Saturday, April 30, 2016

FEATURED BOOK AND INTERVIEW: Protect and Serve by Terri Reed

When rookie K-9 officer Shane West and his German shepherd partner find the lead police dog trainer murdered, he's determined to bring the killer to justice. But then he discovers Gina Perry hiding nearby—a pretty junior trainer who had the motive, means and opportunity to kill her boss. Gina insists her troubled brother is the real murderer…and this isn't the first time he's killed. And when Gina's brother comes after her, Shane is assigned to protect her and uncover the truth. Suddenly, Shane—a cop who always hoped to join a big-city force—vows to stay by Gina's side as a murderer lurks in the small-town shadows. 

Rookie K-9 Unit: These lawmen solve the toughest cases with the help of their brave canine partners.


Today we're welcoming Gina Perry, the heroine of Protect and Serve, book 1 of the Rookie K-9 Unit written by Terri Reed, an April 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 moved to Desert Valley to hide from my twin brother but then he found me, bent on destroying me. I’ve never been so afraid in my life.
2.  So, during the book you met Shane Weston.  Tell us a bit about him. Shane is a rookie K-9 handler with his officer Bella. They went through the training course that I teach at the Canyon County Training facility.  What was your first impression? I thought Shane was dreamy but I couldn’t let my feelings show. He’s so kind and patient with Bella. When did you know it was love? I think I really fell for him when he chose to believe that I wasn’t capable of murder. He had no reason to trust me but he and that softened my heart and made me want to trust and love him.
3.  What strengths/skills do you have? I’m great with dogs. I understand canine behavior and how to train dogs with positive rewards and love. I'm especially good with puppies. What is your greatest weakness? I’m not so good with people. I have a hard time opening up to anyone or allowing anyone to get close to me.          
4.  What scares you? Mental illness runs in my family and I’m terrified I will be afflicted with the same diagnosis as my twin brother. But Shane has helped me face that fear and will stand with me if it ever happens. He's been a rock for me. I couldn't be more blessed.
5. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I would be braver and more willing to risk letting others close. It took a lot for me to allow Shane in and I'm glad I finally did.
6.  Where are you in your faith at the start of your story?  I’m distrustful of God and questioning Him. I want to know why the bad things that have happen in my life have happened.  
7.  Where are you in your faith at the end of the story? I’ve forgiven God and realized that my faith shouldn’t be dependent on my circumstances. God is good all the time even when life is so very bad. 
8. You've got a scripture at the beginning of the story.  Tell us why this scripture is significant.   2 Timothy 1:7  This verse reminds me that God is in control and that fear is my enemy and not from God.
9. If you could be a dessert what would you be and why?  Oh, my. I think I’d have to be Pecan Pie. Sweet, salty, crunchy and gooey.  Here’s a good recipe for a version without corn syrup (I have an food sensitivity to corn syrup)

Friday, April 29, 2016

Garden of Books Match Game

Spring is in bloom, and the Craftie Ladies are hosting a Garden of Books Match Game to celebrate the season.

Match the photos below, featuring the green thumb attempts from a few of your favorite Love Inspired authors, with the authors' names. Some photos and captions provide a clue or two. Post your matches in the comments section, and leave your email so we can contact you. The game ends at midnight Sunday, EST, which means you have all weekend to join in the fun.

The person who provides the most correct matches will be the winner. If there is a tie--or three or four correct submissions--the names of those folks who correctly matched the most number of authors to their garden pictures will be entered in a drawing. The winner will be chosen Monday, and his or her name will be posted on the blog.

The winner will receive the following books donated by the authors who provided pictures of their gardens!

The Garden of Books 
from the 
Authors Taking Part in the Match Game:

The Nanny’s Secret Child, by Lorraine Beatty
A Home of Her Own, by Keli Gwyn
Special Delivery Baby, by Sherri Shackelford.
Forgotten Past, by Mary Alford
Plain Danger, by Debby Giusti
Second Chance Reunion, by Merrillee Whren

Match the Authors Above with their Gardens Below and you might win!

Can you Guess Author A? 

One of these is featured prominently in the small town where my series is set. My hubby built this one for me. It’ll get window boxes soon with pink flowers. It’s also my outdoor office.

Can You Guess Author B?

Clue: My latest " special delivery”

Can You Guess Author C?

