Tuesday, May 21, 2019

99 Cent Book Sale by Karen Kelley #RomanceGems



I love thrift shops, garage sales—any kind of bargain. My son and son in law mentioned Facebook Market place but it never clicked with me that it would be like a giant garage sale. I love getting a bargain. That’s why today I’m shouting out that Dangling…Participle?, a steamy romantic comedy, is on sale for 99 cents. You can’t beat a deal like that. Here’s a little more about Dangling…Participle?

Katie:

I really needed to get serious and concentrate on my writing, but the barista behind the counter at my fav coffee shop is not making it easy. The guy is drop dead gorgeous. I’m talking six-pack abs, broad chest, and oozing sex appeal. In other words, way out of my league!

Then he finds my flash drive and reads the start of my book! I want to die. I’m a nice girl. Really, I am, but I have very naughty thoughts.

When I discover he’s actually a famous writer and offers to help, how can I say no? His help means I might actually escape my demonic boss, and living with my evil twin sisters (no lie! I’m talking straight out of f**king Cinderella evil).

But just how far am I willing to let him go when I stumble over the love scenes?

Jaxson:
I’ve never seen anyone with worse fashion sense than Katie. But as she sat at one of the tables in the coffee shop, laptop open, she removed those god-awful black glasses and nibbled her bottom lip. Then she smiled and transformed before my eyes.

I want her.

Can’t have her. She’s not that type.

Then I find and read her flash drive and discover there’s a whole other side to her beneath those baggy clothes and ugly glasses. She only needs a little help. Especially with her love scenes.

I should probably keep the relationship strictly platonic.

Nope, not going to happen.
In May the Romance Gems honors Heroes and She-roes: Mothers, Soldiers, and First Responders. For a chance to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card and Bundles of EBooks, enter our Rafflecopter draw!
                                                            Learn more HERE
 
















Monday, May 20, 2019

WRITING A SERIES AND WORLD BUILDING 101

By Caroline Clemmons

Remember the exhilaration of finding a book you love and discovering it's part of a series? Like most readers, I love that. As an author, another heady feeling is to receive a message or email from a reader asking if a certain character will have his/her own book. Hooray!

In addition to my love for writing is the love of writing connected books. World building is necessary. If the series is longer than three books, I make a town map so I keep businesses and homes in the right spot. Nothing elaborate is required. I use a piece of cardboard saved from new shirts my husband has received. I've also used a sheet of printer paper.

An author with whom I'm acquainted mentioned that in her studies at the University of Texas in Austin, one of her classes was in world building. I was amazed there was an entire semester devoted to the subject. Think of this as your World Building 101 Mini-Course, no fee or registration required.

To begin, create a bible of each character. I don't mean with a page for each person unless you are so thorough you find a photo to represent your character and create an entire life and background for the character. Keep in mind the time you invest in background is time you're not writing.

I list the name and a brief description. Start with the main characters but add every character as he or she steps into the story--name, age, hair and eye color, occupation. Don't skip anyone because you may need them later and be unable to remember details.

*Example:
Keira Cameron, 22, thick red hair, blue eyes, 5'10", nice figure, came to US from near Aberdeen, Scotland six months ago.

Gideon Ross, 28, black hair that's too long, blue eyes, bushy beard trying to hide bad scar    on face from war, blacksmith and gun repair, owns home next to his sister and brother- in-law, came from near Inverness, Scotland seven years ago

One author I know asked a fan to reread several of her earlier books and discover a character's eye color. She remembered the name but not in which book he appeared. Annoying.

Locate the main businesses. You can't have the bakery next to the law office in one book and then have it between the hotel and the barbershop in the next. Readers, at least some, will remember.

Let's talk names. One thing of which I'm guilty unless I am diligent is having character names beginning with the same letter. This is confusing for the casual reader. Don't have Colin and Cody as characters unless they're twins. For some reason, if I don't pay attention I have several characters whose names begin with D and with M.


Decide whether you have an obstacle in each book that is resolved or whether, along with that, you have a recurring villain in your series. I prefer stand alone books in the series. While readers enjoy meeting characters from previous books, I don't want anyone to believe she/he has to start with book one in order to understand book five. Also, I don't want the suspense killed when someone reads the last book and decides to start at the first of the series.

