Saturday, November 30, 2013


The Soldier's Gift 
The holidays are right around the corner, but Captain Jake Tanner is struggling to find Christmas cheer. Having survived a devastating attack overseas, he has emotional scars that run deep. When Jake meets beautiful widow Emma Langford, his heart is unprepared for the feelings she inspires. 
Training service dogs has taught Emma to recognize those in need. She wants to show Jake that a four-legged companion is the best therapy, but she's afraid that the closer she gets, the more her own wounds are revealed. 
Together, Jake and Emma will discover it takes a different kind of bravery to open themselves to love—and to healing. 
Caring Canines: Loving and loyal, these dogs mend hearts.

Friday, November 29, 2013

The Time to Celebrate with Family

On Fridays through the Christmas-New Years Season, the Craftie Ladies will be sharing family photos of holidays recent and in the past. The first is Author Terri Reed.
Terri Reed here with my daughter on her first Christmas.  We lived in a little apartment on a hill in Portland that our tree barely fit into.  I had so much fun dressing her up in frilly outfits. It's hard to believe she'll be 21 soon. I've been so blessed to have a daughter that is loving, kind, self-assured and generous. God must really love me.

Jean C. Gordon Family--The roster: On the couch, my son-in-law and daughter, granddaughter, me, husband. In front, my grandson, Mr. Buttons, Xena, my son, and Colossus. Cat 1 and Cat 2 declined to be photographed.

Dana Mentink Family: Pictured are Papa Bear, Boo Boo, Yogi and yours truly (otherwise known as the Mentink clan.

More Family photos next Friday!--Lyn

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

Offer unto God Thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the Most High. Psalm 50:14 KJV

Coming up with a new idea for a Thanksgiving blog is a challenge. It’s always fun to share our favorite Thanksgiving memories, our favorite recipes, our multitude of blessings for which to be thankful, what we’re thankful for, and even our attempts to relax and enjoy the day before plunging into Black Friday Christmas shopping. These are all good things that touch our common humanity, but weren’t quite what I wanted to say. (Above are some of our homemade Thanksgiving decorations.)

As I prayed for something fresh to write, this simple thought occurred to me: Giving thanks is not for the benefit of the Person one is thanking but for the benefit of the person giving thanks. Worship, praise, and thanksgiving are woven together to form a strong cord that ties us together in a loving, growing relationship with God. Therefore, God desires our heartfelt praise and sincere thanksgiving not because He needs it but because we need it to bring us closer to Him. Psalm 50:23 (KJV) says, “Whoso offereth praise glorifieth Me; and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I show the salvation of God.” This salvation the Lord grants us includes changing the way we view things. When we focus on the Giver instead of the gifts, we see the world and our own lives in proper perspective, God’s perspective. The reward? Peace in our hearts and an assurance of God's continuing presence.

Dear God,
Thank you for my life in a free country, the United States of America, and the patriotic heritage You have given me. Thank You for dreams come true and dreams deferred by Your wisdom. Thank you for my loving family. Most of all, thank You for salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.

What are you thankful for this year? As you offer your thanks to the great Giver, let His Spirit fill you with worship and praise so you can see the world and your life through His eyes.

I'm so thankful for my family. Here are my daughter Jane and granddaughter Savannah making something yummy for Thanksgiving dinner.

Award-winning Florida author Louise M. Gouge writes historical fiction for Harlequin's Love Inspired imprint. In addition to numerous other awards, Louise is the recipient of the prestigious Inspirational Readers’ Choice Award for her 2005 novel, Hannah Rose. With her great love of history and research, Louise has traveled to several of her locations to ensure the accuracy of her stories’ settings. When she isn't writing, she and her husband love to visit historical sites and museums. Her 2011 Love Inspired Historical Regency novella, The Gentleman Takes a Bride, earned second place in the prestigious Inspirational Readers Choice Award. Louise has now turned her attention to her old home in Colorado, and her first Love Inspired Historical western will be released in June 2014. Please visit her Web site at

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Texas K-9 Unit Christmas made a list!

