Love on the Line with Deeanne Gist

Deeanne Gist’s newest novel, Love on the Line, is definitely a novel worth ringing home about. With rich historical detail, humor, suspense, and enough romantic tension to have all sorts of bells ringing, this story captures the essence of the changes during the turn-of-the century that affected the changing relationships between men and women.

Georgie Gail isn’t a typical Victorian gal. Besides having an occupation outside of the family, she’s strong-willed, smart, and a little eccentric (which is another reason she’s likeable). While she’s busy keeping the phone lines going in Washington County, TX and bird-watching on the side, an unlikely hero slips into her life.

Texas Ranger Lucious Landrum has a score to settle with the notorious train robber, Frank Comer, but the outlaw has evaded all of Lucious’ attempts to catch him. Assigned to go undercover as a telephone repairman, Lucious (aka Luke Palmer) has to work in close quarters with the sassy telephone operator. Sparks of all sorts fly between them igniting romance, humor, and intrigue that ends up shedding light not only on the truth behind Frank Comer, but the truth about what real love means.

From hat-making to sparkin’ to pistol-firing lessons and a little bit of everything else in between, Love on the Line is the perfect call for any romance reader.

There were moments I wanted to laugh out loud – pistol-lessons, luscious…

There were moments my heart squeezed from the tension – tweezers.

There were moments my heart ached for them both – betrayal & siblings

And other moments I wanted to sigh from the tenderness – phone calls, yellow dresses, & ice cream

It’s such a sweet story as only Dee can write. Maid to Match is still my all-time favorite of hers, but Love on the Line will definitely not disappoint. Fabulous & fun story!

Provided by Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

Conference Tips with Keli GwynI

If you’ve never been to Romance Writers on the Journey, you need to scootdaddle right over there and check it out. It’s the brain-child of Keli Gwyn, encourager -extraordinairre and debut author. I met Keli last year at ACFW, but she’d made an impact on my life well before then. She’s one of the most thoughtful people I’ve ever met – and her timing is impeccable.

In January this year, right after receiving a pretty scathing critique from a contest, a card arrived in the mail from Keli. It read: 2011 – This is YOUR year.

What a sweet encouragement and reminder that there are people on this journey WITH me – so many cheerleaders. Keli is one of the BEST.

So – I’m extremely happy to cheer her own as her first book, A Bride Opens Shop in Eldorado, California, expects to arrive in bookstores in 2012.

What are Keli’s tips?

1) A willingness to learn
2) Realistic expectations
3) A map with directions to the nearest Taco Bell in case withdrawal symptoms appear
Good stuff here, Keli. Realistic expectations is a tough one  to keep under control because we all want the ‘big dream’ to happen to use while were among the famous and infamous at ACFW 😉
But just as Kaye Dacus reminded us last week, if we remember the root of WHY we  write (what our purpose is), then it helps keep our heads.
And Taco Bell directions? Oh yeah. Just had some today, in fact 🙂
Thanks so much, Keli.
You can learn more about Keli, her blogs, and her upcoming novel at

The Colonel’s Lady by Laura Frantz

Laura Frantz has proven her talents in yet another fabulously crafted historical romance. A sweeping tale of terrible loss,
unending determination, and love born through heartbreak, The Colonel’s Lady will take you on a journey through the anguish and treachery of war.

In the heart of Kentucky during the stirrings of the Revolutionary War, Roxanna Rowen finds herself orphaned, penniless, and left in the middle of
Kentucky territory  inside the solitary Fort Endeavor. Her father’s untimely death and the hostility of the surrounding Indians, leave her out of option – save one. Take her father’s place as scrivener for the notorious Colonel Cassius McLinn.

With God’s strength and her own determination, Roxanna takes on the brutality of war and the harsh frontier, but even a fort in the wilds of Kentucky territory may be nothing compared to the untamed heart of Cassius McLinn.

A wounded hero with a broken spirit but a will of iron, he commands both Indians and soldiers with a look, but is he in endanger of losing command of his own heart? Will the secret that binds his spirit wreck his chance to make a life with Roxanna, if they can survive the bloody threat outside the fort walls?

It is a beautiful journey of forgiveness and hope with magical interludes of romantic tension that are positively spellbinding.  Laura blends poetic rhythm and masterful detail to create a setting as real as a movie and characters that reach beyond the page to grip a reader’s heart. I was riveted, moved, and captured in the hands of a gifted storyteller.

Beautiful, Laura – absolutely beautiful.

Check out Laura’s other wonderful novels at her website at

Available August 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group

Provided by Baker Publishing Group and gladly read & reviewed by me.

Mary Connealy is OUT OF CONTROL

Oh my, what a fun book! Have I ever mentioned how much I love awesome heroes who kiss women senseless?

