Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Fun times in Denver.

Patricia Davids here.

Happy August 1st. Where has the summer gone? Like many of you I have had my head down and my fingers on the keyboards for most of it. I finished my first manuscript for HQN a few days before the Romance Writers of America convention in Denver so you know I was ready to party. I'm giving a shout out to all the wonderful Love Inspired authors and editors I met there. I had a great time meeting and visiting with all of you but while the conference was the main thing on my agenda the trip was all about me and my girls. A week for just us. No men allowed.

We rented an SUV in Wichita. The last SUV on the lot when we arrived was a Jaguar F-Pace so we traveled in style across Kansas and eastern Colorado for about eight hours. We went a day early and passed through Denver on our way to Georgetown about 45 minutes west. The old mining town has a restored railroad we rode and we took a silver mine tour. We even learned to pan for gold. Who knows when that skill will come in handy? Plus, the mountains were beautiful.

We hated to return to the city but Denver was waiting with wonderful times for the three of us.
Me, my granddaughter Shantel and my daughter Kathy at the fantastic Denver Museum of Nature and Science.

 I put in my time at the conference while my girls when shopping. They love to do that. I don't. I really enjoyed the Harlequin book signing where I met Jo Ann Brown for the first time when we signed next to each other. She is a very sweet lady. I want to thank my editor Emily Rodmell for the photo and the wonderful LI fans who rushed in to get our books.

As an author of Amish books no conference would be complete without a ride in a horse drawn carriage. My wonderful agent Pam Hopkins and I have made this a custom of sorts when we get together. Thanks Pam for allowing me to include Kathy and Shantel. I love horses and Willow was no exception.

Talk about bling. This horse had it all over.

But then so does Denver.

I don't know when we'll get to have another trip like this. Shantel will be a senior in high school this year. Her free summers will get fewer and fewer as time goes on but this is one trip we will all remember.

Okay lovers of horses and Amish fiction. Have you taken a horse-drawn carriage ride? Where and when? 

It's Only a Party if Love Inspired is There! by Pamela Tracy

Yeah!  This year I was able to attend the Romance Writers of America's conference.  With just one except, I had the best BEST time.  Below, are some of the photos I took of Love Inspired ladies, most of whom are on this blog.  Enjoy!

I arrived on Wednesday and that night I attended
a hands-on Murder Mystery.
Who was there?  Why Jolene and her daughter.
Hmmm, were they suspects?

Each table had a bag as a centerpiece.
Each bag had a piece of evidence.

My table included Sherri Shackleford and Tina Radcliff.
Between them is a Harlequin  Heartwarming author.
For sure she, Leann Bristow, is a suspect.
After all, a Love Inspired author would never be involved in murder.
Except for writing it.

Thursday, Harlequin had a signing.
Here we have Lenora Worth and Terri Reed.
They are flanking Joanne Grant, editorial director, extraodinairre

Ah, here we see Sherri Shackleford enticing a reader

Marta Perry is signing a book for me!

Teri Wilson writers for LI
But, at the signing, she was lurking in the Special Edition area.

The Love Inspired editors also hosted a meet and greet for its authors.
Here we see Deb Kastner and lovely husband Joe

Here we see Patricia Davids.
And!  I'll send a book to whoever can name the author standing behind her
She'll soon be joining this blog

Walking through the conference lobby you might find a surpise.
Here we have Jill Kemerer's cover.
Hey, you can even put your face in the place of the model.

The highlight, of course, is the Harlequin party.
Here I am along side my best friend Cathy McDavid who writes for Harlequin Heartwarming

Love Inspired authors ready to party!

It's always great to reconnect with friends

Sigh.... the conference ended way too soon.  I didn't get to sit down and visit with my peers enough.
Next year, it's in New York.  A long way for this Arizona girl to travel, but I'm hoping to go...

