Saturday, November 30, 2019

Wake up! Let me tell you my story! by Liz Flaherty #RomanceGems

Well, no, it's never happened quite that way--although there's always hope, right? But I have sat up in bed determined to write down the idea or identity that had just made itself known to me. I wish I could say I always got it done, but the truth is that I usually fall back to sleep and am left with remnants.

This month's theme has been Life Lessons, and I have loved reading everyone's and envying some of them. As in, Why couldn't I have learned that? It would have been so helpful! 

I am on a weird little slope in the roller coaster ride that is being a writer of romantic fiction. I'm writing a new book, but really slow. I'm thinking about retiring, but not really. I'm agonizing over book sales and my relationships with one publisher and an editor with another.

Sometime last week, I wrote a proposal for a series. I was laughing as I agonized over it, because even though I've written a series and a few spinoffs, I'd never before proposed a series. I told a friend that I felt, once again, like a total newbie in the industry.

I guess that's what I am, and it's still okay. It's still fun, there are still threads of excitement making sparkles in my writing life, and I have more to say. As changes rush through the industry, chances are good I will be a newbie again, both bewildered and enthralled by what is before me. Pieces of lyrics from a Rodgers and Hart song explain it all so well.

I'm wild again
Beguiled again...
Bewitched, bothered and bewildered am I...

So there's my life lesson. While experience is to be valued, sometimes starting over with the unknown is, too. The other part of the lesson is that some things don't change, starting with, Let me tell you my story...

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and enjoy the upcoming holidays as well. If you're looking for Christmas stories, I hope you'll check out the anthologies created from Heartwarming authors' visit to Christmas Town, Maine last year. Instead of novellas, there are six full-length novels in each anthology. 

Oh, it's the last day for November's Giveaway!

November Life Lessons Rafflecopter Or you can enter by going to the Monthly Giveaway Page. Watch our video for a recap of our life lessons.

Friday, November 29, 2019

The Big Thanks by Nora LeDuc #Romance Gems

When my bankroll is getting small
I think of when I had none at all
And I fall asleep counting my blessings
(Songwriter: Irving Berlin)

      By the time you read this blog, I will either be out Black Friday shopping or home recovering. Shop hopping on this day with my daughter and granddaughter is one of those traditions I love and sometimes take for granted. No matter what happens when we're out, it's an adventure because we enjoy being together. I often forget how fortunate I am. I find it easy to focus on what went wrong in life or didn't go as planned get the idea. Lately, I've been trying to improve my happiness quota with a different approach. I stop and think of what went well or what I have that makes me grateful.

There are many ways to do this.  I once read of a person who felt depressed and couldn't come up with much good about her world. The woman resolved to do something for others as her therapy. She decided to write and send a personal heartfelt note of appreciation to a different friend or acquaintance each day for a year and to mail it to them. She set aside a dedicated time each morning for her task. The woman never asked for a response.
Well, she was surprised. Cards began arriving for her. People wrote back telling her how much her words had meant to them. Many saved and reread their messages over and over. Amazingly, her simple sincere act of kindness had made a difference and touched their lives. Lesson learned, it's never to late to speak up or share your appreciation. So, here are a few of my blessings or simple things that make me happy.

The beauty of the hills and mountains that surround me. The thrill of catching the deer looking in at us through our window. When my granddaughter told me she loved being with me when we watched a movie together. My friends who support me even when I'm wrong. (Yes, I eventually come to my senses.) My husband and children. And of course, the many books I've written and can look at on my bookshelf. Each one symbolizes a dream come true for me.

I could keep going, but you get the idea. There are too many gifts to mention. Most go unseen until I  pause and evaluate. My friends, I wish you the best on this Black Friday. If you can't sleep tonight, you know what to do. Count your blessings. I'll count you as one of mine.


Don't forget my latest book Trail of SECRETS is available. My hero and heroine have lost jobs, homes, and people close to them. It's not until they band together and embark on their joint journey that they discover their greatest gift, love for each other.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

She's Little, But She's Fierce by @KaraONealAuthor #RomanceGems

My seventh book, Love's Redemption, started in book two, The Sheriff's Gift.

