Tuesday, May 31, 2011

What works

Hi, this is Margaret Daley. As readers and writers of romance, I need your help. What have you seen that works as a promotion? That is all we are hearing as authors lately. We have to get out and promote our books. That's fine, but what works? I would rather spend my time writing, but it is becoming more and more something we have to do if we want to sell. We need to have a web presence. Where? Facebook? Twitter? Blogs? Websites? Anyone have some great ideas on how to fit it into a busy schedule.

The American Spirit by Leann Harris

As I do this blog, I’m away from home using a dial-up connect. Oh, dear, do you remember the days of slow internet connection? I have aged many days trying to do this blog and am forced to go to a Starbucks.

I watched the memorial service for the people in Joplin Missouri today. What a challenge to the human spirit Nature provided. But the heart of the American people came to for and those who experienced the tornado in Tuscaloosa last month came to Joplin. These volunteers drove the night and camped out in their truck to help the people in Joplin. What a noble spirit. My prayers are with the people in Joplin in their sorrow and challenge. I once had a pastor’s wife tell me the story of how their home burned down Christmas Eve. She said as she stood outside in her robe with her family, she felt God’s goodness surround her and give her peace. I pray for the people who were involved in all the tornadoes this past week, for the grief of losing loved one and all their belongings.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Pella Tulip Festival--Inspiring Characters

Debra Clopton here, on Main Character Monday. In the picture Chuck and I are in Pella Iowa. Last month on business we visited the state of Illinois, Wisconsin and ended the trip in Pella Iowa. Chuck had to see clients there in Pella and wanted me to see the neat little town and it just happened that they were having their annual Tulip festival. Behind us is one of many displays of tulips and the house behind us is the historic home of the founders of the town. As you can guess they were Dutch.

The entire time we were there I kept getting ideas for books. I'm a huge road trip gal because it inspires my mind. I see ideas everywhere as I go and you never know where something I've seen is going to show up. Main Characters are born from many things. For me they are born from even walking around a garden of tulips. From where we sat on this bench we saw many people from all walks of life. Before us there had been an older couple and as I watched them enjoying the flowers and getting their picture taken my mind took flight on possibilities of who they were, how they met, what is their story.

People ask me all the time where I get my ideas and I tell them from everywhere. I never know who or what is going to spark my imagination. Pella was a great place to do that. On this same trip we visited Chicago, Milwaukee, Sheboygan and saw the beautiful Lake Michigan. I was in the car alot as Chuck met with different clients but I saw many neat places, that will make it into books at some point. They may make it into the book under the cover of a fictional town but they will make it. When you create main characters they get part of their character from the way they view places. Do you agree with this?

If you would like to see other tulip pictures from Pella and the old hotel and huge windmill that are the center of the town come by my blog where I've posted several http://debraclopton.blogspot.com

Until next time live, laugh and seek God with all your hearts.

Debra Clopton

Friday, May 27, 2011

Ask Elnora--What do you remember about graduation--Lenora Worth

Hello, my darlings. I'm fashionably late today but I have a couple of good excuses. I jetted in late last night from that wild and wacky Seekerville! I had such fun chatting that I didn't want to leave that island. It's one of the coolest blogs in cyberspace!Then last night I went to the graduation ceremony for my best friend's youngest son. He was the last of our line of mostly boys. They are all grown up now but we had such exciting adventures when they were younger. So today I'm being a bit sentimental. What do you remember about high school and graduation? Did you think you could conquer the world?

Talk away while Elnora has about four more cups of coffee, please.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Allie Pleiter on One of THOSE Days

