Book Release-UNTRACEABLE by Elizabeth Goddard

Hi Friends!

Today is release day for UNTRACEABLE, book 2 in my Mountain Cove series for Love Inspired Suspense. UNTRACEABLE is the story of survival under extreme pressure, and the resulting spiritual battle when we wonder where God is during the struggle.

While UNTRACEABLE can be read as a stand alone novel, I hope you’ll start the series with BURIED and meet the characters there first to get the most powerful emotional experience.

NO WAY OUntraceable CoverUT

On a daring mission, search-and-rescue specialist Heidi Warren and her team step onto an icy Alaskan mountaintop. . .and right into a trap. A stranded gang of thieves holds them at gunpoint, forcing them to serve as guides along the treacherous path. Menaced on all sides by dangerous weather, deadly terrain and murderous criminals, Heidi desperately needs someone to trust. But her rescue partner, Isaiah Callahan, is keeping secrets from her. Secrets that ended their chance at a relationship before it could even begin. Yet her survival depends on finding a way to trust Isaiah when a blizzard starts closing in and her options start running out.

Mountain Cove: In the Alaskan wilderness, love and danger collide.

Order you copy today at:

AMAZON!

HARLEQUIN

Or Visit my website for more purchasing options: ElizabethGoddard.com

Many blessings!

Elizabeth Goddard

Marriage, Romance and Unconditional Love

WeddingDayYesterday, I celebrated twenty-six years of marriage to my wonderful handsome, husband from Montana, me being a Texas girl and all. I posted lots of pictures on my Facebook page and had some fun sharing with friends and family there. I also asked the question—twenty-six years ago, who would have guessed I’d be writing romance?
Some commented that at least I have inspiration—my marriage.
That started me thinking about the romance genre. In general, my romances happen quickly because I write in the romantic suspense sub-genre. So either the characters have known each other in the past or they are just meeting each other when the story begins. From there, the action and story world draw them in and compel them forward to run for their lives or solve a mystery together. They must rely on one another and trust one another like they have never trusted anyone else in their lives—and for their lives. The crucible, if you will, forces them together under pressure and no matter how hard they fight it, they fall in love, or at least admit they know there is a connection and they each want to explore a future together. Now that general formula can happen in many different ways, and I’m only generalizing my stories here as I’ve written them for Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense line.
Some readers prefer a long, drawn out romance that happens over a period of months, and that seems more realistic to them because that’s how it happened for them personally. But there are those of us who fell in love quickly and married quickly. My husband and I had only known each other a couple of months, then dated for five weeks before he proposed. From that point we planned the wedding that took place three months later. That’s pretty fast. So for me, whether a romance happens quickly or grows slowly over time, I’m all in.
But here’s another thought. How much more romantic is a marriage of decades where two people have grown together and they know all the good, the bad and the ugly about each other, and they still love each other? In fact, they love each other more. From experience I can tell you there is no deeper lover, no more romantic love, than a lasting, unconditional love.

goddard-LR-2 (2)Elizabeth Goddard is the bestselling, award-winning author of more than a twenty romance novels and counting. A 7th generation Texan, Elizabeth graduated with a B.S. degree in computer science and worked in high-level software sales for several years before retiring to home school her children and fulfill her dreams of becoming an author. To find out more or sign up for her newsletter, visit her website at ElizabethGoddard.com.

Join the Mountain Cove adventure, get BURIED (book 1) in an avalanche of romantic suspense. BURIED cover

When Moms Have a Winter Meltdown by Julie Arduini

Yesterday on Facebook I shared my random thoughts about what it’s like to be a mom in the northeast with multiple days off of school thanks to the weather.

My own experience is honestly not that bad. I write from home so I make my own schedule. Although I’m staying up later to write and enjoy my own television shows, I often do that as I love to soak in the quiet. My kids are older and we’re kind of a quiet family, so for the most part it’s just ranting over the disruption to routine. My precious routine.mom pulling hair out photo: mom pulling out hair veryangry.jpgimage courtesy photobucket

For those who live near palm trees, snow days and the subsequent cabin fever might be hard to understand.

If you follow moms on social media who live in a snowbelt, here’s why they might be going a little crazy this winter.

We are on cold day off from school #4 in a row, 10 or more total this year.

For those that don’t live with snow/cold and wonder why mom status updates from that region are getting angry, we need routine, and that’s a basic complaint. I have it easy and I get it. I make my own schedule and rely on few for the running of my household.

