Sunday, January 20, 2019

Introducing Ana E Ross by Nancy Fraser #RomanceGems

Welcome back! It’s been an absolute joy to introduce this wonderful group of new-to-us authors to our readers. Gems in the Attic ... soon to be Romance GEMS ... is growing by leaps and bounds. In addition to these introductions, we’ve got some wonderful posts coming up that you won’t want to miss! But not today.

Today it’s my pleasure to welcome author Ana E Ross to the blog!

Getting to Know Ana

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author, Ana E Ross, was born and raised in the Caribbean where she began indulging in romance novels at a very early age.

A former Writing and English Literature teacher, Ana now writes steamy contemporary romances featuring sexy, alpha heroes and strong, beautiful heroines who fight and love with equal passion.

Her published works include three short stories, five books in her bestselling series, Billionaire Brides of Granite Falls, and three books in the spinoff series, Beyond Granite Falls. She is presently working on her Billionaire Island Brides series, featuring—once again—sexy alpha males and strong beautiful women.

Ana lives in the northeast, and loves traveling, tennis, yoga, meditation, everything Italian, and spending valuable time with her daughter.

When Did Ana Know She Would Become a Writer?

I knew I’d become an author at a very early age when I began writing script/plays for my Sunday School and youth groups at my church on my native island of Nevis. I also wrote short stories for my high school magazines/booklets. However, I knew romance would be my genre of choice at age 13 when I began reading True Stories, Jive, and Black Romance magazines my late, older sister, Delores, used to send me from St. Maarten. These stories ultimately led me to write love poems, and then romance novels.

A Look at What Ana Writes

Believing that his late wife betrayed him with another man, falling in love again is the last thing Dr. Erik LaCrosse wants to do. But fall, he does, and so hard, he secretly marries the alluring nanny from the wrong side of the tracks. However, when he unearths a disturbing secret from Michelle’s past, Erik must choose between his loyalty to a dead woman and the love burning in his heart for one who is very much alive.

You can find The Doctor’s Secret Bride on Amazon.

Where to Find Ana in Cyberspace

As always, I’m so glad you stopped by. Be sure to come back daily for more great posts from the Romance GEMS authors!


Saturday, January 19, 2019

Introducing Kathryn Hills by Nancy Fraser #RomanceGems

Welcome back! It’s been an absolute joy to introduce this wonderful group of new-to-us authors to our readers. Gems in the Attic ... soon to be Romance GEMS ... is growing by leaps and bounds. In addition to these introductions, we’ve got some wonderful posts coming up that you won’t want to miss! But not today.

Today it’s my pleasure to welcome author Kathryn Hills to the blog!

Getting to Know Kathryn

Meet Kathryn Hills! Romance author, ghost hunter, and lover of things that go bump in the night.

The rich history and many mysteries of New England are the perfect setting for Kathryn and her books. Winding roads lined by old stone walls, forgotten cemeteries, grand homes with shadowy pasts... All sparks for her imagination.

Whether it’s a quaint seaside town or the vibrant city of Boston, it’s easy for this “hauntingly romantic” author to envision the past mingling with the present. No surprise, some of Kathryn’s favorite stories involve time travel. And ghosts! Sprinkle in some magic, and you’re off on a great adventure.

When not writing, she’s exploring history and taking photographs of the beautiful landscape surrounding her. Kathryn shares her colonial home with those she loves most—her wonderful husband, daughter, and three crazy dogs.

Kathryn’s Path to Becoming an Author

Unlike those who knew they were destined to be authors from a young age, my experience was more like being struck by lightning. And in typical fashion, it all began with a haunted house!

A trip to deliver Christmas presents to my sister on Cape Cod included a chance encounter with the place that sparked it all – Highfield Hall. I was running late, anxious to beat holiday traffic when my sister suggested, “Let’s go to Highfield.” I balked, and she urged, “Come on, it’s beautiful.” Wow was she right!

The stick-style Victorian was intriguing – gilded-age history with a haunting vibe I sensed from the parking lot. Once in ruins, the restored mansion was breathtaking when we toured it on that cold December day. I fell in love.

A story unfolded in my head on the long drive home. I wrote in secret, pouring words onto pages as an intricate plot fell into place. On New Year’s Day my husband asked, “What are you doing?”

