Wednesday, February 28, 2018

What (and how) are you reading? - by @MagdalenaScott

My eyes get weary from spending so much time staring at a screen. That's a common occurrence--not just for authors--but for many of us these days. If it's not a computer screen, it's the phone, right?

In order to give my eyes a break, I've recently started getting more reading done with my eyes closed, or staring into space. (If you see me staring into space, I might also be (1)planning my next novel, (2)wondering what was on my to-do list, or (3)trying not to fall off my stepper.)

I love listening to author-focused podcasts by Joanna Penn, Mark Coker, and Orna Ross. Although I could accomplish this with my phone and a headset while walking outdoors, I know myself well enough to realize that's a bad idea. (Yes, I'm that woman who could walk out in front of a car while focused on what's happening inside her head.)

I can however, get lots of good info from these wise folks while using my stepper indoors on rainy days. A few folks have asked if I have trouble balancing on the stepper. Answer: Not as long as I keep my eyes open. (See above.)

Last year I borrowed a CD-based audiobook from the library--Jojo Moyes's Paris for One. I hadn't listened to an audiobook in quite some time. I had thought I'd do it in the car back when I made more solo trips during a week. But my car stereo didn't like to play the chapters in the correct order. Call me crazy, but that just wasn't ideal for my enjoyment as a "reader."

These days, having an audiobook on my phone is a game changer. Through my public library's connection with Overdrive, I recently borrowed Dick Van Dyke's memoir, Keep Moving: And Other Tips and Truths About Aging. What fun to hear one of my favorite entertainers talk about his life, and his ruminations on the up-side of getting older! In spite of myself, while listening to his voice, I keep picturing the elderly banker he portrayed in the movie Mary Poppins.

I also read on my antiquated kindle e-reader. Looking at a lighted screen doesn't work for me near bedtime, but this old standby works just fine. My most recent read was a short story collection from the magnificent Maeve Binchy.

My bedtime book is always fiction, and it has to be happy fiction. Otherwise, I won't sleep well. Next up for bedtime is a hardback from the library--Jan Karon's To Be Where You Are, a Mitford novel. I'm looking forward to it. I haven't visited Mitford in several years!

What about you? Do you find that your reading habits have changed over time? Do you like audiobooks, podcasts, and/or ebooks, or prefer to hold a physical tome in your hands?

(Note: I also read books by my fellow Sweet Romance Reads authors, but didn't want to mention some and not everyone! Find all of our crew on the Authors Page.)

Try a romance novel on--for sighs!

USA Today Bestselling Author Magdalena Scott writes sweet romance and romantic women's fiction. A lifelong resident of Small Town America, she invites readers into her world to find out what’s hidden just below the surface of those tiny dots barely visible on the map. Romance, mystery, and the journey to be one's best self are all part of a day in her neighborhood. Readers have commented that they'd like to move to the imaginary towns Magdalena writes about, which she takes as high praise indeed.

Magdalena is a practicing minimalist, having downsized from a 3,000 square foot house to a studio apartment, where her Giant Closet continues to resist taming. When not writing at home, she loves to travel--carryon baggage only--and is always pleasantly surprised at the kindness of strangers.

Visit her website:

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Monday, February 26, 2018

A New Beginning

I don't know about you, but I love starting a new series. Whether it be one to read, or one to write, there's just something exciting about a new beginning. 
Recently, I finished book one of a new romantic suspense series entitled Love On The Run and it's all about finding love in the most unusual of places, while running for your life.

Book One - Nowhere to Run is available now at Amazon:

Blurb for Nowhere To Run: 


Surrounded by death and lies, the last thing Dr. Jordan Scott needs is to fall in love.

Jordan thought she knew her boyfriend better than anyone…until a Detective Riley Donovan confronts her with the truth about her brother’s death. His murder was no random act of violence. And Caesar is the prime suspect, which puts her directly in the path of danger.

What about you? What type of series do you like to read the most?

Mary Alford was inspired to become a writer after reading romantic suspense greats Victoria Holt and Phyllis Whitney. Soon creating characters and throwing them into dangerous situations that test their faith came naturally for Mary. In 2012 Mary entered the Speed Dating contest hosted by Love Inspired Suspense and later received “the call”. In addition to writing for Love Inspired Suspense, Mary also writes Christian romance and sweet romance. Being a published author has been a dream come true for Mary. Stop by and see all of Mary's work at 

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Saturday, February 24, 2018

Life is a bowl of stories—romance stories of course!

Many times I’m asked where I get my story ideas.  Life, people watching, the news, and yes, even in a CPR class, I conjured up another masterpiece. Anything could trigger a story plot.

