Saturday, June 30, 2012

Hot Summer, Cool Reads

Lacy Williams here. When it's hot outside, there's nothing I love better than chilling inside with a good book. (Good luck trying to talk my young daughter out of going to the park, however!)

Here are some I've enjoyed recently:

My Stubborn Heart by Becky Wade. GREAT story with a dark, wounded hero that I fell in love with. I love the by-play between hero and heroine and pretty much couldn't put this one down.

My Foolish Heart by Susan May Warren. Picked this one up because of the CRAFTIE Ladies Rita watch feature and it was fabulous. Hero and heroine each with their own issues to overcome, and just a really fun story.

The Promise of Home by Kathryn Springer. Loved the rugged hero (a wildlife photographer) and the heroine who stumbles through getting to know her niece and nephew. Oh and a wonderful dog that brings them together!

The Art of Romance and Case for Love by Kay Dacus. These are really charming stories with a southern flavor that makes you feel like you're IN Tennessee. The heroes and heroines felt like people I knew.

I'd love to know what you've read recently and if you liked it or didn't.

Lacy Williams is the author of THE HOMESTEADER'S SWEETHEART, a May 2012 release from Love Inspired Historical.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Ask Elnora--About that word "like"?? Lenora Worth

Hello, my friends. Remember in school when someone would run up to you and ask "Will you be my friend?" Sometimes, Elnora said "yes" and sometimes Elnora ran away shrieking. (But that was mostly so the boy doing the asking would chase me.) These days, the word LIKE is all over cyberspace. It's called social networking, of course. Elnora remembers the good old days when people actually had to get to know each other before they could declare "I really like you." Now, we stare at a screen, look at a picture, or lack of one, and go "Hmmm, let me think about this." For about two seconds. That's because of course we all want to be liked. And if we're liked then we must like that person in return. Another code word for this is "follow". If I follow you, will you follow me? But wait, where are we going? Sometimes, Elnora gets the hives just thinking about this stuff. I don't even know how to make paragraphs appear on this blog, as you can plainly see. So I just do a stream of consciousness rather long continuing paragraph and hope nobody notices that I haven't stopped to take a breath! (Or I insert a picture I rushed out to the backyard to take!) That always breaks things up! See--
But back to this like stuff. The marketing and media darlings at my big, wonderful publishing house "suggest" that we have a digital plan. Yeah, right. I know exactly what that is. Don't we all??? Elnora has joined the big communtiy of writers--that's a no brainer. I love hanging with my peeps! I have a blog and I visit blogs. I'd hate to miss anything! I have a website, too. Hey, maybe I'm getting the hang of this tribe thing!~ I have a Facebook page. I like that! I tweet, although I finally learned not to call it "tweeder." I am from the South, after all. Yes, I have a Google Alert that scares the dickens out of me because I fear it will be a horrible review coming through. A widget? Excuse me, but proper ladies don't indulge in widgets!!!! I am just now confessing to my editors and my digital team about my ... er .... online presence. And I'm going to find out how to join that darn Affiliate program. I did try that once but something went terribly wrong! But ... I like people all over the place and they seem to like me back! So let's discuss social media? What is it that you like about that word "LIKE"? And what is it that gives you the hives??? Oh, and I did clean my office today. Big Daddy really "liked" that! No dust bunnies and my books are all packed away! What do you "LIKE" about social media? Does it help you sell books? Do you have a tribe? (Elnora has more of an entourage that follows her to the shoe sales! Now that's a big LIKE!!!)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

RITA WATCH: My Foolish Heart....


Thanks for invinting me over to the Craftie Ladies of Romance Blog! I'm very excited to be a Rita finalist. My name is My Foolish Heart, and I am the latest in the Deep Haven Series written by Susan May Warren and published by Tyndale House.

When were you born? 
April 18, 2011

Where were you born? 
Deep Haven, Minnesota

Do you have any brothers and sisters?
I come from a wonderful large family. My siblings in the Deep Haven Series are Happily Ever After; Tying the Knot; The Perfect Match; and Hook, Line and Sinker.  We are also expecting a new member to the family in October and we’ve already named her, You Don’t Know Me. My author is a very busy writer, and I have lots of other extended family members in the Daughters of Fortune Series, and one of our newest is The Shadow of Your Smile.

What do you think made you a RITA finalist?
With 57 5-Star Amazon reviews... I can tell readers really love my story. Here's what they're all excited about:

When it comes to love, sometimes you have to be a little foolish. Unknown to her quaint town of Deep Haven, Isadora Presley is the star host of My Foolish Heart, a popular syndicated talk radio show. From her home studio, she gives listeners advice on romance . . . even though she’s never had a date.

It’s not that she doesn’t want to, but since a tragic accident took her mother’s life, panic attacks have trapped her inside her small neighborhood. And though she always reminds listeners that their perfect love could be right next door, it can’t possibly be true for her. Especially when a new neighbor moves in. Sure, he’s handsome, but with his unruly dog and Neanderthal manners, Caleb Knight is the last man she’d ever fall for.

To Issy, love isn’t worth the risk. Until she starts to have feelings for a caller—a man she’s never even met but finds honest, charming, and sensitive. A man she doesn’t realize lives right next door.


Thank you for being with us today, My Foolish Heart. 
Congratulations on being a Rita Finalist! We are all so happy for you!


To learn more about My Foolish Heart, siblings click and her author, click on over to Susan May Warren's website: http://www.susanmaywarren.com/





Monday, June 25, 2012

Movies!

Missy Tippens, here. I thought we'd talk movies today.



Last night, I went with some friends to see Snow White and the Huntsman. It was really good! A little frightening, and a little violent. But so thrilling to see a heroine who was strong and did what she felt she had to do to save her people.


I'm really looking forward to going to see Disney's Brave for the same reason. A determined, spunky heroine!



What movies have you seen lately that you loved? Or that you didn't love? And do you love movies where the heroine saves the day?

