Sunday, February 27, 2011

Save the Date!

On March 1st, we're having a grand re-opening over on the Craftie Ladies of Love Inspired Romance blog. Yup, that's our sister blog. We've recently done a redesign, and we're in the process of making our blog more reader friendly and informative.
So, to entice you to take a visit on Tuesday, we're also playing a Guess the Author Game.
And, the person who either gets all of them, or gets the most first, gets a $16 gift card to Amazon. So, this Tuesday, come on over and play!

Friday, February 25, 2011

What's the point?


I really enjoy teaching writing techniques to kids. Yesterday’s discussion started out with the question, “What's the point of writing anyway? What does writing accomplish?” The consensus was, it accomplished many different purposes but one of the most powerful results of narrative writing is the potential to move the reader. The more you move that reader, the better the writing is. Make them laugh, cry, think, get angry, get curious, ignite their imaginations. The bigger the emotion, the better the book. I challenged myself to come up with a list of the books that have moved me the most and here they are. Please add to the list and we’ll see what kind of powerful books we’ve read collectively.
-Mrs. Mike, exceptional because it takes the reader through a range of emotions from happy to horrified.

-Rebecca, created in me a sense of anxiety that lasted until the last page.

-The Five People You Meet In Heaven , powerful and moving

-Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, infuriating and thought provoking

-Frankenstein’s Monster, oooooh, alternately revolted and engrossed me.

-Right Ho, Jeeves, laughter pure and simple, guaranteed

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Out, you winter, out!

Will this winter ne'er end?
Okay, so shoot me for misquoting Shakespeare's Macbeth. But I've got to tell you, it's getting a bit much here. That lump is our octagonal picnic table. Now compare it to seven months ago.

Winter has its pretty moments. But they get a bit tired after days of shoveling.
Does our faith get tired, too, after days of praying and seeing nothing but the need to pray some more?
Yes, it does, but we must remember to 'never cease in doing good, especially to fellow Christians.'
This past weekend, we discovered that the man who hit our son's car, and who is taking it to the insurance company, left his registration and insurance card in our car. And me, being tired of shoveling, praying and doing good, wanted to do something not very Christian back.
I'm not perfect, I admit that.
But I knew as soon as the suggestion left my mouth that it was wrong. We'll return the cards, and let whatever happens, happen.
There will be more storms, more shoveling, more praying needed. I just hope that I do not grow weary in well doing, for in due season, I will reap if I faint not. (Gal 6:9)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Chocolate Delight Night

Hi all, Lynette Eason here. I’m stuffy and sick, but at least I woke up with the stupid cold this morning and not yesterday. Yesterday was wonderful. I vaguely remember what it feels like not to have a sore throat and to be able to breathe out of my nose.

So anyway, let’s talk about yesterday. A couple of months ago, a friend of mine asked me to speak at her church’s women’s get together. I thought it might be fun so I said sure. I asked her the theme. She said, “It’s out 6th annual Chocolate Delight Night.” I said, “Say no more. I’m so there.”

And I was. And God was so good. The cold didn’t show up until this morning. I could have had it yesterday. So I’m not going to complain. Much. I could, I really could. But I’ll spare you.

After all, I got to eat chocolate.

It was a great night. Each table had a person who provided the decoration for that table. In my personal opinion, the chocolate fountain won hands down.




And then there were ladies with the tiaras. Really cute.




Saw lots of pageant like waves.




And then I spoke about choices and how our choices make ripples in our lives. One choice leads to another choice, etc. And each ripple equals the consequence of that choice. Well, it made more sense last night, but anyway, people seemed to like what I had to say and I sold a few books.

I have to say that I’m not a professional speaker. I’m a much better TEACHER than speaker, but I still get asked to speak and while I do enjoy it, I don’t think I’m very good at it. But if God can use it, I’m all for it and willing to do it. ☺

How about you other writers out there. Are you speakers as well as writers?

Friday, February 18, 2011

New York Times Best Seller's Extended List...

I had something else to post about today but this is just way too cool not to share. Our very own Craftie Lady, Lenora Worth, has made the New York Times extended list! WHOOHOO, Lenora! I'm so proud of you. Body of Evidence is out this month, so make sure you pick up a copy.

Here is the link to the list... Best Sellers - The New York Times

Please leave a comment and cheer Lenora on and let her know how excited we are for her!! You go girl!

Many blessings, Lisa Mondello

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Stress Relief

Yikes! I despise being late...with blogs, manuscripts, edits, bills. Yet my current status is late on almost all the above. Some can't be helped--my current life vacillates between chaos and panic.

