Sunday, April 11, 2021

For the Love of Music by Josie Riviera

 As an author who loves music and travel, I'm thrilled to be able to incorporate both in my sweet romance novels. It is a joy sharing my books with you, my readers, and I consider myself fortunate.


To develop my stories, I research the culture, people, weather, and yes, one of my favorites, even the food.  It's always a thrill to see the characters emerge with their own personalities, and small towns are one of my favorite settings.  The location can set the tone of a novel, and often the characters' belief systems and goals are influenced by their life experiences. In my inspirational "Cherish" series, Christian faith is paramount.

As a professional musician and music lover, I often include characters who enjoy music. Readers will often see music references, as well as pianists, an opera singer, harpist, harmonica player, and in my newest release, A Homecoming to Cherish, an up and coming guitarist!

Do you enjoy music references in the books you read? Please leave your comments below.


A Homecoming To Cherish, my newest inspirational contemporary romance, is on pre-order for only 99¢!  I hope you enjoy Nora and Julian's story, as well as Nora's teenage daughter, Samantha.

All relationships require a commitment, but is she ready to sacrifice her heart again?

Grab your copy today. Available in ebook, Paperback, Large Print Paperback, and Hardcover.


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


"Like" her author Facebook page.

Follow her on Bookbub.

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Thursday, April 8, 2021

Nailin' it.... by Christine Bush

It’s been a wild and crazy year, no matter how you have spent the pandemic.  Personally, I was shut in, with a hubby with conditions, a grandchild with a heart issue, and a bevy of other grandkids zooming away on line all day with their schoolwork.  I was able to teach my college courses on line.


There were lots of ups and downs, and some days a struggle to keep the balls in the air.  I’m sure you know what I mean.  The one thing that fell by the wayside was self care.  We won’t talk about the refrigerator, that’s a whole other topic. 


But by the end of the year, I ended up with hair that qualified me for a role in a horror movie (not the heroine), and nails that looked like I had clawed my way through the stone wall of a state pen.

But then… I was blessed to get my “Fauci Ouchie”.. 2 wonderful doses of Moderna. Yay.


And then I  had a major milestone birthday.  One of my daughters insisted I go to the hair salon for my birthday.  Masked and excited, I went.  When I arrived, I found out she had arranged for me to have a manicure as well as a haircut.  I am a spoiled brat, I know.

I came out looking more or less like my old self, hair styled, roots gone.

And gorgeous pink nails.

                                                       

I am not usually a vain person.  But after a year of “getting by”, I left floating on air.


What an uplifting thing! We’re not out of this yet.  We need more vaccines for more folks, continued masks and social distancing, and more lowered numbers.  I can’t wait for that time when it's over.

But meanwhile, I highly recommend taking an inventory of what you might need.  You deserve it.

Of course, this week I’m not writing much, as every time I look down at those gorgeous nails, I stop and stare.  And grin.  It feels good.  Sooner or later, I'll get back to the book.  Next month, I might even get a pedicure. What do you think?

I'd love to hear about you!

 ***********

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!

 Stay tuned! My new sweet novella, "Kelly's Kiss" will be arriving soon!

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

 

 

 

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

The Miracle of the COVID-19 Vaccine...by Kristin Wallace



Today, I'm getting my first COVID-19 vaccine shot. Here in the U.S., most states are using the Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The Astra-Zeneca vaccine is awaiting final approval for emergency use. The fact that we have three vaccines that were developed so fast is a modern-day miracle. 

There is a lengthy period of trials and testing here in the U.S., which includes exploratory phases, pre-clinical trials, new drug applications, and 4 phases of vaccine trials. Everything has to be vetted and approved by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It's easy to see how this process can literally take years. 

Look at how long it took to develop other life-saving vaccines:
- Polio - Around 3 years, but that was only after decades of research
- Measles  - Around 2 years
- Mumps - 4 years
- HIV - The first trials for a vaccine began in 1987 (and they're still ongoing)

The fact that it took around 9 months for four vaccines to be developed and approved for emergency use is absolutely amazing. A truly heroic effort by scientists and medical experts that will end up saving millions of lives. I don't know that we would've had this result at any other time in history. 

Hopefully, it will allow us to return to normal life soon.

Have you been vaccinated yet? 


Kristin Wallace is a USA Today Bestselling author of inspirational and sweet contemporary romance filled with Love, Laughter, and a Leap of Faith. She has three best-selling series: Covington Falls Chronicles, Shellwater Key Tales, and Palm Cove Tales. Look for CHRISTMAS CHARADE, a brand-new Covington Falls Chronicles book as part of the Holiday Fake-Out box set. 

Christmas Charade - Covington Falls Chronicles

The story revolves around Magnolia (Maggie) Lewis. She left Covington Falls over a family rift and the desire to follow her dream as an artist and sculptor. Now, she has to return for her cousin's Christmas wedding. She can't go back alone, however, because everyone thinks she has a boyfriend. (It was just a tiny lie.) A non-boyfriend who has no idea he's about to get dragged into her family drama. 

