Saturday, October 31, 2009

Featured Book: Close to Home by Carolyne Aarsen

Jace Scholte used to be the town bad boy, a rebel who thought he had a cause. But when Jace fell for Dodie Westerveld, he changed and became a Christian. Instead of marrying him, though, Dodie ran away without a word, taking his heart with her. Now they're both back in town. But Dodie still won't talk about the past. When they're paired together on a fundraiser for a new crisis center, Jace is reminded of how much she meant to him. Helping Dodie trust him—and herself—will take all the faith she once helped him find.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Procrastination



Merrillee here, thinking about how easy it is to procrastinate. The time ticks away, and I still haven't made that phone call, written that letter or worked in my yard. Sometimes there are legitimate reasons why I haven't completed a project or started one, but other times I have no excuse. I have just found it easier to put things off.

Occasionally, that happens with writing. I have a a "Shoe" comic strip by Jeff MacNelly taped near my computer to remind me that I shouldn't procrastinate. In the first panel we see a little sign that says, "Quiet Author At Work." In the next four panels of the strip we first see Perfesser Cosmo Fishhawk turning off the phone and sitting down to write his novel. In the sixth panel, he asks, "What's the theme?" In the following three panels, he wonders about conflict, character motivation and plot. In the final panel, we see him sitting in front of the TV. He asks, "Where's the remote."

As writers, sometimes it is easier to watch TV, read e-mails or surf the Web than it is to sit down and tackle the important elements in our stories. I'm working hard not to become a Perfesser Fishhawk.

What about you? What causes you to procrastinate?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

What's your newest toy?


I don't really like change. I wish I never had to update my computer, reprogram the DVR, buy a new phone, or suffer a fate worse than death by purchasing a new printer. And have you seen the new washing machines? They scare me to death.

Okay, the things I really don't like to see change are the things that require some understanding of technology. Knowing that, would you be surprised to learn that this entire post was written by talking to my computer?

I have a new toy, a new toy, a new toy.

Speech recognition writing is something I have wanted to do for a long time. I suffer from arthritis in both my hands. Typing is downright painful. When I'm on deadline it's not unusual to see me with strips of white tape wrapped around my fingers like a boxer getting ready for a fight. Making the transition to voice activated typing has become a must for me. The physical need to adjust has outweighed my reluctance to allow change in my life. Hey, I’ve had the same husband for 35 years and the same winter coat for 5 years. I’m a in-a-rut kind of gal.

It hasn’t been easy to make the transition. It required a new attitude about the way I write. I constantly revise as I write. I didn't believe it would be possible for me to dictate and like what I saw. I was so wrong. It may take me a few weeks or a few months to become proficient with this new program, but I intend to persevere. I have so many stories in my heart I need to tell. Now I don't have to type them. I only have to tell them.

Change can be hard, but it can also be wonderful. I'll let you know how I'm getting along the next time I have to speak to our blog.

Okay, what new toy do you have your eye on? Do tell.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Fun time in Shreveport


This past weekend I went to Shreveport to speak to the local American Christian Fiction Writers' group. They were so gracious and welcoming. I felt right at home with them. I spoke on digging deep with your characters.

Saturday was a glorious day with not a cloud in the sky. The whole way down on Friday it was cloudy and the whole way back it was cloudy but while I was in Shreveport the temperature was nice and it was sunny. After spending the last week with a lot of clouds and rain, that was wonderful.

We went to a tearoom for lunch after the meeting. The food was great but the tea was even better. I ended up buying four different teas and I'm enjoying them now.

The top picture is of part of the members with me standing in front. The bottom picture is of Lenora Worth, me in the middle and Vickie McDonough who went down to Shreveport with me. We stayed at Lenora's. She is a great host.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

November Rain--Lenora Worth

I grew up in Georgia so the song "A Rainy Night in Georgia" is one of my favorites. And lately, it's been raining ... all over the world ... it seems. We've had a very wet fall in the South. Around Louisiana, there has been a lot of flooding. We're used to this in the spring but the fall? A little different. Of course, it always seems to rain a bit when we have two major events--a fall arts festival and the state fair. Both of these big outdoor productions sure do suffer when the weather is wet and cold. But there is something about a cool rainy day that just begs for a good book, some chocolate and a pot of hot tea or coffee. So I try to look for the blessings in this rain--the lush green of my potted plants before they get stored in a warm spot for the winter, the thankfulness of being warm and dry when I know others suffer all year long, and the ability to be able to read a good book on a day when no one wants to be outside. We know the sun will return and while this rain has caused many to suffer and lose property and crops, we know God sends the sun after the clouds are spent. And even though we're still in October, the dreariness of this rainy season makes me remember November and the changing of the seasons. Change is never easy and sometimes, even Mother Nature has a hard time accepting it, I think.

