Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Christmas...a bit early! By Roxanne Rustand

Howdy from the colorful Upper Midwest, where the leaves are turning crimson and gold.

I love this time of year and always wish it could last a lot longer...yet today I'm jumping ahead to a feeling of cheery Christmas thoughts.  Which seems crazy, given our beautiful fall weather.  But....

While working on some new proposals for Love Inspired and Love Inspired Suspense, I  took a little side adventure into indie publishing, with three books of my own, plus a novella for an anthology that proved to be great fun.

Fourteen authors contributed full-length novels and novellas for  the "Sweet Christmas Kisses" anthology which is releasing today on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and  in a variety of other e-formats. These are all sweet (very mild) stories or inspirationals, and as of this morning it is #2 on the Inspirational Romance Kindle sales list. Which may be a very temporary state of affairs, but it's nice to see that people do like to read stories that are sweet and not all at racy.  It's over 1600 pages--so needless to say, it's an e-book and not in print!  :)

The top cover is for my novella within that anthology,  which let me relive the trip my husband and I took to the Scottish Highlands this spring.  What beautiful country it was...and what lovely, welcoming and gracious people!
                                    Better yet, it seemed as if every local person had a dog at their side, even in
stores and in many of the quaint pubs where we stopped for supper.
There were darling little West Highland terriers there in abundance,  so I made sure to include one of them in my novella: a story about a woman who receives an unexpected inheritance, but must travel to Scotland to receive it...and then finds she had no idea about what that inheritance entails.  :)

Do you like to read holiday-themed fiction when Thanksgiving, Christmas and Valentine's Day roll around? For those of you who are writers, so you prefer writing a story that is tied to a holiday season, or would you rather not?

Best wishes to everyone for a beautiful autumn, wherever you are!

Roxanne Rustand

Monday, September 29, 2014

Craftie Ladies - Love Inspired Historical Oct 2014 Releases

Listed below are the upcoming releases from our talented Love Inspired Historical writers here at Craftie Ladies of Romance.  To purchase any of these wonderful books, just click on the book covers.  And to learn more about the authors, click on their names.


Minnie Fox’s goal is to find a beau who can help support her ailing father and his struggling dress shop. As a working man, her friend Peter Simmons simply doesn’t fit the bill. Instead, Minnie’s got eyes for Peter’s childhood pal—a wealthy Chicagoan. So why can’t she stop thinking about Peter?

Peter wishes Minnie would see him as more than a friend. As a hardworking mechanic, Peter knows he’ll never be able to dazzle Minnie with fancy suits and expensive cars. But maybe he can prove to her that what’s in a man’s heart is worth more than what’s in his wallet.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

A Home for Her Heart Interview

How exciting to have Elizabeth Anderson, the heroine from A Home for Her Heart, written by Janet Lee Barton, a September, 2014 release from Love Inspired Romance .

1.  Elizabeth, tell me the most interesting thing about you.
Well, a lot of people think it’s interesting that I writer for the Delineator, a lady’s magazine. In it we cover fashion and all kinds of things that pertain to our daily lives.
2.  What do you do for fun?
Oh, living at Heaton House, there is alway something to do for fun. Of an evening, after dinner, we usually gather in the parlor to chat, or play games—we all love charades—or we love singing around the piano. Then on weekends, we sometimes do things as a group like picnicking Central Park. The women boarders love to go window shopping at the Ladies’ Mile, and in the summer the men are usually taking in a baseball game.
3.  What do you put off doing because you dread it?
Oh . . . I’ve put off telling the other boarders—my best friends—that I’m not as much like them as they might think.
4.  What are you afraid of most in life?
Right now, I’m afraid if I tell them, I might lose their friendship—and that they’ll feel I’ve deceived them—especially John. That would break my heart. I know that John and I spar a lot of the time, but in spite of it all, working together, we seem to be building a fragile friendship of some sort and I’d hate to lose it.
5.  What do you want out of life?
I want to help those less fortunate than me—and oh, how I’d love to have a loving husband and family of my own one day. But I don’t see that happening. After my broken engagement, I didn’t know how I’d ever be able to trust another man with my heart.
6.  What is the most important thing to you?
My faith, that the Lord will guide me in all ways.
7.  If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
That I would trust people more—that I could trust that a man could love me for myself.
8.  Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet?
I don’t have a pet—living in a boardinghouse that’s not something I can have, but I did have a dog when I was young and if I ever do have that family, I might want one for any children I might have. But I’m not sure that will ever happen.
9. Can you tell us a little interesting tidbit about the time period you live in?
I think everything is interesting about the time period I live in! We’re getting close to moving into a new century and opportunities for women, in this city especially, are growing each day. Of course much of that is of necessity. Many women have to make a living for themselves, or help their families out.  A fun thing—the baseball team in New York City is called the New York Giants—the one in Brooklyn is called the Brooklyn Bridegrooms! I just think that is so cute! We tease Kathleen and Luke about it because they’ll soon be getting married. I’m so happy for them . . . but I must admit to being a little envious, too. I don’t know if I’ll ever have that kind of relationship .  . .

