Saturday, May 26, 2018

The Mountains Are Calling…



Traditionally, Memorial Day weekend kicks off the beginning of summer. Here in Texas, the temperature has been hovering at the mid-nineties mark most of the week and it looks like the heat and the humidity are here to stay for a while.
 
As a child, I grew up loving to go to the beach. Every vacation my family went on had to be to the beach…until one year when my husband and I visited the mountains. That was it. So long beach. I was hooked on the mountains.
I think we all have places like that. It’s where we go to recharge. Grow close to nature and to God. For me, it’s staring up at a mountain and feeling so small amongst the majesty before me.

 


Every time my husband and I visit our cabin in Colorado, I’m reminded of John Denver’s Rocky Mountain High.

He climbed cathedral mountains, he saw silver clouds below, he saw everything as far as you can see.

Now he walks in quiet solitude, the forest and the streams, seeking grace in every step he takes.

 His sight is turned inside himself, to try and understand the serenity of a clear blue mountain lake.

 And the Colorado Rocky Mountain high, I've seen it raining fire in the sky.

 You can talk to God and listen to the casual reply.

 Rocky Mountain high, Colorado. Rocky Mountain high. 

 
I never really understood that song until I visited the Rocky Mountains. The mountains get in your blood and they won’t let you go.
 
I think that’s why when I start a new book, I always gravitate toward the mountains for the setting. Such is the case in my three new releases from Forget Me Not Romance. The mountains are just in my blood.
 
 
 
Past Sins
 
 

In Past Sins - Available at Amazon: FBI Agent Samantha Morning Star barely survived a serial killer’s knife when the Night Slasher captured her, intent on making her his next victim. Samantha’s narrow escape still haunts her, sending her fleeing to the one place where she has always felt safe. The Durante Mountain Cheyenne Indian Reservation in Northern Wyoming. But Samantha’s past sins are all there waiting for her. The young boy she once loved and left behind is now all grown up and the chief of police for the reservation.

Chief Zack Standing Elk can’t believe it. The woman who tore his hearts to shreds is back. But Samantha isn’t the same person she once was when she left the reservation behind after her grandmother’s death, insisting that he not wait for her. Samantha is one troubled soul. It isn’t long before he realizes the reason behind the fear in her eyes, when the killer who took her hostage follows her to the Cheyenne reservation determined to claim her as his once more.
 
Layers Of The Truth
 

 
In Layers Of The Truth - Available now at Amazon:  When Cady Russell receives a heartbreaking call from Deputy Sheriff Aamon Lone Elk telling her that her sister has died in a fire that mimics the one that took her parents’ lives twenty years earlier, Cady knows she has to return to Wyoming to find out what really happened to Samantha.

Deputy Sheriff Aamon Lone Elk knows a little about grief himself. He lost his wife to a drunk driver five years earlier. Aamon still isn’t able to move beyond the pain. Yet meeting Cady Russell throws him. She is both beautiful and strong, and he is attracted to her right away.

Cady has been lost in the past as well, unable to move beyond the tragedy that claimed her parents. Now her sister is dead by the same means, and she is convinced the two fires are related.

As the attraction between then continues to grow, can Aamon keep Cady safe as they peel back the layers of lies connected to the two fires? Or will a killer bent on keeping his deadly acts secret send them both to their graves?
 
Eye Of The Storm
 
In Eye Of The Storm - Available at Amazon: Former CIA Agent Kate Reagan finds herself in the middle of storm that has disrupted her life for six years. When Kate’s entire team was killed by the terrorist they’d been chasing for months, Kate finds the only way to save her life is to pretend to lose it.

After moving dozens of times through the years, Kate ends up in the small mountain town of Soaring Eagle, Wyoming where everything about the place screams of the home she’s been longing for.

Running into Deputy Sheriff Brady Connors, Kate finds herself attracted to the handsome frontier lawman right away, but having a future is not possible while the enemy is still stalking her.

