Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Real Strength Comes Through Enduring Hardships

Janet Lee Barton here--Can you believe the winter we've all had? From coast to coast, border to border, I think this is one of the worst winters I've seen in a while. Between freezing temps, snow and ice, horrible traffic jams and electrical outages, one can begin to wonder if Spring will ever get here.

I planted pansies in the fall, but before they had a chance to really get going, in blew the winds of winter! Then it warmed up and they perked up. Then it got really cold again...blanketing them with snow or ice or both, over and over again. I watched as they peaked out from it all and then hid again--numerous times. But with the above normal temperatures we've had in the last few days, they have begun to perk up,  even opening a few new blossoms.

These delicate flowers are so much stronger than they appear. Kind of like some of our heroines from our hero's point of view.  But give them some hardships and watch them blossom! 


That's what I try to show in the stories in my LIH Boardinghouse Betrothal series. Women who've become stronger for what they've gone through in their pasts. Look for Elizabeth's story, A Home For Her Heart, in September and Rebecca's story, no title yet, next spring.  I'm working on it now and loving every minute of it.

I hope wherever you are, Spring comes quickly!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

What Makes a Great Hero?

Hi, this is Margaret Daley. Next week I will be plotting and coming up with a hero for my next Love Inspired Suspense, the second book in my Northern Lights Search and Rescue series, set in Alaska. I thought I would ask for your help on what makes a great hero, especially one in a romantic suspense.  He will be part of a search and rescue team. What should his occupation be? What are his strengths? And because he is a three dimensional character, what are his weaknesses? Is he a loner? Is he a wounded hero (emotionally)? What physical traits do you like in a hero? Use your imagination and describe your hero.

My romantic suspense from Love Inspired Suspense this month is The Baby Rescue with a hero I really enjoyed writing for the continuity series.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Why Romance?

Hey, y'all! Mindy Obenhaus here and I'm a sucker for a good happily ever after. Whether it's books or movies, for me a story must have some element of romance or I'm done. I just think that there is nothing more satisfying than two people defying the odds to find happiness together.

And here at the Craftie Ladies of Romance, I can bet I'm not alone.

So I asked a couple of my fellow Love Inspired authors a simple question.
Why do you write romance?

Lisa Jordan, author of Lakeside Reunion, Lakeside Family and Lakeside Sweethearts (out this June) said, "I write romance because I believe in promises of hope and happily ever after. From the time I was a little girl, I wanted the guy and girl to get together in the end. I wanted to create that same heart sigh with my readers that I experienced while reading romance novels. As a Christian, I want to write romances that glorify God and honor the love He models for us." 

Missy Tippens, author of Georgia Sweethearts and A House Full of Hope said, "I write romance because it has always been what I love to read. I love a romantic story with a happy ending."

So now it's your turn. Whether you're a reader, a writer or both, why do you read/write romance?

Mindy Obenhaus always dreamed of being a wife and mother. Yet as her youngest of five children started kindergarten, a new dream emerged—to write stories of true love that would glorify God. Her debut novel, The Doctor’s Family Reunion, released from Love Inspired Books in September and her second book, Rescuing the Texan's Heart, will be available September 2014. Learn more about Mindy at www.mindyobenhaus.com

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Her Valentine Sheriff Interview

How exciting to have Mary Travis, the heroine from Her Valentine Sheriff by Deb Kastner, a February 2014 release from Love Inspired Romance .

1.  Mary, tell me the most interesting thing about you.
            I’ve been Serendipity’s town vet for several years, but now I’m branching out to follow my dream of owning a dog-training kennel, providing K-9s to local small-town police departments that would otherwise not be able to have them.  I’m super excited about training my first team, but I’m nervous, as well.  I’m great with training dogs--men, not so much.  The success of my new kennel depends on how well this first team-in-training does, and wouldn’t you know, the police captain had to go and appoint Deputy Sheriff Eli Bishop, the one man I’m not sure I can work with.  My sister’s ex-fiancée.  Awkward!
 
2.  What do you do for fun?
            I guess I’m super-blessed because I can’t imagine anything more fun than the work I do.  My dogs make every day exciting.

3.  What do you put off doing because you dread it?
            I don’t want to go to Serendipity’s Valentine’s Social.  I have nothing against the holiday in general, but who wants to spend the evening holding up a post while watching happy couples celebrate their love?  Plus, my best friends Samantha and Alexis will try to push all the single men on me.  I’d rather stay home and catch up on my paperwork. 
            I
4.  What are you afraid of most in life?
            Being alone, I guess.  Maybe that’s why I keep so many dogs around me.  My fur-babies never disappoint me.

