Saturday, October 31, 2020
Thursday, October 29, 2020
If you’re a New Englander, you may recall that last year, many towns and cities moved this special event to an alternate date because a Northeaster rainstorm was scheduled to arrive that afternoon. (Now, to be truthful, I’d only heard of Northeaster snowstorms.) To some children, it seemed to be a plot to ruin a celebration. In the end, it was confusing. Some communities chose another night while others stuck with the original. Many youngsters benefitted and went out both evenings.
Before you go, here’s my newest book release Christmas at the Easy Breezy
Sometimes Christmas brings the unexpected…
All Darcy Malone wants is a loving family. Once she had a husband, home, and job she enjoyed. But her husband betrayed it all, and now, in search of her roots, she finds her grandmother in a small New Hampshire town. Except sometimes family isn’t what you expect at all…
And don’t forget to get your copy of Last Chance Beach the box set. Time is almost up to get this collection of 14 short stories by 14 award-winning authors.
Stay healthy and may you read many great books, Nora.
Wednesday, October 28, 2020
I was in high school when I read my first historical romance. While I enjoyed the love story VERY much, I was also drawn to the details and facts the author shared about the characters' daily lives. There were duties and objects and fashions that I had never heard of until I started reading historical romance.
For example, it was Mary Balogh who taught me what a "forlorn hope" was. And I learned from Maggie Osborne that if you wanted to get over Chilkoot Pass during the Alaskan Gold Rush, you had to keep walking or you might just go sliding right back down. And no one was going to help you.
I found that I loved those little nuggets of information. They were so interesting and made the story better. They pulled you into the time period and made the setting richer and easier to connect with.
Many years ago, I took a tour of a Victorian home in Galveston, Texas. It was there where I learned what carpenter's lace was. So many of those houses had all that intricate and beautiful woodwork. What I didn't realize, probably because I was born when suburbs became the norm and every fifth home was the same, was that these carved pieces of artwork were all different. And they didn't always have to be on the outside of the house.
The docent called it "carpenter's lace", which was each carpenter's trademark, and became his signature. Isn't that cool? A carpenter would sign the houses he built, just like an artist signs a painting. Once the builder created his signature, he would put it in a spot in the house, making it possible for people to identify his work.
I loved that soooo much, and I knew I had to put this little tidbit in a book.
Love's Promise releases on November 7th. It is the sixth book in the Texas Brides of Pike's Run series. One of the main characters, Jonas Boswell, is a carpenter, and I wrote a wonderful scene where he shows the woman he loves his handiwork. I love that scene so much and a snippet of it is below.
Is there something interesting that you learned from a romance? Please share below and you could win a book from my series!
Love's Promise: An Excerpt
She shook her head then turned toward the house.
When he would have hurried her up the steps, she stopped to take in the view. He was so ready to get her inside and show her his woodworking abilities, he’d forgotten she might want to admire the outside first.
He looked at it through her eyes, wondering what she would think. The house was yellow with white trim. The front had two bay windows, one on either side of the wide porch, set under twin gables that had barge board, carved with a leaf design, running along the edge. The trim under the roof overhang had been shaped into waves and went from one end to the other.
“How beautiful,” she breathed. “It’s like a fairytale.”
There weren’t any other words she could have said that would have pleased him more. He’d almost abandoned the project when his wife died. She’d passed when the structure was only a shell, and the frames had stood almost as another marker for her departed soul. Eventually, he’d needed something to do and had been surprised when completing the house had provided solace for his grief. When he looked at it now, he always saw Mary’s proud expression in his mind’s eye. “Let’s go inside,” he urged.
She said nothing but allowed him to take her by the hand then up the steps. When she entered, she gasped at the high ceiling. He’d left the entry open to the top floor. There was a window intricately placed above the door to allow the setting sun to shine through.
“Oh, Jonas! How beautiful.”
The wonder on her face gripped him as nothing ever had before. She treated his home as if it were some kind of priceless painting. To him it was. To others…well, he’d never expected such a reaction.
