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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

THE GUARDIAN'S HONOR by Marta Perry


My latest book from Steeple Hill Love Inspired, THE GUARDIAN'S HONOR, will be in stores next week, so I hope you'll look for it. This is the third book in my series about the Bodine family of South Carolina. Set in Charleston and the coastal islands, the series revolves around a Coast Guard family. Although each book stands on its own, I hope once you meet the Bodines, you'll want to come back for more.

I love writing about the South Carolina coast. One of my daughters lives on Isle of Palms, and her two little girls are really growing up to be island girls. They attend school at Sullivan's Island Elementary School, one of the few elementary schools in the country with a beach just beyond the playground! My husband and I spend three months each year on the South Carolina coast, and it's really become a second home for us. I was especially moved by the stories I learned about the Coast Guard as I researched these books. They truly are unsung heroes in all that they do to protect and serve.

In THE GUARDIAN'S HONOR, Coast Guard officer Adam Bodine finds his long-vanished great uncle. But the secretive elderly man has adopted some new kin...single mother Cathy Norwood and her disabled little boy. Adam is grateful when Cathy convinces his relative to reunite with the Bodines, until he learns why she's so eager. Though his heartstrings are tugged by their plight, he knows he doesn't deserve them in his life--not with his past, not unless one big extended family can teach Lieutenant Bodine something about love and honor.

 

Butterflies/Heart of a Cowboy


When I (Margaret Daley) was in Key West, my husband and I went to a butterfly reserve. I spent one of the best hours of my trip watching tons of beautiful butterflies flutter around. Some the only way I could get a picture of them was to take a video of their movements. They rarely lit upon anything for more than a second or two. Some I was able to get some nice still pictures.

When I look at all the different butterflies in this one place (a small number compared to how many are in this world), I am amazed at God's creation. The variety and colors were breathtaking. He really knows how to put on a good show. The delight I received from watching these beautiful creatures was priceless.


I have a July 2010 Love Inspired coming out called Heart of a Cowboy. It is the second book in my Helping Hands Homeschooling series. It should be in the stores right now.

Blurb for Heart of a Cowboy:

Ten years ago Jordan Masterson left her hometown heartbroken—and pregnant. Now, yearning for connection with her family, the single mother returns to Tallgrass, Oklahoma. But she's shocked to find her son's father—unaware he has a child—a vital part of the community. Zachary Rutgers owns the ranch that the local homeschoolers use for riding and recreation. Which means little Nicholas, Jordan and Zachary will be spending a lot of time together. Jordan must tell Zachary the truth about their son—and ask for answers herself. Hoping the heart of her cowboy will still be hers for the taking.

 

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

So much for multi-tasking!


Hello from Lisa Mondello. School is finally out. I had another child graduate from high school and two others finish the high school year on Monday. End of the school year means paperwork and lots of it! Not only do they bring home lots of "stuff" from school, we need to get paperwork ready for the next year.
This is why I love the fact that so much paper we used to push is going digital. I love that Harlequin is releasing all our books in ebook form. Now no matter how old the book is, you don't have to worry about it being out of print. If you discover a new author and want to go back and get her/his backlist, you can!
I was on the wave of the first ebook push years ago when my first books were published. I owned a Rocket ebook reader and loved it! (My tired eyes mostly loved being able to change the font size.) Now there are so many more ebook readers on the market. For those of you who love the feel of paper on your fingers as you read, I understand. One of the things I always wondered about is if the concept of physically visiting a bookstore would end if we eventually went all digital. I love going to the bookstore and spending time walking the aisles and just looking. It's much harder to browse on line and get that same experience.
But I do love technology and now that both the Nook and the Kindle have dropped their prices, I'm seriously thinking of taking the plunge and getting a new ebook reader. (Yes, my old Franklin still worked and I couldn't justify buying something new...until now.) Nook and Kindle aren't the only books on the market. Sony has several models and I just saw in Barnes and Noble an advertisement for another ebook reader. The name escapes me at the moment.
So tell me about your experiences with ebook readers. Have you given any a test drive? Do you own one? Which is your favorite and why?
Until next time, many blessings, Lisa Mondello

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Monday, June 21, 2010

Summer Has Arrived in the South

Sandra Robbins here reporting from Tennessee where the temperature is over 100 degrees.

This last week my family and I traveled to Long Island to attend the college graduation of my grandson who received a degree in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering. The weather on Long Island Sound was perfect, but it wasn't that way when we exited the Nashville airport on our return home.

