Tuesday, March 28, 2017

A New Adventure by Leann Harris

I've be having fun the last six weeks writing my first novella for a Fourth of July collection I'm doing it members of my ACFW chapter. The story is set in West Texas and McDonald observatory. My heroine, Star, grew up in Alpine and wants to become an astronomer. My college roommate was from Marfa (the next county over). We visited her parents for a book I was writing early in my career. It's a long way between small cities. Not many folks brave living in that part of Texas, but there's a stark charm about the scenery. It would not appeal to a lot of people, but I enjoyed the trip. Out there were there are few city lights, you can see the night sky. I remember growing up and watching the stars come out and laying in the yard seeing the constellations. I'm so sorry my children and grandchildren won't see the beauty of the night sky. Those are the seeds that gave birth to the story. It was fun to write.

Monday, March 27, 2017


As a reader, I love series. Once I've become familiar with a place and a cast of characters, I like to visit again and again. So, in both my inspirational romances and romantic suspense books, I've created a number of series, most of them based on particular places which become very real to me while I'm writing about them.
The beginning of a new series is always a scary time. Will readers like it? Will they want to come back again and again? I can only hope, and so here is an introduction to my new series:
Welcome to Echo Falls, Pennsylvania! This small, isolated Amish and English community looks like a haven of peace and security. But dark secrets lurk here, as elsewhere, and events are coming which will crash through the serene, pastoral landscape, and all the strength and compassion the community can muster will be necessary as never before.

First up in the Echo Falls trilogy is ECHO OF DANGER, available on April 25th. Here's a look at it:

In peaceful Pennsylvania Dutch country, a young mother discovers a shocking danger—and an unexpected ally 

A whisper of a threat looms over widow Deidre Morris. She and her young son have unwittingly become prisoners of her intimidating father-in-law's power. One wrong step could find her son torn from her and in the hands of the influential judge. But when Deidre collides with an intriguing stranger, the prospect of a new friendship gives her renewed hope…until a devastating murder rocks the quiet community of Echo Falls and Deidre learns first impressions can't be trusted. 

Attorney Jase Glassman's assignment is straightforward: befriend Deidre, gather incriminating evidence…and allow her dogged father-in-law to take custody of her child. Anything else, including losing himself in her honest charm, will compromise the job he was hired to do. Yet when a murderer ushers danger into the town, Jase's only instinct is to protect Deidre and her son—no matter the sacrifice.

ECHO OF DANGER is available now for pre-order on Amazon and other online retailers.

Echo Falls is based on several small towns in the scenic mountain areas of north-central Pennsylvania, and the falls itself is a twin, in some ways, to the beautiful falls to be found in Ricketts Glen State Park, a long-time favorite spot of ours for hiking an picnicking. My children grew up enjoying those trails, and now our grandchildren love scrambling up and down beside the falls.

One of my favorite memories is of climbing the trail up the falls with a group of teenagers. We stopped on a ledge of rock halfway up for a time of quiet meditation and prayer in God's beautiful creation before continuing on our way. Recently one of those teenagers, now long-since grown up and with a family of his own, confided in me that it had been an important spiritual experience in his life. For me, as well!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Springtime.....maybe, and a renewal of faith

by Roanne Rustand

This has been a confusing winter!  The red wing blackbirds came back during a long stretch of warm and sunny days in early March, the trees started  budding and our hostas burst up from the wood chip mulch by our garage,  Then we got our first measurable snow...more warm days..and now a cold snap is on its way.  Still, it seems like spring is around the corner  and I am eagerly awaiting the appearance of all the roses we planted last year.  Without anything colorful to photograph in our yard, I am slipping in a photograph I took of a bouquet on our kitchen table.  But I can dream about what is to come!  Do you like to garden?  What do you grow?

New beginnings of spring...and some sad changes, too.  My husband and I belong to a Bible study group, and one of the members is now in hospice. We hadn't seen her for quite a while, but signed up on the online Meal Train site, to join other friends in bringing the family meals. and last night we brought them supper. Our friend and her husband are the loveliest people, so kind and welcoming and giving; people of deep faith, yet we arrived feeling sad and just wanted to be careful to not intrude for too long.  We soon realized that in our expectations, we had totally underestimated our friend.

Despite being in bed now, cared for by hospice and her family, she was filled with gratitude for every aspect of her life past and present--so thankful for every extra day she has been given to be with her friends and family, deeply grateful to the Lord for the joy she feels here on earth and over what is yet to come.  We went hoping we could uplift her in some way, but left feeling as if we'd experienced the Lord's love and peace through her ministry to us. What a gift she is to everyone who visits her--what a testimony she is to the presence of God here on earth and power of faith.

