Thursday, September 30, 2010

Research at the FBI Citizens' Academy

So I'm in the Indianapolis FBI Citizens' Academy and loving it. But I'm sure those who know me are far from surprised :-)

The evenings are often filled with lectures about different efforts of the local office from gangs to white collar crime to terrorism and violent crimes. This week's session was very interesting. The first hour focused on the application of the use of deadly force policy. As an attorney, I loved the parsing of phrases and figuring out how to apply that to real life situations. It really was an eye-opening session.

But the best part was when they walked us across the street to a conference room where they'd set up a training simulator that they use with FBI agents. One at a time we were handed a modified Sig 228, which was hooked into a machine that somehow read where we shot and told us if we'd hit, nicked or missed the moving target. There were approximately 20 different scenarios that they ran us through. In each case the student was supposed to decide whether to use deadly force and then attempt to shoot.

I bracketed my guy and probably winged him -- not terrible considering I've never held anything more than a paint ball gun. But it was interesting to watch my response and the response of my classmates. One gal nailed her bad guy. This guy was not getting back up. But the rest of us gals for the most part bracketed and nicked them.

While an interesting exercise, it also reinforced how much is affected by how someone responds. In these video scenarios, the bad guys weren't actually responding to our shots. I would think that would change in real life.

Anyway, I continue to love this experience. I've decided I fall firmly into the geek category as I take detailed notes about everything. I just never know when I'll get to use some tidbit or other in a book.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Two Conference in Two Weeks!

L to R:  Debby Giusti, Missy Tippens, Michael Hauge
and Janet Dean at ACFW.
by Debby Giusti

On September 16, I flew to Indianapolis, Indiana, for the American Fiction Writers Conference. The Friday to Monday event was filled with great workshops and lots of opportunities to visit with friends. I had some story revisions to do so I had to mix work with pleasure, but that didn’t stop me from making the most of the weekend.

Hollywood screenwriting guru Michael Hauge presented a two-part workshop on Plot Structure. Mr. Hauge will also be the featured speaker at the Georgia Romance Writers Moonlight and Magnolia’s Conference I’ll be attending this weekend. Hopefully after spending so much time with the plot wizard, I’ll be able to absorb his expert advice and apply it to my own writing.

I also attended Terri Blackstock’s Suspense workshop at ACFW. Terri said readers like the adrenalin rush they get from reading suspense. They want to read as if they were a detective, trying to put the puzzle pieces together to solve the crime. She also talked about the importance of adding “red herrings” to suspense stories. The term, she explained, originated in the 1800s with the publication of a detective novel that had a police chase using dogs. The bad guy covered his tracks, literally, with the scent of raw fish. No doubt, red herring!

Just as at ACFW, seeing old friends and making new ones will be the highlight of the M&M Conference this weekend. What are your favorite conferences and what do you look forward to the most when you attend writing events?

Wishing you abundant blessings!

Debby Giusti
Visit Seekerville ( for our October Birthday Bash. Great blog interviews, lots of fun and giveaways, including a Kindle loaded with Seeker books! Be sure to stop by on October 5th when Steeple Hill Assistant Editor Emily Rodmell provides tips on getting published. Hourly giveaways, including the four Love Inspired Suspense September releases!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Snow-Kissed Reunion

Terri Reed here on an unnaturally humid night in the Pacific Northwest. I wanted to tell you all about an online one of my dear friends is doing over at eHarlequin. Melissa McClone writes for Harlequin Romance. She writes sweet romances that touch the heart. Melissa and I met close to seventeen years ago. Our friendship developed quickly. We had several things in common, Jesus as our Lord, children close to the same age and both loved writing. Melissa had a very successful career writing for Silhoutte Romance before the line closed. She transitioned over to Harlequin Romance nicely and still writes with the same heartwarming, sweet style as she always has. Pop on over to this link and read the first two chapters of her online read.;jsessionid=3FCA0614E9B17BEE3DF367A3E578724C?articleId=1538&chapter=1

And keep an eye out for her upcoming release

When snowboard designer Sean Hughes sees Zoe Flynn hitchhiking at the bottom of Mount Hood he recognizes a free spirit—much like himself!

They hit it off, and Zoe ends up agreeing to pose as Sean's girlfriend at his family's Thanksgiving. But following an accident and a misunderstanding they're soon stuck with each other for the Christmas holidays!

