Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Dangerous Times in 1918


When I started writing Love On the Range, I didn't know much about the time period. I only knew that the influenza pandemic had started and my heroine needed a safe place to go.

Enter Oregon.
As you can see by the map, the Spanish Flu struck there at a later date. My heroine's parents think if they can get her out of Boston, maybe she won't contract the virus, so they send her to an uncle's house.

As I researched 1918 though, I realized a ton more was happening than just the pandemic. WWI was ending, the Bureau of Investigation was growing more organized and stronger (which prompted a secret agent hero) and the traditional role of women in American culture was rapidly changing.

Recently Romantic Times Reviewer Susan Mobley said about my story, "Nelson takes an exciting look at a time of sorrow, but also hope, in America, with a heroine struggling to respect her upbringing while embracing her independence."

I didn't realize it fully until I read this review, but the early twentieth century really does excite me!

Which era do you find yourself intrigued by? If you could choose a time period to visit, which one would it be?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Reader? Writer? Both?

I know a lot of our blog readers are also writers so I thought I'd take this opportunity to tell you a little bit about a couple of great opportunities that are coming up. The first one is the Carolina Christian Writers Conference at First Baptist Church in Spartanburg, SC on April 20-21st. For more information and a line up of the faculty, go to www.fbs.org/writersconference

Another great conference is the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference held May 20-24 at Ridgecrest Conference Center in Black Mountain, NC. It's going to be an AMAZING time. This is the first conference I ever went to and I can honestly say it helped me get published. This website is www.brmcwc.com.

I remember that I saved and saved for that conference, a little here, a little there. I sold stuff on ebay, had a couple of yard sales, asked for money for Christmas and birthday that year. It was a something I REALLY wanted to do so I had to find a way to get there. You see, my husband's in the ministry and we had VERY LITTLE money. I was staying home with my two small children. I think my youngest was two and a half and my daughter was four and a half. It was a real struggle, an investment...and an answer to prayer. And I have to admit, over the years, I've been to many conferences, but that first conference, the one that I had to work so hard to get to, is the one that I remember the fondest.

I'm just curious as to how many ladies on here are published as a direct result of going to a conference?


Monday, February 27, 2012

What does a Cover Say?


Hi from Texas! Debra Clopton here hoping you have a blessed day. First I'd like to congratulate the Harlequin art department for bringing my hero of my September book Her Rodeo Cowboy to life in this cover. It was announced this month that it won the Judge a Book By Its Cover Contest in the Inspirational Category, sponsored by the Houston Bay Area RWA Chapter. Whoo Hoo! I think the art department did a great job with the cover because Luke Holden is a great guy inside and out and I thought the look in his eyes conveyed a steadfastness in him...this was the 1st book in the Mule Hollow Homecoming series. You can read the interview with Luke here or visit my website
www.debraclopton.com/about-debra/interviews/

This is the cover of the 2nd book in the Mule Hollow Homecoming series HER LONE STAR COWBOY out March 20. What do you think about Jess?

These are brothers in the series, and they have two completely different expressions. At first I worried what readers would think about Jess's expression. What does his expression say to you? I'll give you a cheat sheet but would love to hear what your first reaction to Jess was. He is actually a fun loving guy, determined not to let his past affect him. He and Luke and Colt, whose story will come out in August 2012 do have a hard childhood that they each have dealt with in their own way. So, what do you think of his expression? What do you think he's thinking about?

You can read about the story at my website under coming soon.

And the big question is, do you judge a book by it's cover?

I will tell you that years ago someone gave me a book with a horrible cover and told me I just had to read this book. The cover was so bland that it just really turned me off. I set the book to the side and forgot about it. About a year later I saw a friend reading a book, something about the cover looked familiar to me. She told me it was a wonderful book and started telling me about it and how it was affecting her. Suddenly it hit me--and I went over and dug the book out from under a stack of books--it was the same book I'd been given. I read the book and loved it!!! It is to this day one of my favorites and I always think about that terrible cover and how it almost caused me to miss out on this wonderful book. How about you--do you have a bad cover story?

