Monday, April 21, 2014

Letting Go

A few days before Easter, our household received momentous news. Our youngest received his acceptance letter to Moody Bible Institute.

I'm happy for him. Really. Even if Chicago is a loooooong way from northern California. Even if he's my baby. There is such a comfort in knowing that though he will be far from home and family he is never far from God. As it so happens, we both believe and serve the same God who will continue to connect us, no matter the distance.

At the same time, I'm mindful to resist an urge to be too proud. This is my son's life, purpose and ministry and it's a matter between him and the Lord. I'm merely incredibly blessed to be along for the ride with a front row seat.

Before I get something in my eye, here's a photo of our beagle Riley. Like me, she has mixed feelings. She was asked by big sister to give a "high five" in celebration. See the first photo - she's not so sure about all this.

The second photo is her attempt at being a good sport, and my attempt at catching it in action. Sorta missed it, but there you go.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Excerpt from Harte's you love the Gym?

June 20th is release day, and will be here before I know it. There's lots to do in preparation for a book release, and as the weather warms across the continent, I'm going to laugh about the fact that Harte's Peak is set during the snowfall at winter time. Maybe it will cool some readers off.

Meanwhile, there's a fitness craze going on where I work. It started a few weeks ago and coincided with the calendar indicating spring had sprung - co-workers are pairing up and going for walks at lunch time. Carb elimination is rampant - bread is the bad guy, and salad is our new best friend. Of course, the men have already lost weight. Don't get me started.

I thought about a scene in Harte's Peak that involves our hero, Ryan Colton, getting our heroine, Vera Carrington, ready for the slopes. Vera is a girl after my own heart - she'd be the one to say that if she's found dead on a jogging trail people should know she was killed elsewhere and the body moved there.

From Harte's Peak, releasing June 20th in all digital formats from The White Rose/Pelican Book Group:

From treadmill to stair stepper. Running nowhere to climbing nowhere. What joy.

The person who’d invented these machines had a wicked sense of humor. By the end of their session, the sweat dripped profusely from every pore she owned and surely some she didn't.

Ryan threw a towel at her, and she slid down the length of the wall in a heap. He was treating her like one of the guys. Why, then, did she hate it?

"Good work. Tomorrow we'll step it up a little. I didn't want to be too hard on you the first day."

Thursday, March 20, 2014

#Pitchmadness #TeamLibrary

I don't generally write with hashtags, no. But I'm thrilled that my contemporary romantic comedy, Love at First Flight, made it into the agent round at Brenda Drake's Pitch Madness.

Check out my entry if you have the time. Results will post on March 25th on Brenda's blog.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

A Visit with Author Liz Flaherty

The Girls of Tonsil Lake is free on Amazon from March 4-8! Stop by and pick it up. I hope it gives you a few hours of pleasure.

Four women whose differences only deepen the friendship forged in a needy childhood…

They were four little girls living in ramshackle trailers beside a lake in rural Indiana. They shared everything from dreams to measles to boyfriends to more dreams. As they grew up, everything in their lives changed—except their friendship. Through weddings and divorces, births and deaths, one terrible secret has kept them close despite all the anger, betrayal, and pain.

Now, forty years later, facing illness, divorce, career challenges, and even addiction, the women come together once again for a bittersweet month on an island in Maine. Staring down their fifties, they must consider the choices life is offering them now and face the pain of what happened long ago.

Secrets are revealed and truths uncovered, but will their time together cement their lifelong friendship—or drive them apart forever?


I wanted Andie to come to New York, but she didn’t feel up to it. I felt a little shudder go through me when she said that. Andie’s always been so strong, and she’s cancer-free, so I found it startling and frightening when she admitted to feeling less than wonderful. But, as Let There Be Hope shows, cancer changes one in sometimes indefinable ways. Maybe this is one of those changes.

Mark and I visited some islands off the Maine coast once, in our early days. I was so enthralled that he bought me a house on one of them, a little strip of green called, appropriately enough, Hope Island. It reminds me of Bennett’s Island, the fictitious utopia of Elisabeth Ogilvie’s books, except that Hope has all the mod cons.

