Sunday, February 28, 2010

Stormy Weather In My Books

This is Janet Tronstad here thinking about weather in my books. I am beginning a new book and I have a snow storm going in my little town of Dry Creek. A blizzard is what the story needs, but I am reminded of how many books I've written with blustery snow falling. Perhaps because my location for Dry creek is in sucn a small town that the ground is significant (there are no sidewalks so mud becomes an issue as does snow). We have a discussion going over at our Love Inspired Historicals discussion groun on Goodreads about weather in books. It seems most people have some kind of seasonal preference for reading and writing (not that anyone uses that as the sole decision on what to read). A snow blizzard feels cozy to me though in a way that a hot day at the beach doesn't and, all other things being equal, I'd reach for the snow book rather than the summer book. How about you? What weather do you find most romantic?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

What A Difference A Year Makes!

First, let me just say what a pleasure it is to be here among authors I’ve read and admired for years.

I’m still pinching myself, amazed to have my first book ON THE SHELVES NOW!!!!! Yes, Winter’s End, which I’m delighted to say got a 4 ½ Star rating from Romantic Times, is available online and wherever Harlequin romances are sold. Oh my stars, how cool is that????

And I’m celebrating the joy of two more books scheduled for release this year.

This past week I was chatting with The Seekers (a sisterhood of authors) about what a difference a year makes. Last year at this time we were mourning the loss of a grandchild, a tiny fellow named Joseph who made it to five months in-utero, then died for unexplained reasons. Our hearts were broken for our daughter, her husband, and the families involved. Since we’re no strangers to miscarriages, you’d have thought we’d handle it better, but something about that added 6-8 weeks, of thinking we were home free, weighed us down. But God was with us throughout all of it, strengthening us, helping us, easing us beyond guilt and pain. A rough road that many have traveled and our hearts go out to each and every one.

And now this year…

I got “The Call” in June and have been on a whirlwind ride of amazement ever since. Now published and multi-contracted, I’m thrilled to be a part of the growing Steeple Hill family, delighted to work with Melissa Endlich and the whole SH team AND…

Super delighted that my daughter and her husband have a baby due in a few weeks time, that all is calm, all is bright…

Somewhere in heaven is a sweet baby boy named Joseph, a tiny fellow with big round eyes and soft, sweet skin. He’s laughing down at us, waiting for us to welcome his little brother or sister with open arms. And maybe, just maybe, his great-grandma is rocking him, holding him close, spinning silly tall tales about being a wee Irish laddie amongst the clouds.

It wouldn’t surprise me at all.


Olympics Sleep Deprivation :)

Missy Tippens, here. Okay, let's see a show of hands... How many of you have dark circles under your eyes because you've been staying up late to watch the Olympic Games?
My hand is held up high. I've been making a point to get all my work done each day so that I can reserve the nights for watching the games. And boy, what fun and excitement! And yes, even tears. Who didn't cry last night after Joannie Rochette of Canada finished her figure skating event? Her mom died of an apparent heart attack on Sunday, and Joannie knew her mom would want her to pursue her dream, to go ahead and compete. So she went out and did the performance of her life. And then she wept. Oh my goodness, I was sobbing along with her! Such a heart wrenching, moving story. One of many for these games.
I'm always inspired by the Olympics and the athletes. What about you? Have any stories of victory or defeat or personal triumph particularly touched you?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Hey y'all, Stephanie Newton here.  I've been thinking about milestones lately.  My oldest child just turned 16.  HUGE milestone in life.  He thinks he's grown.  We have to reassure him that as long as we're paying the bills, he's know how it goes.  In reality, his driving has been both a blessing and a worry.  I love that he drives himself to soccer practice and does little errands for me when I need him to.  I don't love the fact that I want to text him every five minutes.  Where are you now?  Okay, how about now?  Are you at school yet?  How about now?  (Fortunately I refrain since answering all those texts would definitely be detrimental to his driving!)

