Saturday, January 30, 2016

Homeless Animals in Wintertime by Denise Devine

I have been feeding a feral cat off and on for about two and a half years. He shows up when he’s really hungry and cries to me for something to eat. My horse barn is empty now and I have a small shelter set up in there filled with blankets and an old comforter, but he only uses it occasionally. I’m sure he’s also getting food from another source in our neighborhood and possibly a warmer place to stay, but I don’t know who else is providing for him. My rural neighborhood is surrounded by State lands and we have a lot of wildlife roaming our area. I can’t leave food unattended because opossums love cat food and they eat it all every night. So I feed the white cat whenever he comes around.

He showed up about a week ago on my deck, peering through the sliding glass door. I hadn’t seen him in six months and I have to admit, I honestly thought he was dead. Even though he’s covered with a thick coat of hair, it’s obvious the years have not been kind to him. His face was full of scratches from fighting, one of his ears was nearly bare and his right front leg was injured so badly that he limped. I set out a blanket for him to rest on and gave him a bowl of dry food with a huge helping of canned food on top. He allows me to set the bowl in front of him, but if I try to touch him, he hisses and slaps at me, extending his claws.

He’s better today. The lacerations on his face are healing and he walks normally again. I don’t know how long he’ll hang round this time, but I’m happy to be there for him when he needs me.

~     ~     ~

Denise Devine is a USA Today bestselling author who wrote her first book, a mystery, at age thirteen and has been writing ever since. Her newest publication, A Christmas to Remember, is on sale now for 99 cents. And, yes, it includes a pet!

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Friday, January 29, 2016

Meet My Pet Family by Karen Rock

I'm a proud pet mom! Having grown up with pets, I've never considered a family complete without them. Each animal that's come into my life has taught me so much about unconditional love, about giving, about loss. The good times with a pet are some of the best moments of my life and the bad times have been some of the worst. Still, I would never want a day to pass when it's not filled with wagging tails, sloppy kisses and a furry snuggle.

Here's a peek at the wonderful pets that complete my family!

Angel is my fifteen-year-old Birman cat, called the Sacred Cat of Burma, who, legend has it, acquired its striking appearance through the intervention of a blue-eyed goddess, who rewarded a temple cat’s love for and devotion to his priest by turning his white coat golden and changing his yellow eyes to blue. Angel is quite the character. He hides when strangers come over, but when it's just family, he runs the household and is the alpha pet despite only weighing about nine pounds! He loves Christmas because he can lay under the tree like a lion in the Savannah and pounce on my poor, unsuspected dogs!

He's addicted to whatever chemical is on photographs and will lick anything glossy. He also loves to pull off present bows, wrestling with my puppy, laying on his back by the fire, and pressing every bit of his body against yours while flicking his plume of a tail in your face. He's quite the character and we adore him.

Lizzie is my fourteen-year-old Cavalier King Charles spaniel. She's always had health issues and we nearly lost her in her early puppy days because of low blood sugar. When she was ten, she was diagnosed with diabetes. Despite being a little fussy about things, Lizzie shocked me by never complaining or giving me a hard time with her twice a day insulin shots. I was actually more squeamish that her and her stoicism helped me! Lizzie loves to bark at her toys like they are real threats. It's sometimes so convincing that I'll race to her "rescue" only to find her distress is over a small, purple dinosaur... haha.

She hates going outside in the rain, though she loves a warm bath. She lives for car rides, walks and anything peanut butter flavored. In the past few years, Lizzie lost our other dog, Little Bit, lost her hearing and, most recently, her sight. Despite all of this, she follows my lead when I take her on walks, going on trust and love alone. She still goes outside a lot, navigates the house and will bark like mad at a toy she can only smell. I know my time with her is coming to a close, but I can't imagine my life without my little fighter who loves us too much to leave us yet.

Zoey is the latest addition to our family. A year ago we drove to an Amish farm in PA to buy a breed of puppy we'd never heard of: Cava-poo. She's half Cavalier King Charles spaniel and half mini poodle. Since we'd lost our dog, Little Bit, the previous summer, I wasn't in the mood for a new dog. However, my husband surprised me with her because he saw how much I still grieved and was also down about Lizzie losing her sight and hearing. The farmers had named her Courtney, but her picture was so zany and I knew instantly she needed a quirkier name; eventually, we landed on Zoey. It fits her perfectly. She's a very upbeat outgoing dog who loves people, kids, and other dogs--even really big ones.

When she met a huge German Shepherd recently, she was wiggling all over in delight and the Shepherd put a massive paw on her shoulder as if to say "Stop moving!" and she froze, lifted her chin, and sat there like a statue until he'd sniffed all around her. We all agree that her coat is softer than fleece and her dark eyes in her blonde face is so cute. She loves to walk, run errands with us, and is addicted to Wendy's Jr. Bacon Cheeseburgers which has made her a little chubby lately :)

Most of all, she has a HUGE heart and caring nature that makes her never retaliate when a defensive and insecure Lizzie growls at her. In fact, Zoey, from a very young age, must have realized that Lizzie was blind, deaf and diabetic because she always sticks by Lizzie's side, guiding her down the stairs outside and watching out, even if she doesn't need to go out herself. She also brings Lizzie toys and stays by my side as I feed Lizzie, as if she knows how important it is that Lizzie eat to keep her sugar up. She only eats once Lizzie has her shot and will actually bark at me if Lizzie starts to go upstairs without getting it. In that way, and others, Zoey is a little bossy, but in a funny way that just melts my heart.

