Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Time to Read--Merrillee Whren

Before I became a published author, I was a reader. I read different kinds of books--classics, mysteries, thrillers and non-fiction, but when I discovered romances, I knew I had found my favorite reads because they always have a happy ending. I don't have as much time to read anymore because the time I used to spend reading is used for writing. My to-be-read pile is so huge that I'm afraid I will never find the bottom of it.

So when do I have time to read? This week. I'm looking forward to the next couple of days. One of our daughters is coming for a visit, and we will climb over the sand dune in the photo below, put our chairs on the sand close to the water's edge and read.

You might find us looking something like this, although we will probably have an umbrella to shade us from the sun. If we get too involved in our books, the umbrella will keep us from getting a sunburn.

What is your favorite place to read?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Pat Davids here,

I'd like you to meet the newest member of my family. K.Z. This pound puppy arrived at my home a few weeks ago and boy has my life changed.

For one thing, no shoes can be kicked off when you get home. They must be put away because the toe or strap will instantly become a puppy chew toy. Not good.

You must be prepared to race to the back door on a moment's notice, day or night, and throw it open before a puddle can form on the carpet. I'm getting faster.

Occasionally, you can expect a pile of puppy poo in the den even if the dog has been outside for two hours. Sometimes, when K.Z. is playing hard she forgets to do her business until she comes in. You need eyes in the back of your head to spot K.Z's long tail heading toward her favorite spot behind the coffee table.

When K.Z. joins you in bed, expect to sleep on a very small strip of the mattress. No amount of pushing or shoving can move a sleeping pup from her beauty rest. She's almost 40 pounds of beauty and I expect she will grow bigger. Much bigger.

Thank goodness she almost has me trained. At least she fetches her own ball.

Tell me about your pet. Has your pound pup or kitten managed to train you?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Janet Tronstad - Cyber Friends

Janet Tronstad here. I have some wonderful friends on Goodreads in the Love Inspired Historical discussion group and one of them, Melody, took a picture for me when she was at a wedding recently. It's a sign that says The Gardens at Dry Creek. I couldn't have been more delighted as I have over 20 books in that series now. I thought to myself that taking that picture is something a friend would do -- and then I realized how easy it is to become friends with people I have never met. On Goodreads particularly I have talked with these cyber friends about so many things. We've shared dreams, problems with aging parents, school problems, work problems, boyfriend issues -- everything really. Frankly, I've always thought of myself as more of an in-person friend so it kind of surprises me that I feel this bond. But then I realized that maybe because we're readers, it is easier for us to become friends through the written word (whether it's letters, emails, or posts in discussioon groups). I know many of you have cyber friends in the Love Inspired community so I'm going to ask where you like to hang out? There's this blog, eHarlequin, Goodreads -- where do you find your circle of LI friends?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Why do I do this?

Kim Watters here. Today I'm wordless. Absolutely, positivey wordless. Normally ideas spring forth quickly when I write a blog post. Not so today. Could it be that I'm struggling with my manuscript that's due at the end of the month? Yes. Could it be I'm overwhelmed by parenting right now with the start of school? Yes. Could it be that since I've returned from vacation, I'm really far behind on my day job that pays the bills? Yes to that, too.

So as I sit here struggling, I ask myself: Why do I do this? Why do I write and stress out each time a deadline looms? Why don't I chuck it all and just be a mom and an accountant because let's face it. I make a lot more money as a bean counter.

I have to remind myself that I'm a writer, too. And a writer writes. Like a mother mothers. Like an accountant accounts. (okay that didn't really make much sense.)

No worries though. I'll get through this like I always do. I'll quit whining and get back to the task at hand of finishing my contracted book because writing is a part of me. Who I am. My ministry. God gave me talent to put words to paper. He won't let me fail. I just have to kick it up a notch and sleep after I drop the envelope in the mail. Thanks for letting me whine. The other wine will be when I finish. :) Blessings.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

What it Takes to Write by Marta Perry

I often meet people who never wrote a thing before starting a novel, something that I find bemusing. How do you go from writing a grocery list to writing a 300 or 400 page manuscript?

I began my career in fiction writing in a very small way, writing 3 or 4-page stories for church school take-home papers. Since I didn’t have anyone to tell me I was doing it the wrong way, I simply analyzed as many published stories as I could find to figure out what made them tick, and then tried to write my own.

