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Monday, March 26, 2012

Top Three Things I Never Expected As A Love Inspired Author

Susan Sleeman here. This week I have been counting my blessings and they are many. One of the things I have been blessed with in the past two years is joining the wonderful Love Inspired team of authors. I am so thankful to be able to continue to write for this line and owe a special debt of gratitude to my editor Tina James for contracting my books and continuing to believe in me.
So today, as I count my blessings, I want to share the top three reasons why being a Love Inspired author is wonderful.
1. The readers – I have been blessed with a large following of dedicated readers of my Love Inspired books. They are faithful to purchase not only my books, but all of the Love Inspired author's books. Without you, the amazing, wonderful, super fantastic readers, we authors would be out of a job. So a big hearty THANK YOU!
2. Mail from readers – I have received lovely emails, handwritten letters and even gifts from readers of my Love Inspired books as I know have other authors in the line. There is truly nothing more meaningful and uplifting than getting mail from readers. And it seems as if God knows the days that I need encouraging because the emails often arrive at that time. So to those of you have written to me, thank you. To those of you who have written notes of encouragement to other Love Inspired authors, thank you.

3. Other Love Inspired authors
– I belong to many writer's groups and over the years I have found no group of authors more supportive than my fellow Love Inspired authors. They will go to the ends of the earth to help another author, to encourage fellow authors and to share knowledge they have learned in this business. I say a big thank you to these fine authors, too.
So I've shared my top three things I never expected about being a Love Inspired author. How about sharing something you never expected or were pleasantly surprised to find when reading these books?

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SUSAN SLEEMAN is a best-selling author of inspirational romantic suspense and mystery novels. She grew up in a small Wisconsin town where she spent her summers reading Nancy Drew and developing a love of mystery and suspense books. Today, she channels this enthusiasm into writing romantic suspense and mystery novels and hosting the popular internet website TheSuspenseZone.com. Susan currently lives in Florida, but has had the pleasure of living in nine states. Her husband is a church music director and they have two beautiful daughters, a very special son-in-law and an adorable grandson. To learn more about Susan visit her at her – Website
Or any of these social media sites-









 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

What's An Author's Most Valuable Asset? Readers


Happy Spring - from Gail Gaymer Martin at http://www.gailmartin.com/

The last I spoke to you was in February where I was spending the winter in Sedona, AZ, but surprise, surprise, winter never came to Michigan. Was it wasted effort? No I was inspired with story ideas there. Here we are one day into spring with 80 degree temperatures. Life is full of surprises. . .and so are readers. Why? Let me tell you.

One thing I've learned while writing for publicatoin these last fourteen years is that what is a writer without readers -- not only do you purchase our books, but you provide valuable information. My readers group on Facebook at  https://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=110543112472 helps me think of titles, story ideas, and become influencers of my upcoming releases when I send some of them a novel not yet released. I have enjoyed this faithful group and find them invaluable to me as a writer. You are my cheerleaders and often a source of great information. I can't thank you enough.
  

The cover has arrived for my next LI to be release in June, and I hope you look for it in stores or online at the end of May.  A DREAM OF HIS OWN is the final book in the Dreams Come True series and will be Ava's story. It will also reveal the only mystery in the series. Who is the lone donor f or the Dreams Come True Foundation and, as important, why?


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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Stories that Touch your Heart


Leann Harris here. It always nice to have a book you've done reenforced from the outside. The book that's out now, Redemption Ranch, (or in the next couple of weeks) is about Tyler Lynch, a Iraqi vet who is so closed down that his dog is only creature he wants to talk to.

Now, I almost never watch the evening news, but last week, there was a teaser at the end of one of the few programs I watch. Thursday I love 'Person of Interest' and 'The Mentalist". So at the end of The Mentalist, a promo came on for a story about a veteran who got a dog from Pets2vets. The dog in the story was a Boston Terrier. My puppy was a Boston and I couldn't resist watching the news.

