Wednesday, August 12, 2020

To Re-read or Not to Read by Laura Hunsaker

I've noticed that with everything going on in the world, I've had a hard time focusing on new books/TV shows/movies that I typically would love. I took to Twitter and was shocked to see people already talking about that. It's not just me! 

But I was even more shocked to see an article floating around that basically said when people are stressed out, they tend to go for something they've already read or watched because they already know how it ends, therefore the stakes are a bit lower (article is linked here). They go for old favorites because it's comforting (and I definitely love a good comfort read). It's like a warm blanket. 

I have three books on my ereader that I can think of off-hand that I should be devouring. And yet...I keep going back to old faves. Then I feel guilty that I'm spending my precious reading time with something I've already read. I should be reading something new and shiny! faves are shiny too. I figure since they make me happy, isn't the the important part? I read because it makes me happy. I have a friend however who never re-reads anything. Once the book has been read, that's that. (no judgement! Just different ways of reading!)

Comment to enter our August giveaway

So how about you? Are you a fan of the re-read? Or do you read the book once and move on? There's no right or wrong answer here, it's all about you and what sparks joy for you. For me? I want that warm blanket of a comfort read. 

If you want something happy, comforting, and light, check out our Last Chance Beach box set!

14 happy beach reads and summer romances all for $.99!

My story is Dreams of the Past. In it, Jenny needs some rest, Scott needs some relaxation...but will they get what they want when they both wind up booking the same beach cottage?

And don't forget there's a free companion book called Cocktails on Last Chance Beach

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

SOME LIKE IT HOT! By Kathleen Lawless @kathleenlawless

I’m one of those weird hybrid writers who writes all heat levels, from chastity and church, to Giddyup! and everything in between.  I’ve heard from readers who love my steamy scenes (they tell me their sex lives improved) and reviewers who were totally disgusted.  I’ve heard some readers say it’s refreshing to have things left to the imagination, while and others live vicariously through the imaginative details penned by their favorite authors. 

So my question for you, Dear Reader, in the Comment and Win part of today’s blog is …  How do you feel?  Do you like the bedroom door open or closed?  Does it depend on the characters, and the writer’s skill level?  Or is a good story a good story, heat level aside?  
There is no right or wrong answer, but I’d love to hear your thoughts.  Remember to include your email written out like this.  Yourname at whatevermail dot com.    
The bedroom door is definitely closed on the stories in our fantastic summer boxed set, LAST CHANCE BEACH: Summer’s End, but that doesn’t stop some of the writers from turning up the heat and ramping up the sexual tension.  For instance, what happens when there are 2 people and only one bed?  
I love that there is something in this collection to suit all readers.   This set is a steal at only 99 cents.

Plus there’s a free companion cocktail recipe book

I’ve got several new releases set to debut soon, starting with MAIL ORDER RACHEL, Book 24 of the popular Widows, Brides and Secret Babies series.  This book releases August 21st and is squeaky clean.


Rachel has looked after herself from a very young age.  When she witnesses a murder, she needs to get out of town fast, before she’s next.  Desperate, she takes her friend’s place as a mail-order bride out west.

Daniel longs for a wife and family.  Not only is his mail-order bride not what he expected, she shows up with a baby that she claims isn’t hers.  When a bounty hunter arrives asking questions, Daniel’s protective instincts kick in, along with his suspicions.  What is his new wife hiding?  

UNDONE, Book 6 of Secret Seductions is, as the series implies, rather racy if I do say so myself.  But it’s fun.  Three girlfriends on vacation with one thing on their minds.  I think we’ve all secretly longed to be on a vacation with good friends, and the freedom to be naughty.  

An Ex-Rated Scavenger Hunt!
It’s Kennedy’s solution to cheer up her two best friends and spice up their lives on a badly-needed girls’ getaway.

