Happy 2019

Paddling My Way to a New Year

dsc04099We spent New Year’s Day kayaking on the Econofina River in north Florida. The day was foggy, and we got lost in the reeds, but we returned home refreshed and ready to begin
2019. Nature restores me and gives me hope.

While I’m enjoying kayaking, yoga, golf, and volunteering, my writing life appears to be on hiatus. It didn’t ask me permission because the writing muse can be fickle and sporadic. Instead of crying, I’m reading–I’m making a dent in the TBR pile on my nightstand and on my Kindle–I still read from both as the spirit moves me or as my circumstances permit.

I hope 2019 has begun in a positive way for you, and I hope you’re reading as well. When I do get back in the writing saddle, it will be to finish Love on Track (Rivals in Love Book 3) and Four Women and a Man (women’s fiction). If you haven’t read the first book in my Rivals series or Behind the Love series, here’s your chance to start for free this week. One series is sweet, the other is steamy, so hopefully there’s something for all!

Happy New Year to you all. And please leave a comment. I love to hear from
you.

Kindle (3)Love on Trial, Rivals in Love Book 1

Download on Kindle for FREE – January 21-25
Sweet contemporary romance

Two lawyers on opposite sides of the aisle despise one
another…at first. Start reading your copy of Love on Trial to
begin reading about the Crandalls of Chicago and their attempts to find love.

 

 

BTA Cover SmallestBehind the Altar, Behind the Love Book 1

Download on Kindle for FREE – January 21-25
Steamy contemporary romance

A tattoo artist on a Harley. A do-gooder beauty. A forbidden passion. Behind the Altar is the first novel in the Behind the Love contemporary romance series that features sizzling
attractions, dramatic confrontations, and intertwined and complicated lives. Set in the fictional small town of Victory, Florida, friends fight and love and form families of their own choosing.

VALENTINE’S DAY HAS NEVER BEEN SWEETER

99c-promoI’m excited to announce the release of a new boxed set of nine sweet romances featuring some adorable pets. This multi-author set contains all new stories never before released until today. And the best part? It’s only $0.99 to download on all the major online retail sites. Click here for the retailer of your choice.

My contribution to the set is Love on Trial, featuring a Boston terrier and a Jack Russell who fall helplessly in love while the people who give them a home are dueling lawyers trying a case on opposite sides of the aisle. It’s up to Clyde and Suzanne to find a way to bring them together. I had lots of fun creating this story set in Chicago, and it’s led me to start another individual series, Rivals in Love, about the Crandall brothers and sisters. The next one, Love on Board, is already in the works.

pczick

About Valentine’s Pets & Kisses 2 – Cupid worked overtime to deliver this Valentine’s Day treat. Cuddle up with a heartwarming collection of dog tales, kitty and horse stories, and true love with these all-new sweet romances penned by USA Today and international bestselling authors.

vpinderVictoria PinderKeeping the Spy
A retired CIA spy returns to his hometown and finally works up the nerve to go after the girl he’s dreamed of since high school. Her beloved dog and the target on her back complicate this Valentine’s Day.

J.L. CampbellCupid’s Giftjcampbell
Heartbroken single parents, Melanie Peterson and Bryce Nevers, aren’t looking for love. Cupid has other ideas plans when he turns things upside down after Bryce’s goofy dog blasts through Melanie’s office, leaving behind mayhem and a reminder that love can show up in unexpected ways.

jkerrionJade KerrionNurtured
High-flying corporate lawyer, Nicole Lefton, has neither the space nor time for distractions, but a car accident saddles her with the unexpected company of a large dog and the attentions of a handsome vet.

P.C. ZickLove on Trial
Lawyers arguing a case on opposite sides disagree on most everything, except the love they both feel for their dogs, a Boston terrier and a Jack Russell terrier. Loneliness and their dogs bring them together in a surprising way on Valentine’s Day.

samichelleSydney Aaliyah MichelleYour Loyal Fan
A year later, Noah, Callie, and their little dog Nip are in relationship bliss, but a Valentine’s Day weekend in Los Angeles stretches their loyalties. Is their bond strong enough to survive the celebrity wedding of the century?

Caroline Bell FosterThe Kitty Effectcbellfoster
Stumbling across an abandoned cat and her kittens, Mateo and Willow have to embark on a crash course of parenthood in more ways than one.

tdchayesTina D.C. HayesSweethearts and Paw Prints
Kaylee fears losing the two guys she loves with all her heart: Carter to another woman and her Yorkie to his previous owner.

Jeanne BannonLove Bitesjbannon
Jack has a tried and true system for determining whether he will continue to date a woman. He brings his dates home to meet his dog, Phil. But none have yet to pass the Phil Test.

Grab your copy today! And Happy Valentine’s Day reading!

NEW RELEASE – MOUNTAIN MIRACLES

mountainmiraclesnewWhen I first moved to the Smoky Mountains for our summer retreat, I knew the setting would be the perfect place to write. I didn’t know that the setting would become the setting for a new series of books. But it did and since moving here last summer, I’ve written four books in the Smoky Mountain Series – all sweet contemporary romances. Today, I release the third book, Mountain Miracles. Book #4 will be released in October, as an individual title, A Merry Mountain Christmas, and as a part of Christmas Pets & Kisses 2 box set.

Grab your copy today. Only $0.99 for a limited time or read for free in Kindle Unlimited. Click here: Kindle and paperback.

 

Some of the same characters return to the small mountain town, but they are joined by David and Cecelia. Although strangers when they first come to the mountains, they don’t remain that way for long once Fran makes sure the single, attractive, and enterprising young adults are brought together for social gatherings. Both of them discover that family and community are truly possible through the miracle of love.

Here’s the first chapter of Mountain Miracles for your enjoyment.

CHAPTER ONE

SISSY JONES LEARNED ALMOST IMMEDIATELY that she’d been duped into moving to the small North Carolina town in the Smoky Mountains.

“You’ll love the place where I grew up,” Becca Cole had said. “And a friend of mine has an adorable house he’s dying to sell.”

