Tuesday, January 31, 2017

A Little Introduction

Hi all! I am so excited to be blogging here at The Craftie Ladies blog for the first time! I love being able to join my sister authors here to connect with readers and each other.

Just a little bit about myself. I grew up near Chicago, but now I live with my family in rural northwestern PA. It sometimes seems weird how I went from a city girl to country girl. Instead of looking out my window and seeing more buildings, I look out and see cows. I love it.

I am a true believer in romance and Happy-Ever-Afters. I owe that to my late Aunt Norma. When I was in high school, I came home one day to find a box full of Harlequin Romances on my doorstep. I was hooked. Every few months, there would be a new box. I would dive into it the moment I arrived home from school. I didn't want any of the Happy -For -Now stories. Where was the satisfaction in those endings? Nope. The stories had to be Happy-Ever-Afters. Meld that with my desire to write, and the romance genre was a natural fit. Later, the Lord convicted me that He wanted my stories to be more than a career. It was a ministry.

In 2014, the dream that had been brewing for years became a reality when I sold to Love Inspired Suspense. My first book, Presumed Guilty, released in April, 2015. In April, I will be releasing my third LIS book, Plain Target. It's been an amazing journey.

I look forward to interacting with y'all here. Leave a comment to be entered into the drawing for a signed copy of my 2016 release, Interrupted Lullaby.  Thanks for stopping by.


Friday, January 27, 2017

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 an ebook copy of this author’s upcoming release.

Ready? Here we go…

This is one of my favorite photos I have of my grandfather and I. While I was only three or four, I still have vague memories of using a shaving brush to spread around the shaving cream. I also have sweet memories of the house they lived in with a long walkway up to the front door, bordered by snapdragons, my grandmother’s favorite flower. There was also an overweight dachshund who lived at the house, who liked to eat donuts for breakfast.

Can you guess who this is?  Well, here's one more hint. This author has an upcoming February release. 

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, January 26, 2017

Go Red for Women by Merrillee Whren

As romance writers, we are very aware of affairs of the the heart. February is a month filled with things about hearts. Although it isn't February yet, this important promotion is coming up soon. National Wear Red Day® is Friday, February 3, 2017. Why am I talking about this day? Heart disease and strokes are the cause of one out of three deaths in women. I am particularly tuned into this because cardiovascular disease is prevalent in my family. Both of my parents had heart attacks, and one of my brothers had a heart attack and another had a stroke. So I am very aware that I must be vigilant when it comes to heart disease. 

I make a point to exercise daily and try to eat healthy foods. Eating healthy is the hardest part because so many things that aren't good for you or are fattening taste so good.   

Do you do anything special to keep your heart healthy?

I'll be giving away a copy of the second book in my Front Porch Promises series, A LOVE TO CALL MINE, to one person who leaves a comment. I will draw the name of the winner on January 28, 2017 at 9PM MST.

The first book in the series, A PLACE TO CALL HOME, is on sale for 99 cents.

Merrillee Whren is the winner of the 2003 Golden Heart Award presented by Romance Writers of American. She is married to her own personal hero, her husband of forty-plus years, and has two grown daughters. Connect with her on her Facebook page and sign up for her newsletter.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Cultivating Friendships

by Lisa Jordan @lisajordan
I spent this past weekend with four close friends, celebrating our belated Christmas and one of their upcoming birthdays.

Before I had gone to hang out with them, another friend commented that she didn’t have a group of friends like mine and expressed a twang of jealousy. Earlier in the week, another friend shared she wasn’t good at nurturing friendships.

I get it. As we go through different stages in our lives, our friendships may come and go as well. Even though we may pinky swear in third grade to be best friends forever, life doesn’t always allow for those childish promises to be fulfilled. Not only that but as we grow and mature, our attitudes and opinions change, causing rifts and distance. Wives and moms can become too consumed with their family roles to take time for outside friendships.

Cultivating friendships is essential because we were created for relationships. God didn’t design us to spend our days alone.

Even though I have a very healthy marriage and a strong relationship with our two sons, I need my female friends to sustain me in ways that my husband and sons can’t.

For the most part, women understand other women. PMS, anyone? Try to get a guy to understand that one.

Not only that, but there’s a connection between friends that is different than a marital bond or one between a parent and a child. While my husband and boys appreciate my stamping, scrapbook layouts, or crocheting/knitting projects, my female friends are the ones who share those hobbies and totally get my need for some crafting therapy. 

Chatting with a friend over coffee feeds my inner needs of being heard, being noticed, and being needed because hopefully, I’m strengthening that relationship with my friend as well.

