, but not nearly as grown up as she thinks. I know I can trust her to behave while I’m gone, and she always has our house keeper for company, but I worry about my girl while I’m away.

4. What are you afraid of most in life?
There’s nothing I’m physically afraid of and my eternity is secure so I don’t even fear leaving this life. But I guess you could say I’m afraid that Dana and I will never have a “normal” family as long as her mama isn’t part of our lives. I pray constantly that God will restore my relationship with Erin and bring her home one day.

5. What do you want out of life?
My heart’s desire is to have my family reunited. I believe that when a man and a woman speak their wedding vows before God they are meant to be together forever. I also believe the Bible when it says “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4) I’ve made Christ the head of our home and trust that one day He’ll answer my prayers.

6. What is the most important thing to you?
In life and especially in law enforcement, integrity is so important. A man’s word is his bond. When I make a promise I keep it. My daddy taught me to guard the value of our family name and I’ve tried to pass that lesson on to Dana.

7. Do you read books? If so, what is your favorite type of book?
I love the Bible. The answer to every question, to every problem has been given to us through the inspired Word of God. But I also enjoy a good western tale. I still read the old Louis L’Amour novels my daddy gave me when I was a boy.

8. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
If I could change something I’d probably be a little less laid back. It really aggravates people that I don’t get more excited when the heat is turned up. But in my line of work if I let my blood pressure rise every time things got tense I’d be on medication. Nope, on second thought, I need to keep a level head and a quiet heart. I’m fine just the way God made me.

9. Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet?
I grew up in the country with critters everywhere, so these days I’m fine without any pets in our home. One summer while we were at the ranch Dana thought she wanted to bring a baby skunk home for a pet. The first time it sprayed her and she had to dig a hole to bury her clothes, she changed her mind.

10. If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why?
I’d go back to the early days of the Texas Rangers. Those first Rangers were on a mission to protect the settlers from anything and everything that threatened their lives in the western territories. They were a unique breed, unafraid and unwavering in their convictions. The Rangers today are much the same but it would have been amazing to ride with those first Rangers, to share their passion and to hear their stories.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

FEATURED BOOK: A TEXAS RANGER'S FAMILY BY MAE NUNN

Photojournalist Erin Gray has seen the world through her camera. But she's never taken a snapshot of the husband and daughter she left behind years ago. After Erin suffers life-threatening injuries, she returns home to heal—with every intention of leaving again. But seeing her Texas Ranger husband with their teenage daughter begins to melt her heart. Daniel never lost faith that someday they would be reunited. Now he hopes that he and Erin can put the past behind and come together as a family forever.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Carol Steward - Starting from Scratch


I've taken a year off writing to let God refill the creative cup. When I finished my fourth book in 2 years, there were plenty of things in my life that had been ignored. Welcome a grandson. Make cookies with his older brother. Visit my granddaughter in Phoenix and meet my Love Inspired sisters. Learn to play Guitar Hero (including being booed off the stage). Geocache and enjoy the great Colorado outdoors. In addition to a little playing, I thought I'd catch up on housework, refinish furniture, remodel a few rooms of the house, rearrange the furniture a few times.


I started out at a closeout sale, not searching for anything, but finding funky beaded curtains to make our basement bedroom look unlike a basement bedroom. We proceeded to choose paint. Had to be something that would compliment the antique turquoise marble lamps of my grandmother's. The one color out of consideration is the only color that was right. Mocha and Latte. In one day, our dull, drab extra bedroom became a warm and restful master suite.

Onto the bathroom. We chose the tile and accessories. We tore out the old tub walls. . . a few days later painted the brown bathtub white. . . A few weeks later, cut and put up the new tile. . . a few months later, put in the grout. . . It's gorgeous, and I love it – finally.

Summer was supposed to be used painting the eaves of our brick house. It's not that much. It shouldn't have been so tough. It wasn't a hot summer. That's a good thing. But it rained, and rained, and rained. That too is a good thing, except not when you want to paint. We got the first coat on, and the cold arrived. It's just a tease of winter, I know, but it's enough to stop the painting. For who knows how long. . . At least we got the first coat of paint on the primer.


So I didn't revamp everything. I didn't become an expert guitar player. I didn't get any sewing done. I did get to read my friends' books, and look at life from the "other side." My perspective is back - sort of.


It's now been a year of cleaning and sprucing up, while God's refilled the creative cup. After the inspiration of meeting with other writers last week at the conference, it is time to again, start from scratch. To pull the words together, rearrange the ideas, and tell my stories. I can't wait to read the final manuscript.

