Wednesday, September 29, 2010

To be...or just to be?

Betsy here...

So I'm writing this blog Tuesday night, sitting in my chair in my living room with my Little Miss curled up besides me with her Gigi and Blankie and juice cup, Blue's Clues playing in the background. It's ten o'clock and waaaaaay past her bedtime but today has been a crazy hectic day and this is where we have still landed after collapsing. I worked a full day out of town running title at a tiny country courthouse, where I stood in 4 inch wedges (must re-think shoe choice next time) pulling heavy conveyance and mortgage books off shelves and making notes and print outs and copies, then got back in town just in time to pick up Little Miss and meet my hubby at the house for us to all turn right around and ride together to Wal-Mart, where we spent two hours, two buggies and TOO much money on groceries - but at least we are stocked for another month. Then it was time to rush home, poor Little Miss eating her lunchable dinner in the backseat, put all the groceries away, heat up a frozen pizza and....here we are.

I'm sitting here right now thinking "it's my turn to post and I have nothing witty to say, no story to share, no wisdom to give, no writing craft advice to offer"...

And then I realize, you know? Some days are just that way. And maybe someone else out there needs to realize that.

Every day doesn't always bring inspiration. Every day is a gift from God, yes, but not every day is productive in the way we hope. Not every day brings word count success or project completion or checked off items on our to do list. I had wanted to make progress tonight on several writing projects but I don't have the creative juice to do it.

Some days are just meant to collapse. To simply sit and snuggle the people close to you and eat frozen pizza and relax. Some days are meant to discover the joy of just being. Not doing. Just being. Productivity is good - I'm a big advocate ;) But I'm learning that being superwoman comes with a high price tag and tonight, I'm going to eat another slice of pizza and get a few more sugars from my Little Miss before tucking her in. And not pressure myself to do more, go further, or push harder.

Do you need a day like that? A night like that? Heck, even an hour like that ;) Guess what? You're allowed.

Happy veging.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Migraines?

Terri Reed here on an unusally balmy morning in the Pacific Northwest. I hadn't realized until I checked my email this morning that it was my turn to blog here. I blogged over at our sister site today http://ladiesofsuspense.blogspot.com/ about one of my dear friends eHarlequin online read, Snow-Kissed Reunion. http://www.eharlequin.com/articlepage.html?articleId=1538&chapter=1 stop on by and check out this sweet romance.


I'm a migraine sufferer. Not lifelong, only since 2007. I'm not really sure what prompted the headaches to start but I've been dealing with them ever since. I was looking online this morning and noticed two recent mentions of migraines in the news. I'm taking a wait and see attitude on the discovery of a mirgraine gene. What do you think?

http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/OnCall/video/scientists-discover-migraine-gene-11734514

http://www.foxnews.com/health/2010/09/27/scientists-discover-turn-migraine-pain/

Monday, September 27, 2010

Guts, the Carol Award, and Mae Nunn

What does it take to be a writer? One thing: the willingness to sit down in a chair and create a story and then the courage to listen to learned people who advise you where to make changes, the heart to make the changes they suggest – even when you wish you didn’t have to, and then the guts to submit. What does it take to be a writer? All the above and more.

Last weekend an organization called American Christian Fiction Writers gave awards to many gutsy people. The award is called the Carol.

First, who is Carol? She is Carol Johnson, the editor who discovered Janette Oke and gave readers of Christian Inspirationals something to aspire too.

The Carol is important because it’s our equivalent to the Newberry, the Edgar, and the RITA.

This year the winning book is The Texas Ranger's Family, a Love Inspired contempory.
This year's author is Mae Nunn!

What do you feel the moment your name was called as a winner?
I didn't have the pleasure of attending the conference this year and I thought the awards ceremony was on Saturday night as usual. When I didn't hear from anybody that night or all day Sunday I just assumed I hadn't won. Imagine my annoyance late Sunday night when my phone started to ring! Since I had to be at work at 6am the next morning I was already asleep, so I just hit the "ignore" button on my cell phone. Boy, was I surprised when I listened to my voice mails and read my texts Monday at 4am! I must have squealed like somebody had stepped on my tail because my husband got out of bed and poked his head into the bathroom to see what was wrong. I told him everything was very right. MY BOOK WON!

