Friday, September 18, 2020

A New Direction by @karilemor #RomanceGems

 

Two years ago, I made a huge career decision. I had spent over thirty years teaching elementary school children. Working with kids was my life and love and I couldn’t think of ever doing anything else. But schools were requiring the students to learn things at a much younger age, required teachers to do far more administration than ever, and still be in the classroom the same amount of time. The stress of the job was slowly killing me. Literally. My health was suffering from the anxiety of my job.

A few years earlier, I had started writing. Taking the stories that had been running rampant in my head and finally, finally putting them down on paper. Yes, in those early days I did actually write everything long hand. But after transferring one very long story onto the computer, I quickly taught myself to type my books.



I made a decision to retire early and leave teaching so I had more time for writing. It wasn’t an easy decision as our finances weren’t plentiful. But with a very supportive husband, we made it happen. Thus began my foray into full-time writing.

Being an active teacher who put everything I had into planning, teaching, assessing, and planning again, I was used to being busy. I soon found that writing for a career took equally as much time. Sometimes more. Between crafting my stories, taking classes, going to conferences, revising and editing my work, helping other authors with their stories, creating promotion and graphics, and marketing, my days were as full as ever.

My first two series were with traditional publishers. And I learned so much from those experiences. But suddenly I wanted a little more control. I wanted the books published on my timeline. I wanted final say in what the cover looked like, how it was edited, and how much it would cost.



Once again, I found myself adjusting to something new. I have dipped my toe into independently publishing my own books. There’s still the same writing, revising, editing etc… to do. But now I get to be cover designer, formatter, and publisher as well.

I can’t say it hasn’t been stressful, but it’s also been rewarding when you see a book you’ve written get out in the world. And I have to say I think my published books look even better and have something more added to them than my earlier ones. And I can offer them at a price that is reasonable for a reader. If you’ve ever wondered why my Storm series has different prices for the first two books from the rest, that is why.


Book 3 -Stolen Dreams and Book 4 - Broken Dreams are the products of many days learning this business and making mistakes, then trying again. And soon, I’ll have a Christmas story available. Forgotten Dreams: A Christmas in New England story. It’s a novella that takes place in the Storms of New England world with little guest appearances from some of the other Storm family whose stories we’ve already seen.

 


If you’d like to get notified when this book is up for pre-order (hint - it will be very soon) you can sign up for my mailing list. I only send newsletters every month or so, no spamming ever. But you will get freebies and bonus features that I give only to my subscribers.

Here’s where you can sign up:    www.karilemor.com

To get a taste of my small-town New England series, here’s a quick rundown of what people are saying:

"A HEARTWARMING STORY OF THE HEALING POWER OF LOVE. FIVE SPARKLING STARS!"

"I wish the review sites had ten stars, this one would rank that high for me."

"The author writes beautifully, drawing the reader into the hearts and minds of the characters."

"This played like a Lifetime movie in my head."

"I am now in love with the Storm family and can't wait for the next book to be released!"

 


 


Here's a quick peek at the Storms of New England:

💖  -ELUSIVE DREAMS - An injured Marine, an introverted loner, two orphaned children needing a home. Can they create a perfectly imperfect family? (marriage of convenience, girl next door)

💖  -TRUE DREAMS - A recovering addict in search of a quiet life. An innocent optimist seeking fame and fortune. Can she see beyond his past to heal his damaged soul? (boss/employee, bad boy/virgin)

💖 -STOLEN DREAMS - An uptight perfectionist. A bohemian free spirit. Can she convince him a walk on the wild side is good for the soul? (opposites attract, friends with benefits)

💖 -BROKEN DREAMS - A new single dad. An unconventional nanny. A little boy in his own world. Can she show them that family is more than an image? (single dad/nanny, special needs family found)

https://www.karilemor.com/storms-of-new-england

 

Stay safe and healthy and happy reading!


Kari

 

 

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Blue As Sapphires #RomanceGems @ConstanceBretes

Montana is the sapphires capital of the United States.




