Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Guest Blog with Laurie Alice Eakes - Day One


Laurie Alice Eakes at a lighthouse.
As I mentioned in my May post on the New jersey historical series, New Jersey doesn’t appeal to many people. The state, however, holds a special place in my heart. One of the many lessons I learned through my association with New Jersey is the power of sacrifice.

My first job out of college was in New Jersey for the U.S. office of Operation Mobilization, an international mission. We were called Send the Light, and here I witness sacrifice first-hand. Men and women with numerous talents and brilliant minds, sacrificed high-paying jobs to take education and the Gospel around the world. Many sacrificed their safety to take the word of Jesus to countries where preaching the Gospel could get them jailed or worse.

Many years later, I found myself in New Jersey again, this time in Morristown at The Seeing Eye. Scores of men, women, and children donate their time and money each year to raising puppies to become Seeing Eye dogs. They love and socialize these special animals, knowing all the while they have to give them up in a year.

Thus, with these experiences behind me, when I worked on a proposal for a series for Heartsong, New Jersey seemed like the natural choice. And so did the theme of sacrifice that emerged in the creation of Marigold and Gordon’s lives in The Newcomer, sacrifice of personal dreams for the sake of others, sacrifice of self-centeredness for a better relationship with God.

It is, of course, a love story between Gordon and Marigold and more than the central romance—love for family, love for friends, love for strangers who become more than strangers in their lives.

After all, the reason why I write is because of the ultimate sacrifice—the price Jesus paid.

Question of the day: Have you ever been to New Jersey?

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Newcomer by Laurie Alice Eakes

The Newcomer
By Laurie Alice Eakes
HP #915
ISBN 978- -60260-914-3

From the back cover:

Marigold McCorkle’s well-to-do father demanded she work as a nursemaid for a year to remind her of her family’s roots and teach her some humility. When her employers drown in a boating accident, their children have no one to care for them until their uncle arrives from out West. But his tardy arrival causes Marigold’s impatient fiancĂ©e to cancel their engagement.

Gordon Chambers dreams of Alaskan gold. The last thing he wants is to be burdened with his late brother’s responsibilities in New Jersey—especially not two precocious little girls and their beautiful, uppity nursemaid. Determined to sell his brother’s boating business then find a boarding school, he ignores warnings about the safety of the excursion boats until one of them begins to sink with his niece on board.

Will Gordon abandon those who’ve come to depend on him? Or will he discover that Marigold and his nieces are more precious to him than gold?

Key verse:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. —1 Corinthians 13:4-6

From the book:

The girls shot her glances of triumph and strolled into the parlor.

“How dare you counter my directions.” Her tone, though low, held so much fury Gordon expected sparks to fly from the ends of her hair. “I am their governess, and they need to view me as an authority.”

“I am their uncle, and they need to view me as an authority.” He made his own voice as cool as he could to emphasize her hot fury. “Since I am their legal guardian, I believe what I say has precedent over what you say.”

“Since you couldn’t be bothered to come home for months,” she shot back, practically hissing, “you seem to have relinquished your right to barge in here and start telling them and me what to do.”

“I couldn’t get here faster.”

“Or ensure that we had money for wages and other fees?”

“I didn’t realize—”

“The only reason we have had food to eat and clothes the girls fit into is because their parents had good credit and the vendors knew they’d be paid eventually. The music teacher and others haven’t been quite so accommodating, nor were servants.”

“You’re here.”

“I”—she slapped her hands onto her hips—“cared too much about the girls to desert them in their time of need.”

About the author:

Award-winning author Laurie Alice Eakes does not remember a time when books did not play a part in her life; thus, no one was surprised when she decided to be a writer. Her first hardcover was an October, 2006 Regency historical from Avalon Books and won the National Readers Choice Award for Best Regency, as well as being a finalist for Best First Book. She is also a finalist for the ACFW Carol award in the short historical category (winners to be announced in September). After selling her first book in the inspirational market, she also wrote articles and essays for Christian publications. A brief hiatus in publishing climaxed with her selling thirteen books in thirteen months, to publishers such as Barbour, Avalon, and Baker/Revell.

She is an active member of RWA and ACFW, and started the Avalon Authors group blog. A graduate of the Seton Hill University Master of Arts Degree in Writing Popular Fiction, And a Bachelor of Arts graduate in English and French from Asbury College, she is an experienced speaker, and has made presentations at local and national RWA conferences, as well as local universities and libraries.

Until recently, she lived in Northern Virginia, then her husband’s law career took them and their dogs and cats, to southern Texas, where she writes full-time and enjoys the beach whenever possible.

You can find her web site at:


Question of the Day: Have you visited a lighthouse before?

Friday, August 27, 2010

Friday Winner

Today's winner is....


Congratulations, Merry!

Please email us at heartsongblog at gmail dot com with your choice of one of the featured books or 10 Heartpoints.

Thank you to everyone who read and commented this week, and I hope you'll return next week when we'll be visiting with award-winning author Laurie Alice Eakes.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

From the Vault

This week's book from the Vault is:

Into The Deep by Lauralee Bliss.

From the back cover:

In 1843 Kentucky, Susanna Barnett longs for the finer things in life. Mammoth Cave brings them to her and her family. Not only does the cavern attract curious folks paying top dollar for tours, but its unique atmosphere promises to heal the sick. Surely God Himself etched out this place as a blessing to all men. Jared Edwards has been played the fool. Mammoth Cave's doctor promised miracles for consumption victims. Instead of celebrating recovery with his aunt Mattie, he's burying her and being sent away amid his uncle Dwight's accusations. Driven by guilt, Jared determines to close down the death cave. Will Jared and Susanna's attraction to each other prove more powerful than their connection to Mammoth Cave?

Key Verse:

Luke 12:34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

From the book:
“But I know, too, that God has blessed us and many others with this cave,” she went on. “I don’t believe the cave is a curse. I believe it’s a blessing.”

“It can’t be both. To you a blessing; to me a curse. We can’t both be right, and we can’t both be wrong.”

They sat in silence together, listening to the water play a melody over the rocks. “Then we must come to a truce,” Susanna declared, offering him her hand.

“At ruce?” he took her hand in his.

“That while we may disagree, we can still respect and understand each other with God’s help.”

And maybe even more, he thought silently. He gazed at her hand, tiny, velvety white against his rough skin. He never felt anything so soft. He held onto it, savoring it. His thumb gently began caressing the top of her hand.

Her cheeks pinked. Her hand shifted in his. “Jared?” she asked softly.

The feel of her hand. The look of her face. Eyes blue like the feathers of a bluebird. Parted lips so inviting. Dare he even think of kissing her? Dare he consider her in such a fashion, one he could come could to know, love, and even marry? He dropped her hand and stared off into the distance.

To learn more about this title and others by Lauralee Bliss, click HERE.

Question of the Day:  How many days until school starts in your area? We started our homeschool year this past Monday, though the area schools are starting up the day after Labor Day.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Guest Blog with Lauralee Bliss - part two

Today is part two of a guest interview with author Lauralee Bliss. Scroll down to see part one of the interview, posted yesterday.

What led you to write this second book, Heart of Mine?

Not only did I want to set a book in the beauty of Bryce Canyon, but I also wanted to delve a bit into the idea of life. That is, pro life issues. And this book incorporates the value of human life and dignity. Of the hard choices young unwed mothers make. And the cause for forgiveness and reconciliation in families that is needed when confronted by those little "skeletons in the closet" or with situations one does not expect.

Do you have any other books in the works?

The final installment of the Utah series will be Wasatch Love which brings to life yet another scenic spot in Utah, and different from the canyons and rocks—the wildness and beauty of the Wasatch mountain range near Salt Lake City. And yes, further complications with relationships as well, but that is another story… (grin)

What else are you doing right now?

Actually at this very moment I am hiking the Appalachian Trail for my second time. I completed the trail north from Georgia to Maine in 2007 and this year I am hoping to hike from Maine to Georgia. I took a break from the trail to conduct this interview but will return to head south and see what awaits me on this journey. Feel free to follow along at http://www.trailjournals.com/blissfulsobo And feel free to check out my other books at http://www.lauraleebliss.com

Any parting words?

Live life to the fullest. Enjoy every moment God gives you to marvel in His creation, both the scenic wonders and the people He has made for His pleasure. I hope you enjoy Heart of Mine and will let me know what you think.

Question of the Day: This is totally off topic. I'm asking because I want to know. Are you a gum chewer, and if so, what's your favorite flavor?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Guest Blog with Lauralee Bliss - part one

Thank you so much for visiting the Heartsong Presents blog and learning about my newest release, Heart of Mine. For this guest blog I decided to do something a bit different and conduct an interview with myself! I hope you enjoy this little adventure into the life of a Heartsong author and how I came up with the idea for my new book. God Bless.

Tell us a bit about yourself, Lauralee.

I can sum it up in a few words. I love adventure, the complexity of relationships, and I love writing. And I love to combine the adventure and relationship into a story that also highlights wonderful scenery, along with a plot that I would like to read about and hope you do, too. And I like to bring forth characters that a reader can identify with. But besides all that, I make my home in Virginia near the Blue Ridge Mountains where I also enjoy gardening, traveling, and hiking.

Why did you decide to set a three book series in Utah, since you do not even live in Utah?

Ah, good question! One of my greatest interests is traveling this fascinating and beautiful country of ours and finding unique and scenic places for my stories. And Utah has provided me with an interesting place in which to create settings for my books. Utah is probably one of the most intriguing places to visit. There are of course towns and cities, but there such vast areas filled only with unique rock formations, canyons, and openness on a grand scale that words can hardly do justice. But it is my hope that I have brought a bit of that scenic beauty to life in this series, and especially in Heart of Mine that incorporates the awesome beauty of Bryce Canyon National Park (and thanks to my mom who shared her love of this awesome spectacle with me, enough that I have ventured to see it several times).

It looks to me like you enjoy the outdoors….

I guess it is pretty obvious, huh? But yes, I find I am so much closer to God in the midst of His creation. And I do like to bring out that love within my books. And to allow the readers a chance to also experience the marvels of God’s creation within the pages of a story.

Join us tomorrow for part two of this interview with Lauralee Bliss.
Question of the day:  Are you the outdoorsy type?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Heart of Mine by Lauralee Bliss

Backcover copy for Heart of Mine by Lauralee Bliss

HP 914

ISBN 978-1-60260-913-6


From the back cover:
Marissa must move on.

With the tragic death of her fiancĂ© six months behind her, Marissa decides she must take drastic steps if she is to survive herself. She moves back home to Cedar City, Utah, hoping the change in scenery will help rebuild her life. Old friends, old flames, safe memories. Until one day when she takes a walk into the canyon…

Anson has no idea what’s coming when he bumps into a pretty brunette on the canyon walk. But when she acts like she’s seen a ghost—and then interrogates him as if she thinks he is one—his heart is drawn to her. Like her, he has also suffered loss.

But the past affects the present and the future. And for Anson and Marissa, a real ghost of the past might suddenly be emerging. When all is revealed, will they find their faith faltering and the past keeping them apart?

From the book:

“Are you all right?” he asked in concern. “Are you sick?”

“I. . .I. . .” She began to back away. “I. . .you look so familiar.”

He laughed. “Wish I could say you did, too, but I’d be telling a tall tale.” He chuckled again.

Oh, dear God, have You brought Eric back to life? Is this real? Did something strange happen? A miracle maybe? Had he come back and now he had amnesia or something? “Is your name Eric?” she suddenly blurted out.

“What? No. I’m Anson.” He held out his hand. She made a feeble attempt to grasp it before her hand fell away. “Have we met?”

“I–I’m sorry.” She spun about and hurried away. When she turned back to look, the man was walking in the opposite direction. He then turned, too. Their gazes met. Dear God, what am I going to do? It’s like he’s come back. Eric’s alive! But. . .he’s dead. We buried him.

Didn’t we?


About the author:

LAURALEE BLISS, a former nurse, is a prolific writer of inspirational fiction as well as a home educator. She resides with her family near Charlottesville, Virginia, in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains—a place of inspiration for many of her contemporary and historical novels. Lauralee Bliss writes inspirational fiction to provide readers with entertaining stories, intertwined with Christian principles to assist them in their day-to-day walk with the Lord. Aside from writing, she enjoys gardening, cross-stitching, reading, roaming yard sales, and traveling. Lauralee invites you to visit her website at http://www.lauraleebliss.com/

Question of the Day:

Has anyone ever told you that you remind them of someone else? A relative? A celebrity?

Friday, August 20, 2010

A Winner...Late!

My apologies that this post is so late!

Today we took our daughter to college, so my mind was full of other things.

This week's winner of either Elizabeth Goddard's Exposing Amber or Mary Connealy's Clueless Cowboy, OR 10 Heartpoints is...


Congratulations, Kaitlin.  Please email us a heartsongblog at gmail dot com with your choice of a prize and your mailing address.

Join us again next week when we chat with Heartsong author Lauralee Bliss.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

From the Vault

A little change from our normal format. Because Elizabeth Goddard's previous titles are all sold out, this week's book from the Vault is

Clueless Cowboy
by Mary Connealy
HP #821
ISBN: 978-1602602649

From the back cover:

Burned out, exhausted, and disillusioned, Jake Hanson hits the road. He empties his bank accounts and cuts all ties with everyone he knows. Searching for meaning, he buys a deserted Victorian mansion ten miles from civilization in South Dakota and determines to live off the land.

Emily isn’t looking for a man, and she certainly isn’t looking for more responsibility. Since her parents died, she’s been running the family ranch and raising her younger sister alone. She has plenty to keep her busy. So when she finds a stranger hiding out in the house next door, why can’t she just let him be?

When their worlds collide, will their inexplicable attraction draw Jake and Emily together or will their circumstances force them apart forever?

Key Verse:

"I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being." Ephesians 3:16

From the Book:

"We have a problem"

He looked up. "What problem is that?"

"You…we…we have to keep our hands off each other. I don't believe in it."

"You don’t' believe in letting a man touch your wrist?" He pulled the pie toward him.

"Not a strange man."

"Am I a stranger, Emily? Haven't I known you forever?"

She settled into her chair. "It feels like it, doesn't it? It's been a very strange day." She covered her face with her hands, then slid them so she could see him and still keep her burning cheeks covered. "I don't really know what to do with the ideas I have in my head. It's all new to me."

"Believe it or not, it's new to me, too."

"I don't believe it."

Jake shrugged. "All I know is there seems to be something inevitable about holding you."

About Mary:
"Don't be afraid to strive and sweat and pray and fail and strive and pray some more for the desires of your heart. Because my books and this site are proof that dreams can come true. That with God all things are possible." Mary Connealy

Mary Connealy writes romantic comedy with cowboys. She is the author of the Lassoed in Texas series, Petticoat Ranch, the Christy Award nominated Calico Canyon and Gingham Mountain. A new series begins now. Montana Marriages, Book #1 Montana Rose, Book #2 The Husband Tree and Book #3 Wildflower Bride. A stand alone romantic comedy with cowboys, Cowboy Christmas released in September. Black Hills Blessing a 3-in-1 collection of sweet contemporary romances is in bookstores now.

Also an avid blogger, find her online at:


Petticoats & Pistols

My Blog

My Website

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Guest Blog with Elizabeth Goddard Day Two

In Exposing Amber, both the museum director, Brandon Selman, and the college intern, Amber McKinsey, are Christians. Yet, they have both chosen fields which aren’t Christian-friendly. By that I mean, most modern science’s anchors its foundation on evolution and God is excluded completely. To see what I mean, watch Ben Stein’s Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.

Especially read John Olson’s novel, Fossil Hunter.

In my story, both characters love the science of God’s creation. Brandon, or Dr. Selman as Amber refers to him, became a Christian at some point in his career as both a paleontologist and museum director. So how does he merge his new found love for Christ and the science he’s in deep with, which doesn’t allow for intelligent design? Dr. Selman finds a way and it surprised me because I didn’t know how he was going to do it. I hadn’t thought of it until the actual writing. But that’s often how stories work. You’ll have to read the book if you want to know!

He also finds a way to help a young college intern resolve her past and discover her future. Amber stirs the passion for discovery that Brandon thought he’d lost.

I hope you enjoy this exploration into science and the hearts of two Christian paleontologists!

Question of the Day: Jurassic Park...Did you see it? Did you like it?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Guest Blog with Elizabeth Goddard

When I was growing up, I wanted to be an archaeologist. Well, that along with a lot of other things, which included an astronaut or a marine biologist (and a writer). Still, you get the picture. I love science. I love adventure and discovery. I took a different direction when finally entering college, thinking that I needed a career in something I knew would pay the bills. So, I went with computer science—that’s a science of a form. Back then, North Texas State University had just introduced business computer science. I opted for the more scientific computer science, which included LOTS of math and writing operating systems and building actual computers.

But here I am, years later, writing books instead. What’s wonderful is that I can write stories about all those things I wanted to do but didn’t. Take, for instance, my desire to become an archaeologist. I’ve never been on a fossil dig—archaeology or otherwise. There’s a creation museum in Glenrose, Texas, about three hours from me, so maybe when the kiddoes are old enough we can all go together.

Because I had never been on a dig, I had to find an expert to confer with when writing Exposing Amber. I found a paleontologist who also conducts fossil digs. He was a wonderful resource!

Writing Exposing Amber allowed me to explore many facets of the science that I love—including archaeology and paleontology. Since I home school young children, we spend plenty of hours on dinosaur talk. I think they know much more than I do about these intriguing giant lizards created by God. Because these creatures are created by God, Exposing Amber (there is no amber in the Badlands, by the way) is packed with additional conflict—how do we reconcile modern evolutionary science with creation science?

I’ll touch more on that tomorrow.

Question of the Day: Have you seen the movie Night at the Museum? If so, who is your favorite character from among the museum exhibits?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Exposing Amber by Elizabeth Goddard

This week's feature title is:

Exposing Amber
by Elizabeth Goddard
HP #913
ISBN 978-1-60260-912-9

About The Book:
A historian should love the past…unless it’s his own.

Brandon Selman is struggling to reestablish his position and reputation as a competent museum director. Hampered by scandal from his last post, he is determined to stay on the straight and narrow. He especially will not allow himself to be taken in by any innocent-looking college student interns.

Amber McKinsey is excited to learn she’s been accepted as a summer intern for the Harrington museum. Working under Dr. Selman is just the opportunity she needs to determine the direction her future studies should take. But the reality is not the dream, and her own secrets threaten to undo her.

Then, a valuable artifact disappears and Amber is the likely suspect. How can Amber leave the shadows of the past behind when they follow her so closely? And could Brandon have misjudged a woman so badly again? Will either of them learn to trust or forgive before it’s too late?

From the Book:
He grabbed his keys and exited the museum.

Walking backward, he gazed up at the large letters. The Harrington Natural and Cultural Museum.

Everything was riding on his making this museum work. Everything. He’d been given a chance to prove himself.

An image of the young intern with dark hair flashed before his eyes, replacing that of the museum. He turned toward the Jeep and heard the telltale chirp of the lock’s disengagement. She was a striking beauty, really. Good thing he wasn’t one to easily fall for beautiful women.

The last thing he needed was an ever-present reminder of his past failures, lingering around the museum every day.

About the Author:
Elizabeth Goddard is a 7th generation Texans who recently spent five years in beautiful Southern Oregon, which serves as a setting for some of her novels. She is now back in East Texas, living near her family. When she’s not writing, she’s busy home schooling her four children. Beth is the author of several novels and novellas. She’s actively involved in several writing organizations including American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and loves to mentor new writers.
You can learn more about the Heartsong Book Club and other Heartsong titles by clicking HERE.
I'm a big-time history buff and I LOVE museums. I'm anticipating visiting the Cook County Historical Society Museum in Chicago next month and learning about The Great Chicago Fire and Al Capone, Wrigley Gum and the history of the Lincoln Park Zoo. (And a zillion other things too. :) )
Question of the day: Are you a fan of museums, and if so, what's one of your favorites?

Friday, August 13, 2010

This week's winner

This week's winner is...


Congratulations, Rose. Please email us at heartsongblog at gmail dot com with your choice of one of S. Dionne Moore's books or 10 Heartpoints to be used for future shipments of Heartsong books.

And join us here next week when we'll chat with Heartsong Author Elizabeth Goddard.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

From the Vault

The Vault book for this week is from the Heartsong Presents Mysteries line. Though this line is no longer in production, they put out some great cozy mysteries that are still available. If you'd be interested in a list of titles, check out this link. http://www.heartsongpresents.com/
The number to call is listed.

From Murder on the Ol' Bunions:

So why didn't this girl seem the least bit flustered by news of a dead body?

Interesting indeed.

I heaped three spoonfuls of sugar and as much cream as I could fit into the cup without making it overflow then blew on the brew. "You having that spat with Marion means you'll be on the list of suspects." Telling her that I had personally reinforced Chief Conrad's suspicion didn't seem too wise.

She didn't look happy. "You think he's going to question me?"

"Sure as my bunions ache." They did, too. I shifted my weight and slid off my shoes to rub one foot against the other. My chair chose that moment to let out a grievous moan. This woman needed to get herself some real furniture. "No one dethrones Marion's girl, Valorie, without releasing the terrorist in her momma."

From the Back Cover:

LaTisha Barnhart's bunions tell her something's afoot as she delves deeper into the murder of her former employer, Marion Peters. When LaTisha becomes a suspect, the ante is upped, and she is determined to clear her name and find the real culprit.

She's burping Mark Hamm's bad cooking to investigate his beef with Marion. . .getting her hair styled at a a high-falutin' beauty parlor to see what has Regina Rogane in a snarl. . .playing self-appointed matchmaker between the local police chief and a prime suspect. . .and thinking Payton O'Mahney's music store lease might be the reason he's singing out of tune when discussion of Marion's murder arises. LaTisha's thinking she just might use the reward money to get her bunions surgically removes. But she's got to catch the crook first.

Question of the day: What are you reading today? (Besides blog posts...what BOOK are you reading today?)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Surprise Guest Blog by LaTisha Barnhart!

S. Dionne (whose picture is the one on the left) couldn’t make this appointment, so I’ll be speaking on her behalf. She suggested I talk about marriage. In particular, the ingredients needed to make a marriage work. And this is a subject that I, LaTisha Barnhart, know well. You see, Hardy and me have been married a long time.



We’ve raised seven babies, done diapers, colic, measles, chicken pox, puberty, the birds and the bees, enough Math, English and History to fill our own text book, Teacher’s Edition, and then we moved right into the college years. And that’s where that sentence ends because it’s where Hardy and I almost ended. Sunk beneath the debt of tuition. I know you’re feeling me on that. Good thing there were scholarships and such to help.

We’ve seen a lot, Hardy and me, and we’re definitely two distinct personalities that have to work hard at our differences. Hardy is shy, quiet, though he’s full of sass when he needs to be, and that’s usually when I need him to be. I’m the opposite of him in many ways, but we’ve learned to respect each other. Hear that? R-e-s-p-e-c-t. That’s point number one.

There aren’t two people anywhere who are gonna say “I do,” and not have to make some changes in their life and lifestyle. Marriage is sacrifice, and you’d better remember that before you ever hit that altar.

Monetary sacrifice

Time sacrifice

Work sacrifice

Love sacrifice

Another thing, me and Hardy are going on our 39th year of marriage. Why? Because deep down, all tough talk aside, I love who he is. He makes me a better person. And I do the same for him. Opposites attract for a reason, and I believe whole heartedly that those reasons are to form us into something better.

It’s often said how dull the world would be if we were all alike. Isn’t that the Gospel truth? God made us different for a reason. But God didn’t make us different so we could divorce and list irreconcilable differences as the excuse. No, sir. Now if you’re unequally yoked to begin with, that is a huge problem. So let this be a warning to you. Get yourself a man who loves God first and you second. Otherwise it’s never going to work.

And while we’re here on this subject, let’s trip down the path of change. Changing him, or changing her. Some young minds think that’s all there is to it. Make their partner change to be a carbon copy of themselves and everything will work out fine. You’re missing the point entirely. Marriage is not about marrying yourself, it’s about the blending of two personalities. His strength is probably your weakness, and his weakness is more than likely your strength. Don’t fight that. Embrace it! Remember it, too, for there are those times when we forget our weaknesses and want to parade around in the finery of our strengths. . .often at the expense of the love and respect we should have for our husband or wife.

Now I could go on and on, but I’ve got mouths to feed, what with old Mr. Potter so sick with flu, and I need some time to put together some chicken soup . To sum it all this marriage stuff up, just be remembering this, whatever you do for the other, do it with love. If you’re primed to take on a project and full of anger or resentment or disgust, it’s doomed to make you miserable, and you’ll probably drag the rest of your household into that misery. Love is selfless, and if you’re full of yourself, don’t plan on getting married.

Question of the day: If you're married, what anniversary are you on, and if you're not yet married, who in your family has been married the longest? Any Silver Anniversaries out there? Golden? Beyond?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Guest blog with S. Dionne Moore - Day One

In my research for Promise of Tomorrow, I ran across several conflicting facts. Such as the pile of debris that gathered in front of the stone bridge west of Johnstown after the devastating flood. Some references say it covered 60 acres, some 30, I’ve also heard 20. But only for those who need such details in their story is this a problem. Many times when I find research facts conflict with one another, I simply drive the story in a direction that won’t require that fact (opinion?) be used. Was there a stone bridge at all? Yes. Was there debris? Most definitely. And caught in the debris was a hodge-podge of houses, animals, wire. . .and humans. This is a known, proven fact. Tragically, the pile of debris caught on fire and those who survived the horror of the flood were subjected to listening to the anguished cries and screams of the humans caught in that nightmare. For me, this is a much more poignant and terrible fact than the question of how many acres did the debris cover. So, in story, I didn't sweat details that conflicted from resource to resource, sticking, instead to using the bits of fact that are established from one resource to another.

What I found most difficult to conquer in writing this story was the balance between romance and reality. There are several terrible, gruesome stories that result from the flood of Johnstown, but how much to use in my story? How do you balance a readers desire to escape while maintaining the level of reality needed to be true to the tragedy's devastation and those who survived? This is, afterall, a romance.

I had to strike a balance.

So I mention details of the destruction that are tragic and gruesome, but I don't dwell there. I chose, rather, to expand on my characters' reactions to the flood. How they desired to help those who had survived, even as they grieved for all they had personally lost, whether family or friends, houses or possessions. I also tried to show how tragedy causes introspection. Both Alaina and Jack use the time to search their hearts and souls. For me, that was the crux of the book--how tragedy strips away all the frivolous things and brings us face to face with our moral fragility, causing us to take a good hard look at what resides in our heart.

Question of the Day: I recently watched a PBS documentary about the Johnstown Flood, and I was stunned at the power and destruction of that water. Eye-opening and heart-rending.
So, question is: What's your favorite PBS show? The documentaries? Concerts? British Comedies?
For me, it's Masterpiece Mystery. Miss Marple, Hercule Poirot, Inspector Lewis, Midsomer Murders...I love them all.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Promise of Tomorrow by Sandra Moore

This week's feature author is S. Dionne Moore. She's making her first appearance here at Heartsong Connection with her historical Heartsong, Promise of Tomorrow.

HP #912
ISBN #9781602609051

From the back cover:

Alaina Morrison loves Jack Kelly. So why won't he realize that all she wants is to get married and begin their new life together? She doesn't need a large home or new clothes or other things. She only needs him to actually spend time with her and to show how much he loves her. As dangerous floodwaters threaten their home of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, will Alaina and Jack allow God to bridge their growing differences with His unifying love?

Solomon 8:7 7 Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it: if a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be contemned.

A little about the author: 

The view from S. Dionne's home.
S. Dionne Moore is a multi-published author of both cozy mystery and historical romance. Her second LaTisha Barnhart cozy, Polly Dent Loses Grip, is a finalist for the Carol Awards. She lives in the gentle hills of South Central PA with her husband, daughter and a Malti-poo who thinks he's a chick magnet but is really a tick magnet. Visit her at http://www.sdionnemoore.com/
The Malti-poo in question. :)
The question of the day: We're gearing up here to get back into the school year. Do you have any end-of-summer flings planned? 

Friday, August 6, 2010

This week's winner

This week's winner is Rhonda Gibson!

Congratulations, Rhonda!

Email us at heartsongblog at gmail dot com with your choice of one of Darlene's feature books this week or 10 Heartpoints!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

From the Vault

This week's from the vault book is:

Romanian Rhapsody
By Darlene Franklin
HP# 650

From the back cover:

A tour changes lives forever.

Haunted by the orphans she met in Romania, Carrie Randolph returns to work in an orphanage. Soon she finds herself mothering five toddlers full-time and dreaming of adopting one of them when her two-year mission is finished.

Steve Romero’s wife and son died in tragic circumstances in Romania, and he struggles to put the past behind him. When he decides to adopt a child, he returns to Romania and the orphanage where Carrie works—breaking her heart when he chooses Viktor, her favorite.

Will Carrie trust God to fulfill her dreams in His time? Can Steve let go of grief and love again?

From the book:

About a week before Christmas, Steve answered a ringing phone.

“You might want to sit down, Mr. Romero.” Somehow the smile transmitted over telephone wires. Excitement built in Steve’s heart and tingled to his fingertips, where the earphone trembled in his hand. He stood, frozen in place, waiting for the announcement.

“Do you have a current passport?”

Passport? Romania! Sweat poured down his arms, and the phone slipped in his hand.

“Ah, yes, does this mean—”

“Congratulations! Your application has been approved! How soon can you fly to Bucharest?”

“You will like the director,” Anika told Steve as they headed for the orphanage. “She is a sweet saint of God.”

“But all is not sweetness in the children’s home,” Radu interjected. “I hear the American news has reported on our orphans.” The statement ended like a question.

Steve nodded his assent. “The situation sounded grim.” He didn’t elaborate.

“The situation is sad. But God is at work.” A peaceful smile lit Radu’s face. “He has used those reports to bring many foreigners to our country to adopt the children. Good from evil. Like your own tragedy.” He never minced words.

The string of words couldn’t penetrate Steve’s excitement. “I can’t wait. Ever since the idea of adoption occurred to me, I’ve been hungry for a child to call my own. After what happened here—" Momentarily his voice faltered. “Romania was one of the first places I thought of.”

“And this afternoon you may find your answer. Here we are.”

Key Verse:
The Lord is good unto them that wait for Him. . .It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord. (Lamentations 3:25-26)
Question of the day:  Piano lessons...did you take lessons? Did you like it? Do you still play?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Guest Blog--Day two with Darlene Franklin

The question I’ve been asked the most often about the process of writing The Prodigal Patriot is “What did you learn that you didn’t know before?” Something about the Revolutionary War period fascinates people. I answered with minor things, such as the two battles for Fort Ticonderoga or Ethan Allen’s famous quote, “In the name of the Great Jehovah and the Continental Congress!”

In all of that I forgot the big thing I didn’t know.

Vermont wasn’t one of the thirteen original colonies. (I did know that.) It became the fourteenth state, officially admitted into the Union on March 4, 1791.

Vermont had been part of another colony, two of them, in fact: Connecticut and New York. When the two parents couldn’t reach a custody agreement, Vermont took a step towards a long history of independent thought. When the 13 colonies split from England, Vermont formed a republic all of its own, formed under the name of New Connecticut, or Vermont.

The tension with New York plays a role in The Prodigal Patriot. Although an independent republic, Vermont’s Green Mountain Boys played a heroic part in the battle for America’s freedom.

The more I learned about Vermont, the more eager I was to write stories about its history. The Prodigal Patriot introduces us to Josiah Tuttle and Sally Reid, founders of a proud Vermont family.

Question of the day:
Vermont brings to mind images of snow and skiing and making maple syrup. I remember first reading about tapping trees and boiling sap to make syrup in Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Do you remember reading that? How old were you when you discovered Laura and the Ingalls family?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Guest Blog with Darlene Franklin

Today is my birthday. How cool is that? This blog makes a great birthday present.

Birthdays put me in mind of birth and babies. I am eagerly awaiting the birth of my first grandson next month, who will join his three older sisters.

Let me share a story about the three girls. The first time they visited my new house, they each displayed their personality. Larger-than-life Savannah (14 going on 30) shot for the back bedroom and announced, “This one is mine!”

Toddler Jordan found a big bouncing ball in the pile of moving boxes. (I couldn’t have laid my hands on it.) She claimed it as her own and tried to take it home with her.

Shannon, at ten, didn’t say much ... but she was the only one who said “It’s a nice house.”

I want the characters in my books to be as individual as my grandchildren and as well-rounded as real people. I look forward to your feedback regarding Josiah and Sally. Did I succeed?

Question of the Day:  First, let me say Happy Birthday, Darlene!
The question is: Cake...what's your favorite kind of cake?

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Prodigal Patriot by Darlene Franklin

This week's feature book is:

The Prodigal Patriot
By Darlene Franklin
HP 911
ISBN: 9781602609044

From the back cover:

The Reids will not be scared away.

Sally Reid’s family decides on a dangerous course when the Tories of Maple Notch, Vermont, chase Patriot families from their land. They make a home in a secluded cave nearby and farm their land by moonlight, working hard and waiting for the day when they can safely return home.

When Josiah Tuttle discovers their secret and offers to help, Sally doesn’t know if she can trust him. After all, Josiah’s father is one of the Tories who forced her family into hiding.

The Tuttles have already lost one son to the hated Patriot cause. How can Josiah both honor his grieving father and protect the woman he loves? When called upon to take a stand, which side will he choose? How can Sally and Josiah battle through the barriers separating them from love and forgiveness?

Key verse: Be Thou my strong habitation, whereunto I may continually resort: Thou hast given commandment to save me; for Thou art my rock and my fortress. (Psalm 71:3)
From the book:
Mother’s hand shot to her mouth, and she shook her head. “No, no, no!”

Bit by bit, Father pulled every last detail from Josiah. How Solomon had engaged the British sentry, how Josiah had killed him. How he had spent the night at the fort and fought with the Green Mountain Boys, and how Mr. Reid had also died.

“These Patriots and their illusions of independence. It’s evil, that’s what it is.” Father slammed his fist into the table hard enough to send a splinter into his hand. “And now we’re the ones suffering for it. At least you had the good sense to come home.” He leaned toward his remaining son. “I tell you this much. I know you have a soft spot for the Reid girl. But don’t you dare think of helping them out. Or any of those traitors to the king. I had urged moderation in the treatment of those wretched Patriots, but not anymore.”

Confusion must have shown on Josiah’s face, because Father continued, shouting now. “I won’t be satisfied until we chase every one of them off their land and get it back for King George. Including those Reids. And if you set one foot in an enemy’s house—don’t bother coming home.”

After Solomon’s death, Josiah would do almost anything his father asked.

Except neglect Sally Reid.

About the author:
Award-winning author and speaker Darlene Franklin recently returned to cowboy country—Oklahoma. The move was prompted by her desire to be close to her son’s family; her daughter Jolene has preceded her into glory.

Darlene loves music, needlework, reading and reality tv. Talia, a Lynx point Siamese cat, proudly claims Darlene as her person.

Darlene has written two books previously for Heartsong Presents (Romanian Rhapsody and Beacon of Love) as well as two mysteries and two novellas with Barbour Publishing. She is also is a prolific devotional writer. Visit Darlene’s blog at http://darlenefranklinwrites.blogspot.com/ for information on book giveaways and upcoming titles.