There are so many of these milestones in life.  My next door neighbor was sad this week because her youngest moved up to a "big boy" carseat.  Some of us have kids graduating from kindergarten or high school or (gulp) graduate school.  Some of us are looking at life with a brand new degree in hand and thinking, what now?  Some are becoming grandparents.  Some, like my parents, are retired and finding themselves way busier than when they worked full-time.

We have milestones in our spiritual lives too.  Maybe it's a new commitment to short-term mission work, a new in-depth Bible study, sacrificial giving, or prayer and fasting.  Sometimes we accept a challenge and are amazed at what happens when we partner with God.  Sometimes we're not ready yet and before we know it, we've mangled the garage door because it wasn't open when we put the car in gear.  Then we have to call the insurance company, make repairs and try again.

One thing's for sure.  Life moves fast.  I wouldn't want it any other way.  I love new challenges and learning new things.  I love knowing that God has plans for me.  Sometimes I wish He'd clue me in--a text message at the appropriate moment of decision would be fine.  But there's that Bible verse from Jeremiah 29:11 that always gives me a feeling of peace, "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you, not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.'"

(For those of you with new drivers:  Zephaniah 3:17:  "The Lord your God is with you.  He is mighty to save.")

Stephanie Newton's latest book in the Emerald Coast 911 series is available now.  

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Hello everyone! Dana Corbit here. Remember how snow days used to be your favorite days in the whole year? I remember. Sleeping in, wearing pajamas all day and watching old movies or piling on all the gear and running out to play in the snow - those were the days.

Today was a SNOW DAY! Eight inches of new snow dumped on southeast Michigan, creating headaches during the morning rush and offering a holiday to thousands of school kids, mine included. Okay, I admit it. I still get that jolt of excitement when the list of schools scrolls down the TV screen and I see the name of my daughters' school listed.

Ah, a snow day. Sleeping in, wearing pajamas all day, watching old movies...Well, today started out with that promise. I sent the girls back to bed, crawled back under the covers and closed my eyes. Then I opened them again in a panic.

No snow day for me. I had line edits to finish.

Now don't get me wrong. I like doing line edits. They're my chance to look at my manuscripts again, to correct any mistakes I've made and to make the stories the best they can be. I'm at what is called the "AA" stage for my 13th Love Inspired novel, WEDDING CAKE WISHES, so I'm working with the final page proofs for the way the book will appear when it is published in August. I get as excited to see these AA's as I do when I first see a book's tentative cover. (I've had a sneak peek of the cover for this book, and it has this amazing wedding cake on it - one that makes me hungry just looking at it.)

I spent this snow day wielding my purple editing pen and being caught up in the world of the Warrens and Scotts from my Wedding Bell Blessings trilogy. Cozy and warm while sharing in Logan and Caroline's romance, I could look out the window at all of that pretty snow and not worry about having to shovel it. (Yes, I did shovel later, and I have the sore back to prove it.)

So this wasn't a traditional snow day for me, but I had a great time anyway. Though I missed that chance to sleep in, I didn't even miss the movies as I had a story of my own to enjoy. And best of all, I got to spend the whole day in my pajamas.

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Ones That Inspire

Ramona here, and I recently changed my Facebook profile picture to this one, in part because books have always been part of my life. Mother read to us even when we were infants, and I was telling stories before I could read.

Books have regularly changed my life. The printed word educated me and the printed Word saved me. Books have lifted me up and knocked me on my butt. They have shown me the best and worst of humanity, and as a writer, I long to write a book that could do the same thing to other readers as Catherine Marshall’s Christy, Robert Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land, and Dorothy Dunnett’s Checkmate did to me.

As a writer, I know I’m not there yet. I still have much to learn about the craft of my art. I still have personal disciplines I need to have in place. And I need to remind myself daily that God is the one who can show me how to develop both. I need to remember that He is the light unto my path not only when times are difficult but also when they are going well.

Because that’s when it’s the easiest to trip and fall. In the sunshine. In the good times. When the path is smooth, we can forget who made it that way.

For the past few months, my path has been rocky. Boulder-filled, even. But with His help, I know I can overcome what I need to in order to become a better writer . . . and a better person.

Have you read a book recently that made you cheer and want to be a better person?