(I'll have an interview here next month with Jess from Her Lone Star Cowboy if you want to find out what he's really thinking about)

Friday, February 24, 2012

Ask Elnora--About Books? Lenora Worth

This will be short and sweet, my sweethearts. Elnora and the Internet are not agreeing today. We’ve had connection problems all week. What we have here is a failure to communicate. I’ve been reading more lately, judging contests and trying to get through my “to read” pile. When we make the big move later this year, alas, Elnora can’t take all of the books. So I must read, read, read. So before I get kicked out of cyberspace and before I have another hissy fit about that happening, let’s discuss----books! What are you reading? Let’s name some names! I’ll tell you mine, too.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

When Writers Gather

Debby (L) visits with Love Inspired author Missy Tippens (R)
Debby Giusti here!

Ever wonder where writers meet and what they talk about when they get together?  Often they gather at local or regional writers' meetings.  Last Saturday, I joined with other members of my Georgia Romance Writers' chapter for our monthly get-together and presentation.

We arrive at 9 AM for breakfast at an Atlanta-area hotel, and a business meeting follows the meal.  Our chapter president shares information on upcoming events, and board members discuss various projects with which GRW is involved.

A regular part of the format is when we share good news.  The sale of a book, writing awards, even rejections are celebrated.  How can a rejection be good news?  Because it means the member is submitting his or her work to editors and agents.  Just because a story didn't sell this time, doesn't mean it won't the next time, and as we all know, a manuscript can't sell if it hasn't been submitted.
(L to R) GRW President Anna Stefl chats with board member
Nancy Norcott and critique partners Larissa Hoffman and Denise Plumart.
On Saturday, Author Jana Oliver presented a fun and thought-provoking program entitled, "The Best and Worst Advice I've Ever Received."  She laced her presentation with plenty of humor and even gave the audience a chance to share advice they had been given over the years.  Jana closed with the following challenge: Trust the gift, the story, the characters and yourself.
Missy (far R) and Susan Carlisle get ready for the book signing.
A book signing ends the formal meeting, and by 1:30 PM, folks were heading back to their families and their computers.  Next month, we'll spend another morning together, talking about books and publishing. Stop by if you're in Atlanta!
Best-selling suspense authors and GRW members
(L) Leslie Tentler and (R) Kate Brady

Happy reading!  Happy writing!

Wishing you abundant blessings,
Debby Giusti
www.DebbyGiusti.com
www.seekerville.blogspot.com
Faith with an edge...cross my heart!


THE OFFICER'S SECRET, book 1 in Debby's Military Investigations series, and THE CAPTAIN'S MISSION, book 2, are still available in print or e-book.  Be sure to order your copy through www.Amazon.com.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Around the World with Love Inspired Romances


Hey Everyone,

Naomi Rawlings here. Are you one who likes to travel to far away places or times when you read? I sure am, and today I've got a list of foreign settings in upcoming Love Inspired books. The most popular countries are England and Cananda, but we've also got some settings like France, Scotland, and even the fictional kingdom of Lydia. So if you're interested in a book that will take you around the world (or at the very minimum, north into Canada), read on!

January: Alberta, Canada, The Cowboy Tutor by Linda Ford (LIH)

February: Alberta, Canada, The Cowboy Father by Linda Ford (LIH)
fictional Mediterranean kingdom of Lydia, Protecting the Princess by Rachelle McCalla (LIS)

March: Scotland, Highland Hearts by Eva Maria Hamilton (LIH)
Alberta, Canada, The Cowboy Comes Home by Linda Ford (LIH),
Canada, Shades of Truth by Sandra Orchard (LIS)


April: France, Sanctuary for a Lady by Naomi Rawlings (LIH) This one's mine. :-)

May:

June: England,The Baron's Governess Bride by Deborah Hale (LIH)
England, A Proper Companion, Louise M. Gouge (LIH)
British Columbia, Canada, Healing the Doctor's Heart by Carolyne Aarsen (LI)
fictional Mediterranean kingdom of Lydia (and also northern Africa), Prince Incognito by Rachelle McCalla (LIS)

July:

August:

September: England, The Governess and Mr. Granville, by Abby Gaines (LIH)
fictional Mediterranean kingdom of Lydia, The Missing Monarch by Rachelle McCalla (LIS)

October: Canada, Critical Condition by Sandra Orchard (LIS)

November: Frontier Alberta, Canada, Merry Christmas, Cowboy by Linda Ford (LIH)
fictional Mediterranean kingdom of Lydia, A Royal Marriage by Rachelle McCalla (LIH)

December: England, A Suitable Wife, Louise M. Gouge (LIH)

What about you? Can you think of a favorite book set in a foreign country? Or do you have a dream country in which you'd like to see a book set? I'd love to read your thoughts on this!

*****

A mother of two young boys, Naomi Rawlings spends her days picking up, cleaning, playing and, of course, writing. Her husband pastors a small church in Michigan’s rugged Upper Peninsula, where her family shares its ten wooded acres with black bears, wolves, coyotes, deer and bald eagles. Naomi and her family live only three miles from Lake Superior, where the scenery is beautiful and they average 200 inches of snow per winter. Naomi writes bold, dramatic stories containing passionate words and powerful journeys. Her debut novel, Sanctuary for a Lady, releases in April of 2012.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Do you remember the first book you read?


Hi, Terri Reed here, today I received a sweet note from a reader who'd just finished my January release The Secret Heiress. In my Dear Reader letter at the end of the book I mention my love of Nancy Drew mysteries which prompted the nice note today because the note writer also shared my enjoyment of Nancy Drew mysteries. For me, receiving my first Nancy Drew book started me on a life long love of reading. Especially mystery, suspense and adventure books.
Do you remember the first book you read? What started you on the path of being a reader?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Missy Tippens Sharing a Recipe

Missy Tippens, here. I thought I'd share a quick and easy recipe with you today. It's something I recently made in a pinch. Dinner was ready in less than ten minutes.




Ingredients:
1 bag frozen stir-fry vegetables
1 package imitation crabmeat (or any meat you'd like to prepare), chopped/sliced
Rice--I use boil in bag 10-minute rice
1 carton Philadelphia Cooking Creme (I used Italian Cheese and Herb flavor)
Canola oil (about 1-2 teaspoons)


Put rice on to cook.
Heat oil on medium high. Add frozen vegetables and cook until crisp-tender. Add in crabmeat and the Cooking Creme. Stir until well mixed and warm. Serve over rice.

I'm posting this recipe today on The Yankee-Belle Cafe cooking blog I have with friend and fellow Love Inspired author Ruth Logan Herne. If you hop over there, you can see more photos and also check out our other recipes!

**************
Missy's February release from Love Inspired, A House Full of Hope, is still available in print and e-book format.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Last Bridge Home Interview

How exciting to have Jillian Fairmont the heroine from THE LAST BRIDGE HOME written by Linda Goodnight a February, 2012, release from Love Inspired Romance .

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

I suppose the most interesting thing about me is my job. I grew up an animal lover and took training to be a vet assistant. I love my work.

2. What do you do for fun?

Attend baseball games. My next door neighbor, hunk-a-hunky firefighter, Zak Ashford is a baseball nut and he likes for me to come to his games. We also hang out and play catch sometimes or watch games on TV together. He even taught me Fantasy Baseball! He thinks I’m his best pal. His red-haired, freckle-faced best friend. And I am. But I’m also in love with him and he doesn’t have a clue. Go ahead and say it. I’m a complete stooge.

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

I really should put Zak out of mind forever - and I will. But first, he needs help and I can’t turn my back on his sick wife and her troubled children. It’s just too awful and too sad.

