Thursday, December 29, 2011

Leigh Bale's Parents Get an Offer

Have you ever felt strongly that you needed to do something very difficult, but it’s like trying to start a dead car to make it happen? It just seems so difficult and like everything is out of sync? Nothing works right. And then, maybe one, two or more years later, it all falls into place? It all works perfectly. That’s how it’s been for over two years while my parents have tried to sell their home and relocate to my city, a ten hour drive away from where they currently live. They just have not been able to sell their home. But then, something miraculous happened last week.

I am thrilled to say my parents have finally sold their house. And they actually have equity! The sale took us completely off guard. It happened so fast. Last Wednesday, an offer was made and accepted on their house. On Friday, they drove to my home for Christmas and informed me that they needed to go house hunting in my city. I immediately found them a realtor, scheduled a meeting for them with a funding company, got them in for pre-approval, and today they found and made an offer on a house only five miles away from my home. (See the picture of their new house.) It’ll be hectic and very difficult for them to move at their age, but within six to ten weeks, they’ll be living here in my city. I’m planning to take time off work next month to go in and help them move, but we’re all so happy that things have finally fallen into place. As my parents get older, having them nearby so I can care for them is truly an answer to our prayers.

How about you? Do you live near your family members? Do you get together often to enjoy one another’s company? I sure hope so.

Wishing you a joyous and prosperous New Year!

Leigh Bale
The Forest Ranger’s Husband – Now available
The Forest Ranger’s Child – Available June 2012

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Carolyne Aarsen

Looking Beyond the Present.
Christmas is past us and I know some of us are breathing a sigh of relief. Relief because when life is hard, Christmas only seems to underline the difficulties. When you're in a valley, it seems that Christmas is a light we'd just as soon not spend much time looking at because it seems so far away.

The picture I have attached to this blog is of my mother's family. I got this picture in a collection of old family photos for heritage scrapbooks I am putting together for each of my children. I am working on the fourth scrapbook now for the fourth child, but each time I pasted this particular picture in the scrapbook, I would look at it and wonder why everyone looked so sombre. Especially my Oma who loved a laugh and was always smiling. In other family pictures everyone looked so happy. I asked my mother about that picture and she gave a melancholy smile. That picture, she told me, was taken only a few months after Holland, where my mother's family lived, was invaded by enemy forces. Knowing that, I looked more carefully at my Oma and wondered what was going through her mind when this picture was taken. How many worries and concerns did she have for this family that she and my Opa were in charge of. I'm sure she wondered what kind of future awaited them? What would happen to her children, to the grandchild one of her children was expecting in this picture? Huge thoughts for parents to have to deal with. She didn't know what awaited her in the valley she knew they were going down into. She didn't know if they would come out the other side.

I grew up hearing stories of the hardships, they faced. The people they hid, the risks they took. The privations they endured. The losses they suffered. I'm sure there were many times during those long dark years that my Oma felt as if her prayers went nowhere and I'm sure she wondered many times, How long oh, Lord?

However, we know how the story ended. We know they made it through so we look at it differently and with assurance that they managed.

Many people I know are in a valley right now, we've gone through many ourselves. But when you're in the dark and lonely places, you don't know how to find your way out. I just want to encourage you that valleys do have an end. That things change. That other people have gone through sorrows and valleys and have come out. I pray the same for you.

Monday, December 26, 2011


Hello there! Dana Corbit here...coming to you from our Christmas roadtrip to Kokomo, Indiana, my hometown. Our family did the whole "Over the river and through the wood to grandfather's house" thing this week, and I can tell you it didn't seem as romantic as the songwriter described. But then Lydia Maria Child probably wasn't envisioning three mostly grown children, two parents (one with a laptop), a body pillow, a Pillow Pet named Gingy, and a collection of books and electronic gadgets, all crammed into a mid-size Ford for four hours of leg-cramping delight. Okay, it wasn't really that bad. We arrived in one piece, and any hits anyone sustained didn't leave a mark...well, except for the friendly notes penned on one unfortunate napper.

All kidding aside and forgetting my longing for the old minivan, I have to smile when I think about this trip. These days are precious. The memories will be dear. We have each other. Whining or not, all three of our children are here with us. We have the car that will get us to grandma's, and all of the grandparents, even my Grandma, are still here for us to visit. We're in a nice hotel instead of crammed in with all of the guests at the house. We are blessed!

I don't know about you all, but I sometimes need a reminder to count my blessings. God has given us so many blessings during the Christmas season and all year long. These moments are here only once, and whether the perfect ones we imagine or the imperfect ones that are our reality, we need to step back, recognize the gifts and cherish them.

As I sit here at the hotel desk, writing my last few words, I am reminded of an additional blessing on this trip: free wireless. Since there's only dial-up at the house - almost as much of a blast from the past as the horse-drawn sleigh in Child's song - that is certainly among my favorite blessings of the day.

Enjoy the rest of this Christmas season, and be looking for the blessings all around you. I know I plan to.


