Saturday, July 31, 2010

FEATURED BOOK: VANISHING ACT BY LIZ JOHNSON

Eighteen months ago, Nora James watched as her father was shot in an alley—and then she fled. She changed her name, her appearance and her job, hoping to keep her father's shooter at bay. For months, it worked…but now her luck has run out. A ruthless assassin is on her trail, and soon Nora, now known as Danielle, will be found. But this time, she has FBI agent Nate Andersen by her side—right? The handsome agent would give his life to protect Danielle, but he's wary of giving his heart…until a deadly confrontation leaves him with both on the line.

Friday, July 30, 2010

30 by 30

Hey friends,

Liz Johnson here. I just had a birthday. I love birthdays, even though the recent ones haven't been as exciting as they were many years ago. But it's always nice to be recognized and reminded how much I'm loved.

But this birthday, this year is special to me. It's my "almost 30" birthday. Yup. I just turned 29. And you know what? I'm pretty excited about that. (And not just because my sister always told me she thought I'd get married at 30.)

The exciting thing for me is what I'm determined to accomplish this year before I hit the big 3-0. I'm determined to start my next decade in a better place spiritually, mentally, and physically. And to that end, I've set my 30 by 30 list. I've decided on 30 things I'm going to do before next year.

Sure, some of them are silly--eat something with mushrooms. Some of them are serious--finish the Rock and Roll half marathon. But all of them are designed to push me and stretch me, and not let me finish this decade just resting on my laurels.

My third book is scheduled to release next year before my birthday, and there's a nice ring to that. Three books by the time I'm 30. I like it. But putting that on my list wouldn't stretch me this year. Not even close. Instead I've included things like complete 2 novels this year and sign a contract on a 3-book deal.

Completing my list on time isn't going to be easy ... but it's certainly going to be interesting! And it's really reminded me about the importance of setting goals. Of writing them down and following through.

What kind of goals do you set for yourself? Do you ever use your birthday as a milestone?

Well, I better get going on my list! Next July will be here before I know it.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

What I learned while researching Stars... Part Two

Continuing the fun historical details from last week...

4) The Winecoff Hotel, where I have my stars stay while they’re in Atlanta, was the site of the worst hotel fire in American history and has recently been restored and renovated.

5) I initially considered having the tour appear at Ford’s Theater, but it was essentially abandoned during the World War Two era – and was used as storage. Hard to believe if you tour that beautifully restored theater today.

6) The National Theater has had continuous shows running since December 1835. Fortunately for my story, it had a hole the summer of 1942, which fit perfectly with when I wanted my caravan to have a show there.

7) The Hollywood Canteen didn’t open until later in 1942. Since my first book involved a canteen, I really wanted to include the Hollywood Canteen. Besides, what’s more romantic than movie stars mixing with and entertaining servicemen? Unfortunately, it was in the planning stages during Stars in the Night. Maybe in the next book…

As you can see, I love the details of history. I hope Stars in the Night sweeps you away to a time that was rich in service, glamour, and conflict.


And don't forget to participate in the launch contest for Stars in the Night by leaving a comment on that post. I've giving away classic movies, lots of books, and more. Check it out here! It runs through August 1st.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

RWA 2010


by Debby Giusti
I drove to Orlando on Monday with my roomie Darlene, one of the Grammar Divas, for the 2010 Romance Writers of America Conference. We've been enjoying the lovely Swan Hotel and all the fun attractions here at Disney World. Tuesday we met up with Seeker friends -- a blog of 15 writers -- (check us out at www.seekerville.blogspot.com) for an afternoon at Epcot. In between, I've been working on my next Love Inspired Suspense, THE OFFICER'S SECRET, which has to be on my editor's desk mid-August, despite the fact that I'd rather play than work while I'm here. :)
Later today, I'll be at the Gigantic Author Autographing for Literacy. The publishers donate the books, and all the profits support literacy programs in the United States. More than 400 authors will be signing so it's quite a crowd. If this is your first time, we sit in alphabetical order so please go to the "Gs" and find me! I'd love to see you!
Thursday is the actually beginning of the conference, and there are always so many wonderful workshops. I'll try to share some of what I learn the next time I post a blog. Also, I'll include information at my new blog so visit that site as well: www.crossmyheartprayerteam.blogspot.com.
Have a wonderful week no matter where you are!
Wishing you abundant blessings,
Debby Giusti

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Gearing up for RWA Orlando

Terri Reed here sitting in a friend's room in the beautiful Dolphin hotel on the Disney property in Orlando counting down the hours until conference starts. Romance Writers of America will be holding its 30th anniversay conference starting on Wednesday July 28th. At 5:30pm on Wednesday in the Dolphin's Pacific Exhibit Hall, 500 of your favorite romance authors will be signing their romance novels in every subgenre. All proceeds from book sales go to ProLiteracy Worldwide and Orlando and Nashville literacy organizations. If you are in the area, please stop by and if you do stop in to this free event, find me and say HI. Authors are listed alphabetically.
I'll be signing my May 2010 release Covert Pursuit.
This year's keynote speaker is the fabulous, New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts. There will be numerous workshops including the one I will be doing titled RWA Leadership Development with RWA's Executive Director Allison Kelley, bright and early on Friday morning at 8:30am. The week will culminate with the prestigious RITA and Golden Heart award dinner and ceremony. I'll be wearing an ice blue strapless ballgown with a little bling in my hair (I couldn't bring myself to do an actual tiara).
Looking forward to see some of you there!

