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 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—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:

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!


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

By Debby Giusti

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.