What do you do to reenergize?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Cheryl Wyatt here to say: Your Readership is a Blessing




Hi all! Cheryl Wyatt here.

Ten years ago I was an avid reader of Love Inspired novels. Some of the authors on this site were and still are among my favorites.

Who knew that ten years later, I would have the great privilege of being among them?

As you know by previous posts, several of us recently returned from the American Christian Fiction Writers conference in Denver. One thing the keynote speaker deposited in us through her inspiring talks was to remember to be thankful every day for even the little things.

Sometimes in the midst of deadlines I forget to remember what it's like without deadlines. Debbie Macomber's talk brought me back to the beginning of my quest for publication and helped me to remember a day I dreamed for this yet never imagined it could become a reality.

Another thing Debbie taught us was to dream big no matter how old we are.

What do you dream for?

What are you afraid to dream for?

Why?


Remember that we serve the God of all hope who is able to do exceedingly, abundantly beyond all that we can think or imagine. (Eph 3:20)

I pray you dream big today and everyday and that you remember to be thankful for the little things.

I can't tell you what an honor it was to be able to sit next to one of my author mentors and now friend, Margaret Daley at the ACFW booksigning.

These LI ladies live the faith they write about in their books. Each of them are remarkable in the way they reach out to newer authors like myself.

I'm so thankful to be here...and we are so thankful for your readership that keeps us here and able to write books we hope you will love.

Hugs all!

Cheryl Wyatt

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Times of Our Lives


Last week I attended the 2009 ACFW Conference and like I believe everyone there, had a fantastic time.
The journey however, was a little rough.

First of all, this would be the longest I'd ever been away from my baby girl, who is now 14 months old. She's spent the night at Nana's a zillion times but only one night at a time. Once, for two nights. This time was going to be 4 nights and 5 full days. Not sure if I was more nervous or my mom! ha! It didn't help my anxiety that Little Miss had been super clingy to me these last few months or that she was just getting over a double ear infection in which she felt miserable for a week straight.

Secondly, this trip would be my first time to fly in an airplane. EVER. I'm 25 years old, and before last week, I've lived - and loved - life safely on the ground. And you know what? After flying in four different planes (one layover there, one layover back), with absolutely wonderful, easy, non-turbluent, simple flights...I still love my life on the ground. Sigh. Who wants to carpool to Indiana next year? =)

Seriously though, I learned so much, had an amazing time of fellowship, survived the flights home, and welcomed my Little Miss with open arms that have not shut yet. I can't stop hugging her =)

(Hubby actually came with me to conference, hence my lack of missing him! lol)

A few highlights of my trip -

Getting to meet my fellow LI authors in person and having a blast at dinner at the Elephant Bar with our editor Tina James.

Jenness Walker's testimony of faith and hope and tears. Everyone in the conference was touched by that girl who I am an honored to call my fellow friend and at the time, roomie. =) (thanks again for the special delivery mint, Jenness!)

Hanging with Susie May Warren in the bar area of the lobby and talking 'til late.

The amazing multi-author book signing! What a blessing to be a part of it!

Rachel Hauck's leading of worship. What wonderful songs - and her talented voice is just a vessel for God's grace.

The banquet and watching fellow authors win awards (and my curly hair lasted longer than I'd expected! woohoo!)
Starbucks in the hotel lobby! Good planning (much smarter than the towel bar in the shower decision)

Here are some pics from the weekend...
Me with Lori Chally for the awards banquet night

Me with author Ted Dekker, new ACFW member!



Me with super author Susie May Warren!


Me and Lenora Worth, another LI author and friend!! =)

"Shoe Pic" with agent Chip MacGregor, and authors Tosca Lee and Susan May Warren

My table at the big booksigning
Playing around in the car in downtown Denver! lol
Me and fellow LIS author Liz Johnson!

Hope to see you there next year, fellow authors! As for our non-author readers, well, this is just part of the craziness we have to go through in order to provide you all with novels =)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Wisdom

Terri Reed here. This past summer one of the beloved teachersfrom my children's school passed away unexpectedly. Mary Heaney was hiking with friends and suffered an aneurysm. She wasn't that much older than me. She was a beautiful, faithful friend to the parents as well as the students. One of the many lessons she taught me, as the mother of two children who came through her fourth grade class was:
Prepare your child for the path, not the path for you child.
I have this wise saying typed out on bright pink piece of paper hanging from my bulliten board where I can see it everyday as I sit down to work.
I thank God daily for the nuggets of wisdom He has given me through the various people who have come and gone in my life. I will never forget Mary or her wise words.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Back from Conference

From Pamela Tracy's Diary


September 16,
It's four it the morning. Why am I awake? Oh, yeah, this morning I'm driving fifteen hours to Denver. I'm so happy Lynn Rush is going with me. Driving alone is boring. She'll never know that the shortcut I mentioned is really two hours longer but very scenic. Drive, Drive, Drive, Drive... day ends.

