Monday, November 30, 2009

What makes a friend?


This is Janet Tronstad here, musing about friends I've never met. Cheryl's post on Friday about the fire on their property (their business, not their house) prompted me to think about the friends I have on the internet. I've never met most of them and probably never will. Yet, I count them as friends (and in more than the facebook, you're-on-my-list kind of a way). I never was much of a letter writer, but I imagine this is something like having a roomful of pen pals. Some you know a little better than others, but the daily life of each one matters to you. This is, for me, a blessing of the age in which we live. Today I'd like to single out one of those becoming-friends people -- AusJenny -- for special appreciation. Obviously, we've not met and we're just getting to know each other in various online places (here and Goodreads, mostly), but I'm enjoying learning more about her. I think her struggle with her mom is one I relate to as my own parents are getting to the frail state and I wonder what to do for them. If you have someone you'd like to 'appreciate' today, feel free to leave a comment here and say so. Being cyber friends is a good thing, let's celebrate each other. (A regular comment is okay, too -- maybe you just want to thank the community in general).

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Heroine Interview for His Cowgirl Bride


Interview with the heroine for His Cowgirl Bride by Debra Clopton:

1. Tacy Jones, tell me the most interesting thing about you.

Hmmm, I guess the most interesting thing about me is that I want to break horses—not something generally considered a “woman’s” job. But that is it, my dream…and I’m getting shot down from every angle. It could get to me if I let it but then again, I’m a pretty determined gal...growing up with four over-protective brothers and a dad who would have rather I took up sewing it’s pretty self-explanatory. My dad and brothers don’t want me to learn to break horses. Training them is okay but not getting on a green horses and starting from scratch. I had to move away from them in order to make it happen.

2. What do you do for fun?

I ride Rabbit, my horse and I work with horses to train them…I’m good at what I do I just want to take it to the next level. I also love to teach Birdy, my Blue Heeler new tricks.


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

I don’t put many things off. I’m pretty motivated.

4. What are you afraid of most in life?

Not living life on my terms. I mean, I know that God has a plan for me and I want to learn what that is and live up to His plan. But my fear is that if I give into everyone else’s plan for my life that I won’t have done what I’m supposed to do. Does that make senses? Do you get what I’m saying?

5. What do you want out of life?

I want my own place where I can train and break horses and raise Blue Heeler puppies. After I get my own place then I want to find a husband—who can appreciate me for the woman I am—one who won’t try to hold me down. God put this desire in me to work with these horses and my talent lies there so I want to see where it leads me. Surely God put a man out there who will like that—who will love that about me.

6. What is the most important thing to you?

Being all that I’m supposed to be.

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

I don’t have time to read books, but I read most magazines that have to do with the horse industry. That’s where I read a few articles about Brent Stockwell—the bronc buster who was on his way to winning the championship a couple of years ago and then disappeared suddenly. Oh—I guess I should say that I also happened to read about him when I was standing in line at the grocery store—you know off of those gossip magazines front cover. The man has movie star face that the cameras loved and so did the ladies. (Sigh)…I kind of hated to see the cowboy with so much potential throwing away his talent because he got sidetracked by his stupidity. (I guess that wasn’t a very nice thing to say was it?) But really, the dude was sooo talented and could have gone all the way but he threw it all away for a ditzy blonde and the limelight.

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

Well, I guess there are a bunch of folks who wish I wasn’t so headstrong. But I’m okay with most everything about me…except like everyone I need to read my Bible more and build my personal relationship with God.


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

Yes, my horse Rabbit and my Blue Heeler Birdy. I love horses as you can tell. But my dog is a Blue Heeler because they are just such sweet natured, intelligent animals.

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

I’m happy right where I am. I mean there’s lots of problems, times are tough, but I know God has a plan. Not just for me but for everyone. Besides, I just moved here to Mule Hollow to make my dream of learning to break horses a reality. Why would I want to go anywhere else? And this is a pretty cute little place, the people are about as friendly as they come. ..and cowboys—oh my goodness, if a gal was interested in getting hitched to a hunky cowboy well gals, let me tell you, this is the little town to find him. But of course, I’m not looking right now, but if I was I’ve definitely come to the right place.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

FEATURED BOOK: HIS COWBOY BRIDE BY DEBRA CLOPTON

Tacy Jones had come to Mule Hollow to learn how to train wild horses. But former rodeo champion Brent Stockwell might as well carry a sign saying ""No Cowgirls Allowed."" If Brent doesn't think ladies belong in the pen, determined Tacy will just have to change his mind. When Tacy learns the secret behind his stance, she longs to help him heal. She's ready to show the handsome cowboy that taking a chance on your dream is what life—and love—is all about.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Cheryl Wyatt with Thanksgiving Despite Difficulties


Cheryl Wyatt here. Most years are a joyous occasion for our family during the holidays. But some years are difficult due to hardship or loss that occurs during the season. I didn't want this post to be a downer but I can't help but think about the people for whom today is hard.

