Friday, August 31, 2012
Thursday, August 30, 2012
I wrote Alaskan Hearts after my first trip to Alaska a little over two years ago. Alaska is like no place I've ever been before and I was very inspired by the time I spent there. The snow, the mountains...it was magical. Once, when I thought I heard someone's cell phone vibrating in church, it turned out to be a moose call! Someone pointed to the window and I turned to see a moose peeking in the church window during the worship service. I also learned how to mush a team of sled dogs while I was there, something I'd obviously never done in my hometown in south Texas.
To me, settings are crucial for writing romance. There's a fantastical quality to a story set in a place that's unique. Readers feel as though they've been on an exciting vacation, perhaps just like the characters in your book. I also think it lends a sense of legitimacy to the romance of the hero and heroine. How can your heroine not fall in love when she's holding hands with a handsome stranger and watching the Northern Lights dancing over their heads?
As I write this blog post, I'm sitting in a hotel room in Napa Valley, California. I'm here with friends for a 3-day weekend. Yesterday we went on a 20-mile bicycling tour through the wine country. (Take a moment to think about that. 20 miles. On a bike. Yes, I'm sitting on a pillow right now.) Not only had I never seen the wine country before, but I'd also never, ever ridden a "real" bicycle with gears and hand brakes. What can I say? I'm a very girly girl. My bike at home is baby blue and pink, and it has foot brakes.
Despite the fact that I kept forgetting how to stop and I was worried I would crash into the person in front of me, I had a great time. The vineyards we visited were breathtakingly beautiful. We ate warm grapes, fresh off the vine and saw a jack rabbit darting through a field of sunflowers. I'm pretty sure I've found a perfect setting for a new romance. What do you think?
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Going to the American Christian Fiction Writer's Conference (ACFW) is an event that I look forward to every year. This year I think I am more excited than ever before.
1. Because I will get to spend some time with my new Love Inspired family! I can't wait to meet so many of the craftie ladies for the first time in person!!!!! Big Squeal!!!!
2. I am also looking forward to seeing Margaret Daley again. She has been a real inspiration to me as I worked toward becoming an LIH author. I've know Margaret for years and I always feel it is a blessing to get to spend time with her.
3. My good buddy, Janet Lee Barton will be there and she and I will get to attend the Love Inspired party together as newbies, I'm way excited about that!
And last but far from least, I get to spend time with my editor, Tina James. I met Tina a few years ago at an ACFW conference and she encouraged me to submit to her. I'm so grateful she sees potential in me. Thanks, Tina.
So, if you are going to the ACFW conference what are you looking forward to?
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Monday, August 27, 2012
She saw in my reader letter that I lived in the beach community where she spent time in 1943 during World War II, while her husband was in the coast guard. She traveled with her nine-month-old baby from Kansas to Florida, where she shared an apartment on the beach with two other service wives. She sent me photos of the house where they lived and a photo of the beach. I would've loved to share them here, but they were copies and wouldn't scan very well. The photo of the beach that she sent is very similar to the one above, but she would see many, many things that are much different than the place she remembers. She probably wouldn't recognize the island now. One thing that made me chuckle was when she mentioned getting used to drinking the sulphur water. When we first started coming here on vacations we always had to buy bottled water to drink because the tap water tasted so horrible. It is much better now, and I have no trouble drinking the tap water.
I so enjoyed reading the history of her time here and the other snippets of her life that she shared with me.
Have you ever received a letter that made your day? What did it tell you?
Friday, August 24, 2012
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
I’ve always had a fascination for flawed people with jaded pasts, the men and women most in need of redemption. That’s why I appreciate writing for Harlequin’s Love Inspired Historical. With the faith element a part of every story, I’m able to walk with my characters through a temporary period of darkness into a life full of love, hope and happily-ever-after.
