Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Fall Here We Come

Hi, Terri Reed here. Today's the last day of summer for us. It already feels like fall, the weather has turned cold and rainy. Though the kids don't go back to school until next week, its time to prepare(buy school supplies, school clothes, get lockers and schedules) and have our last weekend without homework or practices. I'm excited to get back to the routine of school, mostly for my writing schedule. I have a book due soon, the beginning of a new series for me so that is also exciting.
This past Sunday at church our pastor made a statement that has stuck with me all week.
Christianity is not a competitive sport (it isn't a race to see how gets to Heaven first). It is however a contact sport(the world and the enemy will beat you up). But God is the one who is in your corner, encouraging you, picking you up and dusting you off and getting you in shape through His Word, through His Spirit and through the lives of other believers.
So when the bell rings, go out into the fight knowing that God is in your corner.

Monday, August 30, 2010

He Who Makes Me Smile Grew Up Last Week

Pamela Tracy here...


The alarm sounded at 7 a.m. I'd been awake for a couple of hours already, pretending to write, but sitting before my computer nerves all atwisted instead. Making my way through the kitchen, I turned left in the hallway and went to the middle room and opened the door.


The Scooby Doo night light really no longer needed to be on.


"Mikey, wake up. Wake up."


He didn't move, but after a few more "Mikey, time to get up," and then my bursting into song, he giggled into his pillow and finally moved. Moved, but didn't get up. So, I tickled his feet and tugged a little, singing all the time. Then, I said the magic words, "Today you start kindergarten."


That got him up.


We had cereal for breakfast, and then he ran to his room to put his uniform on. He doesn't yet quite get that it's a uniform, he just thinks he's wearing clothes. The first day was a half day, so I didn't need to pack a lunch. Still, after he was was dressed, he put his Lego backpack on and insisted on wearing it and the seatbelt.


It's only a ten minute drive to the school. I parked in the lot and together we walked toward the playground. Hundreds of kids milled around. My little man, not shy ever, suddenly was. He decided he didn't want to play, he'd stay with me.


Then, the bell rang and kids took off. Those of us with the little ones waited, watched, and then figured out which line belonged to kindergarten. There were more parents than kids! We walked into a classroom and stood against the wall.


Mikey went from table to table, looking for his name. When he found it, I nodded. Then, he sat at his table, alone at first until first one, then another, and finally the last child sat down. He's at a table for four: two girls, two boys.


The teacher said a welcome, then a prayer, and then had the kids wave goodbye.


Yup, that was a subtle hint.


I blew a kiss and walked out the door.


I didn't cry. Oh, my eyes were damp as I walked back to my car, but, see, I used to be a kindergarten teacher. I know my son is going to have a wonderful time.


I just wish it wasn't all happening so fast.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Lyn Cote--A Question for You: Why Do Authors and Publishers

giveaway books on blogs? I've posed this question and 5 others on my personal blog. Drop by my blog today or tomorrow and reply to the questions in my survey and be entered in a mysterious drawing. Deadline Sunday night. Drop by my blog. Strong Women Brave Stories!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Hurry up and rest

Today's my day to post. And I wracked and wracked my brain for something to say. Ever have those days when you're supposed to have a brilliant idea and you are blank? I could blame it on the weather. It's been over 100 everyday since we got back from Hawaii in late July.

I am surprised my brain is empty. I made the decision not to teach this fall, so my brain should be overflowing with ideas, right? So someone tell my muse it's time to fire up.

Ever have that problem when you want your brain to do one thing and you get nothing?
Leann, who is sadly lacking in ideas.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Absentminded

Pat Davids here,
I almost forgot to post today. Don't be surprised. I'm an absentminded person. If I have three things to pick up at the grocery story, I will remember two of them and then spend way too much time prowling the aisles looking for something to remind me of what that last item was. I come home with ten extra items every time and it isn't until I pull into the driveway that I remember what I didn't pick up. I can remember that William the Conqueror conquered England in 1066 but I can't remember I need butter.

Don't tell me I need to make a list. I do, and then I leave the list at home on the kitchen table.

It's just as bad in my office. I keep notes for things I need to look up or add to my stories. I have pages and pages of notes lying around. Sometimes it isn't until I'm cleaning out after I finish my book that I remember what I wanted to add.

