Thursday, October 31, 2013

Trick or Treat!!

Okay, no tricks! But we do have some treats for you. Danica Favorite here, and I was going through some old photos from college, and I found a picture of my favorite costume ever. Yup, that's me (and someone else- but I have no idea who it was) dressed as a pig. Throughout high school and college, pigs were my favorite animals. Now I'm more of a chicken lover, thanks to my pet chickens. But I don't think I'll be dressing up as a chicken anytime soon. It's been a long time since I dressed up for Halloween.

How about you? Do you dress up for Halloween? Do you have a favorite costume you've worn over the years?

Now for the treats...
As you know, we've been giving away books on Thursdays, so comment on the post for your chance to win. Here are the details on our Thursday giveaways in case you missed them:

Last week's winner was Jackie Smith!!

And, since I don't yet have a release date for my book, I don't have a book to give away. But don't despair, I've got a special treat for you. If you're entering the giveaway, just let me know which current release from our authors you'd like to win, and I'll make sure you get a copy! This week's winner will also get a book from Lenora Worth, Rhonda Gibson, and Margaret Daley.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Cycle of Life. Christine Johnson

This time of year always reminds me of the ever-changing cycle of life. Spring's reawakening and brilliant colors usher in a burst of energy for those of us living in the north. The days get longer. The sun wakes me at five in the morning and stays up until almost ten o'clock at night. I feel energized.

autumn colors

Autumn brings a less exciting promise. The sun will sleep longer. The leaves turn color and fall to the ground as the earth prepares for the long winter's rest. My energy wanes, and I look forward to an extra hour of sleep when we move from daylight saving time to standard time.

It's at this time of year many years ago that my grandfather died from cancer - my first brush with death. Recently, friends have lost family members - sons, husbands, wives. How easy it would be to see only the falling leaves and the stark earth, yet God has given us a promise through His Son. I see that promise in the vibrant colors of autumn leaves. They remind me that spring will arrive in due time with rebirth and renewal. So too will life begin again in an entirely new and vibrant way, far beyond anything we can imagine. Through all seasons, He is there, showing us hope.

Give someone a hug today and shine a little light in their lives.

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven. (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

Christine Johnson
Groom by Design - coming July 2014
Twitter: @ChristineJWrite

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Whirlwind Weekend!

Debby  Giusti here!

Hubby and I just got home from a whirlwind weekend. We live in the Atlanta area and headed north to Columbus, Ohio, on Friday to attend a family wedding. The weather was gorgeous, and the countryside along the way was beautiful. In Tennessee, the road was literally chiseled out of rock in many of the mountainous areas, and the views into the valleys were breathtaking. 

As a military brat, I lived at Fort Knox, KY, and love the bluegrass state and especially Lexington's horse country. The stretches of white fences and stables, along with the black tobacco barns are unique to the area. Once in Covington, we crossed  the Ohio River into Cincinnati and picked up Interstate 71 West. From there to Columbus, the land is flat and dotted with farms that are so picturesque with the red barns and huge silos. Ohio is known for its corn, and from the looks of the stalks in the fields, this year's crop was plentiful.

Saturday was spent at the wedding and reception with lots of time to visit with family. The next morning we attended church and then drove to my Alma Mater, The Ohio State University. Although there has been lots of growth over the years, I felt like I was coming home!   

Leaving Columbus that afternoon, we headed back to the Lexington area and spent the night with other relatives. Again, we had much to talk about and enjoyed being together.
I completed a synopsis for a new story as we traveled and thought of other ideas that might turn into future books, my inspiration fueled by the sights we passed along the way. 

It's good to be home, but seeing family was so special. What's your favorite getaway weekend? Are you close enough to spend the weekend with family? 

The weather was cold and the leaves changed while we were gone. Are you enjoying the colorful fall foliage in your part of the country?