Sunday, June 24, 2012

NYC, what a wonderful town

Leann Harris here.  I got to go to NYC the first week of the month for BEA.  What fun and a wonderful adventure getting lost in the subway system.  And of course, Pat Daniels and I saw the sights.  We went to the Statue of Liberty.  Did you know that to take the ferry out there, you have to go through a metal detector as you do at the airport?  The line was long--every child in NYC had a field trip that day. I got to know the lovely elderly English lady who just flown in from the Grand Canyon.  She experience her first 103 day.  Well, her friend and fellow Englishwoman set off the detector.  Well, she had to go through again and take off her pearls, watch and ring.  She set it off again.  They pulled her aside and ran the wand up and down her.  It was the wire in her bra.

When did we lose common sense?

Friday, June 22, 2012

Ask Elnora--About mean people??? Lenora Worth

Hello, beautiful people. Elnora is a bit perturbed today. I'm sure you all saw the news stories regarding the You Tube video that showed children on a school bus bullying an older lady named Karen who was the bus monitor person. This was painful to watch but this happens a lot all over the world. While bullying has been around since God created the earth, we now have access to such things all the time, thanks to modern technology. We see a lot of things that we probably aren't supposed to see so sometimes it feels as if there is a big eye onto the world. But some of the things we aren't supposed to see are the very things we need to see. Bullying a grandma ranks right up there with stepping on Santa's toes and kicking the Easter bunny. We shouldn't do that. That got Elnora to thinking about our stories. In our stories, our characters fight the good fight--against injustice, crime, wrongs that need to be right and yes, bullies. In our LIS books, we allow our characters to fight the bad guys who try to run the world through intimidation and threats. We show heroes who really are just good people trying to make their way in life. We show strong women who learn to defend themselves and the ones they love. (I recently read Margaret Daley's "Shattered Justice". Her heroine was such a woman. She stood up to bullies.)Even Scarlett in "Gone With the Wind" was willing to fight to protect her family from mean people. I'm sure we've all read books that make us cheer for the heroine and applaud the hero. It's kind of like "Dirty Harry" without being so dirty. Readers love strong characters who portray values and justice and doing what's right. We even try to give our villains some redeeming qualities, and while our characters shouldn't be perfect and squeaky clean, they always have a soul and a good heart. In the end, they try to make decisions that are thoughtful and redemptive. We don't demand super-heroes. We only need characters who want to make the world a better place. Why can't real life be so simple? When a father cries after hearing his son call an older woman names and taunt her, we know something has gone wrong in the world. This made me think--that must be how God feels when he sees one of His children being cruel to another human being. In a world where such things happen, it's a comfort to know our stories do make a difference. We can help people to heal with our words. We can show women that yes, they can be strong. We all have a choice in life. We can fight the good fight and be kind to others instead of being mean and cruel. I'm glad I have the ability to write books that show that choice over and over. So ... let's discuss--what can we do to overcome bullies in this world? It's a serious subject, but we can discuss it with our hearts open to the possibilities. Now, Elnora moves on to a more fun topic. We are having a mystery party with several of our writers involved. The fun starts Sunday, June 25th but I'm going to give you the link today. It's not active yet but will go live late Sunday night. I hope you enjoy traveling the web to find all of the clues. You'll make some interesting discoveries along the way, too: Link to Love Inspired Suspense Mystery Beach Party: http://community.harlequin.com/showthread.php/336-Love-Inspired-Suspense-Mystery-Beach-Party

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Rita Watch: The Measure of Katie Calloway


Hello there, Miss The Measure of Katie Calloway. Let me start by giving you a big, Craftie-Lady welcome, and thank you for interviewing with us today. It's always fun to have new books stop by. 

So Miss Measure of KC, when were you born? The Measure of Katie Calloway  was born October 1, 2011

Ah, October would be a lovely birthday month,  with all those beautiful tree leaves changing colors. Where were you born?

I was born to author Serena Miller, who’s a pastor’s wife living in southern Ohio, which makes sense, as this story is set only one state away, in Michigan.

Well, there's certainly lots of trees with colorful leaves to greet you in Michigan and Ohio. Do you have any brothers and sisters?

I do, though I’m a bit different from either of my siblings. I’m related to Love Finds You in Sugar Creek Ohio and An Uncommon Grace. Both of my siblings are contemporary Amish stories. And here I am, the lone, non-Amish historical. Maybe I was adopted at birth? 

Just kidding. I enjoy my siblings . . . um, as much as any sister can. And I similar sister will be born again this October. So won’t be the only child with a story about Michigan’s logging days any more.


What do you think made you a RITA finalist?

I’m set in an interesting time period: the logging boom that hit the Midwest, particularly Michigan and Wisconsin, after the Civil War. While my mother grew up knowing about Michigan’s logging era and the giant pine forests that were completely clear cut to fuel the Industrial Revolution, I imagine many people probably aren’t all that familiar with this part of America’s history.

Furthermore, I deal with some very real issues, like spousal abuse and fidelity, which probably resonate with a lot of readers. And then I’ve got this wonderfully delightful cast of smaller, interesting characters that make life in a Northwoods lumber camp far from boring!

Here’s the cover blurb:

The Civil War has ended, but in Katie Calloway's Georgia home conflict still rages. To protect herself and her young brother from her violent and unstable husband, she flees north, finding anonymity and sanctuary as the cook in a Northwoods lumber camp. The camp owner, Robert Foster, wonders if the lovely woman he's hired has the grit to survive the never-ending work and harsh conditions of a remote pine forest in winter. Katie wonders if she can keep her past a secret from a man she is slowly growing to love.

With grace and skill, Serena Miller brings to life a bygone era. From the ethereal, snowy forest and the warm cookstove to the rowdy shanty boys and the jagged edges of the saw, every detail is perfectly rendered, transporting the reader back to the time when pine was king, men were made of iron, and rivers were choked with logs on the way to the sawmills. Readers will have a hard time leaving the Northwoods when they turn the last page.

Thank you for being with us today, Miss The Measure of Katie Calloway. And congratulations on being a Rita Finalist. You must be thrilled!

