Thursday, April 29, 2010

We Have a Winner! Actually...TWO!

This week we chose two winners, one from the commentors on this week's blog posts, and one from the followers of the blog to celebrate reaching the 60+ followers mark. Woohoo!

From the commentors our winner is:

CINDY! Cindy W. please email us at heartsongblog at gmail dot com, and you can have your choice of Polar Opposites or The Oregon Escort, or, if you are a member of the Heartsong Bookclub, you can choose to win 10 Heartpoints toward future shipments.

From our followers our winner is:

SANDI ROG! Sandi, please email us at heartsongblog at gmail dot com, and your choices are the same as Cindy's above.

Thank you to everyone who follows, reads, and comments on the blog.

For the month of May, Jeri Odell will be your hostess here at Heartsong Connections.

See you next week!

From the Vault

Today's book from the Heartsong Vault is:

The Oregon Escort
HP #692
ISBN: 9781593109493

From the back cover:
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." Psalm 37:4

An excerpt from the book:

Another cascade of arrows whistled into the cavern, and Mike new he had to stop them.

He had pinpointed the location of the warrior with the rifle behind a gnarled clump of brush. He wasn’t so sure about the other two. He’d hoped at least one was out of action, but from the intense fire, there had to be three of them left.

Doggedly, he watched the spot from which the gunfire had come, praying for a clear shot. It was close enough, but he couldn’t just blaze away at them. His supply of lead and powder cartridges was nearly gone, and he wasn’t known as a sharpshooter. Every bullet had to count.

He saw movement to his left and turned, knowing it was too late if the aim was true.

To learn more about this book, other books by Susan Page Davis, or any of the hundreds of wonderful Heartsong titles available, please go visit Heartsong Presents Books website.

Question of the Day: What are you reading right now? Historical, Contemporary, Fantasy?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A guest blog with Susan Page Davis

Researching and writing Polar Opposites was very interesting. This is the third book in my Alaska Weddings series, and my trip to Alaska was long over, but I still had a lot to learn for this story.

The hero, Oz Thormond, is a scientist who does research on polar bears. He takes Cheryl Holland along on one of his research trips. Cheryl is a small-town grandmother who fixes her own car out of necessity and works as office manager for her son-in-law, who is a veterinarian. She’s sure she and Oz don’t have much in common—until she sees him work and comes to love wildlife research as much as he does.

The top mark on the blue pole is 10'
I did a lot of reading on polar bears, and learned some fascinating things about them. One was the physical differences between polar bears and other species of bears. Shape of the skull, for instance. A polar bear’s head is much longer than a black bear’s or a grizzly’s.

My son mentioned to me a rare phenomenon—the interbreeding of grizzlies and polar bears. He’d heard about it in 2006, when a man with an official license to shoot a polar bear shot what he thought was a polar bear and then realized it was very odd looking. Its fur was mostly cream-colored, but it had brown patches, and it had long claws and a humped back like a grizzly. The hunter could have been in huge trouble legally if the bear was found to be a grizzly—say, an albino grizzly. But it wasn’t.

DNA testing showed that the bear had a grizzly bear for its father and a polar bear mother, what scientists call a grolar bear. (If the father’s a polar bear and the mother’s a grizzly, it’s a pizzly.) Well, this intriguing bit of information had to go into my book. A few of these hybrids have been born in captivity, but it’s the ones found in the wild that interest me most. I gave Cheryl and Oz a chance for a close encounter with a grolar when they were out “catching polar bears” for their research.

If you’d like to see pictures of this rare creature, you can find them by searching online for “grolar bear.” I was delighted to see a live bear in the wild while I was in Alaska, but it was a black bear, not a polar bear. But the idea of going out into the wild and deliberately coming face to face with these huge carnivores enticed me in a scary sort of way. (I was in a small airplane when I saw my black bear). I don’t think I’d want to do what Oz and Cheryl do, but I’m glad someone has done it, so that we can know more about these marvelous creatures.

Nice visiting with you! Come see me on my Website at:

Photo courtesy of Peter Vetsch, taken at the Denver Zoo

Question of the Day: Do you live in a part of the country where there are bears? What kind of bears?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Polar Opposites - An Excerpt

Here's a little taste of Polar Opposites by Susan Page Davis

“He’s terrific, but. . .”

“But what?”

Cheryl grimaced, trying to sort out her feelings. Did they really matter? “He won’t last a month.”

Robyn’s eyebrows shot up. “Why do you say that? So far, he loves it here.”

“Yes, but. . .Oh, I don’t know. He’s always lived in the city, and he’s not used to the cold and the long winters.”

“Mom, he’s originally from upstate New York. They have snow there.”

Cheryl shrugged. “I hope I’m wrong.”

She hoped so intensely. But she faced the truth. Being around Oz made her giddy, like a sixth-grader with a new crush. But no way would this man be a permanent part of her future. He was a suave, educated bachelor from the city, cultured and used to fine things. His wristwatch probably cost more than her car. Before coming to Wasilla, he’d been employed by the San Francisco Zoo, and before that the Philadelphia Zoo.

She was a country girl who’d grown up making do without a lot of things that people like Oz considered necessities. She saved her bread bags to reuse them and tried not to drive into Anchorage more than once a month to save gas. The mother of two grown children, grandmother of a darling baby boy, she valued her family above all else.

Polar opposites.

Key Verse from Polar Opposites:

“(Love) always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always preserves.” –I Corinthians 13:7

Question of the Day: I LOVE going to zoos. Do you? Do you have a favorite zoo? A favorite animal or zoo experience?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Polar Opposites with Susan Page Davis

This week's feature title is:

HP 897
ISBN 978-1-60260-778-1

Could Cheryl and Oz be more different?

After her husband died tragically, Cheryl Holland accepted she would never love again. She finds contentment in her family and in her new career at a veterinary office. But when she meets Dr. Oz Thormond, the new vet for her son-in-law’s practice, she can’t deny the sparks—or the reality that they seem to have nothing in common.

Oz Thormond longs to follow his dream of studying polar bears. A job at his friend’s vet practice is just a means to that end. Until he meets Cheryl. . . Now Alaska may just be the place to call home.

Will Cheryl and Oz allow God to reveal His plan for these polar opposites, that theirs is more than just a magnetic attraction?

SUSAN PAGE DAVIS and her husband, Jim, have been married thirty-three years and have six children, ages fourteen to thirty-one, and five grandchildren. They live in Maine, where they are active in a small, independent Baptist church. Susan is a homeschooling mother. She has published more than twenty novels in the historical romance, cozy mystery, romantic suspense, fantasy, and contemporary genres. She loves to hear from her readers. Visit Susan at her Web site:

Question of the Day: Are you and your significant other polar opposites? If you're not married/dating...are your parents opposite personalities?

Friday, April 23, 2010

This Week's Winner!

This week's winner is...

Shannon Taylor Vannatter!

Congratulations, Shannon! Please email us at heartsongblog at gmail dot com with your preference of a prize. You can choose one of Cara's books featured this week, or you can choose 10 heartpoints if you're a Heartsong Bookclub Member.

Thank you to everyone who stopped by this week and everyone who left comments.

Be sure to come back next week when Susan Page Davis will be here.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

From the Vault

Today's book from the Vault is Canteen Dreams, Cara C. Putman's debut award-winning novel.

From the back cover:

In the aftermath of Pearl Harbor, Audrey Stone wants to help in the war effort. But what's a young schoolteacher from Nebraska to do? When her community start a canteen at the train station, Audrey finds her place. She spends nearly every spare moment there, offering food and kidness to the soldiers passing through. Despite her busyness, Audrey does allow some time to get to know a handsome rancher. Willard Johnson worries about his brother who joined the navy to get off the ranch and see the world. When Willard's worst fear is confirmed, he feels he must avenge by enlisting himself. But will his budding relationship with Audrey weather the storms of war? Or will one of the many soldiers at the canteen steal her away from him?

An excerpt from Canteen Dreams:

Don’t turn around now, but your Prince Charming enters.”

Audrey turned to look as Lainie shoved her in the ribs. “I told you not to look.”

“That’s a set-up and you know it. Besides Willard Johnson is not my Prince Charming. I hardly know the man.”

“Based on the look on his face when he saw you, you will.”

Audrey shrugged and accepted her Coke. Though she’d never admit it, she knew exactly where he stood as he strode toward her. “Please tell me he isn’t headed this way.”

“Oh, but he is. Should I leave now?” Lainie grinned at her.

“Don’t you dare leave me.” Audrey formed her mouth into what she hoped passed for a composed smile and turned toward Willard. “Good afternoon, Mr. Johnson.”

“Miss Stone.”

“Would you like to join Lainie and me for a Coke?” Audrey cringed as Lainie’s high heel connected with her shin.

“Afraid I have to rush back to the ranch, but I’m glad to see you. It saves me a trip. Would you join me for a movie Friday night? I’d very much enjoy spending the time with you.”

Audrey nodded her head, speechless that Willard Johnson had not only asked her to dance, but now asked her on a date.

“Great. I’ll pick you up around seven. Have a nice day, ladies.”

“Did he ask what I think he did?” Audrey shrieked as he exited the store.

“He did, and you agreed. What on earth will I tell Betty?” Lainie dropped her head onto her crossed arms. Then she peeked up at Audrey with a twinkle in her eyes. “You know you’ll have to raid my closet to find anything decent to wear.”

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13

For more information on this title and others by Cara, click HERE.

Question of the day: So, where did you go on your first date?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A Guest Blog with Cara C. Putman



By Cara C. Putman

Do you have a love of history and a burning desire to write? Then you may be a candidate to write historical fiction.

Three of my first four contracted books involve a step back in time to the days of World War Two. I may have been born in the 70s, but I’ve always held a love for and fascination with the life and times of the 40s, particularly the war years. In many ways, it was completely natural to find my first novel set during that time. And it was a joy to uncover two additional stories from that time period.

While I’m still a new author, here are a few things I’ve learned along the way.

1) Start with Your Passion. I love history enough that I minored in it in college. And while I love history in general, I have a particular fondness for World War Two history. I also have a passion for all things Nebraska. Marry those two passions together, and an odd mix of World War Two history in Nebraska is formed. Hmmm. World War Two. Nebraska. Those two things don’t seem to go together. At all. Yet my first three book series grew directly out of those passions.

2) Write what You Know. This is writing advice that most authors will give you. But how does it really play out? Because my family still lives in North Platte, Nebraska, it seemed natural to highlight the North Platte Canteen in Canteen Dreams. The story inspires me any time I think about it. I know the setting very well, but even with that knowledge spent a day wandering around downtown exploring the buildings and hiding in the microfiche at the library to learn more about my particular time period.

3) Yet be willing to Dive into New Areas. When I was looking for books two and three, I had to dive deep. I vaguely remembered that a Fort in Northwestern Nebraska had played an active, yet unique role in World War Two. Then my sister told me that a prisoner of war camp existed in southern Nebraska. As I started researching, I discovered perfect, unique historical settings that could form the backdrop to these next two books.

4) Talk to the Experts. To write compelling historical fiction, you have to be willing to contact the experts. I make a lot of initial contacts via email. Currently, I’m in Indiana, and my experts are in Nebraska. Then I follow up by mail or with in person research trips when possible. I have found, without exception, that people are willing to help. I just have to be willing to ask. The North Platte Historical Museum curator opened the museum in the off season for me, so that I could peruse the displays and ask questions. The museum curator at Fort Robinson literally opened his files to me and spent a day showing me around the Fort and the town. His time and expertise was pivotal in Sandhill Dreams and will add authenticity to Captive Dreams as well.

5) Go Visit the Location. Even though I lived in North Platte for four years and visit at least twice a year, there were details I had forgotten or simply didn’t know. Also, I needed to dive into what the town looked like 45 years before we moved there and 60 years before now. Actually walking the streets brought it to life each time I sat down at my keyboard.

If you are writing or hope to write a historical novel, take the time to get the details right. Your readers will thank you by telling you your book swept them away.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A Promise Forged - An Excerpt

Are you always this impertinent?”

The soft, musical voice pulled him from his belief that no one could see him. Jack turned, and his gaze collided with the player from that morning. She was even younger than he’d thought, with an innocence that belied the fact coming to Chicago was probably the biggest thing that had happened to her.

Her jade eyes arrested him. They seemed to pierce through him, weigh him, and find him wanting. No woman ever did that.

Jack stood and found the girl was as petite as he thought. With creamy skin, red curls, and the green eyes, she looked like a Irish doll, one that barely hit his chest.

“Not really talkative, huh.” She crossed her arms and stared at him. “I can’t wait to see what you write in the paper. I’m sure each word will perfectly represent what is actually happening here.”

“Slow down. Take a breath.” He held up his hands. “I doubt you’ll see the article, and I only write what I observe.”

“A casual observer. Non-partial, no agenda at all.” She jutted her chin out, stubbornness oozing from her.

“Claiming you haven’t formed an opinion about me?” Jack flashed her his most charming smile. “I’m Jack Raymond.”

“Katherine Miller. And yes, I already know what I need to about you.”

Many, O Lord my God, are they wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered. Psalm 40:5

Question of the Day: How many of you have seen the movie A League Of Their Own?

Monday, April 19, 2010

A Promise Forged by Cara Putman

 This week's feature title is:

A Promise Forged by Cara C. Putman.

HP 896

ISBN 978-1-60260-757-6


Kat just wants to play the game she loves.

From the back cover:

When Kat Miller first tries out for the All-American Girls Professional Softball League, she thinks how exciting it would be to get paid to play the game she loves. But then she actually makes a team. She struggles with long road trips, grueling practices, and the challenge of making time for God. Not only that, but older teammates are jealous of her success and an irritating reporter, Jack Raymond, has a knack for getting under Kat’s skin.

Jack lives with the shame of being physically disqualified from joining the American forces in World War II. Events in his career have left him cynical and distanced from God. That is, until Kat walks into his life. She challenges his preconceptions and refuses to compromise her beliefs, no matter what difficulties she faces. Will the flames of disappointment forge bitterness in his heart, or can the promises Kat reminds him of restore joy to Jack’s life?

Here's a little bit about Cara.

CARA C. PUTMAN lives in Indiana with her husband and three children. She’s an attorney and a ministry leader and teacher at her church. She has loved reading and writing from a young age, and now realizes it was all training for writing books. An honors graduate of the University of Nebraska and George Mason University School of Law, Cara loves bringing history to life. She is a regular guest blogger at Generation NeXt Parenting, Keep Me in Suspense, C.R.A.F.T.I.E. Ladies of Suspense, and Writer Interrupted, as well as writing at her blog, The Law, Books & Life. To learn more about her other books and the stories behind the series, be sure to visit her at

 Join us tomorrow for a sneak peek at this story.

Question of the Day: Are you a baseball fan? Do you have a team you root for?

Friday, April 16, 2010

We Have a Winner!

Isn't this picture a hoot?

Thank you to Janet for a great week on Heartsong Connection.

And thank you to all the readers and commentors.

Thanks to, we've got our winner for this week, and that winner is....

Aaron McCarver! Congratulations, Aaron. Let us know your choice of a prize and we'll get it to you.

Next week, Cara C. Putman joins us, so be sure to stop back.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

From The Vault

Today's From The Vault Book is Rose Kelly, Heartsong Presents #679, by Janet Spaeth

ISBN: 9781593108489

From the Back Cover:

Rose believes a woman can do any job just as well as a man. But when she offers to move to the Dakota Territory for six months to write articles on the homesteaders, she suddenly realizes that she may have taken on more then she can handle. Eric Johansen moved to the Dakota Territory to start life over and to try to forget his past. But when persistent reporter Rose Kelly wants to put him in the spotlight for her articles, he begins to see his newfound life crumble around him. Can Rose find a way to be trustworthy and still keep her job? Will Eric ever outrun the past that haunts him? Fall in love with this inspiring love story and our entire collection of Christian romance novels from Heartsong Presents!

"The words of a man's mouth are as deep waters, and the wellspring of wisdom as a flowing brook." Proverbs 18:4
From Rose Kelly

"Excuse me, Mr. Johansen. Might we talk privately? I'd like to propose something to you."

As soon as the words popped out of her mouth, Rose regretted them. They'd come out all wrong—and with an audience, too. When would she ever learn to think first and speak second? She should have formulated her approach—that would have minimized the chances of his refusal.

This wasn't Chicago, she reminded herself, where she was known—and her outspoken style was almost legendary. There, it didn't matter how blunt her words were. She was expected to speak her mind.

Here, though, she needed to be more prudent in what she said.

To learn more about this book and others by Janet Spaeth, click HERE.

Question of the Day: It's tax day! So, are you a last minute tax filer, or do you get it done early?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A guest blog with Janet Spaeth

The view of the hoarfrost from my (Erica's) back door this winter
Welcome to Heartsong Connection, Janet!

THE ICE CARNIVAL is my sixth novel for Heartsong. It's the third book in my Minnesota historical trilogy, set against the backdrop of the planning and creation of the first Winter Carnival in St. Paul. This was a real event, and it continues today. Only the main characters are from my imagination.

Or are they?

A Heartsong author once called me, having read a novella I'd written, and said, with great laughter in her voice: "Every character you write is you!"

She's right. The traits that get my characters in trouble come right from my own personality. I admit it: I am a flawed person. I'm lucky God loves me, and my friends and family love me, because I am far from perfect!

In The Ice Carnival, Christal's flaw is that she doesn't try. She gives up too easily. Coddled because of a childhood illness, she's never been pushed to try anything. Now, that's not me. I wasn't coddled, and my life is one challenge after another that I have no choice but to face. What do Christal and I share? Given the chance, we both would rather have a book in our hands than nearly anything else!

Mainly, though, Christal and I don't want to spend the time to learn something; we want to be able to do it. I once said to my husband that I wanted to be able to play the drums, and he offered to teach me. No, I said, I didn't want to learn—I wanted to be able to do it. Preferably immediately. That conversation made it into The Ice Carnival, although the musical instrument is the piano. (A side note: I did have to take piano lessons when I was in college, during the year I was a music major. You might note that I do not have a music degree. Piano was one of the reasons.)

Isaac also shares a character trait with me—we both falter, we doubt ourselves, we worry. He's not quite comfortable yet with the idea of holding life and death in his hands, and I loved taking myself through each of the challenges he faces by asking myself, What would I do? And the answer always is: Pray, and do it.

When I was writing Rose Kelly, I thought of that phone call from my fellow author. Rose and I are pretty much the same—although there's enough Christal in me that I might not have actually gone to the Dakota Territory on my own like Rose does; I would have read about it instead. Like Rose, though, I have blurted out too much, shared too much, talked too much. And yes, it's gotten me in trouble—just like it does for Rose.

Eric wants his privacy, and despite my compunction to blab everything, so do I. Honestly, there are some things I will never tell. They will go to my grave with me. Despite what we might think in this age of the internet, everybody doesn’t need to know everything.

All of my characters share my flaws, and I really doubt that I'll ever run out of them! But I've also tried to imbue each book with my own best trait: humor. Laughter is like a life raft in a world of trouble, isn't it?

Thank you for letting me into your life through my books and this blog. I hope you've enjoyed my novels for Heartsong—there are more on the way!

Erica here: Rose Kelly is the From The Vault book for this week. Come back tomorrow to read more about this great Heartsong title.
Question of the Day: What character from books, television, or movies have you found to be most like you?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Ice Carnival - An Excerpt


"So he's really going through with it, is he?"

"Who is?" Christal leaned forward, nearly toppling out of her chair in her excitement. An ice carnival!

"George Thompson."

Christal hadn't met the St. Paul Dispatch's publisher, but she had certainly heard his name.

Dr. Bering looked at them all over the top of his half-rimmed glasses. "It's not totally official yet. Thompson and others are organizing a committee that will meet soon—November 2nd to be exact—and things will get started. He's got big plans for St. Paul."

Aunt Ruth tsked. "Why on earth, though? What would have possessed such a normally intelligent man to do such a thing?"

Dr. Bering chuckled. "Rumor has it that he was prompted by a certain cheeky New York journalist who declared St. Paul uninhabitable during the winter months."

Christal hugged herself happily. This was wonderful news! An ice carnival! What could it be? Her mind spun with the possibilities, all painted with the bright illustrations of the books she'd read.

"But there's more. My nephew is coming to live with me."

"He casteth forth His ice like morsels: Who can stand before His cold?" Psalm 147:17

Question of the Day: As a transplanted Kansan now living in Minnesota, I was unprepared for the winters here, though after almost 18 years, I'm becoming more accustomed to the snow and cold.  The winter of 1995-96, our part of the state had a long stretch where our high temps never got above zero. I remember this because on the day my son was born, the high temperature was -33 degrees. Wicked cold!

So, what are winters like where you live? Any freezing cold horror stories?

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Ice Carnival - Janet Spaeth

HP #895

ISBN 978-160260-708-8

What has Isaac gotten himself into?

When Isaac Bering moves north from Florida to join his uncle’s medical practice, he cannot understand why Minnesotans would plan an outdoor festival for January 1886—when temperatures are fondly expected to be below freezing! His doubts about his new location, however, are minor compared to his growing doubts about his ability to be a doctor.

For Christal Everett, life is pleasant and peaceful. So why does it seem when Isaac arrives that she can no longer be satisfied with her simple life? Why does she suddenly see so much lacking in herself, and so little to desire?

Isaac and Christal both must learn to see the unique wonders God has placed inside them. Will they allow that glory to shine like the sun off the crystal walls of St. Paul’s ice palace, or will self-doubt keep them from His eternal plan?


In first grade, JANET SPAETH was asked to write a summary of a story about a family making maple syrup. She wrote all during class, through morning recess, lunch, and afternoon recess, and asked to stay after school. When the teacher pointed out that a summary was supposed to be shorter than the original story, Janet explained that she didn’t feel the readers knew the characters well enough, so she was expanding on what was in the first-grade reader. Thus a writer was born. She lives in the mid-west and loves to travel, but to her, the happiest word in the English language is home.

Question of the Day: Janet has given us a great memory from her time in first grade. Do you have a memory from first grade? Who was your first grade teacher?

Friday, April 9, 2010

This Week's Winner!

This week's winner is.....

VERNELLE! Congratulations, Vernelle,

Please email us at heartsongblog at gmail dot com with your prize choice.

Thank you to all the readers and commentors. You are an encouragement to us! Have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

From The Vault

Today's book from the Heartsong Vault is Kathleen Kovach's debut novel, Merely Players.

Here's an Exceprt:

"Ten years, Ricky."

"I know. Why did you stop writing?"

"Why did I stop writing?" She reached for her hair and scrunched it, trying to be mature. She would not bring up his queue of girlfriends that, according to the tabloids, began lining up even before her second year of college. She remembered wondering if Ricky had forgotten his promise to God.

She took a deep breath. "It doesn't matter. Water under the bridge. You have your life. I have mine. We've moved on."

"You're clipping your sentences. Apparently you're upset."

How clueless could a man be? "Do you remember who wrote the last letter?" She pointed to her chest. "Me. And that was after a long period of silence from you."

He rubbed his neck. "Look. I had no idea you were here. I don't know what to say, but obviously you do. Give me time to gather my wits." His tentative smile almost reached her heart. "You've kind of thrown me for a loop."

She could see her Ricky reaching out from the other side of the perfectly maintained actor's face. "What do you suggest?" she half whispered with resignation.

"A chance to talk--to catch up on old times and discuss the last ten years without blame."


"O Lord, Thou hast searched me, and known me." --Psalm 139:1

Question of the Day: Is there an old friend, (romantic interest or not) that you'd like to have a chance to sit down with and have a yarn?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Guest Blog with Kathleen Kovach

Thank you so much for the opportunity to share my passion with my readers.

Some people are born with a “silver spoon in their mouth.” I was born with a pen clasped in my tiny fist. Which must have been highly uncomfortable for my mother but she should feel fortunate. The computer hadn’t been invented yet.

I was scribbling stories before I could form letters. I would tell long, drawn out tales to my family before I could fully talk. And once I could be understood, no matter what I would tell my mom, she would follow it with, “Is that a true story or a Kathy story?” Even now, I can’t relate a simple event without embellishment. My son has been known to let me talk it out then tell the story as it really happened.

I have no excuse except that “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” Psalm 139:14.

I was finally able to launch my writing career in May of 2002 at the Colorado Christian Writer’s Conference where I won first place in a contest for unpublished authors. After I accepted that award, I walked back to my seat and heard God clapping like the proud parent He is and asking, “What are we going to write next?” I don’t know why He asked. He was the one to put then Heartsong editors Jim and Tracie Peterson in my path at that conference. He knew they would ask for a story I had not yet written. That story became Merely Players. It is now available in the 3-in-1 Florida Weddings from Barbour.

I left that conference feeling for the first time like a real author and quit my piddling job at Kohl’s where I was spending more in merchandise than was in my paycheck. With hubby’s blessing/sigh of relief that I would have to stop spending money, I began to write full time.

And that brings me to the purpose of this article. I was beyond thrilled when Heartsong picked up my contemporary Oregon series. Crossroads Bay is the second book in the series and releases this month.

Over on the Edit Cafe, I wrote an article on my Oregon research. Today, I’d like to talk about my characters. The hero in Crossroads Bay was easy to write because I had gotten to know him in the first book, God Gave the Song. Paul Godfrey was the guy who lost the girl. I liked Paul. So much so that I knew I had to write him a story, too.

Now, with whom do I pair a sensitive man? One who’s passion is cooking, and who’s only blatant flaw is his fear of boats. I know! A tough-as-a-lady-pirate charter boat captain!

Meranda Drake has inherited her father’s charter business on the Oregon coast. Her first encounter with Paul is when he caters a wedding on her boat. He is, of all things, draped over the rail praying for the ocean to freeze over so he can walk to shore. How are these two ever going to get together?

I asked myself the same thing. Often.

I had no problem getting inside the heroine’s head in God Gave the Song because Ruthanne was a girlie-girl like me. We shared much, she and I. A love of fuzzy alpacas, Bohemian clothes, and brooding men with sky blue eyes. Wait. . .I take that last one back. My hubby has brown eyes. In short, she became my new bff.

Meranda on the other hand. . .

Where do I start? We had nothing in common. She was a tomboy, the son her daddy never had. He taught her the biz, infused her with pirate stories at an early age, honed her boating skills. If she and I went to school together, I think she’d hurt me. How do I write a love story for a woman who won’t talk to me?

Readers, you have no idea how hard it is to create a character who doesn’t like you.

I struggled with Meranda for several chapters, until the day she sat in Paul’s restaurant ostensibly for his paella, her new comfort food. But when he came out of the kitchen looking all cute and vulnerable with her in his place of business—she looked at me and said, “Kathy, why didn’t you tell me he was so gorgeous?”

Hooked you, girlfriend! From that moment on, we connected.

Does that sound weird?

It’s okay. They have yet to develop a halfway house for writers who believe their characters are real. . .I think.

Watch for the third book, Fine Feathered Friend, which will take secondary character, Glenys, to the Crater Lake area where I pair her and her fear of birds with a falcon handler.

No wonder my characters won’t talk to me.

Kathleen lives in a tiny town in northeast Colorado out where the buffalo roam. She and hubby, Jim, traveled the world via the Air Force, raised two boys during their nomadic lifestyle, and is now a grandmother. She enjoys fishing and camping in her popup trailer, seeing live plays, and singing either on a praise team at church or loudly in her car to rockin’ oldies. Movies are also a passion, and she has created Craft Cinema, a blog where the passion for story and the craft of writing collide. Kathleen leads a local critique group and is an active member of American Christian Fiction writers, serving as the Rocky Mountain Zone Director. An award winning author of Christian fiction in the romance and comedy vein, the Lord has blessed her with laughter, and so she presents spiritual truths with a giggle, proving herself as one of God's peculiar people.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

An Excerpt from Crossroads Bay

Yaquina Head, Oregon Coast

“But He may not want me to find the coins.” She leaned back and crossed her arms.

“Then, if that’s true, that’s the path you should choose because God wants what’s best for you.” He placed his arm on the back of the seat behind her, his face just inches from hers. “And so do I.” Mahogany eyes bore into hers so deeply she felt them prick her heart.

While still a breath apart, he said, “Good night, Meranda. Know that I pray for you every day and will say a special prayer tonight.” Then he was gone. Her lips tingled as if he had kissed her, and she felt a little miffed that he hadn’t.

That night, the sheets tangled her legs as she tossed in bed, wrestling with whether she should give up and hand her dream—Pop’s dream—over to God or fate or whatever it was called. No. As long as she was in control, she knew she’d find them eventually.

"This is what the LORD says: 'Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.'" -Jeremiah 6:16

Question of the Day: The bit about finding coins made me think of the only coin collection I have. I got one of those big map folders and for ten years, I faithfully collected the US State Quarters. So the question is, did you collect the state quarters, and what state quarter is your favorite?

Monday, April 5, 2010

Crossroads Bay with Kathleen Kovach

This week's feature book is: CROSSROADS BAY by Kathleen Kovach.

HP 894

ISBN 978-1-60260-773-6


From the back cover:

Meranda’s dad wasn’t crazy.

Meranda Drake is determined to prove to her community and family—and maybe herself—that the search for a long-lost family treasure that led to her father’s death wasn’t a wild goose chase.

When Paul Godfrey meets Meranda, it isn’t exactly the way he envisioned meeting the woman of his dreams. Hanging over the rail of a boat, fighting fear and nausea, wasn’t in the picture. Nor was he imagining a woman who could talk him into risking his reputation and business for a family legend—but there she was.

Meranda’s stubborn determination and blind conviction soon lead her into situations that neither she nor Paul can manage on their own. When the only way out requires reliance on God, will Meranda trust Him or let the bitterness of her father’s death keep her from knowing the real truth?

KATHLEEN E. KOVACH and her husband Jim raised two sons while living the nomadic lifestyle for over twenty years in the Air Force. She's a grandmother, though much too young for that. Now firmly planted in Colorado, she's a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, and leads a local writers group. Kathleen hopes her readers will giggle through her books while learning the spiritual truths God has placed there.

Question of the Day: Meranda is searching for a family treasure, which got me to thinking about the family tree project my sister-in-law has embarked upon. So, the question of the day is: Do you have anyone famous in your family tree?

Friday, April 2, 2010

This week's winner!

Doesn't this look yummy? I love Orange Cranberry Scones at Caribou Coffee.

This week's winner is...

Linda! Email us at heartsongblog at gmail dot com with your preference of a prize.

Congratulations, Linda!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

From The Vault

This week's treasure from The Vault is:

Seasons of Love by Elizabeth Goddard.

From the back cover:

When Grandpa Sanderford asks Riley O'hare to give up her climb on the corporate ladder and take over the family cranberry farm in Massachusetts, she actually considers it. Her mind is made up when her brother dies and she becomes the guardian of his son. Riley hopes the move and her new roles will help her find the purpose and peace she desires. With the death of his friend and business partner, Zane Baldwyn's world is turned upside down, and his company is in trouble. As he looks to replace John, strange things begin to happen that makes Zane wonder if John's death was really accidental. Riley has a farm to save, and Zane has a mystery to solve. Somehow the two goals seem related. As Riley and Zane are drawn closer together, can they stay out of danger and discover a season of love?

There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:1

A little taste of Seasons of Love:

Riley hung up the phone, slamming it a bit harder
than necessary. She rubbed her temples.
Zane’s chest swelled with admiration for the strong young
woman. Add “new mom” to her task list. He hoped he wasn’t
making a mistake in offering his help, but somehow her
vulnerability had penetrated his better judgment. That much
he recognized.
She was John’s sister. Chad, John’s son. Zane owed it to his
friend and partner to help his sister make this work. If he
discovered what he needed to know in the process, so much
the better. He noticed her staring at him and became aware
he’d been caught up in his thoughts. He stood.
She folded her arms across her chest and raised her
eyebrows. “You know, you never did tell me why you dropped
by. I know it wasn’t for pleasantries, since you’ve already stated
at the funeral and on the phone that you needed to speak to
me. It was important. Remember?”
“I have a proposition for you.”

Question of the Day: Does anyone have a yummy recipe that uses cranberries?