September 17,
The phone rings, waking me from a dead sleep. It's a friend saving me a seat for the Donald Maass workshop that I'm not attending (luv ya, Donald, but heard you in Phoenix and have family in Denver). Stumble to shower (where's the towel rack? what? no towel rack. Hey, the towel rack is IN the shower. Whose idea was that?) Spend day with family, return to conference to listen to Debbie MacComber and meet friends. Talk, Talk, Talk...day ends.

September 18,
Took the University of Fiction class from Karen Ball and Allen Arnold. Learned that I need to build a tribe. Then, I worked at the bookstore. That night twenty-seven authors and one editor, all Love Inspired, went to dinner. Talk, Talk, Talk, day ends.


September 19,
Graduated from the University of Fiction, got a diploma! Worked editor/agent appointments. Went to the the banquet. Broken Lullaby won best short romantic suspense. I didn't pass out, at least physically. What a day! Talk, Smile, Faint. Talk, Smile, Faint... day ends.

September 20,
Returned home. Drive, drive, drive... day ends.

Best thing about conference: Seeing old friends, making new friends, and knowing that God is there through it all.



Sunday, September 20, 2009

Hero Interview from Twice in a Lifetime

Interview with the hero from Twice in a Lifetime by Marta Perry:

1. Matthew Harper, tell me the most interesting thing about you.

Not sure how interesting you’d find it, but I’m a newcomer here in Charleston. I brought my daughter, Lindsay, here to start a new life away from Boston. When my wife died, it seemed like my heart just died with her. Lindsay and I couldn’t stand wandering around a house that felt so empty, and when my law school roommate invited me to go into practice with him in Charleston, I jumped at the chance.

2. What do you do for fun?

Fun here on Sullivan’s Island outside Charleston is a lot different from what I was used to. The Bodine family has been introducing us to their brand of fun: playing in the surf, boating, exploring remote barrier islands, watching over the sea turtle nests, having picnics on the beach. I’m learning to enjoy it, and my Lindsay is turning into a real island girl, thanks to Miz Callie, my neighbor, and her granddaughter Georgia.

3. What do you put off doing because you dread it?

Talking to Lindsay about her mother. I know I should, but my grief is still so overpowering that I’m afraid I’ll scare her.

4. What are you afraid of most in life?

Losing my daughter. And yet the longer I hold back from expressing my feelings, it seems the farther away I push her.

5. What do you want out of life?

A fresh start with Lindsay, without a lot of painful reminders of the past; a chance to make a difference in the lives of my clients.

6. What is the most important thing to you?

My daughter, plain and simple. Maybe I didn’t spend enough time with her when her mother was alive—I guess I was too busy trying to be successful for them. Now I know better.

7. Do you read books? If so, what is your favorite type of book?

I never read much when I was a kid. If you’d grown up on the streets like I did, you’d understand. But now I’ve been reading with Lindsay, and I’m catching up on all the books I missed then. Right now we’re reading The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe together, and I’m enjoying it as much as she is.

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

I guess I’d like to be more open with people, but I don’t think I can. Life has taught me to guard my heart.

9. Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet?

No, but Lindsay has been talking about getting a puppy, so I guess we’ll have a pet in the family before too long.

10. If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why?

I’m not one to wish for things that can’t be. I’ve got enough to handle in the present.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

FEATURED BOOK: TWICE IN A LIFETIME BY MARTA PERRY

When her family calls brokenhearted Georgia Lee Bodine home to Charleston, she knows there's trouble. Her beloved grandmother hired some fancy lawyer to carry out eccentric requests—and unearth an old family secret. Georgia plans to send Matthew Harper packing until she discovers how much the widowed father cares about her grandmother. And that his heart is even more deeply guarded than her own. As they work together on the Bodine history, they uncover a surprise about themselves: that love can strike twice in a lifetime.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Traveling

Just call me Merrillee--suitcase will travel. Sometimes, I think I should forget putting my suitcase back in the attic. A number of my trips this year have been to Chicago to babysit my granddaughter. That's what I'm doing now while her mom and dad are flying to Arizona to see about moving there.

