Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Lyn Cote Invites you to the Annual Christmas Scavenger Hunt!


scavenger hunt books2Another fun scavenger hunt

and lots of new Christmas books to investigate.

Merry Christmas! Welcome to the Christmas Christian Fiction Scavenger Hunt! START MONDAY DEC 5TH~

Here’s how it works: At each author’s blog post, you will find a question that can be answered by checking out the free Amazon preview of their book. Provide the answer at this form.

Note: You must answer the questions for every author in the round -robin to be considered

to win the $200 first place,

$100 second place

or $75 third place Amazon gift cards.These prizes are USD values.

If you are not a U.S. resident, you will get a gift card from the Amazon store for your country; however, it will be valued at these USD amounts.) At the end of my post is a link to the next blog, who will provide a link to the next blog, etc., to the very end, creating a circle (a round-robin) visit through all of the authors’ blogs. I think that sounds like FUN! And I think the generous prizes are worth trying for! Now here's the scoop about my Christmas story Mavis's Forever Christmas. Mavis's Forever Christmas Is falling in love only for the young?  Never married, Mavis, a retired college librarian, has made a new life for herself near her “adopted” niece Ellie. Over a year ago, John lost his wife, who was Mavis's best friend for nearly forty years. He has spent the intervening time traveling with his trailer. When Ellie faces complications of a difficult pregnancy, John and Mavis pull together to help her and her family. But new feelings and attraction come unexpectedly, surprising them both. Is falling in love a betrayal of a wife or best friend?  I had a lot of fun writing this book with a stray dog and puppies and a family pulling together in a stressful time. Aren't those the times that pull us together as much as the happy times? The question you need to discover by going to Amazon and clicking this link to my book. There just above the cover, it wil say LOOK INSIDE. Click those words and the book will open. (This doesn't cost anything) Begin reading until you find out: WHO IS KERRY ANN? That's the answer you need to find. (See below for Look Inside.) When you have the answer, FILL OUT THIS FORM and head on to the next blog! Thank you so much for visiting! The next author on the tour is my friend Winnie Griggs, who is telling us all about her Christmas book His Christmas Matchmaker. You can find it at this link. Remember that the round-robin will end on December 11th at 11:59 PM EST! I hope you have fun with this and win!--Lyn    

Free Christmas Book!

My novella, Beloved Enemy, is currently free. Grab a copy quickly before it reverts to the regular price of $2.99.



As a Union sniper, killing has become easy for Captain Christmas “Chris” Haley. After four long years of fighting against his own countrymen, the once naΓ―ve farm boy is now a war-hardened soldier whose faith in God is shaken. Chris is ready to set aside his rifle and return to his Kansas farm, but will his family accept the man he’s become—angry and unsure if he still believes in God?

Chris is glad to be home, but he's struggling with all that he saw and did during the war. His mother's pretty caregiver catches his eye and begins to give him a reason to go on each day. In spite of his bitterness, his heart is softening, but what happens when he learns the secret Hannah is keeping?

Click here to get your free copy.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 5, 2022

CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS and CHRISTMAS SWEET ROMANCE BARGAINS

CLICK HERE to buy before the price goes up!


Happy holidays!

The season brings back childhood memories of always-snowy winters in Minnesota--of sledding and skating and thinking that Christmas would never come.  The time between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve seemed like an eternity.

As an adult with children, and now grandchildren, the time between the holidays seems to pass at the speed of light as I try to prepare the house, bake, shop, and wrap. 

All of that isn't the true reason for the season, of course. 

But I still want to build happy Christmas memories of festive gatherings and holiday meals, just as my own parents did.  My mom always made a traditional Swedish Christmas Eve supper, but I've had to evolve just a bit for the younger generations. ☺ 

And we've changed in another way. Now, everyone votes on the type of ethnic dinner we'll have for Christmas Day dinner.  So far we've done Asian, Mexican, and Italian.  What are some of your own family traditions?

Leave a comment, and you'll be entered in a drawing for  Irish Christmas Blessing, one of the titles in my Coupled by Christmas series!

During the flurry of food shopping and food prep, have you ever discovered that you are out of an ingredient you need?  Read to the end for links to some great ingredient substitutes lists that might come in handy!  

