Saturday, February 25, 2023

February New Releases


February New Releases

Laura Scott

Cold Case Justice!

When Joy Munson confronts Detective Tarin Finnegan about reopening her brother’s case, she doesn’t expect to be shot at by an unknown assailant. And when the gunman strikes three more times in less than twenty-four hours, she and Tarin are forced to accept the truth. Her brother hadn’t committed suicide, he’d been murdered.

Tarin’s promise to keep Joy safe isn’t easy to keep. It seems as if the gunman knows their every move. Unwilling to trust anyone but his family, Tarin and Joy go completely off-grid. Uncovering the truth is just as difficult as ignoring their mutual attraction. Will they find justice for Joy’s brother, and a possible future for themselves, before it’s too late?

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Jean C. Gordon

She’s never had a champion before. She doesn’t need one now.

High school history teacher Becca Norton is too sensible to expect a fairy tale life with a knight in shining armor. But she never dreamed she’d be on her own, a divorced single mother fighting for her kids, her home, and her heart. The last thing she needs is a reformed bad boy on a vintage motorcycle “rescuing” her. And taking her breath away.

Motocross champion and local bad-boy-made-good Jared Donnelly is back in Paradox Lake. He’s here to give back to his hometown and polish up the tarnished Donnelly family name. With a motocross school to give needed guidance and encouragement to troubled kids like himself, he doesn’t have time for a romance with Becca. She was out of his reach in high school, and with the even more complications of single motherhood, she should be off limits now. Except he can’t deny the attraction when old flames fan hot. What starts as simple attraction becomes a complex battle for a happy ever after Jared never knew he wanted so bad.

Jared’s hitting too close to home for Becca, with the proximity of his school and the growing connection between Jared and her son. It doesn’t matter that Jared’s kindness to her and the kids melts her long-frozen heart. She can handle her life and family just fine. She should be pumping the breaks with him, especially considering the brewing trouble with her inlaws over custody of her kids and the bad blood with the Donnellys. No good can come of tangling with the town bad boy, no matter how much he’s reformed. Her heart, however, has other plans and is fighting for the happy ending and all the fairy tale feels love has to offer. How high will the price tag be, and is she ready to pay?

Could the best way for Jared to show his love for Becca be to walk away from her and Paradox Lake or to stay and fight—winner takes all? Find out in this engaging small-town sweet romance with a hint of historical family intrigue.

And More:

Merillee Whren

Millionaire Hudson Conrick doesn’t know what to make of Melody Hammond on their blind date. He’s used to women who chase after him because of his family name and fortune. So when she turns him down for a second date, he is more than curious about the pretty ministry director at The Village of Hope. His interest prompts him to make a bid on the women’s shelter expansion at The Village of Hope. When Conrick Construction wins the bid, he hopes he'll get to know her better.

He soon learns that Melody is a cautious person because of her painful past, and she wants no part of Hudson’s adventuresome life. Can he convince her that his reckless ways are behind him—and that he’s the perfect man for her?


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Friday, February 24, 2023

What's Your Craft by Pat Simmons

I wouldn't call myself a crafts person, although I sew, using patterns to guide me until my masterpiece is finished. These are a handful of the many garments I have sewn throughout the years. From simple--the yellow and gray plaid to the complex--the orange top dress where I combined two patterns to duplicate a fashion I saw online. 
For an African theme party, I made my outfit and husband's.

Craftsy people are visionaries. They see possibilities that aren't there. Their imaginations are mind-blowing, so after attending a craft workshop at the Christian Book Lovers Retreat last year, I thought I found a new hobby after creating this African headdress silhouette.

I was so wrong. I was hyped. I looked on Etsy for ideas like this one. Gorgeous. I could do this, I thought. Easy right?

Michael's Craft Store had a sale, and I went bargain hunting, grabbing supplies that would spark my creativity. That was over a month ago, and I'm still at the starting line.

I refuse to donate any of this stuff to a thrift store. I will get to it...I will get to it...I will get it done.

I do have an excuse. I'm on a writing deadline and sewing a new winter coat and other winter clothes before the season ends.

In my mind, these projects look easy, but we'll see. I need a pattern. I need instructions. I need a supervisor. LOL.

What started this was the Diva Lady hanging on my sister's front door. I thought to myself, I could do something like that. After all, I did create the African headdress with supervision. I'm thinking about starting from scratch.
Maybe I need something like a "paint by numbers" project, but I can see myself trying to doll it up and messing it up.

What about you? Are you crafty? I'll keep you posted on my progress if I finish them by the end of 2023.


