Monday, January 23, 2017

The New Year Reboot by Marta Perry

Come the first of January each year, we're bombarded with exhortations: New Year, New You; or Your First Year of Gym Membership Free! or Daily Exercise, the Key to a Happy Life; or any of a dozen other possibilities promising a new and improved version of yourself if only you'll adopt their plan.

Now, I don't know about you, but on the first of January I'm usually still walking around the Christmas tree, trying to avoid the argument over which football game claims precedence, and hoping to produce a New Year's Day dinner after a season of preparing too many big meals. I'm in no shape then to embark upon a program of self-improvement. No, I need to ease myself back into smarter eating, get rid of the leftover Christmas cookies while wondering why I ever thought anyone would eat that many, and sweep up the tinsel that's being trampled into the carpet.

As it happens, my birthday falls in January, so I've decided that it will serve as a good starting point for a period of self-improvement. If you're not fortunate enough to have a January 21st birthday, I'd suggest that Chinese New Year would work as well!

This year my efforts were helped by the birthday gift of a wondrous new planner from my son and daughter-in-law. No more dreary fake-leather cover in brown or black, but a gorgeous, multi-colored glossy cover that positively lures me into planning. What's more, it has sections for both work and personal goals, and daily grids that are actually big enough to write in. What a concept! Devoting a few minutes each morning into considering what can really be accomplished and finding an appropriate time slot gives me a sense of accomplishment before I've actually done anything!

Don't get me wrong--I know I still have to do the work. But why shouldn't I...or we...have a method of approaching it that brings us happiness?

Wishing you all the best in this new year,
Marta

Thursday, January 19, 2017

A little bit of Kindness

Hi Everyone! Danica Favorite here, and I am writing today about kindness.

For those of you who have been reading my books for a while, you know that the heroine of For the Sake of the Children, Rose Stone, was not always the most upstanding citizen in Leadville. She weathered a lot of scandal, and though she's changed in many ways, Rose still suffers the sting of her actions. Or at least, the way some people treat her because of her mistakes.

One of the themes that keeps popping up in my stories, especially as I write about the not-so-lovable characters getting happy endings, is the transformative power of love and kindness. Rose was able to overcome the bad things in her past because of the love and kindness shown to her by her family. And, as she learns in this book, learning how to offer that same level of forgiveness to herself.

I've been thinking a lot about the things in this world lately, and the state of affairs, and my heart is really sad because we tend towards using shame as a means of getting people to change their behavior. We think that if we shame someone on social media, they will change their tune and do what we want them to do. There are pictures and articles mocking people for their bad decisions, and everyone chimes in about these terrible people. But what if they aren't terrible people? I wonder what it would feel like if our worst mistakes were recorded and plastered all over social media for everyone to mock.

In all the times I've been shamed for something people didn't like, it has never been a means of changing my behavior for the positive. Rather, it becomes a reason for me to hide further into the darkness, and has caused a lot of damage in my life. When I think about positive changes in my life, and ways I've turned from sin or even just not great behavior, the real cause of the change has been the receipt of kindness. There was a time in my life when I'd been so shamed that I couldn't accept kindness, and I lashed out at those who would offer it to me, because I thought it came with strings. But slowly, the more I saw kindness from others and accepted it as a gift, the more I learned that it was okay for others to be kind to me, and more importantly, for me to be kind to others.

And that, my friends, is really the way of Jesus. When faced with sinners and people who did wrong, he didn't mock them or create memes about how stupid they were, He loved them. He offered them kindness in times when others were turning their backs and treating them like they were nothing.

I want my books, and hopefully, my life, to reflect that kind of love. Trust me, I still fail as often as I succeed. But more and more, when it's tempting to open my mouth, I think about what it means to offer kindness instead of more shame. Sometimes, all I can do is keep my mouth shut, because I don't know what the kind response would be. Are there things happening in this world that would make Jesus angry? Absolutely. But I think He is often heartbroken at how we respond, in kind, by not by being kind.

My hope for you, and for this world, is that we can all learn to break free of the shame that holds us back, and learn a different way of responding. As you read about how Rose experienced transformation in her life, I hope you are reminded that the thing that made a difference in her life was the love and kindness shown to her by others. More importantly, I hope you remember the ultimate source of that love and kindness. And, as you're faced with the nastiness out there, you can find a way in your heart to offer kindness instead of shame.


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Allie Pleiter on Tough Heroes with Soft Centers

One of my favorite types of romance heroes is the tough guy who struggles with “a soft center.”  I love a man of strength and honor who can never quite figure out how to shoulder the depth of his caring.  And I love the woman who brings that affection out from under his crusty exterior.
My hero for The Rancher’s Texas Twins has just that dynamic.  Lone Star Cowboy League President Gabe Everett is a serious man of duty.  The two mischievous little girls who end up staying on his ranch, however, don’t see “Mr. Boots” that way.  Their non-stop onslaught of “tiny pinkness”  opens this cowboy’s heart in a way that is sure to melt yours. Children have such a gift for tearing down the walls we build around ourselves, don’t you think?

It was great fun to wrap up the popular Lone Star Cowboy League: Boys Ranch series with this book. Gabe, and the lovely young mother Avery who holds the key to saving the boys ranch, are a perfect match—even if it takes a pair of adorable twins to convince them.


What about you?  What heroes are your favorites?  If you’ve enjoyed the Lone Star Cowboy League: Boys Ranch series, which books have the heroes who have won your heart?

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

What’s Warm And Sweet And Tailor Made For The January Cold?


The Answer: A good Love Inspired book.

The holidays are officially over, the decorations all put up, (have you put yours away yet?), and it’s cold out, (even in Texas).

With so many good books to choose from, where do you start? How about by saving 20% on any Love Inspired, Love Inspired Suspense, or Love Inspired Historical?
 
Just go to the website, http://www.harlequin.com/store.html?cid=623302  and scroll down until you see the ad, "Save 20% off any Love Inspired, Love Inspired Historical or Love Inspired Suspense title with code LINSP20**".

You can also get a free Love Inspired Suspense download of Laura Scott’s Under the Lawman's Protection until January 31st here:  http://www.harlequin.com/storeitem.html?iid=55407
 
 
And you can read Linda Ford’s Love Inspired Historical, Her Honor-Bound Cowboy online for free here:  http://www.harlequin.com/articlepage.html?articleId=1882&chapter=1

 
 
 
So, if it’s cold where you are, like it is here in Texas, why not curl up with a good Love Inspired book and get lost in something warm and sweet.

 

All the best…

 

Mary Alford

 

 
Deadly Memories – Coming June 2017 to Love Inspired Suspense.

WOMAN WITHOUT A PAST 

Amnesia may be keeping Ella Weiss from remembering her past—but not from saving the little boy who's been her fellow prisoner the last seven years. After managing to escape her cell, all she wants is to find where little Joseph is being kept. Instead she runs straight into CIA agent Kyle Jennings. Kyle isn't sure if Ella is actually a kidnap victim or if she's working for the gunrunner he's been after. One thing he is certain of is her uncanny resemblance to the wife he thought he'd buried. To save a child's life and stop a terrorist from slipping through his fingers, he'll need to uncover the secrets of Ella's past—and whether or not she's really the woman he's never stopped loving.

 
Rocky Mountain Pursuit - *** Publishers Weekly Bestseller ***

Available now at: Love Inspired Suspense
IDENTITY: CONFIDENTIAL
Everyone believes agent Jase Bradford is dead—everyone but Reyna Peterson. Only he can protect her now that someone wants the information her CIA husband died to secure.


Forgotten Past - Available now at: Love Inspired Suspense
LOST MEMORIES
Faith McKenzie was the only survivor of a brutal home invasion. Viciously attacked and left for dead, Faith can't remember anything about that night—including the identity of the killer.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Win 40+ Love Inspired Romances and a Kindle Fire!

Hello lovely readers of Love Inspired books, Terri Reed here, sharing with you a fun promotion some of the Love Inspired Authors are doing. Click on the link below to enter the giveaway.
There are so many wonderful authors and books that could be yours. My offering is Murder Under the Mistletoe, my November 2015 Christmas suspense.

https://www.booksweeps.com/enter-win-40-love-inspired-romances/?mc_cid=4ec9993fc9&mc_eid=b4760e7612



Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Allie Pleiter's super-easy Christmas treat

I'm not much of a baker.  While I love desserts, I'm more about eating them than making them.  So, I'm always on the lookout for snacks and desserts that are easy and fun.  Here's one that has been a staple in the Pleiter household since the kids were tiny:

Reindeer Eyeballs
About the silly name--back when it was highly amusing to little minds, we used to make them with pretzel rings so that with a single M&M in the middle they did look like eyes.  Now that we're older and more dignified (supposedly) we make them with square pretzels and four M&Ms.  But the name simply refuses to go away....

Ingredients:
1 package Christmas M&Ms
1 package vanilla almond bark
1 package pretzel "snaps"--or any shape that amuses you


1.  Lay out pretzels on wax paper.
2.  Working in small batches, melt one or two blocks at a time of the almond bark in the microwave until it is a pudding-like consistency.
3.  Using a spoon, dab a glob of almond bark onto (or in the spaces of) each pretzel.
4.  Arrange M&Ms on the almond bark and let cool.

This is a salty-sweet snack that is a holiday must-have around our house.  I hope you enjoy it!

--Allie

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Do You Believe in Miracles?

Deb Kastner here with a holiday question.
 Do you believe in miracles?
My family has been through SO much this year that my answer is an unqualified YES.

First, my husband had a double-stroke in September. The first stroke was immediately treated and we thought the worst of it was over, but then he was sent down to get an MRI and stroked again. He truly thought he was going to die in that moment, but God brought him back. He's still needed on earth, and I think the Lord every day for that. Even with his new disability, every day I spend with him is a blessing.

Then my mother had back surgery and there were moments that were touch and go. I'm nowhere near ready to say goodbye to my mother, and am happy to say that, while she's still in pain, she's recovering.

And last week my youngest daughter, with my five-year-old grandson in the car, had a major automobile accident. Her car was totaled, and yet they walked away, not totally unscathed, but considering what her car looks like, with relatively small injuries. She has a painful case of whiplash in her neck, shoulders and back, and one hand is in a splint, but for what it could have been, we're thankful. And the highlight of my grandson Boo's day was riding in the firetruck, with nothing more than a cut on his neck where the seat belt was.

Let's just say my family's guardian angels have been working overtime.

And in a most unexpected reminder of Christmas miracles, my Christmas cactus bloomed--at Christmastime! I have the blackest thumb ever and if it blooms, which is rarely, it's always been around Easter.

In my latest release, Mistletoe Daddy, Nick and Vivian are awaiting a miracle of their own. I'll bet you can guess from the cover what that is!

 Christmas is a time for miracles. Has God been working in a special way in your life?