Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Hump Day Blues

Terri Reed here.  Its Wednesday.  I'm not sure why but this day of the week I tend to feel blue.
As in tired, cranky, needing some chocolate.  I think part of it is the adrenaline from the weekend has worn off by Wednesday but then next weekend doesn't start for another two days.  Not that every weekend is adrenaline filled.  Some weekends are lazy and relaxing which makes Wednesday hard because that laid back, life is good feeling has diminished.  However I remind myself that every day is a day the Lord has made and I WILL be glad in it and rejoice!
So Happy Wednesday everyone!  I'm raising my glass of orange Izzy's in salute to Hump Day.  Its a beautiful 79 degrees here in Oregon.  That is worth rejoicing over!
What's the crazy weather doing in your part of the world?

In case you're missing the snow you can still find my latest suspense
Treacherous Slopes for sale!  http://www.harlequin.com/storeitem.html?iid=50278

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Sisters In Crime


Pamela Tracy here, and I love suspense (picture me looking around.  You did know that Tuesday on the Craftie site was Suspense day?) 


This past Saturday, I spoke at an all-day Sisters in Crime workshop at our main library.  The day was called Nuts & Bolts: So You Want to Write Crime Fiction. 

My topic was “Romancing Your Crime: Spicing Up Your Story”. Yup, I'm the lone straight romance writer in the group, so I get to be the romance expert.  In real life, I didn't marry until I was 40.  For some reason, I kept making commitment mistakes.  LOL, really.

For the workshop, I was paired with an indy writer Marsha Sandoval.  She handled the suspense elements of a book; I handled the romance.

[oops, won't copy.  Email me at pkayet@aol.com if you'd like a copy]

Pamela Tracy next suspense is What Janie Saw, a May 2014 Harlequin Heartwarming release.



Monday, April 28, 2014

London, baby!

The UK cover for Unleashing Mr. Darcy
by Teri Wilson


I've just come home from a whirlwind trip to England, where Unleashing Mr. Darcy, my very first international trade paperback, was released on April 4. I have never been so excited about a book release before, because London has a special place in my heart. 

The first words of mine that were ever published appeared in Seventeen Magazine. The year was 1981. I don’t quite remember what exactly my letter to the editor said, but I’m sure it went something like, “Dear Editor, I loved the article in your magazine about Prince Charles’ new fiancé, Diana Spencer. And thank you for the instructions on how to cut her hairstyle. I am taking them to my hairdresser this Friday after school.”

Like most girls my age, I idolized Diana. She was a real girl, set to marry a real prince. She was living a fairy tale. And the stage for this fairy tale was a real place—England.

I’m thinking this must have been how my lifelong fascination with England came about.  Throughout the years, it stuck. Far longer than that Princess Diana haircut did. (For the record, she rocked that hairstyle better than I ever could). I’d just begun writing my first book set in England when I finally made it across the pond. I only had three chapters of Unleashing Mr. Darcy under my belt when I set foot in London.

The night before I left, I was watching television as I packed. A Friends re-run was on. And as fate would have it, it was the episode where the gang goes to London for Ross’ wedding. I was beside myself. I especially loved how Joey kept yelling “London, baby!” much to the annoyance of Chandler and the rest of the gang. The next day when my friend Connie drove me to the airport, I said to her, “I wish I could go to London with Joey Tribbiani. He might be the only person who would be as excited as I am right now.”

Obviously, I knew he was a fictional character. But I’m a writer. Writers love imaginary people. And guess what happened once I got to London…the very night I arrived, I went to dinner at a nice Italian restaurant with my family in South Kensington. I’d only been on British soil for a matter of hours, and when the maître d’ escorted me to my table, he proceeded to seat me right next to Matt LeBlanc. Yes, that’s right. Joey Tribbiani in the flesh.

I’d been enamored by the idea of London since the Princess Di days, but that night sealed the deal. I was officially in love with England. For this reason, Unleashing Mr. Darcy is more than simply a contemporary Austen retelling. It’s something of a love letter to my favorite city in the world. Readers get to experience the excitement of seeing London for the first time through the eyes of our heroine, Elizabeth Scott. They get to eat orange cake at Kensington Palace with Mr. Darcy and travel through the English countryside to his rambling country estate.  They go to Harrods, drink fancy champagne, try on fancy tulle dresses in Mayfair. There are gossiping aristocrats, stolen kisses, breathless moments and one Prince Harry reference.  See if you can spot it.

Oh, and how could I forget? There are also dogs. Lots of dogs.  This is the England of fairy tales and romance.

London, baby!