Convincing Liam Sullivan to be her fake date to the wedding is only the first challenge. She needs to make sure she doesn't fall in love with him for real.

   
 

AMAZON  /  ITUNES  /  BARNES & NOBLE   /  KOBO 

(Google Play coming soon!)











Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Shuffle Off to Buffalo

Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park

We are unexpectedly in Buffalo this week helping my younger brother with some things. So I thought I'd blog about Buffalo. As some of you know, I'm originally from Western New York. My first five books (for Avalon Books) are set in small towns there. As for Buffalo (near Niagara Falls), it's the "big" city in Western NY. Some other Buffalo fun facts:

  • The City of Buffalo is about 375 miles or a six-plus hour drive from New York State's more well-known New York City.
  • Buffalo's current population is 256,480 (versus more than 8 million for New York City).
  • Buffalo is known as the City of Good Neighbors
  • It's the home of the Buffalo Bills Football Team
  • The Buffalo-Niagara Falls metropolitan area has the most affordable housing market in the US. 
  • The Rare Books Room at the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library contains thousands of manuscripts and first editions-some dating back to the 15th century-- including the original of Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.”
  • The Buffalo History Museum is the only remaining building from the Pan American Games held in 1901.
  • Two U.S. presidents, Millard Fillmore and Grover Cleveland, were from Buffalo.
  • The city has the Largest Dyngus Day celebration in the US. Dyngus Day is a generally Polish celebration on the Monday after Easter.
  • The British burned down Buffalo in the War of 1812.
  • F.  Scott Fitzgerald spent much of his childhood in Buffalo.
  • Grain Elevators got their start in Buffalo. At one time, Western New York grew most of the grain in the US.
  • The air conditioner was invented in Buffalo.
  • The first cancer research lab came about in Buffalo.
  • Non-dairy creamer, whipped topping, and instant coffee all came from Buffalo.
Is anyone reading from Buffalo? Somewhere else in Western NY? What county? While I was born in Niagara Fall, I mostly grew up in Wyoming County New York. 

While I've set most of my books in the Adirondack Mountains and Western New York, I have a few exceptions. One of those exceptions is the books I've written in the No Brides Club series, although they have Western New York ties. And for a limited time, you can start this fun multi-author series for only 99-cents.

A group of professional women make a pact not to let love get in the way of their careers Could meeting the right man at the wrong time make them break the pact? 

Try Book #1, No Time for Love, for only 99¢ 

Each of my three books is reduced to $3.99. All 18 books in the series can be read FREE in Kindle Unlimited. And look for more this summer.

Many of the titles available in paperback as well as ebooks. Get them all: HERE.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


                        For My New Releases

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                        Sweet Romance Reads Quarterly Newsletter Yet?

                        If not, you can at the top right of the blog page.

                        Spring is here!! Leave a comment to enter drawing for a free book ...Roxanne Rustand

                         


                        Happy Easter--a day late. 

                        We missed being able to actually go to church for Easter--our services are still just online.  And for over a year now, we've missed being able to gather with loved ones over the holidays. 

                        But now a number of us have been vaccinated, so we planned a mostly outdoors event with social distancing--tables set up outside, the guys playing football after our informal brunch, and pony rides for the younger set. Notice the muddy knee incurred during the Easter basket hunt.  :) 

                        I hope it will be easier to gather with family and friends by the Fourth of July!  

                        What did you do over Easter?



                        We had a bitterly cold winter, but by the start of April, the weather turned so warm.  It makes me want to tackle spring cleaning and plant the gardens! 

                         I learned my lesson last year, however. Cold weather returned and killed all of our new strawberry and tomato plants. 😢  

                        Do you plan to have a garden this year? What do you usually plant?  I can't wait for the everbearing strawberries and tomatoes.  Nothing like a sun-warmed fresh tomato in a BLT!  

                        Just in case you have some "downtime" this spring for some reading, my new full-length novel is still on sale for just $.99.

                        It's One More Dance, a clean and wholesome romance, set in a small town in scenic Western Wisconsin. Here's a quick blurb:


                        How badly can a relationship be broken before there's just no chance to save it?

                        Veterinarian Kate Mathers' husband is in a terrible car accident with a pretty stranger who died in his car. Kate is now at his bedside, trying to face his precarious situation and deal with the fact that someone is targeting both her husband and her veterinary practice.  And who was that woman? No one knows. Yet. How could Kate and Jared's perfect marriage have gone so wrong? If only they can have one more chance to talk, and forgive...and to have one more dance in each other's arms...

                        Here is the link to read more about it, or to buy:   CLICK HERE


                        Leave a comment, and you'll be entered in a drawing for a free copy of High Country Homecoming.  Best wishes to you all for a wonderful spring!

