Saturday, May 15, 2021

We deserve it! by @BonnieEdwards #RomanceGems

This month of May 2021 is one of the biggest for change in recent history. (I mean pandemic history) Earlier, we celebrated all forms of mothering whether that means in the traditional sense or step-mothering or grandmothering. 

And now it seems we're celebrating a return to more "normal" things, like travel, family gatherings, (The Brits have reinstated hugs!) and vacations. Whatever we choose to do for ourselves and our mental health, we deserve it. Especially as women. 


Women carry so much of the burden of daily life. We are the keepers of the important "dates" like birthdays, anniversaries, our parents' doctors' appointments, our kids' big days for school life and on and on and on. Even if we aren't mothering in some capacity, we're the doers.

Today I received word from a hotel chain that they would soon be open for business again. Sigh...this is a good thing for my mental well-being. Not that I'm in a position to actually book time away yet. But just knowing that I'm one step closer cheers me. 

As a writer, though, I'm committed to completing projects that I agreed to work on during the darkest days of recent times. I'm so happy I had lots of hours to work and write and do my favourite things. It helped! If you found a new hobby or returned to an old one, please let us know here.

Meantime, I have a cover to show you for an upcoming release! Look for Claiming Shandy Return to Welcome Book 4 this summer! (Just in time for Christmas reading.) You can read it on the beach, in your easy chair, or on a plane on the way to somewhere else...



Just know that you deserve it!

Multi-published author Bonnie Edwards lives with her husband and pets on the rainy coast of British Columbia. Her earthy, irreverent love stories sometimes have a paranormal twist, like curses and ghosts, other times not. But her books always entertain and guarantee a happy ending.

She has written novels, novellas, and short stories for Kensington Books, Harlequin Books, Carina Press, and Robinson (UK) although now she publishes her work herself. Learn about more exciting releases by subscribing to her newsletter, Bonnie’s Newsy Bits.

https://www.bonnieedwards.com/

Follow her on BookBub, a great site for readers and writers to connect and talk books!

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/bonnie-edwards

https://www.amazon.com/Bonnie-Edwards/e/B001IO9UTO

https://twitter.com/BonnieEdwards

https://www.facebook.com/Bonnie.Edwards.Author/


Thanks for stopping by and remember if you've restarted a hobby or taken up something new, we'd love to hear about it. 

 


Thursday, May 13, 2021

For the Love of Cats by May Williams

 

At the risk of sounding like a stock character in a British drama, I love cats, drinking tea, and my garden. Today, I want to talk about my collection of kitties. There have been many cats in my life beginning with my childhood pet, Ginger. I can hardly remember what she looked like now, but I still know the name. Later, there was Mick, a house cat who was so large he was mistaken for a panther. (Not that we have panthers in my part of the country, but Mick was sighted near an elementary school and caused a few minutes of panic before getting a ride home in a police cruiser.)

Jasmine

I currently have two housecats: Jasmine (aka Bubbles) and Misha. Jasmine is 15 years old and rules the household. Note her queenly look. She allows us to pet her on her terms only. Misha is far more friendly, but a classic scaredy cat. If anyone visits, she disappears. Recently, my son was running power tools in the house. Misha, who is not a little cat, wormed her way under the treadmill and didn’t reappear for hours.
Misha


Outside, we have five strays that we feed. They come twice a day for meals and will scratch at the backdoor if we’re running late. They like to sun themselves on the deck, but we don’t get to pet them often. Still, seeing them makes me happy when I get home from work (even if that makes me a crazy cat lady).

Not done yet…Yes, that's right, there are more cats in my life.

My daughter came home from college this week bringing her two cats to add to the mix for the summer. Alice is a beautiful tortoise shell with a lovely personality. She snuggles up next to me on the couch and likes to be held. Her companion, Squeak, is unlike any cat I’ve ever seen. She plays constantly

Squeak
(while making a squeaky noise, hence, the name) and never sleeps for more than a half hour at a time. In a lot of ways, Squeak is like a toddler, constantly moving and getting into things and so much fun. She can't resist pouncing on my desk when I'm writing and playing Godzilla.

Recently, I was out shopping and came across these gems. I couldn't resist cat sneakers. They make me laugh and they're so comfortable. What could be better?

For as much as I love cats, they rarely make it into my novels. I’ve written about dogs and horses. I think my next novel is going to contain a wonderful cat who brings my hero and heroine together.