And names! Don't get me started on remembering names. The minute I run into someone I haven't seen for awhile their name vanishes from every brain cell I own. It happened just the other day at my daughter's wedding shower. (I did remember her name.) But the mother of the groom walked in and her name flew out of my head. I stuttered a second waiting for the name to come back, I introduced her daughter, and then God was good and sent me Evelyn's name. I could have cheerfully dropped through the floor.

Please don't tell me I'm the only one who does things like this. Is anyone else absentminded?
I try to look on the bright side. When I get dementia of old age no one will notice.
Blessings
Pat

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Social Networking


Hi, this is Margaret Daley. I have a question for everyone. What social networks are you participating in?

There are only so many hours in the day and I'm trying to figure out which social networks are the best and concentrating on them rather than spreading myself out all over the place. I can't keep up. Which ones do you enjoy? Why? Are you finding yourself in the same situation?

I love networking with people and meeting new people, but as much as I would like, I can't find the time to do it all. So where do you draw the line?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

An empty house--Lenora Worth

We just packed up our son and watched him drive away to a new college. He'd been going to the local college for two years but he was ready for a new adventure away from home and living with his parents. I don't blame him. I grew up on a rural cross road in Georgia and I used to stand out in my front yard and think which road I'd take whenever it was time for me to leave. I couldn't wait to do just that.

But I chose marriage over college and moved to the big city of Atlanta. I felt like I could finally breathe and I knew I would be on my own grand adventure. Soon, we were living in a cute apartment and we had a baby to raise. My grand adventure involved formula and diapers and long walks around the complex, pushing a baby stroller. We had our ups and downs but when I look back and realize how very young we were I'm amazed that we found our way through. So I don't know why I worry about my two grown children. They will survive and thrive just the way my husband and I did. We had our share of ups and downs, money problems and issues. But we held tight and made it through.

These are the kind of stories we write in our books--stories of real life struggles and worries, stories of happy moments and true joy and stories of triumph over pain. Love always wins out; this is the very foundation of what we write.

And tonight, while I sit here listening to the quiet in my house, I know love will win out with those I care about the most. The same moon I see out the window is shining down on those I love, no matter where they are. And God in his wisdom will watch over them. I can breathe again because this crossroad is just another path on a long journey. As long as we have Christ as our Truth North, we can always find our way. Have you ever taken a different path that changed your life?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Heroine Interview for Treasure Creek Dad by Terri Reed


Interview with the heroine from Treasure Creek Dad by Terri Reed:

1. Casey Donner, Tell me the most interesting thing about you.
Well, I’m a tomboy with a glamorous twin sister. We were orphaned young and sent to live in Treasure Creek Alaska with our bachelor uncle. For me, living in Alaska has been a dream. I love the outdoors and can’t imagine living anywhere else on earth.

2. What do you do for fun?
I hike. There’s nothing like being out in the wilderness with God’s creation to rejuvenate the soul.

3. What do you put off doing because you dread it?
Interesting question. I guess dating would be the answer. I’m just not good at it. Most of the men in Treasure Creek view me as a little sister. The few times I’ve been on dates were disasters.

4. What are you afraid of most in life?
Of losing someone I love. I lost my parents, then my uncle. My twin took off for the city the moment she turned eighteen, so in essence I lost her too.

5. What do you want out of life?
Contentment. Peace. You’d think I’d have found both since I live the way I want and in the place I want but…until I met Jake Rodgers and his daughter, I didn’t realize how restless I really was.

6. What is the most important thing to you?
Family and faith.

7. Do you read? If so, what is your favorite type of book to read?
I love action adventure novels. And true stories of adventurous people.

8. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Hmmm. I’ve always wished I could be more like my twin. Outgoing, beautiful, glamorous.
9. Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet?
I don’t have a pet. But I do take care of the trail horses for the company I work for. I sometimes lead horseback trails ride up the Yukon, though mostly I enjoy the hiking tours the best.

