Thursday, May 31, 2012

RITA FINALIST – KATIE’S WAY-by Marta Perry


When were you born? Katie’s Way was born November 1, 2011

Where were you born?

I was born to author Marta Perry in the Pennsylvania Dutch area of the United States which makes perfectly good sense. Marta lives where the Amish do and I'm an Amish love story.

Do you have any brothers and sisters?

Marta has written many, many books, but my particular family is called Pleasant Valley. I am the fifth book in that series.

Some of my older many siblings include: Leah’s Choice, Sarah’s Gift, Anna’s Return, and Rachel’s Garden. Hannah's Joy is the latest book in the series and is available now.  Then in November, book seven, Naomi’s Christmas arrives. Whew! That Marta works fast!

What do you think made you a RITA finalist?

The Amish believe pride to be a sin so please don’t think I'm bragging. After all, I am an Amish novel. But since you ask….My characters are extremely well created, so much so that the lilt of Pennsylvania Dutch practically rises from the page. You can tell my author knows her stuff. My plot is thick and entwined, with many twists and turns, all of which grow naturally from the characters and their stories. The rich texture of family weaves a lovely thread throughout, and the faith issue of forgiveness, both of others and one self, is subtly presented. In my very humble opinion, Katie’s Way is a wonderful-gud book.

Here’s the cover blurb:

A quilt shop brings Amish and Englisch together, and trouble follows...

After a thwarted romance, Katie Miller starts over by moving to Pleasant Valley and opening a quilt shop. Soon Amish and Englisch turn the store into a lively spot...to the consternation of Caleb Brand, who crafts furniture next door. Then Katie's sister joins her, to escape rumors of her wild rumspringa, and Katie feels the burden of responsibility for a restless teenager. Even worse, her efforts to bring more people to Main Street arouse resistance among local businesses. When acts of vandalism threaten Katie's shop, she turns to Caleb for comfort, and their friendship deepens. But will Caleb's secret past prevent him from embracing a future with Katie? Or will their fragile romance develop the strength to last a lifetime?







Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Summer Fun


Hello everyone, Karen Kirst here to talk about summer holidays.  To me, summer means a break from homeschooling, so I’m as eager for it as my kids are! Since my husband is a Marine, we live on a military base.  There are free pools for us to use and the beach is a short twenty minute drive away.  There are tons of parks, as well.  We take advantage of the inexpensive movie theaters on base and the summer reading program at the library. 

My favorite summer event is the 4th of July celebration the base hosts every year.  While the kids take advantage of the bouncy houses, we get to listen to the 2nd Marine Division band play outfitted in their dress blues.  Of course, what’s an event like this without funnel cakes and nachos and superhero-shaped ice cream that melts faster than the kids can eat it?  The best part, in my opinion, is the fireworks.  Those Marines really know how to put on a show!

What about you?  What are your favorites parts of summer?    

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Though this is the day after Memorial Day, I keep thinking about the incredible sacrifice many of our brave military men and women have made over the years. Did you watch the TV special on the eve of Memorial Day, the one that took place in Washington DC? One part of it featured an actor and actress, reading the stories of a woman whose father was killed in battle before she was born and the man who not only had served with her father, but was with him when he died. It was so touching, so sad---and a stark reminder that the story of a casualty of war doesn't end at the grave, but continues on, in the lives of those he or she has left behind.
My own father, who was in the CIC (forerunner of the CIA) was affected by the horrors of World War II his entire life. He told us amazing stories about some of his adventures, but there were many things he would never, ever speak about...and he sometime awoke with nightmares for decades after the war. There was an article in the Minneapolis paper on the obituary page titled "WW II Spy Dies" after he passed away, but the writer had no idea of everything my father had had to do...or experienced.
Have you--or do you now--serve in the military? Have a close relative who has? Would you like to share some of your feelings about what the Memorial Day time of remembrance means to you? Love Inspired has published some great military romances. Do you have a favorite title?
Blessings to you all,
Roxanne Rustand www.roxannerustand.com

Monday, May 28, 2012

Celebrating Memorial Day

Let's celebrate our veterans and the men and women currently serving in the armed forces.

We have our flag out. But my family and I (Jean C. Gordon) aren't up to much else. While I'm having lunch with a writer friend, my husband is going to drop in at our son's for a swim in the pool at his condo complex. Then, maybe our son-in-law (the free-range-pig farmer) might have some pulled pork for us for sandwiches for supper.

Nothing like the way my dad, a World War II vet, celebrated. He did Memorial Day in a big way. He'd put out the flag, and we'd walk down to Main Street to watch the parade. Then, he'd have a big barbecue with our relatives from both sides of the family. More than 30 people. They'd come from the city -- Niagara Falls/Buffalo -- to Attica for a day in "the country."

Dad would grill hamburgers and hot dogs and German sausages and make Beef on Wick. People would bring all kinds of salads and deserts. I really miss the potato salads. It's my favorite and neither my husband nor the kids like it. Mom would make jello with fruit salad, and someone would always bring jello with vegetables in it, which none of us "kids" would eat.

