December 16, 2014

Blooming In The Storm

Bonnie Leon is a dear friend and a fabulous novelist who understands pushing through pain daily. She invited me to be a guest on her "Steadfast" blog today. She's also offering a free giveaway of my book, Like There's No Tomorrow, so you'll really want to check it out and leave a comment for a chance to win.





November 16, 2014

Book Giveaway!

Want a chance to win a copy of Like There’s No Tomorrow?

I'm holding a drawing for a shiny new copy of my latest novel (eBook or print)! To enter, you need to do #1 PLUS at least one of the other entry criteria.

#1. Enter by subscribing to receive my infrequent newsletter via email by going here. Please complete the subscription by clicking on the link you receive in an email. Then you're halfway there!

After subscribing (or confirming that you already subscribe), you must also do one or more of the following (more increases entries) to finish entering:

#2. Follow me on Twitter
#4. Leave a comment on this blog post

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms & Conditions: Contest open to readers with USA mailing addresses only. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law.

November 15, 2014

An Interview with Jorie Loves A Story

I'm honored and thrilled to be a guest at the Jorie Loves A Story blog today where she interviews me about my latest novel, Like There's No Tomorrow. She plans to post her review of LTNT very soon.

Jorie is an avid reader, blogger, and book reviewer, and asks some very thought-provoking questions about the inner-workings of this novel, such as:

"As our paths crossed through the Hallmark Channel tv series “When Calls the Heart” what is your favourite part of Sweet Romances both in fiction and on tv (or in film)?"

and

"Fear is powerful if people allow it to wash over them without the light pulling them through. Why do you think your characters had to walk through their fear and the seedlings of doubt in order to better understand where their life was meant to take them?"

Plus more. I hope you'll take a moment to visit Jorie's "bookish blog" and check out our interview and Q&A about Like There's No Tomorrow.

Follow Jorie on Twitter: @JLovesAStory




October 30, 2014

Savanna's Gift (Christmas Romance) now .99 cents for Kindle

Just in time to get into the Christmas spirit: 

My 2011 Christmas Romance, Savanna's Gift, is now on sale for Kindle for only .99 cents! 

I'm not sure how long Amazon will offer it at this low price, so grab it, savor it now or save it for later when you need to unwind. Enjoy a sweet treat and a mug of something hot & spiced, and experience rekindled love amid twinkly lights, snow, sweet treats, and God-given second chances.


October 29, 2014

Finding Mercy (Michael Landon Jr & Cindy Kelley): Not Your Typical Historical

Written by the Love Comes Softly screenplay-writing duo Michael Landon Jr and Cindy Kelley, Finding Mercy picks up where the suspense of Traces of Mercy leaves off. The lovely young Confederate sharp-shooter, still suffering from amnesia, is on the run from bounty hunters and driven by a need to find out who she is, in spite of what uncomfortable truths she might uncover. She finds Captain Elijah Hale a maddeningly stubborn companion, and, though she doesn't care to admit it, a genuine friend.

Through the smoldering rubble of what was once a thriving South, Mercy presses on in search of her past. The south is being rebuilt, slowly, laboriously, in a changing culture and by the hands of men and women, once slaves, now freedmen living by an unfamiliar new code, confusing new rules.

Soon, Mercy begins to become acquainted with who she was before the war, before losing her memory—and she isn't sure she likes what she finds. It seems a twist of Providence has now given her an entirely different view of life and people, and finds she is no longer the person she was raised to be.

This saga plays out like a movie, full of drama, suspense, bits of humor, and a growing romance. It’s woven with intriguing twists and new conflicts as Mercy unravels more difficult truths. And in the midst of her soul-searching, her life continues to be in danger. And the Yankee officer who gallantly escorted the lovely Confederate soldier home has battles of his own—his heart not the least of them.

With or without the aid of memories, Mercy must take a dangerous stand. Since she can't rely on knowing her past, she must stand on what her heart tells her. If only she could be sure she can trust what it’s saying . . .

This is a powerful story of coming to terms with prejudice and ignorance, of rising above the clash of culture and conscience, and having the courage to do what’s honorable even if it means risking all you have left—like the tiny token of mercy you hold in your hand. It’s a gripping saga of post-Civil War south and real characters you feel you know as friends. It’s a story that settles into your bones and lingers long after you close the book.

Not your typical Historical series, Finding Mercy is Historical Drama/Suspense at its finest!

Find this book on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and check out the discussion on Goodreads.

Follow @CindyAKelley and @MLandonJr on Twitter!

And be sure to check out their other works such as The Silent Gift (a novel), the Love Comes Softly series, and the new original Hallmark TV Series When Calls The Heart entering its second season spring 2015.

October 24, 2014

The Hatmaker's Heart by Carla Stewart: Heart Capturing & Dazzling Detail

Carla Stewart is a masterful novelist with a smooth storyteller's voice whose work I have followed and loved since her first book hit the shelves. No, long before. Carla tells the story HERE of how she and I met beneath the shade of a giant California Redwood years ago and became writing partners and more. 

