Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Necessary Proof free ebook novella!

Free! My romantic suspense novella, Necessary Proof, is free on Kindle, iBooks, Smashwords and Kobo!

Originally published in First Kisses, a novella anthology with Linda Goodnight, Janet Tronstad, Debra Clopton, Margaret Daley, and Lacy Williams.

After opening his heart to Jesus in prison, Alex Villa has left his criminal past behind him. However, his efforts to take down a gang producing meth in Sonoma have made him a target. Set up to look like he’s being bribed by the gang, the police blame him for the death of a cop. Only the evidence on an encrypted laptop can prove he’s innocent.

Software engineer Jane Lawton has been betrayed by the men closest to her, including a God she thought would protect her. She won’t let Alex down, because she knows what it feels like to be disbelieved and abandoned.

However, the men after them have orders to repossess the evidence and make sure Jane and Alex take their knowledge to the grave. Can they prove Alex’s innocence before time runs out for them both?

** Those of you who have read Formula for Danger will recognize Jane and Alex as minor characters from that book. I was excited to finally be able to write their own love story!

Excerpt:

Jane Lawton nearly dropped her steaming pot of Mac-N-Cheese at the sound of a powerful fist knocking at her apartment door. "Coming!" She spooned the gooey, bad-for-you goodness into a bowl, then ran some water in the pot in the sink.

The urgent knocking sounded again. Somehow it didn't sound like one of her neighbors, wanting Jane's help with a computer problem. She looked through the peephole.

She felt a sharp pulse at the base of her throat. "Alex?" She opened the door.

Normally a walking Calvin Klein ad, he now had a grim, serious cast to his face as he hurriedly entered her apartment with a messenger bag slung across one broad shoulder. "Quick, close the door."

"What's going on?" She locked the deadbolt.

It frightened her that he looked so different now, lacking his usual smile and dimples. "I need your help, Jane."

She couldn't control the bitterness that burned the back of her throat. It seemed that was the only thing she was good for, helping the men in her life so they could leave her and move on. She swallowed and said carefully, "Doing what?"

He pulled a laptop from his messenger bag. "There's information on this that I need, but I'm not sure if there's any type of security protecting it."

"Whoa." Jane took a step back. "You're saying that's not your laptop, and you want me to get into it? What's going on?" She knew he had been in prison for a few years, but she thought he'd put his illegal past behind him.

He scrubbed his hand over his high forehead. "It's not what it looks like."

"That makes it sound even worse."

He exhaled and seemed to study her. His intent, dark eyes made her squirm. She knew she'd changed a lot in the past year. She'd only spoken to him once in all that time, a few months ago at the party celebrating his brother's engagement to Rachel, Jane's second cousin but as close as a sister. After a minute or two of chit-chat, he had been quick to leave her to speak to Detective Carter, which had given her a pang even though she hadn't been in a sociable mood. What a difference from when she and Alex had first met years ago. He had seemed interested in her, but she'd been ...

She shoved the memories aside. "I'm only going to ask this one more time. What's going on?"

"I just ... I can trust you, right?"

"Trust me with what?"

Print book:
You can only buy Necessary Proof in print copy in First Kisses, an Inspy Kisses novella anthology.
Amazon.com

Ebook:
The ebook is free on all sites except Nook (sorry about that). Nook owners can download the .epub file from Smashwords and side load it into their Nooks.
Smashwords
Kindle
iBooks
KoboNookbook (not free)

Camy's Sonoma series:

#1: Deadly Intent
#2: Formula for Danger
#3: Stalker in the Shadows
#4: Narrow Escape
#4.1: Necessary Proof
#5: Treacherous Intent (coming December 2014)

Monday, April 28, 2014

What Not To Do with A Romance Book


And that would be accidentally put it in the washing machine....

Yes, it was trade-size
Yes, it was a foil cover
Yes, it got paper resin all over my clothes
Yes, I had to wash them all again
Yes, luckily it was a book I'd finished

No, I'm not sure how it got mixed in with the laundry
No, I'm not going to rebuy the book

At the Osback, busy mom house, I wash all kinds of things: legos, Pokemon cards, money, candy (sometimes this is bad), and rocks.

What's the strangest thing you've washed?



