Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Back Home Again in (a Resilient) Indiana

Dana Corbit here. I'm writing today from a remote location in Kokomo, Indiana. My hometown. I had been planning to come home this week to visit with family, but the city I drove into last night - the uprooted trees, the huge signs and poles twisted like wire hangers, the homes and businesses either with gaping holes or reduced to rubble -  bore little resemblance to the hard-working, hope-filled city of my childhood memories. At least on the surface. You see, on Sunday, Nov. 17, when multiple tornadoes ravaged the Midwest - 23 in Indiana alone - two of those tornadoes tore a path of destruction through the center of this city. Still my city, even if I haven't lived here for the last 25 years.

It was so strange rolling down US 31, the main drag that bisects Kokomo from north to south. The car crept past police officers directing traffic because of power outages and past huge chippers and workers clearing away downed trees at the Chrysler Kokomo Transmission Plant. (I took the photo below while stopped in traffic, but the others are from my sister, who'd taken them earlier yesterday.)

When I turned off the bypass onto Lincoln Road,  I drove past a heavily damaged American Legion Golf Course and then past several locations inextricably tied to the memories of my youth. The Maple Crest Shopping Center, which was once home to my favorite cruising spot by the old Hills Department Store, looked like a war zone. The UAW union hall where my friend had her wedding reception had been destroyed. Even the complex where my dad and stepmother still live sustained damage.

Yes, I feel a sense of loss, but mine is but a raindrop in a flood when compared to the devastation many Kokomo residents are facing. So many, including one family I know personally, have lost their homes, and most will face huge obstacles as they rebuild.

I tell you about these losses because I wanted to share the other side of this story.  Even while they were digging out from beneath the rubble, residents were already giving thanks, that there has been no loss of life, for neighbors who are willing to help, for the ability to rebuild. Someone posted on Facebook last night giving thanks for the group of local youth who showed up together to help clear away debris at that same union hall. These people are resilient. They will rebuild...together.

Now this is the Kokomo I remember. It might not look the same. Truth be told, it didn't look like I remembered, even before Sunday. Twenty-five years is a long time. :) But I do recall this warmth. This faith in God. This hope for the future. Yes, you can go home again. And I'm happy I did.

This trip has been a reminder to me that as we look forward to Thanksgiving next week, we need to give thanks for all of our blessings, especially that we have enough to share with others. But more than to give thanks, we need to be Christ's hands on earth, whether digging out from a disaster like this one or helping others in our local communities in whatever way we can. The hymn we always sing at Thanksgiving, "Blessed Be the Tie That Binds," has been flowing through my thoughts all day, so I looked up the lyrics. The words from Verse 3, seem so fitting:

We share each other's woes,
our mutual burdens bear;
and for each other flows
the sympathizing tear.

Let us pray for the people of Kokomo and of the other communities affected by natural disasters.
Blessings to all!


Monday, November 18, 2013

Winner of Surprise Box of Christian books

The winner (by random number generator) of my contest for the Surprise Box of Christian books is:
Cheryl O.
Congratulations! (I've emailed you. Please email me if you don't get a response from me, because I might not have gotten your email.)

For the rest of you, cheer up! I had such a great response for my Surprise Box giveaway, I've decided to do another giveaway on my blog (http://camys-loft.blogspot.com/)in the coming week! I figured, it's a nice prize for the holiday season. :)

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Firefighter's New Family - Sisters #2

Here it is again, time to talk about the excitment of things going on at Love Inspired. Hi from Gail Gaymer Martin at www.gailgaymermartin.com

I'm excited since my last two Sisters Series novels are being released close together for once. Readers of Her Valentine Hero have been waiting a long time to hear more about the sisters and their lives. Book 1 was Neely's story and you met Ashley at that time.  Her story is the next release, Sisters #2, The Firefighter's New Family is a January release (in stores at the end of December) with the final book, Rescued By A Firefighter, will be in stores at the end of March.  If you enjoy excitement and romance, you'll love these novels.

BackCover Blurb:
A tornado may have left Ashley Kern injured beneath a fallen tree, but it's her rescuer who plays havoc with her emotions. Firefighter Devon Murphy is everything the single mom could wish for in a husband: handsome, a doting father and ready to join his family to hers. But how can the pretty war widow make a life once more with a man whose career is full of danger? Devon has fought some pretty big battles in his life, but can he help Ashley conquer her fears and show her the safest place of all is in his arms?

RT Review: 4 stars:  In, The Firefighter's New Family, second book in the Sisters series, strong characters demonstrate how we should not let fear prevent us from living the life God has planned. Martin is inventive with her offbeat comparison of a family to a puzzle.

If you decide to preorder the novel, please send forward me the proof of your pre-order, and I will send you a PDF file of my fun, romantic short story, In The Market For Love.  Send the proof of purchase on the contact page of my website. It will provide the email address. You can get to the book order link by going to the books page at: http://bit.ly/1gPbKiO Or you can read Chapter 1 Excerpt. Hope to hear from you.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Thankful for Readers and the Giving of Others by Cheryl Wyatt

What are you all doing for Thanksgiving? Are you staying at home and having people over? Are you going to a family member's house? I'd love to hear your plans. We alternate every other year between my mom's house and my mother-in-law's house. They both have amazing gifts of hospitality. As November rolls around, we are reminded more than any other time to be thankful for what we have. I had something break in my home the other day and I started to get aggravated...then I remembered the Philippines and the disaster there. Please keep them in your prayers and donate even ten dollars if you can, to places such as World Vision or Compassion. A little goes a long way in a third world country affected by a disaster of that magnitude. I have so many giving people in my life. One of these photos contains the beautiful fall plant my sister in law sent to me after my grandmother died a couple of weeks ago. It really brightened my day. Never mind that my daughters are avidly praying for the plant because I tend to kill everything. In fact, my friends call my house the Horticulture Hospice because it's the place where plants come to die. I intend to keep this plant alive though to the best of my ability...which means turning over its care to my middle daughter with the green thumb. See the stuffed peppers? She and her sister (tweens, mind you) made those completely from scratch. They were so yummy and healthy too. I was working on a new book proposal and they graciously handled dinner. Didn't they do a fine job? I'm so thankful for my girls. They make me laugh every day. See these ornaments? A dear reader, Jenny, sent those to me from Australia. I cherish them as well as her readership. We authors couldn't do what we do without the support of readers. We realize that by reading our books, you're giving of your time and most likely your money in purchasing the book. Please know that us Love Inspired authors and even then editors, are HUGE fans of readers. We love you and appreciate all you do to help us get the word out about our books. Speaking of books, have you had a chance to read my newest release, The Nurse's Secret Suitor? If so, let me know what you think. In the meantime, please know that I'm exceedingly thankful for you! Don't forget to share your Thanksgiving plans. Would love to hear about you! Endless love and boundless prayers, Cheryl Wyatt

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

How does a Thanksgiving Holiday feel?

Jenna Mindel here, looking forward to the upcoming holiday of Thanksgiving.   This year will be different for my husband and me.  For the first time, we're staying home and spending the holiday alone.  And we're actually okay with that.  But even though it's just the two of us, I still want to make a turkey and trimmings.  A meal out at a restaurant holds no appeal for me on this particular day.  It just wouldn't feel right.

Another first for me, is writing for a Love Inspired continuity series that releases the latter part of next year.  I'm blessed with this opportunity to write the 5th book and it's set during Thanksgiving. I hope to capture the warmth and feel of the holiday but also include the reverence of giving thanks for God's providence. 

Thanksgiving isn't only about the food, and spending time with family but thanking God for the little things, the big things and the uncertain things.    

So, if I may, what things do you and your family do to thank the Lord for His blessings? Any Thanksgiving traditions you care to share?


Monday, November 11, 2013

A Thanksgiving Giveaway

Susan Sleeman here. Though Thanksgiving is three weeks away, I won’t be posting here again until after the holiday so I wanted to share what I am thankful for this year and say a special thanks to all the wonderful Love Inspired readers with a book giveaway.

I’m always thankful for my family. For my beautiful daughters, adorable grandson, very responsible son-in-law, and my hubby who has put up with me for so many years. But this year, family has held a whole new meaning for me. 

I have mentioned before that we moved cross-county this past year from Florida to Oregon to be closer to family. And praise God, it has been so wonderful. One daughter now lives with us as she finishes college, the other is just .2 of a mile away and she stops by often with our grandson. We regularly babysit for our five-year-old grandson and have recently enjoyed our first sleep over event with him. I cannot put into words how precious this time with our family is to us after living thousands of miles away from most them for ten years.

Not that it hasn’t been without its challenges. My hubby was unable to find a job as a church music director so he’s been working part-time at a retail store while he gets his real-estate license. So we’ve had to cut back on spending and really watch our pennies. Well, praise God again, he is now licensed and his second career in life is about to begin. I look forward to seeing him succeed in this new venture. I just hope now that he’s a real estate professional he won’t refuse to watch House Hunters with me because it will feel like work instead of relaxation. LOL

And I’d like to say how thankful I am to you, the wonderful, dedicated Love Inspired readers, I'm giving away two copies of my latest book, Thread of Suspicion. Just fill in the form below and you will be entered to win. Entering will sign you up for my newsletter, too, so you can learn about the other contests I hold. Be sure to check out the boring contest rules at the end of the post and also I'd love it if you leave a comment on this blog about what you are especially thankful for this month.


When someone sabotages former navy SEAL Luke Baldwin’s “unhackable” software, there’s more than his reputation at stake. Faced with treason charges, Luke turns to Dani Justice, a computer expert and skilled investigator. She’s eager to dive into the challenging case…until she uncovers a devastating connection. The hacker framing Luke has a personal, deadly history with Dani. Luke’s code of honor and his growing feelings make him resolved to protect the sweet, strong woman he knows is more vulnerable than she’d admit. But what good is his training or determination against an enemy who can hack into any system and find them wherever they hide?