After four years of drought, my husband and I made the difficult decision to remove our front lawn. We chose to terrace the sloped area and put a single tree and three identical shrubs in each of the three sections. Because California has a history of drought and because we live in rural community in the Sierra Foothills where deer tromp through our front yard on a regular basis, we went with drought tolerant, deer resistant trees and shrubs in a bed of shredded cedar. I’ve become a bit of a minimalist, so the simplicity of our new front yard appeals to me.

Can You Guess Author D?

I love colorful flowers on my front porch. Notice the angel kneeling in prayer. Wonder if she’s praying the prayer I wrote for writers?

Can You Guess Author E?

On our property in Central Texas, these berries grow everywhere in the wild. They look like blackberries, but they're not. Each June they ripen to perfection and make a wonderful cobbler.  

Can You Guess Author F?

Here's my garden. Flowers and one lonely tomato plant.

Good Luck, Everyone!
Special thanks to the authors who sent photos of their gardens and who are generously donating books!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Confessions of a Non-foodie

    Okay, I’m not sure non-foodie is even a term, but it definitely applies to me. I don’t cook. I don’t collect recipe books, or exchange recipe cards. My TV is never tuned to the cooking channels and I don’t know one celebrity chef from another, and I never post food pix on Facebook.
    I know. You’re gasping – pressing your hand to your heart wondering what kind of woman doesn’t like to cook? Now before I send everyone screaming in shock, I do know how to cook. I just don’t like to. I guess I come by it honest. My mom was an okay cook but her family were grocers so she fixed meals that mostly came from boxes, cans and bags mostly. My dad, a southerner, handled the biscuits and bread pudding.  My husband’s family on the other hand made everything from scratch and my mother-in-law taught me how to make noodles from scratch. I’m not completely inept in the kitchen. I can bake some mean Christmas cookies.
   If you’ve read any of my books you’ll see that none of my heroines are foodies either. If a scene requires food I’ll usually mention spaghetti or casseroles. Nothing fancy here. The good news is my heroines don’t seem to mind the lack of kitchen time and they always get their man in the end.
     I always feel bad when there’s a fun promotion for one of our books or on the Love Inspired forum that suggests everyone post their favorite recipes. I don’t have any. I was a good mom and cooked meals while the kids were growing up. I just don’t enjoy preparing food or coming up with dishes to eat each day. When we have pot luck with friends or at church, I have to bring something precooked.
    I think I might have been more inclined to experiment, but hubby is a meat, potatoes and corn kind of guy. When we moved to the Deep South we did learn to eat crawfish and gumbo, though I never mastered the basic foundation of cooking in Baton Rouge – “first you make a rue”. Nor did I master the art of deep fried catfish when we moved to Mississippi.

I’ve come to realize that being a good cook is a gift much like the ability to write a book.   My son understands flavors and food combinations and what tastes will work well together. He loves cooking and baking and inventing new recipes. That’s a gift the Lord gave him because he surly didn’t get it from me. However, give me a big back yard with nothing in it and I can create a space you’d never want to leave.
    Or ask me to sew up a costume in two days for my granddaughters and I’ll deliver Elsa in all her glitter. Sigh. But food?
     Alas my poor heroines will be lacking in the culinary department. I know I could do research and create a heroine who’s a chef, but there are so many other professions I would like to learn about more.
      Okay so how many of you aren’t that fond of cooking? I know I can’t be the only one who would rather clean house than cook. Or dig in the dirt in the garden than dig inside a chicken.
    Whew. I feel so much better. My secret is out. Now, where are we going to go to eat tonight? Five Guys? Logan’s? Maybe a fish house…….

Lorraine Beatty

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Books, books, everywhere...books

Hello. Cate here to talk about being an unashamed bookaholic.

The first time I saw this quote was on a tote bag at Barnes & Noble.

I laughed.

Maybe I shouldn't have. It's way too true!

My mother once told met she worried that if it came to a choice between buying books or feeding my children, she wasn't sure which I'd choose.  She was only kidding. (I think!)

I have to admit it, I have a total addiction to books - buying them, reading them, surrounding myself with them, writing them. I still have to pinch myself about that last one.

My husband and I enable each other.  Our version of date night is Saturday mornings at Barnes & Noble. If it's really special, we'll go to a different one out of our neighborhood. Maybe that's why we're still married after 32 years.


It's hopeless.