In it we meet Willa Kramer. The middle child of three. Farmer's daughter. Quiet. Direct. Tough. And already bearing burdens no twelve-year-old should.

We learn about the past that will impact her future, and we meet the young man with shoulders broad enough to be her champion, and a heart wise enough to understand her grief.

She spends the first years of her life fighting a monster. And she wins. But at a very great cost, and in Love's Redemption, she must come to terms with what she faced at too young an age.

Willa is tougher than all of my heroines put together. (She's also short in stature. It's awesome! She's petite and mighty.)

Not only must she fight violence and evil, she must war with her own feelings of worthlessness. Those incessant, horrible voices we all hear from time to time telling us we aren't good enough.

Willa learns how to be vulnerable, how to love herself, and most importantly, she learns to forgive herself. The love of Lonnie Davis is her touchstone, the rock upon which she stands, and he refuses to leave her side no matter how hard she tries to push him away.

I loved writing this book, delving into Willa's heart and watching her save her life and the lives of everyone she loves. And as I wrote her, that line from Shakespeare came to me....

"Though she be but little, she is fierce."

I learned a lot from Willa. She taught me an important life lesson, one that I have to repeatedly practice, but that I know is true. Forgiveness of self is just as important as forgiveness of others. For those of us who take our mistakes to heart and hold them a little too close, that is a hard thing to remember. But we must.

During the month of November we're talking about life lessons, and one wonderful thing about romances is, no matter which time period or place they're set in, they are about real problems. Real life. And about the only thing that really matters in this

November is the month for Gratitude, Appreciation, and counting your Blessings. 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

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Learning to Trust is an adulting thing by Peggy Jaeger

For this month's theme, Life Lessons,  my catch phrase to remember is LEARN TO TRUST.
You might be thinking, Duh. Doesn't everyone know how to do that? I'm here to tell you the answer is No.

Trust is something that needs to learned, reinforced repeatedly, and for someone like me who's been burned more times than not by people I did place my trust in, once it's been tested, it's usually lost for a lifetime. Fitzwilliam Darcy's words come to mind. In one part of Pride and Prejudice, Austen has him say, “My good opinion once lost is lost forever.” At its core, this statement is about trusting others, and once that trust is challenged, in Darcy's case, it is lost forever.

I know I sound cynical, but there are very good reasons why I have a difficult time placing something so valuable such as my trust, in others.

In as many ways as trust develops, it can be lost. You can trust someone will pick you up on time for an appointment because they told you so, then when they blow you off, you've lost trust in their ability to keep promises. You can trust someone will tell the truth because it's a societal standard, and then lose all trust in them when you catch them in a lie. You can trust your husband/wife not to cheat on you because they've taken vows that state they won't, and then you'll get your heart broken and forgo that trust when you find out they've had an affair.

We trust our leaders to be honest - and then they lie and cheat to advance and profit.
We trust our parents to care for us - and then then abuse or neglect us.
We trust our faith to guide us - and question that very same faith when it is threatened.

You can come up with a million other reasons to trust in someone and then be burned.
The underlying point is trust is fragile.

Now, I realize this topic can get very heavy and morose. My newest book, IT'S A TRUST THING is anything but. It's the story of a girl who's had her trust in men shattered one too many times. But she's met a new guy - when she wasn't looking to - and he just may be the man to help her get over her trust issues.

Nell Newbery has trust issues. It’s hard to trust when you’re the daughter of a fallen financial scion who bilked people out of billions. Nell’s done everything in her power to keep away from men who see her as their ticket to fortune and fame. All she wants to do is run her ultra-successful business, HELPFUL HUNKS, in peace.

But it wouldn’t hurt to find a guy who doesn’t know a thing about her father’s felonious past; one she can give her heart to and trust it won’t come back to her battered, bruised, and broken.

Is Charlie Churchill that guy? On the surface he seems perfect, all polished manners and quiet mirth. Nell’s convinced he knows nothing about her, other than she likes superhero movies and views junk food as a food group.

Can she trust him to be what he appears to be? Or is he just pretending?

For Nell, trust is everything in life…and in love.

