Saturday, January 29, 2011

Ten Things Writers Like to Talk About

10: Not Remembering on which level, in an airport, the car is parked (true story)
9: Writing (in car)
8: What book to purchase when presented with a choice (museum gift store)
7: Weather (Have you been to Arizona in August?)
6: Writing (in restaurant, complete with agent)
5: What book to purchase when presented with a choice (Borders)
4: Time (in traffic)
3. Writing (at condo)
2. Never enough time to read (in car)
1. How Writers can make the best of friends (at restaurant watching Margaret reacquaint with Sandra Lee Smith, Kim Watters, and Brenda Jackson)

Friday, January 28, 2011

A Valentine's Mystery revisited...

Hello from Lisa Mondello. As we gear up for the most romantic day of the year, Valentine's Day, I thought I'd keep my post this week short and sweet by reminding you of the short story the CRAFTIE Ladies did last year for Valentine's Day. It was such fun and we hope to have more short stories for you in the future. But I do want to know what YOU the reader want to see. So here's what I'm going to do. Leave a comment and let me know what type of short story you want to read from the CRAFTIE Ladies. The person who's topic we choose will get a $10 gift certificate for the book of their choice. I can't wait to see what you all come up with! Now don't be shy. We really, really want to know!

And if you're new to the CRAFTIE Ladies, missed the Valentine's Day story from last year, or you just want to read it again. Here is the link to it in our archive. Remember, it starts on February 1 and has a new chapter every day all the way to February 14! So keep reading and have fun!!

Start here with Part 1

CLICK HERE to get the entire archive for Feb 2010 and the entire Killer Chocolate: A Valentine's Mystery story. Start at the bottom of the page and work your way up.

Many blessings, Lisa Mondello

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Where are you going?

Have you ever fallen "in love" with a car? I was certainly crazy about my first one (yes, that's me on the left), but I've also adored cars that have been used as characters in books, tv, and the movies. If you're as old as I am, you may remember Bo and Luke Duke's General Lee, the red and white grand Torino of Starsky & Hutch, the talkative KITT from Knight Rider, or Magnum's Ferrari. To this day I remember Nancy Drew and George driving around in that convertible, two adventurous girls stirring up mysteries to be solved. Cars can serve as character, symbol, or metaphor. All we have to do is recall the iconic last shot of Thelma and Louise to know that.

In my next book, House of Secrets, which comes out in April, my heroine June has an unbreakable attachment to her car, a 1968 Corvette Roadster. She's a widow, and the car was a favored gift from her late husband. In the book, it's part character/part symbol of June's inability to move on with her life. When the car becomes part of the suspense, she has to make some difficult choices. I think her struggle will be familiar to anyone who's had to make a hard change in her life.

But all is not somber for June. She's my feistiest heroine ever; so much, in fact, that the editors had me tone her back a bit. She's funny, honest, outspoken, straightforward and down-to-earth. She hates liars, so, of course, I pit her against one of the slickest, most manipulative sociopaths I've ever written. Two of them...

I loved that Corvette Roadster. But I also love the bright orange Pontiac GTO I use in the next book... you have a favorite car you'd love to get in and head out to find trouble?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What do you image--Lenora Worth

I'm headed to the grocery store. That's always such fun, isn't it? I knew it was time when I decided to have a mini-omelet and discovered we were out of eggs. Then I decided I'd have some wheat bread toast and a piece of low-fat cheese, only to discover that someone had eaten all of my low-fat cheese. Hmmm. Okay, maybe a banana. Yes, we have no bananas today! No grapes, and one puny apple. No strawberries, either. I need a valet!

But not to worry. As much as I dread walking into that big superstore, I dread even worse having no chocolate in the house. Why is it when you're trying to eat less, you just want more? Anyway, I decided I'd make this a fun trip. I'll use my imagination in the produce aisle. The woman with the white fur hat--I'm guessing she used to live in Russia. Maybe she was a spy. Now she's settled in the deep south and is enjoying this cold spell, so she pulled out her pretty fur hat that the tall, dark and handsome American man gave her once when they thought they were in love.

The little boy smiling at me from a buggy that is blocking the bread aisle--he's about to enter pre-school and he's afraid but he can't tell his mommy that because she goes on and on about what fun he'll have and all the new friends he'll make. But she doesn't see that hint of fear in his smile. I wink at him, hoping to give him some confidence.

