Friday, April 30, 2010

A Snowball's Chance...

Dana Mentink, here. Guess what came in the mail this week? A SNOWBALL! Odd, in California to get such a thing, especially in April, but I digress. It’s an amazing speaker called the Blue Snowball, manufactured by Blue Microphones. Why would a techno idiot such as myself even consider buying the thing? Because I have discovered the beauty of podcasting, my friends. That’s a nifty way you can record stories or music, translate it to an MP3 format, and post it for people to download. I never thought I’d even attempt it, but I have found podcasting to be an absolute joy. Why? Because I can be a storyteller in the truest form. Not limited to mere words, I can show with my voice the feeling behind the words. In the podcast I’m working on now, my main character Martina can sound just as frantic and hunted as I intended. And Joe, the Yavapai hero? Hunky and calm, as is the nature of this vegetarian veterinarian. And then there’s Lucille, a leathery old gal who rides a moped and carries pockets full of meat around. (Did I mention the podcast allows one to mix a little humor in with the suspense? ) Podcasting is truly liberating for a person previously confined to mere words!
My snowball apparently has uses for the musically minded too, so if I decide to take up the electric guitar and start a band called er, Flaky Dana, perhaps, I’m all set. What are the odds of that happening do you suppose? Yep. A snowball’s chance, I’d say!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

He Loves Me: A bit about me

I’d love to take this blog time to talk about a book I’ve just finished reading and tell you a little about myself. The book is entitled He Loves Me by Wayne Jacobsen. Apparently, it’s the book that William Paul Young read prior to writing his landmark book,The Shack. Both books talk about the unending, forever love of God. He Love Me has been like a breath of fresh air for me. I grew up in the church culture of the 1950s and 60s feeling that I had to ‘please’ God. I used to sing with all my heart - ‘Striving to please him in all that I do…”

But I never felt like I pleased him enough. No matter what I tried. If I presented God with a “A” on my ‘report card’, it would be like he would look down from Heaven and say, ‘and why wasn’t that an A+?’

So, that’s my history. And that’s probably why I went into writing. It was my way to try to work things out for myself.

But, over the past few years God has been teaching me new things about himself. And I am learning about his love. I will end with a quote from the book: ‘Jesus didn’t come to start a new religion, he came to break the power of them all, by inviting us to follow him and live in the reality of his love for us.”

Monday, April 26, 2010

An Author, A Cop—A ticket? Or not!

Happy Monday to all. Okay, it’s Monday. I suppose happiness might be pushing it. Anyway, I wanted to share a little story with you as to why this little ole author is pretty happy this Monday morning.

Over the weekend, I was headed to a booksigning about three and a half hours from my hometown. My husband was good enough to drive me. I don’t mind driving, but if he’ll do it, I’ll let him. Most of the time. But that’s another story. As we were headed out of town, several things put us behind. My son forgot his lunch and we had to drop it off at school. I forgot to get Hershey’s kisses so we had to stop and pick some up. (CANNOT go to a booksigning without chocolate. Trust me.) As a result, we were running late. According to the GPS, we would only be about ten minutes late. Okay, I could call and let them know and that would be that.

Only my husband was determined I was going to be on time.

So, um, yeah, he pressed the gas pedal just a bit too hard.

And passed a cop just waiting for some idiot, speeding lunatic, person going a little too fast to zoom by.

Oh yeah, we were toast.

Of course my husband slams on brakes as soon as he gets past. I’m like, why bother? Reflex, I guess.

So, anyway, here come the blue lights behind us. Dear hubby pulls to the side like an obedient driver and I roll my window down already figuring in my head which bills we could delay in order to pay the ticket that was coming. And it was going to be a whopper.

The cop comes up on my side of the car. Smart man. Cars were whipping by on the other side. Gleeful drivers that could now speed because my husband had the cop occupied.

I roll down my window and he leans in. “Sir, do you know how fast you were going?”

My husband: “78.” He hands the officer the required documents.

“And do you know what the speed limit is out here?” he asks as he studies the license, insurance and registration.


Officer: “Try 65.”


At this point I can help myself. The clock was ticking and we had no money in the budget for a ticket. Plus I’d just banged on heaven’s gates begging for mercy. “Officer,” I gushed, “this is totally my fault.”

He looks at me and raises a brow. “Ma’am, how is it your fault your husband was going 82 in a 65?”

I wince. Had he really been going that fast??

“I’m in a huge hurry and I’m very, very sorry.” I clasp my hands in front of me assuming the begging position as I rattle, “I’m on my way to a booksigning in Raleigh and we got behind and we’re really really late and I told him I didn’t want to be late because it wouldn’t look good so he sped up and I told him to slow down, but being the wonderful husband he is, he read between the lines and knew I really meant ‘HURRY UP!’ so he was kind of speeding out of self-preservation and I know it was wrong and I’m really really sorry. How much mercy do you have in you today?” I finally take a breath.

He looks at me, a frown on his stern, but handsome, African American face. (I suspect he was actually masking the urge to smile.) “A booksigning, huh?”

