Thursday, August 17, 2017

Overcoming The Black Moments Of Life…And A Giveaway!


Hi, Mary Alford here and I’m happy to be joining you today.

If you are a romance writer, you’ll understand what I mean by the black moment. Every story has them. This is the scene where the conflict between the hero and heroine comes to a head and can either make or break their relationship. Their future happiness depends on how they react to the black moment. Will they overcome the obstacles in their path, or will their love be destined to fail?  

As a romantic suspense author, I’ve written many black moments throughout my career. Some are harder than others, but once you make it through them, then you get to the happily ever after point of the book. My favorite.     

 
In June, Deadly Memories, my second Scorpion Team was released. In Deadly Memories, the heroine of the story has been held prisoner for seven years. Severely beaten, Ella can’t remember anything about her past. When she meets CIA agent Kyle Jennings, she wants to trust him, but so many things stand in the way of her trust and their future together. Ella wants to believe she is the good person that her heart tells her she is, but could she be a cold blooded sleeper agent capable of taking innocent lives instead?
 
In my October release, Framed For Murder, CIA Liz Ramirez is being framed for the murder of her partner and blamed for smuggling arms into the US. Liz has no other choice but to go rogue, hoping to uncover the evidence her deceased partner claimed to have left in a remote cabin in Alaska, before her own people or the gun runners who are intent on reclaiming the missing weapons find her. Can Liz overcome the roadblocks she and Aaron face each step along the way and will he believe her if they reach the cabin and the evidence isn’t there? Will she and Aaron die up there in the isolated Alaskan tundra, or will Liz spend the rest of her life in prisoner for a crime she didn’t commit?
While most of us don’t face these types of black moments in our own lives, we all have things that can cripple us if we let them. Whether it be a disease, a loss of a loved one, financial problems, we all have struggles. Uncertainty is all around us. It’s what we do when confronted with these moments and where we turn for help that truly can make a difference in overcoming the black moment, or crumbling beneath its weight.
In 2012, I lost both my mother and father-in-law. Mom passed away at Easter, and my father-in-law at Christmas. That was a year filled with black moments and it was very hard to overcome the grief. If it hadn’t been for God’s help, and knowing that I will see them both again one day, well, I’m pretty sure I would have crumbled beneath the weight.  
So what about you? Have you had your black moment yet? If so, how did you overcome circumstances to move beyond it?
 
I will be giving away a Kindle copy of my October release, Framed For Murder to one random commenter.
You can read about my books at www.maryalford.net and connect with me on Facebook at:
And stay tuned next year for the final two books on the Scorpion Team series.
 All the best…
 
Mary Alford
 
 
 
 
 
    
 
 
 
 
 

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Where Do You Read? by Angel Moore

Reading Christian romance is one of my favorite ways to relax. I escape into a place someone created for my enjoyment. The journey through a previously unknown world unfolds on the stage in the theater of my mind.

I love to curl up in the corner of the couch with a diet soda or cold water and get lost in a good story.

My favorite time of day to read is late afternoon when I’m home alone without distractions. My absolute favorite place to read is in a hammock or beach chair on a cruise in the Caribbean.


Another place I love to read is on a cruise ship balcony.


Yep. I love that.

Let’s be honest, though. Most of life isn’t spent on vacation. Reading is my vacation for the normal days. More often than not, the closest water is a hot bath at home after everyone else in the family is asleep.

On those normal days, I find myself following a heartbroken character as she seeks God and peace. Knowing she'll find a handsome husband by the end of the book makes it all the more interesting.

I’ll read in the car. I’ll read in a waiting room. I’ll read with my mom when I visit her. She’s a fast reader, turning three pages for every one that I read. That means she passes her books to me quicker.

When I find myself at home alone overnight, I love to lay across the bed and read until I can’t stay awake another minute. Why do authors write those lines that make you turn the page? Don’t they know I have to work tomorrow?


This is not my bedroom, but it is my quilt. I love the peaceful colors. The green reminds me of the Caribbean, and it’s the only way I could sneak some pink into the master bedroom.

Where do you love to read? Share in the comments here. If you’d like to share a pic of the setting, drop by www.facebook.com/AngelMooreBooks and post it in the comments on my post about this blog.

I love writing stories of faith and hope, and I am grateful to you for reading them.

May God bless you.
Angel

Find my books, the latest news, and links to connect on social media at www.angelmoorebooks.com.
Look for Husband by Arrangement in March of 2018.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Living, Loving and Learning to Let Go—Plus a Giveaway

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always had a hard time letting go.

Letting go of the past. Letting go of those I’ve loved, whether due to relocation or death. Letting go of dreams.

