Sunday, October 28, 2018

Sunday Scripture

Jesus healing blind Bartimaeus,
Johann Heinrich Stöver, 1861,
Erbach, Germany. [GNU Free/CC]


As Jesus was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a sizable crowd,
Bartimaeus, a blind man, the son of Timaeus,
sat by the roadside begging.
On hearing that it was Jesus of Nazareth,
he began to cry out and say,
"Jesus, son of David, have pity on me."
And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. 
But he kept calling out all the more,
"Son of David, have pity on me."
Jesus stopped and said, "Call him."
So they called the blind man, saying to him,
"Take courage; get up, Jesus is calling you."
He threw aside his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus. 
Jesus said to him in reply, "What do you want me to do for you?" 
The blind man replied to him, "Master, I want to see." 
Jesus told him, "Go your way; your faith has saved you." 
Immediately he received his sight
and followed him on the way.
Mark 10:46-52


If you have any prayer needs, please mention them in the comments section so we can join you in prayer. You do not need to include specific names or situations of a private nature, just say that you have a prayer request. The Lord knows your heart and the needs you have. It is a privilege and honor to pray with you and for you.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

New for November from Our Love Inspired Contemporary Ladies

Jean C. Gordon here with four new must buys from our Love Inspired Contemporary authors. Just click on the cover or retailer links to purchase it. And to learn more about Leigh, Patricia, Jolene, and Roxanne, click on their names.

https://www.amazon.com/Amish-Choice-Colorado-Courtships-Book-ebook/dp/B07CK374JH
His Amish Choice
by Leigh Bale 
 
He came back home…but will he stay?
A Colorado Amish Courtships novel

When Lizzie Beiler’s fiancé cast her and his Amish faith aside to pursue an Englisch education, she vowed never to marry. Now he’s back and helping on her father’s farm. And though Lizzie’s unsure she can ever forgive him, she finds their love still lingers. But is Eli finally ready to build a family with Lizzie…or will he return to his Englisch life?
Amazon | B&N | Harlequin | Kobo | Google Play | iBooks

https://www.amazon.com/Amish-Wife-Christmas-North-Country-ebook/dp/B07CJWRHDC
An Amish Wife for Christmas
by Patricia Davids 

Will marriage save her family?
Christmas with the North Country Amish

Bethany Martin has until Christmas to prove to the Amish community that she can raise her siblings—including her mischievous brother—without a husband. Then handsome newcomer Michael Shetler arrives, winning over Bethany’s siblings. He might be the answer to their prayers, but Michael has a troubled past. Can Bethany love a man with secrets…even if it’s the only thing keeping her family together?
Amazon | B&N | Harlequin | Kobo | Google Play | iBooks

https://www.amazon.com/Lone-Star-Christmas-Legacy-Inspired-ebook/dp/B07CK9742S
Lone Star Christmas
by Jolene Navarro 

The Cowboy’s Christmas Reunion
A Lone Star Legacy Romance

Determined to restore the historic buildings in Clear Water, Texas, Jackie Bergmann needs permission from the property’s new owner—her ex-boyfriend. And though Max Delgado agrees to give her access, he has one request: that she help him care for his orphaned brothers. But when she starts to fall for Max again, can she convince him not to sell his family’s ranch…and stay home for Christmas and forever?
Amazon | B&N | Harlequin | Kobo | Google Play | iBooks

https://www.amazon.com/Montana-Mistletoe-Inspired-Roxanne-Rustand-ebook/dp/B07CJZTHQ8
Montana Misletoe
by Roxanne Rustand 

Wanted: a Nanny for Christmas
A Rocky Mountain Ranch novel

The only job Abby Halliwell can find in her Montana hometown is temporary nanny to two mischievous little girls. But it’s on her ex-boyfriend Jess Langford’s ranch. Jess needs help raising twins suddenly left in his care, so he and Abby are determined to be professional. But between unexpected holiday happenings and two mischievous matchmakers, will their business arrangement turn into something more?
Amazon | B&N | Harlequin | Kobo | Google Play | iBooks

Friday, October 26, 2018

Grateful for Every Day


          Do you ever find it hard to wait? I do. I have always struggled with my inner impatience. It seems that in life we are always waiting for something, either positive or negative. It’s always been that way. I remember being a child counting down the days until Christmas. We are forever looking forward to what comes next.