Night before last, our family business, the one my husband has built for two decades, burned.

The building--which housed seven small businesses and equipment for the same...total loss. I lost count of how many nearby towns sent firetrucks and firemen to help...most of whom work on a volunteer basis and have jobs outside their homes. Today I'm thankful for them. I'm thankful they got there within minutes.

I'm thankful for neighbors who rushed outside and came around us, arms encircling my waist, as the building burned. I'm thankful no one was injured when things, vehicle gas tanks, etc. started exploding. I'm thankful the steel beams didn't break with firemen inside. I'm thankful that the gas main, located in the hottest part of a fire that raged above the tree tops and spanned the diameter of the structure, did not break. Had that happened, it would have caused a tremendous explosion which could have injured or killed firefighters. I'm thankful for EMTs and Paramedics who came to standby and hydrate firemen and women with water and be ready to administer oxygen when smoke became too much. I'm thankful that a couple of my husband's crews had vehicles out after working so that meant they weren't in the building when it burned. It also means they can keep skeleton crews running and all his employees paychecks coming in during holidays.

He has many employees who support their families, wife and children, with the job. I'm thankful those employees rushed to come support my husband when they heard the business was burning. They offered moral support and comic relief for my husband during a tough time. I'm thankful for a sense of humor that enabled me to laugh when I tripped over a fire hose (those things do NOT budge) and re injured the knee I chipped in a wreck two years ago. LOL!

I'm thankful for the paramedic who reminded me that I'd just brainstormed a story about a fire department that burned and here's first hand research and gently suggested I should take notes.

That made me remember that the series before this, I wrote about a woman who broke her ankle in a bridge collapse, then two months later I was hit by an impaired driver and...you guessed it...fractured my ankle and crushed my foot.

I responded to the EMT, who is a friend, that I think from now on I will write about people who win the lottery.

I'm thankful for insurance.

I'm thankful for people who kept the moment light when I could have stood there sobbing instead. Somehow, despite our livelihood literally going up in smoke, I found moments to laugh. I'm thankful for two writer friends, Camy and Dream, who were ready to hop planes that instant and come be with my husband and I who live in Illinois. They live in Denver and California. And I know they would have had I said, "Come." Camy literally did fly in when I had to have a series of surgeries after the wreck. She was a tremendous help to my family.

So today, our family has a lot to be thankful for despite the difficulty and that it will probably take a year to get everything even halfway what it was. God will provide, of that I have no doubt. I'm thankful for the calls and emails of support and for all the people who are praying.

If you are having a difficult day today because of loss or heartache or hardship, please know you are in my thoughts and prayers. It's not a happy time for everyone but God is very, very near to the broken-hearted and He saves those who are crushed in spirit. He is thankful for YOU. Praying that you have a strong sense of His presence today and that He overwhelms you with peace and joy, friends and family to buoy you this day and this season.

I'm thankful that for most of you, today will be a joyous occasion. Enjoy your family and your friends and yummy food. God bless you and yours.

Cheryl Wyatt

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Black Friday approaches...

Ok, spill it. Are you going to shop Black Friday, or not?




Are you one of the brave souls who don extra layers for protection from both the elements and crazed housewives searching for sales and head out into the price sticker storm, or do you prefer to stay safely tucked in the house in your PJs, eating leftover turkey sandwiches and pumpkin pie and see what madness pops up on the news at 6:00?



I used to be in the first category. I used to think there was something exciting and fun about getting up at the crack of dawn, throwing my hair in a ponytail, grabbing my jacket, and heading out with my mom and grandma to get ridiculously good prices. We'd usually shop for hours then head home, exhausted, realizing it was only 9:00 and way too early for the lunch our tummies demanded. Great memories!



Yet now that I live out in the boonies and have a toddler, I'm thinking the stores would have to actually pay me to shop there in order for me to budge from my cozy country haven! I'll live vicariously through others this year. And the next. And the next. And the next... =)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

In two days we celebrate Thanksgiving. My little family unit will be going to a family friends house where we'll have a combnation of the all American turkey (we're in charge of the bird) and an Irish dinner of corned beef and cabbage (the host is making). Other guests will be providing the side dishes. It should be a fun filled day. A day that I'll hopefully remember because I have no recollection of last year's Thanksgiving. Last fall I had a major medical emergency and was in and out of the hosptial or loopy on drugs from the beginning of October to about April. Needless to say the most importand thing I'm thankful for this year is--- I'm here.
What are you thankful for?