When our children were young, their friends would come to our house to research school projects. Many the conversation began with, "Daddy, do you have a book about...?"

The answer was usually yes. At least one.

Now that my youngest is enrolling in grad school to become a teacher, I get, "Mom, do you have a book about...?" 

That makes me happy. Again, the answer is usually yes. At least one.

As a teacher, the nicest compliment I get is when parents tell me their children come out of my class loving to read. SCORE! 

But it also makes me wonder.

What makes someone a reader?

Or is it who?

Do you know?

I'm presuming if you're here, it's because you love books too.


Are you addicted?

I guess I'm rambling. I could go on forever about books - about The Happy Hollisters that arrived in the mail each month when I was in 3rd grade, or (shameful confession) the girl I befriended in 5th grade because she had a complete set of Nancy Drew.

I spent way too many college hours reading historical romances when I was supposed to be studying.

I've lost many hours of sleep because I couldn't put the book down.

I saw this on Etsy.

I'm wouldn't sat they scare me, but I definitely don't understand.
Except for people who struggle to read. One of the reasons I trained to teach children with reading disabilities is because I can't imagine missing out on the joy of stories because reading is just too hard. I hope I can help change that for some of my students.

So, let's talk books today.

What do you love about them?

Why do you read?

Do you have a childhood favorite? A book that made you a reader for life?

Are you ready to join this club?

Monday, April 25, 2016

Craftie Ladies - Love Inspired Suspense April 2016 Releases

Below are the new releases from our talented Love Inspired Contemporary Romance writers here at the Craftie Ladies of Romance. To buy any of these wonderful books, just click the book cover. And to learn more about the authors, click on their names.
Protect and Serve 
by Terri Reed

When rookie K-9 officer Shane West and his German shepherd partner find the lead police dog trainer murdered, he's determined to bring the killer to justice. But then he discovers Gina Perry hiding nearby—a pretty junior trainer who had the motive, means and opportunity to kill her boss. Gina insists her troubled brother is the real murderer…and this isn't the first time he's killed. And when Gina's brother comes after her, Shane is assigned to protect her and uncover the truth. Suddenly, Shane—a cop who always hoped to join a big-city force—vows to stay by Gina's side as a murderer lurks in the small-town shadows.

Rookie K-9 Unit: These lawmen solve the toughest cases with the help of their brave canine partner;jsessionid=501762593516C8EDF18D5BFECE32A0CB?cid=359&iid=64069
Picture Perfect Murder
by Rachel Dylan

When photographer Lily Parker escapes an attack, she doesn't want any help from the FBI agent who is convinced she's a serial killer's latest obsession. But after one of her photographs is found at a murder scene, it's clear that Special Agent Rex Sullivan was right. Lily, a former CIA agent, isn't used to relying on others, but she won't survive without Rex at her side. And Rex quickly sees that Lily isn't a typical victim in need of his protection, but a valuable partner who can help him bring down a madman. With the murderer growing bolder, Rex has to convince Lily to trust him with her safety—or she could become the killer's next victim.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

FEATURED BOOK AND INTERVIEW:Coming Home to Texas by Allie Pleiter

Ellie and the Lawman Leaving behind her big city life, Ellie Buckton can't wait to return to Blue Thorn Ranch—the place she's always considered home, and the perfect place to mend her wounded heart. But she's unprepared for the instant sparks she feels with the town's new lawman, Nash Larson. Strong and steady Nash doesn't want any attachments in his temporary posting. Not with the troubled teens he and Ellie are drafted to work with. And especially not with Ellie or the undeniable feelings she inspires within him. Nash likes to play by the book. But law and order can't always rule when love is concerned…

How exciting to have Ellie Buckton the heroine from Coming Home to Texas written by Allie Pleiter  an April 2016 release from Love Inspired Romance.

