Monday, January 31, 2011

4 Stars and New Book!


Hello from Lisa Mondello. I'm really excited to tell you that In a Doctor's Arms, my March 2011 Love Inspired Romance, received a 4 Star review from Romantic Times. The review itself won't be available online until March, so check back for that later. In the meantime, you can read an excerpt of In a Doctor's Arms at Amazon.com or a eHarlequin.com starting tomorrow. The book is available Feb 1st at eHarlequin and available everywhere else starting Feb 15!

Until next time, many blessings, Lisa Mondello

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Some Days are Gold

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of picking Margaret Daley up from the airport and tooling her around town (along with CWOW president Ann Lee Miller).

We had a blast! After we left the airport, we went to the Arizona Historical Society Museum. We walked around absorbing Arizona's past. My favorite part was the Sandra Day O'Conner collection. Margaret, what did you enjoy the most?

After that, we headed for lunch with Steve Laube, agent extraordinairre.

Then, we went to a bookstore (come on, where do you think authors really wanna be?)

After that, many of the ladies of CWOW (Christian Writers of the West) got together for a nice meal and just talked. What a perfect day!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Speaking of the bookclubs!!!!



Valerie Hansen checking in - for the last time, I'm sorry to say.




I'm not going to kick the bucket or anything dire like that, I've just decided I'd be better off to leave the blogging to those who are more chatty and concentrate on writing fiction.



I recently received a contract for multiple books and while I'm working on those my brain pretty much refuses to do anything else - at least not well!



Speaking of bookclubs - which Missy did a few days ago - my latest LI Historical, RESCUING THE HEIRESS, was left out of the monthly bookclub shipment along with half the titles from Jan. and ALL the other Feb. releases. Marketing explained that they were just doing it to help make the change from 2 titles per month to 4 per month but those of us who happened to land in Feb. sure slipped through the cracks. It's still possible to order that book, of course, as well as the others that you missed, so please consider it. Please, please, please, not that I'd ever stoop to actually begging.

In closing, I'll leave you with this thought and my best wishes. My life has certainly been blessed by being a part of yours through my writing and through this blog.
Many future blessings,
Val

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Don't Miss a Single Book!

Missy Tippens, here. How many of you know about the Love Inspired book club? It's also called the Reader Service. You can actually sign up to receive all the Love Inspired books in a line (Romance, Suspense or Historical) every single month. You won't miss a single book! And you also get them about 2 months before they're available on the shelf.

Another advantage is that they're discounted. Oh, and it's very convenient to have them delivered right to your home.

So check it out!  http://www.readerservice.com/

I'd love to know if you've ever subscribed to the book club. What are your thoughts on subscribing?

***************
Missy's next Love Inspired, A Family for Faith, is available for pre-order now!
Order on Amazon (click here)
Order on B&N (click here)

Back cover:

When Faith Hagin sees widower cop Gabe Reynolds every day in her coffee shop, she can’t help but feel for the struggling single dad. She’s raised a teenager of her own—and sadly, knows what not to do. But thanks to his matchmaking preteen daughter, Chelsea, the whole town’s praying for Gabe to find a wife!

Even though Faith thinks she’s content being just friends, spending time with him and Chelsea starts to feel like a fresh start at having a family. And their love may be the answer to everyone’s prayers.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

ANNIVERSARY AND A NEW BOOK!

My son and daughter-in-law have a wedding anniversary today. I have a different kind of anniversary on January 31. That’s the date in 2000 I received “the call” from the editorial staff at Harlequin (owner of Love Inspired) offering to buy my first book. I can hardly believe it’s been eleven years and quite a few sales since that exhilarating moment. In all this time, I have been blessed to work with the same amazing editor who made that call-Allison Lyons. Maybe I should send her a cyber bouquet!

My mother was an avid romance reader, too, and I was sad she didn’t live to see her daughter write a book. But when “the call” finally came, I wondered if maybe somehow she knew. After all, January 31 was her birthday. (Love you, Mom!!)

On March 1, A Place To Belong continues the “Redemption River” series. Hope you’ll keep an eye out!




Tuesday, January 25, 2011

RSS-What does that mean?



Today I posted a new topic on my new blog on my website home page at http://www.booksbylyncote.com.

Do you know what this orange button with what looks like sound waves is? If not, drop by my blog and read the explanation. There will be a test!

In fact if you leave a comment (with email address using at and dot) on my blog, telling me whether this is new to you or not--I'll enter you into a drawing for an autographed copy of one of my books! You can't beat that, can you?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Confessions of a Spaced-out Writer


Janet Tronstad here and I'm ready to confess. I am at my parent's home for a few months in Montana and deep into writing a book. We have two phones in the house. My parent's line (they are gone and no one calls that number but telemarketers) and the line I have in the back bedroom I use (which is a cordless). Anyway, I decided to take a break and call my sister who lives very close to them. So I go out to stand by the fireplace and dial her number. When I do so, my parent's phone rings and I hang-up so I can go answer their phone in case it's not a telemarketer. When I get to the phone, there is no one there. I do this three times, getting increasingly frustrated with the telemarketer and muttering to myself about them -- until I realize I've been dialing the wrong number and I am the one tormenting me!! My only excuse is that when I'm really deep into a book, my brain doesn't work the same. I've talked to other writers who don't function so well in the outer world when they are deep in the world of their book. One of my writer friends says she tries not to even drive when she's close to the end of a book because her mind is just not too aware. I know this kind of absorption in something isn't only true when writing a book. Is there something you do that makes you a little spacey because you're so involved in it in your mind? Please tell me there is and that I'm not alone!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

His Country Girl Interview


Tucker Granger, from His Country Girl a January 2011 release by Jillian Hart.
 