Monday, July 26, 2010

An Evening with Lisa Gardner

Pamela Tracy here. Last Monday evening, I sat in the audience of a well-known suspense writer and spent a lot of "Aha, Ohhhh, ewwww, hmmmmm" moments. Here's one thing she said that really resonated with me. (Set-up: she was talking about how her suspense novels changed over time. She'd started her career writing romantic suspense, went to serial killer suspense, and then after getting married and having a family, she wrote what she called domestic suspense.)
"If I went to bed worrying about something a mother worries about, then nine
months later, it was a book."
The author who so had my attention was Lisa Gardner. I read her way back when she wrote for Silhouette as Alicia Scott (back then I couldn't wait for either Alicia Scott or Susan Brockmann to have a monthly release).

Wanna hear about the whole talk? Good. Here it is. The Poison Pen is a well-known and most wonderful mystery bookstore that happens to be only ten minutes from my house. It's housed in old-town Scottsdale, which only adds ambiance to the best type of store there is: a bookstore. I don't go there often because of a serious afflication I suffer: Enter books store weighing (You don't think I'm really going to tell!). Leave book store weighing ten pounds heavier (due tothe books I"m carrying.) Due to the fact I had to feed husband and son, I arrived at the author talk at 7:01 instead of 7:00. I am so impressed at myself. I'm always late, but hey, one minute is not bad. Still, there are only four seats left (There were probably fifty people there. Memo to self: Put this type of signing on goal list right after making the New Yorks Times Bestseller List and win a RITA).

Lisa entered wearing a cute little blue dress (It would fit one of my legs and still be tight) and heels (I'd trip) and impressed me with her skill of jumping onto a tall stool in a dress not designed for jumping. She did this while smiling. That's when I knew my evening would be well spent.

"I was seventeen when I started writing. I published my first book."
(The only reason I didn't fall out of my folding chair, while wearing stretch jeans and a comfy shirt, was I'd heard Lisa's story before, years ago, at Nationals.) Lisa spoke about her early years of writing. As Alicia Scott, she wrote romantic suspense. She admitted that from the beginning the suspense part of her writing really took off. Seemed she wasn't the only one noticing. One day her agent said, "Why don't you write a suspense?"

The rest, they say, is history. Lisa has 39 books to her credit. She's had a made-for-television movie (Oh, another thing to put on my goal list. I must stop going to author talks so that my goal list doesn't exceed the word count of my current work in progress.) and she, now, gets to go to really, really, really neat places.


The neatest place I've gone, per research for a WIP, is a high-dollar suite at a hotel/casino. (I was inside drawing it and the maids kept asking me if I was from deportation. Remember, I live in Arizona.) Lisa has been to The Body Farm. When talking about The Body Farm, she made lots of reference to autopies and such. I want to go!!! (And, yes, I probably would faint.)


Lisa gave a few more writer tips: She researches for three months, writes the book in six months, and then the next three months her daughter has summer vacation (not much writing done.) Her newest book Live To Tell sounds fabulous.

A perk to going to Lisa's walk and signing was I got two authors for the price of one. Lisa and author Mike Lawson did the Your Turn; My Turn bit. Mike had some great things to say. He started writing because he read a book by a well-known author, wasn't impressed, and said, "I can write a book that bad." He also talking about trying to find an agent. He actually signed one, and a year later, she dropped him because she thought handling two clients overtaxing. Mike did win me over. I want to read him. Unfortunately, I didn't realize when I perused the book store that all his books were up by him and not on the shelves.

All in all, last Monday, was a great day. Tess Gerritson speaks this Thursday evening. Looks like I'll be batting my eyelashes at my husband and saying, "Guess where I'm going...."

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Confessions of A Carol Finalist


Getting the call:

Getting the call that I'd been selected as a finalist for the Carol Award for The Kidnapping of Kenzie Thorn was a lot like getting the call that I'd sold the same book. My timing was completely off! When I sold Kenzie Thorn, I received a phone call while I was at a conference, and my editor left me a message asking me to call her back. I had to wait all day before I had a chance. With the call about the Carol Award, I was at my day job, so I missed it and didn't listen to it until hours after it arrived.
And the emotions and my reaction were very similar, too. I believe there was a little bit of shaking, a whole lot of laughing in disbelief, and a good chunk of time on the phone with my mom. I felt light as a feather and scared beyond belief.

It's amazing how the thing that you've prayed for for so long (getting that first contract) can also be incredibly intimidating when it actually comes true. And while I wasn't expecting to final in the debut author category for the award, I suddenly feel a renewed desire to improve my writing with every book. That's a lot of pressure on myself. But it's the good kind.
Really I've just been incredibly humbled by getting both calls. I'm so honored to be recognized as a Carol finalist among some pretty amazing writers. I feel unworthy and just so thankful to be named in this group. And I'm thrilled for all of the other finalists, especially the others from Steeple Hill. Congratulations!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Carol Awards

Debut Author
Talking to the Dead - Bonnie Grove (David C. Cook Publishing, Nicci Hubert - Editor)
The Kidnapping of Kenzie Thorn - Liz Johnson (Steeple Hill, Elizabeth Mazer - Editor)
Eternity Falls - Kirk Outerbridge (Marcher Lord Press, Jeff Gerke - Editor)
Michal - Jill Eileen Smith (Revell, Lonnie Hull DuPont - Editor)
The Unfinished Gift - Dan Walsh (Revell, Andrea Doering - Editor)