The Heartmaker's Heart by Carla Stewart
The Story (1923, New York): For Nell Marchwold, bliss is seeing the transformation when someone gets a glimpse in the mirror while wearing one of her creations and feels beautiful. Nell has always strived to create hats that bring out a woman’s best qualities. She knows she’s fortunate to have landed a job as an apprentice designer at the prominent Oscar Fields Millinery in New York City. Yet when Nell’s fresh designs begin to catch on, her boss holds her back from the limelight, claiming the stutter she’s had since childhood reflects poorly on her and his salon.
But it seems Nell’s gift won’t be hidden by Oscar’s efforts. Soon an up-and-coming fashion designer is seeking her out as a partner of his 1922 collection. The publicity leads to an opportunity for Nell to make hats in London for a royal wedding. There, she sees her childhood friend, Quentin, and an unexpected spark kindles between them. But thanks to her success, Oscar is determined to keep her. As her heart tugs in two directions, Nell must decide what she is willing to sacrifice for her dream, and what her dream truly is.
==============================
Camille's Review:
The Hatmaker’s Heart sparkles with the dazzling sights and scents of New York, the glittering nightlife, and the social and cultural turmoil and excesses of the Roaring Twenties. It’s the story of a young woman with a flair for designing beautiful hats and a desire to draw out her clients’ confidence while struggling to find her own.

Nell Marchwold is a gracious young Englishwoman of faith and good character, with a keen milliner’s eye and exquisite taste in fashion. Her heart burns with the dream of a career at a time when women were not encouraged in business. She struggles to keep her dream alive, in spite of repeated opposition, haunting memories, and a stammer that marks her as an imbecile in the eyes of high society matrons—a stammer she must learn to master if she is ever to make a name for herself.

But for Nellie, it’s not about fame. She wants to be known for making plain women feel beautiful and confident. She has a generous heart, one that quietly whispers to her of her first love. As her accomplishments and confidence grow, an opportunity arises for Nell to realize her dream. Success or failure hangs by a silken thread, a test of her faith, strength, and honor. Will she have the courage to face the test? Or will her new-found confidence retreat into the shadows of her traumatic past?

Nell is quiet but has an inner strength that captured my heart. You’ll root for her as she gathers the nerve to speak her mind, but perhaps she will find it's her heart that needs to be heard.

Carla Stewart tells a dazzling story full of vivid detail, and as always, a fascinating reveal of times gone by. I am looking forward to her next book in this series!

The Hatmaker's Heart is available at major online booksellers including Amazon.

=======================

 The Author (from Carla): In a nutshell: I believe in Jesus, doing the right thing, the power of the written word, and a good cup of coffee. I’m a country girl living now in a mid-sized city with my engineering husband who just happens to be my best friend and biggest fan. We’re the parents of four grown sons who’ve married wonderful girls and given us seven amazing grandchildren. Being a Mimi is far more fun that I ever dreamed.

October 22, 2014

I don’t know how it happened, but today, I’m thrilled to be the featured guest at not one, but THREE of the coolest Writing blogs! Join the gang at Novel Rocket where some publishing journeys read like an epic novel (& find out what kind mine is), then scoot over to The Writers Alley to chime in on how “real” Christian should fiction be. Then visit Carla Stewart’s stylish blog for a peek at how she and I met under the shade of a California redwood. 

I’m honored to be invited by all these cool cats (& all on the same day, total coincidence) & would be quadruple honored if you’d stop by one or all three blogs. Carla is giving away a copy of my book, so be sure to comment to enter that drawing if you’d like a chance to win. I’d love to see you there & Thanks!

Novel Rocket: A Michener Epic Writing Journey With A Happy Ending

The Writers Alley: Can I Be Honest?

Carla Stewart: Those Were The Days



September 30, 2014

Like There’s No Tomorrow launches TODAY!

My first full-length novel is finally here! Who else is Snoopy dancing?

Like There's No Tomorrow is a contemporary, inspirational romance about two single caregivers corresponding on behalf of two quirky old Scottish sisters.

When the pen pals meet, they expect familiarity, but not instant attraction. There’s a wee tug-o-war over a kind but daft old woman, some poignant drama, elderly mischief, faith testing, and the sweet bliss of falling in love.

This book has been called “A witty romance but far more than just a romance, like You’ve Got Mail.” Which is an honor, because in addition to the wit and spunk in that story, there's a depth of heart to it. I really like that in a story!

What about you - do you like a story that is both light-hearted and heart-tugging?

Here are a few other responses to this book:

Like There’s No Tomorrow...will steal your heart from the moment you read the first page.” ~Cindy Kelley, Author and Screenwriter
  
“Highly recommended!” ~Gayle Roper, Award-Winning Author

“Tender and heart-wrenching...” ~Carla Stewart, Award-Winning Author

“This tender love story captured my heart. It’s a perfect blend of drama, humor and romance topped off with delightful characters that will stay with you long after you’ve closed the book. Like There’s No Tomorrow is one of my favorite reads of the year. And Camille is on my short list of favorite authors.” ~Bonnie Leon, Author

Here are a few online stores where Like There's No Tomorrow is available:

OR - if you’re in the Portland/Gresham/Sandy Oregon area, you can pick up a copy at my Book Signing and Open House on Saturday, Oct 4 from 11-2. Buy a book and get it signed! Plus sample some lovely tea, cookies, and enter a drawing for an Amazon Gift Card! (Details here)
I’d love to see you there!

I owe many, many people a load of thanks for their time, patience, guidance, and encouragement during my ongoing novel writing journey. But most of all, I owe all thanks and praise to the Lord for his steadfast encouragement, timeless truths, inspiration, and the perfect words when the words wouldn't come. Thank you, Jesus!

If you can take an extra 34 seconds and help spread the word to your Twitter followers, here's a ready-to-go tweet! 
Tweet: #LikeTheresNoTomorrow=a tender, witty #Romance about faith, fiery furnaces, & the gift of each new day. http://ctt.ec/1xczI+ @CamilleEide

September 19, 2014

Lena Nelson Dooley is giving away a copy of my book...

