Monday, February 28, 2022

How My Character Dresses in Dancing in the Dark: Cheryl St.John

I'm new to Sweet Romance Reads, but not new to writing and reading romance. I've written for many Harlequin lines, historical and contemporary, and for Writers Digest Books. I made a vow to myself a few years ago that from then on I would only write books I love writing. And I loved writing this one.

I create a Pinterest board for each story I'm working on. A redhead, Kendra Price doesn’t shy away from pinks or reds, but shines in those colors. She chooses red, coral, pink or turquoise for most of her clothing, and she always carries a signature orange bag. After a challenging childhood and a traumatic end to her relationship with her first love, she left Spencer, Colorado with her sights set on a dance career. Her talent has earned her success and a monetary payoff, so she can afford to buy herself nice clothing. Her attire gives her confidence.

Because she dances every day, she has a wide assortment of dance attire, leotards, shorts and stretchy midriff tops. She has never kept her costumes, but offers them to dance schools and students. She has a passion for teaching growing teens not only dance, but how to care for their bodies and avoid injuries.

While on her travels, she has shopped in department stores across the country, so her clothing is unique and of good quality. She would probably never wear something ordered from a catalog, because she likes to shop and try on her ensembles.

One of Kendra’s favorite things to do is spend a day fishing from her aluminum runabout on Twin Owl Lake and on those days, comfortable shorts, a summer top, tennis shoes and a sun hat are her go-to outfit.

Cheryl’s Pinterest board showing Kendra’s clothing


He opened the screen door, closed it behind him and walked across the porch, taking the stairs two at a time. I hate it when you leave, but I love to watch you go. That backside and those long legs in a pair of jeans could stop hearts.

An elusive memory came into focus. He was fourteen or fifteen, tall and lanky, his shoulder-length hair bleached from the sun as he walked toward his dad’s old Mercury, turning back with a grin to wave at her. The image was so clear that she felt the same peculiar sense of loss and longing she experienced every time he’d left to go home. But today Dusty didn’t turn around…or grin…or wave. He put his toolbox in his truck, climbed in, and turned the vehicle around in the drive.

She watched the truck until it reached the road and stared after it long after the vehicle had disappeared behind the trees. He had never married. What did that mean? He was probably liked by everyone in Spencer, and he was a catch. Surely there were women who’d gone after him. He couldn’t have held out, thinking there was still hope for the two of them. She’d made that crystal clear.

This wasn’t the life she’d planned. She didn’t want to be bitter or unforgiving, but here she was, watching him go. She missed what-could-have-been so badly that she lived with an empty ache. But she had dance. She had determination. She had self-respect. What she didn’t have was the man she’d wanted with her whole heart.

This is a book in a multi-author series. Not all the books in the series are sweet romances.

Dancing is in the Dark is available in Kindle Unlimited

Cheryl lives in a big city in the Midwest. When she’s not writing or spending time with her family, she’s checking out garage sales, flea markets & antique malls. Among her collections are teacups & teapots, roosters, vintage spice tins, wooden recipe boxes, Barbies®, charm bracelets, vintage jewelry, Kokeshi dolls, white stoneware, Delftware, Goebel birds, Royal Copley planters, vintage hankies and, of course, books. Cheryl admits she’s a bargain hunter with the heart of a hoarder, trying to live as a minimalist. The struggle is real.

Saturday, February 26, 2022

For you, Mom. Happy Birthday!

I'm thoughtful today, steeped in memory and gratitude. February 26 is my mother's birthday. If she were still with us, she'd be 97. As it was, she made it to 93 and left a legacy of a long life, well lived. 

Mom was of the Greatest Generation. Like others of her era, born in the wake of WWI, she lived through the Great Depression and came of age in time to see her brothers and friends march off to fight in the Second World War. It was a tough time to struggle through and it raised tough people. Mom was a good example.

My mother lost her father when she was just seven years old. She saw older brothers drop out of school to work and support the family. She too went to work, at one thing and another, from a very young age, largely supporting herself and contributing to the family income while still in high school, but she stuck it out and earned her diploma,

The new war raged when she graduated and she went to work as a military file clerk. By the time she was 19, Mom was in charge of all the records at Williams Air Force Base. A possible career in government service beckoned, but in her heart of hearts, Mom yearned for higher education.

