Monday, March 20, 2017

Springtime.....maybe, and a renewal of faith

by Roanne Rustand

This has been a confusing winter!  The red wing blackbirds came back during a long stretch of warm and sunny days in early March, the trees started  budding and our hostas burst up from the wood chip mulch by our garage,  Then we got our first measurable snow...more warm days..and now a cold snap is on its way.  Still, it seems like spring is around the corner  and I am eagerly awaiting the appearance of all the roses we planted last year.  Without anything colorful to photograph in our yard, I am slipping in a photograph I took of a bouquet on our kitchen table.  But I can dream about what is to come!  Do you like to garden?  What do you grow?

New beginnings of spring...and some sad changes, too.  My husband and I belong to a Bible study group, and one of the members is now in hospice. We hadn't seen her for quite a while, but signed up on the online Meal Train site, to join other friends in bringing the family meals. and last night we brought them supper. Our friend and her husband are the loveliest people, so kind and welcoming and giving; people of deep faith, yet we arrived feeling sad and just wanted to be careful to not intrude for too long.  We soon realized that in our expectations, we had totally underestimated our friend.

Despite being in bed now, cared for by hospice and her family, she was filled with gratitude for every aspect of her life past and present--so thankful for every extra day she has been given to be with her friends and family, deeply grateful to the Lord for the joy she feels here on earth and over what is yet to come.  We went hoping we could uplift her in some way, but left feeling as if we'd experienced the Lord's love and peace through her ministry to us. What a gift she is to everyone who visits her--what a testimony she is to the presence of God here on earth and power of faith.

Today, as I  think again and again about this wonderful, sweet woman, I find myself wanting to be a better focus more on my own faith and on ways I could help someone else.  And, it also reminds me of what a blessing it is to be able to reach others, in some small way,  through the books all of us with the Love Inspired line are writing.

Have you had people in your life who have deeply touched you, and helped you on your own faith journey?

Wishing you all blessings and peace,
Roxanne Rustand

USA Today Bestselling Author
Falling for the Rancher, LI       6/2017
An Aspen Creek Christmas, LI 11/2016
The Single Dad's Redemption, Love Inspired 7/2016 

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Things That Go Bump In The Night

What scares you? We each have something that makes us fearful. Sometimes it a figment of our imagination. And somethings it’s the real life horror story we’re going through.

When I was fairly young, I saw the older version of Night of the Living Dead with some friends at an outdoor movie theater, and let me tell you, it scared me and gave me a few nightmares as well as sleepless night. Looking back, I’m wondering if that’s what got me interested in writing suspense.  

While there are dozens of things that scare us when the sun goes down…an unknown bump in the night, a noise that sounds like a footsteps. A light that could be the beam of a flashlight.

But as many unexplained terrors as there are out there, real life fears can be much more frightening. A death of someone close to you renders you paralyzed with grief. Financial worries that makes for many sleepless nights. A critical illness that can bring you to your knees.
Whether our fears are real or imagined, the one constant that stand the test of time is that no matter what we’re going through, God is there with us through it all.

John 14:1-3 says, Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God[a]; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

So whatever you’re facing, know that you are not alone no matter what. Even when something goes bump in the night.


All The Best…


Mary Alford


Deadly Memories – Coming June 2017


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.

Available at Amazon:



Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Good Morning by Leann Harris

I am not a morning person. I taught for a long time and had to leave the house around 7AM. Once I stopped teaching, I didn't keep up the early routine. I wake later but isn't my optimum time. Talk to me around noon.) But these last few weeks as I'm making hot tea in the morning, I look out in my yard and see all the daffodils and hyacinth and papperwhites blooming. They greet me and it's as if God says good morning. It makes me smile.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Keeping Up with Covers by Marta Perry

Do you judge a book by its cover? I know that observations in bookstores have shown a similar pattern in how potential readers browse in bookstores. I've seen it myself, and so have you. The reader goes first to the desired section--romance, mystery, sci fi, etc. (For me, this comes after a stop at the cafe to have a Chai Latte.) Then a quick glance over the shelves. The eye settles on a book, attracted by either the cover, the title, or the author's name. Next step--pick it up. Most people then flip the book over to read the back cover copy. If they're still interested, they'll open it and read the first page. And then?

Well, some people will jump to the end of the book to make sure that the ending is happy--after all, no one wants to invest hours reading a book only to discover that a favorite character dies in the end! Unless, of course, that's the sort of book you've looking for.

And then the book is tucked under the arm while the browsing continues, following the same routine over and over.

But wait! How many of us now have a bookstore within easy reach? My small town used to boast two independent bookstores, in addition to the college bookstore and the Waldenbooks at the local mall. Where are they now? Gone in the blink of an eye. Even Walmart has stopped carrying the large selection of books they once did. So what's a book-lover to do?

If you're like me, you're probably buying most of your books online now. What is the role of the usual browsing? Do the same parameters apply?

Honestly, I don't know the answer to that question. I find that as a reader, I've been stung too many times in downloading a book which had an appealing cover and induced a reaction similar to throwing the book across the room, except that I don't toss my Kindle. So my answer has been to gravitate over and over to familiar author names. I search by author, not by category, and when I'm lucky, I find a book I either haven't read or read so long again that I'd enjoy reading it again.

You'll notice I'm providing only questions, no answers! How do you pick the books and authors you're willing to take a chance on? Do you rely on the cover more or less than when browsing in a bookstore?

If anyone has an answer, I'd love to hear it. In the meantime, I can only hope that the cover to my upcoming HQN Book, ECHO OF DANGER, releasing April 24th, says "Buy me! Buy me!" to fans of romantic suspense!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Redeeming The Time

This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately and I hope that I get better at redeeming the moments that make up my life. If you are like me, it’s so easy to get caught up with the day to day things to be done that you can forget to enjoy the little moments that make life special.

Sure, the birthdays, the holidays, the graduations that come into our lives are easy to remember and keep up with, but those fall on only a few days of the year. There’s plenty of other moments that sometimes get lost in the worries of the day.

Like a breathtaking sunset streaked with color. Or the beauty of the outdoors.

A simple smile or touch of someone you love. These are all ways of redeeming the moment.

For me, I find so much blessings in redeeming the moments I have with my granddaughters. They are all unique and special and they bring so many happy moments to my life.

Baking with my granddaughters is one way that I redeem the time we have together. One of our favorite recipes to make is chocolate chip cookies. So I thought I’d share the recipe I found on with you. It is awesome and my girls love it.


Outrageous Chocolate Chip Cookies

Prep 15 m. Cook 10 m. Ready In 25 m


1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup white sugar

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 egg

 1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup rolled oats

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

I add chopped pecans as well. 


1Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

2In a medium bowl, cream together the butter, white sugar and brown sugar until smooth. Stir in the peanut butter, vanilla and egg until well blended. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; stir into the batter just until moistened. Mix in the oats and chocolate chips until evenly distributed. Drop by tablespoonfuls on to lightly greased cookie sheets.

3Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven, until the edges start to brown. Cool on cookie sheets for about 5 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.


In Ephesians 5:16 the Bible tells us we should be, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

I believe God wants us to redeem every moment of our day for as long as we have left on this earth.

So what about you? What do you do to redeem the time?


All the best…

Mary Alford


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,

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.