Wednesday, June 28, 2017

All in the Family ~ by Magdalena Scott



On Saturday, I met a friend to spend some time together. Here is how our conversation began:

Friend: I'm upset with you.

Me: Uh-oh. What have I done now?

Friend: You scared me. I thought little Matthew was going to get run over by a car!

Me: Oops. Sorry. It scared me too, when I wrote it.

Friend: *Chuckles* It's a good thing when book characters seem so real.

Me: I almost bought Matthew a Christmas present in 2015. Cutest little plastic plate with trucks printed on it. He would have loved that plate! *Sighs wistfully*

Us: *Laughing*

If you haven't guessed it, Matthew is a little boy in my Serendipity, Indiana series. In 2014, when he was new to the reading world, he was four years old, and loved trucks (watching them go past his house on North Main Street, riding in them, talking about them) almost as much as he loved Lillian Standish's sweet dog, Daisy. Matthew was the only child of a single mom.

When Matthew and his mother, Melissa, moved to Serendipity in the first book, Small Town Christmas, everything in their lives began to change. The scene that scared my friend happens in one of the later books. (There are eight in the series so far.)


Writing the Serendipity series has been a treat. I feel like I know the characters, and when readers feel that way too, I think I must be doing something right. A reviewer recently wrote about the series, "It makes me happy reading it." Those words warmed my heart.


Book Eight in the Series, Once Upon a Time, released in June. Writing Taylor Kincaid's story was pure joy. I knew the final scene long before I'd written the rest of the story. Taylor and the story's hero, Ken, learn that love truly can survive anything.

I hope you'll take a moment to look at the Serendipity series. If you hurry, you can read all of them before Kim: Beach Brides Series releases on July 11th. Kim was a nurse's aide in Serendipity Book Two, Emily's Dreams.



The Kincaid family, the Standish family, and the rest of Serendipity are waiting for you with open arms. (And don't worry, Matthew is just fine!)

Happy reading!
Magdalena Scott

***





Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Working relations can be like navigating a mind field.

Today’s blog for me is about working as a team and accepting everyone’s individual style with good communication.

This week I was in a situation where authors were working on a boxed set, miscommunication happened and feelings were hurt as a result.  The teacher in me always tries to see the middle ground. (Yes, I taught at the day job, Advanced Placement and I generally had passing rates of over 95% though as I missed half my school year this year due to having my daughter, I can’t be held to my own standard. I wasn’t there to teach and the replacement decided my students were not allowed to take notes in class. I have no words for that!)

Anyhow with miscommunication and working relationships, I know that I also suffered in the past with my various jobs and finding a way to balance work. I worked in engineering, as a lawyer, as a secretary, as a grocery store clerk, and as a teacher to name a few of my many paying jobs. And in every situation, it’s all about finding ways to get along. I also know as a teacher that I can be demanding of my students and I expect and respect work effort far more than I respect results. It’s my own style that reflects my upbringing and has worked well as a teacher.

And I’ve dealt with my fair share of people who I would NEVER hang out with or the super negative types. So once again group dynamics became an issue, but as adults and professionals it all pulled together. However this is skill when emotions get involved and your goal is not to get involved with any of that, but for the group to be successful with the goal line.

Sometimes walking those minefields can be dangerous for the mental health, which is probably why I love writing and reading romance. Everything can pull together in the end, if we work hard and believe. So have you ever been in those situations where group dynamics might just pull all your energy, but you navigated it away? I have no idea how to teach this skill to my daughter when she’s older other than the basics like ‘don’t run things in chat’ and ‘just do your thing’ or ‘your friends don’t define your goals, you do.’ As a new parent the whole world seems scary to navigate and teach someone else.


Anyhow my novels have nothing to do with navigating the mindfield of working relationships though there is fodder in case I ever write that office romance. (It’s on the list of tropes to try.) If you want a free novella to test mine out where romance and love rule, check out https://www.instafreebie.com/free/q21sO and get Returnign for Valentine’s ABSOLUTELY free.

Monday, June 26, 2017

It's That Time Of The Year Again...


It's that time of the year again...Summertime. Which means family vacations, swimming at the local pool, or simply making time to read a good book. Summertime is famous for long, lazy days in the sun with your favorite beverage.



But for me, well, I confess, I have a love/hate relationship with Summer. Mostly because in Texas, as in other parts of the country, Summertime can be brutal. The temperature has already begun to push the 100 degree mark and the humidity is a matching 100 percent.

As a child, I breezed through Summer without a thought about the heat or the humidity, but since I'm all grown up, well, it's not nearly so easy.

So every year, at least for a little while, my husband and I escape to the mountains for some cool crisp temperatures and breathtaking views.     

We return home refreshed and more able to deal with the heat. And then we make a beeline to our swimming pool and pretty much live there until September.

So, what's your favorite way to beat the Summertime heat?



 
 
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.
Mary's latest release, Deadly Memories is now available at Amazon.
 