Imagine the moms who work outside the home and have young children. They need to make arrangements. They might be paying for childcare they didn‘t plan for in an economy where every penny counts. When the kids are home, they are bored. The bickering most likely escalates between siblings and when bored, they believe they’re hungry. Turn your back for a minute and suddenly a week’s worth of groceries is on a kid’s plate. Just because. There goes the budget. This I know from experience. I busted one of mine for having an obscene amount of junk on their plate purely out of boredom when they thought I wasn’t looking.

As an adult, and a woman, we need meaningful conversation. To be nurtured. Cleaning up extra spills, and if you have pets, their extra crap because they literally can’t perform outside because of the cold, is not nurturing. Before long, after 10+ snow days, four in a row, mind you, the moms get a glazed look in their eye when those cheap airfare commercials to Florida come on. They get through the sticky stuff on the counter by imagining their suitcase packed and their trip for one a done deal.

Here’s the thing, we’ll get that routine back and peace will be restored to the kingdom. While the darlings are at school, we’ll miss them and almost forget the winter drama.

Almost.·

Do you know a mom experiencing a winter like this? Ours is a bit harsher as far as days off because we don’t have delays. It’s all or nothing, and lately, it’s been nothing. It’s thrown everyone off to the point where my youngest isn’t even setting her alarm. Basically her attitude is, “Wake me when there is school.” Most nights before she goes to bed she already knows there isn’t going to be.

If you know someone with young children having a tough winter, you’d be surprised at how little the moms need to be encouraged and refreshed.

Here are things you can do to take the chill off their relentless winter:

  • Get mom out of the house and listen to them. They are craving adult conversation and someone actively listening.
  • Get their kids out of the house and let them release that energy. The kids are bored. Take them to a play place, whether a Kid museum or a fast food play area. It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. If the temps aren’t crazy cold, take them outside and build a fort or have a snowball fight.
  • Have money and no idea how to spend it? A high end way would be hire a cleaning company to come in and take care of mom’s job. With extra days off I assure you, there are more messes and many moms confessed, as have I, we’ve quit trying. The floors are tracked with snow gunk and we know with 2 1/2 feet outside, it’s not going anywhere. It feels like a losing battle. Living in a messier-than-usual house makes mom feel like a loser. Trust me, I know. Having someone come in will lift her spirits.

Other money ideas:

  • Gift cards for groceries. I know our budget is off kilter because with the kids home more, we’ve gone through more food than I planned.
  • Money for childchare. Again, with days off of school a lot of families have had to scramble/pay extra for childcare they weren’t planning on.
  • Gift cards for movies, kid friendly museums, restaurants. Even if mom and kids go somewhere together, they are at least getting out of the house. That’s half the battle.

Once school is back in session, then its the teachers we need to remember. They are way off pace and especially with younger kids, will have to spend time reminding kids the routine and behaviors they had mastered in October. Start thinking of ways to encourage them!

How about you? Are you a mom enduring an endless winter or know someone who is>

What’s in a Name?

One thing I love about storytelling is the malleability. Rewriting my historical series has become an exercise in this. My intention was to spruce it up, minimize things like punctuated dialect, and bring it sophistication that comes from growing in the writing craft and simply living. It’s been a journey of discovery, envisioning and re-envisioning this project. While retaining the general structure of the story arc, I began to polish, develop, and deepen what was there.

Then I made a decision that required more change–to leave the make-believe town setting and use actual places like Colorado City, Colorado Springs, and Charleston and to incorporate the historical narratives of those places. Lots of research but worth it, I believe, for the richness it brings. I’ve had to adjust the plot for accuracy, and it’s yielded new directions as well. Still I felt bound up in what was on the pages before me–events from the original stories that I want to keep, and of course the people.

Everything I do in storytelling revolves around the characters. Even though this was my first venture in published fiction, I like these people. I want to do them justice. The first rewrite developed relationships between the leads and side characters that I’m very excited about. New conversations revealed aspects of these people who were there but not to this degree. And still I felt this friction between the old and the emerging.

So I took a bold step. I’m renaming the characters. My intention was to set this version apart from the former. But something else occurred. The new names unlocked the scenes in a fresh retelling. Yes, some of the dialogue and events remain–coexisting within the new. And I like that. Maybe I’m crazy and all of this is much ado about nothing.

