Monday, August 29, 2011

Who Reads Pamela Tracy Love Inspired Romances?

I'll tell you who

Kid in Bed

Man with nodding head


Woman with a pup

A grandpa who needs to turn it right side up




Who reads Pamela Tracy Love Inspired romances?

Why, my whole family


Sunday, August 28, 2011

Wyoming Sweethearts Interview

Please welcome Eloise Tipple from Wyoming Sweethearts by Jillian Hart, an August 2012 Love Inspired Romance.

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

Okay, I have a confession to make. I'm not Eloise. I'm her grandmother, Edie Tipple. Eloise is not one to wax on about herself, so I've taken over the job. Let me tell you about my wonderful granddaughter. She thinks the chance for love has passed her by and all because her ex-fiancé dumped her when she was seriously injured in a car accident. Now she thinks because of her cane (she's recovered from a spinal cord injury) no man is going to fall in love with her. Well, between you and me, I have a plan. I'm going to fix her up with eligible young men until romance happens. I have a lot of friends, and they all have grandsons who need to get married. Problem solved, right?

2. What do you do for fun?

Eloise loves her job managing Cady's country inn. She loves riding her horse. And lately she seems to be having a whole lot of fun hanging out with that Granger boy come to work on Frank's ranch.

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

My granddaughter keeps trying to talk me out of fixing her up on dates. Can you imagine? How is she going to find a nice man to marry if she doesn't? And what could be unpleasant about meeting a nice young man over dinner? Unless this has something to do with that dashing young Sean Granger. Hmm. I'll have to keep an eye on those two. Maybe romance is blooming!

4. What are you afraid of most in life?

I think Eloise is afraid of getting her hopes up and falling in love with someone who might reject her because of her spinal cord injury. It breaks my heart because I think she's pretending to be just friends with Sean instead of letting her true feelings show.

5. What do you want out of life?

Well, I want all my grandchildren to be settled and happy, but I think Eloise especially deserves a great love and a happy family. She's such a good person. Then again, I'm her grandmother. I could be just a tad bit biased.

6. What is the most important thing to you?

Family. Eloise has been visiting me since she was a wee thing, and through the years we have remained close. Even now she comes over to check on me most evenings. When we aren't working in the garden, we share lemonade on my shady porch.

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

I read romances and when I'm done, I hand them to Eloise. I'm hoping she'll get the hint!

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

Not one thing--my Eloise is just perfect they way she is, cane and all.

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

Eloise's beloved horse Pixie is pastured on my land. That pretty white horse has been her friend since she was a girl.

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

I would go back in time and take the keys away from the drunk driver who hurt my Eloise. She lost more than her fiancé that night; she also lost her skating career. She was an accomplished ice dancer and won many international competitions. I'm proud of the way she's rebuilt her life. I know God has a way of turning sadness into joy. I keep thinking maybe Sean might be Eloise's joy. It's about killing me waiting to see what is going to happen between those two!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

FEATURED BOOK: WYOMING HEARTS BY JILLIAN HART




Where Do Lonely Hearts Go?The chance to rescue abandoned horses has given Eloise Tipple the fresh start she needs. After losing her skating career and fiancé, she returns home to Wild Horse, Wyoming, to work at a beautiful inn and man the stables. Sean Granger has also come home to nurse some emotional wounds and would like nothing more than to pursue life as a lone wolf. Both say they want nothing more than friendship. But while saving homeless horses, can Sean and Eloise save each other and heal their wounds?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Ask Elnora--About Changes--Lenora Worth

I'm a bit late getting started. All week long my Internet has been misbehaving. But considering earthquakes, storms and that each time I sneeze something goes out around her, Elnora is blessed to be safe and awake this morning.

Which brings me to the question I pondered last night in the wee hours. Do we like change or does change drives us a bit nut?

Elnora will have big changes coming up when Big Daddy carts her away to Florida next year, to live in, gasp, a condo half the size of our current home. Of course, all of the shoes have to go with us! And the purses! And the books, of course. And a few clothes. But what will I give up, sell or leave behind? Ball gowns from too much Mardi Gras fun? Jeans that will never fit these hips again? Chairs that are comfortable but not beachy enough? What to take, what to leave behind? Why does change make us run around in circles like a mouse chasing his tail?

And speaking of changes, you can expect a few right here on this blog. Fall is in the air and with the changing leaves comes the changing blog for our dear Love Inspired Ladies. But one thing won't change. We will continue writing the books we love to write for you, our fabulous readers. So let's discuss-change. Do you like it, hate it or just go with it? Or maybe you wouldn't change a thing? The answer my friend, is blowin' in the wind!!!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Birthdays. The Good the Bad and the Ugly






Birthdays.
Today, someone I love turned sixty. The big 6-0. I’m not up there yet, but that number is looming on the horizon unless the world really does end in 2012.

Thinking back on all the birthdays I’ve seen is kind of fun. When I was ten, my mother had a birthday party for me. I invited all my girlfriends from school and my mother made a beautiful angel food cake with a Barbie doll in the center and decorated the cake like the skirt of a ball gown. I loved it.

Twenty was okay. I was in college and I really wanted to be twenty-one instead. It seems that when we’re young we always want to be older. Why is that?

Thirty, the big 3-0, was a breeze. I didn’t mind it at all. Thirty-one was much..more...painful. Yikes, it meant I was getting old. Ha! I had no idea what old was.

Forty, now that one stung a little. 4-0. The number makes a girl start thinking about age-spots and wrinkle cream. It’s best, on birthdays like forty, to go shoe shopping. A great pair of shoes can make anyone feel younger.

