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.

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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Jigsaw Puzzle Memories by Milou Koenings

I've been thinking a lot about jigsaw puzzles recently because one of them has a role in the book I'm writing now.

doormouse in teacup puzzle
Jigsaw puzzles played a big part in my childhood summers. My sister and I were very lucky. Thanks to my father's job, for many years, we got to spend part of our vacations by the sea. Our mornings were spent on the beach.

But what to do in the early afternoon, when the sun was too hot for us to be out there? Or on rainy days?
This was in the days before the internet and YouTube (yup, that long ago). There wasn't much on TV. And as much as we all liked to read, we tended to run out of books. So Mom's answer to keeping two kids quietly occupied was a big stock of jigsaw puzzles.

Each afternoon after lunch, we'd settle down around a table with her and work on a puzzle. She deliberately got ones that had really interesting pictures, to hold our interest, but that had zillions of pieces, so that one puzzle could sometimes last us a whole week.

We assembled rustic spice racks. Put together elaborate collections of china dolls. Teacup displays. Despite the triumph when we finally put in the last piece of a completed image, the puzzles stuck around only long enough to show Dad when he came home. Then we'd break them up quickly and pack up all the pieces, anxious to start another one.

For some reason, the hour or two we spent daily huddled over the puzzle, sifting through the pieces, trying to find a place to make the piece in our hand fit, turned into a cherished memory that always fills me with a sense of contentment and peace.  If I want a short mental vacation, I cast myself back there, my hand running through jewel-toned shapes, choosing one and trying to find it a mate. Turning it around. Trying this way and that.  My sister or my mother only occasionally breaking the silence with a question or comment, for we mostly concentrated in silence on what we were doing.

What piece of mind there was in knowing that, even if we didn't see how right away, eventually all those pieces would fit just right, everything would fall into place, and the end result would be beautiful.

Would that we had the same assurance about life...

Of course, that is one reason that romance novels are so satisfying — it's exactly what they promise!

jigsaw puzzle pieces
How Jigsaw Puzzles Are Good For You
Turns out that there's more to doing puzzles than fun. They challenge our spatial reasoning, logic and dexterity.
Puzzles work both sides of the brain simultaneously — our logical side tries to fit the pieces together, while our creative side is putting together the picture.

They build focus, concentration and persistence and help improve short-term memory.

Puzzle Tidbits

·         Jigsaw puzzles were first made popular by John Spilsbury in 1760, who marketed a map of Europe cut into pieces.

·         The largest jigsaw puzzle you can buy has 40,320 pieces. It shows scenes from Disney movies.

largest jigsaw puzzle
The largest commercially available jigsaw puzzle.
Not sure where I'd find a table big enough for it!

·         Jigsaw puzzle pieces — puzzling and hard to fit in — have become a symbol of autism.

·         And then, there's Wikipedia's well-known logo: a 3D jigsaw puzzle globe, with pieces still missing, to allow for more knowledge.

So, do you like jigsaw puzzles, too?

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

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

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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

German sayings

This is my fourth blog about German sayings, and today, I'm going to give you a proverb that's often used in offices, while the employees complain about the lack of foresight, organization, or strategy in their bosses. Translated word by word, it says "The fish stinks from the head."

I don't think this one takes much imagination to understand, and I guess it's pretty clear where it comes from. Is it true that the fish first starts to stink at the head? I guess you'd have to get pretty close to sniff it. Have you ever tried that? And would you know an English equivalent?

Fisch, Aquarium, Geschwindigkeit, TempoWhile you answer, don't forget to sign up for our Sweet Romance Reads newsletter to be always updated about our on-going promotions and events!

Beate Boeker
Mischief & Humor from Page 1

Monday, June 19, 2017

New and Upcoming Sweet Releases

NEW RELEASE! I'm excited to share the news here that CLAIR: BEACH BRIDES SERIES (the 4th book in the series of standalone novellas) released June 13th. Are you familiar with the #BEACHBRIDES? Twelve New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors got together and wrote twelve novellas. All twelve novellas begin with a common event: Twelve friends from an online book club ~ romantics at heart but disappointed by love ~ vacation together at Enchanted Island in the Caribbean. On the last evening, they decide to write messages about their hopes for love and secure them in bottles and toss them into the sea. Each of the stories begin there, but then follow the brides and their further adventures.