That was all he got??

“Yes,” I nod. “At Family Christian Stores in Raleigh at 12:00.”

More frowning. (Okay, maybe there wasn’t a smile anywhere in him.) “A Christian booksigning?”

God, I’m standing up for you here. “Yes sir, a Christian one. And I promise we’ll slow down and I’ll call and just tell them I’m going to be late. Please, please, please!” I have no problem begging. Then I look at his left hand resting on the edge of the door. “You have on a wedding ring!” I exclaim.

He looks at me like I’m crazy. Well, I guess that would seem like a pretty bizarre thing to say to the cop who was getting ready to write you a ticket.

“Does your wife like to read?” I blather. Reaching behind me in one smooth move, I grab a book of the backseat. “Here, I would love for you to give her one. Not that I’m in any way trying to bribe a cop! But you’re welcome to it.” I open it up and sign it. “God Bless! You have a very compassionate husband.” I sign my name and hand it to him. He reads it.

And laughs a great big belly laugh.

I ask him, “She does, right? Have a compassionate husband?”

He grins and looks at my husband. “Your wife saved you, dude.”

My husband shrugs. “Happens on a regular basis. Uh, her saving me, not the speeding thing.” (Now that was a lie, but I digress.)

The officer shakes his head, flashes his pearly whites again, and says, “Slow down.”

“Yes sir. Thank you, thank you, thank you!”

He starts walking back to his car—with the book—and I lean out of the window. “What’s your name, Officer?”

He shows me his badge and I nearly lose it.

We had been stopped by Officer Grissom.

Now, if you’re not a CSI fan, you won’t understand the hilarity of that moment. I keep my hysterical laughter to myself and wave to him. “I’m going to mention you in my next book!”

He gives another shake of his head, waves, and we’re off! At a much slower speed than before.

I made it to the booksigning—late—and all was well.

Thank you, God, for Christian cops.

Saturday, April 24, 2010


Olivia Jarrod was newly placed in witness protection when she discovered she was pregnant. First rule of the program: no contact with anyone from her former life. That includes her estranged husband, Ford Jensen—the unknowing father of her unborn child. Despite their rocky marriage, Olivia still loves him deeply. And when Ford shocks her by tracking her down, she knows the mobster pursuing her can't be far behind. But now their baby's very life depends on both of them staying alive—and together.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Capturing Ideas...or why Sticky Notes are my best friend.

A quick hello from Lisa Mondello. I'm coming out a deep deadline dementia to write this post about story ideas. One of the most popular questions I get from readers is how do I get all my ideas for stories. I always give them a simple answer. Everywhere.

The truth is most writers have no problem coming up with story ideas. After all, the theory is that there are really only 38 Master Plots for fiction and that every story falls within one of those plots. It doesn't matter what genre the story is.

Coming up with stories isn't the hard part for most writers because as we write, we're working our creative muscle. If I had to compare my writing lately to a fitness, I'd have to say I've been in bootcamp for a long time and my creative muscle looks and feels pretty awesome. I feel confident saying that for just about every writer I know.

The problem is not coming up with the idea. It's keeping it long enough to flesh it out and make it into a book. You see, it doesn't matter if I'm deep in deadline dementia or not. I could be so engrossed in the story I'm writing RIGHT NOW and have 10 story ideas be bombarding me at the same time. The urge to give them some attention can be so strong. But I can't. I have a deadline and my editor is counting on me.

The fear is that if I don't give those 10 little seeds of an idea at least a moment's due, they'll be lost from me forever and I'll never get to develop those ideas into stories. Has that ever happened to you? Have you sat up in the middle of the night and thought about something brilliant that you want to jot down in the morning only to completely forget about it? Do you stand at the checkout aisle at the supermarket and wish you had your computer in front of you to capture that little seed of an idea?

Happens to me all the time. That's why I'm convinced I've single handedly kept 3M in business all these years just in Post-It notes and index cards. I have them in my purse, the kitchen drawer, and on my desk. Honestly, sometimes it takes me a while to decipher my little ramblings when I pull them all out and look at them, but I'm always excited when I do.

I recently bought a new computer with Windows 7 on it and have discovered that Sticky Notes is the greatest thing in the world. Now for all you out there who've been using Sticky Notes on your computer for years, please bear with me. I'm a put-the-gas-in-the-car-and-go kind of writer when it comes to technology. I know what works and don't need the latest and greatest to make me happy. But when I discovered Sticky Notes on my computer and saw that they were there each time I logged onto the computer, well, I may as well have struck gold. An easy way for me to organize all my ramblings? How cool is that?

How do all of you keep your ideas organized? How do you keep from losing that great idea without taking time away from the story you're working on now?

Until next time, many blessings, Lisa Mondello

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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Blog Amiss: Stories from the Heart

Today, I got a note from a friend who’s missing the notes I leave on my personal blog. I’ve been silent there for more than 2 months . . . not a good record for an author who’d like to use her blog to build her brand as well as to share her world with whomever hangs out long enough to read it.