Zoe's girl-next-door looks make Sean wish their charade was a romantic reality, but Zoe is hiding something…and he has until the clock strikes midnight on New Year's Eve to discover her secret!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Hawaii Five-O

My husband and I are not real TV people. Well, he is, but it's all about ice-road truckers, and Do It Yourself, and This Old House, and Dirty Jobs (I'm definitely using Mike Rowe as a hero in a future book) I never get to watch television, at least not like a normal person. I have to buy the DVD ten years later. I watched all the Gilmore Girls, a season at time, well after the show ended. Even now, I get my doses of NCIS, Bones, and CSI in out of order, years old, segments.

But, we both were looking forward to the new Hawaii Five-O and actually planned to watch it, made time that is. One of the things we do as a couple is late at night we watch old DVD's. Our favorite is Adam 12. We watch a lot of Dragnet, too. So, you can imagine how we felt about a real prime time drama meeting our critiera.

Unfortunately, it didn't.

I so wanted to enjoy it. I was wary about the characters. I thought in carrying on a tradition that worked, they should use more Hawaiians. But, like Ann Rice, I've been wrong before, so although my husband and I discussed it, we were willing to give it a chance.

Tonight we may watch it, but we're not looking forward to it like we were.

And I've thought about it. See, television already has primetime kick-butt police high dramas that supply gore, extreme witt (the kind that comes from the mouth and not the brain), and the ultimate bad guys. What television doesn't have is a police show that goes back to what the old Hawaii Five-O had. Good detective work, mostly by the book, with a leader who relied on his team and his gut and who did it while commanding respect. (I'm wrong. There were some episodes of Law and Order that did.)

Watching the two main characters, McGarritt and Danno, physically fight each other, verbally abuse each other, and solving a intense crime much too easily - didn't work for me.

In the end, Danno (Caan) had more soul than McGarrett, although his not liking Hawaii seemed like a desperate ploy to throw in an unnecessary conflict. McGarrett (O'Loughlin) came across a bit too bullying. I'd rather see real leadership.

As for the two supporting characters. Chin Ho Kelly comes with a reasonable motivation for joining the team. But, Kono seems to join for no reason other than I need to prove I'm kick butt and a girl. Come on, guys, give her a real reason to join.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


Today we're welcoming Nicole Mattson, the heroine of Legacy of Lies by Jill Elizabeth Nelson, September 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 lost my policeman husband in the line of duty only six months ago and needed a safe haven to heal. Since my parents are also gone, my grandmother’s place seemed like a sure thing. How could I have guessed that I would find the bones of an infant buried in her back yard or be embroiled in the reopening of a fifty year old kidnapping and homicide case?

I could never suspect my grandmother or deceased grandfather of such a horrible crime—or any crime! And yet mounting evidence pointed the accusing finger at my family—stirring doubts in my heart, drawing anger from the town’s people, and reaping vengeance from Ellington’s founding family. The circumstances were simply overwhelming and so hopeless-looking. How could we unravel the truth about a tragedy so ancient the legend has become knit into the fabric of a community?

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

Rick is the police chief in Ellington, and he was first on the scene after I called in my grizzly find. I pegged him right away as the kind of cop my husband was—conscientious about his job, and decent and honest in the way he treats people. Some cops take advantage of their authority, throw their weight around, and expect favors. Like a certain deputy I could name.

Unfortunately for the little zing in my heart at our first meeting, there was no way I could allow myself any feelings for another cop. Losing one husband to a risky occupation was quite enough, thank you very much. Besides, he was investigating my grandparents as possible kidnappers and baby-killers. Not a promising scenario for romance.

True love does tend to overcome the odds though. That poor dead infant from the past nearly kept us apart, but it was what Rich said about a living baby in the future that ultimately stole my heart, willy-nilly. It was the best thing that ever happened to me. Well, one of them.

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

I have a degree in business administration and a healthy level of self-confident. I’m also self-sufficient and a tad stubborn. Runs in the family. Observe my grandmother, and you’ll understand what I mean. ;-) I’m determined to help my grandmother’s sewing shop become profitable again, but that will mean some fundamental changes in how it’s run. Way easier said than done. Note the stubbornness mentioned above. Change is a dirty word to that dear woman.

4. What scares you?

Losing the last of my family, as well as my family’s good name, to scandal and prison.
5. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I might like to be a little less cautious and skeptical.
6. Where are you in your faith at the start of your story?

I’ve been a lifelong believer, but my faith was on rocky ground after so much death in the family. It’s scary to feel like you’re on the precipice of being alone in the world. My trust factor was pretty low—in God and in my fellow man, and I was a little at loose ends as far as my purpose in life.

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

I embraced life again. Many of my nearest and dearest may live on beyond the veil, but our separation is only for a season. As long as I’m still here on this earth, I need to believe I have a good purpose in God’s plan, then go ahead and live it with gusto.