I loved writing Nell and found the perfect guy for her in Charlie. This was my first indie published book and it so special to me. It's available in print and ecopy exclusively on Kindle and in KU. It's a RomCom with a message, which is my favorite kind of romance!

And...because this is the ROMANCE GEMS site, we're having a giveaway to showcase our Life Lessons:

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 enter by going to the Monthly Giveaway Page 

And watch our video for a recap of our life lessons

Until next month ~Peg

Tuesday, November 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: Black Friday – yea or nay?

Thanksgiving in the USA is just around the corner! Food, family, friends, and football. But for some it also means the prelude to the biggest shopping day of the year. So, tell me…are you one of those die-hards, up early, caffeinated, and on the go kind of shoppers? Online or in a line at the store? Have you scored a great bargain? Or, have you sworn never-ever will I EVER shop on Black Friday? Let’s talk!

"I'm Canadian and here to report that Black Friday has infiltrated Canada's retail industry. I don't rush out to the mall, though...I'm way past wanting to fight crowds of people for a bargain. As for offering discounted prices on books, I like Cyber Monday for that. Everyone's online looking for #Sale." ~ Bonnie Edwards

"I confess I have participated in the madness when there was something I wanted on sale. In those instances, either my husband or my youngest daughter and I worked as a team to get the selection we needed and survive. Shopping then is crazy, but it can be rewarding to get something a loved one wants for a price you can afford. I don’t camp out but I have shown up at four on Black Friday morning." ~ Carolyn Clemmons
“Black Friday. I confess (or brag?) I've never participated... and never will. I have no desire to see grown men and women fighting over a toy or game that their children will play with for five minutes. This year, like past ones, I plan on buying local, small, and meaningful. For those of you who love it, have fun, save big, enjoy! I'll be in my jammies & hopefully still asleep!” ~ Elsa Kurt

“I don’t do Black Friday. I find that Amazon’s Buy now with 1-Click is too darn convenient during the year. With 10 grandchildren, all growing up, they want gift cards these days, not toys. It’s not very personal, but easier when you don’t know what they want. I do like to buy them books and that’s easy to do on Amazon.” ~ Jan Scarbrough

“When I was a young mother with a larger Christmas list and smaller pocketbook, Black Friday shopping was a ritual. I had a route mapped out that I used every year to avoid the traffic snarls at the malls and to include some favorite off-price stores. That Friday always included poinsettias from Home Depot at greatly reduced prices and Christmas tins from Big Lots to hold my home-baked goods that went to the kids’ teachers. Now that the kids are grown and we’ve lost all the grandmothers, I’ve also lost that ritual. But I do miss it.” ~ Cheryl Bolen

“I'm not a fan of fighting crowds for Black Friday. I'd rather spend the day snuggling, watching movies, and eating Thanksgiving leftovers!” ~ Satin Russell

“When I was younger and funds depleted (read, POOR!) I woke at 4 am the day after thanksgiving and got to the mall before it opened so I could take advantage of the holiday sales. Now that I am waaaaay older, wiser (and richer!) I don't. The crowds, the crazy commercialism, the horrible behavior of people grabbing, shoving, and sleep-deprived, is something I avoid like toenail fungus and bad breath. My older, wiser brain remembers Jesus is the reason for the season, not getting a bargain price on a sweater, tie, or candle no one really wants. I'm much happier remembering that.”
~ Peggy Jaeger

“l love Black Friday but most of my family shopping is complete long before that - so why do I love that Friday in November? It's the day Hubby and I leave our home around 10-ish to brave the malls for fabulous deals for children who might not have one. Armed wish lists we shop for the little ones. On the list - clothes, toys and every child gets a book. We've been doing this together for the last 10 years and it is a wonderful holiday tradition I cherish.” ~ Lucinda Race

“Black Friday ... I remember it well. It used to be my go-to time to people watch. I never really wanted to shop but it was always fun to go to the mall, grab a Starbucks, and watch all the crazy people running around scouring for bargains. Many a story idea was created on Black Friday! Now that I no longer live in a Canada/U.S. border town, I don't get to enjoy the excitement and downright craziness of the chase.” ~ Nancy Fraser