What is your favorite time of the year?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Heroine Interview from Bluegrass Christmas

Heroine Interview from Bluegrass Christmas by Allie Pleiter:

1. Mary, tell me the most interesting thing about you.
I can’t. Really, no one can know--you’ll all hate me, I’m sure of it.

2. What do you do for fun?
I’m just finding that out. I haven’t had time to have any fun in my old jobs, so the whole concept of free time is sort of new to me. It’s why I came to Middleburg, to find out who I am away from what I used to do.

3. What do you put off doing because you dread it?
Funny you should ask that, because I think I just did it by moving to Middleburg. I walked away from something I wasn’t sure I could live without. Do all new Christians have to go through this? Because it’s much harder than I was expecting.

4. What are you afraid of most in life?
See question #1!

5. What do you want out of life?
I want simplicity. I want to be that calm, serene person of faith I keep reading about. I want to walk away from the messed up old me with the messed up old life and find a peaceful Christmas. Middleburg seems the perfect place to do that, don’t you think?

6. What is the most important thing to you?
A fresh start. This is my first Christmas as a believer, and I want to get it right. I’ve got this new job as the Drama Director at the sweet little small town church, and I want to give them the best Christmas Pageant ever.

7. Do you read? If so, what is your favorite type of book to read?
You know, I never had time to read before now. I’m thinking a nice, cozy love story would be just the ticket. And maybe a little humor. I’ve heard there’s this author named Allie Pleiter, but she strikes me as a bit odd, so maybe not.

8. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I wouldn’t let stuff get to me so easily. Things get under my skin way too fast. But then again, maybe that’s what let Jesus under my skin so I’m not sure I’d change that. I think, by ditching my old life, that I just changed a really big thing about myself.

9. Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet?
No pets, but if I did, it certainly wouldn’t be that loudmouth cockatoo of Mac MacCarthy’s downstairs!

10. If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why?
I’d go back to visit with Bach and Beethoven, or Mozart, to hear them play their own masterpieces. That’d be amazing for a music person like me.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

FEATURED BOOK: BLUEGRASS CHRISTMAS BY ALLIE PLEITER

An old-fashioned Christmas: That's what led new believer Mary Thorpe to start over in quaint Middleburg, Kentucky. As director of the church's Christmas pageant, Mary's job is to bring the townspeople together, to remind them what the season is really about. But everyone is all riled up over one very handsome man: the man daring to run against Middleburg's popular long-standing mayor. Mac MacCarthy wants change. Mary wants things to stay as they are. Is there a happy medium? Both Mac and Mary are in for one very big Christmas surprise.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Val reporting


Good morning all. It's raining in Arkansas. Again. And the road to town is under water. Again.



This is what it looks like from my front porch. That wide, horizontal band is WATER. Fast-moving water. I am not leaving the house today.

It occurred to me recently that although I write for all 3 Love Inspired lines, I don't have a straight LI romance coming out for the rest of this year - or next. I do have at least 3 books but they're either historical or suspense and therefore don't technically fit this blog. So, if you don't see me here for a while, just jump over to my website and see what I'm up to from that. Okay? I wouldn't want anyone to think I was neglecting my fellow craftie ladies but I do think it's silly and unfair to take up this space when I have nothing to say about the line.

I'm going to ask to be take out of the list of regular posters and I will miss y'all, but it's the sensible thing to do. And I do seem to make a habit of showing up about an hour late every time!

Blessings,

Valerie Hansen

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Great Smoky Mountains


Missy Tippens here...
I wanted to share with you some photos from our wonderful fall break trip last week. We went to Gatlinburg, Tennessee, and had a blast. We also celebrated my parents' 50th wedding anniversary while there!


Here are some photos of the gorgeous Smoky Mountains (from while we were driving across the mountain in the national park).


And below is also some of the wildlife we experienced! The raccoon nearly came inside the hotel room. And the bear lumbered down the mountainside into our motel parking lot and checked out cars--and us! He got within about 5-6 feet of us. :)



I hope you enjoy the mini-tour of the Smokies. Have you ever been there?

Also! My new release is now available! A Forever Christmas. Here's a back cover blurb:

Sarah Radcliffe’s quiet Christmas back in her hometown will be lost if she agrees to direct the church’s Christmas pageant. But when she meets two little boys determined to gain their father’s attention, Sarah agrees to help. Then she discovers that the dad in question is Gregory Jones, the man she loved and lost.