8. You've got a scripture at the beginning of the story. Tell us why this scripture is significant.
It’s tempting for believers to become cynical about bad people getting away with bad things. But the Bible promises us that, even if it looks like they’re getting off Scott-free, no one escapes justice forever—not unless they put their sins under the blood of Jesus Christ.

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

I’m apple crisp ala mode: down-home, a little sweet, a little tart, and multi-layered.

Sounds like an exciting read! Thank you Jill for sharing Nicole with us today.

Saturday, September 25, 2010


Evidence from a decades-old murder is the last thing Nicole Keller-Mattson expected to find in her grandmother's backyard. The finger-pointing and accusations aimed at her family were easier to predict. Everyone in Ellendale is eager to blame the Kellers—but after an attack leaves Nicole's grandmother in a coma, only Nicole can clear the family name. With the assistance of police chief Rich Hendricks, she stands a chance of solving the mystery…if she's willing to accept Rich's help. Nicole lost her husband in the line of duty—trusting another cop is too painful. But not trusting Rich could be deadly.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Dana Mentink's Personal Highlights from the ACFW Conference

Howdy, all. Dana Mentink here. I just flew back from the American Christian Fiction Writers Conference in Indiana and boy are my arms tired! Ha! Here are my top three conference moments in reverse order.

#3. Football
Yep, football. I’m not much of a sports fan but I enjoyed being steeped in the Indiana Colts culture. These folks are serious fans, let me tell you. I’m from California. We love our 49ers and all, but you’d never see an entire city of people here wearing niner jerseys. I enjoyed being surrounded by SERIOUS Colts fans at the local P.F. Changs and I really enjoyed peeked from my sixteenth story hotel room window and seeing the entire city in their blue jerseys making their way to the football stadium. It was so neat to see such pride (and I was happy those Colts won!)

#2 Michael Hague’s Six Step Plot Structure class.
Mr. Hague was not only incredibly knowledgeable about how to put together an amazing story for the big screen or novel, but he was also very entertaining. I think I’ll always have his turning points and stages stuck in my head when I watch a movie and I’ve already put his framework to use in my current WIP. One of the best classes I’ve been too.

#1. Cindy, in the prayer room.
This is my fourth ACFW conference and I’ve never been in the prayer room. This time, a family crisis brought me to the door where I met the amazing Cindy W. She was truly God’s hands and heart for me and I will never forget her kindness and spiritual support.

Did you go to Indiana this year or have you attended ACFW in the past? What were the highpoints?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

From 3 o'clock on

By Barbara Phinney

Oh, I'm not talking about three in the afternoon, when you just want to lay your head down on your keyboard and send a stream of consonants across the screen.
This is three in the morning. And I'm right there now. Actually, it's now five, but since I've been up since three, it counts as well. It's those nights when the week's events pile up on you. You think of that annoying person who bugged you a week or more ago, and you think of your children, the stray cat you saw in the neighbour's garage, and even the wind that's howling right now, thanks to a low pressure system to the east or wonder why the water pump has clicked on, then off.
These nights grow in frequency, especially when I hope to write my fingers off the next day, but one man, a missionary I know, deals with these nights in a unique way. He prays. He prays for those who have touched his life recently, and goes through them all individually.
He doesn't allow his mind to wander. Ahh, the discipli
ne! My mind wanders like the sweet potato vine I recently pulled up. And when I have just turned the whole kit and kaboodle over to God, I yank it back again and start over.
I need more discipline in my life, in my waking hours and resting hours.
Do any of you have nights like this? How do you cope?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A Movie Recommendation: When you give away the story in the first few minutes

Linda Hall

A few days ago my husband and I watched a movie that, although a few years old, I had not heard of before. (My head must be in the sand - or maybe I’ve just been bent over my desk writing for too long!) The movie was AUGUST RUSH which came recommended by my son - who plays percussion, guitar, basically anything, and our daughter-in-law - who is a classically trained pianist, but whose newest great love is the cello.

I adored the movie. I was enraptured by the music and the story. But, in the first five minutes most people have it figured out. It’s not like SIXTH SENSE or other of those movies with surprise endings, that no one can figure out until the bitter end. No, this one was easy to figure out.

And yet, and yet, I couldn’t stop watching it.

As a writer of romantic suspense and mystery this intrigued me. I’m always trying to make sure the reader can’t ‘figure out’ the story within five mintues of opening my book, but just maybe if the story is beautiful enough, and has enough compelling elements, a reader will be drawn in regardless.

Or maybe it's the ‘how’ - how are these three people going to come together in the end?

