Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Behind the Scenes of a Book Launch

Hello, readers! Lee Tobin McClain here, biting my nails as I get ready to launch my new book series! There’s so much that goes into preparing to release a book, and I had no idea about that until I became a writer.

At Love Inspired, there’s a whole company doing the work of a book launch. We go through several rounds of edits, from “why wouldn’t she just use her cell phone to get help” to “there’s not enough spark between the hero and heroine” to “we don’t say ‘gosh’ in Love Inspired because it can offend some readers.” We authors offer up suggestions for the cover illustration, and then the team at Love Inspired makes the final decision and commissions the art. When it’s finally release day, we tweet and post on Facebook and generally shout the news from the rooftops—the book’s been more than a year in the making, and we are proud mamas!

Comment for a 50:50 chance to win this ebook!
When I publish my independent books, I do all that and more! Here’s my to-do list for my Sacred Bond Guardians release, scheduled for September 15th:
  • ·      Learn how to host a Facebook party (so far, several great Love Inspired Suspense authors are coming—sign up for my newsletter so you won’t miss the details)
  • ·      Update my web site
  • ·      Nudge my freelance editor, who’s right now finishing edits of the second book in the series
  • ·      Do final tweaks on the cover for book one, which has been a real bear to get right. I don’t do my own covers, but I work closely with a consultant and a cover artist to get exactly the look I think readers will love.
  • ·      Write some blog posts about the books, both for my own blog, this blog, and the fabulous Inspyromance blog
  • ·      Write the final descriptions and blurbs for Amazon

·       I’m sure I’m forgetting something, but those are my major tasks. Whew, I’m tired just thinking about it! To reward your patience for reading all the way to the end, leave a comment with your email address (do it like this to avoid spammers:  Sue Smith at Comcast dot net).  I’ll gift  half of you with a copy of The Protector’s Bond, the prequel novella that starts my new series. That’s a 50:50 chance to win!

Sign up for my newsletter HERE to get news of my upcoming release. You also get a free short story that’s the background for my Sacred Bond series of Christian romance novels.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Adventure Awaits!

Keli Gwyn here to talk about adventure.

Seventeen days from now my husband and I will be traveling to Austria to visit our daughter. Adriana has been working there as an English-language teaching assistant.

We haven't seen our gal since she left a year ago. To say I'm eager to see her would be an understatement. I've warned Adri to brace herself because the moment I spot her in the Vienna airport, I'll come flying at her.

Carl and I will spend three and a half weeks with Adriana, much of it in Austria. We'll start off in Vienna, where we'll see sights such as the beautiful Sch├Ânbrunn Palace pictured below.

We'll take a few days to travel to N├╝rnberg, Germany, where we lived early in our marriage. Adriana was born during our time there, and we still have German friends in the area.

I'm a homebody, so preparing to leave home isn't easy. However, once I arrive at our destination, I usually end up having a great time. I'm sure that will the case next month.

One of the things that will enable me to relax on this trip is knowing that the draft of my third Love Inspired Historical, my first written on deadline, is done. I sat nose-to-screen for six weeks, but what a reward I have to look forward to: I get to see our gal. I'll admit that visiting Europe will a nice bonus.

• • •

Are you an adventurer, or is leaving home hard for you too?

What adventures have you embarked on lately?

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Allie Pleiter on pop-up pumpkins!

It's almost here...pumpkin everything season.  Pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin scented lotion, air freshener, candles, even hand sanitizer.  If it exists, evidently someone can make it pumpkin-flavored or pumpkin-scented.

This is a good thing.  I love pumpkin.  Even the hand santizer.

This year, however, the pumpkins got very personal.  In fact, they invaded.  Without warning, permission, or even our knowledge!

This thing started growing in our dormant garden--as in the garden we meant to plant but never did.  It had pretty speckled leaves...

Then it had lovely yellow blossoms...

It spread faster than gossip...

Before we knew it, we had little green globes.  Watermelon?  Squash?  No one knew, until the little green globes got a whole lot bigger and started to look like...pumpkins.

Pumpkins!  We grew pumpkins--without even trying!

You have to know what a horrendous gardener I am to appreciate the seredipity of this.  Pleiters, growing pumpkins?  A Pop-up Pleiter Pumpkin Patch?   It's just too splendid.  I smile every time I walk past it.

Now, if we could just keep any critters from snacking on our new treasures.  Anyone got any tips for Pleiter Pop-up Pumpkin Protection?

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Remembering 1972 by Leann Harris

I've just started the last book in my trilogy Legacy of Lies, and due to the heroine's age it book has to be set in 1972 when the Cold War was raging. '72 was my senior year in college (too much info) and when you're finishing up your degree, you generally don't pay any attention to the news. I've had to go back and look up what happened that year. ABBA was popular. The Brady Bunch was on TV, and the movie version of Fiddler on the Roof
came out. And the ugly clothes. Oh my, what were we thinking? I remember a pair of hound's tooth heavy jersey pants that my husband had. But since I'm setting my book in that year, I thought it would be easy. Wrong. I don't remember when cell phones came into popular use? PCs? What forensics were possible. I remember going with my husband and his box of punch cards to the CVC6600, housed in the main building of the university. So what I thought wouldn't be a lot of research is turning out to be as much trouble as the book before, which was set in 1941. 1972 was the Munich Olympics. I can still remember the shock and sadness of that event. But my book is set around Mardi Gras, so I need to make sure what was possible at the time is right.
The pic of me is on my honeymoon with my jersey pants.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

READ IT AGAIN by Marta Perry

Remember what it was like to read story books to your young children, or in my case, young grandchildren? As someone who loves books, you're always eager to introduce a new story to them. But will they let you? Oh, no! Read it again! The refrain goes up each time you reach "The End." The current favorite must be read again and again until you can do it by heart. And you don't dare to skip a word, because they'll be on you in an instant! Several of my grandkids loved Thomas the Tank Engine, and each one had a favorite story that must be read and reread until the book was dropping from my hands!

Still, I can't really complain, because I have my favorites, as well. They're the books we call "keepers," the ones we can't bear to lend because we might not get them back. I find I especially turn to those books in times of stress, when I want to re-visit the familiar characters and places instead of concentrating on someone new. One of my very favorite authors is DE Stevenson. I found a treasure trove of her books while visiting an aunt one summer, and I was hooked. In her tender stories, the romance involves more than the main couple, as family and friends and sometimes the whole community come into the story. And,writing in an earlier time, she could include her characters' faith as an accepted part of the story even though it was intended for a general market--something we struggle with today.

Of course I have other favorites, including Georgette Heyer and Agatha Christie. Each time I read Heyer's The Grand Sophy, I fall in love with both the hero and secondary hero even while I'm chuckling at the predicaments of the unorthodox Sophy.

And where would my library be without the inimitable Agatha Christie? I must revisit her stories over and over again, sometimes being surprised afresh at "who done it."

Those are some of my keepers. I've deliberately named earlier authors, both because I love the books and also because I wouldn't want to play favorites among the many contemporary authors whose work I love!

So tell us: what's on your keeper shelf?

And for a chance to win a complete set of my "Watcher in the Dark" series, stop by my Facebook page at

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Teachers Had It Tough In the Good Old Days!

Regina Scott here. It’s that time of year when people start thinking about their children returning to the halls of learning. You’ll see “back to school” sales cropping up, and stores carry backpacks and sweatshirts even though it’s still hot in many parts of the country. My mother taught kindergarten for many years, and I have nothing but respect for those who share their knowledge with future generations.

But, as I discovered when researching my August release, Frontier Engagement, teaching in 1866 on the frontier was a whole different game.

For one thing, a teacher taught all grades and all subjects, in one room, at the same time. For another, supplies like paper and pencils and resources like books were rare. School board expectations ranged from keeping the schoolroom neat and tidy to, in some cases, chopping wood for the fire, whittling pencils for the class, and shooting any varmints that happened to claw their way into the school.

But those weren’t the only expectations. A teacher’s behavior was examined in detail. Here are some of the “rules” some teachers had to live by:  
  • Never fraternize with the opposite sex. 
  • Teachers who married during their term were summarily dismissed.
  • Dress in somber colors.
  • Under no circumstances dye your hair. Avoid pool halls, barber shops, and ice cream parlors. (As my heroine, Rina Fosgrave said, “Who knew they were such dens of iniquity?”)

Yes, it’s tough to be a teacher, then and now. Here’s to all those who instruct our youth, whether homeschooling or braving the classroom. You are the true heroes!

Regina Scott owes much of what she knows about writing to the teachers who instructed her over the years. The author of more than two dozen historical 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.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Remembering 9/11...The World Trade Center Museum!

At the RWA Literacy Signing on July 22, 2015.

Debby Giusti here!

As most of you know, the Romance Writers of America National Conference was held in New York City last month. I arrived early to see some of the sights and was deeply moved by the World Trade Center Museum.

If you get to New York, be sure to put the WTC at the top of your Must See List! The museum provides a poignant yet artful remembrance of 9/11 and the heroes who lost their lives that day, as well as the many men and women who worked tirelessly to help others during the attack and in the days that followed.

Hopefully, the pictures I took will give you a short glimpse into what makes the museum so special.

One World Trade Center. Do you see a cross on the side
of the building?

In memory of those who died on 9/11.

A pillar from Ground Zero. Notice the wall of the
tower. The museum sits under the pools.

The words of Virgil mark the entrance to the WTC Museum.

A painful reminder of the brave firefighters who gave their lives
on 9/11.

The Survivors' Stairs: 100 people made
their way to safety down these stairs.

The cross found in the rubble.

One of the many American flags unearthed at
Ground Zero. 

I hope the photos shared here will encourage you to visit the World Trade Center Museum the next time you're in New York City. I spent 41/2 hours in the North Section of the Museum, which focuses on 9/11 and the day before and the day after. I also visited the Memorial to all those who lost their lives that day. Next time, I hope to explore the South Section. Thanks to all those who worked to create such a lasting reminder of that fateful day. May we never forget and always remain vigilant.