We'd take our cousins across the street to the creek and show them how to lift flat rocks and find crayfish. Sometimes, if it was hot enough, we'd walk further down the creek to the fishing hole and "accidentally" fall in. One year when I was in my early teens, a significantly older cousin (the banker) had traded in his well-used VW beetle for a Porsche. All of us older cousins wanted a ride in it. What could be cooler than riding through town in a Porsche with an attractive older guy? Hey, no one needed to know he was my cousin. I can't remember that I ever got that ride.

As the song goes, "Those were the days, my friend." So, what are you doing today?


Summoned as temporary guardian for her teenage niece, while her brother is deployed to the Middle East with his Reserve unit, Emily Hazard returns to Paradox Lake. On one condition—she won't let herself think about staying. Emily always felt like a misfit in her tiny hometown.

But she doesn't count on falling for handsome Drew Stacey, a former Wall Streeter who's getting the town church camp ready.

Now available as an eBook

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Black Sheep's Redemption Interview


Craftie SUSPENSE interview:
Today we're welcoming Charles Fitzgerald, the hero of 
The Black Sheep’s Redemption, written by Lynette Eason, a May 2012 release by Love Inspired Suspense

Wow, you've just had quite an adventure. 
You’re not kidding. I wasn’t sure I’d ever be exonerated, but 
God is good.
  
1.  Tell us a little about yourself and how you came to be in 
the midst of such suspense. My name is Charles Fitzgerald and 
I’m one of six children. Most of my family is in law enforcement,
 but I was the black sheep. I was in the military for a while 
but when I returned home, I opened my own medical practice.

2.  So, during the book you met Demi Taylor (Townsend).  Tell 
us a bit about her.  What was your first impression? My first impression was that she was an answer to prayer. I was in desperate need of a nanny for my two year old twins. You see, Olivia Henry, 
my last nanny was murdered close to my house. I’ve been a suspect in her murder and as a result, no one was interested in working for 
me. However, Demi was willing to take a chance. She saw something in me right off and knew I hadn’t killed the woman. I’ll never forget 
what that kind of belief did for me and my sorely lacking 
self-esteem. Demi demonstrated a kind of faith in me I’d
only seen in my family so it was just amazing.

When did you know it was love?  It didn’t take too long to 
figure it out on my part. The only problem was Demi was 
suffering from amnesia. She couldn’t remember where she 
was from or what happened to give her that big scar on 
her forehead. So, she was a little reluctant to get involved 
until she learned who she was. I was willing to wait. I 
understood what she was saying. I mean, what if there was 
another man somewhere? A husband or a fiancé? She wasn’t wearing a ring, but…    


3.  What strengths/skills do you have?  I’m persistent. I’m 
also a very skilled doctor. It’s my calling, my passion. I’m 
also a good father. My ex-wife ran off to Paris to become an 
artist and marry someone who was more like herself. She left 
behind two great kids that I was determined would never miss her.

What is your greatest weakness? My greatest weakness? Which one? 
LOL. No, seriously, I would have to say impatience. I wanted to 
find out who was setting me up to take the fall for a murder. I 
wanted to have a relationship with Demi, I wanted a lot of things, 
but having to wait on them was really hard. Thankfully, through a 
lot of prayer, it all worked out.
         
4.  What scares you? Loving and losing Demi, something bad 
happening to one of the children, disappointing God. All of those things.
    
5. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it 
be? I’d have more patience. Ha.

6.  Where are you in your faith at the start of your story? I was questioning God. Things had really gotten out of control in my 
life and I was just really frustrated at the lack of progress 
made on the case. People I thought were friends turned their 
backs on me and…that hurt. I was having a hard time trusting that God hadn’t turned his back on me as well.
    
7.  Where are you in your faith at the end of the story? I came to realize that God is faithful. All the time. Yes, bad stuff is 
going to come into our lives, but He is there, walking through 
it with us, holding us up and encouraging us to have faith in Him. It’s sure not easy at the time, but looking back, I can see His hand on everything.

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

But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours 
was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.—Luke 15:32.

Charles was the brother who was lost, but by the end of the story, 
he was found. Found innocent of all charges and wrapped in the 
loving fold of his family. He may have been the Black Sheep of the family, but they welcomed him home and loved him anyway.

9. If you could be a dessert what would you be and why? Anything chocolate. Because Demi loves chocolate. J



Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Black Sheep's Redemption byLynette Eason

Everyone in Fitzgerald Bay—except his law-enforcement family—is convinced Charles Fitzgerald murdered his children's nanny. Condemned by public opinion, his only hope for a replacement nanny to take care of his two-year-old twins is newcomer Demi Taylor. But Demi has problems of her own…starting with amnesia. She doesn't remember who she is, doesn't know where she's from—and has no idea why she always feels like someone is watching her. Is she in danger because of Charles? Or has someone sinister from her old life found her yet again?