I confessed. “I think I’m writing a book.”

When I explained further, he showed his true heroic nature. “You need to do this.” He encouraged me to do research, connect with other writers, and learn the craft. By summer I’d joined RWA and my regional chapter, attended a writer’s retreat and the first of many RWA conferences to come. Haunting Highland House and I were on our way!

A Look at What Kathryn Writes

She’s looking to escape her man troubles. Instead, she finds the man of her dreams. There’s only one problem. He’s dead.

Living in a haunted house and uncovering a gateway in time were not in the job description when Samantha Merrill agreed to be the property manager of Highland House. Old photos of the reclusive master of the manor captivate her, yet she’s terrified when he appears out of nowhere. How can Robert Pennington be making love to her by the parlor fireplace when he died over a century ago?

Robert Pennington is a powerful industrialist charged with caring for an ailing father, a meddling mother, and two wayward siblings. Weary of his burdens, he longs for change. Is he ready for a woman from the future? His disciplined world turns upside down when the mysterious Samantha Merrill crashes his sister’s birthday ball. He is wildly attracted to this intriguing beauty, but is it magic or mischief motivating her? When Sam vanishes before his eyes, he knows only one thing for certain.  He wants her back.

Haunting Highland House (Book 1 of the Series) is available from Amazon.

What’s one book in a series without the next? Also available, Hellfire and Handbaskets, from Amazon.

Where to Find Kathryn in Cyberspace

As always, I’m so glad you stopped by. Be sure to come back daily for more great posts from the Romance GEMs authors!


Friday, January 18, 2019

Introducing Satin Russell by Nancy Fraser #ROMANCEGEMS

Welcome back! It’s that time again ... another new author introduction. I can’t believe how fast we’re growing. Which, of course, means more great authors and books for everyone to enjoy!

Today it’s my pleasure to welcome author Satin Russell to the blog!

Getting to Know Satin

Satin Russell was a financial advisor for many years up until she decided to pursue her dream of becoming a writer back in April 2013.

It took her a year of saving and planning before she was able to commit to her goal full-time.  Her debut novel, Secret Hunger, was published in April of 2015.

Satin lives in Massachusetts and is married to the love of her life, a man who literally flew halfway around the world for her. Other than writing, she loves reading, supporting fellow authors (especially self-published ones,) traveling, and photography. She’s also partial to a good whiskey every now and then.

How Did Satin Become an Author

I think the biggest reason I wanted to become a writer is because I was such an avid reader. As a kid, I always had my nose in a book. Classics, romance, adventure, fantasy, sci-fi, you name it, I read it. In fact, there was one summer my dad even grounded me from reading – that’s how much I liked to read.

Unfortunately, as I got older, I grew away from my goal of becoming a writer. I think that happens to a lot of us as we grow up. It didn’t seem like a viable career option. Instead, I did the “adult” thing; went to school, met a man, got married, started a career in finance, and worked my 9-5 office job.

Then, in the wee hours of my 36th birthday, I woke up and thought, “How the heck did I get here?” It felt like I was doing exactly opposite of what my strengths and interests were. I was filled with feelings of restlessness and felt the need to CHOOSE the direction my life was headed. Up until that point, I wondered if it had all just been a series of reactions.

I realized that I wanted to make a change. Let me tell you, that alone is a hard decision to make. It takes a LOT (a lot, a lot…) of courage to decide you want to change your situation. Especially if what you have isn’t wholly uncomfortable. If – actually – for the most part your life is fairly good. And yet, some part of you is still unsatisfied. Left wondering, “What if?” It’s like a little splinter that keeps catching you in your instep when you’re walking.

I’m lucky. My husband listened to what I was saying and has supported my efforts. Now, I have two books published, I've met some amazing people, I've learned an incredible amount about writing, publishing, and marketing, and I can honestly say that I've never been happier!

Even a bad day of writing feels like a good day to me.

A Look at What Satin Writes

She's chasing dreams.

Olivia, a café owner and cook, never regretted forsaking her dreams to finish raising her sisters after the death of their parents. Now grown, they've moved out of the house, leaving Olivia free to pick up where she left off — if she can find the courage to start over.

He's hunting nightmares.

