Friday, November 25, 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 print copy (US only) of the author’s upcoming release.

Ready? Here we go…
This is me on my horse Wimpy, back when I was twenty-two and still showing horses every weekend.  For anyone who is into horses now, I know the clothes and my equipment will give them a giggle, because even in the world of horses, styles really have evolved!

After all these years, I still love horses, though after years of breeding quarter horses and thoroughbreds, we now have just three.  My husband calls them pasture ornaments because I don't have time to ride as much as I'd like, but just taking care of them makes my heart feel good!

Do you know who this is?  Well, here's one more hint. In 1995, this author’s first manuscript won the RWA’s Golden Heart in the long contemporary category.

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!


Mary Alford


Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving by Leann Harris

I'd like to wish all our readers a blessed and Happy Thanksgiving. As my family gathers together, I want to remember the blessing of this last year, and offer prayers for those who are going through this season without a loved one.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

A Cowboy Creek Christmas

I'm incredibly excited that my first novella for Harlequin Love Inspired Historical releases this month! I was honored to be included with Cheryl St.John, a good friend and mentor.

Mistletoe Bride by Sherri Shackelford

Pregnant by a man who betrayed her trust, a mail-order marriage is Beatrix Haas's only hope. But when she arrives in Cowboy Creek and learns her intended groom has died, she needs a new daddy for the baby that's coming right away. Blacksmith Colton Werner offers the mother and child the protection of his name, but can their marriage of convenience ever lead to true love?

Mistletoe Reunion by Cheryl St.John

When Marlys Boyd moves West hoping to find acceptance for her doctoring skills, she's surprised to find her former fiancé, Sam Mason, running the local newspaper. And with the ladies in town determined to make a match of the doctor and the single father, she's not sure she can resist building the family they once dreamed of.

I'm actually working on *another* Christmas book for next year. I always have one word for each book, and the word for this book is 'tradition'. What holiday traditions do you treasure in your family? 

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Giveaway, FREE Online Read, and Yuletide Redemption!

by Jill Kemerer

You know that giddy feeling when you just want to jump up and down and clap your hands and spin a few times? I'm there! My first Christmas book, Yuletide Redemption, releases today! Hooray! This is the fourth book in the Lake Endwell series. Can you get over that cover? *swooning*

A Mother's Christmas Wish 

After an accident leaves Celeste Monroe to raise her baby nephew, all she wants is to provide one-year-old Parker with a happy life. She hopes taking a job caring for injured Sam Sheffield will help fulfill that goal. But Sam's determination to avoid the world throws a wrench in her plans. Despite his best efforts, Sam can't take his eyes off the pretty caretaker. Her strength and her loving nature has him falling for her—and her baby. But he refuses to burden them with a man who's not whole. Can Celeste convince Sam he's daddy—and husband—material in time for them to celebrate Christmas together?


And in other zippity-skippity news, I have a FREE Christmas novella featured on's Online Reads for Love Inspired! A new chapter releases every Monday from 11/07/2016 through 12/26/2016. The first three chapters are live! I add the chapter links to my HOME page each week as they go live, and you can always find them at, Online Reads tab, Love Inspired.

Here's the scoop on A Cradle for Christmas!

A Cradle for Christmas

With just days to go until Christmas, Heather Springfield is nine months pregnant and all alone. So she escapes to her family’s old cabin in Michigan. The happiest summers of her life were spent there…all until that last one that ruined everything. But she’ll have to do her best to focus on her baby and avoid Mason Aldridge, the boy next door and the one who got away
Mason’s never forgotten the sweet girl who once held his heart. So when Heather arrives one snowy night, her very pregnant belly triggers a fresh round of regrets. If things had been different, he might have been the man fortunate enough to call her and the baby his. But in the spirit of the season, forgiveness is in the air, and two old friends may just find their way to the best Christmas gift of all—a brand-new family.

Go to's Online Reads tab (linked) and select Love Inspired. A new chapter goes live each Monday. The chapters can be read on your phone or tablet, or you can print them out!
Well, I love to celebrate, so I'm hosting two giveaways for Yuletide Redemption. The first is a November giveaway with lots of Christmas goodies (US only, 18+), and the second is a Goodreads giveaway of (2) copies of Yuletide Redemption (US only). The entry forms are below if you'd like to enter!


Goodreads Giveaway

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Yuletide Redemption by Jill Kemerer

Yuletide Redemption

by Jill Kemerer

Giveaway ends December 01, 2016.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway

Thanks for celebrating with me!

