Blue Ridge “Autumn in the Mountains” Christian Novelist Retreat
Retreat for writers wanting to learn more about the craft and creativity of writing novels – all genres – contemporary and historical

October 18-22, 2015

Theme: Hope in the middle of faith and love. – I Corinthians 13:13

It’s HOT, HOT, HOT – unseasonably so – right now in these mountains

but… this too shall pass

And all that will be HOT in a few months is that book you’re working on

– or thinking about –

Time to improve it, work on it, brainstorm it, get it critiqued,

enter it into a contest, and/or show it to an editor/agent!

October is the peak season for leaf color in the mountains of western North Carolina and the perfect time for novelists to gather for inspiration, encouragement, improving skills and practicing creativity. If you don’t have an idea in mind, we’ll help you find that too.

Small, intimate group. Please register early. – Ridgecrest: 1.800.588.7222

http://ridgecrestconferencecenter.org/event/novelist – yvonnelehman3@gmail.com


Ridgecrest/LifeWay Conference Center, Ridgecrest, NC

(twenty minutes east of Asheville—home of the famous Biltmore House and Gardens)

All sleeping rooms and classes for the Novel Retreat are in Mountain Laurel Hotel

Ridgecrest Novelist Pricing:

Program Fee – $325 full time

Program Fee – $120 for one day

Program Fee – $60 for one-half day

Mountain Laurel Lodging (per room, per night:

Single $69, Double $69, Triple $79, Quad $89

Meal Package – $96 per person (Sunday dinner – Thursday lunch)

TEACHING FACULTY: They don’t come any better than these!

Lynette Eason (widely-acclaimed suspense writer,speaker,award)

Eva Marie Everson (FCWC director, best-seller, pres.WordWeavers,editor)

Eddie Jones (author, speaker, publisher Lighthouse of the Carolinas)

Yvonne Lehman (conference director 30+ years, 56 novels, 5 non-fiction, editor)

Torry Martin (anything creative!author,actor,speaker,you name it!)

DiAnn Mills (50+ best selling novels, suspense, multiple Christy winner)

Edie Melson (best-selling books, Guideposts blogger, Social Media expert)

Robert Whitlow (best-selling thrillers, movies, we’ll show his movie Mountain Top)

Diana Flegal (Hartline agent, speaker, author)

Lori Marett (award-winning scripts, DVD movie Meant to Be)

Ann Tatlock (adult and children’s books, multiple Christy winner, editor LPC)

Deborah Harvey (music and worship leader)

(in addition to novel classes, we offer Social Media instruction, script writing,



(for discounts: yvonnelehman3@gmail.com)


Mythic structure, archetypes, ideas, senses, social media, compelling protagonist & antagonist, scenes, scriptwriting, movie making, cozy mystery, point of no-return, writing as extended ministry, seat-of-pants suspense, top ten mistakes, comedy for stage & screen, romance, query letter, cover blurb, changing state of publishing, character arc, plot, tension, Goodreads/Pinterest/etc., write for your life, dialogue, successful critique groups, advanced characterization, synopsis, dialogue that sings/dances/plays piano, genre & brainstorming


Inspiration, encouragement, association, great food (you don’t have to cook and wash the dishes!), classes in one building, beautiful spacious rooms, indescribably beautiful views, maybe a black bear or so, bookstore, signings, Moments presentations and opportunities, one-on-one with faculty whether or not you pitch…just discuss,

writing time, worship, music, fun, laughter



Summer Reads and Movies

11424659_577268585748361_8873474521910097599_oI think summer is passing me by and I haven’t started having fun yet. How about you? I’m a home schooling mom and also write novels so the summer gives me a break from the toughest part of my day so that I can focus more on writing my novels. But this girl also wants to have fun! (I’m hearing Cindy Lauper in my head now)

Since I have a little more free time in the summer, of course we do the usual activities of swimming and hiking and picnicking. But I can also watch more movies and read more books–all part of having fun and part of my job. That’s right–I have the best job in the world.  When looking for new inspiration or ideas it helps to watch lots of movies and read widely.

Recently I considered revisiting some classics and thought about the old Alfred Hitchcock movie,  North by Northwest with Cary Grant. I had used a similar Frank Lloyd Wright house used in the movie for a setting in my last novel, after all, I might as well watch the movie. But I never got around to watching it. And the next thing you know, I was heading with my family to Rapid City, North Dakota for an impromptu trip that had nothing at all to do with the movie! My husband was speaking at a church there, doing his sermon on the potter’s wheel. In the meantime, we were able to visit the sights including Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse, and Custer State Park where we saw buffalo herds and prairie dogs. I’ve never seen prairie dogs before. Cute!

