Thursday, November 23, 2017

My First Sale

Hello everyone, Patricia Davids here. 

Today I get to share one of my favorite stories. My first sale. The date was June 14, 2004. But we need to go back a few years to when I decided I was going to write a book. I told my husband and he said he thought I would be good at that. He believed in me. I researched how to write a book, joined a local romance writers chapter and set about writing a sexy contemporary romance. When I finish the manuscript, I let my mother read it.
Her comment was, “This is a good story, but I could never let your father read it.” I said, “After five kids, I’m pretty sure there’s nothing in there that Dad doesn’t already know.” My mother said, “Write something I can show my friends.”

I finished three contemporary romances and started collecting rejection letters. One of the reasons an editor gave for turning down my story was that the hero was just too nice a guy. I like nice guys. I wasn’t familiar with inspirational romances until Deborah Raney spoke at my writers group. It was a true lightbulb over the head moment for me. I revised my third completed manuscript and my agent sent it out. And I began collecting rejection letters again. A lot of them said I needed to study the inspirational market, but one letter came back from Joan Marlow Golan at Steeple Hill books that wasn’t a rejection. 

It was one paragraph about my strong writing and my unique voice and three pages of revision requests for the manuscript. She wanted it cut from ninety thousand words to seventy-five thousand words and a whole lot of other changes. It’d taken me over a year to write the book and now someone wanted me to chop twenty thousand words out of it. I was flabbergasted. It was my story. I was in an NICU nurse and the story was about a woman who had a premature baby. I wondered as I read the letter again if I should maintain my artistic integrity or if I should change the story and maybe get paid. On one hand, artistic integrity. On the other hand, money. It didn’t take me long to decide. I revised the story following her suggestions and six weeks later my agent called the tell me I had made a sale.

I squealed in delight and told my husband, “They bought my book.” He was watching Stargate SG1 and said, “That’s nice.” I needed something more than nice. I was so excited, I could have had champagne in my veins.

I called my mother. She wasn’t home. I left a message. I called my critique partner. She wasn’t home. I called another critique partner, she didn't answer. I called a third critique partner and she wasn’t home. I was ready to burst with happiness and nobody was answering the phone. Then my phone rang. I snatched it up. It was Rhonda Nolan, a nurse in my NICU unit wanting to know if I could work extra. I told her I just sold a book and she screamed with delight. I screamed, too. It was exactly the reaction I needed.


His Bundle of Love was released in January 2006 and I have been writing for Love Inspired ever since. Thanks to my husband who believed in me, my mother who encouraged me to write stories she could share with their friends, inspirational author Deborah Raney who showed me there was a market for my work and a special thanks to Joan Marlow Golan who gave a budding writer a chance to shine. 


Thanks, too, to my friend Rhonda who knew exactly how I felt making that first sale.

Happy Thanksgiving





HAPPY THANKSGIVING
FROM THE 
LOVE INSPIRED: A STORY FOR EVERY READER
 AUTHORS


May your Thanksgiving be full of hugs, shared stories, and the magic of family.
Pamela Tracy and her family are waving turkey legs your way.  Happy Holiday!
Pamela Tracy

Wishing you abundant blessings and much love on Thanksgiving and
throughout the holiday season. We are all so grateful for your
friendship and support! 
Debby Giusti

 Wishing you and yours a warm and wonderful Thanksgiving. Blessings!
Jean C. Gordon

The Lord has showered me with so many blessing that I can’t begin to list them, but I am most grateful for you, the women and men who read my books. Danki. You have helped keep my dream of being a writer alive and well. (In case you are wondering, the Amish celebrate Thanksgiving much the same as the rest of us.) May the Lord bless you with abundance and love. Happy Thanksgiving.
Patricia Davids

Hope you find you have more blessings this Thanksgiving than you can count. I'm counting family, friends, a career I love, and the fact that kitchen renovations mean someone else gets to cook the turkey this holiday! 
Jo Ann Brown

I want to wish you all a happy Thanksgiving. May God be with you.
Margaret Daley

Wishing all of you a blessed Thanksgiving with family and friends. Thank you for your encouragement and support, dear readers, you are the reason we write our stories. 
Christine Johnson

