Tag Archive | Loree Lough

Inquiring Minds Want to Know (Part 1 of 4)

I asked some of my Facebook friends to ask me questions . . . so the next few weeks, I’ll be answering!

Why romance fiction? How long have you had the passion to write?

I’ve always enjoyed sweet romances. In my late teens early twenties, I was enamored of Georgette Heyer and Marion Chesney’s Regency romances. Clean stories without the explicit sex. I guess you could say I’m a romantic at heart and I long for that. My characters get the love and romance I don’t.

What made you choose writing? What keeps you writing? What motivates you?

I believe God led me to writing by telling me in a dream to do write for National Novel Writing Month (www.nanowrimo.org) in 2009. I think I had always been afraid to try and once I started the dam broke and I found out how much I love the process of writing a story. I haven’t stopped. Once the characters start forming in my mind and that first scene or general story concept and I start writing, I can’t stop until I’ve come to the end. It becomes like an obsession for me.

Which writers inspire you?

I admire the wit and whimsy of writers like Jen Turano, Mary Conneley and Karen Witemeyer, Brooke Williams, Sandi Bricker and Jan Thomson. I love the characters that Dee Henderson, DiAnne Mills, Ronie Kendig paint in her writing. Combined with suspense it is amazing. Becky Wade, Melissa Tagg, Loree Lough, and Lisa Lickel . . . I wish I could write like all of them, but I’ve had to learn that I have my style and I need to be okay with that.

How is fiction writing a reflection of your Christianity?

I love to encourage others. Jesus told parables and there is power in telling stories that can show the process of sanctification which I hope my characters will go through. I also believe we need to grow emotionally as well as spiritually. I hope I encourage others to persevere in their own journeys, spiritually, emotionally and relationally. And hopefully the reader will see biblical truths in a new light based on the journey of the characters to motivate them to persevere through the trials that come their way.

Pothole road damageWhat inspired the idea for this story?

For Pesto & Potholes I actually started with the concept of the potholes based on something I learned in my undergraduate studies. The idea that healing—whether emotional or physical—can be a rocky journey out of the pit and not necessarily an upward smooth trajectory. I labeled it potholes, my prof was a little surprised but to me, it stuck.

For the entire Orchard Hill series, for which Pesto & Potholes is the first book, I wanted to explore one of the things I didn’t understand early in my faith journey was why the church was so important. Especially when so many young adults walk away. Beyond worship and teaching, I realized it was about the relationships. While I agree that the theology of origins and understanding how science supports Scripture is important, but I believe the disenfranchisement of younger adults is deeper than that.

Peter Scazzero wrote a book called Emotionally Healthy Spirituality and he posits that when we come to Christ we are born into a new family and need to learn the new rules. Not the “do’s and don’t’s” but how to relate to others in a way that honors God and His other image-bearers. Many times the way we’ve been raised has not been as healthy as the design God has for us in relationships. We are not mature if we only grow spiritually and not emotionally. So . . . I hope that my stories show the value and importance of the new “family” how valuable those relationships are for us to grow up in Christ as well as cope with the ups and downs of life.

More questions will be answered in the weeks to come. If you have some, please write them in the comments below!


Pesto and Potholes is Finally Here!

Hey, today is the big day. Release day. My debut novel, Pesto and Potholes is finally here. So indulge me in this moment of self-promotion.

Renata tries to escape her past and runs straight into . . . love.

Renata Blake has moved to the Milwaukee area to leave behind a painful past as a victim of abuse. She discovers a family like she’s never had before, at Orchard Hill Church and is drawn to handsome Packer fanatic, Antonio. After all she’s suffered through, could she ever trust a man again?

Antonio DeLuca has a full life with his family, church and his job as chef and manager at DeLuca’s Cucina. Having been betrayed in love, he is afraid to trust a woman again. How would he fit her into his already full life anyway?

