Friday, November 22, 2019

Sneaking Up on the Holidays by Nancy Fraser

With less than a week until Thanksgiving and just 33 days until Christmas, I'm currently fine-tuning my holiday expectations.

Oh, and previewing every dessert recipe that comes across Facebook. So far, I think there have been forty-two. Some looked interesting, some looked complicated, some I wouldn't touch with a pair of 14 inch tongs.

I get at least two requests per day from the grandchildren. "Can you make this one, Grandma?" I usually respond with, "Okay, but something else will have to go." Unfortunately, for them, they're unwilling to give up their three favorites (sweet potato pie, banana pudding, and heart-attack potatoes), so I may be safe from having to add to my duties.

Of course, that doesn't mean I won't test drive a recipe or two before the holidays.

I thought I might share a recipe for the Heart Attack Potatoes today, since earlier this month I shared a dessert. Fair warning though ... you might want to have a defibralator close by the dinner table. Think scalloped potatoes on steroids!

Grandma's Heart Attack Potatoes


  • 4-5 large potatoes (Yukon Gold are preferred), peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick (1/4 pound) butter
  • 2 cloves minced garlic (or 1 Tablespoon if using from a jar)
  • 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced and separated into rings
  • 1 8oz package cream cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon Italian Seasoning
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Salt and Pepper to taste (be generous)
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (freshly grated)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly butter the bottom and sides of an 11x14 baking dish
  2. Place potatoes and 2 teaspoons salt in a large pot covering completely with cold water
  3. In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat, add onion and saute for 5 minutes.
  4. Add garlic and Italian seasons and continue sauteeing for another 2 minutes to mix
  5. Cut cream cheese into squares and add to butter mixture. Heat through until melted.
  6. Add milk and cream and stir until all cheese is melted and everything combined.
  7. Drain potatoes and arrange in baking dish. Cover with sauce and top with grated Parmesan.
  8. Bake for 50 minutes until bubbly and potatoes are coooked through.
  9. Let set 10 minutes before serving.

Hint: This also makes a delicious meal by adding leftover chicken, turkey, beef, or even ground beef.

* * *
I often feature food in my books. My very first book actually included recipes that were sounded out verbally by the heroine and she talked. I appreciated the great comments I received at the time, so I've often repeated the extra treat in later books.

One of my favorite recipes is included in my novella, Paging Dr. Cupid. It's for the heroine's famous Monte Cristo sandwiches. The story's just as tasty as the recipe!

Newly appointed Chief of Emergency Medicine Dr. Garrett Langley can't seem to find a secretary to keep up with his demands. His love life isn’t going so well, either. He recently lost his long-time girlfriend to his older brother and saw a workplace romance end in disaster, leaving him with a busy career but no love life.

Piano prodigy Grace Valentyne forfeited the second half of her Julliard scholarship to come home to California and care for her mother. Now, with her mother gone, she must find a job in order to pay for the remainder of her education. When offered the opportunity to work for the physician nicknamed Dr. Cupid, she jumps at the chance.

Grace soon finds herself in over her head—and not just with the office equipment. But falling for the boss won’t get her back to Julliard. She needs to keep her focus and not let the sexy doctor derail her professional goals.

There's still time to enter our November Rafflecopter. The prizes include:

Grand Prize: $25.00 Amazon Gift Card
2nd Prize: $20.00 Amazon Gift Card
3rd Prize: $15.00 Amazon Gift Card
4th Prize: $10.00 Amazon Gift Card
5th Prize: $5.00 Amazon Gift Card

You can get all the details on our Monthly Giveaway page, including the full-length entry form. Or, you can just click HERE for the short form!

Either way, you're on your way to winning!

Until next month, appreciate everything you have to be thankful for ... not just the yummy leftovers!


Thursday, November 21, 2019

Writing Romance by Karen Kelley #RomanceGems

I actually never expected to become a gazillionaire as a writer when I started writing. A good thing because I barely scrape by. No, I just wanted to get lost in my stories. They were my escape.

 I always felt like the outsider in my family while growing up. Like maybe they did find me on the side of the road. My sisters used to tell me that story over and over again. I believed them, and it hurt. As I got older, I decided I kind of liked the idea.

