Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Writer's Life: Jody Hedlund

Welcome to another edition of Writer's Life! Every Wednesday features a writer of inspirational or sweet romance novels. I'm excited to share some of my favorite authors and hope you'll find new books for your to-be-read pile!

Please join me in welcoming the mega-talented Jody Hedlund today!! Jody is one of my favorite authors for a variety of reasons.
1. Her books ooze with conflict, drama, romance, and history!
2. She's been a mentor and friend to me for many years.
3. She's one of the most generous writers you'll ever meet!
Her latest book, Captured by Love takes place during the War of 1812 on Mackinac Island in Michigan. We visit the island every few years, so I could not wait to read this book, and, let me tell you, it was worth the wait! I've read history books about Mackinac Island, but Captured by Love brought the rich past of this pretty island to life in a way history books couldn't. My review is below.

Let's get to it!

1. What about writing makes your heart sing?

As a writer, I love telling stories. I especially like the feeling that comes as I near the end of the book when everything looks hopeless, the characters are in big trouble, and somehow I’m able to wrap up the book in a satisfying way. I call it the first-draft love affair! I fall absolutely and madly in love with the story and think it’s the best thing I’ve ever written.

2. What is the biggest hurdle you're facing right now as a writer?

My biggest challenge at this stage in my life is dividing my time between writing and being a mom. Since I'm a work-from-home mom, there are many special issues that arise around setting boundaries, time management, as well as teaching my children to respect my work time.

And like most modern authors, we're struggling in this new age of shrinking shelf space and closing bookstores to get the word about our books out. With many readers shopping online these days, it's difficult to find ways to promote our books and get discovered by readers. We count it such a blessing when fans spread the word and leave book reviews! We authors appreciate that so much!

3. What do you do to fill your creative well?

When I have a minute or two to myself, I love to read! I've taken to using audio books as a way to squeeze in more reading, especially as I'm doing house chores or exercising. I've realized that reading sparks my creativity like nothing else does. Not only do I glean nuggets of ideas that I can build upon for my own stories, but I also learn a lot about writing techniques from studying what other authors are doing.

4. What are you working on now?

Currently I'm in the middle of writing my lighthouse series for Bethany House Publishers. I took a trip in June to Michigan's Upper Peninsula to the far northern tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula. I stayed in an assistant light keeper's cottage for a week to research. It was by far one of the most beautiful trips I've ever taken!

***

I love writing the first draft too, Jody! I call it first-draft-land, my happy place. Then revising kicks in, and it's not quite as happy. Ha! My son started listening to audio books this summer. It's a great way to read when you're pressed for time or have a less-than-perfect attention span. I try to read books outside my genre every month or two. It loosens my brain up! Oh, your light keeper's cottage experience sounds amazing!! Now I can't wait to read your lighthouse series!

Thanks so much for being my guest today!

***




Michigan Territory, 1814
A voyageur and a young woman swept up in a time of upheaval and danger
discover firsthand the high price of freedom.

The British Army has taken control of Michilimackinac Island and its fort, forcing the Americans to swear an oath of loyalty to the crown in order to retain their land. Pierre Durant is a fur trader who returns after being away from the island for years, only to find the family farm a shambles and those he cares about starving and at the mercy of British invaders.

Torn between the adventurous life of fur trading and guilt over neglecting his defenseless mother, Pierre is drawn deeper into the fight against the British--and into a relationship with Angelique MacKenzie, a childhood friend who's grown into a beautiful woman. She now finds herself trapped by the circumstances of war and poverty, and the cruelty of her guardian, Ebenezer Whiley.

As tensions mount and the violence rages on, Pierre and Angelique must decide where their loyalties rest and how much they'll risk for love.

***


About Jody ~
Jody Hedlund is an award-winning and bestselling author of inspirational historical romances.

As a busy mama-writer, she has the wonderful privilege of teaching her crew of 5 children at home. In between grading math papers and giving spelling tests, she occasionally does a load of laundry and washes dishes. When she’s not busy being a mama, you can find her in front of her laptop working on another of her page-turning stories.

