Monday, June 30, 2008

Saying Good-bye to a series

I just finished up the last of a four book series (The Sisterhood of the Dropped Stitches). I knew the series was done, but didn't want to say good-bye. It didn't help that I just got an email from a reader asking if I couldn't find a way to go beyond the four books. How do the rest of you --readers and writers alike -- feel about coming to the end of a series? I know as a reader I often wish series had more books. I get comfortable with characters and don't want to say good-bye.


Friday, June 27, 2008

New Mule Hollow book by Debra Clopton! THE COWBOY TAKES A BRIDE

Gail's post a couple of days ago Why Not Me? is such a true example of the angst, the ups and downs and doubts writers go through along the rocky path to publication. I was going to post a comment but because what she talked about is also the bases for my upcoming July book THE COWBOY TAKES A BRIDE I decided to make a blog post instead.
Like most authors I've been on both sides of that entry Gail blogged about. Before I was published I worked so hard and editors were really interested, but then I just couldn't seem to make my revisions meet with their vision of the story. And the sale wouldn't happen. So I began to ask God why? And I felt like I was running a race but was stuck on the track going round and couldn't find the off ramp to publication. Then the doubts started and I began feeling like God was actually asking me to give up my dream! What! No way could I even contemplate such a thing...after all I was almost published. Almost doing what God had called me to do. HOW could He be asking me to give it up?
Because I knew this is such a major struggle for writers I wanted to explore this in situation in my fun new Mule Hollow book THE COWBOY TAKES A BRIDE.
My heroine Sugar Rae Lenox has extremely stong reasons for knowing she is called to be an actress. But, she is always just missing her big break. And she's started feeling like God is asking her to give up her dream! God put a fighting spirit inside of Sugar and she's never given up on anything so surely she is misunderstanding God.

You can read the actual blurb on this website in the upcoming book link.

I believe this is a struggle and a question that each person must work out between you and God. In THE COWBOY TAKES A BRIDE Sugar Ray fights all the way to her answer while at the same time falling in love with cowboy Ross Denton. She, like I did, and like I hope you do to if you are struggling with similar doubts and decisions came to understand God's plan for her life when God's timing was right.
Like I always say, God's timing is worth waiting for because it's always the best timing. I know it was for me. But like my heroine, Sugar Ray, I fought through the doubts and held on and didn't give up in my quest. I'll forever be glad God put that fighting spirit inside of me so that I was able to persever...because if I had given up on my dream during all the years it took me to make my first sale then I would have really missed out on all the fun I'm having writing for Love Inspired!
Have you been to Mule Hollow yet? Come on and join the fun :)
Until next time, live, laugh and seek God with all your heart!
Debra Clopton

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Winning isn't everything

With my book, Keeping Her Safe, out this month, I've discovered something once again. That winning isn't everything.
I had entered four contests with last year's book, and didn't final in a single one of them. Oh, well. I was disappointed, but I'll let you in on a little secret. God won't let me win, until I learn to be a graceful winner. (I have a sneaky suspicion I wouldn't be one) LOL!
Anyway, in the meantime, friends and family alike have won at writing. If you'll allow me to boast for a moment, my daughter won an essay contest on a Canadian provincial premier. (he'd be the equivilent to a governor in the States) and she will receive $250! Pretty cool, eh, and let me tell you, everyone in the house now knows about Daniel Lionel Hannington, Premier of New Brunswick in 1874. We know ALL about him!
Bragging aside, I told my daughter she's done something I have yet to achieve. I've never won a contest. I got honourable mention in one about 10 years ago, if that counts for something.
But it doesn't matter anymore.
At my kids' school awards evening, a woman, mother of a friend of mine, sought me out, and told me something really wonderful. She absolutely loved my book. She couldn't put it down. She sat in her living room and read it cover to cover. Is that great or what?
And a writer friend took the time to write me to say how much she enjoyed the book, and loved the hero's prayer in it. It hit her right in the heart.
Just as these little compliments get me right there. They are way better than a contest. I've touched someone's life with my story and it gives me a knot in my throat. We writers write for various reasons, creative outlet, need to tell a story, the love of reading are some of the reasons, but we rarely sit at the computer and say, "I'm going to touch someone's life with this story."
We just hope we do. And when it happens, we are so incredibly thrilled, touched, a whole lot more than winning a contest.
Of course, I have never won a contest, so I may be off the wall here, but I don't think so.
You mothers out there can say that even when your son or daughter doesn't make the highest mark, or draw the best picture, the one they drew for you, the one they added, 'I love you' to, is way better than any ribbon or certificate.
Let's take the time to see how personal things matter so much more. How we can help each other, lift each other up, and encourage each other. It's worth a thousand contest wins.
Enjoy your summer!
Barbara Phinney

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Why we read stories?