And finally, the pretty woman in the book section, looking around for that latest bestseller--she's lonely because her husband is off fighting a war and even though she misses him, she is a romantic at heart so she believes she will be with him again one day. They will have the life they always planned, with a beautiful cottage in a quiet neighborhood, a fluffy dog and a beautiful baby or two. She picks up a book, reads the back cover then looks up at me as she drops the book into her buggy.
Everything will be all right.

I finish my shopping, secure and happy with my chocolate and bananas. In the check-out aisle, I get in line behind the Russian lady. She takes our her wallet to pay, but stops to look at an aged picture of a dark-haired man. I give her some privacy by turning to smile again at the pre-schooler who is now holding a toy soldier in his hand. Behind him and his frazzled mother, I see the young woman who is buying the paperback novel and as our eyes meet in understanding, I thank God that I am able to use my imagination every day--at the grocery store and when I sit down to write my little stories.

Now, that wasn't so bad, was it?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Movies, movies, movies!

As most of my friends know, I LOVE going to the movies. This week I was fortunate enough to see the Disney animated film, TANGLED. I can HIGHLY recommend it!!

I find that most animated flicks are well structured, hit all the emotional buttons and are very engaging. These days with all the dark movies out there (yes, I saw BLACK SWAN), it’s like a breath of fresh air to see something so fresh and entertaining, with themes that resonate in your heart. Two more from last year that I thoroughly enjoyed were TOY STORY 3 and HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON.

Academy Award nominees were announced this morning, one of my favorites being THE KING’S SPEECH (R). Talk about an inspirational story! And it’s based on an historical figure, King George VI. I can recommend this movie with the caveat that they do swear a bit, so if that offends you, you may not enjoy the film as much as I did.

Speaking of which, I often wonder why there are so few PG or G-rated movies made these days. Is it because teenagers won’t think it’s cool unless there’s a PG13 or R rating? After all, teenagers are a big demographic for ticket sales.

At any rate, I’m lucky to have picked up a film or two that I keep around when I need an upbeat movie to brighten up my day. Some of my favorites are: While You Were Sleeping (1995), The Kid (2000), Legally Blond (2001), The Apartment (1960), and That Thing You Do (1996).

What kinds of movies do you have on your DVD shelf? Have you seen anything good in the theatre lately? I’m always looking for a good recommendation.

Have a great day!


Monday, January 24, 2011


Hi, this is Margaret Daley. This weekend I am going to Phoenix to talk with the ACFW local chapter. I am really looking forward to meeting all of them. One of the topics I am speaking on is openings of stories. I would like your help on this subject. What do you like to see in an opening scene of a romantic suspense (or any story)? What are some openings you have enjoyed?

One of the openings I still remember after twenty-five years is the opening of Star Wars, especially when Darth Vadar comes onto the scene. You knew exactly what the story was going to be about and that Darth Vadar was BAD. Think of the James Bond movies. They all start with an action scene--one that James Bond has to get out of. So what do you like?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Daughter of Texas Interview

Today we're welcoming Corinna Pike , the heroine of Daughter of Texas, by Terri Reed, a January 2011 release.

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 ballerina by profession and I also teach dance to children at a women's shelter. As the daughter of a Texas Ranger I’ve known since I was old enough to comprehend that my father’s job held great danger but he did everything he could to shield me from the nastier side of life. But he couldn’t protect me from finding him murdered in our family home. The villain that killed my father now wants me dead too!

2. So, during the book you met Ben Fritz. Tell us a bit about him. What was your first impression? When did you know it was love?
My father brought Ben home when I was twelve and Ben was nineteen. He was a punk, headed down the wrong side of the law when my father decided to bring Ben under his wing. I resented Ben from the get-go. Here was the son my dad always wanted. Dad groomed Ben to become a Ranger like himself. I didn’t see much of Ben as I grew older. But when my dad was murdered, Ben became my self-appointed protector. I just wanted him to find the killer, but Ben wanted to keep me safe forcing us to be together. As I got to know Ben, I realized how good hearted and honorable he was, just like my father! But Ben also had a way of making me feel special that really captured my heart.

3. What strengths/skills do you have? What is your greatest weakness?
I’m my father’s daughter, which is my greatest strength and my greatest weakness. Hiding from danger, letting the bad guy win was not an option, much to Ben’s frustration. I didn’t make it easy for him to protect me.

4. What scares you? Losing the ones I love. My mom died when I was young. Then my dad. I don’t know if I could take losing Ben.

5. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I’d be more open with my feelings. I tend to isolate for fearing of being hurt.

