Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Autumn in Florida


Greetings from historical author Louise M. Gouge!
 
Fall is in the air, even here in Florida. The weather was actually pretty nippy this morning, a chilly fifty degrees! Okay, go ahead and laugh. But folks down here are covering their pools, pulling out their sweaters, and serving chili for supper. That’s autumn for us. In order to enjoy the lovely colors of the season, we have to go to the craft store and get our artificial arrangements!


In truth, living in a subtropical location makes it possible for Floridians to be comfortable most of the year. Even in the hottest summers, we have our air conditioning to keep us cool.
 
Such comfort wasn’t always the case in Florida. The heat, which most of us can easily survive today because of that air conditioning, was a killing factor for many early settlers. Actually, everything was more difficult in those days.
 
For instance, imagine preparing your Thanksgiving dinner, in fact all of your meals, in this kitchen.
 
Not only did you have to go out and hunt the turkey, then pluck and dress it, but you had to watch the stove carefully to keep the wood fire fueled and stoked so the bird would cook evenly. Oh, and that’s after you’ve grown all of the other fixins for the dinner in your kitchen garden. There was no refrigeration, so meat was preserved in the smoke house.

Or imagine doing your laundry in this wash house. That’s after you’ve hauled the water from the creek and heated it over another of those wood fires. My back aches just thinking about it.
 
One of the reasons I love to read and write historical fiction is to remind myself of all that our forebears endured just to make it through the day. It helps me appreciate my refrigerator (and grocery stores), washer and dryer, stove, and, yes, that wonderful air conditioning. Without that last one, I wouldn’t want to live in Florida, no matter how mild the autumn and winter are!
 
I took the above pictures at the Osceola Pioneer Museum, a wonderful educational, historical village in Kissimmee, Florida. They even have a working blacksmith and other crasftsmen and women. A great place to visit!
 
Check out my Web site at http://blog.Louisemgouge.com and find out a bit about my books.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A Monster Behind the Mask

Hi, this is Margaret Daley here. Tomorrow will be Halloween when some people like to wear costumes and masks. They can hid behind these costumes and masks--much like our villains in our stories hid their true nature from others. In my stories for Love Inspired Suspense, I try to have a mystery as well as a suspense element. I want the reader to try and figure out who the bad guy is.

In Christmas Stalking, a November Love Inspired, there is a villain--actually several. I hope the readers have fun trying to decide who they are. These villains hide behind a mask, trying to fool Winnie, Colt and Ellie. Has this happened to you in your life? Has someone hid behind a mask? Acting one way, but really being totally different deep down?

Today and tomorrow I will be participating in a Facebook party called Monster Mash Book Bash with other mystery and suspense writers.  Check it out on the Facebook page. Today I will be on from 3-5 pm talking about what scares you. How has the Lord help you when you were afraid? There will be a giveaway during that time--Saving Hope (book 1 of the Men of the Texas Rangers Series, romantic suspense Abingdon Press) and Hidden in the Everglades (a book in the Guardians, Inc. Series about female bodyguards).

Monday, October 29, 2012

Fall Colors!

Missy, here. Fall weather is finally coming to Georgia. It's actually been gorgeous but a bit cooler. The cool weather last week reminded me to get out my fall wreath. Although I love hot weather and never look forward to winter, I do like a bit of relief from the heat.



And I love the chance to start decorating for the holidays.

Speaking of! Last time I went to Cracker Barrel (for our readers who don't know what that is, it's a restaurant with a huge country store), they had out decorations for Halloween, Thanksgiving, AND Christmas! To me, that's a little over the top. :)

How's your weather looking? (For those in the way of the huge storm, we're praying for you!) Do you have much fall color? For you Aussie readers, are you feeling some spring weather?

***********
visit missy at www.missytippens.com

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Fresh Start Ranch Interview


How exciting to have Ethan McClure the hero from Fresh-Start Ranch written by Leann Harris _ a Oct, 2012 release from Love Inspired Romance .