I like to travel, and I usually leave packing until the last minute. I know that's bad, but it's a habit I haven't been able to break. Flying can be a hassle, but I like the opportunity to watch and study people. Maybe it's the writer in me that has me taking in the way people interact. There are the business travelers with their computers and cellphones. I still haven't gotten used to the people who sit in airports and appear to be talking to themselves when they are using one of those bluetooth gizmos or microphone with a cellphone. Then there are the families with small children who have had to take half their house with them in order to provide for the kids. There are the folks who need wheelchairs. There are the seasoned travelers who pay no attention to the flight attendants giving the emergency instructions, and there are the first-timer flyers who hang on the flight attendant's every word.

I like a window seat so I can see out and look at the tiny cars and neatly laid out cities and towns. It's fun to see if I can recognize places from the air--like the time we flew over the Wake Forest University campus where one of my daughter's went to college or the time I picked out my own house from the air or the time I flew on the Fourth of July and saw four different fireworks displays as we started our approach to the Jacksonville airport.

On this most recent trip, I sat next to a woman who was reading on a Kindle. I had never seen one up close. So I asked her how she liked it. She told me that she was very pleased with it. She asked me what I was reading, and that opened up an opportunity to talk about Steeple Hill, since I was reading a Love Inspired book. We talked for a while, then we proceeded to read. By the end of the flight, I had finished my book. Even though she was reading on a Kindle, I offered her the book which, of course, contained a couple of my bookmarks. She gladly accepted the book. I hope she reads it, and that we gain a new fan.

Do you like to travel? Why or why not?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

At the Reception.

Hello, Pat Davids, here.

I had a wonderful time at my niece's wedding a few weeks ago. I love weddings and I love socializing at the receptions, meeting new people and reconnecting with old friends and family. Now, if you must know, I'm terrible with names. Terrible. However, I'm pretty good with faces.

At this wedding reception I saw this tall, burly man with a full beard and something about him seemed so familiar. I walked over to his table with a big smile on my face and I said, "Hi, I think I know you."

Without blinking an eye, he said, "No, you don't."

Wow, talk about a conversation killer, but I'm persistent if nothing else. I said, "I used to be Pat Stroda (my maiden name) and I went to Chapman High School.

He said, "I'm Gary and I didn't." (Names have been changed to protect the innocent.)

He honestly did not seem to care who I was. Trying one more track, because I was sure I had met this man, I asked, "Do you work in Wichita?"

"No."

Sighing in complete defeat, I said, "Then you are a perfect stranger, aren't you?"
That got a smile at last and even a small chuckle. His wife thought it was really cute.

I ran into her when I was leaving and told her to tell the "perfect stranger" goodbye. I need not have bothered. He was waiting by the door.

His eyes grew bright, he smiled and held out his hands. "Hey, aren't you Pat who went to school in Chapman?"

"Yes," I cried. "Aren't you Gary who didn't go there?'

Oh, we both had a good laugh. I pulled out a postcard with a list of my upcoming titles and told him, "Now we'll never be strangers again."

A nice story, but it didn't end there. Several days later, I got an e-mail from the "perfect strangers" wife. She had been telling the story and mentioned that I was an author to her book club. Several of them had heard of me, and low and behold, I've been invited to be their guest speaker in December. What fun.

There really is no such thing as a perfect stranger. Only friends we haven't met yet.

What's your stranger to friend story. I know we all have them.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

In Beautiful Denver

I arrived on Tuesday for the ACFW conference. Denver is beautiful at this time of year. The grass is so green and the flowers are beautiful. Not to mention the mountains (from someone who comes from a relatively flat area) in the background. I'm excited about the conference and getting to see people I've email and talked to throughout the year. I'm just hoping I can grab some sleep between seeing everyone.

After the ACFW conference I'm going north of Denver into the mountains to go to one of Margie Lawson's workshops. I'm really looking forward to be in the mountains. I have a hard time deciding if I love the mountains better than the ocean. For me it's a toss up. Which do you prefer--mountains or the ocean?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Guiding Light--Lenora Worth


