Thursday, January 17, 2019

Out with the old, by Myra Johnson

Certain times of the year naturally bring a sense of newness and anticipation. When I was growing up, it was always September and the start of a new school year. In my adulthood, I get a similar feeling as the old year rolls into the new. Taking down the past year’s calendar is like closing a door, often on plans and goals that never saw completion. Hanging this year’s calendar is my chance to re-evaluate and begin again.

After dumping, culling, and reorganizing our kitchen junk drawer!
The problem sometimes, though, is holding on too tightly to things from the past—possessions, attitudes, perhaps even relationships. This winter my husband and I have tackled some heavy-duty purging of closets, shelves, and drawers. We found stashes of outdated computer accessories, ancient cordless phones, small appliances we’ve rarely used, expired contact lens solution (I haven’t worn contacts in 10 years!), and all sorts of other odds and ends. It’s amazing how much space we reclaimed by getting rid of useless junk.

Anybody else have a quesadilla maker lying around from the 1990s?
Cleaning up our attitudes can sometimes make an even bigger impact on our lives. A biggie for me is wasting time worrying over situations I have no control over. Another is harboring resentment over real or perceived slights. Do either of these emotions serve a helpful purpose? Usually not. 

Coming May 2019!

There are times, though, when our emotions can clue us in on faulty relationships—a friendship gone sour, a family member we just can’t seem to get through to anymore. When we’ve tried every possible step toward reconciliation, including fervently praying for God’s intervention, sometimes the only remaining option for preserving our own spiritual health is distance. The heroine of my upcoming Love Inspired romance, The Rancher’s Redemption, must do just that as she seeks freedom from the effects of her abusive first marriage.

Are there things in your life that are unnecessarily taking up space? Start with the simple things—that bulging bookshelf or overstuffed closet. When my husband went through his clothes, he discarded at least a dozen T-shirts, and probably still has twice that many! (Don’t ask me why!) Besides, it’s always possible that something you no longer use could fill a need for someone else.


Myra Johnson writes emotionally gripping stories about love, life, and faith. She’s currently at work on a new Love Inspired mini-series, Hill Country Haven, with returning characters from Her Hill Country Cowboy and Hill Country Reunion. The first book in the series, The Rancher’s Redemption, is slated for a May 2019 release.

Also look for the updated editions of Myra’s earlier romances:

Myra is a three-time Maggie Awards finalist, 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 currently residing in the beautiful Carolinas, Myra and her husband love the climate and scenery, but they sorely miss bluebonnets and real Texas barbecue! The Johnsons share their home with two very pampered rescue dogs who don’t always understand the meaning of “Mom’s trying to write.” They’ve also inherited the cute little cat (complete with attitude) their daughter and family had to leave behind when they moved overseas.

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

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

The Reluctant Cowgirl

Hi Everyone, Danica Favorite here, and today I want to tell you about my new series! As many of you know (and we're all sad about), Love Inspired Historical closed down, leaving a lot of us authors wondering what we'd do. Many of the authors did find homes in other lines, so I'm pleased to be writing for Love Inspired now.

True confession: I originally wanted to write for Love Inspired, but after many rejections, I ended up writing for Love Inspired Historical, so it's kind of fun, being where I originally wanted to be.

However, being an *ahem* older, wiser writer, I spent a lot of time thinking about where I'd position myself in Love Inspired, and when I talked to my editor about making the move, she told me she wanted me to write cowboys.

For those of you who don't know, my daughters are heavily involved in an equestrian program that has me around cowboys on a regular basis. It's also important to note that I am allergic to horses, hay, and dust, so basically everything having to do with this cowboy lifestyle thing. Which is why it's terribly funny that we now have four horses. And I kind of like them. A lot. But let's not tell anyone, okay?

So when it came to writing cowboys for Love Inspired, I thought, how can I be genuine about writing cowboys as a reluctant cowgirl myself? Which is how I came up with Three Sisters Ranch. They're city girls who inherit a ranch, but unlike me, have dreamed of living on a ranch their whole lives. They are completely inexperienced in running a ranch, but are determined to make a go of it. And so, I used a lot of my same mistakes, difficulties, and weird things that have happened on this journey as fodder for the series.

