Wednesday, October 28, 2020

I'm Not Here - by @MagdalenaScott


Hi! I just popped in to write a blog to tell you: I'm not here. At least, not for long.

It's the same with Twitter and Facebook. 

Until recently, I spent a LOT of time in all those places, not that it did anyone any good. I am lousy at social media. It makes me nervous on a good day. On a bad day, it gives me hot flashes.

On any day, social media exhausts me. Maybe it's because I'm an introvert.

So! Once I check in here at the blog and share the author of the day's post via Twitter and FB, I get offline.

Now, when my laptop is open, I'm writing a story.  

And why, you ask, am I telling you this? 

Because I wanted to let you know that, even though I'm not popping up in your social media feed, I do still exist. 

Instead of awkwardly social media-ing (a new made-up term, you're welcome), I'm in my happy place. It's a fictional small town I'm creating for Ben and Zoe and Josh and Edie and Frank and Meg and Lauren, among others. They are characters in my current work in progress.

I'm also creating this charming little town for you! And guess what? Reading these stories will be more enjoyable for you than seeing a photo of my breakfast (oatmeal) or my cat (adorable).

When I finish reading a book I've loved, I look for the author's other books. I hope that if a reader loves one of my books, she would be pleased that I'm working on the next one instead of attempting (and failing) to create witty banter on social media. 

I'll just stick with my strengths.  :)

Happy reading!

Magdalena Scott

Website: https://magdalenascott.com/



Saturday, October 24, 2020

One Minute for One Thing by Pat Simmons

 I don't know when the practice of praise for 60 seconds began at my church, but if I were to guess, probably 15 years ago.

Although my church, Bethesda Temple of the Apostolic Faith Church in St. Louis, is still holding services virtually, it's one thing we continue to do via online.

More now than any other time, I have to search for the "One Minute for One Thing" in a time of uncertainty. My husband and I are usually on the road for book events. Cancelled. Virtual book club chats have filled in the gap.

When I think about not visiting my daughter in Texas, I have to remember "One Minute for One Thing" because she won't be able to visit Thanksgiving, or we won't be able to spend Christmas in Texas with her.

The distance is heartbreaking, but I have to be grateful--One Minute for One Thing--God has kept my family, close and far from sickness and harm, so for Thanksgiving in the spirit of thankfulness, I can praise God that despite everything around us, He has kept my family-son, daughter, mother, sister, niece/nephews, safe and alive.

I might not be able to reach out and touch them this holiday season, but I can lift up my voice in praise for that "One Minute for One Thing."

My question for you, what is your "One Minute for One Thing"?





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Pat Simmons is a multi-published Christian romance author with more than thirty-five titles. She is a self-proclaimed genealogy sleuth who is passionate about researching her ancestors, 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’s first inspirational women’s fiction, Lean On Me, with Sourcebooks, was the February/March Together We Read Digital Book Club pick for the national library system.

Pat describes the evidence of the gift of the Holy Ghost as a life-altering experience. She has been a featured speaker and workshop presenter at various venues across the country. Pat has converted her sofa-strapped sports fanatical 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. Pat holds a B.S. in mass communications from Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts and worked in various positions in radio, television, and print media for more than twenty years. She oversaw the media publicity for the annual RT Booklovers Conventions for fourteen years. Visit her at www.patsimmons.net.

Her newest release is Here for You.


Emotional, poignant, and clean women's fiction from acclaimed inspirational romance author Pat Simmons featuring a hero and heroine who are better at taking care of other people than themselves, a dark moment that shakes their faith, and a well-earned happily ever after with a forever family.

Caregivers sometimes need a little TLC too.

Rachel Knicely's life has been on hold for six months while she takes care of her great aunt, who has Alzheimer's. Putting her aunt first was an easy decision—accepting that Aunt Tweet is nearing the end of her battle is far more difficult.

Nicholas Adams's ministry is bringing comfort to those who are sick and homebound. He responds to a request for help for an ailing woman but when he meets the Knicelys, he realizes Rachel is the one who needs support the most. Nicholas is charmed by and attracted to Rachel, but then devastating news brings both a crisis of faith and roadblocks to their budding relationship that neither could have anticipated.

