Friday, December 9, 2016

Heroes of the Hearth.... Foster Parenting by Christine Bush



I had the awesome opportunity to meet the mother of one of my college students yesterday.  She wears a lot of hats. One of the most amazing is “foster parent”.  She and her husband have fostered for almost 30 years.  Her family includes children of all ages, all races, and some special needs.  I am so grateful to get to know her loving heart, and her mission.
Probably we all agree that all children deserve the best.  We also probably all know that some are born into circumstances FAR less than that.  And many of us are busy raising our own offspring, and can’t imagine opening our arms, our hearts, our homes to the children who are in dire circumstances.  We aren’t all called to do that.  And that’s ok.
 But I think it’s vitally important to acknowledge and celebrate those who are, and to help where we can.  At several churches and organizations, I’ve been touched with the programs that spring up to gather Christmas gifts and supportive activities for families like this. 

We romance writers and readers focus on love, so it’s worth taking a minute to consider the kind of parent love it takes to foster.  There are  many challenges, so many ups and downs, hopes fulfilled and disappointments swallowed.  It is tough. And day after day, the love goes on.  I am so touched by this.
Some fostering is short term, emergency care, and children eventually go to live with relatives, or are reunited with parents.  Some lead to adoption.  Some children move from home to home to home within state systems that seem to have a lot of “cracks” that they can fall through.  Systems vary state by state, and some desperately need change to  protect the welfare of the children they serve, to make sure the good of the child always comes before bureaucracy, politics and paperwork.
                             
My dear nephew and his wonderful wife are foster parents  in Nevada.  Marc is a successful actor/singer in the Las Vegas entertainment world, most recently starring as Sam Phillips in “Million Dollar Quartet” at Harrah’s.  Jen is an amazing teacher.  Busy lives.  But the hub of their world is their parenthood, and the wonderful child they are fostering and hoping to adopt. It’s far from an easy journey, and it takes a lot of commitment, perseverance, and love.
Marc and Jen clearly see the challenges fostering parents face, and are involved in a very worthwhile organization dedicated to support and assist in the mission of being foster parents, called “Foster Change.”

I’m very proud that Marc is appearing on December 18th in a benefit fund raiser for the organization, called “Christmas Crooner” to raise awareness (plus money!) for the cause.  If you’re in the Vegas area you can check it out at www.ChristmasCrooner.com.  Really cool.  100% of the profits will go to Foster Change.  But some of us (including me) live far and can’t attend.  So we’re donating from afar at www.crowdrise.com/christmascrooner. Feel free to join in if you’re so inclined.

And if you have foster parents in your world, let’s let them know how much their dedication is worth.  They change lives with their love.  Each and every day. 
I have a feeling that we romance lovers, who love "happily every afters", can particularly understand how important that is.  I want to sincerely thank those wonderful, loving folks who foster parent.   Do we have any foster parents here? I’d love to hear your story.
Christine Bush is the award winning author of many books and novellas of sweet romance and light mystery. She also writes Middle Grade Fiction. When she isn’t writing, she can be found working with clients as a Marriage and Family Therapist in private practice, or teaching Psychology at a local college.  She lives with her family and two crazy cats in northeastern Pennsylvania, and loves to hear from readers and aspiring writers.
Her  book “Cindy’s Prince”  (about an awesome woman who is raising her niece and nephew) can be found at  http://www.amazon.com/Cindys-Prince-Christine-Bush-ebook/dp/B00IFSRVJ2/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1393781746&sr=1-1&keywords=christine+bush+cindy%27s+prince

www.ChristineBush.com



               

 

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Grandma Gordon's Shortbread




Are you a holiday baker? I was more of one when my kids were young and liked to decorate—and devour—cookies. But there's one family favorite that I always make for the holidaysshortbread from my husband's grandmother's (most likely great grandmother's) recipe. My husband's Aunt Jean gave it to me. As a treat, I'm sharing it with you.