6. Where are you in your faith at the start of your story? I’m angry at God for allowing my mother to die of cancer. I prayed and prayed for her to become well, but she didn’t. I turned my back on God. My father never did. And yet, he was murdered. I didn’t understand why God would allow that.

7. Where are you in your faith at the end of the story? Ben helped me see that God loves me and that sickness is a part of the human condition. My mother was healed, in heaven. As for my dad’s murder, a human being did that, not God. God gives up free will. Sometimes I wish He didn’t, but I know God wants us to choose to love Him.

8. You've got a scripture at the beginning of the story. Tell us why this scripture is significant.
Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. Psalms 37:4
I like this verse because it’s active. For me delighting in God means praying, reading the Bible, listening for Him wisdom. Then God is active by giving us the desires. I don’t think this means, He asks like a genie and will grant us wishes, but rather He will place in our hearts desires that are to our benefit. Just like He placed love for Ben in my heart. I never would have wished to fall in love with Ben, but God knew we needed each other.

9. If you could be a dessert what would you be and why?
Tiramisu because it’s rich with layers both delicate and strong, just like me. Plus, it’s my favorite dessert.

Terri Reed will be sending one lucky commenter a copy of Daughter of Texas-so please leave an email address so she can contact you.

Saturday, January 22, 2011


Texas Ranger Ben Fritz would give his life to protect Corinna Pike. After all, she's his captain's beloved daughter—and the only witness to her father's murder. When the assassin targets Corinna, Ben dedicates himself to her safety…while keeping his distance. The beautiful ballerina deserves better than a rough-and-tough ranger. Yet Corinna refuses to ignore the draw between them, just as she refuses to give in to fear as danger grows. Ben will need her courage—and love—to guide him through the line of fire when the killer strikes again.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Cozy fires and comfy reads

Greetings from snowy, blustery Nashville, TN.

I grew up in the desert southwest, in an obscure part of Arizona that never saw a fleck of snow in the 20 years that my family lived there. So when I ventured out to find a job in publishing, which had been a life-long dream, I faced some weather I hadn't seen since my early childhood. My longest stop on this journey called life after college was in Colorado Springs, where I sure saw my fair share of the white stuff.

But when I made the move to Nashville, I thought I was leaving the snow behind for sun--and humidity.

Not so quick!
While this summer was certainly hot and humid, this winter has proven full of snow and ice thus far. And I've discovered that no matter where I am in this country if there's snow on the ground and a chill in the air, I want to be snuggled under a blanket in front of a cozy fire reading a good book. So that's what I've been doing lately--even if I can't find a fire or a blanket. My book has traveled everywhere with me this week, and I'm grateful for the company every chance I get amidst the frigid temperatures.
And did I mention my pink, fuzzy socks? Oh, those help me fight the freeze every day, too!

Are you battling cold right now, too? How do you deal with it?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

What's Your Word for 2011?

Since it's the beginning of a new year, I've been asking God over the last several weeks what my word or theme for this year is. If you listen to K-LOVE, I'm sure you heard them talking about that last week, too.

I don't remember where I first ran into the idea, but I love asking God for a word or theme verse to ponder and incorporate into my life. This year I think my word is BELIEVE and the verse is Isaiah 43:18-19:

“Forget about what’s happened! Don’t keep going over old history. Be alert! Be present! I’m about to do something brand new. It’s bursting out. Don’t you see it? There it is! I’m making a road in the desert and rivers in the badlands.” (MSG)

This verse and really the chapter have spoken to me over the last few years. What's really standing out to me this year are the middle sentences: Be alert! Be present! Don't miss what I'm doing now. Ouch. How often am I somewhere else rather than in the moment? Whether that moment is teaching one of the kids long division, interacting with our toddler, or playing a game? Often my mind is working on multiple levels, and that's not always a good thing.

So what's your word for the year? Here are some people gave me last week...maybe they'll inspire you or resonate...

o   Rest   o   Hope   o   Prosper  o   Work  o   Change   o   Finish  o   Love
o   Seeing  o   Productivity  o   Love: I Cor 13  o   Balance  o   Empowerment
o   Trust       o   Sustain   o Center (prior year was gather)  o   expectation  o   listen
o   intention  o   relax  o   focus  o   give  o   transformed  o   nurse  o   harvest
o   wait  o   faith

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


By Debby Giusti

Suspense writers love ticking time bombs. Put the hero and heroine in danger and give them a limited amount of time before something terrible happens, like they'll die or someone they love will die.


