Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Christmas Traditions and Punch Recipe by Cheryl Wyatt

Hi all! Cheryl Wyatt here. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Christmas. This year, we have turned Christmas upside down at our house. Not only are we striving this year to give more than we get, we have an upside down tree to symbolize it. The bags are on top of the tree rather than under it. We put envelopes to certain charities in the gift bags...our way to gift back to Jesus by giving to those in need. Some great organizations to give to are Compassion International, Hopegivers, Wounded Warrior Fund, Ronald McDonald House, St. Judes, World Vision, Angel Tree or a local charity that reaches out to your community. There are scads of others. The tree is kind of weird...I know. Then again, our family is too. We are all jokesters. We also have a little "elf" who pulls antics and spreads mischief and cheer all over the house. It's good to laugh. While we are careful to keep Jesus focal in the season, we also love to laugh and pull antics. It's who we are as a family. Our elf's name is Goodwill "Will" Wyatt. In the photos above, his antics include abducting baby Jesus, playing peekaboo with baby Jesus and eloping with our treetop angel. Do you participate in the Elf on the Shelf antics? I'd love to hear about it. What is your favorite Christmas tradition? Ours is giving. Giving of our time and resources. Giving of our friendship. Opening our home. I hosted a party for local Christian writers in my home this year and here are some of the fun, creative dishes me and my girls made. There was Grinch guacamole, wreathes made out of bagels, green-dyed cream cheese and strawberries. There were "trees" made out of fruit, vegetables and meat and cheese combos. We made a snowman cheeseball but his "mascara" ran so we decided not to use blue M&Ms anymore. LOL! Maybe we'll use raisins instead because the poor fellow appeared to be crying for the entire party. He looked mighty dapper in his Fruit Roll Up scarf though. In my Eagle Point Emergency books, the characters love to make food snacks with the story kids and I often provide links with instructions for those, such as the veggie scooter and the paper teacups. Hosting parties for our employees. It's one of my favorite parties of the year because we treat them to a meal at a restaurant then buy all sorts of gifts then put them in bags and staple the bags shut. We distribute fake money and they bid on bags. They have NO idea what they are bidding on. The bags may contain anything from a gaudy pair of socks to a really nice camera or other electronic. It ends up being hilarious. The ability to make memories is a gift I treasure. Above is a photo of one of the guys who has gotten a "popping reindeer" two years in a row. That image is the moment he realized he got it again. Poor guy. Then my mother-in-law bid on this beautiful box...only to receive a Whoopie cushion. The photo is the instant everyone realized what mayhem lay in the gorgeous box. Hilarious moments. Do you have a manger without a stable? Try my authorly idea and use books you have on hand to build one. See image below. The candle doesn't have a flame. It's an LED light. Just thought I'd mention that. LOL! Remember there would be no joy, no laughter, no cheer, no holiday, no CHRISTmas without Jesus--the reason for the season. Be blessed and I pray you grow closer to Him this year than ever. The punch is my mother's recipe and she made it for my wedding. SO delish! Here's the recipe: 1(one) 2Liter Bottle 7-Up or Sprite 1(one) 2Liter Bottle Ginger Ale 1(one) Gallon of Hawaiian Punch-we use red 1 (one) tub of rainbow sherbet ---Mix the Ginger Ale, Sprite/7-Up and Punch together in a punchbowl or dispenser. ---Stir that liquid mixture. ---Set the frozen sherbet into it but don't mix. The sherbet will eventually semi-melt, making a gorgeous rainbow froth that will be in the top of glasses as you pour Enjoy! Are you on Facebook? I'd love to connect! I love my readers so much. We have tons of fun on my page. Here's the link if you're interested in being a part of the mayhem we plot for my unsuspecting characters there. That's also where I post the most recent writing updates and book release news. Thanks so much for supporting our books with your readership and telling your friends. You are a gift and we appreciate you! Cheryl Wyatt

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Time to Read Books by Camy Tang

I had a coupon code for Harlequin.com and was buying ebooks today, and my mom asked me, “When do you have time to read books?” I had to think long and hard about that because I’ve been pretty busy for the past several months but I’ve managed to squeeze in some books. Not as many books as some of my friends over on Goodreads.com—some of them are way fast readers and get one or two dozen books read a month!—but I did read some good ones lately.