Sissy’s first mistake. She had trusted Becca when she should have known better.

Now here she was in the small town where the nearest city was a two-hour drive. She came to forget the breakup with her boyfriend and to escape her mother’s grip. Instead of escaping, she’d landed right smack in the middle of a place filled with lovers and happy families. It only reminded her that she had neither of those things. It was bad enough when Stu decided his career as a rising country singer was more important than their two-year relationship, but when her mother started harping about Sissy’s inability to keep a man, she knew it was time to leave. Becca’s offer appeared as the perfect solution.

She’d left a good, although boring, job in Nashville. But at least that job had put her MBA degree to good use as the general manager of the Radisson. But here in Murphy, North Carolina, she’d had to revert to something she’d done during her college years at the University of Memphis. She was dealing cards at the new casino on the outskirts of town.

No, she never should have believed Becca when she said, “Move to the mountains with me. We’ll have a blast.”

Sissy had barely signed the mortgage papers on the house when Becca bailed and headed to New Orleans with her new boyfriend. Fortunately, the few people she did know in town, such as Becca’s ex-husband George, sympathized. But Sissy would survive. She hoped Becca’s son Jed understood why she’d left him in the care of his father. It was probably for the best. George was an excellent dad, but still the kid must wonder why his mother had left him so abruptly.

As Sissy dressed for the wedding she was attending later in the day, she smiled to think of her new friends. She’d known George back in Nashville when he’d been Stu’s agent. When Becca and he divorced, he moved back to his hometown and ran the music scene at a local bar. Now he was engaged to Lacy, the woman who had been evicted when Sissy bought the house. The previous owner, Lacy’s landlord, didn’t know he wanted to sell the house until Becca convinced him to kick his loyal and long-time renter out into the street. But Becca’s plan to break up George and Lacy backfired, and now Sissy was making a new life for herself.

She’d only met the groom and bride, Nick and Molly, once, but they’d welcomed her into their circle, simply because of her connection to George. When Lacy and the others realized she’d been tricked by Becca, they immediately opened their hearts to her, which came as a relief even though she didn’t quite believe her good fortune. When Becca fled town she hadn’t even bothered saying good-bye, which made Sissy very happy.

Her phone beeped. We’re on our way, Lacy texted. Sissy found her sandals under the couch and slipped into them. She felt a little weird about Lacy picking her up at her former home, but Lacy had assured her, it had all worked out for the best. She moved to the cabin the new bride was vacating, and Lacy seemed very happy about the whole thing. Lacy had assured Sissy that Becca had arranged the whole thing out of jealousy. Sissy questioned her own gullibility in believing that Becca had once been a friend.

She ran outside when George and Lacy pulled into the driveway.

“It’s such a beautiful day for a wedding,” she gushed when she settled in the backseat, next to George’s son Jed. “Somebody must have ordered this day.”

“I’m betting on Fran,” Lacy said, speaking of the mother of the groom. “She’s a mighty powerful woman who likes to have her way.”

“I like Fran,” Sissy said.

“Join the Fran Fan Club,” George said. “She’s nearly adopted Jed as her grandson.”

“She said I could call her Franma,” Jed said. “That’s what Gracie and me are going to call her. You know instead of Grandma.”

“That’s a very good name,” Sissy said, smiling at the young boy dressed in a white shirt and pressed jeans. “You look very handsome today, Jed.”

He blushed and smiled slightly. Jed was a good kid who’d been hurt too much in his short life. Sissy had babysat for him often back in Nashville after George left Becca, who’d taken to the single life quickly. Sissy sat up a little straighter when the realization hit her that Becca resembled her mother. It was a good thing for Jed that George had full custody.

“Are you ready to meet the rest of Murphy?” Lacy asked, turning around slightly. “I bet there will be one hundred folks at the wedding today.”

“I won’t remember names, but I’m ready.” Maybe she’d meet some other single folks so she didn’t feel like an extra at these group gatherings. She’d been invited to a couple of events, and everyone was paired off, or so it seemed to Sissy.

“We’re going to Gracie’s new house,” Jed said. “She’s my best friend.”

Sissy tried to remember how Gracie, who Jed had already mentioned twice, fit into the picture with the others. “I’m sorry, but my head is swimming with all the new names and faces. Who’s Gracie again?”

Lacy laughed. “I’m sure it’s like putting together a puzzle. Don’t worry, it will all fit together soon enough. Gracie is Molly’s daughter. She’s a year older than Jed, but they’ve become very close since Jed moved here.”

“I almost forgot,” George said. “Did either of you hear that we’re going to get a newspaper right here in town? Some guy from Atlanta wants to make it a paper for the town, not the surrounding counties.”

“Where’d you hear that?” Lacy asked.

“Who else? Don and Kathy Sampson, Murphy’s town criers.”

They all laughed. Even Sissy knew the couple was notorious for knowing everyone’s business in town—personal and otherwise. She sat with them at the bar at Misty Mountain one night, and she learned everyone’s business, not that it mattered. No way could she put all the names with faces, most she’d never even met.

“They might be nosy, but they’re usually accurate,” Lacy said. “Now, Sissy, have you given any more thought to opening the coffee shop?”

“I have. I’ve made thinking about it a full-time job. Actually, I started drawing up a business plan last night. And I gave the casino notice. Tomorrow will be my last day dealing cards.”

“A business plan?” Lacy asked. “That sounds very serious and professional. Have you started a business before?”

“Sissy has an MBA,” George said. “But she doesn’t like to flaunt her brains.”

“I didn’t know that,” Lacy said. “I mean about the degree and all.”

“I haven’t started a business because I’ve always worked for others. Starting my own business brings everything I’ve done so far all together.”

“How did you end up dealing at the casino?” Lacy asked.

“I worked as a dealer when I was getting my MBA, so I decided I’d get a job at the casino here, until I figured out what I really wanted to do.”

“You don’t like the job?” George asked. “I always thought it might be a hoot to work at the casino.”

