Sunday, January 31, 2016

Friday, January 29, 2016

Match the Authors with their Valentine Memories!

The Craftie Ladies of Romance are sharing Valentine memories today. Can you match the reflections below with the authors who wrote them?

Leave your answers in a comment, along with your email address. The names of all those who correctly identify the reflections will be entered in a drawing for a giveaway from each participating author. The contest will remain open through the weekend, and the winner will be announced on Monday, FEB 1, 2016.

Good luck, everyone! Remember to include your email so we can contact you if you win!

Participating Authors:
Mary Alford is giving away a signed copy of Rocky Mountain Pursuit.
Debby Giusti is giving away her February Love Inspired Suspense, Plain Danger.
Deb Kastner is giving away a copy of her February release, A Daddy for Her Triplets.
Mindy Obenhaus is giving away her August release, A Father’s Second Chance.
Jolene Navarro will give away one of her books.
Pamela Tracy is giving away Second Chance Christmas, a December 2015 Love Inspired story.
 Merrillee Whren is giving away Second Chance Reunion.

Valentine Reflection #1

Some of my favorite dates with my husband were riding horses on the Texas ranch he grew up on. (My last two covers have horses on them). Our Valentine day tradition is not so romantic, but I love it. We see a war movie. Yes, it is the one day a year I will go to the theater and willing watch a war movie. It started on our first Valentine's Day. Being newly in love I agreed to see Platoon. It was 1987. (I think) Since then I have seen some good movies I would have other wise never viewed...Good Morning, Vietnam, Glory, Zero Dark Thirty. This year it looks as if I will be seeing 13 hours. For the last three years we have seen our accountant on the 14th and finish our taxes before we go on our date. LOL Fun side note: Two years ago I had sent a comment about our Vday tradition and Tim Halperin on the Kidd Kraddick Morning Show sang a song about it.   

Valentine Reflection #2

When we were dating, my now-husband tried so hard to be romantic.  I think the fact that I was a published romance writer made him think the bar was a bit high.  Anyway, Valentine's Day fell during the week and I was an elementary school teacher (hint).  He was taking me to dinner that night.  So, we're at the restaurant and I'm thinking I wonder what he's doing to do that's special - besides buy me dinner <hehe>.

Finally, we're in the car and he's driving me home.  We get to my house and he says, "Don't you have something to tell me?"

Hmmm, what to say.

"I had a nice dinner.  Thanks."  <I really thought I'd already said this>

He's a plumber: more a tough Mel Gibson than a suave Brad Pitt.

He stammers, "Did you like the flowers I sent?"


He'd sent me flowers, to my school, which he'd specified needed to be delivered before three.

Nope, they were delivered at four something.  Only the school secretary got to see my flowers on the actual Valentine's Day.  But, everyone got to see them the following day.

And, really, it's the thought that counts.

Poor Don, though, he couldn't believe I didn't come flying out to the car - gushing about the flowers - when he picked me up for our date.

Valentine Reflection #3

My favorite celebration was when my husband and I along with three friends went four-wheeling outside of Lake City, Colorado in the beautiful Rocky Mountains.
Some of the four-wheel paths are quite treacherous. I had to wonder how those first setters managed to summit those mountains paths under some very difficult weather conditions.
Once we reached the Continental Divide at what felt like the top of the world, we could see for miles around.  God’s handiwork was everywhere. There was snow on the mountains and sheep grazing. It was idyllic. We could see relics of old mines strew around the mountains. I couldn’t imagine how difficult it was for the old miners who lived up there year round. I could never be that tough.

Valentine Reflection #4

My husband hates to wait in line anywhere, but especially at restaurants. And since he’s not necessarily inclined to making reservations either, early in our marriage I came up with a Valentine’s date night that was every bit as fancy as the nice restaurants, but didn’t require a babysitter. I love to cook, so I plan/prepare a special meal for him and me, one that includes china and crystal at the dining room table. When the kids were little, I’d order pizza for them and rent a movie they’d been dying to watch to keep them entertained in the next room while hubby and I enjoyed a restaurant-worthy meal and great conversation. It was a win-win for everyone.

Valentine Reflection #5

My favorite Valentine's date with my husband was for our 28th anniversary. We went on a week's cruise as VIP's of The Texas Tenors, my favorite singing group. Great food, great company and great music. And we get to do it again in 2017!