She loves reading almost as much as she loves writing, especially when it also involves chocolate and coffee.



***

My Review ~ 5 Stars!!!


Captured by Love captured my attention from page one and didn't let go! I'm from Michigan, and I've visited Mackinac Island many times, so this book touched me in a personal way. I loved Angelique's sweet, spunky spirit. The stakes were high for her in this book. To help her dear, almost-blind friend, Angelique faced punishment from her jerky guardian and the British soldiers in control of the island--yet she continued to sneak away every morning. Her integrity kept me turning the pages.

And Pierre...what's not to like about Pierre? Protective, strong, charming, and very alpha male--I loved him! No spoilers, but there was a point midway through where I held my breath after Pierre did the most perfect thing! Yeah, he was my kind of hero.

As always, Ms. Hedlund excels at bringing the drama, the romance, and weaving it all into an interesting setting. 

Loved this book!

*I received an advanced reader copy of this book with no obligation to review it. All opinions are my own. **

***

Do you have a vacation spot steeped in history? Have you read any novels set there?

Have a terrific day!!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Taking the Week Off

Busy schedule this week so I'm taking a blog break. See you next week!!

~ Jill

Friday, July 25, 2014

Author Photos!! And Tips For a Productive Session

I had such a great time getting new author pictures taken yesterday! A HUGE thank you to Sarah Paull for her patience, mad camera skills, and eye for interesting poses!

I'm sharing my favorite photos with you today. I had a really hard time picking favorites! They were all so pretty!

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I'm really impressed with the variety of poses and settings Sarah used. I had a great time--it feels so good to have pretty pictures for my website again!

Jill's Tips for a productive AND fun photo shoot if you're heading outdoors:

1. Try on a variety of outfits with accessories before the shoot. Bring one or two changes of clothes (make sure there's a bathroom for changing!). I wore a white T-shirt, swapped accessories, and added a blazer for different looks. I also brought a dressy spring outfit and a bright sweater with jeans. This gives me options for the seasons. Put a bag of outfits together the night before.

2. Select a park that has interesting features. The one we chose has a huge brick mansion, formal gardens, a river, a boardwalk, a covered wooden bridge, an uncovered wooden bridge, brick walls, a gazebo, and tons of trees/flowers/lawn.

3. Take 15-20 pictures (both close-ups and full body) in each outfit and try at least two settings for each outfit.

4. Outdoor shots depend on light. If some shots seem too dark or shadowy, edit them in a photo editor. Don't be afraid to use effects to salvage dark pictures! Here's one I love--and it now has a retro-fifties look to it!


5. Since we chose a venue with plenty of options and one with a bathroom close by, we were able to move pretty quickly. We got about 100 pictures taken in one hour. And that's with three changes of clothes. Not bad!


Have you ever been part of a photo shoot? 

Have a wonderful weekend!!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Why New Author Photos Are Time Eaters

It's been over four years since I had professional author photos taken. Two years since I forced my kids to take pictures of me with our basic digital camera. I decided it's time to get new pictures.

*Time consuming tasks? I'd rather be in Saugatuck, Michigan.

There's a reason I don't get new photos very often. Well, there are several reasons, but the main one? It's time-consuming. Should be easy, right? Make an appointment, show up, let the photographer do her thing, and I'm done.

Oh, no. 

No, no, no.

I make this seemingly simple task difficult. *sigh*

Let's see why:

- I felt awkward in a studio, and the control freak in me wanted to be able to use more than the three photographs they allowed. So I could either shell out big bucks for a professional who would take pictures outdoors, or I could enlist the help of local friends who own good cameras. I opted to ask a friend. (It took me about a week to decide this.)