I cried today from 2 PM until 3 PM Central time. That's because my favorite soap opera "Guiding Light" is going off the air after seventy-two years in existence, first on the radio and then on television. I know some frown on soap operas because of their wild plots and over-the-top acting but I grew up watching Guiding Light. My mother and my sisters watched it and so did I. I learned a lot, watching this saga set in the town of Springfield, USA. I learned that every big family has secrets and scandals, just like my eccentric family. I learned that families fight and pout, but when push comes to shove they cling together. I learned how to dress and how to wear pearls from watching all the fashionable women passing through Springfield. And I learned all about heroes and heroines, villians and vixens just from watching that show. Once in a writing workshop, a very renowned author who also taught writing as a college course told us that she had her students watch Guiding Light so they could learn all about characterization and plot twists. I thought "Well, if it's good enough for a college professor and well-know writer, it's good enough for me. But then, I loved it already. On the day that my son was born, I had Guiding Light going in the delivery room. He came into the world at 2:44 PM while Reva and Josh were fighting about something. They made up later and my son is now twenty, soon to be twenty-one. And while I know Guiding Light is not Oscar material (but it has won quite a few Daytime Emmies) I also know that the show has brought me countless hours of entertainment--joy, laughter, romance, danger, death and lots of fun. And while the plotlines sometimes just got downright whacky and the steamy stuff sometimes fogged my glasses, I always tuned my television to Guiding Light (even during tight deadlines.) I just needed that comforting background noise while rushing through a first draft. And Guiding Light stays with me long after the countless edits and the final draft. I'll be at a conference later this week, but my husband has strict instructions to cue up the DVD to record the final episodes. When I get home, I'll find some quiet time and I'll sit down and watch the end and I'm sure I'll cry again. I'll miss Guiding Light but I'll remember that the show started with a minister tending his flock. He was a beacon to hurting humans. I'll remember that and know that I'll still have my own Guiding Light in God, even after the final curtain call on my favorite soap opera.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Heroine Interview from Dad in Training

Interview with the heroine – Molly Manning from DAD IN TRAINING
by Gail Gaymer Martin, Steeple Hill Love Inspired, September 2009 release.

1. Molly, tell me the most interesting thing about you.

Other than I’m a special needs teacher with an innovative program called Teacher’s Pet, I guess I’ll say I’m determined. When I want something that’s important to me, I don’t take no for an answer. I strive to succeed because I don’t like to fail. I can’t fail.

2. What do you do for fun?

I love working with dogs---all kinds of dogs. I love training them and playing with them. What I love about dogs is they are faithful and offer unconditional love. Oh yes, and I know where I stand with them. A wagging tail, the dog likes me; bared teeth, I’d better get out of its way.

3. What do you put off doing because you dread it?

I dread talking about my teen years. My parents were “the Cleavers.” They seemed perfect, and I tried to meet their expectations, but for a while, I gave up. I’m ashamed of those years and I won’t talk about it.

4. What are you afraid of most in life?

I’m most afraid of two things, failing as I said before, and having to tell someone I love about those difficult years that I want to forget.


5. What do you want out of life?

I want to own a dog shelter and provide training for them so they can be adopted to good homes. I want to see euthanasia end for dogs that are trainable.

6. What is the most important thing to you?

Being fulfilled is important to me---the dog shelter and I suppose, I’d like to have a husband and family one day. I’m thirty and have nothing in the horizon. But I’m an optimist---and don’t forget, I don’t like to fail.

7. Do you read? If so, what is your favorite type of book to read?

I don’t read as much as I’d like. Working as an educator fulltime and then striving to build a dog shelter business takes time, but when I do sit and relax, I read books about people who’ve struggled and learned to survive. Oh, and I do read my Bible.
8. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I could change a lot of things, I’m sure. My friend Steph Wright could give you a list as long as her arm, but since she’s not doing the interview, I’ll say patience is what I’d like to change. I want things to happen now not later. I forget that things happen in God’s time and not always mine.

9. Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet?

Funny you ask that question. No. I love dogs but I live in a condo that doesn’t allow pets. So maybe that’s my other dream, to live in a house. When I have a pet, naturally it would be a dog or two. I love Steph’s border collie Fred, so I might like to have a border collie or maybe a golden retriever. I love those too.

10. If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why?

I would return to my teen years and undo what I’m so sorry for. I think everyone has horrible things they do, and they wish they could wind back the clock. I know God forgave me, but that’s another flaw I have. I can’t seem to forgive myself.