Friday, May 25, 2012

Ask Elnora--About Dolphins???Lenora Worth

Hello, my little mermaids. Elnora loves dolphins. There is just something about these gentle, friendly creatures that draws us to look toward the sea. They are playful and they love to tap each other and, sometimes, humans too! They frolick and play but they are a vital part of our oceans and bays. Elnora prefers her dolphins wild and free rather than in a big pool doing tricks. Those are cute, don't get me wrong. But I like the surprise of staring out over the horizon and suddenly seeing a dark flipper or fin popping up out of the water. Now that I've been back and forth to the big bay, one of my favorite things to do once I get there is watch for the dolphins. The first time I saw one so close to the shore, I giggled with delight. Then it became a quest to see another and another. In our bay, they mostly travel two to three in a pod and do a beautiful dance across the water. This time there, I waited and watched and fretted. I was having a hard time accepting that I'd soon be moving across the country so I really needed to see those dolphins. It just seemed to me that if I saw the dolphins early in the morning, I'd have a better day. Something about them lowered my blood pressure and stopped my worries. But day after day, I didn't see any little gray fins or flippers. I sat on the deck and watched and waited and thought about how many miles inland it would take them to travel to get to me. They only like to come and visit when the water is warm. (And who can blame them for that.) Finally, I spotted one in front of the boat docks but I lost sight of it in the tree line. The next time they came Elnora was upstairs "powdering my nose" when Big Daddy called up and said there were several--or more like "more than I've ever seen. Hurry." Sometimes it's just hard for a girl to hurry. But I did. I managed to spot a couple before they went on there way to whatever play dates they had that day. We had one more spotting when some friends saw them and we all rushed down to the water's edge. Soon, however, it was time for us to return home and start packing to go back in a few weeks. I was still torn between loving the bay and leaving my home and friends and some family members when I go back to the bay for good. We had shut everything down that morning and closed the drapery over the glass door to our deck. While Big Daddy his usual pack and check list, I snuck to the curtains and opened them one more time. I just stood there, thinking of all the things I had on my mind and how I was going to deal with those things. And then, out of the blue three little fins popped up and flipped through the water, followed by three swishing flippers. Those dolphins put on a show for me and only me. I smiled and smiled and watched until my eyes grew bleary from the sun and from the beauty of it all. There is something about dolphins. They offer unconditional friendship and seem to know exactly when we need it. So ... let's discuss dolphins and other sea creatures? What is it that you love about the sea? Sometimes the world is full of sharks, but I know the bay will always bring me some dolphins. And that means God has sent me a little bit of grace.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Interviewing Rita Finalist ~ Deadly Pursuit

Sandra Orchard here, and it's my pleasure to interview another of the Rita finalists books...

(Revell; Jennifer Leep, editor) 


So... Deadly Pursuit

When were you born?    


  September 1st, 2011


Where were you born? 

 I hail from Missouri, home of my beloved author, Irene Hannon


Do you have any brothers and sisters?

I'm the middle child of three in my author's Guardian of Justice series. I also have a few step brothers and sisters in her other Heroes of Quantico series. And reaching way back on the family tree, I have lots of Steeplehill siblings.


What do you think made you a RITA finalist? 

A stalker with deadly intent... A woman who protects children... An ex-Navy SEAL turned police detective. A winning combination, don't you think?


It certainly sounds like it, Deadly. Thanks so much for visiting with us today.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Milestones


Hello readers! Christine Johnson here to talk about the milestones in our lives. At my house, the flowers are blooming and the birds chirping. It’s May, and in this part of the world, it’s prime time for engagements, weddings and graduations.  Many people are celebrating a milestone of some type.

anniversary trophy
Later this summer, my husband and I will celebrate our 25th anniversary.  Ten years ago, a retired pastor surprised us with the trophy in the picture. He said it was important to celebrate our 15 years together in the same way that an athlete celebrates a victory in a sporting event. So he came up with the idea of an anniversary trophy and gave them to couples who’d reached an important anniversary. Needless to say, we were deeply touched.

I write stories set in the early 1920s and wondered about milestone celebrations in that time. According to Emily Post’s 1922 book on etiquette, like today the first anniversary was marked with gifts of paper. The fifth was wood, and the tenth tin, but none of these invited serious gifts. Instead the gift-giver usually gave something symbolic or even humorous until the couple reached their crystal anniversary at 15 years.


My upcoming November book is set in 1922 and marks a different kind of milestone. In that month ninety years ago, archaeologist Howard Carter discovered the entrance to King Tutankhamun’s tomb.  News of the discovery swept through the world press.  Before long, even fashion was influenced by the riches found in that tomb.  People became obsessed with treasure hunting, and my heroine, Anna Simmons, is no different.  She dreams of finding a hidden treasure to pull her family from financial trouble, but tiny Pearlman couldn't possibly hide a lost fortune, could it?


So what milestones will you be celebrating in the coming months?  Any graduations, new jobs, weddings, career milestones, anniversaries, birthdays or anything else coming up?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Overwhelmed? What God has been teaching me about that...


Whoops! I’m a little late today. But seems like that’s par for the course these days. Being late has never been an issue for me. I’m always the early bird. Up early in the morning, early to church, early to appointments…um…okay, so I may be a little late for the dentist. But most of the time, I’m well prepared ahead of time.

Only I forgot about blogging. I seem to forget a lot of things lately and I think that’s because I have way too much on my plate. I’m homeschooling (coming to an end June 1!), I’m working full time (also coming to an end June 1!), and writing full time (not coming to an end any time soon, I pray!). So you might say I’ve been a bit overwhelmed.

