Tuesday, May 31, 2011

How to Write a Great “Hidden-Child” Romance!

Why “A Rancher’s Pride” Is Getting Universal Great Reviews!

A Rancher's Pride
by Barbara White Daille
Harlequin American Romance
Miniseries: American Romance's Men of the West
Category: Heart & Home

"A Rancher's Pride" has enjoyed the highest book reviews. RT gave it 4 1/2 starts, Top Pick, and I've never seen them give 5 stars. (I think they give 5 Stars once every ten years). "A Rancher's Pride" is about as good a 'hidden-child' romance as you'll ever read.
In this review I'd like to go into how Barbara White Daille did it.

First, "A Rancher's Pride" starts with the hero discovering he has a child. Often you have to wait two chapters for the hero to make this discovery. It’s almost as if the editor just cut off the first two chapters to get right to the action.

Here’s the opening two sentences:

“The minute Sam Robertson saw his mother's frozen expression, he knew something terrible had happened. He hadn't seen that look on Sharleen's face since the night his daddy died.”

After this I was hooked. But things didn’t let up. Often when the hero finds out he has a ‘hidden-child’, the hero and heroine begin to try and solve their conflicts. Not this book!

In “A Rancher’s Pride” the conflict grows like a snowball rolling down a hill! I was ¼ into the book and the conflict was still growing. This makes for the kind of intense reading that most fans like in a romance. Here’s what the author said about writing this story:

“Writing ‘A Rancher’s Pride’ kept me on the verge of tears, because even I wasn’t sure how Sam, Kayla and Becky could ever reach a happy ending.”

Well, yes, if the author keeps increasing the conflict instead of working it out, after a while, the reader will wonder too!

This is just wonderful writing! The kind of writing that is very hard to do but the kind that fans love most!

The Story:

The hero, Sam Robertson, lives on a ranch in New Mexico. The heroine, Kayla Ward, is the aunt of the hidden child who wants custody. The child, Becky, is deaf and Kayla is an American Sign Language teacher. She can communicate with Becky but her father, Sam, is totally lost.

“A Rancher’s Pride” is a very well motivated story that will grab your heart while ringing true to the last sentence. Don’t miss it!

Highest Recommendation!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Great Amazon Romance with Life Continues…

21 Years Later…
A Real Life Heroine Continues Her Love Story:

A love of caring
A love of healing
A love of life
A love of a people

Paperback: 238 pages
Publisher: Pfeifer-Hamilton Pubs (October 1998)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1570251401
ISBN-13: 978-1570251405

This is an inspiring book that's a pleasure to read. It gives the reader the vicarious enjoyment of being part of a noble endeavor. In an age of "road rage" and the obsessive accumulation of more and more things (which often do not make us happy), it's exhilarating to experience a taste of Dr. Linnea's life.

Dr. Smith shows us how one can give up almost all the material possessions and creature comforts of the modern world and still find meaning, happiness, and personal fulfillment. Dr. Smith has created for herself a significant life. A life with much to teach a troubled world.

While missionaries have long sacrificed themselves to serve God, win the eternal salvation of lost souls, and earn a place in the pantheon of saints, Dr. Smith does it for the pure humanity of the effort. Goodness is indeed its own reward in this Amazon outpost.

Because of Dr. Smith's "wonderful life", many lives have been enriched and some even saved. More importantly, countless hours of suffering have been alleviated. This is the most humane thing: ending or reducing pain. We all have to die but we shouldn't have to suffer or endure years of pain when a cure is available. Dr. Smith provides the cures that often would not be provided otherwise.

She treats the sick and asks nothing in return; she allows her patients to keep their personal integrity; she respects their beliefs; she grants them respect and maintains their dignity; I think this could be called love.

On the surface, this book is about a one woman medical practice hidden in the Amazon rain forest. Beneath the surface, however, it is about finding meaning in a world that too often seems to be without meaning. Dr. Smith's "life-example" has the power to let you view your own life differently; perhaps with a clearer insight. With one brave decision, everything can change. For Dr. Smith and thousands of her patients, the change has had life-sustaining significance.

