Friday, February 26, 2010
Thursday, February 25, 2010
by Pamela Griffin
Heartsong Presents #586
A cat burglar is at large and he always leaves a yellow rose at the scene of his crime. Florist Marissa Hughes becomes suspicious of Wadleyville's newest resident, a handsome Latino who routinely requests a single yellow rose when he visits her shop. Marissa believes something's amiss - could he be the town's notorious thief? Antonio Ramirez is starting over after a less-than-stellar acting career in Hollywood. He's traded in the fast-paced, West Coast life for a quiet existence in rural Ohio. Soon, though, he's star-struck by the timid owner of the local floral shop. But why won't she allow him to be more than her friend? Is Antonio guilty of stealing more than Marissa's heart? Can the Lord's truth overcome some incriminating coincidences? Fall in love with this inspiring love story and our entire collection of Christian romance novels from Heartsong Presents!
For more information on Pamela Griffin and her other Heartsong Titles, including this one go to www.heartsongpresents.com
Have you read one of Pamela's Heartsongs and which title is your favorite?
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
I am blessed to have joined Heartsong Presents a decade ago and thankful to all my readers who’ve supported me over the years. Your letters and notes have meant more to me than you will ever know. You people are awesome! :)
I have greatly enjoyed working on the Titanic/New York/Connecticut series since its inception in 2000. In Search of a Memory will mark the 2nd of the last four books with regard to these families. In the first generation of stories, you met survivors of harsh circumstances who reached out to God as their lifelines. To name a few: Annabelle, a naive young woman forced to mature quickly once she reunited with her childhood love aboard the ill-fated Titanic. . .Charleigh, another passenger, who upon being rescued disguised her identity in order to escape revenge from her former accomplice in crime. . .the brash but loveable cockney Darcy, who grew up on the poverty-ridden streets of London and whose hare-brained schemes gained her the notice of Brent Thomas, the proper schoolmaster at a reformatory for boys. . .his criminal brother, who found love with a missionary’s daughter on a South Pacific island, after being washed ashore when a former mob boss tried to kill him. . .and many more. The “In Search of” series brings together these families one last time, highlighting the dangers and triumphs their children face as the second generation of Thomases, Lyonses, and Fontaines search for love and hope in a world hurting for both during the Great Depression.
For part of my research, I had the intriguing experience of visiting a family owned Christian circus that came to our area and interviewing the head of it. I incorporated many of his facts into my fictional carnival, the setting for my book, while trying to keep it plausible for the historical 30s. I learned the differences between traveling carnivals and circuses as well as many other fun trivia bits I sprinkled throughout my story—I love to learn new things. :) At the request of readers who asked for more about Lila and her daughter Angel, both who made their debut in Heart Appearances, I made this their story, also bringing into the mix the grandson of a notorious enemy who almost destroyed the Thomases lives.
I like to take the villains, the riff-raff, and other people considered lost causes—and show that through God’s grace and love, no one is a lost cause to Him and nothing is impossible to accomplish. This story is no exception. I hope it inspires and entertains all who read it.
God bless you all! :)
Who is one of your favorite fictional redeemed heros or heroines?
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Selection from the story:
“Did I say something wrong?”
Before she could respond, the waiter returned to the table with their orders. “If there will be anything else, Mr. Piccoli, please do not hesitate to ask.”
“Bring the lady a sandwich as well. I’m sure she must be hungry.”
The shock of hearing his name struck Angel like an unexpected dousing of icy water; she couldn’t think to respond or refuse. A kaleidoscope of startling facts twisted inside her mind, making her dizzy. . .
Roland Piccoli! Grandson of the notorious gangster, Vittorio Piccoli. . .who dispensed with his enemies as casually as she dispensed with a pair of damaged stockings. No wonder he seemed familiar when she saw him at her aunt’s! His face had been plastered in the society pages a month ago, a blushing debutante on his arm, who the article had said was his fiancée. And Angel had run across his path, not once, but twice. . .
Walking twice, into the path of a killer.
Have you ever experienced a situation like his heroine, where you felt afraid in someone's company?
Monday, February 22, 2010
Angel’s mother didn’t die.
