Friday, January 29, 2010

This week's winner!

This week's winner is:
Please contact us at heartsongblog at gmail dot com to claim your prize!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

From The Vault

This week's treasure from The Vault is:

Past The Ps Please by Yvonne Lehman
Heartsong Presents #510
ISBN: 9781586606244

Unsure of God's direction for her life, Sara is spending the summer after graduation house-cleaning at the estate of her college roommate's family. What others soon recognize is that God is using Sara in the lives of the three Paridy sons. Albert, the gifted lawyer and aspiring politician, admires Sara's people skills. Movie producer Adam wants to develop Sara's potential in front of a camera. And Forrest, running a huge but secret project, wonders if Sara is God's choice to help make his dreams reality. As the summer ends, Sara ponders her next step. Is it time to leave the Paridys forever? Or is she ready to trust her heart to the care of the Paridy man she loves? Fall in love with this inspiring love story and our entire collection of Christian romance novels from Heartsong Presents!

For more information on Yvonne Lehman and her other Heartsong Titles, including Past the Ps Please, click HERE.

QUESTION OF THE DAY: What was your favorite/least favorite job while in college?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Guest Blog with Yvonne Lehman

What could be more romantic than writing a series of historical Hawaii novels? After all, Hawaii is a tourist mecca and thousands go there each year for vacations, weddings, and honeymoons.

I felt sure my words and imagination would just flow since I had written a contemporary Hawaii novel, my three daughters had visited there and I have a writer-friend, Carmen Leal, who lives there.

Well…not so!

I discovered there is much more to Hawaii than islands sparkling like jewels in the sea, warm breezes in the palm trees, beautiful girls swaying with the hula, and ukeleles softly playing.

Love from Ashes, the third in my historical Hawaii series, was the most difficult romance to write since I wanted the setting to be shortly after World War II, a devastating time for the entire world.

My first book, written almost 30 years ago, was my attempt at reconciling racial differences between black and white. My belief is that acceptance doesn’t come just by laws being passed, but by individuals reaching out to each other. Now, Love from Ashes, my 48th book again takes on not only the race issue, but cultural differences and two people whose native countries were wartime enemies less than a year earlier.

My heroine in this book, Amelia Thurstan, has lived a lie for almost five years, believing her parents faced enough grief with the loss of their son during WWII and the death of her love, Joe, during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. But that’s before Joe’s brother, my hero, shows up in Hawaii, filled with questions she never wanted to answer.

Luke Thurstan is a former marine battling to bring peace to himself and his parent after the war. When he lands in Hawaii, the revelation that his brother married a woman who is half Japanese is disturbing enough. But events quickly force Luke to confront the bitterness that has sprung up within him as a result of the war’s devastation.

When Amelia’s secret if finally uncovered, they both wonder if this will be another blow to two families overwhelmed by grief. Or will love rise from the ashes on wings of healing?

God shows his love in the midst of our pain, loss, and sorrows. I want to show this in my books. When life seems to be a pile of ashes, literally and emotionally, God’s love is available and human love finds a way to express itself.

In writing the series, I began my research by reading James Mitchner’s Hawaii, many other fiction and non-fiction books, and searched the internet. The more I learned, the more there was to learn. This place of incredible beauty was also one of constant change and turmoil. Should I write about the eras of early missionaries, difference between myth and faith, numerous nationalities, royalty, whaling industry, ranching, or sugar production? What time period should I use since I’d have to work around, or include events like tsunamis, volcano eruptions, annexation into the U.S., and the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Then there was the problem of communication not only between Hawaii and the U.S. but also between the islands. I had to learn when travel changed from 5-6 month voyages to shorter periods, and when horses were replaced by automobiles.

Carmen said Hawaii had cowboys before the U.S. I found the idea of a Hawaiian cowboy intriguing and decided to set my story primarily on the island of Hilo in 1889-90. My American characters had to travel by ship for five months from the U.S. to the island. For Aloha Love, I developed a Hawaiian rancher as my hero and included royalty and religious myths, as well as Christianity that had been taken there by missionaries.

The era of picture brides occurred in the early 1900’s when Hawaii’s main industry was exporting sugar to many countries. Thousands of Japanese men had traveled to Hawaii for work on the plantations. There were no women for them so the immigration office arranged to send their photos and information to Japan. A matchmaker paired them up with women who then traveled to Hawaii to be married as soon as they docked. I began to plan how an American woman could become symbolic of a picture bride. Picture Bride features the matchmaking process and sugar plantations, again with Hilo as the primary setting and includes some of Aloha Love’s characters.

