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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Lisa Mondello here with a big hello.

If you have not visited the Craftie Ladies of Romance or the Craftie Ladies of Suspense lately, I'd like to invite you all to visit the blog so you can enjoy some wonderful short stories some Love Inspired Romance and Suspense authors have put together for you.

Over on the Craftie Ladies of Romance site An Easter Story is still being told. Each day a new chapter is written by a different author. It's a lot of fun and we love hearing what readers think about what has happened and what they think will happen next.

Over on the Craftie Ladies of Suspense blog we have 3 short stories posted. Check the archives for December for our Christmas story. In February we had Killer Chocolate: A Valentine Mystery. And in March we had a St. Patty's Day story. They were lots of fun to write and I know you'll enjoy reading them. Make sure you scroll back to the PART ONE post and read forward.

I hope you all have a happy and blessed Easter Sunday this weekend. Lisa Mondello

http://www.ladiesofsuspense.blogspot.com/
http://www.craftieladiesofromance.blogspot.com/

Join us on FACEBOOK so you won't miss a single short story!

 

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

April Fools Day - Carolyne Aarsen

I don't like to play April Fool's jokes. Mostly because I can't usually think of anything that is funny enough and mostly because I can't top the one that my husband and I played on our children a number of years ago.

All the kids were still living at home and at the time we were full fledged ranchers with cows and horses and pastures and fences. It was a coolish Saturday morning. Snow still covered the fields up here and we had been warned by the children that there would be no getting them up early to do chores. It was Saturday and they were sleeping in. Saturdays at our home were sacrosanct. The kids would help us do the chores gladly enough, but on Saturday, helping didn't happen until after 11:00. And on the whole we were willing to comply. Waking up the kids before 11:00 took more time than I like to spend. They needed to be woken gently, carefully ushered in from their sleep to the day. And this needed to be done more than once for each child. It could take over an hour and each time I went to the room, it was with a feeling of trepidation. Much easier to poke a stick into a grizzly bear den than to wake a sleeping teenager before noon on a Saturday.

So the kids were sleeping. My husband had to get up early for some reason or another so I got up too. Ten minutes later he burst into the house yelling, "The cows are out. The cows are out."

This was akin to yelling 'fire' in a movie theatre. Cows out of the fences meant hours of work and required all the bodies available. Cows out of fences had sometimes taken up the entire day of herding, chasing and making them return home. The phrase "Until the Cows come home" means a whole lot more if you realize that cows don't. Come home that is.

Out kids knew that and within minutes our farm kids tumbled out of the room, tossing clothes on and waiting for orders. Four teenagers, at my husband's beck and call at 6:30 on a Saturday morning.

"April Fools", he cackled, slapping his leg and laughing out loud.

No one joined in the joke except me. Then to pile onto the injury he said, "Since you guys are up anyway, why don't you help me move some bales and feed the cows."

It took until noon before any of them could appreciate the joke . And I don't think we played a better=r one on them since.

How about you? What was your best April Fools Joke? Do you like playing them?

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Do you ever question?

Dana Corbit here.

I've been thinking about this lately. I worry sometimes that I'm a bit of a fair-weather fan when it comes to my walk with God. Not that I turn my back on Him like Detroit Redwings fans do when the Wings aren't winning. But I find it much easier to celebrate God's miracles than I do to understand when bad things happen to good people or even God answers "no" to prayers. Okay, I admit it: I question sometimes. I ask why instead of trusting that God has a plan.

My toughest questions come when those bad things involve sweet little people, so I've been questioning a lot lately. In the last few months, three of my friends have had to watch in agony as their newborn grandchildren were hospitalized with critical illnesses. A fourth friend is at a loss on how to console her daughter after the young woman's son was stillborn. I praise God for healing the two babies that are home with their parents now, and I pray for that mourning mother and the other baby boy who still lingers, waiting for God's healing hands. But those questions keep coming. Why?

As I write my stories, I try to write characters who are imperfect Christians - people who believe and yet question sometimes, those who have a hard time letting go and letting God fill the driver's seat in their lives. Since I'm one of them, those people are pretty easy for me to write. :)

I found this Scripture to help give me confidence when I'm questioning. Hope it will help you as well.