This is Clair's story and you can purchase it here in Kindle or Print.Each novella can be read as a standalone and in any order and are being released weekly. The first was released in May. Clair is the fourth. Catch up with the ones already released and enjoy eight more weeks of brides and beaches and sweet romance. You'll find all of the novellas here: There's also a reader group if you'd like to join us:

My next release is THE MEMORY OF BUTTERFLIES, a standalone novel, set to be released on September 5. It's available for preorder now HERE. This book is very special to me and I'm eager for readers to have the opportunity to read it ~ and hopefully, also find it special to them. THE MEMORY OF BUTTERFLIES, contemporary women's fiction, is Hannah Cooper's story.

Excerpt from THE MEMORY OF BUTTERFLIES (The Prologue)

My daughter, Ellen, will graduate from high school this year. 
     The closer we get to graduation, the harder the past is coming at me, kicking like a living creature and forcing its way back into my life. With it, it brings happy memories but also those that were gladly forgotten—including the memory of how I lost my Ellen seventeen years ago, then found her again.
      I grew up in Virginia, in the woods of Cooper’s Hollow amid the leafy green shadows of Elk Ridge. The rough banks of Cub Creek cut through our land from north to south such that one was never far from the music of its dark water.
     Our small house had sheltered many generations of Coopers, including those resting in the family cemetery on the hill opposite the house. I never wanted to be anywhere else except for a brief time, eighteen years ago, when I, myself, was about to graduate from high school. Six years after that, our home in Cooper’s Hollow burned down, and we were forced to move into town—we being Ellen and me.
     The nearby town of Mineral wasn’t big by most people’s standards, but from my perspective, it certainly was. Moving into town was scary, in part because Ellen was kindergarten age. I’d never wanted to draw attention, and it would be noticeable if she didn’t start school. It was time for it anyway, and it turned out that when it came to school and being around teachers and other children, Ellen was like a lively duck landing in a sparkling lake—it was made for her. I’d taught her some at home, and the school administrators, recognizing her quick mind, moved her into first grade early. Our new life was a perfect fit for Ellen. So, while I talked for the next dozen years about rebuilding our house and going back to live in the Hollow, I never actually got around to doing anything about it. Instead, I settled into the daily life of being a mom, working at my pottery business, and even volunteering at church and with the ladies’ auxiliary. How my grandmother would’ve laughed at the idea of my toting a homemade pound cake or a pasta casserole to a function! But you fit in as you can where you find yourself, and residing in town was social. Very different from living in the Hollow.  
     For these last several years, I’ve been biding my time, waiting until the timing was right for both of us—for Ellen to graduate and begin her college career and for me to return home to Cooper’s Hollow permanently—to finally face the past.

Preorder THE MEMORY OF BUTTERFLIES here and get Amazon's low-price guarantee.

 Grace Greene is an award-winning and USA Today bestselling author of women’s fiction and contemporary romance set in the bucolic reaches of her native Virginia (Kincaid’s Hope, Cub Creek, The Happiness In Between, The Memory of Butterflies) and the breezy beaches of Emerald Isle, North Carolina (Beach Rental,  Beach Winds). Her debut novel, Beach Rental, and the sequel, Beach Winds, were both Top Picks by RT Book Reviews magazine. For more about the author and her books, visit or connect with her on Twitter @Grace_Greene and on Facebook at

Sunday, June 18, 2017

A Fun Summer Read ~ Raine English

If you’re looking for a fun, sweet read this summer, then you’re going to love WEDDING PETS & KISSES, a multi-author boxed set consisting of New York Times, USA Today, and National Bestselling authors. My contribution to the set is A LITTLE ROMANCE.

When Taylor Wayne agrees to help out at Doggie Town daycare, so her sister can have the wedding and honeymoon she’s always dreamed of, Taylor has no idea the mayhem that’s in store for her. The first day on the job, a rambunctious French bulldog escapes while under her care, and the dog’s handsome owner blames her. Can Taylor find the dog and redeem herself in the eyes of the guy who just might be Mr. Right?