10. If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why?
I would go back to the time when my parents were alive so I could get to know them and tell them how very much I love them.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

FEATURED BOOK: TREASURE CREEK DAD BY TERRI REED


Single father Jake Rodgers's daughter isn't happy about moving to tiny Treasure Creek, Alaska. So the former big-city businessman trades his suits for hiking boots and he books a father-daughter wilderness tour to acclimate her. But Veronica isn't buying it. Perhaps guide Casey Donner is just the person to help the girl appreciate the Klondike state's natural beauty. But could tomboy Casey, in her ponytail and cargo pants, also be what this city boy needs for a lifetime of love?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Allie Pleiter on Launching

“T minus 10, 9, 8, 7, 6...."

It’s launch-month at our house. As if we didn’t have enough chaos already.

When I planned to have my children four years apart, I thought I was so clever. Such a nice age span between them. My four year old daughter was a delight--even if an enthusiastic one--helping with her new baby brother. I’d counted on that.

I hadn’t figured on this year’s double-whammy of double-graduations and double-launches. This spring, we graduated one from middle school and one from high school--within two weeks of each other. And now, we’re launching a pair of freshmen--one high school and one off to college. Some days it feels like I’m flinging my babies into an unknown future. Most days, though, I’m excited for the adventures ahead of them and gratified to know they both seem ready for the new season of their lives. Of our lives. One vital portion of our parenting is coming to an end. Wow.

Still, I realize they’re not leaving me (well, one of them is going halfway across he country, but you know what I mean). I’m launching them. I hope this viewpoint keeps me from being one of those moms who sobs the whole drive back from dropping off my daughter at college. (Yes, I realize I might post next month about how I really did sob--then I’ll publicly eat my words). I’ll probably sniffle a bit, but I’m more excited than mournful. She’s off to a new world that’s far from me and then again not far at all. After all, I suspect I’ll get three texts the first day. If not four. If not Skyped. Technology means I’ll never be far from my daughter’s ear nor she mine if she needs me.

I’d like to think she won’t need me much. I’ve tried to parent with the constant notion that my goal here is to create an independent, competent adult. One that hopefully lands a job and gets her own apartment after graduation (who knew that’d be such a rare instance these days??). One who loves to come back and visit because she knows she is welcome and loved and accepted. And won’t mind that her mom has probably turned her room into a knitting studio...not that I’m making plans or anything. Not that her brother’s thrilled to have a bathroom that will no longer be filled with hair care products and misplaced earrings.

So readers, what about you? Who are you launching these days? How are you feeling about it?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Dancing in the Hallway or Empty Nest Syndrome


Kim Watters here. Okay. I admit it. I’m one of those parents the teachers hate so much. Why? Because I’m the one dancing in the hallways on the first day of school. Yes! Arms pumping into the air here. I’m the one singing school’s back in session…school’s back forever… (Sung to the beat of that old Alice Cooper song with a little air guitar thrown in for full effect). Well, it may not be for ever, but close enough. No more TV, no more play dates, no more you promised we’d go there dirty looks…school’s back in session!
Last Monday was the big day for us. Back to school. (Arizona is weird.) My kids’ lower lips began to tremble as we pulled into the school parking lot. The flurry of activity around us heightened the tension in the eerily silent vehicle. Buses, trucks and cars jockeyed into position to unload the unwilling occupants. Strung out teachers and administrators attempted to direct the sea of metal and the long faces on the returning students (and school hasn’t even officially begun yet) into some semblance of order. Then of course there’s me and several other happy parents clogging the main artery in and out of school.
And yes, we danced.
You could see the giddiness, hear the laughter, and feel the excitement as we kissed our offspring goodbye before we waved them off in the direction of the classrooms. Okay, I admit, there were a few parents with long expressions, too. Obviously, they haven’t quite obtained the sense of freedom yet of packing little Billy or Susie off on their personal journey through life. But as a parent, and an author, you have to let them go.
So, you ask, what does this have to do with writing? Consider this. When you send that finished manuscript off to an agent, editor, or even your critique group, are you happy or sad? Do you feel the first blush of excitement as you hand over that envelope to the postal employee? Or is your head filled with doubts and you want to hold onto those pages forever, never letting them out of your sight? Are you dancing in the hallway? Or feeling that empty nest syndrome when the characters you’ve spend countless hours, days, or even years with have flown the proverbial coop?
For me, it’s a little of both. I’m happy to strike those six enormous characters at the end of every book. In fact, I jsut finished my second book for Steeple Hill this morning. I’m also terrified of the emptiness surrounding me because all those voices in my head are suddenly quiet, like the silence in that short car ride home from school. Where do I go from there? How do I fill the void? While my child or my novel adjusts to life on its own, so must I. How? By taking pleasure in the few moments of freedom. Bask in the relaxing sensation of reading a book for the sheer enjoyment of it. Take a hike or cruise the mall and let the mind wander from the realities of every day life. Get caught up on all the little projects that piled up over the summer.
Or better yet, dance with me. Because sooner rather than later, you’ll hear another tiny voice knocking inside your brain begging to get out. And it sure as heck won’t be sporting a Spongebob back pack and a brand new pair of sneakers.