I’ve never attended a CPR class before, so I was eager to learn about life saving tips. As our presenter ran through the different scenarios of “if this happens, do this,” I wondered about those real life emergencies, and how I could re-write the script for happy endings.
I came up with my own “What-ifs.”  For example, what if a woman fainted, a paramedic happened to be nearby. He performed CPR, saved her life, and parted ways. But that’s not the end of the story. What if months later, the heroine found herself in trouble again? When the ambulance arrived, the medic recognized her.  What should happen next? Oh the possibilities.
What if my heroine is a single mother and her toddler is choking? She’s screaming for help, and a new neighbor moving in next door responds, but he’s just as scared as her. Hmm-mm. What a plot twist that will be when they find themselves praying for Godly intervention.

Yep, it doesn’t take much to activate my imagination. No wonder, I’m the author of 35+ Christian romances. No matter how my books start off, there is always a happy ending.

I have two bargain books to offer about heroines who are rescued, not by CPR, but love. Enjoy them for .99 cents.

 Guilty of Love

Visit for more about me, and join the wait list for my new release MY ROCK (Tabitha’s story). Until next time, happy reading and happy dreaming!

Pat Simmons 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 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 holds a B.S. in mass communications from Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts. 

Thursday, February 22, 2018

It's all subjective by Julie Jarnagin

I just had a fun exchange with some of my author friends. We were talking about our favorite books of last year. Several of the authors mentioned loving a romance novel that I had started twice but never finished. Another author and I both loved a different series that another writer said she hated!

These are fellow writers who write similar genres and who all know a lot about the craft of writing, but we had dramatically different reactions to the books. It just goes to show that reading is so subjective. Even when the writing is strong, everyone has different views about what makes a book great.

As we talked, we realized that a couple of things really made the difference in how we felt about the books. Sense of humor is different for everyone. We all like to laugh, but we each find different things funny. Certain things that make some people laugh out loud simply make me roll my eyes. Something about the humor in the books we liked worked for us.

We also noticed regional differences. The book I loved was set in my neck of the woods. I related to some of the off-the-wall characters, but my author friend didn't relate.

To me, these are the reasons that this is a great time to be an author and a reader. We have so many options at our fingertips! Want to read about Amish vampires in space or fairy tales re-imagined with cowboys, there's a book for you. It also makes it possible for a group of sweet romance authors to exist. We're able to connect directly with readers who love the types of books we enjoy writing.

So have fun! Read the books that make you happy and keep you turning the pages!

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 Louisiana 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.

Meg - Beach Brides Series: Meg Mullen's community theater is on the verge of closing if she can't raise the money to save it, but she's running out of time and needs a miracle. Television producer, Elliot Campbell, finds a message in a bottle from the perfect female contestant for his reality dating show. All he has to do is talk Meg into taking the job, convince her to choose one of the contenders, and figure out how to keep from falling in love with her himself. 

Have you signed up for Sweet Romance Reads newsletter? It's full of great info and fun stuff from our authors. 

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Using Our Creativity

Using our creativity isn’t a luxury. It’s a responsibility.

I often feel that making time for my creative passions is a luxury. A guilty pleasure to indulge in during that mythical moment “when I have time.” But it’s completely the wrong way to look at it.


Of course, deep down I know this. It’s just hard to act accordingly. But I was reminded of it this week.

I was involved in organizing an arts and crafts fair last week. It was part of a fundraising evening for special-needs youth. My job was finding the artists to participate. Fortunately, I have a friend who is a creative genius. Not only did she invent this game (I highly recommend it – there’s a reason it’s an Amazon bestseller! And no, neither she or Amazon is paying me to say this!) but she also organizes a huge fair each year for women entrepreneurs. So she had a ready list of vendors to suggest.

It was such a treat to meet these special women and discover their art, some forms of art that I’d never even thought of. One woman harvests plants in the forest behind her home and uses them to make natural dyes. She uses these to make dreamy silk scarves in gorgeous colors. Another woman sews wallets, handbags – and the most amazing vendor’s apron. I may never take it off.

Most of these women knew each other from previous fairs. There was such a wonderful atmosphere of support and kindness among them. But one of the things that really impressed me was the seriousness and respect they gave to each other’s art and to their own.

It reminded me of something a mentor once said to me. If you’ve been blessed with a talent, there’s a reason for it. It was given to you because the world needs what you can use it for. Therefore, you have a responsibility to use that talent to make the world a better place.

