Tuesday, June 11, 2024

DIY Sweetgrass Basket Craft Inspired by Gullah Tradition by Josie Riviera

Welcome to Daufuskie Island, where every corner tells a story. This island is off the coast of South Carolina and is a 1 hour ferry ride from Hilton Head Island.

 Today I'm sharing how to make a sweetgrass basket:


  • Coiled rope or raffia
  • Colored yarn or embroidery thread
  • Large-eye needle
  • Scissors


  1. Start by coiling the rope or raffia into a tight circle, securing the end with a small stitch.
  2. Using the needle, weave the colored yarn or embroidery thread in and out of the coils, creating intricate patterns.
  3. Continue coiling and weaving, shaping the basket as you go.
  4. Experiment with different colors and patterns to add a personal touch.
  5. Once you reach the desired size, secure the end with a final stitch and trim any excess.

This simple sweetgrass basket craft allows you to bring a piece of Gullah tradition into your own creative space. Enjoy the relaxing process of crafting while connecting to the island's cultural heritage!

I'm thrilled that my sweet beach romance, Pink Coral Island, is available on Amazon. Immersed in Gullah culture, this book has a mystery that may or may not be solved by the end of the story! Grab your copy today.


If you prefer episodic reading, Pink Coral Island is also available on Kindle Vella.


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: josieriviera.com


Sunday, June 9, 2024

Special Moments.... by Christine Bush


I’m not exactly writing about “writing” today.  We’ve just gone through a “special moment” with a granddaughter and that’s my top thought today.

My grandchildren are key to my life, and watching them grow has been one of the greatest joys of my life.  To date, I have 14, and have one great on the way.

Today, I'm celebrating Graduations!

Sarah Mae just graduated high school.  So proud and so amazed at how fast the time has flown.

Before that, it was Rebecca Ann

Before that, it was Catherine Marie

Before that, it was Mary Frances.

There are many still to go, much to look forward to. 

I am so very proud of these strong, smart, beautiful inside -and out young people, and also excited to see what the next phases of their lives will bring.  I’m sure there will be many “special moments.”

Today, I just want to celebrate life, and these wonderful gifts.  May these young women find whatever makes them feel joy in their lives.  May they be the heroines of their own stories, and always know how much they are loved!

Any special moments in your life?  I’d love to hear….

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!



Check out these 2 romantic mysteries from my "Strawberry Manor" series. #3 is on its way!

Swan Song

Amazon.com: Swan Song eBook : Bush, Christine: Kindle Store

Curtain Call

Curtain Call - Kindle edition by Bush, Christine. Romance Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.

Friday, June 7, 2024

My Book Retrospective Continues ~ Jean C. Gordon

My Retrospective continues with 2001. Each month, until I run out of years in which I had a published book, I'm sharing a retrospective of my books and tidbits about writing them here on my usual monthly blogging date.

My Second Sale

While I was writing my second Avalon Romance, Love Undercover, I called it my bowling alley book. The story has nothing to do with bowling. Rather, I wrote it long hand at bowling alleys. My son was in a travel bowling league and wasn't old enough to drive. So I wrote while he bowled all over the tri-county Capital District (Albany) area in addition to at our local bowling alley during Saturday morning regular league. 

Another Tidbit

I fashioned my heroine's father in the story after my dad. To keep the characterization in my mind, I used my dad's name, Herb, as the father's name. Before I submitted my finished manuscript, I did a Word search and replace to change the name to Kurt. And I caught them all.

The Hardcover Release

A few too many messy divorce cases and custody battles have convinced Tina Cannon to change her specialty from family law to financial planning and move her young daughter out of the city to a place that has the small-town values Tina grew up with. So the offer from her Uncle Jack to join his planning practice in Genesee, her hometown, couldn't have come at a better time. Tina is in for a few surprises, though, not the least of which is her perplexingly uncooperative and devastatingly attractive first client Devon O'Neil.

Devon has ties to Genesee too. But they aren't as pleasant as Tina's. This is where his grandmother died nearly penniless, bilked out of her hard-earned nest egg by an unscrupulous financial planner--Uncle Jack. Devon, a private investigator, devises a plan to expose Jack by posing as a lottery winner looking for financial guidance. Tina, however, is upsetting his plan. She's Jack's niece and in business with him, so she must be a crook, too, right? So, why does he seem so intent on proving her innocent instead of guilty?

With Tina's widowed father playing matchmaker in the background, she faces off with Devon in the securities fraud investigation that raises more than a few sparks and teaches them both that while appearances can be deceiving, love shines true.

The Paperback and eBook

I readily admit that I like the cover of the 2016 paperback and eBook release a lot better than the original hardcover one. Don't you?