While living in Montana, my husband and I visited a town called Philipsburg. It is a small town with old buildings occupied by local businesses. A 2-man sheriff department, volunteer fire department, a 3 bed hospital and medical complex, with schools, a jewelry store, with several small restaurants and bars. 




What really drew us to the area was that a few miles from there is Sapphire Mountains. Sapphire Mountains is where people can go to search for sapphires. On the other side of the mountains the owners have a backhoe to dig the rocks and on the side where customers can come to either buy bags of rocks that could have sapphires in them or they can search through the rocks already laying on tables to look for sapphires.


A river runs along the west side of the town called Rock Creek, gold has been known to be found there as well as sapphires. 


I took this information, and the town, and created a contemporary romance called Blue as Sapphires. I changed a few things, such as the name of the town, and expanded the sheriff department. The story is about a woman who returns to her hometown to start over after getting out of an abusive relationship. She works for a jewelry store and goes out to the river to pan for sapphires. She meets up with the man she knew as a boy and as hard as she tries, he won’t leave her alone.


When you read the story, you will see the character doing what my husband and I have done. In addition to creating this story, all sales from this particular book goes to the domestic hotline.

 Domestic Abuse Hotline

Click on the book and it will take you to the e-book retailer store you use to order your books.


 Blue As Sapphires Buy Links

Hope you enjoy reading the book as much as I have writing it, and the experiences that I had and incorporated into the book!





Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Happy Ever After by @BonnieEdwards #RomanceGems

 We always hear about how life is not like a romance novel. That romances are pure fantasy and not at all “real.” Well…here’s the real deal…

There was once a teen in high school who enjoyed the company of a very pretty girl. Every day during lunch period they’d walk the grounds of the school and she was so nice that she would point out lots of other girls that he could ask out. She knew there were plenty who wanted to see more of her friend. Nothing came of their good friendship because the nice, pretty girl was spoken for and had a long-term boyfriend who went to another school.

They went their separate ways, she to a college far away, and he to university, where they both excelled. They launched their careers and the pretty girl lived in a different city with her long-term boyfriend. The man returned to their hometown and succeeded in business.

Sometimes, the old friends would chat the night away at parties hosted by old friends in town, while the long-term boyfriend was the life of the party.

Eventually, after the pretty girl realized her boyfriend was still a boy and not a man, they broke up. After years of being attached, the pretty girl saw that she’d been looking at the wrong man to share her future. The real man she wanted had been there all along, kind, considerate, and patient.

At a wedding of old friends, the man waited for the pretty girl to arrive. He paced and worried about if she was bringing a date. (Buddies reported he was in a heck of a state.) Of course, she didn’t. She went, hoping that he’d be there alone and maybe, just maybe, something would spark to life between them…

And here we have three standard romance tropes: Friends to Lovers, Second Chance at Love, Small Town Reunion (at a wedding no less) with a happily ever after ending. And it’s all true! My daughter and her husband now have two little boys, two thriving businesses, and life is grand.


In my romance Finding Mercy (Return to Welcome Book 1) failed actress Mercy Talbot returns to her small town, Welcome, WA where memories are long and grudges are fresh as daisies. Gossip is the stock in trade and returning only feeds the rumor mill and brings up old animosity. But Mercy finds a purpose in her motherless niece and decides to help the child be herself. To do that, she must do battle with her own mother who's doing the best she can for her granddaughter.

What doesn't work is her startling attraction to her brother-in-law, a widowed single father who struggles to be the best daddy he can be...but Clay Foster needs help and he knows it.

Falling for Mercy would be a bigger mistake than marrying her sister had been...and when her career takes Mercy away again, she'll take his little girl's heart with her and leave him broken. 

For the month of September, Finding Mercy is available for only 99c. If you haven't read it yet, please do...it's a different take on small town life and the cast of characters are well-rounded and real. Including Dilly, who saves worms and hates dancing lessons. 


Finding Mercy Return to Welcome Book 1 is an Amazon exclusive title and can be enjoyed through Kindle Unlimited if you're a subscriber. OR you can purchase for the low price of 99c for the next two weeks.

Happy reading!