Mason is a Boston police detective recuperating from a tragic incident that left his partner dead. All he wants is to heal and get back to the job of hunting the killer down. The last thing on his mind is romance.

Finding love wasn't in either of their plans.
But as their relationship heats up, events begin to happen that make Olivia realize she’s drawn a far more sinister kind of attention. Suddenly, she finds herself fighting not only for her dreams, but for her very life.

Where to Find Satin in Cyberspace

So glad you stopped by. Be sure to come back daily for more great posts from the Romance GEMs authors!


Thursday, January 17, 2019

Introducing Peggy Jaeger by Nancy Fraser #RomanceGems

It’s that time again. We’re going to welcome another author to the fold! I can’t believe how fast we’re growing. Which, of course, means more great authors and books for you to enjoy!

Today it’s my pleasure to welcome author Peggy Jaeger to the blog!

What You Need to Know About Peggy

Peggy Jaeger is a contemporary romance writer who writes about strong women, the families who support them, and the men who can’t live without them.

Family and food play huge roles in Peggy’s stories because she believes there is nothing that holds a family structure together like sharing a meal…or two…or ten. Dotted with humor and characters that are as real as they are loving, Peggy brings all topics of daily life into her stories: life, death, sibling rivalry, illness and the desire for everyone to find their own happily ever after. Growing up the only child of divorced parents she longed for sisters, brothers and a family that vowed to stick together no matter what came their way. Through her books, she has created the families she wanted as that lonely child.

Tying into her love of families, her children's book, THE KINDNESS TALES, was illustrated by her artist mother-in-law.

Peggy holds a master's degree in Nursing Administration and first found publication with several articles she authored on Alzheimer's Disease during her time running an Alzheimer's in-patient care unit during the 1990s.

In 2013, she placed first in two categories in the Dixie Kane Memorial Contest: Single Title Contemporary Romance and Short/Long Contemporary Romance.

In 2017 she came in 3rd in the New England Reader's Choice contest for A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS and was a finalist in the 2017 STILETTO contest for the same title.

In 2018, Peggy was a finalist in the HOLT MEDALLION Award and once again in the 2018 Stiletto Contest. She also came in first place in the Contemporary Romance category of the  2018 OKRWA IDA Contest.

A lifelong and avid romance reader and writer, she is a member of RWA and her local New Hampshire RWA Chapter.

When Did Peggy Know She’d Become an Author

The very first time I even picked up a pencil to write a story was when I was 8 years old and received a locked-key diary as a Christmas present. I knew I should be chronically my daily life, but I felt it was boring and no one would want to read about a lonely, chubby, myopic only child who longed for a family that would love her. So I invented an 8 year old girl who had two loving parents and 6 siblings. They traveled the world exploring ancient ruins, swimming with dolphins, and traveling to fun amusement parks. That 56 page diary got filled up pretty quickly with the tales I wrote. When there were no empty pages left to write in it, I asked for notebook so I could continue my stories. From that moment on, I knew I wanted to write for the rest of my life.

A Look at What Peggy Writes

Colleen O'Dowd manages a thriving bridal business with her sisters in Heaven, New Hampshire. After fleeing Manhattan and her cheating ex-fiancé, Colleen still believes in happily ever afters. But with a demanding business to run, her sisters to look after, and their 93-year-old grandmother to keep out of trouble, she's worried she'll never find Mr. Right.

Playboy Slade Harrington doesn't believe in marriage. His father's six weddings have taught him life is better as an unencumbered single guy. But Slade loves his little sister. He'll do anything for her, including footing the bill for her dream wedding. He doesn't plan on losing his heart to a smart-mouthed, gorgeous wedding planner, though. When her ex-fiancé comes back into the picture, Colleen must choose between Mr. Right and Mr. Right Now.

You can add Colleen’s and Slade’s story to your collection by clicking on this Amazon link!

Where to Find Peggy in Cyberspace

So glad you stopped by. Be sure to come back daily for more great posts from Romance GEMs authors!


Tuesday, January 15, 2019

A NEW YEAR - A NEW ME @kathleenlawless

I haven’t really morphed into someone else, but as writers we are all constantly growing, changing, experimenting and challenging ourselves.  If we didn’t, we and our work, would become stale and flat.  We have freedom to change our voice.  Change our genre.  Even change our name.

