Monday, November 30, 2020

Thank you, Berta Ruck by Liz Flaherty #RomanceGems

In this month of American gratitude in 2012, the Word Wranglers (another blog I write for) chose one person they were grateful to in the business of writing. Narrowing it down, D’Ann Lindun said, was going to be tough. It was for me. Would it be for you? Give it some thought and let us know which ONE person you’re grateful to. 

My aunt had more books than you could shake a stick at. She bought them from a book club back in the…well, way back, and they resided with paper covers intact on a tall shelf in the corner of the living room. I read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Joy In the Morning, The Hoosier Schoolmaster, Elsie Dinsmore, Rose In Bloom, the Pollyanna series, and a plethora of Gene Stratton-Porter books, to name a few. I sat cross-legged with my back against the wall and lost myself in the South, in New York City, in backwoods Indiana.
And then I read His Official Fiancée by Berta Ruck.
Oh, my God.
          The book was written in 1914, one of 80 novels published by Ms. Ruck. There were two movies made of the story, the first one silent. It was hilarious. It was loving. It was…oh, Lord, it was so romantic. It was written in the flowery, Britishy language of old movies and it was…did I say it was romantic?
          I don’t remember if it was the first romance I ever read, but it’s the first one that made me go “ahhh.” I already knew I’d be a writer—Louisa May Alcott taught me that—but Berta Ruck is the reason I write in the language of Happily Ever After. She died in 1978 at the age of 100 years and nine days. She published books from 1905 – 1972.
          Thanks, Berta Ruck.
If you haven't visited Dickens, a glorious, snow-covered little town in New England, now's your chance. Not one but 10 stories of love and laughter and the mending of regrets. Berta Ruck would have a ball there, and so did we!

December starts tomorrow. Enjoy every day!

Sunday, November 29, 2020

A Feast to Remember

 by Nora LeDuc

Heater-Pic taken ahead of time

Thanksgiving is over, and it's been another unusual event for 2020. Because of the pandemic, my daughter had suggested we hold our 2020 festivity on her deck. Although I wanted to have a family dinner, eating in the chilly forty degree weather wasn't appealing. Not to be deterred, my daughter had ordered an outside heater. All right, problem solved. Her enthusiasm vanished when she and her husband assembled the mini furnace and found you had to sit on top of it to stay warm. This kind of destroyed the whole social distancing idea. 

Next up was my son. He and his wife had announced they'd skip a group turkey meal this year. I guess he wasn't excited about watching us cut and chew online either. I was just as glad. The day would be carefree, no rush or worrying about which dish would burn. But wasn't that similar to the daily grind? Truthfully, I'd miss getting up earlier, checking if the bird had completely defrosted--it never was, struggling to get the heavy roaster in the oven-OK, my husband usually managed that task, not forgetting the stuffing—all those things I promised not to repeat—but usually did. Another idea sprang to mind. I contacted my brother. He always joined us on this holiday and brought his Christmas gifts with him. A true early shopper. Now I told him if he delivered his presents on Nov 26, I'd give him plates to go. I texted my daughter and suggested I'd still do the meal and deliver their food too. She could put in their orders. I was sure my hubby would love to bring them over. (Son thanked me but opted out on the offer since it was a long trip to his home.) And so our day went. I cooked a 21 pound turkey-not completely defrosted. I  burned the rolls, and I made up take out boxes.  


Now we can't wait for our thankful holiday next year, Those celebrations will be twice as sweet. We'll raise our glasses in a toast to happiness, health, and to 2021, the year of togetherness.

And speaking of the holidays, a big thanks to all who have bought my book CHRISTMAS at the EASY BREEZY. It's not too late to buy it for only .99 and enjoy the heroine and hero discovering the true meaning of love, family and second chances at the Easy Breezy Diner. And there are many other terrific Christmas stories out there by my fellow Romance Gems. Just check their Christmas Comes to Dickens boxset.

Happy Holidays, My Friends.
We're almost there, 2021 and the
Path to Wellness. 


Saturday, November 28, 2020

My Grandparents by @KaraONealAuthor #RomanceGems

My grandmother was a teacher and a working mom in a time when women didn't do that. She was an English teacher for 30 years and ended up being Regional Teacher of the Year. She was a Kansas Princess who became a Texan's wife. She started and maintained the public library in her town, and she owned over 1000 books herself. Which she organized into her own personal card catalog. And boy howdy, was she smart. Playing Twenty Questions with her was like...well...the hardest thing ever.