1.  Ethan, tell me the most interesting thing about you.  I’m the head of the local horse rescue group.  And help my parents run our family ranch.
2.  What do you do for fun?  I love competing in the rodeo.  I just finished competing in an old-timers rodeo, the calf roping.  I have a few more aches and pains now than I did at 17.
3.  What do you put off doing because you dread it?  I avoid paper work for the rescue society.  And all the paperwork ranching involves now days.  I’ve let dad take over it, while I’m out with the stock.
4.  What are you afraid of most in life?  I feared folks discovering my ugly secret that I gambled between my junior and senior year in high school.  The only person who knew was our local vet, who paid off my debt.  But I promised Doc I wouldn’t repeat my mistake.
5.  What is the most important thing to you?  My family and the ranchAnd my horse, RangerWhen I found Dr. Tessa Grant messing with my horse, I was a little out of sorts.
6.  Do you read books? If so, what is your favorite type of bookI read ranching magazines, westerns, and Zane Grey.
7.  If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?  I’m 6’4” and was always the tallest, and I would’ve like to have been just one of the guys.
8.  Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet?  My horse, Range, is my pet and comrade.  I have a soft spot in my heart for him.  He was my first rescue and started me on the road to horse rescue.  I was kinda touchy when other folks touched him.  Of course, Tessa has that big boy wrapped around her little finger.
9. If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why?
  I’d like to go back to King Arthur’s time.  I love those stories and would’ve liked to see how he brought law to England.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Featured Book: FRESH START RANCH by Leann Harris







After seeing Tessa Grant calm his storm-spooked horse, Ethan McClure is impressed. But does the new vet have what it takes to prove her mettle with Ethan's local horse-rescue group? Ethan can't deny her healing touch with animals…or her powerful effect on this rancher. But Tessa is busy trying to get her footing after leaving Kentucky to start over in this mountain town. When she learns a family secret that turns her world upside down, Tessa's ready to push everyone away. Unless Ethan can help her embrace forgiveness—and forge a path to her heart along the way.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Ask Elnora--About Masquerades? Lenora Worth

So yesterday, we asked to see some costume pictures. I'll get back to that in a minute. But all this talk of dressing up got Elnora to thinking. What is it about masquerades that bring out the strangeness in people. Here we have a big party each Halloween called artscare (with no caps). Artscare is put on by the local Arts Council and Elnora used to be a social reporter for a local magazine and artscare was actually one of my first assignments. I know you won't believe this, but I'm rather shy and entering a dark room full of people wearing masks and heavy make-up almost had me running away in fear. I didn't masquerade. Elnora wore a black tuxedo suit with a jack-o-lantern scarf slung around my neck. That's about as costumey as I get. Kind of James Bond meets Ichabod Crane. Wearing pumps. Anyway, it was fun to take pictures of people dressed as zombies, gypsies, rock stars, mad scientists and fairy princesses. Just another day in high society. And given the fact that I live in the land of Mardi Gras, I see a lot of strange costumes all year long. It's alway fun to see what people will come up with. So that begs the question--Why do we like to masquerade as someone else? Why is it fun to change our appearance into something else just for laughs? Or for scares?? Here is a picture of my group of friends and me at Mardi Gras a few years ago, celebrating The Wizard of Oz theme. We were "Good Witches', of course!
Let's talk about dressing up in costumes. And in the meantime, let's celebrate our costume winner--Beth N--who was brave enough to send me this picture of her dressed as a Centurion. Beth writes that this is her favorite costume. She wore it at a kids program she helped lead at her church. She told the story of the Centurion from Luke 7 wearing this amazing costume. Congratulations, Beth. I will get your mailing address and send you the promised prizes! If anyone else is brave enough to share a picture, we'd love to see it!
Thank you, Beth, for sharing. Now, everyone, how can we apply this masquerade theme to our stories? Readers, do you like this type of theme? Let's discuss!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