- Call said friend and set up a time and place to take the pictures. (15-20 minutes)

- Get my raggedy hair trimmed and highlighted. (2 hours)

- Purchase new foundation that matches my summer skin tone. (20 minutes)

- Buy a small thank-you gift and write a thank-you note to the photographer. (30 minutes)

- Pluck my wayward eyebrows. (15 minutes)

- Decide on outfits. I want these pictures to last, so I'm wearing summer appropriate and winter appropriate clothes. My clothes depressed me. Add shopping for a new shirt to my list. (2 hours)

- Do a test run on hair and makeup. (1 hour)

- Have the pictures taken! (2-3 hours)

- After the shoot, go through all the pictures. Resize and edit for various social media sites. (2-3 hours)

- Replace profile pictures on all social media sites. (1-2 hours)

What looks like a 2-3 hour task, actually works out to a full year of my life. Okay, not quite a full year! But all those details add up to 10-15 hours.

I remind myself it's worth it. I love having clear, pretty pictures on my sites, and having this done ensures just that. Hopefully, I can wait many more years before doing it again!

What have you put off because it will involve hours of time-consuming details?

Have a fabulous Wednesday!!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Adorableness

Few things make me say "awww" as quickly as seeing pictures of babies or pets. So when I clicked on UsWeekly Magazine's online site this weekend and saw Prince George walking, my heart melted a little. The link above leads you to His Royal Cuteness. :)

Speaking of pets, look at this happy face! Sophie loves summer as much as I do! She's such a fun dog.



Not as adorable...being stung by a jellyfish. My son spent a week in Florida with a good friend, and the first night there was stung by one! Ouch! Thank goodness soaking the sting in vinegar for thirty minutes helped heal it. Phew!


Jellyfish

Oh, we have teeny-tiny jalapenos growing in our garden. So cute!!

What adorableness have you come across lately?

Have a terrific day!!


Friday, July 18, 2014

Art Fairs, Concerts, and Shopping

I've been packing in some summer fun since Wednesday. First, I spent an entire afternoon in Ann Arbor, MI at their annual art fair. This festival is HUGE and planned very well. It's actually four art fairs in one, and many of the roads are blocked off so you can wander from street to street and catch the various venues.


IMG_5695

The art fair delights my frugal soul. For the cost of gas and a $3.00 round ticket bus ride from Pioneer High School parking lot to downtown, I was able to wander around the gorgeous shopping district, browse art, people watch, and soak up the University of Michigan's incredible architecture.

Another plus? I went by myself! I could walk at a slow pace, browse each booth as long as I wanted, and dart in and out of the shops on Main Street without feeling rushed. A wide range of art was displayed--etchings, photography, painting, ceramics, jewelry, sculpture, textiles--you name it!

I wrote down the artists I loved the most so my husband and I could browse their sites later. This morning, I went to their websites. I purchased two breathtaking 8x10 photographs by one of the artists. I had already bought two large frames with mattes at TJ Maxx. The total cost for two framed, unique, professional art pieces will be $60.00. Not bad!

Earlier this spring, a Groupon deal came through my e-mail for our zoo's concert series. My hubby and I purchased concert tickets 40% off. The Gavin DeGraw and Matt Nathanson concert was last night. We had a great time. The artists sounded amazing. Plus, the zoo has a relaxed atmosphere and easy parking. A perfect date night for us!

Yesterday, I spent a few hours shopping. We have two outdoor malls nearby, but I rarely go to one of them. Well, I found three new stores I'll be returning to for Christmas presents. I love finding boutiques that specialize in eclectic gifts.

I love summer! Sometimes I have to force myself to take time off, but I never regret being outside, doing things I normally don't do.

Have you done anything different this summer? 

Have a fun weekend!!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

How I Make My Writing Life Easier

A few years ago, I was starting a new novel and I wasted time trying to remember my process. I also stressed about if I was forgetting anything. That's when it hit me. Why not write myself a template--a checklist--of steps to do each time I start a new book?

YES! 



Since I'm a plotter, I used OneNote. I created a Notebook with several tabs. The first tab was named, Plotting. I added several pages for character guides, GMC chart, Romance Journey, and Plot Points. Additionally, I typed up a numbered list of what order to fill the pages out. 

In addition to Plotting, I created tabs for Business, Research, Scene List, and Revising. 

This template made my writing life a whole lot easier!

