Sunday, July 30, 2017

Safe Travel!

The Lord's Prayer, James Tissot, 1886-1894,
Brooklyn Museum. [PD-US]

This, then, is how you should pray:
“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but from the evil one.”
Matthew 6:9-13

This past week, writers 
from around the world attended the
Romance Writers of America 
National Conference 2017
in
Disney World, Florida.
Please pray for their safe travel 
as they journey home.


Thursday, July 27, 2017

It's Classified, but I can tell you--Lenora Worth

So I love writing about K9 officer dogs. I've always admired them and one of my early Love Inspired books (A Tender Touch) was about a police officer and his K9 partner. They were on leave after an accident and my hero, Clay, went home to Sunset Island, Georgia, to heal. But when a child goes missing, Clay and Samson help to locate him. I did research back then but little did I know that things would go even deeper with my K9 fascination. As of now, I've written books for seven K9 continuities and I'm working on number eight. So my research has gone way beyond that first book.

I love the research and I love working on the continuities with the other talented LIS writers who are my friends. We brainstorm, bang our heads against the wall, laugh, sometimes cry!!, but always respect the writing. We want to get things right while keeping in mind this is first a romance but always suspenseful.

So I'm happy to say that my next K9 adventure comes out in September. It's the last book of the Classified K9 series about an elite FBI team in Montana who are searching for an agent who might have gone rogue. My book brings the rogue agent face to face with the mother of his son and his half-brother (my hero) to bring the whole series to a climatic end! (Of course.) But meantime, I wanted to show off the covers again. They are always wonderful and suspenseful and hey, we love the K9s!

I hope those of you who love suspense will comment on this series if you're reading it and for those who haven't read any of the LIS K9 series, give them a try. Our dogs will woof at you! Leave a comment and I'll draw a name and send you a free early copy of my September release Tracker! Check back here next week for the winner!

The first four books, available NOW online!!


The next book out in August:

And my story, out in September:

This is Cheetah. He's an Australian Shepherd!

Tell us what you think!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Baking Aspirations by Christine Johnson

Confession time here. I’m a huge fan of baking shows. Holiday Baking Championship, Cupcake Wars, The Great British Baking Show and its American counterpart—I love them all. And their creations? Sigh. Gorgeous cakes, almost too pretty to eat. Fresh bread out of the oven that I can practically smell.

bread


After acquiring a gorgeous pie cookbook filled with mouth-watering photos, I decided to bake one pie per week this past winter. I found willing guinea pigs—er, tasters—and bought my supplies.

Where to begin? I decided a yummy chicken pot pie sounded good. Several hours later (why did I choose such a difficult pie?), it came out of the oven and was ready for tasting. I declared it a success, and my tasters agreed.

pie
No, this isn’t my effort. Mine wasn’t nearly as symmetrical. No photos were taken in order to protect the unskilled.


Alas, the next pie—a chocolate cream pie—turned to disaster when the filling went from thick at room temperature to soup in the refrigerator. I still don’t understand the chemistry of what happened.

A quiche fell flat but tasted good. The frozen strawberry cream pie required a machete to cut into pieces. And the list went on. Needless to say, I won’t be entering The Great American Baking Show anytime soon. On the plus side, all my tasters said they were willing to keep trying my creations. Bless them, Lord! And the key lime pie in a gingersnap crust was delicious.

Are you a baker? Or, like me, do you love to watch cooking shows and dream of being so skilled?

dinner rolls


In my latest book with Love Inspired Historical, Mail Order Sweetheart, the heroine, Fiona, needs to get a husband quickly. She has tried to attract a husband with her baking skills. Unlike my efforts in the kitchen, her rolls and breads are a total success. Her efforts to get a husband? Not so much. With her savings dwindling and her seven-year-old niece en route to live with her, Fiona makes one last gigantic effort to attract a man of means.

Mail Order Sweetheart cover


Christine Johnson
Mail Order Sweetheart (LIH, June 2017)
Freedom’s Price (Revell, June 2017)
http://christineelizabethjohnson.com


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

A Visit to Remember

Patricia Davids here. I hope you are enjoying the hot, hot days of summer. I've been dreaming of cooler weather and beautiful fall leaves. Thank goodness for air conditioning.

