Wednesday, September 30, 2020

At the End of the Day... by Liz Flaherty #RomanceGems

I wrote this a long time ago and have used it several times. My apologies if you're seeing it again, but my parents' wedding anniversary would have been this week and they've been on my mind. 


In 2013. I had a book out called A Soft Place to Fall, about a marriage gone wrong and how two people found ways to make it right. I still have a soft spot for that book and for long marriages. I regret that I sometimes get a little too glib when I talk about it--I make it all sound easy when it's not at all. At the end of the day, thoug
h, marriage is private and what goes on within it is not to be shared. No one really understands anyone else's. Looking back on this, my feelings toward my parents' marriage haven't changed, but I have come to realize that--at the end of that day I just mentioned--it wasn't really any of my business.

“A great marriage is not when the 'perfect couple' comes together. It is when an imperfect couple learns to enjoy their differences.” ― Dave Meurer

On September 28, 1935, my parents went to a minister’s house and got married. My dad wore a double-breasted suit and my mom had on a hat. They stayed married through the rest of the Great Depression and three wars, through the births of six children and the death of one at the age of three, through failing health and the loss of all their parents and some of my father’s siblings. Dad died in 1981, Mom in 1982. They were still married.

From the viewpoint of their youngest child, who was born in their early 40s when they thought they were finished with all that, it was the marriage from hell. I never saw them as a loving couple, never saw them laugh together or show affection or even hold hands. They didn’t buy each other gifts, sit on the couch together, or bring each other cups of coffee. The only thing I was sure they shared was that—unlike my husband and me—they didn’t cancel out each other’s vote on Election Day.

“Why on earth,” I asked my sister once, “did they stay together all those years? Mom could have gone home to her family, even if she did have to take a whole litter of kids. Heaven knows Dad could have.” (He was the adored youngest son and brother—he could do no wrong.)

Nancy gave me the look all youngest siblings know, the one that says, “Are you stupid?” When you’re grown up, it replaces the look that says, “You’re a nasty little brat.” But I regress.

“Don’t you get it?” my sister asked. Her blue eyes softened. So did her voice. “They loved each other. Always. They just didn’t do it the way you wanted them to.”


I remembered then. When they stopped for ice cream because Mom loved ice cream. How they sat at the kitchen table across from each other drinking coffee. How thin my dad got during Mom’s long illness because “I can’t eat if she can’t.” When they watched Lawrence Welk reruns together and loud because—although neither would admit it—their hearing was seriously compromised.

And the letters. The account of their courtship. We found them after Mom’s death, kept in neat stacks. They wrote each other, in those days of multiple daily mail deliveries, at least once a day and sometimes twice. When I read those letters, I cried because I’d never known the people who wrote them.

I have to admit, my parents’ lives had nothing to do with why I chose to write romantic fiction. I got my staunch belief in Happily Ever After from my own marriage, not theirs. But how you feel about things and what you know—those change over the years.

As much as I hated my parents’ marriage—and I truly did hate it—I admire how they stuck with it. I’ve never appreciated the love they had for each other, but I’ve come to understand that it never ended. I still feel sorry sometimes for the little girl I was, whose childhood was so far from storybook that she wrote her own, but I’m so grateful to have become the adult I am. The one who still writes her own stories.

But—and this is the good part—these are the things I know.

Saying “I love you” doesn’t always require words. Sometimes it’s being unable to eat because someone else isn’t. Sometimes it’s stopping for ice cream. Sometimes—and I realized this the other day when my husband and I were bellowing “Footloose” in the car—it’s hearing music the same way, regardless of how it sounds to anyone else.

Marriage is different for different people. So is love. So is Happily Ever After.

Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad.

If you don't have it yet, run by Amazon and order Last Chance Beach: Summer's End. It may be the best 99 cents you'll spend this week! 

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Pretty as a Picture by Nora LeDuc

When I first started writing, I wrote historical romances. I would send my chapters to friends to critique and get comments back like these. "Your description his bedchamber was missing." Another might note, "I know she's wearing her day dress but add more details such as color, cotton/silk, ease in disrobing."

I would think, didn't my fellow authors have imaginations? Couldn't they visualize these features? Yes, I didn't understand the power of description. How important is this necessary tool? Here are some explanations I found for us. The quotes are from
"Often description is the factor that solidifies in the reader's mind whether the book is for them or not. It creates a vivid picture for the reader and allows them to open a gateway to your story and imagine
themselves in your fictional world."

