Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Almost Valentine's Day!

 Ladies & Gentlemen, we briefly interrupt this program to bring you an updated news bulletin from the Western New York town of "Wishing Bridge"!  On March 2nd, 2020, Jazz's story will BE RELEASED and of course there is great rejoicing in the town over this! While the town is too busy taking care of folks and being kind and good (for the most part!) to throw a parade, we the readers will have our own bit of fun! Because it's not everyday you get the joy and excitement of an all-new visit to Wishing Bridge... a town where hopes, prayers and wishes mingle to make dreams come true.   

Ah, romance...

Tis the season! 

Hearts and roses, teddy-grams and jammiegrams and chocolate-dipped berries and every jewelry store in the country will spend mega advertising dollars on TV, radio, magazine and newspaper to entice folks to part with hard-earned dollars.

It's Valentine's week, and even grade schools get on board with little paper Valentines and decorated shoe boxes and candy hearts.

Did you know that some of the candy hearts got misprinted this year???

SHOCKER!!!! But no fear, lads & lasses!!!!

There is always the option of red construction paper, lacy white paper doilies and glue.  Sometimes simple is best.

 And, of course, watching favorite romantic movies is a wonderful thing! The Princess Bride, Pride & Prejudice, Casablanca.... you must share your favorite with us, darlings.... the favorite romance movie.

But as an author of inspirational fiction, romance in life and in stories goes far deeper than the facade of television advertising, newspaper spreads and all the hoopla that pushes folks to spend, spend, spend...

Romance doesn't have to be pricey.

It doesn't have to meet an industry standard.

It doesn't have to be a big splash, even for a proposal. Aren't some of the most grand proposals the simplest?  Lucy Maude Montgomery's "Anne and Gilbert".

"Call the Midwife's" Tom and Barbara.

Jane Austen's beautiful "Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy".

And in each one of these and so many more, there is a beautiful thread of faith in the face of adversity, of strength amid chaos, of how hope survives grief and disaster.

That thread of faith is what sets the lovely from the ordinary.

The emotion beyond the sexual attraction. The devotion that goes so much deeper than hormones and lust and feeds outward from the soul, the beauty of sacrificial love, for love isn't about the glitz and the glamour as most of us know.

It's about the heart, and while hormones and the heart are not always a good mix, the beauty of a great romance isn't afraid to go deeper than sensuality, to the very essence of emotion, and that's something we witnessed first-hand this week with back-to-back guest appearances from two cancer warriors, Christy LaShea and Angela Ruth Strong.

That's what separates the men from the boys... the hero who stands by your side, teasing, laughing, crying, holding... Or just being there to change a messy diaper, fix the plumbing (or call someone to fix it!) and be the family leader.

There's a reason so many couples choose the 13th chapter of the first book of Corinthians for a wedding reading. Those simple words of the fourth verse ring through our ears: "Love is patient, love is kind..." Such a heartfelt message!

But the opening words of that very Scripture are equally provocative in their command, and a verse I hold dear as I write. For King and Country chose one of the most touching versions of this verse in their beautiful song "The Proof of Your Love". They took the quote from "The Message" version of the Bible:

 If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love, I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. 

If I speak God's Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, "Jump," and it jumps, but I don't love, I'm nothing. 

If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere. 

.......... no matter what I say, 
                                 what I believe, 
                                             and what I do, 
I'm bankrupt without love. 
(1 Corinthians 13:1-7, The Message)

These are words I hold dear as I write a story, as I develop a romance, or the father's love for a child, a teacher's love for a student, a man's love for his family. When we thin the depth of sacrificial love as authors we lessen the impact of our message, but also undermine the challenge and opportunity we've been given.

This doesn't mean no romance.... Perish the thought!

But true romance isn't rooted in the fun and games and flirting although those are big components in story-building. The sunken roots of the best stories are in the depth of emotion, the sacrifices made, the challenge of faith and love. From those well-planted roots, the growing trees flourish. 

Take it from a pumpkin farmer (because who wouldn't believe a pumpkin farmer???)

The roots of the story aren't always as obvious, but they are crucial to hold the weight of the story. And that, dear authors, is in your hands.

There is one copy of Jazz's story that will come to one lucky person today... And I hope you love revisiting this sweet town! Leave a comment below and let's talk Faith... Hope... and Love. But the greatest of these is Love.

USA TODAY bestselling author Ruth Logan Herne is about to welcome her 53rd and 54th books to book shelves in March and April, so she's pretty stoked about romance, about love and crazy-stoked about faith! You can friend her on facebook, follow her on Twitter, visit her website or email Ruthy at She loves to chat with readers and writers and she also loves God, family, faith, friends, fun and fiction.... and add chocolate and coffee to that list!