My granddad, her husband, was a pharmacist. He took over his father's confectionary shop when he got home from WWII -- he was a Sea Bee -- and put a pharmacy in it. It was a drug store, complete with a soda fountain and booths and swivel seats. And Blue Bell ice cream. He was a hard worker. Gentle. Kind. And his parents were from Spain -- but that's a story for another time.

My grandma grew up picking cotton. She quit school when she was in 3rd grade in order to help her family pick cotton. They moved around a lot. She was German, Texan, sweet as jam and pie, and couldn't raise her voice. Even when she tried. She had three rowdy boys -- and I do mean rowdy -- and she couldn't holler at them. She could cook like you would not believe and playing scrabble with her was impossible. She won every time.

My grandpa started working when he was 12. He had twelve brothers and sisters and he had to make money. He was the second oldest and worked on a diary farm. All the money he made he sent home. His employer fed him, and he slept in the loft. He was German, hard-nosed, hard-working, and a Sergeant in the Army during WWII. He died on Thanksgiving Day.

I've been thinking about them a lot lately. Probably because of the holiday. I hosted Thanksgiving this year. It was my second opportunity to host.

I also happen to be the keeper of many of my grandmother's and grandma's things.

I served the turkey on my grandmother's Thanksgiving platter, and we ate off of her wedding china. I sat at her Duncan Five table and in her folding chairs. And all of the platters and china I used are stored in my grandma's china cabinet.

This Thanksgiving was a sweet and blessed day. I felt so very close to all four of them. Losing my grandpa on Thanksgiving was tough. He died in 1998, the year I got married. He's been gone for awhile now, so I can think of him without tears, but that love/pain is there in my chest. I miss him. I miss all of them. They're all gone now, but I know they watch over me.

I also ended up dedicating my most recent book to them. It's weird how things work out. The story got me thinking about them because, well, the heroine, Truly Cunningham, gets married on Christmas day. And my grandma got married on Christmas day. That's the day my grandpa had off from work. The only day, in fact.

There's so much more I could say about these four people. Even now, I thank them often for being there for me and shaping me into the person I am.

The Christmas Bride released on November 21st! It is $0.99 cents and ready to help you snuggle up and get cozy during this upcoming winter season!

The Christmas Bride
Historical Romance

Truly Cunningham flees after her fiancé jilts her for her sister. With nowhere to go, she ends up in Pike’s Run, Texas, hiding in the town’s opulent Royal Hotel. As she nurses her pain, finding no comfort in the Christmas season, she is slowly running out of funds. She must find a way to support herself or return to Dallas where her sister is the wife Truly had planned to be.

Alfred Taylor, manager of the Royal Hotel, hates Christmas. The decorations. The celebrations. The presents. All of it. And he must help the Ladies’ Auxiliary put on the Christmas Eve social. The only bright spot is the presence of a new guest, Truly Cunningham. She is beautiful, mysterious, and warming parts of his heart he thought dead.

When Truly asks for a position in his hotel as hostess of the establishment, Alfred immediately hires her. Which becomes dangerous. He can’t stay away from her, and even worse, wants to spill his secrets. Will he lose his one chance at happiness, or will Christmas finally give him the hope it promises?

Friday, November 27, 2020

Post-Thanksgiving gratitude by Peggy Jaeger

 Yesterday, here in the lower 48 ( heehee) + Alaska and Hawaii, it was Thanksgiving. This year's holiday was like no other in any of our memories. The last pandemic was over 100 years ago, so no one really remembers what Thanksgiving 1918 was like.

But we will remember this year's holiday. We'll be talking about Thanksgiving 2020 for years to come - to our grandkids who may be too small now to have memories of the upside down world we now live in; in decades retrospectives on New Year's Eves to come; even in books about this time period which will one day be called "historical."

This was the first Thanksgiving in my 60 years that I spent away from most of my family. We're being responsible and since my daughter lives in a state with travel restrictions - as do hubby and I - we made the decision to stay home, stay safe, and do our part to prevent this scourge from spreading.

And it was hard.

Really hard.

But it made us reflect on what's really important. When all is said and done, it's family that matters more than anything else.

 If I can say one good thing about this pandemic - and believe me I can only say 1 good thing about this pandemic - it's that by staying home and staying safe, we've all come to realize the importance of the people in our lives. Yes we are all missing things - going out to dinner, seeing a movie, therapy shopping. But they are just things. It's the people who matter the most. Not being able to see my daughter yesterday means that I made it safe to see her in the future. By staying away, now, we will all be able to be together later on because we will all still be here, alive and well.

My husband and I typically go to mass on Thanksgiving morning, this year no exception. Yes, we wore our masks. Yes, we socially distanced as per church and state guidelines. And yes, I said a prayer for all those close to me and for our world in general. And I said a big thanks to God for giving us the courage and strength to weather this stressful time.