Philippians 4:4

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Greetings

Charlotte Carter here wishing you a lovely Christmas with your loved ones, far and near.

If you have experienced a personal loss this year, I wish you relief from your grief and peace. May your memories bring you moments of joy and happiness.

Crayton the Christmas Cat

Trust cats to find the perfecting hiding spots. Here's Crayton, whom we adopted from the local shelter 3 years ago. He's a cream-point mix with beautiful powder blue eyes.

Funny, I haven't had a cat in any of my stories lately. Must make a note to include one...
Here's wishing all our Love Inspired readers a blessed and joyous Christmas season, and a good things in the new year!


Ruth Axtell Morren
Hometown Cinderella, 
Love Inspired Historical, February 2012

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Carrie Turansky here, stopping by to say hello and wish you all a Merry Christmas! Here at the Turanskys we are enjoying a quieter Christmas this year with only two of our five young adult kids home for the holiday. Our younger son was married earlier this month, and all the family was together for the they've all flown back home now. But what a fun time we had at the wedding! I headed up the flower and decorating team, and we put it all together in a three-day marathon.

I am excited about my new books coming out in 2012 - A Man to Trust in March and Snowflake Sweethearts in December. So be looking for those titles. In the meantime I would love to stay in touch with you! I offer an email newsletter every other month with book news, encouraging articles, recipes and lots of photos. The sign up box is on my website home page I hope you will stop by and sign up to receive the newsletter. If you do, drop me an email, and I will send you a free download for my eBook Surrendered Hearts. Here's my email: carrie (at) carrieturansky (dot) com.

My your heart be filled with the peace and joy of Christ this Christmas.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

FOCUSING ON CHRISTMAS with Gail Gaymer Martin

The air of Christmas sweeps around us when we eat the last leftovers of our Thanksgiving turkeys. It's a special time of year for Christians as we prepare for the celebration of our Savior's birth in the lowly stable in Bethlehem.

But our focus can stray with the pressures of our prepreations for the blessed celebration. Decorating, gift buying and wrapping, Christmas cards, cookie baking, party planning, and keeping our calendar schedule straight when real life forces us to doctor appointments, grocery shopping and laundry.

Most of us realize that life's responsibilities can dull the excitement that we feel as we anticipate this special season. No matter how many sweatshirts we wear proclaiming Jesus is the Reason for the Season, sadly it's easy to let it slip away under the debris of life.

One way I keep focused on Christmas is my music involvement. Christmas music wraps my heart in emotions of the past, present and the future, reminding me of the Savior's birth, His sacrifice for us, and it folds me in memories of family and friends. Playing handbells, singing with the praise team and the choir at my church is one way I'm imbedded with Christmas. I also sing with the Detroit Lutheran Singers a renown Christian chorale in the Detroit area and one of the finest in MIchigan.

I also love to read novels that draw me to Christmas. I download them to my Kindle and then carry them with me as I wait for appointments, eat meals alone while my  husband is running errands, and sometimes at the end of a busy day. I was blessed this year to have a new Christmas release--on Kindle and also mass market release. Small Town Christmas appears in the Love Inspired duet novel  CHRISTMAS GIFTS with Brenda Minton.
Click to Review or Purchase

The story relates when the new second grade teacher, Amy Carroll, meets the precocious twin sisters, she knows she has her hands full, but when she learns they live on the street where she is staying with her grandmother and they have a single father who is handsome and needs help, Amy’s hands are beyond full. But Amy’s from Chicago and falling in love with a small town man is not part of her plan. Can God waylay Amy’s desire to return to the big city? Can Mike Russett open his heart to love?

Two of my past Christmas novels were released again from Harlequin Love Inspired by direct mail. Both of these novels were national award-winners and favorites among my readers. If you'd like to learn more about these novels, follow these links:

A woman whose past has nearly destroyed her finds life and love while caring for a child who no longer speaks and the little girl's father who is bound by his past. Secrets, once opened, can bind hearts and reveal a new life filled with forgiveness and love at Christmas time.

This novel is set on Mackinac Island in the Straits of Mackinac, Michigan. Two people from different worlds find what life and love really mean in this the unique and amazing setting. With no motorized vehicles on the island, the setting introduces a quieter, gentler life focused on what's important and celebrates Christmas in a special way.

Wishing you a joyous Christmas and blessings in the new year.

Gail Gaymer Martin at
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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Traditions

Christmas greetings from Sandra Robbins!!

I can hardly believe that Christmas is less than a week away. I hope you are closer to being prepared than I am. Every year I promise myself that I will not wait until the last minute, but it seems the time gets away from me before I know it.

I'm excited, though, because all my children will be home for Christmas this year. For the first time in quite a few years the whole family will be here, and I can't wait. My daughter and her husband will arrive from Texas, my grandsons from Holland and New York, and my granddaughter from California. Added to them will be our three children, their spouses, and five children who live nearby. Also in the mix will be aunts, uncles, and cousins. It promises to be a hectic, but happy, time, and we plan to carry out the traditions that have marked our holiday season for many years.