  1. Coincidental (or not), Ruthie, that my morning devotion today was also focused on love. The last line by Susan Pitchford stuck with me:

    "Jesus always, always, points us to love. It's the essence of the law because it's the essence of who God is. In the end, we won't be judged by the food that goes into us, but by the love that comes out of us."

    1. Oh, I love that... no pun intended. What a beautiful and full-of-truth statement. It's that love that helps us shine... not fancy clothes or fixin's... :) Thank you, Cate!

  2. I love romance. We don't really "do" the Valentine's Day thing, except for the cute Valentines that my kids make to bring to their classmates. I much prefer the spontaneous romantic things done randomly throughout the year. I am blessed with a husband that is really good with those things: a simple bouquet of flowers brought home from an ordinary trip to the grocery store, or a random treat that he saw & thought of me (like the Dr. Pepper-flavored cotton candy he came home with last week), or making a special dinner that I love just because... *swoon*

    As for romantic movies, I love lots of them, but one of my faves is Return to Me.

    1. I love Return to Me! David Duchovny and Minnie Driver.... so well done. The old timer in the restaurant, I love them all!!!!

    2. What a sweet gift last week! And sounds very yummy. :)

  3. My husband left the house in some yucky weather last week, making an excuse about where he was going, just to buy Oreos for me, since I'd mentioned in passing that they sounded good to me. He is so thoughtful and always listening, that sometimes I need to be careful what I say out loud :)

    And I love all kinds of romantic movies, especially While You Were Sleeping, Leap Year, New In Town, When Harry Met Sally...I could go on and on!

    1. Oh, bless his heart! That's a romance novel right there, Glynis! Good for him. And what a great bunch of movies, but I've never heard of New In Town or Leap Year.... and it IS LEAP YEAR!!!!!

    2. Glynis, that's amazing! You are blessed!

    3. Leap Year is a great movie. We just watched When Harry Met Sally again on New Year's Eve.

  4. You are spot-on, Ruthy. Love isn't about things or feelings, it's about action. And love in action can be very powerful, winning over even the most hardened hearts. Granted, those actions can invoke feelings, but you know what I mean.

    I firmly believe that the meaning of love has been distorted by society. The lines between love and lust have been severely blurred to the point where people don't even know the difference. That's only one reason I love writing sweet, inspirational romances. Flawed people, giving of themselves for the good of someone else. And if there happens to be a little chemistry along the way, even better. ;)

    1. Hear! Hear! Hear!!!!!

      I am in such total agreement as to be absolutely annoying and look like a groupie!

      Yes, the line between true love and sexual attraction can be a blend or it can be a blur. And when it's blurred, some bad things can happen. :(

  5. Hi Ruth:

    So happy to see that you like "Call the Midwife" which my wife and I feel is the best show on tv. The love between Tom and Barbara was so true and perfect that it was so sad to watch when the end came.

    It is as if the heroine dying early makes the relationship perfect. There is no time for a 'seven year's itch' or disillusionment. This reminds me of watching Grand Opera where the heroine is domed. Think of Mimi in La Boehme, Violetta in La Traviata, Camille in "La Dame aux Camélias " and poor Madame Butterfly. Oh, what an ugly American she was involved with.) You want something more modern? How about "Love Story"?

    For emotional long-term impact I just loved the romance between Father Tim and his love with him finally getting married in the Mitford series. I think this series is so good that, as far as genre goes, it is sui generis.

    You wrote this in your post:

    "That's what separates the men from the boys... the hero who stands by your side, teasing, laughing, crying, holding... Or just being there to change a messy diaper, fix the plumbing (or call someone to fix it!) and be the family leader."

    Frankly that is my idea of being a real man as well as a hero. And the romance that does this the best for me is Missy's "A House Full of Love". Hannah is a widow/heroine with four children and Mark, the hero, is an outcast who owns the house she rents. I never felt better reading a romance than I felt reading this book.

    I totally agree with your post. Of course, the hero in "The Lawman's Second Chance" is an ideal hero but you know that. :)

    I think love is not what you feel but rather what actions that love inspires.


    1. "I think love is not what you feel but rather what actions that love inspires."
      Vince, that's beautiful.

    2. Vince, thanks for mentioning A House Full of Hope. My hero in that book was trying to make amends and tried so hard to show he'd changed. A lot of that story was about showing love through actions.

      I love your quote!

    3. Oh, Vince, what a lovely post! Thank you so much. And I loved that book of Missy's, too! Wasn't it wonderful? Missy, wasn't that your RITA finalist????

