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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

To Prague and back

Pat Davids here.
I've just returned from the trip of a lifetime. I took a river cruise on the Rhine, Main and Danube rivers through Europe from Amsterdam to Budapest and then by bus to Prague in the Czech Republic.

 Every bend in the river brought another castle, a church, a vinyard or old-world towns into view. I was constantly running to get my camera, but the pictures don't do justice to the beauty I saw.
If you ever have a chance to take such a trip, do it. For me, the highlight of the trip was visiting Prague. My mother's family came from the region and I have always wanted to visit. I wasn't disappointed. It is an awesome city.

Tell me, where did your family hail from and have you ever had the chance to visit that place? Would you if you had the chance?  


 

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Hurricane by Leann Harris

My mother just moved from Houston to the northern part of the state of Texas.  But she went through a lot of hurricanes.  When the authorities say get ready, they mean it.  9 times out of 10, the hurricane missed Houston, but it is the 10th time that makes the difference.

Streets are flooded.  No power, no way to keep anything cold.   A couple of years ago, I think it was Hurricane "Ike", where they put all the the lanes of I-45 going north.  Mom didn't make it out of Houston, but my brother was a trooper and stood in line hours to get ice for them.

Pray for the folks on the East Coast.

 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Go For It! by Marta Perry


I love this picture! This is my four-year-old grandson, Tyler, picking out his pumpkin at the pumpkin patch. It doesn't matter to him that it's too big, too heavy, or that his mother is standing just out of camera range saying, "Don't drop it!" This is the one he wants, and he's going for it, even though his little arms won't reach around it and he's bent backward with the effort.

In one of her books Annie Dillard talks about the necessity of throwing everything you have into the passion of your calling. When I first started writing, I found I wanted to hoard my ideas. If I only had two good ideas, how could I possibly use both of them in the same story? Surely I should save one of them for the next story, shouldn't I?

But creativity doesn't work that way. I learned, eventually, that I had to put everything I had into the story I was writing at the moment. And when I did that, other ideas came welling up from that deep place where story ideas are hiding. As long as I keep writing, I can never run out of ideas! That truth frees me to do my best.

It's true in other aspects of life, as well, including the spiritual. My pastor recently pointed out that God gives us an example of outrageous generosity, scattering blessings with an open hand.

So when you're tempted to take the cautious route, in writing or in life, I hope you'll remember little Tyler and his pumpkin. Go for it!

Blessings,
Marta

 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Formula for Danger giveaway!

I’m feeling generous today so I’m going to give away 10 copies of my second Love Inspired Suspense novel, Formula for Danger!

HER LIFE WAS ON THE LINE

Someone wants dermatologist Rachel Grant's latest research, and they'll do anything to get it. Including trashing the plants needed for her breakthrough scar-reducing cream--and trying to run Rachel down. Desperate for help, she turns to Edward Villa, the only man she trusts. But the greenhouse owner knows too much about Rachel's research, and now he's a target, too. Break-ins, muggings, murder...the would-be thief is getting desperate--and getting closer. Edward vows to protect Rachel at all costs. Yet with time ticking away, Edward knows they have to uncover the madman shadowing Rachel before their chance for a future is destroyed.

Excerpt of chapter one:

Dr. Rachel Grant had walked only a few feet out the back door of her family's Sonoma day spa, Joy Luck Life, when the patter of running footsteps behind her made her turn.

She had only a glimpse of a dark hoodie and a tall, lanky figure before a shove sent her sprawling onto the sidewalk. Thwack! Her left cheekbone collided with the cement, sending pain lancing through her head.

Snow clouded her vision and she struggled to open her eyes. Her heart pounded in her throat, making it hard for her to breathe. Frantic, she opened her mouth wide but no sound came out.

She glanced up. The backsides of dirty sneakers filled her field of view as they trotted away from her. Then a hand scooped up the bag strap of her sister Naomi's laptop computer, which had flown from Rachel's grip to land on the edge of the pool of light from the parking lot streetlamp. The sneakers hustled away.

Breathe! Rachel forced her wooden lungs to fill and tried to scream, but only a harsh croak came out. Where were the security guards? They should have seen the attack thanks to the outside video cameras. How long would it take for them to run out here?

