Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The End and A New Beginning!

By Debby Giusti

The Craftie Ladies of Suspense blog ends today. We’re joining with the Craftie Ladies of Romance to form a bigger and better site and hope you’ll follow us to our new location. You’ll find us on the Internet at

In 2007, Pamela Tracy and Lisa Mondella started the first Craftie Ladies blog. They were not only the inspiration but also provided the technical expertise that made this blog a success. The photo above shows the authors who joined on at the very beginning. Standing from left to right are Roxanne Rustand, Pamela Tracy and Debby Giusti. Those seated are Lisa Mondello, Margaret Daley and Terri Reed.

The Craftie Ladies of Suspense talked about anything and everything on the blog, from the books we loved to read to what we were fixing for dinner. Sometimes we talked about the writer’s life, and on other days, the topic would focus on our families or vacations or our favorite movies or television shows.

Soon other authors wanted to take part so the blog grew. The monthly Love Inspired Suspense books were featured along with character interviews that circulated on Facebook and Twitter, as well.

Hoping to draw new readers to our site, we wrote serial holiday stories. Lenora Worth usually started the tall tales, and each of us would add a new segment, always with hilarious results. Many of you commented on how much you enjoyed reading the stories, and we all loved writing them. Be assured we’ll continue the holiday story tradition on the new site.

As this blog ends, we send our heartfelt thanks to Pam and Lisa for all their hard work. Thanks, ladies, for making it so much fun. Thanks, also, to our wonderful readers who visit the blog each day. Your comments and friendship mean so much to us.

Remember that although this blog ends, another one begins. Be sure to visit us at See you there!

Happy reading! Happy writing!

Wishing you abundant blessings,
Debby Giusti

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Life and Times of a Romance Writer

I am just now learning how to storyboard! I wrote my first story. It's about me! Go ahead, click on the link and see.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Waiting for inspiration?

Hello, all. Dana Mentink here, astonished to report that it’s fall! Oh I know, maybe not officially, but my Japanese Maple is turning colors and most importantly, school has started. For an elementary teacher in a combination class that means a roster full of enthusiastic little ones and very long hours. Folks ask me how I manage to write books on top of the life hysteria. The answer is, I get up pretty darn early in the morning, say around 4ish. I’ve heard people say that they can’t write unless they’re feeling inspired. This amuses me. Inspiration for me is beside the point. My tushy is in the chair in the morning and I’m writing because that’s my job and my passion. Sooner or later (after the second cup of java, maybe) that inspiration will kick in and things are humming along nicely, but even if they aren’t, it’s tushy meets chair at that wee early time. I have this theory that we always make time to do the things we love to do (TV, Facebook, outings with friends) even when time is short. What do you think, friends? What passion do you have that you make time for regardless of the craziness in your weekly schedule? Do tell.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Do I have an idea? by Leann Harris

Okay, it's my turn to post. I've got to produce when I'm dead tired and don't have an idea on what to write about. A creative idea is no where to be found.

It happens. It happens when you have a contract due and you just have to put your backside in the chair and write. The words are painful. You think it stinks. It's garbage. Then there are those days when the words flow and that little voice in your head tells you this is the best stuff you've ever written.

You go back and do rewrites...and you can't tell the difference between the days if was garbage and the days it was gifted. It discouraging and encouraging. So what does that tell me? Ignore my feelings about my writing. Tell that little voice in my head to stuff it. I have to write.

What's the picture about? It's so hot and dry now, I just wanted a picture of when it was Spring.
Barbara, I'm jealous. It looks so nice where you are.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Just a wedding...

It was just meant to be a short weekend getaway. But looking back, and yes, even during it, we knew it was one of the best mini holidays we'd had.
My husband's old army buddy (doesn't that conjure up a rotund balding man in a button-busting uniform?) was getting married. For the record, he was not in the least like that vision. He's a slim young man who runs ultra
marathons. (I don't know what they are but they sound pretty impressive to me) Anyway, we were invited. It was for a Saturday afternoon, but before that, I had already decided we'd do some things I'd always wanted to do.
First up, we were going to climb a nearby mountain.
Now, before you think Sir Edmond Hillary here, it was Mount Carlton, the highest point in the Atlantic provinces, only a few thousand feet up. Still, I'd not seen it before, so it had to be done.On the way back down, we got a flat tire right in front of a gas station that not only was open, but also had a good used tire. $30 later and we were on our way with it. A bargain, a blessing to be sure. I noticed the name of the gas station. An old dear friend of ours' maiden name. A relative,
Then we were going to visit our nephew. My hubby's older brother's boy is married, with a child, living in the same town as the wedding
. We were camping, so the family came for a campfire. I can proudly say I introduced them to spider dogs!
The next morning, we walked the waterfront of beautiful Campbellton, New Brunswick. We saw the world's largest salmon. Okay, it's not real, but hey, it's pretty impressive.
Finally, the wedding. As an outside wedding, it was in the groom's parents' backyard, and witnessing the nuptials were also three horses. What a size difference they were!
Though the wedding vows were in French, it mattered not that I understood. I definitely understood the gist. (And the kiss)
Because there were loads of children at the wedding, they'd hired both a clown and a magician/disc jockey. The magician stopped at our table and asked me to think of a card, which I did (King of Spades) and then proceeded to spread out the deck. The only card turned up was the King
of Spades. How do they do those sorts of things?
During the reception, we met an actress.
She's even worked with Ed Asner! Another couple were lovely and nice, with the man telling me what cushy military postings he'd had. I was green with envy. Well, maybe not green, but if you saw my military career, you'd understand that I should be!
The weekend wrapped up with a picnic lunch in my mother-in-law's favourite town. And then it was back home.
I loved the weekend. It was wonderful, relaxing, warm and sunny, and everyone was more than nice. I was the quintessential tourist. Why, I even took pictures coming out of Walmart!
We were blessed to have this weekend. We loved meeting new friends, catching up with old ones, and camping where there was no wind or bugs.
It will go down in our memories as one we'll talk about for a long time.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Determination Pays Off

I recently saw The Help in the movie theatre and I have to tell you, it both touched and inspired me.