I’ve been having a slew of “those days” lately.  Sure, my impending deadline has something to do with it, but less than you might think.  I’m pretty sure God is trying to teach me a little perspective. 
Last year, about this time, we were getting my son through chemotherapy.  My take on what a “problem” was had a completely different skew.  It was poignant--when problems reared their ugly heads before, I have been known to declare, “Calm down, people, lives are not at stake.”  And then, suddenly, lives were at stake and God gifted me with tremendous calm under grueling circumstances.   I vowed, once we got through all that “medical mumbo jumbo” as my son now calls it, that I would never again let the turkeys get me down.
I have not succeeded.
All kinds of stupid details have gotten the better of me lately.  Folks who don’t return phone calls, or don’t hold up their end of the bargain (my pet peeve), files that won’t upload, cell phones that won’t sync, freezers that fail, kids that won’t behave (oh, big surprise there!) have all turned me into a first-class sourpuss.
What’s a girl to do?
First of all, I need to remember God’s sovereignty.  He’s got it covered, down to the last pesky detail.  How many characters have I given this realization?  Too many to count, although it seems to have not yet sunken into my own brain.
Second, I need to be as nice to myself now as I was in the hospital.  Take care of my physical and emotional health.  See friends, grab hugs, take my vitamins, drink water, spend time in prayer.
And finally, I need to pull God’s grace into each and every task, letting him shoulder the burden that’s crushing my good nature.
God gave me that good nature, He delights in it.  He’ll protect it as his precious gift.  So what about you?  Which turkeys are getting you down today, and how close are you holding your Creator’s delight?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Mothering Instincts

Kim Watters here. I found a baby bird the other day. Poor thing barely had any feathers and was definitely too young to be out of his nest. It had been windy earlier, which was probably why Junior was on the ground. Doves are not the smartest of bird species and make their flimsy nests just about anywhere.

Now let me tell you, I’m not fond of birds. Don’t like them, and when they get too near, I freak out. I had a really bad experience when I was about 4. Anyway, I digress. This poor little thing is cowering on the ground, barely able to move. So what do I do? I go back inside and grab a box.
It has to be the mothering instinct in me. No matter what species, (okay no spiders, scorpions, or other creepy crawlies) I will rescue them. So I scoop Junior up and take him to the local bird lady, who will raise him until he can fly.

So what would you do in a similar situation? In my newest release, Home Sweet Home, Abby Bancroft takes in a stray cat. Okay cats and wild birds are two separate things, but I think the decision to help another one of God’s creatures in real life and in fiction is universal.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Trading UP for a Nook! by Lisa Mondello

Hello from Lisa Mondello. First off, I want to send out prayers to those of you in the midwest who were hit with that devastating tornado yesterday. I hope the cleanup in quick and that you all heal soon.

Now on to my post...

After much research and debate, I finally took the plunge and got myself a Barnes and Noble Nook Color. I went back and forth on whether or not I needed the color version or if the b&w version would be fine. Well, the conclusion is that the b&w version would have been perfectly fine for reading books. But the color version is SOOOO nice. While I've never been one to need the latest and the greatest electronic gadget, I do like my creature comforts and I found the Nook filled those needs just nicely.

1. I'm a music hound. I love listening to music while I'm doing most anything. Very cool music player on this Nook.

2. I'm a note taker. For years I've carried around index cards in my purse and I have them scattered in places all over the house just in case the seed of an idea comes to me and I want to write it down for later development. The Nook has a nice notes feature. I can even download QuickOffice to edit my own work on the nook.

3. I have a busy life like most people and I can organize, make lists, set my calendar and reminders on the Nook.

4. See number 3. I'm often stuck waiting for someone to get out of school, work, the mall, etc. and I love that I can sit at a wifi spot and use the Internet. Yes, I know I can do this on my phone. But as I get older, I'm really hating that small phone screen. The Nook has a nice size screen and a keyboard. Who needs a smartphone when you have a Nook?

5. I went kicking and screaming to reading glasses. Hate them. Yes, I know I'm such a baby about it, but after a lifetime of not needing glasses, it just felt odd to me. I love that I can bump up the font on my Nook.

6. Instant gratification. I no longer have to wait to buy books at the store. Who would have thought that would be such a big deal since my house is always full of books anyway. I'm never without something new to read. But it's nice to be able to get a book right when you want it.

7. Book covers are pretty on the Nook. I would have missed that in b&w.

I'm hooked on my Nook already. I may never touch paper again.

Do you have a Nook or another ereader? Let me know how much you love it!

Many blessings, Lisa Mondello

Sunday, May 22, 2011

An Unlikely Match Interview

How exciting to have Asher Chatam, the hero from AN UNLIKELY MATCH, by Arlene James a June, 2011, release from Love Inspired Romance.