Do you enjoy reading sweet holiday romance--with puppies?  A group of our Sweet Romance Reads authors have been publishing Puppies for Christmas titles this fall. Here are the final four titles for you to enjoy...and they are all just $.99 until the end of December!


Susan Aylworth

Mischief and Mistletoe in Christmas Town
11/15
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BG8ND2FP

Lyn Cote
Mavis's Forever Christmas
11/22
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0B9K9Z2TK/

Roxanne Rustand
The Last Christmas Puppy
11/29
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BFPQ679F/

Kimberly Rose Johnson
Found: An Almost Perfect Christmas
12/6
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0B9284BWB/



Also, here are some links to great substitute lists that might come in handy during your holiday meal preparations! 
 

https://www.bhg.com/recipes/how-to/bake/ingredient-substitutions/ 


https://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/cooking-tips-techniques/baking/baking-substitutions-chart


https://images.meredith.com/content/dam/bhg/PDFs/secure/foodpdfs/BHGEmergencyIngredientSubstitutionsPDF.pdf


Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas!

Roxanne Rustand
USA Today Bestselling author

Saturday, December 3, 2022

Caramel Stuffed Double Chocolate Cookies

I made these cookies for Thanksgiving and they were a bit hit. They have a rich, chocolatey flavor, and the caramel adds a sweet and chewy element. I hope you'll try them!



Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 cups dark chocolate chips, or semi-sweet
  • 30 soft caramel candies, unwrapped (I used Werther's Soft Caramels)

 Directions:

1.    Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat baking mat and set aside.

2.    In bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, whip the butter until smooth and creamy, about a minute or so. Add the brown sugar and the granulated sugar. Continue beating on medium speed for 2 more minutes, until light and fluffy, scraping sides of bowl as necessary.

3.    Add eggs, one at a time. Then add the vanilla, baking soda, and salt. Mix until smooth, scraping sides of bowl to fully incorporate ingredients. 

4.    In a separate bowl, measure out the flour, sift in the cocoa, and stir to combine. Turn mixer to low and add the flour/cocoa mixture to the wet ingredients a little at a time, mixing until just until the dough comes together.

5.    Remove the mixing paddle and stir in chocolate chips with a large spoon.

6.    Flatten caramels using fingers or a rolling pin.

7.    Scoop dough using a medium (2 tablespoon) cookie scoop and form a well in the middle of each cookie. Press a caramel into the indention and seal dough around caramel, making sure no caramel is exposed. Place cookie dough onto prepared baking sheet.

8.    Bake for 9-11 minutes until edges are set. Do not overbake. Allow cookies to cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. 


If you love holiday romances, I have several to offer. 


About the author:


 

Donna Fasano is a USA Today Bestselling Author of over 40 sweet romance, contemporary romance, and women’s fiction novels. Follow her on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest



Friday, December 2, 2022

New Releases


Hi there! It’s Camy Tang, who also writes as Camille Elliot. The latest volume in my Christian Regency epic serial novel is released!


Here’s the back cover description of Lady Wynwood’s Spies, volume 4: Betrayer:

A Christian Historical Adventure set in Regency England with romance and a supernatural twist
Part four in an epic-length serial novel

Beleaguered spies

Lady Wynwood’s team of spies are trying to heal from the physical and mental wounds recently dealt to them. However, their investigation into Apothecary Jack’s mysterious group has turned up only a few strange, disjointed clues, and the dangerous Root elixir continues to circulate in the London underbelly. It is only a matter of time before the Root is sold to Napoleon, which would give him overwhelming dominance in the war.

Sudden threats

Then Laura, Lady Wynwood, is unexpectedly attacked by a man she had trusted. Although Phoebe and her household staff manage to protect her, her life is now in danger and she must go into hiding.

Dangerous mysteries

Laura uncovers more secrets kept by her late husband that shed illumination on his enigmatic mistress, Bianca. In the meantime, the team follows the trail of Laura’s attacker, which might enable them to capture Apothecary Jack or his compatriot, the pale-eyed man.

All the while, they are unaware that the hunters have become the hunted.

PLEASE NOTE: Like the novels published in Jane Austen’s time, this is a novel in multiple parts. Each volume has a completed story arc, but this is NOT a stand-alone novel and ends on a cliffhanger.

If you’d like to know when book 5 is going to be released, please join my Camille Elliot newsletter. After a few welcome emails, I only send 1 newsletter a month with a new release, a sale, or a freebie.