For me, the film was about standing up for what you believe in (even if it puts you at personal risk), coping when you’re stuck in a bad situation, and the power of friendship. With stellar performances and an excellent script, this movie made my list of top ten movies of 2011. I didn’t read the book, but was told the movie was very similar to the novel, which made the bestseller list.

What also impressed me was how the author, Kathryn Stockett, went about optioning the film. She chose to go with a childhood friend to adapt the screenplay and direct, as opposed to a big name screenwriter/director. This complicates things when trying to get funding for a film, but she held firm. Why? Because her friend, Tate Taylor, shared the passion of her story, having also grown up in the South.

A very determined woman, Kathryn received a total of 60 rejections for the book. Yes, 60. But did she give up? Not on your life. And on the 61st submission an agent offered representation. Can you imagine if she would have given up at rejection 15, or 40 or even 60? This supports my philosophy that the only guarantee when trying to get your work published is that if you stop trying, you certainly won’t get published.

Stories like these inspire me. They remind me that anything’s possible when chasing your dream.

Who else has an inspirational story to share?


Friday, August 19, 2011

Time and the writer's life by Lisa Mondello

Time, time, time. There never seems to be enough of it. If I could extend the day by 12 hours I might be able to get through it getting everything done that I want to get done. But alas, the day is not 36 hours long. I have to squeeze my to-do list in a mere 24 hours like everyone else. Most of the time I forgo sleep to do it.

Like most busy people, I have to juggle work, family obligations, writing deadlines and manage to squeeze in the occasional book to read. It's really not unlike other non-writers who lead full lives. With one exception. My office is mobile.

Take today. I have a deadline on a freelance project I'm working on. I also have to cart the kids around to their summer jobs since they don't have a car of their own to drive. With two kids at home, that means I could easily spend 3-4 hours a day just driving when I could be writing! I'm no electronic geek by any stretch, but a few little modern mobile devices like my Nook Color, cell phone with Internet access, laptop with wi-fi connection and Dragon Naturally Speaking software I can turn just about anything from the car to Dunkin Donuts into my office. And since a lot of places now have wi-fi (I have them all mapped out.) I can do just about any kind of work that I need to get done while on the road.

I get a lot of strange looks from people. I'll give you that. But it gets the job done at the end of the day. And if I'm super organized and take 10 minutes to throw something into the crock pot in the morning, I don't even have to make dinner when I get home.

What are your time saving tools/strategies to get through the day? I'm always up for a new way to make things easier.

Many blessings, Lisa

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Tall Trees and Karaoke

OK, so who knew that Wednesday was karaoke night at Appleby's in Salem, Oregon? Now you do, and you know at least one 50ish Nashvillian who's willing to sing "Dancing Queen" in the middle of the night.

Yep, I'm in Oregon, at the annual Oregon Christian Writer's conference, and it's been a hoot. Trees so tall that they're like skirting small buildings to walk around them, and writers who are brimming with great ideas and the talent to execute them. While Susie May Warren and Mindy Starns Clark are the speakers, the faculty is some of the best writers, agents, and editors around, and the folks at Aldersgate Retreat Center have fed and spoiled us.

I love writers conferences because of how much I learn, but also because they are incubators of new talent. Looking around the bookstore or cafeteria, I see those who are going to be the next Susan May Warren or Mindy Starns Clark. Young writers, like Jill Williamson or Christina Berry, who are on the verge of giving us the next great Christian fiction.

My return to Nashville won't be easy. Thanks, Oregon, and the terrific folks of the Oregon Christian Writers.

Friday, August 12, 2011

A Technology Break

Hey there! Liz Johnson here. Back from vacation and plugged back into technology. You see, I took a break from technology last week.

My mom and sister and I just spent a week on Prince Edward Island, Canada--home of Anne of Green Gables. And I was unplugged the whole trip! No phone. No internet. No television. No twitter! Oh, my! For someone who practically lives on email, I thought I'd feel like I was missing my right arm. And I admit that the first day, I grabbed for my phone to check facebook, but it was turned off. So I stuffed it back into my purse. That was the last time I looked at it for a week.

Turns out that without my phone, I was free to phone I could revel in the beauty of the Gentle Island free from distraction. Without email I got to enjoy uninterupted conversation with two of my favorite people in the world. I got to focus on enjoying my vacation.

And when I had a book idea ... well, I had to hand write it! Shocking! I know.

I have to admit, it was one of the most enjoyable weeks, I've had in a long time. And I think being tech free was a big part of it.

Have you unplugged recently? How was your experience?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Why Read Suspense?

It was a dark and stormy night...

Why do I like to read books that depict the darker elements and side of humans? It's a great question. Aren't the headlines filled with enough horrible things, like the 3 year old in St. Louis who was snatched from her front yard Saturday? Or the riots in London? Or how about an economy that seems to spiral ever deeper?

With the world in such a state, why would a girl want to read about a fictional world that's in chaos?

I don't know. Really. While I love a good historical romance or a contemporary romance, I love a good suspense -- especially if it ends in hope. I like to experience the ever tightening spiral of suspense to the point I wonder if all will survive -- if God is in the middle of it. Not that I want a sermon on every page or even in the book. But I want to smell His fragrance and sense His presence. I want to close the book with the sense that He is always there even in the darkest night.

