Monday, August 31, 2020

What's Really Important---the Life of a WriterMom

Here we are at the theater!

In the past ten days my new book was launched, my new podcast episode was produced, I wrote three chapters of a work-in-progress, and I recorded two class presentations for a writers conference that I'm teaching at. Whew!

Professionally, the last week and a half has been insanely busy. And I did all of that in between family stuff like birthdays, soccer games, playdates, back to school, sewing ribbons on ballet pointe shoes, having grandkids over and going back to a live theater production for the first time since the pandemic started. (We had bought season tickets.) So crazy! 

When I woke up this morning, I was tired. Like, I really want to go back to bed tired, but I have a lot to get done today, too, so I'm up. Then, my little boy cuddled up next to me on the couch and laid his head on my shoulder with a sleepy, "Love you, Mom." 

I hugged him close to me and everything else simply faded away. No to do lists in my head, no rushing off to the next thing. Just me and a little boy in my arms who is growing up way too fast. Honestly, that was exactly what I needed to start my week off right---a moment to remind me of what's really important. I'm feeling very blessed today.

Saturday, August 29, 2020

The New Podcast is Up!

If you've been waiting for the new episode of Authors Off the Page, it's here! 

This month, I am talking with Jennifer Peel and Becky Monson about vacations---the ones we didn't go on, our best and worst ones ever, and our favorite vacation movies. We also read excerpts from our favorite book vacation scenes!

Click HERE to listen

Friday, August 28, 2020

Free Book for Historical Fiction Fans!

If you enjoy historical fiction, Heather Moore's book Condemn Me Not, is free today. It's based on Ms. Moore's real-life ancestor who was accused of being a witch at the Salem Witch Trials, which makes it even more compelling.

This is one read you'll think about long after you've closed the book. 

Get your free book here 

Here's the back copy:

“This woman was one of the most impudent, scurrilous, wicked creatures of this world; and she did now throughout her whole trial discover herself to be such a one. Yet when she was asked what she had to say for herself, her chief plea was that she had led a most virtuous and holy life.” —Reverend Cotton Mather, 1692

USA Today Bestselling author Heather B. Moore brings the life of her 10th great-grandmother to center stage. Susannah North Martin, accused of witchcraft in 1692, joins five women in the Salem Jail, all sentenced to death for their crimes. Amidst tragedy, Susannah finds hope and compassion as she remembers a well-loved life, and readers discover that love reaches far beyond the grave as Susannah faces the magistrates in Salem.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Book Review and a Giveaway!

I was so excited to read the first book in the new Orient Express series! It Started in Budapest is a fun adventure that has some surprising twists and turns.

Molly Cooper loves her twin brother and would do anything to help cure him. When she comes across an "artifact" that might have "healing" powers, she sets out on an adventure to find it. But when her quest turns dangerous, she must turn to the mysterious Mr. Hunt. But could he have other motives for helping her?

I really loved the premise of this book and the chills that came along with Molly's search for a vampire. Molly is a sweet, naive girl who carries a lot of guilt. She wants to help her brother and believes she has found a way to do it. I think readers will find Molly relatable and her anxiety for a family member believable. She does end up being a damsel in distress quite frequently, but Mr. Hunt is protective and kind. He was definitely a patient and worthy hero and I really did want him to get his happily-ever-after. I wish we were able to see a bit more about his backstory, but this was really Molly's adventure, so it was understandable that we didn't. The author really shines in her setting descriptions, notably the Orient Express, as well as the countryside when our hero and heroine travel to Transylvania. This was a cute afternoon read and I'm looking forward to the next in the series.

Don't forget to scroll down and enter the giveaway!

You can get your copy here

Here's the back copy:

Molly Cooper is haunted by one simple fact: it is her fault her twin brother, Matthew, has spent his life trapped in a frail body while she has thrived. Deep in her heart, she knows he can’t hold on much longer . . .

