New Release Celebration! + Giveaway

*** Book Giveaway ***
See contest info below

This past Tuesday witnessed the birth of another book baby: RISKING LOVE, book one in my Where the Heart Is series! Now this book–this series–is a bit of a departure for me. I usually don’t write romance, but that’s what the market was demanding four-plus years ago when I began penning it, so I grudgingly went with the market.

It was probably the toughest book I’ve ever written, and I honestly didn’t think it was very good. But to my utter surprise, my husband and daughter loved it (but they don’t count, right?) Then my beta readers loved it, my critique partners lauded it, and it was a Genesis finalist. I was left scratching my head thinking maybe it wasn’t so bad after all. But wasn’t fully convinced.

Now four years later, after promptings from those who’d read it, my romance novel has finally come to print, clothed in a fun and flirty cover that always makes me smile. And so far, the reviews are very positive. Still surprises me. I guess it pays to listen to your peers.

So, what is the romance about? Here’s RISKING LOVE‘s back cover blurb:

New ReleaseShe holds the key to his heart … and his home.
Can she risk falling in love with a man whose home she may have to take away?

Bank employee Lissa Morgan likes all the columns of her life to add up. From her job to romance, every major decision is planned out. But before she can go out on a date with Mr. Perfect, she attends a charity auction with her meddling mom who wins Lissa a date with thrill-seeker Caleb Johnson.

Caleb lived for adventure until heart disease stole his wife’s life. Then debt closed his business and now threatens to take his home. With a toddler to raise, he vows that his risk-taking days are over. But then he meets the cautious yet curious Lissa Morgan and decides it’s time to take one more risk—this time on love.

When Lissa learns the extent of Caleb’s debt, she wonders if she can collect on his heart if she forecloses on his home. And why is she falling for the wrong man—one who challenges her to leap from her orderly life and into his waiting arms?

So now you’re wondering, “Where can I run out and purchase this book?” Unfortunately, you’re unlikely to find it on store shelves–yet–but you can purchase it online at the links below:


Amazon | B&N


Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Kobo | 24Symbols

And check out this beautiful trailer created by John Martin Keith at Edenbrooke Productions. The music is written specifically for the book!

And finally, here’s the contest Info ~

Fill in the Rafflecopter form below for an opportunity to win an autographed copy of RISKING LOVE, plus a book filled with heart-healthy recipes, and a Go Red for Women lapel pin. Contest ends Monday, October 10, 2016 at midnight. Must be 18 to enter and live in the lower 48 US states. Enter contest here at Inkspirational Messages or at my blog: (You’ll also find a low-cal Berry Cheesecake Dessert recipe at my blog, so you might want to scoot over there anyway!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Legend of the Candy Cane + Giveaway!

I doubt I have as many children’s Christmas books as Kav Rees, but I certainly have my share. It’s been a while since I’ve gone through my box (sorry, no room on the shelves) of books–it’s like walking through a candy store but without the calories!

I don’t remember if my kids had a favorite, but one book stood out to me: The Legend of the Candy Cane by Lori Walburg, illustrated by James Bernardin. I love how this book takes a simple Christmas symbol and gives a spiritual meaning to it.

Here’s the back cover blurb:

The Legend of the Candy CaneOne dark November night a stranger rides into a small prairie town. Who is he? Why has he come? The townspeople wish he were a doctor, a dressmaker, or a trader. But the children have the greatest wish of all, a deep, quiet, secret wish. Then a young girl named Lucy befriends the newcomer. When he reveals his identity and shares with her the legend of the candy cane, she discovers fulfillment of her wishes and the answer to her town’s dreams. Now will she share what she has learned?

Warm, lavish illustrations by James Bernardin bring to life a timeless tale by Lori Walburg, a story that will help families celebrate the mystery and miracle of Christmas—for many Christmases to come.

Actually, the candy cane was created around 1670 when a church choirmaster bent white sugar sticks into cane form to represent a shepherd’s staff. He used those candies to keep the attention of children during long services.

The red stripe was added around the turn of the century. Some sources say that an Indiana candy maker added the red stripe as a witness of Christ’s love, but it’s not confirmed.

Question: Do you like candy canes?

3D Chain of Mercy - new (254 x 300)~~~ Book Giveaway Details ~~~

To enter, in the comments below, say whether you like candy canes or not. Contest runs through midnight CST on 12/18/2015. One autographed copy of Chain of Mercy (Coming Home series, book #1) by Brenda S. Anderson will be given away to one commenter on today’s Inkspirational Messages blog. The winner will be announced on December 19, 2015.  This contest is only open to US residents only.