Ever wonder if there's any added benefits to reading fiction? In the latest "Psychology Today" (June 2008), there is an article titled "Dare to be Yourself." The authors list 8 Acts of Authenticity and the #1 Act is to read novels. "It's the best way to figure out what it feels like to be in somene else's head -- and that's what helps us to distinguish our own identity," (quote from John Portmann, professor of religious ethics, University of Virginia.).
I was intrigued. I know I've always loved to read novels, but I had no idea they were making me more myself. What do you think? Agree or disagree?


Why Not Me?

Jennie and Anita posted comments regarding my Standing Ovation post that gave me the idea to send out this new thought on writing. Though it's about writers, readers may like to know the struggle authors have regarding a writing career.

No matter if we're published or not, authors asked the question, "Why not me?" Why don't I have a NY Times best seller? Why didn't my editors like my new proposal? Why am I not getting a contract for a book? Why doesn't an agent want to represent my novel? Will I ever have a published novel?

These questions can cause us to be depressed and to guide our careers in places the Lord may not have in his plan for us. The Bible tells us "A man may plan his course, but the Lord guides His steps." The address that I spoke about in my previous blog entry was based on verses in Ecclesiastes 3, For everything there is a season, and the hard part for us is to wait for God to give us our season.

But the Lord also offers us Gal 6: 8-9 to think about. "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." Again we hear the word proper time. The Bible repeats those messages--our season, the proper time and He has made everything beautiful in its time. God keeps telling us, but we don't always want to understand. We wait on Him, the source of our talent and the purpose for which we write. God knows when we are ready to make the total sacrifice to be a writer, when our work is ready to be published so that it can reach a multitude of readers and not only a few as in self-publishing. And most of all, he knows when readers are ready to receive the book of your heart which you've written. It's a three-part plan to God and He knows. We wait.

If you live in Arizona...Greater Phoenix area

Valley of the Sun Romance Writers of America is putting on a one day event this Saturday (June 28) in Glendale, Arizona. I'll be speaking on writing Romantic Suspense. If you're a writer and in the area, stop on by.

Saturday, June 28, 2008 - 9 am to 4:30 pm at the GASLIGHT INN, 5747 W. Glendale Avenue - Glendale AZ, across from Murphy Park Tel: 623-934-9119

11:15-12:15PM - Pamela Tracy - Suspense Romance

Other authors speaking include Jennifer Ashley, Vijaya Schartz, Renee Bernard, and Janeen O'Kerry. Topics range from building a website, to writing the hook, to writing the historical as well as time management and agent hunting.

Ongoing book signing during the day.
No registration fee - Coffee, tea, and water available at no cost
Reserve your seat with Josette Umbertino at
Pay for your own lunch and/or room if you plan to stay at the Inn.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Standing Ovation

Have you every received a standing ovation? I don't believe I ever have until this weekend at the American Christian Writers Conference in Grand Rapids where I was on staff.
This was an uplifting, spirit-filled event, and I had the opportunity to present workshops to new eager writers, meet them at meals, talk with them at appointments and present the banquet keynote address. When they rose with applause, I was touched beyond belief.
Why does this happen? I think such an ovation happens, when the hearers relate to what's been said--when they identify themselves in the words spoken, when they hear the frustrations that they have experience, and when they have felt blessed by whatever event they were involved in. Writers share so many emotions besides lonely hours behind a computer. We experience the ups and downs of our careers, and we know the joy of a sale, but also the taste of rejection whether published or not.
I spoke on the topic For Everything There Is A Season, and we all need to remember this true statement. We don't know when it will be our season to shine. We may be surrounded by the storm of failure or be sprinkled of the rain of uncertainty, or we can enjoy the sunshine of God's presence -- whether rain or shine.
Our words are a blessing for authors who aren't speakers. Though we can't see the glow in the faces of our readers, we know that they are often touched by our written words and the stories we weave.
The Lord tells us, we do not write with ink, but on the hearts of our readers. What a responsibility, yet what a joy. Thank you Lord for allowing me and all my fellow authors to work for you and your kingdom.
Have you every asked yourself -- When will it be my season?

