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

Work of Our Hands by Marta Perry

Last night I went to a women's association mission event at my church, where we learned about the work of Root International, a Christian organization that sends help wherever and whenever it's needed, although it has continuing operations with children's schools with Native Americans and in Mexico. It proved to be an especially meaningful event, because our town was a direct beneficiary of their work in September, when massive flooding hit our area. It was amazing to see that big trailer from Root International pull up in town, jammed full with mattresses and food and equipment to help with the losses right here.

Part of our program was to make small teddy bears to send with Root to children in need of a bit of comfort as well as more material help. For us, with the memory of our own disaster still fresh in our minds, doing so was particularly poignant. But as we sat around tables stuffing bears and sewing seams while we talked and laughed together, I was also reminded of the role handwork plays in women's lives. For generations, women have used the work of their hands not only to create necessary things for their families and others, but also to express their artistry and creative urges.

I don't have to go any farther than my cedar chest to see that expression of love and artistry. Looking at the Double Wedding Ring quilt created from postage-stamp-size patches by a great-aunt or the Autumn Leaf quilt my mother made for me or the dresser scarves embroidered by my grandmother, I am reminded again of how precious the work of our hands can be. Each item seems to come with a memory attached, carrying love from previous generations. I've tried to express that appreciation often in my books, especially in my Amish stories.

So when I make doll clothes with one granddaughter and Christmas ornaments with another, I hope I'm doing my part to carry on that tradition. What hand work do you do? Do you find particular satisfaction in it? I hope so.

Marta Perry

Monday, November 7, 2011

Janet Tronstad captures the theme of her Dry Creek books

This is Janet Tronstad here, giving some thought to how to capture the themes that run through my long-time Dry Creek series. As many of you know, Dry Creek is a fictious small town in the southeastern corner of Montana. I was born in that corner of the state, but my parents moved from there when it was time for me and my sister to go to school. It was so isolated there was virtually no way for us to attend school once they closed the one room school that had served the few rural families for decades. I doubt there were more than fifteen in all eight grades of that school (I would know as my mother was the teacher and she brought me to school with her in a basket of some sort. I spent the first few years of my life in that school before I actually officially attended). In any event, even though my family moved to a more prosperous part of the state, the feelings of that remote area are woven through of family's life and find their way into the stories I tell in my Dry Creek series. When it came time to do what I call 'a bigger promotion' of my books, I decided to write a song to talk about the values of that area. Fortunately, I have a good friend who was a professional musician 'in the day' and was eager to help me bring my lyrics to life. I know have a You Tube of that song. I located Depression era photos to go with the song (one of those photos is shown here). These are actual pictures taken by a US government program during the years of the depression. You can listen to part of the song here. You will need to scroll down a little until you see my name and Montana Quilting Song.

Come listen to a song I wrote. Lyrics by me, music by my good friend, David White. Dpression era photos. It's a tribute to my Dry Creek books.

Montana Quilting Song
Janet Tronstad is the award-winning author of a long-standing series of Harlequin Love Inspired novels set in the fictitious town of Dry Creek, Montana. Roma...

The full song will be available as an iTune when I get it set-up (check my website for updates on the iTune). I was very pleased with the way the song spoke to the values I learned in Montana as a child.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Leigh Bale Talks About Hotshots!

Hotshot wildfire fighters, that is. A hotshot is an elite wildfire fighter. Structure firefighters are very commonly known…we rely on them to save us if we have a house fire. Smoke jumpers get a lot of press because they leap out of airplanes into forest fires. But man-for-man (or woman), a hotshot is in just as superb physical condition as a smoke jumper. But hotshots work as a team. No one builds fireline faster than a hotshot. They are highly trained, highly skilled at fighting wildfire. In fact, they eat small fires for breakfast. They go where no one else will go, hiking through the most difficult terrain you can imagine in order to face walls of flames.

In my new release out this month titled THE FOREST RANGER’S HUSBAND, the book is jam-packed with intense, page-turning scenes. The hero is a hotshot who almost dies and loses one of the crewmen under his command during a wildfire. His near death experience changes him in ways he doesn’t understand. He suffers from survivor’s guilt and begins to question his priorities. Feeling adrift professionally and spiritually, he seeks to restructure his goals.

This book is the second in my new Forest Ranger series and can be read as a standalone title. Look at the beautiful cover they gave me! They almost got it perfect, except the boots aren't quite right. Wildfire fighters wear White's boots (White's is the maker of the boots), with at least 6-inch lug soles to protect their feet from the super-heated ground and fire. The hero on the cover looks just like I remember my father looking when he would leave to go fight wildfire. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Do you know any firefighters, either for structure fires or forest fires? Maybe yourself, a husband, family member, or friend? They’re an amazing breed of people, aren’t they? Truly an American hero.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Writing Life

Hi all - Charlotte Carter here.

(This interview by Brenna Audbrey originally appeared in the Orange County Chapter of Romance Writers of America newsletter, November 2011. She asked such good questions, I thought I share it with you.)

Under various pseudonyms, Charlotte Carter has authored 56 romance novels and cozy mysteries for Harlequin, Dorchester and Guideposts Books. Her most recent book, Big Sky Family, is a November 2011 release from Harlequin Love Inspired.

Q. You've written SO many books. How do you keep yourself motivated to write?

I’m compulsive! Maybe it’s because I started late in this writing business, but writing, discovering a story, soothes me (when it’s going well, of course). And there’s always another story to tell lurking somewhere in the back of my mind. So little time, so many stories......

Q. You've written in several different subgenres. Do you stick with one genre at a time or do you switch it up and change from book to book to keep it interesting?

The vast majority of my books have been romance novels. Now, however, I’m writing for two publishers: inspirational romance for Love Inspired and cozy mystery continuities for Guideposts Books. I try to alternate between publishers, which is somewhat dependent on my schedule for the Guideposts books in whatever series is current.

Q. What is your writing process like? Linear or dot-to-dot? Planner or pantser? Do you write long hand or on the computer? etc.

I’m definitely linear and a planner, although the characters have been known to give me a surprise now and then. I start off plotting with a pen and college-lined notebook paper. (You can tell how high-tech I am - Not!) I establish who the characters are and their goals, diagram a W plot and work through the hero’s journey. At that point I can usually write a synopsis, which I do on the computer as well as the rest of the manuscript.

Q. What is your most reliable "go to" tool when you realize your story is broken and needs fixing?

For many years, my favorite “go to” tool was Mindy Neff and Susan Phillips, my critique partners. More recently I’ve been whining to Kara Lennox ( Harlequin American author), who is great with the ‘black moment.’ If they aren’t handy, I may take a second look at Save the Cat by Blake Synder, do Debbie Macomber’s list of 20, or let my subconscious solve the problem while I sleep. I will say, by chapter 3 I pretty well can tell if the story is going to work.

Q. How have you managed to brand yourself, given the different genres you have written in?

I’ve never quite understood this ‘branding’ business, but I do have a motto and a promise that I make to readers: Books that leave you Charlotte Carter. When I was writing for Harlequin American (as Charlotte Maclay) I wrote warm, family stories. Now, with Love Inspired (w/a Charlotte Carter) I’m writing warm, family stories but with a deeper emotional tone and characters who are dealing with serious problems — a heart transplant recipient, loss of family members, and in my current book, Big Sky Family, a hero who is paraplegic.

Q. You have a wonderful sense of humor that serves you well when speaking publicly. How does your humor serve you in your writing career?

I wish I could say my sense of humor allows me to laugh at copy editors, but that would be a lie. In my writing, humor tends to worm it’s way into the story via children, who are always unpredictable, or by creating a ‘fish out of water’ story for the hero or heroine. Often it’s the reaction of a ‘straight’ character to a humorous situation that can make a reader smile.

Q. What authors and genres do you like to read?

I most often read suspense and romantic suspense, single title romance, legal thrillers, and the like. I’ve recently read James Patterson (Alex Cross story), John Grisham, Iris Johansen, and Rachel Lee books. Sandra Brown and Susan Elizabeth Phillips have always been my favorites And to my delight, my fellow Orange County Chapter members, Debra Mullin and Tessa Dare have brought me back to historical romance, my first love.

Q. What piece of advice do you consider most important sharing with an aspiring author?

Write! Write! And write some more. I was very fortunate when I joined RWA that I could come home from a chapter meeting and immediately use whatever information I’d gleaned in my work-in-progress.. It’s impossible, in my view, to learn to write without having somehow finished a story. My various critique groups have also been invaluable. (My technique is to be the dumbest one in the group so I can learn the most; so far I’ve achieved that goal..) I continue to learn by attending workshops and taking online classes in the hope of improving my craft. As Susan Macias said at the Orange County October Birthday Bash, “The only guarantee that you won’t sell is if you quit writing.”

Visit Charlotte’s blog at