Dreams, which have already fulfilled their purpose in me—realized in God’s timing and in His way—although I may lack the perspective to view it objectively at the time.

It’s not hard for me to let go of the “bad”. My challenge often comes in letting go of that which has been good, fruitful, and purpose-driven in my life. I tend to cling to the past “good”. Unable and unwilling to move forward because of a fear that the new will not prove as wonderful and satisfying or safe as the old.


As I write this post today, my last child just left the house for college. Summer, for me, is over. I'm facing a new season, the season of an empty nest. Exciting and sad all at the same time. Bittersweet in the truest sense of the word. Many of you know where I'm coming from.

Likewise, this book was written during a season of change for me. A time of transition—after the death of my father for whom I’d spent the majority of the last two years caring for. My youngest child getting ready to graduate. A change in ministry focus. In other words, a lot of change in almost every aspect of my life.

I hate change. But as Kristina discovers in The Bachelor's Unexpected Family releasing next week, it is impossible to remain in the past. To refuse to move forward is to stagnate and die—mentally, spiritually and emotionally. When we refuse to fully crossover the threshold of God’s open door, we are in effect saying we don’t trust Him to have our best interests at heart. And what I’ve learned in this season of great change in my life is that God always keeps His children close to His heart. Just like you and I keep our children—no matter where they roam—close to our hearts.

Life can only be lived in the present. This means letting go of the past—with both its joys and hurts. I must choose to look with hope to the future, a future kept safe in the nail-scarred hands of our Savior.

And grateful for the gift, decide each day to live an abundant life in faith.

What have you found difficult to let go of? How do you handle seasons of change?
Comment for a chance to win a copy of The Bachelor's Unexpected Family.

For more behind the scene inspiration from The Bachelor's Unexpected Family, visit Pinterest.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Two Free Books Delivered Right to Your Mailbox

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Join contemporary and historical Christian characters as they experience the challenges of life, the promise of hope and the wonder of romance.

Read a FREE excerpt. Decide which series you like best. Choose Regular or Larger Print. Love Inspired will send your two free books plus two mystery gifts (approximate retail value of $10) directly to your door. Once you're a member, all you have to do is sit back and read.

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Sunday, August 13, 2017

Sunday Scripture

Jesus walks on water, by Ivan Aivazovsky (1888)
[PD-US]

After he had fed the people, Jesus made the disciples get into a boat
and precede him to the other side,
while he dismissed the crowds. 
After doing so, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. 
When it was evening he was there alone. 
Meanwhile the boat, already a few miles offshore,
was being tossed about by the waves, for the wind was against it. 
During the fourth watch of the night,
he came toward them walking on the sea. 
When the disciples saw him walking on the sea they were terrified. 
"It is a ghost," they said, and they cried out in fear. 
At once Jesus spoke to them, "Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid." 
Peter said to him in reply,
"Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water." 
He said, "Come." 
Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus. 
But when he saw how strong the wind was he became frightened;
and, beginning to sink, he cried out, "Lord, save me!" 
Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught Peter,
and said to him, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?" 
After they got into the boat, the wind died down. 
Those who were in the boat did him homage, saying,
"Truly, you are the Son of God."

Matthew 14:22-33

Thursday, August 10, 2017

When Story and Real Life Collide

Hi all! Dana R. Lynn here. I am so excited to be here today! I have a new book out, and was thrilled to see it on the shelf for the first time yesterday.

 See it? Plain Retribution, right there on the top row. I love that cover! The girl on the front looks so sad, I literally got a lump in my throat the first time I saw it. As you can see by the picture below, I signed the copies in the store. I was so afraid that someone would come over and yell at me. But no one did.


I loved writing this book. It was so much fun because I was able to use much of what I do in real life while writing it. Let me explain. My heroine, Rebecca, is a lovely young woman. Strong. Courageous. She's also completely deaf and communicates totally through American Sign Language, or ASL. She was very dear to my heart. I have worked with the deaf and hard of hearing since 1993, both as a teacher and as an educational interpreter. It was really important to me that I portrayed Rebecca honestly. In order to get in her head, I talked with several friends involved with the Deaf community here in Erie PA. Most of them said that when they think, they visualize images and signs. Most of the technology mentioned in the book are things that I have discussed either with my colleagues or my students.

My hero, Miles, is a mixture of my oldest son and my youngest brother. He's made some mistakes, but is doing his best to redeem himself. He is determined to not compromise on his faith or his duty. When I was writing the story, I really felt like I was borrowing some of the characteristics of my brother, who passed away at age nineteen. Maybe that's one of the reasons I loved Miles so much. He was adorable. At the same time, he's got a goofy side, like my son, who constantly makes me laugh. Miles just might be my favorite hero yet.