"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well. Therefore, do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day's own trouble be sufficient for the day." Matthew 6:33-34 (RSV)

 

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Opening New Doors


Hi from Gail Gaymer Martin at http://www.gailmartin.com/

Authors have many opportunities to step through new doors that open as their career grows. Naturally, I love writing and am enjoying my new series, Dreams Come True. But writing isn't the only thing that keeps some writers busy.

Coming from a teaching and counseling background (I still maintain my counseling license), I have stepped through two new doors as an author. The picture above was taken in Dallas two weeks ago when I was on staff of American Christian Writers. On Friday I taught four continuing classes on Writing Christian Fiction. I had appointments with writers and delivered the banquet keynote address. On Saturday, I presented two other workshops, kept more appointments with authors, and delivered the plenary address before serving on the staff panel for the end of conference.

I enjoy presenting new ideas and techniques to budding writers and even experienced one. Learning never stops, and we all benefit from hearing about new ways to approach our novels.


But another door that I love is presenting keynote addresses at churches and ladies events. Last weekend I spoke in Washington, Michigan to a wonderful group of women for their annual breakfast retreat. My address was two fold: a humorous look at a writer's journey followed by the more serious topic, Spring Cleaning Your Heart and Mind, appropriate for the season.
During this event, I had a book table where I giveaway prayer pads, calendars, pens, and a copy of one of my children's short stories with a lesson that reflected the message in my talk along with other giveaways. I also offer my books for purchase and autographing. These wonderful ladies nearly wiped out my display of books. What a blessing to have time to talk to these woman who love to read.
Before I say goodbye for now, don't forget to look for Bride in Training in stores in mid-June and available to direct maill readers much sooner. It's the final story in the Man's Best Friend Series. If you love dogs and romance, you'll enjoy this book.

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Splinter faith and pre-order splendor


Okay so I know that title was kinda cheesy...but I'm headed out the door to visit my granny Veda in the hospital.

God literally breathed life back into her a couple days ago. The extended time we've been given with her is a precious gift and I want to go treasure her. Hold her hand. Hear her voice. Make her laugh with silly stuffed dogs that wiggle and giggle. She also has a little clacker rabbit that bounces across her bedside table and causes her to smile.

For more of that story, visit my personal writing blog here.

In other news, my next release is up for pre-order now. Wahoo! Steadfast Soldier is a June release...my goodness this year is flying by. Here are some links if you're interested.

Christianbook.com

Borders

Or you can Google it.

It will also hit store shelves around May 26-June 1 or so. For those of you who follow the Wings of Refuge Series, this is Chance's story.

I'd love to know what good trait or traits that one or more of your grandparents passed down to you or to one of your siblings or to your children.

I think I have my granny Veda's ornery sense of humor. So does my Aunt Linda, her middle daughter. My niece has her selfless generosity. My mother has her kindness and gentleness and her unconditional understanding. My sister and my aunt Anna (her olded daughter) have her tenacity. My children and some of my cousins, Joey and Jodi have her high cheekbones, courtesy of her American Indian heritage. And by marriage, my dad inherited her fishing skills. Unfortunately I did not. LOL!

And today, we all have her. Just her. Live. In person. Not yet only a memory. I can't begin to explain how overwhelmed with thankfulness I am to have been given more time.

If you've lost your grandparents, you are deep in my prayers today. May God bless you with many happy memories and with the hope of Heaven that Jesus gave us when He made a way for us to reunite with our loved ones. Heaven will be one enormous family reunion, yes, but I'm also glad to treasure time and their essence this side of eternity too.

If you don't live close to your grandparents or your parents, get offline right now and call 'em. LOL! Tell them you love them and languish in the sound of their voice. If they're close in proximity or geographically, get over there and hug them a little tighter and a little longer today. :-)

Thank you for supporting our blog with your readership.

Don't forget to share what good qualities you or your family members inherited from your grandparents. I'd love to hear it in the comment section.

Have a wonderful day.