          As a writer, I sometimes need to remind myself to appreciate each day as it comes. Waiting is a huge part of every day. Authors have to wait to hear back about proposals or manuscripts submitted or contests submitted to. Even after a contract is awarded, there is the waiting for that first glimpse of a cover or for the book to be released.

          Still, it is important to appreciate every day. To be present in the lives of those we love. Life goes by fast enough. 

         I am reminded of this when I look at my children. My oldest graduated last June, and will be headed off to college in August. My middle child is a senior. We were at senior night at his football game last week where he made his first touchdown. Yay! And my sweet baby boy is now a freshman who is as tall as my husband.
         This picture was taken two years ago at New Year's. My three are the two boys in black hoodies near the back and the girl beside them holding the cat. Aren't they beautiful? My mother's heart is full of pride to see the kind and funny people they are becoming.

          I have decided to start a gratitude journal, to help me appreciate each day that I am given and to remind me of the importance of focusing on the day at hand.

          I almost forgot to post a picture of my November release. Amish Christmas Emergency will be available in e-book on November 1.  



Thursday, October 25, 2018

Love Me Some Autumn

So far this fall, North Carolinians have survived two hurricanes—Florence and Michael. And the temperatures are only just beginning to feel like autumn.


Autumn is my favorite season—and I can't let it pass by without a celebration.

So I ventured to the Farmer's Market—one of my favorite autumn activities—and decorated my house. From the mountain orchards of the Blue Ridge, farmers sell a variety of apples, perfect for applesauce or pie. Fall is also my excuse for buying mums, pumpkins, chai tea and apple cider.



When my girls were small, every autumn we planned a long weekend to a different corner of NC and camped. Okay, here's my version of camping—renting a cabin with electricity, indoor plumbing and preferably close to a larger lodge where all meals are provided.


But the cabin must have a fireplace, and I lugged some of my favorite autumnal children's books with me to read aloud to them in front of the fire after making s'mores. Books like Miss Suzy by Miriam Young from my own childhood; Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey; and We're Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen—which we re-enacted.


These weekends included hikes to lacy, cascading waterfalls and picking a bushel of apples from a local orchard.

But with flown-the-nest college and career girls, my mountain vacation has been reduced for now to a a stolen afternoon trip to the Farmer's Market. This year, I bought Magna-bonum's (ranked as one of the ten greatest Southern apples) and here's the apple pie that resulted.


How do you celebrate the arrival of autumn? What autumn traditions have you built with your family?

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Why I Sent My Books to the Other Side of the Country by Virginia Vaughan


Hi y’all! Virginia Vaughan here. I’m so happy to be posting today and I wanted to share an interesting thing that happened recently. Besides being a writer, I’m also a reader and a collector. I LOVE LOVE LOVE books. Did I mention I love books? I will buy books even when my TBR pile takes up an entire bookshelf all on its own. <I’m sure many of you can relate.>

So imagine my horror when God spoke to me a few weeks ago and told me to give some of my precious, treasured books—ones that I had already read and loved—to a good friend who lived on the other side of North America from me.


Look how far they had to travel!!


This friend had been my neighbor for many years before she moved to Washington to be closer to her grandchildren. But she’s also a voracious reader. When she was still next door, she would buy books, read them then walk across the yard to share them with me and my mom one book at a time. These days, she continues that tradition by mailing them to us a box of books at a time. And who doesn’t love getting boxes of books in the mail every couple of months? I sure do! But the books she buys and sends are usually the steamy romances or the secular suspense books. 

My friend always gets a copy of my current release and reads it. She even tells me how much she enjoys my books and how she cannot wait for the next one. While I’m always happy to hear that from anyone, I never questioned that she actually liked them until a few months ago when God whispered a command to me.

Send her some books.

I’d just gotten the author copies for my current release so, at first, I thought He was talking about that. No problem. I slipped one into an envelope and got it ready to put in the mail. Lickety-split. Oh yeah, I was feeling good about myself and how effortlessly I followed God’s directions. *patting myself on the back*

Only no. That wasn't what He'd meant. 

As I passed by one of my bookshelves filled with that precious treasure—aka my collection of books—I felt that prompting again. Send her some books. I vividly recall reaching out to touch the spines of my books and stroking them ever so gently as I cringed at the thought of getting rid of even one. 

Actual photo of me stroking my books

Was He really asking me to give away my books! Not my books! I thought. Not the books I’d spent hours upon hours reading and falling in love with. What if I wanted to re-read them? What about the book tree I do every Christmas with my collection? What about—what about—what about??