I realize that I make time out of my day to read books. In many ways, I have to read books in order to “refill my creative well,” as one best-selling author put it in a workshop I attended at a writers conference. Even when I’m busy, I have to deliberately carve out reading time.

It doesn’t have to be long stretches, although I prefer those the most. I read while I’m—ahem—in the bathroom. There really isn’t that much else I can do while I’m sitting there. I also tend to read while I eat breakfast and lunch by myself during the day. And I’ve been trying to be good about riding my exercise bike regularly, and I read while I’m doing that. And I also listen to audiobooks while I’m running, although I’ve noticed I tend to prefer nonfiction audiobooks when I run.

So even though I’m busy, I make an effort to spend some time reading everyday. I drink a lot of water and tea throughout the day, so I do a lot of reading in the bathroom. :)

How about you? When do you read? Do you read everyday?

Camy Tang writes romance with a kick of wasabi. She’s working on the next book in her Love Inspired Suspense Sonoma series, which will release in 2015. She is a staff worker for her church youth group, and leads one of the worship teams for Sunday service. Visit her website to sign up for her quarterly newsletter.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Terri Reed here on a cold December morning. I'm writing this on my phone so please forgive any typos. These days are so busy it's easy to become cranky.  On the way to an appointment this morning I was listening to the Christian radio and the DJs (is that what they are still called? ) we're talking about a blog one of them had read before coming to work. It was on GRACE. It hit me in a profound way. GRACE. What a beautiful concept. The definition I have heard for grace is undeserved and unearned favor.   God extends grace to us. Without that grace, how miserable life would be.  God is my example and I pray that as I go through my days I will extend grace to those around me, most especially to my loved ones.
May you dear reader be full of grace and I wish you a very merry Christmas!

Texas K-9 Unit Christmas is still available!   Last week it hit the top 25 books on Publishers Weekly.


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Happy Holidays!

Roxanne Rustand here, writing you all from  bitterly cold, snowy Eastern Iowa!   I grew up in Minnesota and love snow and cold, but these -20 windchills at night are getting a little old.  :)  I don't look forward to my horse chores in the evening, and even the dog doesn't  want to go outside for his last little walk at night.  Smart dog.  :)

Are you all set for the holidays?  Are you planning to travel, or will you have company at your house?  I can't wait for all of our family to gather at our house on Christmas Eve Day.  We'll have our big dinner at noon, to celebrate our son's birthday  (yes--he was a Christmas Eve baby!) and then have a lighter, more Scandinavian  supper in the evening before going to church.  And on Christmas  Day, we'll have another dinner for other relatives, while our children enjoy the day with their in-laws.  I would love to hear about your traditional meal at Christmas!


I had a good start on the Christmas cookies, but then we managed to eat them all. My husband is a  Minnesota Norwegian who loves his coffee and sweets, and I just plain love cookies, so neither of us can be trusted with cookies in the house.  :)

These are my favorite rolled-out cookies.  I've been making them for decades, now, and the dough is wonderful because you can repeatedly re-work it and it still stays soft and pliable.  Perfect for those afternoons making cookies with little helpers!  I won't take up space here, but if you'd like the recipe, it's in a current post over at:  www.facebook.com/roxanne.rustand.author

Wishing you all a blessed and joyful Christmas season--surrounded by the love of family and the celebration of the true reason for the season!

Roxanne




Thursday, December 5, 2013

Goodbye November!

Debby Giusti here!
While everyone seems to have swept away their fall leaves and replaced Thanksgiving decorations with hanging lights and evergreen garlands, I'm still holding onto November. The month flew by much too quickly and was filled with family and fun and wonderful events that warmed my heart. If you don't mind, I'd like to look back and remember some of the highlights...

I was both humbled and honored to be on the cover of the November issue of Fayette Woman Magazine. Thank you, Joyce Beverly, for creating such a great magazine. Click here to read about the photo shoot and how a wonderful photographer and a talented makeup artist can make a frumpy writer feel so special.


November 2, I headed to Birmingham, Alabama for the Southern Magic Readers' Luncheon. The event is always wonderful and this year was no exception.
Debbie Kaufman (R standing) and I (L standing)
hosted a table together. 
November 11, hubby and I celebrated Veteran's Day by attending our grandchildren's school for a program to honor all those who had served in the Armed Forces. The children sang patriotic songs, and the veterans were recognized and thanked for their service. One of the teachers created a huge flag that hung on the wall in the library. Look closely and you'll see the stripes are made up of photos of each child in the school.
The flag was amazing! Look closely to see the
children's photos.
I was invited to talk about books and writing and Christian fiction to a church group in a neighboring town. The ladies were so warm and welcoming and made me feel right at home.