Saturday, September 27, 2014


Love on Assignment 
Magazine writer Elizabeth Anderson has sparred with newspaper reporter John Talbot for years. Though they cover similar stories, John thinks Elizabeth's writing is trivial, and she finds him too boastful. So when they must work together to investigate New York City's worst tenement houses, they're surprised by the great team they make. 
Despite their professional rivalry, John and Elizabeth begin to trust each other as they grow from competitors, to friends, to something more. But then John makes a startling discovery that would break the story—and Elizabeth's heart—wide-open. John's always been driven by his career—can he give up one dream for another? 
Boardinghouse Betrothals: Hearts taking shelter—and forging new beginnings

Friday, September 26, 2014

Friday Sisterhood with Sherri Shackleford

Family Status:
​Married with Children! Three kids - My oldest is a girl, 14, then two boys, ages 13 and 8 ​

What Is Your Favorite Beverage:
​I like a good latte. Nothing fancy. No extra this or that. No mocha. No whip. No fancy blah, blah, blah. Just a latte. Cold in the summer, hot in the winter :)​

What Is Your Favorite Food:
​I like anything somebody else cooks and cleans up. Always. Whether it's a restaurant or someone else cooks. Don't care!​

What Is Your Favorite Thing to do During Free Time:
​I read as much as I can. I'm also kind of a movie buff. But not arty movies. My favorite movie this year has been Guardians of the Galaxy. ​

Who Has Been the Most Influential Person in Your Life:

 ​Absolutely my husband! I wouldn't be here without him. He's been a great support and mentor. ​
First Book You Fell in Love With:
​ The Little Princess. I wanted to breath that story!

A Book You Wish You’d Written:
​The Bell Jar​

First Book Published:
​Winning the Widow's Heart. I finaled in the ACFW Genesis contest and voila - Harlequin said they were interested. The rest is history...​

Most Recent Book:
The Cattleman Meets His Match is in stores now!!!
Out Next:
The Engagement Bargain will release in February of 2015.

How Many Have You Written:
​I'm currently working on my fifth book.
​ (I can't even believe I'm saying that!)​

What Do You Know Now That You Wish You’d Known Then:
​Hmmm, it's probably good I didn't know that each book would get harder and not easier. The more I know, the more I know I don't know! I also didn't realize this is a 24 hour a day, seven days a week job. There's no vacation! Not really. There's always something percolating.

What is Your Favorite Bible Story:
​ ​​I can't really answer this one because different stories have spoken to me at different times in my life. That's the beautiful thing about the Bible. ​Right now I've been thinking a lot about how Peter ​ is beckoned by Jesus and​
steps out of his storm-tossed boat onto the unsettled Sea of Galilee. In that instant, ​Peter has perfect faith. ​I've been thinking a lot about those moments between faith and fear.​

What is Your Favorite Bible Verse:
​Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
​Philippians 1:6

What is Your Favorite Hymn:

​I should have something less obvious, but On Eagle's Wings will always be a favorite

What is an Ongoing Prayer Request You Have:

Please pray for Wendy Kinney who is ​​battling cancer. ​

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Hometown Heroes

by Keli Gwyn (@KeliGwyn)

My hometown of Placerville, California is awash with heroes. The King Fire, which is currently the nation's highest priority fire, is raging just ten miles away. While my town and my home aren't threatened, many towns and homes nearby are.

Enter the heroes, some 7,952 of them as of the time this post went live. These firefighters, law enforcement officers and other emergency personnel are battling a blaze that began Saturday, September 13. It started small but quickly spread and is currently listed as being 92,960 acres.

The fire's southern incident command center is set up at the El Dorado County Fairgrounds next door to my favorite supermarket. Fire engines fill the parking lot, along with a line of mobile sleeping units. The air conditioners hum loudly while exhausted firefighters inside try to grab some shut-eye.