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 the 2022 Leslie Esdaile Trailblazer Award recipient. 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

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Filipino names and phrases in NARROW ESCAPE by Camy Tang

I’m Japanese and my husband is Chinese, but I have several friends who are Filipino, which is why I decided to write a Filipino heroine for Narrow Escape. However, I had to do lots of research, especially for the character names.

I had a hard time coming up with the name of the Filipino drug gang in the book, but there are several real-life Filipino gangs who just use initials for their names. So I picked the phrase, laki sa layaw, which means “pampered while still young” in Tagalog (a Filipino dialect), and shortened it to the gang name, LSL. The phrase seemed appropriate for a young, tough, attitude-saturated gang of drug dealers.

I don’t actually know the meaning of Arissa’s last name, Tiong, but I liked it because it was easy to read and pronounce (sort of) for non-Filipino readers. :) Some of the Filipino surnames are really long and complicated to pronounce for an American like me!

Charity’s uncle is Johnny Capuno, is a captain in the LSL gang. I chose Johnny’s last name, Capuno, because it means “fellow leader” in Tagalog.

The Tiongs’ neighbor is Mrs. Tabil, and if you read the scene, you’ll find that the meaning of her last name is very appropriate. Tabil means “talkative” in Tagalog. :)

Nene, which Arissa uses often when speaking to her niece, Charity, is a term of endearment for young girls.

Now, aren’t you glad I didn’t pick something like Tukodlangit for Arissa’s last name? LOLOL

Do any of you come from a family with a neat ethnic name?

Sunday, February 19, 2023

Bird Watching Week by Merri Maywether

I have a designated writing area. It’s a desk in the corner of the basement with little distraction. This is where I have to admit that I spend most of my time in a recliner in front of the picture window. 

It has a view of the prairie, the Sweet Grass Hills, and the seasonal flora and fauna–occasionally, a vehicle drives by. 

Last weekend, the weather was nice enough for a walk. From my writer’s recliner, I noticed a lady walking down the road with her dog. 

I said something about her dog leaving the road and running through the barley stubble. 

Then the dog took to the air. 

It was not a dog. It was a crow that, from half a mile away, looked like it was the size of a black labrador. 

For the rest of the day, I was glued to the window, anticipating what I like to call the bird show. 

The Beauty of Birdwatching

Watching birds interact with nature is in itself relaxing. I’d never expected the fun that accompanies it.

For example, the sense of importance when I run to the store for seeds or the questions I play with in my mind.

Can birds feed themselves? Yes.

Do they like it when I buy them houses and plates and seeds? Their chirping tells me yes. 

The best is the feeling of interacting with nature. 

Annual Bird Watching Week. 

This week is the annual bird-watching week, but birdwatching is a fun activity that lasts all year long, brings immediate delight, and opens the door for some great discussions. 

In the days and weeks to come, people in our little slice of the world will post a picture of a bird they’ve seen, and the comment stream will go on for days. Some responses will share a tidbit of information about the species. Others will add other types of birds they’ve also seen.

We’ll talk about the kinds of seeds we’re putting in our feeders. 

People share links from websites with facts about the birds in the posts. 

Sometimes, they inspire stories. I give the birds backgrounds and dialogue that eventually makes it into a book.

So, with the weather warming, I suggest taking a gander out the front window or taking a respite in the backyard or a nearby park. Hopefully, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the ways nature, in the form of birds, will talk to you.

In addition to seeing crows and magpies, I've caught a glimpse of meadowlarks and an owl. Share in the comments what you are seeing in your neighborhood?


Welcome To Three Creeks, Montana

The characters in my Three Creeks series spend a lot of time exploring Montana. Several of the places they've visited and sights they've seen are actual locations in Big Sky Country.

Get Well Soon

Becca and her best friend Donovan have an agreement. If both of them are single when they’re forty, they will get married. Which is a good thing, because every guy Becca has dated has been a disappointment.

A lot more is at stake when Donovan proposes. He has to convince Becca that his feelings for her are real without telling her he’s the reason all the other guys bolted.

Welcome Home

Abigail Cahill is returning home, and she doesn’t know how to feel about it.

She left when she graduated from high school, promising herself she would never go back. However, when Abigail’s father leaves her the house as an inheritance, she is willing to give living in Three Creeks a second chance.

Home Sweet Home

Thanks to Abigail and Kent’s wedding, Hannah and Keane are thrown together, and an unusual friendship is formed. When they spend time together, Hannah shows Keane what he has been missing, and Keane teaches Hannah to avoid men like him.

Things get interesting in Three Creeks when Keane is tasked with the challenge of convincing Hannah to give him the chance he may not deserve.