This is always when it's hardest to breathe, to remind myself that God will provide a light at the end of the tunnel that isn't an oncoming train. And He has. I just need to get there without hyperventilating.

Enter...music. Lots of music. First on the agenda is a Acoustic Sunday, a recent album by guitarist Kevin Williams. More than gentle hymns, Mr. Williams is a skilled jazz and gospel artist who sometimes sounds as if he's a descendant of Django Reinhardt, who is next on the agenda. Then some rock, more gospel, a little alternative, a little country.

I can't even begin to explain in one blog the value music has in my life. It's my stress relief, my reminder that God's gift of creativity blankets the world.

In my current state of chaos, it's my reminder that He's always here, everpresent in our lives.

Happy listening.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Good and evil and bullying--Lenora Worth

We are suspense writers. We write stories about bullying all the time. In our stories, we go after the bad guys with a determination rooted in doing the right thing. Our heroes and heroines fight the good fight on every page, and show a little grace in doing so. They have to make tough decisions. But in the end, the bad guys don't win and the good guys do ride off into the sunset. Our heroes and heroines fall in love and start a life together.

The real word isn't so wonderful, however. I don't get mean people. We've all seen them in action. They wait until they have a "gang" to back them up then they go for it--picking on someone else just because they think they can. Why? Most bullies need to make themselves feel better, but why does it have to be at the expensive of someone else.

This has become even worse, of course, with modern technology and instant messages sent out into the cyber world. Writers sometimes get bullied by bad reviews or hurtful comments regarding our stories. But we've all learned to have tough skin. We love writing our books more than we dread the opinions of others.

I'm thankful that I'm allowed to write my stories and share them with the world. It's a risk we all take as writers. We all have the gift of freedom of speech. But we can only hope that we use our words to lift up, not tear down. When we look at history, we can see there has always been good and evil in the world. We each have a choice in how we go about our lives. My imagination allows me to create stories that triumph over some of the bad things in this world. And I certainly hope that in real life, I'll consider the power of words each and every day.

How do you feel about bullying? What books have inspired you and helped you to understand this type of situation?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Heartwarming romances

Have you heard about the new Harlequin line,  the "Harlequin Heartwarming Collection", which will be coming out soon? Online in March, in fact, and in the stores starting in April.   The books will be a wholesome style of romance, free of offensive language and physical intimacy, with positive family values.  Apparently, the great success of the Love Inspired line has shown that there are many readers out there who are seeking a good, "clean" read.  Irene Hannon,  a Love Inspired author, is in the debut line up, and there will be other Love Inspired authors with books coming out in the line, too.   And not just romance, but romantic suspense as well--I'll have two of those, in August,  and November or December.

It's heartwarming to me to learn that there is such a demand for the wholesome kind of books Love Inspired and Love Inspired Suspense publishes.  What types of stories are your favorites--the kinds of stories that are an "instant sale" to you when you read a back cover blurb?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day


Hi, this is Margaret Daley. I have been writing romance and romantic suspense for thirty years. Valentine's Day is such a great holiday for a romance writer. I started to do a blog about suspense and Valentine's Day. About the only thing suspenseful I could think of was what would my husband get me this year for Valentine's Day. So I decided to concentrate on the romance part of romantic suspense. After all, if I had to pick between the two, I would definitely pick romance over suspense in my life. It's fun reading suspense but about the most suspenseful thing I want in my life is what is my husband going to get me for Valentine's Day.

On eHarlequin one of the Love Inspired authors asked people what were their worst or best gift they got on Valentine's Day. I have to say my best gift was a beautiful vase of flowers delivered to my school on Valentine's Day from my secret admirer. The girls I taught gushed over them. I love flowers, especially ones that don't die in two days. These lasted a week and every time I looked at them I thought of the wonderful man I am married to. What was even more special about these flowers was that day I was having a difficult day and once I received those flowers all my angst vanished. What is your worst or best gift you received on Valentine's Day?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Keeping Guard Interview


Today we're welcoming Kylie Summers, the heroine of Keeping Guard by Christy Barritt, a February 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.
My name is Kylie Summers. I have a cooking show on a local TV station back in Kentucky. Cooking for other people is like sharing part of my life with them. I love nothing more than coming around the table with other people to share food and stories. About six months ago, I began receiving threats on my life from someone. The problem is that I’ve never seen this person’s face, so he could be anyone. It’s gotten serious enough that I left my home to take refuge with my brother’s best friend in Virginia. I’m working in his restaurant and living in an extra apartment above the kitchen.