 I became a writer because of the stories I wanted to tell, but for me it was more than that. It was a validation of who I was as a human being. I was carving out my place in the world, and hopefully, leaving a mark in my own way.

Thankfully, I found a great group within RWA, which eventually disbanded, but these wonderful ladies (and the occasional male) gave me encouragement and the confidence to pursue my dream. I still remember that first meeting. It was at a restaurant. I drove around it four times before I got the courage to go inside. As soon as I walked through those doors and met this fabulous group of ,ladies, I knew I'd found exactly where I was supposed to be.

 I'm blessed to have a wonderful husband who encourages me to dream, and two wonderful children (and their spouses) who are proud of what I do.

 So, although I probably won't get rich, I'm living my dream and very thankful that I can.

 Do you have a dream? Or are you living it?

 Don't forget out monthly give away!
November is the month for Gratitude, Appreciation, and counting your Blessings if you are religious and/or philosophical. Grateful, Thankful, Blessed—that's what we Romance Gems Authors feel. Join us this month in celebrating the Life Lessons we all learn. Enter our November Rafflecopter now for a chance to win 1 of 5 Amazon Gift Cards.
You can also enter by going to the Monthly Giveaway Page HERE

Wednesday, November 20, 2019


By Caroline Clemmons

Our theme at Romance Gems for this month is Life Lessons. Most of us have so many life lessons we’ve learned in our lifetime that choosing one is difficult. Here are several I’ve learned:

While there are a few villains lurking, most of those we meet are good, dependable people. My husband (Hero) and I were driving through a depressed area (bad part of town) when we had a flat. Hero pulled over and got out to change the tire. We don’t think of ourselves as old, but we are not spring chickens. A young man pulled up and got out to help us. He was a bit scary in his wife-beater shirt and the appearance of a gang member. I’m embarrassed to admit that at first I wondered if he was going to rob us. Instead, he insisted on changing the tire. My husband was relieved (he has Parkinson’s and his strength is not what it used to be). Hero offered the young man cash for his help but the Good Samaritan wouldn’t accept. He said his mother would never forgive him if he had not stopped to help us.

Never say never to your children. When our eldest daughter was preparing to go to grad school a couple of hundred miles away, she went there to look for an apartment. Her sister accompanied her. I had assured our eldest that she would not be able to find an apartment with a dishwasher and a second bedroom for her office for the amount of rent she could afford to pay. When she returned smiling, she had found a two-bedroom duplex with nice size rooms, on a cul de sac, fenced back yard, and a kitchen that included a dishwasher and nice refrigerator. It turned out to be a perfect place for her. Her sister confided that the other places they checked were dumps and this was the last stop on their list. Our eldest is not a fan of shopping for anything. Her sister said she was afraid whatever the last place looked like, her sister would take it because she was tired of looking. Thank goodness the search worked out well.

Under the same life lesson, I’m reminded of when my parents and I moved back to Texas when I was a few months shy of eight-years-old. I was obsessed with Roy Rogers and cowboys—actually, I still am. I was disappointed when we settled in a cotton farming community. When we took a trip through ranching country to visit my grandmother, I was certain we’d finally see cowboys riding the range. My dad told me that was only in movies and never in real life. About halfway to Grandmother’s we passed a group of cowboys on horses rounding up cattle. I was beyond excited. Poor Dad was stuck having an exuberant kid chattering in the back seat for the rest of the trip.  

A difficult lesson for me (and I'm still struggling with this one) was learning not to compare myself to other writers. Of course we write because we want to, but in addition most of us are consumed with making good royalties. When I hear that so and so is making a million or more a year, I sigh. Of course I would love to make that amount! Who wouldn't? But, that writer’s path is not the same as mine (obviously). I am supposed to be in competition with myself but not with other writers. This is something about which I must remind myself frequently.

As years have passed, I’ve learned that material things are not as important as I’d once thought. When we downsized six years ago, we had to part with many possessions I hated to lose. Still, I have more than I need. Having a fancy car or a large house is nice, true, but family and friends are the things in life that are really important.

