Wednesday, December 30, 2009

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!







By Debby Giusti





As another year draws to a close, my thoughts turn with gratitude to all that has happened in 2009. An increased awareness of the bounty of God’s mercy and love tops the list of things for which I am most thankful.

In this time of economical upheaval when so many in our country are experiencing hardship, I am blessed to be surrounded by a loving family and give thanks for their continued health and well being.


In the past few months, like many of you, I’ve experienced a new appreciation for the simple pleasures of life. Scaling down means more time to appreciate others. As we all know, happiness does not come from material possessions but from a life focused first on God and then on serving others.

As always, the men and women in uniform have my deepest respect. Because of their sacrifice, we continue to be the "land of the free and the home of the brave." I ask you to join with me in praying for their protection and for the families who wait for their safe return.

Thank you for making 2009 a wonderful year to be a Craftie Lady of Suspense. Whether you post comments or merely read the messages others write, you’re part of this blog family and I am so thankful for your support.

Have a Happy New Year! Looking forward spending more time together in 2010!

Wishing you abundant blessings,
Debby Giusti
http://www.debbygiusti.com/
http://www.seekerville.blogspot.com/




Still available:
CHRISTMAS PERIL
Featuring Merry Mayhem by Margaret Daley
And Yule Die by Debby Giusti

Watch for KILLER HEADLINE, Feb 2010—Book 2 in the Protecting the Witnesses Love Inspired Suspense Continuity Series

Sunday, December 27, 2009

FIELD OF DANGER INTERVIEW

Today we're welcoming April Presley, the heroine of Field of Danger by Ramona Richards, coming out in December. Wow, you've just had quite an adventure.

And I’ll be perfectly content if I NEVER have to deal with anything like that again! I really hope the rest of my life is that of a normal, small-town girl.

1. Tell us a little about yourself and how you came to be in the midst of such suspense.

Well, I moved to Caralinda, Tennessee, to start life over again. Here I was in my small cottage and garden, surrounded by a huge cornfield. The cornfield was owned by Levon Rivers, who was a good friend. He was like a father to me. All this got started when I saw Levon get shot in the middle of the field one morning.

2. So, during the book you met Daniel Rivers. Tell us a bit about him. What was your first impression? When did you know it was love?

I’d known Daniel since I moved to Caralinda. He’s Levon’s son. And I knew he had been interested in me at one time, but I just wasn’t ready for another relationship. Daniel is incredibly patient (he’d say he was deliberate!) and kind with me. He waited, then this locked us together.

He’s an amazing man. And handsome! But I didn’t realize it was love until I knew I just didn’t want to be without him. I didn’t want to lose him. Ever.


3. What strengths/skills do you have? What is your greatest weakness?

I don’t make decisions quickly. I like to consider all the options, then move forward with determination. I don’t like to “repent at leisure.” I think that’s a strength or weakness depending on who you talk to.

4. What scares you?
People getting shot! I promise you, I’ve seen enough of that for a lifetime. See two people I care about get shot certainly reminded me what’s special and valuable in this life.

5. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I wish I had a stronger nature. You know, one of those bold women who go off having adventures and holding their own with the boys. I just prefer the homefront. I have my own business that I operate out of the house, and I love balancing that with my garden and my friends and family. I’ll have to leave the adventuring to Lara Croft!

6. Where are you in your faith at the start of your story?

Shaky. To be honest, when you go through what I did, it’s easy to start doubting things.

7. Where are you in your faith at the end of the story?

Daniel helped me see that our trials are just part of life, and that God’s here to get us through them. These days I do a lot more relying on Him.

8. You've got a scripture at the beginning of the story. Tell us why this scripture is significant.
Those are Paul’s words to Timothy. They remind me that God gives us what we need to survive and do the best we can in our faith and our lives.


9. If you could be a dessert what would you be and why?

Strawberry shortcake. Sweet and tart in many layers. 

Thank you Ramona for sharing April with us today. What an exciting story!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

What do the three most popular 2009 You Tube Clips Show About Us?


Happy New Year. Dana Mentink here. With Christmas behind us, it’s time to embrace upcoming year by taking a moment to look back. What better way to get a finger on the pulse of the times by peeking at that cultural phenomenon known as You Tube. The company rated its top ten videos for 2009 based on the number of times each was viewed. The results were revealing.

The top video? Susan Boyle, frumpy Scottish singer who showed us that the value we place on looks can cause us to miss out on phenomenal talent. Susan’s clip garnered over 120 million views. Why? Because she taught us a lesson and we got to see the underdog rise to great heights.

The second most popular video? David After the Dentist, an adorable clip of a child in a post sedative twilight. People loved it enough to watch it 39 million times. Why? Because the little guy was cute and we got to experience a moment in the life of an innocent. We smiled and enjoy his discomfiture.

Video number three? A hilarious little clip entitled JK Wedding Entrance featuring the wedding party of Jill and Kevin performing a joyful dance down the aisle. We loved it to the tune of 33 million. Why? Because it was a moment full of joy and celebration that found its expression in the perfect place, a wedding ceremony.

So what was striking about these top three videos was they were all clips that made us feel good. We cheered for Susan. We chuckled at David. We celebrated with Jill and Kevin. In this year of recession, political strife, disgraced athlete’s and politicians, we want to see the joy and You Tube allowed us the opportunity to laugh. It’s the same reason books continue to sell in an age where folks have little disposable income. Books lift us up, let us laugh and celebrate happy endings. In a world where terrorists try to blow up Detroit bound planes on Christmas and the big news of the day is the Charlie Sheen’s arrest, it’s the reason I write them.

What was your favorite You Tube video this year? I’ll bet they were clips that lifted you up and made your heart happy. Send in your faves so we can all share in the joy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9lp0IWv8QZY

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas.



Merry Christmas to all from snowy Dallas. This is our first official snowfall in the last 50 years. I want to wish y'all a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year. As you gather with your family and friends, please keep our service men and women in your prayers.

Leann

Merry Christmas!

It's a wonderful and blessed Christmas here. My brother and his daughters have arrived and usually have a sweltering Christmas in northern Australia. But not this year!
I hope all of you have a fantastic and safe Christmas and a blessed new year.
Love Barbara Phinney

Simply Perfect Christmas, from Carol Steward


Like many of you across the nation, we in Colorado are celebrating 2009 with a white Christmas. As my grandsons and I were out playing in the falling snow, we stopped to admire the nativity under a thick blanket of snow. My four-year-old grandson commented on how cold baby Jesus must be. We’d just read the book, The Friendly Beasts, the night before, and talked about how thankfully it wasn’t as cold in Bethlehem the night the baby Jesus was born as it was when we were outside playing. And still, it was simple and quiet and just the way God had planned for His son to come into the world.

We celebrated early with our grandsons this year, since their dad is working on Christmas day. It was actually very refreshing to take an “extra” holiday and just play. We went sledding, and didn’t stress over any of the usual expectations to make Christmas day perfect. In fact, we ate corndogs and potato salad for our “holiday dinner” with the boys. Low stress, high on perfection. Simplicity at its finest. And I think that's just the way God would want it.

Today we’ll celebrate with the “whole” family and enjoy all of the chaos and even more, the quiet simplicity of coming home to take a long winter’s nap.

May God bless all of you on this, His son's birthday!


Carol Steward

Merry Christmas

I'm sitting here writing this blog post on Christmas Eve, preparing for a flurry of activity that will be at my house in a few hours. By the time you read this, it will be Christmas Day and I will hopefully be relaxing on the sofa with my family, watching movies and just enjoying the day. The dinner from the night before will be long gone. The breakfast casserole I have planned for Christmas morning will be eaten and the dishes will be cleaned and put away. And I'll probably be exhausted, but content. Later in the day we'll visit some friends for some good conversation, great coffee and another round of Christmas desserts that I don't need but will thoroughly enjoy!

Whether you're traveling to see family or staying home, I hope all of you have a wonderful Christmas filled with love and laughter.

Many blessings to you on this Christmas Day!

Lisa Mondello

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve

Merry Christmas. This is Leann.