All Versions

Tuesday, June 4, 2024

Summer sunshine, fun plans...and a free book!

Despite the recent severe weather in our state, we had brilliant sunshine today. 

After several years of drought, some heavy rains have brought us a green lawn and blooming perennials. I love all of the color. What's it like where you live? 

Do you have some plans for this summer? Times with family or friends? Travel? 

Now that high school graduations are behind us, we have weddings to look forward to and some travel to see family in other states. It's so much fun to spend time with them all!

Where would your dreams take you if you could go anywhere in the world this year? 

Just a heads-up:  my next two books are up on Amazon for pre-order. They are both part of my Northern Pines clean, small-town romantic suspense series.

DANGEROUS MOVE will be released June 18th.  

Has she just made the worst decision of her life?
Erin's husband walked out on her and their three, recently adopted children--children who desperately need a sense of security. 
The children are her world, and she will do anything to keep them safe.

Now she has moved far away to a quaint, small town in Northern Wisconsin, to start her new career as the administrator of Blackberry Hill Hospital. 

But all is not what it seemed when she took the job. 

The hospital death count is rising. And when a man from her past shows up, she must keep a dark secret from him...or risk everything she holds dear.

Click here to read more about DANGEROUS MOVE!

is also available for pre-order on Amazon and will be released August 20th, 2024.

Here is a link if you would like to find out about it!
Click here.

 Best wishes to you for a wonderful summer.

Leave a comment, and you will be entered in a drawing for a free book!

All my best,

Roxanne Rustand 

Friday, May 31, 2024

Lyn Cote asks --which one of these three do you enjoy most?



debuts June 18th, pre-order at discounted price $1.99!

Recently I asked my readers—contemporary romance, romantic suspense or  historical romance—which one of these three do you enjoy most? Well, there wasn’t a runaway winner for the most popular and many of them read all three. Good to know since I write in all three! One thing I caught is that most mentioned liking suspense. 

And guess what—that is a central component to all my books whatever the kind. By that  mean, I always try to weave in suspenseful plot lines that keep my readers guessing. For example, I just uploaded book 1 of my “Lone Star Courage” series, Loving Against All Odds 

and the book blurb begins with: “From fashionable New Orleans society, Miss Della Mott is now bound for frontier Spanish Texas where anything might happen.” And ends with “Unfortunately someone's twisted agenda will endanger them all.”Does that sound suspenseful to you? I hope so. :-) For more info or to pre-order at a discount, click here.—Lyn Cote

Thursday, May 30, 2024

Friends to Lovers Romance by Laura Scott


Greetings from Laura Scott! In the midst of weddings and graduations, I hope you make time for some summer reading! 

I'm super excited to let you know the next book in my Oath of Honor series will be released on June 4th! If you enjoyed reading the other stories about members of Rhy's tactical team, you won't want to miss Grayson!

Grayson is a friends to lovers and reunion romance wrapped up in one.  I love writing a variety of tropes in my romantic suspense stories. Grayson and Eve were friends, Grayson the all popular high school quarterback of the football team, while Eve Shaw was the school nerd. Now that they're older and wiser, the sparks fly! 

If you haven't tried my Oath of Honor series you may want to give it a try. 

Grayson by Laura Scott $3.99

Killer research...

Microbiologist Dr. Eve Shaw is stunned to narrowly miss being blown up by an explosion in the research institute where she works. Even more so to realize the bomb had been planted in her office and was set to go off during her live stream presentation. Her researched is aimed at helping to cure disease, so why would someone want her dead?

Tactical police officer Grayson Clark rushes to Eve's side in the aftermath of the explosion. Having known her since high school, he's just as confused over why she would be targeted. Yet as he tries to keep her safe, it soon becomes clear the bomber will not stop until he's eliminated Eve. Can Grayson find the killer, before it's too late?

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Cheryl St.John - I Always Have Book to Read When I Go...

I take a bottle of water and book or my Kindle along on trips or anywhere that there's a waiting room. Nothing worse than being stuck with gross coffee and six-month-old Sports Illustrated and Time magazines. I often take a writing craft or self-help book that I've read before, because I can read sections here and there in the book and refresh myself.

Do you have favorite books like that you can jump into like that and re-read?

Sunday, May 26, 2024

Graduation Season! by Susan Aylworth

It's that time of year and the graduates are flocking like brightly colored birds at high schools, colleges, and universities everywhere, filled with energy and excitement. 