When I first read this book years ago, I felt a similar elation reading this book that I experienced when the US Women's Soccer Team won the World Cup. I was proud that our young women could show the world such excellence in a non-American sport. What else would this generation of young American women do in the future now that they saw what they could do? It is the power of their "example" that is so exciting. I stood and cheered in the privacy of my living room. This book still has the power to more me twenty-one years later.

Dr. Smith is such an example, as well. She's one of our own; a human we can be proud of -- a human we would gladly point to if Extra Terrestrials came to earth and wanted to interview an exemplar human being for the Encyclopedia Galactica. Better yet, she is in "real time"; she is alive and still "on-mission". You can be a part of her life. You can support her efforts. You can even bring her medicine if you visit the Amazon -- as some adventurous tourists do. You can visit her website (run by her relatives in the USA.)

As a bonus, the book is very well written and designed. It is also moderately priced.

La Doctora demonstrates the best in mankind. The message is optimistic; the ending, happy. Reading it may make you happy. And maybe, as in my case, it may make you want to stand and cheer as you finish the last page.

Keep up the good work Dr. Smith. You can follow her life in her newsletter. Feeling good and feeling proud and feeling optimistic is definitely worth the price of admission.

Amazon Medical Project, Inc. TM
Kim Stokes, Administrator
PO Box 194
Mazomanie, WI 53560
Telephone: (608) 795-4792

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Philosophy of Ethics & Redneck Etiquette

If you are a redneck...

1. It is improper to drive your tractor to the wedding – when you're the bride.

2. Your tractor is not a proper vehicle for a first date.

3. A box of OO-buck shells is not an appropriate gift at a shotgun wedding.

4. if you eat the last piece of chicken, you have to kill the next chicken.

5. it is inappropriate to be the best man at your ex-wife’s wedding unless you’re related to the groom.

6. it is inappropriate to pass out at a party while there is still liquor available.

7. it is inappropriate to throw beer bottles at women honkytonk singers if they are pregnant.

8. it is inappropriate to send Valentine cards to cousins -- if you used to be married to them.

9. it’s inappropriate to lend your handicap sticker to someone who is too drunk to park in the regular spaces.

10. it’s inappropriate to ask an author at a book signing if she’s written any real books. (Now that’s a real redneck!)

Special thanks to Mary Connealy – Romantic Comedy with Cowboys for inspiring this post!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Abigail Gordon Spins Another Magical Medical Romance!

“Bluebell Cove” is the Hero and the Heroine is the Author: Abigail Gordon!

Abigail Gordon
Harlequin Medical Romance
Miniseries: The Bluebell Cove Stories
Category: Classic Romance
Paperback & Kindle editions
Read the opening passages of “Wedding Bells for the Village Nurse,” and you’ll quickly see that the real hero in this book is the idyllic setting!

“When Jenna Balfour looked out of the window of the taxi as it cruised along the coast road on a Sunday afternoon in midsummer it was there down below, beautiful and changeless. A strip of golden sand where Atlantic breakers, white edged and powerful, forever staked their claim, and today, as was often the case, surfers were there to challenge them with boards at the ready.

“It had been her favorite place while she’d been growing up and nothing had changed while she’d been studying nursing at a London college. Every time she’d been home on vacation she’d gone down to the beach to surf within minutes of arriving home.”

I just love Abigail Gordon’s writing. She is bold and confident. She lets you know she is going to tell you a story, she sets the stage, fills in the facts, and then weaves her magic. Abigail Gordon is a modern day storyteller. Her stories alone keep the reader captivated. Her writing is free of artifice. Because she carefully sets the story up at the start, her short books provide a much richer ‘read’ that one usually only finds in books twice the length.

The story:

Of course, there is a real hero and heroine in “Wedding Bells for the Village Nurse.” The hero, Dr. Lucas Devereux is a top heart surgeon who was unjustly attacked and almost killed by an unhappy husband whose wife died on Devereux’s operating table. He has taken a simple job as doctor in the beautiful “Bluebell Cove” resort town in England in order to find peace of mind.

The heroine, Jenna Balfour, is a nurse returning home to Bluebell Cove when her mother becomes too disabled to take care of herself. Her mother was the head of the medical practice and never had any time for her daughter when she was going up.