Monday, November 23, 2009

I'm Making a List: Checking it Twice

Pamela Tracy here, thinking about life and goals. I really am one of those strange people who happen to be list makers. I was reminded of this on Saturday morning as I was frantically trying to gather my belongings to I could head to a library to give a talk. I had a list of all I needed to take with me: 1) Notes for my workshop 2) Handouts 3) Fliers advertising Amanda Cabot and Tosca Lee's upcoming workshop 4) Pens with the Craftie Ladies' logo on them, and 5) Love Inspired bookmarks . Wha wasn't on my list was the bag to put them in. I finally settled on the ACFW bag still waiting paitiently, in the corner of my office, for me to notice it.

Oh, cool. I forgot about the great black notebook. Pens! There are about a dozen pens in the bottom! Here's the conference program with a Craftie Ladies ad in it. What's this pink piece of paper? Ah, my list of goals, made in Karen Ball's workshop.

My list of five short-term writing goals are
1) put out three books a year
2) get invited to a continuity
3) earn a royalty check that's over [secret number here]
4) win a RITA
5) get picked to do a workshop at Nationals

So, guess which one happened.
Then, what are your five short-termed goals (I have long-termed goals too btw)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Hero Interview from A Forever Christmas


Interview with the hero from A Forever Christmas by Missy Tippens:

1. Gregory, tell me the most interesting thing about you.
I’ve always known what I wanted to do with my life—own my own business. I started my landscaping and lawn maintenance business right out of high school and have done pretty well for myself.

2. What do you do for fun?
Fun? Well, I have to admit I’m a workaholic. But I’m learning to spend more time with my kids. And I’ve always enjoyed Sunday dinners at my dad’s house.

3. What do you put off doing because you dread it?
Easy. The laundry. Always hated doing it. Always will.

4. What are you afraid of most in life?
Of having someone think I’m not good enough.

5. What do you want out of life?
I want my boys to be happy and healthy and to have everything they need. I’d also like to provide some of the extras. And, I admit, I’m starting to think some about dating again. I’m not really ready, but my family keeps telling me it’s time.

6. What is the most important thing to you?
Being a good provider.

7. Do you read books? If so, what is your favorite type of book?
I don’t really read, other than some non-fiction books and magazines on landscaping and plant care.

8. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I made some big mistakes in high school. If I could do it all over again—and still have my sons—I would go back and make better decisions. I’d also give myself confidence at a younger age (which would probably fix the problem with bad decisions).

9. Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet?
No pets. Just two very active little boys! ;)

10. If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why?
Like I said above, I’d like to go back to high school with more confidence, and would fight for Sarah, the only woman I’ve truly loved. I wouldn’t let her father manipulate me if I had a re-do.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

FEATURED BOOK: A FOREVER CHRISTMAS BY MISSY TIPPENS


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.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Thanksgiving and the Internet

Merrillee here. During this time of year, at least in the United States, we are thinking about being thankful. Thanksgiving is a time to count our blessings. I have many--too many to lists them all. The most important are my faith and my family.

But as a writer, I'm so very thankful for the Internet. Research has become much easier because of the information found there. I can find out hundreds of things just sitting in my chair. For the book I'm working on now, HOMETOWN PROPOSAL (the second book in my Kellerville series), which will be out in August 2010, I've used the Internet to find out about people who work on cruise lines. That is part of my hero and heroine's back story. I've researched things about Cincinnati, Ohio, and the surrounding area because my book is set in an imaginary town in southeastern Ohio close to Cincinnati. I lived in this area over thirty years ago, but I needed more up-to-date information.

There is a two-and-half-year old girl in the story. I needed information about how a child of that age would be talking. There is a site on the Internet for that. I researched toys for children that age. I learned about parade floats because my hero and heroine ride on a float in the town's Fourth of July parade. The heroine's father loves Karaoke, so I studied Karaoke machines and found dozens of songs that my characters could sing.

My hero is in a car accident and breaks his leg. I needed to learn about broken legs. Did you know there are Internet sites where people share their broken leg stories? My characters play wiffle ball on several occasions, so I looked up information about wiffle ball. This was the most entertaining site I found. A guy tells the story of how he came to have a wiffle ball stadium in his yard. I love this story. You can find the story by going to www.youtube and searching for wiffle ball.