Priorities have changed as I’ve grown older. Recently I realized that I don’t have to impress anyone. Of course I want my family to be proud of me but they take me as I am. You could say I’ve mellowed. If people see me without makeup and in sweats, that's all right. I'm the same person no matter what I'm wearing.  

Life Lessons 101
I'm always amazed at those who say if they had it all to do over they wouldn’t change a thing. What? Didn’t they learn anything? I’ve made a lot of mistakes and have learned too many life lessons to list. I hope I’ve learned from each mistake, even though I can’t change anything about the past. Learning from our mistakes helps us now and in the future.

I'm offering one of my e-books, winner's choice from my list on Amazon at my Amazon Author Page 

As I mentioned above, our theme for November is Life Lessons. Comment below to share one of your life lessons with others.

Don’t forget to enter our Rafflecopter drawing to win an Amazon gift card!

Tell your friends about our blog and our great prizes!

My last words are to remind you of my two new releases. MELODY, Angel Creek Christmas Brides book 7 at the universal Amazon link  Each of the books in this series is stand-alone but why wouldn't you want to read each one? I'm honored to be included with this great line-up of authors. There were five brides last year and six this year. Mine is a bit differnt than I usually write. Fans have told me they love this book! MELODY is also in KU.

The box set CHRISTMAS WISHES, Where Wishes Do Come True, is set in Hopeful, Colorado. Available at your e-book vendor for only 99 cents, the tiny price is for all new stories by 15 authors! My story in this group is WINTER WISH and it's the first one in the set. The Amazon link is

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Two roads diverged in the wood...

As I pondered the topic for this month’s blog post, life lessons, thankfulness, gratitude, appreciation and count your blessings, I wasn’t sure what to write about. I think all of those words are intermingled and the experiences in my life have reminded me to be thankful and grateful. 
Most of the lessons I’ve learned have been the hard way. I’m stubborn and never take the easy route. I was thinking of the famous quote by Robert Frost: Two roads diverged in the wood and I- I took the one less traveled by and that has made all the difference
I have often been at that fork and there have been times I start down on the path only to turn back and take the other. Why you might ask? I’m not sure. What it has done for me is to remind me to be grateful for the blessings in my life. No matter what mistakes I’ve made in my journey thus far they have all meant something to me. 
I’m blessed with an amazing and eclectic family. I’ve written about my loveable and kooky daughters before but I have a kind hearted husband, a thoughtful stepson and his wife, bright and talented grandkids, steadfast brothers and sisters-in-law who are more like sisters, assorted nieces and nephews and amazing parents. The dear friends I have are genuine and true and love me in spite of my flaws. They lift me up when I’m down, we celebrate triumphs together and laugh like no one can hear us. Isn’t that the sign of a true friend one that you can pick up the phone or sit down at a table with you and talk as if no time as passed at all? 
I am honored to be a part of the Romance Gems author group and that I’ve written almost twelve books with several more drafted. Who knew all the words were just waiting to spring from the tips of my fingers and live on a page. I’m blessed to be able to write and touch others through my stories. 
Every day I’m humbled by the people who are a part of my life. My life is richer for the amazing people I’ve met on my journey down either road in the wood. In the coming years I will continue to count my blessings every day and know that it’s okay to veer from the easy path and find my way along the bumps and challenges of life. It makes me the person I am today and shapes my tomorrows. 
Until next time,
I wish you happiness and love.
Here is an excerpt from: Borrowed The MacLellan Sisters Trilogy
Kenzie lay wide awake. The semi-darkness enveloped her like a comfortable old blanket. Her foot was propped up and draped with a lightweight covering. With her good hand, she tugged the hem of the nightgown down over her thighs. A soft snoring sound drifted through the open door; Robbie was sawing wood on the couch. Though she’d never admit it out loud, she was comforted knowing he was a few steps away.
She punched her pillows and lifted her wrist to reposition the cast. She wasn’t in physical pain, but her heart was heavy. 
What’s wrong with me? I’ve got a wonderful family and I’m lying here feeling sorry for myself. 
“Kenzie?” Grace hovered in the doorway, the hallway lamp casting a soft glow around her. “Everything okay?”
“I’m sorry—did I wake you?” Kenzie pushed herself to a half sitting position.
“No. I was thirsty and heard you moving around, so I thought I’d check in.” 
“I’m just a little keyed up. Go back to bed and get some rest.”
Grace padded into the room and perched on the edge of the bed. Folding her robe around her legs, she said gently, “Do you want to talk?”
In a hushed voice, to avoid waking up Robbie, Kenzie said, “I wouldn’t have any idea where to begin.” 
“What are you feeling right at this very minute?” 
“Grateful, relief, happy, sad and maybe a little angry.” 
“Why are you sad?” Kenzie could hear the concern in Grace’s voice. 
In a rush she said, “Everyone’s had to rearrange their lives because I need help. There’s not much I can do for myself, not even wash my hair.” 
“Sis, we’re family. Besides, it’s temporary.” 
Through a soft sigh Kenzie asked, “So why is Robbie snoring on my couch?” 
“It’s simple. He cares about you.” 