Agnes Gordon's Scotch Shortbread

1 lb. softened butter (the salted regular butter)
1 cup white sugar
Approximately 4 cups of all-purpose (plain) white flour. (Be sure to spoon the flour into the measuring cup because you might have to add a few more spoonfuls while you are missing the batter to get the right consistency.)

Mix the softened butter and sugar together with a spoon, and then add the flour one cup at a time and mix the batter with your hands until it feels ready to spread on a cookie sheet. Press the batter on the cookie sheet pan with your hands until it spreads out evenly and smoothly. (It is not necessary to use a rolling pin unless you so desire.)

Then mark the size pieces (leave the pieces on the cookie sheet!) you want with a table knife and prick each piece a couple of times with a table fork. (This lets the air circulate through each piece while the shortbread is baking.) Depending on how you make the pieces you can have 48 or more pieces on a cookie sheet.

BAKE FOR TWO HOURS (2 HOURS) IN A SLOW OVEN (224 TO 235 DEGREES DEPENDING ON YOUR OVEN). Once the shortbread looks a nice golden brown and smells heavenly, remove from the oven and let the shortbread cool on the cookie sheet for 15 minutes. Then use a table knife to cut each piece on the already marked lines but let the shortbread finish cooling on the cookie sheet.

I’m sure Aunt Jean added the following to the recipe: Once the shortbread is cooled, then you can put the cookie pieces in a zip-lock bag, a tight container, or even in the freezer. These shortbread cookies keep for a long time if sealed well and even longer if frozen. They're delicious with a hot cup of coffee or tea. Enjoy this Scottish treat for holidays or anytime. Cheers!
 
Do you have a favorite Christmas cookie? Connor Donnelly in Holiday Homecoming does. It's snickerdoodles. Not any snickerdoodles. Snickerdoodles made by his high school and college love Natalie Delacroix's mother. Natalie Delacroix, the woman who turned down his marriage proposal on Christmas Eve their senior year of college for a news job in Chicago. Now, Natalie is back in Paradox Lake, NY, and Connor isn't as indifferent to her as he thought he was.

The Donnelly Brothers: Hometown boys make good . . . and find love


 
For Amazon bestselling sweet and inspirational author Jean C. Gordon, writing is a natural extension of her love of reading. From that day in first grade when she realized t-h-e was the word the, she’s been reading everything she can put h hands on. Jean and her college-sweetheart husband share a 175-year-old farmhouse in Upstate New Yorkwhere she sets her bookswith their daughter and her family. Their son lives nearby. Connect with Jean on Facebook, as @JeanCGordon on Twitter, or on JeanCGordon.com.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Holiday wishes....from Roxanne Rustand

Best wishes to you all for a beautiful December, wherever you are, a blessed Christmas and a wonderful New year!

Are you all set for the holidays? I got in the spirit this morning, when I awoke to our first snowfall--four inches of heavy, wet snow.  The kind that clings to the trees and bushes like thick whipped cream, and would be perfect for snowball fights, if our kids were still small.

So today, I decorated the house for the holidays, found  the Christmas cards I bought at the end of the season last year, got the lights on the tree, and started thinking about some holiday baking.

Have you started your holiday preparations yet? Done any holiday shopping and wrapping?  I always wish there were several extra weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas!

Something else this week...I rarely do booksignings, but on Friday evening  I'll be doing one, thanks to a publicity person at Harper Collins and the Barnes and Noble store in Cedar Rapids. Iowa.  If any of you are in that area, I would so love to see some familiar faces!   :)

It would be fun to hear about what sort of preparations you making for he holidays!  Do you have special food that you make every year?  Special traditions?

Best wishes to you all for a blessed Christmas!

Roxanne Rustand


Sunday, December 4, 2016

Making a Difference



“Be the change you want to see in the world.” Ghandi

Some people see themselves as ordinary people going about their daily activities without concerns about their surroundings. They are just happy to make ends meet, put enough food on the table, take care of their families with a little extra on the side for entertainment and vacation. When asked about what they do for a living, they will mention their JOB, going to work for a paycheck and doing what they have to do.