“I don’t like the hours or the smoke. And a lot of the time, I don’t like the customers. So I guess I’d have to say on the whole that, no, I don’t like it very much at all.”

“They offered me a job booking music for the bar in the hotel,” George said. “But I won’t have to go there very often, if I take it on.”

“That sounds infinitely better than dealing,” Sissy said. “I can’t wait to be done with it and own my own business, something I’ve wanted since I was a kid.”

It was true. As a kid, she played grocery store with all the neighbor kids, but she wasn’t the housewife shopping for groceries. She always managed the store and made the other kids play the role of housewife.

“Did you ever think of opening something in Nashville?” Lacy asked.

“I wanted to when I graduated, but it was too expensive. I had a small inheritance from my grandmother when I turned twenty-one, but it wouldn’t have covered much of anything in the city.”

“It will be a lot less expensive here,” George asked. “Do you have a place in mind?”

“There’s a storefront for rent downtown. It’s small and narrow, but it could be perfect for a coffee and maybe some sweets.”

“I’d like a coffee shop close to Misty Mountain,” Lacy said. “Or at least another choice than just going to the same old place.”

“I hope it doesn’t upset folks to have two coffee shops downtown,” Sissy said. “I know the other place does different things, and they’re open in the evenings with music. I plan to only be open through lunch, but open by six in the morning.”

“Now that would be different,” George said. “Even during the season, nothing opens up downtown until after eight, even the coffee shop.”

Sissy noticed that right away, but she surmised it was the difference between living in a small town and a larger city. She’d adjust, but she still thought some folks might like coffee first thing. Even if it wasn’t busy until later, it would give her time to get organized.

“I guess I’d better think about advertising, too, now that you’ve mentioned the new paper. Most of the world is getting away from print media, but I bet here in Murphy folks still read the papers for the ads.”

“And the police blotter,” George said. Lacy playfully hit his arm. The intimacy of it gave Sissy a jolt.

“I wonder if the guy starting the newspaper is single,” Lacy said.

“Why would you wonder about that?” George asked. “Are you in the market for a new guy?”

“No, I’ve got my hands full with you. I was thinking about Sissy. We need to fix her up on a date.”

George groaned, and Sissy laughed. Lacy must have been reading her mind.

“He’s probably married or gay,” Sissy said. “That’s what they say about all the good ones, and since Stu and I broke up, I can confirm it’s true.”

#####

DAVID BELLWOOD WAS NEITHER MARRIED NOR GAY, but it didn’t stop all the wives of his friends from making that assumption after setting him up on dates with their single friends. However, his bachelor status meant he was hounded by his friends to go on blind dates with the divorced, dejected, and demoralized friends of their wives.

Most of the women were nice, but he couldn’t talk to them. The more attracted he was to a woman, the worse his shyness became. Most didn’t want to go out with him a second time. He’d been raised by his father after his mother died when he was five. Then his father had sent him to an all boys’ boarding school in upstate New York during the crucial years when boys first start noticing girls as something other than an annoyance. By the time he attended college, his fears of the opposite sex were only reinforced by two stepmothers who treated David as an annoyance. They scared him so much that he tried to be invisible when he came home for school vacations.

“I’ve given up on women,” his father had told him after the last divorce a year before. “I can’t afford another divorce. Janice just about did me in.”

“I can’t believe you let her have the cabin,” David said after his father told him what it cost to divorce her. “It’s been in the family for generations, and Janice hated the place.”

“It was the easiest way, son. We can build another one someday.”

“She did it for spite.”

“You bet she did, but I’ll never let her know it.” His father ended the conversation. David knew any further questions would be rebuked.

It broke David’s heart every single time he thought of Janice owning the cabin. She’d hated every minute she’d spent there while they were married. But he couldn’t argue with his father. He’d already battled him on the biggest issue, and he wasn’t sure he was ready for another one.

“What do you mean you don’t want to be a lawyer?” Michael Bellwood had roared to his son when David announced he wanted to change his major in college during his second year of college. “You come from a family of lawyers, son, not journalists. I built this firm for us.”

“But that’s what I want to do.” If females scared him, his father terrified him, especially when David defied him, which hadn’t been often. He didn’t dare tell his father what he really thought and that he’d never asked him to build the firm up for him. He chose his battles by priority, and being a journalist was David’s highest priority.

“I want to own a paper,” David continued.

His father pursed his lips together. David knew that he’d said something the elder Bellwood understood. Owning a paper meant power. Except his father never dreamed David meant a small town paper with very little power at all. But it had silenced him long enough to let him finish his degree through to his master’s while working at a couple of papers in the Atlanta area as an intern.

“I want to start a small weekly newspaper in Murphy,” David had told his father in the final months before he received his master’s degree. “There’s a need in that town because they’re growing into a tourist destination, and they need something besides the weekly county paper that’s mostly about crime.”

“Murphy?” His father seemed perplexed. “Why in Murphy? And for God’s sake, son, don’t you know newspapers are a dying breed?”

“Not in small towns like Murphy with a large tourist base, not to mention the folks who have vacation homes there. It’s a growing community with a need for an intelligent and thoughtful paper that also provides a place for businesses to advertise.”

“That’s not what I read in The Wall Street Journal. Where are you getting your information?”

“I’ve done my research, and The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times and all the other big newspapers like to cry about the loss of revenue in the print editions. That has nothing to do with small community papers. Those folks want grocery store flyers and real estate offers they can hold in their hands.”

“I’m still not convinced.”

“Dad, I am a little more versed in this than you.” David had never spoken to his father with that tone, but never before had something meant so much to him. “I’ve worked at small papers all around the Atlanta area for the past three years. I know what’s happening, and there’s a different market depending on the per capita and on the population.”

His father looked at him suspiciously. “Why Murphy? You know we don’t own the cabin any longer.”

“I know, but I’m going to buy it from Janice. One of my lawyer friends is already negotiating with her.”

“I sure hope you know what you’re doing. I won’t fight you, but I won’t support it either.”

“That’s all right. I plan on using my own money.”

“Your inheritance from your grandfather?”