Friday, February 19, 2010

Mail-order brides

Hi all. Janet Dean here, talking about my February release, The Substitute Bride, Steeple Hill Love Inspired Historical, a fun story to write—with a mail-order bride, disgruntled groom and a small town filled with quirky characters. Here’s a peek:
They Struck a Bargain for Marriage
Fleeing an arranged marriage, debutante Elizabeth Manning exchanges places with a mail-order bride bound for New Harmony, Iowa. Life on the frontier can’t be worse than forced wedlock to pay her father’s gambling debts. But Ted Logan’s rustic lifestyle and rambunctious children prove to be more of a challenge than Elizabeth expects. She doesn’t know how to be a mother or a wife. She doesn’t even know how to tell Ted the truth about her past—especially as her feelings for him grow. Little does she know, Ted’s hiding secrets of his own. When their pasts collide, there’s more than one heart at stake.
Why was Ted disgruntled?
When he and Elizabeth are about to speak their vows, the bride suggests one teeny change—the name on the marriage license. A clear sign trouble lies ahead for this couple.
As a homemaker and mother, Elizabeth Manning is definitely a "fish out of water." Poor Ted. Yet no matter how inept she is, Elizabeth perseveres. She manages to find unique ways to handle the children and her new and very challenging life on the farm.
Ted is a dreamboat with a Call of his own. And a past he fears will raise its ugly head. Elizabeth is carrying a secret too. Despite the town’s name, life is never dull in New Harmony, Iowa.
Can you imagine the surprises in store for couples who may have exchanged a few letters or a picture and often didn’t meet until the wedding day? My husband and I dated for 2½ years. After we married, it didn’t take long to discover we still had things to learn about one another. All good of course. LOL Arranged marriages may sound odd to us, but a high percentage of marriages are still arranged today, a norm for many cultures.
If your ancestors married for convenience, please share their stories. Or perhaps you have a funny wedding incident you could relate. Hopefully not as shocking as a name change for the bride. Thanks for stopping in. And a huge thanks for your interest in Love Inspired books!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Carolyne Aarsen is discarding friends . . . .

. . . that's how I felt a couple of weeks ago when I felt I needed to make some changes in my life. I was dealing with a return of vertigo which seems to come and go when my life has stress or is disorganized and messy. Messy was hardly a word to describe the plethora of books in my life. I had books piled up in the living room, filling end tables, spilling off the numerous bookshelves in our house. They were double booked on my bookshelf in my husband's office and mine. I had glanced at this literary cataclysm so many times it no longer jarred. But when the vertigo came back, so did the disquiet over the mess I saw every day. It was time to simplify at least this area of my life and when the vertigo eased, I dug in. I thought the job would be easy. If the book hadn't been read in the past two years, out it went. But books are peculiar things. They attach themselves to in you unusual ways.

In the book, Inkheart, Mo, a bookbinder, tells his daughter, " . . The book begins collecting your memories. And forever after you have only to open that book to be back where you first read it . . .books are like flypaper- memories cling to the printed page better than anything else."

And this is exactly what happened to me as I started my heartless purge. I pulled down a tattered a copy of Captains and Kings and remembered sitting in my small living room in my first home, curled up in our third-hand loveseat, snatching moments between feeding my firstborn and laundry. I could feel the sun coming in the living room window, I could see the fields, covered with snow, stretching away from our little house.

And so it went. Roots, a book my husband and I discussed while doing chores together in our pig barns (now long sold), my collection of LaVyrle Spencer romances, lovingly collected as my children grew, the collection growing and moving with me from trailer to rented home to renovated home to where we live now. Assorted fantasy novels that transported me to other worlds when my own world with four biological children and one handicapped foster child could be so complicated and unsure.

Each book I pulled off my shelf carried a memory even if the story itself was not so memorable or meaningful. Could I truly get rid of these? But what was the alternative? I knew I wouldn't stop buying books and my book collection was truly getting out of control. So I hardened my heart and started pitching. And as I did I realized some books were not my friends. Some had not delivered on the promise the offered when I lovingly held them in the store, touching their pages, waiting to be taught and transported.