Wedding Pets & Kisses is available at Amazon for $0.99!


USA Today bestselling author Raine English writes sweet small-town contemporary romance, along with paranormal and romantic suspense. She’s a Daphne du Maurier Award winner and a Golden Heart finalist. To receive information on all her new releases, you can sign up for her newsletter, visit her website, like her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter.

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.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

5 Travel Tips for Your Next Summer Vacation by Liwen Y. Ho

With school out and warmer weather on the horizon, many people find the summer months are the best time to travel. If you're planning a trip somewhere soon, here are five tips to make your next vacation more efficient and enjoyable.

1. Save space in your luggage by rolling your clothes instead of folding them. You'll also end up with less wrinkly clothes!

2. Use a pill container to sort and store your jewelry.
3. If you forget the wall plug-in for your phone charger, you can use a USB port in the back of your hotel TV to charge your phone.
4. If you get sunburned and don't have aloe on hand, brew a cup of Earl Grey tea in your hotel room and place the teabag on the affected area.
5. Put your hotel room number in your phone, so you have one less thing to remember.

What travel tips do you have? I'd love to hear them as I prepare for our family vacation next month!

Speaking of traveling, my upcoming release is all about the wanderlust spirit. 

After Macy Grant breaks up with a man who won’t commit, she escapes heartbreak with a weekend on the seas. The last person she expects to meet and fall for is entrepreneur Jake Olsen. A believer in love at first sight, he seems perfect for her in every way … then her ex-boyfriend shows up on the cruise ship with a ring.

Pre-order it today by clicking HERE

You can get a sneak peek into Macy and Jake's world by checking out the book's inspiration board on my Pinterest page.

Liwen Y. Ho is an Amazon bestselling author of contemporary romance, both sweet and inspirational. A marriage and family therapist in her pre-author life, she enjoys creating realistic characters and helping them find their happily-ever-afters. She lives in California with her techie husband and their two munchkins, and blogs about life as a recovering perfectionist.

She has written three novellas in the Taking Chances series and also four short stories in the Seasons of Love series.

She'd love to hear from you! Find her online here:

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Friday, June 16, 2017

Interviewing My Heroine in My New Release: Deadly Fires: Rodeo Knights by Margaret Daley

On June 20th my new release is coming out. Deadly Fires: Rodeo Knights is my 9th book in my Strong Women, Extraordinary Situations Series. Right now it is up for pre-order at all retailers. One of the things a writer often does is interview their main characters to get a sense of who they are before they start writing. I live with my hero and heroine in my mind for a while before I start the story and then during the writing of their journey. The more I know about them the deeper I can go into their part of the story.

Interview with Alexia Richards, heroine from Deadly Fires, set in Montana

How did you end up working for a rodeo entertainment company?
My dad was a bull rider on the rodeo circuit for many years until he had to retire because of injuries. That was when he decided to form the Red Richards Rodeo Company. I started performing in some of his shows as a teenager. My specialty was trick riding. Now I’m working behind the scenes rather than performing.

How do you feel having to work with your ex-husband, Cole Knight?
Initially I was shocked. The last time I saw him was when we left the courthouse after our divorce. With Cole being deployed overseas a lot of our marriage, the separation took a toll on our relationship.

What is your favorite memory?
The day my son, Daniel, was born. Cole was there with me through the delivery. I never felt closer to him than in that moment.

What do you like to do for fun?
Ride my horse. I feel free when I do with no worries.

Why do you like performing tricks on your horse?
It’s exhilarating and dangerous at the same time. It’s a challenge that required a lot of work to perfect. One wrong move and I can end up hurt seriously.

What’s your favorite color?

Montana’s Blue Sky

Deadly Fires is part of a Rodeo Knights Collection with other authors (see banner below). The book is also part of my Strong Women, Extraordinary Situations Series. 

June 20th the books above that are loosely tied to the Knight Detective Agency will release. The pre-order links to Deadly Fires are: AmazonBarnes and NobleKoboiBooks and Google Play.

Have you signed up for the