Thursday, January 28, 2010

A little bit of patience, please!

Okay, I rarely rant while blogging. (actually I do, but when my rant over, I usually delete the thing and start again, having got it out of my system)
So, if you will allow me one teeny tiny rant...
Patience. I think this time of year we have very little of it. We got our credit card bill the other day and are expecting our heating bill any day now. And next month I have to put a 50% downpayment on our mission trip to Bolivia. Then yesterday my son gave me the estimate of what his college courses are going to cost us. And has he saved enough for it? hah!
So my husband and I are a bit edgy. With meetings and work and writing and normal household stuff, and precious little sunlight, we are grouchy. I've noticed it around the rest of my world, too. Our church business meetings, our children, that person who blocked me on Shoutlife...
We all need patience. I especially need it. I need to realize that there are different people in this world and I need to remember that my point of view is simply not going to be shared by others.
But I see it in the people running our countries. I see it when I see troubles around the world.
We need to realize that our values aren't shared and that our values aren't always the most important thing. Believing in our personal values doesn't mean that everyone else is wrong.
I think certain things are important, but does that mean everyone else's opinions don't matter?
We need to step back, walk in the other person's shoes, and tell ourselves that it's okay to disagree. Your political values are important to you, and I need to respect that. You need to be patient with that bossy teacher or distracted driver. I need to understand that your way of writing is as important as my way.
Jesus was able to talk to all people on their levels. He was able to reach out to the child, and the Pharisee. He was patient with the Samaritan woman and with His personal friends. He could have killed Paul for all he'd done, but instead, He stopped him in his tracks and talked to him.
Let's try to get through this difficult winter with His help.
Barbara Phinney

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Merrillee here, wondering how she is going to keep track of all of her passwords. The other day I received a notice from one of my social networking sites. They said that my password had been compromised and that I had to reset my password for that site. They also suggested that I change the passwords for my e-mail accounts. So I did what they requested. Now I'm not sure if I can remember all my new passwords.

When I started doing things online that required a password, I had a standard password I used for everything. At that time, I had one e-mail account and a Yahoogroups account. My password was something that I could remember, and I am pretty sure no one else would easily figure out that password. Eventually, I had online banking accounts, and they required more complicated passwords.

But now my head is cluttered with passwords, and I'm not always sure I'm using the right password with the correct account. The computer immediately lets me know that I am wrong, if I don't have the correct password. Then I have to reset my password again, but how will I remember it?

I heard a story on the news the other day that said some of the most popular passwords are password, 123456, or abc123. Now I can understand wanting a simple password that you can remember, but I also know it has to be something that other people aren't going to use or know. However, if I have to keep changing the passwords, I will never remember them.

I have an account for my IRA that I can't access because I don't know my password, and I can't reset it because I can't answer the security question. I can't figure that one out. Anyway, the only way I can access that account is by going to the physical office of the account manager and produce identification. That office is fifty miles away, so I'm not making a trip any time soon. Now I know that it was a mistake to do away with the paper statement and go with online statements. There isn't a lot of money in there now, and I'm not ready to take it out. So I figure if I can't access the account, no one else can either. I think my money is safe, or at least, that's what I'm hoping.

I'm certainly glad that writing books doesn't require a password, and I'm excited that my latest book, HOMETOWN PROMISE, is now on the shelves.

Do you have multiple passwords? Do you have a method for remembering them? If you do, I'd like to know your secret.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Happy Anniversary to me!