Contemporary Novella - 6 Finalists due to a tie
One Child - Barbara Cameron (Thomas Nelson, Natalie Hanemann - Editor)
When Winter Comes - Barbara Cameron (Thomas Nelson, Natalie Hanemann - Editor)
A Mule Hollow Match - Debra Clopton (Steeple Hill, Krista Stroever - Editor)
The Great Christmas Bowl - Susan May Warren (Tyndale House, Karen Watson - Editor)
A Change of Heart - Beth Wiseman (Thomas Nelson, Natalie Hanemann - Editor)
A Choice to Forgive - Beth Wiseman (Thomas Nelson, Natalie Hanemann- Editor)

Historical Novella
Home Again - Victoria Bylin (Steeple Hill, Melissa Endlich - Editor)
A Breed Apart - Vickie McDonough (Barbour Publishing, Rebecca Germany - Editor)
Beloved Enemy - Vickie McDonough (Barbour Publishing, Rebecca Germany - Editor)
Christmas Bells for Dry Creek - Janet Tronstad (Steeple Hill, Tina James - Editor)
A Shelter in the Storm - Carrie Turansky (Barbour Publishing, Rebecca Germany - Editor)

Long Contemporary - 6 Finalists due to a tie
The Familiar Stranger - Christina Berry (Moody Publishers, Paul Santhouse - Editor)
A Widow's Hope - Mary Ellis (Harvest House Publishers, Betty Fletcher - Editor)
The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow - Joyce Magnin (Abingdon Press, Barbara Scott - Editor)
White Picket Fences - Susan Meissner (Waterbrook Press, Shannon Marchese - Editor)
If Tomorrow Never Comes - Marlo Schalesky (Multnomah, Julee Schwarzburg - Editor)
Nothing But Trouble - Susan May Warren (Tyndale House, Karen Watson - Editor)

Long Contemporary Romance
Critical Care - Candace Calvert (Tyndale House, Jan Stob/Lorie Popp - Editors)
Seaside Letters - Denise Hunter (Thomas Nelson, Ami McConnell/Jessica Alvarez - Editors) Just Between You and Me - Jenny B. Jones (Thomas Nelson, Natalie Hanemann/Jamie Chavez - Editors)
Plain Promise - Beth Wiseman (Thomas Nelson, Natalie Hanemann - Editor)
The Hope of Refuge - Cindy Woodsmall (Waterbrook Press, Shannon Marchese - Editor)

Mystery
The Case of the Mystified M.D. - A.K. Arenz (Sheaf House, Joan M. Shoup - Editor)
Under the Cajun Moon - Mindy Starns Clark (Harvest House Publishers, Kim Moore - Editor)
A String of Murders - Darlene Franklin (Heartsong Mysteries, Susan Downs - Editor)
Polly Dent Loses Grip - S. Dionne Moore (Heartsong Mysteries, Susan Downs - Editor)
Pushing up Daisies - Janice Thompson writing as Janice Hanna (Heartsong Mysteries, Susan Downs - Editor)

Long Historical
A Bride in the Bargain - Deeanne Gist (Bethany House, David Long/Julie Klassen - Editors)
Fit To Be Tied - Robin Lee Hatcher (Zondervan, Sue Brower/Leslie Peterson - Editors)
Look to the East - Maureen Lang (Tyndale House, Stephanie Broene - Editor)
Love's Pursuit - Siri Mitchell (Bethany House, Dave & Sarah Long - Editors)
Stealing Home - Allison Pittman (Multnomah, Alice Crider - Editor)

Long Historical Romance - 8 Finalists due to a tie
Paper Roses - Amanda Cabot (Revell, Vicki Crumpton - Editor)
Cowboy Christmas - Mary Connealy (Barbour Publishing, Rebecca Germany - Editor)
Montana Rose - Mary Connealy (Barbour Publishing, Rebecca Germany - Editor)
The Frontiersman's Daughter - Laura Frantz (Revell, Andrea Doering - Editor)
The Believer - Ann Gabhart (Revell, Lonnie Hull DuPont - Editor)
A Passion Denied - Julie Lessman (Revell, Lonnie Hall DuPont - Editor)
Love Finds You in Poetry, Texas - Janice Thompson writing as Janice Hanna (Summerside Press, Rachel Meisel - Editor)
The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper - Kathleen Y’Barbo (Waterbrook Press, Jessica Barnes - Editor)

Short Contemporary
His Cowgirl Bride - Debra Clopton (Steeple Hill, Krista Stroever - Editor)
Autumn Rains - Myra Johnson (Heartsong Presents, JoAnne Simmons - Editor)
A Wagonload of Trouble - Vickie McDonough (Heartsong Presents, JoAnne Simmons - Editor)
A Texas Ranger's Family - Mae Nunn (Steeple Hill, Melissa Endlich - Editor)
Dreaming of Home - Glynna Sirpless writing as Glynna Kaye (Steeple Hill, Melissa Endlich - Editor)

Short Contemporary Suspense - 6 Finalists due to a tie
Evidence of Murder - Jill Elizabeth Nelson (Steeple Hill, Emily Rodmell - Editor)
Final Warning - Sandra Robbins (Steeple Hill, Tina James - Editor)
Murder at Eagle Summit - Virginia Smith (Steeple Hill, Krista Stroever - Editor)
Scent of Murder - Virginia Smith (Steeple Hill, Krista Stroever/Tina James - Editors)
Double Take - Jenness Walker (Steeple Hill, Emily Rodmell - Editor)
Code of Honor - Lenora Worth (Steeple Hill, Patience Smith/Tina James - Editors)