I love to go there. It’s a place I can be myself with little regard to what anyone else thinks. I sit in my bathrobe on the wraparound porch of the Victorian horror that is my house and drink coffee with Lucas Bishop, our neighbor. I read Jean’s books without worrying that someone will see the covers.

I’ve never taken anyone else—it was Mark’s and my private getaway—but I wouldn’t mind if it was Andie who was there. Or Jean and even Suzanne. Andie and I could work on her book. Jean could cook and keep house since she’s so crazy about doing that, and maybe even spin out one of her romances placed on an island. And Suzanne our hair or something.

We would all be together as we are that single night every year when we drive to the lake and pretend we’re facing down our ghosts. I am a little afraid that the day will come that we’ll have to face them down for real.

I wonder if they’d come.


The Girls of Tonsil Lake is Liz Flaherty’s eighth book, and it is no less thrilling than the first one was. Retired from the post office, she spends non-writing time sewing, quilting, and doing whatever else feels good at the moment (like drinking wine on Nan’s boat).

She and Duane live in the old farmhouse in Indiana they moved to in 1977. They’ve talked about moving, but really…30-some years’ worth of stuff? It’s not happening!

She’d love to hear from you at or please come and see her at: Liz




Monday, February 24, 2014

My Writing Process Blog Tour Stop

I was asked to take part of the “My Writing Process” Blog Tour by my friend Janie Crouch. I met Janie on the Harlequin Board, when we both entered So You Think You Can Write 2012 in the inspirational romance category. That’s right, I knew Janie when she was a saintly writer.

Her debut novel with Intrigue, Primal Instinct, will release in April 2014.

How cool is that? Find out more info about Janie at:

So here’s the scoop on My Writing Process, based on the four questions.

What Are You Working On at the Moment? While I wait to get the release date for Harte’s Peak, I am working on book two of a contemporary romance three book series set in the Napa Valley wine country. Book one, All of Me, is complete and I hope to have a cover reveal soon.

How Does Your Work Differ From Others in the Genre?

My inspirational romances tend to be what is at times classified as “edgy Christian fiction”, which might sound like an oxymoron, but let me explain. My heroes and heroines have struggled with their faith, have sinned and fallen short. One of them is almost always still struggling with their faith through the book. They sometimes don’t behave in the most saintly of ways, but they are always trying, always slipping and always receiving grace.

I also love humor, and when my editor lets me, I will liberally apply heavy doses. I believe you can find humor even in the most desperate of situations, and I do believe God wants us to fill our hearts with joy whenever possible.

Why Do You Write What You Do?

Because I couldn’t write a mystery or a thriller to save my life, even though I’m a die-hard Dateline fan.

How Does Your Writing Process Work?

I suffer from “shiny object” syndrome, so when I do have huge chunks of writing time on the weekends, you will no doubt find me getting up every few minutes to find out what that strange noise is, what is that enticing smell coming from the kitchen, and why is my dog still barking? Setting a timer helps.

Critique partners also help. We nag each other and keep each other accountable. If necessary, we use whips.

When I’m writing a first draft, I can really get in the zone. I will stop watching TV or spending time with the family, not always such a good thing. Revisions are a bit harder for me and require me to forcibly sit down at the keyboard and work it out. Revisions don't come easily and can’t be forced even if sitting in the chair can be.

Hopping onto the "My Writing Process" Blog Tour next week (3/3):

Amy Lamont writes contemporary and New Adult romance with quirky heroines, hunky heroes, and guaranteed happily ever afters. She lives in New England with her husband, twin daughters, and two rescue mutts. Find her at: Amy Lamont

Belle Calhoune grew up in a family of five children in a small town in Massachusetts. A lover of romance novels since she was in middle school, she now enjoys writing happily ever afters for the Harlequin Love Inspired line. Find Belle at: Belle Calhoune and Author Belle Calhoune Facebook page.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

It's All About the Song

An agent recently blogged about the comparisons between American Idol and an author's journey. She was dead-on about all of them, including those singers (and authors) who don't realize how great they are, to those singers (and authors) who don't realize there is still some work to do.

But it got me thinking about another comparison.