Friday, June 20, 2008


I'm a puzzle writer. When a story comes to me, I do not get it in order of how the story will enfold. I usually end up having one clear scene in my head and then the story builds on that.

Many times the scene that is most clear to me is the opening. The heroine is going about her life as normal and then something drastic happens to spin her world upside down. I usually can't wait to write that scene, so I jot down the bones of it in a file and then put it aside until I can work on it.

Since I'm usually working on several projects at a time, I need to keep good files to keep all my stories straight.You'd think that when the time comes for me to write the story, scene two would naturally be the next scene I work on. Not necessarily. For me, stories come together as puzzles. I know the beginning. I know a scene in the middle somewhere and I almost always have the ending mapped out before I even know how the hero and heroine are going to get there. In fact, if you look on my hard drive, you'll see lots of stories with beginnings and endings already written.

I've tried many times to write in order. When I force myself into this mode, I get writer's block. I've come to realize that I'm a big picture sort of gal. I see the the progression of the story coming together as a whole rather than in a linear fashion. Now that I don't force myself to write in order, I write much quicker than I used to.

I talk about puzzle writing as well as linear, pantsers and plotters in my Understanding Your Writing Profile workshop, which I will be doing this weekend for the New England Chapter of RWA. What kind of writer are you??

I'm already starting to hear from Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense bookclub readers about Her Only Protector. If you in the bookclub and have read Her Only Protector, please drop me a line and let me know how you liked the book!

Until next time, many blessings, Lisa Mondello

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

WendyK you have won a book

WendyK, could you contact me so we can make arrangements to have your book mailed to you.

Thanks to everyone who made comments about the Steeple Hills lines. Your comments are both encouraging and helpful.

Linda F

Monday, June 16, 2008

Rita Award Nominee: Linda Goodnight

Last week we did the launch of the new Love Inspired' web site. What fun it is to look at everyone's pictures and see 'friend' potential. This is a fabulous place to be. Love Inspired has a lot to brag about right now. I'd like to brag about Rita Nominee: Linda Goodnight. And, then, she can tell you about her book.

They say the writing world is small. Well, it is. The first name on the nominee list for 2008 RITA for Inspirational Romance Fiction is Linda Goodnight. I was so tickled when I saw her name. See, I've known Linda physically (met at an RWA conference and on early loops) and figuratively (my critique partner of six years Libby Banks migrated from Oklahoma WHERE she also critiqued with Linda Goodnight). Too cool!


Beginning her career as Golden Heart finalist in 1999, Linda Goodnight’s books have been translated into more than a dozen languages. Among her awards are the Booksellers’ Best, ACFW Book of the Year, and a Reviewers’ Choice Award from Romantic Times Magazine. A former teacher and nurse, she currently writes for both Harlequin Romance and Love Inspired. She and her husband live on a small farm/ranch in Oklahoma. She is delighted and honored to be a 2008 RITA finalist.

1. Describe your RITA phone call.

On ‘the call’ day, I was in town doing some business, partly in self-defense because I didn’t want to sit around all day wishing for a call that didn’t come. I had just pulled up to the stoplight when my cell phone rang.

I answered the phone, expecting my husband. Instead, I got Kelly St. John. She said she was calling for RWA and asked, “How are you today?” The realization struck that this was the call I had wished for. A zing of energy tightened the hair on my head. My skin prickled. It was the weirdest sensation-good, but weird. When I could talk, I replied, “I think I just got better.”

Kelley laughed and went on to tell me I was a finalist. About that time the light changed and I had to drive. To this day, I have no recollection of driving for the next few miles. I kept saying, “Oh, my gosh. Oh, my gosh. Is this real?” and other gushing idiocies. At one point, I think I asked if it was April Fool’s Day.

