Saturday, February 29, 2020

The Little Things by Nora LeDuc

“Enjoy the little things in life because one day you`ll look back and realize they were the big things.” -Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Ah, Valentine's Day. We celebrate love with cards, candy, and flowers. I'll take any of those. One celebration in particular stands out in my memory. It was February 13. My nine-year-old daughter wanted me to drive her to the local discount store.  She'd been saving up her small allowance for weeks to buy her teacher a special card. I knew this was important to her and agreed to squeeze the trip in.

We jumped in our ancient blue Chevy and headed out. Once we arrived in the parking lot, she volunteered to run inside and grab her purchase. I waited in the car but kept an eye on the glass entrance. In about five minutes, she came out with her white plastic bag and climbed into the passenger seat.

"Did you find what you wanted?" I asked. She smiled and nodded. I was anxious to get home and start supper, so we took off.  After we ate, she addressed her cards and crammed them in her backpack where she seemed to keep every book from school. I made sure she also put in the candy to pass out to her classmates for their party.

The next morning I walked into the kitchen and sitting on the table was a small stuffed bear with a heart that read I Love You. Beside it was a note saying, For Mom, Love J. It wasn't until then, I realized she'd been holding on to all her money to get me this gift. Wow! Of course, she strolled in immediately to see how I liked her surprise. I kissed and hugged her, and she set off to school laughing that she had fooled me.

Many years have passed since that day. I've kept that little teddy on the night stand by my bed where I look at it each day. And I remember my daughter's smile that lit her face when I thanked her.

So my friends, I wish you a stress-free February 29 and leap year. I hope you discover something that makes you happy today no matter how small the gesture.
~Nora LeDuc


Don't forget it's our Romance Gems Anniversary. We are one year old this month. Enter our Rafflecopter with Amazon Gift Card prizes. You still have time today.

And don't miss our Valentine's Day Book Fair filled with the kind of books you love best. Open in February. Hurry! You can also watch the February video in our Movie Theater or on Youtube.

Thanks to all of you for joining us. Here's to another super year together!!

Friday, February 28, 2020

More Than Romance by @KaraONealAuthor #RomanceGems

Valentine's Day has come and gone, but that doesn't mean romance has. And for those of us who write romance, well, we're in the thick of it daily.

But one thing I've noticed about romance novels is that, very rarely, does every scene contain "romance".

What these books have more of is heart. And love. And struggle. And pain. And courage.

Most of the books I read are about real people facing problems and overcoming them. Our heroes and heroines aren't having meals by candlelight every night, and rose petals aren't raining down from the sky or covering their beds.

Does that happen sometimes? Yes. Because we're reading about people who are falling in love, and so, yes, there will be violins and flowers when appropriate.

But more often than not, you'll find a heroine who is working hard to be the best version of herself, who falls in love and changes for the better. Even if the book has fantasy in it, like dragons or fairies, you'll still be reading about a man or woman going on a journey to what matters most.....

Love. In all its forms.

And this makes me sigh with happiness. It makes me giddy. I love romance novels; with guaranteed happy endings, and people finding their soul mates, I can't help but swoon.

Probably my most "romantic" novel is The Cowboy's Charms. J.T. Davis and Angelique Morgan fall for each other pretty quickly and get married early on in this story. As a reader, you'll watch them struggle through some tough odds.

Angelique's father is J.T.'s rival for an extensive inheritance, and her father sets out to sabotage J.T., his daughter's husband. J.T. has inherited a large amount of cattle and starts his own ranch. Only if he drives 1500 head to Wichita will he get the rest of the cattle. If he doesn't succeed, his winnings go to Angelique's father.

After a series of problems, like sick livestock and cattle rustlers, J.T. insists that Angelique go on the drive with him. Well, that's no place for a woman, especially not one who was raised as an heiress. Still, Angelique is determined to do her best and help her husband get the steers to market.

This sets the stage for all kinds of romance, and here is one scene I like very much:

Angelique found she wasn’t as embarrassed to be in town as she’d thought she would be. Being on J.T.’s arm obliterated all worries and bolstered her confidence. He hadn’t said anything about the food poisoning incident, but his actions told her he didn’t blame her. Her love for him strengthened every day. She would make him proud in some way, even if she had to crawl across a field of cactus to do it.

They stepped onto the boardwalk, strolling slowly with the moon as their guide. “I think most of the stores are closed,” she observed. She felt him look at her. 

