Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Ring in the Holidays by @JoanReeves #RomanceGems

Today is the first day of December. Hurray! Ring out the bells!

Our theme for December? The Gift of Romance.

Like nearly everyone in the era of Covid, I'm ready for some joy, good cheer, and happy times.

I want to bake cookies, make pralines, give presents, write Christmas cards, sing along with Christmas pop songs and favorite carols, watch Hallmark holiday movies, kiss under the mistletoe, and read holiday romance novels.

We all need this! The world needs this. That's one thing I love about romance novels. They truly are the optimistic genre. If you're feeling down, turn off the news and pick up a holiday romance. 

Santa's Book Shop

We're ringing in the Holidays in style. We have created a Book Fair just for you. Some of the books may be free; some may be bargained price. All are wonderful romances that give you the best of the season from comedy to suspense to drama.

Through the month of December, most of the Romance Gems authors will offer free and on sale books. 

These bargains come and go so fast that it's impossible to update the Book Fair page with them each day.

The best way to find out when a book is on sale is to subscribe to the Author's Free Newsletter.

I send my newsletter twice a month. My next one goes out this weekend, and I have a free book offer just for subscribers as well as sale books by me and some of my friends.

To become one of my Reader Friendsclick to subscribe to my newsletter. 

When you confirm your subscription to my newsletter, you'll receive a link for a free ebook romance.

Now, hitch a ride on a sleigh and drop by Santa's Book Shop and pick out some books. Add some to your shopping list to give to a reading friend. It's easy and inexpensive to give ebooks. Instructions are on the Book Shop page to help you out.

December Author Spotlight

That smiling face you see to the left is Peggy Jaeger, who occupies the December Author Spotlight

Read all about Peggy and her new release, Baked With Love. The book cover is so pretty. You'll love it.

By the way, the link to Baked With Love is a universal book link so you can select the retailer of your choice. The book publishes December 9, but you can get it now on pre-order.

Be sure and visit every day or you may miss a bargain. Before I leave you to go make some pralines, I want to give you a free book offer.

LuvU4Ever—FREE on Kindle

If you haven't read this steamy holiday romance, pick up a free copy at Amazon today. 

Some Kindle shops outside the U.S. charge for this book so make sure it shows as free before you "buy" it.

Reviewers Say

I love a good short story with a beginning, middle and strong ending and LuvU4Ever delivers with no cliffhangers to cheat the reader.

LuvU4Ever is one short story I would recommend to all lovers of romance! —Jane Jones, Amazon Top 1000 Reviewer

Joan Reeves crafts a delightful and compelling romance. While it may be short, it is vivid and certainly hits home for many women. The characters of Noelle and David are quite 'real' and I found their story poignant. If you have never read a Joan Reeves romance before (where have you been!) this is a fabulous introduction to her romantic style! —eBookLuver Reviews

A lot of love, a touch of hate, and plenty of heat! —Loretta Wheeler Review

Makes you "awww!" and believe in true love! —Carol Iris K.T., Amazon Reviewer

Until next time, if you're looking for this guy in the Santa hat, forget checking under the tree.

Look in the pages of a Romance Novel!

Hugs and Holiday Wishes!  Joan


Monday, November 30, 2020

Thank you, Berta Ruck by Liz Flaherty #RomanceGems

In this month of American gratitude in 2012, the Word Wranglers (another blog I write for) chose one person they were grateful to in the business of writing. Narrowing it down, D’Ann Lindun said, was going to be tough. It was for me. Would it be for you? Give it some thought and let us know which ONE person you’re grateful to. 


