Thursday, January 31, 2019

When God Changes Your Plans

Hi friends. Dana R. Lynn here. As I am typing this post, the temperatures here in northwestern Pennsylvania have dropped to well below zero in what the news reporters are terming an "arctic blast". All the schools in the area have closed. Some have even already decided that they will be closed the next day, as well.  This is the view out my kitchen window. Brrr.



When I first heard all the schools were starting to close, I was still at work in a classroom. I recall looking around at the mound of papers surrounding me that I was working on. My first thoughts were, "But I have meetings planned!"

Silly, right?

But that's the way life is. Sometimes the things we plan are not what God has planned. It's not always an easy lesson to learn. In keeping with my word and resolution for 2019, I decided to react with gratitude, and thanked God for keeping my family safe and that our wood pile was well stocked to heat our home. What else was there to do?

Sometimes the changes that God leads us to can bless us in ways we never expected. When I first began writing, I was all about contemporary romance. Except it soon became apparent that it wasn't my strength. Suspense, although I had never thought about it before, came much easier to me. When my editor at Love Inspired Suspense asked me about adding Amish elements into my stories, my first inclination was, "No, thank you."

The idea wouldn't let me go. For weeks, I tried to plot a story without success. It wasn't until I began to add some Amish secondary characters and scenery that the story began to take shape. Plain Target was plotted. To date, that was the book that was the easiest for me to write. It was joy from the first word.

Guess I should have paid attention sooner, right?

I wrote Plain Target, the first book in my Amish Country Justice series, in 2016 and it released in 2017. I recently completed my tenth book for Love Inspired Suspense, set to release in October of 2019. I can hardly believe it. And just this past week, I received my cover for my June release, Guarding the Amish Midwife. 

Wait, here it is: 
I love this cover. It is absolutely perfect for the story.

I have no idea where God will lead me in the future, either in writing or in life. I do know that His plans may not always feel "convenient". However, I also know that His plans will be for my better, and that if I allow Him to lead the way, I will find true joy.


Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Transition by Marie E. Bast


What does the word transition mean to you? The Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition states it’s a passage from one state, place, or stage; or subject to a change.
The word January comes from two different sources: (1) The Latin word ianua, which means door, and (2) Janus, a Roman god of mythology, the god of beginnings, transitions, and gateways.
February comes from the word Februa, the Roman spring festival of washing and purification. They believed it washed away evil and purified the city for the New Year.
In other words, January ushers us from one year to another and from winter to February where spring can get a foothold. We wash away the old and look forward to a new beginning. In these last few days of January, let’s get ready for February and one of the most romantic months of the year.
A month where flowers, candy, perfume, jewelry, and yes let’s say it, a romance novel could be given to that special someone on Valentine’s Day. February starts the transition to early spring and Valentine celebrations with friends and family and a fun gift-giving time. In addition, don’t forget that special someone could be a mother, grandmother, sister, daughter, daughter-in-law, friend, husband, boyfriend, etc., and who doesn't like a book.
 

February leads into spring and Easter then Mother's Day and Father's Day, which leads into summer fun with beach parties, camping; long trips in a car where everyone likes to pick up a good book for the journey. So how are you going to transition and use this special month of February to highlight your romance novels for the months ahead?

 
Whispering words of hope and healing through complex characters and twisting plots, Marie E. Bast enjoys writing contemporary and historical stories. Her first Love Inspired novel, The Amish Baker, releases April 19, 2019. Married for twenty-seven years, Marie and her husband have two grown sons and one daughter. When she’s not writing, she’s walking, golfing, gardening or spending time with her family. Visit her website or follower her on social media: mariebastauthor.com      Facebook     Twitter     Google     Pinterest     blogspot
When his son breaks one of baker Sarah Gingerich’s prized possessions, widower Caleb Brenneman insists the boy make amends by doing odd jobs in her bake shop. A childless widow, Sarah can’t help falling for the boy…or his farmer father. But Caleb is progressive New Order Amish while Sarah holds traditional beliefs. Though they’re worlds apart, are they a perfect match?
 