Valentine Reflection #6

My favorite Valentine memory is my wedding day. I was married on Valentine’s Day.

Valentine Reflection #7

Valentine’s Day always includes good food and roses! Hubby “surprises” me with a dozen red blooms, and I “gift” him with a yummy candlelight dinner…usually grilled sirloin, sautéed mushrooms, fresh artichokes and a tossed salad. Of course, we start the meal by giving thanks to the Lord for all his blessings and then reflect on our wonderful marriage that started when we said, “I Do,” at the Main Post Chapel, at Fort Knox, Kentucky.

The Craftie Ladies of Romance 
wish you a 
Very Happy Valentine's Day!

May all your dreams come true!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Yes, you've probably heard those words a thousand times but, in this instance, it really is true. So today I thought we'd have a little fun and put you all to the task of captioning the following picture. 

Just for the record, that is not a real gun. Rather an air soft gun that one of my sons left on my desk when he finished watching television. Still, I was a little surprised at the scene when I walked into my office the next morning and thought it made for an interesting picture.

I can't wait to what y'all come up with.

Ready... GO!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

wRomance -A weekend of writing and romance

Terri Reed here, excited to share with you all a fabulous weekend event my local Romance Writers of America chapter is hosting.  If you're a writer and want an excuse to come to Portland for the weekend, we'd love to have you. If you're a reader and want to come to the cocktail reception to say hello, we'd be so happy to see you!

Here's all the details and the link to register.

SAVE THE DATES – FEBRUARY 20th & 21st, 2016

February 20th – Full-day Workshop beginning 9:00am

Join Rose City Romance Writers for a day-long workshop at the University Place Hotel,Portland Oregon, beginning at 9am, followed by a cocktail reception with our instructors, Damon Suede and Geoff Symon.
    • $60 for RCRW members (full day)
    • $75 for non-RCRW members (full day)
    • $20 for Cocktail Reception (5-8pm)
    • Lunch, snacks and cocktail hour ticket are included in the Full-day Writing Workshop registration

Forensics for Fiction: make your crime pay with Geoff Symon

When writing crime scenes, what is the balance between accuracy and overkill?  Geoff Symon shares his experience as a 20-year Forensic Investigator with authors of every popular genre.  We’ll visit the most common forensic flubs and fallacies while discussing true primary forensic methods and fundamental terminology to bring authenticity to the scene of your crime.


Half-day Brand Plan with Damon Suede

Branding is the cornerstone of all promo and marketing plans and is necessary to building a career and setting long range goals. During this workshop, author Damon Suede will assist attendees in identifying, honing, and crafting their personal author brand. Participants will also leave with a platform for effectively wielding their unique brand.
Cocktail Block

February 21st

 Love Between the Covers Showing, award winning documentary on the romance genre

Venetian Theater & Bistro, 253 E. Main Street, Hillsboro, Oregon 97123 

$7 per person online

$10 at the door

LBTC Poster ImageLove stories are universal. Love stories are powerful. And so are the women who write them. For three years, we follow the lives of five published romance authors and one unpublished newbie as they build their businesses, find and lose loved ones, cope with a tsunami of change in publishing, and earn a living doing what they love—while empowering others to do the same. Romance is the behemoth of the publishing industry; it outsells mystery, sci-fi, and fantasy combined. Yet no filmmaker has ever taken an honest look at the amazing global community that romance writers and readers have built. Until now.
Doors open at 3pm, film event starts at 4pm
The first 100 attendees to arrive at the theatre will receive a special event goodie bag.


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Words Matter

I'm a teacher and I always remind my students how much words matter. Whether it's the words we choose in writing a scene, the words we use when speaking with one another, the words we find to guide our prayer, in whatever way we are using them, our words matter.

Many people have gotten in the habit of choosing a word for the year. I've done it the past few years. I even have a copy of the book, My One Word. But I confess, by halfway through the year, I usually can't even remember which word I've chosen, Well, that's an exaggerations of course, (mostly) but I do find that words of the year are pretty much like New Year's resolutions for me - begun with fiery anticipation that sputters as the year progresses until ashes are all that's left.

So this year I didn't choose a word. 
Things were rough at the beginning of the year. My dog had just undergone two emergency surgeries and the prognosis was not good. Other family crises were consuming my energy - mental and physical. Choosing a word was too much effort for something I didn't expect to adhere to anyway.

But then in a conversation with another writer, I pulled out my word. Peace. No forethought, no debate, just a simple word with a very big meaning.