Thanks for the interview. It helped me put some things into perspective. Maybe in time all my dreams and wishes will come true. I think they will. I’m very determined.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

FEATURED BOOK: DAD IN TRAINING BY GAIL GAYMER MARTIN

How is Brent Runyan supposed to reach his troubled nephew? The workaholic businessman knows nothing about providing a real home to the orphaned boy who needs him so much. Special education teacher Molly Manning thinks the answer is threefold: love, time—and a dog. But Brent can barely let his nephew into his heart, let alone a golden retriever. With his tragic past, Brent knows what can happen when you love anything: you can lose it. Until Molly asks this dad-in-training to start with the basics by letting her stay…forever.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Surviving


Valerie Hansen on the right. That's me. And with me are two great friends who went with me to Little Rock to participate in the Susan G. Komen "Race for the Cure."
We're survivors. And I thought, given that this will post on 9/11, that I'd mention being so thankful to be well, let alone to be here at all.
It was many years ago that I faced and beat breast cancer but the memory has remained so clear, so traumatic, that I have only recently found myself able to write about it.
I had a Love Inspired book released this past June and another in July. The next one will be a historical Love Inspired that follows up on the July book but is set in 1858. However, this November, my personal survival story will be included in "Chicken Soup for the Soul: Count Your Blessings." I won't cite it all here because that would spoil it. Just let me say that that experience changed my life FOR THE BETTER. It wasn't fun. It wasn't anything I'd willingly repeat. Yet, right now, I can only be thankful and amazed that I came through that trial and have been cancer free for seventeen years and counting! PTL!!!!
Blessings,
Valerie Hansen

Lovable Characters


Missy here. Some of you may recognize this actor, Jeff Branson, from his role as Shane on a CBS soap opera. Well, his photo has been inspiring me while I'm working on a new story idea. :) But when making a character, we have to think about more than just making him hunky. I'm in the middle of working on this new idea, and I thought, what better way to get ideas than from readers? So if you don't mind, I have a few questions and would love your feedback.


What things make you fall in love with a hero? What things make you sympathize with a heroine? Can you pinpoint what it is about characters or a story that makes them stick in your head long after the story is over?


I'd love any help you can offer for my research! :)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Labor Day Fun


Linda Goodnight here. My daughter-in-law’s family runs a beautiful church retreat camp not far from our home. They invited all of us out on Labor Day for charcoaled burgers and fun on the lake. Now, I’m not much of an outdoorsy person, but I did enjoy paddling around in the paddle boats and walking around the beautiful, wooded camp. My girls took the camera and shot tons of funny photos as well as some nice shots. I won’t show you the one where my husband and the girls decided to re-enact Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac (All in fun, of course), but I’ll share this one that I find particularly sweet.


And how was your Labor Day weekend?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Thanks to our Faithful Readers!


Lyn Cote here!

This month my two Love Inspired romances Finally Home & Finally Found will be reissued as a Love Inspired Classic. The reissuing of our "backlist" of books and the way they sell out is quite a compliment to us. Thank you from me and the other Love Inspired authors whom you support by buying our books and telling friends and booksellers and librarians about our books. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

If you didn't buy our books, read them and recommend them to friends and family, there would be no Love Inspired romances. If readers don't buy our books, editors won't ask us for more stories and then Love Inspired would be no more.

Our publisher's headquarters is in New York City. And they tell us that our books receive more reader letters than all their other romance lines. I know I get a lift when I hear from a reader. I never know what hearts God will touch with my stories. It's so interesting to hear readers who found hope and encouragement in my stories that I didn't know I'd written in there!

If you'd like to win a copy of Finally Home & Finally Found, drop by my blog and leave a comment this month. I'm giving away one copy a week in a drawing of those who leave comments. Also I "came clean about The Preacher's Daughter" on another group blog. The Preacher's Daughter is the unofficial sequel to Finally Home & Finally Found. Click blog and read it; it's kind of a funny story of mix-ups.

Anyway, hope you had a great Labor Day and have a golden autumn to boot!










Lyn Cote
Her Inheritance Forever, 8-18-09
http://strongwomenbravestories.blogspot.com
Every woman has a story! Share yours.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Last days of summer


Janet Tronstad (of Dry Creek* fame) here, bemoaning the end of summer. Why is it that Labor Day is always the dividing point between the lazy days of summer and the organized, get-things done days of fall? Even though it's been many years since I've been in school, I still feel more pressure to be an adult in the fall. My summer has been good though. I've had an amazing cruise around the Mediterrean with my sisters and niece and I've spent a month on my family's farm in Montana with my parents. Right now, I am still on the farm, living the good life. My sister and I canned 28 quarts of pickles; we made several trips to the local Hutterite colony to buy corn on the cob and their homemade orange rolls; and we visited a cousin's dude ranch (picture shown -- it's an absolutely gorgeous place in the foothills of the Teton Mountains). In addition, I renewed my acquaintance with poulty as I've been taking care of my sister's chickens, turkey, and lone duck (who thinks he is a chicken and is very upset if anyone takes him to the pond in hopes he will swim). All this will end soon as summer fades and I return to my big-city life in Pasadena. What has your summer been like?
P.S. -- Dry Creek, Montana is the setting of my Love Inspired series. 'A Silent Night for Dry Creek' is available now.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Heroine Interview from Anna Meets Her Match

Interview with the heroine from Anna Meets Her Match by Arlene James:

1. Anna Miranda, tell me the most interesting thing about you.

Um, just Anna. Thanks. Anna Miranda was the brat. The kids used to chant it, you know. Anna Miranda Burdett, Anna Miranda the brat… But that’s not the point, is it? I guess the most interesting thing about me is that I draw stories without words, books without words, actually, for children. That way, it’s a new story every time. My grandmother doesn’t see it that way, of course, but it does take some imagination.