When the war ended, she took her savings and joined a group of friends who were going away to school. She knew she didn't have enough money to earn a degree, but she wanted to learn all she could. Over time, with periods out to rebuild her bank account, she completed most of a teaching credential. When she and Dad married, they returned to school on his G.I. Bill. Mom graduated the same day Dad did, and I crossed the stage with them both, carried under her heart to be born the following winter. She passed her love of learning to me.

I hardly ever saw her when she wasn't working at something. Even during quiet evenings when she sat in front of the TV, she was knitting or quilting, making rag rugs, or doing some kind of productive handwork. During her last years, when blindness stole her ability to enjoy the detailed work she had always done, she filled her time listening to books, learning as always.

My daughter always dreamed of the day when she and her daughter could join Mom and me for a four-generation portrait. The portrait finally happened only two days before my mother passed. It wasn't the formal image we had imagined, but it's a treasure we will always cherish.

My mother left me with a legacy of love: love of learning, of words, reading and writing, love of family and love of God. I can only hope to do as well for those who follow me. Happy birthday, Mom,

Susan Aylworth is the author of more than 20 novels. Over the Rainbow, a prequel to the Rainbow Rock Romances, is available free to everyone who subscribes to her newsletter on her website: Contact her on her Facebook author page or via or join her on Twitter @Susan Aylworth.

Thursday, February 24, 2022

My Birthday Surprise by Pat Simmons

Each year, as I celebrate another birthday, it's not the gifts that make me happy, but the memories created, like enjoying breakfast out one hour before the sleet and snow hit St. Louis for the second week in a row. Then red roses that were delivered twice because of an error. No complaints from me.

My husband asked me what I wanted, so I told him a makeup mirror, not to master the art of contouring or sculpture my brows. I needed the 2x and 3x magnifying features to see how my wrinkles were faring.

There's more. A friend of mine who knows how much I enjoy sewing heard my frustration I after my machine was serviced, but my zipper foot attachment went missing. What did she do? Send me a 32-piece foot attachments with a DVD. I'm set now.

This year's memories include, learning a week later, my driver's license had expired on my birthday.  SURPRISE! After a two hour wait at the DMV, and missing two road signs, I removed my mask and took a new mugshot on record for 6 years!

Oh well, it's all about the memories, right? Has your license ever expired, and you didn't know it?


Pat Simmons is a multi-published Christian romance author of more than thirty 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 four-time recipient of the RSJ Emma Rodgers Award for Best Inspirational Romance. 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 worked in various positions in radio, television, and print media for more than twenty years. Visit her at

Saturday, February 19, 2022

Date Night by Merri Maywether

Roughly twenty-six years ago, I saw a man walking across a courtyard. The way the story goes is he looked really serious. Too serious for my whimsical personality. So I decided then and there he needed somebody to bring joy into his life. 

I invited him to all sorts of goofy adventures. Older and wiser, I now know they are great ideas for date nights. Since February is a month popular for connecting be it Valentine's or Galentine's Day, I thought I'd share a few of them with you. 

Photo of Ice Cream Sundae by Wan Kurniawan via Upsplash
Photo of Ice Cream Sundae by
Wan Kurniawan via Unsplash

 πŸ’–Visit an all-you-can-eat buffet try to make the most decadent dessert.  After eating a proper 
meal (of course)

 πŸ’– Play a tournament with old-school video games. Our favorite is Tetris. 

 πŸ’– Created a scavenger hunt that ended with us eating snacks at a coffee house. 

 πŸ’– Used a book of constellations and tried to find the stars.

πŸ’– Race to see who could eat a fruit rollup the fastest without our fingers.

πŸ’– Try to make ice cream at home and create a new Cold Stone Creamery menu (for our house).

πŸ’– Create a bingo card of animals and visit the zoo. 

πŸ’– Try to finish a 500 piece puzzle within a certain time frame. 

Photo of puzzle by Ross Sneedon via upsplash
Photo of puzzle by Ross Sneedon via Unsplash

πŸ’– Get a couple of paint-by-numbers paintings and pretend to be artists. 

