Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Long days and luck by Liz Flaherty #RomanceGems

If March comes in like a lion, it will go out like a lamb. 

Yep. But the lamb hasn't been around at all this year, has she? It's all been the lion. Curmudgeonly and quarrelsome and wanting things all his own way. (You notice what I did with gender there. I'm sorry, but only sort of.)

Sometimes, these days, I don't feel so lucky.

I hope you are all doing well through this crisis in our times, this March in history that may go on for a long time yet. I also hope you're finding productive things to do, finding happy in unexpected places, and practicing kindness even if you have to do it through gritted teeth sometimes. 

If you're a writer, I hope your voice is intact and speaking prolifically on your computer screen. Mine--huge sigh that just made the curtains move--is not. Although I'm still blogging and writing my weekly newspaper column, I'm discovering my creativity is only working in fits and starts--and stops. With the latter coming a lot easier than the former. 

What to do?

Well, as most of us have learned over our often long and sometimes illustrious careers, the thing to do is run with it. Although this is a different crisis, it's certainly not our first one. Most of us have known several long Marches in our lives. So, here's my list.  And, while you're at it, stay home (if you can) and stay safe. 

  • Write in spurts. My friend Jana Richards wrote about the 100-word challenge on the Word Wranglers blog. Much of the time, you keep on going, but even if you can't, there's that 100 words that weren't there yesterday. 
  • Give your best voice to blog posts and other short works. My columns lately have been some of my best. Not only have they felt the best to me, but have been well received by the people who read them--for which I am most intensely grateful.
  • Be productive in other ways. Like many other sewists, I'm making surgical masks. It helps to fulfill a need for others and it answers my own wish to do something. I have friends who are baking their own bread, others who are making desserts that make my mouth water just thinking of them, and still others who are reviving an old (and for me, best forgotten) habit of spring cleaning. 
  • Read. I know "soul food" is a cultural term, but it can also apply to things beyond actual food. As in anything that lends succor to the soul. I'm reading old stuff, because I don't want surprises or deep thought or worry. I want laughter and relief and familiarity. 
  • Speaking of laughter, I'm taking any road to it I can find, including things that are pretty tasteless. 
  • I miss the fellowship of church, but I can sing along with anyone I like on YouTube. I can even shut the pastor down if s/he goes on too long!

Please let us all know how you're "running with it," how you're making this long March into spring something that will have as many good memories in it as bad ones. How you're finding your own luck when it seems to be elusive. 
If I sound like I'm preaching, I apologize--I don't mean to. I wish you all happy days ahead. Once again, stay home and stay safe. 

Come back to check out April's Rafflecopter!


Friendship has been so much a part of my life, one of the many areas I have indeed been very lucky. In the course of that luck, I've read and loved a ton of books with strong friendships as part of their theme, beginning, I think with  Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm and Emma, Anne of Green Gables and Diana, and Trixie Belden and Honey Wheeler. 

What this means, of course, is that I had to write a girlfriends book. It's been a few years, but The Girls of Tonsil Lake is still one of my favorites. Vin, Andie, Jean, and Suzanne are some of my most beloved heroines. I hope you'll check them out. 

They were four little girls living in ramshackle trailers beside a lake in rural Indiana. They shared everything from dreams to measles to boyfriends to more dreams. As they grew up, everything in their lives changed--except their friendship. Through weddings and divorces, births and deaths, one terrible secret has kept them close despite all the anger, betrayal, and pain.

Now, forty years later, facing illness, divorce, career challenges, and even addiction, the women come together once again for a bittersweet month on an island in Maine. Staring down their fifties, they must consider the choices life is offering them now and face the pain of what happened long ago.

Secrets are revealed and truths uncovered, but will their time together cement their lifelong friendship--or drive them apart forever?

Sunday, March 29, 2020

A Little Bit of Bloomin' Luck by Nora LeDuc #RomanceGems

I'm a fortunate person. No doubt about it. After graduating from college, I rethought my career choice. While pondering, I decided to take a teacher's aide position in Brattleboro, Vermont. I had one acquaintance in the town. She gave me the number of a local dentist who had a great apartment for rent. So sight unseen, I took it, thinking I'd be like Mary Tyler Moore (MTM). I'd make it on my own.

I quickly found out that I'd rented a third floor, two-room attic space and wasn't a clone of MTM but of her unlucky in-love sidekick, Rhoda Morganstern. I earned $200 a month. My rent was $100. I stretched my check to pay my electric bill, my groceries, and a little entertainment. I had no car, cable, or phone since they would be too expensive. Internet was in the future. But I enjoyed working with the kids and had landed in a hip town. If you're familiar with Bratt, you know this is true. Main Street is composed of unique stores. An artsy vibe permeates the atmosphere. I was there for the opening of one of the first vegetarian restaurants. When people visited, this is where we ate. They loved it. We sat at community tables. Large potted plants decorated the corners. Waiters with long hair (the style then) waited on us with a smile. Throw in the night life of bands and dancing, the downtown movie theater, with cheap rates, a beautiful library, and all was good.

My downstairs neighbors were a couple from New York. They often invited me to watch TV with them. They also introduced me to a handsome, six-foot young man. He'd recently moved to Brattleboro and was waiting for his rental to open up. Our first official date was at the Winter Carnival. We cheered for the ski racers and jumpers on Harris Hill. We've been together ever since. 

Often I wonder what if I hadn't taken that job, or if I hadn't moved out of state, or if I hadn't rented the attic nook? Sometimes, My Friends, you take the path with the curve in the road, and you are blessed with luck.

Please stay safe. If you're feeling lonely, I'm on Facebook. I would love to hear from you! And keep reading.
Love, Nora


I'm giving away two free e-copies of Trail of Secrets. The heroine Mia McGuire is down on her luck, but that changes when she meets the hero Lucas Davis. Simply email me noraleduc at yahoo dot com with Free in the subject.

Also enter our Rafflecopter on our Monthly Giveaway page. This might be your lucky month. Here's our Quicklink if you're in a hurry. Take care and see you next month!

Saturday, March 28, 2020

A New Path by @KaraONealAuthor #RomanceGems

On February 29th, my publisher announced it would be closing its doors. The following day all my books -- 13 in all -- would be taken down from all sellers' sites.


I did a lot of tossing and turning that night. There were tears. Thoughts of quitting.

But then I reached out to my family, friends and fellow authors and found that my writing doesn't have to stop. I am now navigating the scary path of self-publishing. Double yikes!

But I am excited. It's something to look forward to. I'm learning new things and enjoying that I have ALL the control. That's pretty heady. And nice.

After a few days of uncertainty, I'm grateful I have a plan and that I'm anticipating the opportunity. I hope to have my books back up soon, and my new release, The Inventor's Heart, is ready to go!

Wish me luck!

We still have our  "Lucky In Love" giveaway going on!

At Romance Gems we love our romance and celebrate "happily ever after" everyday! Enter our Rafflecopter to win great prizes!

Find me on social media. (Pinterest is my favorite!)  



Friday, March 27, 2020

What's luck got to do with it? by PeggyJaeger

I'm a child of the 80's Me Generation and a song from that era asked, WHAT'S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT? See, now - you're gonna hear Tina Turner in your head for the rest of the day ( hee hee) 

You're welcome.

But seriously.  The theme for this month is LUCKY IN LOVE, so my question, what's luck got to do with it, seems apropos.

I once heard that the true definition of luck is when preparation meets opportunity.

Looking at love from a luck perspective though, can you ever really be prepared to fall in love? And if you were, what would that look like?
Are you sitting at home, all dressed and made up just in case Mr. Wonderful knocks on your door, like some grown up version of Mystery Date?

Are you actively trolling dating sites like Match.com and eHarmony, looking for the perfect match, hoping with all your heart you'll be lucky enough to find the one?

Have you got dozens of Pinterest boards set up for your eventual nuptials like a general planning an attack - everything down to the smallest, tiniest component - so when you finally find someone to pledge yourself to for eternity, the wedding is already mapped out?

And what would the opportunity portion of that preparedness be like? In all honesty, I can't figure out what would, unless you were attending a speed dating or matchmaking event  or even  a blind date, with the intent purpose of finding a love match as the goal ( opportunity).

So, are you doing any of those things in preparation - just in case - for cupid to turn up and hit you between the eyes ( or in the heart) with his arrow?

Or are you like I was before I got married and doing nothing to draw attention to yourself, just going about your daily life, not really prepared for anything other than your next day of work,  when out of the sky a lightning bolt hits you straight in the heart and wham - you found the love of your life; your soulmate; your reason to live?

No preparation, no opportunity, no reason to think luck had anything to do with it.

Yeah, I tend to think more times than not, that's the case with love finding us.

So, to answer the question, What's luck got to do with it, especially when it comes to love? In my opinion, absolutely nothing!

And speaking of luck and love....heehee, you knew that was coming! 
My couple in A PRIDE OF BROTHERS: RICK, Abby Laine and Rick Bannerman, combine both.
It's lucky bodyguard Rick is available to help protect Abby when she is threatened by the husband of a client. The love that develops between the two when they are forced to be together non-stop and finally learn what makes the other tick,  is unexpected and blindsides them both. 

Isn't that the best kind??

Elite bodyguard and P.I. Rick Bannerman's job is to protect. He doesn't get emotional with his clients, but when a woman from his past is threatened, his next job becomes personal.
Family lawyer Abigail Laine is the target of a client's vengeful husband, but refuses Rick's offer of protection. He walked away from her four years ago, and she swore to forget him.
Now her reluctance to accept his help could cost Abby her life.

 Get your copy here: 

Barnes and Noble:  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-pride-of-brothers-peggy-jaeger/1135068636

apple books (i-books) https://books.apple.com/us/book/a-pride-of-brothers-rick/id1488238197

books-a-million: https://www.booksamillion.com/p/Pride-Brothers/Peggy-Jaeger/9781509229369?id=7423724839353

And one last thing: Do YOU feel lucky?? 

I'm giving away 2 free e-copies ( Kindle only) to two random readers who comment below. Just give me your name, and your favorite romance author ( it doesn't have to be me, but....heehee)! On April 1 I will pick 2 commenters for a free kindle book of  A PRIDE OF BROTHERS: RICK.

Good luck and happy reading, peeps. Until next time ~  Peg

Thursday, March 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.

This month's topic: Social Distancing - Gem's Style

These are very dark days as the world is told to "STAY HOME!" and excel at social distancing to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Fear and uncertainty are everywhere. But so are kindness and caring. We decided to check in with everyone and talk about what we are doing and experiencing. Join us!

“The coronapolcalypse has had a global impact on the economy, mental and physical health, and on everyday lives. I could stress and bite my nails to the quick. I could panic-buy toilet paper like some other idiots I know. I could burn my skin raw with disinfectant rub-downs. I won’t. I will, though, continue doing the things that bring me joy, bliss, and calm my soul: write, bake for the man I love, and cook healthy meals every night so we can both keep well. This will end and when it does, we will still be standing.” ~ Peggy Jaeger

“Well, with Las Vegas being locked down, my book signing was canceled, I'm not working (I teach kindergarten), and I'm home with all 3 children. I'm not home-schooling them by any means, but I am making them work a bit:

Laura Hunsaker's Book Character Day
Day 1: Social Distancing-Everyone got up at normal times and did whatever online or paper homework they had from last week.
Day 2: More Social Distancing with bike rides, hikes with the dogs, and the school district has some on-line work they can do.
Day 3: Actual lock-down of the city. More on-line work. Kids are staying up later and sleeping in later. I gave one kid a tardy.
Day 4: One kid got dress coded since she didn't have pants on when she came downstairs
Day 5: It's pajama day! All kids can stay in their pjs! Even the teacher can! ;)
Day 6: Umm...we have Honors Chores, Yard Work 101, and AP Laundry, and I think the kids are over it.
Day 7: It's another Pajama Day!
Day 8: Home Ec today. I taught them how to sew a button on. Now they're playing video games.
Day 9: We had a science experiment because the 12-year-old put dish soap in the dish washer instead of detergent.
Day 10: Dress as your favorite book character day! The teacher is the only one who dressed up.
We have more days to go...tell me what you're doing!” ~ Laura Hunsaker

“The week of March 8 was pretty much normal for me. I went to doctor’s appointments, the grocery, kept grandkids and took my riding lesson. My husband, who’s high risk, stayed home. The week of March 16 everything changed. My doctor advised me not to keep grandkids and told us both to stay home. I cancelled riding lessons, stopped going to the grocery, and we started ordering food online. I don’t mind staying home, but my W.I.P. (work in progress) has taken a hit. I can’t concentrate. Let’s hope my characters and I can pull together to finish the book!” ~ Jan Scarbrough

“I expect to come out of this self-isolation fat and happy. I can’t go to the gym, which is not a hardship since I didn’t inherit the compulsion-to-work-out gene and really never look forward to going. And while I enjoy baking, I normally limit my indulgence because I prefer my backside not mirror the size and shape of my desk chair where it spends most of every day. Since I can’t go out, it seems okay to make special treats like my favorite breakfast of all times, German Pancakes. Recipe below.

"I’m offering a free novella to anyone who signs up for my VIP Readers’ Newsletter."
~ Kathleen Lawless

Kathleen's No-fail German Pancakes

Kathleen's No-fail German Pancakes
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and spray or grease 2 9” round cake pans.
Beat 4 eggs well in the blender.
Add 1 Tbsp sugar and 1 Tbsp butter. Blend some more. You can not overbeat!
Add 2/3 cup of flour and 2/3 cup of milk. (in stages is best. I do flour, milk, flour, milk).
Blend the heck out of it.
Make sure the oven is hot (keep blending if it’s not) before you divide the batter into the 2 pans and slide into the oven.
Bake 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 and bake 10 minutes longer. Top with your favorite butter, fruit, syrup, jam or icing sugar combo.

“The last week or so I've been getting to know my 'co-workers' a bit better. One likes to hog the chair next to me so no one else can sit down. And the other one hangs out by the water cooler all the time. Me, I've been downloading tons of free and 99c books, looking for new-to-me authors. I may have found a few!”
~ Kari Lemor

“Solitude. You’d think a writer would be able to handle being home all the time. By choice, sure. Otherwise, not so much. I’ve been keeping busy with writing, creating book trailers, and my apartment has never been more organized. I actually managed to get rid of a lifetime supply of hotel soaps, shampoos and conditioners by making care packages for my neighbors.

Nancy Fraser's Grandson
"I miss my grandchildren, but they connect with me often through Facebook, talk or text. I hear most often from the youngest. And, like the saying goes ... “out of the mouths of babes”. Who better to put social isolation in perspective than a six year old?

"I asked him what he’d done today to keep busy and he informed me that he’d been allowed to go outside and that he'd shoveled the last of the snow off their backyard patio. I was about to say, “Good job”, when he continued. “Don’t worry, Grandma. I shut the door tight so the virus wouldn’t get inside.”

"Needless to say, I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry. Or, maybe a bit of both. I have faith we will get through this and when the day comes that we can socialize again, I intend to smother each of the five with some quality grandma hugs and kisses!

"Best wishes to everyone. Please stay safe.” ~ Nancy Fraser

“Like many, my thoughts and emotions are riding a roller coaster. Too much to absorb, so much fear, hopes and prayers non-stop. I watch the news and read important information. A glimmer of good news? Nope. Maybe. Nope. Yikes!

“I keep busy as we stay home for the good of all. I finished a great book by one of our Romance Gems – Lucinda Race’s Old and New. Highly recommend it! Mr. H and I prepped gardens and raked, enjoying New England’s early spring weather. Extra care is given to preparing meals, since I find myself with more time than I’ve had in decades. We even dusted off the old bread machine, and now Darling Daughter is a bread master! Our dogs are over-the-moon happy with this slowed-down pace. Family movie nights and togetherness are THE BEST! But then I watch the news again or see a post, and it all comes racing back.

“Saw a neighbor, playing with his young son in their yard. Shrieks of delight as monster-dad gave chase, their old dog in hot pursuit with a Frisbee. The family was rarely home because of work and school. And the knot around my heart loosens a bit. Up the roller coaster climbs…

“We WILL get through this together—it’s the only way—and then I’m taking my family to Disney World for some good rides.” ~ Kathryn Hills

Liz Flaherty - Sewing Masks
“Local healthcare facilities put out a call for surgical masks and those of us who sew are responding. Social distancing has been easy for me, but not feeling useful has not, so I'm grateful to be able to do this.

“My newspaper column was about the virus this week. You can read it here.  ~ Liz Flaherty

"We recently traveled home from Portugal where we spent two glorious months in the sunshine. Now, we're happily home and self-isolating. Life has changed, but all is not lost! Twitter is a kinder place than I remember before we left. Air is cleaner, water is clearer, and people's resilience is showing up in interesting ways. I've learned how to make antiseptic wipes and even a face mask out of paper towels! From live streaming of events from singers' homes, police singing in the street to lonely citizens to celebrating all the people who're doing their jobs in spite of being just as afraid as the rest of us. We're gonna make it, people and we may just have a better appreciation of us."

Here's a little deal to help ease the stress: Whole Lot O' Love (The Brantons Book 3) ~ Bonnie Edwards

“How are you coping with today’s events? I’m an introvert, so being away from my day-job, at home with my poodle, isn’t as difficult as it would be for an extrovert. It is, however, challenging.
I’m cleaning and organizing. Boring? Boring and harmless? Well, under normal circumstances I’m a wee bit obsessive (colored paper clips, clamps, pens, organizers and calendars (yes, plural).

“Now, picture me in my kitchen. I’ve purged all the unused items for donation, cleaned the counters tops and moved on to the fridge. I lined all the fridge shelves, reorganized the cupboards, spice rack, and pantry-where I found my empty bell jars. And my Brother labeler. Which led to cooking soups, chili (bell jars can be frozen, too) pancake batter, quiche...

“…until sitting down to write each evening.

“Please take care of yourself, your loved ones, and neighbors. Make use of food stuff in your cupboards. Dried beans into soup or chili or mix up yeast-free soda bread. Also, enjoy a novel—a mini vacation, an adventure while sipping your coffee and listening to uplifting music.” ~ Connie Vines

Lucinda Race's Office Mates
“During these next few weeks, I’ll be working from home for the day job where I’m a marketing manager. I have two new co-workers who for the most part are quiet. Initially I tried to have them keep their normal routine but that lasted about a half a minute. Jasper the cream mini-doxie sounded like a baby crying in the other room. So, I gathered up the puppy bed from the living room and brought it to the office. He happily pranced, with his baby, into the office and settled in like he had been working with me forever. Even now as I write this he is giving me a grumble and his sweet light brown eyes trying to guilt me into picking him up. Oh, and now he’s started sneezing which means he has moved onto the, I’m desperate for your kisses Mommy.

“So, of course I had to stop pick up the little man and give him snuggles. The other “co-worker” Griffin, just does his own thing. No time for kisses and snuggles. Life is on his terms he’s more like a cat.

“I’m happy to work in the home office with my two sweet office mates even with the occasional bark and grumble at some random sound outside. Now if the weather would cooperate and I could open a window, well that might ensure new barking jags from the pups. Oh well, no complaints here. Life is good.” ~ Lucinda Race


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. Most important... Stay safe and be well!

~ The Romance Gems ~

Please join us in celebrating our March promotion
- Lucky in Love!

March Prizes

1st Prize: $20.00 Amazon Gift Card
2nd Prize: $10.00 Amazon Gift Card

Best of luck to everyone!

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

The Joy of Getting The Call by Cheryl Bolen

The month of March marks a double milestone for me. It was 23 years ago I got The Call from a New York editor offering to buy my first book. That was on March 17, 1997. That book was published on March 1, 1998, as A Duke Deceived by Harlequin Historical. (It was one of the few books I wrote in which the publishers kept my original title.) 
Signing my first book at a Barnes and Noble bookstore.

I’ll never forget the day I got The Call. I was working as a news editor at a community newspaper and had gone home for lunch. A light was blinking on my phone’s answering machine. The message was from Harlequin editor Margaret Marbury, who said to give her a call.

I knew what this meant. The senior editor there had read my first three chapters five months earlier and had asked me to send them the rest of the novel. (This was after she had read another of my books in a contest I’d finaled in, and she’d asked me to submit a historical novel, if I wrote one that took place before 1900.)

One doesn’t get a phone call for a rejection.

By then I was trembling.

I’d waited a long time for this call. Twenty-five years. I’d written my first complete book when I was in my early twenties.

I picked up the phone.

And I called my husband.

“Why are you calling me?” he chided. “Call her right back!”

$5,000 Advance

So I did. She offered to buy the book and asked me if a $5,000 advance was all right. I thought it was just wonderful, but I tried to play it cool. “Fine,” I said. I don’t remember a whole lot more about the call because I was flying really high.

After I hung up I wanted to tell the world. I wanted to celebrate. Of course I called my husband and told him. I called my mother, but she wasn’t home. I left a message on her answering machine. When I got back to the office, I was still shaking all over, and I told our receptionist. 

One of my children had finished law school and fled the nest, the other was still in college and working nights, so celebrating with them that night was not an option.

I’d always dreamed of buying an expensive bottle of Rothschild wine and really celebrating the huge milestone. But even my husband had to work that night. As a college professor, he was required to teach one night class, and this was the night.

This calls for a celebration

As it was, he and I managed to sandwich in a quick dinner at our favorite Mexican dive to mark my Huge Life Event. Not what I’d always envisioned, but at least I didn’t have to cook.

The following day when I went to work, our receptionist and her young daughter had baked me a cake that said "Way to Go, Cheryl," and the whole office enjoyed celebrating my milestone. Our publisher even insisted a story about my accomplishment go into that week's edition. 

A year later the first of my forty-plus books came out. Harlequin billed it as March Madness, when they introduced four new authors. What a wonderful opportunity it was for me.

Holding my book, seeing on the shelves in bookstores, and having it professionally reviewed, all of this was beyond thrilling. It was even better than getting The Call.

How happy I was that my mother lived to see my first published book and attend my first book signing. She died a month later. 

March will always be special to me because it is what launched the career I love. Oh, and there’s a moral to this story. Don’t ever give up.—Cheryl Bolen’s last release was HisLady Deceived.

Enter our March Lucky in Love giveaway here.

Visit Cheryl at these sites
Website             Facebook           Blog      Pinterest

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Make a Family Album by Judith Hudson

Self Isolating? How's it going? Here’s an idea for a project you can do alone or in a family group.

Turn boxes of old photos and slides into a lovely family keepsake.

The first step is to sort. Do this with family members if you can. It is sure to spark discussion of cherished memories. Family is very important to me. Hey, my website tag line is Friendship, Family and Happily-ever-after.

Don’t start with a first project as all-encompassing as organizing all of the family photographs going back to 1900, like I did. Start with something small, like an album of your last trip, family time at the cottage last summer, or baby’s first year. If you have a huge number of photos, (which could happen when the family hears you are doing this and give you all of their family photos) sort them into a number of boxes for books of different sides of the family and different eras.

That’s the job I’m in the middle of now. I’ve done my mother’s childhood and family going back to 1910 in one book, 50 years at the cottage in another. My daughter Rosey did her childhood because she knew I’d never finish the job and now I’m in the middle of doing my father’s family and still have to organize the pics from my own childhood. Whew!

But the finished books are worth it.
I use Shutterfly.com to organize and print the beautiful hardcover books that last a lifetime. Multiple lifetimes.

Future generations could find my mother's or my old photos and not know who or what they depict - and toss them out. But a hardcover book with a family tree in the back - that's a keepsake.

As a bonus, different family members can order their own copies through the website – as mine did with the cottage book – in their choice of sizes and price points. Despite the different formats of the original images - old slides, prints, computer printed pictures from on the fridge, even captures from old videos - the finished product is amazingly homogeneous.
There are other companies who do this – I think even Walmart makes photobooks – but you get what you pay for. I like to use Shutterfly.
Grandma's Lemon Syrup

Step 1: SORT.
Be selective. VERY selective. But also inclusive. Consider, is everyone involved accounted for? Might you want to scan recipe cards of family favorites in Grandma’s handwriting? Or wedding announcements from the paper? It’s really like scrap-booking on a grand scale. If you are into it, Shutterfly offers enhancements, just like scrap-booking. Or add your own captions.

It can be incredibly expensive to have slides scanned commercially, so even though my computer had a scanner, because of the number of slides I wanted to include I bought a dedicated scanner that scanned slides as well as prints. It was really worth it. This was a few years ago, but I bought an Epson Perfection V500 flatbed printer.  It works great. Besides scanning slides, it allows me to scan a bunch of photos of different sizes at once, basically fill up the flatbed, and (this is the important/timesaving part) save them as separate files. It saves so much time, instead of scanning separately or trying to crop them apart later. You might be able to borrow a scanner or get one used. Or get the family to chip in. They aren't that expensive any more.
But before you start, read the post Scanning Photographs and Slides
on my website.

Step #2 – ORGANIZE THE SCANNED PICTURES. Put everything in neat, orderly digital files. (Hear me laughing. I still have way too many pictures!) Copy all the pictures you think you want to use into a separate file, named "shutterfly book".
Then log onto shutterfly and upload your pictures. Now the fun really begins!

For step by step instructions on using Shutterfly, check out my blog post Making a Family Album with Shutterfly .

Your family will thank you.

And don't forget to enter the monthly giveaway:

March Prizes
1st Prize: $20.00 Amazon Gift Card
2nd Prize: $10.00 Amazon Gift Card

Until next month, stay home, be safe, and remember to wash your hands.

 Judith Hudson


PS - If you make a photo book - be sure to share the cover on my facebook group page! Judith Hudson Author - Let's Talk!

Monday, March 23, 2020

Our Leprechaun by Kathryn Hills #RomanceGems

I’m at a loss for words these days. THAT never happens. Staring at a blank screen I wondered… What shall I talk about on my blog day? With St. Patrick’s Day and the first day of spring behind us—unremarkable, and rightly so with this awful virus—and so many people home with kids, I thought… Maybe I could tell you a family story? So, pull up a chair.

We have one child, an incredible daughter, who is now in her mid-twenties. When she was young, she set our home “on its ear”. It all began when she was maybe four, in preschool, and she had a lovely teacher named Mrs. Connelley. As you may surmise, Mrs. Connelley was of Irish descent, and she brought her love of the Emerald Isle to her tiny students. That’s charming, you might say. And it truly was! The children made shamrock crafts, colored rainbows and pots of gold, made Leprechauns hats and shoes, all in anticipation of St. Patrick’s Day. On the actual day, everyone was excited to enter the classrooms and enchanted find green glittery Leprechaun footprints on the floors and up the walls. Even on the ceilings! MAGIC had come to their little corner of the world, and our daughter was overjoyed.

Fast forward to March of first or second grade. (It’s a long time ago, so I’m not exactly certain which) Ever since Mrs. Connelley introduced our daughter to the leprechaun back in preschool, the wee sprite visited our home on St. Patrick’s Day. Poof! Like fairy magic, chocolate coins appeared, mostly around decorations our daughter still crafted with great care. This leprechaun didn’t walk on walls or ceilings. However, he was generous with his chocolate coins. Thoughtful, too, because he hid them in high places since we had dogs. And, it didn’t matter to him our family hailed from countries other than Ireland. Our daughter’s enthusiasm had helped him find us. She was certain.

I was always happily “surprised” by the chocolate treasure our girl hauled in each St. Patrick’s Day morning. Being of Swedish and German ancestry, I’d never experienced the joy of a leprechaun visit. Mr. H’s family is French-Canadian/British and Italian, so no leprechauns there either. Yet Mrs. Connelley’s and our daughter’s hopeful magic was strong stuff, and that made it super-fun for all of us.

The trouble… or rather the setting on the ear part… came when other children questioned, “Why did a leprechaun come to your house and not mine?” Some found chocolate coins or little treasures, but most didn’t. It appeared the leprechaun magic only worked for a select few. “That’s not fair,” our daughter decreed, adding, “Why would he leave someone out and make them sad?”

I’ve drawn a blank as to what my answer was. I think I blacked out. Parental fear is a real thing, people! I DO remember the angry mother who stopped me at the entrance to school the next day. “Why the HELL did you do the leprechaun? We’re Irish, and we don’t even do the leprechaun! Now I have to…*grumble*grumble*grumble grumble*…As if the damn bunny isn’t enough…*grumble*grumble*grumble*grumble*…” Thankfully, the woman huffed and stomped away without further incident.

You see, the Hills women have been stirring up mischief for a very long time. Innocently, but still…*wink* For the record, my daughter’s leprechaun is ALWAYS welcome in our home! Any reason to find joy and celebrate childhood, springtime, and fairy magic.

Thanks for reading. Perhaps someday I’ll tell you the story of “the citizens.” Another day. Until next time… I wish you, and all those you love, good health, lasting peace, and real hope during these trying times.

~ Kathryn

BIG NEWS! My Time Traveler's Journey Series is on SALE!

Book One - Haunting Highland House - is available now for $0.99 in digital formats. Hellfire and Handbaskets - Book Two - will go on sale in two weeks. 
That gives you time to begin your journey! 

Here's a link for Amazon, but both books will also be available at the same price 
from Barnes & Noble and iBooks.

Please join us in celebrating our March promotion
Lucky in Love!

March Prizes
1st Prize: $20.00 Amazon Gift Card
2nd Prize: $10.00 Amazon Gift Card

Best of luck to everyone!

Saturday, March 21, 2020

How Lucky Am I? by Karen Kelley #RomanceGems

I sometimes wonder if reincarnation is real. Have you ever met someone and you could swear that you’d met them before?

I’ve been lucky in love. Maybe I didn’t get a feeling that I’d met Karl before in another life, but I knew we would get married someday. 

I’ve had these premonitions before. That something good, or bad, was about to happen. I’m usually right about 80% of the time. This time, I was right. About a year later, we did get married. This year we’ll celebrate 51 years of marriage. Wow, it doesn’t seem that long.

People ask what our secret is and I tell them we always treat each other like best friends. Would you yell at your best friend? 

We also encourage each other. When I went to nursing school, he not only told me I could do anything I set my mind to doing, he also helped me study. (I finished fifth in my class) Then, when I wanted to write, he encouraged me again. When I decided to go Indie with my books, he became my publisher, cover designer, formatter, ad creator, beta reader, and my number one fan.

I’ve definitely been lucky in love.

Most of my books are available in Kindle Unlimited. I’m currently writing Romantic Suspense, but I also write contemporary comedy and paranormal. Most of my heroines are snarky and sassy because I think I absorbed some of Karl’s personality over the years. Believe me, he’s a lot of fun to be around.

                                                    Read for free in KU or purchase here

You can find out more about my books at www.authorkarenkelley.com Have a great weekend and stay safe!

Speaking of luck, don't forget to hop on over to our Monthly Giveaway page to enter our Rafflecopter contest. If you're in a rush to get to the pot of gold you can also click on this Quick Link.

Karen Kelley 

Friday, March 20, 2020

LUCKY ME! #RomanceGems #Giveaway @CarolinClemmons

By Caroline Clemmons

Our theme this month at Romance Gems is Lucky in Love. I hope you’ve been lucky in finding the perfect love. I have been extremely lucky to have married my sweet husband, who I call Hero!

Do you believe in soul mates? I do and I believe Hero is mine. We’ve been married a gazillion years and have two wonderful daughters.

I’m lucky to have become a romance author. I’m lucky to be a part of this blog composed of some of my favorite authors. I’m proud to be a part of the world of romance books.  

We at Romance Gems appreciate those of you who read our books! You can find some of them under the Bookstore tab in the blog heading. You can find more of mine listed on my Amazon Author Page at https://amazon.com/Caroline-Clemmons/e/B001K8CXZ6/

If world events have you upset and unsettled, devote time to reading romance books. While they entertain you, they’ll transport you to a place that always ends happily-ever-after. You’ll find your stress level decreases when you read romance.

Romance books remind us that no matter how difficult or seemingly impossible life gets, there is happiness waiting if we persevere. I’m not saying bad things won't happen or will instantly disappear. I’m saying there is always good to be found and love is waiting for those who take a chance. Romance novels teach us to focus on the positive instead of the negative. Can you tell I’m a big fan of reading romance novels and novellas? (and writing them)

If you’re looking for a romance to read allow me to suggest you preorder POLKA WITH PAULINE, The Matchmaker’s Ball series, book 8, which will be released on March 28. The Universal Amazon link is http://mybook.to/Pauline Preorders are like magic. You select the preorder at Amazon and then, on release day, Poof!, the book appears on your e-reader. You don’t even have to say Abracadabra.

To share my luck, I’m giving away an e-copy of one of my books to someone who comments today—winner’s choice from any of mine listed on Amazon at the Author page link above. I’ll wait until tomorrow to announce the winner so those who live outside the U.S. can enter.

As pitchman in the ad on television says, “But wait, there’s more...”

Every month Romance Gems has a Rafflecopter giveaway. Just click on the words Lucky In Love to be taken to our Monthly Contest page. The Rafflecopter is near the bottom of the page. One of the new features is the comment entry. You can enter each day to increase your chance of winning.

Until next month, here's hoping you have the Luck o' the Irish!