Praise for Lean On Me, Book 1 in the Family Is Forever series:

"As wonderful as a warm embrace... Simmons's cleverly crafted characters slip into your heart from the first page."—Tina DeSalvo, bestselling author

"Romantic, romantic, romantic—a great read, romance and story of family."—Lyn Cote, USA Today bestselling author

"Reading a Pat Simmons novel is a treat. I loved this book."—Vanessa Riley, bestselling author

"The heartwarming bonds of family and friendship...[are] sure to tug at readers' heartstrings."—Publishers Weekly




Friday, October 23, 2020

Winter is here by Laura Ashwood

No, you didn't read that wrong. Winter came early this year to my neck of the wood, setting a state record for earliest "significant" snowfall. A record that had sat for 140 years, basically back to when they first started recording the weather. Snow in October is not unheard of, as anyone that was in Minnesota for the "great Halloween blizzard of 1991" will tell you, but to get measurable snow amounts in the middle of the month is odd. 


This is my front yard on Tuesday, October 19

It didn't come early without warning though. We are blessed to live pretty far out of town and thus, have a variety of animals that frequent our property. 

Doe with fawn

This doe and fawn were walking through our yard in July. You can see the nice golden brown color of their fur.

This is the same doe and fawn at the beginning of September. You can see the fawn has lost nearly all its spots, and the doe nearly has her winter coat fully in place, the darker grey/brown color whitetails turn in late fall. The deer around here don't normally start turning winter brown until early/mid October. 

When we saw they were turning early, we doubled down on getting our woodpile stacked in anticipation of the long winter the Farmer's Almanac is predicting.

While Fall is my favorite season because of the glorious colors...

This is my back yard on September 11, 2020

Same back yard October 19, 2020

Winter takes a close second. We got seven inches of snow Tuesday afternoon and I sat at my living room window for nearly an hour just watching it fall. It was so peaceful. 


Another reason I love winter is because I get to hang with the chickadees. They won't do this in the summertime, but in the winter, with a little patience, I can nearly always get them to eat out of my hand. It's such a cool experience.

Do you like winter? Does it snow where you live?

Until next month, Laura


Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Holiday Free Book and Bargain Books!


Lyn Cote here~In the mood for a holiday romance plus mystery

AND FOR FREE?

How about my novel, Winter's Secret?

In a small Wisconsin town, winter brings a series of disturbing crimes. With God’s help, can sheriff Rodd and nurse Wendy crack the bone-chilling mystery — and the secrets of their own hearts?


For more info, click here.

How about another?



My "Puppies for Christmas" novella

Beneath Northern Lights
combines romance and mystery.
Only 99 cents~

Two wounded souls, a puppy, Christmas coming, someone out to destroy a man’s dream~

After a life-altering event, Nick's one goal--to race his beloved husky, Maddie, in the Apostle Islands Dog Sled Race. Megan adopts Maddie's pup, the runt, and soon helps "grumpy" Nick care for his dogs. Nasty pranks start--who's out to rob him of the joy of the race? 


For more info, click here.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Puppies for Christmas! Have you read them all?

Christmas Redemption by Laura Scott $0.99


Did he deserve a second chance?

Jack Keller AKA Jessie Kramer has remained isolated, living off the land for several years, until an unseen force is nudging him home to Crystal Lake, Wisconsin to see his brother Ian at Christmas. When Jack finds an injured woman living alone in the woods, he feels compelled to help her and her German shepherd Sadie, along with Belle the puppy, survive. What he doesn’t expect is to be drawn to Raven in a way he’s never experienced before. And when he realizes Raven is in danger, he refuses to leave until the guy is caught.

Widower Raven Clark prefers animals over people, but when drifter Jack Keller does odd chores and makes pretty gifts for her, she’s plagued by curiosity about him. Who is this man God brought to her doorstep? When a blizzard hits, Raven insists Jack seek shelter with her, rather than sleeping in his tent. She soon learns Jack isn’t what he appears and is touched by his determination to protect her. Will Jack learn to forgive himself for his past mistakes and open his heart to love?

 


My "Puppies for Christmas" novella

is my inspirational contemporary romance and only 99¢!

You don’t need ears to hear God’s plan. All you need is an open heart…

Pre-order your ebook copy today!