What do you feel the moment your friend Mae’s name called as a winner? (contributed by Missy Tippens)
When Mae Nunn asked me to accept the Carol Award for her should she win, I was honored and accepted. She sent me a list of the people she would want to thank and asked me to call after the ceremony. I assured her I would text her as soon as they announced the category. So I went to the awards ceremony prepared...but not prepared for having to go on stage in front of over 600 people! When they announced A Texas Ranger's Family as the winner, my heart nearly pounded out of my chest! I somehow made it onto the stage, made a quick comment about not being Mae--thus no hat and no boots --and shared her words of thanks. Mae thanked our Publisher, Steeple Hill, for believing in her work, her wonderful editor, Melissa Endlich, who makes her a better writer, and the Board and officers of ACFW for creating and maintaining an organization where Christian writers are thriving. I texted Mae as soon as I got back to the table. Then tried calling her afterwards. I didn't hear from her until Monday morning, when she woke me up. She had thought the ceremony was Saturday night like previous years and had gone to bed thinking I had forgotten to call because she hadn't won. :) So she was more than thrilled to get her messages on Monday morning and find out she won!

For you, what number published book is this?
A Texas Ranger's family was my 6th book, and the first of a three part series (Her Forever Family/April 2010 and A Season for Family/November 2010) about young siblings separated by the family court system when their mother is killed by their abusive father in a fit of rage. The three stories are about how kids handle separation and loss very differently and how it impacts them as adults.

What made this book an award winner?
This book had a big cast and several settings even though it was a "short" contemporary. It involved themes of discovery, forgiveness, redemption, reconciliation and acceptance all in one story. Throw in a Texas Ranger hero, a Pulitzer Prize winning photojournalist heroine, a goth teen, a meddling grandmother and a Texas-size BBQ cook off and you can see where there might have been something for every reader to enjoy!

What are your writing habits (hours/pages a day... research tips, etc).
When I'm able to write full time my goal is five pages a day/25 pages a week. When I can only write part time I have to increase pages per day to meet goals. It all comes down to math and how many pages I have to produce in xx number of months to meet a deadline. Also, I'm a one draft writer so when I'm done writing (first day) and editing (next day) my pages won't change much more. When I'm finished with the book, I'm finished with the book. At least until I get that revision letter from my Editor!

Then, feel free to share anything else we didn't think to ask :)
Since I mentioned revisions, let me add a word about that subject. I'll go out on a limb and say most writers hate to revise. We'd all like our work to be perfect as it is, so the revision process sometimes seem like unnecessary punishment. But I've learned to read the revision notes, put them away for a few days while I pout privately, whine to my family and friends and then consider where my editor might actually have some valid points. Then I sit down to the job, systematically go through the manuscript making changes as requested, strengthening areas that are weak and standing firm on what I believe needs no alteration. (Pick your battles carefully but do speak your peace when it's critical to your story!) I'm less confident when I send the manuscript in the second time but when I get that email or call from my editor telling me how much more she likes the revised book, I'm always grateful for her guidance and the additional hours I was able to use to polish the story. And, yes, A Texas Ranger's Family went through this process! Thank goodness for that!
Thank you so much, Mae, for dropping by the Craftie Ladies site.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

FEATURED BOOK: LOVE FINDS A HOME BY KATHRYN SPRINGER


Widowed mother Emma Barlow knows her shy, studious son needs a male influence. And where better to find him than in the mentoring ministry at their local church? But when the new chief of police becomes her son's mentor, Emma is worried. As the widow of a fallen officer, she's nervous about letting a lawman into their lives. Especially one as handsome—and conflicted—as Jake Sutton. But when her son comes out of his shell, and even Emma finds herself smiling, she knows that love just might find a home in Mirror Lake…and create a new family.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

FEATURED BOOK: SHELTER OF HOPE

Struggling single mother Rosa Santos is deeply touched when volunteers band together to build her a home. With a waitressing job, community college and church, Rosa barely has time to help, let alone dream about a husband and father figure. But when handsome volunteer Marc Chambers hands her withdrawn young son a little hammer, her heart swells. Suddenly, her son is blossoming. But the closer she and Marc get, the more he pulls away. Why? He's built her a shelter of hope. One she—and her son—pray he'll take refuge within….

Friday, September 24, 2010

Traveling with Merrillee

This is Merrillee, sharing some interesting photos from a recent trip my husband and I took to the eastern Mediterranean. Here is one of my favorites. Notice the sign behind my husband.

"Genuine Fake Watches"


I didn't buy one, but I wonder how many people did.


The picture below is a photo of a wall covered in papers of all difference sizes. People write their prayers on the papers and stuff them into the wall kind of like the wailing wall in Jerusalem. This is near the ruins of the ancient city of Ephesus in Turkey.


This photo shows a woman gathering the silk threads from the cocoon of the silk worms in the barrel in front of her. The silk is used to make very expensive hand-woven Turkish rugs.


This is a photo of my husband and I in front of the Parthenon in Athens.



This is a photo taken in the town of Oia on Santorini, one of the Greek islands. Do I need to say more?