I really don't know the ramifications for a mystery novel. It just got me thinking.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

High-Stakes Inheritance Interview

Today we're welcoming Mia Blackburn, the heroine of High-Stakes Inheritance by Susan Sleeman releasing in September.

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 never imagined I’d find myself fearing for my life when I came back to Logan Lake. I didn’t even want to come here. I was perfectly happy in Atlanta in my job as a family counselor helping others work through their problems. But then Uncle Wally died and he left the Pinetree Resort to me.

I wasn’t all that surprised that he did this as we were very close. In fact, he was more like a father to me than my real Dad. What I was surprised about was the terms of the inheritance. Wally stated in his will that I had to live at Pinetree for a year in order to inherit the place. A year! Can you imagine? I had to leave my life in Atlanta and move back to my hometown for a whole year. I considered not going. Seriously considered it.

After all, I don’t care about the money I’d get if I sold the place or even owning a resort. But I do care about my Uncle Wally. So if he wanted me here he had a reason. Trouble is, someone else doesn’t think I should inherit the place and started doing all kinds of terrible things to scare me away. Someone has even ended up dead. I’m scared. Really scare, but I’m not going anywhere. I owe it to Wally to see this through.

2. So, during the book you met Ryan Morgan. Tell us a bit about him. What was your first impression? When did you know it was love?
Well, I didn’t meet him for the first time in the book. We have a past. Boy do we have a past. He was the love of my life in high school, but he thought I needed to get away from Logan Lake and experience the real world so he broke up with me. I’ve never really forgotten him, though. Or his fabulous blue eyes. Such a startling color I can’t really describe it.

I really fought loving him. I mean there were so many reasons not to. I didn’t want to live here. My dad and other boyfriends had rejected me and I didn’t want to risk getting hurt again. But you know what? Ryan didn’t give up on me. Each time I pushed him away he came back. Listened to me and understood what I was going through and how I felt. I guess it helped that he was a counselor, too, but even before that, way back in high school, he helped me work through issues with my Dad. So when everything had gone wrong and I couldn’t run away from my problems anymore, I took a long hard look at myself and Ryan, and knew he was the man for me.

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

Wow, you really want me to write about this, huh? I’m going to start with my weakness, then end on the strong side. I like to control my life. Not just parts of it, but everything. When my Mom died, I was only thirteen. A tough time for a girl to lose her mother. Right then, I started trying to control everything around me so I didn’t get hurt again. God’s working with me on that and I’m getting better.

Now the good parts. I’m an awesome counselor. I love to listen and help people. It’s so rewarding. I also don’t quit easily. Some would say I’m spunky. Maybe a little headstrong, but I like to think of it as being tenacious.

4. What scares you?

Losing Ryan again. Took me ten years to find him. Now I can’t imagine life without him.
5. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I guess I’d have to go back to the control thing. I’d like to be more of a free spirit and not have to plan things. More spontaneous. Ryan is spontaneous and each time we do something at the spur of the moment, I don’t want to do it without thinking about the details, but always end up enjoying it.
6. Where are you in your faith at the start of your story?
Three words. Mad at God. Really mad at Him for taking away everyone I love. For leaving me alone to fend for myself.

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

Realizing I was never alone to begin with. God was there with me all the time and I had stopped looking for Him.

8. You've got a scripture at the beginning of the story. Tell us why this scripture is significant.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.
This scripture sums up what I had to do to see God again. He brought me to the end of myself and put me in a position where I couldn’t count on my own abilities to get out of it. It took so much courage let go of my own agenda, but I did and He saved the day.

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

Oh, yum, dessert. I would be a big bowl of M&M’s. With all the rejection and loss I had early on in life, I can act tough and that can come across as hard on the outside. I’ve always been a real softie on the inside, though, and now that God is back in my life, I think the hard outer coating is melting.

Thank you for visiting with us today! This sounds like a great read!

Saturday, September 18, 2010


"Leave Logan Lake now or you will pay!"Despite the threatening warning, Mia Blackburn won't let anyone scare her from the rustic resort she inherits from her beloved uncle. But when a fire traps her in a burning barn, she fears that she won't get out alive. Just in time her ex-boyfriend volunteer firefighter Ryan Morgan rescues her from the deadly blaze. He had once broken her heart, yet she still has feelings for him. With Ryan insisting on keeping a close eye on her, Mia feels safer—and closer to Ryan than ever before. Yet the threats haven't stopped, and soon Mia's high-stakes inheritance includes a murder—and Mia could be the next victim.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Cash and Serena...and getting Lisa Mondello

As I sit here at the computer to type this post I'm wondering what all the CRAFTIE Ladies are doing while at ACFW. I will miss seeing you all. But alas I'm home working on my next proposal for LI.