1. Only one entry per person per contest is allowed.
2. Contest open to residents of the 50 United States and D.C. Void where prohibited.
3. Winner agrees to provide shipping address and allow Susan to publicize their name in conjunction with the contest.
3. Winner agrees to provide shipping address and allow Susan to publicize their name in conjunction with the contest.
4. Contest ends on November 30th, 2013 at midnight eastern standard time.
5. Two Winners will be selected at random by random.org to receive a copy of Thread of Suspicion by Susan Sleeman.
6. The prizewinners will be notified by email and posted on Susan’s contest page after they respond to the email notification. If Susan does not receive an email response from the winners within 7 days from the date of the drawing, another winner will be drawn.
7. You must have access to the Internet and a valid email address in order to enter or win.
8. Your chances of winning depend on the number of entries.
9. No purchase necessary.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Giveaway - Surprise Box of Christian Books

Camy here! I have a bunch of Christian books given to me to give away, so I’m pulling a bunch of them together into a surprise box. They’ll include non-fiction and fiction, a mix of genres. There’ll be something in there for every taste!

To enter:

You must join my email newsletter to be eligible for this contest. Fill out the form below. Be sure to read the rules.

Extra Twitter entries: Get one extra entry per day if you tweet about this giveaway:
Giveaway of Surprise Box of Christian Books! http://is.gd/8cgpWQ @camytang
(Be sure to include @camytang so I can see your tweet and give you your extra entry.)

Extra Facebook entries: Get one extra entry per day if you share this Facebook post on your own Facebook profile and/or page: https://www.facebook.com/CamyTangAuthor/posts/10151795097867620
(Be sure you share the post at the link above--go to the link and then click "share". Make sure you set the privacy of your share to “public” so I can see that you shared it and give you your extra entry even if I’m not on your friends list.)

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Favorite Romance Novel Themes

Good morning, Renee Ryan here.  In honor of a personal anniversary I have a special giveaway today, but more on that later.  Thirty years ago I read my first romance novel.  At the time, I was in college, pursuing a double major in Economics and Religious Studies.  Both subjects required intensive reading of complicated material.  A sorority sister noticed my eyes crossing after a long night of study and took pity on me.  She handed me a Harlequin Presents romance novel and said, “Take a break.” 

I did.  I was hooked.  Romance novels became my greatest treat after a long day of studying.  At the time, I never dreamed I’d one day write a novel (see my majors up above) or that I would write for the company where it all began for me.  I certainly never dreamed I would incorporate some of very same themes I enjoyed all those years ago.   Here is a list, in no particular order, of my favorite romance novel themes.
Marriage of Convenience
Reunion/Old Flame
Fish out of water (i.e. city girl on a ranch, etc.)
Matchmaker/Matchmaker kids
Single parent
Mistaken identity
Bad boy and Good girl

Within each of these themes are a million different storylines.   I’ve used one or more in all of my published novels to date.  For example, I used marriage of convenience and widow/widower in my book HEARTLAND WEDDING.  In MISTAKEN BRIDE I had twins, mistaken identity, nanny, single parent, and widow/widower.

I guess it’s true what they say, there are no new stories just new ways to tell them.

What about you?  When did you first start reading romance novels and what are your favorite themes?  Leave a comment and I’ll put your name in a drawing to win my November release FINALLY A BRIDE, book 7 in my Charity House series.  By the way, FINALLY A BRIDE has the reunion/old flame and matchmaker themes.  

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Allie Pleiter on "Some infinities..."

Today is a hard day that ought not to be.

While today is my birthday, and that is lovely, it is also the memorial service for a lovely young lady in my life.  The Rachel to whom THE FIREFIGHTER’S MATCH is dedicated, an extraordinary woman in her early twenties who has waged more medical wars than most of us will face in a lifetime, will be laid to rest today.  While I am filled with sorrow that Rachel did not survive to see the release of the book which honors her, she did live to hold an advance copy and read some of it.  I have a precious photograph of her with her nose in the book in her ICU hospital bed.

God chose to heal Rachel by calling her home where pain and illness can no longer hold her hostage.  For someone who makes her life in “happy endings,” that is a hard ending to bear.  But those of you who know me know our family is no stranger to medical warfare, and I have learned to trust that God is always in control.  Rachel is still a victor in my eyes, even though my heart breaks for those who now must carry on without her.

I chose to move my birthday to another day this year.  After all, I’m hoping I’ll have several more to spare.  Hug someone you love today and tell them how much they mean to you.  Life is too short not to love while you can.

As for Rachel, it would be a crime to call her life short.  She filled it with everything she could despite limitations that would hobble the strongest of us.  I keep thinking of the poignant line from John Green’s tragically beautiful novel THE FAULT IN OUR STARS.  “Some infinities are bigger than other infinities.”