Thursday, April 26, 2012

In Search of the Perfect Dress

Hi all, Renee Ryan here. I’m in a bit of a bursting-with-joy/excited/snoopy-dance kind of mood today. My son is getting married this weekend. In just two days he will become someone’s husband. When did he get that old? When did I get that old? The good news is that we adore his bride and expect lots of blessed family events to share with the young couple in the days to come. What can I say…YAY!

Now that the wedding is in two days and the out-of-town guests are arriving, I can freely admit that I agonized over what to wear to the ceremony. I had many dear friends warn me to start looking for my dress at least six months in advance. Did I listen? Nope. I kept putting it off and putting it off and, oh yeah, I don’t know why I couldn’t make myself go shopping. I love shopping. Maybe it was because I kept thinking, “I’ll lose a few extra pounds before the date draws near.” Didn’t happen. Then I found myself thinking, “Maybe I’ll find the perfect dress online.” HA! Fat chance.

With only a few weeks to go, and desperation setting in, I told myself, “I will walk into a store at random and there it will be, the perfect dress, waiting for me in the window.” Yeah, go ahead, laugh. It’s what many of my friends did when I told them that plan.

Two weeks before the wedding, when I finally forced myself to go shopping, I knew I needed a bit of inspiration before I braved the stores. I turned to the cover of my May release, MISTAKEN BRIDE (attached with this blog entry) for guidance. That blue dress is amazing, don’t you think? Since my heroine and I have the same coloring, I figured: Why not go with blue? Decision made, I went in search of a blue dress. I found the perfect specimen at the first store I entered. It wasn’t a perfect fit, but I had enough time to get the dress altered. Stay tuned for my next blog entry May 15, where I’ll post a picture from the wedding.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Letting Go--Terri Reed

Terri Reed here.  This is a crazy season for our family.   There are only thirty days or so left of school for my kids.  I have a senior who is anxious for it to be over.  Senioritis has hit her hard.   For me, its been an emotional and overwhelming time as we plan for her college education.  She has decided to go aboard to study at Richmond, The American International University in London.  Letting go is going to be hard for me as she and I are very close. 
Does anyone have advice? Can you relate?  

Monday, April 23, 2012

Allie Pleiter on loving books

Book fairs are among my favorite places. So many wonderful, temping volumes in one room!

Sitting in a book fair, I see faces pass by that hold the "I want them all!" expression.   I feel it, too--the happy yearning for all the time in the world to read every book I want (and, I suppose, an unlimited book budget!).

Of course, I don't have all the time in the world, and neither do you. So I have to find lots of creative ways to feed my book appetite. The neat thing about today's world is that there a lots of ways to devour books.

I listen to audio books in the car. I have one book loaded on my iPhone, another on my iPad, two paper books in my house, and there's almost always one stashed somewhere in my car. And then there are the stacks of reference books scattered around the floor by my desk for research. For example, my current in-progress collection includes one contemporary romance, one historical novel, a nutrition book in audio form, a collection of essays on my iPhone, a spiritual book on my iPad, and a literary novel in my car. 

Such a buffet of words! While there are days I can manage a long, luxurious read, most days I am "snacking" anywhere I can.

What about you? What's in your "daily diet" of reading and how do you get to it?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Imagination by Merrillee Whren

This week I'm staying with my daughter in anticipation of my second grandchild's birth. While I'm here, I've been playing with my three-year-old granddaughter. She has a vivid imagination. So we are constantly playing with imaginary friends and imaginary animals. The writer in me wonders whether she will one day follow in my footsteps and put her imagination to work writing fiction. Long before I ever thought about writing stories to sell, I made up stories in my head. I played with imaginary friends and had imaginary conversations.

These days I still make up people who have conversations in my head. I count it a privilege to share these people with readers as I write books.

How do you use your imagination?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Writing and Weather by Marta Perry

We seem to be riding a wave of weather-related posts lately, and I've been thinking about what Leann said in her blog post about getting a story out of all the crazy weather. It seems no matter where we live, there is some weather-related phenomena to write about, and I think doing so can bring a reality and freshness to a story that is important. Someone recently used the words "disaster fatigue" in my hearing, referring to the fact that after we watch so many stories on the news of disastrous tornados and terrible tsunamis, we begin to detach from them.