“I didn’t expect they’d be open,” he told her. “We’re lookin’ for fun, not shoppin’.”

Angelique smiled as they passed a tailoring business. “You don’t like shopping? Even if it’s for me?”

His breath strangled on a cough.

“Hmmm… Did I get your tongue?”

He laughed outright and pulled her closer to his side. Hearing him laugh warmed her heart. If she could keep him happy always, she’d be content.

“I can’t wait for you to meet Jane. She’ll like it that you can stump me.”

“Your cousin sounds like an amazing woman. Going to college, living on her own.” Angelique sighed. “I’m not sure I could do that.”

J.T. stopped and tipped her chin up to look at him directly. “You have more strength than you realize. And I’m gonna prove that to you.”

His words sent a sweet ache rushing through her. Pasting on a smile, she declared, “Well, who decided to let talk turn to troubles? I thought we were looking for fun.”

He took her cue and led her toward the only lights in town. Angelique saw a line of saloons ahead of them. “I can’t go inside one of those,” she gasped.

“Who said anything about going inside?” he countered.

Confused, she made no response. Once they reached the first saloon, J.T. pulled her into the alley then around to the back. He stopped there and turned to face her.

“What are we doing?” she asked him as cries of revelry filtered through the walls of the night-time establishment.

He took her hands in his. “We’re gonna dance.”

She cocked her head.

“Do you hear the music?”

Her pulse raced with excitement and romance. “Oh, J.T.,” she breathed.

Pulling her into his embrace, he held her much closer than would have been allowed at a sociable. “This settin’ has its advantages.”

Angelique moved her body against his as longing for him grew swiftly. The night they’d planned had been stopped by the sickness of Trap and Booker. Her upset and weariness had kept her from thinking of the time they’d missed.

“I see you agree with me,” he whispered near her ear.

There was no more talking as he led her in a slower dance than the music asked for. The piano player banged out a reel, rarely missing notes, but J.T. ignored the rhythm. Instead they circled a small area, holding each other close.

Angelique could feel his heart beat and drew security from the slow and strong pulse. With him by her side, she could get through whatever life threw at her.

Confidence and courage grew, and she realized all she’d needed was time with him. Real time. She could make it to the end of the drive. She would be careful. All decisions would be double checked, and any worry or exhaustion would not show on her face.

Sliding her hands up his arms, she linked her fingers behind his neck. He pulled her flush against him as she lifted her mouth to his. Their kiss consumed her immediately, burning her with need and desire.

He didn’t take her back to camp for a while. They danced in the moonlight until she was almost mad from waiting. “Can we go?” she finally asked, hearing the urgent, husky timbre in her tone. “Do you have to watch the cattle right away?”

He stopped their swaying. “You’re ready to leave?”

She nodded. “I feel properly and thoroughly romanced.”

“Then let’s hurry before something else happens.”

She laughed in delight as they ran to their horses, glad for missing petticoats as keeping up with him would have been much harder. They galloped to camp, handed their horses over to Slim and went straight to their tent. They saw no one else as people were either watching cattle or in town.

J.T. propped himself up on an elbow as he lay next to her. “I love you,” he whispered.

Tears clogged the back of her throat. “How did I get so lucky?” she rasped.

In answer, he kissed her.

There is nothing else like romance novels, and I read all kinds of books. I've read books by Lou Holtz, Stephen King, and Anne Rice. I read classics and Shel Silverstein. And I love all of those, as well, but nothing sparks my joy like a romance.

I hope you had a wonderful Valentine's Day! Don't forget to participate in our giveaway and visit our Book Fair! We love bringing books to y'all and we have so many that you're sure to stay in a constant state of giddiness!

Click the link to learn more about the Pike's Run Series.

To spend more time with me, click any of the links below!

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Thursday, February 27, 2020

Every day should be Valentine's Day if you write and read Romance! by Peggy Jaeger

February 14th 2020  has come and gone but, at least for me, the spirit of Valentine's Day is still going strong!

Hey: I write romance - every day is love day for me! Hee hee

Now, if you're like my dear hubby, you might believe Valentine's day and a whole passel of other days during the year, were invented as celebratory days by Hallmark in order to sell greeting cards. He truly believes this, which is why the man has never bought a greeting card in his life and will probably go through the Pearly Gates someday without ever having done so.


Maybe he's on to something. I mean, why just celebrate love on one day of the year? I don't know the origin of Valentine's day and didn't want to take a deep dive into the annals of history to find out why we as a society celebrate the day, but I do know it's a day devoted to love. And for me, love is everything.

As a romance writer - and avid romance book reader - EVERY DAY is devoted to love in my house. I don't need a card from my husband to tell me he loves me. He shows me he does every single day of our marriage.

I certainly don't need candy to remind me of how sweet I am ( heehee). Those extra calories when I'm trying to get into a Mother of the Bride dress for May are not necessary nor wanted. Well...maybe wanted just a little, but I need to exercise some control here.

While I love flowers, the exorbitant costs of roses is ridiculous - and especially on 2.14. since the price is jacked up by most retailers and florists. Instead of flowers that will wither and die within a week, I would much prefer a plant that lasts longer and which I can look at every day as a reminder of love.

And while going out to a fancy restaurant is nice, I'm the type of girl who much prefers to cook for the man I love, then snuggle down and watch a movie on the couch with him afterward, in our comfy clothes and maybe with the fireplace roaring in the background. That is my definition of a romantic evening, peeps!

As writers, we live by the adage of show don't tell. I don't need one day of the year in which to have my husband show me he loves me by bringing me a present, or taking me out to dinner. He shows me every single day why he is my hero, why I was so thrilled he asked me to marry him 175 years ago, and why every day is a day devoted to love in my house.

Does that sound a little sappy? Okay, if it does. I can live with that. But I truly think the world would be a much lighter, brighter place if people showed one another love every day, in every way they could.

Every day should be Valentines's Day.

My very first Valentine's themed book 3 WISHES, is featured in our February book fair.

 Valentine’s Day is chocolatier Chloe San Valentino’s favorite day of the year. Not only is it the busiest day in her candy shop, Caramelle de Chloe, but it’s also her birthday. Chloe’s got a birthday wish list for the perfect man she pulls out every year: he’d fall in love with her in a heartbeat, he’d be someone who cares about people, and he’d have one blue eye and one green eye, just like her. So far, Chloe’s fantasy man hasn’t materialized, despite the matchmaking efforts of her big, close-knit Italian family. But this year for her big 3-0 birthday, she just might get her three wishes.

3 WISHES is available in ebook and in audiobook.

Since February is the Romance Gems 1st anniversary ( YAY!) and to celebrate our One Year Anniversary, we have a big Valentine Book Fair with sigh-worthy romance novels at great prices. We also have a Rafflecopter with some great Amazon Gift Cards up for grabs.

Watch the February video in the Movie Theater or drop by YouTube to view it.

Then visit our Valentine Book Fair and grab some captivating romance novels, sweet treats without calories!

Remember peeps: love is love is love is love....every day of the year!
Until next time ~ Peg

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

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: First Love

February is often considered the month of amore—a celebration of love and affection—with Valentine’s Day falling right in the middle. So, tell me… Who, or perhaps what, was your first love?

“One look and I knew I was going to marry Karl. A year later, we did marry. The thing that has kept our marriage strong for over 50 years is that we’ve always treated each other like best friends. He’s definitely the love of my life and the first boy I dated, fell in love with, the first boy who bought me Valentine candy, took me to my first prom, encouraged me to reach for the stars. He’s my always and forever.” ~ Karen Kelley

“My first love in junior high school was a boy named David. Then, of course, it was the Beatles. I’m telling my age, for sure. I loved Paul Revere and the Raiders and Herman from Herman’s Hermits. I saw all three groups back in the day. It was easier to love a singing group from afar than it was to be ignored by boys because your father was the vice-principal. LOL!”
~ Jan Scarbrough

“The first time I thought, “I am in love” I was 12. I thought about this boy named Rudy Schneider all the time. When my Girl Scout Troop had a party where we were to ask a boy, I got up the nerve to call him as I trembled all over and asked him to be my “date.” He said, “I think I can manage that.” My parents picked him up. At the party, boys on one side, girls on the other. And I heard him telling the guys about “my girlfriend.” It was clearly not me. I was mortified.” ~ Cheryl Bolen

“My first love was reading. I would spend hours in the library in my hometown and check out as many books as possible. Reading under the covers with a flashlight was a nightly event. I would read everything I could get my hands on. Old magazines, my brothers Hardy Boys books and the entire collection of Nancy Drew were just some of what I read. I'm still in love with books. But I guess that goes without saying being a romance author. Today I write books about love and it makes my heart soar.” ~ Lucinda Race

“I was an early romantic. My first love was Lance and I was five. He was going to grow up to be Roy Rogers and I was going to grow up to be Dale Evans. Together, we would save the West from rustlers and bank robbers. We spent hours each day playing, plotting, and reading comic books. Our dreams were curtailed when my parents moved from Bakersfield, California back to Texas and I never saw Lance again. This romance did not have a happy ending then, but better things were coming my way.”
~ Caroline Clemmons

“My first love’s name was Michael. I had a crush on him from the fourth to seventh grade. He was blond, blue-eyed, and not only did he let me play games with the boys, he didn’t get upset if I won. (Sometimes I think he let me win.) He moved when we were in seventh grade and it about broke my heart. He was a sweetie!”
~ Kara O'Neal
Peggy Jaeger & Husband

“It took me a long time to fall in love for the very first time, but when I did, it knew it was a lifetime thing. My hubby is my hero, my first love, and my last. He’s the Nick to my Nora, the ying to my yang, the sun to my moon. He covers my 6 and always makes me feel secure, protected, and cared for. After 37 years together it just keeps getting better every day.” ~ Peggy Jaeger

“First love… sigh. My first love was a boy named Joey Frascarelli. I was eleven, he was twelve. I’d loved him from the moment I saw him play the drums in the talent show. He had shaggy hair, big brown eyes, and was just the coolest thing ever. It took about four months to finally catch Joey’s eye, and for one summer, we were “official.” Meaning, we rode our bikes around the neighborhood and talked on the phone for hours at night. By talk, I mean I mostly listened to him play Van Halen songs on his drums. It ended with the season, but my crush lived on for years after!” ~ Elsa Kurt

“I don't remember the first boy I had a crush on. My first kiss was done on a dare. I was proposed to three times by three different men before I found “The One.” None of these compare to my first true love — books. Growing up, I was bullied, and books were my escape. I was smart like Meg in a Wrinkle in Time, tenacious like Francis in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, imaginative like Anne of Green Gables, resourceful like Karana in Island of the Blue Dolphins, plucky like Nancy Drew. I fit in with the girls I found on the pages in ways I didn’t in the hallways of middle school. They gave me hope that life got better and for that I loved them.” ~ Satin Russell

Kari Lemor & Husband
“I was a little slow in the romance department. I never even dated in high school and didn't go out with anyone until after that. I did manage a few very short term boyfriends in college, but never actually fell in love until I met my husband my junior year. He was my first, my current, and my only love.” ~ Kari Lemor

Liz Flaherty's first reader

“I will admit right here in the first line that I don’t remember my first love, although there are a few crushes who can still make me smile. But I’m old. My last love, the one I’ve had for 50 years—he’s the one that matters. But I remember the first day of first grade—no kindergarten then—opening the Dick-and-Jane reader and seeing that first word. “Look.” With that, reading became my first true love, to be followed soon by writing. They and I have lived happily ever after together.” ~ Liz Flaherty

Kathleen Lawless loves the beach
“I’m going to deviate from the obvious and state that my first love was the beach. We lived a few steps away and even before I could walk, that shoreline magic was deeply ingrained into my psyche. The beach has always been my happy place. Most of my vacation plans include a beach and the few times they haven’t I get a physical yearning to hear the waves, to smell the brine and feel the sand. As a west coast girl, there is nothing about a lake beach that soothes my soul the way the ocean does. It’s the place where I can laugh, cry, read, write, meditate or simply be and, fair weather or foul, it’s never let me down.”
~ Kathleen Lawless

“Is it any surprise my first love was a puppy? (We won’t talk about that blond boy in sixth grade, the bookish brainiac with round glasses…Ahem) I was five when my parents took me to a place with a pen, filled with Dachshund puppies. I was tasked with picking ‘our family dog’, and I did. The runt of the litter. (I thought he would live longest because he was SO tiny) Turns out he was sickly, but my parents nursed him to a full recovery. He was my very best friend! That’s why I’ve had Dachshunds for decades. Puppy love!” 
~ 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 ~

We're having a party—a ginormous party—to celebrate the one-year anniversary of Romance Gems! We're also celebrating Valentine's Day all month long. After all, we are romance authors.

filled with the kinds of books you love best. 
Open every day in February!

Don’t forget our Rafflecopter with Amazon Gift Cards!