News to Share

10646741_10204870944154085_8514285265217180766_nWell, so much has been going on lately that I figure it’s time for a recap…and just maybe I’ll get back on track to posting at least once a week on this blog 🙂

Ever hopeful!

God has an amazing way of surprising us with more than we expect.

I’ve been pursuing writing for the past ten years and in that time God’s done some amazing things like:

Introduced me to the fabulous Alley Cats

He brought the FABULOUS, Julie Gwinn to be my friend first – and then my agent

Brought wonderful authors like the Seekers, Janice Thompson, Beth Vogt, and so many others into my life

He’s brought teaching and resources to help hone my skills.

And now..well, I’ve joined the roller coaster of published authors.

1. I signed my first contract with Lighthouse of the Carolinas for my Contemporary Romance novel, A Twist of Faith, at the end of September. It’s a fun story that is a modern day retelling of My Fair Lady set in Appalachia. It’s scheduled to release in June 2015.

2. I signed my second contract in mid-November to co-author a Middle Reader/YA novel that accompanies a new video game releasing in 2015.

3. Yesterday I signed a three book contract with Vinspire Publishing for my historical romance series, beginning with The Thornbearer to be released in October 2015. This Penned in Time series takes place during World War 1 and follows the lives of three friends who each struggle with forgiveness and the definition of true beauty as they face a world at war.

I’m excited about these new opportunities but also nervous about how to make it all fit into a very busy schedule as a full-time speech language pathologist and mom of five. It’s great to know if God provided the opportunities, He’ll also provide the ability to complete them 🙂

Here’s to seeing what God ends up doing with MY story in the middle of writing these stories!!

Friends in ‘westerly’ places

While at ACFW I have the wonderful opportunity to meet people I’d only chatted with online. Of course, meeting the fabulous FIFITEEN of Seekerville is always a delight – and getting to hug on my fellow Alley Cats from The Writers Alley was another joy.

 

But I also got to meet marvelous ladies like Susan Ann Mason, a constant encourager and fabulous writer.

 

A Genesis finalist and magnificent lady, Karen Schravemade (who happens to have one of the coolest accents around)

Authors I want to be like when I grow up – like Ruth Axtell Morren, Liz Curtis Higgs, and Kaye Dacus.

 

And friends I NEVER grow tired of hugging – like Audra Harders, Laura Frantz, Mary Connealy, and Angie Dicken.

 

It’s pretty remarkable how God takes all these different people from different places and binds them together with a love for Him and the joy of writing.

I am SOOOOOOO glad He does! Aren’t you?

Conference Tips with Audra Harders

There are some people God brings into your life at the perfect time for the perfect reason. Steeple Hill Love Inspired author, Audra Harders, was one of those people to me last year at  ACFW.

Besides being a partner in workshop ‘sneaking’, Audra was also an encourager during my nervousness. She took me under her wing and prayed for me right in the lobby of the hotel. It was a beautiful experience – an example of her gentle, kind, and lovely personality.

Audra is another one of the fabulous fifteen Seekers and her novel, Rocky Mountain Hero, debuted in January 2011.

So Audra, what are your conference tips?

 1. Bring your sense of curiosity and adventure. I know writers tend to be hermits, but a conference is no place to bow to those tendencies! Get out of your room and snoop around the hotel, you never know who you’re going to run into at the coffee shop or lobby. Or exercise room. Or pool.

 2. Think about your “brand” and bring a gimmick. It can be as simple as a business card with your picture, your log line, or anything to identify you and your genre. Or maybe something that relates to your genre such as a creative (crafty) bookmark representing the era you set your books, or special chocolate from the region where your book is set. Market yourself as simply, but as powerfully, as possible.

 3. You can’t look confident and relaxed if you’re not comfortable. While workshops and meetings are in session, dress for the image you want to exude. If it’s western, pack a jean skirt; if it’s urban, try stylish trousers and flats. Comfortable does not mean frumpy. Don’t leave your sweats at home if you like to relax in them, but make sure they’re publicly acceptable before you pack them. But don’t get too comfortable. I remember a conference I attended a few years ago where one of the authors was lounging in the lobby. This isn’t a bad thing…except she was wearing an old ratty t-shirt, dollar store flip-flops, and couldn’t have slumped down deeper into the overstuffed chair if she tried while she typed away on her laptop. Unfortunately, that is the image now burned into my gray matter of this author.