1. Tucker, tell me the most interesting thing about you.
I'm recovering from being trampled by a bucking bronco. I've made a name for myself on the rodeo circuit, but now I'm mostly glad I'm up and walking with a cane. It was touch and go for awhile there, and I gave my dad quite a scare. My dad, Frank Granger, is a good man, and I don't want to give him more grief. That's why I've moved home to Wyoming to recuperate. Will I head back to riding broncs and bulls for a living? Well, I'm not sure about that just yet.

2. What do you do for fun?
When I'm not on the back of a bronc, I like to spend my time with my best buddy, Jack. Jack's my horse. Lately I've been hanging out with little Owen Baker, I was his charity wish when he was in the hospital for heart surgery. I'm teaching him to mutton bust, that's riding sheep. His mom is named Sierra. Don't tell anyone this, but I've had a crush on her for as long as I can remember.

3. What do you put off doing because you dread it?
Being serious. I like to avoid those mushy talks families have that involve a lot of feelings and end in "I love you." Which is probably why I'm still a bachelor.

4. What are you afraid of most in life?
Disappointing the people I love, mostly my dad, and I miss him. I've spent a lot of time away from home competing, partly because I like doing it but also because it helps me keep distance from those serious issues I don't like to face.

5. What do you want out of life?
I used to think it was to stay carefree and unattached, to let nothing and no one tie me down. But spending time with Sierra has changed all that. I'm falling in love and I can see a different future with marriage and putting down roots that last.

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

7. Do you read books? If so, what is your favorite type of book?
Westerns, cowboy and rodeo tales, suspense and mystery. I read a lot when I'm on the road. Jack likes me to read aloud to him. He enjoys mysteries the best.

8. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
That I dealt with my issues long ago and married Sierra when I had the chance.

9. Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet?
I'm not sure Jack qualifies as a pet. In his opinion, he's far too important to be just a pet. So out of respect to him, I'll have to pick another animal. Buttercup is my family's pet cow. She's one sweet talking heifer. She's got me wrapped around her hoof. What a cutie.

10. If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why?
I used to think I would go back to the point in time right before I got trampled by that bucking bronco so I could land on the other side of the horse and avoid dying on the arena floor for almost three minutes. But now I see that moment changed my life. I never would have been home to reconnect with Sierra or to come to love her son. I guess that means I would stay right where I am since my present is and my future looks like everything I could want.


One blessed commenter will recieve a book. Please leave an email address for Jillian to contact you.

Jillian grew up on her family's homestead in Washington state, where she raised cattle to pay for her college tuition, rode horses through the pristine foothills of the Cascade Mountain range and scribbled stories in her spare time. After earning an English degree from Whitman College (what better way to go through college than to constantly read books?), she traveled, worked in advertising, taught Sunday school and volunteered before becoming a writer. When she's not hard at work on her next story, Jill can be found chatting with a friend, stopping for a café mocha with a book in hand and spending evenings at home with her family.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

FEATURED BOOK: HIS COUNTRY GIRL BY JILLIAN HART


To fulfill a sick boy's wish, rodeo star Tucker Granger surprises little Owen in the hospital. But no one is more surprised than single mother Sierra Baker. She figures the carefree champion for a different kind of man. One who doesn't spend hours talking "cowboy code" with a hospital-bound child. One who can't have her dreaming of a second chance at love. Somehow, Tucker ropes her heart and fills it with hope. Hope that this country girl and her son can lasso the roaming bronc rider into their family forever.

Montana Match Interview

How exciting to have Parker Watson the hero from Montana Match written by Merrillee Whren a January 2012 release from Love Inspired Romance.


1. Parker Watson, tell me the most interesting thing about you.

I like to invent stuff. My current project involves turning the waste from my ranch into

fuel. It’s a work in progress. I’ve been studying some of the methods used by other people

and trying to make something that will operate on my ranch.


2. What do you do for fun?

I love to snow ski, but I don’t do it very often because my work keeps me too busy. At

home, I like to watch movies with my girls.

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

I dread leaving the ranch and going into town because the people there don’t like me much.

4. What are you afraid of most in life?

I’m most afraid of confronting the people who believed the worst about me when I was

falsely accused of misconduct with one of my students.

5. What is the most important thing to you?

The most important thing to me is giving my girls the best life possible. They mean

everything to me. They keep me going, even when life doesn’t seem fair.

