Friday, September 30, 2011

Ask Elnora--About being a Superhero??? Lenora Worth

Elnora loves the television show "Castle." But then, most writers do. This week's episode was all about comic book heroes and people who try to emulate them. Of course, we all know that when it involves Richard Castle, it also involves murder. This one was really gruesome. Elnora is far too delicate for such graphics. And Elnora is far too smart to actually believe a human being could split a man in half with a sword in one fell swoop. But ... this is Castle after all. We have to just go with it and enjoy the ride. After I downloaded the Marvel Comics app on my phone so I could read the new Derek Storm comic book story (written by Richard Castle of course) and alas, couldn't find the new Derek Storm anywhere on the app, I got to wondering--Don't we all have a bit of Super Hero in us? I attended a workshop at ACFW where super heroes and heroines were used as part of the program and I've been pondering this since. Writers are told to be themselves, but I think readers sometimes see us as these rock star super beings who travel with an entourage and stop on a dime to get our pictures taken. Okay, so Elnora loves to pose for a picture with a friend and reader, but let's get back to that Super Hero image. I do believe we have duel personalities like Spider Man and Super Man and we're definitely multi-taskers like Wonder Woman. (And she does it with fabulous hair and kicking boots!) I also believe we have to keep a little bit of ourselves secret just to stay calm and sane. We have to find that upper room and center ourselves before we go out and hang by a thread during booksignings, or leap over tall buildings to make it to an interview. And we certainly have to put on our protective armor when meeting the public or reading reviews. Even Elnora, with pearls and pumps and a boa (hopefully knitted by Camy Tang or Allie Pleiter), likes to find a quiet place and kick off her shoes and just stare into space. We are labeled introverts when really we just want to write our books and have fun and later .... much later, have a private conversation with our Maker. We enter laughing and we leave doubting but we love our jobs and our readers. But hey, even Cat Woman had her doubts, right? So..... what super hero traits do we need to survive? Do we all have a bit of Super Heroine or Hero in us? Let's discuss.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Lyn Takes a Bow or Should that be a Curtsey?

I want you to know that Pamela Tracy told me to BRAG about myself. Now I'm not perfect but I do know Christians are never supposed to BRAG about themselves. However this is a blog and on this blog we celebrate Love Inspired romance and the authors and the readers. So I guess it's okay to take a bow, curtsey, or blow my own horn.

As Pamela has posted to the right, I won the Carol Award for Short Historical in this year's American Fiction Writers published award, named for Carol Johnson. (I wrote about that on the 22nd.)

This win was an encouragement to me. I will have written and published 36 books as of this October. I have finaled in several (not many) contests. But I hadn't won since 2001. That's a long time!

So I don't think I'll get the big head. :-) Especially since I broke part of my plaque for the award on the way home. Why do these things happen to me? (I have managed to glue the little piece back on!)

I'm really happy that my heroine Mercy and her hero Lon touched hearts in Her Healing Ways, the final book in my Gabriel Sisters series.

Here's a list of the other winners. You might like their books! Have you read any by any of the other winners?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

God's Dreams for Us!

Patty here and I’m facing a problem that I’m sure most parents deal with some time or another. My twenty-year-old daughter plopped down in a chair in my office and asked the question everyone ask at one time or another:

“Mom, I don’t know what to do with the rest of my life.”

Such a profound question! And one I couldn’t answer until about ten years ago so if you’re one of those blessed few who knew exactly what you wanted to be with you grew up, this blog post isn’t for you.

You see, I was too ADD to make a career choice. The truth was you name it, I wanted to at least give it a try. In elementary school, I read every book I could find on the presidents because I was determined to occupy the Oval Office. But by the time sixth grade rolled around, I scratched public office off my list, instead taking a serious interest in writing romantic poetry and roller derby.

My middle school years were spent discovering the artist inside. While playing music wasn’t in the cards, I found my talent on the dance floor. So for the next five years, I twirled my way into the local dance company, spending six days a week at the studio and searching for colleges with good dance programs.

Did I tell you that I had ADD?

After college, I worked as a registered nurse for six years until I got a better job, that of a stay-at-home mom. When the girls started school, I put out magazines at Wal-mart, hung wallpaper for contractors, taught autistic kids and was named one of the top sales people in the country at both a well known candle shop and a office supply store.

My dad called me his Jackie of all trades.

So how did I end up on the Craftie Ladies of Romance? It was a total God thing as in God called me to write and I listened to Him. Where as most of my jobs lasted a couple of years or so, I've been writing for ten years now and I've never been happier. Isn't that just like God? In Jeremiah, He tells us that He knows the plans He has for us. Just like our earthly parents, God has big dreams for us!

And He has one for my darling girl as I’ve reminded her over and over again. So today, let’s talk about the dream God has laid on your heart for your life. I'd love to hear about your journey to find God's dream for your life.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Contests by Merrillee Whren

Isn't it fun to win a contest? Winning a prize is thrilling. This past week we've been talking about awards and contests. I have just returned from the American Fiction Writers Conference held in St. Louis this year. Lyn Cote, one of the Craftie Ladies, won a Carol Award for her short historical romance, Her Healing Ways.