My sister who is a middle school teacher recently asked her students to write a short paragraph about a tradition in their family. It didn't necessarily have to be Christmas. She was shocked at how many students couldn't come up with one thing that their family does together as a tradition. This struck me as very sad.

One of my most beloved traditions has been reading the story of Jesus's birth before we opened presents. I don't know when this practice was started by my father, but I don't remember a Christmas when it wasn't done. My father has been gone for eleven years now, and my elderly mother is in a nursing facility. However, we still carry on the tradition they started many years ago. As my family gathers to celebrate, we will remember their faith and how it has served as the foundation for our family.

If you don't have a Christmas tradition, this would be a good year to start one. If you do have one in your family, leave a comment and let me know what it is.

I hope you have a blessed Christmas!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Lyn Cote Reviews Janet Tronstad's Classic A Dropped Stitches Christmas

A Dropped Stitches Christmas (Sisterhood Series #2) (Love Inspired #423)A Dropped Stitches Christmas (Sisterhood Series #2) by Janet Tronstad

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Janet Tronstad's 2007 A Dropped Stitches Christmas surprised me. I didn't think I'd want to read a book about young women who had survived cancer. The BIG C can be depressing. But not so in this book of honesty and triumph. With the advent of ereaders, it becomes possible to resurrect books that have disappeared from store shelves. I've read Janet Tronstad's Dry Creek romances and yes, this story is definitely her flavor of romance. But I was enchanted by the first person narrative from the heroine and her friends. Chicklit may have died down but this author shows she can handle the subgenre with elegance and style. I loved her scrumptious hero and the beautiful but hesitant heroine. If you want a really touching Christmas read, this one's for you! Loved it!

AND don't forget TODAY-- Leave a comment about a Christmas story you've enjoyed or love and be entered into the drawing for my slightly used copy of Janet's book. BTW, offering an Amish Christmas book giveaway on my blog today

View all my reviews

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

It's Beginning to Feel a Lot Like Christmas

Homemade ornament
Greetings from Ruth Axtell Morren 

What a lovely time of year. Even though we don't have snow yet this year (unusual for Maine), it's still feeling a lot like Christmas. Wreathing season is starting to wind down as the wreaths made with balsam fir have been shipped to all corners of the U.S. Now, you see pick-up trucks loaded with trees. My daughter cut one down from the edge of our forest. A little uneven but wonderfully scented.
These are a couple of ornaments we've collected over the years.
Partridge in a Pear Tree?

Balsam fir tree

Feb. 1012 release

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

What a Cutie.

I want to update everyone on Ollie who I blogged about in Oct. Here he is by his Christmas tree. My son showed me this picture when we went to a Christmas concert together. He's taller and a little heavier than the last time I saw him. When he's running in the backyard and brushes by you, it's like a bowling ball brushing by a pin--you're going down. If he stands on your toes--which I've experienced, there's no moving him. But can you resist that wonderful face?

I hope you smiled, because I know that for some of you this is the first Christmas that you've had since you lost a loved one, or gotten a bad diagnosis, or had some tragedy in your life. You're feeling the pain and loneliness. This Jesus who birth we celebrate is still with you and the same as He was in your joy. Allow Him to comfort you. You are in my prayers.

Monday, December 12, 2011

God is everywhere this Christmas Season

Jenna Mindel here, wishing you all a very Merry Christmas.
I love the Holidays and this year I'm finding God in surprising places. For instance, the bank where I work has a drawing contest for the bank's official Christmas card. Kids 12 and under who are related to employees can enter and there's a commitee that votes for the artwork to be used. Well, the day the winning picture was announced, I broke into tears. I still get choked up thinking about how one child's artwork has moved me.

Every time I look at this Christmas Card, I see awe in the deer's face as he gazes at the star on the tree. For me, that star is Jesus. I'm humbled by what God has done fo us. Especially, what He's done for me.

God appears in His creations, and I believe He shows up in our creations too. I'm reminded of working for Him in all that I do. But lately, I'm learning to let go when it comes to how I write. Sure, I fall short of the mark and wrestle with control issues. But like the deer in the card above, I must go to the Lord for direction with a spirit of thankfulness and awe. Who knows what He might do with my work, but I can trust Him. I'm finally getting it. It's all His, in His time.

Please share how God shows up for you this Season.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Tis the Season for Giving...

I have always enjoyed making gifts for friends, family and neighbors for Christmas. Although admittedly, I’ve slowed down quite a bit as my children have gotten older…nothing to do with me getting older, you understand. ~grin~

Each year, I used to craft a new Christmas ornament for my children with the idea that by the time they married and moved out, they’d have a special collection to take with them. This is a picture of a few of the ornaments I’ve made over the years.

This year, I’m working on a very special gift, a flannel Christmas quilt for my grand daughter’s FIRST Christmas, and… I’m running out of time!!!

