Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Book Covers, A Survey, and a Giveaway!

Lee Tobin McClain here, just wondering: Do you judge a book by its cover?

I suspect a lot of us do. I think Love Inspired books have beautiful covers. But along with my Love Inspired books, I also publish independently, which means I have to hire my own cover artist and dream up my own cover ideas. I'm not terribly artistic or visual, so I'm learning as I go! To help me keep making my covers better, will you give me some insight on what makes a book jump off the shelves and into your shopping cart?

On the cover, do you prefer to see:
a) the hero alone?
b) the heroine alone?
c) the couple?

Do you prefer a hero who looks
a) like real men you know?
b) extremely more attractive than most men you know?

And finally, in terms of mood, do you like a cover guy who looks
a) thoughtful and tough?
b) thoughtful and sad?
c) happy?

 Thoughtful and tough
Thoughtful and sad

Answer in the comments, like this:  a, a, a. If you say why, that'll help me even more. Either way, if you comment before Easter, you'll be entered into a drawing to win a copy of my Love Inspired novel, Engaged to the Single Mom.  

My Sacred Bond series of Christian romance novels is all about the guys . . . they're former delinquents who make a vow to serve God and those who most need their help. That's why the covers feature men in all their solitary glory. And in my humble opinion, they're pretty handsome!

Want to try the series? Click on any of the captions below the covers to find out more. And if you click on the happy guy (Before the Bond) you'll get to my website where you can sign up for my newsletter and get this pre-prequel short story for free. You can also read Book One in the series, His Baby Bond, for free. Enjoy!

Monday, March 30, 2015

A Special Book Signing!

Debby Giusti (L) with WWII veteran,
Frank Forth
By Debby Giusti

Last Thursday, my wonderful independent bookseller hosted a signing for my latest Love Inspired Suspense, STRANDED. The book features a wound warrior recuperating from a war injury and is dedicated to Frank Forth, a member of the Greatest Generation who fought and was severely injured in the Battle of the Bulge. I invited Frank to join me at the signing.

Frank always has a funny joke or a heart-warming story to tell, and those who attended the event were entertained by the memories he shared about his youth, his wife Gacie, and his time in the military. Even at ninety-two, Frank can still play the bugle and loves listening to the Big Band sounds of the Forties, which brought even more stories to mind. So many of my readers already knew Frank and love him, just as I do. Those he met for the first time that night were taken by his genuine concern for others, his zest for life and his love of the Lord.

Frank charms the crowd!
I always donate the proceeds of my local book signings to a charity, usually one that benefits the military. This time, in honor of Frank, the proceeds are going to two organizations that Frank holds dear:  the Veterans of the Battle of the Bulge, of which he is a member, and Bugles Across America, a non-profit organization that recognizes the service of our veterans by providing buglers who play a live rendition of Taps at their funerals.
I am so blessed to have such wonderful support
from my local community!
As always, I am so grateful for the support I get from my local community. The signing was a huge success. Frank was overwhelmed and deeply touched by the outpouring of well wishes and the heartfelt thanks for his service from those he met that night.
Barbara Jackson won my author basket!
Do you have a special book signing or author event that touched your heart? If so, please share that memory with us.

Wishing you abundant blessings and a joyful Easter,
Debby Giusti


Colleen Brennan has one goal—take down her sister’s killer.  But chasing after evidence leaves her in the path of a tornado and stranded in an Amish community. With the killer nearby, Colleen must depend on the kindness of Special Agent Frank Gallagher. Although the army officer is recuperating from a battlefield injury, he wants to help the beautiful woman he rescued from the tornado’s fury. He can tell she’s hiding something important. But getting her to reveal her secrets may be his most dangerous mission ever.

Order your copy in digital or print format: Amazon.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Allie Pleiter gets CHUNKY!

“How can you write four books a year???”