Pamela Tracy's next book is
The Soldier's Valentine
Release date April 2019
from Harlequin Heartwarming

Pamela is also busy working on a
Love Inspired proposal.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Our Unique Souvenirs...Mermaid Tears by Jo Ann Brown

Last month, my husband and I spent a couple of weeks in England. Our trip up to the northeast of the country allowed us to indulge in one of our favorite past times...looking for sea glass. We search for it whenever we’re on a beach, but the shores of northeast England, especially north of Newcastle, are our prime hunting grounds. Back in the days before anyone concerned themselves with the state of our rivers and oceans, glass manufacturers in the Newcastle area dumped broken and irregular pieces of glass into the River Tyne. The glass washed out to sea where salt, waves and sand smoothed the sharp edges and took away the gloss to leave the surfaces pitted and coarse. In addition, ships used glass, tile and brick as ballast while at sea and would dump it as they neared the shore. Those pieces underwent the same “weathering” conditions.
Years ago, sea glass was known as mermaid tears and prized just as it is today. In fact, in the second book of my Sanctuary Bay series for Love Inspired Historical, A Hero for Christmas, which is being re-released this Christmas, the heroine teaches the hero about mermaid tears when she’s collecting pieces to decorate tables at her sister’s wedding.
Fast forward to the present, and strolling along the beach can turn into a treasure hunt. Our favorite place to look for sea glass is on the beaches of Lindisfarne. The small island, just south of the Scottish border, is also known as Holy Island. It’s a tidal island, which means that it’s cut off from mainland England twice a day at high tide when the causeway floods. The Pilgrim’s Way remains open at low tide, marked by tall posts, including a few with platforms where people have taken shelter when they misjudged the timing of the tides. Holy Island is the site of the first attack by Vikings on English soil, and ruins of the ancient priory are set next to the small parish church which is filled with memorials to the Irish saints who brought Christianity to northern England in the 7th century. On a wall near the altar is a small framed letter. It’s a formal apology from Norway for that Viking foray against the terrorized residents of Lindisfarne in 793.

Between the churchyard and a tiny island (reachable on foot at low tide) where St. Cuthbert built a chapel when he became a hermit monk is a beach that’s a mixture of sand and shingle (small rocks). Here, while we listen to the seals barking nearby and, on this most recent trip tried not to be blown off our feet by powerful gusts from a sea storm, we’ve found lots of sea glass in all sorts of colors. In fact, there’s so much glass washed ashore that we pick and choose what we want.
We don’t want modern glass which is much thinner than Victorian glass. We gather white and turquoise and dark green (sometimes almost black) and brown glass. We’ve found occasional pieces of yellow glass, which is much rarer. We also pick up unique pieces of broken tiles and ceramic dishes.
At home, I display the pieces in clear containers where the sunlight can shine through the glass and illuminate its shapes and colors. Each time I see it, I think about the two of us walking along the shore and being as excited with the last piece I pick up as the first. It’s a very personal sort of souvenir...the best kind!
And I'm curious...Do you have a unique souvenir you look for when you travel?

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Sunday Scripture

Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fish.
. The rock under the altar is where Jesus performed the miracle.
The mosaic of the basket of bread and
two fish dates from the 5th C. Four loaves of bread are in the
basket. The fifth loaf is the Eucharistic bread
that would have been on the altar.

Jesus went across the Sea of Galilee. 
A large crowd followed him,
because they saw the signs he was performing on the sick. 
Jesus went up on the mountain,
and there he sat down with his disciples. 
The Jewish feast of Passover was near. 
When Jesus raised his eyes
and saw that a large crowd was coming to him,
he said to Philip,
"Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?" 
He said this to test him,
because he himself knew what he was going to do. 
Philip answered him,
"Two hundred days' wages worth of food would not be enough
for each of them to have a little." 
One of his disciples,
Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, said to him,
"There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish;
but what good are these for so many?" 
Jesus said, "Have the people recline." 
Now there was a great deal of grass in that place. 
So the men reclined, about five thousand in number. 
Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks,
and distributed them to those who were reclining,
and also as much of the fish as they wanted. 
When they had had their fill, he said to his disciples,
"Gather the fragments left over,
so that nothing will be wasted." 
So they collected them,
and filled twelve wicker baskets with fragments 
from the five barley loaves
that had been more than they could eat. 
When the people saw the sign he had done, they said,
"This is truly the Prophet, the one who is to come into the world." 
Since Jesus knew that they were going to come and carry him off
to make him king,
he withdrew again to the mountain alone.
John 6:1-15