The single dad is working himself to the bone to give his boys the Christmas of their dreams, when all they want is some family time. Time that includes a new mommy. If Sarah can learn to open her heart, she may receive the most wonderful present of all—a family of her own.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

New Wine in Old Skins

Linda Goodnight here, marveling at God.

Remember that scripture in the Bible about putting new wine in old skins? Well, we have a rather convulted metaphor of that going on at our house. The old skins are my husband Gene and me. The new, fresh, sweet and delightful wine is Maria, a beautiful 13 year old Ukarinian child that we are adopting! The story of just how God brought Maria into our family is long, but it was clearly His doing and His will. She is revitalizing these old skins, giving us great joy, and we just couldn't be more delighted - or stunned - at what the Lord has done.

Right now, we are debating home school or a Christian school instead of the public school where I teach. Do any of you home school? Anyone attend or have their kids attend a Christian school? Both are new arenas for me, so all advice is appreciated!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Lyn Cote & Her Son's Halloween Wedding


Lyn Cote here! I'm about to become a mother-in-law. That title usually elicits groans, tight smiles or dumb jokes. But I am happy and ready to be a mother-in-law. Above is a photo of my future daughter-in-law, standing with her back to the lake we live on. Don't you love that smile?

This is our son with the wind in his hair! This photo was taken when he was driving our boat on the lake this summer. This was the third summer that Andrew has brought Janet north to visit us and I think the "Up north" bug has bitten her. She was excited about coming --except for the 6-7 hour drive. Oh, well, she'll get used to it. I did!


And here is Janet in her bridal gown. Isn't she lovely?

Andy and Janet chose the final Saturday in October as their wedding day. This year that is Halloween! Janet is a bit tired of guests asking her if they should come in costume. She, however, can testify that I DIDN'T ask that.

I will be wearing an appropriate mother of the groom dress in Eggplant. * GRIN* I've eaten eggplant but this is the first time I will be wearing it.

Anyway, I haven't asked the wedding couple if they have given any thought yet to the fact that on every wedding anniversary, they will be home passing out candy. They'll have to deal with that!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Chokecherries and aprons

Janet Tronstad here, thinking of fall and the symbols of our lives. Why is it that fall makes me think more than, say, spring? I wonder if it's because I was born in a snow blizzard and realize instinctively that winter is a time for reflection. Anyway, I talked to our local RWA writer's group recently about the use of symbols in our books. One of the ones I talked about was something I used in my Dry Creek series in the book about Mrs. Hargrove. I used the chokecherry to symbolize how tough she was as a Montana farmwife (as opposed to the woman her husband had an affair with who she saw as a hothouse peach). I think a book with a symbol adds extra emotional punch. I also believe that we can use symbols in our lives to help us see who we are at different stages. My sister cherishes aprons from various phases of her life and those have become symbols for her. I have different 'mood' necklaces that symbolize different stages of my life (a necklace of colorful marbles, one of silver coins, one of white pearls). Do you have objects that symbolize different parts of your life, or different seasons?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Hero Interview from Soldier Daddy

Hero's interview for Soldier Daddy by Cheryl Wyatt:

1. Aaron, Petrowski, tell me the most interesting thing about you.
I have the honor of being a commander over three elite USAF Pararescue Teams, one of which is located in Refuge, Illinois near an unmapped military base.

2. What do you do for fun?
I love to skydive, which is good considering it's also my job. I also love to spend time with my twin toddlers, one of whom has an imaginary gaggle of geese. Interestingly, the geese are military birds by nature. My son has them all named and ranked and well as their personalities pegged. LOL!

3. What do you put off doing because you dread it?
Going through my late-wife's stuff. She was killed by an impaired driver when our boys were eight weeks old. She was returning to work against my wishes because she found she didn't like being a stay-at-home mother. I sincerely regret that our last conversation was an argument regarding her desire to return to work.

4. What are you afraid of most in life?
My boys growing up unhappy and without a mother. I don't fear losing another spouse as much as I fear my boys going through the loss that took me out of Pararescue for three hard years. But I'm back in action now...if I can manage to snag this new nanny.

5. What do you want out of life?
I want my boys to feel secure and I want my PJ teams to be the best they can be and to be able to help our community in their downtime. Refuge had a bridge collapse last year and my return to work will enable me to institute programs that will boost morale in the community.