A dear friend of mine who is also a writer is off on a vacation with her father. They have traveled to Connecticut where she was able to visit the home of Mark Twain and actually spend time writing in his library. What a wonderful opportunity. I can't wait to hear all about it when they come home.

 

Her trip got me to thinking about what writer, past or present, I would enjoy visiting with in their home. 

I've been blessed to meet some of the wonderfully talented writers I admire at conventions hosted by the Romance Writers of America, Romantic Times and the American Christian Fiction Writers. I've spent time with many of the Love Inspired authors whose work you enjoy, but if I could pick only one to hang out with who would it be?

To pick one author out of a lifetime of books I have enjoyed is an impossible task so I shall pick three. 

I would love to spend time with Sir Walter Scott. No book has touched my imagination the way Ivanhoe did. 

LaVyrle Spencer would be my second choice. Her book Morning Glory took hold of my heart and never let go. 

Lastly, I would love to spend time with western writer Louis L'Amour. Thanks to Louis cowboys will always be my favorite heroes.

What about you? What writer would you love to meet and why? If you can't choose one, tell me about all of them.




Sunday, July 23, 2017

Praying for the RWA National Conference!

Canterbury cathedral, Ministry of Jesus window, The Miraculous Draft of Fishes.[PD-US]


PSALM 117
O Praise the Lord, all you nations,
Acclaim him all you peoples!
Strong is his love for us;
He is faithful forever.


Writers from around the world will gather this week at
Disney World, Florida
for the
Romance Writers of America National Conference 2017.
Please join me in praying for their safe travel and for a fun, educational and professionally rewarding conference for all those who attend.


Friday, July 21, 2017

How I Met My Husband (Plus Giveaway) By Heather Woodhaven

Journey back with me to the days before red-eye removal and good fashion sense….
My first year in college I belonged to a Bible Study that met late at night in my dorm. The last week before finals, a girl I’d met in a communications class attended. I was glad to see her, but we didn’t talk much. Fast forward to Christmas break when I get a phone call.

“Heather, this is Sue. I need to ask a favor. Will you sing at my wedding?”

I was at a loss. We didn’t know each other very well. I’d never met her fiancĂ© and more importantly…  “You’ve never heard me sing!”

She told me she’d prayed about it and wanted me to sing at her wedding. How could I argue with that? Oh, and the wedding was in two weeks. I agreed to do it and prayed that I didn’t ruin her big day.

The night of the rehearsal was filled with surprises. They added a song I’d never heard before (and included a very high note), and the piano player was an hour late to the rehearsal. Was he even going to show? I steeled myself for the thought that I might need to accompany myself when the double doors at the back of the sanctuary burst open.

A burly man with long flowing hair strode down the aisle. I stared in disbelief. There was no way this was the piano player. Beyond the open doors, past the windows in the lobby, a hideous yellow van marred the view of freshly fallen snow. The man held up his hands and explained he’d crashed in a ditch on the way to the rehearsal, but he was ready to get “the show on the road.”

He sat down, gave me a cursory glance, and started playing. He used the sheet music as a starting point but his fast fingers made the song sound a thousand times better. I almost forgot to sing along. After our portion was done, he introduced himself. Within minutes we realized we shared a passion for music, writing, missions, and the gospel. I left that night, shaken, because I had a strong inkling that I’d just met my future husband. He wasn’t at all what I’d expected.

Letters were exchanged as he was finishing his degree two hours away. Soon, we began emailing each other from computer labs, technology so new that the screen was black and the letters were green. One night, studying for midterms I heard beautiful saxophone music playing outside. I peeked out my window and there my musician stood serenading me with an aria.

We dated for six months. He proposed by the light of a full moon, and we were married two months later.

We dove into his new position as a youth and worship minister while I continued in school. We did (and wore) some crazy things!


In August we will celebrate twenty-three years together with three children ages nineteen, sixteen, and thirteen. It’s been a wild ride!

Speaking of wild rides, Tracking Secrets was released this month. I’m giving away some signed paperbacks.

This giveaway has ended and two winners have been notified.


Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Keeping Cool

Hi Everyone!