After all, it worked for Nora Roberts.  She still pens her emotionally-charged romance novels, while as JD Robb she kills it in the thriller/suspense genre. 

So late last year I decided to take on a second writing identity, Kaely Steel.  Kathleen Lawless is still alive and well and working on a series of Western Historical Romances, but as Kaely Steel I created an entirely new voice.  For her/my series, G Force Five, I wrote in first person, a new departure.  I also played around with present tense, but in the end wrote the books in past tense because I think it works better for storytelling.  At least it does for me.

Old school romances, for those of us who have been around that long, were always told from the heroine’s point of view.  I don’t know who broke the mold, but sometime in the 70’s the reader was introduced to the hero’s point of view, in small doses at first.  Once the readers had a taste for what really went on behind his aloof facade, they clamored for more.  As writers, we had to learn a seamless way to change points of view in our story.

For Kaely’s new Reverse Harem series that releases this month, I went a few steps further.  Along with the heroine’s POV, I sprinkled in thoughts and feelings and reactions from the five men in her life. Small doses that give the reader the chance to get to know these men better as the series progresses.

I’m back into Kathleen Lawless’ shoes now, with only two points of view in my current WIP.  Comfy shoes to be sure, but I feel my writing is stronger for having tried on Kaely Steel’s multi POV hat. 

From Redeeming Jenna, G Force Five – Book 1
          One thing I didn’t remember from earlier was a shiny silver dance pole beckoning to me.  I grabbed hold of the pole and did a half-twirl.  I needed some music. 
          As if on cue, ceiling speakers sprang to life.  A sultry jazz piece flowed over me, making movement instinctual.  I kicked off my shoes and wrapped one leg around the pole, attempting an experimental spin.  
          As I moved, I took a closer look at the mirrors.  What if those mirrors were two-way glass?  Which one of my heroes might be on the other side, watching me? 
          Dark and brooding Wulff? 
          Blond Viking Ledger? 
          Scarred and handsome Hart? 
          Soulful green-eyed Pierce? 
          Or the blue-eyed Dare devil?
          I didn’t have long to wait.

Redeeming Jenna is available now.
Protecting Bree, Book 2, is live today.  Serving Fallon releases on January 29th.
Find them on Amazon and in KU. 

Sign up for Kathleen’s newsletter to receive updates. Give-aways and special fan-priced offers.

Cheryl Bolen on Release Day Jitters

I don’t have many release days – at the most, three in a year. Today is release day for my newest novel, Last Duke Standing, which is the third and final novel of my Lords of Eton trilogy. It used to be exciting when I had a book launch and saw my book soar to the top of New Releases on Amazon and to the number 1 spot in Amazon’s Regency romances, but with today’s crowded marketplace, those days are gone. Now I worry that my release will go unnoticed, that no one will buy the book I poured a half of a year of my life into writing. 

Here’s a short blurb about the new book:
As the third son of the Duke of Fordham, Alex never thought he'd become a duke. But he's suddenly catapulted to the lofty title after his slightly older brother dies in his sleep. Now Alex has the onerous task of announcing the death to the woman his brother was to wed.

Ever pragmatic, Lady Georgiana Fenton insists on seeing the late duke's body, and when she does, she's convinced he was smothered as he slept. She and the new duke decide to secretly work together to uncover the murderer. But the longer they're together, the harder it becomes to resist the duke's scorching kisses--and even harder to dismiss him from the list of suspects. No one had more to gain by her fiancé's death. . .


To bring the book to notice I was able to secure a BookBub promotion for the first book in the series. That first book, The Portrait of Lady Wycliff, is temporarily reduced in price from $3.99 to only $.99. It’s true that once readers buy into your series, they are more invested in purchasing the other books so, I hope that having Portrait on sale will bolster my launch for Last Duke Standing.

Here’s a short blurb about the first in the series:
On the death of her no-good husband, the impossibly young, stunningly beautiful--and penniless--widow Louisa Phillips accepts an offer of financial security from the Earl of Wycliff. All she has to do is travel across England posing as his wife in the quest of his late mother's missing portrait. They're both hiding secrets – not the least of which is their budding love for each other.

Monday, January 14, 2019

The Stages or Writing by Karen Kelley

1) I love this book! Best idea I've ever had!!!