“The shine is gorgeous. The beams are so rich.” She turned in a circle, running her enraptured gaze over every inch of the ceiling.
“Thank you,” he murmured. Inadequate words, but they were all he could think of. “They’re mahogany.”
When she finally took her gaze from above and looked at the entry, he waited with bated breath. Would she think the rest as beautiful?
She assessed the curving staircase and reached out a shaky hand to touch the newel post. “You carved this.”
It wasn’t a question. It was a statement of amazed wonder. He said nothing and swallowed past the lump in the base of his throat.
Then she found the floor with its snowflake shadows made by his woodworking skills. “Jonas!” she gasped. “It’s lace!”
While she stared with wide eyes, he cleared his throat and explained. “Carpenter’s lace. It’s my signature.”
Her gaze switched to him. “Your signature?”
He pointed to the edge of the ceiling where the stairs disappeared onto the second floor. “See the design here?”
She tipped her head up. “Oh, I do,” she breathed. “It’s a carved detail you added, and when the setting sun shines through, it makes lace shadows on the ground.” She reached a hand up. “I’m too short.”
She didn’t need to ask twice. He stepped forward then lifted her at the waist, her soft feminine curves making his gut clench with desire. She giggled but didn’t tell him to put her down. Gingerly, as if it were precious, she touched the grooves of his signature, running her finger along the carvings.
When he set her down, she gazed at him. “A carpenter signs his work? Like a painter signs a painting?”
He nodded. “It’s usually called carpenter’s lace. When you begin your business, you develop one and put it in a spot in each house you build.”
“This is fascinating. I knew you were talented, but I underestimated how much.”
Heat climbed into his cheeks. “Thanks,” he said sheepishly.
“Are you embarrassed?” she asked, her mouth curving upward in pleased surprise. “Or modest? That’s it. You’re modest.”
He shrugged then held out his hand. “Wanna see the rest?”
Her gaze lowered to his outstretched palm, and he waited with his breath held for her to accept his touch again. When she slid her fingers through his, tingles shot up his arm and sent warmth to areas that had been dormant for too long. He tugged and she followed.
Jonas Boswell is enchanted by Sugar Fremont. He fights the attraction, not wanting to risk his heart after experiencing the death of his first wife. Falling in love again has never seemed possible or safe. But then Sugar appears with her bouncing, red curls and shining, blue eyes, and he is lost.
Thomas Miller gives females a wide berth. After living with three sisters, he finds women frustrating and irritating. And Cora Ann Carter is no exception. However, her feisty nature and bold curves draw him in until he doesn't recognize himself. It's all he can do not to drag her down the aisle.
Reverend Aidan Black had his heart broken many years ago. He swore off women and made his flock his priority. Then Eliska Spencer crosses his path. She is kind. And gentle. And giving. His heart melts, and he is powerless against her. He vows to make her his own.
But the ladies’ past looms, invading their future and stealing their happiness. All the women want is to love and be loved. Can they achieve their dreams, or will the men in their lives prove too stubborn to forgive their past?
Tuesday, October 27, 2020
Halloween is just around the corner. I'm not gonna talk about how it will be such a different celebration this year because of the way the world is right now. I mention Halloween as an introduction to my topic today WHY I LOVE TO BE SCARED.
Now, I often admit, I am not like other people. If you've ever read my bio sheet on my webpage you know there are some unusual things about me. One eye larger than the other, my favorite book and song, and the fact that I love scary movies - the scarier the better.
And I'm not talking about those torture-porn movies like SAW 1- 56, or The Texas chainsaw massacre. Those movies were made for bloody shock value and aren't scary as much as shocking and...gross.
No, I'm talking about melt down in to your seat, cover your eyes, close one of them, and don't breath, scary movies.
For example... when I was a 12 THE EXORCIST premiered. People were fainting and throwing up in the theater. Not me. I hunkered down and planted my butt waaaaaay down in the seat, lifted my legs so my knees were up around my chin and then spent two hours scared to death.
Loved every second of it.
The OMEN was another childhood scare fest. SILENCE OF THE LAMBS still gets to me when I catch it while channel surfing. And forget about JAWS. I haven't dipped a toe in the ocean since that movie released in 1975.
