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Monday, July 26, 2010


How quickly July has flown by!

I've spent a couple of days with my precious grandgirls this week. It was lovely to see Shannon imitating her mother with Jordan.

Jordan is entering the terrible two stage--in her own sweet way. "No" is her favorite word. And she's starting to do bad things ... like writing on the walls. The furniture. Their clothes. The TV screen ...

And by the way, Savannah said their mother gave up and covered the walls with paper when she reached that stage. Hmm ... sisters are alike!

So when Jordan tried it again, Shannon said "you need to go to time out for one minute."

Like any other child, she fussed and cried--but she stayed there.

Most precious word: Mom. Jordan called me "Mom" when she asked me for some of my salad. On Father's Day, I talked about Jordan's process of internalizing "Mom" as my name. (If "Mom" was good enough for Daddy, it was good enough for Jordan!)

Call me Mom anytime you want, Jordan. My heart will listen every time.

First review of The Prodigal Patriot is up at Kathleen made my day by saying "The writing disappeared and allowed a vivid story world to emerge. I was invested. . .This is a story about faith, endurance and prevailing love." Remember to leave a comment for your chance to win one of my books (or The Crimson Cypher by Susan Page Davis or Love Finds You in Calico, California by Elizabeth Ludwig). New contest begins on August 1st.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


Two different books of mine arrived in the mail last week.

One was The Prodigal Patriot, the first book in my Vermont historical series. According to the back cover:

The Reids refuse to live in fear.Sally Reid’s family decides on a dangerous course when the Tories of Maple Notch, Vermont, chase Patriot families off their land. They live in a cave and farm their land by moonlight.

When Josiah Tuttle discovers their secret and offers to help, Sally doesn’t know if she can trust him. After all, Josiah’s father is one of the Tories who forced her family into hiding.

The Tuttles have already lost one son to the hated Patriot cause. How can Josiah both honor his grieving father and protect the woman he loves? When called upon to take a stand, which side will he choose? How can Sally and Josiah battle through the barriers separating them to love and forgiveness?

Seaside Romance repacks three historical romances set in Rhode Island. In addition to my "hurricane lighthouse" story, Beacon of Love, the repack features All That Glitters, a Carol Award finalist in the historical romance category.

Both of these books are now available for lucky winners to choose if they are one of the names I draw at the end of the month. To enter, all you need to do is leave a comment on any of the month's posts (multiple entries are allowed and encouraged).

Monday, July 19, 2010


A press release from American Christian Fiction Writers states:

(Palm Bay, FL) Honoring excellence in Christian fiction of all genres, American Christian Fiction Writers notes these finalists for their Carol Awards (formerly the Book of the Year Awards).


The Case of the Mystified M.D. - A.K. Arenz (Sheaf House, Joan M. Shoup - Editor)
Under the Cajun Moon - Mindy Starns Clark (Harvest House Publishers, Kim Moore - Editor)
A String of Murders - Darlene Franklin (Heartsong Mysteries, Susan Downs - Editor)
Polly Dent Loses Grip - S. Dionne Moore (Heartsong Mysteries, Susan Downs - Editor)
Pushing up Daisies - Janice Thompson writing as Janice Hanna (Heartsong Mysteries, Susan Downs - Editor)

The Carol Awards evolved from ACFW’s Book of the Year Awards to honor the highest achievement for published authors of Christian fiction. “ACFW owes a great debt of gratitude to Christian fiction pioneers,” says ACFW president Cynthia Ruchti, “including editor and visionary Carol Johnson who played a key role in helping Christian fiction make a mark in the publishing world.” The 2010 Carol Award winners will be announced at ACFW’s annual conference in Indianapolis, September 17-20, 2010 during the Awards Banquet. Carol Johnson, the award’s namesake, and renowned author Janette Oke will serve as guest award presenters.

About ACFW: ACFW is devoted to training its writers, educating them in the market, and serving as an advocate in the traditional Christian fiction publishing industry. With more than 2100 members and 21 local chapters in 15 states as well as a beyond-the-borders e-chapter, ACFW speaks as The Voice of Christian Fiction. For more information about ACFW and the upcoming conference, visit or contact Angela Breidenbach, publicity officer, at

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For a complete list of Carol finalists, go to

For a chance to win one of my books as well as The Crimson Cipher by Susan Page Davis and Love Finds You in Calico, California, leave a comment.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

"Christian" Fiction

July is off to a great start! So far FIVE people will receive a book: two of my books as well as Love Finds You in Calico, California by Elizabeth Ludwig and 2 copies of Crimson Cypher by Susan Page Davis. Continue to leave comments throughout the month to increase your chances of winning.

Also check out and for more information about my July release, Prodigal Patriot
. All week I'm a guest at

What makes a book Christian? Any other Lord of the Rings (LOTR) fans out there?

I read the trilogy five times before I turned eighteen. In college, I became "Gimli" to my own personal "Legolas" (you know who you are!) Better than that, Tolkien was a Christian! What could be more Christian than Frodo's self-sacrifice or the "Return of the King"?

Tell that to the people who sat behind me at the theater. They giggled at Gandalf's pipe. Of course he was smoking pot.

Tolkien certainly wrote a book with universal themes and appeal.

As a reader who dove into fiction as long as required reading for school ended, I have read much more secular books than Christian books. We'll forget the fact that Christians like Dorothy L. Sayers, P.D. James, Diane Mott Davidson as well as J.R.R. Tolkien were all Christians writing for the secular market (Christian fiction as such didn't exist for most of them).

So I'm reading a book by one of my very favorite authors: Rain Gods by James Lee Burke. His usual detectives, David Robicheaux and Billy Bob Holland, are both deeply flawed characters who nonetheless find their moral compass within the Roman Catholic tradition. The hero of Rain Gods, Hackleberry Holland, appears to be unchurched. But like all of Burke's books, I can see an exploration of Christian themes, although rarely are they couched in Christian terms.

Hackleberry keeps arresting an Indian seer for public drunkenness. Daniel tells Hackleberry about visions he's receiving from the rain gods. Most recently, he stood in the middle of the street, begging for people to pay attention. They didn't, of course.

"How come I got this gift? Just to be a wino in a white man's jail?"

"Think of it this way. Would you rather be sleeping overnight in my jailhouse or be one of those people who have no ears to hear?"

Do those two paragraphs resonate with you the way they resonate with me? All of God's warnings to those who have ears but do not hear?

Who are some of your favorite secular authors and what messages do they bring to life?

Thursday, July 8, 2010


Emma Shuster is recruited as a Navy cryptographer in 1915, to help expose enemies she didn’t know America had. Lt. John Patterson introduces her to the Signal Corps after her father’s brutal murder. Will her work save lives—and eventually lead her to her father’s killers? Can Emma and John find love in the midst of turmoil, as America plunges toward war? She finds new strength in her faith as she strives to outwit her adversary, known only as “Kobold”—German for “goblin.” When the young man who built her father’s secret cipher machine is also brought to Washington, Emma is annoyed. But with Clark’s arrival comes added danger

It is my distinct pleasure to have my Susan Page Davis as my guest again this month, celebrating the release of her historical romantic suspense title, The Crimson Cipher. Please join me in welcoming her to my blog again.

And as an added bonus, Susan will give away two copies of The Crimson Cipher during July! Leave a comment(s) for your chance(s) to win a copy of her book.

1. The Crimson Cipher is one of the first historical romantic suspense books coming from Summerside Press. Tell my readers a little bit more about the new line and what they can expect.

It’s a great honor to be among the first few authors of the new Swept Away line. Last spring titles by Susan May Warren and Tricia Goyer came out, and on July 1, Cara Putman and I are seeing our new books release. More intriguing books by authors you love will follow in November.
These books are all set in the 20th century and involve intrigue, danger, romance, and faith. I’ve always loved writing historical romance, but suspense novels tugged at me, too. This line combines them to give you an exciting, romantic adventure in the past.

2. What interested you in codes? How much of your story comes from actual history?

I’ve loved codes and ciphers since I was a child. I used to write code messages with my friends and introduced my children to various methods of “secret writing.” When I started researching the period and learned that several young women were recruited during World War I to solve enemy ciphers for the U.S. Navy’s Signal Corps, I knew I wanted to write this story.

3. How do you stay inspired as a writer, when the daily grind threatens to wear you down?

While bills are a great motivator, I really don’t find it hard. All around me are ideas waiting to pop into a story. The only times I find it really hard to write are when I’m sick or very sad.

4. What are you currently working on?

I loved working with Summerside so much I’m doing a second book for them. This one will be a historical in their Love Finds You series. It’s the first one set in Canada: Love Finds You in Prince Edward Island. My story is set in 1860, when the Prince of Wales (Queen Victoria’s son and later King Edward VII) visited the island.

5. What can readers expect to see next from you? Where can they find you on the internet?

My next release is a novella in the Christmas Mail Order Brides collection. It comes out in September and features stories about young women who join Mrs. Mayberry’s Matrimonial Society for Christians of Moral Character. Authors Vickie McDonough, Therese Stenzel, and Carrie Turansky portray the first three stories, and mine is the last one: “Mrs. Mayberry Meets her Match.”

Then in December, my third book in the Ladies’ Shooting Club series will release: The Blacksmith’s Bravery. Former saloon girl Vashti Edwards is determined to become a stagecoach driver. Griffin Bane has three words for that: ha, ha, and ha! Come back to the little mountain town of Fergus, Idaho, for romance, conflict, and adventure.

Come visit me at:

Susan is the author of thirty novels. She lives in Kentucky with her husband, Jim, who is an editor, and the two youngest of their six children.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


This month it is my distinct pleasure to introduce my readers to Elizabeth Ludwig, one of my fellow Heartsong Presents: Mysteries! writers. Her historical romance, Love Finds You in Calico, California, releases this month. Lisa is giving away a copy of her book. Every comment on my blog for the entire month of July has a chance to win their own copy! So come by and comment often!

Elizabeth Ludwig’s first novel, Where the Truth Lies, which she co-authored with Janelle Mowery, was released in spring of 2008 from Heartsong Presents: Mysteries, an imprint of Barbour Publishing. This was followed in 2009 by “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” part of a Christmas anthology collection called Christmas Homecoming, also from Barbour Publishing.

In 2010, Elizabeth’s first full-length historical novel, Love Finds You in Calico, California will be released from Summerside Press. Books two and three of her mystery series, Died in the Wool, and A Black Die Affair, respectively, are slated for release in 2011 from Barbour Publishing.

In 2008, Elizabeth was named the IWA Writer of the Year for her work on Where the Truth Lies. She is the owner and editor of the popular literary blog, The Borrowed Book.

Elizabeth is an accomplished speaker and dramatist, having performed before audiences of 1500 and more. She works fulltime, and currently lives with her husband and two children in Texas.

Darlene: I believe Calico is your first historical novel. Tell me about the unique joys and challenges of writing a book with a historical setting. What drew you to Calico, California?

Lisa: Challenges is right! Every aspect of a historical needs to be researched thoroughly (if you want it done correctly, that is). Take the book I’m in the process of writing, for example. It is set in New York in 1896. Two of my characters were walking along the harbor. Just for that simple scene, I had to know what buildings existed in New York in 1896, and what they were named back then (since many of them have changed names). I had know what the streets were made of, if gas lighting was available in that part of the city, and what kinds of ships came into the harbor. Whew! It can be exhausting, but the more time I spend researching these little details, the more drawn into the setting the reader will hopefully feel.

As for what drew me to Calico…it was purely by accident! LOL! My husband and I were on vacation. We had decided to drive across the country, and anytime we saw something we wanted to investigate, we would stop. On one of our fuel fills in California, I noticed some large letters painted across the hillside. The gas station attendant told me a little bit about the history of the ghost town, which was more than enough to spark my interest. We spent the entire day in Calico and loved it! I can’t wait to go back.

Darlene: We both loved writing mysteries for Barbour and had to find our footing again when that line closed down. Tell me a little about that journey.

Lisa: Boy, that was tough. Two weeks before Died in the Wool, my second book, was due to release, Barbour Publishing decided against putting out any more mysteries. This was the sequel to Where the Truth Lies, and I had really been looking forward to its release because of the interest my first book generated.

At the time, I had no idea what would happen to Died in the Wool, or the third book in the series, A Black Die Affair. All three of the books in the series were contracted, and the word from Barbour was that the books would be released in some form, just not as single titles. Let me tell, I was devastated. Though I tried to trust that all of this fell within God’s plan for my writing, it was a hard storm to weather.

In the meantime, I had to make some decisions as to where my writing would go. I had always enjoyed reading historicals and writing them. In fact, the first book I ever wrote was a historical. So, with my pen figuratively in hand, I sat down to draft a proposal for Summerside Press. The result was Love Finds You in Calico, California, a book I am so proud and pleased to have released.

BTW…I only just recently learned that Barbour plans to go ahead with the publication of my mysteries under a new series title called Hometown Mysteries. Died in the Wool will release in May, 2011 and A Black Die Affair will release sometime in the fall—three years after the release of Where the Truth Lies. Who ever said writing was easy?? 

Darlene: What are you currently working on?

Lisa: Currently, I’m working on a three book series proposal about an Irish immigrant who comes to America in search of the brother she thought dead. What she finds is a web of intrigue and deceit that could cost her life.

What can I say? Even my historicals have some mystery in them!

Darlene: What has been your most satisfactory experience as a writer?

Lisa: Well, I wish I could say success came immediately after I submitted my first manuscript. The truth is, I wrote for five years before I sold my first book, and I completed six full manuscripts, none of which will probably ever see the light of day.

I sold my seventh book to Barbour Publishing in 2006 (though the book did not actually release until 2008). It’s a mystery called Where the Truth Lies. I co-authored it and the two sequels with Janelle Mowery.

Now, while I look at my first sale as my greatest success in publishing, it wasn’t my most satisfactory experience in WRITING. That came when I wrote The End on my first full manuscript. What a feeling! From that moment on, I knew I had it in me to start—and finish—a book.

After that were a bunch of small successes…things like becoming a finalist in contests I entered, receiving a request for a full manuscript from an agent, and finding out one of my manuscripts had gone to a publishing board. Though none of these successes led to a contract, they came just when I was at the point of giving up, and they encouraged me to keep trying. I’ve always believed that God knew exactly where I was in this journey He’d sent me on, and He was careful to plant seeds of encouragement for me along the way.

Darlene: Julia Cameron talks about the concept of “artist dates” in her book, The Artist’s Way. What are some things you do to revitalize and reenergize your writer’s soul?

Lisa: For sure, reading is the one thing I do for myself that refreshes that urge inside me to write. Losing myself in a book, letting my imagination wander…yep. That’s a good feeling.

From time to time, I also need to let myself “take a break” from writing. It’s important for me to feel rested in order to be able to sit down and let the creative juices flow. So, unless I’m under a deadline, I give myself permission to just watch TV sometimes, or go to the movies.

Darlene: Where can readers find you on the internet?

Lisa: I’ve actually made quite a home for myself out in cyber space. Readers can find me at or read about some of my current projects and interests at I’m also on Facebook at Stop on by! I’d love to have you visit.

Love Finds You in Calico, California: A young seamstress weaves her own story in a world run by men. After hearing news of a silver strike in Calico, California, Abigail Watts packs up her needles and thread and follows her beloved father out West. But when she’s suddenly left alone in the rough mining town, Abigail finds herself pressed into a marriage of convenience with the local livery owner, Nathan Hawk. Determined to uncover the mystery surrounding her father’s death in the mines, Abigail agrees to stay in Calico. But when the truth sets her free, she must decide whether to leave the town - and Nathan - for good.

Monday, July 5, 2010


Winners of books from June:
  • Steph and Pat won The Gunsmith's Gallantry by Susan Page Davis.
  • Karen won A Tailor-Made Bride by Karen Witemeyer.
  • Debbie Lynn and CJ won a copy of one of my books.

New drawing starts in July. Every time you leave a comment you enter the drawing again. Giveaways include 1 of my books for every 15 comments as well as Love Finds You in Calico, California by Elizabeth Ludwig and 2 copies of Crimson Cypher by Susan Page Davis. Check out their interviews later this week.

My reading quotient was a little down this month. I've already talked with you about U is for Undertow by Sue Grafton, because of the uncanny coincidence in my own life. As a mystery fan, I have long enjoyed Grafton's books. I also read several never-before-encountered mystery authors, but none that left me gasping for more.

My favorite book of the month has to be Love's Pursuit by Siri Mitchell. Set in Puritan New England, it's a powerful story of God's love and grace in a society that valued perfection. I'm so glad I took a chance on this gem! One of those books that makes me groan as a writer and hope to write my heart as powerfully as she does hers.

My book, Prodigal Patruit, releases this month, and I'm the guest blogger on several websites this month. All month long you can find me at Stop by an leave a comment for a free book drawing.

Happy post-independence Day to everyone! Can you believe I only realized yesterday that the timing of the release of Prodigal Patriot was intentional? When else would they release my Revolutionary War story but in time for Independence Day?!