Monday, September 21, 2020

Charleston by Janice Lynn


2020 has been difficult on so many for such a plethora of reasons. I could list out all the bleh things that have happened in my own life, but quite simply, I refuse to. Instead, my plan is to continue to keep my eyes and heart focused on all the good that still exists. 

My husband normally works on Saturdays, so any time he's able to take that day off and we get a long weekend together is a blessing. My middle son lives in Columbia, SC, and my dear hubby planned a quick stopover visit on our way to Charleston to celebrate my birthday. We were a little hesitant about traveling outside the state where we live, but never felt uncomfortable. Charleston has a mask mandate and the people there were genuinely kind. Our quick getaway wasn't nearly enough time to see all the amazing things this historic city has to offer, but it was a great start.

Things we loved about Charleston--The history. This city is packed full of history. Good, bad, ugly--it's all there. The historic district is home to some amazing antebellum homes. I never realized Charleston's wealth and role in the events that have shaped our nation, so visiting was a great history lesson, but I've admittedly much more to learn. We spent a lot of time walking around downtown, just admiring the homes and imaging a time long past. We also took a horse carriage tour. Lots of fun and even more great information about the history of Charleston. This city has seen more than its fair share of devastation between fires, earthquakes, and war battles. There's lots of evidence that can still be seen in the buildings from the earthquake from reinforcements to how some significantly slant. 

The Churches-- Charleston is known as the Holy City as they offered religious freedom to all. For that reason, there are many gorgeous churches throughout the area. 


The food!--Yum. We ate really well in Charleston, so it's a good thing we did so much walking. I didn't take pictures of most of the deliciousness we encountered, but I did a few such as these friend green tomatoes and dish from Hall's Steakhouse. It was a really nice restaurant and the food and service were excellent. When we got home, we had a card from our waitress thanking us for letting her serve us. Never had that happen before. 

The trees--There are some amazing trees in the Charleston area. The most famous of which is Angel Oak. We didn't make it there, but did visit Ellis Oak Park where there were also some gorgeous trees (and some pesky fireants! Eek!). 

The water--Charleston boasts a bay where fresh water and the Atlantic meet. There are an abundance of sea life, a light house that now sits out in the sea due to land erosion, and gorgeous sunsets over the bay.

Plantations--We only made it out to one--Middleton. It's a beautiful place and interesting to see that glimpse of the past and to learn so much about the culture and people of that time. We hope to visit several others on our next trip to the area.

Although my upcoming Hallmark Publishing October 27th release Wrapped Up in Christmas Joy is set in the South, it's in a fictitional town called Pine Hill, KY. What are some of your favorite Southern cities to visit and why? Or if you don't have a favorite one in the South, then where & why cause I may want to go visit? :)


USA Today & Wall Street Journal Bestselling author JANICE LYNN lives in Tennessee with her Prince Charming, their kids who think they're all royalty, her vivid imagination, an adorable Maltese named Halo who's the true princess of the house, and bunches of unnamed dust bunnies that moved in after Janice started her writing career. In addition to writing romance, Janice is a nurse practitioner, a quilter, an exercise queen, a military mama, and an avid supporter of the Quilts of Valor Foundation. Just kidding on the exercise queen. www.janicelynn.com   WRAPPED UP IN CHRISTMAS is available at AMAZON Barnes & Noble WALMART

Sunday, September 20, 2020

New Member Intro

 by Fran McNabb

A big thank you to the authors of Sweet Romance Reads for including me in their group. Since this is my first post to this blog, I’d like to introduce myself. I’ve been writing sweet romances since my first book was published in 2006 by Avalon Books. In fact, it was one of my fellow Avaloners, who told me about this group. (Thank you, Jean.)