If you write more than one series, be careful not to reuse the names. I love the name Elizabeth and its variations. I have a Beth in at least two books and a Bessie and Betsy. When I write historical novels, I use family names of that period. Oops, that's why I ended up with a Riley in two books of different series. Now I keep up with which names I've already used in books.

What heat level are you writing? All the books in the series should have the same heat level. Lately I have been writing sweet novels where the bedroom door is closed. That's not for everyone. Steamy, hot, sweet--if doesn't matter as long as you're consistent within the series.

Go forth and create!


*The example above is from A BRIDE FOR GIDEON, Proxy Brides Series, book 16, available at the Universal Amazon link:  http://mybook.to/Keira 



Since this is my first post to Romance Gems, here's my bio so you know who I am.


Through a crazy twist of fate, Caroline Clemmons was not born on a Texas ranch. To compensate for this illogical error, she writes about handsome cowboys, feisty ranch women, and scheming villains in a tiny office her family calls her pink cave. She and her Hero live in North Central Texas cowboy country where they ride herd on their three rescued indoor cats as well as providing nourishment outdoors for squirrels, birds, and other critters.
The books she creates in her pink cave have made her a bestselling author and won several awards. She writes sweet to sensual romances about the West, both historical and contemporary as well as time travel and mystery. Her series include the Kincaids, McClintocks, Stone Mountain Texas, Bride Brigade, Texas Time Travel, Texas Caprock Tales, Pearson Grove, and Loving A Rancher as well as numerous single titles and contributions to multi-author sets. When she’s not writing, she loves spending time with her family, reading her friends’ books, lunching with friends, browsing antique malls, checking Facebook, and taking the occasional nap.

Facebook Readers Group - Caroline’s Cuties https://www.facebook.com/groups/277082053015947/ 
Twitter  https://twitter.com/CarolinClemmons (no E in Caroline)

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Wonder Woman: My Mom is My Inspiration

Hello Again, 

As a romance author I write books that always have heroes or heroines, sometimes flawed, but always loveable. These characters usually embody tiny snippets of people from my personal life who have influenced me. 

When I was nine years old my dad got sick, he had a heart condition and almost died. He was in the hospital for a long time and wasn’t able to continue at his current job so he changed his career path. My mom started working at the local elementary school. She took care of running the house, bringing in a paycheck and still made sure she spent time with me and my brothers. She has always been a strong role model for me and my daughters. She is my very own Wonder Woman, my hero.

Romance novels aren’t only about the blossoming romance between the pages and the two main characters. In my humble opinion, it’s about promoting strong women as role models; capable, courageous, and caring women who can do almost anything.  

In the first novella in The Loudon Series, Between Here and Heaven, Cari McKenna has just lost her husband and is facing an uncertain future. Struggling with depression and at a loss of what to do next she’s drifting, barely going through the motions of daily life, allowing herself to grieve until she knew it was time to actively begin living if not for herself then for her children. 

Lost and Found picks up the storyline fifteen years later. In some ways Cari has my mother’s strength. She is a strong single mother who starts her own business after her husband passes away. She raises her three children to be strong, caring people. Throughout each book in the series, where each of her kids, Shane, Kate and Ellie, each have their own story, the example Cari sets as a role model shines through. 

Book Sale News: To get a e-copy of the Loudon Series at a special price click here www.lucindarace.com/booksand please leave a review. 


Finally, sign up for my newsletter at www.lucindarace.comfor news on upcoming book releases and special events.

Contest News!

In May the Romance Gems honors Heroes and She-roes: Mothers, Soldiers, and First Responders. For a chance to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card and Bundles of EBooks, enter our Rafflecopter draw!



Until next time, 
I wish you happiness. 

Lucinda

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Becoming a Mom! by @karilemor #RomanceGems




Being a mother can be one of the most rewarding jobs ever…and it can be one of the hardest. I’m one of those people who, from the time I was little, always wanted to be a mom. I was the neighborhood babysitter that everyone used. I took Child Care classes in high school. I majored in Early Childhood Education in undergrad. I couldn’t get enough of being around small children. My first real job was teaching Kindergarten in a public school system.