A MISTLETOE PUPPY
The Puppies for Christmas series,  Book #2
by Roxanne Rustand 
Just  $0.99  through December 31st


Kate Larssen runs the local animal shelter in Mistletoe Falls, a small, scenic town in Minnesota.  Widowed last Christmas, Deputy Brad Bailey is trying his best to raise his sad, lonely six-year-old, Janie. When he finds a stray dog and her puppies while on duty, he brings them to the shelter, where he and Kate meet.
Neither has any interest in commitment, and for good reasons. But friendship...maybe?
Hoping to lift Janie's spirits, he brings her to see the puppies, and that friendship begins.  

Can a litter of adorable golden retriever puppies and a lonely little girl bring Brad and Kate together by Christmas? 

This novella is also part of Roxanne's own six-novella Christmas series, Coupled by Christmas.
Each novella is just $0.99  
For more information on this series or to find buy links, CLICK HERE
For Roxanne's newsletter and monthly contest for free prizes, CLICK HERE.
 

 Puppy Love and Jingle Bells releases today!

     When elementary school teacher Sedona Welch sets a goal to lose fifteen pounds, she doesn’t expect to barter her tutoring services in exchange for personal training, especially with a handsome personal trainer.

     Cody Dunn has all he can deal with taking care of his eight-year-old nephew, Mason. Cody finds an ally in Sedona as she helps him negotiate the guardianship of this troubled boy. But he doesn’t anticipate his nephew’s love for a cute little puppy or his own attraction to Sedona.

     Can well-meaning friends, a little boy, and a puppy help this reluctant couple find love at Christmas?

 

Get your copy for 99 cents at these retailers!








Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Wrapped Up in Christmas Joy by Janice Lynn

Unbelievably, it's been a year since my last sweet romance, Wrapped Up in Christmas, from Hallmark Publishing was released. What a wonderful, fun experience that was! On Tuesday, it's sequel, Wrapped Up in Christmas Joy, hits the shelves and I'm so excited to share some sneak peeks from book #2 with you. 

First, Wrapped Up in Christmas Joy is a stand alone story. So, if you've not read the first one, no worries. But if you've read the first book you'll have a few extra smiles and insight into some reoccurring characters as the Butterflies are back. As with my first Hallmark, I attempt to shed light on an amazing organization called Quilts of Valor Foundation. QOVF is an organization that's mission is to wrap quilts of healing around military past and present. As a military mama, I love that. Our military and their families go through so much to help keep us safe. I want to show that depth in my characters, but while keeping the story true to Hallmark, so upbeat and positive and full of Christmas. Cole is my wounded warrior hero and Sophie is my quilter heroine who is convinced Cole needs wrapped up in a QOV. Only Cole doesn't see himself as a hero and is having no part of it. It's a romance, so we know it's going to have a happy ending (that promise is WHY I read romance), but hopefully you'll have a few oooh and aaaahs along the journey to their happily-ever-after. You might even have a few misty-eyed and laugh-out-loud moments.

Sarah, Bodie, and Harry from book 1 make an appearance and you get a glimpse into their lives together as Sarah invites Sophie and Cole to go sledding and then to Hamilton House, her B & B, for hot cocoa and games. Coming up with just what game I was going to have them play and how I would work that into the story's plot was interesting. If you read the book, you'll have to let me know what you think.

My mains, Sophie and Cole--let's just say I loved writing their love story. Partially, because it was so fun letting Cole's friends poke fun at his getting chosen to play Santa. I loved the dynamics between him and his two best buds, Andrew and Ben. Writing them had me giggling at times. But also because of how so many true heroes I've encountered don't see themselves that way and have a difficult time believing it. Cole is that true hero. Sophie is gunk ho on life and Christmas and is always in the midst of something. She loves Quilts of Valor and uses her quilt shop to help promote the cause. This is personal for her as her father was a veteran who didn't transition back into civilian life well and every quilt she makes is made with him in her heart. 

And then there's this cat, you see, who makes an appearance (just whenever he feels like it, though) and he has a growth arc through the story, as well. :)  Yeah, naming that cat was an adventure for me and for Sophie.

Speaking of cats, in the story, Sophie makes the most adorable pet bandanas. I'm
not nearly the seamstress that Sophie is, but I have made some WRAPPED UP IN CHRISTMAS JOY pet bandanas that I'll be giving away over the next few weeks--and I'm giving away one here to one lucky commenter on this blog post and another to one commenter on this post over at the sweet  romance reads cafe so be sure to leave a comment on both for two chances to win.

(Not a cat, but my precious Halo modeling a Wrapped Up in Christmas Joy pet bandana.)