If you have prayer needs, please mention them in the comments section so we can join you in prayer. You do not need to include specific names or situations of a private nature, just say that you have a prayer request. The Lord knows your heart and the needs you have. It is a privilege and honor to pray with you and for you.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Another Side to the Ladies of Love Inspired Romance

Many of the Ladies of Love Inspired Romance write more than their Love Inspired Books. Here are some of this month's other new releases. Just click on the covers or buy links to purchase them. And to learn more about Margaret and Myra, click on their names.

by Margaret Daley

Stalker. Arson. Murder.
When a stalker ruthlessly targets people she loves, a woman flees her old life, creating a new identity as Serena Remington. Her plan to escape the madman and lead him away from family and friends worked for three years. Now he's back. With nowhere else to run, her only choice is war. Quinn Taylor, her neighbor and a firefighter with expertise in arson, comes to her aid, but will it be in time to save her?

Buy: Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo | Google Play

Romance by the Book
by Myra Johnson

Shy and quiet Sailor Kern is a water aerobics instructor who's enchanted with famous romance writer Chandler Michaels, and now she’s about to meet him in person! But romance and reality don’t always mix, and when Sailor entrusts Parker Travis, the town's most sought-after hairstylist, with giving her a new look to impress Chandler, she's in for some big surprises. Will Sailor follow her dream man, or will she recognize the true hero God has placed before her, right in her own hometown?

Friday, July 27, 2018

Happy Ever Afters (Past and Present)

I have always been a fan of stories with happy ever afters. As a teen, I would devour series romance books. My two favorite series were Sweet Dreams and Sunfire. I am not ashamed to say that I owned every single book in those collections at one time. I also was big into the Sweet Valley High series. I'll bet I'm not the only one, too.

Of course, not every book had a happy ending. And that was okay. I treasured the stories. They were the perfect escape for this shy girl from Illinois who always felt like an outsider in a crowd. I wanted my own happy ending. When I was twenty-seven, I finally got it. 
Meet Brad. We've been together for twenty-one years. He's an amazing man. My best friend, my biggest advocate, the father of my three beautiful children. He supports me even when I want to do something crazy. Like write romance. In fact, this sweet man has read every book I have written. Published and non-published. He also let's me use him as a sounding board. That's love. When I thought that the dream of publication was out of reach, he never doubted.

Next week, my ninth book will release. That amazes me. When I was writing Amish Country Ambush, my husband, as an EMT and volunteer firefighter, was key to my research. My heroine, Elise St. Clair, is a dispatcher. Having no experience as a dispatcher, or responding to emergencies, I was very happy to be able to ask my husband for assistance.

This was a fun story to write. Here's the back cover blurb:

Hidden in Plain SightAn Amish Country Justice story

After police dispatcher Elise St. Clair’s home is invaded by her murderous brother-in-law, her nephew is hidden in Amish Country by her cleaning lady. Now relying on police officer Ryan Parker is Elise’s only hope of reuniting with the child…and evading the killer. And Elise and Ryan quickly discover their temporary partnership has long-term potential—if they can stay alive.

I'm curious... what are some of the books that you read as a child or teen that have stayed with you through years?

Thursday, July 26, 2018

My Life Has Gone to the Dog

by Lisa Jordan, @lisajordan

Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.
Roger Caras 

Several years ago, our family experienced a new change in our lives--our youngest had gone off to college, leaving Hubby and me with an empty nest.

By day, our house had been filled with noise and chaos because, at that time, I owned and operate a family child care program. Once my Little Darlings left for the day, and dinner was over, I'd sit in my comfy chair in the living room to pick up where I left off with my current WIP (work-in-progress). With only Hubby and me at home, I've noticed something very annoying...the ticking clock hanging on the living room wall.

