Friday, December 31, 2010


Hailee Steinfeld, Matt Damon, Jeff Bridges
Stephen Bly

TRUE GRIT.... whoa!  What a great film.  Classic story.  Terrific acting.  Breathtaking cinematography.  And the theme song is the old hymn "Leaning On the Everlasting Arms."  A tip of the Resistol cowboy hat to the Coen brothers. They nailed it. 

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Stephen Bly

I ordered a triple-tall iced espresso. That’s cold coffee with about ten times the caffeine content as regular coffee. No flavoring. No milk. No nothing added. A modern hyper drink. Kind of like the dregs at the bottom of the pot of cowboy coffee, after it’s been over the campfire at least four hours.

Thursday, December 23, 2010


Janet Chester Bly


Each year we think this might be the time to downsize in our Christmas decorating. And we did. A tiny bit. But what we really mean is No Big Tree. Just a small one. To sit on a table or in a corner. Well, maybe next year. . . .

Sunday, December 19, 2010


On the Trail with Stephen Bly

A friend sent me a raffle ticket for a drawing on behalf of his favorite charity. Seemed like a worthy cause. And to tell the truth, I didn't mind winning. First prize: a handcrafted, silver mounted, full stamped trophy saddle.

I’ve watched the guys who build these kinds of saddles. I know the work it takes. My own saddles have been slick and plain, because that’s all I could afford. But handcrafting and stamping on saddles means more than just fancy fofarraw. Like everything else connected with cowboy gear, the tooling on the saddle has a practical purpose as well. The rough indentations of the fancy saddle cause friction on the rider’s Wranglers. They help a cowboy sit tight in the saddle without the tiresome leg cramps that sometimes accompany riding a snuffy horse.

Most everything an old-time cowboy did and wore had a logical reason, a purpose behind the action.

Just like St. Paul who said, “I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air” (1 Corinthians 9:26). Every action of his involved a single-minded goal, a well considered reason, a spiritual purpose.
Bible principles center around spiritual instruction, practical discipline, respect for the sacred. The eternal perspective.  But that doesn’t mean we can’t add some polish and shine to what we do. For instance, we can have an uproar of a fun time trying to be good.
We’ve got a choice. We can do the minimum—with a grudging attitude, just to get by so we don’t seem quite so ornery. Or we can obey with flair, with cheer, with delight. Either way will get you there, if you’ve got Jesus. But one way sure does resonate a whole heap better. And puts the shine of chrome on your life.
Sort of like the difference between a plain saddle and one that’s full stamped.


How are you adding some spit, polish & shine to your duties of this day?

Monday, December 13, 2010

HER HEALING WAYS, a historical novel by Lyn Cote

Her Healing Ways
Her Healing Ways
Final book in "The Gabriel Sisters" series
a Love Inspired® Historical
By Lyn Cote


Unconventional. Unafraid. Unwelcome.  A female physician with an adopted black daughter?

The townsfolk of Idaho Bend will never accept Dr. Mercy Gabriel — even when faced with a deadly cholera epidemic. But all Mercy needs is one man willing to listen … and to trust.

Four years of war command turned Lon Mackey into a footloose gambler who can't abide attachments. Yet he can't help getting riled by the threats Mercy keeps receiving. Her trailblazing courage could re-ignite his faith and humanity.

And his loyalty could make her dream—for the
first time—of a family of her own….


"Her Healing Ways (Four Stars) is a wonderful love story between two people with different outlooks on life, who together bring out the best in each other. Cote knows what will keep readers interested in the story and uses this knowledge throughout her story.  Don't miss this wonderful book."


Idaho Territory, Late September 1868

High on the board seat, Mercy Gabriel sat beside the wagon master on the lead Conestoga. The line of the supply train slowed, pulling into the mining town, Idaho Bend. Panicky-looking people raced toward it, with bags and valises in hand. What was happening here? Like a cold wet finger, alarm slid up Mercy's spine.
She reached down and urged her adopted daughter Indigo up onto the seat beside her away from the onrushing people. Though sixteen now, Indigo shrank against Mercy, her darker face tight with concern. “Don’t worry,” Mercy whispered as confidently as she could.
She looked down at a forceful man who had pushed his way to the front. He was without a coat, his shirt sleeves rolled up and his colorfully embroidered vest buttoned askew. From the flamboyant vest, she guessed he must be a gambler. What would he want with her?