This year, I'm celebrating four graduates. The first, a borrowed granddaughter, walked with her class last week at Monument Valley High School in Kayenta, Arizona. Surrounded by world-class scenery, the 2024 Mustangs 

filled their gym with friends and family, many in traditional regalia. Kayenta lies in the heart of the Navajo Nation and the list of graduates includes names like Laughter, Thinn, Goldtooth, Greyeyes, Yazzie, Begay, Benally, and Blackhorse. 

My husband and I lived in Kayenta in 2017-18. I felt at home among women in ribbon skirts and adults--both women and men--sporting squash blossom necklaces in silver and turquoise. For my friend Sue--who came to keep me company--the experience was a cultural immersion she hadn't expected and will long remember. Even the signs in the grocery store were an adventure. 

We stayed over the weekend, went to church in a small congregation in Dennehotso, and took a picture with Shalisa (far right) and her family. 

We loved our visit with the Clys and might have enjoyed a longer stay and a wider tour of the area's magnificent sites, but my grandson was graduating four days later in southwestern Utah, so we drove again.

Caden would make any grandmother proud: a worker, an athlete, an outdoorsman who loves to hunt, fish, and ride off-road, exploring the backcountry. His class of 99 was the largest ever to graduate from Enterprise High School. I write small towns because I know them. 

Sue and I made him a necklace of candy bars. He added that to another candy necklace and three money wreaths from loving friends and family. He raked in the cash, and he can use it for the exciting future he has planned. 

I have a short break before I fly to Eugene, Oregon for twin granddaughters Erin and Abby. I'll sit happily through the same go-forth-and-conquer speeches I've already heard this year. The energy and excitement of my girls and their friends will make it all seem brand new.  

Susan Aylworth is the author of 25 published novels including two small-town sweet romance series set in and near the Navajo Nation and in the Sierra Nevada foothills. as well as five books in the Christmas Town series. Susan lives near Utah's Rocky Mountains. Watch for more books coming this summer and fall in both the Rainbow Rock and Christmas Town series. Her newest, ALWAYS A RAINBOW, Book 7 in the Rainbow Rock series, released on Mother's Day. Contact her at her website: susanaylworthauthor.com,  or via susan.aylworth.author@gmail.com, also @SusanAylworth. Susan loves travel, music, her large and scattered family, perfect raspberry jam, and hearing from readers. 

Friday, May 24, 2024

Young Graduates by Pat Simmons


Graduations and weddings are both joyful occasions that make me teary-eyed because the possibilities for their future are endless.

I recently spoke as the keynote speaker at  Compton-Drew Investigative Learning Center Middle School's Eighth Grade Promotion Ceremony.

The teacher who invited me to deliver the address happened to be my classmate from grade school.

Family, friends, and former students filled the auditorium with high energy and excitement to congratulate the class of almost one hundred students. There were enough cheers, shouts, and applause to embarrass even the most popular student. Helium balloon bouquets spouted up throughout the rows in celebration of the first achievement of their life.

The number of students who received awards was impressive. My address to them was to pick a team and surround themselves with friends who want to see them succeed. If they appointed themselves captain, I would be their cheerleader. I gave them examples of young achievers, from American gymnast Simone Biles to Helms Ategeka, who applied and was accepted to 122 colleges.

Then I mentioned local St. Louis young achievers, from a kid entrepreneur to sports athletes to an international model.

My prayer for them is that they stay safe, stay away from the wrong crowd, and don't let anyone tell them they can't.

As for weddings, when I married my husband more than forty years ago, my second and third-grade teachers attended. They were my heroes, and I hope I made them proud by graduating from college, working in the media, writing dozens of books, and paying it forward to the next generation of graduates.

Congratulations, class of 2024,  from kindergarten to post-graduate. Look out, world!


Pat Simmons is a multi-published Christian romance author of forty-plus titles. She is a self-proclaimed genealogy sleuth and, a five-time recipient of the RSJ Emma Rodgers Award for Best Inspirational Romance and the 2022 winner of the Leslie Esdaile “Trailblazer” Award.

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. She is on the Christian Book Lovers Retreat (CBLR) board as a publicist. Visit her at www.patsimmons.net.


Here is a great review....

Reviewed in the United States on April 17, 2024

This is an amazing book that I think every Christian should read. And if you’re a non-Christian, if you want to see what true modern Christianity should look like, then you should read it as well. Be prepared. It’s an interaction with God by these characters that may blow your mind.
From the first page, this book grabbed me. 
The main characters in this book embrace their Christianity way more than most people I know, including myself.
Jude Morgan is the main character, one of the intercessors, and one of the pastors at Christ For All Church in St. Louis. He is awakened by God and told to pray, and that God is coming for the children. An ominous message, for sure, but one that turns out to be multi-faceted. Jude obeys and then God takes him and several others on a spiritual journey, where the characters fight serious spiritual warfare against the demons and the world coming for their children.
It’s an incredible read and needs to be experienced. Not every book I’ve read is an experience, but this one is. The writing is good. The story moves rapidly. Tension builds. The ending is satisfying.
Get your company of DAYS ARE COMING

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Jeremiah 29:11

Camy here! This verse was recommended by a member of my Facebook Group. I really love this verse because it reminds me that no matter how hard my IBS gets, God is watching over me and has a purpose for everything that happens to me.