2. So, during the book you met Nate Richardson. Tell us a bit about him. What was your first impression? When did you know it was love?
Nate came across as really gruff to me initially. I couldn’t imagine spending one hour with him, nonetheless weeks! But Nate’s a bit like a roasted marshmallow. He’s tough on the outside, but so sweet on the inside. I knew I loved him when he put his own life in danger in order to save me. He’s quite guarded with his heart, but once he lets you into his life, he’s protective, loyal and faithful.

3. What strengths/skills do you have? What is your greatest weakness?
I’m great in the kitchen. I also love people and I love organizing things. My greatest weakness is that I’ve been letting other people boss me around for far too long. It’s time to start making my own decisions now, and to take control of both my life and my career.

4. What scares you?
Besides the mad man trying to kill me? I’d have to say that being alone scares me—not in the temporary sense, but in the grand scheme of things. Life is so much sweeter when we surround ourselves with people who care about us… much like a brownie tastes ten times better when covered in chocolate, ice cream and whip cream!
5. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I wouldn’t be the youngest in my family. I tend to get babied quite a bit.

6. Where are you in your faith at the start of your story?
I had lymphoma as a teenager and the disease strengthened my faith in God at the time. But after remission, I began asking questions to God like: Why me? Why when I was so young? What did I do wrong to deserve that disease? Eventually, I simply started going through the motions of Christianity, but my relationship with God wasn’t really there.

7. Where are you in your faith at the end of the story?
I’ve realized that circumstances can’t determine who I am. I have to let God take charge of my life, and let my faith strengthen me instead of using life circumstances as an excuse for doubt.

8. You've got a scripture at the beginning of the story. Tell us why this scripture is significant.
The Scripture is Psalms 25:20 which says, “Guard my life and rescue me; let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in You.” God does watch over our lives, even when we feel like He’s absent. We’re the ones who take steps away from God, never the opposite. We must cling to God in the hard times, trusting that He’s indeed guarding over our lives.

9. If you could be a dessert what would you be and why?
I’d have to say bananas foster. Why? Because before the dessert reaches it’s full potential, it has to be set on fire. I’d definitely say that I had to go through the fire in order to be refined!

Christy will bless a commenter with a book. Please leave an email address for Christy to contact you.


Christy Barritt has two new romantic suspense novels coming out in 2011: Keeping Guard and The Last Target. She’s also the author of the Squeaky Clean Mystery Series, which follows the adventures of crime-scene cleaner Gabby St. Claire. When Christy’s not working on her books, she writes articles for various publications and leads worship at her church. She lives in Virginia with her husband, two young sons and a houseplant named Martha. When Christy has some free time, she enjoys… who’s she kidding? She never has free time! And she wouldn’t have it any other way. Visit her website at: www.christybarritt.com.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

FEATURED BOOK: KEEPING GUARD BY CHRISTY BARRITT

Her anonymous stalker's threats are getting scarier and scarier. Now Kylie Summers fears for her life. She flees her home for the protection of a former military man in a small Virginia town. But her brother's handsome best friend already has a long list of obligations. Kylie knows she's intruding on Nate Richardson's life. Even though he promises to keep her safe, Nate's keeping her at arm's length emotionally. Until her stalker emerges from the shadows, forcing Nate to choose between keeping guard over his wary heart—or Kylie.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Pushing Through

Have you ever noticed how life can get tough with the slightest disruption to routine. I have a nine week old. Disruption #1.

I have some funky cold/sore throat/ear thing. It wakes me in the middle of the night and keeps me up. Disruption #2.

My husband is traveling for work, leaving me a single parent. (My hats off to those of you who take that role every day!) Disruption #3.

Yet, my responsibilities don't lessen. I still get to put on all of my hats and juggle all my jobs. It's just the way it is.

I've been working on a proposal that still feels flat to me. And I think it's that there isn't enough conflict. The heroine doesn't have enough disruptions going on in her life at the same time. Now my job as the creator of the story world is to wreck some serious havoc in her life. And the Hero's. It seems mean, but if I don't compound everything going on in her life, then you as readers won't stay engaged.

So I'm off to create some disruptions. Some major disruptions. In her life.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Book Club Tonight!

Book Club is meeting at my house tonight.  We're discussing THE KITCHEN HOUSE, by Katheleen Grisson, which was an excellent read. 