How about you? Why do you read suspense?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Stepping Out In Faith

By Debby Giusti

One of the scripture readings at church last Sunday was Matthew 14:22-33, the story of Jesus walking on the water. As the familiar passage was read, I closed my eyes and imagined the scene.

I envisioned the waves crashing against the small fishing boat and heard the howling wind. The apostles were frightened by the storm and even more so when they saw Jesus coming towards them on the water. “It is a ghost,” they exclaimed in fear.

With his eyes on Jesus, Peter got out of the boat and started to walk toward Christ. Then his courage faltered, and he began to sink, crying out, “Lord, save me!” As we all know, Jesus stretched out his hand and saved Peter, saying, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”

The story reminded me of the writer's life. Often we hear Christ challenging us to step out in faith, whether with an idea for a story or a change of direction for our writing. We set out, enthused at the onset, only to find rough seas and struggle along the way. When our confidence is shaken, we call to the Lord for help. Of course, He is always there, ready to still the chaos and calm the storm.

Who are you in the story? Are you one of the apostles cowering in the boat? Are you Peter, who boldly steps out in faith? Or are you someone watching from shore?

Happy reading! Happy writing!

Wishing you abundant blessings,
Debby Giusti

THE OFFICER'S SECRET, by Debby Giusti, available in print or e-book. Watch for THE CAPTAIN'S MISSION, out in October 2011.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Secrets of the Secret Service

Terri Reed here and I'm watching this really interesting show on the Discovery Channel all about the Secret Service: the weapons, the technology and protecting the president.

So fascinating to hear how the Secret Service protected President Bush during 9/11. AirForce One became the White House. They were airborne for nine hours with two stop at top secret air force bases before returning to Washington DC.

During that time the president couldn't address the country because AirForce One wasn't set-up for it. Now it is.

In 1989, a gunman stood outside the White House gates and shot at a man in a suit that the assailant thought was President Clinton. The man got off 29 shots before being taking down by bystanders. I hadn't heard about this.

While President Truman was in office, an assignation attempt resulted in one
agents death.

I found this great website while I was researching my July release, The Innocent Witness.

Next up on the Discovery Channel is Secrets of SEAL Team 6. Perfect timing for one of the books I'm currently working on. I've got the DVR set up ready to record.
Though so sad on the heels of the tragic deaths of so many SEALS this week. My prayers are with the families of our fallen heros.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Just Another Manic Monday

Pamela Tracy here, and what you see above is really a chalk drawing on the cement. An amazing artist in England, Julian Beever, create it. I like this one because of the suspense. How did he get up there? Who (or what) chased him? What happens when he falls? Will he be a victim and I'll have to come up with the killer and then someone who is in danger (maybe the man on the poles wife or girlfriend or maybe an innocent witness)? If he makes it down alive, will he be wounded? Chased?

This is why I love writing suspense: all the possibilities.

So, what do you think? Will he make it to the bottom of the pole?

Pamela Tracy's current release (this month!) is not a suspense, really, but there is a mystery... who took the money? Why was Joel framed? When he figures out the answer, will it cost him the woman he loves?

Buy the book and find out!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

On Deadly Ground Interview

Today we're welcoming Rachel Patterson, the heroine of ON DEADLY GROUND, an August 2011 Love Inspired Suspense novel by Lauren Nichols.
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.
How did I get involved in this mess? Believe me, for a long time, I wondered the same thing. One moment, I was a young widow who owned a campground several miles outside the small town of Charity,Pennsylvania, and the next I was running for my life from my burning home. It took me a while to realize that the hooded figure I saw skulking around on my property one night wanted me dead!
2. So, during the book you met Jake Campbell. Tell us a bit about him. What was your first impression? When did you know it was love?
Jake's the tall, ruggedly good looking Wildlife Conservation Officer who'd recently transferred to the area, and I was instantly attracted to him. I hadn't dated since my husband David passed away, and to be honest, I didn't want to feel anything but friendship for Jake. David and I had loved each other deeply, and I was plagued by feelings of disloyalty. I'm not sure when I realized it was love; it kind of crept up on me. But looking back, how could I not fall for him? He's as wonderful on the inside as he is on the outside--strong and confident, caring and protective, totally committed to family and his job. Now he even attends church.
3. What strengths/skills do you have? What is your greatest weakness?
That's a tough question. I guess I run my business pretty well, and according to Jake, I make a great cup of coffee. As for strengths, I think the only true strength I have is my faith in God who gives me courage when I need it, and helps me be the best daughter, friend--and now wife--that I'm able to be. As for weaknesses...I sometimes trust too easily, and that got me into trouble.
What scares you?
I didn't think anything could scare me other than losing someone I love--although friends seemed to think that I should be afraid to live alone in a wooded valley populated by coyotes, elk, bear and the occasional wildcat. Little did they know that I had less to fear from my four-legged neighbors than I did from a two-legged predator intent upon covering up a crime.
5. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I wish I were more courageous.
6. Where are you in your faith at the start of your story?
My faith was strong. God and I had a great relationship.
7. Where are you in your faith at the end of the story?
The same place--trusting and believing in God, and ready to accept His plan for me. Happily, He decided that I should be with Jake for the rest of my life.
8. You've got a scripture at the beginning of the story. Tell us why this scripture is significant.
The scripture verse I chose is "The Lord is close to the broken hearted. He rescues those who are crushed in spirit." These lovely words applied to both Jake and me. When we first met, he'd just broken off his relationship with his unfaithful fiancée, and he was hurting. I was still missing David terribly. But thankfully, God brought the two of us together, and helped us heal.
9. If you could be a dessert what would you be and why?
What I do and where I live pretty much makes me the all-American, girl-next-door type. There's nothing complicated about me. I'd probably be an apple pie.

