Wednesday, October 16, 2019

A Walk Along the Beach with Kimberly Rose Johnson

Recently my husband and I took a weekend getaway to the Oregon and Washington Coast. We both grew up in Washington and Oregon, but had never been to this area before.
We spent one morning in Astoria, Oregon which is where the Columbia meets the Pacific Ocean. I don't think I saw where the two connected but there was so much to look at while crossing this insanely long bridge.
We spent most of our time there walking along the river walk. This picture was taken from the river walk.
We are early risers and prefer to beat the crowds and traffic, but once the stores opened we discovered this darling book store.
Don't you love this? Any fans of Doctor Who here?
If you ever get to the upper costal corner of Oregon, Astoria is worth checking out. That being said, I absolutely loved Long Beach, Washington. The beach was huge! In Oregon though all of our beaches are public but most aren't super big, like this one. My husband and I took lots of selfies. In Oregon we have sneaker waves--I didn't know if they have them in Washington too, so every time I took a selfie I was very focused on the waves behind us. :)
This beach is so long and flat that they allow vehicles to drive on it during the off season. I was so uptight about that lol. I was afraid of getting run over by the big trucks driving along the beach. I will have to go back during in season time when they aren't allowed there. :)
We don't travel for fun very often, so this was a big treat for us. We love to be outdoors and on the coast our allergies were minimal. :) We walked and walked.
What do you enjoy doing when you go on vacation? Are you more of a get out in nature kind of person, or do you prefer to see attractions in cities and towns?

Award winning author Kimberly Rose Johnson married her college sweetheart and lives in the Pacific Northwest. From a young child Kimberly has been an avid reader. That love of reading fostered a creative mind and led to her passion for writing. She especially loves romance and writes contemporary romance that warms the heart and feeds the soul.


Kimberly holds a degree in Behavioral Science from Northwest University in Kirkland, Washington, and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers.
You can sign up for Kimberly's newsletter via her website at: https://kimberlyrjohnson.com/


A few of Kimberly's newest releases.

Available at Amazon
Available at Amazon
Only 99¢ at Amazon

Monday, October 14, 2019

Favorite Memories by Merrillee Whren


Do you ever wonder what it would be like to remember everything you've ever said or done? Wow! I suppose somewhere in ours brains all those memories might be lurking, but we can't bring them to the surface. When I decided to pick this topic, I realized I have a hard time picking favorites. When I'm asked about my favorite food, I can think of a half a dozen things I love to eat. Same thing with books and movies. There are so many to choose from. So how can I pick favorite memories. I can't. So I'll just share a few.

 Of course, my wedding day is a favorite memory. Here I am with my mom. She walked me down the aisle because my dad had passed away several years before. And sadly my mom passed away seven years later, so I love to remember her.

Christmases with the family. They are such wonderful memories.

And my granddaughters. Those memories are precious.

I could share pages and pages of memories, and I love to look through the photo albums or the photos on my computer and remember the things I've done and seen. When I write a book, I give my characters memories, some good, some bad. Always these memories shape my characters in some way just the same as our memories and experiences shape us.

What are some of your favorite memories?

Merrillee Whren is the winner of the 2003 Golden Heart Award presented by Romance Writers of American. She is married to her own personal hero, her husband of forty-plus years, and has two grown daughters. Connect with her on her Facebook page and sign up for her newsletter.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Lyn Cote asks: so what Kind of summer did you have?

So how was your summer weather?


Foggy morning

I live in the far northwoods of Wisconsin. Our summers are short but usually mild--temperatures range from the mid 70's to low 80's and we have a low humidity. Often low fronts bringing rain can't deliver the wet stuff because our air is so dry that it evaporates on the way down! (Not kidding.) 

We all look forward to summers because of course we have long snowy winters and not much spring.
Last year we had 15 days of 90 or above which was record-breaking. I was glad to get back to normal this year.
So how was your summer? Feel free to complain. I will be complaining around next April when it's still snowing!--Lyn


Mama Loon and baby on summer waters


ON SALE THROUGH MONDAY-A Heart of Stone, set in the the northwoods summer.
 For more info, click here.


Friday, October 11, 2019

October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month by Josie Riviera


Did you know that October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month?

Approximately 3.3 million dogs are put in shelters each year. Sadly, oftentimes these dogs are abused and abandoned.



But two things are certain: 

Each dog deserves a forever home, and
You’ll be saving a dog’s life if you adopt.