Ironically, I was hesitant when the idea for this book first entered my mind. In some ways, I felt it was too personal. In the end, though, I am glad that wrote it. It touched my heart and made me sigh. I hope it blesses my readers, as well.










Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Mining Life for Story Ideas — Plus a Book Giveaway


Where do you get your story ideas from is a question authors are often asked. My short answer is "from life." Take my August Love Inspired release Reuniting His Family, for example.

Background: I grew up in a village in Upstate New York that has a maximum security correctional facility. My mother and my father (at the end of his work career) were employed there. Mom was administrative assistant to the director of the school program and Dad lead a maintenance crew. Both of them said, more than once, that most of the inmates they had contact with in their jobs said they were innocent of the crime that had gotten them there.

Fast forward a few — okay, a lot — of years. I was gearing up to write a new proposal for Love Inspired and got thinking about the claims of innocence my parents had heard. What if an inmate was falsely convicted of the crime he was incarcerated for and released when that came to light five years later? What if he had found Jesus in prison? What would his reentry into society be like? What prejudice might he encounter? What if he had motherless kids? My story idea was born.


A FATHER'S PROMISE 
Rhys Maddox wants nothing more than custody of his two sons. Released from prison after a wrongful charge, the widowed dad will do anything to bring his boys home where they belong. But that doesn't include falling for their former social worker. Now leading an outreach program for families in transition, Renee Delacroix can't escape the tall, dark and intriguing single dad or his adorable little boys. But Rhys is determined to go it alone. Until one incident that may cost him what he wants the most. Now it's up to Renee to save him if she can make him see she's just what he needs to complete their forever family.

Harlequin | Amazon | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

READ AN EXCERPT

Now for that giveaway. Again, some background, small-world category. I no longer live in my hometown. But a church friend where we do live does prison ministry. Another worked for the  NYS Department of  Corrections in Albany and visited various facilities throughout the state. A third worked as a nurse at a maximum security facility a little south of where we currently live. So, here's your question to enter to win a copy of Reuniting His Family (print or ebook; winner's choice): Does anyone here do prison ministry or have a connection to a facility? Or not?

I'll come back Thursday morning and post the randomly chosen winner in the comments.

Monday, August 7, 2017

New for August from Our Love Inspired Contemporary Authors

Jean C. Gordon here with new must buys from our Love Inspired Contemporary authors. Just click on a cover to buy one. And to learn more about these talented ladies, click on their names.

http://amzn.to/2voSvKYTexas Daddy
by Jolene Navarro 

THE COWBOY'S SECOND CHANCE
Being a devoted dad is former bull rider Adrian De La Cruz's top priority. So when Mia suffers a rodeo injury and winds up recovering alongside Adrian's first crush, Nikki Bergmann, he becomes even more protective of his daughter—and his heart. Nikki is back in Clear Water solely to recover, and he knows she has no intention of staying. But as the bond between Mia and Nikki grows, Adrian can't help falling for her once again. Until Nikki's long-buried secret comes to light, and Adrian must decide if he can forgive the past, or face a future without the woman he's never been able to forget.

http://amzn.to/2urRs8c
Reuniting His Family
by Jean C. Gordon

A FATHER'S PROMISE
Rhys Maddox wants nothing more than custody of his two sons. Released from prison after a wrongful charge, the widowed dad will do anything to bring his boys home where they belong. But that doesn't include falling for their former social worker. Now leading an outreach program for families in transition, Renee Delacroix can't escape the tall, dark and intriguing single dad ... or his adorable little boys. But Rhys is determined to go it alone. Until one incident that may cost him what he wants the most. Now it's up to Renee to save him ... if she can make him see she's just what he needs to complete their forever family.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

The Transfiguration

Transfiguration, Raphael, 1518-1520. [PD-US]

The Transfiguration

Jesus took Peter, James, and his brother, John, 
and led them up a high mountain by themselves.
And he was transfigured before them; 
his face shone like the sun 
and his clothes became white as light.
And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them,
conversing with him.
Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, 
"Lord, it is good that we are here.
If you wish, I will make three tents here, 
one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah."
While he was still speaking, behold,
a bright cloud cast a shadow over them, 
then from the cloud came a voice that said, 
"This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased;
listen to him."
Matthew 17:1-5


Open our hearts to hear your voice, O Lord.
Help us embrace Your truth
And glorify Your Holy Name
In all we say and do.
Amen. 

