So Many Books, So Little Time

As usual it’s the eleventh hour and I’m trying to make up for lost time, though it would take a month of Sundays to wax poetic on the subject of time the way my sister inksters have.  When I find myself with time on my hands, I usually fill both with a book. It’s thrilling when I find one that will stand the test of time and when I do I hunt down every book that author has written.  And that’s often a race against time since some books have a short shelf life, like those wily Love Inspired ones! That means we’re working against the clock from the very second they are put on the shelves and if we’re not careful the ship will sail without us!   So I worked into the small hours to come up with a plan that would help me remember important book release dates even when I’m pressed for time.

 It’s called a Release Calendar! And I created it just in the nick of time since the near future holds a multitude of incredible new inspirational book releases. Believe me, you’ll have the time of your life reading them!  But this list comes with a warning…these books are guaranteed  time-stealers

 Kav Disclaimer:  This is by no means a comprehensive list.   So many books – so little time! Books are listed in chronological order.

White_Roses_Cover-147x196 White Roses by Shannon Vannatter May 2010 (if you belong to Heartsongs Present Book Club) or in stores November 2010

 A grieving widower and single parent, Pastor Grayson struggles with letting go and moving on.  Adrea Welch doesn’t understand how she can be so attracted to a man still devoted to his dead wife. But can their developing relationship survive the secrets from Adrea’s past?

 Our very own Shannon’s debut novel!  She’ll have to tell us what it’s like to have to wait for an accepted manuscript to finally transform itself into a book!

 Love on a Dime by Cara Lynn James June 2010love on a dime

 Lilly Westbrook writes dime novels and does everything she can to conceal that fact from friends and family because of the stigma attached to her career.  But then, former suitor, Jackson Grail becomes Lilly’s new publisher – only he doesn’t know it.  What he does know is that ‘Fannie Cole’s’ dime novels are good for business and they’d be even better if he can track his star writer down and convince her to go public! 

 Isn’t that an ingenuous plot?  I’m really excited about this one.  I think the premise is very clever.  I can’t wait!!!!!


Courting Morrow Little by Laura Frantz  July 2010

 We’re back in  18th century Kentucky for Laura’s second historical novel.  Morrow Little is haunted by the memory of a Shawnee raid that tore her family apart.  Now that she is  grown, she faces difficult choices about marriage.  There is no shortage of men vying for her attention, but she finds herself  inexplicably drawn to a forbidden love.

 Laura’s rich, lyrical text is inspiring and this will definitely be one for your keeper shelf – right along side The Frontiersman’s Daughter.


  Waiting Out the Storm by Ruth Logan Herne July 2010herne

 The author has dubbed this a “Hatfield/McCoy” type romance.  It’s the second in her North Country series and features Craig and Sarah who we met in Winter’s End. I don’t know much more than that – except I’ll love it!  Ruthy’s writing style flows and her voice is strong.  I’m prepared for a few laughs, some tears and a big satisfied sigh at the end.  It’s going to be good…I just know it.


making waves Making Waves by Lorna Seilstad September 2010s 

Marguerite Westing is thrilled to spend the summer at Lake Manawa with her family. What better way to put some distance between herself and a boring suitor?  And what would summer be like without romance?  One that doesn’t involve the young gentleman from back home!  But Marguerite’s  idyllic summer is ruined when her father’s gambling problems threaten to ruin her family and she is faced with an agonizing dilemma.  Does she marry to secure her family’s fortune or will she follow her heart?

 A debut novel by our very own Lorna!  I’ve read some of her work so I know that this will be a captivating read and I’m a tad shy of giddy at actually seeing it in my local Christian bookstore! 

 A Hope Undaunted by Julie Lessman  September 2010hope undaunted

 Set in the late 1920’s, little Katie O’Connor is all grown up and looking toward an exciting future which includes a career in law and a husband.  Of course Julie Lessman wouldn’t let it be that uncomplicated! So while future husband, Jack, is left waiting in the wings, Katie’s childhood nemesis, Cluny McGee resurfaces to throw her world – and plans – into chaos.

