Thursday, February 28, 2019

The Inspiration of Home

As an author, I am often asked what sparked the idea for my novel. I think most authors would agree the inspiration for each book is as unique as each individual writer. Ideas are mined from everywhere—running the gamut from everyday experiences to the evening news. Callie and Jake's story was actually inspired by "real life events"—the real life of a friend. 

When my friend was a toddler, her father was deployed for a very long time during the Vietnam War. Her mother was afraid she wouldn’t remember him when he returned. So as they went through their normal routine each day, her mother talked about her dad a lot. For example—

"This blue flower reminds me of Daddy. Blue is Daddy’s favorite color."
"Let's have an apple for our snack today. Daddy loves red apples the best."
"Hear that song on the radio, sweetie? This is Daddy's favorite song . . ."

And sure enough, when her family was reunited at the Welcome Home ceremony, my friend wasn’t shy at all. She ran right up to the man her mother hadn’t let her forget while he was serving his country.

My friend shared this sweet story years ago, but it stuck with me. What a clever and creative way to keep her absent father real and present in her small child’s mind. This idea was the seed that blossomed into His Secret Daughter, the first novel in my new Love Inspired series. I really, really, really love the cover. Wouldn't we all like to have some pink boots like Maisie's?

Welcome to Truelove, North Carolina—Where True Love Awaits. This fun, new romantic series is set in the breathtakingly lovely Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.

Though the course of true love doesn’t always run smooth, never fear. The Truelove Matchmakers are there to make sure everyone finds their true happily-ever-after.

He just found out he’s a father…
But is he ready to be a dad?

When veteran Jake McAbee learns he has a daughter, he’s determined to raise the adorable toddler. But Maisie’s foster mom, Callie Jackson, insists Jake stay at her orchard until he’s prepared for fatherhood. While Jake and Maisie bond, the trio begins to feel like family. Could the best home for Maisie be the one Jake and Callie create together?

 Order here.

Like so many, Jake is searching for home. This story is also about trusting God. With the good. With the bad. With everything.

Home. What images does that word create in your mind? For some, the memories are good. For others, memories of home are extremely painful. But I believe the longing for home is at the core of who we are as humans.

As Jake discovers at Apple Valley Farm, no matter how tragic the past or present, God has a place of belonging for each of us. And I believe no matter where you’ve been, no matter where you are right now, no matter what you’ve done—that God can take what is broken and make it into something beautiful. In fact, I think He delights in bringing beauty out of brokenness.

Why did I write this story? Because it is my prayer that no matter where you’ve been, no matter where you are right now, no matter what you’ve done—that you will ultimately find in Him your Home. The happily-ever-after for which you were truly made.

I'm so excited about this new series. I hope you will be, too.

Happy Reading,

As a Southern romance writer, Lisa has definite opinions on serious issues like barbeque, ACC basketball and the whole Pepsi vs. Coke controversy. When she isn't writing, Lisa enjoys traveling to romantic locales. She also enjoys quilting and researching her next romantic adventure.

Join her mailing list for info on book happenings at Newsletter. Follow her on BookBub to receive notices about new releases.  

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

What Makes a Hero? by Virginia Vaughan

A few months ago, my mom and I stopped in a local fast-food restaurant for an early lunch while out running errands. After we were seated, a man walked into the store and began yelling that someone had parked too close to his car. He demanded to know the person who’d done it. Another man in the back of the dining room stood up, admitted to owning the offending vehicle and apologized. I thought that would be the end of it, but nope. The first guy then started screaming at this other man and rushing at him. Things were about to get ugly.

The abrupt silence and tension in the restaurant were thick. Everyone had stopped and turned when the man entered and started shouting. My mom and I were seated only a few tables away from the man who stood to apologize, certainly closer to him than anyone else in the room. My mind was racing with what to do as the situation escalated in what seems to me now to be slow motion. Fear and uncertainty gripped me. Did he have a gun? Was he about to go on a shooting rampage? Honestly, just the thought of a physical altercation between these two men terrified me.

I glanced around the dining room. It was early and the lunch crowd had not yet ascended. The patrons were mostly older couples who appeared as frightened as I was. Then I spotted them. Three men stood at the drink machine. I can’t describe them physically and I couldn’t identify them from a lineup but I vividly recall what they did. Without hesitation or discussion, they each put down the food trays they were carrying and crossed the dining room towards the man causing the commotion. They meant to intervene.

Thankfully, they didn’t have to. Before they reached him, the man spewed a few more angry remarks then turned and stormed out of the restaurant. The three men returned for their food trays and settled at a table to enjoy their lunch.

Life went on like nothing had happened and we soon left to finish our errands. However, this incident has stayed with me. I recall it so vividly. The way shock and fear settled over everyone else and the lack of hesitation on the part of these three men. They were ready to step forward and deal with this potential threat. I saw it in their faces They had rushed towards the problem while everyone else had backed away from it.

They were not police officers whose job it was to intervene and to my knowledge, they didn’t have weapons. They were simply ordinary men who chose to run towards danger when everyone else shied away from it. In short, they were heroes. They didn’t have to act to prove their bravery that day, but it didn’t change the fact that their intention was to act. I know it. I witnessed it.

As an author, I write about heroes all day long. I make up dangerous situations to toss my heroes into. After this incident, I did some research on the subject and found a hundred different ideas about what makes a good hero, but I’ve simply come up with my own definition.

A hero runs towards danger to stop it when everyone else is running away.

Their bravery and courage that day will live in my heart and mind because I know that in this day and age, it could have been worse. That man could have had a gun. We could have witnessed something traumatic or, worse, our lives could have been in danger. But, if that had happened, I also knew I wasn’t alone and I’m thankful to the everyday heroes that live in our midst.

Check out books 1 and 2 in my Covert Operatives series before the next story releases in July.

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.
This Christmas could be her last…

Unless Covert Operatives shield her

Prosecutor and single mom Melinda Steele thought her nightmare ended when her abusive husband died, but now someone wants her dead by Christmas. Navy SEAL turned security operative Noah Cason needs her to get justice in his sister’s disappearance, but first he’ll have to keep her alive. And his mission shifts from difficult to almost impossible when Melinda reveals who she suspects is really after

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  and be the first to know when a new story arrives.

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Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Series or no Series - Laura Scott

Hello from chilly Wisconsin! Let's play find the retaining wall! Here's a photo of my patio where there is normally a retaining wall behind my bushes. Don't see one? Hmm. Neither do I!

Enough talking about the weather, yes more snow expected today) let's pose a question to the readers out there:  Do you like reading a series or stand alone stories?

This month the last book in my Callahan Confidential Series has been released. Protecting His Secret Son is available now.

Personally I'm a big fan of series books, which is why I tend to write them. I tend to get hooked on the secondary characters in my stories who won't leave me alone until I write their own happily every after.

However I'm well aware that others may not feel the same way.

Which do you prefer? And if you like a series, do you prefer a character type of series say for example a group of firefighters or cops, or a family series?

Inquiring minds want to know.

In the meantime we are praying for spring! (you can see the hidden wall here.)

Laura Scott

Monday, February 25, 2019

My book is being made into a movie! Dreams really do come true! By Belle Calhoune

I've been celebrating some pretty fabulous news for the past few weeks.  One of my books (An Alaskan Christmas) is being made into a tv movie by Brain Power Studios.  They have a partnership with Harlequin where they've bought books and brought them to life on the small screen. Whee!  This exciting development was totally unexpected! Receiving this news definitely is a career highlight.  I'm very thankful for this wonderful opportunity.

I keep thinking of Psalm 37:4.  "Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart."

The best things in life always seem to come straight out of the blue when we’re not expecting it.  Like most authors, I’ve fantasized about the movie version of one of my books.  But I never dreamed of the way in which it would all come about.  Little did I know that the movie had been cast and filmed already by the time I found out. The only downside is that I didn't get to go on set and watch the action.  Maybe next time. See! I'm an optimist.

The genesis of my idea came from the old tv show Northern Exposure.  I loved the Alaskan town and the quirky characters.  I started brainstorming about a quaint Alaskan town in need of love.  What if there was a shortage of women? What if there was an irascible town mayor who was the patriarch of one of the founding families? What if he created Operation Love in order to bring single women to town for the male bachelors?  Bingo.  An idea had hatched.  Characters were creeping their way into my brain.  Love, Alaska was a fully-developed town.

As a writer, I deal with writing challenges all the time.   I loved writing this series.  It was FUN.  And it taught me something.  Writing should be fun.  Because the characters in this seven-book series poured out of my soul.  And there were many days when I laughed out loud at the antics of my beloved characters.  That's what I strive for as a entertain my readers and myself.  It makes the journey all the sweeter.

So far, the details have been scant about the movie.  But that’s all right, since it has allowed me to play junior detective online.  I managed to find some fun pictures of the actors-actresses and the snowy setting.  I know it was filmed in three locations in Canada....Barrie, Thornton and Creemore).

This is my hero Finn O'Rourke played by Victor Zinck Jr. I think he's all types of gorgeous.

This actress (Kimberly Sue Murrary ) plays a character named Andrea and appears to be getting top billing, although my heroine is named Maggie.  I think it's possible they changed her name and this is the heroine. She's starred in a number of tv movies and is lovely.

This actress, Lanette Ware, is confirmed as playing the role of Hazel, who owns the Black Bear Cabins in the town of Love and is a den mother of sorts to the women who come to town.

Here's a picture of Kym Johnson (from Dancing with the Stars) filming on set in Canada. Notice the seaplanes in the background? Finn is a pilot.  I have no idea who she's playing but the IMDB page says her name is Emma in the film but I didn't have a grown-up Emma.  Emma was a baby.  LOL

I'm thrilled to see the movie when it comes out (December of 2019?) and I hope to soon have more details to share with everyone.  Some of the actresses were using the hashtag #uptv so I'm thinking maybe it will land there as well as Netflix.  I can't wait to find out.  Blessings! 

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Sunday Scripture

Jan Luyken etching of the Parable of the Fig Tree, Bowyer Bible, Bolton, England.
[Free Art License.]

Some people told Jesus about the Galileans
whose blood Pilate had mingled with the blood of their sacrifices.
Jesus said to them in reply, 
"Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way 
they were greater sinners than all other Galileans?
By no means!
But I tell you, if you do not repent,
you will all perish as they did!
Or those eighteen people who were killed 
when the tower at Siloam fell on them—
do you think they were more guilty 
than everyone else who lived in Jerusalem?
By no means!
But I tell you, if you do not repent,
you will all perish as they did!"

And he told them this parable: 
"There once was a person who had a fig tree planted in his orchard, 
and when he came in search of fruit on it but found none,
he said to the gardener,
'For three years now I have come in search of fruit on this fig tree 
but have found none.
So cut it down.
Why should it exhaust the soil?'
He said to him in reply,
'Sir, leave it for this year also, 
and I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it; 
it may bear fruit in the future.
If not you can cut it down.'"
Luke 13:1-9

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.

Sunday Scripture

Sermon on the Mount, by Carl Bloch, 1877, Denmark. [PD-US]

Jesus said to his disciples:
“To you who hear I say,
love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,
bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
To the person who strikes you on one cheek,
offer the other one as well,
and from the person who takes your cloak,
do not withhold even your tunic.
Give to everyone who asks of you,
and from the one who takes what is yours do not demand it back.
Do to others as you would have them do to you.
For if you love those who love you,
what credit is that to you?
Even sinners love those who love them.
And if you do good to those who do good to you,
what credit is that to you?
Even sinners do the same.
If you lend money to those from whom you expect repayment,
what credit is that to you?
Even sinners lend to sinners,
and get back the same amount.
But rather, love your enemies and do good to them,
and lend expecting nothing back;
then your reward will be great
and you will be children of the Most High,
for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.
Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

“Stop judging and you will not be judged.
Stop condemning and you will not be condemned.
Forgive and you will be forgiven.
Give, and gifts will be given to you;
a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing,
will be poured into your lap.
For the measure with which you measure
will in return be measured out to you.” 
Luke 6:27-38

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.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Unpacking in the Dark, by Katy Lee

I write suspense. Nail-biting, tension-filled, and yes, sometimes dark suspense. But dark doesn’t necessarily mean gory and brutal. In fact, it shouldn’t unless there is a valid reason for those elements to be in the story. If there isn’t, then twisted components only bring a shock factor to the story that take away from the true emotion or idea that wants to shine through the darkness. Do the situations scream uncertainty, insecurity, inner fears and guilt? Those are the true elements of a dark setting. Those will evoke feelings and aid the reader in facing those feelings, even when they may make people uncomfortable. In fact, if discomfort comes into play, there may be something there to unpack.
When I wrote my book Blindsided, I took on the dark world of human trafficking. My editor feared the topic wouldn’t resonate with readers because of its nefarious influence. It’s not a memory or emotion most can identify with, and when the topic or theme is obscure it becomes an unbelievable story. It will be a story that is pushed aside and seen as fake. But say a character covers her scars from the world because she believes they will make others uncomfortable . . . just as the topic of human trafficking can cause. Covering the truth only instills shame and fear and leaves a person in the shadows with no hope.

And so, when I wrote Blindsided, I broached this shadowy world of human trafficking from the visual of a bright pink silk scarf hiding the truths that cause discomfort. But once that scarf came off, the darkness was brought into the light and could now be dealt with.

This is the reason for dark novels. They help us take down those boxes on the shelves we’ve avoided. The ones filled with uncertainty, insecurity, inner fears and guilt—and sometimes even shame. They force us to face the dark corners of our life, and when we do, we can hopefully put those boxes back on the shelf empty.

One of my favorite dark novels is The Book Thief. The fact that Death is the narrator of this story, could make many shut the book on page one. It sets the stage that this story will take the reader into the uncomfortable corners of life. But a well-thought-out dark novel will also bring out so much wisdom into the light.

Do you have any dark novels that have resonated with you? I’d love to hear how they affected you, and if they had a Happily Ever After—because not all of them do. Still, don’t always be afraid of the dark, because even if they don’t have the happy ending, they should offer hope for one.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Best Seller Lists and What They Mean to Authors!

 By Debby Giusti

Anyone who enjoys reading probably knows about the New York Times Best Seller List. Certain booksellers send their stats to the NY Times and the data is compiled to determine the placement of the top-selling books, both fiction and non-fiction, each week. Regrettably the NY Times has discontinued including category romance – romance stories published monthly – from their lists.

However, two other important lists feature category romance: the USA Today Best Sellers List and the Publishers Weekly Bestsellers List. Authors are always thrilled when their books “make” one of the lists. Editors are happy too!

On Monday, I learned that my February release, Amish Safe House, the second book in the new Love Inspired Suspense Amish Witness Protection Continuity, made the Publishers Weekly Bestseller List. I’ve had three previous books recognized as PW bestsellers and am always touched by the honor, most especially because having a book on the list means readers across the country are buying—and hopefully enjoying—my stories.

Today, I want to say thank you to my wonderful readers. You’re the reason I write. Your comments on Facebook, your reviews on Amazon, your emails and notes of support mean so much to me. Often you share details from your own lives, the highs and the lows. You allow me to pray for your special needs and you keep me in your prayers as well. As important as it is to have readers, I consider you even more. You’re friends. Close friends who share a common love of story.

Thank you hardly seems adequate to express my appreciation as well as my love for all of you! I’m humbled and so very grateful!

Happy Reading!

Wishing you abundant blessings,
Debby Giusti

Hiding in Plain Sight
The second thrilling Amish Witness Protection novel

After Julia Bradford’s son witnesses a gang shooting, hiding in witness protection on Abraham King’s Amish farm is the only hope the Englischer and her children have. Even as danger closes in, Julia is drawn to the community’s peaceful ways—and the ex-cop turned Amish protector. But when their location is discovered, can Abraham protect her family…and possibly have a future by her side?

Order HERE!

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

There's nothing like a happy ending!

Hi Everyone, Danica Favorite here, and I have to tell you how much I love a happy ending! That's why I write romance. Today's happy ending is special to me, and I had to share it with you. You might remember in previous blogs that I asked for prayers for our horse, Ava. I've been keeping you all updated, and today's update is the best of all.

Ava is completely healed!!

She'll always have scars on her legs, and we have to slowly work her back up to where she was, but my daughters rode her again for the first time this week. We didn't get pictures in all the excitement, but I'm sure there will be plenty in the future.

 It's so amazing to me, remembering how we weren't sure she'd even make it, and to just hope that we'd have a pasture horse, to know having hope of her being ridden again. We still have to take it slow, and she's still not yet fully back with our other horses, but we're working on it. So, soon.

But here's the other wonderful part. The vet thanked us for not giving up on Ava. I didn't know what that meant, but then I found out that most people would have put her down, especially with how grim things looked. I had asked about it, but only in terms of whether or not she'd needlessly suffer. It had never occurred to me that some people wouldn't have wanted to take care of her injuries and nurse her back to health, not knowing if she'd ever be able to be ridden again. Some friends of ours were at the vet's, and another horse had come in, with similar, but not as bad, leg injuries as Ava. The people didn't know what to do, and the vet pulled out pictures of Ava and her recovery, and our friends joined in, and they all told the people about how, with a lot of love, and a little patience, their horse can recover, just like Ava did. We didn't just save Ava, but we saved this other horse, and countless others who go in to one of the few horse surgeons, looking to save their horse.

I know people don't always get happy endings, but can I tell you that there is nothing like the feeling of participating in one.

And that is why I write romance.

Speaking of romance, my first release for Love Inspired is out this month, Her Cowboy Inheritance. I'm very excited to share Three Sisters Ranch with you, and it should come as no surprise that those stories are all about getting a second chance.

About the book:

A new life. A new start.
And a new love at the
Three Sisters Ranch

Inheriting a ranch with her two sisters is the fresh start widowed mom Leah Holloway desperately needs. The problem? Leah knows nothing about ranching. And the only person willing to teach her is Shane Jackson, the handsome and oh-so-infuriating cowboy next door. Trusting each other means they’ll risk everything—including a connection that might just blossom into something dangerously real…

About Danica:

A self-professed crazy chicken lady, Danica Favorite loves the adventure of living a creative life. She and her family recently moved in to their dream home in the mountains above Denver, Colorado.  Danica loves to explore the depths of human nature and follow people on the journey to happily ever after. Though the journey is often bumpy, those bumps are what refine imperfect characters as they live the life God created them for. Oops, that just spoiled the ending of all of Danica’s stories. Then again, getting there is all the fun.

You can connect with Danica at the following places:

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