My eldest daughter and her family, plus my youngest daughter joined us for the Thanksgiving holiday. We played games with the little ones, took golf cart rides and ate lots of turkey.


The pumpkin goes into the garbage tomorrow, and I'll start decorating for Christmas. Thanks for allowing me to look back at November. I continue to give thanks for all of you.

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

THE SOLDIER’S SISTER
By Debby Giusti

WHO WILL PROTECT HER?
Someone wants Stephanie Upton dead. A warning to leave town is just the beginning. Fearing for her life, Stephanie turns to Special Agent Brody Goodman for help and protection. But can she trust him when he’s convinced her own brother is a prime suspect? Torn between her devotion to two men—an estranged brother whose trust she yearns to regain and an agent she may be falling for—Stephanie doesn’t know who or what to believe. As feelings between her and Brody escalate, she’ll have to choose sides to stay alive.

Available now at Amazon.


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Christmas comes TWICE a year for Allie Pleiter!

"What?" you say.  "Christmas comes twice a year????"

This year, for me, it does.  I got an extra special early Christmas present - a new cover for my 2009 holiday novel, “Bluegrass Christmas”!  

Seems the Kentucky Corners novel of a Christmas pageant gone horribly wrong (in the way only quirky Middleburg can create) will be available again to Love Inspired readers as a January release.

Here’s what the old cover looked like:


Here’s the new one:



The big change is that that Mac’s showman of a cockatoo, Curly, is missing from the store window.  But it’s a lovely Christmas scene--especially how they captured the look of falling snow.


What do you think?

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

D.R. the Happy Reindeer by Leann Harris

Last Saturday when my husband made a run to Walmart for different items, he came back with D.R.--Daniel the Reindeer.  When I walked into the garage to help him with the bags, he'd turned off the engine and sat smiling at me.  In the front seat next to him was DH.  It was a sight that made me smile.  I know the man is too comfortable at the store, since he's picking up items not on the list, but this was something I'm glad he got.
I'm celebrating this Christmas with a grateful heart.  I have only 2 chemo sessions left to go then I'm done.  And the prognosis is good.  No lymphoma.

I'm waiting for the time I can leave the house again and go to church, critic, and lunch with friends.  2014 will be a great year.  Also, in March, my next book will be out, A Ranch to Call Home.   My hero, Caleb Jensen, is a rodeo pick-up rider and the heroine is Major Brenda Kaye, whose career in the Army ended with a bomb exploding at the restaurant she was at. Going home she has to face the ghosts of the past and deal with that trauma she endured.  Caleb is also facing his own crisis of confidence, but somehow these two touch each others hearts.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Hero Interview from Her Holiday Hero by Margaret Daley


How exciting to have Jake Tanner the hero from Her Holiday Hero a December, 2013 release from Love Inspired Romance.

1.  Jake, tell me the most interesting thing about you. I played football in high school and took the team to state finals. Being on the football team helped me to learn to be a member of a group.

2.  What do you do for fun? Lately not much. Since leaving the Army because of an injury, I've gone back to school to get my doctorate in psychology. I want to help veterans.

3.  What do you put off doing because you dread it? Getting back into the mainstream of things. I don't like being in large groups.

4.  What are you afraid of most in life? Not being able to overcome PTSD.

5.  What is the most important thing to you? Helping fellow soldiers deal with returning from a war zone.

6.  Do you read books? If so, what is your favorite type of book? Right now I'm reading for my doctorate program in psychology.

7.  If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? That my men were never ambushed and slaughtered, that I could save them.

8.  Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet? I have a service dog that Emma Langford trained and gave me. His name is Shep. He has been a wonderful companion and a big help easing my anxiety.