2. What do you do for fun?

You mean, do I still play pranks like that time I glued “Stick” Chatam’s car keys to his locker door? Nope, all that’s behind me now. These days I just draw. Mostly I concentrate on my books without words, but sometimes I just have to whip out a witty little cartoon. Of course, that backfires sometimes, especially if my boss finds them.

3. What do you put off doing because you dread it?

Talk to my grandmother. Not that she ever hears what I say. Tansy Burdett hears what she wants to hear when she wants to hear it.

4. What are you afraid of most in life?

Being controlled. I look back at my life, and sometimes I think it’s only been about one thing, getting out from under my grandmother’s thumb.

5. What do you want out of life?

I’m not sure I’ve even had a chance to think about that. I want to find a publisher for my children’s books, and I want a boss who doesn’t think I’m his cross to bear, and I want…all sorts of things I can’t have, frankly. You know, all those things that “normal” women get, a home, a husband, a child, room to breathe.

6. What is the most important thing to you?

My independence. I’m proud of the fact that I’ve been self-supporting since I was eighteen years old. Maybe it hasn’t always been pretty, and my apartment is hardly big enough to turn around in, but it’s all mine. Sure, it’s a little lonely sometimes, but it’s worth it to live my own life my own way. Don’t you think?

7. Do you read? If so, what is your favorite type of book to read?

Okay, this is a little tough for me to admit. I’m a sucker for happy endings, and the wilder the story is the better. I guess I just need to believe that anybody can get her heart’s desire in the end. I mean, if a blue alien can crash land on earth and find true love with a sumo wrestler, well, anyone can find true love. Right?

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

Just once, I’d like to think things through before I open my big mouth. It’s either that or the world’s got to get a sense of humor, and I just don’t see it.

9. Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet?

Even if I could afford to feed a pet, I couldn’t squeeze it into my little closet of an apartment.

10. If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why?

That whole gluing-the-car-keys-to-the-locker thing, I guess I’d go back and undo that. Yeah, not my finest moment. I mean, Reeves Leland was an old stick-in-the-mud even back in high school, but he didn’t despise the sight of me until I did that. Not that I still care, mind you.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Take one uncontrollable little girl. Add a home infested with bees. Toss in former childhood nemesis Anna Burdett, and what single dad Reeves Leland gets is one big headache! His trio of matchmaking maiden aunts aren't helping matters. Neither is his attraction to Anna, now grown into a beautiful woman. The former wild child soon proves to be the perfect match for Reeves and his willful daughter. Could this reunion spark old memories and new possibilities for a future together?

Friday, September 4, 2009

A Time of Change


Carol Steward here, sort of. It's been one of those weeks.


Fall is generally a time of change, as you can see in this picture of my neighborhood, with Longs Peak on the horizon. Some years, change hits harder than usual. I work at a university, and this week, I had two new computers to set up and a new scanner to train new students on. I knew it was going to be exhausting for me to take on new responsibilities. Adding to the stress, we found out Monday that one of my coworkers had a serious episode last week after leaving work and ended up in intensive care, and is looking at a long road to recovery. It makes me realize what a delicate balance life is. Today's Friday, and a long weekend, and I am more than ready for a chance to reenergize. I was going to paint the trim on the house, but I think that will wait.

My mom suffered a massive stroke 12 years ago, and bless her, she's been beating the odds ever since, paralysis and all. We've had one trip after another to the hospital with her through the years, but this year, we're on number 4 and we're not through yet. Her last chance in this long list of battles is a still-experimental procedure to repair her aortic valve without invasive procedures. We're down to the wire, trying to keep her healthy and strong enough to make the trips back and forth to Texas, praying that this will not only extend her life, but improve the quality, until God calls her home for good.