And if you're still not convinced, I have discovered this information on allwritefictionadvice.blogspot. Description conveys a sense of:
a person/background
        emotion or mood

Perhaps it was just practice, or maybe it was I finally learned to picture myself in the scenes I wrote, but I've become a fan of description. I truly found that by improving my written illustrations I was able to pull others into my plot.

So I'm curious. Do you find the writer's descriptive narrative carries you deeper into the tale and convinces you to buy the book?

But don't leave yet. I'm happy to announce that Christmas at the Easy Breezy is available to pre-buy. This is a second-chance at love, sweet contemporary romance. The heroine is searching for her family. Our hero is looking for someone to complete his. On sale today for ONLY .99¢.

And don't forget if you haven't picked up your copy of Last Chance Beach "Summer Ends, you can still get it in Kindle for only .99¢. Don't forget while there to get a FREE copy of Cocktails on Last Chance Beach, our gift to you.

My friends, that's all for today,
Take care, stay healthy, and be rich if books.
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Monday, September 28, 2020

Top Five Favorite Friendships by @KaraONealAuthor #RomanceGems

While I write romance novels, I find that I love good friendships as much as I adore true love. When the hero and heroine are best friends, that's even better.

There's something about the care, humor and truth in a solid, lasting friendship. They are hard to come by and hard to discern. What makes a good friend?

You think you know, then drama ensues, and you discover you were wrong. The playground and sleepovers can teach you so much. can books.

So, here are my top five friendships.

1. Anne and Marilla from Anne of Green Gables -- There's nothing like a hopeful-eyed child and a stern, older woman trying to live together. These two grabbed my heart from the beginning of the story and did NOT let go. This is an honest relationship that developed beautifully through the series.

2. Captain Woodrow Call and "Gus" McCrae from Lonesome Dove -- Talk about oil and water. One guy is so serious and the other is such an annoying prankster that you wonder how they managed to stick together. Well, they are both highly stubborn, so that probably helped. And I think they were too cranky to find the time to befriend anyone else.

3. Jo March and Beth March from Little Women -- One is adventurous and seems to know how best to live life, while the other is shy and lets the world pass her by. These two taught each other so much and it was done without arguing and without belittling the other's choice. I read this book when I was very young. I think I was seven. Beth and Jo taught me a lot.

4. William Marshal and Isabelle de Clare from The Scarlet Lion -- William and Isabelle are real people. They were married and lived during the time of Richard the Lionheart and his brother, Prince John. These two were a force. They were both fighters -- one on the battlefield and one in the grandest castle in Ireland. They shared everything. When he died, supposedly his last words were, "My bon ami." He said this to Isabelle, which translated means, essentially, "My beautiful friend." I adored their relationship.

5. Anne and Gilbert of Anne of Green Gables -- There is no better story, in my opinion, of friends who become lovers. Of course, Gilbert was always in love. Was Anne always in love? I think so, but she was so gosh-darn stubborn. Their friendship was honest, true, competitive, feisty and so very caring. They are the perfect examples of how a man and woman in love are each other's best friend. Truly beautiful.

I have others, of course, but these are the pinnacle for me.

My fifth book, The Soldier's Love, releases on October 7th. Frank and Jane are the main characters, and they are best friends. They also love each other, but her dreams and his stubborn pride pull them apart. When they find each other again, it is not easy. They fight more than I would have liked them to, but Frank turned out to be really, really stubborn. I didn't see that coming. But he comes by it honestly, because in my fourth book, The Miller Brides, we learn how hard-nosed his mother was.

Of course, Jane and Frank find their way back to each other but it's not without its trials. I loved returning them to what they had always hoped to be. I'm definitely a "happily-ever-after" girl.

I would love to hear your favorite friendships! Please share in the comments!

And be sure to pick up my next book, The Soldier's Love, which is available for pre-order!

The Soldier's Love

When Jane Lonnigan refused to marry him, Frank Dawson got the hell out of Pike’s Run and joined the army. As he took risk after risk, hoping someone would put him out of his misery, he consequently rose in ranks. Now he’s a First Lieutenant stationed at Fort Robertson, a crack shot, and the main communicator to the Chipsa tribe.

Frank broke Jane's heart when he refused to wait for her to complete her education. Still, as she embarked on her journey to becoming a teacher, she couldn't stop loving him. Her first teaching post is for the children of Riley Creek, the town Fort Robertson protects.