Wishing you abundant blessings,
Debby Giusti

By Debby Giusti

Someone wants Stephanie Upton dead. A warning to leave town is just the beginning. Fearing for her life, Stephanie turns to Special Agent Brody Goodman for help and protection. But can she trust him when he’s convinced her own brother is a prime suspect? Torn between her devotion to two men—an estranged brother whose trust she yearns to regain and an agent she may be falling for—Stephanie doesn’t know who or what to believe. As feelings between her and Brody escalate, she’ll have to choose sides to stay alive.

Available now at Amazon.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Lifelong learning...and Novelists Inc.

When I finished graduate school years ago, I figured my education days were over, barring the ongoing, continuing education hours required for a registered dietitian.  And then...I became a writer. I became so excited about this new world that I approached it as if I were embarking on a self-guided graduate program--went to every conference I could find, bought endless tapes of writing workshops, accumulated stacks of writing books...on and on and on.

And now--thirty books later--that love of trying to learn more about writing has never changed.  Late last night, our daughter Emily (and aspiring author, who provides some support services for the business end of my writing) and I returned from the Novelists Inc conference in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.  What an experience that was!  We drove in sleet and slushy light snow the entire way to Chicago, where we caught our plane, then arrived at a beautiful Marriott Grand Dunes, where the food was wonderful and we walked barefoot on a sunny, sandy beach for an hour every day.

But the best part was just how wonderful the conference was.  I've been a Ninc member for years but had never attended.  Have I ever missed the boat!  The conference is focused on the needs of the published author, and the workshops ran all day and then from 8-10pm in the evening.  When I told my husband about the busy schedule, he said dryly, "Well, that sure sounds like fun!"  I think he would have opted for days exploring the beautiful area, but I was thrilled to have every minute count and have already registered for next year.  I love the RWA and ACFW (American Christian Fiction Authors) conferences too, but the Ninc is now a welcome addition!

I'd love to hear about where your own passions lie.  Certain hobbies? Sports?  A career you love?  Have you every attended a truly special conference that really made a difference for you?  I'd love to hear about it!

Anyone commenting here, who is a USA resident will be entered in drawing for a free book of their choice from my backlist--which can be found at my website,  There will be three winners, to be chosen on Friday!

All the best,
Roxanne Rustand

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Life gets back to normal, but lessons are learned.

I have been a bit scarce on this blog, and for that I am sorry.
We lost a family member two weeks ago today, and his passing still stings. He was 21, and he died in a car accident.
And in these terrible days since, I've discovered how complex grieving is. I've lost family members before, but when it is one so young, so full of life, we who are older pause, and feel it deeply. I  was mad even at him for dying and hurting us all. It's crazy, but that was how I felt.
And if there is anything I can take out of this, is the comfort of Jesus' words when he said, "No one can snatch you from my hands."
God loves us, and even though we sin and make tons of mistakes, his love endures forever.
Another thing that has caught me in all this is that when our younger generation, our children, our grandchildren, even, do dumb things and we want to yell at them, we must remember that God is the one in charge here. God loves all of us sinners, and only after asking for His guidance and through Christian love can we approach anyone else. So soon we and our loved ones are separated, and we must answer all in love.
Next time your son or daughter acts up, remember to stop a moment, pray and above all, tell him or her that you love them.
We're slowly returning to a 'normal' life without Logan, but we ask for comfort (yes, if you are hurting too, ask God to comfort *you*, and he will) and wisdom. Grief is difficult and complex and turns into a terrible slurry of emotions, but in the midst of that, as we sang at Logan's funeral:

The sun comes up; it's a new day dawning
It's time to sing Your song again
Whatever may pass and whatever lies before me
Let me be singing when the evening comes

Lyrics taken from

Love your children, your family, and in everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus, and God will be there lifting you up in your struggles.
Today is Sunday. Attend the church of your choice.
Barbara Phinney

Friday, October 25, 2013

Good Thing Fridays

The Craftie Ladies would like to set aside Fridays to acknowledge and celebrate the good things that are happening in our lives and we hope that you will join in and tell us about the blessings you have encountered as well.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Autumn recipe: White Bean Chicken Chili

courtesy of
Lacy Williams here with a cool weather recipe you can curl up with--and maybe win a good book, too!