 
WOMAN WITHOUT A PAST
Amnesia may be keeping Ella Weiss from remembering her past—but not from saving the little boy who's been her fellow prisoner the last seven years. After managing to escape her cell, all she wants is to find where little Joseph is being kept. Instead she runs straight into CIA agent Kyle Jennings. Kyle isn't sure if Ella is actually a kidnap victim or if she's working for the gunrunner he's been after. One thing he is certain of is her uncanny resemblance to the wife he thought he'd buried. To save a child's life and stop a terrorist from slipping through his fingers, he'll need to uncover the secrets of Ella's past—and whether or not she's really the woman he's never stopped loving.
 
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And remember to join the Sweet Romance Reads Cafe too.

 

All the best…

 

Mary Alford

Sunday, June 25, 2017

"Oh, the Places I've Gone & the Things I've Seen!"






by USA Today Bestselling Author Kristin Holt

I love reading romances. Definitely my favorite genre!... though I do read various others like fantasy and mysteries. One of my favorite reasons for reading (and writing) Western Historical Romance is to learn more about history--in disguise as entertainment.

Oh, and entertainment it is! Stories galore about gunfighters, debutantes, lawmen, trainmen, farmer's wives, orphans, sheepherders (in cattle country, just to make it interesting). Along the way, I've learned far more about the history of the United States than I ever learned from a rather excellent AP History Class my senior year of high school.

Bored in traditional history class in school...

Who knew my favorite pastime--reading fiction--could educate, and educate extensively? I've learned so much more about the Old West, the Native Americans, challenges of the nineteenth century (Panic of '93, for example), what life was really like, the import and impact of inventions by savvy Victorians than I'd ever thought probable or even possible.




I've attended the World's Fairof 1893 in Chicago and while there rode the first Ferris Wheel and met Mr. Ferris himself. I've stood by with mixed emotions while Wyoming cattle rustlers met their end in a noose, felt the despair and anguish of the Donner Party, and labored extensively to build the great road (Transcontinental Railroad). I've seen an unspoiled Yellowstone Canyon through the eyes of trappers and explorers. I've worked my claim alongside desperate men, determined to jump my claim--simply because I'm a woman and they believed me unable to protect what's mine. I wept out of frustration and anger when congress passed the Coinage Act of 1873 and we lost everything when silver lost its crown (Silver had most certainly been King). With other nurses and desperate mothers, I fought the ravages of cholera epidemics and fought the flames in the Great Chicago Fire. I struggled to locate children ripped from my arms in the Great GalvestonHurricane of 1900. My wagon company faced overwhelming odds in battles with the Crow and Cherokee, proved our mettle on the Oregon Trail. I've lived in luxury on Nob Hill in San Francisco, and I've lived in abject poverty in the tenements of New York City. I've worn silk, brocade, kid slippers of the finest make. Jewels and ringlets and pearls. And I've been dirty, starving, and desperate, without a penny to my name. I've been well educated, and I've been illiterate. Bond and free.


I've planted season after season of crops. Wrestled alongside my man to deliver a heifer of her calf. Experienced the thrill of being the first woman to practice law in western Wyoming, the joy of a woman practicing medicine and making a difference in the lives of other women. I've waded through the tremendous challenges of physical disabilities, inheriting a brood of stepchildren, unattended births--with no one but my man for help. I've burned with the urgency to defend home and hearth, to safeguard wife and children and the elderly at home. I've been severely wounded: gunshots, snake bites, compound fractures, bashed in the head, broken ribs, thrown from a horse, nearly drowned.




I've witnessed Lincoln's assassination, the rubble of San Francisco engulfed in flames after the quakeof 1906. I've seen the Paris Universal Exhibition in 1878, first to travel the completed iron rail from coast to coast. Fought in the Battle of Gettysburg, and in the War of 1812. I've seen Lady Liberty in New York harbor when my immigrant vessel finally arrived in the Land of Opportunity. I've been a young man pressed into service in a war I hadn't started, and looked my brother in the eye--he wore Union Blue and I wore Confederate Gray.

Because I've immersed myself in fiction, I've visited dozens of nations, lived thousands of lifetimes over the span of hundreds of years. I've experienced emotional triumphs over adversity. 



I've fallen in love, time and time again--that one, special, forever kind of love that comes along only once in any lifetime. Because of fiction, I've faced innumerable challenges, learned powerful truths about what makes a man a hero and all that can turn a man (or woman) bad. I've seen the sun set on the good and bad alike, and the inequality and depravity of men.

But most of all, I've fallen in love with places, times, and eras I'd otherwise never see. I've learned the immense history of the United States, the land I call home... and most of that awareness of all my great-grandparents endured, their joys, their opportunities, and the issues that affected their lives.




And never opened a history textbook (unless I wanted to).

Reading fiction sparked my personal desire to really study history. Because I read fiction set against abackdrop of memorable events in the history of the United States, I chose to look a little deeper, learn a little more, peruse a bigger understanding.