Even worse, Naomi would be devastated to lose that laptop, which she'd bought barely five hours ago.

She heard the creak of the spa's back door, then more footsteps. "Rachel! Rach, are you okay?" Naomi fell to her knees beside her, hands on Rachel's shoulders. "I was talking to Martin, and we saw it all on the security camera." Martin, one of the security guards, raced past them, pursuing the stranger and the laptop.

In the distance, a woman's voice screeched, "What are you doing? Don't leave me!" It sounded as if it had come from the front of the spa.

Who was that? What was going on?

Rachel pushed herself up, her cheekbone throbbing as she rose. She squeezed her eyes shut to the wave of pain and paused on her knees, her head bowed.

Naomi put her arm around her. "Where are you hurt?"

"Just my cheek."

Naomi pulled Rachel's hair away from her face to look at her. Rachel had a hard time opening her eyes again as the pain splashed across her forehead, trickling back inside her skull. "How bad is it?"

"You'll have a black eye, that's for sure. We need to get you to the hospital."

"No, I'll have Monica look at it first. If the family nurse says so, then I'll go to the hospital." Just the thought of all the people in a crowded emergency room made Rachel cringe. She only wanted a quiet place to lie down and recover. "I'm sorry about your laptop."

"Forget the laptop, I'm worried about you."

"I only took a fall, nothing worse. But that laptop was new—"

"I can buy a new one. Besides, I'm almost glad it was new because it didn't have anything on it, so the spa didn't lose any sensitive information. That would have been worse." Especially since Naomi still managed the spa while their father recovered from his stroke. Naomi had bought the computer to help her with the spa's accounting.

"We should call the police and report it stolen."

"We should call Dad and Aunt Becca first." Naomi dug her cell phone out of her pocket.

"Call Aunt Becca. Aren't she and Detective Carter out to dinner tonight?" The two of them were dating again after an argument that had kept them apart for a few months. It was almost 10:00 p.m., but they might still be together at a movie.

As Naomi talked to Aunt Becca—who indeed was with Detective Horatio Carter—Rachel managed to sit up, although the evening sky spun around her. She clutched her hands together, trying to stop their shaking. She'd been attacked in the spa parking lot!

Clicking heels made Rachel look up. Gloria Reynolds, one of Naomi's massage clients, tripped toward them. "Dr. Grant, are you all right? Did that man hurt you?"

"Ms. Reynolds, you're still here?" Not the most tactful thing to say, but her headache was making it hard for her to be polite.

"Ms. Reynolds was my last client for tonight," Naomi told Rachel as she ended her call with Aunt Becca.

Gloria flipped her highlighted hair with a manicured hand. "The security guard was walking me to my car when he saw that person running away. Miss Grant," Gloria said to Naomi, "you really should talk to that guard. He ran after the person and left me by myself. Even when I called to him. And it was obvious the other guard was after the man, too, so there was no need for him to give chase."

Naomi smiled politely and responded with amazing courtesy when Rachel knew she must be rolling her eyes inside.

A flash of car headlights made Rachel wince as a vehicle headed down the spa driveway.

Then alarm jolted through her. The spa was closed, and the security guards, running after the thief toward the drive way, would have stopped the car from entering. Were the guards okay?

The car maneuvered into the staff parking lot, then stopped right next to them. A door opened and slammed shut. "Rachel!"

Edward Villa's voice made her heart leap into her throat, then settle back down in her chest, racing. Edward was here. Suddenly everything seemed okay.

No, she had to stop reacting this way to him. He didn't think of her as anything other than a client.

"Are you all right?"

She smelled him—pine, a hint of the orchids he worked with at his greenhouses and earthy musk—before her eyes registered that he was crouched in front of her, edging out Ms. Reynolds.

"The guards told me what happened when I drove in."

She had been able to keep it together when talking to Naomi, but somehow, his concern for her undermined her control over her emotions, and she steeled her jaw against a sudden onslaught of wild sobbing. Casting herself into his arms would only solidify his cool opinion of her, which he had made abundantly clear a couple months ago.

"Rachel." He reached out for her.

She held up a hand to stop him.

