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  • Summer Reads Giveaway

    Summer. It’s a great time for catching up on all the great reads that seem to slip by during the rest of the year.

    So what have you been reading this summer? What’s the best book you’ve read in the last few months?

    And guess what? July is also my birthday month! In fact, this is my birthday week. So I thought I’d celebrate by giving away some more great summer reads–a copy of the Witness Protection series. Yep. All six books from Love Inspired Suspense continuity series that released between January and June of this year. (The third in the series happens to be my last release, Stolen Memories.)

    Enter here for a chance to win, and good luck!

    Happy reading!

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Meet Me at the Library

    Hi all,

    I’ll be speaking at the Portland Public Library in Portland, TN on Saturday, November 16th at 11:00am. I’ll offer a few tips and a bit of encouragement for those in the middle of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) as well as answer your questions about writing and publishing.

    If you’re in the area (just north of Nashville), I hope you’ll join me! It’ll be fun. Plus there will be books and maybe even a giveaway or two!!! 🙂 Hope to see you there.

    The details are all on my appearances page and my Facebook page. If you haven’t liked my Facebook author page yet, I’d love it if you’d stop by and follow me there, too!

    Happy reading (and writing), friends!

    Seal Under Siege – The first chapter

    I’m so excited about my new release SEAL Under Siege, book 2 in the Men of Valor series. (Even if you missed A Promise to Protect, the first in the series, you’ll still be able to enjoy this book.) It’s filled with some of my favorite things, like all my sister’s pregnancy quirks, which found their way into one of the characters. And Tristan has to be one of my favorite characters.

    SEAL Under Siege

    Here’s a little more about the book:

    When Staci Hayes is rescued from a Mideast prison by navy SEAL Tristan Sawyer, she thinks the ordeal is over. But back in San Diego, a new threat arises. Staci has information that could prevent a hit on U.S. soil, and the terrorist will stop at nothing to silence her. Tristan insists on being her bodyguard, but his constant presence makes her long for things beyond her reach. Protecting Staci is the second chance Tristan needs to put the past behind him. Yet with a spy on the naval base, anyone could be a threat. Can he offer her safety…and love?

    I’m offering my blog readers an opportunity to read the first chapter free. Just click here. Feel free to leave me a comment if you read it. Let me know what you think.

    Hope you enjoy!

    A Return to A Log Cabin Christmas

    In honor of the re-release of A Log Cabin Christmas Collection this month from Barbour Publishing, I’m sharing some of my favorite pictures from Carnton Plantation, the real-life field hospital that is mentioned in my story A Star in the Night.

    In August 2010, nearly a month after I originially submitted my proposal for this story, I made my mom join me for a tour of the old plantation and the grounds.

    The tour of the house was incredible. Here are a few pictures of the house, Confederate cemetery, and grounds.






    Confession. I went back to Carnton in November of that same year, and I got so lost up in imagining what it would be like to to have lived there, to have survived the war, that I nearly missed the last guided tour of the day. Oops! But wouldn’t you get lost in those enormous trees and open fields?

    The real history of Carnton is amazing, and Carrie McGavock, the mistress of the plantation, who opened her home to injured soldiers from both the North and the South, was an incredible woman. You can read all about the history of Carnton and the McGavock family here.

    If you’re ever in Middle Tennessee, I hope you’ll stop by and visit this old home filled with history. Until then, enjoy A Log Cabin Christmas Collection. And don’t forget to enter the big giveaway this week at Jane Kirkpatrick’s blog.

    A Log Cabin Christmas Giveaway

    As I mentioned last week, the nine authors of A Log Cabin Christmas Collection have joined forces for a mega-Christmas giveaway.

    Up for grabs is everything you see pictured here, plus a copy of A Log Cabin Christmas Collection, signed by all 9 authors.


    The more times you enter, the greater your chances are of winning! Entering is so easy. Just visit Jane Kirkpatrick’s blog here and use the easy Rafflecopter entry system. Good luck!



    Seven Reasons September Rocks!

    I LOVE September. For many, many reasons. And this September is even better than usual. Here are 7 reasons this September rocks!

    1. My brand new book, SEAL Under Siege, released this week. It’s now for sale all over. And there’s just nothing quite like seeing your book on a bookstore shelf. Next week, I’ll post the first chapter, just to tease you. 🙂 For now, I’ll just say how grateful I am for the very kind reviews so far for this book.

    SEAL Under Siege
    2. September means the annual ACFW conference, which, for me, is always equal parts stress and excitement. It takes a lot to prepare for the conference. There are proposals to polish, one-sheets to create, and pitches to perfect. But there are also so many wonderful friends to see and favorite authors to stalk chat with. That means you, Karen Witemeyer and Jenny B. Jones. (Seriously, these ladies are lovely and such talented writers, and I adore them.) It also means I get to catch up with some of my favorite folks from the Christian publishing industry.

    3. September brings the return of fall weather. At least theoretically. Nashville is trying to prove this wrong this year.

    4. Football. ‘Nuff said. Also Peyton Manning and Eli Manning. (Okay, now I’m done.)

    5. Barbour Publishing is re-releasing A Log Cabin Christmas Collection, which includes my novella, A Star in the Night. This New York Times bestseller has been a favorite for the last few years, and all nine authors joined together for a fun giveaway starting next week. More details coming on that soon, but here’s a picture of all the great stuff that’s up for grabs.


    6. My friend, Ruth, has a birthday this month. I adore celebrating birthdays. Even more so when it’s such a great friend.

    7. September means the start of the new TV season. I’m looking forward to Castle and the final season of How I Met Your Mother, plus some new shows like Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

    What do you love about September?

    Follow the Heart by Kaye Dacus

    Hi friends,
    I’ve been conspicuously absent of late mostly because I’ve been on deadline. I know, it’s no excuse, and I won’t have a new book for you to read until September, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some great new books coming out this summer. I’m super-Kaye Dacusthrilled to introduce you to my good friend Kaye Dacus and her new book Follow the Heart.

    Kaye and I get together to write every week, so I’ve been hearing about this book for months, and, you know what? It’s fabulous! (And I’m not just saying that because my name appears on the dedication page.) 🙂

    Here’s a bit about the story:
    Kate and Christopher Dearing’s lives turn upside down when their father loses everything in a railroad land speculation. The siblings are shipped off to their mother’s brother in England with one edict: marry money.

    At twenty-seven years old, Kate has the stigma of being passed over by eligible men many times—and that was before she had no dowry. Christopher would like nothing better than to make his own way in the world; and with a law degree and expertise in the burgeoning railroad industry, he was primed to do just that—in America.

    Though their uncle tries to ensure Kate and Christopher find matrimonial prospects only among the highest echelon of British society, their attentions stray to a gardener and a governess.

    While Christopher has options that would enable him to lay his affections where he chooses, he cannot let the burden of their family’s finances crush his sister. Trying to push her feelings for the handsome—but not wealthy— gardener aside, Kate’s prospects brighten when a wealthy viscount shows interest in her. But is marrying for the financial security of her family the right thing to do, when her heart is telling her she’s making a mistake?

    Mandates . . . money . Follow the Heart. . matrimony. Who will follow the heart?


    Kaye was kind enough to answer a few questions about the book (the first in The Great Exhibition Series). So here you go:

    Where did the idea come from for Follow the Heart?
    In 2001, I watched Victoria & Albert on A&E and fell in love with the love story of these two monarchs of England. But that wasn’t the only thing I took away from it. I was also fascinated by the scenes which portrayed the planning and opening of Prince Albert’s Great Exhibition in 1851. Then, a few years later, I watched another mini-series: North & South. No, not the one about the American Civil War, the one based on the classic, but little-known, novel by Elizabeth Gaskell. It also has a scene that takes place at the Great Exhibition. Once I saw that, I was hooked—on the era and on the event.

    How did you choose your characters’ names?
    Funny story . . . Kate’s name was originally Meg and her maid’s name was Joan. [This is Liz: I read that one, too!] Until I picked up a book by a writer friend and discovered those two names (as heroine and her maid, no less!) on the first page. So I went back to my original story idea and the images of the actress who’s the template for the character.  And almost as soon as I did, I heard her voice very distinctly in my head: My name is KATE. But rich men don’t marry Kates. They marry Katharines. So I changed her name and nickname to Katharine/Kate (Katharine spelled with an A in the middle in honor of my favorite actress Katharine Hepburn.) Andrew is a name I’ve always loved and wanted to use, and it suited this landscape architect perfectly.

    Why did you choose to set the story in Oxford, instead of London where the Great Exhibition was held?
    I read at least three or four British-set historical romances each month—and without fail, the majority of them are set in London. It’s a setting that has become over-exposed. Also, with a landscape architect as my main hero, I needed the action to take place at a country house, not in the city. By the 1850s, Oxford was a large enough city to have railway service to all of the other major cities, but still quaint/small enough to give the small-town feel that I love to use in my stories. Plus, there was a lot of chaos happening in London in early 1851 due to the final preparations for the Great Exhibition, and I felt like that could overwhelm what I wanted my story and settings to be.

    What was your favorite book as a child?
    I loved the Little House on the Prairie books (still have the original yellow-cover copies from childhood). As a ’tween, I discovered the Sunfire YA romances, and I was hooked!

    Any advice for aspiring novelists?
    The best advice I got when I first started getting serious about learning the craft and pursuing publication: Above all else, FINISH YOUR FIRST DRAFT! You can fix anything but a blank page. The most important thing is to get your entire story down on paper before you start worrying about all of the technical craft things and stressing yourself out about “making it perfect.” Just write.

    Thanks, Kaye!

    If you love a heartwarming regency tale, be sure to check out Kaye’s Follow the Heart–available on May 1st at bookstores everywhere including amazon, Barnes and Noble, LifeWay Christian Stores, and more!


    Football and The Princess Bride?

    I love football. Really! Watching the NFL is a favorite pass time every fall.

    Know what else I love? The Princess Bride. It’s one of my favorite books and the movie is such a classic! So when my friend Amy sent me this link, I just about fell out of my chair. Two of my favorite things together in one 90-second clip. Could a girl be any happier?

    This, my friends, is TWUUUUUUUUE WUUUUUVVVVVV!

    Freefall by Jodie Bailey

    I’m so excited to introduce you today to a fellow Love Inspired Suspense author, Jodie Bailey. Jodie’s first book, Freefall, comes out tomorrow, and I think it looks like an edge-of-your-seat delight.

    Before we hear from Jodie, here’s a bit more about her book.

    With one accusation, army officer Cassidy Matthews’s name, reputation—and life—are on the line. A Special Forces soldier insists that Cassy’s Fort Bragg-based unit is smuggling drugs. And the accuser? It’s Cassy’s handsome, stubborn ex-husband, Major Shane Logan. Shane knows Cassy is innocent, which is why he’s sure she’s being set up to take the fall. Proving it, though, means working together…and trying to ignore the feelings they still share. The closer they get—to the truth and each other—the more the danger grows from a ruthless criminal who’ll stop at nothing to destroy them both.

    Available at amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, and more!

    And now, 5 quick questions with Jodie.

    1. How did you get started writing?

    I honestly don’t remember. I’ve written since I knew how to hold a pencil. I got serious about it when I was watching Beth Moore’s Daniel series and I thought, “Man! She has the world’s coolest job, writing about God.” And God Gibbs-slapped me in the back of the head and said, “Duh.” Not really, but it felt like it. And after a few false starts when I tried to write a Bible study, I finally figured out he meant to do what I’d been doing for fun all along… write fiction. How cool is He?!?

    2. Freefall is your first book. What was it like getting the call that your book had found a publisher?

    I was eating pork chops and the phone happened to be on the table beside me. When I saw my agent’s name popped up–after I’d just talked to her the week before–I just knew. And I couldn’t move to answer it. When I did, I walked halfway up the hall, literally dropped to my knees, and said repeatedly, “You’re kidding. You’re kidding.” I’m surprised she didn’t hang up on me. It was total shock, and my brain just got stuck thinking, “This can’t possibly be happening for real.” I knew she would never tease like that, but my mind couldn’t accept reality. It was funny.

    3. Give us a quick synopsis of your book.

    A soldier teams up with a retired commando, an undercover agent, and her ex-husband to uncover a drug smuggler, and while one man wins her love, another tries to destroy her.

    4. What made you want to write about military men and women?

    It was a case of “write what you know.” My agent casually mentioned military suspense to me one day, and I sort of brushed it off, but the more I thought about it, the more it intrigued me as a military spouse. It was kind of fun to dig into in some ways, and very hard in others, because I was aware of the responsibility to be as accurate as possible.

    5. And just for fun, if you had a day off with no responsibilities, what would you do?

    I’d love a good book, a comfy sweatshirt, and the chaise lounge on our porch… or on a deck at the beach. That sounds appealing most days. Then again, so does hopping on the Harley with my husband and cruising the back roads to the beach. Either of those would work.

    Any last words … 

    Thanks for inviting me! That was kind of fun, although now I wish I could go home and put on my sweatpants and read the afternoon away…