Wednesday, October 23, 2019

The Tale of the Polite Ghost by Kathryn Hills #RomanceGems

It was a dark and stormy night…

Kidding! It was a beautiful spring day back in 2011, and I was visiting Salem, MA for a writer's conference - NECRWA’s (New England Chapter Romance Writers of America) “Let Your Imagination Take Flight.” The lobby of the historic Hawthorne Hotel was overflowing with writers, all checking in via one small, seriously overwhelmed front desk.

I stood in line with everyone else, checking our watches, sweating a wee bit. It was 3:00 PM. Most days that wouldn’t be a problem. It’s a standard check-in time. But on this day, many of us had tickets to attend Donald Maass’ bonus workshop, beginning in thirty short minutes.

When it was my turn, I watched the desk clerk activate my plastic room key. Twitching, I glanced at my watch again and stifled a groan. 3:15 – Fifteen minutes. Yikes! Sign-in complete, I spun with my luggage to encounter the epic line for two tiny elevators. They were lovely with brass trimmings and red velvet interior back then. However, they were not lovely when you have only minutes to heave your bags into a room on the fifth floor, change, and be back downstairs to learn things, and be social. I’ll step back here and add I was a VERY NEW WRITER, and I was pitching my first book to an editor that weekend. I needed all the help Mr. Maass could give me!

Hawthorne Hotel, Salem, MA
Out of the elevator in a flash, I schlepped my stuff to the designated door, inserted the plastic key, and… Nothing. (cursing) I tried again. Nothing. (more cursing) One final failed attempt more sent me rushing back to the elevators to make the long trek to the lobby for another key. I fidgeted in place as I waited. Then...a hunch! I raced back to my door. Perspiration dampened my face as I stood before it. With that plastic key in hand, I muttered, “Please, can I get into my room?” I inserted the key, the door unlocked, and I was in.
Yay! That was super-weird. Now hurry!

Fast forward to later that night. I DID make it to the extra workshop and learned lots of great things from Mr. Maass. My friends and I enjoyed a wonderful dinner out, making a night of it. Everyone said their good-byes and went their separate ways. I returned to the fifth floor, slid my plastic key into the lock, and, you guessed it…… Nothing. Several tries later, I had an idea. “Please, may I get into my room?” I asked sweetly of whoever or whatever might be listening. Lo and behold…the door opened.

Each day—Friday through Sunday—those magic words were required to open the door. Without exception. The addition of “may I” ensured a speedy entrance. “Let me in!” left me standing in the hallway like a jerk. I know, because I tested this bizarre ritual throughout the weekend. Not once did that door open without a well-mannered request.

So, there you have it, a polite ghost. Or a manners-obsessed ghost? Perhaps someone’s mother, grandmother, or governess? Or just a busting ghost that laughed and laughed at the dummy in the hallway. Take your pick. I share this story because it’s a fun ghost story—not a scary one. Ghosts, spirits, whatever you call "them," are often NOT scary, in my opinion.

I’ve stayed at The Hawthorne many times since and haven’t encounter that spirit again. Maybe you will if you visit. But remember to brush up on your manners first, and “please” tell me if you do. I love a good ghost story!

What does any of this have to do with my books? Paranormal experiences spark my imagination and serve as inspiration. Visit my website to learn more.

Thanks for reading. Happy Halloween!

~ Kathryn

Don't forget our October Giveaways!

Every Day is Treat Day in October, and I'm giving away a signed copy of Haunting Highland House - A Time Traveler's Journey. I'll even include a surprise spooky treat! To be entered in my random drawing, leave a comment with your email address written out (not as a hot link). The deadline for doing this is Halloween. I’ll draw the winner's name on October 31st by 12:00 PM CDT and notify that person by email and by leaving a comment on this post soon after.

Please note: This signed book and treat can only be sent to winners within the continental U.S. If the selected winner is outside that area, the prize will be an ebook.

Wait! There's more!

Click here to enter our No Tricks—Just Treats Rafflecopter today for a chance to win Amazon Gift Cards. Enter often and tell your friends! (You can also click Monthly Giveaways on the Menu Bar of the blog to see details of the current month’s Rafflecopter and to enter it.)

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Timeless: A Ghostly Adventure by Jan Scarbrough #RomanceGems

With Halloween approaching, I thought I’d tell you about my one and only ghost story. It started with a cover for inspiration. The original cover showed a man and a woman, probably in love, and a little girl in the background. Of course, I thought, the child must be a ghost!

I needed a character who could communicate with my little girl ghost. Enter Jeff Halstead, the hero and my reluctant medium. I call him reluctant because he’s not sure of his spiritual gifts.