“Yes.”

His father shook his head, but he stopped arguing with him. Above all else, his father loved him, and David knew he wanted him to be happy, but it was hard for Michael Bellwood to lose an argument.

Michael’s grandfather had built the cabin near the Cherohala Skyway east of Murphy more than seventy years ago. David grew up spending summers and some holidays there as a kid. He loved both the cabin and the area, but his father always seemed restless when they were there. David begged to go to the cabin because the mountains gave him a sense of peace, and it was there he imagined he could do whatever he wanted. It’s also the place of his only memories of his mother. And in those memories, the beautiful woman with long dark hair and copper skin, held him and sang him Cherokee songs of hope.

David also longed for something else by moving to a small town. He hoped to overcome his fear of women. So far he hadn’t met anyone except the realtor who was old enough to have been his mother. Linda Lewis put him at ease at once with her mountain drawl and friendly manner. And she remembered both his father and mother.

“They were a handsome couple,” Linda had said when she made the connection with the last name. “But then they just disappeared from town.”

“My mother died, and my father didn’t like coming up to the cabin much. I usually stayed with my grandfather.”

“I heard something like that. Inola, your mother, was as beautiful as you are handsome, but she stayed up in the mountains most of the time. I hadn’t heard she died.”

“It was a long time ago.” David wanted to hear more, but he didn’t think Linda knew much more about his mother. “What about a place for me to open an office for the paper? Do you think you have anything?”

“Yes, I do,” Linda had said. “I think I have the perfect place. It’s an empty storefront right downtown. I think it might be charming to have the town’s newspaper right in the middle of things, don’t you?”

He agreed.

“I have someone else looking at the small space next door. She wants to open a coffee shop. Isn’t that what all you reporters do? Just like cops, drink coffee all day and smoke cigarettes, right?”

He laughed. “I don’t smoke, but caffeine is my drink of choice. The movies at least got that part right.”

He rented the spot immediately. There was a room in the back where he could put a futon. Once he owned the cabin, he could stay at the paper some nights instead of driving all the way home. He liked the accessibility so advertisers could just walk over on their lunch break and take out an ad. But first, he needed to hire someone to handle that end of the business. He needed to keep what he wrote separate from the paid part. Even if it was a small paper, he wanted the advertising side separate from the articles. Objectivity and integrity meant as much to him as pleasing his father, which he hoped to do by making a success of the venture.

socialmedia

Smoky Mountain RomancesAll Four

Minty’s Kiss

Misty Mountain

Mountain Miracles

 

A Merry Mountain Chrismas – Kindle release date in October.

Paperback now available.

Christmas Pets & Kisses 1

Christmas Pets & Kisses 2 – Preorder now, released October 11.

FREEBIE ALERT – Native Lands may be downloaded for free September 13-15! And it’s always free in Kindle Unlimited. Paperback and Audible also available.

Kindle

Paperback 

Audible

nativelands3big

 

 

LOOSE ENDS FOR NOW

A Merry Mountain Christmas web low resOn Monday, I finished my Christmas novella A Merry Mountain Christmas for the Christmas Pets & Kisses 2 box set that will be released in October.

I did something a little different these past few months, and it’s probably good for me because I’m a very linear person. I began writing the third book in my romance series back in February. Mountain Miracles was intended for release this spring and follows on the heels of Misty Mountain that I released in February.

Life had other plans for me. But the story was evolving as I kept an eye on the next story, A Merry Mountain Christmas. The two plots are intimately connected through the storyline and the characters. By the beginning of June, the first one was proceeding nicely. Then I looked at the calendar and realized the Christmas story had to be written because it had a hard deadline. So I stopped Mountain Miracles and dove into A Merry Mountain Christmas. It turned out to be an odd experience, but not a bad one. In fact, some of the plot twists I hadn’t yet established in the first book were decided (and sometimes created) with the writing of the second one. Hopefully, I’ll be able to finish Mountain Miracles very soon now. And then I will have four books in my Smoky Mountain Romance series.

All Four.jpg

But a funny happened on the way to writing today. I’m at loose ends and can’t settle down to any project. This often happens after I finish the first draft of a book, and I should expect it. But with the other book looming, and so many projects waiting, I was certain this time I would be able to settle my rear end in the chair and write. Not so.

When I recognized the restlessness yesterday, I suggested that my husband and I take a ride to seek waterfalls. And so that’s exactly what we did. Not that it helped. I’m reduced to making lists today because my mind won’t stop jumping around. Ah well. Enjoy the beauty that we found in the Cherokee National Forest yesterday while I attempt to quiet all the swirling ideas and thoughts!

 

ConasaugaFalls1

Conasauga Falls, Tellico Plains, Tennessee

 

IMG_0756

Bald River Falls, Tellico River, Tennessee

CPK2 Pre-Order 3.jpg

Pre-Order

Amazon

B&N

Kobo

Apple

 

 

 

AUTHOR WEDNESDAY – ENTER HERE!

The Christmas Carol (Box Collection) Contest 

love chrismas mimi

ENTER HERE!

 Calling all Christmas lovers!

Do you love the music of the holiday season? If so, the Authors’ Billboard needs your attention! This coming 2016 Christmas, twenty of our authors—New York Times and USA Today Bestsellers—will be putting together a multi-author box collection of brand new, never before published stories to dazzle everyone, but we require your participation.

The title of our collection will be LOVE, CHRISTMAS and the theme of this bundle will be Christmas carols. We want to use YOUR favorite holiday songs. If you and your song title are chosen, one of the 20 novellas will be dedicated to you.

Sound like fun? Please enter the contest by naming your special carols in the contest entry form by clicking here.

You may enter as many times as you like. So what are you waiting for?

Here’s what the winners will receive:

  1. Twenty winners will have his/her favorite song chosen as the title and possibly the theme for one of the novellas.
  2. That particular story will be dedicated to the winner— twenty in total.
  3. And the winners will receive a free copy of the box set (eBook only).

Ho, ho, ho! And good luck!