5.  What do you want out of life?
            I’ve been putting my whole heart into making sure my kennel is successful, but the truth is there’s an empty space in my heart that even my work can’t fill.  Don’t tell Samantha this, or I’ll never hear the end of it, but I’d like to find the kind of love and happiness she has with her husband Will.  I have a wonderful life with my dogs, but someday I’d like to see my house full of children.

6.  What is the most important thing to you?
            I can’t name just one.  My faith.  My dogs.  My friends.  My kennel.

7.  Do you read books? If so, what is your favorite type of book?
            I’ve been putting all of my time into my new business, so I don’t get much of a chance to read.  When I do, it’s usually a book on dog-training methodology.

8.  If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
            This may sound shallow, but I would like to be more like my best friends, the Little Chicks.  Samantha is so beautiful inside and out, and Alexis is so naturally bubbly and outgoing.  I envy them.

9.  Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet?
            Ha, ha.  I have a house full of dogs—a few of my own, and then those I foster and the K-9’s I’m training.  My black Lab Sebastian is my primary Search and Rescue dog.  He’s pretty much always by my side.

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

            I’m not sure I’d want to travel back in time.  Life is about moving forward, right?

Saturday, February 22, 2014

FEATURED BOOK: HER VALENTINE SHERIFF BY DEB KASTNER

Cupid To The Rescue 
Rugged and tough deputy sheriff Eli Bishop isn't scared of anything. Except dogs. When he's assigned a K-9 partner, he thinks things can't get any worse. Then he learns who'll be training him. Local vet Mary Travis is sweet as sugar…but she's also Eli's ex-fiancée's sister. Revealing his humiliating phobia to her is not an option. Neither is developing feelings for Mary—who's built her career around the dogs Eli fears. When a terrible storm hits their town, Mary and Eli must find the courage to work together and save lives—and fall in love. 
Serendipity Sweethearts: Three small-town matchmakers finding Texas-size love

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Olympics?

Terri Reed here, popping in on the way out the door.  Is anyone watching the Olympics?
Last night the women's figure skating short program was awesome!! So many talented skaters.    Tonight its the long program...I can't wait! Unfortunately, I end up staying up to watch way past the time I normally go to bed so I'm tired today and will be tomorrow but its worth it!  Monday I stayed up to watched the men's aerial ski jumping because my hero in this months release is an aerial ski jumper.  What fun it was to watch!
I was so hoping the American Mac Bohonnon would medal.  But fifth isn't bad considering he's only 18 and wasn't planning on going to Sochi until the last minute.  I expect we'll see great things from this young man over the years.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Lyn Cote & The Perfect Storm

The Perfect Storm! The Great Chicago Fire and The Great Peshtigo Fire.



I know that many of you have never heard of the Peshtigo Fire which took place on October 8, 1871, the same day as the Great Chicago Fire. My very first historical, Whispers of Love (in my Blessed Assurance series) ended with that fire. The Peshtigo fire is often overlooked--was even overshadowed at the time.  But it was more deadly and more devastating than the one in Chicago and caused the most deaths by fire in US history, with estimated deaths of around 1,500 people, possibly as many as 2,500. Survivors reported that the firestorm generated a tornado that threw rail cars and houses into the air.

Fire was a very present danger in a society that still heated and cooked with open fire. And unfortunately, the hunters and native tribes regularly left fires burning in the vast forest of Wisconsin. Today only the northern most counties are still forested in Wisconsin but in the 19th century, the state was solid forest. On the day of the Peshtigo Fire, a cold front moved in from the west, bringing strong winds, and the perfect storm hit. It fanned the fires out of control. A firestorm ensued.

The Wisconsin's governor's wife, Mrs. Lucius Fairchild, heard of the Chicago Fire first. Her husband was away, but she quickly sent supplies to Chicago and then heard of the disaster in her own state. She then led an effort to send supplies to the devastated area of Sugar Bush and Peshtigo.
It's hard for us in the information age to realize how spotty communication was in 1871. Telegraph lines connected only the largest cities so though Madison, WI could get fast news from Chicago, it couldn't from unconnected Peshtigo.