When Beth Abbott receives a surprise inheritance from her birth mother, she travels to the family’s nineteenth century mansion in Old Louisville, now a bed and breakfast and run by Jeff. And guess what? They have a history together that they know nothing about, but our ghost does!

Writing the story was an adventure, because I needed to do a bunch of research to make it all come together.

I pulled out a couple of books from my library: Haunts of Old Louisville by David Domine, and The Great Louisville Tornado of 1890 by Keven McQueen. I wanted to use information from both books as inspiration and background for my story.

I went to the Internet for other research. It’s strange what a novelist needs when writing, and the Internet is a handy place to find that information. Some of the things I researched were Baxter Square Park (Louisville’s first park), a party game called Flip Cup, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and the events of September 11, 2001. I also researched a hill in Louisville’s Cherokee Park where people sled in the winter. It is called “dog hill.” I investigated carriages from the 1890’s and period clothing.

After all that, I put the book together, making it a Gothic romance with ghostly elements!

Dale Epley, my friend who is also a medium, said this about my book: Timeless is a beautiful love story that intertwines two different lifetimes, and Jan has done an incredible job of introducing reincarnation and numerous other “Spiritual gifts” that we all possess in a clear and concise way that will help you to understand the possibilities, even if they are not in your reality yet.

So, if you want a non-scary ghost story for Halloween, take a look at Timeless!


Every Day is Treat Day in October. To be entered in the random drawing for Timeless leave a comment with your email address written out (not as a hot link). The deadline for doing this is 2 days from now. I’ll draw the winners name on October 24, 2019 and notify the winner by email and by leaving a comment on this post.

By the way, in case you wonder why Authors give away books, it’s simple. We give away books to introduce new Readers to our writing. The best way to thank an Author who gives you a book is to post a review of the book. Just a few sentences saying why you liked the book is all that is needed! Do this, and we’ll adore you!

Click here to enter our No Tricks—Just Treats Rafflecopter today for a chance to win Amazon Gift Cards. Enter often and tell your friends! (You can also click Monthly Giveaways on the Menu Bar of the blog to see details of the current month’s Rafflecopter and to enter it.)

Monday, October 21, 2019

Speaking of Karen Kelley #RomanceGems

We bought an artificial Christmas tree yesterday. Maybe I'm wishful thinking that cooler weather is on the horizon. It was 92 for a high. Good news, I think fall is around the corner, or maybe winter. I'm not sure. Texas has crazy weather this time of year.

I love Christmas, though. We put the tree up so we could check the lights since it was pre-lit. I wanted to leave it up. Hubby said it was too soon. I finally caved and we put it back in the box. I'm thinking November 1st. Why not enjoy it a little longer. One month is too short.

I'm thinking about turning the ac down really low, then snuggling under a warm blanket and pretending it's cold outside. Do you think that would work?

I guess I'll at least wait until after Halloween. Speaking of ghosts, well sort of, Double Dating With The Dead is on sale for 99 cents, but only for today, then the price goes back up to $2.99.

Back Cover:
Skeptic and author Trent Sanders will make so-called psychic Selena James pay for challenging him to stay two weeks in the supposedly haunted, vacant hotel of Garvey County. By the end of their two weeks he’ll expose her for the fraud she is. But when he sees her in person, it might just be possible she can raise the dead.

Selena James is really pissed at Trent Sanders for publicly proclaiming her delusional. She doesn’t care how hot the guy is, he’ll be eating his words before the two weeks are up! She’ll prove ghosts exist. At least, she hopes she can. Ghosts can be very stubborn, obstinate, manipulative…. This may be a very long two weeks.
                                                          Purchase now for .99 cents
                                                            or read for free in KU
Do us a favor and tell your friends about the monthly contest and our great blog! 
Best Wishes,
Karen Kelley




Sunday, October 20, 2019


By Caroline Clemmons

Recently I was under the weather and was forced to lounge about reading for a day (that’s my story and I’m sticking to it). The books I read were written by intelligent authors who used beta readers and editors. There were still consistent errors.

Sure, this is exactly how I look,
right-o, you can trust me.

Writers are always in hurry to meet our deadline or personal goal. We often confuse words when we know the difference. Sometimes, however, we may have forgotten proper usage. The following are errors I have seen repeated in books, blog posts, and on Facebook.

Conscious and conscience -- These are not interchangeable.
His conscience bothered him because he was guilty.
She was still in a coma and not conscious.

Virile but, as far as
we know, not viral

Viral and Virile -- not the same
 He was a handsome, virile man.
 The illness was viral. The video went viral.

