Sunday, June 30, 2019

Sunday Scripture

Jerusalem
When the days for Jesus' being taken up were fulfilled,
he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem,
and he sent messengers ahead of him. 
On the way they entered a Samaritan village 
to prepare for his reception there,
but they would not welcome him
because the destination of his journey was Jerusalem. 
When the disciples James and John saw this they asked,
"Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven
to consume them?" 
Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they journeyed to another village.

As they were proceeding on their journey someone said to him,
"I will follow you wherever you go." 
Jesus answered him,
"Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests,
but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head."

And to another he said, "Follow me." 
But he replied, "Lord, let me go first and bury my father." 
But he answered him, "Let the dead bury their dead. 
But you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God." 
And another said, "I will follow you, Lord,
but first let me say farewell to my family at home." 
To him Jesus said, "No one who sets a hand to the plow
and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God."
Luke 9:51-62

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, June 28, 2019

Summer Fun!


As I write this post, I’m taking a break from gathering my gear for my summer break. I’m so excited to be traveling and getting away from the Texas heat. My vacation this year is three weeks where I grew up, in the tiny state of Rhode Island. I’ll spend time with family, old friends and the current hero and heroine dancing in my brain. I’m also excited about being able to see the beaches and eat as much awesome seafood as I can.

When I’m on the beach I don’t swim in the water. Brrrr! (okay, I might put my feet in it) But nothing sounds as peaceful to me as the waves splashing up onto the beach. The rhythm fills my heart and slows my heartbeat. I feel free. Sometimes one of my best friends and I take our beach chairs and books to the beach when most families are heading home. Sometimes we read, sometimes we talk, sometimes we just listen to the sounds around us.
Another experience I enjoy when I visit Rhode Island is fishing. I’m not very good. My first two times out on the boat I caught… a Coke can and a bundle of seaweed. I didn’t even get the teeny tiny fish everyone throws back. This picture is only from a few years ago. The people around me couldn’t understand why I was so excited. When I shared that it was the 1st first fish I ever caught, they actually clapped for me. (It was yummy!) But the point of the trip isn’t whether I catch something or not. For me, it’s about the soft roll of the ocean, the sounds of the birds flying by, the heat of a summer sun finding its way to me despite me hanging out in the shade.
Another thing I love about my summer trips to Rhode Island is getting time to devote to my writing. I enjoy sitting in the sun room of my parents’ place putting the pieces together of the current book. I love learning about my characters and the suspense angle of the manuscript. But I also love being able to stop mid-morning and have a cup of tea with my mom. These days I can spend as much or as little time writing as I want. Even though I sometimes take day trips for shopping (gotta have chocolates, right?) meet a friend for lunch, or have a cookout with family, the possibilities of my writing progress are open and welcome.
And now I’m here. I’ve probably already seen several family members, had my first serving of fried scallops and French fries, and I’m sure I’ve been plodding in the chilly beach water. But my mind is at ease and my heart is full.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Moments To Treasure





 He is like the light of morning at sunrise on a cloudless morning, 
like the brightness after rain that brings the grass from the earth. 
2 Samuel 23:4


 


In the daily grind of our hectic schedules, how often do we take entire days and weeks and years for granted? I don't know about you, but sometimes I miss the hilarious or the sublime because I've already moved on to the next item on my daily checklist.

This summer I challenge you as I challenge myself to live fully in each moment God grants us today. Moments that—if we would but pause and savor them—would take our breath away and nourish our soul.


I’m going to stop rushing around like a headless chicken
  through my day.
I’m going to try to capture more of these moments by
  opening my mind to the beauty of God’s creation—that 
  includes relationships I often take for granted, too. 
I’m going to breathe. Deeply. 
I’m going to thank God for the moment and the thing or
  person. 
I’m going to mentally record the moment with a snapshot 
  so that when I’m having a bad day I can take out 
  these pictures in my heart. Cherish the beautiful gift 
  of the moment my Father gave me to remember how much 
  He loves me.