Okay, onto Cash and Serena. If you haven't read Cradle of Secrets, my November 2007 Love Inspired Suspense, then you won't have a clue what I'm going to talk about. (It's still available online though, so please check that out at Hardly a week goes by that I don't get an email or two from readers who want to know whether I've written a book about Cash and Serena. And every time I get one of those letters my shoulder's sag. You see, I fully intended on making Cradle of Secrets a 3 book series. Cradle of Secrets laid the groundwork for the series and Her Only Protector was the follow up story that dealt with the rescue of baby Ellie. The last story, Cash and Serena, was always meant to be the most romantic and the wrap up of the taking down of the Aztec Corporation.

I'd submitted the first few chapters and a synopsis of the entire story. Unfortunately, Steeple Hill decided to pass on the story for a couple of reasons. For one, Cash and Serena are already married and Steeple Hill is not currently publishing heroes and heroines who are already married. Trust me when I tell you that I was as crushed as all of my readers who email me. I've had many of you ask (okay, beg) me to send you at least Cash's rescue. I'm tempted. And maybe I will put together a short version of the rescue to send off in a newsletter. If you're one of the readers who is wondering what happened to Cash and Serena and still need to find out, send your email address to I'm collecting addresses so we can all finally get closure.

Many blessings, Lisa Mondello

Fresh-Start Family 10/10 Love Inspired Romance
In a Doctor's Arms 3/11 Love Inspired Romance

Thursday, September 16, 2010


OK, Ramona here, and as far as I can tell, Lenora stole my post!

Well, except for the cat part. I don't have a cat. I just scream at the walls.

What is it about a conference that makes us go nuts. I planned to post this at midnight last night and bolt for Indianapolis by 9am. It's now just before 1pm, and I'm praying the hotel doesn't give away my room! I'm not at the conference hotel (I'm around the corner), but it looks as if I won't arrive until after 6pm.

So...deep breaths. Prayer. Focusing on what's important, which isn't rushing around like a mad woman just because yesterday went topsy turvy. And this morning.

Yesterday, I got to hear Deanna Favre and Shane Stanford, authors of The Cure for the Chronic Life, speak at Abingdon's sales conference. Part of their message is the one we hear over and we go through our days, we may be the only picture, the only message of God and His Son some people ever see.

Reminding myself of this may keep me from screaming at slow cars and store clerks. Not so sure it's going to bring my blood pressure down anytime soon...not when I'm so excited about hanging out with my peers and soaking up the words of other teachers.

I'm running late. But I'll get there. With a few deep breaths, a lot of prayer . . . and just maybe a scream or two.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Something went terribly wrong--Lenora Worth

My blog is late today. That's because something went terribly wrong. I usually love Tuesdays. Making it to Tuesday means you got through Monday okay. And Tuesday is NCIS day!!! But yesterday, things went wrong for me all day long.

First, I ran some errands to get ready for ACFW. I shop at the drugstore a lot and I buy in volume for my travels. So I went to my local drugstore with my customer card and a coupon fresh off my e-mail. I dropped things in my basket and went to check out. The not so happy to be there clerk rang up my entire basket of stuff but forgot to use the coupon. So she called another clerk over and we had to void the whole thing and start over. (With the other customers glaring at us.) Then my coupon wouldn't work. So the not so happy to be there manager was called out. Other customers are still glaring. I'm glaring, too. The manager scanned my coupon and told me I had an invalid customer card. I had just gotten the card in the mail a few weeks ago! This went on and on for several minutes and then she suggested I was trying to use an invalid coupon. Ugh!!! I got out my old card and told her I was not trying to use an invalid coupon since it had been sent to me that very morning. A few minutes and some strongly worded declarations later, the old card finally accepted the coupon and I headed for the door. Only to set off the beeper alarm! By now I am very frustrated. I go back in and ask the surly manager if I need to let her check my bag. She glares at me, points to the door and says "Go. Just get out of here." So I did just that, with beepers blasting everywhere!

So I decided to write about this experience last night. I wrote this whole blog and hit publish and .... my blog disappeared! I had a meltdown. The next thing I knew, my husband was calling out "What is that awful noise?" That awful noise was me hitting my chair and screaming my frustations to the cat. And people wonder where we get our ideas for suspense books. Hmmm. A frustrated customer, a rude clerk, a coupon and customer card malfunction and a lost blog. I have all sorts of scenarios in my head right now. Have you ever had a day like this? Good thing I can vent my frustrations by writing fiction!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Favorite Method for Bumping Off Someone

I write romantic suspense and I'm always looking for unusual ways to kill off a character. Have you read or seen on a show or movie any method that has caught your attention as unusual, different?