So far I’ve only got the squares cut out!

But that’s because I’ve been working on some new kinds of Christmas gifts this year—gifts for my readers.

My debut novel Deep Cover came out in September, and a few days ago, I posted fun “Novel Extras” on my website.

Think “DVD Extras” except for novels.

I’ve included things like: deleted scenes, bloopers, location pictures, character interviews, and editor’s cut with commentary.


Links to download two free recipe books.


Because I often finish reading a story and wish I could read more about the characters once they’re together, I’ve written a story about Rick and Ginny’s first Christmas. (i.e. the hero and heroine of Deep Cover)

I’m emailing the story to my newsletter subscribers next week, so if you’d like to receive it, there’s still time to subscribe 

In the meantime, please hop over and check out the Novel Extras. I'd love to hear what you think.

I wish you all a joyous Christmas season, filled with family and friends, as we celebrate the greatest love of all. 

Your Turn: Do you have a Christmas ornament or decoration that is extra special? 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

My Favorite Christmas

Hi all, Charlotte Carter here.

I suppose everyone has a favorite Christmas memory. The year they got the bike they had so wanted. Or maybe a Chatty Cathy doll when those were popular.

My favorite Christmas was the year my daughter Carolyn was born.

My husband and I moved to Anchorage, Alaska when we were first married. He was a civilian engineer assigned to help the Air Force keep their missiles operating. For me, a native Californian who had rarely seen snow much less lived in a snowy climate, it was all quite exciting. And truly beautiful.

I was pregnant as our second Christmas approached. (Which, by the way, gave me an excuse not to tramp through the woods through a foot of snow to cut down our own tree and freeze my feet in the process as I had the previous Christmas.)

As I walked through town doing my Christmas shopping, I admired the decorations draped from lamp poles and the store windows painted with holiday themes. Like most first-time moms-to-be, I wanted to shout to everyone that I would soon have a baby! And thank them for decorating the whole town in honor of her upcoming arrival.

On the evening of December 23rd, my water broke. Off to the hospital we went, which was no easy trick. We’d had a Chinook, a warm spell that melted the snow during the day and turned it to ice at night. Newly-built Providence hospital was at the end of a long, dirt road, not uncommon in Anchorage at the time, and was glazed over with ice. Driving no more than 5-miles an hour, my husband managed to keep us on the road instead of in the ditch. I was so grateful we, and the baby, were in no hurry.

Baby Carolyn definitely wasn’t in a hurry. She didn’t make her grand entrance until the afternoon of December 24th. It is not possible to describe the surge of love I felt the moment I saw her. Wow! I was a mother. A scary and wonderful feeling.

And the best Christmas present ever!

What is your favorite Christmas memory?

Wishing you a lovely Christmas and many happy memories.

Books that leave you Charlotte Carter

Big Sky Family, Love Inspired, available now

Montana Love Letter, Love Inspired, 10/2012

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

We Love Christmas Stories--Lenora Worth

Hello, everyone. It's beginning to look like Christmas. Well, everywhere but at my house. As usual, I am way behind. But I intend to get busy next week and clean my house to make it festive. In the meantime, I've been getting in the spirit by watching Christmas movies on Lifetime and the Hallmark Channel. What is it about Christmas and falling in love? These movies always have a happy ending, so I know how they will end. Most of them have two souls searching for some meaning in life and maybe someone to love in the process. Sigh. You'd think I'd get tired of watching the same ones every year, but I don't. I can't even remember the titles but I know the stories. We all do. There is something about falling in love while snow is falling and jingle bells are tinkling and Santa is smiling in the background. I even got an idea for a Christmas story (while I was watching Hawaii Five-O.) Yes, that is how my mind works. We all know the power of Christmas--we know about love and sacrifice and ... the birth of Christ. So in spite of all the hype that happens this time of year, there is still something heartwarming and awe inspiring about stories set during Christmas. I say bring 'em on, sappy and weepy and happy and wonderful. We always need a little Christmas, no matter what time of year.
So readers, what do you love about Christmas stories?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Christmas Memories

Susan Sleeman here wishing you a wonderful upcoming holiday season and a blessed New Year.

This month I have a romantic suspense book releasing with Love Inspired Suspense called The Christmas Witness. So my mind has been on Christmas much longer this year than in past years as I anticipated the release of the book. All of this got me to thinking about Christmas’s past and some of my favorite memories as a child. So I’d like to share some of them with you going way back to my toddler days.

This picture is of my family before going to Christmas Eve service at church. I’m the one on the right. Both of my parents passed away in the last few years so this picture of all of us together is very special to me. Also special in the photo are our hats. My aunt who lived cross country from us in fashionable Beverly Hills sent beautiful hats to us each year. At this age, I don’t remember enjoying them but as I got older, I really did. Especially the ones she sent at Easter time time with the gloves like my sister is holding in this picture.

