Wednesday, January 20, 2021

MY PERSONAL WINTER WONDERLAND

 By Caroline Clemmons


For me, our month’s theme of Winter Wonderland is fitting. My husband (I call him Hero) and I will have a wedding anniversary next week. We were married in a winter wonderland that gave the occasion added beauty.


We married at East Dallas Christian Church with a friend of Hero's officiating. You know the lines—richer or poorer, sickness and health, forsaking all others, love, honor, cherish. Fortunately, Hero and I meant those words as a promise and not merely as rote. He has proven them over and over and I hope I have as well.

Life has ups and downs, of course. We have made some odd decisions that seemed wise at the time. Don’t they always?

Hero has been a constant protector and nurse through my numerous health concerns even though he has issues of his own. He has been a loving and caring husband and father. He has encouraged and aided my writing. I feel blessed to have him as my husband.

As mentioned above, the day we were married was snowy. I will never forget the moonlight on the snow as we came from our wedding to our new home. What a winter wonderland!


As the climate has changed, we have less snow than all those years ago. At our house we haven’t had snow in five years, although nearby areas had light snowfall about ten days ago. But now we live in Tarrant County, of which Fort Worth is the county seat, instead of Dallas County as we did then. 

Is snow required for a winter wonderland? Not at all. Wonder is a state of mind.

Wishing you a new year filled with wonder, enchantment, and peace!



Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Winter Wonderland Plans, Goals and Action by @LucindaRace


Hello again, 


Winter Wonderland and 2021!

 

Well 2020 was quite a ride but I’m not sorry to see it slip quietly away without much fanfare. 

We had a low-key night and we celebrated hubs turning 65! Our normal dinner out at our favorite restaurant didn’t happen so I volunteered to cook a special prime rib dinner, a small cake and it was dinner for two. A nice way to begin the year on a snowy night.

 

Do you have goals for 2021? I don’t make resolutions but I do set goals for myself. Some are simple, like eat more fruit every day, sometimes I lack in that department, but I love veggies so that’s easy. I also plan to get more organized and purge boxes I moved into the house 17 years ago. If I haven’t opened them by now I guess I don’t need what’s inside. If you’re on Goodreads did you sign up for the 2021 reading challenge? I have my goal for this year, 52 books. You can watch my reviews to see what I’m reading too. 

 

While the temps are chilly I’m hard at work. I’ve very high goals for my writing life. I will release five (5) new books this year. The first book is available for Preorder and will release March 3, Blends A Prequel, and then with a quick release on March 17 of Breathe, Book 1 in the Crescent Lake Winery Series. The next two books in the series will follow and on November 15 I’ll release a new Dickens Christmas story as yet to be titled and it’s now in the process of being written. And to really be forward thinking, 2022 will see the final two books in Crescent Lake and a Last Chance Beach novel where I’m joining with other terrific romance authors to visit the beach so yes, I’m already planning books for over a year away too. Now, it’s not as easy as one might think so it’s a good time to enjoy being home. With each book released there is a lot of behind the scenes work, drafting, rewriting, editing, proofreading, cover design and then promotion and I love every minute of the process. 

 


If you haven’t signed up for my Newsletter take a moment to click the link. I release it a couple of times a month and I always select a random winner from the list. Be the first to know about upcoming release and behind the scenes tidbits of where I find inspiration or join my Lucinda’s Heart Racers on Facebook.  

 

So, tell me what are some of your goals and let’s reach them together. 

Stay healthy and until next time, 

I wish you happiness and love. 

 
Lucinda 


Monday, January 18, 2021

Out with the Old...In with the New by @karilemor #RomanceGems

 

The year that shall not be named is gone and so we look forward to something better. But in order to do that I need to make sure I put positivity in my attitude. Stay away from the news and focus on all the wonderful things life has to offer. And there are SO MANY things to be thankful for.

I have a wonderful husband, three beautiful children, 2 adorable grandsons, and I’m getting a new baby granddaughter in early May. The though of buying little girl clothes and bows again (2 of my 3 children are girls) is so exciting.


