Sunday, October 30, 2022

Puppies and Christmas by Laura Scott

 

Good morning! I know it's only the end of October but since I have a Christmas novella releasing in two days, I thought I'd talk about our Puppies for Christmas promo.

I'm one of nine sweet romance reads authors participating in this fun promotion. Each author had to write a story that features puppies and Christmas. 

Now I know that in real life, there are always warnings about getting puppies at Christmas because some families don't realize the commitment required to train and care for a puppy. Despite that, we got our kids a puppy for Christmas when they were about eight and ten years old. It worked out great, my kids adored our Westie. I'm here to say that if you want a puppy for Christmas you should get one!


My contribution is part of my Called to Protect series. These books feature Navy SEALs who are out of the military, but find themselves in danger from bad guys and in danger of falling in love!

What do you think about puppies at Christmas? Have you done this and if so was it a success? 


Sealed with a Christmas Promise by Laura Scott $0.99 (through Dec. 25th)




Risking their hearts and their lives while protecting the innocent…

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.

Amazon B&N Apple GooglePlay Kobo


Friday, October 28, 2022

Cheryl's Glazed Chocolate-Pumpkin Bundt Cake

1 3/4 cups sifted flour
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon Celtic Sea Salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 15-ounce can unsweetened pumpkin puree
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg white
1/4 cup canola or virgin olive oil
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 Tbsp pure vanilla
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbsp buttermilk
2 Tbsp mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°F -  Spray a 12-cup Bundt pan with cooking spray
Whisk together sifted purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, granulated sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice and salt.

Blend 1 cup buttermilk, pumpkin puree and brown sugar in a large bowl with electric mixer on low speed. Beat in whole egg and egg white. Stir in oil, corn syrup and vanilla. Gradually add the dry ingredients, stirring until just combined. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake 1 to 1 1/4 hours or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Remove from the pan and let cool completely.

Glaze & garnish:
Combine powdered sugar and 1 Tbsp buttermilk in small bowl, stirring until smooth. Place the cake on a serving plate and drizzle the glaze over the top; garnish with chocolate chips or chopped nuts while the glaze is still moist.

I have a whole STACK of gorgeous Bundt pans!
They make beautiful cakes.

After years of being asked for recipes, I spent a summer writing down ingredients and baking times, baking and asking for beta testers in order to put together this collection of mouthwatering recipes for Bundt cakes.

Many of the recipes are labeled NO SKILL REQUIRED, indicating exceptional ease of preparation. If you don’t consider yourself a baker or if you’re an accomplished baker and simply want a quick recipe, you will find these cakes using box mixes are convenient and delicious. You don’t have to tell anyone you started with a mix—the cakes are so good that no one will guess preparation didn’t take hours. Bake with ease and enjoy serving a beautiful cake to family and friends.

My philosophy: Eat cake! It's someone's birthday somewhere.



It had always been a cryin’ shame their dreams weren’t compatible.

Small-town life was never enough for rodeo champion, Justin Cooper, but when he returns to Oklahoma to recover from an injury, Stevie Marshall catches his attention all over again. She’s still the prettiest girl in town, still rooted to the community, and still doesn’t share his passion for adventure.

Resistant to change, Stevie has never fallen in love with another, and she’s not about to fall for this handsome cowboy all over again. Her heart has taken too much of a beating to make the same mistake twice. This life wasn’t good enough for him last time.

Justin thought he’d rather fall off a bucking bull than face his feelings, but their close proximity challenges his thinking. Can blue ribbons and trophies stack up to a life with the hometown girl he loves?


          This time the cowboy is going to hold on tighter than ever.



Thursday, October 27, 2022

BARGAIN BOOKS!

Lyn Cote~ Do you like a bargain? How about 4 ebooks for 1 low price? 