When Frank realizes Jane has become a fixture of the settlement he is a part of, he sets out to guard himself from being twice a fool. But as life swirls around them, Frank can't help but return to her again and again.

A mistake causes Frank to hurt Jane and make her believe all hope is lost. She runs home, needing the welcoming arms of her family. When Frank learns what he's done, he realizes he's been a fool. He races after her, intent on winning her back. Can he mend her heart and have her as his wife? Or has he ruined everything?

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Sunday, September 27, 2020

A month of Changes by Peggy Jaeger

 September 2020 has been a month of change for the Jaeger clan.

On September 12, my darling daughter got married in a very Covid-compliant ceremony in New York. The original wedding was planned for over 300 people on the top of Mount Washington in New Hampshire. 2021 will see that celebration come to fruition if we get out of this pandemic, but for now, she married the love of her life, her soul mate and best friend in a small Catholic ceremony with the people they both love best in the world in attendance. He father walked her down the aisle, and yes, he wore a mask, but there was no missing the smile lighting up his face, evidenced in his shining eyes.

God smiled on the happy couple because the weather was glorious.

On September 14, we buried my brother-in-law. After an 11 year battle with cancer, he finally succumbed to its clutches and as a family we gathered to mourn him, celebrate his life, and bury him.

In the same weekend my husband and I gained a new son and lost a beloved brother.

Change, for sure.

On September 17 we welcomed a new member into our small nuclear family. A chocolate lab named Maple Leaf. It's been a long-ass time since we had a dog - much less a puppy - in our house. My first dog baby was born in 1987 and died in 1999. So for the last 21 years we've been without a family dog. It was time.

Meet Maple Leaf Jaeger, 12 pounds of 8 week old puppy love and energy. And just like the change a household goes through when a new (human) baby is brought into it, there's a lot of change in our house right now that concerns feeding times, midnight diaper changes in the form of walks, and teething issues. I never thought I'd hear myself say this, but I'm really feeling my age right now!! I've finally discovered the answer to why you should have a baby ( and a puppy) when you are younger. Your stamina is much greater. Hee hee. Maple Leaf has her own Instagram account where I'm documenting her life with us. My husband says she won "Doggie Lotto" when we brought her home, and he's not wrong!! You can follow her adventures on Instagram, here: MapleLeaftheDog

Another change coming down the pike occurs in October. My newest indie-released holiday RomCom releases on 10.14.2020. I've gone back to the bosom of the San Valentino family for MISTLETOE, MOBSTERS, & MOZZARELLA and visited the Aunt Gracie branch of the family. I have to admit, when I was writing this one, I truly did laugh out loud at times - especially at Uncle Sonny and mama Gracie. I hope you'll find Madonna San Valentino's story a fun and inspiring one of family, faith, and love. So, why a holiday story in October? Because it's never too early for Christmas, RomComs, or love!

Finding a body in the freezer of the family deli isn’t the way Madonna San Valentino planned to start her day.

Adding insult to injury, the investigating detective is the one guy she’s never been able to forget. After seven minutes of heaven in the back seat of his car when they were teenagers, Tony Roma skipped town without so much as a thanks for the memory.

Just when Madonna thinks the present situation can’t get any worse, Tony is ordered to go undercover at the deli to ferret out a killer. Forced to work together, she vows to keep their relationship cool and professional. But with the sexy, longing looks he tosses her at every turn, Madonna’s resolve is weakening.

With Christmas drawing closer and Tony’s investigation taking an unexpected turn, Madonna is at her wit’s end. Can she really be falling for him again? And will he wind up leaving her broken hearted and alone like the last time?

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Friday, September 25, 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: What’s your idea of the perfect Autumn date…as in a romantic endeavor? (for all you jokers out there 😂)

It’s autumn in the northern hemisphere, and that means cool, cozy nights and warm, sunny days. Perfect for fall-themed outings and romantic evenings. So, tell me…what’s your ideal autumn date? Would you snuggle by the fireplace with your honey, go apple picking, or maybe watch a scary movie together? Let’s talk!

"On a warm and sunny fall day, don comfy but stylish clothes for an easy hike through an apple orchard or a winery tour. Order a sumptuous takeout dinner for two and enjoy it in front of a roaring fire with candlelight, wine and of course fresh apple crisp for dessert.