Thursday, December 1, 2022

When Characters Don’t Do What the Author Planned by Lyn Cote




What’s the author to do? To think? Well, usually I smile because that means that my characters have become REAL. Once a reader said to me, “You act like these characters are real.” And I said, “Within the pages of the book, they are!”


If my characters do not behave like real people with minds of their own, I haven’t done my work right. And readers will shut the book sooner than later. ‘-( I think it has to do with the working of my conscious and my unconscious mind not communicating till I’m actually writing!


Early in my writing career, I began a scene where are my heroine was to drive into town to visit her grandmother's grave at the cemetery. Imagine my surprise when she started driving toward the local nursing home to visit grandma.We wrestled with the steering wheel for a few moments and then I gave in. And she was right; grandma needed to be alive. She was a major mover in the story. But who knew? My heroine did. 


For my latest story, Mavis’s Forever Christmas,I had provided a future hero for Mavis at the end of the previous book, Ellie’s Forever Family. But when I began to work on the new manuscript, Mavis rejected him. And insisted that she had someone different in mind. I was flummoxed. But I had learned by then just to give in to my character. 


Mavis’s Forever Christmas is part of a group series called
“Puppies for Christmas” novellas. Nine sweet romance authors wrote Christmas Novellas with puppies in them and we have released one a week from October 13 through the first week of December. ( The stories are not connected —but each has a holiday romance and one puppy or more.) My book Mavis’s Forever Christmas comes out the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, the 22nd. Here is the scoop.


Is falling in love only for the young? 


Never married, Mavis, a retired college librarian, has made a new life for herself near her “adopted” niece Ellie. Over a year ago, John lost his wife, who was Mavis's best friend for nearly forty years. He has spent the months traveling with his trailer, trying to figure out this new life. But when his only daughter Ellie faces complications with a difficult pregnancy, he’s pulled back to her hometown. 


Helping Ellie brings Mavis and John close once again, and new feelings and attractions spark. Maybe falling in love isn’t just for the young, but is it right? Or is it a betrayal of his late wife and her best friend? By a Carol Award-winning author, this emotional, small town, family drama will touch your heart. And an adventurous little puppy will make you smile. Here’s the link to click Only 99 cents.





And I hope you’ll take a look at all these wonderful holiday canine stories! Click here for Ellie and here for all the puppies! MERRY CHRISTMAS!—Lyn Cote



Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Last chance for Laura Scott's Free book! #laurascottbooks

 

 Thanksgiving is over (I'm still stuffed, lol) and we are now looking forward and preparing for Christmas. This is such a busy time of year for parents and grandparents so I know reading time is at a minimum but this is the last chance to get my book Sealed with Courage for free.

Download it and read it later, maybe on the one day when you have all your wrapping and gift buying and cookie baking finished. Or after the holidays, too. Ebooks can sit on your device without being read immediately, despite my urge to always read my new books!

I was inspired to write this retired Navy SEAL K-9 series because of a friend of mine who was injured overseas. Giving up your identity as a SEAL is not easy and dealing with the aftermath of an injury is even harder. But I wanted to write about this particular team who rallied together after they came home, and end up finding the love they were missing in their lives.

Yes, the holiday madness is here, but let's remember that God is always watching over us. And maybe, just maybe we deserve a few hours alone. To meditate, nap, relax, do yoga, or read.

What is your favorite way to relax? Drop me a note to let me know.

Sealed with Courage by Laura Scott FREE


Will they find the kidnapped boy in time?

Sign language teacher Aubrey Clark feels responsible when ten-year-old Lucas goes missing. She’s determined to find her deaf student and knows more than she should from reading the lips of the man involved in the boy’s disappearance. Now she’s in the killer’s crosshairs too. Aubrey has little choice but to accept Navy SEAL Mason Gray’s protection, grateful for his help in searching for Lucas.

Mason’s last op as a Navy SEAL had gone sideways, leaving him deaf in one ear and hard of hearing in the other. But he’s not going to let his handicap prevent him and his K9 scent tracker, Bravo, from rescuing a deaf child. Mason has never balked at putting his life on the line for his country or to ensure the safety of women and children. But risking his heart? That wasn’t supposed to be part of the plan . . .