To learn more about The Measure of Katie Calloway and her siblings, visit the author’s website at http://serenabmiller.com/

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Shakespeare's Wife

Because setting is so important for creating a believable story, writers of historical fiction try to capture the time, place, and social environment so we can transport our readers to another world. While it is fairly easy to find information on time (historical events happening alongside our story) and place (physical location and all the right “props”), the biggest challenge comes in discovering details of the social environment. How did people behave toward one another? What were the expectations on various individuals? What happened when the social classes mingled? Therefore, when a writer finds an excellent research book, it’s like finding a gold mine.
One such book is Shakespeare’s Wife, by Germaine Greer. If you are writing a book set in England in the sixteenth or seventeen centuries, I recommend this book as a treasure trove of information about those times. Particularly helpful for romance writers would be the place of women in society, women’s occupations, and attitudes toward women.

Greer’s purpose in Shakespeare’s Wife is to vindicate Ann Hathaway and dismiss the assumption that the Bard abandoned his wife and the mother of his children because she was somehow unworthy of such a great man’s regard. Of course, that doesn’t say much about the character of a playwright who wrote so much about constancy in love and marriage. But I digress. In her book, Greer presents a picture of what life was really like for women in rural England during the reign of Elizabeth I.
History books and biographies tell us all about kings, queens, and the aristocracy, but what about the daughter of a small town glove maker? Could a woman inherit money and property? How could a young mother provide for her small children while her husband is away in London making a bid for fame and fortune? Who were her friends? Would anyone provide for a widow with children? All of these are addressed in detail in this scholarly yet readable book. For those who are concerned about using secondary sources, the author meticulously documents all of her findings.
I don’t have anything to add to the debate about whether or not Shakespeare abandoned his wife, but I do find Greer’s arguments sound and reasonable. In addition, she has provided fiction writers with a clear picture of the life of ordinary women in a way not easily discovered on Wikipedia, the Internet, or even the local library. For any author wanting to write stories set in Elizabethan England, I recommend adding this book to your own personal research library.

My newest release, set in Regency England, takes place a few centuries later than when Shakespeare wrote his plays and sonnets. Please check out A Proper Companion at amazon.com.
She has nothing left but faith…
With her father's death, Anna Newfield loses everything: her home, her inheritance, and her future. Her only piece of good fortune is a job offer from wounded Major Edmond Grenville, whose mother requires a companion. The Dowager Lady Greystone is controlling and unwelcoming, but Anna can enjoy Edmond's company, even if she knows the aristocratic war hero can never return her love. Even amid the glittering ballrooms of London, nothing glows brighter for Edmond that Anna's gentle courage. Loving her means going against his family's rigid command. Yet how can he walk away when his heart may have found its true companion?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Everything You Wanted to Know About Suspense and Then Some.

Hi, Pamela Tracy here, and I love a good mystery/suspense. I tend to buy more mysteries, though, because for some reason if I read too many suspenses in a row, (not the Love Inspired Suspenses, of course) they start to sound alike. I can only take so many kidnapped females, so I take a break of a few weeks/months between my secular reads. Chances are, if you’re here on Suspense Day at the Craftie Ladies, you’re a lot like me.


Good, then, we’re friends!

Let’s see how much we know about our fellow mystery/suspense readers. I’ll give the answers tomorrow.

(1) Guess the percentage.

_____% of mysteries are purchased by women.

_____% of all mysteries are purchased by people who live in the South.

_____% are purchased by households with no children at home.

Here are the answers. Guess where each number fits. 77% 35% 68%

BTW, the only true thing about me, above, is that I’m female.

(2)

Okay, still having fun? Put the following influences for mystery book sales in order. 1 would be the number one reason. 5 would be the number 5 reason.

___ part of a series.

___ store display

___ know/like the author

___ book club

___ friend/relative recommended

BTW, I’m definitely a store display kind of gal. How about you?

(3)

So, how much do we read a week?

Males _____

Females _____

8.6 hours or 11.3 hours

Let’s break it up by age

Under 30 _____

30’s ____

40’s ____

50’s ____

60’s ____

7.7 hours 10.3 hours 6.7 hours 8.3 hours 11.9 hours

Btw, the source I’m using, which I will cite tomorrow, says the average reader spends 10 hours a week buried in a book. I would sooooo love to spend that much time. Wait! If I count my son’s books Horrible Harry in Room 2B and Snail at School, then I’ve done it!

(4)
So, according to my source, who is the number one mystery writer of all?

_________________________________



Hope you enjoyed thinking about all this. I love statistics!

Well, it’s summer, and I’m off to read. Right now, I’m reading Janet Evanovich’s latest. She’s number 2 on the list for Top 15 for mystery readers under 50. She’s 13 on the list for Top 15 for mystery readers over 50.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Honoring Dad:

Hi Friends, Carrie Turansky here, wishing you a belated happy Father’s Day. For some of you I’m sure it was a fun, family day, celebrating with the dads and granddads in your life. But for others it may have been a bittersweet day as you look back and wish for a better relationship with your father. None of us had a perfect father. Our dads are human and no matter how much they loved us, they still made mistakes, just like we do. I hope you will extend grace and forgiveness toward your dad, and then focus on those special memories that highlight his love and unique place in your life.

I’m blessed with many happy memories of my father, Bob Swain. Dad was born in 1920 in a small town in Oregon and grew up during the Great Depression. His parents taught him how to be thrifty and work hard. He got his first job at age 12, cleaning classrooms at his elementary school. He went on to graduate from high school and join the Army, fighting in the Pacific during WW2. From those years he learned to appreciate his friends, family and life back home. After the war he married my mother and took on the role of husband, father, and faithful provider for our family. My dad always made me feel safe and loved. I know I had a special place in his heart, and I enjoyed being his little girl.

No matter what your relationship was like with your dad, you can enjoy a deep and satisfying relationship with your Heavenly Father. He loves you deeply, and He invites you to be part of his forever family. He is always available to you—only a prayer away. His commitment to watch over you and care for you never changes. What a blessing to have a Father like that!