The Three Creeks, Montana series is a good fit for readers who enjoy characters who are over 40, stories where friendships are strong, and can appreciate the quirks of small-town living.

For a limited time the first three books in the Three Creeks, Montana series is 99¢

Thursday, February 16, 2023

Kimberly Rose Johnson is Celebrating Valentine's Day With a 99 Cent Book

 Historically, Valentine's Day is not a holiday I enjoy. That being said, since writing my anti-Valentine's Day book, I've softened. 

My reason for disliking the day was I always tried to make it special, and my husband treated it like any other day. 

Can you relate?

Now that I've written A Love Song for Kayla, he's improved. We don't do gifts or cards, but we do try to acknowledge the day. We never go out on Valentine's Day, but somtime near the day we go out to lunch or dinner and say it's for Valentine's Day.

This casual approach to the day has taken away the expectations, and now I don't have a bad attitude.

In honor of Valentine's Day, I've reduced the price of A Love Song for Kayla ebook to 99¢ for this week only. The Sale ends Feb. 18, 2023. The book is free to read with Kindle Unlimited. 

Here's is a bit about A Love Song for Kayla

Kayla Russel hates Valentine's Day and has all but given up on finding love until a new guy to town walks into her flower shop right before her least favorite day of the year. There is something mysterious about him that intrigues her, but when she finds out the truth everything changes.

Get your copy today from Amazon or read the entire series in a convenient anthology.

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

 Every year I get to blog on Valentine's Day. It is a special day for me because it is also my wedding anniversary. My husband and I have been married for forty-seven years, and we are celebrating with long-time friends, whom we met not long after we were married and lived in a small town in Ohio. We have vacationed with them many times over the years. Recently, we took a trip with them going from our home in Arizona to Los Angeles and up the Pacific Coast Highway to Napa and home again with numerous stops along the way. During this trip we talked about a special trip for our 50th anniversary and a celebration of our 50 years of friendship. I hope we can make that happen.

Since my husband and I started married life in a small town in Ohio, I wanted to set a series in a small Ohio town. So I created Kellersburg. The town is a compilation of several small towns located near Cincinnati, Ohio, a place my characters often visit. Several books in the series have a scene in which the characters attend a Valentine's Day banquet. Here's an excerpt from Hometown Cowboy.