How Lucas and Jenna find love and happiness is the rest of the story. There’s lots of medical action as you would expect in a Medical Romance.

Another Great Story by Abigail Gordon

Also Read these Reviews of "Bluebell Cove" Stories:

Sunday, May 22, 2011

What Happens If Both The Bride and The Groom Runaway from the Wedding Ceremony?

“His Runaway Bride”
by Liz Fielding

You might think this is a silly, light hearted, romantic comedy. You’d be wrong. The author actually crafts a detailed scenario in which the story is not only believable but likely!

It’s a solid romance. Both the bride and groom have ample motivation for getting cold feet and fleeing the church. To get back together again will take a complete reevaluation of each of their lives.

How the hero and heroine find themselves and then rediscover each other is what “His Runaway Bride” is all about. Most of the story takes in England with a little time spend in the Caribbean. 

This book is a new eBook release of the 2001 romance. The story is still as fresh and new as if it were written yesterday. The world is changing. More and more authors are having their entire backlist of books made available as eBooks. Now if you like an author, as I do Liz Fielding, you have instantly available dozens of her books, at low prices, and without shipping charges.

Authors Who Compete With Themselves!

Authors will a large backlist of books may well become their own biggest competition! No matter how many new books come on the market, a reader still only has a limited time to read books. The world is indeed changing.

I highly recommend “His Runaway Bride” as an excellent romance – but I should add that the runaway bride is one of my favorite themes.

Highly Recommended!

Friday, May 20, 2011

“How to Help a Greiving Friend” – Winner of the “Wisdom of the Heart” Award!

“How to Help a Greiving Friend” 

 Five Star Non-Fiction!
A candid guide for those who care.

Wisdom of the Heart” – An Award for Practical Excellence of the Highest Order!

I can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t benefit from reading this book or anyone who wouldn’t enjoy reading it. Read the full review here.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Congratulations to Pam Hillman on First Sale!

It was announced today that Seeker, Pam Hillman, has sold her first book to Tyndale.

"So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen". 
Matthew 20:16

All the Seekers Have Now Been Chosen!
Let the fireworks begin!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

‘Restless Writer’ Stirs up Fun & Fudge!

Second Book in New Series
Small-Town Hearts” is this Author’s Amazing Fifth Book!

Small-Town Hearts
by Ruth Logan Herne
Love Inspired
On sale date: May 1, 2011
Publication date: Jun 1, 2011
Miniseries: Men of Allegany County

Ruth Logan Herne is like a baseball pitcher with at least five different major league pitches. I can’t get comfortable at the plate. I don’t know what to expect next in her books but I know it’s going to be good. I consider Ruth the ‘Restless Writer’ – willing to take on any theme and ride any challenge.

“Small-Town Hearts” is as sweet as the cover art. The heroine, Megan Russo, is a candy maker in a quaint little town where Megan and some other locals dress in 19th Century clothing. She even speaks in old English. No it’s not Williamsburg – it’s much further north in, Jamison, New York.

Megan has issues with men. Her first fiance had to call off the marriage when he got another girl pregnant and her second fiance sent her a text message calling the wedding off. She has had it with men but that just makes her want a man even more! She can’t help herself and her biological clock keeps ticking.

There is a lot of stress and conflicting emotions in “Small-Town Hearts”.

The hero, Danny Graham , is an executive in a large candy company, Grandma Mary’s, (think See’s) in fact, he is the grandson of the founders and will someday inherit the business. Danny is a nice guy but he is in town to pick a location for a Grandma Mary’s tribute store. Mary is from Jamison. So while Danny is fascinated by Megan’s cute ways, period clothing, and old English speech, he knows that he will most likely put her struggling business out of business. Yet he is very attracted to her. Megan is also very attracted to Danny and she is forever making resolutions to avoid him but then doing what is necessary to see him.

Megan is a very interesting character.

As in all Herne’s books there are abundant story lines that add to the conflict and establish multiple motivations for each of the character's actions.

While “Small Town Hearts” is not a romantic comedy, it’s just as much fun. This is a very enjoyable book to read from start to finish.

About the finish: This is a genuine fun book. The ‘stand-up and cheer’ ending involves the whole town! You’ll remember this ending for a long time.

