Saturday, October 31, 2009

Rachel's Halloween

Ramona here. My daughter LOVES Halloween. She can't participate much, but she loves the dressing up and the sounds of lots of kids visiting and laughing. We always dressed her up for school. Two years ago, she went as the Gothic Prom Queen. There's a spider web woven into her hair, and in true Rachel fashion, the fake tattoo on her forehead wound up on her rear before the day was over.

We would also deck out her wheelchair for the holiday. Here you can see some of the strange stuff we'd add to her tray. What you don't get the full effect of is the blinking and squeaking bats, and the dancing Frankenstein who sang "The Monster Mash." And a good time was had by all...

Where there's frosting, there's a way!

Eleven year old Mentink child creates uber pumpkin cake. The thing weighs six pounds at least. A triumph!

Pamela Tracy's Son says Happy Fall Festival

This is Mikey four years ago. His first October 31st. Later today, I'll post him in this year's costume. He's Spiderman! Have a great day all!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Not the New York Times Best Seller's List, but still Fabulous!

I'm really excited. I got my Romantic Times book review for Yuletide Protector. I know, it's not the New York Times Best Seller's List, but to me it's right up there. You see, author's sweat out reviews all the time. I get reviewson my books from readers and they mean just as much as the reviews I get from other magazines and reviewer lists. But Romantic Times being what they are to the romance genre, it means a whole lot when they give me a great review. Getting the review also marks the countdown for my book release day, which is 12.09.

YULETIDE PROTECTOR receive 4 STARS from Romantic Times!! I'm really thrilled. You'll have to wait until next month to read the full review of Yuletide Protection on the Romantic Times website. But it's really cool.

Until next time, many blessings

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Rough Weeks and Distractions

Field of Danger has hit the reviewers’ desks, and the first responses have been really encouraging. I had my doubts about the book, mostly because it was set in a new location with all new characters.

The positive comments also encouraged me because this has been a tough month. I’ve struggled with finishing the next book and I’ve had a lot of personal issues, including a month-long migraine that has come in and out of my life like a bad penny. This week it’s been particularly bad, at a time when my daughter has been extremely ill.

Then today, a friend posted a verse from a new translation that Thomas Nelson has been working on, The Voice: Be still, be calm, see, and understand I am the True God. I am honored among all the nations. I am honored over all the earth. Psalm 46:10.

A good thing to remember in a bad week filled with distractions and earthly concerns. He is all. His help is all. His strength is all.

A reminder I desperately needed.

Focus. And remember to pray, calling on Him.

Monday, October 26, 2009

When Night Falls

I just found out that When Night Falls is number one at the Kindle Store. It is a free download of a story I wrote last year. It was the prequel to What Sarah Saw which was the first book in the Love Inspired Suspense continuity this year. It is a long short story (20, 000 words). If you want to get a copy, it is here at Amazon.

Blurb for When Night Falls:
A violent encounter in a deserted parking lot is FBI agent Sam Pierce-s only clue to the menace who is stalking child psychologist Jocelyn Gold. A random event? Or a client-s revenge? When darkness falls, the danger deepens....

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Double Take Interview

Today we're welcoming MacKenzie Jacobs, the heroine of Double Take, by Jenness Walker, October 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.

All I did was pose for a photo shoot on a whim. That’s it. I’m a teacher at a Christian school. A boring, background kind of person who likes to whittle. And somehow, like Alice In Wonderland, I was sucked into the middle of this mess.

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

Cole has the scruffy good looks of a cute boy-next-door. Someone you can be comfortable with and you want to get to know better. First impression? Yeah, he was cute, but no thanks. I wasn’t even interested in being interested in anyone at that time. But after he saved my life…well, a woman’s allowed to change her mind. Falling in love was a gradual thing, but I knew it was real when he followed me to Kansas.

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

I can whittle some pretty decent chess pieces, and my first graders seem to like me…or do they just like the animal crackers I bribe them with? Weaknesses…there are so many. Maybe my tendency to build walls? It leaves me lonely and isolated, which is never good.

4. What scares you?
Storms. Tornadoes. The dark. Alfred Hitchcock. Scary books. Love. What doesn’t scare me? 
5. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I would be fearless. I hate the terror that sometimes paralyzes me.
6. Where are you in your faith at the start of your story?

My faith was a bit shaky. I was questioning God, pretty sure I wasn’t even on His radar.

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

Let’s just say I’ve come a long ways. I know He’s there, and more than that, He loves me. He’s always loved me.
8. You've got a scripture at the beginning of the story. Tell us why this scripture is significant.
It’s Titus 3:5: Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us. Well, I needed saving. And so did Cole, come to think of it, and from more than just the bad guy. But there’s nothing we can do to earn salvation. It’s a gift, given in grace and mercy.

