Thursday, January 31, 2013

Looking to Publish?

Happily Editor After: A chance to find your manuscript’s perfect editorial match

May 8, 2013 at 1 p.m.

Love Inspired Editor Emily Rodmell and Associate Editors Elizabeth Mazer and Shana Smith are looking to fall in love…with your manuscripts. If you think your story will make our hearts pound and palms sweat, then we have a great opportunity for you.

We’re on the prowl for new authors for Love Inspired, Love Inspired Suspense and Love Inspired Historical, and we’ll listen to your ideas in a new speed dating pitch opportunity called Happily Editor After.

This opportunity is open to anyone who has never been published with the Love Inspired lines and who doesn’t currently have a full manuscript under consideration with a Love Inspired editor. It only requires that you get a synopsis ready and have a desire to write for the inspirational (Christian) romance market. You’ll have a chance to peruse our online matchmaking profiles and pick the editor who you think would love your story. Then you’ll get to pitch her your idea in one paragraph, and your chosen editor will respond by filling out the following comment card with her first impression of the idea.

Check one:

__I’ll cry if you don’t send me your manuscript (requested full)

__I’d like to get to know your manuscript better (requested proposal)

__I’m not sure if there’s a spark between your manuscript and me, but I’m willing to give it a chance to convince me (requested synopsis)

__There’s just no connection between your manuscript and me (no request, but isn’t it great to know the idea won’t work before you spend time writing it?)

Just like with online dating, polish your pitches and put your best foot forward. Pay attention to our likes and dislikes so you can pick the right match for your manuscript and wow us with your work. Start those manuscripts now so that if you get a request, you can send it in. While full manuscripts aren’t required for the pitch, just like real dating, the more you have to offer, the more interested we’ll be. Please be sure to mention in your pitch how much of the manuscript is completed. A similar pitch session in 2012 resulted in 9 contract offers, so don’t let this opportunity pass you by.

How this will work

Sign up stating your intent to pitch the editor you think is the perfect match for your story by Monday May 6th. Each editor has up to 50 available slots. First come, first served. You can only pick one editor. If your first choice is full, you will be given the opportunity to choose another editor.


• Sign up in this thread and email Rae- stating your intent to pitch by Monday May 6th with the name of the editor you would like to pitch to, the line your ms is targeted to, the title of your ms, and percent complete. You are not signed up until you email Rae and Rae confirms!

• On Wednesday, May 8th at 1pm Eastern, we will gather in the chat room. The editors will go into separate rooms, where they will hear individual pitches.

• Pitchers will be called in the order they signed up to give their pitch. Though we will try to make accommodations for people on break from work, we cannot guarantee a specific pitch time.

• Once the editor gives her feedback, the next pitcher will be called into the room.

• We will be quickly going through each pitch in order, so be prepared to copy and paste your pitch.

We will have practice chats to allow pitchers to practice using the chat room. We will announce the schedule closer to the pitch. If you have not pitched in the chat room before, please plan on attending a practice chat to make the pitches go as smoothly as possible.

Guidelines: Take time to read the Love Inspired guidelines to make sure your story fits in with what Love Inspired is all about.

Love Inspired

Love Inspired Historical

Love Inspired Suspense

For more details, go to

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Characters and Setting by Sherri Shackelford

A friend of mine is working on a 'how to' book about writing and I've been pestering her to let me 'critique' the chapters. Not because I think I can help, but because I always learn something. I just finished reading her chapter on 'Setting' this weekend. As usual, it got me thinking.

Setting can be an integral part of a story. In my first book, Winning the Widow's Heart, the setting was isolated and the backdrop was winter. Those elements were woven so tightly into the story, if the editor had said -- "Change this to summer!" -- it would have been a time-consuming rewrite.

 now available in large print

When you're writing a series of intertwined books, people become familiar with the setting. They walk the boardwalk of your town and sit beside you in church. As much as the buildings are a part of the story, the characters  also become a part of the setting.

While each book in the series has its own unique Hero and Heroine, we look for those characters to drift in and out of subsequent books. Readers often request stories for their favorites.

If an author tires of the main setting--say a town, he/she can always pluck a character from their nice, safe existence and give them an adventure. Since readers are already familiar with the hero and/or heroine, they will follow them across the earth!

The trick is keeping the details straight. I have a single sheet of graph paper where I've set out the genealogy of my reoccurring characters: Names, dates of birth, who is deceased. Over the past year that paper has become quite saturated.