Here I am on Christmas Eve after church with all of the kids in our jammies. Our church always did the Christmas pageant presented by the children at Christmas Eve service then we would head home and Santa had visited while we were at church. I’m on the left side in this photo. It was late in the evening after we’d opened a few presents and we were tired, but hanging in there. If you look real hard on the right side you can see a doll I got that year.

As I look at all of these pictures there is one thing in common. Christmas though first and foremost to me is about the birth of our Savior, it's about family to me. I start baking, sending out cards, shopping and all the other busy things of the season early, but it’s only when my daughter comes home from college that Christmas begins in my heart.

What about you? When does Christmas start for you and what are your favorite memories?

SUSAN SLEEMAN is a best-selling author of inspirational romantic suspense and mystery novels. She grew up in a small Wisconsin town where she spent her summers reading Nancy Drew and developing a love of mystery and suspense books. Today, she channels this enthusiasm into writing romantic suspense and mystery novels and hosting the popular internet website Susan currently lives in Florida, but has had the pleasure of living in nine states. Her husband is a church music director and they have two beautiful daughters, a very special son-in-law and an adorable grandson. To learn more about Susan visit:

Her website

Facebook page

or join her on Twitter

Monday, December 5, 2011

Top Ten Books of 2011

Pamela Tracy here, and it’s that time again. Time when the Top Ten Books of 2011 start popping up on various blogs and magazine places. Early this morning (think 5:50 a.m. EEK) I found Amazon’s offerings first.

The Art of Fielding (baseball)
IQ84 (I had trouble even typing it. It’s about two people who need to meet each other.
What It Is Like to Go to War (by a marine and what it is like in brutal jungles)
In the Garden of Beasts (I think this is faction about the life and times of the past ambassador to Nazi Germany)
The Marriage Plot (Three women, 1980’s, their lives)
Daughter of Smoke and Bone (YA, magical world, heartache, choices)
Before I go to Sleep (Suspense with amnesia)
Steve Jobs (‘nuff said)
Lost in Shangri-La (WWII, another military in the jungle)
The Tiger’s Wife (Quest for answers after a relative’s death).

At about 5:30, I found Publisher Weekly's life.

The Marriage Plot (see above)
The Devil All the Time (American rural life – albeit sensationalize - )
State of Wonder (Two females, both questing. Sounds like the movie Medicine Man with Sean Connery)
After the Apocalypse (An anthology with various offerings)
Bossy Pants (Tina Fey’s story)
Catherine the Great (Catherine the Great’s story)
There But For The (man comes for the party but refuses to go home. The blurb reminded me of Bartleby)
Hemingway’s Boat (Hemingway’s story)
One Day I will Write About this Place (Coming of age in Kenya)
Arguably: Essay ( Anthology by a political critic)

Usually, I’ve read one or two (once I managed three) of the choices. This year: none. Of Amazon’s list, the only one that even crossed my mind was Steve Jobs, and that’s because he’s been in the news so often.

Of Publisher Weekly’s, I’d considered BossyPants and probably will read it. Since the only book to appear on both lists is The Marriage Plot, I might seek it out. Then, too, I like biographies from the past. Catherine the Great is a possibility.

So, what about you? Looking at the above two lists, have you read any of them? Which ones appeal to you?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Happy Holidays!

My greetings are perhaps a bit  early, but I won't be on the schedule again until after the holidays are over, so I just didn't want to miss a chance to wish everyone all the best, and to extend my thanks to all of the readers who visit this blog.  You're the best!  :)

I had a Thanksgiving themed book out last month (The Loner's Thanksgiving Wish) and have a book out this month as well--Duty To Protect,  which is a Love Inspired Suspense set during a very snowy winter in Colorado and Montana.  Brrrrrr!  I'm glad it was Emma and not me,  trapped in a frigid horse trailer crossing Nebraska!

Early forecasts for the Upper Midwest indicated that we were going to have an unusually cold and snowy winter,  just as I wrote in the book, but so far we're still having lovely forty degree days (far nicer than thirty below!) and have had just a single whisper of snowflakes one day.   But even though the weather is still lovely, I've got our Christmas decorations up and now need to start baking. How about you--are you set for the holidays?

I'd like to share the best recipe I've ever found for cut-out cookies, one especially great for when you're baking with small kids.  As much as you work with it, reforming the odd bits and pieces into a ball and rolling it out again, it still stays nice to work with.   I've used this since the early 1980's.  Once, while reaching for the nutmeg, I knocked a container of chili powder into the bowl, the lid came off and the entire container emptied over the cookie dough.  I removed what I could, then added ample cocoa powder to cover the taste--and everyone still loved them.  Now, this is one very forgiving recipe!  :)

Super Easy Roll-out Cookies    --The Rustands
1 cup shortening           1 ½  tsp cream of tartar
1 ½ cups sugar              1 tsp soda
2 eggs                           ½ tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla                  4 cups flour
2 Tbsp milk                       

optional: 1 tsp cinnamon  and/or  1 tsp nutmeg
You can drop these on a  cookie sheet and flatten with a fork, or use for cut-out cookies.  We like to double the recipe, and roll them out  quite thin.  350 degrees, 8-10 minutes.  My favorites are the ones liberally decorated with cinnamon red hots candy!