Christmas Eve is my favorite time of the Christmas season. The excitement and joy of the season filling the air. Since my kids were in middle school, we gone to our church's Christmas Eve service. They usually pick a family to read the Christmas story and our pastor promises a 10 minutes sermon. He times himself and always makes it. At the end of the service, the teens come into the service with candles as we sign Joy to the World.

I remember one Christmas in particular when both my children and husband all stood there singing. My heart filled with gratitude to our Savior for the wonderful blessings He's poured into my life.

What wonderful memories do you have of Christmas Eve?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

MERRY CHRISTMAS


by Linda Hall

As I write this, my husband and I are in a hotel in Massachusetts. We have another eight hours of driving today before we are at my mother's house where we will spend Christmas with our family. Our son and family are already there. They left a day earlier than we did. My sister and family live near there. So, we'll all be together on Christmas.

Our car is packed with gifts and even last night we spent some time in the mall. This is Christmas in north america and we celebrate it to the hilt, don't we?

It gets easy to lose sight of what we are really celebrating. Why was Jesus born the way he was? Because when you think about it, if we took the Christmas story out of the Bible, we would only lose a few short accounts in Matthew and Luke. He didn't come so we could enjoy nativity scenes and think about a baby. He didn't come so we could all go into debt buying stuff for each other.

No. He came to die. He came to redeem us. He came to usher in his Kingdom. He came to bring us home.

The entire Bible, Old and New Testaments is about Jesus. All of it. One of the things that I'm learning this year is that every verse is about Jesus. Every verse is about redemption. Every verse is about ushering in the Messiah's kingdom. I've heard it said that the entire Bible is a book about our longing for home, our longing for redemption. That's the true message of Christmas.

I wish all of you a very wonderful and meaningful Christmas!

Monday, December 21, 2009

I Believe

Pamela Tracy here. Okay, so it's dark outside and I'm sitting in front of my computer after a three day Internet absence. Christmas is sooooo fun. Friday night we loaded up Grandpa, Grandma, hubby, four-year-old, me, and headed for Williams, Arizona, and the Polar Express.
It's great fun. They take the Grand Canyon Railroad train, stick a wreath on the nose of the engine, and make magic for kids. We were on car J.Our train was supposed to leave at 8:00, but for some reason, there was delay. I overheard one of the elves (train employee dressed up) on his walkie talkie: Clean up on car M.
The mom in me thought, "Oh, no. Some kid drank too much hot chocolate." The worrier in me thought, "Oh, no. Someone is hurt." The suspense writer in me thought "There's been a murder!"
In real life, the engine broke. Nothing magical like Caribu on the track. After an hour wait (we spent it freezing, getting Mikey's picture taken with Santa, and freezing some more), we got on the train. It's about a fourty minute ride to the North Pole. The waiter and elve serve cookies and hot chocolate, and over the loud speaker they read the book (we brought ours so Mikey had the pictures). Then, it's the North Pole! It's about a block long and Santa is outside on his sleigh waving. The train then heads back to the station and Santa is on board. He gives all the kids a hug and a bell and asks them to believe.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

CLANDESTINE COVER-UP INTERVIEW

Today we're welcoming Vince Frenci, the hero of Clandestine Cover-Up by Pamela Tracy, a December 2009 release.

Ileen the Interviewer: Tell us a little about yourself and how you came to be in the midst of such suspense.

Vince: First, let me tell you about my family. The Frenci’s have been in Sherman, Nebraska, a century. I’m pretty sure the ground our family tree sprouted from was soaked from moonshine hence a boot-legger ancestor. We have a picture of GreatGrandpa with Jesse James. They’re standing in front of a bank. I met my grandfather once. We drove three hours to the prison he was sentenced in. My father, well, he went to the store to get bread when I was in junior high and never came back. The branches of my family tree all look like leg shackles.

Ileen the Interviewer: Except for you?

Vince: Accept for me. I got in trouble once, just out of high school, and that, plus knowing how much help my mother needed with my little brother, put me on the straight and narrow. Of course, I didn’t realize that I needed a good woman (Tamara Jacoby) to help me stay straight, and I didn’t realize I needed God to help define the narrow.

Ileen the Interviewer:. So, I’m still curious about the suspense, but I’m sure we’ll get there. During the book you met Tamara Jacoby. Tell us a bit about her. What was your first impression? When did you know it was love?

Vince: I met her for the first time at her sister’s wedding. She started out by ordering me around. I’m a contractor, see, and she was helping with decorations at the church. Then, one day (more than a year later) when I was driving home from work, I saw her again. Well, first I saw her car. I knew a little bit about why she’d moved to Nebraska. She’d had some trouble with a stalker back in Arizona. I stopped to see if she was okay. She wasn’t. But, I gotta tell you, she has spunk. Someone had painted YOUR NOT WANTED HERE on the front door of the old building she’d purchased. Any other woman might have turned tail. Tamara, she stood and fought. Not necessarily wise, but very impressive especially after what she’d just been through with the stalker. Ah, you ladies and your love questions. I wish I knew the exact moment. Tamara asks me that same question about every three weeks. I think I knew it was love at Yano’s Restaurant, when I was sitting across the table from Tamara and some friends – one of whom the restaurant owners had tried to fix me up with – and I realized they all knew something I didn’t. Yup, that something was the way Tamara and I acted together.


Ileen the Interviewer: What strengths/skills do you have? What is your greatest weakness?

Vince: I can put almost anything together and fix most things, including gadgets. I’m a big guy. I tend to either scare people or make them feel very safe. Luckily, I made Tamara feel very safe. My greatest weakness is I let my family bring me down. It was only after I found God that I realized sometimes the family is not just blood but can also be community.


Ileen the Interviewer: What scares you?

Vince: Being responsible for other people. My family took up plenty of my time and it all seemed to be damage control. Why would I want more family. Tamara showed me the opposite of damage control – well, once we figured out who was after her. I confess, I still get shaky hands at the thought of my wife. She takes my breath away. On one hand, I cannot believe she wants to be with me. On the other hand, I have to protect her. Did I mention she’s a criminal attorney. Nope, I couldn’t marry a nice safe teacher. Nope, not me.

Ileen the Interviewer:. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

Vince: I married into a family where there’s a banker, a teacher, a lawyer, etc. I’m sitting here with just a high school degree and suddenly thinking it’s not enough. I’m pretty sure I’ll go back to school and major in business. Maybe someday instead of working for others, I’ll work for myself.


Ileen the Interviewer: Where are you in your faith at the end of the story?

Vince: God invited me through the back door. As we were trying to figure out who was after Tamara, it became clear that one of the Main Street Church ladies had insider information. We had to go to church to meet her. Then, we had to go again, and again. Pretty soon we were going to church when we didn’t have to. Tamara’s more questioning than I. I think that’s the lawyer in her. Me, I can wrap my mind around a carpenter’s son.


Ileen the Interviewer: You've got a scripture at the beginning of the story. Tell us why this scripture is significant.

A good name is more desirable than great riches, to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.

Keep in mind, in Sherman, Nebraska, the last name Frenci was pretty tainted. I mean, we were the town’s Capones.


Ileen the Interviewer: If you could be a dessert what would you be and why?

Vince: Ack! A girl question. Let me go find Tamara. I’ll let her answer this one.

Ileen the Interviewer: Hmm, he sure looks good in his gray construction uniform. I can certainly see what Tamara saw in him. Not only looks, but a teddy bear protector. Guys, I don’t think Vince is coming back to share his favorite dessert. So, everyone, go ahead and grab your own personal favorite and join us next week for another Love Inspired Suspense hero or heroine interview!


Thank you Pam for letting our guest interview Ileen ask Vince some pressing questions. This sounds like a great read!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

CHRISTMAS PERIL INTERVIEWS

Christmas bells ring with danger in these suspenseful holiday stories by Margaret Daley and Debby Guisti


Merry Mayhem by Margaret Daley

When single mom Annie Coleman unexpectedly arrives in Christmas, Oklahoma, police chief Caleb Jackson suspects she's hiding secrets. He'll be watching her closely. And his protection is just what Annie and her daughter need, as danger has followed them to their new home.