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

Most of the books I read are non-fiction. I work as a medical writer, and I do a lot of scientific

research for my work and my inventions. I don’t do much pleasure reading.

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

I would learn how to better deal with the people who hurt me. I don’t know what to say to

them anymore.

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

I don’t have a pet myself, but there are lots of animals on the ranch. I recently gave our nanny

a dog for her birthday. It was my girls’ idea, and I thought it would be a great gift since she

has always wanted a dog of her own.

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

Sometimes, I wish I could go back to the time when my life was simple and I was a respected

teacher in my community rather than an outcast. But then, my girls, Rose and Jasmine,

wouldn’t be a part of my life. There is no going back, so I have to accept the way things are.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Inspiration by Leann Harris


I like to have a inspirational book to read, with daily devotions. I am reading INSPIRATION FOR GIRLFRIENDS by Ellen Miller. These last few day, Ellen has been talking about cocooning. In other words, spending a few days away from your busy life and read, pray, calm your spirit so you can hear God. (She took a month.)

That hit me hard. I knew she was talking to me. I need to spend several days just being quiet and talking to God. When we quiet our spirit, then we can hear. Remember when Elijah was running from Jezebel and complained he'd been zealous for God and look what happened. The Lord told Elijah to stand on the mountain because the Lord would pass by. God wasn't in the wind, earthquake, or fire, but in the gentle whisper afterward. How can we hear if we're filled with all sorts of noise?

We can't all take a long week or month as Ellen, but each of us can come aside, be quiet before God and hear His voice. This retreat isn't a daily thing, but maybe a once a year thing to practice. Think about it.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Leigh Bale's First Blog


This is my first blog. Yes, it is The First. So here goes….

My daughter recently got engaged. We’re planning a June wedding. In spite of my husband’s encouragement not to panic, I have a lot on my mind.

Like other moms, I could remember every story I had read to my daughter, every box of macaroni and cheese I'd prepared ad nauseam when she was so sick with chemotherapy (because that's all I could get her to eat). Fighting over practicing the piano. Untying Mrs. Beasley after my daughter’s Elder Brother had tied and gagged the doll. Trying to teach my daughter to clean her room and do chores so she grew up with a good work ethic. (I say "trying" because admittedly tidiness is not my daughter's strong suit, although she does work hard.) Teaching her to love God, family and country. (She got all of that, thank goodness.)

But as I raised this sweet little girl into womanhood, something annoying happened. Other than our family and religion, we had very little in common. Our taste in clothing is completely opposite. Our choice in her friends differs substantially. Our ideas on how things should be done sits on two complete ends of the spectrum.

Enter the wedding planning stage. In spite of the grand hopes and dreams I know my girl has for her special day, my husband and I gave her a reasonable budget we can afford. Gasp! But other things haven't been so hard. I learned we aren't so different after all. This epiphany came to me when I went into the floral shop yesterday where my daughter has already chosen the flowers she wants for her bridal bouquet. Blue Dendrobium orchids, white roses and white lilies. (Her colors are periwinkle and a light turquoise and I thought they’d be horrible together.) But then I saw the orchids. They are stunning! And seeing what she had chosen made me cry. Because they were beautiful like her. I looked at the person I had raised to be a good, loving woman and realized I had succeeded. And that was the greatest compliment she could ever pay me. Nothing could be greater than that, except my unconditional love for her.

That said, I have a new series coming out soon with the first book titled THE FOREST RANGER'S PROMISE available May 2011 and the second book titled THE FOREST RANGER'S HUSBAND available November 2011. I think you can guess what the series is about. For more information, check out my website at www.LeighBale.com Enjoy! :)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

P is for Priorities

Betsy here...

I had a wake up call this past week! Last Tuesday I went to the dermotologist for the first time since I was a small child, because of three reasons - one, a tiny skin tag under my eye I was vain about, two, because of a moley-freckle thing on my leg I thought might need to be checked out, and third, we finally had insurance through my husband's new job to allow me to do all this cheaply.

The doctor agreed the mole needed to be removed though he didn't suspect anything "bad'. He zapped the skin tag from under my eye (which burned, FYI! maybe not worth it! ha!) and sent the mole for a biopsy. Said he'd let me know if anything came from it but if I never heard from him throughout the next week, to consider no news as good news. Easy enough. I went about my way.

Until Friday morning when he called me and said the biopsy results came back as melanoma. Granted, it was the earliest stages possible, and was surface level only and hadn't spread, but he needed to go back as a precaution and cut a bigger area off. I heartily agreed we couldn't be too careful.

I was a wreck all weekend. Kept thinking what if he was wrong, what if he had spread, what if it was consuming me right now...it changed my thinking. We always think "that won't happen to me" but this time it did. And in God's mercy, it was the mildest of wake up calls. I'd already committed to avoid tanning beds in the future before this incident, but oh honey, let me tell you how convinced I am of that now! I will happily embrace my pasty-whiteness from now on, I can assure you...

