Sunday, June 30, 2019

Craving Jake Cover Reveal! by @BonnieEdwards #RomanceGems

Sometimes life throws us curve balls and we need to duck or be hit in the head, or the heart. That's why I'm two weeks late with my post. My heart is quivering in fear for a loved one. On my regular blog date (the 15th) I couldn't even think about posting about a happy-ever-after romance.

This week things aren't any better, in fact they're worse. But, travel plans have come together and I feel more centered and accepting of the changes to come.

Everyone goes through peaks and valleys with loved ones. We learn to ride those peaks and valleys.

Unless we don't. Unless we react in dark and dangerous ways.

Sorry! I can't provide a buy link yet.
My next book in my Return to Welcome series is about a person who can't quite roll with the punches. A person who won't let go, can hold on too tightly and even become unbalanced.

Here's a sneak peek from the opening of Craving Jake, Return to Welcome Book 3.

* * *
Stalking wasn’t always a bad thing, Brianna Bowler told herself. Not when it happened by accident. Seeing Jake Morrow from afar three times in one month could be called a coincidence, couldn’t it?

But this was the first time she’d seen Jake with his girlfriend. From across the street, Brianna froze in shock as they stood in front of the fire station together.

Jake had always been easy on the eyes and fifteen years hadn’t changed that. Jake had black, untamed curls and deep blue eyes, and if she were close enough she’d see his spiky black eyelashes that looked like ink starbursts. Women would kill for those eyelashes. In fact, they paid swank prices for extensions that looked just like the ones Jake grew on his own. Wasn’t fair.

But she was distracted from the real reason she stood numb and still at the open trunk of her mom’s car.

Jake’s girlfriend was petite and slim and looked like a chirpy little sprite in her skin-tight active wear cropped pants and her kicky cross-trainers. And her dark curling hair made her look like a little sister or cousin. She’d just bet the gorgeous specimen of femininity also had blue eyes.

Not to mention she looked much, much too young for him, even from across the street and up the block Brianna could see she was a very young twenty-something. Young and fresh and pretty and perfect.

Brianna had already heard they lived together. She tried not to scowl, but Jake should be ashamed of himself. He was over thirty and this girl-child was an entire generation behind.

She shook off her dark emotions and bent to her task. And yes, her chest always clenched when she hefted bags of dog food and dumped them into a car trunk. Her eyes always smarted and her breath always caught. Four bags later, she dusted the kibble dust off her hands and closed the trunk lid.

She studiously kept her eyes away from the fire station’s open front doors, where Jake and his perfect girlfriend stood, probably talking about what to have for dinner together or what shows they’d be binge watching tonight. The ordinary stuff of lives lived together.

She didn’t miss that part of a relationship, not at all. She’d left Anthony behind in Seattle and he’d been content enough to be left. Whatever they’d shared had run its course and she was free now. Single again, and not looking at Jake Morrow and his cheerful, chirpy child-sized girlfriend.

* * *

Craving Jake is still in the editing phase and this opening may change a bit. But the story is set in my mind and the editing will continue. Expected month of release is August. I'd hoped for early in August, but life has tossed me a grenade, so this book may have to wait. I'm sorry about that, but when the heart is broken, it needs time to heal.

I love this small town series. Welcome, WA is not the cheery, sweet place that most romance small towns are. Welcome is full of nasty rumor, ugly gossip, and long-held grudges. People have long memories and are loathe to let others move on.

Returning to Welcome takes fortitude and guts and my returning heroes and heroines have what it takes.

The first people to learn when Craving Jake will be released will be my newsletter subscribers. You can sign up here: Bonnie's Newsy Bits

Next month we'll have a whole new contest and theme for Romance Gems, so please stay tuned...

Happy Reading!

An update: Since writing this blog, I've lost my sister to complications from epilepsy. Please remember, not every disability is visible and chronic illness takes a lifelong toll. Please think twice before judging...you never know what a person is struggling with.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

The Running of the Brides by Nora LeDuc #Romance Gems




We arrived at Filene's Basement in Boston, MA at 4 a.m. It was a Friday, February 2000 something, before everyone owned cell phones. Our small crew consisted of me, my daughter, her friend, and my daughter's future mother-in-law. Wrapped up in our winter clothes, we joined a line in front of the store's double glass doors that would open in four hours. We were on a mission. Yes, my friends, we were about to participate in the annual one day Running of the Brides. This event was a store tradition that had begun in the 1940s and had drawn hundreds of future brides searching for the perfect wedding gown at rock-bottom prices.

We'd come prepared. We'd studied pictures of the gown my daughter had fallen in love with after scouring scores of wedding magazines, and we were determined to get it. Around us teams assembled, waiting. Some wore team t-shirts that peeked out from underneath their coats. Others sported large unusual matching hats, and a few had donned wigs of bright colors. We carried whistles to signal each other when we'd found the amazing dress. To capture the craziness, the local media had set up a camera to record the stampeded of wild woman for the noontime news.

Time moved slowly. Finally, a woman appeared outside the store. She announced safety was the main concern and there was a dress for everyone. "Do not push or shove."                                                      


Anxiously, we watched as the clerks unlocked the entrance, and we began to move. Inside, the employees lined both sides of the aisle and greeted us. We crawled through the gauntlet, our bodies pressed against each other. Finally we reached the escalator. A clerk stood by and reminded us one person could descend at a time. Downward we went to the holiest of places, the basement.

