Coffee with Lisa Jordan and a Giveaway!

Good Monday
everyone! Today, I’m hanging out with the ridiculously talented author, Lisa
Jordan! Married 23 years to her real life hero, Lisa  knows a thing or two about romance. She
and her husband have two college-aged sons and will be facing an empty nest
soon. By day, Lisa is an early childhood educator, and by night, she is a
contemporary romance novelist with Love Inspired. Lakeside Reunion, her debut
novel, is a 2012 Carol Award Finalist. Lakeside Family, her second novel,
releases in August 2012. She is represented by Rachelle Gardner of Books &
Such Agency. In her free time (ha!), Lisa enjoys good books, chick flicks,
crafting with friends and feeding her NCIS addiction. To learn more about Lisa,
visit her website at

Now, guess where we
Can’t you smell the
cinnamon tangoing with the sugar while banana nut bread turns golden in the
oven! Spiced teas and rich dark roasted coffee tease us to give in to the
caffeine rush, while the herbal teas challenge us to be healthier!
This is Cuppa
Josie’s and it can only be found in Shelby Lake, the setting of Lisa’s second
novel in the Lakeside series, Lakeside Family.
Lisa, tell us a little bit about Cuppa Josie’s so readers will know where they
are today! And what’s on the menu?!
LJ: Cuppa Josie’s is
a coffee café that invites guests to sit on the comfy couch to sip their
coffee, eat their lunch at the window bar and watch people pass by, or pull up
one of the chairs at the round tables to chat with friends or do work.
Josie opened a
coffee café because coffee and food bring people together. Inspired by her
Italian grandmother, Josie bakes all of the desserts in her bakery case from
photo credit: freedigitalphotos
As I read the scenes with Josie in the kitchen, my mouth watered. Chocolate
chip muffins, lemon poppy seed muffins, apple crisp and delicious flavored
coffees! How many sweet delicacies did you eat while writing this?
LJ: Hehe, funny
thing is I didn’t eat any of them! When I’m in the mood, I love to bake—usually
in the winter when the temps dip, but I haven’t had a lot of baking time. I’ve
found inspiration in my cookbooks, online recipe sites and the tasty treats offered
at our local coffee shop that sort of inspired Cuppa Josie’s.
Josie had an allergy to caffeine. Which broke my heart, poor thing. But what a
neat trait to give her. I’ve never read of anyone having this particular
allergy. I’m on my second cup of Butter toffee and chocolate coffee, by the
way. What are you sipping on?
LJ: Josie loves
people more than she loves coffee, but she knows how many people enjoy a fresh
I love the smell of
coffee, but hate the taste. Drinking coffee makes me sick…literally, but I
loved hanging out with my friends at our favorite coffee spot. In fact, several
colleagues and I kept meeting at our local coffee shop, and that started our friendship.
We now call ourselves the Coffee Girls.
Photo credit: freedigitalphotos
I love tea. Chai tea
is a favorite, as well as Good Hope Vanilla. I drink a lot of green tea, both
hot and cold. In the summertime, I drink a cup of hot tea in the morning, then
switch to iced green tea. In the winter, I will drink caffeine-free tea throughout
the day. I have enough tea to drink 2 or 3 cups a day and not run out for over
a year.
I love the Chai tea latte, but I can’t seem to enjoy Green tea. I love Shelby
Lake it’s truly a special place, too bad it’s fictitious because I’d definitely
put it on my vacation list. Or live list. You made it fun, friendly, full of
community. Did you base it off any particular place? If so, how much of Shelby
Lake is fictional?
LJ: Shelby Lake is
fictional. It’s set in the northwestern part of Pennsylvania, which is where I
live. Our area is simply breathtaking with mountains, rivers, multicolored
leaves in the fall. I live in a national forest with one of the great lakes
within a 90 minute drive. When I created Shelby Lake, I wanted a lakefront
community similar to what I’m familiar with. And the experts tell us to write
what we know. Friends and family will mention certain parts of my book and
compare it to an area in our town. I’ll simply smile and say something like,
“Imagine that.”
photo credit: freedigitalphotos
I need to come visit you then! Lisa, my favorite recipe is the zeppole. Tell
readers what that is and how they can get the recipe for this wonderful pastry!
LJ: Zeppole is an
Italian doughnut-like pastry. It reminds me a little of a cream puff. They can
be baked or deep fried like doughnuts. In Lakeside Family, Josie bakes hers and
it’s a treat saved only for family and special friends. She doesn’t offer it to
her customers at Cuppa Josie’s. Readers can Google the recipe and find
variations. I will be including the recipe in my September newsletter, so if
you want Josie’s secret recipe, you need to subscribe to my newsletter on my
site. Go to
and click on the envelope icon on the right side of the navigation bar or
scroll to the bottom of the home page and fill in your email address in the
“Stay in Touch” box.
If I’m not signed up, I will be! Since Lisa is so awesome, she said she’d share
another recipe here today!
Photo credit: freedigitalphotos
LJ: I’m sharing
Josie’s Glazed Lemon Poppyseed Strawberry Crumb Muffins
1½ cups flour
½ cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking
1 teaspoon ground
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup plain nonfat
1 stick melted
1 egg
1 cup chopped fresh
1 teaspoon lemon
Crumb topping:
¼ cup chopped
¼ cup packed brown
2 Tablespoons flour
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon lemon
1 Tablespoon melted
Mix together with
Combine 2/3 cup
powdered sugar with 1 ¼ Tablespoon fresh lemon juice in a small bowl until
Preheat oven to 350˚
F. Grease or line with papers 12 muffin cups. Mix crumb topping and set aside.
Mix glaze and set aside.
In a large bowl,
combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. In a small bowl, mix
milk, butter and egg until well blended. Stir milk mixture into flour mixture
until just moistened. Don’t worry about lumps. Avoid overmixing. Fold in
strawberries and lemon zest. Spoon mixture into prepared muffin cups. Sprinkle
crumb mixture evenly over tops of muffins. Bake in oven for about 25 minutes or
until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove muffins from pan and
cool on a wire rack. Drizzle the glaze over warm muffin tops. Serve with
favorite beverage.
Yum! I should bake these for book club! One last thing before you go. One of
the most fun things about Cuppa Josie’s is her word wall. Lisa, after you snag
another muffin, tell readers what that is and then leave us with our very own
virtual word wall today!
LJ: Each month Josie
puts up miscellaneous words on a community word wall and challenges her
customers to write something unique. At the end of the month, they’re voted on
and the winner receives a free drink.
photocredit: freedigitalphotos
word wall challenge—use these words in a paragraph… trust, lake, kite, muffin,
umbrella, elephant, Thursday.
Since Lisa is so awesome, she’s giving away a copy of her novel, Lakeside Family! All you have to do is leave
your email address if you want to be entered to win! Sharing on facebook and
tweeting gets you added entries. (but tag me so I count them as added entries)
And that’s not all! (Wow, for a second I
thought I was about to give away the shamwow! Can you say infomercial voice!?)
If you take the word wall challenge, Lisa will choose the
person with the best paragraph and they’ll get a
$10.00 Starbucks card! (US residents only for both contests.)
Lisa is celebrating
the release of Lakeside Family with a month-long party of
giveaways, including Coffee Lovers and Tea Lovers baskets. For more details and
to enter the gift basket giveaways, leave a comment here.  
book released at the beginning of the month, so readers can find it in their
favorite bookstore or online retailer.
again, Lisa, for letting me and everyone else hang out with you at Cuppa
Josie’s! It’s been worth the calories! You can hang out with Lisa in other places too, like FACEBOOK and TWITTER and her BLOG
Here’s a peek at
Lakeside Family:
The one man she never wanted to see again is the
only who can save her daughter’s life.
In the
space of a minute, Nick Brennan learns he has a nine-year-old daughter— and
that she desperately needs his help. All this time, his high school sweetheart,
single mother Josie Peretti, thought he knew about their child. And that he
just didn’t care. About the ill little girl—or Josie, the woman he’s never
forgotten. But Nick made a long-ago promise never to forsake his family the way
his father did. A promise he vows to make good on now… if only Josie will bless
him with a second chance.
*The winner for the God of All Comfort goodie basket, including Donna Pyle’s study and a Kindle touch is…. Loree Huebner!

