Books by Craftie Ladies

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Suspense writing--it's not for Wimps

by Vickie McDonough

When I first started writing back in 2001, I wrote two contemporary novels, a historical, and then another modern day story. I didn’t know then that my career of over 30 books and novellas would follow a historical trail for the most part. I have had 3 contemporary stories published—a novella, a Heartsong novel, and an LIS suspense. The suspense was definitely the most challenging.

Rancher Under Fire is my suspense. I wrote the story years ago, but it never found a home until last year. My agent suggested sending it to LIS, but I told him it wasn’t suspenseful enough for that line. Imagine my shock when they bought it. But, I was right in that it needed more suspense. You must keep the tension high in a suspense—keep throwing danger and difficult situations at your characters, and keeping them dodging trouble. I had lots of tension and bad things happening, but most of it was directed at my hero’s ranch rather than at him, such as stock tanks being shot, fences cut, etc. My LIS editor had me go back through the story and up the tension even more and direct more of the danger at my hero and heroine. I literally spent more time rewriting the book than it took to write it initially. But it’s done, and it’s a better story for all of the changes. I suspect it’s still not as suspenseful as many LIS’s, but I hope you’ll enjoy it. I certainly have a much better appreciation for suspense writers like my good friend Margaret Daley and the other LIS authors.

Here’s the back cover blurb for Rancher Under Fire:


Jackson Durant would go to any lengths to protect his young daughter and his ranch. He knows the puzzling incidents on his homestead are no accidents. Someone is after him…but who? And why? Reporter Mariah Reyes is determined to find out. She never expected her pursuit of a story on the reclusive rancher would endanger her life—nor that she’d fall for the cowboy. But when Jackson’s daughter is kidnapped, she’ll do anything to help save the little girl—even if it means becoming a target herself.

Rancher Under Fire releases today in paperback and ebook!! Yeehaw!

Now, I have a question for you:

Who is your favorite suspense writer? What’s your favorite suspense novel?

Bestselling author Vickie McDonough grew up wanting to marry a rancher, but instead she married a computer geek who is scared of horses. She now lives out her dreams in her fictional stories about ranchers, cowboys, lawmen, and others living in the Old West during the 1800s. Vickie is the award-winning author of over thirty published books and novellas. Her books include the fun and feisty Texas Boardinghouse Brides series, and End of the Trail, which was the OWFI 2013 Best Fiction Novel winner. Whispers on the Prairie was a Romantic Times Recommended Inspirational Book for July 2013.

Vickie has been married thirty-eight years, is the mother of four grown sons, one of whom is married, and she is grandma to a precocious eight-year-old girl. When she’s not writing, Vickie enjoys reading, antiquing, watching movies, and traveling. To learn more about Vickie’s books or to sign up for her newsletter, visit her website:

Monday, September 1, 2014

Love Inspired Romance New Release Update - September 2014

Listed below are the upcoming releases from our talented writers here at Craftie Ladies of Romance.  To purchase any of these wonderful books, just click on the book covers.  And to learn more about the authors, click on their names.


Home to a Cowboy
In a split second, a tragic accident ends Kathleen Somers's ballet career. Her dreams shattered, she returns home to the Soaring S ranch…and her first love. Suddenly the local veterinarian, Dr. Nate Sterling, goes from her ex to her champion. 

With the help of a lively poodle therapy dog, the cowboy vet sets out to challenge Kathleen's strength and heal her heart. He'll show her there's life beyond dance, even if it means she leaves town again. But maybe, just maybe, he'll convince her there's only one thing in life worth having…and he's standing right in front of her.

Caring Canines: Loving and loyal, these dogs mend hearts.


Melting His Heart 

Cash Coble is desperate for a change. After working in the family business for ten years, he's stressed out and overworked. When he heads to Colorado to visit his ailing grandfather, he finds his mood lifted by the beautiful woman living next door.

After a troubled past, ice climber Taryn Purcell isn't looking for love. Especially not with a charming Texan who's consumed by work. But there's something about Cash that captures her heart. Never one to back down from a challenge, Taryn promises to show Cash how to carve out a happy life—one that includes her.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Protected by the Warrior Interview

 How exciting to have Rowena, heroine from Protected by the Warrior written by  Barbara Phinney an August 2014 release from Love Inspired Historical Romance .

1.  Rowena, tell me the most interesting thing about you.
Well, based on what Lord Stephen says, that my most interesting trait would be my ability to read how people are really feeling. I just somehow know by the way they act, how they really feel about something. Lord Stephen wanted me to help him find those who would make trouble for King William. But I have had my fill of intrigue, thank you very much.