My first sight of the racks in the middle of the store was disappointing. Only a few gowns were left. We soon realized customers had entered through other doors and scooped up the merchandise. So, with little choice, we grabbed the leftovers because they were our currency. Now, you only could get another dress when you swapped with another customer.

The room was a sea of women. Girls stripped to their underwear to try on their gowns. A few had worn bathing suits under their street clothes. Teams carried signs, asking for a certain size. Whistles blew. A fight started when a woman attempted to snatch a dress from the arms of another. Tempers flared. Curses were shouted. Others quietly circulated begging for a castoff.

Without much luck, my daughter began trying the clothing we'd gathered. Suddenly she leaned into me and pointed at the dark-haired young woman next to us. "She has the one!"

Sweetly, my daughter asked if she could try on the gown if it didn't fit. The girl agreed. Although it soon became clear she had a size too small, her mother didn't want to share. She announced they'd take it to a seamstress who would lengthen it two inches, add fabric to the width, sew in a new zipper, yadda yadda yadda. Finally the girl wrinkled her nose, took off the dress, and handed it to my daughter.

I held my breath while my daughter tried it on. The wedding gown was a perfect fit. "She found her dress," I shouted.

All around us people stopped what they were doing. They clapped, cheered, and offered congratulations. My daughter beamed, and I memorized the moment. After checkout, we celebrated with lattes at Dunkin Donuts. As we cruised down I93 toward home, I reminisced about our day. I couldn't help thinking it was true. Love is grand.



Our June Giveaway has closed, but you can still win a free book.
I'm doing a pop-up giveaway. You could win one of my three, free copies of my romantic suspense, Midnight Girl. The heroine finally finds her true love and happily-ever-after. Perfect reading for the upcoming holiday.

When a teenager mysteriously disappears in Hawick Falls, New Hampshire. Lisa Raynes fears her kidnapper, who recently escaped from prison, is hunting girls again. She also believes he's targeted her for his next victim. To add to her problems, her ex-boyfriend, Travis Bodell, shows up in town. Five years ago, he promised to love Lisa forever, but he left town to start a new life. Trusting him was a mistake she will never repeat.

To win a free copy, email: NoraLeDuc@yahoo.com. The first three mails win!!






Don't forget to watch our Wedding video, You are Cordially Invited. You'll find it on our Movie Theater page and also on You Tube.



Friday, June 28, 2019

I Never Liked Lace by Kara O'Neal

Next month my husband and I will have been married for 21 years. It's gone by in a blink. Each year has been wonderful. Not happily-ever-after in the fairy tale sense. But wonderful because we've gone through some difficult times and we've only grown closer. My husband is my best friend. And I used him as inspiration to write my favorite romantic hero...


When we were planning our wedding, I tore out a picture from a magazine of a wedding dress and took it to a bridal shop. It was ivory, had a square neckline, was A-Line with an empire waist. Very classic looking. No lace. I didn't care for it. I'd had lacy, frilly dresses as a child, and while I sure liked how they twirled, I did NOT like the itchy factor of lace.

The owner took one look at my picture and said, "I've got one I think you'll like."

She pulled out a dress that had the same form as the one in the magazine picture, but it was COVERED in lace. The sleeves, the bodice, the skirt. It was everywhere. When she showed it to me, I silently said, "Not gonna happen."

But I didn't argue because I was taught to be polite. There was no harm in bringing it back to the changing room.

Well, when I put that sucker on I got the shock of my life. I stared at myself. I couldn't believe it. It was the dress. THE ONE. I felt like an Irish princess. It was $430 and I bought it. That day.

I can't explain my change of mind. I promise I shocked everyone else, too, and my mother kept asking me if I was sure. But there was something about it, something that whispered in my heart, telling me that this was the right gown to wear when I married my Prince Charming. I'm so glad I listened to that inner voice. 


Recently, my daughter--who has just graduated from high school--asked if she could try it on. I pulled it out. You can see her in it to the left. I can't believe how grown up she looks.

 

 











She is standing under a picture of herself at 10 years old. And my husband drew the picture.







Book 7 in my series, Love's Redemption, tells the story of Lonnie Davis and Willa Kramer. Lonnie is my favorite romantic hero, and I used my husband as inspiration. At the end of the book, Willa wears a wedding dress fit for an Irish princess, and yes, I made it similar to mine. But not completely. I am not Willa. Someone else is responsible for her character, but that's a post for a later date.



By the end of book 7, Willa and Lonnie are setting off for their new beginning, and my husband and I are twenty plus years into ours. With plenty more to go. I can't wait!





Find me in the places below. Pinterest is my favorite!

Website  Facebook   Twitter   Pinterest   Goodreads   Amazon   Barnes and Noble  Bookbub


Thursday, June 27, 2019

Why I like fictional Weddings more than real ones...most of the time by Peggy Jaeger

My wedding is not one I look back on with undiluted pleasure.

I got married on December 26th and the actual date was hailed as the coldest 12/26 in 75 years.

The day started with a fight between my mother and me about my choice of eye shadow. Stupid, right?
It went downhill after that.