So today I had to go back for my incision. The 2-3 stitches turned out to be 4 under the skin and 7 on top. I'm writing this now on my laptop (Tuesday night) and the area is starting to burn and get uncomfortable. But I can't help praising God for the pain, because this was such a blessing. What if we hadn't gotten insurance and I hadn't gone to check it out? What if I'd blown off my appointment as I almost did that morning becaues of the hassle of missing work to go? What if.....

Thankfully, I don't have to wonder anymore because I know I'm securely in God's hands. Not every story turns out this well but I can assure you that every time I see the scar that will surely remain forever on my thigh, I will be grateful that this time, God used a feather to get my attention and not a 2 x 4.

Another silver lining is that I'm suddenly an example to my friends. I've had at least 5 people since last Friday tell me I have convinced them to either stop tanning or go to the dermotologist themselves to check out a suspicious spot. I hope my example can help save a life. I'm just so fortunate God is choosing to use me without making this a bigger ordeal than it was.

What are you dealing with today that has changed your priorities? What new developments, good or bad, are you handling this week that could give you a better mindset toward your life, your writing, your family, etc. ? How can you find the silver lining?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

For Parents Only






Terri Reed here. I'm in the midst of raising two teenagers. For the older one, we're on the college track. Sifting through the various programs and locations and all the other variables that go into the desicion. For the younger one, we're closing out the elementary years and leaping into high school. (I say leaping because kid is waaaaay excited about the move to the different school.) A couple of years ago I found this great little book that helps to navigate these tuberulant waters and have since reread it several times.
For Parents Only by Shaunti Feldhahn and Lisa A. Rice. http://www.shaunti.com/BooksStudies/ForParentsOnly/tabid/139/Default.aspx
I've recommended it to all my friends and thought someone out there might need to read this book. The authors interviewed over a 1000 teens of various backgrounds and genders and they share the results with you.
This book has helped me to understand my kids and helped me to be a better parent.

Also look for my latest release ON SALE NOW



Monday, January 17, 2011

Your Horoscope: NOT

Pamela Tracy here, and no, I'm don't read my horoscope and I'm not convinced that just because I'm Libra, I am easy to get along with. Still, a news story at the New Year did pique my interest. The zodiac has changed.
How does that affect me? Not at all. Still, when I meet newpeople, and they ask me my sign (I usually give them the peace sign) I'll have to think and say, "Either Libra or Virgo, not sure."

It should make for good conversation. Either way, I'm happy because whichever sign I choose, I know how to spell it. The new sign, Ophiuchus, isn't so phonetic.

I guess the reason I'm thinking about it is because of a writers' talk I went to last year on characterization. The speaker used the zodiac to help model her characters' journey. I actually liked the method. See, if I make my heroine patterned after libra traits, then I have an easy-going heroine who is a bit vain, who is very social, and who avoids arguments. I don't need to look a the signs (unless I'm blocked) for my hero. I make him moody, a jeans-and-Tshirt type, who is a loner and who has somewhat of a temper.

Oh, ack, I just described my husband!
So, did you even know about the change? Whatya think?

NEW ZODIAC SIGN CHART
Capricorn January 20- to February 16
Aquarius February 16 to March 11
Pisces March 11 to April 18.
Aries April 18 to May 13
Taurus May 13 to June 21.
Gemini June 21 to July 20
Cancer July 20 to August 10
Leo August 10 to September 16
Virgo September 16 to October 30
Libra October 30 to November 23
Scorpio November 23 to November 29
Ophiuchus November 29 to December 17
Sagittarius December 17 to January 20

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Rancher's Reunion Interview


How exciting to have Will Sullivan the hero from The Rancher’s Reunion, by Tina Radcliffe, a January 2011 release from Love Inspired Romance.

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

Interesting? I’m not exactly sure there’s anything about me that’s all that interesting. I run Sullivan Ranch, which is now online at http://www.thesullivanranch.com/
and this is our first year doing business as sort of a Christian dude ranch with KidCare.

2. What do you do for fun?
Mostly give Ryan Jones a hard time. I’ve been known to ride the roller coaster at Frontier City, in OKC with Annie Harris. Oh, and I’m partial to eating Killer Oatmeal cookies.

3. What do you put off doing because you dread it?
I’d like to skip this question because it’s sure to get me in trouble and to tell you the truth I’ve stepped in so many cow pies lately I’m pretty much a cow pie magnet.

4. What are you afraid of most in life?
A life without Annie.

5. What do you want out of life?
I want Sullivan Ranch to prosper, Annie Harris by my side, Rose O’Shea in the kitchen and good friends on the front porch sharing lemonade.

6. What is the most important thing to you?
Family. Family is everything and it doesn’t matter if it’s your biological family or the rag-tag family the good Lord put in your life. Family comes first.

7. Do you read books? If so, what is your favorite type of book?
Does the tractor manual count?

8. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Maybe I’d be a little less controlling and stubborn. Maybe.

9. Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet?
A horse is a cowboy’s best friend and Okie is my horse.

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

Why would I want to do that? I can’t see the past as a way to the future. I concentrate on today and turning things over to God, day by day, moment by moment.

