Tuesday, December 18, 2012

What's in YOUR Stocking?

Special thanks to Tina Radcliffe for this cutie-pie stocking stuffer she made for me. Isn't it adorable??

And don't forget, I'm blogging at Tyndale House blog ALL WEEK this week. 

Yesterday, Monday, December 17th was a Q&A session.

Today, Tuesday, December 18th I have an interview with the lovely Shaina Turner, and Wednesday, December 19th, I'll be discussing Digital First vs. Digital Only. 

Shaina wraps up the week on Thursday spotlighting all three of the 2013 Digital First titles. 

It's shaping up to be a fun, but busy week. I'd love to see you there... Tyndale Blog!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Pam Hillman Guest Blogging at Tyndale Dec 17-19th

Excitement is building for my sophomore release, Claiming Mariah, coming January 1st to an etailer near you! 

I will be in residence at Tyndale House blog ALL WEEK this week. 

Monday, December 17th is a Q&A session. Bring your questions and we'll do our best to provide answers. 

Tuesday, December 18th Shaina Turner interviews Pam, and

Wednesday, December 19th, don't miss Pam's article discussing Digital First vs. Digital Only. 

Shaina wraps up the week on Thursday spotlighting all three of the 2013 Digital First titles. 

It's shaping up to be a fun, but busy week. I'd love to see you there... Tyndale Blog!

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

What I'm Writing...and More

A special shout-out to Johnnie Donley for tagging me in this blog hop. It’s a fun way for readers to “hop” around on the internet and find new blogs to visit. If you came from Johnnie’s blog over to mine, then thank you for hopping over. If you arrived from a different briar patch, then feel free take a gander at Johnnie’s blog and check out her post from last week.

In the spirit of this blog hop, I’m supposed to share a bit about one of my works-in-progress, but this is a difficult topic as I hold my stories close to my heart until they’re ready to venture out into the wide-wide world. So, use your imagination to fill in the blanks! lol

Title: Trusting Trey

Genre: Inspirational Historical Romance.

Where did the idea come from? Trusting Trey features several secondary characters who just popped up like a crop of cabbage after a warm spring thaw in Stealing Jake, my debut book that released from Tyndale in July, 2011.

Short synopsis:
Haunted by the death of her husband in a coal mine accident, Johanna Thorndike, a young mother of two small children fights tooth-and-nail to keep the mine closed and preserve her husband’s memory. Mine owner Trey MacPherson is desperate to re-open the mine for reasons of his own. As these two butt heads, an explosion is bound to occur sooner or later.

Who or what inspired the WIP? As I wrote Stealing Jake, a character name J. T. MacPherson surfaced. MacPherson doesn’t actually show up in Stealing Jake, but he’s an integral part of the story. As a matter of fact, I deliberately left J. T. MacPherson non-gender specific in the first book because I couldn’t make up my mind whether MacPherson would be a man or a woman. By the time I finished Stealing Jake, the character had become flesh and blood, and his gender was cemented forevermore as James Thomas MacPherson III, or just plain old Trey.

Agency Representation: Steve Laube with The Steve Laube Agency.

How long did it take to write the first draft? Dunno. It’s still in progress.

What other books in this genre compare? Maybe the first book in the series, Stealing Jake.

So, that's a snippet of what I'm working on in addition to gearing up for the January 2013 release of Claiming Mariah.

Today, December 5, 2012: To keep this blog hop hopping along, check out Tyndale’s Introduction to the Digital First releases.
 And be sure to bookmark Tyndale’s blog and stop back by all throughout the month of December for more articles and interviews from the Digital First authors. I’ll be featured on the Tyndale blog on December 17th, 18th, and 19th, and I’d love to see you there.

Seekerville New Year’s Eve Party: Hop over to Seekerville where you can always find fun, fellowship, food, and prizes. Seekerville is hosting a 27 hour New Year’s Eve party December 31st with a minimum of one giveaway an hour. We'll ring in the New Year at midnight, so join us for the fun! Nothing is required but a comment to be entered in a giveaway.