Hello, it's Lenora. Today is my anniversary. Thirty-five years with the same man! Hard to believe. I was nineteen when we got married. A year later we took our baby daughter and moved from a small town to the big city. I was young and terrified and could barely drive on the interstate. My husband was very patient with me but I think he was just as terrified as I was back then. Soon, however, I learned not only to drive all over the place but went on to realize my dream of writing books while he worked for General Motors for thirty years. We grew up together and some of those years were full of challenges and conflict. But we held on and made it through and now we've settled into a nice "dance" of sorts. We rarely fight these days but we are constantly "discussing" things. We were in Wal-Mart Saturday just to get a few items. He headed to the register, while I, of course, headed to the book section and immediately forgot time and place when I saw the first of our LIS continuity series "Protecting the Witness." Marta Perry's "Twin Targets" jumped out at me and I had to buy it. Then I saw Betsy St. Amant's second LI "A Valentine Wish." And I had to buy it. Looking longingly at the other Steeple Hill titles, I promised to be back soon. When I rushed to find my husband, he was finished checking out. So I had to get back in line. He pulled the buggy up and said "Now we're gonna get soaked." It was true. It had begun to rain outside. A woman in front of us listened to our banter:
Me--"Go and get the car and put the groceries in and pull up to the door for me."
Him--"No, I'll wait here. But I didn't know you were buying books."
Me--"I didn't know you'd be finished so soon."
Him--"It's raining."
Me--"Just go get the car. I don't want you to melt."
Woman in Line--nervously "You can take my place."
We both laughed and I told her "It's okay. We argue our way through Wal-Mart all the time." I later told my friend going to Wal-Mart is like a date for us.
And so it goes around here. I've learned to be more assertive and firm and he's learned to be more tolerant and patience. Everybody wins! (Well, most of the time. We still have little lectures about shoe shopping!)

So, what tales can you tell about "discussions" with your husband? What lessons have you learned from your happy ever after?

Monday, January 25, 2010

Standing in Awe

Hi, this is Janet Tronstad, still shaking my head over the major storms, earthquakes, rains, and blizzards of the past few weeks or so. Is it just me or does it seem like this has been unusually forceful time all around the globe in terms of bad weather -- and we can't forget the Haitian earthquake. For me, it is all a reminder of the power of God. I was humbled when I read about Haitian Christians meeting for services after the earthquake, praising God in the midst of terrible misery. I decided the least I can do it update my list of things for which I am grateful on a daily basis. Shelter and food made the list today. What's on your list?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Missing Tulip

Leann Harris here. Do you see this hole? There was a yellow tulip bulb in it before 'Jaws' dug it up and made off with my bulb. Who is Jaws? It's the squirrel that runs around my yard, digging in my planters and gnawing the bark off my trees.

Last year, we lost three major branches off our 25 year old trees. A certain squirrel had been chewing the bark off the limbs.

My husband tried a be-be gun. It is a sight to see my husband and squirrel dancing around my tree, battling out. That squirrel has an attitude. He gets on our fence and wags his tail at us.

The rest of my spring bulbs are planted in the garden. Jaws doesn't bother those bulbs. He's too lazy to do that much work.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

My New Playlist

Hi. I’m Renee Ryan and I’m here to blog again today. I decided to talk about what I’m doing this evening. You see, I received a little I-pod shuffle for Christmas but I’m only just getting around to making my playlist. What a fun, exciting, scary prospect. After all, these are songs I’m going to have to listen to over and over and over AND OVER again. These songs will represent who I am as a person. Well, okay, not really. Then again…sort of. I do believe there’s a direct corollary to who we are and what we fill our minds with.

So, here’s what I have on my list so far (in no particular order):

• Forgiven and Loved by Jimmy Needham (a new favorite artist – he’s FANTASTIC!)
• The Change by Steven Curtis Chapman
• Don’t You Forget About Me by Simple Minds
• Everything by Michael Buble
• Where Are You Going by The Dave Matthews Band
• Every Breath You Take by the Police
• The Motions by Matthew West
• Revelation by Third Day
• Feeling That Way/Anytime That You Want Me by Journey
• Fantasy by Earth Wind and Fire
• Crash (Into Me) By The Dave Matthews Band
• I Will Rise by Chris Tomlin
• The Jackson Five – Can You Feel It by The Jackson Five
• Smooth Criminal by Michael Jackson
• Follow You Down by The Gin Blossoms
• Lost by Michael Buble
• Hey Jealousy by The Gin Blossoms
• Wheel in the Sky by Journey
• Lights by Journey
• Lady by Styx
• Roll With the Changes by REO Speedwagon
• Give Me Back My Bullets by Lynard Skynard
• Burning Down the House by The Talking Heads
• London Calling by The Clash

Okay, so that’s my starter list. As you can see, it’s an eclectic mix. Any suggestions???