He grasped her hand, engulfing her fingers. His callused fingers rubbed her knuckles. His touch made her head spin.

"I'm fine," she whispered, breathless. She pulled her hand away.

The security guards walked up to them. "I'm sorry, Miss Grant, he got away. He ran up the driveway, and there was a car waiting for him at the end of it. They took off."

"Dr. Grant, are you okay?" the other guard asked, peering at Rachel.

She felt like a bug on display. "I'm fine." She heaved herself to her feet, but it made the blood pound painfully in her head. She swayed.

Edward's arm wrapped around her, making the earth stand still again. It felt good to be held by him. It felt…

Too good. She pulled away from him.

Edward paused a moment, then he bent down and collected her purse, which had dropped and scattered its contents when she fell. As he handed it to her, his eyes were calm, but somehow she could sense a fire burning behind them. As if other emotions ran deeper.

She didn't understand. While they had been working together for the past year on Rachel's new product for the spa, they had gotten closer, and she had felt free to be herself with him. But then, in the past couple months, he had withdrawn from her, become distant and polite.

Maybe he had seen who she really was…and he hadn't liked what he saw.

The thought was like a punch to her gut, every time she thought it. Which had been often in the past two months.

No, maybe he had never been interested in her, and he'd suddenly become aware that he was leading her on. Regardless, recently he had been clear in showing that he had no interest in her beyond a good business relationship.

She was just imagining the emotion in his eyes was deeper than natural concern. "Thank you." She took her purse from him, avoiding touching his hand again.

The silence was thicker than cold cream.

"Rachel—" he began.

"Here you go, Miss Rachel." Martin, a security guard who had been with them for years, handed her an ice pack he must have gotten from inside the spa. "That'll keep the swelling down from that shiner."

His light words made her smile, made the situation not seem so horribly violating. "Thanks, Martin." She pressed the cold pack to her eye, and found that it enabled her to avoid looking at Edward.

"Ms. Reynolds," Naomi said, "let me escort you back inside. We can wait for the police in one of the lounge rooms."

Rachel stayed outside and watched them reenter the spa. She tried not to remember what had happened, but it came to her in flashes. She shivered. She'd been bullied in grade school because she'd been a geek and a bit odd, but no one had ever assaulted her. Even bickering with her sisters Naomi and Monica had never gone beyond a little hair-pulling.

But tonight, someone had deliberately hurt her. It made her feel weak and vulnerable. Not in control.

And she didn't like it.

She especially didn't like that it had happened here, at the spa.

She suddenly realized that Edward had no reason to visit her here. They usually talked on the phone about the basil plants he was growing for production of her new spa product and met at his greenhouses. Why was he at the spa this late at night? "Edward, what are you doing here?"

His eyes were deep obsidian pools as they studied her, then he surprised her by looking away.

"Edward?"

He sighed. "I called your home and your sister Monica said you were still here."

"Did you try calling my cell phone? Did I not hear it ringing?" She fumbled in her purse and grasped the rubbery edge of her rugged waterproof cell phone—a necessity since she'd ruined two phones by using them while working in the lab with chemicals.

"No, I didn't call."

Avoidance wasn't Edward's style—neither was this vague evasiveness. "Then what…?"

He didn't answer immediately, and his face was grave. "I came to the spa to tell you something you're not going to like."

Her heart beat hard, once. But really, how could her day get any worse? "Lay it on me. I'm ready."

"Earlier tonight, someone broke into greenhouse four."

"Greenhouse four? My greenhouse?" Technically, it was his greenhouse, but the only things in it were her Malaysian basil plants. "Were you there? Are you okay?"

He paused, and his searching gaze made her stomach flip. But she lifted her head and tightened her muscles to keep her molten insides in place.

"I'm fine. I wasn't there when it happened."

"Oh. Good." She tried to slow her racing heart. "Did you call the police?"

"Yes. I left my brother, Alex, to meet with them while I came to talk to you. On the way, I called Horatio Carter, who said he was also headed here with your aunt, so that was fortunate. I'm hoping he'll come back to the greenhouse with me tonight."

"How did you find out about the break-in?"