But those children were only mine for a short while each day. I didn’t have control over how many hugs or stories they got at bedtime. But two years after I graduated college and got my first job, my college sweetheart and I got married. Less than two years later, we had a baby girl.



It wasn’t in the moment of her birth that I felt like a mom, no, I was too exhausted to even speak. But the moment it truly hit me that I was a mother is ingrained deep in my memory. My daughter was born at night and I was so tired the nurses offered to take her to the nursery so I could get some rest. Early the next morning, they brought her to me because she’d been fussing a bit and figured I needed to breastfeed her. I held her close, whispered to her, and she settled right down. And I fell asleep. An hour later the nurse came back to get her so the doctor could do a quick exam. Oh, no, I hadn’t fed her. She’d fallen asleep so I had too.

The nurse looked at me and grinned. “I guess she just needed her mom.”

That was it. The moment I realized this precious child needed me. What an emotional feeling.  I still tear up thinking about that moment, and the abundant, unconditional love I had for another human. One I had helped to create.  There’s nothing in the world like it.

These are my children, years ago, Emily, Kasey, and Christopher! 



What's a special 'mom' moment in your life? As a mom or with your own mom? 
~~~

In my book, Running Target, Jack Holland was raised by a man who was always working. He swears he’ll be a better father than that. Until a mob hit sends him running, away from the covert family he needs to protect. Here’s a little snippet of Jack sneaking into the hospital to steal a quick peek at his new son.
****

 Stepping closer, he looked down on the clear container, the blue tag proclaiming this child to be a boy. Squinting in the dim light, he read the words. Mother’s name: Callina Lansing. Baby: Jonathan.
Jonathan. She’d named the baby after him. A lump clogged his throat. A son. Damn. He had a son and wouldn’t be able to get to know him, see him grow, share in his life. This world was too cruel at times.
He shouldn’t take the chance but he needed to hold him. It was vital that he touch the life he and Callie had created. He wanted—no needed—to let his child know how much he loved him. The powerful emotion emanated from his heart even as he gazed down at the tiny figure. How could love grow this fast? His first glimpse was only a second ago. Now the feeling consumed him.
Reaching down, he stroked the side of his son’s face. The baby turned his head, his bow-shaped lips opening slightly. Jack’s heart beat faster. The protective instincts that had always come into play when he was around Callie, throbbed to life and expanded as he gazed at the sweet face of his son. Heat like an electric storm surged through his blood. How could he protect this child in his current situation? He’d bring more danger upon him if he hung around. Eight months of running, trying to escape the long arm of Victor Cabrini, had shown him what hell was. Now he glimpsed a small piece of heaven.
He slid his hands under the infant, lifting him from the bed to hold him close. Jonathan barely weighed anything. His heart constricted yet again. The innocent baby scent wafted into his nostrils and he blinked back the moisture filling his eyes. The reaction was primitive and territorial. This was his son.
~~~

~~~

"Thrilling...Lemor once again features a dynamite protagonist who's easily relatable,
and her talent for incorporating romance and forgiveness against the odds
make Running Target even more enticing." 
RT Book Reviews


Currently RUNNING TARGET is on sale for only 99cents on all retailers. 
You can find the links here:

**And I just sent out a newly written prequel for this novel
to my mailing list subscribers. 
If you haven't gotten it, sign up for my newsletter then send me a quick note saying you want the prequel, and I'll get it to you!**


~~~




Don't forget this month's CONTEST!
In May, Romance Gems honors HEROES AND SHE-ROES: Moms, Soldiers, and First Responders.

The Grand Prize: One (1) $20.00 Amazon Gift Card.

2nd thru 5th Prizes: Ebook Bundles by our bestselling authors. The books being given away are shown on the Monthly Giveaway page.

How To Enter:

You have multiple opportunities to enter.

Click this Rafflecopter link.

Start clicking buttons on the Rafflecopter. Each task counts as one entry.

Complete all the tasks for the most chances to win!