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Leap Year

Terri Reed here,
I'm deeply entrenched in deadlines but I did take a night away from my computer to go to the cinema. I knew nothing about Leap Year going in other than the few trailers I'd seen on TV. But I thought I'd give it a try. Every once in a while a movies comes along that really touches my heart.
Leap Year is one of those movies.
Set mostly against the backdrop of a beautiful Irish countryside, Leap Year is a romance novel come to life. I highly recommend this movie to anyone who believes in loving with your heart.

Have you seen any movies lately that have touched your heart?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Storm Warning by Linda Hall

Kind of an apropos title for a book that comes out in January, wouldn’t you say? This morning as I sit at my desk and look out of my window, our front lawn is covered with piles and chunks of old snow, the dirty leavings of our last storm. We're all waiting for a fresh snowstorm to cover it all up and make it clean again.

Right now I'm in a kind of 'storm' myself as I frantically finish up the writing of the third Whisper Lake novel due out later this year. But such is the life of a writer -- spaces of frantic writing followed by calendar dates of relative calmness and rest (and reading, of course) but always thinking ahead to that next book, and the one after that, and the one after that, even when these novels are long into the future.

Storm warning is the first in Linda Hall’s Whisper Lake series of romantic suspense novels is on bookstore shelves now! The rustic lakeside homestead is supposed to be a refuge for widow Nori Edwards. However, the moment the single mom arrives, strange and frightening things start happening. Former police officer Steve Baylor—the only resident who'll step foot on the "cursed" property—vows to protect Nori. And catch the shadowy someone dead set on terrorizing her. For the first time, she feels safe. But danger won't stay hidden forever…and neither will Nori's stalker, who's waiting for a chance to let a deadly storm roll in. On Thin Ice, the second Whisper Lake novel will be in stores in April.

Storm Warning is available at grocery stores, Wal-Mart, drugstores bookstores until the middle part of February. Or it can be ordered online here:

Monday, January 18, 2010

Why Read?

Stephanie Newton here...I've always had a very active imagination. My mom and dad took me to the library at least once a week as a kid--probably to keep me out of trouble. As long as I had a book to read, they could count on the fact that I would be where they left me.

I read all the Nancy Drew and Bobbsey twin mysteries. Cherry Ames was a nurse who always found trouble whether she was a department store nurse or a flight nurse. Grace Livingston Hill wrote over a hundred books and I'm pretty sure I read all of them. I even read Zane Grey and Louis L'Amour (thanks to my grandfather's collection).

Gothic romances suited me in middle school. Who doesn't love a good drama in middle school? Victoria Holt was my writer of choice then. Looking back, romance adventure has been a consistent favorite. I always wanted Nancy and Ned to end up together. :)

Reading has been such an important part of my life, obviously shaping a career. So, I decided that this year I'm going to be more deliberate about what I read. I want to read more and a variety. I'll probably always be drawn to romantic suspense, but I want to try some of the other types of books, historicals and contemporaries. Reading spurs creativity, making the brain work better. I could definitely use that!

Think about the types of books you've enjoyed. Why not keep a list of what you read this year and try something new? A new author, a new genre. And if you want to see my list, you can check it out at my blog!

Stephanie Newton's latest book in the Emerald Coast 911 series is on shelves now! Is an arsonist targeting firehouse chaplain Jake Rollins through his loved ones? FBI agent Chloe Davis is on the case—even though it brings her far too close to the handsome pastor. Chloe has always worked undercover, trusting only herself. How can she believe a man who says he knows her—and loves her—for who she is? Only when the smoke begins to clear will Chloe learn to see past her doubts and fears…and find the vengeful killer closer than anyone realizes. FMI, check out Steph's website:

Friday, January 15, 2010

Have you ever had one of those days?

Have you had ever one of those days when everything goes wrong? I had a day like that in early December. I was to do a library conference and hand out books. I thought it was on Wednesday. I substitute taught on Tuesday, then when I got home, I called the friend I was to do the signing with the next day. She informed me it was that day, Tuesday. I was floored.