Lisa is getting over a cheating husband.
Justine recently broke up with her married lover.
While Kennedy is just love ’em and leave ’em Kennedy, in her element on a beach paradise surrounded by wealthy, eligible, and smokingly-single men.
The first one to complete the sexcapades list is the winner.
Which of them will take home the ultimate prize?  Who will lose her heart?

On the Clean and Wholesome front, I’m introducing HOPE, the first book in my Widows of the Wild West series.  Many readers have already met Percy and Hope in the Seven Brides for Seven Brothers bonus novella, PERCY’S HOPE.  This is their HEA.


Hope arrives in a small western town, a place that captured her imagination during a passion filled month in Percy’s company that ended in heartbreak for both.  Her last glimpse of Percy was when he boarded a train headed East, gone from her life forever. 

Percy is a professional treasure hunter whose actions are dictated by facts and figures.  The one time he acted on his instincts instead of the facts everything backfired, a mistake he’s not about to repeat.  Not even after recently widowed Hope walks back into his life, and passion re-sparks between them.  This time, he vows to keep her at arm’s length.  

I'm eagerly awaiting everyone's comments on opening the bedroom, leaving it ajar in some instances, or keeping it firmly shut.

Stay safe and have a wonderful Summer's End!  
Kathleen Lawless

Monday, August 10, 2020

How I Spent My Summer Vacation by Hannah Rowan #RomanceGems

Remember this essay topic greeting you when you returned to class after a summer hiatus?


I don’t!

But I’ve seen it often enough in comic strips and on TV shows.  And if I were still a student, I’d have a very peculiar essay to hand in.

Generally around this time of year my husband and I are getting ready to set out on a great adventure.  We wouldn’t take a beach vacation when we have nice, hot sun right at home.  We save that for the cold winter months. We’ll do day trips to the Jersey shore, but our standard getaways usually involve visiting another state to continue my quest to go to all fifty.  (At this point I’m up to 42.)  Sometimes we’re fortunate enough to travel to another country.

In the year 2020, it sometimes seems we’ve traveled to another universe entirely.

This year’s shelter-in-place directives have introduced my husband to the wonders of grocery stores.  Where before he might have made a quick trip to pick up milk and bananas, he found himself accompanying me on more extensive excursions as a way to get out of the house.  After the initial excitement wore off, he found he was just as bored as I usually am with the task. In fact, he could get downright impatient while I stood pondering which tomatoes were ripest or which loaf of bread had the most fiber and the least sugar. I finally realized that buying him a Kit Kat or a bag of pretzels made the trip more palatable to him.

Our horizons expanded beyond groceries when I discovered websites listing all the local, county, and state parks in our area.  We found parks right near our house that we never knew existed.  Some featured nice, gentle strolls on paved paths.  Others required the dexterity of a mountain goat but we were forced to keep going only because it would have been more difficult to go back the way we came.

We discovered that New Jersey has many ponds, lakes, and rivers hidden in the woods in state and county parks. Several times we were rewarded with a view of the Manhattan skyline after scrambling up a rocky path.  We found the remains on many a colonial stone foundation deep in the woods.  And I can’t even remember how many spots where we learned colonial soldiers rested or hid to prepare for the next battle.  The forest also hides the rusted out parts of old cars and appliances, leading us to wonder why someone would take the trouble to lug something so far into the woods that it takes an hour to get to it.

On the first mild day we decided to go down the shore just to walk on the beach and the boardwalk.  The fog obscured the ocean and it was chilly and cloudy, but it was also delightful to be out of the house and near the water.

When outdoor dining first opened up we rushed to a favorite restaurant with tables spread out on the sidewalk.  Just as our food arrived, the skies opened up and we might as well have been eating in the shower.  We grabbed our dishes and ran to a nearby empty table that had an umbrella.  Yes, our backs were soaked, but our fronts were deliriously happy eating at a restaurant for the first time in many months.

We’ve been swimming in a nearby pond because the pool in our complex won’t open this year.

We’ve been sitting in the dark watching a hurricane blow trees past our window.