Blogging isn’t easy for me. I never thought of myself as a particularly private person, but blogging just feels odd. If I post personal stuff, I think I’m being too self-indulgent. If I talk too much about my books or work, I feel materialistic.

I’d really rather just write my stories.

Earlier this year, I made a plan to be more regular with my blogging. Life sorta bungled in, however. Schedules changed, work got weird, folks got sick, including me. Then my mom had heart problems. A stint in one artery collapsed, requiring a long hospital stay, and I wound up in Alabama for more than a week. Everything else in my world came to a halt, and I’m still trying to catch up. But I find that I’m weary. And I keep thinking about the notebook.

My mom’s notebook.

For some time, she’s been writing down everything she can remember about her childhood and teen years. She graduated from high school in 1945, and she still has all her report cards, graduation materials, even a newspaper from a senior trip. But the notebook is the real treasure – pages and pages of stories about her family and her adventures. Whenever she has a story to share, she pulls it out.

I come from a long line of great Southern storytellers. When other families watched TV or went to the movies, my folks sat around on the porch and told tales.

Only . . . the notebook is missing. When we got her back from the hospital we couldn’t find it.

We will. It’s too precious to lose forever.

My blog isn’t my mother’s notebook, that’s for sure. But I think the blog will be better, at least for right now, if I stop planning and just keep dreaming. And writing when I have something to say. Maybe next week. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe when I get enough sleep.

After all, I’m working on a new book. I have a hero to pick and a heroine to show off. Stories about how the tale came to be. And . . . someday . . . I’m going to write about what’s in the notebook.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

migraines and misery and birthdays, oh my!

Hello--it's Lenora. Sorry this post is late. I had a horrible migraine yesterday so after lunch I finally gave up, took a pill and crashed. (I guess my big birthday weekend went overboard!) The worse thing about having a migraine is that you can't focus. It hurts to read, it hurts to write, it hurts to hear any type of noise. And wouldn't you know--there was noise everywhere. Lawnmowers--a sign that spring is really, really here. Loud equipment from the industrial park not far from my house. My darling husband trying to cook--and slamming cabinets and doors as he rushed around trying not to burn the chicken. (Good meal even if I didn't have much of an appetite.)

The whole point of describing my "Migraine Monday" is that when we write suspense, we're forced to put our characters in uncomfortable situations. Misery. Real misery. I've talked about the Protecting the Witnesses series on this blog before. I don't normally go on and on about a series, but I have to admit this was one of my favorites as far as the storyline and brainstorming with the other writers. I've read each of the stories as they come out every month and so far I have not been disappointed. Right now, I'm reading Shirley McCoy's "Deadly Vows". Shirley is a great writer and even though I felt too bad last night to read, I can't wait to get back into her story.

This headache gave me an idea for a book--Killer Migraine--where the heroine is so tired of the pounding pain inside her head, instead of running from the villain in fear, she rolls her eyes Indiana Jones style and just takes the bad guy out. You don't mess with a woman who has a migraine (as my family can tell you!) I feel much better today, thankfully. So now I have to get back to work!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Spring fever...

Just seems like yesterday that we were shoveling snow and bracing against the bitter wind chills in the Midwest...yet now the grass is a rich emerald green, the hostas are growing back again, the horses are shedding out,  and birdsong fills the air.  It's so beautiful and warm that I want to be outside every moment.  Those of you in the south enjoy sunshine all the time, but to those of us up north, this is special!  With the sunshine and blue skies, my hope and excitement always builds, and I'm off to the garden center once again.   It's always an iffy proposition, though--I must be the only person on the planet who can't even grow zucchini.  I think I would be better off just curling up with a good book!

So, what are your plans for spring?  Do you garden?  Plant flowers?  Do you have fun travel plans coming up?

A visit with a Texas Ranger

This last weekend I went to Denton, Texas for a book festival. While I was there, I visited with a Texas Ranger for a book I'm working on and had a great interview and insight into what a Texas Ranger does. In the whole state of Texas there are less than 150 of them. They deal with all kinds of crimes from murder to corruption in the government to protecting the governor of Texas. They have a rich history, and it's an honor to be a member of the Texas Rangers. They work with local law enforcement agencies as well as federal ones.

The most interesting fact I discovered while talking with the Texas Ranger was they carry a first aid kit that has a clotting cloth in it. If he gets shot, he (or someone else) can take this cloth (packaged individually in paunches), stuff it into the bullet hole to clot the wound. It can make the difference from bleeding out and dying to getting to the hospital in time to treat the wound and living.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Calculated Revenge Interview

Today we're welcoming Laney Thompson, the heroine of Calculated Revenge by Jill Elizabeth Nelson, releasing mid-April 2010.

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 wasn’t always an only child. I had a little sister, but she disappeared eighteen years ago when she was eight years old on my tenth birthday. Now I have an eight year old daughter, and the person who took my kid sister is back, sending me taunting messages! I have to protect my little girl, and the best way to do that is to catch this monster before he strikes again. But how? The FBI failed to catch him before, and I have no training. I need special, expert help.

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

Noah is the principal of the elementary school where I work. This is my first teaching job and my first school principal to work under. I wasn’t sure I would like him at all. My ex-husband was a good-looking guy who was stuck on himself. I half expected Noah to have the same big ego, but he has proven himself over the months to be a man of honor who really cares about kids. My attraction to him has grown leaps and bounds—secretly. He appears to have no interest in me as a woman, and I don’t want to jeopardize my job by betraying my feelings. Up until this crisis in my life, I had no idea he was hiding a secret past in a career that is just what I need. But I’m afraid I’ll betray my feelings as we work so closely together.

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

I am a determined woman. A survivor. Hardships have made me more compassionate in some areas, but suspicious of people in other areas. Family means everything to me. I’m intensely loyal to them. I can be impetuous when I’m afraid, and I need to learn how to forgive—especially myself.

4. What scares you?

Losing my daughter the same way I lost my sister. Especially if the tragedy is in any way my fault . . . like the last time.

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

I’d love to have a more carefree heart. Maybe learning to forgive would help me achieve that goal.

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

I haven’t left my Christian roots, but I’m not on close speaking terms with God. I have too many unanswered questions . . . and too much personal guilt.

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

My greatest fear has hit me head on, and I’ve faced deeper betrayal than I thought I could bear from someone I love dearly. Deciding to trust God in spite of the worst has set me free to forgive others, but most of all myself.

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

And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in Heaven may forgive you your sins. Mark 11:25
Forgiveness set me free to face and overcome my fears. God’s answer to my prayers is beyond my wildest dreams!

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

Strawberry shortcake – simple, down home, sweet and yummy

Thank you Jill for sharing Laney with us. This sound so intriguing!

Saturday, April 17, 2010


It's been eighteen years since Laney Thompson's sister was abducted and killed, but the pain Laney feels has never faded. And now the murderer is back, taunting Laney with mementos of her sister and threatening Laney's young daughter. School principal Noah Ryder is her best hope for protecting her daughter—if she can convince the former investigator to take the case. As the threats accelerate, a string of clues leads Laney to uncover old secrets. But without Noah's help, how can she piece together the puzzle before her child—like her sister—is lost to a killer's revenge?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Flying Solo ... or Not?

Hey there! Liz Johnson here again. Today I thought I'd share a bit about how I like to write--alone.

Writing is, by nature, a solitary act, and I've heard many an author lementing this fact. It can be hard to close yourself off from friends and family to put ideas to paper. It might be easier to write in the company of others, but I've never thought so.

Maybe I'm the exception to the rule, but one of my favorite parts of being a writer is being alone with my laptop. And a few impatient, over-zealous characters. I love losing myself into the story in a way that never really happens when I try to write with others around. So I always believed that writing alone was the way to go.

But when I started really working on my first book, I discovered a terrible trait. I'm not disciplined at all. Apparently without having someone regularly check in on my progress, I was pretty much useless. So I buddied up with another writer friend, and for the last three years we've gotten together nearly every Monday night to write together for an hour. (Then we watch Castle! But that's another story.) My mom thought I was crazy, thought we would only ever chat for the whole hour. We did that once or twice at the beginning, but now we've gotten into an easy routine that includes much more writing than it does talking.

Don't get me wrong, we certainly talk. But it's about our books and our stories and our characters and those elusive words we want to use, but just can't seem to find. And a surprising thing has happened--I think my books are getting better.

I'm sure that part of it is just growing and maturing as a writer. But I'm just as sure that a chunk of that is owed to having another writer to bounce ideas off of, to ask on opinion of, and even to be teased by when I write something truly terrible.

As a solitary writer, who liked it that way, coming to this realization wasn't easy. Writing by myself and for myself was good enough. But that's just it. I don't want to be just good enough. I want to get better.

And I am, thanks to my Monday Night Writing Buddy.

So, who's your writing partner? Or do prefer to fly solo? What works best for you?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


RUE? Resist the urge to explain. An important rule for writers, but one I often forget, especially when I’m beginning a new story.

I watched a movie on television the other night and was somewhat confused throughout the first half. The director layered scene after scene that appeared to have little bearing on the overall story.

By the end of the flick, I realized the seemingly random scenes foreshadowed or introduced or provided necessary information that played into the resolution and were, in fact, key elements in the development of the story.

The director knew what he was doing. Unable to use introspection or author intrusion, he moved the movie forward with a string of scenes that provided the foundation upon which the second half of the film was built.

Usually, I add too much information at the beginning of a story, at least, in the first draft, which probably stems from an attempt to convince myself that I know where the story’s headed. Later, I get out the carving knife and cut the beginning down to the bare bones.

RUE! Something I need to remember.

Happy writing!

Wishing you abundant blessings,
Debby Giusti

KILLER HEADLINE, Book Two in the Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense Continuity Protecting the Witnesses and winner of the Gayle Wilson Award, now available in large-print hardcover.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Last Chance to sign up

Hi, Terri Reed here. I know Iposted this information once but thought since the deadline to sign up is looming I'd remind you of this event.

