Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Favorite Things from Favorite Authors: Vannetta Chapman

ONE of my favorite things is the piano. I've been playing since I was young, as you can see from this picture. I've always had a piano in my home, except for a brief time when I was finishing my college degree and living in campus housing--then I used the practice pianos reserved for the music majors. I was NOT a music major. I like to think piano balances my brain. It feels like it does, though some would argue whether that's even possible!

A Promise for Miriam, the first book in a brand-new romantic series from popular author Vannetta Chapman, introduces the Amish community of Pebble Creek and some of the kind, caring people there. As they face challenges to their community from the English world, they come together to reach out to their non-Amish neighbors while still preserving their cherished Plain ways. 

Amish schoolteacher Miriam King loves her students. At 26, most women her age are married with children of their own, but she hasn’t yet met anyone who can convince her to give up the Plain school that sits along the banks of Pebble Creek. Then newcomer Gabriel Yoder steps into her life, bringing his daughter, an air of mystery, and challenges Miriam has never faced before. 

Will Gabe be able to let go of the past that haunts him? He thinks he just wants to be left alone, but the loving and warm community he and his daughter have moved to has other plans for him. After a near tragedy is averted, he hesitantly returns offers of help and friendship, and he discovers he can make a difference to the people of Pebble Creek—and maybe find love again.

Vannetta Chapman writes inspirational fiction full of grace. She has published over one hundred articles in Christian family magazines, receiving more than two dozen awards from Romance Writers of America chapter groups. She discovered her love for the Amish while researching her grandfather’s birthplace of Albion, Pennsylvania. Her first novel, A Simple Amish Christmas, quickly became a bestseller. She now writes Amish fiction for Abingdon Press, Zondervan, and Harvest House. Chapman lives in the Texas hill country with her husband.

For more information, visit her at

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Favorite Things from Favorite Authors: Lisa Harris

It's probably a good thing that I'm not big on shopping considering that the nearest mall is about seven hours away from our house. But living in a tropical country with year round sun, I have come to enjoy one fun fashion accessory--flip flops. When I was back in the US earlier this year, I came across these cute flip flops and had to buy them. And for some crazy reason, these flip flops make me smile every time I wear them. 

LISA HARRIS is a Christy Award finalist and the winner of the Best Inspirational Suspense Novel for 2011 from Romantic Times. She has over twenty novels and novella collections in print. She and her family have spent over eight years living as missionaries in Africa where she homeschools, leads a women’s group, and runs a non-profit organization that works alongside their church-planting ministry. The ECHO Project works in southern Africa promoting Education, Compassion, Health, and Opportunity and is a way for her to “speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves…the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice.” (Proverbs 31:8)
When she’s not working she loves hanging out with her family, cooking different ethnic dishes, photography, and heading into the African bush on safari.  For more information about her books and life in Africa visit her website at or her blog at For more information about The ECHO Project, please visit


Have a wonderful Fourth of July!


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

June 27/PM/Mystery Clue

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Favorite Things from Favorite Authors: Kellie Coates Gilbert

This is AVA, my 2.7 pound Yorkie. After years in a household of men (my husband and I raised two boys), I'd had about as much masculine as I could take. I needed a tiny girl. I needed to be able to comb her hair and place pink bows and cuddle.

PRINCESS AVA SWEETPEA (her nickname) often sits cuddled in my lap while I'm writing. Makes me stretch my arms a bit to reach the keyboard, but worth the effort.

Wouldn't you agree?

Barrie Graeber has two great kids, a loving husband, and a respected job as a high school counselor in her close-knit community. Without warning, everything unravels when her teenage daughter, Pearl, is betrayed by friends and lashes out.

Nothing prepares this mother for the helplessness that follows when her attempts to steer her daughter back on course fail and Pearl shuts her out . . . or when she discovers the unthinkable about her nemesis, the football coach.

Emotionally riveting and profoundly moving, MOTHER OF PEARL brings us into the heart of a mother bound by an incredible burden, who ultimately finds she must recognize her own vulnerability and learn to trust in something much bigger.

Image of Kellie Coates GilbertA former legal investigator and trial paralegal, KELLIE COATES GILBERT writes with a sympathetic, intimate knowledge of how people react under pressure. She writes about messy lives…and eternal hope.

Monday, June 25, 2012

In the Line of Duty

File:FBI Badge & gun.jpg
 Public domain
On May 14th, 2012, the FBI released “preliminary statistics for law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty for 2011.”*  According to the stats,  “72 of our nation’s law enforcement officers were feloniously killed."  The numbers are broken down by region, type of weapon, ambush or conducting an investigation, etc.

Law enforcement officers are heroes--willing to risk their lives for the greater good. For people they love and people they don’t. For their country. 