I’ve got great friends, online and off, who support me and help me through the hard times. My extended family are all lovely people who keep in touch as best they can.

And I’ve done more writing than ever before.

This year will be a whirlwind with releases. The one I’m most excited about is my Love on the Line series. It’s what I like to call “Romance with a splash of Danger”. Heavy on romance and light on suspense.

The first three books, Wild Card Undercover, Running Target, and Fatal Evidence, originally released in 2017.  Unfortunately, recently, the publisher put the books at a ridiculous price of $9.99 for digital. Yeah, I know. I wouldn’t even buy my own books at that price!!

But now I have control over them and will be rereleasing the first three books in Jan, Feb, and March. They’ll be at a much more reasonable price of $3.99.  And I’ve added a new scene or two to each book!!

The really exciting thing is this series has three more books coming right after it. We saw Chris, Jack, and Scott in the original series, but we also got glimpses of their other army buddies, Drew, Keith, and Nick.  So now these new guys will finally get to tell you their stories and find the women of their dreams.



These books will follow the first three in April, May, and June. So you can binge the whole series all at once if you hate waiting for the sequels. FYI, the books are all stand alones and can be read in any order.

For those who enjoy my small town contemporary Storms of New England series, I will be releasing Greg and Luke’s stories later this year.

And I have another surprise book coming out closer to Christmas. More about that at a later date.

Wild Card Undercover will be released TODAY!!! And you can get it at most retailers. More information and LINKS for them are here:  WILD CARD UNDERCOVER 

 


Stay positive, remember the blessings we do have, and read lots of romance!!

Kari

 

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Where Did Those Characters Come From? by Nancy Fraser

If you'd have told me two years ago ... even early last year ... that I'd be revising old books and putting them back out in the world, I'd have probably asked "What are you smoking?"

Yet, here I am, releasing the first of three books in a totally revamped series of post-Civil War romances set along the Mighty Mississippi. I've got three more all-new books planned for the series. Now I just have to write those.

So, what did I learn about "revamping" old stories into something new and exciting? First of all, I learned that my writing has improved 110% since 2008. I also realized, editors don't always know best.

I've taken three 40K word novellas and turned them into 65K novels, added, changed, subtracted the stuff that didn't work, and created an entire new world and new concept. Why keep anything at all? Because, deep down, this short series has always been one of my favorites. I just hated two of three original covers.

Part of the fun of revising is playing around with things I've learned in the interim. Not just about writing, but about history. Adding some wonderful new life into these stories has been a catalyst for new ideas to expand the series.

The first book in the series, Her Timeless Gamble, is (as the name implies) a time travel. However, I don't waste a lot of time in the twenty-first century--other than my heroine's penchant for saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. Which, of course, only aggravates the hero. <Insert evil giggle!>

We get our first introduction to the McAlister men ... and hunky devils they are! And, we get a bit of a cliffhanger for one of the supporting characters that won't be resolved until later in the series, but adds to the drama of each subsequent book. Yet, as with all good books, one is not dependent on the other.

Here's a peek at the first book in the series:

When Matthew McAlister pulls a nearly-drowned woman from the murky waters of the Mississippi, he has no idea what's in store for him. Or, how easily he'll willingly give up his carefree, love-em-and-leave-em lifestyle for a chance at real happiness.

Kathryn (Kate) Lowell can't believe her bad luck. Or the fact she's somehow been transported from the twenty-first century back to the post Civil War south. Worse yet, into the arms of the one man she grew up hating. The man she blames for her father's recent demise.

Can these two off-kilter and infinitely stubborn individuals fight their mutual attraction? Or, will they give in to the inevitable? And, when the time comes, will Kate choose to stay with Matt in the past, or return to her former life?
~ ~ ~
Of course, there's also a HTG Jigsaw Puzzle of the cover.

And, a trailer:

The second book in the series, His Marriage Gamble, carries on with one of the most engaging secondary characters from Book 1. I can't wait to share a peek next month!