After my minor—okay, not so minor—pity party, I knew it was the right thing to do. My friend was constantly sharing her books with us. It was time I shared some of mine with her. I packed up a box of my favorite Christian romantic suspense titles and shipped them to her.
Then I held my breath and waited.

You see, my friend was once hurt badly by the church and has never returned. She avoids anyplace, so it seems to me, that she might hear the word of God preached. That pain she endured has colored her judgement of Christianity for over forty years. I hadn’t told her I was sending her these books and, while she’s always been ready to read the stories I’ve written, I worried she wouldn’t be receptive to other Christian fiction novels.


It wasn’t long before we received a call from her. She’d read through the books I’d sent her. AND SHE’D LOVED THEM! She even asked me about other titles from the authors of the books I had sent and stated she was going to look for other books by them.

PTL!!!

Does this mean she’ll stop reading the steamy romances or the secular suspense books with all their bad language? *I'm not bashing them.* All I know is that she’s now added Christian fiction into her rotation of reading. New doors have opened to her and those doors will do more than just entertain her. They’ll minister to her in ways she’s been unwilling to hear before. They’ll also guide her and, hopefully, ease the hurts people of the church inflicted on her all those years ago. How do I know this? Because at the heart of Christian fiction is the word of God and Isaiah 55:11 tells us that His word will not return void. It will accomplish that it was meant for. And, in case I wasn’t clear, sending her those books was not my idea. That was all God.   

My November release DEADLY CHRISTMAS DUTY was one of the books I sent to my friend. She’s already read it and loved it. You can read it too in only eight short days—eeek!!!—when it releases in E-book on November 1st




Blessings and Happy Reading!

Virginia


Award winning author Virginia Vaughan lives by the motto ‘It’s not hoarding if its books’. Always the kid with her nose stuck in a book, becoming a multi-published author hasn’t stopped Virginia from continuing to grow her own collection of favorite reads. Her family has refused to help her move anymore because of the sheer number boxes of books, but she’s no quitter. She’ll keep buying books and, the next time she moves, hire a moving van.

If you love stories where romance intersects danger and faith, subscribe to Virginia’s email list at http://eepurl.com/dtFeVP  and be the first to know when a new story arrives.


Connect with Virginia:
Email Newsletter:   http://eepurl.com/dtFeVP

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Writing a Continuity Story By Laura Scott

Good morning authors and readers! I'm here to talk about the amazing, frustrating, exciting, nerve-wracking yet infinitely rewarding job of writing a continuity story for Love Inspired Suspense!

Here's a brief recipe:

First - Review the story overview provided by the editorial staff. You see, editors get together and come up with an idea for an eight book continuity series. They not only figure out each book's basic plot but then come up with an overarching story line to be threaded throughout the entire series. I believe the overview for this series was about 50 pages long.

Next - Get invited to participate with a fabulous group of highly talented authors!

Third - Discuss the plot ideas that work and those that don't and agree to make changes. Mind you this is the most time-consuming part of the baking process. This may sound easy but in reality takes hours and hours and e-mails upon e-mails. A change in one book can ripple down the entire series so we don't make changes lightly!

Fourth - Do more edits and validate Every. Single. Detail. With your fellow authors!

Finally your cake - or ahem - book is ready to be consumed by a slew of happy readers. And it's calorie free! How great is that?



I'm pleased to introduce the seventh book in the Military K-9 Unit continuity series! I have to say that this series was particularly challenging because we wanted to get the military details correct. Any errors are completely my own! And I will say, in this book I think I have more dogs than people!



Monday, October 22, 2018

Christian Roots in Jack O'Lanterns? Jolene Navarro


Hello, Jolene Navarro checking in from the Texas Hill Country. This is my view as I sip my tea and write this post.
Texas Hill Country Sunrise from Jolene Navarro's front porch.
Last weekend we had our family Pumpkin Carving Slam. I love Fall, the colors, scents, and flavors. Did you know it has Halloween and Pumpkin carvings have Christian roots?
Family Fall Fun - Jolene Navarro

My sister and I started hosting a pumpkin carving fest with our kids about twenty years ago when they little. One year someone asked why we carved pumpkins? So I did some research. Where does the tradition come from? I’m glad you asked…
Carving Pumpkins - Jolene Navarro


The tradition of Jack-O-Lanterns came to the USA from the way of our Irish immigrants. Did you know that the original Jack-O-Lanterns were carved into beets, turnips & potatoes?
Like most traditions it starts with a myth, a story created to warn children to behave and not play with the devil or you’ll end up like poor “Stingy Jack”.