The vicarious adrenalin rush, the sweaty palms and elevated pulse that go along with a countdown keep readers turning pages and ready to buy the next book.

But what about real life ticking time bombs, AKA deadlines?


I just completed THE CAPTAIN’S MISSION, book two in my Military Investigations series from Love Inspired Suspense.

My January deadline meant I’d be working during the Christmas season, but I had four months from contract to completion, which seemed adequate. In reality, shopping, gift wrapping, decorating the house and preparing for the influx of family took time, and something had to be pushed aside. This year, I didn’t send cards or my usual holiday newsletter, but everything else got done, including the book.

Of course, I did turn down a few holiday parties and stayed home New Year’s Eve, but the manuscript arrived in New York ahead of schedule.

Usually the last few weeks before the book is due, I concentrate totally on the story and cancel most of my other activities. Going to church and prayer remain front and center, but everything else is put on hold. If I’m really down to the wire, I stop cooking and my daughter takes over the kitchen duties.

Since my entire focus is getting the story ready for submission, I usually stay up late and rise early. My goal is to get five hours of sleep each night so I can remain alert throughout the next day, although the fear of failure usually takes care of that concern. No need to set my alarm at night. My internal clock wakes me before dawn.

Often I stand at my kitchen counter and work on my laptop in the early morning hours. By 10 A.M., I’m at my desk where I stay until I go to bed. I try to be ergonomically correct while at my computer, but long hours of sitting are hard on my back and wrists so I get up and stretch at regular intervals. Also, I take a walk every day, time and weather permitting.

I love Diet Coke, but I watch my intake when I'm on deadline. Instead, I attempt to stay hydrated with water. Usually, I don’t drink enough liquids while I'm at the computer and have to catch up by gulping down a glass or two of water during my breaks.

With this last book, I had trouble with eye fatigue. I switched to wearing glasses for longer periods and shortened the number of hours I wore my contacts. I also increased the zoom function on my monitor to 150% to help ease the strain on my eyes. I kept thinking about the Post-It note a friend keeps on her monitor: BLINK!

Even when the writing is done, getting the work into the final format is time consuming. Self-editing and rereading the pages in a hard copy or in a different font to pick out typos takes time, as well. My husband and eldest daughter read my final copy before I send the book off to the editor. If they find any glaring errors, those corrections also need to be made.

Printers always act up when a book is due! I try to keep extra print cartridges and reams of paper on hand so I don’t have to run to Staples at the last minute. Luckily, I have a backup printer if my old faithful decides to crash.

Mailing options vary and impact whether the book arrives on time. I’ve had problems with USPS Priority Mail so I usually send my manuscripts UPS. Brown provides a great on-line tracking system, and I follow my manuscript’s progress as it leaves my small town, heads first to Atlanta and then on to New York City. Regular delivery gets it to Love Inspired Books in two working days. Overnight delivery is more expensive but is sometimes a necessity when time is short. I email my editor to let her know the manuscript is on the way and attach the document file electronically along with the message.

When you're under a deadline--whether contest entry or full-length manuscript for publication--and the clock is ticking, how do you handle the stress and complete the work on time?

Happy writing!

Wishing you abundant blessings,
Debby Giusti

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

For Women Only

Terri Reed here and I wanted to share a book with you that has helped me not only in my marriage but in my writing. In this book the author has interviewed men from all walks of life and has shared the eye opening results with the reader. If you've ever wondered what's going on inside your guys head, read this book.

For Women Only by Shaunti Feldhahn

Monday, January 17, 2011

Margaret's Coming to Town

Pamela Tracy here, and I love the sense of community Christian writers and Christians readers have. For example, in just a few weeks one of my fellow bloggers will be in my neighborhood giving a workshop. I call that a reunion. I look forward to gabbing, sight-seeing, and just plain bonding. I've heard Margaret speak on craft and such, and am soooo looking forward to this event. Here's what our advertisement looks like:

Writer’s Workshop with author Margaret Daley – 1/29/11

Margaret Daley (ACFW President) is an award winning author for Harlequin's Love Inspired line. She has published more than sixty books.

Saturday January 29th, 2011 Camelback Church of Christ
5225 East Camelback Rd, Phoenix, Arizona 85018

Two sessions and a Q&A:
11:00-12:00 Career Building
Lunch Break
1:30-2:30 Writing Suspense Fiction
2:30-3:00 Q & A

Free to CWOW/ACFW members
Non-members: $15 or $10 if you join CWOW/ACFW

Courtesy of:
Christian Writers of the West
CWOW - Christian Writers of the West (estab. 2006)
is an American Christian Fiction Writer (ACFW) affiliate club.