We didn’t get time to see any of the movie-related sights for North by Northwest or Dances with Wolves, but when I got home, I put both movies on Netflix and I watched North by Northwest last night. The movie was slower than I remembered, but that’s how old movies are. We live in such a fast-paced world and want stories to move along quickly these days. I enjoyed watching Cary and his damsel in distress climbing on Mt. Rushmore or at least a set, since I had just visited.

I decided to make a list of classics to watch this summer so I’m asking for suggestions? What are some of your favorite old and recommended movies?

Experience Jesus

When was the last time you read a book that stayed with you, that reminded you over and over again that there’s a better way to look at life? As readers, we likely get tidbits from any kind of book we read that opens our eyes to something inspiring, or we probably wouldn’t be avid readers. Those of us who blog on this site always hope to touch hearts and change lives, which is on reason why we keep writing. Sure, there are other reasons, but for most of us our high comes from knowing we’ve touched the lives of others with the words we’ve written.

Thanks to a friend’s recommendation a couple of weeks ago I dowloaded the latest release by Bill Myers entitled The Jesus Experience: Journey Deeper into the Heart of God. The message I received from this gifted man was profound and life changing–even though I’ve learned the lesson multiple times before: Get to know Jesus. Love Him before you do anything else. Love God with all your life. Out of that love will flow the fruits of the Spirit that God calls us to utilize, but first we must love. I know the others who blog on this site have been saying the same thing–Love God. Love others. Love must be in our hearts before any of our works for Him can be meaningful.

I found it interesting that the Sunday morning after I completed reading Bill’s book, our Sunday school class discussed the difference between faith and works, the differences between the sisters of Lazarus, Mary and Martha. We agreed that the reason we gathered together at church was to love God–before anything else. Church attendance means nothing to God unless we meet together to love Him.

But of course, Bill writes the words in such an interesting way, at times humorous, at times heart-rending, and because of his own walk with Christ and his journey into knowing Jesus more completely, his words resonate in ways I fear mine haven’t always done. But I plan to start, and the way I’ll start is by drawing closer to Him, by loving Him above all things, by clinging to Him in everything, and considering all trials, all joys, to be something I’m sharing with Him.

I highly recommend The Jesus Experience. I think if you read it you’ll be glad you did.

Be Ye Kind

Rocky Waters

Rocky Waters

Once upon a time I had an English teacher who criticized the class for using the word “nice.” She felt we needed to be more creative, that the word was overused. Most of the class members could not have cared less, but being a lover of English I remember that specific word all these years later. I still disagree with her even though I understood her concern. My own concern, however, is that there simply isn’t enough nice in the world these days.

Here in the Midwest you will find courteous people everywhere, but there are just enough instances when someone is having a bad day that he/she can make the whole week worse for everyone.

Now that I’ve entered the world again and am no longer working at home, I’ve discovered, to my chagrin, that I don’t handle discourtesy well. It makes ME discourteous. I will hang up if a caller becomes verbally abusive, and have also told our employees to courteously disconnect to avoid abuse. If a store clerk–or worse, a store manager–is discourteous to me, I will not enter that store again. I realize some people simply don’t know how to behave in public, but I’m sorry, I might pray for that person, I will try hard to be courteous as long as possible, but someone who is hateful, mean, abusive, or simply takes his or her frustration out on others is like a creek bed filled with rocks. Those rocks affect the waters, and it makes for a very rough ride if you’re floating down that creek. In order to protect myself and employees from the rough waters, I disconnect.

The Bible says “Be ye kind one to another…” Boy, ain’t that the truth. When we aren’t, it makes life rough for everyone. Please think about your behavior toward the people in areas of service when you’re out shopping, eating, seeing the doctor, exercising. Another teacher of mine once taught our class members to smile at one another. A smile portrays kindness. Let your eyes fill with the warmth of a true smile when you encounter others and spread some niceness. Maybe that’s a trite word, but it makes a world of difference in the world.

I wish you a peaceful, nice-filled week. Try a smile or two and see if it doesn’t lift your spirits.


The third book in the Moments series has been released. Twenty-four of the forty-two authors who contributed their stories were presented with their one-free-book at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference last Monday evening, May 18.

