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Monday, May 31, 2010

What a Weekend

Pamela Tracy here. Every Memorial Day weekend, most of my family packs up and heads to the Coconino Forest near Flagstaff. Two reasons: holiday and temperatures (think 105 in Phoenix, 82 in forest). This past week, we got to leave early and camp for six days. What fun. What we do most is jump on our quads and explore the unknown.
So, picture me on a quad with a thick helmut and goggles eating dust for 45 mile rides. Sometimes music plays in my head. It is usually country. But, most of the time, I'm plotting. I mean, think of it. I'm basically following my husband and son up one bump and down the other. I've got literally six hours to do nothing but think. This past weekend, well, I thought up a new chapter two and now my old chapter two is chapter three. Oh, and a little brother just became a key player. And, I have to decide which was more dangerous in 1915, being bi-polar or being manic depressant. The good news is, I didn't change any names but I did change states: from Alabama to Kansas. I also changed my heroine's job from factory worker to nanny. I'm set to rumble!!!!
Nuff said. I hope everyone had a great Memorial Day. As a writer (I got 11 pages!) and a reader (I read three whole books!), camping is a blast.

Oh, you want to know what I did the moment I got home: SHOWER.

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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Accidents Happen


This is a picture of our backyard hose. The first grass cutting of year and my husband ran over his expensive hose (Sears according to my husband has the best hose) with his new lawn mower. Now, he didn't mention it to me, but I found the mangle hose when I walked into the back yard. My husband thought I'd been watering and hadn't put the hose back. This time I was innocent. The hose had not been connect yet.

He took it in stride.

 

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A Walk with Merrillee



Walking is one of my favorite ways to get exercise. I have two places that I often walk--the beach near our home and my neighborhood. When I walk on the beach, I like to walk in my bare feet right at the water's edge. The wet sand is easy on the feet. Every day the beach is different. Some days it's crowded, and other days it is nearly empty. Sometimes the ocean is calm. Other days the waves are angry as they rush to the shore. These photos are just a few of the scenes that I encounter when I walk on the beach.





I have taken my camera to the beach numerous times, but I never think to take it when I walk in my neighborhood. I've missed the opportunity to take photos of some very interesting things. Just this past week I've seen a bobcat, rabbits, hawks, snakes and the very common squirrel. I'm told we have a couple of alligators that inhabit that ponds in our neighborhood, but I have never run into them.

Where is your favorite place to walk, and what interesting things have you seen while walking?

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Commend, laud, honor, acclaim, extol, venerate.

In other words, praise.
Pat Davids here.
This blog is in praise of Roget’s Thesaurus. Roget’s is my third most favorite writing resource. Number one is my imagination. Number two is my computer.




My Roget’s is dog-eared, tattered, ripped, rent, and damaged. I love it. I simply adore finding the perfect word that makes a sentence sing.



For the most part, my writing style is simple. I have no illusions about what I write. It’s entertainment, easy, uncomplicated, pleasing as stroll down a shady lane, but sometimes I just need a better word. Maybe I used handsome three times on one page. I try to avoid those echo words that writer’s notice, but ordinary readers gloss right over. Shift+F7 gives me the thesaurus in Microsoft Word. I use it frequently, but there is something more satisfying about grabbing the book with the broken spine and falling out, ragged pages. Leafing though all those wonderful words often gives me new ideas. Sometimes they take my story or my characters in a whole new direction. Handsome = attractive, good-looking, elegant, stately, majestic, gorgeous.



Elegant is the word that fits best tonight.


The elegant Dr. Peter Mark Roget created his thesaurus in 1805 but it was not released to the public until 1856. Imagine what it must be like to create a book every writer looks to. He's been called the man who became a book. I like that. His is the book that helped me become a writer.

Besides Roget, I can name four other books that seriously influenced me in my career.
The Bible.
The Wolf and the Dove by Kathleen Woodwiss (my first romance)
Morning Glory by LaVyrle Spencer. (the best character study of a hero ever)
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby (proof that a writer can write no matter what)



What books have been an inspiration in your career or life?