Cheryl Wyatt

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Please let it be spring--Lenora Worth


This weekend I went through three different kinds of weather. First, I got to sit on a balcony in Florida and enjoy a warm balmy breeze and a calm blue sea. Sea gulls and sandpipers stood in the sand, their feathers ruffling against the warm wind. A few early risers walked along the beach, bending now and then to search for perfect shells. Later that night, the wind picked up and the next morning, the sky was an unpredictable gray, the waters a bit more choppy and dark. A storm was rolling in off the gulf. By late afternoon, the wind roared across the beach, sending umbrellas flying and causing tourists to grab their towels to keep them warm. During the night, the storm hit, the sound of an angry, slashing rain warring with the crash of waves plummeting the coast. Sunday morning was cold and wet. On the trip home, we ran into snow flurries along the Interstate, and this after the first day of spring. The temperature was hovering in the high thirties. My vision of a calm sea and a warm sunshine seemed so far away. A beautiful day, a stormy night and a change in temperature that produced pretty flakes of falling snow. All in one weekend. Is it no wonder that Mother Nature is considered a woman? She has many moods and she is a constant surprise to us. I think this is a metaphor for how we stumble through life. Some days are calm and pleasant. Others are stormy and dark. Some days are chilly and amazing--how can each snowflake be so different and yet so beautiful when tossed together in a snow drift? The good news is that each day, regardless of the weather, is a chance to renew our souls and get through our own storms. I wonder, have you ever been caught in a real storm when you also had a storm of troubles in your life? How did you handle that situation?

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Monday, March 22, 2010

Typical Reader

Stephanie Newton here.  I read something recently about the target audience for Christian radio broadcast.  They call her Becky.  She's a 30-something to 40-something suburban soccer mom with two kids and a minivan.  (Okay, I made up the part about the minivan, but I'm pretty sure that's part of the deal.)  I mentioned this to my husband and said that I was a little offended because I fit the description to a T.  His answer:  don't you love the Christian radio station you listen to?

Well, yes I do.  Apparently, they have me pegged.  And apparently, I should be more aware.  Once I started looking, I could see that even my grocery store is aiming for a target demographic.  A pastor who preaches to a church full of college students about what to do in retirement isn't going to have a full church very long.  He has a target demographic too.


Now, I know that there is so much more to me than suburban soccer mom of two.  I have interests and hobbies that are completely different than the soccer mom of two who lives next door to me, but I do think fundamentally, we might have more in common than we think.  Here at this blog, we are all different ages, but we have a love of the Lord and love of romance that brings us together.

That said, I'm curious about "us." Who are we?  Readers?  Writers?  Do we read romance?  Suspense?  Both?  Only Christian fiction, or a mix?  Leave a comment about yourself--in generic terms, if you like.  Suburban, urban, rural, grandmother, mother, teenager, student, mom.  Tell me what you're reading now.

I'll get us started on this very un-scientific poll.  At the end of the day, I'll give away a copy of Smoke Screen to a random commenter, so please leave your email address, if you'd like to win it.  Thanks!

 

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Would you look at that.


Do I need to say more? A picture's worth a thousand words, right? So what's the story behind the photo.

My daughter called me in a panic one day, asking if her father was still at home. No. Why? Because her dog had jumped on the sofa intent on eating her lunch. She landed on the back of the arm that came down and the couch swallowed her. When I got to my daughter's house, the dog had slipped further down into the couch and I could only see her nose. She wasn't struggling, but simply gave me a pleading look. Help.

I laughed so hard I wasn't any help. Animal control came out and helped us pull the dog out. She was okay, didn't break any bones.

You'd think she learned her lesson, but you'd be wrong.

 

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Do you use a pressure Cooker?

Camy here! I am writing today’s blog post because I must confess to loving my pressure cooker almost as much as my husband.

Yes, it’s a dirty little secret. If my pressure cooker gives up the ghost (which I know it will eventually due to the excessive use I deal to it), I will cry copious tears before going on Amazon.com to buy a new one.

Why, you ask, such emotion over a cooking pot?

My number one reason is: homemade chicken stock. If you have never had it before, you are missing out on one of the wonders of the culinary world. And the best part about it is that even though cookbooks tell you that you can only make homemade chicken stock with a stockpot and a whole chicken and 3-4 hours of your time, in reality, you can make stock in less than half an hour, and most of that half hour is waiting while it cooks.