Then and than
We went to the movies then to have ice cream. (a sequence)
I would rather have Dr Pepper than Coca-Cola. (a comparison)

Further and farther How much farther is it to the hotel? (physical distance. Remember far is in farther)
Go any further and I’ll punch you into next week. (figurative distance)
According to some experts, confusing these is not a big deal.

Here is my Achilles heel:
Lie and lay
Lay means to place something down flat. Lay requires an object to act upon.
Lie means to be in a flat position on a surface. Lie describes something moving on its own or already in position—it’s a quiet word.

Our chickens lay brown eggs. I lay down my book to answer the door.
I need to lie down. If you need me, I’ll be lying on the couch.

Don’t be confused by the children’s prayer, “Now I lay me down to sleep.” That line says “I am laying me down” rather than “I am lying down.”

I’m sure you have similar words that are your pet peeves when used incorrectly. I hope I don’t misuse them!

I’m giving away a copy of one of my e-books to two people who comment today, reader's choice. 

This month every Romance Gems author is giving away something plus we’re giving away 4 Amazon Gift Cards via the October Rafflecopter. Enter often to improve your chances of winning.

Do us a favor and tell your friends about the monthly contest and our great blog!

Happy Hallowe'en!

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Fall in Love in New England

Hello again, 
As you are reading this I’m attending Fall in Love in New England with many of my fellow Romance Gems authors. It’s a reader / author event where we spend the weekend mixing, mingling and talking about all genres of romance books. It’s hard to believe it’s been two years since our last get together. I was fortunate to meet a few other amazing authors, Nancy Fraser, Annette Blair, Lynn Jenssen and Christine Mazurk to name of few. I can't wait to meet some of our #Romancegems in person this year... 

So, you may be wondering what exactly goes on at this event? For starters authors do a special giveaway, charms. I found this to be especially fun to see each charm the authors came up with to depict a book. This year I used the covers of my new trilogy as the charms. 

What else do we do? There are sessions open to readers and authors alike. We play games, have open question and answer sessions and basically revel in romance books. What’s not to love when you get to see old friends and make new ones who are passionate about your favorite thing too, reading. 

I like to hand out recipe cards based on The Loudon Series. Sharing my favorite pumpkin bread and a cookie recipe, triple chocolate Romeo's, is something Cari would do at What’s Perkin.  

Which brings me to something fun
Every Day is Treat Day in October. To be entered in the random drawing foLost and Found, leave a comment with your email address written out (not as a hot link). I’ll be giving away a signed print copy if the winner livein North America or an e-book anywhere else in the world. The deadline for doing this is 2 days from now. I’ll draw the name on October 21 and notify the winner by email. All you need to do to enter is leave a comment on this post.

By the way, in case you wonder why Authors give away books, it’s simple. We give away books to introduce new Readers to our writing. The best way to thank an Author who gives you a book is to post a review. Just a few sentences saying why you liked the book is all that is needed! Do this, and we’ll adore you!

Click here to enter our No Tricks—Just Treats Rafflecopter today for a chance to win Amazon Gift Cards. Enter often and tell your friends! (You can also click Monthly Giveaways on the Menu Bar of the blog to see details of the current month’s Rafflecopter and to enter it.)

Until next time, 
I wish you happiness.


Friday, October 18, 2019

What do you make with APPLES?

Fall is a time for pumpkins and apples. Personally, I prefer apples.
Apple pie, apple crisp, candied apples, apple jelly, and best of all, apple Whoopie Pie Cookies.

  Apple Whoopie Cookies

Years ago, we had a parent of one of my students who was the most amazing baker. She used to bake the teachers all sorts of goodies and send them in for us. But the absolute BEST thing she ever made was Whoopie Pies but with Apple Cookies instead of the typical chocolate. And the frosting inside was a buttercream, not a whipped cream frosting. 
Thankfully she gave us the recipe and I have made them several times. So good, though they do take a while to put together.

Fair warning: there is nothing low fat or low calorie about these. But they are so amazingly delicious!!

Whoopie Apple Cookies
By Lauren
1 ½ cups peeled and grated apples                        ¼ cup apple jelly
1 tsp ground cinnamon                                          ½ tsp ground nutmeg
2 cups all-purpose flour                                         ½ tsp baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) lightly softened butter                   1/8 tsp salt                                                              
¾ cup packed light brown sugar                            1 large egg yolk

*Cream butter and sugar until well blended and fluffy.
*Add egg yolk, apple jelly, and apples until blended. (Tip: place grated apples on a paper towel to absorb some of the extra moisture before you use them)
*Then add dry ingredients; cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and baking soda.
*Mix until all ingredients are well blended. Do not over mix!
*Scoop and place onto lightly greased baking pan to make cookies.
*Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 10 minutes. Let cool a bit before placing on rack.