But it was still hard. Even though I own hundreds of books, I struggled to discard a small portion of my library. I felt as if I was getting rid of friends. Some maybe not such good friends, but they had come into my home and into my life and some of my memories had stuck to them, like flypaper. Discarding the books did not discard the memory, but the mind is a fickle thing. Memories can be lost if not resurrected enough and in our busy lives, who has time to meander through the past when the present demands so much of our attention?

I know I will buy new books and as I read them some will enter my life and hold my memories. Some will be fleeting and maybe unimportant, but some will weave their story around my heart and become intertwined with my life. Those are the ones I will keep and those are the ones I'll hold out to my family and friends and make the introduction - "You've got to read this book" and wait to see what they thought.

And when I'm gone, my children can pick them up and puzzle as to why in the world mother kept three copies of The Moonflower Vine, Little Women and Pride and Prejudice. (One for keeping and one for sharing and one a backup in case I lost one of the other two)

Check out some of my own books at

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Upcoming book and Valentine's Story

A big hello from Lisa Mondello. I'm excited to tell you that I'm just finishing up some final revisions on my first Love Inspired Romance book called Fresh-Start Family, which will be published 10/10. I really love this story as it features military hero, Tom Garrison, coming home and coming to grips with what he's lived through and what he's lost. Tom thinks he's escaped his memories until he meets a small town girl named Jenna and her spunky son, Brian, who is battling kidney disease. Despite neither wanting to become involved with each other, they're drawn to their friendship and love blossoms. Until the past comes rising up and takes Tom by the throat and he's forced to confront the things he doesn't want to remember. With Jenna's love and his faith in God he sees it through. I just love this story and hope you will too! I'll update with cover art as soon as I have it.
Also, if you haven't visited us over at the CRAFTIE LADIES OF SUSPENSE blog lately, you really must go. From Feb 1-Feb 14 the Craftie Ladies put together a special Valentine's Day short story. Yes, I know. You're probably sick of chocolate and Valentine's Day by now. Well, maybe not the chocolate!! But the story was loads of fun for each of us to write and you simply must check it out. Remember, start on Feb 1 and keep reading.
Here is the link to Part ONE: Killer Chocolate: A Valentine's Mystery
Until next time, many blessings, Lisa Mondello

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Hello from a Steeple Hill blogging newbie!

I'm so happy to be here today.  This is my first time on the Steeple Hill Authors Blog, and it's such a delight to join some of my very favorite authors here!

And today is just delightful, period.  This morning, early fog and slightly warming temperatures created a fairyland outside.  Hoar frost may not have a lovely name, but it creates the most magical landscape, where  long, delicate frost crystals form on every surface, turning branches and twigs into lacy sculptures.  Alas, this beautiful miracle doesn't last long. The slightest breeze and any warmth from the winter sun  shatters the crystals and sends them floating to the ground.  My better camera  refused to read its memory card this morning, so I tried to take some photos with a little, simple one....not the best, but I'm posting some photos here for those of you in warmer climates.

We've already had 60 inches of snow so far, according to the official totals.   I love winter!  It's the perfect season for snuggling in front of the fireplace,  the wonderful aroma of hearty chili simmering away in the Crock-pot, and baking.  I bake all of our own bread, except during the high heat of summer.  My favorite recipe is at my website, if you'd like to try it.  It's at  I would absolutely love to hear about some of your favorite recipes for a cold winter day!
The other picture here is  the cover of Fatal Burn, my February Love Inspired Suspense.  It's the second book in what will be a five book series set in my favorite place on earth--the  Rockies.  I'm having such fun writing these stories!

Wishing you all blessings, and the joy of reading the wide range of wonderful books that Steeple Hill has to offer,

Roxanne Rustand
Blogging at "The All Creatures Great and Small Place"

Monday, February 15, 2010


Hi all, Renee Ryan here. I have a new book out this month, HEARTLAND WEDDING. It's Book 2 in the Love Inspired Historical continuity AFTER THE STORM: The Founding Years.

One of my biggest pleasures throughout the research phase of this book was learning how to cook some of my favorite Norwegian dishes.