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

Strawberries and Nutella. I don’t know why except I just had them and they tasted wonderful.  But Cole says to say because I’m sweet, surprising, no-fuss, addictive—okay, that’s enough already.

Yummy. This sounds like a delicious read. Can't wait! Thank you for sharing MacKenzie with us today.

Saturday, October 24, 2009


Cole Leighton can barely believe his eyes. A woman on his bus has just been abducted—in an exact reflection of a scene from the bestselling novel he's reading. Someone is bringing the book to life…and isn't above forcing an innocent woman to follow the story to its tragic end. Using the novel as his playbook, Cole catches up with the beautiful victim—but rescuing Kenzie Jacobs doesn't keep her safe for long. The killer is writing his own ending, and none of the twists and turns lead to happily ever after.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Huddling in for Winter - Carol Steward

I think winter is closer than I'm really ready for. We've had our first snow, our first bitter freeze, and it's DARK by 7 pm. I find myself making soups and chowders for supper, pulling out the lap blankets, and thinking of.... yep, Christmas. What to get everyone-what could I make them? Will it mean as much to them as it did to me making it?

Funny that when money isn't so tight, I have no problem running out and grabbing "anything" to fulfill the gift-giving requirement. But now, I find myself wanting to give something the kids will remember. Like the silly appliqued sweatshirts I made my kids. One a racecar with a teddy bear driving it. The other a dinosaur throwing a button-football. They are still in boxes, waiting for my grandchildren to grow into them. And the boys still remember them. Last year my daughter-in-law requested I make her and her sons Christmas stockings to match ours. I thought they would want to start their own traditions with their own designed stockings. It made me feel pretty wonderful that a design my mom started 30+ years ago will live on, even if we didn't make sequin monster trucks back in those days.

I love fall and winter, when I can pull out the needlework, snuggle in, slow down and enjoy the many books in my "to be read" stack. At each "resting place" in my house, I have a different book at one stage or another in the reading progress.

What do you like most about fall?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

More Maass

By Debby Giusti

When Donald Maass talks about writing, I listen. In September, I attended his workshop at the American Christian Fiction Writers Conference and came away with fresh ideas of how to turn a so-so story into a memorable read. Here are a few tips Maass shared that day.

“Consistent characters become dull over 400 pages,” Maass said. “So mix things up.” Show your protagonist’s less attractive side or take him places he doesn’t want to go.

Determine what the heroine wants, then have her do the exact opposite. Eventually, she’ll recognize her mistake, but that momentary glitch helps her come alive in the reader's mind.

Inner conflict makes a character memorable. Pull him in two different directions and make both choices difficult. What would your character never do or never ask? Have him do that very thing.

“Enemies tell us the truth about ourselves,” says Maass. “If you need more story, empower the antagonist.” Look at the story through his point of view. What steps does he need to take to achieve his own goal? Don’t allow him to lurk. Make him face off against the hero. Add an emotional punch by letting the protagonist realize the antagonist may be right.

To improve a scene, cut the fat. Trim the introduction and set-up. Do away with exposition and pare down the dialogue to the essentials. Delete interior monolog and incidental action. Bottom line, take out everything that doesn’t move the scene forward.

Include death, self-sacrifice, the giving of cherished gifts, betrayal, farewells or moral choices into your story to deliver a high emotional impact.

External turning points need internal turning points as well. How does the character change in each scene? Show him just before something happens as well as a few minutes later. What does he want at the beginning of the scene? How does that differ from what he wants at the end of the scene?

Putting on his agent hat, Maass said that most of the problems writers weave into the stories he reads are too easily solved. What causes him to reject a submission? Usually it’s when he finds no immediate reason to care about the characters and a lack of tension within the first two to five pages.

To learn more about Donald Maass’ writing techniques, check out his bestsellers: Writing the Breakout Novel, Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook and Fire in Fiction.

The photo (left) shows Darlene Buchholz (l-r), Donald Maass, Debby and Missy Tippens at the Romance Writers of America Conference.

Happy writing!

Wishing you abundant blessings,
Debby Giusti

Watch for CHRISTMAS PERIL, in bookstores December 7, featuring two exciting stories: YULE DIE, by Debby Giusti, and MERRY MAYHEM, by Margaret Daley.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

My Apologies

Terri Reed here and in a short time my November book Chasing Shadows will hit the shelves. Well, the Harlequin book club members have already recieved their copies and I have recieved my first reader mail on this book with a complaint, albeit the reader was very nice about her objection to my use of the word elderly in relation to a fifty-eight year old woman. I know, I know, my bad. So sorry!
However, I went to to look up the definition of elderly as an adjective:
1.Being past middle age and approaching old age per the American Heritage Dictionary 2. somewhat old; near old age per the Random House Dictionary
Okay, so then I looked up when does middle age begin and end? I couldn't find a definitive timeline. The US Census says 35-55. Some websites say anywhere from 25-75. Whoa! That's a big span. Then I looked up the old-age and according to the Random House Dictionary old-age is considered the last period of human life, now often considered to be the years after 65 or the age of retirement which currently is 66. So after looking at all of this I have come to the realization that in our American society we associate the word elderly to persons beyond old-age when in fact it doesn't have to mean that at all. I think our culture has an interesting habit of using words to label things that aren't necessarily correct.