Two other Love Inspired authors also won Carol Awards this year. Irene Hannon's book, A Father for Zach, won in the short contemporary category, and Sharon Dunn's book, Night Prey, won in the short romantic suspense category.

Since we're talking about contests, I'm going to give away copies of all three books in my Kellerville series to someone who comments on today's post. I recently learned that the first two books in the series have won first and second place in the Published Beacon Contest.

Tell us about any contests you have won.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Featured Book: Her Rodeo Cowboy by Debra Clopton

Everything accountant Montana Brown thought she knew about love and marriage goes topsy-turvy when her parents split up. Shaken, she heads to Mule Hollow, Texas, to stay with family and take a chance on an old dream: being a cowgirl. With all her might, she tries to resist the charms of a too-handsome cowboy. Luke Holden is going after his own dream of expanding his ranch. A wife isn't on his wish list. But the Mule Hollow matchmakers are fixin' to lasso Luke and Montana together—with a little faith and love.

Today we're interviewing the hero from HER RODEO COWBOY by Debra Clopton. Sit down and enjoy!

Luke, tell us the most interesting thing about you.

“I’m not much on talking about myself, but, well, I promised Norma Sue Jenkins I would do it. This interview is a kind of promotion for the three Mule Hollow Homecoming Rodeos her and the other ladies are planning for the summer. Since I got the contract to supply the livestock for the rodeos I want them to do good and I feel an obligation — Excuse me, you want to know what’s my passion, what makes me tick? Well, when you put it that way it’s easy. Building a legacy for future Holden’s is what I’m all about…that’s what makes me tick.”

What do you do for fun?

“I like to ride out and check the fence line. Sunsets from the saddle are something to see. I date a pretty good bit--I’m not looking for serious though. Not ready for that and even the matchmaking posse of Mule Hollow—you know, Norma Sue and her two partners in crime Esther Mae Wilcox and Adela Ledbetter Green. They “tinkered” with my love life a time or two, but even they realized I was a lost cause until I’m ready. Sunsets, diner and a movie. That’s what I do for fun. Marriage—nope.”

What do you put off doing because you dread it?
“Doing this interview. (chuckle) Talking about myself—yup, that’d be it right there.”

What are you afraid of most in life?
“I’m afraid of not being the man God wants me to be. You know my dad let me and my brothers down and the heartache from it cuts deep. But, I see parents letting their kids down, in different ways all the time, so I don’t feel sorry for myself. You know that spunky, barrel racer, Montana Brown—her dad let her down too. She has major hurt going on in her heart because of it. I feel for her and want to help her heal from the pain she’s feeling. Something about that cowgirl gets me in the center of my heart. I…I guess I’m kind of afraid of that too, you know, really opening my heart to someone.”

What do you want out of life?

“I want my brothers to have a family and feel the love that they never knew as kids. I sometimes think about finding someone special for myself…but, again, I’m not sure I could risk opening my heart. It’s just easier not to go there.”

What is the most important thing to you?
“Me and my two younger brothers, Jess and Colt, have recently bought a ranch. I’ve worked hard on other folk’s ranches ever since I was fourteen and the responsibility of raising my brothers fell on my shoulders. Putting solid roots down in God’s green earth, that will hold and flourish for Colt and Jess’s future kids--when they get around to getting married...that’s what’s important to me. And then there’s Montana—I can’t get her off my mind and helping her has become real important to me.”

Do you read books? If so, what is your favorite type of book?
“I read the Bible...and everything I can find about ranching.”

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
“I think I would change my looks—I know that sounds weird for a guy, but I look a lot like my dad…women tend to like the way I look and that would make most men happy I guess. But when I look in the mirror I see my dad, the man who hurt my family in the worst way by loving the bottle more than us. Sometimes I think it would be nice to just see me when I look in the mirror. But, God sees my heart so that’s what I try to see too. I’m starting to hope that’s what Montana Brown sees…”

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

“Just my cow dogs and my horse.”

If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why?
If I could go back in time as an adult man to when my dad was first beginning to start drinking then I’d go in a heartbeat. I’d go tell him about the man I’ve become despite him. I’d tell him about Colt and Jess and how proud I am of my brothers—I’d tell him he really missed out when he checked out on us. But mostly, I’d tell him about the Lord…because if he’d have had a relationship with the Lord then my family’s history would have been rewritten. Of course, God’s in control of all that and I’m not looking back…now, if I could go to the future and see where this thing with Montana Brown is going—that’s what I’m curious about.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Featured Book: The Reluctant Outlaw by Karen Kirst

The ruthless criminal who took Juliana O'Malley hostage was a thief and an outlaw—or so she thinks. But on a perilous journey through the Smoky Mountains, he becomes her unlikely protector. And when he pledges to return her home safely, she somehow finds herself believing him.Evan Harrison has risked everything to find the men who killed his brother. Saving spirited, strong-willed Juliana could blow his cover with a deadly gang. Yet her courage and unwavering faith make him dream of the home and family he thought he could never have. And suddenly, that future is incomplete—without Juliana in it.