We meet at 1:00pm the last Saturday of every month.
Manuel's Fine Mexican Food, 2350 E Southern Ave, Tempe, AZ 85282
Visitors are welcome. Annual dues $10 plus ACFW membership.

RSVP CWOW President, Ann Miller

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Danger on Her Doorstep Interview

Today we're welcoming Gideon Bromley, the hero of Danger on Her Doorstep, by Rachelle McCalla, January 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.

An old friend of mine called me up to tell me he’d found something suspicious—that I wouldn’t believe it until I saw it with my own eyes. Twenty minutes later I arrived at the old Victorian home he was working on and found him dead on the floor with his pockets turned out. I have no idea why he may have been killed or what the suspicious item was that he wanted me to see—but I believe it may be somewhere in that old house.

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

Maggie’s father is the man I found dead. She’d returned to Holyoake after years away hoping to settle her father’s estate. But before she can unload the house he died in, it has to be returned to a habitable state. That’s where I come in. I’m going to help Maggie fix up the house—and hopefully discover who killed her father, and why.

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

I’m a pretty clever handyman when it comes to fixing up the house. But I can’t forgive myself that Glen Arnold died in this house—and that I didn’t get there in time to save him.

4. What scares you?

Whoever killed Glen Arnold is still out there. Strange things have been happening around the house—like someone is trying to scare us away. My biggest fear is that something will happen to Maggie. I failed to save her father. How could I live with myself if I fail her, too?
5. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I wish I had the kind of faith Maggie has. I got a Bible from her father years ago, and I’d like to learn more about faith, but I don’t want to look foolish in front of Maggie.
6. Where are you in your faith at the start of your story?

It worries me that Maggie thinks God can protect her. God didn’t protect Glen, did he?

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

God really can protect us—if we trust Him. I’ve learned to trust God, and that makes me feel a lot better about the future.

8. You've got a scripture at the beginning of the story. Tell us why this scripture is significant.
“Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain.” Glen Arnold marked this verse from Psalm 127:1 in the Bible he gave me. For a long time, I thought it was about building houses. But then God opened my eyes to see the true meaning—that it’s not just about a physical building, but a household, a family. I want to have a Godly family, and I want Maggie to be a part of that.

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

Chocolate lasagna. I have a lot of layers.

Saturday, January 15, 2011


Her father's death didn't seem suspicious. Yet Maggie Arnold can't deny that there's something odd about the old Victorian house he was working on when he died. The house that Maggie has now inherited. All she wants is to finish the renovations, sell the house and leave Holyoake, Iowa…but that's easier said than done. The only handyman in town who steps up to help her is Gideon Bromley—a man no one in Holyoake wants to trust. And just beyond every corner hides the person determined to keep them both away from the house…for good.

Friday, January 14, 2011

What do you want more (or less of) in Christian fiction? Readers weigh in!

Hello, all. Dana Mentink here. I have been following a discussion thread on Amazon over the past few months. The topic is Christian fiction and as I writer of that very thing, I found the answers interesting when the question came up about what readers wanted more (or less of) in their inspy fiction. I've culled a few comments for this blog.

More of the male point of view.

More Hispanic, Latin, Native American protagonists.

More exotic locales.

Romances featuring older (45+) couples. (This came up a lot.)

More deeply flawed characters.

Better writing. (Ouch!) Commenters suggested that Christian fiction can be dull, preachy, with stiff and predictable prose.

More spiritually mature characters. There should be some people to act as guides in this area. Not all characters need to be new to the faith.

Well what do you think? Do you agree? Disagree? Want to add some more recommendations?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Coming home

Leann Harris here. Yesterday, I was driving home from Austin with 3 friends. We had been at the capitol. It was dark and we'd just finished our Kolaches which we bought at the Czech stop. Suddenly, I saw a brown blur, then the passenger side mirror was dislodged from the car and the buck staggered off the road.

The car didn't veer, only slowed down a bit, but no one was hurt. We don't know what happened to the deer, but we prayed for God's safety and blessings on us as we traveled. That was shown to us. No one was hurt and minor damage to the car.

I could only thank God for his mercy. Since that time, I've talked to numerous people who had the same experience, but with different results.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Wallpaper and Road Rallies

So what could those two possibly have in common? What can you not do with your husband without ending up doing time in prison for it?