What's your favorite Costume? Lenora Worth

I'm popping in early today to invite all our bloggers to share pictures with us of their favorite costumes--Halloween, Fall Festival, Mardi Gras, you name it, we'd like to see it. Tomorrow, Elnora will pick a winner and I'll send that winner a copy of "The Life of Riley", my November release from Superromance. (And I'll throw in one of my current Love Inspired books, too.) Send the picture to me through my website: http://www.lenoraworth.com I want to see lots and lots of pictures! I have one that of myself that brings back memories. I'm not a big costume person, but this particular party, Big Daddy and I went to as Santa and Mrs. Claus on vacation. So I'm not that costumed, but I do have on a Santa hat with my casual beachy outfit. One year, I went as a palm tree, complete with fronds on my head and he was a beach bum who hung out around my tree. (I had coconuts hanging around my neck, too.) I've been a flapper and a tree with fall leaves and once I went to a church fall festival as a spider. I made that outfits with black trash bags and duct tape! It's fun to go a little wild now and then! Let's see what you've got! If you can't send a picture, tell us about some of your costumes. Here I am as Mrs. Santa on vacation:

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

When Fiction Meets Life

Sandra Orchard here, jumping in for Roxanne Rustand who is enjoying a cruise with her husband. Can you imagine? Choosing that over being here today?! ~grin~
Okay, she's not cruising Alaska, but I couldn't resist sharing a pic from the cruise I took this past summer, but I digress...

I've had a few discussions with people lately about reading fiction. Some say they don't bother because if they're going to take the time to read, they want to read something meatier, something they'll learn something from.

I personally find that I learn a lot through fiction. Sometimes I learn about a historical time period I'm unfamiliar with. Or I learn about an occupation. Or best of all, I gain a deeper understanding of the valleys some are walking through, or gain hope and inspiration to traverse my own valleys.

Of course, as a writer, I often find myself working through many of those things as the story I'm writing unfolds, but none so acutely as my current book, Critical Condition, which as you might guess from the title involves some life and death situations. Writing it helped me work through my grief over the loss of a dear friend.

But with its release, I've found myself challenged again and again by the same questions the heroine asks in the book.

Last month a young child in our church drowned. Last night a friend's teenage son died of head injuries after being hit by a car while walking. In both cases, others lived--both spiritually, in giving their hearts over to God, and physically, in being organ recipients--as a result of their deaths, but we still grieve deeply.

For me, seeing characters work through the kind of tragic situations we never want to experience often gives me insight and inspiration beyond any non-fiction book I'd pick up, save for God's word.

In Ezekial 15:8, God tells Ezekial with regard to the disasters that will come, "You will be consoled when you see their conduct and their actions, for you will know that I have done nothing in it without cause."

We can't see the big picture from our vantage point, but we trust in a God who loves us and is merciful and patient and who does not want to see anyone perish. Amen?

Your Turn: How have you learned or been inspired by a fiction book?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Visiting Downton Abbey - Beautiful Highclere Castle

Hi Friends, Carrie Turansky here, sharing some fun memories from our recent trip to England!

My husband Scott and I spent a wonderful week touring country villages and back roads in Oxfordshire, the Cotsowlds, and the Peaks District. We rented a car and my brave husband drove over 400 miles sitting in the driver's seat on the wrong side of the car and driving on the wrong side of the road! But he considered it a challenge and handled it all very well. What a great sport!



Touring Highclere Castle where the TV series Downton Abbey is filmed was the highlight of the trip for me. Walking through the front door and into the double library where so many scenes have been shot was so exciting! I almost expected to see Carson and hear him announce me to Lord and Lady Grantham. We toured all through the ground floor and the next floor up, which is called the first floor there, peeking in the bedrooms and wandering down the hallways. My favorite room was the great hall, which is called the saloon. The high arched celiling with the carvings and large fireplace are so lovely. I felt like I was stepping back in time to the Edwardian Period.


This was a research trip for me. My next book, The Governess of Highland Hall, is set in England during the Edwardian Period. It's the first of a three-book series that will follow the Ramsey family of Oxfordshire from the years 1910 to 1919 including WWI. Like Downton Abbey, the story captures the viewpoint of both the hard-working servants downstairs, and the wealthy, distinguished family upstairs. Of course it includes romance, faith, family struggles, and a delightful dash of history.