Many of the authors have their first publication in these Moments books. Others are multi-published. The content is stories about the power of words—negative, positive, and God’s words.

The first spoken words we have recorded are God’s words, when…in the beginning he said, “Let there be light.” And there was light. Then he sent Jesus to be the light of this world in a different way. When Jesus returned to his heavenly home he left us with the instruction to be, “the light of the world.”

As authors of these Moments books, we hope to entertain, inspire, encourage, and relate as we share our joys and failures and the presence of God in our lives. The authors joyfully relate their experiences, get no monetary compensation, and donate all royalties to Samaritan’s Purse, an organization that provides spiritual and physical aid to hurting people around the world.

Spoken Moments Front Cover (1)

 Other books in the series are Divine Moments and Christmas Moments. Now, Spoken Moments has fifty-two articles about the power of words. They can hurt, they can heal, but most important these stories lead to Jesus Christ, the Eternal Word, who saves.

Some of the stories are wonderfully entertaining. Others impress upon us the importance and impact of words, whether we speak them, write them, or show them in action.

Other Moments books to be released this year are Precious Momentsby, with, about Children and Christmas Moments Book #2.

I am now acquiring articles for Stupid Moments. Not that I think any of you readers are, um…stupid, but many of us have times when we were in embarrassing or humiliating situations that we like to share that make others laugh and help us laugh at ourselves. Then there are times when we feel ridiculous. Other times our foolish moments might have that faith element, such as having resisted accepting Jesus or allowing him to be Lord of our lives. We may have yielded to temptation, or held onto unforgiveness which hurt us more than it hurt the one we should forgive.

If you would like to contribute to Stupid Moments, send your “moment” which may be as simple as saying you can’t find your car keys and you’re holding them in your hand. Or these may be articles of 500 to 3000 words. Content is more important than word count. If you dare share…send your moment or article attached to an email, Times New Roman, 12 point type, to yvonnelehman3@gmail.com. Many of us like to hear about others’ “stupid” moments, whether funny or serious. Christmas stories are also welcomed for a future book.

Please let others know about these books. They have life-changing qualities.

Oldies But Goodies

We love movies at my house and why not, I’m a storyteller and my children have the bug too. Have you ventured into the movie theaters lately or watched at home some of the recent “Bible” movies such as Noah or Exodus? I was excited to see more Biblical movies made and hoped for inspiration such as I saw in The Prince of Egypt animated film, which was filled with an inspiring script and music to stir my spirit.

Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for these recent Hollywood films. I was okay with Noah (even the angels turned into rock people) until that last act and I could hardly stomach watching Noah trying to kill his grandchildren in what he thought was obedience to God.

But then we rented Exodus with Christian Bale. Rare is the movie that I can’t watch to it’s conclusion, but the director took artistic license to an entirely new level with his re-imagining of Moses and the Exodus story. I would have been okay with watching it if there had been any sense of anointing. Something that I could see God in–but this movie not only lacked inspiration, it was downright debasing, in my opinion. You might have seen it and loved it. I could no longer stomach it and went to my room to watch something else. Eventually my husband followed. He didn’t finish it either.

And what did the kiddoes have to say about it? “Mom, can we watch The Prince of Egypt to get the Exodus movie out of our heads?” Now that is saying something.

So not only did we watch The Prince of Egypt, and cried with the music (me, mostly) but we ordered the TWO DVD’s of The Ten Commandments (Charleston Heston) on Netflix. I used to own the anniversary special edition, or whatever it’s called, on VHS, but alas, I no longer have the VHS player or tapes. The kids did not watch The Ten Commandments years ago when I put it on. They were too young to remember anyway. I’m thinking we should start watching it again once a year on Easter, like I did growing up when it was on TV–back before we could watch anything, anywhere, anytime.

It took us two evenings to watch the movie, and even though it was made in the 1950’s and has obvious inaccuracies to the true story, it still inspires. We chuckled over the Hebrews’ use of King James English, but all agreed that the scene of the Red Sea parting is by far the most moving, and the best in terms of drama and inspiration, compared to other movies tackling the same event. I also enjoyed the beginning where filmmaker Cecil B DeMille stepped from behind the curtains to introduce the movie, explaining the texts they used to research in creating Moses’s missing years.

And in his voice, I heard an awe and reverence for God. I heard “the fear of the Lord.”