Today we're welcoming Maddy Coleman, the heroine of Merry Mayhem in Christmas Peril by Margaret Daley, December 2009. Wow, you've just had quite an adventure.
1. Tell us a little about yourself and how you came to be in the midst of such suspense.
I'm Maddy Coleman, a single mom of a five year old girl named Jayden. This all started when my ex-boyfriend, Bryan, Jayden's father, called me and told me to leave--get out of town. He warned me not to trust anyone. Before I could ask him anything, I heard a gunshot. I'm pretty sure he was murdered.
2. So, during the book you met Caleb Jackson. Tell us a bit about him/her. What was your first impression? When did you know it was love? I didn't know what to think when I first met him. Caleb is the police chief in Christmas, OK. When Bryan told me not to trust anyone, he included the police. I didn't know where to turn for help. I ended up at my cousin's house in Christmas during December, scared to confide in her or Caleb who was nice. I quickly realized I could depend on him. I finally told him what was going on. That I heard Bryan being killed and the killer was after me.
3. What strengths/skills do you have? What is your greatest weakness?
I'm strong. I've had to be raising my daughter by myself, but this really tested me. Even with Bryan's warning I never trusted people much. I had to learn to trust the Lord and Caleb to save myself and Jayden.
4. What scares you?
Something happening to my daughter. She is my whole world.
5. Where are you in your faith at the start of your story?
For years I turned away from the Lord. Life was hard trying to make ends meet without any help from my daughter's father. I had thought God had forsaken me because I wasn't married when I had Jayden.




Yule Die by Debby Giusti

It's hardly a happy holiday for medical researcher Callie Evans…until she discovers her ailing patient is her long-lost brother. And he's being watched by undercover police officer Joe Petrecelli. When the trio is abducted by a cadre of bad guys, Joe and Callie will have to fight to keep her brother—and themselves—alive.

Today we're welcoming Joe Petrecelli, the hero of YULE DIE, by Debby Giusti, featured in the two-in-one suspense, CHRISTMAS PERIL, December 2009. Wow, you've just had quite an adventure.
1. Tell us a little about yourself and how you came to be in the midst of such suspense.
Thanks for inviting me to the Craftie Ladies blog. My name’s Joe Petrecelli, and I’m a homicide detective in Atlanta, Georgia. A vicious gang, called the Exterminators, has infiltrated the city. They’re involved in a wide range of criminal activity, including extortion, drugs and gambling. My job is to uncover the man at the top, but so far, I’ve been unsuccessful. Just before Christmas, a shoot out left two gang members dead and a guy called Rocky in serious condition. I got word the gang planned to come after Rocky in the hospital so I had him transferred to Lazarus House, an out-of-the-way nursing home on the outskirts of the city. When I stopped in to check on him, I found medical technologist Callie Evans at Rocky’s bedside.
2. Tell us a bit about Callie. What was your first impression? When did you know it was love?
Callie took my breath away right from the start with all those black curls that swarmed around her alabaster skin. She has this air of innocence wrapped in beauty, but at the moment we met, her blue eyes were filled with question. I later learned she’d just realized the wounded gang member was her brother. Seconds later, three guys crashed into the room with their guns drawn. All my instincts screamed to protect Callie. Fact was she turned out to be stronger than I realized, and before long, the attraction I felt for her turned into a four-letter word – LOVE.
3. What strengths/skills do you have? What is your greatest weakness?
I was prior military, then joined the PD and worked my way up to homicide detective so I’m not afraid of danger, but I also believe in justice and the rule of law. Problem is I’m a loner and have trouble working with others, especially a feisty gal like Callie who had her own idea of how to handle the thugs.
4. What scares you? If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? Where are you in your faith?
Losing Callie scared me during the hostage situation. I worried the gang would kill her, but I also worried about what she would do when she learned the truth about her brother. Although my stubborn determination has gotten me out of a lot of difficult situations, it can also get me into trouble so, I guess, that’s what I’d change about myself. Callie is determined, but in a good way. She believes in forgiveness and in a loving God. Her faith rubbed off on me, and when I thought we’d never live to see Christmas morn, Callie convinced me to turn to the Lord. With her help, things worked out, making me the luckiest and happiest guy alive.

Wow, these sound like exciting reads! And what's better is they come together. The perfect gift.

Thank you, ladies for joining us today and sharing Maddy and Joe with us.

Friday, December 18, 2009

With So Much Talk of Tiger Woods...Where is Christmas?


Are we missing the reason for the season?
I don't know about you, but it's always been hard for me to get into the Christmas spirit until the week of Christmas. I put my Christmas tree up, decorate the house a little with some Christmas decorations and turn up the volume on the CD player as I listen to Christmas Carols.
This is my Christmas Tree in my living room. Okay, it's not as grand as the White House Christmas Tree or the Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center. But in the coming days I know I will enjoy looking at it more and more because I will find the meaning of the season that always escapes me this time of the year when I'm walking through the mall with the kids or going through the motions. Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. And oh, what a splendid birthday celebration that is. It saddens me that we forget that when we become so wrapped up in buying presents and...well, wrapping.
But my Christmas spirit will come. It always does. And by the time Christmas Day arrives, my heart will be overflowing with Christmas cheer. I hope all of you are filled with the spirit of Christmas while you go through your daily lives. Tell me, what do you do to get into the spirit of Christmas? Do you have a favorite holiday tradition? If so, please share it with us.
If you're still looking for a great stocking stuffer, please visit your local bookstore or Amazon.com for Yuletide Protector, my December 2009 release from Love Inspired Suspense.
Until next time, many blessings to you all, Lisa Mondello

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The best Christmas gifts


Hi. It's Lenora. I love presents. Tonight my circle group at church held our annual Christmas party. We all get excited about this because we reveal our prayer partners we've had all year long and present each other with gifts. We all love Jim Shore Christmas santas and snowmen, and I love to count how many Jim Shore boxes come around in the swap. Tonight we had thirteen! That's a record. We also have a Sneaky Santa ornament swap. That's fun because we fight over the ornaments (all in good fun) but things do get a little feisty at times! I wound up with a beach snowman and Santa with a surfboard. Both are perfect for me since my husband and I hope to retire in Florida in a few years. (And no one stole them, thankfully.)

We had great food (bread pudding for dessert)and so much fun. But I think the best part was just laughing with friends. I had to give the blessing and I almost cried because I thanked God for His blessings during what has been a difficult and wonderful year (the bad always comes with the good, doesn't it.) It's been a tough years with aging parents and teenagers going into adulthood and all of us caught somewhere in the middle. But we shoulder on. Or as I heard on the radio (Jimmy Buffet) Breathe in, breathe out and keep going. That's what we do because we have the support of friends we can trust and we have the presence of the Lord to carry us through. Life is full of suspenseful moments where we lay awake at night wondering what will happen next. And it is in that quiet time of the wee hours that God is so near. And that is the best present of all--knowing that God is always present in our life. While we love writing those cliffhangers and we create obstacles for our characters to overcome, we know that the real life obstacles are sometimes just as scary as anything in a book. So we give thanks for the good and ask God to see us through the bad. And deep in the night as Christmas draws near, we find that quiet sweet time to feel at peace, surrounded by our books, our friends, (our shoes!) and the love that keeps us going. And a little bread pudding doesn't hurt either.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christmas Gift Ideas for Writers

I love books. Step into my house, and it's obvious, because they are everywhere! And my office--oh, my! Every inch of wall not covered by windows, doors, or the huge bulletin board above my desk is filled with overflowing bookshelves. Fiction of all kinds, of course, and also evidence of my passion for books on writing. I really, really need to stop collecting every book on writing that I see! I could probably weed all of them down to a dozen favorites...though I'm always on the prowl for new titles that offer something special. And boy, have I found some great titles lately!

I recently came across two new ones that are truly excellent--both by members of ACFW.

I've come to realize that if James Scott Bell pens a book on writing, I want to be first in line at the store. His Plot & Structure and Revision & Self Editing are two titles that I'd pack if I knew I was going to be stranded on a desert isle. I can't recommend them highly enough. And now, he has come out with a third-- The Art of War for Writers: Fiction Writing Strategies, Tactics and Exercises with perhaps the most unique approach ever--and packed with excellent information and advice. I love this book! And it's just the right size and price to be a perfect gift for my critique buddies. But shhhhh....don't tell!