Buttercream Frosting
½ cup Crisco                                                            ½ cup butter
1 tsp pure vanilla extract                                          4 cups confectioner’s sugar
2 - 4 tbsp milk - add more or less for desired consistency

*Assemble cookies: Put frosting in the center of two apple cookies. If desired, drizzle tops with
2/3 cup powdered sugar                                       ½ tsp light corn syrup
2 - 3 drops pure vanilla extract

I am offering one fabulous reader a digital copy of my newest release, ELUSIVE DREAMS. Simply tell me in the comments what your favorite way of eating apples is. Don't forget your email address written out ( so and so at this dot com).  I will choose a winner by October 24 and let you know by email and in this post. Good luck! 


Click here to enter our No Tricks—Just Treats Rafflecopter today for a chance to win Amazon Gift Cards. Enter often and tell your friends! (You can also click Monthly Giveaways on the Menu Bar of the blog to see details of the current month’s Rafflecopter and to enter it.)

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

The Haunted Love Affair @ConstanceBretes #romancegems

Last year, I decided to join this group called Common Elements Romance Project to write a story that has five common elements in them. It could be any genre as long as it was a romance. I decided to try this because I have always been traditional published, and never self-publish before. After some debate among over 100 of us authors, we've determined the five elements.

-->a lightning storm
-->lost keys
-->a haunted house (really haunted or rumored to be)
-->a stack of thick books

-->a person named Max (which can be short for something)


The result is my first attempt to write, and self-publish, a contemporary romance with some paranormal things. Here is the blurb:

A possessive spirit and sex, behind closed doors.

Pamela Parkins accepted a live-in housekeeping job with Dr. Casada and his son, Max in a house built in the 1900s. What she didn’t expect was that the house—more specifically, her bedroom—was haunted by spirits.

Dr. Casada doesn't believe in spirits. He has a purely mathematical mind, and there’s no room for the paranormal. Right?

Strange things are happening in the house. Things Pamela can't explain. On top of that, she's fallen for the doctor. Can they solve the mystery of what is happening? Will she find her happy ever after with the doctor?

The book is scheduled to be released October 21, but is currently available for pre-order here.

Since this month is 

No tricks, Just treats 

with Romance Gems. I will leave it up to the readers to decide what you would like to win from me. I got 11 ebooks you can choose from. You, the reader, decides. Be sure to leave a comment, with your email address, and what you would like to have. Let me know which book you’d like. You can go to my website and read the blurb for each book before making a decision at

No Tricks, Just Treats

Every day an author is giving away something, and the October Rafflecopter we're giving away 4 Amazon Gift Cards so enter the Rafflecopter, which opens at midnight October 1,  often to improve your chances of winning. Do us a favor and tell your friends about it and our great blog posts also.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Diamonds Are Your Best Friend by @BonnieEdwards #RomanceGems

This past Monday was Thanksgiving in Canada. I am grateful for so many things, not least of which is my ability to publish my own works in a way that suits my schedule and rhythm of my life.

Speaking of schedules…the next “big” thing is Hallowe’en and with four grandsons between three and seven, it’s a really BIG thing. The youngest is very into Paw Patrol and wanted, desperately, to be Rocky, the recycling pup, but alas, Rocky costumes are not in vogue so he has to settle on being Marshall the fire dog pup. As to our schedule for this big event? All I know is that we’ll be available to help shell out, or go trick or treating or whatever is needed.

For the Romance Gems every day this month is Treat Day…no tricks. The last time I posted I gave away two e-copies of a book. THIS time, I decided to set up two days (today and tomorrow) of a FREE promotion for Diamond at Heart.

This sexy novella has some romantic suspense that is connected to a long-dead cold case… Read Diamond at Heart and see why diamonds are not always a girl’s best friend.

Someone’s watching her…and Tawny James is sick of it. There’s only one person she can turn to for help: her ex-boss, the last man on earth she wants to see again.

Private security consultant Stack Hamilton gets the call he’s wanted for months from ex-employee Tawny James. But it isn’t the “sorry I ran out on you” call he deserves. The beauty who hides her assets under the ugliest clothes he’s ever seen has a stalker and needs his help.

There’s nothing Stack won’t do for the woman he misses. Every. Single. Day.

Together, and on fire for each other, they learn Tawny’s current problem is connected to a mob murder from the past. Possessive violence has damaged the James women for generations and Tawny is determined not to make the same mistakes with men her mother and showgirl grandmother made.

