Springs of Inspiration with Ruth Logan Herne

I know you’ve heard me talk about her before (eye roll) It’s no secret that I’m a big-time Seekerville fan.

And you’ve heard how much I love this woman (and her novels), but I’m just going to say it again.

The main reason I love her is for her cookin…er…wisdom. Yeah, that’s right.

Ruth Logan Herne is my guest today on the Springs of Inspiration series and I affectionately refer to her as my ‘writing Mom’. My real mom doesn’t mind sharing at all, because she’s already quite aware that it takes more than one mom to try and keep me straight.

Anyway, Ruthy is one of the Fabulous Fifteen of Seekerville and a Love Inspired author. Prolific would be an understatement for her writing since 2010. She’s been on a high-speed roll with seven published novels and two more on the way. WOW!

So heeerrrreeee’s Ruthy!


 Favorite inspirational scene:
From Winter’s End when Kayla’s left the North Country, thinking she’s following her dream, moving south to Virginia for a new job, less snow, less cold, less barren land only to discover that she left her heart up north, and that despite Marc’s flaws, he makes her feel whole. The Holy Spirit gives her a smack-upside the head, reminding her the choice is hers. And while she’s dealing with that, Marc has his own epiphany in the North Country and realizes that he really hadn’t tried to change at all, that his stubbornness and pride got smack-dab in the way. It takes an invite to a new church and snuggling a mop-topped baby for Marc to finally hear the words of goodness his soul craves. But he’s let a lot of time slip by… How will he ever be able to fix things now?
What keeps me out of a funk?  “Pull up your big girl panties and move on…” (Pepper here: That’s the ‘Mama’ part coming out 😉
Oh, wait, BIBLE verse….
“To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under the heaven.”  Ecc. 3:1  KJV   🙂
This verse is my mantra. That and the Serenity Prayer. They’re my mainstays because I like simple. Simple works for me.
Thanks so much, Ruthy!

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 🙂

A Week Review with Ruth Logan Herne – Reunited Hearts

I just read Ruthy’s novel, Reunited Hearts, a month ago and have my review below – but let me say her NEWEST novel JUST CAME OUT this week. Small Town Hearts should be ready for pick up this week, so stop by your local Wal-Mart or purchase it online right here: http://www.eharlequin.com/store.html?cid=236


Here’s my review of Reunited Hearts.

Surprises are in store for Military hero Trent Michaels when he returns home to Jamison, New York.  Sure, the town’s grown a bit. New buildings, new people, new stories along the streets of the quaint little town – but one surprise arrives he never expected.

His son.

Twelve years after his high school sweetheart refused to marry him, and disappeared, Trent meets the son he never knew he had. Can he work through his own feelings of betrayal and anger to find the reason why Alyssa Langley broke his heart twice? Was his orphaned upbringing the real reason she left him, or was there something much deeper behind her disappearance?

Is the love and attraction that held them together when they
were young strong enough to bind them through their greatest fears?

My thoughts:

Well, Ruth Logan Herne has done it again – crafted a beautiful
story about two hearts who journey home. Alyssa’s carrying a burden of guilt
that threatens to suffocate the hope she begins to feel in Trent’s presence.

It’s a beautiful story of hope, healing, and reuniting that
can only happen when forgiveness gets involved.
A definite read!

And the cameo appearance by a really cute pregnant preacher’s
wife made me feel right at home ;-)

A Week Review with Ruth Logan Herne – Made to Order Family

Well, we’ve been celebrating the author, Ruth Logan Herne, this week – and let me just tell ya:

If you like Ruthy’s books, then you’re in for a treat. She has SO MANY MORE on the way! Today we’ll focus on her third novel, Made to Order Familyl – and remember, leave a comment for your chance to win a Ruthy-novel

Okay – so I’ve realized one of the things that make Ruth Logan Herne’s books a bit different than some of the others I read.

You know how romance in some books can be sloooooow. I mean painfully slow. Like…’someday my prince will come when I’m 99 years old’ :-)


Some books will have romance pounding almost off of every page – starting with page 2? (I love those kind too, btw.)

Well, with Ruthy’s books there’s this beautiful steady kind of romance. I mean this in a wonderful, down-home, smell the scent of fresh-baked bread kind of way. Love grows, spreads, learns, explores, and discovers as friends (new or old) feel their way into a possible future.

And it’s like that with all three of her books. A tender, growing awareness between the man and woman. Usually, it’s with eyes-wide-open. Wow. Lovely.

Her newest novel, Made to Order Family, is no different in this gentle nudge into love. As a woman with a shameful past, who trusts herself less than she trusts most other people, Rita is determined to make a fresh start with her three kids. With a dream of owning her own bakery pushing her forward, she consults her hunky woodworking friend, Brooks. Taking it slow is a necessity for these two.

Rita & Brooks are both recovering alcoholics. Caution and care are needed for each day – each decision. Rita has enough responsibility in being a widow with three kids, not to mention the former wife of a swindler who took his own life instead of facing the damage he’d caused. Now, as her dreams start to quiver into realities, true love drifts forward in the form of her friend. A man she’s admired for a long time. A solid, honest, secure man. But…a man with a past too.

Unlike Rita who has to face her past head-on, Brooks has run from his. But as my granny says, the truth always comes out. No matter how far Brooks might try to run or hide from his secrets, they will find him. He has the choice whether to confront them on his own or allow bitterness to steal freedom from his soul. His discovery of what he wants, and what he has to do to get it, is as lovely as Rita’s.

It’s a beautiful mix of difficult parenthood, future possibilities, and love’s promises, all packaged in a very satisfying journey of a mature man & woman. A couple who thought their second chances might have been long gone. I loved it.

And I’ll say again – as I’ve said of Ruthy’s heroes before – yum. Brooks is no exception. He is all those strong, sensitive, manly qualities that are sigh-worthy.

Wonderful story, Ruthy. And I’m so tickled that there are more to come!!!

A Week Review with Ruth Logan Herne – Waiting Out the Storm

From my June 2010 post of Ruthy’s novel Waiting Out the Storm. I LOVED this one. What am I saying? I’ve loved them all.

Well, Ruth Logan Herne has done it again. Written a beautiful story of hope and healing with just enough grit and humor, (plus great animals) to keep the reader from getting anything else done in her house.

Gee, thanks Ruthy. It’s a good thing I did some house-cleaning BEFORE  I started reading.

Waiting Out the Storm is a novel of second chances and redefining expectations. Craig Macklin tends a grudge with as much expertise and he tends the animals in his clinic. For years, he’s barely tolerated the Sloccums for a crime one of them committed against his family. When the youngest Sloccum, Sarah, brings in her dog for Craig’s help, he responds as a professional, but inside he’s seething.  The fact she was a Sloccum and a shepherd put her on the lowest rung of likeable people, even if her dove eyes snagged his attention against his will. He wanted nothing to do with her or her sheep.

Until his life and Sarah’s begin to intertwine.

When Sarah unexpectedly becomes the guardian for her nieces and nephew, and the truth of the past surfaces, Craig begins to realize his mom is right about those nasty assumptions.

But can Sarah’s heart open up to a man with a past like his? Can she forgive him for his longstanding resentment toward her for a crime her half-brother committed? And when a storm sweeps through Sarah’s farm and leaves her wounded, will the scars from her past heal as beautifully as the ones on her face?

Waiting Out the Storm is a fantastic second book for Ruth Logan Herne. Following her debut novel with Steeple Hill, Winter’s End, Ruthy has a consistent flow of books in stores this year. The third book in this series, Made to Order Family comes out in September.

Sarah and Craig’s story is a good testament to false assumptions and the blindness that unforgiveness causes. Both characters in this story are dealing with matters of unforgiveness. And just so you know – Ruthy writes great heroes. Love Craig. And for that reason, I’ve wanted to slap both of her heroines in the next-to-last chapter of both books 🙂 Sorry, Ruthy – but it’s true. Go grab that man!!! He’s a keeper! You should hear me. I actually talked to Sarah.

You’ll have to read the book to see if Sarah listened to me. And visit Ruthy’s website and brand new blog. www.ruthloganherne.com

You can also read some of her words of wit and wisdom on Seekerville. It’s always worth the daily stop. Can’t wait for the next one, Ruthy. You’ve got a fan in me.


Reunited Hearts – A Home Run for the Heart

Surprises are in store for Military hero Trent Michaels when he returns home to Jamison, New York.  Sure, the town’s grown a bit. New buildings, new people, new stories along the streets of the quaint little town – but one surprise arrives he never expected.

His son.

Twelve years after his high school sweetheart refused to marry him, and disappeared, Trent meets the son he never knew he had. Can he work through his own feelings of betrayal and anger to find the reason why Alyssa Langley broke his heart twice? Was his orphaned upbringing the real reason she left him, or was there something much deeper behind her disappearance?

Is the love and attraction that held them together when they
were young strong enough to bind them through their greatest fears?

My thoughts:

Well, Ruth Logan Herne has done it again – crafted a beautiful
story about two hearts who journey home. Alyssa’s carrying a burden of guilt
that threatens to suffocate the hope she begins to feel in Trent’s presence.