Friday, August 4, 2017

Winner of last week's Lenora Worth book giveaway

Hi. Just hopping on to alert Stephanie L, the winner of a copy of my upcoming September LIS release, Tracker. Stephanie, please contact me through lenoraworth.com with your information and how you'd like to receive the book, print or e-mail. Thank you for stopping by the blog!


Thursday, August 3, 2017

The Fun of Research for Suspense ~ Meghan Carver

It’s a common dilemma among us suspense writers. Are we attracting unwanted law enforcement attention with our keywords in the internet search engines? You know what I mean. A writer can google “how to make a bomb” or “what authority do airport police have” only so many times before she starts to wonder who’s watching.

Still, though, the research in a suspense novel can be some of the most exciting part of writing the story. In my family, it’s resulted in some of the most lively conversations!

My second book, Deadly Disclosure, is available next week in print (available now for kindle), and it’s exciting to see those times of research come to fruition in a story.

Of course, not all research is related to weapons and danger and suspense.

For example, I confirmed that it truly isn’t as easy for an adopted person to find birth parents as many people think. I found my birth parents more than twenty-five years ago, but it was through the agency that handled the adoption, and even then, I didn’t get any identifying information until the agency had contacted my birth mother and obtained her permission. The laws are designed to protect the anonymity of birth parents so as to encourage adoptions. There are online registries that exist now that didn’t exist then, but if a birth parent doesn’t register, that won’t help an adoptee who is searching.

I also discovered that many wealthy people still have butlers and those butlers dress rather formally. Picture black pressed pants, a crisp shirt, a black tie, a gray coat with tails. Some even wear white gloves while holding out the silver tray to serve, an arm held behind their backs.

I found a neat wristwatch for lawyers that may make it to my wish list.

The most interesting bit of research was finding videos of people shooting fire extinguishers. I don’t understand why someone would want to video themselves shooting their weapon at a fire extinguisher out in the open field and then post it on YouTube, but I’m glad they are there. (You’re going to go look now, aren’t you? 😊)

Deadly Disclosure, my second Love Inspired Suspense, is available in print on Tuesday and available on kindle now. I would be honored if you signed up for my author newsletter at www.MeghanCarver.com.




What do you think? Wouldn’t it be grand to have a butler? What’s the most interesting thing you’ve researched?

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Finding Balance

Good morning, everyone. I'm still basking in the lovely experience that was my first conference. After seven years of writing for Love Inspired Historical, I finally felt like a "real" author. Was it seeing my name on the RWA badge? Enjoying an elegant lunch while listening to the wonderful keynote speaker Susan Wiggs? Getting free goodies from the swag room? Or was it simply talking with fellow authors who share my dreams and frustrations?
My writing journey has been a solitary one. I have never been part of a critique/writing group. Never had an agent. I went after this dream alone and achieved it alone...with God's help and guidance. God directed my path and has enabled me to do this job that I have such a passion for. Attending conference taught me something personal. Everyone needs balance in their life. It's okay, even necessary, to do something for yourself now and then.
I've been a homeschool mom for many years. My oldest is entering 11th grade. My middle son is entering 6th and my youngest 5th. I'm blessed to have been able to stay home with them. But I've failed in the area of nurturing my own needs.
Finding balance when you wear multiple hats is a challenge. Going forward, I'm committed to doing a better job of it. 
I'd like to hear from you. Can you identify? How do you juggle life's responsibilities?




 

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Safe Travel!

The Lord's Prayer, James Tissot, 1886-1894,
Brooklyn Museum. [PD-US]

This, then, is how you should pray:
“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but from the evil one.”
Matthew 6:9-13

This past week, writers 
from around the world attended the
Romance Writers of America 
National Conference 2017
in
Disney World, Florida.
Please pray for their safe travel 
as they journey home.


Thursday, July 27, 2017

It's Classified, but I can tell you--Lenora Worth

So I love writing about K9 officer dogs. I've always admired them and one of my early Love Inspired books (A Tender Touch) was about a police officer and his K9 partner. They were on leave after an accident and my hero, Clay, went home to Sunset Island, Georgia, to heal. But when a child goes missing, Clay and Samson help to locate him. I did research back then but little did I know that things would go even deeper with my K9 fascination. As of now, I've written books for seven K9 continuities and I'm working on number eight. So my research has gone way beyond that first book.

I love the research and I love working on the continuities with the other talented LIS writers who are my friends. We brainstorm, bang our heads against the wall, laugh, sometimes cry!!, but always respect the writing. We want to get things right while keeping in mind this is first a romance but always suspenseful.

