Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Sweet Christmas Kisses 2 Facebook Launch Party Prize Winners

Sweet Christmas Kisses 2
Facebook Launch Party Prize Winners

RaeAnne Thayne
Autographed copy of “Evergreen Springs” and hand-beaded bookmark to Tonja Drecker

Beate Boeker
Ebook of Stormy Times to Carolleigh Jastrzebski
Ebook of Venetian Tangle:
Tina Todd Shobe (for guessing chestnuts)
Cathy Carruthers (for guessing chestnuts)
Ene Alexandra (for guessing Venice)
Diana Michelle Tidlund (for commenting)

Christine Bush
Ebook of “Cindy Prince” to Nancy Wiggins Doherty
Ebook of “When Love Prevails” to Julie Fetter

Melinda Curtis
Ebook (winner’s choice) and a Santa Pants ornament with peppermint candy to Cheryl Sullivan Hastings
Ebook (winner’s choice) and a snowman ornament to Heather Doyle

Denise Devine
Printed copy of “Merry Christmas, Darling” to Terrill Harris Rosado and Patty Leono Curry
$5 Amazon card to Linda Henderson

Raine English
Autographed post of “An Angel for Christmas” to Marie McKenney
Ebook of “Some Christmas Magic” to Laurie Bergh
Ebook of “Chasing Happiness” to Charlene Whitehouse

Aileen Fish
Ebook to Jennifer Jensen
Ebook to Janice Walter Roxby
Ebook of “Cowboy Cupid” to Kelly Schmidt and Denise Denning Toups

Patricia Forsythe
Printed copy of “Her Lone Cowboy” to Jess Elliott

Grace Greene
$10 Amazon Gift Card to Tammy Cordery
Ebook of “Beach Three” to Julie Fetter

Lois Greiman
Printed copy of “Hearth Stone” to Brooke Bumgardner
$10 Amazon Gift Card to Chandra Woolson

Shanna Hatfield
Ebook of “The Christmas Bargain” to Lola Riggs
Ebook of “The Cowboy's Christmas Plan” to Deb Walker

Susan R. Hughes
Ebook of “A Baby for Christmas” to Susan Strickland Grondin and Carrie Moore Gould

Julie Jarnigan
Printed copy of “Kiss the Cowboy” to Trixi Oberembt

Shaleen Kapil
Ebook of “None But You” to Laurie Bergh

Ciara Knight
Ebook of Spring in Sweetwater County to Jess Elliott
Ebook of Christmas in Sweetwater County – Sonya Steele

Milou Koenings
Ebook of “Reclaiming Home” to Linda Boyle and Cindy Drennan von Hentschel

Mona Risk
Ebook “Wedding Surprise” to Cathy Caruthers
$5 Amazon gift card to Patricia Way
Ebook “Her Christmas Cruise” to Nicole Stine
Ebook “Christmas Babies” to Sandy Goff Williams

Roxanne Rustand
Printed copy of one “traditionally published” book (winner’s choice) to Pamela Nissen
Ebook of “Comeback Cowboy” to Crystal Job
Ebook of “A Montana Legacy” to Jennifer Craig

Magdalena Scott
Ebook of “Christmas Collision” to Pamela Lowery
Ebook of “Small Town Christmas” to Rose Lasker

Kristin Wallace
Ebook of “By Christmas” to Christina Rhoads
Ebook of Left Turn At Paradise to Jenniger Cowan and Kathleen O’Donnell


Thank you all for attending our Sweet Christmas Kisses II launch party! For our next event, we’re having an Open House party at The Sweet Romance Reads Café on October 17th (details to follow soon) with prizes and the opportunity to meet many of our authors. We’ll see you at the open house!

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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Pets: the Ultimate Inspiration- by Karen Rock

Pets: the Ultimate Inspiration- by Karen Rock

As some of you may already know, I'm a huge animal lover. I'll do anything to help animals, from aiding the ASPCA down to snatching a squawking blue jay from the mouth of a large Tom. (True story and the bird lived :) I'm especially attached to my pets, Angel, a fifteen-year-old Birman with only four teeth, Lizzie, a thirteen-year-old Cavalier King spaniel who is blind, deaf and diabetic, and our newest addition, Zoey, a passionate nine-month-old with a nervous bladder.

My husband, Greg, daughter, Danielle, and I consider our pets as a part of our family. I'll always say, "Zoey, go give your sissy a kiss" or "Angel, it's not nice to bite your daddy." (Those four teeth are sharp!) Lizzie hasn't been getting up and around much lately except for her meals, which I sometimes bring to her. Our veterinarian assured us she isn't suffering from anything that causes her pain and if she can get around using her sense of smell, then she's fine. Phew! When we had her diabetes diagnosis the doctor told us to expect her to pass away last year, so every day more I have with her I treat like the gift that it is.