      And Jenna, so good to see you! Thanks for coming by.

      It is an absolutely beautiful quote.

  6. Ruthy, thanks for sharing that beautiful verse from The Message. I've been reading that version for the last year or two. I love it!

    1. I love The Message Bible.

      It's simply beautiful, like a poetry of words.

  7. Great post, Ruthy. Always good to reflect on what love really is. Please put me in the drawing.

  8. I agree with every single word of this post, Ruthy! You pumpkin farmers really know your stuff!

    1. Hi Ruthy, for many years, in our dairy farming days, Valentine's Day meant a card from my husband and often, they were handmade. In later years, I may have received some candy and I think one year I was give flowers but those are the key words! May and Think, because obviously, those times weren't that important. The homemade cards, the years of providing for me and our daughter, the assurance of his love and faithfulness, and his devotion to God...these are the proof positive that I found the very best Valentine for me!
      As always, I loved your post!

    2. Oh, Connie, those things are the best, aren't they? Nothing big or fancy... just solid love and affection, someone to see to us... and us to them!

  9. Thanks for your love-confirming post, Ruthy!

    My hero is by my side as we travel the ups and downs....but thankfully, mostly ups for the last forty-nine years. Now it blesses my heart to see our sons be amazing heroes to their growing families. They learned from their, self-sacrifice and love.

    I’m so excited to visit Wishing Bridge again. Please don’t enter me because I’ve already preordered. Congratulations on what I know will be an amazing story!

    Happy Valentine’s Day to you and your hero!

    1. Oh, bless you for that preorder! I hope you love this newest visit to Wishing Bridge...I have absolutely loved working on this series, Sherida!

      And what a beautiful testimony. One that every family should have. To have the father be that sacrificial person, the "Joseph" type... oh be still my heart!

  10. AMEN! And again I say, Amen. I literally wrote a similar post on the Mantle Rock publishing blog last week because I want more in my romance novels. I want relationships that can survive whatever life throws at them. And that's what I aim to write, too.
    Fyi, I totally believe a pumpkin farmer.
    And congrats on your new release.

    1. Hahaha! Oh, Amy, I love you. Thank you for those words and I'm so glad we're of a similar mindset. Life isn't always easy... and those hard times are made better through His hands and that mantle of faith. I selfishly want everyone to see that, and what better way than through the gift of words that people pick up to read?

      Keep it up, my friend.

      And thank you again... for believing a pumpkin farmer! :)

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  12. What a great post! True love, true romance is God designed. A reflection of Christ and His Church.

    When we can include that element in our stories - even if it's just a shadow - then we're pointing our readers to the best romance of all.

    And you just might have given me the key I needed to unlock the hero I'm working on today...


    1. How did you know that was my goal???? :)

      And I love the thought that its a reflection of Christ and His church. You are so right.

  13. How did I miss that RUTHY was sharing here today?! I loved your post today, Ruthy. And I'm so excited about your upcoming book!

    As for Valentine's Day in this Takenaka home, we usually keep it fairly simple. Some years we've made it a game night with our boys. Other years (like this one), we actually get dolled up and enjoy a date at a nice restaurant. There are always cards with personal messages exchanged. The bes part is spending time with my man, sharing our hearts and laughing at funny things (not usually our hearts, though).

    Happy Valentine's Day a wee bit early!

    1. Jeanne, that all sounds lovely, doesn't it??? I like simple, but every now and again I like to put on heels and go on a date. :) And as the kids get older, the less they seem to want to spend Valentine's with the elders, LOL! But then grandkids come along and they LOVE spending time with Grammy and Gramps. This year, Lena (4 years old) surprised me by decorating my house with pink, red and white streamers so when I got home it was a Valentine's Extravaganza! We had juice!!!! And decorations!!! And candy!!!! :) So funny and so fun. At that age, it doesn't take much and I was thrilled.

  14. Thank you for this lovely post, Ruthy. ;) Valentine's Day is every day in this house - especially with little ones who love drawing hearts, cutting out hearts, and giving out heart stickers ALL. THE. TIME. :)

    I appreciate your viewpoint on the topic of romance and love. Greater love hath no man than this...what a demonstration of great love for us!

    1. Oh, that's the spirit, Lee-Ann! Yes! I love that, how every day is Valentine's Day! I have one daughter who refuses to acknowledge Valentine's as much as she possibly can... she says Mother's Day and Father's Day are enough of the made-up holidays, and that's kind of my mindset, too... those acts of kindness and charity all year are so treasured. Who needs a day????

  15. Loved this post! Look forward to the launch of your new book.

    1. Well, thank you so much! I'm so glad you stopped by!


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