Those are the movies that do it for me, not the persistent blood, guts and gore of so many filmmakers theses day. To be truly scared you need to have a visceral reaction to what you are seeing, plus an intellectual one - where you ENVISION or just know what is going to happen, and THAT is why you are terrified. In writing we call this foreshadowing during a romantic suspense novel. Great filmmakers like Alfred Hitchcock and Steven Spielberg know this and it shows in all their films.
SO, tell me, because my inquiring mind wants to know: What was the scariest movie you ever saw, and why was it so scary?
On that note, I wish everyone a Happy Halloween, albeit it will be a different day than we're used to. I didn't even buy candy this year!!
Looking for me ( on Halloween or any other day, lol?) here I am: FOLLOW ME
Monday, October 26, 2020
Sunday, October 25, 2020
Tomorrow my seventh offering in the Brides of Bath, Once Upon a Time in Bath, will be published. I never expected the series to go to seven books—and counting.
I conceived a Brides of Bath trilogy a little over 20 years ago. In 2001 Kensington Books, which publishes Zebra Historicals, bought the trilogy, and it was published only in mass market paperback the following year. (No eBooks back then.)
The series’ performance must have pleased my publisher because my editor came back the next year and asked me to publish a fourth Brides of Bath book.
I was in a bit of a quandary. The trilogy was about the Pembroke siblings which consisted of the Viscount Sedgewick, his widowed sister Felicity, and their flight younger sister Glee. Other than Felicity’s friend Carlotta, I didn’t think my cast offered further candidates for heroes or heroines, so I did the unthinkable.
I killed off a character from a subplot in Book One, The Bride Wore Blue. (I will never again do that. Readers loved that beloved character.)
Publisher Picked All My Titles
So the fourth book was published in 2004, again only in paperback. My publisher titled it An Improper Proposal. I was mortified. There was no improper proposal in the entire book. When I got back my rights to that book seven years later I renamed this marriage-of-convenience story ToTake This Lord.
All of the first four Brides of Bath books’ titles were created by Kensington. They did well with the first, naming it The Bride Wore Blue (though my original story did not have a blue wedding dress!).
I also liked the second book’s title: With His Ring. It fit and had a good sound.
In the third book, Kensington selected A Fallen Woman over my cheesy title Beleaguered Bride. At first I really liked the A Fallen Woman. However, though readers loved that deeply emotional read, sales were abysmal. After I thought about it, I realized that I probably wouldn’t purchase a book about a fallen woman. When I got back my rights to that book, I titled it The Bride’sSecret.
Extending the Series Twelve Years Later
Twelve years after the original trilogy was published I added Book 5, Love in the Library, and later that year I offered a novella titled Christmas in Bath, where all the characters from the previous books (except the “fallen woman”) play a part, along with a fresh romance. In that novella, I got the opportunity to tie up some loose ends from earlier books—loose ends my Kensington editors never saw, but readers did!
And tomorrow Once Upon a Time in Bath launches. For years readers have been asking for Appleton’s story, and finally I’ve listened.
There’s one more secondary character from the original cast that readers want to get his own story. Right now he’s The Last Bachelor.
And then The Last Bachelor has sisters who just may need to find husbands . . . Cheryl Bolen is the NY Times-USA Today bestselling author of more than three dozen books set in Regency England, many of which have won Best Historical honors. She’s a former journalist, teacher, and PTA mom who’s a frequent traveler to England and an addict of diaries of dead Englishwomen.
FREE! For a limited time, the second Brides of Bath book, With His Ring, is free.
Saturday, October 24, 2020
A story idea has to start somewhere, often with a random thought or image. For me, it is usually a place, or more specifically, an old building. In my current work in progress, it’s a hunting lodge. So far, predictably, I call it The Lodge.
This image is sort of what I had in mind, only bigger and more elaborate because it was built by the protagonist Holly’s great grandfather who was a lumber baron in the Pacific Northwest at the turn of the last century. A Victorian monstrosity, to quote Holly.