The other new title that I love is The Art & Craft of Writing Christian Fiction by Jeff Gerke, and it is absolutely packed with wonderful information for anyone who hopes to write Christian fiction, or even if s/he has a dozen books written. Reading it was like sitting down with the author and receiving an in-depth workshop in my home.

So now...I would just love to hear about your favorites!

Wishing you a blessed Christmas filled with joy for the true reason for the season, and a wonderful coming year,

Roxanne

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas is Dead?

Well, not really, but we are supposed to come up with titles that could tie into national stories. I am worried about how commercial Christmas is--earlier and earlier each year. Christmas music started earlier in stores and on the radio--and don't get me wrong, I love those songs and listen to Christmas music all year long. Some of the most uplifting songs are Christmas. When I listen to Mary, Did You Know? I cry. Very moving. But commercially it is being pushed so people will go out and buy. Buy. Buy. We are a consumer economy and so many business HAVE to do well at Christmas to stay afloat.

So how are you keeping Christ in Christmas? I read something about looking at Christmas as a big birthday bash for Jesus. Invite friends and family for a birthday party with a cake and decorations for a birthday. Any gifts giving are favors for the party participants. It turns the focus more on Christ. I like that.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

YULETIDE PROTECTOR INTERVIEW


Today we're welcoming Daria Carlisle, the heroine of Yuletide Protector by Lisa Mondello, Love Inspired Suspense December 2009.

Wow, you've just had quite an adventure.

1. Tell us a little about yourself and how you came to be in the midst of such suspense.
Hi, I was married for all the wrong reasons. After traveling around from place to place as a child, I wanted a real home and thought my ex-husband would give me that. I was wrong. He wanted me dead and tried to hire an undercover police officer to kill me!

2. So, during the book you met Police Officer, Kevin Gordon. Tell us a bit about him. What was your first impression? When did you know it was love?
I'd met Kevin at the market and thoughthe was really cute. He told me he was a police officer and I foolishly thought he wanted to talk about the vandalism in my neighborhood.I've never been bold or brave when it came to men, but I invited him back to my house to show him first hand the graffiti spray painted on my house. Only he wasn't there about the graffiti. He was there to tell me my ex-husband had just tried to hire him to kill me. He wanted me to leave town, but I'd sunk all my money into my fixer upper and had no money to leave.

3. What strengths/skills do you have? What is your greatest weakness?
I can do carpentry. Good thing because this old house needs a lot of work. I'm also pretty independent. Having to make friends quickly and leave town on a moments notice growing up made me learn the hard way how to do for myself. And I am pretty stubborn. When I get my mind set, it's hard to change it.

4. What scares you?
Right now? My ex-husband and feeling powerless.I'm not sure what he'll do next. Strange things are happening around me and I'm sure he's at the bottom of it.

5. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I would try to be less independent and allow people to help me. I don't ask for help and always think I need to do things on my own. It's been like that my whole life. But I'm learning through love that it's good to lean on others and allow them the opportunity to help. I don't have to be alone.

6. Where are you in your faith at the start of your story?
I'd never had a relationship with God before I'd met Kevin Gordon. It's not that I'd rejected faith, I just wasn't exposed to it in my life. Kevin showed me how having a relationship with God could be a foundation that can give you strength and help guide you.

7. Where are you in your faith at the end of the story?
I've accepted God into my life and my heart. It was a big revelation for me. Even if Kevin Gordon hadn't stayed in my life, I realized that I still wanted to know God.

8. You've got a scripture at the beginning of the story. Tell us why this scripture is significant.
Jesus said that if you believe, all things are possible. It's sometimes hard to see that when things are so bleak. But when I opened my heart to God, I saw that I was stronger than I thought and that I could take back the security that I thought had been taken from me.

9. If you could be a dessert what would you be and why?
A Hershey's chocolate bar. I can't seem to get enough of those!!


Thank you Lisa for sharing Daria with us today. This sounds like an exciting read!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Not What They Seem: Final Installment

Zelda’s knees crumpled and she hit the floor, eyes closed and momentarily unable to breathe. Her gut instinct to trust Ben had been on target. Unfortunately, she’d been a lttle too trusting of a uniform. Cops were supposed to be good; EMTs were supposed to be good.

Wolves in sheeps’ clothing, that’s what these cops and EMTS were.

Come to think of it, gray-hair ladies who wore flannel robes that reached past their knees and support stockings were supposed to be good, too.

In just a matter of moments, Zelda’s home was full of fake cops and fake EMTs, and they were all looking for something.

Except for the first cop, the one who’d entered with Mrs. Garrison. He focused on Ben. Ben took a step back, the fake cop sprinted. Ben stumbled and just barely regained his balance by leaning up against a decorative table in Zelda’s entry way. The cop didn’t have an issue with balance and pressed his gun up against Ben’s temple.

“I’ve wanted to kill you for a long time,” the fake cop said.

“Not yet,” said Mrs. Garrison. “You’re a little too quick on the trigger and that’s why my husband’s dead. Idiot.”

“Okay” the fake cop said, “I’ll settle for this.” Without hesitation, and without removing the gun from Ben’s temple, he smashed his fist into Ben’s nose.

Ben’s hands flew up to his nose and a word – one that Zelda couldn’t make out – escaped from his lips. Then, Ben shuddered, knocking against the decorative table holding the antique lady planter vase that had been Zelda’s mother’s. The planter was in the shape of a blonde, curly-haired woman wearing green and pink ruffled dress – complete with a nosegay - and looking ready to go out a 1950’s era date. When Ben bumped into the table, the lady wobbled, fell to its side, and started to roll toward the edge of the tiny, round table.

Ben’s hands left his now red nose and grabbed for the planter.

In the ruckus, no one but Zelda, still pretending to be unconscious on the floor, noticed the detonator fall from his pocket. It landed right next to Zelda’s hand. She quickly made sure it was under her hand.

She’d be thanking God for this bit of help later.

“You’ve got to be kidding!” Mrs. Garrison yelled.

“What?”

“It’s been here all along, right on this stupid table, and right on this stupid vase I’ve looked at a thousand times.”

The fake cop grabbed the vase and turned it upside-down. A list of numbers scrawled in bold black marker were printed underneath.

Tommy would have some explaining to do.

“Now, you can kill him,” Mrs. Garrison said calmly.

The fake cop grinned.

Zelda jumped up, holding the detonator, and said, “If I even hear the faintest movement from that gun’s mechanism, I’ll blow us all to Kingdom Come. And, because I’m quite sure none of your shadows have passed over a church’s threshold, I might be the only want with an invitation.”

The fake cop lowered his gun and squinted at the detonator. Mrs. Garrison looked angry. The other fake cops and EMTs didn’t know what was happening.

“Good going, Mom!”

It was Tommy! Standing in the door and with a whole patrol of real cops behind him. It took hours to clear the house, answer questions, and find out what going on. Or, rather not find out what was going on. Neither Tommy nor Ben were at liberty to say who the number belonged to, although Tommy did say it was an account number. and Tommy did fess up to writing it there more than a decade ago and then not being able to get it off and forgetting about it.

“What I want to know,” Zelda said, “is how the Garrison’s knew the account number was somewhere in my house.”

“Easy,” Ben said. “Mr. Garrison used to work for the good guys. If that account number ever got out, he’d be dead. Then, he met the woman who became Mrs. Garrison and changed sides.”

“Why didn’t you tell me,” Zelda said. Her teeth so tightly locked together, they hurt.

“Up until a week ago, we didn’t know who the Garrisons were. We’d been looking for them overseas and under different names. The minute we found out, we placed Ben in the neighborhood to keep you safe.”

“Why didn’t you just come get the vase.”

Tommy looked sheepish as he jumped up and headed down the porch steps and to his car. In a minute he was back with a red and white wrapped present.

“Open it.”