This is Barbara Phinney, and I will explain. But first, allow me to back up a bit.
Our daughter is getting married, and she and her husband will need a place to stay. I offered our house, but for some reason, that was flatly refused. So we checked out the housing market, and discovered it was cheaper to buy a house and pay the mortgage, than rent a place. Sad state of affairs that is.

So we've bought a mini home. My daughter didn't want to live in a 'trailer' but legally it is a mini home, so we're going with that.

And we're, in one sense, flipping it. It was desperately in need of updating, so we're redoing the bathroom, the kitchen, ripping up decades old carpet and painting walls. You all know the routine.

We've put up paintable wallpaper. Which now leads me to my title. Wallpaper is one of two things that I'm sure is legally allowed by law as an excuse for splitting husband and wife, but I am proud to say, my husband and I have
survived this. The last time, we nearly didn't survive as a family, but I guess as time goes on, we all mellow, and find the right balance. He cuts, I wet, he does the high stuff, I do the low stuff, I smooth out while he's cutting the next piece.
But road rallies are different. We did one years ago, in Germany no less! and we had to pull over to the side of the road to argue.

Then two years ago we did another one, and had a blast. (yeah!) It was pretty much like that goofy movie Rat Race. We survived that.

I guess what I'm saying is that don't give up on something because you wanted to bop your husband when you both did it. Try it again in a few years, laugh about it and relax. If we can survive road rallies and wallpaper, so can you.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A Sense of Wonder

I know that not a few of you are living in places where you are enjoying - perhaps for the first time - snow on the ground. I know, I've seen the pictures you've posted on websites and blogs and loops and youtube. It's quite amazing. Some of you have said that your children have never seen snow, and so a day off from school to enjoy it is quite in order.

I imagine it would be like me waking up one morning here in Canada, and looking out to see a palm tree growing in my front lawn. The whole neighborhood would be out taking pictures. (The only time I see palm trees is when I go away somewhere - and I'm usually amazed and feel compelled to take pictures!)

Everybody takes pictures of these anomalies and posts them online, but we writers do something else with these experiences - we imagine. We add story to them. We ask 'What if?" On another loop I frequent, one author suggested that with the snow she is now experiencing for the first time, it might be a good place to 'hide' something in her mystery - a body, a knife, a gun. (Now, we who live in the land of snow shake our heads. We know better. Snow is the policeman's friend. Snow is a wonderful medium for footprints!)

These are the thoughts of a writer. It's going beyond the obvious and asking the 'what if' questions. It's looking at the less obvious solutions. A number of years ago when I was 'stuck', a writer friend of mine suggested I go to the mall, and walk around pretending I was my main character. Where would my heroine shop? What stores would she go into? They might be very different than the stores I frequent. What racks of clothing would she go through? What size? What cosmetics would she buy? Where would she buy her coffee? Starbucks or Tim Hortons?

Another exercise is to sit down with a clean j0urnal book and start writing entries from the pov of your hero or heroine. Make things up.

I guess what I want to say is to stay in that sense of wonder - the same sense of wonder that many of you woke up to a few days ago and saw snow for the first time!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Here in Arizona

Pamela Tracy here, and I live in Arizona. Right now, we're in the news often. This past weekend has been a little tough. See, one of my best friends lives in Tucson, and I've been to the grocery store where six people died senselessly. As a Christian, I'm supposed to forgive, but seeing the faces of innocents makes me angry. Guess that's Satan's goal.
The nine-year-old tugs at my heart the most.
Then, watching the news came the close-up of a church. Yes, another connection. Church of Christ. If I lived in Tucson, I might attend that church. My dad was a deacon in our home Church of Christ congregation. I taught for a Church of Christ elementary school for fourteen years. Right now, I teach a Wednesday night 4-6th grade Bible class and do a puppet ministry on Sunday morning. The Church of Christ is my home. In reading the details of Dorwan Stoddard's life, I'm humbled. He was the man the church turned to when something needed fixing. He organized the benevolence committee. He died protecting his wife. One of the quotes said, "There's going to be a hole in our congregation."
And so we pray

Sunday, January 9, 2011


Today we're welcoming Lacey Gibson, the heroine of MISSING by Lynette Eason, released January 2011.
Wow, you've just had quite an adventure.

Indeed I have. It’s amazing how you can plan everything so carefully and then life throws you a curveball like you never imagined.