Tina Radcliffe has been dreaming and scribbling for years. Originally from Western, N.Y., she left home for a tour of duty with the Army Security Agency stationed in Augsburg, Germany and ended up in Tulsa Oklahoma. While living in Tulsa she spent ten years as a Certified Oncology R.N. A former library cataloger, she now works for a large mail order pharmacy. Tina currently resides in the foothills of Colorado where she writes heart warming romance. You can reach her at http://www.tinaradcliffe.com

Tina will be giving away a copy of her debut release from Love Inspired, The Rancher’s Reunion to one commenter. Please leave an email address for Tina to contact you.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

FEATURED BOOK: THE RANCHER'S REUNION BY TINA RADCLIFF

Will Sullivan's reason for refusing marriage is his biggest secret. To Will, it's part of his legacy, like the family's ranch. But then the woman he has secretly loved since childhood returns home after two years. Abandoned as a child the way he was, Annie Harris understands him. But she doesn't know the real reason keeping him a bachelor. A missionary nurse, Annie is planning to leave soon. Especially when a senseless scandal involving her threatens the ranch—and Will's future. But can he trust in rekindled love to see that Annie just might be his future?

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Weather

This is Merrillee, who is trying to stay warm. Why is the weather a favorite topic of conversation? Maybe it is because the weather affects our lives in so many ways. If it is raining, a trip to the beach, the planned picnic or the scheduled tennis match will probably be called off. So we are always checking the weather to see how it will affect our plans.

Recently, the weather has been in the news a lot. In Australia they are having horrendous floods that have taken many lives. Here in the United States the reports of unseasonable tornadoes and big snowstorms, which have canceled many airline flights, have dominated the weather news. Right now there is snow in forty-nine of the fifty states. I happen to live in the only state with no snow, Florida, but that doesn't mean we've been spared some weather woes. The temperatures here in the past few days have been twenty degrees below normal.

The photo below shows the fountain in my yard filled with ice.



The following photos show a number of the plants in my yard that have died above the ground. Hopefully, they will come back from the roots.


Above, you see my poor hydrangea.


This photo shows what is left of my hibiscus.


This is the typical state of the oleanders in my yard.


And finally, these are a few of the potted plants I have dragged inside. These will go back outside at my front door as soon as the night time temperatures are above thirty-five. I have found a place for a few of my tropical plants inside the house until spring comes. However, many of my tropical plants have found a winter time home in my garage this year. I'm ready for hot and humid.

What about you? How has the weather affected you lately?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Grandkids

Patricia Davids, here. My daughter and my granddaughter stopped in today. It's always a treat to see them. Fortunately they don't live far away and I see fairly often. As my granddaughter was showing me her "best Christmas gift ever!" I thought, little girl, you don't know the half of it. Grandkids are truly the best gift ever.

Those of you who have them know exactly what I mean. Those of you who are young parents have an inkling, but you can't appreciate the power of the word, grandchild. Not yet. Hopefully, you will one day.

I've got two grandchildren. They are seven years apart in age and while they don't always agree with each other, they do love each other. I pray they stay the best of friends.

I love my daughter but it wasn't until I held my grandson that I discovered this very special, sweet bond could exist. What an eyeopening experience. What a wonderful reward for not strangling my own kid when she was a mouthy teenager bent on making my life...well, difficult. I wasn't the best wife or the best mother. I'm not ashamed to admit it. I gave it everything I had. I'm still married to the same guy and my daughter speaks to me so I must not have done too badly, but let me tell you being a grandmother has been my best job.

Do you know how I can tell? Well, for one, my seventeen-year-old grandson cooked a log roll cake for Christmas dinner. By himself. When I said I was surprised by his cooking skill, he looked at me with a big smile and said, "I learned it from you. From all the times you pulled a stool up beside the stove and let me help you cook when I was little."

Ha! I thought I was the one having fun. Yup, grandkids are the greatest gift. Tell me about your grandkids if you have them. What are they like? If you don't have grandchildren, what are some of your happy memories with your grandmother?

The Usual Topic

Hi, this is Margaret Daley, popping in to say hello and happy New Year. I am frantically working to reach one of my goals I have set for myself.

The usual topic for January are New Year resolutions. Did you make one? If so, have you stuck with it? If you didn't, why not? So did you make one? What was it? Have you kept the resolution?

I didn't make a resolution. I haven't for years. Probably because I set goals for myself all the time. To me that is what a resolution is. When I write I have a word count goal for the week. I strive to make that goal so that I make the goal of turning my book in on time. Personally I think resolutions have gotten a bad rap. So instead of setting a resolution in January, look at setting goals through the year. Realistic goals. Ones you think you can make. You will feel so much better.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Sometimes words are hard to find--Lenora Worth

This is my fourth blog in the last two weeks. I'd like to post something pithy and profound but all I can think about today is the horrible tragedy in Arizona. A Congress woman has been shot and six others have died. When such events happen, it tends to paralyze us. The news is constant and always updating. If we sit and watch, we have to relive this tragedy over and over. I can't imagine how the family members must feel.

But in times such as this, writers need to remember that our words can help people escape for a little while. Sometimes, we might think what we do is frivilous but our stories have a place, even in times of national tragedy. We saw this with the horrors of 9/11. I remember a lot of us in the tight-knit writing community found it hard to get back to our stories. What was the point?

The point of course is that we have to keep moving. We have to continue with our work, great or small. Because if we give into the pain, then the bad guys win. We can't let them win. Our job is to give our readers a means to get away from all the ugliest in the world for just a little while. Right now, words are hard to find. How can we express our pain, our sympathy and our sadness. It's not easy. But we all get those letters that tell us what we do matters. Our readers depend on us to deliver our stories. And that has to be the focus during these times of sadness and disbelief. My heart goes out to all those who lost loved ones in this tragedy. And we will not forget. As much as we believe in happy endings, we know that is not alway the case in real life. And yet, we will not give up hope. Ever.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Debra Clopton's Thoughts on the Hump--Gotta Love It!





It's me--Debra Clopton, sticking my head up from deadline crunch :) to say hi.

In writing a book there is a time when the book hits a wall or a hump that frustrates me and stalls my process. I've learned that I'm going to encounter this hump in each book and that it is just a part of my process. What I've learned about this hump is that while frustrating as it is, it has stalled me out for a reason. I've learned to spend more time with God during this time and ask Him to guide me and help me see what it is that He might be trying to tell me. This is the hardest moment I have in each and every book. It is ususally the moment that I realize something extremely important to my story that was never there before. I usually have an ah-Ha moment when I realize what it is that God was trying to tell me and I push forward over the hump to the other side. Most of the time I've found that my favorite part of a book, after it is written is the section where I encountered the hump... In life I think it is the same way. Have you ever encountered a hump (there are small humps and humps of huge despair) Moments when you thought God had turned his back on you and left you to flounder on your own? I have! But I know if I turn and look at my life trailing out behind me that it is the momets during the hump and afterwards that I see God's glory as I see exactly how He was guiding me or helping me navigate over that hump. Or using it to draw me back to HIM.

In the picture above my husband and I were driving up the Waimea Canyon (the Grand Canyon of Kauai) which was beautiful and lush for the most part then this area of red rock shows up. Chuck stopped so I could explore. I climbed down off the road and looked down, just over one of the red dirt humps and there beside the stream hidden from view were three beautiful stems of purple orchids! I was so astonished and thrilled. LOL I didn't have my camera with me :( so I don't have a picture. But when I was thinking of this post I immediatly thought of the orchids. If I'd stayed on the other side of the hump and not put forth the extra effort I'd have missed one of the most memorable moments of my honeymoon. This second picture is Chuck and I standing at the top of the mountain behind us is the Na Pali Coast. We're so high up that it is almost impossible to distinguish between the ocean and the sky. Again, we reached a spot where we thought we were at the top of the mountain, but someone had told us that when we thought we were at the last stop to keep on going because we weren't. They were right. The road got rougher and full of pot holes and not many traveled up that far...but oh what a beautiful sight it was to be there. I'm praying that when you are feeling like you can't go any further that you refresh yourself with time with God then push forward.

God has something beautiful in store for you.
Until next time Live, Laugh and Seek God with all your Heart.

Debra Clopton--I hope you'll be watching for the reissue of THE TROUBLE WITH LACY BROWN AND, AND BABY MAKES FIVE coming out as a Classic in March.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Second Chance Interview


How exciting to have Sophie Powell the heroine from Second Chance by Leann Harris Ranch a January 2011 release from Love Inspired Romance .

1. Sophie, tell me the most interesting thing about you.
I was an Army medic and served in Iraq. When I can home, I planned to go back to school to be a doctor, but after seeing the benefits of equine therapy on some of the wounded soldiers I treated, I knew that was the call on my life.

2. What do you do for fun?
I take my horse out and ride. There is nothing I love more than riding. Zach (the hero and most stubborn male in New Mexico) goes with me and we spend the day on horseback. I knew him when my college roommate took me home with her one weekend and I met him. I had a terrible crush on him.

3. What do you put off doing because you dread it?
Cooking. I’d rather clean out stalls than cook. What I need a is wife.

4. What are you afraid of most in life?
Confronting my parents. When I was a teen, my older brother died in an accident. I overheard a conversation between my parents blaming me for his death. I carried that wound with me for many years. Eventually, I confronted my parents with what I heard, and learned what my parents really said.

5. What do you want out of life?
To own my own an equine therapy ranch, helping others overcome their physical weaknesses by riding and caring for horses. It is an incredible blessing and gives me peace.

6. What is the most important thing to you?
To laugh and celebrate life. For so long my life was filled with sadness and guilt, but I have found joy with my parents, my new husband, Zach, and his wonderful, noisy family.

7. Do you read books? If so, what is your favorite type of book?
I love who-done-it books. Also I read a lot of journals and books on equine therapy.

8. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I would like to be able to sing. I can’t carry a tune worth spit. I enjoy singing and the horses don’t complain, but if there’s someone else in the stables, they do.

9. Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet?
My horses are my babies particularly one gelding named Prince Charming. Charmin’ is a character. I spent more time talking to him about Zach. He really is a wonderful listener. Gives good advice, too.

10. If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why? How far back?
If we are talking about centuries, I would love to go back to medieval England to see the wonderful steeds the knights rode. They had to be incredible animals to carry all that weight. I also would’ve loved to have seen how Comanche worked with their mounts here in New Mexico and Texas.

Thank you Leann for sharing Sophie with us.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

FEATURED BOOK: SECOND CHANCE RANCH BY LEANN HARRIS

Former soldier and rodeo rider Zachary McClure's war injuries are far deeper than physical. Skeptical that anyone can reach the dark place in his soul, he visits an Albuquerque equine therapy ranch with no expectations. How can horses possibly mend his physical and emotional injuries when nothing—and no one—else has? He finds the answer when he meets Sophie Powell, an ex-army medic with a sunny smile, gentle touch and a determination to help others through horse therapy. But behind her big hopes and cheerful attitude lurks pain—and Zachary is just the man to change that. He can make Sophie's dreams a reality…and she may be the woman to heal this wounded hero's heart.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Allie Pleiter on Ten Thousand Hours

I just finished Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers.  While the book has loads of interesting information on what makes success and what doesn’t, one fact stuck with me:  10,000 hours.
It’s been scientifically and anecdotally documented that the point of mastery for most given skills and techniques comes at the 10,000 hour mark.  Be it cooking or music or computer programming or calculus--the mastery mark seems to universally rest at around 10,000 hours.  Talent may be a launching pad, but it is still no short cut to excellence.  Gladwell presents the theory that opportunity and cultural environment fuel success just as much as--in fact more so--than intellect or talent.  The person closest to their 10,000 hours will be the person “in the right place at the right time” to achieve greatness.
As a person who views the world with the eyes of faith, I found this fascinating...and challenging. Not because I believe in “luck,” but because I believe it’s God’s providence that gives us opportunity and environment and talent.  Which also means that it’s my job to put in those 10,000 hours to be ready to use the gifts He’s given me when my time comes.  In writing, in life, in whatever I pursue.  

It’s why the hero in my story MISSION OF HOPE is a favorite of mine.  Quinn Freeman's life--his “10,000 hours”--led up to God’s unique invitation for him to make a difference.
Where are you on this road?  Can the concept of “10,000 hours to mastery” fuel a goal for this new year?  Where is God calling you to be ready and working?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Paid Forward

Kim Watters here. Last summer, I found a wallet in the street. Being a Christian and I’d like to think, a very nice person, I tracked down the owner through a business card in his wallet and gave it back to him because that’s what we do. The early twenty-something was very grateful and tried to pay me. I didn’t accept. I figured he needed the eleven dollars in his wallet more than I did. I simply requested he pay it forward sometime and that in turn, I would have it paid forward for me.

Fast forward to December 26th. Yep, you got it. The day after Christmas sales and the day my kids wanted to trade in all their gift cards and cash because they just didn’t get enough games for their Nintendos. My ten-year-old son carries his own wallet. Hey, I’m trying to teach responsibility. Well, you guessed it. He took it out in the toy section to count his loot and put it on a shelf when he picked up a toy.

When we got home—because my seven-year-old forgot her envelope in the rush to run out the door—my son asked where his wallet was. After a few heart-stopping moments, we jumped back in the car and raced back to Target. Along the way I said a prayer to God that the wallet would still be there--believe me, I knew the chances were slim on such a busy day—but I prayed anyway. I asked him to pray as well.

“No.” My son is having issues with his belief and somehow feels God hates him-especially now that his wallet is gone. “God hates me.”

“No He doesn’t, Honey. God has bigger things to worry about than picking on you.”

“Nope. He hates me.”

“Okay Lord, I need some help here. Really need some help.” I tried again. “God loves you. Sometimes he just has a unique way of showing it. There’s got to be a gift or message in this for you from Him.”

Mentally I’m trying to count how much money was in that wallet and knew it was going to cost me at least a hundred on top of what I’d already spent for Christmas, because I refused to let the lost wallet dash his Christmas spirit. Okay, I know there’s tough love and a responsibility factor, but there’s also being a parent and protecting our children from the harsh realities of life as long as we can. It’s a scary world out there and he’ll spend more time in it than in the dreamy state of childhood.

It turns out I didn’t need to worry. My prayers worked. Rushing up to the customer service counter while my kids scrounged around the toy section, I asked if a wallet had been found.

“A black child’s wallet with no ID?” The young lady asked?

“Yes. It’s got a few Target gift cards, a Borders card and some twenties inside.”

“Yes. Tiffany has it. Some man found it in the toy section and gave it to her.”

I almost cried. I’d like to hug the man who found the wallet and realized he held a child’s Christmas inside. It would have been so easy for him to pocket it and use it himself, except he understood the contents were more than just pieces of plastic and money and it didn't belong to him.