The first story I wrote, called, I believe, “Kathy’s Bedtime,” was rejected its first time out. I figured I’d give it another try, so sent it out once more. It came back again, but this time the editor had taken the trouble to scribble at the bottom of the printed rejection slip, “Nice story.” Bless that anonymous editor. That response made me brave enough to try again, and that time it sold, to Story Friends magazine for the magnificent sum of $16. I took my husband out to dinner with the proceeds and told him I was a writer.

I’m telling you this not because I think it’s a remarkable story, but to show that writing careers, especially fiction careers, begin in all sorts of ways, some of them very small. If I had been discouraged by that first rejection slip, or if I had decided that the struggle wasn’t worth it for $16, I wouldn’t have reached the point of having published over 300 short stories and 43 novels.

I’ve known, over the past 30 years, so many very talented writers—some much more talented than I—who couldn’t keep going through the rejections, the slow pay, the no pay, the magazines that fold before your story comes out, the book lines that die inexplicably. If you ask me what the major ingredients are in success as a fiction writer, I’d have to say persistence and desire. Without those, writers don’t succeed, no matter how talented.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Cataloguing my books!

Camy here! Thanks to my friend Dream, who’s also the eHosty at the Love Inspired forum boards, I found a cataloguing program for all my books. I used to use an Excel file, but I wanted something a bit more robust which would also have a matching iPhone app so I can take a copy of my catalog with me on my phone, and that way if I’m at a store and I don’t know if I already have a particular title, I can look it up really quick.

She actually gave me several programs to look at, and I eventually decided on Booxter, because it works on a Mac and the other programs I looked at didn’t quite do it for me. One was made mostly for music, so the item descriptions were stuff like “label” for publisher and “artist” for author’s name, which confused me!

Booxter is neat because you input the book’s ISBN number (I’ve been using Goodreads to help me with that) and Booxter searches Amazon and the Library of Congress and the British Library databases for the ISBN. Then it automatically fills in all the fields for you, like title, author, publisher, etc. It will even bring up a thumbnail of the book cover sometimes. I can fill in the other fields as I want. I can put location--where the book is on my shelves, which are numbered so that I can find a book easily--and also notes if I read the book and anything I wanted to comment on. It’s so awesome!!!

Booxter isn’t without it’s glitches. I found out that when you input a book’s ISBN number, and Booxter pulls the information from the web, it will input the price the book is selling for on Amazon or any other bookstore which sells books through Amazon. Many of my books were out of print, and the used prices for some of them was WAY high, like in the billions of dollars!

I found out that it’s because many online bookstores have a program that scans the web for the same book being sold by another online bookstore, and the program automatically increases a book’s price a little higher than the next highest price available. If you have two bookstores with the same program, the two programs play price leapfrog and the price of the book skyrockets to insane amounts.

The problem is that Booxter automatically adds up how much your collection is worth. I had a few books in the billions of dollar range, and it overloaded Booxter’s price summary, causing the program to not save my catalog even when I hit Save. I would input books and try to save it, but the next time I opened the catalog, the books had disapepared. I finally figured out it was the astronomical prices and when I deleted the prices, Booxter was able to save my catalog fine.

I have to admit my complete geeky side because I love cataloguing my books! I think I should have been a librarian. I love making sure the series line is inputted correctly and that I have the series number down. I have been inputting how much I paid for a book (for each book, there are two fields--how much the book is selling for online, and how much I paid for it). I also input any name in the copyright that’s different than the name on the cover, which enabled me to find the pseudonyms of some old Regency authors. Cool!

Booxter has also enabled me to input all my ebooks, which were not completely catalogued on my old Excel file. The only problem is that Booxter searches Amazon and the Library of Congress, but they don’t necessarily have the (non-Kindle) ebook ISBN in their databases. I have been using Goodreads to find alternate ISBN numbers for the same book to input into Booxter so the program can find my books in the databases and fill out the fields for me, and then I will usually change the ISBN later to reflect the actual ISBN of the ebook I own. (Yes, I know I am anal.)

Sometimes I will use the Kindle ASIN number for Booxter because the program almost always will be able to pull up the book information from a Kindle ASIN. Actually, since I’ve been searching on Amazon so much lately, that’s how I found out that my January Love Inspired Suspense, Stalker in the Shadows, is not available for pre-order! There’s no picture yet, but at least it’s available for people to buy. (Go and order your copy today! :)

So how do you catalog your books?