I'd decided to walk myself down the aisle instead of choosing between my father and stepfather. Neither would capitulate to the other and they didn't want to "share" me. My decision almost left me parentless at the wedding.

The Priest had a serious and obvious case of conjunctivitis and no one wanted to receive communion from him, esp. when we all saw him rubbing his eyes throughout the ceremony.
Would you?
The pinkeye must have challenged his memory because he forgot about the readings I'd chosen and the people I'd chosen to do them, and read his own choices, leaving my friends in the ecclesiastic dust.

The Parish didn't allow rice to be thrown for good luck, but did allow birdseed, so I'd made hundreds of little linen packets filled with seeds that guests could open and then toss for good luck, with the added gift that the birds would get fed. Why the Church thought there would be any birds present on my wedding day, the coldest day in 75 years, is a mystery, but... Some guests ( not my side of the wedding) thought it was hysterical to toss the whole packets at us, ending with me being bruised and battered before we got to the reception.
Not funny at all.

On to the reception.
Remember that fight about the eyeshadow? It escalated when my mother found out she was sitting on the left side of the room. She wanted to be on the right. Why? Who the heck knows. She was in the throws of menopause and the hormones were making her nuts.

My stepfather fought with the DJ because he said the music was too loud. It wasn't.
My father fought with the DJ because he didn't like the music. Too bad.
My husband of an hour fought with the photographer ( who really was a pain in the butt) because he kept interrupting us whenever we tried to visit out guests.
My grandmother fought with the wait staff. She thought the food was over cooked and under-salted. It wasn't. But she'd been nipping from everyone's champagne glasses at her table, so....
One of my step-uncles, the one that family legend had it was an enforcer for the local mob boss, had a gun tucked into his waistband and made sure the wait staff saw it and knew it was loaded. He also moved his chair to a space where he could sit with his back to a wall and case the entrance way to the ballroom.
Use your imagination on why he did that.

I'd purchased little 4 packs of Godiva chocolates for favors for everyone and had placed a box each at  every place setting. My step cousins very loudly  complained the candy tasted "cheap." This started an argument between my menopausal mother and her equally hormone-raging sisters-in-law and their children about manners.
It didn't end well.


By the time we got to the cake - chocolate buttercream frosted with chocolate cake and Swiss mousse for filling, tensions were so high in the ballroom, I seriously wondered if an Animal House-like food fight was due to erupt.

All in all, I couldn't wait to leave the reception and wished hubby and I had flown to Vegas for the weekend and gotten married by an Elvis-clone like I'd wanted.
Oh well.

30+ years later and we are still - miraculously - together.

I love fictional weddings so much better.

When I write a fictional wedding I am in control of everything that happens. There are no surprises, no mistakes, no petty and pointless bickering.
Not unless I want there to be.

If you've ever read any of my San Valentino books, you'll recognize a few of the characters from my actual relatives above. Hey, write what you know, right?

My latest book series, A MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN, deals with weddings, family, forgiveness, and those relationships that make our lives the interesting ones they are.



Until next month, dear readers ~ Peg



Wednesday, June 26, 2019

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: What's your favorite thing about weddings?

Ahh…wedding season! As romance authors we typically love this “season of love” and weddings in general. So, tell me…What’s your favorite thing about weddings? A tradition or new trend? Something from your own special day? Or perhaps from one of your books?

"The vows. Hearing people say those words of commitment in front of friends and family gets me in the heart every time." ~ Bonnie Edwards

“My favorite thing about a wedding is when the wedding march begins and everyone looks to see the bride. But I always watch the groom to see his face when he gets that first look of his future wife. In that instant you can see the love and hope for all that is ahead of the couple. It's magic.” ~ Lucinda Race


“My favorite thing about weddings is that it gives everybody a chance to celebrate love - wholeheartedly and unabashedly.” 
~ Satin Russell

“To me, my first wedding was the only time in my life when I could plan my own royal pageant and be queen for a day. I fondly remember picking out music with my father and aunt. Music was so important to our family history.”
~ Jan Scarbrough

“When I was younger, the thing I loved most about weddings was getting to hang out and have fun with my friends. A few drinks, dancing the night away, and having a blast. Now that I'm old, I don't have as many weddings to go to. But when I do, I'm there for the food.” ~ Kari Lemor

“My favorite thing about weddings is the way it brings family and friends together in celebration. In today's busy world, it's nice to have that one day, those few hours, to reminisce in a loving atmosphere.” ~ Nancy Fraser

“My favorite thing about weddings is the look on the bride and groom’s faces. It’s pure love!” ~ Karen Kelley

“The clothes. I really love the clothes! What the bride is wearing, of course, along with her attendants. That goes without saying. But what are the guys wearing? The parents? And the people attending the wedding. Oh, and let’s not forget the shoes. And the hats. The handbags. If I shed a few tears during the ceremony, which I usually do, even better.” ~ Kathleen Lawless


“I love that everyone comes together to celebrate the love two people have found. It's all about the love. When the cake is gone and the band plays their last song, the love lives on.” ~ Peggy Jaeger

“I love the dressing up! I spend so much of my time in casual clothes that it's nice to get a little fancy. Then, of course, I can't wait to get those damn heels off!”
~ Elsa Kurt