Opposites attract even in the shadow of mystery~

That’s true in small towns and cities. Especially when mysteries intrude. Who is hacking into medical records? Stealing valuable antiques? Why has a father of twin boys disappeared? These questions stress families already dealing with heartbreak, difficulties. But faith and love can face anything. If you enjoy page-turning suspenseful, deeply emotional and real-life stories with triumphant endings, this is for you. This four-book collection by a USA Today Bestselling author Lyn Cote is a complete series.


What Readers Say:

“I loved this. Shed a few tears and a few smiles. Wonderful characters...both adults and children.”


“Truth and Love…books deal with real life circumstances and how God's patience and love is manifested through His word and people…refreshing because it deals with love and imperfect people.”


CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO OR TO PURCHASE. ENDS OCT 28TH!


Sealed with a Christmas Promise by Laura Scott
$0.99



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?

 

Amazon B&N Apple GooglePlay Kobo


***

House Calls for the Holidays by Pat Simmons


A doctor. A nurse. A matchmaker.

Charity McCall couldn’t have survived the holidays without her petite Goldendoodle. She named him Dr. Avery because he healed her broken heart after a bad breakup. She plans to spend the holidays on the road away from St. Louis with her pooch in tow.

Sawyer Kahill needs a fresh start, so he relocates to Raleigh, working in the IT field. He’s enjoying life until his aunt has a health scare back in St. Louis.

He plans to bring her back with him after he suspects someone is trying to take an advantage of her. Every time he’s on the phone with Aunt Edith, she raves about Dr. Avery and his nurse making house calls.

The joke is on him.

Sawyer has no idea the regular visits are from a dog named Dr. Avery and Charity who is an RN by profession. His aunt refuses to budge from St. Louis.

After a chance meeting with Charity in the hospital, he learns she now moving to Raleigh.

Will their paths ever cross again? Not unless they both come home for the holidays.

Leave that up to the Lord and Aunt Edith.


Bargain price .99 cents





Can't Say No to Puppies by Jean C. Gordon
~ 99-cents ~


His brother left her at the altar.

When Shelby Newcomb retreats home for a traditional family Christmas, the last thing she expects is to be running the Puppy Pals rescued dogs giveaway with the brother of the man who jilted her.


Reformed bad boy Kris Carmichael is making a fresh start as a veterinarian in Williamstown. Successfully launching the Puppy Pals Christmas dog giveaway will save animals and build his new practice. All he has to do is avoid the woman he carries a torch for.


But bro codes and broken trust are no match for the joy of the Christmas season and a litter of puppies. With a few nudges from a dating app and a matchmaking grandmother, the event and the growing spark between Shelby and Kris could deliver a very Merry Christmas.


But can Shelby trust Kris's promises or will another Carmichael break her heart?


And all the hearts hoping for Puppies for Christmas.






Christmas in the Air is a sweet, small-town romance filled with delightful characters and holiday cheer.

What if you told your innermost secrets to a guy you assumed you’d never see again?

Grab your copy today. Only 99 cents.



Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Celebrating Christmas and Puppies! by Susan Aylworth

Hi Friends - 

If you've been following this blog, you already know that nine Sweet Romance Reads authors have written Christmas novellas that feature puppies. For the nine weeks that started on October 11, a new Puppies for Christmas novella drops each week, and they are all up for preorder and on sale for 99 CENTS now. That means you can order today, people! The book that started us off is Pat Simmons' novella, House Calls for the Holidays. You can find buy links here

On October 18,  Jean C. Gordon's novella, Can’t Say No to Puppiesreleased, so it is also available now. Get it here


Yesterday, on October 25, 2022, Josie Riviera's novella, Christmas in the Airreleased, so you can get that one now as well. Find it here


November 1 brings Laura Scott's Sealed with a Christmas Promise and Puppy Love and Christmas Cookies, by Merrillee Whren will release on November 8, 2022. My book ... 

wait for it ...


is Mischief and Mistletoe in Christmas Town, Book 4 in the Christmas Town series, releasing November 15 but available for preorder now. 