I took this photo as our ship sailed into the harbor at Istanbul, Turkey, a city of around 12 million people that straddles two continents, Europe and Asia.


These are only a few of the pictures I took on our trip. Do you like to travel? Tell us about one of your favorite trips.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Wedding of Pat Davids' Deams


Last Saturday was the wedding of my dreams.


Oh, not my wedding. My daughter's wedding. Doesn't she look beautiful? Notice the cake topper? It took Tony ten years to ask her to marry him. And yes, that's a black cake. They are an unconventional couple


The day was a perfect summer's day here in Kansas. Sunny and hot. I shopped forever for a dress to wear. You think I'm kidding but I'm not. I hate shopping for clothes, but I did. Day after day. I finally found a great dress that cost an arm and a leg. Don't anyone tell my husband how much it cost. He'll have a stroke.


I don't have a picture yet of him walking our baby down the aisle but I assure you he looked very handsome in his tux. And nervous. How I have dreamed of this day and it was perfection. Of course, that's the mother in me speaking.


God does grant prayers although they are often in His own time and not in ours. I would have liked the wedding before the grandchildren but I'm not going to quibble now. They are husband and wife in the sight of God and I can rest a little easier knowing they are moving toward the path that leads to Him.




This their flower girl and ring bearer.


Yes, that a dog with a pillow and rings on her back. Did I mention my daughter was unconventional?


The flower girl is the happy couple's daughter, my adorable granddaughter. She's the spitting image of her mother, and the apple of her daddy's eye. She was the only one who cried during the ceremony. She was so happy her mother and daddy were getting married. I think she was even happier than I was.


Guess what song the DJ played when they came in. Yup, Who Let The Dogs Out!!! The whole room cracked up.


Yes, it was the wedding of my dreams even if I never dreamed I'd see one with a black cake and a dog. Don't you just love a happy ending with a twist?

ACFW conference this year



This is Margaret Daley. I just returned from the ACFW conference in the beautiful city of Indianapolis. I had such a great time seeing old friends and meeting new ones. This is the American Christian Fiction Writers' annual conference where writers, editors, press and agents come together to honor Christ and to discuss the Christian Fiction market. It is a wonderful place to network and learn more about how to write a great book.


I ended up teaching an hour class about tracking details in a book. I always enjoy teaching. The awards dinner on Sunday evening was fun. Janette Oke was there to give an award to her editor, Carol Johnson, who The Carol Award for the best book in a category was named after. The pictures I have loaded are of the banquet that evening. The two at top are of me and Camy Tang on the left and Ginny Aiken on the right. The one in the middle is of Danica Favorite, Cheryl Wyatt and me. The bottom one is of Allie Pleiter, Lenora Worth, me, Linda Ford and Danica Favorite.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Trips and journeys--Lenora Worth

Hello. I just got home last night from the fabulous ACFW conference, held in Indianapolis, Indiana. I had a great time. Didn't get sick and I'm not too tired today. I learned a lot, too. So much that I wish I could go back and rewrite all of my books! I was nominated for the Carol Award (my category was short suspense)for my book "Code of Honor". And while I didn't win, I'm thrilled for Jill Elizabeth Nelson. Jill won for "Evidence of Murder" and her editor was Emily Rodmell.

So congratulations Jill. And also, congratulations to Mae Nunn and Janet Tronstad. These lovely ladies also won. Mae Nunn for "A Texas Ranger's Family" in short contemporary romance and Janet for her novella "Christmas Bells for Dry Creek." Their editors are Melissa Endlich and Tina James. So our Steeple Hill writers were certainly well-represented. What's good for one is good for all and we all salute you.

This was a great trip because my husband and I drove to the conference. We both love road trips because they give us a chance to see our beautiful country and to meet new and interesting people. Everyone we met along the way had a story of their own.
That's why I love this writing journey. Each road leads me to a different story and I continue to write my own faith journey along the way. But if I look back at the road map of my life, I can see God's touch on each and every turn. I hope everyone who reads this has a story to tell and I hope that your own journey has changed you and helped you to grow in your faith.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Hero Interview for Made to Order Family by Ruth Logan Herne


Interview with the hero from Made to Order Family by Ruth Logan Herne:

1. Former Delta Commander Brooks Harriman, tell me the most interesting thing about you.

Not much to tell. I’m a singular kind of guy. And most people don’t realize I used to be special ops, that was a long, long time ago. Before I came home and realized my fiancĂ© was carrying someone else’s child. Before I became a drunk who almost killed a man in a fit of anger. I’m a woodcrafter now, a peaceable man, and a leader in AA. Furniture making is a skill learned working alongside my father, a craft I love. Working with my hands, making beautiful things of lasting quality. I’m blessed to do something I love so much.