God bless the United States of America..."the land of the free and the home of the brave!"

Wishing you abundant blessings,
Debby Giusti

PERSON OF INTEREST goes on sale TODAY! Hope you enjoy the story!

By Debby Giusti

While babysitting a young servicewoman’s infant, Natalie Frazier hears a murder in the neighboring army duplex. Convinced her former commander is behind the crime, the ex-soldier bolts with the baby. But who will believe her story? Army investigator Everett Kohl deals only with the facts, but this time his gut instincts can’t be denied. Is the attractive Natalie a cunning killer, as his ranking officers believe, or an innocent victim? Ordered to bring her in, Everett has a decision to make. Helping her could cost him his job…but not protecting  Natalie and the baby could get all of them killed…

Available in digital or print format: Amazon.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Mountain Living in Community

This is my back yard! So worth all the trouble!
Hi Everyone! Danica Favorite here, and I'm really hoping this post works! You see, we recently moved to our dream home in the mountains, and we're having an interesting learning curve. A couple of nights ago, I was working on my computer, and all the power went out. As it turns out, a power pole elsewhere in the mountains burned down, and it took out all the power for our area, affecting about 5,000 people. Yikes!

Originally, they said we'd be out of power for three days, but fortunately, it ended up only being one. But it was amazing what we could not do with no power. For example, in the mountains, we have water from a well. Without power to run the well pump, we have no water. As you can imagine, that makes for a pretty interesting time!

But the great thing is, life in the mountains means people stick together and help each other out, so we came down from the mountain, spent time with some relatives, and had a lot of others reaching out to make sure we had everything we needed.Which is one of the things my Leadville books also emphasizes. Community, working together, and making sure that everyone has what they need. It's neat to live in a place where it's really true. I think, for survival reasons, living in the mountains, you have no choice but to stick together. Wouldn't it be great to see that happening in more places?

I think that's why I like writing about people living in community. Maybe if we all see how wonderful it is to help each other out, then there will be more of it in this world. So call me biased, and maybe I have a little bit of an agenda, but I always hope that I always demonstrate that community spirit in both my books, and my life. You don't have to live in the mountains to live in community!

How can you reach out to others in your community today?

Former deputy Will Lawson is fighting to regain his reputation—and Mary Stone is his only lead to the bandit who framed him. Now that he's tracked Mary to Leadville, Colorado, Will needs the proud beauty to reveal her past. Instead, his efforts spark a mighty inconvenient attraction…

Mary's only real crime is that she once believed an outlaw's lies. Still, she fears disclosing the truth to Will may land her in jail—and leave her young siblings without protection. Now she must choose between honesty and safeguarding her family. And if Will does clear his own name, can he convince the woman he loves to share it?


Monday, August 3, 2015

Lyn Cote’s Less Pasta, More Zucchini Recipe

Rachel's joy when baking copy

  A few years ago my dh and I decided to try a more healthy lifestyle, which included lowering our carb intake. But we still wanted a hearty Italian meal so I made this up. Since we're now in garden season, I thought you all might enjoy a recipe that will use up zucchini, one of the most prolific plants in any garden!

  Lyn Cote’s Less Pasta, More Zucchini Recipe
 1 lb. ground turkey
 1 lb. ground beef
 3 medium zucchini, quartered and diced into 1/2” cubes
 1 large onion, diced
 1 pkg fresh mushrooms, quartered (Portobello or white--may substitute canned)
 1 15 oz. can, Italian style minced tomatoes (drained)
 1/2 bottle or can of spaghetti sauce (your choice of brand)
 1 Tb. Orrington Farms Broth Base & Seasoning, Beef flavor
 1/2 tsp oregano
 1 tsp minced garlic or 1/2 tsp garlic powder
 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
 1 c. shredded mozzarella
 1/4 c. Parmesan cheese

 Brown turkey and beef in large skillet. Add veggies and spices. Mix gently. Cover and simmer for an hour. Top with cheeses the last ten minutes to melt. May be served over your choice of pasta. Or alone. The one variable that you must take into consideration is the quantity of liquid from the zucchini.
  • I have spooned off excess liquid before serving.
  • I’ve also mixed in 1-2 handfuls of uncooked whole wheat pasta about halfway through the cooking time to absorb the liquid.
  • Instead of the pasta you might substitute a crunchy French or Italian bread that could be dipped into the juice at the table.
You’ll need to play around and see what works for you! I make this large batch because from it we eat 1 supper, 1 lunch and many breakfasts. Leftovers mixed with scrambled eggs the next morning are very tasty! But this recipe should easily feed a large family so if you don’t like leftovers and have a smaller family, you can reduce the amount by 1/2. But the leftovers are really good and my dh says get better overnight!

QUESTION: Have you ever made up a recipe?--Lyn 
For more recipes, check out Weds on my blog