The road to redemption is never smooth in real life. With that in mind, I’ve tried to avoid using clichéd characters in my Charity House series. Although I’ve had a lawman or two, and even a schoolmarm, I’ve also highlighted a rebel preacher, a Shakespearean stage actress, a frontier doctor, an opera singer, a swanky hotel owner and even an artist. Each book in the series is connected in some way to Charity House, a baby farm dedicated to caring for children born to prostitutes.
The latest installment, Charity House Courtship, is the prequel to the other four books or, as I like to say, where it all began. The bad guy might not carry a gun, and the hero is far from a righteous lawman, but I guarantee the good guys win in the end and, yes, he gets the girl. Who could ask for more from a romance novel?
So, here's the exciting part of this blog post. In honor of my "new-ness" as a Craftie Lady I'm going to give away an entire set of my Charity House Books. That's five books to one winner. All you have to do to be eligible to win is leave a comment with your email address.
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Tulsa police warn against breaking into a car to save an overheated dog
Monday, August 20, 2012
Pamela Tracy here and I've got a question for you.
So, here's the scenario.
I'm taking an online children's literature class and right now I'm putting together a unit with the theme "Female Adolescents' Roles Throughtout the Ages." It's not nearly as boring as it sounds. See, I've started with Laura Ingalls Wilder. Her books represent growing up rural in the late 1800's through early 1900's. We're looking at great stuff, like churning butter and lots of migrating. We're comparing and contrasting Pa in the book and Pa in the television series - sometimes Michael Landon overshadowed Melissa Gilbert (opinion here). Etc. Biographical.
Then, we're looking at the Grandma's Attic series. These books, I think, are the christian publishers' secret. They're wonderful and hardly anyone has heard of them. The books are about a young girl who often visits with her grandmother Mabel and always finds something, usually in the attic, that causes her to get a story about grandma's youth. We still have churning, but only for the first few. These take Mabel through the early 1900's to mid 1900's. We get the arrival of the telephone to small towns and living in just one place, a farm but close to town, all your life. We'll be making a quilt in class. This book is faction. Lots of biography, the author's childhood, mixed in with fiction for what she can't remember.
Then, we're doing Ramona by Beverly Clearly. This is mid 1900's. We will read the exploits and talk about urbanization and having a boy for a best friend. We will not the role of the television - almost non existant - and how going out to eat is a real treat. We will write the author (still alive and in her 90's) and then we will interview mothers, aunts, friends to to do comparisons. While these are pure fiction, they're written in a believable and not sensationalist manner.
Here's my dilemma. I can't think of a young girl's series for the late 1900's to early 2000's. So, I'm turning to you. Can you think of one? The Princess Dairies are too fanciful. I need stories that the girls identify with. I need there to be 6 - 8 books in the series.
Sunday, August 19, 2012
- Nick, tell me the most interesting thing about you.
- What do you do for fun?
- What do you put off doing because you dread it?
- What are you afraid of most in life?
- What is the most important thing to you?
- Do you read books? If so, what is your favorite type of book?
- If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
- Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet?
- If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why?
Friday, August 17, 2012
Thursday, August 16, 2012
(Twiddles thumbs, observes the monkeys chattering overhead in the canopy, nods off in the afternoon heat.)
Debbie stared up to see a fiery red-head in jungle safari dress with an amused smile plastered on her face. “Oh, my! I must have dozed off. I might still be napping if it weren’t for those monkeys. So, sorry. You must be Dr. O’Hara. You look exactly like I pictured you!”
Dr. Mary laughed. “Well I should hope so. After all, you wrote me in the first place.”
Debbie stood to her feet and cast a wary eye at the mid-day sun. “Yes, I guess I did. And I wish we were going to have more time together, but I’m going to have to head back soon if I’m to make the steamship back to the States.”
“Sorry. Jungle travel is unpredictable…as you well know.”
Debbie smiled. “Ah, yes, you must be referring to the river scene when you lost your footing on that dangerous crossing. I guess I should apologize for making it so hard on you.” “Oh, no. I have to thank you really. It was after that scene that I finally began to see Pastor William Mayweather in a new light. Until then he’d seemed too stuffy and unapproachable, even for a missionary of our times.”