In Her Cowboy Inheritance, which releases in February (but there have been sightings, so let me know if you see it!), the hero and heroine are dealing with a highly contagious cattle disease. We've had to deal with something similar with the horses in the past, and as crazy as it sounds, our horse organization is dealing with a highly contagious horse illness now. Scary times, but I've learned a lot, and it's definitely reflected in my books.

In The Cowboy's Faith, which is out in July, my heroine is training a mustang with the help of the hero, who got his training as part of a prison program to train mustangs. Guess where we got ours? More on THAT story closer to my release date, because there are some really cool pieces in my life still developing.

I might be a reluctant cowgirl, but it has definitely been useful in my life, and in my writing.

And, for those of you wondering about our horse, Ava, her surgery went better than expected, her cast is off, and her prognosis is really good. I'm sure you'll see a book starring Ava in the future!

About Danica:

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:

Facebook Reader Group:


Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Trying to Make Up My Mind – Which is Better? by Jo Ann Brown

Usually I’m very sure of my opinions, but I’m been debating an issue with myself for the last couple of weeks.
What is better: beginnings or endings?
I love beginnings. It’s fun to step off into an adventure in both real life and when reading. Emerging into a place (or a time) I’ve never been before is always a thrill. It doesn’t matter if I’m walking through ruins of a supply depot in northern England left by the Romans over a millennia and a half ago
or taking a virtual reality ride on a banshee in the Avatar section of Disney World for the first time. The chance to experience something new is exciting, the anticipation exquisite. Anything and everything is possible in that moment before everything begins.
But I love endings, too. The feeling I get when I’ve spent a wonderful day with my family or enjoyed a great visit with friends or seen a great movie or finished a book by a favorite author that ended up being even better than I’d imagined. Or such a book by a new-to-me author!
This time of year is all about endings and beginnings. Last month, I finished work on the fourth—and final—book in my Amish Spinster Club series. Immediately after it was done, I started work on the first book in a new Amish series set in lush valleys of the Green Mountains of Vermont. It’s been tough to say good-bye to the Amish Spinster Club characters I’ve spent over a year with as I watched them make homes and lives and find love in northern New York, and now I’m having to get acquainted with a new “cast” in a new location.
Starting a new book is like standing in that long line, inching forward a person at a time, for a ride.
There’s the breathless possibility of something amazing that’s about to begin. I’m not sure where it’ll end up other than my hero and heroine must have their happy ever after ending. Will this be the book that “writes itself” or the one where I have to labor over every word? What surprises are waiting for me in spite of outlining the book in a synopsis? No matter how much time I spend with characters before I put fingers to keyboard, they always hold back something about themselves or their story that they won’t reveal until I’m in the midst of writing the book. Looking forward to those discoveries is part of the excitement that fires me up at the beginning of a project. I love it!
However, I admit that I also love being able to type the words “The End” when I reach the last page of a manuscript. Not that I’m actually done with the manuscript because it’s time then for a red pen and revising. I go through a LOT of red ink during this part of the process. However, I really enjoy revising because I can look at my characters with a different eye than when I’m going through their story with them the first time. No matter how much work awaits, there’s the satisfaction that weeks of work have led to something being completed...and that’s a wonderful feeling!
So now you can see my quandary. What is better: beginnings or endings? Post your opinions...and I’m going to guess nobody is going to say middles, though now that I think about it, being in the middle of something can be great fun, too, can’t it?

Monday, January 14, 2019

Allie Pleiter on 2019 Word--then what?

Many of us mark the dawn of a new year by choosing a word to set the theme for the coming 12 months. I’ve done so for the past several years, and some of our authors have already shared theirs on this blog.

This year, my word is “STEADFAST,” and its sister-word, “STEADY.”

What then? Once a word has found you—for a truly believe the word chooses you as much as you choose the word—what do you do? I’ll share what I do, and hope you’ll share what you do.

First, since I believe God sends me the right word for the year, I ask Him to bless my exploration of it. I pray for eyes to see the lessons it has to teach me, and to see the many places it inevitably shows up in my life once it is chosen.

As a woman of faith, the Bible is my first discovery ground. Steadfast shows up in scores of verses. Here are a few of my favorites:

Jotham grew powerful because he walked steadfastly before the Lord his God (emphasis mine)

They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.

A dive into the dictionary brought me lots of motivating synonyms: 
  • resolutely or dutifully firm and unwavering
  • even and continuous in development
  • moving without deviation from course
And the insightful fact that “steady” is also a verb and an exclamation.

Then I always wander through Pinterest, building a board from the images I collect there. This often unearths new quotes, pictures, and sometimes even products. For example, did you know what there are artisans who will make you jewelry with your word for the year? Or that there is a beloved fairy tale called The Steadfast Tin Soldier?

I wasn’t surprised to discover that the heroine for my upcoming July book, Wander Canyon Courtship, finds the hero particularly steadfast. I always think our creative selves know things before our conscious minds do.

What will make this a “steadfast” year? I don’t yet know. But I’m excited to find out.

Have you chosen a word for 2019? Do you do any of these explorations or have some new ones to suggest?

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Sunday Scripture

The Baptism of the Lord

Baptism of Christ, fresco by Giotto di Bondone,
c. 1305 (Cappella Scrovegni, Padua, Italy). [PS-US]

The people were filled with expectation,
and all were asking in their hearts
whether John might be the Christ.
John answered them all, saying, 
"I am baptizing you with water,
but one mightier than I is coming.
I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals.
He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire."

After all the people had been baptized 
and Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, 
heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him
in bodily form like a dove. 
And a voice came from heaven, 
"You are my beloved Son;
with you I am well pleased."
Luke 3:15-16, 21-22

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.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Hit With a Left Hook by Maggie K Black

As those of you who were at the Romance Writers of America Conference in Denver this past summer know, I teach self-defense. I absolutely love it. I first started taking self-defense four years ago to help strengthen myself and learn to write better action scenes. And now I absolutely love helping to empower people to protect themselves and be strong in a crisis. 

Recently, I got knocked sideways. Literally. I was training with my partner, when I was (very accidentally) hit with a left hook, right to the temple. I went down hard and ended up in the hospital with a concussion. 

Suddenly every part of my normal life stopped cold. I couldn’t write. I couldn’t read. I couldn’t even jog with the dogs. I wasn’t allowed to drive, watch television or go on the computer for days. Then when I could start returning to normal life, I had to do so very slowly and in little steps. I’ve learned that concussions are tricky things. Some people recover very quickly—and thankfully my recovery has been relatively smooth—and others take a very long time to heal.

I wish I knew why life sometimes comes along and knocks us down, whether with an illness, financial problem, job loss or crisis in our family lives. Sometimes it’s easy to look back and see what God was doing in our lives or the blessings that came out of tragedy. Other times, like 1 Corinthians 13 puts it, it feels like we’re “peering through a glass darkly”. 

It really helped me relate to Celeste, the heroine of Amish Hideout. Celeste is a computer expert who loses everything when she takes down a criminal hacker and ends up in Witness Protection under the care of my hero Jonathan. She’s being tracked online by killers who are out to collect a bounty that our villain placed on her head. So, Jonathan takes her to the one place he knows she’ll be safe—the Amish family he thought he’d left behind forever. 

I knew I’d be able to get back to my computer eventually. But Celeste, a talented and world class programmer, might be losing her work and purpose. 

Like Celeste, I’ve been discovering the unexpected blessing that quiet, rest and silence can bring.

I hope you enjoy Amish Hideout. And if so, be sure to check out the rest of the Amish Witness Protection series, with Amish Safe House by Debby Giusti and Amish Haven by Dana R. Lynn. 

