Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Minimalist Me Part 2, by Magdalena Scott


Photo by Aleksi Tappura on Unsplash

Since I had quite a bit of interest in last month's post about my minimalist home, I thought I would tell you about my office. 

You're assuming one of the things in my office is a desk, right? Gotta be honest here--it's only a desk because that's what I call it, and how I use it. If you saw it in the wild, so to speak, you would think it was a folding table. 

I've had actual desks. But I really love my nice, plain table. 

My big printer sits on one end. On the other end is a filing tray (currently overflowing), and the little alphabetized file box that's supposed to contain some of those papers in the filing tray. There's also a copy stand to the right side of my keyboard and a pretty coaster to the left. I try not to have a lot of clutter on the desk. I find visual clutter quite distracting. (I know, I know, just file the papers already...)

Next to my desk is a little metal cabinet. The top section opens upward and holds envelopes and cards. The six shallow drawers contain all of my office supplies. This piece of history belonged to my parents. My dad kept his Exacto knives and drawing tools in it. My mother's paintbrushes were sometimes in there too. The occasional splotches of paint inside the drawers make me smile.

Also in the office: a vintage office chair, and right next to that, a side chair with a cat bed on it. Of course, Selina wants attention when I'm working. She's quite happy to curl up in the chair next to mine and have a nap. 

A small white bookcase holds writing-related books. (Many of my writing-related books are in ebook format, thus requiring much less space.) A tall cat tree has a view out the window. 

Out of sight in the closet is a two-drawer file cabinet for items I don't often need to access.

And that's it. Simple but functional. Because I find my office peaceful, I'm better able to focus.

Bonus: My desk can serve as a table if I have lots of company for a meal.

What type of office setup works for you?

Monday, July 26, 2021

There's nothing like family by Susan Aylworth!

In 2005, when our two youngest announced wedding plans and we saw the family scattering, my husband observed that soon we'd only see each other at weddings and funerals. We wanted something different.

When I told my son John my thoughts, he said it all sounded good, "but don't call it a family reunion. That sounds like two maiden aunts sitting under a tree, drinking lemonade and gossiping about everybody else. You've got to make it sound exciting, like a rock concert." And Aylpalooza was born. 

We meet biannually in odd-numbered years. Hosting rotates through the family and we've been to some interesting places, including mountain lakes, and seaside vacation homes. This year we went to the heart of the nation. Aylapalooza 9 met in Oklahoma City. 

We visited a pool near a waterfall where the kids all played and spashed each other. We took over a small local theater where we ran an old family favorite and laughed along with familiar lines. Adults and teens went four-wheeling.

To keep the young ones interested, we had one day with a bounce house and a water slide. On another day, two adult granddaughters organized a "Chopped Challenge." Teams of grandchildren, ages six to sixteen, used pre-selected ingredients to prepare the prettiest and tastiest plated food. 

Another day, three sons competed to see who could prepare the tastiest beef brisket. For four precious days, we ate lavishly and shared great fun. Mostly, we had each other.

For Roger and me, one highlight was meeting our first great-grandchild and shooting a four-generation picture. After those four wonderful, action-packed days, we left OKC with souvenir t-shirts, pictures, and beautiful memories, already looking forward to Aylapalooza 10 in 2023. 

Our choice to organize the first Aylapalooza has grown into an event the whole family eagerly anticipates and plans to attend. It costs time, travel, effort, and money--and it's worth every bit.

Susan Aylworth is the author of more than 20 novels. Her newest book is St. Nick Comes to Christmas Town, Book 2 in the Christmas Town series, releasing July 29. Over the Rainbow, a prequel to the Rainbow Rock Romances, is available free for only a short time longer to everyone who subscribes to her newsletter. You can sign up on her website: Contact her on her Facebook author page or via or join her on Twitter @Susan Aylworth. 



Friday, July 23, 2021

Celebrate July 24th ~ Posted for @PatSimmons

 These holidays are celebrated on July 24th:

  • Amelia Earhart Day 
  • Cousins Day 
  • International Self-Care Day 
  • National Day of the Cowboy - July 24, 2021 (Fourth Saturday in July)
  • National Drive-Thru Day 
  • National Drowning Prevention Day - July 24, 2021 (Fourth Saturday in July)
  • National Tequila Day 
  • National Thermal Engineers Day 
  • National Water Gun Fight Day - July 24, 2021
  • Pioneer Day (State Holiday in Utah) 
  • Tell an Old Joke Day

Which holidays will YOU be celebrating?

Knock-knock. Who’s there? Broccoli. Broccoli who? Broccoli doesn’t have a last name, silly!