Lena Nelson Dooley is hosting me and my upcoming novel on her Christian Fiction blog TODAY! For the next few days, you can leave a comment on her blog and enter a drawing for a free copy of the book.

(Print book sent to US addresses only. eBooks to the ends of the earth.)

Come on over!

http://lenanelsondooley.blogspot.com/2014/09/like-theres-no-tomorrow-camile-eide-one.html

September 1, 2014

Labor Day & Birthing a Book-baby

It’s Labor Day in the US and I am doing my part by laboring. Specifically, on preparations for the upcoming release (WooHOO!) of my first full-length novel. 

Bringing Like There’s No Tomorrow from conception to reality has truly been a labor of love. For more than 7 years, I've been writing, revising, re-revising, polishing, and preparing this “baby” in hopes of publication. The book has been picked over by critique partners. It’s been represented by a highly-respected literary agent. It’s been submitted to all the major publishing houses. It’s been adored by editors and considered by publishing committees. It’s been through all the growth and healthy development I could give it myself.
Christina Tarabochia-AL Publisher, Nicole Miller-AL Designer,
Camille Eide-Author, Sherrie Ashcraft-AL President

And now, it’s being “delivered” by an amazing team of women who I like to call The Three Midwives.

My daughter recently gave birth at home with the help of three excellent midwives. They were so professional and so personally attentive to her and her sweet infant (my gorgeous granddaughter! I have pictures...) that I couldn't help but see an obvious similarity. 

The women of Ashberry Lane (Sherrie Ashcraft, Christina Tarabochia, and Nicole Miller) are much like midwives when it comes to birthing a book-baby. This team has worked hard to make sure my book is as healthy as it can be and are working to help it make the best entrance into the world possible. They see purpose and potential in this baby. They have grown to love it as their own and are as invested in its future as I am.

I submitted my book to Ashberry Lane because their mission is to see good quality, God-honoring literature available to readers, and to see hard-working, talented authors succeed. And after "laboring" with them, I am more confident than ever that my baby and I are in the best of hands. As I gaze once again at the beautiful (sneak-peek) face of my book cover, I am thankful for this team and their desire to honor God. We’re more than business partners; we’re like family. And our family is growing! I pray God’s best success for Ashberry Lane and for the authors who are blessed to call themselves part of this wonderful family.

August 15, 2014

How to Win Books And Influence People

Would YOU like to be an Influencer?

My upcoming book, Like There’s No Tomorrow, releases in print and eBook at the end of September from Ashberry Lane Publishing. Authors and their publishers love to find “influential” people who like our book and who can help spread the good word.

Would YOU like a tender, heart-tugging love story sprinkled with a wee bit of humor about two quirky old Scottish sisters bent on reuniting, and their young pen-pals who fall in love even though her family secret could break his heart—again? 

Like There's No Tomorrow is a tale of family, falling in love, faith, fiery furnaces, and the gift of each new day. If you like books by Deborah Raney, Karen Kingsbury, Debbie Macomber, Susan Meissner, Denise Hunter, Robin Jones Gunn, Sandra D. Bricker, Susan May Warren, or Rachel Hauck, you might like this book.

An influencer would receive a copy of the book, then read it and use one or more (or all) of the methods suggested at the end of this post for sharing the book with the people in your reach. 

Are you interested in being an influencer for Like There's No Tomorrow? Please answer the following questions:
  1. Do you have a blog or website?
  2. Are you a reader who likes to review books?
  3. If you have never written a review, are you willing to read a dozen or more online reviews to get a feel for what makes a helpful book review?
If you can answer “Yes!” to one or more of these, leave a comment below (with a link to your blog/website if you have one) and how you would like to be contacted with details. (Please note: number of influencer copies and time-frame is limited, copies assigned at author's discretion.)

How to be an Influencer: 8 Ways To Help Your Favorite Author (from Rachelle Gardner’s Blog)
1. Amazon reviews. If you have positive things to say about a book, go ahead and say them! Don’t be false; don’t rave about a book you don’t really like. But write a good review if you can. Reviews are a powerful tool on Amazon that can make a big difference in an author’s sales. (Camille’s Amazon Page)

Check out the rest of these 8 Book Influencer Tips from Literary Agent Rachelle Gardner.

June 23, 2014

The Writing Process Blog Tour Continues...

Ever wonder what goes on in the mind of a writer? Fellow author and fabulous friend Carla Stewart “tagged” me last week in the Writing Process blog tour, so I’m up next to share about my “Writing Process.” Next week, the tour continues with authors Patty Smith Hall and Jennifer Anne Messing.

My Writing Process 

1. What are you working on?
First off, SUPER BIG NEWS, more on that in a minute. I have completed three full length novels and am currently pondering what to do for a 4th. I might resume work on a story I began for NaNoWriMo a few years ago – one with a couple quirky characters who won’t leave me alone. I LOVE quirky folk, especially older ones. This story includes an earthy Gram who rescues spiders by hand and makes tea from things she finds growing in the forest, a kind-hearted cop, a sweet little boy, a young woman who keeps a terrible secret out of love and desperation, and an unfortunate accident that threatens to expose her. We'll see where that story leads...

2. How does your work differ from others of its genre? 
I write "Faith-Inspiring Love Stories," but is not what you would call category romance. It fits more into a genre called "Romantic Women’s Fiction." Inspirational authors whose work most resembles mine in genre might be Deborah Raney, Susan Meissner, Jamie Langston Turner, and perhaps Charles Martin, although I blush to tack my name onto this bunch of literary greats. My work is neither purely romance nor straight women’s fiction but is usually a strong blend of both—equal parts love story AND heart-tugging relational drama woven around a journey of faith. I really enjoy stories with a solid thread of all three. Life is such a twisted blend of the things that move us, right? Novels ought to be just as twisted. J

3. Why do you write what you do?
See #2. J Actually, I am intrigued by what fears, loves, wounds, doubts, and longings drive people, and the courage, faith, and self-sacrifice it takes to overcome obstacles. I like to pose writer’s cue of "What If?" and then hold my breath along with the reader to find out. For example: What if you had a terrible secret you needed to take to your grave, but a brain injury causes your closest confidante to lose her ability to keep quiet? What happens when bad boy tries to reform a good girl? What if a widower’s broken heart is healed and he falls in love only to find she might not have long to live? What if the one thing you fear is the one thing you are forced to trust?

4. How does your writing process work?

By the sheer grace of God! It somehow gets done in spite of me. In my writing cave, there is much plotting and planning and coaxing the Muse, but there’s also far too much staring and re-tweaking the same lines. There are equal parts inspiration, revising, moping, asking for feedback, more revising, more moping, and then usually as a last resort: gut-wrenching prayer involving laying the whole mess at God’s feet and asking him to guide it, make it his story, make it harmonize with his song, bring it to life by his heartbeat.



SUPER BIG NEWS . . .

I am *ECSTATIC* to announce that I just signed a two-book contract with Ashberry Lane Publishing! My first full-length novel, Like There’s No Tomorrow, is set to release September 2014, and Sandcastles In Snow will release in 2015. Details at www.camilleeide.com
Also: Sign up for book release news & updates at www.ashberrylane.com




And NOW . . . . Be sure to follow the Writing Process Tour on June 30 with:

Patty first found publishing success with her short stories in the God Allows U-Turns series as well as Chicken Soup for the Nurse’s Soul; a Second Dose and Guidepost magazine. Her debut novel, Hearts in Flight, won the 2008 American Christian Fiction Writer’s Genesis Award in historical romance and was picked by Publisher’s Weekly as a top inspirational read for the 2011 spring and summer season.
Patty lives with her husband of 28 years in suburban Atlanta and finds her greatest joy in spending time with her family and friends.
Learn more about Patty at http://www.pattysmithhall.com

Author Jennifer Anne Messing of Portland, Oregon—who was originally from Manila, Philippines—is an award-winning author and poet, online columnist, speaker, and a wife and mother of three children who has a bachelor’s degree in Christian Education and a diploma in Journalism and Short-Story Writing. A past president of the Oregon Christian Writers, Jennifer Anne has over 200 articles, short stories and poems published in 60 magazines. Her latest book, Morning's Promise: Poetic Moments in His Presence (Ellechor Publishing, 2012), was honored as a TOP FINALIST in the “Poetry: Inspirational” category of the 2013 International Book Awards, sponsored by USA Best Books. Her next book, a collection of short fiction entitled, Everlasting Love: Romantic Vignettes for a Woman's Heart will release from Mockingbird Lane Press (print and ebook) in the summer of 2014.
Visit her website at: www.JenniferAnneMessing.com

June 21, 2014

Camille Signs 2-Book Contract!

I am thrilled to announce that I just signed a two-book contract with Ashberry Lane Publishing!! My first full-length novel, Like There’s No Tomorrow, comes out in print & eBook this September! The second book, Sandcastles in Snow, will release sometime in 2015.

Ashberry Lane is a small but bright new star in traditional publishing and I’m extremely thrilled to be working with such a fun, super-savvy, God-honoring team! Look for quality Heartfelt Tales of Faith from Ashberry Lane & sign up for their (& my) book release news at www.ashberrylane.com.


If you would like to receive news, updates, & SPECIAL offers from me, please join my mailing list at http://www.camilleeide.com/contact.html

Like There’s No Tomorrow is a sweet, faith inspiring love story about two quirky old Scottish sisters bent on reuniting, and their young co-correspondents who fall in love even though her family secret could break his heart—again.

If you’d like to help spread the word, I will have a "mini press kit” available to make it super easy for friends & readers to grab "ready-to-go" tweets, FB blurbs, and other fun stuff. If you are a blogger and would like a guest post or fun Q&A about the book, let me know.

Also, if you or a friend would like an "influencer" copy to review & talk up among friends and followers, I will have copies available for that.

Let me know if you would like a press kit, a book to review, or both.


April 28, 2014

Traces of Mercy, A Novel, by Michael Landon Jr and Cindy Kelley



Though I am not typically a reader of historical fiction, Traces of Mercy grabbed me from the first page and kept me intrigued to the last (and beyond). Familiar with their previous work on the Janette Oke "Love Comes Softly" films, and because of their work on Hallmark Channel’s phenomenal new TV series "When Calls The Heart," I expected a book by Michael Landon Jr and Cindy Kelley to be a heart-tugging, faith-friendly drama full of compelling characters. I was not disappointed.

Traces of Mercy begins with a gripping scene that sets a tone for the rest of the book—one of faith, love, fierce loyalty, riveting conflict, and one of the most breathtaking displays of mercy I’ve ever seen or read.

A beginning full of twists soon delivers an intriguing heroine who can’t remember who she is. Between wanting to know why she was found wearing men’s clothing, and hoping her mysterious past would not to interfere with her new-found joy, Mercy’s finds herself living her own personal “Civil War.” She must discover her identity and past without the help of memories, a name, or anyone who knows her. But with time, Mercy isn’t sure she wants to know who she was. 

This well-written story flows like an action/adventure/romance film filled with a cast of well-rounded, compelling characters including a wise, big-hearted nun and a fiercely loyal servant boy.

Set against the backdrop of post-Civil War St. Louis, we feel the aftermath and sad irony that a “civilized society just came through a bloody war [simply] because a way of life was threatened.” The lingering national unrest and mistrust sets the background for this story as Mercy seeks the answers she needs and the love she dares to hope for.

This heart-tugging story is part of an ongoing story, the first in a series. I am eagerly looking forward to the next book in the Mercy Medallion series!

~Camille
Twitter: @CamilleEide
Facebook: www.facebook.com/camille.eide
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Camille-Eide-Author/134301859999367

Share this post on Twitter:

Tweet: Civil War unrest & a mysterious identity that could cost her new love: Traces of Mercy by @MLandonjr & @cindyakelley http://ctt.ec/M35F5+Civil War unrest & a mysterious identity that could cost her new love: Traces of Mercy by @MLandonjr & @cindyakelley

(Click the bird to Tweet)  


February 25, 2014

Hallmark’s When Calls the Heart: A Diamond In The Coal Dust & Special Interview w/Producer BRIAN BIRD

Photo Credit: Copyright 2013 
Crown Media United States, LLC
If you're crazy about “When Calls the Heart” (Hallmark Channel), then you are in for a treat! We have an exclusive interview with the one of the show’s Executive Producers and Creators, Brian Bird, so read on!

If you have not seen this captivating family drama/romance, allow me to introduce you to When Calls the Heart, a Hallmark Channel original series based on a book by Janette Oke and now in the middle of its 12-week season. This show is brimming with talent including Lori Loughlin, Erin Krakow, Daniel Lissing, and Chelah Horsdal in addition to a large stellar cast.

I’ve been calling it “Love Comes Softly meets Little House.” Though I usually lean more toward Jane Austen than pioneer era romance, I gladly confess that I absolutely adore this series. And I’m not alone. WCTH’s audience has grown quickly and continues to grow each week, and for good reason. It is very well-written, well-cast, and well-acted. Each week, WCTH delivers heart-tugging drama and a superbly developed, chaste love story without being shallow or melodramatic. It's subtle yet powerful—the perfect blend. There is so much to love about this series! The best part: it’s an engaging drama adults can thoroughly enjoy and feel good about watching with their kids. The worst part: waiting an entire week until Saturday. Oh, the hours . . . And when it’s finally here, if only time would stop . . .

HallmarkChannel.com says:
Photo Credit: Copyright 2013 Crown Media United States, LLC

When Calls the Heart tells the captivating story of Elizabeth Thatcher (Erin Krakow), a young teacher accustomed to her high society life, who receives her first classroom assignment in Coal Valley, a small coalmining town where life is simple, but often fraught with challenges. Lori Loughlin (Full House) plays Abigail Stanton, a wife and mother whose husband, the foreman of the mine, along with a dozen other miners, has just been killed in an explosion. The newly widowed women find their faith is tested when they must go to work in the mines to keep a roof over their heads. Elizabeth charms most everyone in Coal Valley, except Constable Jack Thornton (Daniel Lissing) who believes Thatcher’s wealthy father has doomed the lawman’s career by insisting he be assigned in town to protect the shipping magnate’s daughter. Living in a 19th century coal town, Elizabeth will have to learn the ways of the frontier if she wishes to thrive in the rural west on her own. The series is inspired by Janette Oke’s bestselling book series about the Canadian West, and reunites Oke with Executive Producer and Director, Michael Landon, Jr.”

For those who have not yet seen When Calls The Heart:
Coal Valley is a western town full of endearing folks bound together by tragedy and facing challenges, joys, threats, loves, losses, and an uncertain future. At the outset, the town is reeling from the loss of its men in a coal mine explosion. The widows are doing their best to hold their families together and summon the faith and courage they need for their children while grieving their own losses. The women pool their resources to hire a schoolteacher. Challenged by culture shock but eager to help, Miss Elizabeth Thatcher leaves a life of privilege in the city and sets out for the rugged west. She may not be the most suited for pioneer life, nor the most proficient in the kitchen, but she has a tenacious heart of gold and loves to see children thrive and learn.


Constable Jack Thornton, newly assigned to Coal Valley, is rattled by Elizabeth Thatcher’s presence, especially after he realizes the lovely young heiress is the reason he’s been assigned to this dead-end post. But as a Royal Canadian Mountie, he will fulfill his duty to serve and protect, and he takes his job seriously. Elizabeth continues to rattle Jack in more ways than he would like to admit, while Elizabeth finds the Constable stubborn, over-protective, and irritatingly attractive. Working together in various situations, they mix about as well as oil and water. Yet in spite of their differences, you can't miss the crackling chemistry between them.

Photo Credit: Copyright 2013 Crown Media United States, LLC
Meanwhile, the women of Coal Valley continue to deal with one trial after another, like the arrival of babies without a doctor or a midwife in town. Holding worship services in the woods since the church burned down. Welcoming the new miners who have taken their husbands’ jobs by joining them at a town dance. Mysteries, buried secrets, arson, burglary. Confused children grieving for their fathers the only way they know how. And yet, through faith in God, forgiveness, and courage, life goes on, especially if Abigail Stanton has anything to say about it. She is a strong, independent woman to whom everyone turns for advice—Coal Valley’s gracious, steadfast voice of wisdom.
Photo Credit: Copyright 2013 
Crown Media United States, LLC

As the story progresses, Jack accidentally insults Elizabeth while trying to protect her from hurt and fumbles to apologize, revealing his deeper feelings (the one scene in all of DVR history that ranks the highest number of rewinds and replays. Just a guess.). Elizabeth also struggles with the confusing direction her feelings have taken and is forced to decide what she believes to be true about love, faith, and trust. Of course we know there is more in store for Jack, Elizabeth, and the others, but we fans are fully prepared to hang in there and see them through.

Photo Credit: Copyright 2013 
Crown Media United States, LLC
We admit it---we are thoroughly hooked. There is so much to love about this series. Like a diamond peeking through the coal dust, it’s been an unexpected treasure, a beautiful example of the faith, sacrifice, forgiveness, courage, wisdom, and grace we hope to see in ourselves and instill in our children. The sad paradox is that this show would probably appeal most to people who don’t have cable in their home because of things we don't want our kids to see. I don’t blame you. If viewing the Hallmark Channel is not an option for you, there are other ways to see this series. I’ve included links below for catching up past episodes and also for downloading the entire series online. I am hoping Hallmark will offer the entire series on DVD soon. It’s already at the top of my Christmas list and is something I will enjoy giving away as gifts.

For those who have seen and love the series:
A special treat just for you! Executive Producer and Creator Brian Bird has agreed to an interview about When Calls the Heart and you’ll meet him in a moment. But first, I want to introduce Brian by saying that it was his production journal entry for episode 6 that inspired me to blog about the series:
"I do miss my family, but I feel so blessed to be working on this show. And I can’t wait for the audience to see it. I don’t believe there will be anything like ‘When Calls the Heart’ anywhere else on TV. Yes, this is a family show, but I think we are creating something very radical. In between shots yesterday, I was asking one of our crew if they could think of another show on TV right now a whole family could watch together, and he just scratched his head. I couldn’t come up with an example either. Think about that. There used to be a time when all the networks had ‘family hour’ in prime time every night. Now it seems Hallmark Channel is the only one brave enough to put a show on like this. I pray all the hard work, ours and theirs, will be rewarded with a large audience. This is a real opportunity for people across America to make a loud statement that they are tired of all the vampires, zombies, meth dealers and dead bodies on TV. That they are ready for themes like redemption, courage, sacrifice, forgiveness and hope to rule the airwaves once again."
Well said! I think this sums up the reason people are falling in love with “When Calls The Heart” by the wagonload and want to share it with others!

Photo Credit: Copyright 2013 Crown Media United States, LLC



And now . . . meet “When Calls the Heart” Producer and Creator Brian Bird!

CE: Brian, I’m going straight to the most pressing question since fans are fasting in sackcloth and ashes until we know: Will there be a Season Two?
BB: We know just as much as the fans do about this decision. The truth is it's up to the fans to make their voices heard with Hallmark and with spreading the word with their own friends about this show. That's the way hits are usually born anyway... word of mouth. There are a million choices about what to watch and a lot of cultural noise out to try to break through. One of the best ways to break through all the distractions is if our fans are very noisy themselves about the show. We have made the best show we know how. Now it's up to the culture and the network to decide if they want more.
CE:  We'll make noise! Blitz our neighborhoods with Abigail's delicious scones! Whatever it takes! So are cast and scripts for Season Two already in the works?
BB:  We have plenty of good ideas in the story bank and are ready to begin developing scripts. In season 1 our initial order was for 6 episodes, so that's what we developed ahead of time. And then when we were shooting Episode 3, Hallmark let us know that they wanted the rest of the season's worth, so we jumped into developing those scripts. 
CE:  If there will be a Season Two, does this mean Season One will end on a cliffhanger (NO!)?
BB:  Of course we will have a cliffhanger. In fact, a few of them. It wouldn't be a good season finale without them, right?
CE:  I was afraid of that! Do you see love on the horizon for Abigail? She’s go giving and self-sacrificing, we’d love to see her find love again.
BB:  You're way ahead of us, and it could begin by the end of the season... hint-hint, but there's no spoilers we'll be giving long-term.
CE:  If this isn’t too lengthy to answer: How was Janette Oke’s book adapted into a series of episodes, and how do the show’s creators decide what subplots to add to the story in order to give each episode a “complete” feel within the larger story?
BB:  When Michael and I started out with the first novel in Janette's series, we soon came to realize that as wonderful as the story of Elizabeth Thatcher in Pine Springs was, that world probably wouldn't sustain potentially 100 episodes of a TV series. That's why we decided to add another town and another branch of the family to the storytelling. And Janette Oke felt it was a brilliant way to expand the creative palette. In this way, it became a multi-generational world we could work with. 
CE:  What a blessing to have such mutual agreement on the collaborative process. How much of a role has Janette Oke played in the production of WCTH?
BB:  Janette has been very involved with our creative process. She has read every script and given us notes and ideas along the way. In fact, Janette loved the new world of the series so much she decided to create a series of When Calls the Heart-branded novels following Elizabeth and Mountie Jack in Coal Valley. The first of those novels is now out and is called "Where Courage Calls." A second one is in the works.
CE  What an unexpected bonus! Where does the writing team look for ideas?
BB:  I have been a writer-producer on half-a-dozen network TV series in my career, and the process is always the same in the writers' room. We bring our own life experiences to the table, along with true stories we find out of history (which is very important to a period drama). For instance, in episode 7, we decided to do a dyslexia story because one of our writers went through that experience with her own son, and it seemed like a really fascinating idea to see how we could do that story in a 1910 setting before there was much science about dyslexia. 
CE:  Do you think WCTH brings glory to God? If so, how?
BB:  When I was a writer-producer Touched By An Angel for five seasons, we believed that "water cooler" conversations were started all over America about the some of the great lines the Angels spoke to their "assignments" in the episodes. The angels would quote biblical themes with the people they were helping such as the idea that God loves us and has plans for our welfare. I think we have the opportunity to do something similar with When Calls the Heart, but the goal is just to stir up cravings with the great virtues of western civilization. The fact that some of those themes come from the bible can't be disputed. For instance, in Episode 4, when Reverend Anderson tells Mr. Gowen he's quitting the employ of the company, he says "Where God guides, God provides." I believe those kinds of moments in the show create a stir in viewers' hearts without being preachy, and I must have seen 15 Tweets where people quoted that very line back at us. I think those kinds of moments are faith-lifting. But it's also just good entertainment because its organic to the characters and the world we have created. 
CE:  And it is very well done. The romance between Elizabeth and Jack is also masterfully done. The timing in which it develops (so far) has been superb. Any display of caring between them is subtle, and yet clearly deepens with each episode, regardless of any conflict Jack and Elizabeth may be engaged in (and there have been several). My question is this: How do you time or stretch out a developing romance in a series like this so that it is unhurried and yet still satisfying each week (or at least gives you enough to captivate and bring you back for more)? Does someone on the writing staff have the task of drawing the romance thread throughout the series, or do all the writers have equal share in creating that part of the storyline?
BB:  The chaste romance of Janette Oke's books is one we are committed to, but to be honest, it's the trickiest part of the story-telling. It's actually very challenging to get right. So much of the human experience of courtship involves the thrill of the chase, and we know for the viewers getting Jack and Elizabeth together is becoming an obsession. However, we have to be careful because once that happens, we also believe we let some steam out of the premise of the show a.k.a. "The Moonlighting effect." We don't want it to go too fast, because once they are together we know some in the audience will be deflated. Suffice to say, we have a plan, but it will never be as fast as some want, and it to keep it family and faith-friendly, it can't ever go too far until Jack and Elizabeth one day exchange wedding rings. Tricky stuff given today's cultural norms. Keeping track of it all and pacing it correctly has been a bit of trial and error and I have some very reliable writers who have written lots of romance-dramas helping me get it right. 
CE:  I know the challenge this can be in a novel, so I can't imagine how difficult it is to pull off for an entire series! This makes me appreciate Jack and Elizabeth's love story all the more. 