Terri Reed here.   My novella duet with the incomparable Shirlee McCoy hit a list.  That's huge for an author.  Our 2 in 1 novella book came in at #25 in this weeks Publishers Weekly bestseller list in mass market paperback.
Looking at the list made my heart pound.  We are in such good company I can hardly stand it.

Our own Linda Goodnight's duet with the fabulous Debbie Macomber is on the list!

And my dear friend Lisa Gardner is #1!!

There are also numerous authors on this list that I admire a great deal.  This would be a long post if I named them all and showed the cover of their books.  But you can click on this link to see the whole list.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Sugarplum Homecoming and Thankfulness


Thanksgiving week is upon us, and I do so love Thanksgiving. The kids are coming in and we'll have a big celebration, watch some football, draw names for Christmas, and eat WAY too much.
And this year I have so much to be Thankful for. My blessings are many. Sure, I have trials and problems and heartaches. Who doesn't? But I am blessed, too.
A few weeks ago, one of the early Love Inspired novels was paired with one of Debbie Macomber's books and guess what? It's now sitting at #14 on the NY Times bestseller list and is also on USA Today and Publisher's Weekly lists. Now, if that's not a writer's blessing, I don't know what is.
And then, I'm thankful for my new book, which is out this very week, Sugarplum Homecoming. It's all the warmhearted traditions of Christmas, plus children wishing for a mommy and a recovering alcoholic who thinks she's anything but mommy material. I hope you like it!
What's happening in your neck of the woods?

Saturday, November 23, 2013

John F Kennedy

Terri Reed here.  This month marked the 50th's Anniversary of the 35th presidents assassination.  I wasn't born yet when he died, but I remember asking my mother once where she was when she heard the news.  She was a few months pregnant with me.  She was in the living room of the house she and my dad shared in South Lake Tahoe.  She was watching the president's motorcade on television as she was ironing clothes.  Her words formed an image in my mind that has never left.

The events of the day changed our nation in so many ways.  One way that I found fascinating was how the secret service changed.

If you were old enough do you remember where you were when you heard the news?  Do you know where your parents or grandparents were when they heard the news?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Messy Faith

This is Barbara Phinney. Take a look up at the title. Isn't it great?  My church is doing a series based on a book that inspired this title. Messy Faith

And for some reason, this title really resonated with me. Indeed, my faith is messy. As messy as my current working space, which is supposed to be our dining room table, but I found my desk was too small right now. 

Take a look. To the left are peach saplings I hope will live through the winter, plus the watering can. Hey, I'll put it away. The broken pair of binos is there because I was too lazy to go outside to see if the mailman came. The large white book is sitting on a long candle centerpiece, and the pizza pan is sitting atop a bagette pan. This is my life right now as I complete Protected by the Warrior, my LIH due out August 2014. And in a way, this is my faith right now.

I know there are some whose faith is a simple and neat and as peaceful as a stretch of pastureland under clear skies. 

Not so mine. I am always pushing my faith around, dropping it, letting things get stacked up on top of it and yup, spilling coffee on it occasionally. Then, I will drag it out and rescue it, grimace at the stains and try my best to fix it. 
And yes, wondering why it got so complicated, and wondering if I can simplify it.

Thankfully, "Messy Faith" isn't just about my muddled intentions. It's about grazing at the edge of the pasture, as some of us Love Inspired authors are apt to do. It's about allowing God to be the One to perfect the life that is my sloppy attempt at Christian living, to push us out of our neat and not so neat lives to find that real Christian peace.

So, is your faith messy or neat? Simple or complex? Tell me how you see yours.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Is faster always better?