When Lyn Cote became a mother, she gave up teaching, and while raising a son and a daughter, she began working on her first novel. Long years of rejection followed. Finally in 1997, Lyn got "the call." Her first book, Never Alone, was chosen by Steeple Hill for the new Love Inspired romance line. Since then, Lyn has had over thirty novels published. In 2006 Lyn's book, Chloe, was a finalist for the RITA, one of the highest awards in the romance genre. Lyn’s brand “Strong Women, Brave Stories,” always includes three elements: a strong heroine who is a passionate participant in her times, authentic historical detail, and a multicultural cast of characters.

Lyn also features stories of strong women both from real life and true to life fiction on her blog:

Lyn also can be found on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads. Drop by and "friend or follow" her. 

Now living her dream of writing books at her lake cottage in northern Wisconsin, Lyn hopes her books show the power of divine as well as human love.

To purchase a copy of Her Healing Ways, drop by


For the latest Christian Fiction Market Update, check out:

Sunday, December 05, 2010


Janet Chester Bly 

God uses many means to let us know what we’re created to be and do, how He will accomplish His purpose through you and me. Here’s some samples from the Bible. . . . 

Sarah heard through an angel talking to her husband: she would bear a son in her old age. And she laughed. (Genesis 18:9-14)

Ruth was filled with a compelling love for her embittered mother-in-law. This commitment drove her to her place and to her true people. (Book of Ruth)

Hannah railed against her barren womb. She prayed long and hard for a baby.  God answered her cries with a special child who became a great leader of Israel. (1 Samuel 1 & 2)

God challenged Esther through her cousin, Mordecai. She was in the right place. At the right time. Now, she needed the courage to do the right thing. (Book of Esther)

God spoke to Mary through a startling announcement from the Angel Gabriel. With a very awkward complication attached. Mary said “yes!” anyway. (Luke 1:26-56)

But dramatic, historic episodes like these are not requisites for hearing God’s voice or knowing what He wants you to do. Begin with who you are. Where you are. Whatever you’re doing.

1) Commit your day to God.
2) Seek His advice on every decision.
3) Do the simplest duties in His Name, in a manner to please Him.

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31 NIV).

“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:17 NIV).

In God’s eyes, that’s as important as producing famous offspring. . .or saving a race from extermination. Although ordinary obedience can lead to extraordinary feats.

“There is no such thing as Christian work,” says Elisabeth Elliot. “That is, there is no work in the world which is, in and of itself, Christian. Christian work is any kind of work, from cleaning a sewer to preaching a sermon, that is done by a Christian and offered to God.”
(from “Discipline of Work,” Discipline, the Glad Surrender)

In what ways has God spoken to you?

Managing Your Restless Search
Adapted from Managing Your Restless Search


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Thursday, December 02, 2010


Stephen Bly
On The Trail with Stephen Bly

An insurance salesman and I chatted at a nearby coffee shop when Prairie Bob entered, covered from hat to boot in oil and grease. We’ve got several fellas named Bob around our parts. . .so one gets called Prairie Bob, another is Forest Bob, and a third is Town Bob, more affectionately known as T-Bob.
“I aint’ got time to eat dinner,” Prairie Bob reported. “I bought a truck on Saturday and it didn’t even make it home. I ain’t keepin' that truck. No sir, I’m goin’ to town right now and get my hog back.”
Prairie Bob banged his way out the door and the insurance man stared at me with a frown. “That guy traded a pig for a truck?”

I explained that ‘getting your hog back’ is a cowboy expression for recovering something that belongs to you that has been taken by devious means. Usually it connotes stolen property. I figure Prairie Bob thought his hard-earned money was purloined by some slick talkin’ truck salesman.
Most folks have had a valuable stolen from us at one time or another. Maybe your wallet. Your keys. Your purse. Your favorite cow dog. Your pickup. Or perhaps a treasure even more critical.

The Bible reveals there’s a deceiver and liar who roams this planet. His main purpose is to “steal, kill, and destroy” (John 10:10). He’s mighty good at it too. He’ll try to ruin your reputation. Swipe your sanity. Pilfer your friends. Rob you of family. At the least, bankrupt your peace. But, most of all, he targets your spiritual life. He attempts to make God look bad in every circumstance. Instead, St. Paul exhorts: “Become friends with God” (2 Corinthians 5:20 MSG).

That is, let him prove to you he’s worthy of your trust. He'll show you the way, every time. Don’t be swindled. Don't allow the most crucial relationship you’ll ever know be stolen from you by lies and deceit.

It so happens that Forest Bob recently stood at a close friend’s grave and felt like a precious gift had been ripped from him. “I had such an empty feelin’ in my gut. Like somethin’s missin’. Part of it was my friend. But that’s not all. I once had a relationship with God and somehow I lost it.”