Until next month, stay safe, stay happy, stay well read. Wear a mask and get the shot!

Nancy


Saturday, January 16, 2021

Romance from the Heart by Constance Bretes #RomanceGems

Constance Bretes, known as Connie here on Romance Gems, is having some medical issues at the moment.

I told her I'd step in and blog for her today.

Let me tell you a little about Connie Bretes. After 38+ years, she retired from working for the State of Michigan and dived into writing.

She loves researching and writing. To date, she's written and published more than a dozen novels ranging from Contemporary Romance to Romantic Suspense. 

Her romance novels are often set in different parts of the country, but her favorite place to set a book is Montana. The last few years have been challenging for Connie. She and her husband had moved to Montana, but the altitude in the Big Sky State was a challenge they could not overcome. Regretfully, they moved farther south and now make their home in Alabama.

A Note from Connie

I write contemporary romance where my characters are all down-to-earth everyday people who meet and fall in love. Most of them meet up with their past loves and rekindle the romance!

I have been writing romance for about ten years now and published my first book, Delayed Justice, 2013. I love writing and since getting my first book published, it's been a great ride!

Trio of Connie's Books

Here's a diverse sampling of Connie's romance novels.


Can a little girl's love and the true magic of Christmas bring Stefan and Laura together forever?


Liz Grey left Sage Brush, Wyoming, and the only man she ever loved, twelve years ago to be a cop in one of the biggest cities in the US. She returned a disgraced cop and was lucky to find a position at the county sheriff department. 

Aaron Mansfield is a sergeant at the county sheriff substation. When he receives a phone call informing him that a dead body has been discovered on his father's ranch, he has no idea it will change his life.

Can the cold case murder investigation be solved, and in the process, bring two ex-lovers back together again?


Marcus Blackhawk is on a mission to locate the Sacred Arrows that were stolen from the Cheyenne Nation. 

Nicole Lancaster ekes out a living in a small town by helping her brother run a motel and working part-time in a restaurant. Her mundane life suddenly becomes more exciting when Marcus arrives in town asking about the arrows she found while hiking in the Elkhorn Mountains.

The gorgeous man makes her heart beat fast, but she knows he'd never be interested in a Plain Jane like herself. Can the search for stolen Sacred Arrows lead to much more?

Visit Connie Online

Definitely follow Connie at her social media websites, but give her a little time to get back on her feet to interact with you.

I know Connie would love to receive some "get well" messages.

Please leave a comment and wish her a speedy recovery!

Friday, January 15, 2021

Winter Wonderland? Where? by @BonnieEdwards #RomanceGems

The theme this month for our merry band of writers is Winter Wonderland. Yesterday, it dawned on me that I'm already dealing with a seasonal allergy. In Canada, in January. 

I know that might seem strange to most people in North America, because, well...Winter Wonderland. But, where I live heather is blooming, moss is in season, grass is growing. It's so green here it looks like Ireland! We're seeing some winter sunshine on rare afternoons and the temperatures are pretty warm...considering Winter Wonderland.

We walked past a blooming plant that was about ten feet tall the other day. Long yellow flowers that were so heavy with blossoms, they drooped in a lovely arc. Lovely, until I realized that yellow blooms are supposed to be the highest in allergens. Since that afternoon, we've walked on the other side of the road. 

All this to say the sniffles, itchy tongue, and slight sore throat are not the virus, although the symptoms  had me wondering because we should be in a Winter Wonderland. 


Today, for our walk I decided to try wearing a mask. It's easy to social distance here when you're outside, so I usually leave my mask at home. Other dogwalkers stay well back as we chat...or call to each other from across the road.

Now, when you wear glasses they tend to fog when you wear a mask, and even more so when your heartrate picks up as your breath becomes heavier. Have I mentioned we live in a very hilly area? We get our cardio by default. 

Off we went, me in a disposable mask, trying to hold my glasses off my face so I could see where I was stepping in the woods. After the woods we always do a tour of the neighbourhood and yes, we walked past the yellow blooms again. My fella wandered over for a closer look, but we don't know what the shrub or bush is. Could be related to a sumac? Or not. 

How did I fare? Better! I'm not as sniffley as yesterday and that's a very good thing. The niggley worry that lurks in the back of everyone's mind is gone. Allergies it is...Winter Wonderland? Not so much. 

So, now that I've found a second reason to wear a mask...it feels like I've paid half for them since there's a new use for them now.

Something for you allergy sufferers to consider when your Winter Wonderland is over. Cheers everyone and happy reading!


Author Bonnie Edwards lives with her husband and pets on the coast of British Columbia. She has written novels, novellas, and short stories for Kensington Books, Harlequin Books, Carina Press, and Robinson (UK) although now she publishes her work herself.

With four ongoing romance series and contemporary family novels in her newest series, Return to Welcome, she rarely spends a day without writing. For more news you can sign up for her Bonnie's Newsy Bits.

Check out her website at https://www.bonnieedwards.com/


Thursday, January 14, 2021

No Stress, it's January @MaddieJames #RomanceGems

The best laid plans of mice and men

--Robert Burns (or John Steinbeck, if you prefer....)


January is not what I expected. Nor what I had planned. And I am perfectly okay with that.

I’m good with winter. While some people think of pretty winter wonderlands, I think of warmth and coziness and burrowing in. While others lament snowy, icy days filled with gray and gloom, I’m like—please snow me in so I don’t have to leave the house and I can get things done. I’m like a squirrel. I gather what I need for the winter and hole up in my safe place for the duration—and generally, I write like crazy.

In November, I decided to take the last six weeks of 2020 off from writing in order to spend time doing author business planning for 2021, and to do some much-needed maintenance on all the things in my author ecosystem--you know, website, blog, newsletter, covers, blurbs, backmatter.... You get the picture.

I talked about that a bit on my personal blog, here, if you want to check that out.

I spent quite a bit of time plotting out what books I wanted to complete in each quarter, which resulted in an aggressive release schedule. For the past two weeks of 2020, I itched to write but held myself at bay to finish some of those pesky tasks that I knew would never get done, if I did start writing.

I'd set my first writing day for Monday, January 4. On the evening of the 4th, at a little after eleven o'clock, my dad called saying, "I'm having chest pains."

Those words launched days of appointments, doctors, hospitals, tests, procedures, and well, a lot of worry and yes, quite a bit of stress. Dad ended up with three stents, the 4th one coming, and I'm now half-moved into his house—the house I grew up in.

I should be stressing about the writing/release schedule. I’m not.

It’s not the first time in my nearly 25-year writing career that my writing plans have been waylaid and I’m quite sure it won’t be the last. What I’ve learned over the years is that with me, my writing waxes and wanes like the tide. When I was working a full-time job, there were periods when I could balance the two—writing and day job—and times when it was impossible. I used to stress then.

But now? No. I’m telling myself that I’m being flexible. No stress allowed. At least not about the writing.

Plans are good. So are schedules. Burrowing in and working hard through the cold winter months are my manna. But stressing about what’s not getting done is not part of my dialog right now. Being flexible and present in the day, is.

One day, one task at a time. Things will get done.

There will be another phase of my life when I can drive myself crazy writing. I’m okay with that.

That said, my one task for January has shifted—and that is to get my new release out and in the marketplace on schedule. Ethan: Black Sheep Cowboy, is a second chance western romance, book 7 in my Parker Ranches, Inc., series. Who can resist a Navy SEAL back home on the ranch? You can meet Ethan, here

***

Maddie James writes romancebut don’t try to pin her down to one genre. From edgy suspense to flirty contemporary romance to darker erotic titles, she writes to silence the people in her head. Affaire de Coeur says, “James shows a special talent for traditional romance,” and RT Book Reviews claims, “James deftly combines romance and suspense.” Learn more at www.maddiejames.net.