Sunday, June 20, 2021

FATHER'S DAY AND WEDDINGS! #RomanceGems @CarolinClemmons

By Caroline Clemmons

Happy Father’s Day--Late! Although our theme this month is about June weddings, because of the special day, I’ll mention the two most important men in my life: my father and my husband. This is still about weddings and happily-ever-after.

Daddy was a remarkable man (says most women). He valued education and started his adult life teaching school. His brothers repeatedly urged him to work with them at the cotton gin, where he could make more money. (He regretted this change later.) He was a widower with four children when he met my mom, who was twenty-three years his junior. Don’t you know that caused a lot of raised eyebrows and speculation? Almost four years later, I was born.

As my mother told me, the two of them met when she accompanied her mother and stepfather to the grocery store late one afternoon. She saw a group of friends plus Daddy talking in front of the store. One friend asked her if she was going to a certain party that evening. She told him she couldn’t because she didn’t have transportation. The friend offered to take her and take her home, so she told my grandmother where she was going.

When they were ready to get into the friend’s car, Daddy said, “I believe I’ll ride along with you.”

Mother said he didn’t ask her to dance at the party, but stood at the edge of the room and talked to some of the men.

When they got to her house, he held the car door open for her and said, “Now that I know where you live, I’ll be coming to call.”

And, he did. They were married several months later. Their marriage lasted thirty-five years before Daddy died of a stroke brought on from emphysema.

Five weeks shy of thirteen, I helped my friend plan and give her birthday party. We were sort of location friends since we were the only two girls in our church youth group who lived on our side (the wrong side) of town. Plus, we were in Girl Scouts and school choir together. I knew she had a brother who was a twin. Whenever she said “my brother”, I thought she meant the twin. At the party, I was passing her gifts to open when an older male appeared carrying a camera. My future husband, who I call Hero, had come home from work early to take photos of his sister’s thirteenth birthday party. He was fifteen, and I thought he was the most suave and handsome male I’d ever seen. I still think he’s handsome.

He made honor roll grades, worked several jobs, and participated in ham radio activities. We dated for a while when I was seventeen and eighteen but parted ways over something silly. When I was twenty-three, we reconnected and were married several months later. Sometimes I actually get something right, and our marriage is the best example of that and the best thing that has happened to me! After a gazillion years that seem like only a decade, we are still married and have two loving daughters. I couldn’t love Hero more than I do today! 

Saturday, June 19, 2021

Weddings and June #RomanceGems #lucindarace

 Hello Again, 


June is a month filled with love and weddings. I often wondered why is it that so many people get married in June. Of course, I had to look it up. The month is named for the goddess Juno, the protector of women in all aspects of life, especially marriage and child bearing. My personal theory, the weather is spectacular. The cool rainy days of spring are behind us the hot muggy days of summer are ahead so June weather is usually JUST right. 


Oh, and I was a June bride, our wedding anniversary was on the 9th.  When did you tie the knot? 


I found this fun little anecdote when I was doing a bit of research… 


Married when the year is new, he’ll be loving, kind and true.
When February birds do mate, you wed not dread your fate.
If you wed when March winds blow, joy and sorrow both you’ll know.
Marry in April when you can, joy for Maiden and for Man.
Marry in the month of May, and you’ll surely rue the day.
Marry when June roses grow, over land and sea you’ll go.
Those who in July do wed, must labor for their daily bread.
Whoever wed in August be, many a change is sure to see.
Marry in September’s shrine, your living will be rich and fine.
If in October you do marry, love will come but riches tarry.
If you wed in bleak November, only joys will come, remember.
When December snows fall fast, marry and true love will last.


Now onto the love of books. So many of the Romance Gems have been writing and releasing new books. Yours truly included. I’ll be releasing two Christmas themed books this fall as well as Blush in August, Vintage in October and Bouquet in January. I hope you’ve been able to pick up Blends or Breathe and start reading about the Price family. 


Oh, and I did a thing… my first full length book, Lost and Found is now PermaFree on e-book retailers  and ALL my books are now on Google Play. So, it has been a busy June so far with much more to come.



Until next time, 

Stay healthy, happy and in love. 


Friday, June 18, 2021

The Meaning Behind June Brides by @karilemor #RomanceGems


June is a very popular month to get married. These days, it’s often because the weather is starting to get nicer, but not too hot. But why is being a “June Bride” such a big deal?

Going back in history, we see the name June is derived from the Roman goddess of marriage, Juno. Many people believed when a couple got married in June their marriage would be blessed forever with happiness.