September is a time of change, the weather, the school year, welcoming new family members, and saying goodbye to others. Change is constant, and life is constantly changing as well. Sometimes the change is good, and sometimes not. From day to day, I'm never sure which one will meet me that day. And I have to confess, too often, I let the unknown hold me back from making the best of each day, each hour, each minute. I tend to steel myself for the worst, and hope for the best. That's on a good day. And this week, I'm desperately ready for another good day.
So my goal this week is to look for the positive and not let the disappointments keep me from enjoying those around me, and the changes that God has in store. (Is that as dangerous as praying for patience?) How do you "ride out the rough spots in life?"






Thursday, September 3, 2009

Loyalty...lessons learned from a lonely, cyber-rivalric dog.



Cheryl Wyatt here...

I have an ever-growing list of attributes that I keep for the purpose of fashioning heroes and heroines I think people will love. Stuff like: Brave. Patient. Heroic. Funny. Perceptive. Caring. Noble. Integritous. Loyal and a bunch of others.

I was thinking about the attribute of loyalty one day last week when I was wandering around my house looking for something at two am. (don't ask-sigh).

Anyway, we have a tiny dog who has very set times he likes to do things. Once eight PM hits, the dog heads to his bed for sleep...or tries to. And he will normally sleep until about seven in the morning. This little guy loves his sleep.

BUT, when I'm on deadline I tend to get nocturnal. I'm a night person anyway but when I'm on deadline and the book is flowing, it's not unusual for me to stay up until the wee hours of the morning writing because I'm way more productive at night.

Thankfully I have a supportive husband who understands my body's rhythms and also, he knows I worked night shift for a quarter of a century, so my body is accustomed to working at night.

My dog's body, however, is not. Yet he will wobble out of his bed, bleary-eyed and stumbly to follow me around the house no matter how tired he is. And at times the poor thing is about to fall over from fatigue, yet he will not stop following me.

Sometimes he stands so close, right on my heels, literally, so if I make a sudden turn, I end up stumbling over him. LOL! But I love this puppy and I love what God has been teaching me about loyalty through him.

I have even tried to carry him back to his bed and tuck him in his favorite blanket. But this dog's faithful loyalty will not let him let me out of his sight no matter how sleepy and wobbly he is. He watches my every move and never strays more than four inches from my side.

He always waits for permission to jump on my lap, but when I pat my knee and say, "Come!" he goes completely berzerk with puppy joy. His nubby tail wags so fast it's nothing but a blur on the edge of his bottom. And he makes these little
contented noises that I couldn't replicate if I tried. Not that I'd want to. But this dog is so loyal, fiercely loyal.

He sometimes gets jealous over me using the computer. In fact when he gets really lonely for my affection he will actually run across my keyboard. LOL! Or drop his favoriate toy on it if he's in the mood to play. And if I keep typing, he will actually come stand on my keyboard and look me right in the eyes. LOL!

He thinks he's ten foot tall and bullet proof and if a stranger comes near me, he will snarl and snip like a lion in attack-mode.

This dog's loyalty humbled me the other day when he was clicking behind he through the hall.

How often do I not put forth the effort to press in and connect with God when I'm tired? Nearly always.

I do connect, but when I'm tired or sleepy or hungry, I can think of little else but my bed, a hot bath and FOOD. Of course it doesn't help that I have low blood sugar and at times get grumpy.

But still, I do wish that I were as loyal to staying in God's presence as my little dog is in staying in mine. He loves me. There's no doubt.

And God loved me enough to send this little messenger to teach me about loyalty.

I'd love to hear about a pet who meant a lot to you, past or present. Comment away!

Patter on, :-)

Cheryl

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Fall is in the air...


I love the changing of seasons, don't you? Especially when summer changes to fall. It's as if the world breathes a deep sigh of relief, shedding thick green leaves for crispy red and gold ones. Leaving sticky hot days behind for cooler, mosquito-free evenings. It's almost as if the earth slips its shoes off and relaxes, free from the pressure of performance in greenery and flowers and blooms.

The changing of seasons always seems like a new beginning, maybe even more in September because of school starting back. Even after graduating college years ago, I still love the smell and feel of school supplies! What is it about new pencils, empty notebooks, and bright Sharpies that spell out A U T U M N?

I think its the lure of a fresh start. The changing of seasons, the starting of school - even in the middle of a calendar year - seems to hint of newness. Opportunity. Second chances.

For me, Autumn means bonfires. Marshmallows. Knee-high dress boots and rust colored sweaters. Long hair that doesn't need a ponytail anymore. Pumpkins. Halloween costumes for my daughter. Candy apples and denim jackets and long walks in crisp air.

And of course, writing more books. But that's every season, isn't it? =)

What do you look forward to most about Autumn?