With Brady’s help, Kate is about face the showdown she’s been expecting for a long time, when the enemy coming after her proves to be closer than Kate could ever imagine.
 


Publishers Weekly Bestselling Author Mary Alford grew up in a small Texas town famous for, well not much of anything really. Being the baby of the family and quite a bit younger than her brothers and sister, Mary had plenty of time to entertain herself. Making up stories seem to come natural to her. As a pre-teen, Mary discovered Christian romance novels and knew instinctively that was what she wanted to do with her over-active imagination. She wrote her first novel as a teen, (it’s tucked away somewhere never to see the light of day), but never really pursued her writing career seriously until a few years later, when she wrote her first Christian romance and was hooked. Today, Mary still lives in Texas, and still writes about romance. In fact, she can’t think of anything else she’d rather do. Learn more about Mary Alford at: www.maryalford.net where you can sign up for her newsletter. Also feel free to send her an email to maryjalfordauthor@gmail.com.
 
Sweet Romance Reads Cafe
 
Don’t forget to join the Sweet Romance Reads Cafe too.
 
All the best…
 
Mary Alford
 
 

 
 
 

 

 

 
 

Thursday, May 24, 2018

When TV Reality Becomes My Reality by Pat Simmons

I don’t watch television much, but when I do, my favorite shows are “Finding Your Roots” on PBS and “Finding Lost Family” on TLC.

To those who know me, or have read the Jamieson Legacy series, where my characters track down relatives through genealogy research, probably aren’t surprised by this fact.  Uncovering mysteries in family trees is my passion.

But recently, I was surprised when a young woman contacted my daughter via Ancestry.com. It seems they are cousins after results of their DNA tests were posted. How close they are on the tree is sketchy, so my daughter called me.

The woman’s mother passed away and she doesn’t know her father. My heart is breaking for this unknown relative, but I’m determined like the hosts of Finding Lost Family, to connect her with her lost family.

Do you have any interest in genealogy? Check out Guilty of Love, Book 1 of 8 in the Jamieson family series (Christian romance). Download for .99.

Also, if you’re a family researcher, share some surprises you have stumbled upon.






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Pat Simmons is the author of more than thirty titles, including her newest release My Rock, Book 1 of the Caregivers series.
She is a self-proclaimed genealogy sleuth who is passionate about researching her ancestors, then casting them in starring roles in her novels. She is a three-time recipient of the Romance Slam Jam Emma Rodgers Award for Best Inspirational Romance. Pat describes the evidence of the gift of the Holy Ghost as a life-altering experience. She has been a featured speaker and workshop presenter at various venues across the country.
Pat holds a B.S. in mass communications from Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts. Visit her at www.patsimmons.net and sign up for her monthly newsletter and get Guilty of Love free.



Tuesday, May 22, 2018

New Release - Molly / Perfect Match Series by Julie Jarnagin

Hi, Readers! I'm thrilled to announce my latest release - Molly from the Perfect Match Series. It's been an exciting week with the release and watching the reviews and readers response come in. I'm so glad readers are enjoying these characters as much as I did.

 Here's a little about the book:

Molly McShea, a relationship columnist for a national women’s magazine, is assigned to write an article about Perfect Match, a new matchmaking travel agency. When her date doesn’t show, she’s determined not to lose the promotion she’s been working toward or the chance to redeem her reputation after an ugly, public break-up.

Sean Logan started a new life as a surf instructor so that he could escape his painful past. He’d let himself get pressured into signing up for a dating site, but he finds out his date is planning to post his photo all over social media and write about their week together in a popular magazine. He knows he can’t let Molly get in the way of his privacy or his brother’s quiet life on the island. But he must ultimately decide if falling in love with his perfect match could be worth all the risks.