Yesterday, we made our annual trip to Rulf's apple orchard's pumpkin patch. It's always so much fun to choose from the rainbow of mums, get our donuts and cider, select different canned jellies (this year we went with Red Jalapeño, Black Raspberry and Apple Cider), purchase a peck of Macintosh apples and refuel our local tapped maple syrup supply. Best of all, we knew we'd get to do something we haven't done in a while since losing my other dog, Little Bit last summer and Lizzie's decline in health: take a pet with us for the wagon ride into the pumpkin patch. It's the highlight of the fall to see dogs bounding through the tangled vines, frisking with other dogs, and getting excited over just about everything.

So, what a complete shock when Lizzie didn't return to her bed after eating and started barking at the garage door as we donned our shoes to head out. She rarely wants to leave the house, so why the ruckus? After some debate, (could a blind and deaf dog navigate being on a wagon ride and maneuver through a pumpkin patch?) we decided to take her with a "Handle with Care" policy. As it turned out, Lizzie didn't need us to hover over her. She must have remembered the smells of Rulf's from previous years because as soon as we got out of the car, she made a beeline for the spot where they give out free popcorn (her favorite snack) and actually tried to climb up the stairs into the wagon on her own! She was so happy to stand in the center of the wagon, the air whipping over her ears, then trot through the farm fields, sniffing everything!

It was a beautiful day and another precious gift to have spent it with her. Her indelible spirit to enjoy every bit of her life, no matter the adversity she faces, is a true inspiration and a reminder to always think positively and embrace the good parts of our lives. By doing that, we can overcome anything.

How have your pets made your life more positive? In what ways have they inspired you? Please share your thoughts below; you know how much I'd love to hear them :) Oh- and in Lizzie's honor, I'm giving away an autographed copy of my multi-award-winning Harlequin Heartwarming novel, WISH ME TOMORROW, which features an adorable diabetic Cavalier King spaniel, Sweet Pea. Please include your email address with your comment if you wish to enter the contest. I'll announce the winner here, tonight, at 10 pm EST.


Monday, September 28, 2015

Put on your Party Shoes - by Magdalena Scott

We hope you will join us for the Facebook party on Tuesday, September 29, 2015 from noon til 10PM Eastern Time.

That's Release Day for Sweet Christmas Kisses 2, and the 19 authors in the set have lots of holiday fun and prizes planned for you.

Just click here to join the party.

High heels optional.

Magdalena Scott is a USA Today bestselling author of small town sweet romance and women's fiction. The third story in her Serendipity, Indiana series is contained in Sweet Christmas Kisses 2. Connect with Magdalena by visiting her website. Newsletter signup, blog, book info, and social media links are all there:

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Halloween Memories by Susan R. Hughes

Halloween is still a month away, but since candy and costumes have already arrived in stores, I figure it’s not too early to get into the spirit of the season – especially since I’ve got a brand-new Halloween romance novella to introduce.

When I was a kid, Halloween was a much-anticipated holiday. My mother always made my costumes by hand, and I was extremely proud to wear them. I wish I had the time and skills to make my kids’ costumes like she did. I remember going with her to the fabric store to choose a pattern and material. My favourite was the bat costume (pictured - me with my friends in 1980).

My friends and I decorated pillowcases to hold our haul of candy. We spent a couple of hours trick-or-treating, hitting as many houses as possible before the neighbours ran out of candy and started shutting off their lights and/or we got too cold (if it was a chilly autumn). We loved the houses that were copiously decorated, and all the better if they had eerie lights and music. We always ended the night at my aunt and uncle’s house, where we’d sit by the fire and stuff ourselves with candy and roasted pumpkin seeds. 

After I got too old for trick-or-treating, I looked forward to someday taking my kids through the neighbourhood and re-experiencing the excitement through their eyes. My girls are ten and six years old now, just the right age to get the most from the celebrations. To this day, we continue the tradition of stopping in at my aunt and uncle’s house at the end of the evening. It just wouldn’t be Halloween otherwise.

My new novella, Halloween Kisses, combines the magic of romance and Halloween. It’s available now on pre-order from Amazon for only 99 cents.
One kiss can change everything. Dulcie has had a secret crush on her co-worker Rowan for ages, but she’s too shy to let him know, and preoccupied with raising her rebellious teenage sister. When she bumps into him in the darkness of a haunted barn, she can't resist stealing just one kiss. 

That kiss enchants Rowan. If only he could figure out the identity of the woman whose kiss haunts him. While running from a troubled past, he may find that the woman he least suspects could lead him out of the dark forever.