Emily Draper is getting her big break! A chance to work with a Michelin star chef, creating special allergen-free recipes for the renowned Winter Magic Bakery. After finding a treatment for her rare anemia, she’s finally healthy enough to get on with her life. But what about love? Emily can’t help but wonder if her relationship with Carl Fuentes could be something more, if only they could make that transition from friendship to romance.

Carl Fuentes is ready for a big change! He’s on the verge of changing medical specialties, a move that would take him far from Christmas Town. But what about love? Carl can’t help but wonder if his friendship with Emily could become more. But that would mean a long-distance relationship and those never work out, do they?

Emily and Carl need a Christmas miracle. A cat called Mischief, an adorable puppy, and a large batch of mistletoe may just be up to the challenge.

Then the hits just keep coming right into the first week of December with Lyn Cote's Mavis's Forever Christmas and Kimberly Rose Johnson's Found: an Almost Perfect Christmas. Who can resist puppies, especially at Christmas? And please don't even try to resist these nine sweet, lovely Christmas stories, each featuring people and puppies to love.


Susan Aylworth is the author of 23 published novels including four books in the Christmas Town series. She 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. She 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!)


Do you enjoy reading stories set at Christmas?

 



Tuesday, October 25, 2022

October New Releases


Christmas in the Air
Josie Riviera

Christmas In The Air is a sweet, small-town romance filled with delightful characters and holiday cheer.

What if you told your innermost secrets to a guy you assumed you’d never see again?



 Can't Say No to Puppies
Jean C. Gordon

His brother left her at the altar.

When Shelby Newcomb retreats home for a traditional family Christmas, the last thing she expects is to be running the Puppy Pals rescued dogs giveaway with the brother of the man who jilted her.

Reformed bad boy Kris Carmichael is making a fresh start as a veterinarian in Williamstown. Successfully launching the Puppy Pals Christmas dog giveaway will save animals and build his new practice. All he has to do is avoid the woman he carries a torch for.

But bro codes and broken trust are no match for the joy of the Christmas season and a litter of puppies. With a few nudges from a dating app and a matchmaking grandmother, the event and the growing spark between Shelby and Kris could deliver a very Merry Christmas.

But can Shelby trust Kris's promises or will another Carmichael break her heart?

And all the hearts hoping for Puppies for Christmas.




Day Not Promised
Pat Simmons


A doctor. A nurse. A matchmaker.

Charity McCall couldn’t have survived the holidays without her petite Goldendoodle. She named him Dr. Avery because he healed her broken heart after a bad breakup. She plans to spend the holidays on the road away from St. Louis with her pooch in tow.

Sawyer Kahill needs a fresh start, so he relocates to Raleigh, working in the IT field. He’s enjoying life until his aunt has a health scare back in St. Louis.

He plans to bring her back with him after he suspects someone is trying to take an advantage of her. Every time he’s on the phone with Aunt Edith, she raves about Dr. Avery and his nurse making house calls.

The joke is on him.

Sawyer has no idea the regular visits are from a dog named Dr. Avery and Charity who is an RN by profession. His aunt refuses to budge from St. Louis.

After a chance meeting with Charity in the hospital, he learns she now moving to Raleigh.

Will their paths ever cross again? Not unless they both come home for the holidays.

Leave that up to the Lord and Aunt Edith.

BUY LINK: Holiday Titles | Pat Simmons

Monday, October 24, 2022

Love by Delivery by Pat Simmons

Years ago, I wrote a novella, Love by Delivery, about a homeowner who fell in love with a delivery guy. That story came to my mind a few days ago when a wrong delivery showed up at our front door. It wasn't flowers, electronics, or Amazon Prime.

It was pizza!

This brings me to my "love by delivery" moment. A young man ordered pizza to be delivered to his girlfriend as a surprise....well, surprises work if the sender has the right address.

When the delivery man said the name of the recipient, my husband knew it was the neighborhood girl who had grown up with my daughter. "Macy" lived across the street in the cul-de-sac.

The boyfriend was on the phone with the pizza guy and to his credit, he knew the color of the garage door and the make of "Macy's" car in the driveway.