What are some of your favorite murder scenes in a book or movie? One I remember is a classic: Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express where all the passengers were in on the murder of the man on the train. Another of her books I loved was And Then There Were None where people were being killed one by one on an isolated island. One of the murdered victims wasn't really dead and in the end was the killer.

Do you have some favorites or unusual ways?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Formula for Danger Interview

Today we're welcoming Rachel Grant, the heroine of Formula for Danger by Camy Tang, September 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 was working on a new scar-reduction cream product to launch at my family's successful day spa, Joy Luck Life Spa, in Sonoma, California.
But someone was trying to steal my formula--and take me out in the process.

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

I had met Edward several months ago. I hired him to grown the exotic Malaysian basil that's the secret ingredient in my scar reduction cream. As soon as we met, we connected--he gets my jokes, he made me feel comfortable enough to open up to him and be who I am. But then a couple months before the problems started, he suddenly backed away. I felt really hurt because I had shown him who I really was, and it seemed like he just wasn't attracted to that girl. But while he was protecting me from the people trying to steal my formula and kill me, I discovered that he really does care about me, but he had his own issues with God that had to be resolved first.

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

I'm very analytical and determined when it comes to my research, but that can be my weakness too. I have a tendency to spend too much time on my research because I want to please my father. I had to learn that God's love for me is more important that my father's approval.

4. What scares you?

I was afraid of losing my father's love for me, which I thought would happen if I failed to launch this scar-reduction cream product on time.

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

I'd really like to be as tactful as my sister Naomi, or as outgoing as my sister Monica. I'm rather shy and a bit socially awkward at times.

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

I was a Christian, but I hadn't really understood what it meant to have God's love.

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

I'm on my way to knowing the difference between God's unconditional love and the world's conditional approval.

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

The scripture is Psalm 24:1 (NIV) "The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it." I had no concept before everything happened about how God really has control over everything and really does care for me.

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

Strawberry mousse! Light, a little sweet, a little tart. That's me!

Thanks for having me here!
Rachel Grant
Thank you for joining us! And thank you Camy for such an intriguing story!

Saturday, September 11, 2010


Someone wants dermatologist Rachel Grant's latest research, and they'll do anything to get it. Including trashing the plants needed for her breakthrough scar-reducing cream—and trying to run Rachel down. Desperate for help, she turns to Edward Villa, the only man she trusts. But the greenhouse owner knows too much about Rachel's research, and now he's a target, too. Break-ins, muggings, murder…the would-be thief is getting desperate—and getting closer. Edward vows to protect Rachel at all costs. Yet with time ticking away, Edward knows they have to uncover the madman shadowing Rachel before their chance for a future is destroyed.

Friday, September 10, 2010

When you can't make it ...

Hey there, everyone! Liz Johnson here.

You know, last year at this time, I was typing frantically trying to finish sample chapters and synopses. I brought my laptop to work with me every day so that I could write through lunch. I wrote in every spare minute to get ready for appointments with an agent and an editor at the ACFW conference in Denver.

And I can't help but think that I should be doing the same thing this year. Except I can't make it to the ACFW conference in Indy. I'm going to miss out on catching up with friends, learning from some amazing workshop teachers, and connecting with suspense writers who are just as crazy as I am. No where else in the world can you overhear public plotting of murder and mayhem. Or listen to two women gleefully laughing over the near death of a hero ... because they know he's going to make it and win his woman's heart in the process.

I love the camaraderie of writers conferences, and I'm already feeling a little sad that I can't make it this year. So what am I to do with myself as I listen to my friends talk about packing their bags, polishing their proposals, and setting off for Indy?

I have a few ideas:
1. Start working on my proposals for next year. Come next year, I'll be ready to go!
2. Pray for the attendees, leadership, and staff.
3. Watch the Carol Awards Event online at This is of particular interest to me this year, as I'll be waiting to hear if my first book, The Kidnapping of Kenzie Thorn, wins in the debut author category. If you're an ACFW member, log in to the website to watch it on September 19 @ 7pm.
4. Sleep in. If I was at conference, I'd have to be up early, so I'll appreciate my weekend even more.

What do you do when you can't make it to a conference, ACFW or otherwise, or something else that you regularly attend?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Coming to the Indianapolis Public Library: Terri Blackstock & Gayle Roper

If you're a reader or a writer, you'll want to take advantage of this opportunity. On Saturday, September 18, at noon, NYT best-selling author Terri Blackstock and multi-published author Gayle Roper will speak at the downtown Indianapolis Public Library. A beautiful new facility located at One Library Square, 40 E. St. Clair St., in downtown Indianapolis, this is your opportunity to ask these two authors your questions about writing.