Summer has swooped into the south, and temperatures are hitting the 100 mark. The heat index makes it seem even hotter. Now I'm longing for those cold days of winter when I couldn't wait for warmer weather to get here.

Isn't it strange how we humans are never satisfied? It it's hot, we want cold. If it's too rainy, we grumble, then become upset when the rains don't fall. I have to admit that I even wished for snow when I was a teacher so that we could get a day off from school, but I complained when a huge snowfall kept us out of school for days. That meant we'd have to go longer in the spring before school was dismissed for summer vacation.

I know that no one can do anything to change the weather, but I still find myself complaining when a change in temperature makes me uncomfortable. I wonder what God must think about us as He listens to us grumbling when we should be so thankful for the beautiful creation He's given us to inhabit.

The four seasons each give us something special to look forward to. Fall brings brilliant colors and cooler temperatures, winter gives us cold days and snow covered landscapes, and spring is an awakening of life that's been dormant for three months.

But what does summer bring us beside hot days? Some of the things it brings are fresh vegetables, cookouts, walking barefoot in the green grass, blooming flowers, and picnics. I'm going to remember that the next time I complain about the heat.

 

Saturday, June 19, 2010

BRIDE IN TRAINING by Gail Gaymer Martin - July release

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

Authors are often asked, "Which of your novels is your favorite?" It's like asking a mother which is her favorite child. We birth these stories, nurse them into life, watching them grow, and finally we  step back and say I am finished -- although authors all confess they would probably edit their books forever if they didn't have a deadline.

Bride In Training was a joy to write. The characters were interesting as each struggles with personal issues that affect their lives, just as you and I have those times that we can't quite let go of our issues--times we made terrible mistakes, sinned, acted foolish, things we wish we could erase.

But the novel is not without laughs.  Nessie, the white Cairn terror on the cover is a handful, and I dredged up many  stories from my own dogs' lives and from other dogs I've known and wove them into the three books set in the Man's Best Friend Series.

Although this book is part of the Man's Best Friend series, it is also a stand alone. Each of the stories revolved around three women working in a dog shelter. Molly in book #1 Dad In Training taught obedience in a special program she created called Teacher's Pet -- a real organization here in Michigan -- and she was the one who set her mind to finding a building to open dog shelter. Her friend Steph (and her dog Fred, a border collie) was also in book #1 and longed for a place to relocate her Doggie Day Care. She had her own story in Book #2, Groom In Training.  Emily, a part time employee at the dog shelter, was also a dog walker and dog sitter and is the heroine in Book #3, Bride In Training where she fills the pages with laughter and tears.

Back Cover Blurb:
And Puppy Makes Three


Perfectionist Martin Davis's life is in turmoil. The lonely businessman's search for companionship led him to adopt a dog--a rather rambunctious terrier. And now Martin's at his wits' end. When dog trainer, Emily Ireland offers to help, Martin is grateful--and intrigued.

But he's wary of getting too close to the sweet, pretty Emily, especially when he learns of her scandalous past. Can Martin ever open his heart to the possibility that Emily just may be his perfect bride?
Bride In Training received 4 stars in the Romantic Times Book Reviews, and I was thrilled. So if you enjoy dogs, their antics and romance, I think you'll enjoy this series.


For an great review of BRIDE IN TRAINING, visit Carly Kendalls' review at
http://carlybirdshome.blogspot.com/2010/06/bride-in-training-by-gail-gaymer-martin.html

You can also find this book on Amazon.com at http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0373876122?ie=UTF8&tag=novgaigaymar-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0373876122

 

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I need a backhoe!

Today was a catch-up day for me, now that the  manuscript for my April book has been turned in, and the  copy edits on Winter Reunion (November)  are  taken care of.  The next time I see Reunion, it will be out in the stores, and I can't wait.  Doesn't Steeple Hill have gorgeous covers?! Their art department is just amazing, and I wonder what they'll come up with for all of the November books!  I think my June book, End Game, has an intriguing cover, with a spooky road leading off into the mountains.