Holy cats, that thing is loud!

When our boys were home and playing Xbox or watching TV, the ticking clock had been drowned out by their chatter. 

Then I realized something else...I missed caring for someone. Hubby didn't count because he's quite self-sufficient, and my Little Darlings didn't count because they left before dinner. 

At that time, I was writing my fourth novel, Lakeside Family, and doing research on dogs because my heroine was a dog trainer. When I suggested getting a dog, Hubby wasn't too thrilled with the idea. We'd had a beautiful yellow Lab in the past.  

When my mom was hospitalized for heart issues, I cared for her rescue dog, Penny--a sweet little chihuahua mix. This little sweetheart burrowed herself into my heart. I kept telling Mom I was going to dognap Penny for good. In fact, Hubby had said, "If only we could find a dog like Penny..."

I had been praying and asking God to provide us with the right pooch at the right time. Several months later, my mom had another heart issue. Due to some concerns afterward, Penny came to live with us full-time. That was four years ago, and our family hasn't been the same. 

Growing up, I was never a huge animal lover, but then I got Penny. 'Nuff said. I show off pictures of her like others show off pictures of grandchildren. When I'm home, Penny's usually on my lap or following me from one room to another. When I leave and come home, she jumps up and wags her tail as if I've been gone for a year. 

Different studies have proved having pets can have positive effects on your health. They can help you become more active, especially if you need to walk them. They offer companionship to help combat loneliness. They can be calming and help reduce stress. 

Do you have any pets? What's your favorite part about being a pet owner? How has it benefited you? Share a picture of your pet in the comments (no snakes, please...major phobia) 

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Getting Away with Murder

Who doesn’t like a good mystery?

As a writer of romantic suspense, I love coming up with ideas for a juicy mystery then planting clues throughout the book for readers to find. In fact, few things are more rewarding than when I hear someone tell me they were surprised when they found out who the bad guy in my story was. I know then I’ve crafted a good story.

But as a reader, I also love trying to solve the mystery. Finding the clues, piecing the puzzle together and trying to solve the case before the story’s reveal.

In my soon to be released LIS (6 more days til it releases, eek!) , COLD CASE COVER-UP, someone (I won’t say who because spoilers!) got away with murder for thirty years. They lived their lives and even prospered while others suffered because of their actions. My heroine, investigative reporter Dana Lang, believes she would have been one of the killer’s victims if it weren’t for a local sheriff who faked her death and whisked her safely out of town, leaving her on the doorstep of a church to be found and adopted. Now, an adult, Dana is back in her town of birth to solve the mystery of her parent’s murders and finally, after thirty long years, bring a killer to justice.

In reality, we may never see justice in this world, but in stories—at least in LI and LIS—the hero and heroine always win and the bad guys always gets what’s coming to them. And that’s how the story should always end.  

She’ll risk everything to uncover her past

The first thrilling Covert Operatives tale

An infant is believed to have been murdered thirty years ago—but investigative journalist Dana Lang is convinced she’s that baby. Now someone’s willing to kill to stop her investigation. And only secretive deputy Quinn Dawson, whose grandfather may have faked Dana’s death to protect her, can keep her safe. But a killer’s dead set on burying the past—and them—for good.

If you haven’t gotten your copy of COLD CASE COVER-UP yet, you can still pre-order your copy here today. It’s available in e-book starting Aug 1st.   

Or leave a comment below for a chance to win a copy of COLD CASE COVER-UP. I’ll be doing a random drawing for one copy from all comments at the end of the week. ***GIVEAWAY CLOSED***

…but that’s not all!