1.      Ellie, tell me the most interesting thing about you.
            Right now, it’s that I’m no longer engaged to celebrity chef Derek Harding.  It was a whole lot more than “interesting” when I found him getting cozy with my best friend and would-be maid of honor.  I broke it off and came home to my family ranch to heal.
2.  What do you do for fun?
            I knit.  It always makes me feel better to create something.  Our local pastor has talked me into teaching a group of high school girls alongside our new Deputy Sheriff Nash Larson—he’s teaching car repair to the boys while I teach knitting to the girls. I’m grateful for something to occupy my time and my mind, but will it be fun?  Who knows?
3.  What do you put off doing because you dread it?
            Talking to Derek or my boss back at the restaurant where we worked in Atlanta.  I’m not ready to go back to work, and I’m not ready to hear anything Derek has to say.
4.  What are you afraid of most in life?
            That life is going to end up one long string of hurts.  It sure feels like that right now.
5.  What is the most important thing to you?
            Maybe I wouldn’t have said so before the break-up, but right now it’s family.  I need to be near my big brother Gunner and my Gran so I can heal and figure out what to do next.
6.  Do you read books? If so, what is your favorite type of book?
            Do knitting patterns count?  I’m skipping all the “happily ever after” books right now because I’m not so sure one’s ever coming for me.
7.  If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
            I wish I were stronger.  Or, at least, that people thought of me as stronger.  Right now I just feel defeated.  I’ve been wronged and I’m the one that feels defeated—where’s the fairness in that?
8.  Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet?
            I don’t, but I care a whole lot about our family ranch’s herd of bison.  Someone’s been threatening them, and I hope Nash can find out who’s behind it.
9. If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why?
            I’d go back to when my mom and dad were alive.  There are so many things I’d want to talk to them about now that I’m an adult.

Friday, April 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.
So, the first reader to correctly guess this month's author will receive a copy of this author's latest Love Inspired release.


Here we go…

The photo is a picture of me at the Oklahoma Special Olympics State Games in May at Oklahoma State University. I was a Special Olympics coach for eighteen years and loved the time I spent working with the teens.
Every year I went to the state games with our athletics from the high school I taught at. We participated in track and field as well as softball, basketball, soccer and bowling.
 Do you know who this is?
 Well, here's one more hint. This author has published 70 books with Harlequin.
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, April 21, 2016

What Goes into a Cover?

Do you judge a book by its cover?
Have you ever read a good book with a bad cover?

I can only speak for Love Inspired books, but bringing a cover to fruition takes teamwork. First, the author has a idea of what he/she wants. Actually we have to come up with three different ideas and then we have to convey those ideas to our editor via photographs and whatever means necessary. Once the editor narrows things down, they teleconference with Harlequin's art and marketing department to determine which cover concept will most appeal to readers.

After that, it's all up to the art department. If people are on the cover, a photo shoot is scheduled.

For my June 2016 release, Falling for the Hometown Hero, I wanted to incorporate one of the scenes in the book that takes place at Cascade Falls in Ouray, Colorado. I supplied my editor with pictures and a brief description of how I envisioned the scene. That my hero and heroine were sitting on a large boulder near the falls.
Cascade Falls, Ouray, Colorado

Cascade Falls, Ouray, Colorado
And after the art department worked their magic, they came up with this.

They captured the essence of what I saw in my mind to a tee. Right down to my hero's straightened left leg.

Now it's your turn, do you judge a book by its cover?

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Let's Take a Cruise! by Christine Johnson

Have you ever been on a cruise? Years ago, I was fortunate to take a short 3 day cruise to the Bahamas.

cruise ship photo

Though we often think of cruises to the Caribbean or Alaska or through the Panama Canal, they’re available in many other places, including the Great Lakes. When I was first married, I worked on an old passenger ship, the Canadian Pacific Railway steamship, S.S. Keewatin, that operated on the Great Lakes between 1908 and 1965. For many years, the only way to reach some areas was by ship (usually called boats on the Great Lakes…don’t ask why). The Keewatin was initially put in service to complete the rail route, because tracks had not been laid north of Lake Superior. By the time I worked on the ship, it didn’t run anymore and had been turned into a museum.

Here’s a photo of the ship.

S.S. Keewatin photo

I was even married aboard. Check out the wedding photo. My, do we look young!

wedding photo

During the years of homesteading and immigration, ships carried people deep into the Great Lakes.

Mail Order Mix-Up cover

In my current release, Mail Order Mix-Up, Pearl and her friend Amanda take a steamship from Chicago to the lumbering town of Singapore, Michigan. Their boat would have been less elegant than the S.S. Keewatin, but it would have seemed grand to two orphans from New York.

Where have you cruised, where would you like to take a cruise, or do you prefer land-based transportation?

Christine Johnson
Mail Order Mix-Up (LIH, April 2016)
Honor Redeemed (Revell, July 2016)
Mail Order Mommy (LIH, Nov. 2016)

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