Roxanne Rustand

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Janet Tronstad with Sleigh Bells

Janet Tronstad here. Remember the line in the song, 'Sleigh Bells Ring, Are You Listening?" I do. Christmas is coming and there are small sights and sounds that make the season special to us all. Things like sleigh bells, sparkling lights, shiny ornaments, the smell of cinnamon or cookies baking. The sounds of Christmas carols being sung, the crackle of fireplaces, the giggle of small children. All of these are simple things. But they remind me that Christmas always has been about the simple things of life being played out in extraordinary ways. Nothing is more common, after all, than a baby being born.

What are some of the simple things that you look forward to each year during the holidays?

If one of those things is reading a few new Christmas books, remember my 'Sleigh Bells for Dry Creek' -- its the story of a woman who comes home to Dry Creek after being in prison for ten years, and the grown son who won't let her do that alone. Plus there's the girl next door who has been sweet on the son forever and a town that learns a lesson in forgiveness during Christmas. And then there's the sleigh that takes presents around to the poor children every Christmas Eve. It's heartwarming and very Christmasy.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Only 27 Days Left Till Christmas

Hi, this is Margaret Daley and I hope all of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Christmas is less than a month away and I'm trying not to panic. There is so much to do, especially when you have four granddaughters. They came over today to help us decorate our tree. We also have a small one for them to decorate. Below is my youngest granddaughter trying to decide which ornament to put on the tree first. She ended up with three in her hands and put them all on the same branch.
Right now I have a Love Inspired out called His Holiday Family (Dec. 2011). It is the first in A Town Called Hope Series, about a small town on the Mississippi Gulf Coast that is devastated by a hurricane and how they come together to rebuild Hope. When I decided to write a series about a town that goes through a hurricane, I wanted to give tribute to all the people who have gone through a disaster and rebuilt their lives. This series was written for the heroes and heroines who help others in a time of disaster. My mother was one of them. She was a nurse and gave a lot of her time during disasters (hurricanes) that hit our hometown. Visit my website to read about my books at

Blurb for His Holiday Family by Margaret Daley: When Hurricane Naomi tears through a small Mississippi town, a daring rescue unites two heroes. Nurse Kathleen Hart is a single mom racked by guilt over her husband's death. Firefighter Gideon O'Brien—orphaned as a young boy—has lost too many people he cared for. To rise above the storm's devastation, Gideon helps Kathleen and her sons rebuild their home. As Christmas approaches, they discover that even the strongest of storms can't destroy a romance built on the foundation of faith.

What heroes (heroines) have you met in your life?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving from Camy Tang

I hope you're having a fantastic dinner with the people you love most! We're going out to eat dinner at a really good restaurant tonight. I'm looking forward to it!

I went for a run today and it was the most beautiful run I've ever had! Isn't it gorgeous?

While I was running, I was so incredibly thankful to God for the beautiful trail and the fact I could spend Thanksgiving with my wonderful husband. This year makes 10 years together!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving

I'm thankful for all the wonderful Love Inspired readers. I'm thankful that we can share our stories with you throughout the year. May you have a blessed year ahead.
Merrillee Whren

Thanksgiving blessings

Just want to wish all Love Inspired readers a blessed and bountiful Thanksgiving. I have so much to be thankful this year. Feeling sated after a great meal of turkey and fixings, I'm sitting here waiting for the main meal to settle before I sample the pumpkin pie.

Happy Thanksgiving

I want to wish the readers a very blessed Thanksgiving.
Leann Harris.

Happy Thanksgiving

Thank you all for reading our books. May God be with you through the year.
Margaret Daley

Thanksgiving Giving

Hi! Charlotte Carter here sending Thanksgiving Day greetings and wishing all you cooks a happy day AFTER Thanksgiving when you can enjoy the leftovers!


Happy Thanksgiving

Hope your day is full of blessings.
Thank you readers, authors, and friends.
Pamela Tracy

Happy Thanksgiving!

From Sandra Orchard, I'd like to share a quote from Monday's Walk Right In Ministry's blog post:

God "is teaching us that there is a privilege and grand adventure in how life unfolds when it is wrapped within the power, love and grace of Christ’s presence."

No matter whether you are in a valley or on a mountaintop or somewhere in between at this moment, may each of you feel wrapped in God's love in a special way today.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


HI, Terri Reed here to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving tomorrow. We will be spending it with about 30 or so friends and yet to be friends. A group of people from Good Samaritan Ministries will be gathering together to fellowship and have a feast. We're bringing a ham and a pie. My daughter's the baker in the family so she'll be making the pie. It should be a good time.
On black Friday, we're shopping in the morning and then putting up the Christmas tree! Anyone else put up their tree on the day after Thanksgiving?