I tolerated my A.P. History class in high school, but I absolutely love learning history through reading historical romances. Better yet, I've fallen top-knot over high-button shoes for researching time and place for the western historical romances I write. I'm often so enamored of the details I find while studying, I write blog posts(usually 3 per week) on my own site, to share the amazing bits of history I find with readers like me, who find the real life history in which our favorite fiction stories are set.

http://amzn.to/2takyMY



http://www.kristinholt.com/shop


You're invited to pay a call (that means you're invited to come over), stay awhile, visit over a cup of tea (read a blog post or two), and see if we have a little in common.

'Til then, what exciting places (or events) have you experienced through the pages of a (fiction) book?


http://www.KristinHolt.com/


BTW, it's never too late to join our group newsletter! It's a terrific way to enjoy a set of short stories FREE!

http://sweetromancereads.us3.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=61cf1d146fa3ad4a99a8a28b7&id=b4e0b3f63f

You're invited to register for my newsletter to (I send it only once-in-a-while--when I have news or a new release or an offer of some kind I know you'd like to have)... AND it comes with immediate download of a This Noelle, a Sweet Western Historical Romance Novella, steeped in history and the terrible winters of the 1880s. (As always every newsletter comes with an unsubscribe link, and you can always discontinue if you wish.)

http://www.kristinholt.com/newsletter


Copyright © 2017 Kristin Holt LC

Saturday, June 24, 2017

June Fun by Pat Simmons

Last month, I shared my excitement about attending my high school class reunion for the first time. I had a blast!! Did I say I had fun?

It was a group reunion for recent graduates of 2012, who were celebrating their first five year reunion, all the way back to 1972, and I fit right in there. Of course, the 2012 graduates had the most attendees, but Class of ’77 had the most fun.

It's amazing what people remember about you from high school. For example, former Student Council President Mary Winkelmann (In the blue dress), remembered I showed her how to dance the hustle during our lunch periods. The hustle? Wow, I couldn't remember the dance moves, so I have to rely on YouTube. Do you know how many versions there are??


Besides enjoying tasty hot hors d'oeuvres, the music videos that highlighted 40 years brought back memories. --loved it, but the photo booth was the best. The props are always fun, so I grabbed the phone, considering I stayed on it enough during high school. 



A few days later, I celebrated another wedding anniversary with Kerry. I found it interesting that I could still fit the dress I wore four years earlier. 


Here are Kerry and me at dinner. What's amusing about this picture is the coordinated yawns in the background. What an amusing photo bomb.


Oh, by the way, my husband wasn’t intimidated being around a bunch of women at the reunion. J
I hope you're enjoying your some too. Believe it or not, I've been writing like crazy. I'll share those new releases with you next month.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Pat Simmons has celebrated 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.
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 an amazing, unforgettable, life-altering experience.
Pat holds a B.S. in mass communications from Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts. She has worked in various media positions for more than twenty years. Currently, she oversees the media publicity for the annual RT Booklovers Conventions.
She has been a featured speaker and workshop presenter at various venues across the country and converted her sofa-strapped sports fanatic husband into an amateur travel agent, untrained bodyguard, GPS-guided chauffeur.
Readers may learn more about Pat and her books by connecting with her on social media, www.patsimmons.net, or by contacting her at authorpatsimmons@gmail.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Pre-Launch Party for Sweet Christmas Kisses 4

Announcing...
 
Sweet Romance Read's
4th annual
pre-launch Facebook party
to celebrate
Sweet Christmas Kisses 4!
 
 

 
Check out the event page today!
 
 
You don't want to miss it!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

What makes a great summer read? By Julie Jarnagin



I love summertime. As someone who is perpetually cold, I love the heat of summer. I enjoying sitting by the pool, grilling outside and eating dinner on the deck, and watching the kids run around outside. But no matter what time of year it is, nothing beats great book!

In the summer, it seems like I crave a certain type of book. I lean more toward fun, light, happy books. I tend to stick with contemporary, and if it can make me laugh, even better. 

Recently, I wrote a novella for the Beach Brides Series, which is a series of books that are perfect summer reads. Here's a little about the series: 

Twelve friends from the online group, Romantic Hearts Book Club, decide to finally meet in person during a destination Caribbean vacation to beautiful Enchanted Island. While of different ages and stages in life, these ladies have two things in common: 1) they are die-hard romantics, and 2) they've been let down by love. As a wildly silly dare during her last night on the island, each heroine decides to stuff a note in a bottle addressed to her "dream hero" and cast it out to sea!

The entire series is available on Kindle Unlimited. My book, Meg, kicks off the series. 

 Other authors who I think write great beach reads are Becky Wade, Jennifer Shirk, Jenny B. Jones, and Kristan Higgins

Do you tend toward different kinds of books in different seasons? What's beach read can you recommend? 


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

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