~  ~  ~

Sweet Romance Reads Author Pat Simmons has a handful of 99 cent ebooks available. Here's one of them:

Candace Clark has a phobia about crossing the street, and for good reason. As fate would have it, her daughter’s principal assigns her to crossing guard duties as part of the school’s Parent Participation program. With no choice in the matter, Candace begrudgingly accepts her stop sign and safety vest, then reports to her designated crosswalk. Once Candace is determined to overcome her fears, God opens the door for a blessing, and Royce Kavanaugh enters into her life, a firefighter built to rescue any damsel in distress. When a spark of attraction ignites, Candace and Royce soon discover there's more than one way to stop traffic.


In the Kindle Store

In the Nook Store

In the Kobo Store

In the iTunes Store

Visit Pat Simmons' Website

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Bargain Sweet Romances #99cents Each

 Grab a Deal!

Dangerous Memories

by Donna Fasano

On sale for 99 cents ~ Romantic Suspense ~ For #Kindle Readers

United States

United Kingdom






~  ~  ~  ~  ~

by Laura Ashwood

An Agent for Clarissa - on sale for $0.99!

For #KindleReaders

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

A Joyful Eve in Christmas Town
Book 1 in the Christmas Town series by Susan Aylworth
99c sale starts July 29.

A new job brings Claire Reiser to Bedford Falls, California, a Sierra resort town that celebrates Christmas all year. She arrives just days before Christmas, expecting to be alone for the holiday. Ben Scarge is also new, whisked in to manage the estate of his late Uncle Simon, a curmudgeonly miser who puts Scrooge to shame. Like Claire, he anticipates a lonely holiday. Then a furry visitor delivers a gift neither Claire nor Ben will ever forget. 

Book 2, St. Nick Comes to Christmas Town, releases the same day, July 29. Welcome to Christmas Town!

For #KindleReaders

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Getting Away by Janice Lynn

 I recently had the opportunity to go to Fripp Island, South Carolina, with a friend. Prior to her asking me to go with her for a 'writers retreat', I'd never heard of Fripp Island. It was a peaceful, beautiful getaway and we got lots of plotting, writing, and goal-setting done.

Things I liked about Fripp: Being with my friend who I hadn't seen in a few years. Catching up with a friend just felt fabulous. 

Kayaking out to Prichard's Island and looking at an abandoned research facility. We saw dolphin while kayaking, and well, when are phin just not the coolest??? No pics as we were crossing between islands and it was my first time being out in the ocean currents in a kayak. I never took my phone out. :)

The sunsets were gorgeous. It wasn't a busy, crowded, party beach, but more of a family-oriented one. 

We went to Lady's Island and ate dinner one evening. The sunset was gorgeous at the marina as well.

The food on the island and surrounding islands was fabulous. This is pan-seared salmon & scallops, fresh vegetables, and grits. 

The artwork at the house and local shops was very cool. This is made from driftwood picked up from around the islands. 

The deer. We saw deer every day and lots of them. 

I loved being introduced to someplace new. What about you? Have you come across any out of the way vacation/getaway spots? What were your favorite things about them?

Wrapped Up in Christmas Hope coming October 26, 2021 from Hallmark Publishing

USA Today, Wall Street Journal, & Publishers Weekly 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.   WRAPPED UP IN CHRISTMAS & WRAPPED UP IN CHRISTMAS JOY are available at AMAZON Barnes & Noble WALMART

Monday, July 19, 2021

Happy Blogversary by Merri Maywether

Happy Blogversary!

A year ago today, I wrote my first blog for Sweet Romance Reads. The theme was “Today could be the start of something wonderful.” 

It came true. 

The timing of the new friendships was perfect. Being alone in the summer of 2020 wasn’t so lonely. I had friends, and as my friend Annette likes to say, “Internet friends are real.” 

In the past year, we’ve shared recipes, family stories, celebrated holidays and applauded each other’s successes. There were a couple of funny memes thrown in the mix, too. 

Life had gone above and beyond wonderful, but there was more. 

This summer, I could travel and spend time at our Arizona home with the youngest son. We worked on home projects, discussed the meaning of life, and had mom and Charlie time. 

Charlie and I also had a poignant moment.

 When he was a sweet kindergarten student, I sat at the kitchen table while he did his homework. Charlie was a bright kid. He learned how to read when he was four. So, he could do his homework. He just didn’t like being alone. So, I sat with him for the ten to fifteen minutes of time it took for him to get it done. 

Well, twenty-five years later he reciprocated the love.