“Stingy Jack” was an Irish man that loved playing tricks on people and thought he could outsmart the devil. It all started when he invited Mr. Satan to have a drink. 
Jack tricked Satan to turn himself into a coin. Then he left the bar tab unpaid and put the coin in his pocket, next to a silver cross. This, of course, trapped the Devil from changing back.
Laughing at his own trick, he thought he was so smart. He finally made a deal with the Devil. He would free him if Satan vowed he would not claim Jack’s soul for a year.

A year later and bored, Jack tricked the Devil into climbing a tree for a piece of fruit on a top branch. The Devil’s pride once again had him falling for Jack’s ploy. While Satan reached for the fruit, Jack carved a cross into the trunk, trapping the Devil.
This time he made the Devil promise not to bother him for ten years. Before the decade was up though, Jake, drunk fell from his horse and died.
Now the story tells of Jake’s true fate. God, not pleased with how Jack had chosen to spend his life, would not allow him into heaven.

Of course, the Devil had vowed not to claim Jack’s soul, so he was left with nowhere to go. Sent out into the darkness with nothing but a lump of burning coal that he carried in a carved-out turnip. Jack wondered the earth looking for someone to play a trick on.
The Irish refer to him as “Jack of the Lantern” of course being Irish, it became Jack O’Lantern. Throughout Ireland and Scotland families started making their own versions of Jack-O-Lanterns by carving spooky designs into turnips and beets.

When the immigrants arrived at the shores of the new country they shared their stories and traditions. Soon they discovered that the native fruit, pumpkin, made a perfect canvas for the artistic carvings.
Jack-O-Lanterns - Jolene Navarro


Any good story told has a moral, a lesson to learn, so next time you see a Jack-O-Lantern remember that pride will get you in trouble and never try to outsmart the devil. It will always lead to misfortune.
Carving Pumpkins - Jolene Navarro
I love that my life is full of family traditions and get-togethers. So, goes my stories.  My latest release, A LONE STAR CHRISTMAS is full of Thanksgiving and Christmas with a big family in a small town.


https://www.amazon.com/Lone-Star-Christmas-Legacy-Inspired/dp/1335509860/ref=tmm_mmp_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

https://www.amazon.com/Lone-Star-Christmas-Legacy-Inspired/

The hero Max, comes back to town with two young brothers he just received custody. He doesn't understand family and has no connections to family traditions.  Jackie Bergmann is surrounded by family and might be the one to convince Max to stay home for Christmas...maybe forever.


What are some of your favorite family memories or traditions? Or maybe one you wish you had…it’s not too late to start one.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Sunday Scripture

The Head of Christ, Antonio da Correggio, 1521,
Getty Museum, Las Angeles. [PD-US]

James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Jesus and said to him,
"Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you." 
He replied, "What do you wish me to do for you?" 
They answered him, "Grant that in your glory
we may sit one at your right and the other at your left." 
Jesus said to them, "You do not know what you are asking. 
Can you drink the cup that I drink
or be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?" 
They said to him, "We can." 
Jesus said to them, "The cup that I drink, you will drink,
and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized;
but to sit at my right or at my left is not mine to give
but is for those for whom it has been prepared." 
When the ten heard this, they became indignant at James and John. 
Jesus summoned them and said to them,
"You know that those who are recognized as rulers over the Gentiles
lord it over them,
and their great ones make their authority over them felt. 
But it shall not be so among you.
Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant;
whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all. 
For the Son of Man did not come to be served
but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many."
Mark 10:35-45

If you have any prayer needs, please mention them in the comments section so we can join you in prayer. You do not need to include specific names or situations of a private nature, just say that you have a prayer request. The Lord knows your heart and the needs you have. It is a privilege and honor to pray with you and for you.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

New Love Inspired Books Right to Your Mailbox

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Join Christian characters as they experience the challenges of life, the promise of hope and the wonder of romance.

Read a FREE excerpt. Decide which series you like best. Choose Regular or Larger Print. Love Inspired will send your two free books plus two mystery gifts (approximate retail value of $10) directly to your door. Once you're a member, all you have to do is sit back and read.

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Friday, October 19, 2018

Our Scottish Adventure

Hi Terri Reed here. This year my husband and I celebrated our thirtieth wedding anniversary. We decided to take a trip to Scotland and Ireland.
Today I'll share some of our pictures from Scotland.  Next time I post I'll share some from Ireland.