Writers love the written word and most have a story about when they knew they wanted to be authors. My story isn’t exciting or unusual. I was a high school English and journalism teacher. My world revolved around words and literature. When I had to take an early medical retirement and found myself stuck in the house, boredom set in. I had always been a “closet writer,” so I had lots of old, typewriter pages of manuscripts stuffed under my bed. One day as I cleaned, I found these manuscripts and began to go through them.  That’s when I knew I had the time and the love of writing to do something with them.


I could have gone in many directions with my writing, but it was Avalon, a family-friendly library publisher, who took a chance on me. They published the first three of my books, and publishing with them led me to choosing my sweet brand. Montlake Publishing now owns those three books as well as one more. The Wild Rose Press has published two novels and one short story. (“Smoothing a Rocky Road” is my newest. It’s a short read in their One Scoop of Two Series.) I also have three books with Winged and six self-published books (three are still available.)


I enjoy creating stories where couples are awakened to the awareness of love and to the realization that their love can bloom. In my latest story, “Smoothing a Rocky Road,” my characters meet on the Gulf Coast, which is my home. The story is a quick beach read and features a local teacher and a pilot in the Air Force who is on temporary duty at Keesler Air Base in Biloxi. It can be found at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08G8CBY5W/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_-cvtFb8J4105J

Again, I am thankful to be part of Sweet Romance Reads and I look forward to meeting the readers of this blog.

FRAN MCNABB grew up along the beaches, islands, and waterways of the Gulf Coast and uses this setting in many of her sweet romances. Visit her at https://www.FranMcNabb.com


Saturday, September 19, 2020

Good Things Happen, Too by Merri Maywether


My first library class of the school year begins with wide-eyed five-year-olds. I have them sit on the ABC rug and read a story about being nice to our books. They appropriately gasp in horror at damaged books. 

For years, I will see these children, suggesting books they might like, listening to them read, and developing a rapport. 

On the last day of sixth grade, the rest of the school holds hands London Bridge style, forming a school length human tunnel. The kids chant, “On to Jr. High,” as a celebratory send-off, and I am at the end of the line with a welcome sign. 

They are in a new building, but they are safe. The same person who greeted them on the first day of school will be with them as their middle school reading, writing, study hall teacher.. and librarian. 

This year’s seventh-grade class lost out on the tradition. They also missed out on the end of the year camping trip, and there were no goodbye hugs from the sixth-grade teacher. 

I heard about it on the first day of school. And the litany of 2020 woes began. 

We had been in school for two weeks when I had had enough. People all over the country are facing unimaginable uncertainty. Our class sizes are so small, we were able to return to in-person school. The summer weather afforded our farmers abundant crops.


I had to put a stop to the negativity. My ponytail wagged as I spoke with emphasis. “Sometimes, bad things happen. We can’t blame a year for everything that goes wrong.”  That was code for, I hate to say it, kids, but you’ve been losing your favorite pencil at the craft center for years.  “That and 2020 has brought us good things.” 

Of course, they challenged me. “Name one.” 

Without missing a beat, I declared. “That’s easy. I get to see you for three hours every day, and that makes me happy.” I gestured my I told you so with my hands. “So while 2020 has had its struggles, it has brought me something amazing, too.”

Obviously stunned, eleven of my twelve students straightened.  The twelfth, a wiry, freckle-faced boy whose voice has the starting to change low tones, said, “I don’t think you’ll feel that way once you get to know me.” 

The moment was sealed in our hearts with the laughter that ensued.  


This year is rough. However, the fires of frustration have yielded some gold. My husband learned to wash dishes. We are grateful for our meals, whatever they contain.  We talk to more frequently to our children. The biggest takeaway, we have learned to love life when she isn’t perfect. 




Meet Merri Maywether


Twenty years ago, Merri Maywether went on a date with a very sweet man from Montana. Three weeks later, they were engaged and they have lived happily ever after. 

