Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Catching Up After Vacation

Hi Everyone! Danica Favorite here, and I'm just giving you all a quick catch up after my vacation. Our family went to Scotland to celebrate my husband having a milestone birthday, and we had a great time. It was fun traveling as a family and getting some time off to relax. And of course, we got to see Scotland. 

Here are a few highlights from our trip:

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View of the River Ness from Inverness Castle


St. Magnus Cathedral



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Dunvegan Castle



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Eilean Donan Castle





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Chapel at Mount Stuart House




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Dunrobin Castle

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Highland Cow, or as they say, Heilan Coo. 
I want one!

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Urquhart Castle


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I got to commune with my people!

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The highlight of our trip: 
The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo





Hopefully, this gives you a taste of our trip. We spent twelve days and took hundreds of pictures, so it was hard to narrow it all down. Sorry about the formatting. I tried messing with it, and then I got tired, so I'm going to bed! 

Have any of you ever been to Scotland? What was your favorite part? If you haven't been to Scotland, what would you most like to see? 


About Danica Favorite:

A self-professed crazy chicken lady, Danica Favorite loves the adventure of living a creative life. She and her family recently moved in to their dream home in the mountains above Denver, Colorado.  Danica loves to explore the depths of human nature and follow people on the journey to happily ever after. Though the journey is often bumpy, those bumps are what refine imperfect characters as they live the life God created them for. Oops, that just spoiled the ending of all of Danica’s stories. Then again, getting there is all the fun.
You can connect with Danica at the following places:




Saying goodbye to a fabulous summer by Belle Calhoune



This summer has been pretty wonderful.  I love the lazy, peaceful summer days when school is out and my girls are carefree and traveling with us as a family.  My oldest daughter is heading into her final year of college, which is a blessing and a shock to the system.  When did she get so grown up?  In a few days we'll be traveling to Boston to move her to a new off-campus apartment.  It's bittersweet when summer comes to an end and fall begins, although I do love the crisp autumn air and leaves falling all around our yard in Connecticut.


 I love buying fresh flowers at the market.



I love the quiet moments where we drive to a sleepy town in Connecticut and eat dinner at a drive in.




It's been a great summer with many memorable highlights I'd like to share with you.

Summer for the Calhoune family always kicks off with a trip to Cape Cod.  I've been fortunate to have a family summer house there ever since I was a child.  I love that moment when we drive over the Sagamore Bridge and get a whiff of the salty ocean.  Kalmus Beach is our go-to destination for swimming and relaxing on the beach.  It's incredibly tranquil.  We had a very special afternoon of sailing out across Hyannis Harbor with my family and a group of friends.


Beautiful view while out on Hyannis Harbor.

Chartered boat for a family excursion.






Beautiful scenery during our boat ride.  Even a mini lighthouse!














In July I traveled to Orlando, Florida for the Romance Writers of America (RWA) Conference.  It's a large gathering of romance authors from all over the USA and the globe.  We decided to make it a family vacation since we love Florida.  My husband, Randy, and the girls flew to Florida about five days before the conference started and we met up with my two brothers-in-law who drove down from Alabama to meet us.  There was so much to do! Disney Springs.  Universal--Harry Potter World.  Disney.  The outlets for shopping.  There were so many good restaurants.  We stayed at Vistana Villages Sheraton Resort which was fantastic.  I love staying in a villa where I can have a kitchen and private rooms for the whole family.  Once the conference began, we relocated to the Dolphin-Swan which was beautiful as well.


On our way to Florida!


Beautiful night view at the Dolphin.

Delicious meal at Disney Springs.  

My girls enjoying the hot weather and the pool.

Poolside at Sheraton Vistana Villages.


There's nothing like a Florida sunset!


Once the RWA conference began it was fairly intense, with workshops, meet and greets, networking with authors and festive parties like the annual Harlequin party which was held at the swanky Waldorf Astoria.  I gasped when I walked inside the hotel.  It was absolutely beautiful.