We’ve seen enough wildlife to assemble our own private zoo.  The chipmunks are running rampant, but we’ve also seen a man rescuing a frog from the jaws of a snake on a forest path, a red-shouldered hawk, a very fat groundhog, a blue heron, a white heron, lots of bunnies and deer, and the occasional coyote.

All in all I guess you could say that though it hasn’t been the most pleasant summer on record, at least it’s been interesting.

You may have noticed that I’m somewhat fond of water.  Lakes, rivers, ponds, swimming pools, and the ocean.  The beach is my happy place!  So when I was given the opportunity to join 13 other authors in the Last Chance Beach box set, it seemed like the natural place to be.

Click Last Chance Beach on the menu bar above to follow me to Last Chance Beach, and pick up a copy of our free companion e-book featuring recipes for delicious beach-side drinks in Cocktails on Last Chance Beach.  And be sure to enter this month's giveaway!


Friday, August 7, 2020

Which one? Paperback or eBook? by Jan Scarbrough

Ghost Mountain Ranch Series
“Hello. I’m a romance writer. Yes, I have published books. You can find them at Amazon. They are cheaper as ebooks.”

When I tell people, I write romance novels and hand them my card, hoping they will buy a copy of one of my ebooks, I often get the standard “Oh, I don’t read ebooks. I love to feel a real book in my hands.”

How do you come down on this topic? Do you prefer real paperback or hardback books, or can you make do with a digital novel on your tablet or cell phone?

An article written five years ago shows scientists were becoming concerned about the switch to digital. “Research suggests that recall of plot after using an e-reader is poorer than with traditional books." See the article Readers absorb less on Kindles than on paper, study finds in The Guardian.
My bookshelves 
For myself, I have shelves of paperbacks and hardbacks. Mrs. Neff, my ninth-grade teacher, told us we should own books. And of course, my father collected books. My mother read library books all the time.

Over the years, I’ve culled my books, giving them to a charity book sale. But I still have hundreds. I also have hundreds of ebook downloads from Amazon. It's so easy to "Buy with 1-Click."" When I wait at a doctor’s office or when I take my lunch hour at work, it is very convenient to open the Kindle app on my iPhone and start reading. It's easier than carrying a bulky paperback.
Paperback version

However, I like to use paperback when I’m doing research and underlining and taking notes. Yet, I find it’s easier to read an ebook on my iPad in bed. No trouble holding the book and turning pages.

So, I come down on both sides of the fence. Not totally for, but certainly not against. What do you think about ebooks? Do you prefer the feel of paper or are you digital all the way?


Have you bought your copy?

LAST CHANCE BEACH is the island paradise where Dreams go to live again and Wishes may come true. It's Summer's End on the island, and the cottages, condos, hotels, and bungalows are filled to capacity.

There's plenty of time left to find summer fun and summer love, new romances and second chances, hot alpha males and heartwarming heroes, love at first sight and romantic delight, enemies to lovers and opposites attract.

Throw a log on the beach bonfire tonight and celebrate LAST CHANCE BEACH: Summer's End, a special romance collection of 14 all-new short stories from bestselling and award-winning authors. These summer stories—created especially for this collection—will thrill the hopeful romantic in you. Some are sweet: some are sizzling! Some are humorous; some are serious. All the stories will make you sigh!

LAST CHANCE BEACH: Summer's End will make you want to book a vacation to the island of legend and love, the place where soul mates find each other and love at first sight happens all the time!

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Dealing With the Summer Heat by Nancy Fraser

As I've said in past posts ... I love summer! Even with the heat and humidity. Of course, I have my favorite ways to cope with the hottest days!

Creamsicle Slushies are my go-to. Healthy (sort of), and definitely thirst quenching. Then, a little later in the day, those slushies give way to a grown-up beverage. Most often, for me, that means a Frozen Fuzzy Navel.

My personalized recipe for this wonderful concoction can be found in our giveaway book, Cocktails on Last Chance Beach. To get your free copy, just click on the title.