     Wyatt hobbled to keep up with Caroline as she charged toward their assigned table. He had done it again. Said way too much. What was there about her that made him second-guess himself right and left?
     Ever since he’d joined the rodeo circuit, women had trailed after him. They tried to impress him. Now he was trying to impress Caroline Keller without much success. She tolerated his presence because Nathan and Melanie had pushed Caroline and him together. He would have to make the best of the evening, despite her resistance.
     But hadn’t she just invited him to help her at the nursing home? He should take that as a good sign, but maybe her missionary instincts just kicked in as she tried to involve people in her do-good work. Actually she had already succeeded in getting him to do good. Nathan had mentioned how excited Maisey was when she’d learned about the scholarship. That knowledge warmed Wyatt’s heart. He wanted to do good. Maybe it would make up for all the bad he’d done when he was a surly kid.
     When Wyatt reached the table, he pulled out Caroline’s chair, and she looked at him with surprise.
     “Thanks.” Her surprise morphed into a smile as she settled on her chair. “George and Denise, I hear you’re going to be part of the couples’ game, along with Melanie and Nathan.”
     Denise laughed as she patted George’s arm. “I don’t know how we got roped into this, but we’re going to give it our best shot. I hear there’s a trophy that goes to the winners.”
     Caroline nodded. “It’s a doozy of a trophy, not one you’d display on your mantel. I’m not sure who made it, but it’s pretty cheesy.”
     A lively discussion about the couples’ game ensued, and Wyatt observed Caroline. She had a natural way with people that he envied. While he watched, his mind buzzed with his attraction to the banker’s daughter, someone he’d admired from a distance during his school years. Were they on a more equal footing now? He wanted her to know him as something more than the son of the town drunks, who had spent more time in the bars than at home.
     Did she think he’d never grown beyond that rotten kid who had taunted her on the way home from school? He had to show her he was different, but he’d gotten off to a dreadful start with his behavior in the nursing home. Thankfully, she didn’t know how he’d treated his grandparents while he’d been there. Things were good with them now. They were always willing to forgive, because they loved him. He would be forever grateful for that love.
     Wyatt wanted her to know the man behind the rodeo star, but he wasn’t sure that was possible. How could he show her when he wasn’t sure who he was? His identity had been all tied up in being a rodeo cowboy, and that had been taken away from him. So who was he now? Where was he headed? If he didn’t know the answer, there was little chance he could make Caroline see him differently.
As Wyatt pondered his plan of action, Ray Keller hopped onto the stage.
     “Good evening, everyone.” Ray waved the microphone in the air. “It’s good to see you all here tonight. Let’s get the evening started with a prayer of thanks for our food.”
     Wyatt bowed his head along with those around him. After Ray finished praying, he punched a button on a nearby machine. Soft background music floated through the air. Teenagers dressed in white shirts and black pants hurried through the room as they delivered salads to each table.
     While Wyatt ate his salad, his thoughts took him back to his first year on the circuit. He’d fallen hard for Shelby Pollard. He didn’t know why he was thinking about her tonight. Or maybe he did. The last time he’d worn a suit coat and tie was the last time he’d taken Shelby out to dinner. He’d been in love, but he’d been fooled. Maybe he was just a fool for love. He wasn’t in love with Caroline, but here he was entertaining romantic thoughts about her.
     Foolish thinking for sure!
     “You look lost in thought.” Nathan’s voice made Wyatt look in the other man’s direction.
Wyatt shook his head. “Just thinking about how long it’s been since I’ve worn this suit jacket. I didn’t have much use for it when I was on the circuit.”
     “I guess you’d look pretty silly wearing a suit coat while riding a bucking horse.” Caroline smiled at him. “Your tie would be flying.”
     With a chuckle, Wyatt glanced at Caroline, the image of a flying red tie tickling his thoughts. That image was better than the dreams he had about flying through the air himself and waking just before he hit the ground. He didn’t want to think about the bad dreams that haunted his sleep. He was here with Caroline, so he should be thinking happy thoughts, not remembering all the things that had brought him pain.
     “Do you miss the rodeo? How soon before you get to return?” Melanie asked, a sweet smile on her face.
     The question made Wyatt stop his fork halfway to his mouth. Yeah, he missed it, but he was never going back unless something changed. Talking about it only reminded him of what he had lost and could never get back.
     “Melanie, I guess you haven’t heard. Wyatt’s injury will keep him from returning to the rodeo.” Caroline’s gaze flitted between Wyatt and Melanie.
     Melanie’s brown eyes widened as she placed a hand on her chest. “I’m so sorry. I didn’t know. That has to be tough.”
     Yeah, tough. He should be tough and not let it bother him, but he couldn’t shake his desire to return to the rodeo. A broken dream. Could he find a new dream? He was lost in a desert of doubt about where his life was headed. Wyatt finally nodded but didn’t say a thing.
     Nathan patted Melanie’s arm. “Sweetheart, it’s a subject Wyatt doesn’t want to talk about.”
     A frown puckered Melanie’s brow. “I’m so sorry I mentioned it.”
     Wyatt placed his fork next to his empty salad plate. “Don’t worry about it. It’s something I have to get used to, but it’s not my favorite subject right now.”
     “Okay. Let’s talk about Caroline’s big move.” Melanie put on a perky expression.
     Wyatt glanced at Caroline as he narrowed his gaze. “You’re moving? You just got here.”
     Caroline chuckled. “I’m just moving out of my parents’ house and into the house I’m renting from Nathan.”
     “Yeah, I’m giving up my bachelor pad to move in with this lovely lady and her two rambunctious sons.” Nathan gave Melanie a peck on the cheek. “She makes the best Italian food this side of Italy.”
