Thursday, October 27, 2011

Research and My New Release - CHRISTMAS GIFTS - Gail Gaymer Martin

Greetings from Gail Gaymer Martin at

When an idea strikes me for a novel, my mind begins to click with characters and plot, but also with setting. Where should this story take place? So when my agent called to say my editor asked if I would be part of a Christmas Duet novel for this year, I thought a moment--but only a moment--and said yes. I love writing Christmas books and I'd been thinking that I'd love to have a new one. Story ideas came fast, a widowed father with 7 year old twin daughters who were trouble, and a teacher. Perfect.

Now where to set the story? A small town was my first thought so I began looking through the Internet for small towns in Northern Michigan along I-23.  I'd driven there a few months earlier to visit relatives and had already considered setting a story in one of these small towns. After investigating small towns on the Internet, I found the perfect spot--Harrisville, Michigan. My husband and I took a weekend and visited the town.

Everyone I meet was pleased to be part of the novel and cooperated fully. I visited the library where many town activities are sponsored and spent an hour or more at the elementary school, touring the building and talking with the principal, office staff, and a second grade teacher. A visit to the Chamber of Commerce provided me with great information especially about their Christmas event, Christmas in the Village. Deidre Gray owner of the gift shop, Maggie’s on Main, answered many questions and served as a liaison, as well as being eager to sell the books in her store, Manny Pompa owner of the restaurant and bakery Flour Garden provided information about the Tree Lighting Ceremony on the highway. Bob and I spent time in the park which provides a scene in the novel, and I drove through neighborhoods taking photographs of houses that I used in the story to create realism. I even called officials to learn their laws about leaf burning in the town.  When I delved into the novel, it was like visiting old friends. I hope you enjoy the novel as much as I enjoyed meeting the townspeople and researching the town.

including Small Town Christmas
Gail Gaymer Martin
Love Inspired Duet - November 2011

Mini-Matchmakers And An Old Fashion Christmas
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?

Martin’s story contains strong characters and touching scenes - Romantic Times

Martin's spirituality and her gift for spinning a story flow through this wonderful Christmas romance novel. A must-buy for any Christian romance connoisseur this holiday season! Reviews by Laura

This duet novel also includes Brenda Minton's Her Christmas Cowboy

Available in all stores where books are sold or at Internet books stores.  Click Here for and a first chapter excerpt.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Adventures in husband land - Carolyne Aarsen

I'm a very cautious person. I'm a worrier. I tend to see not only the bigger picture of various events but every possible iteration of that event. All the things that could happen. This tends to make me careful and tends to make me a worrier. Then there's my husband. He likes to go ahead and solve the problems as they come. Like the little trip we made the other day out into the bush to a cabin we have out there. We took the quad (ATV's as they are also known) because it would be too long to walk and there were various wet spots we had to cross. We came to a creek and I thought - end of the line. Now if you've read a previous post of mine, you will realize that when I come to water, to me it is the end of the line. To my husband it is a challenge to be faced. This first picture is my husband facing the challenge. I'm taking pictures of said husband facing the challenge. The next picture is of the results of facing the challenge. You can't see the smile on his face, but I can To him it is just another thing to deal with. And the interesting part was, he did. Thank goodness for tough willows and winches.

Anyhow the quad got out and I got pictures and once again I had to realize that all the things I worry about again and again, won't necessarily happen. Once again I had to trust my husband. And once again I had to see the adventure in the moment. I'm a work in progress. But the fact that I was taking pictures instead of wringing my hands and wondering how in the world we are going to get out of here and what if we don't and we have to walk all the way back and the bears lurking in the bush attack us and our grandchildren will never see us again and someday some hunter will stumble over our carcasses and see the quad buried in the creek and realize what happens . . . . . shows that I've made some progress.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

Susan Sleeman here! Looking like Christmas in October? Okay, so it's looking more like fall with leaves turning colors and falling from the trees, cooler temperatures, pumpkins and gourds and costume preparations, but I'm thinking Christmas.

This will be a very different Christmas for my husband and I. Both of our daughters are grown and live out of state. This year neither of them will be able to come home for the holidays. My husband is a church music director so Christmas is one of his busiest times of year and we are unable to travel at Christmas time to be with them. So it will be our first Christmas in thirty-one years without children. A first I'm not sure I'm ready for.

But I also have another first this Christmas that I am eagerly awaiting. I have a Christmas themed book, The Christmas Witness releasing at the end of November. As I prepare interviews for various blogs, press releases, etc, my mind has already traveled to the wonderful time of year.

The Christmas Witness is not your typical Christmas book. Here's the back cover copy.

When a criminal threatened to kill Megan Cash if she testified against him, she didn’t back down. Years later, he’s out of jail and ready for revenge against Megan and her daughter. The only one who can protect them is the former FBI agent who broke Megan’s heart.

But Reid Morgan isn’t the same man—he’s now a widowed father with a harrowing past. . .and a heart more guarded than ever. Still, he’s the only one who believes Megan when she says she’s in danger. Because someone wants to make this a Christmas she won’t live long enough to forget.

As you can see it's a suspense novel with kidnapping, ransom and a revenge plot, things I don't ever think of when I think of Christmas. But under all of the suspense and romance, The Christmas Witness is a story of finding hope in God's promises when life looks the bleakest. And what better time of the year to celebrate hope than at Christmas.

Even though my daughters are thousands of mile away, I can celebrate with my church family and embrace the season for all the joy it brings. So what about you? Have you started thinking about Christmas yet? What will you do this Christmas? Will you be with family?

SUSAN SLEEMAN is a best-selling author of 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. Sign up for her newsletter to learn about her latest releases and monthly contests. And if you’re on Facebook be sure to stop by Susan Sleeman Books, too, where you can find out what Susan is up to.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Jenna Mindel here. I seem to be in line with everyone's pet themes since I planned on blogging about my latest passion - a 4month old guinea pig we've named Beatrice! Aunt Bea for short. Our neighbors gave her to us and it's a good thing too, because after holding little Bea, my fate was sealed. She's a sweetie-pie and loves to be held. She's also learned to squeal for lettuce. I've discovered that Aunt Bea prefers leaf to romaine, along with raw carrots. We're anxiously awaiting our neighbors' next brood of baby guinea pigs so we can give Beatrice a little sister.

Now my home is pretty small but to me, my house just isn't a home without pets. I've been bringing home critters all my life, but my parents were not always hip to keeping them. Thank goodness for my husband's willingness to accept my menagerie of living things including discarded houseplants I've picked up over the years. Steve didn't blink an eye when I brought home a fish tank so I could take in a co-worker's Green Terror cichlid. That fish died years ago, but I still maintain a freshwater tropical fish tank mainly because I want to give a Wal-mart Betta the chance to live outside the cup.

My husband and I also love beagles and during our 26 yrs of marriage, we've taken in a few. Our current dog, Lana, was a foundling from four years ago and she's quite the little princess. She's not too sure about Aunt Bea though.... Don't worry, Lana is very gentle with Bea even though she's a little disgusted with us.

What kind of pets do you have and why? I love reading romances that showcase animals. Do you think adding an animal to a book helps or hinders its appeal?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Ollie, Part Deux

I was going to blog on something else, but when I saw Pam Tracy's picture of her cat, I knew I had to blog about my granddog, Ollie. (Part 1 is at He's a puppy at 156 pounds and unhappy that his owners left him with me. The whining has been constant since Saturday night. He's a determined guy--sweet but determined. I need to work on final read through of my WIP, so I went to Starbucks. So many of my writer friends go there and hangout. I tried and loved it. I think I'll continue going there after my son and his wife come home and get their puppy. I tell my family all Starbucks gift cards will be welcome as Christmas gifts.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Who Could Resist

Pamela Tracy here, and what you see posted above is the newest addition to my family. We've only had him two weeks. He's a five month old gray tiger kitten. What's really amazing about him is he has six toes.

For twenty years I shared my home with two cats, Priscilla and Aquila.

Pris was a rescue. I have no idea how old she was when I got her, but she lived with me for 22 years. She was a thin calico cat. When I first got her, she lived under the bed. After about a week, she came out. She hid when people came over. She was a cat. No, I'm not stating the obvious. She would only allow you to pet her when she was in the mood.

Aquila was given to me by one of my kindergarten students. Her dad said, "Cats must go. Now." I wound up with a fluffy black and white five week old kitten. He lived with me for 18 years. From day one he was mine. Pris didn't think much of him. She beat him up every day. He was 1/3 cat, 1/3 dog, and 1/3 kid. I leash trained him. He came when he was called. And he loved me.

I can already tell that Tyre (kitty pictured above) is going to be more like Aquila. He's laying next to me now, his head on my elbow as I type. Sometimes he jumped up to chase the cursor. I'm sure my editor will not appreciate the sudden appearance of srange random typings (like 8b89s22) on my manuscript.

I'm just amazed it took me so long (three years) between cats. I guess I'll blame my son. He kept me busy between age three and six.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Maine Fellowship of Christian Writers

I spent last Saturday at the annual 1-day conference of the Maine Fellowship of Christian Writers. This was my second year holding a couple of workshops with them. Last year's found us in Belfast, Maine, a lovely waterfront town. This year, we were farther inland in Waterville, a city between the capital, Augusta, and the 2nd largest city, Bangor. For me, it meant a 3-hour drive, but it was well-worth it to spend a day in the company of fellow writers, both of fiction and non-fiction. Workshops ranged from writing devotionals for publications to writing dialogue for children's literature. My workshops focused on plotting & pacing your novel, and writing the synopsis. As anyone who's tried to publish a novel knows, you have to write a synopsis (summary of it) for the prospective editor to read. Most of us hate writing those, but especially those "seat of the pants" writers who write more by instinct than by following a well-thought-out plot. Both types of writers eventually get where they're going--to "The End," but the first group has a hard time analyzing how exactly she does it.Pictured here at the end of the day are fellow writers Carla Gade (Barbour) and Susan Page Davis (Steeple Hill Suspense, Barbour and Moody Publishers). The church where the conference was held had recently had a VBS, so you can see we used their props for our photo op.