“What I like best about weddings is the happiness that seems to float in the air. Optimism and joy reign supreme. I'll admit to liking something else too—the dramatic pause when the Minister asks if anyone objects to the marriage. I've always waited for someone to shout, "Stop the wedding." That never happened so I wrote STILL THE ONE, a romantic comedy where the heroine does exactly that.” ~ Joan Reeves

“Actually, I'm not a big fan of weddings, but I do love marriage and all that it means. When, every now and then, you attend a wedding and know right down to the soles of your feet that it's a marriage that's meant to be, I think that's my favorite thing.”
~ Liz Flaherty

"I'm a fan of all things wedding, from the vows and first dances to the clothing and flowers. But I must say I'm truly impressed by the many different desserts couples are choosing these days. Traditional wedding cake is no longer the only option. Cupcakes, cake pops, cookies, pies, donuts, and even candy/confectionery bars are wowing guests. It's super-fun!" 
~ Kathryn Hills

Okay, it's your turn to join the conversation. We'd love to hear from you! Add your comments below or send via email through the "contact us" link on the bottom of the left sidebar.

Thanks for joining us!

~ The Romance Gems ~

HURRY - Our June Giveaway ENDS TOMORROW June 27th at 12:01am CDT!

YOU ARE CORDIALLY INVITED to the ROMANCE GEMS June Wedding Celebration. Enter our RAFFLECOPTER for a chance to win jewelry designed for Readers, or Amazon Gift Cards, or romance ebooks about love & weddings.


Good luck, and thank you for visiting #RomanceGems!

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

New Release of Long Out-of-Print Book by Cheryl Bolen


In just a few days I’ll have a new release that’s not actually a new release. Allow me to explain. More than 22 years ago Harlequin Historical purchased my first book, though it was not the first book I wrote. A Duke Deceived was the first book I managed to get published. 
Original 1998 Cover

It was published in early 1998. In those days it was only available in paperback. It did very well. It sold about 80,000 copies its first year. It also managed to win some awards. Then it went completely out of print. That’s how “midlist” authors were treated.

When eBooks came along I was not able to get my rights back because Harlequin kept selling foreign rights to the book, and each time they did, they set the clock back seven more years on rights reversion, per my contract. Rights were sold in French, Italian, Portuguese, and three different times the book was sold in Japan!

Thirteen years after it was out of print in North America, Harlequin put it and many hundreds of other out-of-print titles out as a badly scanned eBooks as a “Treasure.” There was zero promotion. Sales were miniscule. 

After 21 years I was able to get back my rights on that first published book. But by then I knew (because I was now my own publisher) that solo books don’t sell. So I’ve sat on this book for more than a year while trying to decide what to do with it.

I think one of the reasons the book was so popular when it was first published was because I had two very satisfactory subplot romances in it, so readers got a three-for. Which basically killed sequels. In the nineties, we weren’t writing series.

It took a while for me to figure out how to pull a series out of this book, but I’m happy to say this first published book of mine is now the foundation not only of my career but also of The Deceived Series. 
New Cover

I’m completing a Christmas novella that takes place three years after A Duke Deceived and features a fresh romance. His Lady Deceived will release 90 days after the newly edited new release of A Duke Deceived


Now I need to think of a plot for a third installment in the series!

I loved my original cover. Harlequin had me fill out a 14-page art fact sheet, and I was thrilled with the final product. I am also happy with my new cover. Which do you prefer? —Cheryl Bolen has written more than 40 books, mostly Regency-set historical romances. Several of her books have won Best Historical awards, and she’s a New York Times and USA Today bestseller whose books have been translated into eight languages. In addition to being a PTA mom and team mom for both her (now grown) sons, she’s been a journalist, an English teacher, antiques dealer, super fan of college football and basketball (especially the Texas Longhorns), frequent traveler to England, and an addict of reading about dead English women. Check out these sites of hers:


You are cordially invited to the Romance Gems June Wedding 


Celebration

Enter our #Rafflecopter for a chance to win jewelry designed for Readers or Amazon Gift Cards or romance ebooks about love & happy-ever-afters.

Watch our Wedding video, You Are Cordially Invited. You’ll find it on our Movie Theater page and also on YouTube.

To see the gorgeous prizes and to enter our June Rafflecopter, visit our Monthly Giveaway page. Or you can click this short link if you wish: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/21df08a224/ #RomanceGems.




Monday, June 24, 2019

Switching Gears by Judith Hudson

Maybe it’s the season, but the long soft evenings, short nights, early mornings of the summer solstice have energized me.
Women's solstice and equinox gatherings, and the theme of renewal, run through my Fortune Bay stories. Like in this excerpt from Summer of Fortune, at Maddie's first solstice gathering with Frankie and Louise:

Maddie sat back and listened as Frankie and Louise bantered back and forth. She barely recognized herself, a woman with silver hoops in her ears and a cluster of bracelets on her wrist that tinkled like wind chimes when she moved. A woman taking charge of her life—because that was what they had decided the evening would honor, in the spirit of wise women’s solstice gatherings stretching back for thousands of years. Nothing too weird, they’d all agreed, just something to encourage their own awareness of their personal power. They would each ask for, or choose, a direction to follow for the next fertile quarter of the year.
And for Maddie it had to be fertile indeed. The next equinox fell before the opening of her show, the harvest, so to speak, of her summer’s bounty.