Monday, September 14, 2020

The More Things Change... 5 Things I Miss Right Now by @MaddieJames

Lately things seem to be all about changing—even while staying the same.

I say that because there hasn't been much new going on in my life during this age of Covid. I've followed all the safety guidelines, limited my social contacts, and lived/worked within my bubble for oh...about five months now. Each day is pretty much the same. I rise, write, market my books, garden, cook, clean, and if I'm lucky, maybe write some more.

So, it’s same-old/same-old every day. And that, in and of itself, is a change. 

Things I miss doing though:

  • Browsing a store like Home Depot or Sam’s Club. I haven’t been in either of those stores since the panic began.
  • Grocery shopping. I’ve been inside my Kroger store once since May. I long to pick out my own vegetables and choose my own packages of meat. 
  • Seeing my children and grandchildren. They live a state away. And they have active lives. Since I care for my elderly father, I worry about bringing the darned virus back to him should I visit them, and vice versa. 
  • An occasional dinner out. Since we’ve graduated to take-out, we have enjoyed some meals from our favorite restaurants, but wouldn’t it be nice to linger again over a meal and have actual dinner conversations? 
  • Traveling. As much as I hate to admit it—because for years I traveled so much for my day job and for the longest time, didn’t care if I ever saw an airport or hotel lobby again—I’m getting itchy travel feet. I find myself thinking about that drive I’ve been wanting to take through New England, or a long weekend at my favorite beach. And then I stop myself. 
Maybe subconsciously, I’m longing for change.

But fall is approaching. And to me, fall always signifies change. New beginnings. Fresh starts. As a student and then a teacher for many years, September and a new school year was a chance to start over—you know, new clothes, new shoes, new pencil box. I guess I've never shaken that sentiment, even though I haven't stepped into a classroom for some time. 

Click image for Giveaway link! 
Still, I’ll take advantage of the seasonal attitude change and spruce up my life a bit. My garden is waning. I have some tomatoes left to ripen, and some turnips nearly ready to eat. Soon, it will be time to put the garden to bed until spring. The yard needs some attention too—flower beds need cleaning out, and I need to create a few new beds where I had some shrubbery removed a few weeks ago.

In the meantime, I'll also give the house a good fall cleaning, and perhaps throw a few coats of paint on some furniture I’ve been threatening to upcycle. I’ll break out my cowgirl boots (ahem, all 9 pair...) and give them a good polishing before winter and begin thinking about retiring my flipflops (maybe). Probably wouldn’t hurt to wash some windows, too.

As much as things stay the same, we often need change—and change can be good—even if we make the change happen ourselves. I'm grateful for the cool mornings and pleasant afternoons lately. Later, I'll be happy to exchange mowing the yard for salting the front porch steps. I love fall, and I don't mind winter. I'll just hole up and write more.

In my book, SAFE HAVEN, Rebecca McCauley goes through a number of life changes. She returns home after years away and works on healing herself from her past. She's not the only one, she discovers, when Collin Kramer bursts into her life. 

A recent Amazon reviewer had this to say about SAFE HAVEN.
"There's lots of anguish, danger and suspense in their story. The losses they suffer only bring them closer together, which escalates the attacks against them. I had a hard time putting the book down until it was done. I thoroughly enjoyed the story."
Rebekah McCauley is back home after ten long years of living and working in New York City. She left the Big Apple under circumstances she’d rather not share with her family—not yet, anyway—and wants time to heal and recover from the mess she’s made of her life. Luckily, her grandparents’ Kentucky bluegrass farm, Wind Ridge, provides the safe haven she craves and the solitude she needs to heal.

Collin Kramer, the foxhunter next door, seems determined to infiltrate her peace and invade her safe haven—not only with his noisy hounds running amok over her land, but with his Alpha male, take-charge attitude running roughshod over her wounded heart.

But as Bekah softens to Collin’s conquest, Collin realizes his own toughened heart needs mending. And just when he thinks he has that conquered, as well, all hell breaks loose. Poisoned horses, a gutted hound, and a barn fire are only the beginning. When Bekah’s farmhouse burns to the ground too, they know someone is serious about destroying their lives. But who?

