Wednesday, April 29, 2020

The Daffodils Are Coming!The Daffodils Are Coming! by Nora LeDuc #RomanceGems

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host of golden daffodils;
(William Wordsworth)

With my stay at home life, I'm more eager than ever to get out and spot New England's signs of spring. I especially love the trumpet-shaped flowers, the daffodils. Their welcoming bright yellow, orange, or white colors welcome all who pass and raise my hopes for summer. So let's not waste time. Since car rides are allowed in our state, I'm off on our search for these harbingers of renewal. I'll add a few interesting landmarks along our way.

Molly Stark House at Pages Corner. Molly 
married General John Stark.
Before we leave, I check my yard. I discover the newest grouping I'd planted last fall near the road. They've survived the overflow of sand and salt from the plow truck and being buried beneath a mound of snow. Sadly, their buds haven't opened yet. But we've more to find. I hop in my vehicle and drive to the Pages Corner Cemetery that was named for the original land owners. Their daughter, Elizabeth Page (aka Molly Stark) lived on the corner and married Revolutionary War Hero John Stark.

Pages Corner Cemetery flowers--white building houses a horse-drawn hearse-
thanks to the town hearse restoration committee

But refocus! The plants are up at the cemetery! A long row of them, courtesy of our garden club. Their petals flutter in the wind and beckon me to snap their picture. I oblige. You might be curious about the white building in the grave yard. It houses a restored 1870 horse-drawn hearse.

I travel a few yards to the town line. Here, multitudes of daffodils are growing. Woo Hoo!! The residents of our community planted these for our town's 250 birthday celebration a few years ago.

                                          Roadside mass of flowers thanks to our town garden club                                         

Finally, my car chugs up the nine-hundred-foot-hill to the Center. There I make a glorious discovery. In front of the Caleb Stark Statue, the old horse trough contains a cheery display on this gray day. In case you're wondering, Caleb was Molly and Gen. John Stark's oldest son. Caleb is often depicted in paintings, chasing after his father who tried to leave him behind when John rode off to fight at the Battle of Bunker Hill. Yes, Caleb caught him and became the aide-de-camp to the general. We end our brief tour here. I declare our flower hunt a success on a cool April afternoon.

In the background, statue of Revolutionary soldier Caleb Stark

Now as the days grow warmer and longer, I grab my laptop and sit on the deck or by the windows. I dream of gardens rioting with color and stories filled with challenges and sometimes danger where love conquers all.

Before I sign off, I wanted to let you know my newest book, Christmas at the Easy Breezy will be in pre-order in June. The characters will celebrate with an outdoor spring wedding! Maybe you'll spot a daffodil.
Love to all,
~ Nora


Wait, there's more!!

Our monthly Rafflecopter is waiting for you and with an added chance —the Easter Egg Scavenger Hunt.  Complete information can be found on our Monthly Giveaway page. Yes, Easter is over but you can still enter. Just check out my Facebook page and my BookBub page to find my egg. Please like and follow me while there!!

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

A New Cover For A New Path by @KaraONealAuthor #RomanceGems


I love my husband. I married a cross between Jim Halpert, Mr. Darcy and Captain America. And that is quite a mixture, let me tell you. 

Oh, and he's a graphic designer turned art teacher.

He's my prince charming. I would soooo go into a sleeping curse or get locked in a tower just so he could save me. That would not be a hardship. I wouldn't even be scared.

He's my hero, and he's helping me save my books...

I told y'all in my last post that my publisher went out of business and that I've started the process of self-publishing. That means I need to design covers. Oh, joy!

But lucky me, I married an artist!

The prelude, Saving Sarah, has been re-published and is now available. And I couldn't have done it without my husband. He designed the cover.

I'm very excited about this because each book in the series is going to have a similar look. Each of my heroines reminds me of a particular flower and this is going to be featured on the covers.

The Dogwood Tree blooms flowers of a variety of colors, but I prefer the white. The petals are delicate and are a special symbol of the crucifixion of Christ. They grow in many places in the U.S., and they have always been a favorite of mine. I love the legend behind this tree. Its beautiful story is why I chose this flower as the one to represent my brave heroine, Sarah.

