Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Please Welcome My Guests

This is a first for me. Today I'm hosting 19 writers at once. They have put together a wonderful boxed set of holiday stories entitled Sweet Christmas Kisses 2. They are all members of Sweet Romance Reads, a group of authors whose books contain no sex, violence, or strong language. While the emotional stakes are high as the characters’ relationships grow, lovemaking is not described in these stories. Think movies rated G or PG. Therefore, Sweet Christmas Kisses 2 can be enjoyed by romance readers of any age. 

Pull up a chair by a cozy fire, pour a cup of hot chocolate and allow these bestselling and award-winning authors to bring the holiday season alive as they warm your heart.


Welcome in the holiday season with 19 heartwarming and wholesome novellas from New York Times, USA Today, national bestselling, and award-winning authors.
Sweet Christmas Kisses 2 takes you from the Smoky Mountains to Florida’s sun-drenched beaches, from the Italian Alps to Paris, France, and even to a quirky little town in Arizona. The Sweet Christmas Kisses 2 collection features all-new, stand-alone stories that are sure to make you laugh, sometimes bring tears to your eyes, but always put you in the Christmas spirit. Foreword by New York Times bestselling author RaeAnne Thayne.
~*~

Christmas Papa by Mona Risk
Living for three years in her stepmother’s respected house helps Monica forget the horror of her youth and reform her wild streak, and even dream of a normal life, similar to her stepsisters’, with a loving husband and children. Geez, she’s pretty enough to attract any man she wants, but to keep him is a different ballgame. The moment they learn of her past or meet her adorable twins, they feel the urge to move two-thousand miles away. Until Michael kisses her… 


Gingerbread Kisses by Beate Boeker
Carol spends Christmas at the luxurious Hotel & Spa “Dolomitissimo” in the snowy Alps of Italy where she’s busy creating gingerbread men as name cards for her younger sister’s wedding. When things start to go wrong, she finds help in the form of Tom, the attractive hotel manager, but then, her sister manages to create havoc and Carol has to fight for her happiness.


Boycotting Christmas by Melinda Curtis
Bachelor Nick Santolli needs someone to help him give his niece a Christmas to remember. Back in the day, no one did Christmas better than Joy Encastle. But times have changed and Joy would prefer to boycott the festivities this year.



A Christmas to Remember by Denise Devine
Katie McGowan is returning home from a business trip when a blizzard forces her to take refuge at Lakewood Resort and miss celebrating Christmas with her family. The resort is overflowing with people, including Ryan Scott, an avid snowmobiler who’d come to Lakewood to escape the holidays. Ryan and Katie join forces to help others in need and learn the true meaning of Christmas.



An Angel for Christmas by Raine English
Alexa Stevens needs a job, or she and her daughter might wind up living out of the car. Blake Collins needs a nanny to help with his spoiled ten-year-old. What seems like the perfect match turns out to be anything but when the two girls and a rambunctious mutt create havoc at Christmas.



The Cowboy’s Christmas Bride by Aileen Fish
When veterinary student Tara seeks shelter in a snowstorm with handsome rancher Dylan, she quickly writes him off as boyfriend material since he’s more temperamental than an unbroken horse. Thanks to a job lined up half a state away, she’s not even tempted by a friend’s request that she move to White Oak, until she learns what has damaged Dylan’s spirit. Will a sickly calf and the magic of Christmas help her heal Dylan’s heart?



Lucky Break Christmas: Second Honeymoon by Patricia Forsythe
Lily is convinced that her new marriage to Marc is cursed because of a string of fiascoes. Marc knows she’s wrong. It takes the intervention of three body-building wedding planners and most of Lucky Break to change her mind.



Beach Walk by Grace Greene
Twelve years earlier, Kelli, a teenage runaway, was taken in by a kind woman named Margie who gave her a home, and safety and security. When Margie dies, her long lost nephew and only blood relative, arrives with plans of his own. Kelli loves her life at Emerald Isle, but how far will she go to keep it, or will Christmas bring a change of heart?



An Irish Christmas Blessing by Roxanne Rustand
When Eve travels to Ireland to run an old friend’s quaint village bookshop over the Christmas holidays, the trip is a dream come true—all the more because of the beautiful Irish countryside and the quirky locals in the village. And then there’s the charming, enigmatic stranger who just might steal her heart…'



Christmas Wedding by Magdalena Scott
Jim Standish is ready—right this minute—to marry the love of his life, but Melissa Singer wants the day to be one they’ll look back on forever. Planning and execution time: 25days. Will it be possible to create the perfect Christmas Wedding?



Finding You at Christmas by Kristin Wallace
After years of looking out for everyone else, preacher’s daughter Janie Worthy is ready to get a life of her own. A stalled car and a stranger on a motorcycle puts that plan in a tailspin…and leads to the best Christmas present she could ever find.


Christmas Laurel by Christine Bush.
Female army veteran Laurel Covington and her retired bomb dog have retreated to a cabin in North Carolina’s Smoky Mountains. She’s dealing with PTSD and a mind full of ugly war memories, and wants nothing more than solitude, quiet, and an escape from the clamor of Christmas. But then she meets the tall handsome mountain man who shares the mountain, and who has his own ghosts from the past to put to rest. Sometimes, the true meaning of Christmas can bring both healing and love when you least expect it.


Country Christmas by Lois Greiman
Emily Kane was tossed into the deep end of the foster care system years before, making her cautious of love and commitment. Securing her dream job at the Lazy Windmill, a working farm turned guest ranch, has begun the healing process. But the past can’t be shut out forever. Will familial reunions cause her to bolt back into hiding or will the magic of Christmas heal her heart and allow her to find her happily ever after?


The Christmas Crusade by Shanna Hatfield
Levi Clarke is on a crusade to create a merry Christmas for the patrons of Center for Hope community center. He’ll do whatever it takes to make it happen, even if it means seeking a sponsorship from Kat Kingsley, the woman too stubborn to realize she’s still in love with him.


The Christmas Charm by Susan R. Hughes
Gemma and Chris were childhood best friends until their lives took separate paths, both leading to heartache. Fifteen years later, a surprise reunion at Christmastime offers them a second chance at happiness.

Evergreen Romance by Julie Jarnagin.
After giving up her plans for college to care for her ailing grandmother, Jillian Rogers has a shot at being promoted to project manager at the local nursery, but the owner’s son comes back into town and tries to take the job. Monty Nelson spent the last five years playing triple-A baseball after college but never made it into the major leagues. Now, he has returned to Lakota, Oklahoma, driven to show his parents he can succeed, but they stick him with running the Christmas tree lot with smarty-pants Jillian Rogers. When old sparks reignite, Jillian and Monty must determine whether their romance will wither or if they’ve found everlasting love.


My Christmas Cupcake by Shaleen Kapil.
Clare thinks she is doomed to spend the holiday alone managing her new cupcake bakery until a handsome stranger appears just as she is closing up on Christmas Eve. Despite an instant attraction, Starfish Beach is a tourist town, and Clare has learned to be wary. How can she tempt Garrett, a university professor, to move to her small town when all she can offer are cupcakes?

 
A Christmas Spark by Ciara Knight
Sara Foster blames herself for her failed marriage. On Christmas Eve, she hides away in the family cabin, the same place her father abandoned her twenty years ago. Dalton Scot is unable to face the family holiday after his divorce and discovering he can never have children of his own, so he chooses Christmas Eve to fix his buddy’s cabin. Both search for a secluded spot to mourn their Christmas pasts, but instead are snowed in at the cabin for the holiday where they discover the power of the Christmas spark.


Sweet Blizzard by Milou Koenings.
He’s an ex-con, she’s a socialite. He saves her life when a blizzard strands them together, but she could make or break his. Will love make it all right in time for Christmas?
~*~







Purchase the boxed set at your favorite online retailer:


Connect with the Authors at Sweet Romance Reads:

Or connect with each of the Sweet Romance Reads Authors individually:

A tireless traveler, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Mona Risk, writes contemporary romance, medical romance, and romantic suspense novels, all simmering with emotion, sprinkled with a good dose of humor and set in the fascinating places she visited— or in Florida, her paradise on Earth.
~*~
Beate Boeker is a USA Today bestselling author with a passion for books that brim over with mischief & humor. She writes sweet sophisticated romantic fiction and mysteries, many of them set in beautiful Italy. While ‘Boeker’ means ‘books’ in a German dialect, her first name Beate can be translated as ‘Happy’ . . . and with a name that reads ‘Happy Books’, what else could she do but write novels with happy endings?
~*~
Melinda Curtis is an award winning, USA Today bestselling author. She writes the Harmony Valley series of sweet, light-hearted romances for the Harlequin Heartwarming line. Brenda Novak says: “Season of Change has found a place on my keeper shelf”. Melinda also writes the sweet romantic comedy Bridesmaid series, and fun, traditional romances. Jayne Ann Krentz says of Blue Rules: “…Wonderfully entertaining.”
~*~
Denise Devine is a USA Today bestselling author of romantic comedy and she also writes inspirational fiction. She wrote her first book, a mystery, at thirteen and has been writing ever since. She writes about true love, happy endings and stories that touch your heart.
~*~
USA Today bestselling and award-winning author Raine English writes sweet small-town contemporary romances, as well as hotter paranormal and Gothic romantic suspense. She lives in New England with her family and her French bulldog, Bailey.
~*~
USA Today bestselling author Aileen Fish is an avid quilter and auto racing fan who finds there aren’t enough hours in a day/week/lifetime to stay up with her “to do” list. There is always another quilt or story begging to steal away attention from the others. Her books include The Bridgethorpe Brides series and the Small Town Sweethearts series.
~*~
Patricia Forsythe grew up in a small copper mining town in Arizona where she had the opportunity to observe a great many interesting people who have since turned up in her books. She has written many romances for Harlequin books (as Patricia Knoll), as well as indie-published books and enjoys creating the kinds of stories she hopes people want to read.
~*~
Grace Greene writes novels of romance, mystery and suspense. A Virginia native, Grace has family ties to North Carolina. She writes books set in both locations. The Emerald Isle, NC Stories series is set in North Carolina where “It’s always a good time for a love story and a trip to the beach.” Or travel down Virginia Country Roads and “Take a trip to love, mystery and suspense.”
~*~
USA Today bestselling author Roxanne Rustand is the author of  thirty-five traditionally published novels, plus four indie novels. She was a  Golden Heart  finalist twice, and a Golden Heart winner in 1995.  She has won two RT Magazine Reviewers’ Choice Awards, and was nominated for an RT Magazine Career Achievement Award. Her earlier books were secular, but she now writes sweet indie romance, and inspirational romance for Love Inspired.
~*~
USA Today bestselling author Magdalena Scott writes sweet romance and women’s fiction with small town settings. She invites readers into her world to find out what’s hidden just below the surface of those tiny dots you can barely see on the map—mystery, romance, and the occasional unexplained occurrence.
~*~
Kristin Wallace is a USA Today bestselling author of inspirational, contemporary and women’s fiction filled with “Love, Laughter and a Leap of Faith.” Her popular series include the Covington Falls Chronicles and Shellwater Key Tales.
~*~
Christine Bush is an award winning author of many sweet romances, mysteries, and novellas.  When she’s not writing, she can be found teaching Psychology at a local college, working as a Marriage and Family Therapist in private practice, or (mostly) spending time with her twelve grandchildren.
~*~
Lois Greiman is an award winning author who has penned more than 50 heart-warming, laugh out loud novels. She currently lives on a small farm in Minnesota with her best friends, some of whom are human.
~*~
Convinced everyone deserves a happy ending, hopeless romantic Shanna Hatfield is out to make it happen one story at a time. Her bestselling sweet historical and contemporary romances combine humor and heart-pumping moments with characters that seem incredibly real.
~*~
Susan R Hughes writes contemporary and historical romance novels set in Canada. She lives in Ottawa, Ontario, with her husband and three children.
~*~
Julie Jarnagin is a multi-published author of sweet and inspirational romance. She grew up in a small Oklahoma town where her family farmed and ranched, but these days she lives in a not-so-big city with her husband and two young sons who tolerate all her nerdy quirks.
~*~
Shaleen Kapil is new and upcoming author. Her first book, None But You, debuted in 2014. Her latest stories are built around the Emerald Coast of Florida, a favorite vacation spot. She created the Starfish Beach series to allow readers to enjoy a taste of romance in a laid-back beach setting.
~*~
Ciara Knight writes ‘a little bit of edge and a lot of heart’ with her bestselling sweet romance and young adult stories that have topped the Amazon charts. When not writing, Ciara enjoys her own happily ever after with her husband and three sons living in suburbia, GA.
~*~
Milou Koenings writes heartwarming romance novels because she believes sweet stories with happy endings are like chocolate – they bring joy to the world and so make it a better place. She’s lived all over the world, working as an editor and newspaper columnist, but loves staying home with her family most of all.



Monday, September 28, 2015

NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo is the short form of National Novel Writing Month. It takes place every year from November 1st to November 30th. The purpose is to help foster the habit of writing every day and to help writers get past writer's block. The goal is to write a 50,000 word novel within 30 days. It's not expected to be publisher ready, but the first draft where you focus on just getting the words on the page.

It was originally started by a small group of writers in 1999 as a form of motivation. It's become a non-profit organization whose mission is to encourage writing and vibrant creativity around the world. In 2013, approximately 310,095 people participated.

I realize I'm a bit early in writing about this since it takes place in November, but many people who decide to participate use the month of October to get ready. Some organize their thoughts, do any research they think they may need, and to clear time in their schedules if needed to ensure they have the necessary writing time.

I have to admit, I've never participated, but have thought about doing it. What's holding me back? Up until recently I worked full time and had commitments outside of work I couldn't shirk 3 days a week. This year I'm thinking I would have the time, but I'm knee deep in revisions that I'd hoped to have finished by the end of summer. So instead of participating in NaNoWriMo, I'm focusing on revisions. I'm determined to get them completed by Thanksgiving.

If you're interested in learning more about NaNoWriMo, here's the link to their official website: National Novel Writing Month

Friday, September 25, 2015

This I know for sure...

While summer is my favorite season, I always look forward to the fall. During the summer, we're always trying to take advantage of the great weather by going on day trips, having cook outs, visiting friends and relatives. Mainly doing things that we can't really do on a regular basis in the winter weather.  We also seem to subsist on different types of salads, sandwiches, cook out foods, and the occasional take out meal.

One of the things I always look forward to in the fall is the cooler weather. Not because I hate the heat of summer, but because then it's not too hot and humid to make an oven meal or even a crock pot meal. No one wants to eat hot food when it's 85 degrees or higher. So by the time the end of August comes around, I'm looking forward to those temperatures in the 60's just so I can cook something different that what we've been subsisting on during the summer months.

How about you? Does the weather dictate what you do or don't cook for dinner?

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

What's Up Wednesday

This week...

My current WIP (work in progress): I met with my critique partner on Monday who helped me brainstorm some ideas for a section of the book that didn't seem to be working. Now I'm working on rewriting that section with one of the ideas and hoping it will flow much better.

Quote of the week: "What you do today can improve all your tomorrows." ~ Ralph Marston   I really like this quote because it speaks to so many things that we're reaching for.

What I'm reading:  Make Me Lose Control by Christie Ridgway.  This is a fun read.
 
Random things:  I go back to see the orthopedist on Friday and am hoping the fractured bone in my ankle is healed so I can get out of the big clunky brace I've had to wear all month. 
 
Random Photo of the Week:


This card is really for my niece who's been having a hard time lately, but I think it could apply to anyone who's dealing with a difficult person.


Monday, September 21, 2015

Cold Weather Recipe

This past weekend was beyond crazy. I didn't get even close to all the things I needed to accomplish, much less hoped to accomplish, so I'm taking the easy way out with today's blog.

I'm sharing one of my family's favorite cold weather recipes. Hope you all enjoy it as much as we do.

Crock Pot Hamburger Pasta

2 lbs lean ground beef
1 yellow onion, diced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 15oz jar of marinara sauce
1 15oz can of diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 beef bouillon cubes, crumbled (I use the Herb-Ox brand)
2 tablespoons sugar
salt & pepper to taste
1 lb rigatoni pasta (Penne & elbow pasta works well too.)
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese

Over medium high heat, brown the ground beef, onion, and garlic in a skillet until beef and onions are thoroughly cooked. Transfer meat mixture to the crock pot. Add the marinara sauce, tomatoes, all the seasonings listed above, sugar, and the beef bouillon cubes. Make sure to remember to crumble the cubes before adding them.  Stir everything together until it's well mixed. Add salt & pepper to taste. Cover with lid and cook for 6 hours on low heat setting.

Within the last hour to 45 minutes of the above cooking time, cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain the pasta and at the 6 hour mark mentioned above, add the pasta to the meat mixture and stir well. Add the cheese and stir to combine. Replace the lid and cook on high heat setting for 30 minutes. Stir once more and serve.

Serves 8








Friday, September 18, 2015

This I know for sure...

Sometimes someone you least expect will share their wisdom in ways you didn't expect. I work with a gentleman who is quite accomplished in the business world. We were speaking one day last week while waiting for a meeting to start. We were talking about how fast the year seems to be going by. I mentioned I was having problems meeting some of the goals I set back in January and was starting to feel a bit panicked. He stated he has always set yearly goals since he graduated college 25 years ago.

I asked if he'd be willing to share a few tips that he uses to keep himself on track when life seems to get in the way. He not only was very willing to share tips, he offered to look over the goals I'd like to set for 2016. So I'll be spending this weekend setting goals.

I do have one small concern -- No one I work with knows that I'm a writer with 2 books published. I work in a very small office and decided it would be best to keep this information private, but in order to work with this gentleman, I'll have to let him know about my writing.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

What's Up Wednesday

This week...

My current WIP (work in progress): I tore out a good portion of a scene that wasn't working for me (It wasn't working for my critique partner either) and re-wrote it. I'm going to give it to her to have her take another look at it and see if it flows better.

Quote of the week: "Believe you can and you're halfway there." ~ Theodore Roosevelt
 
What I'm reading: I just finished Beyond Limits by Laura Griffin. This is book 8 in her Tracers series. 

Random things: I toss broken up stale bread and crackers in a small area of our yard for the birds. My cat sits and watches the birds and they fly to and fro either eating the bread or taking a piece or two with them. My sister says I'm being cruel to the cat by drawing the birds to the yard. What do you think?
 
Random Photo of the Week:


Dash spent an entire evening playing in and beating up the box that held a new portable heater. As you can tell, he also chewed on the corners of the flaps. Who needs cat toys? :o)