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Thanks for the "Little" Things, by Susan Aylworth

As this post appears, I will be far from home visiting with a son and his family. I'm grateful for easy air travel that makes this trip possible. We in the U.S. have just celebrated Thanksgiving and the opportunity to consider our blessings. We all think of those for which we are most thankful such as our beautiful families, good friends, and loaded tables. 

A friend recently reminded me of the many small things I daily take for granted. When I have lived without them, I have remembered how important they are. Here are just a few.


I'm grateful for hot and cold running water, light at the flip of a switch, and window screens that allow me to have natural light without fighting flies and mosquitoes.


I'm grateful for days when the sun shines brightly and cloudy days when we expect rain. In drought-plagued California, I'm especially and deeply grateful for rain, whenever and however it comes.

I'm grateful for headlights on cars so we can drive at night, and I'm deeply grateful for tail lights on everyone else's cars so I can see them and not have a meeting of the minds in the middle of a dark city street.

I'm especially grateful for tail lights on large trucks. By following them at a safe distance, I can drive securely on a dark night when our valley is thick with fog.

Modern HVAC systems are a blessing we often neglect to consider. I hate to think of how my recent ancestors managed in below-zero temperatures in the Rockies without central heat. My grandparents lived in the sweltering central Arizona desert (sometimes in the low 120s!) without air conditioning. In their earliest days, they managed without evaporative coolers or fans. In contrast, I can set the temperature in my hallway thermostat and stay comfortable. I appreciate it!


I appreciate the glasses that allowed me to see for many years, the intraocular lens implants that are helping me see now, and the sunglasses that keep the light from blinding me when I'm outside on a bright day. 

I'm thankful for a supermarket nearby so I don't have to grow all my own food, for people who grow the food I eat, and for safe agricultural practices that help me trust the food I buy. 

At this season and in this year, I'm glad to be part of the "Puppies for Christmas" series produced by the authors of Sweet Romance Reads. If you haven't purchased your puppies books, this is a good time to do so. <wink, wink>

In fact, the more I consider, the more blessings I remember. I'm thankful for all the big things, but I'm also deeply grateful for those "little" blessings that make my comfortable life possible. Today I'm thankful for you, my friends, for all of you who read and live and love. May this coming year be your very best ever.

Susan Aylworth is the author of 23 published novels including four books in the Christmas Town series. Watch for Book 5 coming in time for Valentine's Day. Susan lives in northern California with Roger, her writer husband of 52 years. Contact her at her website: susanaylworthauthor.com, @SusanAylworth, or via susan.aylworth.author@gmail.com. Susan loves travel, music, her large and scattered family, and perfect raspberry jam. She also loves to hear from readers, especially if you'd like to have your name as a character in a future book. (Beware: You may be the plucky sidekick or jealous rival!)







Friday, November 25, 2022

 

November New Releases



MAVIS'S FOREVER CHRISTMAS
Lyn Cote

Is falling in love only for the young?

Never married, Mavis, a retired college librarian, has made a new life for herself near her “adopted” niece Ellie. Over a year ago, John lost his wife, who was Mavis's best friend for nearly forty years. He has spent months traveling with his trailer, trying to figure out this new life. But when his only daughter Ellie faces complications with a difficult pregnancy, he’s pulled back to her hometown.

Helping Ellie brings Mavis and John close once again, and new feelings and attractions spark. Maybe falling in love isn’t just for the young, but is it right? Or is it a betrayal of his wife or her best friend? By a Carol Award-winning author, this emotional, small-town, family drama will touch your heart. And an adventurous little puppy will make you smile.



DAY NOT PROMISED
Pat Simmons

Pat Simmons introduces a new Christian fiction series that reminds readers that the bad guys don't always win, especially when the Lord fights our battles.

Omega Addams thought it was a typical work day until a detour on the way home changes everything. She's almost killed, but an innocent bystander, Mitchell Franklin, takes a bullet for Omega during a gas station robbery.

In the aftermath, Omega has no idea that God expects her to “pray it forward” until a spiritual battle unfolds before her eyes. Another innocent bystander is in trouble; unless Omega gets her prayer life together, others will die without Christ. It's a chain reaction that highlights the responsibility of a Christian--hot, cold, or lukewarm. It’s time to get our acts together. We are our brother’s keeper.



COLLATERAL DANGER
Roxanne Rustand

Josh Bryant is back in Wolf Creek. And now, mountain guide Tessa McAllister has more to fear than drought, wildfires, and underhanded rivals.