So I'm happy to say that my next K9 adventure comes out in September. It's the last book of the Classified K9 series about an elite FBI team in Montana who are searching for an agent who might have gone rogue. My book brings the rogue agent face to face with the mother of his son and his half-brother (my hero) to bring the whole series to a climatic end! (Of course.) But meantime, I wanted to show off the covers again. They are always wonderful and suspenseful and hey, we love the K9s!

I hope those of you who love suspense will comment on this series if you're reading it and for those who haven't read any of the LIS K9 series, give them a try. Our dogs will woof at you! Leave a comment and I'll draw a name and send you a free early copy of my September release Tracker! Check back here next week for the winner!

The first four books, available NOW online!!


The next book out in August:

And my story, out in September:

This is Cheetah. He's an Australian Shepherd!

Tell us what you think!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Baking Aspirations by Christine Johnson

Confession time here. I’m a huge fan of baking shows. Holiday Baking Championship, Cupcake Wars, The Great British Baking Show and its American counterpart—I love them all. And their creations? Sigh. Gorgeous cakes, almost too pretty to eat. Fresh bread out of the oven that I can practically smell.

bread


After acquiring a gorgeous pie cookbook filled with mouth-watering photos, I decided to bake one pie per week this past winter. I found willing guinea pigs—er, tasters—and bought my supplies.

Where to begin? I decided a yummy chicken pot pie sounded good. Several hours later (why did I choose such a difficult pie?), it came out of the oven and was ready for tasting. I declared it a success, and my tasters agreed.

pie
No, this isn’t my effort. Mine wasn’t nearly as symmetrical. No photos were taken in order to protect the unskilled.


Alas, the next pie—a chocolate cream pie—turned to disaster when the filling went from thick at room temperature to soup in the refrigerator. I still don’t understand the chemistry of what happened.

A quiche fell flat but tasted good. The frozen strawberry cream pie required a machete to cut into pieces. And the list went on. Needless to say, I won’t be entering The Great American Baking Show anytime soon. On the plus side, all my tasters said they were willing to keep trying my creations. Bless them, Lord! And the key lime pie in a gingersnap crust was delicious.

Are you a baker? Or, like me, do you love to watch cooking shows and dream of being so skilled?

dinner rolls


In my latest book with Love Inspired Historical, Mail Order Sweetheart, the heroine, Fiona, needs to get a husband quickly. She has tried to attract a husband with her baking skills. Unlike my efforts in the kitchen, her rolls and breads are a total success. Her efforts to get a husband? Not so much. With her savings dwindling and her seven-year-old niece en route to live with her, Fiona makes one last gigantic effort to attract a man of means.

Mail Order Sweetheart cover


Christine Johnson
Mail Order Sweetheart (LIH, June 2017)
Freedom’s Price (Revell, June 2017)
http://christineelizabethjohnson.com


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

A Visit to Remember

Patricia Davids here. I hope you are enjoying the hot, hot days of summer. I've been dreaming of cooler weather and beautiful fall leaves. Thank goodness for air conditioning.

A dear friend of mine who is also a writer is off on a vacation with her father. They have traveled to Connecticut where she was able to visit the home of Mark Twain and actually spend time writing in his library. What a wonderful opportunity. I can't wait to hear all about it when they come home.

 

Her trip got me to thinking about what writer, past or present, I would enjoy visiting with in their home. 

I've been blessed to meet some of the wonderfully talented writers I admire at conventions hosted by the Romance Writers of America, Romantic Times and the American Christian Fiction Writers. I've spent time with many of the Love Inspired authors whose work you enjoy, but if I could pick only one to hang out with who would it be?

To pick one author out of a lifetime of books I have enjoyed is an impossible task so I shall pick three. 

I would love to spend time with Sir Walter Scott. No book has touched my imagination the way Ivanhoe did. 

LaVyrle Spencer would be my second choice. Her book Morning Glory took hold of my heart and never let go. 

Lastly, I would love to spend time with western writer Louis L'Amour. Thanks to Louis cowboys will always be my favorite heroes.

What about you? What writer would you love to meet and why? If you can't choose one, tell me about all of them.




Sunday, July 23, 2017

Praying for the RWA National Conference!

Canterbury cathedral, Ministry of Jesus window, The Miraculous Draft of Fishes.[PD-US]


PSALM 117
O Praise the Lord, all you nations,
Acclaim him all you peoples!
Strong is his love for us;
He is faithful forever.


Writers from around the world will gather this week at
Disney World, Florida
for the
Romance Writers of America National Conference 2017.
Please join me in praying for their safe travel and for a fun, educational and professionally rewarding conference for all those who attend.