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Monday, May 24, 2010

Simple Pleasures

Hey y'all, it's Stephanie Newton here.  As I made my coffee this morning, my house is still (for a few more blessed minutes) and I can hear the birds chirping outside.  The sun is coming up and the pink clouds are spreading across the sky.  As the aroma of my coffee fills my kitchen, I am filled with a quiet peace.  Life is good.

I think, maybe for today, I'll try to stay in this moment and look for others like it.
  • hugging my child before he goes to school
  • a rare face-to-face conversation with a friend
  • a walk on the beach
  • the roses on my front porch
  • sharing an inside joke with my daughter
  • playing with the dogs
  • folding warm towels fresh from the dryer
  • reading a good book
Artist Henri Matisse said, "There are always flowers for those who want to see them."   Want to join me in looking for them today?


Stephanie Newton lives on the Northwest Florida coast with her husband and two kids and often gets inspiration from the many fun and interesting things you see when you live at the beach.  If she's not in her writing chair with her laptop, you can usually find her wherever they're serving good coffee.

Flashpoint, her next book in the Emerald Coast 911 series, is a July release.

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Front Porch Friends

Missy Tippens here. I shared with my newsletter subscribers the other day that the photo I use on my website and blog isn't actually my front porch. (Several people had written to ask me!) Alas, I don't have a green thumb, so my porch isn't quite as beautiful as this one.

But I love the idea of having a porch like this. A place to sit with friends and enjoy a nice evening. I guess you could say my back deck serves that function better than my front porch. I have some comfortable furniture, and we love to eat outside in the spring and fall.

So what's your front porch like? Or do you have a place outdoors where you like to enjoy this beautiful spring weather?
**********
You can find Missy, and sign up for her quarterly email newsletter, at www.missytippens.com.
If you'd like Missy to send you a copy of her recent newsletter with the real front porch photo, just email her at missytippens @ aol.com (and remove the extra spaces).

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

On the Road from Marta Perry

I've been on the road far too much in the past week, but it was all in a good cause. Over the weekend, I taught at the Pennwriters Conference in Lancaster, PA. What a great event that was! Three days of non-stop talk about writing in all genres is exhausting, but so much fun. The keynote speaker was James Rollins, a NY Times author of science fiction and thrillers. He was very down-to-earth and had us all in stitches with his stories of the elaborate plots he undertook to scare his younger brother--clearly he was a writer in the making even at age eight or so!

I taught workshops in Writing Romance and Creating Dialogue, both of which went well; served on a panel for a Read and Critique Romance group; visited with old friends and made new ones. But when all was said and done, I was relieved to be home again to the peace and quiet.

Last night was another busy one, with a library talk in a small town about forty miles from here. I have to confess that I dragged myself out the door--I have so much to do at home and was still tired from the weekend. But I was more than rewarded for my efforts. That small library is bursting at the seams with activity and enthusiasm, once more assuring me that people do still read and enjoy books despite all the other claims on their attention. The group was so interested and so happy that I had come that I felt ashamed of myself for ever doubting that the trip would be worth it. They talked intelligently about books, telling me what they did and didn't like in inspirational fiction, and in some cases they seemed to know more about my books than I did!

As writers, most of us tend to be introverts. I find it far easier to retire to my office and not speak to a soul for hours on end, but my experiences of the past few days have reminded me that I need that jolt of inspiration sometimes that comes from fellow writers but also from enthusiastic readers.

So, thanks to all the writers and readers who might read this post. You should know that you're appreciated!

Blessings,
Marta

 

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Books you read again and again

Camy here! So I’m curious, what books are “re-reads” for you? And what exactly defines a re-read book for you?

I might be in the minority, but there are very few re-reads on my bookshelf. Persuasion, Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, and Mansfield Park by Jane Austen are my most often re-read books. I also re-read French Women Don’t Get Fat because I find it inspiring and helpful in my weight loss goals. And once in a while I’ll re-read Dragonsong and Dragonsinger by Anne McCaffrey.