"After dinner is over curl up next to your sweetie and watch an old classic movie like Casablanca or Some Like it Hot… oh and yes the fire is still roaring.” ~ Lucinda Race

“I can’t deny that autumn is my favorite season. The temps are cooler, the air is clean and crisp and the colors are eye catching. Plus…there’s apple picking. For as long as I can remember, hubby, darling daughter and I have gone to one of our local orchards in September and picked a peck or two of sweet, ripe apples. It’s a fun day out in the fresh air and sunshine that culminates in pie making, jam cooking, applesauce canning, and—of course—eating! Many a family Christmas card photo has been snapped while apple picking! I love autumn!” ~ Peggy Jaeger

“My idea of a perfect fall date is spending a day apple picking. It needs to be sunny but with a slight breeze in the air. The apple orchard would preferably be on a hill or have beautiful vistas in all directions. As we pick, we'd snack on a juicy fresh apple, then take our bags to the counter and add a few freshly baked apple cider donuts to the mix with a warm cup of apple cider to go with it. Ahhh, I can taste it now!” ~ Kari Lemor

“I love crisp autumn air, especially in the early evening. And when autumn comes in Texas, that means football has started. I adore curling up against my husband in the bleachers, drinking hot chocolate and rooting for my favorite high school team. That's probably not too romantic, but I love it so much.” ~ Kara O'Neal

“A nice fall “date” is a trip to Huber’s Orchard & Winery in Southern Indiana. You can pick pumpkins and other homegrown produce, taste wine, and buy yummy goodies from their country store.” ~ Jan Scarbrough

"Crisp fall days mean local farms and orchards to me. I love shopping for pumpkins, mums, cornstalk, and fall decorations. And don’t forget the apple pie! On the flip side, those same days are perfect for visiting historic New England locations such as Salem, Old Sturbridge Village, or Plymouth Plantation. Outside in the cool breeze and crunchy leaves during the day, inside by a crackling fireplace at night. Chinese take-out, cold white wine, Halloween candy, and a classic horror movie. Love it!” ~ Kathryn Hills

“My favorite Autumn date: an early morning 45 minute drive to Oak Glen in the San Bernardino Mountains for apple picking and a thermos of hot coffee is a must. Breakfast at Apple Annie’s before standing on tiptoes to reach the best apples in the orchard and sharing a crisp, tart apple.

"Afterwards, it’s the pumpkin patch in Yucaipa for a couple stand-in-photo as Mr. & Mrs. Frankenstein before it’s playtime with the goats at the petting zoo. If my date joins in the fun—he may just be a keeper!” ~ Connie Vines

“I’ve always been fascinated by wine country. So much so, that years ago, I set one of my books; First Crush in wine country. On weekends, in the fall when I lived in New York, I headed upstate to my favorite wineries. In Seattle, there was nothing better than a leisurely drive to Portland with a stop at every winery on the way. Now, when I think of fall, and the perfect date, I think of wineries. Tasting! Pairing! Sharing a kiss or two around a crackling fireplace. This to me is amore!” ~ Marcia King-Gamble 

“My ideal autumn date would be a weekend away at a secluded, high end resort with great views-mountain or ocean- a roaring fireplace, and an in-room couples massage as part of the package. The weekend would include breakfast in bed, a hike through the crisp autumn air, and gourmet dining in a private dining room for just the two of us. Either that, I’d be whisked away on his private jet to an exclusive resort in the Maldives. I’m versatile that way.” ~ Kathleen Lawless

“Ah, the perfect Autumn date. Leaves rustling underfoot, a cozy flannel shirt, a crackling fire and roasted marshmallows. Maybe a crisp late afternoon breeze, a fishing pole, and an able-bodied man to bait my hook. Dare I mention stolen kisses behind the big oak tree? A big harvest moon and hand holding by the lake. The two of us wrapped up in a quilt on the swing. Falling asleep on his shoulder.” ~ Maddie James

“For the chillier evenings in autumn, I love to walk the darkened streets, kicking at fallen leaves as we go. Then, a steaming cup of hot chocolate by the fireplace with my love. Nice dream...the reality is after all this time, we're lucky to collapse on the sofa to catch up on the new crop of TV shows. It isn’t that we’re not romantic, it’s just that the weather here is dark and rainy, so the leaves are sodden, the wind off the nearby ocean is icy and once I get cold, it’s hard to get warm. Autumn life!”