Writing has been the best of all possible worlds for me. For nearly 40 years, I've made a living at my desk at home, raising my children (one with a serious illness), and being deeply involved with my grandchildren. I am so thankful. God has blessed me in so many ways, from agents to editors and especially readers. Blessings on all! 
Arlene James

It is easy to take blessings for granted. I know I do. Friends, family, beloved pets, and all the basics that we expect to always be there - until they are not. The first conscious breath of morning air is the beginning of the most amazing gift God will ever give us - life here and the promise of forever. Your day is special because YOU are. Celebrate it with me.
Psalm 107:1 "Oh give thanks to the Lord for He is good!"
Valerie Hansen

As we gather with family and friends I pray you have a blessed and safe
Thanksgiving holiday.
Terri Reed

I'm thankful for my family, friends and all of the wonderful Love Inspired readers! 
Truly blessed - Laura Scott

I can’t thank the Lord enough for all the blessings He has given me. I’m especially thankful for my family, my church family, and my health. 
I wish Thanksgiving blessings for all of our readers.
Merrillee Whren

I’m thankful for twenty years with Love Inspired and being able to continue the job I love, writing books. Thankful for my family and friends and the many readers who are so loyal to all of us. We couldn’t do our jobs if you didn’t like our books. 
Thanks to all of you and Happy Thanksgiving!
Lenora Worth


I'm thankful for my wonderful family and friends who provide love and support all year round.  I feel blessed to have my dream job as an author.  I'm very thankful for all of my readers.  Wishing everyone a lovely and blessed Thanksgiving.
Belle Calhoune


Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving!

It's that time of year again...time to prepare our favorite traditional dishes and spend time with loved ones. Do you have recipes you fix every year? I do. I'm responsible for deviled eggs, green bean casserole, and homemade mac and cheese. I mix it up each year with different desserts. I'm in the mood for chocolate, so I'm making a chocolate cake with Oreo cookie filling. I can't wait to dig into my mom's cornbread dressing and pretzel and raspberry jello salad. I'm sure I'll eat too much and eventually get tired of the leftovers. But as much as I enjoy the food, I treasure the fellowship more.
For many years, my husband was in the Marine Corps. We were stationed in another state and didn't get to make it home for every holiday. I'm thankful we are now within a few minutes drive of my family. And that's what this season is about, isn't it? Being thankful. Reflecting on the many blessings God has given us. I have a lot to praise Him for...my husband and three sons, good health, a home, the ability to stay home and teach my kids and also write romance novels. Oh, and two standard poodles that make me laugh every day.
What are you thankful for this year?

The chocolate Oreo cake

Two crazy adorable poodles, Venus and Jupiter

My November release, available now!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Double the Trouble, Double the Fun! by Deb Kastner


Happy Birthday to my newest book, Texas Christmas Twins!

When the editors at Love Inspired approached me about participating in a miniseries for the Christmas season working with two very talented authors, Patricia Davids and Lee Tobin McClain, I didn’t have to give it a moment’s thought before I said yes. 

For one thing, I adore everything about the Christmas season, from the carols and Christmas spirit to the Baby in the manger. Plus, the editors handed me the perfect trifecta where my brand is concerned—Christmas, Texas (read “Broody Cowboy”) and of course, and adorable set of twins. Add to that a bright, bubbly heroine and you have the makings of a great holiday read.

Here’s the Back Cover Copy to spark your interest:

Christmas on the Ranch

Miranda Morgan’s Christmas will be twice as busy now that she’s guardian of her sister’s sweet twin babies. But the celebrity photographer is happy to trade a glamorous LA lifestyle for motherhood in her small hometown of Wildhorn, Texas. Unfortunately, the twins’ handsome godfather, Simon West, is unconvinced. The brooding rancher isn’t thrilled about letting sunny, spontaneous Miranda into his carefully managed world. Though they disagree on almost everything, Simon and Miranda discover common ground as they work to make the twins’ first country Christmas cozy and bright. Could this holiday transform Miranda and Simon’s tentative friendship into a forever love?