I'd love to hear about the special cats (or dogs) in your life.🐱

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

This Is Not The Vacation You're Looking For by Laura Hunsaker

 In my day job, I work in an elementary school, and we are about two weeks out from the last day of school. You know what that means...Summer Break! We haven't gone anywhere except the store in so long, that I swear "vacation" isn't in my vocabulary anymore.

At our Mother's Day breakfast, my mom was talking about going to Ireland. My folks used to go every year before...well you know. I was supposed to go to Scotland last year, but...well you know. And my sister was planning an Iceland trip, but...you get the picture. So we were talking about vacations this summer. Well my 7 year old has been learning about Mt. Everest and told me, "Mama did you know that some people take vacations on Mt. Everest?" 

I told her that it didn't sound like a vacation to me, it sounded like a lot of hard work to climb that mountain. She followed up with, "Well what is a vacation, then?"

I instantly replied that I considered a vacation relaxing and fun. And my little one, bless her heart, was silent a moment, and then said, "Oooh. You mean like Target."

I...okay fair. 

Now that I'm vaccinated, I would love a real vacation, not just going on a trip to Target. Somewhere beachy and relaxing, and definitely not Mt. Everest. What is your ideal post-pandemic vacation? Are you an active vacationer like climbing a mountain or hiking the Grand Canyon? Or are you more like me, where you'd prefer a hammock and a drink in a coconut?

If you're dreaming of a beach vacation, you should grab Dreams of the Past now! It's a book that will leave you smiling.


She needs rest, he needs relaxation…

Jenny Travers wants a fresh start. Leaving the nightmares of her past behind her, she heads to Last Chance Beach. Renting the Sea Glass Cottage sounds peaceful and relaxing, which is exactly what she needs.

What she doesn’t need is a man.

Lieutenant Commander Scott Gordon was injured by an IED on his last mission, and while his leg has healed, it’ll never be strong enough to stay on his SEAL team. Renting the Sea Glass Cottage sounds like the perfect place to figure out how he’s going to handle his new normal.

He never expected to find a woman in his bed.

A mix-up at the rental agency means Jenny and Scott are both renting the small cottage. Sharing a space with a stranger should be hard, yet they both feel more at peace than they have in months. Will their summer romance last, or is the magic of Sea Glass Cottage all they’ll have…

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

A WOMAN IS LIKE A ROSE... By Kathleen Lawless @kathleenlawless

 


"A woman is like a rose...if you take good care of her, you will see love blossom.”  Anonymous

This quote certainly applies to all women: wives, friends, mothers, daughters, sisters, as well as sister authors.  As a blog group, the Gems are super supportive to each other and we are all blossoming.

In the world of roses, there are over 150 species and 1000’s of hybrids.  We don’t have quite that diversity among our Romance Gems, but we certainly boast authors who tackle every type of romantic encounter from Time Travelers and Rock Stars, to Cowboys, Older Women with Younger Men, Second Chance, Small Town, Romantic Comedy, Romantic Suspense, Regency, Mail Order Brides, Later in Life, Westerns, Wineries, the list goes on and on.  And that’s just in our talented little group.

Did you ever wonder why roses and romance are a perfect pairing?  White roses are one of the most popular as they represent unity and innocence of first love.  Oh, like some of our books.

No surprise that Red roses are all about passion, desire, and romance; traditional expressions of love.  Which explains the many red roses on book covers and in promotional images.

A Lavender rose symbolizes love or enchantment at first sight.  Yup, I’ve seen that on book covers too.

Because green is a color that is seen everywhere in nature, it’s no surprise that Green roses denote richness, fertility and abundance.

And then there’s the ultimate – the Burgundy rose is all about passion; deeper, more intense passion than even a red rose.


And speaking or red roses, I’m part of a promotion this month aimed at helping readers find new historical series in Kindle Unlimited.    https://books.bookfunnel.com/histrominku/390v3gbn2a

 


Then there was the gift I loved better than the hugest bouquet of roses.  Check out this rustic driftwood bench my children surprised me with one Mother’s Day.  The three of them dropped in, announced they were going to the beach down the road, came home with a load of driftwood and pulled out the tools!  Happy Mother’s Day to me! 