I’ve always heard people say they pinched themselves to see if they were awake. I actually did that, thinking I must be dreaming. I mean, really, me a RITA finalist? It had to be a dream.

When Kelley finally got rid of me, I drove the seven miles to my house, laughing and crying and praising the Lord. Nah, I wasn’t excited or anything.

2. Tell us about the RITA book and why you think it stood out it the crowd.

I honestly don’t know why A TOUCH OF GRACE stood out from so many other really fine entries. I only know what the book meant to me and how much I loved the characters, the setting, and the theme. The key verses for that book are Isaiah 58 and Matthew 25, which are also my life verses. Maybe my passion for orphans and the needy was projected to the readers. Whatever the reasons, I am grateful.

Here’s a little blurb:
Ian Carpenter is a street minister with a heart for broken people and a subconscious that’s trying to tell him something. Gretchen Barker, an investigative reporter with a dark and painful past, turns the spotlight on Ian’s ministry when her drug-addicted sister turns up dead on the front lawn of the mission. Ian thinks he has nothing to hide. But he does. And the revelations shake the very foundation of who he thinks is and what he believes.

3. How many books have you written? Over 25

4. Do you have a favorite?

I’ve heard authors say that picking a favorite book is like choosing a favorite child. Although all my kids were favorites, I do have books that stand out in my heart and mind - All three of THE BROTHERS’ BOND, for instance, including the RITA nominee and last year’s ACFW winner, A SEASON FOR GRACE. I truly love those books and thank God for giving me the opportunity to write them.

5. Describe your writing process.

The process changes with every book, but the core way I write doesn’t. I am basically a seat-of-the-pants writer with a little structure to keep me focused. Once I get an idea, I spend a lot of time fleshing out my characters, although I won’t really know them well until I get into the book. I also use a plotting circle that I devised using the “mythical hero’s journey” to lay out the big things that must occur. (An overview of the circle is on my website.) The rest comes organically as I write.

6. When did you decide to become a writer and why Christian fiction?

I’ve always loved the power and beauty of words, but it wasn’t until the mid-nineties, after a serious illness, that I began pursuing the big dream of publication. The desire was always there, I just didn’t think I could actually do it.

Although I did not start out in Christian fiction and still write sweet romance that is not specifically Christian, I love the thought of writing something that directly brings glory to God and has the opportunity to bless or encourage a reader in Jesus’ name. My reader mail lets me know that Christian writing, even when its major purpose is entertainment, is a ministry, and I take that very seriously.

7. Tell us about your next or upcoming projects.

My next book releases in early July! WINNING THE SINGLE MOM’S HEART is a sweet romance from Harlequin available for pre-order at This is book four in an adorable author-generated series called “The Wedding Planners”. We authors had so much fun writing the books we now have a Wedding Planners’ blog that features real wedding tips, proposal and wedding stories from your favorite authors, visits from wedding experts, great prizes, as well as info about the series. I hope you’ll check us out.

I also having Christian fiction scheduled for September-A BRIDE BY CHRISTMAS, a Barbour historical anthology, and A TIME TO HEAL, a contemporary from Love Inspired.

8. Do you have any advice for unpublished writers?

Years ago I met an assistant editor at a conference in Oklahoma City. Fast forward several years and that assistant was now a senior editor who approved the purchase of my first book. As she handed the manuscript to my then and now editor, she said, “Linda is a lovely person. You’ll like working with her.” When my editor told me this I nearly fainted. I had met that woman one time as an unpublished writer and she remembered!

That incident taught me a valuable lesson. Be nice to everyone. The publishing world is small, and both editors and writers have long memories.

And to the usual “study the craft” truths, I’ll add one other thing: If your book is good enough, someone will pay you. Don’t pay them. I feel so bad for new writers who are duped by vanity presses.

Visit Linda at: and or zap her an email and

Saturday, June 14, 2008

What Do Authors Do In Their Spare Time?

What spare time? (grinning here) I'm excited to begin work on a few ideas that I have to change a book that's been sitting here forever because I knew it needed something. Now I know (or think I do) and can't find the time to work on it.