I use a chicken carcass and/or chicken bones and/or chicken gizzards and throw them in the pressure cooker. (I usually freeze any bones/gizzards/carcasses I come across in my normal cooking life so they’re ready for whenever I need stock.) I follow with a carrot broken into chunks, a celery rib broken into chunks, and an onion coarsely chopped. I throw in a bay leaf and a teaspoon (I eyeball it) of thyme (you can use whatever herb strikes your fancy). I add water to the little line on the inside of the pressure cooker (very convenient), slide the lid in place, and put it on the stove on high heat.

When the rocker is going wild, I lower the hear to medium low and time it for 15 minutes. When the timer goes off, I cool the pot by running it under the faucet for a minute or two, then I strain the contents into a bowl with a colander inside to collect the solids.

Solids go in the trash, stock goes in the fridge so the fat congeals on the top and I can scrape it off the next day. I use the stock or freeze it. I’ve sometimes used the stock the day I make it and don’t bother skimming the fat, but my husband scolds me when I do that.

I have made the most fantastic vegetable soups with this miracle stock. It makes kale and cabbage taste amazing.

My number two reason for loving my pressure cooker is: beans. I don’t even presoak them, I just throw them in the pressure cooker with water (to a special line for beans) and let it go to town for about 30 minutes.

I’ve made homemade, fat-free refried beans from dried pinto beans, and I will never go back to the canned stuff. Slather that yummy goodness on a tortilla and you’re in heaven. My cholesterol levels like it, too.

There are other uses for my pressure cooker, I know: pot roast, stew, sauces, chicken, rice. But my most common uses are the chicken stock and beans.

So have I inspired you? I kind of hope so. Life is too short to waste on canned stock when you could be enjoying an exceptionally yummy soup made with homemade stock. And it uses those gizzards/bones/carcasses you’d otherwise throw away.

So do you use a pressure cooker? If you do, what do you use it for?

Camy Tang writes romance with a kick of wasabi. Her novels Single Sashimi and Deadly Intent are out now. She runs the Story Sensei critique service, is a staff worker for her church youth group, and leads one of the worship teams for Sunday service. On her blog, she gives away Christian novels and ponders frivolous things. Sign up for her newsletter YahooGroup for giveaways!

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Spring has sprung (colds, that is)



By Barbara Phinney


Okay, there are many indications that spring has sprung. The male cats on our street have made their annual pilgramage to our barn cats. The sugar bush is open! And only during this time of year can the forecast call for ten degrees celius weather with a chance of snow.


I hve no idea how nature is going to pull that one off!


But we're also facing spring colds and my son came home sick from school yesterday, full of cold and determined to sleep the day away.

We need to air out the house, but the temps outside, not to mention the still-high snow drifts and cost of reheating the house, make it prohibitive.


But I woke up this morning with the idea of spraying that kid's room with Lysol. The heavy duty industrial strength, the stuff they usually reserve for massive biocontamination spreads on which the world hasn't seen since Dustin Hoffman donned a bio suit in the seventies.


I won't forget doorknobs, TV remotes, portable gaming systems, pens, pencils, erasers, and if I can pry his cell phone from his tight fingers, I'll decontaminate that, too.
And then the kid won't have germ to stand on when he wants to come home and sleep.

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Sunday, March 14, 2010

Writing a continuity


The Love Inspired Suspense continuity this year is Protecting the Witnesses about the Witness Protection Program. I am one of six authors in this series that runs from January to June. The first book was Marta Perry's Twin Targets out in January. Next came Killer Deadline by Debby Giusti in February. My book is the third one in the series with Cowboy Protector, out this month. After my book is Deadly Vows by Shirlee McCoy, the Fatal Secrets by Barbara Phinney and lastly, Risky Reunion by Lenora Worth.

I loved working with these authors. One of the reasons I enjoy doing continuity series is the authors I get to work with--all top notch. But also it is a challenge to make all the stories fit together. We had to work closely together to make sure our stories fit together into a whole picture. Each of us were responsible for certain continuity threads in our story that would link the books together. We formed a yahoo loop to discuss our series and work out the details. We ran scenes by the others, especially when their characters were in the scenes. I especially had to work with Shirlee (with the book after mine) about her hero and heroine as well as with Debby (with the book before mine) about her heroine.


