Friday, July 30, 2010

Do You Know What a RITA is?

Hi, I think most of the other Love Inspired Authors are in Orlando, FL, at the annual Romance Writers of America Conference. Wish I was there too, but to a far-northerner visiting FL in July just seems wrong. Know what I mean?

Anyway, the highlight of the RWA Conference is the Golden Heart and RITA Award Ceremony which will take place this Saturday night, July 31, 2010.

If you're interested in knowing more about this award, here are two posts on my personal blog, Strong Women, Brave Stories. The first explains the RITA and the second gives the 8 finalists in the inspirational category. This year no Love Inspired Author has finaled, but that doesn't mean we haven't in the past!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Are you brave?

How brave are you? I, Barbara Phinney, am a big chicken. Everyone who knows me says that's not so, but let's not mistake extrovertism with bravery.
But I did the bravest thing I've done in a long time.
I gave my newest book, Silent Protector (Aug LIS) to Kelly Ripa. Yes, Kelly Ripa!!
You see, the Regis and Kelly Live! show went to Prince Edward Island last week, and I was fortunate enough to land tickets. So, with my daughter in tow, and two other friends, we scooted over the bridge and drove to Charlottetown.
I'd brought a copy of Silent Protector with me on a whim, and my friend urged me to go up to the stage to give it to her. She even went with me, but stopped at the band, One Republic, for autographs. I snagged Kelly's assistant and told him it was my book. He was impressed and took it for her.
I haven't sweated this much since I called my editor for the first time. And it wasn't because of the heat. Remember, I'm a chicken.
But taking a story I love, a story about trusting God, means I need to trust Him as well. I did that, sweaty palms and all.

In future posts, I hope to tell you how I was inspired to do this, but for now, on this sultry hot day, not long after Regis and Kelly have returned to New York, all I can say is that I did what everyone else on the Island does after an act of bravery. Or what every other sweltering writer wants to do after baring her soul in her book.
I headed for the Cows Ice Cream Parlour and ordered something with chocolate in it.
Enjoy your day!
Barbara Phinney

Monday, July 19, 2010

What Mistakes?

Ramona here, and this is one of my favorite pictures of me…a lot of memories crammed into one small square. It was taken by a good friend, Nancy, on the Isle of Shoals off the New Hampshire coast. I had been doing research for my first three Love Inspired Suspense books (they’re set in NH), and Nancy patiently squired me around as I took photos, tamped through the woods, and asked a million questions.

So the photo holds friendship, dreams, a fabulous trip . . . and a mistake.

Because this photo almost didn’t come to be. See the light spots at the bottom – this happened because I forgot I had film in the camera and opened it before I’d rewound the roll. I lost a lot of good shots with that mistake, but this one was deep enough in the roll that it only got a little extra exposure.

It was a mistake I never repeated with an SLR. I’ve switched to digital, but shots like this remind me that mistakes can still happen anytime, anywhere.

And that’s OK. We’re human, some days more than others. We make mistakes, even when we know better. But we can learn and grow from them, just as I never again opened an SLR without checking to see if the film had been rewound.

I also never hike without taking certain safeguards (after a broken ankle), scuba dive after partying too much (hypothermia), start a motorcycle I’ve never ridden before (there used to be a bush in that spot over there), or rock climb in a cast (don’t ask). I knew better – I just didn’t follow the instructions.

I know God has a sense of humor; He has to, watching us stumble around. After all, He gave us perfectly good instructions, which we often ignore. Thankfully, our Abba, Daddy, also gave us a way out. To learn, to grow, to Do Over.

Now, if we just keep that in mind while we’re making our mistakes…

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Driving, driving, driving

Greetings from Renee Ryan. I'm in the middle of a cross-country move as I type this. I have the added pleasure of pulling a u-haul trailer behind my car. Hitching a ride with me are my eighteen year-old-daughter and her carsick cat. I'm driving from Lincoln, Nebraska to Savannah, Georgia. Unfortunately, this is the third time I've made this trip in a year. All because my husband and I wanted to make sure the above mentioned teenager had a chance to graduate from her extraordinary high school in the Midwest. It's been a long year.