What are some of the things you are thankful for? Do you have any interesting Internet sites that you have found?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

One of those Ahh.., moments


Pat Davids, here.
I recently had one of those, Ahh...moments. You know what I mean. One of those tiny treats in life that brightens your day and makes you smile. A small blessing.
My treat came via e-mail. A woman wrote to tell me that her daughter was the cover model on my book, A Family for Thanksgiving. It was Gianna's first modeling job. I'm sure there will be many more. She's really cute, isn't she? The proud mom asked if they could get a copy autographed if they sent me one.
Well sure. Then I thought, wait a minute, I get advance copies. I'll sign them an mail them to her. She objected, wanted to pay for them.
Ha! Suck it up, honey, and take the free ones, I replied. I wasn't about to get paid for this treat. That would spoil it somehow. I asked for a list of name so I could personalize each. I wrote little notes to grandparent, aunt and uncles, and preschool teachers in the front of the books.
It was so cool. Just had to share. What was you latest Ahh.. moment?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Shattered Trust


I have a serial story that is running for November at eHarlequin. A new chapter is posted on Tuesday and Thursday. There are 8 chapters in total. If you miss one, all of the older ones are still up at the web site. There is a tie in with my book that came out in November, Together for the Holidays. Sean O'Neal is David Russell's police partner. David is the hero in Together for the Holidays.

Blurb for Shattered Trust at eHarlequin:
Maddy Greene has faced her share of tragedy, but thanks to her strong faith, she’s still able to see the good in the world. Wanting to make a difference, she’s started volunteering at a local women’s shelter, and she takes her role very seriously—even when it brings her into conflict with jaded Detective Sean O’Neal!

Sean O’Neal has seen the worst the world has to offer. His dedication to his job as a cop and his loss of faith cost him his marriage. So when he meets Maddy Greene, he’s not sure what to make of her generous nature and trust in God. He’s amazed by her willingness to put herself in danger to help a stranger in need. And even though he’s terrible at relationships and is married to his work, he can’t help but want to spend more time with her….

Check out this link to the story:
Shattered Trust story

Tuesday, November 17, 2009



Hello, it's Lenora. Fall is finally here. The leaves are falling in my yard and the morning's are crisp and cool. I love spring and summer, but there is something magical about fall. Pumpkins and hay bales and turkeys roasting in the oven or being fried in a big pot. Stuffing, or dressing, as we call it in the south. Thanksgiving.
This is what fall means to me. One of the best things about fall is watching my Thanksgiving cactus bud and bloom. My mother gave me the first clipping for this plant when I got married almost 35 years ago. It has traveled with me each time we've moved. It took a while for my tiny clipping to produce blooms but when it did, I was delighted. My mother died when I was in my twenties, so each time my cactus blooms I think of her. Sometimes, it waits until Christmas to bloom. And a few times it decided to hold out until Easter. But I can always count on it to make me smile and feel better. My cactus loves filtered light and big windows. And the funny thing, each house we've lived in has had big windows in the living room so the plant had thrived in each of our homes. This plants also reminds me that no matter where I live, God is always there with me, shining through in the sun and in the changing seasons. My pretty cactus offers up a bit of God's beauty to enjoy, a bit of surprise and awe to teach me about life, and a bit of hope that each new season will bring new blessings. And each bloom reminds me of my mother's love for her children. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. I appreciate our many readers and I appreciate being able to write the kind of love stories that also surprise and bless me.

Monday, November 16, 2009

His Cowgirl Bride on shelves now!



It's me, Debra Clopton! I hope everyone is doing well. I am but as always when it is time for me to post a blog I'm on deadline crunch and worrying about what to talk about. So I decided to talk about a few things that are on my mind.

First my book that's on the shelves right now, HIS COWGIRL BRIDE it received a Top Pick 4 1/2 stars from Romantic Times review magazine. I was thrilled. It is a fun book. This is the book that I got the idea for two years ago when I was driving cross country from Texas to Arizona and I saw a Pumpkin Chunking Contest going on. That's where people have built all kinds of machines that will shoot, toss or fling a pumpkin across a field. There was a cannon type gun thingy out there with a long, long barrel on it that was in action as I was driving by. Seeing this going on gave me the idea to have my Mule Hollow Characters have a contest. I could just see Applegate and Stanley competing against Norma Sue and Ester Mae. It was a very fun book to write. I hope you'll grab a copy and come spend time with me and the gang in Mule Hollow. A blurb about the book is here on the sidebar or over at my sight http://debraclopton.blogspot.com/

Then take a good look at this picture. I love it. I think the art department is doing a great job on covers. This one really does convey my story--I think. And my mother and several readers think from the side view like this that this looks like me! What do you think?