Rhonda Gibson here. How many of you are keeping cool this summer? This has been a HOT summer. I've been driving back and forth between New Mexico and Oklahoma. Both are great states and both are HOT. Yes, I'm screaming the word HOT at you. I'll stop now.

But they are different kinds of hot. Oklahoma is a sticky hot. I know some of you will know what I mean. New Mexico is a dry hot.  Even though I am doing lots of traveling between the two states, I am reading a lot this summer to keep cool. I've read about ten books so far. I love reading all year long but find that I read more in the summer.

I've read several LI books and a couple of YA books. I have also read a few non-fictions. See, lots of reading to keep cool.

So tell me what have you been reading? Do you read in the summer? Or are you more of a winter time reader.

I confess I read year round, but read more in the summer to keep cool.

 





I hope this fall you will pick up a copy of  Pony Express Special Delivery. I'm sad to say that this will be my last Pony Express book for LIH. It will hit the shelves in September!


Until next time,


Happy Reading!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Horses, Goats and Piggies, Oh My!!

When I was a child, I loved horses. I dreamed about owning a horse someday. I collected Breyer models and even participated in “showing” them via snail mail and photos (no email in those prehistoric days!) I even won a few ribbons.
I nagged my mom to get a horse—so much so that when it came around to my younger sister nagging for a horse, Mom gave in! Amy was a member of the prestigious Westernaires riding team that exhibited at the yearly National Western Stock Show rodeos.


And she got a horse. Which, apparently, is extremely contagious. I am warning you now—get one horse and you’ll want another. And another…. Well, you get the picture.
If you get lucky.

I ended up living in a small town with a pack of dogs (some of which are grand-dogs “temporarily” living at our house, according to my daughters, who keep NOT taking them home.) The Home Owners Association would have a cow if we ever—erm…got a cow—or any other kind of livestock, for that matter. Otherwise, I would definitely own a horse. <<cough—horses—cough>> And a pig.


But alas, it is not to be. This little glimpse into my childlike heart may help you understand why I love writing Western romances so much. Ranches have horses. Goats. Piggies. And even, in the book I’m currently writing, sheep. Thankfully, I have a vivid imagination. I'm all about living vicariously. 


But I get to go one step further. My sister, who owned her first horse in high school, now runs an animal sanctuary called Happy Haven Farm & Sanctuary. She has horses, goats, donkeys, piggies, a llama, dogs and a whole host of kitties, among other things. Thanks to her, I have the privilege of accompanying her on an occasional trail ride into the gorgeous Rocky Mountains on beautiful horses. And since I also have a certain affinity for piggies, I’m a piggie sponsor.


Happy Haven has a unique mission: To provide a safe place for struggling individuals, both human and animal, to find love, compassion, healing, and confidence. Happy Haven Farm & Sanctuary (HHFS) is a dual purpose non-profit, serving as both an animal centered healing & educational ranch for children and military as well as a full time sanctuary for a number of unwanted animals. Aside from minimal adoption fees, HHFS is completely funded through donations.
ON THE SANCTUARY SIDE WE ARE FIRST AND FOREMOST A SANCTUARY NOT A RESCUE. THAT MEANS THE MAJORITY OF THE ANIMALS AT HHFS ARE HERE FOR LIFE.


Amy takes on the animals who can’t be rehomed and give them permanent lodging and loving. Really cool, right?


But horses need hay, and hay costs money. HHFS is currently running a hay drive. You can help horses who would otherwise be abandoned to a kill lot to have a happy home with my sister. I'll bet if everyone who reads this donated only $5 it would make a huge difference.

So as you read my current release, The Cowboy's Baby Blessing, I hope, if you love animals the way I do, that you'll think about how you can help real horses make it through the next winter. 

You can donate to Happy Haven's Hay Drive HERE.

Awesomesauce!

And now I want to know--what is your favorite ranch animal? 