                        Roxanne





                        Friday, April 2, 2021

                        Matzo Meal Recipes by @Donna_Fasano

                        After Passover, matzo meal is sold for under a dollar a box, so it’s the perfect way to make meals on a budget. If you're like me (a Christian), you might be asking, "What is matzo meal?" Matzo (also known as matzah or matza) is an unleavened flatbread that is part of Jewish cuisine and forms an integral element of the Passover festival. Matzo meal is made by grinding up this flatbread into meal. It can best be described as cracker crumbs. Matzo meal can be used to replace cracker crumbs or dried bread crumbs in almost any recipe. Here are two of my favorite recipes where I have incorporated matzo meal.

                        Salmon Cakes

                        • 1 6-ounce can skinless, boneless salmon, drained
                        • 3/4 cup matzo meal, divided
                        • 1 large egg
                        • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
                        • 1 tablespoon stone ground mustard
                        • 1 tablespoon onion, finely minced
                        • 2 tablespoons celery, finely minced
                        • Salt, to taste
                        • 1 teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning
                        • 1 tablespoon cooking oil, for frying

                        1.    To a mixing bowl, add the salmon, 1/2 cup of the matzo meal, egg, mayonnaise, mustard, onion, celery, salt, and lemon pepper. Mix to thoroughly combine. Form into 2 patties.

                        2.    Pour the remaining 1/4 cup of matzo meal onto a plate and coat both sides of the salmon cakes.

                        3.    Heat the cooking oil in a small frying pan over medium heat. Add the salmon cakes and cook until heated through and golden, approximately 4 to 5 minutes on both sides.

                        4.    Serve with topping of your choice—tartar sauce, hot sauce, fresh lemon wedge, etc. Makes 2 large cakes. Serves 2.


                        Zucchini Brunch Casserole

                        • 2 medium zucchinis, washed and patted dry
                        • 1/2 cup matzo meal
                        • 1/2 onion, finely minced (about 1/2 cup)
                        • Salt and Pepper to taste
                        • 1 teaspoon mixed herbs
                        • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
                        • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
                        • 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
                        • 2 large eggs
                        • 1/2 cup sour cream

                        1.    Preheat oven to 350° F. Spray an 8-inch square baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.

                        2.    Trim the ends of the zucchinis. Do not peel. Using the large holes on a box grater, grate the zucchinis into a large mixing bowl.

                        3.    Add the matzo meal, onion, salt, pepper, herbs, garlic and onion powders, and cheddar cheese to grated zucchinis. Stir to thoroughly combine.

                        4.    In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs and the sour cream until combined. Pour egg mixture over zucchini mixture and stir until thoroughly combined. Transfer to the prepared baking dish.

                        5.    Bake for approximately 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let sit for 5 minutes. Cut into squares.

                        Notes:

                        When creating this zucchini casserole recipe, I used a sweet onion. You can substitute any onion you have on hand—yellow, red, white, even scallions would work. For the herbs, I used Herbs De Provence because that’s what I had on hand, but you could substitute any herb or herb mix you prefer. Italian Seasoning would work well. 


                        Have you ever cooked with matzo meal? I'd love to hear your experiences. 

                        ~  ~  ~

                        This month, I'm offering A FAMILY FOREVER SERIES, Books 1-3, on sale for just 99¢ in the Kindle Store. I hope you enjoy these sweet romances. The set usually sells for $7.99. Nice savings for the month of April!


                        There are 2 more titles in this series:

                        An Accidental Family, Book 4

                        Nanny and the Professor, Book 5




                        Donna Fasano is a USA Today Bestselling Author of sweet romance, contemporary romance, and women’s fiction. Learn more about her at 
                        her website. Sign up for her newsletter by clicking here.
                        As an Amazon Affiliate, Donna earns a few pennies when you use the links on this page to access the Amazon Store. Thank you.




                        Thursday, April 1, 2021

                        There's Romance in the Badlands by Vickie McDonough



                        Romance is blooming in the North Dakota Badlands.

                        Outlaw Heart
                        Romance in the Badlands Book 2

                        Vickie McDonough

                        Can such a kind-hearted lady really be an outlaw?

                        Deputy Marshal Brett Wickham is ready to retire from law enforcement and settle down on the ranch left to him and his younger brother, Taylor. But when Taylor is killed in a bank robbery, Brett pins his badge back on and goes hunting for the Salinger gang. Then a bear attack leaves him badly wounded and lands him right in the middle of the outlaw’s hideout with his nemesis, Lottie Sallinger, caring for him

                        The woman who tends to Brett’s wounds claims to be Anna McFarland. He’s sure that’s an alias, although she sure seems too sweet and innocent to be an outlaw. But looks can be deceiving. When his heart is drawn to her, Brett fights the attraction. There is no way he can fall for the woman who helped kill his brother. Can he do his job when everything in him wants Lottie to be innocent?

                        Just $2.99 / Free on Kindle Unlimited

                        Available on Amazon 

                        Also in the Romance in the Badlands Series:

                        Wild at Heart - Book 1 - $2.99 on Amazon

                        Straight for the Heart - Book 3 - Coming in May