Thursday, November 30, 2023

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


What’s the author to do? To think? 

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

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

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

For my holiday story, Mavis’s Forever Christmas ,I had provided a future hero for Mavis at the end of the previous book, Ellie’s Forever Family. But when I began to work on the new manuscript, Mavis rejected him. And insisted that she had someone different in mind. I was flummoxed. But I had learned by then just to give in to my character. I let her have the man she wanted. Why not?


A later in life hero and heroine join forces to help an expectant mom and a stray mama dog and her pups~

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

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

Holidays and Family - Laura Scott


Holidays and Families by Laura Scott

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and are (like me) looking ahead to Christmas. The best thing about the holidays is being with family. 

Oh, I know sometimes families can be trying. But with larger families like ours it's one of the few times we are all together. And that is truly something to celebrate!

One of our family traditions is to play games. There are so many of us now, with kids being married with spouses that we sometimes have two or three games going at one time. 

So tell me, what are some of your family traditions? Inquiring minds want to know. 

Speaking of families, if you've read my Finnegan First Responders series you know these books are all about family. And the last book in the series, Christmas Crisis will be available on Dec. 5th. (The ebook and audiobook is already for sale on my website.)

The Finnegans discover they are cousins of the Callahans. And the Callahan siblings help the Finnegans throughout the series. In Christmas Crisis, Elly, the youngest Finnegan brings both families together in a Christmas Day reunion. Don't miss the exciting conclusion to the Finnegan First Responders series!

Christmas Crisis by Laura Scott $3.99

Walking the line between danger and love!

Active Shooter at the Christmas parade…

EMT Elly Finnegan instinctively jumps into the line of danger when a gunman opens fire at the Christmas parade. Despite hating the sight of blood, she acts exactly as she’s trained to do. Tactical officer Joe Kingsley is there, too and they work together to save lives. But when more shots are taken near her home, Elly and Joe realize the danger is far from over.

Joe promises Elly’s brother Rhy that he’ll protect the youngest Finnegan sibling with his life. But as danger stalks them, it proves a difficult promise to keep. This shooter wasn’t your typical rage filled young man—this guy had a cold and deadly purpose. And it was up to Joe and the rest of the tactical team to uncover his motive before he strikes again. Can Joe keep Elly safe so she can celebrate her Christmas family reunion with the Callahans?

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Cheryl St.John: Making Crafts vs Gathering Craft Items

I have learned the hard way that buying and storing craft items is a completely different hobby than actually making the crafts. A while back I realized I would never crochet again, so I gave yarn, hooks and patterns to my daughter and granddaughter. At 13 my granddaughter Elli could crochet better than I ever did in my whole life. She's selling things she's made next weekend at a homeschool craft fair.

Last summer our grandson returned from Texas to stay with us for a while, and I did a crazed declutter of my so-called craft room in order to fit in a bed, wardrobe, two desks and his stuff. All those totes of things I’d been planning to do “someday” had to go. Letting go was a relief. I don’t feel guilty about not making them anymore.

Not to worry about my creativity though. I still have remaining projects that I will actually do. I have a couple cases of wine glasses to paint, small jars to hold salves, spice containers to hold seasonings, a rather large storage container for making and repairing jewelry, a small tote for making pumpkins from sweater sleeves, and supplies for collages.

Every year I make my own old-fashioned Valentines with paper doilies, copies of vintage Valentines I print and cut, jewels and little flowers and heart-shaped buttons. Last evening I sat and clipped wire Christmas tree hangers into smaller pieces and made tiny hangers for the tiny ornaments that go on my tiny trees.
What craft projects do you enjoy and actually accomplish?

I have 2-in1 reissue of two of my best selling western romances releasing December 5th. Dutch Country Brides will be available to purchase or read in Kindle Unlimited. Here's the info:

Enjoy this compilation of two of Cheryl St.John's most beloved books in one volume. Previously published individually as HEAVEN CAN WAIT and RAIN SHADOW, Jakob and Anton Neubauer find the road to wedded bliss rocky and full of twists and turns.