     Pink tinged Melanie’s cheeks as she gazed at Nathan. “You always say that.”
     “It’s true.” Nathan glanced around the table. “You should taste her manicotti.”
     “Does that mean we’re all invited over to your house for dinner after you get back from your honeymoon?” Caroline eyed Nathan.
     “Inviting yourself to dinner? Do you think that’s good form?” Nathan smirked.
     Melanie poked Nathan on the arm. “I think that’s a lovely idea. Be looking for an invitation.”
     Nathan put an arm around Melanie’s shoulders. “I was only teasing my sister. We’d be glad to have you all over. The boys will especially like it.”
     “Then we’ll plan on it.” Excitement lit up Melanie’s face.
     “You don’t have to include us.” Denise glanced around the table. “You young folks should get together.”
     “You should definitely be included. I love to entertain.” Melanie smiled. “And when I make one of my Italian dishes, I make enough to feed a lot of people.”
     George chuckled. “Well, in that case, we’ll have to come. We don’t want any food to go to waste.”
     “It will go to my waist.” Denise patted her stomach as she laughed.
     George leaned over and kissed his wife on the cheek. “You look marvelous to me, dear.”
     Denise blushed. “He’s so sweet.”
     Wyatt took in his grandparents’ exchange. Why hadn’t he ever noticed how much they loved each other? Maybe because he’d been self-absorbed as a kid and even as an adult when he made his biannual trek to Kellersburg while he’d been on the circuit. He’d like to share a love like that with a special woman.
     His gaze slid to Caroline, who laughed at something Melanie had said. Caroline fascinated him more than he’d like to admit. Besides being pretty, she’d been willing to give up her cushy life in Kellersburg to help those less fortunate in a foreign country. What did it take to do that? He wanted to find out.
What would it take to capture her interest?
     Wyatt shook the question away. He’d asked himself that question too often lately. He didn’t need to go there. His life was in turmoil. He shouldn’t add a romantic interest to the mix.
     “I hear you’re going to be part of the entertainment tonight.” Caroline’s statement brought Wyatt’s crazy thoughts to a halt.
     Wyatt looked at Nathan. “How does she know about this?”
     “It seems that my sweet wife-to-be can’t keep a secret, but she doesn’t know the whole story.”    Nathan smiled wryly as he patted Melanie’s arm. “So we’re good.”
     Wyatt didn’t know how he’d let Nathan rope him into joining his uncle’s chorus, but it would probably be fun to see the look on Caroline’s face when it took place.
Before anyone else could comment, the servers whipped away the salad plates and replaced them with the entrée.
     “You know, even though this is good, Melanie makes it better.” Nathan cut a piece of his chicken parmesan.
     Melanie smiled at Nathan. “If you keep bragging on me, they’ll all be disappointed when they come for dinner.”
     Nathan shook his head. “Never. You will wow them with your cooking.”
     “I can hardly wait to see these two lovebirds in the couples’ competition,” Caroline said.
     “We’ll only have a chance if all the questions are food related.” Melanie gestured toward Denise and George. “I don’t know how we can compete against people who have been married for over fifty years.”
     George chuckled as he shook his head. “You might have a good chance. I think I’ve forgotten almost everything I know about Denise. My brain just doesn’t recall things so well these days. She keeps telling me that my favorite word is doohickey, because I can’t remember what something is called.”
     “Just don’t call me your doohickey.” Denise chuckled.
Everyone at the table laughed, and Wyatt joined in. It felt good to laugh and share this time with his grandparents and the others at the table, especially Caroline. They were surely destined for some kind of connection, but where it would lead was a huge question. Was he brave enough to find out the answer?
     As the meal continued, Wyatt sat listening to the conversation buzzing around him. He thought about how he had a lot of amends to make, especially to his grandparents.
     “You’re awfully quiet. Are you finding the company boring?” Caroline’s voice was barely above a whisper as she leaned closer.
     Trying to keep his voice as low as hers, he took in her concerned expression. “No. Just have a lot on my mind.”
     “You’re supposed to be enjoying yourself, not saving the world.”
     He gave her a wry smile. “And how do you know that’s what I’m trying to do?”
     “You look awfully serious.”
     “I’m a serious person.”
     “Hmm. I never thought of you that way.”
     “So you’ve been thinking about me?” He smirked.
     A pink tinge slowly crept across Caroline’s cheeks. She straightened in her chair. “Yes, I’ve been praying for your successful recovery. The extent of your injuries has caused me to think about you quite a bit.”
     “You mean it’s not my considerable charm that has you thinking about me?”
     “Are you fishing for compliments?”
     Wyatt grinned. She knew how to flirt. She surprised him, and he liked that. “Maybe.”
     “Sorry. I’m fresh out.”
     Wyatt laughed out loud. “That puts me in my place.”
     Caroline grimaced. “I didn’t mean for it to come out like that. That wasn’t very nice.”
     “No offense taken. I kind of like sparring with you, Caroline Keller.”
     Caroline’s cheeks pinkened again as she stared at him. “I should behave myself.”
     “Wow! Caroline is misbehaving. You’ve got my interest.”
     Caroline huffed. “Quit teasing me.”
     “But it’s so fun.”
     “You win.” Caroline let out a sorry chuckle.
     “Good. What do I win?”
     Caroline gave him an exasperated look. “What do you want to win?”
     “What do I want to win?” Wyatt’s smile grew mischievous. “That’s a dangerous question, but I’ll come up with an answer and let you know.”
     “Caroline, you’re in trouble now.” Nathan chuckled.
     “Have you been eavesdropping on our conversation?” Caroline shot Nathan an annoyed look.
     “Just looking out for my little sister. I wouldn’t want some cowboy to come along and take advantage.”
     Caroline gave her brother an annoyed look. His statement was all too close to the truth of why she hadn’t returned to the mission field. But Nathan didn’t know anything about that. No one did. She just had to put it out of her mind. “Okay, you two. You’ve had your fun.”