I was burned out from being alone on the farm for two years. When I was in Arizona and around people, I was overstimulated. In Montana, I cook all the time. In Arizona, the possibilities for takeout are endless. We could have Chinese food, or pizza, or tacos, or….. It was like that for everything. We could go on a hike, or go to the park, or play with the cats. 

My mind got caught in a loop of what I could have, and writing was close to impossible.

I just couldn’t sit still long enough to get anything done. What did Charlie do? He cleared a space at his desk and, like magic, my writer’s voice kicked in. 

On this blogversary, I look at the past year and marvel. 2020 was the beginning of a beautiful juxtaposition in my life. The child I used to motivate now encourages me to fulfill my purpose. In the midst of a great separation from the rest of the world, I found friends who share my love of sweet stories. 

I’ll close here, wishing you a happy blogversary, but not without a question. Please share something wonderful that has happened to you since last summer. 

☀️ ☀️ ☀️

When Lacey reached for a piece of cake, she accidentally picked up the hand of Mr. Golden Eyes, Colton Hughes. He captured her heart and disappeared into the crowd of people leaving her to think it was a momentary crush. The next time they met she ended up on her back under a shower of fruit. And thus began her introduction to life in small-town Montana.

From one misunderstanding to the next she wonders if perhaps life would be easier if she moved to Arizona with her parents. Who cares that the state is so hot people can fry an egg on the ground.

Colton sets out to prove that not only does she fit in perfectly in the small community, but Lacey also belongs by his side.

In this quick read, Lacey will learn that love and laughter are only one step behind the obstacles, and if she will let him, Colton is more than happy to catch her every time

Visit your favorite online retailer to get your copy of Piece of Cake

☀️ ☀️ ☀️

Merri Maywether lives with her husband in rural Montana. You can find her in the town's only coffee house listening to three generations of Montanans share their stories. Otherwise, she's in the classroom or the school library, inspiring the next generation's writers.

Sunday, July 18, 2021

New Releases by Our Authors


St. Nick Comes to Christmas Town
Book 2 in the Christmas Town series
Susan Aylworth

Kiley Ross postponed her dream of a university degree for many years, but she’s ready to tackle it now, including the news writing lab class taught by grad student Nick Santino. Nick’s class challenges Kiley in every way. Trouble is, Kiley can’t seem to stop thinking about her movie star look-alike teacher.

Nick Santino knows better than to become involved with a student, especially in his first class as a teaching assistant, but he can't help his attraction to Kiley; she captured his attention on Day One. Kiley and Nick are coping with the rules and getting through the term. When circumstances throw them for a loop, how will they deal with the fallout?

Dogged by Death
Laura Scott

In Laura Scott's Furry Friends series debut, veterinarian Ally Winter must collar the killer of a shifty lawyer. Does the dead man's dog know who committed the arf-ul crime?

Purchase here: Amazon B&N Apple Kobo Audible

Tracking Stolen Secrets
Laura Scott

With her K-9 partner’s help, can they protect her infant niece?

Positive her sister isn’t involved in a theft ring as the police believe, State Trooper Helena Maddox and her K-9 partner must find her twin before local cop Everett Brand does. But when the niece Helena didn’t know existed is left on Everett’s doorstep, they all become targets. Now, working with Everett is Helena’s only option to keep the baby safe and prove her sister’s innocence…

Purchase here: Amazon B&N Apple GooglePlay Kobo

Friday, July 16, 2021

Free Book and a Virtual Book Fair Invitation!

Lyn Cote here~ First time ever free 
July 16-20th

Identical twin brothers-stained by an unjust scandal and separated by miles of wilderness~ 

Outcast from New Orleans, Johnny McKuen has taken refuge in Mexican Texas. Out of the blue, a friend, nearly a brother, arrives with Johnny’s neighbor, mortally wounded.

The new widow Angel slumps against the bed, her head on her husband’s hand as he breathes his last. How is she to care for her children with the birth of another child imminent? 

And who shot her husband?


Holding down the fort at the family plantation, Callum McKuen feels abandoned and rejected by New Orleans society. In the French Quarter, Callum meets Minette, who hides her beauty beneath layers of clothing. Why isn’t she showing off her beauty to find a husband? But Minette also lives under a cloud of unjust scandal. 

Who killed Angel’s husband and why? And how can Callum protect Minette if she won’t trust him? A compelling parallel story you don’t want to miss!

Click here for more info.

In the mood for a bit of Christmas in July?

                    A Very Merry Christmas In July - 

        Free or .99¢ Christmas Novels 

                            Book Fair!