Who wouldn’t want to be kissed senseless? Seriously!

Add senseless kissing along with a half-crazed cutie, a pregnant widow, an evil hitman, and two control freaks and you have Mary
Connealy’s newest historical romance, Out of Control.

The story is really about Rafe Kincaid, the eldest of three rancher-brothers – and the man who is always ‘in control’. So how else to start the book except to have him be completely Out of Control by meeting Julia Gilliland who is trapped inside a cavern.  – a cavern that has a deep hold onver Rafe’s past.

Rafe’s guilt over his parents’ grief and his youngest brother’s pain shadows his decisions and his ability to live freely. He strives to control everything, because losing control is dangerous.

But then comes Julia – and a kiss within the first 2 minutes of meeting each other. Oh yeah!

Thus begins the adventure.

Julia, an extremely bossy palaentologist-wanna-be, stumbles in Rafe’s life after getting trapped in a cavern while exploring.  Actually, someone trapped her – someone who is after the money her father stole.

The dreaded cavern ruined Rafe’s family but introduced him to a woman  who might be the answer to the loneliness in his heart. She wants to research the wonders of the mysterious cavern – he never wants to visit it again. As they try to solve the mystery of the man hiding out in the cave, will their different goals push them apart?


Is it a perfect match made through stubbornness and trouble? (with lots of senseless kissing and a FABULOUS supporting cast to add the perfect blend of funny, romantic, suspenseful, and crazy.)

Maybe losing control will be the key to losing the guilt of the past and bringing new hope for the future.

If you’re a Mary Connealy fan – get ready for another wonderful story.

If you need a reason to find out what all the excitement is about a Connealy Classic, go pick up the first book in the The Kincaid Brides series – and lose control with Out of Control.

Check out her website at

Small Town Hearts by Ruth Logan Herne

Want a SWEET TREAT for your heart? Ruth Logan Herne’s latest book, Small Town Hearts, will provide the necessary sustenance and so much more.

Danny Graham is a hero so sweet, he rivals chocolate – and I DO NOT mean the generic brand either. I mean the good stuff. And poor Megan Russo’s well-protected heart doesn’t stand a chance.

Burned twice by two jerks, Megan focuses on her family, friends, and her candy store. Life in a small town may not be the best place to allow her past to disappear into obscurity, but it fits the simple, peaceful life she wants. But in all honesty, her life was like cookie dough without the chocolate chips added in.

Enter, Danny Graham, grandson of Grandma Mary’s Candies and businessman with a purpose. Open up a chain of his grandma’s stores just around the corner from Megan’s shop. It’s one thing to fulfill one of his grandmother’s dreams, but another to put a sweet shopkeeper like Megan Russo out of business. Especially with Megan’s small town appeal snatching his heart from the very first moment.

It’s gonna take a whole lot of sugar and spice to get everything working nice between these two . When Megan finds out Danny’s real reason for being in town will it end in her strike three for romance? Will Danny learn that the sweetest ingredients missing from his life might be found in the simplest place?

Ruth Logan Herne bakes up a delicious concoction of romance, tenderness, small-town characters, and male-female banter. Don’t miss your chance to purchase this beautiful and sugar-coated story.

One taste will not be enough 🙂

Awakening by JoAnn Durgin

Who doesn’t love a cowboy, right?

Well, there’s a mighty nice one to meet in JoAnn Durgin’s novel, Awakening.

Between the messed-up souls of Lexa Clarke and Sam Lewis, there are a whole lot of sparks too. The good kind and the bad. One minute they’re arguing, the next they’re ‘almost’ kissing. It’s the lively banter of two people trying their best not to fall in love. Lexa Clarke is a big city girl trying to make a difference in her life, by making a difference in the world. Sam Lewis is your modern-cowboy, with a fragile heart and a will of iron.

Lexa’s trying her best to run from her past and find her place in the present. Sam is the summer mission group leader for TeamWork Ministries, and is trying his best not to run right into Lexa’s arms. In the meantime, he has to save her from wild animals, rebellious teens, near-death experiences, and sometimes her own defiance.

Will Lexa find more than what’s she’s looking for? Though challenged with a painful past and unused to the hardwork involved in missionwork, will Lexa find healing for her broken heart?

It’s a lovely story about forgiveness, faith, and trusting God for a future. Sprinkled with humor, romance, adventure, and God’s love, this story will warm your heart – not to mention how warn the kisses might make you (or near-kisses):-)

JoAnn weaves a sweet tale of an unlikely couple and an amazing God. I love this line from the back of the book – “The adventures of Lewis and Clarke have only just begun.”

Warning – The ending will leave you longing for more. What will happen to Lewis and Clarke? Is there new-found romance strong enough to stand the test of time?

Thanks for the sweet adventure, JoAnn.

To learn more about JoAnn and Awakening, visit her website at


Next week get ready for a Week of Review with Siri Mitchell. Stop by to learn about her historical and contemporary books. It’s a wonderful overview of a talented author’s versatility and inspiration.

A Week Review with Julie Lessman – A Passion Redeemed

Yesterday (or today – as the time goes) we chatted about Julie Lessman’s debut novel, A Passion Most Pure (the 2009 ACFW Debut Author of the Year novel and one of Borders Best for 2009). In that first novel, we meet sassy, sexy, and sensational, Charity O’Connor – who always seems to need a good spanking 😉 Or… to quote Rhett Butler, she ‘needs to be kissed, and kissed often, and kissed by a man who knows how.”

Mitch Dennehey certainly seems to be the ‘man that knows how’ – though it takes him a while to realize it.

Here’s my review from August 2008 of A Passion Redeemed – Julie’s second book in the Daughters of Boston series and the VERY FIRST Julie Lessman book I ever read.

Move over Scarlett O’Hara! Step up, Charity O’Connor!  Much like her Civil War era predecessor, Charity gets what she wants by using her looks, charms, and manipulation.  Unlike her older sister, Faith – who lives up to her name, Charity has no use for God’s love or His staunch rules and regulations.  All she’s certain of, is that she loves Mitch Dennehy and she’ll do whatever it takes to make him love her back.
Mitch has already been taunted and burned by Charity’s devious schemes, once.  Not only has his heart been transformed by God’s grace, he’s set his mind on marrying another lady…even if his heart hasn’t caught up yet.
But when Charity’s own stubborn will and brilliantly planned schemes explode in her face and turn Mitch away from her, can she find solace in a love beyond her own imperfections that will meet her every need?  Is there redemption for a sassy, flirtatious, lying, manipulative beauty….and her dreams?  Will Charity learn the true meaning of her name in the One who never fails?
My two cents worth:
Julie Lessman has convinced me that I need to read her first novel too.  This book was a great read….powerful, funny, intense, with Biblical truths woven through the braided lives of the characters.  I read it twice and liked it better the second time.  I’ve never been a fan of characters like Scarlet O’Hara….and I’m not sure I’m a big fan of Charity O’Conner, but after I read through the book a second time I realized Charity had learned her lesson.  She really had been changed through God’s grace.
One of the many nice touches in this novel is the way Charity begins talking to God long before she really makes a decision to follow Him.  There’s this gradual draw to speak to Him…to know Him, even in her most wicked schemes.  It’s a wonderful testament of the Holy Spirit’s continual pull of our hearts to Him…the whole idea of “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
A Passion Redeemed certainly has passion in it…..and every man the reader meets, ends up kissing Charity at some point or other in the this novel or the last, so that’s got to give you some idea of her track record, and what sort of taming is in store for this little prodigal.
Most people either really like Charity, or find her overwhelming. What do you think? What makes Mitch so likeable?
REMEMBER – leave a comment for your chance to win one of Julie’s books, including her up-and-coming 5th book, A Heart Revealed.

Mary Connealy’s in DEEP TROUBLE

Seriously – I think Mary is always in deep trouble. Or at least her characters are 🙂

Well, if you’re a fan of Deep Trouble, then I have a book for you.

Mary Connealy’s newest adventure takes the reader deep into the heart of the Grand Canyon-  back when the west was young, men were cowboys, and women didn’t midn being rescued…mostly.

Shannon Dysart is trying to redeem her father’s name. Even if her father’s is dead, she’s determined to discover the city of gold he’d spent his life searching for. But her big city ways and naïve decision to hire a group of greedy stragglers leaves her wounded and trapped inside a cave to starve to death (Not to mention stalked by those same murderous stragglers who want to become rich from this ‘city of gold’.)

Along comes Gabe Lasley – a wanderer and resident -woman-roper (Read to find that one out). Gabe runs from heartbreak right into Shannon, and does what any self-respecting cowboy should do. He rescues her, and then regrets it. Unable to leave this intriguing and infuriating city-girl alone, Gabe finds his heart falling off the edge of reason and right into a whirlwind adventure.

With 5 sinister outlaws, a city of gold, and a canyon as beautiful and dangerous as love itself, Shannon and Gabe embark on a journey for true treasure. (and let me give you a hint – where your treasure is, that’s where your heart is too)

 Will Shannon discover that the best treasure can’t be wrapped in a thousand year old city, or will the pride of success and greed for acceptance destroy her life?

Deep Trouble follows along the same fast-paced adventure as Mary’s typical Connealy Classics. Add a dose of Indian Jones meets Dances With
Wolves, and you have an amazing story of cliffhangers (literally), treasure, and true love. Of course there’s humor too.

Make sure you take the time to discover this gem of a tale. It’s one of my Connealy Classic Keepers!

Spotlight on Author Mary Connealy – Petticoat Ranch

Looking for some great books for summer reading?

Here’s your chance to get a sneak peek into some wonderful options from fantastic authors. For the next few weeks, stop by for the Author of the week – Spotlighting a new author each week with reviews of his/her books.

Who better to start the party off than with Mary Connealy!

Mary’s romance with cowboys…er….

Mary’s cowboys and romance…um…

Mary’s books about cowboys and romance are not only well-written, but fast-paced and funny. So let’s look at your options from the Connealy Classics, shall we?

And where better to start than the beginning.

Here’s my review from December 2007 – when I first got my hands on a Mary Connealy book.

I can’t wait to read more from Mary Connealy. This delightful novel really brings out the battle of the sexes in a fun, spunky, and hilarious way.

Sophie Edwards has been a single mom long before her husband was killed, and now she thinks she’s seeing ghosts. When Sophie’s husband’s unknown twin brother, Clay, stumbles upon her ranch and her four daughters, the last thing on her mind is romance. At first, she’s only worried about saving this insane stranger’s life, then she’s worried about going insane herself at his likeness to her dead husband. Somehow, within the expanse of a few days, she’s married to him, but now, besides figuring out how this new husband of hers fits into her life, she’s also battling against the men who killed her first husband and want to own her ranch.

Clay, on the other hand, is a good guy with the right intentions, but absolutely unsure of how to manage a household of crying, emotional, and talkative ladies. With a hint of intrigue, a gallon of drama, and a ‘wagon load’ of sidesplitting male-female relationship humor, this novel is a must read.

What’s new from Mary Connealy?

Her next book, Deep Trouble, comes out in May. Another great Connealy classic filled with cowboys, laughter, and adventure is sure to hit my bookshelf by then. Learn more about it at

Love at First Thought with Myra Johnson

Well, it’s the last week of Love at First Thought blog series. I hope you guys have enjoyed it as much as I have.

Wednesday, Alley Cat and buddy, Casey Herringshaw gives us a glimpse into her Love at First Thought, and on Friday, I have debut author, Tina Radcliffe.

But today….

Myra Johnson joins us.

I had the wonderful opportunity to sit and chat with Myra and Mary Connealy for about half an hour at ACFW. (I chatted with them on other occasions throughout the weekend, but that 30 minutes was mostly just me and them. WONDERFUL – and totally selfish of me, but I’m not sorry 😉

Myra’s Love at First Thought is AMAZING! It’s one of those comments that becomes devotional.

Here it is:

One of my favorite books is Autumn Rains, and the main reason is because of how the idea came about. It was inspired by something that actually happened to my brother-in-law, who at the time was pastoring the church we attended in northwest Houston. Late one evening he and the church council president were at the church discussing some business when a man arrived looking for help. He said he’d just been released from prison (somewhere up north) and was trying to get to a Texas town farther south where he heard there were employment opportunities. 
When the bus stopped for a layover in Houston, he locked his belongings in a bus station locker (this was back when they still had lockers in bus stations), and then he lost the combination. Unable to get to his money or possessions, he asked around for suggestions on where he could get assistance, and someone pointed him in the direction of our community. This was in the heat of summer, and the man walked or hitchhiked some 25 or 30 miles to get to our church.
My brother-in-law was glad to offer the man some money from a church fund set up for such needs, and then he and the church council president drove him to where he could board a commuter bus back downtown so he could catch the next Greyhound bus south. On the way, they asked him what he’d been in prison for, and he answered, “Murder.” By now it was really late and really dark, so it got really quiet in the car at that point. My brother-in-law still chuckles over the experience, though, and several weeks later they heard that the man reached his destination, found a job, and started his new life. Or at least that’s the way I like to remember it.
So that’s the inspiration for my character Healy Ferguson in Autumn Rains, and to this day he remains one of my favorite heroes, a good man who made a mistake and paid for it, determined to become the man God created him to be.
Wow! What inspiration – and food for thought! Thanks, Myra.
What does grace look like in your life? Jesus was the Master at peddling out grace. Especially grace to the people the ‘world’ viewed as outcasts and undeserving. The very nature of grace is just that – showing love, forgiveness, & mercy when it isn’t deserved.
Christ is in the business of blessing beyond expectations or just desserts.
His entire rescue mission was built on this foundation: Save a bunch of undeserving sinners.
And that love, that kind of grace, should spill out of our hearts and into the lives of those around us.
May we become Christ’s hands and feet of grace wherever we are.