Monday, August 16, 2010

NetFlix Feeds the Movie Buff in Me...by Lisa Mondello


I love movies as much as I love books. Whether the story's on the page or the big screen, it doesn't matter. I can't get enough, especially if it's a story I really, really love!

I'm a busy mom of 4 teenagers. If you're a mom at all you know that your day is pretty long and TV time usually happens around 10:30 or 11:00PM. At least for me it does. Having a DVR has given me the freedom to be able to get work done AND watch programs that I don't want to miss. When I sit down, I usually want to watch something on HG-TV or a good movie. (Usually a good movie.)

That's why NetFlix is my best friend. Like me, my youngest daughter is a movie buff. She loves all the old classics. (I remind her that some of those "classics" really aren't THAT old.) So when I look at my NetFlix queue and see Gone with the Wind or Casablanca on it, I get excited. I know I didn't put it there and when it comes in, it will be fun to share it with my daughter. I then want to tell her about more movies she's probably never heard of. African Queen with Kate Hepburn, The Sound of Music (one of my personal favorites!), anything with Al Pacino (she's a huge fan) or funny classics like What's Up Doc with Barbara Streisand are all fun to watch together. We both love WWII romances too and really love Shining Through with Melanie Griffith and Michael Douglas. Occasionally we come back to 2010 and have to watch something with Leo in it. (Let's face it. It's not a hardship and there are a ton of great movies to choose from like Blood Diamond and Shutter Island.)

When I find a movie I love, I watch it over and over again. I want to see how the characters develop throughout the story, how they interact with the other characters, the dynamics of family and friendship and how each scene contributes to the overall story until we get to the happy (hopefully) ending. Okay, sometimes it's not so happy. I can live with that as long as it's not totally depressing. I eventually stopped looking for a piece of driftwood for Jack Dawson because Rose did go on to live a full life after surviving the sinking of the Titanic.

I usually drive my husband crazy though. "How many times can you watch Out of Africa or A Walk in the Clouds?" I don't know, but apparently a lot because he's begun hiding the TV Guide on me so I won't know when they're on. I try to balance things out by watching Serenity, another personal favorite, or some other Sci-Fi movies that we both love. Although we're all big Sci-Fi fans in this house, I usually have to remind him that Steeple Hill books don't have aliens in them. But as soon as I get the okay from my editor, he'll be the first to know!

Share your favorite movie with me. My NetFlix queue has a lot room on it and I'm always up for discovering a great story that I've never seen. My daughter and I thank you!

Until next time, many blessings, Lisa Mondello

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Hero Interview for Homecoming Hero by Renee Ryan


Interview with the hero of Homecoming Hero: Army Captain Ty Wolfson:

1. Wolf, tell me the most interesting thing about you.
I’m not a man who likes to talk about himself so I’m not sure how to answer that question. I didn’t grow up with much. My mom left my dad and me when I was ten. That doesn’t say much about me, does it? I went to college on an Army scholarship. I’m career Army. It’s all I know. It’s who I am.

2. What do you do for fun?
I jump out of airplanes, ride motorcycles, work on my vintage car whenever I’m stateside. I’ve named her Stella. She’s one sweet ride and has been my only constant the last ten years.

3. What do you put off doing because you dread it?
Why would I put anything off? The only way to handle a difficult task is head on.

4. What are you afraid of most in life?
Failure. I can’t bear the thought of letting down the people who rely on me most, especially my fellow soldiers.