Our policies concerning Promotions and Giveaways, Eligibility, and Prize Award Procedures are shown in detail on our Policies Page. Please read. We strictly adhere to those policies.

Good luck!

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Coffee, tea, soda, water...#RomanceGems @ConstanceBretes


When I was working my 9 to 5 day job. The very first thing I ever did when I got into the office was head for the coffee break room for a fresh cup of coffee. Even if I had a meeting to go to, I always FIRST went to the coffee room. During the final 20 years of my work life, I drove an hour to and from work each day. 
I would not fix myself a cup of coffee at home. I’d wait until I got to work, and reward myself for getting to work in one piece, safe, and sound by heading to the coffee room.

Now, as a writer full time, and retired state worker, my mornings consist of needing something to kick start my writing. This prompted me to ask, what do other writers do? What is their ‘must have’ kick to jump start their writing? So I put the question out to the Romance Gems authors, here’s what they say!
___________________________________________________________
I love to have my first cup of coffee in the morning at my desk. I can enjoy the coffee and look over my Day Planner to see what's on the agenda for the day and the rest of the week. Now, as to celebrating an accomplishment, I'm a bubbly girl. I always keep a bottle of either prosecco or champagne chilling in the fridge. ~ Joan Reeves, author of Heat Lightning.

My drink while I’m writing is coffee. Hot or iced, morning or night, it’s coffee:) Laura Hunsaker

I've never liked coffee but if the weather's warm, I do like a nice cold glass of iced tea while I'm writing! Kari Lemor

In the morning, I drink Bewley’s Irish Breakfast hot tea. Later in the day, I drink Cherry Dr Pepper. Caroline Clemmons

Definitely coffee with 2 cream for morning (2-3 cups). The rest of the day is ice water, usually w/lemon. If I write in the evening, it's Coke Zero or decaf coffee. Nancy Fraser, Author

My drink of choice is sweet tea. Always!!!
Kara O'Neal

Definitely coffee, then Diet Dr. Pepper, switching back and forth throughout the day. Karen Kelley

Yup, I'm you're writing twin. Morning writer, and must have coffee. I usually get only a few sips before needing to reheat it, though! I also keep chocolates nearby.  My waistline does NOT thank me for that habit.๐Ÿ™„๐Ÿ˜”๐Ÿ˜‚  Elsa Kurt

I don’t drink coffee or tea. My “drug” of choice for a caffeine kick every morning is a big glass of Diet Mountain Dew. Most people gag when they hear that (!) but the caffeine jolt is what i need to clear my brain fog.  Peggy Jaeger

I drink Topo Chico mineral water.  My must have!
Karen Whiddon

I have a morning routine. I juice celery and drink a glass. Then when I sit down behind the computer, I like my cup of coffee. I may have two before getting up around noon. Jan Scarbrough

I have two cups of cappuccino in the morning (Europe kills the taste for regular joe). the second I’ll take into my office but it’s gone really fast. After that, it’s water. I don’t have sweet drinks or cola. At noon I’ll have another cappuccino but that’s it for caffeine for the day. Back to water.
Bonnie Edwards
 ________________________________________________________
Because I get up and do my writing/edits in the mornings, I must have a pot of coffee on. Some days I may only take a couple of sips before it goes cold, other days, when I’m frustrated or having a problem putting a scene together, I drink the whole cup and get more.

If I find some time in the afternoons and decide to write or edit, I usually have a can of Sprite to sip on while the devious plots form inside my head.

How about you? Do you need that quick picker-upper in the mornings or at the start of your day? 


________________________________________________________

In honor of our Heroes and She-roes. I have a story that was published last year, called Jade's Redemption. 

He's an overworked police chief, and she's a disgraced cop. Can he rescue her from her own depths of hell without losing his heart to her in the process?


Someone is kidnapping newborn infants and selling them to the highest bidder. Police Chief Patrick Carter has his hands full investigating the case. To complicate matters, he's short on staff.

Jade Harlowe has secrets, ones that she vowed no one would ever know. She used to be a police officer, but when a tragedy occurred—one that everyone held her responsible for—she resigned and moved to another state to start over, accepting a job as a dispatcher for the police, fire, and ambulance departments.