But she can’t keep her hands off Stack Hamilton and knows she won’t survive this stalking episode with her heart intact. And Stack will do anything to keep Tawny safe. Everything but let her go again.

So, while the Gems may not be “tricking” people today I am certainly “treating” everyone who reads the blog to a free read. Enjoy! And please, if you check out the reviews on this book, take note of the 1 star…it is keeping my average rating for this book low. If you’d like to help raise the rating please leave a review—after you’ve actually read the book! LOL and thanks for reading this far.

Don't forget to enter our October Rafflecopter!

October Rafflecopter: NO TRICKS—JUST TREATS

Monday, October 14, 2019

My favorite things... @LizFlaherty #RomanceGems

I have lots of favorite parts about writing romance. The whole Happily Ever After thing, making new friends of both characters and the people who write them, challenging myself every single day.

And not meeting those challenges more often than I care to admit. That's a favorite because romance--and women's fiction--come to that, are the most forgiving genres of all.

Someone asked the other day what our favorite heroes are. I said mine were funny and flawed. The same thing would go for my favorite heroines. I never want perfection, whether it be in looks, behavior, or anything else that is integral to the character. If her looks are perfect, I hope she's clumsy. If he's built like a brick...ahem...built really well, I want him to be afraid of heights.

I'm charmed when the protagonists aren't especially rich, when they make mistakes, and when they're not entirely sure what they want from life.

The reason I think I like all these things is that my very favorite part of romance is writing the emotion my people and I are feeling. Kathleen Turner sobbing in Catherine Lanigan's Romancing the Stone  has nothing on me! Whether it's fair or not--and it's not--perfect people who have everything can't wring a tear out of me. They seldom make me laugh. They usually don't make me care.

Because if they had challenges, they met all of them already. Better writers than I have been able to crawl under their porcelain skins and silken tresses to find depths that I don't take the time to dig for. I envy and admire those writers, but I can't be one.

We're celebrating October here, and we're having a beautiful one here in the
Midwest. See my front porch? We're also offering up treats every day. I'll choose a lucky commenter--at least I think you're lucky 😍--to receive either a download or a paperback from my backlist (of my choice) and a bag of treats.

Don't forget to sign up for this month's raffle. And, when you're commenting, share what your favorite parts of romance are.

Click here to enter our No Tricks—Just Treats Rafflecopter today for a chance to win Amazon Gift Cards. Enter often and tell your friends! (You can also click Monthly Giveaways on the Menu Bar of the blog to see details of the current month’s Rafflecopter and to enter it.)

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Mercury Goes Retrograde: The Return of an Old Flame or Truth Bombs? by Connie Vines

From October 31 to November 20, messenger planet Mercury will be traveling retrograde through Scorpio. Trick or treat? The cosmic trickster will certain have some surprises up his sleeve. The truth inevitably comes boiling to the surface during this phase, as mysteries reveal and skeletons tumble out of the closets. 

Brace yourself for breakdowns: Communication planet Mercury turns retrograde in Scorpio from October 31 to November 20, 2019. Truth bombs, travel snags and technology hiccups are on the horizon

In her book, Retrograde Planets: Traversing the Inner Landscape, Erin Sullivan (1992) states that, retrogression is the period of time during which a planet in our solar system appears to be moving backwards as we see it against the fixed backdrop of the stars.

This means Mercury retrograde is an optical illusion.

 Perhaps, an optical illusion, but it certainly manifests in my reality. Especially if your birth sign is either Gemini or Virgo.  Both of these Sun Signs are ruled by Mercury. I can vouch for the ‘Oh, no!” factor.  I’ve already had a head-start on the Halloween event.

This is because Mercury retrograde also has what’s called a “shadow period” (which we explain in this post), so you may feel the “retroshade” a couple of weeks before and after the official Mercury retrograde dates. Great, right?

It's the little things in life. . .people yelling at me (why? Who knows); people following me around telling me their troubles and insisting I help them (do I look like a construction contractor to you?).  A final edit of three chapters went blip on the computer screen and disappeared (I’m the woman who backs up on c: drive, a storage drive, and saves to a thumb drive).  A student (accidentally) smacked me on left shin with his skateboard (inside the office).  Every pot of coffee I’ve made this week has resulted in coffee grounds in the carafe (I’m banned from appliance until further notice).

I know, none of these events have been life-threatening, nor have they been part of my usual daily routine, either.

I’m searching for spiders under everything.  I’m covered with mosquito welts. My normally organized purse, has become a worm-hole where important documents go missing, my tethered car keys attach my fingertips, Starbucks gets my coffee order wrong (completely, scary wrong) well, you get the idea…I’ve developed Retrograde Paranoia.