I get asked that a lot—as do many Love Inspired authors.  It’s one of the joys—and the challenges—of working in category fiction.  I’m happy our readers have such an appetite for our stories, look forward to the next books in our series, and become fans of individual authors.  I like to think I write characters my readers want to be friends with, to invite out for lunch, to have as next door neighbors.  It’s part of the wonder of books, isn’t it?  Discovering worlds you want to linger in long after you close the cover?

My smart-aleck answer to the “How can you?” question is usually “One word at a time.”  The truth is closer to “with effort and discipline.”  For me, that means 1,000 words every morning, 1,000 words every afternoon, five days a week, most weeks a year.  It’s the best job in the world, but parts of it are still like every job everywhere.  You need to sit down and make it happen.  (Or, in my case, get on the treadmill desk and make it happen…)

Today I launched a personal publishing project that lets fellow authors and aspiring writers everywhere in on my Chunky Method of Time Management for Writers.  Those 1,000 words I talk about in the previous paragraph are my “chunk.”  I use my “chunk” to plan, schedule, and even improve my writing productivity.  Now I can let you in on why I take being called “The Chunky Lady” as a compliment :)

This an exciting venture for me, putting into print form a class I’ve been passionate about teaching for years.  I’ve been writing fiction and non-fiction since the early days of my career, but have focused on the Love Inspired line for the past several years.  It feels good to get out into “teaching” mode again.

Don’t worry, there are plenty of Love Inspired novels still to come from me.  In just a few weeks, the story of Ida Lee Landway begun in HOMEFRONT HERO gets its own happy ending in THE DOCTOR’S UNDOING.  And I’ll be tackling the third book in the LONE STAR COWBOY LEAGUE continuity series later this year.  And who knows—you may be seeing even more independent fiction from me!

Easter Season blessings to all of you from the Pleiter house.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Creative Focus

Good morning, Jenna Mindel here. 
Last night, my husband and I watched a really good documentary on the rock group Kansas.  They were big when I was kid, and I remember my brother had a couple of their records.  I'm showing my age here as I grew up in the days of real record albums!  But who doesn't remember that amazing song Dust in the Wind? Revisiting that particular music group, I was struck by how talented they were.  Like seriously talented.

And that got me to thinking how we were created in the image of our Creator.  When we make something out of nothing, we imitate Him.  And yet making something really good, honors Him.

One comment made at the end of the show was that throughout their journey from fledgling unknowns to mega success, Kansas was always all about the music.  Oh, to be so focused! 

As an author, I often struggle with self-doubt.  Am I good enough?  Comparing my journey to others can be creatively deadly.  And way far off the right focus. 
I create, because I was created.  And because I love romantic stories.  
My hope is that I've made good stories that honor my Creator.  Through it all, I want my focus to remain on pleasing God.  But it's not always easy.

In what ways do you seek to honor God in what you've made?

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Writing A Novel Series

When I first began writing, I knew nothing about writing a series but after many years, I find them fun to write and know that readers love them since they get to know the characters and want to know more, or they enjoy a setting and love to learn more about the place.

My Love Inspired novels have been written as series for many years now, the shortest being three novels and the longest being seven, my Loving series about a town called Loving, Michigan. Although the town was fictitious, the setting was based on Grand Haven.

In my June release, A Mother To Love, you will meet people who live on a street called Lilac Circle, a cul-de-sac in the real town of Owosso, Michigan. Each story will introduce new characters and new problems.  You'll go to weddings and even meet babies who are born. This book will be in stores the last week of April, and you can pre-order it now on Amazon - Click Here to read the summary or purchase. Look for the second book in the series, A Husband for Christmas, in October.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Favorite Jane Austen quotes

Camy here! So I was updating my Camille Elliot website, and I decided to put my favorite quote from Jane Austen’s Persuasion on my About page. And I liked it so much that I put some of my favorite Jane Austen quotes all over my Camille Elliot website! So now when you visit my website, it’ll have little pink sidebars with romantic and/or humorous passages from Jane Austen’s books.

I had so much fun picking the quotes I used! I re-read Jane Austen every year because I love her books so much (well, maybe not Emma quite so much …) and so it was lovely to be skimming through the books and finding favorite sections.