Until next fall when the Governess of Highland Hall releases, I hope you will be looking for my latest Love Inspired title, Snowflake Sweethearts! It's a sweet and inspiring holiday romance set in Fairhaven, Washington and inclues the four senior-age ladies known as the Bayside Treasures who love to play matchmakers for their friends and family. Snowflake Sweethearts is available in eBook format now here: http://bit.ly/OUjGB.  It will be available as a paperback in stores and online after November 13th.


For more info about my books please stop by my website:  http://www.carrieturansky.com

Are you a Downton Abbey fan? If so, are you eager for Season 3 to start in January? Who is your favorite Downton Abbey character? 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Once Upon a Christmas Interview


 
Today's guests are Jared McCreedy and Maggie McCreedy, the hero and Heroine from Pamela Tracy's October 2012 book Once Upon a Christmas.  What a pleasure.  This is the first time we had both main characters show up.
 
So, tell me some interesting things about you.
Jared:  Since marrying Maggie, I'm into social events I never dreamed existed in Roanoke, Iowa.  Before Maggie, I don't think I was too interesting.  Ask my sons.  They'll tell you the same.
Maggie:  Don't listen to him.  He's the dark and brooding type.  You should see his home, his farm, his world.  He's the most interesting man in the world.
Jared:  Now.
Maggie:  What's interesting about me is that I go a mile a minute.  I like doing things with my hands.  I sew, I cook, I still like to play.
Jared:  She gets on the swing set back home even!
Maggie [patting a slight tummy bulge]:  Well, I'll be a bit more care the next few months.
 
Wow, you are interesting.  And, congrats!  It's not often we find out what happens in the characters' lives after the book comes out.  What do you do for fun?
Jared: Sit on the porch and watch our children.
Maggie: Sit on the porch and watch our children.  On the weekends, we go to lots of rummage sales, garage sales, and farmer's markets.  I'm always looking for inventory for my vintage clothing store.
 
What do you put off doing because you dread it?
Jared and Maggie:  Disciplining the  children!
Jared:  Before their mother died, my children were well behaved.  We hit a few bumps after that.  Okay, not a few. 
Maggie:  My daughter has ADD.  Life is never dull in our household.
 
How about what you, specifically put off doing?
Jared:  I put off getting the turkey hens that our nesting out of my wheat.
Maggie:  Spoken like a true farmer.  I put off getting rid of old clothes that are beyond repair because I keep thinking I'll come up with a new idea on how to work on them.  I never do.
 
What are you afraid of most in life?
Jared:  Being alone. 
Maggie:  You're never alone.  God is always with
Jared: Feeling alone.
Maggie:  With me, my daughter, your kids, and Uncle Billy, I doubt that will ever happen again.  As for me, I'm afraid that I need to be doing things different with my daughter.  I worry about the choices we make.
Jared: She's a worrier.
 
What do you want out of life?
Jared:  I want to grow old with Maggie and watch my grandchildren play while I sit on my front porch.
Maggie:  The same, but I want our children to stick fairly close and to know God and be happy.
 
What is the most important thing to you?
Jared and Maggie:  That our children know God and never leave him.
 
If you could change one thing about your life, what would it be?
Jared:  I'd have been there for my first wife when she was so sick and trying to do everything.  I'd also have been more of a big brother to my little brother.
Maggie:  Pretty much the same.  My first husband died in Afghanistan.  There are so many things I wish I could tell him now.  I understand a few things I didn't know before.
 
Do you have pets?
Jared:  Our dog Captain Rex is the main house pet.  We have a farm.  The kids name all the animals.
Maggie: I have more pets now than I've ever had in my whole life.  I even have a favorite cow.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

FEATURED BOOK: ONCE UPON A CHRISTMAS BY PAMELA TRACY

Raising three sons and running his ranch keeps single dad Jared McCreedy busy from sunup to sundown. Becoming involved with feisty single mom Maggie Tate is not on his to-do list. But he needs her help dealing with his youngest son's learning problem. Like Jared, Maggie doesn't want any romantic complications in her life…especially with a man whose take-charge attitude makes her temper flare—and her pulse race. But the risk of opening her heart is great and she has her daughter to think about. Then again, it is the season for faith and miracles….