BONUS: at the end of the book there is the heroine’s secret candy recipe: Meg’s Allegany Maple Fudge. I must say that I, a mere man, made this fudge with no help and it came out perfect the first time! Everyone who has tried it loves it! This recipe is wortht he price of the book. 

Perfect on First Try

To Die For Maple Fudge

"Small-Town Hearts":
Read it for the Enjoyment.
Buy it for the Maple Fudge!

Note: You Can Read Reviews of all Five Ruth Logan Herne Books on this site. Start here.   

Saturday, May 14, 2011

News from the Front: Tulsa Book Signing Photos

Vickie McDonough, Vince, Kathleen Y’Barbo

My first visit to Lifeway Christian Bookstore for Vickie’s book signing today. Beautiful store. They are having a ‘Fiction Day’ sale and were giving away books when you buy a fiction title. My wife received three current novels including “When Sparrows Fall” when she bought one of Vickie’s books! Amazing!

We met Kathleen Y’Barbo and Margaret Daley at the event. If you have time, you might check and see if Lifeway has a similar sale where you live.

Mary Connealy had five titles on display.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Answers to Famous Quotes Quiz X Now Posted

Go Here to See all the Famous Quote Quizzes with Answers.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

A Book That May Sell a Million Copies!

I can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t benefit from reading this book or who wouldn’t enjoy reading it.

Stephanie Grace Whitson
Product Details: At This Time
Format: Kindle Edition
File Size: 203 KB (Print copy to come).
Publisher: Greenbrier Book Company (April 9, 2011)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, $2.99

Wisdom inside a great love story…

I loved this book. I don’t know anyone who needs this book more than I do. In one way, I am fearless; I have no problem giving a speech to thousands of people. Yet, the prospect of talking to one grieving widow or widower can render me speechless and keep me awake at night. I don’t know what to say but I do know, all too well, what I don't want anyone to tell me:

Don't tell me that my loved one is in a better place. (Her best place is here besides me.)

Don't tell me that this is all according to God’s plan. (I'm not exactly happy with God at the moment.)

Don’t tell me that you know how I feel. (You'd have to be me to know how I feel and you're not me.)

While I know what I would not want to hear, I don’t know what to say or what to do to help a greiving person. Death is kept hidden in our society. It’s all so sanitary. Death is so behind the scenes. We are not practiced in death and dealing with the grieving. Some may think they know what they are doing but their lack of genuine knowledge often makes them capable of causing great pain with their well meaning clichés. If only they knew. If only they had read "How to Help a Greiving Friend".

What should we do and what should we say to the grieving?

Why hasn't someone, who is wise and knows what they are talking about, written a book to tell the rest of us?

Someone has. The book is here now. The book is, “How to Help a Grieving Friend”.

While this book is about grieving, it is also a great love story. Read about the author:

“In 1996, Stephanie lost her best friend to cancer three days after her own husband was diagnosed with an incurable form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (he subsequently died in 2001). Later that same year, her mother and father died within six weeks of each other. Thus, 1996 marked the beginnings of the grief journey that has resulted in “How to Help a Grieving Friend.”
Everyone Grieves differently.
How can one book tell us what to do?

I can say that in reading “How to Help a Grieving Friend” I found nothing that I disagreed with and many things I wish I had known before now. I can think of only two other non-fiction books which impacted me with such emotional power: “The Diary of Anne Frank” and “Man's Search for Meaning”.

“How to Help a Grieving Friend” didn’t trickle down from selected holy book passages. It’s not derived from anyone’s favorite pop psychologist. No, “How to Help a Grieving Friend,” sprang from the soil of suffering. Its price was high but its rewards are many and they run deep.

The only way to really show this is to provide a few quotes expressing the authors sentiments. If you agree with these quotes, this book is for you. I can’t imagine there being a better book on this topic.

I am making my way in a world where my primary connection to reality is gone. Don’t tell me I should ‘get over it” and ‘move on.’ As soon as I’m ready, I will. But your timetable is irrelevant to my reality.
Don’t speculate about the unknowable.
If your faith teaches that the dead don’t see us and don’t care about life on earth “in light of eternity,” keep it to yourself. Saying that is the same thing as saying he or she doesn’t love me anymore.
Leave the self-help books at home. Unless you can say, “This helped me when my ____ died,” just don’t say it.
Delete comfort clichés. I know every cloud has a sliver lining. Remind me another time. Hurt with me now.

Tell Me I’m Okay
Grief makes people a little crazy. Remind me that I shouldn’t be expected to behave ‘like my old’ self.’ It’s good to know I’m not going crazy – at least not permanently.
Accept My New Quirks.
If I’m reluctant, don’t push it. Grief changes people – permanently. I may never be ‘my old self’ again. But I just might be a better self if you’ll give me some time.
Don’t say, “You need to make new memories”
Right now, I need to remember the old ones.
Accept No for an answer.
It’s exhausting pretending to be happy in a group so I don’t depress everyone around me. If I say no, it doesn’t mean I don’t want your friendship. It just means I’m too tired to hang out right now.
Accept My Tears
Don’t’ be embarrassed when I cry. Tears are healing. They must be shed. Crying alone hurts worse.
What I’ve quoted above is only a tiny part of the wisdom in this book. Each chapter is divided into two parts: How it Feels and How to Help. There are twenty-five short chapters.

“How to Help a Grieving Friend” is the real thing. It’s a book that has been long needed. I can’t imagine an author better positioned to write this book. The author tells us it was painful to write. It took a very long time to complete. It is the product of much suffering tempered by a wisdom that transcends all the clichés that many of us never believed anyway. “How to Help a Grieving Friend” gives us a compass we can believe in.

I truly believe that when word gets out, “How to Help a Grieving Friend” will sell a million copies. Read it for yourself, then help spread the word. Rarely have I read a book that was more needed than this one.

 I can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t benefit from reading this book or who wouldn’t enjoy reading it.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Best "Love Inspired Suspense" Romance I’ve Ever Read!

"The Officer’s Secret" Is Enough to Make Me a Suspense Fan!

"The Officer’s Secret"
Debby Giusti
Miniseries: Military Investigations
Category: Inspirational Romance
I can say this with enthusiasm because ‘The Officer’s Secret” is outstanding on three different levels: it’s an intriguing mystery, a breathtaking suspense story and a compelling romance. This is very unusual because normally there is not enough time in a suspense story to develop a satisfying romance. (Love Inspired Suspense Romances tend to be short format and take place over a few days.)  In a suspense story the suspense normally get center stage. Moreover, there often is not a mystery to solve in a suspense. The 'suspense' is involves whether the hero and heroine will survive the threat that is causing the suspense.

“The Officer’s Secret” is a very good suspense story because there is the constant threat of death right up to the last page. To add even more suspense, the heroine’s dead sister warned her not to trust any of the authorities including the military police. Even the weather threatens to kill the hero and heroine! This story is about as suspenseful as a suspense gets!

The mystery is so intricate and well plotted, with ample red herrings and logical twists and turns, that I doubt even hardened mystery fans will figure out ‘who done it’. I’m good at solving mysteries and I couldn’t do it. The romance also works well because both the hero and heroine are at turning points in their lives and both have suffered similar traumatic experiences. The hero and heroine are ideally suited for each other and it is enjoyable to watch them come to this realization in the story given all the trust issues and secrets they have. How could they fall in love in a few days? Because they are perfect for each other.

The Story:

The heroine, Maggie Bennett, finds her sister, a major in the Army, dead in the sister's attic -- an apparent suicide. Before she died she called her sister to come to the Army post and help her out of some problem. She was also told not to trust the authorities.

The hero, Nate Patterson, is a militarily policeman in the CID, criminal investigations division. Everyone seems convinced the sister’s death was a suicide. All evidence leans that way. However, Maggie is convinced it was murder and she tries her best to get Nate to investigate it as a murder. There's a problem however, since Maggie cannot trust the military police (who might be involved in a smuggling cover-up), she can’t give Nate all her reasons for believing it might not be a suicide. Because Nate suspects that Maggie is holding back information, he has trust issues with her as well. If she is innocent why is she holding back information? Could Maggie be involved in the killing?

Of course, if it is not a suicide, then there are murders out there with good reason to kill anyone who might try and show the death was a murder. This puts both the hero and heroine under constant danger of death.

This is the first book in the author’s “Military Ingestions” series, (the Army version of NCIS). You just know it had to be a very strong story to sell the series to the publisher. It is! Actually, I liked this story better than NCIS and I used to be in the military police. The author was an 'Army brat' with excellent current military advisors in the family so she has all her military details down pat.

“The Officer’s Secret” is a 5-star thriller.

I wonder if the next books in this CID series can possibly be as good as this one. Time will tell. In the meantime, if you like a good mystery, a good suspense story, and a good romance, I don't think you can do better than reading "The Officer's Secret".

Don’t Miss This Thriller Mystery!
5-Star Military Suspense!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Still No Hook! Lots of Description! Even a 86-Word Sentence on the Opening Page!

Summer Seaside Wedding

Summer Seaside Wedding
by Abigail Gordon
Harlequin Medical Romance
On sale date: Apr 1, 2011
Miniseries: The Bluebell Cove Stories
Category: Classic Romance

Here’s how Summer Seaside Wedding opens:

“It was June and the hot summer sun above made the confines of the car feel restricting as Leo Fenchurch drove along the road at the top of the cliffs in Bluebell Cove, a costal village in the Devonshire countryside.

“It had been a long morning. The first surgery of the day had been followed by home visits to the patients of the Tides Practice, where he was employed as one of the two doctors here, and now every time he glanced down at the sea, blue and dazzling as it danced onto the sandy beach, his collar felt tighter, his smart suit more a burden than an asset, and the yearning to pull into a deserted lay-by and change into the swimming trunks he always carried in the car was strong.”
 (Note the 86-word sentence. This would probably give a contest judge a heart attack!)

I love it! Love it! Love it!

When I reviewed Abigail Gordon’sThe Village Nurse’s Happy-Ever-After” back on February 26, 2011, I marveled at how the story did not open with a hook, how the first chapter featured plenty of back story, and how there was plenty of physical description. New writers are told not to do these things as they slow up the story.

Also new writers are told, in so many words, that today’s readers are so dimwitted that if each paragraph doesn’t open with a hook and end with a cliffhanger, even fans will lose interest and pick up another book. (It’s a good thing not many fans read writing books.)

After reading, “The Village Nurse’s Happy-Ever-After” (see my review here), I just couldn’t wait to read the next "Bluebell Cove" book. Why? Because Abigail Gordon is a great storyteller. She lets you know she is going to tell you a story, she sets the scene and when the stage is set, she spins her tale. It’s so natural and smooth that I just loved it. When I read, “The Village Nurse’s Happy-Ever-After,” I wondered if the author always writes in this storyteller mode of if “The Village Nurse’s Happy-Ever-After” was just a one-off.

Well, “Summer Seaside Wedding” is even better! I liked it even more! Almost every bit of dialogue between the hero Dr. Leo Fenchurch and heroine is highly emotionally charged. The heroine, Dr. Amelie Benoir, is so feisty that she instantly asks questions that almost anyone else would have the good sense not ask – at least not so early as the first day in a relationship.

These hero/heroine conversations are like lightening flashes on a very warm summer’s night. All I can say is ‘wow’! “Summer Seaside Wedding” offers a great case study in how to write dialogue that fires up the reader’s attention.

The Story:

The hero, Dr. Leo Fenchurch, is a handsome bachelor with no intention of getting married any time soon. The heroine, Dr. Amelie Benoir, is a brand new French doctor who arrives in Bluebell Cove on what would have been her wedding day. Only she was jilted! She’s come to England for a six month stay to get experience in General Practice. Amelie is an outspoken Plain Jane who usually says what’s on her mind and then wishes she could take what she said back. She believes in moving a relationship along in giant leaps! “Summer Seaside Wedding” is about as fast a moving story as you’ll ever read.

The story is really about fireworks. Nothing fancy just toally captivating storytelling!

I think everyone should read at least one Abigail Gordon Medical Romance!

“Tempted by Trouble” Cover Challenge

North American Edition

Which of these Covers for Liz Fielding's New Romance Do You Like Best?

The North American Edition (top) or the UK Edition (lower)?

UK Edition

Do you think Kate looks
like the North American
model above?