When a group of friends from church -- we had all made a retreat together -- decided to form a book club, I wasn't sure if it would work for me.  Like many of you, my "To Be Read" stack of books reached to the ceiling.  With so many stories, many written by my good friends, I didn't want to "have" to read a book that wasn't on my TBR list.  But after the very first meeting, I changed my mind, and now I always look forward to our monthly get-togethers.

Here are a few reasons why I think book clubs are great for writers:

1.  Exposure to books we might not have read on our own.
2.  The discussion helps us "see" stories through the readers' eyes.
3.  We quickly learn what hooks the reader and draws her into the book.
4.  A night spent talking about books is always a treat!
5.  The food is delicious.
6.  Getting together monthly with dear friends is so, so special.

What do you like about book clubs?

Happy reading!

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


Check out the FEB issue of Chrisma article, which features Love Inspired books.  (The cover of my next release, THE OFFICER'S SECRET, is on page 27!)  Don't miss the heartwarming stories and inspiring articles in the magazine.  To see the digital issue, go to http://strang.imirus.com/Mpowered/book/vstrfil11/i1/p1

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Everything by Lifehouse

Terri Reed here on a gloomy Tuesday. Outside my office window the sky is gray and drizzly. In front of me is my computer, waiting for words that aren't coming so easily today. See, I'm in the middle of a deadline and I'm feeling the pressure. I can't work in silence, so I fired up my daughter's ipod. Everything by Lifehouse qued up first. The song starts out soft and gentle but builds to a cresendo. As I listened, I could feel my spirits lifting, my energy reviving and my creativity stirring.
Click on the link below and when the music starts, close your eyes and listen. I hope you'll be inspired.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fjDojEOiMcE&feature=list_related&playnext=1&list=MLGxdCwVVULXeWOEdMBAgr_2ejvnWg_dFW

Monday, February 7, 2011

Memories: Old Friends

Pamela Tracy here, and, yes, you'll be once again hearing about things I found when I REALLY cleaned my office over Christmas. Let me jog your memory. The last time I chatted about this I chastised myself because I'd kept check stubs from 1979 (first job).

Some things I discovered, however, were not so mundane. I found my autograph book from the seventies. I'm having a blast going through it. I've listed some teachers (I remember two). I do remember many of the kids. And, I'm amazed at how personalities come through.

For example, Bob Worden wrote on fifteen pages of my autograph album. He wrote the same two words in sprawling, giant letters: PAM WHO?

Joleen Staats wrote: I auto this; I auto that; but in this book I autograph.

My good friend Robin wrote: You are my best friend, besides Lisa.

Marian Ballenger wrote: When you are old and out of shape, remember that girdles are only $2.98.

Lynne Eppenbaugh wrote: When you get married and have some twins, don't come to me for safety pins.

Every page of my autograph book is filled. As I first cruised through it, my finger touching the faded words and names from my past suddenly shimmering into shapes before me, I realized I miss my friends of old. Yet, what a treat, their words are right here in my autograph book.

Courtesy of Linda Farris: Big ships, little ships, they never made a ship like friendship.

Did you have an autograph book? What does it say?

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Turbulence Interview


Today we're welcoming Maddie Lambert, the heroine of Turbulence, a February LIS novel by Dana Mentink. Wow, you've just had quite an adventure.


1. Tell us a little about yourself and how you came to be in the midst of such suspense. I was boarding a flight to deliver a Berlin Heart, an experimental artificial device, to my father who was injured in the same crash that killed my nieces. The doctor who treated the girls was my fiancé, Paul Ford whom my father and I blamed for letting my nieces die.

2. So, during the book you encountered Paul Ford again. Tell us a bit about him/her. I was completely in shock to discover Paul on board the plane. I believed at one time that Paul was my soul mate. Until the day of the accident I thought he was the best trauma doctor in the world. Then things fell apart, too much grief,too much blame, and we broke up. After surviving the plane crash and fighting for survival against a man who wanted us dead, I let go the anger I’ve been carrying around and Paul came to terms with his guilt. We found our way back to each other with the Lord’s help.

3. What strengths/skills do you have? What is your greatest weakness? I’m proud and stubborn which is both a strength and weakness. I’m compassionate, especially about children, and ferociously devoted to my father and sister.

4. What scares you? Losing my father or sister.
5. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I would become more humble.
6. Where are you in your faith at the start of your story? Enraged at God for taking my nieces.

7. Where are you in your faith at the end of the story? Accepting of the loss and able to trust God that he uses all things for the good.