Speaking of weddings and celebrations, I have two brand new releases later this month.  A BRIDE FOR SHANE is my Proxy Bride book that will celebrate its book birthday on the 18th. 

Her brother’s bad boy best friend needs a wife.  


        



A BRIDE FOR RILEY is part of the Mistaken Identity Brides series and joins the world of books on May 28th. 

She’s on her way to the convent.  How does she wind up married instead? 

Two releases in one month?  Why not.  After all it’s May, when Roses, Romance, and Mother’s Day are a natural fit.


Kathleen Lawless blames a misspent youth watching Rawhide, Maverick and Bonanza for her fascination with cowboys, which doesn’t stop her from creating a wide variety of interests and occupations for her many alpha male heroes.   

Her hero, Steele, in HER UNDERCOVER COWBOY, is a modern-day cowboy, so when she was wooed by a man called Steel— while he’s not a cowboy, he is an alpha male and her forever hero.  Which is why all of her stories end Happily Ever After.

Sign up for Kathleen’s VIP Reader Newsletter to receive a free book, updates, special giveaways and fan-priced offers.    http://eepurl.com/bV0sb1

 

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Sunday, May 9, 2021

On the Road Again by Hannah Rowan #RomanceGems

 My sister once told me she knew it was time to move when her oven got dirty or it was time to wash the curtains.

We lived in the same house for almost 40 years before renting the place where we live now, rented mainly because we sold the house but couldn’t figure out where we wanted to go next.

Selling a house you’ve lived in that long means leaving so many things behind. I wonder if the new owners will decide to dig deep into the garden and find the pet cemetery. I wonder if they’ll know the spots where the irises come up in the spring or know not to trim back the gigantic aster bush because it will bloom in the fall. I knew all the plants in the yard and all the strange spots in the house where you had to turn the doorknob just so and to pull the door a little toward me in order to get the key to work. I knew the stain where my mother in law spilled grape juice on my brand new light gray carpet the first time we had a family dinner after we bought it.

More importantly, I had my people and my places. The convenience store where I went for coffee, the dry cleaner where I felt I’d won a victory when the owner finally said hello after grunting at me for several years, the ladies in the library who asked if I was okay after seeing that I checked out several books on depression for writing research, and who admitted they’d been discussing the issue with surprise because I always seemed so cheerful. I knew that the cashier, George, in the grocery store was writing a book and that clerk Janice was studying to be a medical assistant.

Our daughter was horrified at the thought of us selling “her” house even though she said she had no intention of ever moving back to New Jersey. Our son wondered what took us so long.

But now, after a few years in our rented place, I have new people and new places and a landlord who surprised us by telling us he was selling the place and it’s time for us to go.

This move should be easier because we’ve already sold, given away, or tossed huge piles of things. And we have lots of things…um…already packed.  (Never unpacked!)

Moving is an adventure, I tell myself.  Moving is also one of the most stressful things a person can do.

At least we didn’t stay here long enough for me to have to clean the oven or wash the curtains.

  ~  Happy Mother's Day!  ~

 

Friday, May 7, 2021

Write what you know by Jan Scarbrough


My parents were married for fifty-three years. I wasn’t so lucky. I spent many years as a “single mother.” Of course, that experience found its way in many of my books.

The Bluegrass Reunion series has several things in common: Kentucky setting, horses, reunions, and single moms. It wasn’t until twenty years after my divorce that I wrote about a divorced single mom in Kentucky Rain. Kate Lawrence’s rose-colored glasses are rudely yanked off when her divorce leaves her without her home, her friends, and her identity as the perfect stay-at-home wife and mother.

In other series books, my single moms were without the fathers of their children for various reasons. In Kentucky Woman, ex-jockey Alexis Marsden is raising her son by herself until her son’s older brother intervenes by offering her a marriage of convenience.

 Life isn’t easy for the widowed Carrie Mercer in Kentucky Groom. Jay Preston has always wanted to be loved for himself, not his millions, but when the shy widow and her little daughter need him, he offers a marriage of convenience.

Horse trainer Melody O’Shea in Kentucky Flame has given up her daughter for adoption. Ten years later she returns to the Kentucky horse farm where her secret daughter lives, and so does the unsuspecting father. 

Veterinarian Mandy Sullivan doesn’t have room in her life for dangerous risk-takers. She’s too busy being both mother and father to the daughter her sister abandoned in Kentucky Cowboy. When professional bull rider Judd Romeo returns home, Mandy’s perfect and safe life is disrupted big time.