Friday, October 19, 2012

Ask Elnora--About Pacing? Lenora Worth

It's Third Friday Writing Day! And today, Elnora is pacing back and forth, wondering how to explain ... well ... pacing. Pacing is like traffic. Sometimes we have to go slow and sometimes we have to go fast. (Okay, I mostly go fast, but that's another subject.) I'm no expert, but I've learned a few things about pacing over the years. Of course, I can't remember any of those things right now. So I found one of my favorite writing books and I'm going to quote some of the tips. The book is "The Writer's Book of Wisdom", 101 Rules for Mastering Your Craft, by Steven Taylor Goldsberry. Rule number 57 is a good one: "Command attention immediately." This means you need to start your story in a good place. You don't need to describe the countryside and the lake and the nice morning coffee before you dive right into the conflict in your story. Start with the conflict. In my upcoming "The Life of Riley" my heroine (Riley) finds out some good news on the same day her ex-husband returns. She really doesn't want to see him or let him find out her news. Conflict. Oh, guess what? Rule number 58 is "Design your opening page for maximum impact." This means if you need action, start with action. Action has to happen even in a sweet little love story. If your heroine is sitting on the porch staring at the peaceful lake, you either need a body to wash up at her feet or you need her to receive disturbing news or you need the house to be on fire. Action, goal, motivation and conflict. (See Debra Dixon's "Goal, Motivation, and Conflict", another great how-to book.) Wait, Rule number 59 says to "start where the story gets interesting." Body in the lake? Or ex-husband at the door? You have lots of options here. Skipping to Rule number 66, we find this little nugget--"Allow the process of discovery to happen naturally." This means you don't have to feed a lot of background information and backstory to the reader in the first pages. Sprinkle this throughout your story. And rule number 79 will help with pacing, too. It says "Avoid commentary; let readers make their own deductions." Good idea. Our readers are very smart. They like to put two and two together when it comes to boy meeting girl. And finally, a quote from a pretty good bard: "An honest tale speeds best, being plainly told." Thank you, Mr. Shakespeare!
The pacing journey is long and challenging, but pacing your novel in a way that causes readers to keep reading is key to writing a good book. Let's discuss pacing? Love it, hate it, ignore it? What are some of your suggestions, Lovely Love Inspired Ladies?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Pumpkin Carving 101

Hello and happy autumn! Christine Johnson here today to chat about pumpkin carving. Huge disclaimer: Not only am I not an expert, I had never carved a pumpkin until preparing this blog post. My husband stared in astonishment when I told him this fact and promptly asked, "Where did you grow up? Russia?" Uh, no. I just remember my dad doing the carving. He probably realized that his accident-prone daughter shouldn't be wielding sharp knives.

So, now that I'm older and presumably less accident-prone (don't ask my hubbie on that one), I decided to head off on this new adventure. First, I selected a fine looking pumpkin that I could actually lift off the ground without hurting my back.

 
Next, I consulted the Internet for the how-to and found a site with free patterns, Pumpkin Carving Patterns, which seemed like a really good idea since that meant I wouldn't have to draw freehand. Since I'm a cat lover, I chose a kitty cat face. The pattern noted that a 10-year-old had successfully carved it. I figured if a 10-year-old could do it, maybe someone many years older could manage. Here's the pattern taped onto the pumpkin.
 
 
 
Note the sharp instruments I used to gut the pumpkin. With hubbie hovering near in case of disaster, I managed to get the top off and scrape out the seeds with a sharp-edged spoon. It's then that I discovered the pumpkin had really thick walls of 2 inches (or 5 centimeters). Yikes! That was a lot of pumpkin to cut through. Hubbie ooohed and aaahed over the thickness of the walls, saying we could make enough pie to feed 14 people. I'm not even sure if jack-o-lantern pumpkins can be used for pumpkin pie. Does anyone know?
 