5. What do you want out of life?
I want to know I matter, what I do matters, that I’ve made a difference.

6. What is the most important thing to you?
Friendship, brotherhood, I’d die for my fellow soldiers.

7. Do you read books? If so, what is your favorite type of book?
When there’s time, which isn’t often, I read anything I can find about George Washington, especially anything that focuses on his battle strategy. The man was a brilliant soldier and leader.

8. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I’d like to be a better manager of people. Things like cars, trucks, anything mechanical, those I understand. People are far more complicated, but as a captain in the Army I have to manage soldiers. It’s really hard during the integration period right after a long deployment. That’s when my soldiers are most vulnerable to domestic disturbances, alcohol abuse, fighting, and other…issues. I wish I was better able to help them acclimate.

9. Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet?
No pets, but if I knew I was going to be in one place for any given period of time I’d definitely own a dog or two.

10. If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why?
I’d go back to the Revolutionary war. I’d want to be on the battle field right next to General Washington. See my answer to number 7 as to why.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

FEATURED BOOK: HOMECOMING HERO BY RENEE RYAN

Army captain Ty Wolfson assured a dying soldier that he'd stop the man's sister from going to the Middle East as a missionary. But when Wolf knocks on Hailey O'Brien's door, he finds a beautiful woman determined to fulfill her mission—for her brother. No matter what Wolf says about the dangers, Hailey believes it's her duty to bring hope overseas. Wolf can't seem to change her mind. Until he realizes it's a certain homecoming hero who needs to change first. By opening his heart to the Lord—and to Hailey.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

It's School Time!

My children went back to school last week (August 2). But most schools around here started back this week. It's a crazy time! Getting supplies, filling out all the emergency and health forms, reading the syllabi and signing them, getting back into the swing of homework again... Last Monday, my daughter handed me a pile of paperwork and told me it was my homework. :)

I'm really pleased with my kids' teachers this year. I'm always impressed with how hard the teachers work and with how much they care about the kids. I'm glad we're blessed with a fantastic county school system!

I know a couple of our LI authors are teachers. And we may even have some students! What about you? Do we have any teachers or students out there reading? Any retired teachers? Let us celebrate you today!

Summer Vacation




Leann here and want to share my summer adverture. In the middle of a miserable summer--100 degree days here in Texas, we flew to Hawaii. (I didn't get to go to RWA this summer because of our trip.) We spend 10 days on Oahu and on the big island. I thought drive though the mountains of Colorado was tough, but going from sea-level to 4,000 feet had my ears popping. Luckly, my son-in-law, a native, did the driving.

Of course, if you drive in Honolulu it's not the paradise you want it to be. The picture is my husband and I at the edge of a mountain. Pali Drive. It was high enough to be cold, and the wind--well I couldn't walk against it. My hostess explained she used to drive this road carved into the mountain and it was so narrow that if there was a wreck, you got to spend your night on the side of the island you were on.





The second picture is of Punch Bowl, the military cemetery when many soldiers, sailors and marines are buried. It was a beautiful, peaceful place. I wanted to give my thanks to every man and woman buried there.

It was a wonderful time with friends and family.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Special Moments in a Writer's Life

Sometimes God drops special moments into an author’s life to let her know her work matters. That happened to me recently. I received a Facebook message from someone in my hometown, a woman I’d been acquainted with all my life, though we were never close friends. She wrote to thank me. Why? Because of her brother, now in his sixties, who had never read a book in his life. He’s dyslexic and struggled just to read and write enough to hold a job. I never knew that. Back in those days, dyslexia wasn’t diagnosed. Kids were just ‘slow’ or ‘dumb’. This brother saw that I had written a book and since he knows me, he was curious. He told no one about this until later, but he picked up my book and read it cover to cover. He couldn’t believe he’d done that. He couldn’t believe he’d read a whole book. Moreover, he couldn’t believe he’d enjoyed it. Now he wanted to read another. When he told his family about it at a large family gathering, they wept. All of them knew about his lifelong struggle with reading. I wept too.