Just curious. Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we take on more than we can do in the time allotted to us? Is it because we feel we have something to prove? Or because we’re trying to please those who matter to us? Family, friends, co-workers, editors, agents, etc.

I think it’s a combination. I like to think I can do it all. I like to think I’m Superwoman. But you know what? I’m not. And it feels great to admit that! God has been teaching me a lot over the last few months, one of which He is faithful. As long as I’m doing what He’s called me to do –which is be a mom, a wife and a writer—He’s going to take care of the details.

Once I came to that realization, I felt like a heavy weight had been lifted from my shoulders. Now I look back and shake my head. I knew God was telling me something had to go and so I turned in my resignation from the full time job. If only I’d listened instead of arguing with Him. J

How about you? Are you anything like me and pile on the responsibility until you feel crushed by it? If you used to do that, what are some things you learned from it? If you do it now, are you looking for way out? Are you arguing with God about letting something go?

Just curious.

Lynette

Suspense Field Trip

Debby Giusti here.

Lucky me! I'm heading to the Cobb County Medical Examiner's office in Marietta, Georgia, for a tour and possibly to watch an autopsy.  For a suspense author, the day looks delightful, although I'm sure most folks think I'm crazy to get excited about visiting the ME's office.

Actually, I asked my hubby to join me, but he's more interested in mowing the lawn! LOL!

The Atlanta Chapter of the Sisters in Crime arranged the tour, but everything was up in the air until the ME gave his approval this morning.  Now everyone's hustling to get there on time.

I've got to run.  Will provide more info later.  Perhaps a pic or two, as well.

So what exciting field trips have you taken that provided research for the stories you write...or could provide great info for the type of stories you love to read?

Wishing you abundant blessings,

Debby Giusti
www.DebbyGiusti.com
www.seekerville.blogspot.com
www.crossmyheartprayerteam.blogspot.com

Final Installment in Fitzgerald Bay series

Hi everyone Sandra Orchard here, filling in for Lynette Eason who is away at a conference. But perhaps she'll get a chance to pop in later.

In the meantime, I'd like to tell you about Lynette's May release, the much-anticipated final installment in the Fitzgerald Bay Series.

The Black Sheep's Redemption:

Everyone in Fitzgerald Bay—except his law-enforcement family—is convinced Charles Fitzgerald murdered his children's nanny. Condemned by public opinion, his only hope for a replacement nanny to take care of his two-year-old twins is newcomer Demi Taylor. But Demi has problems of her own…starting with amnesia. She doesn't remember who she is, doesn't know where she's from—and has no idea why she always feels like someone is watching her. Is she in danger because of Charles? Or has someone sinister from her old life found her yet again?

Other books in the series include:
The Deputy's Duty by Terri Reed
The Widow's Protector by Stephanie Newton
The Detective's Secret Daughter by Rachelle McCalla
The Rookie's Assignment by Valerie Hanson
The Lawmen's Legacy by Shirlee McCoy

Your Turn: Do you enjoy mini-series like these? Do you wait to collect all the books before reading them.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Wedding Belles, Part Two!

Wedding Bells at the Rustand household.....again! Our second son got married in January, and now we're at it again--another child's wedding. Only this time, it's our only daughter, I'm a lot more involved. I'm sure glad we had that earlier experience in preparation for Emily's! This blog is being posted a bit late, because Emily and I got home late last night from a 950 mile trip to a lovely shower given by Emily's northern aunties. It was such fun!
Brian's fiancée Julie was incredibly organized and well-prepared, but we still got to help out with the decorating and afterwards, the process of dismantling what had been a candlelit fairyland the night before. This time, we are doing all the planning. Wow! Times have sure changed since my own wedding, back in the dark ages. Wedding shows were held in the mid-seventies, but now there are so many of them to choose from--and the goods and services are mind boggling! I figured we'd be set, once the dress and the DJ and florist and venue and cake person and photographer and tux decisions
(this is a photo at one of the tux places) and videographer and soloist and violists and make-up artist were chosen, but there are meetings upon meetings with these people as the details are slowly, carefully ironed out. Here is Emily, trying on a bridesmaid's dress, as she won't let me share one of her wedding gown--yet!
There are still floral arrangements and other decorations to plan, though the backdrops, invitations guest lists , menus and myriad other details are decided. Whew! But I love it. Love it, but also feel a twinge of sadness and nostalgia as the big day draws near. Wasn't it just last year when Emily was toddling around the house in her white-blonde braids and diapers? Heading off for her first day of kindergarten? Riding her pony Penelope in the backyard? Now here she is in grad school, planning her wedding, with stars in her eyes over what her future will hold. In just a month, our baby will be gone...and we will truly have an empty nest. It's funny, how once we had kids, they became the focal part of our lives, and it seemed as if life would revolve around them forever. And yet all too soon they have flown away into careers and families of their own. Makes me wish I'd had three more, just to be able to savor these years longer! So how about you--what are some of the stages in life that have taken you by surprise? And do you have any wedding advice to share? We could sure use it!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Homefront Hero Interview


How exciting to have Captain John  Gallows the hero from Homefront Hero written by  Allie Pleiter a May 2012 release from Love Inspired Historical Romance.