January-March 2013: I’m kicking off an exciting blog tour to celebrate the release of my new book with Tyndale, Claiming Mariah, releasing January 1st, 2013. Keep an eye on my website www.pamhillman.com and facebook for more details about the tour, the book, and my exciting giveaway. 

Monday, November 05, 2012

Taming Yellow

The yellow tomcat stared at me, wary eyes unblinking as I crept closer. Suddenly, he crouched, and before I could move, he darted away, only to stop at the edge of the yard, ready to flee at a moment’s notice.

I turned and walked back into the house, only to peer through the window to see if he would come back. Moments passed and finally he crept to the bowl of cat food and began to eat with the other cats.

I sighed. I blamed myself for Yellow’s difficult, lonely existence. He wanted to be part of our family, but he was too scared to trust anyone.

Before Yellow was born, my husband brought home a dog with an orange-red coat that we named Rusty. Apparently, Rusty had fallen off the back of someone’s pickup truck because he had a badly scraped place on his hip that left a horrible scar even after it healed.

Rusty was a friendly dog, taking to the family like he’d always been a part of us, riding in the back of the truck to check on the cows, keeping my husband company working fence, but he had one major flaw. He despised cats with a passion that defied logic. But before he could do them harm, the cats left the premises and refused to return. A few weeks passed, and we lost poor Rusty to an accident. While I missed our dog, I was still worried about the cats.

The cats had taken refuge in the woods near our house and even after Rusty was long gone, they weren't convinced it was safe to come home. One day while walking, I found one of our mama cats named PJ. I picked her up and tried to carry her home. The closer we got to the house, the stiffer she became. She refused to go to the house with me. After several days of coaxing, she came into the yard. After inspecting everything with mincing steps and perked ears, she decided the threat was gone and that it was safe to stay.

When PJ showed up the next day with a litter of kittens, I was surprised and excited. The kittens were about six weeks old, and the cutest things I’d ever seen. I don’t know where PJ had delivered her kittens, but I was thankful she was able to bring them home before winter set in.

Yellow was one of those kittens. He’d been born in the wild, and even though his mama had brought him home, he was too skittish to let us get anywhere near him. But I wasn’t one to give up.

Day after day, I would feed the cats and see how close I could get to Yellow. At first, he ran away when I opened the door. He would stand at the edge of the yard while I put the cat food out. Eventually, I was allowed to venture to within twenty feet, then ten, then five.

Finally, the day came when I crouched right next to Yellow while he ate. I talked quietly to him the entire time, letting him know I wasn’t a threat. My legs cramped, but I remained as still as I could. After a few days of this, I reached out and touched his soft, yellow fur. Of course he darted away immediately, but I was elated. I knew it was just a matter of time before he’d let me pet him.

And one day it happened. I sat as close to the bowl as I dared and called Yellow. He sidled up to the bowl, and I talked to him while he ate. Then, ever so gently, I reached out and stroked my hand down his back. Instead of darting away, he actually arched into my hand for just a moment. I was thrilled! I had tamed the yellow tomcat.

Yellow came to love me as much as he could love anybody, I suppose. He would rub against my legs and arch his back into my hand when I would reach down and pet him. But he just couldn’t stomach being picked up more than a foot or so off the ground. And he never did let anyone else in the family get near him. I was the only one given the privilege.

When I started writing Claiming Mariah, Yellow’s hardscrabble life paralleled hero Slade Donovan’s, and I knew it was time to share Yellow’s story with the world.

I was honored that Yellow finally trusted me, but he didn’t give that trust lightly. I had to work for it, just as Mariah has to work to earn the trust of both Slade and Yellow in Claiming Mariah.

Click cover to pre-order Claiming Mariah from Amazon

In light of her father’s death, Mariah Malone sends a letter that will forever alter the lives of her family. When Slade Donovan, strong willed and eager for vengeance, shows up on her front porch, Mariah is not ready to hear his truths: her father’s farm, the only home she’s ever known, was bought with stolen gold. With Slade ready to collect his father’s rightful claim and force Mariah and her family out on the streets, Mariah must turn to God for guidance. Though Mr. Frederick Cooper, a local landowner, promises to answer her financial woes if she agrees to be his bride, Mariah finds herself drawn instead to the angry young man demanding her home.