(If you haven’t read Summer of Fortune, the first full length book in the series, get it now while it’s free because next week the price is going up – just to 99¢, but even so. 😊)

I'm feeling a lot like Maddie these days. After a much-too-busy year and a half of family ‘stuff’, I am finally shifting gears and getting back to writing full time. Is it entirely coincidence that the final step, the sale of 95-year-old mother's house happened right on the day of the
My Mom on her 95th birthday last month. She loves to be the center of attention!
summer solstice? I think not.

My mother’s a Finn, and my Finnish blood feels the waxing and waning of the sun cycle every year. I have a special light I use in the winter and revel in the summer sun, getting up at an unheard of six a.m. at this time of year!

My June horoscope in the Canadian magazine Chatelaine said:
You’re changing, Leo. … Allow chance to work its magic upon your life so you can see what happens when you get out of the way.

So I'll try to get out of my own way and let the words flow. I’m primed and ready to start a new three-book series, working title, Secrets of Elk Lodge. I'm planning for it to be romantic women's fiction with a bit of mystery thrown in, but it's early days. I have the first six chapters of the first book written so I’m eager to jump right back in. This is my favourite part, getting to know the characters as they reveal themselves to me through the writing. And, in this case, discovering the secrets in the old lodge that the women have inherited.

Should be fun. I’ll keep you posted on my progress over the summer, and if life doesn’t get too much in the way [she says looking cautiously over her shoulder] I hope to have the first book out by Christmas.
In the meantime, please:

- join me for fun and chat in my private facebook group – Judith Hudson Author – Let’s Talk! I love chatting with readers!
- get your copy of Summer of Fortune while it’s still free.
- book two, The Good Neighbor is still 99¢ - but only until the end of the month.
- and be sure to enter the Gems June Rafflecopter contest – HERE!
Grand prizes include lovely pieces of jewelry chosen for readers, and ten giveaway books, including my own book, Starting Over.
There’s nothing to buy, but I’d love it if when you enter you’d find me, Judith Hudson, in the Rafflecopter list and follow me on book bub. Thanks so much!

That’s about all. Until next month, enjoy reading romance!

Judith Hudson

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Till Death Do Us Part – Halloween I Do’s by Kathryn Hills #RomanceGems

Halloween-themed table decorations by Julie & Albert Cook
Photo Credit: David Dougwillo

It’s YOUR big day! Aside from the date, the theme is likely your next big decision. Will it be casual or formal? Vintage or modern? Traditional or somewhere out-there? Local, destination? Humm… What if it falls on a holiday? And what if that holiday is HALLOWEEN?!! Oh, be still, my heart, now we’re talking fun! Yet, it can be so much more.

Here in New England—where Salem is considered the epicenter of Halloween—the question for some becomes, what better way to spend our special day than hosting a killer costume party with frightfully fun food and decorations? From light-hearted entertainment to downright freaky, couples are embracing Halloween and Gothic weddings with drop-dead gorgeous results.

According to many bridal publications, autumn is considered prime wedding season. Colorful leaves, cooler temps, dramatic sunsets—great stuff! (A bride very near and dear to my heart is planning a fall wedding for 2020, and it promises to be stunning) Yet some specifically choose to marry on October 31st. Here’s why…

Julie & Albert Cook's wedding dance
Photo Credit: David Dougwillo
Meet Julie and Albert Cook! They own and operate Raven Wolf Enchantments, an online Metaphysical shop, selling Gemstones, Jewelry, Tarot/Oracle readings, and various other magical curios.

Q. "Albert, you and Julie were married on Halloween?"

A. “Yes, Halloween 2015! In a little ceremony with our closest family and friends. It was small-scale, and we did it all ourselves in a few weeks, but it was everything we wanted in a wedding. Our theme stemmed from a mutual love of Halloween and Love. From the invitations, to the favors, decorations, cake, and guests (who all came in costume) it was a day we will never forget. Sharing it with my love made it the best day of my life.”

Q. "What was the reaction of friends and family to your plans?"

A. "They LOVED it! Some may have felt a little weird at first, but once they were there and having a great time… Everyone dressed up in costumes, some more elaborate than others. They knew ours wasn’t going to be a traditional ceremony, and I think they liked the fact that it was not the 'same old thing.' I mean, it was on Halloween, after all."

Julie & Albert Cook's lovely attendants
Photo Credit: David Dougwillo
Q. "Julie, you’ve shared some amazing photos and ceremony details with me. Yours was a very romantic event, something that might surprise those who think it’s all about the spooky."

A. "Aside from Halloween, Timeless Love played a big part. The poem ‘Key to Love’ was central. Our favors were little antique keys with tags and quotes. The poem was written in China by an anonymous writer during the first century. To us the words represent how true love transcends differences in time and culture to speak to the souls of humans. We were making the most sacred of promises to one another.”

Q. "What was your favorite part of that day?"

A. From Julie: "The 'reveal moment' at our home in Rockport, MA. Everyone had left to go to the hall. Al waited in the front yard for me to walk out of the house. The only other person there was our photographer. I got to see his expression, seeing me in my dress for the first time. It was magic!”