You may be scratching your heads and saying why are you rewriting something old if you’re changing it so much? I’ll add the question: How much can something change and still remain? Clearly my answer is endlessly, though I do hope for a satisfying culmination.

The stories are different enough now that I want to avoid confusion with print copies of the original series that some of you have on your shelves and that are still circulating secondhand. Some have expressed disappointment and loss at the thought of these changes. But think of movie remakes. Each is its own thing, the same and different. One doesn’t wipe out the other. How many ways has Beauty and the Beast been told? So here I am telling my own tales differently. I hope this adaptation will not only find new readers but be a welcome variation on a theme for you precious diehards. Trust me?

 

 

Old Dog, New Trick by Camy Tang

Once, a long, long time ago (in a galaxy far far away), I took Japanese classes. They were fun, although to be honest, I had absolutely no one around me who spoke Japanese on a regular basis to practice with. Most of my Japanese conversation was limited to anime cartoons with English subtitles. My parents speak perfect English and hardly speak Japanese at all, except a few words here and there (although they do understand quite a bit of it when other people speak to them, they just respond in English).

After college, I didn’t speak Japanese again for years since I didn’t need it for work and I didn’t watch as much anime. I wasn’t living in Hawaii, where Japanese programing was more prevalent, and I didn’t have cable TV. And this was actually before the internet got so big, if you can believe that. (I guess I’m dating myself.)

Well, now that there are actually websites where you can watch anime through streaming, I’ve started watching it again. And it’s motivated me to pick up my Japanese language learning again.

Let me say, it’s HARD. I haven’t been in a studying mindset in decades and just going through my old Japanese textbooks is like reading them for the first time.

But I have to admit that technology is WONDERFUL. There’s flashcard apps now that I can put on my smart phone and my tablet so that I can quiz myself on vocabulary. There are also Japanese language apps so that I can learn kanji much more easily than I did when I had to make my own flash cards and practice writing on scrap paper—instead, I can practice writing right on my smart phone or tablet. This is awesome!

It’s slow going, but it’s nice being able to review my old textbooks on my own time rather than on a class schedule. But eventually when I get caught up, I think I will enroll in classes in my local community college so that I can get some college credit.

Because who knows? This old dog might go back to school for another degree!

How about you guys? Any of you got a degree later in life? Any tips and tricks for someone thinking of going back to school?

Why Brian Williams is Fair Game by Julie Arduini

I’m a strong believer of building others up instead of tearing them down. It’s a principle I use as a mom, mentor and friend.

That said, the dull roar and many memes I’m observing regarding Brian Williams doesn’t bother me.

I think by his own choices, he’s fair game.

Image: Twitter

Image: Twitter

In case you missed the news about his news, Brian recently did a feature on a story he’s been telling for years. He recalled during the Iraq war he “was forced down after being hit by an RPG.” Over the years he added details to the story even though there were servicemen who were there who were crying foul. They were on the flight and recalled him not being on that flight, but one that showed up later. In other articles I’ve read NBC reportedly went as far as to tell him to stop telling the story because he was going to get caught one day. In this article from the Business Insider it’s reported that NBC was warned Williams had a reputation for stretching the truth.

Finally, the servicemen and their calling him out caught traction and it made it through social media and is now news. There were too many people who were there telling the same story for Brian to continue with his version. Instead of opening up and admitting he lied, he instead took the route of “I misremembered.” The backlash from that is so intense he is now saying he has taken himself off the air. True or not, I can’t discern. NBC news isn’t great at following through with scandal, from Matt Lauer’s role in firing Ann Curry to Dr. Snyderman being seen all over town while she was supposed to be quarantined, both are still on air getting paid well.

The internet is abuzz with Brian Williams memes and I don’t feel bad that they are out there. He grew up 20 miles from where I did and he was a hometown hero. I loved telling others that Brian Williams came from our area. I loved journalism and was headed in that direction when I realized I couldn’t be objective. News is too important to me so I left it before I would get caught in a situation where I’d share my views instead of facts or something in violation of the ethics that are so basic. Brian violated our trust and kept going when he was warned to stop. When he got caught, he failed to repent and ask forgiveness. My sense is he’s hoping we all simmer down and move to the next news cycle so he can get back to work and we all forgive and forget.