We live in Oklahoma Sooner country and now that the weather has cooled off, we've gone from hamburgers and hot dogs for our watch parties to foods that favor the autumn temps.

I tried this chicken chili a couple weeks ago to rave reviews. Hope you like it too!

Don't forget that anyone who comments during the month of October is entered for a chance to win books. See details here.

Hearty White-Bean Chicken Chili

 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
 1 small onion, chopped
 2 cloves garlic, minced
 1 (14.5 ounce) can chicken broth
 1 can Rotel green chile flavor
 1/2 teaspoon dried Italian spices (can substitute oregano)
 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
 2 cups frozen corn
 1-1.5 pound chicken breasts
 2 (15 ounce) cans white beans
 1 pinch salt & pepper to taste

Warm a skillet on medium. Heat the olive oil and then carmelize the onions and garlic. Dice the chicken and add it to skillet. Cook until it starts to turn white, then shred (I use two forks to pull the meat apart).

Add the chicken broth, Rotel, beans and spices and simmer for about twenty minutes. Alternately, once you cook the chicken, onions and garlic you can throw it all in a crockpot on high for an hour and then serve.

In a house like mine, with little kids and lots of chaos, easy is better, and this recipe worked for me. What's your favorite chili or soup recipe? Don't forget to leave a comment.

In honor of her sixth full-length book releasing, Lacy will do an additional giveaway. Anyone who joins her newsletter list by clicking here before Sunday, October 27, will be entered to win one of three copies of RETURN OF THE COWBOY DOCTOR. Good luck!


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Getting Creative... in a new way!

Hi everyone! Danica Favorite here. Recently I had the opportunity to attend a class on art journaling. I've always been fascinated by creativity and creative pursuits- obviously, because I'm a writer. But visual art is something that's always been something I've been afraid of. I'll be honest. I'm not a great artist. I have never been able to do anything in a straight line. But when my friend said she wanted to teach a class on art journaling, I was curious and signed up.

Wow! What a freeing experience! I am in love! The first thing I learned is that you don't have to be good to make art. It reminded me of an art phase I was in while in college. I painted and colored, and did all sorts of artsy things. But I stopped when people told me I wasn't very good at it. Well, I'm not good at it. I'll never win awards or make any money with my art, but you know what? It felt good.

So I've signed up for more art journaling classes. I am in heaven. I'm learning to make my mistakes beautiful and, even better, I'm learning a lot about how to incorporate art into my spiritual life. Even though my kids look at the stuff I'm making and politely tell me it's interesting (code for, can you be any worse at this?), I am so happy!

The photo you see is one of my first attempts at creative lettering. I'm finding it addictive, to be perfectly honest. When I did my first one, I realized that I used to doodle like this all the time. For whatever reason, I stopped, but now that I've learned about art journaling, I'm going to do even more!

Are you an artist? Do you have an art journal? I'm curious to hear what your experiences with art are.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


Hi Terri Reed here wanting to know what you think of newsletters.  Do you like them?  Do you intentionally go to an author's website and sign up for one?  Does offering a book or other gift as incentive motivate you to sign up for an author's newsletter?  What do you like to see in an author's newsletter?

 Last year I started a newsletter.  I decided to put one out quarterly to highlight a recent release.
I have a small group of people who receive my emailed newsletter and another small group that I send a hard copy to, usually in response to hand written letters that I receive from readers.  My virtual assistant and I have tried to make the newsletter interesting with a bit of personal info, a recipe and of course news of the new release.
My third newsletter has released this past week to coincide with my upcoming November release TEXAS K-9 UNIT CHRISTMAS. If you're interested in seeing the newsletter, stop by my website  On the right side of the site is a link to sign up for the newsletter.