What are you looking forward to the most this Christmas?

Have a terrific week, and to all our American friends, Happy Thanksgiving!!

Jill Kemerer writes Christian romance novels with love, humor and faith for Harlequin Love Inspired. Jill loves coffee, M&Ms, fluffy animals, magazines and her hilarious family. Visit her website,, and connect with Jill on Facebook, Twitter and sign up for her Newsletter.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Craftie Ladies Suspense Authors ~ November 2016 Release

Jean C. Gordon here with what's new from our talented Craftie Ladies Love Inspired Suspense writers. To buy this wonderful book, just click the book cover. And to learn more about Dana, click on her name.
by Dana Mentink

When the high school sweetheart she never expected to see again bursts through the door of her medical mission clinic, nurse Sarah Gallagher can't hold back her shock. But Dominic Jett isn't there to catch up. He's trying to save a life, and the thugs on his tail will stop at nothing to catch him. Now abducted and imprisoned on a remote island, Sarah and Jett become pawns in a tug-of-war between a powerful drug lord and a devious madman. And their only chance for survival is working together to find the valuable painting the dangerous men are searching for. But with someone trying to kill them at every turn, can they locate it in time to keep their reunion from turning fatal?

Thursday, November 17, 2016

All Work and No Play

By Debby Giusti

I’m sure you remember the old adage, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” Like Jack, I need "playtime" in order to become inspired. New sights and sounds and experiences drive creativity and help me come up with fresh ideas. Yes, I love to write, but I also need time away from my computer.

Last week, my husband and I traveled to the North Georgia Mountains with a group of friends from church. One of our stops was at Mercier Orchards, in Blue Ridge. The orchard and farm covers more than 300 acres and has been owned and operated by the Mercier family since 1943. We ate lunch at their restaurant, shopped in their store and watched truckloads of apples being brought in from the fields, then unloaded, sorted, weighed and boxed for delivery.

The relaxing getaway, the picturesque countryside, falling leaves and cool, crisp mountain air renewed my spirit. I came home refreshed and ready to get back to work. I also came home with twelve pounds of delicious apples.

What type of getaways do you take to stimulate your Muse and prime your writing well?

Care for an apple?

Happy Thanksgiving!
Debby Giusti

By Debby Giusti

When widowed doctor Ella Jacobsen is attacked and left for dead in her childrens’ clinic, the peace she’s found in Georgia’s Amish country is shattered. Someone is after something in her clinic and wants her out of the way...but what are they looking for? Ella knows only that  her life is in the hands of army special agent Zach Swain. Zach can’t resist the vulnerable but headstrong Ella, who stares down danger to care for the people she loves. With one look, the loner soldier goes from investigator to protector. To save Ella, he must uncover the secrets that swirl around the idyllic community. And he needs  to do it fast, because Ella is running out of time.

Order HERE!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Christmas Wish Lists by Christine Johnson

Did you make wish lists for Christmas when you were a child? I remember carefully going through the toy catalogs and circling the items I wanted for Christmas. I’d then mark a big “C” so my mom would know I was the one who hoped to find this cherished item under the tree on Christmas morning.

We lived far from shopping, so catalogs were a great way for us to browse the season’s offerings. As an adult, I also realized the advantage of having children “shop” by catalog rather than in the store. Impulse buying was out. Mom couldn’t be influenced by plucking an item off the shelf and waving it in front of her face.

Perhaps that’s why I love the movie, A Christmas Story. Ralphie works so hard to “hint” to his parents what he wants. Knowing his mother disapproves only makes him try harder. Thinking back to some of my oddball requests as a child, the one that must have perplexed my parents was my deep desire for walkie-talkies. These little gems would allow me to stay in contact with my brother while we, ace child detectives, were on the hunt for evidence. (Can you tell I read all the Nancy Drew books?) They were also pretty expensive, and I didn’t think I stood a chance of receiving them.

Then came Christmas morning. At the appropriate time, after dad turned on the lights and we wished mom Merry Christmas, my brother and sister and I raced into the living room. To my utter joy, there sat my walkie-talkie set. My delight was so great that I remember it to this day, many decades later.

Christmas tree

Imagine asking for something even more audacious than a pricey gift from the catalog. In Mail Order Mommy, little Sadie wants a new mother for Christmas. She writes about this for her school paper, even suggesting exactly who that new mommy should be. Once her teacher reads this, the adults get involved. Unfortunately, Sadie’s father doesn’t want to get married to anyone but especially not to the woman Sadie named. She resembles his late wife far too much. How will Sadie ever get her Christmas wish?