Blurb for Cowboy Protector:

Two years ago, Hannah Williams left the Witness Protection Program—and she's been running ever since. To stay ahead of the mob, she changes her name and location constantly. So when she takes a job caring for a Montana rancher's sick daughter, she expects to leave soon. But little Misty Taylor tugs at Hannah's heartstrings—and so does her handsome father. Hannah knows Austin Taylor suspects she's keeping secrets. But how can she tell him the truth without endangering the pair she's come to love?

 

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Giving God Our Dreams


Sandra Robbins here with some things that have been on my mind lately. About two years ago a middleaged woman with unruly hair and wearing an ordinary dress stepped onto the stage of Britain's Got Talent and told the startled judges that included Simon Cowell that she had a dream to be a professional singer. Everyone in the audience laughed at her, and the judges couldn't control the skepticim on their faces. A few minutes later Susan Boyle's voice soared as she sang I Dreamed a Dream from Les Miserables. And the rest is history. Susan's first album released before last Christmas and sold more in a single week than any other in history. She is known world wide and is in high demand as a performer.

On a much smaller scale, I, too, had a dream to write a book. I promised myself I would do it someday, but those somedays never came. Then one night I began to write, and six months later I'd written a book. That book never sold, but I learned so much from writing it. I wrote another, and then another. Then the day finally came that I received the call of a sale. Now with three books released and three more contracted, I can only give God the glory for working a miracle in my life.

God has planted dreams in all our hearts, and it's up to us to find out what He would have us do with them. All He asks is that we turn them over to Him. When we do, we have to watch for the blessings and opportunities He sends our way and take advantage of them.

Susan Boyle dreamed a dream, and so did I. Has God placed a dream in your heart? If He has, don't be afraid to let God take you where He wants you to go.

 

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Hello everyone, Terri Reed here. Not sure what to blog about today. I find blogging rather hard at times. I mean what do I have to say that would be of interest to anyone? Yes, I write stories, so I obviously have lots to say but that's fiction. In fact, I'm working on my nineteenth book, which is due on March 30th, so maybe that's why I'm staring at the blank blog page with glassy eyes and absolutely no idea of what to say. Hmmmm. Let's see...
Spring is coming, though yesterday after a mostly sunny day it snowed last night.
This coming weekend we observe daylight savings time, which in the fall I am thankful for, gotta love an extra hour of sleep! But in the spring, we lose that extra hour we've become accustomed to. Ugh!
I watched part of the Oscars this last Sunday night. Only part because I forgot it was on. I was disappointed that in the memoriam they didn't honor Farrah Fawcett. I know, I know, she was more of a TV star than a movie star but still...
I thought Sandra Bullock's acceptance speech was very sweet and funny. I like her as an actress. I've heard that the Hurt Locker is a very well done story. One of these days I'll have to rent it. I did see Avatar, though not in 3D--I get motion sick easily. It was a fun and visually exciting movie. I enjoyed UP, though I did cry. I'm such a sap.
In two weeks the Public Library Association is having its convention here in Portland Oregon. I'll be signing in the Romance Writers of America booth on Friday the 26th, right after Christina Dodd http://www.christinadodd.com/(whom I'm a big fan of). Imagine masses of people in line for her that will all wander away when I sit down to sign. LOL.
My newest release coming up in May, COVERT PURSUIT, will be part of a promotional package that Harlequin will be sending out during May through September. I'm excited to see what they do with it.
Over at the Craftie Ladies of Suspense, http://ladiesofsuspense.blogspot.com/ we are doing a St. Patrick's Day continuing mystery. Starting Monday March 8th through the 18th, each day a Love Inspired Suspense Author will post a piece of the story. Its a fun endeavor and a bit challenging. We did a Valentine's Day mystery that was well received. And over at the Craftie Ladies of Romance, http://craftieladiesofromance.blogspot.com/we'll be doing an Easter Romance. Stop on by and check us out.
Well, as I said, I'm in the throes of a deadline so I best get back to it.
Have a blessed week everyone!

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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Thoughts of Spring


by Debby Giusti

Daffodils are blooming in my garden, and the sun is shining today. The weatherman predicts heavy rain and dropping temperatures in the afternoon, but this morning feels like spring. After a cold winter, the first warm days renew me and fill me with the promise of a new beginning. The worst of winter has passed, and the world is preparing to be reborn in glory.