Short Historical
Her Patchwork Family - Lyn Cote (Steeple Hill, Tina James - Editor)
The Glassblower - Laurie Alice Eakes (Heartsong Presents, JoAnne Simmons - Editor)
The Outlaw's Lady - Laurie Kingery (Steeple Hill, Melissa Endlich - Editor)
All That Glitters - Lynette Sowell (Heartsong Presents, JoAnne Simmons - Editor)
The Unfinished Gift - Dan Walsh (Revell, Andrea Doering)

Speculative (includes Science Fiction, Fantasy, Allegory) - 6 Finalists due to a tie
Eternity Falls - Kirk Outerbridge (Marcher Lord Press, Jeff Gerke - Editor)
The Vanishing Sculptor - Donita K. Paul (Waterbrook Press, Shannon Marchese - Editor)
The Word Reclaimed - Steve Rzasa (Marcher Lord Press, Jeff Gerke - Editor)
Starfire - Stuart Vaughn Stockton (Marcher Lord Press, Jeff Gerke - Editor)
The Muse - Fred Warren (Splashdown Books, Grace Bridges - Editor)
By Darkness Hid - Jill Williamson (Marcher Lord Press, Jeff Gerke - Editor)

Suspense/Thriller
Intervention - Terri Blackstock (Zondervan, Sue Brower/Dave Lambert - Editors)
Lonestar Secrets - Colleen Coble (Thomas Nelson, Ami McConnell - Editor)
Exposure - Brandilyn Collins (Zondervan, Rachelle Gardner/Sue Brower - Editors)
Salty Like Blood - Harry Kraus (Howard/Simon & Schuster, David Lambert - Editor)
Breach of Trust - DiAnn Mills (Tyndale House, Karen Watson - Editor)

Women’s Fiction - 7 Finalists due to a tie
Sweet Waters - Julie Carobini (B&H Publishing, Karen Ball - Editor)
Leaving Yesterday - Kathryn Cushman (Bethany House, Dave Long - Editor)
Sweet By and By - Sara Evans & Rachel Hauck (Thomas Nelson, Ami McConnell - Editor)
Never the Bride - Rene Gutteridge & Cheryl McKay (Waterbrook Press, Shannon Marchese - Editor)
Yesterday's Embers - Deborah Raney (Howard/Simon & Schuster, David Lambert - Editor) Above All Things - Deborah Raney (Steeple Hill, Krista Stroever - Editor)
The Summer Kitchen - Lisa Wingate (New American Library/Penguin, Ellen Edwards - Editor)

Young Adult
Who Made You a Princess? - Shelley Adina (Hachette FaithWords, Anne Goldsmith Horch - Editor)
Always Watching - Brandilyn & Amberly Collins (Zondervan, Barbara Scott - Editor)
I'm So Sure - Jenny B. Jones (Thomas Nelson, Natalie Hanemann/Jamie Chavez - Editors)
So Not Happening - Jenny B. Jones (Thomas Nelson, Amanda Bostic/Jamie Chavez - Editors) Unsigned Hype - Booker T. Mattison (Revell, Andrea Doering - Editor)

CONGRATULATIONS FINALISTS!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Award nominated ladies!

Wow! Am I impressed! I’m sure you’ve heard by now that five of our very own Steeple Hill authors finaled in the Carol Awards (formerly the Book of the Year). One of these special ladies (Virginia Smith) actually finaled twice! Zowie! So this blog is an invitation, ladies, if you’re in the cyber neighborhood.

In ONE sentence writers, tell us why your book is special. Sure, we know they’re all well written, tautly paced, deeply nuanced and all that, but what it one cool thing that makes your story stand out? That will tide us over until we have time to read all six super books!

If any of our blogger readers have enjoyed any of these books, it would be GREAT if you could share a sentence about what made any of these books special!

Short Contemporary Suspense finalists:
Sandra Robbins
Jill Elizabeth Nelson
Virginia Smith (a DOUBLE finalist)
Jenness Walker
Lenora Worth

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Biggest Chia pet




Leann here. As I was driving around the other day, knocking out one errand after the other in the heat, I saw these longhorns in the parking lot of my local shopping center. I stopped and took a picture with my cell phone. Unfortunately, I don't know how to get them off the phone.

Not the be deterred, I got my digital camera, drove back to the shopping center in the heat and tried to take a picture. The camera died. I haven't charged it. I came home and plugged the camera in and charged it.

On the third try, I got the pics. So says us technically challenged can't find a way.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Learning Strength from others

I recently returned from a mission trip, where I met some great people. On this trip, we attended a crusade, where we met a young Argentine man who told the story of his life, one spiralling out of control until he finally allowed God to help him. That's courage, bravery. Strength. Exposing your vulnerabilities.
When I returned, and discovered I'd been selected to receive tickets to Regis and Kelly Live! on Prince Edward Island, I took the bravery I'd seen in South America and encouraged myself with it.
After the show, I gave Kelly Ripa's assistant, my August book, Silent Protector. He was impressed by the fact I was an author, and promised to give it to her.

Oddly, in this book, two people learn to trust God. That Argentine man learned to trust God. I should, too. The book's core message of love and trust and faith like a child might appeal to Kelly Ripa. But I know that whoever reads that copy, and I have faith that someone will, they'll find two people learning courage and strength. I saw courage in South America. I saw courage in my two fictional characters. I needed it that day, and found it in myself, as I walked up to the stage where Kelly and Regis were just wrapping up their last show on the Island. I know it will touch someone's life, and I pray Silent Protector will touch yours. There are so many out there who live difficult lives, and show their courage each day. Let's show ours. Let's trust God to show us the way to go.
Blessings,
Barbara Phinney

Monday, July 19, 2010

What I learned while researching Stars...