Rose Kennedy is credited with saying, after her oldest son was killed in WWII, that she knew God would never give her a burden too heavy for her to carry. This pandemic is a burden to the world and I feel that we have the strength to get through it and come out on the other side stronger and more thankful.

So. No book promo from me today, even though it's Black Friday and I've got 3 new books out ( hee hee and hint hint!) Just a simple moment of gratitude and thanks, instead.

See you next month peeps. ~ Peg 

Thursday, November 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: The Holidays!

Ahh…Thanksgiving in the USA. No denying, we’re in the thick of the holiday season now! 2020 certainly poses challenges and will be one for the history books. But in talking with folks, I realize every holiday season sparks a myriad of thoughts, emotions, and memories. For some it’s a chance to reflect and count blessings. For others, the holidays bring back childhood memories and good times. Some bask in joy while others just shrug it all off. And this can change from year to year as life does.

So, as this 2020 holiday season officially kicks off, tell me what you’re thinking, what you’re planning, what you’re remembering. Share a funny story, a cooking fiasco, a tradition. Or paint a picture in our minds of days gone by. Let’s talk!

“Two years ago, my husband and I were on the beginning of a six month RV trip. We’d planned Thanksgiving with Pennsylvania cousins, but a foot of snow made us head south early, to Asheville, NC. Since we had no family to celebrate with, we booked a tour of the Biltmore mansion and had dinner in the nearby village. The mansion was completely decked out for Christmas already and was well worth the hefty fee to get in. The buildings and grounds are definitely something to see and the history of the place makes it all the more interesting.” ~ Kari Lemor

Kari Lemor's Thanksgiving trip to the Biltmore

“You know how little boys are. They are curious — especially if your grandfather gets a new cigarette lighter for Christmas. One Christmas when I was about four, one boy cousin caught the curtains on fire by the tree. The grownups were watching TV in another room. I screamed. My father and uncles rushed into the living room and put out the fire. I saved the day, and boy cousin was sent to bed. This is a picture of my sweet girl cousin and me about that time.” ~ Jan Scarbrough

Jan Scarbrough's Christmas with cousins

“I'm a holiday junkie. I admit it. My two favorite holidays are Halloween and Christmas. One thing I enjoy most about Christmas is spending time with my grandchildren. I was an only child but I was blessed with dozens of cousins, so I grew up on big family gatherings. I love passing down stories of Christmases past when sharing the holiday with my much smaller family now. The picture is from Christmas 1960. I'm the tall one in the back shoving a cookie into my mouth.” ~ Nancy Fraser

Nancy Fraser's Christmas with cousins

“I have discovered that one of my roles in life is to be an Anticipator. That is to say, I always have many plans for the holidays and being productive all through them, but it never happens. This used to disappoint me, both in myself and in the piddly results of my plans, but the truth is I enjoy the anticipation. I like looking at holiday fabric, choosing decorations, deciding which cookies I might never make, and considering hand-made gifts. If I never leave my desk, that's okay, too. Merry Christmas and Happy Anticipating!” ~ Liz Flaherty

Liz Flaherty - Anticipating all she'll do

“Back in the day when I was a flight attendant, there were many holidays I missed. It was the nature of the business, and you learned to roll with it. One of the most memorable was a Christmas Eve spent in Rome. I was a newlywed with a not too happy husband at home. The crew made the best of it. We did a bit of retail therapy, had dinner at a fancy restaurant and ended the evening with midnight mass at the Vatican. Next day I went home to a Charlie Brown tree.” ~ Marcia King-Gamble

Marcia King-Gamble's Christmas in Rome

“So many memories, it’s hard to choose just one. Yet each November I remember a special Thanksgiving.

My father traveled often for work, so when the holiday rolled around, and he was home, I hoarded his time. We watched the Macy’s parade together, eating cinnamon rolls in the blanket fort we built with the dining room chairs. Then Mom told us to take the dog for “a nice long walk” so she could cook in peace. My big sister and brother were in the mix, and too many hungry spectators were clogging up her kitchen. LOL

It was a perfect day—cold and sunny—and Dad and I (and our Dachshund) enjoyed a long walk in the woods. A moment in time I still cherish.” ~ Kathryn Hills

Kathryn Hills - A Thanksgiving walk with Dad

“My kids don’t love turkey. So one thanksgiving I got the brilliant idea to make a lasagna instead of a turkey for Thanksgiving. It did not go over well. Not only did everyone get upset, but I bought the noodles that need to be boiled first, and I did not in fact boil them. It was a crunchy lasagna that tasted of disappointment. It’s something we can all laugh about now.” ~ Laura Hunsaker


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. Happy Thanksgiving, EVERYONE!