Is he the only anchor out there with issues? No. They lost their objectivity the day Walter Cronkite and Tom Brokaw retired. The anchors today share their opinions or what’s being fed to them but to my knowledge, they aren’t sharing heroic stories they were never a part of. For that, I think NBC needs an overhaul. Forget the ratings Williams used to bring and be about the news. Bring a trusted face and voice like Lester Holt and start over with an evening news program people can rally to watch because they want the news and know they are getting it.

And Brian, take your time wiping the dirt off yourself. Find that place deep within that wants to make a difference, a real one, and be a game changer for the world.

Not the butt of jokes as you ran headfirst into.

Vicki Hinze’s Thoughts on Character Makes a Difference by Mike Huckabee

thoughts on Character Makes a Difference, Mike Huckabee, Vicki HinzeI’ve been reading a book. Mick Huckabee’s book, Character Makes a Difference. 

Let me disclose that I’ve been a political junkie my entire life, but these days, I’m pretty much maxed out on the absence of character evident in politics. Spin is the operative word and I have been wondering lately if most of the people supposedly leading us would recognize the right thing or the truth if it hit them in the head.

 

In other words, I’m weary of the games, the posturing, the diversions, the manipulations. I’ve had it with lies and misstatements put forth to us as inadvertent when they are in fact by design and those speaking them are counting on us, the people they’re supposed to represent, to remain unconscious, disconnected and so sick of it all, we just tune them out and permit them to go on their merry way without comment or interference. In a huge way, that’s what they’ve gotten for years sans periods of brief discourse in reaction to things like the president’s comments last week at the National Prayer Breakfast.

 

My point is that I wasn’t in the most receptive frame of mind to read a book about character written by a politician. But the American in me, the woman in me, needed to read on the topic. I’ve been wallowing in Proverbs, hungry for character and to see it living and breathing and active in lives. I hoped but didn’t count on seeing it living and breathing and active in a life being lived today.

 

So it was at this point that I saw and picked up a copy of this book, Character Makes a Difference, and I warned myself not to expect too much. Politics is a dirty business. It doesn’t have to be, but when the people don’t demand otherwise, that’s where moral decay and the absence of character being required lead us, and that’s what we get.

 

I read, and wasn’t surprised at the events the author faced as Lt. Governor of Arkansas, but I was surprised by his reactions to those events. He didn’t leave God or morals or common sense at the door. No, he brought them with him into office and better yet he kept them front and center while in office.

 

I won’t spoil the book for others, but I will say we have at least one man politically connected who doesn’t attempt to foist rose-colored glasses onto us, to distract us so he can push a hidden agenda. Who speaks plainly about what is and isn’t right, and why, and what he can and cannot or will not do. His moral compass appears intact.

 

Perhaps it’s that he’s a former pastor. Perhaps it was the way he was raised. Perhaps it’s that he’s made past mistakes and suffered the consequences of them and decided he doesn’t want to go there again. I suspect it’s all of that and more that makes him face his job and life morally grounded.

How refreshing it was to read commentary by a man who doesn’t think responsibility is a coat you can put on or take off when it’s convenient.  That it’s a coat we all must wear all the time.

 

There are some welcome quotes in this book. At least, welcome to me, as a reader. Here are a few I highlighted:

 

“Loving others is not the same as performing according to the demands of others.”

 

“True love must draw the line and say ‘no.’”

 

“Without able and honorable competition, victory in any endeavor is meaningless.”

 

“Loving our enemies does not mean giving in to their demands or compromising our values.”

 

As I look through the book, I’ve highlighted a lot. And I hope you will, too.

 

There’s a lot worth reading here. A lot worth being reminded of about the type of conduct we should expect in those we elect to represent us. And a lot to remind us of what we’re missing because we aren’t.

 

Perfect? Absolutely not. Like the rest of us, flawed to the core. But this book is about character, and that is one thing in short supply in too many and the one thing we most sorely need for a civil, constructive and productive society.

 

Character isn’t seated in relativism, this book says. It makes a strong argument, and that makes it worth reading.

 

____________________________

 

Vicki Hinze, My Imperfect Valentine, New Adult novels, Valentine's romance novels© 2014, Vicki Hinze. Hinze is the award-winning, USA Today bestselling author of nearly thirty novels in a variety of genres including, suspense, mystery, thriller, and romantic or faith-affirming thrillers. Her latest release is My Imperfect Valentine. She holds a MFA in Creative Writing and a Ph.D. in Philosophy, Theocentric Business and Ethics. Hinze’s online community: Facebook. Books. Twitter. Contact. www.vickihinze.com.   Subscribe to Vicki’s Newsletter.

Heartwarming Giveaway For Valentine’s Day

The authors at Harlequin Heartwarming want to thank our wonderful readers for their support, so we’ve put together a Valentine’s Giveaway perfect for those who love to read. My December release, Honeysuckle Bride, is included in the giveaway.

There is a grand prize and three additional prizes packages. Stop by to get registered!

Heartwarming_giveaway

http://heartwarmingauthors.blogspot.com/2015/01/its-huge-heartwarming-valentines-day.html

YOUR STORY – CAN HAVE AN IMPACT!!

HAVE STORIES YOU WANT OR NEED TO TELL?

HERE’S YOUR OPPORTUNITY!

I am now accepting submissions for the Moments series compilations:

PRECIOUS MOMENTS – something to do with children – may be your own childhood experiences, your parenting experiences, article developed from something about children, not having any children, God’s children, can be a short snippet or full article – or something written by a child. Deadline: March 15, 2015

CHRISTMAS MOMENTS BOOK #2 – stories about Christmas – inspirational, personal, true meaning of Christmas, negatives and/or positives – similar to CM Book #1 -Articles may be 500-2000 words or so. Content, not how many words, is what counts. Deadline: June 15, 2015

Attach your article to an email. Please use Times New Roman, 12 point font.

There is no payment, authors get one free copy, discount on orders, and all royalties are donated to Samaritan’s Purse.

Already released by Grace Publishing are:

Divine Moments (May 2014) – 50 articles written by 37 authors about God showing up in unexpected, miraculous ways

Christmas Moments Book #1 (November 2014) – 50 inspirational stories about the true meaning of Christmas

Spoken Moments (to be released May 2015) – 52 articles about the negative and/or positive impact words have on lives

Please put Precious Moments or Christmas Moments Book #2 in subject line and send to yvonnelehman3@gmail.com

 

An Answered Prayer

Late last week, a dear friend of our family passed from this life into the arms of our Savior. She was an extraordinary woman who served the church every Sunday in the Special Friends ministry – a safe classroom filled with soft inflatables, sturdy toys, and best of all: Ms. O.Z.’s never-ending smile as she welcomed and loved the special needs children of our church. Because of her, parents like my husband and I could attend the service together. Before Ms. O.Z. came along, we would attend separate services while one of us stayed home with our handicapped son. It worked, but was anything except ideal since we wanted to worship together.

Until her cancer diagnosis, Ms. O.Z. served every single Sunday, even though during the week she also served her own handicapped son. God gave her a heart for children like her son because we all saw how she loved our kids! She understood them, and had endless patience even throughout the lessons each week. She knew some part of those lessons, somehow, would stick. God would see to it, and she obediently presented the material in the simplest, most engaging ways.

For her funeral, her loving family wanted to celebrate her life by inviting all of the Special Friends kids to be honorary pallbearers. They were to march behind the casket, a little parade of those Ms. O.Z. loved so well.

I wanted to honor that, as did all the parents of the special needs kids from our church. But I was worried, too. I had a fairly accurate picture of what the service would entail, and knew it would be difficult for my son to sit quietly. Have I mentioned one of his favorite sounds is a hearty string of “raspberries”? I couldn’t imagine family members offering memories of O.Z. competing with my son’s noise from the audience. And although I voiced my hesitation about bringing him, everyone I spoke to assured me Ms. O.Z. would have wanted him there and I shouldn’t worry a bit about anything. We all wanted to honor Ms. O.Z., and she certainly was familiar with his sounds.

But I still hesitated. And do you know what? God knew Ms. O.Z.’s favorite time of year was winter. She loved snow! So on Sunday, the day before the funeral, God let the snow fall . . . and fall . . . and fall. Over 19 inches at our O’Hare Airport! Which of course led to school closings on Monday, the day of the funeral, even though the snow had stopped and roads were being cleared. If I wanted to be at that funeral (and nothing was going to stop me) I would have to bring my son along because he was home from school. I could only imagine Ms. O.Z.’s reassuring grin, telling me to stop worrying and that everything would be all right.

It was more than all right. He sat quietly in the warm sanctuary, looking a little tired until we sang Amazing Grace, one of his favorite songs. He swayed his head along in perfect timing. And then . . . he fell asleep! Straight up in the chair, but there he was, peaceful, quiet, not a single, solitary raspberry until near the very end just before the casket was being taken out. He added a few sounds like a proper farewell, then fell in line with the other kids Ms. O.Z loved.