8. You've got a scripture at the beginning of the story. Tell us why this scripture is significant. The scripture is Proverbs 3:3-4. It talks about how we need to keep God’s kindness and truth close to us always, in spite of the traumas and tragedies we experience.

9. If you could be a dessert what would you be and why?
I would be fresh fruit, wholesome, refreshing and a little tangy too.

Thank you Dana for sharing Maddie with us today. Sound like an exciting read!
For a chance to be blessed with one of Dana's book's leave a comment and your email address for her to contact you.

Dana Mentink lives in California where the weather is golden and the cheese is divine. Her family includes two girls (affectionately nicknamed Yogi and Boo Boo.) Papa Bear works for the fire department and he met Dana doing a dinner theater production of The Velveteen Rabbit. Ironically, their parts were husband and wife.
Dana is a 2009 American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year finalist for romantic suspense and an award winner in the Pacific Northwest Writers Literary Contest. Her October release, Betrayal in the Badlands, has been nominated for a 2010 Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award.
She spent her college years competing in speech and debate tournaments all around the country. Besides writing, she busies herself teaching Sunday school and working in second/third grade combination class. Mostly, she loves to be home with her family, a dog with social anxiety problems, a chubby box turtle and a quirky parakeet.
Dana loves to hear from her readers via her website (www.danamentink.com) or her Facebook reader page

Saturday, February 5, 2011

FEATURED BOOK: TURBULENCE BY DANA MENTINK

Someone wants to ensure that the flight bringing Maddie Lambert and a transplant organ to her father never reaches its destination. Someone who's desperate enough to sabotage the plane. In the aftermath of the crash, Maddie finds herself stranded on an isolated mountain with the last man she'd ever trust again—her ex-fiancĂ©, Dr. Paul Ford. He's the man she blames for her family's tragic loss, but now he's the only one who can get her to her father in time. Yet what neither of them knows is that the danger has just begun….

Friday, February 4, 2011

Watch out for those nasty cliches!


Hi, all. Dana Mentink here. I was perusing a Tweet from Harlequin Editor Emily Rodmell (who happens to me my editor!) about cliches that she sees often in suspense novels. Her first one was the vague threatening note ordering someone to back off from some unnamed threat. Must quickly delete that threatening note on the porch scene from my work in progress. Ha! It made me start thinking about other suspense cliches, things that tend to crop up in spite of our best efforts. Here's a quick list.

1. The aforementioned threatening note.

2. A similar threatening phonecall. No name given, just a menacing warning via the phone line. Or maybe even a call where no one speaks at all, just that nice menacing breathing and such.

3. The lady who goes into that dark basement by herself. Oy! I see this one in movies from time to time. Scary dark house? Killer on the loose? Is a normal person going into that basement? No way.

4. I know I'm going to get into trouble about this one because I'm guilty as charged, but writing the same type of hero. He's a....choose your role...Texas Ranger, Navy Seal, homicide detective, Marine, pararescueman...etc. etc. Oh I know! Who doesn't love to read about a macho, take charge kind of hero, but perhaps it would be a nice change of pace to insert a regular job in there? Of course he would be a remarkable character, but couldn't he have a regular Joe job? Say a nice accountant thrust into horrific circumstances that test his inner strength? Maybe that just doesn't get our romance juice flowing, but I've read many excellent suspense novels where the protag is just a regular guy and it's very compelling stuff.

Hmmm. What do you think? Any cliches in suspense fiction that bug you?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Dangerous acts

Hi, It's Barbara Phinney again,
Anyone who has written knows that inspiration can hit at any time. So you better get it down, or, if you're like me, it flies away just as quickly.
Take for instance, the other night. I was watching Star Trek, TNG, and Capt Picard was talking to a man he believed was his son, as they were rock climbing. He said, there's something about putting your life into your own hands.
I was sitting there, mind in neutral, when something inside popped the clutch. That was the key I was looking for in my story!
You see, my heroine had had very little control of her life, and always told she'd never amount to anything. Now, she's still fighting that stigma, but by doing dangerous things. She has control again, in her life. She is climbing the rock of her life without safety gear. She won't be pinned down again.



Do you do dangerous things? Do you take risks just because it's your choice and no one else's?
We need to remember Who is in control. We need to remember not to tempt God, also. Yes, he's in control, but if we do stupid things, we also should expect God to allow us to fall. Yes, God is our safety net, but He knows when we're being defiant.
Let's turn our hurts from the past over to Him, and stop climbing rocks without safety gear.