The gorgeous pool area at the Waldorf.



Hanging out with lovely Love Inspired authors

The Harlequin party!!









Delicious desserts at the Harlequin party.  Macarons!













Enjoying a luncheon with Author Karen Kirst.


One of the highlights was being able to present a workshop on Inspirational Romance with dear friends and fellow Love Inspired authors--Jolene Navarro, Lee McClain and Danica Favorite.



When we returned from Florida, we brought our new puppy Beau home.  He is a black Labrador Retriever and he's adorable and goofy and full of unbridled energy.                                              



On August 22nd, "His Secret Alaskan Heiress" hit the shelves.  It's Book 5 in my Alaskan Grooms series and it features one of my favorite characters, Sophie--she's an heiress masquerading as a barista at the Moose Cafe in Love, Alaska.





Something funny happened when I received my copies of the True Large Print of "His Secret Alaskan Heiress."  Instead of it being a box of my books, they were books belonging to Author Allie Pleiter.  She also has a September release titled "The Texas Rancher's New Family."  Woops!  After Allie and I talked about the mix-up, we decided to do a giveaway.  I'll be giving away a copy of "The Texas Rancher's New Family" and Allie will be giving away a copy of "His Secret Alaskan Heiress."  These are True Large Print copies and are absolutely gorgeous.





In order to be in the running, please comment on the post.  Best of luck!


Wishing everyone glorious last days of summer!!



Sunday, August 27, 2017

Sunday Scripture


Delivery of the Keys, Percegino, c. 1481-1482,
Sistine Chapel, Vatican City, Rome. [PD-US]


Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi and
he asked his disciples,"Who do people say that the Son of Man is?" They replied, "Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah,still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets." He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" Simon Peter said in reply,"You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." Jesus said to him in reply,"Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter,and upon this rock I will build my church,and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven;and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." Then he strictly ordered his disciplesto tell no one that he was the Christ.
Matthew 16:13-20

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Never Send A Man To Do What Only God Can


Hi all! Virginia Vaughan here. Even before I put pen to paper, I knew I wanted to be a writer, but when I told my family and teachers my aspirations, the feedback I received was mixed at best. They didn’t understand how a person could want to do such a thing as writing for a living. The idea was so foreign to them that I might as well have said I wanted to be an international assassin and they would have received it better. It didn’t help that I grew up in Mississippi where writers like William Faulkner and Eudora Welty had set the bar for writers. I was met with blank stares, comments about how difficult a life it would be, and questions like, “But what real job are you going to do to support yourself so you can write?”


Image result for writers from mississippi
Notable Mississippi Writers



So the other night, I watched one of my all-time favorite movies, Coal Miner’s Daughter. As I was watching it, that green-eyed jealousy monster popped up inside me. In case you’ve never seen it, it’s the movie based on the autobiography of country and western singer, Loretta Lynn. In the movie, Loretta is pushed and prodded by her husband to become a singer. He buys her first guitar and takes her to a honky-tonk where he proceeds to arrange, without her knowledge, for her to perform with the band. When she balks at the idea of getting up in front of people, he pushes her to do so, telling her, “I’m proud of you when you sing.” And once she has overcome that fear and learned to love it, he pushes her to record an album then stays up all night mailing it off to radio stations across the country. Later, they take a road trip, visiting each of those stations to make sure her record is played. As a result, by the time they reach Nashville, singer Loretta Lynn has her first charted record. He has pushed her to use her gift and opened doors for her to succeed.


Image result for coal miner's daughter movie


I can’t help it. Each time I watch that movie, I get so jealous. Like many writers, I’m an introvert, so putting myself out there, speaking up at conferences, making the necessary connections has always been something I’ve struggled with. What I wouldn’t give to have someone in my life who pushed me and encouraged me to pursue my own dream the way the husband in that movie did. If only I had someone like that person in my life, I knew I could make it at this writing gig. I waited a long time for God to send me that special person who would fill this role, but my fairy tale prince charming never materialized. It seemed I was on my own.