By the time I hit fifty I was a grandmother and loving every minute of life except for those first ten minutes after getting out of bed in the morning. Ah, the aches and pains of getting older. How they enjoy reminding me that I’m not as young as I used to be. For my birthday that year my son-in-law gave me a stuffed yellow chicken with red, coiled spring legs. The stupid thing sang, “You’re no spring chicken, you’re no spring chicken.” My grandkids played with it all evening. Every five minutes it was warbling, “You’re no spring chicken. You’re no spring chicken.” Tony, I haven’t quite forgiven you for that one.

It wasn’t until I was fifty-two that I sold my first book. Goodness, I’ve sold 15 since then. No wonder my fingers ache. I type too much.








6-0. When it's my turn, I'll celebrate that one with bells on. Every year is a gift and I thank God for each and every one I reach. Getting older isn't so bad when I think of my only alternative.

Birthdays, happy days, ugly days, they are gentle reminders that no one is getting any younger. What was your best or worst birthday?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Visit with Author Friends


Hi, this is Margaret Daley. Last week I got a chance to drive up to Joplin to meet some other authors for lunch. It was a great break from writing to talk about writing and whatever came to our minds (scary, isn't that). We had so much fun laughing and getting to know each other better. The bonus in going was I also got to brainstorm with Vickie McDonough, a good friend. The people in the above picture are Lissa Johnson, Cheryl Hodde (Hannah Alexander), Lori Copeland, Vickie McDonough, myself and Jenny Jones.

The reason we met in Joplin was it was the most center location for us. While I was there, Vickie and I saw the devastation from the tornado a couple of months ago. Very sobering to see whole areas leveled, some of the debris still there. My prayers continue to go out to the people of Joplin, who will be dealing with this disaster for a long time.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

It's Almost Fall by Leann Harris


Thankfully it's almost Sept. Usually, we get relief from the weather by Sept. I can only pray it's so, but we will break the record for the most days over 100. My poor husband got to spend most of this scorcher by himself. I was in Houston for two months, home a week, then I got to go to Denver and spend a week in the mountains with Margie Lawson doing deep editing. The temperature was heavenly. We haven't seen a 50 degree temperature since March around here.

During my absence, my husband got into a routine of using paper plates, one cup, one spoon. He was very proud of himself with his efficiency. Of course, he had to use the washer. He waited until he had 14 shirts before washing. I can't complain since he had everything clean when I came home, but he did ask me who I was when I was wandering through the house the other day.

Unfortunately, I'll be off again in Sept to the ACFW conference in St. Louis.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Once Upon a Cowboy Interview


Today we welcome Joel McCreedy, the heroine from Once upon a Cowboy by Pamela Tracy, a August 2011 release from Love Inspired Romance . Good to see you, Joel.



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


There was a time I’d say that being a bull rider was the most interesting thing about me, but now I think it’s what I can do with my hands – not just hold onto a bull, but I can build just about anything from mechanical bulls, to baby beds, to actual buildings. Oh, and the absolutely most interesting thing about me is that I can hold on to the love of my life: Beth Armstrong.



2. What do you do for fun?


Lately, fun has revolved around Beth’s school carnivals, my nephews’ activities, and church functions. My old buddies are amazed.



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


Helping my brother in the field. I’m still not much on farming. Luckily, I’m good on fixing things like his tractor.



4. What are you afraid of most in life?


When I think about how long I was gone and how much I missed out on, I get humbled. Sometimes, I stop, look at the sky, and thank God for bringing me home. But, in the pit of my stomach, there’s always this fear that I did it once – walked away from family and everyone who really cared about me – could it happen again?



5. What do you want out of life?


I want to marry Beth, have children, and circle my family with love, not just my love, but God’s love.



6. What is the most important thing to you?


Showing my family that I’m reliable. I will take care of them no matter what.



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


Lately, all I do is read to the boys. With Ryan, the oldest, we’re reading Harry Potter. With Matt, who is in K, we’re reading Nate the Great. With Caleb, age three, we’re reading the Biscuit books.



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


Sometimes I assume a dream is supposed to be acted on, no matter the cost. I am continuously working on patience. Of course, I asked the minister if God would grant me patience. He said yes. I asked how. The minister said by trying your patience. I’ve been a little hesitant in my prayers ever since.



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


I’m fixing to get my own dog, soon, as soon as Beth and I get married and have our own place.



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


I want to say the day I left so that I wouldn’t leave, but it starts so much earlier than that. I think I’d go back to right after my mother died, to the carnival where everyone was sitting at a picnic table and I noticed there was no room for me. I’d simply go over and now I know I wouldn’t need to say scoot over. They’d do it automatically. I’m the one who didn’t realize that, too young and stupid.