I wanted to set the third novel, Love from Ashes, in 1946 after WWII. I already had a fair knowledge of the Pearl Harbor bombing but needed to research the effect it had on the people of Hawaii and how the thousands of Japanese there would be involved and treated. Since my readers would be familiar with the setting and my continuing characters from the first two books, I wanted this one set in Hilo too. However, I discovered a tsunami had destroyed much of Hilo, so I needed to work that into the story.

These books, which I thought would be my easiest to write, required more research, reading, studying, thinking, and work than any of my others. But I am pleased with what I learned and how the books turned out. Recently I heard from several readers who loved the stories. One was reminded of her sister’s Hawaiian wedding. The books reminded another of “the good old days.” Another said she skips paragraphs when reading, but didn’t skip a thing in the Hawaii books. Encouragement like that keeps me researching and writing.

Thanks to all my readers. I appreciate you.

HAPPY NEW YEAR to each of you.


QUESTION OF THE DAY: Your dream an exotic locale or in your hometown?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Love From Ashes - Excerpt

The kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it. Matthew 13:45-46
An exerpt from Love From Ashes
He could think of nothing more to say than thank you again.

Her brief nod resembled a bow, then she walked with graceful steps out the door and along the hallway.
Standing with his back against the closed door, Luke stared at the tray, smelled the aroma of that rich, dark coffee. It beckoned him. But a realization kept his feet planted to the floor.
That woman was the wife of Pastor Jacob Grant. And she was unmistakably Japanese.
That meant Amelia Grant Thurstan, the lovely young woman with black hair pulled back in a thick roll, olive skin, deep brown eyes was...part Japanese.
The girl Joe wrote about was Japanese.
He could not tell his mother.
It would kill her.
QUESTION OF THE DAY: Coconut. Love it or Hate it?

Monday, January 25, 2010

Love From Ashes by Yvonne Lehman

Love from Ashes by Yvonne Lehman
HP 884
ISBN 978-1-60260-686-9

Amelia’s secret is catching up with her.

For almost five years, Amelia Thurstan has lived a lie, believing her parents faced enough grief with the loss of their son during World War II and the death of her love, Joe, during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. But that was before Joe’s brother showed up in Hawaii, filled with questions she never wanted to answer.

Luke Thurstan is a former marine battling to bring peace to himself and his parents after World War II. When he lands in Hawaii, the revelation that his brother married a woman who is half Japanese is disturbing enough. But events quickly force Luke to confront the bitterness that has sprung up within him as a result of the war’s devastation.

When Amelia’s secret is finally uncovered, will it be one more blow to two families overwhelmed by grief? Or will love rise from the ashes on wings of healing?
YVONNE LEHMAN is an award-winning, best-selling author of 42 books, including mainstream, mystery, romance, young adult, and women's fiction. Founder and director of her own writers conference, she now directs the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference held annually at the Ridgecrest/LifeWay Conference Center near Asheville, NC.
QUESTION FOR YOU: Do you ever dream of strolling a beach in Hawaii?

Friday, January 22, 2010

This week's winner!

This week's winner of one of the following prizes

  • 1) TEN Heartpoints to be applied to future shipments of Heartsong Presents Romance books OR
  • 2) A copy of Patterns and Progress OR
  • 3) A copy of Promises, Promises
  • is

Charity, please email us at heartsongblog at gmail dot com to claim your prize.

And thank you everyone for your support of Heartsong Connection. The community is growing every day.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

From the Vault

Today's treasure from The Vault is:

Promises, Promises by Amber Miller (Stockton)
Heartsong Presents #784
ISBN: 9781597899390

Raelene Strattford knows God has promised never to leave or forsake her. But after the catastrophic deaths of her parents, she doesn t believe it. What kind of God would take a girl's family and leave her alone in a wild land where women have no voice?

Gustaf Hanssen has admired Raelene from afar for a while, but his poor attempt at courting her in the past has made him unwelcome in her life. When Gustaf promises Raelene's dying father that he will take care of her, he finds himself bound to her happiness, her success, and her well-being in ways he never imagined. To keep his word must Gustaf really oversee all of Raelene's affairs, find her a husband, and maintain her farm, while she does nothing but scorn him?