 
Next I used a nail to punch through the paper to "transfer" the pattern to the pumpkin. Then I used a serrated steak knife and any other viable kitchen tool to cut out and remove the necessary pumpkin. After several hours of cutting and scraping, I managed to complete the project, just as darkness fell.
 
 
 
What a fun experience! My cat even enjoyed sniffing out this new creation in her world.
 
Now, how long will it last? What should I know about lighting it? I'd love to hear your pumpking carving stories and tips. What went well? What did you learn? What can you pass along to a newbie like me? What was your favorite design? And at what age did you let the kids pitch in? Let's chat. 



Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Home on the Range Holiday Cookies

I'm Victoria Bylin . . . I've written eight western romances for Love Inspired Historicals and thoroughly enjoyed stories set in the old West. at the same time, I enjoy the modern conveniences in my kitchen. With the fall season in the air, II've started to think about baking.

 My grandmother made these cookies when I was a little girl, and I’ve kept the tradition going for my sons. You’ll find similar recipes in just about any cookbook, but this one has everything . . . and lots of it. You can add or subtract the extra ingredients as you like. 

If you make this cookies for Christmas, red and green M&Ms are a festive touch. And for Halloween and fall, use Reese’s pieces.



HOME ON THE RANGE HOLIDAY COOKIES
1-1/2 c. butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 cups flour
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking power
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
2 c. oatmeal (regular not instant or steel cut)
2 c. Rice Krispies
1 can shredded coconut (7 oz or so)
1 big bag chocolate chips
1 large box raisins
½ lb. walnuts

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Cream butter and sugar and vanilla. Add beaten eggs. Cream well. Add dry ingredients (sugar, brown sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt). Mix well. Add coconut, chocolate chips and nuts.  Flatten into small cookies with wet hands.  Bake for 10-12 minutes. This is a double recipe, makes 16 dozen.

I hope you enjoy the recipe!  My books are available on Amazon B&N, and Christianbook.com


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Hello from North Carolina


Hi Everyone, Lynette Eason here, reporting in from Ridgecrest, NC. I’m here in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina about 20 miles east of Asheville. 



I’m on staff at the Novelist Retreat, directed by Yvonne Lehman. This conference is a very small, intimate gathering where attendees come to learn the craft and apply it. It’s a great time to be in the mountains with all of the fall colors happening and it’s a fabulous conference to attend. There’s built in writing time for attendees AND staff! Need I say more???

There are no agents or editors at this conference except for Ramona Richards. And she’s not really here in acquisitions capacity, she’s here to teach what editors want. (Although, I’m sure if she came across a manuscript she couldn’t turn down, she wouldn’t. J)

So, next year when you make out your conferences to go to list, may I suggest you think about the Novelist retreat? Staff members are: Moi (Lynette Eason), Deborah Raney, Ann Tatlock, Yvonne Lehman, Ken Raney, Janet Powers Roller, Mark Mynheir, and Ramona Richards. 



Here are just a few of us. Ann Tatlock on the left, then Yvonne Lehman, an attendee, Lynette Eason, Ramona Richards and another attendee


SO, just out of curiosity, what conferences are you going to if you’re going and why?

All the best,
Lynette
www.lynetteeason.com

Monday, October 15, 2012

Allie Pleiter on Benchmark Birthdays


Allie Pleiter here, discussing what can be a very dicey topic for some:  benchmark birthdays. 

November 5 will mark my 50th birthday.  That makes it my “golden birthday” to the tenth power, right?  I’m thinking it has to be a good day.  Maybe even a spectacular day.  I certainly plan to celebrate.

Some benchmark birthdays are hard to swallow.  My 30th weighed a bit heavy on my shoulders.  Other birthdays sneak up on you when they’re not benchmarks.  I remember taking my 26th particularly hard, because it felt like I was sliding toward 30 and no longer “young.”  It seems to hit everyone in unpredictably different ways.

I’m surprisingly comfortable with turning 50.  Except for the physical ravages of age--which seem to show up all at once right around this time--I’m comfortable with being a woman of five decades.  I’ve been trying to figure out why, and this is the best I’ve come up with so far:  I’ve reached many of the goals I set for myself, and I have lots more on the burners.  When I make my “bucket list”--something I do every five years--I get excited rather than panicked.  I’ve always been a “glass half full” kind of gal, so optimism is my friend here. I plan to stick around a long, long time and have lots of fun.