“I’m not a member of the Black Friday fan club. In fact, about ten years ago, when my husband’s job was downsized, we decided as a family to stop doing Christmas presents all around, extended family included. Our youngest was only fourteen at the time, so we worried how it would affect the kids. All three of them loved it. They loved the fact they could concentrate on spending time with family and the real reason for the holiday. We’ve never gone back, and it makes Christmas so much more pleasant without the hassle of shopping.” ~ Kari Lemor

Liz Flaherty's Black Friday family fun team!
“I love Black Friday simply because of the company I keep on that day. Since we live in four different states, my daughter, daughters-in-law, granddaughters, and I don't get much of that specific each other time. So, even though we're not always all there and often we don't buy much, we spend hours shopping, eating, and laughing really hard!” ~ Liz Flaherty

"Black Friday was never something I experienced until my daughter was grown and we could shop together for holiday finds. We don't rush out at dawn. Instead, we take our time, listen to Christmas music in the car, grab lunch and hot cocoa, enjoy the decorations and crazy-good deals. It's an easy, happy day for us, kicking off the Christmas season together. Then it's home with our treasures in time to decorate the tree and watch holiday shows."
~ Kathryn Hills

Okay, it's your turn to join the conversation! Add your comments below or send via email through the "contact us” link on the bottom of the left sidebar. You can also make suggestions on what you'd like to discuss here in the future.

Thanks for joining us!

~ The Romance Gems ~

November is the month for Gratitude, Appreciation, and counting your Blessings. 
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

Monday, November 25, 2019

Teaching an Old Author New Tricks by Cheryl Bolen

Last weekend I joined with over 300 authors at an intensive conference billed as the Romance Authors Mastermind, the brainchild of  New York Times bestselling author Skye Warren. Though I’ve been attending conventions of romance authors for more than three decades and have been a published author for more than two decades, in many ways I felt like a novice.
Nine member of my Jewels of Historical Romance group went to dinner with BookBub reps Carlyn Robinson and Audrey at the Romance Authors Mastermind. From left, Claire Delacroix, Lauren Royal, Glynnis Campbell, Darcy Burke, Erica Ridley,, Tanya Anne Crosby, Audrey, Carlyn,, Cynthia Wright, Brenda Hiatt, and Cheryl Bolen. The Jewels have been together for seven years.

Each speaker at this high-powered event has come on the publishing scene wa-a-a-y after me, and I’m pretty sure each speaker has had years in which they’ve pulled down seven-figure incomes. (Several of them admitted they had.) I have never had a year in which I made a seven-figure income, and no matter how many Masterminds I attend, I know I never will!

I did learn a lot of things about how the publishing industry has changed not just in these 30 years I’ve been close to it but particularly in the last half a dozen years. I’d estimate well over 90 percent of these Mastermind attendees were not traditionally published but self published. Also, the length of their books is considerably shorter than what was standard when I started publishing. There were several authors there who claimed to put out a book a month. I have to believe what they were calling a book is what I would refer to as a novella.

These gals work hard. On Mastermind’s Facebook group, several owned up to the fact they were writing page quotas in their hotel rooms. No time off for them.

Almost every single author I met there was experienced at placing ads at Amazon and Facebook to promote their books. I have never learned how to do ads. There were workshops at the conference addressing this. Now if I could just find someone to take me through the process step by step.

Sure, I can write a book. I have published 41 of them. But ads? Marketing? Promotion? These young chicks have left me in the dust of their stilettos.

And don’t for a moment think because their books were self published they looked cheesy. These gals know how to put out a sophisticated looking project.

 Along with some great speakers and workshops, there were 75 roundtable discussions, and some extremely savvy authors conducting these on topics ranging from foreign translations to metrics of tracking promotions and book sales to promotion of audio books.

You see, today’s indie author is more than a writer. She’s a business woman, and Romance Authors Mastermind filled a special niche for today’s indie author. Skye Warren got a standing ovation from the attendees at the luxurious Four Seasons Hotel in Houston, where the pricey event took place.—Cheryl Bolen confesses she went to the Mastermind to meet up with her fellow Jewels of Historical Romance. Check out her new Christmas novella, His Lady Deceived.

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