6. What is the most important thing to you?
Faith. People. Rescue. My relationship with God, my sons, my PJ teams and my sister Ashleigh as well as my live-in housekeeper, Mina. I'm also growing pretty fond of the new nanny. Did I mention she's gorgeous? My career is also very important to me.

7. Do you read books? If so, what is your favorite type of book?
I read Pararescue and other military manuals. I read Intel briefs from superiors. If I read fiction, it must be action-adventure or military. Love my country and the men and women who serve it.

8. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
That I didn't try harder to grab my grief by the throat and suffocate it rather than letting it suffocate me. The new nanny has taught me a lot about how to bring happiness into our home. My boys laugh more these days since hiring her than in all their years combined. I'm ashamed of that, the fact that I didn't come out of my own gloom enough to run with the boys through sprinkler and just go on living despite my loss. I have a fresh outlook on life now. I'm excited for what the future holds. And I hope it holds the nanny.

9. Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet?
Well, funny you should ask. (Chuckles.) For various reasons, which you will see once you read our story, my skip tracing sister Ash can't stand the nanny. There's tremendous animosity there. Sarah (nanny) is terrified of rodents. Ash, knowing that, bought the boys guinea pigs for their birthday. So, yes, we have pets, if one could call the skittering furballs that. They are quite cute, except the day one got loose when Sarah was in the house alone...

10. If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why?
I would go back to the night my wife died. Beg her not to leave. But then again, God is sovereighn. My boys never got to know their mom except through stories, but I have a feeling God has another mother on their horizon, as well as another wife for me...(eyes the nanny and smiles).

Saturday, October 17, 2009

FEATURED BOOK: SOLDIER DADDY BY CHERYL WYATT

U.S. Air Force commander Aaron Petrowski leads pararescue teams, yet can't find one nanny for his three-year-old twins? The widowed father is returning to duty, but not without the best care for his beloved boys. So when Sarah Graham applies, the young woman surprises everyone by passing inspection. Until Aaron discovers Sarah has a secret tied to a tragedy in his past. He can't keep her in his employ—or in his heart. Until his brave little soldier boys teach him a thing or two about love.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Taking a Breath, by Carol Steward


Good Morning everyone! I can't believe it's been three weeks already. Last night as I was cleaning the house for my Mom's 78th birthday party, I found a rock that I received at the ACFW conference. It says "Breathe" and that's a great reminder for me. I get going so much that I sometimes forget to slow down.
I must be growing up, because it just seems like the school year started. This photo was fall on my campus , and my home is actually in the neighborhood just to the left. Odd that it took me so long to start working at the university when I practically live on the campus. For those who have prayed for my coworker, I wanted to quickly update you. She went to be with the Lord two weeks ago. We're thrilled for her to be healthy again, but miss her so much as we don't hear her say "Good Morning" each day and we've lost a wealth of information to our office. We're learning to carry on and appreciate how much she gave to all of us. It's brought all of us much closer and I know she'd be happy for that.


I don't know if all of you heard about the wild event in Colorado yesterday with the 6-year old and his father's experimental aircraft, which happened to be floating around in the sky (and very close to going over my house) for almost three hours and landed just outside of Denver International Airport airspace. If not, check it out, it's a crazy story. http://www.9news.com/video/default.aspx?aid=86980 For 5 hours, they thought the little boy had been on the aircraft, and I was sick with worry for their family. I know how that frightened little boy felt, too afraid to come out because he heard his father yelling in fear that he'd been on that "UFO" (can't make myself call it a balloon, it looks like a flying saucer to me). When I watched that video live, I worried that he had in fact fallen out somewhere along the way. I also remember a time when I was three and had hidden in a wood box of blankets and heard how mad my mom was when she was looking for me. I didn't want to face that either. I thought how wonderful it would be if this little boy had done the same, afraid that he'd be in big trouble for letting the aircraft go. What an unexpected happy ending.
So, since my life has been a little crazy, I thought I'd share a recipe that we pulled out of our recipe box last week and fell in love with. I substituted applesauce for half of the oil, and it was delicious, both batches. :)
Pumpkin Bars
4 extra large eggs
1 cup veg oil - or 1/2 cup oil and 1/2 cup applesauce
2 cups sugar
Beat eggs, oil, (applesauce) and sugar until light, then add:
1 (15 oz) can of pumpkin
Sift all dry ingredients together, then gradually add to the pumpkin mixture:
2 cups unsifted flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp of each ginger, cloves, nutmeg
For cookie bars, pour into a greased jelly roll pan, 17" x 11" or into 10" x 15" for cake. Bake on center rack in 375 degree oven for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool and frost with cream cheese frosting.
Frosting recipe, 2 Tbsp butter, 3 oz cream cheese, about a pound of powdered sugar, 1 tsp of vanilla, and 2-4 Tbsp of milk.
Add a cup of coffee or milk and ENJOY!
Breathe and enjoy your weekend!
Carol

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Whoops! Fall Stuff


Sorry for this going up late. I thought I scheduled it but I think Blogger burped or something because it didn't post.