4. What are you afraid of most in life?

Okay, truth here. I’m afraid of a lot of things lately. When Zak’s wife showed up on his doorstep, I was terrified because, let’s face it, God’s not too happy with a woman who covets someone else’s husband. How was I to know he had a wife? He didn’t know himself. I’m also afraid of doing the wrong thing, of letting down my values because of the way I care for Zak. I’m afraid of Zak finding out that I love him. I’m afraid of his rejection. I’m afraid that if I ignore those three helpless little kids, something terrible will happy.

5. What is the most important thing to you?

God, family, and friends. I sound like a political ad, don’t I?

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

I read lots of vet literature, but for pure enjoyment I like historical novels. The big, fat kind about knights and ladies and happy-ever-afters. Sigh.

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

My awful freckles! They’re so embarrassing. They pop out like neon signs any time I blush or get upset. How could any guy ever find me attractive?

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

Sometimes I have too many pets because I tend to take on rescues from the vet clinic. Right now, I have three rescue rabbits and two rat terriers. I love my dogs, Mugsy and Satchmo for their feisty personalities and absolute devotion to humans.

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

Most days I’d say to medieval times of knights and ladies, but right now, I’d bounce back to when Zak was in college . As his best pal, I could have talked him out of marrying Crystal. Am I awful for saying that?

Saturday, February 18, 2012

FEATURED BOOK: THE LAST BRIDGE HOME BY LINDA GOODNIGHT



Doing the right thing always came easily to firefighter Zak Ashford. So he can't refuse taking in the dying wife he thought divorced him long ago—and watching over her three troubled children. The only person Zak can turn to is his cute neighbor, Jilly Fairmont, who helps him and the children through their loss. And not just because she secretly cares for Zak. Yet it isn't long before Zak realizes what this honest, compassionate woman means to him, too. Can he convince Jilly that his life would be complete if she agreed to share his future?

Friday, February 17, 2012

Ask Elnora--About Mardi Gras??? Lenora Worth

Hello, my little revelers. It's Mardi Gras season down in Louisiana. This is a time of fun and frolic before we get serious about Lent and Easter. Elnora loves Mardi Gras because we get to go to parades and catch pretty beads and bling. Upstate, Mardi Gras isn't as wild and crazy as what you might have heard about New Orleans. We are more family-oriented and not as frantic, but we still manage to have a good time. Big Daddy and I used to go to a lot of Mardi Gras balls when I worked for a local magazine and covered all the social events. That meant dressing up in our fancy duds and usually, it meant sore feet from high heels and dancing. (Or rather, I had sore feet. Big Daddy was smart and wore comfortable shoes.) Now that I'll be moving to Florida soon, I've become fascinated with Mardi Gras in Mobile, Alabama. It actually started there before it became so big in New Orleans. So I hope to experience Mobile's celebration one day, too. This year, I'll miss out on most of the celebration due to deadlines, the still-bad back and packing for the big move. But that's okay. I've had fun with Mardi Gras for many years now. My only complaint abou the whole thing is that it comes in the middle of winter and sometimes it's just too cold to go out and catch beads! Mardi Gras is full of tradition and mystery and good times and sometimes, a bit of over-indulgence. But the history and tradition of Mardi Gras is never boring, that's for sure. But all this Mardi Gras talk got me to thinking---what kind of celebrations do you have where you live? Festivals, mullet throws, carnivals, county fairs? What kind of fun happens in your neck of the woods? Let's discuss celebrations! I believe humans are always up for some good, clean fun and celebrations are a fun part of life. What do you enjoy when you want to have fun?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Going Back to School to Learn our Stuff...



Hi, Sandra Orchard here to tell you about the Writer’s Police Academy, one of the many ways we romantic suspense authors hone our suspense writing skills. And come home with a cool T-shirt!

The event is held annually at an actual police training facility and offers an incredible array of hands-on, interactive and educational experiences to enhance a writer’s understanding of all aspects of law enforcement and forensics.