What has helped you when life has hit you by surprise?

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Wishing you all the best in 2019...and a drawing for a free book Roxanne Rustand

I've pretty much given up on New Year's resolutions--I never seem to make much progress, and after all these years I've finally accepted that failing.    Do you have more success with annual resolutions than I do? 

Short-term goals seem more attainable.  Right now, I am attacking clutter and trying to see just how much stuff I can send off to Salvation Army and Goodwill. With our kids grown, the spare bedrooms tend to be collection sites for random possessions, but I would love to have them ready for company at a moment's notice. office is still a disaster after my last book deadline. After that, I look forward to being "off and running" with the next book to write for Love Inspired. Which will be far more fun than cleaning, to be sure!

Do you have any special goals or wishes for 2019? Something you hope to accomplish?

I would love to hear about it! If you leave a comment, you'll be in a drawing for a free e-copy of Falling for the Rancher.

Best wishes to you all for a wonderful, blessed year!

Roxanne Rustand

Monday, January 7, 2019

Finding Balance in the New Year

Good morning, Terri Reed here. I'm a bit late today, my apologies. 
Happy New Year everyone. I pray it has started out well for you.
So far 2019 has been busy for me.  I'm hoping it will slow down so I can find balance in all the things that come my way the rest of the year. Ha!
Balance is my word for 2019.  
I also pick a Bible verse to keep me grounded.  
I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Phil 4:13

What about you? Do you choose a word or a Bible verse to guide you through the year?

Found at the southern end of Ireland. I added the top stone.

I'm working on a new book, the second in a my own new series set in a fictional Colorado town where the Sheriff's deputies work together to keep their town safe while falling in love. Here's the cover for the first book. Isn't it beautiful! 

The official release date is March 1st for the ebook version and March 5th for the print version. You can preorder yourself a copy today at this link

Nowhere to run. Nowhere to hide.

Can they get off the mountain alive?

Desperate to find her missing teenage brother, Maya Gallo ventures into the Colorado Rockies expecting rough terrain—not deadly treasure hunters. But when she’s caught in their crosshairs, ruggedly handsome mounted patrolman Alex Trevino comes to her aid. The deputy sheriff knows what these bandits are capable of, so getting Maya—and her brother—home safely may be his hardest mission yet

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Sunday Scripture

The Epiphany of the Lord

Adoration of the Magi, Bartolomé Esteban Murillo,
1655-1660, Toledo Museum of Art. [PD-US]

When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea,
in the days of King Herod, 
behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, 
"Where is the newborn king of the Jews?
We saw his star at its rising
and have come to do him homage."
When King Herod heard this,
he was greatly troubled, 
and all Jerusalem with him.
Assembling all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, 
He inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.
They said to him, "In Bethlehem of Judea, 
for thus it has been written through the prophet:
And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
since from you shall come a ruler,
who is to shepherd my people Israel."

Then Herod called the magi secretly 
and ascertained from them the time of the star's appearance.
He sent them to Bethlehem and said, 
"Go and search diligently for the child.
When you have found him, bring me word, 
that I too may go and do him homage."
After their audience with the king they set out.
And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, 
until it came and stopped over the place where the child was.
They were overjoyed at seeing the star, 
and on entering the house
they saw the child with Mary his mother.
They prostrated themselves and did him homage.
Then they opened their treasures 
and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, 
they departed for their country by another way.
Matthew 2:1-12

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.

Friday, January 4, 2019

A visit with the adorable Sharee Stover
Lenora Worth

I had a chat with one of the new authors on the Love Inspired team and one of my blog partners here. I first met Sharee Stover in Denver at the RWA conference. We were chatting at an afternoon get-together and when I said I was going to the drugstore to replace some things I'd left at home, she asked if I could get her some eyedrops. Of course. What happened after that was a true comedy of errors. A friend and I trekked down the street to the drugstore, both armed with lists of what people needed. Then our phones stared pinging with more requests. After that, it was snapping pictures to send back and forth and making calls to make sure we were picking up the right products. I think the sales associate was ready to boot us out, we became so loud and we were laughing so much! But I got Sharee what she needed and we made the exchange later. The beginning of a beautiful friendship. And y'all know I love to shop--even for eyedrops! How could I refuse this beautiful face?