~ The Romance Gems ~

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

New Title, Substantially Different Book by Cheryl Bolen


This week is release week for my new book titled A Proposal of Marriage (Nov. 30), though technically the books isn’t exactly new. But it is entirely new. It’s a case of turning a Christian book to a sexy book with a total rewrite. Allow me to explain. 

Almost ten years ago the senior editor of a large publisher that specialized in Christian romances contacted me and asked if I’d like to write for them. At the time, I was about a third of the way into an uncontracted book that was to be in my Brazen Brides series, the first two books of which had been published by Kensington Books in 2005.

That book was going to be a moderately sexy novel featuring a character who’d been in the first two Brazen Brides books. I figured I’d accept the contract (and nice advance) from the Christian publisher, but I’d make it easy on myself by going with the book I’d been working on, take out all the sensuous stuff, and add a little religion. I don’t mean to make light of the Christian aspects of the book. They were heartfelt and I think I succeeded in making them integral to the story.

I ended up throwing out everything in my original version but the characters and the set-up, and the Christian version was published nine years ago. My lovely editor there even sent me a letter saying how much she loved the finished book.

Later, it bothered me that book was smack in the middle of my Brazen Brides series of sexier books, and it wasn’t very brazen at all.

So this year I decided I would republish it in a sensuous version. I completely rewrote that Christian book (I was able to save a lot from the original, sexy draft) and added not only lots and lots of sexual tension building up to the ultimate consummation between my marriage-of-convenience hero and heroine, but I also added back into this lighthearted novel my hero’s nudist uncle who was nixed by my Christian editor. Here’s a short excerpt:

I even had to renumber the books in the series because this one falls at number 3, and a newly issued one would have slotted in at number 6. So I had to move the previous number 3 to 4 and the previous 4 to 5 and the previous 5 to 6!

Though basically I’m happy over the process, there are glitches. Even though the book has been totally rewritten, has a new title and new cover in line with those in my Brazen Brides line (created by Killion) Goodreads lists it along with the original Christian version and keeps all those nine-year old reviews of it—which have nothing to do with the new novel.

For example, a reviewer of the Christian version complains that there’s no heat in the book as there are in the first two books in which my heroine makes appearances. I suppose I’ve just got to hope readers can figure it all out. I’ll try to set the record straight in my release-day newsletter to my fans.—Cheryl Bolen is the award-winning, NY Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than three dozen romances set in Regency England. Look for her at these sites:


Bingeing on Comfort Food, by Judith Hudson

Today it is bright and sunny. A real gift in late November here on Vancouver Island. But cloudless days mean cold days, and that means soup for lunch.

I surprise myself by how often I write about food and cooking in my Fortune Bay books! It seems when I want to show a connection between characters or a sense of stability, I often include comfort food in the scene.  

I don’t consider myself a foody, but we have always enjoyed big family meals, and all of our family gatherings seem to happen over a meal.

Last winter my sister came out from Ontario for a visit here on the Island, and together we went to visit our brother on Salt Spring Island, a short ferry ride away. Because our elderly mother lives near me, we usually visit here, so it was nice on that sunny January, pre-Covid day, to go to his house in the forest for lunch. His wife Susheela served a hearty soup that was a revelation to me. Although I often make soup, it’s usually chicken-noodle, and now that my husband and I are on a strict no-wheat diet, the soups were looking a little thin.

The soup Susheela served that day was wonderful. Thick and creamy with aromatic eastern spices. I phoned her the next day to get the recipe and was happy to learn it was perfect for my husband’s Parkinson’s-fighting diet. Since she gave me  the recipe over the phone, it may have changed a bit in the sharing, but I’ve always been a what’s-in-the-fridge kind of cook anyway, and so is she. 

I called it Coconut Lentil Soup. Now, don’t let the coconut part scare you. It's the secret ingredient! It refers to the canned coconut milk you stir in at the end to thicken the soup and make it deliciously creamy.

Here’s the recipe: (Print it out from my website)

Sauté, in lots of ghee (Susheela) or olive oil (me) –
1/2 a large onion – chopped to dice
2 cloves of garlic, diced
2 tbsp curry powder – or to taste. (Our new curry powder is really hot! so I’ve since reduced the amount.)
1 tsp ground cumin

Add 4 cups chopped vegetables – Winter vegetables like carrots, turnip, cauliflower, celery, broccoli, kale, potato or sweet potato work well. Whatever you have in your fridge.
Add broth (home made is best of course. I save chicken bones and veggie bits in bags in the freezer and cook them up every few weeks. Makes the kitchen smell devine!)
Then add the lentils. Red or brown. Canned would be fine.