Want to read the first few pages? Did I hear a yes? Why, here they are…

Miranda Morgan wouldn’t even know what hit her.

He was here in front of her cabin, preparing to make certain of that. After he was through with her, the powers that be would want to name a tempest after him.

Hurricane Simon.

It didn’t matter that he hadn’t seen Miranda since high school, or even, as his best friend Mason’s kid sister, that she’d bared the occasional brunt of his pranks and mean jokes. In another situation, he might be considering how to make amends and not additional strife. He was a new man, a man of faith. The Lord had changed his heart, and now Simon’s goal was to change his life to match what had happened internally.

But try as he might, he fell short of being able to forgive Miranda for ignoring her responsibility to the sweet nine-month old twins now in her care.
If this was a spiritual test, a trial in his bumpy new Christian life, it was a doozy.

Miranda was an eminently successful celebrity photographer. But he couldn’t care less about movie stars and the la-di-da lifestyles of the rich and famous. He was a simple ranch owner and dog trainer and he liked his solitary country life.

What he didnt like was Miranda. She couldn’t even be bothered to fly home to Texas long enough to attend her own twin niece and nephew’s christening, and she was not only Hudson and Harper’s aunt, but had also been named their godmother.

And yet she hadn’t managed to spare even one weekend for them.

Even Simon had been in church that day, though at the time he hadn’t been a churchgoing man. He remembered feeling uncomfortable, but he’d been there. Simon was the twins’ godfather, and to him, it was a big thing, a sacred duty, a promise that he’d always be there for Hudson and Harper in any way they needed.

Obviously, Miranda didn’t feel the same way. Family obligations clearly meant nothing to her.

And now, through a cruel twist of fate, Miranda had been named the twins’ permanent legal guardian.

How could that even be? The very thought of it was both confusing and infuriating.

It was painful enough that Mary, Mason’s youngest sister, and her husband John had been taken from this world prematurely by the merciless act of a drunkard who’d made the deadly choice to drive while intoxicated.

But for Mary to name self-serving, high-flying Miranda as the twins’ legal guardian, even after all she had done, or not done, for Mary and the babies—
Well, that made less sense than putting a Border collie in a room full of cats and expecting him to herd them.

What had Mary been thinking? How could she have considered her sister a worthwhile guardian, one with whom she could entrust innocent children? What kind of mother would a woman like Miranda possibly be?

Inconceivable.

Why hadn’t Mason and his wife, Charlotte, been named the twins’ guardians? They already had four children of their own with a fifth on the way. They were wonderful, experienced parents who had been there for Mary and the twins during every stage of their lives.

Mary might have sincerely believed that two more children would have been too much of a burden on Mason and Charlotte, and that they had their own family to think of and provide for.

But choosing Miranda?

Mary might have been sincere, but she’d been sincerely wrong.

However the future played out now that Miranda was the twins’ legal guardian, Simon’s determination to be a positive influence in his godchildren’s lives hadn’t changed one iota. They had always been a priority with him, but even more so now.

If Miranda was anything like Simon imagined her to be, Harper and Hudson would need all the protection and stability they could get.

He was going to step up for those two precious babies.

Unfortunately, that also meant he would, by default, be in contact with Miranda. She would have to let him into her world, whether she liked it or not. And likewise, he’d have to learn to work with her. They didn’t have to be friends, but they would have to get along.

For the twins sake, he reminded himself as he removed his brown Stetson, combed his fingers back through his thick blond hair and knocked on the door.
“It’s open,” he heard Miranda call from somewhere inside the cabin, her voice muffled and distant.

Feeling awkward at having to let himself into a cabin he was unfamiliar with, he opened the door and stepped inside. He didn’t immediately see Miranda, or the twins, either, for that matter.

His attention was instead captured by the insane display of Christmas decorations, red and green, silver and gold, everywhere his gaze landed.


An enormous eight-foot Christmas tree stood in one corner, the flashing angel topper just barely clearing the ceiling. Presents wrapped in colorful aluminum paper were piled high underneath the tree.

She’d arranged a large Nativity set, complete with a stable and an angel proclaiming Peace on Earth, on the end table.