Today, we welcome Evan, from Karen Kirst's debut novel The Reluctant Outlaw.

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

I'm not who people think I am.

2. What do you do for fun?

I've been living a nightmare the past year, so I don't remember what fun is.

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

I dread telling Juliana, the young woman I've been protecting, who I really am.

4. What are you afraid of most in life?

I've already lost everyone important in my life. I can't go through that pain again, so I'm afraid of letting people get too close.

5. What do you want out of life?

Revenge. My brother was gunned down in cold blood, and I've vowed to track down his killers.

6. What is the most important thing to you?

I'm not sure anymore. I've been driven by the need to avenge my brother's death for so long, but now I have Juliana to think of. Right now, getting her to safety is my first priority.

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

Don't read much. I'd rather be working my land.

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

I wish I could let go of my anger and forgive the men who killed my brother, but I can't.

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

I don't have a pet, but my horse Lucky is mighty important to me. He's loyal. Intelligent. Trustworthy. That's why I was steamed when Juliana stole him from me.

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

I like 1880 just fine. Have you seen some of the clothes men used to wear? I wouldn't be caught dead in a powdered wig!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Ask Elnora--About the ACFW conference??Lenora Worth

Hello, beautiful people. I am at the American Christian Fiction Writers Conference in St. Louis. Big Daddy drove me and sweet Betsy St. Amant up here. Wasn't that nice of him? I'll tell you about our escapades as the day goes on. I hope to post happenings here all day long. Not that Elnora would gossip, but just think of me as Entertainment Tonight or Access Hollywood, except today is Access ACFW! Did you know our own Margaret Daley is Madame President of ACFW??? Yes. Elnora is so proud of her. And I'm even more proud of her upcoming book from Summerside "From This Day Forward." I'm reading it right now. I also have my friend Cheryl Hodde's upcoming book on my nightstand. "The Wedding Kiss" looks like a winner to me! The cover is exquisite and I know the writing will be the same. Watch for these books. They should be on the shelves soon. Of course, Elnora loves seeing what kind of shoes everyone is wearing. I only packed five pairs! And two purses. Okay, Betsy and I both have extra shoe bags. What can I say? I get bored wearing the same pair of shoes! I'll try to post some shots to facebook. But the next best thing to shoes at this conference is ... books!!! Lots and lots of books in the bookstore. I brought an extra bag just for books, but Big Daddy thinks it's my "business bag." I shall fill it with books and more books. Where I will put them, I have no idea! So ... I only have my iphone here so things might get sketchy. But I will try to post as often as I can. Friday is my busy day. Breakfast with our editors Melissa Endlich and Elizabeth Mazer. Then a panel discussion about "seat-of-the-pants" writing with Karen Ball and several other writers. We're winging that one! Then a lovely dinner with all the LI writers! Lots of hugs and chatter at that, no doubt. Saturday I get to visit with my wonderful editor Pam Hopkins. This is her first time at ACFW. I'm so glad she's here. While I'm busy here, if there are any questions you want to ask, let us know. If I don't know the answer, I will hunt someone down and find out! What would you like to know about LI writers, Christian fiction and what goes on at this wonderful conference? As a reader or as a writer?? Or both??? Now's the time to ask. We'll all be checking in and we'll be glad to answer your questions. Okay, my feet hurt already!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

When Did You Read Your First Christian Romance?

If you read Author Linda Goodnight's blog on Tuesday, you know something about the Carol Award and the past and present finalists. This Saturday night the awards will be announced. Since I write historicals, I wanted to give you some really important history FOR READER of Christian romane. Here goes:

I am very honored to be a Carol Award finalist. I have had the pleasure of interviewing the lady who is the namesake of this award, Carol Johnson, formerly VP at Bethany House Publishers and now a literary agent. (That's her photo above.) Carol (while at Bethany) was the person who was instrumental in getting Author Janette Oke's first book into print in 1979.

Janette Oke's books led the way in the birth of modern Christian fiction. Carol Johnson was also the woman who was a big part of establishing the prestigious Christy Award. The Christy is another award, focusing on the best in Christian fiction. Have you read Christy by Catherine Marshall? That of course is the namesake of this award. For more about the Christy's, drop by

Two years ago, American Christian Fiction Writers decided to honor Carol by changing the name of their Book of the Year award to the Carol. From what I've just written, I think you will agree that Carol Johnson is a woman who deserves recognition for her achievements and what they have given all of us who enjoy Christian fiction. Love Inspired books wouldn't have come about without Carol's efforts to open the door for Christian fiction. So thank you, Carol!

BTW, I will give away a copy of my Carol finalist book, Her Healing Ways to someone who leaves a comment today. 2nd BTW, Renee Ryan, another LIH author is guesting on my blog today. For another chance to win her current LIH, drop by and leave a comment there too.