"I left my cell phone in greenhouse six, so I went to get it. I noticed movement in the yard, and when I went to check the greenhouses, I found yours unlocked."

Her headache became a jackhammer against her skull. "Was everything okay?"

The lines deepened around his mouth. "No. Someone trashed it—all your plants."

She gasped.

"Don't panic too much. Alex is moving the plants to greenhouse seven right now, and I can salvage most of it."

"Most of it?" She needed Edward to cultivate a certain number of plants so she could make the extract for her scar-reduction cream, scheduled to launch in only five months. She couldn't be late. The spa depended on her new product launch. "Will you be able to grow more? I need…" She faltered at the shadow that crossed his eyes.

He replied evenly, "Your research will be fine, Rachel."

His distant tone confused her. What had she said? She switched tactics. "You left your cell phone in a greenhouse? You never do that. If you hadn't forgotten it…"

A half smile twitched at his mouth. "God was watching over your plants, I think."

The familiar way he said it made something squirm inside her. Edward had always had such a different relationship with God than she did, and it seemed to widen the gap between them. "Why didn't the alarm go off? I thought the greenhouses all had security alarms in place."

"They do—to monitor temperature and humidity, and also to alert when a window or door is opened. But the system in greenhouse four didn't go off. I checked it, and it looks like the thief tampered with it."

"Aren't those security alarms top-of-the-line? High-tech?"

He nodded. "Whoever did this was a professional, not your average thief."

The mild California fall breeze was suddenly frosty against her skin. "How about the other greenhouses?"

"I checked them all. Only yours was broken into."

"Only mine?" This was a blow she didn't know if she could bear, not on top of everything that had happened tonight. She bit her lip.

It almost looked as if he didn't know what to do with his hands, finally resting them on his slim hips. "I don't understand it. Some of the plants in my other greenhouses are extremely rare and valuable, but whoever came by didn't even touch them."

She'd seen those plants—exotic orchids and rare rain-forest species, mostly commissioned by wealthy clients because of Edward's reputation for cultivating delicate tropical plants. "None of them were taken?"

If the burglar could have dismantled the security alarm for one greenhouse, surely he could have dismantled the security alarms for the others. Or maybe he hadn't had time to because Edward had discovered the thief's activities. But why bother with destroying her plants when he could have more quickly gotten into the other greenhouses and stolen the rarer species?

Edward's eyes pinned her with concern and gravity. "The thief entered only greenhouse four, Rach—the thief was only after your plants."

Chapter Two

Edward hated chaos, and it surrounded him in greenhouse four—broken pots, torn leaves and potting soil dusting everything. He stood in the midst of the destruction and sighed.

It wasn't actually that bad. He'd discovered the open door before the temperature had dropped too much, and now Rachel's plants were all in greenhouse seven. He was also planning on paying for an evening guard to walk the greenhouses—at least until the person responsible for this was caught.

Detective Carter glanced up from where he surveyed some toppled tables. "It would have been better for me if you'd left the scene as is, Edward."

"Sorry, Detective, but Malaysian basil is extremely sensitive to temperature and humidity. The plants could have died within the hour."

Detective Carter shrugged and went back to taking notes.

"Thanks for convincing Rachel not to come out here tonight, Horatio," Edward said.

The detective shook his head, his thinning red-gold hair glinting dully in the fluorescent light. "She didn't need to see this. She's had a bad night already. How many plants survived?"

"Almost all of them, actually."

To enter to win a book, leave a comment on this blog post. U.S.A. and Canada only.

Please also leave an email address or website where I can contact you (please use this format--you [at] yourmail.com--or something like that to prevent spammers from trolling for your email address). It is the winner’s responsibility to check to see if you won and to email me if you haven’t yet heard from me.

I always email the winner and give them a week to reply, but if I don’t receive an answer, I will pull another person to win the book. I am not responsible for a lost opportunity if you are on vacation or leave an email address you don’t check frequently.

Only one entry per person. The winner can expect their free book in 4-6 weeks.

You have a week to comment--I'll pick a name out of a hat on Wednesday, October 31st. (BTW, you can post a comment and NOT enter, too.)

Don't forget to sign up for my email newsletter at http://www.camytang.com/!