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 ~

My Favorite Tropes by Cheryl Bolen

My readers would be the first to tell you my favorite romance trope is the "marriage of convenience" story. Seven of my first nine published books followed this trope, including my first, A Duke Decieved, which was a finalist for Best First Book (Holt Medallion) and won the Notable New Author distinction back in 1999.

 My 2005 One Golden Ring won the Holt Medallion as Best Historical, and it too was a marriage-of-convenience story. That book has been rewritten and published as The Wedding Bargain.

 I do believe readers must like MOCs  as much as I. 

 In November I will be publishing one of my favorite MOCs, A Proposal of Marriage. In this one, I turn the tables and have the girl do the proposal in this entry into my Brazen Brides series.

 Another of my favorite tropes in a romance novel is the "ugly duckling" story. I used this in my To Take This Lord (Brides of Bath 4), The Earl, the Vow and the Plain Jane (Lords of Eton 2), and in my novella "Home for Christmas" which appears in my Christmas anthology Christmas Brides. I also used it in my novel My Lord Wicked, which won Best Historical in the International Digital Awards in 2011, and in With His Lady's Assistance (Regent Mysteries 1).

 Many of us can identify with those ugly ducklings!

 Another of my favorite tropes is the fish-out-of-water story. My October release, Once Upon aTime in Bath, is one such story. It will be the seventh of my Brides of Bath series. The fifth in the same series, Love in the Library, is also a fish-out-of-water story featuring one hot nerd hero. You don't find a lot of nerd heroes, but I don't think anything's sexier than tapping into their still waters. I hope you agree. 

 Tell us what are your favorite tropes?

Thursday, September 24, 2020

I'm giving away 3 copies of the boxed-set - Welcome to Fortune Bay - by Judith Hudson


Hi Everybody!

I'm pretty excited today. I'm almost finished making a set of new covers for all the Fortune Bay books. Such a lot of work! But I think 's worth it. The first three covers are totally finished and up on Amazon, so to celebrate getting the job done, I'm holding a raffle and giving away 3 copies of the Fortune Bay Ebook "boxed-set," Welcome to Fortune Bay.

The boxed-set includes the first three books of the Fortune Bay series. (Check out the new covers below!)

Can't wait? CLICK HERE to go to the Rafflecopter page to enter.

And here are the new covers - Ta-Da!

I looked long and hard for images that would be inviting. Summer of Fortune looks the way I think the porch at the cabin would be. 

My editor Stephanie thought the fence in the cover of book two said, "good neighbors," so, perfect. 

And I really love the winter scene I chose for the cover of Home for Christmas. It's a little more Blue's log cabin than the Murphy cabin, but that works for this story.

I think these covers reflect the genre better than the single woman covers I had before. I loved those covers - at the time - but if you read books by Kay Correll, Judith Keim or the other authors Amazon groups my books with, you'll see that my covers looked nothing like theirs.

Does that matter? You bet it does.

If you think about when you are looking for a new book to sink into, you often just have the little Amazon thumbnail photo to go by. It has to communicate to you that this is a place you want to spend a few hours. It has to communicate what kind of story you are buying. I hope that's what these covers do. Let me know what you think in the comments below.  

And don't forget to enter my raffle for a chance to win a copy of the trilogy, and by joining my mailing list everyone gets a free e-copy of the 100-page series prequel, Lake of Dreams.

This raffle is only on until Sunday, so don't wait!

I'll post the winners on my facebook  page -  and contact them personally by email.

 Until next month, stay safe - stay home and read!

Judy Hudson

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

You've Been Booed! by Kathryn Hills #RomanceGems


Ahh, autumn. It’s my favorite season. I love the warm days and cold nights. Sweaters, pumpkins, scary fun. Plus, living in northern New England, Mother Nature is all about showing off her vibrant fall colors here. But what would life at Camp Hills be without some humor? Sit back and let me tell you a story.

It was a dark and stormy night. Kidding. I just love it when a story starts like that. It all began when Darling Daughter was a tween...

For as long as I can remember—and certainly for her entire quarter of a century life—we’ve celebrated Halloween. In a BIG way! Hayrides to pumpkin patches where you pick your own. Trips to Salem and theme parks with haunted events. Parties, decorations, festive foods, you name it. Don’t even get me started on the shows and movies we watch every October. So, when a neighbor introduced us to “Booing”, we wholeheartedly embraced the fun experience as a family.