Care To Share? 
I'd love to hear about YOUR life lessons and how they impacted the way you live! Here are ours: ="_blank">Try watching this video on</a>, or enable JavaScript if it is disabled in your  

 Oh, and here's our November Giveaway!

November is the month for Gratitude, Appreciation, and counting your Blessings if you are religious and/or philosophical. Grateful, Thankful, Blessed—that's what we Romance Gems Authors feel. Join us this month in celebrating the Life Lessons we all learn. Enter our November Rafflecopter now for a chance to win 1 of 5 Amazon Gift Cards.
You can also enter by going to the Monthly Giveaway Page HERE

Monday, November 18, 2019

From This Day Forward by @karilemor #RomanceGems

Whenever asked how long my husband and I have been together, we always answer, “We’ve been married for 32 years. At least 14 of them happily.”

We always get a laugh. But the truth of the matter is, we haven’t had 32 years of marital bliss. And his 14 years and my 14 weren’t necessarily the same 14 years. Would I give him up and do it over again with someone else? Probably not.

Even though I write romance, I know that even a couple who are deeply in love are not going to see eye to eye all the time from this day forward. You are two separate people with two separate lives and different opinions and beliefs.

What have I learned from 32 years of marriage? Marriage is hard. And it takes two people who are BOTH invested in being together for their lifetime. It can’t be one person doing all the giving and the giving in. It has to be a team effort. One both of you need to be determined to see through.

Unfortunately, in this day and age, everything is disposable. Marriage has fallen into that category for some. When my husband and I got married, we wanted it to be forever. We even put the inscription ‘Forever and Always’ on the inside of our wedding rings.

What’s my advice for a long and happy marriage? Make sure to spend lots of time apart.  Remember, absence makes the heart grow fonder!  LOL

But seriously, you don’t need to be attached at the hip to show you love someone. Find time for yourself and to be with your friends and do what you love, while your partner does the same. If you happen to have all the same friends and all the same interests, that’s even better. My husband and I don’t, but we allow each other time to do what we love. And then when we spend time doing something we both love, it makes that time so much more special.

In my book, Elusive Dreams, Erik and Tessa have a marriage of convenience and they have to figure out how to make their marriage work, without the perk of being in love. Check it out and see how they make this fake marriage into something real and lasting.

Comment below to share your life lesson with others.  And as always, don't forget to enter our rafflecopter draw to win an Amazon gift card. 

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Be Courageous by @ConstanceBretes #RomanceGems

In keeping with the theme this month here on Romance Gems Blogspot, Life Lessons, sharing lessons and wisdom, my wisdom is to be courageous. I specifically use my release, Blue As Sapphires, for this.

Did you know that:
Every 9 seconds in the US a woman is assaulted or beaten.” 

Blue As Sapphires is a story of one woman’s courageous survival and how she overcame domestic violence. Yes, it’s fictional, it’s a romance, and it has a happy ever after. But the message is the same. Encouragement for women in the midst of domestic abuse to get out and get away from it, start over, and live a purposeful life.

To show my commitment and encouragement to these women, all proceeds from the sale of this book goes to the National Domestic Violence Hotline (­

Marissa's home was her haven, until Riley invaded her space. 