Jakob needs a wife. A farmer needs a helpmate and–it’s better to marry than to burn. The beautiful young woman in the bakery is the most fascinating person he’s ever met, and he wastes no time asking her to marry him.

Lydia has dreamed of life outside her strict community. Words like ‘handsome’ are worldly, but the fair-haired Outsider sets her heart—and her world on fire. Leaving all that’s familiar behind, she chooses the strapping suntanned farmer. Jakob soon questions his ability to replace all she’s forfeited and prove himself worthy. He offers love, but will she ever fit into his world?

“HEAVEN CAN WAIT was like a special gift.” – author Liz Flaherty

The exotic Lakota princess Rain Shadow’s proud confidence was appealing, but rare glimpses of vulnerability draw Anton even more surely. As a star attraction in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, she was unforgettable. If only he’d met her before his heart had turned to stone. But fate, two little boys and two old men conspire to keep them together, and it’s too late for denial once love is part of the equation.


Raised by the Lakota Sioux and traveling with the Wild West Show, Rain Shadow won't settle for les than making a name for herself. She is unprepared for a forced stay at the home of Anton Neubauer while her son recuperates. He is a rock, a man who has lived on and farmed the same several hundred acres since he was young.

“…a beautifully moving novel by an author who knows how to create sympathetic characters.” 

                                                                                             – Affaire de Coeur


Western Romance

Sunday, November 26, 2023

A few thoughts on gratitude

With Thanksgiving just behind us, this may be an appropriate time to admit it: I am not always thankful. This year came with many unwanted challenges, which is why I haven't blogged for some time. When my husband died suddenly in April, much of my light went out, and I found it difficult to summon enthusiasm even for the parts of my life that have always brought me joy. 

Time and the peace of God are healing and I'm finding my voice again. I am also remembering all the reasons I have to be thankful. Here, in no particular order, are a few.

1.  I am thankful for the freedoms I enjoy: freedom of conscience; the freedom to speak my truth and to write of what matters to me; the right I exercised to choose my own companion, family size, education, and career; my free choice to live where and how I wish.

2.  I am thankful for the peace of God that passes all understanding, that gives us the courage to keep going when life throws those unexpected curves.

3.  Family and friends have been here to help when I felt like I couldn't take another step forward, and I'm grateful for each of them.

4.  I'm thankful for the big things like shelter, healthful food, clean water, and comfortable surroundings.

5.  I also appreciate the little things that bring smiles to each day: sunrises and sunsets; bluebirds and blueberries; daffodils and daisies; puppies and kittens and the giggles of babies. 

6.  In the years since I suddenly became lactose intolerant, I truly appreciate non-dairy substitutes for ice cream. 

7.  I'm thankful for the neighbor who faithfully took out my garbage every week when I couldn't take it out myself, and I will always be grateful for the people who helped me move across two states only weeks after Roger's death.

8.  New babies are God's vote that the world should continue, and I'm grateful for each one that has come into our family including a grandson born a month before his grandpa died and a great-granddaughter due next Valentine's Day.

9.  I'm thankful for music and movies, good books that make me think and fun books that make me dream, and I always appreciate a good, clean joke.

10. I'm unendingly grateful for the storytellers throughout time who have given us histories, myths, and legends, movies, songs, poems, and other art forms that have continued the storytelling tradition. 

Mostly, my friends, I am grateful for all of you who read and encourage others to read. May your coming year be blessed.

Friday, November 24, 2023

A Family of Twins by Pat Simmons

There was a recent article about whether twins lived longer.  I don't believe and I have my own research to prove it.

My grandmother, Jessie, was a twin, but I always forgot because she had a fraternal twin, Louis. Growing up, I thought if they weren’t the same sex or looked exactly alike, they couldn’t possibly be twins. Ah, the mind of a child.

