Saturday, February 27, 2016

FEATURED BOOK AND INTERVIEW: Ransom by Terri Reed



"WE HAVE YOUR SISTER." 
Liz Cantrell is terrified when she receives a call from a man holding her newlywed sister captive—and she's convinced her sketchy brother-in-law's involved. Willing to pay any price for her sister's freedom, Liz flies to Niagara Falls with the ransom: an uncut diamond necklace worth millions. But the moment she lands, a handsome, world-weary Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent takes her into custody. Blake Fallon's determined to catch a ruthless diamond smuggler—and the pretty antiques dealer trying to save her sister could be just the break his case needs. But as they team up to rescue Liz's sister and trap the criminal mastermind, a desperate standoff will threaten everything they hold precious—including their lives. 
Northern Border Patrol: Keeping the US-Canada border safe.

Interview:
Today we're welcoming Liz Cantrell the heroine RANSOM, by Terri Reed, a February 2016 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’m a small town girl living on beautiful Hilton Head Island. I run an antique shop, my father’s legacy to me and my sister. I’m single and not sure I’ll ever find Mr. Right.
2.  So, during the book you met ICE agent Blake Fallon.  Tell us a bit about him.  What was your first impression?  When did you know it was love?  The first time I met Agent Fallon, I was so intimidated. He threated to put me in jail if I didn’t help him catch a criminal mastermind. I have to say I didn’t like Blake much at first but as we worked together my heart softened and I realized that he wasn’t as jaded and hard as he seemed.
3.  What strengths/skills do you have?  What is your greatest weakness?  My greatest strength is my determination to protect those I love. My greatest weakness is my need to be needed.      
4.  What scares you? Losing the people I love.
5. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
6.  Where are you in your faith at the start of your story? I’m too full of pride to fully rely on God.    
7.  Where are you in your faith at the end of the story? I realize how much I need to trust and rely on God for the good and the bad.
8. You've got a scripture at the beginning of the story.  Tell us why this scripture is significant.   For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans to prosper you not harm you, to give you a hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11 This verse reminds me that my plans don’t always line up with God’s plan and I must make the decision to trust Him to know what’s best for me.
9. If you could be a dessert what would you be and why?
I’d be a chocolate soufflĂ© with raspberry sauce. Sweet and gooey, with a little bit of tartness.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Blast from the Past - Guess the Author

It's that time when we glimpse into the past of one of our Craftie Ladies. The first reader to correctly guess this month's author will receive a copy of this author's latest Love Inspired release.

Ready?

Here's your clue:

This photo is of me (center, in the yellow) with my sister (far left) and three of my cousins. I always lived six hours from extended family so didn't get to see them often. Whenever I did, it was a special treat. And this event was even more exciting than usual. We got to get all dressed up to celebrate our grandparent's 50th wedding anniversary! They threw a big party at the Holiday Inn and invited a huge crowd. It was such fun! And we felt very glamorous. :)

Do you know who this is? Leave your guess in the comments to be entered in the contest. And be sure to look for more clues in the comment section throughout the day.

Good luck!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

MANUSCRIPT MATCH with Harlequin Love Inspired editor Elizabeth Mazer

Deb Kastner here. I'm happy to have with me today my Love Inspired editor Elizabeth Mazer, who'd like to share with you all an exciting opportunity to get your historical manuscript in front of the Love Inspired editors. Now please welcome Elizabeth to the blog:

Do you write inspirational historical romance? If so, then we have a fabulous opportunity for you! Right now, the Love Inspired Historical team is holding a pitch contest called Manuscript Matchmakers (more information here: http://community.harlequin.com/showthread.php/9096-Manuscript-Matchmakers), and we’re hoping it will help you find the perfect editor match for your story.
Which editor is right for you? Well, to help us decide, we’ve divided up the contest into teams, with each team focused on a different theme or plot that’s particularly popular with our readers. The teams are:
1. Team Amish
2. Team Mail Order Bride
3. Team Babies/Children
4. Team Cowboy/Rancher
5. Team Marriage of Convenience
6. Team Reunion Romance
If your story doesn’t quite match any of these hooks but you still think it would be a great fit for Love Inspired Historical, then that’s fine, too—go for:
7. Team Choose Your Own Hook
The first step is easy. “Proper introductions” begin when you fill out a matchmaking profile card to give us info on your story, and send it to us along with the first page of your manuscript. (Instructions on filling out the card, along with examples, can be found here: http://community.harlequin.com/showthread.php/9099-How-to-Fill-Our-Your-Matchmaker-Card). If you’re chosen to continue to the next round, then we move on to the “courtship” where we review your full synopsis and first three chapters. And if you’re chosen to advance to the final round then we get to the “betrothal”: you’ll send in your full manuscript to be reviewed. From there? Happily ever after, of course! We hope to sign lots of new authors for LIH, but at the very least we promise the entrants in the final round that they will receive a speedy turnaround and editorial feedback on their manuscripts.
But why wait until the final round? If you’ve got an already finished manuscript that’s suitable for LIH, join in our special Pony Express fast track and send it in early—you’ll get your feedback, and maybe even your contract, all the sooner.
We love our pitch contests at Love Inspired, and we’re very proud of our record of bringing in tons of new authors every year. Check out our success stories here http://community.harlequin.com/showthread.php/9100-Success-Stories where we list all of the authors acquired through previous pitch contests, and give them a chance to talk about their experiences. You’ll see what the pitch contest experience meant to them, and how much they were able to learn. Throughout the contest, the editors will be on the community forum pages all the time—answering questions, giving advice, and making sure you have all the guidance and information you need to make your story shine. Maybe next year, one of our success stories will be you!

Don’t miss out on this great opportunity—and don’t delay! The contest closes to new entries after March 2. Make today the day you sign up, and see if Love Inspired Historical can find the perfect match for your manuscript and you!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Patricia Johns: Women of Faith

Women of faith don't always preach.

 In fact, women of faith seldom get the chance to preach, unless they are talking to their children. In our day-to-day life, it isn't appropriate. But that doesn't mean that a woman's life doesn't speak for her.

I'm a Christian. I'm a church-goer. My worldview is colored by a belief in a God who loves me and guides my future. As a church-going Christian, I might be a minority, but as a woman of faith, I'm not! Many people don't identify with a religion, or they haven't been to church since childhood. Others are come from other faith backgrounds. When you set aside our differences, we're united in our belief in something more.

We believe in Someone More. We believe more is expected of us. We have hope. It isn't something nailed down by dogma or theology, it's an anchor of certainty deep inside of us that can't be argued away. We're women of faith. 

I write for both the Love Inspired line and American Romance. My Love Inspired writing is faith based, and my American Romance writing is written by a woman of faith. My faith, my conviction that there is something more to life, is a part of that writing. Even if I can't talk about it directly, it's there. My hope in Someone More is what fuels my love of writing happy endings. 

This month,  my American Romance came out. I hope you'll check it out! It's about family, starting over, motherhood in less than ideal circumstances, and finding out what kind of woman we want to be.





You can find it in bookstores this month. You can also find it on Amazon and the Harlequin site. And as a special surprise to me, it's also found in bookstores in the UK, published in the Cherish line of Mills and Boon!




 As women of faith, we're part of society, part of our communities, and part of the world. We're out there, and we can't always preach. Sometimes, we just have to live it.

If you'd like to see my other books or keep up with the life of a Harlequin author, come by my blog! You can also find me on Facebook, and I love to connect with readers. :)

Monday, February 22, 2016

Craftie Ladies - Love Inspired Suspense February 2016 Releases



Listed below are the upcoming releases from our talented Love Inspired Suspense writers here at Craftie Ladies of Romance.  To purchase any of these wonderful books, just click on the book covers.  And to learn more about the authors, click on their names.


Rocky Mountain Pursuit

by Mary Alford

IDENTITY: CONFIDENTIAL 

Everyone believes agent Jase Bradford is dead—everyone but Reyna Peterson. Only he can protect her now that someone wants the information her CIA husband died to secure. As the one member of their spy team not killed, Jase must remain in the shadows. Yet when Reyna leads the enemy right to his mountain refuge and blows his cover, Jase risks his life for hers. As his best friend's beautiful widow scales the walls around his heart, whether out of loyalty or love, he makes it his duty to secure her safety. 
But when their pursuers trap them in the snowy Colorado mountains, will it become his final mission?




PLAIN DANGER

By Debby Giusti


Dangerous Inheritance... 
When Carrie York arrives at the house she inherited from her father in an Amish community, she's shocked to discover a soldier's body on the property. Her neighbor, army special agent Tyler Zimmerman, starts investigating the murder, and Carrie fears it's related to her father's mysterious death. Tyler doesn't trust the pretty speechwriter or the suspicious timing of her arrival—especially since her boss is responsible for his father's death. But when someone attacks Carrie, Tyler insists on protecting her. With his help, will Carrie be able to hold on to her inheritance and her life? 