Did you make Christmas wish lists when you were a child? What gift did you most want—and most fear you wouldn’t get?

Mail Order Mommy

Christine Johnson
Mail Order Mommy (LIH, Nov 2016)

Monday, November 14, 2016

Craftie Ladies Historical Authors ~ November 2016 Releases

Jean C. Gordon here with what's new from our talented Craftie Ladies Love Inspired Historical writers. To buy these wonderful books, just click the book cover. And to learn more about the authors, click on their names.

Mail Order Mommy
by Christine Johnson


Nursing a broken heart, Amanda Porter had answered a frontier mail-order bride ad placed by Garrett Decker’s children—only to find the groom-to-be didn’t want a wife. The widowed bachelor she hoped to marry does need a housekeeper, though, and taking the job is Amanda’s only option. But his adorable children are determined she’ll be their mother by Christmas.

His wife’s betrayal and tragic death demolished Garrett’s life. Now he can’t even look at another woman, let alone marry Amanda, who resembles his first love. Even if she does make his house feel like a home, filling it again with laughter and his children’s smiles. But with his daughter convinced Amanda is the perfect mother, will Garrett realize she’s also his perfect match?

Cowboy Creek Christmas
by Sherri Shackelford
and Cheryl St. John

Pregnant by a man who betrayed her trust, a mailorder marriage is Beatrix Haas's only hope. But when she arrives in Cowboy Creek and learns her intended groom has died, she needs a new daddy for the baby that's coming right away. Blacksmith Colton Werner offers the mother and child the protection of his name, but can their marriage of convenience ever lead to true love?

MISTLETOE REUNION  When Marlys Boyd moves West hoping to find acceptance for her doctoring skills, she's surprised to find her former fiancĂ©, Sam Mason, running the local newspaper. And with the ladies in town determined to make a match of the doctor and the single father, she's not sure she can resist building the family they once dreamed of.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Patricia Johns: Place Holder Boyfriends

When I was seventeen, I met a guy I could have married.

He was a really nice guy, very sweet and down-to-earth. We’ll call him Bob. He was blond haired and blue eyed, with this quirky little smile and with manners that made me feel special. He was a country boy, and about as sweet and honorable as they come. I was working at McDonald’s at the time, and he worked there, too. We started talking, and I could tell that he liked me–as in really liked me–but I had a long distance boyfriend.

Now, the long-distance boyfriend (let’s call him Ted) was another very nice guy. But there wasn’t a huge amount of chemistry there, and while we both really respected each other, it wasn’t going anywhere fast. Plus, there was about 4 hours of driving between us, so…

Anyway, one evening after work, Bob drove me home. He just sort of... hung around and ended up staying for supper. He got along with my family really, really well. My dad had never really taken a shine to Long Distance Boyfriend Ted, but Bob just sort of… fit in. He liked Star Trek like we did, and he loved my dad’s cooking. Bob was kind and decent, and I could tell he really wanted something with me. We just clicked.

So, the next day at work, I had to tell Bob about Ted. It was the right thing to do, and I wasn't the two-timing sort.  Bob, being the very decent guy that he was, bowed out. Like completely–no more chit chat, no more rides. He simply went away so efficiently, that I have no idea where he went or what became of him. But I often thought that if I hadn’t been dating Long Distance Ted at the time, Bob was the sort of guy who would have stuck. I could have dated him for a couple of years, and ended up marrying him.

Which would have been tragic, because then I wouldn’t have been able to marry Mr. Johns nearly ten years later, and in my mind there is a very big difference between a person you could marry and a soulmate. My husband, if you hadn’t guessed, falls into the latter category. He was a man I’d forever regret not marrying.

So, since we’re all thinking thankful thoughts this month, today, I’m thankful for Ted–the place-holder-long-distance boyfriend who kept me from getting involved with Bob. It’s funny how things turn out, but I truly believe that God’s hand was there, keeping me available for the man He’d chosen for me… for the man who was already praying for me in the heart of Africa.

Long Distance Ted went on to get married and have two children. I’m sure he’s equally grateful not to have married me. (Delightful as I am. ;) ) I don’t know what became of Bob, but he was an honest, good guy, and I like to think that he found his soulmate, too–someone worthy of him. He deserved that.