Of course, I wasn’t really. I did have someone behind me, pushing me forward, giving me the strength and courage I needed to speak up at conferences, opening doors for me in the publishing world, and guiding my writing journey. God was with me doing all those things I’d been waiting and praying and yearning for a man to do. In fact, God could do all I needed and so much better.

I’m still on this journey, trying to follow his guidance, watching in amazement as he continues to open doors for me to walk through and makes a dream I’ve had since childhood come true. I currently have six books through Love Inspired Suspense with another set to release in January of 2018, and a contract for two more. I’ve also published two Christmas novellas and have a story included in a romantic suspense collection with six other romantic suspense authors. I have been truly blessed and I have God to praise for making it happen. You see, he’s done more for me than any man could ever do and while it would be nice to have that person behind me, supporting me, it wouldn’t be the same. I’ve proven to my family and friends that dreams do come true through hard work, persistence, and a whole lot of faith in my Heavenly Father.


My current release from LIS

And now when I hear that voice saying those words I’ve so longed to hear—I’m proud of you when you write and I love it when you use your gifts to glorify me—they mean so much more to me than they ever could have coming from anyone else.

My current series with LIS-- Rangers Under Fire

Author Bio: Virginia Vaughan was born and raised in Mississippi and has never strayed far beyond those borders. Blessed to come from a large, Southern family, her fondest memories include listening to stories recounted by family and friends around the large dinner table. She was a lover of books even from a young age and soon started writing them herself. Book 5 of her current series, Rangers Under Fire, Mission Undercover, is now available and Book 6, Mission: Memory Recall releases in January, 2018.







Wednesday, August 23, 2017

LOVE INSPIRED HISTORICALS

I love to entertain readers and although I don't write a regular blog I do post humor and personal thoughts on Facebook. That's one of my connections with the outside world when I'm deep into writing a new book. I have a page for Valerie Hansen that covers my books and another one as Valerie Hansen Whisenand for everything else. If you look there you can read about the time I tried to burn wasps out of the barbecue and almost set my house on fire. Or you can see pictures of my lab swimming with catfish almost as big as she is. (good thing she wasn't a Chihuahua!) Oh, and my adventures in relearning how to cook. Those are spectacular - and did not catch the house on fire.




I see life as one long class run by God. He watches me and teaches gently despite my penchant for jumping into something without proper caution. And he blesses me beyond belief when I put my trust in Him. There is a difference between joy and happiness. I can be happy over the smallest thing, such as the wag of a dog's tail or the taste of a cookie. But Joy is deeper. Truer. Constant in spite of momentary setbacks or even great losses. There have been times when I have lost sight of the good and focused too much on troubles so I believed my joy was gone. It was not. It, like my Lord and Savior, we still there, faithfully waiting until I got through grieving and looked up again.

It's my prayer that my books, and all those Love Inspired titles you may have read, will point you to the Father who truly does love unconditionally.

Valerie Hansen

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

You Can Take the Girl Out of Texas, but...

You can take the girl out of Texas, but you can’t take Texas out of the girl!


Yep, I was born and raised in the great state of Texas and proud of it. Lived there (except for seven short months in 1976) from birth until 2011. Then, after living in Houston for 13 years, my husband and I decided we’d had enough of the heat, humidity, and mosquitoes—not to mention a couple of hurricane scares. So we packed up and moved to Tulsa, where friends living there said we’d enjoy the “milder” climate.

Fast-forward five more years, and we were ready to leave Oklahoma’s “mild” ice storms, tornado threats, and 110-degree summers behind! By then, one of our daughters was living in North Carolina, and the other daughter thought her husband might also be transferred there (it didn’t happen). Still, with the possibility of living near all the grandchildren, we relocated once more.