This week, I'm filing in for Lynette Eason who is on vacation. A cruise. Let's all pause a moment and enjoy the idea of her relaxing. Poolside. With a fun, fruity drink in hand. I've never been on a cruise, but hope to rectify that next year...maybe.

Since I'm still celebrating the release of Stars in the Night, I'm going to take this opportunity to share with you some of the cool historical details I learned while writing Stars in the Night.

One of the things I love about writing novels set during World War II is that I always learn something new. As a World War II history nut, that keeps the writing fresh and exciting. Here are a few of the things I learned while writing Stars in the Night:1) There really was a Hollywood Victory Caravan. The Hollywood Victory Caravan traveled by train Los Angeles to Washington, D.C., then north through cities like Chicago and Minneapolis.

2) If something had happened to the train, Hollywood would have been ravaged. The real caravan was filled with stars like Abbott and Costello, Desi Arnez, Bing Crosby, and Groucho Marx.

3) The first train entertained the President and Mrs. Roosevelt at the White House. What a great way to launch the tour. And Mrs. Roosevelt had a staff member standing immediately behind her to help her “remember” everyone who came by so she could say something personal to them.

Come back next Thursday to learn four more tidbits I learned while researching this book. And don't forget to participate in the launch contest for Stars in the Night by leaving a comment on that post. I've giving away classic movies, lots of books, and more. Check it out here! It runs through August 1st.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Running Scared Interview


Today we're welcoming Kane Dougherty, the hero of Running Scared, Shirlee McCoy, July.
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.
Five years ago, my four year old son Eli was abducted. I’d nearly given up hope of finding him when I received a phone call that changed my life.
2. So, during the book you met Maggie Tennyson. Tell us a bit about her. What was your first impression? When did you know it was love?
Maggie is the reason my son and I were reunited, and I owe her everything. We met hours after I arrived in Deer Park, Washington, and I knew immediately that she was hiding something. It took a while for her to feel comfortable enough to share her story, and when she did, I knew I couldn’t go back to my life and leave her to face her past alone.

Loving Maggie was easy. I’d been a widower for nine years when we met, and maybe I was looking for love again. The moment I met Maggie, I knew she’d be a part of my life. I just didn’t know how difficult it would be to keep her safe!

3. What strengths/skills do you have? What is your greatest weakness? I’m a man of strong convictions, and I’m driven to help those in need. After my son was abducted, I opened a PI firm and made it my life’s work to reunite people with missing loved ones. Sometimes, I work too hard and focus on others when my focus should be on family. Falling in love with Maggie and learning to father Eli again has taught me the importance of building strong family relationships.

4. What scares you? The thought of losing someone I love again.
5. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I would spend more time enjoying my new family and less time worrying that they’ll be taken from me.
6. Where are you in your faith at the start of your story? I have a very strong faith, but I’ve stopped believing that God cares enough to perform a miracle and bring my son back to me.

7. Where are you in your faith at the end of the story? My faith is stronger than ever. God has shown me His faithfulness, and I pray that I am as faithful to Him.

8. You've got a scripture at the beginning of the story. Tell us why this scripture is significant. Psalm 56:13 reflects both my journey and Maggie’s. It says: For You have delivered me from death and my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before God in the light of life.

God’s compassion, forgiveness and grace has brought both of us out of the darkness and into the light.

9. If you could be a dessert what would you be and why? I think I'd be a brownie sundae. To me, that's celebration food, and I want to spend the rest of my life celebrating what God has done for my family

Thank you Shirlee for sharing Kane with us today. I understand you have a prequel out the 19th on eharlequin. How great!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

FEATURED BOOK: RUNNING SCARED BY SHIRLEE MCCOY

Thanks to Maggie Tennyson, Kane Dougherty's son—abducted five years earlier—has finally been found. The private investigator just wants to show his gratitude…so why is Maggie pushing him away?Maggie's thrilled to have united father and son. Now, if only Kane would leave her alone! It's not safe to be near her, not with her shadowed past. But when it comes to her protection, Kane refuses to walk away. When danger finds Maggie again, she'll face it with a hero at her side—whether she wants him or not!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Heading to Orlando...

Well, not quite yet... That's not happening until the end of the month.

I'm Lisa Mondello and even though it's a few weeks away I'm getting really excited about attending the annual Romance Writer's of America conference in Orlando! I've visited Mickey several times in my life and have always enjoyed myself in Orlando. But this year will be different. I'll be going without family to spend some time with my writing family and friends, many who are on this blog, the Craftie Ladies of Romance blog and the Love Inspired Authors blog. I always have a great time and learn a lot from the Steeple Hill family of authors every year.

This year will be special in another way. A dear friend is up for the Golden Heart award and has invited me to enjoy the Rita and Golden Heart Awards with her. (Yes, that's you CJ!) I always have a lot of fun and leave the conference tired and fully charge to write.

Lyn Cote posted a nice update about what the Rita Awards are over at the Craftie Ladies of Romance blog so make sure you go over and check that out. AND check back here during the conference to get updates and pics of the Literacy Booksigning and what's happening with the Craftie Ladies.