As for Mr. Johns, he immigrated to Canada and we met 9 years after the Bob/Ted situation. It took exactly two weeks for him to propose and a heartbeat for me to accept. We both just knew.
This month, my Western Romance has hit the shelves! This is a sweet romance written by a Christian author. That means you can trust the books I write, no matter which line they are published in. I hope you enjoy this story!


Hope, Montana, is no longer home to Andy Granger, who sold his piece of the family ranch to developers. He's only back to run a cattle drive in his brother's stead. But the community can't forgive him for selling out. And Dakota Mason, the beautiful cowgirl he hired, has every reason to hate him… 
Ranching is in Dakota's blood. And now the developers have cut off water her neighboring ranch desperately needs. She's only on the ride for a paycheck—not to turn her back on her community. And definitely not to fall for some overly protective urban cowboy. But Andy may surprise everyone…including himself.

Harlequin         Amazon           Patricia Johns Website

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Allie Pleiter on "What I Know to be True"

I tried to think of something “bookish” to say today, but if you are an American like me, your mind is a bit preoccupied at the moment.  So instead, I opted for talking about what happened yesterday.  The funny thing about social media is that I am writing this on November 8, before the outcome has even come close to being announced.

Oddly enough, I think it’s the perfect time to address my subject.   But I have to rewind a bit first.  

Back when my parenting books were first released, I did a lot of public speaking (I still love it, theater major that I am).  One of those events came on the heels of a massive parenting crisis in my personal life.  I called a colleague for advice, unsure that I could work through the cloud of my own personal chaos to offer anything useful to the mothers in my audience.  “What do you still know to be true?” my wise friend asked me.  “What’s true on a day like today is perhaps what’s most true of all, don’t you think?”

She was right.  And so, today, I offer what I still know to be true:

1. How we treat each other matters.
While politics may smack of war, democracy can still know how to be kind.  Respect is the threshold to how we move forward.  Go out of your way to be kind to someone today.   And tomorrow, and the day after.

2.  God knows no surprises.
Today’s outcome came as no surprise to our Sovereign Lord.  His plans are never thwarted, He is never blindsided nor overcome.  Our fears and doubts and disappointments are only a function of our limited vision.  God is still ever-faithful and trustworthy.  None of that changed one bit as a result of the world we were presented with this morning.  Not. One. Bit.

3.   The first twenty-four hours never count.
If you took a hit today, or if you claim a victory today, how you feel right now is rarely a clear indicator of how you’ll feel two days, a week, or a month from now.  The real truth has yet to emerge.  Today, everyone is reacting.  Sooner or later—hopefully sooner—we’ll find a way to respond.  And there are always good choices in how to respond.

You may be elated with this election’s outcomes.  You may be deeply concerned.  I expect lots of us are a little of both.  I’ll be praying that America shows what’s best about ourselves and moves past the dark underbelly most of us have spent too much time staring at lately. 

And while that dark underbelly shows up a lot on all those screens that clamor for our attention, what’s best about us shows up in the faces of people around you.  

So look there, in the faces you meet today and look up.   That’s what I know to be true.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Love Inspired Contempory Romance ~ November 2016 Releases

Jean C. Gordon here with what's new from our talented Craftie Ladies Love Inspired Contemporary writers. To buy these wonderful books, just click the book cover. And to learn more about the authors, click on their names. Cowboy's Christmas Baby
by Carolyne Aarsen 


No one expected Erin McCauley to arrive in Saddlebank, Montana, with a baby…and no wedding ring. Especially not Dean Moore, who cared for Erin but knew the by-the-book girl would never go for a hard-living cowboy like him. While helping renovate Erin's new home, Dean realizes he's still in love with her—and with her beautiful daughter. As far as he's concerned, past mistakes don't have to define them—but guilt is holding Erin back from seeing that Dean is offering exactly what she's longing for. Because if she lets him, he'll give her the home—and the family—she's always wanted. .
A Mom for Christmas
by Lorraine Beatty
Noah Carlisle is surprised to see first love Beth Montgomery back in Dover. Beth left their small Mississippi town—and him—years ago for a ballet career. Now the only female in Noah's life is his daughter, and he won't risk their future for a temporary reunion with Beth. Home to rehab her knee, Beth counts the days to resume her career—until she sees her long-ago beau. Celebrating Christmas with the handsome man and his adorable child, Beth wonders if the dreams worth chasing were always right in her own backyard. Can she stay and be Noah's second chance and his daughter's Christmas wish—a gift-wrapped mom under the tree?
. Ranger's Texas Proposal
by Jessica Keller