Also, today chapter six of Yuletide Peril posts. Stop on by to see how the story is progressing.

Monday, October 19, 2009

A Contesting We Will Go

Pamela Tracy here. No, not the snake, but the blogger writing about the snake. So, hey, if you're an unpublished author of inspirational romantic suspense, you truly do want to check this contest out.


Christian Writers of the West (CWOW) is the Arizona branch of American Christian Fiction Writers

PRIZES: What’s the prize? Finalists will not only receive the opportunity to have their ten pages judged by an agent and/or editor, they will also receive a finalists’ certificate. The winner in each category gets a designer championship pin and will be mentioned on the ACFW loop, on our CWOW website, and Michelle Sutton’s highly trafficked blog:

Categories and their esteemed FINAL ROUND judges:
Contemporary Fiction: Melissa Endlich, Love Inspired, Harlequin
Historical Fiction: Barbara Scott, Abingdon Press
Suspense/Thriller/Mystery: Elizabeth Mazur, Assistant Editor Love Inspired Suspense
Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Allegory: Diedre Knight, Knight Agency
Young Adult: Janet Grant, Books and Such Literary
Women’s Fiction: Rachelle Gardner, Wordserve Literary

FEES: A flat $20 fee per entry paid through Paypal button on

Please include an attached RTF file of the first ten pages of your manuscript, Paypal receipt, and the following information (You can copy and paste the entry form below into an RTF document and complete/attach to entry email. Email entry to the coordinator of the category you're entering):

Phone (cell/home):
Email address:
Are you an ACFW Member? (Membership not required for 2009 contest)
Title of Entry:
Word count of completed manuscript:

Category Coordinators:
Contemporary Fiction: Terry Doyle
Historical Fiction: Sandra Smith
Suspense/Thriller/Mystery: Pamela Tracy
Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Allegory: KM Wilsher
Young Adult: Lynn Rush
Women’s Fiction: Jennifer Cary
((Romance included in all categories))

1. You should send entry form (shown above), the first ten pages of your manuscript, and paypal receipt to the coordinator of the category you desire to enter by Midnight (PST) October 31, 2009.
2. Use Courier New or New Times Roman font 12 with 1-inch margins all around
3. Make sure to pay your $20 fee by the paypal button on
4. Finalists announced mid-December, 2009 and Winners announced mid-February, 2010.

ELIGIBILITY: CWOW’s Phoenix Rattler is open to all unpublished writers. There is no membership required for this first annual contest. Published authors may enter if at least five years has passed since their last publication.

If you have any general questions, contact
KM Wilsher
Lynn Rush

In the beginning, I was a no-nothing writer. Yup, that's right. My first attempt (besides in college on the electric typewriter) was a Star Trek. It was 300 pages, single-spaced. How did I learn? I ran, yes ran, to my local community college and took a creative writing class. Then, I followed it with an Intro to Manuscript Writing class. I didn't even know the second class existed! I took the Intro class three times. Why? Because not only did I like the teacher, but there was a core group of five of us who - along with the teacher - formed a critique group. That critique group - with a few changes - still exists. How long ago was that? 1993. What did I do next? Well, one of the gals found an ad in the newspaper for an RWA conference in our town. This was a Wednesday; the conference started Friday. Four of us went. Today, of that four, two are published and two have escaped from the writing universe. What came next? You guessed it. Contests. My first attempt at the Golden Heart came back as Non Romance. Amazingly enough, it was a vampire book. I've really come a long, long ways. Hehehe. The one that did best in contests was my first Love Inspired Suspense Pursuit of Justice. And, I still remember more than a decade ago that proposal going into a contest and being beaten by a proposal penned by our own Lisa Mondello. I'm all for contests, so without further ado, let me tell you about a contest my local chapter Christian Writers of the West is putting on. It's called the Rattler. Hey, we're in the desert. And, if you write suspense, you really do want to check it out as most of the Craftie Ladies have signed on as judges. Just think of the feedback before Genesis time!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Hearts in the Crosshairs Interview

Today we're welcoming Jillian Goff, the heroine of Hearts in the Crosshairs, by Susan Page Davis, released in October. 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 a Maine native, and I’ve always wanted to serve my state. My husband, Brendan, and I worked together as attorneys in a law firm when Brendan decided to run for the state Senate. But a year after he took office, he was killed in a skiing accident. After much prayer and encouragement from family, friends, and my law partners, I was persuaded to take Brendan’s place in the Maine Senate. I found it challenging and fulfilling. My duties also kept me from wallowing in grief. A couple of years later I was urged to run for governor, and—well, I won. Now somebody’s trying to kill me, and I refuse to give him the satisfaction.