Is faster always better? In this age of doing everything as fast as possible, it makes me value the slower things. I’ve had this conversation with my agent in the past. “When can you have it to us?” the publisher asks. The pressure is on to deliver it quickly, of course, but as Chip reminds me, “A good book is better than a fast book.” Yep, I agree. I can write a novel in three months, but it’s not going to be as well put together as the one I toil away on for four months or so. Do you find this to be true in your life? Are there things you take your time to finish, even in this rapid fire world?
In honor of the “take your time” philosophy, here’s a nice fall recipe that is so simple and so good but you’ve got to have patience (and a crock pot!) Enjoy! Crock Pot Applesauce 6-10 apples, peeled, and cut into chunks. ½ c. water 1 c. sugar 1 Tbsp. cinnamon Dash of nutmeg A squeeze of lemon. Combine in crock pot. Cook on low for 6 hours. Enjoy! Delicious warm or cold.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Reindeer Run Amok: Sleigh Bell Sweethearts by Teri Wilson

Sleigh Bell Sweethearts by Teri Wilson

Welcome back to Aurora, Alaska! Sleigh Bell Sweethearts, my November release from the Love Inspired line, is the third book in my series of Alaskan romances. It's a Christmas book with a rather quirky twist…what would you do if out of the blue you suddenly inherited a reindeer farm? That's the dilemma heroine Zoey Hathaway faces on page one, and things only go downhill from there.

Zoey doesn't know a thing about reindeer. Neither did I when I started writing this book. I'd seen reindeer in person before, and had even been chased by some when I participated in the Running of the Reindeer in Anchorage one year when I was there on vacation. But that was the extent of my reindeer knowledge.

I reached out to the Williams Reindeer Farm, a family-run enterprise in Palmer, Alaska, and they helped me along the way. In the beginning, I was so clueless that I didn't even know what questions to ask. I sent Denise Hardy, one of the owners, a list of questions. And then I began peppering her daily with more questions that kept popping up.

What do they eat? (Hint: not reindeer chow.) What do they do all day long? Do they make noise? Have you ever tried to herd them using a dog? What kind of fence do you have? And…(poor Denise)…tell me how to teach them to pull a sleigh! She patiently responded to all my inquiries, even going so far as to send me photos and videos.

Really, I owe Denise a debt of gratitude. I never could have written the book without her. And Palmer, the main reindeer character in the book, has turned out to be every reader's favorite. Everyone wants to adopt a naughty reindeer now. You will, too, once you visit the Williams Reindeer Farm's Facebook page. Make sure to take a peek come springtime when the babies are born. Beyond adorable. Truly.

You can visit them here:

And be sure to check out Sleigh Bell Sweethearts to find out how Zoey copes when three dozen reindeer and one very surly ranch hand are dropped in her lap!

Second Chance Yuletide  

Owning her own plane is all charter pilot Zoey Hathaway's ever dreamed of. So when she inherits a struggling reindeer farm, with three dozen unruly reindeer and one dangerously attractive ranch hand, Zoey's well-crafted plans seem to fly out the window. Now she must put her trust in Alec Wynn, and hope that the troubled cowboy's past won't interfere with her plans to save the farm. Zoey knows that if she wants to succeed, she can't do everything on her own. But as she accepts Alec's help, she'll soon realize it's not just her farm that's at stake—but her heart.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Rescuing Christmas Interview

Today we're welcoming Lily Anderson the heroine of Rescuing Christmas, written by Terri Reed a November 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.  It was so scary. After a Christmas dinner with some girlfriends a man abducted me from my car. I didn’t see his face so I don’t know who or why.  I managed to escape but he came after me.
2.    So, during the book you met Jarrod Evans.  Tell us a bit about him. Jarrod is a K-9 officer out of the Dallas PD.  He came to Sagebrush so I could help him train his new partner. What was your first impression? I thought I was dreaming when I first saw him. Tall, handsome and heroic.  When did you know it was love? I’m not sure I can pinpoint when.  From the moment he entered my life, I felt drawn to him but I was too afraid to believe I’d find love.  I held back and almost lost the opportunity to tell him how I felt.
3.    What strengths/skills do you have? I’m good with dogs.  I understand them.  Dogs are such great companions as well as protectors. What is your greatest weakness? I’m too trusting, but then again that could be a strength.
4.    What scares you? The thought of being alone for the rest of my life.
5.    If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I’d be bolder, more assertive.
6.    Where are you in your faith at the start of your story? I’m a believer and thought my faith was strong.
7.    Where are you in your faith at the end of the story? My faith is deeper. I’m more trusting of God
8.    You've got a scripture at the beginning of the story.  Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1 Tell us why this scripture is significant. This verse helps me to remember that faith comes from within not by what is visible or touchable.   
9.    If you could be a dessert what would you be and why? I’d be bread pudding. Warm and gooey and sweet, yet substantial.