I’m doing double-duty today as I’m also hosting over at the Love Inspired Authors and Readers Group on Facebook. Here’s the link if you’d like to join me for two more chances to win a copy of COLD CASE COVER-UP. https://www.facebook.com/groups/LIAuthorsandReaders/

Blessings and Happy Reading,


Award winning author Virginia Vaughan lives by the motto ‘It’s not hoarding if its books’. Always the kid with her nose stuck in a book, becoming a multi-published author hasn’t stopped Virginia from continuing to grow her own collection of favorite reads. Her family has refused to help her move anymore because of the sheer number boxes of books, but she’s no quitter. She’ll keep buying books and, the next time she moves, hire a moving van.

If you love stories where romance intersects danger and faith, subscribe to Virginia’s email list at http://eepurl.com/dtFeVP  and be the first to know when a new story arrives.

Connect with Virginia:
Email Newsletter:   http://eepurl.com/dtFeVP

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Yee haw! Test your cowboy knowledge!

Hi, all. Dana Mentink here. I am having a rolicking good time writing cowboy suspense novels! I mean, there’s just something about a cowboy that evokes the themes of honor, love, and integrity, doesn’t it? I’ve had a blast writing about the Thorn brothers who run the Gold Bar Ranch in Gold Country California. The third in the series is about Jack Thorn, a twin who has a wife on paper only and is suddenly in charge of a baby he’s never met. Oh, and there’s a motorcycle gang out to kill him. Yep, he’s gonna need all his cowboy skills and then some to get through this adventure. 

In the process of writing these books, I’ve had to do a lot of research! (The last horse I rode was Mr. BoJangles. I was ten, he was crotchety, we did not come to a meeting of the minds!) I’ve visited ranches, learned about horses, explored California’s gold country and even read some classic Westerns. Since I’ve got cowboys on the brain, I thought it would be fun to ask you some trivia questions! I’ll post the answers down at the bottom under the images so you can check. Tell me how many you got right! Oh, and while you’re at it, check out your cowboy name why don’t you? Fondly, Curly the Gold Digger 

Learn more about Dana’s newest book, Cowboy Bodyguard

1. What was the name of the horse Tonto rode on the Lone Ranger show? 

2. Davy Crockett represented which state in the House of Representatives? 

3. What is a remuda?

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Sunday Scripture

 The Good Shepherd, Catacomb of Priscilla, Rome, 3rd C. [PD-US]

The apostles gathered together with Jesus
and reported all they had done and taught. 
He said to them,
“Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” 
People were coming and going in great numbers,
and they had no opportunity even to eat. 
So they went off in the boat by themselves to a deserted place. 
People saw them leaving and many came to know about it. 
They hastened there on foot from all the towns
and arrived at the place before them.

When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd,
his heart was moved with pity for them,
for they were like sheep without a shepherd;
and he began to teach them many things.
Mark 6:30-34

If you have any prayer needs, please mention them in the comments section so we can join you in prayer. You do not need to include specific names or situations of a private nature, just say that you have a prayer request. The Lord knows your heart and the needs you have. It is a privilege and honor to pray with you and for you.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

New for July from our Love Inspired Suspense Authors

Jean C. Gordon here with three new must buys from our Love Inspired Suspense authors. Just click on a cover to purchase it. And to learn more about Mary, Maggie, and Dana, click on their names.

Standoff at Midnight Mountain
by Mary Alford 

Her brother is missing
And she’s the next target

After her CIA operative brother disappears, leaving behind only a cryptic message, armed men target former agent Rachel Simmons for information. But with help from her ex, Agent Alex Booth, Rachel eludes them, trekking into the mountains in search of her brother. Pursued through the wilderness by highly trained—and very familiar—men, can Alex and Rachel expose a conspiracy that goes deeper than they ever imagined?

https://www.amazon.com/Standing-Fast-Military-K-9-Unit-ebook/dp/B077D9RJL3/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ll1&tag=jeacgoraut-20&linkId=fa836752025721d92ee31b2384ecd9b4Standing Fast
by Maggie K. Black 

Suspected of aiding a serial killer, single dad Chase McLear is desperate to prove his innocence. However, someone’s determined for him to be found guilty—and now they’re targeting Chase’s little girl. Preschool teacher Maisy Lockwood’s father was one of the killer’s victims, but Maisy believes Chase has been framed. Can Chase’s K-9 beagle sniff out the evidence to clear his name before the killer makes them his next victims?