And don't forget this coming Thursday to stop in and leave a comment to receive some books!  See our past Thursday posts for more information on our blog giveaway.

Holiday Hero by Shirlee McCoy 
Emma Fairchild never expected to find trouble in sleepy Sagebrush, Texas. But when she's attacked and left for dead in her own diner, her childhood friend turned K-9 cop Lucas Harwood offers a chance at justice—and love. 
Rescuing Christmas by Terri Reed 
She escaped a kidnapper, but now a killer has set his sights on K-9 dog trainer Lily Anderson. When fellow officer Jarrod Evans appoints himself her bodyguard, Lily knows more than her life is at risk—so is her heart. 
Texas K-9 Unit: These lawmen solve the toughest cases with the help of their brave canine partners

Monday, October 21, 2013

And So I Ride the Rollercoaster

Pamela Tracy here and I'm the luckily woman in the world

See, living in my house, besides a husband and cat, is an eight-year-old boy.

And boy is he a boy.

I have the Dennis the Menace boy.

He and his friends love to take the shovels and dig deep holes in the backyard.  They find pieces of wood and make ramps in the street to ride their bikes and scooters over.  They build lego worlds all over the floors of my house so that I can, barefoot, step on small pieces.  He's the food all over the face kid.

He wants to be a hot dog for Halloween.

A hot dog?


His rowdy side made its way as Caleb in my 2012 Once Upon a Christmas from Love Inspired.  His sweet side mades its way into my 2010 Daddy for Keeps from Love Inspired.

As for me, I can fill in backyard holes (actually my hubby does that).  I can put band aides on his cuts he gets when the ramp malfunctions (really, 8 year old malfunctions).  I build legos with him, and offer a wash cloth after he eats.

Yesterday we were at a carnival.  I probably walked twenty miles in a corn maze (I found the way out!).  I rode pushcarts, played putt putt golf, took a hayride, and rode the haunted train.

The black moment (last time I wrote about this I used the Heroe's Journey) was the rollercoaster.

I hate roller coasters.  I'm afraid of heights and don't much trust a gadget that goes up and down and fast.      

Still, I'm in line with the 8 year old, going to sit in the car and go up and down and around.

The stupid thing breaks right before our turn.  Eighty percent of the line walks away when they hear "It'll take at least 20 minutes to fix."  Here comes a mechanic (Later, he was selling kettle corn)

Now, I have to get on a roller coaster right after it's broken down!

And I did it.

Because in 5 years, my son will want a friend to ride with him instead of me.  In 10 years, he'll go to carnivals by himself.  In fifteen years, he'll go with his wife.  And, in 20 years, he'll go with his own 8 year old.

And so I ride the rollercoaster of life.  

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Taming the Texas Rancher Interview

How exciting to have Hannah Young from TAMING THE TEXAS RANCHER written by  Rhonda Gibson  a  October 2013 release from Love Inspired Romance .

1. Hannah, tell me the most interesting thing about you. I would have to say the most interesting thing about me is my love of reading. That may not be interesting to others but I think it is because I try to read the most current fiction novels of my day.
2.  What do you do for fun? Read
3.  What do you put off doing because you dread it? I love horses but because of a childhood accident I’m afraid to ride them. So for many years I have avoided riding them but to prove myself to Daniel, I have to learn to ride again without being afraid of the horse.
4.  What are you afraid of most in life? Not being accepted as I am. You see, because of the horse accident I now live with a limp and hate that others see me as less of a person because of it.
5.  What do you want out of life? To be loved and to be trusted.
6.  What is the most important thing to you? I want to become the person I was when I was a child. I want to work on the ranch beside my future husband, Daniel.
7.  If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?  My height. I wish I was taller so others would take me more serious.
8.  Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet? I recently got a puppy named, Buttons. Buttons came from a large family and needed a home plus the little boy that gave her to me is so cute, I couldn’t refuse him.
9. Can you tell us a little interesting tidbit about the time period you live in? This is the news of the year, at least I thought so: Geronimo Surrenders! The last major Indian War in the USA ends when the Apache Chief Geronimo surrenders at Skeleton canyon after a decade-long campaign of terror to discouraged settlers in New Mexico and Arizona. He and his tribe agreed to move to Florida.