Can God reach through Raelene's pain and self-centeredness and give her the love that awaits, if only she will accept His will?

A little exerpt from Promises, Promises

"Take care of her," her father had said as Gustaf placed Duncan’s broken body into the back of his father's wagon.

Duncan had placed his hand on Gustaf ’s arm and implored him with his pain-filled eyes. "She's headstrong, but she needs a friend....Please...promise me."

Gustaf had. Now what was he going to do? He would have to talk to Raelene sooner or later. As his three brothers and two sisters, along with his father and mother, stepped away, Gustaf drew near.

Words failed him. The intensity of the pain clouding Raelene's sapphire eyes struck him. But the unwavering jut of her chin told him the fight had not yet left her. She didn't want his comfort any more than she had wanted him. After all, he was just a farm boy. Worse yet. A son who would never inherit the family land once his father left this world.

For more information on Amber Stockton and her other titles, including Promises, Promises, click HERE.

QUESTION FOR YOU: Now that we're deep into winter, how do you break up those cold-weather/cabin-fever blahs?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Guest Blog with Amber Stockton

Hi! My name is Amber Stockton, and I'm sure the bio posted will sum up who I am. So, I'll get on to other fun things. :) First, I'm both thrilled and honored to be here this week on this fantastic new blog.

Heartsong Presents has been a book club that has gotten me through some rather difficult months in the past 17 years since the club formed. Yes, I've been a member of the club for that long. It wasn't until 2006 that my dream of becoming an HP author was realized. Now, with 6 books under my belt and more to come, I'm loving the connection with the HP family and the readers I've met along the way.

My newest book being featured this week is Patterns and Progress. I've had many readers email or write to me and comment on the strength of my heroines along with the close relationships they share with their mothers. Some have even asked me where I get that inspiration. The source? None other than my relationship with my own mother.

It seems to me that heroines in novels usually stems from two places: your own background or a lacking in your experiences. You either portray aspects of your life through your heroines, or you make up for what was missing in your life by giving your heroines everything you didn't have.

I had a rather strong woman as an example set before me. My mother always had it all together...or made it appear that way. From the time I was 8 years old, she went to work, managed the finances, prepared meals, took care of the 3 of us kids (at the time; a 4th came 5 years later), and kept a good control over the household.

As the only girl with 3 brothers, I helped out quite a lot. Learning alongside my mom created an inner strength I still carry with me today.

But there were times growing up where I resented the fact that my mother expected so much of me while allowing my brothers to slide by on so many things. It felt like she valued me more for what I could do around the house than for who I was as her daughter. But, she is an adult child of alcoholic parents with a mom who basically drank herself to death after my mom turned 12. By the time Mom was 19, she'd lost her mother. So, she had to be strong. Not knowing how else to respond, she raised me the same way she remembered growing up--handling it all.

Deep down, I resented her for that and unbeknownst to me had built a wall around myself, not allowing people to get too close. I had assumed an air of confidence and conveyed the appearance of having it all together as a way to mask the inner turmoil and desire for acceptance.

It took years before I was able to forgive her and shift our relationship into one of friends. When that happened, we established an amazing friendship that has only grown better with time. We would chat on the phone, send emails and talk via instant message all the time. Now that I'm married and living 2000 miles away, the relationship has seen another change, but the strength and bond is still in tact.

In my latest release, my heroine struggles with the changes in industry and development. Changes that are affecting the very fabric of life she'd come to know. A certain young man, Jacob, who espouses those changes catches her interest, but she struggles with embracing the change or digging in her feet and holding fast to what has always been comfortable.

In her real times of distress, she turns to her mother and shares several special moments with her. There is a bond between the two women that's evident by their conversations and how quick the heroine is to seek out her mother when she needs to talk. In fact, one of the conversations the two women have is similar to one I had with my mother when I was making that lifetime decision on who I was going to marry.

I had a lot of fun writing a close-knit family who teased and bantered, yet demonstrated an obvious love for each other that went far beyond blood relation. The conversations between Shannon and her mother though are among my favorite, primarily because of how self-assured and calm the mother is about the knowledge she shares.

Just when Shannon felt at her wit's end or completely torn on the direction she should choose, her mother would offer a challenge grounded in faith and wisdom that gently guided Shannon while also allowing room for her to take ownership of her decisions. When Shannon took the time to speak with her mother and seek God, the situation started to turn for the better. A few more obstacles still remained, but this time, she was up to the challenge.