My aunt had more books than you could shake a stick at. She bought them from a book club back in the…well, way back, and they resided with paper covers intact on a tall shelf in the corner of the living room. I read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Joy In the Morning, The Hoosier Schoolmaster, Elsie Dinsmore, Rose In Bloom, the Pollyanna series, and a plethora of Gene Stratton-Porter books, to name a few. I sat cross-legged with my back against the wall and lost myself in the South, in New York City, in backwoods Indiana.
And then I read His Official FiancĂ©e by Berta Ruck.
Oh, my God.
          The book was written in 1914, one of 80 novels published by Ms. Ruck. There were two movies made of the story, the first one silent. It was hilarious. It was loving. It was…oh, Lord, it was so romantic. It was written in the flowery, Britishy language of old movies and it was…did I say it was romantic?
          I don’t remember if it was the first romance I ever read, but it’s the first one that made me go “ahhh.” I already knew I’d be a writer—Louisa May Alcott taught me that—but Berta Ruck is the reason I write in the language of Happily Ever After. She died in 1978 at the age of 100 years and nine days. She published books from 1905 – 1972.
          Wow.
          Thanks, Berta Ruck.
***
If you haven't visited Dickens, a glorious, snow-covered little town in New England, now's your chance. Not one but 10 stories of love and laughter and the mending of regrets. Berta Ruck would have a ball there, and so did we!

 
December starts tomorrow. Enjoy every day!




Sunday, November 29, 2020

A Feast to Remember

 by Nora LeDuc



Heater-Pic taken ahead of time

Thanksgiving is over, and it's been another unusual event for 2020. Because of the pandemic, my daughter had suggested we hold our 2020 festivity on her deck. Although I wanted to have a family dinner, eating in the chilly forty degree weather wasn't appealing. Not to be deterred, my daughter had ordered an outside heater. All right, problem solved. Her enthusiasm vanished when she and her husband assembled the mini furnace and found you had to sit on top of it to stay warm. This kind of destroyed the whole social distancing idea. 


Next up was my son. He and his wife had announced they'd skip a group turkey meal this year. I guess he wasn't excited about watching us cut and chew online either. I was just as glad. The day would be carefree, no rush or worrying about which dish would burn. But wasn't that similar to the daily grind? Truthfully, I'd miss getting up earlier, checking if the bird had completely defrosted--it never was, struggling to get the heavy roaster in the oven-OK, my husband usually managed that task, not forgetting the stuffing—all those things I promised not to repeat—but usually did. Another idea sprang to mind. I contacted my brother. He always joined us on this holiday and brought his Christmas gifts with him. A true early shopper. Now I told him if he delivered his presents on Nov 26, I'd give him plates to go. I texted my daughter and suggested I'd still do the meal and deliver their food too. She could put in their orders. I was sure my hubby would love to bring them over. (Son thanked me but opted out on the offer since it was a long trip to his home.) And so our day went. I cooked a 21 pound turkey-not completely defrosted. I  burned the rolls, and I made up take out boxes.  


Zoom

Now we can't wait for our thankful holiday next year, Those celebrations will be twice as sweet. We'll raise our glasses in a toast to happiness, health, and to 2021, the year of togetherness.

And speaking of the holidays, a big thanks to all who have bought my book CHRISTMAS at the EASY BREEZY. It's not too late to buy it for only .99 and enjoy the heroine and hero discovering the true meaning of love, family and second chances at the Easy Breezy Diner. And there are many other terrific Christmas stories out there by my fellow Romance Gems. Just check their Christmas Comes to Dickens boxset.

Happy Holidays, My Friends.
We're almost there, 2021 and the
Path to Wellness. 
Nora


 

Saturday, November 28, 2020

My Grandparents by @KaraONealAuthor #RomanceGems


My grandmother was a teacher and a working mom in a time when women didn't do that. She was an English teacher for 30 years and ended up being Regional Teacher of the Year. She was a Kansas Princess who became a Texan's wife. She started and maintained the public library in her town, and she owned over 1000 books herself. Which she organized into her own personal card catalog. And boy howdy, was she smart. Playing Twenty Questions with her was like...well...the hardest thing ever.


My granddad, her husband, was a pharmacist. He took over his father's confectionary shop when he got home from WWII -- he was a Sea Bee -- and put a pharmacy in it. It was a drug store, complete with a soda fountain and booths and swivel seats. And Blue Bell ice cream. He was a hard worker. Gentle. Kind. And his parents were from Spain -- but that's a story for another time.