I am thankful to have those deadlines met..but now,  you should see my office!  :)   Er....maybe not. I worked on it most of the day and haven't made much of a dent in all the papers and books and whatnot that seem to grow exponentially whenever my back is turned. Do you have a "junk drawer" in your desk, or in your kitchen? Multiply that by a hundred, and you'll be able to visualize my office!  It will be such a good feeling  when it's all back in order. How about you...are you totally organized and neat-as-a-pin, or do you ever get just a tad behind like this?! I'm hoping that someone, somewhere, will tell me that I'm not alone! :)

I  had a bit of an excuse this time, though--we were traveling a bit, recently.  My husband has wanted to go to Alaska for years, and started planning this trip way last fall.  I never knew there were so many mountain ranges up there, each more beautiful than the last.  I just had to share a couple photos.

What are your favorite destinations?  Where would you like to go next?
Best wishes to you for a wonderful summer!

Roxanne Rustand
http://roxannerustand.blogspot.com  "The all creatures great and small place"

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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The true about continuities--Lenora Worth


Hello. I can't believe I've finally caught up on work. And just in time for summer, too. I finished a manuscript and got it sent in, did revisions on another one, read over the final edits on yet another one and got proposals ready for (hopefully) a new contract. Now I'm about to start on a fun continuity with several other Love Inspired writers. When I first started writing continuities, they kind of drove me crazy--all the characters, all the stories, all the things the writers had to work through. But now, I enjoy writing continuities--six books in a series written by six different writers. I thought I'd share what I've learned (besides playing well with others.)

1. Even though continuity proposals are created and written by our editors, the writers still get to be part of the creative process. We sometimes go back to our editors with changes that we believe will work best for the story. And they are great about working with us to make this happen.

2. When six women get together and discuss a storyline, anything can happen. But for the most part, we all get along great and try to compromise to make the stories flow together. This has taught me all about brainstorming and the give-and-take of writing a series with others.

3. It's fun to take a story and run with it and make it your own. Coming up with our own characters and stories will always be a part of our job. But taking a skeleton character and bringing him alive is a big challenge, too. Especially when it involves mingling with other characters from other books.

4. The plots are diverse and wild sometimes, but that's part of the fun of being involved in a continuity. It's still challenging and demanding and it teaches us to think on our feet. Continuities aren't for everyone because they do have to come together rather quickly and you need to be very flexible. But ... I love a good challenge.

5. And last but not least, I've learned we have a wonderfully talented group of writers at Love Inspired. I've worked with writers who are legends in the business and I've worked with new writers who are eager to write more stories for Steeple Hill. And very rarely have I had any troubles. We might hash things out back and forth, but in the end we all respect and admire each other. When we get together once a year for our publisher's party, we always have the DJ play a very special song--We Are Family--by Sister Sledge. And we truly do feel like one big family of sisters who love writing inspirational romance and celebrating our faith.

And that, sisters, is the best kind of continuity--the one where we are all together in this for the long haul. What a blessing! (The picture above includes some of my fellow writers--Debbie Clopton, Kathy Springer, Margaret Daley,(me) and Winnie Griggs. I've written continuities with Kathy and Margaret! And I love Debbie and Winnie's books!)

 

Monday, June 14, 2010

Summer Reading List

For as long as I can remember, my family has taken a summer vacation to the beach.  My favorite thing about that vacation was that my dad and I would load up bags of books for a weeklong read-fest.  It was pure joy to have nothing to do but lie on the beach and read. 

These days I live at the beach, and while I'd like to say that life is one big reading vacation, unfortunately that's not the case.  But these long summer days bring back the memories of my days in the sand with a sack of books beside me and nothing to do but immerse myself in the lives of the characters and their adventures.

My thirteen year old daughter wants to go to Europe.  I might just have to find a way for her to visit between the pages of a book.  What about you?  What are you reading this summer?  Do you have any great beach reads on your list? 

Stephanie Newton lives in Northwest Florida with her husband and two kids.  Her newest book in the Emerald Coast 911 series releases in retail stores July 13.  Get a sneak peek at the first chapter of Flashpoint here.

 

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Pride and Prejudice ... Aaaaaaahhhhh

Camy here, and I’m just up from a FIVE HOUR MARATHON of the BBC miniseries Pride and Prejudice!

I can’t say enough about how much I love this miniseries! It follows the book really well and the script is terrific and the actors are fantastic!

I watched the 2-hour movie version a few months ago, too, but didn’t like it as well as the 5-hour version. The actors were good but there were things about it that I didn’t quite like, which made the movie not as euphoric an experience for me as the 5-hour version.

So how about you? Have you seen both versions? Which one did you like better?