The questions to comment on are--what was the first Christian novel or romance you read and how did you find it? And have you read Christy or one of Janette Oke's classic romances?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Babies on the brain

I missed the awesome giveaway weekend earlier this month, but I have a good excuse—my son was born on August 28 and we’ve still been adjusting to life going from a family of three to a family of four. Because I wasn’t able to participate then, I’d like to give away two copies of my debut book, MARRYING MISS MARSHAL from today’s commenters. I’ll choose the winners at the end of the day and post the names in the comments, so check back tomorrow to see if you’ve won!
–also just a note to say that I’ll try to check comments as often as I can today but with two little ones underfoot (one of them brand new!) I may not be here as often as I’d like.

Since this is my first post as a CRAFTIE Lady, I thought I’d share a little about myself. I’m a mom with a toddler and a newborn. I’ve been married for nine years to a wonderful man I met in college. I was born and raised in Oklahoma, spending several years of my childhood on a family farm. I graduated from the University of Central Oklahoma in 2006, which was the same year I started writing for publication. I was contracted with Love Inspired Historical in 2010 and my first book with them was published just over a month ago, in August.

I wrote most of MARRYING MISS MARSHAL while trying to get pregnant with my daughter (although some of it was written/rewritten after she came along). My second book, THE HOMESTEADER’S SWEETHEART (May 2012), was written while I was pregnant with my son. I think because I had babies on the brain, that’s why both books feature babies in different ways.

In MARRYING MISS MARSHAL, the heroine (a town marshal) really wants a family of her own. During the story, she has to help deliver her best friend’s baby and it is a very poignant moment for both women. In THE HOMESTEADER’S SWEETHEART, hero Jonas White was forced to leave Philadelphia to care for his infant daughter. The book is focused on the hero and his family five years after that fact, but Jonas’s past is important to the story.

I think one reason I like writing babies into my stories is because most people have a reaction to them. As parents, we keep memories of our kids close to our hearts and can relate to what the characters we’re reading about are feeling and experiencing—like staying up late with a colicky baby or that scary moment when they seem to choke on their bottle. Aunts, uncles, friends, grandparents… most of us have a collection of moments stored up in our memory banks and when we read about something similar in a good book, that memory surfaces.

I’m sure you can tell I’ve still got babies on the brain—and probably will for awhile! I wouldn’t trade these precious moments with my little ones for anything. So tell me, what’s your favorite memory involving a baby or toddler?


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Craftie Ladies Rock the Carol Awards!

Linda Goodnight here. No, I’m not a suspense author but in the spirit of suspense I’ve high-jacked Pamela Tracy’s posting day! I have a motive for my crime. Really. See if you agree.

Each year ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) holds a contest, now called The Carol, for published authors. I thought it would be fun to find out how many of our Craftie Ladies had been finalists or had won that award. (Actually, it was Pamela’s great idea.) Guess what? The number is phenomenal! Though I may have missed someone along the way, I counted 12 authors with a total of 34 finals and 4 wins.

Here’s a list of those 12 Craftie Ladies:
Allie Pleiter
Cara Putman
Dana Mentink
Debby Guisti
Debra Clopton
Lenora Worth
Linda Goodnight
Louise Gouge
Lynette Eason
Margaret Daley
Missy Tippens
Pamela Tracy
Terri Reed

WOW! What a lineup of my favorite authors! Which have you read? Any favorites in there? Any favorite books?

Three of our Craftie Ladies are up for the award this year-Lyn Cote, Lynette Eason, and Linda Goodnight. Thank goodness, we’re each in a different category. Wish us luck!

(Special thanks to Pamela Tracy for allowing me to ‘steal’ her blog today since I’ll be gone the rest of the week to ACFW.)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Our Very Own Carol Award Finalists!

Missy Tippens, here. We're so thrilled to have three 2011 Carol Award finalists among our group of bloggers! Linda Goodnight (LI Romance), Lyn Cote (LI Historical) and Lynette Eason (LI Suspense) are all finalists this year in the contest sponsored by the American Christian Fiction Writers. Since Mondays are our days to focus on Love Inspired Romance, I wanted to tell you a bit about Linda Goodnight's book, The Wedding Garden.

I've read this wonderful book and wanted to share a blurb with you:

"Are You My Dad?"

The young boy's question shocks Sloan Hawkins. Until Sloan realizes he is this child's father. Years ago, the former bad boy was run out of Redemption, Oklahoma, where, ironically, he was thought unredeemable. The only people who believed in him were his beloved aunt and Annie Markham, the girl he loved and left behind. Now Sloan is back to face his past and help keep his aunt's cherished garden thriving. But when he discovers his secret child--and that single mother Annie never stopped loving him--he's determined that a wedding will take place in the garden nurtured by faith and love.

I asked Linda how this book was special to her. She said this:

"The Wedding Garden" is very near and dear to my heart, perhaps one of very favorites.  I love a redeemed bad boy, and Sloan Hawkins is exactly that. Plus he has some extra trouble waiting for him when he roars into the hometown he promised never to set foot in again. Not only do we see his convulted love story and personal brokeness,  but there is also the bittersweet love of an older couple AND a twist I hope readers don't see coming.  I was thrilled and honored to have this special book be both a RITA finalist and a Carol finalist.