Until next time, many blessings, Lisa Mondello

Thursday, July 15, 2010

To Follow Your Heart . . . and Mind

Ramona here, and anyone who’s spent more than a few moments with me knows that my favorite woman in the Bible is Abigail. This appreciation began in 1986, at a writer’s conference in Seattle. I was there as a teacher, but I wound up being taught far more than I shared.

One of the seminars I attended was led by John R. Kohlenberger III, one of the preeminent Bible scholars in this country. To be honest, I don’t remember the subject of the session. What I remember was John’s description of Abigail as one of the only women in Scripture whose brains are mentioned before her beauty (1 Samuel 25:3).

Now, to a writer—and a woman who’s never been known for her looks—this constituted pure music. I couldn’t wait to read more about a woman who was as wise as she was lovely.

One of the things I like about Abigail is her ability to face whatever crossed her path with wisdom and heart. She never set out to be the wife of a king; she expected to spend her life with Nabal. But when her world was threatened, she knew what she had to do. She wisely considered her choices and followed her heart and mind up a rocky mountain path, trusting David's wisdom and appealing to his judgment. She used her mind to appeal to his. Her intelligence and faith gave her the courage to face an army of 400 angry warriors.

Most of us never have to face down an army, thankfully. But more than a few of us have had to climb some pretty rocky paths. Life isn’t always what we expected or planned for. The past year for me has been particularly hellish; definitely nothing I had expected. Trust and faith still war daily with almost overwhelming senses of fear and confusion.

But I keep climbing, trusting that any journey I make with the King is going to be well worth the effort. Like Abigail, we can all use the mind and heart God gave us to change our world.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Wacky Wednesday--Lenora Worth


I thought I'd tell y'all a little tale of suspense. This is a true story. I know because it happened to me. I have a cat named Cujo. Cujo came to us as a kitten fourteen years ago. She was a gift to our daughter for her 20th birthday. Of course, our daughter moved away but Cujo stayed with us. Through the years, Cujo Kitty has been the source of several funny stories. But this one is a biggie!

One night a few years ago, I was rushing around (as usual) preparing to attend our annual UMW (United Methodist Women) salad supper. I'd made a big salad, but on a skirt and blouse and was gathering things to leave and get to the church before the food was blessed. At this time, I drove a Montana van because our son was playing baseball and yes, I decided to be sensible and buy a mini-van. Anyway, I called goodbye to my family, grabbed my purse, my salad and my keys and loaded up the van. Then I hurriedly backed out of the drive, only to see a car on an adjoining street blinking its lights at me. Since it wasn't dark yet, I guessed the woman wasn't happy I'd backed out onto the main street before she could turn onto it. So now she was following me, determined to send me a message since she kept flashing her lights. It had not been a good day, so I was in no mood to discuss this. She followed me onto yet another street, her lights still flashing. Never one to back down from a confrontation, I finally stopped and rolled down the window. When she pulled up beside me, I said, "What is it?" She pointed and said, "Your cat is on top of your van." Embarassed, I jumped out and sure enough, there was Cujo, meowing at the top of her lungs and running back and forth over the luggage rack. "Thank you so much," I said in a sheepish tone to the nice lady. She just laughed and drove off. I had to plea with Cujo to come down. Of course, by now I was sweating and I was late for the salad supper. Finally, I nabbed her by a leg and hauled her into my arms. "Get in the van," I said. "And don't step on my salad." She meowed her own agitation, and I'm pretty sure she was telling me how scary it was holding on for her life as I zoomed down the street. I circled back and opened the door then let her into the house. "That'll teach you to stay off my van," I said, petting her before I dropped her inside the back door.

After that, Cujo walked a wide path around that van, let me tell you. To this day, she rarely gets near a car. And she hates trips to the vet. Later, I got a sweet little Miata but she never got a chance to ride in it. Our daughter's dog, Sassy, loved the Miata and once when we "dog-sat" her down in Florida, we piled her into the boot of that tiny car and hauled her up to visit relatives in Georgia. I guess it depends on the animal. Cats don't ride very well; dogs go wherever they think food might be. Things like that seem to happen on a Wacky Wednesday for some reason. Have you ever had a pet get into a spot of trouble? Tell me I'm not the only one who took a black cat for a ride atop a Montana van???

Monday, July 12, 2010

Changes

Hi, this is Margaret Daley. I was doing some research for one of my Love Inspired Suspense books I'm writing. I needed to find out how easy it was for someone to find out information about a person on the Internet. I asked that question on several loops I'm on and got a lot of answers. The one thing that stood out in all the answers was that it is easy to get information on a person through the Internet.

There is no privacy anymore. We've seen this coming. Every celebrity and politician can vouch for that. Their lives are splashed all over the news for anyone to read. As a writer this is something we can use in our stories.

Since I started writing suspense (years ago), the way things are being done has changed rapidly. A lot is due to the Internet. People carry cell phones and can call from just about anywhere. DNA testing. We can google how to make a bomb or anything else like that. We can see satellite pictures of a place--a person's house, a business. It is much harder to "disappear". Those are just a few things that has changed the scene in a suspense book. What are some you can think of?

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Firestorm Interview


Today we're welcoming Kitty McGuire, the heroine of Firestorm by Kelly Ann Riley, released in July 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'm a Los Angeles firefighter who grew up in the little town of Pine Lake in the California Sierra Mountains. I loved my job and my fast-paced life in L.A.

A few months ago, a firestorm destroyed the new ski resort and hotel in Pine Lake and almost burned down the town. Several people died, and my father, the fire Chief, was also killed. It was heartbreaking for me because we hadn't parted on the best of terms.

Then a few weeks ago, I got an anonymous phone call that the sheriff and new fire chief were trying to blame the fire on my father. Can you believe it? I had to go back to Pine Lake to prove my father innocent of arson and murder.


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

My first impression was that he was dolt who'd erroneously concluded my dad was a criminal. Of course, I hadn't met him at the point. When we did meet, his strength impressed me most—especially since he'd tackled me to the ground. But once we'd had a chance to talk, I realized there was intelligence in his eyes and some of what he said made sense—even if he was totally wrong.

Subtle doesn't always work on me, so I think the first hint I was in love came with an explosion - a building explosion, that is. I'm used to the dangers of the job and know the risks, but when I thought I'd lost Luke in that fire, the intensity of my feelings for him shook me.

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

I give 100% to my job. I love what I do. I also have some training in arson investigation and would like to go into that as a career. I'm also fairly stubborn - I don't give up. I see that as a strength ... but not everyone else does.


I can be impatient. I tend to jump into situations, trusting my intuition, without analyzing first. This has gotten me into trouble numerous times. Just ask Luke.


4. What scares you?

Spiders! I can run into a burning building, but have a spider fall in my hair, I freak.

Also needing people scares me. My mother walked out on me when I was young, and my father raised me to be strong and independent. It's easier having a dangerous job without having personal strings attached, but it can also be lonely.


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

My hair—it tends to get out control and make me look like a kid. Oh…seriously? To be more trusting and open to relationships.

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

I believe in God, but I don't think He's involved in our everyday lives. I also don't see the importance of church. I'd had a few bad experiences with so-called Christians when I was a kid.

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

I learned I can let God into my everyday life and He'll always be there to pick up the pieces, even during the difficult times. I also learned how wonderful having a church family can be, particularly if you don't have a family of your own.

8. You've got a scripture at the beginning of the story. Tell us why this scripture is significant.
Sometimes our faith has to be tested —-like fire tests and purifies gold—before we can reap the rewards.

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

A huge hunk of coconut layer cake -- flaky on the outside, but solid and substantial all the same.

Wow, this sounds great! Thank you Kelly Ann for sharing Kitty with us today.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

FEATURED BOOK: FIRESTORM BY KELLY ANN RILEY

Caring for his traumatized son is widowed FBI agent Luke Tanner's number one priority. But when he becomes temporary fire chief in a small mountain town, a case sparks out of his control. Luke suspects the late former chief of arson and murder—until the man's daughter returns to Pine Lake. Kitty McGuire is determined to prove her father was framed. As they work together, Kitty connects with Luke's troubled family in a way that surprises Luke—and fills him with hope. Maybe they have a chance at happiness after all…until their investigation ignites a firestorm that could engulf them all.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Oh, what to read?

A big hello from Lisa Mondello. It's hot, hot, hot in New England and I've been working on edits for my March 2011 Love Inspired Romance book. Now that the weekend is here I'm ready for some down time and trying to figure out which books I'm going to take with me on vacation.

If you're anything like me, you've got the problem of having a massive pile of books to choose from. How is that a problem? I can never decide what to read next! There are way too many good books on my list and as soon as I come home from the RWA conference there will be a ton more.

So help me out. What are you reading? What is an absolute MUST read this summer?

Until next time, many blessings, Lisa Mondello

Yuletide Protector 12/09 LIS
Fresh-Start Family 10/10 LI
In a Doctor's Arms 3/11 LI

http://www.loveinspiredauthors.com/
http://www.craftieladiesofromance.blogspot.com/
http://www.ladiesofsuspense.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A Belated Holiday Greeting

By Debby Giusti

I hope all of you had a wonderful July 4th and were able to celebrate our country’s birthday with family and friends. The 4th is always a special time to remember those who serve in our military, and I know many of you were thinking of our courageous military heroes and thanking God for their service to our country.

This year my family and I gathered at Hilton Head to have time together before my son leaves for his third deployment to Iraq. He only had a few days off, but we made the most of the holiday weekend and created lots of special memories to hold onto while he’s away.

I’m so proud of our military and their commitment to our nation. Because of their dedication and selfless service, we are the land of the free and the home of the brave. Please remember the military in your prayers, especially those far from home, and don’t forget the family members who carry on while their loved ones are deployed.

God bless you and God bless the U.S.A.

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

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Aloha


Terri Reed here. I'm in the middle of packing for a trip to the Big Island of Hawaii. I sent off a proposal today and now can relax when we get to the beach. Last night we rented the 1999 movie Galaxy Quest starring Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver and Tony Shalhoub. What a fun movie, especially if you were a Star Trek fan, which I was. I thought the character arc for Tim Allen's character was done very well. He goes from selfish, self-centered jerk to hero. I love to see how characters develop in movies. Sometimes you can see the Hero's Journey ala Christopher Vogler played out as was the case here. I highly recommend this movie. It is rated PG for some action violence, mild language and sensuality.
If you check it out, let me know how you like it.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Toy Story Three

Pamela Tracy here. Today we, the whole family, went to see Toy Story Three. Here's the ultimate compliment. My son is five. We've only made it all the way through three theator movies. Toy Story Three was the first one that kept him rivoted. He did not ask to move seats. He did not ask to go home. Halfway through, when he absolutely had to take a potty break, he ran. He enjoyed the whole thing! And, because Daddy came along, we were a half hour early to the movie. Yup, the minute the cleaning ladies came out, we entered the theator and then sat for thirty minutes (Daddy hates being late; Mommy hates being early). And, in case you're wondering... Toy Story Three has suspense. Will the toys ever find their way home? And there's romance times two. First, there's Barbie and Ken. BTW, Ken has some really cool retro clothes. Then, there's Buzz Lightyear and Jesse. Buzz went all Antonio Banderas for awhile. All in all, a good day.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Marked for Murder Interview


Today we're welcoming Margo McBride, the heroine of MARKED FOR MURDER by Lauren Nichols, a July 2010 release from Steeple Hill 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.