Saturday, October 19, 2013


Race to the Altar 
Though he'd never planned to wed, Daniel Westland must marry and produce a grandchild before his brother does in order to inherit the family ranch. Leave it to him to pick a mail-order bride who insists on being courted! Yet every time Daniel wonders if Hannah Young is even suited to rugged living, the petite schoolteacher shows her gumption. 
What man sends away for a bride but doesn't really want to get married? Hannah came to Granite, Texas, hoping to find love and security, and she can't settle for less than a true partnership. If the brooding, handsome rancher can just learn to trust in Hannah, their future could be as filled with promise as this bountiful land.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Good Thing Friday

The Craftie Ladies would like to set aside Fridays to acknowledge and celebrate the good things that are happening in our lives and we hope that you will join in and tell us about the blessings you have encountered as well.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

It's My Anniversary. Let's Give Away Some Books!

 As much as I love beautiful weddings, I didn't have one. No cake.  No dress. No church. No guests. Nothing but the man and a ring. Oh, and a bottle of Dr. Pepper!  I guess you could say we eloped.  Forty years later on this beautiful fall day, we are celebrating a milestone anniversary. Same man, same ring, and lots of miles filled with laughter and tears, and always love and faith. Think he'll buy me another Dr. Pepper?

Now, let's celebrate in style by giving away some books.  WE HAVE A WINNER! (I feel so powerful when I type that.)  Drawn from last Thursday's comments and the winner of some wonderful Love Inspired books is.... Paula O!

More books! I'm excited to be paired with the fantabulous Debbie Macomber in a re-release of The Gift of Christmas , available for pre-order now and scheduled to hit stores Oct. 29. No wedding in it but lots of Christmas to get you in the spirit.

So grab a Dr. Pepper and celebrate with me today. 

 Did you have a wedding? Where? What's your favorite wedding memory? Or favorite wedding scene in a book or movie?

(Comment and be entered into next week's book drawing!!)

Linda Goodnight

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Married to a Writer: How Embarrassing

Pamela Tracy here.

I'm a romance writer, yup, and that job travels with me wherever I go, whether to the store, to a cub scout meeting, to work, to church, well, you get the idea.

My husband and son travel with me, too.

Sometimes the two worlds collide.

So, this past Friday evening, we're at the Apple store because I needed a new computer.  Mine had finally deteriorated so much that the only thing I could do was word processing.  And that was iffy because the system froze every 24 or so hours.  Then, I'd have to shut everything down and start from scratch.  The Internet would no longer work on the computer,  photos either.

I digress.

So, romance writer me and hubby are standing in front of the computer I want and waiting for a service rep.  My son is over at a kids' table playing on the iPads.

I'm typing away.

Rep comes over and asked me, "What can I do for you today?"

I point to the computer screen and there are my questions.

My husband is embarrassed.  This is not the normal thing to do, you see.

The rep says, "Oh, I'll need to get someone with a little more knowledge about...." and he walks away.

I start to type more questions.

My husband is aghast.  "No, just ask the questions."

I said "Okay."

Here's what I did on the computer instead of typing my questions.  And, yes, my husband is a plumber by trade

Don Smith
Professor Me
Plumbing 101
October 11, 2013
Clean Fingernails
Plumbers, in American, face a strange malady.  It’s called tooth fungi, and it happens when they bite their fingernails.  Oh, not all plumbers bite their fingernails, but there are a few who cannot break the habit even when they see their coworkers with green teeth.  We’re not just talking slightly green; we’re talking florescent green.  The kind of green that glows in the dark and can guide planes in for landing.

