Sunday, November 23, 2014

Loneliness, Free Book, and Ornament Giveaway!

Lee Tobin McClain here. It’s Thanksgiving week, and because I'm a new Love Inspired author, it’s my first posting here. So I thought I’d write about something cheerful like…loneliness????

The thing is, a lot of people in our crazy world are lonely, and they can get more so as the holiday season approaches. I remember a time in my life when I was super lonely. In my twenties, I spent a year house-sitting for a friend on a mountaintop in Colorado. It was an absolutely gorgeous environment, and the house was cozy, and I’d always wanted to try living and writing out in the country . . .

Free on Amazon, iBooks, and Kobo!
And I was desperately lonely. I made excuses to stay in town, I begged friends to come visit, I befriended drunken hunters and eccentric, reclusive neighbors and the wood rat that lived in the attic (well, we didn’t become that close). As soon as the house-sitting wasn’t needed anymore, I high-tailed it back to town and moved into a busy apartment complex. Guess this introverted writer wasn’t cut out for total solitude!

That experience plays into the first novel in my new Sacred Bond series. In His Baby Bond, heroine Kendra is a fabric artist, and she lives alone on the top of a mountain. Kinda like me, except that she’s also raising her baby niece there because her sister and brother-in-law have been killed in an avalanche. One winter evening, millionaire Zeke King arrives, demanding custody of his dead brother’s baby. And the battle is on!

Since His Baby Bond is the first book in the series, I’m offering it free for your e-reader. I’d love for you to try it and let me know what you think!

I’m also giving away 100 Christmas ornaments! Come sign up for my mailing list and I’ll send you this pretty little cast-iron manger. And guess what: it ties right in with the missing baby Jesus in A Christmas Bond, the prequel novella for the Sacred Bond series.

Free Ornament with Newsletter Signup!
It’s great to meet you. Leave a comment to let me know if I should write about a peppier topic next time! Thanks for reading!

Lee Tobin McClain read Gone With The Wind in the third grade and has been an incurable romantic ever since. When she not writing emotional, faith-infused love stories with happy endings, she’s probably driving around a carload of snarky teen girls, playing with her rescue dog and cat, or teaching aspiring writers in Seton Hill University’s MFA program. She is probably not cleaning her house.

Connect with Lee: 
Blog:  Flawed. Christian. Woman.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Forest Ranger's Christmas

Leigh Bale here! Today, I'd like to tell you about a new book I have out titled THE FOREST RANGER'S CHRISTMAS. Josie Rushton’s in Camlin for the holidays—but not for long. She has just a few weeks to persuade her ailing grandfather to leave his small Nevada town and move closer to her Las Vegas home. But after seventy-five happy years in his house, Gramps isn’t going anywhere. Josie can’t imagine what’s so great about Camlin. When she meets single dad and forest ranger Clint Hamilton, she quickly begins to see the appeal. Clint shows Josie the joys of living in a close-knit community, especially at Christmas. She’s soon falling for the town, Clint’s charm and his adorable daughter. This book hit the Publisher's Weekly Bestsellers list.  I hope you like it. Enjoy!

AND...I'd love to give two autographed copies of the book away today.  Do you have a fake Christmas tree, buy a live tree from a tree lot, or do you go out and cut your own tree down? There's no right or wrong answer. I happen to have a fake tree we put up every year. When I was a kid, we made it a family affair and my dad cut a live tree for us (he was a forest ranger). But the grandfather in my new book takes this to an extreme and cuts numerous live trees to give to the local widows...without a tree permit. A very kindhearted man who gets into a bit of trouble for his efforts. :)  Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

God Smiled by Leann Harris.

I’m looking forward to February 2015.  I’m skipping over Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s.  It is a special month. My son and son-in-law’s birthdays are in that month, but that’s not what I’m looking forward to. Around the 3rd week of February my first grandbaby is due. My daughter and her husband have been trying to have a baby for several years. They went to the specialist and tried in vitro-fertilization several times.

They took a break and looked into helping with foster children. In May, they also went back to see the specialist to consider their next step, but God had other plans. When they walked into the specialist office, they announced to her they were pregnant. The doctor’s response was “How did that happen?” All the people in the office laughed until they cried.
My daughter and husband went to the regular OB. The baby is a girl, and all her tests came back 100% normal. Tears well in my eyes as I type this. My daughter and I know how Hannah in the Old Testament felt. God is good.

Friday, November 14, 2014

It's National Pickle Day!

Hi!  Winnie Griggs here.  I have a "National Day of" calendar and I like to check out all the fun or unusual commemorations noted there, and it's true today is National Pickle Day.  (It's also National Spicy Guacamole Day for those who might be interested in that bit of trivia).  It's difficult to imagine who might lobby for these special recognition days, but since it is the pickle's special day, I thought I'd dig out and share some fun facts about this popular garnishment and snack item.