No, I’m not Norwegian. But my darling husband is, all the way down to his blond hair, blue eyes and Nordic good looks. Every time he mentions a new adventure that involves a cross-country trek I find myself thinking about his Viking ancestors. I must point out, however, that my husband grew up in a good Christian home under the guidance of loving, godly parents who taught him good values and a strong work ethic.

Since I knew how much my husband enjoyed hearty dishes from the old country, I took it upon myself to make a few of the easier recipes in my own kitchen. An added benefit to this culinary undertaking was a newfound appreciation for my mother-in-law, Dee.

Because of distance, Dee was unable to guide me personally through the cooking process. However, she was gracious enough to send her most treasured recipes to me. I was determined to do each and every one of them justice. Unfortunately, I managed to fail more often than not. I will never master Kumla, one of my husband’s favorites, and a very difficult dish to make. I bow to Dee’s expertise on that one.

I continue to attempt some of the easier recipes, with questionable success. What about you? Any family recipes you want to share?

Friday, February 12, 2010

I is for Iron, R is for Revisions. Nary the two shall meet?

I hate to iron. Let me count the ways. Pants, shirts, dresses, skirts, underwear….Underwear? Yes, I’ve heard people iron their underwear. Don’t worry, I’m not one of them. I know, TMI, but how many writers do you know that haven’t exposed a piece of themselves for the betterment of a story? So this morning, with a lack of any pressed work clothes, I had to drag out the monster iron that always seems to do more damage than good if I wanted to wear something presentable.

Did I mention I hate to iron?

So once I cleared off the hideous ironing board that contained every wrinkled pair of work pants and tops I own—I’m still waiting for someone to create fashionable clothing that never wrinkles no matter how long it’s left in the dryer—I got down the dirty task of ironing.

I really, really, really hate to iron. Can I possibly say that enough?

Okay, the first pair of pants is on the board. I get the squirt bottle out because I’ve discovered it’s easier to get the deep wrinkles out while the pants are wet. Too bad this tactic doesn’t work on the face. I’m grouchily pressing away on the first leg. Top side done. Yes. Flip over. Rats. Several deep creases down the back. Grab water bottle. Wet clothes. Press the living daylights out of back side of leg. Flip over. ACK! More creases on front side. There is now more steam coming out of my ears than the pants. I really hate to iron.

Which brings me to revisions. Very few writers I know can spout out a virtually clean, coherent manuscript the first time around. So what does that mean? Revisions. Revisions remind me of ironing—although I actually like to revise. You smooth out a wrinkle here, and create another wrinkle somewhere else. You change something in one scene; you need to make sure you’ve made the corresponding changes in the rest of the manuscript. No one said it would be easy. Eventually though, you will have creaseless pants and a well polished manuscript.

I tend to agonize over certain things, and it takes me a lot longer to make sure the final product is ready to go out the door. So in the time it would take a normal person to go through the entire pile, I’ve successfully pressed one pair of pants—if you don’t look too closely—and a shirt. Now is not the time to discuss the fact that I spilled coffee on my brand spanking new ironed pants today that will now have to meet Mr. Washer and Mr. Iron instead of Mrs. Hanger before they grace my feminine curves again. I really hate to iron, but throw all the revisions you want my way.
Because in the end, I finally sold that manuscript!

My first Steeple Hill Love Inspired, On Wings of Love, is on the shelves as you read this.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

I knew it.

I knew I shouldn't have complained because when I woke up this morning, this is what I found. Serves me right.

Finish me.

I’m done. “Finish me” as my deaf kids would say.

What am I talking about? Winter. I live in Texas because I like mild winters (It has nothing to do with my husband, who’s a native Texan.) I pay the price for those mild winters in the summer when we keep a running count of the number of days it is over 100 degrees. As I recall, we had over 30 this last summer. I’m happy to pay the price for 1 or 2 days of cold.

Now I know all you folk up North call me a sissy and poo-poo my gripes, but one summer when I went to visit my relatives in Connecticut they were complaining about the heat. It was 90 and they’d had that weather for a week. I just wanted to laugh. For me, it was a nice day.