9. If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why? Back before the ambush and stop my men from being caught in the middle of it.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Back Home Again in (a Resilient) Indiana

Dana Corbit here. I'm writing today from a remote location in Kokomo, Indiana. My hometown. I had been planning to come home this week to visit with family, but the city I drove into last night - the uprooted trees, the huge signs and poles twisted like wire hangers, the homes and businesses either with gaping holes or reduced to rubble -  bore little resemblance to the hard-working, hope-filled city of my childhood memories. At least on the surface. You see, on Sunday, Nov. 17, when multiple tornadoes ravaged the Midwest - 23 in Indiana alone - two of those tornadoes tore a path of destruction through the center of this city. Still my city, even if I haven't lived here for the last 25 years.

It was so strange rolling down US 31, the main drag that bisects Kokomo from north to south. The car crept past police officers directing traffic because of power outages and past huge chippers and workers clearing away downed trees at the Chrysler Kokomo Transmission Plant. (I took the photo below while stopped in traffic, but the others are from my sister, who'd taken them earlier yesterday.)



When I turned off the bypass onto Lincoln Road,  I drove past a heavily damaged American Legion Golf Course and then past several locations inextricably tied to the memories of my youth. The Maple Crest Shopping Center, which was once home to my favorite cruising spot by the old Hills Department Store, looked like a war zone. The UAW union hall where my friend had her wedding reception had been destroyed. Even the complex where my dad and stepmother still live sustained damage.



Yes, I feel a sense of loss, but mine is but a raindrop in a flood when compared to the devastation many Kokomo residents are facing. So many, including one family I know personally, have lost their homes, and most will face huge obstacles as they rebuild.

I tell you about these losses because I wanted to share the other side of this story.  Even while they were digging out from beneath the rubble, residents were already giving thanks, that there has been no loss of life, for neighbors who are willing to help, for the ability to rebuild. Someone posted on Facebook last night giving thanks for the group of local youth who showed up together to help clear away debris at that same union hall. These people are resilient. They will rebuild...together.



Now this is the Kokomo I remember. It might not look the same. Truth be told, it didn't look like I remembered, even before Sunday. Twenty-five years is a long time. :) But I do recall this warmth. This faith in God. This hope for the future. Yes, you can go home again. And I'm happy I did.


This trip has been a reminder to me that as we look forward to Thanksgiving next week, we need to give thanks for all of our blessings, especially that we have enough to share with others. But more than to give thanks, we need to be Christ's hands on earth, whether digging out from a disaster like this one or helping others in our local communities in whatever way we can. The hymn we always sing at Thanksgiving, "Blessed Be the Tie That Binds," has been flowing through my thoughts all day, so I looked up the lyrics. The words from Verse 3, seem so fitting:

We share each other's woes,
our mutual burdens bear;
and for each other flows
the sympathizing tear.

Let us pray for the people of Kokomo and of the other communities affected by natural disasters.
 
Blessings to all!

Dana
     

Monday, November 18, 2013

Winner of Surprise Box of Christian books

The winner (by random number generator) of my contest for the Surprise Box of Christian books is:
Cheryl O.
Congratulations! (I've emailed you. Please email me if you don't get a response from me, because I might not have gotten your email.)

For the rest of you, cheer up! I had such a great response for my Surprise Box giveaway, I've decided to do another giveaway on my blog (http://camys-loft.blogspot.com/)in the coming week! I figured, it's a nice prize for the holiday season. :)

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Firefighter's New Family - Sisters #2

Here it is again, time to talk about the excitment of things going on at Love Inspired. Hi from Gail Gaymer Martin at www.gailgaymermartin.com

I'm excited since my last two Sisters Series novels are being released close together for once. Readers of Her Valentine Hero have been waiting a long time to hear more about the sisters and their lives. Book 1 was Neely's story and you met Ashley at that time.  Her story is the next release, Sisters #2, The Firefighter's New Family is a January release (in stores at the end of December) with the final book, Rescued By A Firefighter, will be in stores at the end of March.  If you enjoy excitement and romance, you'll love these novels.

BackCover Blurb:
A tornado may have left Ashley Kern injured beneath a fallen tree, but it's her rescuer who plays havoc with her emotions. Firefighter Devon Murphy is everything the single mom could wish for in a husband: handsome, a doting father and ready to join his family to hers. But how can the pretty war widow make a life once more with a man whose career is full of danger? Devon has fought some pretty big battles in his life, but can he help Ashley conquer her fears and show her the safest place of all is in his arms?

RT Review: 4 stars:  In, The Firefighter's New Family, second book in the Sisters series, strong characters demonstrate how we should not let fear prevent us from living the life God has planned. Martin is inventive with her offbeat comparison of a family to a puzzle.

If you decide to preorder the novel, please send forward me the proof of your pre-order, and I will send you a PDF file of my fun, romantic short story, In The Market For Love.  Send the proof of purchase on the contact page of my website. It will provide the email address. You can get to the book order link by going to the books page at: http://bit.ly/1gPbKiO Or you can read Chapter 1 Excerpt. Hope to hear from you.


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Thankful for Readers and the Giving of Others by Cheryl Wyatt

What are you all doing for Thanksgiving? Are you staying at home and having people over? Are you going to a family member's house? I'd love to hear your plans. We alternate every other year between my mom's house and my mother-in-law's house. They both have amazing gifts of hospitality. As November rolls around, we are reminded more than any other time to be thankful for what we have. I had something break in my home the other day and I started to get aggravated...then I remembered the Philippines and the disaster there. Please keep them in your prayers and donate even ten dollars if you can, to places such as World Vision or Compassion. A little goes a long way in a third world country affected by a disaster of that magnitude. I have so many giving people in my life. One of these photos contains the beautiful fall plant my sister in law sent to me after my grandmother died a couple of weeks ago. It really brightened my day. Never mind that my daughters are avidly praying for the plant because I tend to kill everything. In fact, my friends call my house the Horticulture Hospice because it's the place where plants come to die. I intend to keep this plant alive though to the best of my ability...which means turning over its care to my middle daughter with the green thumb. See the stuffed peppers? She and her sister (tweens, mind you) made those completely from scratch. They were so yummy and healthy too. I was working on a new book proposal and they graciously handled dinner. Didn't they do a fine job? I'm so thankful for my girls. They make me laugh every day. See these ornaments? A dear reader, Jenny, sent those to me from Australia. I cherish them as well as her readership. We authors couldn't do what we do without the support of readers. We realize that by reading our books, you're giving of your time and most likely your money in purchasing the book. Please know that us Love Inspired authors and even then editors, are HUGE fans of readers. We love you and appreciate all you do to help us get the word out about our books. Speaking of books, have you had a chance to read my newest release, The Nurse's Secret Suitor? If so, let me know what you think. In the meantime, please know that I'm exceedingly thankful for you! Don't forget to share your Thanksgiving plans. Would love to hear about you! Endless love and boundless prayers, Cheryl Wyatt

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

How does a Thanksgiving Holiday feel?


Jenna Mindel here, looking forward to the upcoming holiday of Thanksgiving.   This year will be different for my husband and me.  For the first time, we're staying home and spending the holiday alone.  And we're actually okay with that.  But even though it's just the two of us, I still want to make a turkey and trimmings.  A meal out at a restaurant holds no appeal for me on this particular day.  It just wouldn't feel right.

Another first for me, is writing for a Love Inspired continuity series that releases the latter part of next year.  I'm blessed with this opportunity to write the 5th book and it's set during Thanksgiving. I hope to capture the warmth and feel of the holiday but also include the reverence of giving thanks for God's providence. 

Thanksgiving isn't only about the food, and spending time with family but thanking God for the little things, the big things and the uncertain things.    

So, if I may, what things do you and your family do to thank the Lord for His blessings? Any Thanksgiving traditions you care to share?
 

  









Monday, November 11, 2013

A Thanksgiving Giveaway



Susan Sleeman here. Though Thanksgiving is three weeks away, I won’t be posting here again until after the holiday so I wanted to share what I am thankful for this year and say a special thanks to all the wonderful Love Inspired readers with a book giveaway.

I’m always thankful for my family. For my beautiful daughters, adorable grandson, very responsible son-in-law, and my hubby who has put up with me for so many years. But this year, family has held a whole new meaning for me. 

I have mentioned before that we moved cross-county this past year from Florida to Oregon to be closer to family. And praise God, it has been so wonderful. One daughter now lives with us as she finishes college, the other is just .2 of a mile away and she stops by often with our grandson. We regularly babysit for our five-year-old grandson and have recently enjoyed our first sleep over event with him. I cannot put into words how precious this time with our family is to us after living thousands of miles away from most them for ten years.