In many ways, this heroine is her own creation. I often take bits and pieces from several women to create my characters. That inner strength and determination, though, came from my own experiences. When I set my mind on something, I go for it. Shannon Delaney and Jacob Berringer are both the same way! It was a lot of fun pitting these two strong personalities against each other and throwing them into difficult circumstances to see how they'd handle it.

I hope you enjoy the read as much as I enjoyed the ride while writing. :)

Oh, and I love to hear from my readers. Post a comment here or get in touch with me through my web site. Praying you have a fantastic week!

* * * * *
Question for you: Do you live near your parents or far away?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Patterns and Progress - Excerpt

Matthew 6:34 – Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

An excerpt from Patterns and Progress

A flash of guilt appeared on her face before she erased it and tapped into her anger once more. "If you must know, I was minding my own business and making my way toward home when all of a sudden you came out of nowhere and ran me off the road."

Jacob leaned back against the car and folded his arms across his chest, giving her a leisurely perusal as he quirked one eyebrow. "Well, from what I see, you don't appear to be any worse for the wear. Of course, I’m no doctor, so I can't tell if there might be internal injuries. That would require closer inspection."

The young woman dipped her head toward her chest. If more light were available, Jacob was certain there'd be a blush on her cheeks. Maybe she was coming around. A beat later, she raised her head and glared.

Then again, maybe not.

Join us tomorrow for a guest blog from Amber Stockton!

QUESTION FOR YOU: What modern invention do least like?

Monday, January 18, 2010

Patterns and Progress by Amber Stockton

Patterns and Progress by Amber Stockton
HP 883
ISBN 978-1-60260-687-6


Shannon was right about “progress.”

Every time Shannon Delaney might have considered changing her stance on what other people called “progress,” something bad happened and she was proven right again. Like the day Jacob Berringer almost ran her over in a new Model-T. Or the Titanic, a marvel of modern invention. Look where that got them. Or how about the new tractor her brother insisted they try out on their farm? That resulted in a broken arm. Why can’t things just stay the same—the way they should be?

Jacob has his work cut out for him, proving to the stubborn but beautiful Shannon that just because he works for the Henry Ford Company, he isn’t a bad guy. But something about her tells him she’s worth the effort, and when Jacob puts his mind to something, he doesn’t turn back.

But will either of them look to God for direction?


AMBER STOCKTON is a freelance Web Designer and author whose articles and short stories have appeared in local, national, and international publications. Her writing career began as a columnist for her high school and college newspapers, and she has sold eight books so far to Barbour Publishing with more on the horizon. Not only is she a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, but she is also the Vice President of her local ACFW chapter. At age three, she learned to read and hasn't put down books since. She lives with her husband and fellow author, Stuart, along with their daughter in Colorado. Visit her Web site to learn more or to contact her:

QUESTION FOR YOU: What modern invention would you least like to do without?

Friday, January 15, 2010

This week's winner!

This week's winner is:
Please contact us at heartsongblog at gmail dot com about your prize

Thursday, January 14, 2010

From the Vault

Heartsong Presents #725
ISBN: 9781597890823

Victoria's life has taken an unexpected turn, and the crash into the rugged mechanic's Corvette doesn't help matters. Forced into making her own way, the riches-to-rags Victoria Thankful must rely on the kindness of her sister-in-law until she is able to provide for herself.

Chris Ratcliff lives a very simple life with simple dreams, but raising his teenage sister is nothing short of complicated. When a cute brunette slams into his life, Chris surprises himself by accepting her help with taming his sister.

Can Victoria accept God's will, even if it includes a blue-collar man? Will Chris trust God with his heart when it comes to a gal who's anything but simple?

A little exerpt from By His Hand:

"Chris will bring you to the ranch."
"What?" She looked at the overgrown man who had turned toward Troy. Victoria watched as the sheriff nodded his head to whatever Chris had said to him. "I can't ride with him."
"Yes, you can. Trust me. He's a great guy. I'd come and get you in a heartbeat, but I can't."
"Trust me. You'll be fine."
"But he hates me."
"Chris Ratliff hates no one." A crash followed by crying sounded over the phone. "Gotta go."
Victoria pushed the OFF button on her cell phone and glanced toward her ride. Chris stood with both hands shoved in his pockets. His eyes glazed and his jaw set in a hard line when he looked at her. Lifting one side of her mouth in an attempted smile, Victoria gave up the notion, walked to her Suburban, grabbed her purse, and popped open a bottle of pain reliever. She swallowed two tablets, struggling to push them down her seemingly swollen throat. Begging God to keep her from getting sick, she noted the scowling expression on Chris's face. Victoria felt confident that Sondra had no idea what she was talking about.