With the ranch now under Slade’s careful eye, he will unearth more than he ever imagined as a devious plot of thievery, betrayal and murder threatens more than the well-being of the ranch, endangering the lives of those who hold it dear. With days dwindling until the rest of the Donovan clan arrive to the Lazy M ranch, Mariah and Slade must rise above the resentment of their fathers and see their true feelings before greed alters their futures forever.

And, don't forget...
The Prize Vault is Open!

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Stealing Jake Epic eBook Awards finalist!

Whoo-hoo! My debut novel, Stealing Jake, is an 
EPIC eBook Awards finalist
in the Historical Romance category.

When Livy O’Brien spies a young boy jostling a man walking along the boardwalk, she recognizes the act for what it is. After all, she used to be known as Light-fingered Livy. But that was before she put her past behind her and moved to the growing town of Chestnut, Illinois, where she’s helping to run an orphanage. Now she’ll do almost anything to protect the street kids like herself.

Sheriff’s deputy Jake Russell had no idea what he was in for when he ran into Livy—literally—while chasing down a pickpocket. With a rash of robberies and a growing number of street kids in town—as well as a loan on the family farm that needs to be paid off—Jake doesn’t have time to pursue a girl. Still, he can't seem to get Livy out of his mind. He wants to get to know her better . . . but Livy isn’t willing to trust any man, especially not a lawman.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Happy Fifth Birthday Seekerville!!!

Join us ANY day, EVERY day of October
in Seekerville for a month-long birthday party
featuring a host of guest speakers, daily prizes, weekly prizes,
and a GRAND PRIZE at the end of the month.

Prizes consist of Nooks, Kindles and a laptop!

Come on over, join in the fun and fellowship with the Seekerville community. We'd love to have you!

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Granny's China Holds a Special Place

This morning I looked around my home for something special to share on Calico Trails.

It didn't take long!

I immediately spotted a set of cabbage rose china. I don't really know how old it is, and it's probably not worth a lot in terms of dollars, but I treasure it because my grandmother gave it to me.

Back when I was a kid, the local grocery store had programs where they sold china and you could keep your receipts and for every dollar you spent, you could get a piece of china for just a few dollars.


Granny collected enough full sets of china in various patterns to give each of her granddaughters a set. Six in all. I ended up with the Empire Green Cabbage Rose set. It is complete, except for one tiny teacup. 

Eventually, I'll find a teacup to fill that empty spot in the china cabinet. Green has never been my color, but that's okay. I adore this set of china because Granny bought it and saved each piece for that special day that she would hand it down to me.  

My heroine in Stealing Jake had a hardscrabble childhood, living on the streets of Chicago as a pickpocket until she moved to Chestnut to start a new life. She had nothing, no treasures to hold close and bring back memories of her loved ones. Nothing but memories. 

I'm also reminded of the great westward expansion when so many had to abandon treasured heirlooms on the side of the trail to lighten the load. My heart still breaks for them over 100 years later. 

Oh, and just recently, my aunt called to let me know that she was giving me Granny's little corner hutch that she stored these dishes in until she passed them on to me. I still remember the day Granny asked my cousin and me to come to her house and pick out our china, and our excitement as we waited for our little Granny to open the hutch and bring out the china she'd saved for us.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Calico Trails Welcomes Cheryl St. John

I’m excited about this new mini-series, Irish Brides, and honored to kick it off with The Wedding Journey as well as a free online read. The series starts toward the end of the Irish potato famine, 1845-1852, when a million people died and a million others immigrated. At this time nearly all the land was owned by rich English families and overseen by agents or middlemen. The tenants were powerless, penniless and lived on potatoes and water. It’s no wonder why so many dreamed of a new life and the possibility of owning their own land.