The authors involved in this great contest are:

Leanne Banks – NY Times & USAToday, National #1 Best-selling author

Mimi Barbour – NY Times & USA Today, Best-selling author

Nina Bruhns – NY Times & USA Today, Best-selling author

Joan Reeves – NY Times & USAToday, Best-selling author

Mona Risk – NY Times & USA Today, Best-selling author

Patricia Rosemoor – NY Times & USA Today, Best-selling author

Rebecca York – NY Times & USA Today, Best-selling author

Denise Devine – USA Today, Best-selling author

Donna Fasano – USA Today,Best-selling author

Traci Hall – USA Today,Best-selling author

Taylor Lee – USA Today,Best-selling author

Stephanie Queen – USA Today,Best-selling author

Jennifer St. Giles – USA Today,Best-selling author

Alicia Street – USA Today,Best-selling author

Ari Thatcher – USA Today,Best-selling author

Rachelle Ayala – Best-selling author

Jacquie Biggar – Best-selling author

Michele Hauf – Best-selling author

Dani Haviland – Best-selling author

Nancy Radke – Best-selling author

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SPRING INTO ROMANCE #ROMANCEHOP

FB for hop#ROMANCEHOP GIVEAWAY!!!

Yes, you can get eight deliciously sweet romances for just 99 cents, but why stop there? Visit each of us on our Facebook pages to get even more goodies, this time for FREE!

Start by heading over to my Facebook page by clicking here to find out about my giveaways, and then join the Facebook #ROMANCEHOP to see the other fabulous gifts being offered up by the other seven authors in this set.

I’m giving away a 100% cotton tote bag (made in America) featuring a picture of a mountain home in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains because my sweet romance Misty Mountain is set in a spot just like the one this reusable bag. It’s a beautiful setting for love to bloom and grow!

TO ENTER MY GIVEAWAY, share my Facebook post, then leave a comment on that post telling me where you’d like to go for a romantic getaway with your sweetie because, of course, every one of these novels stars a sweet romance.
#ROMANCEHOP GIVEAWAY!!!

You’ll want to make sure you enter the giveaway on EACH AND EVERY page (you’ll see the link to the next one on my Facebook page)–each author will tell you what you need to do to score an entry in their page’s giveaway. And don’t forget to enter our Rafflecopter for your chance at the grand prize of a $50 gift card! You can also follow along with the hop by using #RomanceHop on your favorite social networks and see all the info at a glance at www.MelStorm.com/hop.

Now go get our awesome eBook deal–8 sweet romances for 99 cents. You can’t beat that!

Get it on Kindle ~ http://amzn.to/1Sc7Fse
Get it on iBooks ~ http://apple.co/1PjZqYy
Get it on Nook ~ http://bit.ly/1noPK49
Get it on Kobo ~ http://bit.ly/1nz8Wg6

This giveaway will run from March 15 to March 20. Winners will be announced on each individual page as well as on www.MelStorm.com/hop the morning of the 21st.

DISCLAIMER: Facebook giveaways are in NO way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. Information collected is NOT collected by Facebook. In signing up for this promotion, participants release and indemnify Facebook from all liability.

MISTY_MOUNTAIN_small

Misty Mountain  Spring in Romance

 

springintoromanceboxset copy

SPRING INTO ROMANCE WITH A GREAT READ

springintoromanceboxset copy

Cover design by Mallory Rock

Read some great romances this spring! Wishing you warm weather and sunny days. There’s much excitement in my writing world these days, so I thought I’d give you a little preview and a chance to read some of these in advance of the release.

Sweet Romances for Spring

It’s been a tough winter for many of us, but soon it enough it will be but a mere memory.

I kept busy writing. In November, I participated in my first National Novel Writing Month and wrote the sweet romance, Misty Mountain, set in the Smoky Mountains. I’m excited to announce that this romance will be a part of the box set, Spring into Romance, set for release March 15. But it can be preordered now for only $0.99.

Amazon 

Barnes & Noble

Kobo

Apple

An integral part of the success for any book involves reviews. Several of the books in this set are new releases, so we’re looking for honest reviews from readers. If you’re interested in reading any of the books on the left, please fill out the form below, and I’ll send you a free copy of one of the books below. All we ask in return is an honest review posted on Amazon for the book and for the set.

MISTY_MOUNTAIN_smallFill out the form below for a free review copy in exchange for an honest review for Misty Mountain. You’ll love this sweet romance between Lacy and George, both keeping shields around their hearts.If they can put down their shields long enough to discover the love growing between them, then nothing will stand in their way to finding happiness.

 

vsw resizedRequest a copy of The Vet’s Secret Wish by J.L. Campbell.This sweet romance is so new, it hasn’t even been released yet! Matthias Laing strikes an uneasy compromise with Toni Nevers, who agrees to marry him on Valentine’s Day—eleven months away. A man of action, Matthias can’t rest easy after Toni’s ex admits he wants her back. With Toni’s daughter and her small army of pets on his side, Matthias rolls out a plan to get Toni to reconsider the length of their engagement and opt for a summer wedding.

 

MailOrderGroomCover_resizedRequest a copy of Cindy Flores Martinez’s Mail-Order Groom. Lisa’s wedding is canceled when she catches her fiancé, Jeff, with another woman. In a twist of fate, she meets Krzysztof from Poland who is seeking an American woman to marry him and help him stay in America. After hearing his heart-tugging story, Lisa says “I do” to him. It’s strictly a business deal. He’s not planning to stay in America forever, but she starts falling for him.

RemingtonsPCZickwlogo

 

I said earlier that I’d spent the winter writing, which includes completion of another romance–this time one that’s a little steamier. Love on the Wind is a part of Melissa Foster’s Remington World and will be released March 2 on Amazon. Advanced Review Copies (ARCs) are now available in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

#NaNoWriMo

NaNo-2015-Winner-Certificate-Full (1)I’ve been in shock since November 30. On that date, sometime around nine in the evening, I did something I’ve been wanting to do for years.

I not only participated in National Novel Writing Month (November), but for the first time, I actually completed a 50,000-word novel in thirty days.