Adults are invited to hear Terri Blackstock, author of "Intervention," and Gayle Roper, author of "A Stranger's Wish," discuss their lives and works. This will be followed by a question and answer session and book signing. This program is held in conjunction with the American Christian Fiction Writers annual conference. This program will be held in the Clowes Auditorium at Central Library.

I hope you will join us for a fun event. And an opportunity to meet these great ladies.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Letting Go

Terri Reed here. Lately I have been wondering where times has gone. It seems only yesterday my oldest child was a toddler and I was the center of her world. Today, she's seventeen and I'm an afterthought. I know its normal. I know she's developing into her own person. I know soon enough she'll leave home and have a life apart from me. Still I find myself looking back and wishing for those happy days again when she was small. But those days are gone. Now she wants her independence. She wants to take the car and go. She's starting her life apart, everyday slipping farther away from the little girl she'd been and moving toward the young woman she's becoming.
And I'm finding myself constantly muttering "I have to let go. I have to let go."
Problem is, I don't want to let.
But I have to.
I just wish it wasn't so hard.

Monday, September 6, 2010

You Are Extraordinary

Pamela Tracy here.

This past Wednesday, in the fourth through sixth grade class I teach at my church, our lesson looked at people who waved goodbye to ordinary and became extraordinary.

I'm not 100% sold on my classroom curriculum. It tends to want the students to do word searches and fill in the bubbles of speakers (Wednesday night the extraordinary speakers were Peter and James who'd just healed a lame man). I glossed over the lesson (I'm a list maker, I have to do everything) and had my students write three things they were good at. I did the same (I put reading, writing, and teaching.)

On the front of the handout, there was listed about twenty people who according to the publisher rated as extraordinary. We had Madam Curie, Mother Theresa, Buzz Aldrich, the Apostle Paul, Anne Frank, Tecumsah, Van Gogh, Moses, etc. You get the idea.

I went on the Internet and found photos of all those people (Pocohontas was the hardest to find because I wasn't willing to do Disney's). Then, I created a paragraph about what they were famous for. I left room next to the paragraph for the students to glue the extraordinary person (The least known extraordinary person was Kalpana Chawla, the first female astronant. I didn't know who she was either.)
The final row had a blank where the picture and paragraph should be. I had the students take the three things they were good and write a paragraph. Then, they were assigned to go home and find a picture of themselves to glue next to the paragraph.

Mine went like this:

Pamela Tracy was a wife, mother, and Christian from the United States who not only read maybe a million books but who also turned her love of words into writing books. Unable to keep her love of words to herself, she also taught tens of thousands of students to appreciate authors like O Henry, Langston Hughes, and Sue Grafton. She showed her students how to escape to other worlds. While teaching them to love other worlds, she also tried to show them where to put the commas and what to capitalize in their own writings.

My students left with the idea of not only could they really 'do' something, but that they already were 'doing' something. How about you? What three things are you good at and how would you write them into a descriptive paragraph. Write it and put it in the comment section. I'd love to see. (By the way, every single one of my male students will either be famous baseball or basketball stars. )

Sunday, September 5, 2010

OUT ON A LIMB Interview

Today we're welcoming Elise McAlister, the heroine of Out on a Limb, by Rachelle McCalla, September 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 was flying my powered hang glider over a wooded area, minding my own business, when all of a sudden I realized I was being shot at! They shot my glider right out of the sky and left me running for my life. And wouldn’t you know it, the only vehicle passing by was being driven by the man who once broke my heart, Henry “Cutch” McCutcheon? My family has been feuding with the McCutcheons for longer than I’ve been alive, but I didn’t have any choice. It was either jump in Cutch’s truck or get shot. If it had been anything less, I never would have gone with Cutch.

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

I knew I was in love with Cutch way back when I was nineteen, but after he purposely set me up to be humiliated in front of half of Holyoake county, I’ve never been foolish enough to let him near me again. Now that he’s back in my life you’d better believe I won’t let those old feelings come back again. I’m not crazy enough to let my heart get broken twice by the same man!

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

I’m tough as nails and an ace in the sky, whether I’m gliding, dusting crops, or taking pictures for my aerial photography business. But ever since my mom up and left when I was a kid, I’ve refused to let anyone get too close to me. I know that when you love people, they leave you. Love can’t be trusted. Didn’t Cutch prove that to me once already?