It’s not too late for those of you who didn’t win! Hop over to Gabrielle Meyer’s blog; Donna’s over there sharing about her study and giving away:

  • A signed copy of The God of All Comfort
  • $50 Amazon card
  • $15 iTunes card
  • Coffee mug w/ the study’s logo
  • And a DVD set of Your Strong Suit (fab study by Donna)

Must Meet Monday: Darlene Shortridge

Connect with Darlene on
facebook fan page
twitter and
Darlene’s blog
click the links to
take you directly to her sites!

Darlene Shortridge happened upon my blog and I’m so glad she did because we’ve gotten to know each other and I enjoy following her blog. She usually makes me laugh with her quirky and witty humor and by the end of her blog–she’s wrapped it up into a deep spiritual message.

I also enjoy our facebook friendship. Not only is she a writer, but she’s also a fabulous cook. Now, I’ve never tasted any of her meals, but reading about them makes my mouth water.

I had the cool opportunity to read her ARC of Until Forever and review it. You can read my review hereEveryone, meet Darlene.

            Tell everyone about yourself, Darlene!

First off, My most important roles in life are as a wife and a mom.  I love my family and the life God has blessed me with.  Next, I am a writer.  I live in Northeast Wisconsin with my husband, Danny, our two children, one of which is getting married in a couple of months, and our dog, Leia.  My chosen college major was voice and I  learned that writing was dear to my heart.  I have written songs, poetry, children’s plays and curriculum, short stories, posts for my blog and my first novel. 
Wow! You’re busy. When do you find time to write and where do you let the magic happen?
I write in a corner of my living room at a small computer desk and presently in a very un-comfy computer chair, usually late at night when it is quiet.

              So do you seat of the pants it, or plot?

 I do plot.  I would say I am part organized and part seat of the pants.  I do outline, but I am free to deviate from the plan.  I have to have a general idea of how I am going to get from point a to point b, or I get lost and have no direction in my writing.  In doing this I plan out practical, believable ways my characters achieve their goals in my story lines. 
       Did  you have any particular inspiration for the idea? And what would you say the main theme or message is to readers?

