Monday, February 27, 2017

Free Novels and visiting other romance authors while checking out Fireman....


So this month I was invited to speak to SouthWest Romance Writers monthly meeting on the topic of newsletters. I love talk to authors about how I give away stuff to readers. So I sent my husband to get my rental car and he returned with the 15 passenger party van for this venture. So I had my two friends I intended to drive the hour and half with and we jumped into our 'party van.'
 Once we arrived in Bonita Springs we saw the fireman were training. Naturally we snapped a picture of the men while they discussed how to save people from the 'faux' burning building. It was so cool. In Miami I don't live anywhere near a training facility like that. And while I don't write fireman stories, it could be finish.

My basic point to the lecture is that I'm always giving away something. It's mostly books. Be warned in the February one not all are sweet, but last month every author said they were. So I'll post the link to January's giveaway as many of the books are still available! http://victoriapinder.com/warm-up-your-january-with-sweet-romances-instafreebie/
 Now I don't read all the books that authors say fits the bill and I saw a few of the covers and said 'hmm that doesn't seem right' but I took everyone at their word. Giving books away is fun. So I hope you enjoy the selection and I hope the authors see the value of offering samples.

Have an amazing day!
Victoria Pinder


Sunday, February 26, 2017

New Beginnings


 
There’s an old Texas tale that says when the Mesquite trees begin to bud out, winter is almost over and spring is just around the corner.

Well, seeing as it’s been almost 80 degrees here where we live, my husband and decided to test this notion. So we went for a walk in the woods behind our house and guess what?  The Mesquite trees are budding! There’s new signs of spring everywhere, including a few bluebonnets blooming.
 
 

So, it got me to thinking about spring. I love the time of the year when all the flowers are in bloom and everything is so green and pretty. New life begins in the animal kingdom as well and the circle of life starts over again.
 
When I think about new beginnings, I think about how they are woven into the stories we write.
 

As an author, I love creating stories where two broken people come together and find their new beginning that ends in a happily ever after.

 
In my latest release, Grace And The Rancher, my heroine Grace Bradford finds forgiving herself is the hardest thing to do. Grace suffered abuse at the hands of the man who was supposed to love her.

 
 

Grace was a rising star on the country music scene. Everyone thought her life was perfect, but in truth her marriage was falling apart. After an argument that ended in a car crash, Grace’s husband is killed and Grace’s career finished. Running away from her problems seemed like the only answer. But what Grace found when she moved to Delaney Mountain was not only restoration, but redemption. And forgiveness from herself.  

Kyle Delaney, the hero of the story, is an alcoholic, just like his father. Kyle’s family life is dysfunctional at best. When Kyle almost killed his brother when he drove his vehicle while drinking, Kyle realized he had to get away from his poisoned home life to ever have a chance of changing. Kyle moved to Texas and became a success in his career, but still something was missing from his life. When his father reaches out to him asking for forgiveness, what Kyle finds when he comes back home to Delaney Mountain is the home he’d always dreamed of, and the love that is missing from his life.
 

So wherever you are in the country, whether it’s cold where or warm, know that spring is just around the corner, and a new beginning is on its way.

Today, I'll be giving away an ebook copy of Grace And The Rancher to on commenter.

 
 



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.

Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter.  
 
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All the best…

 

Mary Alford

  

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Photograph of a Hero




Like many authors, I often use photographs to inspire my writing.

Who better to inspire a fictional hero, than a handsome true-to-life hero?

 
Captain Robert Gibson, was born in 1886 in Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Scotland. Intelligent, well-educated, uncommonly bright, and patriotic, he gave his life as a military war hero in WWI.

Captain Robert Gibson, Scottish scholar and WWI soldier killed in 1915. Inspiration for Chadwick Hughes.

The first time I saw his image, I was astounded--handsome! Loyal, brave, bright, strong.

In my mind's eye, at least, I patterned Chadwick Charles "C.C." Hughes, hero of Sophia'sLeap-Year Courtship after this handsome war hero, with utmost respect.

 
Cover model on book cover, inspiration for Sophia Sorensen.

The cover was ready for this new Sweet Romance (set in the winter of 1888-89) by the time I needed a visual image of my heroine, Sophia Sorensen. I already knew my heroine had to be somebody pretty amazing, because I'd borrowed my great-great-grandmother's name. Interesting, at least to me and my immediate family, the cover model strongly resembles the true-to-history Sophia on my family tree.

I've written a blog post about why and how images spark creativity in writing.

This time, I already had a story. I just needed an anchor--mental images of the characters to help readers sketch an image too. As I wrote this brand-new release, I gathered images during my research process about every component of the story: fashion, bicycles, railroad, mail-order brides (and fraudulent companies), hard winters, leap year, leap-year courtships, and more! The images are all gathered on a Pinterest Board for this title. Please, stop by and take a look.