Here’s a cake I made for my husband, Scott, in honor of Father’s Day and his birthday which was also this week. It’s an angel food cake, sliced horizontally, filled with white chocolate pudding and sliced strawberries and blueberries. It was delicious and enjoyed by all.

How did you spend Father's Day? Can you share a special memory you have of your father? 


Sunday, June 17, 2012

A Baby Between Them Interview


How exciting to have  Cameron Long, the hero from A Baby Between Them, a book written by  Winnie Griggs  and a  June 2012  release from Love Inspired Historical Romance .

1.  Cameron, tell me the most interesting thing about you.
Well, to start with you can all me Cam.  I’m not sure there’s anything even mildly interesting about me but I am the town sheriff and I take my job very seriously.

2.  What do you do for fun?
Lately, the most fun I’ve had is seeing if I can get Nora Murphy, my new cook and housekeeper, riled up enough to make her eyes sparkle in that cute way they do when she’s got her dander up.

3.  What do you put off doing because you dread it?
I don’t believe in putting things off, no matter how difficult.  Better to get it over with and move on.

4.  What are you afraid of most in life?
Being responsible for a child’s life.  I failed at that once and don’t want to ever find myself in that position again.

5.  What do you want out of life?
More than anything I’d like to be a husband and father.  But, because of the way I’ve failed people in the past, I can’t trust myself to go for the prize in this area.

6.  What is the most important thing to you?
Not letting others down.

7.  If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
The fact that, despite how hopeless I know it is, I find myself wanting more than friendship from Nora.  That’s not fair to either me or her and I’m disappointed in myself for not being stronger.

8.  Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet?
No pets in the traditional sense.  I believe horses are the animals that should be dubbed man’s best friend.  My own horse, Fletch, is a great animal and we get along fine.  I also made sure Nora had a good carriage horse as well.

9. Can you tell us a little interesting tidbit about the time period you live in?
Well let’s see.  A year ago the California gold rush started, which sent a lot of young men racing west with big dreams.  And just this year California achieved statehood.  I don’t know if there is connection between the two events but if not it’s very coincidental.


Saturday, June 16, 2012

FEATURED BOOK: A BABY BETWEEN THEM BY WINNIE GRIGGS

For two months, Nora Murphy has cared for the abandoned infant she found on their Boston-bound ship. Settled now in Faith Glen, Nora tells herself she's happy. She has little Grace, and a good job as housekeeper to Sheriff Cameron Long. She doesn't need anything more—not the big family she always wanted, or Cam's love….


A traumatic childhood closed Cam off to any dreams of family life. Yet somehow his lovely housekeeper and her child have opened his heart again. When the unthinkable occurs, it will take all their faith to reach a new future together.


Friday, June 15, 2012

Ask Elnora--About Writing? About Plot??? Lenora Worth

Hello, my beautiful bloggers. Elnora is so excited about today's blog, she actually researched and wrote this way ahead of schedule!!! It's Third Friday Writing Day!!! It's a day for all writers to come out and play, to ask questions, to find answers, to get inspired to write. Yes, you know who you are. You are among friends here. So, ask away, but today we are going to discuss one of the most important parts of writing a story--the PLOT. P is for Purpose, L is for Logic, O is for Originality, and T is for Talent. You need purpose, logic, originality and talent to write a good story. But you also need this: This book by Debra Dixon (writer and editor at Belle Books) is one of the best "how-to" books around today. It explains what you need to do (or rather what your characters need to do) to have a good story. This is a big part of creating a plot that editors will buy and readers will love. You also need "Techniques of the Selling Writer" by Dwight Swaine. This book showed Elnora exactly what she was doing wrong and how to make it right. It's hard to find these days and used copies can be pricey, but it is worth it! If you've never heard of scene and sequel, this book will explain it. And next, Elnora recommends both "The Hero's Journey" and "The Writer's Journey" by Chris Vogler. These books explain the classic steps each hero or heroine or both must take in order to go on a quest. And let's face it, our books are all about a quest--mostly to find love--but still a quest all the same. These books are based on Joseph Campbell's "The Hero With a Thousand Faces." Confused? Don't be. The rest of us are here to chat about plotting! We know a thing or two, having studied the above books and about a gazillion more. So this is the question of the day. What is plot and how do I get one? Ask away, my little daydreamers!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

RITA Watch The Ladies' Room

Secrets told in the church ladies' room are supposed to stay in the ladies' room. But that doesn't mean that what Trudy overhears there during her great-aunt Gertrude's funeral won't change the rest of her life.


Trudy has a daughter in the middle of a major rebellion; a two-timing husband who has been cheating for their entire married life; and a mother with Alzheimer's residing in the local nursing home. She doesn't really need a crumbling old house about to fall into nothing but a pile of memories and broken knickknacks.

Billy Lee Tucker, resident oddball in Tishomingo, Oklahoma, lived next door to Gert, and in her will she leaves him the funds to help Trudy remodel the old house. That's fine with Billy Lee, because he's been in love with Trudy since before they started school. And just spending time with her is something he'd never ever allowed himself to dream about.

A beautiful home rises up from the old house on Broadway, and right along with it rises up a relationship. But is Trudy too scarred from what she heard in the ladies' room to see a lovely future with Billy Lee?

Show More

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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Release Month Mayhem!


Happy Wednesday! This Sherri Shackelford coming to you from the wilds of a release-of-a-debut-novel jungle. I've spent the month of June on blog tours, answering emails, and promoting my freshman novel, Winning the Widow's Heart. It's been a topsy-turvy ride, and I've enjoyed every minute.


I even hosted a book signing at a locally-owned bookstore - The Bookworm. (Yes, they still exist) My friends and family came out in force to support my 'dream come true' moment. Seeing my book on the shelf made the whole experience real.


Check out those gorgeous ladies! You'll see *lizzie starr, Cheryl St.John, Ann Stephens, and a host of best-sellers in the making. 

The ladies from my local RWA group, Heartland Writers Group (along with friends from my ACFW group) graciously relinquished part of a beautiful Saturday afternoon to support me, and their presence meant everything. I've always said I never would have made it without the ladies from HWG, and that's  not an exaggeration. 