Whose past, Bekah’s or Collin’s, has come back to haunt them?

You can find SAFE HAVEN at all ebook retailers by CLICKING HERE. 

And before I leave you, don't forget about our Last Chance Beach: Summer's End box set! Grab yours now, before summer ends....


****
Maddie James writes to silence the people in her head... 
Visit her at www.maddiejames.net. 

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Happy Grandparent's Day! Hugs, Kisses, and Cookies by Connie Vines

There is a special bond between a grandparent and a grandchild. 


 I experienced that special bond with each of my grandparents, doubly so because I was also the first grandchild.

Now that I am a grandparent, I must confess it is a very strong bond.  Different from the bond I have with my own children; but just as strong none-the-less. 

Do you celebrate Grandparent's Day?

Canada, England and the USA all celebrate Grandparent's Day. In the USA and Canada it's Sept.13th this year; England celebrates the 1st Sunday in October.

It Has Its Own Song

The official song for National Grandparents Day is “A Song for Grandma and Grandpa” by Johnny Prill.

It Has Its Own Flower

The official flower is the “forget-me-not” flower.


While many may normally celebrate this holiday by a trip to an amusement park, a meal in a restaurant, this year this may not be possible.
youngest grandson


Grandparent and Grandchildren alike are going to miss those hugs, kisses, and cookies.
So what are some ways to celebrate this special day?

Video chatting or calling and expressing love and gratitude will make their day, they always want to hear from you. 

Sending a card or an ebook/audiobook certificate would be another wonderful gift.


Handwritten notes, a drawing of 'the family' or  hand-picked flowers are what make me happy.

Next year, my grandchildren come over and sit in my kitchen where there will be hugs, kisses, and freshly baked cookies for everyone.

This year, I give thanks that my loved ones are healthy, safe, and know that they are loved.


Three of my 4 grand daughters + eldest son and wife


Eldest grand daughter
Eldest grandson wearing his kilt

 Please share your "special Grandparent's Day stories".


Happy Grandparent's Day, everyone  💖💖    

Connie







Saturday, September 12, 2020

TV Shows That Were Canceled Before Their Time by Laura Hunsaker

 Recently I was chatting with a friend about my new obsession: Lucifer on Netflix. Why oh why didn't I start this sooner! Which reminded me that's exactly what I said about Galavant, I mean seriously, why didn't I start that show sooner?
Which led us to the topic of TV shows that were cancelled before I even got into them. I'm behind the times I guess! 
So, which TV shows were canceled before their time?
I've heard a lot of people are still salty about Firefly, Sleepy Hollow, and Veronica Mars.

For me I only have a couple: 

Moonlight- A Vampire and an investigative journalist...how did this show not get more seasons?



Pitch- I'm not even a baseball fan and I loved this show! 



and Galavant. Oh Galavant. How I love thee. It's a musical comedy show with the Amazing Alan Menkin as the songwriter! My goodness what a fun show!




Lucifer lives on still ;) And I'm binge-watching this weekend! 



So how about you? Which shows are you still sad about not getting another season?



And if you want to see what is getting another "season"...it's my Fatal Instinct series. I'm almost finished with my third story, but you can grab the latest in the Last Chance Beach: Summer's End box set on Amazon.




She needs rest, he needs relaxation…


Jenny Travers wants a fresh start. Leaving the nightmares of her past behind her, she heads to Last Chance Beach. Renting the Sea Glass Cottage sounds peaceful and relaxing, which is exactly what she needs.


What she doesn’t need is a man.


Lieutenant Commander Scott Gordon was injured by an IED on his last mission, and while his leg has healed, it’ll never be strong enough to stay on his SEAL team. Renting the Sea Glass Cottage sounds like the perfect place to figure out how he’s going to handle his new normal. 


He never expected to find a woman in his bed.


A mix-up at the rental agency means Jenny and Scott are both renting the small cottage. Sharing a space with a stranger should be hard, yet they both feel more at peace than they have in months. 