When Patrick discovers Jade's past police experience he offers her a job on the force. He needs help working the kidnapping cases, and Jade previously solved a similar case, so she could be a valuable asset. But will they be able to fight the attraction that's sizzling between them? Something that could be very distracting if they can't control it.

The clock is ticking. They have to find those babies and prevent more from being taken. But a very nosy news reporter may compromise everything if she digs deep enough to uncover Jade's past.

Neither Patrick nor Jade thought they had room for each other in their lives, but working so closely together makes it impossible to deny the chemistry. Can Patrick break through the wall Jade has built up around her, or will her past finally catch up with her and she loses everything once again?


________________________________________________________

Be sure to visit our monthly giveaway page and enter for a chance to win one of the many great ebooks that spotlight our heroes and she-roes!

 Heroes and Sher-oes

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Christmas already? Say it isn't so! @BonnieEdwards #RomanceGems

In 224 days it will be Christmas Day. But how many days until the world is inundated with new holiday stories? Not as many as you'd think...

I'm planning two brand new stories. One will be titled Christmas to the Max and will give a secondary character from my Love at Christmas series his own story.

Max is a single father and was once married to the heroine from One Crazy Christmas. He's had a romance sabotaged, seen his ex get married and move his children to a different country. Now, it's time for him to start a new career, find a new home near his kids, and come to terms with being alone.

I can't wait to get started on Max's story, but finding him a heroine is harder than I expected.

Want to read it?
The second Christmas story I'm excited to write is Christmas in Welcome. This is a reunion story and I can't say much at this point, because more will be explained in my next Return to Welcome book, Craving Jake (#3).

Writing Christmas books means writing when the world is not draped in twinkling lights and red ribbon. There's no snow on the ground, or holiday music playing. But writers need to get into the season anyway.

To help me get into the mood, I've created a boxed set of my Christmas stories that straddle the U.S. Canadian border. For the next couple of days Love at Christmas is FREE! 

The set contains:

Not-so-Blue Christmas: Vibrant widow Miranda Bailey is ready to move into the next phase of her life, except this Christmas is shaping up to be the worst since her husband's death. But instead of hiding, she takes charge, and drags Kirk into her Christmas miracle.

Invitation to Christmas: Jordyn Bailey kissed Tom Fontaine last Christmas, but their parents are engaged... Can they keep their attraction under wraps until it burns out?

One Crazy Christmas: Between Karyn and Cade they have 5 daughters and live in different countries, but love doesn't give a fig about that. With 5 other hearts at stake will responsible parenting win out over love?

In May the Romance Gems are celebrating Moms and First Responders and those who have served their country. My own family has a veteran and police (active and retired) and a retired ambulance attendant.

Heroes and She-roes Celebration Rafflecopter

Our policies concerning Promotions and GiveawaysEligibility, and Prize Award Procedures are shown on our Monthly Giveaway Page. Please read. We strictly adhere to those policies.

Come back every day for multiple chances to enter and possibly win one of these prizes:

Grand Prize: 1 (one) Amazon Gift Card in the amount of $20.00.

Other prizes: fabulous books from our fabulous Romance Gems Authors!


Monday, May 13, 2019

High Tea or Afternoon Tea? Will this American Writer Abandon her Mug of Coffee? By Connie Vines

What Is Afternoon Tea?

What is High Tea?
https://romancegems.blogspot.com


Hat, Gloves and a china cup, or a chipped mug in a dimly lit kitchen, circa 1969 "To Sir with Love?"

I've always had a vague awareness of the tradition of English Tea. Partly due to the historic Tea Party incident in Boston Harbor, taught in elementary school; and, I believe, a Charlie Brown (Peanuts) cartoon.

And, like most Americans, find my family ancestry is a bit jumbled. While my mother is Czech (50%) with a mixture of English/Welsh/and a drop of Irish (from her father); my father is English/Clan McGregor ( his mother), Sicilian/Irish/Native American (from father). Believe it or not, traditions from each culture seems to find a way into each generation. Some traditions and temperaments are stronger then others. The dominance of these traditions seem the most pronounced in the eldest (myself and paternal grandmother) and the eldest son.