Three days into the fire, I spotted the crew shown above picking up a few items in the store. I thanked them, shook their hands and asked if they'd pose for a picture. They readily agreed, but they wanted me to stand with them. I declined, saying I wasn't a hero; they were.

When I went to my local Walmart a few days later, I noticed a number of engines in the parking lot. I was able to get this picture of one of them with a couple members of the crew. Once again, when I asked the firefighters to pose, they insisted I be in the shot instead of them.

This led me to the conclusion that one of the major characteristics of a hero is humility. The many men and women I've encountered as I've rubbed elbows with the firefighters don't see themselves as heroes. They often shrug with embarrassment and tell me they're just doing their job.

These dedicated men and women are doing their jobs and doing them well. They're working long shifts in horrific conditions with no days off. They're missing their loved ones back home. One thing they're not doing is complaining. On the contrary. They're kind, courteous and grateful for the smallest of things.

My local Curves coaches met to pass out Otter Pops to the firefighters on a hot afternoon, and I was honored to join them. As I handed out the simple treats, I was greeted with ready smiles and a chorus of enthusiastic thank you's.

Based on my experience with these heroes in my hometown, a hero is hardworking and humble, kind and courteous, brave and sometimes even bashful. These traits are much the same as those I've seen heroes in stories portray.

If you were to expand the list of traits a hero possesses, which would you include?

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Making The Most of Staying Home

Hi, Janet Lee Barton here.

So many of my friends and fellow Craftie Ladies are on their way to the ACFW Conference in St. Louis this week. Usually I am on my way, too. The ACFW Conference is one I recommend highly--especially for new writers of Christian fiction. It can't be beat. And there is so much excitement about seeing old friends and meeting new ones. Hurrying from class to class or just taking a breather to talk to friends you might not see for another year. Not to mention the building excitement for those who are up for an award at the Awards Ceremony on Saturday night.

But this year I'm not going and while I will occasionally feel sorry for myself, I do hope everyone has a wonderful time, enjoys themselves an extra bit for me and others who won't be going this year, and come home ready to get back to work and willing to share any news they might come home with.

Writing can be a lonely job at times and these conferences serve to energize writers as nothing else does, giving us a chance to talk to others who think like we do. Those who cannot NOT write.  Thankfully, we do have email and social media where we can still connect between those conferences and that is a blessing. It helps make it even more fun and exciting to get together with one another. Since I won't be there, I'm posting pics taking at Conference the last time it was in St. Louis.

The first of my sweet husband and me.  

And the next of very special friends I wish I could be with this year. 

And the last is a view from our room. Somehow I kind of feel I'm there! 

But I'm not there, so I've started working on the fifth story in my Boardinghouse Betrothal Series and am counting on those characters to keep me too busy to feel left out of all the fun for a few days.  Soon everyone will be back home, exhausted and happy, looking forward to next year. I pray for safe travel and wonderful times for all.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall – Does the Season Matter?

 by Jean C. Gordon

Do you what September is? September is National Chicken Month. Thank you Little Gray, Yellow, Brown, and Yellow Spot for posing. 

It's also the beginning of Fall, my favorite season, ushered in at 10:29 last night. My birthday is in September. Our wedding anniversary is in September. We're blessed with beautiful fall foliage. And school starts. I was enough of a geek that I always looked forward to going back to school.

Which brings me to a question: Does the season a book is set in influence your book choices? Aside from holiday-month books — I love holiday books — I never gave much thought to the season in which a book was set, either in my reading or my writing, until my ninth book, Small-Town Mom. The season only came to my attention then when we were at the cover stage. The story takes place in the dead of a frigid Adirondack Mountains winter. But the book came out in June, and initially, the cover had no snow and looked like spring, not winter. The dusting of snow was added to bring it into season.

With the books I've written since then, I've thought about when it will be published and tried to mesh the story's season with the publication season (or close). And, just for fun, I checked the seasons my books are set in. Four are set in the fall, one in the winter, and the rest take place in the summer.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Craftie Ladies - Love Inspired Romance Oct 2014 Releases

Listed below are the upcoming releases from our talented Love Inspired Romance writers here at Craftie Ladies of Romance.  To purchase any of these wonderful books, just click on the book covers.  And to learn more about the authors, click on their names.


From Friend to…FiancĂ©? 

Stalwart and steady, Darcy O'Malley has been by Luke Jordan's side since childhood. She has seen him through trials and tragedies, romances and breakups. They've been everything to each other—except boyfriend and girlfriend. Why ruin a good thing? 