Will their summer romance last, or is the magic of Sea Glass Cottage all they’ll have…



Friday, September 11, 2020

ELEVEN MORE DAYS OF SUMMER By Kathleen Lawless @kathleenlawless

 

Instincts. Sixth Sense. Gut feeling. Universal intelligence.

Ever hear that little inner voice’s whisper?

Do you listen, or try to ignore it?

Years ago, I was a newly divorced single mom trying to navigate my way. After extensive efforts, I had finally sold a few books and thought I was set in my new career. But that little voice nagged at me to send a resume to an out-of-town company not even advertising a position. I tried to ignore it. I was happy writing.  I didn’t want a “job.” I told it to go away. The voice became louder and more insistent. Finally, I faxed my resume, said, “There! Satisfied?” and went back to my writing. Before long I heard from the company, which was expanding to include a new sales position in my area, and delighted to hear from me. With mixed feelings, I eventually met the manager and joined their team. 

It was ultimately the best decision of my life.

 Through my job I had more fun, met more people, and traveled to places I never would have gone, including Jamaica, South Africa and Scotland. I wined and dined in fantasy settings here and abroad, most of which have made it into a book at some time, for I didn’t stop writing.

After twenty plus years, the company changed, the work environment changed, and it was time to once again listen to those instincts and become a full time author.

 My hero, Percy, in my upcoming release, HOPE, resolutely ignores his instincts, believing they steered him wrong in the past and are not to be trusted. Poor old Percy gets it wrong a lot before he finally follows his gut and… I won’t give away the plot except to say he finally gets his HEA. 

Here’s a little teaser where Percy is talking to his good friend, Henrietta.

           Henrietta swung about to face him, her expression troubled.  “Do you remember when we first came to Bullet?”

          Percy laughed.  “How could I forget?  It’s only been a few years, but it seems like a lifetime ago.”

          “Exactly.  Who would have thought we’d both end up living here?” Henrietta said.  “You overheard that ridiculous bet Braydon made with his brothers regarding me, and you were a good enough friend to let me know what was going on.”

          “Of course,” Percy said, wondering where this trip down memory lane was headed.

          “And now I know something I feel you should be privy to.  But I’m reluctant to interfere, the way you were then.”

          “You’ve started it now,” Percy said.  “Best to continue.”

          Henrietta pressed her lips together, clearly torn, before she blurted out, “Hope’s in town.  She just arrived and plans to stay a few days.  She has no idea you’re here, and it is possible your paths won’t cross.  Especially if you were to leave now for the dig site and stay there till after she’s gone.”

          Percy kept his expression neutral.  “You said she doesn’t know I’m here.  What, exactly, did she say?”

          “I take it you must have mentioned my name to her at some point, because she knew who I was from my hotel name badge.  She said she’d heard about the town from you and had a hankering to see the place for herself.”

          “Was she alone?”

          Henrietta nodded.

          “No mention of her husband?”

          Henrietta shook her head. 

          Percy blew out a breath and stared up at the ceiling.

          “You’re sorry I told you, aren’t you?” Henrietta said.

          “Henny, I’m an academic.  We’re used to dealing with facts, not feelings.”

          “But, in this instance, I can’t present you with all the facts.  Plus, I know, from our years together hunting for lost treasure, you also rely on your feelings and instincts.”

          Percy shook his head.  “That part I always left to you.  The one time I ignored the facts and relied solely on my feelings, my instincts steered me wrong.”

          Henny’s worried gaze met his.  “What will you do?”

          “What I always do.  Pretend life is a game of chess and study the situation carefully before I consider my next move.”

          “Is there anything I can do to help?” Henrietta asked.

          “Not a thing, my sweet.” 



 

Preorder HOPE here.  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08DSL7Y8H

  How about you?  Do you trust your instincts? Have they ever steered your wrong, or did you miss a wonderful opportunity because you were too busy to listen?

 By the way, there’s eleven full days of summer left before the fall equinox, lots of time to grab your copy of LAST CHANCE BEACH, SUMMER’S END for only 99cents.

https://amzn.to/3hJseeT  And a free cocktail book.  https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08DR4K3YX/