Linda, Lyn and Lynette, we're thrilled for all of you and are so proud! The winners will be announced this Saturday night at the American Christian Fiction Writers conference in St. Louis.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Featured Book: Deep Cover by Sandra Orchard

Maintaining his cover cost undercover cop Rick Gray the woman he loved. Sweet Ginny Bryson never really knew Rick—he never gave her the chance. Not then, and not now, when he's back with a new alias to gather evidence against Ginny's uncle. The man's crimes led to Rick's partner's death, and Rick wants justice to be served. But his investigation is stirring up trouble, and Ginny is smack-dab in the middle. Someone wants Ginny to pay the price for what her uncle has done. But how can Rick protect her without blowing his cover, jeopardizing his assignment…and risking both their lives?

Today, we're interview Rick Gray, the undercover cop hero from Deep Cover by Sandra Orchard

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

I’m an undercover cop. I’ve worked a lot of different cases, some in which the paperwork took longer to do than the actual operation, and some, like my current case, that require me to become another person for weeks at a time. At the moment, I’m posing as a foreman on a construction project to gather evidence against the developer who torches buildings for the insurance money. Unfortunately, he’s also the uncle of a woman I care about, and the construction project is a group home for her mentally challenged sister.

2. What do you do for fun?

I shoot hoops with my fellow police officers. We work hard and then play hard. It helps relieve the stress of the job.

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

I don’t usually put off anything I’m at liberty to do. Telling Ginny who and what I really am is the one exception. For her own protection, fifteen months ago, I let Ginny walk out of my life believing I was the gang member I appeared to be. When that case was over, I could’ve told her the truth, and tried to win her back, but I convinced myself she was better off without me. I wish I could say the same for myself.

4. What are you afraid of most in life?

I have a dangerous job. I make enemies. That’s one of the reasons I tend to avoid relationships. I’m afraid someone close to me will be killed because of my work.

5. What do you want out of life?

I want to get criminals off the street. As my dad lay dying at the hand of a criminal he’d been scheduled to testify against, I made him a promise that I wouldn’t let the bad guys win. For that reason, and another that I’d rather not talk about, justice is really important to me. Let’s just say I owe it to my family to do everything I can to keep criminals off the street.

That said, when I’m not working I enjoy coaching kids’ sports teams at the local community center, trying to help them find something better than crime to invest their time in. It was enough, until I met Ginny. Now…I want the whole wife and kids and white picket fence thing. But it’s just not meant to be.

6. What is the most important thing to you?

Lies are part of my job. A character I play, like an actor. But sometimes to safeguard my cover for the sake of my case, I have to pretend I’m something I’m not to people I’ve grown to care about. It’s important to me that when they learn the truth, they see I’m a man of honor. I’m probably the only man alive who embraces the scripture verse, “There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known.” I long for the day that I can disclose my true life to Ginny. The day she’ll finally understand I work for a greater good. The day she’ll know I’m honorable.

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

I read my Bible most days, but other than that, I don’t read much.

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

If I could walk away from my job, I would. But I can’t. And Ginny deserves a better life than I can give her.

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

No, as an undercover cop, my schedule is too unpredictable to allow me to care for an animal. I have a fish tank screensaver on my laptop. Does that count?

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

I’d go to the backyard of my parents’ house—the day my older brother died. And I’d stay there, just as I’d been told. Remembering that day still rips through me as viciously as the bullets that ripped through my brother. I’d been too young to understand that gang members get a kick out of daring probies to take pot shots at a cop’s house. If I’d obeyed my parents and stayed in the back yard, Bobby never would’ve chased after me to keep me off the road…and run straight into the spray of gang bullets.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Featured Book: Hidden in the Everglades by Margaret Daley

"I need your help"Bodyguarding is Kyra Morgan's business—but this was supposed to be a vacation! Still, she can't refuse the request from childhood friend and neighbor Michael Hunt. Michael's sister Amy ran away after witnessing a murder. Michael needs Kyra's help to find her and keep her safe. Yet as Kyra and Michael follow the trail along the Florida coast, their search grows more dangerous by the day. Terrorists are at work, and the stakes are perilously high. It will take everything they have—including trust they're both reluctant to give—to escape the Everglades alive…

Today we're interviewing Kyra, the heroine from Hidden in the Everglades. Settle back and get to know this amazing woman.

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

I own and run the Guardians, Inc., a company of female bodyguards.

2. What do you do for fun?

I enjoy a quiet uneventful evening at home--I'm usually working so when I don't have to it is nice.

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

Housework--I like order but I hate to clean. Good thing I can hire someone to come clean once a week.

4. What are you afraid of most in life?

Snakes--no question about it, which wasn't very good since I lived a few yards away from a swamp as a child.

5. What do you want out of life?

To keep people safe. That's why I started Guardians, Inc.

6. What is the most important thing to you?

My faith--my belief in Christ is what has kept me going when the ugly side of life has overwhelmed me.

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

Non-fiction when I have time which isn't often. Too busy working.

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

Nothing. I don't regret my life--well, except that I haven't had time for many relationships.