Darby, in the Ghost Mountain Ranch series, is the widowed mother of two adult children, Slade and Kelsey. They both have a story in the series.

The same goes for Liz in the Dawsons of Montana. When a handsome stranger arrives at the ranch, Liz—divorced and widowed—fears her daughter-in-law is playing matchmaker. Her children, Brody and Mercer, are also featured in the series. (This series is on Kindle Unlimited.)

Novelists are always instructed to “write what you know.” I haven’t lived in Medieval England, but I’ve set a story there (after doing tons of research). I once heard an argument by a woman who said she was psychic. She claimed unless you were psychic you couldn’t write about one. But I have. I do suppose putting your experiences into books is only natural. That doesn’t mean I can’t write about a bull rider or a horse trainer if I haven’t been one.

But I have been a single mother.

My mother and I were at odds for many years. I was an only child, and of course, much loved. But I had my growing pains as we all do during our teenage years. By the time my mother died, we were friends. I miss her every day and often want to tell her things that have happened in my life. Most of all, I’d love to share my grandchildren with her. I can hope she's watching from heaven and knows about them, and about how much I still love her.


Thursday, May 6, 2021

Romance novels ARE real life by @amiedenman

Don't be fooled by people who claim books (especially romance novels) are unrealistic. There's nothing less realistic than life itself, right? Writers are often asked where they get their ideas. I get my ideas from real life, voyeurism, eavesdropping, and applying a wild imagination. Sometimes, stories get dropped right in my lap.

If you've been following me, you may know about my Barefoot Key series which is thrilling me with its success. These are funny, first-person romances set on the Gulf Coast of Florida. I LOVE writing this series. So far, there are two books. 

Denman Barefoot Key romances

As I pondered the plot of the third book (coming this summer), I overheard a story from a young man about how his summer beach wedding was almost ruined because the Airbnb he and his bride booked for their wedding had gotten double-booked. 

Can you believe that can happen? 

The other couple had also booked the place for a beach wedding, so there were plenty of hearts on the line. The owner found a solution (he had another house to offer), but what a close call!

Now, what can a romance author do with a story like that? I'm glad you asked. The next book in the Barefoot Key series will involve a double-booked beach bungalow, an artist who just wants to be left alone, and a jilted groom. And, of course, there will be a happy ending.

I'll share more about the next book in the Barefoot Key series next month!

I'd love to connect with you on social media or through my newsletter. Just click on the links below! 😍

Twitter

Facebook

Website

Newsletter

Goodreads

I'm also participating in a Romance giveaway on BookFunnel all month. There are dozens of free books to download, all of them short, sweet, romance reads. Find it here: https://bit.ly/3eg5lkk


 


Wednesday, May 5, 2021

D*mn This Snuck Up on Me ! by Nancy Fraser


I look up from my current work-in-progress and .... all of sudden ... it's the 4th of the month and I have a column due tomorrow. D*mn!

Hmm, what to write??? Do I just recycle an older column? Or, do I try and be brilliant and write something new? Decisions, decisions.

My calendars (yes, I have three) look like war zones. I'm editing two books while writing two more. My brain is surviving on coffee and (self-proclaimed) stupidity.

How did I get myself into this mess anyway??? I blame the pandemic. Why not? We're blaming it for everything else, aren't we? Isolation has given me a really distorted sense of time. It's provided me with so much "alone" time that I have a hard time judging if I'm taking on too much.

Obviously, I am, or I wouldn't have forgotten to write this column until the last minute. Perhaps, I need a vacation. Not that I can stop the stories in my head, or the deadlines, or the need for promotion just by going on vacation -- even if I could travel.

Instead of a vacation away from home, I've decided to take a vacation IN my home. So, I ...

Break out the fancy foot spa my daughter-in-law gave me two or three Christmases ago that I've never taken the time to use. It's a wonderful contraption with not just a huge, vibrating (already, I'm excited) foot massager, but it also has a hot wax tub for my weary, winter-dry feet. This should be fun!

Heck, while I'm at it, I'll make use of the equally fancy manicure kit she gave me last Christmas (I think). Quickly, I get the entire thing set up in my wide-open living area, and I'm ready to go.