2. What do you do for fun?

I tease Rita. She’s a great gal, wonderful, fell on some hard times that pushed her into AA with me, but she’s doing great now. And she’s easy to tease. She’s got three kids who deserve better than what life’s handed them so far, but the youngest one, Skeeter??? A real pain in the neck. Skeeter makes dungeons seem appealing, know what I mean?

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

I don’t talk to my family. We’ve been estranged since I came home from the Middle East and found out Amy was pregnant with my brother’s child. My brother, the minister. Did I mention that? That my girl slept with my brother the minister and had his child? And now they’re happily married with two more kids and everything’s hunky-dory?

I’m over it, of course. I just don’t talk to them and that way I don’t have to deal with old baggage taking over my new life.

4. What are you afraid of most in life?

Losing control. As a commander, control was imperative in any situation, and I excelled at it. In life, in love? I don’t feel as in control there, and the fact that I hurt someone back in Baltimore, well… I have a hard time forgiving myself for that. And I worry it might happen again.

5. What do you want out of life?

Nothing, really. I’ve got everything I want. A great business. A few close friends. Respect of the town. I’m not husband or father material, so that option’s not open to me, and that’s just as well, right? Because I couldn’t be happier. Mostly.

6. What is the most important thing to you?

That one’s easy. My faith. I’m the kind of guy who prays on his own, who worships continually. I like to think of my life as a prayer, which sounds funny because I never step foot into a church if I can help it. I know the hypocrisy of the clergy. Shoot, I lived it first-hand. No, I don’t need some over-zealous person telling me how to love God, love my fellow man.
I’m okay on my own.

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

I love books, in fact I designed integrated bookshelves for people to use. I’ve got my Bible on the coffee table, I read books on making yourself a better person, because we’re all a work in progress, right? I like to pick apart action adventure books, see where the author goofed up. Until you’ve lived special ops, you really can’t know special ops.

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

I’d reunite with my family. It’s hard, you know how it is. I’m embarrassed that we’ve been separated so long, and now my brother’s sick. I should go there, go to him, but… When you’re an alcoholic, even with my long track record of recovery, you second guess things that push buttons. Going home to Baltimore, to Camden Yards, to family… it scares me, makes me think I might not be able to maintain my control over my drinking and my temper. You’d think after twelve long years of sobriety, I’d be okay with all that, wouldn’t you?

Nope.

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

I don’t have a pet, per se, I DO have this annoying dog that keeps getting into my garbage, pilfering bits of this and that, leaving quite a mess around my neat, tidy, organized life. He seems to really like old mac and cheese, and he’s currently a very annoying presence in my life, some kind of reddish-gold retriever, nice looking dog but a real pain, you know? But I don’t want to blow him into the authorities, that could be his death sentence and he’s not THAT bad. So he ate one of my old shoes… Rita says I shouldn’t have left it on the step, and she’s right, of course..

He makes a mess of my yard, and the occasional middle-of-the-night ruckus. He’s a dog. They do that kind of thing, right?


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

I like the here and now, but I’m fascinated with Vikings. Conquerors. Warriors. If I’d lived in the early days of the church, I’d no doubt be a closet Christian working as a Gladiator to bring others to God, to Christ because that was like the original Delta Force. Hidden men and women of God, risking life and limb for their faith.

Rita thinks I’d make a totally awesome gladiator, no doubt, from those looks she keeps sending my way. And doesn’t that gold knit look great on her, it kind of brings out the lights in her hair, her eyes… and now that her oldest daughter is working for me, I see Rita all the time. At AA meetings, in the store…

Have I mentioned I’m not husband and father material? Sometimes when I’m around Rita, when she shifts those baby blues my way, I feel… okay, it’s silly, but I feel like I can do anything. Be anything.

But I can’t so what’s the use talking about it?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

FEATURED BOOK: MADE TO ORDER FAMILY BY RUTH LOGAN HERNE


Single mom Rita Slocum wants to get her life back on track. Taking things one day at a time seems doable—especially with Brooks Harriman at her side. Brooks has been there for her through good times and bad. But she's always been leery of getting too close to the broad-shouldered woodworker who keeps his past locked away. Now that Rita's opening her own bakery, she needs him more than ever. If only Brooks would open up his life—and his heart—to Rita.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Possibili-tea