Other than that … I guess there are just so many new books to read that I don’t have time for re-reading. I’m always excited to pick up the new Love Inspired Suspense novels each month, so I don’t often re-read any old ones since there are new ones just begging to be opened!

The only times I reread books are when I’m tired and want some “comfort reading.” LOL Is there such a thing? I think I just made that up. But I’m sure you all know what I’m talking about—those books that give you warm fuzzies no matter how many times you read them. You don’t have to think, you just have to wrap yourself in a familiar book like that holey-yet-warm granny square blanket your grandma crocheted for you when you were a kid and you always love.

So what books do you re-read, and why? What defines a re-read for you?
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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Monday, May 17, 2010

A Couple of Observations

As I was thinking about what to write today, I came up with two things and couldn't decide which one to write about. So I decided to talk about both of them. First as I'm working on the computer, I'm watching the Survivor's last show for this season. I didn't watch most of the season this year. I didn't have the time, but I saw some of the commercial (a lot of them centered around Russell). The last show got down to four "villains" and one "hero." When Colby didn't win the immunity idol, he was gone so it came down to four villain team members battling for the win. It is interesting to see who wins in the end. So often the scheming got to be too much for me. I watched the show over the years because it is a study in human nature and as a writer I found it interesting. And this season four villains were the last four people. Does this mean that villains have a better chance at winning Survivor? If that is the case, what does that say?

The second thing I wanted to talk about are my four granddaughters. They came over today for a few hours while my son and his wife went grocery shopping and ran a few errands. Can you imagine taking four little girls grocery shopping--one is one year old and another almost three? My husband and I had a ball playing with them. Children keep you young. But boy, do I wish I had the energy I had years ago. I now know why young people have children. They take a lot of stamina to raise. But worth every bit of the energy and time it takes.

 

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Opera


Renee Ryan here. I’m about to become an empty-nester. But I’m not going to whine about that. No, seriously. With every ending comes a new beginning. I’m really looking forward to more time with my husband. And more hours in the day to devote to my writing, which also means more time doing my favorite part of the writing process. Researching.

Speaking of which, I had a lot of fun researching my latest release, LOVING BELLA. My heroine is an opera singer. And since I know nothing about opera I had the opportunity to delve into a brand new, exciting world.

Opera, put simply, is an art form in which singers and musicians work together to perform a dramatic story set to a musical score. Duh, right? Opera was born in Italy at the end of the 16th century. Although England, Germany, and France soon developed their own traditions, Italian opera dominated most of Europe for centuries after its birth. Even Mozart, probably the most renowned opera composer and an Austrian, is famous for his Italian comic operas, The Marriage of Figaro and Don Giovanni.

The words that are sung in an opera are called libretto. Some composers often write both the music and the libretto. Mozart was not one of them. However, he did work closely with his librettist, a man called Lorenzo Da Ponte. Traditional operas consist of two types of music/singing—the recitative or passage that drives the plot and the aria, where the singer gets to express the character’s emotional reaction to an event in the storyline. My heroine, Bella, is brilliant at arias.

LOVING BELLA is set in late 19th century, during the “golden age” of opera. Bella loves being an opera singer. She also loves William Gordon, Lord Crawley. She believes he’s going to ask her to marry him after one of her more stellar performances. He proposes all right, suggesting she become his mistress, since he’s already married. Poor Bella, she’s become (gasp) a tragic heroine in her own life. Afraid she’ll succumb to the scandalous offer, she runs off.

She heads straight to her brother’s home in Denver, Colorado. Her brother is a preacher at a church connected with an unusual orphanage called, CHARITY HOUSE, where the children are by-blows of prostitutes and gunslingers. Bella, feeling as though there’s no turning back for her, tries to earn repentance as a doctor’s assistant. Shane, the local doctor with his own scandalous past, grows to love Bella and she begins to love him in return. All is well, until her past comes looking for her.

This book resonated with me on so many levels. Not on the opera level, but rather by way of solidarity with Bella. How many of us, women especially, have made a terrible mistake or watched a friend make a terrible mistake because of the unfortunate decision to put a boyfriend ahead of common sense? How many of us have allowed a past mistake to define who we are in the present?