The good news is that this move will bring me back to the south. Better yet, I get to live in the same house with husband once again. Did I mention this has been a looooong year? During the last twelve months without my husband by my side I kept wondering how military families do it. How do they survive the time apart? What a sacrifice the spouses and children make. Same goes for the soldiers. Talk about genuine heroes.

My next release, HOMECOMING HERO, has a military hero. An active-duty military hero, to be precise. Living in Savannah again, I'm excited to rekindle friendships, many of which are with soldiers and their spouses. I'm awed by all of them. I only had a taste of "time apart" from my husband. I always knew it was temporary, that we'd be together again soon. My heart goes out to the families who don't have that knowledge. God bless you all!!!!!!!


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Big Island Fun

Aloha, Terri Reed here, just returned from a trip to the Big Island of Hawaii. What fun! I've been to Maui, Oahu, Kauai but this was the first time on the big island. There was so much to see and do. Waterfalls galore, beautiful beaches, lava beds and sea turtles.

I went to the southern most point of the US, hiked a mile and a half along a dusty terrain to an amazing cove called green sand beach. In the picture you can't really tell the color of the sand, but up close you definitely see the green hue.

I explored a botanical garden and marvaled at all the interesting and fabulous plants.

I walked on the lava which looked like the top of brownies, slightly shiny with cracks and crevices.

Oh, and the best part was swimming with the sea turtle. I was playing in the water at Hapuna beach when along comes this turtle, motoring within arms length of me not the least bit concerned by the people in the water.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Change of Plans

Pamela Tracy here, middle name: listmaker.

1. Mikey's swim lessons dutifully written in my calendar.

2. Homework done for June's class, due in September.

3. What we're having for dinner all week thought out.

4. Fourth of July all planned out, subs found, etc.

My fourth didn't turn out like it was supposed to. See, we were supposed to go camping. I told everyone who asked, "What are we doing? Oh, we're going camping." "The fourth? Of course, we're going camping?" "That weekend, we're going camping."

I wrote it in my calendar. That means we're doing it. Right? Wrong.

After the extended family bailed, my little family wound up with no plans. That's okay, because I write in my calendar using a pencil. Going Camping got replaced with Going Exploring.

We drove up past Payson, Arizona, and turned down what my husband calls a control road. We spent the whole day exploring. We weren't alone. Apparently, the fourth is a killer Boy Scout weekend (Hmmm, I write suspense. Can I use this. YES!)We actually followed a caravan up to Camp Geronimo, but could only do a Uey. No trespassers, you see. We then headed for Washington Park. Where we got out and played. The local fire department, one truck, stopped and told us "No quads."

From there we went to a place called Whispering Pines. Imagine living in a tiny community in the woods!

My favorite moment was when we found a stream (everyone else had found it too) and got out to play. I took Mikey down to his undies and he and Daddy built dams. Me, I settled on a rock and finished reading Linda Goodnight's The Wedding Garden.

My calendar is a wonderful thing. It the cheap month-at-a-glance kind, roughly the size of a paperback, but only as thick as a poptart (I've been trying to think of what the thickness was, and my son just brought me a poptart. Talk about timing).

My calendar is a bit like the book I'm working on. It can be changed.

Hook: last minute change of plans.
Hero and heroine: Plumber, teacher
Comic relief: Five year old son.
There are black moments: Mikey fell in the creek.
Perfect ending: Happily Ever After.

Happy July, All.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Summer Food

Leann Harris here. My favorite thing about summer is not vacation or the long days or the brutal heat. What I love is the fruit. If it's a summer fruit, I'm there. Peaches are my favorite. Now, I'm not talking about those rocks you get in the store. No I'm talking about the peaches you buy on the back roads from farm stands. Several years ago, my son and I went to San Antonio for a convention. On the drive back home, we took a state highway out of Fredericksburg. Wonderful peach stands dotted the road. We stopped and bought some.