            I’m getting old here.  You expect me to remember that?  I don’t think I got the idea from any specific one place.  Mostly this work is complete fiction.  There are little things in my life that parallel Until Forever, really little things.  Like…my son loves pizza, as does Ethan, the little boy in the story.  I get the question all the time asking if this is my story.  It is not.  When I write my story, it will probably be one of the best books I ever write.  It is not time for that…yet. 
      My husband really likes to answer this question with a question.  “How do you forgive someone who commits an unforgivable act?”  So, ultimately, I believe this story is about forgiving one’s self, each other, and God, for His “supposed” offenses. 
      We tend to blame God for hurts and problems in our lives when nothing could be farther from the truth.  His love is so great we cannot contain it.  He longs to hold us in His arms and comfort us when the consequences of sin permeate our lives. 
      Good word, Darlene, and so true. That clearly comes out in your novel. I know women 18 and up are your target audience, but share with us a neat little surprise about your book!
      Men love this book!  I do not know why. Haha!  This was not intentional, I did not write this with men in mind.  I have had men approach me crying, thanking me for writing this.  I believe the men in our world hold on to secret hurts and deep-seated feelings of being unforgiven. 
      Because men as a whole are less emotional than women, we tend to downplay the affects of sin and grief men hold on to.  Until Forever opens up some of those portals and exposes the hurts.  It also offers them hope, hope that they can turn from sin and be a good father and husband.  
       I thinks that’s incredible! What kind of books do you enjoy reading? Any authors who inspire you?
       I have really been into Liz Curtis Higgs lately, especially her Scotland series.  Love it! I read a variety of books.  I find I am constantly learning from other writers.  I read self help books, books on finance, books on writing and then lots and lots of fiction.  Lately I have been reviewing books for other writers.  Not only is it interesting, but also this opportunity has given me new and fresh ideas for my own writing.  I tend to shy away from any type of horror and mushy romance, other than that I will give it a go. 
      I love Liz Curtis Higgs too. I had the chance to meet her at the WFTS conference in Feb. She’s amazing! Before you go–and thanks so much for coming– Darlene, tell us who published you and a little about your pub experience.
      I  started looking for a publisher shortly after completing Until Forever.  I ended up with three contract offers, one from a full service publisher and two with subsidy publishers.  I realize the obvious choice to most would be with the full service, but neither my husband and I nor our pastor had a peace about this particular publisher. 
      I ended up with Tate Publishing.  I believe it was the right publisher for us at this time.  I was able to maintain some control of the direction my novel took, which was important to me.  LOL…the publishing process was long!  Publishing is not for the faint of heart, nor those with the “I want it now” attitude.  Patience is a necessity! 
      I quickly came to the realization that while editing was my least favorite part of the process, it is the most important part.  I poured over the manuscript looking for errors.  I also learned this is something we as authors must do.  Our editor does not do this for us.  That was a wakeup call.  My favorite?  Ah…finally getting the book cover exactly the way I wanted it and holding a copy in my hands.  My daughter did a mock up for my graphic artist.  That really helped in sharing the vision for the cover with my artist. 
       Darlene is giving away a copy of Until Forever! If you would like a chance to win it, leave your favorite recipe in the comments section and your contact information. The winner will be announced on Friday!
      Here’s a teaser for Until Forever and one of Darlene’s recipes!
      “Until Forever is a story of a young family that is torn apart by the devastating effects of alcoholism. Can healing take place in a relationship when an unforgivable act is committed? Will Jessi’s pain and Mark’s guilt keep them apart forever, or will unforseen circumstances bind them together? 


     Join Jessi and Mark as they travel many roads that lead them to places of healing and forgiveness.  Where will God draw the line at allowing circumstances in our lives that lead us to Him?  Is there any earthly pain that isn’t tolerable if it leads us to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ?  As you read “Until Forever” you may find yourself asking these types of questions.  As in real life, the answers don’t come easily to Jessi and Mark.  You will find yourself walking in their shoes, crying their tears and laughing with them as they experience real pain and find true joy.”


Layered Brownies (Yum, Darlene! Thanks!)
1st layer:  2 c. sugar, 1 ½ c. flour, ¾ c. baking cocoa, 1 tsp salt, 1 c. vegetable oil, 4 eggs, 2 tsp. vanilla
Grease 9×13 baking pan.  Mix above ingredients and press into baking pan.  Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.  Refrigerate to cool. 
2nd layer:  ½ c. butter, ½ c. packed brown sugar, ¼ c. sugar, 2 tbs. milk, 1 tsp vanilla, 1 c. flour.  Spread on cooled brownie mixture and refrigerate to set. 
3rd layer:  melt 1 ½ c. chocolate chips with a little bit of shortening to thin.  Spread on
second layer and refrigerate. 
The brownies will be ready to cut after the chocolate has cooled in the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes. 
A tip:  If you do not like the edges of brownies, cut them off while cutting into squares.  This will make all the squares uniform and make each square equally as tempting!