Allie Pleiter here.  I’ve been reading (well, I’m an audiobook fan so I’ve actually been listening to) Greg Mortenson’s story Three Cups of Tea.  I’d heard about the book many times before, and usually I tend to shy away from “trendy” books, but when my daughter’s college chose it as their all-college read-along, I decided it would be a good idea to see what all the fuss was about.  
And, oh, how I long for my chance to be an all-college read-along!  College of Charleston gave a copy of Three Cups of Tea to the entire freshman class (all those sales, all those new readers....see the little green envy monster emerge from behind my eyeballs...).  Can you imagine a world where Love Inspired books had that kind of following?  Love Inspired Author week on the Oprah Winfrey Show?
Ahem.  Getting a little carried away there, sorry.
I didn’t think I’d like Three Cups of Tea.  Don’t know why, just an impulse I had.  Yet, I find I’m really enjoying the book because it is about obstacles and persistence and keeping your eye on a goal even though the path there winds and twists and turns back on itself multiple times.  Our year has been like that, and as I read Mortensen’s story of building a school in a remote Pakistani village, I can see the places where our lives have taken the same exasperating turns.  And uncovered the same unexpected blessings in the people and ideas we found in those turns.

At any given point in our lives--or our goals or our journeys--the only real choice we have is to take the moment in front of us and be in it.  Thomas Nelson CEO Michael Hyatt, who has a very clever blog, says it is asking the question:  “What does this make possible?”  What conversation, what realization, what exchange, what didn’t-realize-it-was-valuable detour is in front of me if I’d only see it?
What about you?  What “detour” is in front of your today that God could change into an opportunity or just a useful experience if you only asked “What does this make possible?”

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Spin Cycle

Kim Watters here. So, last year we joined the YMCA. For the kids of course. They have a swimming pool, a climbing wall, racquetball courts, a teen center and joy of joy, summer camp. The kids have enjoyed every minute of it. I, of course, enjoyed every minute the kids were there.

Since it’s a family membership, the kids soon got smart. “Hey mom, why don’t you ever come to the Y?”

“Er, because I’m allergic to working out?”

“Really?” Miss Priss gave me a skeptical look.

“Chicken.” Mr. Sarcastic piped in. “Look here, it’s a list of classes they teach. How hard can it be?”

Okay, I’ve been bested by my kids. “You’re right. How hard can it be?”

I glanced at the sheet. Boxing. No way. Body Pump? Sounded exhausting. Body Flow? Hmm. Sounds better but I’ve never done Pilates. Zumba? Can’t dance. Not going there. Ever. Cycling? Sounded good. I used to bike as a kid, no problem. While my son enjoyed the teen center, “gasp” they have daycare for the “mini me”. Drat! I had no excuse now.

So the next time we went to the Y I got dolled up in my cute coordinated work out outfit and signed up for the class. I remembered to bring in a towel and water bottle even though I suspected I wouldn’t be needing it. I stepped inside and my heart dropped to my stomach and breathing became a chore. Sounds like a romance novel, right? Wrong. Those metal contraptions with wheels do not look like the exercise bikes of the past.

Fast forward to the pert, in shape instructor who has legs I can only dream about. “Okay, class, are you ready?”

I nod my head, trying to conserve energy. I have a feeling I was going to need it.

The class kicks me in the rear end. I huff, and I puff, and my backside goes numb. My thighs are worse than overcooked spaghetti noodles trying to hold up a meatball. And that’s in the first fifteen minutes.

Panting, I hang my head in shame. Spinning is much harder than it looks. So is writing.

I grimace each time I hear someone say they can write a book. Okay, so do it. Sit down in that chair and spill your characters guts and emotion. Sweat from places you never knew you could sweat from. Feel the pain and agony of a blank page or another rejection or another level in the bike. Learn and keep learning.

Will I let that class keep me from doing it again? No. The next week I’ll be back in the saddle again and will do much better the next time around. Did I let the last rejection keep me from writing? No. I put the e-mail behind me and started working on a different story that sold.

Because learning to ride a bike is a lot like writing. You start of with training wheels, go slowly and even fall a few times. Then you gain more confidence and you’re off and riding and writing. Maybe at the end, you’ll have a great set off legs and a polished manuscript ready for the editor’s desk. That’s my goal, so take it for what it’s worth.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Remembering 9/11... by Lisa Mondello


As I worked last week on my next proposal for Love Inspired Romance, I thought of ways that I could include remembrance of 9/11 in my stories. Next year will mark the 10Th anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy. But this past weekend still marked another year of remembrance that shouldn't be passed over.

As I worked on my proposal, I saw different people marking the anniversary in different ways. A prayer vigil was held at the town common. People posted prayers and notes in the local paper. Some people posted on online blogs. Some people had signs on their front lawns. Some people sat in front of the television and watched the "remember when" coverage that ran all day.