 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


 

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

A NEW BEGINNING! by Valerie Hansen


As many of you know, I often participate in multi-author continuities. Well, this new one is ALL MINE! And I am thrilled to have six wonderful books to write. Emergency responders are amazing people with special gifts that not everyone shares. How do I know for sure? Well, my family is filled with them; former volunteer firefighters, EMTs, nurses, dispatchers, paid firefighters all the way up to chiefs, instructors and even a grandson who is a paramedic.


 

Living my life immersed in so much genuine caring for our communities and citizens has left me with many wonderful memories - as well as the opposite. But it was never dull.


I remember my husband and both my teenagers jumping out of bed and straight into boots and turnout pants, hitching up the suspenders and racing for the door. All three bedroom doorways converged at the end of the hall and the kids quickly learned that if they got in their daddy's way they were likely to get mowed down! Once he was past it was a free-for-all to be the second down the hall and out the door. Those were their volunteer firefighter days. At that time I often manned (womaned?) the dispatch radio at the station but I never tried to race any of them! I was gonna lose!!!!


In my new series, "Emergency Responders" I deal with fire and medical and whoever else may be called upon to offer needed help and support, such as police officers. Each has a special role, each a God-given gift to share. And sometimes, no matter how hard they try, they aren't able to fix everything. That's the down side. And, because they care so deeply, it hurts them, too.
Long ago I began stopping to pray whenever I heard a siren. People are putting their lives on the line to help others and I pray for their success as well as their safety.
 
The first book in this series, FATAL THREAT, will be in stores in February. Then MARKED FOR REVENGE is coming in August. Here's the first cover. I hope these stories bless and thrill you as much as they did when I wrote them.
 

 "Someone wants to see her silenced!

Back home after a mission trip, nurse and EMT Sara Southerland learns that her cousin's death might not have been an accident - and now someone wants her dead. The only person she can trust is longtime crush and fire captain Adam Kane. With a stalker on their tail, Adam will do whatever it takes to protect the woman he's realizing he can't live without."


Thanks for stopping by and may God richly bless you.

Valerie Hansen

 
 
 
 

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Celebrating Family and the New Year with Sparklers and Music











Editing with my favorite view...Fred.
Hola! Jolene Navarro checking in form the Texas Hill Country. This is my writing view this weekend.

My life inspires my writing...I can imagine not writing about family and the crazy life that surrounds bigs families.

January has been a great start to a new year. I celebrated my birthday on the 2nd and it seems to be a gathering of friends one weekend after another.

For New Year's Eve, my kids started a tradition a few years back. We buy tons of finger foods (mostly tasty junk food) and tons of fireworks then build a bonfire.

Before we set off the fireworks they use the sparklers to write out the new year. This year might be the best yet.

It starts with a spark.
Happy 2019!


Then we headed downtown the theSan Antonio River Walk to celebrate my niece's 19th birthday. Eating at Casa Rio Mexican food and dancing to the mariachis!


Fred and London dancing to Mariachis at Casa Rio


If you going to have an awesome kick-off to the year you have to have at least one writer's retreat. So, on to Rio Bella Resort, I went with seven other writers and man did we write.
There was quiet time to focus and time to talk and enjoy the company of other writers.






This last week of January we were back at the Frio River, but this time with Fred's family. One of his older brothers (9 boys and 2 girls) was celebrating 50 years of marriage and of course, there was lots of food, music and fun.



Fred signing along.




All the Navarro siblings and their first sister-in-law.
7 of the 9 brothers.


So far my 2019 has been full of family, friends music food and lots of words on the page. Tomorrow I will turn in my 11th book to Love Inspired. It will be out in November. 

I have a cover and title for my  June release (10th book) that is starting a new series: The Cowboys of Diamondback Ranch. I hope readers love the De La Rosa family as much as I do. 