Saturday, August 6, 2011


The prowler on the construction site of her new camp didn't frighten Rachel Patterson…at first. Fear comes when her home is torched—and worsens when a body is unearthed on the campgrounds. Someone's trying to cover up a murder, and if Rachel can identify the intruder, she might be the only witness. Her neighbor, Wildlife Conservation Officer Jake Campbell, is determined to keep the lovely widow safe. But when a misunderstanding separates the pair, their distance risks more than the growing feelings between them. It leaves Rachel alone and unguarded, which could be just the chance the killer needs…

Friday, August 5, 2011

Do you know your treasure movies?

Dana Mentink here, with thoughts of treasure on my mind. This could be because I’ve just finished up the first book in a three book treasure seeker series for Harlequin. It got me to thinking about all the wonderful movies that have focused on the desire to find treasure. I thought it would be fun to wrestle up a little quiz. Here is a list of movies about treasure. Can you name the prize being sought after in each flick? Got your thinking caps on? Okay. Here goes.

Romancing the Stone
National Treasure
Treasure of the Sierra Madre
The Librarian: Quest for the Spear
Paint Your Wagon
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

Thursday, August 4, 2011

It's Hot by Leann Harris

Today was day 33 of the temperature being over 100. It was officially 108, shattering our old record. Our record of over 100 degrees days in a row is 40 and that was in 1980. I remember it actually got over a 110 that year, and you could tell the difference between 100 and 99.

Now in 1980 I had small children and was a lot younger. The heat was bad, but you went on with life. This time I'm not holding up as well as I did the last time. The only thing that brings a smile to my face is that on Sunday, I'm flying to Denver to spend a week in the mountains. I'm doing a happy dance.

I'd love to go back to Denver at the end of Sept and see the fall color, but I'll settle for a summer break.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Publishers Weekly

by Debby Giusti

If you haven't visited Publishers Weekly's Beyond Her Book blog, you're missing a wonderful site for readers and writers alike. A few years ago, Barbara Vey (photo L to R: Debby, Barbara Vey, and LIH author Janet Dean) struck up a conversation with a lady she sat next to on a cruise ship. They chatted about books and what they loved to read.

Little did Barbara know that the woman worked for Publishers Weekly. No doubt seeing Barbara's enthusiasm for books and especially the romance genre, the lady--who happened to be high up in PW--asked Barbara to start a blog focused on romance. Thus, PW's Beyond Her Book blog was born.

Each Wednesday, Barbara has a group of dedicated readers who review the latest releases. What a surprise to learn my May book, THE OFFICER'S SECRET, is one of the stories featured today.

Stop by Barbara's blog and say hello. She's a friend to all and one of the sweetest women you'll ever have the good fortune to know. Plus, she does so much to support literacy and reading in general. Whether it's starting a book club for students in her local high school or promoting New York Times bestsellers or attending reader events around the country, Barbara Vey is a delightful ambassador for the written word. Thanks, Barbara, for all you do!

Happy reading! Happy writing!

Wishing you abundant blessings,
Debby Giusti

Monday, August 1, 2011

Recently, I had the privilege of attending the She Speaks conference in Concord, NC. I had never been to this particular conference, but because I am starting to get requests to speak at various events, I thought it might be a good idea to take the speaking track. On Friday, we had a three minute presentation and on Saturday, we had a five minute one. I thought I would share with you my three minute one. It went something like this:

Hello, I’m Lynette Eason and I’m a writer. Which is why I’m taking the speaking track. Yeah. Right. Go figure.

Now, I’ll be honest. When I first started writing, I had no idea what getting published would entail. But apparently people think that if you can write and get published, you can speak. And while I’m sure that’s true for a lot of writers, for others, like me, it’s not so true.

Speaking is not where my comfort zone is. But God didn’t call me to stay in my comfort zone. And I’ve always believed Him when he said, "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” I was willing, But I wasn’t sure how I was supposed to do that. I mean, I was married now, with other responsibilities. So what was my role now in furthering the kingdom of God? At first I thought that maybe I was supposed to volunteer at church or ride on the tail of my husband’s ministry.

You see, about 14 ½ years ago, I got married to a guy whose job entailed a lot of travel. He was doing praise and worship music all over the country and I thought that I was just supposed to do whatever I could to help him in his ministry. Which was not a bad thing at all. I was willing to do that.

So, at first, I went with him as much as possible, but then we had our first child and I stayed home. A lot. Alone. The only adult in the house for days on end. Sure, I did MOPS and play dates and that kind of thing, but the nights were the worst. I was lonely. Crying myself to sleep didn’t seem like a really good way to end the day. So one day, I was trying to figure out something I could do to ease the loneliness. And something inside me – God? said, “Why don’t you write that book you keep saying you want to write?”

I thought, yeah, why don’t I do that?

So, in 1999, I pulled out an old laptop my husband had and started writing the great American novel that I just KNEW was going to be a best-seller, glorify God and make me rich, too. Ministering to others through my books and glorifying God was the most important part, of course, but if He so chose to bless me financially then by all means I would graciously accept that.

Thirteen books later, I still live in the same house, I don’t own any beach front property or have an amazing stock portfolio. Or even a mansion on a hill. But I’m so honored to get emails from readers who say that my books have touched their lives, that God became real to them through the characters and words He allowed me to create and have published. And I’m thrilled to say that I DO have a mansion waiting on me. And it’s in heaven where I’ll spend eternity praising my King. And I pray that one day, my Savior will say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

Happy Monday to all, hope you have a great week!

Friday, July 29, 2011

The woes of Lisa Mondello

I don't think I ever grew up. Seriously. Does one every grow up and out of anticipation angst? If so, I haven't.