It doesn’t matter what that talent is. It could be fabric dyes, or hand sewn wallets, or baking cookies with a kid in your kitchen, or finding a creative way to bring some joy to someone who is suffering.

If that’s by writing stories with happy endings that leave readers with a smile as they go about the rest of their day, that’s a privilege.

Whatever it is – knitting, dancing, music, cooking, writing – make time for your art and let your light shine into the world!

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 first to know about new releases!

And don’t forget to sign up for the Sweet Romance Reads newsletter. Scroll down the right side of our blog and enter your email address under Newsletter Signup. And come join us in the Facebook Sweet Romance Reads Cafe , where we get to know each other and every so often we have the greatest parties!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Here's one of my favorite recipes for you - chocolate chip cookies!

1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup of butter
1 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1 tbsp. milk
4 cups flour
1tsp. salt
1 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. baking soda 
1 tsp. vanilla extract 
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips 

Thoroughly cream sugar, butter, oil, egg, milk, and vanilla.
Add all the rest.

Drop by teaspoon onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees celcius) for 12-15 minutes. Cookies are light in color when done. 

Monday, February 19, 2018

Sweet Romance Reads Bargain Books

Look For These Bargain Sweet Romances!

Ex-military man Derrick Richmond is solitary and satisfied…until little Timmy is dropped into his lap and Derrick must learn to be somebody's daddy. Schoolteacher Anna Maxwell agrees to teach Derrick all he needs to know about kids. Fate might have denied her a family of her own, but she still has plenty of love to give.

Father and son will offer Anna some precious memories. Then the schoolteacher and the single dad will go their separate ways. Unless one little boy figures out how to make Miss Maxwell become his mom!

Available for $0.99!

Kindle       Nook       Kobo        iBooks       Google

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From USA Today bestselling author Josie Riviera comes the first heart-warming book in the Romany Gypsy Seeking Series.

Bargained away to a brothel, she is beyond hope, beyond rescue…but not beyond the reach of the one man who can save her.

He’s hurt her in the past. Can she trust her heart to him again?
During an age of chivalry they were sweethearts, planning a future together in England.
Sometimes, bonds between a man and a woman, however young, are meant to last a lifetime. But will it take more than a dose of Gypsy magic to chase away the doubts between two guarded lovers?

Available for $0.99!  Kindle

#  #  #  #  # to "Lovers." What Could be Sweeter?
Candy Price is tired. Tired of her three older brothers talking her into blind dates with their friends; tired of living in Albany, New York; and tired of her overbearing boss. She'd love to break away and quit her job as a media assistant for a gubernatorial candidate. But that would only validate her brothers' view that she's flighty.

As a diversion, she decides to help her landlord--witty, gorgeous Mike Wheeler--find a new woman. Mike has a diversion of his own in mind: convincing Candy that there's more to life than out-succeeding her brothers. And if something develops between them, well, he certainly won't fight it.

The result? A contest to find the perfect kiss. The rules? Points per kiss are paid in candy kisses. And winner takes all as Candy and Mike begin to fall for each other in this sweet game of love.

Marked down to $1.49. FREE for Kindle Unlimited Members!  Kindle

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An animal hater and an animal lover’s paths collide the week leading up to Valentine’s Day.

Melvin Lai inherited the last thing he ever wanted from his favorite uncle: a cocker spaniel. Now he’s on the verge of losing his home to the unruly puppy and, much to his surprise, his heart when he meets Dr. Chu, Sparkle’s vet.

Vivian Chu loves caring for her furry friends, so she can’t fathom how anyone could think poorly of her new patient, especially his owner. To her, first impressions are everything, and the one Melvin left has her feeling disheartened and bruised—literally. 

He longs to make her his valentine; she can’t wait to escape him. It’s going to take a miracle for Melvin to win Vivian’s heart, but nothing’s impossible when four-legged conspirators are involved. 

Just 99 cents or FREE for Kindle Unlimited members! Kindle

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A reality show Wedding? Seriously?
Fashion designer Jenna Hart's wedding turns into a media circus when her wedding planner signs her up for a reality show. Each week, the producers challenge her to keep her wedding on track while performing an unpleasant task or working with difficult people.

Firefighter Larry Davison wants Jenna to be happy, so he goes along with the reality show despite hating to be on camera. When the show digs too deep into his past, he has second thoughts about both the wedding and Jenna's celebrity lifestyle.

Will their ring bearer, Harley the basset hound, bring Jenna and Larry together to tie the knot in the season finale?

99c Sale! All Hart Family Romances are on sale for 99c for February, the month of LOVE!
Buy Link

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Limited Time Sale for Three Book Series!