For the record, North Carolina is by far the most beautiful place I’ve ever lived. And yes, the climate really is mild, with four seasons but comparatively few weather extremes, at least in the six years we’ve been here. We have good friends, a church we love, and at least one half of the grandkid generation to enjoy. (When they’re in town, anyway. Another long story—this daughter and her family are dedicated to mission work, and they just left on another lengthy overseas assignment.)


But Texas . . . ah, Texas. Nowhere else can you find those amazing fields awash in bluebonnets every spring. Nowhere else can you find authentic Tex-Mex or real Texas-style barbecued brisket. Besides the longtime friends and extended family we left behind in the Lone Star State, those are the things we miss most.

Texas is definitely a state of contrasts—the lush farmland of the Rio Grande Valley (where I grew up), the piney woods of East Texas, the high desert beauty of Big Bend Country, the flatlands of the Panhandle that seem to go on forever, and—one of my favorite areas—the rugged, rocky Texas Hill Country.

I don’t get back to Texas much anymore, bur I revisit every chance I can through my books, and the latest is Her Hill Country Cowboy, my September release from Love Inspired. With longstanding family ties in the Texas Hill Country, plus fond memories of horseback riding on my brother’s ranch, how could I resist setting my story there? About an hour’s drive northwest of San Antonio, the fictional town of Juniper Bluff is home to Serenity Hills Guest Ranch, a small operation run by (of course) a handsome cowboy.

Naturally, there’s a pretty girl in the story, exactly the right woman to heal this cowboy’s wounded spirit and fill the empty place in the lives of his motherless children. And while she’s falling in love with the cowboy, it isn’t long before this quiet little Texas town starts feeling like home, and all the people there like old friends.

Here I am several years ago in Texas taking my grandson for a horseback ride.

Is there a place where you’ve lived or traveled to that remains dear to your heart, no matter how far away life takes you? What makes it special? Do you return often . . . or wish you could?


Award-winning author Myra Johnson writes emotionally gripping stories about love, life, and faith. Myra is a two-time finalist for the prestigious ACFW Carol Awards, winner of Christian Retailing’s Best for historical fiction, and winner in the Inspirational category of the National Excellence in Romance Fiction Awards. Originally from Texas but now residing in the beautiful Carolinas, Myra and her husband love the climate and scenery, but they may never get used to the pulled pork Carolinians call “barbecue”! The Johnsons share their home with two very pampered doggies who don’t always understand the meaning of “Mom’s trying to write.” They have also inherited the cute little cat (complete with attitude) their daughter and family had to leave behind.


Sign up to receive Myra’s quarterly e-news updates here!

Monday, August 21, 2017

New for August 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.

http://amzn.to/2fSNQe3
Deadly Disclosure
by Meghan Carver 

FATAL FAMILY SECRETS
Getting shot at on her way to work is only the first shock of law student Hannah McClarnon's day. The second is when FBI agent Derek Chambers—her first love—reveals the truth about Hannah's family. Though Hannah was raised by a wealthy Indianapolis couple, her birth father was with the Chicago mafia. And now, convinced she has information against them, they're hunting her down. Derek's first big assignment is to protect Hannah, and it's becoming more personal every minute. He's never revealed why he left long ago, and he still believes Hannah deserves someone better. But with the enemy in relentless pursuit, he'll risk his life to be the man she needs—and loves—again.

http://amzn.to/2fTv1am
Plain Retribution
by Dana R. Lynn

AMISH ABDUCTION
Ten years ago while on rumspringa, Rebecca Miller and her friends were kidnapped and held captive…and now, living in the English world, she's nearly abducted again. One by one her friends who once helped send their abductor to jail are targeted, and she is next…unless police officer Miles Olsen can stop a killer. Deaf since birth, the only person on the force that Rebecca can communicate with is Miles, and he needs this case to redeem himself of past mistakes. When the relentless killer tracks them deep into the heart of Amish country, protecting Rebecca must be Miles's sole focus. Because a mistake this time will cost something worth more to him than his job—the woman he's falling for.