2. So, during the book you met Dave Hutchins. Tell us a bit about him. What was your first impression? When did you know it was love?
Dave is a detective in the Executive Protection Unit. He’s not a bodyguard, though sometimes he does accompany me when I go somewhere on official business. After the first attempt on my life—on Inauguration Day—Dave was designated the person to update me on the unit’s investigation. We became friends and discovered that we shared a deep faith and a love of the outdoors. I’ve got to say, I didn’t expect to fall in love again when I took office. It wasn’t even at the bottom of my “to do” list. But sparks flew between the two of us from our first meeting the night I was shot at. I could see that he was determined, dependable—rock solid. And great looking. At first I was embarrassed that I was attracted to him. Protocol forbade us to see each other socially. But this strong affinity didn’t go away. By the time we hit the wilderness in late May, both of us knew it was love. But we still had to keep our distance. And the killer was still out there.

3. What strengths/skills do you have? What is your greatest weakness?
I’m independent, of necessity. I can see ways to make things work without getting bogged down in details. And I care passionately about the people of Maine. My greatest weakness is coming into a male-dominated world and needing to stand strong.
4. What scares you?
Facing down the skeptics. Oh, and that guy who’s trying to kill me? He scares me a little, but I will never let him see it.
5. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I’d be standing here beside my husband, supporting HIM as governor. But God had a different plan.
6. Where are you in your faith at the start of your story?
Depending on God for everything, but unsure of my capabilities.

7. Where are you in your faith at the end of the story?
Humbled by all that has happened and thankful for another chance to live out my life to His glory.
8. You've got a scripture at the beginning of the story. Tell us why this scripture is significant.
Micah 6:8 says “He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” This principle has been my mainstay in taking office, running the state, falling in love again, and staying alive.

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

Oh, that cheesecake the chef at the Blaine House makes, definitely. Smooth and satisfying, and just a little bit decadent.

Thank you so much Susan for sharing Jillian with us. Look forward to reading this!

Saturday, October 17, 2009


She came for her inaugural address—and found herself dodging bullets, instead. Newly elected Maine governor Jillian Goff doesn't know why someone wants to kill her. But she knows they came close. Too close. Enter Dave Hutchins. A member of the state's Executive Protection Unit, Dave's mission is to protect the governor and find the would-be assassin. Without getting emotionally involved. Yet the more time Dave spends with Jillian, the less he can imagine ever leaving her side. Not with her life—and his heart—caught in the crosshairs.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Do Christians have a sense of humor?

Hey writers and readers! Dana Mentink, here. What’s shakin’? I’ve just come back from Girl Scout Camp and I’ve come to the conclusion, there’s a reason raccoons wear masks. They are crafty little bandits! Anyhoo, we have returned with no major injuries and plenty of good times to remember so that’s a successful trip in my book.
Here’s my deep pondering for the day: Why doesn’t humor sell well in CBA? Oh sure, you’ve got the occasional romantic comedy (I believe Janice Thompson’s new one is out now from Revell), but for the most part, CBA fiction is not particularly humorous. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but most CBA fiction is as serious as a heart attack. It seems there is very little room for laughter. Why is that, friends? I know plenty of Christian people with great senses of humor who enjoy funny movies and ABA books. So why do I hear from publishers (most recently at ACFW in Denver) that humor doesn’t sell in CBA? In this time of economic crises and world turmoil there’s no one in need of a good wholesome laugh? What’s your sense about this, dear readers/writers? Enlighten me, if you’ve got a minute.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Have you ever wondered?

Hi, Leann here. After you’ve finished a book, have you ever wondered what happened to the characters? Or if you have a favorite book, are there questions you want to ask the characters?

Once I turn in a book, my characters don't stop talking to me. Okay, okay, I know that sounds just too weird, but it happens. Some of the characters are more vocal than others.

Why am I telling you this? My latest book, GUARDED SECRETS is out this month, so what I thought I'd do is let the characters blog until the end of the month. So far, Penny and the twins, Caren and Connie have given their opinions. Lilly and Jon have also chimed in. I don't what other characters will give their opinions. It's going to be a surprise for everyone, including me.

Just goes to show you, writers are a little odd. Please, stop by my webpage and click on the blog. You'll be surprised.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A Canadian Thanksgiving

By Barbara Phinney

We up here in the Great White North have already celebrated our Thanksgiving. Now, it's not a lot different than our neighbours and friends south of the border. We have turkey and stuffing, lots of veggies and gravy, pies and cakes and squares and lots of tea to wash it all down.