The Cook's Halloween-themed cake
Photo Credit: David Dougwillo
Albert and Julie’s special day was intimate and came together rather quickly, but some Halloween-themed weddings, engagements, and vow renewals require significant preparation. Get an early start, especially if you want a popular date or destination, and search for tips and inspiration online. If you'd like to learn more about weddings in Salem, MA (Anytime of the year is lovely!) visit Things to do in Salem. It's a fun site for planning any visit to one of my favorite cities.

So, by now I’m guessing you know I LOVE HALLOWEEN! The holiday even plays a role in my Time Traveler’s Journey Series. Sometimes during modern days, other times it's the late Victorian era, but it's always in New England. Visit my website to learn more.

Thanks for reading!

~ Kathryn ~

Don't forget our Monthly Giveaway!

YOU ARE CORDIALLY INVITED to the ROMANCE GEMS June Wedding celebration. Enter our RAFFLECOPTER for a chance to win jewelry designed for Readers, or Amazon Gift Cards, or romance ebooks about love & weddings.

Hint, hint... My book, Hellfire and Handbaskets, is one of many you can win.
But HURRY - This giveaway ends soon.



Good luck, and thank you for visiting #RomanceGems!



Saturday, June 22, 2019

All Brides Are Beautiful by @JoanReeves #RomanceGems

When I was a little girl, I went to a grown-up event. It was the wedding for the daughter of one of my parents' friends.

I wore a pretty blue party dress, a dark blue velvet headband, and carried a frilly little purse.

That wedding was the biggest social event I had ever attended because I grew up with parents who thought "children should be seen and not heard."

I loved everything about the wedding: dressing up and seeing all the other "dressed up" guests, the happy smiles from everyone, the music, the beautiful satin dresses the bridesmaids wore, and the wonderful scent of roses floating through the air.

Most of all I loved the bride when she appeared.

Transformation

Of course I knew her and had seen her often. She was an average looking young woman. Nothing special. At least that's what I'd thought until the moment she entered the church.

As I watched her float down the aisle to the strains of the traditional wedding march, I stared open-mouthed.

She had transformed into an ethereal beauty in a gossamer gown of white organza and lace. A veil of lace and tulle fell from the headpiece all the way to the floor and trailed behind her.

Was it her dress that made her beautiful? Or the happy day? Or the love that flowed from everyone? Especially the love between her and the groom? Or maybe it was all of the above.

Lasting Impression

I've never forgotten that first wedding and that sense of wonder I felt at seeing the bride in all her glory. I guess that's when I decided with my child's wisdom that ALL brides are beautiful.

When I decided to write a series about brides and weddings because a woman's wedding is usually the grandest event in her life, I knew exactly what I wanted to call the series: All Brides Are Beautiful.

Add a Dash of Humor

Along with romance, I usually try to add a dash of humor to my books.

I've been the guest at many weddings since my childhood plus I've been the "mother of the groom" twice and the "mother of the bride" twice.

Something I've learned from all that is one must maintain a sense of humor at weddings. Things can go comically wrong on a day when the bride wants every detail to be perfect.

As a guest, I've laughed until I cried at the ring bearer who decided he wanted to keep the rings and ran with them while his parents and the bride's parents chased him.

At one evening reception, the parents of the bride, in their excitement about all the reception events, forgot about all the food in coolers setting outside the reception hall. Even the wedding toasts were made with guests raising empty glasses because someone forgot to bring in the champagne! Of course, all of the guests obligingly lifted empty glasses and pantomiming drinking from them.

Laughter and Love go hand in hand in my romance novels—and in real life.

April Fool Bride

Is it a marriage of convenience or something more?

Oil heiress Madeline Quinn needs a husband by the time she turns twenty-five in order to claim her full inheritance. Mad Maddie, as the tabloids christened her, has learned the hard way that men only see dollar signs when they look at her.

Maddie decides a marriage of convenience is the only answer. She turns to the one man in the world she can trust, her housekeeper’s son who always treated her like a little sister when they were growing up—until one disastrous night when she acted impetuously.

Jake Becker hasn’t seen Maddie since the night she tried to seduce him. Why should he help the woman who changed the course of his life? Simple. Revenge.

Or is it something else? Something that sizzles like steam heat between Maddie and Jake that neither can resist!?

"I loved this book!" ~NetGalley
Second Chance Bride

He was the only man she wanted—and the one man she could never have.

She left town at eighteen, wanting to leave behind all the pain and heartbreak. She reinvented herself as wealthy, successful Constance Quinn. The only problem is there's no room for love or relationships in her rigidly controlled existence. Now older and wiser and having made peace with her stepdaughter, she's determined to find the part of herself that got lost in her transformation.

"A blonde with curves in all the right places." That's what Alex Martinez thinks when he meets Constance. When they touch, something hot and urgent passes between them. Their attraction is mutual. Their desire is palpable.

Although Constance cannot resist a kiss from Alex, she knows she's playing with fire because he might discover her secret. When a meeting begins with a lie, can there be a future?

Well, of course there can if you're reading a romance novel!


You are cordially invited to our June Wedding Event!

We have some great prizes: jewelry designed to appeal to Readers or Amazon Gift Cards plus ebook bundles with the books focused on brides and grooms and weddings.

I invite you to watch our Wedding video, YOU ARE CORDIALLY INVITED. You'll find it on our Movie Theater page and also on YouTube.

Please share the video with your friends, and tell them about our blog and our Monthly Giveaways.