I like it a little chunky so when the vegetables are soft I put about 1/3 of it in the blender, or use my immersion blender until the soup is the thickness and smoothness I like. Then add
½ a large can, (or one small can) of high fat coconut milk to add the final creaminess.  
Season with Salt and pepper.

A hearty soup, made from scratch, it warms you from the inside out. I think I’ll make some today.

Find the print recipe here.

Do you make soup from scratch? It's not as hard as you may think. What’s your favourite?

Canadian Thanksgiving was in October, but I want to wish all our American friends a happy holiday. We used to be 14 for Thanksgiving, always at our house, but now our numbers have dwindled and this year we were five. Probably a good thing in these days of Covid lockdowns.

And next month will be Christmas! Oh my! 

To get a jump on your Christmas reading get Starlight and Tinsel, a Fortune Bay Christmas novella, on sale on Amazon from now until Christmas for 99¢.

Stay home, keep your gathering small and above all, stay safe.

Have a happy Thanksgiving.

Judy Hudson

Monday, November 23, 2020

The Citizens Are Coming! by Kathryn Hills #RomanceGems

If you’ve followed this Romance Gems blog for any amount of time, you know the inhabitants of Camp Hills often have adventures. So, why would the Thanksgiving holiday be any different? Sit back, and I’ll tell you a story…

It was autumn more than twenty years ago, and we’d recently moved back to New England after living down south. A homecoming we were excited for, as Mr. H comes from a big family, and relatives would be within driving distance again. We were a happy little family unit with Darling Daughter (DD) and a cute Dachshund puppy. How fun to spend the holidays in our new home!

Darling Daughter was a first grader at the time. New school. New Friends. Thrilled by all the build-up to the holidays, since her new teacher had many projects planned for the class. All good things, because moving can be challenging for any child.

You see we’d left an urban setting for a more rural one, and both DD and the pup were anxious. Everything was different. For starters, it was incredibly dark at night, and there were wild things living in our yard. Deer and fox regularly crossed our lawn, not to mention the flock of wild turkeys and howling coyotes that traumatized the dog.

Fast forward to late November and our first Thanksgiving in the new location. It was an unusually warm afternoon when I picked Darling Daughter up at school the Friday before the holiday. We returned home to play with the dog, her favorite thing to do. Yet DD seemed off, distant, and preoccupied. When I asked what was wrong, her tone and expression turned ominous. “The citizens are coming,” she whispered.

“What?” I asked in confusion. “What ‘citizens’ are coming, and to where?”

“To my school. My teacher said so, and she said we’d better behave, or they’ll be very mad.”

Let me pause here for a moment to explain that I am an avid horror, paranormal, and fantasy reader and movie enthusiast. THIS statement sent chills down my spine.

“Why are they coming?” I prodded.

DD dropped her gaze. “Teacher says we have to serve them.”

Okay. Stop the presses! What the heck is going on here?

Of course, I questioned my daughter further, but it was to no avail. She had no more information to give. Of course, again, it was the weekend before Thanksgiving, so there was no one to call at school to ascertain what was going on.

On Sunday night, Darling Daughter was concerned about going back to school. She told Mr. H the same thing. “The citizens are coming.” He shot me the look.

When I dropped DD off at school the next morning, I assured her I’d find out what was happening. Her answer…with a stoic expression… “It’s too late, Mommy. They’ll be here soon.”


We still laugh about this story each Thanksgiving. Turns out “the citizens” were senior citizens from a nearby nursing facility. The children were hosting them for a Thanksgiving-themed party. Also turns out Darling Daughter’s teacher was a bit wound up about the whole event, and she had warned her students to behave or there would be dire consequences.

The moral of this story? Life with a someday-author—and her imaginative daughter—will be an adventure. Just ask Mr. H. Must be all that excess creativity, flitting about. I’m just glad the movie The Village hadn’t aired yet. 😊

This holiday season, I wish you peace, love, joy, and good health. Share some funny stories with those you love best, even if it is via Zoom or by phone, so everyone can stay safe.

Thanks for reading. Happy Thanksgiving!

~ Kathryn

If you enjoyed my story, please FOLLOW ME ON FACEBOOK for more of my antics.

Sunday, November 22, 2020

There's Thanks in Giving!


By Marcia King-Gamble

I don’t know about you, but frankly I am sick to death of posts about COVID.  They’ve been done ad nauseam and all they do is leave me feeling depressed. We know about the surge in COVID. We know about the lives lost. We know about the importance of wearing a mask in public. No amount of reminding, or lecturing, makes people who are socially irresponsible, become so overnight. They are who they are.