While your there getting your free book, don't forget to grab your copy of Last Chance Beach: Summer's End - 14 great brand-new beach reads for just 99 cents. This fabulous collection pairs perfectly with any of the recipes in the cocktail book!

And where would a new release by without a trailer...

Summer is usually my time to kick back and relax. However, given the year we've had, I couldn't kick back and relax if I tried. So, I've decided to write instead. Full time, full speed ahead.

Here are just a few things on my publishing horizon:

My August 28th steamy contemporary romance, D*mn Near Perfect, the first book in my Cougars & Cubs series if finally here. I'll share more about my first self-published release later in the month when I celebrate my "book birthday". In the meantime though, if you'd like a fun activity, you can complete the JigSaw Puzzle to see my sexy cover! The book does come with a warning: This book contains language and adult sexual situations that some readers may find HAWT!

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I have two new releases scheduled for September. First up is my sexy contemporary romance, Return of the Wolfe, the first book in my Love of the Land series.

He left her when she'd needed him most. How can she trust him with her broken heart?

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Then, just in time for my favorite holiday ... Halloween ... I'll be releasing my steamy, paranormal romance, The Secrets of Gable House, book one of my Feisty Holiday Fun series.

Will the small town librarian get her spook on with the big city archiect?

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Finally, don't forget to enter this month's Comment & Win contest.

Until later this month, stay happy, stay healthy, stay well read.


Tuesday, August 4, 2020

July Contest Results & NEW August Contest by Nancy Fraser


Happy August Everyone! Our July Contest had 4630 entries!

Thanks to everyone who completed their tasks for a chance to win one of our great Amazon Gift Card prizes. The Romance Gems appreciate your ongoing support.

The Winner's were:

First Prize - $20 Amazon Gift Card: Jessica Nelson

Second Prize - $15 Amazon Gift Card: Tina R

Third Prize - $10 Amazon Gift Card: Wanda Osepowicz

Speaking of support ...

The best way to support your favorite authors is to post a review of their work. An author's career can be supported and enhanced in a significant way by the number of reviews her book as garnered.

Writing a review isn't difficult and doesn't have to be lengthy. I few kind (hopefully) words about why you liked the book and what you saw as the author, or the main characters' strengths. Your satisfaction with the book, as a whole, should be reflected in the star score you give it.

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Beginning this month, we will no longer be doing Rafflecopter drawings. However, that doesn't mean you can't participate in a great opportunity to win an awesome prize!

Meet "Comment & Win" ... the new version. In order to gain an entry, all you have to is comment on the day's post. In the body of your comment, be sure to add your email address (written out to avoid scammers, e.g., yourname at gmail dot com). You can earn one entry per day by continuing to comment throughout the month.

One of our valuable Gems will track the comments, all entries will go into our random generator, and a winner will be chosen to receive a $20 Amazon Gift Card.

Monday, August 3, 2020

Summer Reading by Karen Whiddon

As we move into what's usually the hottest part of summer here in Texas, I've been coping with the heat and isolation by reading. A lot.  I'm mostly reading romance, but some young adult fiction as well as fantasy.  I'm all over the gamut of genres, from best selling authors to ones who are new to me.

I love summer reading.  It's relaxing and enjoyable and I often find it spurs my creativity.  Since I'm usually under a constant deadline, that's also a good thing.

The pool or the lake, a glass of wine or iced tea (I've recently discovered Hibiscus tea and am loving it!) and a good book can't be beat.  While my hubby watches Netflix, I read.  The perfect end to a hot summer day.

What about you?  Are you reading more or less?  I'd love to hear some recommendations!

Speaking of recommendations, have you pre-ordered this boxed set? I have - it comes out tomorrow - and I can't wait to read it.  I'm not in it this time - too many other commitments, but I hope to be in the future.  It's on 99 cents so get yours today!

Get a head start on the first Gems box set coming out August 4th.
I can't wait! 14 short beach reads by 14 award-winning and bestselling Gems authors!


And finally, we've changed up our contest a bit.  See below!