Monday, December 31, 2012

HAPPY 2013

Where did this past year go? I've kept myself at the computer and one day passes quickly into the next. What about you? Are you happy to see the last of 2012? Many of my friends have had a difficult year, and my family and I have had some health issues.. But don’t we always hope that the New Year will be better than the last? I certainly do.

As far as my writing is concerned, I’ve had a wonderful year! Thank you to each of you who encouraged me, supported me, bought my books, and left good reviews! If you’re a writer, you understand how
that support bolsters my morale and my muse. If you're a reader, let me assure you that I appreciate your tremendously.

Long ago I quit making a list of resolutions, but I have a few. As usual, losing weight is a big one, no pun intended. ☺ Mostly, though, I set writing goals. Family health issues warred with my finishing my current work in progress, BLUEBONNET BRIDE. Don't you hate when life interferes with our plans?  I’m back on track now, and hope to have it published later this month.

After that, I’m writing Storm Kincaid’s story, THE MOST UNSUITABLE COURTSHIP. I love Storm and his gentle, quiet strength and dry sense of humor. His story will be hard on him, of course, because writers must torture their heroes (and heroines). Storm’s heroine is not someone from the first two books. He meets a young German immigrant on his quest to capture criminals who killed a friend. To do so legally, he has been appointed a Federal Marshal. More about that later.

Are you attending a party on New Year's Eve? Having a big dinner on New Year's Day? On New Year's Eve, Hero and I will relax in the family room with wine and cheese while we watch a movie on TV--either Netflix or Amazon.. On New Year's Day, Darling Daughter Two will come for dinner and a Netflix movie. Perhaps that sounds unexciting, but both will be restful and pleasant. Sometimes exciting is a curse. ☺

In the meantime, I wish you a happy, prosperous, and healthy New Year!

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, December 28, 2012


Jacquie Rogers is a friend as well as one of my favorite authors. Her Hearts of Owyhee romances are laugh-out-loud fun with plenty of mischief and mayhem to keep readers turning the pages to discover how her characters tackle the next obstacle. MUCH ADO ABOUT MARSHALS and MUCH ADO ABOUT MADAMS are the first two in the series. This post is about Jacquie’s latest book, MUCH ADO ABOUT MAVERICKS. 

Benjamin Stoddard “Skeeter” Lawrence is an admirable and handsome hero for whom I cheered. But the heroine is one of my all-time favorites from any author. Janelle Katherine “Jake” O’Keefe is the only female ranch foreman in 1885 Idaho Territory. Jake runs a tightly controlled and highly efficient organization. Not only do her employees admire and respect her, they also like her. Well, all but Fred, who has a smart mouth, a lazy streak, and doesn’t like taking orders from a woman. There’s always one, isn’t there?

Ben Lawrence endured a miserable childhood, constantly belittled and bullied by his father, Ezra. When Ben was old enough, he was shipped off to Harvard. Now, thirteen years later, he has become a successful lawyer with the Boston firm of Morris and Graves. His boss, Creighton Morris,is dangling a partnership over Ben’s head as a lure to insure Ben weds Patience Morris. Although Ben knows he deserves the partnership without strings, he is contemplating marriage to Patience, but he hasn't yet proposed. Ben plans to take his mother, Mabel, and his sister, Suzanne, back to Boston with him. He should have known western women don’t like to have their lives organized without their consent.

When the book opens, Ben has returned to the Bar El Ranch near Henderson Flats, Owyhee County, Idaho Territory for the reading of his father’s will. Sad as it appears, no one mourns the demise of Ezra Lawrence, especially after hearing the ridiculous will he’s left. For separate reasons, Ben and Jake are angry at the will’s stipulations. Ben intends to contest the will, but something spurs him to fulfill the conditions set forth for him. Unseen forces are at work against Ben. Can he prove he’s strong and skillful enough to overcome the mischief and destruction designed to defeat him?

My reviews don’t include spoilers, so I can’t tell you more about this wonderful book. I can highly recommend you read MUCH ADO ABOUT MAVERICKS for yourself.  I give it ♥♥♥♥♥ hearts.
It’s available from Melange Publishing via Amazon:

Each of the books is stand alone, but I also highly recommend Jacquie Rogers's other Hearts of Owyhee titles:


Set in 1885, Oreana, Idaho Territory. Daisy Gardner is a twenty-two year old spinster. Though she has nothing against marriage, Daisy does not want to wed to a rancher and end up stuck out in the sticks. She wants to be a female detective, just like Honey Beaulieu, the lead character in her favorite dime novel series.