Saturday, November 16, 2013


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 

Award winning, multipublished author Terri Reed discovered the wonderful world of fiction at an early age and declared she would one day write a book. Now she's fulfilling that dream by writing for Love Inspired. She is a member of both Romance Writers of America and American Christian Fiction Writers. You can visit her online at or email her at or leave comments on or

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Birmingham Romance

Debby Giusti here!

I love attending the Southern Magic Readers' Luncheon, and this year's event, held in Birmingham, Alabama, on November 2, was so much fun!

Love Inspired Author Debbie Kaufman and I hosted table 23. The ladies were delightful, and we enjoyed the lunch and the time we were able to spend together.

Publishers Weekly contributing editor Barbara Vey flew in from Milwaukee and chatted with Heart of Dixie author Katherine Bone.

Author Lindi Peterson drew the name for the winner of her basket. Doesn't Lindi looks great on the big screen!

Here's my author basket.

And the winner is...Danielle Whitehead.

The book signing followed.

Thanks, Southern Magic Romance Writers, for a wonderful luncheon. See you next year!

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, November 11, 2013

That Creative Gene by Leann Harris

Before I started writing full time, I had several hobbies.  I sewed (all my own clothes), knit, crochet,  and embroidered.  (Notice cooking wasn't one of my creative outlets.)   But after I sold my first book, all those creative outlets went away, since I channeled most of my creative energy into writing.

But I have noticed that most writers have another creative outlet that they enjoy in addition to writing.  I know Allie Pleiter is big into knitting and I've seen several of her creations and they are beautiful.  For me, my creative outlet turned to gardening.  How that came to be is still a question in my mind, but I love gardening.  Digging in the dirt, planting bulbs or seeds and watching them bloom is exciting.  What I fell in love with were Iris.  My mother-in-law had an Iris garden that included nearly half of her yard.

Spring wiil be so much fun and this year since I'll be able to be outside and dig in the dirt.

So what is the creative outlet that you love?

Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Firefighter's Match Interview

Interview with Josephine “JJ” Jones, the heroine, of The Firefighter’s Match by Allie Pleiter a November 2013 release from Love Inspired Romance.

1.  JJ, tell me the most interesting thing about you.
I’ve finished an Army tour of duty in the middle east, and seen things that will change me forever.  It hasn’t been easy coming back, but I’m hoping some time away in Gordon Falls will help me settle in again.
2.  What do you do for fun?
It’s been way too long since I’ve had much fun.  Right now my favorite thing is to sit on the river dock behind the cabin I’m staying in.  The peace and quiet are nice.  Another week or so of peace and I think I’ll be up to some fun.  Of course, the guys at the firehouse are all too ready to have some fun--at my expense.  They’ve never had a female fire fighter before, and they don’t seem to know how to act around me.
3.  What do you put off doing because you dread it?
Getting connected to people again.  It’s funny--you’re hardly ever physically alone in the army, but you can wall yourself off from people easily.  I need to make some new friends, only I can’t seem to remember how to do that. 
4.  What are you afraid of most in life?
I’ve had all the fear I can handle already.  I’m here because I’m trying not to be afraid.  I want to stop looking over my shoulder and wondering what people want from me.
5.  What do you want out of life?
I want to be part of a community.  Both the firehouse and all of Gordon Falls seems like the place to find those connections.  I could be settling in well, I think, if it weren’t for my brother Max’s accident.
6.  What is the most important thing to you?
Right now, it’s getting Max through the worst of his injuries.  He’s a mess, and taking his frustrations out on everyone around him.  He’s fighting his own hard battle right now, and I want to be there for him and protect my little brother.
7.  Do you read? If so, what is your favorite type of book to read?
I haven’t read a book in ages.  I think the last books I picked up were army training manuals. I should probably change that and go get a Gordon Falls library card.
8.  If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I would get my trust in people back.  I was starting to trust Alex Cushman before things fell apart with Max, and now look what happened!  It feels like I can’t trust anyone these days, and that’s no way to live.
9.  Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet?
There’s a turtle who keeps popping his head up by my river dock, but I don’t think he counts.  I’d like to have a dog someday.  They’re loyal and love you no matter what.
10. If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why?
Honestly, I’d go back in time to before I went to war.  I’d undo lots of what I have done, and I’d like to loose some of the memories I have now.  I’ve got too many scars to really be happy right now, and I’d give anything to change that.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

