Thursday, October 28, 2010
Hello from Carolyne Aarsen.
When I was in my baby-having years, I always wanted twins. I never thought of the challenges of shopping with two toddlers, washing two sets of dirty diapers (I didn't use disposable diapers), toilet training two children. I just imagined myself dressing them up! But I never got twins. So I inflicted my twin-yearning on my daughters by dressing them alike. they put up with it until they realized they had clothing options and then they each went their own sartorial way. However, I never got past the fascination with twins. But now, as a writer, I get to play out certain dreams and wishes. So in my book, coming out in November, I couldn't resist putting in a set of twin boys. Of course these twin boys have their own personalities. And they cause trouble for their exasperated uncle and guardian. But as the writer, I can just enjoy! I hope you can pick up Cowboy Daddy, the story of Kip Cosgrove, his twin nephews and Nicole Williams, the aunt who wants to take them away from the ranch and the only home they've known, to her wealthy father's home in the big city. And you can find out just how much fun I had writing about twins.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Monday, October 25, 2010
Hero Interview from A Daughter for Christmas by Margaret Daley:
1. Dr. Max Connors, tell me the most interesting thing about you.
I have a chance to be a father to a thirteen year old daughter I never knew I had. I'm excited and afraid at the same time.
2. What do you do for fun?
Read--mostly non fiction books about history and biographies.
3. What do you put off doing because you dread it?
Telling Rachel Howard her adopted daughter is my child--a child my ex-wife never told me she had when I was serving in the Middle East. I'm not looking forward to that, but I want to be a part of my daughter's life.
4. What are you afraid of most in life?
Not knowing how to be a good dad for Taylor. Suddenly I've got a teenage daughter and I didn't have the years before to get to know her and establish a relationship with her.
5. What do you want out of life?
Peace. As a doctor serving in the military in the Middle East, I've seen too much death.
6. What is the most important thing to you?
Getting to know my daughter.
7. Do you read books? If so, what is your favorite type of book?
Non-fiction about history and biographies.
8. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Since my ex-wife left me when I was overseas in the military, I've become very cautious of letting myself get too close to another.
9. Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet?
No. I didn't think it was fair to have one when I worked long hours in New York City at the hospital.
10. If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why?
That's hard for me to answer. There are so many historical periods I find fascinating. But I suppose if I had to pick it would be during the time when the United States became a new country. What an exciting time for us. Our founding fathers had such a vision. I would have liked to have been there and given them my two cents, especially in light of what is happening today.
Friday, October 22, 2010
Notice the "YIELD" sign.
Another "YIELD" sign.
Have you had any experience with roundabouts? Is there anything that especially annoys you when driving?
Thursday, October 21, 2010
The bookstore and Rick handled the signing very well. Books were given out when we checked in (my son got the book and I bought an extra ticket to get in) and everyone pretty much started reading them immediately, my son included. After Rick did his talk and read an excerpt, it was time for the book signing. People were grouped by letters in the alphabet and were called up one at a time. The rest of us in the audience were treated to cartoons while we waited. As a parent of a very impatient child, that was a very much appreciated so I didn’t have to listen to “Is it our turn yet?”
When our turn finally came we were met by several store employees as we got to the front of the line. The first checked our tickets to make sure no one snuck ahead, the second put the book flap in the right place, and the third wrote my son’s name on a sticky note so Rick would spell it right.
Finally at the front, another employee sat next to Rick and took the books and opened them so Rick could sign. Since each person could get a book signed, I carried one of Rick’s other books for my son, so that meant he signed 1100 books plus whatever stock the book store had left over. The whole time I kept thinking that Rick had to be getting writer’s cramp, but he still had a smile for everyone in line and even asked my son if he had any questions. What a guy. He made my son’s day.
As an author myself, I hope that I leave my readers with that kind good feeling when they walk away from my table with my latest book in their hands. Even if I have 1100 people there. A gal can dream, can’t she?
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Nope, we're doing Romans 12, a spiritual journey of surrender, by Chip Ingram.
So you ask, what's that got to do with writing? After all, surrender to me conjures up non-action, compliance, sitting down and giving up. Certainly not characteristics of my heroines! (I really have to rein them in sometimes. They act like me with PMS!)