Just click this link and view 40 different sweet books for you to choose from! 
Happy Summer--Lyn Cote


My Big Life Change by Kimberly Rose Johnson

 My husband and I recently made a big life change. Really it was me who needed to make a change with the food I was eating due to my high pain level, but he's so sweet, he's eating just like me. It makes it so much easier to make this kind of life-altering change to have this kind of support! I never in my life thought I'd go vegan, but I was desperate for pain relief and guess what? It worked!

My pain level was so bad at Christmas I literally couldn't hold onto a card, as in a card from a card game. The pain wasn't limited to my hands either. I had to do something, and living on Ibuprofen was not how I wanted to live my life. I talked to my doctor and he said there was nothing he could do. I have osteoarthritis in my hands, feet, one knee, shoulders, and back. Since he couldn't help I started searching researching online.

I discovered that inflammation was the key to my pain and that my diet was more than likely triggering my pain. I already can't have gluten because I am gluten intolerant but that wasn't helping my arthritis. Going vegan solved my pain issue. We took it a step further and cut out added sugar, oil, and salt. Iforgot to mention that my blood pressure was often high. It's not high anymore! For the first time in years, it was not only normal but good when I went to my last doctor's appointment.

It's more work to eat vegan than I expected since we are so strict and don't eat processed foods for the most part. Yes, this means we make most things from scratch, but the difference it's made in both of our lives is worth the sacrifice of time. My husband has lost 35-40 pounds, and I've lost 31 pounds. Id' like to note that this was a side effect of eating better and not the purpose of changing our diet, but we are very pleased.

Below is an almost vegan pancake recipe I created. It's almost vegan because I added about a teaspoon of honey. Anything from an animal isn't considered vegan so if you want it to be vegan just leave out the honey. I make an exception for honey and eat it sparingly. 

                                    Almost Vegan Pancakes

1 Cup Almond Flour
1/2 Cup Buckwheat Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 Tablespoon Flax meal combined with 3 Tablespoons of water (set aside)
1 Cup of Oat Milk or your favorite no sugar added plant milk
1 teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar (I use Bragg Organic Apple Cider Vinegar)
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
Drizzle of honey (about a teaspoon)

Mix the flax meal and water in a small bowl and set aside. This is the egg replacement.
Mix all the remaining ingredients then add the flax meal mixture

Cook your pancakes as you would normally. Note: if the batter is too thick add more milk.

I hope you enjoy this recipe. It's a favorite of ours and so simple! 

If you're curious about my research I pretty much follow the principles laid out in the book How Not To Die by Michael Greger, MD.

Do you enjoy reading romantic suspense? Check out my newest series Protection Inc. on Amazon.

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, 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.
You can sign up fo Kimberly's newsletter via her website.

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Celebrate Christmas in July with 99¢ eBooks!

 Download Today!

Three Sweet Romances ~ 99¢ Each! ~ Save $7 Off The Regular Price

Her Mr. Miracle

An Almost Perfect Christmas

Grown-Up Christmas List

~  ~  ~

Save $3 on These Two Heartwarming Holiday Stories

Sweet Tidings

Caro's Gift

~  ~  ~

Have you read my Crystal Lake Series? Christmas Reunion is only $0.99

Sarah Franklin is desperate to get her son safely to Crystal Lake, but driving off the road in a blizzard wasn't part of the plan. When a deputy comes to her rescue, she's stunned to recognize her summer crush, Ian Kramer.
Ian Kramer doesn't understand why Sarah has come back ten years after the best summer of his life, especially in the middle of a snow storm two days before Christmas. When he discovers she's on the run from her ex-husband, Ian vows to keep Sarah and her son, safe.

Amazon B&N Apple GooglePlay Kobo 

Monday, July 12, 2021

Cupcakes and Snowflakes by Cindy Flores Martinez


Are you craving something sweet? My Christmas story, Mia’s Gift, is a sweet read that’s set in a cupcake shop in the fictional town of Snowflake, Colorado. It’s Book 1 in the Small-Town Christmas Wishes series and it’s the perfect way to celebrate Christmas in July.


Here’s more info on this Inspirational Romance:


Mia Rosa is thinking of leaving Snowflake, Colorado for good. Her cupcake shop on Main Street isn’t doing well, and seeing her ex-fiancé around town is awkward. When she receives a letter from her old high school friend, Charity Hart, asking her to be a secret angel, she’s convinced that she can’t go through with it. But Mia soon learns that handsome Jesse Quinn and his fifteen-year-old niece, Kristi, are in desperate need of a miracle. The group home where Kristi lives is shutting down, and no other foster homes are available in Snowflake. Will Mia be able to secretly grant Jesse and Kristi’s wish for Kristi to stay in the town she calls home?


It’s FREE on Kindle Unlimited.