Not that it hasn’t been without its challenges. My hubby was unable to find a job as a church music director so he’s been working part-time at a retail store while he gets his real-estate license. So we’ve had to cut back on spending and really watch our pennies. Well, praise God again, he is now licensed and his second career in life is about to begin. I look forward to seeing him succeed in this new venture. I just hope now that he’s a real estate professional he won’t refuse to watch House Hunters with me because it will feel like work instead of relaxation. LOL

And I’d like to say how thankful I am to you, the wonderful, dedicated Love Inspired readers, I'm giving away two copies of my latest book, Thread of Suspicion. Just fill in the form below and you will be entered to win. Entering will sign you up for my newsletter, too, so you can learn about the other contests I hold. Be sure to check out the boring contest rules at the end of the post and also I'd love it if you leave a comment on this blog about what you are especially thankful for this month.

THREAD OF SUSPICION

FALSELY ACCUSED!
When someone sabotages former navy SEAL Luke Baldwin’s “unhackable” software, there’s more than his reputation at stake. Faced with treason charges, Luke turns to Dani Justice, a computer expert and skilled investigator. She’s eager to dive into the challenging case…until she uncovers a devastating connection. The hacker framing Luke has a personal, deadly history with Dani. Luke’s code of honor and his growing feelings make him resolved to protect the sweet, strong woman he knows is more vulnerable than she’d admit. But what good is his training or determination against an enemy who can hack into any system and find them wherever they hide?









CONTEST RULES
1. Only one entry per person per contest is allowed.
2. Contest open to residents of the 50 United States and D.C. Void where prohibited.
3. Winner agrees to provide shipping address and allow Susan to publicize their name in conjunction with the contest.
3. Winner agrees to provide shipping address and allow Susan to publicize their name in conjunction with the contest.
4. Contest ends on November 30th, 2013 at midnight eastern standard time.
5. Two Winners will be selected at random by random.org to receive a copy of Thread of Suspicion by Susan Sleeman.
6. The prizewinners will be notified by email and posted on Susan’s contest page after they respond to the email notification. If Susan does not receive an email response from the winners within 7 days from the date of the drawing, another winner will be drawn.
7. You must have access to the Internet and a valid email address in order to enter or win.
8. Your chances of winning depend on the number of entries.
9. No purchase necessary.



Thursday, November 7, 2013

Giveaway - Surprise Box of Christian Books

Camy here! I have a bunch of Christian books given to me to give away, so I’m pulling a bunch of them together into a surprise box. They’ll include non-fiction and fiction, a mix of genres. There’ll be something in there for every taste!

To enter:

You must join my email newsletter to be eligible for this contest. Fill out the form below. Be sure to read the rules.

Extra Twitter entries: Get one extra entry per day if you tweet about this giveaway:
Giveaway of Surprise Box of Christian Books! http://is.gd/8cgpWQ @camytang
(Be sure to include @camytang so I can see your tweet and give you your extra entry.)

Extra Facebook entries: Get one extra entry per day if you share this Facebook post on your own Facebook profile and/or page: https://www.facebook.com/CamyTangAuthor/posts/10151795097867620
(Be sure you share the post at the link above--go to the link and then click "share". Make sure you set the privacy of your share to “public” so I can see that you shared it and give you your extra entry even if I’m not on your friends list.)

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Favorite Romance Novel Themes



Good morning, Renee Ryan here.  In honor of a personal anniversary I have a special giveaway today, but more on that later.  Thirty years ago I read my first romance novel.  At the time, I was in college, pursuing a double major in Economics and Religious Studies.  Both subjects required intensive reading of complicated material.  A sorority sister noticed my eyes crossing after a long night of study and took pity on me.  She handed me a Harlequin Presents romance novel and said, “Take a break.” 

I did.  I was hooked.  Romance novels became my greatest treat after a long day of studying.  At the time, I never dreamed I’d one day write a novel (see my majors up above) or that I would write for the company where it all began for me.  I certainly never dreamed I would incorporate some of very same themes I enjoyed all those years ago.   Here is a list, in no particular order, of my favorite romance novel themes.
Marriage of Convenience
Reunion/Old Flame
Fish out of water (i.e. city girl on a ranch, etc.)
Cowboy
Matchmaker/Matchmaker kids
Widow/widower
Single parent
Twins
Mistaken identity
Nanny
Guardian/Protector/Lawman
Bad boy and Good girl

Within each of these themes are a million different storylines.   I’ve used one or more in all of my published novels to date.  For example, I used marriage of convenience and widow/widower in my book HEARTLAND WEDDING.  In MISTAKEN BRIDE I had twins, mistaken identity, nanny, single parent, and widow/widower.