  • Pickles have been around for thousands of years - since at least 2030 BC in fact.  It was at this time
    that cucumbers were brought from India to the Tigris Valley.  There they were first preserved and consumed as pickles
  • The ancient Egyptians consumed pickles, not only for their nutritional value, but also because they believed it enhanced beauty.  In fact, Cleopatra credited her good looks to her full diet of pickles!
  • Both Julius Caesar and Napoleon fed pickles to their armies believing it would offer strength and good health to the troops
  • Amerigo Vespucci, the man America got its name from, was a pickle merchant.
  • The word pickle is derived from the Dutch word pekel, which means brine.
  • During WWII, the US government commandeered 40% of all US pickle production to be used in rations for the troops.
  • Drinking pickle brine is a common hangover cure in Poland
  • The first annual pickle day was celebrated in 2001 in New York City.
  • In The United States, over 2.5 BILLION pounds are consumed annually.
  • The record for the world's largest pickle is held by Vlasic.  This award winning pickle weighed nearly five pounds and measured 16 inches in length and had a 3-1/2 inch diameter. That's about 10 times the size of a 'normal' pickle.
  • More than half of the cucumbers grown in the US go into pickle production.
  • In Connecticut, in order for a pickle to earn the name pickle, it must bounce! 
There were many more of these fun facts that I uncovered in my research, but I think I'll stop there.

So are you a pickle fan or not?  And which of these bits of pickle trivia surprised you the most?

GIVEAWAY ALERT:  Since I'm excited about my new release, Her Holiday Family, I'd like to giveaway a copy to one person who leaves a comment on this blog today.


What happens when a straight-laced young widow’s home is invaded by ten rambunctious orphans and their handsome caretaker just in time for the holidays...
Reserved widow Eileen Pierce never considered herself the kind of woman who was cut out to be a mother. She wouldn't know what to do with one child, much less ten. But when handyman Simon Tucker is stranded in town with a group of young orphans just before Thanksgiving, she discovers she can't just turn them away.

Simon knows there's more to Eileen than meets the eye. Though his easygoing demeanor immediately clashes with her buttoned-up propriety, Simon's kindness soon melts Eileen's stern facade. Simon and the children have already upended Eileen's quiet, orderly life. Will they do the same to her guarded heart?

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Launch of The Bride Ship

Regina Scott here.  I know I can’t be the only one who shares a fascination with sailing ships.  The massive hull slicing through a stormy sea, the billowing canvas snapping above my head, and creak of the timbers and the calls of the crew--they all combine to set my heart racing.  I've been blessed to tour a number of fine historic vessels, such as the U.S.S. Constitution, America’s tall ship; the Coast Guard’s Eagle, and a replica of the Bounty.  I've taken a short jaunt aboard the Hawaiian Chieftain, a contemporary version of sailing ship.  And last year I had the honor of spending the day sailing with our state’s tall ship, the Lady Washington, as she came up the Columbia River.  That trip was on my bucket list.

Here’s another thing I can cross off my list of things I long to do in this lifetime:  write a story about the voyage of the U.S.S. Continental, the steamship that carried nearly 60 women from the East Coast of America around the continent to civilize frontier Washington Territory.  I fell in love with the story as a girl when I watched the popularized adaptation, Here Come the Brides, on television.  When I learned there really had been a bride ship bearing ladies to Seattle, I knew it was a story I had to tell.

So, after more than 25 historical romances set in the Regency period, I embark on a new venture.  The Bride Ship is my November release from Love Inspired Historical.  It tells the story of widow Allegra Banks Howard, former Boston belle, who joins the expedition to make a new life for herself and her little girl, Gillian.  But she reckons without the interference of the powerful Howard family, who sends an unlikely hero to bring her home.

Clay Howard can’t understand what was his brother's widow, his first love, is doing on a ship full of prospective brides headed out West. When he’d agreed to bring her home, he didn't anticipate Allegra being so strong-willed, or that he'd wind up traveling with her just to keep her from leaving without him! 

Allegra Banks Howard isn't going to let Clay interfere with her plans for a new life with her daughter on the frontier. True, Allegra needs his wilderness savvy, but if Clay thinks he can rekindle what they once shared, he had better think again. Because risking her heart for a second chance at being his bride isn't something she'll undertake lightly…. 

Frontier Bachelors: Bold, rugged—and bound to be grooms

So what do you think?  Do you share my fascination with sailing ships and the romance of the frontier? 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

A Christmas Novel - Finding Christmas - by Gail Gaymer Martin

Happy Wednesday from Gail Gaymer Martin at

I'm amazed at the speed of the passing year. Thanksgiving is only a couple weeks away and Christmas is very close. This is the time when we should focus on the blessings of Christmas, but many of us spend time focusing on the long list of things we must do for the holidays.

Besides writing, my music activities are time-consuming with rehearsals and performances. Then it's also a time of  presenting workshops at conferences and speaking at events, but these are all things I love.  One thing I enjoy is buying gifts for family and books is a gift I love giving, especially to children. Many people are avid readers and giving a book or book gift cards is always welcome to those who love to read. And books the size of Love Inspired romances makes great stocking stuffers, especially eBooks that are only a gift card to wrap.

Naturally I was thrilled when I learned that my Steeple Hill romantic suspense novel and winner of the Booksellers Best Award, is again release for Christmas as an eBook. It has been out of print for a few years. Finding Christmas is an exciting novel filled with romantic Christmas moments but also packed with suspense.

An Amazon ReviewFinding Christmas by Gail Gaymer Martin is not the Christmas story I expected. I expected a sweet love story and was pleasantly surprised and immediately drawn in to a story of suspense, heartache, and forgiveness. I do believe this is my favorite Gail Martin book yet! Amazon Review: Sherri Johnson.

So what's Finding Christmas about?
 Her daughter, Mandy, had died in the icy waters of Lake St. Claire, Michigan, three years ago—or so widow Joanna Fuller was told. At the urging of family friend Ben Drake, Joanna tried to accept her loss and move on. But mysterious phone calls reawakened her doubts. Was someone trying to reunite her with Mandy? In a frantic search for her daughter during the season of hope, Joanna unraveled the web of one man's hatred…and came face-to-face with the truth she'd known all along.

View or Purchase   Finding Christmas

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Allie Pleiter's Favorite Recipe

November 1 is a different kind of holiday at my house.  For almost fifteen years, November 1 has been "Snickers Bar Salad Day."  Quite frankly, it's the breakfast of choice for me on that particular day.  I thought I'd share it with you:

Snickers Bar Salad
6 bite-sized Snickers bars, chopped into small bits (more are permissible if it's been a bad week or PMS is involved!!)
3 Granny Smith Apples, diced
one 5-oz package vanilla instant pudding mix
8 oz cool whip
1 c. milk
In a bowl, mix pudding mix and milk. Fold in Cool Whip. Mix in apples and Snickers Bars. Cool and enjoy.

Lots of people have "extra" fun-sized Snickers bars hanging around this time of year, so this is the perfect way to use them up.

My hero and heroine Jesse and Charlotte have some wonderfully romantic food scenes in my current book SAVED BY THE FIREMAN.  Don't you want to know why Charlotte changes her mind to view Brussels Srouts as "the chocolate cake of vegetables"?  Chapter 10 will give you all the juicy details (pun intended!).

What about you?  What's your favorite indulgent breakfast?

Monday, November 3, 2014

Looking forward to Thanksgiving and beyond-

Jenna Mindel here excited about a couple of  things.....

My November release of  His Montana Homecoming
Book #5 of the Big Sky Centennial series...

Faith Shaw can't wait for another hometown Thanksgiving with the good people of Jasper Gulch. Turkey, mashed potatoes, apple pie—and this year's centennial celebration. Yet there's one person who isn't happy to be there: Dale Massey, the Shaw family's reluctant houseguest. When a winter storm strands the big-city millionaire in Montana, he is far from pleased. But the mayor's daughter suspects Dale's all-business attitude is masking a deeper hurt. Faith can't help but feel he was sent to Jasper Gulch for a reason. Can an old-fashioned girl and some holiday tradition help bring  his weary heart home?

I'm excited about this book for many reasons.  It's my first, and hopefully not my last, invitation to be part of a Harlequin continuity.  I loved working with five fabulous authors on this series- Valerie Hansen, Ruth Logan Herne, Carolyne Aarsen, Brenda Minton & Arlene James!  They are an awesome group of faith-filled women who were always willing to share their knowledge and encouragement.

Another reason for excitement is this book is set during the holiday of Thanksgiving but I was able to pull in a lot of Christmas stuff too.  I love this time of year.  I love the blurring of Thanksgiving into Christmas.  I think the gratitude focus of Thanksgiving is a good precursor of the blessing of Christmas and Christ's birth.  Right before Thanksgiving, I break out the Christmas music - starting with my favorite instrumentals that transition the two holidays so well.  Anyone ever listen to George Winston's "December" ?

So what do you think?  Do you prefer to keep Thanksgiving and Christmas strictly separate or sort of jumble them together as a month long (or so) celebration?

Happy Thanksgiving into Christmas !