Are you familiar with Booing? For those who aren’t, it’s when you assemble a bunch of fun Halloween-themed treats (candy and trinkets) and deliver them to an unsuspecting neighbor. I say “unsuspecting”, because you pull a “ding-dong-dash” maneuver. Ring the doorbell, leave the goodies, and dash away before you’re seen. Your “Boo” is a surprise for the occupants of the house, an anonymous gift of Halloween cheer, typically for the children. (Although, I have heard of adults partaking, delivering alcoholic beverages along with chocolate. Totally onboard with this idea if anyone wants to play!)

Once you’ve been “Booed”, you place a sign on your door so participating neighbors will know to skip your house and go to someone new. Then you Boo two other households, and the fun grows.

Charming, you might think, and it is! Super-fun, too, since you get to shop for someone else with the sole intention of delighting them. Plus, you get to speculate who Booed you.

So…where did we go astray? Because you KNOW we did. Darling Daughter, being the sweetheart that she is, didn’t just want to leave treats for her close friends. She knew there were two kids, living only part time in our neighborhood because their parents were divorced. No one really knew them; they came and went so often. “Why not Boo them?” she asked. “Make them feel welcome.” I was a proud mama when she shared her idea.

It was a real crock-pot bubbling, wood stove crackling, frosty fall evening when Mr. H volunteered to help our girl with the ding-dong-dash part of the plan. They bundled up, took the gifts and the corresponding “You’ve been Booed!” printed message that explains it all, grabbed a couple of flashlights, and headed out into the spooky darkness.

Time went by as I prepared our supper and fed the dogs. I glanced at the clock several times, wondering why they were gone so long. Just ring the bell and run. It’s easy. Half an hour later, they finally came home, laughing so hard they were crying. Apparently, the neighbor Darling Daughter decided to Boo was home alone with his wife. No kids that night. When the doorbell rang and no one was there, the dad whipped on all the spotlights, thinking he’d been pranked. My two hid behind the neighbor’s car, trying not to be discovered. The man inside began yelling, “It’s a package. What the hell? It’s a God damned package. Who did this?”

“I don’t know,” the wife said, obviously concerned. According to my two hooligans.

What's the moral of this story? I suppose it’s…sometimes you have to be a little bit naughty to be nice. Santa definitely will understand.

And the neighbors who initially Booed us? The dad in that family eventually admitted he took out our fence when he tried to dash away in the dark. Ouch! We were wondering how that happened. We live in a fun place. What else can I say? 😊

If you’d like to Boo your neighbors, family members, or friends this Halloween season, head to Pinterest for some great ideas and free printable signs for the gift bag message and for your front door. Just don’t mention me, okay? We Hills are notorious troublemakers. *wink*

If you enjoyed this story and would like to learn more about my books, know that Halloween is exciting for my characters as well. Whether they're attending a costume ball in the past—as in the late Victorian era—or they're on the streets of Boston in modern times, thrills and chills are just the beginning. Visit my Amazon Author's Page to embark on A Time Traveler's Journey!

 Until next time, thanks for reading. Stay safe and go spread some magic!

~ Kathryn

Pivoting on a Dime !


By: Marcia King- Gamble


The world as we know it changed early this year. One moment I had a busy day job in the travel industry, and my biggest challenge was carving out time to write. Finding time meant getting up at insane hours in the morning and staying up late at night.  It meant giving up fun weekend social events and passing on workshops and presentations.


In March, as Covid spread, ports shut down and refused to allow our ships in and our guests to debark. Due to an executive order, the majority of employees were sent home to work. The remaining handful were made to go home when one employee tested for Covid. Sadly, he later died.  Working from home meant I inherited a totally different team and a totally different department. I was stretched to the max.

Needless to say, the transition didn’t go smoothly.  Technical problems. Needy employee. Challenges managing an unfamiliar department. An apathetic team.  This all contributed to twelve-hour days. Instead of working less hours, I worked more, and at times I forgot to eat meals. My phone rang at all hours, sometimes with questions it was impossible to answer.

Things worsened in Europe and our European operation shut down. All employees took a pay cut. Then furloughs began. Both my new and old department were eliminated, although it was called furlough. No one knew when operations would resume. The company generously provided us with benefits for half the year while we transitioned. 