What can you do to lessen the effect?  How do you prepare for this signal-jamming cycle?

Mental Mercury also rules the transfer of information, and it’s wise to password-protect all sensitive data and back it up to the cloud. Since Mercury retrograde can disrupt technology, take special precautions with your digital data. Back up all your important files and photos to the cloud. Mercury rules contracts, so think before you ink any deals. Either wrap up important negotiations before the cycle starts, or wait to sign documents until after Mercury goes direct.

Pro tip: To play it extra safe during Mercury’s backspin, keep beverages far away from your computer; this is the time when you could knock over a cup of coffee onto your keyboard or laptop. These are mistakes that can be avoided with a little extra caution until Mercury stations direct.

Mercury Retrograde Survival Guide

Press Re-wind

Try not to start anything new. Focus on activities that start with the prefix “re-,” which means to go back. Review all your contracts before you sign. Renew your commitments, rather than making new ones. Prepare to repeat yourself often. Reunite with old friends. Redecorate a room. Rekindle a romance.

That last one should be taken with caution. Mercury retrograde CAN bring back an old flame, but often it’s for the purpose of closure, not necessarily because this is the “one that got away.” Don’t be surprised if you get a Facebook friend request from someone you dated ages ago or a forgotten childhood friend. We’ve bumped into long-lost friends (and loves) on the street during Mercury retrograde. Strange times!

Mercury retrograde do’s and try-not-to do’s.

1. Review all contracts and legal documents before signing.
2. Pause and breathe before speaking. (Repeat yourself if necessary!)
3. Read all emails and documents before you send.
4. Insure/track important mail and packages (Mercury rules the postal system).
5. Get your vehicles (or bikes) tuned up, pack an emergency roadside kit.
6. Leave early for any travel and appointments, since Mercury Rx can delay flights.
7. Renew your commitments instead of making new ones.
8. Focus on the prefix re-, which means to go backward (renew, review, revamp, redecorate, et al.)
9. Plan reunions with old friends & loved ones (but prepare for possible mishaps!)
10. Expect to hear from/run into people from your past at the weirdest moments.
11. Get sentimental. Reconnect with your roots, walk down memory lane.
12. Practice forgiveness. Finish processing what’s unresolved so you can let it go.
13. Confirm all dates, plans, meetings, appointments.
14. Think of the retrograde as a quarterly review period, a chance to pause and finish what you’ve started.
15. Back up your digital data (photos, contact lists, files) before the retrograde or ASAP if it’s started.

Try not to…
1. Buy new vehicles, electronic equipment, or gadgets (unless they come with a good return/repair policy).
2. Sign contracts without a thorough review (delay until Mercury turns direct if you can).
3. Fly off the handle or jump to conclusions if someone misunderstands you.
4. Run into the arms/bed of an ex without careful screening (Mercury reunions aren’t always meant to last).
5. Put anything sketchy into an email or text (you could hit “Reply All” or send to the wrong person!).
7. Leave late for flights or appointments.
8. Start anything new on top before finishing what’s ahead on the to-do list.
9. Lead people on, give mixed messages or believe everything you hear (actions speak louder than words).

The silver-lining
Mercury retrograde is a great opportunity to handle unfinished business. Most of us start a million things that we don’t complete, never realizing how much psychic clutter this creates. The retrograde is like a quarterly review. It’s a chance to tie up those loose ends and create a clear vision for the future.

Take advantage of it, and you’ll emerge fresh and ready when Mercury goes direct. As the clichĂ© goes, what you resist persists. So, the more you can embrace chaos or a lack of control (and isn’t control an illusion, anyhow?), the better you’ll survive this cycle!

(FYI to fellow Geminis: it's Ouchie Time for us.)

My Give-a-way is a copy of "Lynx" Rodeo Romance, Book 1.

I will draw a winner's name at 11:00 PM, 
Good Luck!

Looking for a Halloween read? "Here Today, Zombie Tomorrow" Has just the right mix of Halloween, Fun, and Sass!

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Come Plan With Me by Laura Hunsaker

A couple of years ago I was having trouble writing. I wasn't making words happen, and I needed something to keep me accountable. I had so many blogger friends showing off their adorable planners all over Instagram, and I finally just took the plunge. I used coupons at Michael's and free printables online and next thing I knew, I'd set up a writing planner.

I stared with just basic word counts, but it was boring. This was supposed to be fun! An incentive to help me want to hit my goal! So I poked around the internet and found some cute ideas I tweaked to fit my needs. My favorite is where I made a page where I fill in tetris pieces if I hit my word goal. It was so fun and cute and it made writing feel less like work and more like fun. I've started a new one now, and I'm incorporating more of my daily activities into it so I can fill it up faster.