Saturday, August 20, 2011

FEATURED BOOK: ONCE UPON A COWBOY BY PAMELA TRACY



Cowboy HomecomingA bull-riding injury has sent Joel McCreedy crashing—literally—into his tiny Iowa hometown. But the last thing the prodigal son wants is to stay. On top of a bruised head and ego, he has relationships to mend and a reputation to clear. And then there's lovely Beth Armstrong, his nephews' teacher, who's willing to give them all lessons in family and forgiveness. But Joel isn't the dutiful "family first" man Beth deserves. Or is he? Suddenly, instead of wrangling bulls he's helping with homework. And instead of craving his next win, he's determined to be Beth's once-in-a-lifetime love.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Ask Elnora--About Winning? Lenora Worth


Hello. Wait what's that sound? Oh, my. That's the sound of mothers everywhere breathing a big sigh of part relief and part sadness. It's back to school time, my darlings. Chocolate and coffee by the pool, pronto. We have lots to discuss:

Big Daddy and Elnora watched the movie "Secretariat" last night. Wonderful story of a true winner, a thoroughbred race horse with a big heart. The most amazing part of the story--besides that beautiful horse that won The Triple Crown--was how his owner Penny Chenery Tweedy never gave up on the horse she called Big Red. The even more amazing part--hello--she was a woman! Yes, a woman who had a brain and used it. A woman who went with her gut instincts and stuck to her guns even when men called her "that housewife". Elnora loves a good love story. And this truly was a love story about a girl and her father, about a woman and a horse and about winning. I'm not talking about the Charlie Sheen type of winning. I'm talking the kind of winning that requires hard work and dedication and instincts and courage. I'm talking about the heart of a champion and the heart of a woman. Sigh. Elnora was in high school in the early seventies when Secretariat was winning all those races. I learned a lot of hard lessons about winning and never giving up on a dream and standing up for the things I believed in during that time, too. But it's women like Penny Tweedy who have paved the way for all of us. So that's the big question for today. What does it take to make a true winner?

What does it take to make a dream a reality? Penny's father always told her to "run the race". And isn't what winning is all about? Running the race??? Isn't that exactly what Christ tells us to do? Keep our eyes on the prize and finish the race? Fight the good fight? Let's discuss "Winning?" Is it about the prize, or is it more about the heart of a winner?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Allie Pleiter on Kisses

A kiss is just a...?


Today I want to open a discussion.  I’d like to know what you, as readers of inspirational romance, think about a particular topic.  A plot element, if you will.  A kiss.

In my current work-in-progress, two characters are strongly attracted to one another.  Our heroine, a World War I Army nurse, has a strong faith despite being challenged in many directions at the moment.  Our hero hasn’t come to faith yet (but oh my, he will!), and is a all-too-sure-of-himself injured war hero.  He’s open, even insistent, about his attraction to her.  She has strong feelings toward him as well, but is careful not to let the relationship head into areas where it shouldn’t go.
If you read romance, you’ve no doubt figured out how the story ends.  
It’s the middle, however, that has be pondering.  Here’s my question:  will you, as a faithful reader, accept her letting him kiss her in a moment of weakness?  They have a significant discussion after the kiss about why it can’t happen again, and she asks him “not to press his advantage.”  He as a gentleman, complies (albeit reluctantly) until events and his awakening faith move the relationship dramatically forward later in the book.   They get their happy ending, but not before a lot of strife.
What’s your response to characters’ moment of weakness?  Are slip-ups part of believable, well-drawn characters?  Or do they hold up a bad example?  


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I did it!



Kim Watters here. Well, I did it. Something I thought I'd never do. I climbed out on the clear platform of the Willis (Sears) Tower on the 103rd floor during our recent vacation to Chicago. Okay, so I was practically hyperventilating....and freaked out but I couldn't let my kids get the best of me. Unfortunately I don't have a picture that I can post to prove it because my camera died. I did shell out $32 for the pictures they took but I don't have a scanner so you'll have to use your imagination.

Here's a photo courtesy of the Willis Tower website though to give you an idea. It's giving me the shivers just looking at it.

How did I do it?

I prayed....and didn't look down!

But I did it. So next time you're in Chicago, you've got to try it. If you dare. Trust me. If this chicken can do it, so can you. Closing your eyes also works as well.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Plotting, planning....


Wasn't Lisa's post on characterization interesting?  I really enjoyed reading about her process, because all of us find different approaches to the writing of our stories,  our process often evolves over time, and it's fun to hear about what works for other people.  Her post on characters also made me think about my initial steps in finding the right story idea. 
We just returned from a trip to California--a business trip for my husband, but just relaxation for me.   One of the first questions people ask when they find out that I'm a writer  is, "Where do you get your ideas?"  as if that must be the hardest part of the business.  That question came up at least a half-dozen times while we were traveling!  But believe me, ideas are everywhere--in the newspapers (I love USA Today and the new, newsy format of the Wall Street Journal!), in inadvertently overheard conversations in an airport or the chatter of a friendly cab driver--- in myriad, everyday encounters.  Out of the blue situations can make a writer start to think,  "Hmmmm..... what if...." 
A cab driver told me that he was a street child in Mexico who repeatedly ran away from every orphanage, then he grew up, eventually immigrated to the USA and became a citizen, married and had eight daughters and a son.  Could there be a story  in some aspect of his life or, the life of one of  his children?  Can you think of dramatic fictional elements that could be added to make it a page turner?
An intriguing idea is only that, until one delves deep into the goals and motivation a character might have in a given situation, and the possible internal and external conflicts that could really draw a reader into the story. And then (at least for the writer who loves plotting) comes the process of working out a plausible progression of increasingly intense scenes presenting greater and greater physical or emotional risks for the main characters as they pursue their goals. I love brainstorming all by myself, coming up with long lists of things that could happen.   Some writers like to fly into the mist and don't like to do  all of that specific planning, but either way, developing a story is an exciting adventure!
Have you ever thought of writing a story?  What would you like to write?

If you are a writer already, what would you like to write that's totally different from what you've been doing?

Have  you ever read a story and wish you could change the plot?  If you could, would you change Gone with the Wind, or one of your favorite classics? 
Roxanne Rustand
www.roxannerustand.com

Monday, August 15, 2011

How to Build Fictional Characters


As writers of fiction, it's so important to create characters that are believable. How do you do that when technically the characters don't exist?