Now here's the form for our big Giveaway. Just click the link and enter often.


Romance Gems June Rafflecopter Giveaway



Friday, June 21, 2019

Only 99 cents? Oh my! by Karen Kelley


I currently have Temperature's Rising on sale for 99 cents. How fantastic is that? This is a full-length, standalone, romantic comedy. Here's a little bit of Temperature's Rising:

 
Arresting the police chief's daughter was Conor's first mistake...

     
      Conor Richmond thought the woman in front of him looked a little desperate, and sexy as hell. He wondered why she worked the streets. He figured her more for a high-priced call girl than a street hooker.

    
     New in town, maybe? Like him?


     Except she wanted to start a business. And the way she looked, it wouldn’t take her long to have a whole string of Johns begging for her favors and willing to shell out more than a couple of hundred dollars. If she cleaned up a little, that is, and bought some decent clothes. Her hose were ripped so bad she’d do better without them, and her skirt looked like she’d dug it out of the Salvation Army trash bin.


     A niggle of pity washed over him. What had driven her to this way of life? Drugs? Her eyes were a little red-rimmed. She could be a user, although he didn’t see any track marks running up her arms.


     But underneath the smudge of dirt on her face and the worn clothes, he saw a sensuous woman, and he had a hell of a time keeping his gaze from straying. The amount of cleavage showing beckoned him to bury his face in her lush curves.


     The view only got better. Her long, silky legs drew his attention even if her hose were shredded. They were the kind of legs made to wrap around a man. Pulling him deeper and deeper inside her hot body. Yeah, she was made for sex. The kind that got down and dirty.


     A carload of boys driving by whistled and honked their horn. She looked momentarily distracted, then tossed a saucy grin in their direction as they laughed and sped down the street.


     The smile transformed her face. Meant to pull an unsuspecting male into her web. Conor wasn’t immune to her charms any more than the next poor sucker would be. But he wasn’t her next customer, either. Sometimes he hated his job.


     “Don’t you think two hundred’s a little steep?” he asked.


     She wet her lips, her gaze returning to his. A temptress. Conor inwardly groaned.


     “Not for what you’ll get.”

     The way she said the words, kind of husky, made him wish just for a few hours he could pretend he wasn’t a cop. Made him wish he hadn’t seen her standing on the sidewalk. And made him wish that for a moment he hadn’t thought she looked out of place and vulnerable. Man, had he misjudged. She was a pro, all right. Her sultry eyes promised sinful delights.


     His gaze was drawn to her low-cut blouse again when her hand moved toward the buttons...just as the gesture was meant to do. His vision clouded as he remembered the way she’d walked down the sidewalk. Hell, how could he forget! Hips swaying seductively, and the way she’d slowly turned back around so he could see what he’d be giving up if she chose to keep going. He’d burned all the way down to his boots. No, she knew exactly what she did to him.


     “And what will I get for my money?” he asked, wanting her to spell it out.


     Her eyes widened innocently. “Why, everything, of course.”


     Sliding his hand into his pocket, he emerged with a roll of crisp, green bills. Thumbing them, he drew two out and handed them to her. She took the money, looking a little confused, he thought, but decided it was part of her act. He pocketed the rest.


     “A down payment?” she asked, staring at the bills.

     Figured. She knew she had him by the balls. Why not twist a little harder? Get as much of his cash as she could.


     “Is that okay?” He stepped forward. So near, her scent washed over him, bathing him with erotic fantasies. She might look like she’d been sleeping in the streets, but she smelled oh-so-sweet. She raised her head. Her lips so close. So kissable. He ached to pull her into his arms and see if her mouth was as hot as it looked.


     “I...suppose.”


     Too bad.


     In one swift motion, he reached behind him, drew the handcuffs from the leather case hooked to his belt, and snapped them shut over her wrists.


     A shame he couldn’t have met her in another place. He had a gut feeling they would’ve been good together.


     “Lady, you’re under arrest for solicitation."

 
     I hope you enjoy Temperature's Rising! And don't forget about our monthly give away. We have some terrific prizes this month.

 

Best Wishes,
Karen Kelley
www.authorkarenkelley.com

Don't forget the June giveaway! To enter , visit our Monthly Giveaway PageOr click the direct link here: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/21df08a224/

 
 

Thursday, June 20, 2019

BIRTHDAYS AND BOOK BIRTHDAYS AND WEDDINGS, OH MY!

By Caroline Clemmons

June welcomes summer, vacations, luscious summer fruits and vegetables, and more. My Hero’s birthday is today, June 20. Our daughters and I will whisk him away for his favorite birthday meal—seafood—at one of his favorite restaurants. Then, we’ll give him gifts he probably won’t really want but will pretend he does because he is a true Hero.

Tomorrow, June 21 is my book’s birthday, DEBORAH’S DILEMMA, book 3 of the Pearson Grove Series. I love this series set in a small (fictitious) North Central Texas town. One of the reasons I enjoy small town series is the (in mine) wholesome environment and keeping in touch with previous characters throughout the series. Until tomorrow, DEBORAH’S DILEMMA is available for preorder. Then, if you've preordered, it will magically appear on your e-reading device.  I’ll be giving away two e-book copies to someone who comments today. In your comment, be sure to leave the email at which you wish to be notified if you win.