Escaping from her abusive ex-husband, Marissa Simpson returns to her hometown to start over. She spends her days working at the local jewelry store, and the rest of her time is dedicated to mining along Red Rock River, searching for precious gems. Marissa has no intention of getting involved with another man, or with the community she left behind all those years ago. That is until Riley McCade shows up.

Riley is the Sheriff of Quartz County. He loves his community and goes out of his way to protect and serve. When he meets up with Marissa, he's bound and determined to get to know her even though she insists she's not interested.

The more Riley learns about Marissa's past, the more he concludes that she may be in danger. When her ex-husband shows up, can Riley protect her? And can he earn her love in the process?

November is the month for Gratitude, Appreciation, and counting your Blessings if you are religious and/or philosophical. Grateful, Thankful, Blessed—that's what we Romance Gems Authors feel. Join us this month in celebrating the Life Lessons we all learn. Enter our November Rafflecopter now for a chance to win 1 of 5 Amazon Gift Cards.

November Life Lessons Rafflecopter

Friday, November 15, 2019

Life's Takeaway Truths by @Bonnie Edwards #RomanceGems

None of us is an island. This is something I've learned throughout my journey as an author. In the beginning I needed to connect with more experienced writers to learn what they knew. I attended workshops every month, studied, went to conferences to absorb more. I met with editors and agents and felt my way through the bewildering maze of the publishing business. 

Everything was new and exciting and I didn't know what I didn't know so I asked and listened to the answers. Eventually, I learned enough about the craft to sell my work to different editors at different publishing houses. You'd think I didn't need to learn anything more, right? Wrong. By the time I knew how to craft a romance into something marketable, the market tightened and the publishing world tilted.

I could have quit then, but I'm a storyteller and stories just kept bubbling around inside looking to get out. But I had to learn even more because self-publishing came to my rescue. In this journey, I quickly learned that I could not do everything myself. I learned about my strengths and my very real weaknesses.

I write good stories. I have warm characters and decent plots. But can I market? Not well. This is where boxed sets have been a wonderful learning tool.

I hang out with excited, ambitious women who know how to write, market, and promote their work. They can create ad campaigns and memes and videos.

And I'm reminded again of those early days of writing when I didn't know what I didn't I'm asking and learning all over again. It's wonderful!

My book Like An Angel is included in this boxed set of eclectic romances. In Love Defines Us: Winning at Love you'll find a romance to suit just about any taste, all for only 99c. If you have a Kindle Unlimited subscription you can read it that way. 

So, Life Lesson? Keep learning, keep asking and know that you're not an island because we need connection, help, and knowledge. 

Join us this month in celebrating the Life Lessons we all learn. Click the link and enter our November Rafflecopter now for a chance to win 1 of 5 Amazon Gift Cards.

Thursday, November 14, 2019


November is a month in which we think about those things for which we’re grateful. Of course we do that all year, but drawing near to the Thanksgiving holiday reminds us to count our blessings. Regardless of income, we have many.

I saw a cartoon of a funeral with only two in attendance. One of them—appears to be the wife—said, “I don’t know what happened. He had so many friends on Facebook.”  In spite of that, I’m especially grateful for all the friends I’ve made online. Most of them I’ve never met and some I’ve seen only at one conference. I still count them as friends.

Being able to write my stories is another reason I’m grateful. Here I sit in my pajamas and robe, taking casual workday to the extreme. My commute is a few steps from our bedroom. After many years in an office, this is wonderful.

Recently two of my stories have been published. MELODY, Angel Creek Christmas Brides book 7, was released on November 8. CHRISTMAS WISHES: WISHES DO COME TRUE, a box set with 15 stories placed in Hopeful, Colorado, over a period of almost 150 years. My story, WINTER WISH, takes place in 1880.

MELODY, Angel Creek Christmas Brides book 7, is set just after the Civil War when most of Charleston, South Carolina was in ruins and no marriageable young men were to be found. The year before—the fall after the war—five women answered an advertisement for mail-order brides to a small Montana town. That turned out well and many of the remaining bachelors prevailed upon the brides to recruit more Southern Belles to come to Angel Creek. Six more agree to travel there by train to St. Louis, then by riverboat up the Missouri River, then by stage to Angel Creek.