1.  Captain Gallows, tell me the most interesting thing about you.
There’s a great deal interesting about me--at least if you ask the Army.  They seem to consider me quite the hero for crawling out on the stay-wires of my airship over France.  It’s not that astounding the lengths a man will go to save his life--calling it bravery and lauding me with all these medals and honors seems a mite disingenuous.  Still, I’ve never been a man to let a golden opportunity go by

2. What do you do for fun? 
Not much fun to be had in the Army at the moment.  I’ve been working like a madman to get my leg back in shape.  That means endless painful laps around the camp gymnasium.  The fun in that usually comes from my lovely company, Nurse Leanne Sample.  She’s no end of diversion.  As a matter of fact, she’s proven to be as much irritating as she is diverting. She knits for fun--if you can call it that--and I’m convinced she takes endless fun in watching me attempt the stuff.  I’m rotten at it, but if the US Army tells you to knit in front of cameras to convince boys to join the sock knitting campaign, then that’s what a smart Captain does.

3.  What do you put off doing because you dread it? 
I’m not the kind of man who puts anything off.  I’m mighty short in the patience department.  The only thing I’m dreading at the moment is not getting sent back to France to combat where I belong.  Well, maybe that and my next knitting lesson with the insistent Nurse Sample.  Come to think of it, I don’t really dread that at all--I rather look forward to that kind of  “combat.”

4.  What are you afraid of most in life?
I’m not afraid of anything, but it’s absolutely important to me that I get back to France.  I don’t want to end this war as a walking poster boy for yarn and needles.

5.  What do you want out of life?
Up there on that airship, the most important thing to me was to stay alive.  There was no bravery in it...either I fixed the ship or the ship went down.  I suppose that means what I want most is to feel like I earned this medal the pinned on my chest.  At the moment, it feels like they lauded the wrong man.

6. What is the most important thing to you?
Honor.  Sounds funny from a man boasting a medal of honor, don’t you think?  I’ve got more honor than I deserve, and I mean to change that.  My goal is to get back to France and prove my honor.

7. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I spend nearly every waking hour trying to build enough strength so I can walk without this cane.

8.  Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet?
Unless you count the countless little buggies crawling around this army camp, I’ve no pets here.  I had a wonderful horse once, but that was a long while back.

9. Can you tell us a little interesting tidbit about the time period you live in?
I don’t think the Spanish Influenza Pandemic qualifies as an “interesting little tidbit,” but it’s shaping up to be one of the most challenging public health issues ever to face the United States.  I think the children’s jumprope rhyme is the most poignant:
            “I had a little bird
            Her name was Enza
            I opened the door
            And In-Flu-Enza...”
A morose little thing for youngsters to be chanting, don’t you think?

Saturday, May 19, 2012

FEATURED BOOK: HOMETOWN HERO BY ALLIE PLEITER

Dashing and valiantly wounded, Captain John Gallows could have stepped straight out of an army recruitment poster. Leanne Sample can't help being impressed—although the lovely Red Cross nurse tries to hide it. She knows better than to get attached to the daring captain who is only home to heal and help rally support for the war's final push. As soon as he's well enough, he'll rush back to Europe, back to war—and far away from South Carolina and Leanne. But when an epidemic strikes close to home, John comes to realize what it truly means to be a hero—Leanne's hero.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Ask Elnora--About Jeopardy??? Lenora Worth

Thirty minute show that takes trivia and begs the question--What is Jeopardy?? Elnora is no genius, but I do have a guilty pleasure every afternoon at precisely 4:30 Central time. I shut down my work and go downstairs and fall down on the couch, grab my favorite palm tree embossed throw and watch "Jeopardy" with Big Daddy. I usually fall asleep during the Double Jeopardy round, but I'm thinking all of that knowledge is still channeling through my poor, tired brain. Because I always wake up for Final Jeopardy. And sometimes I actually know the answers.<< This week the show has been interesting since Alex Trebek has taken the show to Washington, D. C. so some "power players" could face off. He defined "power players" as celebrities or famous people who influence the masses with their words or actions. (I paraphrased that, but you get the idea.) Most of the contestants on this week are newscasters, authors and bloggers. The money they win goes to certain charities. That's all fun and games, but it got Elnora to thinking--We all just might be power players. After all, we write books that influence the masses. We get letters from readers acros the universe, telling us how much they love our stories. We go to speaking engagements to explain how we create our stories and talk about the business side of commericial fiction. We tell stories about heroes and hardworking people who love their families and love God. We tell stories about the issues of the day, good and bad. We write heartwarming stories full of universal truths and human nature, stories that readers seem to identify with and understand. Someone, somewhere, in one of those workshops said if you write a book and 2500 people buy and read that book, then you have touched 2500 people and you should be proud of that. Elnora agrees with that, because 2500 is a lot of people. But most of us here sell way more than 2500 books each time we have a new release out on the shelves. Personally, Elnora has an estimated (over) 3 million copies of her books in print. (As we say in the South, it ain't bragging if it's the truth!) And I don't say this to brag. I say it to make a point. Knowing that millions of people have bought your books over a fifteen year period is amazing, a blessing, a gift. But the point is--we write for an audience of one. The One. We write to celebrate the love of Christ and the beauty of romance and two people discovering love and a lifetime together, through all the odds and obstacles that life throws at them. And that, dear readers and dear ladies of Love Inspired, makes us power players. One day, we might even wind up in a Jeopardy question: A series of heartwarming, sweet books that women the world over buy and read and enjoy. The answer: What is a Love Inspired book? Let's discuss--What is a Love Inspired book to you? Do you think we have the power to change lives with our words?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

RITA WATCH: The Christmas Child

A Christmas Story to Cherish
Interview by Lacy Williams, on RITA WATCH

 

Meet THE CHRISTMAS CHILD, one of the finalists for the RITA in the Inspirational Romance category.

When were you born?
September 2011. Which is kind of funny, since I’m a Christmas story.

Where were you born?
My creator, Linda Goodnight, is from Oklahoma, from a small town much like the fictional one featured in my pages. This gives her special insight to creating the small-town feel that my readers seem to like so much.

Do you have any brothers and sisters?
I’m one of about forty other books Linda Goodnight has written, and some of my “siblings” have won a RITA, two ACFW Book of the Year Awards, a Booksellers’ Best, and a Reviewers’ Choice from RT Book Reviews.

I’m not gonna lie. It’s a lot to live up to. But if I can touch one reader’s heart, then I guess I’ll be satisfied.  

Watch for the repackage of A Season for Grace and The Heart of Grace coming July 2012—if you haven’t read these books before, you’ll love them.

What do you think made you a RITA finalist?
Definitely my hero, Kade McKendrick. ::whistles:: There is something about reluctant heroes… good guys with something hard in their past that they have to overcome… yup, get’s the ladies drooling every time. AND he has a dog. And stubble. Did I mention he’s a cop?

And if I had to make a second guess to the answer for this question, I’d say little Davey, the child pictured on my cover. He’s a boy in need of a lot of love, and between Kade and Sophie, they end up giving him a Christmas to remember. Some of my readers really love the kids that Linda seems to write so well, and Davey is no exception.

Briefly tell us your story.
It’s Christmastime and Kade’s home in Redemption, Oklahoma, nursing a deep, dark hurt from his job as an undercover cop. He and some dumpster divers find little Davey huddled in a trash dumpster and Kade sort of becomes his protector. With the help of schoolteacher Sophie Bartholomew, who is a Christmas junkie, of course. Between Sophie and Davey, Kade can’t keep his heart protected for long and then he has to decide whether to leave town or stay and try to mend what’s been eating him for so long.

Good luck to Linda with THE CHRISTMAS CHILD!







Wednesday, May 16, 2012

What's the craziest thing you've ever done?

Lacy Williams here today, to talk about the craziest thing you’ve ever done.

My husband can tell you, I’m not a very impulsive person. He is. Sometimes it drives me crazy when he wants to make plans at the last minute. But sometimes it turns out really good. Like the last-minute trip to New York City we took once several years ago when his family lived on the East Coast. We got to see a Broadway play (matinee) and visit some of the touristy places and had a great time.
Probably the craziest thing he’s ever talked me in to on an impulse was driving to Topeka, Kansas, when we were still newlyweds. We went because he had a hankering for a certain Mexican restaurant there. We took a couple of friends on our road trip and made a round-trip all in one day.

So… not very crazy, even at my most impulsive.

But the heroine in my newest book, THE HOMESTEADER’SSWEETHEART… well, she’s a different story. Her name is Penny Castlerock, and her impulsiveness tends to get her in trouble, even though she tries to behave because her father is a big-time banker and on the town council.

But the craziest thing she does is get on the back of a bucking bronco in a cowboy exhibition (that’s what rodeos were called back before they were called “rodeos”). And she does it for love. Here’s a short excerpt of part of her adventure:

She shouldn't be doing this.
Of all the things Penny had ever regretted because of her impulsiveness, this decision topped the list.

She couldn't stop shaking as she waited outside the arena, Oscar at her side. She kept her head down, hoping no one could tell there was a woman hiding under Edgar's shirt and trousers. She'd tucked her braid up into the hat, praying it wouldn't be knocked off during her ride.
She felt sick.

For Breanna, she reminded herself silently.
Oscar's turn came and he left her with a final squeeze of her hand. She focused on her boots, unable to watch him ride the bucking horse while knowing she would be next.

The crowd went wild during Oscar's ride, cheering and clapping. Perhaps he'd done well and she didn't have to ride, after all—
And then a shove to the middle of her back sent her reeling up to the prep stall and she was being boosted onto the back of a sweating, snorting animal.

"I can't—" She started to gasp, but a grinning, snaggle-toothed cowboy slapped her on the shoulder.
"Have fun, young'un."

"But—"

Photo courtesy of www.sxc.hu

She swallowed her words as the gate swung open.
For Jonas.

Penny forgot about showmanship and everything else as she clung to the animal's back. The bronco bucked and see-sawed, whirled and wheeled. She thought once that all four of its feet left the ground.
All she could think about was those feet landing on her if she fell off.