All of my stories seem to center around these buildings, and I have to wonder – what is it about old, derelict buildings and ruins that intrigues me, and how do they impact the people in the story? The more I think about it, the more I see it is the history of these places and the stories they tell that gives my imagination flight.
The cabin in the Fortune Bay series is a good example.
This building was around the corner from a house I lived in for a number of years, and I set the Fortune Bay stories around it. In the first story, the cabin has been empty for years, since Aunt Augusta died, but the spirit of the old lady is still active and eager to interact with the new story residents.
In Temple of the Jaguar, the first Rocky and Bernadette mystery, it was a visit to an ancient Mayan ruin in the jungle that set my mind racing.
Beginning to see the pattern? The Lodge started out with the idea of the lodge itself, loosely patterned on a few old lodges I've visited here on the Island and in Washington State. In this book, Grandad has died and left it to two granddaughters he’s never known, and who don’t know him. Holly, the protagonist in book one, has only a vague memory of a long ago visit when she was a very young child. Now he’s gone, and she’s left to piece together the family history through secrets hidden in plain sight in the rundown old mansion.
Of course, there are more pieces to the story puzzle, but that was the start. There was Covid, and family interruptions, but now I’m glad to be back in the story again!
As a reader, I'm also often drawn to old house settings, going right back to Nancy Drew and The Mystery at the Moss-Covered Mansion. What kind of books are you drawn to? Do you find yourself returning to the same kind of story again and again? Does setting play a part?
Talk to you again next month.
Friday, October 23, 2020
It’s no secret. Anyone who knows me knows I LOVE Halloween. Not just because I enjoy scary things or buckets full of candy. (Um…we’ll talk about that later) The thing that truly gets me, right in my pumpkin-spiced-loving heart, is the excitement and mystery of the weeks leading up to the 31st. It’s that unsettled feeling, those goosebumps and shivers, which hint that something unexpected—even magical—is about to happen.
Thursday, October 22, 2020
By: Marcia King-Gamble
Most people think there's only one season down south, Summer! Summer! and more Summer! But that's so not true.
We have a wet season, dry season, and eternal summer. All three tend to go on forever. But if you live here long enough, you realize that the seasons may be defined by what the locals wear.
Right now, it's mid-October, considered almost the dry season,but reality says differently. It's been pouring nonstop for days, and it is still hot! hot! hot! My air conditioning is on full blast, and because of the heat factor (high eighties), I am still wearing shorts (a no-no for locals after September). For you folk up north, think of it in the same manner as wearing white after labor day.
Let me tell you a secret. As the cooler, drier season approaches, we can usually spot tourists because they are the only ones in shorts. The same goes for picking out tourists/snowbirds in nice restaurants and bars. Rarely will you see a local out in shorts at night, unless they are heading for a Tiki bar, and even then. Enough said. Google snowbird.
The holidays, though, are an entirely different matter. Down south, we use any excuse to get in the mood and party. I have seen more snowmen on lawns in a place that never snows, than I have ever seen up north. Yes, we like snow and cold weather from a distance, and in December we've even brought snow making machines in so young kids can play.
When October comes around, we 're thinking holidays. The pinks, reds and teals get exchanged for oranges, yellows and browns. The lemons, pineapples and sunflowers are put away,( I still rock em until I can't find em), Then again, I dance to a different beat, and always have. I am a sucker for the holidays and my cluttered garage is testimony to that.
Come any change of season, the frustrated decorator in me emerges. The key is to bargain shop for those decorations. If they don't work, toss them out. Here's what I did with my table, and it's super easy to do. Use wine glasses if you don't have candle holders. These are easily picked up at stores like Marshalls, or Old Time Pottery. Fill the bowl up with leaves or fake veggies bought at the Dollar Store. The other option is turning over the candle holders, keeping the fruit, potpourri or whatever you've added in the bowls. The flat parts, or feet now become your candle holders. Add candles or tea lights and you are rockin' n rollin'.