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

No, I don't. I'm not home that much to be a good owner.

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

To the signing of the Declaration of Independence. That event started it all.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Ask Elnora--About a fall picnic???Lenora Worth

Hello, beautiful people. Elnora is enjoying some cooler weather down South. Finally. I hope to attend a church picnic this weekend. It will be held at what we call a "camp" down in these parts. Very rustic. Of course, my idea of rustic is a cozy lodge with a fire, a good book and lots of hot chocolate and a concierge. Did I mention this place is very rustic? It's more the type place where ghost stories are told and might actually happen! But, it's a lovely spot, truly. And I have the closest Holiday Inn on speed-dial just in case! Now I have to decide what to wear to this nice fall picnic. I have several purses that I call "camp" purses. I'll take one of those. As for shoes--Uggs or Skechers?? I'll have to figure that out. Pants or shorts? Blue jeans or khaki. I have a lot of khaki. I'm sure I can find something to wear. I know. Let's pretend we're all going on this picnic together. We can discuss what we'll wear, what we'll bring to eat and what books we'd like to read while we're at this adorable little cabin in the woods. Did I mention how rustic this place is? We might go on a hay ride that takes us even deeper into the woods and goes right by a deserted, spooky cabin that makes me hear that banjo tune from the movie "Deliverance" in my head. Elnora is tipping her "camp" hat to James Dickey--one of my very favorite Southern writers ever! What does one wear to get lost in the woods in the fall? Let's discuss. And while we're discussing, let's talk about what we love about fall. This summer had been brutal in so many ways--hot, dry, miserable. A lot of our beautiful trees have shut down and gone dormant already. But in my mind, I'm imagining leaves floating gently down to earth, a blue sky with little puffy clouds, a crisp wind with just a hint of winter in it and ... that handsome concierge bringing Elnora another hot chocolate. What's your idea of a perfect fall picnic? Did anyone bring the marshmallows and graham crackers. 'Cause y'all know I have lots of chocolate!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Back To School: Back to the Books

It's September and time for Back to School and Back to the Books. To celebrate, we Craftie Ladies want to know which books with teacher hero or heroines made into your hands and into your hearts.

Maybe your favorite teacher came from a Harlequin Love Inspired Contemporary.

Dedicated teacher assistant Whitney Maxwell gave up her dream of a family years ago. But she’s about to get a lesson in faith and family from an unexpected source—a brave little boy named Jason. Jason and his dad are dealing with his autism the best they can, but Dr. Shane McCoy can’t put his tragic past behind him. As Whitney and Shane work together to help his son, could these two lost souls open their hearts to love again and become a lasting family?

Or, maybe your favorite teacher came from a Harlequin Love Inspired Suspense

Six months ago, Alexander Cooke’s life was wrecked. His wife was killed, his workplace was robbed...and the evidence pointed to him. He saw one way out—he grabbed his daughter and ran. Now he’s got a new life. Yet even with his new identity as Greg Bond, he’s still lookingover his shoulder. Still waiting for danger to reappear. Then he meets charming schoolteacher Lisa Jacoby, and forgets to keep his distance or protect his heart. When the killer returns, Alex won’t run again. He’s found a love—a family—he’ll face anything to protect.

Or, last but not least, maybe your favorite schoolmarm came from a Love Inspired Historical.

Nothing is impossible—as far as idealistic schoolteacher Verity Hardy is concerned. The lovely widow is certain teaching freed slaves in a Virginia town torn apart by the Civil War will help heal bitterness and old wounds. But she's finding that the school's cynical builder, Matthew Ritter, has little reason to have faith in her—or anything else.
An ex-Union captain, Matt has seen more than his share of destruction. And the threats he's getting about the school are almost enough to make him give up. But Verity's spirit and courage inspire him to fight once again for what he believes in—and to show her they can reach their dreams together….

Go ahead, think about it and share. What book, with a school setting, made you want to turn to the beginning and read it again.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

This is my first post on the Crafty Lady blog, and I’m delighted to be here. My name is Louise M. Gouge, and I write historical fiction. (See my website/blog at for information about my books.) 

The eras I have written about are mid-nineteenth century, Civil War, post-Civil War, and the American Revolution. This past year, I moved into the very popular Regency era. Having always loved Jane Austen and all things English, this was a natural fit for me. 
But it’s also very tricky. Regency fans know their stuff, and they don’t like for authors to make mistakes that can easily be found through simple research. 

Whew! What a challenge. 

But I’ve embraced it wholeheartedly and hope I won’t disappoint my readers. Right now I’m now working on my third Regency book for Harlequin’s Love Inspired Historicals. 

The first story was a novella in an anthology with Deborah Hale, a popular Regency author. I don’t mind tagging along on this venerable lady’s coattails while I learn my craft. Our book was entitled The Wedding Season, and my book is The Gentleman Takes a Bride. I had so much fun writing this book that I proposed a three-book series to my editor, and she bought it! 