It’s time for Forest Bob to go get his whole hog back.

What's the most precious thing that ever got stolen from you? Did you ever get it back?

Cowboy for a Rainy Afternoon (Center Point Premier Western (Large Print))

NEW NOVELS NOW AVAILABLE: Cowboy For A Rainy Afternoon and Creede of Old Montana . . . order through or get an autographed copy via  

Creede of Old Montana (Center Point Premier Western (Large Print))

COMING MARCH 2011: Throw The Devil Off The Train
Catherine Goodwin’s got to escape. She wants a fresh start with her fiancé in Paradise Springs, California. Race Hillyard’s into revenge. He seeks to settle a score. But it’s a long, crowded, volatile train ride from Omaha to Sacramento.

Sunday, November 28, 2010


Janet Chester Bly 

A friend faced a great blow this afternoon. Her husband’s prescription he’d taken for many years had raised in price from $40 to $375. In distress, she checked another pharmacy. Their price: $350.

Then, she bought groceries. Her bill had almost doubled from the previous month.

“How can this be? We’re on a fixed income,” she said. “We can’t do this. What’s going to happen to ordinary folks like us?”

Another acquaintance told us in recent weeks: “A series of medical bills caused us to miss a house payment. Our mortgage company threatened to foreclose. If it wasn’t for family members lending us the money, we’d be out in the streets.”

The awful scare. The cold despair. The shock that hits that you might lose your home. Or your job. Even getting docked in pay. Or becoming the victim of identity theft. There’s so much uncertainty now, when a few years ago most folks felt sure of the basics. They expected to maintain a certain lifestyle. To keep a tiled roof over their heads. To retain a respected title. To count on their worth.

We know of a gal who has a good job. But not good enough to pay her rent that has been raised three times since she moved in. Now she’s living in her car.

Tough Times Are Nothing New  

For those who study history, they recognize an ebb and flow in good times, bad times. And traumas can produce lifelong effects. Many  living today who faced deprivations in the past, such as the Great Depression era and the world wars, suffer residual fears even when they’re in a safe and secure place now.

After WWII, the Allied armies corralled hungry, homeless children into large camps to care for them. But they didn’t sleep well.

A psychologist suggested, “Let the kids hold a slice of bread every night, so they know they’ll eat in the morning.”

The bread provided security, an adequate resource for peaceful rest.

6 Ways To Stand Fast When The Gravy Train Slows

1) Don’t panic: Prepare.
2) Don’t despair: Get creative.
3) Adjust to your new reality.
4) Ask God to reveal what He wants you to learn, what He advises you to do.
5) Find something to hold onto. . .your hand-held slice of bread.
6) Seek out others who have faced the same circumstance. How did they cope?


Download the full article, "31 Ways To Win The Fight For Personal Peace" at our website:

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Steve at Maranatha in Michigan
On the Trail with Stephen Bly

Miles City, Montana, holds a bucking horse sale every year. Quite a doin’s with rodeo, sale and plenty of celebrations. A stock contractor friend of mine often heads there to check out good horses to buy for his rodeo string. 

Last time I saw him I asked, “How’d you do in Miles City?”

“Well,” he said, “I got there with both feet at the beginning. But things trailed off at the end.”

When a cowboy says he got there ‘with both feet,’ he means he achieved success with his venture. He did the dance. My friend bartered good deals at the auction’s start, but the bidding intensified later.

Life's often a two-foot dance. Getting to the goal with both feet—that’s what most of us want. Whether we’re presenting at a conference, meeting a dinner deadline, courting a romantic interest, or punching cows.

Or about to enter heaven’s gate.

God told Joshua how to land with both feet: “be strong and very courageous,” then he’s promised prosperity and success (Joshua 1:8).

Sure sounds mighty good. Our role is to be strong. To be courageous. Then we’ll succeed. That is, land with both feet.

However, between the exhortation and the promise comes this command: “Do not let this book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it” (Joshua 1:8).

Whoops—a mighty tall order. That requires diligence … to The Book. To read it. To study it. To memorize it. To meditate upon it. To be careful to follow the instructions. Many folks try to skip that part.

Oh sure, everyone wants instant rewards. On earth, as well as in the life beyond. But things like paying close attention to God’s likes and dislikes, big concepts like discipleship … obedience … that  seems too … constricting.

But there’s no sidestep here.
Follow the basic pattern.
Fully enter in. 
Don't stay on the sideline.
A dance-floor necessity.
And crucial to the spiritual two-foot promenade.