Why don't we, instead, change the word to Commitment. Committing yourself to God, for His best. That's what I'm doing. I'm committing myself. And part of that is to writing. I pretty much took the summer off, enjoyed the hot weather, participated in a mission trip to Bolivia, and grew vegetables. Now that fall is here, I am committing myself to writing. To trusting in God that He will guide my words and allow me to deliver books that speak to us about God and how to draw closer to Him.
By committing to trust God, I'm also committing to write more. To get more out to agents, editors, even get it to my printer every once in a while. It's going to take some trust, some work and more than a little prayer. I'm inherently lazy, I admit it.
Is there anything speaking to you about commitment? Is there anything you need to commit to, in order to trust God more? We don't need to be a Super Christian in matters of commitment. We can start in little ways, such as praying as we cook supper, or reading the Bible for five minutes on our break, or writing out a passage of scripture and tacking on the bathroom wall. Or turning off the TV for half an hour.
Are you willing to commit to something to help draw you closer to God? Even something small?
Monday, October 18, 2010
Sandra Robbins here.
Everywhere I look in my hometown I see signs of fall. Displays of pumpkins, corn stalks, and chrysanthemums decorate yards up and down the streets, and the leaves are turning. My one disappointment is that we're not going to have the beautiful fall color on the trees that we usually do. That's because of the drought we've had in our part of the country. The leaves look dead, and it's not going to take much wind to knock them right off the trees.
The signs of the season aren't the only thing I love about this time of year, though. When the middle of October gets here, I know that Thanksgiving and Christmas aren't far off, and I get excited. This year, though, I have another reason to be excited about Christmas. I have a book releasing from Love Inspired Suspense in December.
I never dreamed when I wrote a suspense novel about a woman newspaper reporter's attempts to stop a vigilante who is hoping to spark an all-out war between rival gangs in a small town that it would turn into a Christmas novel. After the book had been contracted, my editor asked if I could incoroporate a Christmas theme in the book. Even though I was a little unsure how to do it, I agreed, and the book Confidential Source became Yuletide Defender.
I had a great time thinking up the mayhem that a purse-snatching Santa could inflict on my poor unsuspecting heroine with his scheme to track her every movement. In fact as I did research for this book, I became a little concerned about the technology that is available these days that can allow someone to invade the privacy of a person's life. Of course, justice does prevail and wrongs are righted by the time the last page is read.
In the spirit of the season, the story also shows how God's love can take away our doubts and fears. As the hero finds out, God can also heal the ache in a heart that's longed to be a part of a family that loves each other.
I'm really looking forward to this book's release. Yuletide Defender will be in stores on December 7. It is already available for pre-order at several online sites.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Writing a series is exciting but difficult. The longest was my seven book Loving series that took place in a fictitious town, Loving, Michigan. I based the setting on a real tourist town, Grand Haven, and my characters visited numerous events and businesses there. I loved that series, but never again will I do one with involving seven novels. : )
My last three book series was Man's Best Friend, based on 3 women involved in a dog shelter. I hope you enjoyed those novels: Dad In Training, Groom In Training and Bride in Training.
A true series occurs when one story is finished, these characters will continue into the next book now focused on another character or two who appeared in the previous novel. It's challenging and interesting but not without it's difficult moments.
The hardest part about writing a series is keeping information straight. What kind of car do they drive? Are the parents of the hero and heroine living and if so where do they live? Do they have siblings? What caused them to be single: death, never married, or divorced, and if it's divorced, how do we handle this as Christians? What church do they attend? Where do they work? And it goes on and on. The author must be on her toes to keep all the details accurate.
Now I'm working on another three book series, Dreams Come True. It's not a series I would have chosen, but my editor encouraged me to write creat this kind of series because she thought I could. They love my emotional stories so I guess that's a compliment. These stories are based on the same concept as Make A Wish Foundation, about parents with a child who has a very serious illness. I know it sounds depressing, but my job is to give the readers a wonderfully emotional story with good times and diifcult moments but always a happy ending.
Each of these books can stand alone. The story has a satifying ending but leaves the doors open for another character to step into the spotlight. In fact it might be fun for readers to try and guess whose turn will be next. I've asked myself if readers enjoy reading books writing as a series or do they prefer single titles so they don't have to wonder what will happen next. I know some readers purchase the novels and then wait until they're all released so they can read them in a row. That's something I've never done.
I'd love to hear from you and your thoughts on series. Do you enjoy them? Do you wait until you have the whole series before reading them?
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Ever wonder where writers go to network and to learn and to catch up on industry stuff? Not to mention plot mayhem with other strange-minded writer friends? LOL!
I recently returned from the annual American Christian Fiction Writers' conference where I had the privilege of meeting Christian Fiction pioneer, Janette Oke (pictured above). During the presentation of a Lifetime Achievement Award by Carol Johnson, after whom ACFW's Carol Award was this year named, Janette exuded profound gratitude.
I am thankful for her obedience. I wonder, as she looked around the room, could she have imagined 40 years ago that her obedience to God in pressing on toward publication despite obstacles would have opened so many doors for the rest of us?
Have you seen Love Comes Softly, the movie based from her book? Janette joked onstage that it had been previously titled Love Sometimes Comes Softly. That made me laugh.
I felt amazed to just be in the same room with her and the other amazing authors. Every time I attend a conference I'm awed beyond belief at how, without fail, the more experienced writers encourage, mentor, prod and inspire those of us still relatively new on the scene.
I hope you enjoy these conference photos.
Here's my critique buddies, LIS Author Camy Tang and eHarlequin Board Hosty Dream. We are doing what we love best: hanging out, praying first, eating second, then plotting major mayhem during a delicious dinner and probably freaking out the wait staff at St Elmos in Indianapolis. LOL!
This is me and Dream in our five dollar dresses. Are we bargain divas or what?! LOL.
This is me with my author mentor, LI author Margaret Daley. She is an amazing friend with an enormous mentoring heart. I love her to pieces. She encourages and inspires me in so many ways.
I would love to hear which Christian Fiction Author most inspires you and why. Don't be shy! Have a blessed day and comment away!
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
It was fun and a bit different to see the same faces with a little age on them. I told him on the way home it was like being back in high school, only everyone looked older--but the same. After a few minutes with old friends, the years melted away and no one even noticed the wrinkles. We retold the fun stories and remembered people who couldn't be there. We attended a football game and all decided the kids on the field looked a lot bigger than the boys we remembered back when we were in school.
That's the thing about reunions. Everyone is still the same--the same personalities, the same smiles and laughs, and the same characters. But those same "kids" now have children and grandchildren and walk around like real adults. We all made it this far. Let's hope my husband and I will be able to attend more reunions.
And I hope the reunions story I'm working on now turns out to be as fulfilling as the real thing. This is a story I actually started writing in high school and I'm finally going to be able to finish it. It's pure fiction, but it will be bittersweet to see it in print. Maybe because just like our friends, this story has matured and blossomed over the years but it is still forever young.
Do you have a reunion story that touched you or made you stop and remember?
Monday, October 11, 2010
All that changed last week when I joined a gym. Drinking coffee is lovely (everyone should definitely lounge around with their coffee, or tea if you must, at some point every day). But now that I'm in my forties, and I'm not telling you how far into them I am, everything seems to sticking in places it shouldn't be, especially that twenty-five pounds that wasn't there three years ago. So.
I'm late posting this morning because I was sweating. And I need help. Last week, when it was new and exciting and the gym people were all friendly and helpful, it seemed fun to go, but today it just seemed like work. What keeps you motivated to exercise? Advice?
Stephanie Newton lives in Northwest Florida with her husband, two teenagers, and two poodles. The poodles are obviously in charge. Her next book is a novella called "Christmas Target" in HOLIDAY HAVOC, a Christmas 2-in1, with Terri Reed. You can order it here or look for it in retail stores November 6.
Friday, October 8, 2010
Seeking His Love is set in Fairhaven, Washington, which is the beautiful historical section of Bellingham. Though I've never visited Fairhaven, I've fallen in love with it through my online research and through contacts with people who live there. If you have a chance, I hope you will visit Fairhaven and check out some of the businesses and sights I mention in the book including, Village Books, the Fairhaven Village Green, and the WPA bridge over Whatcom Falls.
Many months before our books come out, our editor asks us to send photos with suggestions for cover ideas. I searched online, found several photos of the Fairhaven area, and sent them in. I was so pleased to see the cover design the artist created for Seeking His Love. It reflects the natural beauty of northwest Washington, and it also captures the mood of the story. Here is the photo I sent that suggested this design.
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Hi all! Charlotte Carter here. Although I've authored more than 50 novels, I'm a new kid on the block at Love Inspired. (Chances are good I'm way past the age of being a 'kid' but you know what I mean.) I'm really tickled to be part of the LI family and to have a December release scheduled - Montana Hearts - with more books in the works for 2011.
All authors need to take a break to recharge their creative engines. I thought you might enjoy the highlights of my recent trip to Yellowstone in search of WOLVES! It was quite an adventure.
FIVE DAYS IN YELLOWSTONE - 9/25 - 9/29/2010
The first day we're up at 5:00 a.m., on the road by six. An hour later we pull off the road in Lamar Valley for coffee and a pick up breakfast. Behind us the nearly full moon is still visible. To the east the sun turns the sky pink beyond a ridge.
That's when we hear the Blacktail wolf pack's howl floating across the landscape - ooooOOOOoooo - a low, throaty sound, primitive and seductive, sending a chill of excitement down my spine. A minute later more wolves join in the chorus to welcome the new day.
In late September the grass in Yellowstone has gone golden dry, the aspen and cottonwoods are a bright yellow against a morning sky streaked with orange.
This is the mating season for elk. A substantial herd remains in permanent residence around Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel and park headquarters, where they graze on well-kept lawns. The bull elks with their huge antler racks are the (potentially dangerous) clowns of the herd as they trumpet a challenge to other males and try to keep track of their harem of cows. The mating of bull and cow is brief and apparently not thrilling for the cow as she darts off quickly after the deed is done.
Park rangers frantically try to keep the elks and tourists at a safe distance, but tourists can be an unruly breed.
Our vehicle slows for a bull buffalo strolling alongside the road, his shoulders and head massive. We have far more interest in him than he does in us.
Another day a mother herd of buffalo and their calves rest in a grassy clearing. Junior tires of the taste of grass and butts his mother's udder. Startled, she jumps then remains steady as he drinks his fill.
A coyote tiptoes through the dry grass, his ears cocked. He pounces and comes up with a small rodent in his mouth. Lunch time!
On a hillside, a black grizzly bear is spotted napping between meals. His huge paws with their sharp claws rest on top of the elk carcass he has covered in dry grass. His body language selfishly shouts this cache is MINE, warning off other bears, wolves and circling ravens who must wait for scraps.
There's a wolf sighting. Dozens, perhaps a hundred, wolf afficionados line the roadway peering through binoculars, powerful scopes and cameras with huge lenses. Is that black spot on the hillside a wolf? Or a rock? No one is quite sure. If only the black spot would move. So they wait. For hours.
Another day a mother grizzly bear, her fur silver in the sunlight, teaches her two cubs to dig for roots in Hayden Valley. The cub stands on his back feet to see over the top of the sage brush, checks his mother's whereabouts, then trots after her.
The mob of tourists create a traffic jam along the road, drawing a park ranger to the scene to sort things out. Dozens of tourists have moved too close to the bears for safety; the ranger struggles to get them to move back.
Finally, on the last afternoon, word spreads through the tightly knit community of professional wolf watchers that three wolves have taken down a male elk in the Gibbons River near Steamboat Geyser. We hurry to the spot.
Hordes of people - the wolf paparazzi - line the road and creek. Motorized cameras whir, shutters click. Park rangers have set red cones out to keep the onlookers at a safe distance. Some tourists don't recognize the warning until a ranger physically drags them back to where they belong.
Two of the three wolves have already run off, too shy to remain near the growing crowd. The beta male remains in the creek, however, ripping off chunks of elk meat for his meal. He's larger than I'd expected. And determined.
In Yellowstone all the animals live by the rules of Nature, creating balance in their environment.
Special thanks to our guides, Nathan Varley and Linda Thurston of www.wolftracker.com for allowing me to check off a big one on my 'life list.'
And now back to writing stories of love and life in Montana.
Books that leave you smiling
from Love Inspired
Montana Heart, 12/2010
Big Sky Reunion, 5/2011
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Have you ever found some romantic suspense books more suspenseful because of the setting of the book? I have. Maybe because I’m a writer, but the setting for a book helps me visualize dangerous situations.
I often set my books in the beautiful state of Oregon. My recent release, High-Stakes Inheritance is set in Logan Lake, Oregon, a fictitious town about an hour's drive from Portland.
I lived in the Portland area for many years and have to say Oregon is one of the most picturesque and beautiful areas of our country. But depending on the time of the year and the part of the state you are in, it can be eerie and my imagination runs wild.
Fall and winter washes away the sun and brings drizzly, foggy days, crunchy or soggy leaves at your feet, and short days with plenty of inky black nights. A perfect setting for suspense filled stories. Or maybe you live in a part of the country where rain pelts a window, the howl of a blizzard slides under the door, the thick humid air hangs like soup all around you. All very suspenseful settings to me.
Now don’t get me wrong here, I don’t think romantic suspense books have to have such settings to be wonderful. I absolutely love Stephanie Newton’s books all set in sunny Florida, find them to be suspenseful and can't put them down until I've read the entire book. But for some reason, less than ideal weather conditions seems to heighten the suspense for me.
This past summer I spent a few days at the beach in Seaside, Oregon. Take a look at these photos. The first picture shows a glorious, sunny day at the beach
This second one a foggy, soupy day.
Which of these photos says suspense to you? Do you find settings in the books you read help you visualize the danger a character may face? Can you name some books you read recently where the setting helped cement the suspense and danger in your mind?
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
I'm so excited to share with you that Fresh-Start Family, my first Love Inspired Romance, is out this month and has hit the bookstore shelves!
Fresh-Start Family by Lisa Mondello
Civilian life is a strain for war hero Tom Garrison, but he's an expert at emergencies. And he puts his training to good use helping his lovely neighbor, single mom Jenna Atkins, and her sick son, Brian. Tom thinks he can rescue the family and walk away, but he's in for a big surprise. Despite his efforts, Jenna and Brian capture his heart—just as he captures theirs. Both Jenna and Tom have reason to be wary of letting anyone close. Can they overcome the past to give this family a fresh start at love?
I love this book and was thrilled when Romantic Times gave it a 4 Star review. I hope you enjoy!
Many blessings, Lisa Mondello
Monday, October 4, 2010
One thing: the willingness to sit down in a chair and create a story and then the courage to listen to learned people who advise you where to make changes, the heart to make the changes they suggest – even when you wish you didn’t have to, and then the guts to submit. Guts like Mae Nunn has.
What does it take to be a writer?
All the above and more. An organization called American Christian Fiction Writers has an award they give to honor gutsy people. The award is called the Carol. First, who is Carol? She is Carol Johnson, the editor who discovered Janette Oke and gave readers of Christian Inspirationals something to aspire too. The Carol is important because it’s our equivalent to the Newberry, the Edgar, and the RITA. This year one of the the winning books is The Texas Ranger's Family, a Love Inspired contempory.
What did you feel the moment your name was called as a winner?
I didn't have the pleasure of attending the conference this year and I thought the awards ceremony was on Saturday night as usual. When I didn't hear from anybody that night or all day Sunday I just assumed I hadn't won. Imagine my annoyance late Sunday night when my phone started to ring! Since I had to be at work at 6am the next morning I was already asleep, so I just hit the "ignore" button on my cell phone. Boy, was I surprised when I listened to my voice mails and read my texts Monday at 4am! I must have squealed like somebody had stepped on my tail because my husband got out of bed and poked his head into the bathroom to see what was wrong. I told him everything was very right. MY BOOK WON!
What do you feel the moment your friend Mae’s name called as a winner? (contributed by Missy Tippens)
When Mae Nunn asked me to accept the Carol Award for her should she win, I was honored and accepted. She sent me a list of the people she would want to thank and asked me to call after the ceremony. I assured her I would text her as soon as they announced the category. So I went to the awards ceremony prepared...but not prepared for having to go on stage in front of over 600 people! When they announced A Texas Ranger's Family as the winner, my heart nearly pounded out of my chest! I somehow made it onto the stage, made a quick comment about not being Mae--thus no hat and no boots --and shared her words of thanks. Mae thanked our Publisher, Steeple Hill, for believing in her work, her wonderful editor, Melissa Endlich, who makes her a better writer, and the Board and officers of ACFW for creating and maintaining an organization where Christian writers are thriving. I texted Mae as soon as I got back to the table. Then tried calling her afterwards. I didn't hear from her until Monday morning, when she woke me up. She had thought the ceremony was Saturday night like previous years and had gone to bed thinking I had forgotten to call because she hadn't won. :) So she was more than thrilled to get her messages on Monday morning and find out she won!
Mae, what number published book is this?
A Texas Ranger's family was my 6th book, and the first of a three part series (Her Forever Family/April 2010 and A Season for Family/November 2010) about young siblings separated by the family court system when their mother is killed by their abusive father in a fit of rage. The three stories are about how kids handle separation and loss very differently and how it impacts them as adults.
What made this book an award winner?
This book had a big cast and several settings even though it was a "short" contemporary. It involved themes of discovery, forgiveness, redemption, reconciliation and acceptance all in one story. Throw in a Texas Ranger hero, a Pulitzer Prize winning photojournalist heroine, a goth teen, a meddling grandmother and a Texas-size BBQ cook off and you can see where there might have been something for every reader to enjoy!
What are your writing habits (hours/pages a day... research tips, etc).
When I'm able to write full time my goal is five pages a day/25 pages a week. When I can only write part time I have to increase pages per day to meet goals. It all comes down to math and how many pages I have to produce in xx number of months to meet a deadline. Also, I'm a one draft writer so when I'm done writing (first day) and editing (next day) my pages won't change much more. When I'm finished with the book, I'm finished with the book. At least until I get that revision letter from my Editor!Then, feel free to share anything else we didn't think to ask :)
Since I mentioned revisions, let me add a word about that subject. I'll go out on a limb and say most writers hate to revise. We'd all like our work to be perfect as it is, so the revision process sometimes seem like unnecessary punishment. But I've learned to read the revision notes, put them away for a few days while I pout privately, whine to my family and friends and then consider where my editor might actually have some valid points. Then I sit down to the job, systematically go through the manuscript making changes as requested, strengthening areas that are weak and standing firm on what I believe needs no alteration. (Pick your battles carefully but do speak your peace when it's critical to your story!) I'm less confident when I send the manuscript in the second time but when I get that email or call from my editor telling me how much more she likes the revised book, I'm always grateful for her guidance and the additional hours I was able to use to polish the story. And, yes, A Texas Ranger's Family went through this process! Thank goodness for that!
Friday, October 1, 2010
Susan Sleeman here!
Have you ever had a dream come true? I’m not talking about the kind you have in the middle of the night where you’re on the street naked or running fast but can’t ever seem to get to where you’re going. I’m talking about a goal or something you’ve worked hard for but were never certain it could come true. Something you kept plugging away at even when a set back occurred. Something you put your every effort into achieving.
Well, if you have, you understand how excited I am this month at the release of my first book, High-Stakes Inheritance. Not only is this my first book, but it is a book released in an imprint that boasts some very talented writers. I am honored to be part of this group and like many of you, love to read the Love Inspired Suspense books when they come out and read this blog to learn more about my favorite authors.
So let me share the description of my September romantic suspense release, High-Stakes Inheritance.
"Leave Logan Lake now or you will pay!"
Despite the threatening warning, Mia Blackburn won't let anyone scare her from the rustic resort she inherits from her beloved uncle. But when a fire traps her in a burning barn, she fears that she won't get out alive. Just in time her ex-boyfriend volunteer firefighter Ryan Morgan rescues her from the deadly blaze. He had once broken her heart, yet she still has feelings for him. With Ryan insisting on keeping a close eye on her, Mia feels safer—and closer to Ryan than ever before. Yet the threats haven't stopped, and soon Mia's high-stakes inheritance includes a murder—and Mia could be the next victim.
To read an excerpt of High-Stakes Inheritance click here. The book is also available in large print and ebook formats. You can purchase High-Stakes Inheritance locally or order it from the following online booksellers.Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Or directly from the publisher by clicking here