I guess it’s true what they say, there are no new stories just new ways to tell them.

What about you?  When did you first start reading romance novels and what are your favorite themes?  Leave a comment and I’ll put your name in a drawing to win my November release FINALLY A BRIDE, book 7 in my Charity House series.  By the way, FINALLY A BRIDE has the reunion/old flame and matchmaker themes.  

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Allie Pleiter on "Some infinities..."


Today is a hard day that ought not to be.

While today is my birthday, and that is lovely, it is also the memorial service for a lovely young lady in my life.  The Rachel to whom THE FIREFIGHTER’S MATCH is dedicated, an extraordinary woman in her early twenties who has waged more medical wars than most of us will face in a lifetime, will be laid to rest today.  While I am filled with sorrow that Rachel did not survive to see the release of the book which honors her, she did live to hold an advance copy and read some of it.  I have a precious photograph of her with her nose in the book in her ICU hospital bed.

God chose to heal Rachel by calling her home where pain and illness can no longer hold her hostage.  For someone who makes her life in “happy endings,” that is a hard ending to bear.  But those of you who know me know our family is no stranger to medical warfare, and I have learned to trust that God is always in control.  Rachel is still a victor in my eyes, even though my heart breaks for those who now must carry on without her.

I chose to move my birthday to another day this year.  After all, I’m hoping I’ll have several more to spare.  Hug someone you love today and tell them how much they mean to you.  Life is too short not to love while you can.

As for Rachel, it would be a crime to call her life short.  She filled it with everything she could despite limitations that would hobble the strongest of us.  I keep thinking of the poignant line from John Green’s tragically beautiful novel THE FAULT IN OUR STARS.  “Some infinities are bigger than other infinities.”

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Southern Magic and Wounded Warriors!

Southern Magic Readers Luncheon 2011
Debby Giusti here!
I can't wait until Saturday and this year's Southern Magic Readers Luncheon. Each person at my table will receive a number of goodies, including my September Love Inspired Suspense, THE SOLDIER'S SISTER.

When I first learned about the Army’s Wounded Warrior program, I knew I wanted to feature the AW2 program in my Military Investigation series. 

Last fall, I interviewed Nancy Carlisle, the Army's Wounded Warrior Advocate who helps wounded, injured and/or ill soldiers assigned to Fort Benning,Georgia. As one of more than 200 advocates nationwide, Nancy’s job is to provide hands-on support for the soldiers on her caseload as they transition back to active duty or return to civilian life. She walks the injured and their families through the maze of paperwork that often accompanies government programs and also provides career counseling and information on educational opportunities and resources available to the wounded warriors.
Debby Giusti (L) with Fort Benning AW2 Advocate
Nancy Carlisle.
Nancy provided me with a detailed overview of the AW2 program and talked openly about the many ways she assists the soldiers. She also discussed the setup of the Warrior Transitional Battalions, special units on each Army post where the injured service members live and work during their recuperation.

After meeting with Nancy, my story started to take shape. The heroine would be an AW2 Advocate, and the hero would be a special agent in the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division. I decided to have one of soldiers on her caseload attacked in the opening chapter and upped the heroine’s internal conflict by including an estranged brother. Making him a suspect added an interesting twist and increased the tension between the CID hero investigating the crime and the advocate trying to reconnect with her brother.


My hope is that THE SOLDIER’S SISTER will not only provide an exciting suspense read but will also spotlight the AW2 program and the many people who help our injured military heroes.  God bless the brave men and women in uniform who sacrifice so much in order for this great country—the United States of America—to remain the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Debby presents her author basket at the 2009 Southern Magic Readers
Luncheon to MV Freeman, the current chapter president.

See you at the Readers Luncheon!

Wishing you abundant blessings,
Debby Giusti

THE SOLDIER’S SISTER
By Debby Giusti

WHO WILL PROTECT HER?
Someone wants Stephanie Upton dead. A warning to leave town is just
the beginning. Fearing for her life, Stephanie turns to Special Agent
Brody Goodman for help and protection. But can she trust him when
he’s convinced her own brother is a prime suspect? Torn between her
devotion to two men—an estranged brother whose trust she yearns to
regain and an agent she may be falling for—Stephanie doesn’t know
who or what to believe. As feelings between her and Brody escalate,
she’ll have to choose sides to stay alive.