In grade school, there were two sets of twins in my class, Brenda and Linda, and Verlene and Willene. One set could easily be distinguished because of their features or skin tone.

Then in high school, there was Karen and Sharon. Since they attended separate colleges, Sharon and I became roommates. People thought we were twins.

When my great-grandmother, Minerva, passed away, I started my family research because no one seemed to know her exact age. To set the record straight, Grandma Wade was ninety-seven years old.

I found her parents and was surprised to see she had younger twin brothers, Ellis and Louis. Hmm, I guess my uncle was named after his uncle. Then I tracked down my great-grandmother’s mom, Nellie. Guess what? She was a twin to Solomon and among eleven children. My great-grandmother was named after her grandmother Minerva.

Surprisingly, no one in my family knew this stuff. Oh, I have a cousin, Birda, who has twins, Terrence and Michael. So that ended the trail on my father’s mom's side.

On my father’s dad's side, he had a first cousin, Henry, who had two sets of twin daughters. I believe one set died.

Take a deep breath…. Ready for more?

On my mother’s side, she had older twin sisters, Gerline and Christine, who died at six months of whooping cough years before she was born.

My mother’s next oldest sister, Edith’s grandson, Tim, has a set of twins.

That comes down to my family. Nope. We have a son and daughter, not twins…. But my husband can boast a little. His first cousin, John, has a set of twins, Jessica and Jennifer. So I'm the winner!

What is the probability of my son and daughter having twins whenever they get married? According to another article I stumbled upon, parents can expect to deliver more twins in the future.

That’s all I got, folks.

What about you? Do you have any twins in your family, or do you know twins?


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 over twenty years. Visit her at


Fall in love this Christmas season with my newest release, Christmas Takeover

The next generation of the Jamiesons want to make this the best Christmas celebration ever. Presents

aren't required. With the help of their Robnett cousins, sisters Kami and Victoria are creating traditional and new dishes for their family. What's not on the menu is romance. But the holidays are the perfect time to fall in love. Who can resist, and who is willing to take the chance? Enjoy this holiday novella.

Also, enjoy some of my past favorites.

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Lyn Cote's Last Bargain Book or Books for 2023! 4 for 99C!



“Outstanding romances with mystery!” 

“Each book in this series has been delightful.” 

Sparks fly between opposites in this unputdownable complete series! As they face shadowy mysteries, four couples join forces to overcome challenges — and find life-changing love along the way. A page-turning collection filled with romance, suspense, and faith. 

Book 1 Only Her Heart-An all-business computer genius and his sweet hardworking executive assistant duel with a nasty hacker who is endangering innocent lives. Will they stop him before someone dies? 

Book 2 The Heart Hopes-He’s a small town DA, disgruntled with the pretty teacher responsible for his hung jury. She insists her lone “not guilty” vote was right and finds she must prove him wrong. Or she’ll have to leave town and the little boy who needs her help, his son. Will she succeed?

Book 3 Two Hearts Denied-A fresh out of law school heroine with a secret, a hardened detective and a missing person case. She believes her lifelong friend has been kidnapped. He believes the man has abandoned his wife and twin little boys. Who will be proved right?

Book 4 A Heart of Stone-A baby girl’s future hangs in the balance and sparks a heart-rending mystery~Why Cash’s only sister willed guardianship of her baby girl to her best friend instead of him.

“What a scenario for a custody battle. Expected a different kind of mystery. Was surprised but certainly not disappointed. Kept me on the edge of my seat at times following Jane, Angie, and Cash as they struggled with their new reality. Jane leaned on God for guidance while Cash depended on himself. Could they work things out for Angie's best?”