If you'd like to read more about the Peshtigo Fire, drop by The Wisconsin Historical Society website . On this page is a book trailer which includes the eye witness account of a woman who as a child survived the Perfect Storm. http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/highlights/archives/2012/11/peshtigo_fire.asphttp://www.wisconsinhistory.org/highlights/archives/2012/11/peshtigo_fire.asp


To purchase, click here. 
Heartland Courtship (Wilderness Brides)

My latest historical Heartland Courtship takes place in Wisconsin in 1871. I wonder if Rachel and Brennnan will face the perfect storm. This winter has been an unusual one. What have you see this winter you haven't seen in a while?--Lyn


Monday, February 17, 2014

The Girl in the Photo



 By Carolyn Greene

The little girl in the photo smiled back at me, her face familiar but very different than the way I remembered her from my childhood.

I was hard on her back then.  Told her she was skinny and ugly and blind as a bat.  Criticized her for daydreaming when she should have been paying attention.  And curled a lip at the ever-present patches of excema between her fingers and behind her ears.   “That’s disgusting,” I said.  She quietly agreed and hid her hands behind her back.  Sometimes I caught her praying to God to fix her.  Make her better than the horribly flawed person I told her she was.

She should have been more like her older brother, I decided.  Confident, funny, and always ready with a quick reply.  Sure, she had a sense of humor, but her one-liners always came long after the window of comic opportunity had closed.  As for confidence, the only thing she was sure about was which book she wanted to read next.  She would lose herself in stories for hours at a time, imagining herself to be as clever, attractive, and brave as the characters she read about.  I rolled my eyes at her fantasies of taming wild stallions, solving mysteries, and attracting the attention of the cutest guy in class.

I don’t know why I was so mean to her.  If my mother had heard the terrible things I said to her, she most certainly would have set me straight.  “God doesn’t make junk,” Mom would have insisted.  But I was careful not to let anyone hear, so I never got the correction I needed.

Now, several decades later, I stared at the photo and saw for the first time what a cute, sweet kid she was.  And I felt horrible for leading her to believe otherwise.  She’s not as skinny as she once was, her skin has finally cleared up, and glasses have given her sharper focus.  She still daydreams and is sometimes slow to think of clever comebacks, but she’s finally turned those former handicaps to her advantage:   Her daydreams now produce plenty of fodder for the stories she writes, and the second draft is when she adds those late-but-clever comebacks.

She and I get along quite well these days.  That young girl – my former self – shaped who I am today, for which I am grateful.  And I’ve learned to be kinder to myself, which is a good thing, because God doesn’t make junk.


Carolyn Greene is the mother of two and grandmother of one.  She lives in Virginia with her husband and two miniature pinschers.  Carolyn writes romances for Harlequin Love Inspired and inspirational mysteries for Guideposts Books.  Her next Love Inspired novel, UNEXPECTED REUNION, is the first in the Southern Blessings series and is set for release in June 2014.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Marshal's Ready-Made Family Interview


How exciting to have Jo Beth McCoy, the heroine from The Marshal’s Ready-Made Family, written by Sherri Shackelford. This book is a February 2014  release from Love Inspired Romance .

1.  JoBeth McCoy tell me the most interesting thing about you.

I work as a telegraph officer in Cimarron Springs, KS. The folks at Wells Fargo figured they should hire women because they could pay us less. Since it’s one of the few ways for women to make any money in the 1880’s I figured I’d give it a try.

2.  What do you do for fun?

I like target practice. I can shoot a tin can off a fence post from across the field. I like spending time with my family – and that includes five younger brothers. Growing up the only girl with all those boys made me tough.

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

I’m not much for playing house or dressing up. I’d rather be out working in the barn.

4.  What are you afraid of most in life?

Can’t think of anything I’m afraid of.

5.  What do you want out of life?

I’d like a family of my own. Being a tomboy, all of the boys in Cimarron Springs see me as a buddy rather than someone they’d court.

6.  What is the most important thing to you?

My family is the most important thing to me. I’m very protective of my parents and my brothers.

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

Nothing. I like myself just fine.

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

I like snakes. But most folks don’t think they make suitable pets.

9. Can you tell us a little interesting tidbit about the time period you live in?

Modern inventions are creeping their way into our lives now. Alexander Graham Bell has already patented the telephone, and Thomas Edison has already invented the incandescent light bulb.