First there’s the equipment





On opening day, almost every imaginable law enforcement and rescue vehicle was assembled in the parking lot, and officers were on hand to answer our questions about the equipment. In addition to the sheriff and police command-post trucks pictured, there were motorcycles, cruisers, a fire engine, ambulance, bomb retrieval (that’s little R-2D-2 in the picture), dive team equipment, riot gear, and more weapons than an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie.






Nothing like handling the equipment, and talking to the officers who use it to add realism to your descriptions.

Second came the classes:


We could choose from a vast array of classes such as handcuffing techniques, fingerprinting, forensics, jail search, arson investigation, pepper spray demonstration—yes, one brave officer let himself be sprayed, crash investigation, tools of the trade, sprinkler demonstrations, the list goes on, and… my favorite, undercover work. Considering that I had just signed a contract for the first book in my “Undercover Cops” series with Love Inspired Suspense, I was anxious to glean all that I could from this class. Not only did Marco Conelli, former undercover cop turned writer, share many of his experiences, he gave us glimpses of what went on in his head and heart during that time, which is where the real meat of my heroes’ stories lie.

On Day Two…


We arrived at the academy not knowing what to expect. It was kept very hush, hush. We were divided into two groups and ushered into the school one group at a time and stationed in the hall. You need to understand that this is an actual college and students were in classes. Suddenly an armed gunman, wearing a conference ID tag just like the rest of us came charging down the hall.

Within minutes police swarmed the hall, took down the gunman, waited for the paramedics to assess him as others secured the building. One officer kept his weapon trained on the downed gunman until the paramedics ran a strip and confirmed he was dead. Officers then escorted the hostages out of the school to be interrogated separately.





You’ll notice in the picture that the hostages are escorted with their hands on their heads because they have no way of knowing if the gunman had an armed partner. Then we observed the paramedics treating a bullet wound in one of the victims.


Afterward, we were told that we’d observed a “Rapid Deployment Demonstration” provided by local law enforcement & GTCC students.


As a writer, being in the middle of it, hearing the shouts, gunshots, crying students, tasting the fear and panic and desperation, feeling the cloying atomosphere, I was able to absorb much that I can now write into scenes in my novels.


FATS


Fire Arms Simulation Training was an added bonus for attending the academy.



We were given Glocks and faced with a floor to ceiling screen that showed videos of shoot and don’t shoot situations like the one pictured above in which the driver jumped out of the car and grabbed the officer from behind. Obviously, I (the partner back in the cruiser) can barely see the suspect, let alone take him down.


When we took a shot, the hit would show on the screen. We were surprised more than once by the post-simulation explanation of why we should have, or shouldn’t have, taken a shot.


For example, in one depiction a man held a baby in a car seat and was wielding a knife yelling at us to stay back. We’re calmly telling him to drop the weapon, unwilling to shoot because the guy might drop the baby! He’s not listening so our shouts grow more urgent. I don’t recall if a single one of us took a shot, because of the danger to the baby. The officer conducting the training told us after the scenario that any officer unable to take that shot would be kicked out of the academy. The man was a serious threat to the life of the baby and the officers and was not responding to instructions.


The most adrenaline-pumping moment for me was when I had to face a hostage taker alone in an office (as depicted on screen). A disgruntled employee had his boss in an arm lock and was waving a gun. I was telling him to put down the weapon, that he really didn’t want to do this etc. But to no avail. All the while, I trained my own weapon at the guy’s head—the only part of his body visible past the hostage. The instant he lifted his gun, I took the shot.


The guy’s brains splattered on the wall behind (yes, it looked as gross as it sounds). The officer in charge of the simulation turned to me and said, “Great shot.”


I pretty much freaked out on him, saying that I could have hit the hostage. I was shaking, heart pounding. It was unbelievable. It gave me a whole new perspective on the split second decisions officers are called upon to make and the emotional havoc it can wreak afterward.



The emotional havoc of being an undercover officer is what I explore in my Undercover Cops series, for which I found lots of fodder at the academy.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Who have you kissed lately?