But what if you don’t have a close-knit friendship or circle of friends, and you want one? How do you go about cultivating those friendships?

Think about what you want in a friendship and what you’re willing to sacrifice and give because any relationship worth having requires sacrifice, compromise, and your willingness to invest in that bond.

How do you like to spend your free time? Are you a classic movie buff? An avid knitter? An outdoorswoman itching to go for a hike or launch the kayak as soon as the ice in the river melts? If you’re involved in particular hobbies, see if there’s an acquaintance who shares your ambitions. Take the first step. Invite her to grab some coffee, hang out, or do something you'd both enjoy. 

Pray for your friend. Take the time to drop a note in the mail, send a text or email, or pick up the phone to connect with your friend. Do something to show how much you value your friendship. 

Once you allow a relationship to grow organically, you'll want to spend more time with that person and cultivate a friendship that will feed your soul and make it blossom. 

What about you? Do you have a close friend? How did that friendship come about? What do you do to cultivate that relationship?

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Flowers in January?

by Jill Kemerer

Where I live in northern Ohio, winter is drab and colorless. Spring flowers don't poke through the ground until late March or early April. I'm always amazed when I see pictures on Facebook of daffodils and tulips popping up in January from other parts of the country.

I find ways to bring flowers and plants into my January life. We have a little tree in our formal dining room. Just looking at the delicate branches and pretty leaves brings hope that the grays, browns and whites of winter will soon pass.

Our church was disposing of unclaimed poinsettia plants a few weeks ago. I brought one home. It had some crispy edges, but it's doing nicely in our front living room. The crimson blossoms and deep green leaves are a welcome jolt of color in our home.

My poinsettia--so far, so good!

Sometimes I'll shop the clearance floral section at our local supermarket. A discounted bouquet brightens any day. They are good for my soul.

Other ways I find color in winter?

- Hiking the trails in our metroparks. Evergreen trees, holly berries, purple branches, yellow grass--all contrast with an overcast white sky.

- Borrowing a Birds & Blooms magazine from our library. Nothing like paging through pictures of beautiful gardens to fight the winter blahs.

- Using neon sticky notes when working and bright colored pens to write in my day planner.

- Buying colorful fruits and vegetables. Oranges seem more vibrant on a January day. Romaine is greener. Strawberries and blueberries add flavor and color to a smoothie.

- Watching a television show or movie set on a beach. HGTV has plenty of options.

Winter seems long and drab for northern states, but I make the best of it.

When do spring flowers appear where you live?

Have a terrific day!

Monday, January 23, 2017

Craftie Ladies ~ Love Inspired Contemporary February 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 covers. And to learn more about the authors, click on their names.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01HB74HY4/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1Courting the Cowboy
by Carolyne Aarsen 
Looking for inspiration, artist Ella Langton rents a cabin in the isolated Porcupine Hills of Alberta. She didn't count on having neighbors, but rancher Cord Walsh and his three children are just a stone's throw away. Still healing from a tragic accident, Ella has no plans of reaching out, but she's having a hard time keeping them out of her yard…and her thoughts. And when little Suzy ropes Ella into helping her with an art project, she can't help her growing feelings for the girl's rugged daddy. With three persistent children, Cord and Ella may find their fenced-off hearts opening up sooner than they thought!

https://www.amazon.com/Lawmans-Secret-Son-Home-Dover/dp/0373622597/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1483109049&sr=1-1&keywords=the+lawman%27s+secret+sonThe Lawman's Secret Son
by Lorraine Beatty 
Police officer Seth Montgomery knows all about order—but his world is thrown into chaos when he learns he has a five-year-old son. With little Jack suddenly in his care, Seth turns to neighbor Carrie Fletcher for help. Given her checkered past, Carrie prefers to keep to herself, but there's no denying she cares for the boy—and her feelings for charming Seth are rapidly developing, too. When someone from Carrie's past shows up threatening to jeopardize the life she's worked so hard to build, Carrie will have to fight for her future with the new family she's found…or risk losing everything.

https://www.amazon.com/Cowboys-Texas-Family-Cowboy-League-ebook/dp/B01G1EI6DG/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1475357563&sr=1The Doctor's Texas Baby
by Deb Kastner 
When Carolina Mason shows up in Haven, Texas, after a three-year absence, no one is more surprised than town veterinarian Wyatt Harrow. Especially when he sees Carolina's two-year-old son, Matty. Their son. How could she have kept his child a secret? Carolina doesn't deny the boy is his. She thought she was doing what was best for everyone when she left, but she realizes she was wrong. Though Wyatt is eager to make up for lost time with Matty, Carolina's not so sure that extends to her. Can these former sweethearts navigate their complicated past to make a family for their son?