Saturday, February 15, 2014

FEATURED BOOK: THE MARSHAL'S READY-MADE FAMILY BY SHERRI SHACKELFORD





A Marriage of Necessity 
Gentlemen don't court feisty straight shooters like JoBeth McCoy. Just as she's resigned to a lifetime alone, a misunderstanding forces the spunky telegraph operator into a marriage of convenience. Wedding the town's handsome new marshal offers JoBeth a chance at motherhood, caring for the orphaned little girl she's come to love. 
Garrett Cain will lose guardianship of his niece, Cora, if he stays single, but he knows no woman could accept the secrets he's hidden about his past. The lawman can't jeopardize Cora's future by admitting the truth. Yet when unexpected danger in the small town threatens to expose Garrett's long-buried secret, only a leap of faith can turn a makeshift union into a real family.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Finale of Her Secret Valentine--What's Nancy to do?


To begin this story or catch up before the end, look right for the links.

"Ya'll can stop this right now," a strong male voice came from behind Nancy. "This is just a joke on Nancy and it's in poor taste too."

Who was  it? She turned but before she could take off her blindfold. Two hands, large strong ones pressed the blindfold over her eyes. The man behind her was somehow familiar.

"I'm going to ask you a few simple questions, Nancy, and I want you to think them over. Okay?"

"What have I got to lose?" Nancy replied flippantly. She was tired of this endless charade. "Ask me your questions and then I'm going to have a few for you."

"Who always made sure he hit you with the dodge ball in grade school gym?"

Dodge ball--she still hated the mention of that stupid game.

"Who sent you a homemade Valentine in 7th grade that said you looked like a giraffe?"

Her memory groped for the answer.

"Who spilled red punch on your yellow dress at the first school dance?"

The answer came but she refused to believe it. And then she recalled the humiliation of the moment returned.

"Who--"

"That's enough!" She jerked off the blindfold and spun around to see--

Mike, Brad's twin.

"You!" And then remembering all the events Mike had just aired, Nancy fisted her hands.

"Darlin', don't forget Brad and I are fraternal not identical twins." The man had the nerve to grin at her. "I think it's time you--"

"I'm leaving--" She turned toward the door.

"Don't you want to know what's going on?" Mike asked.

That stopped her. She whirled on him. "Start talking!"

"Tonya and Brad broke up," Mike said, no longer looking as if this were all a joke. "And she got it into her head that you were responsible. So she decided to try to embarrass you with this Valentine Dream Come True Contest stunt."

Mike turned to the people who gathered to watch the festivities. "This contest was fixed."

Mrs. Carroll with the B & B tried to object.

But Mike went on relentlessly. "She paid for the contest. She paid these three men to come to embarrass you publicly--"

The three men--Jason, Paul and Jean Pierre--all objected loudly.

Again Mike went on relentlessly.  "I'm sure they were all told it was to be kind of a fun reunion type event like THIS IS YOUR LIFE.

"Yes, " the three agreed almost in unison. "We would never hurt Nancy."

"I'm confused," Nancy said, crossing her arms and glaring at Mike. "Why would this hurt or embarrass me?"

"Because," Mike emphasized the word, "all three are married and are here with their wives. I think Tonya wanted to put you in an awkward spot, in public, in your own town and on film. I think this is supposed to end up on YouTube."

Her mouth dropping open, Nancy put one hand to each side of her head. Her brain felt scrambled.

"Honest," Jason spoke up, "I thought it was all a part of a reality show special for Valentine's Day. We were told the secret admirer stuff was just part of the fun."

The other two agreed and Nancy watched three young women join their husbands. "We went along for the free trip and gifts," one of the wives said. "We didn't know anything about all this other stuff."

Nancy glared at everyone in general and then she turned to Garth. "Okay, what do you have to do with all this?"

Looking sheepish, Garth with Shana close beside him ambled forward. "Tonya hired me." He pointed to Mike. "I was supposed to find you, Mike,  and bribe you to leave town. But she didn't tell me anything more than that."

Garth turned to Nancy. "I didn't know it was a nasty trick. And besides I'm just starting as a PI. I knew Tonya's older brother at college. I would have told you if I'd suspected any of this."

Shana claimed his arm and nodded vigorously in support.

Nancy let her hands fall. "Is Tonya out of her mind?"

"Yes," Mike replied. "Absolutely. I came to try and stop this mean-spirited prank, but I couldn't get Mrs. Carroll to believe me."

The lady in question spread her palms in appeal. "I thought everything was legit and he was just trying to make trouble."

Nancy turned to Mike. "You really aren't identical to your brother." Then she punched his arm, not once but three times. HARD. "That's for all those sweet memories of you tormenting me."

"Hey, I was a kid," Mike exclaimed.  Then a slow, sexy smile curved his mouth. "But not anymore."