When Texas Ranger Heath Grayson agrees to investigate thefts at the boys ranch, he's also hoping to solve a decades-old murder case: his father's. Getting involved with pretty, pregnant widow and boys ranch volunteer Josie Markham is not on Heath's agenda. But the more time he spends with Josie, the harder it is to ignore their growing attraction. The somber ranger is convinced a wife and child are not in his future. But with a little help from the boys at the ranch, he may just realize a family is what he needs most of all.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Happy November. Make a joyful noise--Lenora Worth

I can't believe it's November already. On the one hand, I'm so ready for next week to pass. I don't want to get into politics, but I'm ready to focus on being thankful for what's right in the world instead of hearing everyone bickering about what's wrong.

But enough about that. I'm here to celebrate some of the beauty of fall and find out what's happening with the rest of you. If you visited the Love Inspired Harvest Festival on the Harlequin website a few weeks ago, you probably heard some of this there. Fall is a great time to regroup and settle down and snuggle up. Hot chocolate and s'mores, football and falling leaves, good books and crisp breezes in the air. Taking a long walk on a pretty path. Thanking God for the bounty of the earth.

Since I just finished a book ahead of deadline, I'm in a cooking mood. Gumbo, French bread, maybe some pumpkin bread and other yummy fall foods. Red velvet brownies, maybe?

And my favorite--pie:

What are your plans for fall?
Do you find you read a different type of book as the season changes?
What are some of your favorite fall foods?
I hope you have a great fall. As we go into the holiday season, I hope we cling to these verses from Psalms 95:

"Oh, come let us sing to the Lord;
let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!"

Thanksgiving and songs of praise. Joy. I pray we always find the JOY!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

An Answered Prayer

If you're a regular reader of this blog, it's safe to say that you've probably prayed. Have your prayers been answered? 

I want to tell you about an answered prayer that happened to me last Tuesday. 

At church this past Sunday, we discussed praying with exactness. Telling God exactly what you need. Letting go of childish prayers like, "Please bless everyone." Instead, telling God the very thing you need and praying with faith. Knowing that God will accomplish it.

Enter my latest round of edits for Undercover Sheriff, which I have just learned will be one of April's Love Inspired Historicals. I have a deadline, and naturally, it was short. They often are. I needed to read through 70 pages of this manuscript each day to meet my deadline. It's doable, but not easy. 
I had two editors, and while they are absolutely excellent at polishing my manuscript, they aren't easy on me. 
You can see from this snapshot an example, eight of the pages I needed to read through. 

So, Tuesday morning, I prayed. With Exactness. With Faith. I told God I needed to get at least 70 pages done that day.
"Lord, I don't want you to just help me. I want you to actually get me through this. Past my goal. Way past my goal."
My goal was to reach page 210. 

That day, I received only one phone call. A telemarketer. I hung up. 
My car was in the shop, and when I called to see when I had to pick it up, I was told the wrong parts came in and I need not bother walking the half hour down to the shop to get it. 
I received NO pressing emails until I reached my goal. I didn't even receive the email reminding me I was to blog here today, until Wednesday morning!
And I more than reached my goal. I reached page 236. 26 more pages beyond what I needed to reach that day. 

To some of you, this may seem a silly example of answered prayer, but it was still that. An answered prayer. A Godsend. 
I prayed with exactness. With Faith. I knew that I was asking for something according to His will and I KNEW He could and would do it. 

My story, Undercover Sheriff, due out April 2017, has the theme of Trust. Trust in the Lord. Last year, when this story started to grow in my brain, who would know that today, I'd be telling you how the theme is reflected in my own spiritual journey?
I didn't. 

Have you prayed lately with exactness and faith? Tell me about it.

Wait, there's more!
This is where it gets crazier. I sent the manuscript to my editor, and while I was doing so, I realized that my deadline wasn't the 2nd November, but the 3rd November! 
What??!! I had another day? How did I screw that up?
My husband and I laughed it off over supper, saying I had a free day.
Then the phone rang.
My husband's sister was calling. Their mother is sick and they needed someone to run her up to the hospital for tests the next day and no one was available.
My husband and I looked at each other. I no longer had a deadline. I was free. And, I believe, God knew it. 
So, here, now, Thursday morning, I am just minutes from walking out the door (for my husband will drive me down to his parents' place before going to work because remember, I have no car) here I am updating you.
With another amazing story of God's providence at work.

Have you got a story that amazing? Tell us. 

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