In The Wedding Journey, you’ll see how the ship owners took advantage of the fleeing Irish by selling passage on overcrowded and unsanitary ships, where thousands upon thousands died at sea. One of the best things about what I do as an author is my ability to create story people who deal with the worst conditions history can throw at them and survive. Meet the Murphy sisters, three young ladies determined to leave their lives of poverty and forge new lives in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

I was fortunate to find a diary, written by a man aboard an immigrant ship, and between its pages I learned of the daily life and hardships of the journey to the new land. I'm always inspired by stories of men and women who courageously face the unknown and who face devastating hardships to triumph over weather, suffrage, poverty, false accusations, and I like to write strong people of enormous character. The Wedding Journey was an opportunity to populate an entire ship with interesting characters and watch them interact. I believe you’ll be inspired by their stories of courage and their discoveries of love.

The Wedding Journey
Love Inspired Historical, April
ISBN: 978-0-373-82911-8

The mysterious inheritance is the answer to a prayer. Now Irish lass Maeve Murphy and her sisters can come to America. She's sure happiness awaits her, even if it won't--can't--come from widowed ship doctor Flynn Gallagher. Yes, he made her his assistant, but she's not foolish enough to fall for the man all the eligible, wealthy female passengers admire.

Flynn Gallagher may have his pick of ladies, but only one cares as he does for the sick and poor. Flynn vowed never to marry another woman who would break his heart. With Maeve, has his heart found safe harbor at last?

Link to The Wedding Journey on amazon:
The Wedding Journey (Love Inspired Historical)

The Wedding Journey, Book One in the Irish Brides trilogy is Cheryl St.John's fortieth book. In May, Renee Ryan's Mistaken Bride is the story of middle sister Bridget. June brings A Baby Between Them by Winnie Griggs.

Cheryl has given us lots of fun things to do today. Enjoy!

1) DRAWING: Cheryl is giving away the complete set of three autographed books to one person who emails her with the names of the two main characters in Donnelly's Promise. Include the character names as well as your name and address in the body of the email and DRAWING ENTRY as the subject line. Send to: SaintJohn@aol.com.

2) FREE READ: The Harlequin website features a free daily online read, the prequel to The Wedding Journey: Read Vaughn and Darcy's story, titled Donnelly's Promise.

3) TRAILER: You don't want to miss The Wedding Journey book trailer. I got a sneak peek and it's awesome. Check out Flynn Gallagher and tell us what you think!

Scroll down to see THREE of Cheryl's most prized possessions from Saturday's Sneak Preview. Cheryl, what a joy to have you with us on Calico Trails!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Sneak Preview: Precious Possessions of an Award Winning Author

Calico Trails is excited to host another award winning author on MONDAY, April 2, 2012. She has forty books in print (wow!) and her latest releases in April.

Aren't her rings gorgeous? Read on to find out more about these precious heirlooms that belong to our mystery guest.

Our author says, "I took a pic of the most precious heirlooms I own. I had to lube up and wrestle off the two gold rings! I never even realized until I took the shot how scratched and scarred they are. I guess that's part of the charm. The heavy gold band on the bottom was my Great-Great-Grandmother Preadie's wedding band. I wear it on my left thumb and haven't removed it since the day my mother gave it to me. The gold is heavy and feels warm and wonderful. The gold and white gold wedding band was my dad's. I wear it on the middle finger of my right hand, and I've never taken it off since it was removed from his hand and given to me at his funeral. The gorgeous ruby ring was my Grandma's. I wear it for special occasions. From this pic I see I need to take it for a polish."

I got chillbumps reading why these rings are so precsious to our special guest, and I have to agree, the scratches are part of the charm.

Stop back by Calico Trails on Monday April 2nd to find out who owns these gorgeous rings and for a chance to win an autographed set of three of her books.

Can you guess who these rings belong to?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Cowboy Chic Decor ala Hillman Style

I was looking around my den the other day and thought about removing some of the ...uh... decorations, but decided to embrace the Cowboy Chic Decor instead.

And, just so you know, not a ONE of the following pictures was staged. They were captured on digital film in their natural habitat.