This malady first occurred in the early 1920’s when Zeke Carmichael, of Carmichael plumbing, noticed a strange itching just about his top two teeth.  He’d already lost the bottom teeth to a fist fight over  how many inches a toilet should be from a wall.  He very much wanted to keep the top two, so immediately went to a dentist.  Or, at least, he went to someone who pretended to be a dentist. 

Totally made up, on the spot.  Not true.

My husband read it with a mixture of horror and laughter.

So, in conclusion, Don't Mess With a Romance Writer Who Has a Computer in her Hand.   you might just get hurt

Monday, October 14, 2013

Happy fall, y'all-- Lenora Worth

It's fall! And it's Monday. Elnora is not at her best on Monday mornings, but I do love the changing of the seasons. So I was wondering what you like about fall. What is your favorite fall thing? I love the first fresh crisp hint of chill in the early morning air. Not that I rise and shine at the crack of dawn but I do love to sit on my porch and drink coffee without sweating it all out before I finish the cup. That nice crisp cool air is just wonderful after the heat and humidity of summer.

Fall is a time to reflect, cocoon for winter and gear up for the holiday season. And if you are a writer, fall is a time for great stories involving pumpkins and family and home and hearth. Or maybe a little bit of mystery and suspense, too.

So, what do you love about fall? (I forgot football, of course!)

Sunday, October 13, 2013

A Family For Christmas Interview

How exciting to have Chance Dawson, the hero from A Family For Christmas, an Oct 2013 release from Love Inspired Historical written by  Winnie Griggs.

1.  Chance, tell me the most interesting thing about you.
The most interesting thing that folks know about me is that I own a motor carriage.  It’s the only one in Turnabout and the first one most of these folks have ever seen.  As for the thing most folks don’t know, well I’m not ready to talk about that yet.

2.  What do you do for fun?
I like working with my hands - tinkering with mechanical things to try to figure out how they work, or doing some woodworking.

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

4.  What are you afraid of most in life?
Folks finding out my secret

5.  What do you want out of life?
To be accepted for who I am, warts and all

6.  What is the most important thing to you?
Standing on my own two feet

7.  If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Again, I don’t know you well enough to go into all that.

8.  Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet?
There’s a stray cat that hangs around my place, but I wouldn’t really call him a pet.

9. Can you tell us a little interesting tidbit about the time period you live in?
There are lots of exciting new inventions popping up out there that are going to make life easier for folks once they get more widespread.  Some of the things I left behind in Philadelphia haven’t quite made it out here in Turnabout yet - motor carriages (other than mine), telephones, electricity - but they’re coming.

Saturday, October 12, 2013


An Unexpected Gift 
Eve Pickering knows what it's like to be judged for your past. So she's not about to leave the orphaned boy she's befriended alone in this unfamiliar Texas town. Since Chance Dawson's offer of shelter is the only way to look after Leo, Eve is determined they'll have a warm, welcoming home for the holidays. 
Chance came from the big city to make it on his own despite a painful secret. But Eve's strength is giving him a confidence he never expected—and a new direction for his dream. With a little Christmas blessing, he'll dare to win her heart—and make their family one for a lifetime.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Good Thing Fridays

The Craftie Ladies would like to set aside Fridays to acknowledge and celebrate the good things that are happening in our lives and we hope that you will join in and tell us about the blessings you have encountered as well.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

October Reader Thursdays: It's Raining Apples...and Books!

Happy Reader Thursday! If you stopped by last Thursday, you know that in October the Craftie Ladies are giving away a bushel of books. Here's how it works. Every Thursday in October, visit the Craftie Ladies and make a comment. With five Thursdays this month, you have five chances to win some of those books! The following Thursday, we will announce the winner from the previous week's comments. More on that a little later...  