As circumstances draw them together and attempt to tear them apart, life becomes a combination of savory pesto and painful potholes as both Tony and Renata learn that with God’s help, and the support of a faith community, they can both learn to love again.

And maybe fight a few ninjas along the way.


“In this dynamic novel, talented author Susan Baganz takes readers on a roller-coaster of events and emotions to remind us that even when life seems off-track, God rides beside us and promises “Have faith, child; you are safe in my care.” Reserve space on your Keepers shelf for PESTO AND POTHOLES!”  Loree Lough, award-winning author of 104 books, including reader favorite SAVING ALYSSA [#3 in Harlequin Heartwarming’s “A Child to Love” series], and FOR LOVE OF ELI, winner Readers Choice Best Short Contemporary award [Abingdon’s “Quilts of Love” series.]

“Poignant romance of two lost souls learning about the things that go wrong, humanity’s fault lines and how to grow and love again despite the potholes that inevitably crop up. Baganz manages to throw some laughter and joy into desperate situations in this debut novel. Read Pesto and Potholes for a crazy adventure that makes Italian food with a side of Ninja warriors seem natural.” Lisa Lickel, multi-published author of several novels including HEALING GRACE and THE LAST DETAIL.

Beautiful Bandit (Book Review)

BeautifulBanditCoverCompLoree Lough has written over 100 books . . . so I went to the library to see which ones they had on the shelves. She must be popular because of the many they carried I could only find one, Beautiful Bandit (Lone Star Legends V1), and was instantly hooked. I loved her ebook Jake Walker’s Wife which was also had a western feel. Loree didn’t disappoint me with this story either.

Joshua Neville is a pretty calm rancher, part of a big family but carrying deep loss inside him. When he travels to San Antonio to broker a deal for sale of some land, he witnesses the aftermath of a bank robbery that left three men dead. The strangest thing about it though was that from where he stood, the leader of the criminals was a . . . woman?

Kate Wellington had been gullible and duped by Frank who kidnapped her and holding her at gunpoint threatened to kill friends and neighbors as he robbed the bank. She was horrified at the events and held captive and abused by the brutal and narcissistic criminal. She managed to escape and stumbled into Josh’s camp as he is heading home. She changed her name to ‘Dinah’ and feared the Texas Rangers would be after her if Frank doesn’t get to her first. She talks Josh into escorting her across the Mexico border but when she hurts her ankle, he takes her to his ranch to heal instead.

Dinah struggles with her attraction to Josh but knows she has to leave or Frank will kill this family of faith she has come to love. She believes that if Josh finds out the truth about Frank, the robbery and the torture she endured, he would never want her anyway. But when the truth comes out, will Josh put his life at risk to keep her by his side?

This was a sweet romance and well written. Josh was a complex man filled with grief and conflicting emotions as he tried to respect Dinah/Kate’s wishes to leave him even as his heart dreamed of making her his wife. I’m not sure what number in her list of books this one falls, but I was glad to have stumbled up on it and enjoyed my time in its pages.

Writer Wednesday: Loree Lough

Loree main photoI have had the honor of getting to know best-selling and prolific author, Loree Lough. We’ve connected on-line when I had messaged her about an error I found in an ebook (so she could fix it!). That wonderful story is Jake Walker’s Wife by the way. LOVED IT!  WE connected after that in person and I have been delighted to get to know her as not only an author but a woman who generously gives to her readers and other writers.

Loree once sang for her supper, performing across the U.S. and Canada. Now and then, she blows the dust from her 6-string to croon a tune or two, but mostly, she writes novels that have earned hundreds of industry and “Readers’ Choice” awards, 4- and 5-star reviews, and 5 book-to-movie options. Her 100th bookSaving Alyssa, #3 in “A Child to Love” series for Harlequin Heartwarming, released in March of 2014. Next up, the “Secrets on Sterling Street historical series from Whitaker House, and “Those Marshall Boys” contemporary series from Harlequin Heartwarming. Both series will release during 2014 and 2015.