Writer's use different strategies for creating believable characters. Over the years, I've played with a few strategies, running from some and embracing others. However, even the ones that I've run from are not without merit. They work for some writers. Just not me.

After playing with character charts are questionnaires, I've settled on my favorite way to create characters. I write a first person letter to me in my characters POV. At first, the letter is pretty basic and dry. I just give information like, "I was born in Boston Massachusetts right after they started working on The Big Dig." Quite honestly, the first few pages of my letter I suffer through. I just want to create a visual image of a generic person in my head so I can get to the good stuff. Once all the boring stuff is taken care of, i.e. high school attended, siblings, etc, I start to get to the good stuff. After I have my mannequin of a character, I can start dressing him/her.

From page 3 to however long it takes me, I start filling in details. Usually at this point I've flexed my muscles a little, I'm writing, and words just start pouring out of me and my character is taking shape. Not the basics. The good stuff. This is where I learn that my hero had a huge crush on his older sister's best friend when he was 14 because instead of going home when his sister got on the phone and started arguing with her boyfriend, she used to hang out on the porch with him and eat Cheese Puffs while they talked. Or that his first time out in the field as a cop he'd made a colossal rookie mistake that almost cost him his life. Or that he can't stand wearing shoes and will walk around in sandals or in his bare feet. You get the picture.

These details are details you can't get from a character chart or questionnaire. I can't look at question 35 and answer that my character has suffered from asthma since childhood unless I know a story that goes with it. The jewel in all this is that much of this back story not only helps round out the character and make them seem real, it helps me build scenes to use in my story.

How do you build fictional characters? What tools and strategies do you use?

Until next time,
Lisa

http://lisamondello.blogspot.com

Sunday, August 14, 2011

At Home In His Heart Interview

How exciting to have BRYCE HARDING with us here today---the hero from “AT HOME IN HIS HEART by Glynna Kaye, an August 2011 release from Love Inspired Romance.

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

Trey Kenton from February 2011’s “Second Chance Courtship” warned me about these nosy questions . . . so I tried to get that lovely lady Sandi Bradshaw to do this interview instead. But she says that as a “tough guy” ex-army sergeant I need to step out of my comfort zone and up to the plate. Have I mentioned that she can be a bit bossy?

Most interesting thing about me…hmm. I guess I consider myself somewhat of a competent handyman. Given the right tools and enough time, I can fix almost anything---except messed up relationships.

2. What do you do for fun?

Fishing. Fishing. And fishing. I like riding my bike, too. And taking hand-in-hand walks along starlit, deserted mountain roads with a certain special lady.

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

Oh, man. Who told you about that? Living in a small town again is going to take some getting used to. Okay, I admit Grandma Mae’s on my case because I’m putting off telling Sandi something about that veteran’s memorial she has her heart set on. But if you knew Sandi---and our history---you wouldn’t want to be in my shoes when I deliver the news.

4. What are you most afraid of in life?

During my years in the army I saw a lot of things no one should ever have to see or experience, faced a lot of fears---but I think what scares me most now is I suspect I’m falling in love with my best friend’s widow. Yeah, the woman who knows I tried to talk my buddy out of marrying her.

5. What do you want out of life?

No regrets. I want to live life from now on in such a way that when I’m on my deathbed I’m not consumed by remorse over things I should or shouldn’t have done.

6. What is the most important thing to you?

Being God’s man. And maybe Sandi’s, too?

7. Do you read books?

I heard this is a trick question. Like an ambush. All these readers and writers staring at you and daring you to say “no.” So, yeah, I read books. I’ve always been interested in national and world events, but I’m getting interested in regional, local and family history now. Don’t tell Sandi or she’ll take credit for it.

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

I should probably shave so I’d look more like the clean-cut dude on the book cover. Seriously, though, I need to not be so quick to judge, to make assumptions, to think I have the motivations of others all figured out and neatly boxed up. We don’t know as much about what makes other people tick as we like to think we do.

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

No pets for now. No room in Grandma’s little apartment above the historical society museum. But I like dogs---and I think Sandi’s cute daughter does, too---so who knows what the future may hold?

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

I’d go back a few years before my buddy was killed in action. Get myself right with God so Keith would know his prayers were answered.

Glynna will give away a book to one commenter. Please leave an email address for her to contact you.

Glynna Kaye’s first published book, “Dreaming of Home,” was a finalist in the 2010 ACFW “Carol Award” as well as first place winner of the 2010 “Booksellers Best” and “Beacon” awards. Then came "Second Chance Courtship” (February 2011) and “At Home In His Heart” (August 2011). "High Country Hearts," a fourth story set in the mountain country of Canyon Springs, Arizona, debuts in March 2012. Visit www.glynnakaye.com, www.loveinspiredauthors.com, and www.seekerville.blogspot.com.


Finding Her Way Home. From the moment she got married and settled in her husband’s hometown, Sandi Bradshaw wanted nothing more than to move out of Canyon Springs, Arizona. Then everything changed when her military husband was killed. Now, establishing a veteran’s memorial for him has brought Sandi and her daughter face-to-face with the man who’d stood in the way of her marriage. Ex-army sergeant Bryce Harding has a lot to prove to this same hometown crowd—and the very stubborn Sandi. But can they embrace the possibility that God might be giving them both a second chance at love?