     “Not nearly enough. The fun has just begun.”
     Caroline’s frown deepened. “What are you guys up to?”
     Nathan winked at Caroline. “Wouldn’t you like to know?”
     “Yes, I would.” Caroline looked at Melanie for help. “Do you know what’s going on?”
     Melanie shrugged. “Something. All I know is they’re singing later.”
     Caroline sighed. “Okay. I can wait to find out.”
     Wyatt laughed along with Nathan. “She says that, but I know she’s dying of curiosity.”
     While the two men chuckled, the teens whisked away the dinner plates and served the strawberry shortcake.
     Caroline took a big bite. “This is delicious.”
     “But Melanie makes—”
     “It better.” Caroline finished the sentence for her brother, and everyone at the table laughed.
     While they ate dessert, Ray Keller once again took the stage. “Okay, ladies and gentlemen, in a few minutes we’ll have our couples’ competition, and after that, we’ll get on with the singing. We’ve got some talented people who are going to entertain us tonight. I want you to welcome our MC for the evening, Seth Finley.”
     Applause filled the room as Seth took the stage and commandeered the microphone. “Good evening, everyone. I hope you’ve had your fill of the delicious food and you’re ready to cheer on our contestants in the couples’ competition.”
     Again applause filled the room as the couples made their way to the stage and the chairs set up for them. They joked with each other as they took their seats. Wyatt’s heart filled with pride as he watched his grandparents. He wished he’d been more attentive during the years he’d been away riding broncs and wrestling steers. They had made a home for him when his parents hadn’t cared.
     Caroline clapped enthusiastically. “Your grandparents are so cute together.”
     “They do make a great couple.” Wyatt gazed at Caroline and wondered whether he could persuade her to take a chance on him. An excellent thought, but highly unlikely. “So who’s going to win? My grandparents or your brother and his bride-to-be?”
     “I’m thinking your grandparents.”
     “Me, too.” Wyatt smiled. “Great minds think alike.”
     “Thank you for recognizing that I have a great mind.”
     “You’re welcome. You do.” Among other lovely attributes.
     The competition started as the men were escorted to one of the Sunday school classrooms, while Seth asked questions of the ladies. After the men returned, they had to answer the same questions. Laughter filled the room over some of the responses from the men that didn’t match what their wives had said. Then the ladies were escorted offstage while the men answered questions. Several rounds ensued, with Seth asking the questions and his wife, Elise, keeping score.
     “Seth sounds like a professional MC,” Wyatt whispered.
     “That’s because he worked as a cruise director for a number of years. That’s where Elise met him.”
     “The Love Boat?”
     “Not quite.” Caroline leaned closer. “Seth broke Elise’s heart, but he realized he still loved her and moved here just to win her back. Just a wonderful love story.”
     Wyatt thought about the love story he’d like to create with Caroline. His mind was on one track tonight—a track that he feared led to nowhere. And even before it got to nowhere, he was sure she would derail the idea. But he could hope…
     When the competition ended, Denise and George held the trophy high while everyone applauded. As they returned to the table, they were all smiles. Nathan and Melanie congratulated their opponents.
Nathan held out the chair for Melanie. “We may not have won, but at least I know I’m not completely ignorant when it comes to knowing my future wife. Just two more weeks. The wedding can’t come soon enough.”
     “It’ll be here before you know it.” Caroline glanced from Nathan to Melanie.
     “And speaking of the wedding, Caroline, you’ll need to give Mom, Dad, and Wyatt a ride to the airport,” Nathan said.
     “I will?”
     “Yeah. Wyatt here won’t be able to drive for a while.” Nathan nodded.
     Wyatt gave Caroline an apologetic look. “Yeah. Sorry you’re going to be stuck with me.”
     “I don’t mind as long as you don’t throw any rocks or call me names.”
Wyatt laughed, hoping she was just joking. “I think I can manage that. I’ve outgrown my rock-throwing and name-calling days.”
     “Good to hear.”
     Seth tapped on the microphone to get everyone’s attention again. “Okay, folks, we have a treat for you tonight. Carl Keller and his band of merry men will perform a special song. Give a big round of applause for them as they take the stage.”
     Wyatt followed Nathan and several other men to the stage. Wyatt grabbed a guitar that sat off to the side and pulled the strap over his head. He was looking forward to this little surprise for Caroline. He smiled as Caroline’s uncle Carl took the microphone.
     Carl looked at his fellow singers. “You guys all ready for this?”
     A chorus of yeses filled the air.
     “Since we’re all ready, we have a special surprise for my niece, Caroline. She’s been away on the mission field, and we’d like to welcome her home with our rendition of ‘Sweet Caroline.’”
The melodious instrumental introduction to the familiar song sounded through the room. As the men gathered around the two standing microphones, the attendees clapped to the song. Wyatt took in Caroline’s reaction, his heart beating in double time to the music. She laughed and cried at the same time as Melanie hugged her.
     As the song came to a close, applause erupted. Then Carl stepped to the microphone. “Okay, everyone, we’re going to do that chorus one more time and give a resounding welcome home to our own sweet Caroline.”
     Voices raised the song, and Caroline cried and laughed some more as she waved and voiced her thank-yous as she threw kisses to the crowd. Wyatt wished he were on the receiving end of a real kiss.    He didn’t know why he kept torturing himself with such thoughts.
     When the song ended for the second time, everyone cheered and clapped. Wyatt smiled in her direction, and she smiled back as their gazes met. Her smile took his breath away. He loved that this was truly a surprise and that she appreciated the sentiment behind the song and those who sang it. Her family, her church, and the whole community obviously loved her. Wyatt wanted a part of that.