Pamela Tracy writes for both Love Inspired and Harlequin Heartwarming.  Her next book What Janie Saw will be available on May 1st.


Friday, April 25, 2014

Research for All!

Dana Corbit here! Lately, I've been busy doing some research for a couple of projects that are percolating. Yes, I write contemporary romances, and, yes, I do research. Sometimes a lot of it. I've met a few authors who say they write contemporary fiction instead of historicals because they don't like doing research, but I believe research is every bit as important for contemporaries. Particularly since our readers just happen to live in the present and might notice if our books are filled with glaring errors. Over the years, I have researched such topics as adoption laws, hand surgery and soap opera stars as well as home construction, neonatal nurses and wedding cake designs. Oh, did I mention the Branch Davidians and the Jonestown Massacre? Although not all of my research has ended up in published books, quite a bit of it has.


But of all of the subjects I have researched for books, my favorites have been law enforcement agencies and officers. I love writing cop heroes and heroines. I'll admit it. There's something really heroic about a man or woman who's willing to risk his or her life in the service of others. I used one of those heroes in my most recent book, FINALLY A MOTHER, an April release from Love Inspired, which received a 4.5 star rating from Romantic Times. This story is about a social worker at a home for teen moms who must face her past mistakes when the son she placed for a adoption shows up on her doorstep in the custody of a handsome but judgmental police officer.  
 

Because I have other stories with police characters that I am dying to tell, I jumped at the chance to enroll in the Lakes Area (Michigan) Citizens Police Academy, an eleven-week course covering various areas of law enforcement.


I have loved having the opportunity to do ride-alongs with three different officers from two different police departments. As I learned during my days as a newspaper reporter, there's nothing like interviewing individuals in their real environments as they do their jobs and live their lives. I asked so many questions that the officers surely wanted to toss me out of their patrol cars, so I appreciated their patience.



 

 
The classes have been fascinating, from the presentation by Sgt. Dan Ketvirtis, of the Michigan State Police Bomb Squad and his robot, Lucky (both pictured at right) to a canine unit and the medical examiner's office. I took so many notes that one of the officers asked me if I was writing a paper. Er...something like that.  










 And some of that research went beyond the classroom or even a tour. It was a blast firing both a Glock and a Sig Sauer for the first time at the police department gun range. I wouldn't say I'm an Annie Oakley - my instructors wouldn't say that either - but I can use that experience and the descriptions of those sounds and sights and smells as I write my stories.  






And it never hurt that I had the change to take photos of several real-life heroes for my research files. I appreciate the way these officers indulged my photo requests. Here Officer Jon Jacobs, of the Milford Police Department, shows off his crime scene investigation equipment.
 







All of the research in the world won't help if I don't have a good story to tell, but I believe that good research allows me to bring a taste of reality and a higher level of accuracy to my fictional world. And just maybe this will help me to write better books for my readers. That, after all, is the goal.






  

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Easter by Leann Harris

I was touch by Marta's post yesterday. This is Easter week where we walk through the suffering, death and Resurrection of Christ. Years ago I heard a song on the radio by Harvest entitled Because I Am where Mary meets Christ on the road and tells him if he'd hurried her brother, Lazarus, wouldn't be dead.  Christ responds I am the Resurrection, I am the Life, and he who believes in me, though dead shall not die. Because I am.

When I first heard those words, I got chill bumps.  To this day, I can't listen to that song without it touching my heart.  It is a song of hope.

As I see my garden, the life coming back to it, that also speaks to my of life and this Easter week.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Eastertide by Marta Perry

Somehow in the midst of Holy Week I can't bring myself to blog the usual things about my writing or my books, so I hope you'll bear with me as I share some thoughts on this time of the Christian year. Each year, as we move toward Easter, I find myself remembering the truth of something I heard long, long ago from our pastor--we can't have the joy of Easter morning without going through the grief of Good Friday.

Now, when I was teaching young children in the church, I modified that just a bit--I would never teach children about Good Friday without, in the same session, going on to the joy of Easter morning! Some truths must be modified for little ones.