I’d love to know, what is the craziest or most impulsive thing you’ve ever done?








Monday, May 14, 2012

Did you ever have to pull the plug on a book?

Howdy, all. Dana Mentink here, writer of Love Inspired Suspense. I really enjoy reading mystery and suspense (as you could ascertain by the giant pile of books next to my bed.)I read both general market and Christian fiction so the stories run the gambit. At times, I find that I need to stop reading a book because the content is too violent or the subject too creepy. No matter how riveting, there are some stories where I need to stop if the images become gory. Also, if there is brutality towards children I generally can't stick with it unless there is some redeeming message or greater purpose. Perhaps I'm becoming a marshmallow in my old age but I find that there's that fine line between suspenseful and gratuitous. What do you think, dear readers/bloggers? Am I alone in this?

Travel by Merrillee Whren


Do you recognize this place? My husband and I enjoy traveling. I have been to all fifty states and numerous foreign countries.

Sit back, relax and leave the driving to us. I think that was an old Greyhound bus slogan. I have traveled by Greyhound, but I prefer cruises, automobiles or airplanes rather than buses. 

Do you recognize that location in this photo? 

How about these places? Do you know where they are?

These are just a few interesting places that I have been. One cool thing about reading books is being able to travel without ever leaving your chair. Books can transport us not only across the miles but across the years. Books can open whole new worlds to us. I found this especially true when I was a child, growing up in the wide open spaces of Montana. Books took me to Florida, where I now live. They also took me to New York City, where I couldn't imagine having no front lawn. Books introduced me to countries across the ocean and made me want to visit those places. Fortunately, I have been able to travel in person to many of the places I have read about.

What about you? Has there ever been a book that took you to a place where you had never been? Do you like to travel? Where have you been?

Also, I will give away my latest book, Montana Match, to anyone who can give me the location of the places in the photos.

www.merrilleewhren.com
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Merrillee-Whren/233910490013374

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Homesteader's Sweetheart Interview



How exciting to have Jonas White, the hero from THE HOMESTEADER’S SWEETHEART, written by Lacy Williams a  May 2012 release from Love Inspired Historical.

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

I have eight children. Seven adopted sons ranging in ages from seventeen to eight and one daughter, age five. The boys are a real big help around the homestead, but they can get into scrapes and definitely keep things lively. Since I didn’t have much of a childhood myself, I secretly enjoy it when they pull pranks on each other.

2.  What do you do for fun?

Between keeping food on the table and keeping the boys in line, I don’t have a lot of free time, but one of my favorite things to do is break horses. The animals are much easier to understand than women are, and at least I know where I stand with a green broke horse.

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

Going to the bank. It seems like there’s never enough money for what my family needs. Keeping the kids in clothes is hard enough, and the boys eat more every day, seems like.

4.  What are you afraid of most in life?

Losing someone I love. Before the kids came into my life, I didn’t have anyone, and now I can’t imagine my life without them.

5.  What do you want out of life?

I used to dream about finding a wife and getting married, but I guess that dream got lost in the chaos of raising kids and survival out here in the West. But now that I’ve gotten to know my neighbor’s granddaughter, Penny Castlerock, that dream seems to be coming to life again…

6.  What is the most important thing to you?

My kids.

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

Because of my broken childhood, I grew up without much schooling and I can’t read. If I could change one thing, it would be that.

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

No pets around here, just working animals. My daughter has an affinity for one of the chickens, but that’s about it.

9. Can you tell us a little interesting tidbit about the time period you live in?

This time period is all about change. New inventions, new medical advances, and Wyoming is transitioning from a Territory to Statehood. And my life is changing too, with new friends and maybe even… love.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
By day, Lacy Williams is a stay-at-home mom battling dirty diapers and dog-hair dust-bunnies. By night, she is a novelist whose debut book has been nominated for an RT Book Reviews 2011 Reviewers’ Choice Award. Her current projects include a screenplay and potty-training her little girl.

SPECIAL PROMO:
To celebrate her birthday, Lacy will be offering special birthday gifts to her readers. Find out more at www.megamaybirthdaybash.com



Saturday, May 12, 2012

Featured Book: The Homesteader's Sweetheart by Lacy J. Williams

To escape a dreaded arranged marriage, Penny Castlerock will face anything—even life on her grandfather's farm. But it isn't the rustic lifestyle that's got the Philadelphia socialite tied in knots. It's the handsome homesteader and his eight adopted children next door….