Camy Tang writes romance with a kick of wasabi. Out now is the third book in her Sonoma series, Stalker in the Shadows. She is a staff worker for her church youth group, and leads one of the worship teams for Sunday service. On her blog, she ponders frivolous things like knitting, running, dogs, and Asiana. Visit her website to sign up for her quarterly newsletter.

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Monday, October 22, 2012

Perfectionist?

Hi, Charlotte Carter here.


Montana Love Letter
          

It must be very hard to be a perfectionist. I’m certainly not one. Far from it.

But I have friend whose husband spent hours over the past weekend trying to repaint a tiny little scratch, no bigger than a pin head, on his 2-year old car. He’s the sort that will return a newly purchased couch because one seam isn’t a hundred percent straight, a seam that isn’t even visible unless you turn the couch upside down. He invests so much of his time and energy trying to make everything perfect, he must be exhausted.

In my October release, Montana Love Letter, Adam Hunter goes to great lengths to hide and disguise what he believes is his imperfection. He carries the shame of being teased as a boy about his dyslexia. In so many ways, hiding his limitations has limited him in life.

Of course, along comes Janelle Townsend. She’s one smart, observant lady. She figures out that Adam can’t read, which doesn’t stop her from falling in love with him. What she can’t understand is why he goes to such lengths to keep his secret.

"Being dyslexic is nothing to be ashamed of," she tells him. "Whether you can read or not, I love you exactly as you are. Exactly the way God made you."

I think that’s a nice philosophy, accepting others as they are. Despite my friend’s husband being a perfectionist, he’s a really nice guy.

Where are you on the scale of perfectionism?

Happy reading....
Char.......
www.charlottecarter.com

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Monday, October 15, 2012

Brain Health

Terri Reed here talking brain health.  Recently my Pilates instructor gave me a copy of an article she'd found in a health and fitness journal about this topic.  This article stated multi-tasking is not healthy for our brains, it actually contributes to memory loss.  It is better to be in the moment and concentrate on one task at a time.  As someone worried about my memory and the hereditary disease of Alzheimer's,  I have been trying to take this advice to heart.  I have to confess I'm not good at focusing.  I'm juggling too many balls in the air,  but I'm am working on staying focused.  Lists help me.  Each morning I make a list of the tasks I need to do for that day.  Some days I get through them all, some days I roll a task over to the next day.  Doing this helps me to stay in the moment, focused and gives me a sense of accomplishment.  

What about you?  Do you make lists? Or try to keep track of everything in your head?

I found this article on the Harlequin reader service website.  I printed off the list of tips to delay and even prevent dementia and tacked it to my wall.
I hope you find it interesting and helpful.

http://simplybooksextra.readerservice.com/simplybooksextra/2012/09/keeping-your-brain-healthy/

 My October release has hit the shelves!



Do No Harm

As a trauma surgeon, Dr. Brenda Storm saves lives every day. But someone wants her dead.  It starts with the anonymous delivery of poisoned cupcakes.  Now the hospital has hired a bodyguard to protect her 24/7.  At first, Brenda doesn’t think too-handsome Kyle Martin is the right for the job.  Then she discovers his harrowing background—and that Kyle will do anything to keep her safe.  With every attempt on her life, she’s more drawn to the strong and silent man who risks his life for hers.  But their growing feelings could put them both in harm’s way.


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Friday, October 12, 2012

Millionaires and Old Women -- by Janet Tronstad

Janet Tronstad here. I am closer to being an old woman than a millionaire, but I was reminded of both this week when I read the news story of a billionaire who does not have a home.  The news called him 'homeless' but he is obviously not destitute and seems to keep in great touch with his friends even though he is rambling around the world.  All of which led me to consider what makes a home a home -- which led me to the Old Woman Who Lived in A Shoe (the one with the children).

I suppose I am thinking so much about what makes a home because I am debating on whether or not I want to make another major move in my life.  Both the old woman and the millionaire remind me that the heart of a home is not a floor, ceiling, or walls -- it is the relationships we have in whatever space we are in. A home is where we meet our loved ones and enjoy our friendships. We can be living in a shoe or a hotel  (the homeless millionaire regularly stays at three different hotels -- one in London, one in New York, and one in Los Angeles).  So they both have places where their friends and loved ones can find them easily.

