Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Films Celebrate the Human Spirit



I’m a huge movie buff. Talk for me for five minutes and you’d pretty much figure that out. With all the awards shows cramming our TV schedules, I thought I’d share an observation that really makes me smile.


As I looked at the list of movies up for awards this year, it struck me how most of the movies are celebratory in nature. They celebrate the human spirit.


For instance, in The Help, The Artist, The Descendants, Hugo, Midnight in Paris, and Moneyball, the protagonists are struggling with a major conflict regarding personal survival. They’re headed into a battle and hope to come out the other side as better people. They do. And we get to join them on this journey, feel their pain, their passion, their loss, and their victory.


I especially loved The Artist. I know, I know, you’re thinking, “You didn’t pick Midnight in Paris as your number one? A writer gets to go back in time and meet his novelist heroes!” Don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed Midnight in Paris very much. But The Artist demanded I participate in the movie-going experience in a different, and deeper way.


At first the lack of sound freaked me out. I’m sitting there thinking, “My kid (23) is going to hate it! My husband is fidgeting. Why is that lady’s popcorn bag so loud?” Then something amazing happened: I fell headlong into story in a way I never have before. I was captivated. It was a lovely, entertaining story, without sex or violence. How refreshing!


I think that’s one of the reasons the Love Inspired line is so popular. I enjoy a bit of mystery and suspense with my reading, so I’m really excited about upcoming titles: Dangerous Imposter by Virginia Smith, Protecting the Princess by Rachelle McCalla, The Rookie’s Assignment by Valerie Hansen, and Shattered Identity by Sandra Robbins.


Between making a dent in my TBR pile, and writing my own books, I’ll keep busy until Oscar night, Sunday, February 26th. What are you reading these days? And which film do you think will win the coveted Best Picture honor?



Peace,


Hope White


www.hopewhiteauthor.com



Monday, January 30, 2012

Hanging in there...

Missy Tippens, here. For many of us, the weather has been extremely cold. Here in Georgia, we've had a bit of really cold weather--in the 20's. So I've been amazed at some flowers that have hung in there in pots on my porch. They got planted really late.


 Late in the summer, my daughter found some little bulbs she'd bought for a fundraiser, and my husband decided to just toss them in the pots to see what happened. Well, they've been blooming since about November! And they've survived the frost, I guess because they're on the edge of the porch.



Those cute little flowers (I don't even know what kind they are) have taught me about persistence. I thought I'd share. :)




Sunday, January 29, 2012

Small-Town Sweethearts Interview

How exciting to have Emily Hazard the heroine from Small-Town Sweethearts by Jean C. Gordon a January release from Love Inspired Romance.

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

You might find this interesting. Everyone here in Hazardtown seems to. I’m somewhat of a jinx. Although since I left my Adirondack Mountains hometown on Paradox Lake, NY, for college and my job in New York City, I’ve been able to control this interesting thing.

2. What do you do for fun?

Between trying to handle my work as an assistant art director for an agency in New York City from here on Paradox Lake and supervising my 17-year-old niece while her father is deployed in Afghanistan, I don’t have a lot of time for fun. I do enjoy the little family tradition my niece and I have of going out for soft ice cream to celebrate our various triumphs large and small. And I love the annual Essex County Fair, although I haven’t been there since high school.

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

Although I love them dearly, I put off visiting my family or, more specifically, returning to Paradox Lake because of unpleasant memories I have of being a misfit there. But since my brother asked me to be my niece’s guardian while he’s out of country so she can finish her senior year of high school with her friends at Schroon Lake Central — my alma mater — I’m back here for the next few months.

4. What are you afraid of most in life?

Being pulled into the everybody-knows-everybody’s-business, small-town atmosphere of Paradox Lake and Hazardtown Community Church while I’m here with my niece and turning back into the Jinx Hazard I was growing up. That person who never fit in anywhere. A lot of people here still even call me Jinx. I’ve worked hard to develop a distanced professional persona. In fact, one of the reasons I like my church in New York is that the people in the congregation let each other worship privately. None of that touchy feely, we’re all in this together stuff that makes you feel guilty if you don’t volunteer for everything like Mom and Dad. Not that they don’t really seem to enjoy it. It’s just not for me.

5. What do you want out of life?

I thought what I wanted out of life was to become art director at a large New York City ad agency. My plan was that, once I’d achieved that, I could think about other things like marriage and kids. Now that Drew Stacey has arrived on my scene, I’m not so sure what I want, except it’s not to settle down permanently on Paradox Lake.

6. What is the most important thing to you?

I know it shouldn’t matter, but I’d like to fit in and to have people like me for myself, not for what I can do for them, like my boss and everyone else at the agency where I work do. And, don’t let this out, but I’d like to find a man who will love me just as I am, even if I slip into Jinx mode.

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

I like coffee table books, the ones that have lots of photography. I get good ideas for work from them. But, that’s not really reading. If I had more time, I’d indulge myself in historical novels, with or without romance.

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

To be more graceful and athletic.

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

I don’t have a pet. My apartment in New York is too small, and I work too many hours to give a pet the attention it should have.

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

I’d go back to the early nineteenth century when my ancestors were settling the hamlet of Hazardtown, here on Paradox Lake. It would be fun to see where I came from, if I maybe take after one of them since I’m so different from the rest of my family. Of course, being early settlers and loggers, they were probably all rugged outdoor types like my family.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

FEATURED BOOK: SMALL-TOWN SWEETHEARTS BY JEAN C. GORDON



Summoned as temporary guardian for her teenage niece, 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. Though he surprises Emily with his handiness with tools, understanding of teenagers and his steady faith, she'll soon head back to New York. Unless her small-town sweetheart asks her to stay forever.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Ask Elnora--About Pain??? Lenora Worth

Hello, my darlings. Elnora is grumpy today. My bad back is not happy. Not sure what I did (no high heels, no late night dancing, not even a shopping spree) but my back has slipped its dripper, so to speak. I'm in agony. I can't get my much-needed beauty sleep and sitting at my desk is not pleasant, either. Actually, it's a temporary desk until my real one can be installed at our "retirement condo". But Elnora isn't ready to retire just yet and Bad Back, take warning. I will fight you!! Sigh. Anyway, after another sleepless night I got to wondering--how do you cope with pain? Pills, acupuncture, massages??? All of those sound divine to me right about now. And do you find that doctors tend to pat you on the head and tell you to learn how to deal with stress??? I'll show them stress! Elnora with a bad back is not pretty. So ... let's talk about coping with physcial pain even when we have to (as Elvis, bless his heart, would say) take care of business. No pity party here. Just a discussion on how it seems to me a lot of writers suffer from back problems and other physical ailments. But you know what Elnora says-- "As long as my fingers can walk me through a plot, I will stay with this keyboard!" Even if I'm in a hunka, hunka burning pain!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Ready for some fun? Word Search with the Historical Ladies

The oh-so-creative Winnie Griggs put together this word search for your playing enjoyment. Below there are 16 Love Inspired Historical Authors listed. Look through the Wednesday posts to see if you can find us all. I'll post the answer later today. If you find the names, post in the comments and I'll pull one commenter for a copy of my new book Cherry Blossom Capers (non-LI). Have fun! Cara





Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Give it up for the Redheads!

Patty Smith Hall here, and I was tickled to get a sneak peek at the cover of my July 2012 release, Hearts in Hiding, last week. It’s always a thrill to get a look at the art department’s conception of your book and trust me when I say, the artists at Love Inspired Historical out did themselves!


I’m particularly thrilled with my hero, Beau Daniels and his mane of dark auburn hair. A lot of folks asked me after my last book, Hearts in Flight, why I chose to feature a family made of predominately redheads in my story. I guess the answer would be I love uniqueness, and titan hair is as unique as they come, making up on 1-2% of the population. People with red hair usually have fair skin, light colored eyes and a smattering of freckles--the perfect start for any hero or heroine!


The sad part is that there are a great many misconceptions about redheads or ‘gingers,‘ and different cultures look at them with anything from admiration to scorn. Their hair often coupled

with a fiery temper and a sharp tongue as noted in Anne of Green Gables when Anne was said to have a ‘temper to match her (red) hair.' In the Medieval Age, people thought red hair was a sign of moral degeneration and went so far as to kill them for being witches, werewolves or vampires. In the modern age, gingers have been targeted by cartoons and comedians alike, and in Great Britain, ‘Gingerism‘ is compared in the same vein as racism.


All this fuss over of two recessive genes!


An yet, history provides us with a number of redheads who have and continue to influence art, literature, history and science even hundreds of years after their deaths:

Thomas Jefferson--one of our founding fathers and third president of the United States.

Ron Howard--I mean, come on! Who in their right mind would have a problem with little Opie, not to mention good guy Richie Cuninngham from ‘Happy Days!’

Prince Harry--one of the world’s most eligible men and a cutie pie to boot!

Galileo--one of the fathers of the Scientific Revolution, he introduced the idea of earth revolving around the sun.

Emma Stone--I first noticed how beautiful this talent actress was in Zombieland but she blew me away with her turn as a writer opening the door to Civil Rights in 1950's Mississippi in The Help.

Emily Dickerson--American poet who’s works, not released until after her death, are considered some of the most significant poetry in American Literature.

Queen Elizabeth the First--after surviving four stepmothers, she fought off death at the hands of a couple of Marys(one queen of England, the other, queen of the Scots) to rule over forty years during one of the most prolific times in English history.

Carol Burnett--A master comedian. I still think her take on Gone with the Wind is one of the funniest skits I’ve ever seen.

Vincent Van Gogh--Dutch post-impressionist painter who’s work influenced the world of art throughout the Twentieth century.

King David--Writer, Warrior, King of Israel and one of God’s most beloved.

And the list goes on.


Of course, I’ve always known how adventurous and fun gingers are because God blessed me with a family full of redheads, including my husband of 28 years and my youngest daughter! So now it's your turn--tell me about any of the wonderful redheads in your life!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Research in Rome!


Debby at the Colosseum.  The Forum is to the right.  The Arch
of Constantine to the left.

Debby Giusti here! Hubby and I had a wonderful time visiting Italy earlier this month.  We went with a group of folks from our church, which was such a blessing.  We took the prayer intentions from our congregation and prayed for all their needs at the churches we visited. All of you were covered in prayer, as well.

Folks asked if this trip would appear in a future book.  I’m not sure at this point, but I do know that being in Italy helped me see beyond my own life and embrace another culture and the wonderful people we met in Italy
Saint Peter's Basilica
My husband and I had lived in Germany for three years and traveled to Italy during that time.  This tour brought back so many memories, and seeing everything anew, after all these years, made the sights even more meaningful.
Florence
I’m ready to travel again, but first, I need to finish the next book in my Military Investigations series, THE GENERAL’S SECRETARY.   In my spare time, I’ll brainstorm new ideas about a military CID agent who goes to Italy.  Wonder what type of suspense story he’ll uncover during his travels?
Assisi

Wishing you abundant blessings!

Debby throws a coin in the Trevi Fountain so she'll
return to Rome.
Ciao!
Debby Giusti
www.seekerville.blogspot.com

Monday, January 23, 2012

Not So Secret Sisters



See if you can guess and name the following famous sisters.


1. These Two Solve Mysteries in Children’s Books

2. These Two Wrote Books

3. These Three Are Cartoon Characters

4. These Two Play Tennis

5. This One Sings; This One Acts

6. These Two Wrote Advice Columns

7. These Three Were Harmony Singing Group Whose Career Spanned the 1920s through the 1960’s.

8. These Two Sisters Lived in a Full House on Television

Ashley
LaVerne
Brittany
Charlotte
Ann
Mary-Kate
Maxene
Patty
Eleanor
Nan
Wynonna
Venus
Abby
Jeanette
Ashley
Serena
Flossie
Emily


Pamela Tracy put together this game for the Secret Sister unveiling party at her church. See if you can guess the pairs. I'll be checking in and out through-out the day and will let you know when someone gets them correct :)


BTW, I have one sister. Her name is Roxanne.


My next book, Love Finds You in Sunflower, Kansas, has a heroine with two sisters, one younger and one older.


BTW, I put two games together for the Secret Sister revealing party at my church. The other one is Famous Secrets. It over of the LI blog, today. Try that one, too. http://www.loveinspiredauthors.com/

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Montana Match Interview


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

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

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

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

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

2. What do you do for fun?

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

home, I like to watch movies with my girls.

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

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

4. What are you afraid of most in life?

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

falsely accused of misconduct with one of my students.

5. What is the most important thing to you?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

them anymore.

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

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

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

has always wanted a dog of her own.

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

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

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

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

Saturday, January 21, 2012

FEATURED BOOK: MONTANA MATCH MERRILLEE WHREN



Nanny to six-year-old twin girls isn't exactly the position Brittany Gorman is looking for. But she needs a job. And the twins' struggling single dad, rancher Parker Watson, needs all the help he can get. Soon Brittany is not only assisting with the girls, but also helping Parker make peace with his past. It seems Brittany's finally found a place to belong. And with two little matchmakers on the loose, there's no telling what the future holds. As her time on the ranch runs out, can Brittany and Parker find the strength to face that future—together?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Let's Discuss Elnora Today!

I'm sorry to say Elnora isn't feeling well and couldn't post today. So I thought we could all take a lesson from her book and practice going into diva mode. Let's talk about how we deserve to be pampered when we're sick!

I imagine Big Daddy takes good care of Elnora when she's under the weather. Can't you just imagine her demanding it? :) What do y'all think? And are you lucky enough to have someone to give you all the sympathy and TLC you need when you get a migraine or the flu or even a pesky cold?

Let's chat!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Prayers for Our Readers


This week we wanted to share some prayers for our readers in the New Year. Many blessings to all of you.

To our wonderful readers I wish the most blessed 2012.  Without you, our stories don't come alive and our characters don't have the chance to tell their stories. May this new year bring you much joy, much love, and the perfect happy ending.


My prayer for my readers is simple.  May God bless you with health, peace of mind, and prosperity.  That covers just about everything, especially "peace of mind."  It's a joy to write Christian fiction, and I hope others are as blessed as I've been by the wealth of inspiring stories.


I pray that each reader gets exactly what she needs from my books.  I ask God to open her eyes and heart to the message He has prepared individually for her, and that it will bear much fruit.  I thank God for the many readers who have been blessings to me...encouragers, grateful hearts, and uplifters who have gone out of their way to let me know my work blesses them.
--Allie Pleiter

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Handling Disappointment -- how do you do it?


Cara Putman here. We had an interesting week at the beginning of the month in the Putman household. First, I had disappointing news from a publisher, then my eldest had a disappointing gymnastics meet.

Disappointment is terrible. Especially when you've worked as hard as you know how to work and hear that your efforts aren't quite there. They don't reach the level needed. Yet there's no clear direction on how to improve.

I cried out to God that I would do the work, I just don't know what that work is. For my daughter she can't feel the pike on her vault. How can you fix something you can't feel?

I'm such a doer. I want the four step plan, so we can take action, do something to move closer to the goal. Yet I get the sense that's not really an option this go around. I'm trying to pray. To circle the dreams with prayer and praise as Mark Batterson puts it in his new book The Circle Maker. I appreciate how God prepared me to handle these disappointments by reading this book and other things.

And as I've prayed about these disappointments, God has met me. First through a friend. He kept dropping her name in my mind, so I emailed her asking for help. She gave me an amazing gift of her time and talent by going through my synopsis and helping me identify all the good pieces I had in there and digging deeper to the elements that were missing. Then at practice I've watched my daughter put together elements and skills that have eluded her all year. She has to do the work, but that effort is being honored.

Here's what I know. Disappointment can push me to work harder, to go deeper as I chase my dreams. Disappointment can also push me away from my dreams. It's a choice I make. So I'm pushing deeper, checking that my dreams are the right ones, and committing to the extra work. What about you? What happens when you face disappointment? Do you have strategies for handling it?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Oregon covered SNOW


Hi, Terri Reed here. We have a rare occurrence today in my part of the world. SNOW. And its sticking. At least it was. We haven't had snow stick to the ground where we live in two years.
What about where you live? Do you have snow?




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 fiancĂ©, Don promises to find the would-be killer. But will his protection-and his love-be enough to keep her safe?

Protection Specialists: Guarding the innocent.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Cold Weather Fun

This is Merrillee, and I'm wondering what you like to do for fun when the weather is cold. I live in Florida, so cold to me is anything below fifty-five degrees. Here is what my winter looks like. We have sand dunes instead of snowdrifts.



But I wasn't always a weather wimp. I lived in Montana and South Dakota when I was younger, so I know what cold is. I spent a few hours in Fargo, ND, one winter when it was fifty below zero without any wind chill. Now that is cold. I don't think there is anything fun about that kind of cold.

The setting for my latest book is Montana because I intend to write at least one book set in every state where I have lived. I remember Montana winters with lots and lots of snow. I walked to school dressed in so many clothes that I probably looked like the Michelin Man.

I made angels in the snow.




I built snowmen and ice skated until my feet felt like bricks.



I used these and other memories to depict winter fun for my hero's twin daughters.

My hero and heroine go snow skiing--something I never did until I was much older and not living in Montana.







Of course, Montana has some beautiful scenery, which is depicted well on the cover of my book, Montana Match, which is out this month.



So what do you like to do when the weather is cold, or do you prefer your weather warm?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Escape from the Badlands Interview

Today we're welcoming Shane Mason, the hero of Escape from the Badlands, by Dana Mentink, a January release by Love Inspired Suspense

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. My brother was convicted of murdering his wife, but he is innocent. I know the person responsible is connected with the Desert Quest endurance race that passed by my brother’s ranch before his wife was killed. I figured my last chance to help clear my brother was to enter the race and find the truth myself.

2. So, during the book you met Kelly Cloudman. Tell us a bit about her. What was your first impression? When did you know it was love? Truth is, Kelly was not a stranger to me. I proposed marriage to her years before but circumstances separated us. In fact, it was my own scars that caused me to leave her. When I entered the race, I was floored to find out Kelly was the race medic. She’s tough and determined, and she won’t let anything happen to her adopted nephew Charlie. Neither will I.

3. What strengths/skills do you have? What is your greatest weakness? I’m athletic and good with horses. I love the outdoors and the rugged Badlands don’t scare me at all.

4. The only thing that scares me would be a repeat of what happened to my little brother, when he died on my watch. I don’t ever want to be responsible for a child again.

5. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I would be the kind of person who can share their feelings easily. That’s just not me.

6. Where are you in your faith at the start of your story? I’m angry at God for what happened to my brother. I don’t want to depend on a God who would allow that to happen to a child.

7. Where are you in your faith at the end of the story? Opening up my heart, embracing forgiveness and moving on to finish the race God appointed me to run.

8. You've got a scripture at the beginning of the story. Tell us why this scripture is significant. Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews, 12:1-2

It’s a reminder that we need to keep our eyes on the prize we have in Jesus, not the difficulties of the race we find ourselves running. Keep running towards the Savior. He’s waiting at the finish line, no matter how difficult the journey.

9. If you could be a dessert what would you be and why? Never been asked that question before. Guess I’d say apple pie. Good old, all American dessert. Nothing fancy, but the kind of treat you keep coming back to.