Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Seeing by Leann Harris

When I woke last Saturday morning, it was the first time in my adult life I could see clearly. The jaw-dropping experience still has me in awe. I had the cataract in my right eye removed and a lens put in that sees all distances. Left eye is next.
(Notice the fashion forward glasses.) I started wearing glasses in the 4th grade, but the odd thing was I spent my dreams looking for my glasses so I could see. When I got contacts at 16, suddenly my dreams were in focus. So how weird is that? And how can I use that in a story?

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Small Towns, Big Families with Jolene Navarro

Jolene Navarro here. Did you know we only have twelve Fridays until Christmas! But we are not here to talk about that. Even though I do have a Christmas story that is out and about in book form, with the eBook being released Thursday.  Another story set in the fictional small Texas Hill Country of Clear Water. But I'm here to talk about small towns.
Frio Canyon - Home of my fictional town, Clear Water, Texas
 I love life in a small town.  People know people. They know your grandmother, your cousins and your children. You belong. You have a history. You’re part of a story.  You know why the locals call the intersection at HWY 46 and Herff Rd. Sheep Dip Crossing.
On a sad note the newbies in town give you a blank stare if your direction include Sheep Dip Crossing or “where Poorboys use to be.” I’m guessing in the next couple of generations the terms will be gone for our local vocabulary.

The thing that can drive you cray in a small town? People know people. They know your grandmother, your cousins… well, you get the picture.  People remember you as a teenager, and all the stupid senseless stuff you want to forget. They really know your family members. There is no glossing over or hiding the crazy. 

 Remember the time when…..can cause you to break out in a cold sweat and glancing around to see if your kids are near. Half the stories aren't  even true. And sometimes they say that and you really can’t recall what they are talking about, so do you fake it and laugh or start an argument when you respond with ‘NO that never happened’?  Memories are long and live on every corner.
My father was born in the"old" house. It was moved to the back of the property when a new house was built - with a pool and game room! Loved our summers here!

There are different levels of small towns. Places like Leakey, Texas with less than 400 people. It is also the kind of town I love writing about, generations of ranchers, business owners and dreamers.  One street light.  Kindergartners to twelfth graders are on the same school campus. Community is strong.  A church on every corner. Not a great deal has changed there over the years, expect the path of the river with each flood and they can now sell beer. (Which some of the churches are not happy about.)

This is one of my hometowns. My great-great grandparents settled there and my parents met and married there. It’s also the place I met my love and married him. We moved back and lived there during the birth of one of our four children. I love this little valley in the Texas Hill Country. My husband’s family has been there for three generations now. It will always be home.  Go Eagles!
My four kids on the football field were my dad played and their dad played and coached.
Four generations of Navarros in Leakey. The tiny little lady in the middle is the mother, grandmother and great grand of the picture

Then you have small towns like Boerne, Texas. My other hometown. When I started school here in 1979, there was one high school, one middle school and an elementary or two. No chain restaurant or fast food. The grocery store and pharmacy were owned by local families.  The owner of the restaurant greeted you by name.
We rode our horses to the General Store where you could still hear people speaking German.  Today Boerne is going through growing pains. Being north of San Antonio,  people are moving in to find the love of having the Main Street USA feel of small town with the convenience of one of the biggest cities in the United States of America.
Boerne Main Street Plaza

The Dienger Trading Co. It was the Library for a while.

Now-a-days you don’t see as many family owned businesses when you drive down Main Street.  For the sake of convenience the big box stores have staked a claim along the highway, forcing the mom and pop shops to close or redefine themselves.

I write small town stories because it is what I know and love.  A Texas Christmas Wish is the third book that takes place in a small fictional town of Clear Water, Texas on the Frio River.  
Frio River at Seven Bluff Crossing
 In my story the hero takes the heroine to the local lumber yard. A place where generations have counted on the Bergmann family to provide high quality building materials as they construct their own homes and business.