Lyn Cote here--I'll let you take it from there,  ladies. But remember true love conquers all--even former beauty queens with a bad case of sour grapes. :-)

So did you enjoy our Valentine serial? Let us know!

BTW, HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!!!

Leave a comment and I'll send a copy of Her Captain's Heart to one commenter. (US only)

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Her Secret Valentine---Part 13

Today’s episode of Her Secret Valentine (A Craftie Ladies continuing Valentine Romance) is by Debbie Kaufman. Don’t miss tomorrow’s exciting conclusion to our story. To catch up on any episodes you missed, click on the shoe or one of the links in the sidebar.

 Nancy waited for a moment. No one said a word. They must not have seen the blindfold slip. Only a smidgen more and she’d have the peek she needed. Maybe if she just casually adjusted her hair…

“I’m sorry dear. Did I catch some of your hair in the blindfold? Let me fix that for you.” Mrs. Cannoli’s sweet tone sharply contrasted with her ruthless attention to the silken cover. The blindfold snugged mercilessly and every last bit of light peeking through vanished along with Nancy’s hopes of knowing how to make a right decision.



“There you go. Wouldn’t want that thing to slip and spoil the fun. That’s better.” Mrs. Cannoli patted Nancy’s arm.

Not really, Nancy thought. And how is this fun? The fate of her love life was at the mercy of one of Shanna’s never-ending contest entries. Her friend meant well, but all Nancy could think was now her love life was being held hostage all because of an entry form on the back of a marshmallow cream jar. How could she know which man to choose? They all represented good memories, all were decent men, men whom any woman would be lucky to have in her life.

“Time’s a wastin', Miss Hart. You’ve got two minutes to pick your secret admirer or forfeit the chance for the dream date of a life time.”

What if she chose wrong? What if she didn’t choose the one who was actually in love with her and messed up yet again? She’d thrown away love once the day she ran out of that Atlanta Mall and packed her bags to come to Cupid’s Corner. Since then she’d proven herself successful in business, found wonderful friends, and finally had access to all the amazing shoes a girl could want. Only love was missing from her life, but she’d never felt that same spark she had with Brad. If this contest was another shot at true love, she didn’t want to blow it. But was one of these three men someone she could spend the rest of her life loving? What was wrong with her? It was time to grab life’s brass ring---a happily-ever-after love---and be happy. Why couldn’t she see true love standing in front of her, with or without a blindfold?

“And the clock is still ticking, Miss Hart. Time is running out to choose your secret admirer. One minute.”



Nancy’s thoughts grew frantic as the pressure mounted. She felt herself begin to gasp for the next breath and a cold clamminess settled over her. Her own heartbeat thundered over the murmurs around her.

“Hey,” said Shanna. “Something's wrong.”

“Don’t be ridiculous,” said Mrs. Cannoli. “Everything is going according to plan. In a few seconds, we’ll know who she is going to pick. It’s so exciting!”

Nancy heard both voices as if they came from underwater. The faces of Jason, Paul, and Jean-Pierre swirled in Nancy’s mind, as if they were on a carousel. Round and round, up and down. Jason, Paul, Jean-Pierre. Jason, Paul, Jean-Pierre. All three rode dark mares---brown, black, and spotted. Who did she choose? If they could just give her a minute…



“Thirty seconds.”

 As if on cue, her imaginary carousel picked up speed and the men’s faces flashed past her faster than before. No, no. She had to decide. She couldn’t miss love again. She wouldn’t. If only…if only….

Shanna’s voice sounded above the thunderous beat of Nancy’s racing heart. “I’m telling you, something’s wrong. Look how pale she is, she’s…oh, no. Garth, grab her, she’s going to faint!”

For a half-second, Nancy wanted to argue with Shanna, tell her she didn’t need her private investigator turned boyfriend to do any such thing. Nancy wasn’t the fainting type. She was just feeling a little dizzy. If that carousel in her mind would just stop spinning. Jason, Paul, Jean-Pierre…all behind an empty white charger whose reins dangled across the empty saddle. She realized Shanna was right just as the carousel riders came around again in Nancy’s mind’s eye and provided her with the answer she so desperately sought. Her true love’s name slipped from her lips at the same moment she wobbled on her three-inch heels and darkness pressed inward. Of course, there was only one man for her ….



Debbie Kaufman writes missionary romance set in the jungles of Liberia, Africa. An excerpt of her new release, Journey of Hope, can be found HERE. Connect with Debbie on her WEBSITE, FACEBOOK, or TWITTER.