That's human nature, I suppose. We watch, we marvel, we say a quick prayer for the victims, maybe we give money or send other aid. But then we move on. There are always new stories, new things going on in the world to engage our emotions and motivate our giving.

But what about the people who actually lived through the disaster? For them, moving on is not so easy or so quick. Here in the Susquehanna Valley in Pennsylvania, we are still recovering from the disastrous flooding that accompanied Hurricane Lee on its rampage. That happened in early September, but some people are still out of their homes, still unable to get on with their lives. For them, the flood is still now.

We were fortunate last September, more fortunate than many. We were isolated for a few days out here in the country, unable to get to town because of the river flooding, but at least we were warm and dry. The creek rose into the barn, but then it flowed back out again without causing much damage. Still, we were involved. Friends, church members, other people we don't even know were hurting. We gave money and supplies, fixed food and offered prayers. When the community is in pain, we all are.

And what does this have to do with writing, you ask? It's my feeling that all of the things we go through become a part of our creative imagination. Sometimes as writers we're not even aware that it's happening, but there it is on the page--we've worked out our grief and anguish through our fiction, and if we've done it well enough, we've drawn other people, people who haven't known this particular disaster, into it with us.

I'm in the planning stages of a new trilogy at the moment, and sure enough, a flood has worked its way into the story. It's part of my life, so it's part of my story. If I've done it well enough, perhaps God may use it to move or to comfort someone else, and that is why we write, isn't it?


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

What a Day--Week

Leann Harris here. It has been a crazy day in my part of the country. We had 15 tornadoes rip through our area. It started around 1 pm. Storms usually don't bother me, but I spent the afternoon going from the front windows to the back windows. The weather sirens sounded 4 different times. Thankfully, no one was killed, but I watched on TV a tractor trailer be lifted up and spun like a top. When I finally turned on my computer and read all the Facebook posts, it was amazing to see how people traded information. should take you to the pictures.

This week has been memorable already. On Monday, we finished the Beth Moore study "Jesus The One and Only." It was amazing. It gave me insight into Christ's life. Her mind goes in different directions than mind, giving me new insight. I would recommend the study. And our last class was during Holy Week. This Easter will have new dimensions for me.

Finally, tomorrow my daughter defends her dissertation. We're going to be there. I am a proud mama.
P.S. I haven't got to the store to see my book yet. After reading Margaret's post about the hurricane, I'm thinking surely I will get a story out of this.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Tidbits About a Town Called Hope Series

Hi, Margaret Daley here.

My second book in A Town Called Hope Series is out right now. It's called A Love Rekindled, April 2012, Love Inspired. The first book was a December 2011 Love Inspired, His Holiday Family. The next will be out in September titled A Mom's New Start.

I wrote this series because I grew up in Biloxi, Mississippi where hurricanes often hit. I wanted to show a town rallying together to overcome the tragedy caused by one. So many tidbits in the series come from my background. Hurricane Naomi hits Hope, Mississippi. The way the hurricane heads toward the town but turns toward Florida. The town thinks they are safe until the hurricane makes an almost one hundred eighty degree turn again and comes right back to hit Hope. That happened to me with one of the hurricanes that hit Biloxi.

Some of the preparations for the hurricane and the aftermath are based on my past and circumstances that happened to people I know and family. My mother was a nurse (later the head of nursing at the hospital), and when there was a hurricane, she was at the hospital working to help take care of the victims. When Camille hit Biloxi in 1969, my mother was a nurse for a school, and I got a glimpse of what is was like months afterwards to recover in the part of the town that was hit the hardest through my mother trying to help the students at her school.

Throughout this series there is a lot of me in the stories. Read and see if you can figure out what part.

A Love Rekindled, April 2012:

Kim Walters wants Zane Davidson's help all right. Her family is struggling to rebuild their home after a hurricane, and Zane is a successful contractor. But the fifteen years that have passed since they were high school sweethearts aren't about to magically melt away. Nothing can erase Mr. Walters's clear message—Zane wasn't good enough for his daughter. But now the Walters fortune is gone, and the town is reeling from the recent natural disaster. Can Kim and Zane find the faith to believe that some things work better the second time around?