Cowboy Bodyguard
by Dana Mentink 

She must protect a baby
With her secret husband's help
In this Gold Country Cowboys novel, Jack Thorn gets a surprise call from the woman he married in secret years ago. Shannon Livingston needs his protection for herself and the baby she’s hiding from a biker gang targeting the mother. Now Jack must help Shannon, even if shielding her means pretending to be a true husband to the only woman he’s ever loved…

Friday, July 20, 2018

K-9 Fun

Terri Reed here. So many of the Ladies of Love Inspired write books with dogs, especially with K-9 officers and their human handlers.
Right now in Love Inspired Suspense we have a Military K-9 Unit continuity series running that began in March and ends with a Christmas novella.

To view the whole series:

My girl Aubrey Rose, Australian Shepherd, and her BFF Lincoln, the Golden Retriever and her other bestie, Jovi, a Border Collie, in the background. 
And for added fun, this video shows a K-9 dog who wants something special before he'll go to work. Trust me you'll laugh.


Thursday, July 19, 2018

Christian romance and the friendship factor

A few years ago my husband and I attended a marriage class at our church. (Yes, even after more than 46 years together, we’re still learning!) The basis for the class was Timothy Keller’s book The Meaning of Marriage. And while I gave a lot of thought to applying the lessons to my own marriage, my writer’s brain was also filing everything away for use with my fictional characters and their relationships. 

Photo by Crew on Unsplash
According to Keller, friendship—our spouse as our very best friend—is crucial to a solid marriage relationship. This concept reminded me of one of the primary differences between Christian romance novels and many secular romances. In secular romances, the initial encounter between the hero and heroine tends to focus heavily on the characters’ physical attributes—the heroine’s curvy figure, limpid eyes, and lustrous long hair; the hero’s trim waist, muscled biceps, and broad shoulders. And where does all this physical attraction lead? Often it’s straight to the bedroom, short-circuiting the “getting to know you” phase during which a meaningful friendship should be developing.

In romantic Christian fiction the characters may still admire each other’s more appealing external attributes—they wouldn’t be human if they didn’t! But even more important are those little glimpses into not only who these characters are at the outset, but who they have the potential of becoming. With each other’s help and encouragement, they can toss their self-protective masks aside and begin to see themselves through God’s eyes. They are set free to grow into the people they were created to be, not only as individuals but within the couple relationship.

Photo by Denisse Leon on Unsplash
True friendship begins when someone who cares about us sees not only our flaws and faults but our best selves—when they’re not only willing but committed to sticking it out with us even when that “best self” retreats. To quote Timothy Keller, “What, then, is marriage for? It is for helping each other to become our future glory-selves, the new creations that God will eventually make us.” That, to me, is the best kind of happily-ever-after!

Let’s talk. Think about your own real-life romance or a romantic novel you’ve recently read. What part did genuine friendship play as romance blossomed? Do you agree with Keller’s ideas about the purpose of marriage?

Myra Johnson writes emotionally gripping stories about love, life, and faith. She’s currently at work on a new Love Inspired mini-series, Hill Country Haven, with recurring characters from Her Hill Country Cowboy and Hill Country Reunion. Myra is a three-time Maggie Awards finalist, two-time finalist for the prestigious ACFW Carol Awards, winner of Christian Retailing’s Best for historical fiction, and winner in the Inspirational category of the National Excellence in Romance Fiction Awards. Originally from Texas but now residing in the beautiful Carolinas, Myra and her husband love the climate and scenery, but they may never get used to the pulled pork Carolinians call “barbecue”! The Johnsons share their home with two very pampered rescue dogs who don’t always understand the meaning of “Mom’s trying to write.” They’ve also inherited the cute little cat (complete with attitude) their daughter and family had to leave behind when they recently moved overseas.

Sign up to receive Myra’s e-news updates here!

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