 Remember: Comfortable, not sloppy!

Thank you! Thank you, Audra.

And Audra brought the ‘brand’ word! Whew….tought stuff. What’s your brand?

To find out more about Audra visit her website, or stop by Seekerville.

And Audra – SEE YOU IN ST. LOUIE!!!!!

Conference Tips Lineup for the Week

Time for another week of conference tips and who is coming to visit??

Monday – The Kissing Queen herself – Julie Lessman

Tuesday – Julie’s ACFW partner and fabulous author, Ruth Axtell Morren

Wednesday with Carol Finalist, Ruth Logan Herne

Thursday – Debut author and encourager-extraordinairre, Keli Gwyn

Friday – Seeker and sweetheart, Audra Harders

Saturday – historical and contemporary author, Siri Mitchell

Stop by and learn from the best.

Love at First Thought with Audra Harders

Ever had one of those moments where you met someone and there was an immediate connection?

Unexpected.

Surprising.

Well, I had that wonderful experience when I met author Audra Harders at ACFW last year. I’d not had an opportunity to connect with her alot before ACFW, but once I met her…it was love at first hug. She is absolutely wonderful! Sweet, encouraging, and someone who knows how to pray.

Audra kind of took me under her wing, and I can’t tell you what a joy and comfort it was.

Between Audra and Patti Lacy, I was REALLY mentored for my very first ACFW (and I really hope to do it again in September)

I can’t say how blessed I was to have met her and now call her my friend.

Let’s here about Audra’s inspiration.

Pepper, thanks for the invitation to share my writing thoughts. You have a good idea of how my mind works and you still asked me to join the fun. Brave girl. Just for that, you’ve earned some chocolates, LOL!

 
My very first novel? Oh my that was a tomb of epic proportions and all the while I was trying to create an historical novel ala Kathleen Woodiwiss. Silly me. Still, I loved historical romances and wrote several of them, never quite finding my own voice.
 
And then I discovered country singer/rodeo cowboy Chris LeDoux and his songs/ballads. This is really where the story begins. All his songs tell a story of some aspect of cowboy and rodeo life. And he has the dreamiest voice, I could listen to the man sing for hours on end. The good Lord called him home way too early. I’m still shaking my head over that.
 
My first cowboy romance, Rough Ride, was the product of a multitude of rodeo songs by Chris and watching tons of PBR events (Professional Bull Riders) on television. All of my what-ifs grew from cowboys risking their lives to ride one and a half tons of meanness for eight seconds. Wow. I’ve been enthralled by cowboys my entire life. Finding out what makes them tick has become a challenge from which I can’t walk away : )
 
Cowboys are best, Pepper. 18th century Gypsies run a close second, but I’ll save them for another talk : )

Oh what fun, Audra. And cowboys….whew, GREAT idea 😉

Inspirational Thought:

Romans 8:29 (from the Message paraphrase version)

God knew what he was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son.

The Son stands first in the line of humanity he restored.

We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in him.

After God made that decision of what his children should be like, he followed it up by calling people by name. After he called them by name, he set them on a solid basis with himself. And then, after getting them established, he stayed with them to the end, gloriously completing what he had begun.

Do you ever wonder what your story is? Life ever get so confusing or convoluted that you can tell which way is up?

Well, you’re not alone. We’ve all been there. The great thing about it is – God has been writing your story from the beginning of time.

Without Christ, the view of our lives is worse that convoluted and confusing. It’s chaos.

We are utterly lost in the middle of a story with splashes of black ink colored pages, crinkled with sin.

We are a lost, horrible story.

Until Jesus picks up the pen.