First, Zelda put it to her ear. Then, she looked at Ben. He nodded. For more than fifty years Zelda had been a two-second gift opening. Now, because of a red and white wrapped present, make that two, she might never be so enthusiastic about opening presents again. Slowly, she tore the paper away. A white box was inside. She nudged at the tape holding the corners. Finally, she lifted the lid and found a lady planter vase, exactly like the one the real police had carted away.

“Ben was supposed to steal it, and then I was going to replace it as your Christmas gift.”

“You’re my Christmas gift,” Zelda whispered. “My only son, home for Christmas. I love you.”

“Love,” Tommy shook his head, even as he hugged his mother. “It’s a crazy thing.”

“Yes, it is,” said Benjamin Rudolf, with his very red nose.

He was looking at Zelda and his eyes were saying love wasn’t crazy at all.
The End

Friday, December 11, 2009

Part Seven of The Christmas Mystery by Barbara Phinney




Think fast? Zelda didn’t think fast, unless it was the last chocolate brownie on a plate at the church potluck, and Mrs. Tuckershaw was closing in on it. No, Zelda didn’t give anything except that a fast thought.

But Tommy? Ben had mentioned Tommy, and suddenly the quiet Christmas loomed over her like one of Scrooge’s creepy ghosts loomed over him. She didn’t want to have her son away at Christmas. And the idea of never sharing the holiday season with him again weighed against Mrs. Garrison’s cockeyed admission to murder...

No way. Sorry, Mrs. Garrison. You and your dead husband and those ‘officers’ don’t hold a candle to Tommy.

She whirled, grabbed Ben’s arm and hissed, “You better be right about this, or else!”

“Wise choice,” Ben answered as he grabbed her arm and steered her into her house. Once in there, with the door locked, he began a systematic checking and closing of all of her blinds and curtains. Not that there were many open. She’d just got up...well, some time ago.

“Okay, talk. I want to know what’s going on. Mrs. Garrison is practically owning up to murder. And the way she talked, it sounded like this has happened before. She needs my help. But then you go and bring Tommy into all this. Is he in danger? And what was that little thingy you shoved into your pocket?”

Ben dug something out of his pocket. “It’s a detonator. I need it to identify who sent the bomb.”
“Do you have an idea who it was?”

Ben glanced toward the window. “Yes. And they showed up just a little too fast, don’t you think?”

“You mean the police? The EMTs?” Zelda shoved Ben out of the way and peered out the window herself. Beyond her yard, everyone who answered the call had gone into the house. And Mrs. Garrison was headed in, too. From her front door window, Zelda could see the older woman hurrying inside, a millisecond before she turned and drilled a hard, cold stare across the street.

Ben shoved the curtain down. “Yes. Those people aren’t who you think they are. And for Tommy’s sake, we need to get away.” He turned and began to direct her down her hall. “You have thirty seconds to get dressed.”

She resisted him. “I can’t dress that fast!”

He stopped, turned and took both her elbows in a firm hold close to her. “Zelda, listen to me. We need to get out of here. I’ll explain everything, but it’s Tommy we need to think of right now. You have thirty seconds, okay?”

Then he leaned and pressed a quick, warm kiss onto her lips.
Too quick, was her first thought. But he was already pushing toward her bedroom, and unless she wanted him in there dressing her like a confused old woman, she’d better do as he said.
She returned, dressed, with no idea of how little time she took. And she was sure she had her tank top on backwards.

Ben was pacing in the front hall. “The Garrisons came to this area for one purpose," he started to explain. "to destroy the organization Tommy and I work for. But if Mr. Garrison is dead, things are getting even more desperate. I believe that Tommy-”

“Was foolish to trust you.”

Ben pivoted hard. Zelda jumped. Stepping in from the back door was Mrs. Garrison. She carried a deadly looking gun. Behind her stood both EMTs.

And they had guns, too!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

PART 6--- Roxanne Rustand

The discordant scream of sirens faded as the emergency vehicles pulled to a stop in front of Zelda's house. Dizzying, garish ribbons of blue and red light swirled into her entryway.

She stared out of her open front door at the smoking cinders and bomb fragments littering her sidewalk, then lifted her gaze to the EMTs and deputies pouring out of their vehicles. "Here!" she called out, waving her arms frantically when they didn't hurry towards her house. "The bomb was over here!"

But none of them even glanced in her direction as they raced across the street toward the Garrison house. One of them pounded on the door, then rammed it with his shoulder and they all disappeared inside. Even from her home, Zelda could hear them shouting, though she couldn't make out the words. Lights turned on throughout the house, one room after another.

And then suddenly everything was quiet.

A hand closed over Zelda's arm, the bony fingers digging through her robe to sink deeply into her flesh. "I think they found him," Mrs. Garrison whispered, her voice raw. "I-it was so awful. I just can't go back there alone to face them. It was an accident, you know. But they won't believe it. They never do."

Never do? Zelda blinked. "No one was hurt when the bomb went off here, Mrs. Garrison."

"Listen to me," the elderly woman hissed, tightening her fierce grip. "My husband is dead. I don't know who called 911, but they're going to guess wrong about what happened, and they won't believe me. I loved him--I swear I did. You need to tell them that."

Zelda shook her head, trying to clear her confusion. An unexpected Christmas present on her doorstep had turned out to be a bomb, meaning someone had tried to hurt her--but why? And now someone else was dead? That poor, poor man. A coincidence? Or...

She felt her blood chill. "I'll go over there with you right now, " she announced, marching out the door with Mrs. Garrison in tow. "We're going to get some answers."

Ben stepped into her path, all trace of warmth gone from his startling blue eyes. "Don't."

Affronted, feeling even more protective of the old woman behind her, Zelda glared at him. "I need to help my neighbor, and then I want those officers over here next. Someone tried to kill me this morning."

He met her glare with a sharp, assessing expression of his own, then stepped closer and lowered his voice until only she could hear. "You have no idea just how much danger you're in, lady. It's more than you can imagine. So say goodbye to your neighbor and follow me." He tipped his head toward the side of her house. "Now."

Zelda's heart stumbled. Safety--the patrol cars and emergency vehicles--was just a dozen yards away. A distraught old woman had begged for her help. Yet this veritable stranger had just pocketed some sort of evidence amongst the bomb fragments, and now he wanted her to follow him into the early morning darkness of her back yard, where anything could happen?

Maybe he'd even been the one to plant the package on her front step. She could see the headlines now...WIDOW SLAIN BY CRAZED BOMBER IN OWN BACKYARD. How had she ever been drawn to this man's dreamy blue eyes and ruggedly handsome face?

"N-No," she stammered, fear clawing at her throat. "I won't. Touch me and I'll scream!"

A muscle ticked at the side of his lean, strong jaw. "Then think about your son," he whispered. "But think fast--because we have just a few more seconds before those 'officers' come out of that house across the street...and even your Mrs. Garrison isn't who you think she is. Now run!"




Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Part 5 by Leann Harris

Zela took a deep breath. Mrs. Garrison shook in Zela's arms. "Is it going to exploded? Tell me."

Zela looked into Ben's eyes. There was a calmness there. One that reassured her.
"Just stay still," Ben commanded.

He squatted by the box and carefully unwrapped the ribbon from Mrs. Garrison's foot. Suddenly the ticking stopped.

"Get down," Ben shouted as he tossed the box into the middle of the yard.

The explosion knocked both Zela and Mrs. Garrison back into the house. Ben hit the ground outside the door.

Fiery debris rained down around them.

Zela shook her head. Mrs. Garrison looked up.
"Are you okay?" Zela asked the older woman.

"Yes."

Zela turned to Ben. He was already up looking at the remains of the bomb.
Before she could ask Ben any questions, sirens filled the air.

She saw Ben pick up something from the bushes near the house and slip it into his pants pocket. Before she could asked him anything, a fire truck pulled up before her house, followed by the police.

What had Ben found?

The Christmas Mystery

Welcome to the CRAFTIE Ladies of Suspense blog. To celebrate having 4 Love Inspired Suspense books by 5 CRAFTIE Ladies, we've gotten together to make a Christmas story you can enjoy. Leave a message and let us know what YOU think is going to happen next.