In her desperation to save her brother, Molly finds inspiration in an unlikely source: the newly published novel Dracula. When her family embarks on the Orient Express to seek treatment for Matthew in Bulgaria, Molly is prepared to set her plan in motion: she will sneak away from her parents and journey alone to Transylvania, where she will seek a vampire, whose blood can make her brother immortal. Molly’s rash plan is going flawlessly—until she encounters Percy Hunt, a handsome American traveler running from the shadows of his own past. When he discovers Molly’s plan, Percy’s concern for the naive young woman leaves him no choice but to accompany her on her strange quest. But neither Percy nor Molly is prepared for the feelings that quickly grow between them or for the death-defying escapade that awaits.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

To Those in the Path of Hurricane Laura

I'm just thinking about all my friends and fans who are in the path of Hurricane Laura today. The news is pretty scary right now about the devastation this hurricane could cause, so please do what you can to stay safe! ❤️

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

A New Challenge and Giveaway!

Anyone up for a new challenge? In the comments, show me your favorite reading spot for one entry into my giveaway and get an extra entry if one of my books is in the picture. Two winners will receive a fun Reader's Prize Pack with some of my favorite books and swag! 

(Winners will be chosen from the blog comments, Facebook, and Instagram. Prize must be claimed within one week of announcement.)

Monday, August 24, 2020

Okay Burn Notice Fans, I Have A Question

So, as I mentioned, I've recently been binge-watching Burn Notice and I am really enjoying it. The writing is so fun and the characters are compelling. I'm in Season 3 and things are getting intense with Michael seeing his career path one way and Fiona seeing it another. I'm worried, though. Some of the writing on my favorite shows really lost their mojo in later seasons and I really don't want that to happen with Burn Notice. 

Here's my question for you: (And please, NO spoilers!)

What is your favorite season of Burn Notice? Are the first three seasons the best? Do I have good things to look forward to?

Friday, August 21, 2020

A Review That Touched Me

My book, The Viscount's Vow, got reviewed in Meridian Magazine and the reviewer's comments really touched me. She talked about how she had family members who suffered following their deployments to Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan and how she found my main character's emotions upon returning from the Napoleonic wars to be believable and have depth. That is probably one of the highest compliments I could receive.

There is something that draws me to military men and women who have sacrificed for a cause greater than themselves and what that sacrifice costs them, no matter the time period. It is a theme for a lot of my books and something that is close to my heart. I'm so glad this reviewer saw what I was trying to portray in my hero, that light can overcome darkness, but we have to let the light in and surround ourselves with people who see the light in us and want to help make it brighter.

Something we all need to remember occasionally, I think.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

My New Book is Out!

TODAY is release day for The Highlander's Hidden Heart! Woohoo! I loved this story and I hope you will, too. (You can also get it in paperback or ebook.)

Get your copy here

Here's the back copy:

A duke's daughter. A Highland warrior. And a love worth fighting for.

Lady Elizabeth, daughter of the Duke of Barrington, has done her best to secure an advantageous match, but a shy nature, combined with a stutter, hasn't helped her cause. After two Seasons, her father won’t wait any longer and promises her to a man she despises. There doesn’t seem to be anything Elizabeth can do beyond wish for a freedom she’ll never have---until a charming Highlander appears and makes all her dreams of a love match seem within her reach.

Alec Ramsay unexpectedly inherits an earldom and must leave his beloved Scottish Highlands to present himself in London and settle the estate affairs. After meeting his new neighbor, Lady Elizabeth, he feels a connection to her that he’s never felt with any other woman. Alec makes every effort to further their acquaintance, but soon finds out that Elizabeth could be swept out of his reach before they have a chance to explore the feelings between them. With everything at stake, can he risk all for a chance at love−−before it’s too late?

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

The Next Griffin Force Book!

I'm working on Second Chance, my next Griffin Force novel, and feeling very international today with my Italian cherry drink and my Canadian chocolate bar. So yummy! 

And the story is pretty good, too, . . . I think.

Here's the back copy:

Griffin Force tracks a dangerous terrorist to Libya, but the only man on their team that can infiltrate the terrorist's lair is Augie---their computer tech. They'll take a huge risk with an undercover asset who gets Augie in and assures them he won't be killed.

But who can the team really trust when the op goes sideways?

You can preorder it here for only $2.99!

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

I Have A Confession

So, I have a confession to make. I've been binge watching Burn Notice. A few friends of mine recommended it to me a long time ago, but I never got around to it. With Hawaii Five-0 ending, I needed something new to watch, so I started Burn Notice. 