Hope for the Hungry + Giveaway

I remember reading an article in a local newspaper roughly four years ago about the rising homeless population in my county … for youth. At that time, when someone mentioned the “homeless”, I had a stereotype in my mind, and it certainly wasn’t sixteen to twenty-one year olds. Back then, the number of homeless youth was estimated at 500 in our county alone. Now I’ve read estimates that put the homeless youth population at around 700!

Reading that article, and then finding several more news stories all talking about the same problem, is what birthed the idea for my new release, Hungry for Home.

And thankfully, that news also prompted others to take action as a group of local citizens banded together to figure out what could be done to serve the youth. The idea for Hope 4 Youth was conceived in November of 2012, and by March 2013, the doors were opened!

Right now Hope 4 Youth serves as a place where homeless teens can drop in to get a hot meal, a warm shower, a place to play, learn, and just be a kid. The facilities also have a food pantry and clothes closet and they provide for all the basic everyday needs most of us take for granted.

They currently don’t have overnight shelter, but that’s in the works. In the meantime, the organization provides resources for the youth to help find shelter, including a host family network that takes in the youth. Otherwise the youth end up on the streets, couch hopping, sleeping in cars, tents, parks, abandoned buildings, sheds, anywhere they can get out of the elements. And you can imagine how severe those elements are in Minnesota during the winter.

Hope 4 Youth has many areas where people can get involved, including meal serving. It’s truly an opportunity to be Jesus’ hands and feet.

“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat,
I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink,
I was a stranger and you invited me in.”
Matthew 25:35

One small way I hope to raise awareness about the homeless youth problem is with Austin Lang’s story in Hungry for Home. You have an opportunity to win an autographed copy of this novel by filling out the Rafflecopter form below.

Hungry for HomeHere’s the back cover blurb for Hungry for Home, now available at Amazon | B&N:

Hungry for HomeAfter a troubling encounter with a pregnant teen, Sheila Peterson-Brooks hurries from the crisis pregnancy center into the frigid Minnesota winter where she is mugged and left for dead. After a frantic search, Richard, her husband, finds her, and the police quickly nab the mugger …

A hungry, homeless teen.
The brother of the pregnant girl Sheila had just counseled.

The girl pleads for her brother, and Sheila and Richard choose not to press charges. Instead, they open their home to the boy, a move that could cost them their possessions, and their hearts.

And, in the process, teach them the true meaning of home.

The contest runs from Sept. 14 to 12:00 am on September 26. Just fill out the Rafflecopter below, answering the question:

“What charity (or charities) are close to your heart?”

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

As Love Blooms at Como Park Conservatory

As Love Blooms Giveaway ends tomorrow!
~*~ See contest rules below ~*~

When I saw the cover of Lorna Seilstad‘s newest release, As Love Blooms, I got so excited. There, in the background, is the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory at Como Park, one of the prettiest indoor gardens in Minnesota. I haven’t visited the Conservatory very often, but I knew I’d be going again, this time with book in hand.

Como is more than just a Conservatory, it also has a small zoo and amusement park. Back a few years ago when I was in grade school, taking a field trip to the Como amusement park was the highlight of the year. Como Park Zoo and Conservatory offers a great family experience for people of all ages. The Conservatory is also a popular place for weddings and receptions.

My trek there this time was all about the Conservatory. On Wednesday, my daughter and I took a field trip to Como and took a few shots with As Love Blooms. This visit had an extra special surprise. As this year is the 100th Anniversary of the Como Park Conservatory, they had a display set up with clothes and a table setting from the era, along with other vintage items. I think you’ll agree that Tessa Gregory looks fabulous in the setting.

The day was overcast, and my little camera doesn’t do the park justice, so you’ll just have to come to Minnesota to experience the Conservatory yourself.

DSCN5918 (450 x 600)Can’t you see Tessa Gregory in that dress?
As Love BloomsOr seated at this table?
As Love Blooms - Como ConservatoryOr working in this garden?

As Love Blooms among calla lilies

As Love BloomsAnd here you get to see Tessa *alongside* the St. Paul Superintendent of Parks, Fred Nussbaumer
As Love BloomsI can imagine Tessa seated on this bench beside Reese.
As Love BloomsOr walking this path with Reese, holding hands.


As Love BloomsGIVEAWAY 

Every time you leave a comment on Inkspirational Messages blog posts dated April 27, 2015 to May 8, 2015, you will be entered to win a copy of As Love Blooms. The name will be drawn by on Saturday, May 9, 2015 at midnight CST and the winner’s name will then be posted on our blog on Sunday, May 10, 2015. (Continental U.S. residents only)

Still Riding the Roller Coaster!

Opportunity to win a one-of-a-kind Inkspirational Messages mug + a book surprise bundle!!!
To enter, leave a comment below and / or on any of the Inksper posts dated March 2 – 13, 2015.
Winner will be chosen via

Wow. Has it been five years already? That’s hard to believe! It’s certainly been a fun and eventful five years. My very first post as an Inksper was From the Front Seat of a Roller Coaster. Well, it’s safe to say I  never got off that coaster!

Here are few things that have kept me busy since 2010:

  • I’ve made THE BEST friends ever through this blog!
  • My daughter graduated high school and college.
  • Two sons graduated high school.
  • My husband and I celebrated our 25th Anniversary in 2012 by spending a week at Animal Kingdom Lodge in Walt Disney World. I wanna go back!
  • In 2012, my contemporary romance, Hearts at Risk, was a ACFW Genesis Finalist. That same year, my now-published, Pieces of Granite, was a semi-finalist.
  • In 2013 my 4-book contemporary family drama series was contracted for publication.
  • Chain of Mercy came out in April 2014
  • In later 2014, my publisher went under, so I went indie.
  • In November, 2014, Pieces of Granite released under my personal imprint Vivant Press.
  • And now I’m preparing to release book #3, Memory Box Secrets, in one month!

Those are just the highlights. I’m looking forward to having another five years on this roller coaster. It’s been a lot of fun!

And what is a peek back at five years without pics? Here are a few I dug up:

Inkspers 5Inkspers 4Inkspers 3Inkspers 2Inkspers 1 -353x210


FRIEND-ly Reading

***Last day to enter to win (1) copy of Rose Ross Zediker’s Dakota Love
See contest rules below***

One of the great pleasures of being an author has been establishing close friendships with other authors, people who really *get* you. It’s a great joy when I get a front row seat to those friends as they birth new books, and I love cheering for them.

So, I’m going to give shameless shout-outs for my friends and their book babies–I know you’ll recognize a few of them …

On the top of that list is our very own Rose Ross Zediker who we’ve  been celebrating for the past couple of weeks. My copy of her new release, Dakota Love, is in the mail, and I’m waiting patiently … well, maybe not so patiently.

Dakota LoveMore about Dakota Love:

Modern South Dakota individuals use quilting to bring them joy and comfort, but suddenly quilting is leading them to romances they didn’t even know they wanted. Caroline and Rodney have each been loaded with many worries, but a tattered quilt could bring them together to share their burdens. Sarah and Mark embrace their independence until a quilting class throws them together and reveals their need for companionship. Lil is outgoing where Walt is private, but as they use quilting for physical therapy, an old secret could be revealed that will expose just how different they really are.

And here’s another name you’ll recognize: Shannon Taylor Vannatter! Yes, Shannon has another book out: Rodeo Family. It’s book #7 in her Texas Rodeo series. And I know she hasn’t exhausted her rodeo ideas quite yet, so you’ll be seeing more soon.

Rodeo FamilyMore about Rodeo Family:


She’s beginning a new chapter in Aubrey, Texas, away from her abusive ex-boyfriend. As she picks up the pieces of her broken life, Tori’s surprised at the helping hand the church’s new song director, Brant McConnell, offers her, and at the warm emotions he inspires. 

Brant is drawn to Tori. And as their friendship grows, so do his feelings for her. But Tori is still hounded by her past, and the walls she’s built around her heart are high. Can he convince the wounded beauty that he’s exactly the kind of man she needs—and deserves?

Back in 2006, I had the great pleasure of meeting Don and Stephanie Prichard. I’m thrilled to tell everyone that their debut novel, Stranded, released in October 2014, and it continuously remains in the Top 100 rankings on Amazon in three different categories. Woo hoo, Don and Steph!!!

StrandedMore about Stranded:

First they had to survive the island … then each other … then their rescuer.

All Marine Corps reservist Jake Chalmers wants is to give his dying wife a last, romantic cruise to the Philippines. Unable to save her in a mass murder aboard ship, he washes ashore a jungle island, where he discovers three other survivors. Heartbroken that he failed to save his wife, he is determined not to fail these helpless castaways.

Federal prosecutor Eve Eriksson rescues a young girl and her elderly great-aunt from the same ship. They badly need Jake’s survival skills, but why is he so maddeningly careful? She needs to hurry home to nail a significant career trial. And, please, before Jake learns her secret that she’s responsible for his wife’s death.

Then last, but never least, is Michelle Griep’s brand new bundle, Brentwood’s Ward. Michelle’s hero, Nicholas Brentwood, even sat for an interview on my blog this week >go  here<. That man is a character! In more ways than one.

Brentwood's WardMore about Brentwood’s Ward:

Place an unpolished lawman named Nicholas Brentwood as guardian over a spoiled, pompous beauty named Emily Payne and what do you get? More trouble than Brentwood bargains for. She is determined to find a husband this season. He just wants the large fee her father will pay him to help his ailing sister. After a series of dire mishaps, both their desires are thwarted, but each discovers that no matter what, God is in charge.

***Enter to Win!***

Dakota LoveToday is your last opportunity to enter to win Dakota Love. Leave a comment below for an opportunity to win. Contest ends tonight (January 16, 2015) at midnight CST. The winner will be announced on Saturday, January 17, 2015.

Moving On Up

It’s always exciting to see a new book released by a fellow author of the Camp Club Girls series. In addition to the “Elizabeth” books in the series, Renae Brumbaugh has written several other children’s books, and has now ventured into writing for Christian women. Lone Star Ranger releases February 3 and from the sound of the back cover blurb, this book promises plenty of excitement and romance, perfect for curling up under an afghan on these cold winter days.

Here’s the blurb, taken from Amazon:


And she has one week to prove that her brother isn’t the cold-blooded killer Texas Ranger Rett Smith accuses him of being. She’ll show the handsome lawman he’s wrong, even if it means embarking on a perilous race across Texas to catch the real culprit.

Rett doesn’t want to see an innocent man hang. But he can’t let the Boston beauty take the law into her own hands. When she follows him into treacherous territory, the lawman vows to keep Elizabeth safe. But who will protect him from the woman whose courage and conviction have him questioning everything—even his heart.



Inksper Rose Ross Zediker is giving away a copy of Dakota Love, her newest book which released January 1. To get your name in the drawing, leave a comment on any Inkspirational Messages post this week or next. Every time you comment increases your chance of winning!


Indie Excellence

*** Last Day to Enter Book Giveaway ***
See rules below

With this new climate in publishing, I’m amazed at the proliferation of indie authors and hybrid authors doing well in the marketplace.

A couple of authors in particular have caught my eye, and their books are on my must-read list. In my opinion, these are two authors to watch.

Kept by Sally BradleyKEPT by Sally Bradley is a 2-time Genesis finalist. The gritty story line is exactly the type I salivate to read, and I can’t wait till my book arrives in the mail!

Life has taught Miska Tomlinson that there are no honorable men. Her womanizing brothers, her absentee father, and Mark, the married baseball player who claims to love her–all have proven undependable. But Miska has life under control. She runs her editing business from her luxury condo, stays fit with daily jogs along Chicago’s lakefront, and in her free time blogs anonymously about life as a kept woman.

Enter new neighbor Dillan Foster. Between his unexpected friendship and her father’s sudden reappearance, Miska loses control of her orderly life. Her relationship with Mark deteriorates, and Miska can’t help comparing him to Dillan. His religious views are so foreign, yet the way he treats her is something she’s longed for. But Dillan discovers exactly who she is and what she has done. Too late she finds herself longing for a man who is determined to never look her way again.

When her blog receives unexpected national press, Miska realizes her anonymity was an illusion.Caught in a scandal about to break across the nation, Miska wonders if the God Dillan talks about would bother with a woman like her–a woman who’s gone too far and done too much.

Miranda WarningHeather Day Gilbert has released a couple of books, books that show her diversity. Her first release, God’s Daughter, is about Vikings (and no, not my Minnesota Vikings), and her second, MIRANDA WARNING is a combo women’s fiction / suspense.

Miranda Warning sounds like it’s right up my reading alley.

Child of the Appalachian mountains, Tess Spencer has experienced more than her share of heartache. The Glock-wielding, knife-carrying housewife knows how to survive whatever life throws at her.

But when an anonymous warning note shows up in her best friend Miranda’s mailbox—a note written in a dead woman’s handwriting—Tess quickly discovers that ghosts are alive and well in Buckneck, West Virginia. Hot on a cold trail, she must use limited clues and her keen insight into human nature to unmask the killer…or the next victim might be Tess herself.