If you’ve read her Daughters of Boston series, you’ll be well acquainted with Katie O’Connor.  Readers have watched her grow up and I think we all feel motherly towards her.  It will be interesting to see what Julie has thrown at the youngest O’Connor girl — how Katie handles it!

 healer's apprentice

The Healer’s Apprentice by Melanie Dickerson October 2010

 A new YA medieval romance is about to hit the market in the form of a retelling of Sleeping Beauty. I love this genre and am beyond excited to see this book release in the fall.  Isn’t the book cover gorgeous? And it’s Melanie’s debut novel!

 Rose, the woodcutter’s daughter, apprentices to the town healer and loses her heart to a forbidden love.

 And just to wet your appetite even more, take a look at her book trailer:


Really looking ahead:

 Made To Order Family by Ruth Logan Herne  September 2010

Wrangler in Petticoats by Mary Connealy October 2010

Fatal Judgement by Irene Hannon – January 2011

What about you – are there any titles you just can’t wait to get your hands on?

As Stubborn As An Old Gray Mule

If I were a betting person, I’d lay odds that stubbornness doesn’t make the top ten on most lists of sexiest traits. But I’ll take a tenacious hero, as infuriating as he may be, over a complacent one any day. Add dark hair (though there are a few sandy haired guys out there that have turned my head), rugged good looks and piercing blue or rich brown eyes filled with the gambit of emotions and I’m a quivering puddle.

So what is it about stubborn men that I find so appealing? I guess if I had to sum it up in one word, it would be they are intense. They love hard, play hard and work hard. When they know something is right, they refuse to budge. And they’ll believe in you when you don’t believe in yourself.

Now who exactly are these men who could give a mule lessons in stubbornness? Perhaps my personal favorite is Rhett Butler. Talk about tenacity! No wonder Ashley Hamilton looked like such a wimp next to him.

Next would be Adam Black, Dee Henderson’s hero in Danger In The Shadows. He refuses to give up on Sara even though she gives up on him. Or at least on a relationship with him. Tenacious and tender – now there’s a deadly combination for this poor southern girl’s heart.

Finally, my newest swoon worthy hero, Ian Justice, the Scottish doctor in Laura Frantz’s The Frontiersman’s Daughter. Not only does he have a stubbornness that rivals Lael Click’s, he has the kind of intestinal fortitude that allows him to survive and thrive in the wilds of Revolutionary War Kentucky. Add the dark hair, blue eyes and the accent that makes my heart pitter-patter, he definitely makes my teeth sweat.

So, if you happen to run across a stubbornly compassionate man that looks a little like Jack Hudson from Sue Thomas FBEye and has a Scottish, Irish or English accent, send him on down my way. I promise, he’ll never be bored and his tenacity will be as appreciated as a prize-winning gray mule in a log-pulling contest.images

It’s All Good

I read to write .  The two go hand in hand.  The more I read, the more I write, but more importantly, the more I read the more I learn.  I am not the studious type and I have never been able to crack open a ‘how-to’ writing book, no matter how highly recommended, and start reading from the preface onward.  I can, however, open a book of fiction and read it cover to cover and when I do I soak up the richness of language, the depth of characterization and the subtleties of plot.  I learn by osmosis and my writing is enriched from the experience.

 I’d like to share some of what I have learned from the example of a few amazing writers.  You might recognize more than one seekerville blogger on the list.  Since I started following their blog I’ve been trying to read at least one book from every author.  I have a ways to go yet, but I have to say, I haven’t been disappointed in anything I’ve read from that group of writers. 