2.  What do you do for fun?
Lord Stephen brought this wonderful troupe of minstrels to the manor house. What fun it was to watch them! Why some can juggle many pieces of fruit, and one man pulled a coin from my ear!

3.  What do you put off doing because you dread it?
Remember I said that Lord Stephen wanted to help me find the troublemakers? Well, I knew in my heart I needed to help him, but to trust that Lord Stephen would protect me? I wasn't so sure about that.

4.  What are you afraid of most in life?
I hate to say this, but to trust. I fear that I cannot freely give it away. And yet, haven't I trusted in the Lord? I don't know Him, but know He wants me to trust in Lord Stephen. 'Tis so hard, though!

5.  What do you want out of life?
I have a beautiful little boy and 'twould please me so much to see him learn to read and know his numbers. I only want the very best for my child.

6.  What is the most important thing to you?
There are many things that are important to me. Some are not things to be proud of, like pride itself. But I would say my son is the most important thing, and his well-being.

7.  If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
My hair. You see, 'tis as pale as snow and as light as duck down. And 'tis so hard to keep braided and tucked away. I would love to have darker, sturdier hair. Oh, do you mean about my personality? I would love to be able to change how hard it is for me trust. 'Tis not an easy thing for me.

8.  Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet?
Well, I have no pets, but I have the most timid little hen. I can almost think she is listening to me when I talk to her.

9. Can you tell us a little interesting tidbit about the time period you live in?
They are dangerous times here in England. King William is still fighting us Saxons, so he couldn't have troops everywhere. So he put people like Lord Stephen in charge of counties and estates. The Norman French in charge of us! Some of the men are wise but some are just plain evil. I've heard that the king is ordering castles and churches be built all over England. We will never be the same again. Even our language is changing, with new French words coming into it everyday.

Saturday, August 30, 2014


When Clara became a midwife, she vowed to preserve life above all. She'll keep that vow, even if it means defying a Norman baron by hiding a Saxon slave and her child. Yet when the ruthless lord threatens Clara's village—and her life—she's forced to rely on another Norman to keep her safe. 
Kenneth D'Entremont is a soldier, one who takes lives instead of healing them. Clara despairs of finding any common ground with him. But when he begins guarding her, she learns to see him in a new light. His care and compassion make her feel safe…even loved. Can she bring herself to put her secrets, and her heart, under the protection of the warrior?

Friday, August 29, 2014

Friday Sisterhood with Patty Smith Hall

Family Status:  My husband and I just celebrated my 31st wedding anniversary June 17th! We have two daughters—one who works in the medical profession and who is getting married next year, and our youngest who is a junior in college.

What Is Your Favorite Beverage: McDonald’s Sweet Tea with two lemons

What Is Your Favorite Food: Bread—I love just about any kind of bread!

What Is Your Favorite Thing to do During Free Time: I’m big into reading, walking the parks around my house, visiting with family and friends.

Who Has Been the Most Influential Person in Your Life:  That’s a hard question! My parents, obviously, but my maternal grandmother too. I’m like her in many ways and seeing that, she was able to guide me through some life-changing decisions.

First Book You Fell in Love With: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. I read this book every year from the time I was in 3rd grade until I graduated from college-I wanted to be like Beth(without dying, of course!)

A Book You Wish You’d Written: Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. To write that beautifully is truly a gift!

First Book Published: Hearts in Flight, July, 2011 

Most Recent Book: Hearts Rekindled, Feb, 2014

Out Next: Winning the Sheriff’s Heart hasn’t been assigned a release date.

How Many Have You Written:  6 total; four published, one looking for a publishing house; one I’m self-publishing. 

What Do You Know Now That You Wish You’d Known Then: The business side of publishing—it’s important for every aspiring author to have a good handle on contracts, royalty statements and marketing.

What is Your Favorite Bible Story: The story of Paul—as a person who struggles with pain on a daily basis, his ministry while dealing with a ‘thorn in his side’ has special meaning for me. 

What is Your Favorite Bible Verse: Romans 8:28(which is also my life verse.)

What is Your Favorite Hymn: Another hard question! Because I love them all!

What is an Ongoing Prayer Request You Have: That the Lord would work in our girls' lives as well as our future son-in-law’s life.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

What's all this about Throw Back Thursday? Books I remember from the past--Lenora Worth

Hello, my darlings. It's always fun to remember good things from the past, right? I'm not one to post pictures of Elnora in the good old days, but I do like to discuss books and movies that I remember from other eras. So I thought it would be fun to talk about some of the books and movies that had a big influence on us.

When I was in high school (and maybe even before that) in the early 70s. (Yes, I'm that old) one of my favorite books was "Practically Seventeen" by Rosamond du Jardin. This story captivated me since it was about young love and lots of angst. I must have read it ten times over the years. I wish I still had my frayed copy but I don't even remember what happened to it.