Fall is my favorite time of year. I live in a woodsy area so the forests are starting to look like an earth-toned rainbow scrolling by my window as I drive down the road.

I love pumpkin pie and scarecrows. I love deep purple mums and rust colored mums in big thick bunches. I love the smell of cider bubbling and the taste of cinnamon. I love camping this time of year, cooking on a campfire and roasting marshmallows. It's cool enough for a hoodie but not cold enough to require a heavy coat yet.

These are all things I love about fall.

I'd love to know your favorite season and why. I'd love to hear what your favorite part of fall is too.

The cover of my October book depicts fall well. I love the artist's rendition of the twins tossing leaves in the air. Soldier Daddy is still in stores but only for a few more days. Hope you hurry and get your copy. Let me know what you think of it.

Talk away!

Happy Fall,

Cheryl Wyatt

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Trick or Treat!


I'm not about to start a discussion here about whether or not you support the concept of Halloween, or participate in it, or actively protest it. That's a post for another day =)

However, with the upcoming "holiday" I would like to branch out for a minute and let's discuss creative ways of marketing - be that marketing your books as an author, or be that marketing your faith. (in some cases, it's both!)

Every year, my church hosts a carnival on Halloween night. They do this to provide an alternative to keep kids off the street and away from the potential dangers of the holiday. They have costume contests, games, a TON of candy, cake walks, 50 cent hot dogs for sale, etc. It's a blast for everyone, no matter what age you are. I can't wait to take my daughter this year. For all you fellow Louisiana-ians, you'll appreciate this. She's going to be an LSU cheerleader. =)

Anyway, I know marketing is a big discussion right now and an imperative part of an author's life. We're always looking for new ways to promote our books and our fellow author's books, and it dawned on me - why not at Halloween? If you are staying home and answering the door that night to hand out candy to your neighbors kids, why not stick a copy of your newest release in their trick bags along with the fun size chocolate bars? Or better yet, make a little "package" and tie some candy onto the book that relates to the story.

The children might not be excited about the book, but they'll tear the candy off and hand the book over to Mom. Bingo! New potential fan.

Consider doing the same with your friend's books. Invest in a few copies at Walmart and help boost their sales and pass out a few for them. If we all did this for each other, think what it could do - we'd be reaching a whole new niche of readers.

If you're like me and attending a carnival somewhere, then bring the books along and donate them as door prizes. Or like with the cake walk - maybe the winner receives a book and a cake!

These ideas cost us a little out of pocket but think of it as receiving back in two-fold. First of all, you're investing in new readership, and secondly (and most importantly) you're marketing your faith. You're taking what many consider to be an evil holiday and fighting back with the Truth and Light of Christ.

So get creative this year! And please post and let us know if you take this advice. =)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

My Weekend at the Emerald City Conference

Hi eveyone, Terri Reed here. Just got back last night from the annual Emerald City Writiers conference held in Bellevue Washington. I had a great time connecting with old and new friends, going to workshops where I gleaned valuable information from the various presenters and even gave a workshop titled The Anatamoy of a Well Layered Story and used examples from my current story featured on the eharlequin site titled Yuletide Peril. http://www.eharlequin.com/article.html?articleId=1437

This regional conference is hosted by the Great Seattle chapter of Romance Writers of America. There was two hundrend and fifty attendees not to mention the edtiors and agents that also attended and gave workshops. Things I learned this weekend: 1)I need a strategic plan for my career thanks to Bob Mayer's Warrior Writer workshop, plus lots of info on the miliatry inBob's Military for Writers workshop, 2) tips on self-editing given by historical author Debra Mullins, 3)the ins and outs of writing a series (connected books)information provided by the wonderful Alexis Morgan and Pat White, 4) tips on tightening my writing given by author Megan Chance--whom I adore. She's one of the first authors I met when I decided to jump on this crazy ride of writing romance.
Here's a photo from the conference
(from left to right) Alexis Morgan, Jane Porter,
Christina Arbini, Pat White and Me-Terri Reed.

Monday, October 12, 2009

To Market, To Market...

Pamela Tracy here, and today's topic is marketing.