Interestingly, in a recent study from Amazon Audible and dog behaviorist Cesar Milan, audiobooks were found to calm dogs in kennels.  A recommended list of audiobooks includes To Kill a Mockingbird and Anne of Green Gables.



When you adopt a dog, the benefits to humans are unlimited. Studies prove that an animal can improve your health and make you happier. And, your dog will love you unconditionally.

If you can’t adopt a dog, consider volunteering at your local shelter. Dog walkers are always appreciated!

Many of my readers are aware that I own a 7 year old shih tzu named Henry. (He's Batman in the above photo!)

Although the dog isn’t referred to by name, there is a shih tzu mentioned in my inspirational holiday romance book, Holly’s Gift.


Still on sale for only 99¢, and free on Kindle Unlimited.
Also available in Paperback and Large Print Paperback.

Six of our sweet romance read authors wrote a heartwarming series set in Snowflake, a fictional small-town in Colorado.

My contribution was Holly’s Gift (Small-Town Christmas Wishes Series Book 5)





Miracles don’t always come easy. Sometimes it takes a secret wish to light an angel’s way.

 Have you ever adopted an animal from a shelter? Please leave your comments below.



Josie Riviera is a USA TODAY bestselling author of contemporary, inspirational, and historical sweet romances that read like Hallmark movies. She lives in the Charlotte, NC, area with her wonderfully supportive husband. They share their home with an adorable shih tzu, who constantly needs grooming, and live in an old house forever needing renovations.



To see her latest family adventures, follow her on Instagram.

And remember to join our Sweet Romance Reads Facebook cafe.



Wednesday, October 9, 2019

When a Good Story Ends.... by Christine Bush

  I’ve been writing (and reading romance) for a lifetime. One of the things I love the most about the whole idea of our romance stories is the “happily ever after” that is promised and delivered.  It makes me rejoice each and every time I come to that delicious ending.

But..

Then the story is over. These characters that I’ve come to love and care about fade into memory (until I read the book again!), and I return to the “real world.” And sometimes feel sad. I hate saying goodbye to these new friends.

So, I’ve discovered, that is what writing (and reading) a series is all about.
Back in the day, I started my reading compulsion with Nancy Drew.
 

Most of my books, both in romance and in romantic mystery, have been single stories.

But now, I’m intrigued with the concept of series.

One set of my previous books, “The Highfield Legacy”, is about siblings, three books that encompass the “happily ever afters“ of two brothers and two sisters hailing from a prestigious Philadelphia family. Aside from the family themselves, each book has its own set of characters, and is set in a different locale, as each individual builds their life as an individual.  They reflect on each other, but they aren’t necessarily intertwined. They can stand alone easily.
 
 
 

I’ve also written a series of Christmas novellas, linked together by their holiday theme, as well as the names of flowers, marketed as “The Christmas Bouquet” anthology.  These each have their own set of characters, and can stand alone.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 But now, I’ve developing a new romantic mystery series, set in a bed and breakfast inn in New Hope in Pennsylvania, a quirky, artistic town on the Delaware River.  Here, the characters are interwoven in each story. We get to know the residents of the town, staff at the inn, with mystery and action centered around the lively owner of the inn.




 
Each book will contain a different mystery, a few new characters, but also a deeper experience with the ongoing characters in the series.  The romance will grow more slowly as the stories progress, with the “final romantic happily ever after” coming dramatically in the fourth book.

This is a challenge to write, but it’s also a lot of fun.  More character development, more depth to the recurring setting, a whole new small town world. And I don’t have to say goodbye to my beloved characters at the end of each story. I like that.

“The Strawberry Manor Mysteries” series is still being created, with the first book, “Swan Song”, coming soon.  Watch for it!

Are you a series reader and/or writer?  Why? What matters to you? I’d love to hear!

Christine Bush is a USA Today Bestselling author of romance, romantic mystery, and suspense.  She can be found living in the Lehigh Valley in Pennsylvania with her husband and 2 lazy cats, and spending time with her 13 grandchildren.   When she’s not writing, she’s teaching Psychology at a local college, and working with clients in her private practice as a Marriage and Family Therapist. She loves to hear from readers and writers!

Christine's  brand new sweet romance novella is here!  Check out “Hannah’s Heart”, available in print and ebook. It’s the heartwarming story of Hannah and Grady, and I promise, there are LOTS of pets involved! 

