“ …the Barfield’s don’t just write BELOVED MOTHER. They write whole paragraphs about all their people and everything they ever did. So I’m reading these paragraphs, and thinking that’s interesting. And I see this iron bowl of fruit. And I’m thinking those Barfields are crazy. They put an iron bowl of fruit on a concrete square in the middle of the cemetery. I go over and I sit down in the middle of square, and I’m thinking, I wasn’t meant to be a writer; I don’t know why I thought I could write.  I could tell a story, but I can’t write. And I look down, and between my feet was the word “THROUGH” and I got down, and I crawled around that concrete square and I pulled out weeds till I could read all four squares.  And there was one word on each side and it said: TRIUMPH. COMES. THROUGH. PERSERVEANCE. And that was the defining moment in my life. I stood up and I said, I’m going to write. I’m going to write til I die. I’m not going to die and say, well if I’d written one more book, I was going to hit big. It wasn’t even three months later when I sold my first book, and within 15 months I sold five more. I think you just have to reach a point where you do it. I think the secret of writing is not talent. I think the secret of writing is working at it.

 

And thankfully, Jodi Thomas never quit. I’ve been reading her books for years and there isn’t one I haven’t loved, including her latest release Welcome to Harmony. Set in Texas with a cast of characters that are as multi-faceted as they are loveable, this is a story of caring and personal triumph. 

 

Regan Truman is a courageous 16 year old foster kid, who’s been shuttled from one home to another and finally decides it’s time to find a place to set down roots. Through a series of circumstances she ends up in Harmony, Texas pretending to be the long lost niece of Jeremiah Truman, a crotchety old man who wouldn’t give you the time of day if he was the last person on earth who owned a watch. But Regan sees more than a lonely old man and unfamiliar surroundings—she sees her one chance to finally call someplace home and somebody family.

 

When prairie fires are mysteriously set and the town’s existence is threatened, Reagan’s dreams hang in the balance. Fire Chief Hank Matheson must discover who’s behind the arson working side by side with a woman he’s loved for years, Sheriff Alexandra McAllen. But, Alexandra’s got only two things in mind, solving the mystery and keeping Hank as far away from her heart as possible.

 

This story is as unsentimental as it is romantic and it will steal your heart. Welcome to Harmony is the first book in a trilogy and it captures the essence of the people who live there and the extent they will go to care for each other. Once again, Jodi Thomas has written a book that will go on my keeper shelf—it's pure Jodi—writing a story that comes alive in my mind. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, she paints pictures with words, and I for one could stare at her canvases all day long.

 

Jodi is one of my favorite authors; who’s yours?

 

P.S. I've heard Marisa has recently read 27 authors in one week and plans on telling you all about them on Monday. And of course, there's always a lively discussion featuring the latest releases at Romantic Reads.

 

Until next Thursday - lay off the chocolates.

 

 

Maria Lokken is an avid romance reader and an award winning television producer.

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Comments
by Moderator dhaupt on ‎05-20-2010 05:18 PM

Well Maria, thanks to you maybe someday soon Jodi will be since I haven't read her yet. In the mean time I have too many authors that I love to pick favs, I love different authors for different reasons, some have heart, some have humor some really make their hero and heroines work for their HEA,  however there is one who's book is the best I've ever read Susan Wiggs, I love her series Lakeshore chronicles but the best book I ever read in the genre of Romance was Just Breathe.

Deb

by Blogger Maria_Lokken on ‎05-20-2010 07:00 PM

DEB!!!! I can't believe you said that!!! I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED Susan Wiggs' "Just Breathe" - The story was beautiful. I have told many people to read that book.  The writing just captures you - and the characters are so real.

by Lola31 on ‎05-23-2010 08:03 AM

Hi Maria! La Nora is certainly one of my favorite authors.  Now that you mention it, I use to read Jodi all the time and haven't since her Wife Lottery series - I loved that series. 

by Blogger Marisa-ONeill on ‎05-23-2010 02:45 PM

Maria - I can't wait to read this one, I'm a big fan of Jodi's and I never tire of hearing how she started writing - her story is such an inspiration.

 

As for my favorite author? Well, that would be hard as I seem to have so many 'auto-buy' authors. I try to read as many 'new-to-me' authors as possible  and my list of 'favorites' grows every year.  

by 1lovealways on ‎05-25-2010 08:42 PM

Hi Maria!

 

There are so many authors that are favorites of mine.  These days it seems that all it takes is one good book by an author to get me salivating for the next one.  An author can count on being put on my favorites list with just that one criteria.  From then on I only buy by their name.  It doesn't matter what the story line or plot is.  As long as that name is on the book.

 

If I had to pick one out of my favorites, I'd have to say it would be Sherrilyn Kenyon.  Her books for me are to die for.  Some of the hottest heroes in the genre.  Also, she comes up with some of the most imaginative stories I've ever read.  I'm always thinking as I'm reading them "Where did she come up with this?"  I love her books!

by Blogger Maria_Lokken on ‎05-26-2010 05:34 PM

Hi Lola - If you haven't read Jodi Thomas since the Wife Lottery series, you've got a wonderful backlist to catch up on.  You should try her Whispering Mountain series.  Really gorgeous writing and a great series.

 

Hey there 1lovealways  - like you I have so many favorite authors.  It depends on my mood - whether I want a western, or a contemporary, or historical, or paranormal, or, or , or...

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