Some moments I intend to treasure over the summer:

  • The gossamer golden and black wings of a butterfly landing on a lavender butterfly bush
  • The red, gold, blue and purple streaks of a sunset that remind me of the soon coming kingdom
  • Diamond-studded beads of dew on a green leaf
  • Eyes that light up just for me when I enter a room
  • A child’s voice calling “Mama"
 
Such moments by their very nature cannot usually be recaptured. I must learn to look for the eternal in the mundane. I must train my vision to discern the hand of God in every moment of life. I must not only seize the day, but also seize the moment. I hope you won't allow let the gifts of the Father pass you by, either. 
He will be like rain falling on a mown field, like showers watering the earth. 
 Psalm 72:6

Live grateful. Live fully. Live free. And rejoice.

What moments will you treasure this summer?

Happy Summer,
Lisa



As a Southern romance writer, Lisa has definite opinions on serious issues like barbeque, ACC basketball and the whole Pepsi vs. Coke controversy. When she isn't writing, Lisa enjoys traveling to romantic locales and researching her next romantic adventure. www.lisacarterauthor.com

 

Join her mailing list for info on book happenings at Newsletter. Follow her on  BookBub to receive notices about new releases. 
  
 
Welcome to Truelove, North Carolina—Where True Love Awaits. This fun, new romantic series is set in the breathtakingly lovely Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.

Though the course of true love doesn’t always run smooth, never fear. The Truelove Matchmakers are there to make sure everyone finds their true happily-ever-after.
He just found out he’s a father . . . 
 But is he ready to be a dad?

When veteran Jake McAbee learns he has a daughter, he’s determined to raise the adorable toddler. But Maisie’s foster mom, Callie Jackson, insists Jake stay at her orchard until he’s prepared for fatherhood. While Jake and Maisie bond, the trio begins to feel like family. Could the best home for Maisie be the one Jake and Callie create together?

 Order here.
 

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Plotting Murder & Mayhem is a Family Affair by Virginia Vaughan


Murder runs in my family. 

Just kidding…but my family is always helpful when it comes to brainstorming plot holes in my stories. I can often be found wandering through the house mumbling about some plot point that just won’t work or trying to figure out how best to kill a character or where to dump a body. During these times, I’ve been known to draw my family into my nefarious plotting and, strangely enough, they’re always eager to help.

            From the 8 y/o who wants every villain to be a giant robot terrorizing the city – maybe I’ll write that one day.

            The 10 y/o who is way too into the blood and gore stuff—Uhm, no, I’ll never write that.

            My grown son who draws on his vast TV watching experience. He seriously saved my plot once with something he saw on Burn Notice. 😊

            To my mother who is oddly good at seeking out places to dump a body – wonder if she ever thought she’d be having that conversation with her daughter! LOL

I rely on the people in my life to help draft these stories and they’re always willing to do so. Just the other day, I was stuck on a particular problem in my manuscript so I was discussing the story with my son as we carried out the garbage. I made certain to explain to him how I wanted to abduct this woman and ultimately kill her but I needed a good place to hide her body. My son came up with some good ideas that ultimately worked. However, based on the horrified look and brisk walk of our neighbor as he walked his dog, he obviously overheard our conversation and I can only assume we are now on some community watch list.

So the next time you’re in a café or restaurant and you overhear the people at the next table plotting something unthinkable, before you call the cops, consider that they’re probably just suspense writers doing their thing.

Or, better yet, maybe slowly get up and leave before you wind up in their next novel. 😊


Check out my latest upcoming July release from Love Inspired Suspense--plotted as always with help from the family!




“Stop investigating or you will die.”

A Covert Operatives story

Searching for a missing pregnant foster teen, Rebecca Mason stumbles across a human trafficking ring. Now with criminals determined to silence Rebecca, security specialist Collin Walsh appoints himself her protector. But how can the secret husband who once abandoned her to join the military regain her trust? Collin will do anything to make up for the past…but first he must ensure they survive.