Despite rigorous planning and significant safety precautions, sometimes the unthinkable happens. As an author, I want to write stories that honor heroes and bring to light what these men and women face every day. And when the unthinkable occurs, what happens to the people they leave behind?

In A Love Remembered, Special Agent Jonas Love was in charge when a member of his team was killed. All he ever wanted was to do something right with his life. Be a hero. 

Not only are lives on the line, but hearts are on the line as well.   

Oregon Outback

Four rough and tumble brothers find themselves in the midst of big trouble in life and love. FBI agent Jonas Love struggles to keep a promise to protect his old flame, Darcy Nichols. Rancher Carver Love finds it hard to focus on rustlers with female sheriff Sheridan Hall so near. The fearless Lucas Love suddenly finds courage waning when it comes to beautiful bookkeeper Avery Summers. Justin Love tracks down a fugitive a little too close to home—and lodge-keeper Darrow Kincaid. Will these brothers find a way to keep their loves safe?

Available in bookstores on July 1.

Pre-order your copy today.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Favorite Things from Favorite Authors: Trish Perry


For as long as I can remember, my father has been totally floored by how cute babies and toddlers are. His remark upon seeing a child behaving adorably was always the same: “God love him!” But the way he said it was accented with a laugh and such emphasis that it sounded more like “Gyod love ‘im!”
 I have become my father. I mean, in this respect, I am now predictable. My own kids—young adults at this point—get a kick out of how passionately I react to little kids. Maybe it’s a grandparent gene that lies dormant until a certain age. But I can’t just walk by a delightful kid. I have to stop and absorb the delightfulness. I have to point out the cuteness to anyone willing to humor me. My son laughs at me while I watch the chubby toddler across the street playing hockey with a stick twice his height. How can people take things like that for granted? Little kids, on the whole, are one of my favorite “things.”

So it was with pleasure that I accepted the offer to write Labor of Love for the novella collection, The Midwife’s Legacy. Yes, the story is more about adults than it is about children. But the plot definitely leans upon the blessings children bring to our lives. Kendra Silverstone, my heroine, has no children of her own yet. But her entire career is centered on helping others add to their families in as gentle and healthy a way possible. When an aggressive adversary thwarts her efforts, she perseveres with babies in mind.
Personally, I was never very good at giving birth, and I probably wouldn’t have done very well with a midwife unless she was willing to provide anesthesia of some kind. But only salvation has brought more joy to my life than the two kids and two grandkids God has given me so far. And I think I see a bit of my own babies in all of the children I see around me. 

I may not say it out loud, but I certainly hear it in my head. “God love ‘em!”

book cover: midwifeAbout the collection: Four brave women fight against the outside elements, the odds, and those who oppose them as they help to bring new life into the world and also find new love. In this generational, which starts in the Midwest and leads to the Willamette Valley of Oregon, a journal with messages of faith and encouragement in the calling of midwifery is a key factor, written in the mid 1800s by the first midwife of the family, Adele, and added to through the early years, as her descendants also remark on what has helped them. As each story unfolds, the journal provides encouragement to help these women as they embark on their own adventures as midwives, each nugget of wise counsel and Godly wisdom aiding them with what they are going through in their personal lives.

About Labor of Love: Kendra Silverstone has been certain of her calling to be a midwife as long as she can remember. Whether aiding in childbirth at the Willamette Valley Hospital Center or in the privacy of a family home, she feels God's loving hand in her work. But when a local doctor campaigns aggressively against midwifery at the same time one of Kendra's mothers experiences the loss of her newborn, she finds her confidence shaken. She starts to reconsider her life's work and question her reading of God's guidance. Her blossoming romance with carpenter Steven Nichols provides a bright light in her circumstances, not only because of his supportive, nurturing love, but because of the journal he finds while repairing and refinishing an antique desk passed down to Kendra through the years. Will the guidance and blessings provided through her ancestors' words be enough to convince Kendra of God's will for her life?
My fellow authors in this exciting collection are Jane Kirkpatrick, Rhonda Gibson, and Pamela Griffin. 

For more about Trish Perry, visit her website:


Monday, June 18, 2012

Themes in the Outback

10 Best Pixar Characters: Pixar Anglepoise Lamp
Pixar's Anglepoise Lamp. Public Domain

Have you read the Pixar Story Rules (one version) yet?

Rule #3 resonates with me. “Trying for theme is important, but you won’t see what the story is actually about til you’re at the end of it. Now rewrite.”

This is so true.

A lot of writers start with theme, and in Christian fiction that theme probably includes a scripture. Theme and scripture can keep a writer on track while getting the story on paper. There’s nothing wrong with doing things this way if it works for you. But I’ve discovered that most of the time I don’t know what my characters’ issues are deep down, or what drives the story and theme, until I’m all done. In his book, On Writing, Stephen King says that stories are like fossils and it’s a writer’s job to unearth them. I’m paraphrasing here, of course. Sounds like he just starts writing and sees where the story will take him.