What do I know about tea? Spending a great deal of my childhood in the southern states, I'm familiar with the abomination they call iced Sweet Tea. Also, there is the tea for the masses--Lipton black leaf tea, fashioned in a dunkable bag, string and green tag attached. Neither of these which qualify me to be an authority on the Great Britain ritual of Tea Time.

So, after doing a little bit of research (writers love to conduct research), I tried loose leaf, organic, and herbal tea. I also set out my Royal Albert tea cup and saucer, and my Pioneer Woman tea pot.

(Do not judge me ๐Ÿ˜Š.) Numerous seasons of "Downton Abby" , Princes William and Harry's BBC sound-bites, and now the birth of baby Sussex: Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, have brought  Royal traditions front and center here in the U.S.

Afternoon Tea is a tea-related ritual, introduced in Britain in the early 1840s. It evolved as a mini meal to stem the hunger and anticipation of an evening meal at 8 pm. (High Tea because it was eaten at a table.)

Afternoon Tea is a meal composed of sandwiches (usually cut delicately into 'fingers'), scones with clotted cream and jam, sweet pastries and cakes. Interestingly, scones were not a common feature of early Afternoon Tea and were only introduced in the twentieth century. (Afternoon Tea because it was eaten while seated on a chair or sofa.)

Since I do not dine at 8pm, Afternoon Tea is of interest to me. Yes, I also learned that the tea time has evolved to combine the two traditions. However, I'm going to skip over that fact and jump into a plate of sandwiches. This was when I discovered tradition was 2 meals a day were consumed: Breakfast and Dinner. Afternoon Tea was served 2:00-ish and would be the American lunch-hour.


This seems very attractive to me. This means during the weekends, I can indulge in Afternoon Tea while seated at my editing-desk, writing.

This will be so much more pleasant than my current routine of sliced carrots, broccoli, and an apple, a glob of cottage cheese, washed down with a cup of coffee before bolting back to my office.

Who knows, High Tea may even find its way into one of my novels. . .


Cucumber Sandwiches

8 oz cream cheese softened

3 tablespoons mayonnaise

2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill

1 teaspoon chopped fresh chives

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

salt & pepper to taste

1 long English cucumber thinly sliced

1 loaf sliced bread crusts removed

Instructions

With a hand mixer mix cream cheese and mayonnaise in a small bowl until smooth. Stir in herbs, garlic powder and salt and pepper to taste.

Spread bread slices with cream cheese mixture.

Thinly slice cucumbers. Layer over half of the bread slices. Top with additional herbs if desired.

Top with remaining bread slice, remove crusts if desired and cut each sandwich into 3 pieces.

Serve immediately or cover and store up to 24 hours.

Remember to sign up for our May Contest!


 Lynx, Rodeo Romance, Book 1
https://books2read.com/Lynx


Sunday, May 12, 2019

Dark Past by Laura Hunsaker

Dark Past is out in the Wild!

It just released, and I'm so excited to share Kate and Kyle's story with you! It takes place in Chester, California. It's a town of about 2,000 people in Northern California. I live in Las Vegas, NV and a couple of years ago, we drove up to Chester for their Fourth of July parade.


We spent several weeks in Chester, and it was such a different place than Las Vegas! I knew immediately I wanted to set a book there. But I write Scottish Time Travels...don't I?

Maybe not...

Kate is dealing with a stalker and while the small town she found herself in seemed safe. Sometimes it can seem very isolated. Kyle is drawn to Kate, and he can't help but want to help her. But how can he gain her trust?

When I imagined the villain of the book hiding in one of the many cabins up near Silver Lake, this is the image that popped into my head.




This beautiful and gorgeous lake is absolutely used in Dark Past.
Where most people see beauty, Kate sees danger. Where most people see still waters, and amazing trees, Kate sees shadows and tricks of light.


But where there are shadows, there is light. She and Kyle have to find a way to let the light in together. Can they find a way out of the dark past (heh) and into the happily ever after they've definitely earned?