Shiny red and gold garland adorned every wall, with evergreen garland gracing the fireplace where the stockings were hung with care, as the poem went. Homemade stockings, with Hudson and Harper’s names written in flourishes of red and green glitter glue.

This woman was clearly obsessed with Christmas.

And apparently, shiny things.

It took him a moment to focus and find Miranda. He supposed he’d expected to find her changing a diaper or two, or feeding the twins their bottles—or whatever it was that nine-month-old babies ate—as the reason she couldn’t answer the door. Instead, she was right there in the middle of the living room, stretched out on her stomach underneath a card table that she’d draped with sheets, holding a flashlight she was beaming on a picture book as Harper and Hudson cuddled on either side of her.

Of all the crazy, unexpected scenarios, this one took the cake.

Or the Christmas fruit cake as the case might be.

The tent was ingenious. She’d used stacks of hardback books to fasten the edges of the sheet to the sofa on one side of them and an armchair on the other, with the card table holding up the structure in the middle.

Lying on her stomach, jammed under a table only a few feet high, couldn’t possibly be comfortable for her, with her tall, lithe frame, and yet she had an enthusiastic smile on her face and didn’t look the least bit put out by the awkward position. He suspected her feet might be protruding out the back, although he couldn't confirm that from his current vantage point.

She shined the flashlight at his face, momentarily blinding him, and he held up a hand to block the light.

“Simon?” she questioned, surprise lining her tone. “Simon West?”

He was astonished she recognized him. He’d added a few inches to his frame in the years since they’d seen each other last, not to mention a few pounds . He'd stayed at the outskirts of John and Mary's funeral and hadn't spoken to anyone but Mason and Charlotte.

Uncle Simon,” he corrected her tersely, nodding toward the twins. “It’s an honorary title.”

Of which he was very, very proud.

“Well, Uncle Simon, you’re more than welcome to join us.” She shifted herself and the twins to the side to make room for him in the tiny, strung-up tent.

“I’m welcome to—” he repeated. He’d walked into her house out of the blue. She had no idea why he was here, and yet she’d immediately offered him the opportunity to join in their…adventure.

"What are you doing here, by the way?" she asked curiously.

"I--er--"

Her offer completely threw him off his game, and for a moment he was fairly certain he was gaping and couldn't remember his own name, much less why he had come.

Eventually, he shook his head. There was no way he was going to get his large frame under that small table, no matter how hard he squeezed. And honestly, he didn’t even really want to try.

“We can make it work,” Miranda insisted, clearly not taking no for an answer. “I’m sure the twins will love spending quality time with their uncle Simon .”

She couldn’t possibly know it, but she’d just touched on his weak spot. He hadn’t been spending as much time as he should have with his godchildren. If she’d been trying to give him a guilt trip, those words would have done it, especially given the reason he was here.

“Grab another sheet from the linen closet in the hallway, and grab a few more books from the shelf,” she instructed. “Oh, and get a chair from the kitchen. Drape the end of your sheet across the card table and onto the chair. That’ll give us all a bit more wiggle room. Believe me, these two are regular squirmy wormies.”

By the time he’d followed all her instructions and lengthened the makeshift tent, she was fully absorbed reading the twins their book. He stood before them, wondering how he was going to get where Miranda wanted him to go.

She flashed the cover of the book at Simon, as if finding out what she was reading would somehow convince him to crawl in.

“We’re reading Little Red Riding Hood. Hudson likes the wolf, don’t you, buddy?” she asked the baby, making a growling sound and tickling his tummy.
Hudson squealed and giggled happily.

“Tell Uncle Simon you want him to come on down,” she said to Harper, giving her the same affectionate tickling treatment Hudson had just received. “I think he’s being a little bit stubborn, don’t you?”

Simon balked at her words. He wasn’t being stubborn. He was being practical.

And this was definitely not how this confrontation was supposed to go. He hadn’t envisioned anything of the sort when he’d first knocked on her door, but then, how could he have? This whole scenario was mind-boggling.
He was losing his momentum by the second and he couldn’t seem to do anything to stop it.