I have a story story in the works and an Anthology coming out in February with a group of San Antonio authors all about Fiesta! (and I've lost weight.) 

My words for 2019 was RENEW and RECLAIM.  I'm feeling good about these. lol
Wow! 2019 has already been packed with love and creativity.

Do you already have 2019 highlights or some in the works?
Do you have focus words for the new years? 

Oh, do you want to see my new cover that is coming out in June?

 The Texan's Secret Daughter.

Can this rancher make up for his past?A Cowboys of Diamondback Ranch romance.

Turning his life around was the hardest thing Elijah De La Rosa ever had to do—until his ex-wife, Jazmine Daniels, returns with their young daughter he didn’t know existed. Now this successful rancher will do anything to be a good father. But can he forgive himself for the past…and turn their second chance into a family for always?

https://www.amazon.com/Texans-Secret-Daughter



Sunday Scripture



Photo taken in the church built over the synagogue in Nazareth
where Jesus preached. [Private photo: D. Giuati]


Since many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the events
that have been fulfilled among us,
just as those who were eyewitnesses from the beginning
and ministers of the word have handed them down to us,
I too have decided,
after investigating everything accurately anew,
to write it down in an orderly sequence for you,
most excellent Theophilus, 
so that you may realize the certainty of the teachings
you have received.

Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit,
and news of him spread throughout the whole region.
He taught in their synagogues and was praised by all.

He came to Nazareth, where he had grown up,
and went according to his custom 
into the synagogue on the sabbath day.
He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah.
He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written:
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me 
to bring glad tidings to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.
Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down,
and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him.
He said to them,
"Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing."
Luke 1:1-4, 4:14-21


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.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Directionally Challenged in Life...and in Writing

by Lisa Jordan, @lisajordan

About twelve years ago I had driven our oldest son to Boy Scout camp about two hours from our home where he had been spending his summer working as a lifeguard and swimming instructor.

My husband usually drove, but he had to work, so my sister agreed to go with me. Two directionally challenged adults are better than one, I say.

Common sense would’ve dictated that I should’ve paid closer attention when Hubby drove, but the trip was long and boring with windy roads and miles upon miles of trees. Rural? Oh, my, yes! Instead of noting directions, I kept my nose buried in a good book. 

That day, though, before we left, my husband had rattled off directions faster than an auctioneer. But being the visual person that I am, I needed something to look at, so I printed out the route from Mapquest—no, I didn’t have GPS...or a handy dandy iPhone with the Maps app. When I searched the routes, I accidentally clicked the shortest distance box. No. No. No. Always go for the shortest time. 

As I followed the directions, I needed to turn right onto Fire Tower Road. Okay, no problem. We were three miles from camp with time to spare. I had this trip in the bag. Nothing to worry about.

Except Fire Tower Road was an impassible logging road with ruts that rivaled the Grand Canyon. Road was a definitely a tongue in cheek term for this donkey path.

Determined to get my son to camp, I pressed on hoping we’d end up where we needed to be...and ended up coming to a gate across an even narrower impassible footpath.

Frustrated and angry, I called my husband at work. He told me how to get to camp from where we were located. Less than three miles, but it took me over an hour to go that short distance. Not to mention the paint damage my car received from that nasty little jaunt.

Thankfully, we can look back on that event and laugh. And, of course, I used it as novel fodder. My family continues to poke fun, but they’re right.

Yes, I’m sometimes directionally challenged trying to get from Point A to Point B, but at times, I’m also directionally challenged while writing, too. When my characters lack defined motivation, they wander all over the place. If I read reviews, my confidence can be shaken. If I receive feedback from too many sources, then my story voice gets lost as I try to please everyone else.

For clarity about my writing, I need to stop and focus on God’s direction. Instead of poking our noses in the proverbial books in life, we need to look up from our current chapters and pay attention to the routes we’re taking. Taking shortcuts in our spiritual and writing lives leads us down rutted, bumpy roads that can cause damage if we’re not careful. When we trust in Him and focus on His Word, He will make our paths straight.

