Monday, May 30, 2011

Game of Love by Jennifer Johnson

This week's featured title is...
Game of Love by Jennifer Johnson
HP 954

Mike needs to make his move.

After three years, it's about time Mike McCauley stopped pining over the waitress at his favorite diner and just ask her out. All his buddies are married, so he'd won the no-women bet they'd made years ago. So why does he feel like the loser?

Librarian Johanna Smith's family is determined to see her wed Gavin Mitchell, her best friend since their baby days. But Johanna and Gavin aren't in love - at least, not with each other.

Johanna accidentally gives Mike a fat lip the day before his friend's wedding. On the street, she elbows him off the sidewalk. Days later, her grocery cart slams into his ankles. How many times does Johanna have to run into Mike - literally - before God gets their attention?

Book Excerpt

Her cart jolted. She looked and saw she'd bumped into someone. Someone wearing tennis shoes. Which probably meant the back of his ankles would really hurt. "I'm so sorry."
The man lifted his right foot a bit as he turned to face her. "No prob-You?"
It couldn't be. It simply was not possible. There stood the same man she'd run into at the barn and on the sidewalk. She was normally a very careful person, but it seemed as if some weird force propelled her to wound this man in some way.

Her cheeks warmed and her hands shook slightly until she gripped the cart handle. "I - I don't now what to say."

A smile bowed the man's lips, and Johanna couldn't help but admit how cute he was. He extended his hand. "I think I'd better introduce myself to you before you need to notify my family."

Johanna frowned. "Notify your family?"

"Yeah. Next time you run into me you may put me in the hospital."

Key Verse

"Let the morning bring me word of Your unfailing love, for I have put me trust in You. Show me the way I should go, for to You I lift up my soul." Psalm 143:8

About the Author

Jennifer Johnson and the world's most supportive redheaded husband are happily married and raising the three cutest girls on the planet. Jennifer is an 8th grade math teacher in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky. (Pray for her.) She is also a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. Jennifer loves to read, write, and figure her checkbook - when the numbers match. She also likes to scrapbook and chauffeur and cheer for her daughters' soccer, basketball, singing, and youth events. Blessed beyond measure by her heavenly Father, Jennifer hopes to always think like a child - bigger than she can imagine and with a complete faith.

What did you do during your holiday weekend?

Friday, May 27, 2011

A New Random Drawing Winner!

Colorful Night Fountain of Rainbow Colorsphoto © 2009 epSos .de more info (via: Wylio)
Congratulations Holly Armstrong, you are this week's random drawing winner!!

Please send an email to heartsongblog @ gmail .com (without the spaces) and let us know if you would like a copy of No One But You,The Thing About Beauty, or 10 Heartpoints to be used towards a future shipment of Heartsong books.

Have a safe and wonderful weekend!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Thing About Beauty by Donna Robinson

This week's title from the vault is...
The Thing About Beauty by Donna Robinson
HP 926

Being beautiful has its drawbacks.

Tonya Brandt wants to marry a man who will complement her own beauty. But she's dated every good-looking guy in town without finding someone who loves her mind and talents.

Murray Twichell knows his chances with Tonya aren't good, but somehow he can't get her out of his mind. Although her self-absorption drives him crazy and she doesn't give him the time of day, something about her keeps drawing him back. If only he could get to know the real Tonya without her discovering who he is.

When a secret admirer begins sending Tonya gifts and letters, her heart melts. But who is this mystery man? She loves his personality, but what does he look like? When Tonya finally discovers her secret admirer's identity, will she reject him? Or will she learn that true beauty is more than skin deep?

Have you ever had a secret admirer?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Another Day with Donna Robinson!

Day Two with Donna Reimel Robinson

No One But You has a picture of "Old Faithful" on the cover since Derek and Cheyenne take a group of orphans to Yellowstone National Park. Old Faithful erupts approximately every 91 minutes, and Derek explains (in order to impress a pretty girl named Cheyenne) exactly how a geyser erupts in Chapter 15. (You'll have to read the book to get the details!)