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, August 15, 2011

Arthur C. Clark Said:

Pamela Tracy here, running a bit late, and enjoying every minute. I've been following Arthur's advice ever since my mother purchased my first Golden book. I've figured it out. If I read a book a day, and live to be 107, I won't make it through my TBR pile.

Just in case you need a book to add to your pile, consider my August release. Once Upon a Cowboy. I got the idea during a sermon on the Prodigal son.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Trust - Carolyne Aarsen

Everyone says that trust is an important part of any relationship. Usually, in the stories I write, it's the point where the hero or heroine finally dares to trust the other that a huge shift occurs in the relationship. Barriers are broken down and secrets are laid bare and the one person becomes vulnerable to the other. In my own, ongoing relationship with my husband, trust is integral. I trust him with my deepest secrets and fears. He does the same with me. But in spite of being married for many, many years, there are times that I still have to learn to trust him for different things.

We went on a hike this summer in the mountains and after hiking up and up for about four hours came to, what I thought, was an impassable creek - a raging, boiling mass of water tumbling over rocks down the mountain for hundreds of feet. One slip and I would have gone down, down, down. That was the point of the hike where I stopped. I'm afraid of heights and not real impressed with water so I was done. Finished. My husband and son had their eyes on the next hill that they wanted to check out. I said go ahead. But they wanted me along because they didn't know how long they would be gone. Besides, the blood we saw on the trail meant there was probably a grizzly somewhere in the vicinity. I was adamant. So were they.

Then my husband crossed the creek and came back. "I can carry you," he said. That sounded even worse than braving the creek myself. We argued back and forth a bit. Then he laid it out. "Don't you trust me?" That was a kicker. I looked at him, then at the creek and said, with great reluctance, "Okay." And I got on his back, closed my eyes and began praying while he began walking. (this has often been our deal - he works, I pray). And next thing I knew we were on the other side.

Even after all the years we've been married, I'm still learning to trust him and he's still showing me I can.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


The wedding is over. You see, my daughter got married this past Sat. in our backyard, and everything was perfect. But as the happy couple climbed into their car to leave, I was suddenly overwhelmed with the memory of bringing her home from the hospital. tiny, wrapped up against the cold winter winds, and her seat covered with a blanket.
Now she is a woman, starting the next phase of her life and moving on.
And now I'm going to cry again.
Have any of you been a parent at a wedding? What are your strongest emotions?

Monday, August 8, 2011

My Visit to the Vatican

Hi, this is Margaret Daley. One of the places I saw when I went to Rome recently was the Vatican--along with hundreds of other people. It was hot and crowded but absolutely beautiful. St. Peter's Basilica was huge, impressive and gave me the chills when I thought of all the history that took place in the Vatican. There were other places I went to in Rome--the Colosseum, the Treva Fountain, the Arch outside the Colosseum, and the Ciircus Maximus where the chariot races took place.

The picture at the top is of the long center aisle at St. Peter's. The bottom photo is of the Michelangelo Pieta. I couldn't believe how beautiful the statue was. It has to be behind glass because someone tried to destroy it a few years ago. What a shame.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Glynna Kaye: Keeping Cool . . . In Canyon Springs, Arizona

Cool in Arizona? But it’s summer, isn’t it?. Temperatures reaching 115-- or higher. Cactus. Heat shimmering off the highways. Bleached bones baking in the desert sun.
That may be true for parts of Arizona, but while the majority of you are roasting across the country, there’s a portion of the state many don’t know exists! It’s a high-elevation, pine-studded world where daytime highs hover in the low-mid 80’s and overnight temps ranges from the low 40’s to the low 60’s. It’s a a world where summertime warmth can rapidly transform to an autumn-ish 50’s or 60’s when an afternoon cold front moves in, often heralding a monsoon downpour. As hard as it may be to believe, many people in this region don’t even have air-conditioning in their houses!
No doubt about it, summer in the high country of Arizona is hard to beat!
It’s in that part of the state that my fictional Canyon Springs is set--home to three books, with a fourth debuting in March 2012! A rugged mountain haven for elk, deer, bears, mountain lions and towering ponderosa pines, it’s also a retreat for people seeking relief from the worst summer can deliver. It’s a region catering to campers, bikers, hikers, trail riders and fishermen. And amazingly, in the “off season” it’s a winter wonderland! Yes. in Arizona!
At HOME IN HIS HEART (August 2011)
Finding Her Way Home... As soon as she got married, Sandi Bradshaw wanted nothing more than to move out of Canyon Springs, Arizona. Then everything changed when her military husband was killed. Now, establishing a veteran's memorial in his honor has brought Sandi and her daughter face-to-face with the man who'd once stood in the way of her marriage.
Sergeant Bryce Harding has a lot to prove to this hometown crowd--and the very stubborn Sandi. But can they embrace the possibility that God might be giving them both a second chance at love?
If you’re looking for a “cool” romantic escape for a hot summer day, “At Home In His Heart” may be what you’re looking for! Pour yourself a glass of icy lemonade or sweet tea, pull up a lawn chair under a shade tree—and settle down for a visit to Canyon Springs!
Then if you’d like to make a return trip to this little mountain community, check out the story of Sandi’s friend Meg and her ex-Navy corpsman hero in my award-winning “Dreaming of Home” (Love Inspired October 2009). And the story of their friend Kara and her rodeo cowboy hero in “Second Chance Courtship” (February 2011).
Glynna Kaye