Years ago, the handsome photojournalist had broken her heart, leaving her with a secret to harbor alone. Now he is back in town. Distracting her. Making her remember their past.

But someone is watching them. Waiting. Someone dead-set on destroying any chance for second chances. And perhaps, planning to do far worse.

Immerse yourself in another suspense-filled inspirational romance by USA Bestselling Roxanne Rustand, author of forty novels.

Download today, and stay up all night!




PUPPY LOVE AND CHRISTMAS COOKIES
Merrillee Whren

When Lesley Ackerman meets Alex Randall, she’s smarting from the recent breakup with her long-time boyfriend. She isn’t interested in a rebound romance, but his sweet kids steal her heart.

Alex Randall has moved to Hallburg to take a position as the high school basketball coach, and he hopes moving to a new town will help him get over his wife’s death. He’s not interested in the standoffish young woman their mutual friends keep pushing at him. But he’s desperate to find someone to watch his kids while he’s away at a basketball tournament. She fits the bill, but she comes with a 
confession that shakes both of them.

Can Christmas cookies, a cute puppy, and two matchmaking children 
help Lesley and Alex overcome hurts from the past and find love?

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0B8WZZ3K5//
 
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/puppy-love-and-christmas-cookies-merrillee-whren/1141976446?ean=2940186736035
 
https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/puppy-love-and-christmas-cookies
 
https://books.apple.com/us/book/puppy-love-and-christmas-cookies/id6443262695
 
https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Merrillee_Whren_Puppy_Love_and_Christmas_Cookies?id=c_uVEAAAQBAJ&gl=US



SEALED WITH A CHRISTMAS PROMISE
Laura Scott

A promise to protect . . .

After months of searching, former SEAL turned cop Bryce Flynn and his K9, Kirby, has finally found Callie Burgess. He needs to question her about her former boyfriend, a member of the Desert Death Rays motorcycle gang, who was recently murdered. But when shots are fired through the window of the diner where she’s working, he realizes she’s in danger too.

After being betrayed by a police officer in the past, Callie doesn’t trust cops. But when a gunman comes after her, she has little choice but to accept Bryce’s promise to protect her. Her life is in shambles—no money, no job, no place to live. The only redeeming factors are the stray puppy she’s found and Bryce himself.

As the Christmas holiday approaches, will Bryce keep Callie safe and convince her to give love a chance?

 





A Very Christian Christmas
Josie Riviera

This collection includes the following 3 inspirational books:

A CHRISTMAS TO CHERISH
There’s nothing a Christmas kiss won’t cure. Except perhaps a shattered heart…

A CHRISTMAS PUPPY TO CHERISH
You don’t need ears to hear God’s plan. All you need is an open heart…

Holly’s Gift
Miracles don’t always come easy. Sometimes it takes a secret wish to light an angel’s way.


Thursday, November 24, 2022

It's THANKS-giving by Pat Simmons

 Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!  When I was a little girl, this holiday meant eating, eating, and some more eating.

When I married, the tradition included parades.

And abbreviated church services. I miss those the most now. We will have a virtual service instead of an in-person experience. Covid is still an issue. There is something special about kicking off the holiday to the sound of the choir singing, listening to people testify about what the Lord had done for them to make them thankful, and seeing the college graduate return home for the holidays to visit family and friends.

This year, my husband and I are away from home visiting our daughter. We will share Thanksgiving dinner at a friend's home who relocated to Houston from St. Louis.

As I get older, I've come to appreciate the memories we share with friends and loved ones on the holidays. There is no guarantee whoever is with us this Thanksgiving 2022 will be with us Thanksgiving 2023, so please make your holiday special.

After Thanksgiving, it's Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, and Gift-giving Tuesday! The authors at Sweet Romance Reads have all the bases covered to inspire you with romance, mystery, and comedy. Don't forget to check out our Puppies for Christmas collection and be blessed.