I pray we all learn our lesson like Bella did, before it’s too late.

And I bet that’s all you ever wanted to know about opera. I’ll probably never make it to the Met, but one of these days I plan to watch a performance at my local opera house. I owe it to Bella. ;-)

 

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A Recipe to Share

Hi, Terri Reed here and I wanted to share with you a recipe that a dear friend gave me.
This dip was a big hit at a gathering not long ago. I think I ate half the pot myself.

Chile Cream Chees Dip by Penny Love
3/4 cup chopped yellow onions
2 tbsp butter or margarine
8 oz canned stewed tomatoes with just a little juice
4 oz chopped green chiles
8oz cream cheese, cubed
1/3 cup half and half
In skillet cook onion in butter until soft. Add tomatoes and chiles. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes. Lower heat; blend in cream cheese. Slowly add half and half. Mix well. Heat through. Makes approx. 2 cups.
Serve warm in a crock pot or fondue dish. Goes great with tortilla chips, bread cubes, pita bread, crackers.

Try it and enjoy!

Don't forget to look for Covert Pursuit at a store near you!

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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

I've been pulling the cord on this bus called Life...


And it won't stop. Why it won't even slow down! (photo curtesy of NYTimes)
But as I look around at my fellow passengers, I see I'm not alone.
Yes, life has been busy for me.
I've been writing, getting rejected, writing more, doing more, visiting, hosting and traveling.
I need a break!
I need a clone to help me clean my house, too.
And don't get me started on the car situation! Four drivers, four directions, two cars. You do the math. It ain't computin', baby!
But in all honesty, I guess it's keeping me out of too much trouble. But for a gal who can't remember what she had for supper last night, it's a bit dodgy, too. If I'm expected to remember something, please forgive me if I don't.
Ever had a week or two like that?
However...
I do remember something to end this ramble.
I've got some things at the Brenda Novak auction. You can find them at
and
and
Check them out and I hope the bus stops for you when you want it to.
Barbara Phinney

 

Monday, May 10, 2010

It's Graduation Time!


Sandra Robbins here.

It’s graduation time again in our town. Next Friday night the seniors at our high school will receive their diplomas and embark on their journey into adulthood. In our town we still have a Baccalaureate service that is sponsored by the local ministerial association on the Sunday afternoon before graduation. However, since our community is the home of a state university with a large international program that serves many different religions, student attendance is optional.

Yesterday afternoon I was privileged to play the piano for the service that was held at my church. As the graduates marched in to the traditional Pomp and Circumstance, I thought of my graduation, but those of my children were uppermost in my mind. Perhaps that was brought on by the fact that it was Mother’s Day.

I recalled how each of my children looked as they paraded down the aisle ready to go out and see what the world had to offer them. I also thought of how I feared for what they might face in the future but knew that I had to let them stretch their wings and fly. They went with my prayers and a mother’s undying love. I’m sure the hearts of the mothers there yesterday felt the same.

In the next few weeks, young people all across America will be receiving their diplomas. Caps will be tossed in the air, and school songs will be sung for the last time. Friends will go their separate ways, and lives will change. If you have a graduate in your family or know one, let them know you will be thinking of them as they choose what they will do next. But most of all, let them know you’ll be praying for them.

 

Friday, May 7, 2010

Lyn Cote Celebrates Strong Women on her Blog



Just wanted to let Love Inspired romance fans know that on my personal blog

Since the focus of my personal blog is Strong Women, Brave Stories, I celebrate with Mother's Day with an all month special, MEGA May! I celebrate by asking readers to share their own family stories of strong women.

This year only two readers have so far shared their stories. Tuesday the 5th was Shirley from Mississippi and later in the month Edna T from South Carolina will pay tribute to their mothers.

This year three brave men are going to pay tribute to their wives, authors Thom Lemmon, Harry Kraus, and Jeff Gerke. Also authors (many of them my fellow Love Inspired authors), Betsy St Amant, Linda Goodnight, Cheryl St John, Ruth Axtell Morren, Sharon Dunn, Stephanie Grace Whitson, Irene Hannon, Marta Perry, and Elizabeth Johnson will be sharing stories of strong women in their lives.

