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