And then last, did y'all catch the CMA awards the other night? I caught the last of it and Taylor Swift won everything I saw. She is really doing great--and though I get a tad tired of hearing her sing almost every third song on the radio :) I do like the fact that she sings, and creates songs straight from her heart and is connecting with a group of young listeners in a very positive way. I may be rambling now, since I haven't had just a whole lot of sleep over the weekend (deadline--I love them) I'm always thrilled when I see good role models out there--goodness we need them. When I create characters I like to create strong, characters who could be good role models for all of us. Tacy Jones, my heroine of His Cowgirl Bride is strong, determined and willing to work hard for her dreams. I don't know if this picture looks like me or not but I know that I have this in common with Tacy. I wrote for 13 years while raising a family and running my business. I felt like God had given me a talent that I needed to use and in His timing I was able to sell my first book and now, looking back, I am amazed at what He is doing in my life with my books. He is an awesome God. I love, love, love when readers write me and tell me that I was able to help them in some way, just to escape and laugh, or with a problem that my book is written around that hits home with something in their life. I write my books straight from my heart and pray that you will be blessed in some way by what I've written. Okay, now I have to get back to the book I'm working on right now, can't wait, I'm writing the end and I love that part when everything comes together!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Heroine Interview for The Holiday Husband in Blessing of the Season


Interview with the heroine for Blessing of the Season, The Holiday Husband by Annie Jones:

1. Addie McCoy, tell me the most interesting thing about you.
As the daughter of Star City’s very own “Christmas Lady”, I try hard not to be ‘interesting’. I just want to work at Goodwin’s Department Store and live a quiet, private life. Imagine my surprise when I ended up in the front store window as a publicity stunt!

2. What do you do for fun?
I just graduated from college and come home to my very small town, so right now my mind is on getting a good job, not fun.

3. What do you put off doing because you dread it?
4. What are you afraid of most in life?
Having all eyes on me, drawing attention to myself and being found lacking.

5. What do you want out of life?
A real home, quiet, normal, not like the one I grew up in!

6. What is the most important thing to you?
My faith, love and family. I want to have work that makes me a part of my community and now that I’ve met Nathan Browder, manny to little Jesse Browder, I wonder if I have found those things at last?

7. Do you read? If so, what is your favorite type of book to read?
I love to read romances where two people work together to build a life and home.

8. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
9. Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet?
10. If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why?
The 1950s – and I get to do just that when Nathan Browder and I recreate a publicity stunt, living in the front windows of Goodwin’s Department Store as the perfect family having the perfect Christmas 1950’s style. We learn a lot from the values of that time and discover that where love and family are concerned, things have not changed that much!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Heroine Interview from The Christmas Letter in Blessings of the Season


Interview with the heroine from The Christmas Letter by Brenda Minton in Blessings of the Season:

1. Isabella Grant, tell me the most interesting thing about you. I’m a widow and single mom. Oh, did I mention that my daughter has a vivid imagination and is determined to marry me off? That’s why she mailed the letter.

2. What do you do for fun? Who has time for fun? See above.

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

4. What are you afraid of most in life? My life when my daughter, Lizzie, grows up. My adult life has been about raising her, giving her everything that I can.

5. What do you want out of life? To give my daughter a secure and loving home. I grew up in the system, bounced from home to home. I want more for her. I also want to give her the opportunity to attend dance camp.

6. What is the most important thing to you? My daughter and my faith.

7. Do you read? If so, what is your favorite type of book to read? I read romance novels and I love to watch sappy movies with happy endings. Lizzie thinks I need to stop reading and start living.

8. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I might ‘let go’ a little more.

9. Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet? A cat. It’s independent.

10. If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why? I would love to meet the lady who touched the hem of Jesus’ garment, to ask how she found that much faith.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Val is back!



Valerie Hansen here, and I'm staying!


Good morning from sunny but nippy Arkansas.


The trees are bare, the flowers all but gone, and winter is coming. I don't have to look outside to tell that. All I have to do is walk into my living room where my husband is happily loading wood into the stove to heat the house. Yes, it's messy. But the radiating heat sure feels good on cold winter nights.





This would be a good time of year to be thankful whether it was an official holiday or not. I don't have anything profound to offer except to remember that, even in times when I was sure my life was a terrible mess, the Lord brought me through. Always. Not that I recognized His hand on situations at the time. But looking back can be very enlightening.





Right now I'm writing 2 books at the same time. I don't switch off daily, of course. The historical set in 1906 is about half finished and I'm now spending all my time on a contemporary series with 5 other authors featuring the Texas Rangers.





In Jan. 2010 - does that date seem almost impossible to you, too? - I'll have a historical in stores. Since this site is only for Love Inspired Romance I can't post the cover with the others but I can give you a little peek, here. I LOVE the art work. It really captures the mood and era. Sometimes I think I was born in the wrong century. Then I look at all the conveniences we have now and change my mind!



And, since Missy posted pics of her dogs I have to share my "Charlie Brown" with you. I rescued him when he had been abused and was still healing. We bonded almost immediately and have been best buds for 10 years. Yup, he's getting gray. I, however, am not!


Oh, and since I started by mentioning winter, you'll be glad to know that Charlie has a heater in his dog house and plenty of straw to make his bed. Yes, I do bring him inside, too, but the wood stove keeps the house too hot for his liking. I assure you he's not sad even if that is the way he looks in this picture. Laid back is more like. Give him a squeaky toy and a belly rub and he's happy.