How about you? Are you directionally challenged? How do you keep your focus?



Heart, home, and faith have always been important to Lisa Jordan, so writing stories with those elements come naturally. Represented by Rachelle Gardner of Books & Such Literary Management, Lisa is an award-winning author for Love Inspired, writing contemporary Christian romances that promise hope and happily ever after. Her latest book, Season of Hope, releases in March 2019. She is the Operations Manager for My Book Therapy. Happily married to her own real-life hero for almost thirty years, Lisa and her husband have two grown sons. When she isn't writing, Lisa enjoys family time, kayaking, good books, and creating with words, stamps, fibers, and photos. Visit her at lisajordanbooks.com.



His dreams can all come true...but only if his ex-wife will agree!
Jake Holland’s peaceful dairy farm is a sanctuary—one he wants to share with other worn and weary veterans. He just needs one more piece of land to start his program...and it belongs to Tori Lerner, his ex-wife. A collaboration could benefit them both, but with a past full of secrets between them, is there any hope for renewed love?

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Perceptions


While having a brainstorming session at a friend’s house her roommate walked by picked up a copy of my LI book and smiled. “This is cute. How long did it take for you write this? A weekend?”

            I didn’t even comment. There was no point. Unfortunately LI authors often hear a variation of that comment mainly from people who have never read one of our books. Their  perception is that a book that small can’t be very hard to write. They equate being small in size and word count with lacking in significant content. Most of us will tell you writing for LI is hard work and we’re blessed to be their authors.

            Perceptions colors everything. My husband was in the car business for decades. He sold Chevy’s. People would swear they only wanted GMC vehicles. But guess what. They are the exact same car. Made at the same factory, same chassis, same design all around with the exception of the logo on the front. Yet customers would swear there was a difference. Perception. Sometimes he’d receive a new shipment of vehicles with the Chevy bowtie on the front and the GMC logo on the back.

            Part of the fun for me is coming up with those differing perceptions for the hero and heroine and trying to come up with logical points of view for both. Why does he want to maintain the status quo? Why does she insist on change? What happens to each if they lose? What happens if they compromise?

            In Their Family Blessing, Carly and Mack have very different reasons for dealing with their inheritance and are confronted with their long held assumptions and perceptions. They must reexamine their memories from childhood, of their parents, of events, and what they’ve been told and what they think they’ve seen. As the truth emerges they are forced to adjust their beliefs about people and memories. Something we all do as we go through life. I remember the moment when I looked at my parents and realized that their relationship wasn’t what I’d always assumed. I saw them as separate people and not my parents.

            If we believe a certain product is better than another, no harm done. But if we have perceptions of others that aren’t true then we can damage and distort relationships and bring heartache to everyone.

            Have you ever had to realign your opinion of someone or something once you had more information? How did that impact your life?

            I hope you’ll enjoy reading how Carly and Mack sort out all their misconceptions and find their happily ever after. 
    


                                       Their Family Blessing

                           She owns the lodge but he owns the land.
    When single mom Carly Hughes the Longleaf Lodge, she gains a heap of trouble – her teenage crush Deputy MacKenzie Bridges. Her father left Mack the land around the lodge. While Carly wants to sell for her daughter’s sake. Mack wants to stay for his niece’s. and if they can’t work together, they’ll both lose everything… including the renewed spark between them.




Monday, January 21, 2019

Living Your Best Life in 2019 by Sherri Shackelford

We're three weeks into 2019, and I imagine that by now, a lot of resolutions have already gone by the wayside. That doesn't mean those same resolutions can't be revisited in March, April, May or even December. It's never too late to make a new start.

If you're one of those people who set grand goals that you're never quite able to achieve, maybe it's time to go...small. Instead of vowing to lose thirty pounds, what if, as an alternative, you decided to eat a protein-rich breakfast instead of only drinking coffee? That's it. Just one small change. My brother-in-law lost fifteen pounds the year he decided to forgo the fries when they were available, and order the vegetable side dish instead. That's all he did! But that small change led to others. If you drink two sodas a day, try to drink only one.