Susan R. Hughes writes contemporary and historical romance novels set in Canada. She lives in Ottawa, Ontario, with her husband and three children. Learn more about her books at

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Saturday, September 26, 2015

College Care Packages by Ginny Baird

A new movement is sweeping our nation. If you have children in college, at least it appears to be! With my husband and I having six kids between us (currently ranging in ages from 19 to 31), we’ve had plenty of experience with having kids in college—and sending out those lovingly crafted packages that help far-away students feel at home. The funny thing is, neither my husband nor I remember receiving any care packages when we were at university. Either times have changed, or we had horribly bad parents.

One thing is clear. When I attended college, the institution didn’t subject my parents to a barrage of correspondence urging them to purchase pre-fab packages made by the university itself. These all come at a cost of course and are most especially promoted during exam season. I’ve never purchased one, but can see how they might be a boon to busy parents. For my husband’s and my part, some of the joy in sending a care package comes in creating it.

At times, we’ve sent themed packages, centering on a holiday when the kids wouldn’t be home, like Valentine’s Day or Halloween. The package might include some homemade treats along with a few nifty gifties. The sillier, the better, and the kids always enjoyed receiving the unexpected surprises: ranging from pumpkin straws to blinking light rings, which a few of them wore to parties. It really is the thought that counts, even when your child is left wondering, What were they thinking?

On one occasion our youngest boy asked me this when he discovered an unexplained stack of mini post-it notes in his box. Generally, everything in the package carries a significance. What was the meaning of this? The truth was there was a tiny corner of the box—among the Tupperware containers and little presents—that needed filling. I glanced around my office and…voila! The stack of mini post-its was the perfect fit. Besides, I reasoned, son could use them to bookmark certain pages during his…ah-hem…arduous studies.

Just this week, I sent out another care package to this particular child, who is our baby, hence the caboose in a long train of siblings who’ve gone through schools: all of them out of state! Much to our delight (and after some gentle nudging), Gordon opted to study at the University of Virginia, which thrills us on two counts. One, he is just two hours away, and two, we pay in-state tuition. This also means the United Parcel Service can get a package to him by ground service overnight. What could be more ideal for shipping a box of homemade apple cake, brownies and peanut butter cookies? I mailed it the day before yesterday, and received a happy text from Gordon that he and his roommates were already enjoying the goodies last night!

Here is an easy recipe for one of the treats I included.

Three Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies

1 cup of peanut butter (both smooth and crunchy work great)
1 cup of sugar
1 egg

Blend everything together then form small 1 inch balls and press flat with thumb on cookie sheets. Use fork to form cross-hatch pattern in each cookie before baking at 350 degrees in a preheated oven. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown around the edges.

Our oven is quirky, so when I’m baking two cookie sheets together, it takes 18 minutes for both batches to be done.

Remove from oven and lightly press a Hershey’s Kiss into the center of each cookie. For serious chocolate lovers, use Hershey’s Special Dark Kisses. Let set on cookie sheet for five minutes then remove to wire rack until completely cooled. Yield 20-24 cookies.

Do you send care packages to your children, or do you remember getting them? Please share what you like to give—or once enjoyed receiving as a student yourself. Gordon has three more years of college left, so we’re looking for ideas!

* ~ * ~ *

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Ginny Baird writes contemporary romance novels and novellas. Book 3 in her Romantic Ghost Stories series The House at Homecoming Cove releases on October 15th and is already available for Pre-Order. Find it at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and iBooks. Want to keep up with news from Sweet Romance Reads authors? Sign up for the SRR newsletter today. Like chatting about Sweet Romance? Join the authors of Sweet Romance Reads in our cyber Café. Don’t miss our Café Open House October 17th from 12 to 5pm ET. Save the date!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Trolls and Waterfalls by Helen Scott Taylor

At the end of August my husband and I went on our first cruise and we choose Norway as our destination. We packed our bags with trepidation, unsure if we were going to enjoy the experience of being trapped on a ship with nearly 3000 other people for seven days.

We arrived at the port of Southampton in the UK in plenty of time and parked in the shadow of the huge Celebrity Eclipse. Within minutes our suitcases had been whisked away and we walked the short distance to the departure area.

Check in was quick and painless and very soon we were on board and had found our way to our cabin. It was bigger than I expected with a very comfortable bed, a nice sofa and a big balcony with comfortable chairs and a table.

We had about thirty-six hours before we arrived at our first stop in Norway. Bergen is a pretty town famous for the area of old wooden houses called the Bryggen and the fish market. It is possible to take a funicular railway up to a viewing point above the town. Some people went up on the train and walked down. Hubby persuaded me to do the opposite!

After an hour and half of walking up hill, we arrived at the top, me exhausted. I was soon revived with an ice cream and a cup of tea. (I’m easily pleased!) We rode down on the railway, a short five minute journey.

Our second port was Flam, a pretty little village at the head of a fjord. A river runs down the valley and last winter it had burst its banks and swept away the bridge and some of the roads. They were still rebuilding.