How about you guys? Any favorite Jane Austen quotes?

Camy Tang writes romance with a kick of wasabi. Her romantic suspense, Gone Missing, releases May 2015 so pre-order it now! Also, her romantic suspense novella, Necessary Proof, is available for free. 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. Sign up for her newsletter to hear about new releases or sales on her backlist.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Getting to the end by Leann Harris

Writing is a unique experience. No two writers write the same way. There are those of us who are plotters, and those of us who are pantsers, and various combinations in between.  I’m a plotter. I want to know what is going happen to my characters once I’ve written the first three chapters and synopsis. If I decide to drive to Little Rock from Denver,  I’d look at a map and find what roads I needed to take. I just wouldn’t hop in my car and started driving.  My plot is my map.

The book I’m working on now has decided to take a life of its own, which I’m not real happy about. I followed the plot, but one of the minor characters did something I hadn’t  planned.  I kept writing, thinking I’d fix it in the next draft. The black moment was supposed to happen for the hero and heroine in the hospital. 

But it didn’t. 

I thought I’d gone way off the mark, but I kept writing. Write it, then you can fix it.
So as I rushed to the end of the book, that plot point my minor character had changed came into the play and tied up a lot of strings in the plot. I sent up a thanks to Heaven.  I finished this book as a pantser. I’m surprised I still have hair, but the book came together. I didn’t like how it happened, but I liked how the book ended.  I now have a clearer picture of how the other half lives. I don’t want to do it again, but  you have my admiration.

This is a picture of my new cover, which is out in this June, 2015.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Of Single Moms and Rescue Dogs

Lee Tobin McClain here, celebrating the release of my first Love Inspired novel! I’ve adored Love Inspired books for years, and it is such a huge thrill to be able to point to the shelves in Wal-Mart or Barnes and Noble and say . . . “that’s MY book!”

Click to preview it at Amazon!

Since I’m a single mother, and my book is entitled Engaged to the Single Mom, my friends keep asking if there’s a ring on my finger or in my future. No, I am not engaged . . . not even close! I do a little dating (I could tell you some stories) and help run the singles group at my church (more stories) but for now, my family of four—me, my thirteen-year-old daughter, and our rescue dog and cat—is happily complete.

Speaking of rescue dogs . . . my novel has plenty of them! That’s because hero Troy Hinton is a kind-hearted veterinarian who runs A Dog’s Last Chance: No Cage Canine Rescue. You’ll meet some amazing canines in the novel, including Bull, Troy’s old bulldog who has a series of misadventures in the novel, and Lily, the rescue pit bull who, along with her puppies, gets to participate in the wedding that closes the book.

But most of all, you’ll meet single mom Angelica Camden and her irrepressible six-year-old son, Xavier.  I hope you’ll agree that they—and Troy—deserve their happy ending.

Connect with Lee: 
Website/Newsletter: http://www.leetobinmcclain.com
Blog:  Flawed. Christian. Woman. http://www.leetobinmcclain.com/blog/

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Free Online Read/Spotlight on Love Inspired Suspense

 Hi, Terri Reed here with LOTS to share! I'm so excited!!
We're celebrating Love Inspired Suspense this week at the Harlequin Community. Links to the discussions below.  Then scroll down for more information on the new CAPITOL K-9 UNIT.
You can find the main spotlight discussion here:

We're also discussing the Capitol K-9 Unit books here:

Later this week, we'll be talking about favorite settings and character names.

The new Love Inspired Suspense continuity, Capitol K-9 Unit is available starting with an free online read titled, Dangerous Justice.

Here's the link Harlequin website if you'd like to read the first two chapters.  Each week a new chapter will be posted for a total of eight chapters/eight weeks.