 
Sophia's Leap-Year Courtship released yesterday!


Book Description:

Union Pacific Station Agent Chadwick Hughes has everything in a state of readiness to welcome his mail order bride…everything but the bride. The woman he’s corresponded with for a year didn’t change her mind or miss her train in Omaha—she never existed. Chadwick’s mortified to discover he’s been swindled by a fraudulent matrimonial agency in Chicago. He needs a lawyer if he’ll ever recover a dime of the fortune he spent on worthless membership fees and the nonexistent bride’s transportation west.


Sophia Sorensen, Attorney at Law, is a spinster on the edge of propriety. The good people of Wyoming Territory are open to a lot of things, including Lady’s Privilege during Leap Years, but some aren’t fond of her day-to-day behavior. Why, the woman rides her bicycle hither and yon, showing her petticoat ruffle and ankles. She might be the least ladylike specimen beneath Wyoming skies, but it’s entertaining to watch her court the U.P. Station Agent, Chadwick Hughes, the most-eligible bachelor in the county.

Learn lots more about this new title and the research pictured on the Pinterest board, on my website.




Hi! I'm Kristin Holt, USA Today Bestselling Author.
I write frequent articles (or view recent posts easily on my Home Page, scroll down) about the nineteenth century American West–every subject of possible interest to readers, amateur historians, authors…as all of these tidbits surfaced while researching for my books. I also blog monthly at Sweet Romance Reads, Sweet Americana Sweethearts, and Romancing the Genres.

I love to hear from readers! Please drop me a note. Or find me on Facebook.



You'll love it! Subscribe HERE.


Copyright © 2017 Kristin Holt LC

Friday, February 24, 2017

Tall, dark and handsome—Fine

Translation: a good-looking guy. 
Years ago, I was chatting with a fellow author and good friend, who is white, about that description.
To me, as an African American, it means exactly what it says, a tall man about six-three, built, and with satiny dark skin, and I would use the word fine to kick it up a notch. We laughed at our interpretation. A man with dark hair came to mind.
Me: Huh?
Most black folks I know have naturally dark hair, so that wouldn’t be descriptive to me. Our men’s hair could be cut in a fade, curly, wavy, twisted, shaven, afro, locks, and more. With publisher’s lack of diversity when it comes to romance in color, I decided to let the pictures tell the story. 

This group of handsome fine men could inspire any of my characters: They aren’t models, but lawyers, doctors, scientist, social workers, and other professionals. I love personality in a character, and they have it. 



As American Black History Month commemoration closes out, I wondered if there was more diversity in romance, more non People of Color would read black romances. After all, there was a time when publishers rejected romances if the characters weren’t white. But blacks read them anyway, because they wanted a good story. Recently, the ABC network announced it will feature a black woman as The Bachelorette for the upcoming season. Critics say it’s been long in coming. 

See what some friends of mine are saying about my Christian romances.
“I really enjoy Pat Simmons' books. The romances don't always come easy for the characters for different reasons. Such as, Pastor Rossi from Love Led by the Spirit. God had shown Rossi what woman He had in mind for him, but he had to wait a long time for that woman. She wasn't a believer and Rossi wouldn't accept anyone who wasn't evenly yoked with him. I find it interesting to read Pat's books also because of her characters. She doesn't push them being African American on the reader. I can read her books and learn about people being people. I can find it interesting that they also have many shades of eye and hair color. I can enter into a different culture and appreciate it. I fell in love with Rossi over those few books. And Jet had a special place in my heart too.”  --Judy DeVries from Just Judy’s Jumbles

Next this was from Inspirational Historical Author Danica Favorite:
“I really enjoyed THE CONFESSION. The author asked me if I would read the book and give her honest feedback as a white woman in terms of how I felt about the racial issues. I'm so glad I read it because it gave me insight into a lot of what it's like to be black, and some differences in our cultures. I really loved the passion I saw between the characters, and how deeply they connect and feel their emotions and care for each other. It was delightful to be immersed in that world and connect with the characters. I think more white people need to read this book, because I learned so much about black history, and it was really eye-opening. I wish they'd teach more of this in schools.” 


I asked some of my readers about their favorite couples:
“Derek & Robyn from Couple by Christmas. They fought divorce, adversity, 
their own stubborn ways and found their way back to each other.” Ceisha

“Karen Wallace and Levi Tolliver from CROWNING GLORY. This was the first time I've ever seen a love story where the woman was the one who once served time and feared that nobody could accept her past. Levi unfortunately proved her right at first, having lost his wife to murder during a robbery, he couldn't find it in him to ever forgive a criminal. I loved how both of them stood their ground—once they got on the same page, that made them unstoppable as a couple.” Maurice
By the way, not only did this book win Best Inspirational Romance for the year, but it was also my favorite.