Saturday, August 13, 2011

FEATURED BOOK: AT HOME IN HIS HEART BY GLYNNA KAYE


As soon as she got married, Sandi Bradshaw wanted nothing more than to move out of Canyon Springs, Arizona. Then everything changed when her military husband was killed. Now, establishing a veteran's memorial for Keith has brought Sandi and her daughter back to his hometown. And face-to-face with the man who stood in the way of her marriage! Bryce Harding has a lot to prove to this same hometown crowd—and the very stubborn Sandi. But can they embrace the possibility that God might be giving them both a second chance at love?

Friday, August 12, 2011

Ask Elnora--about Project Runway?? Lenora Worth


Darlings, we all know Elnora loves clothes. If I didn't write books, I'd either work in retail again (which I did for many years when I was young) or I'd be a fashion designer. (If only I could sew!)But for now, I enjoy watching Project Runway. Just finished watching an episode where the designers had to create outfits for models on stilts. Yes, stilts. A tall order! The clothes were interesting--some costume-looking and some truly fashionable and fabulous.

Before I watched Project Runway, I attended a CAbi party with some friends. This is a clothes party where the representative shows the clothes (like a trunk show) and then party guests get to try them on. It's such fun. (You can see for yourself at www.cabionline.com)The clothes are always wonderful and Carol Anderson designs each season with a theme. This fall's theme is the movies! Starting with "Rear Window" and moving on to "Dangerous Liasons", "Love Story"(one of my favorite's),
"When Harry Met Sally", "The Devil Wore Prada", "Funny Face", and ending with "The Thomas Crown Affair". Clothes and my favorite movie themes--it was wonderful. And yes, I bought a few pieces. Our representative, cute and fashionable Wendy Turner, really knows her stuff. So last night was a fun night of fashion for Elnora.

That begs the question--What do you love about fashion through the ages? Do you enjoy our descriptions of our characters and what they wear? What is your favorite fashion time period--Victorian, Edwardian,Big Hair, Hippie?? Elnora loves those late fifties and early sixties clothes. Pearls, a flowing skirt and kitten heels are some of my favorites. Let's discuss style!!!!!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

New Kid on the Block--Mary Moore!


Missy Tippens, here. I'm excited to welcome New Kid on the Block, debut Love Inspired Historical author Mary Moore. Mary's generously offered to give away a copy of The Aristocrat's Lady to one lucky commenter! I'll do a random drawing. Just be sure to tell me you'd like to be entered.


Welcome, Mary!


Hi Missy,

Thank you for this opportunity; you’re my first blog!

Can you tell us about The Call for your first sale?

I absolutely do remember the call from my agent, Jenni Burke.  It was wonderful!  She had sent it out to several publishers, of course, but the first one who wanted it was Love Inspired.  I was so new; I didn’t even know who they were!  It was in October 2010 and the editor, Rachel Burkot, had an open slot for September 2011 if I could get all of the editing they required done by January 1st!  I said good-bye to Thanksgiving and Christmas and got it ready in time.  And I believe God was in every part of it and it its where I am supposed to be.

I wanted to tell you how adorable my agent was about it all.  We had worked on the manuscript for almost a year to be sure it was spic and span ready to submit to publishers.  During all of that time, the title of the book was “Scent of a Rose” which Love Inspired ended up changing.  But imagine my surprise when the day after the contract was signed I received a dozen beautiful roses to celebrate my first book and my first sale.  I cried the whole day!  So, yes, I absolutely remember everything about getting that first contract.

 What's something readers may not know about you?

Readers won’t know this but everyone who knows me at all knows that I am a John Wayne fanatic.  I became obsessed with him in my early teens and I even named my dog after him.  (My dad refused to call John Wayne in to dinner, however, so it was shortened to J.W.)  I had posters on my wall and many scrap books devoted to him.  I realize I will be showing my age here, but I saw many of his movies when they were new in the theaters!  I remember getting sympathy cards from a few crazy family members and friends when he died.  I have a wonderful collection of all his movies, but they are all on VHS, and I can’t afford to go out and buy DVD’s or Blu Ray or whatever the latest medium is.  To this day, if I find a John Wayne movie on TV, you won’t get my attention back until it’s over…PILGRIM!

 What are you working on right now?

Right now, I’m working on things that I need to do for the release date of September 6th.  I’ve scheduled a book signing at a few venues locally.  This is hard because I am definitely a behind-the-scenes kind of gal.  But I really wanted to do something to get established in the community and this will be a good start.  And several other authors have volunteered to give me some blog time, which I really appreciate.  My agent and I just finished the proposal for my second book, another Regency, that I hope LIH will be interested in.  So it’s still pretty busy.  Having now gone through the entire process from beginning to end, I hope, Lord willing, that the next time will be a little more organized and a lot fewer mistakes!

Thanks for visiting, Mary!   

BIO:
I have been an avid student of the Regency-era since the 1970’s and I am a member of the American Christian Fiction Writer’s historic fiction community as well as a member of the Faith, Hope and Love and Beau Monde chapters of the RWA.  I have been writing historical fiction for over fifteen years.  I had to put my writing on hold due to some health issues, including a bout with breast cancer, but I’m now even more excited about my writing as I incorporate some of my struggles throughout my books; dedicated to encouraging others in the Lord and using my stories for His glory.  A native of the Washington, DC area, my husband and I now live in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of southwest Virginia, with our black lab, Darcy.  When not writing, I enjoy time with my husband, watching romantic movies, reading and weekend get-aways.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Linda Goodnight on Cover Art

Linda Goodnight here.