💖💖💖

If you are looking for a feel-good, happily ever after, small-town experience, I have a story for you. When I write my romance novels, the characters are inspired by the people I see on a day to day basis. Up here in what I like to call the far, far north, people work hard, live fiercely, and love knowing that they have a community behind them. When I'm not writing, I'm testing out an adventure that will end up in a book or trying a character's favorite recipe

If you're looking for more titles or quick reads visit my website Small Town Stories 







Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Vacation Time the Good the Bad and the Ugly

Last week my husband and I took a much needed vacation to Central Oregon. We spent the first couple of days in Bend. This is the view from our hotel room. I'm not sure if you can tell, but the air is a little smokey. Not nearly as bad as it would get in the days to come.

In spite of the smokey air we were able to enjoy ourselves and had fun taking long walks along the river.
The morning after we arrived we enjoyed a spectacular sunrise thanks to the smokey air.

The next day we headed to Sunriver, our favorite vacation destination as well as the setting for my Sunriver Dreams series. We were blessed with two nice days. Our favorite activity in Sunriver is riding bikes. I took this next picture while we were riding along a river trail. I really miss that blue sky!
While we were riding I spotted a huge buck through some brush. I've never been that close to a buck of that size. I took a picture, but it's too hard to see him in the pic through the brush.

Instead I thought I show this deer. There was a herd that came by every morning and evening. I couldn't believe how close they got to us. One morning I counted ten deer. There was a small buck in the herd too. Even though this looks like it could be a buck it's an illusion.
The next day wild fire smoke moved in, so we hung out indoors. We ended up leaving for home a day early because the smoke was so bad it was getting into the house we'd rented. While we were in Sunriver, fires in Oregon exploded. Entire towns were destroyed. The devastation is hard to comprehend. Places we'd driven through just days before are gone. 
We couldn't go home the way we'd come and ended up going two to three hours out of our way to get there, but that was nothing compared to what others were dealing with.
Here's the view from one part of our drive. Sadly it got worse. 
We are now at home. The air quality is currently above 500. We are hunkered down with taped up doors and windows. We used towels at the bottom of our doors to try and keep the smoke out. 
Smoke was getting in from our air ducts, so we've turned off our air and heat, closed and covered our vents. We'll get that dealt with once the smoke clears. In the meantime we have a space heater we move around from room to room as well as a good portable air cleaner.
I am grateful for the beauty we experienced in the early days of our vacation. I'm also grateful to have a home to come home to.

If you are a praying person please remember the states along the west coast. 



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 and romantic mystery and suspense with a heart.


Kimberly holds a degree in Behavioral Science from Northwest University in Kirkland, Washington, and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers.

Learn more about Kimberly and her books at https://kimberlyrjohnson.com/




Monday, September 14, 2020

Smiles by Merrillee Whren

 
What is better than a smile to brighten your day and your outlook? Today I'm going to share some quotes about smiles to hopefully brighten your day.
 
 
 
 
 

I have to admit to having my characters smile a lot. Sometimes their smiles aren't all genuine. They are smiling on the outside and crying on the inside. Sometimes we all have an occasion when we put on a happy face even though we aren't feeling it. But I hope that most of our smiles are happy ones.

Here are a few of my smiling characters. 


 
Do you have a favorite quote about smiles?
 
 
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, September 12, 2020

Easy Pumpkin Recipe by Cindy Flores Martinez


Pumpkin season is here, and I have an easy recipe to share. It's a cold pumpkin drink that you can enjoy all year long.

As you might know, some brands of canned pumpkin can taste bitter, so it's best to use a brand that you know tastes good.

Easy Pumpkin Drink

Ingredients:

1/4 cup canned pumpkin (add more if you prefer a thicker drink)

1 cup cold milk or milk substitute

1 TB sweetener (or more if you prefer)

1/8 tsp pumpkin spice

Directions:

Mix all ingredients together in a cup. That's it! 

Enjoy!





Friday, September 11, 2020

A Virtual Trip To Regency England by Josie Riviera


When writing, I “explore” the locations, some physically, and some by researching online. In fact, I travel to exciting places from behind my keyboard. Given COVID-19 and the state of the world, virtual traveling is the way to go, at least for now.