As an author, right now I'm very much like a person holding on to a kite. The kite, of course, is my latest book. Used to be, all an author had to do was write the book, and when it hit the stands, she would let go of the kite and off it would fly. "Bye, bye, Book. Please sell a million copies!" Nowadays, writers cannot let go of the string. Nope, we're on the ground with something akin to a GPS system and we're trying to figure out where to best aim our kite (er, book).
I've done some things. Have they worked? I dunno. Early on, think first 15 books, I pretty much let other people yell, "Hey, you, over there with the kite, do you wanna....?" With that attitude, I managed to once be mentioned in RWA Romance Sells magazine. I also took my kite to whatever event my local RWA offered. So, go ahead and picture me at booksignings, Book Expos, Women's Expos, and even a signing or two on a college or university campus. My kite didn't stand out much, but it did fly.


Then, at about book fifteen, suddenly, I made a leap. I call it making my way to the next leg of the ladder. See, I'd written a book called The Good, the Bad, and the Romantic. I knew it was different almost from page one. It felt right. I'd finally figured out my voice (Yup, I did say book fifteen). With that book, I got an agent. That book sold to a different publisher. They changed the name of that book to Pursuit of Justice. That book was a RITA finalist and more. Now, suddenly, my kite needed to be a little bigger, maybe a bit more independent, and I definitely needed some lessons in how to fly. My first stumble, and it was a stumble, was postcards. Yup, sent them out. Yup, instead of getting regular size, I bought the deluxe. Who knew postage was more. From there I went to advertising in RT and getting my website and blogging (Yes, you're looking at one of those blogs) and more.


Why am I rambling about all this? LOL. Here's why. Saturday, I made it to the newspaper. Getting a write-up has always been a goal of mine. I listen to my writer friends as they discuss press kits (haven't done one) and such. I figured I'd need to come at it from a different angle, so I simply emailed a journalist who'd done a most excellent article on "Moms Who Write". Instead of offering simple "I'm a Writer!", I offered "I'm a writer; my sister-in-law is a writer, and my father-in-law's girlfriend is a writer." Then, I mentioned that my husband is a plumber; my brother-in-law is a plumber, and my father-in-law is a retired plumber. Then I mentioned that my sister-in-law fixed me up with my husband on a blind date. Then I mentioned that my sister-in-law and I fixed our father-in-law up with a romance writer on a blind date.


I did the romance writer and plumber angle a bit too well. The news article focused on that. As for my writing career... well, the article did mention that I was a Harlequin writer. And, once, I was referred to as the Romance Queen. Hehehehe.


However, it's a great and well-written article (Thank you, Sonja. Thank you, Sonja. Thank you!) Yesterday, as I walked to the grocery store, the barbershop lady opened the door and yelled, "Hey, Pam, I love how you met your husband!" Today at church, friends brought me the newspaper so I'd have extra copies. They all loved how I met my husband. They didn't care that I'm a romance writer. LOL. They were too interested in the real romance. Kinda kewl, eh?


I'll cherish this article forever (and so will my husband because he got the only blocked quote), even as I aim my kite for a different marketing idea.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Heroine Interview from Dreaming of Home

Interview with the heroine of DREAMING OF HOME (Steeple Hill Love Inspired October 2009) by Glynna Kaye:

1. MEGAN McGUIRE tell me the most interesting thing about you. Oh, wow. Most interesting, huh? I thought you said these questions would be EASY. I don’t know that I’m the best person to answer this. Maybe you should ask Joe Diaz. ☺

2. What do you do for fun? Oooh, now that’s a much easier question. I love teaching science to high school kids. Yes, I honestly DO find that fun! And I love anything having to do with being around water. I grew up in Phoenix, so swimming pools were a way of life almost year-round. And water skiing, boating, float trips. Even fishing. (I think the fishing revelation kind of blew Joe away.) And speaking of fun, hanging out with that good-lookin’ Joe and his cute son Davy tops the list!

3. What do you put off doing because you dread it? I don’t like confrontation. Or having to say something or do something that might possibly hurt someone’s feelings or make them angry. Or cleaning the bathroom.

4. What are you afraid of most in life? Of not taking the time to listen to what God has to say and subsequently getting myself far off track from where he wants me to be. I know he can find me, bring me back, but I’d rather stick as close to him as I can to begin with.

5. What do you want out of life? No major regrets. I want to look back on my life and know that I lived it to the full as best that God has enabled me in the time he’s allotted. I want to know that my time on earth has made a positive difference in someone else’s life—like my students as well as Joe, and Davy.