FEATURED BOOK:The Firefighter's Match by Allie Pleiter

A Healing Match  
After serving overseas, former soldier Josephine "JJ" Jones needs a fresh start. And Gordon Falls is just the place. When JJ meets executive Alex Cushman, her world is turned upside down. Alex is seeking a respite from all the pressures of his multimillion-dollar business. And the beautiful firefighter might be the answer to his prayers. But a secret lies between them. One so big, it threatens to end their love before it's even begun. Can she ever trust Alex when she finds out he may be responsible for a family tragedy that changed all their lives? 
Gordon Falls: Hearts ablaze in a small town

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Reader Thursday Contest Over

Hi, Terri Reed here.  A month ago we started a month long giveaway.
If you are an ACFW member or attended the 2013 conference in Indianapolis, you might've seen this ad in the conference booklet:

Every Thursday through the month of October we picked a winner from the comments  to win some books.  

Week#5  winner is Jenny Blake!
You will be receiving books from Terri Reed, Allie Pleiter, Lacy Williams and Pamela Tracy

Thank you to all our readers for supporting our blog and reading our books.

To recap the winners:
Week # Julie Hilton Steele (authors sending her books are Janet Lee Barton, Margaret Daley, Rhonda Gibson and Linda Goodnight)
Week#2 Paula Osborne (authors sending books are Debby Giusti, Jean C. Gordon, Louise M. Gouge and Winnie Griggs.)
Week#3 Valri Western (authors sending books are Christine Johnson, Patty Hall, Dana Mentink, and Missy Tippens)
Week#4 Jackie Smith (authors sending books are Danica Favorite, Rhonda Gibson, Lenora Worth, Margaret Daley)
Week#5   Jenny Blake (authors sending books are Terri Reed, Allie Pleiter, Lacy Williams and Pamela Tracy

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Romance Novel Themes

Good morning, Renee Ryan here.  In honor of a personal anniversary I have a special giveaway today, but more on that later.  Thirty years ago I read my first romance novel.  At the time, I was in college, pursuing a double major in Economics and Religious Studies.  Both subjects required intensive reading of complicated material.  A sorority sister noticed my eyes crossing after a long night of study and took pity on me.  She handed me a Harlequin Presents romance novel and said, “Take a break.” 
I was hooked.  Romance novels became my greatest treat after a long day of studying or test taking.  At the time, I never dreamed I’d one day write a novel (see my majors up above) or that I would write for the company where it all began for me.  I certainly never dreamed I would incorporate some of very same themes I enjoyed all those years ago.   Here is a list, in no particular order, of my favorite romance novel themes.
  • Marriage of Convenience
  • Reunion/Old Flame
  • Fish out of water (i.e. city girl on a ranch, etc.)
  • Cowboy
  • Matchmaker/Matchmaker kids
  • Widow/widower
  • Single parent
  • Twins
  • Mistaken identity
  • Nanny
  • Guardian/Protector/Lawman
  • Bad boy and Good girl
Within each of these themes are a million different storylines.   I’ve used one or more in all of my published novels to date.  For example, I used marriage of convenience and widow/widower in my book HEARTLAND WEDDING.  In MISTAKEN BRIDE I had twins, mistaken identity, nanny, single parent, and widow/widower.
I guess it’s true what they say, there are no new stories just new ways to tell them.
What about you?  When did you first start reading romance novels and what are your favorite themes?  Leave a comment and I’ll put your name in a drawing to win my November release FINALLY A BRIDE, book 7 in my Charity House series.  By the way, FINALLY A BRIDE has the reunion/old flame and matchmaker themes.   

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