The US cover for Unleashing Mr. Darcy


Teri Wilson is the author of Alaskan Hearts, Alaskan Hero and Sleigh Bell Sweethearts, all for Love Inspired, as well as Unleashing Mr. Darcy and the upcoming Unmasking Juliet for Harlequin HQN. Learn more at www.teriwilson.net.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Shepherd's Bride Interview


How exciting to have Carl King the hero from The Shepherd's Bride written by Patricia Davids an April 2014 release from Love Inspired Romance.

1. Carl, tell me the most interesting thing about you.
            There isn't much to tell. I live on a sheep farm in Amish country. Few people know it where I live now, but I'm ex-Amish. I've been shunned by my community and my family.

2.  What do you do for fun?
            Not much. I live alone. I like it that way. I spend time outdoors keeping an eye on the sheep. I love the freedom of being out among the sheep and keeping them safe.

3.  What do you put off doing because you dread it?
            I put off getting the mail. Every week I get a letter from someone I love, and I can't answer it. I don't even read them anymore. I burn them unopened, but each week another one comes.

4.  What are you afraid of most in life?
            That I will never be forgiven for the choice I made.

5.  What is the most important thing to you?
            Staying hidden and keeping my growing love for Lizzie hidden, too.

6.  Do you read books? If so, what is your favorite type of book?
            I don't read much. I used to, but now I avoid things that remind me of my past life.

7.  If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
            I would chance my past. I would undo the mistake that separated me from my family.

8.  Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet?
            I don't know if you can call Duncan a pet, but he's a dog. A sheep dog and a fine one. He found me at a very low point in my life. He was just a pup who needed someone to look after him. I didn't know he was actually looking after me. He brought me to this place, a place of refuge for me and gave my life purpose. I think he was sent by God. Lizzie, the farmer's granddaughter thinks he was, too.

9. If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why?
            You have no idea how many times I wake from my nightmares wishing the same thing. "Please, God. Let me go back and die with courage instead of living with this shame. And please, don't let Lizzie find out what I've done."


Saturday, April 26, 2014

FEATURED BOOK:The Shepherd's Bride by Patricia Davids



Finding Refuge
Shunned by the Amish community, shepherd Carl King has given up on his dream for a family. Yet when captivating Lizzie Barkman shows up at the sheep farm where he works, Carl sees the wife he once dreamed of. Lizzie is looking for a new start, for herself and her sisters, and discovers Carl to be a kind and gentle man who cares deeply about the Amish way of life. But he is under the bann. Is it possible that this forbidden man holds the key to her family's safety—and the one to her heart

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Thursday Sisterhood with Christine Johnson






Marital status:
Married for 27 years to the love of my life. 

What Is Your Favorite Beverage: 
Tea, hot or iced. Straight up. No sugar, no cream. Earl Grey is a favorite. Even though I have a teapot and teacup collection, I seldom use either, instead opting for a mug. Hmm. I think that's more laziness than wanting to preserve the teapots.

What Is Your Favorite Food:
Pizza! I know it's bad for me, but... Next would have to be dark chocolate. If a dessert has dark chocolate in it, I can't resist.

What Is Your Favorite Thing to do During Free Time:
Relaxation takes so many different forms that I can't limit it to just one thing. A walk, driving to a pretty area, playing games with friends, curling up with a book or watching a favorite movie. I think I've watched the Colin Firth "Pride and Prejudice" miniseries a dozen times. I also like a little adventure in my life, whether hiking in the mountains, kayaking, parasailing or the helicopter ride I took with my husband last summer.

Who Has Been the Most Influential Person in Your Life:
The Lord. I would be a hot mess without Jesus. After that there are so many that I can't narrow it down. My parents, obviously. A host of English teachers who encouraged me to write. Friends, relatives. The list goes on and on.

First Book You Fell in Love With:
The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. I read the whole Narnia series over and over and over. I love the simplicity of the language coupled with the depth and layers of message.

A Book You Wish You’d Written:
Hm. The same as my favorite. I wish I could write such clean yet meaningful prose that can be read on multiple levels by both kids and adults.
First Book Published:
Soaring Home in 2010 (I was a late bloomer, or rather, God waited until I wrote for Him.)

Most Recent Book:
The Marriage Barter in 2013

Out Next:
Groom by Design in July 2014 and Suitor by Design in October 2014

How Many Have You Written:
With my 2014 books, that'll make 7 published, though I do have quite a few manuscripts under the bed. 

What Do You Know Now That You Wish You’d Known Then:
That the writing struggles wouldn't stop after publication, and that the Lord's timing is perfect. I wasn't ready during those years that I thought I was. All those years of studying the craft of writing and enduring rejection ultimately tempered me in the furnace of experience. This business is all about perseverance.

What is Your Favorite Bible Story:
Joseph. Despite an enormous change of fortune, going from favored son to prisoner to position of authority, he clung to his faith. There's a lesson in perseverance!