We are so proud of Sharee. Her first book with LIS came out last April. Here's the intriguing cover:

Tell us about your writing journey and first sale. We both know that was exciting.

I started writing about eight years ago and the process has truly been a wild ride. Writing for Harlequin Love Inspired Suspense is nothing short of a dream come true. And as much of a planner as I am, I can say the process completely took me by surprise! I had been working on my story for a while when I responded to a Facebook post by my now editor for blurbs in March of 2017. She was snowed in. I’ve never been more grateful for snow! I sent my blurb and that sent the wheels into motion. I had to make revisions, but by July, I received THE CALL. I was beyond thrilled and could barely speak through my giant-face-consuming-smile. I screamed, did a little happy dance, and of course, told everyone I knew!

Here’s the full story:


What made you pitch to Love Inspired? What do you like about writing for LI? What has been a challenge?

I attended a local RWA conference when I’d finished my second book and pitched my romantic suspense story to one of the editors. She was gracious and although my story didn’t get picked up, the information I gained in that conference made me want to write for them all the more. I also met several authors who write for Love Inspired and everyone spoke so highly of Harlequin and the wonderful way they treat their authors. I wanted to be a part of the Harlequin family. 

I love writing for LI because there’s wonderful support, both from the editorial team and my fellow authors. I love reading the stories LI provides. They’re clean and always leave me with that satisfied feeling in the happily-ever-after, and in the case of LIS, full of great nail-biting suspense.

One of my challenges is to find the story that hasn’t been done yet, or to be able to create a new spin off an old theme. As Ecclesiastes says, there’s nothing new under the sun, so I have to dig to find innovative story ideas. The other is to shut off my internal editor and just write without trying to get everything perfect on the first draft.

What message do you hope to give to your readers? And have you had a really great reader letter that uplifted you?

My tagline is Redeeming Suspense because my message is that there is always redemption with God. He takes the messiest people and loves them into the beautiful people he created them to be.

One of the best letters I got was from a total stranger whom I met at a book signing. She said God had put me right where I needed to be that day, so I could meet her and she could buy my book. She said she wasn’t even looking for a Love Inspired Suspense, so she knew it wasn’t by chance that I was there signing that day. That was huge!!

Tell us about your life? Family, pets, favorite activities?

I am married to my real-life hero and have three amazing children ages 9, 18 and 20. They’re my biggest cheerleaders and I am so grateful for their love and support. My husband is a law enforcement officer so he’s also my writing subject matter expert. We have two spoiled dogs, an elderly schipperke-miniature pinscher mix and a five-year-old German Shepherd.

Our family is pretty boring, and we like it that way. My eldest daughter and I both love to read, so lock us up with a stack of books and we’re thrilled. My son is gifted at auto mechanics and is always tinkering with his car in the garage. My youngest daughter is fascinated by dolphins, so I get regular lessons on all things dolphin related. Hubby and I love to take long walks with our dogs too.

What book are you reading now? Any favorites?

I am always reading several books at once, and at the moment I’m reading The Curse of Misty Wayfair by Jamie Jo Wright. She’s an amazing writer! Although she has scared the tar out of me a few times. I’m also reading Fugitive Pursuit by Christa Sinclair and An Endless Christmas by Cynthia Ruchti. And of course, I’m constantly reading books on craft so I’m knee-deep in Story Trumps Structure by Steven James.

Brandilyn Collins and Terri Blackstock are two of my favorite authors, but there’s too many to name. I read in pretty much all genres except sci-fi/fantasy.

We thank Sharee for chatting with us and I'm glad to have her as a friend and fellow writer. 

Sharee had a question for me--so here goes:

What’s the best advice you received as a writer?