Ransom

"WE HAVE YOUR SISTER."
Liz Cantrell is terrified when she receives a call from a man holding her newlywed sister captive—and she's convinced her sketchy brother-in-law's involved. Willing to pay any price for her sister's freedom, Liz flies to Niagara Falls with the ransom: an uncut diamond necklace worth millions. But the moment she lands, a handsome, world-weary Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent takes her into custody. Blake Fallon's determined to catch a ruthless diamond smuggler—and the pretty antiques dealer trying to save her sister could be just the break his case needs. But as they team up to rescue Liz's sister and trap the criminal mastermind, a desperate standoff will threaten everything they hold precious—including their lives. 


Thursday, February 18, 2016

It’s All In The Ingredients


 
If you do much cooking then you know, the secret to having a successful recipe starts with using the right ingredients. They can make or break a dish, (no pun intended).

But what if you accidently leave out an ingredient? Yikes, right?

One of my favorite things to make for breakfast, especially when its cold out, is buttermilk pancakes with maple syrup. My family loves them. They are light and fluffy and simple to make and I’ve made them dozens of times. Thus the problem.  

One morning I was rushing through the preparation of the pancakes and I accidently forgot to put in the sugar. The recipe only calls for three tablespoons so you wouldn’t think it would be a big deal. Wrong! The pancakes just didn’t taste the same at all. What a disappointment.

The same can be said for writing an inspirational romantic suspense. The book just wouldn’t be the same if you left one of these key ingredients out. Without the romance, the inspiration, or the suspense, the story loses its flavor, much like my pancakes.
 
In Rocky Mountain Pursuit, we have a hero who is a former CIA agent forced into hiding because some very bad men are coming after him. When Reyna Peterson, the widow of his former comrade, shows up at his door asking for his help, Jase doesn’t hesitate. The attraction between the hero and heroine starts from the beginning, but the suspense elements in the story have them running for their lives. Still, Jase and Reyna put their faith in God to protect them and they are able to survive and bring the bad guys to justice. And all three ingredients combine for a successful end.

 
 
 
 
 
 
For any of you who would like to try out my pancake recipe, I’ve included it here. But don’t forget the sugar. Trust me, it won’t be the same.  
 
 
All my best...
 
Mary Alford 
 
 
Buttermilk Pancakes
 
Ingredients
·         3 cups all-purpose flour
·         3 tablespoons white sugar
·         3 teaspoons baking powder
·         1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
·         3/4 teaspoon salt
·         3 cups buttermilk
·         1/2 cup milk
·         3 eggs
·         1/3 cup butter, melted
Directions
1.      In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, beat together buttermilk, milk, eggs and melted butter. Keep the two mixtures separate until you are ready to cook.
2.      Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. You can flick water across the surface and if it beads up and sizzles, it's ready!
3.      Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture, using a wooden spoon or fork to blend. Stir until it's just blended together. Do not over stir! Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/2 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.
 
 
 




 

 
 

 

 

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Influential Teachers. by Christine Johnson

Teachers make a huge impact on their students. Today I’m reminiscing about the teachers who played a role in guiding me toward my dream of writing books. It begins with my second grade teacher who instilled a love of language in my heart and gifted me a tin filled with words printed on pieces of cardboard. I loved to grab a handful of words and try to make fun sentences.

words


Middle school saw three years of grammar instruction, some of which remained with me. During those years, whenever I got bored, I wrote snippets of a “novel” on any scrap of paper on hand. Those scraps are long gone and never ended up compiled into one coherent story, but the dream remained. In high school I was blessed with an amazing literature instructor and a creative writing teacher who fed my love of story. Great teachers continued into my college years, playing a part in honing both the love of language and the love of writing.

school desks


After a brief stint student teaching, I gained a much, much greater appreciation for the dedication and work that teachers put in each day. Teachers make a huge difference in the lives of their students.

Which teacher(s) made a big impact on your life?

Mail Order Mix UpIn my upcoming April release, Mail Order Mix-Up, Pearl Lawson travels to her first teaching position in a Michigan lumber town. She brings along her best friend who was recently jilted by her fiancĂ© and an advertisement for a mail order bride for a Mr. Decker, who is located in the very same town. Pearl hopes a new relationship will revive her friend’s spirits. She doesn’t count on competition in the form of two other ladies responding to the same ad, and she certainly doesn’t anticipate falling for Mr. Decker herself.