Whew.

As the hour approached signifying the end of November, I sat in my recliner, laptop burning up, typing faster than my normal ninety words per minute. Then I typed, “THE END,” fairly certain that what I’d written in the final hour was gibberish.

It was not. That’s not my opinion. My beta readers confirmed it. I’d really written it that quickly, and it still made sense. It confirms what I’ve known since the days of mind-numbing newspaper deadlines. Just sitting the rear end in the chair and writing gets the job done, and it sometimes does a better job of getting it done than when we agonize over every single word, sentence, and paragraph.

So I may be a week late in announcing it, but I thought I should mark the occasion with something here. I even wrote a post yesterday, mentioning the book, but forgetting to mention how it came to be.

Again, the shock that I’d done it blocked some arterial flows to the brain.

MISTY_MOUNTAIN_medIn the past week, I’ve made edits to the manuscript and sent it off yesterday to my proofreader. Misty Mountain is available for pre-order now and will be released January 19, 2016.

Here’s an excerpt from the first chapter of Misty Mountain, a sweet Smoky Mountain romance. I hope you enjoy.

CHAPTER ONE

Lacy Schumacher picked up a tray filled with hot chicken wings from the kitchen window. When she turned to head to a booth in her section, “Your Cheating Heart” blasted from the stage at the front of the bar. Suddenly, her feet went out from under her when she slipped on the puddle of beer spilled by one of the customers. Chicken wings flew in the air and the small cup of blue cheese dressing landed on top of her head and rode with her on her descent to the floor. A celery stick landed on her chest.

She heard the laughter all around her, making the humiliation complete. Then a hand appeared and helped her stand. She felt the growing wetness on the back of her jeans from the beer, as she pulled the container from her head. Blue cheese dripped down her long brown curls. George grabbed some napkins from a nearby table and started dabbing at her hair. That’s all she needed. They’d only been dating a few months, but now any doubt he had about her abilities to do anything gracefully were probably dashed.

“It’s all right,” she said, as she took the napkins from his hand. “I’ll be right back.” She headed for the bathroom, hoping she could clean up well enough to continue her shift at Misty Mountain, the bar where she’d worked for several years.

Misty Mountain hopped on a cold Thursday night in January, and Lacy longed to go home and soak her aching feet in a hot bath as she used a wet paper towel to dab at her hair. Too bad her house didn’t have a hot tub like so many of the rental cabins in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains surrounding the small North Carolina town of Murphy.

The economics of the town depended on the tourists whose visits to the mountains were as unpredictable as the weather during the winter months. Locals accounted for a fraction of the crowd most of the time, and the part-timers were scarce from Christmas to Easter. But tonight, the restaurant was enjoying the first busy night of January.

“It’s the winter festival in Blue Ridge.” Julie Cole had told Lacy when she’d come in for her shift a few hours earlier. “We could have a big crowd tonight.”

Julie and Lacy had started working at Misty Mountain about the same time several years earlier. Julie, more outgoing than Lacy, gravitated to bartending. She loved teasing and laughing with the customers. Lacy enjoyed her job, but she was quieter.

“The band from Nashville will draw a crowd, too,” Lacy had said. “I can use the tips, and I bet you and Johnny could use the business.”

“That’s for sure. It’s been a slow month so far.” Julie had stopped washing glasses and put her elbows on the bar. “So have you two talked yet?”

Lacy tied a black apron around her waist. She knew Julie meant well, but she didn’t want to talk about George. Julie, and her husband Johnny, owned Misty Mountain, and George was Johnny’s brother. Even though she and Julie were good friends, she felt uncomfortable discussing George with her. Small towns bred familiarity—she knew that all too well.

Lacy shook her head. “It hasn’t come up.”

“It will. Especially if Becca ever finds out the two of you are dating.”

Becca, George’s ex-wife, still lived in Nashville, where the two of them had moved twelve years earlier. She knew Julie was right. Maybe it was time to just end it with George before it went any further. It was inevitable that Lacy would be left heartbroken when George came under pressure from Becca, if they kept dating.

“George is buying into the bar,” Julie had said as she poured the pitcher of beer. “Did he mention it to you?”

Lacy shook her head. George had moved back to Murphy after his divorce, but his son still lived with Becca in Nashville, four hours away. Last time they’d talked about it, he said he wasn’t sure what he was going to do. He’d been handling the music end of the bar for a month, bringing bands in from all over the south for live music on the weekends. Maybe he’d decided to stay. He certainly didn’t need to tell Lacy about all his decisions.

“He sure has been bringing in some good music.” Lacy had said. “I guess he’s decided to stay in Murphy for a while.”

She’d been burned too many times in the past by men she fell for who hadn’t fallen for her in return, so she tried not to think about George’s sandy brown hair that fell softly over his collar or his brown eyes that sparkled whenever he talked about music and his passion for finding just the right sound. She didn’t think about his broad shoulders or the way he looked in his solid-colored flannel shirts rolled up halfway on his forearm. She most certainly didn’t think about those things or about the way he kissed her good night when he walked her to the door of her house. So far that was as far as the relationship had gone, and that was fine with her. She liked George and enjoyed spending time with him, but that was it. She didn’t need another relationship to turn out like the last one—with her boyfriend engaged to another woman.

“George has lots of connections back in Nashville,” Julie had continued, as she put wine glasses in the racks above her head. “It must have been awful with Becca for him to leave his career. He was making a name for himself as an agent, at least that’s what Johnny says. George doesn’t mention Nashville very much.”

“I can tell by the names of some of his clients that he was doing well. Sometimes when life gets difficult, it’s best to make it less complicated. So he came home to Murphy.” She headed to her first table of customers, anxious to stop talking about Julie’s brother-in-law.

George, six years older than Lacy, left Murphy for good after he graduated from college. He and Becca married a few months after George finished school in Atlanta. They left right after the wedding. Lacy knew why Becca wanted to leave Murphy. And Lacy approved, and only felt relief when she left. She vividly remembered Becca and her nastiness after the accident that killed Becca’s father and Lacy’s sister, but Lacy didn’t remember much about George. He faded into the background behind Becca’s monstrous personality.