--------------------------

For Thanksgiving

Pat Simmons introduces a new Christian fiction series that reminds readers that the bad guys don't always win, especially when the Lord fights our battles.
Omega Addams thought it was a typical workday until a detour on the way home changes everything. She's almost killed, but an innocent bystander, Mitchell Franklin, takes a bullet for Omega during a gas station robbery.
In the aftermath, Omega has no idea that God expects her to “pray it forward” until a spiritual battle unfolds before her eyes. Another innocent bystander is in trouble; unless Omega gets her prayer life together, others will die without Christ. It's a chain reaction that highlights the responsibility of a Christian--hot, cold, or lukewarm. It’s time to get our acts together. We are our brother’s keeper.


-------------------------------

For Black Friday Bargains

Read about these fantastic reads on my Amazon page: Amazon.com: Pat Simmons: Books, Biography, Blog, Audiobooks, Kindle.

 In the mood for a puppy love story?


After shopping in stores or online, relax with my latest audiobook: 
From Book 1: Cinderella had a prince; God has a happy ending for Karyn Wallace too. While Karyn served four years in prison for an unthinkable crime, she embraced salvation through Crowns for Christ outreach ministry. After her release, Karyn stays strong and confident, despite the stigma society places on ex-offenders. Since Christ strengthens the underdog, Karyn refuses to sway away from the scripture, “He whom the Son has set free is free indeed.” Levi Tolliver, for the most part, is a practicing Christian. One contradiction is he doesn’t believe in turning the other cheek. He’s steadfast there is a price to pay for every sin committed, especially after the untimely death of his wife during a robbery. Then Karyn enters Levi’s life. He is enthralled not only with her beauty but her sweet spirit until he learns about her incarceration. If Levi can accept that Christ paid Karyn’s debt in full, then a treasure awaits him. Book 2: JET Back Story (short story); Book 3: LOVE LED BY THE SPIRIT

------------------
Pat Simmons is a multi-published Christian romance author of forty-plus titles. She is a self-proclaimed genealogy sleuth passionate about researching her ancestors, then casting them in starring roles in her novels. She is a five-time recipient of the RSJ Emma Rodgers Award for Best Inspirational Romance and recipient of the 2022 Leslie Esdaile Trailblazer Award. Christmas Dinner was also an Emma Award winner for Book of the Year. Christmas Dinner and Here for You were featured in Woman’s World Magazine. As a Christian, Pat describes the evidence of the gift of the Holy Ghost as a life-altering experience. She has converted her sofa-strapped sports fanatical husband into an amateur travel agent, untrained bodyguard, and GPS-guided chauffeur. They have a son and a daughter. Pat holds a B.S. in mass communications from Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts, and has worked in radio, television, and print media for more than twenty years. Visit her at www.patsimmons.net.





Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Be bored


The weather here in California has been nice lately, although it does get a bit cold in the evenings. I recently started exercising again, now that my IBS is doing a little better, and I’ve been enjoying running outside.

I was listening to an audiobook, What I Talk about When I Talk about Running: A Memoir by Haruki Murakami. The author is a very famous writer in Japan who has won tons of awards, although to be honest I haven’t read his fiction since the more literary style of his books aren’t to my taste. But I bought the audiobook since it was about two subjects I wanted to hear, writing and running.

The author apparently has been running for decades, and has run numerous marathons and even an ultra-marathon. His training methods aren’t as scientific as what I followed when I trained for the Honolulu Marathon, but his discipline is no joke. I liked the way he compared and contrasted his writing with his running.

One thing that especially struck me was the “void” (I’m afraid I can’t remember the exact terms he used at the moment), the state of not thinking (or not thinking much) as he runs, aside from listening to music.

It actually reminded me of something I read in the book Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World. The author mentions that one step in training yourself to focus and concentrate is to learn how to be “bored,” how to not do anything rather than striving to fill the empty times with looking at your phone or watching TV.

I think this is similar to how God tells us to be still and know that He is God.

If I have a free moment where I’m not doing anything, I will ALWAYS pull out my phone. Sometimes I’ll do something productive like go through my Japanese language study flashcard app. Sometimes I’ll jot something down in my bullet journal. Sometimes I’ll read an ebook. But I always fill the time with something.

I think I’m actually afraid of being bored with nothing to do. The thought of being bored actually causes me to feel a bit of stress! I don’t think this is a good thing.

So lately I’ve been only listening to music as I run. I’ve been used to listening to audiobooks so that I can engage (or rather, distract) my mind from my running, but I wanted to try this concept of the “void.”

It’s made me notice my surroundings more, the trees and flowers, but also the feel of the sun and the wind, the smell of the dried weeds and grass. (It also made me notice the doggy poop on the ground, but we’ll forget about that for the moment.)