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


Sunday, June 23, 2019

On the Road with The Men (Fred & Hugh).The Music.The Show

Hola! Jolene Navarro checking in from all over Texas.
On the Road - Bags are Packed
On The Road Again. Traveling Texas
June has been a wild ride. (1687 miles to be exact)
On The Road Again has been playing in my head.
Tea at Boas & Tiaras
Tea at Boas & Tiaras 



Tiara's should be standard Sasha Summers,
Candace Havens & Jolene Navarro Fresh Fiction
It started with tea at Fresh Fiction's Boas & Tiara event with the amazing Candace Havens and Sasha Summers.
I now have a box of tiaras in my car for emergencies.




http://freshfiction.com/



Then on to Canyon, Texas to have the best week of a writer's life....summer camp with other writers at West Texas Writer's Academy with Jodie Thomas. Last year my current release, The Texan's Secret Daughter was brainstormed with these great ladies in my class.

Every writer needs a tribe. 
The ladies reading The Texan's Secret Daughter
they helped plot.


http://www.wtamu.edu/academics/eod-writing-academy.aspx



Fred & I celebrating 30 years of marriage







Then on to Houston to celebrate 30 years of marriage.

1987 in Houston, Fred Navarro asked him to marry him. I was 19. Then June 17, 1989 at 21 years-old I pledged my life to him and he to me. It was the best discussion I ever made in my life. It has been 30 years of an amazing journey full of bumps and growth (and four great kids).


Fred has always encouraged me to pursue my dreams even when they seemed way beyond my reach. This ranch boy from the Texas Hill Country even moved to Houston so I could finish school. To say it was out of his comfort zone would be an understatement.


I'm not one to get caught up in celebrities, but there is one that for some reason I have developed an weird and strange connection too....Hugh Jackman. Maybe not so weird...but intense. lol

The Man. The Music. The Show. Hugh Jackman
The Man. The Music. The Show. Hugh Jackman
When he announced his first live show, The Man. The Music. The Show. would open in Houston June, 18 my husband bought front row tickets for my birthday. See how amazing Fred is?

So thirty years later we headed back to Houston to watch Hugh sing and dance. It was amazing. First his wife and children came out and walked right in front of us. I adore her and the way they support each other.
He is so much more than a movie star. He gave everything to each dance and song. He told us stories of his childhood and being called a sissy by his older brothers and almost being fired from X-Men. He was open and authentic in a way that went above my expectations. 

If you saw The Greatest Showman, then you would recognize the captain of Hugh's dance crew. So much energy was in every move they choreographed. They were amazing. They sang, danced and included sigh language in one of the contemporary numbers.
The Man. The Music. The Show. Hugh Jackman
The Man. The Music. The Show. Hugh Jackman

He went on to add songs from Beauty and the Beast (Hugh played Gaston on stage). He played a little piano and sang songs from and The Boy From Oz.
The Man. The Music. The Show. Hugh Jackman
The Man. The Music. The Show. Hugh Jackman

It's the musical about Peter Allen. An Australian singer/song writer that wrote Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do), Don't Cry Out Loud, I Go to Rio and I Honestly Love You.

This is the role that won Hugh his Tony. 

One of my husbands favorites is I Honestly Love You because it was sung by his first crush Olivia Newton-John. Something he has in common with Hugh. LOL
The Man. The Music. The Show. Hugh Jackman
The Man. The Music. The Show. Hugh Jackman

When Hugh was talking about his Olivia poster in his bedroom my friend, Sonomi Kennedy, yelled that she had a poster of him in her room ...that got his attention and he chuckled and when she raised her hands he came to the edge of the stage and shook it.
The Man. The Music. The Show.  Hugh Jackman shaking Sonomi Kennedy's hand.
The Man. The Music. The Show.
Hugh Jackman shaking Sonomi Kennedy's hand. 

He did a great job of interacting with the audience. You could tell he loves preforming live.

The Man. The Music. The Show. Hugh Jackman
The Man. The Music. The Show. Hugh Jackman

The Man. The Music. The Show. Hugh Jackman
The Man. The Music. The Show. Hugh Jackman




The Man. The Music. The Show. Hugh Jackman
The Man. The Music. The Show. Hugh Jackman


The performance of One More Day from Les Miserables was breathtaking.



