Category Archives: christian author

Expecting Santa!

Tis the season for stockings being hung by the fire, cookies baking in the oven, and books with Christmas themes being opened. This season I am re-releasing a book I wrote years ago and recently updated. It was originally published under the title Open in Nine Months, but the original title was Expecting Santa.

All Sam McCall wants for Christmas is a traditional holiday for his five-year-old daughter, Lacey. The last person he expects to find when he moves to a cozy town in Colorado is the woman who broke his heart: Joy Chase. Joy’s hiding a secret under her grandfather’s Santa suit. When Sam learns she’s carrying his baby, he has to win Joy’s heart fast. But can they learn to trust again? Can Santa deliver a Christmas miracle?

Open in Nine Months (Expecting Santa) is a touching, emotional story, a perfect way to put yourself in the holiday.” Judy Christenberry, best selling author

Leanna Wilson (Ellis) has penned a warm romance with good characterization.
RT Book Reviews

Here’s the brand new cover, and the inside is all updated too! It’s available as a Kindle ebook and also in paperback! Merry Christmas, y’all!


My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys

It was a cold night in the Texas Panhandle, and I was a little girl going to the rodeo with my family. This was not a slicked up rodeo but a nitty-gritty rodeo out in the country with real cowboys, some of which were my older cousins. I remember sitting on one of my cousins’ laps. She already had children of her own but she helped warm me up on that chilly night as we watched the cowboys rope steers and ride bulls.

strongsilentcowboyMaybe that’s where my love of cowboys began. Because most of my cousins were many years older than me, I didn’t know them well and simply watched and admired them. My dad also raised me on John Wayne movies. My favorite movie growing up was True Grit. Just the opening song could get my blood pulsing.

As I grew up, I fell in love with country music. One day, I was driving around Dallas, to and from work, listening to Rodeo by Garth Brooks when a character came to me. He was wearing chaps and boots and he had a slight stutter. I immediately fell in love with Kirk and had to write his story, Strong, Silent Cowboy, which became my very first published book.

So began my writing career, which started with writing about cowboys. I love cowboys’ strength, ingenuity, traditions, and love for nature. I love that they are real men, with a bit of swagger, but also a touch of humility. They know God created the land and bow their heads to pray. I’m proud that I know real cowboys, and I’m blessed to have been able to write about them.

christmasinjulyChristmas in July was my second published book and a sequel to my first. This book features not only a cowboy but also a cowgirl–a barrel racer. These girls have courage and big hearts. Geena, a young widow, has more than her share but she also has a wall around her heart that the right cowboy is going to have to jump.


Finally, my latest release, For the Love of Cody, is actually a re-release of my 5th book. It garnered the National Readers’ Choice Award when it was published. Since then, it went out of print but I gained the rights back to it and recently brought it out as a Kindle ebook. But now, it’s also available in paperback! You can click on the titles of my books to find out more about them.

So for a long while, my heroes have always been cowboys. Next year, I’m publishing a brand new cowboy story! Hope you’ll hang around until it’s ready.

So what about you? Do you love cowboys? Country music? Western movies?

Contest: For a copy of the paperback For the Love of Cody. At the end of this week, I’ll draw a name from those who leave a comment below for a winner.

Dining With Joy

Hi, y’all! I’d like for you to welcome Rachel Hauck today! She’s discussing her latest book and it sure looks good!

Dining with Joy by Rachel Hauck

Thanks for having me today!

I’m no genius in the kitchen, but my heroine, Joy Ballard, finds herself doing a job she can’t do for all the right reasons. She’s a cooking show host who can’t cook!
When I started this book, that premise got a good laugh from those who heard it. Then, I’d ask, “But what’s that story about?”
The person would shrug. “I don’t know.”
“Yeah, me neither.”

I had to ask a lot of questions about what a woman hosts a cooking show when she can’t so much as fry eggs. I didn’t want an insincere, lying heroine. She’s not a manipulator or conniver.

Joy simply found herself filling a job she was asked to do – by her father. She was great in front of the camera. Just not behind the stove.

Not long ago, I stood on stage at church with my worship team praying before the service started. Head back, eyes close, I said in my heart, “Lord, help us. You have to help me. I’m so weak in leading worship. I cannot do it without You.”

While I’m a decent singer, and I can lead the people to worship Jesus, I’m not a musician. I’m not one who can skillfully bring the band and the worship sound together. And until I found myself with a “starting over” band, I never realized how gaping this weakness was for me.

A few days later, I was thinking of all the great worship leaders, singers and musicians. Of great writers. And I just felt weak and inadequate in the two main callings of my life.

Again, I went to the Lord. “Why can’t You find a good worship leader for church? Why can’t you help me be a more successful writer? I see people who are good at what they do, succeeding.”

This is what He said to me. “… most people won’t give me their weaknesses.”

I was stopped cold. I understood that a lot of times God invites us on a journey to participate with Him in some aspect of our lives or others, but because we are not good at that thing, or because we are weak with fear or shame or whatever, we say no.

It’s in our weaknesses His strength is manifest. God is not looking for mighty men and women, He’s looking for weak men and women in which HE can show His might.

Don’t misunderstand, God loves excellence, skill and devotion. While leading worship practices, I have to be excellent as I can be to bring the team and songs together.

I’ll never have a recording or national ministry as a worship leader, but for our little church in Florida, I’m God’s girl. For now.

That, in some ways, is Joy’s journey. She said yes to her father’s desire.
Can we say “Yes?” to our Father’s desire for us? Offer Him all of our strengths AND weaknesses? He’s more than willing to overcome.

In my story, Joy’s secret is revealed and takes a pretty good tumble, but love is waiting to catch her. In the form of cowboy chef and hero, Luke Redmond.

Sigh… Love wins.

One of the things Joy discovers along the way is her father’s banana bread recipe. It’s delish!

Here it is:

Charles Ballard’s Banana Bread
From Connie Spangler

1 3/4 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1t. baking soda
1/2t. salt
1/2t. cinnamon
2 eggs
3 mashed ripe bananas
1/2 cup oil (I use canola)
1/4 cup plus 1 T. buttermilk
1t. vanilla
1/2 cup choc. chips
1/2 cup p.butter chips

In a large bowl stir together flour, sugars, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. In another bowl, combine eggs, bananas, oil, buttermilk and vanilla. Add to flour mixture, stirring just until moistened. Fold in chips. Pour into a greased 9-in. x 3-in. loaf pan. Bake at 325 for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until it tests done. Cool on a rack 10 minutes before removing from pan.

Tips for baking banana bread:
DON’T over mix the batter, just until moistened. Banana bread is always best if after its cooled to wrap up and serve the next day.


Rachel lives in central Florida with her husband and writes books from the second floor of what she calls her “turret tower.” A gift from the Lord. Besides “Dining with Joy,” Rachel has written fourteen other novels. Also out is “Softly and Tenderly” which Rachel wrote with country artist, Sara Evans.

Visit her web site at


Legacy of Lies

Secrets Buried Deep!Evidence from a decades-old murder is the last thing Nicole Keller-Mattson expected to find in her grandmother’s back yard, but the finger-pointing and accusations leveled at her family came as no surprise. Everyone in Ellington is eager to blame the Kellers—but after an attack leaves Nicole’s grandmother in a coma, only Nicole can clear the family name. With the assistance of police chief Rich Hendricks, she stands a chance of solving the mystery . . . if she’s willing to accept Rich’s help. Nicole lost her policeman husband in the line of duty—getting close to another cop is too painful. But keeping her distance could be deadly.

I’’ve always been fascinated by social dynamics in a small
town. Having lived in rural communities all my life, I’m intimately familiar
with the unique politics involved. Crafting a story about the shadow cast over
a town by its founding family came readily to me. I was particularly interested
to explore the affect past sins and secrets can have on a tight-knit community
and how the illusion of power is always trumped by the immutable laws of God.
We do reap what we sow, no matter how grand and invincible we imagine ourselves
to be.

The scripture I used at the front of the book was Psalm 37:10-11 from the NIV version of the Bible: A
little while and the wicked will be no more; Though you look for them, they
will not be found. But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy great peace.

I comfort myself with these words quite often when I see the injustices in the

Jill Elizabeth Nelson writes what she likes to read—tales of
adventure seasoned with romance, humor, and faith, earning her the tagline: Endless
Adventure, Timeless Truth. She was
delightfully astonished this year to receive the prestigious Carol Award in the
Short Contemporary Suspense category for her 2009 release, Evidence of Murder. Jill speaks regularly at conferences,
writer’s groups, library associations, and civic and church groups. When
teaching classes for writers, she thrills to bring the Ahah! moment to
her students as they make a new skill their own. Jill and her husband live in
rural Minnesota where they raised
four children and are currently enjoying their first grandchild. Visit Jill on
the web at for book giveaways, excerpts, and information.

Sandra Byrd’s London Confidential Series

London Confidential Series

Byrd’s ability to provide a fun story that incorporates biblical truth will help teens relate to this new series. Readers will identify with the struggle to fit in while staying true to one’s convictions.
Romantic Times, 4 star review

Book Three, Don’t Kiss Him Goodbye, finds Savvy, now established in her quirky British village, working hard to get an article with her own byline published. When an attractive and mysterious boy asks her for help with his school work, Savvy is slowly pulled into his circle and soon finds out that the wrong set of friends—boys and girls—can influence her own behavior. Following her own advice to cut ties with a charming bad boy would mean abandoning her dearest wishes, and it just doesn’t seem as wrong as it feels. Is it? Read on for surprise twists throughout the book!

In a shocking turn of events, all writers for the Wexburg Academy Times will cast their votes for next year’s editor—and it looks like Savvy’s vote will be the tie breaker! In Book Four, Flirting With Disaster, Savvy must choose between a nasty-girl-turned-nice, with a sudden interest in letting Savvy get what she wants, and the prickly Hazelle, who promises nothing at all. Savvy then finds herself wrapped up in a new, seemingly innocent but potentially dangerous activity. It’s all at risk in this book: her position on the paper, the boy she likes, the ministry she wants to go well. At a critical moment, Savvy must figure out how to rely on God rather than luck and to overcome temptation before it is too late.

London Confidential is a new series for tweens and teens where British fashion, friendships, and guys collide as an all-American teen girl learns to love life and live out her faith.

Please visit Sandra online at The books can be purchased at through her website or at other fine online or local bookstores near you. If they’re not stocked, just ask!

Sarah Sundin and Daisy!

Le: Last spring at the Mt. Hermon writers conference, I met this wonderful author. So please welcome Sarah Sundin and Daisy! Hi, Sarah! Thanks for coming here today! We’re talking about our beloved pets today. So, what is your favorite kind of a pet? Dog, cat, guinea pig? And why?

SS: Cats are my favorite. We had six cats for several years when I was a girl, which I don’t recommend, but I just love them. They’re beautiful and graceful, but I also love it when they lose their balance and put on an “I meant to do that” face.

Le: Oh, I love cats too. How many pets do you have today?

SS: We have a skittish little cat named Janie. And then there’s Daisy, the yellow lab.

Le: Oh, I have a yellow/white lab, who I adore. She is the best dog ever. Have you ever rescued an animal?

SS: My husband and I took in a stray cat when we were newlyweds—more accurately, the cat took us in. He chose us. He was a wonderful little cat.

Le: Ah, don’t you love how they do that? Do you ever incorporate animals into your novels?

SS: There’s a cow with a small speaking part in A Distant Melody, a donkey with attitude in A Memory Between Us, and a couple of cats on the sidelines in Blue Skies Tomorrow. A dog character is developing in my mind for the next series I’m working on.

Le: What was your favorite character animal?

SS: Sahara Sue, the donkey in A Memory Between Us. Jack’s bomb group in World War II flies a mission to Tunisia and one of his colleagues barters for a donkey. This was based on a real incident in the real bomb group I chose. I thought it was so funny that I had to adapt it for my novel.

Le: Ah, that’s great! Has one of your own pets been the inspiration for a pet/character in a novel?

SS: Our dog Daisy is giving me ideas for the character in the next series I’m working on. In the meantime, Daisy has been the inspiration for numerous blog articles and Facebook posts. I get the most comments on Facebook when I mention something Daisy ate.

Le: LOL! That’s what happens when I mention something that The Hilo Monster has done. And she’s always doing something. What is the funniest thing you’ve seen one of your animals do?

SS: I’ve enclosed the picture because words alone don’t do it justice. When we brought Janie home from being spayed, she was pretty loopy on drugs. I looked into the living room and found her on the couch like this. What you can’t see is that she was licking the inside of her Elizabethan collar. The kids and I laughed ourselves silly.

Le: It is hilarious! Poor kitty! Cats so want to be dignified, which is what makes that picture so wonderful! Is there a secret that only your pet knows?