These young women knew each other from school before the war and have remained friends. Melody Fraser is twenty-two and fears remaining a spinster. In addition, she has threats against her fueled by vicious rumors. She is happy to escape Charleston’s destruction and peril for a chance at life in a place untouched by the war. The problem is, she might have stretched the truth a tiny bit.

Nicholas Walker is the new doctor in Angel Creek. He has big, big plans for his clinic and practice as the town grows. He is very efficient and expects to combine a skilled nurse with a wife.  When he learns Melody has only nursed an elderly grandmother, he feels cheated.

They’re in for adventure and excitement. But, will Nick realize that while Melody is not what he wanted, she is exactly what he needed?

The universal Amazon link is

On Wednesday, November 13, a 15-author box set of all new stories released for the amazing price of 99 cents! This limited-time box set titled Christmas Wishes: Wishes Do Come True is a mixture of historical and contemporary stories set in the small town of Hopeful, Colorado. There are three heat levels: from 1 chili pepper for sweet to 3 chili peppers for sensual. The table of contents gives the heat level of each story. So, there are several to please every reader! Order yours now at

Legend says the wishing well in the center of Hopeful makes wishes come true if the wish is made under a full moon. What could making a wish hurt?

Be careful what you wish for!

My story is the first one, Winter Wish. Serena Winters longs for a man who makes her feel loved. She yearns for her own home and children. Until a couple of months ago she had nursed her mother, who had consumption. She lives with her aunt and uncle above their mercantile store. In spite of what her aunt says about wishes being foolish, Serena wishes for a special man.

Brent Adams slips into town hoping no one saw him deliver the load he’d packed in on his mule. He has to wait in Hopeful until he receives funds from the bank. When he meets Serena, he longs to take her with him when he leaves town. But, what will she think when she learns his secrets?

There you have a few of the reasons I’m grateful today. For what are you most grateful? I’ll give an e-book to one person who comments today-either one of the above or one from my backlist, winner's choice.

Our theme this month is Life Lessons. Comment below to share your life lesson with others. The lesson I’m trying to learn is efficiency. Some days I’m so caught up in the book I’m writing that I bumble around like an episode of“I Love Lucy. Don’t forget to inter our Rafflecopter drawing to win an Amazon gift card.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Thanksgiving is More than a Harvest Festival! by Connie Vines #RomanceGems


1. the expression of gratitude, especially to God."he offered prayers in thanksgiving for his safe arrival"

2.    (in North America) an annual national holiday marked by religious observances and a traditional meal including turkey. The holiday commemorates a harvest festival celebrated by the Pilgrims in 1621, and is held in the US on the fourth Thursday in November. A similar holiday is held in Canada, usually on the second Monday in October.

What does this season represent to you? 

I am blessed with a loving family, extended family, and friends.  My immediate family is able to gather-together and celebrate holidays in each other’s homes and places of worship.

I’d like to add a 21st century spin on ‘gratitude’ for my Romance Gems Blog post this November.  

What is this author thankful for in 2019?  Here are 30 of my favorite things:

1. Dishwashers.

2. The Hallmark Channel holiday specials.

3. Your parents—because no matter how old you are, they can still solve any problem
4. Fireplaces.

5. The local farmer’s market.

6. The time you get to spend re-reading your favorite books, even if you mask it as “bedtime stories.”

7. Roasted pumpkin seeds, pumpkin pie, and all of the fall flavors (Yes, even in SoCal, we have fall).

8. Sunday afternoons with coffee and a good book.

10. Slow-cookers.

12. Quirky traditions that make your family special.

18. Google.

19. Holiday recipes that have been passed down through the family for generations.

20. Your health—even on days when it isn’t perfect.

22. Your children and your siblings

23. Baby giggles.

24. Puppies!

25. Friendships, new and old.

26. Your support system—be it at work, at home, or spread out all over the country.

27. The snooze button.

28. Laundry machines.

29. The people in your life who have been stand-in mothers and fathers whenever you’ve needed them.

30. Color-coordinated office supplies and freshly cut flowers.

In Celebration of a Fall Harvest

Here’s a recipe to warm everyone’s tummy and cause the children to giggle at the word-play:

Orange You Glad Thanksgiving Soup* Food Network

Prep Time: Five minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes


1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 carrots, finely chopped
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup pulpy orange juice
2 boxes frozen butternut squash puree
2 or 3 cups chicken/turkey broth
Grated nutmeg
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves, for garnish
1 tablespoon orange zest, for garnish


1. Heat a soup pot over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter. When butter has melted, add the onion and carrots, and cook until vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Deglaze with the orange juice and simmer for 1 to 2 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon.

2. Transfer the mixture to a food processor or a blender. Puree the mixture until smooth, then return to pot over medium heat. To mixture, add the frozen butternut squash puree and the chicken broth and stir to combine. Adjust the seasoning. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and let simmer for 10 minutes. Grate some fresh nutmeg and stir to combine.

3. Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with chopped thyme and orange zest.

Grateful, Thankful, Blessed—that's what we Romance Gems Authors feel. Join us this month in celebrating the Life Lessons we all learn. Click the link and enter our November Rafflecopter now for a chance to win 1 of 5 Amazon Gift Cards.

Rafflecopter/ Giveaway!

Wishing you and yours a Blessed Thanksgiving Season,




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Dishin' It Out

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Comfort Reads by Laura Hunsaker

Lately I feel like I've been in a reading slump. You know, that feeling where you keep picking up a new book and it just doesn't click for you?
I've started three or four books and haven't been able to finish them. I hate when that happens!

The worst part is that I'm pretty sure I'll like the books, I'm just not in the mood for them. Being a moody reader can sure stink.

Some friends and I were talking about this just the other day. Sometimes when I DNF (do not finish) a book, it's hard to put it down. I want to push on, to persevere....but should my favorite hobby be something I have to push myself to do? I need to make myself understand it's okay to set a book aside for later. I have a great example of that. I have been trying to read Nora Roberts' The Three Fates for months now. It just isn't clicking for me. Typically I enjoy her books, especially the ones that are connected like this is, and yet...I can't get past the 4th chapter.

So what do you do when you're stuck like that?

Do you switch up genres? Force yourself to finish whatever you pick up?

For me, I tend to go for a comfort read. Comfort reads are old favorites that I know I already love, and that won't let me down.

Some of my comfort reads are:

Anything Ilona Andrews. I just re-read the Hidden Legacy series, and it's one that gets better each time.

Cynthia Eden's Devil In Disguise is so intense and surprising and wonderful.

Sarah MacLean"s Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake I can't tell you how many times I've read that book.

Monica McCarty's Highland Warrior is another I've worn out re-reading.

And our own Bonnie Edwards' Love In a Pawn Shop

So tell me, what are your comfort reads? Are you a moody reader?

Don't forget to enter our November GIVEAWAYS for one of five gift cards! Direct link to the Rafflecopter here

If you're looking for your new comfort read, look no further! Dark Past is out now!

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...

Monday, November 11, 2019

LEST WE FORGET By Kathleen Lawless @kathleenlawless #romancegems

As you read this I am basking on a small island in the Caribbean, celebrating “birthday week”. 

This getaway marks more than just a vacation.  For the many years I worked in corporate sales it was understood no vacation days were granted in October, November, or December.  Instead, we were to be in our sales territory doing whatever it took to ensure healthy Christmas sales. Best case scenario; every few years my ‘lucky 13’ birthday would fall around the Remembrance Day stat and I would get a long weekend.  After giving my notice last year in order to write full time I can now go away whenever I feel like it.  I love being my own boss.

Today at 11 am will be no different from past years as I bow my head and observe a moment of silence in remembrance for the men and women who have served, and continue to serve our country.

November 11th is the day the Commonwealth nations chose, because the First World War ended on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.  Other countries have selected different dates and different names to pay respect to their forces.  In the US it is observed on this same date as Veteran’s Day.  I remember my Grandmother always referred to this day Armistice. As kids we called it “Poppy Day”, because we bought a poppy made by veterans to pin on our lapel. 