First off, I spill hot, soapy water all over the now-slippery bathroom floor. Which, then, splashes out onto the carpeted hallway. Not a great start, given it takes me thirty minutes of my "stay-cation" to clean up the mess. Finally, though, everything's in place and the spa tub filled to the right level.

Feet in, I reach for the switch to turn on the vibrating base. I get a shock. I guess my hands weren't as dry as I thought. I'm suddenly having second thoughts about a foot bath and electricity. Maybe no vibrator for me (now, I'm far less excited).

Oh, and I forgot a towel! I'll have to slowly duck-walk my wet feet back to the bathroom. Or, I could just take off my T-shirt and use it to dry my feet.

Problem solved. 😁

Now, it's time for the hot wax treatment. I'm getting excited again. I read the directions carefully (okay, maybe I glanced at them). I put the appropriate number of blocks of wax into the machine and turned it on. This sucker works fast. It's ready before my feet are dry from their soak.

I carefully check the gauge on the side to make sure I've reached the correct temperature. Success! In goes the first foot. Ouch...that's hot. I'm tough, I can take it. First foot done, second foot in.

The phone...which I left in the office...rings. Loudly. It's a good thing my writing is more organized than my mini-vacation. I ignore the phone. Hopefully, it's not important.

Both feet covered in wax, I go to move the little tub out of the way and splash wax on the floor and--unfortunately--on my T-shirtless chest. Thank heaven for my sturdy, old-lady bra. Staying at home must have altered my depth perception as well, because I'm spilling stuff everywhere. Another thing to blame on isolation.

Just for the record, it hurts to peel this waxy stuff off when you haven't shaved your lower legs in forever (isolation, remember). Soak tub put aside, wax machine set aside, it's time for the manicure. I open the first bottle of polish and promptly manage to spill it on the chair-side table.

That's it ... I'm done. Screw it!

I'm going back to writing books. Lots and lots of books! As frazzled as I am, being verklempt over my screwy schedule beats having to clean up water, soap, wax and nail polish any day! Not to mention, being reminded I should shave my legs!

As for that phone call? It was my son who happened to be in town and wondered if I'd like for him to drop off some lunch from my favorite fast food place. Snooze (or not answer) and you lose, apparently.

Now, I have wax speckles on my chest, my hallway carpet is still wet, I have nail polish to scrape off my end table, and no lunch.

I hope your day is going or went better than mine!

Nancy

Monday, May 3, 2021

Celebrating by Karen Whiddon

Today, May 3, is my birthday.  And it's not just ANY birthday, but a particularly big one.  I am - gulp - 60! 


I remember when I turned 50 and I thought that was SO old.  SMH.  I went out and got my first - and only - tattoo as if by doing that I could prove that I was still young and daring.  Ten years later, I still love my tattoo, and while I seriously considered getting one at 60 too, I'm probably not.  Not only because I don't have anything to prove, but because I don't have any thoughts as to what I would want done.  

My life has changed a lot since I was 50.  I've been retired from insurance for ten years now, though I've kept my license.  I still write, and still volunteer for a Boxer dog rescue, though a different one. I still work out and am probably in better shape than I was a decade ago.

I have a lot of the same friends, and many new ones.  I keep in touch with former employees and before that, co-workers.  And I definitely don't travel as much.  I miss that, the travel.  Covid-19 had a lot to do with that, but also my husband's health.  It is what it is.  Life is still good.

This year, my husband, daughter, and I are fully vaccinated, so for the first time in over a year, we will go to a restaurant to celebrate.  I love (and miss) Mexican food and margaritas, so that's where we're going to go.  


And in our usual tradition of getting things for the house for gifts, I got new patio furniture for a combination birthday and Mother's Day gift.  I love it. 


As I embark on this next decade, I hope to continue to write my romance novels, visit our lake place, workout, and help save lots of Boxers.  I'm grateful and blessed.  Happy Birthday to me!




Sunday, May 2, 2021

Cover Art Confidential by Joan Reeves and Friends #RomanceGems

Image by John Iglar, Pixabay
Once upon a time, cover art was created this way.

An artist posed live models and created a painting, based on the art description form submtted  by the author.

The painting was photographed, and the photo was then used by a typesetter to add title, author's name, and any other text that would appear on the cover.

Paint and a brush, as is humrously shown in this image, are passé.