What is Your Favorite Bible Verse:
This changes constantly as life places different stresses in my path. Right now it's Joshua 1:9 "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." Fear has been a constant companion throughout my writing life. Will the words come? Can I pull it together on time? Will there be another story once this one is finished? I'm learning to turn it over to God, but it's a slow learning process!   

What is Your Favorite Hymn:
How Great Thou Art. I get chills every time I hear it. Second would be In the Garden because that's the song that called to me when I was lost and helped lead me back to God. Then there's Is It I, Lord? I get choked up and can't finish the verses. Okay, I have trouble picking just one favorite anything. 
What is an Ongoing Prayer Request You Have:
For strength and courage and the defeat of fear. That those who are hurting will find peace through God during difficult times, knowing that Jesus has prepared the path for us.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Taxes and History

Naomi Rawlings here today. We've just finished up tax season here in the United States--how lovely for us.
I'm sure you understand that taxes have been around for a long time, certainly for centuries, and possibly even for millenia. Did you also know that evading taxes has been around for just as long?

Yep. It sure has, and my most recent novel, The Soldier's Secrets, deals with exactly that--a band of powerful people who have gotten themselves very rich by evading the King of England's customs agents and smuggling goods like tea and tobacco into England. These smugglers would also secretly spirit wool out of England as well, because there was an export tax on all wool leaving the country.

Of course, the hero and heroine of The Soldier's Secrets aren't helping the smugglers, but they still find themselves rather tangled up in some of the smuggler's nefarious deeds.

About the time we were throwing the Boston Tea Party here in the United States, 75% of the tea in England was being smuggled, according to some historians. So are you surprised to learn that smuggling and taxes are so closely related? Are you shocked that people were trying to evade taxes hundreds of years ago?

Monday, April 21, 2014

What's Predictable in a Story?

Hi, this is Margaret Daley here. Today someone on a loop I am on asked the question what we thought made a story predictable? After all, we write romances with a happily ever after ending. What can get more predictable than the man and woman falling in love and being together in the end? Someone once said there is no story that hasn't been told. So what do you look for in a story to make it fresh and unpredictable to you?

Margaret Daley writes romantic suspense and contemporary romance books. Next month she will have Bodyguard Reunion, the sixth and last book in her Guardians, Inc Series for Love Inspired Suspense. She has also released a romantic suspense novella about a female bodyguard called Deadly Hunt this month, the first in her Strong Women, Extraordinary Situations Series.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Claiming the Doctor's Heart Interview


How exciting to have Connor Mitchell. the hero from CLAIMING THE DOCTOR’S HEART by Renee Ryan an April 2014 release from Love Inspired Romance .

1.     Connor, tell me the most interesting thing about you.
I’m a single father of twin girls. Molly and Megan are about to turn nine years old. I’ve raised them on my own (okay, with the help of family, friends and an indispensable housekeeper) since they were four years old. My wife died of cancer just when our marriage was getting back on the right track after a rocky patch. I’m partners with a childhood friend of a local Family Medical Practice here in our small town Village Green.
2.     What do you do for fun?
Any activity that involves time with my daughters. They recently talked me into getting a puppy, which has proven to be more work than fun. The little guy recently got out of his crate and tripped the above mentioned indispensable housekeeper. Summer break just started and I’m in desperate need of childcare for my girls. I think I have a solution. My partners little sister Olivia Scott just came back to town and is in need of a temporary position. Here’s hoping it works out for all of us. 
3.     What do you put off doing because you dread it?
I hate updating patient charts, so I usually make initial notes that then need expanding at a later date. Since I’d rather spend time with my family, I end up working on the charts Sunday morning when the girls are attending Sunday school.
4.     What are you afraid of most in life?
Failing my daughters or not giving them enough of my time.
5.     What is the most important thing to you?
Family first, family always! That’s my motto. This wasn’t always the case. But I promised my wife on her deathbed to put the girls first. It isn’t always easy, but always worth the effort. I have no regrets. My life is richer and fuller for keeping my priorities straight.
6.     Do you read books? If so, what is your favorite type of book?
I read parenting books, when there’s time, but I mostly read out loud to my daughters at bedtime. We’re currently wading our way through the American Girl books. As of today, Samantha is their favorite.
7.     If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I’m not sure I’d change anything about myself, but I would change how many hours there are in a day.  I could use an extra two or three.
8.     Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet?
Samson is the newest member of our family. The girls picked him out. He’s a puggle (a cross between a beagle and a pug) and incredibly disobedient. Olivia seems to have a way with him. If she can tame that beast who knows what other wonders she’ll accomplish in my home. Samson adores her. My daughters adore her. I’m growing fond of her, too.
9.     If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why?
I’d return to those early years right after the birth of the twins. I would make sure I gave more of myself and my time to my family. I’ll never get those lost days back. I won’t make that same mistake twice.