The den, or as much as I could get of it at this angle. Have you spotted where the eagles landed? If not, keep scrolling...

This decorative piece from Tadlock Stockyards is a little brighter than most, but adds a touch of color to an otherwise bland lampshade.

The assessorized Cowboy's Computer and "office"....

The ever-popular and much-sought-after JD cap reposing on a pleated lampshade.

The burgundy hat is Mississippi Cattleman's Association and the green and tan one is a Tadlock Stockyard cap. Tadlock Stockyard has got us covered!

Another Tadlock Stockyard cap with the Bose radio. One guess what the blue one underneath is...

And that's life in the Hillman Household.

You got a problem with it?

Monday, March 05, 2012

Guest Connie Stevens: Generations of Precious Heirlooms

Several weeks ago, I was in the process of turning my breakfast room into an office and couldn't decide whether to put my grandmother's china back in the china hutch or fill the hutch with books.

This lead to a wonderful discussion with the Seekers about the most prized possessions and heirlooms we've inherited. My grandmother's china, my grandfather's 22 rifle, my mother's handmade THREADBARE toddler coat are just three treasures I wouldn't part with for anything.

That coat isn't worth a plug nickle to anyone else, but I'd fight you for it!

Don't believe me? Just try it! lol

So, when Connie Stevens and I were discussing her topic for this week, I mentioned that if she wanted to focus on treasured family heirlooms, it would fit seamlessly with my vision for Calico Trails.

Her response: "OH MY GOODNESS!!! How perfect is that?? The heroine of my newest release has four treasures—the only things she has to remind her of her mother who died when she (the heroine) was very young. In addition, I just discovered a family heirloom that has been in my possession and I didn’t realize I had it. My mother gave me “Grandma’s Bible”. But I just recently discovered it’s NOT my grandmother’s Bible. It is my grandmother’s grandfather’s Bible. 5 generations old!!"

Wow, isn't God's nudging amazing? I, for one, can't wait to read all about Connie's treasures. So, here's our guest for this week.

Welcome author Connie Stevens!

It’s hard to live for more than sixty years on this planet and not accumulate a few treasures along the way. I’d have no trouble filling several sheets of paper, naming those special items that are barely worthy of notice by some, but priceless to me. Most mothers collect mementos of their children’s growing up years—kindergarten art projects, mother’s day cards signed with a childish scrawl, a lock of hair from the first haircut, the first baby tooth that was carefully tucked under a pillow to await the tooth fairy, baby books, photo albums, and memories—so many memories.

Then there are those family heirlooms that are handed down from generation to generation. During the last ten years of my mother’s life, she methodically gifted each of her daughters with pieces of her past. Her mother’s china, her grandmother’s glassware, old books that had belonged to her aunt, scrapbooks, and pieces of jewelry, just to name a few. I have an old photo album of my grandmother’s, as well as a pair of seed pearl-embellished gloves she wore when she sang in the opera.

About eight years ago, knowing that I collected antique Bibles, my mother handed me a tissue-wrapped parcel, and told me, “I want you to have Grandma’s Bible.” I was thrilled to say the least, but for some reason I cannot fathom now, I did not take much time looking through it. Not long ago, I was dusting and my duster snagged on the corner of Grandma’s Bible. I pulled it from the shelf and carefully disentangled it. Then I did something I should have done eight years ago. I sat down and opened it, looking at the “family pages.” It was then I realized what I had. This was NOT my grandmother’s Bible. This was my grandmother’s grandfather’s Bible.

The printing date was 1863. Listed there were my great-great grandfather’s birth and marriage dates, his siblings—one of whom died when she was but four months old. The genealogy of six generations unfurled across the pages. The last three generations were added in my mother’s handwriting, which included my two sisters and me, and our children.

Also tucked within the pages of the Bible was an old photograph of my great grandmother.

I’d heard numerous stories about her, but never gazed upon her face before. She was beautiful. I was staggered to realize the treasure I’d had sitting on my bookshelf for eight years. This wasn’t just any antique. This outlined our family’s history. With shaking hands, I called my sisters and told them about the Bible. What a priceless treasure to hand down to the next generation.