That news was combined with the news from my editor she wanted to buy my newest proposal. I had a couple of minutes to digest before I rushed off to see Debbie Macomber. She was in our town signing books and giving a talk. I got my mother one of her books. If you've never heard Debbie, it's a treat. But I digress.

What's my point? Sometimes there is a silver lining in that thundercloud.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Groom In Training - by Gail Gaymer Martin

When an author sets upon the task of writing a series, so many things come to mind. First she wants a thread that holds the stories together, then plots filled with emotion and some humor, and always with Christian fiction, elements that touch the reader's faith. I hope I succeeded in doing just that with the three novels--each independent stories but with a connected thread of three women involved in a shelter for dogs.

Groom In Training is the second novel in the series and can stand alone or be enjoyed as part of the series. This story is about Steph, Molly's best friend, who runs a doggie day care in the back of the shelter. She is not a believer though Mollly has shared her faith openly, but with loving persistence, the Lord finds a crack in our armor and works his will on us as He does with Steph. And along with God's plan, love arrives on Steph's doorstep.

As happens,I submitted the first two novels with titles that weren't used. The first novel, Teacher's Pet became Dad In Training and was Mollly's story. The second, A Path Home, became Groom In Training. Obviously at this point, the title of the final book becames clear. I named it Bride In Training, and guess what? They kept the title. This will be Emily's story, a part-time employee at the shelter as well as a dog walker and sitter, who struggles with past sins that nearly ruin her life.

This series was written in memory of our daughter Brenda who died nearly 3-1/2 years ago from ovarian cancer at age 37. She provided obedience training for dogs, fostered many abused and abandoned dogs, and finally adopted two border collies (the kind of dog pictured above) who participated in flyball and agility. Brenda would have loved these novels.

By the way, Groom In Training should hit the stores about January 21, and I also want to send out a disclaimer. In this book, Fred (the border collie) is wearing a white bow tie for the outdoor wedding. The Christmas bow was the idea of the artist and marketing department. I did grumble but you see where grumbling got me. (grinning).

Friends, Four-legged Friends and Love

A widow with a sad past, Steph Wright, finds comfort in her adorable Border Collie, Fred. When Fred becomes enamored with the neighbor's pedigreed Bouvier, Steph meets Nick. With a broken engagement and a busy job, Nick isn't open to love and romance. But when Nick steps in to defend Steph, long talks ensue during dog walking, and both begin to learn that God has plans for each of them, especially Steph who sees some unexpected "groom-in-training" going on.

Endorsements from readers:
Had a hard time putting this book down. I highly recommend Groom In Training, and look forward to reading more from Gail Gaymer Martin.
Rikki Lee Howland, Reader

A delightful story of two hearts discovering where they belong.
Jo Huddleston, Reader

Groom in Training can be purchased at Walmart, KMart, Target, some grocery stores and, as always, good bookstores everywhere between January 22 and February 22. Otherwise they are still available at on-line bookstores.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Camy here!

Lately I’ve been getting more into prayer.

I don’t know if I’m actually starting to mature as a Christian or what, but I’ve been seeing the importance of prayer in my life more and more the past few years. This is partly due to authors Cheryl Wyatt and Brandilyn Collins, who are both incredible prayer warriors. Seeing them in action made me see the dynamic power of prayer for the first time.

But then God started working in my own life. I started feeling prayer should be more important in all aspects of my life. I started being more consistent in writing down requests from friends and family in my prayer journal and praying for them all during my daily quiet times.

I also have started getting into the monthly prayer meetings at church to pray for the worship service. I kind of “have” to go because I’m one of the worship leaders, but I’ve been finding that I enjoy going, and that I really believe that it’s important.

Though it all, I feel more comfortable praying than I ever have before. I am not as self-conscious about what I pray about out loud, and I don’t worry that what I pray about is stupid or that I’m not eloquent. I also don’t worry about not knowing what to pray about when it’s my turn, because God has been giving me the prayers to say—they just come out of nowhere.

Well, not nowhere, but you know what I mean (Camy fist-bumps the Holy Spirit).