With seven boys and a girl to raise, transplanted farmer Jonas White could sure use some help. He just didn't expect it to come from the high-spirited, copper-haired beauty he's always admired from afar. But surely working the land is no life for a woman like Penny. Yet a threat to Jonas's farm just might show him how perfect Penny is for him after all.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Ask Elnora--About Diamonds??? Lenora Worth

Hello, my sweet summer friends. It's always exciting when a new book is coming out. My next one will be out this August. It's a suspense--We love those, don't we? "The Diamond Secret" is set in New Orleans. What better place for a treasure hunt and lots of strange clues that all come together? My hero, Cullen Murphy, is Irish. Sigh. Irish and ambitious. My heroine Esther Carlisle runs an antique shop that she inherited from her stoic father. Cullen comes looking for an infamous diamond but discovers a diamond in the rough in prim little Esther. While she's always longed for a grand adventure, Esther is too sensible to fall for the good-looking adventurer. It's Indiana Jones meets Southern mystery. It was so much fun to write this book. After all, Elnora knows that diamonds are a girl's best friend! Unless someone is trying to kill you in order to get a diamond. That got me to thinking about grand adventures. Who amongst us has been on one? Who amongst us is afraid to go on an adventure? Recently, some friends took Big Daddy and I out on a boat ride. Elnora doesn't really like big bodies of water, except to look out on them while enjoying coffee and a good book and maybe some chocolate. It's safe to sit and read about adventures but ... to go on one? What if I break a nail or worse, a leg? What if bad guys do start chasing me? Anyway, I went on this boat with friends and we went out into the big bay. The really big bay. And we kept on going until we reached a little sliver of a sand bar that had a sign post at the end which told how far away certain places were. The sign also had the words "Skull Island" and "You are here" on it. So there I stood on Skull Island out in the middle of the really big bay and of course, my writer's mind was coming up with all sorts of scenarios. How did Skull Island come to be known as Skull Island? Were there really skulls on this island and did I really want to know that? While there, we saw a stingray and I thought about being out in the ocean on a raft with sharks and stingrays all around. Frightful. But it all ended okay since we got back in the boat and started home. The boat captain (we'll call him Bennie) also pulled the boat up to another kind of secretive place which could only be reached by boat or a long, long road that seemed to go nowhere. Of course, my mind went into imagination land again. Who lived on such a desolate, bug-infested place? Modern day pirates, drug runners, criminals and misfits, murders and mad men? I didn't want to find out. So when the boat got stuck in the shallows, I sent up a little prayer. I did not want to spend the night with whoever lived in the two houses we saw from the shore. Thankfully, we managed to get back out into deeper water and then we headed home. I had survived Skull Island and what was probably a band of pirates. The next week, our captain sold that boat so I won't be taking anymore trips like that for a while. But my mind is still out there, wondering while it's wandering. For Elnora, those few hours were grand and scary and interesting. What kind of adventures have you been on? Let's discuss this some more. I had fun talking about this over on the Love Inspired Authors Blog yesterday, so I thought we'd continue it today in celebration of my next book and in celebration of all the adventures, large and small, that we find in life. We are blessed to have adventures, right??? :))

Thursday, May 10, 2012

RITA ENTRY - A LOVE NOTE FROM GOD

Linda Goodnight here with an unusual RITA story I think will touch your heart.

Last fall when the RITA contest opened for entries, my family suffered the most terrible time of our lives. First, my son was diagnosed with “untreatable, incurable” stage four cancer. A few weeks later my brother, worried about his sister and nephew, decided to drive to my house for Thanksgiving. Two hours out of Atlanta, he died in a car accident. My sister-in-law was critically injured.

Needless to say, the last thing on my mind was entering a contest. By the time I remembered, the contest had closed. So I signed on to judge the inspirational category instead.

Fast forward and a packet of books arrived for judging but none were inspirational. I emailed RWA and mentioned that I’d still be willing to judge inspies if needed. Within five minutes, my phone rang. Carol of RWA explained that I could not judge the category because I was entered.

Shock ran through me, followed by tears as she told this story. A Love Inspired author who remains anonymous knew about my personal heartache. That precious sister in Christ contacted RWA and did the most incredibly unselfish thing. She withdrew HER beautiful book from the contest and replaced it with mine. Then she purchased the five required copies of THE CHRISTMAS CHILD and mailed them in to RWA. Entering the RITA is expensive. Books and shipping aren’t cheap. But this amazing woman chose to give up her slot, her money, and her opportunity to bless a hurting sister.

When the RITA calls went out in March and I learned that THE CHRISTMAS CHILD had finaled, I cried most of the day. I’m crying still as I tell the story. Not just because my book was a finalist. Of course I’m delighted, but the final itself seems less important at this point. Rather, I weep with joy for the gift of love and compassion someone gave at the time I needed it most.

God works in the most wonderful ways through his amazing people.


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

This Months LIH's

Rhonda Gibson here...

I love this blog and I love the Love Inspired Historicals that come out each month. This month my first Love Inspired Historical, The Marshal's Promise came out.
Isn't Seth Handsome? Sigh....


I was thinking about what great company I am in.


Renee Ryan's Mistaken Bride is the second in the Irish Brides series, I can't wait to read this series.


Also this month we have Allie Pleiter's book, Homefront Hero. I've been a fan of Allie's for a long time. Her books never disappoint me, so if you haven't read her before. Read this one! I'm sure it will be a winner, too.
Lacy Williams is an Oklahoma girl like me, I grew up in Oklahoma but have been transplanted to New Mexico. The Homesteader's Sweetheart, sounds like my kind of story and I plan on reading it next.
As you can see, I am blessed to be a Love Inspired Historial author. All the Love Inspired authors are great! And I have lots of favorites. I just finished reading Brides Of The West by Janet Dean, Victoria Bylin, and Pamela Nissen.
I'm curious, which Love Inspired book/author did you read last?