Available now at Amazon.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

A Bridge Too Far by Leann Harris



While I’ve been sick, my husband has taken up most of the chores around the house.  He’s been a real trooper.  He does the grocery shopping, errand running, and meal fixing.  (I still do the laundry since I want my clothes to stay the same color as they began.)
Well, the other day, I needed some clear nail polish. Just clear nail polish--nothing fancy. Well, you would’ve thought I asked him stand on his head in the middle of the store and sing. He gave me a blank stare, which I recognized.  One Christmas, I asked for a nightgown, told him what store it was at and what it looked like. (This was after the disaster the Christmas before when he bought me a crockpot.)  He came home from the mall and said he stood at the edge of the lingerie department, but just couldn’t make himself walk into the department. Well, I knew I asked him to go beyond his comfort zone. It was his bridge too far. That was okay.  My adult daughter bought my the nail polish. 

But I had to smile--clear nail polish. Who would've thought? Still, I have a gem in spite of the nail polish.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Fall Has Arrived

What signals for you that fall has arrived? For me (Margaret Daley) it is when I need to turn on the heater because it gets cold at night. So far down to 37 degrees. That nip in the air means fall is here and I'm thrilled. I'm one of those people who loves fall and spring but endures summer and winter. The trees around here are starting to turn different colors--their last hurrah before winter. There are other signs that it is fall: the grass slows down growing and doesn't need to be mowed as much. Certain flowers thrive in cooler temperatures. Football is all over the place on TV.

So for you, what signals that fall has arrived in your area?

Monday, October 21, 2013

Poll for Love Inspired Suspense readers

Camy here! I was thinking about new stories for my Love Inspired Suspense books set in Sonoma, California, and I was curious about Love Inspired Suspense readers--what kinds of story elements do you like in your Love Inspired Suspense novels? What kinds of heroes and heroines? What kinds of plotlines? What types of spiritual arcs and romantic arcs? I know I’m not the only Love Inspired Suspense author who’d like to know your tastes and preferences, so chime in!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

What Does An Author Do With Novels That Don't Fit The Genre?

Hi from Gail Gaymer Martin at www.gailgaymermartin.com

I once had strong feelings about Independent publishing, Indie publsihing we now call it, but times have changed, and novelists have learned that self-publishing allows them to bring their out of print books back to life in an immediate way that interests faithful readers and sometimes brings in new readers.

Indie publishing is still not the sun, moon and stars. For established novelists, it does allow bringing back the older books when rights have been returned, and even better, to publish novels they've written that never found a home with traditional publishers. Those are usually novels that don't fall into the genre category their publishers print. LI is known as category romance and has an established expectation from readers. They want a fast-paced novel of conflicts and struggles beginning on page 1 and concluding with a happy ending. Yet some novelist also love women's fiction or straight suspense, and Indie publishing gives them an outlet that goes outside their brand (their usual genre). Other reasons cause novels to be reject, though still romance, the story line is too complex for a shorter novel.

For non-published authors, Indie publishing also opens doors, but the truth it for both published and non-published novelists, being successful in Indie Publishing is not guaranteed. Expenses are still presen. Cover art and design can be costly and a good cover is important to selling novel. Editing is expensive and putting out a book that has not been professionally edited is a serious issue. It shows readers who is serious about writing and who isn't. Marketing is time-consuming and can be costly. Yet for both published and non-published novelists learn selling the book falls on their backs. Either they pay for professsional marketers, with no guarentee of success, or they spend hours away from their next book to  promote and market their novels.

So what does this mean? If you noticed at the beginning of this blog, I stated that I once had strong feelings against Indie Publishing, but with the times changing and eBooks becoming very popular, I've made the big step into bringing some of my out of print work back to life, books that were basically dead. I'm thrilled to see these books back into print as eBooks. with my cover ideas and good editing.

Dreaming of Castles was my second published novel released in 1999.The story is witty, one of my most humorous, touching and different with a heroine who's not body-perfect and a hero with problems too.
 
The setting is one of my favorite place in Europe, Heidelberg, Germany with it's charm, different culture and locations open to adventure. The book is available as an eBook priced at $2.99 and I invite you to give it a try, and let me know if you enjoyed this romance that will make you laugh and cry.