“But this is—” he started to say.

Ridiculous.

Humiliating.

Mortifying.

She raised a jaunty, dark eyebrow. There was no question about it. She was outright daring him to make a fool of himself with the twinkle in her pretty hazel eyes.

This was nuts. He was crazy just to be thinking about it.

There was no way he was going to get out of this with his dignity intact. But he’d never been the type of man to walk away from a challenge.

Not now. Not ever.

Grumbling under his breath at the ignominy of it all, he dropped onto his belly to army crawl into the mixed-up files of Miranda’s imagination makeshift dwelling.



Does this sound fun or what? Babies, puppies and conflicts abound! 

I'm excited to share that Texas Christmas Twins is available TODAY at a store near you wherever Harlequin books are sold. 

Prefer to read on your favorite eBook reader? Preorder now for delivery December 1st.

And be certain to catch the first two books in the Christmas Twins miniseries: Amish Christmas Twins by Patricia Davids and Secret Christmas Twins by Lee Tobin McClain!








Sunday, November 19, 2017

Sunday Scripture and Prayer Requests

The parable of the talents, depicted in a 1712 woodcut.
The lazy servant searches for his buried talent, while the two
other servants present their earnings to their master. [PD-US]

Jesus told his disciples this parable:
"A man going on a journey
called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them.
To one he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, one--
to each according to his ability. 
Then he went away.
Immediately the one who received five talents went and traded with them,
and made another five.
Likewise, the one who received two made another two. 
But the man who received one went off and dug a hole in the ground
and buried his master's money.

After a long time
the master of those servants came back
and settled accounts with them.
The one who had received five talents came forward
bringing the additional five. 
He said, 'Master, you gave me five talents. 
See, I have made five more.'
His master said to him, 'Well done, my good and faithful servant. 
Since you were faithful in small matters,
I will give you great responsibilities. 
Come, share your master's joy.'
Then the one who had received two talents also came forward and said,
'Master, you gave me two talents. 
See, I have made two more.'
His master said to him, 'Well done, my good and faithful servant. 
Since you were faithful in small matters,
I will give you great responsibilities.
Come, share your master's joy.'
Then the one who had received the one talent came forward and said, 
'Master, I knew you were a demanding person,
harvesting where you did not plant
and gathering where you did not scatter;
so out of fear I went off and buried your talent in the ground. 
Here it is back.'
His master said to him in reply, 'You wicked, lazy servant!
So you knew that I harvest where I did not plant
and gather where I did not scatter? 
Should you not then have put my money in the bank
so that I could have got it back with interest on my return? 
Now then! Take the talent from him and give it to the one with ten. 
For to everyone who has,
more will be given and he will grow rich;
but from the one who has not,
even what he has will be taken away.
And throw this useless servant into the darkness outside,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.'"
Matthew 25:14-30


In this time of Thanksgiving, the Love Inspired authors who are part of this blog community give thanks to all of you for your friendship and support. May the Lord bless you and those you love.

If you have any prayer needs, please mention them in the comments section so we can join you in prayer. You do not need to include specific names or situations of a private nature, just say that you have a prayer request. The Lord knows your heart and the needs you have. It is a privilege and honor to pray with you and for you.

Friday, November 17, 2017

My Call Story by Merrillee Whren

I started writing stories just for fun when I was in high school, and I shared them with my friends. But it was many years before I decided to write something with publication in mind. I wrote for many years before I sold. Winning the Romance Writers of American Golden Heart Award in 2003 was something that gave me a lot of encouragement and kept me writing, but my targeted publishing house had already rejected my winning manuscript. So I was a little down after all the hoopla of the conference and the excitement of winning had worn off. However, I had two other completed manuscripts. One of them I had entered in some local chapter contests.