Click here for more info or to purchase. ONLY 99 CENTS 

Chopsticks and knitting with Camy

Hahahahaha! My husband, Captain Caffeine sent me this cartoon. The Asian and the knitter in me loves this one:


My parents taught me to use chopsticks at an early age so they’re pretty comfortable for me. Did you know there are differences between Japanese and Chinese chopsticks? The Chinese ones tend to be blunter and more slippery whereas the Japanese ones are pointier and sometimes have a textured tip to make it easier to grab food. My mom will eat salad with a chopstick, which I have to admit is a bit easier than a fork, for me.

Any of you knit? Any of you use chopsticks?

Monday, November 20, 2023

Thanksgiving & Fav Mac & Cheese Recipe by Janice Lynn

Mondays are my day off work from my 'day' job so I pulled out my recipes and made my grocery shopping list so I could knock that off my 'to do' list. On Thanksgiving day, we go to my husband's family, where I'll be bringing a couple of desserts and then to my parents' home for dinner where I'm bringing ham, sweet potato casserole, and macaroni and cheese. On Friday, I'll be cooking at my house for my family and the other side of my husband's family-turkey, ham, mac & cheese, sweet potato casserole, squash casserole, green beans, deviled eggs, and rolls. For dessert, we're having pumpkin pie and cake. That's a lot of carbs, eh? I'm usually pretty good about that, but Thanksgiving is definitely a cheat day for me. :) So, I'm at the grocery store. It's super crowded today. I finally have all the items on my list and am in line to pay with quite a few items on the conveyor belt when it hits me that I didn't get anything to inject the turkey with. (My husband smokes the turkey but injects it with this yummy Cajun butter stuff). With so much stuff already out of the cart, I realize that I'm going to have to pay, put my stuff in the car, then go back in to fight the crowd so I can grab the turkey injector stuff, and then stand in line again. Ugh. What happened next is why I'm writing this post. I look up and see my mom pushing a cart near one of the endcaps. She hasn't seen me, so I say her name. She looks up and smiles. As she's still shopping, I tell her what I forgot as I'm still unloading items from my cart and on to the conveyor belt and ask Mom if she'll pick up a bottle and I will get it and pay her for it on Thursday. Wouldn't you know that she rushes off and goes to grab a bottle for me while I'm still in line and gets back with it prior to my checking out? It struck me how blest I am to have my mama and how even though I'm my age, she still comes to my rescue on a regular basis.  Both my parents do, really, but today, in the grocery store while doing my Thanksgiving shopping, it was my mama who wore the superhero cape.

As the holidays approach, there are many things I am grateful for and family is at the top of that list. As I stress making sure I have everything I need for the various meals/get-togethers, today was a good reminder of what it's really about, appreciating being together and how truly blest we really are.

I hope each of you have an amazing week filled with wonderful things to be grateful for-friends, family, delicious food, good health, etc. 

I'm going to share my favorite Mac & Cheese recipe. This is a go-to for me for pot-lucks and family gatherings and is so easy to make. I usually boil the macaroni the night before, put it in large ziploc bag, toss it with the oil, and store in the refrigerator until the following morning when I'm ready to put it in the crock pot. If you do this, add an extra hour to your crock-pot cooking time as your starting with cold noodles rather than hot ones. :)

Crock Pot Mac & Cheese

16 ounces Elbow Macaroni

3 tablespoons of Vegetable Oil

1 16 ounce block of Velveeta

1 stick of butter

1 cup of milk

2 cans of Evaporated milk

Boil the macaroin per the package directions. Drain. Put in container and toss with oil. Once lightly coated with oil, add your macaroni to your crockpot. Cut your Velveeta into chunks. Add chunked Velveeta, butter, milk, and evaporated milk. Stir this well. Cover. Stir again occasionally and add additional milk if/as needed to achieve desired creaminess. Cook on low for 2 hours. Serve. 

You can cut recipe in half if needed. You can add salt or pepper to taste preferences. I don't, but I know some folks like their mac & cheese peppered. I've been known to sprinkle shredded colby-jack cheese across the top prior to serving, but that's just because I like super cheesy mac & cheese. 