I realized in thinking about making a move that part of my 'family' is my 'book family' -- those readers and writers who know me online even though we seldom (if ever) meet.  And, if I do move, that family will move with me. I deeply appreciate that.

Speaking of books, another thing that is important to me in a home is having a place to read in comfort.  I suspect the same is true for you (and, if so, check out my Second Chance in Dry Creek that just released).

And then let me know what's important to you about having a home?  Could you live in an oversized shoe or a series of hotels? Do you need quiet or excitement?  Parties or peace?


 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

An Early Christmas Surprise



Hi from Gail Gaymer Martin at www.gailmartin.com

An author is disheartened when one of their favorite novels goes OP – which means “out of print.” This happens to most books, and so new readers will never have a chance to read one of the author’s favorites unless they find it used somewhere.


But once in a while, authors hear the good news that their book is being re-issued again as a special release. So I’m excited to tell you that my award-winning single title novel, Finding Christmas, a romantic suspense published in 2005, is once again available.

Working with a detective from Grosse Pointe where the book is set, I was able to bring reality and accuracy to an exciting romantic suspense. The romance sets the tone for a warm, loving Christmas story, while the suspense adds a fresh twist of excitement.

Book Summary

Her daughter, Mandy, had died in the icy waters of Lake St. Clair, Michigan, three years ago—or so widow Joanne Fuller was told. At the urging of family friend Ben Drake, Joanne tried to accept her loss and move on. But mysterious phone calls reawakened her doubts. Was someone trying to reunite her with Mandy? In a frantic search for her daughter during the season of hope, Joanne unraveled the web of one man's hatred…and came face-to-face with the truth she'd known all along.

Published by Steeple Hill as a single title, Finding Christmas was not part of the Love Inspired line but was a stand alone novel. It won the Booksellers Best Award in 2006 and finaled in four other national contests. So if you’re a newer reader or didn’t find the novel when it was available in stores, you have another chance for a special Christmas read. Use the link below to enjoy a first chapter excerpt of the novel.

Since the book will not be offered in stores this year, I hope you’ll call Customer Service toll free at 1-800-873-8635 from 7 am to 11 pm EST to order the title (ISBN: 9780373787418) starting October 1st. Or you can wait until November 1 and purchase the novel with a click at  Check out FINDING CHRISTMAS
No matter which way you purchase the Christmas novel, I’d love to hear from you. I hope you enjoy this special release and the special story of love, hope, and faith.

For the Son of Man came
to seek and to save what was lost.
Luke 19:10 NIV


 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Echoes of Eternity by Cheryl Wyatt

It has been a difficult week in the writing community, still reeling from the loss of a beautiful friend and sister in Jesus whose favorite quote holds even more poignancy now that she's gone to be with Jesus. "What we do now echoes in eternity."-Dee Stewart. My heart aches for her daughter and others she left behind, while she is physically gone, her echoes on Earth remain. Please uphold Dee's family in prayer, and especially her daughter. Please also, whatever you do, make it matter for the good of eternity. Each and every one of you has gifts and talents. If you're not using it for God, let it go or get on track. Life is too short to work for the wrong side. Sorry if this offends you, but when you lose someone as important as Dee, it causes you to realize what's important with regards to using (or misusing) our talents for God. He is worthy. If you write, write as worship or don't write at all. Life is too short to make the wrong kind of difference. If you don't believe you can make a difference, ask God to show you. He has already given you everything you need. I love you, all! Write (or paint, serve, sing, clean, pray, cook, sew, knit, crochet, plan, lead, follow, feed, give, encourage, etc, etc, etc) on! If you don't know what your God-given gifts or talents are, ask those who know you best to clue you in. :-) Then believe it. My next release is up for pre-order now on all online booksellers such as Amazon. If you pick it up, I sincerely thank you and hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Your readership is a tremendous blessing to me...as well as to all of my Love Inspired sisters. Their books are among my favorites.
To God be the glory and honor and may Jesus be magnified and made more famous by the talents we offer and commit to him for the sake of touching others. My website is udnergoing an amazing makeover, thanks to the crew at Jones House Creative. I hope you will check in and take a peek once it's done in a couple weeks or so. www.cherylwyatt.com Cheryl Wyatt

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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

What Makes You Cry?