So I want to encourage all of you to start this year and spend more time in prayer, to focus more on prayer in your daily lives. It’s something we could all use more of, right? And I fully believe God is calling all of us to be a people who prays.

Pray on!

Camy Tang writes romance with a kick of wasabi. Her novels Single Sashimi and Deadly Intent are out now. She runs the Story Sensei critique service, is a staff worker for her church youth group, and leads one of the worship teams for Sunday service. On her blog, she gives away Christian novels and ponders frivolous things. Sign up for her newsletter YahooGroup for giveaways!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Why the popularity of Amish books?

Patricia Davids here.

Why the popularity of Amish books?

My advance copies of my March release arrived yesterday. Katie’s Redemption is the first book in my new Brides of Amish Country series. It wasn’t until I started doing research for these books that I realized how popular Amish stories had become. Why is that? What is it about that culture that intrigues people?

I will admit the research is fascinating. I had no idea there were such differences among Amish churches. Some don’t allow indoor toilets while some allow members to own automobiles. That’s quite a difference in attitude. For some, cell phones are okay, but land lines are not, or the phone can only be in the barn or in a shack to be shared with other families.

My favorite story was about a busload of tourists who asked an Amish man what it meant to be Amish. He asked who had a TV in their homes. Every hand went up. He asked who thought their families spent too much time watching TV and that it was bad for them. Every hand went up. He then asked, who was going to go home and get rid of their TV. No one held up their hand. He said, that what it was to be Amish.

I get it. To see that a thing is bad and say no, we will not allow it. That’s a hard thing to sell in modern America where every freedom must be protected.

Why do you think Amish stories are gaining popularity? Because the Amish are devout? Because they are quaint? Or because we all long for a simpler time when home and family was the focus of our lives?

Monday, January 11, 2010

Books and Movies

Pamela Tracy here. There's an old tale about six blind men and an elephant. Each blind man, separately and without knowing what was in front of them, touched a different part of the elephant. Later, they discussed what they felt and figured out the kind of animal.
I've always like the story because of the way it dissects the human mind and how working as a group should work.
Last year a group of my friends and I went to see Julia and Julie. We all agreed we loved it. The rest of my friends, though, added the word BUT after I loved it... They all loved the Julia part and wanted the film to hurry through the Julie part. Me, I loved both. It's taking me a few months (and a couple of movies with the same friends) for their adding BUT to make sense.
For Christmas, I received the book My Life in France by Julia Child. I devoured the book. I told my husband, "Now that I've read this book..." He looked hopeful, like maybe I'd take up cooking as a hobby. "...I want to go to France," I finished.
It's taking me too long to tell you what I figured out. All my friends had read My Life in France before they saw Julia and Julie. After reading the book, I wanted to watch the DVD, and yes, I'd have fast forwarded through the Julie scenes.
Reading the book certainly makes one's approach to movie enjoyment different. Personally, I've thought every single Harry Potter movie good, and I've always read the book first. BUT... you knew that was coming... because I read These Lovely Bones, I don't think I can watch the movie. As a matter of fact, my friends and I were walking away from New Moon and discussing it (the old six blind men and elephant approach... we all thought differently about the movie) when we realized we'd all read the book and it affected how we judged the movie.
1. What movies have made you want to run out and read the book?
2. What book has made you want the movie?
3. What book has made you think a movie could never do it justice?
1. I ran out and bought the book Witness (Harrison Ford, Amish) after seeing the movie. Movie much better.
2. The Clan of Cave Bear. Book much better.
3. The Kite Runner, and I couldn't go see the movie becuase there was a scene in the book I skipped and I didn't know how'd I'd skip it in the movie.
There you have it. My strange and wondering thoughts this morning on movies. This week, if I can find time, I'm going to see Have You Heard About the Morgans. Hmmm, is there a book?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

A Day Late and a Dollar Short

Well, I'm posting late today. My kids went back to school on Wednesday, and it has thrown me totally off schedule. I hardly know what day it is! :)

Being late reminded me of an expression my mom often uses: I'm a day late and a dollar short.

So I wondered if you'd share some of your favorite expressions you've picked up from your parents, grandparents, friends, other family (maybe even your own kids!). Please share! I'm always looking for fun expressions to use in my books.