Loree enjoys sharing learned-the-hard-way lessons about the craft and the industry. Her comedic approach makes her a favorite at writers’ organizations, book clubs, private and government institutions, and college and high school writing programs in the U.S. and abroad.

A writer who believes in giving back, Loree dedicates a generous portion of her income to favorite charities. (See “Giving Back” http://www.loreelough.com to see the list.) She loves hearing from her readers, and answers every letter, personally.

So, Loree, when did you decided that you would be an author? Was it something you fell into, felt called to… ?

After about seven years as a “beat reporter” and freelancer, I began to notice a disturbing trend in the newspaper industry: Publishers, changing salient facts to appease advertisers. While grousing about this over supper one night, my husband joked that, for all intents and purposes, I was writing fiction. “So why don’t you just write a novel!” We had a good laugh over it, but the notion wouldn’t leave my brain. I started fiddling around with a plot, and characters, and conflict, and before I knew it, I’d written Pocketful of Promises. I submitted it to Barbour Publishing’s Heartsong Presents line…and Steve Reginald called about a week later to say they wanted to issue a contract. The book was released on our 22nd anniversary, in August of ’94. 100 books later (with 6 additional books slated for release between now and mid-year 2016), I’m still suffering from what he jokingly dubbed “fiction addiction.”

What’s your pet peeve?

You’re kidding, right…peeve? Singular? <g> I guess if I had to choose just one ‘life type’ pet peeve, it would be pettiness. You know, people who seem to look for reasons to bicker and complain, or make mountains out of molehills, or whine about a headache when their neighbor is dying of cancer, or wish for bigger houses when some of their own family members are barely making ends meet.

If asked to choose a writing-related pet peeve, it would be professional envy. Writers who moan and groan every time a peer takes a step forward in her career. You’ve probably heard fellow writers say things like “I’m a better writer than she is, so why did she move up another rung, while I’m still stuck here at the bottom of the ladder!” or “She must know somebody, because I’ve read her stuff, and frankly, I’m not impressed.” or “I pray and go to church and tithe and do good deeds. Why is God rewarding her and not me!” The silliness of stuff like that tests my patience like few other things do. Why can’t we, instead, be truly happy for our peers when they advance among the ranks? Why must we compare our ‘place’ in the pecking order to theirs, or compare our writing styles to theirs? Why can’t we just accept that—if we’re writing to glorify God and spread His word—maybe His plan for us is different than His plan for them. Maybe,  instead of griping about why we aren’t moving up in the writing world, we should give thanks for where we are, and accept that it’s where He wants us. Then, maybe, when we congratulate our author friends when they share good career news, it’ll be the truth.

What was your most embarrassing moment as a writer?

Years ago, I was invited to Ireland to lead a few workshops for an international writers’ group. They asked me to read from my work in progress during the mega book signing. So the nice lady who invited me stood at the microphone, introduced me, said a few words about the book, and brought me to the lectern. I started reading, and quickly realized I’d grabbed the wrong file. Instead of reading from a lighthearted historical set in Ireland, I read the opening scene from a dark and gritty contemporary…a short story set in New York City! Thankfully, the Irish really are the good-humored, gracious people all the tour books say they are!

What has been your most difficult challenge as an author?

Coming up with storylines, characters and settings, plotting, developing conflict…those things—while certainly not easy—aren’t particularly challenging. Balancing church and family obligations with the demands of work? That is by far the biggest challenge this author faces!

How do you process rejections and/or negative reviews?

I’ll answer the ‘reviews’ question first…. Experience has taught me that it’s impossible not to feel the sting of a negative review. So I go with it…for a couple of minutes. Then I re-read the thing with an eye to learning how the review, whether written by an industry pro or a reader, might help improve my work. Example: Years ago, when Suddenly Daddy, my first Love Inspired novel was released, a magazine reviewer said a lot of good and glowing things about the story and the characters. But she gave the book 3 stars. Why? Because it contained too much narrative and backstory for her tastes. Upon re-reading the book, I had to admit that she was spot on! She taught me a valuable lesson, and now as I write, I’m very careful not to make that mistake again.