Where do you feel most awkward ... on the dance floor or at a Bible trivia contest?

Have you read The Surprising Side of Grace?
Available at the Bly Books Bookstore: 

Saturday, November 20, 2010


The Sound of Sleigh Bells
novel by New York Times best-selling author, 

Will Jonah be able to offer Beth the sleigh ride she’s always dreamed of and a second chance at real love–or just more heartbreak?

Beth Hertzler works alongside her beloved Aunt Lizzy in their dry goods store, and serves as contact of sorts between Amish craftsmen and Englischers who want to sell the Plain people’s wares. 

But remorse and loneliness still echo in her heart everyday as she still wears the dark garb, indicating mourning of her fiancé. 
Amish wall-hanging
When she discovers a large, intricately carved scene of Amish children playing in the snow, something deep inside Beth’s soul responds and she wants to help the unknown artist find homes for his work–including Lizzy’s dry goods store. But she doesn’t know if her bishop will approve of the gorgeous carving or deem it idolatry. 
Lizzy sees the changes in her niece when Beth shows her the woodworking. After Lizzy hunts down Jonah, the artist, she is all the more determined that Beth meets this man with the hands that create healing art. But it’s not that simple. Will Lizzy’s elaborate plan to reintroduce her niece to love work?
To read the first chapter and/or for purchasing info, go to
Cindy Woodsmall
Bio ~  
Cindy Woodsmall is a New York Times best-selling author whose connection with the Amish community has been featured on ABC Nightline and on the front page of the Wall Street Journal.  
She is also a veteran homeschool mom who no longer holds that position. As her children progressed in age, her desire to write grew stronger. After working through reservations whether this desire was something she should pursue, she began her writing journey. Her husband was her staunchest supporter as she aimed for what seemed impossible.

Cindy became friends with a wonderful Old Order Amish family who opened their home to her. Although the two women, Miriam and Cindy, live seven hundred miles apart geographically, and a century apart by customs, when they come together they never lack for commonality, laughter, and dreams of what only God can accomplish through His children.

2010 Inspirational Readers Choice Contest winner
CBA and ECPA Bestseller

Cindy, her husband, their three sons and two daughters-in-law reside in Georgia.

Cindy's Amish novels
To visit Cindy’s Web site, go to 
For information on how to receive free bookmarks and autographed bookplates, go to

Buy on Books-A-Million

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Janet Chester Bly

Everybody’s got one. Even the rich and famous.

Movie rags claim Billy Bob Thornton freaks out when around antique furniture. He won’t stay in a hotel furnished with them.

Caution: Snake Area
Johnny Depp and Diddy both fear clowns, a condition known as coulrophobia.

Indiana Jones can’t abide snakes.

Others declare their panic at disorder and become natty neatniks or obsessive-compulsive.

Sometimes we call these conditions pet peeves or obsessions. When does it get to phobia stage? A phobia is “a persistent, abnormal, or illogical aversion or fear of a specific thing or situation” (The American Heritage Dictionary).

I certainly have mine. One thing for me. . .I can’t abide heights, especially while in a moving object. . .like a glass elevator, cable car, ski lift, hot air balloon. Or go hang-gliding! On the other hand, I've learned to relax, most of the time, in an airplane. Just don’t let there be turbulence. . .or, horrors, a transparent bottom.

Some fear is good. To stay alert. To be cautious in where you go, what you do. But paralysis to the point you can’t think or act. . .not so great.

Make a measure of peace with your most freaked-out fear. Especially if it prevents your being all God created you to be. Easy to say. Hard to do. Ask God to help you. To come to gritty grips with it. With his presence, his power, his purpose.

“Lord, calm my heart. Ease my mind. Give me one practical action to  fight this giant with a slingshot.”


"Do not give way to fear" (I Peter 3:6 NIV).

What do you dread? What makes you apprehensive to the point of extreme angst. . .or terror? Do you dare even name it? And when you do, what have you done about it?

Download the full article, "31 Ways To Win The Fight For Personal Peace," at

Sunday, November 14, 2010


On The Trail with Stephen Bly

A fella who owns a gas station and mini-mart down the road has an interesting habit. Every time a customer’s check bounces, and he can’t find the person who signed it, he posts the check on his bulletin board and writes across it with a red Sharpie: 
“Gone to Texas!”

Saturday, November 13, 2010


Winter Reunion
Winter Reunion
new novel by ROXANNE RUSTAND
Roxanne Rustand
Book #1, Aspen Creek Crossroads Series
Steeple Hill Love Inspired

When wounded Marine Devlin Sloan comes back to Aspen Creek, he's surprised by his late mother's will.  His new business partner for the next six months will be Beth Carrigan.  His ex-wife.