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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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

On Break

By Debby Giusti

When I worked in an office during my college days and in hospital laboratories after graduation, the afternoon break was a time to grab a soda and chat with co-workers. Now that I'm writing at home, I still need time away from my workstation, AKA my laptop.

My house sits on a lake so around 4 PM, I usually leave my computer, grab some bread and head to the docks. This summer, we have fifteen adult geese and eleven goslings that live in the dock area, along with six ducks and three ducklings.

(The picture above shows the nine gosling family, swimming behind their mother. Dad is taking up the rear but is hidden from view.)

I love to see how the various birds interact. Sometimes the baby ducklings try to outrace the goslings for my bread offerings and get nipped by Daddy Goose, who chases them off. The geese are extremely protective of their offspring and squawk and hiss when any adult geese venture too close to their youngsters.

Watching the birds relaxes me and allows me to come home refreshed, ready to once again tackle my novel. What do you do when you take a break? Grab a cup of coffee? Get some exercise? Enjoy God's beauty in nature?

Wishing you abundant blessings,
Debby Giusti
www.DebbyGiusti.com
http://www.seekerville.blogspot.com/
http://www.ladiesofsuspense.blogspot.com/

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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Barbara Phinney, rain and writing


Barbara Phinney is here and as a Canadian, I'd like to talk about the weather. And wonder what the sun looks like.
Yup, we've been having nothing but rain lately. Mind you, I live in a rainy part of Canada, and those April showers are two months late, so we are having gallons of rain.
My sister in law shrugged at my complaint. "We need the rain. The water table is low."
That may be so, and we all know God knows best, but when I see my poor little chickens huddled together in their coop, soaking wet, and my bean seeds floating away along with far too many slugs out enjoying the weather, I wonder if our water table is really that low.
I planted and weeded the garden in the rain. I discovered that even through a solid downpour, mosquitoes can find you. I laughed at the barn cats looking bedraggled and sad, begging me with their eyes to let their wet, smelly bodies into my clean house (hah!).
And still the rain continues. Our pastor's basement is flooded. Soccer practice is cancelled. The water table slowly rises to the ceiling level.
And still the rain goes on.
But I must remember that last year our early summer was awful, but August was hot and sultry and deliciously tropical. And while it's raining, it keeps me inside and maybe I'll get some writing done.
Like writing this blog talking about the weather.

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Monday, June 7, 2010

Home, Sweet Home

Ramona here, musing about the meaning of "home." Grace, one of my babysitters, lived in the house in which she’d been born. She inherited it from her parents, and planned to leave it to her daughter – who had also been born in the house and still resided there with her new husband.

Try as I might, I could not comprehend what it would be like to live in one place your entire life. While the idea of having to move filled Grace with sheer terror, the idea of being stuck in one house for many years made me shudder with an odd sort of claustrophobia.

My family moved when I was two. Then again when I was five. And 10 and 14. I moved at 18, 22, 24, 25, 28, 36, 38, 41, and 49. Now I’m about to move again, for the 14th time. I’m getting pretty good at it.

This time, I’m getting rid of almost everything I own. Furniture, books, clothes. Some I’m selling, some I’m giving away. What’s left will go in storage as the house sells and I figure out what to do next. I’m not sure why, but I feel led to do this.

One thing I’ve learned over the years is that “home” is like “church.” It’s not about the building. For me, it’s about the refuge I create with family, friends . . . and God. And no matter where I land, I know He’ll be there.

 

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Carolyne Aarsen

I've made a scrapbook for each of my children and I'm working on the last one. The first part of the scrapbooks are heritage pictures and I have many stories that go with the pictures. One of the pictures is especially striking to me. It's an anniversary picture of my grandparents. My mother is about ten years old in the picture and my Opa and Oma are surrounded by their children. Their oldest daughter is married and expecting. But my Oma and Opa's expression are anything but celebratory. That's because, only a few weeks previous, their country, Holland, was invaded during WWII. The picture is familiar to me, as are the stories of the war, but looking at them now, as a mother of grown children, I wonder what went through her mind. I'm sure worries piled upon worries and concerns for the future of the children that surrounded them. Because my life is on the other side of the war, I know how the story ended. But how hard that 'between' part must have been. How many prayers didn't they send up for deliverance. There were so many sad stories in the 'between'. My father lost two brothers, my father-in-law's family was torn apart. My parents had an 'enemy' who collectively had caused pain and sorrow and oh, how they hated that enemy. Lives were lost and families were torn apart. My father lost two brothers, my father-in-law's family, who lived in Arnhem, was scattered across Holland. And then the war was over and the rebuilding began.