The driver was off to complete his mission. When I glanced across the street minutes later, the pizza had yet to be delivered because my neighbor hadn't answered the door. Poor deliveryman.

He was about to get back into his truck when she came to the door. Whew!

I'm not sure if the pizza was cold, but the surprise warmed her heart. 

Senior Accounts Manager Dominique Hayes has it all—money, a car, and a condo. Well, almost. She’s starting to believe love has passed her by. 
One thing is for sure, she can’t hurry God, so she continues to wait while losing hope that a special Godly man will ever make his appearance. 
Package Courier Ashton Taylor knows a man who finds a wife finds a good thing. The only thing standing in his way of finding the right woman is his long work hours. Or maybe not. 
A chance meeting changes everything. When love finally comes knocking, will Dominique open the door and accept Ashton’s special delivery?

This is a great Valentine's read that can be enjoyed year-round...BUT FIRST, get in the holiday spirit with Puppies for Christmas from nine of your Sweet Romance Reads authors:

A doctor. A nurse. A matchmaker.

Charity McCall couldn’t have survived the holidays without her petite Goldendoodle. She named him Dr. Avery because he healed her broken heart after a bad breakup. She plans to spend the holidays on the road away from St. Louis with her pooch in tow.

Sawyer Kahill needs a fresh start, so he relocates to Raleigh, to work in the IT field. He’s enjoying life until his aunt has a health scare back in St. Louis.

He plans to bring her back with him after he suspects someone is trying to take an advantage of her. Every time he’s on the phone with Aunt Edith, she raves about Dr. Avery and his nurse making house calls.

The joke is on him.

Sawyer has no idea the regular visits are from a dog named Dr. Avery and Charity who is an RN by profession. His aunt refuses to budge from St. Louis. After a chance meeting with Charity in the hospital, he learns she now moving to Raleigh. Will their paths ever cross again? Not unless they both come home for the holidays.

Leave that up to the Lord and Aunt Edith.

Want more? Every week until December, there will be another release. It's a bargain. Download for .99 cents: https://www.jeancgordon.com/puppies4christmas

*****


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.

Saturday, October 22, 2022

Lemon Poppyseed Tea Cakes w/ Sourdough Discard

 


My character Sol from Lady Wynwood’s Spies, volume 1: Archer loves Lady Wynwood’s cook’s seed cakes, so I decided to try some seed cake recipes using a cook book published in 1800. The first seed cake recipe I tried, Pound Seed Cake, turned out really well, but after tasting them, my husband requested lemon poppy seed flavor.

Making the seed cakes with sourdough discard turned out exactly the same as when I made a sourdough levain, so I thought that making these tea cakes would be a GREAT way to use up sourdough discard, since I always keep a jar for my discard in the fridge.


The lemon poppy seed version turned out fantastic! I admit that the first time I made them, I accidentally forgot to check them at 25 minutes, so I took them out at 30 minutes and they were a little brown. But they still tasted wonderful and were great with tea. The sour tang of the discard paired perfectly with the lemon zest. I made them again and took them out at 25 minutes, and they were perfect (but I forgot to take a photo).

As before, I included instructions for making them with flour instead of sourdough, but be warned that I have not tried this recipe with only flour (since I can’t eat it because of my IBS).

When I made Sol’s seed cakes, I used a cast iron mini cake/biscuit pan so the cakes turned out like tea cakes. You can instead use muffin tins if you’d like, although I have not tried this so I can’t tell you how it will turn out. When I used the biscuit pan, the wide flat shape made the tea cakes bake quickly and evenly and gave a really great texture to the cake—it was crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.

However, you can certainly bake this in a loaf pan like a regular pound cake. I would suggest that you double the recipe and increase the baking time to one hour, but check it for doneness at around 45 minutes or so.


Pound Seed Cake

This recipe makes 7 small cakes. It’s about the same amount of cake as half of a large loaf of pound cake.

