Monday, October 31, 2011

Book Inspiration


A lot of times people ask what inspired me to write a particular book. In the case of Christmas Haven it was the message of forgiveness that prompted me to get to know Julie Burns and Morgan Wright, to bring the high school sweethearts back together after ten long years.

Julie left her small town of Port Whisper and headed to the city in order to get her degree and become a social worker. Since she blames herself for her high school friend’s death—upset, the girl took a boat into dangerous waters and drowned—Julie is determined to find redemption by helping street kids make better choices and live healthier lives.

But as we all know, you can only do so much for a person, and then they have to take the baton and sprint across the finish line. At some point Julie has to accept this reality: do the best she can and let go.

In the meantime, thugs are after her, she thinks, because she witnessed a kidnapping. It’s more complicated than that, but under Morgan’s watchful eye, she’ll be safe in her hometown.

Morgan, on the other hand, relies on his faith and compassion to find it in his heart to forgive the girl who broke his heart ten years ago. Amazed that he can forgive her, and inspired by his strong faith, Julie opens her heart to God.

What also inspired me to write this book was an old friend from previous book, Witness on the Run (May 2011). Well, he’s not old exactly, but 17-year-old, Sketch aka Steven Drake, is precocious, emotionally bruised, and brilliant. He’s got an answer for everything, and he’s the Port Whisper Police Force’s secret weapon – the kid is a computer genius.

It’s funny, what inspires someone to write a story about fictional people that become oh, so real. Have you read anything recently that inspired you to write a story?

Happy November! Who's counting down the days until Christmas?

Hope White

Alice in Wonderland




Terri Reed here. This is a busy week in our house as my children get ready for opening night of
Alice in Wonderland. My daughter will be the red chess queen and my son Humpty Dumpty. I tried to make his costume but that is out of the scope of my skill set. I am too embarrassed to even show anyone my attempt. However, I know the play will be fabulous. My kids love the theatre and acting. Especially when they can be characters. I have always loved the story of Alice in Wonderland. There' s something about falling down the rabbit hole into a different world that appeals to my imagination. My favorite version is the animated Disney movie, but the newest version with Johnny Depp as the Madhatter has become a second favorite. I can't decide which is my favorite character though. In the animated version its the white rabbit and the Cheshire Cat. But in the new version I think its the Madhatter or the White Queen played by Ann
Hathaway. Of course it could just be that I like Johnny Depp. I remember 21 Jump Street very clearly. I was in college and had a crush on him. Still do if truth be told.

So you do have a favorite Alice in Wonderland character? or version of the story?

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Say Hello to Lyn Cote

We've interview Eleanor from Building a Family, now its time to ask the author Lyn Cote a few questions. Say hello to Lyn.
Lyn, we'd love to know:

How long did it take you to write this book?
About 5 months

How did it get the title?
My editor usually comes up with a title because I am "title-challenged." She suggested Instant Family but I said that sounded like a marriage of convenience story. This isn't one. So she came back with Building a Family. This was great since the book is the last in my series about three families receiving Habitat for Humanity houses so the concept of "building" is central. And the story truly records the building of a family.

What number book is this for you?
36

What are you working on now?
My next LIH out Nov 2012. It does not have a title but I did give the series a working title of "Wilderness Brides." Readers who loved my "Gabriel Sisters" series will recognize this book's heroine as the prostitute that at the end of Her Healing Ways, Dr. Mercy sends away to start a new life with her family in PA. This is Sunny's story and her "wounded" hero, Noah.

Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions. Your next project sounds very interesting.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

FEATURED BOOK: BUILDING A FAMILY BY LYN COTE







Lawyer Eleanor Washburn defends wayward teenagers and supervises volunteers for Habitat for Humanity without missing a beat. But she is unnerved by fascinating single dad Pete Beck—especially since his chaotic life includes a little girl wishing for a mother. Sweet Cassie has Eleanor yearning for what's been missing from her lonely existence. Soon, both dad and daughter are chipping away at Eleanor's defenses. Can she find the courage to risk losing her heart to this ready-made family?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Ask Elnora--About Rain?? Lenora Worth