Tinged with the supernatural and overshadowed by the mountains’ lush, protective presence, this twisting psychological mystery is the first in A Murder in the Mountains series.

The Brickmaker's Bride*** Book Giveaway ***

Leave a comment to be entered into the drawing to receive one of the two copies of Judith Miller’s The Brickmaker’s Bride. Every time you leave a comment on the Inkspirational Messages posts dated September 29, 2014 to October 10, 2014, you will be entered.
Winner will be chosen by on
Fri., Oct. 10 at midnight, central time zone. 

Oh, Goodie, Goodie!

>>> Last day to enter to win
Rose Ross Zediker‘s
See contest rules below <<<

At Inkspirational Messages, we recognize that chocolate is the most important of the five food groups (said tongue-in-cheek, just in case you’re wondering), so I’d be remiss if I didn’t cap off this hometown series with an homage to one of the greatest candy bars ever invented:

Pearson’s Nut Goodie

Nut Goodie

This delectable candy bar brimming with chocolate and peanuts and a creamy maple center was born in Minneapolis 102 years ago (1912) and has been making mouths water ever since.

The Nut Goodie is created by Pearson’s which originally began as Pearson Candy Company (five Pearson brothers) in 1909. Before this bar’s creation, the company was just a candy distributor. But the Nut Goodie Bar changed that. Until 1933, it was their main creation. That’s when Pearson’s Salted Nut Roll came on the scene. No chocolate, but equally as yummy.

The company has since crossed the river into St. Paul, and it has changed hands. Along the way Pearsons also introduced other candy bars, but Nut Goodie and Salted Nut Roll remain its staples.

Now, unfortunately, the Nut Goodie is not calorie free. I know, you’re shocked, right? So, I treat myself infrequently, but when I do, it is worth every bite!


!!! Book Giveaway !!!

Every time you leave a comment between Monday, August 4 and Friday, August 15 at midnight, central time, you are entered to win a copy of “Sweet on the Cowgirl.”


Since Rose’s new release, Sweet on the Cowgirl features a hometown business, the inkspers are sharing products and companies close to home.

Once upon a time, back in 1982, Miss Patti Upton mixed up a batch of Arkansas native botanicals such as acorns, pine cones, gumballs and hickory nuts just for fun. She added fragrance with spices and oils and called her creation The Smell of Christmas. Miss Patti placed her creation in a friend’s gift shop and decorative room fragrance quickly turned into an overnight success. The Smell of Christmas remains the company’s flagship fragrance.

Many people confuse Miss Patti’s creation with potpourri. But potpourri is mostly dried flowers and wood chips. Decorative room fragrance has large botanicals, so it’s pleasing to the eye and the nose. Numerous scents, candles, and bath and body products have been added to Aromatique’s line of products.

Aromatique SeashellsHow do I know so much about it? I live ten miles from Aromatique and I worked in the corporate offices for seven years until my son was born. The Smell of Christmas is my favorite scent. But  Sea Shells is my favorite display. I mean sea shells, which I love, that smell good. I’m all over that.

During my years at the company, I got to shop at the company store, where the products slightly damaged in shipping and returned from stores landed. My entire house was decorated with containers, candles, and decorative fragrance. I miss that and since my son has allergies, I’m no longer able to have Aromatique products in my house. Not even Sea Shells.

But my characters have enjoyed it. When I was writing my Arkansas series books, I used an Arkansas product in each story. A Walk in the Woods was given as a gift to my heroine in White Doves. That fragrance has been retired since, but scents are often revamped, renamed, and returned to the line later. Aromatique is still going strong with a full line of scents to tease the eye and can be ordered online. Google it and just look at all the goodies.

Don’t forget to enter the drawing for Rose’s book!sweet on the cowgirl2

Laura Barnes Wants to Be a Cowgirl

Laura has always dreamed of being a trick rider in her family’s Wild West show. But her father will only allow her to perform if she disguises herself as Mr. Buckskin Jones. When soda-pop king Guy Roberts shows up to do business with her family, Laura is torn between keeping her identity under wraps and revealing her growing feelings for Guy. 

Guy is drawn to Laura’s poise and beauty, but he, too, guards a secret. As their affection for each other grows, Guy begins to think about a future that includes Laura. When both their secrets suddenly come to light, their romance will face the ultimate showdown.

Every time you leave a comment between Mon., Aug. 4 and Fri., Aug. 15  at midnight, central time, you are entered to win a copy of Sweet on the Cowgirl. 

Order your copy of Sweet on the Cowgirl today!