If you're in the mood for more yummy recipes, be sure to check out the ones in the back of my Hallmark Publishing Wrapped Up in Christmas books.

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.  The WRAPPED UP IN CHRISTMAS books are available at AMAZON Barnes & Noble WALMART & many other place where you buy books. WRAPPED UP IN CHRISTMAS LOVE is coming Christmas 2024.

Sunday, November 19, 2023

Puppies For Christmas will Be Here Soon

What happens when four romance authors talk about writing a story with Christmas and dogs?

We get a month of 

🎉Sweet Holiday Reads


🎉Holiday Love

🎉Happily Ever Afters

Here’s what you can look forward to seeing:

November 21st 

Puppy Love and Christmas Joy by Merrillee Whren 

When Ella Hayden and her six-year-old daughter Joy move to Hallburg, Maryland, little do they know that a chance encounter with her cousin's old flame, Tony Zanetti, and a playful puppy will set the stage for an unexpected and heartwarming romance.

November 28th

Mistletoe Mischief by Merri Maywether

As Charlotte and Rex bond over their adopted dogs, Louis and his furry companion bring them closer than they ever expected, making them question if there's something more profound beneath their friendship, just in time for the holiday season.

December 5th

Cocoa’s Christmas Love by Josie Riviera

In the enchanting backdrop of Evergreen Valley, a florist's Wishing Blooms ceremony, a rescued pup named Cocoa, and the magic of Christmas rekindle a disillusioned photographer's holiday spirit, leading to a heartwarming journey of hope, love, and second chances.

December 12th 

The Holiday Puppy by Roxanne Rustand

As Lucy Brookes embarks on a quest to fulfill a lifelong dream and finds a lost pup on Waikiki Beach, she unexpectedly encounters danger and a chance at love, but when her pursuit of the puppy's owner leads to a deadly threat, her adventure takes a perilous turn.

📚 Preorder our heartwarming books for 99¢ each, making your holiday season even more magical.


Mistletoe Mischief is my contribution to the Puppies For Christmas Stories. 

I’d like to introduce Charlotte and Rex with a snippet from their meet-cute.

Charlotte was about to turn around when she heard it. Woo—whoa whoa whoa—woo. The crooning sounded like dog talk for, “Please come over here.”

      She inched toward the sound, guarding her gaze to sneak a peek into the next cage. The cutest dog with tufts of white hair strutting from its ears continued the conversation. Her fingers itched to slide along its black, wavy hair, shining beneath the light.

      There were a couple more woos, but Charlotte got the message. The dog wanted to have a little chat with her.

      “Awww, are you having a rough day?”

      Charlotte was sure she understood the dog. It said, “I’ve been in here all day, and I just want some treats, some cuddles, and a warm bed.”

      “And a Hallmark Christmas movie?” Charlotte asked.

      The dog replied with a one-word yip. “Yes.”

      “Hold on one minute. I’ll go get Angie.” Charlotte pivoted and ran face-first into a human wall. He took hold of her arms before she fell back. His touch was soft, yet his grip was firm enough to steady her.

      Charlotte’s thoughts danced around her head. She’d bumped into people before, but none of the interactions demanded that she take notice of the person in front of her. The guy was a little taller than her, and she felt safe beside him.

       “I’m sorry. I was so busy enjoying your conversation.” He gestured with his hand toward the Terrier. “I didn’t realize how close we were.”

      They were close. Close enough that his cologne dulled her senses. The unpleasant odor of overeager dogs disappeared. Poof. Gone.

      The only scent Charlotte sensed was musky and warm and masculine—and Charlotte blinked. She had almost gotten lost in the fragrance. Forgotten that she was in the very spot because she had no interest in men for the foreseeable future. Especially men with eyes that told stories of a kindhearted person behind them. She stepped away from the man.

      Charlotte needed the dog. To save her from herself.


The rest of Charlotte and Rex’s story will be available on November 28th