In 2020, more than ever, people have shown us their true selves. I’ve lost supposed friends over this pandemic, and I’ve lost friends over their choice of political party. I respect everyone’s right to vote for a particular candidate, but don’t stuff your beliefs down my throat, and don’t show your disrespect or true feelings in public posts. Your commentary on social media conflicts with what you say to my face. The accompanying ugly cartoons are downright offensive and tell me who you really are. Enough said! This is supposed to be a positive post.

In this month of “Giving” I had to think long and hard about what I’d post. For far too long the true meaning of Thanksgiving has been overlooked.  That fourth Thursday in November has become another of those commercial holidays, where the prime focus is on food and not at all on being Thankful or Grateful for what you have.  The commercials focus on food and family seated around beautifully decorated tables.  But what about gratitude and an appreciation for just being able to provide your family with that food?

There truly is so much to be thankful for.  Food, we have an abundance of, and there are options for those less fortunate, like food pantries and kitchens. Most of us have families who support us, and friends we can rely on. Worst case scenario, we have that option of using the Internet to connect.  Yet over time, Thanksgiving has become more about tablescaping and presenting that huge turkey with all the excessive trimmings. The leftovers more often than not end up in the trash, and then back to our daily lives.

How did it get here?  How did we become a society that takes Thanksgiving for granted? Let’s look at how it all began, and in so doing, dispel some the myths. Contrary to popular belief, and what was taught in school, Thanksgiving was not an annual celebration that began in 1621, nor was it the start of an annual tradition. In fact, there had been similar bountiful gatherings in other colonies earlier that year. 

On Thursday, November 26, 1789, George Washington declared that day a holiday, but only for that year. His decision did not in any way connect it to the Pilgrim feast, although it was promoted as a day of “public thanksgiving and prayer.”

Many, many, years later, 19th century author, poet, and magazine editor, Sarah Josepha Hale, who was highly patriotic, read about the 1621 feast of the Pilgrims. She then began publishing in Godey’s Lady’s Book, recipes for turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie, and she began lobbying to get President Abraham Lincoln to declare the day a national holiday. Sarah used her magazine to gain public support, until finally in 1863, the 4th Thursday in November, was declared an official holiday.

In 1939, President Franklin D Roosevelt moved it back to the third Thursday in November. This decision was supposedly made to help the economy and extend the Christmas shopping season. But there was so much opposition, two years later, he changed it back to the fourth Thursday of the month.

Even back then it was less about being thankful and more about commerce and money.

Given the year we’ve had, won’t it be nice to go back to what this holiday was designed to be, a day of public thanks and prayers? Shouldn’t we be thankful for waking up to see another day, and having the ability to put food on the table? Shouldn’t we be grateful that we’re not staring across the table at drunk Uncle Jack chewing with his mouth open, or having to listen politely to the neighbor making bigoted comments they don’t even know is bigoted?  More importantly, shouldn’t we be thankful for good health, not being at war and a vaccine on the horizon?

To thank my readers, I am inviting you to post pictures of your tablescaping (even if dinner is just for one or two) on my Facebook author page.

The winner receives a $15 Amazon gift card, and I will match that amount with a gift to St. Jude.

To be eligible to win you can sign up for my newsletter here or show proof of purchase of any of my books on Amazon or B&N.  You can upload the receipt when you upload your pics. Make sure your credit card info is not visible if you do.

Gotta be in it to win it. Bless you 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 she can, and caring for her animal family who keep her sane.

Visit Marcia at or “friend” her on Facebook:

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Saturday, November 21, 2020

Gratitude and Appreciation by @JoanReeves #RomanceGems

On November 6, I posted Thanksgiving Gift: Gratitude on my personal blog, SlingWords.

The post was about my giving the Gift of Gratitude during the month of November.

This gift is for the people I love—family and friends—and the people in my professional life who support me and work with me toward a common goal. Of the latter, there are many since I've been in the writing business almost 40 years.

To family and friends, I wrote a card, detailing how thankful I am to have them in my life. Yes, I'm old school in that I think a handwritten card, mailed to the recipient is appreciated.

To those I know online, I also want to speak gratitude and appreciation. That brings me to this post.

Romance Gems Authors

How can I express in mere words, how much I appreciate the Authors of Romance Gems?

Ladies of Romance Gems, you are each a gift to me. 

Without a doubt, these authors are some of the most talented authors with whom I've had the pleasure of working.

They blog each month, they support each other on social media, they write amazing books, and, best of all, they get along with each other. No prima donnas here.