This is my basic weekly planner spread. It's a bunch of blank pages (kind of like my latest work in progress!) My usual method of having post its all over the place with ideas for my story isn't the most organized, so I try to keep anything I'd scribble on a post it in here. I keep things like what music I write to, any plot ideas, and my word count.

This is what it looks like after I've gotten the stickers out.

As you can see the stickers add some color and personality. I don't go wild, although if you look up planners online you will find some amazing works of art that I'd be too afraid to write in!

I try to keep all of my writing tasks and blog tasks in this planner. I've learned some tips and tricks along the way, and color coding certain tasks helps me the most. I can quickly scan the pages to see which things need my attention most.

I even keep track of what I read!

I'd love to hear if you're a planner addict or if you prefer some other method?
Don't forget to enter the No Tricks, Just Treats Rafflecopter contest HERE.

But wait, there's more!

To be eligible for the Random Draw Giveaway for my latest book DARK PAST leave a comment with your email address. I'll randomly pick winners in 24 hours. This is an ebook so it's open internationally. One attempt will be given to contact the winner. Good luck!

Authors give away books to introduce new Readers to their work. The best way to thank the Author is to post a review of the book. Just a few sentences saying why you liked the book is all that is needed!

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...


Friday, October 11, 2019

THANKSGIVING... CANADIAN STYLE By Kathleen Lawless @kathleenlawless #romancegems

As you read this, I am most likely stuffing half a turkey to roast while we go for an afternoon hike.  It is Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada, and normally the weather on the west coast is mild and pleasant.  The children are grown with busy lives, but will likely stop by over the weekend.  There will be leftovers when they do. I love my butcher who understands half a turkey is plenty for many of today’s families.

Since I have so much to be thankful for, I also celebrate US Thanksgiving next month.  I love the way the holiday kicks off the Christmas season and festivities.  The first few years I had a hard time finding a fresh turkey here in November, but I seem to have started a trend.

Some years back, my Dad and my sister and I used to do an annual road trip to Portland, Oregon on the US Thanksgiving. We’d arrive at the hotel in time for dinner, shop ‘til we dropped for two whole days, one day downtown and one day at the mall, then drive home on Sunday with our Christmas shopping complete.  I remember the year the car’s trunk would not close with all our purchases stowed inside.  Stuff was being shoved onto laps, and under feet.  A group of bellmen gathered around making bets as we repacked and reorganized, and burst into applause when the trunk finally did close. 

At the time Sis and I were both divorced and Dad was widowed, so those days were fun and memorable father-daughter road trips that none of us will ever forget.  Lives change.  Dad remarried.  Sis remarried.  I met my real-life hero and the trips are no longer, but the memories live on.    

As part of my treat this month, comment below to win.  Let me know what country you are reading this in, and if Thanksgiving is celebrated where you live.  Don’t forget to include your written email… at dot com etc. I’ll pick one random winner on Monday.  You can even choose your heat level from my historical romances. 

Mild (sweet) BRODY’S BRIDE
Medium (spicy) ANORA’S PRIDE
Burn-your-fingers-hot.  Very, very sexy.  TABOO

For any dedicated fans who have read everything of mine, BISHOP’S BRIDE launches this month if you’d rather receive an advance copy.

By the way, in case you wonder why Authors give away books, it’s simple. We give away books to introduce new Readers to our writing. The best way to thank an Author who gives you a book is to post a review of the book. Just a few sentences saying why you liked the book is all that is needed! Do this, and we’ll adore you!
And there are fabulous monthly prizes!  Check them out!

Click here to enter our No Tricks—Just Treats Rafflecopter today for a chance to win Amazon Gift Cards. Enter often and tell your friends! (You can also click Monthly Giveaways on the Menu Bar of the blog to see details of the current month’s Rafflecopter and to enter it.)

In the meantime, if you haven’t met the seven Mason Brothers, Book 3 of the series, BRAYDON’S BRIDE, is on sale next week, starting Wednesday, for only 99 cents.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Announcing the Secret Gifts Release! by @SatinRussell #RomanceGems

Happy October, everybody. I hope your month is going well. This happens to be my favorite month of the year. I love Halloween and things that go bump in the night.

Today I want to introduce my new holiday novella which will officially be published on November 1st. As I've mentioned before, Secret Hunger and Secret Need are the first two books in my Harper Sisters Series. This novella takes place after the second book. I consider it number 2.5 in the series.