In what ways has God shown you that He is watching over you?

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

80th Anniversary of D-Day by Janice Lynn

Prior to May 2023, I couldn't have told you that D-Day was on June 6, 1944 and was the largest amphibious invasion in history and changed the world. I didn't really understand that it truly was a world war with us fighting in both the east and the west. I probably studied it at some point during my education, but as war and military weren't something that had interested me in the past, it didn't register. That makes me ashamed, honestly. With my son joining the Army National Guard full time, my perspective on things has certainly changed. First, with wanting to make him a patriotic quilt and discovering the Quilts of Valor Foundation. This wonderful group makes quilts to wrap those who have served in quits of healing. Joining this group has been such a blessing as they do such great work for those who have given so much for every American citizen and those our military help protect.

Then, when the physicial who was originally going on a Honoring Veteran legacy trip taking 3 WWII veterans back to Normandy, France was unable to go, a nurse gave my name as a nurse practitioner who would likely volunteer to go last minute. I'm so very glad I said yes. I met such wonderful people who I quickly grew to adore. I traveled from the US to France with the veterans and once there we met up with other WWII veterans.

I'm so blessed that I have the honor of volunteering again this year for the 80th anniversary. Going on that trip last year changed my life in so many ways. I didn't want to be ignorant of what the men I was accompanying had done and of what I was seeing so I began researching WWII. Let me just say that these men were heroes. The women, too. Part of me itches to write a romance set in that time period because those who rose to meet the demands of WWII events leave me in complete awe. Maybe some day.

For now, I have written a Medical Romance with a doctor volunteering to go on an honor flight type trip to Normandy. She was super close to her grandfather who had served in WWII. The paramedic hero is a former paratrooper. That I got to mentally revisit some of the places around Normandy while writing this story just warmed my heart. I fell for the people of Normandy and their beautiful countryside. I'm so excited that I'll be back in this beautiful country and with these warm people again soon.

I challenge you to learn more about D-Day, whether that's via television movies such as Band of Brothers which follows Easy Company or Saving Private Ryan or one of the many documentaries regarding WWII or by reading a book or by finding out of there are any living WWII veterans in your area who you could talk to. I also challenge you to thank a veteran. Whether that be a WWII veteran, a Korean War veteran, a Vietnam veteran, a Desert Storm veteran, etc., THANK THEM. Their service made a difference and continues to do so. Memorial day is also soon. Really stop and think about what this 'holiday' is and what it should mean to us.

My upcoming Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance, Risking It All With the Paramedic, isn't a military story. Not really. It's a romance set in a place rich in military history. But my hope is that it conveys how much I respect and honor our veterans, how grateful I am to them, and on how much I adore the people of Normandy. 

book cover of Risking It All with the Paramedic 

When unlucky-in-love doctor Ivy leads a medical team on a veterans’ trip to Normandy, her sole thought is for the patients in her care. So she’s unprepared for the frisson of attraction she feels at meeting fellow volunteer Caleb! It’s clear the good-looking paramedic has ghosts of his own, but over the fortnight they’re together an undeniable connection forms... Only when they return home will they be brave enough to risk everything and turn temporary...into happy-ever-after?

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, a military mama, and an avid supporter of the Quilts of Valor Foundation. www.janicelynn.com  

WRAPPED UP IN CHRISTMAS LOVE is coming November 2024 from Tule Publishing

Sunday, May 19, 2024

Families in Sweet Romance by Merri Maywether

Graduation season is approaching, and that means family will gather. I’ve found the build-up to these events can be stressful.

Once or twice, I’ve considered the urge to escape to a quiet mountain retreat, away from the wonderful chaos of family. There’s the cousin who retells the same story.  Or the niece that is in their fifteenth year of “the adults in the family are lame” phase.

Then, the day is saved by the aunt who is immune to it all. With spoon microphone in hand, she’ll boldly sing “We are family,” and somehow convince the aforementioned judgemental niece to sing backup.  

This contrast of moments are what make these gatherings memorable. 

In the sweet romance stories I love to share with you, these delightful family quirks aren’t just for laughs; they’re the threads that weave our characters’ worlds together. 