There are some things unique to each thanksgiving meal, though, and they often change, don't they?

This year, I had the joy of watching a barn cat of ours deliver her very unique babies. (Look at the paws on this baby) I've enjoyed picking them up each day, and look at the tiny bundle of fur open its mouth and hiss at me. Too funny to see such attitude! Mum doesn't mind, either, but considering I've provided her with a large Rubbermaid container, on a thick cushion, filled with a hot water bottle and a thick flannel sheet, changed every other day, all set in a garage. If I was expecting Mum to move them under the shed, I was mistaken. She ain't goin' nowhere!

This year I found myself thankful more because our Pastor reminded us to be thankful in every circumstance. Not for everything bad thing that comes along, but in everything. And I am. My nephew and his wife and two daughters came down for Thanksgiving, and I had the pleasure of accompanying them to the park.

And though the weather is often filled with wild winds and rain, and even some heavy frost, I can remember that our hurricane season has been mild this year, and those sunny days are so welcoming.

God gives us plenty to be thankful for. Let's take the time to consider the good things He has provided, even in desperate times. And let us not forget that He gave us something we can never give ourselves. He has given us His Son, that part of Himself sent to die on the cross for us, so we may come to Him.

So, my US friends, as your Thanksgiving approaches, I hope that you'll be able to see things you can be thankful for.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


by Linda Hall

Yesterday we here in Canada celebrated Thanksgiving – complete with turkey, dressing gravy, potatoes, sweet potato casserole, homemade cranberry sauce and many pies, ice cream, whipped cream. Let’s see – have I forgotten anything? Right now I am vowing not to eat for a week!

Thanksgiving is the time when we typically thank God for our ‘blessings’ – our families and jobs and homes and health and all the good things God has given us. Which is fine. It’s good to thank God for the good things we have, as long as we realize that they are just that – things.

This Thanksgiving I wanted to concentrate on thanking God for God – for being God, for being beautiful, for sending his son Jesus to offer me salvation. This Thanksgiving I want to thank God for his great Grace. There is nothing I need ‘do’ to give myself a)a better standing in God’s eyes, or b) make ourselves more accepted in His eyes.

Religion is man reaching toward God. The Gospel is God reaching toward man.

I don’t want to forget this.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Full time writing and full time day job

Hi all, Lynette Eason here. Sorry I’m a little late posting. We are battling the flu in my house and I just remembered today was my day.

I’ve been doing some thinking. A week from today, I go back to work full time. I love being a full time writer and feel very blessed to have been able to be one for the past two years. However, it’s been tough financially even with the writing contracts, etc. So, the 19th is the big day.

I’m a little excited and a little bummed. Not to mention a tad worried at how I will keep up the pace of writing full time while working full time and making sure my family doesn’t feel neglected. I guess I won’t be sleeping much! LOL. Fortunately, I have flexible hours, can set my own schedule and do some stuff from home. So, that’s the good thing about it. That and the benefits! No more paying for health insurance out of pocket!

Seriously, if any full time writers out there with full time day jobs care to share your advice and experiences, I’m sure there’s more than just myself that would love to hear about it.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Trial by Fire Interview

Today we're welcoming Tricia Jamison, the heroine of Trial by Fire, by Cara C. Putman, which releases in October. Wow, you've had quite an adventure.

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

After watching my brother and his fiancĂ©e go through their harrowing adventures in Deadly Exposure, I thought our family had paid its dues. Boy was I wrong. This latest episode was almost too much. I’m an attorney. It’s not like I’m on the front lines like a police officer or fireman. But this time I was. I’m so grateful God never left me.

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

I met Noah initially when I worked a case defending the city and some firefighters in a lawsuit surrounding a fire that destroyed a building and led to several deaths. He was one of the witnesses and my responsibility. Let’s just say he didn’t appreciate how the trial went. So when I ran in to him a year later, I didn’t know what to expect. There’s been intense sparks between us the first time, but he’d walked away from it. That left me leery of letting anything else develop between us.

But the more he tried to figure out why fires were being started at my mom’s and then Caleb’s, the more I couldn’t ignore the fact that I liked him…a lot. And it seemed clear the feeling was mutual. But as everything was stripped away from me, Noah was still there. And I wanted him to stand next to me the rest of our lives.

3. What strengths do you have?

I’m a survivor. I take what life hands my way and try to live my life as a living sacrifice to God. Sometimes He’s asked more of me than I thought I could give, and I have been far from perfect, but if He can use me, He can use anyone. And because of my past, I have great empathy for the women I help with the domestic violence cases I work. I know they can become more than victims and if I can be part of that process, then I have accomplished something meaningful.

4. What scares you?
Before I would have said losing everything I own. Now that I’ve survived that, I would say turning away from my faith. There is no way I could have survived these trials without knowing God promised to turn even the worst things into something good and beautiful.

5. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I’d be able to relax more easily. I tend to get very focused and driven. Helpful during law school. Not so much now that I’m trying to make room for an important relationship.

6. Where are you in your faith at the start of your story?
I definitely had a faith, but it had been battered by time, experience, and the business of life. Can anyone relate?

7. Where are you in your faith at the end of the story?
I have a fresh appreciation that God will never leave me or forsake me no matter what is happening in my life. Believe me, I need that assurance!

8. You've got a scripture at the beginning of the story. Tell us why this scripture is significant.
As a lawyer, Micah 6:8 is a key scripture. What does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. While I want justice in my work, I want to balance that with mercy and humbleness. It’s a challenge and that’s why that verse is so key. Especially when you’ve been harmed like I was, it’s easy to focus on justice at the expense of mercy. After all, God knows best how to achieve the perfect balance of justice and mercy, so I need to leave that to Him.

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

Oh, I love this question! I am definitely an eat dessert first kind of girl. If I were to be one, it would have to be the green gateau from my favorite restaurant in Lincoln, the Green Gateau.

Wow, exciting read. Thank you Cara for sharing Tricia with us today.

Saturday, October 10, 2009


Her mother's house was first. Then her brother's. County prosecutor Tricia Jamison is sure she's next on the arsonist's list. But who is after her family? And why does every fire throw her in Noah Brust's path? Noah can't forgive Tricia. Her failure to protect him on the stand the previous year meant his father's reputation was ruined. Yet every time the firefighter is near her, he's drawn to her again. The vulnerability she hides under her confident veneer surprises and moves him. Torn between Tricia's safety and his own bitterness, Noah belatedly remembers the first rule of firefighting: don't get burned.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

In Praise of Younger Men

Ramona here, and I’m recovering from a lunchtime discussion with my also-single friend, Sunny, about whether or not I could consider myself a cougar. After all, my job is to contemplate, on an almost daily basis, how yummy younger men are. I have to plot ways to get them romantically involved. I have to be a little (or a lot) in love with each of them in order to keep my heroines entranced.

Hey, it’s rough, but someone has to enjoy doing it. I’m single. And I’ve also always liked younger men. They have such delightful . . . stamina.

Of course, I also have to keep all these young men chaste and faithful, which is sort of opposite to most cougar objectives.

Still, a girl can dream. It does make the writing go a lot faster.

Take Daniel Rivers, for instance, the hero of Field of Danger. He served in the military and has the build to prove it. About one-fourth Native American, he has those distinct cheekbones and dark eyes that see into your soul. The grief from his father’s death gives him a tense edginess that’s softened by his desire to protect April as well as make her remember everything she saw. By the end of the book, you just want to hug him and . . . well, um . . . you just want to hug him. Right.

Chastely hug him.

I think I’m going to go curl up by the fire and practice purring.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Writing believable suspense--Lenora Worth

Hello. On one of my many writer loops, someone brought up a question about how we write suspense. In our books, we usually have a woman in jeopardy and a strong hero to help her get out of jeopardy, or we have someone she loves in danger and a strong hero to help her with that, too. Have you noticed not matter the danger, there is always a strong hero around? I love that part. Sigh. But let's not rule out our heroine. She, too, has to be strong and brave and willing to take matters into her own hands to survive. We try not to write those "dumber than dirt" characters who go into dark rooms in big, creepy houses without a flashlight, baseball bat or gun. Duh!
Too stupid to live. We try to make our heroines smart, sharp and working with a purposeful intent to catch the bad guys or clear her good name or to find the evidence that will bring down the corrupt people trying to ruin her life. See what fun we have. I compare this to going on a thrill ride. It's fun all the way!

Which brings me to the other part of this topic. What have you done in your own life that required you to be brave and sensible. I have a story that I promised to share about what happened to me one night long ago when we lived in Atlanta, GA. My husband worked at GM at night so my daughter and I were usually alone a lot. I can't remember why I was taking a late shower that night, but anyway, I got out of the shower and got dressed (thank goodness). Then I heard a noise downstairs in the kitchen of our townhouse. Of course, I got scared. My heart started racing and I immediately felt a fierce need to protect my sleeping child. Grabbing the first thing I could find--a large umbrella with a pointed tip, I headed downstairs (where the phone was also located in the kitchen, so no help there.) I could hear all sorts of noises. Someone was rummaging through my kitchen! The kitchen was a tiny efficiency so I had to go into the dining room and then turn into the kitchen to face the intruder. On the way, I checked the front door and windows. Nothing out of the ordinary there. The back door to the patio was also secure. How did they get in?
Saying a prayer, I decided I'd ambush them. I charged into the kitchen, prepared to stab them with the umbrella. Only to find a tiny mouse digging through the garbage can! Who knew a mouse could make such awful noise. I got the broom, opened the door to the patio and managed to run the mouse out of the house with a "Get out of here, you rodent!" That's just one example of the suspense in my own life. Anyone else had a scary experience that turned out to be nothing much?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Glorious days, wonderful friends...