I know that my complaints are nothing compared to y’all back East and up North, but it’s snowed here, and I can’t tell the number of days it has not been above 40. And the nights below zero. Ugh. And forget seeing the Sun. January was overcast all month. When my husband and I lived in Lubbock, we had snow. I expected that. It was fine. My son was born between 2 major snow storms.

I am ready for Spring. Finish me Winter.

I feel better now and I’ll duck all those snowballs y’all are going to pitch at me.
Leann Harris

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

No, I didn't feel it

LOL! You're probably all wondering what that title header means. Since hearing about the earthquake this morning, I have had people e-mail to ask if I'm okay and if I felt it. I do live in Illinois, it's true. But I did not feel this morning's earthquake.

However, I felt one yesterday. Saw it really. I was in my bathroom and the floor felt vaguely unsteady. Just enough to make me wonder if I was lightheaded or what was going on. I brushed it off but then movement caught my eye. The towel that dangles from my shower door was swinging softly back and forth. That's when I knew it was not low blood sugar on my part but a very minor quake. I doubt it even registered on the scales.

But that and the recent terrible quake in Haiti has made me think a lot more about the fact that we do live on one of the most dangerous fault lines in the world (New Madrid). Thankfully bad earthquakes only happen here about once every two thousand years or so. The downside is that we're about 200-400 years overdue for one that would be about a 6-7 or more on the scale.

I didn't worry about it though...I started to think about writing a story about what would happen in the event of a major quake here. LOL!

No matter where you live, there are dangers. Sometimes I think of people in New Orleans and say, "Why would they live there knowing the flood risk it is." Or about California, "Why would they live there knowing the fire risk and mudslide risk it is." Or about Oklahoma and Kansas, "Why would they live there knowing the tornado risk it is."

But then I remember we have a lot of that here too. Not to mention I live directly on the New Madrid fault. LOL! Look it up and see just how dangerous it is.

Anyway, I used to worry a lot more than I do now. I read a plaque once that said, "Worrying is like paying interest on a debt that you don't even owe."

So true. Plus God tells us not to worry but to pray. So that's what I do instead. He really does bring peace in those times when anxiety tries to grab hold of us.

I'd love to know what natural disasters are prone to hitting the region you live in and how you cope with fear related to the possibility of a catastrophic event.

Me, I just write about it. LOL! Most of my books begin with a disaster of some sort. But part of the reason is I love writing about rescuers. Where there's disaster, there are rescuers.

I'd also love to know what kinds of rescuers are your favorite.

Hope you'll chime in!

Have a good day and hopefully that means no earthquakes. LOL!

Cheryl Wyatt

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

New Orleans and the Saints

I am a happy girl today. That's because our New Orleans Saints won the Super Bowl!

I don't always follow football, but this was a story after every romance writer's heart. The dashing hero--Drew Brees--takes a chance on a team that was at one time so bad, the fans wore bags over their heads. Most of the other players now on the Saints team were free agents--discarded, let go, or discouraged and about to retire. So this team that won 34 - 17 on Sunday was welded from a group of vagabonds with big hearts. This team has broke redemption to New Orleans--the forgotten city that has suffered some major blows since Hurricane Katrina. Watching this fairy tale of a season where the games were so close you had to shut your eyes at times, was very special to the people of Louisiana. And sigh, when Drew Brees held his one year old son and kissed him, tears in his eyes, I fell in love. It was a special moment. And a good example of holding onto a dream until it becomes a reality. That's all any of us can do, after all. Hold onto the dream. And keep working. I'm very proud of the Saints and I hope their example will encourage anyone who has a dream to go for it.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Finding Your Destiny by Marta Perry

People are always asking small children, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" How did you answer that question? Usually I said I wanted to be a mommy or a nurse or a teacher. But what I really wanted to be was a writer.

It all started when I was eight. My mother took me to the library, and I picked out a new book, The Secret of the Old Clock. The adventures of Nancy Drew captivated me. Most little girls, when they reach the end of the book, want to be Nancy Drew. Not me. I wanted to be the person who wrote that terrific story.