I enjoy reading series as well as writing them. Most of us at Romance Gems have admitted to pouring over Nancy Drew novels as girls. When I discover a book I love and learn it’s the first of a series, I’m excited. I want to read every release. I hope other readers share this love.

Pearson Grove is named so because of my father, whose first name was Pearson, and who was born in Pilot Grove, Texas. Daddy's stories ignited my love of history. Though the fictitious Pearson Grove is not actually at Pilot Grove, it’s not that far away either. I also write stand alone novels and take part in multi-author series, but Pearson Grove is the eighth series I’ve originated. Ahem, I did admit I like writing them, didn’t I?

Pearson Grove is home to several young women of marriageable or near-marriageable age. Seven, in fact, will have books in the series. Interspersed among releases of this series’ books will be multi-author series releases for the Proxy Bride Series, the Pinkerton Matchmaker Series, a duet with my friend Jacquie Rogers, and perhaps others. I’m always up for a challenge.

DEBORAH’S DILEMMA breaks a rule and perhaps I should have chucked it and started over. Frankly, I liked the story too much to do so. I hope it’s true that you learn the rules and then you can break them. There rule I broke? There really isn’t any inner conflict, or at least not enough to count. The story includes plenty of external conflict, though, and a genuine happy ending.

Here’s a synopsis of DEBORAH’S DILEMMA:

What can Deborah do to protect herself from the devil plaguing her hometown?
Can a young man who’s been away for six years fit into the community he left?
What madman is responsible for the murder and mayhem plaguing Pearson Grove?

Deborah Taber has been concerned by her inability to choose a life’s occupation. That worry was pushed aside when someone shot her brother and fire bombed her family’s newspaper, The Pearson Grove Gazette. She believes Trey Pearson is innocent of attacking her brother—isn’t he? She’s had a crush on Trey since second grade and desperately wants to trust him.

Wade Pearson III, called Trey, is happy to be home on Pearson Ranch after six years in New England. He trained to manage his family’s far-reaching investments. Nothing prepared him to be accused of murder or targeted by a killer. If not for quick action by the sheriff, Trey would have been lynched by vigilantes. He wants to help trap the real villain while protecting Deborah, her family, and his.

Can Deborah and Trey survive the threats against them? Will this clever murderer be caught before he delivers his terrible revenge against those he believes slighted him? 


Should you wish (and I hope you do), you can find DEBORAH’S DILEMMA at the Universal Amazon buy link of http://mybook.to/Deborah in e-book, print, and in KU.



In the event you don’t know me yet, here’s my bio:
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 and one dog 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, Loving a Rancher, and Pearson Grove 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, pursuing genealogy, checking Facebook, and taking the occasional nap.

Subscribe to my monthly newsletter and receive a FREE novella, HAPPY IS THE BRIDE, notice of new releases, contests, sales, recipes, and other news.
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You are cordially invited to the Romance Gems June Wedding 

Celebration

Enter our #Rafflecopter for a chance to win jewelry designed for Readers or Amazon Gift Cards or romance ebooks about love & happy-ever-afters.

Watch our Wedding video, You Are Cordially Invited. You’ll find it on our Movie Theater page and also on YouTube.

To see the gorgeous prizes and to enter our June Rafflecopter, visit our Monthly Giveaway page. Or you can click this short link if you wish: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/21df08a224/ #RomanceGems.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Birthdays are for People and Books! by Lucinda Race #RomanceGems

Today is my book birthday, Old and New, Book 1 in The MacLellan Sisters Trilogy. And not so coincidentally it is my birthday too. This is the third time I’ve released a book on June 19; and this book was pure joy to write from the concept, to the actual butt in chair time, choosing covers and working with Nancy Fraser for my awesome video clips. This book along with two others, Borrowed and Blue were a true labor of love. 
When this idea came to me I had just attended a book event in New Hampshire. As I drove through the Green Mountains to see my dad in northern Vermont the foliage was at its peak and I let my mind wander. BAM! I began to rattle off details to Meg in the co-pilot’s seat. I just knew this trilogy had to be set in this beautiful state. 
I’ve never written anything so fast as I did this trilogy. My fingers were on fire as they flew over the keyboard. Each click a comforting confirmation that the thoughts in my head were spilling onto the page, weaving the story. 
Now as I’m on the cusp of sharing these three novels with you, I wonder, will you fall in the love with the MacLellan sisters? Will their connection to each other and their grandmother touch and move you as they did for me? Even as I proofread each manuscript I still cried as each sister met challenges in their lives head on with grace and strength as they found love. 
I love writing strong women and the men who love them.

For my birthday I have a wish. Please take a moment to view the video on my Youtube channel  and celebrate this book birthday with me.

Until next time, 
I wish you happiness. 


Lucinda

YOU ARE CORDIALLY INVITED to the ROMANCE GEMS June Wedding celebration. Enter our #Rafflecopter for a chance to win jewelry designed for Readers or Amazon Gift Cards or romance ebooks about love & happy-ever-afters.

Watch our Wedding video, You Are Cordially Invited. You’ll find it on our Movie Theater page and also on YouTube.

To see the gorgeous prizes and to enter our June Rafflecopter, visit our Monthly Giveaway page. Or you can click this short link if you wish: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/21df08a224/
#RomanceGems