It’s a beautiful story of hope, healing, and reuniting that
can only happen when forgiveness gets involved.
A definite read!

And the cameo appearance by a really cute pregnant preacher’s
wife made me feel right at home 😉

Love at First Thought with Audra Harders

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



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 Missy Tippens

Oh it’s another wonderful Seeker today. Missy Tippens, Fiction author with southern sweetness – let me tell ya.

If you’ve not had a chance to read any of her books, just check out her website here.

Missy and I are in cahoots.  She’s an author (I’m an aspiring one). She’s a mom of more than two younguns. She likes her southern livin’. AND she’s a pastor’s wife. (We gotta stick together, Missy 😉

Let’s here what Missy has to say about her Love at First Thought.

I’ve recently decided that my upcoming book is my new favorite (I wonder if the new ones will always be my fav??). 🙂 And one reason is because of where I got the idea for the story! In the back of the book, you’ll see this story in the Dear Reader letter. Here’s what happened…
A Family for Faith was inspired while I was flying home from a writers’ conference. Across the aisle, and up one row, a dad sat by himself with a young daughter. He was trying to fix the bow in her hair and was not having any luck at all. I just ached for him and his daughter, wondering if there was a mom in the picture. But I was also touched at how gentle and persistent he was, and that he tried so very hard with that silly bow. Right then and there, I knew I had to write a story about a single dad with a daughter who was hitting an age where she really needed a mother figure.
And, thus, my April Love Inspired release was born!
Look at the cover for her new book. Doesn’t it look lovely?!? The premise is great. I can’t wait to get my hands on it.
Inspirational Thought:
Isaiah 36:9-13
8 “Remember this, keep it in mind,
   take it to heart, you rebels.
9 Remember the former things, those of long ago;
   I am God, and there is no other;
   I am God, and there is none like me.
10 I make known the end from the beginning,
   from ancient times, what is still to come.
I say, ‘My purpose will stand,
   and I will do all that I please.’
11 From the east I summon a bird of prey;
   from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose.
What I have said, that I will bring about;
   what I have planned, that I will do.
12 Listen to me, you stubborn-hearted,
   you who are now far from my righteousness.
13 I am bringing my righteousness near,
   it is not far away;
Just in case you didn’t know – this is GOD.
When I read these verses, I get a sense that God is saying “This is who I am, whether you believe it or not. I am in charge – not you. I am exactly who I said I was so… be prepared, or watch out.”
Have you ever thought about the notion that God doesn’t need us.
The first time I heard that phrase, it ruffled my pride. I thought, “well, I’m important to God. Of course, he needs me.”
But, no, He doesn’t. He’s perfectly content in who He is.
God, the Father – God, the Son, and God, the Holy Spirit find perfect communion in each other so…
we’re just the bonus!! 🙂
In the verses above, God is making sure we get a good picture of who He is. He is God. Creator, Sustainer, Time Keeper, Cosmic Planner…and so much more. Our existence, eternally, is intricately linked with who He is. He doesn’t need us, but we desperately need Him.
The two beautiful things about it all are these:
1. He WANTS us! He may not NEED us, but he WANTS us – so throughout of the span of eternity He reaches into our hearts and brings us to Himself. Why? Because of LOVE. Wow! We’re the icing on the cake! He already has the most delicious cake in and of himself, but we’re the bonus, the fringe (so to speak, of course).
We make Him glad.
Isaiah 52:5 states
 As a young man marries a young woman,
   so will your Builder marry you;
as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, 
   so will your God rejoice over you.
2. He is NEAR
We don’t have to search far away for God. He is near.
In the beginning of time, he was so close he took walks with Adam and Eve.
The Fall happened and broke that intimacy.
But Jesus came to reconnect us to our Bridegroom. The bridge between us and God. The chasm of sin no longer seperates us from the Father’s love.
Acts 17:26-28
26 From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. 27 God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. 28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’
Find comfort in this: You are loved extravagantly by a Bridegroom who is near.

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


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 Missy Tippens

I’m a southern girl. To the core.

I love southern stuff:

Sweet tea.



and Missy Tippens 🙂

Yep, that’s right. Love Inspired author, Missy Tippens, is visiting today. This Kentuckian-turned-Georgian likes to add some southern-sweet romance to her novels and a whole lot of second chance-stories too :-). We ALL need second chances, right?