Regency Period in the United Kingdom is the setting for my Seeking series, which ran from about 1790 to 1820. Named for George, Prince of Wales who was given the title of Regent as his father, King George III, was deemed “mad” and unfit to rule. Unwilling to remove him from the thrown it was decided his son should rule as Regent and would become King upon his father’s passing. 

George had a fondness for the finer things in life and commissioned many projects at a tremendous cost, which added to his being rather unpopular. This period was known for the resurgence of art and culture. The fashion of the day was quite elegant with women wearing more modest clothes then popular in recent times. Men wore trousers of varying lengths and jackets with tails.

This was a great time for literature with Jane Austen writing all of her books. She was well known in society and revealed what the day in the life the aristocracy would be like. There were many other acclaimed authors, poets, and playwrights, including Sir Walter Scott, William Wordsworth, and Frankenstein author, Mary Shelley.

The architecture was also something the Regent enjoyed. Architect John Nash was commissioned to upgrade Buckingham House into the Buckingham Palace we know today. Mr. Nash also developed the areas of Regent Street and Regent Park. Other beautiful examples of the time are The City of Bath where the famous Roman Spas are located, The Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace, and The Royal Pavilion at Brighton, the seaside retreat of the Prince.

I can just imagine the ladies and gentlemen of the day, strolling through the parks and the streets, and yes even Buckingham Palace. To this day, those places remain ready for us to enjoy and marvel in the history.

Someday, but for now, we’ll travel virtually.

 

I'm celebrating my brand new cover for Seeking Patience, my Regency Inspirational Sweet romance.

Travel back to Regency England with me and discover the world of the Romany Gypsies.




Do people prove their worth by strength, or by character?



Grab your ebook copy of Seeking Patience today. 

Also available in paperback, Large Print paperback, and audiobook.




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.

 


"Like" her Facebook page.

And remember to join our Sweet Romance Reads Facebook cafe.


Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Love in 2020... by Christine Bush

 

Many people have asked me  “Are you ever going to write a romance with a covid theme? Set in 2020 covid times?

Ick. My automatic reaction has been a vehement “NO!” 

I’m looking forward to healing and resolution from this painful time, and didn’t imagine putting it into a book.

But..  Yesterday, I heard a sweet TRUE story, so I thought I’d share it here.

A youngish man, quiet, brilliant, computer nerdish,
has always worked at home in Brooklyn, NY.  Dominick was encouraged and prodded by family to join one of the popular internet dating sites at Christmas last year. So he did.  And went on a few “first dates” with various stories attached. No second dates. 

By March, he was ready to give up. But then he read the profile of a young lady who sounded like a match made in heaven. They communicated by email.  They had a conversation on the phone. Marla seemed great! They set a date, planning to meet at a local restaurant on Friday night. He was looking forward to it.

But Friday, he got a text, calling off the date with no explanation.  Dominick called her, not quite willing to give up on her.

She was crying. And sick.  She had woken up coughing the day before, and the doctor had given her a test for the awful new virus that was rampaging in NY.  She had Covid19. She was stuck in her apartment, isolating, and hoping she didn’t end up in the hospital.

She had neighbors who dropped off food at her door, and checked in on her.  She was pretty sick for a few weeks, but slowly improved, not having to be hospitalized.

And she had Dominick. He had instinctively felt a connection to Marla, and he wasn’t going to let it go.  They couldn’t see each other, of course.  But that doesn’t mean they weren’t together. As soon as she could, they had long, meaningful telephone conversations, getting to know each other. Hour after hour.  They shared about their hopes and dreams, their childhoods, their careers. Their like and their dislikes. They zoomed together and showed each other family pictures and mementos from special moments in life.  They watched the same movie on their tv’s, while seeing each other on zoom on their laptops. Not exactly like being on the same couch, but together in their own way.

FBI warns about Zoom bombing as hijackers take over school ...