My grandma grew up picking cotton. She quit school when she was in 3rd grade in order to help her family pick cotton. They moved around a lot. She was German, Texan, sweet as jam and pie, and couldn't raise her voice. Even when she tried. She had three rowdy boys -- and I do mean rowdy -- and she couldn't holler at them. She could cook like you would not believe and playing scrabble with her was impossible. She won every time.




My grandpa started working when he was 12. He had twelve brothers and sisters and he had to make money. He was the second oldest and worked on a diary farm. All the money he made he sent home. His employer fed him, and he slept in the loft. He was German, hard-nosed, hard-working, and a Sergeant in the Army during WWII. He died on Thanksgiving Day.



I've been thinking about them a lot lately. Probably because of the holiday. I hosted Thanksgiving this year. It was my second opportunity to host.

I also happen to be the keeper of many of my grandmother's and grandma's things.

I served the turkey on my grandmother's Thanksgiving platter, and we ate off of her wedding china. I sat at her Duncan Five table and in her folding chairs. And all of the platters and china I used are stored in my grandma's china cabinet.

This Thanksgiving was a sweet and blessed day. I felt so very close to all four of them. Losing my grandpa on Thanksgiving was tough. He died in 1998, the year I got married. He's been gone for awhile now, so I can think of him without tears, but that love/pain is there in my chest. I miss him. I miss all of them. They're all gone now, but I know they watch over me.

I also ended up dedicating my most recent book to them. It's weird how things work out. The story got me thinking about them because, well, the heroine, Truly Cunningham, gets married on Christmas day. And my grandma got married on Christmas day. That's the day my grandpa had off from work. The only day, in fact.

There's so much more I could say about these four people. Even now, I thank them often for being there for me and shaping me into the person I am.

The Christmas Bride released on November 21st! It is $0.99 cents and ready to help you snuggle up and get cozy during this upcoming winter season!

The Christmas Bride
Historical Romance

Truly Cunningham flees after her fiancĂ© jilts her for her sister. With nowhere to go, she ends up in Pike’s Run, Texas, hiding in the town’s opulent Royal Hotel. As she nurses her pain, finding no comfort in the Christmas season, she is slowly running out of funds. She must find a way to support herself or return to Dallas where her sister is the wife Truly had planned to be.

Alfred Taylor, manager of the Royal Hotel, hates Christmas. The decorations. The celebrations. The presents. All of it. And he must help the Ladies’ Auxiliary put on the Christmas Eve social. The only bright spot is the presence of a new guest, Truly Cunningham. She is beautiful, mysterious, and warming parts of his heart he thought dead.

When Truly asks for a position in his hotel as hostess of the establishment, Alfred immediately hires her. Which becomes dangerous. He can’t stay away from her, and even worse, wants to spill his secrets. Will he lose his one chance at happiness, or will Christmas finally give him the hope it promises?





Friday, November 27, 2020

Post-Thanksgiving gratitude by Peggy Jaeger

 Yesterday, here in the lower 48 ( heehee) + Alaska and Hawaii, it was Thanksgiving. This year's holiday was like no other in any of our memories. The last pandemic was over 100 years ago, so no one really remembers what Thanksgiving 1918 was like.

But we will remember this year's holiday. We'll be talking about Thanksgiving 2020 for years to come - to our grandkids who may be too small now to have memories of the upside down world we now live in; in decades retrospectives on New Year's Eves to come; even in books about this time period which will one day be called "historical."

This was the first Thanksgiving in my 60 years that I spent away from most of my family. We're being responsible and since my daughter lives in a state with travel restrictions - as do hubby and I - we made the decision to stay home, stay safe, and do our part to prevent this scourge from spreading.

And it was hard.

Really hard.

But it made us reflect on what's really important. When all is said and done, it's family that matters more than anything else.