 She couldn’t get approval for a scene from her April 2011 release, A Family for Faith, in time for this post-  so I’ll pull from my archives and give you a glimpse into her writing from a previous post 🙂

But Missy did answer our Seasons Change question. Let’s get to it 🙂

 What are some elements that are present when a hero and heroine first realize they are falling in love with each other? What are some beautiful, interesting, unique ways of showing that realization?
 I love when a hero or heroine is surprised to realize he or she is in love. But you have to lay the groundwork so the reader won’t be left doubting it. You can’t have them fighting and in constant conflict, then suddenly saying, “I love you.” There needs to be a gradual falling in like, a building of respect, a wishing to spend time together. Then a time where they start to see each other for who they really are–faults and all. They need to grow to care for each other through the book. They can deny it all they want–which can be fun! But we, as a reader, know they share true love. Then, finally, once the characters have grown enough in their arc to accept the love of the other person, you can show the declaration of love.

 In my upcoming book, A Family for Faith (Love Inspired April 2011), My heroine starts to realize she cares for her neighbor when she recognizes her desire for a man like him–who’s kind and honest and faithful. Of course, at that point, she fears she’s not good enough for his love, so she can’t allow herself to care.

 The hero’s realization is later in the book because he’s been grieving the death of his wife 5 years before and is scared to love again. All through the book, I have him thinking of his wife, what she would say or do if she were there. Then near the end, he realizes he’s been thinking of the heroine instead. He has finally moved on.

Here’s an excerpt from Missy’s 2009 release, A Forever Christmas. (And a festive reminder of the upcoming holiday too 🙂

Before he could stop himself, he took hold of her hand. At least he hadn’t hugged her like he wanted to do. “I’m sorry.”

She held tight. “I just can’t bear to see any child missing his mom or dad. And Peter’s parents… The regret. Just too painful for anyone to have to bear.”

Well, no wonder she’d been hounding him. At least he understood better now.

He wanted to hold her in his arms. To comfort her like he had so many times before. But he couldn’t. It wasn’t his place now.

Gregory turned off the truck. “Come on. I’ll walk you to the door.”

She seemed disappointed. “Okay.”

When they reached the front door, he couldn’t help glancing in the direction of her upstairs bedroom window. Where years ago, he tossed rocks to get her to sneak out to meet him. Which, of course, reminded him that her parents never approved of him.

Never would, either.

Then why do I want to get closer to her? To breathe in her fragrance? To remember holding her close? To remember kissing her?

To remember all the big dreams I had when I was with her?

Before he knew it, he had moved closer. He took hold of her hand again. “You know, I should thank you for spending time with Hunter and Chase. They seemed to have a good time. Seemed happy.”

“I had fun, too.”

Frustration. Gratitude. Attraction. They all warred, yanking his thoughts all over the place.

But one thought dominated.

He wanted more. More than the touch of her hand. He wanted to look into her eyes and see that she cared. He wanted to know if she felt anything for him now.

His gaze slid from her eyes to her lips…

He took a step back to fight the temptation. He couldn’t look at her right now—too many emotions swirling around. So instead, he let go of her hand and looked up the length of the big white columns, took in the expensive furniture on the porch, to remind himself whose house he stood in front of. Then he nodded. “Good night.”

She started to unlock the door, then turned quickly, nearly running into him. “Oh, wait. The craft stuff.”

He had to get out of there before he did something stupid. “I’ll get it later.”

He hurried to the truck. As he started the engine, he noticed a shadowy figure standing at the side of the house. Just outside Winston’s home office.

Even with the sun setting, and the shadows on that side of the house, he could tell it was him.

How long had he been there? How much had he seen or heard?

His stance—legs spread wide, arms crossed in front of him, his head following Gregory’s truck as he backed out—said everything. Stay away from my daughter.

Apparently, Winston expected that the agreement was still in effect.

No threat was needed. If Gregory wanted to keep his shameful past a secret, he needed to stay away.

 Copyright © 2009 by Melissa L. Tippens


Thanks so much for the visit, Missy. And I’m so excited about your next release. What a blessing it was to meet you in Indy! You hang with a great crew over at Seekerville.

Inspirational Moment:

Psalm 103:1-3

1-2 O my soul, bless God. From head to toe, I’ll bless his holy name!
   O my soul, bless God,
      don’t forget a single blessing!

 3-5 He forgives your sins—every one.
      He heals your diseases—every one.
      He redeems you from hell—saves your life!
      He crowns you with love and mercy—a paradise crown.
      He wraps you in goodness—beauty eternal.
      He renews your youth—you’re always young in his presence.

All the things our broken lives crave are found in Jesus. Look at the list. Forgiveness, healing, redemption, love, mercy, goodness, and the vibrance & beauty of youth. He takes the embittered, broken, evil, hateful, merciless, heartless, and dead souls within us and breaths His life into us. We are reborn. Renewed.

What was old has passed away – and we are now covered in the glory of Christ. We start over, because He’s made the way.