It saddens me that we seem to have lost that and hence, we must return to the oldies, but goodies, to find it in movies made by God-fearing directors.

How about you? What oldies but goodies have you watched lately? What Biblical movies have you enjoyed?


Elizabeth Goddard

Do Not Worry, Part 2: Eagles

On my last post, DO NOT WORRY,  I shared that when I wake up in the morning I dread the day, and that I’ve made a conscious effort and have chosen to celebrate the day, and give God the glory. I’m happy to report that my days have improved as long as I choose to “think on these things,” and have a grateful heart. That, instead of letting all the burdens of life weigh me down.


I’m a pastor’s wife, writer and home schooling three boys, which means I simply have too much to do. But isn’t it that way for most modern women? We want to do it all. Everyone expects us to do it all, or at least try. So I have my fingers in too many pies and I’m trying to eat them all. No wonder I’m overweight! Sorry for the bad joke. I’m leaving it in the post though to keep things transparent. Ha!


Today I’m taking my previous post deeper. I had a dream the other night. In the dream, there were eagles everywhere on the walls. Carvings and paintings and mosaics, you name it. I thought nothing more about the dream or the eagles until the next day when I saw a bald eagle on Facebook then the dream came rushing back at me in full detail. Has that ever happened to you?



Bald Eagle soaring high above the Mississippi River

And I knew there was something about those eagles.


I tromped down the stairs to the office and booted up the old clunker desktop. This detail is important because on the way down the steps, I started humming that old song, “They that wait upon the Lord. . .” You know the one. It’s basically the Bible verse about eagles.



But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. Isaiah 40:31 



Over the years, I’ve heard many teachings about this verse, but decided to do some research on my own as a reminder and possibly  find a new truth or a new spiritual nugget.  I read about how eagles have heavy wings and how they patiently wait for the thermal that they can ride so they can conserve their energy, and soar even higher.


They don’t have to use their own energy.  They simply spread their wings and ride the wind.


And I realized, that’s what God wants from me—to wait for that thermal. To wait for Him so I, too, can spread my wings and ride the thermal. So I can soar even higher than  is possible on my own.


I’ve taken on so much, in fact, more than He ever would have wanted from me. It’s all in my own power and strength, and not in His power and strength. Sure, we have to work hard, but there is a better way that doesn’t require striving.


I admit, I’m still trying to let go of the burdens, and I’m still trying to figure out how to “wait” on Him, but the realization that there is a better way. . .well, that has already shifted much of the burden from my shoulders.


Now, I’m going to wait on that thermal. Join me?


goddard-LR-new-4 (2) blackandwhitebackfire coverElizabeth Goddard is the bestselling, award-winning author of more than twenty romance and romantic suspense novels and counting. To find out more, visit her website at http://elizabethgoddard.com

COMING SOON: Backfire, (Mountain Cove book 3) Fleeing Alaska and cutting all ties could be the only way to survive…but it would mean leaving her heart behind.





Blue Ridge “Autumn in the Mountains” Christian Novelist Retreat

Retreat for writers wanting to learn more about the craft and creativity of writing novels – all genres – contemporary and historical

OCTOBER 18-22, 2015

Theme: Hope in the middle of faith and love. – I Corinthians 13:13

October is the peak season for leaf color in the mountains of western North Carolina and the perfect time for novelists to gather for inspiration, encouragement, improving skills and practicing creativity. If you don’t have an idea in mind, we’ll help you find that too.

($25 discount on tuition if register by May 31). – Ridgecrest: 1.800.588.7222

http://ridgecrestconferencecenter.org/event/novelist – yvonnelehman3@gmail.com


Ridgecrest/LifeWay Conference Center, Ridgecrest, NC

(twenty minutes east of Asheville—home of the famous Biltmore House and Gardens)

All sleeping rooms and classes for the Novel Retreat are in Mountain Laurel Hotel

Ridgecrest Novelist Pricing:

Program Fee – $325 full time

(save $25 if register before May 31)

Program Fee – $120 for one day

Program Fee – $60 for one-half day

Mountain Laurel Lodging (per room, per night:

Single $69, Double $69, Triple $79, Quad $89

Meal Package – $96 per person (Sunday dinner – Thursday lunch)

TEACHING FACULTY: Lynette Eason, Eva Marie Everson, Eddie Jones, Yvonne Lehman, Torry Martin,

DiAnn Mills, Edie Melson, Robert Whitlow – MENTORS: Diana Flegal, Lori Marett, Ann Tatlock

CLASSES on craft, creativity, beginning writing, advanced writing, social media,

and showing of Robert Whitlow’s new movie, Mountain Top

Questions? yvonnelehman3@gmail.com


On a writing loop I saw where a writer friend’s book was a finalist in a contest. I emailed him and copied the section showing his being a finalist and wrote, “Don’t you think you have something to tell your writer friends?”