Bergmann Lumber Store Front in Boerne Texas
In real life Bergmann Lumber is a two story limestone building on Main Street in Boerne. It is a historical site and owned by the same family for three generations. Randy Bergmann and his daughters have managed to reinvent their store front and focus on customer service with a mix of daily lumber and hardware needs along with gifts and one of a kind home decor.
Visiting at the Book signing at Bergmann Lumber - Love Small town life.

Children left unattended in Bergmann Lumber will find lots of ways to entertain themselves.

In honor of my  favorite Texas small towns and the families that live there (real and fictional) I have had each off my book signing at Bergmann Lumber. Yes, I have book signings at a hardware store. They also carry my books year round. (How cool is that?) They are one of the few family owned businesses that have found a way to survive the shift in Boerne’s population and demographics. 

So if you want to buy a story about small town, family and faith go by Bergmann Lumber on Main Street in Boerne, Texas. (they are also in Walmart and Amazon..shhhh I didn't tell you that) You can also support small businesses by doing some early Christmas shopping and visit you locally owned businesses. 

Do you have a small town you love. If so what do you love about it? Do you make a point to shop at locally owned stores or do you find the big guys easier and less expensive? 


Monday, September 28, 2015

Craftie Ladies - Love Inspired October 2015 Releases

Listed below are the upcoming releases from our talented Love Inspired Contemporary 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.

The Christmas Family
By Linda Goodnight

The Greatest Christmas Gift 

Contractor Brady Buchanon can't wait to surprise single mom Abby Webster with his company's Christmas home makeover prize. But once he does, the struggling waitress turns him down flat! Raised in foster care, Abby won't accept charity. Yet when her dilapidated porch almost injures her daughter, Abby finally agrees to Brady's offer. 
As the hardworking bachelor pushes to finish the house in time for Christmas, he starts falling for Abby and her little girl. With the holidays in sight, Brady wonders if Abby will not only accept her beautiful new home, but also his wish to make her his wife… 

A Texas Christmas Wish
By Jolene Navarro

Karly Kalakona's new nursing job is the perfect Christmas gift she and her son needed for their future. The single mom just never counted on dealing with not only a stubborn patient, but also with his prodigal son. 

After years away, pilot Tyler Childress is only a temporary traveler to the Texas ranch he's spent his life escaping. But the chemistry he shares with his father's nurse is undeniable—and has him thinking of sticking around past the holiday season. 

Can Tyler learn to trust the woman whose caring ways are bringing his father back to life…and who might just be the partner his wandering heart can find a home with?

Friday, September 25, 2015

Blast from the Past - Guess the Author

It's that time once again, when we glimpse into the past of one of our Craftie Ladies. The first reader to correctly guess this month's author will receive a copy of said author's debut Love Inspired release (there's your first clue).


Here's your clue.

This is a picture of one of my sister, my best friend, and me dressed for Trick or treating.  I'm the artist in the middle. I guess even back then I had a yearning to be creative. The pink fuzzy thing in the corner is the poncho my mother was wearing - the very height of fashion back then.
I have three younger sisters and no brothers. My father always said he traded in a mother and four sisters for a wife and four daughters - and he loved every minute of it. Speaking of my dad, he got in big trouble when I decided on my Halloween costume the following year. I wanted to be a bride so my mom was going to let me wear her bridal gear. Except she couldn't find her wedding gown. As it turned out, my father, trying to be helpful, took her at her word when she muttered (after a strenuous move) that she should have just thrown out the gown. Yes, dad put it on the curb and the trash men picked it up.

Do you know who this is? Leave your guess in the comments to be entered in the contest. And be sure to look for more clues in the comment section throughout the day.

Good luck!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Time Traveling with Barbara Phinney

I'm doing some time traveling this autumn. 
You see, my next contracted book is set in 1882. (No title yet, but I'll keep you posted.) 
I've decided to try to stretch myself (no pun intended) by making a giant leap from the 11th century to the 19th century. 
Fun? Yes! Without its difficulties? No! I needed to find out things like, 'When was a washroom called the washroom?'. Or 'When did 2nd class Pullman cars come into service?' 'Or the electric light?' 
You see, my hero and heroine meet in Boston and then travel out to Colorado, so I needed to know not just things about Boston, but also about trains and Colorado. 
A far cry From Norman England, where my last Love Inspired Historical were set. But I'm up for the challenge! 