He truly was a messenger, and my son learned that God does love him. So whoever my good Samaritan was. Thank you and God Bless You.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Plot versus Character--the book--Lenora Worth

No, I didn't write this book. My friend Jeff Gerke did. But I'm glad he wrote it. Even though I've published over 40 books, I can always find way to learn to be a better writer. I think Jeff's book will help me do just that. It's subtitled as "a balanced approach to writing great fiction." I could use some balance somewhere in my life! Might as well be my writing. And the man dedicated the book to his beautiful youngest daughter. Sigh.

Anyway, the cover blurb asks the question--What's more important to a story: a gripping plot or compelling characters? This books says the best fiction is rich in both. It shows writers how to be good at both. So what do you think? Does the plot come first or should the characters carry the story? Would you rather read a fast moving plot with little character study, or do you like to get deep inside a character's head and see what makes him tick? Or maybe you like a little bit of both.

If you're a writer, read Jeff Gerke's book. It will help clarify things for you. If you are a reader, tell us your feelings. Have you read a book that covers both of these things? Who does the best plots and who creates the best characters?

Plot versus character. Game on!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy New Year: New Year/New Look by Lisa Mondello

Hello from Lisa Mondello! I'm always excited when a new year rolls around. It gives me time to evaluate what I've done, what I want to do and how I want to do it!

First let me say that Pam, our amazing web person, has given us new look while we were all out celebrating the new year. I think it looks fabulous! What do you think?

Second, I'm going to brave and talk about resolutions. I know, I know. To some, it's a dirty word. To others, resolutions are meant to break. To me, they're just an opportunity to think about where I am and what's next. Simple. Nothing to get all flustered about. Those of you who break out into hives when you read resolutions, you may want to skip this part and go back and read our 12 Days of Christmas story that the Craftie Ladies wrote just before Christmas. The rest of you can chime in with your own resolutions if you dare!

1. Exercise. I'm a wimp when it comes to that. I realized that when I stopped working 9-5 in Corporate America, the most activity I got during the day came from walking from the desk to the coffee pot. Granted, coffee is an addiction for me and I can get a good workout just doing that. But it's not enough. So I'm going to put exercise on my lists of must dos each day.

2. Housework. (Yes, I know. Another dirty word. But it can't be helped.) Housework is the one thing that falls by the wayside when I'm writing. It always amazes me that I can get so engrossed in a story that I don't even see dust...until I send off my manuscript. Then I can't believe how bad it got.




3. Read the classics and read out of my comfort zone. I find that I read what I love...other romance novels. I do that because I know what I like and since I have such a limited amount of time because of my busy schedule, I don't want to waste that time on something I may not like. But that never gives me a different perspective on style, story, structure, etc. So I'm going to start reacquainting myself with the classics and go from there. I'm open to suggestions!

Okay, that's it. It was painless. Well, on paper anyway. What are your resolutions? Tell me if you dare!

Many blessings, Lisa Mondello

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Cowboy's Homecoming Interview

How exciting to have _Jeremy Hightree the hero from __The COWBOY’S HOMECOMING__ a __January 2011 release from Love Inspired Romance .

1. Jeremy Hightree, tell me the most interesting thing about you.
I’m a kid from Dawson, Oklahoma who has managed to do pretty good for himself. I guess the most interesting thing is that I’m really a Cooper, and didn’t know it until I was 18. I’ve spent the last 12 years being pretty mad about that fact. Some people might be interested in knowing that I bought the church I grew up attending…just to tear it down.
2. What do you do for fun? Ride bulls and build custom motorcycles.
3. What do you put off doing because you dread it? I’ve put off talking to Tim Cooper, my dad, for about a dozen years.
4. What are you afraid of most in life? That’s easy, Bethlehem Bradshaw
5. What do you want out of life? I guess the answer to that is the same as question four, Bethlehem Bradshaw. I thought I wanted revenge, but Beth is a lot better option.
6. What is the most important thing to you? Taking care of my family. Oh, and Bethlehem Bradshaw. I’ve been a pretty happy bachelor for a long time, so I guess I’m coming to terms with the reality that things have changed.
7. Do you read books? If so, what is your favorite type of book? Right now I’m reading Beth’s mom’s Bible. Beth gave it to me, thinking it would be the thing that would stop me from tearing down Back Street Church.
8. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I guess I’d be more forgiving.
9. Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet? I have horses and some cattle.
10. If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why? I think I’d go back about 40 years and try to figure out what happened to my mother. What turned her to alcohol and kept her from being the parent she should have been.

Thank you Brenda for sharing Jeremy with us.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

FEATURED BOOK: THE COWBOY'S FAMILY BY BRENDA MINTON


Widower Wyatt Johnson brought his two little girls home to Dawson, Oklahoma, looking for a place to heal. The grief from his wife's death still lingers, but it's time to move on and try to live a simple life. He's in for a surprise when he finds a lovely young nanny on his doorstep, ready to give him the help he won't admit he needs. Now his life is far from simple, which may be a blessing in disguise. In Rachel Waters he finds a nurturing, vivacious woman whom his daughters adore. Together, Wyatt and Rachel can help each other realize that they're deserving of laughter, friendship…and love.