But for those of us of more mature years, I think it's important not to skip the hard parts. Much as we might long for the beautiful lilies and the hallelujahs of Easter morning, they become so much more meaningful when we've stopped in our busy week  of coloring Easter eggs and preparing special Easter foods to meditate on the events of the last week in Jesus's life and to mourn with those who loved him when it seemed there would be no future at all.

Some among us are going through dark days of their own right now and wondering if the sun will ever shine again. Please know that many prayers are rising for you. Please know that beyond the darkness of grief and pain there is a glorious Easter sunrise waiting for you and those you love.


Blessings,
Marta Perry

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Allie Pleiter on Beautiful Covers


If there’s one thing at which Love Inspired excels, it’s creating gorgeous covers. 

I’ve been thrilled with most of my covers over the course of my career, even surprised by some.  I hope one day I get to visit the art department and convey my thanks in person to these talented folks.

I’m delighted to take this opportunity to reveal the cover of my June release, The Lawman’s Oklahoma Sweetheart.  This is the third book in an historical series that you can start right now with Laurie Kingery’s The Preacher’s Bride Claim. In May you can continue the story with Karen Kirst’s The Horseman’s Frontier Family.    Then in June, it’s my honor to wrap up the epic tale.


I love the sense of sunlight and open sky in this cover.  I hope it entices you to try out the finale of a sweeping Oklahoma series.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Looking for your help...

Good morning! Jenna Mindel here with a question. Okay, maybe a couple of questions. As a reader, especially a reader of Love Inspired romances, what draws you to pick up the latest copy on the shelves? Is it the cover? A favorite author, or that the book is part of a series of connected stories?

I'm currently working on a proposal for a new series, and while I know what I like in a series - that connection that keeps me coming back for more books, I was wondering about other folks' preferences.
Do you look for a common setting like a small town? A family connection,or a series built around an interesting occupation. Or even an exotic place.

Let me know your thoughts!

And if you email me your name and address through my website www.jennamindel.com  you'll be entered to win a copy of my January release, Season of Redemption.  Thanks, so much!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Whole Lot of Shaking Going On



Susan Sleeman here. We had an earthquake Sunday night. Not a big one. Just a 3.3 and we were a few miles from the epicenter. No damage. No injuries. Still, our house shook twice as my hubby, daughter, and I looked at each other. We've experienced bigger quakes so I knew immediately it was an earthquake. Nothing else feels quite like the rolling of the ground beneath your feet and let me tell you, nothing makes you feel as helpless either.

This made me think about Dark Tide, my latest book release and final book in my Justice Agency series. The hero Derrick Justice lost his birth parents in a car accident and his adoptive parents were murdered. He doesn't want to experience such loss again so he puts all kinds of controls in place so he can make sure bad things don't happen in his life. But, as we all know, you can't control everything.

Like the earthquake. We could do nothing to stop it. Nothing. And experiencing that unsettling shaking of my home served as a reminder to me, a control freak of sorts, that God is in control and I need to rest in the assurance of His control rather than try to fight it.

What about you? Have you experienced an earthquake or another situation where you were totally out of control? How did you react? Did it change your thinking?


DARK TIDE

MISSION: PROTECT BABY

Gina Evans knows her brother was murdered—even if the police won't believe her. After catching a quick glimpse of the evidence her brother had gathered, the same criminals are after her and her baby niece. And Gina's only hope is the man she left behind.

Despite the painful memories, private investigator Derrick Justice won't fail Gina and her baby. Yet now, the woman he never stopped loving and the baby he's come to adore are in a killer's crosshairs. But can Derrick trap the cold-blooded murderer before he strikes again?






SUSAN SLEEMAN is a best-selling author of inspirational and clean read romantic suspense books. Her first book, High-Stakes Inheritance was an ECPA bestseller. Award nominations include The Christmas Witness for the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence and Thread of Suspicion for the 2013 Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Best Book Award.

In addition to writing, Susan also hosts the popular website TheSuspenseZone.com. She currently lives in Oregon, but has lived in nine states. Her husband is a realtor and they have two daughters, a son-in-law, and an adorable grandson. . To connect with Susan outside of her – Website visit any of these social media sites-

Monday, April 7, 2014

Lost and Found--Lenora Worth

Have you ever lost something really special, so special that you mourned the loss for a long time? I lost a bracelet about three years ago and I sure did miss that bracelet. I wore it everywhere and considered it a touchstone of sorts. It brought me a peace and calm when I traveled and it gave me instant joy each morning when I'd put it on. I thought I'd lost it on the road somewhere or maybe I'd misplaced it in my home. I even tried to find another one in the discontinued line at Brighton. When we moved to Florida, I went through every purse and jewelry box, hoping I'd find it tucked away somewhere. I remember thinking that maybe I'd put it in a safe place and somehow I'd forgotten where that place might be.