Think of the hugely-popular series, Downton Abbey. We have our favorite characters, and we eagerly park ourselves before the television each week and watch their stories unfold. The writers are savvy, and they add the occasional scene-stealer into the mix.

Personally, I adore a good series. I've read Sue Grafton from "A" to "V". I devoured all three books in the Love Inspired, Irish Bride Series. (The Wedding Journey, A Baby Between Them, and Mistaken Bride.) And I can name dozens more examples. 

Readers love series! We love them because they're familiar, like coming home.

A wife and mother of three, Sherri’s hobbies include collecting mismatched socks, discovering new ways to avoid cleaning, and standing in the middle of the room while thinking, “Why did I just come in here?” A reformed pessimist and recent hopeful romantic, Sherri has a passion for writing. Her books are fun and fast-paced, with plenty of heart and soul.

She's busily typing away on the second and third books in her Cimarron Springs series, and will release all the details as soon as they are available.
Facebook/Sherri Shackelford 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Murder on the Menu

Debby Giusti here!

Mix close to 100 readers with thirteen authors. Add four panel discussions where authors talk about books and writing, lots of time to mix and mingle, a yummy lunch as well as a book signing and what do you get? Murder on the Menu.

Friday, I drove to Montgomery, Alabama, for the annual event that benefits the Library System in nearby Wetumpka. That evening, authors and readers enjoyed a delicious Chinese dinner where the conversation focused on mystery and suspense.
L to R: Susan Hayes, Library Director, Susan's hubby, Debby McCarley,
Friends of the Wetumpka Library Programs Director, and author Sara DuBose.
L to R: Annette Barnes, Fran Holland, President of the Friends of
the Wetumpka Library (FOWL), and Debbie Herbert, FOWL Secretary
L to R: Authors Jennie Bentley, Debby Giusti, Lexi George,
and Laura Hayden
R to L: Keynote speaker and best selling mystery author Dean James,
Neal Lynn and author Vincent O'Neil.
The next morning everyone gathered at the Wetumpka Civic Center. The mayor, along with library director Susan Hayes and event coordinator Tammy Lynn, were there to welcome us.
Debby with Mayor Jerry Willis
I met so many delightful folks who love books and enjoy chatting with authors. Special thanks to Deb Hoyt and Muffin Hand for their gracious hospitality throughout the weekend. I feel like we're old friends.
Everyone had a good time!
Lots of interesting panel discussions.
L to R: Muffin Hand, Deb Hoyt, Lucie Barnes and Beth McGuire
add fun to the day in their movie star attire.
A special thank you to all those involved in hosting the event and to all the wonderful people in Wetumpka.

Happy reading! Happy writing!

Debby Giusti


By Debby Giusti

Trusting the Wrong Person Can Be Deadly...
Lillie Beaumont's dark past has just turned up on her porch--fatally wounded. The dying words of the man imprisoned for killing Lillie's mother suggest hidden secrets. Criminal Investigations Division special agent Dawson Timmons agrees. He has his own motive for seeking the truth, and it gives Lillie every reason to doubt him. But even as they reluctantly begin to face painful secrets together, Dawson fears that a murderer is waiting to strike again. And this time, Lillie is right in the line of fire...

Monday, January 28, 2013

Wintery days and good books...

I've been really enjoying the posts on what everyone has been reading lately.  It's wonderful to find new authors to try, and good books I haven't read!

Yesterday was Sunday, and we had an icy day here in Iowa.   Rain turned to sleet, our driveway and little country road turned into a skating rink.  So I kept the horses safe in the barn all day--no ice skates for them!--and we enjoyed a quiet day at home.    

After catching up on some housework, I curled up by the fireplace with Their Frontier Family, by Lyn Cote.   What a great read!  I'd really recommend it, if you haven't had a chance to read it yet.   

After reading it from cover to cover, I started on The Cater Street Hangman by Anne Perry.  I'm really enjoying the Downton Abbey television series on PBS, and thought I'd like to spend some of my reading time in England, too!  Is anyone else following Downton Abbey?
Hope you are all staying safe and warm!
Roxanne Rustand

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Detection Mission Interview

Today we're welcoming Lucy Cullen aka Heidi, heroine of Detection Mission, written by Margaret Daley, a February 2013 release by Love Inspired Suspense. 

Wow, you've just had quite an adventure.   
1.  Tell us a little about yourself and how you came to be in the midst of such suspense. 
I don't know other than what people have told me. The police--Lee Calloway--saw me running in the woods while they were searching for a kidnapper. When confronted, I ran and tripped, hitting my head. I had amnesia--didn't know why I was running or rather who I was running from.
2.  So, during the book you met Lee Calloway.  Tell us a bit about him.  What was your first impression?  When did you know it was love?  
My first impression of him was fear. I woke up in the hospital. I didn't know who I was, but seeing him in his uniform sent fear through me. It didn't take me long to realize he was there to protect me and make me feel safe. I knew I loved him when he rearranged his life to keep me safe.
3.  What strengths/skills do you have?  What is your greatest weakness? 
I love kids and work well with them. It has been hard for me to learn to stand up for myself.         
4.  What scares you?  Not knowing who I am.  
5. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
The lost of my memory--I want to know who I am. I'm falling in love with Lee, and I don't know what kind of life I had before coming to Sagebrush, Texas.
6.  Where are you in your faith at the start of your story? 
Again I didn't know where I was in my faith, except that when I was thinking about God it felt like I knew Him.
7.  Where are you in your faith at the end of the story?
Strong. I wouldn't have made it without Him.
8. You've got a scripture at the beginning of the story.  Tell us why this scripture is significant.
Verse: The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. Psalm 9:9
This verse reminds me the Lord is my strength, the one to go to in trouble.
9. If you could be a dessert what would you be and why?
A French silk pie because it is rich, delicious and irresistible.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Featured Book: Detection Mission

Who is she?

While looking for a missing child in Sagebrush, Texas, K-9 detective Lee Calloway and his border-collie partner find someone else. A mystery woman running for her life, scared and injured. But she has no idea who she is—or why someone is after her. Lee's unit suspects "Heidi" is a criminal who knows more than she's saying, yet his gut instinct says she's innocent. Lee vows to protect her until her memory returns, but now someone is desperate to ensure that never happens.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Ask Elnora--About Moving? Lenora Worth

We are all moved in, but we are not completely unpacked! So my fabulous friends, let's talk about why writers are such pack rats. Big Daddy got his part done months ago. Guess wo was the hold-up? Elnora kept things from as far back as childhood! But before I could throw anything away or pack it up, I had to sit down and go throough all of it! I laughed, I cried, I remembered things I'd tried to forget and I forgot things I should have remembered.

But doing this my way, in my own time, prepared me for the trip that would take me across the country to a new place. I found every rejection letter I'd ever received. I found versions of every manuscript I'd ever tried to write. But finding those things reminded me of how far I've come and how my journey toward publication became a reality. That was a long hard trip. The longest trip and a road I'm still traveling. I still have a lot of ideas to unpack, a lot to get through because my story is still being told. So--how do you store up a lifetime of memories? And why do writers hold on to things? Let's discuss!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

What some of the Crafties are Reading Next

I'm going to be reading The Marshal Meet's His Match by Clari Dees. I've been waiting for this book a long time. Well, it seemed like a long time. I read the blurb on Amazon way before the book came out and couldn't wait to get my hands on it :) This week I bought it and Janet Lee Barton's Remedy for the Heart at Walmart. I just finished Janet's book and now can't wait to get into Clari's. But, first I have to finish the art fact sheet for my next book coming out. So much fun!
Rhonda Gibson   plan to read A Daughter's Redemption, an LI, by Georgiana Daniels. This is her first novel. I chose it because in December Camy Tang came to AZ and called me on the phone. Next thing I knew we were in my mini-van heading for Sierra Vista (about a two hour drive) to have lunch with Georgiana. As I listened to Georgiana talk about her book, I knew I had to read it. I found it at my local Fry's store and it's on my dresser waiting for me to finish the book I'm currently reading - btw, reading is going slow as school just started this week (Hello 125 new students!) and I have revisions due today.

Pamela Tracy

The next Harlequin I'm going to read is Barbara McMahon's Rocky Point Promise. I picked it up because I liked the title and the first couple of pages hooked me.
Linda Goodnight
  The next LIS on my pile is Survive the Night by Vicki Hinze (hmm, that puts me 3 months behind on new releases), but 6 Rita novels are in line ahead of it. :(
Sandra Orchard

The next Harlequin on my reading list is Tracking Justice, by Shirley McCoy. Tracking Justice is the first book in the new Texas K-9 continuity series from Love Inspired Suspense, which centers around a canine search and rescue police unit. I've really been looking forward to this series!

Teri Wilson

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

It's like a dream come true

Years ago, I began to read those wonderful books by Mary Stewart and Victoria Holt (who didn't love Nine Coaches Waiting or Bride of Pendorric?) and any of those wildly romantic, sometimes historical, always suspenseful novels. Ooh, especially if they had a castle, a cliff and woman on the run in a white gown. Oh, how I loved them!

This is making me all nostalgic for those great novels again. I devoured Barbara Cartland and her historicals. Cadfael novels were candy to me. I absolutely adored them!

So, naturally, I wanted to write one.  And at that know-it-all age of fourteen, I knew I could. Well, I got about 250 words in and had my heroine racing all over Continental Europe, making it to England from Switzerland in less than two days (snort, like that happened in the 1300s) for some enigmatic reason that no doubt made sense at the time. Then I got bored and moved off to other things. Writing an historical obviously took time and you actually had to have a plot. Who'd have thought that?!!?
Well, my dream slipped away as life took over. I grew up, had a career and children before I revisited that dream. My hero stayed the same, though. He got tossed back a few centuries, as I have always loved Medieval settings, but he was always strong and brave.
Then, last year, God plopped me down at my computer. And with his help, I wrote steadily for several months and produced a tale of my hero, still strong and brave, but facing an enemy like no other. A hurt and vulnerable woman in need of God's love in her life.
I found an agent, and I just knew that Love Inspired Historical would publish Bound to the Warrior, then called Her Norman Husband.

It's a tale of God's love for us, and our love for each other. My heroine doesn't dash about Europe. In fact, she's never left her keep and nor does she run away from a mysterious castle in a white gown. Instead, she finds God's love in an unlikely place - her Norman husband.
But, with those memories of Victoria Holt and Mary Stewart echoing inside of me, my hero and heroine face suspenseful dangers that could destroy their budding love.
Cadfael would be proud.
Bound to the Warrior comes out in early March. I hope you'll check it out and enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

What Scares You as Conflict

Terri Reed here.  I'm going to piggy back on Margaret's post from yesterday and tackle it from the writing aspect.  The question Margaret posed, What Scares You, is one I ask my characters when I'm first developing them.  A dear friend taught me the onion method.  Sounds stinky right, but its great.  You ask this question of the character.  The first answer is very superficial and benign.  Guys might say, nothing or something that relates to their job, like a cop saying shooting an innocent bystander.  Women might say something like, snakes! (my answer!) or the answer will be more relational such as someone hurting someone they love.  This outer layer of the onion, if you will.   You ask again.  Okay the next answer might have a bit more substance, be a bit more personal, but still only the second layer.  You keep asking the question, peeling away the layers until you find the heart of what scares the character, which is usually a deep seated psychological fear.   This fear is not rational, even though it might be easily understood, i.e.: abandonment, betrayal, unlovable, unworthy.   This fear usually stems from some wound the character has experienced in their past, most often in childhood or in a previous relationship.  In a romance, that fear is the crux of the conflict between the hero and heroine.
In my upcoming March Love Inspired Suspense, The Cowboy Target, the hero, Wyatt Monroe is a widower who's trust and heart were hurt by not only his deceased wife, but by his mother, as well.  He fears trusting his heart to any woman again.  So every interaction with the heroine, Jackie Blain is tainted by this distrust to the point where he is willing to let her walk away rather than let God heal his heart and risking trusting again.
To see how they worked out their conflict, you'll have to read the book!  (Jackie has her fair share as well--it wouldn't be a good romance without lots of conflict :-)

"Reed's fast paced action will keep readers wondering who and why in this quick enjoyable read." Romantic Times Magazine 4 stars  

Monday, January 21, 2013

What Scares You?

Hi, this is Margaret Daley here. I hope everyone is enjoying Martin Luther King's birthday. Talk about a brave man. But I'm sure like anyone he had fears, too.

One of the questions asked of the heroines is what scares you. I started thinking about that. What really scares me? Here’s my list: something happening to my husband, son or granddaughters (or for that matter anyone I care about), a tornado hitting my area, snakes, not pleasing the Lord (He’s done so much for me), not being able to write a book (drying up), rats, feeling trapped in a place (I was stranded in an elevator twice--not a pretty picture), not having a clean toilet (no, not really, I just threw that in to see if you were still reading), and probably a lot of other things I can’t think of because I haven’t had them happen to me or someone I know.

I will say researching different methods of murder that I wouldn’t want to be murdered or left in a casket alive underground. I could go on and on, but I’m sure you are ready instead to share what scares you.

So fess up—what scares you?

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Rancher's Refuge Interview

How exciting to have Austin Blackwell, the hero from  Rancher’s Refuge by Linda Goodnight, a  January, 2013, release from Love Inspired Romance .

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

Well, let’s see. I sit a horse pretty well and I guess it’s interesting that I’m a Texas cowboy who owns a ranch in the Ozarks.  But the most interesting thing about me is something I don’t talk about. It may be interesting to you, but it’s caused me a lot of grief.

2.     What do you do for fun?

Recently, I met this woman who thinks I should carve pumpkins, attend carnivals and do a lot of other town stuff. I’m not much on crowds, though. Give me a horseback ride in the quiet woods and the rush of Whisper Falls any day. Now, that’s fun.

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

Anything to do with people. Don’t trust ‘em.

4.     What are you afraid of most in life?

For a long time, I’ve been afraid of people learning about the thing that happened in Texas.  Now, I’m afraid for Annalisa, a skittish woman I found hiding beneath Whisper Falls with a broken arm.

5.     What is the most important thing to you?

My privacy, though between Annalisa and my sister, Cassie, I’m losing that fast!

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

Louis L’amour westerns and ranching magazines. A cowboy can never get enough of those.

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

Ah, I guess I’d be more sociable. I might even go to church like my sister wants me too.

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

Two fine ranch dogs -  Jet, an old black lab and Hoss, a shepherd. My sister has a poodle that claims me, too. One of those silly, sissy dogs. I kinda like her though. Don’t tell my sister.

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

Easy one.  I’d go back to the early days of the American West and join a cattle drive with Charlie Goodnight.  A good place for a private man to hide and see the frontier.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Featured Book: Rancher's Refuge

Rancher Austin Blackwell knows a wounded creature when he sees one. Although Annalisa Keller won't reveal how she ended up stranded in Whisper Falls, his conscience refuses to let her leave. The little Ozarks town could be the perfect place for her to start over—just as it was for him. Trying to keep his own past hidden, Austin finds himself falling for the vulnerable beauty with too many secrets. Before long, Annalisa's warmth and love of life work their way into Austin's heart…and promise never to leave.

Friday, January 18, 2013

What are You Reading?

We here at the Craftie Ladies are wondering what you're reading right this moment?

E-book or print? If e-book, what device do you prefer to use?

Was it a Christmas gift?

Please share! We'd love to hear more about you and your reading preferences. And we'd love to hear from some of you who are lurkers who don't usually comment. :)

While I'm popping it today to help fill in (we have scheduled authors who are moving and who are sick), I'd love to share my new cover with you!! I'm so excited! It'll be out in April...

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Scent of Danger Cover Reveal

Hi, Terri Reed here jumping in for Pamela Tracy who's not feeing well.

I received my cover for my May book today.
Scent of Danger is book five in the Texas K-9 Unit continuity series.
What do you think?

Texas K-9 Unit:
These lawmen solve the toughest cases with the help
of their brave canine partners


Detective Melody Zachary is determined to find who killed her
nephew in a drug-related murder. She’s launched her teen center
in his memory, to keep kids off the streets. And she’ll prove to narcotics officer Parker Adams and his K-9 drug-sniffing partner, Sherlock, it’s not a haven for dealers. As they risk their lives to save others, Melody discovers that Parker and she share the same deep commitment to making a difference. Will circumstances allow them to take the biggest risk yeton love? 

Book 1 January, Tracking Justice by Shirlee McCoy
Book 2 Feb, Detection Mission by Margaret Daley
Book 3 March, Explosive Secrets by Valerie Hansen
Book 4 April, Guard Duty by Sharon Dunn
Book 5 May, Scent of Danger by Terri Reed 
Book 6 June, Loyal Protector by Lenora Worth

March 2013  The Cowboy Target hits the shelves.  

 "Reed’s fast-paced action will keep readers wondering who and why in this quick, enjoyable read."  Romantic Times Magazine

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