πŸ’– Gather some board games and have a mini-tournament.

πŸ’– Go on a hike and try to find as many different types of flora and fauna. 

πŸ’– Read a book together. We did this one every night for a couple of weeks. 

As for that guy. He took me on a date on Valentine's Day. And, three weeks later he proposed. 

So, I cannot promise that you'll have the same ending as my experience, but I can say with certainty if you try to do any of the activities I suggested, you will have fun. 

πŸ’–       If you have an idea you’d like to share, post them in the comments. πŸ’–


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.

When a plane flew by with a marriage proposal, Kate should have asked questions. Questions like why would my always grumpy best friend have a change of heart? Now she has to spend a week at a resort with their daughters avoiding team-building activities with Sam. 

Could life get any more awkward?

Kate has been the sunshine in Sam’s life since the first day he pulled into Ashbrook. He had a six-year-old daughter and a battered heart and nothing to offer but friendship. A series of events threatens their friendship and opens Sam’s eyes. If he doesn’t hold on to the one woman who loves him despite his rough edges, he’ll lose her.

Friends, family, and a secret ally will remind Sam and Kate that love endures all things —and the first step to a happy future is releasing the pain from the past.

452 Memory Lane will be available on Kindle Unlimited on February 28th. 

Add it to your Amazon Wish List | Add it to your Goodreads To-Read | Add it to your Bookbub Wish List 

Thursday, February 17, 2022

A Bargain Book for You from Lyn Cote!


TO LOVE SOMEBODY has never been discounted before. It is part of my THE CARLYLE WOMEN series,
which follows 4 generations of women
 in a family saga of the 20th century.

 “History relived before your eyes. Gripping, Rich with History and Love.”

Coming of age in 1960’s and 70’s, Leigh Sinclair faces all the challenges of that turbulent time—but falling for the wrong man brings Leigh consequences she never envisioned. She won’t make the same mistake again.

Then one day the worst Leigh could imagine happens. Can the new man in her life help her avoid this ending in tragedy? If you enjoy authentic history with a strong female lead, then you'll relish this dramatic slice of history by an award-winning and USA Today best selling author.

The Carlyle Women-four generations, each facing the challenges of her time and each harboring her own painful secret~

What Readers Say:

Like the other books in this series, Leigh's story is a time-capsule of the 60's and 70's. You are transported to the Tidal Basin in DC "right up front" at the Martin Luther King "I have a dream" rally…”

“To Love Somebody is an amazing story! Leigh Sinclair is a woman of her time, independent, passionate about the issues she believes in… It's an intense story with plenty of stirring events that showcase the turbulent time with the civil rights movement and the Vietnam War. It's a story that captures the time perfectly, and Leigh and the things that happen to her are a compelling story. I highly recommend it.”

“Once again Lyn Cote handled the problems and fears of another generation of mothers and daughters fighting to do ‘their own thing.’…Lyn Cote handles the angst that each generation feels as they battle to be ‘heard.’”

If you subscribe to Kindle Umlimited, this book is free. But if not, it is on sale through Sunday the 20th for 99 cents and the $1.99 through Weds the 23rd.

This may be the only discout for a long time so take a look and make a decision fast! 

Click here.

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Love Is In The Air By Kimberly Rose Johnson

 Happy love week! LOL I think I made that up, but it's fitting. I'm not a big fan of Valentine's Day, but I really like the idea of taking time out to remember people we care about. Of course this should be done year around, but Valentine's Day is a nice reminder. :)

In honor of the holiday, my publisher put several of their Christian romance novels on a Kindle Countdown deal. I have a novella in the In Love And War book. This is one of my favorite romance stories I've written. The setting was inspired by one of my favorite small towns, Silverton, Oregon. 

The books inside this collection are all standalone novellas that have nothing to do with each other, other than the second chance love theme.

His Love Revealed:

Finding Love in Park City, Utah:

In Love and War:

A Kite on the Wind:

The Courtship of Harry’s Wife:

Happy Reading! I hope you have a wonderful week, filled with love.

Monday, February 14, 2022

Happy Valentine's Day

Each year when I get to post on Valentine's Day, I also share that today is my wedding anniversary. My hubby and I have been married forty-six years. Where did the years go?