Driven by ambition, others are dedicated to their careers, and devote every moment to accomplish their goals. When asked about what they do for a living, they will talk about their CAREER, about their hard work and perseverance to climb the ladder of success in their field.

A few special people want to make a difference in their world. They really believe in a cause larger than themselves and they would go out of their way to make a difference for others. When asked about what they do for a living, they will enthusiastically elaborate about their calling, their mission in life, their vocation. Their happiness does not come from money, or status, but from having a positive impact on the lives of others. 

As we are approaching the holidays and the end of this year, how do you analyze your accomplishments?Wealth? Status? Inner satisfaction? Positive impact on the others?  

 ON CHRISTMAS EVE is part of USA Today bestseller anthology SWEET CHRISTMAS KISSES 3.

Amazon

Saturday, December 3, 2016

NOOK Press Presents ~ A Collection of Handpicked Titles @DonnaFaz


Editors from NOOK Press have handpicked what they’re calling “the best books from emerging authors and new voices.” The collection is made up of 60 exciting titles meant to ignite your holiday reading. Check out the list to find some new favorites: NOOK Press Presents.

Yesterday, I was awed to learn that my new release—GROWN-UP CHRISTMAS LIST—was chosen by the editors. Other authors who made it into the collection are Barbara Freethy, Belle Andre, Maggie Shayne, and Debbie Macomber, just to mention a few. I hope you'll take a moment to look through all these wonderful titles.

Find NOOK Press on Facebook here.

Have you been wanting a NOOK eReader? Or are you interested in buying a NOOK as a holiday gift? Find more information here.

And Barnes & Noble offers a FREE NOOK app, as well, that allows you to buy and read ebooks without purchasing an eReader. You can download to your phone, tablet, or computer. More information here.

~  ~  ~



Do you love Christmas cookies? Here’s a FREE cookbook for you! FAVORITE CHRISTMAS COOKIES is filled with recipes from some of your favorite authors! Download today for:

Nook     Kindle     iBooks     Kobo


Happy Holidays!




Friday, December 2, 2016

Ding Dong Santa is Here! by Melinda Curtis

It used to be that I'd rise at 3 or 4 in the morning on Black Friday and shop. There were always great deals and I could (usually) get back to the house in time to make breakfast for the family.

There were downsides, of course. I once won a $500 early shopper prize and proceeded to spend that and $200 more (what was I thinking?). And there was the time I bought a shop vac for $20. I had no idea what a shop vac was, but I didn't have one and it was $20! We all get caught up in the moment, don't we?

But now stores and online retailers have great deals online AND you can sleep in. This holiday season I have yet to set foot in a store.

I have, however, walked many steps. Steps to answer the door when the UPS or USPS make a delivery. And the guest bedroom is full of packages.

Have you changed your holiday shopping habits as the world changes?

Melinda Curtis is an award-winning USA Today bestselling author. Her latest release You May Now Kiss the Bridesmaid is a sweet romantic comedy in her Bridesmaids series. If you haven't signed up for the Sweet Romance Reads newsletter, you can do so by checking out the sidebar.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Lyn Cote Reviews Becky Wade's The Proposal

The Proposal (Porter Family #3.5)The Proposal by Becky Wade


My rating: 5 of 5 stars


 This is a joyous little Christmas romance, like a Christmas cookie--YUMMY and then in the tummy. ;-)

Amber was a secondary character in a couple of Becky Wade's Porter Family series:

 UNDENIABLY YOURS, MEANT TO BE MINE,  A LOVE LIKE OURS,  HER ONE AND ONLY.


 I loved Amber, her story of triumph over adversity and this story is the pinnacle of that. If you've read the Porter Family series, you CANNOT miss this sweet holiday morsel.


! The Proposal


  To purchase, click here Only 99 cents! Do you enjoy reading holiday novellas? Have you tried our Sweet Christmas Kisses 3 yet?--Lyn