I've had a proposal at Love Inspired for exactly a week and I'm already pacing the floor like a kid waiting for Christmas or my birthday. I'm quite excited about this as I always am when I send in a new proposal. Will my editor like it? Will the senior editor offer me a contract? I hope so. I so want to write this book.

But, since there is always a chance they may NOT like the story, I hold myself back from continuing too much on the story. Why finish a story that ultimately will never be published? (Let's hope that's not the case, but just suppose for a minute.) If I spend all my time writing this book and it's a no go, I may be wasting one to two months of writing time for something that will never see the light of day. Been there. Done that. Just because I'm published doesn't mean I never see the R word anymore. I do. And I have the bruises to prove it.

But, alas, sometimes it's hard to tear myself away from a story I've fallen in love with. So what do I do?

1. Keep a file and give myself an occasional day to work on that story just so I don't lose the passion for the story and characters, but not enough to keep me from writing other things.
2. Work on my next proposal. If this one is a no-go, I want to be ready with something else. That's not always possible. But if I can do it, it makes life easier down the road. If the story IS a go, I have my next story already started.

Does this help the waiting? Sadly, no. I still obsess. And I will keep obsessing until I get feedback from my editor on the story. Luckily for me obsession doesn't keep me from writing. And I have a vast many writer friends who are in the same boat as me so I can vent and whine. (Bowing head in shame. Yes, I occasionally whine about my writing.) And my agent is always good to me, so all is good on that front.

Rest assured, as soon as I know the status of my proposal. So will you! You'll just have to live with me obsessing until I do.

Until next time, many blessings...
Lisa Mondello

Thursday, July 28, 2011

A View from a Fall

Over the past few months, I’ve been in search of a new pair of walking shoes. I have some foot issues, so I didn't want to buy just anything. I’ve done that before, to not-so-much-fun results. A friend suggested toning shoes, those wonderful rocking shoes that supposedly tighten up loose muscles as you walk. So I took a look.

And laughed. The first article I read suggested that if you have balance problems you should avoid them. Well, OK, then. On to the next shoe style.

Because my lack of balance is legendary. I cannot walk straight, and falling is almost a pastime. I run into walls, trip over boxes, bump into counters. Two back-to-back sprains when I was a teenager left my ankles weak, so they flip easily. I loved to backpack and hike, so I used to carry crutches in my truck. I’ve fallen off walls, out of trees, up stairs, down stairs. When I was five, I fell on a furnace grate and ripped open my knee. Forty-five years later, I fell on a stone patio with the same result. I don’t avoid steps because I’m lazy; I do it because I’d prefer not to do a barrel roll down them.

But I don’t usually get hurt, and I got over the humiliation factor a long time ago. Sometimes, you just have to see the humor of the unexpected pratfall. When I was moving into new place a couple of weeks ago, I stepped in a hole and hit the ground so hard, face first, that my friend thought I was unconscious. Then she realized I was laughing.

Probably the queen of those moments was the last time I wore a mini-skirt. I’d lost weight. My legs were tan and firm. I was cute, prancing through K-Mart in my kitten heels and tight skirt. Got my items, checked out, and turned to leave. Only I didn’t get far.

One leg shot out from under me, and I went straight down, with my rear landing on top of my other foot. So sitting there looking like a one-legged goose, I giggled and tried to get up…only to realize my heel had snagged in my hem. I couldn’t reach it; couldn’t get my other leg bent. Couldn’t lean forward without tearing the back out of my skirt. I couldn’t get up without showing my behind to the world.

I was stuck. I put my head down, laughing so hard I couldn’t get my breath. The manager rushed over, seeing this woman on the floor shuddering helplessly. He wanted to call an ambulance, suddenly seeing his profits go up in lawsuit smoke. I waved him off, finally gasping out my predicament.

The sweet man tried so hard not to laugh I think he swallowed his gum. Finally, at my suggestion, he called over a security guard and one of the cashiers. She stood behind me, and the two men lifted me by the arms as she untangled my heel.

I once heard Liz Curtis Higgs talk about learning to laugh at yourself; that it’s a great sign of maturity. I think it’s also a sign that you can see yourself through others’ eyes, and that’s an extraordinarily valuable perspective for a writer – and a compassionate human being. To see the world as others do, can change your own.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Is it me or is it hot in here? Lenora Worth

I really do love summer. But after a month of one hundred degrees and holding, well, this is getting old. I got spoiled when my husband and I went on a roap trip all the way to New York City. The weather was lovely everywhere we stopped. Most days the temperature was in the eighties or nineties. I know come winter, I'll be shivering and complaining about the cold, but right now I'm enjoying my air conditioner. When it's this hot and dry, everything seems to wilt. Including my good manners.

But that brings me to the real subject of this post. I believe hot weather brings out the worst in people. Maybe that's why we set a lot of our suspense novels during the summer. It's hot, someone is trying to harm someone, someone's on the run, maybe without water, maybe walking across the desert, maybe stuck in a hot, sweltering building. Tempers flair and bad things happen. That is fodder for fiction writers. But ... it's horrible when we hear it on the news every night.

So, fellow suspense writers, do you believe summer makes people mean?

Let's discuss. I'll be back. I'm going to get some ice cream.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Summer Days...

Wow.  Can you believe it?  We're almost at the end of July, and this summer has been flying at our house.  The projects around our place in the country never seem to end, we've traveled some, and I'm just realizing that I've let several weeks pass without making serious headway in my office.  My husband says that it looks like a landfill, after my last deadline, and he's right!  Yet, this summer has offered many nice opportunities to be with family, and that comes first in my book. 
What have you been up to--and what will be your happiest memory of the summer of 2011?
Roxanne Rustand

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Dangerous Reunion Interview

Today we're welcoming Brock Gentry, the hero of Dangerous Reunion, by Sandra Robbins, releasing in July 2011.