I want to overcome this strange fear of being bored. I want to open my mind to this quietness and stillness, and maybe enable God to speak to me in His soft whisper.

I think this concept of stilling your mind is especially useful during this week. I don’t know about you, but I’ll be busy cooking for Thanksgiving (although thankfully my husband makes the turkey). When things get so hectic, I start to feel frazzled, and that’s not a good mindset when the holiday is all about being thankful!

So today, I challenge you to be bored. Whether you go out walking or just sit quietly, still your mind.

I will be doing the same. While trying to avoid doggy poop.

Monday, November 21, 2022

Thanksgiving Desserts by Janice Lynn

In my Wrapped Up in Christmas series from Hallmark Publishing, each story has a Thanksgiving meal that's a sharing of family and friends who are grateful to be together. It's idyllic, of course. (It's Hallmark, remember.) Ours are always a bit hectic trying to get food finished up, get to where we're supposed to be, and hoping we didn't forget anything and that we won't have any major spills along the way.  I'm blessed that I have several Thanksgiving meals to enjoy. Two of them are on Thursday and I'm serving a meal at my home on Friday evening. I'll be bringing a few main dish type items to the ones on Thursday, am cooking lots of main dish type things for Friday, but I've yet to decide on my desserts. Eek. I am definitely running out of time. I waver between scouring through recipes, thinking, "Oh, that looks yummy!" to thinking, "Hmm, maybe I should just run to a local sweet shop and pick up a few desserts." 

Last year, I bought my dressing from a local restaurant/caterer who was selling it by the pan. It's my daughter Reesee's favorite dressing, so that was a hit. I like my sweet potato casserole and squash casserole better than anyone else's so I prefer making those over buying them. I buy a Honey-baked ham from a school fundraiser each Thanksgiving and Christmas and my husband smokes the turkey. My guests will be bringing a few items, too, so we're going to feast, for sure. But then there's dessert...decisions, decisions. 

Do you have a favorite Thanksgiving dish? What about dessert? Any suggestions on what I should serve as dessert? 

Happy Thanksgiving from my home to yours! I hope you have a very blessed day Thursday and every day.


Janice's Wrapped Up in Christmas books from Hallmark Publishing are still available, currently.

Buy Your Copy HERE

USA Today, Wall Street Journal, & Publishers Weekly Bestselling author JANICE LYNN lives in Tennessee with her Prince Charming and their princes and princesses, her vivid imagination, an adorable Maltese named Halo who's the true royalty 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  The WRAPPED UP IN CHRISTMAS books are available at AMAZON Barnes & Noble WALMART & many other place where you buy books. 

Friday, November 18, 2022

Travel Hacks by Merri Maywether

This week I was at a writing conference in Las Vegas. It was s a week of catching up with friends and talking with other authors about things that make my family’s eyes glaze over when I try to discuss author concepts with them. 

While I love, connecting with friends, the disruption to my routine is stressful. By day four, my stomach challenges my commitment to authorly learning. 
This year, I picked up some habits that changed everything. 

 1-The hotels where I stay, don’t have coffee pots. So, I bought a silicone kettle and pour over  coffee filter. The cost of the pot, filter, and 12oz bag of coffee cost less than stopping by the coffee kiosk once a day. 

2- We bought a box of tea. Ending a day full of stimulation with a couple of minutes of quiet, helped with the transition from the day to the evening routine. 

3-We bought a box of our favorite cereal and a half-gallon of milk. It was enough of our regular routine to sustain a sense of normalcy. 

The best part. We saved a lot of money. This was the first time we took a concerted effort to maintain a little bit of normal, despite the travel. 

Now that I’ve caught on to the fact that traveling doesn’t have to be uncomfortable, I’m looking for more ways to keep some normalcy when the routine is changed. Do you have any travel hacks? 

🍁🍁🍁



In a cozy town nestled 
at the foothills of a mountain, love touches the heart of those who seek it. 

Paradise Hills Christmas is a collec
tion of three novellas, Meet Me By The Christmas Tree, Holiday Wishes
, and Holiday Kisses. The collection is available at Amazon for 99¢. Visit the Amazon Store to get a copy of Paradise Hills Christmas 
                                                                🍁🍁🍁


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.