Fans love the musical score. Has WCTH considered making it available for purchase/Rhapsody download?
BB:  Right now, the score is not available for download, but the music for the episodes has been created by two very talented composers, Emmy-Award-winning Lee Holdridge and Gemini-award-winning John Sereda. We are discussing the possibility of a soundtrack album for Season 1 if the show looks like it will continue. 
CE:  If Hallmark is still undecided about ordering Season Two, what can fans do to convince them we must, must, MUST have more WCTH?
BB:  The Hallmark Channel is in business to put family programming on the the air, but it also has to be able to make money doing it. It's a very simple equation: more viewers mean better advertising rates; fewer viewers mean lower advertising rates. And Hallmark is not in the business of losing money. We believe strongly from the evidence we see on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and other social media that the audience is loving the show. But people have a thousand channels and 10,000 choices of programming available every day. It's very challenging to break through all the noise and distraction of all those choices to get the word out to our potential fans that this show is worthy of their time. Without a giant (and expensive) marketing campaign, we are dependent on our loyal fans to help us spread the word about the show. Hallmark also needs to hear loud and clearly that they desperately want When Calls the Heart to continue. Even more so, regardless of whether the show goes one season or 10, family programming in America is nearing extinction. All the networks used to compete with each other to program family shows every night. That is no longer the case. In fact, I can't think of more than a few examples of family programming on all of television. We are doing something revolutionary, radical. HBO has a branding: "It's not TV, it's HBO." Well, while the rest of the networks are all following HBO over the cliff into dark and depraved and cynical programming, we are standing our ground with something very unique. It's not HBO, it's Hallmark. And if this kind of programming becomes extinct altogether, we only have ourselves to blame.  
CE:  It may be radical, but loyal (aka desperate) fans will do what it takes and believe it can and must be done! Do you know if the series will be available on DVD, and if so, when? (And can I preorder it by the pallet?)
BB:  The series will be released on a series of DVDs, the first one available in Christian bookstores on February 25 and later in all the big-box stores, throughout North America. Each DVD will contain 2 episodes and a series of extras. The first DVD contains episode 1 and 2, along with bonus features of deleted scenes and a very cool three-way conversation between Michael Landon, Janette Oke and me about the series. If, Lord-willing, the show goes into multiple seasons, it will probably be also released in full season collections. 
CE:  Brian, what was your dream, your goal, your vision when you first decided to create a series from the original novel? What is at the “heart” of When Calls the Heart?
BB:  It's Michael’s and my hope that When Calls the Heart can be a show woven through-and-through with the Great Virtues of Western Civilization. Themes such as integrity, honesty, courage, forgiveness, redemption, sacrifice and the golden rule. At the same time we don't want to hit people over the head with the Bible. We believe mankind is wired for these kinds of stories and our feeling is that the most effective way to do this show is to weave these themes into the tapestry because that is the kind of town Coal Valley is. I was talking on the set with one of our crew members about the great cultural loss of families spending time together, eating meals together, even watching TVs together, and he asked me about what families in Coal Valley might have meals together. My answer was "all of them." Michael and I want for people to fall in love with the old-fashioned values (and faith) of Coal Valley because it's exactly the kind of medicine our culture needs right now. The great virtues are an endangered species on TV right now. We want to be preservationists. 
CE:  Thank you for following this call and pressing on!! I understand this series has been nearly eight years in the works, and much of that time, you weren't even certain Hallmark would take it. What kept you going, putting in time, effort, and planning without the certainty your dream would become a reality?
BB:  I probably can't go into all the details about our journey on When Calls the Heart until the series is finished, but trust me, there's a book I could write about the experience that some might even view as a thriller. But suffice to say, this project has been one of perseverance and an attitude of never-give-up, never-say-die and failure is not an option. We are grateful to God and Hallmark for the blessing of getting this show on the air. 
And so are we! Brian, thank you so much for taking time to share your thoughts about this amazing series, and thank you for pursuing this dream. We wish you and Michael and the rest of your team incredible favor and God's finest blessings on this series and in all that the future holds for you!

Friends: Be sure to watch When Calls the Heart **LIVE** (which helps bring us a Season Two!!)  on the Hallmark Channel, Saturdays at 9/8c. You can Tweet live with the cast while you watch using @LoriLoughlin @ErinKrakow @DLissing and #WhenCallstheHeart. And don't forget to SPREAD THE WORD!


Photo Credit: Copyright 2013 Crown Media United States, LLC
For more info:

Production Blog: Directors Michael Landon Jr. and Brian Bird share their personal journal entries during filming that reveal the real “heart” behind When Calls the Heart

Watch missed episodes at:
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February 1, 2014

Observing (okay—Stalking) Life

The writer in me understands the value of taking note of life, creation and beauty to help flesh out stories and characters. The forgetful part of me understands that my memory is about as reliable as a stray tabby. After reading this great post by novelist Karen Schravemade at The Writer’s Alley, I decided it’s time to start carrying a notebook and jotting down observations or thoughts inspired by what’s going on, or those killer flashes of revelation while I’m out and about that I (HA!) think I’ll remember later but never do. If I think about it, there is always some takeaway in any given moment, no matter where I am or who I’m with. Great idea!

SO . . .

Stalker/Author Observation #1:
To celebrate our daughter’s 22nd birthday, we went to a spendier-than-our-norm restaurant in downtown Portland last night. Yes, even I, the moss-gathering metrophobe, went across the river and down into the actual heart of Hipster Weirdness. And I was cool, you would have been proud of me. In all honesty, we (her parents, dual metrophobes) were glad our daughter invited us to a place she enjoyed, because it wrangled us out of our empty (*sniff*) nest. We had THE best time. The company was fun, smart, witty and refreshing. The food was incredible—even though we each opted for the cheap appetizers as our meals since none of us has won the lottery.

My husband and I noticed a couple in their late fifties or early sixties sitting side by side at a tiny table tucked into a dim corner behind us. Every once in a while, I glanced over. Not once did I ever see them talking to each other. They just ate and sipped quietly, their eyes always on the people in the restaurant. At first I thought they might be people watchers. Which is apparently a common pastime, but still seems a little creepy. I mean, mind your own stuff there, you know? But then I got to wondering. Maybe they’re both hopeless introverts in therapy and this is what dual introverts braving a date looks like. That or they’re both bored to death retirees who’ve run out of things to say to each other and watching people eat Peruvian in the Pearl District was #47 on their bucket list. Or since we were blocks from the Portland State campus, it was some kind of psyche experiment. But since our middle son, a Psyche major at PSU, wasn’t with us, I couldn’t verify that one.

Or maybe they were just too tired after a long day to do anything but eat and veg out. I don’t know if there’s anything here for me to work with, but Staring Couple on Dinner Date is going into the notebook. Because you never know when you’ll hit a point while writing a screenplay or song or novel when you need that perfect little a nugget of novelty or spark of realistic oddity.

Or...maybe they were a pair of writers collecting little nuggets of realistic people stuff to use later in a story. 

Oh. Right.


Q: What notebook observations have you made that you've used in writing?

ALLOW ME TO INTRODUCE MYSELF. . . .

RANDOM FACTS ABOUT ME:

I've published three novels and a novella (more about those on my website.) I've been writing all my life, but decided in 2007 to get serious about being published.

I love action movies and Jane Austen. (she’s dead, I know. I found that out when I tried to get her to endorse my novel)

They let me play Bass guitar and sing in a worship band.

I can produce 4 dozen homemade cinnamon rolls in a flash for a crowd of drooling young adults. Or publishing house editors.

I used to have a Harley. Now we have twenty-something kids. Decent trade, really. The window-rattling grumble isn't quite the same, but we are still enjoying the ride.

I am a proud Grammy. Don't even think about taking candy from my babies.

I hate shopping (Yes, I'm aware that I'm a girl)

MY ROOTS:
I've lived in Oregon all my life, spent time in Eugene (Go DUCKS!), Springfield, Reedsport, and Smith River. Which is not really a town, but a river, about 70 miles long, a tributary of the Umpqua River in southwest Oregon.

Although it's not a town, it is a community with a strong sense of pioneer history. It's cool to say you've lived there, especially if you lived there during the days when you had to take a boat to school. No joke! The old farmhouse my grandfather and my mother grew up in still stands, nestled into a narrow, pasture carpeted valley, complete with a swimmin' hole and its own 'crick'. It may turn up in one of my novels.

There's a rumor that my ancestors had a connection with the Mafia back in Sicily. I used to fantasize as a kid about a big black limo with tinted windows pulling up and whisking me away from school. Ahhh. So THAT'S why I'm having so much trouble conjugating my dangling participles now.

NOT RANDOM: I am challenged by the truth and amazed by the grace of God. And it's either in spite of or because of that grace that I hold a PhD in Learning Stuff the Hard Way.

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