Wednesday, July 31, 2019

#postRWA2019

Whew! I meant to upload this on Monday but I've been wiped out from my recent trip to NYC!
Every summer Romance Writer of America has its annual conference. Each year it is in a different city and a different part of the country. This year NYC. The hotel was smack dab in the middle of Times Square.


For four solid days I attended workshops, networked with fellow authors, editors and agents and had a blast. There was the Harlequin party, the RITA celebration, book signings, lunches, gatherings and searching Times Square for a K-9 officer.
Harlequin party with Susanne Dietze, me and Sharee Stover

Me and Lenora Worth with a handsome officer. But we couldn't find a dog!

At the RITA celebration with author Leah Vale

I won the grand prize at the READ BLISS party

At the Harlequin Party with the lovely Teri Wilson

Love Inspired editor Melissa Endlich loving on Chase, my signing mascot
The Love Inspired Authors and editors gathered for a meet and greet. Can you pick out your favorite authors? 

A fun way to end the week
The 2019 continuity authors with our editors. Maggie K. Black, Emily Rodmell, Shirlee McCoy, me, Lenora Worth, Laura Scott and Tina James.

At the Harlequin signing with Dana R. Lynn
Author Katy Lee and me with Times Square in the background

The Harlequin authors. I'm way in the back. Such a lovely group.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Sunday Scripture


I AM the Light of the World, William
Holman Hunt, 2851-1856, Manchester Art Gallery.
[PD-US]

Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he had finished,
one of his disciples said to him,
"Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples." 
He said to them, "When you pray, say:
Father, hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread
and forgive us our sins
for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us,
and do not subject us to the final test."

And he said to them, "Suppose one of you has a friend
to whom he goes at midnight and says,
'Friend, lend me three loaves of bread,
for a friend of mine has arrived at my house from a journey
and I have nothing to offer him,'
and he says in reply from within,
'Do not bother me; the door has already been locked
and my children and I are already in bed. 
I cannot get up to give you anything.'
I tell you,
if he does not get up to give the visitor the loaves
because of their friendship,
he will get up to give him whatever he needs
because of his persistence.

"And I tell you, ask and you will receive;
seek and you will find;
knock and the door will be opened to you. 
For everyone who asks, receives;
and the one who seeks, finds;
and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. 
What father among you would hand his son a snake
when he asks for a fish? 
Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg? 
If you then, who are wicked,
know how to give good gifts to your children,
how much more will the Father in heaven
give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?"
Luke 11:1-13

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, July 26, 2019

RWA 2019 by Dana R. Lynn

Hi friends! This week myself and many of the Love Inspired authors are at a conference called RWA...Romance Writer's of America . This is the largest conference for romance writers, published and aspiring, in the world. This year, the conference is in New York City. It's filled with classes for every step of the writing journey, opportunities to socialize with editors, agents and other writers, all who share a passion for words. And food! So far, I've eaten authentic Italian, French and a variety of delicious desserts. I thought  I'd share with you some of the highlights so far.

The journey started with a train ride from Greensburg Pennsylvania with the amazing Lee Tobin McClain. We got some writing done, but we also had some fun chatting. We ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch.

The Harlequin book signing Thursday morning was a blast.

Lee, Rachel Dylan, Piper Huguley and I taught a class called Not Your Mother's Inspirational Romance. So much fun!

I  was thrilled to meet up with so many friends.

Maggie K Black, Debby Giusti and I got together for a photo. We had done the Amish Witness Protection series together at the beginning of the year.

It was great spending time with  so many other friends. Thursday afternoon many of the authors write Amish romance from a variety of publishers got together for lunch.

The conference is still going on. I will be posting more pictures on social media next week, as  am sure many others will do.

In the comments, I would love to hear about some of your favorite adventures with friends, conference related or other. Until later!

Blessings!
Dana

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Getting Back to Nature--Kayaking Style

by Lisa Jordan, @lisajordan


My husband is on vacation this week, so yesterday, we loaded up our kayaks and headed to a nearby state park where we spent the afternoon paddling the lake and neighboring stream. 

Stately pines, spindly birch, lush elms, and sturdy maples stood like sentries as sunlight glistened across the glassy water turning it silver and gluttonous clouds in a bright blue sky mirrored the surface. Bullfrogs and songbirds provided nature's symphony as we sliced through the water flanked with grasses, downed limbs, and wildflowers crowned in a rainbow of color. Jewel-toned dragonflies flitted across my bow and played tag with the golden monarch butterflies. Overhead, a hawk dipped and soared looking for prey.

We floated over a wooden footbridge, past beaver dams, muskrat lodgings, and weathered wood duck boxes and docked to enjoy a picnic lunch along the bank. A school of minnows scurried through the shallow water and a lazy trout rested in the camouflaged shade of a fallen tree. 


On the way back to shore, we startled a young doe who stared at us with her large brown eyes before darting into the foliage. 



After a busy week (month), taking time from our busy schedules and getting back to nature kayaking style was the perfect way to spend the afternoon. We set aside our screens and to-do lists just to be together doing something we enjoy together. 

How do you like to spend quality time with those you love?

Season of Hope
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?


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, released 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 being creative. Visit her at lisajordanbooks.com.



Wednesday, July 24, 2019

God's Pop-up Windows


             I love advent calendars. I like popping open those little windows every day to see what’s behind. My kids liked the books that had those little flaps that you would open to find surprises pictures. One of the best parts of writing a novel is all the unexpected surprises that pop up along the way. Most of us have to submit a synopsis to our editors when we start a new book which mean we have to know the beginning, the middle, and he end of the story. There’s a lot of detailed thinking that goes into that synopsis. Not only does the plot have to be laid out, but the characters have to be crafted too with all their good and bad qualities, and their internal hang-ups that will keep the couple apart until the end. Those twists and turns and happily-ever-after’s have to be designed ahead of time. Some of us are plotters, which mean we like to have a clear road map to follow when we start writing. Others are pantser’s – seat of the pants writers who let the story come to us as we write. Either way we can’t know everything. This is where the pop up comes in.

            As Christian writers we believe we are called by the Lord to share stories that encourage uplift and enlighten fellow believers. We also believe that he has his hand in our work. He gave us the desire to write and he whispers the ideas to us that we put down on paper. And he does it sometimes through those pop-up windows as we write.
      It’s one of the most exciting parts of putting a story together. Here’s how it works. We know our plot and we know our characters but as we write, sudden new information will pop up. We learn something unexpected about our character, or we realize the plot should go in a different direction. Sometimes the characters will refuse to go or do what we have planned and we have to take a step back and rethink, only to realize the new direction is exactly what the story needs.
Those moments are both exciting and inspiring. We are reminded that we are not writing this book alone. We’re being watched over and gently guided to craft the story He has in mind for us.
A short while ago I was writing the second book in a series I was struggling to get it to come together. My deadline was close and my editor offered to extend it but I refused. I wanted to meet my obligation. Besides, I had a feeling that someone, somewhere needed to hear this story. I’d never had that feeling before. I always pray that someone will be blessed and encouraged by my books. We all do but this was different. That week I heard something in the sermon that greatly encouraged me. I went back to work, it all came together and I made my deadline. Another pop-up gift from the Lord.
            These small moments of divine inspiration are the moments that give a writer joy. It’s hard work writing a book and receiving insights into our story and our characters make it possible for us to eagerly look forward to the next one.
                                   

            There are many pop-up moments from God in our lives if we look for them. A song lyric can shift your point of view, an article or a blog post can offer hope or maybe a solution to a problem you’ve been struggling with. Even television episodes can sometimes suggest present and idea for growth or change. And don’t forget the endless inspiration and insight from nature. And of course books.  

            The Lord is always in our plans, and when we get stuck He’ll quietly hand us a light for our next step or our next inspirational story.

            When has the Lord popped up a window in your life?

 Have a blessed day.  Lorraine Beatty


Monday, July 22, 2019

Get your sweet tooth ready!


Okay, people! Dana Mentink, here. I’m happy to bring you this breaking news...July 23  is National Vanilla Ice Cream Day! I know...right? You’re stoked! Me too...but in order to celebrate this amazing summer holiday appropriately, I feel like we need to learn some trivia. Since I’m researching the art of making ice cream for an upcoming writing proposal, it’s the perfect time to scoop up some fun facts and deliver them unto you! All right! So here they come!

1.  Vanilla is the most popular ice cream flavor.

2. Waffle cones were invented in 1904 when a traveling salesman encouraged an ice cream vendor to serve their ice cream on rolled up waffles when they ran out of paper dishes.

3.   The Haagen Daz brand was established by two Americans who made up a Danish sounding name. The words are not, in fact, real Danish words.

4.  New Zealand consumes more ice cream per capita than any other country.

5. The average American eats around 45 pints of ice cream per year.

All right! Now that we’ve enjoyed some sweet ice cream knowledge, it’s time for the ultimate question. What’s your favorite flavor and how do you like your ice cream? Scooped? In cups? In milkshakes? With toppings? Oh the choices! I can’t wait to hear your picks!

Dana’s latest book for Love Inspired Suspense is Danger on the Ranch.
Find out more about Dana’s latest book.







Summer Movie Report by Belle Calhoune



Happy Summer everyone! One of my favorite things about summer are the blockbuster movies. I've always loved going to the movies! I remember we had a blizzard when I was a kid and my sister and I were out from school for weeks. Many times my Dad took us to the movies and I vividly recall seeing Ice Castles and Pippi Longstocking. I still love watching Ice Castles whenever it's on.




When we go to Cape Cod we're able to travel to Wellfleet where there's an old-fashioned drive-in. It's a lot of fun and my kids always loved it when they were little. Not sure they'd still get a thrill out of it but I'm game for it. Two movies for the price of one, as well as the ability to sit in the back of the car with the back hatch up, feeling the cool Cape Cod air brush against my face. And since we arrive in our own cars we can bring as many snacks and drinks as we please. I've been going to drive-ins since I was a little kid and it never gets old.



           

I'm really excited to see The Farewell, a movie about a woman who travels to China because her grandmother is dying. Problem is, her entire family is hiding the truth about her terminal illness from the grandmother.




To All the Boys I've Loved Before. This is a great romantic film on Netflix. It's geared to the Young Adult crowd but I found it really charming. It's about a girl who enters into a fake relationship with a cute boy at her school....and then sparks fly. A very sweet romance. And not just for young adults.



Breakthrough was an amazing, inspirational movie about one woman's tremendous love for her son as he wages the fight of his life after a tragic accident. Speaks to miracles and the power of love. It's not in the theaters any longer but is available through Redbox.  You won't be disappointed in this one.





Although I saw Black Panther when it released in the movie theaters, I couldn't help but rewatch it on DVD. It's so good. I can't really keep up with all the interrelated Marvel movies so it was refreshing to be able to watch a single action hero movie and feel that it wasn't attached to a dozen other films. This movie is innovative and action-packed, along with having a lot of heart and a great diverse cast.



I was really looking forward to seeing Booksmart, along with my 23-year-old daughter. We finally were able to see it last weekend. Although parts of the movie were cute and it's a great premise of two high achieving students who want one night of fun before they graduate, there were many risque and sexual situations that detracted from the overall movie and message. *Disclaimer. Adult content.  If this is on your movie list, beware of adult content and numerous sexual situations.



The movie that I really loved was Little starring a very talented young actress, Marsai Martin. It's very sweet with a great message of being kind and appreciating one's life. It reminded me a little bit of the movie, Big, starring Tom Hanks.                                                                                               




The BIG one I'm looking forward to seeing is the live-action of LION KING. I'm so excited since the Disney one is an all-time favorite. And I love Beyonce so I can't wait to see her rendition of Nala. My girls are also excited about seeing it so we're all on the same page. Movie night! My husband isn't a   big movie goer, but even he's excited about revisiting the world of Simba and the ensemble cast.        




What's on your summer movie list? What movies have you seen this summer? Netflix or movie theater? Raisinets or M & M's?                                                                                                  

                                                 

                                                                          

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Sunday Scripture

Jesus at the home of Martha and Mary,
 by Tintoretto, 16th century, Germany. [PD-US]

Jesus entered a village 
where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him.
She had a sister named Mary
who sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak. 
Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said,
"Lord, do you not care
that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? 
Tell her to help me." 
The Lord said to her in reply,
"Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. 
There is need of only one thing. 
Mary has chosen the better part
and it will not be taken from her."
Luke 10:38-42


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, July 19, 2019

Never Will I Ever . . . by Jordyn Redwood


If you are like me, maybe you’ve used this phrase at certain times in your life as an adamant statement of refusal. The first time I used this phrase with meaning was my senior year of college. I said, “Never will I ever move to Kansas, Wyoming, Utah, or Nebraska.” Now before I offend every person that lives in those states know that I didn’t have any personal animosity it was just a strong personal preference.

     
Where did I end up living after nursing school? Kansas. For thirteen years. Thirteen amazing years. I met my husband there. I had my two daughters there. Kansas is where I learned that I loved pediatric nursing. Kansas is where I decided to work on fulfilling my dream of becoming an author. Now, Kansas holds a special place in my heart.

The next time I used this phrase was when I was thinking about what kind of books I would write. I’m a thriller girl. Suspense is what I read. This is what I write. “Never will I ever write romance.” I said this more than a few times. What happens? I feel a nudge to enter one of the Love Inspired contests. I did it begrudgingly. I did it to essentially get God off my back.
Fine. I’ll do this but stop keeping me up at night thinking about it. Okay? Deal.


That was three novels ago and I love my Love Inspired family. It was one of the best things that ever happened to my writing career.

I think when people who love God say this, He takes it as a personal challenge. He knows we’re against it . . . He also knows this is a way He can shine through us. A lot of people knew I didn’t want to write romance so now that I do they ask why. I can’t claim it was my desire to do it. It’s a story I share about how God kept me up one night about a contest that’s first deadline was three days away.

Hmm . . . three days. God does some amazing things in three days. 


As believers, God will use our lives so people can see Him. In our weakness, He shines! In those moments when we have said, “Never will I ever . . .” and we do that very thing, people will wonder why. 

I’m curious, have any of you ever said this statement and did God use you in a special way doing it?

Never will I ever
. . . be careful using those words. It may be the very thing God uses you to do.

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

Jordyn Redwood is a nursing supervisor by day, suspense novelist by night. She hosts Redwood’s Medical Edge, a blog devoted to helping authors write medically accurate fiction. Her first two medical thrillers, Proof and Poisongarnered starred reviews from Library JournalProof was shortlisted for the 2012 ForeWord Review’s BOTY Award2013 INSPY Award and the 2013 Carol AwardPoison shortlisted for the 2014 INSPY Award and the 2014 Selah Award. Her novel, Taken Hostage, won the 2018 Stiletto Award in published romantic suspense. Fugitive Spy recently finaled in the Selah award and the Stiletto Contest. In addition to her novels, she blogs regularly at Redwood’s Medical Edge and the Love Inspired blog. You can connect with Jordyn via FacebookTwitterPinterest, her website and via e-mail at jordyn@jordynredwood.com.