SS: My kids know I talk to myself, but our dog Daisy knows the full extent of it. Daisy’s heard me ask my characters probing questions (“Why, why are you doing that?”), grumble about my writing (“You call that a sentence? Yeah, that’s what happens when a pharmacist tries to write books.”), and talk smack to the computer for being a computer.

Le: That’s funny! What is your pet’s pet peeve about you?

SS: Daisy is a two-year-old yellow lab. Her pet peeve about me is that I don’t play with her twenty-four hours a day.

Le: So inconsiderate of you, Sarah! What is your pet peeve about your pet?

SS: That she wants to play twenty-four hours a day. I don’t. I want to write. So she does the negative-attention thing. She runs off with random household items (wooden spoons, eyeglasses, retainers, etc.) so I have to chase her to rescue them. Doesn’t that sound fun? Daisy thinks it’s a blast!

Le: We should get Daisy and The Hilo Monster together. Hilo does the same thing. She’s a master at grabbing eye glasses. Thank you so much for taking the time to be with us! Now, I’d love to ask Daisy a few questions. Don’t forget to give your sweet pet a treat afterwards. ☺

Le: Hi, Daisy! You are so cute! Thanks for coming to play today. Since Sarah is a writer, maybe you have some writing in you. What would be the title of your autobiography?

D: Eat, Play, Belly Rub.

Le: Very clever! If you were to write a novel, would your friend inspire one of the characters?

D: She’d be the evil prison warden who doesn’t let me out of my cell to play in sunshine.

Le: Ah, poor Sarah. What’s your favorite movie?

D: Marley & Me. Marley’s my hero. I aspire to be like him. The scene where he stole the woman’s necklace—pure genius. And I think he’s really hot.

Le: Oh, I love that movie too! I can’t let our labradoodle see it because she might get some more ideas. She already rivals Marley. What musical instrument would you like to play?

D: The clarinet. It’s made of wood and you stick it in your mouth. Wood is very tasty.

Le: Brilliant! What do you think about cats? Dogs?

D: Cats are also very tasty. Not that my kitty will let me catch her. I don’t know why. I just want a little taste, but no! She scratches my lovely pink nose and hisses at me! Can you imagine?

D: Dogs—oh, I can’t get enough of them. I have a BFF named Violet a few blocks down. She’s a boxer and she’s soooo much fun. Mom says when we play it’s the Waltz of the Flowers. Mom thinks she’s so clever. Ha.

Le: LOL! Where do you sleep at night?

D: On my big cozy pillow on Mom’s side of the bed so I can trip her if she gets up in the middle of the night (oodles of fun), and wake her up with a big sloppy kiss. She loves that. She says so every morning. At least that’s what I think “Uggh. Go away, you dumb mutt” means.

Le: I’m sure you’re right about that! Maybe you should lick her again when she says it. I think that’s what she wants. What do you do when your friend is writing?

D: My purpose in life—and I take it seriously—is to keep Mom from that silver box thingy. All she wants to do is sit and tap her fingers on it all day. Boring! So I liberate her pens (very tasty) and make her get up and exercise. A round of chase-the-dog-around-the-house is good for her circulation. Why does she need those glass thingies she puts on her eyes anyway? They’re tasty. They’re meant to be eaten.

Le: Hilo agrees with you. She’s eaten ten pairs of those glass things. It’s so sweet of you to care for Sarah that way by getting her to exercise. What is your idea of bliss?

D: A long round of chase-the-laser-pointer. You don’t know fun until you watch that little red light. Then a swim. Then a long belly rub. And jerky treats. I like jerky treats. They’re tasty.

Le: The laser is fun, isn’t it? What is your friend’s idea of bliss?

D: Sitting in front of that silver box thingy! She’s crazy! And never once has she eaten a wooden spoon. Can you believe that?

Le: She doesn’t know what she’s missing! Thank you so much for being with us today! You take care of your friend now, ya hear?

Elvis Takes a Back Seat

Spread the news! Elvis is in the house! Actually on the Kindle! And for FREE! Yep, until Oct. 8th, it will be FREE on the Kindle. Elvis Takes a Back Seat is my first women’s fiction title! I adore this book and hope you will too. So rush over to and download it. Quick, while it’s FREE!

If you don’t have a Kindle, don’t worry. There are applications for FREE to help you download on your PC, iPad, Mac, iPhone. Check these out:

Kindle free application for your Windows PC:

Kindle free application for your Mac:

Kindle free app for your iPad:

Kindle free app for your iPhone:

So with a few clicks, you can easily download Elvis Takes a Back Seat for free! But you have to hurry! It’s only available for free until Oct. 1st.

Charlene Ann Baumbich and Kornflake

Le: Hey, y’all! Please welcome Charlene Ann Baumbich today, author of Divine Appointments, and her adorable dog, Kornflake! Hi, Charlene! Thanks for stopping by today! Let’s just jump right in, okay? What is your favorite kind of a pet? Dog, cat, guinea pig? And why?

CAB: My favorite kind of pet is a waggin’ tailed, cuddle right up, licking your face, enthusiastic dog. Medium to large, although I’ve met many a tiny fascinating dog too. It’s hard to beat that swishing tail, an outward sign that all is well with the dog’s love for his friend, and anyone else he or she wants to bless.

Le: How many pets do you have today?

CAB: One pet: my dog Kornflake. However, in my past pet parade, horses, goats, gerbils, parakeets, a catfish, and hermit crabs have entertained me, as well as wondered about me. ;>).

Le: Ah, I have my own pet parade too. Love it! Have you ever rescued an animal?

CAB: Yep. We adopted Kornflake (considered a rescue in my book) from the Winona Area Humane Society in Winona MN. They thought he was about 18 months old. Bone skinny, stinky, ear infection … Now, he is silken and healthy and so grateful for every little thing.

In my youth, I once rescued a fish from a creek bed that was almost dried up. And I found a distressed baby rabbit. In the end, the rabbit did not fare so well, but I tried.

Le: Sometimes that’s all you can do. Do you ever incorporate animals into your novels?

CAB: Absolutely. Dogs and cats, mostly. And mostly dogs. ☺

Le: What was your favorite character animal?

CAB: Kornflake, the big red dog who appeared in the Dearest Dorothy series. Funny how he “just happened” to arrive in Partonville, not long after Kornflake (named by the volunteers at the humane society) arrived in my home.

Le: Funny how that works, huh? Has one of your own pets been the inspiration for a pet/character in a novel?

CAB: Yep. I think I pretty much covered that base. But just for the record, Kornflake actually typed a line (no kidding!) in my nonfiction book, Don’t Miss Your Life! Pretty funny story, told in its full glory in the book. I was so happy the editors decided to leave it in!

Le: Terrific! What is the funniest thing you’ve seen one of your animals do?

CAB: Kornflake bonded with the neighbor’s cows, as in they did, and continue to, surround him, lick him, and treat him like a calf! Of course he had to initiate the contact by slipping under the fence and carefully sauntering among them.

When we first got Kornflake, I worked hard to have him pay no attention to the cows, as his early instinct was to chase them if they moved. So, I took to making him settle down (training) outside the fence, not far from the cows, until he paid no more attention to them—or so I thought. Since cows are very nosey, they loved it when he was near. Something new to stare at while they chewed. Then one day when he was off leash, he just scooted under that lowest wire, believing, I guess, he’d “become one with them” rather than having learned to ignore them. And so, it was. They belong to each other—which isn’t that fun when they’re all standing in piles of cow pies. Thus, I try very hard to discourage their ongoing “oneness.”

Le: My dogs like to bark at cows. But one of mine has taken a roll in a cow pattie. So pleasant. Is there a secret that only our pet knows?

CAB: I’m sure there are many. There is something about the way Kornflake smiles and cocks his head ….

Le: What is your pet’s pet peeve about you?

CAB: Accidentally rolling over his tail with my office chair as he cuddles near my feet while I write. He also doesn’t like it when I yell at my computer, which I’ve been known to do.

Le: What is your pet peeve about your pet?

CAB: How he goes deaf when he puts his nose to the ground and takes off chasing a scent, or acts like he LIKES standing in cow pies.

Le: Thank you so much, Charlene, for taking the time to be with us! Now, I’d love to ask Kornflake a few questions. Don’t forget to give your sweet pet a treat afterwards. ☺ Hey, there, Kornflake! Thanks for coming by. What would be the title of your autobiography?

K: I’d like to think it would be My Peculiar and Happy Life With An Author, but I dunno. There is perhaps a better title, one that encompasses my life before her. Some things are difficult to think about … [I stop here, stare into space, doze off for twenty minutes during which I have a bad dream, one that causes me much whining and thrashing.]

[I awaken, yawn, stretch, sit and look out the window.] I’d love to tell the story about how and why I got to the place where I needed adopting, although I’m sure it would induce tears. My previous owner loved me, taught me commands, how not to pee in the house … and then one day—and this in-between part is what I’ve never told my owner, the one that would no doubt make her cry—there I was, all alone, out in the country, starving. I was on my own a long while, and oh, the adventures and loneliness. The heartache. But then, a kind gentleman discovered me (I was rolled up in such a tight ball, he thought I was a fawn!) and turned me in to the Winona Area Humane Society. Then came The Author, who loved everything about me, including all the good stuff my previous owner taught me, which, thankfully, I didn’t forget while I was out fending for myself.

So, autobiography title? It could be complicated if I started from the beginning. Maybe The Lifetime Adventures of a Big Red Dog.

Le: Ah, I love rescue stories. If you were to write a novel, would your friend inspire one of the characters?

K: Where to begin with that question! Some days, I think she’d be a great bleeding-heart protagonist. Others, I’d write her as the bad witch in the Wizard of Oz. She can really YELL! But she gets over it quickly, so … I’m sure she would inspire something. Likely a series, since there is no end to how fascinating she is.

Le: That’s funny. What’s your favorite movie?

K: Anything starring the Chipmunks. I like to chase their cute little rascally backsides!

Le: What musical instrument would you like to play?

K: Banjo. My friend tells me I look to her like happy banjo music.

Le: That would be fu to watch! What do you think about cats? Dogs?

K: I think they can be interesting—or mean. Since I spend a good deal of time on a farm with seven cats that don’t belong to us, and are much beloved by the landlord, my friend tries to make me be Very Nice to them. But I am so curious … I don’t like their hissing, and when their tails “wag,” I’ve learned it means nothing. As for other dogs (or cows or any other critter that looks at me), let’s play!

Le: Where do you sleep at night?

K: When we’re at The Farm, where my friend goes to “hide” and write, I have a cage covered with blankets. The door is always open, but it’s my favorite hideaway. When it’s too hot though (no air conditioning there), I plop down wherever I can catch a breeze. When we’re home, I usually sleep on a cheap dog bed (an overstatement, since it’s really more like a rag) near the couch.

Le: What do you do when your friend is writing?

K: Mostly, I keep her company, near her feet. Sometimes she waits too long to get up, and she’s old, so I worry about her getting all stiff and kinky. So, first, I put my nose on her keyboard to lift her hands and make her pet me. If I wag my tail real fast, she knows it’s time to get up and walk around a little. Or play ball. Yes, let’s play ball! Let’s play ball! Let’s play ball!

Le: It’s good that you’re there to take care of her. What is your idea of bliss?

K: “Wanna go for a ride?” or “Wanna chase the ball?”

Le: What is your friend’s idea of bliss?

K: Me at her side, family and friends across from her (especially her grandgirlies), sitting on the front porch at The Farm (where we can all see the cows), a nice breeze, and maybe a margarita.

Le: Sounds perfect! Thank you so much, Kornflake, for being with us today! You take care of your friend now, ya hear?

K: You betcha.

Presenting: Tamera Alexander and Jack!

Le: Hi, y’all! I’d love to introduce you to Tamera Alexander! She just won the RITA award, so congrats, Tamera! And she brought her special friend along today. Her silky terrier, Jack. So, Tamera, let’s get started. What is your favorite kind of a pet? Dog, cat, guinea pig? And why?

TA: I’m a dog lover all the way. I don’t wish cats harm, by any means, I just wish them “away” from me. But only because I’m horribly allergic to them. I’m also allergic to most dogs too . Jack, our silky terrier, has hair instead of fur so that’s the defining difference.

Le: I suffer allergies to cats as well. Not fun. How many pets do you have today?

TA: Only one. A ten-pound silky terrier named Jack Brennan Alexander. Named after a character in Remembered, which I was writing when we got Jack.

Le: Ahhh! Love it! Have you ever rescued an animal?

TA: Joe and I were taking a walk not long ago and we heard something “bawling,” and not in a good way. We followed the sound and came upon a baby goat with his head stuck in a fence. I provided moral support while Joe pried the wire open so the goat could get his head out. I know that’s not what you meant by rescuing, but that’s as close as I come.

Le: Oh, no! Rescuing can be many ways! It’s taking the time to do something that is what is important! That poor little goat! Do you ever incorporate animals into your novels?

TA: My hero, Daniel Ranslett, in From a Distance had a sweet beagle named Beau. The scenes with Daniel and Beau together were really fun to write.

Le: Ahh! I like writing those kind of scenes too. What was your favorite character animal?

TA: Hmmm…I’d have to say Beau in From a Distance. Since he’s the only one so far!

Le: Has one of your own pets been the inspiration for a pet/character in a novel?

TA: Not yet. So far I’ve written Colorado historicals (1870s) and a “Jack” dog would have been an appetizer for the coyotes. But maybe someday.

Le: LOL! Not so funny actually. And you have to be true to the time period. Is there a secret that only your pet knows?

TA: Yes, but I can’t tell you what it is.

Le: Ah, no fair! What is your pet’s pet peeve about you?

TA: That I won’t give him more table food.

Le: I hear that a lot! What is your pet peeve about your pet?

TA: He freaks out over squirrels and geckos, and scares the next sentence right outta me!

Le: LOL! Thank you so much for taking the time to be with us! Now, I’d love to ask Jack a few questions. Don’t forget to give your sweet pet a treat afterwards. ☺

Le: Hiya, Jack! Aren’t you cute! What would be the title of your autobiography?

JA: It’s a Ruff Life

Le: LOL! Good one! You’re very clever. If you were to write a novel, would your friend inspire one of the characters?

JA: Probably not. She’s not exciting enough. All she does is sit around all day and write.

Le: I hear that a lot about writers. So, what’s your favorite movie?

JA: Whatever Mom is watching.

Le: Very good. What musical instrument would you like to play?

JA: A chicken flavored clarinet.

Le: Love it! I wonder if they make those. What do you think about cats? Dogs?

JA: Love ’em all! I especially love to run with the big dawgs!

Le: Oh, then you should come visit at my house! Where do you sleep at night?

JA: Anywhere I want to.

Le: Good for you! You have your friend trained very well. What do you do when your friend is writing?

JA: Sit and stare out the window, then back at her, then out the window, then back at her, then out the window, then back at her, then…

Le: What is your idea of bliss?

JA: Never having to hear the keys jangle, followed by the words “Mommy will be back!”

Le: Oh, that’s so hard to hear, isn’t it? What is your friend’s idea of bliss?

JA: Taking me to Sonic.

Le: Ooh! That sounds like fun! Maybe you can get her to take you there today. Thank you so much for being with us today! You take care of your friend now, ya hear? And congrats, Tamera, on your latest book that just released!

Presenting: Susanne Lakin and Coaltraine

I’d like to introduce a fun author, Susanne Lakin, I met at Mt. Hermon this past spring and I also got to meet her puppy, Coltraine! So let’s get started! Hi, Susanne! Thanks for stopping by with Coltraine! Should I hazard a guess here…what is your favorite kind of a pet? Dog, cat, guinea pig? And why?

SL: It’s a toss-up between dogs and cats. I’m right on the boundary line. They each have their own specialness that endears me. Some days I’m a cat person, other days a dog person.

Le: How many pets do you have today?

SL: I have a new black lab puppy named Coaltrane and three rescued kitties: Skritz, Thelma, and Louise.

Le: LOL! I love those names! I guess I have the answer to the next question: have you ever rescued an animal?

SL: Yes, our kitties and our former dog, Sweetie, were all rescues. I worked with a rescue organization up in the mountains and found it very rewarding to help find homes for abandoned pets.

Le: Do you ever incorporate animals into your novels?

SL: I do. My contemporary novels rarely have animals, but my fantasy series has a plethora of them. In fact, many of my animals speak—some quite well-educated and others a bit rough around the edges. My fat white pig, Winston, in The Map Across Time (releasing spring 2011) was lovingly patterned after the tour guide who took us to Stonehenge and postulated that the stones were set up by aliens. His verbiage was pretty hilarious so I had a great time making him a predominate character in my book. (He’s really not a pig, but I’m not going to tell anything more.)

Le: Funny! What was your favorite character animal?

SL: I like Disney’s Pluto—kinda feel sorry for the chump, and I like Tweety bird and Tasmanian Devil.

Le: All animated. Interesting! Has one of your own pets been the inspiration for a pet/character in a novel?

SL: Ah yes! Aside from some of my animal characters being inspired by humans, my book, The Wolf of Tebron, releasing now in August 2010, was very much inspired by many dogs I have known collectively, but Sweetie did influence me as I wrote the book. The wolf embodies many characteristics of a loving, loyal God, so I felt it would be the best animal to use to portray God’s unfailing love.

Le: How cool. And readers, run out and buy Susanne’s book! So, what is the funniest thing you’ve seen one of your animals do?

SL: Well, they sure do a lot of funny things. I once had a kitten that likes to sleep in a small wooden box. She fit just fine as a six-week-old kitten. But when she was full grown, she was determined to keep sleeping in that tiny box. She’d stuff part of her back into it, with limbs all hanging out—head too, and somehow manage to nap. They must get very confused as to why objects like that tend to shrink over time!

Le: I would imagine. All my pets think my lap has shrunk, when the opposite is probably true, because no matter their size, they climb in my lap constantly. Is there a secret that only our pet knows?

SL: The Bible says all creatures know their maker. Here’s a cute story. Once Lee and I held hands and Lee prayed over dinner. While our eyes were closed, Sweetie placed her paw on our hands and closed her eyes too. I’m sure her prayer was a little different from ours: “Lord, please move their hearts to hand over their plates…that chicken smells divine.” When I asked Sweetie if she knew God, she just looked at me and her eyes said, “Well, duh!” On a sadder note, the hour we got ready to take Tracy, our old Dalmatian, to the vet to have her put down, we were praying and crying and holding hands. Tracy rested her chin on our hands through the prayer and it sure seemed as if she was telling us she understood and it was okay that we had made this tough decision. It’s the only time in her whole life she’d ever done that.

Le: Ahhhh. You’re gonna make me cry. What is your pet’s pet peeve about you?

SL: The cats are mad that I love the dog. The dog is annoyed I show attention to the cats. Thus, the war continues. They all take walks together though with me around the golf course.

Le: I bet that is quite a sight! What is your pet peeve about your pet?

SL: I wish they could take care of themselves for a week so Lee and I could go on vacation.

Le: Wouldn’t that be nice! Or if we lived next door to each other, I’d watch Coltraine and the cats. But you might not want to reciprocate and watch The Hilo Monster. ☺ Thank you so much for taking the time to be with us! Now, I’d love to ask your pet a few questions. Don’t forget to give your sweet pet a treat afterwards. ☺

Le: hey, there Coltraine! You are very well behaved. Maybe you could come teach The Hilo Monster. What would be the title of your autobiography?

C: Actually, I’m the fictionalized character in a novel my human is writing entitled” A Dog after God’s Own Heart.” My character’s name is Fido 57 and he’s in the pound about to be put to death. Sure glad it’s not really me!

Le: Oh, dear! I guess so! If you were to write a novel, would your friend inspire one of the characters?

C: Not sure which friend you mean. I have tons! Even some cats are my friends, but shhh, don’t tell any of my canine pals.

Le: A friendly sort! I like that! What’s your favorite movie?

C: Babe, for sure!

Le: I love that movie! What musical instrument would you like to play?

C: Definitely NOT the saxophone. My owner’s husband plays that thing and it makes my ears hurt. I howl and screech! I think I would like to play the piano, as it’s fairly easy to make some cool music just walking across the keys.

Le: What do you think about cats? Dogs?

C: Well, I love all other dogs. I’m very social and love to play. I love cats too, but for some weird reason, they just don’t seem to want to play. And when I jump on them, they hiss at me, Just what is their problem, anyway?

Le: I don’t know. Our cat is persnickety that way too. Where do you sleep at night?

C: On the floor on a bunch of blankets next to Lee. In the early morning, once I go out to pee, I get to climb in bed and snuggle in all the down comforters. It’s my favorite thing!

Le: Sounds perfect! What do you do when your friend is writing?

C: I bug her so much she doesn’t get anything done. But she tells me I’ll grow up someday and hang out on the deck and leave her alone. Ha! In her dreams!

Le: Maybe you and The Hilo Monster have more in common than I thought! What is your idea of bliss?

C: Endless food.

Le: LOL! What is your friend’s idea of bliss?

C: Same.

Le: Knew I liked Susanne! Thank you so much for being with us today! You take care of your friend now, ya hear?