Once again, I am reminded of Christ's message of salvation, which will be celebrated anew on Easter. That Paschal Mystery of birth, death and resurrection is as much a part of life as winter moving into spring. I must plant seeds to see them grow tall. I must be pruned in order to grow strong. I must look for the good that comes from every situation, no matter how difficult. In my writing life, I must begin anew with each manuscript, pulling together bits and pieces from my world to create characters that blossom into fully developed heroes, hopefully worthy of my readers' interest.

Today, I'm giving thanks for sunshine and flowers, for the words that fill my mind and beg to be written and, most especially, for a God who loves us all.

Wishing you abundant blessings,

Debby Giusti


Visit me at http://www.ladiesofsuspense.blogspot.com/ to read The Irish Mystery, presented each day in segments by the Craftie Ladies of Suspense.
KILLER HEADLINE-Book Two in the Protecting the Witnesses Continuity Series-still available!

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Monday, March 8, 2010

Four nominations; First win

Pamela Tracy here and hopefully the title took you to Oscar land. I did watch part of the Oscars last night. Not because I wanted to but because while I was in the shower the doorbell rang and company (not really, it was grandma and grandpa) came over. I don't think I've ever been someone who watched the Oscars, and the last few years, I truly have no need to watch. I don't get to the movies. The only one that won anything I'd seen was the movie Up. Yup, a cartoon, and even with it I only got to see maybe a half hour because my four-year-old got scared when there was a tornado followed by a dog-chasing scene. We had to leave the theator. But I digress.

Last night I watched the Oscars (with really wet hair) because hubby, grandma, and grandpa all wanted to. Mikey and I were hopelessly outvoted. And here's my take away. Everytime they announced the winner, they said something along the lines of "This is their eighth nomination and first win" or "This is their eighth nomination and third win."

I've always thought the acting business and the writing business were related. When I sold my first book, had their been an announcement, it would have sounded something like "This is her 32nd submission and first sale!" By the way, I'm not making up the number 32.

Once you've made that first sale, it doesn't end. With each book, there's always the Oscar hope (RITA, really) and the Razzie worry (A one! I got a one from RT!)

My biggest complaint (sigh) is no matter where I fall, I'll never be a size three in a dress made just for me. hehehe

So, what would your nod say? Fill in the blank. "This is her _____ submission and first sale!"

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Friday, March 5, 2010

Coming March 16th -- Kansas Courtship By Victoria Bylin

Kansas Courtship comes out on Tuesday, March 16th. This is the third book in the Love Inspired Historical series called “After the Storm.” It's about a Kansas town recovering from a tornado in 1860. I had a blast working with Valerie Hansen and Renee Ryan. Val wrote High Plains Bride (Book #1) and Renee did Heartland Wedding (Book #2).

Here’s the back cover blurb:

Rising Storm . . .
Town founder Zeb Garrison is finally getting his wish--a qualified physician is coming to High Plains. Yet when Dr. N. Mitchell turns out to be the very pretty Nora Mitchell, Zeb is furious. The storm-torn town needs a doctor, but Zeb needs someone he can trust--not another woman who's deceived him. If Nora's going to change his mind, she'll have to work fast. All she has is a one-month trial to prove her worth . . . to High Plains and to Zeb.

I’m getting a lot of nice email from Book Club readers who’ve already received copies. Just about everyone agrees that lady doctors make great heroines. It took courage to work in a profession dominated by men and faith to travel west. Dr. Nora Mitchell has those traits.

So does the Zeb Garrison, the mill owner who founded the town. Researching his profession turned into a “date day” for my husband and me. We went to Colvin Mill, a working historic grist mill in northern Virginia. We got to see the millworks in action. It was amazing! We listened to the rush of the water in the traces, the clack of the gears and the whoosh of the millstones. We felt as if we’d stepped back in time.

I hope readers have that feeling with Kansas Courtship. One of the joys of writing for Love Inspired Historicals is taking the journey while enjoying a heartfelt romance. Enjoy!

 

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Writing, Speaking, and Conferences, Oh My.



Hi from Gail Gaymer Martin at http://www.gailmartin.com/


I've always loved the Wizard of Oz. Nothing can replace the original movie with Judy Garland and all her amazing friends. Oh thing I love about the movie is the heartfelt feeling -- There's no place like home.