A couple of months after the Golden Heart win, I received word that my story, Second Chances, had won the Dixie First Chapter Contest and the full was requested by the judging editor. I gave that baby a once over and sent it off to Steeple Hill. Then I got busy and polished that other manuscript while I was waiting to hear. In the meantime that manuscript won a contest judged by the senior editor at Steeple Hill. She requested that I send the full to the editor that had my other manuscript. Talk about everything falling into place. I sent that manuscript off after sending the editors a letter to make sure they wanted to have both manuscripts there at the same time. A few weeks later, I called the editor to find out what was happening with the first manuscript, but I always got her voice mail. When she returned the call, I was always out. She talked to my husband and indicated that she was sending the manuscript to the senior editor.

So here's how it all happened. Friday morning February 20, 2004, I went to get my haircut. When I got back home and walked in the door, I saw the light blinking on the answering machine. I punched the button to play the message. "This is Diane Dietz from Steeple Hill. Please call me." My heart was racing, and I was thinking this has got to be THE CALL. (I missed it!!!) At least this time my husband was busy on his business phone and didn't have the chance to answer. But then I thought maybe she wasn’t calling to buy my book, but I thought surely she wouldn't call unless she's going to buy the book. (Was I a little neurotic or what?)

My husband was still on the phone, so I couldn’t even scream or talk to him. Instead, I got teary eyed and waited around until he got off the phone. I told him Diane Dietz called. I think she called to say she wants to buy my book. He said to call her. I said I was afraid. What if she wasn’t calling to buy the book? He just shook his head. I said that I would call when I got myself together. So I took a few minutes to calm myself down. Then I punched in the number, hands shaking. She answered and asked me if I was sitting down. I was. She said, "I'd like to offer you a contract on Second Chances." At least I think that's what she said. I had to be very calm because my husband was still on his business line just up the stairs. I told her that was fabulous. I think she was a little disappointed that I was so calm. I told her I'd taken plenty of time to calm down after I listened to her message. Anyway, she went into details about money, time lines of revisions, option book, publication, etc. And she explained some of the revisions they wanted.

After I hang up and my husband wasn’t on the phone, I screamed, "THEY WANT TO BUY MY BOOK. I GET TO GO TO THE HARLEQUIN PARTY."

Here is the cover of the first book I sold to Love Inspired, which was Steeple Hill at that time. As you can see they changed the title from Second Chances to The Heart's Homecoming.


I've written thirteen other books for Love Inspired, and now I am publishing books on my own. Here are the books in my new series, FRONT PORCH PROMISES


I will be giving away a copy of A PLACE TO CALL HOME, the first book in my Front Porch Promises series to one person who leaves a comment. I will draw the winning name on November 19, 2017 at 9PM MST.

Merrillee Whren is the winner of the 2003 Golden Heart Award presented by Romance Writers of American. She is married to her own personal hero, her husband of forty-plus years, and has two grown daughters. Connect with her on her Facebook page and sign up for her newsletter.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

My First Love Inspired Sale & An Unexpected Answer

Answers come in unusual ways sometimes. Several Christmases ago I travelled all by myself to three different African countries to visit some amazing non-profit workers and see some of the innovative and life changing work they were doing. When I got back home, I wrote down stories about some of the people I’d met and the experiences I’d had. These stories grew into a very long and beautiful story, that rambled on and on for hundreds of pages. I knew I loved it and had poured my heart into it. I also knew it was unfocused, too long and wasn’t publishable.

I mailed it to my editor Emily Rodmell and a few weeks later I got “the call” telling me that Love Inspired Suspense was going to publish it.

Years later I started reading Love Inspired Suspense books and wanted to write my own. But I didn’t have a story. I prayed and searched my memory for anything I could turn into a book. Suddenly the people I’d met in Africa and their stories came flooding back to me. I pulled the old stories out and rewrote them entirely into a fun and tense book called Killer Assignment, about a plucky reporter named Kate who was being pursued by ruthless criminals and a daring charity worker named Mark who was hiding a huge secret about his past.



I’d been walking through the park when the call came in. I’d been both praying and crying while I walked, because what I was going through was so hard it felt insurmountable. And that was the moment my prayers were answered with the unbelievable phone call that changed my life.

My tenth Love Inspired Suspense book, Undercover Holiday Fiancée, is out in stores right now. My heroine, Chloe Brant is a detective who had a small walk on role in that first book. Then Chloe reappeared three years later in Headline: Murder where she teamed up with roguishly handsome and determined undercover detective Trent Henry. Even back then I could tell they had a complicated relationship, but I had no idea just how complicated their relationship would become.