Pivot time. I was determined not to get caught up in negativity and to keep busy. I had unfinished writing projects. Closets that needed cleaning and clutter to dispose of.  Running off to the beach or indulging in outdoor music was a thing of the past. Lockdown had been imposed.


Luckily, I have a tightknit supportive social group; many with aging parents. To keep everyone safe, we decided to keep our distance. Not interacting in person meant more frequent and meaningful phone calls, and really connecting.  Sharing honestly was the way we coped.

 A typical day ran something like this:  

Change #1: Instead of getting up at my usual early hour I get up around 9am.

Change #2:   I eat a full breakfast. No more bagel on the run

Change #3: I actually do a full email check not just a scan

Change #4: I now watch TV something I normally don’t do  

Change #5: I write for several uninterrupted hours in the day

Change #6:  I now can make a morning gym class

Change #7:  I run errands mid-afternoon

Change #8: With lockdown easing, I can make the outdoor Happy Hour

Change #9: I clean closets, declutter and donate

Change #10: I took up crafting and gardening, neither of which makes me an expert

Change #11: Bedtime these days is closer to 2am


Change can be rewarding and life changing.  You grow. What changes have you made during this time of isolation and lockdown, and were they for the better?

Summer's coming to an end, but it’s not too late to pick up a copy of Last Chance Beach: Summer’s End. The free companion cocktail book is a lovely added bonus.

If that’s not enough, join The Romance Gems newsletter mailing list and you just might win 12 free books.

Happy end of Summer all!


About Marcia King-Gamble

Romance writer, Marcia King-Gamble originally hails from a sunny Caribbean island where the sky and ocean are the same mesmerizing shade of blue. This travel industry executive and current world traveler has spent most of life in the United States. A National Bestselling author, Marcia has penned over 34 books and 8 novellas. Her free time is spent at the gym, traveling to exotic locales (when that was possible). Her animal family keeps her sane.

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Sunday, September 20, 2020


By Caroline Clemmons

Change is a constant. So many areas of our lives change rapidly. What's changing in your life? Do the changes bother you or do you accept them and move on?


Let me tell you about a change that impacts my writing: names of individuals. Our youngest daughter and a friend have a tongue-in-cheek contest going for whose family has the weirdest family names. I think our daughter is way ahead with the number of oddly-named ancestors.

When writing a historical novel I choose a name for a hero or heroine by checking our family history for that time—I usually set historical books from 1870-1885. In this way, I know the name was appropriate for the time. No Buffy or Bambi in that time period. Of course, Biblical names are always appropriate whether historical or contemporary. For contemporary names, I take the year the character would have been born and look online for popular names for that year.

What we have in our ancestry are some doozies. I use them for secondary characters, not the main ones. Some examples for unusual women’s names are Teletha, Parmelia (oops, I used that one in LONG WAY HOME), Venice, Theodosia, Tranquilla, Tetrine, and Vitura. For men, we have Guice, Hillyer, Vestal, Ovid, Lambeth, Montfort, and Versa. No, not Versa the car—this was a man. Our family uses normal names, too, but they’re not as much fun to discuss, are they?

One thing I’ve noticed is that some of the older names are being revived. Names like Aidan, Liam, Maeve, Nula, and other Scottish and Irish names. Since I love history, I'm pleased these are being preserved.


An area of change that disturbs me is in English grammar and punctuation. (By the way, I refuse to give up the Oxford comma.) I saw an article on the trend toward no punctuation or capitalization. What? Why?

then my sentence would be like this and you wouldn’t know when the new one begins do you like this idea i don’t i think it is confusing and can result in misunderstandings you might even give up would you read an entire book in this form

Like the dismissal of cursive from schools and then it being reinstated, I suspect the lack of punctuation and capitals will be replaced by sanity and clarity. But that’s just me.

By the way, I have a new release. I know you aren't shocked that I want to tell you about a new book. Keep in mind this is hard for us introverted authors. Growing up we were told NOT to call attention to ourselves or brag about accomplishments. I ask you--how else can we sell our books?  

Widowed Charlotte Dunn struggles to save her ranch from a vicious neighbor.

CHARLOTTE’S CHALLENGE is a sweet western historical that is part of the diverse The Golden Legacy Series. Please allow me to be immodest and admit I love this story for several reasons. One is that I’ve never before written an amnesia story. I enjoy including children and this has three. The way the hero and heroine act toward children gives a great deal of insight into his or her character. I had fun with a secondary character called Moose. I picture him looking like Sam Elliott, one of my favorite actors. One of my beta readers say him as Festus on "Gunsmoke". Ken Curtis, who played Festus, has a beautiful singing voice but who has a more mesmerizing speaking voice than Sam Elliott? Sigh. But I digress...