It was the era of colorful tuxes, avocado-colored appliances, and shag carpet. The seventies was a colorful decade. Our two daughters were born in the seventies.

Even though we were married on Valentine's Day our celebration on each February 14th is very low key. Too many other people are celebrating the romantic holiday, so we do our celebrating at another time. We have often taken a cruise sometime during February, but to celebrate our 25th anniversary, we took an Alaskan cruise in June.

Here we are after our helicopter ride to a glacier where we took a dog sled ride.
Ready for our whitewater raft trip in Denali National Park.

Valentine's Day can be considered a commercial holiday for florists, card companies, candy companies, or restaurants that promote the day. However, it can be a good time to tell not only a sweetheart or spouse how much you love them but also a friend who means a lot to you. 

I have a couple of books, which contain a Valentine scene. These books are both in my Kellersburg series, Hometown Promise and Hometown Cowboy. In both scenes a reluctant couple attends the Valentine banquet at their church. Here is a little excerpt from Hometown Cowboy.

Looking dangerously handsome in his western-cut jacket and red tie covered in cowboy boots, Wyatt held out several tickets. “I’ll just get Gram and Gramps settled, then I’ll join you.”

“That’s not necessary.”

“Sure it is. We can’t just leave you sitting here all alone.”

Sure you can. The words sat on the tip of Caroline’s tongue, but she didn’t say them. What was she to make of his attention, of how he was acting like it was a date? Her breath caught at the thought.

As Wyatt thumped across the fellowship hall with his cane and halting gait, Caroline’s heart thumped along with the sound. Who was Wyatt Bayer? The rotten kid who had tormented her on the way home from school? The kid with a chip on his shoulder during their high school years? A world-famous cowboy? A grumpy patient at the nursing home? Or this man who was taking care of his grandparents?

After Wyatt settled his grandparents at the table with Nathan and Melanie, he hobbled his way toward Caroline. She didn’t want to stare, but her gaze was drawn to him against her will. His lopsided grin did nothing to slow the rate of her heartbeat. She took a deep breath and forced herself to smile. She would get through this evening. She would.

“Hey.” Wyatt sat on the empty chair next to Caroline and leaned his cane against the nearby wall. “Got almost everyone checked in?”

Caroline’s heart raced, and she couldn’t catch her breath. For a moment she was back in Kenya on a dusty road in the heat of the day. She gave herself a mental shake. She was not in Kenya. She was here in Kellersburg in the church fellowship hall. Had Wyatt’s proximity triggered that flashback? How often would this happen?

I hope you enjoyed that little bit from Hometown Cowboy enough to buy it. You can find buy links to all vendors if you click on the title.

What do you like about Valentine's Day?

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.

Friday, February 11, 2022

An easy and quick recipe for Chocolate-Covered Strawberries by Josie Riviera

 I love Valentine's Day! The holiday is romantic and fun.  

Today I'm sharing my go-to recipe for Chocolate-Covered Strawberries. It's easy, festive and delicious.


1 pint (2 cups) fresh strawberries

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1 teaspoon vegetable oil


Rinse strawberries and dry on paper towels. Line a cookie sheet with waxed paper. 

In saucepan, melt chocolate chips and oil over low heat and stir frequently. Remove from heat.

Dip the lower half of each strawberry into chocolate mixture; and drip excess back into saucepan. Place on waxed paper lined cookie sheet. 

Refrigerate uncovered for 30 minutes. Store covered in refrigerator.

My inspirational Valentine romance, A Valentine To Cherish, is on a 99 cent Kindle countdown. (U.S. residents only.) 

All his life, he’s followed a song. Is God showing him it’s time to put down roots?

Valentine’s Day is all about love. And God has a special plan for a small-town woman and a road-weary singer.

Grab your copy today before price goes up.

Josie Riviera is a USA Today bestselling author of contemporary, historical, and inspirational 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.

Sign up for her newsletter and get a FREE ebook on her website:

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Free and Bargain Books for You!