Ingredients:

148 grams of spent sourdough discard (100% hydration)
39 grams flour
Alternative: Instead of discard and flour, you can instead make a 65% hydration levain with 114 grams (1/4 pound) flour, 74 grams warm water, and 1 tablespoon 100% hydration sourdough starter, active and bubbly, and let it incubate for a few hours.
Alternative 2: If you don’t want to use sourdough, just use 114 grams of flour in place of the levain. However, be warned that I have not tried this recipe with only flour (since I can’t eat it because of my IBS). Also, (according to some articles on the web) it’s the sourdough that weakens the gluten and makes the cakes tender, so omitting it will change the texture of the cake.
1 stick (1/4 pound) butter, room temperature
114 grams (1/4 pound) sugar
1 whole egg and 1 egg yolk, beaten together lightly and at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-3 teaspoons poppy seeds (add according to your own tastes)
2-3 teaspoons lemon zest (add according to your own tastes)


Instructions:

Make a 65% hydration levain by combining 114 grams of flour with 74 grams of water and 1 tablespoon of 100% hydration sourdough starter. The consistency of the levain is almost like a ball of bread dough that you could knead, but it's stickier than bread dough. If you’d like it to ferment for a little longer to get a little bubbly, leave it out at room temperature (I put it in a glass mason jar) for a few hours and then use it whenever you like. I let it sit for 24 hours since I wanted the bacteria to break down the wheat fructans a bit more.

Alternately, mix 114 grams of flour with 74 grams of water and 1 tablespoon of 100% hydration sourdough starter, and leave it out at room temperature until it’s most bubbly and active.

If you’d rather not use sourdough, skip the above steps and instead add 114 grams of flour below in place of the levain.

Mix the butter in a stand mixer or with a hand mixer for a minute or so, then add sugar and cream them together until light and fluffy. This whips air into the butter to help the cakes turn out a little less dense.

Add the beaten eggs to the butter/sugar very slowly, a teaspoon at a time, scraping down the sides and making sure the egg is completely incorporated before drizzling in another teaspoon of egg. This is supposed to make an emulsion of the egg with the creamed sugar and butter.

Add the vanilla, levain, poppy seeds and lemon zest and mix. The batter will be a bit stiff, stiffer than cornbread batter, but not as stiff as biscuit dough.

Preheat the oven to 350ΒΊF. You can butter the inside of the biscuit pan if you’d like, but I didn’t the second time because the fat in the batter makes the cakes release easily without buttering. Spoon the batter inside the pan, filling each cup only about halfway. If using a loaf pan instead, butter the loaf pan before spooning the batter inside.

Bake it at 350ΒΊF for 25-30 minutes. If using a loaf pan, bake for 60-75 minutes, but especially the first time you make it, check for doneness at around 45 minutes or so. The cakes are done when a toothpick comes out clean.


***

The original pound seed cakes, made from a recipe book published in 1800, were featured in my Christian Regency Romantic Suspense novel, Lady Wynwood’s Spies, volume 3: Aggressor. Get volume 1 in the series for only 99 cents!

Friday, October 21, 2022

Hallmark Publishing by Janice Lynn

When I was thinking on what I wanted to write on for my post, I had to consider what I've had so many reach out to me with questions, hugs, etc. Some of you may have heard that Hallmark Publishing will be closing in early 2023. As I write my most favorite books for them, I am a bit shattered. I love my sweet Christmas stories with a military quilt twist. Once all the legalities are settled, they will, hopefully, live on. All of this post is my viewpoint/opinion/interpretation and should be taken as such. As an author, I certainly don't have full access to the inner workings of the company and only know things as they directly pertain to me and my experiences. 