Why? Because I'm preparing workshops which I'm presenting at many conferences this year. My husband often asks me, "Are you a writer or speaker?" I can't answer the question because I guess I'm both. Speaking and writing are gifts that the Lord has given and I love doing both. So many people helped me as a new writer -- many who are top-notch Christian writers and who took the time to give me tips and answer questions. Now I want to give back to other writers who are wanting to hone their craft.

One thing I love about Christian writers is we are giving. I don't see the jealousy or the "me first" attitude that I see other places. Yes, writers have only so many slots in the publishing business to sell their books, but I truly believe it's God's timing and his blessing to have a publisher want one of mine. I've been so blessed with forty sold novels -- yet the feeling doesn't end. I want more, but I also want to see others have the same joy in seeing their books on bookstore shelves.

I'm not alone in this feeling. I attend so many conferences where great authors are teaching others about writing. We have giving hearts and it comes from Him who gave us the ability.

I hope you're enjoying the new look and this new blog.

Gail Gaymer Martin

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Only a few days late!

I promised to check in again on Monday and here it is, Wednesday night, and I'm just getting it done. I have no excuse except that I've been writing my books and totally forgot everything else. Yes, I get really engrossed. Seriously compulsive. It makes for a productive work schedule but has its drawbacks if you intend to have a "life" beyond the computer! In my early days, I used to write it all out in longhand, then type the manuscript on a borrowed typewriter. Now that was tedious.

I have a current contract for 2 more historicals - all I have to do is write them. No sweat, right?
And, as I said last Friday, I have to finish a contemporary first.

Back to history --- WILDERNESS COURTSHIP features Charity Beal, the younger sister of the heroine in Frontier Courtship, so if any of you are wondering what became of her, you'll know in mid-August. Poor thing. I had made her such a ditz during the plains crossing I wondered if she was ever going to mature enough to learn her lesson and find her own happiness.

You can always read more on my website, too.

Meet Me At the Fair? . . How About A Conference?

If you live near Grand Rapids, Michigan, I'd love to meet you. I'll be doing a two-day conference at the Ramada Plaza Hotel on 28th Street. Although this conference is for writers -- who are very welcome to attend -- some of my books will be available and you will have a chance between workshops and events to meet me and purchase books.
On Friday I'll be presenting a four part workshop on Writing Christian Fiction and will be presenting a keynote address at the Award Banquet. On Saturday, I'll be teaching two workshops and keeping appointments with conferees. The bookstore is open all day and they will tell you when I'm free to meet you. If you're a writer and want to know more about the conference coming up soon, please check the link below.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Vacation time

Welcome to all readers of this blog.
I am just back from a little much-deserved (IMHO) holiday and trying to catch up on all the happenings. But truthfully, I am still a bit mellowed out from vacationing. It was a time to catch up on some great reading. There are some great reads with the LI lines. I enjoyed a chance to catch up on my TBR pile. Well, to start to catch up at any rate.

To give others a chance to read some of these great stories I am giving away a copy of The Road to Love (written by me :-) ). To qualify for a draw on this book simply post a comment about one of the LI books you have read--either contemporary or historical and tell us why you liked it.

Linda Ford

What do you think of all the new lines at Love Inspired?

I'm curious about what readers think of the new lines--Love Inspired Suspense and Love Inspired Historical. Which is your favorite? What was your favorite book in that line? Why? We writers want to know.

Do you have a favorite kind of hero--the strong silent type or Mr. Charm your socks off?

Do you have a favorite kind of heroine--sweet and shy or Miss Don't Mess with Me?

So what's your opinions?
Lyn Cote

Monday, June 9, 2008

I'm excited about this blog!

I'm so excited that we have a blog to let readers know about what's happening with us.

I have a few things I wanted to tell everyone. Seven Love Inspired Suspense authors have formed a blog called Craftie Ladies of Suspense at At this blog we are posting heroine interviews of the month's releases so go check them out. Very interesting to get a look into a heroine's head. If you leave a comment with a way to contact you, you're entered in a drawing for that month's four Love Inspires Suspense books. So visit often for a chance to win four great books.

I will be at a conference this coming weekend in Springfield, MO. There will be a booksigning at Borders in Springfield (there's only one) from 4-6 pm on June 13th. I would love to meet some Love Inspired readers so if you're in the area, stop by the store.