What Luke can't explain, however, is why suddenly Darcy's presence is making his heart beat so hard. Something has changed since he left Appleton, and it's making him uneasy. Is it possible his best friend is meant to be something more? 

Dare he risk their perfect friendship in the hopes of finding his perfect wife?

Sunday, September 21, 2014


Melting His Heart 
Cash Coble is desperate for a change. After working in the family business for ten years, he's stressed out and overworked. When he heads to Colorado to visit his ailing grandfather, he finds his mood lifted by the beautiful woman living next door. After a troubled past, ice climber Taryn Purcell isn't looking for love. Especially not with a charming Texan who's consumed by work. But there's something about Cash that captures her heart. Never one to back down from a challenge, Taryn promises to show Cash how to carve out a happy life—one that includes her.

How exciting to have Taryn Purcell the heroine from Rescuing the Texan’s Heart written by Mindy Obenhaus, a September 2014 release from Love Inspired Romance.

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

I’m a mountain guide, meaning that I take people on climbing expeditions. Ouray, Colorado, where I live, is surrounded by thirteen and fourteen thousand foot peaks, so there is plenty of adventure to be had. However, the thing that people would probably find most interesting is that I am an avid ice climber.

2.  What do you do for fun?

            Because I get to do what I love, my job is always fun. When I’m not climbing, though, I enjoy anything I can do outdoors. I also love to bake.

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

            Just about anything that involves opening up to someone. There are a few flaws in my past that I prefer to keep hidden. Even my parents don’t know the truth about the time I spent in Texas.

4.  What are you afraid of most in life?

            Losing my heart to someone and then having them throw it back at me.

5.  What is the most important thing to you?


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

            I don’t have a lot of time to read, but my best friend, Blakely, has given me a few of those romance novels she reads. Honestly, I was surprised how good they were. Not corny, like I expected.

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

            I wish that I were more open to the possibility of falling in love. But you know the old saying, once bitten, twice shy.
8.  Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet?

            Scout is more than my pet, she’s my baby. I found her as a pup, someone had abandoned her by a dumpster. I fell in love with her the moment I laid eyes on her and we’ve been together ever since. She’s my closest confidant. I can tell her anything and she loves me anyway.

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

            Back to that fateful day in the student union at the University of North Texas. This time, I would turn around and walk right out the door, instead of allowing myself to fall for that smooth-talking jerk. Then again, I was every bit as shallow as he was. Without the heartache, I’d still be just as wretched as he was. And I wouldn’t know Jesus. Yes, life can be hard, but if we learn from our experiences, it’s all worth it.

Saturday, September 20, 2014


Jackson Durant would go to any lengths to protect his young daughter and his ranch. He knows the puzzling incidents on his homestead are no accidents. Someone is after him…but who? And why? Reporter Mariah Reyes is determined to find out. She never expected her pursuit of a story on the reclusive rancher would endanger her life—nor that she'd fall for the cowboy. But when Jackson's daughter is kidnapped, she'll do anything to help save the little girl—even if it means becoming a target herself.

Today we're welcoming Jackson Durant, the hero of Rancher Under Fire by Vickie McDonough, a September, 2014, 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 used to be a pro quarterback but now I’m a rancher. I left football the day my daughter was born. I didn’t want her raised in the cut-throat world I lived in back then. We’ve had a good, quiet life—at least until recently. Weird things started happening several months ago. Fences have been cut and my horses have gotten out. A stock tank was shot full of holes. And there’s more. At first, I thought it might be teens, although most of the youth around here tend to look up to me, so I don’t think it’s one of them. But I don’t have any enemies—at least none that I know of. So who could be doing these destructive things? And why?

2.  So, during the book you met Mariah Reyes. Tell us a bit about her.  What was your first impression? First impressions? She nearly ran over my daughter. I was more than a little angry when I met her. I just wanted her gone. When did you know it was love? I have no clue. Maybe during the worst days of my life when Mariah stuck by my side and tried to help me through them.

3.  What strengths/skills do you have? Physically, I’m strong. I was in sports all my life, and now I’m a rancher, doing physical work every day. I’d like to think I’m smart and have a good head for horses. What is your greatest weakness? That’s easy—my daughter.

4.  What scares you? That something will happen to Hailey. I lost my wife in a car accident, so I know how fast life can change

5. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I’d change the man I was in the past. Back then, I enjoyed being a celebrity. Enjoyed being in the limelight and the life that came with it at times. I had no goal but to succeed in football and make as much money as I could, and be popular. I didn’t care if I had to run down someone else to obtain that. I was selfish and shallow.