In my new release, HEART OF HONOR, my heroine, Abigail Locke, has four treasures—a cameo brooch, an ivory-handled hairbrush, a daintily-embroidered handkerchief, and a lace collar. It’s all she has to remind her of her mother whose face Abigail cannot remember.

Abby’s father, an Army colonel, insists she leave the army post and travel to Charlotte, North Carolina due to the tenuous conditions surrounding the relocation of the Cherokee nation just prior to the forced march to Indian Territory in Oklahoma. She digs her heels in and doesn’t want to go, but she has no choice in the matter. Her traveling companion is a widow lady from the fort, and their guide is Nathaniel Danfield, a dishonorably-discharged army lieutenant.

Abby tucks her mother’s keepsakes into the bottom of one of her trunks. While traveling through the mountains of north Georgia, an accident causes the wagon to plummet down a mountainside, taking Abby’s trunk and her cherished treasures with it. Her heart is grieved at the loss. For Abby, it’s almost like losing her mother all over again.

Nathaniel doesn’t know about Abby’s treasures, and thinks she’s being ridiculously petty, pouting about the loss of her trunk when she should be grateful they all survived. When he learns about those precious items contained in the trunk, to what lengths will he go to recover them for her?

When I look at the family heirlooms my mother gave to me and my sisters, an affinity forms in my heart for this character. Abigail lost her mother at such a young age, she has no memory of kisses or caresses, stories or lullabies. All she had was four keepsakes--tangible vestiges of a connection with the mother she can’t remember.

The antique Bible I cherish is tangible proof of my family’s heritage. I may not have ever met the people whose names are inscribed on those pages, and I may not be able to picture their face, but they are part of me. Like my mother before me, I want to pass this Bible on to the next generation. In this case, since my son has preceded me to heaven, the Bible will go my mother’s oldest grandchild—my niece. But I’ll make certain all of the nieces and nephews have photographs of the Bible and its pages.

I’ve been blessed with a love of history, but holding my own history in my hands was a gift that can only come from the generations before us.

About Connie: Connie Stevens lives within shouting distance of the north Georgia mountains. She and her husband have been married for 38 years, and share their house with one cantankerous kitty named Sweet Pea. Connie’s first novel came out in January 2011 and she has published and/or contracted six more books since then. When she isn’t writing, Connie loves browsing antique shops where she gets plenty of ideas for stories and characters. She loves reading and gardening, and when she has time, she enjoys making quilts for the Cancer Treatment Centers of America. Connie has been a member of ACFW since 2001. Visit Connie’s website at http://www.conniestevenswrites.com and look for her (and Sweet Pea!) on Facebook.

What a pleasure it is to have Connie as a guest this week! Thank you so much for sharing your family treasures with us, Connie. I can't imagine how your heart jumped for joy when you discovered how old that famaily Bible is!

I'd love to hear from more readers about the hand-me-downs and family heirlooms that you wouldn't part with for anything. And if you'd like to share your story and pictures on Calico Trails, visit my website at www.pamhillman.com and drop me an email. You don't have to be an author to be a guest. I'd love to hear your story and see your pictures!

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Watch Night Service

We had a big party
on New Year's Eve.
I know coming from me
that sounds hard to believe.

We talked, we played
and we sang,
everyone was there -
the whole gang!

We do it year
after year,
and believe it or not
there's never any beer.

And the only fight
you may see
is between some kids
ages 1 to 3.

There isn't any whisky,
drugs, or fooling around,
but one thing's for sure,
great love abounds.

We have a
grand ol' time,
and you know what?
It doesn't cost a dime!

If you want to know
what I'm talking about,
we bring in the New Year
with a great big shout.

Because we're at church,
you see,
my husband,
the kids and me.

We're really tired
when it's all done,
but we don't have a hangover
to show for our fun.

Don't you think
that's a pretty good way
to usher in
the New Year's Day?

Pam Hillman

Happy New Year!!!