I just couldn’t resist showing you this photo of my son and his family. Now, look below at the cover of THE NANNY’S HOMECOMING, my July release and the first in the Rocky Mountain Heirs continuity Elnora mentioned on Friday. Usually Love Inspired’s art department pays no mind to my suggestions, but I think my photo may have inspired a cover. Do you agree?

 
And while we're on the topic of covers:  What kind of cover art attracts you? A cover with kids? dogs? people? a beautiful scene? Art that evokes a feeling? Certain colors? A combination of things?

Writers know covers sell books, but the question of what makes good cover art evades me. I'd really love to have your input.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Lyn Cote Asks Why Support Books You Love



Lyn Cote here-Authors and readers depend on each other. If authors don't write books, what will readers read? If readers don't read books, what's the point of writing a book?

The fiction market is extremely competitive. If a book doesn't sell well, the author may find it difficult or impossible to sell another book to an editor.

Think of your favorite authors, the ones you have a hard time waiting for their next book to come out. What if she/he never wrote another book?

The book industry is going through many drastic changes with the bankruptcy of Borders and the closing of many independent bookstores and the advent of ereaders like the Nook and Kindle.

Today on my blog, I posted one way readers can support the books they love-by writing reviews. Please stop by and read the simple explanation of how to do this.

Our Love Inspired romances often get no reviews listed for them on say, www.Amazon.com. Even one favorable review can help keep your favorite authors' books coming.

Can you think of other ways to support an author's books? How do you support your favorite books? How do you support your favorite books?--Lyn

Monday, August 8, 2011

Finding Inspiration for Characters by Merrillee Whren

What can serve as inspiration for a character or a set of characters? I don't know about other writers, but my characters come to me in a variety of ways. One of my early attempts at writing a novel came as the result of my mother's sudden death. I wrote a story about a heroine who was coming back home to her mother's funeral. Writing that story helped me cope. The book went through numerous versions before it finally sold many years later. I was thrilled when that story was published because it is dear to my heart. Here is that book.



The hero and heroine in the story that became my first Love Inspired book formed in my mind because of a song by Dwight Yoakam called "Ain't That Lonely Yet." The song tells that story of a guy who got dumped by his girl, and now she's back and trying to patch things up. He doesn't want anything to do with it. The characters in my book, THE HEART'S HOMECOMING, were born as a result of that song.



Secondary characters often become the heroes or heroines in subsequent books. The heroine of LOVE WALKED IN, Beth Carlson, didn't even have a name in THE HEART'S HOMECOMING. She was only referred to as Max's mom. Max was a fourteen-year-old boy in the story. We see Max again as a troubled teen in LOVE WALKED IN. Ever since I wrote about Max, I've wanted to give him his own love story. But before I could do that, I had to tell Brittany Gorman's story. She and Max eventually become high school sweethearts, but if you read my upcoming January 2012 book, MONTANA MATCH, you will see that their relationship doesn't last.



I could go on and on about what makes characters spring to life in my mind, but I want to know what kind of characters grab your attention? Do you like to read about people who are larger than life or a character who is more like you? What kind of characters stay with you long after you have read a book?

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Fireman Dad Interview

How exciting to have Marissa Hawthorne, the heroine from FIREMAN DAD, By Besty St.Amant, an August 2011 release from Love Inspired Romance!

1.Marissa, tell me the most interesting thing about you. “That’s easy - I’m a party planner! I get paid to organize someone else’s good time. It’s very rewarding, especially when doing children’s birthday parties. I love my job.”

2. What do you do for fun? “Uh, good question. I don’t get a lot of free time, being a widow and raising my active young son alone. I pretty much work or spend time with him—thankfully I consider both of things fun—usually!”

3. What do you put off doing because you dread it? “Cleaning my son’s room. Ugh. There’s some kind of specimen growing under his bed…if I could afford a maid, trust me, I’d have two.”

4. What are you afraid of most in life? “Ohh, now you’re getting serious on me. I promised myself I wouldn’t cry during this interview. So much for that.” ::clears throat:: “I’ve always been afraid of being alone—ironic, since I already am. Once I lost my husband to a tragic firefighting accident, I sort of withdrew, you know? I guess I’m afraid of being alone, but maybe have been more afraid of loving again and risking that kind of loss a second time.” ::coughs and waves hand:: “Okay, next question.”

5. What do you want out of life? “Goodness, another heavy question! I just want my son to be happy, above all. Owen deserves the best, having been robbed of a father at such a young age. For me, I guess I just want security. Safety.”

6. What is the most important thing to you? “My son, of course. Though I really wish he’d pick a new favorite toy beside that old fire truck of his.” ::shudder:: “He takes that thing everywhere, and it’s just an ugly reminder to me of the past. If he ever decided to become a fireman one day…” ::shakes her head::

7. Do you read books? If so, what is your favorite type of book? “I don’t get a lot of time to read, but sometimes I do late at night when I can’t sleep. It’s a nice escape from reality, you know? My favorites are Historicals – it’s nice to get lost in a different time period and caught up in someone else’s struggles for a change.”

8. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? “I guess I can be a little uptight.” ::shrugs:: “But when you’re in my situation, it’s kind of hard to be all fun and games, you know? Sometimes I wonder if I’m too hard on Owen. But it’s rough being mom and dad at the same time.” ::sighs::

9. Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet? “No, there’s no time or money for that, though Owen would love a dog one day. We’ll see... Isn’t that Mom-speak for ‘no way?’” ::winks::

10. If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why? “Since I love to read Historicals, this is easy. I’d choose the Regency period. So romantic and charming yet dark and mysterious…”

Saturday, August 6, 2011

FEATURED BOOK: FIREMAN DAD BY BETSY ST. ARMANT



"Mommy, I Want To Be A Fireman."Widowed mother Marissa Hawthorne's little boy wants to be like his new hero—firefighter Jacob Greene. But Marissa and her son lost too much to the profession of firefighting already. She can't possibly let either of them get close to the man, no matter how noble he is. Especially because her own father is Jacob's boss. But when Jacob hires her to plan a special birthday party for his niece, Marissa soon learns that Jacob is a hero in many ways. And that taking risks for love is what life and faith are truly about.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Ask Elnora--about continuities???Lenora Worth

It's a continuing saga, darlings. Those pesky but adorable continuities we love to write. Heavens, it took Elnora forever to learn to spell that, let along pronounce it. But now I'm a veteran at writing continuities. Last count, I've been a part of seven now, some for Love Inspired and some for Love Inspired Suspense. So I thought it would be nice to talk about little know facts about continuities.

First, dear readers, a continuity is a series of six books written by six different authors that contain a common plot thread that moves through each book. They usually involve big families (six children, or six cousins, or six friends). And there is usually a mystery or a conflict that starts in book one and continues until book six.

Elnora has written book number one, two book number twos, book number three, book number five, and two book number sixes. Confused yet? That's a little know fact about continuities--we all stay confused. When you get six writers together with six different plots that our dear editors come up with, you get confusion. But I'm happy to say (and I've worked with a lot of different writers) after much hashing and a few hissy fits, we all seem to get along famously! Writing a continuity teaches one to play nice with others. We learn compromise and diplomacy and it is fun to brainstorm. (Odd, word that--brainstorm!!)

But one other thing about continuities--They also drive the readers a bit crazy. Our readers love them, of course. But we get letters of confusion all the time. Sometimes the readers don't understand that the thread is continued in the next book or that there is even going to be a next book. Some get a tad angry and some jump up and down and go and order all six books. I have one friend who buys each book but refuses to read any of them until she has all six. Then she gets into the story and keeps reading until she's finished. She says she likes reading them all together. Right now we have the Rocky Mountain Heirs continuity in Love Inspired. It began in July with Linda Goodnight's "The Nanny's Homecoming". There's your starting point!

So let's discuss--Do you know what a continutiy is? Do you like reading them? Is there something you don't like about them? And would you help us spread the word that there is one LI continuity and one LIS continuity out each year (nice that we have twelve months since that's twelve books) (so far) and I do believe LIH has ventured into continuity territory. We don't want confused readers. We want happy readers. But we don't mind clarifying things for all of you either. You can usually find the books in a series listed in the front of each of the six books.)If you're not sure, just check there. So what do you love about continuities and do you have any favorites???

To be continued......

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Leigh Bale and Her Flower Garden


Most of you already know my daughter recently got married. We held the reception in our back yard. I admit it’s my favorite place in the whole world. If you're like me, you have the best chats with God in your flower garden. You feel peace and create while you're there. Nothing to disturb you except a little dirt and worms. Unless your roses have aphids...then I have to get tough. :)

During all the hub-bub of greeting guests and ensuring everyone’s needs were met during the reception, I didn’t notice the photographer taking pictures of my flowers. I was charmed and delighted when we received the photos. Following is just a few pictures. Daisies, lydia broom in full bloom, my daughter's shoes resting beside the chives, sweetheart gnomes, and lastly my daughter and her new groom at the garden gate.

And I mustn't forget to tell you about my new book! The Forest Ranger's Promise is now available. It's the first in a new series. Book #2 will be available the first of November. Enjoy!









Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Power of Words or I Rescued a Human Today


Her eyes met mine as she walked down the corridor peering apprehensively into the kennels. I felt her need instantly and knew I had to help her. I wagged my tail, not too exuberantly, so she wouldn't be afraid. As she stopped at my kennel I blocked her view from a little accident I had in the back of my cage. I didn't want her to know that I hadn't been walked today. Sometimes the shelter keepers get too busy and I didn't want her to think poorly of them. As she read my kennel card I hoped that she wouldn't feel sad about my past. I only have the future to look forward to and want to make a difference in someone's life. She got down on her knees and made little kissy sounds at me. I shoved my shoulder and side of my head up against the bars to comfort her. Gentle fingertips caressed my neck; she was desperate for companionship. A tear fell down her cheek and I raised my paw to assure her that all would be well. Soon my kennel door opened and her smile was so bright that I instantly jumped into her arms. I would promise to keep her safe. I would promise to always be by her side. I would promise to do everything I could to see that radiant smile and sparkle in her eyes. I was so fortunate that she came down my corridor. So many more are out there who haven't walked the corridors. So many more to be saved. At least I save one. This story comes courtesy of my cousin. She also wrote that two cats adopted her this week. Cute. And very thought-provoking.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Goodbye Borders--Hello Powell's

Terri Reed here. I'm sure you know that Borders is closing its doors. There had been rumblings for a while that this would happen. I had hoped it wouldn't. For the past year or so I refused to buy books anywhere but at Borders in hopes that my measly sales would keep my favorite bookstore open. Alas, it hasn't worked. This past week, my children and I visited the store at least four times, each time coming away with books. I'm sure we'll visit again in the days ahead until they close their doors for good. For me its not so much about getting the 'going out of business'l deals but about hanging on. My local Borders store is five minutes from our house. On rainy days (which we get a lot o
f here in Oregon) we'd head to the bookstore.
I don't believe bookstores in general will fall. At least I pray not
Here in Portland Oregon we have a book store called Powell's. It's four stories high and takes up a whole city block in downtown
Portland. Its a must see for visitors coming to the area as well a place that locals go to spend a few hours. There are new and used books, a rare book collection and a coffee shop attached. All genre of fiction and non-fiction can be found within the its walls. If they don't have the book your looking for stocked, they'll find it.
The various floors and rooms are color coded. They have a map to help navigate your way through the aisles, shelves and floors of the building. In the rainy days ahead, my family will be making the trek downtown more often now to visit Powell's.