He did a full set in honor of his wife and family then left the stage to hug her.
It went from big performances to small quiet moments sprinkled with stories.



He did a tribute to 42nd Street with a full tap routine then went crazy with drums to AC/DC and Van Halen...It was AWESOME.



https://www.hughjackmantheshow.com/

He has added San Antonio to his tour and it so happens that Fred and I had our first date in October 1986 so we are going again. If you get a chance you should see the show. The performance is so big that just about any seat will be good.


How is your summer going? Is there a celebrities you would want to meet? Have you been to or plan to go to The Man. The Music. The Show. Hugh Jackman?






Sunday Scripture

Corpus Christi

Ancient mosaic in the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and
Fish, Israel. [PD-US]

Jesus spoke to the crowds about the kingdom of God,
and he healed those who needed to be cured.
As the day was drawing to a close,
the Twelve approached him and said,
"Dismiss the crowd
so that they can go to the surrounding villages and farms
and find lodging and provisions;
for we are in a deserted place here."
He said to them, "Give them some food yourselves."
They replied, "Five loaves and two fish are all we have,
unless we ourselves go and buy food for all these people."
Now the men there numbered about five thousand.
Then he said to his disciples,
"Have them sit down in groups of about fifty."
They did so and made them all sit down.
Then taking the five loaves and the two fish,
and looking up to heaven,
he said the blessing over them, broke them,
and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd.
They all ate and were satisfied.
And when the leftover fragments were picked up,
they filled twelve wicker baskets.
Luke 9:11B-17

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.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Changing for the better, by Myra Johnson


My last couple of blog posts have dealt with our recent move from North Carolina home to Texas. As anyone who has ever moved can understand, even after three months we’re still getting settled. It’s…a process. 

And though we love almost everything about our new home, there were a few changes we needed to make. First item on the list was fencing the backyard so our doggies would have a safe place to run and play. They’re taking full advantage, too, romping or sunning in “real” grass (plush and durable St. Augustine vs. the scraggly fescue that struggled to survive in our shady NC lawn).

Penny & Poppy enjoying the lawn.
Another no-go in our new home was a master bathroom with a lovely soaking tub…but a single sink and NO shower! Especially with our daughter’s family of six expected for a visit next month, no way could all eight of us take turns using the shower in the guest bath! So for the past several weeks, we’ve endured the come-and-go of plumbers, carpenters, painters, electricians, tilers, and granite installers as we change the master bath to a tub/shower combo and add a sink. The end result will be both functional and attractive, the bathroom redesigned exactly as we’d envisioned.
Stages of our remodeling project from start to almost finished!
Writing a book has a lot in common with a remodeling project. The first draft may tell a good story, but it usually needs a little help (or a LOT!) before it’s ready for publication. A scene that goes nowhere? It’s out. The character who chose a certain course of action when the plot really needed her somewhere else? Gotta fence her in. Once character and plot are working in concert, then we get down to the nitty-gritty of polishing sentences and paragraphs, checking spelling and punctuation, and ensuring the finished book reflects the vision we began with.

And just for fun, a photo of Denali getting some outdoor time since he's not allowed to roam free.
It’s also good to remember that since God is the Author of Life, He is constantly at work on a remodeling project in each one of us. Unhealthy habits, harmful choices, negative emotions—these are all things God can help us change so that, day by day, we are growing into the people He created us to be. It takes patience and persistence, along with an unshakable faith that even when progress seems slow and we feel frustrated or discouraged, God knows exactly what He’s doing.