Lenora Worth kicked off the story on December 5th and the story has been unfolding ever since. So if you're just visiting us for the first time, WELCOME and make sure you back track to the beginning so you can keep up with the story. If you've been following along, make sure you leave a comment. We can't wait to see what happens to Zelda, what is in the package and why Zelda's neighbor came running to her door in her bare feet!!

Stay tuned TODAY for Leann Harris's installment of THE CHRISTMAS MYSTERY.
Many blessings, Lisa Mondello

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Christmas Mystery--Part Four


THE CHRISTMAS MYSTERY

Part Four


By


Debby Giusti


(The continuing story started on December 5th and ends on December 12th. Stop by each day for another exciting saga. Leave a comment about how you think the story should end!)

Zelda shook her head. Her son Tommy needed to settle down and find a young woman to marry instead of traveling around the world. For business, he told her, but refused to say much about his line of work except that he needed to change his cell phone number on a regular basis. If she didn’t know better, Zelda would think her only child was involved in something nefarious.

Bruce would have told her she was giving her overactive imagination free rein. But her husband had died shortly after their son’s fifth birthday, leaving her to raise Tommy on her own. With God’s help, she had done quite well for herself and her child.

Proud though she was of Tommy, she regretted he wouldn’t be home this Christmas. As much as she tried to make light of her empty nest, Zelda longed for someone with whom to share the holiday.

Squaring her shoulders with determination, she shrugged off the loneliness that threatened to dampen her spirits and reached for the phone just as the doorbell rang. Zelda peered out the window and smiled. Maybe she wouldn’t be alone this Christmas after all.

Running her hand through her unruly locks, she pulled open the door and stared into her new neighbor’s blue eyes.

“Morning, Ben” she said with a sigh.

“Ah, sorry to bother you, but I saw you outside earlier and …” He hesitated, his brow wrinkled. “I think there might be a problem.”

Ben glanced over his shoulder at the Garrison’s house.

Before Zelda could comment, Mrs. Garrison, wearing a long flannel nightgown with her gray hair even more disheveled than usual, ran screaming from the house, crossed the street and headed for Zelda’s open door.

On the way, her foot kicked the big red box. Still attached to the package, the ribbon wrapped around the shrieking woman’s bare foot and followed her, with the box in tow.

“You’ve got to help me.” Mrs. Garrison threw her pudgy arms around Zelda’s waist.

Aware of Ben’s gaze now focused on the red box lying at her feet, Zelda was also aware of a troubling sound.

Tick-tick-tick.

Ben’s handsome face paled. Eyes wide, he placed his hand on Zelda’s shoulders. “Don’t move or we’ll all be dead.”


Be sure to stop by the Craftie Ladies of Suspense blog tomorrow to see what happens next!

Need stocking gifts for the people you love?

CHRISTMAS PERIL is on sale now, featuring two action-packed suspense stories: Merry Mayhem by Margaret Daley and Yule Die by Debby Giusti.

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and all the best in the
New Year!!!

Debby Giusti

Monday, December 7, 2009

Christmas Story Part 3...


Zelda’s breath came in quick puffs and her hand covered her heart. What should she do?

Call the police and ask for a bomb squad?

Throw it in the nearest snow pile?

Take a deep breath and quit being paranoid?

Maybe she’d watched too many episodes of NCIS. Saw an exploding bomb behind every tick and tock. She studied the box. It looked so innocent with the big bow and seasonal wrapping paper.

A gift that ticked couldn’t be left to tock for seven days. Besides she’d already undo the bow. All that was left to do was throw the package in her car and take it to the police station. But as the box continued to tick she decided she wasn’t going to drive anywhere with it.

She sighed, the air coming from deep inside her.

That left her with only one option. She had to call her son. Tommy. He’d know what to do. She left the box on the front porch and headed inside. She stared at the phone. How sad was it she had to look up her own son’s phone number?

To be continued...

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Christmas Mystery-part 2 by Margaret Daley


“Don’t open? Rats.”

The thought of waiting until Christmas to open the present didn’t sit well with Zelda. She picked up the big red package and shook it. A rattling sound puzzled her. Broken glass? Did she break it by shaking it?

She placed the mysterious gift next to her and stared at the wrapped square box. The large white bow taunted her. Open me. And her natural curiosity screamed she should NOW.

Especially if something was broken. She needed to know that. If that nice new neighbor had sent her a gift, she wanted to thank him, and if somehow she’d broken it, she would have to apologize—possibly by cooking him dinner.

She untied the white bow, the satin ribbon fallen to the side. Normally she tore into presents, but this time she would take her time and relish the suspense of who sent her a gift and what it was.

A faint sound caught her attention. Cocking her ear toward the box, she listened. Ticking? She leaned closer. Yes!

A bomb? A clock?

Suddenly she scrambled away from the brightly wrapped present.

(Check back tomorrow for part three of this story by Cara Putman. Leave comments about what you think is going to happen next.)

Saturday, December 5, 2009


The Christmas Mystery

Part One--by Lenora Worth

Zelda Parsons found the package a week before Christmas. The chill of early morning greeted her as she hurried to get the newspaper, shivering with each step. She almost tripped over the big red box with the giant fluffy white bow jammed on top. But her red fur-topped booties shielded her from getting caught up in the curls of the ribbons.

“What is this?” she said into the cold air.

She wasn’t a morning person, but a present on her doorstep? That sure changed her grumpy mood. Glancing around, Zelda wondered which one of her neighbors had left her this early Christmas present.

Maybe that nice widower Mr. Gilbert two doors down from her Atlanta townhouse. Or it could have been the Garrisons. They were an older couple across the street. Their Victorian house was filled with antiques and quirky, creepy treasures from their many travels abroad. And they volunteered for just about everything in this quiet bedroom community a few miles north of the city. Or maybe … this intriguing gift had come from the equally intriguing man who’d moved in next door yesterday.

The man Zelda had waved to and later taken some fresh-baked pumpkin bread. (She’d made way too much, after all.) What was his name? Oh, yeah. Benjamin Rudolph. Like she could forget his name, or his ocean-smelling aftershave or his mysterious eyes or his dark hair. He’d certainly upped the interesting neighbor quota around here.

“Call me Ben,” he’d said, his voice deep, his dark blue eyes dreamy. “And thanks for the pumpkin bread.”

Zelda let out a sigh now, reminding herself they’d only spoken a few words. But she’d love to call him Ben any old time. Okay, so they’d connected but that didn’t mean the man had immediately rushed out and bought her a nice gift. Her pumpkin bread was good, but it wasn’t that good.

Forgetting the paper, she sank down beside the package on her porch, her chenille “101 Dalmatians” robe puffing around her like a belle’s ball gown. “Okay, let’s see what we have here.”

Then she saw the attached note, scrawled in a rather scratchy, shaky handwriting: Do not open until Christmas.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Writer's Block? Who me?

My friends have been at it again. In honor of writers everywhere who struggle with writer's block, Angela Hunt, Terri Blackstock, Kristin Billerbeck, and Robin Lee Hatcher have created a video. Last week I read Angela's latest, a wonderful legal suspense titled Let Darkness Come. WOW! This woman can write. Actually, all four can. Intervention, Terri Blackstock's latest is on the NYT bestseller's list very deservedly. Kristin has a wonderful style, and Robin Lee Hatcher is amazingly diverse in historical fiction. Between them, they've written 200 books, so you don't expect them to have writer's block. This video is a very fun look into their personalities. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Countdown to Christmas


by Debby Giusti

December is always a busy month, filled with shopping and wrapping and decorating the house and Christmas tree. Cards needs to be sent and boxes mailed. Some years, I am so overwhelmed with what has to be done that I’m not able to truly enjoy this season of anticipation.

Christ was born in a manger more than 2,000 years ago, and people around the globe celebrate his birth by“gifting” one another in special ways. This year, I plan to spend time focusing on the wonder of his birth and thanking God that I have the opportunity to worship him each day. I hope you can find time in your busy schedule to spend quiet moments with the Lord. As we turn to the mystery of his wondrous birth, may our anticipation and expectation grow so that this Christmas we can all experience the true meaning of the season.