Having Dark Past up for sale is such an amazing feeling. This never gets old! I hope you all enjoy it, because I loved visiting Chester, California and incorporating it's beauty into my story.




The small town was supposed to be safe... 

Kate Landry is tired of running. Thinking she's safe, she settles in the small logging town of Chester, California to manage a cafe. She may be keeping a low profile, but she's hoping to return to a normal life. 

When FBI agent Kyle Donovan visits to Chester to stay with a friend, and to recover from his latest case, he never expects to meet sexy barista Kate. 

But someone is following Kate... 

Kyle worries he brought trouble to her door, while Kate worries her dark past is coming after her. 
With danger lurking around every corner, her safe haven isn't as safe as she'd thought. Kate will finally have to trust someone enough to tell him her secrets. Secrets that may just get them killed...

Buy Dark Past: Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo  |  Google Play Books  |  Smashwords

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May Contest: 

Don't forget this month's CONTEST!

The Grand Prize: One (1) $20.00 Amazon Gift Card.

2nd thru 5th Prizes: Ebook Bundles by our bestselling authors. The books being given away are shown on the Monthly Giveaway page.

How To Enter:

You have multiple opportunities to enter.

Click this Rafflecopter link.

Start clicking buttons on the Rafflecopter. Each task counts as one entry.

Complete all the tasks for the most chances to win!

Our policies concerning Promotions and Giveaways, Eligibility, and Prize Award Procedures are shown in detail on our Policies Page. Please read. We strictly adhere to those policies.

Good luck!


Saturday, May 11, 2019

MOTHER'S DAY MEMORIES @kathleenlawless


Mother’s Day has always been a bitter-sweet celebration for me.  Despite the fact that I have three wonderful (now adult) children who rocked my world and enhanced my life from the day they were born, a few tears are always shed as I think about my own mother. 

I lost her when I was in my teens, so Mother’s Day has always encompassed a visit to the burial park.  And a lot of unanswered questions. Has she forgiven me those ‘terrible teen’ years?  Would we have been friends as adults?   Would we have had mother-daughter spa days, luncheons, and out-of-town shopping trips the way I do with my daughter?   

Every ‘big’ moment in a girl’s life, graduation, my wedding, the birth of my children, the publication of my first book, even my divorce, were always missing something.  (Read someone)

From an early age, my children were aware of this loss and always worked hard to make Mother’s Day full of special moments.  I have been spoiled with too many wonderful memories to count, but one of the most memorable is the year they surprised me with a rose garden. 

I was working out of town and got home Sunday late afternoon to find they had dug up a patch of weeds in the front garden and planted three rose bushes.  The garden had a Mom’s Rose Garden homemade sign.  Each plant was signed with the title of one of my published books.  Callie’s Honor, Anora’s Pride and Grace’s Folly.  The waterworks flowed that day like never before.  Happy tears.   

Years later, they showed up at my downsized beach-side cottage on Mother’s Day and announced they were going to the beach.  They arrived back laden with armloads of driftwood and promptly built me the driftwood garden bench I had been yearning for. 

Losing my mother at any early age, I learned that life offers up no guarantees.  It’s up to me to make every moment count.  Celebrate well and often.  Make memories.  Learn from my mistakes.  And most important, tell my loved ones I love them every single day because it might be my last chance to say it.
My heroine, Rachel, in FABULOUS AT FIFTY, is a mother, a daughter, a sister and a best friend, who finds her life turned upside down.  I throw everything her way.  Suddenly single and unemployed, she is forced to reinvent herself at the same time her daughter comes into her own and chooses an unorthodox path to motherhood, making 
Rachel a grandmother. Meanwhile, her sister’s ‘perfect life’ starts to crumble and her relationship with her own mother takes a twist.  Four generations of women!  Did I ever have fun!   

Barnes and Noble



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Kathleen   

Friday, May 10, 2019

Defining Heroism by @SatinRussell #RomanceGems


Many women lined up, one woman in a superhero costume.
Heroes and She-roes:
Ordinary people doing extraordinary things.
Happy May, romance readers!

