Friday, September 29, 2017

This I know for sure...

I have a few authors that I automatically buy their books without even knowing what the book is about. I do this mainly because I love their writing, have loved all of the books by them that I've read so far with many of the books ending up on my keeper shelf.

Then I run into a book by an auto-buy author that I just can't read. Either I hate the plot line, the hero or heroine, or in the most recent case, how the book is written. I don't mean the mechanics of the writing like POV, grammar, and the like but the fact that the story jumps back and forth in time. The book I'm referring to isn't a time travel novel, but is written where one chapter takes place in the present time that the book is set in, the next chapter is occurs three years prior, the next chapter is back in the present time the book is set in, the next chapter occurs one year prior, and on and on and on.

I felt like the author chose to write the story jumping back to various points in the couples' history so she could use all the backstory she developed without doing it in one giant dump which is considered a no no.

This is the first book by this particular author that I've been disappointed in. Will I continue auto-buy her? I'm not sure. I'll probably flip through a copy of any future books to ensure those books don't contain this type of plot device before purchasing it.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

What's Up Wednesday

This week...

My Current WIP (Work In Progress):  No writing this week and all of next week. I was told last Friday that I am being sent to classes for these two weeks so I can get my state license in my field. The state exam is the Wednesday following the end of the classes. Classes are from 8:00am to 5:00pm and will require nightly reading of at least 50 to 75 pages a night so that we'll get through the entire book within the two week time period. The nice thing about getting licensed is that I'll get a raise. I'm hoping it will be a significant one. 

Quote of the Week: "Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway." ~ Earl Nightingale 

What I'm Reading: The Day of the Duchess by Sarah MacLean. Ms. MacLean is one of my favorite writers and is one of my auto-buy authors.

Random Thoughts: It's hard to believe fall officially started last Friday. In my area, it's been in the high 80's all last week and has been in the 90's so far this week. It's not expected to cool down until the weekend. 

Random Photo of the Week:

     Mrs. Green is getting so big. It's hard to believe she was half this size just 3 months ago.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Please Welcome My Guest

Please welcome my guest, Milou Koenings. Milou is an award-winning USA Today bestselling author who writes romance because she believes that, like chocolate, stories with happy endings bring joy to the world and so make it a better place. 

Milou's latest release is The Gift of Yesterday and is the fifth book in the Green Pines Romance series. The Gift of Yesterday is part of the Sweet Christmas Kisses 4 box set consisting of 14 stand alone stories. She has taken the time to answer a few questions for us. 

Tell us something about yourself both writing and not writing related.

Let's see—writing related... I have way more stories in my head than I can possibly ever write. It's really hard deciding which ones will get to see the light of day.

Not writing related—I love working with fellow authors, like all the amazing writers in this box set. There's something wonderful about having the support of your tribe!

I couldn't agree more. Do you have a writing routine?  Where do you usually do your writing?

I'm an owl. I write best in a dark room with all the blinds down, or late at night, so my imagination can take flight undisturbed. 

Why do you write in the genre/sub-genre that you do?  Any plans in the future to write in a different one?

There's so much violence, darkness and crudeness out there, that I don’t want to add to it in my writing. I try to create worlds where people still treat each other with civility, respect and kindness, and I write stories that focus on the emotional aspects of romance. I want my books to be a pleasant place for readers to spend their time.

How do you stay motivated when writer’s block hits or your muse won’t cooperate?

I'm a terrible procrastinator! If I get stuck writing, I really have to fight the urge to go iron kitchen towels!

(Laughs) It's nice to know I'm not alone. What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever done in the name of research?

A few years ago, I was writing a story based in Paris, where I hadn't been since I was a kid. It wasn't working, because Paris has changed so much. So I sold some stuff I had around the house to raise the money for plane tickets, and within a week my kids and I were in Paris, staying with a friend. It was a totally crazy, spontaneous thing to do, but it was amazing. Book aside, it was one of the best things we ever did as a family.