When Texas Ranger Jack Elder stormed the isolated Kansas homestead, he expected to find a band of outlaws. Instead, the only occupant is a heavily pregnant woman—and she's just gone into labor. A loner uneasy with emotion, Jack helps deliver widow Elizabeth Cole's baby girl and can't get back on the trail fast enough. The robber and murderer he's after killed one of Jack's own, and he vows to catch the man. But when he returns to check on Elizabeth and her little one, he discovers that she may hold the key to his unsettled past—and his hoped-for future.






A wife and mother of three, Sherri's hobbies include collecting mismatched socks, discovering new ways to avoid cleaning, and standing in the middle of the room while thinking, "Why did I just come in here?" A reformed pessimist and recent hopeful romantic, Sherri has a passion for writing. Her books are fun and fast-paced, with plenty of heart and soul. Sherri loves to hear from readers. Visit her at sherrishackelford.com, or email her at sherrishackelford@gmail.com.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

What makes a good booksigning?

Hi, this is Margaret Daley. This past weekend I went to Dallas to speak to the Dallas/Fort Worth ACFW chapter. I talk about Openings: Starting with a Bang and Tips for a Professional Career. I had a great time even when my powerpoint didn't work. Thankfully I came prepared if that happened. I meet some neat writers.

Then after that Vickie McDonough and I went to the Mardel in Hurst, TX for a booksigning. The staff and manager were great. I enjoyed meeting some customers and talking with them. But what makes this booksigning so great was the arrival of two of my readers who I have corresponded with for the past few years. It made my day. One stayed the whole time and I got to know even better a remarkable woman.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Allie Pleiter talks about being "between books"


I take a week off between manuscripts, and I have a collection of fun things I do to take the mental vacation I need between stories. It won’t come as a surprise to many of you that I knit a lot, I do lots of lunches and coffees with friends I’ve ignored while in deadline dementia, plot and plan LIFE things instead of book things, and usually take in a movie or two (or four).

Funny thing is, I find a almost never read.  


Which is odd, because there’s usually a huge stack of books around my house that I’m dying to get to but can’t find enough time while I’m writing.  And yet, I actually prefer to read while I’m writing.  I just have to make sure that what I’m reading isn’t the same genre as what I’m writing.  That means, I read historicals while I’m working on a contemporary novel, and dive into contemporary stories while I’m working on an historical.

The more I thought about it, the more I had the same “ritual” between books.  I can’t start a new book the same day I finish an old one.  I think that’s because I usually make a big deal out of choosing a book that’s totally different from my last one.  And while I’m always devouring two or three books at once (one fiction book, one non-fiction book, and one audiobook), the switch-over rule still holds.  Yes, I realize this doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but I hadn’t even realized I had such a complicated system until I sat down and thought about it.

I suppose that’s my brain’s way of holding all those balls in the air while I juggle the many tasks of life and career.  What about you?  Do you have things you do between books? Between writing projects--or sewing projects, or decorating projects?

Sunday, June 10, 2012

A Proper Companion Interview




How exciting to have Major Edmond Grenville, the hero from A Proper Companion written by Louise M. Gouge and a June 2012 release from Love Inspired Historical Romance.

1. Major Grenville, tell me the most interesting thing about you.
Good afternoon, madam. Before I speak of myself, permit me to thank you for the opportunity to speak to your lovely assembly. As a younger (and third!) son, I do not generally receive such invitations, for most young ladies are more interested in my titled oldest brother, Viscount Lord Greystone. My second older brother, a newly married and newly ordained vicar, also receives numerous invitations from friends in London. However, you may find this a bit interesting: I have just returned home to Shropshire, England, after fighting the Americans. Wounded in battle, I was sent home to recover. Of course, my mother, the Dowager Countess Greystone, is eager to see me back with my regiment, for she is certain this is the only way for me to earn essential prestige for the family and wealth to secure my own future.

2. What do you do for fun?
An interesting question, madam. I find no enjoyment is the usual pastimes of my fellow dragoons, for my conversion a few years ago revealed the folly of such activities. During my convalescence, I am finding great enjoyment in teaching my mother’s pretty young companion to ride a horse. Dear girl. She meets the challenge admirably, despite her fears.

3. What do you put off doing because you dread it?
I suppose people of your time would have trouble understanding my dilemma, but I shall endeavor to explain. In my time, a gentleman of my aristocratic standing cannot get along in life without parental and Society’s approval. My father, the former Viscount Greystone, died when I was an infant, so my mother has controlled my entire life (and those of my brothers). Because her ambitions for me differ from my own, I dread the day when I must tell her I will not return to my regiment. Have I mentioned that the Dowager Lady Greystone is a formidable, influential woman? When she is crossed, things do not go well for the offender.

4. What are you afraid of most in life?
My greatest fear is not for myself but, rather, for my mother’s dear little companion. If Mother becomes displeased with Miss Newfield (Mother is rarely pleased with anyone or anything), she will cast the poor girl out into the coldest winter England has seen in centuries. An intelligent gentleman could manage under such circumstances, but Miss Newfield would no doubt perish. You see, there are few resources for the penniless in our society.

5. What do you want out of life?
I have a secret passion for a certain career far removed from the military. Please do not misunderstand. I am proud to have served my king and my country. However, I believe my favored career will serve an equally important purpose. At this point, I hesitate to tell you exactly what it is, but let me say simply that it will provide a stable income for both myself and, should I be so fortunate as to marry, for my wife.

6. What is the most important thing to you?
Ah, now you cut close to my heart. But I discern that you ladies are discreet and will not mention this to anyone, especially my mother. The most important thing to me is making certain Miss Newfield will never be destitute. I cannot in all good conscience offer marriage to her, for I would not be able to provide for her. But I can endeavor to secure her position with Mother by treating the young lady with polite indifference. For, you see, Mother’s threats to cast her out are constant.

7. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Another clever question! Many younger sons of my time might say they would change their birth order and inherit the title and wealth. But I do not covet Greystone’s position or his responsibilities in Parliament. No, I suppose if I could change one thing about myself, it is my reticence to confront my mother about my future. But does the Scripture not caution a man to count the cost of any endeavor? If I refuse to go back to my regiment, I can only guess what she will do to prevent any other future for me.

8. Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet?
Sadly, I have no pet. However, I consider my gallant steed, Brutus, a friend, as all dragoons regard their horses. After all, our lives depend upon them.

9. Can you tell us a little interesting tidbit about the time period you live in?
Other than the things I have already mentioned, one matter is of concern to all. Everyone in my family, including Mother, believes that education is essential for all classes of people, including the poorest of the poor. In my time, more and more Englishmen are subscribing to Hannah More’s view that all English children, whatever their social status, should be taught to read the Bible. Therefore, they have established the National Society for Promoting Education for the Poor. I am proud to say my family has established our own school in our village, and every child in the parish is required to attend. Would that every member of the nobility and aristocracy would follow this example. What a difference it would make for our country!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Ask Elnora--About Beaches and Girlfriends??? Lenora Worth

Elnora loves to take long, meandering trips with girlfriends. It's hard to explain to non-girlfriend types (such as men) why women love to travel in packs and explore strange and exotic places (like the shoe department aisle). Men find adventure in hunting out in the woods. Women find adventure in hunting in housewares. Men like to go to ball games and cheer on their favorite teams. Women will go with them and check out what all the other women are wearing. Who won, anyway? (That rule doesn't apply at little league games. Women at these events turn into banshees--screaming and clapping and harrassing innocent umpires. But I digress.) I wasn't always a pack-traveling girl. I grew up the youngest of seven, so I kind of enjoyed my alone time. I had three older sisters and a lot of drama to deal with. I had three older brothers, too. Another kind of drama. I'd watch from the fringes and listen and wonder above the fray about what was out there on that long county line road. I had a yearning to go to faraway places and see different people. I never knew how much fun that could be until I started traveling with other women. Beach trips with church friends, road trips to conferences with writerly friends. The first group laughs and gossips and shops (even at gas stations, of course.) The second group plots and plans and obsesses over the next story line, on planes and in cars and even in trams taking them to planes and cars. Both groups have a dynamite that calls to Elnora's restless traveling soul. Both groups fascinate me and challenge me and make me laugh and sometimes, make me cry. But that got me to thinking--What is it about beach trips and plane rides and women traveling in packs? Why do we have so much fun with our friends? When I think about what I do for a living, I'm always amazed and blessed to realize that because of this fun job I get to travel in my mind to faraway places and I get to travel in reality with some fabulous friends who "get" me. My writer friends understand the parts of me that my "civilian" friends might not get. My "civilian" friends support my efforts and read my books and buy them for their friends, even when they might not get that part of me. It's an amazing process, this making of friends. It takes a lifetime and pours it all into a few precious minutes. Sometimes you meet someone and things just click. That's what friendship is all about. So, my darlings, my worldly friends, my Friday girls who cheer me and chat with me--what is it about beaches and girlfriends and traveling that calls to women the world over? Let's discuss. And then please read below this picture--Elnora has an exciting announcement about something new we are planning, beginning next Friday! Okay, starting next Friday (the third Friday of the month) we will have a new feature here on the Craftie Ladies blog. It will be "Ask Elnora--About Writing." I, along with all the other way-talented Love Inspired Writers here, will answer your questions about writing a book. That's right. Anything you want to know--if we can't answer it, we will take it to one of our hardworking editors and hopefully they will be able to help. Want to know about developing characters, come see us on the Third Friday of the Month and we will discuss characters. Have a question already? Send it to Elnora through my website at www.lenoraworth.com. I will bring it here and we will discuss. But only on the Third Friday of the Month. Anything you'd like to discuss--characters, plot, scene and sequel, revisions and edits, setting and pacing, synopsis writing and sagging middles. We've seen it all, hear it all and cried about all of it! We'lll figure things out together. If you're a reader and not a writer, don't panic. We'd like to hear from you, too. Your encouragement and suggestions will help all of us! So now I have Beaching Girlfriends, Writer Girlfriends and Blogging Girlfriends. Let's add Third Friday Friends Who Must Write to that list. It will be like a long, lovely road trip where we all get to find The End. So ... back to Beaches and Girlfriends? Let's discuss!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

RITA WATCH: Love on the Line

Christine Johnson here for our next Rita finalist interview! Today let’s welcome Love on the Line with a great big how-do-you-do.
Love on the Line



So Love – may I call you that? – is this your first visit to the Craftie Ladies of Love Inspired Romance?

Yes it is, though I’ve heard wonderful things about your group and have wanted to ask Elnora dozens of questions like what color hat to wear with an orange and pink flowered dress and whether or not a working girl ought to wear sensible shoes or her Sunday best pumps if an attractive bachelor shares the same office. I’m not asking for myself, naturally. In my humble opinion, my story’s heroine, Georgie Gail, could use a little—ahem—help in those departments.



Well, if Elnora stops by, I’m sure she’d be glad to answer your questions. Now let’s get down to the interview. When were you born?

My, you do get right to the personal questions, don’t you? Well, I suppose it’s no secret. I was born last October 1st. That’s 2011, mind you, which is positively scandalous considering the story took place a century ago. Goodness, you’d think someone could have written it down a little sooner.


I suppose you’re right, but sometimes a story does have to wait for the right moment to mature. Could you tell us where you were born?

Well, I finally came to roost, so to speak, in Deeanne Gist’s talented mind. She’s from Texas, which fits perfectly since the story takes place in Brenham, Texas.


I’m sure it came in handy to find a Texas author. So are you the oldest child or do you have brothers and sisters?

My oh my do I have siblings. There’s a whole passel of them. Two of my older sisters won the Christy Award (A Bride Most Begrudging and The Measure of a Lady), and three of them were nominated for a Rita back in 2007 (The Measure of a Lady), 2009 (Deep in the Heart of Trouble), and 2011 (Maid to Match). It’s sure nice to break that every other year pattern for the Rita.