Julie Jarnagin is a USA Today bestselling author of sweet and inspirational romance. She grew up in a small Oklahoma town where her family farmed and ranched. These days she lives in Louisiana with her amazing husband and two young sons who tolerate all her nerdy quirks. Julie earned a B.A. in Journalism / Professional Writing from the University of Oklahoma. 
www.JulieJarnagin.com

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Monday, May 21, 2018

The Search for the Perfect Exercise: Coming Home to Ballet by Milou Koenings


I've been on a search for the perfect exercise routine since high school.

No, don't misunderstand me. I am not an exercise freak.

unsplash-logoDonald Giannatti
I hate exercise.

I hate that heart-pounding, I'm-gonna-die any second feeling I get when jogging or doing aerobics or jumping rope.

On the other hand, I do like the idea of staying healthy enough to be able to enjoy doing things with my family long into my old age. And I wouldn't mind getting as toned and fit as the heroines in my books. (One can always dream...)

I mean, who wouldn't want to be horse riding the day after her 92nd birthday like Queen Elizabeth II, right?

Riding, I could handle. Just not in my neighborhood or in my budget.

Walking the dog — awesome! Just my speed... strolling around the neighborhood at twilight, meeting all the other dogs and their owners. Very pleasant. But not much of a workout.

Joining a gym has worked for me in the past, only because if I pay for it, I will make myself use it. Hey, whatever works, right? It's the only way I got through law school in decent shape, because the monthly gym bill was the only thing that could justify my leaving the library for an hour without feeling too guilty. And if the gym was torture, well, so was the law library, so what was the difference? But these days, it would take me more than an hour to get to a gym, one way. And I'm not as willing to submit to torture as in my younger days. So no.

Exercise bike? Soooo boring. How long can a person pedal going nowhere?

DVDs are the perfect solution then, except that they don't do wonders for my blood pressure. Perfectly toned instructors with bopping ponytails or bulging tattooed biceps cheering me on, yelling, "Come on, you can do it!" just make me want to throw something at them.

I've tried yoga books. No one screaming at me. Check. Pictures. Check. All right, not always so easy to figure out, but okay. The real downside? It's a book! It's made to curl up on the couch with while I study the poses so I'll have them memorized... one day.

But now, I might possibly be in love.

After giving up on yoga, I tried to remember the last time I actually enjoyed an exercise class. And I had to go all the way back to my high school years, when I was a dancer. Ballet and Jazz. Our high school had a daily gym requirement, but it could be met by dance. So I'd start my days with an hour of ballet, which I'd been taking since elementary school. It was lovely. Calm. Soothing music. Repetitious, yes, but in a good way, so one could totally zone out. In fact, it suddenly struck me that even the night before the bar exam, when I was much too nervous to sleep, it was ballet that calmed me down. I remember getting out of bed at two in the morning and doing a whole routine in my living room. Then I slept.

I don't know why I didn’t think of it before, but so far, ballet feels a little like coming home.

I'm loving every moment of the soothing piano music and the calming effect of first position, second position, flex, point, flex, point...

Will the honeymoon last? Well, that remains to be seen. I'll let you know.!


Milou Koenings is a USA Today bestselling author. She writes romance because, like chocolate, stories with a happy ending bring more joy into the world and so make it a better place.







Her Green Pines sweet romances, I Love You Three, The Kampala Peppermint Twist, Reclaiming Home, and Sweet Blizzard are available on AmazonAmazon.uk, iBooks, Nook, Kobo and all your favorite e-book retailers.

Sign up for her newsletter, so you'll be first to know about new releases!

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Sunday, May 20, 2018

It's the 20th of the month again ...

... and we're back to bring you free e-books! The nine authors of the next Sweet Christmas Kisses anthology, due in September, have revealed their backgrounds: What kind of day job keeps them busy when they're not writing / or what kind of training they have had -- and then, they have revealed the jobs of their heros and heroines . . . and it really is an amazing mix!