https://www.amazon.com/Her-Lakeside-Family-Millbrook-Lake/dp/0373622570/ref=tmm_mmp_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=Her Lakewide Family
by Lenora Worth 
Landing a renovation job for a wealthy Millbrook Lake client is a coup for contractor Davina "Dani" Connell—one that could give her business a much-needed boost. But Santo Alvanetti could be trouble in more ways than one. Dark, brooding and distractingly handsome, this recently widowed father of three is surrounded by sadness and shadows, much like his home. All good reasons not to become emotionally involved. They may be complete opposites, but there's something irresistible about Santo. Dani's determined to give him and his children the new home and future they deserve. But could she also be the wife and mom they need?

Saturday, January 21, 2017

20 years and counting

Hi Terri Reed here, did you know Love Inspired was celebrating 20 years! Click on this link for more details:  http://bit.ly/2jcBi0v 
Save 20% off any Love Inspired, Love Inspired Historical or Love Inspired Suspense title with code LINSP20**.**Get 20% off any Love Inspired, Love Inspired Historical or Love Inspired Suspense title, print and ebook. One-time use only. Valid from June 1, 2016–February 28, 2017, at 11:59 p.m. ET.

I remember when I first heard about the Love Inspired line.  I was so excited. I thought this might be the perfect fit for me. The year was 1996 and Harlequin announced the new series line at an Romance Writers of America conference. My first conference!  I prayed then and there that God would allow me to one day write for them. I also knew that I had to do my part in making that dream come true. Determination is a powerful thing. I learned everything I could about Love Inspired and about writing in general, but specifically for Harlequin, over the next seven years and finally sold a book to Love Inspired in 2003 titled Love Comes Home.  My second book with Love Inspired, A Sheltering Love, was a Romance Writers of America RITA finalist.
Both books were released in a special classic edition in 2009.

Fall in love again with these uplifting stories from Terri Reed
Twelve years ago, Dr. Rachel Maguire followed her faith into medicine, choosing her career over love. But time never diminished her feelings for Josh Taylor, and now God is giving Rachel another chance--if she can overcome the pain of the past.
With her faith as strong as her shoulders, Claire Wilcox opens a shelter for runaways. But it's her mysterious handyman who causes her sleepless nights. As their attraction grows, Nick Andrews must decide if he can trust in God's power to heal.

Since that first sale to Love Inspired I've written over forty books.  In 2007 I began writing mainly for the Love Inspired Suspense line.  It's crazy to me that so much time has passed since that first conference but it has been a joy-filled journey of doing what I love.  I thank God every day for his blessing and I pray that readers of the Love Inspired lines are blessed by our stories.
Happy New Year and may 2017 be filled with good books and many blessings.

Friday, January 20, 2017

What Are We Writing

By Margaret Daley

Author: Louise M. Gouge
Title: Cowboy Lawman's Christmas Reunion
Hero and Heroine: Justice Gareau and Evangeline Benoit
Line: Love Inspired Historical
One paragraph from the page you are currently on: (Since I've turned in the ms, I thought I'd offer the book's first paragraph:
Sheriff Justice Gareau ducked around the corner of the Esperanza train depot, hoping he hadn’t been spotted by the woman who’d stepped off the train. He felt downright foolish. Usually people hid from him if they’d done something wrong, and he sure hadn’t done anything wrong. No, it was that woman who’d done wrong by him and ruined his life. No. “Ruined” was too harsh, because he had a pretty good life these days. But she’d sure broken his heart. He’d subsequently promised himself he’d never give that deepest part of himself to any woman.
 Due date: January 15, 2017
Word count goal today: Just turned in the completed manuscript
Something cool learned recently from research:  I learned about the history of Christmas villages, called putzes by the Moravians, and how the custom grew from simple Nativity scenes to entire towns with trains and working parts.

Author: Pamela Tracy
Title: TBA
Hero and Heroine:  Heather Graves and Tom Riley
Line:  Harlequin Heartwarming
One paragraph from the page you are currently on:  
He opened the door for her, ever the gentleman.  This time he didn’t put a hand on top of her head to make sure she didn’t hit it as he was guiding her in.  Instead, he touched her back and heat seared. No, no, no. This was the man who every time she started to trust him, suddenly brought up Rachel Ramsey.  And, judging by his tone, his eyes, his profession even, his heart wasn’t big enough for the three of them.
His touch, though, sent a different message.
Due date:  January 31st
Word count goal today: 1500 words
Something cool learned recently from research:  If a member of the church confesses to his pastor, the pastor can utilize
clergy-penitent privilege meaning the pastor can refrain from testifying in a court of law.