But June weddings were also done for quite logical reasons. Many people married in June so conception wouldn’t interfere with the harvest. Yep, count nine months later and you don’t want the wife trying to pick the crops as she’s about to give birth.

Another theory is that in many years past, baths weren’t as common as they are today. Some families only got one a year (and they had to share the water – yuck!) Often the yearly bath was in May or early June. So marriages took place to ensure the bride still smelled fairly decent for her groom (and vice versa). Yet, the bride wanted to be sure to have a pleasing scent, so she carried a bouquet of flowers to help.

But flowers and bouquets had other meanings too. Summer was great for taking advantage of fresh flowers for the ceremony. There are numerous symbolic meanings with flowers that show loyalty, purity, and love. In early Rome, the bride did not carry a bouquet but rather wore a garland that symbolized a new life and fertility. Often aphrodisiacs such as Dill were added so the newlyweds got in the right mood for the wedding night. Some cultures added stronger herbs and plants to the bouquet (like garlic!!!) because they were superstitious and wanted to ward off evil spirits from showing up at the wedding.

The tradition of tossing the bouquet goes way back. At weddings, the bride was considered to be lucky, so many women guests wanted a piece of that luck. Thus, they would try and tear off a piece of the wedding dress. So the tradition of throwing the bouquet to grant luck onto another guest began, avoiding decimation of the lovely bride’s gown. Can you imagine paying a bazillion dollars for your dress just to have people tear it apart?

The tradition of wedding rings has also been around for a very long time.  The band represents eternity because it doesn’t have a beginning or an end, and is what the happy couple wishes for their marriage. The couple places the rings on their fingers as a sign they agree to a never-ending commitment.

Another tradition is ‘Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.’ Is still around today. The old represents continuity and stability. Something new symbolizes optimism and good fortune in your new life together. Something borrowed represents borrowed happiness from someone who loves you. And the blue symbolizes love and fidelity.

Whether you’re a traditionalist or prefer something more modern, weddings are beautiful because they show us that two people love each other so much they are willing to work together to and sacrifice to be with each other.

I have a few books that have weddings in them but I think my favorite is my Marriage of Convenience story, Elusive Dreams. Erik has promised to look after and adopt two children he rescued from the same bombing that left him seriously injured. But that injury is keeping him from being the ideal candidate to take the kids. Enter introverted neighbor, Tessa. She’s crushed on Erik since she was a teenager and now he wants to marry her? It’s her dream come true.

Here’s a peek at their wedding:

When she looked to the end of the aisle, there stood Erik, and her heart actually stopped. But when it started again, it beat triple time. God, how could any man be so devastatingly handsome? His Marine uniform was blue from broad shoulders to above his spit shined shoes. The red stripe down the lighter blue pants focused attention on his long legs. His white cover sat on top of the fresh haircut he’d gotten two days ago and the amount of decorations he had on his chest filled her lungs with air and pride. This was no mere mortal. This man was a hero and for some strange reason he’d agreed to her stupid suggestion of getting married. There were a dozen women in town who he could have asked who would have agreed to marry him to keep the kids. One who was much prettier and not such a fr…introvert.

He looked up. His eyes glowed and a huge grin crossed his face. It was similar to the one he’d worn the times they’d practiced kissing this week. Forget about her heart. Every damn organ stopped functioning. How would she get the last few steps to reach him?

“Don’t keep him waiting, dear,” Hans whispered in her ear. “It’s obvious he’s a mite impatient.”

She took a step and then another. Soon she was close enough and he shifted his cane and reached out with his left hand. Putting her hand in his, she held on tight. For Erik, she’d hold on as tight and as long as she needed to.


Here's where you can find me!








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Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Celebrate Marriage! by @BonnieEdwards #RomanceGems

 June is wedding month and yes, I'm coming at the whole wedding day with a different take. For me, it's the marriage that's important. The couple stressing over the finances, the music, the food, the venue, all seems a little over-the-top to me. 

I know, I know! Some of you are thinking "But, but, what about the perfection of the DAY!" And to that, I say, "What about the vows and what they mean to the people saying them?" A perfect day means nothing without the vows being said in earnest, after thoughtful consideration. Weddings can be large, fun, hectic, exotic and these days, in your parents' back yard with very few people.

But, seriously? As long as the couple shows up, says their vows, then it's a done deal.

And marriage begins. 

Marriage is built each day. Some days the foundation is unshakeable, others, it can feel like the bricks are tumbling down...but deep in your heart, you know you took a vow. You gave your word and time doesn't change that. So, this month celebrate marriage in all its forms, no matter how it started...or even if there was no wedding. Because common-law is marriage too. Two people committed to a future together is rare and beautiful and important. 

See the bride with the running shoes on? Is she making a dash for freedom? Or making a statement about comfortable footwear? I don't know why I included the image, but I knew a bride once who felt much like running. (she should have) 

A small reminder that on August 15, I'll be taking readers back to Last Chance Beach for a full-length novel about a man who really, really doesn't want anyone invading his space, and the woman who charges in. When I have a date for pre-order I'll be announcing it first in my newsletter: Bonnie's Newsy Bits. 

Bonnie Edwards has been writing all her life, starting with a poem about Santa suffering with gout. She was seven, Santa was a thousandteen years old. Delighted with writing, she went on to write family sagas, humorous contemporary romance, romantic suspense, erotic paranormal ghost romances and more.

With over 30 titles to her credit, she has been translated into several languages and sold books worldwide. Aside from standalone romances, she has 4 ongoing romance series, Tales of Perdition, The Brantons, and Love at Christmas. Contemporary family sagas find a home in Return to Welcome. She's hard at work on a new series releasing in August 2021. Learn about more exciting releases and get a free romance by subscribing to her newsletter, Bonnie’s Newsy Bits

Cheers and happy reading!

Bonnie Edwards   BookBub Twitter  Facebook






Monday, June 14, 2021


What better way to kick off those inevitable 'Christmas in July' promotions than with a holiday prequel in June? My Dickens Holiday Romance Prequel, Making Christmas, releases today! The novelette features the lovestory of the parents of my hero from last year's Millie's Awesome Holiday Miracle, from the Dickens Holiday Romance Anthology.

This story was so much fun to write, especially since I remember the 1980s fondly (and, unfortunately, easily).

Here's a bit about the book:

A 1980s Vintage Romance ...

It’s been five years since William Barrett returned to Dickens to take over as CEO of Wil-Bar Toys. He’s spent these past years helping build Wil-Bar into a leader in creative, handmade toys. His work ethic and drive has left him little time for a personal life. Or, perhaps he’s still pining for the one who got away.

Catherine Gates moved away from Dickens six years earlier. Now a staff reporter for a woman’s magazine, she’s returning to Dickens to do a story on Wil-Bar Toys new production methods and get the scoop on their upcoming holiday line.

When Will and Cat meet up again for the first time in years, it’s as if they’ve never been apart. Rekindling their friendship, and attraction, becomes more important than Cat’s article, or even the secrecy of the new toy lines.

Can these two childhood friends make up for lost time and pursue the romance they missed out on years earlier? Or, will Cat’s story expose too much and put them at odds with one another?

And, an excerpt:

Catherine made her way through the front doors of Wil-Bar Toys and toward the reception desk. “I’m here to see Mr. Barrett. I have a ten o’clock appointment.”

“I’ll buzz Margaret and she’ll come to get you,” the young woman said.

Catherine waited for Margaret, obviously a new edition to the staff since she didn’t recognize the name.

Moments later, a woman who looked to be in her late twenties entered the lobby. “Hello, I’m Margaret Weatherby. If you’ll follow me, please.”

She fell in step behind the woman, going through the heavy oak double doors she remembered from her childhood. They continued down the hallway leading to the main offices, coming to a stop in front of the desk outside the large corner suite.

“How long have you worked at Wil-Bar?” Catherine asked.

“Two years now. I was originally hired to work for Mr. Wilfred Barrett but when the younger Mr. Barrett’s secretary left to get married, I took over for her as well.”

“That must keep you very busy.”

The woman nodded. “It does, especially this time of year. However, it’s such a wonderful place to work, I couldn’t see myself going anywhere else.” She paused, then added, “I’ll let Mr. Barrett know you’re here.”

“I’d appreciate—”

Her words of appreciation were interrupted by a man’s booming voice. “Margaret, do you have the report I left for photocopying earlier?” The voice was followed by the man’s appearance outside the office door, his footsteps coming to a halt when he saw her standing there.

She lifted her head, meeting Will Barrett’s intense gaze head-on.

“Cat? Cat Gates. I’ll be dam...darned.”

“Hello, Will.”

“You two know each other?” Margaret asked. When they both nodded at the same time, Margaret added, “Well, that certainly saves time on introductions.”

Will motioned for her to follow him into the office. “You’re the journalist they’ve sent to write a story on Wil-Bar?”

“Yes,” she said, taking the seat he offered. “I assume they thought I’d have an inside track on the place since I’m from Dickens.”

His chuckle sent a flurry of butterflies rushing her stomach.

“Inside track. I’d say so. You know every nook and cranny of this place—or at least you did before we remodeled.”

“Some I knew all too well, given I spent more time hiding than you and Tommy did seeking.”

“Sorry about that,” he said with a broad grin. “We were pretty mean to you back then.”

Available on Your Favorite eBook Platform

Of course, there's a trailer...

In addition, fellow Lady of Dickens, Peggy Jaeger and I are doing a joint tour for our Dickens prequels. You can find the entire list of tour stops at Goddess Fish Promotions.

Until next month, please stay happy, healthy, and well read.


Sunday, June 13, 2021

Moonlight at the Grand Hotel - A Perfect Summer Read by May Williams


A week ago, Amie Denman, my writing partner (and sister!), revealed the cover of Moonlight at the Grand Hotel on sale June 29 and available for pre-order now on Amazon. We can’t believe this is the 13th book in our popular Grand Hotel series. We created the premise for our luxurious island resort on an Amtrak train coming home from a book convention in Chicago. We envisioned four books, one for each season. When those were a hit, we knew we couldn’t stop.

Read on for a little teaser about each of the novellas in Moonlight at the Grand Hotel.

A millionaire in hiding…

Milo Pryor sells the software company that made him rich but robbed his soul and heads for White Pine Island where his friend co-owns the Grand Hotel and promises him a job for the summer. Tending bar and serving up cocktails sounds perfect for Milo who wants to meet people who don’t know him as a computer wizard and millionaire. Keeping his wealth a secret should be easy, but finding happiness seems elusive until he meets the beautiful ballroom dance instructor at the Grand Hotel.

Liza Knight has been on stage for ten years, danced in dozens of Broadway shows, and traveled the world. What Liza really wants, though, is a permanent home somewhere and a man who’s the real deal, unlike the actors she’d dated. Teaching ballroom dancing to Grand Hotel guests a few hours each day leaves her plenty of time to reevaluate her career, but she also finds the serious bartender fascinating.

When they agree to a free and fun summer romance on the island, she never suspects he’s playing a part and dancing around the truth.

A fake girlfriend pact…

Holden Pierce needs a girlfriend—a fake girlfriend—to help him entertain clients he hopes will purchase homes in an exclusive housing development. He knows the ins and outs of selling real estate on White Pine Island, but he needs help socially. When pretty and social Daphne Lincoln buys a storefront in the village, he realizes she has the skills he lacks.

Daphne’s dream is to own a souvenir store like the ones she loved to visit as a kid when her family traveled. On White Pine Island, she buys a building and puts her heart into preparing her store to open. Her realtor Holden is sweet and a little shy, but he surprises her by proposing a fake dating ruse—just for business purposes. In exchange Holden offers to introduce her to islanders and help her business.
It seems like a win-win with no commitments past a few weeks, so she agrees to their temporary relationship.

But after dancing at the Grand Hotel and romantic walks in the moonlight, will Daphne and Holden be ready to let each other go?

And just for some summer fun...
Here's a photo of Amie and I circa 1990. We were on vacation and having a marvelous time as you can see. 

My Social Media links are below. Happy Reading and Happy Summer, everyone! 




Saturday, June 12, 2021

Print Readers, Rejoice! by Laura Hunsaker

 Roughing It is in print! I'm so excited to share that the entire New York Empires series is now in print! If you're a reader who prefers a physical book over an ebook, your wait is over! 

Roughing It is an anthology where all three stories overlap and use the same characters. Where one author might have the goalie for her character, another might have the team captain. It's a really fun and exciting concept! This series is slightly paranormal, and my story has werewolves! I mean, werewolf hockey players? That's just so fun! (I write as Kenzie MacLir in this series). 

Right now, it's summer in my area of the world, and some ice cold hockey sounds refreshing and cool. Come for the Paranormal Romance, stay for the donut eating contests, Nerf dart wars, and swear jars. 

Amazon  |  Barnes and Noble  |  Kobo  |  Google Play Books Smashwords Goodreads

Caught in the Crossfire by Stacey Agdern

Bryce Emerson only agreed to draw an account of the Empires Goalie Tryouts to humor his brother. But when a vision convinces him the woman who saved his prized pen from a snowy grave is in danger of being injured by a faulty mask, he takes it upon himself to make her a new one.

Goaltender Carly Fein is trying out for the New York Empires, and the last thing she needs is the complication of an artist. But when she agrees to let him make her a new mask, Bryce Emerson finds his way under her skin.

Can Bryce and Carly figure out what happens when they’re caught in the crossfire of love and hockey? Or will the stress of new love and competition drive them apart.

Crashing the Net by Isabo Kelly

Billionaire Connor Evans needs a challenge. Trying out for the New York Empires’ hockey team fits the bill, even if it is just a publicity stunt and a way to shut his twin brother up. Running into the woman who left him six years earlier, a woman he’s never gotten over, is not part of the plan. Once he sees Matty, though, Connor knows he can’t let her go again. But he’s got secrets he can’t risk sharing. And Matty is the one person who could uncover those secrets if he lets her get too close.

After traveling the world, Matilda Thomson is ready for a real job and a more stable life. Her internship with the New York Empires will give her the experience she needs to move into that future. But first, she has to face Connor again, and one of the most painful losses she’s ever experienced. The only way she can move forward is to confront her feelings and risk her heart one more time.

Heat and passion spark as hot as ever between them. But trust doesn’t come easy. And if Connor can’t open up and let Matty in this time, he’ll lose her forever.

Against the Boards by Kenzie MacLir

Kyle Sandberg is living his best life. He’s one of the top hockey players in the world. Has two amazing best friends and all the sarcastic hockey t-shirts he could wear. After his own family turns their backs on him, he’s happy playing for the Empires and hanging out with his own found family. What he doesn’t want is his pain in the ass twin brother back in his life or a mate.

When paramedic Faith Church left Puerto Rico for New York, she had zero intentions of getting involved in the local pack. Having had her fill of pack politics, she was ready to go lone wolf. But being left alone was too much to ask when her cousin was the Alpha’s mate.

What neither was counting on was Fate, having her own plans for them. A chance encounter at a traffic accident changes everything. Kyle and his wolf are willing to go with Fate’s plans. But Faith, having finally broken away from her pack’s expectations wants nothing to do with Fate, or Kyle. Too bad her wolf disagrees…

Friday, June 11, 2021

CELEBRATING JUNE By Kathleen Lawless @kathleenlawless


June was likely named for the Roman Goddess, Juno, patroness of marriage and well-being of women, so no wonder this month holds a special place in my heart.

Some of the things I love best about June, in no particular order are:

-Life feels less frantic.  This dates back to my own school days, and then my kids’ school years where, as June wound down, there was no jumping up and racing out the door five days a week. 

-Evenings bring that magical, long-lasting twilight that makes it conducive to just hang outside and enjoy the evening stillness or watch the birds come for a final bath or feeding before bed.

-Local strawberries.  No explanation required.

-Flowers and fragrances are amazing.

-Farmers’ Markets.  Now my mouth is watering at the thought of garden-fresh treats.

-People seem friendlier.

-Street musicians pop up all over downtown street corners and at the markets.

-Summer clothes.  Can you say flip-flops?

-Barbeques and picnics.  Dining al fresco is my absolute favorite.

-Lazy days in the hammock with a good book.

 I found this quote from Nathaniel Parker Willis that sums things up for me.

“It is the month of June,

The month of leaves and roses,

Where pleasant sights salute the eyes,

And pleasant scents the noses.”

What do you love best about June?

Just because it’s June, doesn’t mean I get to slack off.  In fact, I am releasing a brand-new book today.  

ONE FANTASY FALL is a clean and wholesome contemporary romance that revisits Blue Sky Island, home to several other books in this series.  The hero, Blaze, is a Hollywood stuntman and Kaitlin’s ‘fake date’, who is reinventing himself after a failed stunt where he almost died.  Kaitlin is also reinventing herself, and despite teaming up for a worthy cause, she and Blaze both feel their lives are spinning them in opposite directions.

A couple of advance reviews: 5 * NEVER DARE A DAREDEVIL

“I enjoyed this straightforward, page-turning story with two people, neither looking for a relationship, brought together for an event as dates. The story has a great cast of people, plenty of angst and emotions, including a few surprises.”

5 * Sweet small town romance

“This is a sweet small town romance. I really liked it. It has wit and charm, and has great characters.”

Kaitlin started down the stairs, following the soothing sounds of a waterfall on the street level of the hotel where lush green plants ringed the mini-oasis. Water fell from a height of about twenty feet into a square, man-made pond that flowed beneath the tiled floor into a second pond directly behind her. The rocks edging the water looked real and she bent down to touch one.

“They’re real.”  Blaze spoke behind her. “Barnacles and all. I already checked.”

Kaitlin felt a warm flush tinge her cheeks as she slowly straightened.

He closed the distance between them and placed his finger beneath her chin. “Amazing,” he murmured. “I’ve never seen anyone blush quite so attractively as you do.”

Kaitlin met his gaze. “Blushing is a wretched nuisance.”

He gave a crooked smile as he released her. She wished he’d take a step back because her own feet refused to move and he was standing far too close for comfort. “I like it.  Lets me know you’re not quite as unruffled as you seem.”

Kaitlin felt a cold chill travel the length of her spine. “You don’t know me well enough to say that.”

His voice dropped an octave. “In some ways I feel as if I’ve known you forever, Kaitlin Ross. I understand your dreams, your goals, and your drive to succeed.”

She wasn’t sure if the rushing sound in her ears was due to the waterfall behind her or a defense mechanism for the way he was looking at her. She shivered as they exchanged looks, not one stranger to another, but something far more intimate. So powerful she could almost believe he meant what he said.

“Will you be at the tournament tomorrow?”

She nodded.  “I got a press pass so I can pretend to be busy and important.”

Blaze took her arm.  “Speaking of busy and important, we should get back to the party.”  He brushed her lips with his thumb smearing her lipstick and giving her hair a tousle.

“What are you doing?”

“Giving people a reason to speculate where we snuck off to together.  And why.”

She swallowed thickly, finding response impossible given the way her heart was fluttering in her throat.  Blaze was a little too good at this fake date stuff.  For a second there, it felt like he cared.

Grab your copy here!


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Wednesday, June 9, 2021

I Hear a Symphony by Hannah Rowan #RomanceGems

 Here in New Jersey, and no doubt in many other parts of the Eastern US, we’re being treated to courtship rituals of epic proportions. Namely, the emergence of the cicada brood known as Brood X, which is the largest group to emerge en masse once every 17 years.

Their presence is unmistakable in the areas where they appear. The nymphs burrow out of the ground and make their way to the treetops, where they shed their shells to reveal a fairly frightening looking creature only another cicada could love.

Cicadas are the original litterbugs. Once they arrive their discarded shells litter the ground. They spread their newly hatched wings and wait a few days to harden, and then the fun begins, because their entire purpose is to find a mate.

Teenagers and rock stars blasting their music have nothing on these little guys. The din of what seems to be loosely translated as the male trilling “come on, honey, I’m up here in the treetops waiting for you” is overwhelming as thousands of males rub their legs together to produce a raspy, crickety symphony, which in concert is about equivalent to a jet engine, maybe.

Who knows how the ladies choose their ideal mate? Is it the bug with the loudest song, the highest perch on the tree, the most attractive wings?

The entire production lasts about a month, during which people are subjected to swarms of flying insects, followed by the corpses of the satiated adults dropping from the trees. Because once the male lures the female and fertilizes her eggs, his job on earth is done, and he’s done for. Mama cicada follows soon after, once she lays her eggs in a tree branch. Baby cicadas hatch, fall from the trees, and burrow into the earth to wait for the next 17-year mating party.

In the meantime, medical professionals are issuing warnings that people who are allergic to shellfish shouldn’t eat the little buggers, which certainly wouldn’t be the first thing coming to my mind when it’s time for dinner. 

Even stranger, a Princeton High School insect-eating club (INSECT EATING CLUB??? Seriously? I thought Princeton produced unusually intelligent people!) is planning a taste-testing event to decide which cicada recipe is yummiest. 

To top it off, cicadas are vulnerable to a fungus which (I am not making this up) causes their butts to fall off to be replaced with a blob of fungus the size of a pencil eraser, but more importantly does something to their brains which scientists, in a very professional way, say makes them unusually horny. (Yes, you read that right.) This causes the cicada to mate with even more partners, resulting in the spread of a cicada-STD.

How appropriate that this all takes place in June, a month dedicated to weddings.  Is Mother Nature a hopeless romantic who planned it that way?

And aren’t you glad human courtship is not quite so gruesome?

Romance Gems celebrate June brides this month! 
Please take time to add some of our brides to your summer reading list!

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Oh, The Waiting! by @KaraONealAuthor #RomanceGems

I have been waiting and waiting and waiting to write Pete's story and now it's finally here! MAGGIE'S SONG released yesterday, and I adore the cover. (My husband designs all of my covers.)

Pete has been a character in my series since my first book. He owns the livery, and he's also the town's blacksmith. When his likeness and demeanor grew in my mind over a decade ago, it was the famous hero, John Henry, that I saw. I've always loved John Henry, and writing a romance for a hard-working, giant of a man was something I couldn't wait to do. 