I don’t know why I wasted any time worrying. God wanted Ms. O.Z.’s life to be honored. I’m sure as she stands before His throne He greets her with “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” She was also reunited with her own handicapped son who passed away just last year, now fully healed and sharing eternity together. No worries, Maureen, she whispers to me . . . God answers our prayers.

Kristen’s Crazy Little Thing–by Hannah Alexander

Friends, I don’t want you to think I’m special or anything, but since Kristen Heitzmann and I have been friends for a very, very long time, and since I raised my hand higher than anyone else and shouted louder when she announced the new manuscript she wrote for fun, I get to be an endorser! Which means I finagled a first draft and started reading.

All I can say is: Write a note to yourself to be on the lookout for her announcement when she does release this book. She’s showing a new side to herself that is delightful (not that she isn’t already truly delightful or I wouldn’t like her so much) and if you want to read a book that will make you smile and laugh and chuckle you’ll want this book.

Yes, she has somehow changed genres without losing her style. Since I’ve attempted the same thing recently, I feel better knowing a fellow writer has done it, and done it very, very well. Don’t be afraid to step into the waters. Kristen is going strong!

 

Congratulations to our own Julie Arduini

Julie Arduini is a faithful contributor to this blog and has been since its inception a number of years ago. Not too long ago, we collectively congratulated Julie on the publication of her book and celebrated with her.

Now we have two new books to celebrate with Julie!

Julie Arduini, Christians Read Author, A Walk in the Valley

A Walk in the Valley is from Chalfont House and is available for pre order, release date April 28. This is an infertility devotional and perfect for anyone experiencing infertility and/or miscarriage.
 
Julie Arduini, Christians Read, The Love Boat Bachelor

Julie Arduini, CR Author

 

The Love Boat Bachelor features Write Integrity Press authors where readers choose the ending. Chapters are being released now through http://writeintegrity.com and once the voting finishes, the book will be available for free on Kindle for four days, starting on Valentine’s.
Please join us in celebrating with Julie! We’re so pleased to see her doing so well!
Blessings,
Vicki Hinze
Christians Read Administrator

Crazy Little Thing by Kristen Heitzmann

This morning the craziest thing happened. I wrote the final words to a novel. Crazy? Why is it crazy for a storyteller with 20 published novels to be sitting in amazement at that fact? Well, for starters, I haven’t finished one in quite some time. I know…you’re all bobbing your heads up and down in agreement. Stop before you put your necks out.

Next, it wasn’t one I’ve been working on. For those of you waiting for Indomitable, I apologize. Nor is it the revised historical series I’ve told you about. Both of those are still coming. Someday. But this…here’s how it happened. A very dear friend of mine has come to live with us through a difficult time in her life. You may not know what that means to an author, so I’ll tell you in two words: Captive Audience.

Shortly before the holidays, we got talking about my writing and the novel Halos that I originally wrote for her as a Christmas gift. That made me say, “Oh, I should read you this romantic comedy I’ve been playing with.” To which she said something like, “Twist my arm.”

So I started reading her what I had and it caught fire. I don’t know how else to explain it. I’d start writing at, oh, 7:30 a.m. and write until 5:30 a.m. catch two hours of reluctant sleep or just not bother because it was such a waste when I could be writing. In between I did eat some, walk some, help plan a kitchen remodel, read to her, and do Christmas, New Year, throw an Epiphany party…and write. It’s been the most fun I’ve ever had in my craft–at least in recent memory.

The crazy thing is it’s unlike anything I’ve written before. It’s funny.

I have had so many years of grief and loss and struggle and striving and growing and pushing for excellence–all of it essential according to God’s perfect will–that this crazy little thing has me astonished. When I typed the last two words, I literally cried, “Hah!” and laughed out loud. Total, total gift. Total, total joy. Wow. Thanks for letting me share.

New Beginnings by Tara Randel

For the past few months I have been attending bridal shows with a friend who is starting a new business. It’s so much fun to talk with the brides-to-be. Their excitement about the big day is contagious as they gush over their plans. The promise of a new beginning is appealing, no matter how old you are or how many years you’ve been married. Think back to those giddy days of young love and how you couldn’t wait to spend the future with the one you love. How you looked at life with hope for the best times yet to come.