1. Asher, tell me the most interesting thing about you.

It has to be soccer related. I'm the youth soccer commissioner in Buffalo Creek, Texas, and I once thought I'd play professionally. I attended college on a soccer scholarship, but an injury forced me to focus my efforts elsewhere, which is how I wound up an attorney.

2. What do you do for fun?

Soccer. I play, plan, coach or watch soccer whenever I have downtime. Oh, and jogging. I love a good run. Guess you can tell I'm a bit of a fitness nut.

3. What do you put off doing because you dread it?

Laundry. I'm not the sort to put off things, really. In my experience that just exacerbates the problem, but I don't see the point in doing the laundry unless the closet or dresser is empty. Plus, I know I'm going to mess something up when I do it. Typical guy, I guess.

4. What are you afraid of most in life?

Failing to do my best, especially when it's a matter of time. I just don't always have the time to devote to things. That's a real problem with people and relationships. People deserve time, and I just don't always have it. I try to make time for family, but it's not easy, and I always feel a little guilty about that.

5. What do you want out of life?

I want to excel at what I do, whether it's law or coaching or whatever. I guess that's why I've avoided personal relationships. I don't have the time to be a good friend, etc.

6. What is the most important thing to you?

My reputation is important to me. As an attorney, my reputation is everything. It's even more important because I'm an espousing Christian. Too many people think of attorneys as shysters, and I absolutely want to avoid anything that seems the least bit shady or improper. That's another reason I don't date much.

7. Do you read books? If so, what is your favorite type of book?

I don't really read for entertainment. Just don't have the time. Also, I read so much for my work that reading isn't the first thing that comes to mind when I have some downtime. I guess my favorite type of book, though, would be the old classics. You know, Shakespeare to Twain, with a little Aristotle and Socrates thrown in.

8. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I get that I'm a bit uptight, and I'd really like to change that, but I do serious work. I have to think how my actions and reactions may impact my work, which is ultimately for the good of others. If that makes me a little cautious, well, God will have to do something about that. I can't seem to.

9. Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet?

No pet. I don't have time for a pet. I barely have time for people, so it wouldn't be responsible of me to have a pet.

10. If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why?

I guess I'd go back to college and do some things different there. I'd not do some things and definitely do some things that I didn't the first time. Maybe I could save myself and others some heartache. For instance, I wouldn't try to be the hero of every game and injure myself. And I either wouldn't get married or I'd give her more time so she wouldn't divorce me. Maybe I'd have a more normal life then, something besides work and soccer. I see these guys who have been married for years at my age and are dads now, while I'm just their kids' soccer coach or just the league commissioner. Ah, well, the law is rewarding work, and I'm good at it. And I do still have the soccer. I just wish…but never mind that. God knows what's best.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Ask Elnora--Are Christian Romance Novels bad for us?? Lenora Worth

Hello, my lovelies. Elnora has had a good week. I can see the end of the tunnel on the work in progress. It's all downhill from here. Whew. I'm pushing through the black moment and into my happily-ever-after. And we do still believe in happily-ever-after, don't we? Let's be honest, when we read a love story and reach the end, we HOPE the couple will be happy for a long, long time, right? But we leave them at a good place. We can't predict what will happen the day after we close the book.

But we can hope. Elnora so believes in hope, faith, and love. If we don't hope that a couple will make it, then alas, all is lost. When I married my dear Big Daddy right out of high school, I was scared and unsure of my future. But I HOPED that we'd make our marriage work. That doesn't mean every day was like a fairy tale with flowers blooming and animals chirping and following Elnora around the house. No prince put a shoe on my foot. No, darlings. My prince went to work in the car factory and came home tired and smelling of industrial paint. My prince made sure we had food on the table and a roof over our heads. And in return, I tried to be the princess he could admire. I grew strong and found my own style and ... I followed my own dreams so I wouldn't have to be so dependent on him for the things only I could make happen. I followed my dreams, but I was settled in reality--the reality of a marriage with ups and downs and all sorts of adventures. So I ask, dear darling people, is it so very bad for women to read Christian fiction? Or are we as smart and capable as Elnora believes us to be? Are we smart enough to know that novels are good clean fun (but the real world is still there when we reach The End?) I believe Christian women are smart enough to know ... in a happy marriage a prince can sometimes seem like a frog and a princess can easily turn into a diva, but we love each other, flaws and all. Most of the women I know have no illusions about life and what is required of them. They love their husbands and their families and ... they have the fairy tale, they accept the adventures, good and bad. They have someone to love, they have faith, and they have hope ... always. And they have these values even if things in real life go terribly wrong.