 

 

 

 

 






Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Halloween History...by Kristin Wallace


So, it's October now, which means Halloween is a couple weeks away. Pumpkin Spice is everywhere. Hocus Pocus is on TV every day. Plus, there are other fall customs…carving a pumpkin, hayrides, hot apple cider, caramel apples. Choosing a costume. My mom made several of mine growing up, including a witch and a princess. There’s trick o’ treating and Halloween parties. 

Those are all big traditions of Halloween, at least in the US. But do you know the true history behind the holiday? Where did it come from and why was it celebrated? 

In the Beginning

The origin of Halloween dates back over 2,000 years with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain in Ireland and parts of England. The Celts celebrated their new year on November 1, which marked the end of the harvest and the beginning of winter. Samhain was celebrated on October 31. On that night it was believed that the ghosts of the dead were actually able to walk the earth. To commemorate the event, the Celts dressed up in costumes and built huge bonfires to burn crops and make animal sacrifices. When Samhain was over, they re-lit their hearth fires from the sacred bonfire in order to protect their families during the winter. 

The Holiday Evolves

In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 All Saints’ Day, or All Hallows Eve, a time to honor all saints and martyrs. The holiday incorporated many of the Samhain traditions, including bonfires, parades and dressing up in costumes. Eventually, All Hallows Eve became known as Halloween. 

In the US, the more popular traditions (such as dressing up & trick o' treating) didn’t take shape until the second half the nineteenth century, mostly due to the large influx of Irish immigrants who began arriving in the 1840s. It wasn’t until the 1950s that Halloween evolved into a secular holiday aimed at children.

Check out this webpage for more in-depth history.


Halloween Holiday Trivia:

Jack o’ Lanterns originated in Ireland where people placed candles in hollowed-out turnips to keep away spirits on Samhain. 

It takes an average of 252 licks to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop.

According to the National Confectioner’s Association, more than 35 million pounds of candy corn are produced every year. 

Tootsie Rolls were the first wrapped penny candy in America.

Halloween candy sales average about 2 billion dollars annually in the United States.

Chocolate candy bars top the list as the most popular candy for trick-or-treaters with Snickers #1.

Halloween is the 2nd most commercially successful holiday, with Christmas being the first.

Bobbing for apples is thought to have originated from the roman harvest festival that honors Pamona, the goddess of fruit trees.

Black cats were once believed to be witch's familiars who protected their powers.

What are your favorite Halloween traditions? 


Kristin Wallace is the USA Today Best Selling Author of inspirational and sweet contemporary romance filled with “Love, Laughter and a Leap of Faith”. Her latest book, SECOND CHANCE HERO, is available now. 


AMAZON  /  APPLE BOOKS  /  B&N   /   KOBO 



Monday, October 7, 2019

Road Trip and an Excerpt ~ Jean C. Gordon

My husband and I are recently back from a bus tour (my first) to Lancaster County--Amish Country--Pennsylvania. Confession #1: I am generally not an Amish fiction fan. But a group of friends invited us to join them, and the tour included the play JESUS at the Sight and Sound Theater. Confession #2: I've been to lots of high school plays, but I'd never been to a professionally produced play before. Also, the tour was stopping on the way at a Chalk Talk, which sounded intriguing.

The Entryway to the Chalk Talk

Chalk Talk is an old-time storytelling form in which the storyteller illustrates his/her story while telling it. It was fabulous. Our tour guide bought the storyteller's pastels drawing and raffled it off on the way home. One of my friends won the picture.

Next up was dinner at an Amish home, followed by checkin at the Eden Resort, where we stayed overnight. The next morning, we stopped at an Amish Bakery and a quilt shop, where I took several pictures for my daughter and another friend who quilt.


Then, on to the theater. We couldn't take any pictures or videos inside, so you'll have to take my word for it that the scenery props were breathtaking, the acting and singing were exquisite, and the story was wonderful.


Afterwards, we stopped in the gift shop in the theater basement. It was about the size of our local Walmart. Our time in Lancaster ended with dinner at an Amish buffet.

Our Travel Group

Have you ever taken a bus tour? Where?

I had another first on the way home. I hosted my segment of the Small-Town Christmas Wishes Series Release Party in the Sweet Romance Reads Cafe from our tour bus. This is a sweet/inspirational series from Sweet Romance Reads authors Cindy Flores Martinez, Jackie Castle, Kimberly Rose Johnson, Josie Riviera, Pat Simons, and me. Each is a standalone story that can be read by itself. If you haven't read my story and need some enticement to, read the except below.