We used to listen to those stories in the comfort and peace of our own home and country. We were in the 'after' of the war and the horror was far removed from our lives.

I have to think of my Oma's face as I'm dealing with difficulties and worries and concerns. I have to remind myself that at times I am in the 'between' part of the sorrow and the concern. I don't know how I'm going to come out the other side, just as my parents and grandparents didn't know what would happen to them. But it did end. And in it all, God was with them even though He might have felt so far away.

So I pray that for any of you who are in the 'between' part of sorrow and pain and heartache, that you will feel God's presence and that, when you come out the other side, you will know He was always with you.

 

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Steadfast Soldier by Cheryl Wyatt is IN STORES NOW


Hey all, Cheryl Wyatt here.

Today is the official release day for Steadfast Soldier and all other June Love Inspired books. Be sure to pick a few up on your next trip to town because they only stay on shelves for a matter of weeks.

I didn't realize until this weekend how fitting it was to have Steadfast Soldier release on Memorial Day weekend. In this story we know that Chance, the hero, has just experienced the death of his mother followed immediately by his father falling ill to a debilitating stroke. Having Chance's mother die was not my original idea but one my editor suggested and for good reasons. Every editorial suggestion has strengthened my books. I trust my editors. They know the readership and they know story. So I simply killed off his mom by writing her out of the synopsis and it was as easy as that, right?

Wrong.

In order to evoke emotion in readers, authors sometimes have to "go there" in their minds. Meaning, imagine what that particular trauma would be like. My mom is still with me and TRUST ME, I did NOT want to go there. That aspect of the book was the most difficult to write because, due to a certain scene involving my hero and a tattered tea pot, I had to think of all the things I'd miss about my mom if she were gone. Simply put...I'd miss EVERYTHING about her.

Unfortunately I know many of you out there have lost your moms and my heart goes out to you.

This weekend, I'm sure many of you spent time and probably a few tears remembering loved ones who've already stepped into Eternity.

My hope is Jesus and the cross. When He rose from that tomb to live again, so did hope that we will see our loved ones again if we only believe.

Please believe.

I don't want this to be a one-way conversation, so I'd love to hear who you miss the most today and why. They deserve to be remembered. No one wants to be forgotten. It's okay. Let your heart go there today...



And I pray that God will lift you up into His lap and hold you. He promises to wipe all of our tears away for good one day. While you draw near to Him in the remembering and let Him draw near to you, I pray that you will experience Him in a deep way. Feel Him lift your chin in the mourning and as eye-meets-eye, you see joy sparkling in His eyes for the tears that have hovered in yours. See the compassion of a God who is Eternal and whose love will never die. Feel Him plant the promise on your cheek through mercy's kiss. You will see your loved one again. Let Him love on you today and thread the hope of Heaven more deeply into your heart.





My heart has been heavy for several days over the loss of a girl I've never met. My niece was informed this week that a good friend of hers comitted suicide a few days ago. Especially painful was the fact that she mentioned my niece in her note and asked that she be thanked for being the only kid at camp to stick up for her when other kids relentlessly teased. Three weeks before she took her life, this seventeen year old girl sent a message through a mutual friend to tell my niece thank you for reaching out and making her life better.

My niece's tearful, agonized-to-the-soul reply: "Cheryl, if I made it better then why did she do it?"



I feel her pain. Such a senseless, preventable death. Those are hard. I can't imagine. I don't want to. Still...a story idea keeps swirling in despite that I continually bat it away.

But if the book can save even one life...I'll go there mentally in a heartbeat. Pray protection over our youth against suicide if you are reading this today. The suicide rate among soldiers is especially high these days too. Lift them up. Support them with your prayers whether you agree with the war or not. The fact is these brave men and women are sacrificing EVERYTHING so that you don't lose everything.



God help us to see the sadness in the eyes of those who may be on the brink of suicide and enable us to reach out and make THE difference of a precious life saved instead of lost.

Feel free to share about a loved one you miss so that we may know a special thing about them and remember them today. You are in my prayers!

As you remember your loved ones today, also remember the hope of Heaven. God is very near to the broken hearted. He loves you. He made a way. Jesus did it. Heaven is real. Hope lives. Sorrow has a definite end. God made sure of it. He is intimately acquainted with your pain. He will help you.

Believe.



Warmly,

Cheryl Wyatt

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