We spent four wonderful days in Edinburgh. I love this town and the country. I really hope to go back to explore more of Scotland.
The train to Stirling 
One of the highlights was the Royal Military Tattoo. Military bands from around the world performed.
There were so many stairs to take, hills to walk and sights to see.  Here's a few pictures for you to enjoy.


Street in Edinburgh

The double decker red bus tour

statue of Robert the Bruce at Stirling Castle
The finale at the tattoo with all the performers
Edinburgh Castle

Prince Street Gardens-this is a monument to Sir Walter Scott
You can see Edinburgh Castle in the background at the top of the hill.
Loved all the bagpipers. 
Doorway to the chapel at Stirling Castle. I'm 5'7 and had to duck.

The USAF Honor Guard

And just in time for Christmas...

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Writing Conferences

Debby Giusti at the M&M 2018 Conference
book signing for Literacy.
By Debby Giusti

I recently attended the Moonlight & Magnolias Conference, sponsored by Georgia Romance Writers. GRW has been in existence for 36 years and was one of the first chapters chartered soon after the national Romance Writers of America organization was founded. Annually, writers from around the country converge in Atlanta over the first weekend in October. This year, the conference officially opened on Friday, October 5, with a breakfast welcome from GRW President Tanya Agler and M&M co-chairs, Tyra Burton and Sherrie Lea Morgan. 

Debby Giusti (L) with GRW President Tanya Agler
I took part in the Pitch Workshop that followed. During the conference, writers have an opportunity to pitch their stories to editors and agents. The morning session partnered seasoned authors with unpublished writers who wanted feedback on how to improve their pitches.
Bestselling Author Jana Oliver (L) with M&M 2018
Co-Chair Tyra Burton (R)
A wide assortment of workshops were offered Friday and Saturday. Some of the topics included story and character development, trends in the publishing industry and innovative digital resources for writers. The editing and revision processes were also discussed as well as the ins and outs of self-publishing.
Officer Bryce Flora and his K-9 Valor
As a suspense author, I enjoyed the workshops presented by law enforcement personnel and first responders. They provided information about crime scene investigation, EMTs and K-9 units, along with an in-depth discussion about the criminal mind.
GRW Chapter Speaker Sally Kilpatrick

Bestselling Author and Keynote Speaker Beverly Jenkins
Our two amazing luncheon speakers provided inspiration and motivation. Award winning author Sally Kilpatrick was the GRW Chapter speaker on Friday. Bestselling Author Beverly Jenkins provided the keynote address on Saturday. Both ladies entertained us with wit and grace as they reflected on their publishing journeys and the writing life.

 
Craftie Lady and Award Winning Author
Myra Johnson. Myra was a Maggie
finalist in the Published Inspirational Category.

Saturday night, we dressed up for the Awards Ceremony and Banquet. Everyone looked so stylish. After dinner, the winners of the Maggie Awards of Excellence in both the published and unpublished categories were announced. Chapter awards were also conferred on deserving GRW members.


(L to R) Peggy Anderson, Becke Turner, Darlene Buchholz
and Debby Giusti at the Maggie Awards Ceremony
Freelance editor Mollie Traver provided an extensive, hands-on workshop Sunday morning titled, “Taking a Scene from Dull to Dazzling.” Mollie provided lots of tips on how to enhance our stories one scene at a time. At the conclusion of her excellent presentation, we grabbed our suitcases and said goodbye to new friends and old. Everyone promised to stay connected via email and social media and to return next year for M&M 2019.
 
Freelance Editor Mollie Traver
Why do writers attend conferences? There are many reasons…to hone our craft, learn new information about the industry, meet leading professions in the publishing world, connect with other writers and to make new friends. For the writers stopping by today, please add your thoughts on writing conferences and why you enjoy attending them. Readers, I hope you’ll share information about any conferences you’ve attended either for work or pleasure.


Happy writing! Happy reading!

Wishing you abundant blessings,

Debby Giusti



AMISH CHRISTMAS SECRETS
By Debby Giusti

Safe Haven for the Holidays
The thrilling Amish Protectors conclusion
Leaving the nursing home where she works, Rosie Glick’s accosted by a man demanding incriminating evidence her murdered boyfriend stole—until Ezra Stoltz scares him off. Now with a killer dead set on silencing the Amish single mother, Ezra must hide Rosie and her baby
to keep them safe. But can he expose a sinister conspiracy in time to save the woman he secretly loves?

Order here!