Well, about two weeks ago I was going through a purse I hadn't used in a while looking for something else. (Probably money). I reached into a small pocket and felt something inside. And I pulled out my beloved bracelet! I was so shocked and overjoyed I had to sit down and just look at it for about five minutes. It was a bit tarnished in spots but it was my bracelet. I've used that purse so many times since I lost the bracelet, I couldn't believe I'd never felt inside that tiny pocket.

The lesson here is sometimes we search and search for something "out there" when the real treasure has been right here with us all along. I think God's love is like that. We search for answers out there when His love is tucked away inside each of us to begin with.

I hope you can find some tiny treasures in your life today. They are hidden in plain sight :)

Friday, April 4, 2014

The Things I Do For Research.

Patricia Davids here. Happy Spring. 

If you want to be a writer, or you are a writer, you have to be prepared to do some research. I always knew that. Happily for me, I love research. Hours and hours in the library, pouring through old books. Finding out wonderful facts. That is fun.

As it turns out, sitting in the library will only get you so far when it comes to writing realistically about something you aren't familiar with. Take the Amish. There is still a lot I don't know about the Amish even after 12 books in my Brides of Amish Country series. Their culture is so diverse that what works for an Amish romance set in Ohio won't necessarily work for a story set in Pennsylvania.

 Because I didn't want a dozen books about farmers and quilters, I had to investigate business run by Amish families. There are many. I've been to visit an alpaca farm, ridden in a buggy, sat behind a draft horse in a wagon, took a tour of a printing press company and museum. I've visited a fabric shop and quilt store in an Amish community, visited with Old Order Mennonite women at a family run cafĂ©, spent hours talking to my nephew's wife about being nurse-midwife, and I even interviewed the cutest small town sheriff ever. (If I get arrested, it will be in Council Grove.) I have watched a buggy wheel being made in a blacksmith shop and seen a huge sewing machine for making leather harnesses. In all, less than one tenth of what I've learned goes into any given book. But they don't call me the trivia queen for nothing. Just ask me. I'm sure I'll have an answer and if I don't, I will make one up. I write fiction, you know.

For my latest book, THE SHEPHERD'S BRIDE, I have the privilege of visiting a sheep farm during lambing season. Talk about hard work, awesome dogs and cute, cuddly baby lambs. I will admit that alpacas have won my heart, but a baby lamb comes in a close second.

So I'm going to open it up to questions here. What would you like to know about the Amish, sheep or even alpacas?

Did you know sheep can be buried under the snow for nearly a week and survive? The heat from their bodies will melt breathing holes. They'll dig down to grass or eat each other's wool for food and they can get enough water by eating snow? Boggles the mind.  

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Two books and a birthday--Lenora Worth

Hello, sunshine. I love the month of April because it means spring is on the way, Easter is close and Elnora gets to have another birthday. I don't like getting older but I don't mind birthdays. This month, I'm especially blessed to have two books out. While neither is a Love Inspired, I'm proud of both of them. The first one is actually a novella from Zondervan. An April Bride is one of the "A Year of Weddings" e-book novellas by twelve different authors. I enjoyed writing this spring book about a soldier and his bride. The second book I have out this month is a big Superromance  called "That Wild Cowboy." This story is more secular and a bit rowdy but it still has a lot of heart. But I haven't forgotten my beloved Love Inspired. I'll have a June LIS--Forced Alliance (Connor Randall's story). He showed up in In Pursuit of a Princess, which was out last year. And this summer I'll be working on another LI and the sixth book of an exciting suspense continuity. So while April showers might bring May flowers, I'll be busy writing stories for all the imprints I love.

Happy Spring and Happy Easter. I hope you have a great year. I'll be back in a few days to talk about finding treasures. (Of the personal kind.)