When we start a reading a book, aren’t we filled with the same expectation? We are drawn to a book by a review, word of mouth or perhaps because it is our favorite author. When we open the cover, we’re hoping that the story takes us to a special place. As a romance author, it’s my job to do all the background work and bring you the special story. My characters demand their happily ever after despite the rocky road to get there, but I aim to deliver. This is why I love being an author.

Talking to the future brides is part enjoyment, part research. ( Sorry ladies!) My ongoing series for Harlequin Heartwarming is The Business of Weddings, so I constantly have my attention focused on the emotions of the women I meet, as well as keeping up with wedding trends. As I attended the shows, I kept an eye on the other vendors to see what is popular. At the shows, photographers, florists, bakers and wedding planners, the foundation of a successful wedding, are all represented. But I also have seen candy vendors, print material vendors, for invitations, and even financial institutions who offer help for the big day and beyond. One trend I noticed at all the shows were health specialists. Think about it, you certainly want to be healthy for the big day. Makes sense that you would want brides to get information on exercise and dietary advice.

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During the show, there are fashion shows featuring bridal gowns and bridesmaid dresses. The focus is not only on the gown, but hair and makeup as well. The brides-to-be love this part of the afternoon. As the show comes to an end, the women are full of ideas. They can now begin to plan their day.

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Being at these bridal shows jump started creative ideas for my future books. I always bring a notebook and jot down ideas, impressions and trends. Some might find research tedious, I find it exhilarating. I get more ideas for stories than I have time to write, but I can hope too!

So my good friend knows I’m helping her at the bridal shows, but really, she’s opened a whole world of possibilities for me. Possibilities I plan to share with my readers.

Tara’s newest release, Honeysuckle Bride, received a 4.5 star rating from Romantic Times Book Reviews Magazine.

Read an excerpt: http://www.tararandel.com/harlequin
9780373367047

Choose Your Romance by Julie Arduini

Didn’t I just wish everyone a Happy New Year? Well, I blinked and it’s time to talk Valentine’s Day!

As I’ve confessed before, I love romance but I’m not a die hard romantic. You would probably catch me watching the latest Fast and Furious movie over a rom-com. But I love reading and writing romance.

Thankfully, so does my publisher, Write Integrity Press. Last year they had a fun Valentine’s promotion where they had readers choose the ending. A Dozen Apologies was a bestseller as Mara Adkins visited all the men she’d hurt over the years and asked their forgiveness. Readers chose the man she’d fall for and they didn’t pick Pastor Brent Teague.

Similar to the reality television show, the sequel, The Love Boat Bachelor, now has Brent as the main character. He’s really hurting, I mean afterall, the guy got his heart broken twice by the same girl. He’s wounded enough to even question his calling as a pastor. One thing he is sure of is he’s done with romance.10606051_10205457154047888_2682259527214337031_n

His sister and best friend disagree. They conspire and get Brent to agree to a stint as a chaplain on a cruise ship. The two week job will take Brent all over the Caribbean. What they don’t tell him is it’s a love themed cruise. The passengers are either in love or looking for it.

This week Write Integrity started releasing chapters so readers can meet Brent and the heroines. Once the chapters have been released, readers will vote on the heroine they want to see Brent fall for. Once the votes are tallied the book will have an ending and be available on Kindle for FREE for four days, starting on Valentine’s Day.

I love it!

I wrote one of the heroines but I can’t tell you which one. I can tell you I’ve read them all and I have no idea how the voting will go. They are all fun chapters where Brent visits beautiful ports, has interesting chaplain experiences and meets a lot of passengers on board the love theme and then some.

If you’re done with the snow and cold or want to escape with a tropical read for a bit, I’d love for you to check out The Love Boat Bachelor. Chapters will be released during the week this week and next before voting. I’d appreciate you sharing this so we can get a lot of readers involved and voting.

As someone who does enjoy a fictional romance, I’m always rooting for that happy ending. I’d love to see you give Brent Teague the ending he deserves!

To read The Love Boat Bachelor Chapter one, click here.

To read The Love Boat Bachelor Chapter two, Cozumel, click here.

Also, starting in February my newsletter subscribers will receive monthly installments to my contemporary romance, Crumbs and Embers. Those who are new to subscribing receive the novella Match Made in Heaven, too. To subscribe for free, complete the form in the right sidebar of Julie Arduini.com and watch for activation. I’m excited to share this Upstate NY Finger Lakes romance with you!

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