I hope I did him justice. In MAGGIE'S SONG, not only is he leading his community through a new endeavor, but he's slowly earning the trust of Maggie, a woman who has reasons to be wary of men. I love their story, but the best thing is Maggie's daughter, Iris. She's five and is all kinds of sweetness. 

You know, authors live with their characters for so long, that they become quite real. That's either crazy or dedicated. Not sure. Hopefully, the latter.

By the end of the story, Maggie becomes the bride she always wanted to be, but it takes a lot of courage on her part to get her there. (Takes a lot of Pete's courage, as well.)

I could ramble on forever about these characters, but, instead, I'll give you an excerpt.....

“You go on and see Pete, while I head over to Forrester’s to find Esther. You can ask him about the cupboards.”

Maggie froze. “But I don’t know where his shop is.”

Aletta laughed lightly. “Oh, child.” She pointed down the road. “It’s right there. Just past the sheriff’s office.”

Maggie turned and caught the shingle sporting black lettering proclaiming “Jerkin’s Livery and Blacksmith Services”. She gulped.

“I’ll fetch you in ten minutes,” her aunt said, leaving Maggie gaping on the boardwalk.

Ten minutes. Ten. With Pete. Whose eyes held nothing but warmth. Who looked fondly at Iris. Who’d kissed Maggie as if she were precious and all things to him. Oh, my.

She drew in a deep breath and forced herself to move. It took no time to reach the building that looked quite similar to a large barn. The double doors were propped open, and she could hear the pound of a hammer against steel. With her heart in her throat, she entered and found him immediately.

He bent over an anvil, his attention on whatever metal he shaped. His giant frame took up the area, his leather apron emphasizing the breadth of his chest and the power in his shoulders. She couldn’t take her eyes from him.

Something must have alerted him to her presence, because he looked up in mid-swing. “Maggie,” he breathed, sounding as if the sun had visited him and not just her lowly self. He put down his hammer. “Maggie,” he said again, coming around his anvil and breaking into a blissful smile.

“Hello, Pete.” She stayed where she was, unable to move, because all she wanted to do was fling her arms around his neck and spill all her secrets.

He stopped an arm’s length from her as he ran his gaze over her. “Are you well? Why are you in town?”

“We’re fine. Aletta, Esther and I needed a few items from Miller’s and Forrester’s.” When she kept her voice from trembling at his nearness, she realized she possessed a strength she didn’t know she had.

“You decided to stop by and see me, though? How nice.”

She felt her cheeks heat. “Oh, well, not exactly. Aletta wanted me to ask you a question.”

While his happiness at seeing her didn’t diminish, she sensed a change in his demeanor. She wouldn’t call it disappointment, though. Acceptance, maybe? But what was there to reconcile himself to? She gave herself a mental shake and continued. “She thinks the lower cupboards in the kitchen of the meeting house ought to be raised to four feet. George disagrees. What do you say?”

Pete’s brow furrowed in thought. “I wouldn’t want to raise them. Too many women wouldn’t appreciate that height. And if it’s really a problem, we could have a worktable for taller people.”

Surprise at his compromise distracted her from the tension inside her, and she breathed easier. “That’s a perfect solution. I’m sure Aletta will see the merits.”

He nodded once then a look she could only describe as pleasure came into his gaze. “I sure am glad to see you.”

“And I, you,” she rasped.

“Wanna help me shape a horseshoe?”

Bashful, she lowered her lashes. “I don’t know, I—”

“Come on.” He reached for her hand and pulled her forward. “It’s easy. I’ll be right there.”

She had no choice but to follow, and now the strain of being close to him resurfaced with a vengeance. She clammed up and allowed him to maneuver her in front of his anvil while he stood behind her. He took her basket from her and set it on the ground.

“Here.” He gave her the hammer. “Hold this.”

She took the handle and gasped at its weight. “I didn’t expect it to be so heavy.” She could carry it, but it was much more substantial than any cast iron pot.

“It’s got to be, in order to shape metal.” Using the tongs, he picked up the shoe he’d been working on when she’d walked in and put it back in the fire. After half a minute, he withdrew the iron, and it glowed red.

“All right,” he said, setting the metal on the anvil. “Here we go.”

He put his large hand over hers and helped her hit the shoe in the right place. The bang resonated up her arm. “Oh, goodness,” she exclaimed, but it was more from the feel of being surrounded by him. As she stood in the well of his arms, with his fingers wrapped around hers, desire shot through her like a cannon blast.

“Hit it a little harder this time,” he instructed.