Have you undergone a remodeling project recently? Learn any important lessons along the way?
~~~~~~

Native Texan 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, released last month. Book two, Their Christmas Prayer, will be out in October.


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


And…mark your calendars for June 27-July 1, when Pearl of Great Price will be free for Kindle and other e-readers!
An abandoned Arkansas lake resort holds the key to a young woman’s past . . . and her future.
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. After living five years in Oklahoma, then eight years in the beautiful Carolinas, Myra and her husband are thrilled to be back in the Lone Star State enjoying wildflowers, Tex-Mex, 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, June 19, 2019

The Cowboy's Faith

Hi Everyone, Danica Favorite here, and I'm really excited to share about my latest release, The Cowboy's Faith.


I've been dreaming of writing this book for a while now, so it's really exciting to finally see it in print. As many of you know, we have mustangs. We heard about the mustang prison training program years ago because many of the horses in our daughters' riding organization got some of their mustangs there. And, we've had friends who utilized the same program to get their horses. So, when we started talking about getting horses, we knew that's where we'd get ours. Mustangs are my girls' favorite breed, and I absolutely love the idea of giving prisoners a second chance in life by working with the horses. Because of that, I've always had in the back of my mind that I'd write a story based on this program. However, it wasn't until we got our mustang and began working with a trainer that I figured out my story.

Training Stunner. 

Being part of the process was so moving for me that I wanted to turn it into a book. Over the years, I've met so many horses people have given up on, and most of them just need a little extra love and the right kind of training, but not everyone has the patience for it. And, as my readers will see from the progression of the story, it's a metaphor for what we as humans need as well.

The best part about working with a horse and watching it grow is how that work also impacts the people working with the horse. It's helped us grow as a family, and, as you'll see in my story, it helped the characters grow in a very special way.
The girls hanging out in our pasture with our mustangs. All of our mustangs came from prison training programs.

I hope you'll all follow me on social media as we do more work towards the release. We've got some fun videos and other great behind the scenes info about mustangs. My girls are helping me show off the horses, and I'm so excited to share it with you.

In the meantime, pick up a copy of the book, and let me know what you think!

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:



Coming in July from Danica:

His secret past. His second chance.

Three Sisters Ranch could be his way home…

When inexperienced rancher Nicole Bell starts training her troubled mare, Fernando Montoya has just the expertise she needs. But helping Nicole brings Fernando dangerously close to revealing the secret he’d rather keep hidden: he learned the skill in prison. While the horse draws them together, can Fernando find a way to tell her the truth…and keep it from pulling them apart? 


Tuesday, June 18, 2019

We {{Heart}} New York and its Amish by Jo Ann Brown

I’ve been friends with Tracey J. Lyons for more than a decade, but today is the first time that we’ve both had a book coming out at the same day from the same publisher. My book The Amish Widower’s Twins is set in Washington County in northeastern New York.

Her book A Love for Lizzie is set almost eight hours west in Chautauqua County in the southwestern corner of New York. These settlements are two among the more than twenty that have been established in the state since the early 1950’s.
Tracey’s book is her first for Love Inspired and her first Amish romance. My book is the fourth and final book in the Amish Spinsters Club series. But we both agree that we are delighted with our book covers.
Both of us are writing about Old Order Amish communities, but there are some definite differences. Tracey’s settlement of Miller’s Crossing was established in the 1970’s and is a daughter settlement of one in Geagua County, Ohio (in the northeast portion of the state). My brand new settlement in Harmony Creek Hollow was settled primarily by families from Lancaster County, but also from other states (including Delaware and Indiana). While the older settlement has its Ordnung, the unwritten rules by which the community lives, one of the challenges for my characters has been creating a new Ordnung for their settlement as they decided on color of their buggies and shape of the women’s kapps (head coverings) and other details that are vital to their community.
While southwestern New York has slow rolling hills that lead toward the Great Lakes,
Washington County shares a border with Vermont and enjoys amazing views of the Green Mountains.
Both are traditional farming areas with a scattering of small towns which is a primary reason the Amish were drawn there. And probably why we were drawn to write in these areas, too!
We were amazed, because we never mentioned it to each other, that we both have main characters with the surname of Miller. My hero is Gabriel Miller, and her heroine is Lizzie Miller. Actually it’s not surprising, because Miller is one of the most common names among the Old Order Amish. But the similarities don’t end there. Both Gabriel and Lizzie have a single sibling, which is unusual for Amish families, which tend to run to a lot more kids!
Now both Tracey and I are each working on another Amish romance while we enjoy the release today of the print books. The ebooks will be available July 1. The audio book for The Amish Widower’s Twins is also available today.
So join two friends today while we enjoy a unique celebration!