 If I can say one good thing about this pandemic - and believe me I can only say 1 good thing about this pandemic - it's that by staying home and staying safe, we've all come to realize the importance of the people in our lives. Yes we are all missing things - going out to dinner, seeing a movie, therapy shopping. But they are just things. It's the people who matter the most. Not being able to see my daughter yesterday means that I made it safe to see her in the future. By staying away, now, we will all be able to be together later on because we will all still be here, alive and well.

My husband and I typically go to mass on Thanksgiving morning, this year no exception. Yes, we wore our masks. Yes, we socially distanced as per church and state guidelines. And yes, I said a prayer for all those close to me and for our world in general. And I said a big thanks to God for giving us the courage and strength to weather this stressful time.

Rose Kennedy is credited with saying, after her oldest son was killed in WWII, that she knew God would never give her a burden too heavy for her to carry. This pandemic is a burden to the world and I feel that we have the strength to get through it and come out on the other side stronger and more thankful.

So. No book promo from me today, even though it's Black Friday and I've got 3 new books out ( hee hee and hint hint!) Just a simple moment of gratitude and thanks, instead.




See you next month peeps. ~ Peg 

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Coffee and Conversation with the #RomanceGems

It's time for Coffee and Conversation with the Romance Gems! So, grab a cup of your favorite beverage and join us for some fun. This month's topic is: The Holidays!

Ahh…Thanksgiving in the USA. No denying, we’re in the thick of the holiday season now! 2020 certainly poses challenges and will be one for the history books. But in talking with folks, I realize every holiday season sparks a myriad of thoughts, emotions, and memories. For some it’s a chance to reflect and count blessings. For others, the holidays bring back childhood memories and good times. Some bask in joy while others just shrug it all off. And this can change from year to year as life does.

So, as this 2020 holiday season officially kicks off, tell me what you’re thinking, what you’re planning, what you’re remembering. Share a funny story, a cooking fiasco, a tradition. Or paint a picture in our minds of days gone by. Let’s talk!

“Two years ago, my husband and I were on the beginning of a six month RV trip. We’d planned Thanksgiving with Pennsylvania cousins, but a foot of snow made us head south early, to Asheville, NC. Since we had no family to celebrate with, we booked a tour of the Biltmore mansion and had dinner in the nearby village. The mansion was completely decked out for Christmas already and was well worth the hefty fee to get in. The buildings and grounds are definitely something to see and the history of the place makes it all the more interesting.” ~ Kari Lemor

Kari Lemor's Thanksgiving trip to the Biltmore

“You know how little boys are. They are curious — especially if your grandfather gets a new cigarette lighter for Christmas. One Christmas when I was about four, one boy cousin caught the curtains on fire by the tree. The grownups were watching TV in another room. I screamed. My father and uncles rushed into the living room and put out the fire. I saved the day, and boy cousin was sent to bed. This is a picture of my sweet girl cousin and me about that time.” ~ Jan Scarbrough

Jan Scarbrough's Christmas with cousins

“I'm a holiday junkie. I admit it. My two favorite holidays are Halloween and Christmas. One thing I enjoy most about Christmas is spending time with my grandchildren. I was an only child but I was blessed with dozens of cousins, so I grew up on big family gatherings. I love passing down stories of Christmases past when sharing the holiday with my much smaller family now. The picture is from Christmas 1960. I'm the tall one in the back shoving a cookie into my mouth.” ~ Nancy Fraser

Nancy Fraser's Christmas with cousins

“I have discovered that one of my roles in life is to be an Anticipator. That is to say, I always have many plans for the holidays and being productive all through them, but it never happens. This used to disappoint me, both in myself and in the piddly results of my plans, but the truth is I enjoy the anticipation. I like looking at holiday fabric, choosing decorations, deciding which cookies I might never make, and considering hand-made gifts. If I never leave my desk, that's okay, too. Merry Christmas and Happy Anticipating!” ~ Liz Flaherty

Liz Flaherty - Anticipating all she'll do

“Back in the day when I was a flight attendant, there were many holidays I missed. It was the nature of the business, and you learned to roll with it. One of the most memorable was a Christmas Eve spent in Rome. I was a newlywed with a not too happy husband at home. The crew made the best of it. We did a bit of retail therapy, had dinner at a fancy restaurant and ended the evening with midnight mass at the Vatican. Next day I went home to a Charlie Brown tree.” ~ Marcia King-Gamble

Marcia King-Gamble's Christmas in Rome

“So many memories, it’s hard to choose just one. Yet each November I remember a special Thanksgiving.

