Books by Craftie Ladies

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Taxes and History

Naomi Rawlings here today. We've just finished up tax season here in the United States--how lovely for us.
I'm sure you understand that taxes have been around for a long time, certainly for centuries, and possibly even for millenia. Did you also know that evading taxes has been around for just as long?

Yep. It sure has, and my most recent novel, The Soldier's Secrets, deals with exactly that--a band of powerful people who have gotten themselves very rich by evading the King of England's customs agents and smuggling goods like tea and tobacco into England. These smugglers would also secretly spirit wool out of England as well, because there was an export tax on all wool leaving the country.

Of course, the hero and heroine of The Soldier's Secrets aren't helping the smugglers, but they still find themselves rather tangled up in some of the smuggler's nefarious deeds.

About the time we were throwing the Boston Tea Party here in the United States, 75% of the tea in England was being smuggled, according to some historians. So are you surprised to learn that smuggling and taxes are so closely related? Are you shocked that people were trying to evade taxes hundreds of years ago?

Monday, April 21, 2014

What's Predictable in a Story?

Hi, this is Margaret Daley here. Today someone on a loop I am on asked the question what we thought made a story predictable? After all, we write romances with a happily ever after ending. What can get more predictable than the man and woman falling in love and being together in the end? Someone once said there is no story that hasn't been told. So what do you look for in a story to make it fresh and unpredictable to you?

Margaret Daley writes romantic suspense and contemporary romance books. Next month she will have Bodyguard Reunion, the sixth and last book in her Guardians, Inc Series for Love Inspired Suspense. She has also released a romantic suspense novella about a female bodyguard called Deadly Hunt this month, the first in her Strong Women, Extraordinary Situations Series.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Claiming the Doctor's Heart Interview

How exciting to have Connor Mitchell. the hero from CLAIMING THE DOCTOR’S HEART by Renee Ryan an April 2014 release from Love Inspired Romance .

1.     Connor, tell me the most interesting thing about you.
I’m a single father of twin girls. Molly and Megan are about to turn nine years old. I’ve raised them on my own (okay, with the help of family, friends and an indispensable housekeeper) since they were four years old. My wife died of cancer just when our marriage was getting back on the right track after a rocky patch. I’m partners with a childhood friend of a local Family Medical Practice here in our small town Village Green.
2.     What do you do for fun?
Any activity that involves time with my daughters. They recently talked me into getting a puppy, which has proven to be more work than fun. The little guy recently got out of his crate and tripped the above mentioned indispensable housekeeper. Summer break just started and I’m in desperate need of childcare for my girls. I think I have a solution. My partners little sister Olivia Scott just came back to town and is in need of a temporary position. Here’s hoping it works out for all of us. 
3.     What do you put off doing because you dread it?
I hate updating patient charts, so I usually make initial notes that then need expanding at a later date. Since I’d rather spend time with my family, I end up working on the charts Sunday morning when the girls are attending Sunday school.
4.     What are you afraid of most in life?
Failing my daughters or not giving them enough of my time.
5.     What is the most important thing to you?
Family first, family always! That’s my motto. This wasn’t always the case. But I promised my wife on her deathbed to put the girls first. It isn’t always easy, but always worth the effort. I have no regrets. My life is richer and fuller for keeping my priorities straight.
6.     Do you read books? If so, what is your favorite type of book?
I read parenting books, when there’s time, but I mostly read out loud to my daughters at bedtime. We’re currently wading our way through the American Girl books. As of today, Samantha is their favorite.
7.     If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I’m not sure I’d change anything about myself, but I would change how many hours there are in a day.  I could use an extra two or three.
8.     Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet?
Samson is the newest member of our family. The girls picked him out. He’s a puggle (a cross between a beagle and a pug) and incredibly disobedient. Olivia seems to have a way with him. If she can tame that beast who knows what other wonders she’ll accomplish in my home. Samson adores her. My daughters adore her. I’m growing fond of her, too.
9.     If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why?
I’d return to those early years right after the birth of the twins. I would make sure I gave more of myself and my time to my family. I’ll never get those lost days back. I won’t make that same mistake twice.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

FEATURED BOOK:Claiming The Doctor's Heart by Renee Ryan

Unexpected Love
After losing her high-powered job, Olivia Scott finds herself back home in Colorado. She never imagined she'd be taking care of kids, let alone being the nanny to longtime crush Dr. Connor Mitchell's adorable twin girls. But what began as a favor to the handsome widower is growing into something more. Connor's confused by his growing feelings for his best friend's little sister. She's become a beautiful woman with a caring soul, but he can't risk his—or his girls'—heart. Olivia's planning to head back to her city life. Unless this small-town doctor can convince her to stay…forever. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Thursday Sisterhood with Sandra Orchard

Family Status: I’ve been married for almost 27 years to my very own real-life romance hero and I mean that literally. Only in a romance would the hero catch the heroine tossed off her bucking horse. Yes, he really did. And I never rode bareback again! We have three fabulous grown children and a son-in-love, of which my youngest daughter is also an accomplished freelance writer and an aspiring fantasy novelist and a much-appreciated sounding board when my characters give me grief. We also have 2 adorable grandchildren who bring such joy and laughter to our days. A cat and an Alaskan husky and a coop full of chickens and a miniature goat and a thirty-year-old horse round out our brood. That and the wily mouse I keep spotting running along the edge of my kitchen cupboards that keeps managing to elude eviction!

What Is Your Favorite Beverage: water. I know, boring, right?

What Is Your Favorite Food: Hmm, it always used to be pizza, but pizza just doesn’t seem to taste as good as it used to. Must be that elimination of trans-fat thing, or switching to whole wheat crust. LOL. My favorite treat is chocolate cream cheese cupcakes. Totally decadent!

          What Is Your Favorite Thing to do During Free Time: Play with my grandchildren. :-)

Who Has Been the Most Influential Person in Your Life: These are hard questions! At different times of my life, different people would come to mind. But overall, I’d have to say my mother, not in words, but in the life and character she modeled every day.

First Book You Fell in Love With: The Wind in the Willows. I still vividly remember returning it to the school librarian and going on and on about the characters etc.

A Book You Wish You’d Written: The next book in my contract…I’m always wishing it was already written! ;)

First Book Published: Deep Cover (Sept 2011, Love Inspired Suspense)

Most Recent Book: Perilous Waters (April 2014, Love Inspired Suspense) I loved writing this book, because it’s set on an Alaskan cruise modeled after the one my husband and I took to celebrate our 25th anniversary.

Out Next: Book 2 in my Port Aster Secrets mystery series: Blind Trust (June 2014, Revell) The romance and suspense arcs over the three books in this series, while each book also has a standalone mystery. The first book in the series, Deadly Devotion, is actually on sale at Kobo right now (other Ebook sellers may match) for $1.99 until the 20th.

How Many Have You Written: I have a few manuscripts in my drawer that were never contracted, but by the end of 2014, I will have 8 novels published and 2 more written and in the pipeline for 2015.

What Do You Know Now That You Wish You'd Known Then: Ive actually really enjoyed the journey of learning the craft and building friendships with writers prior to being contracted. There are a lot of things I couldve learned sooner that would have sped up the learning part, but Gods timing has been perfect.

What is Your Favorite Bible Story: The story of Ruth—so many great truths in that story

What is Your Favorite Bible Verse: ”The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter until the full light of day.” Proverbs 4:18 Its such a beautiful word picture of what our lives should look like and a good reminder that were on a journey, not arrived.

What is Your Favorite Hymn: O Sacred Head, Now Wounded, for both the words and haunting music. I love Amy Grants version from the 80s with a storm in the background. My favorite line: O make me Thine forever, and should I fainting be, Lord, let me never, never outlive my love to Thee.

What is an Ongoing Prayer Request You Have: My back is a continuing source of pain for me, especially when I cant resist picking up my grandkids or sit too long at the computer, so healing/strengthening of my back and God’s ongoing guidance in my writing are my two ongoing request.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A New Direction!

I'm excited to announce that I'm starting a brand new contemporary series set in a fictional town in Colorado just north of Denver.  All the books will be set in this new town, Village Green: Offering love, faith and a place to call home in Colorado. What's so fun about this new series is that it's loosely connected with my Charity House historical series.  In fact, the hero and heroine in CLAIMING THE DOCTOR'S HEART are descendants of characters in the historical books.  Charity House plays a role as well.
Writing this book wasn't easy, primarily because I had to create this fictional town.  I first had to figure out the connection between the historical books and the contemporary books.  I originally thought I would focus on Charity House, maybe turn the Old West orphanage for prostitutes' mistakes into a new kind of ministry.  I came up with several ideas but none of them seemed to fit.  So...Charity House became this rambling old structure the hero buys with the idea of raising his family there.  As the series continues, this will become the official gathering spot for holidays and special occasions.

Once I had the connection figured out (loose as it is) I need to populate the town.  In this book, the hero is a direct descendent of the hero in THE LAWMAN CLAIMS HIS BRIDE and the heroine is a direct descendent of the hero from THE MARSHAL TAKES HIS BRIDE.  I gave them each several siblings and poof...I now had lots of future heroes and heroines.
Next, I had to figure out more specifics about Village Green, itself.  Here's what I decided. Village Green, Colorado.  Founded 1899 by Jonathon Hawkins.  Population: 15,902.  Elevation: 4,984.

I still had to create businesses and places for my characters to frequent for fun.  Enter Hawkins Park, where the hero and heroine first meet.  I also gave the town a minor league baseball team, the Village Green Bobcats.  Since most of my characters are in the medical profession I had to give the town the Village Green Hospital.  The hero and the heroine's brother own a Family Medical practice.
Now came the really fun part.  Local businesses.  My heroine's best friend owns Senor O'Toole's, a cross between an Irish Pub and a Mexican Cantina.  The specialty of the house is Shepherd's Pie with a Mexican flare.  Since this is a small town, I added the Wash and Spins, a hybrid business that's a laundromat and a dance studio.  There's also Pizza Italiano and a ski shop still to be named.  Fun, fun, fun...

So, any thoughts as the name of the ski shop?  Leave a comment and you'll be entered into a drawing for a copy of CLAIMING THE DOCTOR'S HEART, an April 2014 release!
Here's the official blub:  After losing her high-powered job, Olivia Scott finds herself back home in Colorado. She never imagined she'd be taking care of kids, let alone being the nanny to longtime crush Dr. Connor Mitchell's adorable twin girls. But what began as a favor to the handsome widower is growing into something more. Connor's confused by his growing feelings for his best friend's little sister. She's become a beautiful woman with a caring soul, but he can't risk his—or his girls'—heart. Olivia's planning to head back to her city life. Unless this small-town doctor can convince her to stay…forever.  

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Shepherd's Bride and Inspiration

Patricia Davids here.
My latest book, The Shepherd's Bride, is in stores now. I do love the cover. It fits the story perfectly.
As I was writing this story, I thought often about the 23rd Psalm and how the Lord is our shepherd.

You might think my story is about how a shepherd takes care of his flock, but it's really about how a young woman takes care of her family and helps a young shepherd who has lost his way.

Lizzie is a woman with a mission. She has to find a home for her three sisters before her oldest sister is forced to marry a horrible man. What Lizzie doesn't have is much time, but what she does have is courage and determination.

I enjoy research and visiting a sheep farm during lambing season was the perfect way to spend an informative day. I'll never forget the sight of the lambs leaping and playing together. I hope you enjoy my story, too.

My question for you is: Who is the bravest person you know?
My husband, when he was facing death from cancer, was truly a brave man. I imagine you have known someone brave, too. Who is it?

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Soldier's Secrets Interview

How exciting to have Brigitte Dubois, the heroine from The Soldier’s Secrets written by Naomi Rawlings, an April 2014 release from Love Inspired Historical.

1.     Brigitte, tell me the most interesting thing about you.
Interesting? Let’s see. I’ve lived through the first half of the French Revolution—quite a feat, if you know much about that era. My husband, however, was killed over a year ago.
2.     What do you do for fun?  Fun? Well, I take in washing and mending to help afford food for my five children. Is that what you mean by “fun?”
3.     What do you put off doing because you dread it?
I need to tell Jean Paul the truth—as in, why I came to his farm at all. I’m not who I’m pretending to be. If only speaking the truth could be simple rather than complicated.
4.     What are you afraid of most in life?
I need to keep my children safe, and if you know much about my father-in-law, Alphonse Dubois, you’ll understand why I fear for my children’s safety.
5.     What do you want out of life?
I don’t ask for much, really. Safety for my children and a peaceful cottage far away from Alphonse. If only having those things didn’t mean betraying the man I’m growing to love.
6.     If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
That I ever agreed to take part in Alphonse’s foolish plan. It’s been nothing but trouble and heartache, and I’m beginning to fear the children and I won’t survive the coming storm.
7.     Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet?
No pet, but I am a little fond of Jean Paul’s mare, Sylvie.
8.     Can you tell us a little interesting tidbit about the time period you live in?
It’s the French Revolution, just after the Reign of Terror. All but my husband survived that terrible time, but even though our countrymen have stopped killing each other from within, we still fight wars against England, Spain, and Prussia. Sometimes I fear the fighting will never end.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

FEATURED BOOK: The Soldier's Secrets by Naomi Rawlings

Divided Loyalties 
Brigitte Dubois will do anything to keep her family safe. When she is blackmailed by her father-in-law, his quest for revenge leaves her no choice. To protect her children, she must spy on the man who may have killed her husband. But Jean Paul Belanger is nothing like she expected. The dark, imposing farmer offers food to all who need it, and insists on helping Brigitte and her children. 
Everything Jean Paul did was in the name of liberty. Even so, he can never forgive himself for his actions during France's revolution. Now a proud auburn-haired woman has come to his home seeking work and has found her way into his reclusive heart. But when she uncovers the truth, his past could drive them apart….

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Thursday Sisterhood with Danica Favorite

Family Status: Married with two girls at home- the Princess and the Cowgirl, and two adult step children. I also have a Dog, who is my favorite (just ask the rest of the family, and they will tell you that he is my favorite), and some chickens. Currently, the chickens are Lacy, Nyssa, and Gwennie, but the kids are trying to talk me into getting more.

Also, I have an inordinate amount of love for my chickens. And, since I mentioned pets, I should also give a shout-out to the toilet fish. We have a fish. It lives on the toilet. I can never remember its name, so I call it the toilet fish.

What Is Your Favorite Beverage: Tea

What Is Your Favorite Food: Really, you have to ask that? I JUST had to give up chocolate for health reasons, among a few other things, and so these days, all of my favorite foods are off-limits. I'm currently trying to get satisfaction by biting the heads off cinnamon bears.

What Is Your Favorite Thing to do During Free Time: I'm sorry, what is this thing you call free time? If I had free time, I'd read more. I also like to make art, knit, and travel.

Who Has Been the Most Influential Person in Your Life: I am a terrible interviewee because I HATE questions like this. My answers change a lot, maybe I'm fickle. But really, there's not a MOST person. A lot of people have been influential in my life in different ways. Camy Tang and Cheryl Wyatt (yes, the LIS and LI authors) are two of my best friends and they have taught me so much about friendship and grace, and with where I'm at in my life right now, I've been really clinging to the things they've taught me. Also, my friend Kay has been really amazing in helping me free my creative spirit. Hmm... those are all current. I can't think of any in the past at the moment.

First Book You Fell in Love With: The Secret of the Old Clock

A Book You Wish You’d Written: Pride and Prejudice

First Book Published: Coming November 2014!

Most Recent Book:Coming November 2014!

Out Next: After my November release, I'll have a follow up coming Spring 2015.

How Many Have You Written: I lost count... somewhere around 20 or so. This should be an encouragement to folks who'd like to be published and feel like it's taking FOREVER. If I can do it, so can you.

What Do You Know Now That You Wish You’d Known Then: That as much time as you spend unpublished WAITING, the waits are equally as long when you're published, so be prepared to make waiting the story of your life. :)

What is Your Favorite Bible Story: SERIOUSLY, I hate questions having to identify my favorite anything. I change my mind ALL. THE. TIME. Right now, it's Jonah, because we're doing a great Bible study on Jonah at my church, and it's been really impactful on me.

What is Your Favorite Bible Verse: I have a lot of favorites, but let's go with the summary of the Bible in one verse. Amos 5:4 "This is what the Lord says to Israel, Seek me and you shall live."

What is Your Favorite Hymn: I'm extremely fond of the Doxology. We sing variations of it every Sunday. It goes through my head a lot, especially when I'm out walking, and sometimes I think I even move in tune to it. I probably look silly doing it, but it makes me happy.

 What is an Ongoing Prayer Request You Have: Why are these questions so hard??? My ongoing prayer request is big with lots of pieces that are hard to explain, so I'll do my best and hope it makes sense. I'm in a weird season of transition and figuring out my life, healing some past wounds, and working on deepening my relationship with God. There's a very amorphous project in my head that has a bunch of pieces, but so far, I don't know what it all means, or how to put it together, so I'm just holding them, and praying for God to give me direction.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Surprised by a book?

Surprises in books? My fave! Nothing is a faster turn off than an author giving me what I expected. Can you relate? I can think of a few books that have surprised me. I enjoyed The Spellman Files, by Lisa Lutz because I was expecting kind of chick lit mystery. Did I get that? Nope. Heroine is a 28 year old toughie with a soft spot for her sister and a penchant for disastrous relationships who works for her private investigator parents. What’s more, the book shifts in time from the present (where someone important has disappeared) to the past, where the seeds of the situation were born. Lutz surprised me at every turn. How wonderful, no? 

The last book that surprised the beejeebers out of me was Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn. Can’t say I always liked all the surprises (a few I thought were over done and it was hard to find characters to root for) but boy that book had more twists than a bag of licorice! Seriously!

So what books have surprised you in a good way?