In an amazing act of love and grace, he rewrites our torn and tattered pages of brokenness and selfishness. From the beginning of His story in our lives, though there will be conflict, trials, and hardship, there is an overarching theme of love – and a ‘glorious’ ending.

The story of our lives, covered with God’s fingerprints and Christ’s blood, wrapped in the cover of love, assures us of a happy ending.

What a story!

What a Savior!

Love at First Thought with Siri Mitchell

Oh boy, a new week of wonderful guests. Wanna know who’s stopping by?

Well, Wednesday, the lovely Patti Lacy is my guest.

Friday, we get to enjoy the sweetness of Audra Harders.

But today…

Get ready for the fabulous Siri Mitchell.

I just received Siri’s newest novel in the mail. A Heart Most Worthy. I can’t wait to read it. Siri is one of those authors who really likes to challenge herself as a writer. If you’d like to learn more about her versatile novel-writing background, check out this interview at The Writers Alley.

Siri gives us some insight about where her ideas come from. Check out the wonderful list of inspiring thoughts.

It seems like most of my recent novels have begun with something — some fact, some picture, some idea — that makes me go ‘hmm…’

A Constant Heart — Women poisoned themselves with their cosmetics.

Love’s Pursuit — A woman could be accused of doing something terrible (even though people ought to have known better) simply for what she was wearing.

She Walks in Beauty — Women ruined their health by wearing corsets.

A Heart Most Worthy — A group of woman at a dressmaking shop sewed wedding gowns for each other >>> to which was added the fact that Italian immigrants were the second most lynched group in America (after African Americans)

Hannah’s Heart — (I’m currently working on this one) There was at least one Quaker spy and there were several Quaker generals during the Revolutionary War. What made them decided to abandon their believes and take sides?

Other facts that have struck me and are waiting to be turned into stories somehow: Did you know if you put daffodils and tulips in the same vase, the daffodils will poison the tulips?; a woman who feels the urge to constantly re-arrange her furniture; in France, the Havilland China company imported American painters for their dishes — these people were regularly attacked and couldn’t go anywhere at night.

Rarely do any of these facts or ideas have anything to do with a plot. Sometimes, they’re not even about people…which can present some problems since novels are about people. But I just note them all down on a spreadsheet and when it comes time to choose what to write next, I review all the ideas and see which ones my subconscious has been working on.

My contemporary novels were different. Kissing Adrien was inspired by a non-fiction manuscript I’d written. Something Beyond the Sky was inspired by my own experiences as a military wife. Chateau of Echoes was my last-ditch attempt to get published, so I threw in all the elements I liked to read in a novel; I was also feeling homesick for France, so I imagined myself up in a castle. The Cubicle Next Door began as a book about a girl who used to be nice, but Jackie sort of hijacked it. Moon Over Tokyo I think was written in an attempt to explain Japan to myself.

Ideas are everywhere! I can’t turn all of them into novels, and sometimes my skill set has had to grow in order to be able to turn one of them into a novel, but somehow my brain seems to know which ones will work and which ones are just interesting facts to know.

Isn’t this fascinating?!? Look at all the various ways Siri finds her inspiration. Wow! And she has a wealth of books to prove that inspiration does pay J If you’ve never had an opportunity to read a Siri Mitchell book, get to Amazon or your nearest bookshop TODAY!! They are worth it!

And have I mentioned that she is SUPER sweet in person. Really, truly!

 One quick inspirational ‘beginning’:

2 Timothy 1:8-10

He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, 10 but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.

Our good works, our writing, our love…none of them make God love us any more than he already does. You know why? He already loves us completely. He brought us into His kingdom as sin-cloaked rebels transformed by the grace of Jesus Christ. We were hand-picked, just because of love.

His love.

Extravagant, beautiful, unconditional, and far beyond our understanding.

He saved us. He called us.

Just because of love.

Grace.

Have you hugged a Seeker in 2010?

Okay, for anyone who has followed this blog – or even knows anything about me – I’m a BIG fan of Seekerville.

What is Seekerville, you might ask? It’s a fabulous, funny, and encouraging site for writers and readers of good fiction. Though most of the authors write inspirational fiction, all readers are welcome to glean from the wisdom and fun of this site.

I became a Seeker-Stalker  in May of 2009 and have been helplessly and happily addicted ever since. Even had the wonderful opportunity to meet many of the Seekers at the American Christian Fiction Writers Conference in September. It was one of my 2010 goals!!

So – as a tribute to some fabulous ladies of fiction, here’s a look at the 2010 Seekers Publishing list (in no particular order – except Ruthy’s ;-).

Sandra Leesmith – got the ‘Call’ to publication in July and her first novel , The Price of Victory, is set to join the world of print in Spring 2011. Woohoo!!!

Julie Lessman has had a FABULOUS year with the publication of her beautiful novel, A Hope Undaunted, and a wonderful array of awards for her writing. Awards included are #5 on Booklists Inspirational Fiction for 2010, Borders Best for 2009, and finalist for ACFW’s Book of the Year. If you’ve not read any of her previous 4 books, run to the nearest bookstore (or Sam’s) and purchase them. For a review of A Hope Undaunted follow this link.

The  news has been great for Seeker, Audra Harders, whose first novel came out with Steeple Hill, LoveInspired this month. For a sneak peek at her debut novel, Rocky Mountain Hero, follow this link. What’s happening next with the sweet Audra Harders? Hmmm, maybe she’ll let us know 😉

Along with providing helpful writing tips on her webpage, Myra Johnson’s fun novel, Romance By the Book, and beautiful story, Dogwoods in Bloom, came out through Heartsong Presents. To read a little about Romance by the Book, check out my review here.

Glynna Kaye has great news. Besides the great reviews for her debut novel, Dreaming of Home, she has a new book to release with Steeple Hill Love Inspired in February 2011. Woohoo! Congrats, Glynna, I’m looking forward to finding Second Chance Courtship in the store.

If you’re into books that alternate between life-threatening adventure, male-female banter, and belly-aching laughter – Mary Connealy is the author for you. And with her track record, you don’t have to  wait too long between books, either. 🙂 This year alone, she introduced readers to 5 new books, and had three of her previous books published in a triology. PLUS her 2011 looks very promising – with a bit of a surprise to her faithful reading audience. With three books already on the way in 2011, she’s decided to try out a new genre with a new name too. To learn more about her step outside of cowboys and petticoats, and her leap into suspense, visit www.marynealy.com. I can’t wait to find out more. (oh, she also won The Carol award at ACFW, I shouldn’t forget that 😉

Besides winning the Genesis awards at the ACFW conference and the Maggie’s Inspriational category, Pam Hillman is well on her way to joining her Seeker sisters in the world of finely printed published novels. I can’t wait to see what 2011 has to offer for her.

Cara Lynn James debut novel, Love on a Dime, graced the bookstores in 2010 and now she has TWO MORE coming out in 2011. Wow, what a fabulous start!! If you like historical romances, with vibrant characters check out Cara’s books.

Missy Tippens, with her usual sweet southern flare, ended last year with her lovely novel, A Forever Christmas, and looks forward to new newest release, A Family for Faith, coming spring 2011. I think she’s been doing a bit of book editing on the side too, isn’t that right, Missy?

Well, I’m still dancing for joy about Tina Radcliffe’s debut novel, The Rancher’s Reunion, supposedly released next month – but mine is already read and sitting on my bookshelf for all to see.  Not only that, but her second book with Steeple Hill Love Inspired is set to come out Fall 2011. Oh so happy for you, Tina!!

With a mixture of fun and suspense, Camy Tang writes a little of both. Besides keeping a very busy schedule with her Story Sensei business and coordinating the ACFW Genesis contest, Camy’s newest book, Formula for Danger, came out in September 2010. If you like edge-of-your seat fiction, you’ll want to check out her Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense novels. Learn more at her website- www.camytang.com

To stick with that Love Inspired SUSPENSE theme, Debby Guisti has enjoyed a year of GREAT news. Her novel, Protecting Her Child, won the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence and her novel, Killer Deadline, came out in February. Her new novel (and series) The Officer’s Secret, is scheduled to hit a bookstore near you in May 2011.

Let’s keep up the tension with author Cheryl Wyatt – who reached book 7 in her Wings of Refuge series this year. Book 6 – A Soldier’s Devotion– and Book 7 – Steadfast Soldier– both came out this year. Maybe she’ll catch us up on what’s happening for her in 2011?

Janet Dean writes sweet historical romances. Her novel, Substitute Bride, released in February 2010 and was a beautiful story of heartbreak and new beginnings. Her new novel, Wanted: A Family, is scheduled to release in March 2011 and sounds intriguing. Widowed mother-to-be and repairman (with his own secrets). ooooh, don’t you just want to read it? 🙂

Last – and certainly NOT least, is Ruth Logan Herne. WHAT. A. YEAR!!! I think she’s trying to keep up with Mary. All I have to say about that is…they’re both crazy. 🙂  Her year started with her debut novel, Winters End, and zoomed ahead to end with her third novel, Made to Order Family. They are such GREAT books. GREAT! And there is no end in site for the prolific lady. Besides caring for adorable kids and dogs, cooking like Martha Stewart, and creating snappy replies to anyone who will listen, 2011 looks to be another amazing writing year for her. THREE MORE BOOKS (Er…I stand corrected. Ruthy will be ringing in the New Year with FOUR new books – I forgot her Christmas book 😉 are on the way, starting with Reunited Hearts in April. Oooh, I can’t wait. Check out a review of her novel, Waiting Out the Storm, here.

Whew – WHAT A LIST!!! Are you excited to see what the new year has to offer? I sure am. With authors who love Jesus and love writing, there are going to be some very happy readers out there.

Seeker Debut – Audra Harders

Well, she’s not just a FABULOUS lady.

More than a wonderful addition to Seekerville…

Not only a remarkable encourager

Not just as sweet as apple pie with vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup

BUT….

She’s also PUBLISHED!!

(and she’s so daggone cute too 😉

Audra Harders debut novel, Rocky Mountain Hero, arrived in the mail at the end of last month and I had it read in three days.

Writing a review took a bit longer (blame that on the responsibilities of a college prof and mother of 5)

So, with much celebration, here is a bit about Rocky Mountain Hero from Steeple Hill, Love Inspired.

Single mom, Melanie Hunter, loads up her belongings and eight year old son, Jason, to head off for the job of her dreams. But an unexpected turn of events lands her directly in the path of rancher, Gabe Davidson – a distraction wrapped in a Stetson and cowboy boots. Determined to be independent, and to leave her unsavory past…in the past, Melanie fights the attraction she has for Gabe – and his amazing family, but she’s temporarily trapped in their house – and their kindness.

As Gabe struggles with his own ideas for his future, Melanie tries to pull deeper into her protective shell – with fear of rejection being at the top of her runaway list. But with a cowboy whose not only lassoed her heart, but the heart of her child, running away isn’t going to be so easy.

Will she succeed in the grand escape?

Will Gabe be willing to accept her past so they can think of a future?

Check out Audra’s book for the answers.  A sweet and endearing romance with four very important ingredients:

  1. A hunky cowboy
  2. A funny kid
  3. An adorable dog
  4. And fabulous hero/heroine kissing opportunities

To check out more about Audra Harders visit her website at www.audraharders.com or catch her on Seekerville.

Woohoo! Still smilin’ for ya, Audra.

Seasons Change – Fall Into Love with Audra Harders

Sometimes great things happen.

And then there are times when God just sends you for a loop with plans so MUCH better than you could have planned. That’s what meeting the Seekers at ACFW was like for me. I didn’t go with grandiose visions of publication – but I had one primary objective: Meet as many Seekers as possible! Why? Because they have been such an encouragement to me for the past year and half. Ever since Mary Connealy suggested I take a peek at Seekerville.

And the rest is obsess…er…history.

So among the amazing people at ACFW, God provided the wonderful opportunity to spend time with Audra Harders.  And let me just tell you. She. IS. WONDERFUL!!! She didn’t mind my obesess…my interest in the Seekers, or my need to stalk..er…visit with them often. She even encouraged it. Taking me under her wing, so to speak, and giving me advice. She even endured my jigsaw-puzzle-genre-hopping with a longsuffering smile. Oh, I just LOVE her.

Do you see that picture? Doesn’t she look SWEET?!? Lovely and sweet!

And BEST OF ALL- her debut novel, Rocky Mountain Hero, comes out in JANUARY 2011. YIPEE! Check out this cover! And in celebration of this momentous occassion, one lucky commenter will win an IOU for the book as soon as it is released! So leave your email along with your comment. VERY EXCITING!

Okay, okay, time for the juicy stuff. Thanks for being a guest, Audra.

What do you think makes a great experience where the hero & heroine begin to realize one is in love with the other?

When the hero and heroine first realize they’re falling in love with each other, each character questions the reality of their feelings. After all, they come into my books absolutely certain they’ll never find a kindred spirit, much less a soul mate. In the past, love opportunities that looked promising for them have fallen short when weighed on the can-I-grow-old-with-this-person meter. Physical attraction alone makes for a very shaky foundation. They subconsciously know the cornerstones of a good relationship need to be in place — friendship leads to trust leads to support leads to caring. They’re so busy denying their fascination with each other, they are completely blindsided when the truth of love lifts the veil from their eyes.

 And then the fun starts!

And by ‘fun’, of course she means a sneak peek into Rocky Mountain Hero.  (giggle)

Melanie glanced at her watch again. Five minutes. Grace sat across the room, her head bowed in prayer. Gabe stood at the window, his shoulder propped against the mullion and arms crossed over his chest. He just stared out the glass.

Looking lost.

            She folded her hands and bowed her head. Almost before her eyes closed, her mind stilled. Peace washed over her. Lord, comfort these people.

            An elbow poked her in the side. She opened her eyes and saw Jason frowning at her. “Mom, don’t fall asleep.”

            She reached out and smoothed back his blond hair. “Just thinking.”

            His frown lifted and his shoulders relaxed. “You were grinning.”

            “I was looking for a happy place.”

            “The ranch is a pretty happy place.”

            She lifted her eyes and looked across the room at Gabe. “I think it is, honey.”

            Gabe shifted his weight and settled beside the window. Chin tucked into his shirt collar, he stared with a vacant look.

Unable to sit a moment longer, she walked over to him, reached out and touched his arm. “C’mon, let’s walk.”

Stark pain reflected in his beautiful brown eyes. She slid her hand down his sleeve and into his rough palm. As his fingers interlocked with hers, the sharp edge in his gaze softened. Melanie gave a feeble smile, the best she could manage at the moment, and tugged on his hand.

            He followed her out of the waiting room. The late afternoon air cooled her skin and cleared her head. “I love the evenings up here. The day wrapping up and getting ready for bed.”

            They strolled in silence, their shoulders bumped as they followed the path that meandered around the commons area of the medical center-slash-hospital-slash-clinic. The range of medical care available in such a tiny community surprised her as she’d passed it earlier in the week. Now with Martin’s health in question, she thanked the health facility for being well staffed. She pressed her knuckles into his palm, savoring the warmth of his skin. They finished the entire loop and started a second.

            “I like watching the sun come up.” Gabe spoke in a bare whisper beside her.

            So did she. “Best part of the day.”

“You’ve got the whole day to work, and sometimes, you work into the night.” The heels of his boots clicked on the cement walk, his pace easy to keep up with. “It’s all gotta get done.”

            She loved the sound of his soft, strong voice. Even in the midst of a crisis, he maintained an even tone, a gentle calm. “I imagine there’s a lot to do to keep a ranch the size of the Circle D organized.”

            “Cattle, hay, fence, equipment–it all needs attention. Dad knows how to do it all.”

            She stole a peek, the brim of his hat cast a shadow across his cheek making the lines at his eyes appear deep. “You run the place, too.”

            “Right now, I can’t think of a thing to do.”

            “There isn’t anything more important than being here for your family.”

            Gabe shook his head. “Dad wouldn’t have let a little thing like someone getting sick stop him from finishing chores. Zac came down with pneumonia one winter. We all stood around his hospital bed praying for the fever to break. Waiting. Finally, Dad had enough. He told Mom the cattle needed feed. He took Nick with him and told me to stay with Mom so she wouldn’t have to drive home by herself. Dad didn’t shirk responsibility.” He looked straight down as they followed the path, the very bleakness of his words etched on his face. “I can’t think of a single chore that needs to be done.”

            Melanie squeezed his fingers and rubbed her shoulder against his sleeve. “Your dad hates feeling helpless. He needs to fill time with physical activity; he needs to fix it. Not everyone is like that.” She stepped closer beside him. “Offering comfort with your presence is a gift you have. Gabe, you’re a different man than your dad.”

            A growl rumbled deep within his chest. “You got that right.”

            “It’s not a bad thing. When your dad is out of danger, you’ll collect your thoughts and finish what needs to be done.” She nudged him. “I’m sure whatever chore you think of will still be waiting for you when you’re ready.”

            He leaned closer. “You’re right. No one’s racing to go muck out stalls for me.”

            “No, but people like being around you.”

            He threw her a sideways glance. “Do you?”

            “Sure.”

            “Why?”

            Why? She’d been asking that same question for days now. She walked along the path, careful not to step on the lines, a childhood habit. Why did she look forward to seeing him in the morning, or talking to him through out the day, or wanting him to push her on the swing again just to feel his touch? Why did she trust him with her son?

            Why did she want to trust him with herself? “You make me feel safe.”

            Steps slowed and he came to a stop. His eyes grew round as he tipped back his hat and stared at her. “Safe?”

            Her cheeks burned as she scrambled to call back the truth she’d unwittingly blurted. “Well, you are a stranger after all.”

            “Hard to remember that.” He rubbed his thumb over her knuckles. “Seems like you’ve been here longer than a week.”

            She took a step back. He held firm and tugged her closer. A surge of panic raced through her until she recognized the vulnerability in his rich, dark eyes. “This has turned into the most bizarre vacation I’ve ever experienced.”

            She wanted to bury her face in his shoulder, to feel his arms wrapped around her. She wanted to hug and be hugged in return. To offer comfort more than words. She wanted to know what safe and trust really felt like.

Copyright 2011 by Audra Harders

Permission to reproduce text granted by Harlequin Books S.A.          

Oh dear – how beautiful. Anyone else REALLY want a hug? Like Right NOW!! Thank you for sharing this excerpt, Audra, and I plan to start looking for your book by the third week of December (just in case)

Inspirational Moment

Oh my goodness – check out this wonderful paraphrase of Psalm 119:73-76

With your very own hands you formed me;
      now breathe your wisdom over me so I can understand you.
   When they see me waiting, expecting your Word,
      those who fear you will take heart and be glad.
   I can see now, God, that your decisions are right;
      your testing has taught me what’s true and right. 
   Oh, love me—and right now!—hold me tight!
      just the way you promised.
   Now comfort me so I can live, really live; 
      your revelation is the tune I dance to.

Did you know that God hugs you with his love? Sometimes he uses the hands and arms of his servants on this Earth, but even when there aren’t people with ‘skin on’, He’s still there. Everpresent. Ten times better than the worlds coolest cyberhug.

It’s an internal comfort and knowledge that you are loved.

Accepted

Adored

and Treasured beyond your wildest imaginings.

The hug that squeezes out the doubt and insecurities.

That envelopes the pain and deepset wounds with a ceaseless comfort.

That enfolds you in the truest love you will ever know.

Wow – He made us. He loves us. WHAT A SAVIOR!!

Seasons Change – Lineup

Get ready for another week of great authors with wonderful excerpts about ‘falling in love’.

Monday – Tammy Barley

Wednesday – Audra Harders

Friday – Jody Hedlund

Woohooo!!!! Looking forward to another great week. Stop by and enjoy.