Wow, that’s impressive. I’m sure you’re hoping to top them all. What do you think makes you a Rita finalist?

Aside from the most luscious hero on the planet? Who wouldn’t fall head over caboose for Lucious Landrum, the most gorgeous quick-draw Texas Ranger that ever walked the face of the earth? That little telephone switchboard operator, Georgie Gail, sure did. Oh, she talked big about how much she liked being a career woman, but working alongside him put a crimp in that bonnet. Speaking of bonnets, you absolutely cannot miss the hat collection those Plumage League ladies put together after those dastardly criminals, the Comer Gang, broke into… Whoops, I’m giving too much away. Suffice it to say that this story has a dreamboat hero, heart-stopping action, and enough compassion to soften the hardest heart. As for me, I’m banking on Miss Georgie’s Plumage League. If those ladies commandeer the Rita vote, it’s a done deal.


Here's the story blurb:


Switchboard operator Georgie Gail is proud of her independence in a man’s world…which makes it twice as vexing when the telephone company sends a man to look over her shoulder.

Dashing Luke Palmer is more than he appears, though. He’s a Texas Ranger working undercover to infiltrate a notorious gang of train robbers. Repairing telephones and tangling with this tempestuous woman is the last thing he wants to do. But when his stakeout puts Georgie in peril, he realizes more than his job is on the line.



Let’s give Love on the Line a big thank you for stopping by today to chat and wish her well in the final!


Love on the Line by Deeanne Gist (Bethany House, 2011)
To learn more about Love on the Line and her sisters, visit Deeanne Gist’s website at http://www.deeannegist.com/.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Joys And Challenges Of Participating In A Continuity

Hi!  Winnie Griggs here.  My new book, A Baby Between Them, just hit the shelves this week.  I’m very excited about this story - I fell in love with the characters and it turned into a highly emotional storyline for me.  It was also a challenge to write in a number of ways. 

For one thing, it was my first time to take part in a continuity.  For those of you who don’t know, a continuity is a set of connected stories whose concept has been developed by the editors rather than writers.  Basically they come up with the connecting threads and the general storyline for each book in the series and then invite various authors in to actually develop their two page treatment into a full blown story.

 As I said this was my first time to be involved in a continuity and I was very excited to get the invitation to participate in The Irish Brides project.  Not only had I always wanted to try my hand at a project like this, but the other two authors who were participating - Renee Ryan and Cheryl St.John - are fabulous writers and friends of mine.

It turned out that my assigned book was to be the third and final book of this set, which I thought was kind of neat.  Being last meant nobody had to wait on me and it also meant I could fudge on my timeline a little bit if I needed the story to go just a tad longer than the one month in the specs and it wouldn’t throw anyone else’s story off.  It also meant I was the one to wrap up all the continuity story threads which was something of a challenge but in a fun kind of way.   Cheryl, Renee and I worked closely to make certain the things they set up in their books could be logically wrapped up in mine, and vice versa - that the way I wrapped things up could be foreshadowed to some extent in theirs.

Another challenge about writing a continuity that I hadn’t anticipated is the fact that both the time period and location would be something I was totally unfamiliar with.  I’m used to writing about East Texas in the 1890s.  These books were set in Ireland and the Boston area in 1850 - this required major research on my part.  I do enjoy research but in this case I had no opportunity to actually visit the location, which I normally like to do, so I had to rely on online resources to get a feel for the location.  Hopefully I succeeded in getting a good feel for the area.


Here's a short blurb for the book:

For two months, Nora Murphy has cared for the abandoned infant she found on their Boston-bound ship.  Settled now in Faith Glen, Nora tells herself she’s happy.  She has little Grace, and a good job as housekeeper to Sheriff Cameron Long.  She doesn’t need anything more - not the big family she always wanted, or Cam’s love...

A traumatic childhood closed Cam off to any dreams of family life.  Yet somehow his lovely housekeeper and her child have opened his heart again.  When the unthinkable occurs, it will take all their faith to reach a new future together.

So tell me, how do you as a reader feel about continuities and connected stories in general?  Any pros or cons you’d care to share with us?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Why do you read Christian Romance?


Sandra Orchard here.

I recently had my first radio interview and was asked how I answer those who might criticize me for writing romance.

 

I thought this would be a great topic for us to discuss here.

The way I see it the Lord has endowed us with creativity and imagination to tell stories that inspire, illustrate principles, minister to hurting hearts and refresh and renew spirits.


Jesus himself taught using parables.


Naysayers of romance argue that it sets up unrealistic expectations in women, perhaps creating discontent.


This hasn’t been my personal experience with Christian romance, in particular Love Inspired romance, whose mission is “to inspire women to better guide themselves, their families and their communities toward purposeful, faith-driven lives.”


Seeing characters overcome challenges and make Biblically-based decisions inspires me to work harder at my own personal relationships. I believe that the stories offer role models worth emulating.


My college-age daughter has had a number of young women tell her that they have no idea what a healthy relationship looks like. They’ve never been in one, nor seen one modeled in their own family, let alone the TV shows they watch or books they read. 


Unfortunately, this is becoming a bigger and bigger reality even within our churches. 

Readers such as these, whether teens contemplating their first relationship, or older women in various situations, will hopefully be challenged and inspired by the choices they see characters in Christian fiction make.

Your Turn: Why do you enjoy reading Christian romance? 


P.S.  If you'd like to hear the interview you can find it here: http://www.selawministries.ca/

Monday, June 4, 2012

Overwhelmed by Technology?


Linda Goodnight here wondering if you’ve ever felt overwhelmed by technology? I mean, let’s face it. We have a lot of choices. I recently decided to get a new cell phone, so I went into my provider’s store. The clerk took one incredulous look at my old flip phone and said, “How long have you had this thing?” Unfortunately, I couldn’t remember back that far, so I said, “a long time,” to which he replied, “No kidding. I’ve never seen a phone like this.” Okay, so he’s really young and his idea of ancient does not match mine.