In this Ladies in Waiting series, three wellborn ladies who are impoverished for one reason or another find themselves seeking work as companions for wealthy Society matrons. Be looking for the first one: A Proper Companion, in June 2012. In the meantime, watch a movie adaptation of one of Jane Austen’s immortal stories. They are the very best of the very best Regency novels.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Sandra Orchard here, debut Love Inspired Suspense novelist with the release this month of Deep Cover. When acquaintances learn that I’m a writer, they instantly bubble over with questions. At first I dreaded these with something akin to the panic in my hubby’s eyes when our young son asked, “Daddy, where do babies come from?”

No more! I’ve learned to have fun with them.  

“Where do babies characters come from?”

Well, I’m so glad you asked. The ideas for the characters that populate my books can come from the most unlikely of places. For example, this past summer my husband and I spent a day at the African Lion Safari and I came home with a camera full of new characters.

No, I didn’t snap photos of unsuspecting tourists, although that probably would’ve been a great idea. I’ve discovered lots of great mannerisms for my characters by simply watching people in restaurants and airports, on buses and in meetings. Photos of people with a variety of expressions, colorings, dress, etc. would be a wonderful resource. But I digress.

I snapped photos of animals, and they are quite the study in character. Take a look at this guy, for example. I call him “The Grouch”.
Can’t you just hear him saying, “What part of get lost don’t you understand?”

Then there’s the deer I like to call “The Social Butterfly”.
Can’t you just hear him saying, “What was that? I missed what you said.” Of course, that’s stereotypically a female character, but I’m pretty sure those horns mean this deer is a fella.

The monkeys alone were a treasure trove of character ideas. I call this little guy “The laid back type”.
 “This is the life!”

Then there’s the “People Pleaser” type. This mare was a real ham. She posed for about ten minutes as if she wanted to be sure I got the perfect shot to accentuate her beautiful fur coat. I could almost hear her say, “How’s this?”

And of course, no character study would be complete without a villain. I call this fellow “The Tough Guy”.
He’s saying, “Do I look like I want my photo taken?” Then to prove it, he charged a car!

And what romance writer’s character study would be complete without a hero. Although this particular hero wouldn’t be my first choice. I call him “The Casanova.”
“What can I say? The women love me.”

I hope you’ve enjoyed my little “birds and bees” talk on where characters come from.

If you’re in the mood for a little romantic suspense this month, please check out Deep Cover, the first book in my series…Undercover Cops: Fighting for justice puts their lives—and hearts—on the line.

Your Turn: Have some fun suggesting alternative descriptions and dialogue for our array of characters. 

Monday, September 12, 2011

New from Lenora Worth

A new contemporary from Lenora Worth! The Doctor's Family. (Click the title to read an excerpt.) Here's a blurb:

Family, Clayton Style
Raising four–year–old triplets and an abandoned teenager, single mother Arabella Clayton Michaels has her hands full. She loves everything about her big family in tiny Clayton, Colorado. But when a Denver surgeon arrives with the news that her beloved teenager is his long–lost niece, Arabella worries she'll lose the girl—and much more. Jonathan Turner's harrowing past makes her want to open her heart to him. But will the handsome doctor accept a bigger ready–made family than either dreamed was possible?

Sounds like another great one from Lenora. So be sure to check out The Doctor's Family.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Remember 9/11!

By Debby Giusti
America must never forget what happened on September 11, 2001.  Fanatic terrorists, their hearts twisted in darkness, planned and executed a horrific, multi-faceted attack that put a human face on evil.  That day, our lives changed forever.  We lost our innocent and perhaps naive belief that we were safe despite the rising tide of radical extremists hellbent on doing us harm.

The first, seemingly random crash of a jet airliner into one of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, in New York City, caught the attention of the nation and indeed the world.  For many, the tragedy unfolded as we stared in disbelief at television newscasts, horrified by what we saw.  A second airliner exploded into the second tower, confirming our worst nightmare.  The United States was under attack. 
Struggling to fully comprehend the magnitude of those first malicious acts, we watched a third aircraft smash into the Pentagon, in Washington, D.C.  With rumors of a fourth plane headed for the capitol, many feared the terror would never end.
Thousands died that day, innocent people who never expected an attack on U.S. soil or the catastrophic consequences that ensued.

First responders—fire fighters, police officers, EMTs—rushed into burning infernos in order to save lives only to lose their own as the towers collapsed into mammoth mounds of twisted metal and billowing clouds of smoke and debris.
In Washington, D.C., brave military men and women joined hands with civilians to quell the blazing fires and rescue co-workers trapped in the shattered and smoldering rubble of the Pentagon. 
In the air above Shanksville, Pennsylvania, a planeload of heroic citizens fought to recapture an aircraft slated to wreck more havoc on our country.  “Let’s roll,” became a battle cry for those brave men and women and the watchword that called all of us into action.  Rolling up our sleeves and reaching out to those in need, we worked together to rebuild and heal.

Ten years ago, we learned that freedom is never free.  With it comes responsibility.  As post-9/11 people, we must be strong and vigilant and ever ready to defend our country and our way of life, knowing what happened once could happen again.  Those who seek to do us harm continue to plot our demise, yet God is stronger than any enemy.  He is our hope in times of peril and our surety in times of strife.  We must put our trust in Him and return our country to His protection. 