Cindy Flores Martinez is a USA Today bestselling author who writes sweet and Christian Romance. She has an MFA in Creative Writing with an emphasis in Screenwriting. Her debut novel, Mail-Order Groom, started as a screenplay and movie project, which she shopped around Hollywood, New York, and other parts of the world. You can learn more about her at



Sunday, July 11, 2021

It's Picnic Season by Josie Riviera

 It's picnic season!  The time to gather outdoors with family and friends. The laughter. The games. And the delicious picnic food.

My husband and I recently hosted a 4th of July picnic for our family. When it came time to prepare the menu, I was asked to supply everyone's favorite side dish, Grandma Brown's baked beans.

The beans aren't a family recipe, and my last name isn't Brown. But the beans are a must-have side dish, just the same.

From my exhaustive searches, I found that the beans are only sold in upstate New York, although they are sold on Amazon.

I add dark brown sugar and bacon, and then bake for 30 minutes. Easy and delicious! The smell as they cook is amazing, and they taste wonderful.

Are you known for a favorite signature dish you're always asked to bring to gatherings? 
Please leave your comments (and recipes), below.

Love celebrating Christmas in July? Be sure to pick up your copy today of A Portuguese Christmas, which is on the final hours of a Kindle Countdown sale. (U.S. residents only.)
Only 99¢!

Available in ebook, paperback, large print paperback, audiobook, and hardcover.

Love can come softly, like holiday snow. Or sweep you away like a riptide.

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.

Friday, July 9, 2021


My book Precarious Summer is on sale for 99 cents, FIRST TIME IN A YEAR! So don't procrastinate!

The scoop

The tourist season is the life-blood of little Winfield—nothing must make tourists stay away.

Summer tourists flock to the southern shore of Lake Superior’s beautiful clean blue waters. Audra, a young single mom, opens a coffee shop-bakery. Her future and her little girl’s hinges on its success. 

But Memorial Day, the first weekend of the all important summer tourist season, begins with an unwelcome bang. A trip wire detonates a fire. More booby-traps explode, destroying and frightening. These push the new sheriff to question whether he is up to this challenge. Especially when the fires target people closest to Audra, a woman he thinks is amazing. 

The incidents pull them together and he can’t help being drawn to Audra. Can Audra and the sheriff break free of the past and have a future together? And will he crack the case before someone, maybe Audra or her little girl, is severely injured or…dies? Why not download this fast-paced romantic mystery today? Book one in a compelling series by a USA Today Bestselling Author!

For more info, click here.

Inclusion.... by Christine Bush

Inclusion.  It’s a beautiful word.

In our world in recent days, it’s been eye opening to evaluate our acceptance and understanding of the many types of people, and the variety of circumstances that exist in our society.  People have been excluded, even unintentionally.  

In “romance world” this has been true in the past.  But we have grown.  And are growing more.

There have been a few publishers who have been aware of our need for variety and inclusion for a while. But I think our Indy writers have paved the path for the rapid expansion of inclusion in our published books, writers able to present topics and characters in the “book of their hearts”.  And when they succeeded, many other publishers followed.

Today our heroes and heroines reflect many different ages,  lifestyles, and careers.  I’ve written several “second chance at love” stories with mature heroines.  While traditional female careers, like nursing and teaching appear in our stories, our heroines today are also scientists, doctors, engineers and pilots.

Our characters represent a wide variety of race, ethnic origin, cultures, religions, and gender identity.  Levels of sexuality range from sweet to “hot”. This is who we are! There is something for everyone.  I love this.

Our romance community can be a “beacon for the world”, because LOVE is inclusive.  I am enjoying reading so many authors who are expanding my mind and understanding. It makes the world a richer place.

My new novella is about another form of acceptance and inclusion.  In “Kelly’s Kiss”, my hero is a war veteran, adapting and adjusting to his new life with a prosthetic foot.  My heroine is a cancer survivor.  Both, though for different reasons, have assumed that their chance for real, romantic love has passed them by because of their physical challenges. How much in life might they have missed if they didn’t find the courage to dare to try? I hope you love Kelly and Mike’s story in “Kelly’s Kiss.”

Kelly's Kiss: A sweet romance novella - Kindle edition by Bush, Christine. Romance Kindle eBooks @       click here! Print and eBook available!

Like so many things I’ve seen in life in the last few years, we, like my characters, may have embraced beliefs and opinions that are simply not true.  We’ve made assumptions, colored by our own limited experiences.  We grow every time we open our minds and dare to love and include.  Everybody. In our books, and in life in general.

I love this idea.  I’d love to hear what you think!

 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!