Author: Lorraine Beatty    
Title: Nina and Bret’s story
Hero and Heroine: Bret Fulton Nina Johnson
Line:  Love Inspired
One paragraph from the page you are currently on:  
A cool morning breeze blew a strand of Nina Johnson’s hair across her eyes. She pulled it away, her gaze riveted on the building in front of her. Had the cab driver made a mistake and left her at the wrong place? Pulling her phone from her purse and brought up the address. 557 E. Warren Ave. her spirits sagged. She should never have agreed to come here. But then where else would she have gone? Kathryn Bettencourt was her closest friend. She’d been there for her since college, through the marriage and the dark days afterward. When she’d asked her to come down to Hastings, Mississippi and take over her psychology practice while she and her husband took an advantage of a job in Spain for the next few months, she hadn’t been able to refuse. Her position as in corporate psychologist at Duncan and Stone had been eliminated. The call from her friend had been a blessing. Until now. 
Due date:  Proposal due Feb 28th
Word count goal today: 1000
Something cool learned recently from research:  still researching.

Author: Jean C. Gordon
Title: TBD: I'm calling it Marc's Story for now.
Hero and Heroine: Marc Delacroi and Fiona Bryce
Line:  Love Inspired Romance
One paragraph from the page you are currently on:  
He watched her leave, back straight, steps measured. But he’d come to want more. So much more. And he couldn’t help feeling he’d failed Fiona. He’d have to let go himself—of his dreams of him and Fiona and Stella as a family and keep Fiona as Stella’s aunt, like his sisters. He knew better than to pursue fixing something he couldn’t fix again. He’d go it alone. It would be easier that way.
Due date:  February 1, 2017
Word count goal today: 1,200
Something cool learned recently from research:  The Town of Ticonderoga, NY, holds an annual End of Winter Carnival in March.

Author: Jolene Navarro
Title: Lone Star Bride
Hero and Heroine: Sofia De Zavala & Jackson McReed
Line:  LIH
One paragraph from the page you are currently on: 
 He made sure to smile, hoping it didn’t look as tight as it felt. An image of Lilly on her parents’ porch as he asked her to marry 
him flashed across his mind. Closing his eyes, he forced it away. He should be running, but he couldn’t humiliate Sofia and leave her abandoned like that.
For better or worse, he would soon have another wife.
I’m so sorry, Lilly.
Due date: Monday 23, 2017  
Word count goal today: Editing
Something cool learned recently from research: This was so much fun. I discovered that on parts of the Old Spanish trail (from San Antonio to New Orleans) in the late 1830s retired pirates owned some of the cattle crossings! Cowboys and Pirates in the same place for a very short period in history. These are not good pirates, but what fun in fiction, right? 

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Ah, technology.. Love it or hate it?

Hi Everyone, Danica Favorite here, and I am posting to let you know of a rather embarrassing mistake I made. :( I was scheduled to post here today, and I was so proud of myself, because I made the post, scheduled it, and was thinking, YES!! I am on top of my game.

Imagine my surprise when I got online this morning and checked my post, and found it wasn't here. So I did my due diligence and looked at it to see where I'd gone wrong. Um, I posted it to the wrong blog. :( Fortunately, it does not look like I stole anyone else's date, YAY, but unfortunately, it's posted somewhere else. I can't decide if I should grab it and put it here, or if I should leave it and you guys can just go see it.  Let me know in the comments which is better for you.

Oh, and if you want to read the actual post that was supposed to go here, you can find it over on the Love Inspired Authors blog.

In the meantime, I'd love to hear your funny tech mess up stories. I think this is the biggest I've had in a while, but trust me, since my day job is stuff like this, I make mistakes all the time.

A little about my current release:

The Nanny Agreement 
Widower Silas Jones needs a mother for his daughter, and marriage could help his former sweetheart repair her tattered reputation. Yet he can't blame Rose Stone when she refuses a marriage of convenience after he once broke her heart, marrying another woman to save his family's farm. He's blessed Rose agrees to be his nanny. If only she'd look at him again with the warmth she shows little Milly… 
Rose's tarnished past hasn't quelled her spirit. She's building a good life in Colorado with her infant son—and the glimmer of a future with Silas. But when his in-laws try to claim Milly, Rose must decide if the makeshift family she and Silas have forged can reopen her heart to love.

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