And coincidentally, Saving Sarah takes place in North Carolina, and the Dogwood Tree just happens to be their state flower. Weird, huh?

This cover is a beautiful representation of elements of the book. I'm so lucky I have such talented husband.

Here is the PERFECT and LOVELY cover!!!!!

About Saving Sarah:

Sarah Kerry's world is shattered when a man from her past, Liam Devlin, shows up with proof that, if shared, would send her father to the noose. In order to keep Liam quiet, she must break her young courtship with Michael Lonnigan and marry Liam instead.

Michael is crushed and angry when Sarah abruptly ends their courtship, but he knows something isn't right. He's seen the new man hanging around the Kerry family and believes the man is blackmailing the woman Michael loves. Unwilling to let her go, Michael will do whatever it takes to save Sarah and make her his own.

Don't forget our April giveaway!

Details Here - Monthly Giveaway

Or go directly to Rafflecopter

April Prizes

1st Prize: $20.00 Amazon Gift Card
2nd Prize: $15.00 Amazon Gift Card
3rd Prize: $10.00 Amazon Gift Card

Best of luck to everyone!


Monday, April 27, 2020

Spring, Stress, and Salvation by Peggy Jaeger

April's topic prompt here on the RGs is Read and Renew. I'll discuss the read part of that phrase later in the post, but first I want to talk about the renew aspect.

There's a boatload of bad news in the world these days. I don't need to tell you that. You're all sentient beings who watch television, read papers, and follow social media. I want to talk, though, about what all this bad news, these horrible images, feelings of isolation, doubt, and just plain terror are doing to your body.

Yes, I said ARE doing, not CAN do. Unless you're the type of personality who never lets anything outside of your body effect what's on the inside, then you're experiencing some type of physical or mental stress right now. 

As an old nurse who was a devotee of the Florence Nightingale school of health care, I know what stress does to a person and how, if it's not curbed, can lead to a slew of longterm and chronic health disorders.

So, first a primer: What is stress, really? Put bluntly, stress is a physical, mental, or emotional event that causes tension on the mind and/or body. Stress can be caused by external forces (from the environment, psychological, or social situations) or internal ones (illness).

Well, I would say without a doubt that what we're all living through right now is the very definition of stress.

So, what does stress do to you? In essence, it can effect almost every organ and system in your body. Mentally and emotionally, it can leave you with symptoms of irritability, anxiety, depression, headaches.

It can throw your digestive system off kilter and make you produce more gastric acid which could lead to an ulcer, or acid reflex. You can get constipated, or worse, have diarrhea.  

Stress can leave you so emotionally wrung dry you start to sit, stand and move differently because your muscles are tense, tight, and restricted.

And I don't even want to go into the sexual and psycho-sexual aspects of stress. Suffice it to say, you won't be getting any any time soon if you're stressed. You won't be getting any sleep, either, not the restorative kind, anyway.

What can you do to lesson the stress on your little psyches and bodies when you've been ordered to shelter in place, not so much as breath on another human being, and keep back 6 feet or more?

First, you can take a breath. 
And then another. A few seconds or minutes of deep breathing every day in a quiet place without distractions goes a long way in alleviating mental stress.

Second, you can move. No, not to another house or city, but get some exercise. An outdoor walk is preferable, but if you can't get outside ( we are in quarantine kids!) you can walk on a treadmill or ride a stationary bike. There are even video walk programs that fake your body into thinking you've walked a mile. Leslie Sansone has a whole slew of them on youtube.

Third, we are all in this new normal together so we all know what you're feeling like. TALK TO one another about it. It's not complaining ( which is what my husband thinks I do!) but a way to share the stress and maybe even laugh about it.

And speaking of laughing - please do. Often. Find an old I Love Lucy or Seinfield on Netflix or Youtube and watch it. Then watch another. Or watch THE BIRDCAGE with Robin Williams - you're guaranteed to laugh at that one! Laughing raises your endorphin  and oxytocin levels which decrease stress.

Now, as a writer I would be remiss if I didn't mention one other way to alleviate stress - and in my writer's mind, the most important one:

Preferably something you like, as in, oh I don't know...books? Romance books? One of MY romance books, maybe? 

Hee hee.

Read something light and airy like chick lit. Or fun and flirty like a good RomCom. Or, if you really want to stimulate those endorphins and get that oxytocin flowing, something dark and sexy and...erotic.

I've got a new Sweet romance coming out next month titled VANILLA WITH A TWIST that might be just the thing you need to rid yourself of that toxic stress.  It's part of my publisher's new summer series called ONE SCOOP OR TWO. VANILLA WITH A TWIST is about a workaholic engineer and an ice cream parlor owner. It's the perfect blend of angst, romance, second chances, and ultimately an HEA.
Tandy Blakemore spends her days running her New England ice cream parlor, single-parenting her teenaged son, and trying to keep her head above financial water. No easy feat when the shop’s machinery is aging and her son is thinking about college. Tandy hasn’t had a day off in a decade and wonders if she’ll ever be able to live a worry-free life.

Engineer Deacon Withers is on an enforced vacation in the tiny seaside town of Beacher’s Cove. Overworked, stressed, and lonely, he walks into Tandy’s shop for a midday ice cream cone and gets embroiled in helping her fix a broken piece of equipment.

Can the budding friendship that follows help fix their broken spirits and lead to love?
And check out the great book trailer our very own Gem, Nancy Fraser, produced for me: 

And one last way to alleviate some of your stress is to enter our 

Until next time, peeps. Get working on lowering those stress levels ~ Peg

Sunday, April 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: Your book as a movie or TV series 

Most of us are watching A LOT of TV and movies as we social distance and stay safe at home. Tell me… Which of your books would you most like to see made into a movie or TV series? Lights, camera, action! Let’s talk!

“Though I’m noted as a historical writer, I’ve published five romantic suspense books. Falling for Frederick launched Montlake Book’s short-lived serials. I had envisioned it as the first book in the Stately Homes Murders, set in England with my grad-student researcher female sleuth, who stumbles on murders much like Jessica Fletcher. Of course she has help from her sexy Lord of the Manor. Alas, those Amazon serials flopped, and along with it, my romantic suspense career at Montlake. But I’d still love to see my Stately Homes Murders become a television series.” 
~ Cheryl Bolen

“My contemporary western series with Maddie James would be a good pick for a TV movie. So far, there are seven books in the series set at a ranch in western Montana. The Montana Ranchers series is about Brody, Callie, Mercer and Parker—the four siblings in the clan of James McKenna. As the characters and storylines grew, we added additional books to round out the series. We are currently spinning-off other series from the original one.” Jan Scarbrough

“When I was asked this question my first response was Nora Roberts. Then I was sweetly corrected that we were talking about my books. After I chuckled at my mistake, I had to give it very little thought before sharing my thoughts on what book or series would I like to see on the screen.

“I'd love to see the Loudon Series come to life on screen.

“The McKenna family have survived a devastating loss and despite the heartache they move forward, learning to live life to the fullest and love with all their hearts.

“Through the tears and the smiles each book features a family member. I cheered for them as they each find their happily ever after. Isn't that what is so wonderful about watching a series or movie?” ~ Lucinda Race

“The book I wrote that I would love to see in a movie is Midnight Escape. It's action filled drama including the mafia, and a captain of a commercial crab fishing boat off the coast of Alaska in the Bering Sea.”
~ Constance Bretes

“I'd love to see my Eclipse Agents turned into a series. It's time travel, but with an off the books agency that monitors the timeline. It's a lot more Historical Romance, and a lot less Science Fiction. But I would love to see something like that. Highland Eclipse is the first one, and since it ties into my Magic of the Highlands series, it would be really fun to have some Scottish time travels.” ~ Laura Hunsaker

“It’s been far too long since TV has given us a good old-fashioned cowboy romance series. My Seven Brides for Seven Brothers series has something for everyone. Hunky cowboys, a cute western town and ranch, a bad guy wreaking havoc, action, adventure, mystery and hidden treasure, along with feisty, independent heroines who throw their lot in with their hero to make their town and their world a better place. Of course, each romance ends with a wedding.”
~ Kathleen Lawless

“I would love to see all my books as movies, although maybe the Storms of New England could be a miniseries. There are ten books (only 3 out so far) and it revolves around cousins who all grew up in a small town in New Hampshire. I have fallen deeply in love with this family. They have such a variety of personalities, but they all love and care for each other. I think my favorite parts of the 4 books I've written so far (#4 will be out later this summer) is when the guys get together and play basketball. It's their guy bonding time but also when they let slip any problems they are going through. Of course, the other guys make sure to give support back, all in the shape of good-natured razzing.” ~ Kari Lemor

“I ‘see’ most of my books play out as a movie while I am plotting and writing them, so this month’s question is near and dear to my heart. I would love to see my Match Made in Heaven series turned into a Netflix series. My pinterest pages are filled with boards denoting the actors and actresses I based my character’s physical descriptions on. The setting would be – of course – a small New Hampshire town, and the mood would be lighthearted and RomCom fun! And I’m having it written into my contract that I get to play Nanny Fee!” ~ Peggy Jaeger

“Funny enough, I don't plot or plan out my stories; I watch them unfold before me... just like a movie. This makes it hard to pick just one! But as much as I'd love to see the Welcome to Chance series as a television show, I'd even more love to see the quirky love story of The Two Tenleys as a movie. I even have the cast picked out! Blake Lively: Ten, Kristen Bell: Lee, Josh Duhamel: Nick, Ryan Reynolds: Kenny, Jeff Bridges: Charlie "The Hurricane" Harper. The rest are on my Pinterest board.” ~ Elsa Kurt

“I would choose Hidden Secrets, my just released, new romantic suspense. When Johnny carries Addison’s broken body to safety, and then becomes her protector, he stole my heart. I loved writing their story.” ~ Karen Kelley

"Lights! Camera! Action! Which one of my novels would make the perfect movie? Lynx, Rodeo Romance, Book 1"

“What woman doesn’t love a cowboy?” Lynx Maddox, had a dangerous reputation for taking chances.

Rachel Scott traveled the rodeo circuit with her famous father, until his death in the arena. She wants nothing to do with rodeo men.

Until she meets Lynx. Lynx removed his Stetson and ran his hand through his thick hair. His movement separated the edges of the cotton shirt, exposing the upper portion of his muscular chest. Rachel bit her lip to still a gasp; she knew her thoughts were written all over her expressive face.

Lynx looked at her before he hung his hat on a post and snapped closed the fastenings of his shirt. “Okay, Rachel, what comes next?” ~ Connie Vines

“As Peggy said above… I ‘see’ my books in my head as I write them. Quite like watching a movie with complete scenes. I would LOVE to see Haunting Highland House as a movie or TV mini-series! However, I’d be thrilled with an entire Time Traveler’s Journey TV series, including both books and the others to come. Spooky, romantic, suspenseful, with Victorian-era history. Did I mention there’s a haunted mansion? Also, since that mansion is based on a real historic property, perhaps a series would benefit the non-profit that restores and oversees it. Win-win!” ~ 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. Stay safe and be well!

~ The Romance Gems ~

Don't forget to enter our April Contest!

Details Here - Monthly Giveaway

Or go directly to Rafflecopter

April Prizes

1st Prize: $20.00 Amazon Gift Card
2nd Prize: $15.00 Amazon Gift Card
3rd Prize: $10.00 Amazon Gift Card

Best of luck to everyone!

Saturday, April 25, 2020

What I'm Thankful for in This Pandemic by Cheryl Bolen

Back in March when the NCAA cancelled the college basketball championship, I was utterly disappointed. The two-plus weeks of the March Madness tournament are my absolute favorite sports watching. Now, when I look back on it, I’m so grateful for the foresight of those who made that decision.

It took a lot of courage to make a decision to cancel an event that generates millions upon millions of dollars. At the same time, the South by Southwest music festival in Austin was cancelled, as was the nearly month-long Houston rodeo, both events that pump millions into the economy of those two cities and which draw participants from all over the country.

Because of decisions like that, thousands of lives have been saved from this unprecedented global pandemic. I am so thankful.

Now during this sheltering-in-place, I have other things for which to be thankful. 

My author friend Gerry Bartlett grocery shopping 

Because I don’t leave the house (being immunosuppressed and asthmatic), I have had the opportunity to write more than I have in years. I actually finished my new Christmas novella for the Mistletoe and Mayhem anthology in almost record time. After working out the plot, I wrote the novella (about a third as long as my novels) in just 15 full writing days. Of course, I still had to edit the manuscript.

I hadn’t written that fast since the proliferation of the internet. Before there was social media and in the infancy days of the internet, I had written a novella for Kensington Books in five days—not counting editing.

Most of us writers are used to being solitary, so we’re faring pretty well.

Another thing I’m thankful for is my friend Gerry Bartlett, a former Precious Gems author who’s also written for Berkley and Kensington, who has helped me out by shopping for us.

I’m also grateful that during this pandemic I’ve gotten to enjoy very long phone conversations every day with my youngest son, who’s a bachelor living alone and who has health issues. This is the son who normally doesn’t call his mom, like his brother does. 

These calls started because of my worry about him. I’m thankful his boss allows him to work remotely.

Most of all, I’m thankful that this horrible COVID-19 virus has spared my family.—Cheryl Bolen is the author of 40 plus books, most of which are set in Regency England. See her sites below.
Website             Facebook                    Blog            Pinterest

Please check out our giveaway for Amazon gift cards here by scrolling to the page's bottom.

Friday, April 24, 2020

Get this Trilogy Boxed Set for $2.99 - by Judith Hudson

We're a month into the isolation and I figured you might need a distraction by now, so I've put together a virtual getaway to Fortune Bay for my readers - the first three books of the series in a new boxed set.

On sale on Amazon only, this weekend, for $2.99. 

Welcome to Fortune Bay, a lake side village in the Pacific northwest where a ramshackle cabin by the lake is a haven for people at the crossroads of their lives.
This boxed set includes the first three full length books in the Fortune Bay series;

Summer of Fortune
Maddie wasn't looking for romance when she moved to Fortune Bay for the summer. She was just glad to find a place she could afford, where she could set up her dark room and work on the photographs for her first solo show.
A troubled childhood had left her a loner. Maddie found it was just easier that way. She wasn't expecting to meet a group of people who would change her life - including her landlord Jake Murphy, a single father, who just might teach her that she could have it all, friendship, family and happily ever after.

The Good Neighbor
Frankie's life is going just fine, thank you very much. She has a lovely house on Majestic lake and a good job teaching at the local high school. What she doesn't need is Sean Murphy moving in next door and shaking things up. He seems like just the kind of guy her father would approve of - a black mark against him in her eyes.
What she doesn't see are the demons Sean is hiding, the daughter he gave up as a teen - who he'd give anything to find today.

Home For Christmas
Louise is coming home for Christmas, but just for Christmas. She has finally gotten out of Fortune Bay and now that her pastry course is finished, her future awaits her in Seattle, a long way away from her former job at the Fortune Bay Cafe.
Her old friend Blue has moved on too - he can't wait forever, hoping Louise will see how much he cares. Growing up, he was her shoulder to cry on, but now it's time to get on with his life.
With Christmas festivities swirling around them, Louise's life takes a sharp turn. Can Blue really turn his back on her now, when her whole future is at stake?

Don't wait. Get all three books in this boxed set -  

only $2.99 on Amazon this weekend.

(All three books are also available to be read separately on Kindle Unlimited.)

And don't forget to enter this month's Rafflecopter to win Amazon Gift card prizes!- Just comment below and then go to the Rafflecopter entry form and claim your entry by entering the date of your comment directly on the Rafflecopter entry form.

So until next month, keep calm, stay at home, and lose yourself in a good book!
Judy Hudson