That's all for now. Stay warm and read lots of Love Inspired novels!!!!

Blessings,

Val

Thursday, November 12, 2009

My Four-legged Babies


Missy Tippens here. I was blogging on Wednesday at Novel Journey, and I talked about my writing partner, Duke. He's the black and white spotted baby sitting by my feet in this photo. He always sits curled up beside me while I work on my laptop in the family room. And when it's cool, he likes to sit right on top of my feet! It's so nice to have a writing buddy. It's also nice to have warm feet. :)

I also have a chocolate lab, Libby. She's not as clingy as Duke but makes an appearance when she's hungry.

I adore being able to work at home. I hang out in my p.j.'s and pray no one rings the doorbell! :) I can also eat at my computer during lunch if I like. And I have flexibility in my schedule if my kids have appointments or events at school. This career is my dream come true! I think the dogs like it, too.

Speaking of career... I have a new book out now! 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.



Okay, your turn! Do any of you work at home? If you're retired, do you have pets who keep you company?






Wednesday, November 11, 2009

WHAT IS IT ABOUT THAT BOOK COVER?

Linda Goodnight here. I’ve been thinking about book covers. One of the tasks of Love Inspired authors is to give the art department ideas about what to put on our covers. So far, I’m batting zero. They never use my ideas so obviously I need some help! What kind of cover appeals the most to you as a reader? What is it about a book sitting on a shelf amidst dozens of other perfectly lovely books that catches your eye? Is it something in particular, like a dog or a baby? Or are you captivated by a certain color or a pretty scene? Do you like people on a cover? Or are you drawn to still life covers? I'd love to know your opinion.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Lyn Cote-How to Win 10lbs of Books before Christmas!

Lyn Cote here-
Chapter A Week is a free email subscription. Members receive a chapter a week from two different Christian author's new books each week--a great way to find new authors to read!

If you're not already a member of Chapter A Week, now's the time to join and invite a friend! Here's the link to join. Then read on about one of the periodic book giveaways and how to be included.

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ChapteraWeek/join

Christmas is just around the corner! So we're giving away another ten-pound box of autographed Chapter-a-Week books to one Chapter-a-Week member. If you get a friend to sign up (and they mention your name in their email) you'll be entered twice! The more friends you sign up the more times you'll be entered!

Simply send an email with "Chapter-a-Week Christmas Giveaway" in the subject line to cawcontest(at)gmail(dot)com and you'll be entered in the drawing. We'll draw the winner November 27th, the day after Thanksgiving so the books will arrive in plenty of time for Christmas!

Get your entries in and be sure to tell your friends to sign up for Chapter-a-Week!

To qualify, the return email address must be on the Chapter-a-Week membership list. Continental U. S. residents only, please. Industry professionals should refrain from entering, and though we'd love you to share our books with your friends, these books are not for resale.

Thanks and happy reading!
Your friends at Chapter-a-Week
And I won't be the only Love Inspired Romance author who will be donating books to Chapter A Week!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Fall is a time for charity - in Janet Tronstad's books




Janet Tronstad here, feeling warm and well-fed. Fall is the time when animals and people look around and see if they have made any provisions for the winter. This fall many things in our economy are uncertain and those look-around times may be disheartening for many.


I just recently realized that some of the concern for our economic times has drifted into my recent books. In 'A Silent Night for Dry Creek," my hero is adamant that he doesn't want charity from the little town of Dry Creek even though he needs it. In my novella in "Mistletoe Courtship," it is my heroine who is reluctantly receiving charity. I am amazed because I had no intent of writing about the need to help each other out in hard times, but there it is. Once I realized it, I decided to follow through and ask myself what extra things I am going to do this fall to help people. Our church has a food closet that gives food to hundreds of families. I have brought things to the closet for years, but this fall I am determined to do more. My friend, Kaylene, runs the food closet and she says the lines are longer and longer. I also have a couple of friends who are unemployed and I'm planning to find ways to send some extra money their way. In the midst of all this, I am reminded to be grateful. What things are you planning to help others during this season?




Sunday, November 8, 2009

Heroine Interview for A Family for Thanksgiving


Interview with the heroine for A Family for Thanksgiving by Patricia Davids:

1. Nicki Appleton, tell me the most interesting thing about you.
I’m a preschool teacher and a foster mom. I guess you can tell that I love kids.

2. What do you do for fun?
These days, playing with my foster daughter, Kasey, is fun everyday.

3. What do you put off doing because you dread it?
Updating my mother on my current dating status. She thinks she’ll never be a grandmother, following that, dusting. It’s very low on my list of priorities.

4. What are you afraid of most in life?
You don’t ask easy questions, do you? Right now, I’m afraid something will happen to stop my adoption of Kasey. I’ve been her foster mother for five months. In that time I’ve come to love her like my own child.

5. What do you want out of life?
To be useful and to know that I’m living the life God wants for me.

6. What is the most important thing to you?
Loyalty. Hands down.

7. Do you read? If so, what is your favorite type of book to read?
I’m a romance fan. I love books where things turn out happily ever after.

8. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
The one thing I’d change is this irrational hang up I have about Clay Logan. I don’t know why I can’t get him out of my mind once and for all.

9. Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet?
I don’t have a pet. I like animals. I’ve just never had time for one.

10. If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why?
Now this is an easy question. I’d travel back to my freshman year in high school, the year before my father died and I’d spend way more time with him. I know he’s with God in heaven, but I miss him everyday.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Heroine Interview for Together for the Holidays


Interview with the heroine for Together for the Holidays by Margaret Daley:

1. Lisa Morgan, tell me the most interesting thing about you.
The only reason I’m writing this interview right now is because the Lord saved me from self-destruction. I nearly lost everything, but now I have my life on track.

2. What do you do for fun?
I volunteer at Stone’s Refuge and I love to ride horses and work with different animals.

3. What do you put off doing because you dread it?
Housework—dull and boring.

4. What are you afraid of most in life?
Taking drugs again—I know what happens when you do and I never want to go to that place again.

5. What do you want out of life?
To be a good mother above all else.

6. What is the most important thing to you?
My son, Andy. He is my life.

7. Do you read? If so, what is your favorite type of book to read?
I don’t have a lot of time to read—I’m going to school so I can get a better job. Just recently I was promoted to manager of the restaurant where I work.

8. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I would love to go back into my past and change my teenage years. I made some bad choices. I know it’s not possible, but it would have been great if I’d had a normal childhood.

9. Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet?
I help with the abandoned animals at Stone’s Refuge—so that way I have a lot of different pets from fainting goats, pot bellied pigs, horses, dogs, cats.

10. If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why?
To when I made the first choice to take a drug because I would love to change what I did.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Farewell from Carol Steward, Welcome Carolyne Aarson

Hi and Bye. It's been great fun to participate in the Craftie Ladies. I want to thank you for stopping in and chatting and invite anyone who does need to reach me to do so at carol@carolsteward.com. It's been a very exhausting time at my day job trying to learn what work that my friend who passed away used to do, and now hopefully, we'll be training others to do the work. I mostly wanted to open up this slot for a Love Inspired author with more current releases to have this chance to visit with our wonderful readers and friends. So please welcome Carolyne Aarsen every third Friday in my place. We've "written together" as Love Inspired authors since the early years of the line. I know you'll love her and her books as much as I do!

God Bless, and keep in touch.

Carol

Thursday, November 5, 2009

November Beauty, Leaves and Fun-Cheryl Wyatt



Cheryl Wyatt here.

All of the leaves were blown off the trees this week from wind, but days prior, the trees were so gorgeous. Now there is a huge pile of raked leaves in the yard and I am so tempted to run out there and kick them around for the fun of it. I had the urge to run and jump as high as I could and just land right in the middle of them. I'm a 40 year old woman though and neighbors were watching...LOL! So I just looked at the leaves and remembered when I was little. How my sister and I would play outside in the leaves forever. One never forgets that swoosh and crunch sound.

I'm not sure what it is about fall and leaves that brings out the fun in us. That pulls that child forth who we used to be.

I went to rake the leaves into a bag but my teen niece who lives with us begged me to leave them in a pile so she could play like when she was little.

I smiled.

Put the rake away and left the leaves. And thought about joining her.

Maybe tomorrow....I will.

Enjoy fall and the beauty around you. We only live once.

Warmly,

Cheryl

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Readers, we want you!

Something writers are always trying to do is create not only believable, three-dimensional, and relatable characters but also romantic ones. We want our hereos to be the kind every woman wants to sweep her off her feet, and we want our heroines to be a strong, self-sufficient woman that every reader wants to be.
Whew! That's a lot of pressure!
But think about it. What was the last book you read? Was the heroine strong and independent, someone you as a female reader could relate to, admire, even wish to imitate a little? Was the hero a tough yet sensitive kind of guy, romantic and protective even if he had his own issues? More than likely, yes, because if he was a total jerk, he wouldn't be much of a hero. If he was a bum with no motivations, he wouldn't be very interesting to read about. And if she was weak and helpless, the stereotypical damstel in distress, you wouldn't want to relate to her.
I'd like to hear from our readers on this! What is your idea of the perfect man to read about? The perfect heroine? What qualities or character traits would personally turn you off from the story? Which ones do you enjoy reading about? Are any character quirks or goals overly done and you're tired of seeing them?
Chime in here. It's your chance to give us authors feedback! =)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Fall in Oregon

I love this time of the year because the trees are turning the most amazing shades of color. Greens, golds, oranges, yellows, reds, and even purples. I love the way the air gets misty and the smell of the earth rises on the breeze. I love to bundle up in sweaters, coats, hats, gloves and scarves. I love the way the crisp air tingles against my skin. I especially love this time of year because I get so much more writing done when its cold outside.
I'm currently working on two porjects for Love Inspired Suspense. My next Love Inspired Romance will be out in August 2010.