For more information on Jennifer Johnson and her other Heartsong Titles, including By His Hand, click HERE.

QUESTION FOR YOU: What kind of car do you drive?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Guest Blog with Jennifer Johnson

Hello Friends,

First off, I gotta tell you…I LOVE THIS BOOK. If you like it even half as much as I enjoyed writing it, then you’ll be as tickled with it as I am.

One thing I really like is the male main character, Harold Smith. He’s a simple guy leading a simple life when he up and decides to fall in love with a woman who has three daughters, two of them teenagers at that! One of my favorite things about Harold is his name. My own children and best friend argued me into the ground over naming him Harold. They just couldn’t see a HERO who had such a name. So I tried several names, but nothing would stick. To me, he was Harold. Good ol’ Harold. Steady and consistent Harold. Hard-working, true-loving Harold. A real hero.

Another thing I like about the story is that my heroine, Kelly, is a woman about my age who teaches English, as I do, and who has three daughters, two teen and one pre-teen…and you guessed it, that’s true for me as well. Many of the quandaries and struggles that Kelly deals with, I know them all too well. In fact, I really only focus on the oldest daughter in the story…there just weren’t enough pages to really dig into the challenges of raising all three.

Probably what touches my heart the most about this story is that Kelly and Harold are forced to deal with a wayward teenager, her oldest daughter, seventeen-year-old Zoey. This rebellious girl touches me so deeply because I relate to her so well. Zoey is a Christian, she truly loves the Lord, but she’s fighting him tooth-and-nail. Like Zoey, I endured some rebellious years. And like her, I faced some consequences.

When I was seventeen, I became pregnant with my oldest daughter. My boyfriend and I married within a week of discovering I was expecting. To say “things were difficult” doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual challenges we faced. Some of you have lived this as well, personally or through a child, grandchild, or friend. It was the most embarrassing, humbling experience of my life.

But, God is good. He is merciful. He is the author and finisher of redemption. He restored my life and my husband’s. It was not easy, but He forgave and He blessed. This past Monday, January 11, my husband and I celebrated our 19th anniversary. We have three beautiful daughters. Our oldest, Brooke, is a freshman at Western Kentucky University. Our middle daughter, Hayley, is a sophomore, and our youngest, Allie, is in sixth grade. I was able to go back to school and receive my degree in education. I now teach 7th grade language arts. And because God is more amazing than I could ever describe or deserve, He has allowed me to write for Heartsong Presents. My dream was to teach and to write. At seventeen, I believed neither would ever be possible.

This truth is what I pray to portray in all my stories. God forgives and renews. He forgives and restores. He forgives and blesses. With God, ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE. It’s the truth. If you don’t believe it, I pray God will WOW you until you have no option but to shout it from the mountaintops. Praise God!

I’m including a few pictures of my family. I hope you will feel free to stop by and visit my website at or send me an email at

Easter 2009
Brooke, 17, Hayley, 15, Jennifer, and Allie, 11

My husband, Al, and me

Al, Brooke, and Jennifer
Brooke was Sandy for her high school’s
play, Grease

Question: How has God restored and renewed you?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

For Better or Worse - Excerpt

“…and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore, what God has joined together, let man not separate.” Mark 10:8-9

A little excerpt from For Better or Worse by Jennifer Johnson

"This is going to be the longest two weeks of my life," Harold growled as he turned the ignition.

Kelly felt his frustration to her core. "Tell me about it." She picked at a piece of lint on her slacks, begging her mind to drift to something besides their wedding. In only a matter of moments, they'd left their small town and were heading toward Wilmington. "So, where are we going tonight?"

"It's a bit of a surprise." Harold placed his hand on her knee. "Would you mind if we didn't go see a movie tonight?"

Kelly felt a smile bowing her lips. She lifted her hand to one of her silver earrings and twisted it around her fingertips. "We're not going racecar driving, are we? I'm way overdressed for that."

Harold laughed and tapped the top of the steering wheel. "No racecar driving tonight."

QUESTION FOR YOU: What's the most unusual date you've been on?