So, what is Secret Gifts about? If you’re familiar with the books, then you’ll recognize Jackie and Tom from Secret Hunger. They were the couple who got together behind the scenes.

Well, this holiday novella picks up with them one year later. Tom is ready to take their relationship to the next level, but will Jackie’s past keep them from having a future?

Jackie Davis is no stranger to hardship. After a strict upbringing, her parents abandoned her when she got pregnant out of wedlock. Years later, she’s the co-owner of a successful cafĂ©, mother to a beautiful six-year-old daughter named Abby, and dating a man who makes her heart race. For the first time in a while, she’s excited for the holidays.

When Tom Molsem applied as a cook at the local cafĂ©, he wasn’t looking for a relationship. Haunted by demons from his military service, he was just happy to have a job he could handle. Now he’s the co-owner of that same restaurant and dating a woman who helped lay those ghosts to rest. With the past buried, he wants to build a future with his newfound family.

Tom and Jackie are eager to celebrate Christmas, but when Abby goes missing, the two must band together and discover the true gifts of the season: love, forgiveness, and new beginnings.


The beeping of the coffeemaker promised caffeine and lucidity. Jackie brought down the oversized red mugs she liked to use during this time of year because they had a snowflake pattern. As she began to pour, two strong arms snaked around her waist.

“You’re lucky I’ve got a steady hand,” she said, leaning against the hard chest behind her.

Tom moved her closer and nipped her earlobe. “Mmm, you’re right, I am.”
It took a little more concentration not to spill the strong brew when he kissed down the length of her neck, but she didn’t mind. Sometimes, it was difficult to believe she got to wake up with this man every morning.

If anyone would have suggested she’d be here a year and a half ago, she would have told them they were crazy. She and Tom had worked together for years, but she had no idea he’d harbored romantic feelings for her the whole time.

She’d always assumed that such a quiet and intense person wouldn’t possibly be attracted to someone like her. Her life was loud and hectic and crazy and completely disorganized. Half the time, she didn’t know what she was doing or what she was feeling. How could a man who kept his emotions so contained want a life like that?

Jackie turned and ran her hands up Tom’s arms, stopping to revel in the strength of his biceps before looping them behind his neck. His eyes were the color of her favorite dark roast and currently warm with desire. They shot a jolt through her system that was stronger and hotter than any cup of coffee. His hands traced the sides of her waist, sending shivers down her spine, and she raised her mouth for another kiss.

Maybe they should have stayed in bed.

Pounding at the front door made them jump. Tom’s muscles tightened beneath her hands as he raised his head. He rushed toward the door as another spate of knocking blasted the morning’s peace.

After checking the peephole, Tom opened the door, his large frame blocking the person from Jackie’s view.

“Can I help you?” She suppressed amusement at the way Tom’s voice had deepened with irritation. If this was a missionary or political canvasser, they certainly had their work cut out for them.

“I want to speak to Jackie.”

What? Who would want to see her so badly that they’d pound on the door this early, especially on a Monday morning? Any of her friends would know better. She peeked past Tom’s shoulder, but he didn’t move. If anything, his stance grew broader.

“Who are you?” Tom asked.

“Let me talk to her. I know she’s here.” Something about the other man’s voice scratched at her memory, but she couldn’t quite place it. Then it hit her.


Tom glanced back over his shoulder at her. “You know him?”

She bit her bottom lip, trepidation sitting in the pit of her stomach. At one time, she thought she knew him.

She’d been mistaken.

I hope you enjoyed the excerpt. Be sure and pre-order a copy of Secret Gifts today! Secret Gifts Ebook Preorder link:

Every Day is Treat Day in October!

I'm going to do something a little different this time. I'm offering one (U.S) winner a signed physical copy of Secret Gifts. (Due to postal costs, international entries will get an ebook copy, instead.)

To be entered in the random drawing for Secret Gifts, leave a comment with your email address written out - not as a hot link. (ex: janedoe at gmail dot com)

Since the release date is November 1st, I'm going to leave the contest open for longer than usual. The deadline to be entered is October 27th. I’ll draw the winner's name on October 28th, 2019 and notify the winner by email and by leaving a comment on this post.

By the way, in case you wonder why Authors give away books, it’s simple. We give away books to introduce new Readers to our writing. The best way to thank an Author who gives you a book is to post a review of the book. Just a few sentences saying why you liked the book is all that is needed!

This is especially important for new releases!

Click Here to enter our No Tricks—JustTreats Rafflecopter today for a chance to win Amazon Gift Cards. Enter often and tell your friends! (You can also click Monthly Giveaways on the Menu Bar of the blog to see details of the current month’s Rafflecopter and to enter it.)