Please, someone tell me I'm not wrong? 1 Corinthians Chapter 13 states: "For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood. So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love."

That is why we write love stories. How can that be bad for anyone?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

New Kid on the Block: Kit Wilkinson!

Missy, here. You may have seen Kit Wilkinson's name as an author writing for LI Suspense. But in July, she has her very first Love Inspired Romance coming out, Mom in the Making. So I thought I'd feature her as our New Kid on the Block this week. I did a fun interview with Kit...

-Was it difficult to write a straight romance without the suspense element?

Surprisingly, no! And I really enjoyed using the extra "space" to develop the characters. In a suspense, there's SO much to cram in the plot that it's difficult to study character and not lose story momentum. In the romance, I didn't have to worry about that. It was kind of nice :-)

--What's one thing we may not know about you?

I lived in Europe for most of my twenties, in Lausanne, Switzerland. It was definitely a defining time of my life. I studied at the university there, taught English classes and traveled some. It was a fabulous experience. I'm very ready to go back for a visit!!! (um...I'm hoping my parents are reading this and are moved to buy me a ticket )

--What do you plan to write next?

Right now, I am writing an Amish suspense for Love Inspired Suspense. This is a story about an Amish raised police detective who is asked to go back to his hometown to solve a murder--a sort of prodigal son story. I'm having a great time writing this. I find the Amish culture fascinating, so I have enjoyed the research (including a trip to Lancaster). 

--School's almost out! What's your favorite summer activity? Favorite ice cream flavor?

The BEACH! I don't know if that's an activity but that is my favorite part of summer. No doubt. We have a great place just two hours away and I hope to spend LOTS of time there as soon as school's out. I love to walk, run, read, and play with my kids there. And I love how tired we are at the end of the day. I also have a great place to write there and get a lot of work done, so that's nice too.  

I like cookie dough ice cream best, but honestly I'm not a huge ice cream fan. I'd rather skip the ice cream and eat more cake!!! 


Kit Wilkinson is a former Ph.D. student who once wrote discussions on the medieval feminine voice. She now prefers weaving stories of romance and redemption. Her first inspirational manuscript won the prestigious RWA Golden Heart and sold to Harlequin.

Besides writing, she loves hanging out with friends and family, cooking for lots of people, and spending time in the sun. She, her two children and one extremely energetic Border Collie live in central Virginia.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The End!

Linda Goodnight here, pounding away toward a June 1 deadline and the final installment of the five book series, Redemption River. Hanging out in this small town with Popbottle Jones, GI Jack and a cast of broken spirits who discover hope and healing has been a fulfilling experience. The books have been good to me, garnering two RITA finalists and a Booksellers’ Best final this year, and readers have written beautiful letters about the way the stories have impacted them. So, it is with bittersweet feelings that I cross the bridge to Redemption one last time and bring this series to a close. Of course, book four won’t be out until Christmas and book five is scheduled for next spring, so they will still be around for a while. Still, I'll miss my daily visits.

Has there ever been a series that you especially loved and were sorry to see end?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Would You Help a Child? Author Brenda Novak Wants to Know

Today I'm keeping track of something good. Every year Author Brenda Novak sponsors an online auction to benefit Diabetes Research. Since I have a son with this disease this cause is very close to my heart. If you click the photo below of Brenda, a new window will open with the auction.


Every year I donate a gift basket with something I've knitted and some of my books. Last year a person paid ove $80 for an afghan and 4 of my books. That really made me smile. Here is the link to my gift basket in case you'd like to bid on it. See what I knit this year in the photo above.Link

Also here's a link to 14 inspirational autographed books to go to the highest bidder. Some of the Craftie Ladies are on the list! Check out Missy Tippens' at http://brendanovak.auctionanything.com/Bidding.taf?_function=detail&Auction_uid1=2168958

Let us know if you find something you like enough to bid on. And Craftie Ladies, if you have donated an item, let us know here too.