Yellowstone was America's first national park, established in 1872,and located in the Northwest corner of Wyoming. It is the home to a large variety of wildlife including bison, elk, grizzly bears, and wolves. The park also includes a number of geysers and hot springs, three deep canyons, 390 waterfalls, and Yellowstone Lake. Visitors can go hiking, camping, and fishing.

I hope you enjoy reading No One But You, and be sure to visit my website at:

Have you ever visited Yellowstone National Park?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Welcome Donna Robinson

Day One with Donna Reimel Robinson

In this third book about Fort Lob, Wyoming, the Brandt family attends Cheyenne Frontier Days, a famous rodeo known among cowboys as "The Daddy of 'Em All." The city of Cheyenne, Wyoming sponsors CFD every July. (Our family lives in Denver, and there's always an article or two in the Denver newspaper about CFD since it's such a huge event.) The rodeo includes cowboy contests, barrel racing, and bull riding, among other things. But the rodeo is just one part of CFD. They also have an old western town known as Wild Horse Gulch, an Indian village with Native Americans dressed in full Indian garb, and the Old West Museum. And they sell lots of souvenirs.

One thing I didn't mention in the book - CFD holds a cowboy church service on the two Sunday mornings during the festivities. The Fellowship of Christian Cowboys, located in Canon City, Colorado is in charge. Of course, CFD also includes some rock concerts on a few evenings, so they cater to everyone. But I was impressed that they let the Christian cowboys hold Sunday services, taking an hour from the busy rodeo schedule to honor the Lord.

Have you ever attended a rodeo? Where was it held?

Monday, May 23, 2011

No One But You by Donna Robinson

This week's featured title is...
No One But You by Donna Robinson
HP 953

God's plans are worth waiting for.

At least that's what Cheyenne Wilkins has been telling herself. But since her grandmother died, time is running out! If only grandmother didn't have those stipulations in her will, Cheyenne could wait for the man of her dreams.

Derek Brandt has made it living at home, helping his dad run the family ranch. He's free to serve God at any time in any way. If he had a wife he wouldn't be able to do half the things he does! And even if his heart does thump a little harder when Cheyenne gets close, he's busy serving God. He'll think about Cheyenne later.

When a new man enters Cheyenne's life, she thinks he's the answer to her prayers. But if he's really the one she should marry, why does Derek still make her heart race? Will Cheyenne discover God's will in time?

Book Excerpt

"You still have a spot of mascara under your eye."

I do?" He studied his reflection in the rear view mirror. "Yeah, so I do."

Cheyenne rummaged in her purse. "Let me clean that off." She pulled out a tissue.

Derek threw his arm across the back of the bench seat and leaned toward her.

She dabbed the tissue under his eye, feeling his gaze on her. Their faces were so close - a little tingle went up her spine at his nearness. She wiped the tissue under his lashes one last time, wishing she could stay a few more minutes, but her job was done. "There, that's better." She looked into his eyes.

His gaze held hers. "Much better." His eyes dipped down to her lips.

Cheyenne caught a quick breath. He was going to kiss her!

But Derek suddenly cleared his throat and sat back. "Thanks." Placing a fist against his mouth, he coughed. "Uh, guess I'll see you Sunday at church."

Key Verse

Colossians 1:9, "...That ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding." (KJV)

About the Author

Donna Reimel Robinson is a member of the JOY Writers, a local critique group. As a pastor's wife, she heads up the music ministry of their church. In her spare time, Donna enjoys sewing, reading, and watching DVDs of Murder, She Wrote. The Robinsons have four children, two children in-law, and six grandchildren. They live in Denver, Colorado. Visit Donna's website at

It's Monday which means the end to a relaxing weekend. What were some ways you relaxed over the weekend?

Friday, May 20, 2011

A New Random Drawing Winner!

Fireworks Displayphoto © 2008 John Brennan more info (via: Wylio)
Congratulations V.V. Denman, you are this week's random drawing winner!

Please send an email to heartsongblog @ gmail .com (without the spaces) and let us know if you want a copy of Revealing Fire, The Engineered Engagement, or 10 Heartpoints to be used towards a future shipment of Heartsong books.

Thanks to everyone who commented this week. Have a fun weekend!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

From the Vault

This week's title from the vault is...
The Engineered Engagement by Erica Vetsch
HP 907

A Kennebrae keeps his word...

But grandfather made the promise, and Eli Kennebrae is expected to carry it out. And maybe grandfather got lucky with Eli's brothers' brides, but there is no way Eli is going to participate in an arranged marriage, or is he?

Josie Zahn admired Eli from a distance for years, but he hardly knows she exists other than as just "one of the Zahn girls." If only she could get his attention. When father announces her older sister Clarice's engagement to Eli, both girls are crushed. Is there no way out of this nightmare?

Deception, intrigue, and danger make life miserable for the Zahns and the Kennebraes as they learn that Divine engineering is far better than human manipulation.

Does your family history have any arranged marriages?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Another Day with Erica Vetsch

Bookshelvesphoto © 2008 Isabelle Palatin | more info (via: Wylio)
What's in a Name - Part 2:

Yesterday we talked about the importance of choosing the right character names. If anything, choosing an appealing title is even more crucial. An intriguing title might be the difference between a potential reader taking your book off the shelf for a close look or passing it over for something more interesting. When I browse the fiction section of my local bookstore, I look first at the title. (Then at the cover art, though I try not to judge a book by its cover.) Does the title appeal to me? Does it indicate what the story might be about? Is it memorable?

So, how do authors chose titles for their novels? (One big caveat here is that the publisher almost always reserves the right to change the title, and the author is often asked to come up with several alternatives. This can be particularly painful if the author struggles with coming up with titles or is certain her title is the perfect one and no change is necessary. Best to go into the process knowing you'll probably be asked to adjust the title to fit the publisher/marketing.)

My current release, Before Dawn, stared out with a different title. The Darkest Hour. That doesn't exactly scream Historical Romance with a Happily Ever After Ending, does it? The Darkest Hour would fit a thriller or suspense or mystery, but not an uplifting romance.

My friend Mary Connealy (who has given me permission to share this here) told me that her mega-hit/amazing/really fun (my description) novel Petticoat Ranch started out as Room for God's Wrath. (Blink.) Lemme say, the first time I saw the title Petticoat Ranch (about six months before it released) I knew I was going to buy that book. If it had remained titles Room for God's Wrath, I probably would've passed on the book and missed not only a great story, but a precious friendship, too! I am soooo glad she changed it!

So, how does an author go about choosing a title? Here are some methods I employ:

1. Consider genre and mood. The examples above illustrate this. The Darkest Hour and Room for God's Wrath don't fit inspiring romance or romantic comedy with cowboys.

2. Consider a common theme when writing a series. In my first series, each title has something to do with a wedding. Bride, Marriage, and Engagement all feature in the titles. In my second series, each one has to do with the Old West. Cowboy, Lawman, Maverick. In this current series, each book title has to do with light. The words Dawn, Light, and Stars appear in the titles.

3. Consider alliteration. The Bartered Bride, Maggie and the Maverick, The Marriage Masquerade, Clara and the Cowboy. I love alliteration in titles. It makes them easy to remember.

4. Brainstorm ideas and themes in the book. While helping a friend brainstorm titles, I told her that sometimes I make lists of words that pertain to the book I'm writing. Then I experiment with how they might fit together.

5. Lines from hymns, Bible verses, famous plays/poetry/sayings, etc. can also inspire titles. Before the Dawn comes from the old saying 'The darkest hour is always before the dawn.' And the next book in this series is entitled Light to my Path from Psalm 119:105.

So question for you - Have you ever been drawn to a book solely by the title? What interesting titles have you seen lately?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Welcome Erica Vetsch!

Ink Pens [explored]photo © 2009 TMAB2003 | more info (via: Wylio)
What's in a Name - Part 1:

As I sit here at Caribou Coffee writing this blog post, the trivia question of the day is: Which famous actor cut the first syllable - Bum - from his/her last name? A) Brad Pitt B) Jennifer Aniston C) Sally Field D) James Garner (If a customer gets the trivia question correct, they get $.10 off their order.)

Would we view Brad Pitt differently if his name was Brad Bumpitt? (Makes me think of the hair accessory.) Or if Sally Field was Sally Bumfield?

Face it, the name Cary Grant evokes a much different image in our minds than someone named Archibal A. Leach, and William Pratt doesn't it sound the least bit scary, but Boris Karloff sure does.

Marion Morrison or John Wayne?
Alan Alda or Alphonso D'Abruzzo?
Barbara Stanwyck or Ruby Stevens?
Chuck Norris or Carlos Ray?
John Denver or Henry John Deutschendorf, Jr. (Yeah, really!)

Just as actors change their names to fit their personas, authors choose character names that portray the type of person they are trying to create. Naming characters can be difficult as finding a title for your novel (which we'll talk about more tomorrow.) Every author has a different method of naming characters, but here are a few of the issues I take into consideration when making these decisions.

1. The setting. This is first and foremost in my mind when naming characters because I write historical fiction. While Madesyn Skylar, Xoe, and Marley are fine names for little girls in the 21st century, they were not popular names in the 1870's. My favorite place to find names that are historically accurate is history books. Famous people (and not so famous people) who were adults when my story is set. Census records are helpful here, too. Biblical names are always good in historicals.

2. Ethnic background. If my characters are Irish Scot, Norwegian, or Russian that will influence what their names are, both first and last. And if they are of mixed heritage, I get to be even more creative. I have a character in an upcoming novel whose mother was Irish and her father was Norwegian. She bears the name Meghan Thorson.

3. Economic status. The income level/education level of the characters influences their names quite a bit. Would you believe credible a dirt-poor backwoods girl name Patricia Octavia Montmorency-Fotheringham? Probably not. My first series of Heartsongs was set amongst the affluent class of the Gilded Age. Heroines named Melissa, Anastasia and Josephine. My next series was set in Idaho Territory thirty years before, and the heroines were named Clara, Lily, and Maggie.

4. Characteristics and connotations. Some names automatically evoke certain feelings. It would be hard to consider a manly hero whose name was Periwinkle Pearl Littleton. And what about heroines? It's hard to envision a heroine named Mabel Clutterbuck in a glorious evening gowning waltzing Mrs. Astor's Manhattan mansion.

5. Exceptions. This is where a bit of fun comes in. An author can always make exceptions if she properly explains/motivates the name choice. What if Periwinkle Pearl was a family name and he spent his whole life defending it. Or hiding it behind a nickname/fake name? Or if Mabel Clutterbuck has come into a fortune and must overcome her pedestrian roots in Papillion/My Fair Lady type of story? There are exceptions to every rule, and as long as the author explains the chasm between the name and the situation, it's okay to be a bit unconventional.

What about your name? Do you think it fits your personality? Or how did you come up with names for your kids?

(The correct answer to the trivia question is D) James Garner was born James Bumgarner. I guessed correctly and got my $.10 off.)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Before the Dawn by Erica Vetsch

This week's featured title is...
Before the Dawn by Erica Vetsch
HP 952

There's nothing left for David.

In the depths of a collapsing mine shaft, David Mackenzie lost everything. Even his sight. But not his life. no, God didn't take that. Determined not to rely on anyone else to get along, David wraps himself tightly in folds of bitterness as dark as his new world.

But Karen Worth will not give up, and through a series of maneuvers she manages to convince David to marry her anyway. She quickly discovers, however, that though she loves him unconditionally, she shouldn't have stepped ahead of God - who also never gives up.

God's love is a light that can break through any darkness, but Karen and David must turn toward the light in order to experience it. As they learn the truth behind the accident and face a darkness neither expected, will they make the right choice?

Book Excerpt
"When the time comes that you realize your mistake in marrying me, you can apply for an annulment."
The air rushed out of her lungs and her head spun. An annulment? "When are you going to understand that I have no intention of leaving you? Did you not hear me today? I promised to love, honor, and obey you until death parted us."
"I heard your promise. Now obey me and take your things to the next room. I'm tired, and I'd like to go to bed. It's been a long day." He stepped farther into the room and waited.
Numb at this turn of events, Karen gathered her valise and straightened. "David, can't we talk about this?"
"This is not a matter for discussion. Go to bed."
She gathered the lamp and stepped into the hall. He closed the door behind her, shutting her out as effectively as putting out a cat for the night. The final humiliation came when he turned the key in the lock.
Key Verse
If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me.
Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.

About the Author
Erica Vetsch was Kansas born and raised, but this award-winning author now make her home in Minnesota. This wife and mother of two teens is thankful God gave her a wonderful imagination that helps to weather the storms of life and contributes to great stories set in mostly the Nineteenth Century.
Tragic events can put people in a dark place in life. What do you think would be a good way to bring someone back to the light in this situation?

Friday, May 13, 2011

A New Random Drawing Winner!

Party time ! in Istanbul / Fiesta! en Estambulphoto © 2007 Jesus Solana more info (via: Wylio)
Congratulations Patsy, you are this week's random drawing winner!

Send an email to heartsongblog @ gmail .com and let us knw if you want a copy of Revealing Fire, Leave Me Never, or 10 Heartpoints to be used towards a future shipment of Heartsong books.

Enjoy the weekend!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

From the Vault

This week's title from the vault is...
Leave Me Never by Connie Stevens
HP 936

Does God keep His promises?

Mama always said He did, but Teresa isn't too sure. How many times did Mama tell her God would never leave her or forsake her? Yet, here she is - stuck in Willow Creek, Iowa with no food, no money, no home, no job. No future. Mama is dead and Papa left in the night without a word of farewell. Where are God's promises now? Maybe Papa's right, and she really is worthless - so worthless even God doesn't care about her.

When Gideon rescued a girl from a beating by her own father in the middle of the street, he never expected to fall in love. His own problems are overwhelming - his business is failing and his dreams look more doubtful by the minute. But he can't get Teresa out of his mind.

Maybe the promise to look to is that God works all things together for good for those who love Him - even when it seems like evil is winning.

It is hard to move forward when things get tough. What are some things you do to help you overcome obstacles?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Another Day with Connie Stevens!

organzapin2cphoto © 2009 Ny more info (via: Wylio)
Day 2

One of my favorite things about writing historical novels is the research. I became so absorbed one day in digging into the details of the construction of the 19th century windmills and irrigation systems that I was startled when the phone rang because for a moment I didn't know what that noise was. Historical details, portrayed correctly, don't have to read like a textbook. Hinting at things past can transport the reader back in time. It can be a simple act, like having my character bank the fire in the stove or blow out the oil lamp. Other distinctions can be intricate, such as the specific parts of a wagon into the story so the reader finds them perfectly natural.

One of the things I had to research for the writing of Revealing Fire was the treatment of burns in the 19th century. Some of the information I uncovered made me shudder. Did you know that one of the accepted treatments involved holding a flame close to the skin to further blister it? Burns often resulted in death from either infection because of unsanitary conditions and lack of antibiotics, or hypothermia because the body has difficulty regulating its temperature if portions of skin are missing.

Another thing I found interesting in my research was the way law enforcement tracked information on bad guys. Without databases or modern means of communication, officials often had to wait for weeks to receive requested information. I found the history of the Pinkerton National Detective Agency particularly fascinating.

Researching family genealogy has become a hobby for many folks, uncovering facts about long lost uncles or discovering a great-grandmother who was honored for a special accomplishment. One of my most treasured possessions is a cameo brooch that my grandfather gave to my grandmother the day my mother was born. Grandma gave it to my mother on her wedding day, and my mother handed it down to me the day I married. When I hold the brooch in my hands and study the old-fashioned profile of the Victorian lady craved in ivory and set in seed pearls, I like to imagine my grandmother's face. What did grandfather say to her when he presented his gift? Did she gasp softly at the brooch's beauty? Did she get tears in her eyes? Did they kiss? Some history can't be researched, but rather only imagined. It's my job as a writer of historical Christian fiction to present the details, both real and fictitious, in a way that the reader cringes at the archaic medical practices, wonders how bad guys were caught, and feels the tingle of a soft kiss.

Can you remember keepsakes that made you dream of another time and place?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Welcome Connie Stevens!

Holding Handsphoto © 2008 Carolyn | more info (via: Wylio)
Day One

The main characters of Revealing Fire, Pearl and Hubert, are older than the usual hero and heroine. They appear in my first book, Leave Me Never, as minor characters, and I fell in love with them during the writing of that book. I knew I had to give them their own story. The fact that they were both in their mid-fifties made them special to me. Over the years, I have had the privilege of seeing more than one "older" couple fall in love and marry. Who says love is only for young folks?

Pearl and Hubert both have more silver in their hair than dark strands. I like to pull back the curtain of time and see what experiences have tempered and shaped the heart and soul of a person who has lived for more than four or five decades. A fifty year relationship with God deepens that person's character, and carves lines of laughter and sorrow into their face. They have learned through their mistakes, and if they allow God to use them, they can become mentors for a younger generation. These are the kinds of characters I wanted to write about in Revealing Fire.

I turned the sixtieth page in my own life last year, and since I have walked through some dark valleys as well as some mountaintops, I called on some of those experiences and gave them to my characters with a different twist or two. I found that hard times and sorrow don't have to destroy your ability to love. On the contrary, as a craftsman refines and purifies silver by carefully putting it through the fire and precisely gauging its purity during this process, so God refines us over the years. Passage of time enhances one's capacity to love rather than decaying it.

My husband and I have been married or almost thirty-eight years. Once in a while, when I least expect it and for no apparent reason, he brings me a rose. Such a trivial thing, some might say. But it's not trivial to me. That rose tells me he's thinking about me, he cherishes me, I'm important to him, we share something deeply grounded and intertwined together. We can communicate as much through a look as with words. He still makes me heart flutter. We still hold hands. His smile is the one that matters to me.

Do you know an older couple who are in love? What can you learn from them and apply to your own life and relationships?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Revealing Fire by Connie Stevens

This week's featured title is...
Revealing Fire by Connie Stevens
HP 951

Pearl feels too old to fall in love.

Pearl Dunnigan is in her September years, well beyond the age when most women fall in love. She married her childhood sweetheart years ago. Now as a widow, she operates the only boardinghouse in Willow Creek, Iowa, and is content with life until Hubert dares to convince her to dream again.

During Hubert Behr's youth, blind ambition and careless actions destroyed his family and his marriage. Have the lessons he's learned since then made him worthy of a second chance, or has his past made him unsuitable for love? Hubert is willing to try again, but what will Pearl say when she learns his secrets?

Hubert's estranged son arrives in town, and his anger and scorn threaten to undo Hubert's and Pearl's plans. When all the truth is revealed, will their love be destroyed or refined by fire?

Book Excerpt

"I suspect this woman is -"

"Her name is Pearl." The muscles in Hubert's neck tensed, but he forced his tone to remain even. "When you speak to her or refer to her, please do so respectfully."

Everett's eyes narrowed but he didn't retort. Instead, he appeared to take a deep breath - whether to sigh in resignation or calm himself, Hubert couldn't tell.

"All right, I will be respectful. But, Father I can't help but feel you are marrying beneath you. Mrs. Dunnigan likely doesn't make a great deal of money running a boardinghouse for people who can't afford a home of their own" He paused before making his point. "Have you considered that she might be seeking marriage of comfort and position?"

The tightness in Hubert's neck extended to his jaw muscles. He clenched and unclenched his fingers. Allowing his temper to erupt would not only destroy the fragile relationship between him and Everett, it would also negate any chance to speak of his faith with his son. He certainly didn't want to start out by setting parameters, but he couldn't allow Everett to voice such speculations about Pearl. Distress burned in his chest. Unless Everett changed his attitude, the possibility loomed of having to make a choice between his son and the woman he loved.

Key Verse

"Every man's work shall be made manifest because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is." I Corinthians 3:13

About the Author

Connie Stevens lives in north Georgie with her husband of over 35 years, John. She and John are active in a variety of capacities in their home church. One cantankerous kitty - misnamed Sweet Pea - allows them to live in her home. Some of Connie's favorite pastimes include reading, sewing, browsing antique shops, collecting teddy bears, and gardening. She also enjoys making quilts to send to the Cancer Treatment Center of America. Visit Connie at

Do you think a person can fall in love at any age?

Friday, May 6, 2011

New Random Drawing Winner

Balloon release - 2photo © 2007 Jerry Downs more info (via: Wylio)

This week's random drawing winner is Julie Pollitt!

Congratulations Julie, please send an email to heartsongblog @ gmail .com (without the spaces) and let us know if you would like a copy of Shades of the Past, If the Dress Fits, or 10 Heartpoints to be used towards a future shipment of Heartsong books.

I hope this weekend brings beautiful weather for everyone to enjoy!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

From the Vault!

Today's book from the vault is...
If the Dress Fits by Debby Mayne
HP 785

Cindi no longer believes in happily-ever-after.

Cindi is helping brides and living her dream by owning a bridal boutique and helping brides choose dresses for their unforgettable day. But her world crumbles when her parents announce their intentions to divorce. Bitter and disillusioned about marriage, Cindi decides to throw in the towel and sell her business. When Cindi's lost love from high school reappears as the potential buyer, her jaded heart warns her to stay away.

Jeremy Hayden is a changed man. Now a successful entrepreneur and business flipper, he jumped at the chance to own Cindi's store and her heart. Can he prove to Cindi he cares about more than just the business? Can Cindi forgive him for breaking her heart so many years ago?

As Cindi and Jeremy face their unresolved past and troublesome present, can they overcome the odds to make a lasting commitment?

The Spring season is a popular time for weddings. The bride-to-be tries her best to make her special day unique from other weddings. What are some unique ideas you have seen at weddings?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Another Visit with Debby Mayne!

Day 2

Amish Trip to Old Faithfulphoto © 2009 Richie Diesterheft more info (via: Wylio)

Something I realized as I got to know some of the Mennonite people in Sarasota was that their needs are not that different from everyone else's. They suffer from similar conflicts, illnesses, and tragedies as everyone in the outside world. Their faith is a way of life that helps them deal with their struggles.

The conflict I chose for the first book in this series, Shades of the Past, is based on the back-story of the heroine, Mary Penner. When Mary's mother learned she was pregnant with Mary at 16, she ran away rather than face her parents and members of the church. She acted out of desperation to support herself and her child, which led to her being murdered during a drug bust. With her mother gone, the only family Mary had was her Conservative Mennonite grandparents in Sarasota. Going from the seedy world of her early years to the simple life in Pinecraft as a teenage, Mary dealt with self-imposed guilt and inner turmoil that caused her to form a shell around her heart. One of her classmates, Abe Glick, returned from college to run his family's farm. He has always had a heart for Mary, and he's very persistent, chiseling away at her hard facade, one layer at a time.

As I wrote this story, I tried to show the love the people in this community have for family and friends, as well as their imperfections and recognition of the need for salvation. The characters develop and grow through experience from both their own community and the outside world. You'll also get to meet the people who come back later in the second and third books of this series.

What are some similarities you know of between the outside world and the Mennonite and Amish communities?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Please Welcome Debby Mayne!

Day 1

amish 054_1photo © 2008 deeptrivia more info (via: Wylio)

When I first started thinking about writing a Mennonite series in Sarasota, Florida, I realized I needed to do quite a bit of research. Once I got started, I became intrigued by the culture of this blend of a variety of Mennonite groups that have come together as they migrated from other parts of the country.

The delightful year-round moderate weather has attracted groups of Mennonites and Amish who started out taking their vacations in Florida and then decided to make Sarasota their home. Over time their numbers have grown, and there is now a thriving community of people who life the "plain" life in a town that is also known for sandy beaches and the Ringling Circus, Center for the Cultural Arts, and Museum. Some of the Mennonites and Amish people purchased land for farms, while others started businesses or worked in town. Many of them live in Pinecraft, a community of small rental homes.

Sarasota is a bustling beach town, so rather than use horse-and-buggy transportation, most of the Conservative Mennonites and Amish residents ride adult-sized three-wheelers, often called "bikes" for short jaunts around the community. They attach baskets, boxes, and wagons if they need to haul groceries or other items. For longer trips, they take advantage of public transportation or hire private independent drivers.

Since there are several order of Mennonite and Amish groups from different states, visitors may be surprised to see that new traditions have formed from a blend of the different cultures. Some of the businesses run by Mennonite and Amish families are popular restaurants featuring home-cooked meals, souvenir shops, roadside produce stands, and a weekly Farmer's Market.

In order to bring more authenticity to my stories, I went down to visit the Pinecraft community, since it's not far from where I live. I spoke with a few Mennonite and Amish people who guardedly answered some questions. After I returned home, I made some calls to more contemporary Mennonite churches, and I was fortunate to find a man named Lee Miller who had come from the Conservative Mennonite background. He tirelessly answered all my questions because he knew I wanted the details to be authentic.

What fascinates you about the Mennonite and Amish communities?

Monday, May 2, 2011

Shades of the Past by Debby Mayne

This week's featured title is:
Shades of the Past by Debby Mayne
Contemporary Romance

Mary can't escape the past.

Born out of wedlock to a former Mennonite girl, Mary Penner lived on the edge of society until the day her mother was killed in a drug bust. Sent back to her grandparents at age fourteen, she found fitting in with their simple society very difficult. As an adult now, she enjoys the security and peace her faith gives her - even if the people still hold grudges against her and whisper about the notorious shunning of her mother.

Abe Glick has been fascinated with Mary since the first day she walked into his life. Different from the rest of the girls, she captured his imagination and his heart. But capturing her heart will be a difficult task since Mary keeps it locked up tight, hidden behind walls of self-imposed guilt and pain.

When her past confronts her, will her world come tumbling down, or will she finally see herself free?

Book Excerpt

"That's a lot of bread and grease for one person at one time."

"But that's what I want." Abe challenged her with a stare down.

She finally took a step back, nodded, and jotted his order on her pad. "Then that's what you'll get, Abe Glick, along with a big spike in your blood sugar to go with your clogged arteries."

"Are you saying you're worried about my health?" He had forced himself not to show his amusement.

"No, of course not. I was just calling it to your attention, that's all. If you want to go on to an early grave, who am I to top you?"

He blew out breath. "Then what do you suggest I have?"

"It's not my place to suggest what you should have. If you want - "

"Tell you what, Mary. I'll change my order if you'll consider going out with me after work."


"Because I want to get to know you better. I like you, Mary Penner."

Key Verse

How good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! - Psalm 133:1

About the Author

Debby Mayne has published more than 30 books and novellas, 400 print short stories and articles, more than 1,000 web articles, and a slew of devotions for women. She has also worked as managing editor of a national health magazine, product information writer for HSN, a creative writer instructor for Long Ridge Writers Group, and a copy editor and proofreader for several book publishers. For the past eight years, she has judged the Writers Digest Annual Competition, Short-Short Contest, and Self-Published Book Competition. Three of Debby's romance novels are top 10 favorites with Heartsong book club and one of her books earned 4-1/2 stars and a Top Pick from from Romantic Times.

Sometimes it is hard to not hold grudges against people. What are some methods you use to avoid holding grudges?