When George returned home two months before for all the activities surrounding Johnny and Julie’s Christmas wedding, she noticed him immediately. He’d divorced Becca, and when he turned up in town, single and handsome, all the single women noticed him, too. When he entered Misty Mountain, the women didn’t hesitate to tell Lacy what they’d like to do with him. George was handsome, no doubt about it, but she wasn’t going to fall for his rugged good looks. When he’d asked her out his second week back in Murphy, she’d been surprised, but she agreed. Neither one of them were looking for anything serious, since both were coming off broken relationships. They’d been casually dating ever since, but they hadn’t discussed Lacy’s sister and her connection to Becca’s father. And Lacy had never met George’s nine-year-old son. Casual and easy—just what she needed.

Julie and she had stopped talking as people began to fill the bar. Lacy hadn’t had a chance to even think or stop moving, until she fallen on her rear end, sending chicken wings flying through the air. In the bathroom, she attempted to clean herself up so she could finish her shift with a little more dignity. She dabbed at her face and pressed towels against her backside, hoping to lessen the obvious beer stain. Fluffing her hair, she gave herself a pep talk so she could finish out the night. When she returned to the floor, the band played “Crazy” as a female singer with died black hair held the microphone close and channeled Patsy Cline to the stage of Misty Mountain. The song carried her back to the bar, where she almost ran into George when he turned around abruptly. He’d been talking to Julie at the wait station.

“Lacy, you clean up nicely,” he said. “How do you like the band?”

“They’re good. Julie, I need a pitcher of Bud and two shots of Yaeger.”

“I wish we could get together later, but I have Jed tonight—he has a long weekend off school so Becca met me halfway.”

“Where is he?” Lacy asked, looking around for an eight-year-old boy.

“I dropped him off at the Johnson’s to play with Gracie for an hour while I checked in down here. You know Nick’s mom loves kids.”

“I know, she’s adopted Gracie. I’m sure she’ll do the same with Jed.”

“Jed may be more of a challenge, I’m afraid.”

Lacy looked at him, waiting for him to explain. But instead he gave her shoulder a pat, and headed to the small office next to the bathrooms in the back.

Small towns bred their own soap operas. Brains not occupied in noble pursuits dipped into the depravity of the human condition. Lacy knew it very well. Nick Johnson had been her boyfriend up until four months ago. He said he wasn’t ready to commit. But then just two months after making that declaration, he asked Molly Parker to marry him. Molly had returned to Murphy in the fall with her ten-year-old daughter Gracie. And despite the engagement of Molly and Nick, Lacy chose to forgive them both. She and Molly had been childhood friends, and Lacy had fallen in love with Gracie. She didn’t believe in holding grudges, but she knew that placed her in the minority. She knew plenty of people still talked about her sister, and now they probably talked about her friendship with Molly and her relationship with George. She squared her shoulders while she waited for the drink order.

“Becca is a real bitch,” Julie said as she set two full shot glasses on the tray. “She called George at the last minute today and made him drive two hours to pick up Jed. Johnny and I both were happy when George left her. It’s just too bad Jed lives so far away. He needs his father. Wait until you meet him, and you’ll know what I mean.”

“I have a feeling Becca might not be too keen on me having anything to do with her son.”

Julie raised her eyebrows. “That’s why I’ve been telling you the two of you need to talk about it. Julie holds her father’s death against you, even though you didn’t have a damn thing to do with it.”

Lacy’s ‘elephant’ in the room, sat on her chest, suffocating her. The secret. The scandal. The shame.

“It’s been twelve years,” Lacy said, while Julie poured the pitcher. “Can’t she just move on?”

“You don’t know Becca,” Julie said. “She never forgets anything. She still remembers the first time Johnny brought me home for Thanksgiving dinner, and I refused to eat her pecan pie.”

“Aren’t you allergic to nuts?”

“Exactly. But try telling Becca that. She said I had offended her and her mother’s recipe.”

Lacy shook her head. Becca seemed to forget that the accident killed someone else besides her father. It also killed Angel, her sister. Angel—that’s what her mother named Angela and that’s how both of Lacy’s parents treated her, especially after her death. When the wheels of the town’s gossip truck began, the Schumacher family retreated into the cocoon of their mountain home.

Angel was Lacy’s elephant, the favored child of her parents, until that night, that awful night of revelations and death. The town didn’t give the Schumachers any room to mourn Angel’s death because as soon as news of the two riding in the car together on the road to Cherokee became public, the rumors of Richard Perry and Angel Schumacher’s affair began. Angel received the brunt of the scorn, while Mr. Perry became the victim. Becca, one year older than Angel, never forgave the Schumachers, who she loudly proclaimed raised a whore of a child.

Lacy spent her last years of high school taking online courses to graduate, living in a house devoid of any emotion or love, except for that devoted to the shrine of Angel set up in the bedroom next door to Lacy’s. But Lacy knew better. She heard the fight the night Angel left to meet her lover. Her parents had finally seen the Angel others had seen all along. But she still didn’t deserve to die, and she certainly didn’t deserve blame for the accident.

Julie set the pitcher down on the tray, and Lacy brought herself back to the present.

“George and I will talk, but not tonight. I’m praying it won’t even be an issue. After all, it’s not like we’re serious or anything.”

“Don’t count on Becca changing.” Julie grabbed Lacy’s hand. “And you don’t think George is serious about you? Have you seen the way he looks at you, the way he watches you as you wait on tables? George likes you. And I’m pretty sure you like him, too.”

“I do like him, but that doesn’t mean we’re getting serious about one another. I just want to have some fun.” Lacy turned away before tears developed and showed how much of a lie her words were. She stopped crying a long time ago, and she’d be damned if Becca Parker Cole would make her cry now. And she was even more determined that George not make her cry, either.

She had work to do, although she cringed when she saw Don and Kathy enter Misty Mountain. She sighed in relief when they took seats at the bar. Julie, as the owner of Misty Mountain, made more money than Lacy did, so Lacy felt comfortable with the most difficult of customers sitting in Julie’s section, not hers. Besides, Julie handled obnoxious easily. Not only were they obnoxious, they were lousy tippers. She even saw Don scoop up a tip on the table after Kathy had gotten up to leave one night. A real jerk.

“Hi, Lacy,” Kathy yelled out as she passed them on the way to a table. “We’re just having drinks tonight, or we would have sat in your section.”

Lacy smiled and went to wait on a new table. It’s not that Don and Kathy weren’t nice people. They were very involved in several projects around town, always generously giving both money and time to various fundraising projects. They’d even started the Bear’s Den, a nonprofit organization that raised money and did community service wherever needed. Don had been a pilot for Delta, and he never let anyone forget it. Kathy, a flight attendant until she married Don, never let anyone forget that, either. The two made for one condescending team. They also knew everything about everything. And if they didn’t, they changed the subject.

Lacy tried her best to accept everyone she met, but sometimes folks made it difficult. But at least for tonight, miserable in her beer-soaked jeans and tragic memories, she’d be spared their arrogance.

 

AUTHOR WEDNESDAY – #NEWRELEASE FROM CHANTEL RHONDEAU

I wish you all a very peaceful and pleasant Thanksgiving weekend. Today Author Wednesday features one of my favorite colleagues and romance author, Chantel Rhondeau. Chantel and I have been in three box sets together (so far), and her romances are a wonderful addition to each set. I love Chantel because she is always eager and ready to help out and give of herself and her expertise to promote all of us. It doesn’t get any better than that. So with great pleasure, I give you the very sweet and lovable Chantel Rhondeau and her new release in her Macalliter’s Paradise series.

Title: Love’s Ride (McCallister’s Paradise – 4)
Author: Chantel Rhondeau
Release date: November 24, 2015
Genre: Contemporary Romance/Family Saga Romance

Brad McCallister has always felt estranged from his family. He thought taking over as manager of their paradise resort would make him feel more connected but that hasn’t happened. To top it off, his siblings are finding life partners and settling down while Brad’s still single. If only he could stop obsessing over the island’s psychologist, Chelsea Taylor.


Chelsea loves working at McCallister’s Paradise. She enjoys the large family of employees and feels at home in the sand and sunshine. The only thing missing is the spice of adventure. She longs to explore the island and conquer her longstanding fears.


After Brad’s sister schemes to bring Brad and Chelsea together things go horribly wrong, but Brad refuses to give up without a fight. A two-week island adventure will not only help fulfill Chelsea’s lifelong dream of being a survivalist, it will give them a chance to get to know each other—away from his meddling family.


This couple gets more than they bargained for when survival takes on a new meaning in paradise.


Amazon: http://amzn.to/1N0mO7Q

Nook: http://bit.ly/1RpPbR8 

Apple iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1035524163 

Kobo: http://bit.ly/1RpPfk2 



~~Excerpt~~

She pouted slightly as she thought, her full red lips begging him to suck on them. “I felt like dinner went well the other day, but…” She paused and scarlet flared against her cheekbones.

“Dinner did go well,” he agreed. “I wasn’t sure you thought so, but I had a great time.”

“I was surprised when you left so fast.” Looking down at their hands, she avoided his eyes, seeming unsure and flustered. “I thought you’d want a goodnight kiss.”

She felt insecure because he hadn’t kissed her? Well, hot damn!

Brad chuckled and tugged her hands, pulling her close to his chest. She was enough shorter than him that when her hair swished around her face the silky strands rubbed against his chin, catching slightly in the evening stubble he hadn’t had time to shave.

Pressing his lips against her forehead, Brad released one of her hands to caress her cheek and slide his hand down her neck.

The passion he felt in being so close to her was echoed in the soft trembling of Chelsea’s body against his and the sweet, contented sigh she released.

Wrapping both arms around her, Brad held her close to his heart, enjoying having her so near after spending several days apart. If only work would slow down and he could see her more often. He knew it was too sudden to be sure that he wanted things to work out with Chelsea, but holding her felt right. Since the moment she arrived on the island, Brad hadn’t been able to stop thinking about her, wishing he could call her his lady. Now he might have a chance.

Chelsea’s arms circled him, and she rested her head on his shoulder. The soft puffs of breath coming from her mouth bathed his neck with their warmth, making him wish he were less of a gentleman.

“You smell delicious,” she whispered, sniffing deeply. Her lips brushed his collarbone, setting his heart rate racing. 


If he didn’t stop this soon, the problem twitching to life in his pants could make a family dinner awkward. Kissing her forehead once more, Brad gently gripped her shoulders and pushed her away.


About McCallister’s Paradise: 


Fall in love with the strong men and smart women of McCallister’s Paradise!

At their tropical island resort, the McCallister family works hard. Life in Paradise should be perfect. After all, the place is great for a romantic getaway. Unfortunately, the five McCallister siblings are still searching for their happily ever afters… and romance always seems just out of reach. 


But determined hearts won’t be denied. And when love is on the line, a McCallister doesn’t fall halfway!


Series:
Happy Endings (Quinn)

Diving Into Love (Parker)

For Love or Charity (Sydney)
Love’s Ride (Brad)
Cooking Up Love (Shane – coming soon)



Available at these vendors:

~~About the Author~~

Bestselling Author Chantel Rhondeau once thought a mystery or fantasy book with strong romantic themes was the highest level of reading bliss. After reading her first romantic suspense, she never looked back. Chantel is author of six romantic suspense novels, three Christmas novellas, a sports-themed novella, and the McCallister’s Paradise contemporary romance/family saga series. She lives in the western United States and when she’s not writing, she loves playing cards with her family, bowling on leagues, and snuggling with her lazy kitties.

Want to contact Chantel?
Mailing list: http://bit.ly/1qKSN0q (FREE copy of Season For Love for new sign ups!)
Join my Facebook Group: http://on.fb.me/1JlKFNC