As always, I pray for my readers and writer friends so I’ll be lifting you up this holiday, asking the Lord to bless you with His peace and His joy and His love.

Wishing you a Very Merry Christmas and all the best in the New Year!

Need a stocking stuffer for a person you love?
CHRISTMAS PERIL
On sale December 8
Featuring two action-packed suspense stories:
Merry Mayhem by Margaret Daley
and
Yule Die by Debby Giusti

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

CHASING SHADOWS INTERVIEW


Hi, Terri Reed here. I'm posting the character interview for my November 2009 release because on the weekend that I should have posted it, I was out of town. I hope you enjoy getting to know Kristina Worthington.

Wow, you've just had quite an adventure.


1.Tell us a little about yourself and how you came to be in the midst of such suspense.

Well, the suspense sort of found me. Or rather my grandmother. See, Sadie, that’s my grandmother, lives in a retirement center. She loves it there. And she also loves to read mystery books, so when she said that people were disappearing I wasn’t sure if I believed her. But she’s my grandmother and I love her so I gave her the benefit of the doubt. And she was right. People were disappearing in the dead of night.

2.So, during the book you met Gabe Burke. Tell us a bit about him. What was your first impression? When did you know it was love?

Gabe and I have a history. See, we dated back when he was fresh out of the police academy and I was on my way to college. It didn’t end well. But when Sadie and I needed help proving that people were missing from the retirement center, Gabe was the only person I could think of who might listen. He’d changed since I’d known him. He’d become a jaded Homicide Detective. But he still made my heart pound. I don’t think I ever really stopped loving him, though when I thought I was going to die at the hands of a murdering villain, I realized I didn’t want to die without telling him I loved him.

3.What strengths/skills do you have? What is your greatest weakness?

Strenghts...well, I guess I’m tenacious and determined which would also be my greatest weaknesses because I sometimes don’t know when to back off.

4.What scares you?

Spiders. Big, fat hairy ones.

5.If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I tend to make assumptions and come to conclusions without knowing all the facts. I’m going to start working really hard to change that. See, I had made several assumptions about my family that just weren’t true and it was a bit of shock when I realized how wrong I was.

6.Where are you in your faith at the start of your story?

I have faith and I thought it was strong but through this ordeal I realized it didn’t run as deep as I thought. Another assumption debunked.

7. Where are you in your faith at the end of the story?
My faith is definitely stronger and deeper. And thankfully, so is Gabe's.

8.You've got a scripture at the beginning of the story. Tell us why this scripture is significant.

Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:10

I found myself in a place of fear several times during this adventure but this verse promises that God is always with me and will always protect me. I find comfort from God’s word.

9. If you could be a dessert what would you be and why?

Hmmm, I’d have to say Boston Crème Pie because this dessert is rich in unexpected layers just like me.
Sweet, creamy filling between layers of moisture, resilient cake and topped with a glaze of chocolate.

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Christmas Mystery

Hello from Lenora. Just a quick interruption of our regularly schedule blog. You're all invited to follow along as we enjoy a little holiday fun. Starting Saturday, December 5th, several of the Craftie Ladies of Suspense will be involved in writing a continuing story called "The Christmas Mystery." Things will kick off with my post and continue with a new addition (from each author) to the story each day. We invite readers and bloggers to comment, add suggestions, or speculate on what will happen next. Tell all your friends to drop by and see what's happening with Zelda Parsons and her handsome new neighbor, Ben.

It's a mystery that begs to be solved before Christmas! And you just might help us with the plot and figuring out how to solve it! Don't miss the fun. See you Saturday.

And feel free to invite all your cyber-friends!



Lenora :)

It's the Age Thing Ya Know


Pamela Tracy here talking about Thanksgiving Day. For me, it was very easy. See, my sister-in-law did Thanksgiving at her house. She told me not to bring anything, so I decided to bake cookies from scratch. I didn't take them to her house because they tasted horrible (bitter aftertaste: sister-in-law who can cooks surmises that I added too much baking soda, or maybe I was supposed to add baking powder. Hmmm, maybe I should go look at that recipe again and then at what I added, but I digress).

After the meal was over, the men went out to the camper to sit and talk men stuff, so Patti, me, Mikey, and Grandpa settled down in front of the telly. Miracle on 34th Street was on.

Only, it was the wrong one! See, the one pictured above with Maureen O'Hara and John Payne is the right now. And, really, if it ain't broke, why fix it? I spent the whole movie comparing how right for the part Maureen was and how not so right for the part Elizabeth Perkins was (I like Elizabeth Perkins by the way, especially in About Last Night). The one with Maureen O'Hara had the most perfect moment. It was when a little French girl sat on Santa's lap and Santa spoke French to her. Natalie Woods' eyes got big, and she knew Edmund Gwenn was the real Santa. This remake had no AHA moment.

It got me thinking, though. See, our favorite classics often have to do with our age. The first three James Bond movies I saw all had Roger Moore as 007. When I saw Sean Connery as the spy, I thought, "No no no no no no." My sister in law saw Connery first and thought Roger a pale comparison. Timothy Dalton didn't do it for me, and neither did the Remington Steele guy.

So, which is the best 34th Street? Who is the best Bond?

Oh, and because it's just too cute to share. Here's a picture of my four-year-old as we take a Pink Jeep tour in the wilds of Sedona.



Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Thanksgiving Target


Today we're welcoming Tara Carmichael, the heroine of , The Thanksgiving Target by Laura Scott, a November 2009 release.

Wow, you've just had quite an adventure.
1. Tell us a little about yourself and how you came to be in the midst of such suspense. Hello, my name is Tara Carmichael and I’m a social worker in St. Louis, Missouri. I was trying to help one of my client’s, a woman named Melissa Forrester escape from an abusive relationship when I discovered someone was stalking me. I thought both incidents were completely separate until we discovered that they were both connected to the same man. A man from Max’s past, bent on revenge.

2. So, during the book you met Max Forrester. Tell us a bit about him. What was your first impression? When did you know it was love? I knew from the moment we first met, that Lieutenant Max Forrester was a man who liked to take charge. But he was also deeply disturbed by what had happened to his sister, Melissa. I wanted to offer him comfort and support but in the end, he ended up protecting me when my house exploded. I tried to keep my distance from Max on a personal level, because I’d lost my husband two years earlier and thought I was being unfaithful to his memory by opening myself up to love again. But in the end, once I realized that God’s greatest gift was love, I rejoiced in my love for Max.

3. What strengths/skills do you have? What is your greatest weakness? I think my greatest gift is compassion and caring. In my job as a social worker I’m exposed to many people in need. I like being able to help others in getting their lives back on track. My biggest weakness is refusing to allow myself to be too emotionally involved with my clients. In Max’s sister’s case, for example, I kept wishing I’d been a better friend to her.

4. What scares you? I think being in love scared me at first, because I’d lost my husband so young, we had only been married a year and, I was afraid to open myself up to suffering another loss. But now that I have Max, I’m not afraid any more.
5. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I wish I could learn to be less quiet and shy and more open to relationships with others. I feel I’ve come a long way though, after everything that has happened.
6. Where are you in your faith at the start of your story? I was raised with a strong faith and belief in God. However, after my husband’s death, deep down, I blamed God for taking him too soon.

7. Where are you in your faith at the end of the story? Meeting Max, helping him to grow in his faith, made me understand what I was doing. I knew God had a mission for me but it took me a while to realize my mission involved not just showing Max faith but actually loving him.

8. You've got a scripture at the beginning of the story. Tell us why this scripture is significant. This scripture is special to me, first of all because I love the Book of Psalms. But this scripture became even more important when I believed Max and I were going to die. I truly believe that God heard our prayers and answered them. God would never leave us, especially in those moments we need Him the most.

9. If you could be a dessert what would you be and why? Mint Chocolate Chip ice-cream cone. Because it’s my favorite, especially with the tiny chunks of chocolate offering a surprise in every bite. 

Thanks for having me here at the Craftie Blog today.


Thank you Laura for sharing Tara with us. This sounds like a great holiday read.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Inspiration and Susan Boyle

It's hard for me to believe that there is anyone who hasn't heard about Susan Boyle and her stunning appearance on Britain's Got Talent. Just in case you haven't heard about her, here is the link to her audition.