I'll be there signing a book and hosting a table with Terry MacLaughlin. I'll have a basket of goodies to give some blessed person at the table, while Terry will have individual gifts for each person sitting at our table.

We are raising money for Portland Literacy Council. Always a worthwhile endeavor to support literacy. We will be raffling off baskets filled with books and goodies. You can buy raffle tickets on line when you register.
If you come to the luncheon please let me know you are a fan of Craftie Ladies of Suspense.
Hope to see you there!

The Rose City Romance Writers are proud to host the 10th Annual Romance Readers Luncheon on Saturday, April 17, 2010 from 9 am to 2 pm. This year's guest speaker is bestselling author of classic romance and modern women's fiction, Jane Porter. Jane's presentation, entitled Be The Hero of Your Own Story, is sure to inspire.
Join Us at the Governor Hotel in Portland for good food, great romance authors, and a gift basket raffle like none other.
Cost: $40.00
Some of the authors attending include :
•Amanda Forester
•Anthea Lawson
•Catherine Cade
•Christina Crooks
•Christine Young
•Courtney Milan
•Delilah Marvelle
•Eilis Flynn
•Elisabeth Naughton
•Erica Ridley
•Genene Valleau
•Gerri Russell
•Gina Robinson
•Hanna Rhys-Barnes
•Jami Davenport
•Jean Johnson
•Jenna Bayley-Burke
•Jessa Slade
•Kimberly Fisk
•Kristina McMorris
•Kaylin McFarren
•Lacy Danes
•Linda Wisdom
•Lisa Hendrix
•Lucy Monroe
•Maisey Yates
•Margaret Mallory
•Marianne Stillings
•Mary Vine
•Meljean Brook
•Minnette Meador
•PJ Alderman
•Paty Jager
•Terri Reed
•Terry MacLaughlin
•Theresa Meyers
•Wendy Warren
Sound like fun? Register Now!
For more information, please check out the Rose City Romance Writers website.

Monday, April 12, 2010

World's Easiest Quiz

The answers are now on the comment section. Have fun!

My boss sent this to me. He claimed to have passed: I was determined to pass also. In order to pass, you need only get three correct. Go ahead, try it. I'll post the answers tonight.

1) How long did the Hundred Years' War last ?

2) Which country makes Panama hats ?

3) From which animal do we get cat gut ?

4) In which month do Russians celebrate the October Revolution ?

5) What is a camel's hair brush made of ?

6) The Canary Islands in the Pacific are named after what animal ?

7) What was King George VI's first name ?

8) What color is a purple finch ?

9) Where are Chinese gooseberries from ?

10) What is the color of the black box in a commercial airplane ?

Sunday, April 11, 2010


Today we're welcoming Anna Barker, the heroine of ON Thin Ice, April, 2010.

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 wasn't prepared for the adventure I did have - being right there when the bomb went off. I was hoping for a little peace when I came home to Maine from California - a place I did NOT fit into. I also came home not interested in any kind of romance either. I was so hurt by a man out in California and what I really needed, or thought I needed, was a bit of peace in Maine. Just me in the little rented cottage trying to put the pieces of my life back together again, and then teaching by day.

I guess I forgot to tell you. I'm an esthetician, which means I am a makeup artist, and teach esthetics at the local community college. I went out to California to seek my fame and fortune in movie make-up, but all I got was hurt.

Back home in Maine when the opportunity came up to volunteer on the Whisper Lake mock disaster team(It would be my job to make the 'victims' look as real as possible), I jumped at it.It was my job to make the victims' 'wounds' look as real as possible.

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

My first impression? Extreme gratitude. When the mock disaster turned into a real one and I was pinned under a foot of rubble, his was the first face I saw. Love? I almost think I knew that right from the beginning. Although I wouldn't admit it to myself. He came to see me every day in the hospital, always asking questions about what I saw or heard. It got so that I looked forward to him coming. But I still had a journey before I would even admit that to myself.

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

I love makeup and hair and all the rest of those 'girlie' things. But maybe that's not your question exactly. I guess my greatest skill is also my weakness. I tend to trust people too much. I tend to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. That's okay when people deserve the benefit of the doubt, but it's not okay when they don't. My biggest weakness is being able to tell the difference.

4. What scares you?

Losing the ability to work. I had the biggest scare during On Thin Ice. My right hand was badly broken and I'm right handed. It made me realize just how much I rely on my hands to work - to do anything, actually. It was quite a lesson.

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

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

I think I was pretty angry at God. I had basically quit my job in Maine in order to go after my Hollywood dream. I thought this was what God wanted me to do. But that whole thing ended up in disaster, and then when I came home and couldn't work because my hand was injured I didn't know what to think. Other than I was angry at my life in general, and so mad at God.

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

By the end of the story I realized that God loves me and that He has loved me all along. I have learned so much during the course of this book.