My most recent release THE INNOCENT WITNESS is still on sale.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Meet Teresa, one of our favorite readers!

Here at the Craftie Ladies of Romance, we're all about our readers. Teresa is one of our most loyal. Read on and find out what it's like to read a Love Inspired romance when you're from another country/culture. This is an awesome interview


Welcome, Teresa! Tell us a little about yourself.

Hi. First of all, thank you for inviting me. I'm 44, I'm married - 22 years - to the kindest man alive and I have one son, he's 20 and kind as his father. I also have a girl who is 12. She's at that brat age that can't understand my love for novels and happily ever after. I live in Portugal and I absolutely love my country.

What are you three favorite books (I know, hard to narrow it down). Tell us, what spiraled them to the top of your list? What did the author do that won you over?

My best friend's daughter, by Dorothy Koomson. I fell in love with it because it was the first less perfect story I read. I also had a fall out with a friend, and when I told her I'd always be here for her, she refused it. I was asking myself when will I stop being stupid and let people go and stop loving them as they ask. Suddenly, I was offered the book, and it was like God telling me that there was nothing wrong with me and healing me throughout those pages. The second favorite is from Nicholas Sparks. It's called The Rescue and I can think of no other reason to love it so much but for the fact that it ends with HEA, not something very common in Nicholas ahahahah. But all those characters pull me, and I really have to visit them from time to time... The third book will always be the next one. Really, I reserve that position to the book that will delight me next. That book will bring me new lives and new people to my life. I really live for that white canvas, so full of possibilities...

What is your favorite Love Inspired Romance? Why?

The Four Little Blessings by Merrillee Whren. Followed closely by Daddy in the Making by Lyn Cote. But so far I've read less than 10 inspired books as I only discovered them, recently, through Merrillee. Why?! Maybe because it was the first LI novel I read and somehow "threw" me to so many less-perfect circumstances all at once and the first time I didn't close the book, recover, and then started again. No, I embraced the drama. I loved its sweet details and also the freshness of little things made with love. In an era of Wii, PS etc I felt the warmth and fun that Merrillee put when describing the board games, the loving feeling of a hand's touch and something I treasure - that loving bond that children instantly get when meeting "really" good people. We lose that instinct when we grow up and lose so much in the process - “Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.” (Mark 10:15) ...]

What are you reading today?

I'm reading The Daddy Surprise by Ginny Aiken, but the characters aren't working for me so well, because after some great male characters in the previous novels I'm having difficulty in bonding with the guy... and when this happens it's, for me, a sacrifice to go on. But then Ginny created an absolutely adorable child, a faithful mother, a lovely town and - here she had me - a Victorian House falling apart (that white canvas, again :))

Teresa, you're not American, and you've said that some things in our books are 'pure' American. Can you give us an example?

It's funny and I can almost see you gasp when I tell you - potluck dinner for example. I had to go to the dictionary to try understand what was that, and it says so much about you - the give and take. The way the church communities gather and step up to help those in need. Here I feel we go to church together, we give the peace, we participate in community events but that extra Love Thy Neighbor is still very difficult because people put a barrier - step no further - even if a non conscientious one. And warms my heart beyond words to see the magical effect that those events and gestures (that I've found in other USA books, and not only Love Inspired) make on people's lives. I would love to belong to a community like that. Here I can step and almost impose my help but people will always hold back and even resent that they need that help.]


Do you write, also? If so, tell us what you’re working on?

No. Not at all. Even if I had the talent where would I find the time with so many books I want to read, blogs to visit, facebook pages to comment?! LOL But I don't think I have the talent. If I had I would write Love Inspired books in Portuguese because I'm so afraid they will never reach here and it would do good people see how a religion of simple love could do for each other...

Besides the Craftie Ladies, tell us two or three other Blogs you like to visit and why.

Bloggers became my friends. Some I've never met or ever will but I like the chit chat that my comment on their blogs bring to my life and the bits that little by little we share and enjoy together. They would be: http://betweennapsontheporch.blogspot.com/ she has that USA marked spirit but is also a sharer, meaning it's not only about decor or stuff but also about Susan and her life. Love it! http://fitnessfoodandfaith.blogspot.com/. Sam is a sweet young lady and treasure her "visitors" by giving back what she receives. With the added interest of growing older with her and watch all that life still reserves... http://decortoadore.blogspot.com/ Again the fiendly hug always present in Laura that welcomes us to her life and share things in the way you would with an old friend over the phone.]

Anything else you'd like to add?

Yes, my endless Thank you to Merrillee for introducing Love Inspired Novels to me, my Thank YOU to all CRAFTIE Ladies for creating characters I wish I'd meet and to you, Pam, for giving me the honor of being interviewed in this lovely Blog. I'm feeling a bit of Lenora right now and you'd all agree that's a fabulous thing, right?

Teresa,
Thanks so much for being our Monday’s Main Character