“Good. I was worried that you hold that against me. Are we okay on the cannibals, too?”
Dr. Mary nodded. “Such an amazing thing that God did in that scene. “ Her tone turned serious. “Just don’t ever write me in another one. Once is quite enough.” “I agree. Now, you have some questions for me?”
Dr. Mary sat on the log beside Debbie. “Yes. Let’s get to it. First, I should thank you since I’ve come to love this place and its people. But my biggest question is why did you write me in this jungle in the first place? To take me from a field hospital in WWI France and plop me down in the middle of the Liberian jungle, and with a widowed missionary who wanted nothing to do with another woman he might endanger? What ever inspired you?”
“So a real missionary inspired my creation?”
“Well, that explains a lot. I have so many other questions, but I know you need to get back.”
“Ah, so it's another jungle missionary love story. Can't wait. But I guess I should keep you any longer. Perhaps we could correspond so you can answer my other questions.”
“Sounds like a plan. Afterall, I wrote you once…”
“Ha, ha, Mrs. Kaufman.”
Debbie climbed into the hammock chair and waved. Before she was out of earshot, she hollered back, “You know, it’s too bad there’s no Internet yet. You could visit me at my website,www.debbiekaufman.com or on Facebook and twitter (@debbie_kaufman) to keep up with my next adventures.”
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Not always in the ways you might think, either...
Would you believe I became suddenly ill just before bed the night before our flight? And our cab was due at 4 am!
Let me tell you, watching people from a lying positioning in the airport offers a whole new perspective.
As I started to ask him how someone might sabotage his plane, my husband elbowed me and hissed, “Do you want to get us kicked off?!”
Then we arrived in Alaska. Wow! God blessed us with spectacular views like this to fill our hearts and minds!
I arrived home brimming with renewed writing energy and... to a new contract!!! Such a lovely anniversary gift from my editor, don’t you think? <grin>
So… now I’m working on two books.
The first is a trade-length romantic suspense/mystery for Revell Publishing that features a herbal researcher as the heroine and a cop as the hero. The novel is the second book in a three-book series called Port Aster Secrets, and I’ve learned that writing a book where the romance arcs three books is VERY different than writing a single book romance.
The other book I'm working on is my new Love Inspired Suspense, in which an antique Cadillac figures prominently. So of course, it was essential that I experience what riding in one would be like. <grin>
Garden Path image courtesy of Simon Howden/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Sunday, August 12, 2012
We were ten minutes away, having driven across Canada from our last working destination of Lake Huron, when the sun came out! We'd driven through rain most of the way and could only hope God would give us a window...He did more than that--He blessed us with two absolutely perfect days to see the falls. The clouds were there on Friday, but so was the sun and the fight was on in grand fashion as they put on a show about who would win out in the end. Their fight made Friday a beautiful day for rainbows. It was an awesome treat. Then Saturday dawned with the sun so bright it was crystal clear. Gorgeous in every way. Just look at the color of that water! I have so many photos that I could drive you crazy with them, and never finish this blog post so I'm just putting up a few. And all of this to say...that if Chuck and I hadn't taken a chance and gone ahead and driven to the falls we would have missed out on the blessing of all of this beauty. We felt so blessed to have the opportunity to be there in the first place.
My August release HER HOMECOMING COWBOY is on shelves right now. Earlier in the week of this trip to Canada I got to see it on sale there at Walmart (checkout my facebook post )and also at the Chapters Book Stores (they are like the Barns and Noble of USA) where I visited with a few of the sales people and signed books that were on the shelves. This was just a side benefit to traveling in the month that I have a book out.