Peace because that was what I needed then.

But then I was reading Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. That particular day, the devotional was about peace. Two sentences caught my eye :
"Thank me when things do not go your way because spiritual blessings come wrapped in trials. Adverse circumstance are normal in a fallen world."

"Your weakness and woundedness are the openings through which the light of the knowledge of my Glory shines through."
Well, that sure wasn't what I'd had in mind when I chose peace.
But isn't that part of the glorious mystery of our God? He has a plan for us and it may not be anything like our plan for ourselves.
 Then this came up in my Jesus Calling devotional:
"If you have the world's peace - everything going your way - you don't seek my Unfathomable Peace. Seek me when things do not go your way, because spiritual blessings come wrapped in trials."

That really resonated with me. God is close to us in our brokenness. I should not have been seeking a peace that means no worries, life that is calm and good. Instead I should have been seeking growth and perceptiveness. I should have been opening myself to God in my trials rather than just dealing with them myself.

So, I leave you with this:

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7

 So this year, in not deliberately choosing a word, I was given the greater gift of a word with such deeper meaning. 

And because we're writers, I can't help but think of the implications of such reasonings for our characters.

Did you choose a word this year?

Any thoughts to share?

Thanks for visiting.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Craftie Ladies - Love Inspired February 2016 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 Texas Rancher’s Return

By  Allie Pleiter

Black-sheep cowboy Gunner Buckton is home for one reason—to keep Blue Thorn Ranch in his family where it's been for generations. No one—not even Brooke Calder—will take it from him. The cute, down-home widow may not look like a slick developer, but she works for one. Along with her adorable daughter, she's a threat to his homestead—and to his wounded heart.
Brooke needs this job. Gunner may be as ornery as a bull, but it's her task to win him over. The battle lines are drawn. Only problem is, around the handsome Texan, she doesn't know which side she's on.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Blast from the Past - Guess the Author

It's that time 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 this author's latest Love Inspired release.


Here's your clue:

This author grew up in Michigan and clearly is an attention hog. Look at that costume! Her beautiful sister is NOT strangling the dog—they both loved Lady. This photo was taken when the author was five. She’d taken a tumbling class all year (and bragged to one girl that she could do the splits on a balance beam even though she’d never been on a balance beam) and almost spontaneously combusted at the thrill of dressing up for an actual recital. She lived in this costume until, sadly, she outgrew it.

The author dreamed of being an Olympic gymnast (two tumbling seasons don’t produce Olympic athletes), an Olympic ice skater (she’s skated roughly four times in her life), a dancer in music videos, and pretty much any other activity that requires a costume. Today, she does not wear polka-dotted tumbling costumes, but she does love yoga pants!

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, January 21, 2016

Confessions of a Produce Waster

by Jill Kemerer

Tuesday morning I opened the fridge and groaned. My produce bins could have been turned over to a science lab. Shredded coleslaw mix was turning an interesting shade of yellow, half of a green pepper had squishy spots, there were a few over the hill lemon slices and a sad mound of brown lettuce.

Penicillin was discovered with less mold than has appeared in my refrigerator.

I tossed all of the offending vegetables. I felt guilty. I'd spent good money on them, and this wasn't my first go-round of throwing away produce. How many dollars have I basically tossed in the trash over the years? Please don't tell me! I know it must be a lot!

My intentions are good. I plan on eating baby carrots for an afternoon snack, and I'm certain I'll throw together a salad with dinner. But more times than not, I ignore the carrots and get tired of having salads. I'm not proud. Soldiers suffering from scurvy in the Civil War would have cried at my waste. Or they would have shot me. I'm not sure.

After my produce purge, I noticed a full bunch of bananas past their prime on my counter. I already felt terrible about wasting the above vegetables--I couldn't live with myself if I threw away all those bananas too!

Thankfully, there are many uses for old bananas. I have several delicious recipes, but I decided to get creative and flipped to Pinterest for inspiration.

Thirty minutes later, I pulled twenty-four banana muffins out of the oven, and they were very tasty, if I do say so myself. If you're interested in the recipe, I've linked the pin HERE.

How often do you throw out brown, squishy or moldy produce? Tell me I'm not alone!