Christine Johnson
Mail Order Mix-Up (#1, Boom Town Brides, LIH, April 2016)
Honor Redeemed (#2, Keys of Promise, Revell, July 2016)
Mail Order Mommy (#2, Boom Town Brides, LIH, Nov 2016)


Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Allie Pleiter takes on Texas...

When I chose to set my new series in Texas, I knew there had to be cowboys involved. After all, what romance reader doesn’t love her cowboys?  

Only you know me, I can’t do things like everybody else…my books always have to have something unique or off-beat about them.  A surprise element, if you will.

So I went nosing around central Texas to see what caught my eye.  Oddly enough, the perfect solution showed up right under my nose at a yarn show in Illinois.  The nice folks at The Buffalo Wool Co. captured my imagination right away.  You see, Texas is host to some of the nation’s finest bison herds (Buffalo Wool Co.’s herd included).  Once I learned the amazing story of the American bison restoration from near extinction, I was hooked.  

Or was that needled?  Because, you see, The Buffalo Wool Co. makes some truly splendid knitting yarn and other products from bison.  Cowboys! Dramatic stories! Sweeping landscapes! Knitting! Ranches!  Really, what more do you need for the perfect Allie book?? Actually, a whole series of Allie books—I couldn’t possibly hope to stop at one…

Then I met the wonderful owners of the Lucky B Bison Ranch in Bryan Texas.  This, to me, is the best part of my work:  I get to meet the most interesting people and learn about their lives.  When someone is kind enough to stage your own personal bison stampede for you, you know you’ve landed a fabulous resource.



It never ceases to amaze me how God orchestrates people and places into my life to create the books I will write.  America’s bison ranchers are an extraordinary group of people, and I was delighted to write the story of Gunner Buckton’s return to his family ranch.  The Texas Rancher’s Return is a terrific launch to this new series.  After all, who doesn’t love a homecoming for the prodigal cowboy—especially when there’s a perfect love and a new family waiting for him!

Saturday, February 13, 2016

FEATURED BOOK AND INTERVIEW: The Texas Rancher's Return by Allie Pleiter




Black-sheep cowboy Gunner Buckton is home for one reason—to keep Blue Thorn Ranch in his family where it's been for generations. No one—not even Brooke Calder—will take it from him. The cute, down-home widow may not look like a slick developer, but she works for one. Along with her adorable daughter, she's a threat to his homestead—and to his wounded heart. Brooke needs this job. Gunner may be as ornery as a bull, but it's her task to win him over. The battle lines are drawn. Only problem is, around the handsome Texan, she doesn't know which side she's on.

Interview:
How exciting to have Brooke Calden, the heroine from The Texas Rancher’s Return, a February 2016 release from Love Inspired Romance.

1.  Melba, tell me the most interesting thing about you.
I’m a young widowed mother.  My husband was shot in the mission field, and it’s left my daughter and I trying to make a life.  That may not be interesting, but it’s important.  I think my heart may be ready to move on, but I need to be extra careful for my daughter Audie’s sake.
2.  What do you do for fun?
Every Friday, my daughter and I go out for Tacos.  Friday Taco Trio had to become Friday Tacos for Two when my husband died, but it’s one of a hundred adjustments Audie and I have made.  We have fun with it, because life goes on.
3.  What do you put off doing because you dread it?
Thinking too far into the future.  Audie and I have much to be thankful for, and my job with DelTex has a bright future, so I try to take one day at a time.
4.  What are you afraid of most in life?
Discovering that I can’t make it on my own.  Or, maybe even more than that, discovering that I’m ready to let a new man into my and Audie’s life.
5.  What do you want out of life?
My new job is giving me the chance to really shine, and I’m going to show everyone that I really can balance my work and being a mother.  I’m going to be important at DelTex, and that will give Audie lots of opportunities.
6.  What is the most important thing to you?
Not what, who.  Audie.  She’s everything to me.  Only now there is this rancher I need to convince to parter with DelTex, and I’m surprised by how I’m pulled to him.
7.  Do you read books? If so, what is your favorite type of book?
I’m a single mom.  The only reading I have time for are bedtime stories and cereal boxes.
8.  If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I wish I trusted what my heart is telling me.  Am I ready to open my heart again?
9.  Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet?
I don’t have a pet, but right now there’s a stubborn bison named Daisy making my life very complicated.
10. If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why?

I’d go back to when I was a little girl so I could fully remember what it was like to be Audie’s age.