“Malcolm and Hallie were my favorite because she did what she had to do to get back on track with God. Malcolm surrendered to God because he finally realized he needed Him and Hallie was bonus.” Israelneisha

“Garrett and Shari, because they each had to overcome their own challenges and insecurities and brokenness individually and collectively but NEVER gave up on each other as a whole, they both had to learn about faith, trust, forgiveness, but they both learned never letting go of each other which blossomed into a beautiful relationship.” Nicole

Pictures are worth more than words, so I wanted to just share some from my LOVE IS IN THE AIR board on Pinterest. These black couples are the ones I write about in my stories. See and feel their love, then pick up a black romance and fall in love with my characters. For hundreds more pictures, follow me pinterest.com/patsimmonsbooks.


Pat Simmons is celebrating ten years as a published author with more than thirty titles. She is a self-proclaimed genealogy sleuth who is passionate about researching her ancestors and then casting them in starring roles in her novels, in the hope of tracking down any distant relatives who might happen to pick up her books.
Pat describes the evidence of the gift of the Holy Ghost as an amazing, unforgettable, life-altering experience. She believes God is the Author who advances the stories she writes.
Pat holds a B.S. in mass communications from Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts. She has worked in various positions in radio, television, and print media for more than twenty years. Currently, she oversees the media publicity for the annual RT Booklovers Conventions.

In addition to researching her roots and sewing, she has been a featured speaker and workshop presenter at various venues across the country.
Pat has converted her sofa-strapped sports fanatic husband into an amateur travel agent, untrained bodyguard, GPS-guided chauffeur, and administrative assistant who is constantly on probation. They have a son and a daughter.

Her latest release is LOVE BY DELIVERY.
Senior Accounts Manager Dominique Hayes has it all—money, a car and a condo. Well, almost. She’s starting to believe love has passed her by. One thing for sure, she can’t hurry God, so she continues to wait while losing hope that a special Godly man will ever make his appearance.
Package Courier Ashton Taylor knows a man who finds a wife finds a good thing. The only thing standing in his way of finding the right woman is his long work hours. Or maybe not.
A chance meeting changes everything. When love finally comes knocking, will Dominique open the door and accept Ashton’s special delivery?


Thursday, February 23, 2017

Celebration of the South Tour

The first stop I made on my Celebration of the South tour was Love Our Readers Luncheon. Each February, I co-host an event that spotlights the south. This year we met at the Marietta Educational Garden Center, a historical home near Kennesaw Mountain.








We celebrated in true southern style by eating on fine china, sipping peach tea, and talking about all things southern. It's an amazing time, and we have so many returning readers each year! If you live in driving distance to Kennesaw, GA, you might want to check this out. Next year, our keynote will be Patti Callahan Henry!





The next stop on my Celebration of the South tour will be in Atlanta, Georgia, at the Romantic Times Convention Magnolias and Moonshine County Fair, where you’ll fall in love with the South.

This isn't just one event, it's a HUGE project involving twenty New York Times, USA Today, and Amazon bestselling authors who joined together to bring you a taste of Southern charm. There is something for everyone with these ten sweet and ten sizzle contemporary romance novellas. You’ll enjoy stories with cowboys, weddings, county fairs, lovers reunited, and much more.


Step into the world of the South and hear the cicadas, taste the mint juleps, see the stars, and smell the magnolias. A new novella will be released daily beginning April 10th through April 30th. My contribution to the series is SASSY BRIDE.



Abandoned by her parents and left to raise two sisters, Sadie Dixon has spent her life sacrificing for her family. When the eldest son of the rich Dumont family, Ashton, wins her heart and hand in marriage, he showers her with every advantage money can buy. But when their worlds collide, Sadie faces the first sacrifice she isn't sure she can make: leaving her family and lifelong dreams of owning a bakery behind for the man she loves.

For a chance to win an advanced reader copy of The Sassy Bride, tell me a country colloquialism that you've heard. :) One lucky commenter will win!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Free Book in the Matched Online Series / Posted by Julie Jarnagin

Hi Readers! Julie Jarnagin here. Today I wanted to tell you about a free book!
You can get How to Lose a Guy in 10 Dates free for a limited time (expires Saturday!).
10 Dates is the first of four love stories in the Matched Online anthology

*How to Lose a Guy in 10 Dates by Lacy Williams
*A Package Deal by Robin Patchen
*Rival Hearts by Susan Crawford
*Engaged by Friday by Julie Jarnagin (Me!) 