My father traveled often for work, so when the holiday rolled around, and he was home, I hoarded his time. We watched the Macy’s parade together, eating cinnamon rolls in the blanket fort we built with the dining room chairs. Then Mom told us to take the dog for “a nice long walk” so she could cook in peace. My big sister and brother were in the mix, and too many hungry spectators were clogging up her kitchen. LOL

It was a perfect day—cold and sunny—and Dad and I (and our Dachshund) enjoyed a long walk in the woods. A moment in time I still cherish.” ~ Kathryn Hills

Kathryn Hills - A Thanksgiving walk with Dad

“My kids don’t love turkey. So one thanksgiving I got the brilliant idea to make a lasagna instead of a turkey for Thanksgiving. It did not go over well. Not only did everyone get upset, but I bought the noodles that need to be boiled first, and I did not in fact boil them. It was a crunchy lasagna that tasted of disappointment. It’s something we can all laugh about now.” ~ Laura Hunsaker

***

Okay, it's your turn to join the conversation! Add your comments below or send via email through the "contact us” link on the bottom of the left sidebar. You can also make suggestions on what you'd like to discuss here in the future.

Thanks for joining us. Happy Thanksgiving, EVERYONE!

~ The Romance Gems ~


Tuesday, November 24, 2020

New Title, Substantially Different Book by Cheryl Bolen

 

This week is release week for my new book titled A Proposal of Marriage (Nov. 30), though technically the books isn’t exactly new. But it is entirely new. It’s a case of turning a Christian book to a sexy book with a total rewrite. Allow me to explain. 


Almost ten years ago the senior editor of a large publisher that specialized in Christian romances contacted me and asked if I’d like to write for them. At the time, I was about a third of the way into an uncontracted book that was to be in my Brazen Brides series, the first two books of which had been published by Kensington Books in 2005.

That book was going to be a moderately sexy novel featuring a character who’d been in the first two Brazen Brides books. I figured I’d accept the contract (and nice advance) from the Christian publisher, but I’d make it easy on myself by going with the book I’d been working on, take out all the sensuous stuff, and add a little religion. I don’t mean to make light of the Christian aspects of the book. They were heartfelt and I think I succeeded in making them integral to the story.

I ended up throwing out everything in my original version but the characters and the set-up, and the Christian version was published nine years ago. My lovely editor there even sent me a letter saying how much she loved the finished book.

Later, it bothered me that book was smack in the middle of my Brazen Brides series of sexier books, and it wasn’t very brazen at all.

So this year I decided I would republish it in a sensuous version. I completely rewrote that Christian book (I was able to save a lot from the original, sexy draft) and added not only lots and lots of sexual tension building up to the ultimate consummation between my marriage-of-convenience hero and heroine, but I also added back into this lighthearted novel my hero’s nudist uncle who was nixed by my Christian editor. Here’s a short excerpt:

I even had to renumber the books in the series because this one falls at number 3, and a newly issued one would have slotted in at number 6. So I had to move the previous number 3 to 4 and the previous 4 to 5 and the previous 5 to 6!

Though basically I’m happy over the process, there are glitches. Even though the book has been totally rewritten, has a new title and new cover in line with those in my Brazen Brides line (created by Killion) Goodreads lists it along with the original Christian version and keeps all those nine-year old reviews of it—which have nothing to do with the new novel.

For example, a reviewer of the Christian version complains that there’s no heat in the book as there are in the first two books in which my heroine makes appearances. I suppose I’ve just got to hope readers can figure it all out. I’ll try to set the record straight in my release-day newsletter to my fans.—Cheryl Bolen is the award-winning, NY Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than three dozen romances set in Regency England. Look for her at these sites:

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