The smell of a ripe peach is amazing. The first contemporary book I wrote was set among the peach orchards in North Texas. The heroine couldn't smell fresh peaches without thinking of her high school sweetheart. They used to escape out into the orchard and kiss. I am told one of our most basic senses is the sense of smell. When I think of childhood memories, the thing that stands out is the smell attached to those memories.

So here's to peaches, cherries, watermelons, nectarines.
What is your favorite summer fruit?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Fan Mail

Merrillee here. One of the nicest things about being an author, for me at least, is getting fan mail. Readers often tell me how the story I wrote touched them or made them see one of God's truths more clearly. Others may say that the story related to their lives in some way or the story reminded them of a good time or sometimes even a difficult time in their lives that they got through with God's help. The story helped them remember how God works in our lives.

Recently, I received an e-mail from a soldier in Iraq. He told me he had read my February 2008 book, FOUR LITTLE BLESSINGS. How exciting to think that one of my books is halfway around the world and that the story brought a blessing to a soldier.

Since this book is the first in a series about three brothers, I decided that it would be nice if he could read the stories of the other two brothers, MOMMY'S HOMETOWN HERO and HOMECOMING BLESSINGS. When I e-mailed the soldier to tell him that I would be sending a package, he was excited. So I went to the post office and picked up one of those priority boxes. I've put in several other Love Inspired books as well as my own and some other goodies as well. I was really tempted to eat the Twizzlers myself, but I didn't. Here's the box almost ready for a trip to the post office.

What kind of goodies would you include in a care package for a soldier?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Autograph anyone?

Pat Davids here.
I'm getting ready for one of my least favorite activities. A book signing. The picture above is me in the red and the lovely Kim Vogel Sawyer in green at a book signing in Atlanta several years ago. That wasn't a bad signing. Steeple Hill gave away the books so people lined up to get them even if they didn't know the author from Adam or Eve. I may be smiling in the picture, but trust me, I am terrified.

Don't get me wrong. I love meeting readers and talking about my books, but I don't like sitting like a lump of coal in front of a bookstore trying to entice perfect strangers to come over and check out my book. That's hard enough, but autographing each copy is tough. I mean, what do I say to those perfect strangers?

I've got a few standard lines.
Best wishes,
Happy reading.
Enjoy the story.
It was great meeting you.

After that, I'm kind of at a loss. I never know what to write and I'm scared to death that I'll spell the person's name wrong. I keep a pad handy and I have everyone spell their name. I don't care if it's Mary or Lisa, they have to spell it for me because it could be Merry or Lesa.

Misspelling someone's name is scary enough, but why is it that people from your past always walk just as their name flies out of your head? I'm so nervous when I'm signing that I can't remember my own name. The worst time was when I signed in my hometown and the mother of a grade school friend walked up. It was Dalene's mother. We chatted for as long as I could stall but finally I had to ask, "Who shall I make this to?"

The dreaded answer. "Just me."

Now, I was really stuck. I had to drop my head and say, "I can't make this out to Dalene's mother or Mrs. Phillips." She laughed and said she hadn't been Mrs. Phillips for years. I should make it out to Ruth.
Of course! Ruth! Why couldn't I think of that? It's such an easy name.

Wait, what is my name again? That's the other trouble with book signings. I use a pen name. Davids is not my legal name. Have you tried signing a fake name dozens of time? Sometimes I mess up. There are a lot of books out their with a signature of Patricia M. Davids. My middle initial is not M. My real last name is MacDonald. I usually catch myself was soon as I start the M but a few books are signed Patricia MacDonald Davids. My secret is out.

Okay, now I want to know what are some of your funny or awful book signing stories? Authors, what salutation do you use? Readers, what kind of personal note would you like an author to say in your book? I'm always looking for new material.
Have a blessed day.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Ruth Logan Herne in Woman's World Magazine!

Missy Tippens, here. I was at the grocery store last week and was so excited to finally see the July 5th issue of Woman's World Magazine. My friend and fellow Love Inspired author, Ruth Logan Herne, has her debut novel mentioned as one of the best beach reads for the summer! Her book, Winter's End is featured as the book to read if you you're looking for an inspirational love story. So I hope you'll check out the magazine issue--but even more, I hope you'll check out her wonderful story!