I have really been loving it! I'm nearly done with Season Two already and I can hardly wait to put the kids to bed each night so my husband and I can watch! How did I miss out on this show? Did anyone else out there watch it? Do you love Michael and Fiona?

Monday, August 17, 2020

Book Review: Facial Recognition

I've been enjoying some Jennifer Peel books and just finished Facial Recognition. I really enjoyed it!

Gracie Cartwright was stood up by her best friend/secret crush Brooks on prom night---and she was the prom queen. Twenty years later Brooks walks back into her life and her long-dormant feelings jump back to life---only he doesn't recognize her. What follows is a twisty/turny journey to love that will have you turning pages as fast as possible to see what happens!

I loved Gracie's character. She had so many great flaws and yet still had a good heart. She's got some funny little quirks (Rick Springfield made me laugh!) and feels like a girl you'd want to be friends with. Brooks has struggled in his personal life and when he comes back to Pecan Orchard, things are not smooth for him at all. He's got a lot of emotions to deal with both past and present and it's not easy. I did feel sorry for him and, while I loved his character overall, I wanted a little more from Brooks, at least when it came to Gracie. Part of me still didn't think he deserved her! But he does make a valiant effort to win her heart and I think romance fans will swoon over him. Happily-ever-after fans like me will close the book with a smile. Definitely a fun afternoon read!

You can get your copy here

Here's the back copy:

For her, it was love at first sight. For him, love wasn't an option.

Twenty years ago, Gracie Cartwright became the first prom queen in the history of Pecan Orchard High School to be stood up. Now, she's on a mission to plan the ultimate high school reunion and get the prom night she always envisioned. All she has to do is find the perfect date. But after going on thirty-five blind dates, she's losing hope that she'll find Mr. Right--or at least Mr. Right Now. Then Brooks Hamilton, the man she knew she was meant to marry, walks into her spa for a facial massage. Too bad she's never forgiven him for standing her up at prom all those years ago. If that isn't enough, she finds out he's dating her nemesis and he's a divorce lawyer who doesn't believe in marriage. And what's worse is, he doesn't recognize her.

However, when Brooks's estranged father falls ill, the pair are thrown together and sparks fly when the old friends butt heads about almost everything. But despite the tension, it doesn't take long for Brooks to recognize that maybe he made a huge mistake letting Gracie go all those years ago. But is it enough for him to let his guard down and admit he was wrong about relationships and give Gracie the prom night she always dreamed of? Or will they miss out on the love that's been right in front of their faces the entire time?

Friday, August 14, 2020

The Highlander is Almost Here!

Can you believe we are only SIX days away from the release of The Highlander's Hidden Heart? I can hardly wait to share this story with you.

You can preorder your copy here

Here's the back copy:

As the only child of a duke, Elizabeth Barrington has done her best to secure an advantageous match, but her shy nature, combined with a stutter, hasn't helped her cause. After two Seasons, her father won’t wait any longer and promises her to a man she despises. There doesn’t seem to be anything Elizabeth can do beyond wish for a freedom she’ll never have---until a charming Highlander appears and makes all her dreams of a love match seem within her reach.

Alec Ramsay must leave his beloved Highlands when he unexpectedly inherits an earldom and presents himself in London to settle the estate affairs. When his new neighbor, Lady Elizabeth, saves his mother’s dog, he feels a connection to her he’s never felt with any other woman. Alec makes every effort to further their acquaintance, but soon finds out that Elizabeth could be swept out of his reach before they have a chance to explore the feelings between them. With everything at stake, can he risk all for a chance at love---before it’s too late?

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Fire on the Mountain!

We live near a mountain with a popular trailhead for hiking and at around 3:30 am there was a fire just a few blocks from our house! So scary.

Luckily, the firefighters were able to put it out before any homes were damaged and only about an acre burned. It did make me think about what I would do if I was asked to evacuate in the middle of the night. Would you be ready? I think I've got some preparation to do!

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

A Peek Into An Author's Life

My new regency romance, The Highlander's Hidden Heart, comes out a week from tomorrow. I've been working hard on all the final details and can hardly wait to share it with you!

But at 4 a.m. this morning, I was sleeping soundly and suddenly woke up with the horrible thought of, "Oh no, was the butler's name Jenkins through the whole book? Or did I forget to change it in the beginning?" 

And then I couldn't go back to sleep. 

You see, on my first published book, my hero's eyes were blue in the beginning of the book and green at the end, and no one caught it. Not the editors or typesetters or me. And I couldn't correct it until the second edition! So I'm a little paranoid about details like that and am usually very careful. 

So, this was a bit of a nightmare for me.

Guess who was checking her manuscript early this morning? Thankfully, all was well. I hadn't forgotten to change the name.


Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Midnight Sun

So, in case you haven't heard, Stephenie Meyer has released Midnight Sun, which is the story from Twilight but told in Edward's perspective. Ten years ago, an unfinished rough draft of her manuscript for Midnight Sun was leaked and Stephenie said then that she wouldn't finish it. But then she did.

I admit, I'm curious. It's been so long since I read Twilight that this might seem like a new book for me and from what I've heard, there are some unexpected twists and turns. A lot of people seem to be talking about it and they all have strong opinions.

Here's my question: Are you going to read it? It's a bit expensive ($14.99 for the Kindle version) but it might be a fitting end to see things from a vampire's view.

What do you think?

Monday, August 10, 2020

Historical Romance Deal!

I haven't seen a deal on this book before, so I thought I'd pass this one along. A Guarded Heart  by Heidi Kimball, is only .99 cents! I really enjoyed this one.

You can get your sale copy here

Here's the back copy:

Three years after a shocking scandal destroyed her family and forced her into isolation, Eleanor Hayward finally has an opportunity to put her painful history and dashed hopes behind her. But reentering society is no simple task. In her cousin’s glittering ballroom, Eleanor is stunned when she comes face-to-face with the man who broke her heart those years before.

Edmund Fletcher thought he had laid the past to rest until he unexpectedly encounters the woman who so nearly became his wife. Soon to be engaged to another, Edmund knows he must let go of the complicated feelings he harbors for Eleanor. However, when the Hayward scandal resurfaces and the truth behind their parting is revealed, Eleanor and Edmund are left reeling. Tormented by thoughts of what could have been, they realize it is impossible to rewrite history. But is there a future in which they might both find happiness—and true love?

Friday, August 7, 2020

Freebie Friday for Historical Romance Fans!

Solving Sophronia by Jennifer Moore is one of my favorite reads so far this year and the prequel novella to that, Emmeline, is free today! You won't want to miss this series.

Get your free copy here

Here's the back copy:

As Arthur Bremerton, Lord Mather, hurries to the opening session of Parliament, he is incensed to find his way blocked by a boisterous group protesting for women’s rights. But his annoyance turns to mortification when he finds his own cousin among their ranks, alongside a beautiful suffragette who engages him in a fierce battle of words and wills.

Emmeline’s fight for equality is just one facet of her wide-ranging interests. At the moment, her most pressing concern is how she and her mother, an eccentric Baroness, are to begin again after the family’s fortune was squandered following her father’s death. After her heated disagreement with Lord Mather, the only thought she gives the infuriating man is the hope that they will never meet again. But alas, this hope is in vain: unbeknownst to them, both Emmeline and Arthur are to be guests at a three-week house party, and fate seems determined to throw them together at every opportunity.

Thursday, August 6, 2020

A Very Small World

My book, The Viscount's Vow, was on blog tour recently and one of the bloggers reached out and said, hey, we have a close mutual friend!

Now, we don't even live in the same state, so I was curious who it would be. It turns out that her sister is the mother of one of my daughter's good friends! 

I love making new connections with real-life people and people I only know over the internet. So fun!

And here are some of my favorite things blogger Emilee had to say about The Viscount's Vow:
If I were to judge a book by its cover, I would definitely choose this one. This was the second book I've read by Julie Coulter Bellon and  . .  she has a way to capture my attention (which can be hard to do) and her writing flowed very well. If you are a Regency romance fan, you will love Viscount's Vow.
You can see her whole review here 

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Do You Love the Dentist?

So, my dentist recommended that I get an older crown replaced. It would be a simple procedure, he said, just take the old one off and put a new one on. Easy, peasy, right?

I went yesterday morning for the appointment and when I got there, they put me in the chair, with a pillow under my head, and offered me one of the softest blankets I've ever felt. I was super comfortable for being in a dentist chair and thinking, oh, this might not be so bad.

I was wrong. They had to numb me because the older crown wasn't coming off easily. (I should have known. I never have good luck with stuff like that.) They ended up having to cut it off. The new crown was placed, but my jaw was so sore yesterday and is still sore today. I do love my dentist, but dental work is the worst, especially when it doesn't go as planned!

How much do you love going to the dentist? Is it no big deal for you?

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Six Romance Stories for Free!

Are you needing a little romantic escape this week? Some of my favorite regency authors have novellas in this collection and it's free today! 

Get your free copy here

Here's the back copy:

Six Award-Winning Authors have contributed new stories to A Timeless Romance Anthology: All Regency Collection. Readers will love this collection of six regency romance novellas.

In THE WEDDING GIFT: A PRIDE AND PREJUDICE STORY, an enchanting novella by Anna Elliott, the story opens two weeks before Elizabeth Bennet’s wedding to Mr. Darcy. He has given her the perfect wedding gift, and now she must come up with one for him. But what do you give a man who has everything? Elizabeth soon discovers that the gift of love is more important than any one thing.

DREAM OF A GLORIOUS SEASON, a sweet novella by Sarah M. Eden, we meet Elizabeth Gillerford who envies her sister only one thing—that she’s been intended for Julian Broadwood since they were children. The trouble is that Elizabeth is hopelessly in love with Julian too. When Julian discovers that Elizabeth has been denied a Season because her older sister is yet unwed, he undertakes his own stealthy measures to introduce her to society, only to find himself falling in love with her himself.

In THE MENDER, a captivating story by Carla Kelly, Thankful Winnings takes a sea voyage with her cousin on the Ann Alexander, in a last adventure before she settles down to marry one of her beaus. Unexpectedly they come upon the aftermath of a fierce ship battle, and Thankful is commissioned to help in the place of an injured surgeon on one of the Royal Navy ships. Adam Farnsworth, surgeon, has been at sea for years. Tired of war, but devoted to his post, it takes a resourceful lady such as Thankful to give him the hope of love and help heal his own wounds, the ones that show and the ones that don’t.

In BEGIN AGAIN, a charming novella by Josi S. Kilpack, Regina Weathers gives up on marrying for love the day that Ross Martin walks out of her life. Now, fifteen years later, Ross shows up at a ball and thinks he can woo Regina. But she is set on her lonely path and stitched-up heart, no matter the excuse Ross gives for his years of silence and neglect. When Ross insists he wrote many letters during his military years, Regina discovers a secret long-since buried by her father, and the revelation might be enough to thaw the coldness of her heart.

In Annette Lyon’s endearing story, THE AFFAIR AT WILDEMOORE, Mrs. Ellen Stanhope escorts her three daughters to a ball. As her oldest flirts with a beau, Ellen is reminded of her courtship and early years of marriage with Anthony, before tragedy struck with the death of their infant son. The marriage has faded and dulled. Not until she sees Anthony dancing with a woman he courted years before does Ellen realize how much she misses him, still loves him, and yearns for him to yet feel the same way for her.

In the delightful novella, THE DUKE’S BROTHER, by Heather B. Moore, Mr. Gregory Clark is having an awful day, and it only gets worse when he’s ran over by … a woman. Mabel Russell reluctantly visits her sister in London for the Season, even though she’d rather stay in the country cataloging insects and aphids. When she runs into Gregory Clark, quite literally, she’s afraid to show any interest, especially since he’s a member of the dreaded ton. But getting to know Gregory becomes an unexpected delight.

Monday, August 3, 2020

Would You Drink This?

There are some new soda choices at my neighborhood store today. Kick-a-poo Joy Juice and Kick-a-poo Fuzzy Navel. They are described as non-alcoholic peach drinks and flavored citrus! 😂 What do you think? Should I try them? Would you?

***Update: I tried the Fuzzy Navel. It was okay, but definitely not a favorite. Joy Juice is next!