Over the years, in the name of research I've taken drum lessons, interviewed so many interesting people, and for this latest release, learned to bake French pastry from a professional baker.

What a great experience for your children. What’s the best writing advice you were ever given? 

Don’t just write what you know.  If you need to do research, do it, but don't limit yourself to what you're familiar with in your own little neck of the woods. What you know deep down will come through anyway.

Good advice. What do you like to do in your leisure time?

Write. Although a few times a year, I get coaxed out of my lair to play percussion with a student orchestra at a local conservatory and I totally love that.

Tell us about your current release in a couple of sentences.

My new release is Sweet Christmas Kisses 4, a box set of holiday-themed novellas by 14 New York Times and/or USA Today bestselling or award-winning authors, all of whom write sweet romance.

My novella in the set, The Gift of Yesterday, is a second-chance love story between a young woman who has lost so much, and the guy who's loved her since they were kids. She's a pastry chef, so be warned, the read might make you hungry!

Here's the official line:
When Bailey returns to Green Pines to open a pastry shop, Joe Hudson sees all his Christmas wishes coming true—if only he can convince her to risk her heart again.

Can you tell us a little about your next project?

Sure. The Gift of Yesterday is the fifth story in the Green Pines Romance series. So I'm working on number six, a full-length novel, also set in my favorite fictional small town in Illinois.

Anything else you’d like to share?

Thank you so much for hosting me today. 

If I may, I'd like to invite everyone here to join us at our Facebook Launch Party today, September 26, between noon and 7:30 p.m. We'll be having book giveaways, prizes, contests and lots of fun!

 And to whet your interest a little more, read below to find out about the authors and their stories in Sweet Christmas Kisses 4:

Usher in the holiday season with 14 heartwarming all-new, stand-alone stories from New York Times, USA Today, national bestselling, and award-winning authors. Sweet Christmas Kisses 4 takes you from the Pocono Mountains to sunny Florida, and as far away as Portugal.

Curl up with your favorite hot beverage and enjoy this sweet romance boxed set that’s sure to put you in the mood for Christmas.

Mona Risk, In Time for Christmas
Dr. Sylvia Reynolds promised to be at her parents’, in time for Christmas dinner, but her priorities change after she meets a motherless baby and her gorgeous uncle.

 Beate Boeker, Unique Christmas
Chiara hopes to spend a solitary Christmas all by herself. But when a man jumps through her office window to save her from an accident, things spin away—beyond her wildest dreams.

 Christine Bush, Christmas with the Cat Lady
Carly is happy living alone in her mountain house with her cats. Can the handsome author who rents a room over the Christmas holidays change her mind?

 Lyn Cote, Loving Winter
At her cousin’s wedding, Winter Woodard, owner of her family’s garden center, isn’t expecting to meet her match in local football coach, Clay Dixon, (she isn’t IN to sports!) but he stands by her through a holiday season fraught with unexpected setbacks.

 Denise Devine, Once Upon a Christmas
Small town girl returns home to find love and success, but can she outlast the mistakes of her past?

Raine English, Christmas in Walnut Creek
Will a Christmas blizzard reunite a couple and give them a second chance at love?

Jean C. Gordon, A Team Macachek Christmas
Sparks fly from a Christmastime reunion of motocross racer Jesse Brewster and his ex-girlfriend Lauren Cooper. But is it the wrong time for their love?

Shanna Hatfield, Saving Mistletoe
A stubborn cop, a hotshot attorney, and a little girl determined to spend Christmas with her father need a miracle to make this holiday season jolly and bright.

Milou Koenings, The Gift of Yesterday
When Bailey returns to Green Pines to open a pastry shop, Joe Hudson sees all his Christmas wishes coming true—if only he can convince her to risk her heart again.

Josie Riviera, A Portuguese Christmas
The holidays—like love—can sneak up on you. And sweep you away like a riptide.