Mr. Younger-than-my-shoes showed me around the mind-boggling display of new devices, most of which have nothing to do with calling home to let the family know I’m running late. A phone these days can do just about anything except your laundry. And I suspect it won’t be long until we can sync the washer with the phone so it has Junior’s baseball uniform scrubbed and ready to go before his big game tonight. I’m serious. The other day, my son used his iPhone to set his home DVR while he was at my house! Phones come with so many options and apps and software, it makes my head spin faster than that little satellite dish looking for a cell tower.

Now, about that new cell phone? I’m still looking.

Help a girl out. What kind of phone do you recommend?

And is anyone else overwhelmed by the sheer variety of available devices?

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Deputy's Duty Interview


Today we're welcoming Ryan Fitzgerald, the hero of The Deputy’s Duty by Terri Reed, book six of the Fitzgerald Bay continuity series, released June 2012. 

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.  Six months ago a murder rocked out small east coast village and one of my younger brothers was the prime suspect.  Our whole family worked diligently to clear my brothers name but the real murderer was still at large.  AS Deputy Chief of the Fitzgerald Bay police department it was my job to do solve this crime.  Doing so led to more murder and a missing child.

2.  So, during the book you met Meghan Henry. Tell us a bit about her.  What was your first impression?  When did you know it was love?
Meghan, ah, Meghan.  Pretty with long blonde hair and big green eyes.  She was a pain in my side from the moment she hit town.  Not only was she a reporter, sticking her nose in my investigation, she was the cousin to the deceased.  She kept pushing for answers and I thought she’d destroy my family in her quest for justice.  I’m not sure exactly when I recognized I loved her.  It sort snuck up on me. But once the realization came, I knew I’d do anything to keep her by my side.       

3.  What strengths/skills do you have?  What is your greatest weakness?  I’m usually a good judge of character.  My greatest weakness is probably my cynical side.  I have a hard time letting in anyone get too close.    

4.  What scares you? Losing my family.  
5. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I’d be less judgmental.  More trusting.
6.  Where are you in your faith at the start of your story?  My faith is more for show than deeply felt.  Mostly I have a hard time trusting God or anyone else.  

7.  Where are you in your faith at the end of the story?  I had to learn to let go of thinking I could control anything and trust God to come through.  Trusting Him is very freeing.

8. You've got a scripture at the beginning of the story.  Tell us why this scripture is significant.  This verse in Colossians really speaks to me about the need to forgive.  It reminds me that God has forgiven me over and over again.  How can I do any less for others?
    
9. If you could be a dessert what would you be and why?

A lemon square.  Tart, sweet, gooey with an outer crust that protects the center and a firm foundation. 


Ps. On June 4th Terri is over at Savvy Authors talking about writing the inspirational novel.  And at Roxanne Rustand's blog talking about her dog Simba, the little lion king.  Stop on by!




Pss.  To celebrate Love Inspired Suspense's 15th Anniversary there's Bonus Novella at by Jillian Hart at the end of the book!!  


Saturday, June 2, 2012

Featured Book: The Deputy's Duty



Fitzgerald Family Secret

As the eldest of six siblings and deputy chief of the Fitzgerald Bay police department, Ryan Fitzgerald is a protecter.  Of his family.  Of his community.  But staying in control means keeping his distance...until Meghan Henry comes to town.  Seeking justice for her murdered cousin, and safety for an orphaned--and missing--child, the daring journalist is not afraid to face danger head-on.  And when she uncovers a dark Fitzgerald secret, Ryan's left with a devastating choice. Which will he protect--his family, or the woman he's started to love?

Fitzgerald Bay:
Law Enforcement siblings fight for justice and family.

An added bonus in honor Love Inspired Suspense's 15th Anniversary a bonus novella by Jilllian Hart!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Ask Elnora--About A Good Egg?? Lenora Worth

Hello, my little chicks. Do you like the picture up above? Elnora is in there somewhere. But can you guess what kind of picture this is? Okay, I can't wait to tell you. It's a mini-me inside a sugar egg! My dear friend and Church Lady Extraordinaire Miss Becky made a huge sugar egg and put me inside it. Elnora was so tickled to see myself in there, but she also added bookshelves behind me and a copy of my own book in one corner (Body of Evidence--the one that made the NY Times Bestseller List). She added a pink ribbon because a couple of years ago, I spoke at the group she and several other women started--"The Cancer Girls". They have all survived breast cancer! This egg looks good enough to eat, but then I couldn't stay hidden away in that sparkling sugar shell if someone ate it. It's like being in a tiny cocoon. And it's got major bling and girly flowers all over it.
Isn't that the cutest thing ever. Miss Becky is a big fan and reads a lot of our books. When she dropped by, I looked like death-warmed-over. Elnora had just and I mean JUST finished a Love Inspired that was due TODAY! Finished it yesterday at around 3 PM, thank you very much. I had on no makeup, grimy clothes and stringy lifeless hair. I had settled in to watch Big Daddy pack and to guess all the questions on Jeopardy. But when Miss Becky calls, one gets up and puts some color on. She always brings something wonderful. Even my son used to love her visits because she shows up like Mary Poppins, as if she knows you are having a bad day and she has chocolate brownie muffins and divinity--yes, divinity--even in the middle of summer. And we all flock to that metal tin like birds to a feeder. Sometimes she even throws jelly beans in there! Or little trinkets that remind us that God loves us.
Miss Becky is one of those thoughtful ladies, who, no matter her own pain or fatigue, just knows how to make others feels special. I bet you know someone like Miss Becky. She's a good egg, no doubt. When she brought my egg, she told me to keep it cool since it's made of pure sugar. We don't want it to melt. It will make the trip to Florida with me, if I have to hold it all the way and it will have a place on my office shelf. To show her my appreciation, I handed her a newly minted, fresh from the hunky UPS man to my house, copy of my August release The Diamond Secret. It's no secret that we all need a friend such as Miss Becky. She knows how to make you smile, even inside a luscious sugar egg. She said this one is her masterpiece. I say "Miss Becky, you are the masterpiece." Now ladies, let's hear about the Miss Becky's in your life. Let's discuss all the good eggs out there. Do you have one???