 Cliffhangers Keep You Reading

killer Debby Giusti writes romantic suspense for Steeple Hill.  She excels at face-paced plots and true-to-life characters that leap out of the pages and into your heart.   She writes page-turning suspense where every chapter ends with that dreaded cliffhanger.  You finish one chapter and she’s hooked you into reading the next.  Here’s an example from Killer Headline:

 She huddled in his arms as he stared into the night.  The killer was out there, waiting for Clay to lower his guard, waiting for Violet to be vulnerable once again. 

Clay couldn’t make another mistake.

 Less Is More When in Comes to Romance

 I discovered a Dee Henderson gem a couple of weeks ago.  God’s Gift, published in 1998 is Henderson without thegod intrigue; just pure romance – the kind that she excels at.  This book is a study on how to create deep, committed love that grows out of friendship. Her characters are lovable in spite of their flaws.  They are vulnerable but courageous in their love.  A simple scene such as the one below, sets my heart racing – it’s the pacing of the words, what isn’t said as much as what is.  Every measured beat creates a memorable romantic interlude.  Imagine a whole book full!  Be still my heart

 He gently brushed her hair back from her face, “Thanks for lunch.”

She grinned.  “I loved lunch.”

“Come here,” he whispered, tugging her toward him.

Her hands came to rest against his chest.

He kissed her softly, gently.  “Go back to work.  Think about me occasionally.”

She reluctantly got to her feet. “If I think about you, I won’t get any work done.”

He quirked one eyebrow with his smile. “Your concentration is that distractable?”

“I think I will plead the fifth,” she replied, reluctantly slipping her hand from his. “See you later.”

“I’m sure you will.”

 Be True to Yourself

 nosyJust mention Mary Connealy’s name and you have to smile.  She’s an expert at weaving humour into her books but she’s also a maverick – a writer who follows her own quirky path that has led to a very distinctive author’s voice.  I mean who else would think of having her heroine jump into the arms of the hero on the very first page because she’s scared of a mouse?  But that’s what happens in Nosy in Nebraska:

 A mouse dashed out of the kitchen pantry twenty-feet away.

“Eeeek!”  Carrie shrieked.

The mouse skittered towards her.  Carrie ran the opposite direction and collided with the carpenter, who was dashing through the door clutching his hammer.

“What happened?”

The mouse skidded to a halt under the table and squeaked.

Carrie squeaked even louder and jumped toward the carpenter.  He caught her against his chest, hooking one arm under her legs and the other behind her back.

It was nice for the stranger to come to her rescue.  He was the kind of man who could do the whole “white knight” thing, with his lovely height and broad shoulders. The hammer he held – in the hand now under her knees – would make a fair lance, too.

 Reading books by Mary has taught me that being true to yourself is an important part of creating your voice.

 Torture Your Characters

 In A Forever Christmas Missy Tippens has created a page turning romance between two of the most stubborn 410_A_Forever_Christmas_final_characters I’ve read about in a long time.  Talk about ripping their dreams apart, stomping all over them and then dangling the tattered pieces before them!  From the first chapter I was invested in getting Sarah and Gregory together again.  I read avidly, hanging onto every word, holding my breath in every scene.  Missy developed the romantic tension early on and then pulled it taut as the story progressed. Missy taught me how to torture characters before finally granting them their heart’s desire. 🙂

 How come she had to keep popping up?  It was as if she was trying to torment him – drawing him to her with her silky hair, sparkling eyes and sweet nature.  She reminded him of the good parts of their past.  When in reality it was a past best forgotten.

 Words Can Create Pictures

the_frontiersmans_daughter Laura Frantz has taught me that painting pictures with words can create a masterpiece of sensory perceptions which transport a reader out of time.

 In the fading lavender twilight, at the edge of a clearing, stood half a dozen Shawnee warriors.  They looked to the small log cabin nestled in the bosom of the greening ridge, as earthy and unassuming as the ground it sat upon…The Indians regarded it with studied intent, taking in the sagging front porch, the willow baskets and butter churn to one side, the vacant rocking chair still astir from the hurry of a moment before.

 By contrast, Tamera Alexander uses measured words to convey brushstrokes on herremembered story canvas.

 The knot in Veronique’s throat cinched taut.  She tried to say something, but couldn’t.

 This sparse paragraph from Remembered creates an atmosphere in an entirely different way then the example from The Frontierman’s Daughter yet both are equally effective in setting tone and mood.


 It’s All Good

Petecover And then there’s Pete the Cat.  He’s worthy of a whole blog to himself.  Pete’s taught me about the brilliance that can come from a simple idea, and that repetition makes an unforgettable impact. And his attitude about life can certainly be applied to writing.  Check him out here: I bet you’ll be smiling the rest of the day…and singing his song…because it really is all good.

A Revolutionary Read

The air is heavy with the musty smell of freshly dug dirt. Your hair is plastered to your neck with sweat and the heavy dampness of the river bottom. Somewhere beyond the tree line, a twig snaps. Your heart pounds against your ribs. Is it the Shawnee? A friend? A deadly foe?

Can you see the river and smell the clean air filled with the sweet fragrance of wildflowers? Can you feel the heat? Can you hear the birds and the snapping twig? You will if you read Laura Frantz’s debut novel The Frontiersman’s Daughter. Laura Frantz picks you up and sets you down in 1777 Kentucky.images

The spit and vinegar heroine of the story is Lael Click, daughter of the famous and infamous Ezekiel Click. Through her eyes, the reader watches the story unfold. We feel her growing pains and homesickness when her father sends her to school in Virginia in order to keep her from Simon Hayes, the red haired bad boy Ezekiel doesn’t approve of. While in Virginia, she tries to resist becoming civilized. She refuses to completely release her pioneer spirit. Yet when she returns to Kentucky following her father’s death, she finds she can’t completely shed her genteel ways either. She’s caught in between the pull of the wilderness and the soft lifestyle she’s become accustomed to. And that isn’t the only thing she’s caught in between.

Lael is also caught in the web of three would-be suitors: Simon Hayes, the bad boy that gets under her skin until he does something so heinous Lael is able to shake his hold on her. Captain Jack, the Shawnee chief who is, according to her father, as white as she is. He could hold the answers to all the questions Lael has about Ezekiel Click. Finally, there’s Ian Justus, an outlander with a medical degree and a Scottish accent that could melt the ice surrounding any woman’s heart.

But it isn’t just the setting and the three-dimensional characters that make this book the newest addition to my favorite reads. It’s the quiet faith of Ian Justus, Ransom Click, Ma Horn and others. Not once did they push God down Lael’s throat. Gentle nudges. Well placed words. Quiet assurances. That’s what led Lael to find faith in God…and herself.

So. The next time you want to do a little time traveling, don your coonskin hat, plant an image of Daniel Boone in your mind and pick up Laura Frantz’s Frontiersman’s Daughter. I promise, you won’t be disappointed.images

Interview with Author Laura Frantz

Please join me in welcoming debut author Laura Frantz.  Her historical novel, The Frontiersman’s Daughter, was released in August by Revell and has received a multitude of five-star reviews. Today, she’s offered to share a little about herself and give us a peek into her writing life.

About Laura

Please tell us a little about yourself.

 I was born and raised in Kentucky and my love of history goes deep – way back to the 18th-century when my family first came into the Bluegrass State. It will always be home to me, even though I now live with my husband, Randy, and my sons, Wyatt and Paul, in the misty woods of northwest Washington. I go back as often as I can to visit family and all the old haunts that I love. 

I grew up playing on the original site of Fort Boonesborough and swimming in the Kentucky River and climbing the Pinnacle near Berea and watching the great outdoor dramas of the early settlers. Often my cousins and brother and I would play in my Granny’s attic and dress up in the pioneer costumes she made us and pretend to be Daniel Boone, Rebecca, Jemima, or the Shawnee.

As I grew up I began to write stories and they were always historical, filled with the lore I had heard or read about. It’s no accident that my first book (which is actually my fifth book – the others were practice!) is about those first Kentucky pioneers.