MEGA May is the only month where I ask authors to donate books for a HUGE once a year prize. Drop by this month and share a story or comment and your name will be entered to win the MEGA May basket of books and goodies.

So don't miss MEGA MAY at http://StrongWomenBraveStories.blogpspot.com!--Lyn Cote
P. S. I just updated my website. Drop by www.LynCote.net and see what you think.

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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A Look Inside the Mind...


Sorry for the brief post but my computer crashed and I'm typing mostly on an itty Droid phone keypad.

I think most of the readership on this blog are readers, but many readers also long to write.

If that's you, or you'd perhaps like a glimpse inside the mind of a publishing industry Great, Joan Marlow Golan, Executive Editor of Steeple Hill Books, she is featured in an interview today in Seekerville.


So, just out of curiosity, are you a reader, a writer or a wreader (both)? Comment away! I'd love to get a feel for the readership of our blog and what it mostly consists of. If you've been lurking...come out, come out wherever you are and let us get to know you better!

Oh and by the way, Steadfast Soldier hits stores in a couple of weeks. YAY! Not into soldier stories? Check out one or two or five of the other LI books releasing in June. We appreciate your readership! Both on this blog and of our books.

Bless you!

You are the reason we write. :-)

Hugs!

Cheryl Wyatt

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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Earth Day--every day--Lenora Worth


And we thought winter was brutal. The flooding in Tennessee is on our minds today. We had recent tornadoes pass over my state and head into Mississippi, doing damage and taking lives. There is a horrible oil spill out in the Gulf which threatens at least five states. The shrimpers and fishermen and all the others who depend on the seas will have to wait and see if they'll have jobs once the spill is cleared away. Not to mention the long-time toll each of these situations will have on the economy and the ecology. It breaks my heart, but all I can do is watch and pray for now.

I love this Earth that the Lord has given us and I try to be a good steward, knowing that it's not mine to tarnish. But it is mine to cherish and protect for the next generation. Whether we believe in global warming or not, I think it's our responsibility to protect the earth. We can't control acts of nature but we can certainly do everything in our power to keep the earth strong and clean by recycling and trying to conserve energy. I want my children's children to be able to see the beauty of the earth, the bounty of the seas, and the awe of the heavens. I hope we can all strive toward this goal. And I will continue to watch and pray.

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Monday, May 3, 2010

The Face Behind the Book


This is Janet Tronstad here, with a few thoughts on book dedications and bios. Finding just the right dedication (that goes with the book and the person I'm thinking of) is often a challenge, but I'm determined to do more than generic dedications and bios because I love reading those bits and pieces in other author's books. I feel I get a glimpse of the face behind the book.

My 'Wife Wanted in Dry Creek' releases this month. and I, of course, needed a bio and a dedication.You might guess by the title of the book that part of the set-up is that someone had put an ad for a wife in the prayer bulletin from church -- well, it was listed as a prayer, but sounded like an ad. The wife was intended for Conrad, the hero of my book, but he didn't place the ad and was none too pleased that his uncle had. I use alot of family dynamics in my Dry Creek series and this book is filled with them.

I also have a lot of family dymanics of my own and I have been dedicating my books to various members of my family. It was my eight-year-old nephew's turn, so I dedicated the book to him with these words, "For my nephew, Orion MacDonald, with love and prayers that, in due time, he will find exactly the right wife. Meanwhile, of course, he's more concerned with his puppy. And getting through the second grade."

My bio read, in part, "Janet Tronstad would never presume to tell anyone who they should marry. But she does admit to a little matchmaking between the pages of her twenty-some books...Janet is a full-time writer and, when she's not at her computer, she enjoys spending time with family and friends."

I'm hopeful that readers will enjoy both the bio and the dedication. I don't really have a favorite dedication (either one I've read or written), but perhaps you do. If so, I'd love to hear it. And let me know if you also read those extra bits and pieces from the authors.