I have a Love Inspired Suspense book out this month titled Chasing Shadows. This book is a little bit suspense, a little bit mystery and a little bit cozy entwined with faith and a sweet romance.

NOW YOU SEE THEM, NOW YOU DON’T
When senior citizens start disappearing from a Boston retirement home, heiress Kristina Worthington is suspicious. Especially when she fears her beloved grandmother is next. Without solid evidence, she’s forced to turn to the one police officer who might listen—her former love, Gabe Burke. Now a seasoned cop, Gabe still sees her as the rich girl whose family thought he wasn’t good enough.
And though he takes the case, Gabe seems convinced he’s chasing shadows.
Until they start dodging threats, bullets...and their own rekindled feelings.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Turn Offs

Pamela Tracy here, talking about things in books that turn me off. You probably need a little history. I usually have three books going at one time: purse book (Usually one that isn't grabbing me but there's hope for); bathroom book (Usually a loser, last ditch effort. If it gets wet from the shower, I'm not depressed); and last, the book (I'm into this book, going to finish it soon, wish I had more time to read, and I take it wherever I go).

So, at the end of last week, my purse book suddenly took a turn for the better and became the book. I'm moving along. Suddenly, comes a scene where the heroine is in the wrong place at the wrong time. (She's found a secluded place to read during a party). I'm okay with this; I often wish I could find a corner and just read when I'm at a party. Then, a male and female enter the secluded place. Now, I'm okay with eavesdropping. But the male and female aren't coming to the secluded place to talk. (BTW, this is a sweet book). The heroine doesn't make her presence known.She doesn't make her presence known!

I stopped reading.

Now, the book is good; I want to know what happens, but to me, this scene was a deal breaker. It went into the eck factor. I take book to bathroom. Remember, now I no longer care if the shower warps this book. But, as the day goes on, I make it past the scene (which had her being discovered before eck).

I do know I'll finish the book, but I'm wondering... Will I buy another book by this author? See, I bought this one because I liked her last one. Also, I have very few eck factors (in sweet books... I feel like I have to keep saying that because there are lots of 'eck' factors out there, they just don't usually show up in my books).

So, what does it for you? Makes you say "Eck!"

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Heroine Interview for Close to Home


Interview with the heroine from Close to Home by Carolyn Aarsen:

1. Dodie, tell me the most interesting thing about you.
I have a streak of pink in my hair, I like wearing glittery nail polish and . . . I like to wear clothes that other people consider cast off.

2. What do you do for fun?
My life is fun. I sell eggs at the Farmer’s Market. I hang around with my Farmer’s Market friends and help out my sister at her coffee shop. I like meeting people and talking to them.

3. What do you put off doing because you dread it?
Everything!! Actually, Jace is back in town. Old boyfriend. I’d just as soon not talk to him. Makes things easier.

4. What are you afraid of most in life?
I’m not overly impressed with mice. Bats give me the heebie jeebies. I guess I have bigger fears, but, you know, I don’t want to talk about that. It’s in the past. Over. Done with.

5. What do you want out of life?
I want to have fun. I want to be a good daughter. A good Christian. I want to be able to just live without shadows. I want to be important to someone.

6. What is the most important thing to you?
My family and my faith. But it seems like, at times, there’s something hanging between me and them. Not sure what it is and I don’t think I want to explore it too deeply.

7. Do you read? If so, what is your favorite type of book to read?
I love reading, but I did so much for college that I’ve been giving myself a bit of a break from that. Of course, college was a few years ago and I suppose I should go back, though I’m taking some community college courses in social work. I once thought I could be a lawyer, but I think my heart, lately, is more toward helping people. Making them feel significant.

8. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I’m always trying to change myself. That’s mostly on the outside. Sometimes, when I dare look back, I’d like to change my past. But hey, who can do that? No one. It is what it is.

9. Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet?
No pets. My sister and her husband, Luke, have a golden lab so I get my vicarious pet thrills from them. I don’t like to be tied down to the responsibility.

10. If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why?
I don’t like to look back too much. I kind of prefer to leave the past where it is. It’s much safer that way. Even to travel back in time means I would have to go back to where I was . . . one time. I can’t.