Don't miss this Chance to Help a Child!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Rooting for Characters

I recently attended a writing workshop about rooting for characters. The workshop brought lots of questions to my mind as I tried to think of myself in terms of a reader and not a writer. Listening to the workshop presenter's talk made me realize that no matter how wonderful the plot is, if I don't care about the characters in the story, I really don't want to finish the book. How about you? What makes a character sympathetic and makes you want to root for them to reach their goal?

Do you like powerful and attractive characters? Or do you like characters that are down on their luck? Would you like a character that has a physical or mental handicap? What makes you care about the characters in a book? What kind of characters do you like to read about? Tell us about a character that you've read about recently who stands out in your mind. Why did that character resonate with you?

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Ask Elnora--Why do we love the beach?? Lenora Worth

Darlings, this will be a quick post. Elnora is lounging on pure white sand by a blue ocean. And maybe flirting with the cabana boy just a bit. I will try to tear myself away to check in and make sure everyone is behaving while I enjoy a little rest and relaxation. But that begs the question--Why do women love the beach so much? And why do men seem to think it's the most boring thing on God's green earth?

Discuss amongst yourself and I'll be back to see what you're saying. Right now, I need to check on my tan and find something fruity and refreshing to drink.

Wish you were here!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Leigh Bale Talks About Weddings & Funerals

You all know my daughter is getting married next month. With a new book out this month (The Forest Ranger’s Promise), another book coming out in November (The Forest Ranger’s Husband), and meeting my deadlines for the third book, life is beyond hectic. The wedding invitations are ready to mail out, the party favors are prepared, and the wedding dress is “almost” finished.

And then last week ended up being horrible when my dear Aunt Shirley died. It was expected. She’d been fighting ovarian cancer for several years now. And really, it was a blessing because of the intense suffering she was going through, but it was so hard to let go. I dedicated my second book to Aunt Shirley as the bravest fighter in the ring. Because that’s what you have to become when you’re fighting cancer. A prize fighter.

I am awed by both my aunt and my mother’s courage. These two women were very dear sisters. Orphaned at the tender ages of six and four, they had come to depend upon one another all their lives. My mother was right by my aunt’s side and vice versa.

My own sister is flying in for my daughter’s wedding. I haven't seen her in almost six years. And I can’t wait. I want to wrap my arms around her and hold tight. I feel the same about my daughter, mother, daughter-in-law and granddaughter. Believe me, I’m crazy about the men in my life too. But right now, I’m particularly grateful for the strong, loving women in my family who help me be a better person. Who never give up on me despite my flaws. Who love and support me unconditionally.

So I hope today that you’ll all call your siblings, hug your parents, do something kind for your children, or just tell them each that you love them. Don’t wait. Do it now. And God bless cancer victims worldwide.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

iPhone Calendar

Terri Reed here, keeping track of my daily obligations has been made easier with my iPhone's calendar. I used to write everything on my wall calendar that I have hanging next to my desk. Now all my appointments and daily to-do's go on the iPhone. At a glance I can see what I need to do for the day, the week and the month. I love the alarm feature. Key point though, make sure the phones not on vibrate!

I imagine that my hero in my upcoming July release, The Innocent Witness, used his iPhone calendar often. He's a smart guy.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Meet Jenny, from Australia!

Yes, the title of this blog is "Meet Jenny, from Australia." BUT, the photo is "Jenny in Hawaii". AND the blog is coming to you from aCraftie Ladie in America. Isn't the Internet wonderful? Anyhook, we craftie ladies love our readers. So today, we're honoring one.

Go ahead, sit back and enjoy.

Welcome, Jenny! Tell us a little about yourself.
Firstly thanks for having me this is a first for me and it is exciting and scary. I am an Aussie who lives in a small country town. When I say small its about 5,000 people. I am a cricket fanatic (A sport Aussies love as does Cheryl Wyatt). I am single and currently studying the diploma of business administration and am finding it quite challenging. I was a carer for my elderly mother for so many years and when she went into care full time I started studying and have been finding out what freedom really is after so many years as a carer. I am an avid reader and have a tbr list of probably over 500 but I am not game to count but more than one bookcase full of unread books. I enjoy traveling also and hope to do so more once I get employment.