8. You've got a scripture at the beginning of the story. Tell us why this scripture is significant.
The verse is very significant to me. Isaiah 40:1 reads - 'They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary. they shall walk and not faint.'
When my hand was injured this verse began to mean a lot to me, because all I felt like I was doing was waiting. The first time I tried to eat soup with my left hand I spilled it all down the front of me. That made me burst into tears, because I suddenly realized that there were so many things I couldn't do, and wouldn't be able to do for a long time. That, plus what I went through before I moved back to Maine really made me feel like all I was doing was waiting. By the end of the book, I realized that God loved me. I learned many lessons while I 'waited.'

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

I think ice cream - because I like it.

Wow, this sounds great! Thank you Linda for sharing Anna with us.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


Twenty years ago—two weeks before their intended wedding day—tragedy tore Megan Brooks and Alec Black apart. They haven't seen each other since. Someone has been watching them, though… and attacking the members of the would-be bridal party. Megan knows she must confront her past to fi nd answers. But coming home means facing Alec, now the sheriff of Whisper Lake, Maine. He's the last man Megan wants to see again—yet he's the only one who can keep her safe when the killer comes for the bride.

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Invasion of the Pod people

I’ve become one of the pod people. Dana Mentink here and yes, the truth is far stranger than fiction. I, the woman who can’t figure out the t.v. remote and remains ignorant about the function of various buttons on her cell phone, has managed to record a podcast! This is worthy of note because it shows you just how little one needs to know to dive into the cyber world. Ten years ago, when I started writing professionally, I naively thought the writing biz was accomplished simply with the aid of a word processor and maybe a pencil or two. Ha! The name of the game now is social networking, blogging, webcasting, podcasting, vodcasting and plaidcasting. (I just threw that last one in there to see if you were paying attention. No one has invented plaidcasting that I am aware of.) You’ve got to have friends and fans and create a frenzy of ripples in the vast cyber sea if you’re going to make a go of it. I find it frightening that someone as technologically challenged as I am can actually be responsible for maintaining a website and making recordings that will be zapped out into the world. What if I do something wrong and accidently launch some nuclear weapons or crash the national banking system or something? You laugh, but a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. You saw War Games, didn’t you? I should mention that one year when I climbed up to plug the angel on the top of our Christmas tree I plunged the whole house into darkness. No joke. Me and technology get along like Simon and Garfunkel.
So what’s the podcast about? It’s the recording of a novel I wrote about a woman who lives out in the middle of a desert town called Ferocious, a place where there’s little cell phone reception and the locals would laugh you out of the place if you talked about podcasts. Hmmm. A place where people look at the sunset instead of blogging about it? A place where people network face to face instead of screen to screen? Hmmmmm.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

A movie, cleaning and planting marathon--Leann Harris

What a title for a blog, but that's what I'm going to do this week. I just finished the book that was due. Now, my mind needs a rest, so what to do. Well, I could do the cleaning that I haven't done in the last few months. And it's Spring and there's cleaning to do.

Also, with Spring, I can go outside and dig in the garden. Oh, what fun. But at night, I plan on a movie marathon. Why? Because I've emptied the creative well and now I need to have it fill up again. Watching movies is one of the best ways I've found to fill up that creative well.

Each writer has his/her way to pump up their ideas. I'm looking forward to playing this week and getting my creative spark ignited.

What are you reading--Lenora Worth

I'm just finishing up a four book contract so I'm thinking of all those plots I want to explore. That got me to wondering what kind of stories everyone wants to read? I have several ideas, most involving a woman in jeopardy and a dashing hero willing to help her. Some of my favorite television shows involve such plots--"Human Target" comes to mind. Extremely handsome hero with a dark past that haunts him. My kind of story. I also watch "Damages". It's intense and each of the characters has some sort of agenda. Of course, I love "NCIS"--Gibbs is my hero! I try to watch some of the CSI shows but I'm behind on those. I'm intrigued by "Justified" but haven't watched it yet.

As far as suspense books--right now I'm reading Margaret Daley's Cowboy Protector--it's part of a series--Protecting the Witness--and my book is Risky Reunion--the sixth book in the series. Shirlee McCoy and Barbara Phinney come after Margaret. Can't wait for their stories. Then mine will be out in June. The FBI agent in my book reminded me of Mark Harmon.

Now I have these new stories bouncing around inside my head. I love the beginning of a new idea. I like to play with it and wait for the characters to show me what they want to do. That's the fun part. So I need to get busy creating these stories.