Why? Having written instructions, an ordered way to tackle the project, and one place to keep all of my data frees my mind to focus on the book. I don't worry I'm forgetting anything. And I have every piece of information at my fingertips that I will need later. 

I called this OneNote Notebook my Book Plotting Template. I use it whenever I write a new book. So easy! 

Now that I'm facing new responsibilities with an actual editor (!!!), I created another section in the Business tab. It includes title lists, deadlines, and how-to-fill-out-the-Art-Sheet. I'm feeling much less stressed now that I've typed up instructions to myself. 

What is your best tip for making your writing life easier?

Have a terrific day!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Mom Guilt in the Summer

Every summer rolls around with me envisioning all the fun things the kids and I will do. Five years ago, I hit on my ideal summer schedule--writing related work all morning, errands and outings in the afternoon. But life changes. The kids change. And I change too.

This summer has proven one thing to me. I am soooo NOT superwoman!!

Move over Brangelina, we have a new power couple, "Mophie!" This is my cousin Lacy and her adorable weiner dog, Mo, Sophie's doggie boyfriend! Aren't they cute? 

The summer scramble started the day after school let out. We packed our car as full as its ever been and drove to upstate New York for my son's week-long baseball tournament. When we returned, we aired out the wet camping gear, unpacked, and headed up north for the day to visit my dad. The next week I caught up on the writing work I'd skipped the previous week. Then another baseball tournament as well as my daughter's running group intervened with my goals. Just when I started to meet my business goals, we headed to Michigan to spend a long weekend with both sets of families.

Last week was major catch-up time with haircuts, shopping, and what-not. You know the drill. You forget how time-consuming errands can be until you have several in one week. No time to squeeze in any of the fun stuff I hoped to do.

Anyway, we all make choices. Because of my dad's condition, one of my choices is to drive the two-and-a-half hours north to visit him about twice a month. I can't always get there, but I try. We also chose to allow my son to join a fall sport that requires summer practices. My daughter has summer practices for her fall sport. This means we're not able to travel at all during the month of August. It also means I'm driving the mom-taxi most weekday mornings in July.

I was feeling too busy, stressed, and guilty. But I'm being kinder to myself, letting go of the mom guilt!

I had to give up some of my fantasies of fun for this summer. That's okay. We've fit a quick zoo trip in. I'll head to the pool or beach soon. If it's not the most exciting summer ever, oh well. My family can benefit from a relaxing, semi-boring season for once!

Do you ever feel guilty in the summer? Like thinking of all the things you planned on doing but realizing there's no way you'll be able to fit them in?

Have a terrific Monday!!


Friday, July 11, 2014

Celebration Time! I SOLD!!

I can't believe I'm writing this post. 821 blog posts and I'm finally writing it.

I sold a book to Harlequin Love Inspired!!!

Yes!! I. Sold. A. Book.

The current title is Her Wedding Hero and will be released in April 2015! Amazing!!

Signing my contract!!

I don't know about you, but whenever I hear a writer sold her first book, I'm curious about her writing path. Let's go back, shall we?

1992 - I throw a romance novel across the wall, mutter "I can do better than that," and decide I will. I write twenty-two pages of a dippy romance where the hero and heroine have no problems and go on fun dates. It hits me that characters need problems or the book ends at page twenty-three.

1996 - Browsing a bookstore, I find How to Write a Romance and Get It Published by Kathryn Falk. I'm mesmerized. A manual? For a job I never dared dream about? I'm in! I devour this thick book.

1997 - Nine months pregnant with our first child, I quit my job. My husband and I agree I'll be a stay-at-home-mom. I announce my next career will be writing romance novels for--wait for it--Harlequin!

2004 - After years of putting writing on hold, I'm itching to get back into it. Our youngest will be in pre-school soon. I join a local writing group and get very excited about our assignments. Publishing feels real again.

2007 - I join RWA. My youngest will enter Kindergarten, so I begin writing full time. I finish a romance novel--a delightful kidnapping/private island contemporary. Imagine my giddiness when Harlequin Romance requests a partial! This is it! I'm on my way! (On a side note, I believe this was when I said, "I'll give it a year. If I don't get published, I'll find a job." *snort*)

2008 - We move to Michigan. I join MVRWA, a local RWA chapter. A form rejection for my first book arrives on our anniversary. Depressing, yes, but I've written another romance. I send the query. Surely, this book will be the one!

2008-2009 - More books, queries, rejections. I finally take the rejections for what they are--indications I need to study the writing craft. Additionally, I start this blog. I eat up every piece of writing advice and craft book I can find. I join ACFW. Get very active in MVRWA. Meanwhile, I write constantly. Revise. Critique and be critiqued. Query. Repeat.

2010 - I get the call in October from Rachel Kent of Books & Such Literary Agency. She wants to represent me! *fist pump*

2011 - Another rejection. Great. Now I'm the dud client Rachel's going to regret signing. But wait...Rachel's amazing. She believes in me and urges me to expand the book to full length. I agree. For the first time, I write both category and full length romance novels for the Christian market. However, I can no longer walk into book stores. Every time I do, I cry. This dream has become raw. Real. And heart-breaking.

2012 - Bad start to the year. Every editor rejects both books I have on submission AND I find out my dad has dementia. I seriously consider quitting. Instead, I study the market for a month and jump back into my normal full-time writing routine. I have to push myself to meet my daily word count goals. I find I don't have to feel good to write well.

I get a call from Susan May Warren. I'm a Frasier Contest finalist! (My Book Therapy sponsors the Frasier!) The contest is a bright spot in a dreary few years.

I've had six novels rejected at this point. I'm not sure I have what it takes. Talent obviously eluded me. I'm no longer as excited to blog and keep up with social media. I begin to feel like a has-been who never was. 

We move out-of-state again. This makes three states in five years. Everything I'm clinging to slips away. I have to trust God to hold me together. Sometimes I fall apart.

I attend my first ACFW conference. I'm so blessed to meet old friends and make new friends, but after two so-so pitch sessions, I spend a lot of time crying in my room. Oddly, I take this experience as a sign God wants me to keep writing. I sense He's breaking my spirit for a reason. I started this journey so confident and excited. I'm now humble. Numb.

2013 - I do not think about my submissions. No dreaming. No excitement. Just prayers. Pleading prayers. Rote prayers. Prayers I'm not sure I believe in anymore. Publishing prayers. Since 2011, I've teared up when I see good news by someone I don't know. That's terrible. I feel guilty. How can I be such a jerk? Their success has nothing to do with me. But it still hurts. And I continue to get sad when I see good news that isn't mine.

I enter an online pitch contest through Harlequin Love Inspired, called Happily-Editor-After. Shana Asaro seems like the ideal editor for my work. I sign up to pitch to her. I'm desperate, but I have a blast plotting the new book. That's the thing, I've always loved writing. Shana requests a proposal. Yes!

I get a call from Ann Mulligan. I'm a Genesis finalist! (ACFW sponsors the Genesis Contest!) Soon Chicken Soup for the Soul contacts me. They are buying one of my pieces! My husband brags to family and friends that my work will be in bookstores. He's one of the main reasons I'm still writing at this point.

Shana asks me to revise and resubmit my proposal from Happily-Editor-After. I happily revise and resubmit. Later in the year, the full is requested. Good news, but I refuse to get my hopes up.

One day, I force myself to walk through a Barnes & Noble. As usual, my heart squeezes until my soul hurts. But I see all the books written by authors I personally know. I think how amazing it is that I know them. I feel incredibly blessed to have been given the opportunity to meet these women, to be friends with them. Soon I'm a regular at the book store again. No more tears.

2014 - My dad's dementia (and Parkinson's disease) worsens. He's now in late stages of Alzheimer's. Strangely, I want to be published more than ever. Our finances have been strained for five years. I'm tired. Tired of pouring all my free time into a career that isn't panning out. I want validation. I want to be paid. I want a chance. I still cry when I see good news from anyone other than a good friend. Still feel guilty.

I browse Monster.com. Tell my husband this is it. One more rejection and I'm going back to a full-time job in electrical engineering. I'm tired of feeling like a failure. I CANNOT do this anymore. And I'm still praying every day. I know God doesn't want me to be miserable. I've been miserable for almost three years. Enough is enough.

And then one day it happens. I answer my cell phone, convinced it's a telemarketer because I don't recognize the area code, but it's not. It's Rachel. She tells me "this is the call I've been waiting a long time for." And I burst into tears. (Clearly, I'm a crybaby.)

I submitted my first romance novel six years and seven months ago. I've been on submission with ten different novels for five years and two months.

You read that correctly. On submission with ten books for FIVE YEARS and TWO MONTHS. 

The book I sold is my thirteenth novel. I'm convinced this is 100% God. I would have given up years ago if He hadn't put someone in my path, given me a small win, or just held me steady during the nothing times. Everyone says you have a breakthrough when you hit rock bottom, but I hit that point three times and did not have a breakthrough. You have a breakthrough when God determines the time is right. Period.

I'm sharing all this because it's easy to become discouraged trying to get published. In fact, it's easy to get discouraged, depressed, and desperate at any point in your writing journey.

About three years ago I realized publishing is a dream come true, but it doesn't make all your dreams come true. I needed the rejections, the endless waiting, the discouragement, and yes, the countless times I forced myself to write to understand this. 

The day after I got the call, I wrote myself a note card. It's pinned to my bulletin board above my desk. It says, "Whenever you feel like complaining, remember all the years and heartbreak it took to get here. Gratitude!"

I'm extremely grateful Love Inspired is taking a chance on me (thank you, Shana!!). I owe so much to my agent (thank you, Rachel!), for all the work she's poured into me and my books. And I have a long, long, list of close friends and family to thank, particularly my critique partners Wendy Paine Miller and Jessica R. Patch, as well as my former critique partners Cindy Wilson and Terri Tiffany. It truly took a village to get this gal a contract!

Thank you for celebrating with me! Thank you for taking the time to stop by my blog! Thank you for being you!

Please sign up for my newsletter if you haven't already. I'll be sending my first one out soon! It will contain my latest book news, a healthy dose of quirkiness, and personal photos of my new-to-me hometown. Also, my e-mail address is jill(at)jillkemerer(dot)com. I love to hear from you!

Thanks again!!

Are you surprised about anything on my writing journey? 

Have a wonderful day!!


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Writer's Life: Heidi McCahan

Welcome to another edition of Writer's Life! Every Wednesday features a romance writer of inspirational or sweet romance novels. I'm excited to share some of my favorite authors and hope you'll find new books for your to-be-read pile!

This week I'm so excited to share a NEW author with you! Heidi McCahan's debut novel, Unraveled, released this spring through Winslet Press. Heidi and I met online through blogging and, believe it or not, Google+! She makes me laugh and is always super supportive. Once again, we have a stunning cover to ogle!

Let's get to it.


1. What about writing makes your heart sing?

Wow, great question. I love the creative process: taking that initial spark of an idea and running with it, enjoying the journey of where these fictional characters take me. As a child, I loved using my imagination so I’m grateful I’ve found an outlet where I can still enjoy using my overactive imagination.

2. What is the biggest hurdle you’re facing right now as a writer?

I have a hard time taking the raw rough draft and structuring it into a plausible novel, making sure the different threads weave into something that’s an enjoyable, satisfying read. The obvious solution to that would be to embrace being a plotter. But I’m starting my third novel now and decided to try becoming a straight plotter and nearly hyperventilated. I tried to write a detailed synopsis before I started my rough draft and it just didn’t work. I think I need to find a happy medium … someone once referred to it as a plantser: half plotter, half pantser. That’s a more workable method for me.  

3. What do you do to fill your creative well?

I’ve discovered that being near the ocean really inspires me. I’m a few hours from the coast now, so I don’t go very often. But there’s something about being at the beach and watching those waves crash on the shore that brings out my inner artist. Someday I would love to attend a writing retreat at the beach or (dreaming big here) have access to a beach rental in the off-season for a big chunk of writing time. I also like to scrapbook and that’s a great hobby for feeding my creative side apart from writing.