One particular thing that stuck out for me was when I was shopping at my local Walmart. Two women stood outside the door with signs on them that said Free Hugs. I thought perhaps it was for a charity or a fundraiser. People do different things for causes. I went into the store and did my shopping and didn't think anything of it until I was checking out. I asked the cashier if she knew what the Free Hugs were all about. She said no and she was curious too since the women had been there all morning.

When I walked out the door, my curiosity got the best of me. Being me, I had to ask. The two women introduced themselves as Marilyn and Ann. They said that they wanted to do something to remember the day and thought giving a hug would make people feel good. I thought it was unusual but very sweet. People sometimes don't express their feelings, even though they feel a loss deeply. Who couldn't use a hug now and then to be lifted up? I hope Marilyn and Ann gave out lots of hugs and those hugs were felt deeply.

Many blessings, Lisa Mondello

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Heroine Interview for Doctor Right by Janet Tronstad


Interview with the heroine from Dr. Right by Janet Tronstad:

1.Maryann Jenner, tell me the most interesting thing about you.

I don’t know if it’s the most interesting, but it’s the most challenging thing about me. I tend to be impulsive. That’s why I drove up to Treasure Creek, Alaska to save my cousin from herself. She’d been left at the altar and I was afraid she’d marry some guy on the rebound. The one place where I’m not impulsive is when it comes to love myself. I’ve seen the problems that can come from falling in love with one’s eyes closed. It can be a disaster.

2. What do you do for fun?

You mean apart from rushing around the country rescuing my cousin? (Just a little joke there). Mostly, I enjoy the outdoors. I couldn’t believe the mountains when I got to Alaska! And I got to see them from a small airplane. Awesome!

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

I’m actually pretty organized – I need to be since I’m a nurse. But I will admit I have put off settling down. I just haven’t found a place to call home. I’m wondering if I’ll find that in Alaska though.

4. What are you afraid of most in life?

I’m a little embarrassed here, but its romance that scares me. Well, not the first part of romance – the kissing and dating part. I like that. But making a decision about marriage makes my heart stop. So many people in my family have made mistakes when they got married – I wonder if I will do the same.

5. What do you want out of life?

Ironically, even though the thought of getting married scares me spitless, I will confess it’s what I want more than anything. Only I want a marriage that will last. I just fear I’ll never have.

6. What is the most important thing to you?

Commitment. I work hard at being committed to the people I care about, like my cousin. I hope for the same in return.

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

Oh, I love romances. That old ‘happy ending’ gets me every time.

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

I could only wish for more wisdom when it comes to romance. How do I know if a man is right for me? This whole question has become really important since I met someone who just might be Dr. Right.

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

No pets. But there is a cute moose that I keep seeing around the boarding house down the street. I wish I could adopt him.

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

I’d like to see Treasure Creek in the old days. I bet there are some stories around from those times.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

FEATURED BOOK: DOCTOR RIGHT BY JANET TRONSTAD

Treasure Creek, Alaska, has only one pediatrician: the very handsome, very eligible Dr. Alex Haven. But the former big-city doc is counting the weeks till his contract with the tiny town is up. All so he can return to Los Angeles to start a clinic in his brother's honor. Nurse Maryann Jenner is determined to keep Alex in Alaska by finding him a bride and giving him a new reason to stay. But when a little boy's life—and Maryann's hope—is jeopardized, Alex may find his own reason to stay forever.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Valerie Hansen resurfaces!






Okay, here I am. Actually, I'm writing then ahead of time, which is what usually gets me in trouble. Not that I need a lot of help in that respect, you understand. I manage to make plenty of goofs by just being my regular self!






It's been beastly hot here in AR for the past couple of months. Makes me want to go back to Norway. Actually, most things have that result. I'm just afraid if we do try to go again we'll have a hard time making the next trip live up to the first one. We had a blast.






Right now I'm waiting to hear about several new projects I have in the works at Steeple Hill. And I do not bide my time well. The scripture says there's a time and a season for everything but I have never been good at waiting. That attitude is wonderful if I'm facing a deadline or if an editor has asked me to hurry with some step of the publishing process. Otherwise, it's not so good, especially if I want to keep my sanity and "sweet spirit". Now stop laughing all you other authors who know me. I do try to behave. Honest I do.









I am happiest when I'm creating, whether it be a beautiful flower garden or the perfect loaf of bread (still working on that one) or a new book. Given my penchant for daydreaming I know I'm on the right career path. Imagine that. All those times when I got in trouble with my teachers for staring out the classroom windows and telling myself stories finally paid off!









Okay, now comes the hard part. All I have to do is save this newsy note and tell it to post at the right time. Easy for some maybe. Not easy for cyber-challenged little me.





Keep reading and keep praying for your favorite authors, please. We really need it.