So why couldn't I say that when people asked me what I wanted to be? I guess because I didn't know any writers. I'm not sure I even realized that writing books could be a career. Or maybe it was because I feared that was a dream that would never come true.

Amanda Bodine, in my book, HEART OF THE MATTER, out this month from Love Inspired, has reached the age of thirty--one of those milestone birthdays when people take stock of how they're progressing toward their dream. She's still single, without a serious boyfriend in sight. She's working as a reporter, but the serious stories she longs to write elude her. Worse, her new boss, Editor Ross Lockhart, seems convinced that she's a frivolous Southern belle who can't cover anything more important than a local dog show. She longs to prove herself, but when Ross finally seems ready to give her a chance, she learns it's only because he wants to get close to her family to write an expose on their family secret. It's time for Ross Lockhart to learn that the most important thing--the heart of the matter--is love and family. Without that, all the success in the world isn't important.

Like me, Amanda has a dream, but that dream is one she may have to sacrifice in order to save her family. I hope you'll like this second installment in The Bodine Family series, and be on the watch for Adam's story, A GUARDIAN'S HONOR, coming in July.
And I also hope that whatever your dream may be, you'll find the courage to pursue it with all your heart.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

February Is For Romance

Merrillee here. February is a time for romance, and what says romance better than a wedding? These are photos of my daughters when they got married on the beach near our home. Our daughters didn't get married in February, but my husband and I did. We were married on Valentine's Day. We have no digital photography from that day, but here is a recent photo taken at the wedding of one of our daughter's friends.

We will celebrate our thirty-fourth wedding anniversary on Valentines' Day.

In my February Love Inspired book, HOMETOWN PROMISE, my hero and heroine have their first date at a Valentine's banquet.

Do you have any fond memories about Valentines' Day?

Monday, February 1, 2010


By Debby Giusti
Last year, I was asked to take part in Steeple Hill’s 2010 continuity, PROTECTING THE WITNESSES. As the back-of-the-book blurb states, the stories in the series, written by six different authors, revolve around "new identities, looming danger and forever love in the Witness Protection Program."

Chicago Mafia don Salvatore Martino is dying and his son Vincent takes over the family operation. Years earlier, the testimony of a green-eyed woman named Eloise Hill sent Salvatore to jail for murder. For her own safety, she was placed in witness protection in Montana, but the mob is after her now, and in their attempt to find Eloise, innocent women end up dead.

Steeple Hill Assistant Editor Emily Rodmell was in charge of the project, and I applaud her patience in keeping us on track and ensuring each book fit into the overall vision for the series. Shortly after she invited the authors to take part in the continuity, Emily sent out the “bible,” a 31-page, single-spaced outline for the series. Packed with information, it included an overview of the stories as well as the major threads, settings and brief character descriptions. The continuity elements and teasers needed in each book were part of the bible, as well.

In an attempt to keep everything straight, I read and reread those pages, underlined important information, made notes in the margins and highlighted the traits of specific characters with colored markers. Incorporating the needed information and making all the pieces fit in a way that flows naturally from the story proved to be the most challenging part, in my opinion.

Luckily, my story was the second in line so I had fewer threads to pull together, in comparison to books at the end of the series. The final author has the most challenging task of wrapping everything up in a satisfying conclusion.

Looking back, I learned a lot about the continuity process and how to take an established story idea and make it my own. Working with the great lineup of authors was an honor and the highlight of the entire process

I hope you’ll enjoy reading all the stories. Look for the following PROTECTING THE WITNESSES books wherever Steeple Hill is sold:

TWIN TARGETS, by Martha Perry, Jan 2010
KILLER HEADLINE, By Debby Giusti, Feb 2010
COWBOY PROTECTOR, By Margaret Daley, Mar 2010
DEADLY VOWS, By Shirlee McCoy, Apr 2010
FATAL SECRETS, By Barbara Phinney, May 2010
RISKY REUNION, By Lenora Worth, June 2010

Happy reading!

Wishing you abundant blessings,
Debby Giusti