Home is my solace and place of comfort, but despite that I often find myself in an airport or on a highway heading off somewhere to present writing workshops and keynote addresses at conferences or church events. It has become a third career for me. Being an author has opened so many amazing doors.



Next week, I'll be flying to Dallas, Texas to be on staff of the American Christian Writers Conference. Coming from an education background, teaching has always been a love, but being able to combine teaching writing and teaching writing that uplifts my Lord is even a greater blessing to me. Usually the ACW Conference in Dallas is one of their biggest, but the economy has taken a bit out of the conferees this year, so the director has made a tremendous offer of lowering the cost on this conference. This year tuition at only $35 per day.That’s $70 for both days instead of the usual $250.This special does not include the Awards Banquet dinner.


The Dallas ACW Conference is March 12-13, 2010 (Friday and Saturday)
Holiday Inn Select
2645 LBJ FreewayDallas, TX 75234
(972) 243-3363
(at I-35 and I-635)
Sleeping Room Block: $84 for one or two people



This is an amazing savings and I'd love to see you there. You will have the opportunity to meet and take classes from three other workshop presenters who also teach non-fiction and article writing. You will have the opportunity for free appointments to take with the presenters and join them for meals. I hope to see you there.


What would I be doing if I were home? Easy. I'm working on the first novel of my newest series called Dreams Come True, stories that revolve around parents with children who overcome serious illness. The novels are emotion-packed, fun, and romantic. What could be better? The first novel, A DADDY IN HIS DREAMS, will be in stores March 2011.

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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Weather

Merrillee here, who is consumed with thinking about the weather. I live in "sunny" Florida, and so far our winter has been anything but sunny. Today I'm looking at another cloudy, gloomy day. I will have to admit that most of yesterday was sunny--one of the few I've seen this year.

When I was a kid we always used to say if March came in like a lamb, it would go out like a lion. Well, it came in like a lamb, so I'm wondering whether the end of March will go out like a lion with some not-so-nice weather. This time of year our temperatures should be near 70 degrees for a high, but we are hovering in the 50's. I like to walk outside, but I'm a fair weather walker. I hate to be cold on the outside and too hot underneath all my clothes.

We recently took a vacation to Arizona to see our daughter and her family. We thought we were going to enjoy some warm Arizona sun. NOT. Instead, we took our cloudy, gloomy Florida weather with us. We went to visit the Sonora Desert Museum, and I was almost too cold to enjoy it. Here are a few photos that I took.

Notice those big, black rain clouds in the background.


I wonder whether the mountain lion is wishing for a more sunny day. He has great camouflage, doesn't he?


Here are a couple of coyotes. I wonder what they do when it rains. At least the mountain lion has a cave for cover.

Despite the cold weather and the rain, I also saw this bright sign.


I hope, despite the dark clouds, that you can see the rainbow. It reminded me that God keeps his promises. No matter what is going on around us God is in charge. He brings the rain even to the desert. He also gave me a granddaughter who brings a smile to my face. Looking at her makes me forget all about the cloudy weather.


Despite bad weather, what makes you smile?

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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Mom, guess what?

Patricia Davids, here.
Prayers get answered all the time. I know that, but I'm still in shock because my long ago prayers have finally been answered.

The call started with that most benign of statements. "Mom, guess what?"

What? Good news, bad news?

"I'm getting married."

Stunned silence on my part. My daughter is getting married.

Oh, that's sweet. I can hear all the congrats and well wishes, thank you, but you don't understand. My daughter is getting married to the man she's lived with for 10 years. They have a nine-year old daughter. It was a second relationship for both of them and neither of them believed a piece of paper could make them more married than they already were.

I had honestly given up on them ever making it legal. I still can't believe it.

And they want a church wedding! You could have knocked me over with a feather.

I finally get to be the mother of the bride. I'm going to cry. I'm so happy for them and for me, and for my darling mother who has prayed for this day all along. This is a wonder of wonders.

I just had to share my good news with the world. I'd invite you all to the wedding, but I'm not sure there will be room in the church, so wherever you are on Sept 18th, stop and say a prayer for Kathy and Tony and their new life together in Christ.

Pat
still grinning

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