Below is the link. Enjoy.
http://dfw.cbslocal.com/2012/03/09/pets2vets-changing-lives-of-north-texas-veterans/

 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Is FREE Always Good?

Susan Sleeman here. Most of you know me as a romantic suspense author for the Love Inspired suspense line, but I also write cozy mysteries. Wacky, funny, light-hearted cozy mysteries, and this week my mind is consumed with these books as my first cozy, Nipped in the Bud is free on Amazon until March 25th.
As I anticipate the event, I wondered, how many of you have e-readers and if you download free books on a regular basis. I have a Kindle and when I first got it, I looked for free books all the time and have downloaded tons of them. But you know what? I haven't read any of them. Maybe that's because I read so many books that I review on TheSuspenseZone.com and or my favorite authors keep putting out enough books to keep me very busy in the reading department. Or more likely, I have so many books on my Kindle that I just plain forget about them.
I have all the books neatly organized in folders that are labeled, but still it's not like seeing a book sitting on a to be read pile. It's an out of sight out of mind kind of thing. And, if I'm being truthful which I always try to be, I still like reading actual paper books better. I love to look at covers and hold them in my hands, feel the paper and slick covers. See the book tempting me to leave behind my chores and to do list to sit down and delve into another excellent story.
And I can't help but question as Nipped in the Bud is offered for free, am I the only one who thinks this way? So tell, me about your reading habits on your e-reader. Do you have tons of unread books? Tons of free books? Books you've paid for and forgotten all about. Inquiring minds want to know.
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SUSAN SLEEMAN is a best-selling author of inspirational romantic suspense and mystery novels. She grew up in a small Wisconsin town where she spent her summers reading Nancy Drew and developing a love of mystery and suspense books. Today, she channels this enthusiasm into writing romantic suspense and mystery novels and hosting the popular internet website TheSuspenseZone.com. Susan currently lives in Florida, but has had the pleasure of living in nine states. Her husband is a church music director and they have two beautiful daughters, a very special son-in-law and an adorable grandson. To learn more about Susan visit her at her – Website http://www.susansleeman.com
Or any of these social media sites-


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Monday, March 19, 2012

What makes a great heroine?

Hello, Jenna Mindel here.

Last time I blogged about my favorite hero-types, and so today I got to thinking about what makes a great heroine. I get a kick out of that well worn term regarding heroines that are "too stupid to live". I'm sure we've all read some of those, and certainly have seen them in movies. But rather than focusing on negative heroine types, I want to know what makes a good heroine great? and memorable?

In film, it's easy for me - any character played by Maureen O'Hara (Mary Kate Danaher's got to be my fav! in The Quiet Man.) But also, any female lead played by Meryl Streep is memorable too. I like a strong heroine who knows her own mind and stands up for herself with conviction. Not just because she's headstrong.

I remember feeling really sorry for Helena in Shakespeare's Mid-Summer Night's Dream. She was an insecure woman who took things into her own hands but messed everthing up. And maybe that's the key for me. I love a heroine I can relate to and that makes them great in my opinion. If I can feel her "pain" even if the book's a comedy, I'm hooked.
What do you think?

 

Friday, March 16, 2012



Hi Friends, Carrie Turansky here, writing to you today about those delicious recipes we sometimes included in our novels.

I love to cook, especially when I can share what I've made with friends and family. Descibing special recipes in my books has become a tradition for me.
And now I look for new and interesting ways to mention some of my favorite dishes in each novel. Readers have commented that they enjoy the descriptions and asked for the recipes, so I've added several of them to my website. I also like to include a recipe in each of my email newsletters.

My newest novel, A Man To Trust, just released and once again my heroine is cooking and baking her way into the hero's heart. The setting is Fairhaven, Washington, and the hero and heroine work together at Bayside Books, a Christian bookstore that includes a small cafe.