I had a lot of fun with this in my new release, One Fake Boyfriend

Sierra’s family is messy and fun and at the end of the day they know they love each other. 

Family antics offer a treasure trove of emotions, pushing our protagonists toward self-discovery and sometimes pulling them back from the brink of disaster. 

They turn a simple story into a tapestry of growth, love, and laughter. And let’s not forget the unexpected plot twists! 

There are a couple of those in Sierra and Levi’s story too. 

Families in our favorite romances teach us about the messy, glorious spectrum of life and love. They remind us that no matter how appealing solitude might sound, it's the uproarious family dinners, filled with laughter and maybe a few tears, that truly make our hearts full.

As we turn the pages of sweet romance stories, we fall in love with our bookish families, knowing that in the end, everything will work out. This is one of the many reasons why writing and reading sweet romance stories is so much fun.  


In the world of Sierra Mitchell, steering clear of Levi has always been a given, until a pretend romance flips her assumptions upside down, revealing a journey of unexpected love and second chances in the picturesque Paradise Hills.

One Fake Boyfriend has:

❤️ fake boyfriend 

❤️ brother's best friend

❤️ small town friends and family

❤️ clean and wholesome (level one heat)

❤️ banter 

❤️ heart-felt discussions about love and handling outside expectations

Fans of Hallmark Channel sweetness and binge-reading plot twists of a Netflix romance will love this "what they wanted was in front of them the whole time" romance.

One Fake Boyfriend is available at your favorite online book retailer

📖 https://books2read.com/onefakeboyfriend 📖

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

People Watching at the Kentucky Derby by Merrillee Whren


May is Kentucky Derby month. This year was the 150th running of the Derby. It is held on the first Saturday in May and is the longest running sporting event in the United States. In 2016, my husband and I had the privilege of attending the Kentucky Derby. As an author there is nothing better than going somewhere and people watching. The Kentucky Derby is ready made for that very thing. 

Here I am dressed in my outfit alongside my husband as we arrived for our big day at the Derby. People were lining up to have their photos taken in front of the statue of Barbaro, a Kentucky Derby winner that had to be euthanized after an accident in the Preakness, the second race in the triple crown of horse racing.

My dress was covered in white daisies. Maybe it should have been roses or horses like this couple. When I saw their outfits, I had to take a photo. I’m going to post the photo even though at this size, you might not be able to tell that there are horses all over her dress and his vest and pants.



Just as we arrived, they were unloading the garland or blanket of roses that they put across the winning horse at the end of the race. I never thought about where the roses are kept or how they are made until we attended the race. The Kroger company makes the garland at one of their local stores. The red roses are sewn onto green satin. I was able to get this photo of the garland in its case before they unloaded it from the truck.



Of course, there are hats, hats and more hats everywhere you look. I took lots of photos of the ladies in their hats, and you see a lot of men in their hats and crazy outfits, as well. Here are several pictures. Look for the hat that resembles a black swan that had roosted on someone’s head. Notice the men in the very interesting matching outfits.




The weather was almost perfect except for the humidity that we fairly new Arizonians hadn’t missed since we moved away from Florida. The humidity came from the threat of thunderstorms that materialized just before the turf race that preceded the Derby race. You’ll notice that in many of the photos there is plenty of blue sky, but those ominous black clouds rolled in, and here’s what it looked like from our covered seats. Hubby was thinking ahead when he booked our seats. I learned that 46% of the time there is rain on Derby day.



The official drink of the Kentucky Derby is the mint julep. It’s a concoction of basically mint-flavored syrupy sugar water and bourbon served over crushed ice. Here are folks lined up to get their mint juleps.


There are a total of fourteen races during the day—eleven before the Kentucky Derby and two afterwards. After a long day, the horses we came to watch in the Kentucky Derby appeared on the track for the post parade.


Here’s the starting gate, which was by the final turn near the end of the track where we sat.


Here’s a picture of the start of the race. Unfortunately, since I’m short I got the back of someone’s big head ruining my picture. That was definitely a low light. He must have popped up just as I was getting ready to take my picture because that head wasn’t there when I first looked at the view finder. It would have been a great picture without that head in the way.



Fortunately, I did get a pretty good video of the horses as they started down the back stretch. The finish line was a the other end of the race track where all the swells have seats. I hope you enjoy this twelve-seconds of the fastest two minutes in sports because it took a lot of work to figure out how to get it in this blog post.

A horse named Nyquist was the winner, and that was our big day at the Kentucky Derby. This year there was a photo finish with three horses. Mystic Dan was the winner. Have you ever been to a big sporting event?

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.