1. Tell us a little about yourself and how you came to be in the midst of such suspense. I’m Lacey Gibson, a mom first and graphic designer second. My fifteen year old daughter, Bethany, and I just moved back here to Spartanburg, SC. I was a teenage mother. My father was a strict, hardnosed man with a congregation that wouldn’t understand the pastor’s daughter turning up pregnant. So, they sent me off to a home for unwed mothers. Yes, they still have those. I had my baby and carved a life for us, barely scraping by, but we made it. With God’s help and the help of the people He put in our paths. Before long, I knew I needed to move home and take care of things from the past. One of those things was to make amends with my parents. Unfortunately, just as we started doing that, Bethany disappeared.

2. So, during the book you met MASON STONE. Tell us a bit about him. What was your first impression? When did you know it was love? Mason was my first love back in high school. In fact, you know those things from the past I moved home to take care of? Well, Mason was one of them. He’s Bethany’s father only he doesn’t know it. Somehow, I’ve got to find the courage to tell him about her. And beg his forgiveness for waiting so long to do so.

3. What strengths/skills do you have? What is your greatest weakness? Strengths? I’m a bulldog. I get my mind set on something and you might as well not bother trying to get me to change it. Which can also be a drawback, a weakness. Stubbornness gets me in trouble a lot.

4. What scares you? Life sometimes. I get overwhelmed, wondering if I’m doing enough, if I’m a good enough mother. It’s hard raising a teen alone and I’m scared I’m going to mess her up permanently.
5. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I would learn how to ask for help. It’s so hard for me to do that because I’ve been on my own for so long.
6. Where are you in your faith at the start of your story? I’m a relatively new Christian who wants to do what God wants even when I don’t understand why He’s telling me to do something.

7. Where are you in your faith at the end of the story? Still a new Christian, but definitely a stronger one. One who’d faith was tested—and came out true. I learned God is exactly who He says He is.

8. You've got a scripture at the beginning of the story. Tell us why this scripture is significant. “My Son,” the father said, “you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.” – Luke 15:31-32. I’ve always loved the parable of the prodigal son. The child who took his inheritance, squandered it, and then returned home willing to be a slave in his father’s house if only he could live there once again. Instead, his father welcomed him home and threw a party for him. In MISSING, Bethany was making a lot of bad choices. One of those choices put her in a bad position and even played a role in her best friend’s death to a small degree. However, while she wasn’t necessarily a prodigal, she was a lost child trying to find her way home again. When she finally did, she found out how truly special she really was in the sight of her parents and her Lord and how much they loved her.

9. If you could be a dessert what would you be and why? Anything chocolate because everyone LOVES chocolate.

Thank you Lynette for sharing Lacey with us today. This sounds like an exciting story!

Saturday, January 8, 2011


Her daughter is the most important person in Lacey Gibson's world. So when the girl disappears, Lacey will do anything to find her. Even track down a man she hasn't seen in sixteen years—U.S. Marshall Mason Stone, the father of her child.Mason was perfectly content with his life until Lacey arrived. Her confession that their daughter—the daughter he didn't know they had—is missing shakes his carefully controlled world. But there's no time to adjust as they race to find their child, catch the kidnappers…and learn whether they can have a second chance at happily-ever-after.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Dizzy Looking Up?

As a member of ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers), I get three of their email loops. Earlier today, I noticed a message from a lady looking for word to describe the dizzying feeling you get when you look UP at the Gateway Arch in St. Louis.

I understand her quest, in more ways than one. Yes, I’ve been there. I took this shot, looking up.

When you’re staring at that arch, with the clouds moving behind it, you do have a disoriented sense of the world. It’s an image that messes with your equilibrium, and you’re not sure what’s moving, the arch or the clouds.

Or you.

Sometimes I feel the same way when I’m looking “up,” looking to God for direction in my life. Uncertain, and just a little confused about what’s “moving.” Is this really His path for me or am I “forcing” my own will?

This is when I REALLY have to trust in His ability to turn it all for good, even when it’s ME who’s moving. He can turn it all to good.

Looking DOWN is sometimes easier—relying on the world’s signals and reassurances. Even when the distance is great, we can see boundaries and horizons, things we understand. But in many cases, these are limits that ground our dreams.

So for each of you, I hope you have a grand year of LOOKING UP, trusting and dreaming, even when it makes you a bit dizzy.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

What do readers like--Lenora Worth

It's a new year and already I'm late arriving. I didn't make an resolutions because I know I won't stick to them. I do like that it's a new beginning and a fresh start, however. Kind of a clean slate. Once the Christmas decorations are packed up and put away, the house does seem kind of bare. But it's also a blank space just begging for redecorating or rearranging.