Here are some of the recipes you'll find in my books.
Along Came Love featured Aunt Tilley's Apple Walnut Muffins and Chicken Enchiladas
Surrendered Hearts included Bill's Two Tomato Chicken Ziti
Seeking His Love featured Rachel's homemade cinnamon rolls
A Man To Trust included Adrie's Kenyan Chai, homemade pizza, and Irene's Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies.




All these recipes are available through links on the Books Page of my website or in my archived newsletters on the News and Awards Page. I hope you'll try one and let us know how you like it.
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Carrie Turansky is the award-winning author of ten novels and novellas. She lives in New Jersey with her husband Scott and loves to spend time with her children, grandchildren and friends. She enjoys connecting wtih readers on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, and through her webiste: www.carrieturansky.com



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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Writing Space



This weekend I cleaned my office, so I thought I'd take a picture and share the space where I write my stories.

I usually sit here mornings and try to write about ten pages a day (those are on the good days). My desk is usually littered with story notes, because a lot of the plotting doesn't take place behind the desk, but late at night or in the afternoon on my walks. I think the most creative time for my brain is when I first wake up. I've heard this is so for many people. If I don't have a notebook handy by my bed, by the time I get going in the morning, those ideas could be long gone to never, never land.

Another thing I spend time doing at my desk is researching. Some days are just spent surfing the Web in search of obscure historical facts. Today I spent quite a bit of time trying to find out what men most smoked in 1893: cigarettes, cigars or pipes. All three were in existence, but it turns out that in a lot of the U.S., chewing tobacco was still king.

There's no smoking in my current Love Inspired Historical, Hometown Cinderella. Just clean, healthy life on the farm!

Hope you are enjoying the coming of spring. I so enjoy the sound of birds from my backyard lately. AND, Daylight Savings Time!

Be blessed.

Ruth

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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Happy St. Patrick's Day








Hi, Charlotte Carter here.I’ll be wearing green on St. Patrick’s Day and remembering the two wonderful trips my husband and I took to Ireland some years ago.





It’s said that there are 20 shades of green in Ireland. That’s a huge understatement. If I had a better artist’s eye for color, I’d still be counting.



In addition to wonderful, friendly people, Ireland has a great surplus of rocks! If the Irish could come up with a fantastically popular commercial product made of those rocks, Ireland would be the richest country in the world.











There are towers and castles, farmhouses and fences, forts and rock circles, all made of rocks. The land is so rocky, I can’t imagine how anyone could plow the ground to plant a crop.





Which brings us to something else Ireland has in plenty: sheep. They are everywhere in the countryside. They baaa constantly and sound lonely even when they’re in the middle of their flock.


One day we were fortunate enough to watch a shepherd with his three border collies herding a flock of sheep on such a steep hillside, it would have been impossible for a horse to manage. Using hand signals and whistles, the shepherd told his dogs what to do. And boy, did they do it. Had those sheep rounded and down the hill in no time.

Because the ancient sits side-by-side with the modern, I came away with a sense of connection to those who had walked that rocky land thousands of years ago. You see, I’m part Irish on my mother’s side. I’ve always suspected that’s it my Irish blood that made me a storyteller.


Do you have a connection to Ireland? Everyone does on St. Patrick’s Day.


Happy reading...... Char......



Books that leave you smiling...


Montana Love Letter, LI, 10/2012
www.CharlotteCarter.com

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Monday, March 12, 2012

Social Issues in Romance



Pamela Tracy here. Yesterday I was on a panel at the Tucson, Arizona, Festival of Books. Our topic: Social Issues in romance. When I was first told of my topic, I wrinkled my nose. "Please, tell me to give a workshop on voice, point of view, black moment, anything."



Nope, my workshop was on social issues in romance.



I looked at the books I'd written (23) and wrinkled my nose again. Then, I went searching for exactly what a social issue was (I had an idea, but it wasn't something I'd researched.) Luckily, one of the other panel members quested with me. Here's the definition we came up with:



"... a situation in life that causes, either inadvertantly or intensionally, some sort of unrest."