Slowly, Marla got better.  She had one negative covid test.  Then another two weeks later. Then another. She wanted to be absolutely certain she was free from the virus.

Their first “in person” date was three months to the day they had first planned to meet. Can you imagine the romantic moment?  And they already knew each other deeply, honestly, and in a different way, probably, than they would have if they hadn’t been so physically separated for so long.

Yes, the happily ever after seems like it’s on the way.  They are happy, healthy, and taking their time.  So this is one covid story that came out well, and that brings me joy.

But I’m still not sold on writing fiction set in 2020.

How about you?  Are you interested in reading or writing stories set in the “Covid time?”

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 14 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!


https://www.facebook.com/pages/Christine-Bush-Author/213919128638762
http://www.amazon.com/Christine-Bush/e/B001KHSLRG/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1392688497&sr=1-2-ent

It’s nostalgia time!  Today I’m sharing a link for my very first book, “Patient Heart”, a sweet romantic mystery! Available in ebook and in print.

https://www.amazon.com/Patient-Heart-New-Beginnings-Book-ebook/dp/B005IG6C0S/



 

 

 

 

 

The Life of a Freelance Copywriter by Kristin Wallace

While many may know me as an author, I also have a “day job” as an advertising copywriter. That means I come up with the words for marketing materials, from TV commercials and radio spots to print ads, and brochures. I also do a lot of social media and blog writing. 

 

Right now I’m working as a freelance copywriter so that means “I” am the boss! Before my current role, I worked at an ad agency for 10 years. 

 

My job requires me to do a lot of research so I can develop ad copy and blogs. I’ve learned so much about different subjects. When I was at the ad agency we worked extensively with hospitals and health plans. As a result, I learned so much about healthcare topics. I can tell you about heart surgery procedures, heart disease, orthopedic surgery, cancer treatment, women’s health, diabetes, rehabilitation techniques, and on and on. 

 

As a freelancer, the subjects I write about are a lot more varied. I work with a company that produces blogs and web pages for car dealerships. I have learned a lot about different models and car systems/features. With some of my clients, I’m assigned a blog topic. With others, I’m able to choose from a list of available topics. In a single day, I can go from writing about the best fishing spots near Branson, MO to the gas mileage of a Jeep Wrangler. Look at these topics…

 

·      Phishing schemes

·      Sensory processing issues

·      Remote learning

·      How to pick the right college

·      STEM education and STEM jobs

·      Best roof materials for hot climates

·      Best wheelchairs for seniors

·      Best camping sites in Missouri

·      Lead Magnets

·      How long laptop batteries last

·      Wound care

·      Backyard landscaping ideas

·      South Carolina real estate

·      Best Nashville neighborhoods

·      3D scanners

·      Training your dog to become an AKC Trick Dog

·      Dental implants

·      Different kinds of valves

·      Chevy Suburban

·      Mazda CX-5

 

Obviously, I’m not an expert on valves or AKC training. I don’t truly understand “scientific” medical terms (that’s truly another language). But I do know "a little bit about a lot of things". 

 

My job is all about learning new things and that keeps it interesting. I couldn’t do it without the Internet, though. It makes my job possible. Google is definitely my best friend. 

 

What’s the most interesting thing about your job?

 

Kristin Wallace is the USA Today Best Selling Author of sweet contemporary and inspirational romance filled with Love, Laughter, and a Leap of Faith. She is the author of the three best selling series, Covington Falls Chronicles, Shellwater Key Tales, and Palm Cove Tales.

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Celebrate Labor Day with Some Fun Facts ~ Jean C. Gordon



Labor Day pays tribute to the contributions and achievements of American workers and is traditionally observed in the US on the first Monday in September with 
parties and street parades. Labor Day weekend also symbolizes the end of summer for many Americans. But there's more about Labor Day you may or may not know.