I think the best advice I received was to never compare myself to others. To stay focused on my voice and my writing style. That’s what I try to do. I read a lot of my favorite authors to learn and to enjoy and to pick up on the beat of the story. But I stick to my path and follow my instincts on how to continue my career and how to create the stories I love. People will sometimes push their agendas on you and your career but if it’s not the right time for you, then you have to stand your ground and do what works best in your life. With all the opportunities we have today—this is the best time to be a writer!

(PS--a shout out to Margaret Daley, our other blog partner here. Margaret will post more over the coming months!)

Thursday, January 3, 2019

What is your plan for the New Year?

By now, the Christmas decorations are being put away. The ball has dropped in Times Square. New Year’s Eve celebrations around the world are over, and the black-eyed peas, turnip greens, and cornbread—or whatever your New Year’s Day meal consisted of—has been eaten.

2018 is in the books, and a brand new year stretches out before us, filled with possibilities.
Some people welcome the upcoming year by making resolutions. Others choose a word of inspiration. Some just take each day as it comes.  

My partner, Cate Nolan, and I thought it would be fun to poll some of our fellow Love Inspired authors and see how they prepare for a new year and its challenges.  

Laurel Blount is a planner. “But I try to leave wiggle room in my plans. Life happens, and if I've left some space for that, I don't have to throw out all my goals the first time I hit a glitch. My resolutions range across the board--I make both personal and professional ones. In fact, I have multiple categories! (See previous comment about being a planner, lol.) I basically pick out the areas of my life I am most committed to at this phase of life and formulate my yearly goals for those areas. Since I get energized by resolutions, one thing I've learned is to re-evaluate them throughout the year. So, I usually make New Year's resolutions and reassess on my birthday in June. I'd say my success rate is somewhat spotty-- for example, my annual weight loss goal tends to be a challenging one to meet, but I do much better with some of the other ones! Overall, making resolutions helps me clarify what's really important to me right now which in turn helps me set a daily agenda that reflects my current priorities.”

Vannetta Chapman likes to have resolutions. “I love new calendars, new years, new beginnings. For 2019 I plan to live more intentionally (which is a broad goal) and shop much less (a more specific goal). As far as writing, I have my deadlines pinned in on a wall calendar (a nice big visual reminder) as well as an excel chart which is much more detailed. There I have 52 rows that list how many pages of a book I need to write or edit or proofread, as well as vacation time so that my work life doesn't take over my personal.”

Dana R. Lynn does the word of the year. “My word for 2019 is GRATITUDE. I try to reflect on the word, although last year was a bust. I can't even remember what my word was. This year, I am incorporating my word into my prayer journal, so it will be a part of my daily routine.”

Jenna Night tends to have a word a month throughout the year. “My word for January will be CONSIDER. I don't know the other 11 yet & I don't choose them far ahead of time. I know that at the time I need it, a word will stand out to me. And I'm generally a loose planner. I have a clear overall goal for a year or a book, but then break it down to 3 month, or 3 chapter, blocks so I can adapt as I need to.”

Cate Nolan admits to having difficulty with planning. “Unlike Laurel (who amazes me!), I'm a terrible planner. I want to be a planner, I try to be a planner, but my brain rarely cooperates. That meme about deriving inspiration from deadline-inducing panic - that's me. I'm a little better with resolutions.
The year I resolved to write 1k a day, every day, I did it for 365 straight days. The downside of that was that some days I wrote pure drivel just to get the words down.
So choosing a word to guide me always seemed like a better idea. Until the year runs away with me, and I only remember my word when I look at Facebook photos where I posted it.
I really like Dana's idea of incorporating the word in a daily prayer journal, and I think Jenna's idea of a monthly word is inspired. I might just try that this year. I do know that I'm beginning the year with the word TRUST. Last year, trust was forced upon me as I had to deal with so many things beyond my strength. I learned to trust in God to get me through the hard times. This year, I want to work on trusting by choice - all the time.”