I received my author copies of my January book the other day. Its always exciting to hold a new book in my hands.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

What I Love About Thanksgiving!

By Debby Giusti

November in Georgia means leaves are falling, the days are warm, skies are clear and turkeys are on sale at Publix.  The hustle bustle of the Christmas shopping season is right around the corner, but I’m focused on family and food and enjoying both on Thanksgiving.  

Our celebration this Thursday starts at church as we give thanks to the Lord for all His blessings, for children and grandchildren, for jobs and health and wellbeing.  We pray for our country and for the courageous men and women in uniform, especially those deployed far from home.  We pray for their needs and their safety and for the families who wait for their return.  We also pray for our country and ask God’s continued protection and guidance so we can continue to be the land of the free and home of the brave. 

Later when the turkey is ready to be carved, when the potatoes are mashed and the gravy simmers on the back burner, we join hands around the dinner table and listen as each person recounts his or her own personal words of gratitude.  This year, I’ll give thanks for all of you who have touched my life and made it better.  Thanks for your friendship, your support, your encouragement and your love.

As always, you’re in my thoughts and prayers!

Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving.

Debby Giusti

THE CAPTAIN'S MISSION, book 2 in Debby's Military Investigations series, is on sale now!
When one of his soldiers is killed by live ammunition
during what was supposed to be a simple training exercise,
Captain Phil Thibodeaux wants answers. Even if it means working with
the Criminal Investigation Division that seems certain to pin the blame
on him. But after CID agent Kelly McQueen defends his conduct,
Phil realizes that there’s more to the dedicated agent than meets
the eye. Maybe she’s someone he can trust, after all. And he’ll need
someone to rely on as investigations lead him to doubt everyone
elseeven his own soldiers. 


Monday, November 21, 2011

Allie Pleiter on Filling Your Thank Bank

Gratitude is an amazing thing.  It can transform just about any situation.  Recent years have taught me the power of gratitude even in the worst of circumstances. 
You’d think it would be hard to be grateful in the pediatric cancer intensive care unit.  It isn’t.  I would walk the halls and see parents who had it so much harder than our family.  We had a cooperative 14 year old boy who had an excellent prognosis even if his current situation was pretty awful.  A short walk down the hall I could find parents of a two year old who had to watch their daughter every waking moment because she kept trying to pull out the tubes that were keeping her alive.  Two door down there was another set of parents who lived every day with a daunting, sliver-of-hope prognosis for their frail son.  I’d return to our room thanking God for all the reasons we had to know our son would likely survive.  
And thrive.  This year I’m deeply grateful for a healthy son, a thriving college daughter, a stellar husband, our amazing summer trip to Europe (cheers to the Make A Wish Foundation!), a rocking new editor (woots to Elizabeth!), the world’s most adorable dog, fabulous readers, more yarn than I can knit in a lifetime, hot coffee every day, and a circle of friends that could make anything fun. 
I’ve spent 2011 beautifully aware that each day is a gift, each friendship is a lifeline, and every kind word is a lamp in the darkness. Remember to visit Janet Tronstad’s Thanksgiving Wall of Gratitude to tell us what you’re thankful for (and perhaps win a prize for filling your thank bank!)  Here’s the link:
Blessed Thanksgiving to all of you!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Come Help Build a Thanksgiving Wall of Gratitude

Janet Tronstad is inviting you to join other Harlequin readers, writers, and staff as we share what we are grateful for this Thanksgiving season.

Just click on the link here and come on over:

Even if you don't want to post a gratitude, you will still be moved by reading the posts of others.

Oh, and did I mention, there are prizes?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Box of Books

This is Merrillee, who is going to follow Camy's example and share my box of author copies for my January book, MONTANA MATCH. Here's the box that was waiting for me when we returned from a recent trip.

The excitement of receiving my author copies never goes away. I will admit that receiving my very first book held a little more thrill, but seeing each new book in its final form for the first time never gets old. Just as Camy's book has a character based on a friend, two of my characters, the hero's twin daughters, are based on a friend I had in elementary school while I lived in Montana. Rose, a Native American, had the same dark pigtails, that my fictional Rose has. There the resemblance ends. Also, in a sense, the heroine, Brittany Gorman, is an old friend. She was a teenager in one of my earlier books, LOVE WALKED IN, and she makes an appearance in the book that followed, THE HEART'S FORGIVENESS. I am excited to share her grownup story.

Are there things in your life that never lose their excitement? Do you have a friend you would like to see portrayed in a book?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Lorianne from Stalker in the Shadows

Camy here! I just got my author’s copies of my January 2012 Love Inspired Suspense, Stalker in the Shadows!

This means that those of you who belong to the Love Inspired Suspense book club will get your copies soon, too! I also intend to get an ebook copy of my book from the website when it’s available on December 1st.

There’s a character named Lorianne in the book, who owns Lorianne’s Cafe in downtown Sonoma. The cafe is fictional, but Lorianne is based off of a friend of mine who loves to cook!