Finding Her Way Home 

Cozy Lake Endwell, Michigan, seems the perfect place for Jade Emerson's new T-shirt shop—and perhaps a fresh start. After a lifetime of letdowns, she is finally ready to face the future on her own. So when local wilderness guide Bryan Sheffield offers to help Jade overcome a past trauma, she warns him they will remain strictly business. But soon, with the help of Bryan's big, complicated family and a boisterous St. Bernard named Teeny, Jade's frozen heart begins to thaw. Now Jade wonders if she can return the favor, bringing a little happiness to a man who has long kept his own sorrow under wraps…

My April 2016 Love Inspired, Her Small-Town Romance, is available for preorder! Go to Jill Kemerer's website (linked) for links to all major booksellers.

Have a fantastic day!!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Are you prepared for an emergency?

Last week, I had the worst emergency a writer can have... my computer had the beginnings of what looked to be a massive problem. Yikes. I had a wonderful evening out planned- me, my laptop, and a latte. With a deadline looming, I needed that night out. Hubby made a small adjustment to my computer and said it would be fine. Until I opened my computer and realized the problem was worse. Because my computer is less than a year old, I took it to the store where I bought it, hoping it was covered under warranty. Basically, the guy said they wouldn't know until they took my computer apart, and the specific issue had a 50% chance of being covered. If it wasn't covered, I would have pay basically the equivalent of a new computer to have it fixed. And it would take two weeks. Um, no thank you. Fortunately, hubby is good at computer stuff, and since it was better to void the warranty by taking the computer apart than to not have a working computer, he took it apart, found the issue, and fixed it. YAY!!

But here's the lesson in all of that. As inconvenient as it is for me to have computer issues, I know that I am covered no matter what. This is my third laptop. One laptop death was so catastrophic that I couldn't access my data to save it. I've never bought myself a computer because I just wanted a new one. I've always had to replace something that wasn't working properly. Even though I'm never excited about the expense of buying a new computer and I hate having to learn a new machine, a dead computer is never devastating to me. Why? Because I am prepared.

The data on your computer is the most important thing on it, and as long as you've got that protected, everything will be fine. Here's how I keep my data safe.

1. Firewall/antivirus/etc. Make sure you have one. I've been online for about twenty years, and in that time, I have only ever had one virus. And that virus was maliciously sent to me by a former friend under the guise of  "let's make up," but really, she wanted to hurt me by destroying my computer. Seriously. Other than that, I've never had a virus. I don't click on suspicious links (if it looks too good to be true, it probably is), I don't open attachments from people I don't know, and I have precautions in place to keep my computer safe. My kids get viruses on their computers all the time. Why? Because they click on links that look cool, but aren't safe. Especially on game sites. And no matter how many times we tell them, they don't listen. Therefore, they do not get to touch Mommy's computer.

2. Backups. Yes, please!! I've only had one devastating loss of data, and that was because I relied on a backup system that relied on me remembering to hit the backup button. External backups are great, and I have nothing against them, but they fail. I've had it happen, and it stinks. I personally use Mozy, which is a cloud backup system. My last computer replacement was completely effortless, because all I had to do was log on to Mozy with my new computer, hit a button, and it downloaded all of my files to the new computer. A good thing because my old computer would not even boot up. I lost nothing in that transition, and everything was exactly where I'd put it. It was just like logging on to my old computer (except it was a different machine).

3. What to back up? EVERYTHING!!! Seriously. I know it sounds like I'm a data hoarder, but I'm learning that you end up needing the most innocuous things at weird times. For a while, I only paid for the plan that backed up my most important data, but when I had to change to a new computer, I realized that some of the files I thought I didn't need were actually important to running a lot of my programs. Restoring them was a pain, so unless you're a computer expert who knows what you won't need, it's worth the extra money to back it up. I just upgraded my plan because I'm close to exceeding my data, and it cost me an extra $20 a year to get that extra space. SO worth it!

4. Extra piece of mind. Over the past few years I've started using Dropbox more and more. I know some people use it exclusively for backups, but personally, I'm not comfortable with that, for a lot of reasons I won't go into here, BUT, I absolutely love it for multiple device use and being mobile. All of my pictures from my phone and tablet automatically get saved to Dropbox, and I love that. Also, all of my work files are in Dropbox so that multiple team members can work on a file. Love that, too. But one of the best tricks that my friend Camy Tang taught me is that I also have a copy of my current book on Dropbox so that if I'm stuck somewhere waiting for my kids, I can pull out my tablet or phone and work on my book. So Dropbox has been great for when my computer is temporarily unavailable.

5. Passwords. Wow. I have spent hours going back and forth on this, mostly because this is a weak area for me, but also because I don't like a lot of the solutions out there. So I'm not going to tell you the solution, but I am going to tell you this: make sure you have them someplace where you can retrieve them easily. All of my backups need passwords to access. I use passwords daily for my work. I think I have about a hundred different places where I need a password, so it's vital to have them someplace easy to look up. Also consider this: if something happened to you tomorrow, would your loved ones be able to retrieve important data you have stored on your computer? My husband knows my major ones, and I know his, but it just occurred to me that he probably needs to know where I have all of them.

The happy ending to my story is that my computer is fixed, YAY!!! This little crisis was a good reminder for me to make sure I had everything in order. And, in the case of passwords, a reminder that I still have a little work left to do. So take the time today to evaluate what you need to do to protect yourself in case of computer emergency. Computers don't break down on schedule, but when you least expect it!

About Danica:

A self-professed crazy chicken lady, Danica Favorite loves the adventure of living a creative life. She and her family recently moved in to their dream home in the mountains above Denver, Colorado.  Danica loves to explore the depths of human nature and follow people on the journey to happily ever after. Though the journey is often bumpy, those bumps are what refine imperfect characters as they live the life God created them for. Oops, that just spoiled the ending of all of Danica’s stories. Then again, getting there is all the fun.
You can connect with Danica at the following places:

Monday, January 18, 2016

Modern Life by Leann Harris

Last Thursday I couldn't access my email. I thought my ipad was on the fritz. It wasn't. Our internet connection had a problem, so my hubby contacted our provider. We got the new modem but we'll have to begin an update. I'm fixin' to get kicked off my machine, but how life has changed over the last few years.
What is the one thing you've seen change for you over the last few years?

Saturday, January 16, 2016

FEATURED BOOK AND INTERVIEW:A Family for the Soldier by Carolyne Aarsen

A Cowboy's Homecoming 
Since his return to Little Horn, Texas, former special ops soldier Grady Stillwater has felt lost. Stillwater Ranch needs his attention—and so does his brother's abandoned baby. But the injuries Grady sustained in Afghanistan have skewered his confidence. Physical therapist Chloe Miner offers hope and guidance—and a balm for the cowboy's wounded heart. Little does he know that Chloe is hiding a life-altering secret of her own. The sweet girl he remembers from high school has a baby on the way, and she may need Grady every bit as much as he does her…

How exciting to have  Grady Stillwater the hero from A Family for the Soldier written by Carolyne Aarsen, a January from Love Inspired Romance .

1.  Grady, tell me the most interesting thing about you.
I don’t know how interesting it is to other people. I worked Special Ops in Afghanistan but I don’t like talk about it. That’s a part of my life that few people stateside really understand.
2.  What do you do for fun?
Fun? I just got my leg almost blown off and I’m trying to find my balance in my new life. Trust me, fun isn’t a word in my vocabulary right now.
3.  What do you put off doing because you dread it?
Rehab. I know I’m supposed to but I hate being helpless. Hate seeing other people see me that way. I figure I’ll just tough it out.
4.  What are you afraid of most in life?
Afraid? I’m always afraid. It’s what kept me alive. Now that I’m back at Stillwater ranch I know I don’t need to be afraid, but this Chloe girl makes me kind of fearful. 
5.  What is the most important thing to you?
Family_. I’d do anything for my brother though the fact that he’s in a coma bother’s me more than I can say. I feel so helpless. And this baby that an old girlfriend claims is mine - I know it isn’t but it’s hard to get rid of the rumors.
6.  Do you read books? If so, what is your favorite type of book?
Sorry. I don’t read much. If I do, nonfiction.
7.  If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
My leg. I’d want to be whole again. I’d want to be the kind of man that I think a girl like Chloe deserves. I hate that I’m helpless and I hate that she has to see that.
8.  Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet?
I got my horses. They aren’t pets but they are my partners. I just wish I could ride better.
9. If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why?
I don’t like looking back. That’s never done me any good. I need to look ahead. To figure out what to do with what’s in front of me. Right now I need to find peace. My grandmother always tells me that only God can give me that, but I don’t trust Him that much right now. Anyhow, I’ll keep on plugging. Keep doing what I know I need to do. And try to find a way to deal with Chloe and those haunting eyes of hers.

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