What are you three favorite books (I know, hard to narrow it down). Tell us, what spiraled them to the top of your list? What did the author do that won you over?
This is an extremely hard question. Can I include a series if I can Jeanette Oke's Canadian West series is what got me back into reading back in the late eighties I hadn't read that much for several years and the first book then the rest of the series had me hooked and I haven't looked back since. What did she do to win me over she made me fall in love with Canada and mounties, I wanted to meet a mountie like the one in the series. Second I would have to say the House of Winslow series by Gilbert Morris, What can I say I love his writings, I love how he weaves history in the story and tells the story of what happened in history along with his story. I really cant narrow his books down to just one book. 3rd this is hard but I am going to say Carla Capshaws The Gladiator the book gave me a new appreciation of the early day Christians and their dedication to Christ. They knew at any stage they could be killed for there faith. It helps knowing Carla is such a lovely lady.

What are you reading today?
I am reading Small Town Moms by Janet Tronstad and Deb Clopton.

Do you write, also? If so, tell us what you’re working on?
No not a writer I don't have the talent to write but I do love to read and support authors.

Besides the Craftie Ladies, tell us two or three other Blogs you like to visit and why.
I visit Seekerville most days http://seekerville.blogspot.com, Kaye Dacus http://kayedacus.com/ and International Christian fiction Writers http://internationalchristianfictionwriters.blogspot.com/ to name a few. My bookmarks have many blogs booked marked.

Anything else you'd like to add?
I have a blog where I post reviews and have a Getting to know you feature each Thursday which I introduce authors to readers. I am always looking for more authors to feature and this year I am trying to introduce some Australian authors to my readers.

Also thank you for having me on your blog. I do love Love inspired books all three genres.

Thanks so much for being our Monday’s Main Character. Here's a link to Jenny's blog.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Instant Daddy Interview

How exciting to have Jessie Chandler, the heroine from Instant Daddy, by Carol Voss, a May, 2011 release from Love Inspired Romance.

1. Jessie, tell me the most interesting thing about you. I think the most interesting thing about me is that I adopted my twin sister’s baby boy.

2. What do you do for fun? I play with my adorable 18-month-old & work on my little apartment to get it ready to move into, and I do volunteer work at church.

3. What do you put off doing because you dread it? I don’t date.

4. What are you afraid of most in life? My biggest fear is losing people I love.

5. What do you want out of life? I want to provide a safe, secure and loving environment for my son, Jake.

6. What is the most important thing to you? Jake, of course. And my family and friends.

7. Do you read books? If so, what is your favorite type of book? I read decorating books, cook books (I own a diner), child-rearing books and, of course, I read lots of children’s books to Jake. He especially loves books about Thomas, the toy engine.

8. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I would be the strong, capable woman I was before the car accident that nearly claimed my life.

9. Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet? No pets yet. I see a dog in the future though.

10. If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why? If I didn’t have Jake in my life now, I would want to go back to the happy time before the accident robbed me of my ability to have children and, consequently, my fiancé.

Saturday, May 7, 2011


The toddler in Jessica Chandler's arms is Dr. Peter Sheridan's spitting image. Down to the auburn hair, dark brown eyes, cleft chin—and small birthmark on his jaw. Peter had no idea he had a child. Or that the baby's mother passed on, and his son was being raised by her twin sister, Jessie. A workaholic with few personal ties, Peter has no clue how to be a father. Though Jessie fears he'll take the boy away, she's willing to show Peter how to be there for his son. But can she open her heart to this instant daddy, as well?

Friday, May 6, 2011

Ask Elnora--About Packing for a Trip????? Lenora Worth

I'm in a rush today, my darlings. That's because I'm in Oklahoma City at the Oklahoma Writers Federation Conference. Elnora will be doing two workshops. One today after lunch (when everyone will be extremely sleepy)and one early Saturday morning (when Elnora will be extremely sleepy.) But I will make sure my two or three attendees get a bang for their buck. I can certainly tell fellow writers what NOT to do. But right now, I'm exhausted. Packing? Why is it so bothersome? Why can't I just walk into my closet and grab a few outfits and one--yes, one--pair of shoes and be happy?