6.  Where are you in your faith at the start of your story? I’m a godly man. I attend church and read my Bible. Like all people, I could be closer to God, but I believe in Him and trust Him.

7.  Where are you in your faith at the end of the story?  My faith has certainly been tested. I’m much closer to God now. He got me through the worst days of my life—got me through a time when I didn’t know if I could go on.
8. You've got a scripture at the beginning of the story.  Tell us why this scripture is significant.
“But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31
I’ve always had an attraction to eagles. They’re magnificent birds, and there are many things about them I find interesting. Did you know they mate for life? Anyway, this was one of the first scriptures that I memorized. I’ve remembered it during hard times, especially those I endured lately.

9. If you could be a dessert what would you be and why? Come on now—that’s a dumb question. Ask me something about horses.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Carol Award Finalist: Debra Clopton

Today at the Craftie Ladies we complete our salute to our authors who rise to the top and prove that Christian fiction rocks! 

Please join me in welcoming Debra Clopton.

Her novella, 
is a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers' Carol Award.

What inspired you to write your finaling book?

Actually my agent Natasha Kern wanted me to try my hand at a historical and asked me if I thought I could squeeze a novella into my schedule. I was busy but no way could I pass up an opportunity to collaborate with Mary Connealy, Margaret Brownley and Robin Lee Hatcher so I agreed and was so glad I did. It was a joy from beginning to end. My story was to be set in Summer and all of them were about mail order brides. When I set down to brainstorm ideas I started looking at popular names from the 1870’s and, like happens to me a lot, when I saw the name Melvina and then the name Eldora the magic happened-I instantly saw Melvina Eldora Smith in my mind and the wonderful opening line popped into my head:

A born killer, Melvina Eldora Smith killed three people by the age of one: her mother at birth, her father of a broken heart and her poor, poor uncle Mutt outside a bar with a runaway buggy…

I instantly had to find out who this girl was! I felt for her and saw an unloved child grown up into a spunky young woman who’d unjustly had a lot of horrible things blamed on her all of her life by her bitter aunt. And of course I wanted to see her with a happy ending! 

How does your faith play into your stories?

I live my faith each day in a natural way, it is just a part of me. Like everyone, I struggle sometimes and am always striving to be a better person, to make a difference. It’s an ongoing process. I let my faith play into my stories in the same way, letting my characters walk naturally with their faith too. There is ebb and flow and each story’s faith element is dictated by the book and the character as I’m writing it. I let God lead on that discovery and I pray about it constantly as I write.

What is your favorite part of writing?

I love the creative process-that moment when I’m writing and then something unexpectedly ties together perfectly and beautifully-I call it a God moment-completely orchestrated by Him. I just love that! And with this story started with the opening line coming to me so perfectly and in an instant.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on Counting on a Cowboy book 2 in my new Four of Hearts Romance series coming out from Harper Collins Christian in 2015. Book 1 Betting On Hope comes out Feb 2015. I’m thrilled about the books and hoping my readers love them too. They are about 3 brothers, cowboys, running their family ranch the Four of Hearts Ranch in Wishing Springs, Texas. These are longer books than my Mule Hollow series but have the same feel and a great supporting cast of characters I think my readers will love. I tried very hard to give Wishing Springs that Mule Hollow feeling, but with a twist. 

Tell us about your Carol Award finaling book.

Like I said above it’s a sweet story that will have you rooting for this wonderful girl, Melvina Eldora Smith (Ellie). She’s nineteen, lost everyone who ever loved her at birth and decides to become a mail order bride when she reads an ad by a man looking for a mother for his baby-who has also lost her mother at birth. Ellie has a lot of love to give and needs love desperately-as does Mathew the hero. I so enjoyed Ellie’s spirit-she is just so full of expectations and hope. It was my first historical and my version of a Cinderella story. I’m loving that it’s up for this award because it was such a joy to write. It can be bought alone as an ebook or as a collection called a Bride For All Seasons. The 4 novellas in the collection are tied together by a meddling mail order bride magazine editor who takes the letters he receives and edits them, tweaks them to “help” the people find love. The only problem is when the brides reach their destinations things are not as they seemed and it makes for very comical situations!

 Sounds like a fun read.

Thanks for joining us today, Debra. We look forward to cheering you on at the Carols!

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