Our third port was Geiranger. It’s not possible for a cruise liner to dock here, so they deployed a floating sea walk, an amazing walkway that unfolds and zig-zags out. The normal population of Geiranger is around a hundred, but it can go up to ten thousand people when they have a number of cruise ships in port.

We took an excursion here to the top of Mount Dalsnibba, for a view down the narrow serpentine road up which we had traveled to the fjord below. Our huge cruise ship looked like a toy. 

At the top outside the gift shop, I posed with one of the ubiquitous trolls that are found all over in Norway.

To reach Geiranger we sailed eighty miles up the fjord and passed many picturesque villages, waterfalls and mountains.

Our next stop was Alesund, one of the larger towns that is really a series of settlements on islands all joined by bridges and tunnels. Early in the nineteen hundreds, the town burnt down leaving ten thousand people homeless in the middle of the winter. Since then it has been illegal to build houses of wood. Tradesmen from all over Europe came to help rebuild and the town it’s now well known for its art deco buildings.

Our final stop before we headed back across the North sea to the UK was Stavanger, the oil capital of Norway. Here we visited the petroleum museum, which charts the rise of the Norwegian oil industry.

For a first cruise this was a fantastic itinerary. We loved sailing up the fjords to Flam and Geiranger. The scenery is spectacular and the only disappointment was the dearth of wildlife. The only wildlife highlight was porpoises swimming beside the ship on the way to Geiranger.

My verdict on the cruise: I’m hooked! I loved being looked after for a week with such wonderful meals, polite members of staff and comfortable cabin.

Next time hubby and I plan to head to the Mediterranean for a warmer cruise. I’d love to hear about your cruising experiences.

Helen lives in South West England near Plymouth in Devon between the windswept expanse of Dartmoor and the rocky Atlantic coast. As well as her wonderful, long-suffering husband, she shares her home with a Westie and a burmilla cat. Helen's latest project is a boxed set called Christmas Pets and Kisses, full of wonderful stories about love and pets. Her book in the boxed set is Golden Christmas. Find Helen on FaceBook and Twitter, or visit her website.

Golden Christmas

Two wounded hearts are brought together at Christmas by a trusty golden Labrador and an adorable golden retriever puppy.
Every Christmas Vicky hides so she doesn’t have to celebrate the date she lost her husband and son. She doesn’t want to see anyone but when she finds a dog’s lost ball she meets Jon, a wounded ex-soldier who’s struggling with his own problems. This brave man touches Vicky’s shattered heart and makes her realize she can’t hide forever. With his support, can she find the strength to love again? 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Tis the Season of Change

The seasons are rapidly changing here in Georgia as the leaves turn a beautiful crimson and gold. School has begun, and the holidays are fast approaching.

The changing of the seasons usually brings reflection upon our lives, and in my case, there has been a ton of change in 2015 to process and ponder.

Recently my family, my writing career, and my life as a whole has gone through not only change but a metamorphosis. We’ve switched from raising toddlers and young children to looking at colleges and retirement. In the midst of all this, we also made some drastic decisions about our children’s educations.

At the end of last year, my husband and I made a difficult decision to pull all three of our boys from public school and move them into schools that met their specific learning and emotional needs. Now, I have three boys in three different school. Ugh, who knew they would even have different vacations? LOL.

I must confess, that despite the stresses of it all, it has been the best thing we’ve ever done. My eldest is soaring at his new military academy, advancing rank quickly and learning how to be on his own as a strong, independent young man. My middle son attends a fantastic Christian school that has an extremely loving environment in which teachers have reconstructed his self-esteem in a matter of weeks, molding him into a confident straight A student. My little minion, I mean child, is embracing his new smaller class environment that has fostered his strengths in math and keeps him moving throughout the day to keep his little body from getting too restless.

As for my writing career, I’ve joined several large groups of authors to promote and produce quality fiction for our combined readership. Not only have I learned from other authors and reached a larger readership, but I’ve also forged some lifetime friendships that I will always cherish.

For a person who hates change, I must say that as the leaves on the trees begin to change color, and the air turns brisk, I welcome the changing of the seasons of life and look forward to the next big adventure.

Ciara Knight writes ‘A Little Edge. A Lot of Heart.’ with her sweet romance stories. Her newest novella, A Christmas Spark, is included in  Sweet Christmas Kisses 2, an exciting anthology of  19 sweet Christmas novellas by award winning authors. SCK2 will be released on September 29th, and is available for preorder right now!   

Sign up for our newsletter and keep up with Sweet Romance Reads! Scroll down the right side of our blog and enter your email address under Newsletter Signup.

Join us at the Sweet Romance Reads Cafe to chat with our authors. We love to hear from you!