Missy's recent release, A Forever Christmas, is still available. Why not snuggle up during this terribly cold weather and extend the holiday season!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

January Hibernation by Marta Perry

It's the first week in January, can you believe it? Christmas is just a memory by now for most of us. For me, it passed in a blur of presents and grandkids, church services and cooking. Mostly cooking, it seems in retrospect. Every year I plan to take the easy way to all those holiday meals, and every year I do too much. At one point, when the house was at its fullest, I had gone upstairs for something. On my way back down I heard my four-year-old granddaughter, who had apparently been looking for me, announce in tones of complete astonishment, "Grammy's NOT in the kitchen!" Okay, I'll try again next year!

Much as I love the holidays, I find I'm loving the turn into the quietest part of the year, at least for me. My husband and I are comfortably settled into our second home on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. It's small and easy to maintain, so there are few chores staring me in the face. I can settle down in my writing loft, open my work in progress, and immerse myself in writing. Like a bear, curling up in his cave, I'm ready for winter.

What does January mean to you? The kids headed back to school? Snow and boots and shovels? Time to think and read? I hope some of the latter! If you're here, it must be because you love books, so won't you turn to some of the great Love Inspired books listed on the blog this month? We've all been working hard to bring you stories we hope will become favorites, and we hope you'll let us know what you think of our books.

So get the kids to bed, settle down in your favorite chair with a mug of hot tea or cocoa, and open up a Love Inspired novel. We promise you won't be disappointed.

Marta Perry

God’s Timing for Your Dreams

I’ve been thinking a lot about what Cheryl said yesterday. In fact, I only have two resolutions here at the turn of the decade – to listen to God more and trust His timing . . . and to give up sodas. You can guess which one is the easiest.

As a writer and one of the few single women who writes for Love Inspired, I’ve had to learn a lot about God’s timing for our dreams . . . and I can’t say I’ve always been patient or particularly understanding. I’m a very flawed human, and, yes, I’ve had a few tantrums straight out of the terrible twos: “Will you hurry UP already?”

After all, there was an enormous gap between my first published article (I was 18) and my first book (I was 42). 2009 was a year of horrible lows for me, but I also saw the publication of two books (The Taking of Carly Bradford and Field of Danger).

Although writing is my gift and the call I feel from the Lord, every day I struggle to focus. I’m a little ADD, so discipline isn’t easy for me. Nor is waiting. Even though I’ve gotten fairly decent at the waiting part.

After all, I’ve been single (again) for sixteen years. Sixteen and a half. Almost seventeen.

Not that I’m counting, you understand…

So when my impatience freezes me in this chair (or on the couch), and doubts about my life, my loves, and my career creep in from the dark, I try to remember that He does know me best and knows WHAT’S best. And I try to listen.

Although I do still wish He’d hurry up. At least a little bit.

Monday, January 4, 2010

New Year, New Release, New Goals

Cheryl Wyatt here. First I want to let you know that I have a new book out. It's ON SHELVES NOW and titled A Soldier's Devotion in case you're interested. If you're familiar with my Wings of Refuge series, this is Vince's story. He and his goals are a LOT different at the end of the book than the beginning. Hope you enjoy it.

For some reason, I don't like stating that I have made a New Year's resolution. I guess it's because I tended to be a perfectionist and put impossible expectations on myself. Sure, all things are possible with God but sometimes we want to work on one thing and He wants to work on another.

So this year, before making a resolution I asked Him what HE wanted for me as far as a personal goal. His answer was that He wants me to start believing the absolute best about people again. Somewhere along the way I have become jaded I guess. LOL! But I do remember a time when I more easily gave people the benefit of the doubt and believed and stated the best about people. It's also an antidote to gossip of any sort.

Last year my goal was to listen more than talk. Not sure I'm there yet, so that one will carry over too.

My spiritual goal is to immerse myself back in the Bible, like--serious study time--every day.

I'd love to know if you make resolutions and why or why not. Also, I'd love to hear your personal, spiritual and business goals aka resolutions for 2010. Don't be away!

Cheryl Wyatt
15 author blog: