Monday, January 31, 2011

White Pearls by Shannon Taylor Vannatter

This weeks featured title is:
White Pearls by Shannon Taylor Vanatter
HP 937

Shell doesn't have a good reputation . . .

But no matter what everyone in Rose Bud, Arkansas thinks of her, Shell Evans is back in town with a job to do. She'll just have to stick it out and make the best of things. But why does Ryler have to be the landscaper on this project? She was just getting her heart back under control.

Ryler Grant has his own reasons for being in Rose Bud, and they certainly don't include Shell. Spying on his birth family was going to be hard enough. He doesn't have time to worry about a woman who dumped him. . . even if his heart says otherwise.

But God's love can change the hardest heart. In the light of His presence, even the darkest past can be overcome. They may not know it, but the people of Rose Bud are about to change!

Key Verse:
"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free."
John 8:32 KJV

Book Excerpt
Something cracked. The railing gave way, and Shell screamed. Ryler grabbed her arm and jerked her toward him. They landed in a heap by the door with her face buried in his solid chest. She pushed away from him.

He helped her up. "You okay?"

"Fine. Thanks."

The balustrade where she'd stood was gone, leaving twisted, splintered wood in it's wake.

Yellow pollen dust smeared her pink T-shirt and jeans. She swiped at it with shaky hands, and managed to pat most of it out.

Ryler coughed and cleared his throat. A few gasps later, he caught his breath.

"Are you sick?"

"Allergies. All this pollen. If it's green and grows in the spring, I'm allergic to it."
"And you're a landscaper?"

"Gotta make a living somehow." Ryler ran a hand through his dark waves, sending them tumbling in disarray.

She swallowed hard.

"I don't remember you having allergies before." But she remembered everything else. His deep voice that sent shivers over her spine, his touch that shot lightning through her veins, and his kiss that turned her into a quivering, brainless idiot.

Shannon Taylor Vannatter is a stay-at-home mom/pastor's wife/writer. When not writing, she runs circles in the care and feeding of her husband, Grant, their eight-year-old son, and their church congregation. Home is a central Arkansas zoo with two charcoal gray cats, a chocolate lab, a dragonfish, and three dachshunds in weenie dog heaven. If given the chance to clean house or write, she'd rather write. Her goal is to hire Alice from the Brady Brunch.
Do you find it hard to forget the past and move on? Or are you a person who can leave the past behind and look toward the future?

Friday, January 28, 2011


celebrate little thingsphoto © 2011 Shandi-lee Cox more info (via: Wylio)
Congratulations Jackie S, you are this week's random drawing winner!!!

Just email us at heartsong[at]gmail[dot]com and tell us if you want a copy of Leave Me Never by Connie Stevens, Marriage Masquerade by Erica Vetsch or ten Heartpoints for a future shipment of Heartsong books.

Thank you to Connie Steven's for being a guest blogger this week. I want to apologize again to Erica Vetsch for the author mix-up! Everyone enjoy your weekend!!!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A New Book From the Vault!!

Today's Book From the Vault is:
The Marriage Masquerade by Erica Vetsch
HS 887

Noah just wants to start over.

Captain Noah Keneenbrae can no longer deal with the shame and guilt from the wreck of his ship. So he changes his name and takes a job as assistant lighthouse keeper on Sutton Island, heedless of the marriage contract his grandfather has arranged for him. No woman in her right mind would want to marry him now, anyway.

Desperate to escape the calculating grasp of her father and his cronies, Anastasia Michaels leaves her home to take the unlikely job of housekeeper on a remote island. Knowing how terrified of water she is, surely her father would never think to look for her there.

But neither Nick nor Annie considered that God's hand might be at work in their lives. When they each take things into their own hands, He must work a miracle to bring them back to His original plan.

There times when we want to take matters into our own hands, but it helps to just let things happen if we keep in mind that God has a plan for us. Has there ever been a time when things just weren't going the way you wanted, but you knew they were happening for a reason?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Another Day with Connie Stevens

Pentas Flowersphoto © 2007 Louise Docker more info (via: Wylio)Gideon Maxwell has dreamed of owning a horse ranch where he can breed sturdy draft animals to serve the farming community in and around Willow Creek, Iowa. But there are obstacles he must overcome before his dream is reality.

Anyone who has ever had a goal has encountered obstacles - some more formidable than others. Gideon, the hero in Leave Me Never, operates the mercantile he inherited when his father died. While he is grateful for the source of income that has kept a roof over his and his sister's heads and food on their table, being a storekeeper isn't what Gideon wants to do. The biggest obstacle in the way of Gideon realizing his dream is Henry Kilgore, an unscrupulous man of greed. As it becomes less and less likely that Gideon will be able to reach his goal, he has a choice. He can give up, he can lower his expectations, he can allow failure to affect his faith, and he can become bitter and hateful in his dealings with other people. What if we, as children of God, adopted those attitudes when things didn't turn out the way we hoped?

Every writer is familiar with the infamous rejection letter. I have a file filled with them. Every time I received another rejection, it would have been easy to throw in the towel and say, "Forget it. I can't do this. I never should have thought I could be a writer. The disappointment is too hard to take." One of the reasons I didn't quit was because of the encouragement and help I received from other writers. They had their own rejections and set-backs, they had deadlines and family responsibilities, and they had their own manuscripts to write, but those things didn't stop them from helping others in the writing community. The other reason I didn't quit was because I knew beyond any doubt that God was directing me to write and honor Him with my writing.

Gideon is certainly disappointed that his dream is slipping through his fingers, but instead of grousing and complaining, he sets his hands and his heart to a task that will make someone else's dream come true. In spite of his own frustrated efforts to achieve his dream, he doesn't lose sight of God's hand on his life and he endeavors to maintain a servant's heart.

Galatians 6:10 says, "Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are the household of faith." Gideon has an opportunity, not to further his own agenda, but to do something for someone else. It's possible that his effort will spill over and bring more business to the mercantile, but it's not guaranteed, nor does it help move him toward his goal of ranch ownership. What Gideon does in the story is selfless act of consideration. But more than that, it was an act of obedience. Gideon headed God's direction without any anticipation of his action benefiting himself. Just like those writers who took the time to mentor me. Having a servant's heart means taking the focus off yourself and allowing God to use you to benefit someone else.

Do you have knowledge or skills that, when given to God for His use, could make you a servant?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Tears of the Crowphoto © 2010 Hartwig HKD more info (via: Wylio)
When I first started writing Leave Me Never in March 2005, I had no idea the journey on which I was about to embark. One month after I'd begun working on this story, my son was diagnosed with cancer and I became his full time caregiver. There is nothing that can prepare a mother's heart for such news and I staggered under the attack of fear. To get the best care for our son, we traveled out of state and there was precious little time for writing. I set the manuscript aside for a year and a half.

Over the months of my son's cancer battle, God carried me through an onslaught of emotions that sliced deeper than anything I'd ever experienced. Several months after God took our son home to Heaven, I pulled up the manuscript on my computer and stared at it. The characters were flat, the setting dull. I didn't know who those people were and I didn't recognize the story. The insignificant issues facing the characters paled in comparison to what we'd been through. The story no longer worked and I didn't know how to fix it.

A year later I attended an author's retreat where I took a workshop taught by DiAnn Mills on how to develop emotional depth in your characters. She gave us an exercise to do. First, she told us to close our eyes and think of the worst experience we'd ever been through. The first image that manifest behind my closed eyelids was holding my son's hand as he lay in a hospital bed and drew his last breath. Tears began to burn as DiAnn told us to open our eyes and write that scene. Was she kidding? She wanted me to find the words that described my emotions as I said goodbye to my son? My pen started moving and the emotions I had locked in my heart came pouring out. I filled two pages and could have kept going, but DiAnn wasn't finished yet. After several minutes, she told us to rewrite our opening scene and give those same emotions to our characters. It was an excruciating hour, but I learned that God never wastes circumstance. (Btw, I'll always be grateful to DiAnn for pulling those emotions out of me.)

A dear friend of mine speaks on a topic: No Wasted Steps In A God-Directed Journey. Our cancer journey taught me many things - the most important being to trust God when I had to take the next step in blind darkness. I also became acutely aware of the number of hurting people out there who desperately want to know that someone understands what they are going through. So I began writing Leave Me Never with my main character's raw emotions evident. My heroine, Tessa, learns to seek God in the worst of times and she discovers her worth isn't found in possessions or status. She explores the depth of God's love and realizes her value comes from who she is in Christ. I wanted to show that despite her grief and regardless of her circumstances, God would never leave her alone, nor would He expect her to walk where He hadn't already been.

Has God ever used adversity to teach you how deeply He loves or how worthy He is of your trust?

Monday, January 24, 2011

This week's featured title is:
Leave Me Never by Connie Stevens
HP 936

Does God keep His promises?

Mama always said He did, but Tessa 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. Wehere are God's promises now? Maybe Papa's right, and she really is worthless - so worhtless even God doesn't care about her.

When Gideon rescued a girl from beating by her own father in the middle of the street, he never expected to find love. His own problems are overwhelming 0 his business is failing and his dreams look more doubtful by the minute. But he can't get Tessa out of his mind.

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

Key Verse:

"Hide no Thy face far from me...Thou hast been my help; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation." Psalm 27: 9 KJV

Book Excerpt:

Gideon approached her with bunch of yellow daisesi and blue cornflowers. "Here." He shuffled his feet and handed her the flowers. "I thought you might like to put these on your mother's grave."

When she lifted her eyes to his face, the tenderness she saw there unsettled her. Other than Mama, she couldn't remember anyone ever defending her or extending kindness to her. She barely knew this man. Only his name. Gideon.

She accepted the wildflowers and mumbled a thank you. Bowing her head, she closed her eyes so she wouldn't have to watch the body of her mother lowered into the hole. Oh, how she longed to feel the comfort of Mama's arms and around her one more time.

She held the flowers to her face while the men filled in the grave. Then she sank to her knees and laid the flowers on the fresh mound. "Mama, " she whispered through her tears. "What am I going to do without you?"

Connie Stevens lives in north Georgia with her husband of over 35 years, John. She and John are active in a variety of capacities in their home church. One cantakerous kitty - misnamed Sweet Pea - allowed 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 Caner Teartment Center of American. Visit Connie's website and blog at

This week's featured book sounds like a tearjerker. What do you do in a situation where you lose someone who is close to you? What are some coping methods that you would use in this type of sitaution when you have no one to turn to?

Friday, January 21, 2011


Balloonsphoto © 2006 Crystal more info (via: Wylio)Congratulations Carrie Turanksy!!

You are this week's random drawing winner. Just email us at heartsong at gmail dot com and tell us if you want a copy of Mutiny of the Heart, Wild At Heart or ten Heartpoints to be put towards a future shipment of Heartsong books!

Thanks to everyone who commented this week. I hope everyone has a fun fun and relaxing weekend. For those who have gotten snow - safe driving!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

From the Vault -- Wild At Heart

Today's Book From the Vault is:
Wild At Heart by Vickie McDonough
HS 816

Mariah is a woman in a man's world.

Under the pen name Drew Dixon, Chicago native Mariah Lansing writes dime novels detailing hair-rising adventures of heroines in the Wild West. But then she receives a letter from a ranch in the Badlands of North Dakota who takes exception to her meticulous research. When Mariah finds her fiance in the arms of another woman, she accepts the rancher's invitation to visit and leaves Chicago behind.

Adam McFarland has a dream - to travel the West and document its people and beautiful landscape with his drawings. If only he weren't tied down to the family ranch in North Dakota. When dime novelist Drew Dixon makes repeated mistakes about his beloved West, he invites the author to visit his ranch. But the author who shows up isn't exactly who he was expecting.

Will Mariah and Adam reveal the secrets they are keeping? Or will they allow false perceptions to continue to hinder the plans God has for them?

Often times, readers/reviewers place judgement on who should be writing what in terms of book genre. For example some people feel that a romance novel should be written by a female author and not so much a male. Yet, there are numerous male authors who write or have written amazing romantic tales such as Nicholas Sparks and William Shakespeare. Or those who have written heart-felt stories such as Mitch Albom. With that being said, do you ever or have you ever based what you read off the gender of the author?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Day 2 with Vickie McDonough

fountain pen.JPGphoto © 2006 Cas more info (via: Wylio)

Developing Characters Using Archetypes - Part 2

Yesterday, I introduced the concept of using archetypes to create characters in a book and mentioned the book I use: The Complete Guide to Heroes and Heroines: Sixteen Master Archetypes.

Besides listing the strengths and weaknesses of each archetype, another aspect of Heroes and Heroines I love is that toward the end of the book it demonstrates how the different male and female archetypes clash and mesh. This is fabulous info for a writer! Let me show you how I use the archetype info to plot my hero and heroine in Finally a Bride, book 3 in Texas Boardinghouse Brides series, which release in April.

Noah Jeffers, my hero, is a man with a past who has met the Lord and is now a changed man. He's come to Lookout to serve as temporary pastor of the only church in town. As a child his family moved around and he never had a permanent home, especially after his mother and sister died. He was the belittled son of the town drunk, and he longs to earn the respect of the townsfolk and to find a place to belong.

Noah is a Lost Soul archetype. Here's a partial description of how Heroes and Heroines describes a Lost Soul:

A tormented man filled with angst and passion, he drifts through life with a heavy heart and wounded spirit (This was Noah before he became a Christian - and he still struggles with some issues). Mystery and solitude surround him. A man with a past who yearns for love and acceptance, but never seems to find it. He's dramatic, intriguing, and secretive. He loves fiercely and hates just as passionately. Remembers every kindness done to him, but never forgets a slight. He wants to see things right but is unwilling to risk being vulnerable in order to make that happen.

The Lost Soul is:

Devoted - to whatever he believes in. When he makes a commitment, he gives all. He is attentive and ardent in the pursuit of what he loves.

Vulnerable - easily hurt. Guards his heart because he knows it's his greatest weakness. Criticism and censure slash deep wounds.

Discerning - no secrets can be kept from him. He sees beneath the surface.

The Lost Soul hopes for the best but expect the worst. He's not a complainer. He dreams of marrying but isn't willing to stick his neck out. Hides his warm sensitive side behind a cloak of mystery. Beneath the ugly facade lies a hero with a heart of gold.

This pretty much sums up Noah. Things are different now because he is a Christian and his values have changed, but the wounds from his past remain and shape his attitudes, responses, and actions. He works hard to overcome them and achieves some success. As the pastor, he must be strong for his parishioners and relies on God to help him out, but he also longs for acceptance, true friendship, and love.

Contrast Noah with my heroine, Jack (aka Jacqueline Hamilton Davis). She also had an abusive father as a young girl, which shaded her childhood, but she has lived the past ten years with a godly step-father who loves her deeply, and she has a caring mother and several younger siblings. She has a loving home, but she longs for adventure, to see more than her small town, and to get a job in Dallas as a newspaper reporter. Jack's archetype is a Crusader.

The Crusader is:

Confident, tenacious, and headstrong against opposition. If she doesn't do it, it won't get done - or at least not done correctly. Self-assured. Organized. An achiever.

Courageous - risks everything for the mission. Brave in the facade of opposition. Resolved to win every encounter with a man.

Resolute - unyielding. A formidable foe.

Persuasive - if she needs help, she uses reason and emotion to gain supporters.

Her compassion is for those she champions, not those she tramples over to succeed in her mission.

Obstinate - not easily dissuaded from her task, even if she's wrong. Doesn't like errors in her reasoning pointed out.

Opinionated - has no trouble saying what she thinks - no matter how misguided her ideas. She can easily raise the hackles on other people.

Rash - she rushes in no matter the danger to her. Her reckless attitude might win the battle but it can lose the war.

Whatever happened in her past to shape her (for Jack, this was the abuse she faced as a child) she cannot let go of or forgive. She fought the battle because no one else would or at least wouldn't do it as good as she. She never gave nor accepted excuses. She believes her mission is a task given to her from God and no one can tell her different.

So you can see that putting such a headstrong, determined woman together with a man like Noah will create some juicy conflict. Toss in an immediate attraction on both sides and you have the makings of an interesting story. The last thing I want to show you is how Heroes and Heroines illustrates how the Lost Soul and the Crusader clash and mesh and how they change:

Clash: She is out to make a difference and will rope anyone she can to help. The Lost Soul is reluctant to join in. She thinks he is selfish and depressing. It's painful for him to watch her - he has seen it all before and knows how horrible it can be when person gives up. Her first instinct is to do something. His is to sit back and observe.

Mesh: Both need to control their environment. He has to withdraw from society in order to achieve his goal (Noah needs to get off where it's quiet and to think and pray). She is still fighting the good fight, trying to change the worlds for the better. (Jack's fight is to report the news, no matter what it takes or whose toes she must step on). They are both very quick to judge an can be unforgiving and uncompromising, but they admire what they call their decisiveness and they share an honorable stoicism.

They Change: He sees the big picture with this woman. She will not allow him to hide.. He may be a man of few words, bit those he chooses are often gold. She learns that not everything can be conquered and that it is better to choose her battles well.

Are you seeing how this all works? Once you understand your character's archetype, you'll know how they will respond in most situations. I could go on, but I hope you've caught a glimpse of how using archetypes can help you develop your characters. The key is knowing why your characters do what they do - what motivates them?

Obviously, no archetype will be an exact match to your character, but it is a tool you can use to flesh them out and make them come alive on the page.

Who is your favorite character and why?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Day 1: Guest Blogger Vickie McDonough

Writing!photo © 2009 Markus more info (via: Wylio)

Developing Characters Using Archetypes - Part 1

Writers are often asked how they create characters. My response is generally, "That's a tough question."

It's tough, because a character will start as a tiny idea, then grow, and develop as I spend more time thinking about him or her. They sometimes develop because of the plot. Let's say I need a lawman for the hero, so I'll make him a sheriff - this is probably a good time to mention I write mostly historicals. A sheriff is brave, tough, not afraid to put his life on the line, so it's safe to assume he's probably an Alpha male. Tall, strong, self-reliant, and protector of the innocent.

Can you imagine a Beta male as a marshal? Think accountant with a gun. It reminds me of that old Don Knotts's movie called the Shakiest Gun in the West. I'm not saying you can't have a Beta male as a marshal, but that would be a whole different type of story, probably about a man learning to conquer his fears so he can protect the people he cares about.

Some writers use character sheets with a long list of questions to develop their characters, some writers interview their characters, while others use tests like the Myers-Briggs or The Four Temperatures to figure out the personality of their characters. What I've found that works best for me is a book called The Complete Writers Guide to Heroes and Heroines: Sixteen Master Archetypes by Tami D. Cowden, Caro LaFever, and Sue Viders.

Author Tami Cowden states, "These archetypes are not the inventions of my coauthors and me - they have existed for millennia. All we did was name and describe them, and then gather examples from an assortment of cultural media."

Heroes and Heroines describes 8 male and 8 female archetypes.

The Chief
The Bad Boy
The Best Friend
The Charmer
The Lost Soul
The Professor
The Swashbuckler
The Warrior

The book gives a complete description of each archetype, including their strengths and weaknesses, which I've found extremely helpful in developing 3-D characters. The Warrior is an archetype I've used for several of my heroes, such as Lucas Reed, the hero in the latest Heartsong book, Mutiny of the Heart. Here's a brief description of the Warrior archetype:

The WARRIOR: a noble champion, he acts with honor. This man is the reluctant rescuer or the knight in shining armor. He's noble, tenacious, relentless, and he always sticks up for the underdog. If you need a protector, he's your guy. He doesn't buckle under the rules and he doesn't go along just to get along. Think Clint Eastwood in Dirty Harry, Russell Crowe in Gladiator, Mel Gibson in Braveheart.

You can see how this type of archetype would work well for a marshal, a determined rancher or a detective - or an ex-privateer, like Lucas reed.

The Boss
The Seductress
The Spunky Kid
The Waif
The Free Spirit
The Librarian
The Crusader
The Nurturer

An archetype I often use for a heroine is the Spunky Kid:

She's gutsy and true, she is loyal to the end. She is a favorite of many writers, and for good reason. You can't help but root for her. She's the girl with the moxie. She's not looking to be at the top of the heap; she just wants to be in her own little niche. She's the team player, the one who is always ready to lend a hand. Think Meg Ryan in Sleepless in Seattle, Melanie Griffith in Working Girl, Mary Tyler Moore in The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Whoopi Goldberg in Sister Act, and Fiona in Shrek.

So, after I've thought about my storyline and obstacles and events my characters will be facing during the journey, their character beings to take shape. I begin to see what kind of person they will be, and I determine which archetype they are. Knowing the archetype, gives me a skeleton for my characters, and helps me to know how they'd react to different situations, to know what they value, and how they view themselves and others. It's a great starting point for creating 3-D characters.

Tomorrow, I'll tell you more about using archetypes to create characters.

For you writers, do you have a favorite book or have a system to create characters?

For your readers, what do you like to see in a hero or heroine?

Monday, January 17, 2011

This week's featured title is:
Mutiny of the Heart by Vickie McDonough
HP 935

Heather has no reason to like Lucas Reed.

Lucas Reed deserted Deborah, Heather Hawthorne's unwed cousin, when Deborah become pregnant with his child. He is an American whose fight for liberty from England ruined her family's wealth and led to her father's death. But Deborah's dying wish is that Heather take little Jamie to his father in Charleston.

Ever since his one true love, Deborah, mysteriously disappeared, Lucas has avoided romantic entanglements. But that was before Heather appeared with Jamie - and a letter from Deborah revealing that Lucas's pirate brother, Marcus, had kidnapped her and fathered Jamie. Acceding to Deborah's desire to protect Jaime from being maligned as a pirate's child, Lucas claims him as his son.

As they work together to build a new life for Jamie, can Heather and Lucas resist their growing attraction, or will mutinous hearts finally admit their love when an enemy's desperate plot threatens their very lives?

Key Verse:

A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. Proverbs 17:17

Book Excerpt:

"Ah, there you are." Lucas Reed walked toward her, tall and straight.

Heather's mouth went dry at the fine figure he cut in his loose linen shirt, gold waistcoat, and breeches tucked into the tops of his boots. His long, black hair was neatly tied back, emphasizing his strong jawline. No wonder Deborah fell for him. Heather straightened her spine as well as her resolve. Deborah had been a much younger woman susceptible to the fantasies of youth when she'd given herself to Lucas Reed, but Heather would not make the same error. Above all, she wanted a man who served God, not a blackguard who'd steal a young woman's virtue and leave her to raise their child alone.

Mr. Reed stared at her for a moment, and she couldn't help squirming. She lifted a hand to tuck a wayward strand of hair behind her ear. What did he see when he looked at her? Was he appalled by her simple garment? If not for him and his kind, she'd still be back in England, enjoying her family's wealth and the privileges that came with it. She might even be married by now and have her own child.

Vickie McDonough believes that God is the ultimate designer of romance. She is a wife of thirty years, mother to four sons and doting grandma. When not writing, she enjoys reading, watching movies and traveling.

Visit Vickie's website at

This may be off topic, but while posting today's blog all I could think of is how interesting it would be to hear a true story of a person's journey to be with the one they love. For example:

When my great-grandmother (Julia) was a young woman arranged marriages were still common. Before living in Ohio, my great-grandmother lived near Florence, Italy. She was madly in love with a young gentleman who was not the wealthiest man, but she didn't care. Before marrying Julia, the young man wanted to save money so he could provide for her and maybe a family someday. Around this time Julia's family was moving to America. The man didn't go with her, instead he told her to go and that when he saved enough money to provide for her he would come find her. Well, time passed and my great-grandma was put into an arranged marriage with a man named Natale. Julia was torn because she was still in love with this man who still lived in Florence, but yet she knew it was best she wed Natale. In a way she did love Natale, but there was still that ache for the other man. My great-grandma ended up marrying Natale (my great-grandpa :)). So what happened to the man she left behind in Florence?? Well, it turned out that he saved enough money to provide for my great-grandma and he wrote letters to her explaining this and that he was going to come and get her. My great-grandmother never got those letters because her mother intercepted them. Her mother felt Natale was a better choice.

So, it may have not been a happy ending for my great-grandma Julia and the man she left behind, but it was still a happy one for my great-grandma Julia because in the end she received a beautiful family.

Sorry for the long story and beating around the bush with the question, but do you have an enchanting real-life tale of true love?

Friday, January 14, 2011

This Week's Winner!

APPLAUSEphoto © 2009 Princess Theater more info (via: Wylio)Congratluations Lisa K!

You are the winner of this week's random drawing! Just email us at heartsongblog at gmail dot com and tell us if you want a copy of Lily of the Field, A Hero for Her Heart or ten Heartpoints to be put towards a future shipment of Heartsong books!

Thanks to everyone who has commented on this week's blog posts and a special thanks to Rose Ross Zediker for being this week's guest blogger! Have a happy weekend!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

From the Vault -- A Hero for Her Heart

Today's Boom From the Vault is:
A Hero for Her Heart by Candice Miller Speare and Nancy Toback
HS 885

Allie just wants the truth.

When Allie's brother and sister-in-law die in a car accident, Allie is left with the care of their adopted son, Danny - and enormous debt. Now she's forced to sell part of the farm to make ends meet. Still reeling from her broken engagement, Allie has no interest in men - especially those who lie.

Derrick is on a mission. His dying sister's last wish is to know her son is happy with his adopted family, so Derrick hides behind his job as Realtor to investigate Allie and Danny. But soon his reconnaissance mission turns into much more when his feelings grow for Allie and the nephew he's never known.

Will Derrick's half-truths spin a destructive end? Or can Allie and Derrick overcome a web of deceit to finally see the truth and admit their love?

Seems like Allie has had a lot thrown at her in life. What if you were Allie? How would you handle being in Allie's situation with taking in a child and trying to make ends meet? Also, would you give Derrick a second chance after you found out he was lying about some pretty major things?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Another Day With Rose Ross Zediker!


Remember that catchy tune from the late 1980s, Don't Worry Be Happy? What a spot on sentiment to remind us that this is the way God wants us to live.

Yet...sometimes it seems like we live in alarmist times. The stock market dips and threatens our economy. Storms ravish across our country leaving destruction in their wake. Life threatening viruses cross the county. Those are just a few of the bis issues that can cause anxiety. Smaller angst triggers may be safe childcare, loss of a job or how others perceive you.

Carolyn, the heroine in Lily of the Field is a worrier. She worries about everything, big and small. Her fears fuel her worry and makes her second guess every decision. Of course, like in real life, none of the things Carolyn worries about become reality and worrying about her problems, certainly doesn't make them go away. With a gentle reminder from God, Carolyn finally learns to trust God and let go of her fears and anxieties.

If only in real life it could be that easy! Sometimes it seems hard to get through one day without some kind of worry niggling your mind or heart. When that happens, make it a practice to give God your burdens and trust him to resolve all your issues. Philippians 4:6-7 tells us: "Don't fret or worry. Instead of working, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God's wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It's wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life."

Worrying won't change the outcome of any situation, but prayer will! When your fears and concerns overwhelm you get in the habit of following the instructions in the Philippians verse, in no time you'll be a living sentiment of the song... Don't worry. Be happy now!

Everyone worries about something every now and then and everyone has a method of calming themselves down in those situations. What are some methods you use to calm yourself down in a worrisome situation?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Day 1: Guest Blogger Rose Ross Zediker

Writing What I Knew

My great-grandmother was a quilter. My grandmother was a quilter. My mother was a quilter. I have aunts and cousins that quilt. I too quilt, but not with the passion of those came before me! I KNOW about quilting yet for some reason I ignored that age old writer's saga "write what you know".

I can't tell you how many secular novels with quilt themes I gave my mother for gifts. I watched her open the latest mystery quilt themed books as gifts from my sister and still it didn't hit me that romance readers would enjoy a quilt themed book.

As I struggled to come up with a new book idea, I was watching a public television program that focuses on unique people/occupations in Texas. They were covering a woman who repaired quilts for a living. That was my light bulb moment. I thought what a great occupation for a heroine in a romance novel.

I ran the idea by my mom, who of course thought it was the best idea ever because I was her daughter, she'd repaired quilts for others and was very passionate about quilting. She promptly started pulling out quilt books to show me quilt block pattern ideas to use. That's when I discovered the many quilt blocks named for Bible verses.

It didn't take long for me to develop story ideas based on three of the Bible verse named quilt blocks. As I worked on Lily of the Field, I shook my head at the realization that God places me in a family who loved quilts, which gave me inside knowledge about the art of quilting and several real life situations I could use in the details of my manuscript. My mother did repair a couple of heirloom quilts that brought tears to the owner's eyes when they saw the end result. My friend made a t-shirt quilt for her son. I made two baby quilts while waiting for my granddaughter to arrive. This is a picture of a quilt my mom appliqued by hand, The Fisher Boy. It's the quilt pattern that my heroine, Caroline finishes for a customer in the book.

When this manuscript was accepted for publication, I again, marveled at the fact I'd almost missed writing about quilting. Who knew I could make something so commonplace to me an interesting "thread" in a a story? God! Because I am His child and He's taking care of me along with the other lilies in His field.

Do you have a family hobby that would make an interesting theme for a novel?

Monday, January 10, 2011

This week's featured title is:
Lily of the Field
By Rose Ross Zediker
HP 934

Caroline is a worrier...

She can't help it. Her husband died and left her with little money and less survival skills. Her son thinks the choices she's made since then prove her foolish. And every time an opportunity starts to look good, something else makes her second guess her involvement and back off. Why wouldn't she worry? She can't depend on anyone else to help her out.

Rodney has always thought life was pretty good - at least until a heart attack laid him out flat. Retired now from his hectic executive lifestyle, he begins to realize he wasn't much more than a workaholic. Family relationships are strained; he has no friends to speak of, certainly no wife or family of his own.

Marriage isn't on either of their minds, but their minds are not God's, and He is busy taking care of the lilies of the field - and His children.

Key Verse:

Matthew 6:28 - 30 NLT

Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don't wake or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you.

Book Excerpt:

""My Lady'?"

Rodney chuckled. "Well, according to Mildred, you are the Queen of Quilting." Rodney straightened to his full height.

The title catching her off guard, she stammered, "I don't know about that..."

"Your repair work was a blessing to Mildred. She gave a piece of his mother's love to her grandson and Proverbs tell us 'She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple,' so I think it's okay to call you a queen.

Proverbs 31. She'd read that scripture many times in church on Mother's Day. "Okay, but I hope I live up to her and your expectations."

"I'm sure you can." Rodney affirmed his statement with a firm nod of his head, then sipped his tea.

A lump formed in Caroline's throat. No one had ever displayed that type of confidence in any work she'd done, not her parents, Ted, or Jason.

Rose Ross Zediker lives in rural Elk Point, SD with her husband of twenty-eight years. Their grown son has started a family of his own. Rose works full-time for an investment firm and writes during the evening or weekends. Some of her pastimes include reading, sewing, embroidery, quilting and spoiling her granddaughter.

Besides inspirational romance novels, Rose has many publishing credits in the Christian children's genre. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers. Visit Rose on the web at

It's funny how things end up working out for people in the end. Have you ever been in a situation where at first nothing seemed to be going right, yet in the end it all seemed to come together?

Friday, January 7, 2011


Celebratephoto © 2008 Matt Reinbold | more info (via: Wylio)
Congratulations Merry!

You are the winner of this week's random drawing! Just email us at heartsongblog at gmail dot com and tell us if you want a copy of Praying for Rayne, Disarming Andi or ten Heartpoints to be put toward a future shipment of Heartsong Books!

I hope everyone enjoyed this week's guest blogger, Elizabeth Goddard. Have a safe and relaxing weekend!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

From the Vault -- Disarming Andi

Today's Book From the Vault is:
Disarming Andi by Elizabeth Goddard
HS 893

Vance never expected this.

Vance Young inherits a missile launch site - a relic from the cold war buried beneath the plains of North Dakota - from his great-uncle, a man he never knew. An astronomy fanatic, Vance needs free access to the night skies, so he doesn't consider staying in the underground dwelling until he meets Andi Nielsen, the woman responsible for remodeling it into a lavish home.

Upon meeting Vance, Andi may have gotten her second chance to discover what her grandfather hid inside the old missile base decades before when he served as a missileer. Is she prepared to detonate her growing feelings for the new owner in order to find the hidden treasure? And when Vance remotely discovers a cybercrime involving his classified software, can he solve the crime and keep the woman he loves safe?

Have you ever inherited something fascinating with a historical background?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A Second Dose of Elizabeth Goddard!

Future tensephoto © 2009 Kevin Dooley more info (via: Wylio)I love the Christmas season, and one of my favorite things in life is decorating for the holidays. For at least two decades, I've been building my collection of ornaments and all things Christmas. I had both a "designer" tree and one for the kids to decorate however they pleased. That is, until this year.

Last January, my husband traveled to Oregon where he packed everything we owned into boxes and then a moving van, and drove our belongings through the rain and snow of California, Arizona, New Mexico, and then across the big state of Texas to our home near Tyler, Texas. Packing and moving was a huge undertaking for someone to do alone. I can't remember ever being so glad to see him than when he stood in the doorway of his mother's home where I waited. He must be a super hero to have accomplished so much in just over a week.

That's why I couldn't be too upset with him when the time came to pull out my Christmas decorations and I discovered they never made it from Oregon. Yes, I was very upset, but how could I be mad at my husband? I allowed myself a few tears for all those things collected, but after all, they were just things and people are suffering in this world.

My daughter and I hit Michael's for their fifty percent off sale, and I bought all new Christmas stuff. After looking at the new color scheme of my tree, I decided that maybe God was just trying to tell me this is a new season of my life - to let go of the old and embrace the new. I love how He does that - uses everything to speak into our lives.

That's exactly where the story started for Jack in Praying for Rayne. A man with a broken heart, he's moved across the country to start a new job and what he hopes will be a new life. But he doesn't know the adventure he's about to embark on, or how God will lead him back.

Is it time for you to let go of the old and embrace the new?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Guest Blogger Elizabeth Goddard!

Believe in the Beauty of Your Dreamsphoto © 2010 SEO more info (via: Wylio)
This is week is the first week of 2011, the first week of the new year. The perfect time for reflection. The perfect time to consider the future and to map out goals. In a way, starting a new year is almost like starting a fresh and, if you're like me, that's a reason to have hope, to be excited about what the future holds. That's just where my character Rayne starts her story in Praying for Rayne - It's New Year's Day, and she says goodbye to her parents after the holidays, then heads back to work where she's counting on a new promotion.

To Rayne, the promotion is important because it proves everything to all the doubters around her who don't believe in her dreams. Instead the doubters keep insisting that she's made a big mistake by following the path she's laid out for herself. Rayne has a special gift and using that gift is her dream. The interesting thing about dreams is that it takes work to accomplish them - it takes setting goals and to get there, and sometimes as Rayne finds out, there are more obstacles than doubters.

This new year, if you have a dream, there's never a better time to work toward making your dream come true than now. So pull out your journal or sheet of paper and pen/pencil and - after praying first - write down those things you hope to accomplish and remember faith without works is dead - put a little faith into what you're writing down, and believe in the dreams God has given you.

What dreams do you want to accomplish this new year?

Monday, January 3, 2011

Praying for Rayne by Elizabeth Goddard

This week's featured title is:
Praying for Rayne by Elizabeth Goddard
HP 933

Water speaks to Rayne like nothing else...

Which is why Rayne cannot simply stay on the farm and marry Paul like everyone expects. Her job designing and choreographing magnificent fountains is a dream come true - so why does it seem that no one who says they love her can understand her need to create and express the beauty she sees?

When Jack comes to FountainTech to manage its team of creative designers, he is amazed at the high level of talent he finds there. Expecting to challenge his team, he soon finds his own ideas being challenged, too - professionally and personally.

When charges of corporate espionage and theft arise, will the blossoming love between Rayne and Jack survive, or will it shrivel and die like fruit left on a vine?

Key Verse:

How great is God -- beyond our understanding! The number of his years is past finding out. He draws up the drops of water, which distill as rain to the streams; the clouds pour down their moisture and abundant showers fall on mankind. Job 36: 26-28

Book Excerpt:

"According to your file, you were the chief designer of this water feature. It's amazing."

Though her mouth remained neutral, the smile behind her eyes told him she was pleased at this compliment. "We work as a team around here. I can;t take all the credit"

"You're right. But although teamwork is important, there has to be a creative lead. You're it."

When she didn't respond but instead turned her attention to clicking keys on the computer, shutting down the driving software, he chuckled and looked down at the floor, feeling heat in his neck. He wanted to give credit where credit was due, encouraged an employee who needed it, but this felt more like.


He was not flirting.

Elizabeth Goddard is a seventh generation Texans who recently spent five years in beautiful Southern Oregon, which serves as the setting for some of her novels. She is now back in East Texas, living near her family. When she is not writing, she is busy homeschooling her four children. Beth is the author of several novels and novellas. She is actively involved in several writing organizations including American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and loves to mentor new writers.

Find out more about Beth at

Have you ever found yourself in a situation that challenged your professionally and personally? If so, how did you react?