Here are a few of the things on my “Bucket List”:

  • Visit Hawaii
  • Meet David Tennant (of Dr. Who fame..that's his famous TARDIS on the right)
  • Ride the Orient Express
  • Go on a hot air balloon ride
  • Keynote a major conference
  • Learn to speak French and eat French macaroons while gazing at the Eifel tower
  • See the Grand Canyon
  • Meet Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart (both from Comedy Central)
  • Knit an Aran Sweater for each of my children (and maybe my grandchildren)
  • Have one of my books optioned for movies or TV 


What’s on yours? 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Critical Condition Interview



Today we're welcoming Tara Peterson, the heroine of Critical Condition, written by Sandra Orchard, an October 2012 release by Love Inspired Suspense. 

Wow, you've just had quite an adventure. 
  
1.    Tell us a little about yourself and how you came to be in the midst of such suspense. 

I am a nurse at Miller’s Bay Memorial Hospital, and while answering a call bell, I found the patient seizing and her husband collapsed on the floor. Someone pushed me from behind and ran out of the room. I summoned help, and as medical personnel struggled to save my patient, I struggled to save her husband. We all failed, but the man’s last words haunted me. “You have to stop the killer.” I went to the police and they sent Zach Davis to work undercover in the hospital.

2.    Tell us a bit about him.  What was your first impression?  When did you know it was love? 

The first time I met him, he didn’t look so good, like he might faint. Some people get that way when visiting the hospital. My heart went out to him, but then after I gave him a glass of juice to help bring back his color, he really looked at me. Looked at me as if he knew me. As if… he could see right to my soul. And he was wonderful with my three-year-old, Suzie. She took to him instantly. She calls him Dak. A tiny part of me probably loved him from the moment he took an interest in Suzie, something her father had never done.

But the day Zach folded me in his arms after we’d chased a prowler from the house, I knew. I wasn’t used to having someone in the middle of a crisis focus on my wellbeing. And I was tired of fighting. Fighting to stay out of a murderer’s sights. Fighting to protect my daughter, and my job. Fighting my attraction to Zach.
    
3.    What strengths/skills do you have?  What is your greatest weakness? 

In the words of my sister, I’m smart, creative and have more energy than anyone she knows. I can whip up a delicious five-course meal without breaking a sweat. But I can’t balance a checkbook to save my life.
         
4.    What scares you? 

My daughter getting sick or hurt. Maybe because I’m a nurse, I always fear the worse. If she gets a fever, I fear it’s meningitis. If she gets a cough, I fear she has strep. If a guy starts wanting to hang out with us, I fear Suzie’s going to get too attached and have her heart broken when he walks away.
      
5.    If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I’d try to see myself the way God sees me, the way Zach sees me, as loved and cherished and worthy.

6.    Where are you in your faith at the start of your story? 

I have doubts about God. I take my daughter to Sunday School, and I want to believe there is something better after we die, but being a nurse I see a lot of prayers go unanswered. I didn’t blame God. Most of the time, I blamed myself for the bad things in my life.
    
7.    Where are you in your faith at the end of the story?

Zach helps me see that just because God doesn’t give me, or my patients, the answers we want, it doesn’t mean He doesn’t care or isn’t listening. His answer may simply be no, or not now. I also learned to stop blaming myself for things that weren’t my fault.

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

Proverbs 4:18 “The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.” This verse is special to me, because it reminds me that I’m a work in progress, and that’s okay. I’m not perfect, nowhere near. But I’m on the path God wants me to be on, and with each step I take, the love and hope he pours into my life shines ever brighter.  
    
9.    If you could be a dessert what would you be and why?

Cake—the special chocolate cake that Gran used to invite me to make with her as a child. She fostered my love of cooking and the smell of that cake always reminds me of her. She was the sweetest person I’ve ever known, accepted me just as I am.