What are some of your favorite suspense plots or stories?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

I am not a multi-tasker

By Barbara Phinney
Now, I know you mums out there are insistent that we mothers are natural multitaskers, but I have a sneaking feeling that I don't do that well.
Oh, sure, I've folded laundry, praised good potty results, danced to whatever kids' show was on TV, and made the bed all at once, but this kind of multi-tasking is different.
I'm writing two books at once.
I've submitted a proposal to Harlequin Romance. The story flowed from my fingers after Christmas, and it was so different that Love Inspired Suspense, that I knew I couldn't send it there, so I opted for Harlequin Romance. I love the simple, worldly stories, set anywhere, so , why not?
Then I wrote and submitted another Love Inspired Suspense. Now, I don't usually discuss my submissions. I don't want to say it's superstitious, because it's more a case of not counting my chickens before they hatch. If I'm blessed enough to sell another book, that's wonderful.
But I get off topic here.
With two submissions out, I've decided to start two more stories. Yup, one to Love Inspired Suspense, one to Harlequin Romance.
And I'm writing them at the same time.
A page on this story, a few lines on that one.
A chapter here, a few pages there.
A word here, a line there.
Now, I bet you can see where I'm going.
The Love Inspired Suspense is set in Canada near the Tantramar Marshes. In a nice little town with a nice little church and a nice little murder.
The Harlequin Romance is set on a Greek Island, in the home of a wealthy hero, with sun and sugar cube house, warm Med. winds, and emotion aplenty. No murder, no mayhem, no cold marsh winds.
It'll be fun, and as a non-multi-tasker, I'll be pressed hard to see if I blend the stories together by accident.
Picture this: My Greek hero whose only goal is to keep all he's known safe from the heroine, faces a police officer heroine who suddenly says, "Okay, Sean, tell me what you know about the murder."
My feisty heroine on her first trip back to the home of her birth, as she's looking out at the Aegean Sea, turns and finds Sean, a young single pastor, folding his arms and saying, "My mother didn't murder that man, and I want you to tell me exactly what evidence you have that says she did."
Now this kind of multi-tasking may be good practice for me, but I'm sure it'll be the mental death of me, and that'll be sure to have my heros and heroines on both sides of the Atlantic scrambling to figure out who these strangers are in their lives.
Ooh, what fun!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Writers and Cats

Strange subject for a blog posting here - but bear with me. Three weeks ago my husband and I adopted a year and a half old black cat from the SPCA shelter. And ‘Captain Hook’, named thusly for the hook in his tail - has taken over our lives and our hearts. At our SPCA the cats are given categories from “I will be your computer assistant” meaning - I will jump all over your lap and walk on your computer and purr in your lap when you’re trying to write, to “I’m aloof but want to be your friend” which means, I tend to hide under beds but with the right treats I’ll come out and try to be your friend.

Well, we got the “computer assistant”, and he is just that - our computer assistant. If he’s not up walking all over my computer keys and purring, he’s down at my husband’s office doing the same.

I can’t tell you the number of times my work in progress suddenly ends up with a couple rows of Z’s.

And now I get to why I am posting this. Since getting ‘Cappy’, which is he now called, I’ve done a lot of ‘cat research’ online. (Oh, I am SO becoming a cat person), and did you know that having a cat reduces blood pressure and calms anxiety and that stroking a cat’s fur for twenty minutes calms yourself (not to mention the cat). Writing can be stressful. Rejections - in the form of rejection letters - or bad reviews - can cause one to flee to the chocolate jar. I have now discovered why so many writers are cat people. We need the soft fur and a face nuzzle from one of God's special creatures who loves us.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Beauty and the beast

Spring has sprung along with the beauty of the flowers, the warmth of the sunshine on my face-and pollen in my nose. Achoo! How in the world can something that's supposed to be so wonderful cause absolute misery for some? Send us into hibernation mode at the first sight of the dreaded yellow stuff?

When God created the world, it was perfect. Then man came along and messed it up. So, now, we take the good with the bad. Because God loved us so much that when sin entered the world bringing all the bad stuff with it, God still left the good stuff. His beauty, his marvelous creation.

After this Easter weekend, it just hit home how much I long for the Creator's triumphant return. And when I picture heaven, I see it as a place of deep breaths, no coughing, no sneezing, and no need for inhalers! Along with much, much more! A perfect place with no tears, beautiful music-and a loving father who is waiting for me to run into His outstretched arms.

Seriously, I'm so thankful for the beautiful God who loved me enough to die for me, to take my place on a cross so long ago. And conquered that beast we call sin and death.

I love you, Jesus. Thank you for loving me in spite of me.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Mountain Peril Interview

Today we're welcoming Jack Denton, the hero of Mountain Peril by Sandra Robbins , an April 2010 release from Love Inspired Suspense.

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.

Suspense was the last thing I was looking for when I came to Webster Falls, NC. I had just gotten out of the Army where I’d served in Special Forces, and I was looking for a nice, quiet town sort of like Mayberry to work in law enforcement. My wife had died in a car accident with another man while I was off on one of the missions that I lived for in the Army, and I needed some time to get over the guilt I felt about how I’d ignored her. I thought nothing could happen in a small college town at the edge of the Appalachians, but I was sure wrong.

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

I never expected to meet someone like Danielle Tyler. She’s had a lot happen in her life, too, and I knew from the moment I saw her I would do everything in my power to protect her. When I first met her, she was Dean of Students at Webster University. I was a little bit in awe of her position of authority at the school. I barely finished college, but she had her doctorate and could talk about all kinds of things I knew nothing about. But underneath that professional exterior I saw a woman I really liked. Maybe I was a little star struck at first because her parents were my rock idols when I was growing up. I had all their albums and spent hours in my room pretending to play guitar along with their music. But she had something I’d never seen in anyone else I knew. She had a deep faith that had gotten her through the murder of her college roommate and her fiancé in graduate school. When one of her students was murdered, I was afraid the killer was getting to close to her. I think I knew I loved her the minute she smiled at me, but it took me a long time to tell her. It was only through the grace of God I finally got the opportunity.