Next, we went looking for the top ten social issues. Here's the list we found and decided to use:



10. Education - Ignorance - intelligence & knowledge - common sense, rational thought.
9. Illegal Immigration - Healthcare, jobs, wages

8. Freedom of speech - Hate speech ( KKK )

7. Personal Individual Liberty disputes - between government control vs. individual freedoms
6. Society morality conflicts - Abortion, Atheists, Drugs, Suicide, prostitution
5. Psychology - deviance, abuse, manipulation, superiority complex attitudes, domineering personalities like dictatorships
4. Standard of living - between the poor & rich - healthcare
3. Discrimination - against culture, age, sex, religion, race
2. Religious intolerance
1. Racism



Almost immediately, we tossed out the ones we didn't want to talk about. We went back and forth using our own books and the books of others to try to match issues to books. Then, we went looking for the top ten romance books (not classics, but popular fiction). Here's the list we chose:



10. Morning Glory
9. Nobody's Baby But Mine
8. Lord of Scroundels
7. Knight in Shining Armor
6. Flowers from the Storm
5. The Bride
4. McKenzie's Mountain
3. It Had to be You
2. Dream Man
1. Outlander



I'd read six but only really remembered two.


One of the other participants had read them all and put social issues to them.


Turns out social issues are alive and well in romance books and actually do sell well.

 

Friday, March 9, 2012

Glynna Kaye: "High Country Hearts"




The last person she expected to see...her old college crush in Canyon Springs! When Olivia Diaz promised her parents she’d manage their cabin resort, she thought she’d find some direction for her life. She didn’t expect to be working side by side with Rob McGuire. Rob’s as handsome--and as guarded--as ever. Can free spirit Olivia get him to open up about his life, his faith...his mysterious past? Because the more time they spend together, the more Olivia realizes Rob could be Mr. Forever.
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High Country Hearts is my fourth Love Inspired set in the mountain country of Arizona. This beautiful ponderosa pine-forested setting is dotted with lakes, hiking trails and peaceful cabin resorts, making it an ideal getaway destination to step back, quiet down and listen to what God’s been trying to tell you through the hubbub of your daily life.
.
Canyon Springs is a perfect place for Rob (brother of Dreaming of Home’s Meg McGuire) and Olivia (cousin of Joe Diaz, also from that first book) to fall in love--and grow up in God. This is a story about fresh starts, forgiveness and self-forgiveness. A story about God’s mercy when we fail to meet His expectations.
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I love writing stories set in this magnificent part of Arizona, a vast area that’s unknown to those who believe the state is wall-to-wall cactus and desert heat!
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I hope you enjoy another visit to the High Country!
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Glynna

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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Weddings, Springtime & Harlequin Heartwarming

Best wishes to you all!

Can you believe that Daylight Savings Time  changes this weekend? Don't forget to change your clocks!   It's a herald of coming spring, but here in the Midwest, it seems like we've had spring all winter long--with just the occasional frosting of snow.  Usually, we see a blizzard or two even into late March, but yesterday we enjoyed seventy degree sunshine and our two paint mares are already shedding. I sure hope they know what they're doing with losing those winter coats so early!  Still, other signs of spring are everywhere.  Budding trees, new life....Buttons is due to foal in a month, and across the fence, the neighbors already have some beautiful paint foals romping around.  This is Buttons, to the left.

We had an exciting event in our family over the winter months, though--our son and his fiancee were married in January and then went off on an adventurous honeymoon. They tell me the spiders were HUGE in Cambodia!  If you'd like to see some photos from the wedding, I've just  posted some at www.roxannerustand.com.

Have you ever picked up a Harlequin Heartwarming?   These are good,  clean reads--similar in tone to the Love Inspired line, but without the faith element. My next book, WHEN HE CAME HOME will be out April 1st, in paperback and as a download. I'm so delighted--Harlequin  just sent me a jpg of the cover a few minutes ago.  Isn't it pretty? 