6. What is the most important thing to you? God. Family. Teaching. Dark chocolate.

7. Do you read? If so, what is your favorite type of book to read? I read everything from newspapers to the backs of cereal boxes. Fiction. Non-fiction. You name it.

8. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I’d trust God more. Or ______ SOMETHING FUNNY

9. Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet? Skooter is my blue betta (also known as a Siamese Fighting Fish, so he’s got spunk!). I read somewhere that aquariums are good stress relievers and since I’ve been going through a really hard time in my life …well, my little blue buddy and I have become fast friends. He’s a great listener!

10. If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why? I’d love to go back to Canyon Springs at the time my Aunt Julie lived there. She’s always told such wonderful stories about small town life and how her teachers there inspired her. In fact, her stories inspired me to be a teacher and put the dream of teaching in Canyon Springs in my heart. Growing up in metropolitan Phoenix, I’d love to experience the town as it was when she was young, even for just a few days.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

FEATURED BOOK: DREAMING OF HOME BY GLYNNA KAYE

Fresh out of the military, widower Joe Diaz is determined to raise his young son alone. But his next-door neighbor Meg McGuire has set her sights on the same house—and teaching job—as Joe! He's all about family now, not romantic entanglements, and he won't give up without a fight. But what about little Davy, who's growing more attached to Miss Meg every day? Or Joe, who finds himself dreaming of a home and family with the one woman in town who could take it all away?

Friday, October 9, 2009

Promises

Merrillee here, wondering whether there is anything quite so lovely as a rainbow. On a recent trip to Niagara Falls, I took this photo. A rainbow had formed in the mist that rises from the falls. Every time I see a rainbow, I remember the story of Noah and how God placed a rainbow in the sky to signify His promise that we read about in Genesis 9:13-16. "13 I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. 16 Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth."

What a beautiful reminder of God's covenant. So every time we see a rainbow, we have a reminder that God is faithful. He will keep his promises. I like these two verses found in 2 Peter.

2 Peter 3:9 "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance."

2 Peter 3:13 "But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness."

Please share some of your favorite rainbows and God's promises.
Merrillee

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Margie Lawson's deep edits class



After the ACFW conference I (Margaret Daley) went to Margie Lawson's house (stayed in a nice inn next door) in the mountains outside Denver. There were six of us in the class and it was fantastic (picture above at the Mexican restaurant we ate at). I recommend it for any writer. A lot of hands on illustrations and examples as well as working on your own book (picture below of me, Vickie and Angie working on our books).

We had two dinners out--one in Boulder at the Russian Tea Room with Joan Johnston (picture below) and the other about three minutes from Margie's house which is on the side of a mountain. The view from her house is gorgeous. I went walking a couple of days and drank in my surroundings (picture above). And on top of all that it snowed for three days. The neat thing was the snow didn't stick to the road--only the ground. Beautiful (picture below of me and the snow--first of the season--started falling on the first day of Fall).


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Rainy days and Mondays--Lenora Worth


Yesterday was a cool damp Monday. It rained all day Sunday, making for a lazy afternoon after church. I had the blues yesterday since we heard the news that a friend and fellow Steeple Hill writer had died of cancer. It's never easy knowing someone has died but this one hit me hard since I've lost several friends to this awful disease. But what can you say about cancer? While scientists and doctors do their research and we walk or run races to find cures and hold fundraisers to raise money for cancer research, it's still a horrid disease that takes people way too early from this life.

We've written about this in our stories, hoping to help our readers make sense of things such as this, hoping to give people a bit of comfort in knowing that God is always there with us, during the worst of times. And our faith will help us through this loss, this sadness that weighs us down at times such as this. So I will pray for the family left behind. I will pray for those who hear from their doctor this week that they, too, have cancer. I will pray for a cure and for comfort until there is a cure. And we can all keep fighting the good fight, running the race, until we find a way to stamp out this disease. Okay, I think I need chocolate. Lots of chocolate. And I need someone out there to say something funny to make me laugh or tell me about the kicking pair of shoes you found on the clearance rack last weekend.
That would help a lot right now. Chocolate anybody?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Doing What I Love To Do-Create A New Book

Hi Y'all, Debbie Clopton here! I'm always excited when I get to start a new book. I've just began working on my next one and the creative process is clicking away in my brain. The problem is when I'm in that stage I'm distracted in every other part of my life. I don't have any desire to pay bills, check email, write blogs LOL ;-) I just want to work on the book. But life goes on around me and so must I. I get tickled when I talk to people and they ask me where I get my ideas--or they tell me they don't know how I can write that many words. See, my problem is that I have to go into this brain of mine and sort and choose which ideas to make into a book. There are so many of them I have to figure out which ones get to come out an get created. The same thing with writing so many words, I'm long winded actually and books come easier to me than writing sort blogs, or letters, or emails. I guess we are all wired differently and a writer is wired to love to do all the things that others think would be hard about writing.