Take care,
Margaret Daley

Pamela Tracy Here

Whoo Hoo, a grand re-opening for the LI website. What fun it is to go through the site, see all the names, look at the photos, and drool over upcoming books. Do it in any order you wish. LI is a great place to be, for both readers and writers. I'm currently reading a contemporary by Cheryl Wyatt and when that's done, I'll pick up Linda Hall's newest suspense. Oh, and I've got line edits on my January contemporary and when I'm done, I'll pull up page 103 on my computer and start working on my next suspense. This morning, after my three-year-old's swim practice, maybe I'll swing by the bookstore and check out the new LI historicals. Happy Reading everyone. Oh, and if you're an Irene Hannon (Rita Finalist) fan, stop over at and read her interview. We're also having a drawing at the end of the month for all four of June's LISs.

Linda Hall Here -

Linda Hall here - signing in and perusing our new Love Inspired website. Isn't this a great  little community? I hope you all keep us bookmarked and comment often on these blog postings.

In one month my next Love Inspired, SHADOWS AT THE WINDOW will be in stores everywhere. To honor that auspicious occasion, I'm giving away two free copies to two people who can correctly answer a skill testing question. :) No, it's not hard math.

In the  SHADOWS AT THE WINDOW, heroine Lilly Johnson is studying music in Boston. All you have to do is to come up with two places in Boston where one may study music. And yes you may Google. Get these to me at and put the word CONTEST in the subject line and you'll be entered in the draw.

And speaking of contests, I hope you enter the one here on this website. The winner will walk away with lots and lots of books and goodies.


Friday, June 6, 2008

Author Copies

Today is one of those days that authors love. It's the day I received my author copies of Her Only Protector. The UPS man who dropped off my boxes had no idea why I was so giddy when he handed the boxes over to me. But I knew, even before I looked at the address on the box that they were from Steeple Hill. The boxes had the telltale diamonds that symbolize they came from Harlequin Magazine.

Of course, no one was home at the time when I ripped open the first box and pulled out a copy and did a happy dance in the kitchen. And since I have teenagers, they were less than enthusiastic when I shoved the book in their face as they walked through the door after school.

I'm use to this. This is why I share my writer moments with other authors and readers. Only you, people who have a love of books, can understand how exciting it is when a box of books arrives.

If you're on the Steeple Hill Bookclub, please let me know when you receive the August books! Even though Her Only Protector won't be in bookstores until August 2008, I know bookclub readers will have received their monthly stash and may have read the book. If you do, please email me and let me know your thoughts.

Until next time, many blessings, Lisa Mondello

Valerie Hansen

Well, here I am. I know, I know, I'm early for the Grand Opening but I figured it was better to be early than late.

I've just been assigned to write the first book in another new series for 2009 and I'm so immersed in that project that I was afraid I might forget to check in on time. This series is going to be about a small town in Kansas and the tornado that leaves a path of destruction. As the citizens rebuild their town, they're also building new lives and renewing their faith. The other authors are Annie Jones, Brenda Minton, Carolyn Aarsen, Patricia Davids and Kathryn Springer. I've worked with several of these authors before and am delighted to be getting acquainted with new friends, too.

When I check in again on Monday - I hope - I'll talk more about my August 2008 historical, WILDERNESS COURTSHIP.

See ya'!

Official Grand Re-Opening!

starting on MONDAY June 9, 2008!!

Those of you who have visited before we updated our website have--I'm sure--noticed quite a few changes to our look, content and our new member authors. We can't let this pass without a WOW event to celebrate it.

Beginning this coming Monday, our many authors will be dropping in to tell about themselves, their books and their plans for this summer.

As usual, is running one of our periodic contests in the month of June. But the prize this time will be a SUPER-DOOPER prize basket. We've nearly doubled the number of our authors and most will be contributing to the current contest basket. So it will be a basket to WOW you.

So invite your friends to drop by and enter our contest on the contest page. And take this opportunity to ask a favorite author a question.


EVEN better, why not drop by and say something nice about a Love Inspired romance that has touched your heart in a special way.

There may be some of our authors who will be posting special offers or contests when they post, so drop by often so you don't miss anything!!

See you Monday!

Lyn Cote