Terri Reed does have a few goals for the year. “The term resolutions doesn’t resonate with me. I have in the past picked a word to meditate on for the year. I have several action goals for this year: to get back to a regular writing schedule and exercise regularly. The past several years have been a roller coaster ride, and I’ve been dizzy trying to keep everything from crashing. My word and ultimate goal for this year is BALANCE. Happy New Year.”

Lenora Worth says she doesn’t usually make a lot of resolutions other than eating healthy and getting organized, both a constant struggle. “I’ve rarely done the word thing. But this New Year, I am going with a word that keeps popping into my head. SIMPLIFY. Thoreau suggested it hundreds of years ago. I need to simplify and sort out some things in my life! So that’s the plan. Decluttering both mind and home can give us a certain peace. I’m striving for that peace.”

As for me, Mary Alford, well, I struggle with planning as well. Years ago, I made resolutions, but could never seem to keep them. That’s when I decided no more resolutions. But I love participating in the word for the year. Last year, my word was WAIT. Looking back in 2018, I can see God’s hand in every challenge that forced me to wait for Him and not be in such a hurry. God’s timing is so much better than mine. This year, like Cate, the word TRUST has popped into my head quite a bit lately. I believe God is asking me to trust Him more, both personally and professionally, and I want to strive to do just that.
So what about you? What are your plans for facing 2019? Is it a word? A resolution? Or are you planning to face each new day as it comes and welcome all the surprises that will part of 2019?

Happy New Year!

Mary Alford  

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

2019 is off and running. Me too.

Patricia Davids here, Happy New Year to all.

2019 is off and running and so am I. Not my feet, my fingers. I have four books scheduled to be finished this year. (What was I thinking?) Two are for Love Inspired and two are for HQN. I have always claimed that I do my best work under pressure. I reckon we'll see if that is true.

One thing this killer schedule has prevented is any New Year's resolutions from me. I used to list the usual, lose weight, eat healthy, exercise more (or some). This year all I'll have time for is writing.

Are you making a resolution this year?

What is the one resolution you can say with certainty that you kept in the past? To stop smoking? To balance the checkbook? Change jobs? Give up soda or coffee? Keep a clean house? I once decided to quit my nursing job and write full time. I can't say it was a smart move but I have made it work.

To take a ride in a hot air balloon is one resolution that has never happened for me. I'd like to say this year is the year but I'm pretty sure I'll be too busy writing.

What is the one resolution or item on your bucket list you haven't accomplished and dearly wish you had?

I'm going with a visit to the Grand Canyon and beachcombing with Lenora Worth. Maybe not this year but I can always hope.

book cover image
Love Inspired is reissuing my story, An Unexpected Amish Romance in Feb along with Jan Drexler's
The Amish Nanny's Sweetheart in a 2-1 collection.

Be sure and look for my first new 2019 release, The Wish from HQN. It comes out in May.

If you'd like to win a free ARC (advanced reviewer's copy) of this
book simply comment below or contact me by e-mail at I have about ten to give away. I ask that you post an honest review of the book on the book review site you like best (such as Goodreads) but you are not required to give a review to win a copy.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019


HERE WE GO - 2019 LOOK OUT! by Valerie Hansen

A new calendar year is upon us. That division of days, of years, is man's idea. God, the infinite time-keeper, gives us newness of life daily. The instant we open our eyes we know we are about to begin another blessed day and the older I get, the more it astonishes me. 
Apparently Charles Schulz felt the same because his work lends itself so perfectly to the truth that I embrace. Each and every second of our lives is precious. Looking back, I can pick out some of the special moments, yet I know there are many more that I have overlooked simply because I am human. Even in the darkest times, God is there. He gives us more than life, He gives us hope, and love, and joy despite circumstances. Yes, it can be hard to see sometimes, but that doesn't mean it's gone. Dig deep. Trust much. Call out to God. Praise Jesus. And live the life he has given you. It's the best gift anyone has ever gotten.
I have a new book coming in Feb. 2019 and several more after that. God willing.