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Gail Gaymer Martin's newest release - A FAMILY OF THEIR OWN

Hello from Gail Gaymer Martin.  When I write a series, I find it a challenge, especially when it’s one with a touchy story line. I never know how readers will accept it and so I wait until the letters and reviews come in. The first book in the Dreams Come True series proved a blessing. With 4 stars from Romantic Times, the reader mail, reviews and comments about A Dad Of His Own on Amazon touched my heart.

Similar to Make A Wish Foundation, each story in the Dreams Come True series involves a child dealing with a serious illness, but romance has a happy ending, so you can count on not being disappointed. Writing the series meant spending hours and hours learning about various illnesses that affect children as well as adults. Besides the Internet, I spoke with people who’ve had experiences with these illnesses either with a family member, friend or acquaintance. Searching online, I also found journals of children struggling with these diseases, and I found great courage and hopeful outcomes for many of them. That made my job easier as I worked to give the stories depth but also lighthearted moments that my readers could enjoy. Though the three book series is linked with overlapping characters, each story is complete.

I was thrilled with another 4 stars from Romantic Times for the second book in the series, A Family Of Their Own. A September release, this book will be in stores around August 26. If you’d like to read Kelsey and Lucy’s story, you’ll want to pick up one fast since the books are only in stores for 1 month although they’re available longer through the publisher and always available from the Internet bookstores. Here’s a little about the novel.

With her daughter's health back on track, Kelsey Rhodes counts her blessings. But life is still not easy for the sweet single mom. She craves companionship, yet finds it difficult to trust anyone. Ross Salburg seems like the perfect match for her. The handsome single dad also struggles to keep his daughter healthy. Can Kelsey convince Ross to take a leap of faith and meld their two families into one?

Reader comments:
I just finished your latest book A Family of Their Own. I love how the 2 adults each have a special needs child. I love reading your Love Inspired romance novels. Signed Joan from Ohio

I can tell you did much research before writing this story; it shows throughout the pages. I’ve learned so much from this book. Thank you once again, Gail, for giving your readers another endearing and fulfilling book to read and enjoy. Signed Patsy from Texas

If you’d like to pre-order, click here: A FAMILY OF THEIR OWN

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

How do you beat the heat? Lenora Worth

The temperature is supposed to hit 106 today. I live in the South, so I'm used to hot weather. But this summer has been brutal. There are many ways to stay out of the sun when it gets this hot. I wondered what everyone out there is doing to keep cool.

Personally, I'm staying inside a lot. We do have a pool, so it's nice to get wet but even the pool water is warm these days. And the sun is really bright on the white decking around the pool. So I get a kick out sitting in my comfy chair by the bay window and watching the birds take turns in their own little bird bath. The red birds are so pretty. The bluejays get in and wallow around then shake their feathers in glee. We had a blue heron visit earlier this year, but she was too big for the bird bath! The squirrels practically stand on their heads to get water from the pool. We even have night vistors-the occasional possum, racoon or armadillo strolls through to get a drink and maybe catch a few tasty treats. Sometimes, I imagine them having a little party out there late in the wee hours. Floating around on my float, tossing a beach ball back and forth, tall glasses of bright drinks in their paws. I can't blame them for wanting to stay cool.

Let's hope this hot spell breaks soon and we all get a nice rain to refresh us. In the meantime, I'll stick to reading good books, doing my work by the window and enjoying the blessed air conditioning. So what are you doing this summer to beat the heat?