In honor of Valentine's Day let's acknowledge the people who are important in our lives. I'm grateful to my friends and family--to my husband, son, daughter-in-law and four grandchildren. Maybe you don't appreciate what my granddaughter does, but who (or what) have you showed your appreciation to today?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Your First Crush

Linda Goodnight here. Do you remember your first crush? The first boy who made your heart flutter and had you hoping, hoping he’d give you a really truly special Valentine instead of the usual tiny punch-out card from a box of 36? I remember. I was in second grade and there was the cutest boy ever. Brown hair, brown eyes, tall and dark, a regular romance hero in the making. And he wrote left handed which my seven year old brain considered absolutely magical. The day of our little class party, I opened my Valentine mailbox to discover not one, but two tiny punch-out cards from my crush. I never found out if he actually liked me or had made a mistake, because, after all, second graders don’t act on crushes, they just have them. But my fluttery little heart was happy just the same.

So how about you? Do you remember your first crush? Come on, you know you do...

And while we're chatting, I have a question: Which kind of Valentine would you rather have? Flowers, Chocolates, or jewelry?

Please share--and pass the box of chocolates....

Sunday, February 12, 2012

A House Full of Hope Interview


How exciting to have Hannah Hughes the heroine from A House Full of Hope, written by Missy Tippens, a February 2012 release from Love Inspired Romance .
1. Hannah, tell me the most interesting thing about you.
I guess the best, and most interesting, thing about me is that I have four beautiful children. They're my pride and joy!
2. What do you do for fun?
I love to play hide-and-go-seek with the kids. And to read to them. I don't have much time for free time, but if I did, I'd love to spend a day at the beach.
3. What do you put off doing because you dread it?
I always dread dealing with issues with my mother. We sometimes don't see eye to eye! :)
4. What are you afraid of most in life?
I fear not being able to provide well for my children. Since I'm a widow, it's tough to provide for them in the way I'd like. I want them to have a nice home and security. I'm working toward owning a home to help give them a place to feel secure.
5. What is the most important thing to you?
Feeling secure and loved. Feeling like I'm important to someone.
6. Do you read books? If so, what is your favorite type of book?
Who has time to read?! :) Right now, my favorite type is the books I read to my children.
7. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I'd worry less and trust God more.
8. Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet?
We have a pet on our rental property that the kids have pretty much adopted. A black labrador retriever named Blue. He's into everything and about drives me crazy! But I'm growing more and more attached to him.
9. If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why?
I would travel back to early elementary school--before my parents started having trouble and my sister got involved in the wrong crowd--because I had no idea at that time how good things were.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

FEATURED BOOK: A HOUSE FULL OF HOPE BY MISSY TIPPENS



Before becoming a Christian, Mark Ryker ran with a bad crowd and broke hearts. Including his father's. Now a successful businessman, Mark has come home to Corinthia, Georgia, to make amends. But no one will forgive him. So when the widowed mother of four renting his dad's run-down house needs help fixing up the place, Mark gets to work. Pretty Hannah Hughes and her sweet kids have him longing to be part of the clan, but Hannah isn't ready to let go of the past. Still, they are working together on a house full of hope—and that's all Mark needs.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Ask Elnora--About Valentine's Day??? Lenora Worth