While I usually plot my story out before I start writing, much of the plot can change as I allow the characters room to live and breathe. To come alive on paper. This is especially true in each of the four novellas in Oregon Outback.
In A Love Remembered, I never knew that Darcy would find the answer to a deep spiritual truth while stuck in the cold, stone places of her greatest fear, or that Jonas would have to give up what he wanted the most.  

In A Love Kindled, what happens when a crotchety cowboy and a soft-hearted sheriff who wants to be tough come together? They can’t get along. That’s what. But God can use the shady dealings of cattle rustlers to bring people together by shining the light on who they really are deep down. Sometimes people need a chance to look inside and see beyond the cracks. A chance to get to know each other. I needed a chance to get to know this story before I saw that as part of the theme.

While writing A Love Risked, I learned that Lucas Love anchors his life on 2 Timothy 1:7: For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. I discovered there’s still one thing he’s afraid of. That will reveal itself soon enough when you read it.

In A Love Recovered, Justin Love is a bounty hunter and he’s running from his past, but God has things under control when He sends Justin back to Oregon to face his fears, and the three brothers that he hasn't seen in a long while.

All of the above I learned while writing or when I finished writing that first draft. Then I went back to strengthen the themes and hopefully make them resonate. I hope the Love brothers’ stories speak to you and maybe connect with what’s going on in your life some way.

I didn’t put up my devotional post last Friday because I ended up attending an awesome church camp, so I didn’t get a chance. Maybe today’s post can serve as a two-for-one—a little bit of devotion along with my post about themes in the outback.
The idea that you don't know what the story is really about until you're at the end can be applied to life, too. How often do you look back on specific events in your life and think, “Wow, that’s what that was all about!”  Looking back you have more clarity about what God was doing or how He worked things together for your good.

I know I've done this on numerous occasions. I can’t help but believe that’s how it will be at the end of my life, as well. I can look back and see how God has woven in a strong theme throughout my life, and I pray that my life’s theme will shine with God’s glory and handiwork.

On a much less spiritual side note: Oregon Outback releases on JULY 1st,  which is right around the corner. Pre-order your copy today at your local Christian bookstore or your favorite online shopping. You can click on the book in the sidebar of this blog to take you there.


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Favorite Things from Favorite Authors: Lynne Gentry

Lynne Gentry shares her favorite thing:

Being there to celebrate every milestone in my children’s lives.

NoF matter how many books I publish, I consider raising two good kids as my greatest accomplishment. I love being a mom and I’m discovering that the job doesn’t end after they leave home. Providing that stable, safe place that they can always come home to is one of my greatest joys.

Lynne's website:

Lynne's latest release: Reinventing Leona

Reinventing Leona 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Gerard Butler on Hart Mountain?

Some authors browse the web or magazines to gather images of the characters for their novels. Pictures of movies stars like Matthew McConaughey or Gerard Butler  cover their storyboard and help them to describe their hero or perhaps a villain. Me? I search for images of beautiful and adventurous landscapes.The below images are what I had in mind as I wrote each of the four novellas for Oregon Outback, though perhaps they stayed in the background or the distance. I don't want to give too much away.

Each of my four novellas is set in a different part of Oregon's high desert with its own unique geography. Some things I’ve highlighted are real and others are fiction. That’s the fun about writing novels—you can mix and match the real world with your fictional setting.(Another post to come on that.)

Crack in the Ground. Public Domain.
A Love Remembered: Crack in the Ground is a two mile long volcanic fissure near Four Craters Lava Field in the Deschutes National Forest. The crack plays a significant role in the story.Tourists can explore this fissure, which isn't all that old. Scientist say the ground shifted creating this crack only a thousand years ago. For my characters, it affects their past and future.

Hart Mountain. Public Domain.
A Love Kindled: Warner Valley and Hart Mountain serve as a background. Much of the rough terrain my characters travel aren't pictured here, and while it's not what I typically do, I can certainly picture Gerard Butler playing the role of my cattle rancher chasing after rustlers in this story. Who would have thought we'd still have cattle rustlers in this day and age?

Christmas Valley Sand Dunes. Public Domain.
A Love Risked: The Christmas Valley Sand Dunes cover over a 11,000 acres. For my story, I've created a fictional county and fictional towns, but the dunes are real, and great fun for recreational ATV use during the summer months. They're the perfect setting for my adrenaline junkie character, Lucas Love. Between all four heroes in my novellas, I can't decide which one I love best. My critique partners and editor have their favorites, but it's still a tough call. I can't wait to hear what you think!