She lifted the hammer, and with his guidance with aim, she pounded the metal with as much force as she could. This time the reverberations moved through her whole body. She gasped.

He laughed. “That’s the way. Give it another go.”


Pike’s Run, Texas, 1883

In the dead of night, Maggie Nelson flees New Orleans with her five-year old daughter, Iris. Maggie can’t live with her abusive husband any longer and seeks safety in the home and arms of her aunt, Aletta Williamson in Bordersville, near Pike’s Run, Texas. When she arrives, surprising her dear aunt, Maggie tells her Haywood died. She is too ashamed to tell the truth about her marriage.

 Pete Jerkin, the town blacksmith and livery operator, is a leader in Bordersville. He is taken by Maggie and Iris, especially since the child doesn’t fear him. With his large stature, he usually puts off females and children. As Iris tugs on his heartstrings, his gaze strays to the lovely Maggie. But he’s promised himself he wouldn’t ever court a woman. Not again.

However, love is sneaky, and Pete can’t help himself. Neither can Maggie. As the weeks pass, she grows more scared each day that Pete will learn the truth about her husband, that Haywood will come knocking. And ruin everything.

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Monday, June 7, 2021

June Brides: Happily Ever After by Jan Scarbrough

The RWA website: Two basic elements comprise every romance novel: a central love story and an emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending.

So, to have an optimistic ending, hero and heroine need to “come together” at the end of the book. Maybe it’s a declaration of undying love. Maybe it’s a proposal. Romance writers don’t often write about what happens AFTER the wedding. Those are stories for another day.

I’ve included actual brides in my books. In Heart to Heart, I simply indicated the bride-to-be by an engagement announcement in the newspaper.

Legend Post-Dispatch

Six months later in the society section:

Martha Fields, a professional animal communicator, is to be married to Jeremy Hamilton, owner of Hamilton Staffing located in Louisville, Kentucky. Ms. Fields is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Nate Fields of Legend, Tennessee. Mr. Hamilton is the son of the late David Hamilton of Louisville, Kentucky. A June wedding is planned.

One of my books I actually used “bride” in the title. In Kentucky Bride, I included a newspaper announcement of the wedding.

The Chicago Tribune Online

Aimee Elliott and Camden Brennan were recently married at St. Peter Catholic Church in Skokie with a reception following at the Chicago Botanic Garden. The bride is the daughter of Ray and Martha Elliott of Skokie. Mr. Elliott is the president and CEO of Elliott Construction Company of Chicago. The groom is the son of Henry and Virginia Brennan of Louisville, Kentucky. The bride, 25, received a BS in animal sciences and is the program director for The Hope Therapeutic Riding Center, Shelbyville, Kentucky. The groom, 30, graduated from the University of Kentucky with a MS degree in business. He is president and CEO of Brennan Equipment Company. The couple honeymooned in Ireland, Scotland, London, and Paris and reside in Louisville.


In Mercer, Stef and Brody (hero and heroine from book 1) get married. Mercer attends the ceremony.

Stef was a beautiful bride, relaxed and happy and dressed in an off-white, lace-lined, floor-length dress with a short train. It had a corset style bodice with drawstring laced-up back. With her natural-colored boots, she looked pure Montana, ready to ride off into the sunset with her man.

When the minister proclaimed, “You may kiss the bride,” Brody swept her into his arms and bent her backward in a long, drawn-out kiss. The audience broke into cheers and applause. Mercer didn’t think she would ever stop clapping. It was so darn romantic she wanted to cry.

Writers are often told to start a story where it begins. In Tangled Memories, I realized the story started when my characters married, so the beginning of the story describes the wedding.

His eyes were gray. I had never noticed before. They weren’t the color of slate but smoky and mysterious.

Swallowing a hard knot of dread that surfaced in my throat, I walked down the silent aisle toward him. Chin held high, very lady-like in posture and demeanor, a trace of smile upon my lips—I was the picture of confidence.

Inside, I trembled.

I stopped in front of the altar. A cloying scent of gardenias assaulted my senses. How curious the delicate white flowers in my bouquet should be so overpowering. Just like the man beside me. Just like the deep, heady gray of his eyes.

I extended my hand. He took it, and I drew a breath and held it. The firmness of his fingers surprised me.

“Friends.” The minister glanced up at us and smiled. “We are gathered together in the sight of God to witness and bless the joining together of Mary and Alexander in Christian marriage.”





Amazon UK:

Romance Gems authors honor June Brides this month. Please take time to add some of our brides to your summer reading list.