This was actually a working trip for Chuck (he travels almost every other week) and I tag along when he goes to really cool places--such as Canada. I did a lot of writing in hotel rooms while he was meeting with his customers--it was a very productive week for both of us while also giving us time together as we saw the country driving from Toronto to Lake Huron, beautiful farming country. Then, when he was done, we retraced out steps with a stop at Niagara Falls before catching a plane home yesterday. I've blogged a bit about it on my blog at debraclopton.com
On my trip I learned a few things about Canadians...I learned that they love french fries. Everywhere I turned there was an advertisement for fries! Or there was a little bus setup on the side of the road selling fresh cut fries. I also learned that Canadians love Rotisserie chicken...I do too so we were well matched. I learned that Canadians have fabulous salads made from locally grown produce. And that they must adore ice cream and chocolate because every town we were in was filled with shops proclaiming specialty chocolates and ice cream--Chuck and I were good and resisted the urge to stop at each and every one of these places and taste test. We were there for each other--isn't that what couples are supposed to do--be there for each other! Yes, we kept each other out of trouble.
Most of the time...sigh, yes, I can not tell a lie. We have a lot in common with the Canadians we love ice cream and chocolate too!
Okay, I'd better cut this blog short and let you all go. I hope you've checked out HER HOMECOMING COWBOY's cover and blurb and the interview with Colt Holden, the hero of the book. Both are in the post below this post. People are telling me they loved the story. I'm thrilled about that since it was on my mind and in my heart for two years before I got the chance to write this story. It's about redemption, love and blessings when you least expect them. Colt needs a rainbow in this book and his rainbow comes in the form of a little boy and his aunt Annie.
Check out my website http://debraclopton.com and join my newsletter by entering my monthly contest! It will change from month to month.
Saturday, August 11, 2012
Friday, August 10, 2012
Thursday, August 9, 2012
I imagine most authors have a "Dream" list. I know I do. Winning the RITA is number four on my list. See, the RITA is the Oscar for romance writers. It's the "Hey, she really can write!" seal of approval. This year, 2012, an author named Serena Miller won the award. Her book The Measure of Katie Calloway sounds awesome.
Serena's words after winning we awesome, too.
She said on her website, "It has taken a couple days to write about this–a couple days to believe that it is true."
Boy, can I imagine that. I remember the day I sold my first book, how I walked around pinching myself because it was real. I'd written a book. Someone besides my mom was going to read it. I imagine winning the RITA is the same.
Serena also wrote, "I was up against such strong writers, I didn’t think I had much of a chance. Still….I watched the tweets of those who were at the awards banquet in Anaheim with a small flicker of hope in my heart. Then I saw my name come up as the winner of the inspirational genre and I will never forget that moment as long as I live. I screamed, and my husband came running. Then he realized what had happened and threw his arms around me and we hugged and cried and laughed and sobbed."
Serena, you weren't there when they read your name, but many many inspirational writers were. When they read your name, we applauded. Congratulations, Serena. Your book sounds awesome!
On her website, Serena ended by saying, "Saturday night I learned that The Measure Of Katie Calloway truly was a winner. I am so grateful. It is no small thing to be allowed to make a living—while living a dream."
If you want to read the journal entry where Serena tells about winning the RITA, not the abbreviated version I've just cut and pasted here, please go to http://serenabmiller.com/journal/
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
Sunday, August 5, 2012
What's better than a rodeo?
Yes, the Olympics are fine and fun to watch, but no one in London is getting on a ton of angry bull and trying to stay on board for eight seconds. Only at the rodeo can you see such raw courage or foolishness depending on your point of view.
Saturday, August 4, 2012
A ruthless killer is targeting the families of soldiers in a U.S. Army colonel's brigade. Special agent Jamison Steele, of the Criminal Investigation Division, vows to stop him—because this time, Jamison's heart is involved. The colonel's daughter, the woman who loved and left Jamison without a word, came face-to-face with the murderer. Protecting Michele Logan means constant surveillance. And solving the mystery of the serial killer's motive requires asking Michele the questions she least wants to answer. Questions that may lead them both into a deadly trap.