  • Labour (Labor) day originated in Canada in 1872 when a parade was held in Toronto in support of the Toronto Typographical Union's strike for a 58-hour work week.
  • The first U.S. Labor Day was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882 in New York City, planned by the Central Labor Union. About 10,000 workers took unpaid leave and marched from City Hall past Union Square uptown to 42nd street, and ended in Wendel’s Elm Park at 92nd Street and 9th Avenue for a concert, speeches, and a picnic.
  • Oregon was the first state to declare Labor Day an official holiday in 1887, followed by Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York in the same year
  • By 1894, 23 more states had adopted the holiday, and on June 28, 1994, Congress passed an act that President Grover Cleveland signed into law, making the first Monday in September of each year the official Labor Day Holiday.
  • Labor Day is considered the unofficial NFL season kickoff.  99.44 percent of the time, the NFL plays its first official season game the Thursday after Labor Day. As an aside, my Buffalo Bills are scheduled to play the Jets on the following Saturday, 9/13.
  • The first Waffle house opened on Labor Day 1955, in Avondale Estates, GA.
  • Labor Day is the unofficial end of hot dog season. According to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, between Memorial Day and Labor Day, Americans eat some seven billion hot dogs.
  • You can wear white after Labor Day. The old tradition goes back to the late Victorian ere, when it was a fashion faux pas to wear white clothing after summer officially ended on Labor Day. According to Emily Post: White indicated you were still in vacation mode at your summer cottage.
In my upcoming new release, Sweet Tidings, the citizens of Indigo Bay are celebrating Christmas, not Labor Day. Come join them in Sweet Tidings and the five other Indigo Bay Christmas Romances.

Amanda Strickland wants her first Christmas as mayor of Indigo Bay to be a civic success from the animal shelter fundraiser to benefit gala to the traditional tree lighting. And movie-star acquaintance Eric Slade may be just the ingredient she needs to pull it all off.

Eric wants to put the paparazzi off him and the young co-star of his last film—and protect his fragile relationship with the grown son he never spent much time with when his son was growing up. When he proposes a pretend holiday romance between him and Amanda, it seems like a win-win for them both.

But what will happen when the pretend romance turns real and snafus on both sides threaten to crush their Christmas plans and hearts?

Sweet Tidings is the first book in the new Indigo Bay Christmas Romances Series, but it and the other stories are standalone and can be read in any order. 


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Wednesday, September 2, 2020

A Kind Summer by Vickie McDonough



Summer was pretty kind to us in Oklahoma this year. Normally, we'll experience several weeks of over 100-degree weather, but this year we had a couple of cool spells and enjoyed highs in the 80s for a few weeks. Still, I'm ready for the cooler weather and pretty colors of fall. I just put a huge metal pumpkin in my front yard, and I'm pulling out my autumn decorations, so I can decorate my house. How about you? Have you done any decorating yet?

Cooler weather sometimes means staying inside and reading more. If you'd like to enjoy a quick read, check out my Hand-Me-Down Husband novella.


Ellen Stewart despises Lance Garrett. If not for him dashing into Isabelle’s life and stealing her heart and filling her head with his dreams, her little sister would still be alive and safe at home. When Ellen receives Lance’s letter requesting help with one-year-old Tessa, she rushes to Silver Springs, intent on taking charge of her young niece. A rugged ranch in the wilds of Texas is no place for a motherless baby.

But when she realizes how distraught Lance is over the loss of his wife and the depth of his love for his daughter, she can’t take Tessa from him—but neither can she leave. Though everything within her wants to flee back to the comfortable big city, something makes her stay. Tessa needs her father, for one—and he needs her. Ellen knows what it’s like to lose all she’d dreamed of.

When local townsfolk make a stink about Ellen living at Lance’s ranch unchaperoned, will they be forced to marry? Ellen doesn’t want a hand-me-down husband who could never love her, but could this marriage be God’s will for them both?

Vickie McDonough is the CBA, EPCA and Amazon best-selling author of 50 Christian romance books and novellas.

Purchase here / Free on KU