Monday, January 11, 2010

For Better or Worse by Jennifer Johnson

This week's title is:

For Better or Worse by Jennifer Johnson
HP 882
ISBN 978-1-60260-679-1

Kelly has a second chance at love.

Her husband’s death four years ago left a huge hole in Kelly Coyle’s heart and a vacancy in the lives of her three daughters as well. So when Kelly’s furnace broke down, God sent the perfect man for three jobs.

Harold Smith knows it will be a challenge, but he can hardly wait to take on the roles of husband and father in a house full of girls. But the “for better or for worse” part of their vows is put to the test when Kelly’s oldest daughter drops a bombshell on their wedding day. Kelly begins to fear that by marrying her Harold has completely ruined his life.

Will God convince Kelly to trust Harold and let him fulfill his roles as devoted husband and father?

Jennifer Johnson and her unbelievably supportive husband, Albert, are happily married and raising Brooke, Hayley, and Allie, the three cutest young ladies on the planet. Besides being a middle school teacher, Jennifer loves to read, write, and chauffeur her girls. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. Blessed beyond measure, Jennifer hopes to always think like a child—bigger than imaginable and with complete faith. Send her a note at
QUESTION FOR YOU: Have your kids ever dropped a verbal bombshell?

Friday, January 8, 2010

Our First Winner!

Here in the deep-freeze of Minnesota, I fired up the random number generator to choose a winner for this week's feature title here at Heartsong Connection.
And the winning comment number was from Sue!
Congratulations, Sue. You've won your choice of the following:
1. TEN Heartpoints to be added to your Heartsong Presents Bookclub total.
2. A copy of Fire and Ice by Susan Page Davis.
3. A copy of The Oregon Escort by Susan Page Davis.
Please email us at heartsongblog @ gmail dot com with your preference, and we'll get your prize to you.
Thank you to everyone who stopped by, who commented, started following the blog, etc. And thank you for spreading the word about Heartsong Connection.
Congratulations to Sue, our first winner, and I hope to see you and a bunch of new friends here on Monday when we will meet Heartsong author Jennifer Johnson!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

From the Vault

This week's treasure from the Heartsong Vault is:
The Oregon Escort by Susan Page Davis
When her aunt dies and leaves her nothing, Lydia Jackson heads to Oregon City in a wagon train to fulfill a teaching position. When a wagon train escort officer starts to show her attention, Lydia feels she must reject the man because of her obligations.
Corporal Mike Brown has been assigned by the U.S. military to escort the wagon train safely through the frontier. Still grieving the loss of his wife and son, he welcomes time in the open wilderness as his heart tries to mend. What he doesn't expect is to be attracted to Lydia Jackson
After being faced with all the harrowing experiences of the great West, will they be able to resist their feelings for each other? Or will Lydia find a future with her Oregon escort?
"Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart." 3 Psalm 37:4
For more information or to order this title, click HERE.
For more information about Susan Page Davis and her other Heartsong Titles, click HERE.
QUESTION FOR YOU: Historicals or Contemporaries or both?
Don't forget, today is the last day to leave a comment for a chance to win either 10 Heartpoints, or one of these fabulous books.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Fire and Ice Guest Blog - Susan Page Davis

Today is a guest blog from Susan about her travels and research for Fire and Ice. If you have any questions for Susan, be sure to post them in the comment section.

And now, here's Susan:

Dog sledding is a major theme in my newest Heartsong Presents book—Fire & Ice. It’s the second on my Alaska books (the first was Always Ready), and I had a wonderful time researching and writing this book.
I was able to visit Wasilla, Alaska, where the headquarters for the Iditarod Trail race is located. I soon decided not to feature the Iditarod in my book, but to make up a smaller one, the Fire & Ice, an annual race sponsored by the heroine and her family. Robyn Holland raises and trains sled dogs in my books, and her business is the core of this story. Her world turns topsy-turvy when six elite dogs are stolen from her kennel—four of her own and two belonging to a client.
Writing this story meant a lot of research for me, besides visiting the Iditarod HQ. (By the way, several people have asked me if I saw Sarah Palin while I was in Wasilla, and the answer is no—she was in the Lower 48 while I was in her town.)
What do you do when you want to learn about something you know nothing about? After talking to people in Alaska and watching videos and reading printed material at the Iditarod building, I picked up several books about dog sled racing, two of which I found especially helpful. One, called Mush!, Revised: A Beginner’s Manual of Sled Dog Training, by Charlene G. LaBelle, is perfect for rank amateurs like me. This book answered a lot of basic questions, like: What are dog harnesses made of? How do you put the harness on the dog? At what age do dogs start pulling? And so on. Using this book helped keep me from sounding totally clueless.
The other book that I really loved was The Speed Mushing Manual: How to Train Racing Sled Dogs, by Iditarod winner Jim Welch. It is geared to more advanced mushers—like my character, Robyn. It gives details on training for speed and for those long sled races like the Iditarod and the Yukon Quest. It blasted away a lot of my preconceptions about mushing. And it gave me the jargon I needed to make Robyn sound like the professional trainer she is.
So, even though I would still be considered dangerous if I got behind a dog sled, I was able to write believable characters who know what they are doing. And I got to see their gorgeous habitat. I hope all the readers will love Wasilla as much as I did.
One other aspect of writing these books that challenged me: naming all those dogs! I have enough trouble naming all my human characters—in fact, naming my six children almost did me in! So I asked my daughter (who is a dog fanatic) to help me, and she was terrific! Between us, we came up with some creative names. I hope you enjoy reading about Robyn and her canine friends. I would surely love to hear from you on ways to find names for characters—human and otherwise. I admit to opening the phone book on occasion when I’m desperate.
Thanks for coming by. I hope you have a creative day!

QUESTION FOR YOU: What's the most bizarre pet name you've heard?

Join us tomorrow for a peek at a book from the Heartsong Vault.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Fire and Ice - Excerpt

Here's just a little taste of Fire and Ice by Susan Page Davis.

Robyn's smile widened. "We'd probably better head back in case Mom's got company." She pulled out her phone and checked it. “Just as I thought. No service out here.”
“Let’s go.” Rick hurried to the back of his sled and reached for the snow hook. She hadn’t protested his comment. As they took the trail back, he found himself looking forward to kissing her and hoping that time came soon.
The dogs pulled them back toward the Holland Kennel yard at a smart trot. Rick believed those on his towline could have kept going all day and loved it. As the miles flew by, his thoughts drifted back to their embrace. Robyn was right—parkas weren’t the best attire for courting.
Cheryl came out the back door of the house as they came to a halt and ran to where Robyn hitched her team leaders.
“I’m so glad you’re back!”
“What is it, Mom? Did Mr. Sterns show up here?”
“Not yet, but six of our dogs are missing.”

The key verse for Fire and Ice:

“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;” II Corinthians 4:8, NIV

QUESTION FOR YOU: Have you ever been to Alaska? If so, tell us a little about it. If not, what's the most exotic place you've visited?

Join us tomorrow for a guest blog with Susan where she tells us a little bit about the research that went into Fire and Ice, as well as her visit to Alaska and the home of the Iditarod Dog Sled Race.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Fire and Ice by Susan Page Davis

I'm so happy to introduce the first Heartsong here on the new blog. Please welcome Susan Page Davis.

Fire and Ice by Susan Page Davis

HP 881

ISBN 978-1-60260-678-4



Robyn is at the end of her rope.

Robyn Holland loves her work raising and training sled dogs for her family’s business, Holland Kennel, in rugged Alaska. But when her grandfather has an accident, the resulting hospital bills put a strain on the family’s finances. Will she be forced to follow her mother’s suggestion and sell the business? It would break her heart but it’s beginning to seem like her only option. Robyn turns to Rick Baker, a neighbor and veterinarian, for help as the Fire and Ice dog sled race approaches. Then some of her most valuable dogs are stolen. As they race against time to find the dogs, a spark ignites. Will they allow God’s light to illuminate the right tracks to follow for the victory He has for them?

Susan Page Davis and her husband, Jim, have been married thirty-three years and have six children, ages fifteen to thirty-two, and six grandchildren. They live in Maine, where they are active in a small, independent Baptist church. Susan is a homeschooling mother. She has published twenty-five novels in the historical romance, cozy mystery, romantic suspense, fantasy, and contemporary romance genres. The family is contemplating a move to Kentucky in 2010. Visit Susan at her Web site:

If you'd like to order a copy of Fire and Ice, or to find out more information on the Heartsong Presents Romance book club, click HERE.

Join us tomorrow for an exerpt from Fire and Ice, and stop back on Wednesday for a guest blog with Susan.

QUESTION FOR YOU: Do you own a dog? Are you a dog lover?

And don't forget, commenting on a post this week enteres you to win a prize!