Longing for the truth, Angel joins a carnival in hopes of learning her mother’s fate. There, she is surprised to find people who show her more love and concern than she ever experienced with her aunt and cousins. As she begins to consider that a loving God may actually care about her, Angel’s steps are dogged by Roland Piccoli, the scion of a notorious New York gangster family who insists he has turned his back on his family’s ways.
Will Angel’s search for the source of her memories lead her into danger or bring her to a love greater than she could ever have thought possible?
PAMELA GRIFFIN lives in Texas and divides her time among family, church activities, and writing. She fully gave her life to the Lord in 1988 after a rebellious young adulthood and owes the fact that she’s still alive today to an all-loving and forgiving God and a mother who prayed that her wayward daughter would come “home”. Pamela’s main goal in writing Christian romance is to encourage others through entertaining stories that also heal the wounded spirit.
Today's Question: Have you ever visited New York City? If not, would you like to?
Friday, February 19, 2010
Thursday, February 18, 2010
This week's featured book:
The Bartered Bride
by Erica Vetsch
Heartsong Presents #875
Jonathan Kennebrae is furious when his grandfather informs him that his future has been decided. He will marry Melissa Brooke or lose his inheritance. Melissa, too, is devastated when her parents make their announcement. As little more than a bargaining chip in her father's business maneuvers, she feels her secure world slipping away. Can Jonathan and Melissa find a way out of this loveless marriage, or must they find a way forward together?
Here's and excerpt:
“My wife and I,” Almina had joined Lawrence Brooke, tucking her arm into his elbow and beaming on the crowd, her gaze lingering longest on Jonathan and Melissa. “Are pleased to announce the engagement of our daughter, Melissa, to Mr. Jonathan Kennebrae. Please join us in congratulating the happy couple.” He lifted the glass in their direction. A polite wave of applause welled up.
Melissa stood, knocking her chair over onto the grass. She put her hand to her mouth, turning her head wildly from Jonathan to her parents, then back again. Jonathan rose slowly, easing up on numb legs.
“Kennebrae?” She whispered so low he had to stoop to hear her. “Your name is Kennebrae?”
“Of course it is. What else would it be?”
She blinked, staring at him. “But, I thought—” Her throat spasmed as she tried to swallow. “I thought…”
He caught her just before she hit the grass in a dead faint.
Key verse: Proverbs 21.1 The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: He turneth it whithersoever He will.
For more information on Erica Vetsch and this Heartsong Title go to www.heartsongpresents.com
Question for today: Did your parents try to dictate your future or encourage you to follow your own heart and dreams?
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
The Marriage Masquerade story came about because of a trip I made to one of America’s most recognizable lighthouses. Perched on a 130 foot cliff over tempestuous Lake Superior, the sturdy tower and fog house of Split Rock Lighthouse have stood for 100 years. I couldn’t help but fall in love with the location and knew right away I wanted to set a story there. I was thrilled when Ashley Schrock, Creative Director at Barbour, worked Split Rock into the cover art for The Marriage Masquerade. It’s everything I dreamed it would be.
Question of the Day: Is there a site you've visited or long to visit that evokes an emotional response?
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
From The Marriage Masquerade:
“I haven’t had a chance to thank you properly for saving my life. And I’m sorry for being sick on the dock.” Her delicate ears reddened, and her gaze dropped.
Uncomfortable, both with being thanked for something he’d done instinctively, and with the protective feelings expanding in his chest, he shrugged and half-turned away from her.
“Don’t mention it.” He waved away her thanks. “You’ve seen the most dangerous places on the island. Stay away from the cliff, the fuel stores, and the tower. And it’s against the rules for you to enter the lighthouse without one of the keepers. That should keep you safe. And considering the state of this morning’s breakfast, I’ll stay away from the kitchen. That should keep me safe.” He grinned, waiting to hear her laugh.
She gasped, dropped her arms to her sides, and stalked off toward the house.
So much for his attempt at humor.
Today's Question: Have you ever had to be rescued?
Monday, February 15, 2010
Noah just wants to start over.
Captain Noah Kennebrae can no longer deal with the shame and guilt from the wreck of his ship. So he changes his name and takes a job as assistant lighthouse keeper on Sutton Island, heedless of the marriage contract his grandfather has arranged for him. No woman in her right mind would want to marry him now, anyway.
Desperate to escape the calculating grasp of her father and his cronies, Anastasia Michaels leaves her home to take the unlikely job of housekeeper on a remote island. Knowing how terrified of water she is, surely her father would never think to look for her there.
But neither Nick nor Annie considered that God’s hand might be at work in their lives. When they each take things into their own hands, He must work a miracle to bring them back to His original plan.
ERICA VETSCH is married to Peter
loves history, romance, and storytelling. Her
ideal vacation is taking her family to out-of-
the-way history museums and chatting to
Social Studies. You can find her on the web
The Monday morning question: Is Valentine's Day a favorite or yours? Why or why not?
Friday, February 12, 2010
Thursday, February 11, 2010
by Myra Johnson
Heartsong Presents #873
Healy knows all about prisons, both the physical one he's been released from and the emotional one he keeps himself trapped in. Valerie is caught up in post-traumatic stress disorder. Shadowy moments from a night she can't fully remember bombard her without warning, keeping her trapped between the painful past and a future that seems hopeless. But God promises to repay the years that have been lost; for those who trust in Him, He promises refreshing, life-giving rain. Will Val and Healy trust to see God's perfect plan, or will they choose the chains that hold them back?
For more information on Myra Johnson and her other Heartsong Titles, including this one go to www.heartsongpresents.com
Question for today: What is the weather like in your part of the country?
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Parker Travis, the hero in my second Heartsong Presents novel, Romance by the Book, is just such a man. One of my favorite ways of getting to know my story characters in the early stages of writing is to let them tell me about themselves in their own words. Here’s how Parker introduced himself:
I’m a hairstylist by trade. A lover of beautiful women by design. God made me that way. I just love beautiful women. More to the point, I love helping women see their own beauty. And I’m not just talking physical here. Skin deep and all. Probably doesn’t sound real macho, but then I’ve never been one to care much about that. Otherwise, I’d have taken up pile driving or professional football or number crunching. You know, the jobs “real men” usually go for.
So how did I end up doing women’s hair? It started with my grandmother’s rheumatoid arthritis. Grams was so crippled up by the time she turned 50 that she couldn’t even curl her fingers around her own hairbrush. As a boy, I’d stand behind her Hoveround and gently pull the brush through her salt-and-pepper curls. It was helping Grams look as pretty on the outside as I knew her to be on the inside that really stayed with me. And it’s what has made my life’s work a vocation much more than a career choice.
So what kind of girl would a guy like Parker fall in love with? Let me introduce Sailor Kern:
I teach water aerobics at the Birkenstock YMCA, and I’m really good at it. What people don’t realize is that beneath my confident teaching persona, I’m painfully shy. For most of my life, my parents have served as overseas missionaries, and I’ve been taking care of my widowed uncle since I was a teen. Not much chance to develop social skills, and I never considered myself very pretty or interesting anyway.
Being a loner, I naturally turned to books. Give me a good romance anytime. I’m the beautiful heroine with flowing tresses and flawless skin. I’m swept off my feet by a sword-brandishing hero with eyes as deep as the ocean. My very favorite author is Chandler Michaels, and I haunt the library waiting for his next book. I bet he’s as romantic in person as the heroes in his novels!
There’s probably a little bit of Sailor in most women. Whether we’re shy or outgoing, timid or self-confident, we often have trouble believing in our own attractiveness. We look in the mirror and notice every flaw. We read disapproval in someone’s frown. We doubt our own abilities.
And we long for someone—that one special person—to see us as beautiful, desirable, worthy.
Sailor’s crush on her favorite romance author blinds her to the love of the real-life hero who longs to show her the beauty she can’t see in herself. But when she actually meets the man of her dreams, her fairy-tale romance takes some unexpected turns. Sailor learns the hard way that, to borrow a cliché, you can’t judge a book by its cover. As the Lord spoke in 1 Samuel 16:7, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
I hope you’ll enjoy reading about how Parker finally edges his way into Sailor’s heart. In the meantime, remember that there is One who sees you perfectly and loves you eternally. In His eyes, you are beautiful. In His arms, you are secure.
Let's go deep with today's question: Do you feel beautiful to the Lord? Why or why not?
(Please forgive me for this posting so late. This blog is a huge learning curve for me. And today, I failed the test. Just when you think you have things figured out, technology throws a curve ball.)
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
You have stolen my heart, my sister, my bride;
you have stolen my heart
with one glance of your eyes,
with one jewel of your necklace.
How delightful is your love, my sister, my bride!
How much more pleasing is your love than wine,
and the fragrance of your perfume than any spice!
—Song of Solomon 4:9-10 (NIV)
From Romance by the Book:
“The thing is, I’m a little out of practice in this whole. . .relationship thing.”
Out of practice? How about completely out of touch? His last real date was probably the night he took second-chair flutist Marie Zipp to their high school band banquet. Just because most of his clients were female didn’t give him any advantages in the romance department. And face it, no woman he’d met thus far had even come close to capturing his heart.
“So. . .you came to the library in search of a book on relationships.” Kathy drummed her fingers on the counter. “May I assume you mean something a little deeper than friendship?”
Parker swallowed. “You may assume.”
A grin spread across her wide mouth, a grin that looked more Machiavellian than friendly. “I have exactly the book you need.”
Motioning for one of the other librarians to cover the front desk, Kathy reached for something on a lower shelf. She tucked a slim, shiny paperback under her arm, stepped through a swinging gate, and hurried Parker to one of the study carrels behind the reference section.
“Have a seat, Parker, and prepare to be enlightened.” She took a chair across the narrow table from him and laid the book between them. “The library got in a shipment of advance review copies a few days ago, and when I came across this one, I squirreled it away before anyone else could grab it. I’m betting it’ll give you exactly the ammunition you’ll need to woo Sailor away from her fantasy man.”
He studied the silhouetted couple on the cover, their lips meeting for a kiss in the center of a stylized red heart. “Romance by the Book, eh? So simple even a dork like me can learn?”
“Haven’t you heard the rumors?” Kathy gave a low chuckle. “Word on the street is, you’re the most eligible bachelor in Birkenstock.”
Food for thought:
What sort of instructional book have you read? Was the endeavor successful?
Monday, February 8, 2010
Romance by the Book by Myra Johnson
Sailor thought he was the man of her dreams.
In reality, Sailor Kern is a swimming instructor at her local YMCA in Birkenstock, Missouri. But in her dreams, she shares a life with famous romance writer Chandler Michaels. And now she’s about to meet him in person! And not only meet him, she gets to be his assistant the whole time he’s visiting Birkenstock.
But romance and reality don’t always mix, and Sailor is in for some big surprises. Chandler isn’t at all what she thought he would be, but the experience draws her closer to a God she’d nearly forgotten and friends who won’t leave her behind.
Will Sailor follow her dream man, or will she see the true hero God has placed before her, right in her own hometown?
About the author: MYRA JOHNSON has roots that go deep into Texas soil, but she’s proud to be a new Oklahoman. Myra and her husband have two married daughters and five grandchildren. Empty nesters now, they share their home with two loveable dogs and a snobby parakeet. Autumn Rains, Myra’s first novel for Heartsong Presents, won the 2005 RWA Golden Heart for Best Inspirational Romance Manuscript.
Question of the day:
Has there ever been a time when an unknown seemed so much better than what was right under your nose?
Saturday, February 6, 2010
Friday, February 5, 2010
Thursday, February 4, 2010
by Nancy Toback and Kristin Billerbeck
Heartsong Presents #581
Tom has loved Jessica since high school. And sixteen years later he still does. But Jess sees Tom as her best friend - a chum. Tom is certain she'll never view him as anything else, and he's too afraid of possibly ruining their friendship to tell her how he really feels. As a successful chef in Manhattan, Jessica Stewart has reached her professional goals - but her biological clock is ticking. In need of a husband, Jessica decides an online dating service is the answer. Since Tom knows her better than anyone else does, she seeks his help in completing the questionnaire. Can Jessica learn to trust God - instead of the Internet - for love? Can Tom fulfill his promise to Jessica's father to protect her, even if she's determined to find love on-line? Fall in love with this inspiring love story and our entire collection of Christian romance novels from Heartsong Presents!
For more information on Nancy Toback and her other Heartsong Titles, including this one go to www.heartsongpresents.com
QUESTION OF THE DAY: How many of you married your high school sweetheart or know someone who did?
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
My question for our bloggers was how did the two of them work together and achieve success as a writing duo? Below is their response:
Writing a book with someone else is a crash course in learning the other person’s work habits. You don’t really know someone until you’ve worked with them under pressure. And when two writers have very strong, individual voices, not to mention firm ideas about the way things should be, the challenge is doubled. . .okay, quadrupled. . .all right—really magnified. But we’ve managed to work together so far and remain friends, despite the fact that Candice is a stoic German and Nancy is a fiery Italian. That’s probably because we’re both too old to stay annoyed for any length of time.
We’ve worked out a system now for books two and three in this series that is working for us. After hashing out a chapter by chapter together, our books are constructed as if we were building a human body. Candice writes short paragraphs for each scene, like a skeleton. Nancy builds on those, adding the sinew and muscle of the basic story. Candice adds organs—depth of setting and description. And the editing starts here, as well. Then we both do finish work—the skin. Nancy is a true romance writer. She can write an awesome first kiss scene. Candice is good at mystery and setting.
Despite our differences, the things we share are what really make this work. We’ve experienced many similar circumstances in our personal lives, some quite painful, so we pull on those experiences to give depth to our plots and characters.
Candice is a country girl:
I live in Maryland farm country where the D.C. sprawl is beginning to spread its fingers into the forests and fields where I grew up. When I was little, my recreation was swimming in a deep part of the creek, building forts in the woods, and collecting tadpoles and salamanders. While I wasn’t raised on a farm, I was raised country. That’s still what I prefer. Now my folks have cattle—Herefords to be precise, and I occasionally help with them. One of my most vivid memories is from three years ago. I tell my mother it left me scarred for life. I was left in charge of a dead cow while my folks headed off for a cruise. (Yes, a dead cow. I ask you. . .what mother leaves her daughter in charge of a dead cow? Mine.) Anyway, my job was to ensure the man from 1-800-dead-cow came on time to pick up the carcass and was paid. (Yes, that’s the real phone number.) When I was told to put the check in a jar next to the, er, body, I about lost it. Cows are big, but they seem bigger when they’re dead. And there were other. . .unpleasant things. Anyway, I won’t go into graphic description here, although I could since I’m a writer.
I’ve shot ground hogs, driven a tractor, and watched bulls being neutered. I’m not afraid of bugs or spiders or mice. I’m country through and through. And that’s a good example of one difference between me and Nancy. She’ll call an exterminator to get rid of mice. I’ll go to Southern States, get whatever I need, and catch them myself.
Nancy is a city girl:
I now live in South Florida but was born and raised in Manhattan; specifically, Germantown. I know nothing about cows except what I learned from the steakhouse menu. And let’s not even discuss the scenes with Allie atop a horse in A Hero for Her Heart. I’ve been on horseback twice—the second time only because a friend convinced me that horses “really don’t bite.” When Candice told me the heroine was a farrier, I thought she meant furrier. Then she taught me that horses wear shoes? I loved growing up in the concrete jungle, sitting on the “stoop” with the neighborhood kids, and cooling off in the “Johnny pump” on really hot days, but my life experience wasn’t much help in our Walla Walla, Washington setting. I’m grateful for the experience of co-writing with a country girl who’s not afraid of rodents and bugs, though I suspect Candice owns a BB gun and she’s not afraid to use it. Me, I just scream bloody murder if I find anything with more than two legs in my house.
Candice and I had as many laughs as we did virtual knock-down, drag-out fights writing this series, but with all our differences we’re forever friends.
QUESTION OF THE DAY: Have you ever tried to do a solo activity with a partner and how did it go?
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Excerpt from A Hero For Her Heart:
“Shannon is right.” Allie interrupted his thoughts. She refolded the check and held it tightly in her hands, then looked Derrick squarely in the eyes. “You are a hero.”
Hero? “Could be because you’ve known me less than fifteen minutes.”
Danny hopped from one foot to the other. “That was cool, the way you caught Aunt Allie. Where did you learn to do that?”
The force of the boy’s enthusiasm was irresistible. Pretending solemnity, Derrick glanced around as if to make sure the coast was clear, then leaned down and whispered, “I learned it in hero school.”
Danny’s eyes widened. “Is that where your face got hurt?”
“No, but it does make me look more heroic. I graduated at the top of my class.” He straightened and glanced at Allie. “And because I’m a hero, I insist I walk you to wherever you’re going while I carry your tools.”
“You don’t need to do that,” she said quickly.
“Oh, but I do.” He lifted his eyes to the summer sky and scratched his chin as though he were thinking hard. “See, it’s rule number. . .um. . .twenty-one, I think. ‘After saving a damsel in distress, always see her safely home or to her vehicle, whichever applies.’ ” He crossed his arms. “I scored a perfect hundred on that test. Of course, I stayed up all night cramming. And it’s been a while.”
Allie’s lips twitched. “How does one study for a hero test?”
Derrick placed his hand on his chest as though making a pledge. “Sorry, I can’t reveal the secrets of a hero. It’s in the rules. Number one, and I quote, ‘No method, secret, rule, or procedure shall be revealed to anyone at any time.’ ” He paused and winked again at Danny. “And number two says, ‘No hero will ever be caught bragging on exploits, whether his own or those of a fellow hero.’ ”
The boy’s wide smile brought cheer to his heart, but it was Allie’s grin that made his insides warm. He’d have to be careful. Old flirting habits died hard, and he couldn’t afford the complication of an attraction. He had information to gather, then he’d be gone. Most of all, she could never know why he was here.
“All right, Derrick Owens, hero extraordinaire,” Allie said, unaware of his turmoil, “you may walk us to my truck.”
Monday, February 1, 2010
When Allie’s brother and sister-in-law die in a car accident, Allie is left with the care of their adopted son, Danny—and enormous debt. Now she’s forced to sell part of the farm to make ends meet. Still reeling from her broken engagement, Allie has no interest in men—especially those who lie.
Derrick is on a mission. His dying sister’s last wish is to know her son is happy with his adopted family, so Derrick hides behind his job as Realtor to investigate Allie and Danny. But soon his reconnaissance mission turns into much more when his feelings grow for Allie and the nephew he’s never known.
Will Derrick’s half-truths spin a destructive end? Or can Allie and Derrick overcome a web of deceit to finally see the truth and admit their love?
About the authors:
CANDICE SPEARE lives in an old farmhouse in Maryland with Winston the African gray parrot and Jack the dog.
NANCY TOBACK was born and raised in Manhattan and now resides in sunny Florida.
Her passion for writing fiction began way back in grammar school. If there's spare time after being wife, mother, grandmother, writer and avid reader, Nancy is a watercolorist and charcoal artist and enjoys gourmet cooking.
Question for you--Have you ever had someone fool you with only half the truth and how did that make you feel?
- ► 2011 (150)
- And the winner is...
- From The Vault
- Guest Blog with Pamela Griffin
- Excerpt from In Search of a Memory
- In Search of A Memory by Pamela Griffin
- And The Winner Is...
- From The Vault
- Guest Blog with Erica Vetsch
- The Marriage Masquerade Excerpt
- The Marriage Masquerade by Erica Vetsch
- This Week's Winner!
- From The Vault
- Guest Blog with Myra Johnson
- Romance by the Book - Excerpt
- Romance by the Book - Myra Johnson
- Follower Prize Winner
- Follower Prize Friday
- This Week's Winner!
- From The Vault
- Guest Blog with Candice Speare & Nancy Toback
- A Hero for Her Heart - Excerpt
- A Hero for Her Heart by Candice Speare and Nancy T...
- ▼ February (22)