Today, as I  think again and again about this wonderful, sweet woman, I find myself wanting to be a better person...to focus more on my own faith and on ways I could help someone else.  And, it also reminds me of what a blessing it is to be able to reach others, in some small way,  through the books all of us with the Love Inspired line are writing.

Have you had people in your life who have deeply touched you, and helped you on your own faith journey?

Wishing you all blessings and peace,
Roxanne Rustand

USA Today Bestselling Author
Falling for the Rancher, LI       6/2017
An Aspen Creek Christmas, LI 11/2016
The Single Dad's Redemption, Love Inspired 7/2016

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Things That Go Bump In The Night

What scares you? We each have something that makes us fearful. Sometimes it a figment of our imagination. And somethings it’s the real life horror story we’re going through.

When I was fairly young, I saw the older version of Night of the Living Dead with some friends at an outdoor movie theater, and let me tell you, it scared me and gave me a few nightmares as well as sleepless night. Looking back, I’m wondering if that’s what got me interested in writing suspense.  

While there are dozens of things that scare us when the sun goes down…an unknown bump in the night, a noise that sounds like a footsteps. A light that could be the beam of a flashlight.

But as many unexplained terrors as there are out there, real life fears can be much more frightening. A death of someone close to you renders you paralyzed with grief. Financial worries that makes for many sleepless nights. A critical illness that can bring you to your knees.
Whether our fears are real or imagined, the one constant that stand the test of time is that no matter what we’re going through, God is there with us through it all.

John 14:1-3 says, Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God[a]; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

So whatever you’re facing, know that you are not alone no matter what. Even when something goes bump in the night.


All The Best…


Mary Alford


Deadly Memories – Coming June 2017


Amnesia may be keeping Ella Weiss from remembering her past—but not from saving the little boy who's been her fellow prisoner the last seven years. After managing to escape her cell, all she wants is to find where little Joseph is being kept. Instead she runs straight into CIA agent Kyle Jennings. Kyle isn't sure if Ella is actually a kidnap victim or if she's working for the gunrunner he's been after. One thing he is certain of is her uncanny resemblance to the wife he thought he'd buried. To save a child's life and stop a terrorist from slipping through his fingers, he'll need to uncover the secrets of Ella's past—and whether or not she's really the woman he's never stopped loving.

Available at Amazon:



Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Good Morning by Leann Harris

I am not a morning person. I taught for a long time and had to leave the house around 7AM. Once I stopped teaching, I didn't keep up the early routine. I wake later but isn't my optimum time. Talk to me around noon.) But these last few weeks as I'm making hot tea in the morning, I look out in my yard and see all the daffodils and hyacinth and papperwhites blooming. They greet me and it's as if God says good morning. It makes me smile.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Keeping Up with Covers by Marta Perry

Do you judge a book by its cover? I know that observations in bookstores have shown a similar pattern in how potential readers browse in bookstores. I've seen it myself, and so have you. The reader goes first to the desired section--romance, mystery, sci fi, etc. (For me, this comes after a stop at the cafe to have a Chai Latte.) Then a quick glance over the shelves. The eye settles on a book, attracted by either the cover, the title, or the author's name. Next step--pick it up. Most people then flip the book over to read the back cover copy. If they're still interested, they'll open it and read the first page. And then?

Well, some people will jump to the end of the book to make sure that the ending is happy--after all, no one wants to invest hours reading a book only to discover that a favorite character dies in the end! Unless, of course, that's the sort of book you've looking for.

And then the book is tucked under the arm while the browsing continues, following the same routine over and over.

But wait! How many of us now have a bookstore within easy reach? My small town used to boast two independent bookstores, in addition to the college bookstore and the Waldenbooks at the local mall. Where are they now? Gone in the blink of an eye. Even Walmart has stopped carrying the large selection of books they once did. So what's a book-lover to do?

If you're like me, you're probably buying most of your books online now. What is the role of the usual browsing? Do the same parameters apply?

Honestly, I don't know the answer to that question. I find that as a reader, I've been stung too many times in downloading a book which had an appealing cover and induced a reaction similar to throwing the book across the room, except that I don't toss my Kindle. So my answer has been to gravitate over and over to familiar author names. I search by author, not by category, and when I'm lucky, I find a book I either haven't read or read so long again that I'd enjoy reading it again.

You'll notice I'm providing only questions, no answers! How do you pick the books and authors you're willing to take a chance on? Do you rely on the cover more or less than when browsing in a bookstore?

If anyone has an answer, I'd love to hear it. In the meantime, I can only hope that the cover to my upcoming HQN Book, ECHO OF DANGER, releasing April 24th, says "Buy me! Buy me!" to fans of romantic suspense!