I applaud them, and I want you to applaud them too—and read their books! 

I'm thankful they are a part of Romance Gems. I appreciate them, their time, and their gifts.

Bonnie Edwards
Caroline Clemmons
Cheryl Bolen
Connie Vines
Constance Bretes
Hannah Rowan
Jan Scarbrough
Judith Hudson
Kara O'Neal
Karen Whiddon
Kari Lemor
Kathleen Lawless
Kathryn Hills
Laura Hunsaker
Liz Flaherty
Lucinda Race
Maddie James
Marcia King-Gamble
Nancy Fraser
Nora LeDuc
Peggy Jaeger  

Romance Gems Readers

Readers, I can only say, "Wow!"

We hoped we'd attract those who love romance novels as much as we do. Hurray, we did!

You read this blog, you visit us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You buy our books, you pick up our free books when they're offered, and you enter our contests.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you. (You'll love the holiday book fair we're putting together, Santa's Book Shop.)

With gratitude and appreciation, I thank you. My cup of blessings runs over.

Wishing you all—authors and readers—a season of gratitude, appreciation, and giving thanks. I wish you a holiday that's safe and full of love. 

If it's a video visit, be comforted in knowing you're keeping those you love safe.

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm online! Follow me or just say hello!

Friday, November 20, 2020


By Caroline Clemmons

Although I’m grateful every day, at this time of year each of us is reminded to give extra thanks for all our blessings. I’m happy to have a loving family, a comfortable home, and modern conveniences. Among the latter, I count the internet that has allowed me to become friends with so many wonderful people. 

Those are major parts of my life. In addition, I always appreciate the little things—that can sometimes become big things. Things like . . . 

A child’s laugh

My favorite flower

Someone wishing me a nice day

A warm drink on a cold day

A please or a thank you

Dinner with family and friends

When you’re planning your Thanksgiving dinner, you might appreciate the recipe below. It’s become a favorite of ours.


 2 cups sweet potatoes, cooked (we use a large can)

1 ¼ cup sugar

1 cup milk

2 eggs, beaten

¼ stick butter or margarine

½ teaspoon nutmeg

½ teaspoon cinnamon (I don’t like nutmeg, so I omit it and double the cinnamon)

Mix all together and pour into buttered casserole and bake in a 400 degree F oven for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and cover with the topping:


¾ cups crushed corn flakes

½ cups chopped nuts

½ cup brown sugar

¾ stick butter or margarine, melted

Combine the topping ingredients and spread over sweet potatoes. Return to oven for ten minutes.

This recipe is easy to make and has always received rave comments from those who’ve eaten it. When we take it to potlucks, there is never any left to take home. We’ve even had requests that we bring it to a dinner. If you make the dish, I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.


If you have free time, please read a book by one of the Romance Gems. 

Stay safe and have a Happy Thanksgiving! 

Thursday, November 19, 2020

A week before Thanksgiving and I'm Thankful... #LucindaRace

I love the month of November even as the temps drop and the days get shorter it’s a time to slow down and think about life. I have many things to be thankful for this year. Prior to the Great Pause, we moved my parents back to town. They’re in their 80’s so it was time. Sadly, because of the pandemic, all the cookouts and holiday meals will have to wait another year but at least we can visit in the driveway or bump into them in the parking lot at the grocery store. The highlight of my parents’ days are when they see daughter #2 in the parking lot. It really is the little things that make life worth living. I continue to work from my home office and I’m content to handle the day job responsibility with my two pups sleeping next to my desk and my coffee pot is always hot and the cream always cold. What’s not to be thankful there, right?

In addition to the day job I’ve been writing as if my brain were a faucet and it’s open all the way. Words flow through my fingers to the screen every time I open my current WIP, (work in progress). I will be releasing the prequel, Blends, to The Crescent Lake Winery Series at the end of this month, so make sure you’re on my NEWSLETTER email list to get your FREE copy. 

My most recent project, I’ve released a Christmas novella, Holiday Heart Wishes, as part of Christmas Comes to Dickens anthology. I worked with 9 amazing authors to release this and it is available for a limited time at the special price of 99 pennies… and as our special gift to our readers, a FREE Cookie Recipe book. Christmas Comes to Dickens     It's a Dickens of a Cookie

Before I sign off for this month I’d like to say I’m very thankful to be a part of the Romance Gems group where I can connect with readers who love to read the kind of books that I love to write. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Please know when you open one of my romance novels I strive to write the book that will touch your heart. 

Until next month, 

I wish you happiness, good health and love.





Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Thanks for the Memories @karilemor #RomanceGems


Five years ago, right after Veteran’s Day I lost someone very important to me. My dad. He was someone who always believed in me and supported me in whatever I tried to do.

My dad and me and our dog, Freckles

He’d had Parkinson’s Disease and genetic heart problems for many years. It was difficult seeing him the last ten years of his life as he had always been a very active person prior. He used to run way back when they still called it jogging. He was one of the first people to waterski barefoot and was even offered a job at Cypress Gardens. Unfortunately, he was drafted and spent the next two years in Alaska. Not much waterskiing there.

In those last years I used to visit him in the nursing home, hoping he’d remember who I was. Usually he did. If he didn’t, it was because he thought I was his sister, Jeanne. I did resemble her so I was never upset. 

My dad had written a few books and attempted to get them published so when I told him I had gotten a story in an anthology, he was thrilled. I remember bringing the print copy to his room and showing him my story with my picture in it. Then I signed it and gave it to him. When one of the nurses came in, he told them about my book and said I had dedicated it to him. Well, I hadn’t since mine was only one of twenty-three stories, but I never said a word and allowed him to believe that.

I went to visit him on Veteran’s Day 2015, and he was remarkably lucid and in good spirits. He always seemed to 'wake up' when we talked about my writing. We chatted about my upcoming book that I had contracted with Kensington Publishing. He was so proud and happy for me. Before I left, something made me hug him and kiss him half a dozen times and repeatedly tell him I loved him. More than I typically did. 

Two days later, I got the call he had passed. Not until after the Patriots had won and he had finished his dinner. Then he just took a deep breath and closed his eyes. Just the way we should all leave this world. At peace. And I was, too. I had said my goodbyes and knew he was aware of how much he meant to me. 

Several months later, I actually had a dream where he called me. He was surrounded by his family and wanted to let me know, "I've never felt better!" And his voice was strong just like it used to be. I truly believe he had sent that message so our family could also be at peace.

When my first book came out, of course the dedication was special.

To my Mom for always allowing me to steal her romance novels from her ‘done’ pile. And for my Dad who always encouraged and believed in me. I hope you can look down now and see how much I’ve accomplished. Because you had faith in me.

I know if he was here now, he’d be beaming at all the books I’ve since written.



In my book Elusive Dreams, Tessa was raised in foster care. Her husband, Erik, did some digging using an old picture she had. When he digs up information on her parents, she isn’t sure how she feels. 



“Your dad wanted you to know he started searching for you as soon as he found out. And that he loved you, even then.”

A father. Who loved her. Had loved her for years. How to handle this. Could she even believe it? She’d never had anyone love her. Too many years of being told she was unlovable had closed her heart to that kind of emotion. Except now she loved Matty and Kiki, and they loved her back.

And she loved Erik. Being held in his arms like this had her hoping maybe he could love her too. But he’d known her for too long. Seen her as her total freak self. Some things you couldn’t un-know.

“He wants to meet you, Tess. But said he’d understand if you couldn’t forgive him for deserting you and your mom. I don’t think that’s what he did, but he’s got some major guilt eating away at him. I’m sure he wouldn’t want you to know, but he was crying when he realized he’d finally found where you were and that you were alive and well. You’re named after his mother, by the way.”

 “He cried? Over me?” Someone had cried over her. No one had ever done that.

The sobs shaking her body couldn’t be stopped. How many times had she envisioned meeting her parents and having them be hysterically happy to find her? Too many and she’d convinced herself she was delusional even thinking it. But her father wanted to meet her.

“Yeah, he never stopped looking. But he didn’t know who he was looking for. Or even if you were still alive. He never lost hope that he’d find you though. I showed him a picture of you. He said you look just like your mother.”

“He wants to meet me.” Her chest constricted at the thought. She looked up at his handsome face, so concerned for her. “What if he doesn’t like me?” she sobbed. “What if he sees that I’m a freak? I don’t know if I can do this, Erik.” Too many rejections in the past had colored her thinking.

“You’re not a freak, and you know it.” He’d put on his fierce Marine face. “And he already loves you, Tessa. When he sees how sweet and perfect you are, he’ll love you even more. You have that effect on people.”

Not on you, though. Swirling thoughts ran through her mind. Her dad, Erik, the kids. Too many and too intense. Okay, focus on one thing at a time. Her dad.

“I have a dad. And he loves me.” Or says he does. She still wasn’t sure she believed it.

She hadn’t meant to say that out loud. Erik slipped his fingers through her hair and kissed her cheeks. “You do, sweetie. You do.”


This book is currently on sale for ONLY 99c. But only until Nov 20. That’s TWO days until it goes back to full price. Get it now! 

Buy it here: