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

Upcoming Release Announcement!

I’m excited to announce that my upcoming release, Risking Love, a Where the Heart Is romance, is now available for pre-order!* And don’t you love that cover?! My designer, George at Think Cap Design Studios, really captured the feeling of the story and the characters.

Here’s the back cover copy:

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?

Risking LoveFor those of you who’ve read my Coming Home series, this is a bit of a departure from that. Where the coming home stories dealt with a lot of heavy, tough issues, and were more defined as family drama, this new series is definitely romance. But while the tone is lighter and a lot more humor is added, I still cover my share of tough topics.

*To pre-order the ebook, just go to Amazon: Your book will be delivered to your Kindle app on October 4, 2016, the official release date of Risking Love.

Swooning over. . .

Dylan Taylor. Just his name almost makes me swoon. It’s not his picture on the cover, though that’s pretty yummy too, but the way Denise Hunter wrote him that makes me palpitate.

I started reading The Trouble with Cowboys not liking Dylan. I’d gotten a glimpse of him in Book 2 in Denise’s A Big Sky Romance series. I thought Dylan was a ladies’ man, a player, a playboy running from commitment. And Annie, the heroine did too. But we were both wrong. Dylan’s not like that at all.

In scene one, he chipped away at my resolve by worrying about his horse. In his second scene, he showed he loves kids. And before I knew it, I was in love. This handsome cowboy was deeply wounded using his carefree facade to hide behind. Months after reading the book, I can still hear his slow drawl, see his swagger, feel the beckoning of his dimple.

Here’s the blurb: Only one pair of boots—and the cowboy wearing them—can get Annie out of the mess she’s in.

Annie Wilkerson is Moose Creek’s premiere horse trainer and equine columnist for Montana Living. Money is tight as she tries to put her kid-sister through college and provide for her young nephew. When Annie’s column is cancelled, she’s given first shot at a new lovelorn column—and she can’t afford to turn it down. Only problem is . . . Annie’s never been in love.

Always resourceful, she reluctantly strikes a deal with the town’s smooth-talking ladies’ man Dylan Taylor: She’ll work with his ailing horse, Braveheart, if he’ll help her answer the reader letters.

Working closely with Dylan is harder than Annie imagined, and she quickly realizes she may have misjudged him. But her unwavering conviction that cowboys are nothing but trouble has kept her heart safe for years. And she can’t risk getting hurt now.

The more Annie tries to control things, the more they fall apart. Her feelings are spinning out of control, and her sister’s antics are making life increasingly more difficult. Annie knows she needs to turn the reins over to God, but surrender has never come easily.

Usually when I read a series, I can pick a favorite book and sometimes there’s even one book I’m disappointed in. Not so with this series. Since The Trouble with Cowboys is Book 3 in the series, readers should begin with Book 1 – A Cowboy’s Touch, then Book 2 – The Accidental Bride . Just see if you can keep from falling in love with Wade, Travis, and Dylan. Come on, I dare you.

Talking Romance with Becky Wade

Brenda here: I discovered Becky Wade this past spring when her debut novel in Christian fiction, My Stubborn Heart, released. Her book hooked me from the enchanting prologue and kept me fascinated until the end. I love her authentic characters and situations–they come across as very real. This is one of those rare books that should appeal across genre lines. My husband even enjoyed it. 🙂 It’s become so popular that it made August’s CBA Bestseller List! I cannot wait for Becky’s next book!

So, I’m very excited that Becky agreed to an interview. And she’s offered to give away (1) autographed copy of My Stubborn Heart to one lucky commenter. I’m also throwing in a small box of See’s Candy, Becky’s favorite. To enter, leave a comment below. The contest ends this Saturday, August 25th at midnight. The winner will be announced on Sunday, August 26th.

Now, without further delay, here’s Becky Wade.

Hi Becky, thank you so much for stopping by Inkspirational Messages today. We’re excited to get to know you! Could you tell us a little bit about yourself and your family?

I’m a California girl who attended Baylor University where I got a degree in business (Ha!  Never used that.) and met a college boy from Texas.  After graduation, I married the Texas boy and he and I lived overseas for four years in the Caribbean and Australia.

When we returned to the U.S., we settled in Dallas.  My husband is the Athletic Director at a racquet club.  We have three children (a daughter who’s 11, a son who’s 8, a daughter who’s 3).  I spend most of my time keeping the planet of my household spinning.  This includes glamorous tasks like grocery shopping, cleaning, cooking, driving kids places, chasing my toddler in circles, and nagging my older children until they finish their homework.

Oh, I can relate to the job of keeping that household planet spinning, albeit my children are a tad bit older. Somewhere amid your household planet spinning, you found time to write. I love hearing about authors’ journeys. Could you describe your path to publication?

I’d always been a reader, but it was during my years abroad that it first occurred to me to try my hand at writing.  From the start, I loved it.  I loved the creativity it demanded, the challenge inherent in the work, the joy of dreaming up people, conflicts, settings, dialogue.

Like most beginners, though, I wasn’t any good at it.  Not at all!

What I did have?  Determination.

I wrote, went to conferences, solicited critiques, wrote, sent off query letters and proposals, wrote, entered contests.  I completed four long historical romance manuscripts in four years and compiled a towering stack of rejection letters until — on one magical day — a New York city editor called and told me she wanted to publish my novel.  I eventually released three historical romances for the general market.

I understand your historical releases were published several years ago.  Why did you take the time off between writing them and My Stubborn Heart? And Why did you change to the Christian market?

I’d been writing for six years straight, the last two years under the pressure of deadlines, when my first child arrived.  Well!  That threw me for a loop.

In those early weeks of caring for a newborn, I felt overwhelmed, sleep deprived, frazzled, and burned out on writing.  When my publisher declined my proposal for a new contract I knew that God was telling me that He didn’t want me to write any more secular novels.  I also knew, in that season, that He wanted me to concentrate on mothering.

I quit writing. On the one had, to let go of that responsibility came as a relief.  But on the other, a heartbreak.  I’d abandoned my career as an author, with all it’s early hope and promise, on the side of the road.  Broken.

For seven years, I didn’t write a page.  It was all I could do, usually more than I could do, to take care of my little ones.  I was certain I’d never write again. But God has the authority to bring things back to life, does He not?

Gradually, over time, the Lord began to move in my heart during church services.  I’d be standing, singing praise songs, and I’d sense Him telling me, It’s time, Becky.  It’s time to try to write again.  You’re not done.  I have plans for you.

So I cleared my schedule during the hours when my kids were at school and pre-school.  I sat down at my computer, kicked off the rust from all those years away, and wrote.

This time, I knew for sure that God meant for me to write for the Christian market.  What’s wonderful to me is the way that He equipped me.  Once He called me back to writing, He met me faithfully day after day at that computer.  He assured me that my past mistakes were forgiven and that He delighted in giving me a second chance.  He supplied everything, including a renewed passion within me, for the work.  He let me know that my job was to pen the novel, and that He’d take care of the rest.

Sure enough, when I finished My Stubborn Heart, the first agent I sent it to agreed to represent it.  And the very first editor she sent it to bought it for publication.

After reading My Stubborn Heart, I’m not surprised that you had immediate success with it. I absolutely loved it! Could you tell our readers what the story is about?

It’s about a single girl (Kate) who sets out to renovate an old and charming estate that’s been in her family for generations.  When she meets the contractor for the project (Matt), she learns that he’s an ex-pro hockey player still devastated from the death of his wife three years prior.

Kate quickly realizes that Matt needs even more restoration work than the house.  So she determines to help bring him back to life and to hope.

Matt has no intention of leaving his prison of grief.  Nor does he want to open his heart to Kate.

But as we all know….

God’s will is unavoidable.

Apparently I’m not the only one who loves My Stubborn Heart as it made CBA’s August 2012 Best Seller List! Congratulations!

Thank you!  My Stubborn Heart’s placement on that list came as a wonderful surprise.

To what do you attribute its success?

God’s grace, first and above all.

I think the book appeals to readers for two reasons:

1) It’s a Love Story.  Capital L, capital S!  In My Stubborn Heart the romance isn’t a sub-plot.  It is the plot.  I believe that there are lots of women out there who are (like me) crazy about emotional, gripping, and satisfying love stories.

2) It’s a faith story.  God’s role in the book gives the book whatever power or depth it possesses.

Aside from it’s success, My Stubborn Heart has been the target of some controversy as some reviewers claimed it used mild expletives. Plus you had poker-playing adults and Halloween celebrations (gasp!). Having read the book and finding nothing wrong with it, the controversy took me completely by surprise. Did it surprise you?

Yes, the controversy completely surprised me also.

I knew that I had a humorous, modern, and blunt author’s voice.  But I didn’t imagine that anyone would find what I’d written offensive.  In my opinion, the book is very clean.

I would agree, Becky. Do you attribute some of your sales’ success to the controversy?

Yes, I do. But only because God has the power to redeem any situation, no matter how negative, for good.

Several bloggers who wouldn’t have otherwise looked twice at My Stubborn Heart suddenly decided to feature it on their blogs.  Discussions, comments, and opinions flew.

To be honest, it was hard for me.  I tried to stay out of the fray.  And I prayed.

Sounds like you responded with wisdom. I’m curious, what are you currently working on?

I’m currently working on what will be my third book for Bethany House.  It’s tentatively titled Worth The Wait and it’s about a single mom and a professional bull rider.

Fun! Our own Shannon Vannatter has written a rodeo series and it’s proven very popular. I’m sure Worth the Wait will excite readers too. But before your bull rider book, you’ve another novel coming out. When does it release, and what is it about?

My next book is called Undeniably Yours and it’ll be out in May.  Bethany House has been incredibly good to me.  They’re allowing to me do something I’ve longed to do for ages — write a series! Undeniably Yours will be the first in a group of four novels.  Each one will tell the love story of one of the four siblings in the Porter family, a group of larger-than-life Texans.

Undeniably Yours is about an heiress who takes over control of her father’s Thoroughbred racehorse farm.  If only she could control the (very hunky) cowboy who manages it as easily!

Oh, I can’t wait to read it! When you’re not writing, what do you enjoy doing?

I love to read in the tub, play tennis, get a pedicure, eat out, watch romantic movies, and lie on the sofa enjoying So You Think You Can Dance and other cerebral TV shows.

As a mom with young children, you deserve that break with the cerebral shows. 🙂 Now for a fun question. What is your favorite food?

Well, I’m a chocoholic and adore See’s Chocolates.  But since I’ve divulged that secret in other places, I’ll tell you that I’m also fanatical about homemade biscuits.  Love love love them with butter.  I put jelly on some, honey on some and I eat them alongside eggs, bacon, coffee.  MMmm……

That sounds delicious! Now I’m hungry.

Thanks so much for stopping by today, Becky! It’s been a pleasure getting to know you better.


Becky Wade makes her home in Dallas, Texas with her husband, three children, and one adoring (and adored) cavalier spaniel. Her inspirational contemporary romance, My Stubborn Heart, has just been released by Bethany House.

Web Site:


MY STUBBORN HEART description:

Kate Donovan is burned out on work, worn down by her dating relationships, and in need of an adventure. When her grandmother asks her to accompany her to Redbud, Pennsylvania, to restore the grand old house she grew up in, Kate jumps at the chance.

Upon her arrival in Redbud, Kate meets Matt Jarreau, the man hired to renovate the house. Kate can’t help being attracted to him, drawn by both his good looks and something else she can’t quite put her finger on. He’s clearly wounded–hiding from people, from God, and from his past. Yet Kate sets her stubborn heart on bringing him out of the dark and back into the light… whether he likes it or not.

When the stilted, uncomfortable interactions between Kate and Matt slowly shift into something more, is God finally answering the longing of her heart? Or will Kate be required to give up more than she ever dreamed?



Cover Conundrum

This post was tough for me. I don’t really pay attention to covers and can honestly say I’ve never bought a book based on the cover. My perusal of the cover consists of looking for layers of fabric, dead bodies, or bonnets and buggies. If it’s not historical, suspense, or Amish, then I’m good. I turn straight to the blurb and see if the story grabs me. Only four covers have really intrigued me. And I still didn’t buy the book–I won one, influenced for another, and still don’t own the other two.

Christine Lynxwiler’s Along Came a Cowboy was the first inspirational romance novel I ever saw with the guy on the cover instead of the girl. I thought it was a novel idea. I mean–romance readers want to read about the guy, not the girl. I got lucky and won this book and it’s still one of my favorites. One I’ll definitely keep and re-read.

Karen Witemeyer’s A Tailor-Made Bride was the first historical to ever intrigue me. I love clothes. Not layers and layers like this, but I can feel her cringe as this rude, ruffian steps on the hem of her dress she probably spent months hand-stitching. I didn’t buy the book and probably never well. No offense, it’s just not my genre. But if you’re a historical reader, I’ve heard it’s really good. Seeing that dress just makes me mad. I’m way too modern. If I wrote historicals, my heroine would be ripping off layers. “Don’t you people know it’s 105 and we don’t have air conditioners. I’m not wearing this mess.” Probably wouldn’t go over very well, so I’ll stick with contemporaries.

Jennifer Rogers Spinola’s cover intrigued me partly because I sat across from her at Barbour’s author reception one year and partly just because it’s such fun. She was so fun to talk to and her story was so interesting, I asked her to be on my real life romance blog and received an influencer copy of Southern Fried Sushi. This is another keeper that I’ll re-read. The unsaved heroine is so unapologetically selfish and it’s so fun to watch her change and grow. Her reactions and thoughts are so real and true, it made me take a good look at myself and repeat, It’s Not All About Me. I recently received my copy of the sequel Like Sweet Potato Pie. Another keeper. The difference in the heroine since she met a certain Savior is like night and day and I can’t wait for the third installment.

Linda Yezak’s Give the Lady a Ride caught my attention because I was researching bull riding for my rodeo series. Her book is about a woman learning to bull ride. I thought it sounded like a nice twist and I really like the cover. Partly because if I had a backside like that I’d wear blingy jeans just like those. I haven’t bought it yet. But if I happen upon it in a bookstore, I probably will.

Usually, the way I decide to buy a book is by author name. Sorry, but that’s just the facts and true for a lot of readers. Which means this no name author needs to get busy and make a name for myself.

Lorna asked me what I was going to blog about and I told her I didn’t know because covers don’t matter a lot to me. I said, “The ones I really like are the ones with the guys.” And she said, “That’s what you should blog about. It’s a new trend.”

So for your viewing pleasure:

Look, the same yummy guy that graced Christine’s cover is on Susan May Warren’s Reclaiming Nick. I hope he sticks around and graces lots more covers in the future.

Mary Connealy’s Over the Edge–this guy might convince me to buy a historical. Not to read mind you, just to look at him.

The trend has caught on over at Love Inspired too with Debra  Clopton’s Her Rodeo Cowboy. I really like this guy and might have to buy the book. This surprised me since Love inspired covers are mostly couples or families.

One question, why are there only cowboys gracing covers? Okay, I love cowboys too, wrote three books about them, but regular guys are hunks too. Nothing curls my toes like a man wearing a nice button up shirt,  jeans,  and no shoes. Maybe sitting in the sand on the beach. I haven’t found that cover yet. If you find it, let me know.

It sounds like I don’t get books unless I get them free, but it’s not true. It’s true I grew up a library mouse, so for years I never bought books. But last year, I decided that if I wanted people to buy my books, I needed to be a book buyer. I’ve bought more books in the last year than I have in my whole life. I just didn’t make my purchases based on the cover.

Time to chime in. Does the book cover affect what you purchase? What do you think of the trend with guys on the cover?

Interview with Denise Hunter

Shannon here: This fall–in between deadlines–I set out to find an agent and my writing twin. When a writer sends proposals to agents or editors, we’re supposed to compare our books to published novels. I needed a published author who writes similar to me to compare myself to. 

I’d heard of Denise Hunter, seen her at the American Christian Writers Conference, and knew she was a best-selling contemporary romance author. I bought The Convenient Groom and immediately wished I’d come up with such a great premise.

At ACFW this year, I introduced myself to Denise, told her why I bought her book and how much I loved it. She asked if I’d found my writing twin. Not by a longshot. Denise is a much better writer than me.

Since then I’ve read A Cowboy’s Touch, Driftwood Lane, The Accidental Bride, and Smitten. I read the last two in one weekend. Both of them.

I’ve discovered so many authors with a book I love, but then I’m often disappointed by at least one of their books or I don’t like the others as well as the first book I read by them. Not so with Denise Hunter. I’ve loved everything I’ve read by her and would be hard pressed to pick a favorite. Next on my list–Seaside Letters. So without further ado, here’s Denise:

  • What is the biggest writing challenge you’ve encountered this past year – craft, career, writing life, etc? How did you solve it?

My biggest writing challenge is finding my way through the middle of my stories. It really is like driving at night, and you can only see as far as your headlights will shine. I get through it with lots of prayer and lots of forcing myself to sit and work when I’d rather be doing anything else (laundry, dusting, toilets, ANYTHING).

Shannon: Okay, maybe we are twins. The middle befuddles me too. But not enough to make me want to clean or do laundry.

  • If you weren’t a writer, what would you want to be?

I enjoy design—actually started college as a commercial art major—so that’s what I’d do. Maybe even designing book covers to combine my interests.

  • Where is the coziest spot in your home?

My spot on the sofa/recliner. That’s actually where I work. 🙂

  • What is your favorite time of the day?

The evening, after dinner, when all the day’s work is done and the family is just hanging out.

  • In what ways do you think your writing journey has benefited your family? How does your writing affect your family?

Great question! Besides the obvious financial benefits, my career has made me a happier more well-rounded individual. It has forced me out of my comfort zone in a lot of ways. One of the best things about writing, though, is that it has allowed me to stay home with our kids.

  • If you could pick a theme song to play every time you entered a room, what would it be?

LOL! “Move” by Mercy Me. Sometimes I need extra motivation.

Shannon: Mercy Me is my favorite group.

  • What is your most laughable dating story?

When I started dating Kevin (my husband) I turned into an instant klutz. I spilled, I dropped, I tripped. Only around him, mind you. I still do that.

  • Which amusement park ride is your favorite and why?

Definitely roller coasters. But due to an old neck injury, I can’t ride them anymore. So I just live vicariously through my boys, who love them as much as I do.

Shannon: I grew up 5 miles from Six Flags over Georgia and never met a roller coaster I didn’t love.

  •  What do you think is the greatest invention of all time?

The internet. Research is SO much easier than it used to be. And communication! It has its negatives too, I know, but it’s so easy to keep in touch with family and friends now.

  • Would you rather live a week in the past or a week in the future??

Interesting question! A week in the future. I prefer the unknown.

  • How do you balance writing, exercise, home, etc.?

Not very well! The home and writing I’ve got down pretty well. The exercise, not so much. A couple months ago we even moved the treadmill into the living room so it would stand over our shoulders making us feel guilty. I’ve used it once since then. I do much better when it’s warm out though. I like to walk outside.

  • Would you rather meet your great grandchildren or great grandparents?

Great grandchildren, just to be certain I’ll get to, and because I DID meet my great grandparents.

  • Who is your biggest cheerleader?

My pal Colleen Coble. She’s everybody’s biggest cheerleader!

  • What actor/actress would you want to play Shay Brandenberger from The Accidental Bride?

Mandy Moore.

  • What is the best book you’ve read recently, and why did you like it?

“Redeeming Love” by Francine Rivers—although it wasn’t my first time reading it. The message of love and redemption is amazing.

  • What or who makes you giggle and why?

Bffs Colleen Coble, Diann Hunt, and Kristin Billerbeck. Because we know one another so well. Also my church small group, for the same reason.

  • What is your favorite season and why?

Spring and fall. Because we only get about two seconds of each in Indiana!

Shannon: My favorite seasons too. I hate being hot or cold, so I love the in between.

  • The biggest challenge in writing this book?

The middle—always!

Shannon: Ditto!

  • What do the Post-Its around your computer/screen/ bulletin board say?

They’re my lists of what I need to buy, who I need to call, and what I need to get done.

  •  What is your favorite research or reference book or tool??

“Writing the Breakout Novel” by Donald Maass.

  •  What is the most unusual costume you ever wore at a Halloween party?

I was Gilligan one year. It seriously disturbed my husband.

  • If you could have free unlimited service for one year from a cook, chauffer, personal secretary, housekeeper, or masseuse, which would you choose and why??

Oooh, I want one of each! Probably the cook. I love to bake—cooking, not so much.

  •  Which character in your books is the most like you? How?

Definitely Reese in “Smitten”. I wrote that one with my 3 friends Colleen Coble, Kristin Billerbeck, and Diann Hunt. In order to keep our characters consistent throughout, we gave each of our protagonists a healthy dose of ourselves. 

Shannon: Thanks for agreeing to the interview, Denise. I so thoroughly enjoyed it.

My take on Denise’s books: I hated for each book to end, but each gave me that satisfying ahh moment. I love the characters, fell in love with each hero, and marveled at each great, complicated story premise.

The Convenient Groom: She wrote the book–literally–on finding the right mate. But does she really understand what love’s about? Five hours before her Nantucket beach wedding–and on the eve of her big book launch–celebrity marriage counselor Kate Lawrence has everything in place.

Everything, that is, but the groom. She might not have a career, either, when her nationwide audience finds out their marriage guru has been left at the altar.

Enter Lucas Wright, who offers to stand in for the missing husband-to-be and marry her. Kate’s desperate enough to agree–although she’s sure this Mr. Wright is completely wrong for her. But can they pull it off? And why would Lucas marry her in the first place?

Could it be that “Dr. Kate” doesn’t know the first thing about love? An inspiring tale of enduring love set in romantic Nantucket.

Made me cry just reading how much the hero loved the heroine as he tried to win her heart. Such a great, complicated premise, I really wished I’d come up with it.

A Cowboy’s Touch: Abigail is just in Moose Creek, Montana for the summer to temporarily care for her great aunt. But a tender-hearted cowboy beckons her to stay.

Abigail Jones intends to spend just one summer in middle-of-nowhere Montana with her Aunt Lucy. Time away from her job is just what Abigail needs to reassess her life. The slow pace has her breathing deeply for the first time in years. And the majestic scenery encourages her to get reacquainted with herself . . . and God.

What she didn’t count on was the handsome widowed cowboy who owns the ranch where her aunt lives. When the rancher loses his daughter’s nanny, Abigail decides to lend a hand for the summer.

Wade Ryan can’t help being attracted to Abigail. But he’s given up everything to protect his daughter, and he’s not about to risk it all on a pretty face.

Under Abigail’s care, Wade’s home and daughter thrive. And with Wade’s touch, Abigail’s heart feels at home at last. But Abigail knows this elusive rancher is hiding something. Will her own secrets separate her from the cowboy who finally captured her heart?

I love the characters and ached for them. I truly couldn’t see how this story could end happily-ever-after. So many complications.

The Accidental Bride: Shay Brandenberger is raising her daughter in Moose Creek, Montana, on her childhood ranch, nestled against the Yellowstone River. Despite the hard work, she can’t seem to keep her head above water—and now the bank is threatening to foreclose. She prays for a miracle, but the answer she receives is anything but expected.

Having agreed to play the bride in the Founders’ Day wedding reenactment, Shay is mortified to be greeted at the end of the aisle by none other than Travis McCoy, her high-school sweetheart—the man who left her high and dry for fame and fortune on the Texas rodeo circuit.

Then the unthinkable happens. Thanks to a well-meaning busybody and an absentminded preacher, the make-believe vows result in a legal marriage. But before Shay can say annulment, Travis comes up with a crazy proposal. If she refuses his offer, she may lose her home. If she accepts, she may lose her heart.

Shay isn’t sure if the recent events are God’s will or just a preacher’s blunder. Will trusting her heart to the man who once shattered it be the worst mistake of her life? Or could their marriage be the best accident that ever happened?

I loved the hero, Travis. So tough, yet gentle. I loved Shay’s temper, yet Travis knew just how to settle her down.

Driftwood Lane: Meridith believes she is capable of weathering any storm. But she’s never experienced a love powerful enough to uproot her…until now.

Meridith Ward has crafted a carefully ordered life to make up for the chaos that plagued her childhood years. But one phone call upsets all that. Within the span of several minutes, Meredith learns that the father who abandoned her is dead and she’s been named the sole guardian of his other three children. She nervously heads to Nantucket to care for the siblings she’s never met with plans to stay until their uncle returns from his trip before relinquishing guardianship to him.

She arrives to find the children living in Summer House, a Bed & Breakfast that’s falling apart around them. Meridith wants to move on as soon as possible, but the inn will never sell in its dilapidated condition. Then an itinerant handyman, Jake, shows up with an offer she can’t refuse.