So, while you're here, let's time travel together.
We'll meet at Chickering Hall in Boston, a concert auditorium, 
and from there, we'll take one of the few 2nd class Pullman cars out to Denver, then another to our small town.
After a refreshing breakfast in view of Castle Rock, 

we will ride up to a distant pasture. 

But wait! Danger lurks in a web of mystery and suspense, 

(Ok, they didn't see this sign. I just thought it was funny.)

but we have our faithful loved ones praying for our safe return back to town. (After all, this is a Christian romance.) 

Thank you for traveling with me. See you next "time"!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Allie Pleiter on being bossy

I admit it: I’m bossy.

I was a bossy little girl, now I’m a bossy woman.  My mom was a bossy woman (she preferred to think of it as “leadership,” and I’ve been known to do the same), and I suspect my daughter has no fear of telling others what they ought to do. When I directed theatrical musicals in college, someone gave me a shirt that said “BOSS LADY.”  Hmm.

In my writing, I like to think this means I create heroines with no shortage of spunk.  They speak their minds, they get things done, and they are just as likely to save the hero as he is to save her.

In my life, it means I have to work on my collaborative skills.  I am a do-it-myself kind of gal by nature, and that doesn’t always serve me well.  I always say I’d rather chair a committee than sit on a poorly run one—something that gets me in more “chairs” than is perhaps wise.  As such, one of my goals for this year has been to up my collaboration game.  To ensure that my “let’s work together” doesn’t immediately disintegrate into “here’s what I think you ought to do.”

Let’s just say I’m a work in progress.

If you’re a writer, however, you can see some of the fruits of that labor in my next project, which just happens to be WRITING SUCCESS, a compilation of great writing craft books by some outstanding fellow authors.

No, I didn’t co-author anything—I can barely let anyone in the kitchen when I cook, so co-authoring is way beyond me at the moment.  But my fellow authors and I have joined forces for a pretty sweet deal of technique books releasing October 27 for an irresistible price.  If you aspire to write, or know someone who does, it’s hard to beat all these books for under a buck!

My contribution to this compilation is my beloved Chunky Method Handbook.  This compilation is only e-book, but don’t worry if you are the kind of writer who needs a hard copy—it is still available as a single volume.

My next “plays well with others” project?  I have the third book in the Lone Star Cowboy Leage Love Inspired continuity series.  

See, I’m getting less bossy all the time…..

Friday, September 18, 2015

What Are We Writing

What We Are Writing
By Margaret Daley

Author: Pamela Tracy
Title: TBA
Hero and Heroine: ex-cop Nathan Williamson and doctor Shainey Fitzsimmons
Line: Harlequin on-line read
Word count goal today: 1,500
One paragraph from the page you are currently on:  
“Just that back then it wasn’t as accepted for young girls to have babies and not have husbands.  Quite a few signed away their rights.”
“I was stolen,” Nathan reminded her.  “My birth mother was married and both she and my father were thrilled about having a baby.”
“Yes, yes,” Agatha said, her feet coming to a stop. “You were the exception.  Usually, it was just the young and naive.” 
Something cool learned recently from research: Police officers convicted of a crime are typically housed in segregated areas for their safety, far from most other inmates.

Title: A Family for the Rancher (working title)
Edmund McKay and Lula May Barlow
Line: Love Inspired Historical
One paragraph from the page you are currently on:
Their fingers brushes, and a shock shot up her arm clear to her neck, leaving behind a pleasant tingling feeling. Lula May gasped softly. From Edmund’s wide-eyed look, she guessed he’d felt something, too. There was only one way out of this. Only one way to stamp out an obvious physical attraction that would never go any further than polite handshakes.
Due date: November 15, 2015
Word count goal today: 2K
Something cool learned recently from research: When a horse feels very close to its human, it will lean its head into the human's chest, much like a child seeking affection from a parent.