Monday, July 17, 2017

New for July from Our Love Inspired Suspense Authors

Jean C. Gordon here with new must buys from our Love Inspired Suspense authors. Just click on a cover to buy one. And to learn more about these talented ladies, click on their names.

https://www.amazon.com/Protective-Measures-True-North-Bodyguards/dp/0373457197/ref=sr_1_sc_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1498682422&sr=8-1-spell&keywords=maggie+k+black+protective+measurs
Protective Measures
by Maggie K. Black 

UNDERCOVER BODYGUARD
After an attack at a military charity gala, navy commander Leo Darius learns someone wants to kill him—and kidnap his two daughters. And there's nothing the recently widowed single father won't do to protect his girls…even if it means asking a beautiful bodyguard to pose as his girlfriend. Though security expert Zoe Dean agrees to handle the threats and near-fatal assaults, she refuses to get attached to the handsome commander and his lovely daughters. But with the would-be kidnappers closing in, saving Leo and the little girls, while protecting her heart, may be one mission Zoe can't master.

http://a.co/fFJ8CI0
Tracking Secrets
by Heather Woodhaven

CAUGHT IN THE CROSSHAIRS
A dog-sitting favor for a friend takes a terrifying twist when the police-dog-in-training runs off and leads Alexis Thompson into the middle of a drug drop. Only the quick thinking of a passing stranger gets them both out alive. Veterinarian Nick Kendrick, who's running for mayor, knows the race for survival is just beginning. As moving targets, he and Alexis must work together to learn the identity of the drug ring's murderous mastermind. But having killers on their tail isn't the only problem they face. Alexis's past as a disbarred lawyer could jeopardize Nick's political future. Only by putting their dreams and their safety on the line can they eliminate the threat to their town, and find a way forward together…

Sunday, July 16, 2017

The Parable of the Sower

Pieter Bruegel the ElderLandscape with the Parable of the Sower, 1557.
[PD-US]


On that day, Jesus went out of the house and sat down by the sea.
Such large crowds gathered around him
that he got into a boat and sat down,
and the whole crowd stood along the shore.
And he spoke to them at length in parables, saying:

"A sower went out to sow.
And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path,
and birds came and ate it up.

Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil.
It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep,
and when the sun rose it was scorched,
and it withered for lack of roots.

Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it.
But some seed fell on rich soil and produced fruit,
a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.
Whoever has ears ought to hear."
Matthew 13:1-9


Bless the work of our hands, O Lord, that we
May bear good fruit.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Plumber Man versus Tow Truck Man

Howdy,
   Pamela Tracy here.  Yesterday was my 15th wedding anniversary.  LOL.  My husband sent me a text early in the morning.  He's so romantic he added a little kiss and heart.  He's come a long way, Baby.
On my side,
romance authors
Allison Hentges,
Stacy Connelly,
Patricia Osback,
Cathy McDavid,
and my sister Roxanne.

The text came a long way, too, because I'm in Omaha right now and he's home in Scottsdale.

  I have the best "meet the husband" story of all.

  Roughly 16 years ago, I was thinking "I'm finally ready to settle down."  I'm what you call a late bloomer.

   Hmmmm, no tall, dark, and handsome's were in the vicinity, but I wasn't looking for tall, dark, and handsome anyway.  I was looking for fun, easy to be with, and employed.

  I met my husband because of a car.

  My best friend is Cathy McDavid, who writes for Harlequin Western.  I was going to spend the weekend with her family in Young, Arizona: a town so small there is no gas station.

  As luck would have it, I had to work Saturday.  Cathy's family left on Friday.  She stays behind to ride with me (gave her uninterrupted writing time)

  Practical me took my car to the gas station for maintenance on Friday so there'd be no chance of a break-down.  Friday after work (8 p.m.  I worked a lot back then.  Maybe that's why I was single) I went to pick it up.  When I tried to leave the gas station, the car went about three miles an hour.

  Something was definitely wrong.

  I head inside to the teenager - only one there - who wasn't the owner or a mechanic and said, "Why is my car not working?"

  He wasn't much of a help.  But, after an hour, he managed to get me a loaner car (a Cadillac that had push buttons before push buttons were on my radar).  I didn't like it, but I drove it.  I couldn't change the radio channel, either.  I was stuck with classical. (I'm definitely a country girl).

  Next day I'm teaching a Saturday class which ended at 11:30.  At 9:00 the janitor opens the door and tells me a water line broke and I needed to dismiss.  I knew him; didn't believe him; didn't dismiss.  My boss called with the same story.  I dismissed.  Yeah!  I can leave a little early.  If only I can get my car.