Research has shown us that making small, incremental changes can make a bigger impact on our lives than a grand resolution that's difficult to maintain. If you want to organize the whole house, start by making your bed each morning. If you're trying to save money, but you can never manage to keep a budget, resolve to deduct $10 from each paycheck and put that money into savings.

Instead of thinking big, think small. And don't be afraid to reward yourself! Human beings are better at short-term goals. If you want a write a book, resolve to write 10 words a day...then, if that works out, write a 100.
I'll be honest, I spent most of my life setting huge goals with lackluster results. Then I decided to think small...If I have a goal, I make small, incremental changes leading to that goal.

I'm going to give you some homework that will make anyone's year better. Say something nice to yourself each day. Just one nice thing each day. Tell yourself you look pretty! Tell yourself you're a good cook! Anything. We all tend to be too hard on ourselves. We'd never talk to someone we love the way we talk to ourselves.

What about you? Do you start out with grand goals and never quite seem to be able to keep them? Or are you able to set realistic goals?

To living your best life in 2019!

Sherri Shackelford


A former naval reservist with a top-secret security clearance, Sherri writes rapid-fire suspense featuring captivating characters and heart-pounding romance. She's authored more than a dozen novels for Harlequin publishing, including both historical and contemporary suspense.

Visit her Website, or follow her on social media:

Twitter

NO SAFE PLACE

He lives by the law.

She’s running for her life.

After forensic accountant Beth Greenwood uncovers a money-laundering scheme tying her company to the organization that murdered her mentor, she knows she needs to go into hiding. With ruthless killers in pursuit, she’s forced to rely on homeland security agent Corbin Ross’s protection—even as his investigation suggests Beth is complicit in embezzlement. Can their uneasy alliance develop into something deeper—and keep them alive?

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Sunday Scripture

The Wedding Feast at Cana

Marriage at Cana, fresco by Giotto, 14th century,  Scrovegni Chapel, Padua,
Italy. [PS-US]


There was a wedding at Cana in Galilee,
and the mother of Jesus was there.
Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the wedding.
When the wine ran short,
the mother of Jesus said to him,
"They have no wine."
And Jesus said to her,
"Woman, how does your concern affect me?
My hour has not yet come."
His mother said to the servers,
"Do whatever he tells you."
Now there were six stone water jars there for Jewish ceremonial washings,
each holding twenty to thirty gallons.
Jesus told the them,
"Fill the jars with water."
So they filled them to the brim.
Then he told them,
"Draw some out now and take it to the headwaiter."
So they took it. 
And when the headwaiter tasted the water that had become wine,
without knowing where it came from
— although the servers who had drawn the water knew —,
the headwaiter called the bridegroom and said to him,
"Everyone serves good wine first,
and then when people have drunk freely, an inferior one;
but you have kept the good wine until now."
Jesus did this as the beginning of his signs at Cana in Galilee
and so revealed his glory,
and his disciples began to believe in him.
John 2:1-11


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.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Got Miracles? By Jordyn Redwood

Do you think much about miracles? I do. I don’t know why, but I do. I’ve witnessed a few medical miracles during my nursing career. Once, it looked like a co-worker’s son had leukemia, but when they went for final testing before starting chemotherapy everything was normal. A young boy I cared for in the Pediatric ICU made a full recovery—walking, talking, playing—when none of us thought he was going to survive his injuries.

Twenty-five years ago, when it was time for me to take my nursing boards, I had a miracle happen to me. I’m not usually a good sleeper before big events like this. As in—tossing and turning through the whole night watching the numbers on the clock slowly progress toward morning.

The nights before my test, I slept like a baby. It was truly remarkable to me.

Perhaps a year or more after this, I was telling one of my best friend’s from high school, who was a passionate Christian, about how well I’d slept before the test and how strange that was for me.

“I’d prayed that very thing for you—to get the best sleep of your life before that test.”

I was dumbfounded. As you read this story, you might be thinking—No. Big. Deal.

Do miracles need to be something big and profound? Or do they just need to be something meaningful for you?

I read a book that changed my whole thinking about miracles—about what they are and what they mean. It’s called Miracles and is written by Eric Metaxas.

In the book, he gives his thoughts on miracles and his assertion is that miracles are God’s way of communicating with us—to show us his presence and provision in our lives. In essence, to prove His existence. What might be a miracle for me might not impress you very much but it’s importance boils down to the interaction between that person and God.

Many people I come across believe in evolution—that this large, blue marble we inhabit came about by happenstance.

Science would like us to believe that life is not rare. That it’s common. Ordinary. That somewhere else in this universe is a place we could happily habitat if we could just find it. All that is needed is a planet about our size situated about as far as Earth is from the sun. And surely in our vast universe there is a planet like that that will support life.

What Metaxas argues in his book is that the more science discovers about life on Earth, the more statistically impossible it seems that we could live anywhere else. That even life on earth is statistically improbable.

That life on Earth is, in fact, miraculous.


I’d like to highlight here a few of the items Eric mentions in his book to demonstrate the point. My hope is that you are as awe inspired as I was and that perhaps you would look more closely at the evidence of God’s existence in every living thing around us and check out Eric's book for more details.

The size of Earth. If Earth were larger it would have more gravity. This increase in gravity would bring two poisonous gases, methane and ammonia, closer to the surface. Last I checked, we’ll die if we breathe either of those. What if Earth was smaller? Have less gravity? Water would then dissipate into the atmosphere. We absolutely need water to support life. We’re mostly made of water. No human raisins are alive.

The unique properties of water. Water, as it solidifies, get lighter. This isn’t true of other liquids when they solidify. Why is it important to us? If water were heavier in its solid state, it wouldn’t float. Lakes would freeze from the bottom up—killing everything.

How fast our planet rotates. If it rotated more slowly giving us longer days, the temperature swings between night and day would be more dramatic and deadly. Too cold at night. Too hot in the day. Shorter days from the earth spinning more quickly? Every day is a windy day—like hurricane windy—all the time.

Ever think much about Jupiter? That impossibly large planet with its one glaring red eye? It’s a shield for earth. Eric states without Jupiter, comets and comet debris would strike us about a thousand times (emphasis his) more frequently.



The moon. The moon’s gravity gives us tides. If the moon were larger, tides would be so large that coastal cities wouldn’t exist. Any smaller, the tides would be insignificant to “cleanse costal seawater and replenish its nutrients.” The moon is the perfect size. The moon also influences the Earth’s tilt that gives us our seasons.

In 2001, there were approximately one-hundred and fifty characteristics science felt were needed to support life on Earth.

For me, as a medical nerd, that’s miraculous. The question then becomes—what is the force behind this that put all these conditions into place?

What about you? Have you witnessed a miracle in your life? If so, I’d love for you to share it with us. If not, what is something that you marvel about in God’s creation?

********************************************************************

Jordyn Redwood is a nursing supervisor by night, suspense novelist by day. She hosts Redwood’s Medical Edge, a blog devoted to helping authors write medically accurate fiction. Her first two medical thrillers, Proof and Poison, garnered starred reviews from Library Journal. Proof was shortlisted for the 2012 ForeWord Review’s BOTY Award, 2013 INSPY Award and the 2013 Carol Award. Poison shortlisted for the 2014 INSPY Award and the 2014 Selah Award. Her novel, Taken Hostage, won the 2018 Stiletto Award in published romantic suspense. In addition to her novels, she blogs regularly at Redwood’s Medical Edge and the Love Inspired blog. You can connect with Jordyn via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, her website and via e-mail at jordyn@jordynredwood.com.