Small-Town Christmas Wishes

BUY for 99¢/FREE on Kindle Unlimited

Welcome to Snowflake, Colorado—a small town where wishes come true! When six old high school friends receive a letter that their fellow friend, Charity Hart, wrote before she passed away, their lives take an unexpected turn. She leaves them each a check for $1,500 and asks them to grant a wish—a secret wish—for someone else by Christmas. It sounds simple but the friends soon discover that it isn’t as easy as it seems! With the clock ticking, will they make it happen in time?

Join Mia, Caro, Nate, Sara, Holly, and Taye on their journey to make a wish come true—and find love along the way.

Excerpt

Caro Price opened the door to the This and That Shop, her mind and heart heavy with her long-time friend Charity’s last request. A request she and five of her high school Bible club friends had just heard about at the Green and Son’s law office. While she had once considered the five others close friends, she’d rarely seen any of them after her first couple of summer breaks from college. A pang of regret pricked her. She’d severed the roots she’d worked so hard to establish as a teen. Things had seemed so simple then. She didn’t know if she’d ever get that feeling of belonging back again.


She scoured the variety store’s displays for the blue and silver tinsel ropes her grandmother was sure they’d have. How on earth could she honor Charity’s request—to secretly make a real difference in someone’s life by Christmas—with the holiday only six weeks away? She hadn’t lived in Snowflake since she’d left for college fifteen years ago. Even with her grandmother’s updates, she didn’t know enough about what was going on here to choose someone to be a secret angel to.



“Mommy,” a red-haired little girl shouted. “Look. It’s our Jesus people. The ones that got lost.”



“Hope, please come over here and try on these boots.” A woman about Caro’s age with slightly darker red hair lifted a pair of pink and white snow boots and motioned the little girl to her.
“But Mommy, you gotta see.” The little girl picked up and waved what looked to Caro to be a ceramic figurine of the Madonna
.


“Careful. Put that down before you break it.” The woman rushed over and took the piece from the girl’s hand.


“Can we get it, Mommy? Daddy said he was going to find our Jesus people … before he got dead.”



While the mother gathered the little girl to her, a tall boy who looked to be in his early teens walked toward them. Something about him was familiar, but she didn’t know any kids that age in Snowflake, or back in Aurora, for that matter.



“Like that was ever going to happen,” he muttered under his breath as he passed by her.



The woman lifted her head and her teary eyes met Caro’s. Caro busied herself rummaging through the pile of garlands on the display. The shop was an eclectic combination of new, gently used—as she suspected the boots the woman held were—and overstock items with some antiques thrown in.


She finally found what her grandmother wanted, but something made her linger. So she turned her attention to a display of holiday socks, remembering how when she was a child, her grandmother had bought each of them a pair of socks for every holiday. Impulsively, she picked up a pair with reindeer for each of them, one in red and the other in black. When was the last time she’d done something impulsive? Certainly not in the ER, where her work was crisis management on the best days and life and death on the worst. Here in Snowflake, away from the hospital, she could breathe again.
The shop bell rang, and Caro looked up to see the woman and two children leaving. She meandered over to the nativity scene. It was beautiful, the figures glazed in vibrant colors.



“Lovely, isn’t it?” The store clerk startled her, making Caro glad she hadn’t been holding the figure she’d been reaching for.


“Yes, it is. May I ask where you got it?” The little girl’s words bounced around her head.



“From an estate sale.”



Then it probably wasn’t the actual nativity scene the little girl had been talking about. But one like it.

“It was made by a local artist, now deceased, in the early 1900s, one of several.”



Caro nodded and lifted the tag attached to the creche. $299!



“Are you interested?” the clerk asked.



“No just curious. Thank you.” Curious and looking for an easy out for her friend Charity’s request. But, like the secret angel gifts they’d made in high school, Caro believed any gift she made with Charity’s money—if she chose to keep the money and make a gift—should make a real difference to the recipient. She wasn’t sure giving the little girl the nativity scene fit that bill. Caro had a sad feeling that the little girl’s family might need more practical help to brighten their Christmas. Besides, Charity had left $1,500 each for their gifts. Despite the way the little girl—Hope she’d thought the mother had called her—had tugged on Caro’s heartstrings, she had to think bigger.






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