This might prove to be Dev's most difficult mission yet.  He never stopped loving the sweet bookstore owner, but his military career broke them apart.  Now, as they work together at helping others get a new start in life, he hopes he can break down the walls between them....and explore the possibilities of renewing the life they had with each other.

About the author

Roxanne Rustand has written seven inspirational romantic suspense novels for Steeple Hill.  This is her first romance for the Love Inspired line, and is also the first in her Aspen Creek Crossroads series.  Each book stands alone, but readers wanting to revisit the scenic St. Croix River Valley area and the quaint town of Aspen Creek can come back in Second Chance Dad, which will be out on June, 2011, and in another book which will be out in December.

Roxanne was nominated for an RT Bookclub Magazine Achievement Award in 2005, and one of her books won a  RT Bookclub Magazine Reviewer’s Choice Award in 2006.  END GAME is a 2010  RT Bookclub Magazine Reviewer’s Choice Nominee for Best Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense of 2010.

Note from author:
“I write romantic suspense and warm, family relationship type novels, often with a touch of humor. Many of my books have featured animals as key players--dogs, cats, llamas, cockatiels, horses...even our son's pet albino corn snake, Sssssid, who appeared in my first Superromance back in 1999.”

”Animals have been a big part of my life since I was a child. How about you?”

Suzy Q
About Suzy Q, the horse:

“I've been wanting to find a very quiet, sweet horse for years.  No rodeos.  No surprises.  Road safe, trail safe. Small enough to a be a confidence builder for the grandkids when they are old enough to ride off a leadline. Large enough that the adults in the family can ride, too.  We have one old geezer who at thirty-five is too old and arthritic to ride, and a twelve-year-old who is a tad too spunky to trust with just anyone on his back.”

“This past week, I came across Suzy by chance.  Small, but not too small.  Sweet. Quiet. Her owner and I went riding for an hour on the streets of a small town, with cars, trucks and school buses going by, dogs barking, flags flapping, people coming up to "pet the horsies."  She was as solid and steady as could be, and fifteen minutes into the ride I was sold. . . .”

You can find out more about Roxanne at her blogs and website:
Future books by Roxanne Rustand:
  4/11  Murder at Granite Falls, Big Sky Secrets LIS #4 
  6/11  Second Chance Dad,  Aspen Creek Crossroads LI
11/11  Rocky Mountain Heirs, Book #5  LI
12/11  Big Sky Secrets LIS  #5

WINTER REUNION is available at bookstores everywhere and at:

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Janet Chester Bly

Sometimes it seems we here in the mountains of northern Idaho experience the shortest autumn period in the west. A few weeks tops. Yet, fall’s my favorite season. The colors. The sunsets. The crispy, sensory sounds and smells and sights. I could live in the heights of this season forever. 

Fall signifies peace to me. If I could order a perfect weather day, it would be…70-ish degrees. The softest of breezes. Streaks and puffs of layered clouds brushing the azure sky. Clean-cut air.

But just like the weather, peace of mind seems to come and go for me and most of those around me. It’s over-turned by . . . Panic. Turmoil. Sleepless nights. Storms of stress. Troubled times.

Yet, over it all, Jesus says, “Keep calm. Don’t panic” (John 14:27).

My present goal? To walk with God every moment without anxiety, free of fear.

My prayer? “Lord, guide me in your way of peace. Help me do the actions that promote peace. . .for myself and others around me.”

One thing I’ve learned over the decades. . .fighting for God’s peace requires courage because . . . .

1) I choose love over hate.
2) I admit sometimes, “I was wrong.”
3) I try to comfort the afflicted.
4) I reach out to hug a prodigal.
5) I try real hard not to become a cynic when confronted with maddening words or outrageous deeds.
6) I’m on the watch for what God’s doing in my world, above and beyond the salacious, the distracting and diversionary, as well as the evil stuff.
7) When I hear heart-stopping news, I try to remember to ask, “Lord, what do you want me to do?” rather than “How did this mess happen?”

I’m training myself. . .not to freak out about the future. To grab hold of God’s big picture plan…the one that brims with promise of the abundance of good blessings, with compassion to all who reach out to him, and the forever peace of the life to come.

Autumn’s a transition period, an evolving stage. So is my life. So is yours. Remember that the next time leaves begin to turn and twist and fall.


What is the season that denotes peace most to you and why?