I find this video so very inspirational. Here's an unemployed woman who'd always longed to be a singer. Even though she didn't fit the stereotype of what a superstar was, she gathered her courage, walked out onto the stage in front of Simon (that's scary enough) and sang her little heart out. I cry every time I see this video. When I heard on the news that Susan Boyle has a new CD out I decided to watch the video again. And cried again. It's simply beautiful.

It's important to remember sometimes that dreams, though fragile, can be achieved if you take the step to reach for them. And inspiration can come from the most unlikely places. I'm fortunate enough that my dream of publishing with Steeple Hill was achieved and continues. If you have a story of someone who dared to dream and achieved it, please post it here. We can all use a little inspiration sometimes.

Until next time, many blessings, Lisa Mondello

Friday, November 27, 2009

Ready for a long winter's nap?


Dana Mentink here with the continuing saga of my box turtle. Her name is Boyd (long story) and she’s middle aged, shall we say, though her wrinkles are just plain cuter than mine. Currently, she’s preparing for her long winter’s nap. Three months of uninterrupted rest. Sounds like a dream come true, you say? You betcha. Except for the not eating part, who wouldn’t benefit from three months of rest? I can hear you talking, peeps. Never would you be allowed to rest that long. Kids to shuttle. Chores to be done. Work to complete. Meals to fix. Pets to be walked. I hear you, but let’s take a stroll down fantasy lane, shall we? Imagine you had some time (MORE than five minutes) to lay down under the warm cozy blankets for some recuperation. The question of the day is; what book would you want with you? For the purposes of this exercise, limit yourself to one or two. I posed this question to people who entertained my peskiness with good grace. Here is a partial the list of the books they would choose to have with them.
Chronicles of Narnia
The Bible
Saki’s short story collection
The Ashley Stockdale series by Kristin Billerbeck
Under the Tuscan Sun
The Complete Works of William Shakespeare
I Capture the Castle, by Dodie Smith
An encyclopedia
The Last of the Really Great Wangdoodles, by Julie Andrews
Plato’s Republic
The Secret Life of Bees
The DaVinci Code
Mrs. Mike
Kristen Lavransdatter, Sigrid Undset

Okay. YOUR TURN! Tell me what book you’d have to have with you during your long winter’s rest!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Blessings

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It has not suffered the commercialism that Christmas has. The Thanksgiving Day that stands out in my memory was in '95. I'd just gotten out of the hospital and my husband bought the cooked dinner from our local grocery store. My parents were there that day. It had been a awful couple of months, but I was fine and my family was with me. I had much to be thankful for.

These days, my father is no longer with us, but both of my children are now married and as we gather around the table, I am grateful to the Lord for his blessings and grace. I feel a connection with those first Pilgrims, thanking the Lord above for his bounty and depending on Him for guidance.

What blessings has the Lord poured into your life?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

taillights and mercy

Okay, it happened again.

This is Barbara Phinney, beloved mother of a seventeen year old driver's license equipped son.

Yes, my son has had his license for 18 months.

And dented, crashed, banged up our cars three times.

He's still paying us for one incident, and yesterday, he did it again. It was only the taillight and he'll pay for that, regardless of the cost those parts dealers charge. But he had the gall to say, "Well, when you sell me the little car next year, I'll probably take better care of it."

He will?

I'll believe it when I see it.

But the odd thing is, what happened around this incident. I was working at his school, a small Christian school, and he'd dropped me off there, then taken his sister to her classes at university. He'd returned with the news that he'd backed into another vehicle.

Then, it was on the phone to his father, our neighbourhood mechanic, and then off to Chapel.

There, we learned of David, whose Godly character trait was honest. David was that, after misbehaving, and then being told off by Nathan. He was honest, confessed his sins and received forgiveness.

As my son had. I told him so after Chapel.

But on the way home, I told him if he keeps this up, he'll owe his parents his firstborn.

Oops.

Another child like him?

What have I done, asking for that? At my age? Knowing what I know of my son?

Maybe I need to ask forgiveness, in case the Good Lord decides to give me what I so sarcastically told my son I wanted.

So, mums and dads out there, when your child walks into the house with pieces of a taillight in his hands, remember to show mercy, and above all...

Cash only!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends!

by Linda Hall

We here in Canada had our Thanksgiving last month, and so in my last month's blog I wrote about what I was thankful for. My sincerest best wishes as my American friends and family celebrate Thanksgiving this week. Normally, at this 'thankful' time of year we can make long lists of 'God's blessings' and then thank Him for them: jobs, money, health, etc. But, I don't want to do that anymore in my life. I want something more important. I want to want God rather than his 'blessings.'

I wish you the best as we head into the Advent Season - a time of remembering and a time of celebration.

Monday, November 23, 2009

A Silent Pursuit

Hello from Lisa Mondello. Lynette Eason is hard at work on next story so I thought I'd pop in and give you an update on her November 2009 Love Inspired Suspense book A Silent Pursuit. Here's the information from the back cover...

She'd been told her fiancé died in a military training accident, but Gina Santino's gut told her otherwise. Still, she never imagined his killers would come after her. Now she is dodging bullets and running for her own life, not sure who to trust. Her fiancé had left specific instructions for her to contact fellow U.S. Army Ranger Ian Masterson should anything happen to him. But how could she trust a man who abandoned his team years ago? With no other choice, Gina must place her life in his hands in order to stay alive long enough to find the truth.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Silent Pursuit Interview


Today we're welcoming Gina Santino, the heroine of A SILENT PURSUIT by Lynette Eason, November 2009.

Wow, you've just had quite an adventure.

You’re not kidding! I thought for sure I was going to die before it was all over with. Fortunately, God was watching over me and it all worked out.


1. Tell us a little about yourself and how you came to be in the midst of such suspense. I was engaged to a man who was in the special forces. He was an Army Ranger. Before he died, he managed to steal something very important to some very dangerous people. After he was killed, those people decided to come after me because they couldn’t find what they were after. I didn’t have it, but they didn’t believe me. I managed to escape an attempt on my life and reluctantly called my fiance’s ex-best friend, Ian Masterson to help me out.

2. So, during the book you met Ian Masterson. Tell us a bit about him. I met Ian when I was engaged to Mario. They were in the same Ranger Unit and were tight friends until something happened to send Ian transferring to another unit. It shocked me when I found out why. But it also showed me his strength of character and the depth of his incredible integrity.

What was your first impression? First impression? I didn’t really have one when it came to Ian. I was engaged to Mario so didn’t look at other men. But when Ian showed up just in time to rescue me from a killer, I definitely looked twice.

When did you know it was love? When I realized the risks he took for me—and realized he loved me like no one else, not even my fiancé—did.

3. What strengths/skills do you have? I’m a real estate agent. I’m good at talking to people and reading body language to find out what makes people tick. I’m also creative and loyal to a fault.

What is your greatest weakness? I’m impatient and tend not to listen when I’m told to do something—especially if someone tells me it’s for my own good! And I’m not real good at asking for help. Fortunately, that fault didn’t get me killed.

4. What scares you? The feeling of being disloyal, of not having the courage to move on with my life. I don’t want to be stuck in the past, but sometimes the future just seems so overwhelming.
5. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I wouldn’t be so eager to jump into the middle of danger. I’d listen to those with more wisdom than I have. I’m learning though!
6. Where are you in your faith at the start of your story? God was my one constant. I knew that without him, I wouldn’t make it through what all was happening in my life.

7. Where are you in your faith at the end of the story? Grateful to God for bringing us through. I won’t say I didn’t have a few doubts along the way, but I made the choice to trust him no matter what and he was faithful to see us through.

8. You've got a scripture at the beginning of the story. Tell us why this scripture is significant.
I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings. Psalm 61:4
While on the run from the killers, Gina took shelter in the refuge of God’s love and held on to God’s promises.

9. If you could be a dessert what would you be and why? Anything chocolate…just because what is life without chocolate???

Thank you, Lynette for sharing Gina with us today. Can't wait to read this book.