Lorianne is also a fantastic volleyball player, and I used to play co-ed volleyball with her in my recreational volleyball league, before I tore my ACL and had surgery. She’s one of the best setters I know.

For her day job, she teaches elementary school, and I’ve been with her at class--she’s a really great teacher, too. She’s patient and yet firm with her students, and they love her.

Lorianne is a huge foodie, and one of her favorite pasttimes is going to different restaurants around the Bay Area to try different cuisine and chef’s recipes. She also is a great cook and makes lots of really neat dishes, as well as chocolate chip cookies to die for.

Lorianne has said she’d love to be in one of my books, so I put her in Stalker in the Shadows as the owner of her own restaurant.

I also put a branch of her cafe in my December humorous romantic suspense, Protection for Hire! You don’t see Lorianne in that book, but the hero and heroine meet in her cafe in San Francisco.

For Stalker in the Shadows, I had Lorianne open up a branch of her cafe in Sonoma, California, and she’s also in a couple scenes in the book.

I can’t wait for my friend Lorianne to read Stalker in the Shadows! I think she’ll be thrilled!

Camy Tang writes romance with a kick of wasabi. Out now is the fourth book in her Sushi series, Weddings and Wasabi. She is a staff worker for her church youth group, and leads one of the worship teams for Sunday service. On her blog, she ponders frivolous things like knitting, running, dogs, and Asiana. Visit her website to sign up for her quarterly newsletter.

Click here to find out how you can join my Street Team—it’s free and there’s lots of chances to win prizes!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Out of the mouths of babes......

Kim Watters here. The other day I was helping my son with an assignment. Yes, I know, but hey, he was on a deadline and I type much faster than he does. But being that kind of mom, I wouldn't do the assignment for him, just prompt him to do his own thinking. Anyway, the conversation went something like this:

"So, what's it called when you work for someone for free?"


Okay. So not the answer I was looking for but he had a point. After I finished laughing and trying to clear the ater that I'd been drinking from my nose, I rephrased the question.

"Okay then. What's it called when you work for someone to learn something?"

"An apprentice."

You can tell he's into mystical things. "Okay, better. How about intern?"

This conversation got me to thinking about two things.

1) How important it is to ask the right questions.
2) How important each word we use is.

Because let's face it. The wrong questions can lead us and our characters down the wrong path, and we won't realize it until it's too late. How many times have you come up against a wall, that had you known which questions to ask or delved deeper into the character, you may have been able to avoid? Or had you rephrased it, may have gotten acompletely different answer?

Using the right word to convey a mood or feeling is intregral to the story. How may times have you been pulled out of a story because the author didn't use the right word or convey the right meaning? Or how many times you've used your favorite word or words until it's overdone?

I'm guilty of all of the above, which is why I never turn out a final manuscript the first time or even the second time around. One of these days, I hope to take my own advice.

So ask and choose wisely or you may be the one snorting water when you hear the answer.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Dana Corbit Fills the Creative Well

My name is Dana Corbit, and I'm a writer. Some days that's an announcement I am thrilled to make, and other times I have to push the words out like a first-timer in a Ten-Step Program. Still, the truth remains, on those better days and on the worse ones, that I am a writer, who couldn't stop even if I tried, even on days when my creative well isn't damp enough to make a mud mask. That's why filling my creative well is so important to me. Other the years, I've done this in a variety of ways: attending conferences or retreats, spending quiet time in prayer, attending weekend sessions with my fabulous critique/support group the POTL's, and having "business" lunches with writer friends.

This fall, though, I tried something new: I went on a writer's adventure. Sure, I had another reason to be in Boston. Attending Parents' Weekend at my daughter's college was the original plan, but I decided to make the trip double as the injection of creativity I so badly needed. Okay, part of the reason for doubling was my status as the broke parent of a college student, but I digress.

So here's what I did:

  • I took the Detroit-Chicago-Atlanta-Boston flight. Okay, that was mostly for the broke part (and frequent-flyer miles), but it was an adventure, from the medical emergency I witnessed at Chicago Midway to the delay on the tarmac in Atlanta to severe turbulance that convinced me I would be seeing God that day instead of Boston Harbor.

  • Avoiding cabs, I took the "T" all over Boston, wearing my computer backpack and dragging my suitcase behind me. I'm a bit of a chicken, so this was a big deal for me. :)

  • I stayed in a B & B instead of a hotel to experience more of the local flavor. Great experience. I would do it again in a minute.

  • On the way home, I took the Amtrak trip - all 19 hours of it - and wrote and wrote and wrote.

All in all, it was a blast, and that doesn't even include the visit with my daughter, which was amazing and dear. Am I rejuvenated? Absolutely. Is that well full? Oh yeah. And will there be a book in my future coming out of Boston or on a cross-country train ride? Count on it.

What are some of the ways the rest of you fill your creative wells? I'd love to hear about them.

Blessings to you all.

Dana Corbit