Sandra Orchard here. Have you ever cried in the middle of reading a book? Wondered if the author had some magic key on her keyboard to make you dissolve into a puddle? 



Ever wondered if the author cried while writing the book?

Well, I have to confess that in my newest release, Critical Condition, there’s one scene that, not only did I bawl while writing it, I still tear up when I read it.

Here’s an excerpt: (Background: the hero lost his wife to cancer years earlier, and the heroine, a nurse has just asked him how he can still trust God)

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

“My wife made me promise her that I wouldn’t blame God.”

Tara nodded, withdrew her hand and busied herself pouring tea. “I don’t think I could’ve kept that promise. I’ve seen God let too many people down.”

“Trusting in God doesn’t mean you won’t face troubles. I think my wife understood that better than me. If not for my promise to her, I probably would’ve let my grief turn to anger at God.”

Tara gave him a wry smile. “Yeah, been there.”

“For the longest time, I clung to my faith out of sheer determination to keep my promise,” Zach admitted. “Getting angry would’ve been a whole lot easier, because yeah, I felt like He let us down. And I got pretty tired of hearing people spout the usual platitudes.”

“So what changed?”

His mind drifted back to his first week as a cop. “I had to …[spoiler omitted]

Okay, so you're not crying. I know.

Looking back at the excerpt now, I think what brought me to tears more than the revelation I’ve omitted (and you’ll just have to take my word for it that it’s moving) is that Tara asked a question that was burning in my heart, having recently experience a loss myself.

Zach’s answers were my answers—the answers a believer tends to have in their head. But only when you walk through the fire, and still believe those answers on the other side, is your certainty in them truly tested.

The power of story is in causing the reader to vicariously experience the scenario along with the character, and draw their own conclusions.

Being able to explore spiritual questions in the midst of a romantic suspense is why I love writing inspirational fiction.

As an aside, in case I've caused any misconceptions about Critical Condition, it's not a tear jerker.

I've only had one reader tell me it brought her to tears. Although I've had many tell me it kept them on the edge of their seat. ~grin~

Your Turn: What brings you to tears? How do you trust God when he doesn’t seem to be paying attention?

 There’s a murderer in the hospital, and nurse Tara Peterson is determined to prove it. With mysterious deaths in the cancer ward, anyone could be next. But no one wants to believe her…except for undercover agent Zach Davis. The murderer wants Tara’s suspicions silenced, permanently. To protect Tara, Zach lets her in on his secret, and unwittingly into his heart. Tara and her three-year-old daughter are like the family he lost years before. Zach will risk everything to keep them safe, no matter the cost.  Oct 2012 from LIS

Connect with Sandra on Facebook

 Image of computer keys courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Friday, October 5, 2012

Oops by Leann Harris

Have you ever had one of those weeks when it seems you have 10,000 things you're doing and meet yourself coming and going?  Do you keep a calendar on your desk of all the things you're supposed to do and then don't read it?

That's me.  I'm guilty.  I sat down this morning to write before I have to speak at a local writers conference, looked at my calendar and saw LI Blog for this last Wednesday, 10/3.  And I highlighted it to make matters worse.

You know when you start planning things there's nothing there, then you turn around and you have 14 things you have to do.  I know I'm not talking to myself.  It would be nice to just sit outside in the cool Fall morning and take my hot tea and Bible and just enjoy the cool, crisp morning.  And I think sometimes, what is what our soul needs.

Sorry for the goof, but it's a good lesson to just take a moment, breathe deep and let Heaven flood our hearts.

 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Texas Twins #4: Look-Alike Lawman

Glynna Kaye here on a beautiful autumn morning! It’s already down in the 30’s at night where I live, the maples, aspen and locusts are rich in fallish colors, and snow on the mountains could be only a few weeks away! This is my favorite time of year--crock-pot meals, hot apple cider, homemade molasses cookies, and enjoying long walks around the neighborhood as the leafy world turns to orange, red, yellow and gold under a vibrant blue sky.