If you’re a dog lover, don’t miss the opportunity to fall in love with the pups at Doggie Town daycare and the people who care for them. This three book series is on sale for a limited time. Get each one for only 99 cents!

Two high school sweethearts get a second chance at love during Christmas with a little help from a French bulldog.

Still moping over her last relationship, Riley Wayne is in no mood to celebrate Christmas. But her sister isn’t about to let her stay melancholy for long. Determined to play matchmaker, she sets out to get Riley and her first love, Mason Carr, back together again.

Mason plays along and agrees to give Riley a job at his doggie daycare facility. However, when things don’t go according to plan, he just might lose—for good this time—the only woman he’s ever truly loved.

Is love in the cards, or will she always be just a bridesmaid?

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?

Can an ornery French bulldog help a mismatched couple find love?

Claire Amherst returns home to help her cousin adopt out the animals from his rescue facility during the town’s fall festival. But she never expects to lose her heart to a French bulldog or to the guy who adopts him. The same guy she despised in high school.

Take a trip to Romance, Oregon, where falling in love has never been easier and happily-ever-after is guaranteed.


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, join her street team, visit her website, like her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

What's Your Love Language? by Liwen Y. Ho

Since it's "love month" around here (aka. Valentine's Day month), I thought I'd share about the concept of the five love languages, as made popular by author Gary Chapman.

These are five ways that people "speak" and understand emotional love.

1) Words of affirmation. These are simply verbal (or written) compliments that one gives to another person to build them up. Some examples are: "You look beautiful in that dress"; "You can always make me laugh"; and "I appreciate it when you pick me up on time".

2) Quality time. This is the act of devoting your full attention to someone. In this day and age, it means turning off any devices and just sitting face to face, talking and listening to one another.

3) Receiving gifts. For some people, receiving a tangible gift from someone shows how much the person thought of you. It's not the cost of the gift, but the time and thought that went into buying it.

4) Acts of service. Doing something for another person that you know would mean a lot to him or her can be a great sign of love. Serving someone requires thought, planning, time, effort and energy.

5) Physical touch. Studies have shown that physical touch is important for emotional health. For some people, touch—even a brief hug or pat on the shoulder—is essential to helping them feel secure.

Image courtesy of

For me, I thrive when I receive words of affirmation. The way I show love, however, is through giving gifts and acts of service.

What makes you feel loved? Also, how do you express your love for others? I'd love to know what your love language is, so please share in the comments below!

And please check out my newest release, Seasons of Love, a compilation of my four short story romances, one for each season of the year. Get it here for $2.99 or for free with Kindle Unlimited!

Don't forget to subscribe (click HERE) to the Sweet Romance Reads newsletter for: 
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  • Our latest news about new romances we hope you will enjoy
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Friday, February 16, 2018

The Everyday Heroes By Margaret Daley

By Margaret Daley

I’m starting a new series called Everyday Heroes. I finished a long series about Strong Women and had so much fun writing about women who went through difficult, extraordinary situations. I featured different professional women from a teacher to law enforcement officer to a woman running a rodeo company.

What makes a hero? I think of soldiers, police officer, firefighter and people like Rev. Martin Luther King. But heroes are more than their profession.  A hero can be an everyday man who does something heroic/extraordinary. I asked my readers what they thought made up a hero. Here are some of the replies:
“knows how to treat and take care of a woman”
“someone with honesty, integrity and a love for fellow human beings and animals”
“doesn’t need praise or thanks for what he’d done”
“kind, gentle person”
“loyal, self-sacrificing and protective”
“having faith in Christ”

Certain jobs (as I noted above) create situations where a man can be a hero. But I want to show not only those professions but others. In my first book in the series, Hunted. The hero, an ex-Wall Street financial advisor, Luke Michaels, owns a horse farm. He often is involved in search and rescues with his German shepherd, Shep. He’s camping by the river when he sees a woman being thrown off a high bridge by two men. He doesn’t think twice. He runs through the woods and dives into the water to save her.

What do you think are qualities of a hero?

Blurb for Hunted:
Murder. On the Run. Second Chances.

Luke Michaels' relaxing camping trip ends when he witnesses a woman being thrown from a bridge. He dives into the river to save her, shocked to find her wrapped in chains. As a canine search and rescue volunteer, Luke has assisted many victims, but never a beauty whose defeated gaze ignites his primal urge to protect. When Megan Witherspoon’s killers make it clear they won't stop, Luke fights to save her, but can he keep her alive long enough to find out who is after her? 
Buy links: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple, Kobo and Google Play

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