  My car wasn't ready.  I sat in the hot sun for two hours (sweat, sweat, sweat.  I'm in Arizona)  Then, they gave me a different loaner car.  An Oldsmobile.  Green.  Not my favorite color.  I transfer luggage and laptop and head for Cathy's.

  Four miles down the highway, the car starts smoking.

  I pull off the highway onto a dirt area, step outside, close the door, and call the gas station.  They will send a tow truck.

  "Er, also send a spare key," I suggested.  See, I didn't  have push buttons or AUTOMATIC LOCK on my old car that had been running fine when I took it in the day before.  When I stepped out of the Oldsmobile to make my call, I closed the door.  It stayed closed.  ARG

  I have my purse and cell phone.  Luggage and laptop are trapped inside ugly green Oldsmobile.

  I walk to a McDonald's just up the street and wait for the tow truck.

TWO HOURS later...

Cathy decides she will drive us to Young.

She meets me and we wait for the tow truck so I can get my stuff.

Tow truck finally arrives.  Driver had not been told about key and said he couldn't break in.

I pick up a big rock (if you know me, you should not be surprised) and say, "No problem.  I'll break the window."

I could live without my clothes but not my laptop.

Tow truck driver decides to break into car.

So, I'm standing there, pulling the door handle trying to give him a little more room for the digging he's doing with some tool to unlock when.....

Tow truck slips out of gear, rolls back, hits my loaner, and sends it heading for the street.

Tow truck driver runs for tow truck.  Cathy and I manage to stop the Oldsmobile (picture Cathy and I doing serious Batman maneuvers)

The tow truck driver asks me out afterwards.  (And, the tow truck hitting the Oldsmobile opened the doors!)

Did I marry the tow truck driver?

Well, he called finalizing our first date during a Desert Dreams RWA meeting.  My friend Patty Osback was sitting next to me.  She listened to the conversation and said, "You're going out with a tow truck driver?  You should go out with my brother-in-law too."

The tow truck driver turned out to be a flake.  (I'd need a longer blog to tell you every detail, but here's two).  He actually broke the first date.  Then, the second date he called me and said, "I've been kicked out of my apartment.  Will you pick me up at the motel where I'm staying."

Ah, no.

Plumber wasn't a flake, (happy sigh) and fifteen years later, we be three.

What I didn't know was that after fifteen years, I love him more than the day I married him.  He's that much fun.

And eventually baby made three.
He's 12 now.
Ain't romance grand.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

How Do You Come Up With This Stuff By Patty Smith Hall


Several weeks ago, I helped my cousin’s second grade class complete an English project. In the days before my visit, the kids were assigned to come up with a list of characters and setting for a story that we would complete together in class. The day of my visit arrived. Over the next hour, the kids and I weaved an imaginative story filled with battles and learning right from wrong and the power of a grandmother’s love.

Once we finished and the kids were assigned their new project, I sat down with another cousin who decided to visit that day.

“How do you do that?” she asked after the usual inquiries about grandchildren. “I mean, how do you come up with that stuff?”

I wasn’t sure I could tell her it all started with Batman.

Now, I’m not talking about the George Cooney-Ben Afleck-Val Kilmer caped crusader. I’m going old school with the campy television version starring Adam West and Burt Ward as the dynamic duo! With a right hook(BAM!) and a left upper cut(KAPOW!) these caped crusaders cleaned up Gotham City every week from the likes of the Joker, the Penguin and Catwoman.

But for me, Batman was so much more. It sparked my imagination for the first time in my young life. Many Sunday afternoons while on long boring drives with my parents, I’d step into the fantasy world of Gotham City, coming up with different stories with Batman and Robin. And of course, me.

Silly, I know, but looking back, I realized how much I learned about storytelling basics from the show—romantic conflict(Batman and Catwoman’s charged relationship,) chapter breaks(how would the dynamic duo escape the Riddler’s clutches THIS time?) and satisfying endings(the caped crusaders save the day!)

What were some of your favorite TV shows when you were growing up?





A multi-published author with Love Inspired Historical and Barbour, Patty lives in North Georgia with her husband of 30+ years, Danny; two gorgeous daughters, her son-in-love and a grandboy who has her wrapped around his tiny finger. When she’s not writing on her back porch, she’s spending time with her family or working in her garden.