I feel blessed beyond measure to write books. My prayer is that you are doubly blessed reading them.


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

The public library! Where else can you take something home for free, if only for 3 weeks!? I’ve had a love affair with libraries since I was a little girl and still do. When I go I still get excited and hate to leave.


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

Without a doubt, my great-grandparents! They died shortly before I was born and I was named after my great-granny. They lived so much history and since history is my passion, I have so many unanswered questions. For example, why did my great-granny, the belle of her tiny Kentucky town, wait till she was 35 to marry and then marry my grandpappy, a one-legged man? Why did they only have one child, my grandfather? Why was her father never the same after fighting in the Civil War and being held at Andersonville Prison? Why did she collect rocks from every county in Kentucky? Silly questions, perhaps, but I’m left wondering.


 Do you have a specific Scripture that you hold onto?

Prior to being published I came across this verse: The Lord will accomplish what concerns me; your lovingkindness, O Lord, is everlasting; do not forsake the works of Your hands. Psalms 138:8

When I wonder what the future holds, especially in regards to my writing, I ponder this verse and trust that He has me in hand and my future is secure. 


bananasplitWhat jobs have you had in your life? What did you like most? Least?

I’ve scooped ice cream at Baskin Robbins, babysat, taught school, waitressed, and been a social worker. All of them provided great fodder for my writing:) But I’d not want to return to doing them as writing has always been my first love. I pray I can keep writing for as long as I can hold a pen or use a laptop:)


About Laura’s Writing

 What’s the most exciting part of the writing journey for you? Most difficult?

I love being able to say I’m an author after 40 years of hiding it! It’s a real joy to have a dream fulfilled. I’d have to say that the most exciting part of the journey would be getting the news about the official title for my book (usually different but better than the one I’ve dreamed up) and also seeing my book cover for the first time. And, of course, holding the actual book in hand. Too many joys to count! The downside would be negative reviews though the postive ones sure make you smile. And I love reader mail. It’s a privilege to answer every one.


 What do you hope readers will gain from your novel?

I hope they will see Christ manifested in the novel in some way – His truth through fiction. If my words inspire someone to draw closer to Him or seek Him out or realize His love and forgiveness, then that’s a big blessing to both the reader and myself. I also love books that offer an escape. If you finish my book and feel like you’ve said goodbye to a friend, have come to care about my characters, and hate to see it end, then I’ll feel I’ve been a good steward of the writing gift God has given me.


 What do the post-its around your computer/desk say? 

No post-its but I do have a little rock with flowers painted on it which says “GROW.” It’s a reminder to me that writing is a learning process and God is stretching me, often beyond my comfort zone, but it’s for my good and His glory.


cabin What works do we have to look forward to from you in future?

I feel so blessed to write 18th-century fiction which is a mostly unexplored time period in the inspirational market. My next novel, Courting Morrow Little, due out next summer, involves a young woman and her preacher father on the Red River in Kentucky during the Revolutionary War. This book details an unusual courtship which I hope readers will enjoy so much they’ll find it hard to put the book down:)


 You can learn more about Laura Frantz and her books at her website and on her blog, Laura’s Journal, at

Coming Soon to a Blog Near You

We’re excited about the upcoming events here at Inkspirational Messages! Beginning next Saturday, we will be occassionally featuring interviews with special guests authors. Kicking off this awesome event on Oct. 17 is Laura Frantz, debut author of The Frontierman’s Daughter (Revell).


Our theme for the next two weeks is “Writing Nooks and Spaces.” The Inkers will be sharing where they like to write, what their office space is like, and maybe some hints into their “desk-a-nality”.

scary house

Following that, just in time for season of chills, we’ll be talking about “Things That Go Bump in the Night.” Two weeks of posts that promise to bring shivers and giggles straight from the lives of our ten Inkers.

We want to thank all of our Inker friends for joining us every day. We love to hear from you!