Believe me, it wasn’t by choice. But when my boss died, I was asked to step in as acting chief of police of our small community. Two years ago, two teenage girls were strangled to death in our pretty little park, so when a third victim was found in the same park days after I assumed command, I knew the Gold Star Killer was back. It became my job to find the person who’d caused so much heartache.

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

Actually, Cole and I met over two years ago when he was still a cop working in a Manhattan precinct. But when he visited my small Pennsylvania hometown, and we met at a carnival of all places, the attraction between us was amazing. Before I knew it, he was working with me in the Charity Police Department, and we were falling in love. But you also asked me to tell you a bit about him, so here goes. He’s a rugged, beautiful man, inside and out, with loads of integrity and a real protective streak. He has a humorous side, but when he thinks he’s right, he can be the most stubborn man on the planet.

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

Though my weaknesses are many, with God’s help, I think I’m a fairly good cop, a good daughter, and in the end, will be a good wife and partner to Cole. I guess my biggest fault is impatience—an unattractive trait that I’m learning to curb.

4. What scares you?

Finally, an easy answer! I fear losing another person I love. I’ve lost my dad to a stroke, and for a time, lost Cole because of circumstances over which we had no control. At least I believed we had no control at the time.
5. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I’d love to be a better person—a better cop. Two years ago when Cole and I investigated the Gold Star murders, we were unable to bring in the killer. True, we were hampered by our chief of police. But if we’d closed the case then, a warm, giving young woman would still be alive.
6. Where are you in your faith at the start of your story?

I’m ashamed to say that God and I weren’t on the best of terms then. I’d always lived my life according to Jesus’ teachings, did the best I could for my family, friends and church. But when I asked God to spare my dad’s life after his stroke, and then to save my relationship with Cole, my prayers went unanswered. I lost faith in a loving God and shut Him out of my life.

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

I’m delighted to report that God and I are—in the current vernacular—BFF’s again. Best Friends Forever. I had a lot to learn and accept during this journey.
8. You've got a scripture at the beginning of the story. Tell us why this scripture is significant.
I loved this passage from Colossians because I believe they’re words to live by. “Be gentle and ready to forgive; never hold grudges. Remember the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” Several of the characters in this story needed to be reminded of the importance of forgiveness. Especially me and Cole.

9. If you could be a dessert what would you be and why?
Uh-oh. Back to the tough questions. Okay, I think I’d be a cream puff because in life and in my job, I need to firm—but not unyielding—while inside, I’m a real softie. 


Thank you Lauren for sharing Margo with us today. This sounds like a fun and exciting read.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

FEATURED BOOK: MARKED FOR MURDER

And this time, ex-cop or not, private investigator Cole Blackburn isn't letting the psychopath get away with murder. Two years ago the case cost him his job and the love of Margo McBride, his former fiancĂ©e. But when Cole returns to the small town to solve the case and move on with his life, Margo is the new chief of police. She claims she doesn't need his help. Until the killer sends her a chilling note and Margo is marked for murder. Cole won't let anything—or anyone—make him lose her again.

Friday, July 2, 2010

What's on your list?

Greetings from sunny California! Dana Mentink, here.

What’s the best thing about summer? Gorging yourself on books! What’s even better? Posting reviews on my blog of books that really float my boat. With very few exceptions, I generally hear from the authors, whether big name or small, who appreciate having their fine work recognized. Since I know how hard it is to write a book, I only write reviews for the books that in my opinion are a cut above. But Dana! That means you don’t write all those good, juicy hit pieces taking authors to task. You bet. I only write about the ones I loved. Sure it’s one sided, but it’s my blog and I do it my way! (Can you hear the music playing?) So here’s a list of the books I’ve read this summer. It’s a mixture of mystery, cozies, suspense and ‘miscellanous.’

So please add to the list. What’s a book that YOU’VE enjoyed this summer?

Skullduggery – an awesome mystery by Aaron Elkins featuring a man who can read a skeleton like a book. Fascinating!

Beguiled, by Deeanne Gist and J. Mark Bertrand– interesting inspirational mystery about a dog walker.

Monk in Trouble – another excellent and hilarious mystery by Lee Goldberg.

Sprinkle With Murder Jenn McKinlay, fun and frothy mystery that will leave you craving cupcakes

Stirring Up Strife – A new series of inspy cozies with recipes included

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Birthdays



July is birthday month for the nation and most of the people in my household--me, my husband and my eldest child. We all fall within 5 days of each other. If I expand that to 14 days, I include my father. Maybe that's why we all get along so well. But when I was in preschool, July birthdays sucked. Our teacher used to draw a picture of a birthday cake on the board and then the lucky student had their mother bring cupcakes.


Well, not wanting to be left out, I proudly proclaimed my birthday during the school year. (It's been awhile since said incident and I don't recall the story I made up or when I declared my birthday.) But my mother was not pleased with my fib. Oh, she played along with my mischief, but I got a good lecture when I got home. That ended my fibbing career. Facing mother's wrath wasn't something I wanted to do again.

Maybe, that's why I make up stories as an adult.