Graphic artists now create amazing images using a computer, mouse, and digital illustration software like Adobe Photoshop.

Authors work hard to pick a cover that not only visually represents the characters accurately but also the story in terms of plot, premise, theme, or tone.

Getting a cover that does all that is nearly impossible so an author has to choose which of those elements are most important and can be represented by cover art.

In addition to all of that, authors want the cover to be appealing to readers. They want it to shout, "Pick me, pick me!"

This Month's Question for Authors

What were your reasons in choosing the cover art for your book, including the fonts used for title, author name, series title if that applies, and your author credit line?

Lucinda Race, author of Breathe.


The cover art for Breathe was inspired by the winery, but I didn't want it to be the main focus as this is a romance set in the Finger Lakes region of NY.

I like the layered look as the book has layers in the story with the family dynamic at play.

Relationships, like slowly ripening vineyards, take time. But Max has been keeping a secret from Tessa, one that could destroy her hopes for their future.

Will a terrible accident force Tessa and Max to face how much they have to lose, or tear apart their budding relationship forever? Sometimes a romance is like a fine wine. To be its best, it just needs time to breathe.

M.J. Schiller, author of Rocked by Grace


Why this cover art?

I feel the reason I chose this is pretty self-evident. The man's gorgeous! But the challenge I had with this series is that I found premade covers from two different artists that I wanted to use. 

Luckily they worked together to keep the branding consistent, and they used the logo for the band my son designed! I chose the title fonts that I liked best from the four covers and they coordinated that. I love the mixture of print and script and that one word of the title is in a bright color to catch the eye.

When videos hit the Internet of rock star Zane Sanders and a random fan performing what he says is a spontaneous dance, no one believes it’s unrehearsed. Zane doesn't want their onstage magic to end, but when Grace runs off without leaving a last name, Zane has no way to contact her. Will he ever be able to be ROCKED BY GRACE again?

Jan Scarbrough, author of Liz, The Dawsons of Montana

Facebook | Find More Books by Jan

Why this cover art?

I trust my cover artist to brand my series. For The Dawsons of Montana, the colors are vibrant. 

My name is at the bottom in the same font. The title of the book is above my name and series title. 

All of the titles are in the same font. For the cover of Liz, it was important to have a picture of a woman who might be 55. She needed to look older. I think my cover artist Kim Killion succeeded.

It’s good to be in love, whatever age. Sometimes second chances come when least expected. Can Liz and Chaz take a leap of faith…together?

Kathleen Lawless, author of A Bride for Riley


Why this cover art?

I have 2 releases this month, and they are both part of different Multi Author Series. This means the series’ creator chooses a look that suits the theme and time period.

Individually, we authors work with the designer to find the model best suited to our story. In this instance, my model is much plainer than the other heroines as she is on her way to become a nun.

The theme is Mistaken Identity Brides. The advantages are that readers who are following the series can easily identify the latest releases. This also makes it easy for me to focus on my story as someone else has done the heavy lifting as far as researching and determining the best look for the market we’re going after. Key words such as Mail Order or Bride are also used in the title to feed Amazon’s search engines. 

She was on her way to the convent. How did she wind up married instead?

Raised in an orphanage, Lucinda never felt she truly had the calling to be a nun. Like a miracle, her prayers are answered when confusion at the train station leads her to the marriage altar instead of the convent.

Peggy Jaeger, author of It's a Trust Thing


Why this cover art?

Since It's a Trust Thing is the second book in the dotcomgirls series, I wanted to keep the covers consistent for brand recognition. 

The first cover for DIRTY DAMSELS showed a stark red background with the Hero and Heroine locked in a steamy hug, full-body pose.

The fonts were all in yellow to help the title stand out against the red. So, for It's a Trust Thing, I went with the same look. A stark black background this time, the hero and heroine locked in an embrace in full-body position, and the fonts all yellow and the same as the first book. I found the couple for this book in stock photos on Deposit Photos.

For Nell, trust is everything...in life, and in love.

Marcia King-Gamble, author of This Way Home


Why this cover art?

I wanted a more modern look for This Way Home. I wrote the book in 2003 and got the rights back.

My heroine is a cover model that falls on hard times. It was important to me that she at least look like one of today’s models. Covers sell books, and the author’s name should be prominent, hence the font chosen. I chose colors that would pop and get the readers’ attention.