Best wishes to you all for a wonderful spring!

Roxanne Rustand
www.roxannerustand.com
The All Creatures Great and Small Blog

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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Fitzgerald Bay-Law Enforcement Siblings Fight for Justice and Family


Terri Reed here. I wanted to share a great promo piece that Love Inspired Suspense did for the Fitzgerald Bay continuity series.

My book, the sixth in the series, The Deputy's Duty releases in June.

Fitzgerald Family Secret

As the eldest of six siblings and deputy chief of Fitzgerald Bay police department, Ryan Fitzgerald is a protector. Of his family. Of his community. But staying in control means keeping his distance…until Meghan Henry comes to town. Seeking justice for her murdered cousin, and safety for an orphaned—and missing—child, the daring journalist is not afraid to face danger head-on. And when she uncovers a dark Fitzgerald secret, Ryan’s left with a devastating choice. Which will he protect—his family, or the woman he’s started to love?

Fitzgerald Bay:

Law enforcement siblings fight for justice and family.



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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Reader and Writer Opportunities

The Seekers (L to R): Debby Giusti, Sandra Lee Smith, Julie
Lessman, Mary Connealy, Cara Lynn James, Myra Johnson,
Ruth Logan Herne, Audra Harders and Janet Dean
By Debby Giusti
This week is packed with fun opportunities for writers and readers alike.  Writers--and those folks who want to hang out with writers or learn more about how to craft a story--are challenging themselves to write a book in a month-long event called SpeedBo, AKA Speed Book, hosted by www.seekerville.blogspot.com.

Haven't been to Seekerville? The 13 Christian authors who host the blog provide great information about writing and publishing.  Since I'm one of the authors, I may be biased, but we do have a lot of fun, serve cyber-food that's always delicious and calorie free, talk about the latest trends and tips and techniques in publishing and support one another as we all try to perfect our craft and turn out better stories.  Plus, during March, we're pushing forward to write page after page after page until we eventually end up with a full-length manuscript.

Another reason to visit Seekerville?  We always have prizes.  During SpeedBo, the giveaways will be writing related, but at other times, we give at least one book away a day.  You'll find some of your favorite Love Inspired authors in Seekerville: Tina Radcliffe, Missy Tippens, Ruth Logan Herne, Glynna Kaye, Janet Dean, Audra Harders, as well as yours truly, Debby Giusti.

A fun event for readers this week is Barbara Vey's 5th Annual Birthday Bash, which celebrates the success of her Publishers Weekly romance blog, www.BeyondHerBook.com. Barbara's goal in life is to connect readers and writers, and her blog helps do just that.  Stop by to wish Barbara continued success, and you'll be entered in drawings for hundreds of books she's giving away this week.

On Wednesday, the Seekerville authors are hosting the party on Barbara's blog, donating numerous books and giving away a KINDLE FIRE. Thursday is inspirational genre day so you'll find many of the Love Inspired authors celebrating with Barbara.  No matter when you stop by and leave a comment, you'll have a chance to win.

FYI: Barbara is hosting a Readers' Appreciation Luncheon on April 10, at the Oak Creek Community Center, in Oak Creek, WI, and you're invited. Check out the information at: http://www.barbaraveyreaders.com


Happy Birthday, Barbara!  Good luck to all the SpeedBo writers!

Wishing you abundant blessings,
Debby Giusti
www.DebbyGiusti.com
www.seekerville.blogspot.com
www.craftieladiesofromance.blogspot.com

THE OFFICER'S SECRET and THE CAPTAIN'S MISSION, the first two stories in Debby's Military Investigations series, are still available in paper or e-book.  THE COLONEL'S DAUGHTER will be out in August, and THE GENERAL'S SECRETARY follows in January.  Each story stands alone so the books can be read in any order.                                                                            

THE CAPTAIN'S MISSION was nominated for The Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence!  