Someone is after Capitol K-9 Unit tech guru Fiona Fargo, and they'll stop at nothing to keep her from decoding the secrets of Washington, D.C.'s elite. She knows Officer Christopher Torrance and his canine partner Dutch will keep her safe, but he's the last colleague she wants dogging her heels. Spending time with him might reveal her secret crush on him. But with killers determined to silence her forever, she'll have to put aside her fears and accept his help. Chris has secrets of his own, and a failed engagement makes him leery of moving forward with any woman, even the beautiful Fiona. As they hunt for the killer, they'll find that love can break any barrier.

Here's the line up the book in the  Capitol K-9 Unit

Protective Instincts, March 2015, Shirlee McCoy
Duty Bound Guardian, April 2015, Terri Reed 
Trail of Evidence, Lynette Eason, May 2015
Security Breach, June 2015, Margaret Daley
Detecting Danger, Valerie Hansen, July 2015
Proof of Innocence, Lenora Worth, August 2015


Monday, March 9, 2015

Losing Time

Keli Gwyn here stifling a yawn.

I don't know about you, but the transition to Daylight Savings Time causes me to be as sleepy as Dorothy and her pals were when they traipsed through the poppy field on their way to Oz.

I spent much of Sunday afternoon forcing myself to stay awake when all I really wanted to do was follow my cats' lead. Our furry fellows found a warm spot in the front window and dozed off.

In order to stay awake, Gwynly and I took a walk on our local hiking trail. That worked well.

But then I got home.

I sat down to prepare my post, but the combination of the California sunshine streaming through the window and my comfy chair nearly lulled me to sleep. Only by force of will was I able to keep from nodding off.

What is it about Daylight Savings Time that makes me so sleepy? Does just knowing I lost an hour cause my eyelids to droop?

I've lost far more than an hour's sleep while writing or while reading a great story written by another Love Inspired author and been fine the next day. So, I  wonder, is my sleepiness all in my head?

What do you think?
Is the fatigue some of us experience when Daylight Savings Time begins real or imagined?

I'm eager to hear what you have to say and will respond to comments. Providing I haven't sneaked off to take a nap that is. :-)

Friday, March 6, 2015

Oh, for a Farm in the Wilderness

Regina Scott here, celebrating the release of the second book in my Frontier Bachelors series, Would-Be Wilderness Wife.  As I was writing it, the musical Seven Brides for Seven Brothers kept coming to mind.  I love how the quiet Milly finds her voice and her determination in helping Adam Pontipee and his brothers learn a thing or two about women.

When I was researching the story, I went looking for some place to use as a model.  There are plenty of books, from history tales for children to reminiscences of the pioneers themselves, that speak of the trials and tribulations of living in the wilderness.  But I’m a hands-on kind of gal.  I need to touch, taste, smell, and hear beside just seeing.

That’s why I was thrilled to tour Pioneer Farm Museum outside Eatonville, Washington.  Pioneer Farm is one of those wonderful museums geared toward children, so everything is very hands on.  I gleefully followed our tour guides around from the general store to the school house to the three cabins, barn, and blacksmith’s shop, peppering them with questions and poking my nose into everything.  Without such a treasure, I might not have learned the following:

A lady in a full-belled hoop skirt would never be able to climb the ladder to the loft for bed.

Everything you need to live has to fit in a one-room house smaller than my bedroom.  Easily. 

And it does.

Oil lamps aren't really bright enough to read by, but they do warm up a curling iron nicely.

It takes a lot of time and work to grate enough cinnamon for one pie.

 Pioneer Farm Museum is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing living history, environmental, and cultural education through hands-on activities.  If you happen to be in the area, I highly recommend a visit. 