Hello, my funny Valentines. It's that time of year--time to go red for our hearts and to go find some chocolate for our souls. Valentine's Day is one of the best days for a writer, especially a romance writer. Don't you just love romance? I know some people frown on all the sappiness of the day, but honestly where would we be without romance? Falling in love is natural in life, and celebrating that love long after the flowers and candy are gone is what makes romance count. Of course, as romance writers we love Valentne's Day and those happy endings. Romance starts with a relationship but it's what happens AFTER the romance that makes a lasting love. And that involves all the ups and downs of life, the little things that mean so much. As many of you know, I traveled to Florida to our "retirement condo". I planned to work while Big Daddy renovated all around me. But my bad back decided to mess with my plans. I whined about it here already, but I could barely function. But here is where romance goes into overtime and turns into love. My husband took care of me by putting my desk near the only chair I could be comfortable in, by bringing me coffee and cooking for me, by helping me with my medicine and trips to the doctor.When I got cabin fever, he drove me out the beach and let me listen to the waves. That is the kind of romance that will last a lifetime, the kind that involves messiness and multi-tasking. That is the kind of romance that lasts long after the sigh and the closing of the book. Love begins with romance but it continues with grace and understanding and compromise and perservance. It takes the good and the bad and the happy and the sad and wraps all of it up in a pretty bow of commitment. So let's discuss Valentine's Day??? What do you love about it? What do you think about it? And remember, giving out hearts and flowers isn't all about couples. Friends sometime need a nice Valentine reminder that they are loved. Family members need a little bit of encouragement on a day that can sometimes be lonely. We all need a little romance. Flowers, hearts, chocolate--they all became wrapped up in this unique day, but we can carry a little bit of Valentine's Day with us every day. What do you think??

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Weekend Fun with Mystery/Suspense Writers and Readers

Debby (L) with Murder in the Magic City
Chairman Margaret Fenton (R)
Debby Giusti here!

I spent last weekend in Alabama with a group of mystery and suspense writers.  We were the guest authors at Mystery in the Magic City on Saturday and at Murder on the Menu on Sunday.

Saturday's event was held in Birmingham and hosted by the local Sisters in Crime Chapter.  Margaret Fenton was the overall coordinator and organized the activities on Saturday.  She's a delightful gal who made everything look so easy.  Margaret greeted us at the hotel on Friday night with snacks and sodas, arranged for our transportation and had a delicious meal catered for us after Murder in the Magic City.

We spent Saturday with about 100 readers who came to hear the various panel discussions, enjoy a yummy lunch and buy books at the signing, following the talks.  Everyone was so warm and welcoming, and I felt right at home.
At the book signing following Saturday's event.
Sunday, we traveled to Wetumpka, Alabama, near Montgomery, for Murder on the Menu.  Tammy Lynn was the go-to gal and bookseller for the day.  More than 130 readers enjoyed a lovely luncheon, and the proceeds benefited the Wetumpka Library.  The authors ate early and then rotated tables during the actual luncheon and chatted with the folks attending the event.  
The authors had lunch with the Mayor of Wetumpka
and the Chief of Police and Deputy Chief prior to Murder on the Menu.
Both days allowed me to meet wonderful Alabamans and see more of that beautiful state.  I also enjoyed getting to know the other authors.  As you can guess, we spent most of our free time talking about writing.
Some of the wonderful folks I got to meet at
Murder on the Menu.
Thanks, Margaret and Tammy and all those who worked with them, for making the weekend so much fun.

What reader events have you attended?  Did you have fun?  What was the best part?

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

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz



Sherri Shackelford here today! One of the greatest books on writing I've ever received - has nothing to do with writing. Elizabeth Wells gave me this book the first year I joined RWA (Way back in late 2007), and I've referred to it often


Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements




agreement 1


Be impeccable with your word - Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.


agreement 2


Don’t take anything personally - Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.


agreement 3


Don’t make assumptions - Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.


agreement 4


Always do your best - Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret.




Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Staying Sane in a Crazy World




Let's face it...life moves at an insane pace. As a writer, I have to look for ways to manage my stress, because sitting at a keyboard for hours at a time doesn't do it for me. So a few years ago the gal who hated sweating started running mini-marathons. Before you become too impressed, this spring I'll run my third. Having a couple babies got in the way of the other two I'd signed up for...I can live with that.

I love the dedication it takes to train. And talk about a deadline! Knowing there's a day I'll have to run 13.1 miles is a huge motivator.