He answered that he rejects any possibilities of bragging.

That totally surprised me. I wasn’t asking him to brag, but to share.

Of course, anyone has the right to reveal or keep quiet about their accomplishments. Then I recalled another friend who recently received a book contract after learning, trying, writing, re-writing, being critiqued for several years. She emailed me and asked if I would let our writers group know.

I said, “Absolutely not. For years we have supported you with prayers and effort and you weren’t quiet about what you were trying to do. Now, don’t be quiet about having one of your dreams come true. You tell it…with excitement and joy.”

She did, and we all rejoiced.

I remembered that she, too, had been reluctant. Is it because we hear phrases like, “shameless promotion” of one’s published books? It’s often said as if shameless means shameful. I think the shameless should mean we may promote without shame. Writing is a profession. What business or profession doesn’t promote?

That prompted me to look at DICTIONARY DEFINITIONS:

BRAG: pompous or boastful statement; arrogant talk or manner; cockiness, braggart; to assert boastfully – BOAST: assert with excessive pride (I would not recommend that!)

SHARE: to partake of, use, experience, occupy, or enjoy with others; often used with with; to talk about one’s thoughts, feelings, or experiences with others (I like that!)

PROMOTE: to contribute to the growth or prosperity of; to present (merchandise) for buyer acceptance through advertising and publicity (Who wouldn’t recommend that?)

And then, there’s further explanation. BRAGGING RIGHTS is entitlement to boast about something. BOASTING may imply a claiming with proper and justifiable pride (my note: such as finally meeting your goal or dream)

Pride may be negative or positive. We certainly need to guard against false pride or lack of humility. But hiding our light under a bushel is not humility. Jesus says to let our light shine.

A runner in town has medals hanging in his Running Shop of about 50 races in which he’s participated. I don’t know if he won. He ran the races. And he sells racing clothes, shoes, water bottles, accessories, health products to use while running. Is he bragging? No, he’s saying he’s qualified to help you. He knows something about what a runner needs on his feet, on his body, in his body. He’s saying, “I know from experience what it means to work at something and succeed (whether or not he got first prize).

As a Christian, I am well aware that all I have, including the air I breathe, comes from God. I cannot write one word without his allowing it. But he doesn’t write one word of my books without my hands on the keyboard. We work together. That’s the wonderful joy of it. I’m thrilled to announce that God has blessed me, worked through me to accomplish something and to bring a little meaning into the lives of others. That isn’t pride. To me…that’s worship.

So when we say we won’t brag – is that saying I am thinking about me and what others think about me? I want others to see the product produced from my trying and accomplishing.

Scripture tells us, without Him I can do nothing.

It also says, I can do all things through Jesus.

I love to hear about the accomplishments of my friends. I believe they love to hear of mine.

I feel that sharing what God has allowed me to do, or he does through me, gives glory to God.

What are your thoughts on this?


“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together.” (Hebrews 10:25)

This is a scripture that Christians are more than familiar with. We gather together at church on Sundays or Wednesday nights, or in our homes for Bible study and fellowship. Relationships with other Christians are important so that we can pray, share each other’s burdens and talk about the commonality we share—faith in Jesus Christ—and we should have a deep abiding love for one another. Meeting like this brings encouragement and keeps us marching forward, holding our heads high in the midst of a brutal world.

The same can be said for writers, and especially Christian writers. I recently moved to Minnesota from Texas. Most of my life I’ve lived out in the country, or in a region that made it difficult to meet with other like-minded people with any meaningful frequency. But now I live close enough to meet with other writers. And not just any writers, but Christian writers, many whom I’ve known from online writer’s groups and conferences. Through virtual meetings and once-a-year conferences, I’ve developed deep friendships, and grown as a writer.

But nothing can compare with meeting with others in person. Face-to-face.