I'm not one of those people who always dreamed of being a writer. I would write - all the time. Journals, diaries, short stories. Therapy, basically. I just never imagined that could be a career. Besides, my real dream was to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Stop laughing.

Though my singing "career" self-imploded, I'd like to think I've learned some hard won lessons I can now apply to writing.

So, back to American Idol. Ever notice how the judges go on and on about song choice? There's a reason for that.

There are hundreds thousands of great singers who never "make it". I personally know one of them. She sounds like Janis Joplin, but better. I've thought about it for years, and sometimes it does come down to the song.

Now once you have an established fan base, the rules shift a bit. But until then, people are buying a song. If you're lucky, you happen to be the one singing it. Not that you can sing it badly or off-key and still be a success(but let's face it, that has happened).

Let's translate this to the publishing world. You need a story - a great story - either you take a trope or theme and turn it on its head, or your "voice" is so fresh and engaging the story sounds brand new.

The other side of it is knowing your voice and style - you'll often see the judges questions a contestant's sound choice. This almost always comes down to a younger singer who is still unsure of who they are. They tend to be all over the place with style and delivery. Consistency is key.

The same could be applied to writers who may not know their own strengths yet - maybe they long to write a tear-jerker that will pull at the heartstrings and cause readers to curl up in a fetal position. Instead, their real strength lies in telling a humorous story, but they don't know it yet. They need time to grow and figure it out.

Can you think of other comparisons? I'd love to hear them.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Welcome SYTYCW Finalist and Debut Author Elle Marlow

Welcome, Elle. After submitting your first chapter to SYTYCW, did you have any second thoughts or was it completely ready and polished?

I absolutely had second thoughts. I decided to take writing seriously in July just months before the contest. I didn’t have anything prepared so I hustled and wrote Josey’s Mountain in three weeks. I never even had a chance to read through it before I submitted it. Can you imagine my surprise when it made the top fifty? I did cartwheels in the streets.

Have you entered a writing contest like this before, or any other writing contest?

Before SYTYCW my only other contest was the Camp Wanna be pitch that Harlequin hosted I think that was the end of July. I received a partial request.

How long have you been writing?

I started out years ago just for fun. Then about fifteen years ago I submitted a story via snail mail to a publisher that has now gone out of business. It took a year to find out the results. Unfortunately it didn’t go anywhere.

What are your thoughts about the promotional aspect of the contest? Do you love social media and all its aspects?

I do enjoy social media. Moreover, I enjoy the friendships I made during that contest with other authors. I love cheering everyone on and watching other writers also grow in their craft.

What are you working on now?

Now I have five titles in different stages of publication with Front Porch Romance. Josey’s Mountain may not have made the top ten, but because of that effort, and it’s success, I have made lots of contacts and now, a new publishing home.

Do you have any advice for someone considering entering So You Think You Can Write 2014?

I think it’s most important to study the different lines of Harlequin, study what they are looking for. Craft your characters carefully along with a plot that fits. You get one chapter to “sell” the entire book so make it spectacular.

Where can we find you on the Web?

Where can’t you find me? LOL.



And now an excerpt from The Gambler's Passion, Elle's debut coming to you from Front Porch Romance:

Beautiful Arizona Summers is determined to fulfill her mother's dying wish and realize her dreams-even if it means dancing at Bare Backed Belles, cheating at high stakes poker or running from a spray of bullets with a man she's given her innocence to. She'd do it all and over again to find love and keep her promise.

Jace Forrester gets a thrill out of living a double life. Preacher's son by day, card hustler by night. Always after the big win, he can't resist Arizona's ultimate challenge. He may lose more than he bargain for-his heart.

Coming in February, Pour Me:

Wanted: One Cowgirl Mommy

That was the ad right next to the bartending one. Carly wasn't sure she was prepared for either, but she was heading back to Arizona regardless. Running from her past and hopefully to a brighter future, Carly couldn't predict that all three would collide and force her to face her demons. And sexy cowboy, Cade McCormick would be to blame for all of it.

Cade had to be careful about the women involved in little Danni's life. A cowgirl was on the bottom of his list! But time has a way of changing hearts, minds and roping the past together. Is his new bartender really the woman he thought he lost years ago? Did little Danni really place an ad to find her?