I’m amazed sometimes at the ways God uses the work of my hands. Amazed and blessed.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Lyn Cote-Back to Where I Began

Lyn Cote here--In just three and a half weeks, Shelter of Hope, my first brand-new Love Inspired SINCE 2005 will hit the shelves of Wal-Marts and bookstores. I don't want you to think that I have been idle in the intervening five years.

In those five years, I've written two historical trade series: The Women of Ivy Manor and Texas Star of Destiny. I've also written a series for Love Inspired Suspense, Harbor Intrigue, and the Gabriel Sister series for Love Inspired Historical.

But it feels good to get back to where I started. My first Love Inspired, Never Alone, was my first book way back in 1998. I was privileged to be in the first generation of Love Inspired authors.

So now you know how long I've been around with Love Inspired. When did you read your first one? And do you remember what it was? How did you discover Love Inspired romances? Do tell!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Hitting the Parks this summer

Janet Tronstad here, ready to talk about summer fun. As some of you know, I've made several trips to Montana this year to spend more time with my parents (who are both close to 85 and feeling in the need of some help). It hasn't all been work though as I've been to Yellowstone Park with them and hope to make it to Glacier Park when I'm there in the next few weeks. I'm posting a picture from Glacier Park so you can see how magnificent it is. I can see and just stare at all the beauty around when I'm in the park. I'm hoping each of you gets a chance to get close to some natural places this summer (parks, ocean, etc.). If you have, please feel free to share.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Heroine Interview for The Cowboy's Sweetheart by Brenda Minton

Interview with the heroine from The Cowboy’s Sweetheart by Brenda Minton:

1. Andie Forrester, tell me the most interesting thing about you. I have a twin sister, Alyson. That isn’t a big deal. The fact that we were separated for twenty-five years is a big deal.

2. What do you do for fun? Hang out with friends from Dawson and I rodeo.

3. What do you put off doing because you dread it? Right now, talking to my best friend Ryder Johnson. That’s something new in my life. The two of us have always talked about everything.

4. What are you afraid of most in life? The next few months and facing my granny, Etta.

5. What do you want out of life? Until recently I would have said I wanted nothing more than a great barrel horse and time with my family. Now I want something I never thought I’d want; forever with a cowboy.

6. What is the most important thing to you? A proposal that isn’t about, ‘we could.’ I want those three little words that every girl wants to hear when the guy she loves proposes.

7. Do you read? If so, what is your favorite type of book to read? I read Quarter Horse World and lately, the Bible. Wow, when life changes it really changes.

8. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I wouldn’t have run from God for so many years.

9. Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet? I live on a ranch. We have horses, cattle, a stock dog and a mangy cat that Alyson insisted on bringing in the house.

10. If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why? I can’t pick one. I would travel back in time to the moment my parents decided to separate Alyson and me. I’d love to hear their reasoning behind that one. I’d go back in time about two months and rethink that moment that changed my life. But wouldn’t we all, if we were given a second chance? I think it shows we should think more clearly about consequences before we make decisions that change everything.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

FEATURED BOOK: THE COWBOY'S SWEETHEART BY BRENDA MINTON

Cowgirl Andie Forester let an unexpected kiss turn into something more with cowboy Ryder Johnson. He's her best friend—and the man she's secretly loved forever. But when Andie discovers she's carrying his child, she turns to her newfound faith instead of the friendship now lost to her. Until Ryder comes blaring into Dawson, Oklahoma, proposing marriage—for the right and wrong reasons. Andie longs to say yes. But commitment-shy Ryder will have to say three little words first. And mean them from his cowboy's heart.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

2010 RITA Awards

Romance Novella: The Christmas Eve promise by Molly O’Keefe
Young Adult: Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles
Historical: Not Quite a Husband by Sherry Thomas
Romantic Suspense: Whisper of Warning by Laura Griffin
Regency Historical Romance: What Happens in London by Julia Quinn
Inspirational Romance: The Inheritance by Tamera Alexander
Contemporary Series Romance: A Not-So-Perfect Past by Beth Andrews
Best First Book: One Scream Away by Kate Brady
Novel with Strong Romantic Elements: The Lost Recipe for Happiness by Barbara O’Neal
Paranormal: Kiss of a Demon King by Kresley Cole
Contemporary Suspense & Adventure: The Soldier’s Secret Daughter by Cindy Dees
Contemporary Single Title: Too Good to be True by Kristan Higgins

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Giving up the good stuff and other lessons learned...