4. What are you working on right now?

I have a few irons in the fire at the moment. I’m editing my second novel now, trying to re-write and shape it into a more enjoyable read. It’s a heartwarming romance about a reclusive American baseball player trying to re-start his pitching career in Japan after a terrible tragedy. A beautiful American female sportscaster is trying to prove she can make it in the profession by landing an interview with him. It’s a ‘love finds you when you least expect it’ story. Also, a dear friend sent me a text with a wonderful idea for a setting and plot, so I jumped into writing my third novel while I was on vacation. Lastly, I’m trying to find time to promote my debut novel, Unraveled, which released in April. 

***
Heidi, writing is the perfect outlet for an overactive imagination! And I've always said, you have to embrace your process. If plotting gives you the hives, don't do it. Your hybrid solution sounds perfect! As long as we're dreaming big, I'm all in on attending your beach writer's retreat. The ocean calms and inspires me too. I love the concept of your new book! Have you been to Japan? What a trip that would be! Thanks!!

***




Unraveled ~


Blind-sided by her questionable fiance, Lauren Carter returns to the one place she’s been avoiding, the place she used to call home. As she’s forced to look into the eyes of her past and even worse, her unraveling future she discovers that running only leaves you out of breath on a dead end street. Will she choose to unveil the secrets that haunt her? Or will she bury them once and for all and embrace a new life so different from the one she once held dear?
Blake Tully, wildly successful and breathtakingly winsome owner of a new rafting business, finds Lauren’s unexpected reappearance confusing. As he torments himself with what if’s and what should’ve been’s, he can’t mistake the feeling that crawls down his spine every time he looks at her. Although she broke his heart once, he longs to give his childhood sweetheart another chance, but can he convince her to stop running away when life gets tough? And can he forgive her when he discovers the reason she’s been hiding?
Follow the story of these two shattered hearts as they discover the beauty of grace and forgiveness.
***
About Heidi ~
I am a Northwest girl recently transplanted in the South, where I’m cultivating a writing career in the midst of mothering our three fabulous boys. When I’m not stepping on Legos, chauffeuring the fellas around suburbia or folding laundry, I like nothing more than to curl up with a great cup of coffee and a compelling read.

My husband and I come from a long line of seaside vacationers. We are happiest at the beach, for sure, and consider ourselves blessed to live within a few hours drive of several fabulous destinations. It is, however, about as far as I can get from the land I once called home (without actually leaving the country).

I was blessed to call Alaska home for the first eighteen years of my life. My family’s experiences there, combined with the Last Frontier’s rich history, inspires much of what I write.

***
Since I love romances between reunited childhood sweethearts, I have to ask--do you enjoy reunion stories? 

Have a great day!! And please stop by Friday for a BIG announcement!!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Where Do You Shop for Home Decor?

Yesterday I cleaned. Not the kind of clean where you sit back and smile, thinking how wonderful everything looks. No, I cleaned one wall of cupboards inside and out from top to bottom. Then the floor was so disgusting, I couldn't take it, so I swept and mopped. The dust made me cringe. I vacuumed and dusted too.

This is always a good reward for cleaning. :)

I sat down, looked around, and started mentally redecorating. We recently remodeled our half bathroom, and it has bare walls. A pretty picture would make a world of difference in there! Our living room feels a little stale. Some inexpensive accessories and this place would shine.

Which led me to wondering where to buy these items. I'm pretty hit or miss about shopping. It's rare for  me to actually go out and shop with something in mind for the house. I tend to fall in love with an item when I'm shopping for the kids.

My favorite decorations have come from Bed, Bath & Beyond, Target, TJ Maxx, and Hobby Lobby. One day soon I'll take a few hours to shop. In the meantime, I'd appreciate suggestions. Any fresh ideas for me? Thanks!

Where do you shop for home decor?

For my American friends, have a wonderful Fourth of July!! I'll be taking a blog break until next Wednesday. See you then!!