Some secrets chill to the bone…

In a small Wisconsin town, a record-breaking winter brings a series of disturbing crimes. The new sheriff and home health nurse will do anything to stop whoever is responsible. All the while they’ll try not to do something even more dangerous--fall in love. With God’s help, can they crack the bone-chilling mystery — and the secrets to their own hearts? Why not download these suspenseful romances by a USA Today Bestselling author today?

Welcome to Steadfast, Wisconsin, a small town whose people and mysteries you may never forget~


A Kindle Countdown deal for only 99¢ (U.S. Residents only)

A Valentine To Cherish by Josie Riviera

Valentine’s Day is all about love. And God has a special plan for a small-town woman and a road-weary singer.

Order your ebook copy today!

Also available in paperback, Audiobook, Large Print Paperback, and Hardcover.

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Share the Valentine Love! by Christine Bush


Valentine’s Day.

Some folks love it.  But for some, it’s a sad time, filled with loss, sad memories, unfulfilled dreams.

If you have your special someone, celebrate big! It’s a great time to honor your relationship and show love.

But if you don’t?  I still say it’s a good time to “SHARE THE LOVE”, even if not in that roses and chocolate romantic way.

We can share the love by hitting the dollar store and picking up a multitude of Valentine’s cards (or make you own if you are not craft challenged like I am).  Drop them off (or deliver if there aren’t strict covid rules where you live) to a nursing home or retirement community.  A sweet message can make someone’s day.

We can share the love by ordering a big box of donuts or cookies and dropping them off at the local hospital for nurses who are working above and beyond what they should be.  Gratitude is love.

We can go through the church or club phone list and make a Happy Valentines Day call to any senior citizen on the list.

Love pets?  We can drop off a much needed bundle of dog and cat supplies for the local shelter (nice idea to also include some of those donuts for the volunteers!) as a Valentine’s Day Love Gift.  (If you’re really feeling the love, you might even adopt one!)

Neighbors with kids?  To show the love we could volunteer to mind kids so tired mom and dad can have a few hours out.

Sharing the love spreads a lot of joy.. even to myself when I’m thinking of others.

How about you?  Any Valentine’s day hints?  I’d love to hear…


A Valentine’s Day present for you!  FREE download of my new novella, “Lucy’s Laugh” only on February 14th and February 15th!  Click here! : christine bush lucys laugh

 And join us at Sweet Romance Reads Cafe on Facebook  all day on February 14th to meet our wonderful sweet romance writers and hear about their new stories!



 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!




Monday, February 7, 2022

A Shout Out to Everyone in Our Medical Community ~ Jean C. Gordon

Are you or someone in your family involved in medical care? Many families have someone who is.My daughter is a certified nurse midwife. 

I think it takes a special kind of person to work in the medical fields (even before covid) and that many don't get the thanks they deserve. So please join me in thanking everyone in that community (in no particular order): Nurses, housekeeping, doctors, technicians, security, aides, PAs, clerical, NPs volunteers, and any one I've left out. 


And if you like reading medical romance--or any sweet romance--check out my upcoming release. 

For all intents and purposes, they’re complete opposites. 

Midwife Autumn Hazard catches babies and offers her mothers the option of home births. Ob/GYN Dr. Jonathan Hanlon delivers his patients' babies only at a hospital or other medical facility with the most advanced equipment available. She loves the small-town birthing center where she practices. To him, the center is simply a stepping stone to something bigger. Family is everything to her. He keeps his distance from his.

Complete opposites. Except, that is, when it comes to love.

Welcome to Paradox Lake
Any fan of sweet romance will love the stories of small-town love in the Paradox Lake Sweet Romance series. Grab your tea or coffee, settle into your favorite chair, and be swept away into the cozy Adirondack town where complex characters navigate challenging situations as they find their way to love. Whether it’s love at first blush, old flames reuniting, or second chance romance, you’ll find pure reading enjoyment and satisfy your craving for sweet, wholesome romance.

Part of an ongoing series full of familiar faces, each story will stand on its own. With novel and novella lengths available, there’s something for everyone. Paradox Lake is written by USA Today Bestselling sweet romance author, Jean Gordon, who’s penned stories for the No Brides Clubs Series, Indigo Bay Series, and Harlequin Love Inspired, as well as for multiple sweet romance collections.



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