Liza Hamilton left her hometown to chase her dreams. Success as a supermodel ended when she was mugged in Central Park. Then long-lost stepbrother Eric puts down roots there as well, and strange things begin happening in their respective homes.

Joan Reeves, author of The Key To Kristina


Why this cover art?

While this is a romance, it's a mystery where keys play a prominent part. I loved that my cover artist, Adina Mayo, made the down stroke of the capital K in Key look like an actual key.

The flames that nearly obscure the key represent the dangers and the hidden truths that are the key to her past. 

I always have an idea of what I want a cover to look like, and Adina helps me bring it to life.

A suspicious death, and an inheritance. A key and a clue lead to a Quest that becomes the adventure of a lifetime!

As they say in Hollywood, that's a wrap!

We hope you enjoyed this look into how authors choose cover art. The next time you see a cover that makes you buy a book, mention that in the review.



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Saturday, May 1, 2021

Romance & Roses by @JoanReeves #RomanceGems

"A mother's love is like an everlasting bed of roses that continues to blossom." —Ellen J. Barrier

Giveaway Alert: Details in Post.
 

Moms, love, and roses. Those 3 seem to go together, don't they? When children grow up, they tend to send Mom flowers—usually roses—for Mother's Day.

Imagine how surprised I was to learn that roses aren't the officieal Mother's Day flower.

That honor goes to the Carnation. I've always liked carnations for their fresh, clean scent, but I don't think many moms get bouquets of carnations rather than roses.

Why Carnations?

There's a simple reason carnations are the official flower of Mother's Day. That lovely cut flower was Anna Jarvis's mother's favorite flower.

You're probably saying, "Who's Anna Jarvis?" She's the woman who lobbied for a national day to recognize the hard work and sacrifice of mothers everywhere. 

When she first started her campaign to designate a Sunday as Mother's Day (1907), she sent white carnations to her family’s church in Grafton, West Virginia, to be distributed to the congregation.

Over the years, white carnations came to symbolize mothers who had passed away.

Red or pink carnations were adopted as the flower given to a living mother as a symbol of love and gratitude.

Where I lived as a child, it was popular to wear a carnation to church on Mother’s Day.

In 1914, Woodrow Wilson finally signed a proclamation declaring the second Sunday in May to be Mother's Day. This special day is now celebrated in more than 40 countries.

(Read more about the History of Mother's Day.) 

Romance for Mom

Something else Mom would like for her special day is the leisure time to read. Since the Romance genre comprises the vast majority of books that are sold, Mom probably likes to read Romance.

Give her books in her favorite genre. Even better, give her books AND a few hours or an entire day to do nothing but read! Now that's a gift any woman would like.

Random Draw Giveaway

Leave a comment with your email addy written out.

No question to answer this month. Instead, share a special memory of your Mom with us or just tell us her first name or nickname.

Prize is 1 free copy of April Fool Proposition for Kindle.

Drawing open until May 7 when winner will be selected and notified by email.

What will Brenna do when she learns her friend's mom, a noted romance author, has set her up with Travis, the man she thinks is pretending to be her lover? Will Travis settle for being a pretend lover? Will Brenna realize she needs to live her own life and stop mothering her siblings?

April Fool Proposition only 99¢ at Kindle.

Romance Gems Blog Update

As you have surmised, our theme this month is Romance & Roses for Mom

You'll be treated to posts about romance novels with moms as heroines or sidekicks or maybe posts about being a mother/motherhood.

Sharing Memory of Mom

My mother was a young adult in WW2. She grew up in the era of red lipstick, seamed nylon stockings, and hair always styled.

My mom never went anywhere without her hair fixed and her lipstick on.

This is bittersweet. I'm crying as I write this. The night my older brother and sister-in-law had to drive my mother to the hospital, she made them stop a block away so she could put her lipstick on.

She passed two weeks later.

When the funeral home "prepared" her, Mom's hair stylist did her hair, the makeup artist at the funeral home did her makeup, but she did not put lipstick on Mom.

That night at the wake, I was upset when I saw she wasn't wearing lipstick. My sister-in-law and my girl cousins formed a circle around me and my mom. I pulled my lipstick out of my purse and applied lipstick for Mom because I knew she wouldn't even want to go to Heaven without her lipstick on!

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms, step-moms, foster moms, and women who fulfill that caring, giving, loving role in someone's life.



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