Your table can adjust to the seasons by simply changing what you've placed in the bowls. You can circle the base with festive wreaths, or have Mardi Gras beads hang from those bowls. Here's what I did for Easter and Christmas.
Now I have Halloween on the brain, and I'm thinking about what I'll be wearing to the party. Virtual this year, of course. I am a fan of the homemade costume. Check your closets, add a couple of accessories from Walmart or the Dollar Store, and you are set. This is my Alice White Rabbit costume, consisting of one white jumpsuit, and a Dollar Store boa and bunny ears.
Have a Happy Halloween one and all!
Originally from a sunny Caribbean island where the sky and ocean are the same mesmerizing shade of blue, this travel industry executive 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, and caring for an animal family that keep her sane. Well almost.
Visit Marcia at www.lovemarcia.com or “friend” her on Facebook: http://bit.ly/1MlnrIS
Be sure to email her to join her mailing list.
Wednesday, October 21, 2020
Ah...the holidays! The spookiness of Halloween, the good food and family gathered around the Thanksgiving table. Then, there's Christmas and the author's urge to write a story worthy of a Hallmarkesque holiday movie with all the cozy feels?
However, before we get to Christmas, we have to get past my second favorite holiday ... Halloween! Or, we could just mix the two of them together for some awesome entertainment and a take on Tim Burton's wonderful "The Nightmare Before Christmas".
The holiday season is in full swing in the quaint New England town of Dickens. We have all sorts of fun holiday activities to share such as a Christmas tree lighting in the town square, ice skating on Grosvenor’s Pond, sleigh rides, cutting down your own Christmas tree at Gridley Meadows, caroling on the Common. You name it—Dickens has it all!
While some of our stories may interact with one another, others may not. We hope you will do as we did and enjoy the magic that is the holiday season, no matter when it's taking place.
Our storybook setting abounds with romance, children’s wishes, much needed miracles and—maybe even—a touch of magic!
Join us as our best selling and award-winning authors fill your holiday stocking with ten brand new novellas ranging from sweet to sassy, including:
Millie’s Awesome Holiday Miracle by Top 100 Best Selling Author Nancy Fraser - Can one little girl fill the holiday season with enough miracles for everyone? This story will warm your heart.
Miracle at Holly Hill Inn by Top 100 Best Selling Author Maddie James - Ariana is looking for the perfect Christmas. Instead, she finds a Scrooge. Will two days snowbound at Holly Hill Inn bring them together?
Holiday Hearts by Top 100 Best Selling Author Caroline Clemmons - Laura is funny, beautiful, and smart. She’s not about to date her boss. Can Ward convince her he’s not just looking for a holiday fling?
The Tinsel Tango by Best Selling Author Bonnie Edwards - She needs R&R. He teaches Tango. Or does he? Can love survive secrets & hidden agendas when a dance teacher is exposed as a wealthy tycoon?
Wisdom of the Heart by USA Today Best Selling Author Liz Flaherty - Best friends fell in love in high school. But life, families & distance happened along the way. Could they still be in love?
Operation Snowball by Best Selling Author Kathryn Hills - Returning home to Dickens is hard for Army veteran, John Gridley. The last thing he expects to find is love with a pretty widow.
Angel Kisses and Holiday Wishes by Best Selling Author Peggy Jaeger - Sage left years ago, leaving Keith's heart in tatters. She's back as his grandmother’s doctor. Is there hope for them?
Holly’s Wish by Top 100 Best Selling Author Kathleen Lawless - What if the girl who got away is standing right in front of you? Years ago, they shared one magical Christmas Eve. Is it too late for them now?
Holiday Heart Wishes by Best Selling Author Lucinda Race - Vera picks up Tony, a stranded motorist, on her way back to Dickens. Will they discover their heart wishes can come true at Christmas?
Santa’s Wish by Best Selling Author Jan Scarbrough - Will Christmas magic help them overcome the obstacles of her dashed career ambitions and his grief so they can find a second chance at love?
And don't forget to get your FREE copy of our recipe book It's a Dickens of a Cookie!
Until next month ... stay happy, stay healthy, stay safe and stay well read.