Much like the powerful ocean just a short walk from her deck, Jake appeals to Meridith. But she senses he is also capable of pulling her under in a heartbeat. What if the thing she fears the most is exactly what she needs? Can she trust God with the details and relish the adventure?

Besides the romance and the complicated premise, I loved the one upmanship basketball scenes between the hero and his best friend. And I was reminded that all I really need is a solid foundation through Christ. Everything else is just a bonus.

SmittenWelcome to Smitten, Vermont. With the help of four friends, it’s about to become the most romantic town in America.

The proposed closing of the lumber mill comes as unwelcome news for the citizens of Smitten. How will the town survive without its main employer? A close-knit group of women think they’ve got just the plan to save Smitten. They’ll capitalize on its name and turn it into a tourist destination for lovers—complete with sweet shops, a high-end spa, romantic music on the square, and cabins outfitted with fireplaces and hot tubs.

But is this manly town ready for an influx of romantically-minded guests?

Country music sensation Sawyer Smitten, the town’s hometown hero, wants to help by holding his own wedding there on Valentine’s Day. And little Mia’s lavender wreaths hang all over town as a reminder that faith can work miracles. Along the way, four women spearheading the town’s transformation—energetic Natalie, sophisticated Julia, graceful Shelby, and athletic Reese—get in the spirit by reviving their own love lives.

Join best-selling inspirational romance authors (and real-life BFFs) Colleen Coble, Kristin Billerbeck, Diann Hunt, and Denise Hunter for an inspiring stay at the (soon-to-be) most romantic town on the eastern seaboard.

One visit . . . and you’ll be smitten too.

I laughed a lot while reading this book and enjoyed each story equally. Quite a feat. I don’t think I’ve ever read a novella collection by different authors and been unable to pick my favorite story.

About Denise:  Denise lives in Indiana with her husband Kevin and their three sons. In 1996, Denise began her first book, a Christian romance novel, writing while her children napped. Two years later it was published, and she’s been writing ever since. Her books often contain a strong romantic element, and her husband Kevin says he provides all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too! Learn more at 

Books and Memories

My favorite Little Golden Book—Baby Farm Animals. I loved that book. The illustrations were so cute. I still have it. It’s mixed in with my son’s book collection now. After Lorna’s post yesterday, I dug it out to see if it’s a first edition. My cover is different than the picture I found on the net and the price is 29 cents. The spine of mine is no longer golden and much of it is missing. It’s been scribbled on and very well read. The first couple of pages have been torn out and the remaining ones are yellowed. But the illustrations are just as sweet. I lived in cities when I fell in love with this book and have since learned that baby farm animals really are cute—until they grow up.

Horton Hears a Who was my favorite Dr. Suess book. I loved to think of a tiny little world, with tiny little Who’s living on a tiny little flower. And I loved the rhyming. I still think if it’s a poem, it should rhyme. My least favorite Suess book—Green Eggs and Ham. It made me queasy just to think about it.

A book I hated–Old Yeller. Why on earth would anyone write a children’s book about a boy who has to shoot his dog? Hated that book. Hated it! And there was always some teacher who would read it to the class and that huge lump would be in my throat and I’d try not to cry in front of my classmates. Torture!

The little house books. I loved them all the way from The Little House in the Big Woods to The First Four Years. Of course, the TV show got me interested and I was disappointed by the guy that played Almanzo. Why couldn’t he look more like Pa? You know, green eyes, dark hair. Now Pa, that was a man.

I owned them all. Yes Lorna, I realize they’re basically historicals. I’d get the next book in the series each year when the book fair came to school. Hmm. I wonder where they are? Probably my parent’s attic. Up there with the Barbies and paperdolls.

As a teen, I outgrew the Little House books, and really didn’t know where to turn. That’s when my mother carefully chose clean romances for me to read and I discovered contemporaries. I can’t remember specific titles, lines, or even authors, but contemporary romance is still my favorite genre to read. Later, I discovered there was such a thing as inspirational contemporary romance. And the rest is history.

Okay writers, did anything you read as a kid or teen shape what you write today? Readers, did anything you read as a kid shape you as a reader today?