Now what's this about it raining apples? Well, I have two apple trees, and just like the bounty of books this month, my trees have produced more than any other year. Take a look.

apple tree

That's just one tree and only the apples that fell to the ground during last weekend's storms. I have bags and bags of apples in the refrigerator. Last year there were very few apples thanks to a late spring frost. It reminds me a little of the years of feast and famine in the Old Testament. This year's crop is a real blessing! I'll can a bunch of applesauce and make apple crisp and eat lots of them right off the tree, but I'd love some other ideas. What are your favorite apple recipes? How do you prefer to eat apples or don't you like them at all? Let me know, and you'll be entered in this Thursday's contest.

Now, the moment you've been waiting for...drum roll please. The winner from last Thursday is Julie Hilton Steele. Congratulations, Julie!

Christine Johnson
The Marriage Barter - May 2013
Next book coming July 2014
Twitter - ChristineJWrite

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Keeping Track Of My Town...

Hi!  Winnie Griggs here.  Today I thought I'd give you a little peek at some of the behind the scenes things we writers do (or at least THIS writer) to keep things straight when we're writing connected stories.
This month, the third book in my Texas Grooms series, A Family For Christmas, hit the shelves.   This series will eventually contain four books, all set  in the fictional town of Turnabout, Texas.  It follows the lives of four men who left Pennsylvania together to travel to Texas and build new lives for themselves.  They are four VERY different men and I’m having a whole lot of fun telling their stories.  I’ve already turned in the fourth and final book, which will release next June under the title Lone Star Heiress.

Early on in my work with this series I realized how important it was going to be for me to keep up with the details from book to book.  One thing I've done, which I do for just about every book I write, is set up a file to document the myriad secondary characters who pop up in any of the books, no matter how minor a role they play.  You just never know when one of these characters will need to make a return appearance and it sure saves having to go back and find out who runs the mercantile, what the preacher’s wife is called, who is the telegrapher, etc. 

However, this time around I realized I’d need reminders of a different sort.  I found myself losing track of where the different residences and businesses were in relation to each other.  So I finally bit the bullet and drew up a town map.  I had to dig into the first two books to get things laid out properly, and I found one or two inconsistencies that I had to take care of in the copy edit stage of the second book, but for the last two books I had it down on paper as a handy-dandy reference to guide me.  It’s not fancy and it’s by no means drawn to scale, but it helps me keep the relative positions of everything straight.

Here is a small version of what the map looks like.

If you’re interested in taking a peek at a larger copy, you can find it at this link:

So, as a reader, do you pay attention to these kinds of details, do you notice if buildings in a town, rooms in a house, etc aren't consistently placed?  Or is that just minor background detail that you don't even notice?


And in celebration of this being release month, I'm going to give one person who comments on today's post a copy of A Family For Christmas

An Unexpected Gift 
Eve Pickering knows what it's like to be judged for your past. So she's not about to leave the orphaned boy she's befriended alone in this unfamiliar Texas town. Since Chance Dawson's offer of shelter is the only way to look after Leo, Eve is determined they'll have a warm, welcoming home for the holidays.

Chance came from the big city to make it on his own despite a painful secret. But Eve's strength is giving him a confidence he never expected—and a new direction for his dream. With a little Christmas blessing, he'll dare to win her heart—and make their family one for a lifetime.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Suspense or Not

Suspense isn't always that lose your breath, feel chased, need to get to freedom scenario.

Or is it?

I'm going to plot last evening via the Hero's Journey.

Ordinary World = Mom (me)  Dad (hubby) and Son (Mike).

Call to Adventure = Dad has to work so Mom has to take son to Cub Scout meeting.

Refusal = This meeting is called "Building a radio from scratch!"  Mom tells Dad to go late to work.  Dad laughs.

Meeting the Mentor=  Mom calls a friend who has an older boy who is a boy scout.  Older boy invited to the meeting.