Rejections are similar, in that we can learn from them. So go ahead, wince at the sting…but don’t wallow. And by all means, view them as stepping stones, not stumbling blocks, because that’s truly what they are!

What do you feel is the best success so far in your writing career?

When readers write to tell me they identified with a character or a situation in one of my books, that’s when I feel successful. Because isn’t that our objective as writers…to craft stories that speak to each reader, if not as an individual, then to what she’s coping with at that point in her life.

What would be your top three pieces of advice to newer, up and coming authors?

1.) Read, read, read, and not just the stuff you want to write. If you’re writing historicals, read contemporaries (and the other way around). If you’re writing gritty suspense, read comedic novels. Read things that aren’t faith-based. Read non-fiction. Because in every book, you’ll learn something you can apply to your own writing.

2.) Attend conferences. If you can’t afford the big, national shindigs, find some local workshops and seminars, and sign up. Not only will you learn how different authors approach the craft, you’ll meet people who understand what life as a writer is like. And, God willing, you’ll meet people who have the decision-making powers to represent and/or contract your work.

3.) Ask yourself one, all-important question: Why am I writing? Your answer will determine your career path.

As a Christian author, what would you like your legacy to be?

Naturally, I’d like to think I helped someone reconnect with the Father, or get to know Him on a personal level for the very first time.

In a perfect world, I hope at the end of my life, readers will say “She made us laugh and cry, and I’ll never forget the characters/storyline of (insert title here).” And I hope my tombstone will say “She meant it when she said ‘I’ll retire when they pry the keyboard from my cold, dead hands.”

Currency of the HeartWhat is your current work in process?

At the moment, I’m working on two novels. Currency of the Heart is Book One in the “Secrets on Sterling Street” historical series for Whitaker House, due out in Janurary. And Summer’s Hero, a contemporary, is Book One for Harlequin Heartwarming’s “Those Marshall Boys” series. (No cover for that one yet, but it’s also scheduled for release in January.)

Links to social media:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LoreeLough

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LoreeALough

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/loreelough/

Google+: https://plus.google.com/112813046204335213917?hl=en#112813046204335213917/posts?hl=en

For Love of Eli (Book Review)

for love of eliLoree Lough’s book, For Love of Eli is part of a series of books being released this year by Abingdon in the Quilts of Love series.

With the idea that “every quilt has a story,” Loree has woven a sweet contemporary romance. Eli was only a few years old when he lost his parents and went to live with his widowed aunt, Taylor, who owns a bed and breakfast. One day while in the attic she comes across the start of a quilt from her own mother and decides that it would be a good thing for Eli to have  a memory quilt made up of fabric from people who have been important in his life. She undertakes this task in secret so it will be a surprise.

Eli also has an uncle on his mother’s side who thought he would get custody of the young boy and loree loughresents that flighty Taylor instead was awarded that. Reece is a pediatrician. Who better to raise a boy? Taylor sees the importance of Reece in Eli’s life and gives him weekends to spend with the boy.

The frequent interactions as they both try to be parents to the orphaned young man bring them closer than either were ready for. Tragedy strikes again and they have to pull together out of their love for Eli to help him, and each other, through the challenges that come. Challenges that force them to let go of resentments, seek forgiveness and finally live in love. Like a beautiful quilt that Eli receives that highlights the colors and love in his life.

I love this tale of brokenness and healing, resentments forgiven and love found. Lore Lough has had a long career of writing romances and she has spanned many genres to do so. Loree never took the easy way around difficult and painful circumstances in her fiction and the deep questions of faith were real and dealt with an organic way making them a natural part of the story. Thanks Loree for another satisfying romance!