Now I understand the meaning of the scripture from Hebrews completely. Meeting with Christian writing friends in person since I’ve been in Minnesota has bolstered me in ways I couldn’t have imagined. Encouraged and inspired me. I believe that I will grow as a writer like never before. (I hope)

And this is the whole point of the scripture in Hebrews. Gathering together for encouragement and prayer and talking to people who understand you like no one else is an essential part of a Christian’s walk. An especially important part of a Christian writer’s development.

So if you’re dreaming about writing the great Christian fiction novel, I implore you to meet with others. It’s vital to your spirit, Christian walk, and your work as a writer.


Elizabeth Goddard

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:



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


vicki hinze, Lessons from the Pope, lessons from a news clip

Courtesy Catholic News Agency

Messages from God and lessons to us are all around. We simply must slow down long enough to see and comprehend them. I’m as guilty as the next of sometimes breezing right past them, but yesterday, I saw a news clip of the Pope in the Philippines that stopped me in my tracks and held me there.

The weather there was awful; rainy and gloomy. In spite of it, six million people gathered and stood in the rain to hear the Pope’s message to them.

In the news clip, a priest in New York said this was the largest gathering of people in recorded history for a single individual. He also said some are calling the Pope a rock star. He disagreed; that many had never gathered for any rock star. All of this caught my ear and had me paying close attention.

Enough attention that I realized the Pope-mobile had ditched its bullet-proof glass walls; they were open. The Pope kissed babies, touched people physically as well as spiritually. And when a little girl who lived on the streets before being taken in by the church asked why such bad things happened to children, he admitted that answer was beyond him, and he hugged the child. She moved closer to him and hugged the Pope so hard, as one would her daddy she’d gone to for comfort. It touched me. Deeply.

The message he delivered was one of helping the poor, of working against poverty and corruption. I didn’t hear it all—just that recited in the clip—but it was a strong message. Yet I believe his strength is in his accessibility. He’s open and genuine, and people react to that and hear his message to them through that perspective.

While I attended Catholic schools early-on, I am not Catholic. Yet I learned a great deal from the Pope in this news clip and I expect as I think about it, and study on my own, I’ll learn much more. So I wanted to share those observations with you. Maybe you too will find something of value in them.

Lesson 1: The Pope is sincere and genuine in his desire to interact with people. He doesn’t come across as a man on a soap-box speaking at them. He talks with them and listens to them.

Lesson 2: He removed the walls from the Pope-mobile. This endangers his life. It makes him vulnerable to the crazies who would kill him. Yet he values his life less than he values the desire to be accessible to people. Those suffering and struggling, those seeking, see this, know it, and respect it. Sometimes the momentary touch of a hand offers reassurance where there has been none. Reminds people that God is, has been, and remains in control in a world gone wild. We are not alone.

Lesson 3: When the little girl asked the question, a lump raised in my throat. How do you explain man’s inhumanity to man to a child? To adults? How do you explain a child living on the streets? Hungry? Alone? It brings to mind a quote: If you condone it, you own it. I don’t recall but give credit to whoever said it first, but I agree with it. If collectively we decided to nurture, care for, feed and protect children, they would be nurtured, cared for, fed, and protected. We’ve haven’t . . . yet. But hope springs eternal.

The Pope could have offered the child a platitude. He didn’t. I respect that. And by her reaction, moving in for that fatherly hug, the child did, too. And that carried not one but two lessons:

  1. Kids can cope with honesty. They sense when someone is being honest, and they react openly to it. There’s no shame in not having the answer. There is shame in being dishonest.
  2. Sometimes all we can offer is a hug. It translates in ways we know and ones we can’t imagine, depending on just how badly someone needs that hug. Kids need their moms and dads. They play different roles in their lives, but both are crucial roles essential to their children.

And, for me, the most significant BIG LESSON from this little news clip was:


It’s not the messenger, it’s the message.


People are inundated with negative news, with hardships and tough times. They thirst and hunger for hope, for assurance that God is here, there, everywhere, and, while we might not understand all that is happening, He understands perfectly.

We want that assurance. We need that assurance. Because we are not just physical and emotional beings, we are spiritual beings, and for many, we see so much that is anti-spirit, we hear and feel the impact of so much that is an affront to our spirits, we find ourselves sinking deeper and deeper into despair even as we live out our day-to-day lives and appear normal.

That message is what drew six million people to stand in the rain to hear the Pope speak. It wasn’t the Pope. He is not a rock star. It was the message.

It was their thirsty spirits stepping out in faith, eager to hear a message of hope.