I know some of you have been to great museums in your area.  Any recommendations to share?
Regina Scott loves history, whether learning about it or writing about it. The author of more than two dozen historical Christian romances, she’s currently working on a series set in Seattle’s early years:  Frontier Bachelors, bold, rugged, and bound to be grooms. Sign up here for a free e-mail alert with exclusive bonus material when her next book comes out, or visit her online at her website or Facebook.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

A Look at Timber Theft

Leigh Bale here!  We don't usually think about timber theft, do we?  I mean, trees grow all over the world.  So, how do we "steal" a tree?  But imagine how you'd feel if you came home one day and someone had cut down the trees on your property.  Or if someone went into the forest where you'd camped and fished as a child and cut down all the trees.  It's the topic of my new book that's out right now titled THE FOREST RANGER'S RESCUE.  Forest ranger Brent Knowles has almost given up hope that his daughter, Evie, will recover from the tragedy of her mother’s death.  Then he meets caring special ed teacher Jill Russell.  Jill adores working with Evie and helping her heal.  She’s less sure about the undeniable attraction she feels for Brent.  Because Brent is investigating a timber theft, and Jill’s own brother is a suspect!  Can she reconcile her feelings when Brent has the power to destroy her family?  Brent sure hopes so.  Because Jill holds the key to his daughter’s recovery…and to his heart.

I hope you enjoy this book.  It has just a smidgeon of suspense in it as they bring the thieves to justice.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Winter Pleasures from Marta Perry

While the cold winds blow and the snow piles up, what do you enjoy doing? Winter is, for many of us, a time to catch up on the pleasures we don't take time for when the warm sunshine beckons. I'm sure reading is near the top of your list, as it is mine! I've been re-reading a number of old favorites this winter, enjoying some that are newly available on my Kindle. And I'm reading my way through a stack of Rita books as I near the end of my judging time period.

During the winter, we usually have a jigsaw puzzle spread out on our coffee table, and anyone who comes in is welcome to put a few pieces in to share the fun. Here's a picture of the great Amish scene jigsaw puzzle my husband gave me for Christmas. It even prompted him to suggest that an Amish buggy repair shop would be an interesting occupation for one of my characters!

I've been enjoying sewing this winter, as well, and teaching my grandchildren how to use the sewing machine. We've made some great projects together, to say nothing of having a lot of fun!
Do you have a favorite hobby to share with children or grandchildren?

And then there are the projects that I feel must be done at our vacation home while we're here. This year that included a first for me--making a slipcover for my recliner. Harder than I expected, but I'm fairly pleased with the results. I think a few wrinkles are inevitable if it's going to be removable!

Hope you had a productive winter--or a restful one--or whatever your spirit needed this year.

Call your mom . . . and dad, of course

"If you're lucky enough to have a parent alive on this planet, call them! Don't text them.Call them on the phone."  - J.K. Simmons

Hello everyone! Dana Corbit here. Since J.K. Simmons made this comment during his recent Oscar acceptance speech, the actor has received as much praise for his words as for his performance in Whiplash.

I, for one, can't help but to be impressed by someone who used his moment in the spotlight to focus attention of the importance of family. Aside from faith, what could be more important? Family is definitely an important part of all the stories we write for Love Inspired.

In addition to reminding me to call my own parents, Simmons' comment got me thinking. Though reminders to stay in touch with parents have remained constant over the years, the actual methods of those communications between parent and child have changed dramatically. We text. We email. We send Facebook and Snapchat messages. We message privately on Twitter. We Skype.

Mom and me
So this where Mr. Simmons and I disagree. My parents might not have ever dreamed of a texting their parents - and good thing since the technology wasn't there - but that doesn't mean that it's not okay for my daughters to text me. As the mother of one teen and two college students, I take what I can get. :) I've used some of the newer types of communication with my own parents as well. Mom and my Stepdad are beginning to get texting and Face Time down, and Facebook messaging has been a blessing with Dad, who struggles to hear me when I talk on the phone. (Sorry for telling your secret, Dad.)

The way I see it, the communication is what matters, not the method for sharing the messages. Sure, I still love real telephone calls or, even better, the face-to-face communication of Skype and Face Time, but what's most important is the effort of reaching out to our parents and letting them know that we love them. For all of the things they've done for us, the deserve that much.

Dad and me
So if you are one of the lucky ones like me who has a living parent parent or two (or three), “Honor your father and mother” (Exodus 20:12a - NIV), and give 'em a call. Or a text. Or an email. Or a Snap. And keep on talking.