I hope you enjoyed the excerpt and look for the books in the Kellersburg series. You can find information by tapping on the link. 

The folks in Kellersburg enjoy a fun Valentine banquet each year. Do you have anything special that you do for 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.

Sunday, February 12, 2023

The Hand-Me-Down Husband by Vickie McDonough


Ellen aims to take her deceased sister’s baby back to St. Louis to raise as her own. But Tessa's father has other ideas.

Ellen Stewart despises Lance Garrett. If not for him dashing into Isabelle’s life and stealing her heart and filling her head with his dreams, her little sister would still be alive and safe at home. When Ellen receives Lance’s letter requesting help with one-year-old Tessa, she rushes to Silver Springs, intent on taking charge of her young niece. A rugged ranch in the wilds of Texas is no place for a motherless baby.

But when she realizes how distraught Lance is over the loss of his wife and the depth of his love for his daughter, she can’t take Tessa from him—but neither can she leave. Though everything within her wants to flee back to the comfortable big city, something makes her stay. Tessa needs her father, for one—and he needs her. Ellen knows what it’s like to lose all she’d dreamed of.

When local townsfolk make a stink about Ellen living at Lance’s ranch unchaperoned, will they be forced to marry? Ellen doesn’t want a hand-me-down husband who could never love her, but could this marriage be God’s will for them both?

Amazon Review:

I loved it, great plot, romance and great characters, loved it all. I loved how her Dad ended up changing for the better too!  Indie28

The Hand-Me-Down Husband is a heart-warming novella that sells for just $2.99. Free on KU. Amazon 

Sample from the book:

    Ellen gazed across the empty depot, feeling abandoned. Where was Lance? Surely her brother-in-law wouldn’t simply give her Tessa and then leave. She’d prepared herself for a fight—prayed God would give her the courage needed. Lance had sounded despondent in the three letters he’d sent, which said he couldn’t care for Tessa and the ranch. He needed her help. So she had come—for Tessa’s sake.
    Her niece started fidgeting. Ellen didn’t know what to do. She’d never taken care of a young child. She’d been only four when Issie was Tessa’s age. She bounced her knee, hoping to distract her from whatever was upsetting her.           “What’s the matter, sweetie?” 
    The girl gazed up at her with an odd expression. Did she remind Tessa of her mother? Lance had said Ellen resembled her sister, but Issie had medium brown hair that turned golden in the summer sunlight, while her own hair was a plain dark brown. Issie had a lively, bubbly personality, while hers was quieter. Ellen liked to think things through rather than jumping right into the fire and being sorry later that she’d gotten scorched.
    Brushing a wisp of Tessa’s silky hair out of her face, she leaned over and kissed her niece’s head, feeling a motherly sensation she’d never before experienced. “Don’t you worry, sweetheart. I’ll find a way to get you out of this puny town. You’ll love living in St. Louis.”
    A strangled sound drew Ellen’s gaze to her left, and her heart jolted. Lance stood three feet away with a fierce scowl on his face. “Tessa isn’t going anywhere except back to the ranch.”

Vickie McDonough is the CBA, EPCA and Amazon best-selling author of 54 Christian romance books and novellas.

Saturday, February 11, 2023

My top romance movies to stream for February by Josie Riviera

 Although this is a writer's blog, we also love to read.

And, many of us also love to watch movies.

Valentine's Day is February 14th, and the following is a list, in no specific order, of my 14 favorite movies to stream this month. All are light and romantic. 

Many thanks to Southern Savers for inspiring this list.