Of course, I love "Gone With the Wind" too. Sweeping saga abou a sassy southern bell who just wanted to be loved.

These are just two of my through-back Thursday books.
 And I'm adding one of my own. This is a reprint of one of my early books. It's always been a reader favorite so I'm thrilled that it's having another go:

What are some of your favorites?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

School is upon us! How are you feeling about that? Dana Mentink here, and I have mixed emotions. As a third grade teacher, it's always exciting to take the plunge into the school year with a new bunch of eager kiddos. As a mom of two highschoolers, I have anxiety about the various ups and downs that await my two teen girls. As a writer, I face the disequilibrium of balancing two careers. As we trek into the unknown, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on my five fave moments from summer vacation. 

1. Visiting Amish country in Sugarcreek, Ohio. Stepping back in time was never so sweet. I enjoyed every moment of touring Amish country and meeting folks who live a completely different life than my own. 

2. Reading! I crammed myself with every possible novel I could manage! 

3. Spending sweet moments with the family. A "go fish" card tournament and summer at the movies for the Mentinks! 

4.  Growing my garden. Having schlepped tomato seeds back from Thomas Jefferson's Monticello garden, I savored every moment of watching my Brandywine tomatoes come into ripeness. 

5.  Enjoying the break from the intense demands of teaching and those dreaded concerns about grades, homework and social dramas for my girls. 

What was your favorite moment from summer? 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Falling in Love with Romance Novels

Deb Kastner here, thinking about the first Harlequin Romance I ever picked up.

I have a selective memory. Often I can’t tell you what I ate for dinner last night, but ask me when and where I read my first Harlequin romance novel and within a split second you’ll have an answer—not only the when and where, but the title, author and genre.

I know. Crazy, right?

I’ve lived in Colorado for most of my life, but my folks are from Oregon and all our extended family still lives there, so every other year during my childhood, we’d visit Oregon for a couple of weeks on vacation. This particular year I was twelve years old and the family was having a reunion of sorts out at a lake. The adults played cards and watched the younger kids while the teenagers took the boat out on the lake. I fell somewhere in between, which often left me alone to amuse myself. Not particularly hard to do for an introvert and an avid reader.

Before we went out to the lake, we stopped by a small drugstore in John Day, Oregon to get supplies for our camping trip. Drawn to the book section, I found a revolving rack of Harlequin romances. I’d never read a romance novel before, but two titles jumped right off the rack at me—Sophie and the Prince by Sylvia Sark and Prisoner of the Harem by Julia Herbert. Both of these novels were Harlequin’s Historicals, and they looked fascinating. So while everyone else at the reunion was socializing, I was tucked in a corner with my nose in a book—well, two books. During those few days, I fell in love with the stories of strong heroines and dashing heroes. I went back to that drug store after the reunion to stock up on more books for the ride back to Colorado. Harlequin books instantly became my favorite source of reading materials.

And they still are today. I am incredibly blessed to be able to write for Love Inspired. Sometimes it still feels surreal, seeing my name on a Harlequin novel. Who would have thought that the introverted preteen alone at a family reunion would turn into an author for the very publisher she was reading?

What about you? Do you remember the first Harlequin book you ever read?

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Road Less Traveled

Christine Johnson here today to talk about roads. That might not sound terribly exciting, but roads (and paths) are an oft-used metaphor for life's journey. 

Long ago when I was in school, one of my favorite poems was Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken.” I loved the imagery of the fork in the road and the choice of which path to take—well-trodden or less traveled. How easy to take the interstate expressway, yet by doing so we miss the treasures found on narrow byways.

gravel road

Sometimes the road or path might seem frightening. Here I am hiking high above the road in Glacier National Park…and thinking that the road might have been the better option!

narrow path

Back in the 1920s, there were no expressways. Most roads were dirt or gravel and heavily rutted. Car tires blew out frequently. Carrying spares was a necessity. I can’t recall the last time I checked my spare, least of all used it. Lumber states, like Michigan in its early years, sometimes paved roads with slabs of wood so wagons and buggies wouldn’t get stuck in the mud. Some of those survived into the twentieth century. I can imagine the teeth-chattering washboard effect of driving on slab wood. The hero and heroine in my upcoming release, Suitor by Design, end up on one of those old roads under the worst of circumstances.

I still enjoy a scenic road. I love the possibilities around each bend or at each fork. During this summer’s trip to Mt. Rainier National Park, we found this wood suspension bridge at Longmire. My husband and I walked across the bridge, which was only wide enough for one car to cross at a time.

wood suspension bridge

What interesting byways have you found in your travels? Do you have a favorite drive or bridge? Which fork in the road did you choose, and where did it lead you?

Cover for Suitor by Design

Christine Johnson
Suitor by Design (LIH, October 2014)
Twitter: @ChristineJWrite

Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Wrangler's Inconvenient Wife Interview

How exciting to have Seb White, a character from The Wrangler’s Inconvenient Wife written by Lacy Williams an August 2014 release from Love Inspired Historical.

1.  Seb, tell me the most interesting thing about you.

Prob’ly the most interesting is that I’m not the hero of this book. Nope, I’m his brother. I’m eighteen, not ready for marriage or anything like that! I met Fran and Emma Morris at the same time Edgar did and I’m taking over this interview for my brother.

2.  What does Edgar do for fun?

Edgar used to be buckets of fun. Always playing tricks and pranks on our brothers—there’s seven of us adopted by our pa, plus our adopted sister Breanna—but since Oscar and Maxwell both got hitched, he’s become all responsible… stodgy, even. He ain’t no fun anymore! I’m hoping that meeting Fran will loosen him up, but so far… well, he’s bein’ his stubborn self, that’s for sure.

3.  What does Edgar put off doing because he dreads doing it?

That would definitely be personal hygiene. Ed’s been avoiding women since he hit puberty—he’s got trust issues left over from his childhood. I don’t really know why, he don’t talk about that time in his life, but basically he don’t like women, don’t want to court no women—don’t even want to talk to them. So if his hair’s a little shaggy and that crazy-long beard of his help keep ‘em away, well, he ain’t shaved in ages.

4.  What is Edgar most afraid of?

Didn’t ya see my notes above about women? He’s afraid of trusting someone and getting hurt, has bristles like a porcupine.

5.  What does Edgar want out of life?

That old grump… who knows what he wants out of life? He likes staying on the family homestead. Don’t want to travel, don’t want a wife… He just wants thing to stay the same. And we all know that ain’t gonna happen.

6.  What is the most important thing to Edgar?

This one’s easy. He don’t want to let our pa down. Pa took all us boys in as orphans, back when he was in his twenties, just a young pup hisself. All of us owe him for saving us from our bad situations, but Edgar takes it especially seriously—he feels like he owes Pa some debt or something. Which is ridiculous. Pa loves him, loves all of us. He don’t expect nothing, but Edgar takes his family loyalty real serious.

7.  Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet?

We live on a working ranch, so we’ve got more working animals than pets. Our sister Breanna has this little white rat of a dog that follows us boys around. It’s a pest sometimes, but we can’t get rid of it ‘cause Breanna would hate us.

8. Can you tell us a little interesting tidbit about Edgar?

Well, I prob’ly shouldn’t say this but… I’ll tattle on big brother anyway. He ain’t as immune to Fran as he wants everyone to think. I see how he watches her when he thinks no one is payin’ attention. He’s infatuated, even if he pretends like he ain’t. And it’s gonna be fun to watch!

Saturday, August 23, 2014


With no family to watch over them, it's up to Fran Morris to take care of her younger sister, even if it means marrying a total stranger. Gruff, strong and silent, her new husband is a cowboy down to the bone. He wed Fran to protect her, not to love her, but her heart has never felt so vulnerable.

Trail boss Edgar White already has all the responsibility he needs at his family's ranch in Bear Creek, Wyoming. He had intended to remain a bachelor forever, but he can't leave Fran and her sister in danger. And as they work on the trail together, Edgar starts to soften toward his unwanted wife. He already gave Fran his name…can he trust her with his heart?

Friday, August 22, 2014

Friday Sisterhood with Vickie Mcdonough

Family Status: Married, four grown sons, but two still live at home 
What Is Your Favorite Beverage: Coke
What Is Your Favorite Food: Just one? Being honest--French silk pie
What Is Your Favorite Thing to do During Free Time: Read
Who Has Been the Most Influential Person in Your Life: My dad
First Book You Fell in Love With: A Gown of Spanish Lace by Janette Oke
A Book You Wish You’d Written: Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers
First Book Published: My first published work was a novella in a collection called A Stitch in Time. First actual book was Sooner or Later
Most Recent Book: Call of the Prairie, book 2 in my Pioneer Promises series
Out Next: Song of the Prairiebook 3 in my Pioneer Promises series
How Many Have You Written: 34 
What Do You Know Now That You Wish You’d Known Then: The skills of writing
What is Your Favorite Bible Story: The story of Jesus
What is Your Favorite Bible Verse: Jeremiah 29:11
What is Your Favorite Hymn: He Lives 
What is an Ongoing Prayer Request You Have: That my sons who are not walking with God would turn back to Him