Hello, beautiful friends. Do you hear that sound? It is wonderful. It is rain in the deep South. Elnora loves a good rainy night. We've had so few of those this summer. And it seems that with the rain, cooler weather will finally be here. Don't get me wrong. Elnora is a southern girl. I love spring and summer--lemonade and sun hats, petunias and azaleas, the smell of honeysuckle and magnolias, tea cakes and sweet tea. But ... I so appreciate fall and winter, too. I love snuggling in a soft robe on a rainy night, sipping hot chocolate and eating cookies, watching an old movie and crying all over again. I love walking through crusty leaves and sitting by a campfire near a body of water. So right now, I have on my soft Uggs and a warm sweater and I'm listening to the rain falling down outside. That got me thinking about rain songs. You know, the songs you hear that just make you stop and sigh. Such as ..." A Rainy Night in Georgia". Love me some Ray Charles. (He grew up in Georgia, you know.) Or how about "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head" BJ Thomas ring a bell? Or "Purple Rain" by that guy who used to be named Prince? Maybe "Alabama Rain" by Jim Croce? Or maybe even "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain"? Hank Williams, Emmylou Harris?? Even Willie Nelson? We can sing "Send down the rain, Lord." Or maybe "Holy Spirit, rain down, rain down." And then, "Lord, let your mercy rain on me." What is it about rain? Especially when you feel so parched and tired that you can't seem to find any strength to keep going? Doesn't it seem that on a soft rainy night with a crisp temperature, all you need is a warm blanket and a listening heart? Because God has sent you the perfect gift? It's as if He's saying "Just rest, my child. Listen to the rain and rest." Because as the Who song goes "Only love can make it rain. Love reign o'er me, rain on me." Let's discuss the rain. And do you have a favorite rain song? I hope so. Cause "Ain't No Sunshine When You're Gone!"

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Celebrating Christian Fiction Readers


Since Thursday is Readers Day, I wanted to take the opportunity to introduce you to my favorite blog of reviews of Christian fiction—Best Reads-Kav  
 
Kav is a librarian with a passion for Christian fiction. Some weeks she’ll review as many as five books, which she then offers as free giveaways. 
 
Recently I had the fun of receiving one of these books, but felt kind of bad when I realized that it cost her almost as much to mail me the book as it would cost for me to buy it. Not only that, I learned that she often buys doubles or supplies a copy when she receives one free to review. So I asked her how/why she does it. 
 
Her response was so inspiring to me that I asked permission to share it. 
 
Her answer: “Quote away. I don't mind if everyone thinks I'm loopy over books and the industry....I am!!!!”    Any wonder why I love her?!
 
This is what she had to say: I'm so passionate about supporting the Christian fiction industry because I don't want my inspirational fiction to become extinct!!!!
 
I manage to read so much because I travel hours (and I do mean hours) to work and back and I am blessed to be able to read in a moving bus -- while standing up even. 
 
I've noticed more than one curious glance at the eye-catching covers, which are so different from the regular market. Who knew Christian fiction would be an introduction to faith discussions? I've had a few interesting chats, let me tell you. 
 
I can't really tell you why I feel so driven to continue giving books away. At first I was only going to offer up a free copy of the books I got from the publisher because I still wanted to support the author by purchasing his/her book. But I get so excited when I read a really, really, really good one that I can't help myself! LOL. 
 
I feel very strongly about supporting the Christian publishing industry. As a library tech I am well aware of how precarious the publishing industry can be and I want to do my part to make sure there will always be a venue for this kind of publishing. 
That means they have to sell and so I buy. 
 
I'm by no means rich or anything and I don't know how long I'll be able to keep it up, but it's almost like a calling to me right now. Supporting and sharing quality literature, which has ministered so much to me. 
 
Honestly, I can't tell you how changed my life is from reading Christian fiction. I really draw from the messages and the scriptures that I find in each book and it's made a tremendous difference to me. 
 
So God bless all you authors who write what I love to read and uplift me at the same time.
 
-Sandra again- 

Authors, don’t you just want to hug Kav to bits? Of course, I could be a tad biased since she called Deep Cover (LIS September 2011) “A great debut novel that will steal your breath away!” --Big Grin--

  And READERS, thank you for buying our books. Writing them is a labor of love that only your support makes possible.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Thanksgiving Traditions and Trivia

Hi all, Winnie Griggs here. I know it's a bit early to be thinking about Thanksgiving, but this month, my first ever novella, Home For Thanksgiving, released. It’s part of a 2-in-1 in a holiday themed anthology titled Once Upon A Thanksgiving. And in honor of it being a Thanksgiving story, I thought I’d share a few bits of trivia and fun facts about this very special holiday.

Contrary to popular belief, the first recorded Thanksgiving in America was NOT celebrated at Plymouth Rock. Instead, after the pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock they decided to travel further south to set up their colony and ended up in the Cape Cod area, where the famous feast eventually took place.

That first Thanksgiving celebration lasted for 3 days.

Though celebrated widely, if intermittently, since the time of the pilgrims, Thanksgiving was not declared a national holiday until 1941.

When astronauts Aldrin and Armstrong prepared their first meal to eat on the moon, their foil food packets contained turkey.

91% of Americans eat turkey on Thanksgiving day. That translates to about 675 million pounds of the tasty fowl.

In addition to family gatherings and lavish meals, the most widespread American Thanksgiving traditions is watching football and watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. By the way, the first of these parades took place in 1924 and was first shown on television in 1939.

As for the traditions my family celebrates, there’s always a big family gathering, this year it’ll be at my home. We join hands and go around the circle with each person giving thanks as they feel led. Foods include the standard fare such as turkey, ham, cornbread dressing, deviled eggs, and sweet potatoes. We’ll also have gumbo, shrimp dressing, and whatever new dish any of a half dozen relatives feels led to try. And, oh my, the deserts!!

So what about you - how do you celebrate Thanksgiving and what are your own traditions?

Turning Memories Into Stories

By Debby Giusti

When my Love Inspired Editor, Emily Rodmell, asked me to write my Military Investigations Series, I was excited about the stories, but I didn’t realized how many memories would be woven into each book. I’m an Army wife, Army mom, and Army brat, which means I grew up in the military. That background of moving every three years (if not more frequently) and living on Army posts around this country as well as in Japan and Germany gave me a wealth of information to use for the series.

In THE CAPTAIN’S MISSION, an October Love Inspired Suspense, Captain Phil Thibodeaux holds himself accountable for the supposed accident that claims the life of one of his soldiers during a training mission. Criminal Investigation Division Special Agent Kelly McQueen investigates and soon realizes friendly fire isn’t to blame. Both hero and heroine guard their hearts and must heal past wounds before they can move forward into the future.

The story deals with a commander’s high regard for his men, and his desire to do the right thing at all times. Strength of character, high moral values and a commitment to those he leads define my fictional hero, and are, in my opinion, the hallmark of real life military heroes. As my characters raced from the live fire training range, to the neighboring small town of Freemont, Georgia, to the barracks where Captain Thibodeaux’s soldiers live, I could envision the Army posts where I have lived and was able to go back in time and pull from my memories. In a similar way, the military men and women I’ve known and admired throughout the years helped to form the characters in this story.

What locales do you like to read about and what brings authenticity to the settings in either the books you read or the books you write? How have people in your past shaped the stories you write or have they influenced the type of stories you like to read?

 Wishing you abundant blessings,
 Debby Giusti
www.DebbyGiusti.com
www.seekerville.blogspot.com

THE OFFICER'S SECRET, book 1 in my Military Investigations Series, is still available. Watch for book 3, THE COLONEL'S DAUGTHER, which will be out in 2012. Each book in the series stands alone so enjoy them in any order. Happy reading!

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Other New York

I’m a new Love Inspired author and I was thrilled to be invited to join the Craftie Ladies of Love Inspired Romance.I’m also a native Upstate New Yorker. Upstate is quite different from the Downstate New York City area. Upstate we have dairy farms, mountains, lakes, orchards, and lots of villages and hamlets with fewer than 5,000 people that aren’t near any major cities. Wyoming County in Western New York, where I grew up, is the number one diary county in the state and has about the same number of milk cows as people (40,000). Little know fact: One year — I won’t say what year — I was runner-up Wyoming County Maple Princess. And us Upstaters from Western New York root for the Buffalo Bills, not the NY Giants or Jets, no matter where we live.

My extended family — husband, daughter, son-in-law, and two grandchildren — lives on a small farm near the Albany/Greene County line where my son-in-law raises organic hogs and vegetables. Our son lives about 20 minutes away. This is Benny, our first boar, and the picture above is of our back fields ready to be planted with winter rye.

As an Upstater, I have a personal mission to introduce others to my part of New York State. All my contemporary books are set in Upstate New York. My first Love Inspired, Small-Town Sweethearts (January 2012), and the one I’m currently working on, tentatively titled Small-Town Dad, take place at Paradox Lake in the Adirondack Mountains, about two hours north of our house. My book cover captures the setting exactly. I love it.

Have I sold you? Are you ready to come visit us Upstate? Benny is always up for visitors.

Jean C. Gordon

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Say Hello to Linda Goodnight

We've interviewed Sophie from The Christmas Child, so now we're going to ask the author a few questions. Say Hi to Linda Goodnight!
Thanks for being here today Linda. We'd love to know:
How long did it take you to write this book?
Roughly 3-4 months from inception to completion.
How did it get the title?
A lot of thought went into this particular title. I wanted something that fit the story but that also hinted at the real reason for Christmas. I saw the parallel between the child with no home and the Savior with no place to be born. And of course, I love Christmas in the title of any book so THE CHRISTMAS CHILD became the title. What do you think? Did I capture the feel of the first Christmas, along with the story of little lost Davey?
As an aside, my first title choice was "A Silent Christmas", again to connect the mute boy with the hymn "Silent Night", but my editors thought it sounded too suspensy! Do you agree?
We've interview the character from

What number book is this for you?
Oh my. I'm not even sure. Maybe around 37 or 38, including novellas?

What are you working on now?
Believe it or not, I'm working on another Christmas story! This will be a novella anthology with Lissa Manley for publication Christmas, 2012 set in the fictional Rocky mountain, snow-covered Christmas town of Snowglobe, Montana. The probably anthology title is A SNOWGLOBE CHRISTMAS. I'm playing Christmas music on my computer to get in the mood. Any suggestions?

Thank you Linda for answering our questions. I would suggest Celine Dions Christmas Album. Its beautiful.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

FEATURED BOOK: THE CHRISTMAS CHILD BY LINDA GOODNIGHT



In Redemption, Oklahoma, a young boy is found huddled in a Dumpster, clutching a Christmas book. Scared and refusing to speak, he captures undercover agent Kade McKendrick's guarded heart. Kade brings the child home until he can track down his family—and his story. All Kade has is a name, Davey, and the boy's trust of sweet, pretty teacher Sophie Bartholomew. With her kindness and faith, Sophie helps both the boy and the battle-scarred cop to smile again. And as they uncover the mystery of a very special child, a family is formed—just in time for Christmas.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Ask Elnora--about chocolate and pumpkins?? Lenora Worth

I just ate some chocolate. And I plan to make some pumpkins bars soon. Yes, it's that time of year that brings out all the creepy people--chocolate lovers who carve up innocent pumpkins! While I'm too old to go "trick or treating", Elnora does love a good bag of candy. Elnora always buys the good stuff for the little munkins who might show up at her door. We celebrate fall at our church with a festival of sorts. I get to help with the cake walk this year--a real one. And a relief, since a writer's life is not always a cake walk! But the chilly weather and the cute costumes being shown on all the day-time shows got me to thinking--why do we love candy and pumpkins so much? Or am I the only one who loves all the orange vegetables--pumpkins, sweet potatoes and my latest--butternut squash. Yummy. Just got my "Southern Living" magazine with pumpkin cheesecake on the cover. Be still Elnora's heart! There goes my Weight Watchers points. And yet, who can resist. You won't believe this, but I used to make pumpkin pies from scratch. And I do mean by first scratchng and scraping the meat out of a real pumpkin. What was I thinking?? Now I have discovered this stuff also comes in cans! Much easier, since I am so not Betty Crocker. So let's discuss. Pumpkins and Chocolate? Just chocolate? Just pumpkins? Or maybe you just go for the candy corn? What's your favorite spooky treat? What traditions do you have for this time of year? Corn maze, candied apples, pies, hay bales, scarecrows? Or maybe a shoe sale??? Discuss while I go make some apple cider. Let's have a fall party!!!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

What the Crafties are Reading...

Regina Scott is reading Mary Moore’s LIH debut, The Aristocrat’s Lady, and Tom Pocock’s nonfiction tome, The Terror Before Trafalgar (can’t pull Regina very far from the Regency!).

Jean Gordon is starting Embers of Love by Tracie Peterson

Cara Putman is reading Love on the Line by Deeanne Gist and There You’ll Find Me by Jenny B. Jones. Both excellent writers!

Debby Giusti is reading Mary Neely (AKA Mary Connealy): Ten Plagues

Oh, my. Lenora Worth is reading lots of things. Val Hansen's Rescuing the Heiress, Margaret Daley's From This Day Forward, and on my to be read list--Hannah Alexander's The Wedding Kiss. And in my Nook--Rachelle MaCalla's Princess in Peril. Loving that one so far. Love all of them so far! I seem to be moving from history to contemporary these days. I love both!

Karen Kirst can handle only one book at a time. I just finished Rachelle McCalla's first book in her new Reclaiming the Crown series, Love Inspired Suspense Princess in Peril. I love royalty stories and this one did not disappoint! Now I'm reading the October Love Inspired Historical novella Once Upon a Thanksgiving. I'm enjoying Winnie Griggs' Home For Thanksgiving.

Leigh Bale reads a variety of stories at one time:
Call Me Irresistible, by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
The Iron Daughter, by Julie Kagawa
Lucy's Legacy, by Dr. Donald Johanson

Right now Christine Johnson is reading The Help by Kathryn Stockett. It's a "loaner" book, so I set aside my other read, Laura Frantz's The Colonel's Daughter until I finish this one. I'm about halfway through The Help and am totally hooked by the three strong women telling their storiesa.

Lisa Mondello: Reading Water for Elephants on the Nook Color in between writing, cooking and watching Project Runway.

Missy Tippens is reading a book for her book club: These is my Words: The Diary of Sarah Agnes Prine, 1881-1901 Arizona Territories (a novel) by Nancy E. Turner. Missy says...This has me spellbound! I stayed up until 4 am this morning reading!

Pamela Tracy - she who reads more than one at a time.
On my Kindle: Lye in Wait, by Cricket McRae, a cozy mystery - I'm about 1/4 of the way through and liking it.
In my Car: The Jane Austen Bookclub by Karen Fowler - I'm on the next to last disc. The audio has convinced me to rent the movie.
In Print: In a Doctor's Arms by Lisa Mondello - Of course I'm reading a LI book. I'm about 1/4 of the way through and liking it.
What's next? Just checked out from the library The Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory - just released... I can hardly wait, although I'm so used to her books about Henry the 8th.



Barbara Phinney, who would be soo confused if she read more than one book at a time, is now reading Shattered by Kate Kelly. Wonderful book set in the Black Hills. Great characters!



So, tell us, what are you reading, and which of the above books have you also read...

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Thoughts from Anna Schmidt about connections…


Writing can be a solitary occupation so when notes from readers come via electronic or snail mail I have to admit that I eagerly tear into them…at last contact with the ‘real’ world!!! I am blessed to receive such missives on a fairly regular basis, and they are always bright spots in my day (even when the sender has something that has upset them about my book!).  My favorites are, of course, those that tell me how a certain character’s challenges connected with them in some way and I always love it when a reader suggests that I tell a minor character’s story (although it isn’t always easy to persuade the publishers to be as enthusiastic about giving that character his or her own book).

I also connect with the ‘real world’ via my research. Today, for example, I spent three hours reading actual letters, transcripts, and reports about the life (and death) of Mildred Fish Harnack—the only American woman put to death at the direct order of Hitler. Fascinating stuff and when you realize that this life that reads like a novel actually happened, it raises all sorts of questions about how I (or you) would have acted under similar circumstances.  Having been a history major in college, I actually love doing research—reading files as I did today, going to actual settings and walking where those who lived that special history once walked.

Finally, I connect via conversation with friends and new acquaintances and shopkeepers and wait-staff and others. I am fascinated by the diversity of opinions and ideas available through what may seem a very simple – and even conventional-- exchange. I write stories for one reason: because I believe that by looking at a situation through the eyes of fictional characters who are themselves a composite of many real people I’ve met over the course of my life I and my readers might find some truth—some ah-ha moment (as Oprah might say) that will enrich our lives. Connecting through communicating—what a concept!!! 

All best, Anna

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Romantic Suspense ideas?

HI, Terri Reed here. I'm in the middle of writing my 24th novel for Harlequin's Love Inspired line.The first five or so books I wrote were Love Inspired Romances, and the rest have been Love Inspired Suspense. I tend to gravitate toward the romantic suspense genre because I love the action, the tension and the mystery. Coupling suspense with romance is such a great way to get best of both genres. I'm always looking for unique and interesting ways to put my hero and heroines in danger.
Is there anything you haven't seen done that might pose a good threat for my characters?
I'd love to hear your ideas!



The second book in my Protection Specialists: Guarding the Innocent series comes out in January 2012. This book is set in Mississippi at winter time. I tried to give the book a gothic feel, complete with an old house, creepy relatives and a sinister villain all of which make life difficult for our hero and heroine.

A Shocking Revelation!

Finding out she is heir to a fortune shocks Caroline Tully to her core. And to “qualify” for the inheritance, she just has to visit her newfound grandfather’s Mississippi home from Christmas to New Year’s. Adopted as a baby, Caroline knows nothing about her mother’s family...and doesn’t realize they can’t be trusted. When attempts are made on her life, there’s only one man who can protect her. Donovan Cavanaugh—a man who made her lonely heart want to love again. Posing as her fiancé, Don promises to find the would-be killer. But will his protection—and his love—be enough to keep her safe?


Upcoming 2012 titles:

June 2012--The Deputy's Duty, book 6 of the Fitzgerald Bay continuity series

September 2012--The Doctor's Protector, the third book in the Protection Specialists: Guarding the Innocent series.



Monday, October 17, 2011

Ollie and me




I am down to the wire on my current book and in the final push and I'm babysitting my son's and daughter-in-laws dog. He's really just a puppy, all one-hundred-and fifty pounds of him. It's a challenge, and I know now why I talked my husband out of getting another dog.

Don't get me wrong, he's a sweet dog who drools. When he shakes his head, stuff flies off his mouth onto my nightgown and robe or kitchen table. And if I'm walking across the carpet and find something glistening, I have to grab a rag. I have a new appreciation for the comic Marmaduke. Brad Anderson had to have a great dane. And as a writer, we take those moments that are challenging or funny or frustrating and use them in our writing.

I've grown--whether I wanted to or not.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

FEATURED BOOK: THE CAPTAIN'S MISSION BY DEBBY GIUSTI

Today we're welcoming Captain Phil Tibodeaux, the hero of THE CAPTAIN’S MISSION, by Debby Giusti, which will be out in October 2011—this month. Wow, you've just had quite an adventure.

1. Tell us a little about yourself and how you came to be in the midst of such suspense.

I’m a captain in the U.S. Army stationed at Fort Rickman, Georgia. I was leading my company in a training exercise for a group of visiting dignitaries when one of my men was fatality wounded, seemingly by friendly fire. Criminal Investigation Division Special Agent Kelly McQueen was called in to investigate the soldier’s death.

2. So, during the book you met Special Agent McQueen. Tell us a bit about her. What was your first impression? When did you know it was love?

At first, I was antagonistic about having someone pry into my company’s business, but Kelly was a professional soldier and didn’t try to push her weight--or her position--around. She worked hard to get to the truth about what really had happened on the training range. I appreciated her work ethic and soon realized my feelings went deeper than admiration for a job well done.

3. What strengths/skills do you have? What is your greatest weakness?

I’m determined to do the right thing, and above all else, I want to take care of my soldiers. Hopefully, they realize the decisions I make are for their own good.

My weakness? Maybe it was allowing what had happened in my childhood to keep me from living life to the full.

4. What scares you?

Losing Kelly scared me in the beginning. Now we’re committed to spending the rest of our lives together. With Kelly at my side, I’m ready to accept whatever the future may hold.

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

I wish I could have changed my mother’s heart so she would have accepted a little boy who loved her so much.

6. Where are you in your faith at the start of your story?

Struggling. I came from a dysfunctional family, and although my aunt taught me about God’s love and mercy, I had to fine tune her teachings and make them my own.

7. Where are you in your faith at the end of the story?

By the end of the story, I knew God wanted what was best for me. He loved me more than anyone, even Kelly, and that fact brought me satisfaction and peace.

8. You've got a scripture at the beginning of the story. Tell us why this scripture is significant.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10

Those who accept darkness will die by darkness, but those who put their trust in the Lord will have an abundance of joy that transcends time.

9. If you could be a dessert what would you be and why?

I’d be Kelly’s pecan pie. I’m a sucker for good cooking and that pie opened my eyes to the beautiful woman standing before me.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Hello, lovely people. Elnora is fashionably late this morning due to computer problems. Something to do with jetting in from the coast last night, probably. Actually, we didn't jet. We drove a Malibu. But Big Daddy drove like a fighter pilot! We are tired wayfarers this morning. And now, this house seems so big compared to our little bayside retreat. Must clean up and start plans for a huge garage sale. Purses and shoes, anyone? This life in limbo between two places can be stressful. Elnora walked on the beach the other day and the waters were so calm. That indeed had a calming effect on me. And ... the sea had left a gift for all the strollers and swimmers. Seashells, washe up in lovely glistening piles. That got me to wondering as I wandered. What is it about seashells? Why do we search for the perfect ones when God has clearly sent us bits and pieces of beauty. Broken, yes. But then aren't we all in places? Why do we insist on perfection when we can pick up a slightly broken shell and learn its story while we look through the cracks and see the heart? This made me think of people. We tend to want our relationships to be perfect and shimmering, created in one piece and kept that way. But sometimes God sends us not so perfect people and they become the perfect friends. We have to see inside the broken parts. We have to look past the flaws to see the heart shining through. And in return, our friends and loved one can do the same for us. I believe the places where we see the shattered openings are places God left to be filled with forgiveness and love. So, all of you shimmering beauties, what is about seashells? I keep the broken ones, too. What about you? Do you throw those back and start looking all over again? Or do you keep a few. Elnora believes it's not so much about the shell, but about everything that little shell went through in that deep ocean to get so far. Maybe that little broken shell came all that way just somone would find it and take it home and make it whole again. Let's discuss seashells!!!!!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Writing for Love Inspired Historical

Yesterday, Emily Rodmell stopped by and spoke about writing for Love Inspired Historical. She's "actively seeking." That's music to a writer's ear.



Here on the Craftie site, we have quite a few historical authors who've decided to follow the call: Victoria Bylin (see the book above!), Lyn Cote (a Carol winner), Winnie Griggs, Louise Gouge, Patty Smith Hall, Eva Maria Hamilton, Christine Johnson, Karen Kirst, Jessica Nelson, Allie Pleiter, Cara Putman, Naomi Rawlings, Regina Scott, and Lacy Williams.


Most started like you... I love books... followed by I love to write... followed by How do I do it???


Today, if you have a question about writing for Love Inspired Historical (LIH), be sure to post it in the comment section. As you can see we have fourteen authors who often stop by to respond to comments. They are a wealth of talent and knowledge.


In the meantime, here are the guidelines for writing for LIH.


The LIH mission statement:
The Love Inspired fiction program features wholesome Christian romance that will help women to better guide themselves, their families and their communities toward purposeful, faith-driven lives.

So, what do you need to know about writing great books such as the following by Winnie Griggs...

DETAILS
Length: 70,000–75,000 words
Executive Editor: Joan Marlow GolanSenior Editor in charge of line: Tina James Senior Editor: Melissa Endlich Associate Editor: Emily RodmellAssistant Editor: Elizabeth Mazer

Editorial office: New York

CONTENT
Captivating historical romance: love and faith throughout the ages.

This brand in the Love Inspired imprint is a series of historical romances featuring Christian characters facing the many challenges of life and love in a variety of historical time periods.
Love Inspired Historical should be complex stories rich in period detail that will sweep readers into the past and absorb them from page one.

We are open to seeing manuscripts set in the following time periods: biblical fiction, Americana (e.g., Westerns, post-Civil War, etc.), European historical eras (e.g., Tudor, Regency and Victorian England, 18th-century Scotland, etc.) and 20th century (turn of the century through World War II). We are also interested in stories featuring missionaries abroad in exotic locations during various historical periods.

Each story should be set in the past, and focus on an emotional, satisfying and mature romance; however, the characters should not make love unless they are married. Even if characters are married, lovemaking must occur offstage. Any physical interactions (i.e., kissing, hugging) should emphasize emotional tenderness rather than sexual desire. Please avoid any mention of nudity.

All stories should focus on one hero and heroine who meet as early in the book as possible. The hero and heroine should be on the page together in the first chapter—the first page is even better. By the end of the story the main characters should be in a committed relationship.
In addition, we are looking for opening chapters that are compelling and grab the reader's attention from the first line of the story. Some ways to create effective openings are to employ dialogue, keep paragraphs short, or open with a dramatic situation. Ineffective openings tend to occur when there is little or no dialogue or the author focuses on background and setup (e.g., heroine is in a car/bus/train/plane, reviewing the reasons why she is returning to or leaving her hometown).

Drama, mystery and even a touch of humor all have a place in the series. Foul language and swearing do not. Paranormal or horror elements are not acceptable. Conflicts cannot be solved purely by divine intervention (e.g., an angel arriving to save the day). Any subplots should come directly from the main story. Secondary characters can also help contribute to a substantial and gratifying story.

An element of faith must be present in the books, and should be well-integrated into the plot. The conflict between the main characters should be an emotional one, arising naturally from the story. The progression of the story will incorporate the faith journey of each protagonist, whether struggling to accept faith or simply being active in their church community. By the end of the story, hero and heroine must be both believers and members of a church community.

Because Love Inspired sells to both CBA and ABA bookstores, we must adhere to CBA conventions. Christian characters in the stories may not consume alcohol, play cards or gamble. Other taboos include explicit scatological terms, Halloween celebrations or magic. Lying is also problematic in the CBA market, and characters who are Christian should avoid lying or deceiving others. Exceptions can be made but they must be approved by an editor.

We are looking for authors writing from a Christian worldview and conveying their personal faith and ministry values in entertaining fiction that will touch the hearts of believers and seekers everywhere.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Want to Write for LIH? Emily Rodmell tells you how...


Today we're delighted to welcome Emily Rodmell, an editor at Harlequin. If you've ever dreamed of writing for Harlequin, then be sure to keep reading. She's got some great tips for you!

Good morning everyone. I’m Emily Rodmell, and I’m the associate editor for Harlequin’s 3 Love Inspired lines (Love Inspired, Love Inspired Suspense and Love Inspired Historical). I’m here today to talk to you about the great opportunity we have at Love Inspired Historical for new writers. LIH doubled its output from two to four books a month this year, and it’s opened up a whole lot of opportunity for new writers looking to get published. Since the expansion, we’ve published 9 new to LIH authors (many of them debut authors), and we currently have 10 more scheduled to publish by the end of 2012.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Facing Your Challenges, your skeptics and your difficult loved ones

At a recent Christian Educators' conference, the following thoughts were presented. I read them and what a light bulb moment for me! Recently, I've had struggles. I have published an ebook, an inspirational romantic suspense entitled Souvenirs and it's been difficult to reinvent that part of my writing life, to garner interest and give people the hope I showcased in that story.

But I also found myself at odds with several other people. Loved ones or not, people with whom you bump noses can still hurt you. So this short workshop really spoke to me, especially as I explain my difficulties to non-believers.

"Some people find it unreasonable to think that challenges and struggles might be a regular part of God's plan for our lives," The writer of this workshop explains. Romans 5:3,4 says "…tribulation worketh patience, and patience, experience, and experience, hope."

We tend to blame others, but really, in most situations, there is no one to blame. The mature response to tough situations is to affirm by faith God's purposes for us. These hardships give us a story to tell, allowing us to showcase the reality of God and that we don't have freedom from troubles just because we believe in Him.

But rather, Christ sustains us during those dark times.

I like how the Romans 5:3,4 in the NIV is for me more direct and clear. Suffering -> perseverance. Perseverance -> character. Character -> hope. Hope is what we get because we know we can handle tough things.

When you're struggling with a difficult loved one, remember first and foremost to love them. Your love will motivate you. Love them!! Ask them about their goals and concerns. Share your own failings. But focus on them.

Be energetic. At that conference, one writer put it well. "So often evil is portrayed as high energy and creative, while Good is portrayed as solemn and passive." Read Revelation for proof at how 'Good' really is!

Remember that we all have a touch of immaturity. We rush though easy work, but when it comes to something challenging, we hit a wall and become discouraged. Our loved one who are facing and causing challenges more than likely is facing the same. Remember that your loved one is not the enemy. Walk away if you have to, for a time, to prevent offending someone and being offended yourself. Proverbs 18:19 warns that 'an offended brother is more unyielding than a fortified city.'.

God is at work when a believer is struggling with a challenge. And when the worst of the worst happens, He's at His busiest, because He's building hope, character and joy, and allowing the believer to tell others about the tough time they had. How can the believer witness if they haven't struggled themselves?

And as I work on my independently stories, as I promote them and show that they, like the Love Inspired books, are designed to inspire, I must remember that hope comes from tribulations. It's really only a few steps away.

Next time you're dealing with a tough loved one, or work is especially difficult, as it has been for me, remember that God isn't making it easy for us. He's showing us we can "Do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

I encourage you to pick up a Love Inspired book today. And consider, also, Souvenirs – a story of hope, forgiveness, and redemption.

Souvenirs

Having been accused of murder, Anna LaBonte has no one to turn to but her mysterious neighbor, Brent Stirling. Brent knows the only reason he's helping her is to ease the guilt within him. But unless Brent can fully forgive himself, and Anna learn to trust, they will both end up dead.

Souvenirs is available at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005AX7Z64

Thank you for stopping by today, and I pray that God is strengthening you to the fullest. And I thank the Christian Educators' Convention, (part of Accelerated Christian Education) for their inspiring words.

Barbara Phinney

www.barbaraphinney.com