Author: Terri Reed
Title: Northern Border Patrol book #5
Hero and Heroine: Canada Border Service officer Nathanial Longhorn and Deputy Sheriff Audrey Martin
Line: Love Inspired Suspense
One paragraph from the page you are currently on:  
“What?” He stared at the blond, blue-eyed deputy. “Is my name John?” It didn’t ring any bells. And every time he tried to concentrate, to conjure up a memory, his head felt like someone was taking axe pick to his skull, bringing on a blinding pain that was nearly incapacitating. Only keeping his focus on the beautiful woman’s face kept him from keeling over.
 Word count goal today: 2000
Something cool learned recently from research: I’m taking my local sheriff’s departments citizen academy right now and am learning all sorts of things my deputy sheriff would or wouldn’t do. It’s been a fascinating class.  

Author: Jolene Navarro
Title: Surprise Dad & the War Widow Clear Water book #4
Hero and Heroine: Former Marine and Texas State Trooper, Garrett Kincaid and his land lady, Anjelica Ortega-Garza
Line: Love Inspired Contemporary
One paragraph from the page you are currently on:
“I don’t think I can do this. Maybe she would be better off with her grandmother."
Anjelica moved closer to him. “Now you’re being an idiot.”
Garrett looked at her with his lopsided smile. “That’s your pep talk?”
“Hey, it's three in the morning. Being a parent is tough and you will make mistakes. You apologize and move on. You don’t give up on them or yourself.” Gentle fingers touched his jaw, forcing him to look her in the eye. “You know her place is with you and Rio. She is Rio's sister and now she is your daughter. This is where she belongs.”
Due date: November17th
Word count goal today: 1200

Author: Jill Kemerer
Title: Working title - Yuletide Redemption
Hero and Heroine: Sam Sheffield and Celeste Monroe
Line: Love Inspired
One paragraph from the page you are currently on:
“Yeah.” She slowed the stroller and turned to him. “It’s not just missing her. This is probably going to sound stupid, but I feel like an imposter, like I shouldn’t be raising Parker. She should be here raising him.”
Sam frowned, trying to take in what she was saying. “But she’s not here. Who else would love him the way you do?”

Due date: Not contracted
Word count goal today: 3,000
Something cool learned recently from research:
Researchers have found a way to use donated human tissue (through deceased organ donors) to create “allografts” for people with severe nerve injuries, and the results have been promising. Several people with severed sciatic nerves in their thighs had nerve grafts using AxoGen’s allograft products and recovered well enough to walk without use of crutches or a cane. 

Author: Jean C. Gordon
Title: None yet. Book Three Donnelly Brothers series
Hero and Heroine: Josh Donnelly and Tessa Hamilton
Line:  Love Inspired Romance
One paragraph from the page you are currently on: 
Josh heard Tessa’s comment as unspoken concern about his relationship with his father. That, or he was too fixated on it himself. Why was he waffling? He could handle his father. The move to project manager was what he’d been working toward with his distance learning classes the past three years. “No, I am sure. On Monday, I’m going to tell Anne I accept the job.”
Due date:  November 2.
Word count goal today: 1,500
Something cool learned recently from research:  How to make a Pinewood Derby racer

Author: Barbara Phinney
Title: Working Title: The Heiress at Proud Ranch
Hero and Heroine: Mitch MacLeod and Victoria Templeton
Line:  Historical
One paragraph from the page you are currently on: 
 She clicked her tongue. “Your consent wasn’t founded on conquered pride, Mitchell MacLeod. It was part urgent need and part expecting me to fail. Hoping I will fail.” Foolish tears stung her eyes. “I don’t think you’ve let go of an ounce of the pride in your heart.”
 Due date:  Oct 31st
Word count goal today:  It’s written, but being edited right now.

Something cool learned recently from research:  Rhyolite is a pink stone used in finishing buildings. It’s mined in Castle Rock.

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