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

My greatest weakness is my failure to have successful relationships. I’m afraid of commitment because I feel like I’ve failed in the past. My father never loved me, and I ignored my wife to the point she turned to someone else. I feel like I hurt everyone close to me.

4. What scares you?

Even though I tend to discourage anyone from getting too close to me, I’m afraid of being alone. I want to tell Danielle how much I love her, but I’m afraid to voice the words. I don’t want to ruin her life like I did my wife’s.

5. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I’d like to be more relaxed around people and have more fun. I work and come home to a tiny apartment. When I am in a group, I wonder what they’re thinking about me. I suppose my lack of excitement in my life is because I shy away from involvement with people.

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

I have no faith in God at the beginning of the story. Danielle tries to reach me, but at that point I can’t see myself trusting something I can’t touch and see.

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

When Danielle is about to walk out of my life, she tells me that someday I’m going to come up against something I can’t handle on my own. She was so right. When that happened, I found God had been there all the time. He was waiting for me to turn to Him.

8. You've got a scripture at the beginning of the story. Tell us why this scripture is significant.
The scripture is from Psalms 86:5 and says, “You are forgiving and good, O Lord, abounding in love to all who call to you.” I found out that God loved me even when I didn’t believe, but He forgave me. I still can’t comprehend all the blessings I received because of His love.

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

I think if I was a dessert I’d be an apple cobbler. When you look at a cobbler in the pan, all you see is a brown crust covering up what’s inside. Below the surface of that crust, though, is a sweet mixture just waiting to be discovered. Danielle once compared my façade to granite, but she knew there was something better beneath my surface. Through her efforts, I came to know God, and he peeled away the layers of hurt and distrust I’d built up through the years and released the love that I’d been afraid to show.

Thank you Sandra for sharing Jack with us. He sounds like a true hero. Can't wait to read the story!

Happy Easter everyone. May God's love shine on you with many blessings!

Saturday, April 3, 2010


According to an anonymous message, a young woman is going to be murdered in the North Carolina mountains. When a body is found, Danielle Tyler is shocked to learn it's her student—the third person in her life to meet an untimely death. Is she next? From disturbing notes and roses left in her office to cold-blooded murder, someone means deadly business. Detective Jack Denton—the stalwart lawman who makes her pulse race—vows to find the deranged madman, but Danielle doesn't dare let him too close. Especially when death seems to be the destiny of anyone she cares about…

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Water Rising in New England

Hello and Happy Easter from Lisa Mondello! I've just returned from a conference put on by the New England Chapter of RWA completely jazzed to write and get my next manuscript done. I always love attending my local conference so I can visit with some old friends and learn something new.

I left for the conference in the sunshine and came home to rain. In fact, all of New England seemed to have a huge cloud overhead and it did nothing but rain for days. Since I live in the hills, I didn't worry too much about flooding around my house. But I spent a lot of time praying for friends who I knew were low lying areas and were sure to feel the effects of the rushing water swelling over the rivers. Click here for some pictures.

I grew up in Southeastern Massachusetts and my hometown was hit with a lot of flooding. My mom said the town looks like an island and friends who still have homes around Long Pond were worried their houses would soon be under water. I also have many friends in Rhode Island in the Warwick area and worried until they checked in. Please pray for those people who have been hit by this recent flood. It's going to take a long time for Rhode Island and the surrounding areas to clean up the mess and many people have lost everything.

Have a happy and blessed Easter!

Lisa Mondello

Thursday, April 1, 2010

And a 1-Blogger, 2-Blogger, 3-Blogger, Fore!

I have been radically absent from the blogosphere lately. My own blog hasn’t been touched in more than six weeks. Twitter fell off my browser history. I’ve tried to keep Facebook updated, but I’ve even forgotten the password to my MySpace account.

I think I needed to take a break from online. Mostly, I’ve been writing and focusing on the next stage of my career. I had three goals for this time:

1) Finish the massively delayed House of Secrets (now set for April 2011)
2) Begin work on a sequel
3) Acquire an agent
4) Become more organized and productive

So blogging had to take a backseat for a bit. Duck out of sight.

I do love blogging and bloggers. I subscribe to 31 different flavors (seriously). I don’t read them all every day. Mostly I scan for interesting topics or interviews. A few I do read every time there is a new post, especially if they’re informative about writing or the publishing business.

But sometimes DOING is more important than learning about the doing.

Those four goals have been achieved. Number 4 will be ongoing – 2010 is my year to get stalker-intense about the work, trusting that I really am following God’s path for my life.

More to come. This year, I will be aiming for the mountaintop, not only with my eyes, but my feet and hands.