I got back from a long weekend in northern Wisconsin last night, and just had to share some of my photos with you. Every fall, a food writer/photographer friend and I leave our husbands at home and head for Wisconsin to see our mutual friend, inspirational author Lyn Cote, and her family. Lyn and her husband are the best hosts...and their home on a lake is so lovely. What a glorious place it is this time of year--with endless numbers of beautiful lakes reflecting trees just starting to blaze with fall color, and no perfume could rival the crisp scent of pine in the air. This year we had lots of drizzly rain, but the dampness just seemed to make the colors more vivid. it was so gorgeous!

But as breath-taking as all of that is, sharing a weekend with writer friends is always the best part of all. By day we take jaunts all over the area, or go out on their boat with Lyn's husband at the wheel. The evenings are a bit like a pajama party, as we sit and brainstorm plots, talk about writing, and simply enjoy the fellowship of fellow writers. And Lyn is one of the best--I can't think of a person who is more generous with her time, more thoughtful, or more willing to help. She is a blessing in my life!

Life is so busy, with careers, and family, and all of the many commitments in our lives...but how about you--are you ever able to get away for a weekend retreat with your friends, fellow writers or readers, or other groups for camaraderie? Or even for just an afternoon? I hope so! If so, have you found it helpful? What kinds of benefits did you reap? And what sorts of things do you do to make it a more valuable time for renewal?

Wishing you a wonderful fall season,
Roxanne Rustand
Visit the "All Creatures Great and Small Place"

Monday, October 5, 2009

Craftie Ladies at ACFW conference

Above is a group picture of the Craftie Ladies of Suspense who attended ACFW conference in Denver a couple of weeks ago. From left to right are Dana Mentink, Carol Steward, Debby Giusti, Lenora Worth, Leann Harris and Pamela Tracy. Congratulations to Pamela for winning the Short Contempoary Suspense Book of the Year. Way to go!!

I had a blast touching base with everyone. We even went to dinner on Friday night with our editor over the suspense line at Steeple Hill--Tina James (pictured below with me.)

I don't know about you, but traveling wraps me out. I'm just starting to get rested after being gone for ten days around the conference. I went to a writer's retreat right after ACFW in the mountains where it snowed three of the days I was there. Beautiful. I came home and started getting things ready to begin my next book when my son needed me to baby-sit my six month old granddaughter. Two of my other granddaughters had swine flu, and we didn't want her expose to the flu. It is exhausting work keeping up with a six month old who commando crawls everywhere. And wouldn't you know it she decided Grandma's house was too exciting to sleep.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Guarded Secrets Interview

Today we're welcoming Lilly Burkstrom, the heroine of Guarded Secrets, by Leann Harris, Oct 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 grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico. When I was a sophomore in college and met my husband and married. He didn’t want a baby and disappeared on me. I moved home and got a job at the church done the street.
My ex-husband was killed in a convenience store robbery. When the detective showed up at my home and told me about it, I remembered he told me that if he suddenly died, it wouldn’t be an accident. I told the detectives that. They didn’t believe me until my ex’s apartment and my house were broken into.

2. So, during the book you met Detective Jonathan Littledeer. Tell us a bit about him. What was your first impression? When did you know it was love?
When I called the police to report the break-in of my dead husband’s apartment, Jon and his partner showed up. Jon is a big, fierce looking man. But there was something in his eyes that told me he believed me. Later that night when I went home and found it too had been ransacked, I called Jon again. As he helped me clean up my house, I was overcome with tears. It was embarrassing. I cried all over his shirt, leaving two big spots on his shirt front. He laughed and said it was wash and wear. He won my heart then.

3. What strengths/skills do you have? What is your greatest weakness?
I have a gift to organize things. When I got the job at the church, I was a jack-of-all-trades. I got pretty handy with a wrench and fixing plumbing. I also learned I have a talent for gardening.

4. What scares you?
Being deserted. My ex-husband ran. After I got on my feet, my parents moved away, and I was alone again. Oddly, when Jon entered my life, he would show up at those times I was feeling shaky. His calm presence eased my fears. Of course God was there. He just sent me reassurance.

5. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I’d be 5’8”, blonde hair and killer body. Unfortunately, I am 5’4’, brown hair, brown eyes and fat thighs. But I fit nicely into my husband’s arms.

6. Where are you in your faith at the start of your story?
I was questioning God. Why did He allow my ex to die when he’d just come back to the Lord?