I love all my pets, past and present, and I hope you enjoyed getting to know my pet family :) Please tell me who's in your pet family. I'd love to meet them!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Balance - by Magdalena Scott

I keep seeing articles about shaping up for the new year, so--whew--I guess it's not too late to tell you about my oneword365 for 2016.

Last year my word was Simplify, and I almost went ahead and used that one again. But I sort of have a handle on Simplify. (Except for my perennially exploding Giant Closet.)

What I'm way off on is Balance. Last year I spent so many hours working-learning-networking-promoting, that other parts of my life were suffering. (Actually now I think of it, if I had simplified all those tasks, I might be further along on Balance. Hmm.)

I'm making some progress, but a month into 2016, I'm not ready to announce I've got this whipped. The sign above is posted on my fridge, and every time I walk past it, I'm reminded of what I'm trying to achieve.

Did you make a resolution, or choose a word to help you move toward a goal? If so, how's it going? It's still early, you know. I think we can do it this year!

Magdalena Scott is a USA Today Bestselling Author of small town sweet romance and women's fiction. Learn about her books, read her blog, subscribe to her newsletter, and connect on social media by visiting her website:

Book Four in her Serendipity, Indiana series releases today!


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Saturday, January 23, 2016

Moments Count by Ciara Knight

Today’s society is more hectic than ever. Our lives are filled with carpools, friends, school, work, grocery shopping, errands, volunteering, and more. We grow distant from the ones we love despite modern day technology that is supposed to provide us with more ways to connect. That "enabling technology" has placed even more of a demand on our time than ever before. It is even more important now, than it’s ever been, for us to embrace small moments that count in our lives. The one’s where we truly connect with the ones we love.

It’s funny how book after book is written about how to communicate with the love in our life. What 5 Love Language does he speak? Is he from Mars? Will he take a Love Dare?” If we are so connected to each other, why are we still thumbing through books to find answers to our relationship dilemmas?

In romance novels, we read about half-truths, miscommunication, opposing goals. Yet, somehow, the hero and heroine always have their ‘love moments’. The one’s where you feel their connection leap from the page and into your heart. We have those each day in our own lives, but many times we are too hectic to recognize them. Think about him landing on Earth and cleaning out the dishwasher, speaking the language of ‘acts of service’, following his dare, or when he kissed you goodbye in the morning (physical touch), before he hopped in his machine and wished he was speeding back to Mars instead of to work in hour long traffic.

So I Love Dare you to take a chance, and the next time a ‘love moment’ occurs, embrace it, love it, hold on to it, before it slips away and you land in the middle of your hectic day again. Because in all your wishes, you know you’ve always wished for love.


Ciara Knight is a USA Today and Amazon Bestselling author who writes 'A Little Edge and A Lot of Heart' that span the heat scales. Her popular sweet romance series, Sweetwater County (rated PG), is a small town romance full of family trials, friendly competition, and community love.

I'm excited to share my upcoming release, In All My Wishes, available for pre-order now

At the age of fifteen, Anna Baker was ripped from her childhood home, and her one true love, vowing to return the minute she graduated high school. 

Professor Liam Harrow once believed his childhood sweetheart would return home to him, but during college he faced reality and hardened his heart to love. 

When Historic Hall faces demolition, both Anna and Liam search for options to save their childhood memories, but when secrets unravel and the truth of Anna’s childhood departure is revealed, it could corrupt their memories, risk their present, and destroy their future. 

Friday, January 22, 2016

Will you marry me? by Julie Jarnagin

Don't you love proposal stories! How a couple gets engaged tells so much about their personalities and their relationship. From the understated to the over-the-top, they all have something wonderful about them.

That's why they're so much fun to write. Here are some things I consider when trying to create the perfect proposal in one of my books:

* Who? - We know the couple will be there! :) But who else might they want involved in one of the most intimate, special moments of their lives? Will it just be the two of them? Should friends and family be there? Maybe it's on a large scale like at a sports arena or on television?

* What? - What will he (or it could be the she) do to make it special? A scavenger hunt, a big production, a romantic dinner, a surprise when she's least expecting it.

* Where? - What place would create the most romantic setting? Where did they fall in love? What spots are special to them? Where did they meet?

* When? Is he waiting until the perfect moment to ask? Carrying the ring around for weeks? Or maybe it's not even planned--the questions just pops out in a moment of clarity.

* Why? - As an author, this is my favorite part. What words are said to convey exactly why he wants to spend the rest of his life with this person? How do you create that perfect sigh-worthy moment.  

What are some of your favorite proposals in books? Have you ever witnessed a special proposal? 

I'm excited to announce that book #2 in the Taste of Texas series is now available:
The Wedding Barn Cover
Paige Morgan’s career is in shambles. What kind of wedding planner gets left at the altar? So when a job planning parties on a ranch in rural Texas comes her way, she jumps at it. So what if the cowboy who runs the place isn’t happy she’s there?
Rancher Nick Reid risked his heart once… and lost. Who needs love? He’s got a great life on the family ranch—so long as Paige Morgan and her city ideas don’t ruin it all. If only his family didn’t need her help to save their livelihood. And if only he wasn’t so darned drawn to the woman. But no sooner does Nick start to believe in love again, than a socialite shows up looking for Paige. Asking her to plan an elaborate wedding. Back in the city.
Both Paige and Nick need a second chance at love. But what will it cost them to take it?

USA Today Best Selling author Julie Jarnagin writes 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.comSign up for her newsletter to be the first to learn about new releases and free books:

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