Elnora just isn't wired that way. Oh no, I have to try on this with that and tie this scarf around that blouse and ... decide which shoes and jewelry to wear and maybe I do need a different pair of shoes for each day. A different string of pearls for each day, too. In the end, I usually have more shoes than outfits and days to wear them. But ... that's just me. This is a three day conference. And one day on the road Sunday. So far, I've packed five pairs of shoes. And I'll have one pair on my feet. I haven't even considered purses yet!!!

My back hurts and I think I'm getting a headache. I am highly allergic to packing!
I need a ladies maid. I also need a housekeeper and a chef, too. But alas, I don't think I'll have any of those things in the near future.

But enough about my needs. I must get back to the conference. I might actually learn how to write a book. Meanwhile, discuss amongst yourself--Why is packing for a trip so tedious???? And if you have questions, ask away. I'm sure my Love Inspired sisters will be happy to talk to you about packing. Or maybe some of you out there have a system that I can use. Y'all might even give me a few pointers. I'll check back later, I promise. Right now I have to decide which shoes to wear today!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Kiss

I loved watching the royal wedding of Kate and William. My favorite part was the kiss. Okay, I'm a romance writer. I should say that. It is expected. What I loved about the wedding is the sense of hope. Two young people in love (and I think they are in love) and ready to start a life together. Their story is a romance. I could have written it. Any romance writer could have.

So what makes a good kiss in a book or movie or real life?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Tribute to Mom by Leann Harris

Since it is so close to Mother's Day, I wanted to share a funny story with y'all. My mother and grandmother at one time tried to color their hair. Now both mom and grandmother have dark hair, so when grandmother decided to dye her hair to rid it of the gray, she turned her hair orange. Not a mute orange, but a bright neon orange. She called my mother hysterical. What could she do? Between laughs, mom advised her to go to the beauty shop and have the pros dye it black.

After grandma's experience, you'd think mom might have an idea that her hair wouldn't take color well. But no. She tried having her hair streaked with silver. What mom got was ugly mustard color. She wasn't a happy camper when she came home from the beauty salon. But mom lived with it until it grew out.

As you can see, my mother is a nurse. I will tell you she had the gift of nursing and every patient she ever had adored her. She is an amazing woman...who shouldn't dye her hair.

Over at the eharlqeuin site, there are more stories. Lyn Cote is leading it today. Check it out.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Characters Wanted: Debra Clopton

Hi--Debra Clopton here! Seems like its been forever since I posted. I'm glad to be here today on Main Character Monday. I love, love, love creating main characters. I spend a lot of time trying to come up with main characters with quirks and problems that interest me. I love watching people and getting inspiration from variety ofCheck Spelling sources to roll into a character. In March Love Inspired rereleased my first two books THE TROUBLE WITH LACY BROWN and AND BABY MAKES FIVE. I still remember when I was coming up with those characters. Lacy Brown was a character that was so full of life and loved the Lord with all of her heart. When I created her I just went over the top on making her full of joy while also making her flawed in that her vivacious spirit that drew me to her was also what got her in trouble all the time.

When I created Lilly Tipps for the And Baby Makes Five I had her being raised by three man hating grandmas and her best friend was Samantha the donkey. :) It was such fun and 20 books later I'm still working on trying to make my main characters and secondary characters characters that interest me and you. On that same note, I enjoy watching TV shows with quirky characters, like Monk, and The Closer oh and I can't forget about Castle! Love those shows. Do you have any characters from books or from movies or TV that you love? I'd love to hear about them. Until next time live, laugh and seek God with all your heart. Debra Clopton

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Forest Ranger's Promise Interview

How exciting to have _ Melanie McAllister the heroine from The Forest Ranger’s Promise_a May 2011 release from Love Inspired Romance .