I was surprised to learn not all Canadian provinces have today earmarked as a statutory holiday.  If you are reading this in Nova Scotia, Manitoba, Ontario or Quebec, you are likely heading off to work or school. 

In recent years as I attended the service at the war memorial, I have been heartened to notice that the crowd is growing each year.  And while there are noticeably fewer veterans from the First World War still with us, the memory of their sacrifice is being carried on by younger generations.  It makes me proud.

It also makes me proud to have time to write more books and bring more stories into the lives of my readers.  A huge shout out to readers who buy my books, leave reviews and drop me an email.  It means more than you will ever know. 

My new series, Secret Seductions isn’t for everyone. As the name suggests these books are  extremely evocative and sexual.  If you enjoy a heated, sexy romance where the intimacy plays an integral part in the character’s life lesson, you can check it out here.

And here.                               

This month is about life lessons.  I know mine is “patience”.  I loathe waiting in line-ups, detest traffic lights, and am not terribly gracious when scheduled appointments don’t run on time.  And while practicing patience should be easier now that I’m not driving around making sales calls all day on a tight schedule, the telephone has added to my frustration with the invention of automated service. I don't appreciate having a computer tell me which buttons to push before I am eventually put on hold with some terrible music or ads to listen to, when I just want to talk to a real person!   

At any rate, I am blessed to be inspired by a partner who was gifted with an abundance of patience.  He sets a great example for me follow.  He’s also a huge supporter of our veterans and wears his poppy proudly.  Today it looks especially nice on his bathing suit.   

Comment below to share your life lesson with others.  And as always, don't forget to enter our rafflecopter draw to win an Amazon gift card. 

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Sunday, November 10, 2019

The Big Picture by @SatinRussell #RomanceGems

woman standing on bridge
This month’s Romance Gems topic about Life Lessons got me thinking about how perspective helps shape our worldview. There are people who excel at focusing on all the little details and lose sight of the bigger picture.

And then there are people like me who are good at seeing the larger whole, but sometimes forget all the little details that are needed to make it happen. Thank goodness we have both types of people or nothing would ever get done!

Photos are a wonderful way of illustrating this point about perspective. Take this top photo for example. What could she be looking at with such intent? Grasping the ropes so tightly, with her blue jacket flapping in the breeze around her hips.

Is she at the zoo staring at some exotic animal?

Is she on a balcony looking down at a crowd? Observing the people from afar, slightly above and slightly removed.

Or, maybe she's on an overpass somewhere, watching life and traffic flow past her.

Actually, she was a travel companion of mine in Ireland. We were crossing the Carrick-a-Rede Bridge. I remember the fear and trepidation reflected in her face as she stepped out onto the creaky planks.

She got about halfway across when suddenly her knees stiffened and refused to carry her any further. She stood there, eyes wide, breath suspended...and faced the true realization of her mortality.

With much coaxing and prodding, we managed to convince her to finish her journey. As her foot touched solid ground, her face broke out in a wide smile. Her cheeks flushed with an overwhelming sense of joy and relief  she was ALIVE!

That's how life can be. We can get caught going through everyday motions: get up, brush your teeth, take a shower, get dressed, go to work, drink coffee, answer phones, curse the traffic, eat dinner, watch TV, brush your teeth, go to bed...then rinse and repeat.

Little details. Mundane steps. All the while forgetting to remember the bigger picture. To stop and take it in. Hold on with both hands until your knuckles turn white and you have no other choice but to notice  you're ALIVE!

Be joyful!

Be thankful!

How about you? Do you have an example of how changing your perspective helped you though a moment in your life? Do you consider yourself more of a "Big Picture" or "Detail-Oriented" person? Let me know in the comments.

November tends to be a month to focus on anything good in your life, whether that's family, friends, experiences or all of the above. It's a time to take stock and give thanks for what has brought you to this moment.

Grateful, Thankful, Blessed—that's what we Romance Gems Authors feel. Join us this month in celebrating the Life Lessons we all learn. Click the link and enter our November Rafflecopter now for a chance to win 1 of 5 Amazon Gift Cards.

OR, check out our Monthly Giveaway page for more details.