I'd love to see a photo of your pet or pets. Do you put them in ribbons, bows, or pet bandanas? Do you dress them? Any fun photos in costumes you'd like to share? 

Into the Eye of the Storm

 by Fran McNabb

When a storm forms over the waters of the Atlantic, Caribbean, or the Gulf of Mexico, people tend to steer clear of those areas—unless you’re a member of the Hurricane Hunters. The Hurricane Hunters are a special group of men and women who put their lives on the line to help keep people in storm-prone areas out of harm’s way.


I realize this is the twentieth of October, and in most years thoughts of tropical development have been


pushed aside, but not in 2020. I actually started writing this post the morning that Hurricane Sally plowed into the Gulf Shores, Alabama, as a Category 2, just a few weeks after Hurricane Laura, a Cat 4, had destroyed parts of southeast Louisiana. This morning (Oct. 10) I’m watching the remnants of Hurricane Delta, which made landfall near Lake Charles, LA, only fifteen miles from where Hurricane Laura came in.


I chose this topic because in my latest short story release, “Smoothing a Rocky Road,” https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08G8CBY5W/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_-cvtFb8J4105J my hero is a pilot considering flying with the Hurricane Hunters. The squadron is a full-time Air Force Reserve unit stationed at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, MS. Years ago when my husband was in this squadron, the group was known as the Storm Trackers. No matter what the group is known as, their mission is the same: Gather information to save lives. Today the group is completely Air Force Reservists or air reserve technicians. 


The Hurricane Hunters fly WC-130J aircraft equipped with palletized meteorological instruments and usually carry a crew of about five. They go directly into the eye of the storm to gather information. The squadron members know they must go where they are needed. If the aircraft are in the path of the storms or if the storms are too far away to fly from the Biloxi area, they and their crews must relocate. Family members are left to fend for themselves in an approaching storm. For the October storms this year, the Hurricane Hunters took their planes and crews to San Antonio. When my husband worked for the unit, I was one of the lucky wives. I had my parents living nearby and could ride out a storm with them.  Not everyone is that lucky.


During hurricane season, my thoughts go out to the men and women and their families who keep the Hurricane Hunters flying. Like all branches of the service, these families must deal with separation as well. Remember these families the next time a storm threatens. We are so fortunate to have dedicated and trained personnel to help keep the country well informed about dangerous weather conditions.



Fran McNabb has lived most of her life along the coastline of the Gulf of Mexico and is well-seasoned when it comes to hurricanes. She uses the coastline setting in many of her sweet romances. Check her out at mcnabbf@bellsouth.net or visit her at https://FranMcNabb.com.



Monday, October 19, 2020

Annual Autumn Baking Contest by Merri Maywether

It is autumn- or fall. I call it the season where nature shows off a new set of colors. It is also the time to drink cocoa, wear flannel shirts, and decorate our home with pumpkins and acorns...and the season where I play what I call the British Baking Show game. It’s an easy game. I find a recipe, pretended I’m on the show, and try to bake something special within a given time frame.  


In September I tried baking a cake with cream cheese frosting and coffee. I had to cheat and freeze it with toothpicks so it wouldn’t slide. 


 Apparently, if you frost a warm cake, the frosting melts.


My husband didn’t seem to mind. 


The following week, a call from the Lutheran women asking for lefse for the annual Harvest Dinner added to the fun. 


This took a little more time, so I cheated (hmmm I just noticed a theme) and made the potato base and refrigerated it the night before my “event.” 


Two hours into the bake, I looked like a mad scientist. I had flour in my hair, all over the front of my shirt, and could barely see through my glasses.  Everything in the kitchen was dusted with a fine sheen of flour. That didn’t matter, we had forty rounds of lefse. 


On both occasions, when my husband played judge, he said,  “I like it.” There weren’t any cameras or fans. Still, I tightened my fist, squeezed my eyes, and exhaled a relieved, “Woo!” I won the right to go on to the next level. 


This is where you can help. The next round is scheduled for the last week of October. I have no idea what to bake. Any suggestions? 



🍂🍂🍂



In this sweet story, Taryn and Chase are in for a treat when they explore the differences between the virtual world and reality, expectations and delivery, and matters of the heart. 


If you’re a fan of Hallmark Channel programs, Paradise Hills Trick or Treat will satisfy your sweet tooth for a happily ever after. 


📚 Books to Read Link for Paradise Hills Trick or Treat