Valerie Hansen

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Recovering After the Push

Missy, here. I just finished up a new proposal for a book I'm hoping to sell to Steeple Hill. After a big push like that (like after a book deadline or doing a new proposal), I usually take a day to pretty much collapse. To get caught up on laundry, cook a decent meal, make a full grocery store trip, spend some uninterrupted time with my family. I did that on Tuesday this week. It was so nice to take some time to rest.

But I haven't gone to the grocery store yet. So today for lunch (Wednesday), I did one of those "throw everything in but the kitchen sink" meals. :) I had some leftover spaghetti noodles, so I decided to make some sort of sauce. I had some grape tomatoes that needed eating, found some bacon, and decided to throw in some chopped up romaine lettuce. I sauteed the sauce in olive oil, then stirred in the noodles. I made BLT pasta! It was so, so good.

So what do you throw together when you're too busy to go shopping for ingredients?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Linda Goodnight here. I’m reading an incredible book that’s put me on a journey toward a more positive faith and more gratitude in my attitude. You probably all know Debbie Macomber writes novels, but did you know she also wrote a nonfiction book called, Knit Together? I came by the book quite by ‘accident’, God’s design, I’m sure, since the book is exactly what I needed right now. While attending Debbie’s workshop in Orlando, she drew my name out of a hat. I took the book thinking, “How nice. I’ll give this to someone.” Well, I might do that eventually, but this little book has become a daily read to glean the powerful, positive, Godly wisdom within its pages.


What book have you read lately that was just the lift you needed?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Drop by Lyn Cote's blog & Name the Kitties!

http://media.webpagesindia.net/pets/1553187951.jpg
Lyn Cote here-In the manuscript I just turned in, I have two golden tabby kittens that my heroine and her two little nieces adopt.
I need names for them. Will you help me?
http://icanhascheezburger.files.wordpress.com/2008/01/funny-pictures-kittens-eating-sweet-kittens-nom.jpg
These are all photos of the type of kittens. I always call these golden tabby. Maybe that's not their correct name but it will serve my purposes.

So what should I name them??? Please leave your suggestions through Sunday, the 12th.


I need to let my editor know no later than September 13th.
The person who comes up with the winning names for the orphaned, adopted kittens will receive a copy of my latest Love Inspired Romance, Shelter of Hope.


The book that these kittens are in is titled, DADDY IN THE MAKING and will be released in April 2011. I know it's hard to remember but I'm always writing a year ahead.

Here are the directions to join the fun & perhaps win a signed copy of Shelter of Hope.

Drop by my blog http://strongwomenbravestories.blogspot.com/2010/09/name-kitties.html
and leave a comment with your name suggestions & your email written like this l(dot)cote(at)juno(dot)com. Deadline Sunday the 12th!

And there's a really cute kitten video there too. Join the fun!--Lyn

Monday, September 6, 2010

Janet Tronstad - Missing in Land's End


When you read this, I will be on my way back from a several day stay at Land's End, a resort in Alaska that is located on the Homer Spit. The Spit is a tiny piece of land that goes out into the ocean. When I get back to my sister's place in Anchorage, I will let you know all about my adventure. I'm going with my sister and parents. I understand the scenery from there is magnificent. I've pulled a photo off their website so you can see.
(Added Later) --I wanted to add that we've had a wonderful time here. I found my Alaska gold for an upcoming contest I'm running (little vials of the gold). I visited the Salty Dawg Saloon (an old log cabin that was the first structure on the Spit many decades ago).

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Hero Interview for Baby Makes a Match by Arlene James


Interview with the hero from Baby Makes a Match by Arlene James:

1. Chandler Chatam, tell me the most interesting thing about you.

I guess I’d have to say that the most interesting thing about me is that I rodeo for a living. Being a big man, I concentrate on team and tie-down roping, as well as steer wrestling. I’m a dab hand at picking and training a horse, too, I suppose.

2. What do you do for fun?

Jumping off a running horse to bring down a wild steer or lassoing the same may not seem like fun to some, but few things in the world tickle me more. When I’m not competing, I can usually be found practicing or working my horses. The least fun thing I do is drive. A rodeo cowboy logs a lot of travel time.

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

Well, I’m not one for chin-wagging. I mean, I’m as friendly as most, but it seems to me that a serious, soul-searching conversation can deteriorate into a shouting match pretty quick, especially if it’s my old man doing the searching and my soul in question.

4. What are you afraid of most in life?

Failure. I believe in working as hard and long as it takes to get a thing done, and I am no quitter, but it makes a man sick at heart to see his hard work go for naught. How are folks suppose to believe in you if can’t bring in a win every now and again?

5. What do you want out of life?

Oh, I suppose I want the same things most fellows want, someone who believes in me, someone who cares. Give me a decent patch of dirt to go along with that, and I figure I can manage not to disappoint, God willing.

6. What is the most important thing to you?

A man without integrity is a man with nothing. No matter what he owns, he is worthless. His word and his reputation are all any man ever has, and I guess I’ve learned to hold mine more dear than some.

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

I spend a lot of time in lonely motel rooms, so I do read quite a bit and, of course, I love a good western. History intrigues me, especially the Civil War era, and I enjoy a good biography. That said, I’ll read most anything, especially if it has to do with animal husbandry.

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

My feet are so big that I have to use special stirrups to keep from getting hung up when I’m dismounting a horse, and you don’t even want to know what a decent pair of boots costs me. Then, too, I do have a bit of a temper, which wouldn’t be that much of an issue, really, if I didn’t sometimes trust the wrong folks. I tell myself that because I’m a man of my word, I naturally expect others to be the same, but I fear that I just may not read people too well. I do a lot better with horses, frankly.

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

If a horse is a pet then I have four. My horses are more partners than pets, though. At least, that’s how I look at it. I mean, I depend on them every bit as much as they depend on me. Wouldn’t mind having a dog. Dog’s are smart and loyal and affectionate, and well trained dog can haze horses as well as cattle.

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

Oh, boy, I would dearly love to sit in a room with old Abe Lincoln and sort of, well, pray with him. Now, that was a man of courage and conviction, and he had to spend time on his knees to get through all that the Lord laid on him. I think about that sometimes when things get tough. What would old Abe do? Then again, what would he need with me? So, I guess, in all truth, if I could go back in time, I’d spend another day with my mom. She’s been watching from Heaven for a long time, now, but if I had one more chance to sit down with her, I’d let her know how much she means to me. And I’d listen this time, as she told me how to deal with my dad. The good Lord knows she was the expert on Hub Chatam. I mean, if ever a woman was called to be a pastor’s wife, she was. So, sorry, Abe. I have to go with Mama.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

FEATURED BOOK: BABY MAKES A MATCH BY ARLENE JAMES

Stranded at a truck stop alone and in trouble, pregnant Bethany Carter desperately needs a ride to Buffalo Creek. Then along comes Chandler Chatam, a cowboy with a bad-boy smile and a heart of gold. But when they get to Chatam House, Chandler's three maiden aunts assume he's the father! Chandler's honored to care for Bethany and her unborn child. Problem is, the more time he spends with sweet Bethany, the more he wishes he truly were the father—and her husband. What's a rodeo cowboy to do but lasso the lady into his arms?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

You just never know...

Betsy here...

It's so neat how God works. I know that, but I appreciate the reminders He often gives us through those special connections that could only come from Him.

For instance, several months ago we had an issue with our Home Depot credit card. We had an item on the card that was a no interest, no payment, and we were trying to pay it off in full but had hit a snaffoo with the timing. I was trying to beat the deadline of no interest to pay it off, to avoid the balloon interest payment at the end of that date, but didn't have enough time to risk mailing it in. So while I was passed from operator to operator trying to get someone to allow me to pay by phone or extend my deadline a day for the mailed payment, I made a friend.

The lady operator, who was from Arizona, I believe it was, was so friendly. Understanding, seemed truly interested in helping, etc. We ended up chatting while her computer loaded and pulled up my account info, and she found out I was a writer. When I told her "inspirational fiction", she got excited. When I told her "Steeple Hill Love Inspired", she fairly squeaked. Turns out she was an avid reader, and she and her mother shared allllllllll the Love Inspired books and she most certainly wanted to add me to her author list. She was so impressed with my age and success that she took down my name, website, and email, and proceeded to not only iron all my Home Depot issues out, she contacted me through my website guestbook a week later and left a message with a promise to get my books.

Who knew?

Then again this past Monday - we've been having ant problems here in the country in the heat of summer. (shocker!) We finally broke down and hired a pest control company to come spray once a month for a few months to help take control of it. The lady showed up today, and while she sprayed the house and we chatted, she asked where I worked. I explained I wrote and worked part time outside the home. She freaked out - turns out she's an avid reader AND an aspiring author, working on a YA novel with her teenage son. We chatted forever and I ended up giving her one of my novels, and of course it turned out she knew Love Inspired books and really enjoyed them. She also left with my agent's website information, so she could query once she and her son were ready.

Who knew?

I'll tell you who - God.

Next time you're starting to feel a little alone, a little lost, a little overlooked, just remember Jesus is still there and still cares. He's still in control, crossing people's paths in ways only He can, for purposes only He knows. We are instruments in His beautiful, nail-scarred hands. Look for the opportunities He gives you, and of course...keep reading those Love Inspired books ;)