Download now at your favorite online retailer.
Amazon   iBooks   B&N/Nook   Kobo
With their ten-year high school reunion on the horizon, four girlfriends make a pact to find the perfect guy—online. But nothing about online dating is simple…

Single mom Angela Hudson thought she was ready to dip her toe in the dating waters again after her marriage imploded, but as dates #1, #2 and #3 turn out disastrous, she wonders if this is really worth it. Especially when she’s more attracted to the handsome coffeeshop barista than any of her dates...

Drew Scheffield is only in town for the summer. He hoped working in his brother’s coffeeshop would distract him from the grief of losing his young wife. But as he gets to know Angela and sees her dating guys #4, #5 and #6, he discovers his heart isn't as dead as he thought it was...

As Angela’s dates #7, #8 and #9 go wrong, she and Drew get close--even though she knows he’s leaving. Can Drew open his heart to love again, or will Angela lose the perfect guy in 10 dates?
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 a not-so-big city 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 and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. 
www.JulieJarnagin.com

My latest novel, The Vegas Proposal, is now available! 

A celebrity wedding would save her family’s Las Vegas chapel—as long as she doesn’t fall for the groom.

And don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter. Scroll down the right side of our blog and enter your email address under Newsletter Signup. Remember to join the Sweet Romance Reads Cafe too.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Love Among the Blackberries by Milou Koenings


In my new release, I Love You Three, the characters spend a day harvesting blackberries from an old lady’s backyard — and then half the town spends the weekend using them before they spoil. There among the blackberry bushes, my heroine, Julie, falls ever more in love with the hero, and as they unload their harvest, she tells him the first lie...

blackberry bush
Lorna Mitchell, cc-by-nd-2.0.
For me, blackberries immediately conjure up the memory of my grandmother’s marathon jelly-making days. She grew a variety of berries in her backyard and we always knew she kept a sharp eye on us kids from the kitchen window whenever we were out there playing. The minute she couldn’t see us anymore, she’d come looking, certain we were crouching behind a berry bush of some kind, eating her harvest. (She was usually right!)

But the payoff came when all those berries were harvested — one kind at a time — and she’d make jam. She had a stainless-steel pot taller than a coffee urn, with a tap at the bottom. I’ve never seen another one like it. The closest I’ve found are pots used to brew homemade beer. (And since my grandmother also produced many bottles of cassis liquor, it’s quite possible this was a hootch-making contraption and not a jam pot at all!)

We used to love lining up the jars of different colored jelly on the shelves. The jewel tones — ruby red currants, dark amethyst blackberries, deep blue cassis and blueberries, and fresh green of gooseberries ­— gleamed in the half-light of the basement.

Still, there’s only so much jelly or jam, or even pies and muffins, you can make when you’re faced with as many blackberries as my characters in I Love You Three.  So, I took a little journey on Pinterest, just to see what else people are doing with their fresh blackberries.  And wow!
Here’s a sampling of the mouthwatering recipes I found, and which of the characters in I Love You Three would be most likely to make it:

Blackberry Crostada, from halfbakedharvest.com
This seems like something Annie's mom would make. We first meet her in I Love You Three, but she saves the day in a later Green Pines romance.


Blackberry Cheesecake, from Bromabakery.com
This is totally something Marcia would make. She teaches the hero, Mac, to dance, and brings him dinner, sometimes, too.



Blackberry Popsicles and Blackberry Lemonade

Of course, the heroine, Julie, is going to be serving these at her mother's birthday party, during which she also surreptitiously tries to steer Mac toward some help for the problem he's grappling with...

Blackberry Popsicles from Tutti-dolci.com




Blackberry Lemonade from Like Mother Like Daughter




Blackberry Party Cake



This cake has got to be the piece the resistance at Julie and Mac’s engagement party, since it’s summer. (It won’t work as their wedding cake only because they get married right after Thanksgiving, at the beginning of my holiday novella, The Kampala Peppermint Twist.)

Blackberry Cake from Natascha's Kitchen



blackberry cake




Now tell me you don’t want to fill your yard with blackberries? Well, maybe not. But when you find a basket or two of them at the store, at least you'll know the problem won’t be what to do with them, but which recipe to pick!


One last one that I have to include only because no recipe list would be complete without chocolate:

Blackberry Mille-Feuille from Gourmande in the Kitchen


chocolate mille-feuille

I hope you enjoyed this tour of some of awesome culinary blogs.  You can find more recipes that my Green Pines characters might be whipping up on my Green Pines Recipes Pinterest board.





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, Reclaiming Home and Sweet Blizzard are available on AmazonAmazon.uk, iBooks, Nook, Kobo and all your favorite e-book retailers.  








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