But read for yourselves ... and don't forget to tell us about your dream job and which profession you would most like to read about. Three lucky winners will get a free e-book from our authors! Write your comment at the page of our Facebook café: https://www.facebook.com/groups/SRRCafe1/


Beate Boeker works in marketing. Her heroine is a product designer who creates funky household articles, and her hero is an architect who has just inherited a big farm house. But when he asks her about her job, she's in a bad mood, so she spontaneously tells him she's a lion tamer . . .

Christine Bush is a Marriage and Family therapist who also teaches psychology at a local college. Many of her stories include healing and growing for her characters.  In her new Christmas novella, "Christmas with the Carmichaels", her hero and heroine are FAR from young, dealing with issues of life changes, aging and family  as they face a new relationship. Love can come at any time of life!

Mary Alford is a full time author. In Ghosts From Christmas Past, Charlotte Swenson, the heroine, wakes up from an eight year coma, unable to remember her past. Dylan Parker is the sheriff of Bitter Creek, Colorado. Dylan and Charlotte were in love in high school. Throughout all those eight years, Dylan visited Charlotte all the time. After being urged by friends and family, Dylan has only recently begin to put his life together and move. And now Charlotte's awake…

Josie Riviera is a full time author, and also a piano teacher. Her heroine, Eve, in a Christmas to Cherish, is a professional harpist. The hero is a sheriff.

Roxanne Rustand  is now a full-time author, after years of working as a registered dietitian.
In her new Christmas novella, the kindergarten teacher heroine was jilted by her fiance three months ago, but rather than losing all of the hard-earned, non-refundable honeymoon money she spent on a VRBO (Vacation Rental by Owner) and the plane tickets, she goes to Paris anyway. The hero is in Paris for a medical conference--alone, as his wife left him last year for their way-too-handsome handyman. Neither the hero nor the heroine has any interest in a finding a new romance...

Milou Koenings is a freelance writer who moonlights as a lawyer. In her upcoming novella, her heroine is a famous model dreaming of a career change, and her hero is a volunteer fireman. Not so clear, though, who saves whom...

Liwen Y. Ho has her Master's degree in Marriage and Family Therapy, but hung up her therapist hat when she became a stay-at-home mom. She now works as a chauffeur and referee by day and an author by night. Both her hero and heroine are in the law field. He's an overbearing divorce attorney, and she is his (in his eyes) ditzy legal assistant.

Jean C. Gordon was a tax and financial writer and planner for more years than she cares to admit, but broke free to become a full-time romance author three years ago. Her hero is a motocross racer, who was jilted at the altar a couple of weeks ago and is hiding out at the racing team barracks for the holiday season. The heroine is an out-of-work news reporter and temporary pizza deliverer who's just snagged a freelance assignment to get a tell-all interview with the reclusive hero. See what happens when they get trapped at the barracks by a mudslide.

Kristin Wallace wears many hats as a writer. She has worked as an advertising copywriter for over 16 years, both in ad agencies and as a freelancer. Past clients included the Miami Marlins baseball team, Sea World, World Vision, and several hospitals. In her book, Second Chance Christmas, the heroine is actually out of work after a illness caused her to miss too much time at her cashier job. She moves back home to live with her sister and has an opportunity to work as a secretary/assistant for the head of Barrington Enterprises. There's just one issue...he just happens to be her long-ago, "secret" love. Oh, and she has a secret of her own...one that she's been keeping for ten years.

Now it's your turn! Tell us about your dream job by writing your comment at the page of our Facebook café, and you might win a free e-book: https://www.facebook.com/groups/SRRCafe1/




Thursday, May 17, 2018

National Pack Rat Day by Liwen Y. Ho

Here's a little bit of trivia for you. May 17th is National Pack Rat day! What exactly is a pack rat? According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, there are two definitions: first, a bushy-tailed rodent (Neotoma cinerea) of western North America that has well-developed cheek pouches and that hoards food and miscellaneous objects; and second, a person who collects or hoards especially unneeded items. I'm not typically a rodent lover, but in this case, the mental image of the first kind of pack rat sounds cuter (and less messy!) than the latter. 