Today, as we remember 9/ll, let us rededicate ourselves to the principles upon which our country was founded.  With one voice, let us proudly proclaim that we are the United States of America, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
In honor of the brave heroes of 9/11, I'm giving away two copies of THE OFFICER'S SECRET, the first book in my Military Investigations series.  Leave a comment to be entered in the drawing.

Visit me online at  Email me at and blog with me here at and also at

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Leigh Bale Remembers 9/11

September 11, 2001, started out as a beautiful, clear day. Nothing unusual about it. Just another workday for people to go about their business. But it wasn’t just another day. It was a day of courage and valor, proven by ordinary people who didn’t care at all about the ridiculous things that seem to divide us. In the aftermath of what happened, all that mattered was helping one another and surviving the devastation caused by cruel, hateful people.

How ordinary do you think today might be? Will anything unusual happen to make us cherish our family members more? To reprioritize and value our lives? That’s what 9/11 has given me. A deeper appreciation for the sweetness of my life and all it has to offer.

In honor of those valiant people who fought for their lives and participated in the recovery effort, I’ve decided to celebrate a great victory. When the worst happened, the people of our nation rose up and met the occasion. We showed our mettle. Because we never know when an ordinary day might become extraordinary and test the very fabric of our souls.

God bless America, the land that I love.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Ask Elnora--Where were you? Lenora Worth

Hello, my dear friends. No pithy comments from Elnora today. Just remembering ten years ago. My mother-in-law had passed away over the Labor Day holiday that year. Ten years before that, my sister Glenda was involved in a car wreck with a drunk driver and she died three weeks later. And recently, I lost a young friend and I will miss her smile dearly. Elnora is beginning to not like September. But my daughter's birthday is at the end of the month, so for that reason and for the cooler weather, I shall keep September. And I will always remember.

But here's the question in my mind over this coming weekend. Where were you that day ten years ago when our lives changed forever? Okay, I'm humming that sad, sweet Alan Jackson song now. "Where were you when the world stopped turning?"

I was home and about to go for my daily walk. But for some reason I decided to stay in and watch "Good Morning America". And what I saw horrified me. I was alone. My daughter was at work in a downtown building. My husband at work in a General Motors factory. My son at school a few miles away. I wanted them all home. I cried all day. I prayed a lot. I was in shock. We writers have talked about that day and the aftermath. We didn't want to write again. We weren't sure we should write again. It seemed so frivolous, so pointless. But Elnora is tough. I knew writing would bring me some relief and hopefully help my readers to heal and laugh again, or maybe finally cry. So I wrote, one word at a time and I kept on writing. And wow, ten years have passed. Where were you? How have you changed since that day?

Let's discuss. And ... would someone please pass the chocolate and tissues. Cheesecake would be even better! We will never forget and let's hope our lives reflect the integrity and dignity shown by our heroes then, now and forever.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Here A Baby, There A Baby, Everywhere A Baby

Drum roll please! Here are the answers.

1. Merrillee Whren is thinking, “Will I always have this curl on the top of my head?”

2. Pamela Tracy is already thinking, "Someday I'll have to pose for an author photo! I'd better smile!"

3. Cara Putman is thinking, "Who Turned Out the Lights."

4. Lenora Worth is already posing so her shoes can be seen!

5. Karen Kirst

6. Barbara Phinney

7. At eight months of age, Pat Davids was already praying the baby fat would go away and stay away. No such luck.

8. At age six, Louise M. Gouge is enjoying first grade, as you can see by her toothless smile.

9.Christine Johnson started collecting story ideas right away.

10. Linda Goodnight

11. Debby Giusti

12. Margaret Daley says, "I still look the same."

13. I'm Sandra Orchard and lucky #13, two years old and so happy my parents were hoping their third child would be a boy.

14. Lacy Williams

15. Leann Harris didn't have enough hair to have more than one curl on the top of her head. Her mother was afraid she'd be bald. She had so much hair growing up that it took one hour under the hair dryer to get her hair dry.

16. Missy Tippens

17. Leigh Bale

18. Winnie Griggs

19. Naomi Rawlings________ Name the author who would have to yank a baby picture out of the beautiful scrapbook her mom put together in order to scan it, and she just doesn't have the heart to tear something out of it.

20. Jean Gordon__________ Name the author whose baby pictures are all at her brother's house in Buffalo.

21. Lyn Cote_________ Name the author whose baby pictures are in a barn.

22. Lisa Mondello______ Name the author whose baby pictures are all at her mother's house.

23. Allie Pleiter_________ Name the author who claims to have no baby photos.

24. Kim Watters__________ Name the author whose baby pictures are somewhere in a garage because she's never unpacked them from her recent move.

25. Regina Scott______ Name the author whose mother thinks she isn't old enough to be responsible for her baby pictures.

26. Patty Hall Smith____ Name the author who actually considered scanning her oldest daughter's baby photo because hers are all boxed up.

27.Lynette Eason_____ Name another author whose baby pictures are boxed up at her parents' house.

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