Now Chloe is back, working alongside Trent and posing as his loving fiancée, even though she promised herself she’d never work with him again because of the confusing and infuriating things he does to her heart. It’s one of my favorite books and I hope you like it too.

What was the most unexpected answer to prayer you’ve ever received?

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The Christmas Wreath


Christine Johnson here today talking about something many of us do every year—hang a Christmas wreath. Some years ago I made an artificial one that I put on my front door every year.

traditional wreath


Sometimes I’ll trade it out with a wreath I somehow inherited—the memory is sketchy on exactly how—but I’m partial to the pine green and red of a more traditional wreath.



Do you know the tradition behind wreath-making? Their origin is uncertain, perhaps stretching back to Roman times when wreaths symbolized victory. In Christianity, the circle of the wreath represents eternity or life unending. Some believe the Christmas wreath got its start in the advent wreaths of medieval Germany, adorned with four candles and a fifth in the center which is lit on Christmas Eve to represent the coming of the Christ child. Others look to the early 19th century, when evergreen wreaths and crosses were often laid on gravesites and then brought home for Christmas to add to the decorations.



In my upcoming Christmas book (and last with Love Inspired Historical) ,Would-Be Mistletoe Wife, war widow and school teacher, Louise Smythe, goes on a wreath-making campaign to brighten the town in the hope of drawing more business from travelers, especially from Chicago. When the Great Fire of 1871 decimates that city and the area around her small town, the mission of boosting business turns to one of lifting the spirits of those left homeless. Since one of the results of the fire is the closing of the school, she will soon become one of them unless another avenue opens for her. If only the assistant lighthouse keeper, Jesse Hammond, would overlook her age and petite stature and recognize that she is fully capable of becoming a lighthouse keeper’s wife.



Now, it’s your turn. Do you hang a Christmas wreath? Do you hold with tradition and choose an evergreen one, or do you have a favorite artificial wreath?


Christine Johnson
Would-Be Mistletoe Wife (LIH, Dec 2017)


Monday, November 13, 2017

New for November from Our Love Inspired Historical Authors

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

http://amzn.to/2ySop4W
A Lawman for Christmas
by Karen Kirst 

THE GIFT OF FAMILY
Committed to her spinsterhood, Isabel Flores isn't about to trust a man with her hard-won independence or her heart—especially not lawman Ben MacGregor. But when a little boy is abandoned on her property, the so-called "Debonair Deputy" of their small Tennessee town helps her care for the child. And Isabel begins to hope he might be more than just a handsome flirt.

Ben is well aware of Isabel's aversion to love and has his own secret reasons for avoiding relationships. But as he and Isabel do their best to make the holiday special for their young ward, Ben wonders if he could be a family man after all. Will this Christmas be the first of many for Isabel and Ben's little instant family?

http://amzn.to/2AB7G3f
Mail-Order Christmas Baby
by Sherri Shackelford

THE RANCHER'S SPECIAL DELIVERY
The "package" is addressed to him, but rancher Sterling Blackwell certainly didn't order a baby! More scandalous still, he and the town's pretty teacher are named as parents. With gossip running wild, only a marriage of convenience can protect little Gracie and their reputations until her real family is found.

Heather O'Connor is content to be the spinster schoolmarm of Valentine, Montana…until Gracie's arrival stirs her heart. She can't keep the adorable child without Sterling's help, though she promises not to interfere with his life. But staying aloof from her handsome husband isn't easy with a tiny matchmaker in tow. A mistake brought them together, but love might just make them a family by Christmas…

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Sunday Scripture

God Bless Our Military Heroes
Veteran’s Day Weekend 2017
Michael, the Archangel, by Guido Reni, 1636, Santa Maria della Concezione
Church, Rome. [PD-US]
The Whole Armor of God
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace.  With all of these, take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints.
Ephesians 6:10-18

Please add the names of your military friends and family members in the comments section. Each military hero will prayerfully be remembered in the week ahead.