7. Where are you in your faith at the end of the story?
God showed me so much about my walk. He sent a wonderful man into my life that had endured so much in his personal life. He’d lost both of his little girls to a genetic disease. His wife had committed suicide. I saw how my little girl healed Jon of wounds from his past. How he’d overcome his pain left me in awe.

8. You've got a scripture at the beginning of the story. Tell us why this scripture is significant.
God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble. Psalms 46:1. I had more trouble as the murdered stalked me and my daughter. As trouble occurred, I would recite that verse, taking comfort in His word. At the worst of times, when my daughter was kidnapped, I relied on His strength.

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

Lemon meringue pie. Sweet with a tartness that makes you want more.

sound like a great read. Thanks, Leanne for sharing Lilly with us today.

Saturday, October 3, 2009


"If I die, it won't be an accident." At the time, Lilly Burkstrom brushed aside her ex-husband's words. Then he dies—"accidentally"—in a convenience store robbery, and she starts to wonder. Turning to the police doesn't help. They don't see the danger closing in on her, not even when someone breaks into her house and her ex-husband's apartment. Only Detective Jonathan Littledeer understands her fears, having lost his own family. He's determined to keep the single mom safe. He's not going to let another "accident" claim Lilly or her daughter before he can bring the killer's guarded secrets to light.

Friday, October 2, 2009

20 Steps to Insanity

Carol Steward here, needing to lighten the mood after a tough week. A coworker of mine died this week, and we've been a little blue in here. I think she'd enjoy this.

You've probably seen this before, with a few changes to fit the writer's life. It's not very serious, but it does make me laugh. And these days, there just aren't enough laughs in the world.

1. At lunch time, sit in your parked car with sunglasses on and point a hair dryer at passing cars. See if they slow down. (My favorite, since I write police stories.)

2. Page yourself over the intercom at the grocery store. (Is this abnormal?)

3. Every time someone asks you to do something, ask if they want chocolate with that. (Warning, don't make promises you can't keep.)

4. Put your garbage can on your desk and label it "In." (I'd be put away for that one.)

5. Put decaf in the coffee maker for 3 weeks. Once everyone has gotten over their caffeine addiction, switch to Espresso. (Now that's just plain cruel!)

6. In the memo field of all your checks, write "For Smuggling Diamonds." (Checks? Does anyone know what those are anymore?)

7. Finish all your sentences with "In Accordance With the Prophecy." (I don't mess with Him!)

8. Don t use any punctuation, r vn wrs, lv t ll vwls. (I did receive an email from a doctoral student like this!)

9. As often as possible, skip rather than walk. (Seriously? You have got to be kidding me.)

10. Order a Diet Water whenever you go out to eat, with a serious face. (I think I've accidentally done this.)

11. Specify that your Drive-through order "To Go." (Or maybe "Could we put a rush on that?)

12. Sing along at your friend's booksigning. (I can see some authors even doing that one!)

13. Go to a poetry recital and ask why the poems don't rhyme. (I vow never to read at another booksigning!)

14. Put mosquito netting around your work area and play tropical bird music all day. (Sounds relaxing.)

15. Five days in advance, tell your friends you can't attend their party because you're don't feel well. (Not funny this year, with Swine Flu.)

16. Have your co-workers address you by your Wrestling Name, Rock Bottom. (That's not funny.)

17. When the money comes out at the ATM, scream "I Won! I Won!" (VBG)

18. When leaving the Zoo, start running toward the parking lot, yelling "Run for your lives! They're loose!!" (My teenage son went into one of the elevators in Washington, D.C. and said their wasn't room for his big guns. The tour guide wasn't amused.)

19. Tell your children you're putting yourself in time out, one minute for every year of age. (From my years as a childcare provider.)

20. And the Final Way To Keep A Healthy Level Of Insanity. Make Someone Smile. It's Called Therapy.

What do you do to catch someone off guard and make them laugh?

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

YULETIDE PERIL starts today!!

Hi everyone, Terri Reed here to tell you that my online read featured on the eharlequin site launches today!!

Stop by and check it out at this link.

A new chapter will post every Tuesday and Thursday for the month of October. You'll get to briefly see Gabe Burke, hero in the upcoming November release CHASING SHADOWS, and his detective partner, Angie Carlucci, heroine in next May's release COVERT PURSUIT.


Tabitha Grant can’t deny she has feelings for her boss--handsome, successful, charismatic sports agent Jonathan Spangler. But she’d never compromise her integrity or her job as his personal assistant by becoming involved with the playboy millionaire. Her sense of professionalism and her strong faith in God will let her settle for nothing less than a true, lasting love, and Jon is clearly enjoying his life as one of Boston’s most eligible bachelors.

But when a man crashes the company Christmas party claiming to have life-or-death information about her estranged sister, Tabby is forced to turn to Jon for help. And Jon is forced to face his true feelings for his assistant, and reexamine his own faith!