1. Melanie, tell me the most interesting thing about you.

I can make the best pickle pie in three counties! Seriously. I suppose running a sheep ranch is also one of the most interesting things about me. It’s a tough profession for a woman, but it’s all I’ve ever known. Opal Ranch has been in my family for four generations. But I always wanted to go to college too. I’d like to study science. In high school, I got pretty good grades in math and science. I just never got the chance to go on to college. I married quite young after high school, had a child, and then my husband died in an accident. I find a lot of solitude in my work, but there are days when I’d love to find the time and resources to branch out and see what else I could do. The ranch is so much a part of me, but it’s not my identity. I’m going to take an online course next fall and see how I do. It’s been a long time since I did homework. Wish me luck!

2. What do you do for fun?

Hunt nightcrawlers at midnight. My daughter and I like to go fishing now and then. But we haven’t had much fun over the past few years. First, my husband had a substance abuse problem, but I’d rather not talk about that. After he passed away, I was always working so hard just to keep us going. But I must say I absolutely love watching my daughter play soccer. She’s really good. And fast. And after a game, we love to go get ice cream cones at the drive in, if it’s open. (The town we live in is quite small, so the drive in only opens up during the summer tourist season.) If it’s not open yet, I take us home and make us ice cream cones. We sit outside on the back porch and watch the sunset. Remember my home is called Opal Ranch, with good reason. White and gold-colored mountains surround the valley where I live. It’s so beautiful watching the sun set light up the sky with red and orange clouds.

I also love feeding the dogie (orphan) lambs with my daughter, Anne. It’s a lot of hard work, but it’s also a lot of fun. The baby lambs are so voracious to latch onto the bottles that they almost knock you down. Their little tails move so quick that they look like a whirling dervish. So cute and fuzzy!

3. What do you put off doing because you dread it?

Mucking out stalls. Yuck! What can I say? It’s a dirty job.

4. What are you afraid of most in life?

Losing my ability to think and act for myself. Before his death, my husband kept me pretty much under his thumb. After he died, I never wanted to marry again. I wanted to be able to do what I thought was right without being belittled or abused in any way. Then I met a very special man who taught me that real love is when you put other people’s needs before your own. I never thought I’d meet someone like Scott. He loves me unconditionally. And he’s taught me what real love is. Now I’m not afraid anymore.

5. What do you want out of life?

To be a beauty pageant queen. Yeah, right!

Seriously, I want to raise my daughter to be a good, righteous young woman. To be loved and to give love in return. To work and serve my family and the Lord in any way I can.

6. What is the most important thing to you?

Chocolate. Okay, okay. Maybe that’s the second most important thing. The first would have to be my family. I know it might sound cliché, but I’ve faced losing everything in my life. My home, livelihood, husband and child. And that kind of situation really puts perspective on things. I can honestly say I don’t care where I have to live as long as I can be safe with my family. And being able to live at Opal Ranch is just icing on my cake. It is the Garden of Eden for me. No prettier place on earth.

7. Do you read books? If so, what is your favorite type of book?

Are you kidding? I love to read! I enjoy books on the Presidents of the United States. I have a really good memory and can name each president, who his vice president was, and who they ran against. Odd, I know. But there it is anyway.

8. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I wish I had softer hands. I also wish I weren’t such a pessimist. I worry too much. I always think the worst thing is going to happen. Maybe that’s because so many bad things have happened in my life. But now, I have a chance to change all of that. I don’t think life will ever be easy, but the Lord has strengthened and blessed me to be able to face whatever comes.

9. Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet?

I have hundreds of pets! Sheep, horses, and a few cows. But they really aren’t pets. I have a black and white border collie with droopy ears named Bob, because he has a bobbed tail. He’s the best sheep dog I’ve ever seen. Gentle, quiet, and he does his work with very few commands. He’s getting old now, but he’s my good friend.

10. If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why?

I’d like to visit Norway during the time of King Harald Fairhair. Not to stay, mind you. But just to visit. I love history and am curious about what kind of man King Harald must have been to unite ancient Norway for the first time under one king. This would have also been during the time of Rollo, the First Duke of Normandy. I’d like to ask him why he started raiding his own Norse people along the Vik and got outlawed from Norway. I have my own ideas on why he did it, but I’d like to ask him…if he would take off my head first. :)

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