Crossing the Threshold = Arrive at meeting.  Have to use Suri.

Tests, Allies, Enemies =   Get handed Kit for ages 8 and above.  Mike is 8.    Very few pictures in book, small print.  Son hasn't eaten yet, and there's still homework waiting at home.

Approach = Mom purchases two radio kits hoping Son will ape older boy.  Nope, too hard.  Soon three    people are working on one kit.

Ordeal, Death, and Rebirth = There's a long coil (brass) that has to be wound around what looks like a red toilet roll holder.  Oh no, we've got a knot!  Oh, no, we've over lapped!  Take the whole thing apart and start again.

Reward = Finished coiling the toilet paper roll.  Notice most people are at the same place we are.

The Road Back = Try to read the rest of the directions, do something strange with sand paper but see no purpose to it, stick long rods through holes.  Rods fall out.

Resurrection = Decide to put everything into a box and take it home to Dad!

Return with Elixir = Treat both boys to ice cream after meeting and decide that the failure to create the radio was the radios fault since no one managed to complete.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Gone to Guam

Not me—Jean C. Gordon—but our daughter, son-n-law, and the kids. She accepted a position as a midwife at a federal clinic there in August, leaving us with an empty nest for the first time. We bought our small farm in Upstate New York together about 15 years ago when her younger brother was a high school freshman. It’s been a big change, and to help us adjust, my son-in-law and granddaughter have provided us with lots of photos of their move, settling in, and adventures to let us be with them vicariously.

Here are some of them that have me in awe of God’s creative power—and saving for a trip to Guam myself next year.


Since they’ve left, I’ve been surprised by the number of people I've talked with who have been to Guam or have a family member who has, usually while serving with the military. Have you been there or, like us now, or have a Guam family connection?

Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Soldier's Sister Interview

Today we're welcoming Stephanie Upton, the heroine of The SOLDIER’S SISTER, by Debby Giusti, released in September 2013. 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 work at Fort Rickman, GA, in the US Army’s Wounded Warrior Program as the AW2 Advocate and help injured military personnel through their recuperation and rehabilitation. I stay with the guys and gals on my caseload until they no longer need assistance and are able to return to active duty or to civilian life. Unfortunately, one of my soldiers was attacked, and law enforcement was called in to investigate.

2.  So, during the book you met Brody Goodman.  Tell us a bit about him.  What was your first impression?  When did you know it was love?

Brody’s a Special Agent with the Criminal Investigation Division on post and although I was attracted to him, I was also a bit wary. From the questions he asked, I knew he thought my brother—a Wounded Warrior—was involved in something suspect.

When did I know it was love? Not until Brody started to reach out to my brother in a positive way. Then I was able to let down my guard and admit the way I felt about this very special Special Agent.    

3.  What strengths/skills do you have?  What is your greatest weakness?

I’m compassionate and caring, which helps me with my job. I was on my high school swim team and love the water.

My weakness? Perhaps not being able to forgive myself.

4.  What scares you? 

Even though I love the nearby lake, I also know the dangers associated with water. I never want anything to happen to someone I love due to my own negligence.   
5. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I would have worked harder to resolve the past issues with my brother. All that pain festered for too long.
6.  Where are you in your faith at the start of your story?  

I didn’t believe God had listened to me in my time of greatest need so I turned my back on him. Of course, that was a mistake.

7.  Where are you in your faith at the end of the story? 

I realized God was always there for me. I was the one who isolated myself from him.
8. You've got a scripture at the beginning of the story.  Tell us why this scripture is significant.
My scripture is Psalms 34:3-4:
Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt his name together.
I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.
Those two lines explain the way I feel about the Lord. He delivered me, and I no longer have to be afraid.
9. If you could be a dessert what would you be and why?

Being a Southern girl, I love pecan pie. Adding a little ice cream on top makes the dessert even better!

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