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Autumn is also a great time of year to cuddle in next to a crackling fire with a hot cup of cocoa, spiced cider or tea---and of course, a good book! To make this season extra special for me this year, I’m thrilled to announce the October release of book #4 of the Love Inspired “Texas Twins” series-–my “Look-Alike Lawman.” I'm told the book is already appearing at Wal-Mart, Barnes & Noble, and grocery stores!
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About a year and a half ago, my editor asked if I’d like to take a break from my Love Inspired stories set in the mountain country of Arizona and participate in a continuity series set in Texas. Who wouldn’t jump at the chance to work with beloved authors Marta Perry, Barbara McMahon, Arlene James, Kathryn Springer and Jillian Hart??? Besides, I love Texas since one side of my family has lived there since the covered wagon!
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The continuity series editor provided us with a basic cast of characters and a primary conflict for each--then turned us loose with each other and our imaginations! HUNDREDS of emails flew back and forth for months, and I enjoyed getting to know the authors whose books I’d read and loved when I was an aspiring writer and only dreamed of being published!
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While each book is a stand-alone romance, we were also given an overarching story which begins in book one (“Her Surprise Sister”), progresses through “Mirror Image Bride,” “Carbon-Copy Cowboy,” “Look-Alike Lawman,” and “The Soldier’s Newfound Family” -- and wraps up with book six (“Reunited for the Holidays”). This is a fun series and I’ve already received emails from readers who are enjoying trying to figure out the “secrets” that build from book to book.
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So, grab a mug of hot cider, settle yourself down in a comfy chair--and delve into the world of “Texas Twins: Look-Alike Lawman!”
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When big-city cop Grayson Wallace visits an elementary school for career day, he finds his heartstrings unexpectedly tugged by a six-year-old fatherless boy. Grayson offers to mentor the child, but widowed mother Elise Lopez wants nothing to do with men in uniform. Now he can’t get the struggling Lopezes off his mind. All he can think about is what family means—especially after discovering the identical twin brother he hadn’t known he had in Grasslands. Maybe a trip to ranch country is just what he, Elise and little Cory need.
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Texas Twins: Two sets of twins, torn apart by family secrets, find their way home.

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Monday, October 1, 2012

What sparks a story idea?

Hi all, Charlotte Carter here.....

I’m fascinated by the creatuve mind and how a story will evolve from a single spark of inspiration to a full-length novel. And even though I’ve authored more than 50 books, I don’t always know where the initial idea came from or where it will take me.

When I wrote Montana Hearts, a November 2010 Love Inspired release, the spark was easy to identify. I read a short article in the Los Angeles Times that indicated some people believe an organ transplant recipient takes on the personality and traits of the organ donor. BAM! According to experts, this is decidedly not true, but what a wonderful place to start What if....

With my current book, Montana Love Letter, it is harder to pin point the initial impetus for the story. I actually picked the locale first. Since we’ve visited and enjoyed Glacier National Park and environs, I thought the area would be a great place for a small town story. So I created Bear Lake, fifty miles south of the park (and recently got some great help from the Harlequin.com Love Inspired Community to grow the town. Thanks, ladies!)

My hero, widower Adam Hunter, arrived in my imagination because of my grandson who has ADHD. He’s a sweet 12-year old boy but other children have started picking on him. So what if...Adam had a similar experience? What if he is dyslexic and desperately wants to keep that a secret? Particularly from the heroine.

Janelle Townsend, the heroine, made her appearance when I asked what kind of a woman would Adam least want to discover his secret? How about a college educated woman, the widow of a college professor in anthropology? Oh, dear, don’t you just know she’s going to sniff out his secret?

And then, because I love to write about children, up popped Adam’s outgoing 10-year-old daughter Hailey and Janelle’s 5-year-old daughter Raeanne. Rae has experienced a trauma and has forgotten how to speak. Sweet Hailey, as well as Adam, have a lot to do with her regaining her speech.

With the characters in place, the story rolled out on my computer screen, reaching the HEA for all of them.

Where do you get your ideas? What kind of storyline do you like to read? Anything can happen in Bear Lake, so let me know.

Happy reading.....
Char......
www.CharlotteCarter.com

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