I'll admit, I've been known to collect a thing or two. I'd like to think though that the items I hold onto are useful (or will be useful some day!). Who doesn't need stacks of pretty scrapbook paper or boxes of fun stamps? Or shoes?! One can never have too many shoes, right? ;) (My husband would likely disagree.) And let's not forget about books! 


Image courtesy of pixabay.com

One thing I've learned over the years, however, is that there can be too much of a good thing. Especially when those "good" things have a tendency of collecting way too much dust. 

It's appropriate that National Pat Rack Day falls on the calendar during the spring season. It's a great time to reevaluate all the things taking up space in our homes and consider doing some spring cleaning. 

Do you have things you love to collect? What are your spring cleaning tips? I'd love to hear them as I get myself motivated to clean.






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Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Why I Write Category Romances by Margaret Daley

Why I Write Category Romances
By Margaret Daley

I have been writing for Harlequin’s Love Inspired line since 2000 and have enjoyed creating Love Inspired and  Love Inspired Suspense books, some still to come out at the end of this year. Writing for a category inspirational romance publisher has challenged me and helped me to grow as a writer.

What have I learned writing category romances? I’ve learned first and foremost how to tell a story in a concise way. I had to learn to pick and choose what was important to tell the reader, which isn’t always that easy to see, especially when you are so close to the story. What we should do is introduce the hero and heroine and let the reader get a sense of who the protagonists are in the present before we flood them with their back story (and actually a writer should never “flood” the reader with the back story but sprinkle it in throughout). 

But often as a writer we want to jump in and explain everything at the beginning so the reader will “understand.” That was the way it was done when I first started writing years ago. We often took a chapter or so to let the readers discover who the main characters were before we really introduce the conflicts between them. Not anymore—which leads me to another reason I write for category.

I have learned (still learning) to tell a fast paced story that will keep today’s reader turning the page. Nothing is better than receiving a note from a reader telling me that I kept them up all night reading my book. That is one of the highest honors I could receive from a reader. Up until recently I taught at a high school. I discovered that the teens I worked with thought most of the classic novels were boring. When I studied those novels, I could see their point. It took quite a while to get into the story. The books were wordy and the authors often padded the basic story. I wanted these students to learn to love reading as I do so I looked at books that told a compelling story that was fast paced. That is what they read and I saw some good results. Remember, these same teens are used to a story being told in an hour on a television show. If the show didn’t grab their attention, they used the remote and moved on to another show. A category story requires an author to tell a story quickly (or should), to choose her words carefully. There is little room for unnecessary information in the stories. These stories are fast reads that can often be read in one sitting.

In a category romance there is always a happy ending (which is another reason I read and write category stories—I love a happy ending), but the story is in how the characters get there. Millions of people read category romances and keep coming back. They like the idea of a happy ending. That’s one of the reasons they keep reading them, but what intrigues them is how the author gets the hero and heroine together—the conflicts, the type of characters portrayed, and in my line, what part their faith plays in their lives. So when people pick up a category romance, they know how the book will end but not how they will get there.I’ve been blessed to have the best of both worlds. I write for a traditional publisher and I self publish too. I love to write an emotional story but also a story with a mystery and suspense element (not to mention a faith element). After reading one of these, you walk away with hope for love and a relationship with the opposite sex.  Hope is so important in this world and that’s really why I write inspirational romances and romantic suspense books.


Hunted, Book One in Everyday Heroes
Murder. On the Run. Second Chances.
Luke Michaels' relaxing camping trip ends when he witnesses a woman being thrown from a bridge. He dives into the river to save her, shocked to find her wrapped in chains. As a canine search and rescue volunteer, Luke has assisted many victims, but never a beauty whose defeated gaze ignites his primal urge to protect. When Megan Witherspoon’s killers make it clear they won't stop, Luke fights to save her, but can he keep her alive long enough to find out who is after her?

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