My sweet Little Miss just turned 2 in mid July. Her daddy has said all along that when she had her birthday, we needed to get serious about losing the beloved pacifier.

DUM DUM DUM.....

Let me just say "easier said than done" is quite the understatement.

Little Miss has three loves in life. Her thick pink blankie (bee-hee), her stuffed Giraffe (Gigi) and her pacifier (P). These three things are like a combo pack of love. She's rarely without 2 of the 3, usually Gigi and P because Beehee is just too big to take everywhere. (getting these items washed regularly is another story for another time)

I have no problem with her comfort items. Life is tough, and being 2 is hard, and a girl needs her comfort items! I have my diet coke and chocolate, why shouldn't she have Gigi, P, and Beehee? But Dadddy had a point, and if she didn't lose the P soon, it would only get harder and eventually start to mess up her teeth. I didn't want her to be 3 or 4 and still have P, and as hard as it was now, it would only get worse. Time to get tough.

I originally decided we'd wean her off it, and start using it for sleep only - naps and bedtime. That seemed fair. But nothing is fair when you are 2, and Little Miss didn't understand why her P was suddenly off limits during the day. I don't blame her, its confusing. The more we tried to convince her she was a big girl and didn't need it, the more adament she got about wanting it. Talk about backfire. It barely left her mouth for days.

So I decided to try the pinhole method. My mom, during one of the days of the week she keeps her for me to work part time, used a sterilized pin and poked a few holes in the nipple of the P. We waited anxiously, hoping Little Miss would realize it was different and felt funny and that would be that.

Yeah...she never even noticed.

This past Friday morning, I decided it was time to commit. We only have two P's. Little Miss thinks we only have 1. So, I stashed one P in my dresser drawer, took the one she's been used to, and after baking cinnamon rolls (yes, I felt ridiculously guilty and was trying to suck up) I cut P in half. Just chopped the nipple in half with scissors so it was a big rubber hole and stashed it under her stuffed animals to find later in the morning.

I was a WRECK. Little Miss sat happily at her table, chowing down on yummy cinnamon rolls with extra icing, while my stomach churned four feet away as I stared guilty at the hidden P. I was the worst mother EVER. I broke into a sweat. I thought I would be sick. I was certain the rest of the day, post discovery, would be nothing but blood, sweat and tears for both of us.

Daddy, the instigator of the P removal process, got to spend the day outside working in his barn and doing yardwork. Grrrrr.

She asked for P twice. I distracted her for about thirty minutes. Asked again. So I let her find it, and watched as she popped it in her mouth.

She popped it back out and studied it. Turned to me. "P?"

I put on my Mommy Surprise Face. "Oh no! P broke!"

She nodded. "P broke!" Still surprise. No tantrum. I waited.

"Want to throw it away?" I asked, then ducked.

She nodded. "Okay." Toddled to trash and chucked it.

My mouth fell open. She toddles back. "P broke." No fit. Just acceptance.

I fell back on the couch, singing silent hallejuahs to the heavens. I was home free. Relief and joy nestled deep in my heart and a burden lifted off my guilty shoulders. I'd done it. Stuck it out. Done the hard stuff. Did what was best and not easy. I was super mom!!! I was--

"Another P?"

I was screwed.

I told her we didn't have another P. She thought for a minute. "Nana have P?"

Nope. Nana doesn't have any more P's either.

Sad face. "P broke."

I nodded. "Yep. P broke."

She accepted the fact, and began to play. I cautiously rejoiced again. Now, several days later, we still hear "p broke. I'm sad. p broke" once every few hours, and it was the first announcement she made upon entering the nursery at church Sunday, and the first thing she told Nana and Papa at her next visit, but its getting better. She's adjusting. I'm adjusting. (wink) We are making it through this transition with flying colors, thanks to God's grace, my determination, her bravery, and Daddy's--well dang it, he somehow missed the entire drama.

But life is like that sometimes. Sometimes we cling to things we shouldn't for comfort instead of turning to God, who can offer a peace that passes all understanding. What is your "p" today? What are you hanging onto that you know isn't good for you? That you know is only going to cause issues in the future?

Are you willing to give it to God, and trust in Him instead?

Little Miss's advice when your "p breaks" is to turn to your best friend. In her case, its Gigi. I still catch her holding Gigi up, face to face, eye to eye, and telling her "P broke. I'm sad. It's okay." Then she gives Gigi a big hug.

God wants to hear your sorrow today and help make it better. Will you give him the chance?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Back from Orlando/RWA conference


Terri Reed here, exhausted after ten days away in sunny, HOT, Orlando for Romance Writers of America's 30th annual national conference. I had a wonderful time on so many levels. I visited Disney's Animal Kingdom, danced with Donald Duck and chatted with Safari Mickey. The conference was at the beautiful Swan Dolphin hotel.











I signed my May release Covert Pursuit at the Literacy signing with 500 of the genre's favorite authors. I atteneded workshops and actually gave a workshop. I can to spend some time with my editors.
Here I am with my Senior Editor after the Prestigious RITA and Golden Heart award ceremony.



Here I am with my editor, Emily Rodmell, at the Harlequin Party where we danced the night away. A fun time was had by all!

Monday, August 2, 2010

California Here We Come

Pamela Tracy here. I'm sitting in my aunt's office and staring out at a type of fog we don't see in Arizona. It's from the ocean. We're on vacation. It's been five days, and we've filled them with plenty of fun. Last Wednesday, we left Phoenix.
Our fun stop: Palm Springs. We (birth mother, older sister, husband, son, me) rode a rotating tram up to the top of a look out. Most of the regular Craftie readers know I'm afraid of heights. So, did tram once; don't need to do again. The family loved it :)
Thursday we went to an old mission and explored. I watched a woman spinning wool and also learned more about Zorro than I knew. I stood in a century old chapel and saw the crack from an earthquake.
Then, onto the beach. I have one word: cold. It was fun, also (especially since no height was involved). My son thought it most wonderful. He was elated and terrified at the same time, mostly elated.
Friday was the best day of all: LegoLand. I'd heard mixed reviews, but let me tell you, for a little guy of five, LegoLand is perfect. We were there ten hours and not once did we stop. Saturday we did the Santa Ana Zoo. Lots of monkeys. The land was donated to the zoo and they must have 55 monkey to keep it. Saturday night we did a family swim and eat with some of my cousins and second cousins at my aunt's house. Sunday, after church (my uncle Fred is a pastor) we returned to Santa Ana (We're staying in Mission Viejo with family) and played all afternoon at the Science Center. Today we head home, and boy am I behind on my writing. But, I have lots to write about!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Heroine Interview from Hometown Proposal

Interview with the heroine from Hometown Proposal by Merrillee Whren:

1. Elise Keller, tell me the most interesting thing about you.

I worked as an entertainer on a cruise ship for six years.

2. What do you do for fun?

I love to sing, especially karaoke with my dad.

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

At this particular time in my life I dread dealing with my former boyfriend, Seth Finley. I’ve been ignoring his attempts to contact me for over a year, but now he’s in town. I still don’t want to face him.

4. What are you afraid of most in life?

I’m afraid of letting people down and making the wrong decisions. I’ve made some bad choices in the past, and I don’t want to repeat those mistakes.

5. What do you want out of life?

I want to complete my college music degree so I can teach music, hopefully in Kellerville, my hometown, so I can be close to my family. I didn’t realize how much I missed the place until I came back and recognized how much my family loves me and wants the best for me.

6. What is the most important thing to you?

The love of my family is the most important to me. For years, I had a strained relationship with them, especially my sister and my dad. Since I came back home, my sister Juliane and I have become really close. We understand each other a lot better now than we did when we were younger. And my dad has turned his drinking problem over to God and is sober. That makes me so happy.

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

Right now I don’t do much pleasure reading because I have gone back to college to get my degree. So other than the Bible, I spend my time reading textbooks or professors’ assigned reading.

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

I would learn how to forgive myself instead of beating myself up over things I can’t change.

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

I have no pets.

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

Since I worked on a cruise ship, I think it would be fascinating to go back in time to the early twentieth century and spend time on one of the ocean liners of that day.