4. What scares you?

Those goons who’ve been chasing us, for one thing. I still don’t know what they’re after, but they’re plenty determined and keep getting closer. Speaking of closer, Cutch has been getting a little too close to my wounded heart. That scares me more than anything.
5. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Sometimes I wish my family and Cutch’s family hadn’t ever fought, because sometimes, like when we’re hiding out in the woods with the gunmen on our tails, and Cutch wraps me up in those strong arms of his…sometimes I wish we could be friends. Maybe even more than friends. But that’s crazy, isn’t it?
6. Where are you in your faith at the start of your story?

We McAlisters have been church-going folk since before there was a church in Holyoake County. And I try to follow God’s instructions, but sometimes the Bible asks impossible things, like when it says we should love our enemies (see question #8).

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

Wow. Just when I think God must be crazy, I find out He’s got things all figured out after all. Let’s just say, this loving-my-enemies thing turned out to be better than I thought it would be. A lot better!
8. You've got a scripture at the beginning of the story. Tell us why this scripture is significant.
Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you…Do to others as you would have them do to you.—Luke 6:27-31
The Bible says we’re supposed to love our enemies, but surely God can’t mean for me to love Cutch. I mean, McCutcheons and McAlisters have been fighting forever, and Cutch and I tried to love each other once before. That was the biggest mistake of my life. But yet, I can’t shake the feeling that maybe God is right…
9. If you could be a dessert what would you be and why?

Banana Cream Pie, because Cutch is driving me bananas. And these goons are trying to cream us! But in the end, everything turns out as sweet as pie. Yum!

Wow, what a interesting story! Can't wait to read it!

Saturday, September 4, 2010


When Elise McAlister's hang glider is shot down, she survives the fall to find her troubles have followed her to the ground. There's a gunman chasing her and, worst of all, he runs her right into Henry "Cutch" McCutcheon's arms. With the generations-old feud between their families, depending on any McCutcheon is difficult. And depending on Cutch, the man who loved her but left her, seems disastrous. But Cutch won't lose this chance to win Elise back—and keep her safe. Together, they take to the skies again to find the source of the deadly secret, little knowing someone's already setting them up for a fall….

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Day We Really DID Find that Body!

Dana Mentink, reporting in. I believe I have been writing mystery and suspense for too long. I find myself thinking things like…that would be a great place to find a body! Or, I wonder what it would feel like to be lost in the Antarctic? While I was on vacation, what do you know? We DID actually find a body. See attached photo.
Bodies everywhere? Danger at every turn? These are the perils of living in an imaginary world a lot of the time. But there are advantages too. I am absolutely sure that the bad guys are going to be punished at the end of my novels. Unlike real life, justice is served! I am equally as certain that someone will find a lasting love, no dogs will be killed and most of the good folks will survive. Pretty nifty, huh? Creating my own world is a difficult job, but it’s got some perks too. Must go now and save my heroine from a ruthless killer. Ta!

Thursday, September 2, 2010


Leann here. I was doing email when the notice popped up that this was my day to blog. Have you ever had one of those days when suddenly you realized you have to do something?

Now I do have an excuse. I am dog sitting for my daughter and her husband. They are selling their house and need to have their high-octane dog someplace else besides their house. Both of them work for different colleges in the area.

I can't complain. She's been a good dog, but I had planned on finishing a synopsis. I read in my devotional this morning that if you know there needs to be a change in your life, yield to God and let it happen. I thought I had done that. I am not going to teach, but concentrate on writing.

I am going to roll with the punches and pray I can hear whatever the Lord is telling me.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The beauty around us

Posted by Barbara Phinney
In the summer, I often eat my breakfast on my front porch. I live in a deathly quiet area, and the only entertainment I usually get is either watching the cat use the torn-up lawn (We had geothermal heating installed) use it as a giant litterbox, or else watching the farmer from down the road haul hay bales to his cattle. Like I said, quiet.
The other day, without provocation, I heard the words, "Look around you at the beauty I have created."Indeed, I have been blessed this summer. I had two books come out, and trip to Bolivia to serve God's people there.In an interesting twist, Terri Reed's great book, Covert Pursuit, out in May when my first book of the summer, Fatal Secrets also came out, featured a tropical storm that hit the gulf coast of Florida, and my August book, Silent Protector, had one in the same area.
I like to think that it's the same storm.Regardless, as the summer drifts away, and another storm season approaches, we can, indeed we should, stop and sit, eat our toast or sip our coffee, and hear God's words meant just for us. God has given us this beautiful world, full of quiet warmth and roaring fury, and we should love each day as a new one, say thank you for the abundance of autumn, and prepare for winter.
I hope your day goes well. God bless.
Barbara Phinney