Me, I get bored with the same old thing. Which would explain the many hairdoes I've had since high school! Sometimes a little change is needed. Which brings me to the question that started nagging me. What do readers like?

We have a whole slew of great writers at Love Inspired Suspense. We all enjoy writing the edgy, suspenseful stories that we create. And we love hearing from our readers regarding our stories. What is one of your most favorite things about reading LIS books? What could we do to better entertain you? What do you hate? Do you think we have a handle on the delicate balance between crime and punishment and love and romance?

One thing I've learned over the many years I've been writing books, and it comes from a wonderful former editor--Tracey Farrell. She was judging my entry in a contest once and because I'd placed first, she gave me a critique in person. She said, "Good, but always room for improvement." I think of Tracey's smile and her confidence in me each time I start a book. And I remember "Always room for improvement." This is some of the best advice I've ever had. There is always room for improvement and being a writer teaches us that with every book.

So, Dear Readers, let us know what you like about us. And also what you don't like. We can handle it. It's a new year, with a clean slate. And an empty page waiting to be filled.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

New Years Fun!

We celebrated New Years with a neighborhood gathering at our house on New Years Eve. Talk about a bountiful feast! Another highlight (other than fattening food we all promised to give up starting the next day) was a game we played where guests wrote something personal about themselves and we had to guess who the card belonged to. What a hoot! Neighbors wrote things like: “I was expelled in the sixth grade” and “At one time my family owned seven VW bugs” and my personal favorite, “I crashed my car into a tree during my driving test…and still passed!”

We all guessed, and joked, and laughed. Which inspired me to write “laugh more” on my list of resolutions for 2011. I think we forget how important laughter is to the body, mind and spirit. We all had a great time and felt a little closer to our neighbors after the night was over.

Resolutions are an interesting topic. We tend to make some pretty tough ones and a year later find we haven’t lost the 15 pounds and didn’t work exercise into our daily routine. But in my opinion, it’s still worth setting those kinds of goals. They remind us to take care of ourselves and focus on what’s important.

For me, important resolutions for 2011 include:
-- Laugh more!
-- Check e-mail 3 x a day (not 37 )
-- Call my parents and mother-in-law more frequently
-- Set up a “date night” with my husband (we’re empty nesters) at least once a month
-- See more upbeat movies (I’m a big movie fan)
-- Focus on eating healthier foods, as opposed to focusing on what junk food I’m trying to avoid
-- Give the kitty more attention (He got sick over the holidays and the vet said it was stress-related. He’s looking so much better above, don’t you think?)

That’s a good start, and somewhat realistic. I think the key to achieving goals is working them into your routine, so I’ll set certain days to call the parents, and figure out my meals for the next day the night before. As far as the kitty goes, I bought a book called “Psycho Kitty” (I’m not kidding) written by a Certified Animal Behavior Consultant to help me figure out how to de-stress his environment. Maybe I’ll learn something to help the rest of our family!

What are some of your resolutions this year? And since I’ve got “more upbeat movies” on my list, do you have any recommendations?


Hope White

Monday, January 3, 2011


Hello from Lisa Mondello. Margaret Daley normally posts on Monday, but I snatched her day and she's going to post for me this Friday. So if you came looking for Margarets post, you'll have to wait a few days.

I hope all of you have survived the holidays and enjoy loads of fun time with your families over Christmas and New Year's. Now it's back to business!

To get myself charged to write, I'm taking a screenwriting course by author/screenplay writer/instructor Alexandra Sokoloff. You can find out more information on this course at I'll admit it's not the first time I've taken this course because it's THAT good.

Anyway, all this supercharged plotting and writing has me thinking about plotting a new series. I'm not all that sure where it should be set. What's your favorite setting for a suspense series? Is it the big city? The small town in the middle of Montana? A southern town with old traditions and big secrets? A border town with mysterious strangers? Let me know.

Until next time, many blessings, Lisa Mondello

Saturday, January 1, 2011

What I Hope For in 2011 and beyond

Hi, Terri Reed here on New Year's Day. I don't usually do resolutions or goals necessarily. They are too easily broken. At least for me.

So I will look to the future with hope through faith. The Bible says in Hebrews 11 that Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

My hope for 2011 and beyond is (in no particular order) to see old friends and meet new friends, to be healthy, to realize and act upon opportunities to help others, to love with all my heart and to trust the Lord in everything. I hope for God's blessing on my family and our fiances. I hope to write books that touch hearts and bless God.

What do you hope for the future?