And delivering such a message, doesn’t require one to be a Pope, only to have a willing heart…✚


© 2015, Vicki Hinze





Vicki’s new book is a sweet romance, My Imperfect Valentine.

Romance, Suspense and History

I love my job!


Can I just say that? I love writing novels. It’s work, hard work. More than I could ever have imagined. But at the end of the day, would I really want to do anything else?


This week, I finished the manuscript for the 4th book in my MOUNTAIN COVE series for Love Inspired Suspense. I loved writing the story—the adventure, the suspense and the mystery. For this story, I had a lot of historical research. Yes, it’s still a contemporary romantic suspense, but the story involves a shipwreck filled with legendary gold.


S.S. Islander ( public domain)

I’ve always been fascinated by shipwrecks and would love to write more books—more great escapes—exploring the many possibilities.
But for this particular story—due out in October—I found a gold rush era shipwreck in the Inside Passage of Alaska, where I’ve set my Mountain Cove series. The S.S. Islander sank in 1901, killing 40 passengers, and taking with it gold bullion worth millions, even then. Did you know they are still trying to get to that gold? Trying to find it? What fun I had with this one in my story. Of course, the shipwreck in my story is all fictional, but based on the S.S. Islander.




Public Domain


Many attempts have been made to recover the gold over the last century. Imagine how much the technology has changed, and still the gold has remained just out of our grasp. At least at the writing of this post.

After this, I thought how much fun it would be to write my romantic suspense and include a little history in each story. I’m might try to do that as often as possible on my novels from this point on. What do you think?

I’ve always loved reading historical novels, historical romance or otherwise, so it makes sense that I would enjoy seasoning my romantic suspense with history.

Which do you prefer–historical novels? Historical romance? Contemporary or romantic suspense?




I invite you to join the Mountain Cove adventure with BURIED, my Love Inspire Suspense January release, and book 1 in the series.BURIED cover


Many blessings!

Elizabeth Goddard

Elizabeth Goddard is the bestselling, award-winning author of more than a twenty romance novels. 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. Find out more at Elizabethgoddard.com


What to be Thankful for this Thanksgiving by Elizabeth Goddard

goddard-LR-2 (2)For my post, I decided to write up a list of things to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. The posts on the topic floating around the internet must be in the thousands, I’m sure. Why not join the numbers?


But first I needed to do my research. Research, you ask, on things for which I should be thankful? The list should be easy enough to write, and while my list will be similar to everyone’s list, it will also be unique for me.
Still I wanted to read articles listing, in general, things for which we should be thankful on Thanksgiving. The articles I found were humorous and others serious, as one might expect. But most lists were generally too broad to be all-inclusive. Lists included the usual gratefulness for the abundance of food, shelter, clothing and health. But then there was something on a list I realized that I can’t say I’m thankful for because I don’t have it.
Then I started to think about all the people who don’t have enough food. Or are living under a bridge. What about those who are not in good health? What does their list look like?
Yes, I believe we should give thanks to the Giver of all good gifts, and for all our many blessings. But creating this list made me want to dig deeper for those who are hurting this Thanksgiving. For those who might stare at an empty table—lacking food or friends and family.
Thanksgiving is about much more than giving thanks when everything is going well, or giving thanks for the good things. It’s about a change in attitude—having a thankful heart.


“In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18



That’s one of those scriptures that can be tough to swallow sometimes. But if you do this, it can change your heart and change your outlook on life—through the hard times. So everything bad is happening on the outside, but on the inside, if you have a grateful heart, it will change your life in ways you can’t imagine. And then you can change the world.
But how does one get a grateful heart, a thankful heart? You can’t just conjure one if you don’t have one. The answer is simple enough. You ask the One to whom you should be thankful, to give you a thankful heart. Then you start giving thanks. Just do it. The physical first, and then the spiritual.
I came across this article that expresses what I’m saying so much more eloquently: Give Thanks in Everything
In the meantime, if you are struggling or suffering this Thanksgiving, I pray that God will bless you with great favor and most importantly, He will change your heart so that you can experience true joy even in the midst of trials and suffering.


AGrandTetonSleighRideElizabeth Goddard is the bestselling, award-winning author of more than a twenty romance novels. Stop by her blog to enter the drawing for A GRAND TETON SLEIGH RIDE!









Christians Read Raffle, Subscribers

Subscribers click to enter the random drawing and get future blog posts emailed to you!

Click to Enter


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 34,136 other followers