1.  Breakfast At Tiffany's

2.  An Affair to Remember

3.  Gone with the Wind

4.  The Princess Bride

5.  Sleepless in Seattle

6.  Sixteen Candles

7.  When Harry Met Sally

8.  While You Were Sleeping

9.  The Wedding Planner

10. A Walk To Remember

11. My Best Friend's Wedding

12. You've Got Mail

13. Sweet Home Alabama

14. The Lake House

Do you have any favorite romantic movies you enjoy? Please add in the comment section below.

I have two sweet Valentine romances on 99 cent Kindle Countdowns: (US only.)

The first book is: I Love You More.

★★ Do you love second-chance romances? Fall in love with sweet, clean, and wholesome romance. The setting is beautiful Charleston. This book is filled with delightful characters and brimming with Valentine joy. A Happily-Ever-After is guaranteed!★★

This book also explores international adoption.

Sale ends on February 11th so grab your copy of I Love You More today.

The second book on a 99 cent Kindle Countdown is: A Valentine To Cherish.

★★ If you love clean and wholesome inspirational romance, don’t miss out. This sweet, small-town story is filled with delightful, captivating characters. Their perseverance and faith in God will warm your heart! ★★

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

A Valentine To Cherish is on a 99 cent Kindle Countdown beginning February 12th, so don't forget to grab your copy.

Both books are available in ebook, paperback, large print paperback, hardcover, and audiobook.

Josie Riviera is a USA Today bestselling author of contemporary, historical, and inspirational romances that read like Hallmark movies. She lives in the Charlotte, NC, area with her wonderfully support husband. They share their home with an adorable Shih Tzu, who constantly needs grooming, and live in an old house forever needing renovation.

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

Thursday, February 9, 2023

The Month of Love.... by Christine Bush


It’s February!  The month of love.  Our books are such a good celebration of this!

Love comes in all forms.  My stories always include that happy ever after romantic love that brings joy.

But also, my characters often have a love for animals.  This can be the pets they own and cherish, along with the rescue pets they may be committed to save.  Pet love is personally special to me, so it’s a natural part of my stories.

I’m including here a series of sweet romance novellas that highlight both a heartwarming relationship developing between two people, working within that “pet theme”.  All are available in print and ebook! Are you a pet person like me?

I’d love to hear your story!


Hannah’s Heart

Hannah is a mobile physical therapist and her grouchy (though attractive) patient in an isolated farm house is a challenge. She’s not sure he even has a heart.  But then he rescues puppies born in his deserted barn during a snow storm, and she’s hooked.  Animals are her thing.  She spends many volunteer hours at the local shelter, trying to save pets… This one has love and laughter and healing… and puppies galore!


Hannah's Heart - Kindle edition by Bush, Christine. Romance Kindle eBooks @

Lucy’s Laugh

Lucy teaches English at an alternative high school in Philadelphia, dedicates her extra time to coaching sports at the school and community center, and volunteers at a special horse facility that provides adaptive riding experiences for handicapped children.  When a brand new teacher is hired at school, she’s supposed to help him get acclimated. But he rejects her help at first, unable to believe there is anything he can’t handle.  Giant fail. There is something about him that doesn’t seem right. But she sees he has a heart for the kids, and even tries to help at the horse barn, though he doesn’t know one end of a horse from the other.  When she learns how their pasts are tied together, she panics. But the heart wants what it wants. This one highlights the amazing horses and trainers that bring the empowering gift of riding to people with all kinds of challenges.

Lucy's Laugh - Kindle edition by Bush, Christine. Romance Kindle eBooks @

Kelly’s Kiss

Kelly likes dogs better than she likes people.  They are more dependable, more predictable, and a lot less complicated.  She is a specialized dog fostering service, handling the year old dogs that were originally scheduled to be trained as support dogs for veterans and for the handicapped. Support dogs spend their first  puppy year being socialized and trained in basic family life.  Though many enter into the program, after a year or so they are evaluated, and for a multitude of reasons, some are not selected for further training. But they are still necessary helpers, and can be matched for certain duties. When a training families doesn’t choose to keep their pet, Kelly’s job is to place them in a suitable forever home.  When a big, bossy veteran who’s been denied a service dog shows up at her door determined to adopt one of her charges, she’s not about to agree. At least, not at first.  Kelly’s got her own secret issues with post traumatic stress, and when the issues he tries to keep secret also come to light, they understand each other in a special way. This one celebrates our handicapped veterans, and service dogs of all types, who bring miracles into the lives of the humans they love.

Kelly's Kiss: A sweet romance novella - Kindle edition by Bush, Christine. Romance Kindle eBooks @

Check them out and let me know what you think!  And Happy Valentine’s Day to you, your  human loves, and your special pets!  Love is good!

Love, Christine

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!