2) What the hell was I thinking??? This is the worst idea I've ever had!!!

3) OMG!!! I'll never finish this book!!!

4) Editing stage: Did I write this?

5) This is pretty good. I'm amazed. Wow.

6) I love this book!!! Best idea I've ever had!!!!

7) Ohhhhh, what if a billionaire hired a down on her luck secretary and.... RUNS to laptop!!!! This is absolutely the best idea I've ever had.....

 LOL  It's a never ending cycle. This is pretty much my life. It's frustrating at times, but after 33 books and wanting to pull my hair out, I still wouldn't want to do anything else.

 I can say that now because I emailed my newest manuscript to my editor last night. This is Ryder and Samantha's story, third book) in my Hayes brothers series. It's a standalone but it helps if you read the other two.

 Book One, Dangling...Participle? Here's a little more about it:

I really needed to get serious and concentrate on my writing, but the barista behind the counter at my fav coffee shop is not making it easy. The guy is drop dead gorgeous. I’m talking six-pack abs, broad chest, and oozing sex appeal. In other words, way out of my league!

Then he finds my flash drive and reads the start of my book! I want to die. I’m a nice girl. Really, I am, but I have very naughty thoughts.

When I discover he’s actually a famous writer and offers to help, how can I say no? His help means I might actually escape my demonic boss, and living with my evil twin sisters (no lie! I’m talking straight out of f**king Cinderella evil).

But just how far am I willing to let him go when I stumble over the love scenes?

I’ve never seen anyone with worse fashion sense than Katie. But as she sat at one of the tables in the coffee shop, laptop open, she removed those god-awful black glasses and nibbled her bottom lip. Then she smiled and transformed before my eyes.

I want her.

Can’t have her. She’s not that type.

Then I find and read her flash drive and discover there’s a whole other side to her beneath those baggy clothes and ugly glasses. She only needs a little help. Especially with her love scenes.

I should probably keep the relationship strictly platonic.

Nope, not going to happen.

Book 2, Take A Hike!


I like my salsa the same way I like my women—hot! But nothing can prepare me for Makenna. She’s stubborn, reckless, and lives for the challenge. Oh hell, she reminds me of me.

I have a feeling moving her to the more experienced group of hikers bound for the backcountry is a bad idea, but I can’t come up with a reason not to.


Not touch his salsa? I’ll prove to Nash that I can handle anything he can dish out. I admit, I didn’t expect his salsa to be habanero hot. So what do I do? I eat a little more!

Sometimes I don’t think before I act, but I will not back down from a challenge. Tell me I can’t do something and I’m all over it.

 But when unexplained accidents start to happen, the small group suddenly faces challenges they hadn't expected.

 I hope you enjoy the first two books in the Hayes brother series and watch for book 3, Nailed It!  I'm hoping it'll be out the end of this month.
                                                                  Read for free in KU
                                                                   or Purchase Now
Coming Soon

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Introducing Laura Hunsaker by Nancy Fraser #RomanceGems

Our group is growing by leaps and bounds! Refill those coffee (or tea) cups, sit back, and enjoy another exciting introduction.

Today it’s my pleasure to welcome new member Laura Hunsaker to the blog!

What You Need to Know About Laura

Laura Hunsaker is an award-winning writer who writes romance set in the Scottish Highlands, but with a twist. Somewhere in between Historical and Paranormal, she writes Scottish Time Travel Romance and Paranormal Romance. She's hard at work right now, writing about protective men paired with strong women who knock them off their feet.

She is a hybrid author being both traditionally published and self-published, as well as a member of Romance Writers of America® Cactus Rose Chapter and the Celtic Hearts Romance Writers.

After earning degrees in English and German, with a specialty in British Literature, she taught for a few years. As of now, Laura has a full-time job as mom of three, and a day job teaching kindergarten, which leaves nights for traveling through the mists of Scotland.

Her latest adventure has been writing hockey romance as Kenzie McLir with contemporary romance author Heather Lire. Their debut story is in the Icing the Puck anthology available now.

How Laura Became an Author

When I was 14, I used to babysit, and the neighbors set up their VCR to record The Highlander every Friday night. I was too afraid to change the channel and mess it up, so I would watch it too. My love of Highlanders and Scotland were born that year. I began writing Highlander fanfic, although I didn't know that's what it was at the time. And no, none of it will ever see the light of day! But it was fun, and I was in love with creating these stories for myself. I never really stopped, and one year I decided to do something about it! Highland Destiny was my first published book and it was such an amazing experience. I will never stop telling stories.

A Look at What Laura Writes

"He stole his enemy's bride out of vengeance, but now he wants her for his own."

Mackenzie Stewart’s in Scotland for a much-needed vacation. During the castle tour, Mackenzie becomes completely enamored with a painting of one of the previous lairds. Two gentlemen come up behind her and, begging her pardon, they kidnap her, dragging her through time.
The men are sorcerers attempting to end a feud that has plagued their lands for years. Their patron has begun to dabble in the black arts, and between his irrational thirst for power, and his dark secret, the sorcerers are frightened. They believe Mackenzie can break the Stewart curse. They try to convince her to play along with their crazy scheme: marriage to the evil John Campbell.

Before Mackenzie can protest, her carriage is halted and the door thrown open. For a split-second she is arrested by the same beautiful piercing blue eyes that belonged in an oil painting.

Mackenzie then finds herself the victim of a second kidnapping!

Her new captor, however, does nothing but tempt her body and her temper. Believing her to in fact be the betrothed of his mortal enemy the Campbell, Connor originally sets out to capture his enemy’s betrothed. He never thought he would be so attracted to her that he’d want to keep her.

Hop on over to Amazon and add Highland Destiny to your library!

Where to Find Laura in Cyberspace

Thank you for joining us today. Be sure to come back daily for more great posts from all our Romance GEMS authors!


Saturday, January 12, 2019

Introducing Karyn Gerrard by @JoanReeves #RomanceGems

This is exciting so grab your favorite cuppa and get ready to meet another new Romance Gems Author.

Introducing Karyn Gerrard

Karyn Gerrard, born and raised in the Maritime Provinces of Eastern Canada, now makes her home in a small town in Northwestern Ontario.

When she’s not cheering on the Red Sox or traveling in the summer with her teacher husband, she writes, reads romance, and drinks copious amounts of Earl Grey tea.

Even at a young age Karyn’s storytelling skills were apparent, thrilling her fellow Girl Guides with off-the-cuff horror stories around the campfire. A multi-published author, she loves to write sensual historicals and contemporaries. Tortured heroes are an absolute must.

As long as she can avoid being hit by a runaway moose in her wilderness paradise she assumes everything is golden. Karyn’s been happily married for a long time to her own hero. His encouragement and loving support keep her moving forward.

To learn more about Karyn and her books, visit her website.

How I Became an Author

Though a voracious reader, I did not start reading romance until 2006 when I picked up a secondhand copy of a Mary Balogh historical. I was hooked!

I used to write quite a bit when I was younger, then got away from it.

Here's a different twist, I started playing the computer game, Sims 2, and found there was a storytelling blog community using pictures taken within the game. I joined right in, and what a great tool it was for creating characters and plots.

In 2010, I wrote a time travel of about 30,000 words, and, with the encouragement of my teacher husband, I submitted it to a digital publisher. Imagine my astonishment when it was accepted! I've been on this writing adventure ever since, learning as I go, and finding enjoyment with the writing itself.

Find Karyn Gerrard Online

Website * Facebook

Twitter * Instagram

Bookbub * Amazon 
Subscribe to Karyn's Newsletter

For Your Consideration

Love With a Notorious Rake by Karyn Gerrard

Book #3 Men of Wollstonecraft Hall

He’s as dangerous as he is irresistible . . .

The heir to his family’s fortune, Aidan Wollstonecraft is ready to put his prodigal ways in the past and prove himself worthy of his illustrious name.

Going undercover in a factory to expose the wretched working conditions, Aidan believes his noble act will lead him to a better future. Until he’s reunited with the sweet beauty who saw him through his darkest days.

Cristyn Bevan stirs him like no other woman before. Makes him yearn to claim her, despite the damning curse that dooms any Wollstonecraft wife to an all-too-early death...

To fall for Aidan would be her undoing. Yet, something about the blue-blooded scoundrel draws Cristyn to him like a moth to a deadly flame. Is it a desire to heal him that keeps the lovely nurse close? Or her secret hope that somehow, some way, Aidan can let go of his dark past and see the light—and the love—waiting for him?

“Karyn Gerrard writes very enjoyable, richly textured historical romances.” —Kate Pearce, NY Times and USA Today bestselling author

“Looking for a swoon-worthy read? You can’t go wrong with the lovely and emotional romances from Karyn Gerrard.” —Vanessa Kelly, USA Today Bestselling author

 Add Love With a Notorious Rake, Book 3 of Men of Wollstonecraft Hall, by Karyn Gerrard, available at Amazon, to your Library.

Thanks for joining us today at our "Getting to Know You" Party.
Come back every day and join in the conversation about books, romance, love, writing
and other aspects of real and fictional life!

Friday, January 11, 2019

To Purge or Not to Purge, that is the question! by Jan Scarbrough

My daughter told me she was purging. No, she wasn’t sick. She was purging her basement of stuff she no longer wanted or needed.

“Google” the definition. One meaning of “purge” is to get rid of whatever is impure or undesirable; to cleanse; purify.

Several years ago, I wrote a blog about spring cleaning. In Is it time for spring cleaning? I raised the question of cleaning or decluttering on a regular basis. After being left in charge of my parents’ home of fifty years, I realized the importance of keeping my own home decluttered.

Hoarding reality shows are popular on cable. I often wonder how those poor people can get into such a big miss. I think I’m not that bad. I have stuff, but not that much stuff.

On the opposite end of the scale, more people are becoming “minimalists.” In Minimalist Living Tips: 8 Essential Rules For Living With Less Paige Smith gives tips on how to begin to declutter.

“Start simple and get rid of any duplicate items you own. Next, get rid of everything you don’t use or see on a regular basis. The stack of magazines you never read? Toss them.”

Smith says to eliminate “not just the items you don’t use, but also the ones that don’t bring joy or meaning to your life.”

At some time, many of us will face the same problem I did when I put my parents’ house up for sale in 2005: too much stuff. What to do with it? What to keep? What to trash? What to donate?

I’ve come to believe purging is a process. We can’t do it all at one time, unless we have a house to sell or a move to make. Still, we hang on to stuff. We feel guilty about getting rid of it.

With clutter around, I feel out of control. As if getting a handle on the junk in my house will put me in control! We all know that there is very little we can control, but it makes us feel better if we think we can, doesn’t it?

So, we all agree purging, decluttering, and spring cleaning are good things to do. What do you think, should I purge my books? Here’s a little secret. I have purged them. But not enough, huh?

Remember! Purge periodically!

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Introducing Constance Bretes by @JoanReeves #RomanceGems

Grab your coffee or tea and come join us for some exciting news.

I'm happy to tell you we're welcoming a new Romance Gems Author to the blog— Constance Bretes.

About Constance Bretes

Constance Bretes (most people call her Connie) is from Alabama. I should qualify that.

Connie and her hubby just moved to Alabama from Montana last May. Connie writes Contemporary Romance and occasionally Romantic Suspense. She has 8 books released, and about 5 or 6 in various stages of editing.

Connie's latest book was a Christmas Romance. You can check it out below. She's now working on another release for February 2019.

In Connie's Own Words

I'm married to my HEA, Jim, and four years ago, we moved from Michigan to Montana after I retired from 38 years of civil service work in Michigan.

Montana was supposed to be our retirement home, but it didn't work out. So we moved to Alabama due to my health—I loved Montana, but I just couldn't breathe there!

I have a stepson, still in Michigan, and we have 3 cats who live with us. When I'm not writing, I love to basket weave, make jewelry, fiddle on my piano, and read.

Right now, my craze is reading billionaire contemporary and erotic romances. Who knows? Next week it may be military romances. *LOL*

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How Constance Bretes Became an Author

Sometime in 2011, my husband came to me and told me that I should become a romance author. He’d been watching The Hallmark Channel, and noticed some of the shows were actually written by authors.

I read a couple of Harlequin romances, and I was surprised at how much they had changed from when I used to subscribe to them back in the 1970s. I had this tale spinning around in my head and decided to try and write it.

I wrote the story, and then put it away for a while. The next year, I started researching Romance Writers of America (RWA) and checking out different places that would help a new writer to get started.

I relied heavily on Harlequin’s “How to Submit A Story” page. The story I wrote originally, I sent to Harlequin following their strict instructions, but each time I submitted, it got rejected. I had joined the Mid-Michigan RWA group and was expressing my frustration with Harlequin repeatedly rejecting me.

At that time, I had absolutely no concept of the craft of writing. A fellow author, Roseanne Bittner, said she would read the first three chapters and give me some guidance. After she read it, she said that the story had merit, but I was writing it too fast. I needed to slow down and share the surroundings, feels, and tastes.

In 2013, I submitted my manuscript to Beachwalk Press. Three weeks later they wrote back with a contract offer. The Editor said I still had a lot to learn about the craft of writing, but I had a good story, and she could spot a talent. There was a lot of editing involved in the story, but in 2014, they published my first book, Delayed Justice.

For Your Consideration

The Christmas Ballet by Constance Bretes

Can the joy of Christmas heal the pain of the past?

Laura Hemmingway cut herself off from men and her family when the man she loved married her sister. She moved across the country and was doing just fine until she received a devastating call to return to New York.

She had to face the death of her sister, her sister’s little girl, Maria, and Maria’s father, Stefan—the man she had once loved. She figured she would pay her respects and leave as soon as possible. She never anticipated on the beautiful little girl stealing her heart. And she never expected that seeing Stefan again after twelve years would stir up old feelings.

Stefan’s life was complete. He had a successful career as an attorney, a beautiful wife, and an adorable six-year-old daughter. Although he and his wife had been married in name only for the past several years, he cared for her deeply. Her unexpected death brought him face-to-face with his former lover, and the guilt he’d carried for years.

Can a little girl’s love, and the true magic of Christmas, help Stefan convince Laura to stay and give their relationship another chance?

(Content Warning: contains some sexual content.)

Add The Christmas Ballet, available at Amazon, to your Library!

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Wednesday, January 9, 2019

New Year, New You?

Once a new year arrives, many people use the occasion to make resolutions or plan ways they want to change their life.  I love both changes and hate them.  I'm a very routine kind of person and shaking things up can be difficult sometimes for me.

That said, in 2018 I made changes to my health.  I started drinking less, eating right, and working out.  Over the Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Year holidays I didn't gain a pound, which is great for me.  And I cheated.  Sure, I kept working out, but I hate a Chili's hamburger on Christmas Eve, Ham and all the fixin's on Christmas Day, and Mexican food (enchiladas) on New Years Eve.  In between, there were Christmas cookies and candy and brownies and red velvet cupcakes... you get the picture.  But mostly, I tried for balance.  I didn't want to feel deprived, so I tried to keep my protein up and my carbs lower, though I didn't always succeed.  And through it all, I kept working out.  3-4 days a week (optimally 4, but I gave myself leeway for the holidays.)

Lest you think working out is easy for me, I'm 57 with arthritic knees, hip, and a messed up disc in my lower back.  I do have to modify some of the exercises, but I do them.  I make sure not to injure myself, and keep moving.  It's like writing - I take it one day at a time. (Hah!  See how I did that?  Brought it back to writing!)

When I sit down to begin a new book, if I think oh my gosh, I have to write 350 pages or more, I would panic.  I'd freeze.  But I try to focus on 5 pages or 10.  If I can write those, I'm ok.  It's the same with working out.  If I can do 20 or 30 minutes, I'm good.  Some of the workouts are in timed intervals of 30 seconds each with 20 seconds off.  Anyone can do 30 seconds.  Anyone. 

Working out used to intimidate me.  So did writing.  Back in the past.  Both seem like huge undertakings.  But if you break them up, they aren't so huge after all.  And since writing is such a sedentary profession, I need to keep my body moving.  It's not a punishment, it's a privilege.  I am thankful that I'm able to move.  Thankful that I'm able to write.

For 2019, I plan to continue to do much of the  same.  Write and get my books out to readers.  Eat healthy.  Cheat occasionally.  Work out and walk.  Save dogs (I volunteer for a Boxer rescue.)  Help people when I can. Read both inside my genre and out.  Listen to all different kinds of music.  Watch some good television shows.

I have high hopes for 2019.  I hope you do too. 

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