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 thought I never would come back to Ocracoke Island when I left there six years ago because I had just broken my engagement with Kate Michaels who lived on the island, but now I find myself back. A few months ago I was working as a police detective in Nashville, Tennessee, when I received a phone call from a man who claimed to have evidence that would clear a man scheduled to be executed in a few weeks. I wasn’t familiar with the case because it had occurred before I came on the force, but I promised to meet with him the next day to listen to what he said. Before we could meet, I received a call that my father in California had been in an accident and wasn’t expected to live. I left a note for my partner and rushed to Los Angeles where I stayed for six weeks until my father was recovered. When I returned to Nashville, I found out there had been a series of mishaps, and the evidence never reached the proper authorities until after the man was executed. Later he was proven innocent. Harboring feelings of guilt over the man’s death, I came to Ocracoke to see if could find forgiveness from God for my failures and from Kate for hurting her six years ago. I never would have dreamed what events I would encounter there.

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

Kate and I met in college where we both majored in criminal justice and were on the track team. I loved her from the very beginning, but we had different ideas on where we wanted to go in life. I wanted to live in a city and work on a large police force. She wanted to live on Ocracoke Island, but I couldn’t see myself living on a speck of land twenty-five miles off the coast of North Carolina. Now six years later I’m back, and we met at a crime scene. She’s still just as beautiful as she was when we were in college.

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

I’m a good criminal investigator because I can think logically. I’m also loyal to my friends. I am working on overcoming my greatest weakness which is being more understanding of the feelings of others. That wasn’t always the case. When I was younger, I was cocky and thought I knew it all. I’ve come to see how wrong I was.

4. What scares you?

I want Kate back in my life, and it scares me to think she will never forgive me for what I did to her six years ago. I’m trying to show her I’ve changed, but I’m not sure she believes me yet. Even if she never does, I have vowed to keep her safe from a crazed killer who is stalking her.

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

I would work harder at relationships. I didn’t realize how important my father was to me until I almost lost him. It was the same with Kate. I’m beginning to see that the love you show other people helps define the type of person you are.

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

One of the things that Kate and I always disagreed on was faith. She is a strong woman of faith, but I never had much time for God. When my life fell apart, I wanted to come back to talk to Kate and see if she could help me find God on the island where she sees God’s handiwork everywhere.

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

Kate was right when she said I could find God on Ocracoke. God showed me He’d always been with me and was just waiting for me to accept Him. I’ll always be grateful to Kate for helping me to become a man of faith.

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

The scripture is Mark 11:25—And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.

That scripture sums up the journey I take in Dangerous Reunion. Through faith in God, I learned to forgive myself for all the bad choices I’d made in my life and discovered that God didn’t hold any of my mistakes against me. Now I am able to incorporate that principle in my dealings with other people.

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

Just like apple pie is a traditional American dessert, I think I’m a typical American guy. I like sports and enjoy jogging every day. I love God and am content to spend time with my new family and friends. After all what’s more American than God, family, and apple pie.

Saturday, July 23, 2011


A murderer on tiny, safe Ocracoke Island? Deputy Sheriff Kate Michaels doesn't want to believe it—until someone at the crime scene starts shooting at her. Then Nashville detective Brock Gentry shows up. Brock broke her heart years ago when he called off their engagement. Now, torn apart by a case, Brock seeks sanctuary on the island. Yet as the threats against Kate escalate—and Kate's sisters are targeted—she turns to the man she's never stopped loving. Even if their reunion is more dangerous than it ever was before.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Romance Novels to the Rescue!

Maybe, like me, you've read a blog post or newspaper article lately about how romance novels are ruining women's lives. Bloggers, psychologists, and theologians have all weighed in on how romance novels set unrealistic expections for relationships and lead to dissatisfaction, etc, etc.

Well, my goal here isn't to defend Christian romance novels or explain why I love them and read them ... and write them. But I have been thinking about those things a lot lately. And it got me thinking about when I was in college...

I began reading novels with a strong romantic story lines when I was in junior high. These were mostly historicals by authors like Gilbert Morris and Bodie and Brock Thoene. In addtion to being wildly entertaining, they modeled what a pure love can look like. And, yes, they modeled what a good man could be, who loves God and seeks to serve Him.

Fast forward seven years. I'd just finished my first year of college, which had been full of meeting new friends and wrought with plenty of heartache. One of my new friends was a guy who was a couple years older, lived off campus (that was a huge deal at the time!), and knew just the words to say to make a girl swoon. He also had what he called "a special relationship" with God, which meant he thought he could do anything he wanted without consequence. It also meant he wasn't concerned about purity or a God-centered relationship, quite the opposite of the examples I'd first read about in books and then seen in real life. Quite the opposite of what I hoped for in a relationship.

But I enjoyed his friendship, and we talked every night that summer. With just a couple weeks left before classes resumed in the fall, our conversation reached a head when he asked me, "Why aren't we dating?"

Oof! What's an immature 19-year-old kid with a grand total of one official boyfriend ever supposed to say to that? I wanted a boyfriend. And I really liked this guy. He didn't hold a candle to guys in the novels I read, so that's why I dug into depths of my mind and pulled out the best fairy-tale line I could come up with. "You're not the man of my dreams." (Feel free to laugh or groan here. Either is appropriate.)

He promptly told me that I wasn't the woman of his dreams either, and our friendship crumbled pretty fast after that.

So, was I missing some tact? Absolutely. Do I wish that I'd said something kinder? Yup. Did romance novels rescue me from a whole lot of heartache? You betcha! More than 10 years later, there's nothing I regret about not dating that guy. While I'm all for realistic expectations in a relationship, I'm also for not settling for less than God's best.

I still read them. And I'm going to keep writing them. Because I believe that good novels not only offer an escape, they also give us hope for the best that God has for each of us. Life's not easy--but good romances rarely portray it that way, anyway.

What have romance novels done for you lately?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Who's Your Family?


We all have them. And they are all so different.

I have been blessed with an amazing family.
This is my dad with me and my siblings on his back...a long time ago LOL. My parents just left yesterday after coming out for almost a week to free me to work on edits for two August 1st deadlines. They sent me flowers ahead of time to thank me for letting them come!

Did I mention I'm blessed?

But not everybody is so fortunate. They didn't grow up with loving parents in a secure home. They didn't receive hugs freely as a kid to have them to give to their kids. They didn't hear that they were treasured by God from an early age.

Experiencing that marked me. It made me the woman I am today.

Not hearing or experiencing that is just as scarring. It makes people who they are.

So think about your characters...what's their family like? Are their parents married? Divorced? Were they an only child or surrounded by siblings? Did their family have money? Were things hand to mouth? Did they grow up in a family with parents who led them to God? Or did their parents give them a warped image of God? Those questions matter because the answers change how they will respond to the life and challenges you're giving them today.

So what about you? Was your family more functional...or dysfunctional?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Suspense in New York City --RWA 2011!

By Debby Giusti
Three weeks ago at the Romance Writers of America Conference in New York City, I had the pleasure of attending “Up All Night,” a workshop with my favorite suspense authors Harlan Coben and Lisa Jackson. Coben shared aspects of his writing life with tongue-in-cheek humor that kept me smiling. “Part of my job,” he said deadpan, “is to convince my wife that I have one.”

Talking about suspense stories, Coben said he doesn’t “do murder.” Instead he prefers disappearances because there’s always hope. When and if that hope is dashed, the characters—and thus readers—experience gut-wrenching pain.
Jackson writes a 35 to 75 page synopsis, which she calls the “bare bones skeleton of the plot,” before she starts a book. Harlan doesn’t outline and, at the onset, only knows the beginning and where the story is apt to end up.

Calling herself a “fat writer” because she's wordy, Jackson admits she can’t spell and doesn’t have a big vocabulary, but she is a storyteller.
Coben says fear motivates writers. If you’re comfortable with your work, you’re dead. To be a real writer, you need "perspiration, inspiration and desperation."

“Don’t let anything get in the way of writing,” Coben challenges. Not even research, which he calls an excuse for not writing. “I’m always trying to look at things at a different angle and do the unexpected that fits.” More advice from Cohen: “Never chase the dollar, chase the reader’s heart.”

"The best way to improve,” according to Jackson, “is to write the next book.” She revises as she writes in what she calls a two-steps forward, one-step back fashion. After typing The End, she sends the manuscript to her sister, also an author, who tells her what works and what doesn’t.

Coben uses a forward-back pattern, as well. He writes 75 pages and then edits his work. At the end, he reads the entire manuscript out loud!

To learn more about my conference experience visit today, July 20. I'm giving away a copy of THE OFFICER'S SECRET, the first book in my Military Investigations series, and THE OFFICER'S SECRET T-shirt, featuring my Prayer for Our Military. Size XL, it's perfect for a pool cover-up or nightshirt.

Wishing you abundant blessings,
Debby Giusti

Monday, July 18, 2011


I've had it! I can't walk in my office! I'm cleaning!


So, over the Fourth of July, my family (extended, we're talking nephew, grandpa, grandpa, brother in law, sister in law, dog in law - well you get the picture) and I go camping in beautiful Greer, Arizona. (Yes, we went after the fire, which meant we had quads we couldn't ride, fishing poles we couldn't bait, etc).

When I came home, the bookcase in my office had finally given in to pressure. More than 500 books had tumbled to the floor.

My husband just shook his head and said, "Time to get rid of some of them."

He's right.

So, now I'm doing major cleaning. Not just of books (Should I get rid of the books Candy Stripers that I read when I was fifteen?) (And, no, I'm not talling you how long ago that was!)

Since I'm on a tangeant, I'm also getting rid of papers and do-dads. I'm getting rid of homework from the 1980's (boy has my grammar improved). I'm getting rid of cover flats from the 1990's (boy I've got thousands of cover flats. Maybe I should wallpaper?)

Here's the thing, since the books fell and were scattered all over my office, I've been having trouble writing. I think I've figured it out. I'm blocked by all this clutter.

Hmmm, you know, I've not used the exercise bike in years... should I get rid of it?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Her Guardian Interview

Today we're welcoming JULIA, the heroine of HER GUARDIAN by Sharon Dunn due out in July 2011.

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.

When I was 13 I was kidnapped by the cult leader Elijah True. I escaped when I was 20. It’s been two years now and Elijah’s trial is one month away. Elijah is in jail, but the cult members are very loyal and will stop at nothing to make sure I don’t make it into that courtroom. My father has hired a bodyguard, Gavin Shane, and we will hide out in a safe place until the trial.

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

He wasn’t what I expected for a bodyguard. I mean he has the build of a bodyguard broad shoulders, lots of muscle, but he kind of looks like he just stepped off the beach with his sun bleached hair and tan. I guess he just moved back to Montana from Florida. Something happened in Florida that he doesn’t want to talk about.

Also, I don’t know how to describe it but since we have been together, it’s like my load is lighter, like he carries some of the burden of worry and always having to look over your shoulder.

I don’t know if he even notices me in a romantic sense. I missed out on a lot of things when I was held captive: learning to drive a car, graduation, prom and dating. I’m twenty two years old and I have never been on a date. Honestly, I am kind of clumsy when it comes to making small talk with a man. I don’t know how to read the signals of attraction. I do think there is something between us, something more than a professional relationship.

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

Gavin says that he has been impressed with my ability to think on my feet and my survival instinct. I suppose that is true. All those years in the cult, I learned how to stay alive.

My greatest weakness is that I am tired of being confined. All those years in the cult being watched closely, then two years of staying in my father’s house and now this final month in a safe house. Now that the end is in sight, I guess I am restless. It’s like I have gone from one prison to another. I want to feel the sun on my face and go for a walk by myself. It would be heaven just to do something ordinary like sit in a coffee shop and read a book.

4. What scares you?

Elijah’s favorite form of punishment when I tried to escape or questioned his crazy beliefs was confinement. He pushed me into the crawlspace and slid the bolt. It was dark and there was a dirt floor. I could hear the mice moving around in the walls. Small spaces are hard for me, the sound of a door locking or a bolt sliding makes me cringe.

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

Actually, I have made a change recently that is kind of wild. I have this long blond hair. I’m really easy to spot at a distance because of that. Gavin thought it would be a good idea if I cut my hair and dyed it red for my safety. One of the reasons Elijah took me was he said the blond hair made me look like an angel. Something about changing my hair has been really cathartic, like I’m letting go of that old identity of the kidnapped girl and stepping into the new me, the me God intended before all of this happened.

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

My father brought me up with a strong faith and it’s what sustained me during my captivity. I saw the way Elijah distorted scripture and borrowed from other religions to suit his needs. And all those times I was locked into a small space, I prayed. Jesus was in there with me. I am not saying it was easy, but what Elijah intended to use to break my will I used to increase my faith.

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

So much was taken from me because of the captivity, just those ordinary things that everyone takes for granted. I will say that God truly can restore what the locusts have eaten. But the way he restores is always a surprise.

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

Guess I kind of hinted at that verse in the previous question. Joel 2:25 is the verse about how God restores. I think for anyone who has suffered loss or felt cheated by life in some way that is a good verse to cling to. But you can’t force God’s hand and dictate to him what you want the restoration to look like.

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

My life has been so complicated, so out of the ordinary. What I

Really long for is normal. So I don’t think I would want to be a fancy dessert. I think I would like to be an ordinary dessert like an oatmeal or chocolate chip cookie.

Saturday, July 16, 2011


Julia Randel was thirteen when she was kidnapped by a cult leader.It took her seven years to escape. Two years later her captor's trial is about to begin—and so are threats from his loyal followers. Julia is relieved when her father hires bodyguard Gavin Shane, but she's furious when he rushes her to a safe house. After years under lock and key, she doesn't want to be forced into hiding again. But with cultists seeking to stop Julia's testimony at any cost, it'll take both Julia and her determined protector to set her free for a new life—and new love.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Anniversary Present by Leann Harris

For our last anniversary, my hubby and I bought an iPad to celebrate the day. Well, several days after, I had to go to Houston and left the iPad with the husband. He's doing all sorts of neat things with it. He even drove to where I am and brought along the iPad to show me what wonderful things it can do. Several days ago, he called and told me he download one of Marty Perry's books. Great, but the iPad is in Dallas. I can't wait to read the book, but it will have to wait until I get home.

Technology is great, but you have to be in the same city to appreciate it.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

What do you mean, it's wrong?

Have you ever registered for some blog or board or such and they ask you to write in the numbers and letters in that little box?
You did, right? Well, more often than not, they, (those big 'they's' out there) keep telling me I'm wrong. It just happened this morning as I tried to join the Kindle publishing board. After all, I have 8 books available on Kindle. And I should be able to successfully register on something out there.
Sure my fingers are dyslexic sometimes but if I slow down, peer hard and carefully craft the letters and numbers, I expect the same respect back from that big machine in cyber space.
It doesn't respond in kind.
So I try again. I'm wrong again. I try listening to it, and if that actually works, I still get it wrong.
By this time, I'm usually ready to pound out "#@^$^&##^$#&(&^" or something equally rude, but I restrain myself and only scream at the computer, which often brings my daughter running.
Oh, no, she's not looking out for my welfare. She's come to laugh at me. Like that big machine in cyber space is doing.
"Hee hee, let's see how mad we can make Barbara!" I can still hear them. (user friendly is such an oxymoron)
Then I calm down, remember that God is probably telling me to get off the computer and do something else.
Sometimes I listen. Sometimes I dig my heels in. Most often I am not that successful.
But I do win.
I put the computer on defrag. It's like pushups for computer disobedience.
It's stupid, goofy, and useless, but it makes me feel better.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Story Ideas are Everywhere!

When people find out I write books, they have a tendency to respond in one of two ways. Either they ask “Where do you get your ideas?” Or, they say, “Boy, have I got juicy stories for you!”

If they offer personal stories sure to earn me all kinds of awards, I graciously thank them, but suggest they write the story themselves. Why? Because no one can tell your story as well as you can.

On the other hand, when someone asks, “Where do you get your ideas?” My answer is…everywhere. I sign onto AOL in the morning and there are a dozen story ideas waiting for me. I get inspiration from television programs, Facebook messages, a Santa Claus gnome suddenly appearing in my front yard, in July – true story. I also get ideas while I’m on my walk, inspired by brilliant colors of flowers in bloom.

For me, it’s the “why game” that turns a random news story into a full-length book. For instance, a few years ago a reporter covered a story about a woman who went missing on a ferry. She boarded the ferry in downtown Seattle and never got off on Bainbridge Island. They found her car on the ferry, her purse, her keys, etc. Where did she go? Since I’m into happily-ever-afters I decided she needed to escape to start a new life, a better life. But why? What was she running from? Did she feel she had no other options?

Game on! How would you write this one?