The first weekend in May, Eric and I will run the Indy 500 mini-marathon. This will be my third time, Eric's fourth. While I'm by no means the fastest runner, I actually enjoy the way training forces me to do something those dreary winter months when it's easy to keep my posterior planted on the couch. So how do I get ready?

I'm so glad you asked. This month (January) I've tried to get on the treadmill three times a week...if for nothing more than to remind my body how to move. I quickly learned I needed new shoes and then had to take the week to break those in. But now I'm ready to move to the next level. Official training.

But starting Sunday, I'm pulling out a three-month training program that has worked great for me.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Allie Pleiter: this girl IS crazy 'bout a Sharp-Dressed Man


Today, I took my husband shopping for clothes.  Like most engineers, he’s more concerned with function than form, and while no one would call him “nerdy,” no one would call him “stylish,” either.   

He’s his own man, but we all know there’s a universal truth at work here:  when a married man dresses well everyone credits him, but when he dresses poorly they blame the wife.  Fair?  Hardly, but there you have it.  Certain standards must be kept if we’re both to keep our heads held high.  He’s got a basic sense--but honestly, how wrong can a sentient man go in a closet full of Dockers in neutrals and button-down oxfords?  It’s essentially “choose one from column A (being Dockers) and one from column B (being shirts).”

Funny thing is, all manner of things can go wrong when my 15 year old son applies the same formula--column A being “nerd shirts” (which are any t-shirt advertising a computer game, science concept, sci-fi movie or tv show) and column B being jeans.  

In twenty-three years of marriage, I can count the number of times I’ve sent my husband back his closet one one hand.  I send my son back at least once a week.

Sigh.  I love the males in my life, but there’s a reason I drool over James Bond.  An impeccably dressed man is my favorite fantasy.  Cowboys are okay, muscles have their place, but a man in a perfectly cut Italian suit with a gazillion-dollar watch would send my pulse racing.  Is that shallow?  Absolutely, but we are talking fantasy here.  

I spend a lot of time thinking about what the men in my books are wearing.  FALLING FOR THE FIREMAN’s Chad Owens had to have the stiff feel of a uniform without every being seen in one.  In my upcoming book HOMEFRONT HERO, WWI Army Captain John Gallows is all about the uniform.  All this attention to male dress has me wondering--do you notice the wardrobes of heroes in books?  How would you dress your ultimate man?

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Falling for a Fireman Interview

How exciting to have Jeannie Nelworth the heroine from Falling for the Fireman written by Allie Pleiter a February 2012 release from Love Inspired Romance .

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

I don’t know about interesting, but my job is certainly tasty--I make candy and run a candy shop in Gordon Falls. Or did run one, until it burned down recently.

2. What do you do for fun?

I think my job is great fun, and it’s been hard to be “on hold” while we get ready to open a new store. Thinking and dreaming about that new store is the most fun I have right now. I also enjoy playing with my 13 year old son--but I’m not very good at his video games.

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

Dealing with all the aftermath of the fire. I dread the paperwork, documenting all Nicky and I have lost, the boring apartment where we have to live now until the new store (and our home above it) is finished.

4. What are you afraid of most in life?

I fear that Nicky has been hurt by the fire--not physically wounded, but damaged on the inside. It’s not fair that he lost his father when he was six and now he has this other enormous loss to endure. I know I can cope--even though it’s hard--but I worry so much about him.

5. What is the most important thing to you?

Nicky. He’s all I have right now.

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

Well, candy recipe books and decorating books are my favorite ones at the moment, but I like biographies of people who have done great things, too.

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

I need to be more patient right now, but it’s so hard. I need to be in my new store doing what I love, but it seems to be taking so very long.

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

Nicky wants a pet badly, but the apartment complex we’re renting in right now only allows goldfish, which Nicky says are “lame.” That’s why I’m so grateful Chad Owens hired Nicky to be the fire department’s official dog walker. Plug is one portly hound, and Nicky adores him--it’s a good thing for both of them.

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

To own a chocolate shop in Paris in the 1920’s would be such an amazing adventure. So glamorous!