You can find CHARLOTTE’S CHALLENGE at the Universal Amazon link  (hint, hint)

CHARLOTTE’S CHALLENGE is available in e-book and in print. Also, it is in Kindle Unlimited. 

Here's the blurb:

A widow determined to save the family ranch…

A man who inherited cursed pirate gold…

They must combine efforts to defeat an evil man.

Bret Craig is a descendant of one of the crew of The Golden Fleece. Over a century ago the merchant ship had prevailed against pirates carrying a treasure of cursed Inca gold. The legacy promises retribution against anyone who misuses the treasure. Bret has heard the story all his life but he believes the tale is a myth and that he’s in no danger if he spends the money selfishly. Ignoring his sister’s warning, he sets out for a grand adventure heading west.

Widowed former mail-order bride Charlotte Dunn is in danger of losing the family ranch. She lost her husband to a rustler’s bullet when half the cattle were stolen and both ranch hands were killed. When she and her stepsons rescue a man who fell from his horse, they learn the man has amnesia. From his saddlebags, they determine his name is Bret Craig. Charlotte nurses Bret, manages the ranch, and cares for her three stepchildren she loves. No sooner does Bret regain his memory than they discover the remainder of the ranch’s herd has been rustled.

Bret re-evaluates his priorities in order to embrace the love blossoming between Charlotte and him. How will they save the ranch and recover the stolen cattle?

Fall into Love:Romance Gems Giveaway

& Newsletter Sign-up

Win a package of 12 Romance E-Books

I've teamed up with 10 fabulous romance authors for this giveaway campaign. 

Click here to sign-up for our newsletter lists and toss your name into the hat to win a 12-e-book romance package!


This giveaway runs until
September 30, 2020

Only one entry per person, please!

Three (3) winners will be chosen on October 1, 2020


Sign up to receive the email newsletter lists for all the authors below. Each author sends periodic updates of new releases, sales, book discounts, free ebooks, and more... Be the first to get all the news and the scoops on these authors! (Newsletter will start delivery in October.)

Maddie James ~ Jan Scarbrough
Kathleen Lawless ~ Kara O'Neal
Lucinda Race ~ Kari Lemor
Marcia King-Gamble ~ Liz Flaherty
Caroline Clemmons ~ Joan Reeves
Nancy Fraser
Read more here!

Have a wonderful rest of September. I’ll see you in October.

Keep reading romance! We'll keep writing.


Saturday, September 19, 2020

Canning Lids? by Lucinda Race #RomanceGems

 Hello again, 


With all odd things happening in our world I’ve discovered canning lids are in scarce. With the approach of fall I like to can applesauce, tomatoe sauce  and maybe make jam or relish. So off I go to the first store to purchase lids. Nowhere to be found. I asked the check-out clerk and she smiled. Sorry, we’re out of those. You can try back next week.

Not a big deal. Stopped at the hardware store, and another and the grocery stores all with the same luck. I came home empty handed. So, I go online. I will not pay those kinds of prices. It was like trying to buy other items earlier in the year. Remember toilet paper? 

I’ve concluded I’m going to have to plug in my spare freezer and spend the extra money on electricity to preserve the harvest from our garden and yes, my homemade applesauce.  I’m not complaining but it is easier to pull a jar of applesauce from the shelf for dinner than think ahead and defrost one. But for the taste of fall, it’ll be worth it. 


In book news – I’ve sent the first book in The Crescent Lake Series, Blush, to my editor for her review. But a funny thing happened when she received the email. She emailed me suggesting I switch the name of my town and winery. Apparently a somewhat famous horror movie franchise was based at Camp Crystal Lake. Not being a fan of anything horror I had no idea. So, I needed to think of a new town and winery name with the same roll-off-the-tongue sound. Thanks to other writers and avid readers Crescent Lake was born. I’m still on track for a projected release of January 2021.


If you’d like to keep up with more news join my newsletter subscribers. Each month I give away something, books in print or e-books and swag.  Coming in December I’m going to release to my newsletter people the prequel to the Crescent Lake Series, Vines. You won’t want to miss it. 

Until next month, 

Be happy and stay healthy,