So today I'm feeling great and ready to do what I love, create a story. How about you--what do you love to do?

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Hero Interview from Silent Night in Dry Creek

Interview with the hero from Silent Night in Dry Creek by Janet Tronstad:

1. Wade Sutton, tell me the most interesting thing about you. I do what the regular sheriff’s don’t want to do. Undercover with drugs, surveillance of suspects, that kind of thing. Some days it’s pretty exciting.

2. What do you do for fun? The most fun I’ve had lately is helping this woman fly like an angel in the Christmas pageant in Dry Creek. You should come see it.

3. What do you put off doing because you dread it? That would be telling that same woman I’m crazy about her.

4. What are you afraid of most in life? Ending up a lonely old man like my grandfather. Have you met him? Then you know what I mean.

5. What do you want out of life? I used to think it was finding justice, but justice doesn’t keep any one warm at night.

6. What is the most important thing to you? Being able to look in the mirror at night and know I did okay,

7. Do you read books? If so, what is your favorite type of book? I’ve started reading thrillers on my stake-outs. They keep me awake.

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

9. Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet? A pet? I can’t even keep my plant watered.

10. If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why? I love the Old West.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

FEATURED BOOK: SILENT NIGHT IN DRY CREEK BY JANET TRONSTAD

It's Christmas in Dry Creek. For private investigator Wade Sutton, the town holds too many memories—none of them fond—of his childhood. Yet he can't say no when the sheriff asks him to secretly watch over a woman who might be in danger. "Helping" lovely Jasmine Hunter with the church's Christmas celebration does more for his bruised heart than he wants to admit. As does being back on his family's farm. But he can't stay in Dry Creek. Unless…Jasmine gives him a reason to call it home again.

Friday, October 2, 2009

It's me again!

Valerie Hansen, reporting for duty!



I'm still a techno-phobe but here I am. Almost on time. (tried to drag this "smile" closer)


And, since I am here, I'll tell you all some news that I just learned late yesterday. I'm going to be one of the six authors participating in a new series for Love Inspired suspense! I'm delighted and excited and all those great adjectives. All I know so far is that it involves the Texas Rangers and is contemporary.




If I had any notion that the Lord was not in the details, I have to tell you that unbeknownst to anyone, I had recently bought a TX history book that covers that, among other things. What a laugh. Hey, maybe that's the "secret" that we've all been looking for. Just pursue an interesting subject on your own and you'll have a new job drop into your lap. Not.



Anyway, here I sit, waiting by the phone for details and writing my blog entry like a good little author. Well, maybe not THAT good. I am drinking chocolate coffee. :)



Hugs to you all and now that you know the secret to sales, enjoy it!

Val

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Finding Gems


Missy Tippens, here. Okay, so finding gems might be a misleading title for my post. I didn't find a diamond or rubies. What I'm talking about finding is...photos. Photos that I just found on my cell phone today! :)





So I thought I'd share a fun story with you that happened back in July on our beach vacation.


The day we checked out and were leaving the condo, I saw a gorgeous view from the parking deck. Yes, even the parking deck had a view in this great place! So as we were driving off, I yelled for my husband to halt the car so I could snap a few photos (and take one last look at the beach--which is always sad for me). I grabbed my phone and climbed out.


This is the beautiful blue and white and green of the Alabama Gulf. Gorgeous. And such a perfect day made it difficult to leave.

Then I turned and snapped the next photo while breathing in the fresh air, hoping that we'd be able to come back to the same place next year.

Then I turned around...and my family and vehicle were gone! Vanished. No sounds. No honking and waving. No quiet sneaking away. I'd been so wrapped up in the scenery that I'd lost total track of time.


Well, I knew they hadn't forgotten about me and left. Or at least I hoped they hadn't! LOL I figured they'd opted to give mom a scare. So I walked out of the parking deck. Still no car.

I walked toward the main highway and looked for them. Nothing.

They'd really pulled a good one on me! Then it hit me that they may have gone up to a higher level on the deck.

About the time I reached the bottom of the ramp, here they came. The last photo is the one I snapped as they acted like they were going to pass me by. You can even see my reflection (snapping said photo) in the side of the car if you look.

What fun! Don't you love it when you can laugh with someone you love?