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Monday, March 5, 2012

Allie Pleiter on cake or pie?

It's a deceptively simple question.

Granted, it's entirely fueled by the fact that I just got home from Shreveport Louisiana where I spoke at the NOLAStars Written in the Stars romance writers conference.  Several other LI, LISuspense, and LIHistorical authors were there.  It was my first trip to Louisianna since attending the RWA conference in New Orleans several years ago, too.

I'll remember the lovely hospitality.  The people who called me "ma'am"--you just don't get that in Chicago.  The fact that it wasn't snowing there--oh, do you get that in Chicago.  The wonderful readers and writers I met while at the conference.  The truly outstanding yarn store I visited and interviewed for my DestiKNITions blog.

And the Strawn's pie.

Now, Pleiters are no slouches when it comes to desert appreciation.  There's a good a friend made my son a 7-kind-of-chocolate cake many times during his illness.  I have to admit, however, that I'd always thought of myself as a cake person.  I had also--for reasons I can't even name--figured the world came in cake people and pie people.  Doesn't the phrase "cake person" and "pie person" just bring up a different image for you?  Isn't it funny how our brains classify people for the silliest of reasons?

I had lots of pie during my visit.  Three slices in four days, to be exact (I hear the treadmill calling my name today).   And I've decided I just might be BOTH a cake person AND a pie person.  After all, they both go very well with coffee, and I MOST DEFINITELY am a coffee person.

What about you?  Cake or pie?  Which flavors are your favorite?  I'll start...chocolate cake and lemon meringue pie top my list. 

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Saturday, March 3, 2012

Lyn Cote-Free on Kindle through Monday March 6th


Lyn Cote here-
Just like Kim Watters, I'm also self-publishing my books that have gone out of print.

Autumn's Shadow is Free on Kindle through Monday March 5, 2012. Here's the link if you want to download it:

http://amzn.to/y9PY6Q

Autumn's Shadow is book 2 in my Northern Intrigue series.



The first book in the series Winter's Secret is priced on sale at 99 cents on Kindle the same days.
http://amzn.to/v8BqEz

Here's a bit about Autumn's Shadow:

Someone has a mean sense of humor--

and is springing nasty pranks at the local high school. High school principal Keely Turner is determined to find out who is playing dangerous pranks at her school before something terrible happens. Burke Sloan, the deputy sheriff responsible for helping Ms. Turner solve these, finds himself falling for her. As they work to overcome the obstacles in their path, will they discover the depths of God's love and of a love for each other?

So that's my news. And since Kim said that she found that better covers sold more books. What do you think of these two?

BREAKING NEWS --SMASHWORDS & READ A FREE EBOOK WEEK STARTS SUNDAY MARCH 4, 2012, ends March 10th! For a free ebook download of my La Belle Christiane, click this link:

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/92021


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Friday, March 2, 2012

Excerpt – Shades of Truth by Sandra Orchard

Sandra Orchard here, with an excerpt from my March Love Inspired Suspense, Shades of Truth, which just released in Eformat and will hit retail store shelves in a little more than a week!!! 


 Excerpt:

Kim’s expression hardened. “I was thinking about the damage that rumors of a hit and run by a former resident would do to the manor. I don’t expect you to understand, Ethan. You’ve only been here a day. You couldn’t possibly care about the manor’s survival the way I do.”
The woman was as loyal and compassionate as they came. How could he have suspected her of trying to protect a drug dealer?
“I’m sorry, Kim. I was out of line. Believe me, I want to help you.” More importantly, he wanted to get her out of here before the police connected her—or him—to the shooting. The last thing he needed was a cop unraveling his cover. “Come, on, I’ll drive you home.”
In the meantime, he needed descriptions of the kids vandalizing Kim’s car, because chances were good one of them shot Blake, or had seen who did. And Ethan needed to talk to them before the wrong cop got to them. Or Kim.
Witnesses in this case had a bad habit of showing up dead.
Excerpt of Chapter One:


Sandra again...

I like to create “extras” to enhance readers’ experience of my books. You can check out the ones for book one in the series here.

For updates on new releases, special subscriber-only reads and giveaway opportunities, sign up for my newsletter


CURRENT GIVEAWAY - 2 days left

Until March 4th, enter to win a copy of Shades of Truth at Goodreads. Open to residents of US, Canada, Australia, and Great Britain 
 
Your Turn: What kind of extras would you like to see for your favorite books?

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Thursday, March 1, 2012

Carolyne Aarsen


If you check my website, you will notice that I do other things beside write. I sew. Knit. Embroider and, more recently make scrapbooks and cards. All my life I've been doing one type of craft or another. When I was young, I would knit sweaters and make up stories. I would sew and dream up heroes for the romance I wanted to write someday. It was all so much fun. So pleasant and inspiring.

And then , so many years after that, I started writing. At first, it seemed to be just another hobby but when I sold my first book and then my second and third and fourth, it became much more than that. It became a vocation. And soon I started writing more and more. When our youngest son moved out of the house, writing became my entire focus and my passion. I would spend every day at the computer and sometimes, even the evenings. The sewing machine gathered dust. The knitting got shoved into a cupboard. I didn't have time for this fooling around. I was a writer and writing consumed all my time. And it did.

Then, a couple of years ago, as I was fiddling with a story line, I felt it. A general malaise. Disinterest. Reluctance to get going. I just didn't 'feel' like writing. Now, as a professional, I know that I can't work just based on 'feelings'. But I also know that there has to be some spark, some ember of excitement that makes me want to tell the stories. I wasn't sure what was going on and kept whining to my writing partner that I just didn't want to write. I had scads of time to do it. Whole days yawned ahead of me that I could spend, sitting at the computer. But I didn't want to be there. Trouble was, I didn't know where else I wanted to be. I got nervous about my lack of enthusiasm for crafting the stories I used to love so much.

Then our church held a fundraiser for our youth to go and work on an orphanage in Honduras. They were going to have an auction and I was asked if I could donate something. But other than my books, what? I started rooting through my cupboard and found a bunch of dolls that I had bought at one time, still boxed up. At one time I'd had dreams of clothing these poor, naked things, but my writing took over my life. So I pulled them out, hauled out the numerous scraps of material I'd had sitting around from years of sewing. Most of them were too small for anything else except doll clothes.

While I sorted and fingered material and laid out the fun colours and patterns on the floor of my office, the ever present deadlines taunted me, telling me. I didn't have time for this fooling around. I had to get back to work. But I knew work would just mean staring at a computer screen and sighing. So I stayed where I was, sorting lace and buttons and trim, memories of the joy this work gave me seeping into the day. And as I did, I made a decision. In spite of the reality of having a book to finish and another set of galleys to check over, I was going to find time to make some clothes for a doll and donate them to the auction. I would work in the evening, that was all.

And I did. But as I cut and pinned and sewed and snipped, an interesting thing started happening. The story I just couldn't get excited about, the characters I couldn't care about, started slipping around the edges of my brain. They started talking. The ideas started flitting around. My mind started playing with story lines. It was as if my mind played as my hands did. And slowly, slowly, the embers started glowing again. I was excited to get back to the computer to put down the ideas that came to me as I sewed.

The picture you see here is of a set of clothes and doll that I am donating to yet another auction. And while I was sewing these clothes, I was working on another series of books I want to do. I was letting the characters play around in my head as I worked. It was fun. And this week, I'm back at the computer. Back at work.

But since making those doll clothes, I've learned to give myself some craft time as well. Some time to fill the creative well I had been drawing from far too deeply for far too long. I've let colours and paper and fabric and textures back into my life and I'm having fun doing other things beside writing. It was an important lesson to me.

As for the doll? She and her clothes sold for a goodly amount of money. Multi purpose crafting.

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