Hallmark Publishing was an idea pitched by Stacey Donovan, a Hallmark employee who at one time wrote greeting cards. Stacey believed Hallmark should have their on imprint to use to make their movies, rather than adapting from other publishing houses. Eventually she got approval and HP was born. Stacey's book Sunrise Cabin was HP's first release. Since that time, numerous books have been released, some novelizations of successful movies and some original stories. Even though only a very few HP books were made into movies, each book purchased had to go through a committee to make sure it was movie ready. HP started with just one employee--Stacey Donovan. Eventually, a part time employee was added. More recently a third employee was added. That's it. So, you can imagine the work load these women dealt with as HP grew. 

(Janice Lynn & Stacey Donovan July 2019)

I feel so blessed to have gotten to be a part of their publishing company. I pinch myself at all the good things I experienced in my involvement with HP. Wrapped Up in Christmas was their first story to hit the USA Today bestseller list, but others went on to. They amazingly got our books into Walmart as mass market releases. As with anything new, growing pains were felt, lessons learned as they traversed the publishing industry. Not long after my first release came out, the CEO who approved HP left the company. I'm not sure the new management ever really understood the potential of HP. Maybe they did and there were other complicating matters. Who knows?

After publicly discussing her job-related stresses via social media and having taken a mental health leave, Stacey Donovan resigned several weeks ago. Rather than replace her, Hallmark decided to close their publishing division. My heart breaks for Eunice and Katie who also worked there, for all the authors, and for our readers. We were building something very special. I don't believe Hallmark made the right decision by choosing to close HP, but if publishing isn't their interest, then I do understand that for them it was a business decision and their easiest option. Certainly, I am biased in wishing they'd decided otherwise.

Hallmark has made very little public or private comments. Many of the authors found out that the company was closing via social media. I was on a train on my first European vacation and my agent called to tell me. I've been writing long enough to know that as an author one has to be versatile and just roll with the punches. Publishing is a constantly changing industry. As with all things in life, one can look at the positives or the negatives. With HP, I had so many positives--the people and experiences. I don't know what the future holds or how all the legalities will complicate my viewpoint, but I do know all the magic I experienced in being a part of Hallmark's brief publishing stint. For that, I am forever grateful. 










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. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Annual Harvest Celebrations by Merri Maywether

 

The leaves are red. It’s chilly in the morning, warm in the afternoon, and chilly again at night. People are pulling hoodies, sweaters, and fuzzy socks out of retirement. The farmers are back from the fields, talking about the prices of crops over cups of coffee. These are the signs leading up to the annual Harvest Celebrations.


Two weeks ago, I was in a small town fifteen miles away, buying homemade items and eating a variety of baked goods made with pumpkin. 


Last weekend, it was our turn. Our community had the annual Harvest Dinner. For weeks, the women gather at the Lutheran Church preparing for it. 


We all have notes telling us what we’re bringing to add to the meal. I had two dessert items and a jello salad. 


One weekend is devoted to making Swedish meatballs, another making lefse, and the Saturday before the event, potato peelers are put to work on the potatoes that will be mashed the next day. Those of us who aren’t in the church kitchen are at home roasting turkeys for the event. 


Sunday, people come from far and wide to have a hearty meal, to reconnect with their small-town friends and family, to retell stories that include those that didn’t make it this year, to remember the simple moments that bring abundant joy. 


In two weeks, we’ll do it again at a dance in the community center.


While this time of year appeals to the senses, it is my favorite because it rekindles relationships between friends and reconnects people with the community. 


It’s also what inspired my upcoming release Hope Springs Harvest Days. Two childhood friends reconnect at a Harvest festival. Spoiler alert, there’s a happily ever after. 


I’ll close this month’s share by asking you to comment below: what are your favorite October traditions?


πŸ‚ πŸ‚  πŸ‚


Book Cover Hope Springs Harvest Days



Ginger has always been the small-town girl with a big heart and a healthy dose of sass to go along with it. When Owen left Hope Springs, he thought he shook off the dust of his small town beginnings. A weekend together brings Ginger and Owen together. The two childhood friends may need a map to navigate the maze of events to find the happily ever after everyone in Hope Springs knows they deserve. That is, if they’ll slow down and read the directions.  πŸ‚


|Visit the Amazon Store|


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