In my neck of New England, May is a month of warming temperatures and brilliant flowers, as well as celebrating both Mother’s Day and Memorial Day. Hence, this month’s theme of “Heroes and She-roes” on the Romance Gems blog.

On the surface, heroes and she-roes can seem like a fairly straightforward topic. The obvious idea being that veterans, first-responders, and mothers alike could all be firmly placed under that heading.

While I don’t disagree, the more I thought about this topic, the more examples I came up with. Teachers who make a difference every day in the lives of children, for instance. Or that person who helps someone quietly, without the promise of accolades or fanfare. A person who answers a phone call and talks a friend off a ledge - literally or figuratively.

It got me thinking about HOW we establish the meaning of heroism. What degree does context matter? Would the definition change depending on which society or culture is defining it? How does the perception of heroism change over the course of time?

Of course, as a writer, one of the first things I did when contemplating this topic was to do some research. According to Google, a hero is “a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities. Example: a war hero."

Part of me questions why we’re always equating heroism with war. I’d like to think we can equally refer to “peace heroes.” People who choose conflict resolution over violence, but that’s probably another topic for another day.

Additionally, a “shero” is a woman admired or idealized for her courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities; a heroine. (Fun fact: Apparently the term “shero” has been used since 1836 in relation to the suffragette movement. However, the word experienced a resurgence when Maya Angelou used it in her famous quote, “How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes.")

Writing Heroism

Cover of Secret Hunger
If we choose to use a broader definition of the word hero, then I’m proud to say that my first book, Secret Hunger, features two heroic characters.

Mason Clark is the stereotypical definition of a hero; a Boston police detective who regularly puts his life on the line in order to save others. Even after experiencing a tragic incident on the job, he’s eager to recuperate and get back to work catching the ‘bad guys.’

Perhaps less obvious is Olivia Harper’s heroism – or “shero-ism.” When her parents die in a car crash, she chooses to leave culinary school and return home to take care of her two younger sisters. She shows up and does what’s right, despite the perceived cost to her own dreams or goals.

We may not all have the opportunity to be a first-responder, veteran, or mother, but most of us will have an opportunity to do what’s right at some point in our lives. We can all choose to show up when needed and be heroic - which is something worth celebrating long past the month of May!

What about you? How do you define heroism? Is there a hero or she-ro in your life? How have they inspired you?
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Thursday, May 9, 2019

TALKING TO STRANGERS by Hannah Rowan #RomanceGems


My husband went to the men’s room while we were waiting for the server to bring our check.  By the time he returned I was deep in a discussion with a group of women at the next table about the incompetence of the waiter, the dirtiness of the restaurant, where we lived, where we were thinking of living in the future, what our children did for a living, and other little things like that.

“I was only gone for five minutes,” my husband said.

Yes, but the ladies and I bonded over the fact that the waiter took off with our credit cards many minutes before and was now possibly shopping at a nearby mall and we were never coming back to this restaurant again.

“How do you know so much about these people?” my husband will ask.

I don’t know.  It just happens!  People tell me things.

Okay, maybe I ask a lot of questions.

But I know that one of the clerks at the grocery store works there part time while holding down a full-time job and working on a book about aliens.

And another works there while going to school to be a nurse.

My husband grows somewhat alarmed because he knows if I go to the ladies’ room in a restaurant, I’m likely to be gone a while because I’m listening to someone’s latest story.

I know a lot about the people in the post office, the library, and my favorite card store.  But I also find out about the people sitting next to me on a bus, on a plane, or in the doctor’s waiting room.

What I don’t understand is how someone can not know these things. My husband will get off the phone with a friend or relative and I’ll ask what the person said.

“Oh, nothing,” he’ll say. 

But they’ve been talking for 10 minutes.

I’ll ask why his friend is getting a divorce, or why they’ve decided to move to another state, or why they’re inviting us to their house for dinner.  A party?  Do I need to bring a gift?  He never knows!

Perhaps it’s the writer in me, gathering all these little bits and pieces of other people’s lives and filing them away to possibly pull out and twist around an fit them into a story.

Or maybe I’m just a pathologically nosy person who never learned not to talk to strangers.