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Celebrate National Taco Day + “Taco ‘Bout How Awesome You Are” Card Giveaway

According to NationalTacoDay.com, Americans consumed over 4.5 billion tacos last year. With so many different ways to eat them, people could have tacos daily for a week and not eat the same kind. We love tacos at our house. And we prefer soft tacos over hard.

So, in honor of Taco Day, I created a card to celebrate friendship…and tacos. 

I didn’t have any taco stamps, so I created the words on a transparent canvas in PicMonkey and printed them out on a sheet of cardstock. I traced a circle around the words and cut them out, then I scored the bottom and curled it under. Using a scalloped oval punch, I punched out several ovals and cut them in half for the lettuce. I cut out two circles for tomatoes and cut them into quarters. I cut a strip of cheddar-colored paper then used my scissors to cut fringe-like pieces to resemble cheese. 

I cut a coral-colored sheet of cardstock at 4.25″ x 11″ and scored it at 5.5″. The cream-colored base is cut at 4″ x 5.25″. I used Stampin’ Up!’s Work of Art and Gorgeous Grunge stamp sets for the chevron inked in Stampin’ Up!’s Pumpkin Pie and the splatter stamp in Crumb Cake. At first, I was a little bummed when I smeared a little ink on the cream-colored base, but then I realized tacos are messy anyway, so the imperfections fit right in with the card. I adhered a matching cream-colored base on the inside of the card and used the same chevron and splatter stamps to decorate it. 

This card could be used for birthdays, congratulations, or thinking of you. Anytime you want to “taco ’bout how awesome” someone else is. You could even tuck in a gift card for that person’s favorite Mexican restaurant. 

I’m not sure about you, but as a former early childhood educator, when I think about tacos, dragons come to mind. What? You think that’s weird? Dragons do love tacos! How do I know? Well, because of the fantastic book called Dragons Love Tacos written by Adam Rubin and illustrated by Daniel Salmieri. 

Here are two facts you need to know: Dragons LOVE tacos–all kinds of tacos, BUT watch out for the spicy salsa. Otherwise, you’ll be in red-hot trouble!

If you like that book, then you will want to read the sequel: Dragons Love Tacos 2: The Sequel.

How about you? How do you like your tacos? Hard or soft shells? Chicken, pork, beef, or beans? Have you witnessed a dragon eating a taco? Share your responses on my Facebook Author Page. I’ll choose one commenter to receive a 6-pack of “Taco ‘Bout How Awesome You Are” cards…and maybe something a little extra…

I’ll post that winner and the winners of my other two card giveaways: National Read a Book Day and Hug Your Hound Day in my monthly newsletter going out this week. If you’re not a subscriber, have no fear–you can subscribe here: Subscribe to Lisa’s Newsletter

Celebrate National Taco Day, but beware of dragons eating spicy salsa!

Click to Tweet: Happy #NationalTacoDay! Celebrating with “taco ’bout how awesome you are” card #giveaway. https://ctt.ec/04vsd+ #cardmaking

 

Lisa Jordan
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Bella & Friends cards

Hug Your Hound Day is an unofficial holiday created by behaviorist Ami Moore to encourage dog owners to provide the best mental and physical care for their pooches. Dog lovers don’t need a specific day to snuggle up with their furry friends.

I wasn’t always a dog lover. I liked dogs, but it wasn’t until I got Penny, my chihuahua-mix, that I realized the depth of my canine compassion. 

Our youngest son had gone off to college, and I struggled with empty nest syndrome. Also, I was writing my fourth novel, Lakeside Redemption, at the time and had been doing a lot of research on dogs and canine handlers. I told Hubby we needed a dog. 

My mom had adopted Penny from a local animal shelter, but after several months, she wasn’t able to keep Penny in her apartment due to Penny’s dislike of other dogs in the building. I had cared for Penny while my mom was in the hospital and having to give her back broke my heart. So when Mom called and asked if I could take her, I couldn’t say yes fast enough. She’s been my sidekick for the past three years.

In honor of canines, I created a set of 8 cards using the Bella & Friends stamp set from Stampin’ Up! layered on Moonlight Designer Series Paper (retired) and Michael’s Recollections paper for the solid base layers. I used Stampin’ Up! Lost Lagoon, Blackberry Bliss, Hello Honey, and Basic Gray inks along with Basic Gray baker’s twine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recently I read Sit, Stay, Love by Dana Mentink and absolutely loved it. A charming book with a sweet romance and an adorable rascal of a dog named Tippy. I was thrilled to see she had other books in the series: Fetching Sweetness, Paws for Love, and a free novella, Love at First Bark. So, if you love dogs, consider buying this series. 

To celebrate Hug a Hound Day and our precious pooches, I’m giving away the set of 8 Bella & Friends cards and a surprise treat for your favorite dog to one subscriber from my newsletter mailing list. If you would like to participate in the giveaway, you can sign up here: HUG A HOUND DAY GIVEAWAY. I’ll announce the winner next Wednesday on my Facebook Author Page. 

Click to Tweet: Love #dogs? Enjoy Bella & Friends cards @StampinUp & Love Unleashed by @DanaMentink #reading https://ctt.ec/x4R45+ #hugahound

Lisa Jordan
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Celebrate National Read a Book Day with Cards & a Giveaway!

I love to read! How about you? 

In fact, my love of reading led to my desire to become a writer. One author’s words changed my life. 

But reading and writing aren’t my only loves. I’m a creative who loves to play with words, photos (scrapbooking), and fibers–paper and yarn. Crafting is my therapy. Cheaper than a weekly visit to a counselor, and a lot healthier than chocolate…although, chocolate is involved when I’m crafting with friends.

As someone who loves books, words, and paper, I figured the best way to celebrate National Read a Book Day was by stamping a set of cards. I was inspired by cards I’d found on Pinterest that led me to Pink Paper BakeryUsing her card as inspiration, I dug through my box of scraps (filed by color in a photo box from Michael’s) and pulled out five coordinating papers in 8 color families to make this set of 8 cards.

I used white cardstock cut at 8.5″x 5.5″ and folded as my base and then I added a cream-colored layer cut at 5.25″x4″. Each stack of books is bound together and tied with a tag that reads, “hello, my friend” from the Stampin’ Up! Tap Tap Tap stamp set. If you would like complete instructions on how to create these cards, contact me and I’ll send you the PDF tutorial.  

What better way to celebrate National Read a Book Day than to recommend a great read?!? Here are new releases from some of my favorite authors:

A Matter of Trust by Susan May Warren

Champion backcountry snowboarder Gage Watson has left the limelight behind after the death of one of his fans. After being sued for negligence and stripped of his sponsorships, he’s remade his life as a ski patrol in Montana’s rugged mountains, as well as serving on the PEAK Rescue team. But he can’t seem to find his footing–or forget the woman he loved, who betrayed him.

Senator and former attorney Ella Blair spends much of her time in the limelight as the second-youngest senator in the country. But she has a secret–one that cost Gage his career. More than anything, she wants to atone for her betrayal of him in the courtroom and find a way to help him put his career back on track.

When Ella’s brother goes missing on one of Glacier National Park’s most dangerous peaks, Gage and his team are called in for the rescue. But Gage isn’t so sure he wants to help the woman who destroyed his life. More, when she insists on joining the search, he’ll have to keep her safe while finding her reckless brother, a recipe for disaster when a snowstorm hits the mountain.

But old sparks relight as they search for the missing snowboarder–and suddenly, they are faced with emotions neither can deny. But when Ella’s secret is revealed, can they learn to trust each other–even when disaster happens again?

The Writing Desk by Rachel Hauck

Tenley Roth’s first book was a runaway bestseller. Now that her second book is due, she’s locked in fear. Can she repeat her earlier success or is she a fraud who has run out of inspiration?

With pressure mounting from her publisher, Tenley is weighted with writer’s block. But when her estranged mother calls asking Tenley to help her through chemotherapy, she packs up for Florida where she meets handsome furniture designer Jonas Sullivan and discovers the story her heart’s been missing.

A century earlier, another woman wrote at the same desk with hopes and fears of her own. Born during the Gilded Age, Birdie Shehorn is the daughter of the old money Knickerbockers. Under the strict control of her mother, her every move is decided ahead of time, even whom she’ll marry. But Birdie has dreams she doesn’t know how to realize. She wants to tell stories, write novels, make  an impact on the world. When she discovers her mother has taken extreme measures to manipulate her future, she must choose between submission and security or forging a brand new way all on her own.

Tenley and Birdie are from two very different worlds, but fate has bound them together in a way time cannot erase.

Their Ranch Reunion by Mindy Obenhaus

Single mom Carly Wagner is surprised to learn she’ll have to share ownership of the home she’s inherited with her first love—and first heartbreak—Andrew Stephens. The man who fled their tiny Western town is back and standing in the way of her dreams to expand her B and B. Now a successful businessman, Andrew has eight weeks to buy Carly out. But Carly’s too stubborn to persuade—and too beautiful to ignore. When fire ravages her inn and she and her daughter move into their shared property, Andrew’s in over his head. Time is running out and Andrew must decide: leave and chase another deal…or stay and chase Carly’s heart.

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To help you celebrate National Read a Book Day, I’m giving away this set of 8 cards and a $10 Amazon gift card to one reader! This contest is open to US residents only, and it ends at 11:59 pm on Tuesday, September 12, 2017. To enter the giveaway, click here to sign up: ENTER NATIONAL READ A BOOK GIVEAWAY. The winner will be announced on my Facebook Author Page next Wednesday. 

Tweet: I’m celebrating #nationalreadabookday with hand-stamped #cards & a $10 #Amazon giftcard. https://ctt.ec/UHcRQ+ #stamping #reading

Lisa Jordan
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Writers’ Spaces Wednesdays: Jayme Mansfield
Writers Spaces Wednesday
I’ve always been fascinated by other writers’ spaces. Some of my writer friends have beautiful offices. Others frequent their favorite Starbucks, Panera, or local libraries to write. Some write at their kitchen tables or living rooms. Because I love to see where others create, I’ve started Writers’ Spaces Wednesdays.
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jayme_mansfield headshot2I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting Jayme H. Mansfield in person, but we do share a love for creativity and for education. Jayme debuts her fiction career with Chasing the Butterfly. Her vivid, literary voice grows out of melding artistic pursuits as an artist and owner of Piggy Toes Art Studio and extensive travels and adventures with her husband, James, and three sons, Ian, Adam, and Graham. To pass on a passion for story and art, she teaches the reading and writing process, and visual art, as an elementary school teacher in Colorado. Connect with Jayme through her website, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Goodreads, and Instagram.

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Tell us about your writing space.

My space is a bit unique in that it serves as both my art studio and writing space. I’ve owned and taught art to children and adults for nearly twenty years through my side business, fondly named Piggy Toes Art Studio. I do most of my writing in my office that adjoins to my art space, but I find myself meandering between the two, especially when I’m needing inspiration.

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I love the name of your studio! What makes it special for you?

This space is special to me for many reasons—in a household of all boys (14, 17, 20, and my husband), it is here where I relax, create, and rejuvenate within my periwinkle-painted walls. It’s my little world that I fill with books, quotes, art, music, and photos that have special meaning to me. There is an ever-changing assortment of artwork covering most of the walls. In an extremely busy household, my space is where I write, paint, pray, catch up with friends, hang out with my dog, and simply “be still”. Since it’s my space, I can make a mess and leave it, or better yet, get it organized and tidy and it stands a chance of staying that way (mostly!).

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I totally understand a male-dominated household! And your dog is precious! What is one element of your space that makes you smile?

A simple photo sits next to my computer—it’s of my oldest son when he was about two. That dear little face reminds me of how quickly time passes, the preciousness of a child’s heart, a checkpoint to try to be true to my most important priorities, and daily reminder of my many blessings.

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They grow up too quickly! What are your “must-haves” when you sit down to write?

Before I can make much progress, especially with a manuscript, I must have my desk in order. That way, my mind is less cluttered and free to create. If it’s daytime, I open all the blinds and let the sun fill the room. If it’s nighttime, I like to have soft light from a few table lamps. Often, I’ll play acoustic music to keep me company. A cup of coffee or water with lemon, are always helpful companions.

I like to write with music, too. Share a typical writing day.

Someday, I hope to report back to you that I consistently write from X time to Y time. For now, I tend to write in large blocks when I escape to my writing space. Before I head off for the day to teach school, I try to make it into my studio office early in the morning to tackle some of the marketing elements of being an author. Often, I find myself back in the evening, tying up loose ends. However, when I catch those wonderful moments of “being in the writing zone”, it’s in those uninterrupted times when it feels as if I’m in another world—so fun!

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If you could choose the ultimate writing space, where would it be?

Truthfully, I love the space I have. Ideally, my boys would air their hockey gear and sort fishing tackle boxes somewhere else. Yet, I suppose those are the reminders of the current season of my life, and someday I’ll miss those things. As far as productivity, I’ve gotten the most writing done when I’ve headed alone to a friend’s mountain cabin. Isolation can be a good thing for a writer—especially for an extrovert like myself! I’m trying a secluded beach in June—I’ll see how that works out.

I hope your beach trip was a great success! Tell us a little about your latest release.

Final cover revisionChasing the Butterfly was a wonderful experience to write, and continues to take me on a journey I would have never imagined. It was recently named 2015 Book of the Year for Historical Fiction by Christian Small Publisher Association. It released in October 2014 from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas and has been graciously received by reviewers, book clubs, and readers looking for a story rich in the sensory images of France through the eyes of an artist, Ella Moreau. A sequel and hopefully, prequel will add to the storyline.

My next contracted book is titled Rush. It’s a story based on my great-great grandmother’s brave adventure participating in the Oklahoma Land Rush of 1893—such a thrill to fictionalize, and at the same time, pay tribute to an amazing woman.

From a vineyard in the south of France to the sophisticated city of Paris, Ella Moreau searches for the hope and love she lost as a young girl when her mother abandoned the family. Ella’s journey is portrayed through a heartbroken child, a young woman’s struggles during the tumultuous times surrounding World War II, and as a reflective adult. Through a series of secret paintings, her art becomes the substitute for lost love–the visual metaphor of her life. But when her paintings are discovered, the intentions of those she loves are revealed.

Jayme, congratulations on being named Book of the Year for Historical Fiction. Your books sound wonderful! Thank you for the pleasure of getting to know you better and seeing your creative spaces!

Readers, what are your creative outlets?

Lisa Jordan
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Writers’ Spaces Wednesday: Sarah Loudin Thomas
Writers Spaces Wednesday
I’ve always been fascinated by other writers’ spaces. Some of my writer friends have beautiful offices. Others frequent their favorite Starbucks, Panera, or local libraries to write. Some write at their kitchen tables or living rooms. Because I love to see where others create, I’ve started Writers’ Spaces Wednesdays.
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SLTI haven’t had the pleasure of meeting Sarah Loudin Thomas in person, but we’re agency mates with Books & Such Literary Management. Sarah grew up on a 100-acre farm in French Creek, WV, the seventh generation to live there. Her Christian fiction is set in West Virginia and celebrates the people, the land, and the heritage of Appalachia. Sarah and her husband Jim live in the mountains of Western North Carolina. Visit her website or connect with her on Facebook and Twitter
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Welcome, Sarah! Tell us about your writing space.
My “official” writing space is a lovely desk near a window in our bedroom. I keep it pretty tidy with craft books on the left, research materials on the right, and a few fun items for inspiration. The window is the best part of the space, though! Of course, I write other places, too. The kitchen table is a favorite spot!

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I can relate—my desk is next to a window in my bedroom, too. What makes it special for you?

I keep photos of family where I can see them and above the desk there’s a painting of my younger brother and I playing checkers the day I got my bachelor’s degree and he got his associate’s. My husband commissioned that painting as a gift the first Christmas we were married. Special!

Your painting sounds like an amazing gift. What is one element of your space that makes you smile?

My tiara! I think every girl should have her own tiara and my mom sent me a lovely, sparkly one several years ago. I wear it while writing on occasion. I’m still working on a reason to wear it in public!

A tiara—how fun! Every princess deserves one. 🙂 What are your “must-haves” when you sit down to write?

Time and a laptop are really all I need. I’m not fussy at all. Sometimes I drink tea, but I rarely eat while writing—eating is one my favorite things to do and it’s too distracting!

Share a typical writing day.

When I’m writing a first draft, I aim for 1,000 words a day. I come home from work, hike with my husband and dog, make and eat dinner, then settle in to write. Of course, there are a hundred things that can get in the way of that plan! On weekends I’ll try to make up for any days I was called away. A couple of times a year I take vacation time to get in some hard core writing or editing. And it really does feel like a vacation for me!

Sounds like you have a writing routine worked out. If you could choose the ultimate writing space, where would it be?

I have visions of an attic or tower room with a window looking out over a vast landscape. Cozy desk, comfortable chair, bookcases . . . But really, my writing space is inside my head and my heart so I can write just about anywhere!

Sounds lovely! Tell us a little about your latest release.

REV_Thomas_Harvest_Design 2.inddUntil the Harvest continues the Phillips’ family saga with the next generation. When Henry Phillips’ life is derailed by family tragedy his rocky friendship with Margaret Hoffman and her unique little sister will lead him to redefine what it means to find love and healing.
Casewell and Perla’s son Henry is thrown off track by a family tragedy and gets mixed up in all the wrong things (moonshine, fast cars, bad women, etc.). Margaret provide a counterpoint to Henry’s bad choices. She’s trying to do everything right and still can’t get her life to turn out the way she wants. Throw in Margaret’s younger sister Mayfair—a diabetic who seems to be something of a healer—and life gets complicated.
When I wrote the book I knew what I HOPED the theme was, but I wasn’t sure it came through. (After writing and editing a manuscript that many times you get to a point where you’re not sure it even makes sense!) I gave it to my husband and after he read it asked him what it was about. He thought a minute and then said, “Love.” Ahhh. Yes, indeedy.
I’m looking forward to reading it! Thanks so much for sharing your space, Sarah. Readers, do you have a tiara? Where’s the best place to wear it?
Lisa Jordan
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Writers’ Spaces Wednesday: Edie Melson

Writers Spaces Wednesday

I’ve always been fascinated by other writers’ spaces. Some of my writer friends have beautiful offices. Others frequent their favorite Starbucks, Panera, or local libraries to write. Some write at their kitchen tables or living rooms. Because I love to see where others create, I’ve started Writers’ Spaces Wednesdays.

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Edie Melson, crop, low resI met Edie Melson at the 2009 or 2010 My Book Therapy pizza party held during ACFW, and we’ve been friends since then. She’s also on the MBT Leadership Team, serving as My Book Therapy’s Social Media Coordinator. If you have questions about social media, she’s your go-to gal. 

As the mother of a frontline infantry Marine, Edie lived this book before she wrote it. Edie understands what it is to face adversity and come out triumphant on the other side. Her years as a wife, mother, and ministry leader have given her a unique perspective to reach out 
to others facing the same struggles.
 She’s the Military Family Blogger for Guideposts.org, social media director for several writing websites, and a popular ministry and conference speaker. Connect with her on her blog, The Write Conversation, Twitter, and Facebook.

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Edie, thanks for being here today. Tell us about your writing space.

My favorite writing space is my back porch. It’s screened in from floor to ceiling. Since it’s in the middle of our wooded lot it feels like I’m writing in the woods.

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Your back porch looks like something from a gardening magazine. What makes it special for you?

I love feeling like I’m writing in a wilderness glade. The birds flit from tree to tree, calling to each other, while the squirrels play chase through the oak branches. Beyond that, I’m always joined by my cat, Emily Dickinson, and my dog, Jake.

Emily and Jake relaxing while I write (1)

Emily posing with the pumpkins in the fall (1)

Ahh, tranquility at its finest! What is one element of your space that makes you smile?

The peace that I feel out in the midst of nature. I’ve successfully conquered many a wrestling match with writer’s block on that porch.

View from the porch during a spring rain (1)

I can see why. 🙂 What are your “must-haves” when you sit down to write?

My cat and dog, a mug of chamomile tea, and my Macbook Air.photo-30 (2)

I’m surprised you can get work done with such an amazing view. Share a typical writing day.

When I get up I have my quiet time, then begin wading through email and scheduling my social media for the day. About 9am I move to the back porch—that’s my reward for finishing the business part of being a writer—and begin to create. I guard my creative writing time, usually my best creative time is from 9am until noon.

I break for lunch with my husband—he also works his engineering company from an office at home—then it’s back to writing. If I’m on deadline, I’ll force more creative time in the afternoon. Otherwise, I’ll write blog posts, work on editing, or marketing.

I try to be finished by supper, although I may put in an extra hour or two after dinner, if necessary.

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Sounds like a productive day! If you could choose the ultimate writing space, where would it be?

Truthfully, I think I have it.

I think you do, too. 🙂 Tell us a little about your latest release.

WMSS, final, low resThousands of families send loved ones off to fight on a daily basis. These families spend a lot of time living in a world out of control. This kind of stress can take an incredible toll, but there is hope. When we feel helpless, we can take our fears to the One who loves us more than anything and holds the universe in His hands. In this book you’ll find the words to usher you into His presence. These prayers are a place to visit again and again as you take your own fears to God. They’re just a starting point, written to help you find your own voice as you call out on behalf of the one you love.

You can do more than wait. You can pray. There is nothing stronger than the power of prayer. While Your soldier is serving their country, you want to pray for them, but sometimes it is hard to find the words. These rich, powerful prayers for protection, peace, strength, wisdom and faith are written from the heart. It is perfect for the spouse, parent, friend or even prayer group who is praying for one special soldier or for all who may be in harm’s way.

Edie, thanks so much for sharing your small slice of paradise with us. Readers, do you have friends or relatives who are serving currently in the armed forces? Tell us how we can pray for them.

 

Lisa Jordan
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Writers’ Spaces Wednesday: Melissa Tagg

Writers Spaces Wednesday

I’ve always been fascinated by other writers’ spaces. Some of my writer friends have beautiful offices. Others frequent their favorite Starbucks, Panera, or local libraries to write. Some write at their kitchen tables or living rooms. Because I love to see where others create, I’ve started Writers’ Spaces Wednesdays.

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10501621_665080272749_7691701575716576765_nI met Melissa Tagg at the 2010 My Book Therapy Storycrafters Retreat. Sharing a table was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Melissa and I have similar interests, and she tolerates my weird sense of humor. Rooming with her at ACFW one year proved to be a delight. Melissa has a fabulous sense of humor, sweet spirit, an amazing love for God & her family, and her books line my keeper shelf. She’s one of my top favorite authors.

Tagg2-low resMelissa is a former reporter, current nonprofit grant writer and total Iowa girl. She writes romantic comedy for Bethany House, and is also the marketing/events coordinator for My Book Therapy, a craft and coaching community for writers. When she’s not writing, she can be found hanging out with the coolest family ever, watching old movies, and daydreaming about her next book. She blogs regularly and loves connecting with readers at http://www.melissatagg.com or on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Melissa, so glad to hang out with you today. Tell us about your writing space.

I write all over the place, actually. I do have an office that I use solely as a writing room. It has a big white board, a really nice, large black desk, bookshelves…and a daybed. I also love to write on my couch, in bed, at my kitchen table and at coffee shops. Oh and at my mom and dad’s house.

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Your space sounds so inviting! What makes it special for you?

What makes this room special is the daybed I mentioned above. I actually got this bed when I turned 13. My parents surprised me that year with by turning the old piano room in the house I grew up in into my bedroom…and they bought a daybed.

The cool thing about that story is that for some reason, growing up, I always wanted a daybed…but I don’t remember ever telling my parents that. So when they gave it me, I was all, “OH MY GOODNESS, my parents are amazing and they just fulfilled a dream they didn’t even know about!”

So it’s fun to have that childhood remembrance in a room where I’m often busy pursuing another dream.

I love your daybed story. What is one element of your space that makes you smile?

Well, there’s the bed I just rambled about. But also, I’ve got some shelves in this room that have some of my very favorite novels—all the books that have inspired me through the years…many written by women who have become friends! And one of the shelves holds the books that started it all—all my yellow-spined Nancy Drew books from when I was a kid.

I loved Nancy Drew novels when I was a kid, too. What are your “must-haves” when you sit down to write?

Up until two weeks ago, I would’ve said Diet Coke with Lime but *shocker* I recently massively cut back on pop. SADNESS. So now, water, coffee or tea, often some kind of snack like carrots or grapes. And comfortable clothes…flannel pants and a tee are my own version of a superhero uniform.

Hee, now I will picture you as Super Melissa with a flannel uniform when I pick up one of your novels. Share a typical writing day.

Well, I have a day job so when I’m on deadline, I try to rise early and get an hour or so of writing in before work…and then I write a couple hours in the evening. My favorite, though, is taking long weekends and writing from morning to evening. There’s something awesome about just sinking into the story without worrying about anything else.

I admire your ability to write before work…I haven’t been able to manage that yet. If you could choose the ultimate writing space, where would it be?

Hmm, really, my absolute favorite place to write is my mom and dad’s house. They live on a little acreage outside my home town and it’s just beautiful. There’s a ravine back behind their house—so I love sitting in their sunroom, looking out back and closing away from the rest of the world.

From the Start coverThat setting sounds so tranquil. Tell us a little about your latest release.

From the Start is the first in my new Walker Family series. It’s about a jaded romance writer and a former NFL quarterback who both end up in my little made-up Iowa town. J It’s by far the hardest book I’ve written…and the most vulnerable.

Kate Walker used to believe in true love and happily ever after. While her own love life may have left her brokenhearted, it hasn’t kept her from churning out made-for-TV romance movie screenplays…until a major career slump and a longing to do something meaningful send her running back to her hometown of Maple Valley.

Permanently sidelined by an injury, former NFL quarterback Colton Greene is temporarily hiding out in a friend’s hometown to avoid the media and the reminders of all he’s lost. Maple Valley seems like the perfect place to learn how to adjust to normal life. The only trouble is he’s never really done normal before.

While Kate plays things safe and Colton is all about big risks and grand gestures, they both get what it’s like to desperately need direction in life. An unexpected project gives them both a chance to jumpstart their new lives, but old wounds and new dreams are hard to ignore. Starting over wasn’t part of the plan, but could it be the best thing that’s ever happened to them?

Melissa, thanks so much for sharing your space with us. Readers, what would your typical superhero uniform look like?

Lisa Jordan
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Writers’ Spaces Wednesday: Beth K. Vogt

Writers Spaces Wednesday

I’ve always been fascinated by other writers’ spaces. Some of my writer friends have beautiful offices. Others frequent their favorite Starbucks, Panera, or local libraries to write. Some write at their kitchen tables or living rooms. Because I love to see where others create, I’ve started Writers’ Spaces Wednesdays.

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headshotI knew of Beth K. Vogt before I met her in person. We share a mutual writing friend–Roxanne Sherwood Gray. Then I had the pleasure of meeting Beth at the MBT Pizza Party in Denver 2010, I believe? Correct me on the year, Beth, if I’m wrong! We became fast friends, and she’s one of my closest writing friends. She’s been there during some of the darkest times of my writing life and lifted me up in prayer more times than I can count. She’s the kind of friend everyone needs in their lives. I’m so blessed she’s a part of mine.

Beth K. Vogt believes God’s best often waits behind the doors marked “Never.” A 2015 RITA® Finalist and a 2014 Carol Award finalist, Beth is a contemporary romance novelist with Howard Books. Her 2014 novel, Somebody Like You, was one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Best Books of 2014. In 2015 she introduced her destination wedding series with both an e-novella, Can’t Buy Me Love(May) and a novel, Crazy Little Thing Called Love (June). Connect with Beth at her site, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

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Beth, so glad to have you here today. Tell us about your writing space.

I’ve had my own dedicated writing office for two years now. Before that, I shared the room with my husband. I think he’s forgiven me for kicking him out … maybe.

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Having met your hubby, I’m quite sure he’s forgiven you for kicking him out. I love that rich red on your wall. What makes it special for you?

Two of my besties came and helped me organize my office and really make it mine. Before that, it was often overrun by other people’s stuff – or things that didn’t have a designated place to go. Now there’s a sense of order. Okay, yes, the order sometimes gets lost during deadline, but it’s lost beneath my writing life, not other people’s stuff.

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What great friends you have! What is one element of your space that makes you smile?

I’ve framed my cover flats. It’s fun to have a wall space dedicated to my book covers. I also have several pieces of art depicting hummingbirds that mean a lot to me. I have a “hummingbird story” and hummingbirds are a reminder that God loves me.

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I recognize one of those prints. 😉 What are your “must-haves” when you sit down to write?

I invested in a pair of Bose headphones about eight months ago. Now I wonder what took me so long to buy these? I always make up a playlist for any book I’m writing, and the headphones are just perfect for playing my music. And yes, I do sing along to any song I’m listening to.

I love playlists! Music keeps me inspired when I write. Share a typical writing day.

Lisa, really? You’re an author – and you’re asking this question? I write in between the interruptions.

Yes, I can totally relate. If you could choose the ultimate writing space, where would it be?

My dream is to one day own a cabin in mountains and be able to escape there to write.

That sounds lovely. Tell us a little about your latest release.

I’m launching a destination wedding series this year. It begins with Can’t Buy Me Love, an e-novella that costs all of 99 cents, that releases May 5 (my birthday!). Can’t Buy Me Love has a Pinterest angle to the story. And then Crazy Little Thing Called Love, the first novel in the series, releases June 30.

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In this e-novella kicking off the brand-new Destination Wedding series, Bellamy, a bride-to-be who dreams of a one-of-a-kind Manhattan wedding, gets caught up in all the planning, and things quickly spin out of control.

What is the true cost of an ultimate uptown wedding? 

Bellamy grew up in a large, boisterous family. The Hillmans may not have had it all, but Bellamy learned how to stretch a dollar and make it look like she did. Now she’s marrying Reid Stanton, the man of her dreams. While planning their one-of-a-kind Manhattan destination wedding, Bellamy gets caught up in all things Pinterest. It starts out simply enough with a “Save the Date Destination Wedding” board. Then it’s the “Destination Wedding Dresses” and “Invitations” boards. As her ideas multiply, so does the cost of the wedding.

Before she realizes it, all her creative planning has decimated the budget. Can Bellamy make things right, or will the cost of the ultimate wedding be losing the man she loves?

Beth, thanks so much for hanging out with me today.

Readers, be sure to download Can’t Buy Me Love when it releases on May 5, and then follow that up with Crazy Little Thing Called Love at the end of June. Just for fun–where would you like to escape to for some quiet inspiration?

Lisa Jordan
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Writers’ Spaces Wednesday: Jessica R. Patch

Writers Spaces Wednesday

I’ve always been fascinated by other writers’ spaces. Some of my writer friends have beautiful offices. Others frequent their favorite Starbucks, Panera, or local libraries to write. Some write at their kitchen tables or living rooms. Because I love to see where others create, I’ve started Writers’ Spaces Wednesdays.

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Jess color headshotJessica R. Patch is one of the funniest people I know–ask her about the time she prayed with her husband in church. Add in her sweet spirit, sunny disposition, and her incredible love for the Lord, and you have a friend for life. I love her to pieces. Plus, we’re fellow agency mates and Love Inspired authors.
She writes contemporary romance and romantic suspense when she’s not talking friends into going on adventures in the name of research or watching way too much Netflix. Her debut novel with Love Inspired Suspense releases in early 2016.
You can connect with Jessica on Facebook, Twitter, and her website.
Jess, so glad you’re hanging out with me today. Tell us about your writing space.

My writing space is a cozy corner by my bed. I don’t have a separate room for an office so this works out nicely. Just my desk, my comfy office chair and everything I need to work!

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I love how you’ve created a cozy writing space. What makes it special for you?

I’m here so often, it’s my one little place all to myself. During the day, it’s quiet because my children are at school and my husband is at work, so I don’t have to worry about interruptions.

I totally understand about interruptions. What is one element of your space that makes you smile?

Probably my bulletin board. When I look up, I see a few things that make me happy such as the people I pray for across the world. Project Rescue is a ministry dear to my heart so I love looking at that and it reminds me to pray. The people I’ve sent Bibles to, two post cards from missionary friends, Scripture verses I pray before I write, and a couple of mementos made by friends.

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I love your bulletin board. What are your “must-haves” when you sit down to write?

I need my Spotify playlist going, post-it notes, and a clean desk. I hate writing when it’s cluttered!

I can’t stand a cluttered desk when I write, either. Share a typical writing day.

I get home around 7:30 a.m. from taking my kids to school and I spend about an hour doing housework and forcing myself on the treadmill. I write better when I know my house is clean or at least straight. I’m at my computer by ten at the latest and I write straight on until I leave to pick my kids up at 2 p.m. (of course I take breaks for social media, food, and hot tea since my doctor won’t let me have coffee anymore—the jerk 🙂 )After my kids get home and settled, I write about another hour before it’s time to fix dinner. I write 5-6 days a week on average.

If you could choose the ultimate writing space, where would it be?

I would choose a room that looked out into the woods and opened up to a screened-in porch. I’d want a couch and a comfy chair, and enough wall space to hold my monster white board and book covers! 🙂

Definitely! Tell us a little about your latest release.

Just the Way You Are - High ResolutionRight now, my second novella Just the Way You Are is FREE to newsletter subscribers, but only until April 22nd. It will then be available for purchase on Amazon. So sign up! Here’s a little bit about the story:

When Pastor Gabe asks Audrey Gilbraith to use her mad florist skills to help him design a prayer garden, she’s all in, especially since it helps take her mind off the fact she’s about to lose her job and her apartment. But working closely with Gabe and not falling for him is complicated. She’s not pastor’s wife material, and she has the past to prove it. Gabriel Brookson wants out of Audrey’s friend-zone, but when he pursues her romantically, he ruffles more than a few feathers in his congregation. How much is he willing to give up for this wonderful, quirky woman, and will Audrey accept him if he risks it all?

Jessica, thanks so much for sharing your space with us today! Readers, remember to subscribe to Jess’s newsletter to receive this fun novella with the great cover before time runs out! 

Readers, Jessica has a heart for Project Rescue. What mission or charity tugs at your heart?

Lisa Jordan
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Writers’ Spaces Wednesday: Susan Crawford

Writer Spaces Wednesday

I’ve always been fascinated by other writers’ spaces. Some of my writer friends have beautiful offices. Others frequent their favorite Starbucks, Panera, or local libraries to write. Some write at their kitchen tables or living rooms. Because I love to see where others create, I’ve started Writers’ Spaces Wednesdays.

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Susan Crawford photoI met Susan Crawford through My Book Therapy and ACFW. She has a sweet spirit and a quick smile. I was honored to be asked to endorse her debut novel, Saving Justice. Susan is an author of inspirational contemporary romance, published by Redbud Press. Before publication, her debut novel Saving Justice was named a finalist in the 2014 American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis writing contest. She lives in Oklahoma City, where she happily crams writing in between being a wife, mom, and small business owner. Connect with her online: website, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Susan, so glad to have you sharing with us today. Tell us about your writing space.

Well, my official answer is that it’s this awesome space in a corner of my bedroom. A couple of months ago, my husband built me a desk and created this area for all of my creative pursuits. It has a computer for writing, a Cricut for crafting, and is surrounded by books and colorful art. I absolutely love it, but when he put it all together I was in the middle of writing a rough draft, and for some reason my brain couldn’t make the transition. Every time I tried to write at the desk, I couldn’t come up with the words, so I went back to sitting on my bed, five feet away (with my wonky laptop that turns off every seven minutes and is missing the “C” key). When I start my next book, though, I’m going to train my brain to work there because I really love it!

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I share my writing space with my crafting, too…complete with a Cricut. What makes it special for you?

The fact that my husband built the desk and bookcases and arranged the whole area is the most special thing about it. He’s always been so supportive of my writing and wanted to create a place for me to work. I also think he wanted a place to store the stacks of writing craft books I had laying all over the house, but he didn’t say it out loud because he’s sweet like that.

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What a sweet expression of love! Your space is lovely. What is one element of your space that makes you smile?

The artwork. I’m not a fantastic artist by any stretch of the imagination, but the Lord awakened this creative desire in me and I started painting about a year ago. I just love the colors, and those pieces remind me that it’s never too late to start something new.

That’s so cool! What are your “must-haves” when you sit down to write?

My computer (“C” key optional) and absolute, total silence. Some people can write with music playing or with other people in the room, but I am not one of them. I can’t focus if anything else is going on. I’ve tried to write in coffee shops, but the only thing I accomplished was drinking a lot of coffee and eating too many pastries.

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Share a typical writing day.

I have a day job and an active family to schedule around, so I cram writing in whenever I can. The only thing that’s consistent in my routine is that I start with prayer—there’s no way I could write anything if God didn’t show up to help me. But on the days that I do happen to get a block of several hours, I try to get the actual writing done first. I’m the world’s greatest avoider, so the sooner I get the words on the page, the better. Then I can move on to editing or marketing or whatever else needs to be done.

If you could choose the ultimate writing space, where would it be?

Somewhere warm. Maybe a little beach house with a view of the ocean. As long as there were no people walking around or making noise on said beach. 🙂

I totally hear you about wanting to be someplace warm. And, I’d totally go for the beach house with an ocean view, also. Tell us a little about your latest release.
Saving Justice cover - high res

Saving Justice is my debut novel, which just released yesterday. It’s about an elementary schoolteacher who’s on a mission to help an at-risk student and an entrepreneur who has gone to great lengths to overcome the poverty he grew up in.

Susan, thank you for sharing your writing space with us today.

Readers, you can buy Susan Crawford’s Saving Justice on Amazon. Just for fun–what are your favorite creative pursuits?

Lisa Jordan
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