 Roxanne Rustand, A Christmas in Montana
Kristen Weatherby goes to Montana to get her late grandmother's house ready to sell, but finds much more than she bargained for: a house she can't let go, a charming mountain town, and a handsome veterinarian who just might steal her heart.

Magdalena Scott, A Cowboy for Christmas
Hannah Kincaid is in love with Jacob Hollingsworth, and will overcome her fear of horses and his bossy brother Michael to get a Christmas happily-ever-after with the cowboy of her dreams.

Kristin Wallace, Loving You at Christmas
Annaliese Matheson is convinced she’ll never love again. This Christmas will become the opening act for her holiday happily ever after.

 Merrillee Whren, Puppy Love and Mistletoe
Can a little girl and a fluffy black dog bring a reluctant couple together in a Christmas miracle?

Pre-order your copy today for just 99 cents!

And don’t forget to connect with the Authors at Sweet Romance Reads:
Author Bios:

Mona Risk
New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author, Mona Risk, received an Outstanding Achiever Award from Affaire de Coeur Magazine. She's a two time winner of Best Contemporary Romance of the Year from Readers Favorite; a winner of Best Romance Novel of the Year from Preditors & Editors Readers Poll; and an EPIC Award finalist. Her books have garnered: Top Pick, Outstanding Read, Sweetheart of the Week, and Best Book of the Week from various reviewers, and received two mentions in Publisher's Weekly.
Mona lives in South Florida and has traveled to more than eighty countries on business or vacation. She writes contemporary romances, medical romance, romantic suspense, and paranormal fantasy. Sprinkled with a good dose of humor, her stories are set in the fascinating places she visited or more simply at home.

Beate Boeker
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 cozy 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?

Christine Bush
Christine Bush has been a storyteller all of her life. Always a lover of romance, mystery, and happy endings, it is no surprise that her novels have a lively mix of all three ingredients! Christine is a women's advocate, and believes with all her heart that women can face the problems in their lives with courage, creativity (and often humor) and make a difference in the world.

Lyn Cote
USA Today bestselling author, Lyn Cote has written over 45 books. A Romance Writers of America RITA finalist and an American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award winner, Lyn writes contemporary romance, romantic suspense and historical novels. No matter which kind of story, her brand “Strong Women, Brave Stories” comes through. Her most recent achievement is being added to Romance Writers of America’s Honor Roll for bestselling authors.

Denise Devine
Denise Devine is a USA Today bestselling author who has had a passion for books since the second grade when she discovered Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder. She wrote her first book, a mystery, at age thirteen and has been writing ever since.

Raine English
USA Today bestselling author Raine English always wanted to be a writer. She began her career as a journalist, but writing romance novels was her passion. Her books have won many awards, including finalling in the Romance Writers of America Golden Heart and winning the Daphne du Maurier Award.  When not behind her computer, you can usually find her reading. She lives in New England with her family and two French bulldogs, Bailey and Dolly.

Jean C. Gordon 
For sweet romance author Jean C. Gordon, writing is a natural extension of her love of reading. From that day in first grade when she realized t-h-e was the word “the,” she’s been reading everything she can put her hands on. A professional financial planner and financial writer, Jean is as at home writing retirement- and investment-planning advice as she is writing romance novels, but finds novels a lot more fun.

Shanna Hatfield
After spending her formative years on a farm in Eastern Oregon, hopeless romantic Shanna Hatfield turns her rural experiences into sweet historical and contemporary romances filled with sarcasm, humor, and hunky heroes.
When this USA Today bestselling author isn’t writing or covertly hiding decadent chocolate from the other occupants of her home, Shanna hangs out with her beloved husband, Captain Cavedweller.

Milou Koenings
Milou Koenings is an award-winning USA Today bestselling author who writes romance because she believes that, like chocolate, stories with happy endings bring joy to the world and so make it a better place. The Gift of Yesterday is the fifth book in the Green Pines Romance series.

Josie Riviera
Josie Riviera is a USA Today Bestselling Author of contemporary, inspirational, and historical sweet romances that read like Hallmark movies. She lives in the Charlotte, NC, area with her wonderfully supportive husband. They share their home with an adorable Shih Tzu who constantly needs grooming and an old house forever needing renovations.

Roxanne Rustand
USA Today best-selling author Roxanne Rustand has written over thirty-five novels. She writes inspirational romantic suspense and inspirational romance For Love Inspired, and also writes sweet romance for the indie market. She lives in the country with her family, plus a menagerie of pets that sometimes find their way into her books.

Magdalena Scott
USA Today bestselling author Magdalena Scott writes sweet romance and women's fiction with small town settings.

Kristin Wallace
Kristin is a USA Today Bestselling author of inspirational and sweet contemporary romance filled with “love, laughter and a leap of faith”. Growing up she devoured books like bags of Dove Dark Chocolate. Her first Golden Book led to Laura Ingalls Wilder, Nancy Drew, C.S. Lewis and the Sweet Valley High series. Later, she discovered romance novels and fell in love all over again. It’s no surprise that Kristin would one day try her hand at writing them. She is the author of two bestselling series, Covington Falls Chronicles (inspirational romance) and Shellwater Key Tales (contemporary romance).

Merrillee Whren
Merrillee Whren is an award-winning, USA Today bestselling author who writes inspirational romance. She is the winner of the 2003 Golden Heart Award for best inspirational romance manuscript presented by Romance Writers of America. She has also been the recipient of the RT Reviewers’ Choice Award and the Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award. She is married to her own personal hero, her husband of forty- plus years, and has two grown daughters. She has lived in Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Chicago and Florida but now makes her home in the Arizona desert. She spends her free time playing tennis or walking while she does the plotting for her novels.

Friday, September 22, 2017

This I know for sure...

Lately I've been procrastinating more than usual. I'm not sure why. I ran across the following quote and thought, "oh my goodness that's me!" Now to figure out how to get out of my procrastination rut.

Quote: "I do not understand myself for I do not do the thing I want to do, but I do the very thing I hate." ~ From Romans in the Bible. (I tried to verify this online and found multiple variations. As I am not well versed with the contents of the Bible, I wasn't sure which variation was the actual correct version.)

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

What's Up Wednesday

This week...

My Current WIP (Work In Progress):  No writing last week. I ended up having to work extra hours at the day job and the first 2 days of this week. Hopefully, that will be it for the rest of this month.

Quote of the Week: "Do what you have to do so you can do what you want to do." ~ Unknown (though I'm told it's a quote from The Great Debaters). I heard someone say this in passing and it just stuck in my head. Sounds like good advice for anyone to follow.

What I'm Reading:  I just finished The Sinner by Amanda Stevens last night so I haven't started a new book yet. 

Random Thoughts:  I have a love/hate relationship with the fall season. I love the cooler weather, the beautiful colors of the autumn leaves, the bite of a crisp, juicy apple just picked from the tree, and the feeling of a new beginning every time the school year starts. I hate the fact that fall will fade and winter will set in with bone numbing cold, way too much snow and ice, and the dangerous road conditions the weather brings. I also hate that winter seems to last longer than all of the other 3 seasons together. 

Random Photo of the Week:

      Of all the places to sleep, Mrs. Green seems to like to sleep on my slippers the most. 

Monday, September 18, 2017

Getting Your Writing Mojo Back

Lately, okay for the past few months, I've been struggling with getting even the tiniest bit of writing or revisions done. There's a great article by Elisabeth Staab on the Fiction University website about how to reboot your writing when you haven't written in a while.

Since I'm hoping I'm not the only one struggling to get work done on my manuscript, I thought I'd share the link to the article here. Link: Rebooting Your Writing...

Let me know if you find any of the tips helpful.

Friday, September 15, 2017

This I know for sure...

It breaks my heart every time I hear of yet another school shooting.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

What's Up Wednesday

This week...

My Current WIP (Work In Progress): As I mentioned in the previous What's Up Wednesday post, I had a card to make for my nephew's birthday party this past Sunday and my mom had a doctor appointment last week. While I was happy with how the birthday party came out, it took a lot of work so I didn't get any writing accomplished.

Quote of the Week:  “The value of persistence cannot be underestimated today. Every time you are knocked down, get up and try and do and do and try. This is the only way to break through.” ~ Unknown

What I'm Reading: I'm reading: The Sinner by Amanda Stevens. This is the 5th book in the Graveyard Queen series. If you like paranormal books, this is a great series.

Random Thoughts:  I like making the cards I give for birthdays, Christmas, Easter, Thank Yous, and the like, but some of the cards can take a lot of time to make. I've posted the card I made for my nephew below. Everything was cut by hand except the grass, the cake, and the two little birds. Even the tiny birthday hats some of the animals are wearing were cut by hand and placed on their heads separately so while I find the process enjoyable, it can be painstaking work. 

Random Photo of the Week:

                        Here's the front of the card...

                      and here's the inside of the card.

Monday, September 11, 2017

September 11th

             Please take a moment today and remember all those lost on September 11, 2001.

Friday, September 8, 2017

This I know for sure...

I have an email account that I use when ordering online or signing up for coupon offers and the like. I really need to go through and unsubscribe from some of the emails I get. On any given day, I get between 90 and 100 emails that are essentially "Hey, buy our stuff." I even get emails from companies I've never done business with so obviously this email address is on a list somewhere. In some cases, I get emails from the same retailer three and four times a day, with each email telling how much time I have left to order in the subject line.

My only concern is if I click on the unsubscribe link, am I only just confirming to the company that it's a valid email address which will just convince them to send more junk email? I have tried unsubscribing to some and months later I'm still getting the emails. More often than not, I just group delete 95% of the emails unread that I receive on a daily basis.

Any suggestions on how I can pare down the number of emails I receive without abandoning the email address altogether? (Yes, that was a suggestion I received from a friend.)

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

What's Up Wednesday

This week...

My Current WIP (Work In Progress): I ended up having to work extra hours last week after all. I have a birthday card to make this week for my little nephew's party this coming weekend and my mom has a doctor appointment so I'm not sure how much writing related stuff I'll get done.

Quote of the Week: "Small daily habits will open the way for a lifetstyle change. You won't believe the remarkable difference one small habit can make." ~ Unknown

What I'm Reading: I'm reading Before the Dawn by Cynthia Eden. She writes really good romantic suspense novels. If you're a fan of romantic suspense, you'll love her books.

Random Thoughts:  Looking forward to the cooler fall weather if only so I can start baking again. I don't do much baking in the summer, it's too hot to have the oven on heating up the house already more than the weather itself does. 

Random Photo of the Week:  

This was me this past weekend. I don't know if it's because it's darker now in the mornings, but I slept in until just about 6:45am both Saturday and Sunday. I rarely sleep past 6:00am even if I don't have the alarm clock set.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Labor Day Holiday

I hope you and your family have a wonderful Labor Day holiday. In our area, schools go back in session on Wednesday so it really does seem like this weekend is the end of summer.

Friday, September 1, 2017

This I know for sure...

I don't watch a lot of television, but I am looking forward to a couple of the new shows coming on this fall season. I love The Big Bang Theory with Sheldon Cooper being one of my favorite characters on the show so I want to check out Young Sheldon.

Another show I want to check out is The Good Doctor. I've seen the commercial for it a couple of times and it looks interesting. I'll watch it for a couple of episodes and decide then if I want to continue to watch it.

I am also looking forward to returning shows such as Grey's Anatomy, Scandal, and Timeless. (I was thrilled to learn that Timeless was renewed for a second season after it was originally cancelled.)

Are you looking forward to any new programs or any returning shows?