Cole Richards runs a ranch on Sinker Creek. Two miners, Porker and Gib Rankin, have sluiced his ranch's creek into a muddy dribble. Cole makes the mistake of telling Bosco that if the bank in Silver City loans the miners any money, the ranch would then be in a world of trouble. Bosco, who is not too bright at times but is the best-hearted man Cole has ever known, decides to rob the bank of the miners' would-be money. While trying to stop Bosco, Cole ends up getting his leg shot by the female teller, Iris, and the duo find themselves on the run. After blacking out, Cole revives to find himself in the small town of Oreana and being sworn in as Marshal Sidney Adler. He cannot do much about the misconception except play along, or he and Bosco (who has been sworn in as a deputy) would be suspected of holding up the bank in Silver City. Cole plans to leave town as soon as his wound allows, but who should happen to be in Oreana than the Rankin brothers? Cole decides it is in his best interests to play marshal for a bit and find out what the miners are up to.


A suffragist schoolteacher with a hidden past arrives to teach,
Six shopworn whores cooking up plans for a better future,
And a hunky cowhand who inherited The Comfort Palace
isn't quite sure what to do with all these women...
Life isn't always comfortable at The Comfort Palace!


Jacquie Rogers, Author

Jacquie Rogers grew up in Idaho, but now lives in Seattle, Washington. For a fun treat, read her complete bio at 

And while you’re surfing the web, you might want to follow Jacquie at these sites...and sign up for her newsletter.
Her blog

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012


By Cynthia Owen

Hello Caroline and everyone! I’m so pleased to be here to share PLAYING FOR KEEPS, my latest historical romance novel and Book III of the Claddagh Series. Caroline, thanks so much for hosting me on A Writer’s Life.

The Claddagh Series is one I believe I was destined to write. I’ve been in love with Ireland and all things Irish since I was a girl, and studied the country, its history, its music, its myths and legends, and its people. So when I decided to write a book, there was no question as to where I would set it.

I chose post-Famine Ireland after asking myself that famous (or infamous) question that most writers ask themselves before starting to write a story: What if? Then I took it a step further and asked: What’s next? In this case, the “What’s next?” was what happened after the Famine? What happened to the people who stayed behind and survived?  How did they go on after so many of their family and friends either died from starvation or fled the country?

Thus was IN SUNSHINE OR IN SHADOW born, the story of Rory O’Brien and Siobhán Desmond. Gambler and survivor. Landlord and tenant. A love that couldn’t be denied.

In COMING HOME, Siobhán’s daughter, Ashleen, shows an Irish-American war hero that you can find a home and a family where you least expect it.

And now there’s PLAYING FOR KEEPS, Katie’s story. This half-Irish beauty has finally returned to Baltimore to visit the family she barely remembers.

When I tell people I write historical romance novels, they often ask me why, since there’s so much research involved. My answer? Because I love the research! I love reading about a country’s history so I can create my own personal fictional village, as I did with Ballycashel, the tiny, wind-swept west-of-Ireland village in which my first two books are set.

PLAYING FOR KEEPS is set in Baltimore and Philadelphia, which meant a whole other set of research questions. Not only did I have to find out what those very real cities were like in 1860, but I had to be able to contrast those places with Katie’s Ireland.

My hero, Lucas, is an actor, so I had to study the theatre and the productions in which he starred. I loosely based my fictional Baltimore theatre, the Theatre Royale, on the Chestnut Street Theatre, an actual historic theatre in Philadelphia.

Later in the story, one of the characters suffers a debilitating stroke, and a good part of the story revolves around that character’s caregivers and how their lives are affected by the event. I found the American Stroke Association a huge help in my research.

I had a wonderful time tracking down the little details, too, whether it was a line from Shakespeare or Thomas Moore, what the theatre program might have looked like, and the kind of opera glasses Katie might have used when attending the premier production of the Scottish Play.

I admit it: I’m a research junkie!

Caroline, thank you so much for allowing me to talk about the Claddagh Series!

Here’s a little bit about PLAYING FOR KEEPS

He fled life in the shadows for a life in the limelight
Never as dutiful as his older brother, Lucas was a thinker, and a dreamer of dreams. When tragedy overtook his family, he fled to the bright lights of the stage. Can he make the Shannon Theatre Troupe a success – or is he doomed to once again be “the other son?”
She sought the past she barely remembered.

Mary Kathryn O’Brien returns to the genteel world her mother left behind – but can Irish Katie ever truly hope to belong? Or will old wounds and new rivalries destroy the threads of family forever?
Lucas and Katie must battle prejudice and buried secrets before they can learn to trust each other. Is their love just a brief intermission, or are they PLAYING FOR KEEPS?


Philadelphia, 1850
Luke stared in silent horror as glowing red flames devoured the warehouse.

What have you done this time?

The words resounded through Luke’s brain, condemning and inevitable, in his father’s disapproving tones.
What had he done? He’d secured the warehouses. He had, he was sure of it. He’d made certain all the forges were out.

Hadn’t he? Or had his head been too full of the play he’d been studying in secret, the characters he was determined to flesh out, the pages he’d obsessively filled with his own dreams and interpretations?
Clanging bells and pounding hooves hammered in his ears.

Thank you, God.

But as quickly as relief flared, terror chased close on its heels.

Dear God, was anyone still inside? Tobias, his father’s most trusted clerk—surely he’d left long ago. And the two young men Matt hired last month—hadn’t they spoken of going to The Dancing Horse to spend their first pay packets?

He struggled for breath, the acrid smell of burning wood and molten steel tearing at his throat.
Bleak realization swept through him. It was his fault. It had to be. But it was an accident…
Matthew. Matt would take care of everything. Matt always cleaned up his little brother’s messes, covered up Luke’s many shortcomings.

“Mr. Lucas? Mr. Lucas!”

Dazed, Luke stared in disbelief at the normally impeccable clerk. Tobias had lost his coat, his once pristine white linen shirt was torn and covered with soot. Luke’s gut clenched as he took in the other man’s wild hair, the bloody gash slashed cruelly across one cheek.

“Mr. Lucas!”

Luke grabbed Tobias’s arm, his head thudding, his fingers gripping convulsively. Fear struck ice cold in his heart. His entire body shaking, he ran his dry tongue over his ash-covered lips.

“Tobias, where’s Matt?”

The clerk gazed at Luke, pity darkening his eyes. Tears trailed slowly down his soot-blackened face.
“Mr. Matthew’s dead, sir.”

The Claddagh Series:




Print edition coming soon!
Cynthia Owens, Author

I believe I was destined to be interested in history. One of my distant ancestors, Thomas Aubert, reportedly sailed up the St. Lawrence River to discover Canada some 26 years before Jacques Cartier’s 1534 voyage. Another relative was a 17thCentury “King’s Girl,” one of a group of young unmarried girls sent to New France (now the province of  Quebec) as brides for the habitants (settlers) there.

My passion for reading made me long to write books like the ones I enjoyed, and I tried penning sequels to my favorite Nancy Drew mysteries. Later, fancying myself a female version of Andrew Lloyd Weber, I drafted a musical set in Paris during WWII.

A former journalist and lifelong Celtophile, I enjoyed a previous career as a reporter/editor for a small chain of community newspapers before returning to my first love, romantic fiction. My stories usually include an Irish setting, hero or heroine, and sometimes all three. My novels, IN SUNSHINE OR IN SHADOW and COMING HOME, set in post-Famine Ireland, are available from Highland Press. PLAYING FOR KEEPS, the third book in the Claddagh series, is now available from Highland Press.

I am a member of the Romance Writers of America, Hearts Through History Romance Writers, and Celtic Hearts Romance Writers. A lifelong resident of Montreal, Canada, I still live there with my own Celtic hero and our two school-aged children.

Cynthia, thank you for sharing with us today. You and I share a love of Ireland and all things Irish. I look forward to reading PLAYING FOR KEEPS

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, December 24, 2012


O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree...

The photo above includes my little N gauge train set and the snow village Darling Daughter One started for me. She and I have added to it over the years until there are more than four dozen buildings. Our Christmas tree is artificial and covered with ornaments. Each year I purchase a few new decorations, but love the older ones that call up happy memories. We always put our tree in the alcove created by the bay window. Our cat, Sebastian, loves to look at the ornaments and gifts, but so far hasn't destroyed anything since his first year when he had a fetish for bows. Now he's six and has mellowed a little.

Our stockings are hung by the mantel with care...

At the right, you can see the shelves holding a few of the nativity sets and angels I’ve collected, including a nativity set Hero brought me from Bethlehem. At the left side of the mantel is the Quan Yin statue I bought years ago at an antique store. The nutcracker was a gift from Darling Daughter One. The large cross on the right side of the mantel before the shelves is a scrollwork cross made by Darling Daughter Two. The center painting was done by Daisy Springer, of Rockwall, Texas. You can't see in this photo, but there are bluebonnets and Indian paint brush in the foreground with that Texas live oak on the right. On the mantel's center, the four little choir girls are antiques. Actually, I suppose they're collectibles, since they aren't valuable enough to be called antiques. ☺ I love them, though.

Christmas is my favorite time of year, right up until the day after Christmas. There's a huge let down for me when the big day is over and the anticipation is no more. Even though the tree looks sad with no gifts underneath, we leave our tree up until Twelfth Night. I enjoy seeing the lights and ornaments. The sight reminds me of happy times in the past and kindles hope for the future.

My wish for you is for peace to surround you, love to fill your heart, and songs of joy to pour from your lips this holy holiday. 

From our house to yours, Merry Christmas!

Thanks for stopping by

Friday, December 21, 2012


Welcome my friend, author Susan Macatee. Several years ago, Susan and I met as members of a private loop of American Victorian authors and have been friends ever since.

Author, Susan Macatee

Prize: Susan is giving away a PDF copy of THOROUGHLY MODERN AMANDA and a $10.00 gift certificate for The Wild Rose Press to a randomly drawn commenter. Be sure to leave your email with your comment! Now, Susan has a nice interview for us:

Caroline: Where did you grow up? Siblings? Locale?

Susan: Always lived in the city of Philadelphia. I had one brother and two sisters. All younger. In fact, my sisters were so much younger than my brother and I, I had to babysit for them when my mom went back to work full-time. I was thirteen at the time.

Caroline: Ah, I was ten years older than my brother and babysat him when my mom went to work when I was twelve. Were you considered a “bookworm” or a jock?

Susan: I was definitely a bookworm. In fact, as a child, my mother bought me a book about a collie that I read over and over again. I always got books for Christmas and birthday presents and, as a teen, the library and bookstore were my favorite places to visit.

Caroline: Married, single? Children?

Susan: I’ve been married for 31 years to my soulmate. My best friend and his best friend got us together on a blind date. We raised three sons, now all adults in their twenties.

Caroline: Isn’t finding your soul mate a gift? Hero is my soul mate. I know what you write, Susan, but when reading who are your favorite authors and favorite genres?

Susan: I’ve read so many authors, I can’t possibly name them all, but a few of my favorites are Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Patricia Cornwell, Phyllis A. Whitney, Dawn Thompson and Linnea Sinclair. My favorite genres are time travel and historical romance, science fiction, romantic suspense, horror and mysteries.

Caroline: In our business, we know a lot of great authors, don’t we? What’s your favorite way to relax and recharge? Hobbies?

Susan: Love old movies, used to be a Civil War civilian reenactor, but have gotten away from that. Very time consuming, as well as expensive.  I spend most of my free time working out and walking and playing with my dog, Chase, a boxer mix. And my favorite activity is reading. Just wish I had more time to indulge in it.

Caroline: Isn’t that the truth? I could spend all my time reading. Do you have a favorite quote that sums up how you feel about life?

Susan: Can’t think of any. Not really a quote person, I guess.

Caroline: How long have you been writing?

Susan: I’ve been writing toward publication about 23 years, but even as a child, I’d write picture books and even scripts for my friends to act out.

Caroline: Where do you prefer to write? Do you need quiet, music, solitude? PC or laptop?

Susan: I write in a corner of my dining room right by the window looking over the back yard. I generally don’t require any certain atmosphere, so long as no family member interrupts my train of thought. I do stop to feed and let the dog out, though. I don’t have a laptop, so work on my PC.

Caroline: Are you a plotter or a panzer?

Susan: I started out as a panzer, but after my first time travel romance came out such a mess and required a lot of revision so it would make sense, I learned the art of plotting. I now plot out every story in a scene-by-scene outline. Makes the first draft go that much smoother and need to do little revision, if any, afterward.

Caroline: I learned the same way and now plot. Do you use real events or persons in your stories or as an inspiration for stories?

Susan: I use facts I learn in my historical research and characteristics of real-life historical characters. The more I learn about people who lived in the past, the more ideas for stories pop into my head.

Caroline. Getting sidetracked in research is easy. Do you set daily writing goals? Word count? Number of chapters? Do you get a chance to write every day?

Susan: I do set daily writing goals, but often life seems to get in the way. But when that happens, I go with the flow, and when I can settle back into my routine, I read what I already wrote and get myself back into the story. I generally write on weekdays, leaving the weekends free for family time and relaxation. When I’m writing at a steady pace, I set daily word count goals for my first drafts. 1000 words a day comes easily, if I try to push it further, I tend to get stuck. But I do tend to jump from project to project.

Caroline: What do you hope your writing brings to readers?

Susan: I hope they’ll find my characters and stories exciting to read and love the characters as much as I do. I also hope my stories give them a needed break from any troubles they might be going through.

Caroline: What long-term plans do you have for your career?

Susan: Although I love historicals, I’m thinking about branching out into a different romance genre, like romantic suspense, or even science fiction romance.

Caroline: Would you like to tell us what you’re working on now?

Susan: I’m currently working on another historical based on a minor character in my 2009 Civil War romance, Confederate Rose. The story is set just after the war and the hero, who was a Union surgeon in CR, is a small town physician in my new story. He’s riding the train home from a medical conference in Philadelphia when a young Irish woman keels over at his feet. As a physician, he of course, helps her and, when he suspects she has no where else to go, he takes her to his home. She’s an immigrant on the run from an Irishman she met in New York City, who tried to sell her to a brothel. My working title is, ‘The Physician’s Irish Lady’.

Caroline: Oh, I’ll look forward to reading it. What advice would you give to unpublished authors?

Susan: Learn all you can about the craft and write. After that, submit and don’t give up until you find the editor or publisher who’ll love your work.

Caroline: What’s a fun fact readers wouldn’t know about you?

Susan: I’m a big Star Trek geek and used to write for a Star Trek fanzine.

Caroline: That is both a fun fact and something I didn’t know about you. What’s something about you that would surprise or shock readers?

Susan: I’ve written stories for True Romance, True Story and True Confessions magazines.

Caroline: I knew that and admire you for it. Is your book a series? If so, how long? Family saga, other?

Susan: THOROUGHLY MODERN AMANDA is a sequel to my time travel romance novel, ERIN’S REBEL, but this new book is novella-length. Don’t know yet if any more books will come from this story, but I love time travel, so definitely plan to revisit the genre again in the future.

Caroline: I loved ERIN'S REBEL. Can you give readers a blurb about your book?

Susan: Amanda Montgomery longs to be a modern woman, living the life her step-mother has always told her is possible. But 19th century society expects well-off young ladies to focus on finding a suitable husband and start a family. Amanda works as a reporter for a local magazine and dreams of going to the big city to work at a newspaper before settling down.

Jack Lawton wants to save an old house that's set to be demolished, but when he sneaks inside to take a final look, he's hit on the head with a beam and wakes up in the arms of a beautiful woman.  The only problem is, he's not in the 21st century anymore, but has somehow stepped into another time. Can he find his way back? Does he want to?

Caroline: Mmm, sounds interesting, and the cover is gorgeous. How about an excerpt?

Susan: Here you go:

“Mother, before I leave for work, I’d like to have a word with you in the parlor.”

Erin quirked a brow, but nodded. With the cook occupied at the sink, she gathered her skirts and followed Amanda from the room.

At the parlor door, Erin frowned. “Is there a problem, Amanda?”

She nodded and opened the door to the empty room. She had to find out the truth about Jack and was sure Erin knew more than she admitted.

Motioning her step-mother to take a seat on the settee, Amanda waited, tapping her foot.

Erin sighed, eyeing her. “So, tell me what’s wrong.”

“Where did Jack come from, Mother?” Amanda propped both hands on her hips.

Erin spread her hands. “How would I know? From his clothing and the place you found him, he must be a workman. But I don’t understand why no one else was in the house at the time. He surely wouldn’t have been working alone.” She shook her head. “And he doesn’t seem to remember anything except his name.”

Amanda bit her lip. “I don’t believe you, Mother. I heard you and Jack talking upstairs.”

Erin’s eyes widened, but she said nothing.

“He was saying something about the future. And he also uses those phrases peculiar only to you.”

“Amanda, I told you those were only stories I made up to entertain you when you were a child.”

“So I believed. But no longer. You have a connection with Jack.”

“I never met the man before. I swear.” Erin raised her hand.

The door creaked open, startling Amanda. Her father stood in the foyer.

“Something wrong, Will?” Erin asked.

Her father stepped into the room. “I was just upstairs with Jack. He needs attending to.”

“I’ll go.” Erin stood. “There are breakfast leavings in the kitchen if you’re hungry.”

He nodded. “I’ll get a quick bite, then I have to get to the bank.” He stepped forward and kissed Erin on the lips.

Her step-mother’s face flushed. “See you tonight.”

Her father pecked Amanda’s cheek, then stepped out, leaving the door ajar.

Amanda grasped Erin’s arm. “I’ll see to Jack, Mother.”

Erin’s brows rose. “Nonsense. You get yourself ready for work, I’ll take care of Jack.”

Amanda scowled. “But they can do without me for a half hour. You can get started on your new book.”

Erin opened her mouth, but hesitated. “I’ll have plenty of time to work after I take care of him.”

Amanda huffed and left the room. She’d catch her father before he left for the bank, but intended to see Jack and question him further.

Caroline: Intriguing excerpt. Where can readers find your books?

Susan: THOROUGHLY MODERN AMANDA is available at The Wild Rose Press

Caroline: How can readers learn more about you?

Susan: Readers can find me at 
and on Twitter @susanmacatee

Caroline: Readers can also find Susan at, where she frequently blogs.

Remember to leave your email address with your comment to be eligible for Susan's prize drawing.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


Welcome to Lawna Mackie, a  Canadian who is making a virtual tour South to Texas for our visit. If you like paranormal romance, you'll want to learn more about Lawna's novels.

Lawna Mackie, Author

Caroline: Lawna, please tell readers something about yourself.

Lawna: I was born in Jasper, Alberta, Canada. It’s a very magical place set in the mountains. I spent most of my time growing up in Hinton, which is about 35 minutes away from there. Most of my relatives on my father’s side lived in Jasper, and a lot of relatives from my mom’s side of the family lived in Hinton. I would have to say Jasper is probably one of the nicest places in Canada to visit. This is a picture of Pyramid Lake in Jasper. It’s one of my favorite places.

Pyramid Lake Bridge, Jasper, Alberta, Canada

I have one brother and my husband and myself are very close to him and his family. In fact, they only live about 10 miles away from me. I now live in Didsbury, Alberta, and although I love it here, if somebody had asked me when I was growing up if I would live in the prairies I would have said “Heck, no!” Anyway, here I am about fifty minutes north of Calgary. My husband and I have four furry-legged children. Two cats and two dogs. We live on a beautiful acreage.

As a teenager I read my first romance novel and I was hooked! So I guess I was a bookworm, but I was also a bit of a jock. I was on the track and field team.

Caroline: Beautiful lake photo. Who are your favorite authors and favorite genres?

Lawna: My favorite authors are Sherrilyn Kenyon and Christine Feehan. I enjoy a good paranormal romance with a fairy tale theme. I also like historical romance.

Caroline: Glad to hear you like historical romance, since I usually write those.However, I have one paranormal book out, OUT OF THE BLUE. What’s your favorite way to relax and recharge?

Lawna: I love spending time with my hubby. We love camping and fishing! I love sitting by a campfire contemplating what I should write next.

Caroline: Do you have a favorite quote that sums up how you feel about life?

Lawna: “Follow your dreams...with your arms flailing, hair flying, and screaming at the TOP OF YOUR LUNGS!”

Caroline: I hadn’t heard that one, but I like it. How long have you been writing?

Lawna: I have been writing openly for about six years. All my life I secretly wanted to write a book, but never said anything.

Caroline: Where do you prefer to write? Do you need quiet, music, solitude? PC or laptop?

Lawna: This is my writing desk and it’s portable. It has wheels and I wheel it all over the house when I get bored of a certain location. But…the one thing I always have is my little Peppers who chooses to accompany me wherever I write. How precious is that!


Caroline: My cat hangs around when I’m writing. Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Lawna: I’m a pantser through and through! I hate planning. I’ll get a thought, perhaps sitting by the fire, and poof…I have a book. However, most of my fantasy/paranormals have been inspired by dreams I’ve had.

Caroline: Do you use real events or persons in your stories or as an inspiration for stories?

Lawna: Animals are a real inspiration for me. I actually have a blog that I write called Animal Inspiration. And I always say that my husband is the hero in every story I write. He always shakes his head and walks away when I say that! LOL.

Caroline: Do you set daily writing goals? Word count? Number of chapters? Do you get a chance to write every day?

Lawna: Writing every day is important, but is the most difficult thing to do. I don’t have children and I find it extremely hard. Usually, I will write first thing in the morning before I go to work. The weekends also give me big chunks of writing time. I’m a big believer that it’s not how much you write, but that you write something every day. It can be two paragraphs or twenty pages just write.

Caroline: I agree. We need to write to keep that imagination flowing. What do you hope your writing brings to readers?

Lawna: I hope they get whisked away to another place, where good triumphs over evil and true love conquers all. My stories must have happy endings! And you can always be sure to find critters of some sort.

Caroline: My stories usually include pets, too. What long-term plans do you have for your career?

Lawna: I want to keep writing the stories I love and my big dream would be for me to be able to write full time.

Caroline: That was my dream, too, and now it’s come true. Would you like to tell us what you’re working on now?

Lawna: Right now I’m working on the sequel to my novella QUINN’S CHRISTMAS WISH.

Caroline: What advice would you give to unpublished authors?

Lawna: Write because you love to write. It’s hard work, but if you love to write your passion will show you the way. Don’t be discouraged.

Caroline: Excellent advice: What’s a fun fact readers wouldn’t know about you?

Lawna: Cookies and milk at bedtime make me dream. I come up with the most amazing creatures like, Threeo who is a Hippo-Dog-Burrowing Owl.

Caroline: Sounds like a nightmare.What’s something about you that would surprise or shock readers?

Lawna: I love Christmas! I especially love Christmas television specials.

Lawna's Rudolph

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer is my favorite! To prove it I took a photo of my favorite stuffed animal. Okay, I’m giving my age away, but my Rudolph is forty years old! If you look close you’ll even see the stitches in his neck from the numerous times my mom sewed him up for me. I’ll always remember the day I saw him on the shelf in a store. To me he was the real Rudolph. I know my parents couldn’t afford to buy him for me, but somehow my mom did.

My secret is that this Christmas show inspired me to write about a piece of it in my book, PERFECT MISFITS. I’d love to hear from people if you can figure it out. I’ll have a free gift for those that jump to my website to tell me what they think it is.

Caroline: Can you give readers a blurb about PERFECT MISFITS?

Lawna: Here it is:

Ryder, commander of the Levarian legion of gargoyles, has a problem. He keeps dreaming on duty…and falling…neither of which gargoyles ever do. Every dream is of the same woman, and every time, it brings on red-hot, searing pain in the crescent-shaped scar on his palm. Driven to find the woman and the reason for his bizarre dreams, he lets himself fall…

…right through to a place he never knew existed…to the woman of his dreams.

Labeled a misfit, Tempest was snatched away as a child and imprisoned in the hidden realm of Misfit Mountain. Locked up by Fedor, the ruler of the kingdom, who intends to take her as his bride, she has no choice but to brave the dangerous snow and ice of the Mountain to escape. Despairing, faced with the impossible choices of Fedor or death, love is the last thing on her mind, until Ryder snatches her from the air and into a whole new realm of feeling.

Can Ryder find the key to freeing her and save them both?

Caroline: How about an excerpt?

Lawna: Certainly.


“Please,” Tempest begged shivering beneath the fresh blanket of snow. “I’d rather die.”

She’d managed to escape…again, wishing this would be the last time. How she prayed the swirling snow devils would suck her up and away from this horrid hellhole of a world. Death would be welcome, if it kept her from going back to that place…back to him.

She’d been on the run for hours, wearing nothing more than a thin black cloak and an old pair of large, well-worn leather shoes she’d managed to steal from the guard. The knee-deep snow made her efforts to get away seem impossible. Countless times, she fell, only to push herself back up to her feet and plunge forward. As futile as the situation appeared, Tempest refused to give up. No longer could she feel her feet and hands; they’d gone numb long ago.

If only I could rest for a few minutes.

No! Her mind screamed in retaliation. If you stop, they will find you.

Her breath came in gulps; her lungs were on fire demanding more oxygen and a reprieve from the bitter cold air. The blinding snow went on forever. She had no idea which direction she headed, but hoped it led far away from her captors.

She lifted her arm, trying to shield her snow-bitten eyes from the brutal onslaught of the blizzard, but couldn’t see anything except for the deceiving flat white drifts. Her pace slowed, one step at a time; she was disoriented, tired, and hungry.

With her next step, her stomach fell out from underneath her. She screamed in terror as she fell through the air to an unknown fate. In a poof, she landed, buried in a soft tomb of snow.

The wind had been knocked from her lungs. She opened her mouth, gasping like a fish out of water. Finally, with a gulp, her airways filled with snow-mixed air. Coughing, she sputtered, unable to move. She uttered another weak plea for help, knowing know one would hear her. In the silence, her eyelids fluttered closed, and she drifted into the welcoming arms of darkness.
Vigorous scratching, dull and muffled, aroused Tempest from her slumber.

Am I dreaming? Oh gods, are the Vemlers trying to get in?

Relentless and deadly, the filthy, vile creatures could claw their way through anything in search of a meal. She fought them off on a regular basis. Alone in her cell, she was a sitting duck, with only a stick as her means of protection.

She tried to lift her head, but ended up with another mouthful of snow. As she gulped for air, the memory of her escape came flooding back.

No, this wasn’t supposed to happen.

It was worse than a dream. They must have found her, and she remained buried under the snow with no way to flee.

The scratching continued in the snow above, bringing her demise closer by the second. She refused to go down without a fight, and she’d end her life before Fedor ever laid his grotesque hands on her again. In all probability, his touch would kill her anyway.

She held her breath, trying to cease her shivers, knowing she must lie perfectly still and wait…wait for the exact moment before they broke through the small barrier of snow that encased her frigid body—a body that could not and would not freeze to death.

She braced her hands down at her sides, readying to push straight up.

Please let the snow beneath me hold my weight.

Her thigh muscles ached with tension as she contemplated the thought of moving.

Count to three.

They’d expect her to be in a slumber.


Her feet and calves tightened ready for action.


Her fists clenched into tight balls, prepared to strike. Her stomach rolled, threatening to hurl, but she knew it was empty, and had been for some time.

This is it. Three!

Tempest unleashed whatever strength she had left in her tired, battered body, bursting through the thin barrier of snow.

Two paws hit her square in the chest, and a pair of large glowing red eyes met her stare. Startled and off balance, Tempest stumbled backward. Her feet slid out from underneath her.

Rogue had found her, not the Vemlers or Fedor. She slid downward on her stomach, her arms desperately grasping at anything to stop her fall.


The beast pounced through the snow down the hill after her, trying to grasp a piece of her with his large fangs.

It was too late; her body flew through the air. She reached out and snagged a tree branch, to swing in the forsaken snowstorm at the mercy of a small twig protruding from a tiny ledge. Looking down into a vast crevasse with no bottom in sight, she thought maybe she’d get what she wished for, after all.

“No, I take it back, I don’t want to die. Creators, help me, please. Why do you hate me so?” Tempest squeaked, looking up into the sky, which continued to dump endless amounts of snow. Her hands, next to frozen, would not support her weight for long.

Above, Rogue perched on the small ledge preparing to jump after her. “Rogue, no! Stay!” she desperately commanded. A single tear rolled down her cheek, symbolizing her desperation and fear. The crazy beast would die with her; she knew that. If she fell, he would jump after her.

Rogue howled a mournful cry. His large grey-and-tan-spotted body crouched low. Tempest knew he was angry; his pointed ears lay flat against his large square head. She felt his frustration through his piercing red eyes. She swallowed a shriek as her hands slipped slightly.

Rogue moved even closer to the edge, causing chunks of snow to fall in her direction.

“Rogue, listen to me. Don’t do this. You don’t need to end your life because of me.” Even as those words tumbled out of her mouth, Tempest knew the poor beast had no life worth living on the miserable mountain. They were both misfits not suitable to live with the regular folk on Levare. And there was no way to escape this miserable rock covered with ice and snow.

Tempest closed her eyes, wishing she had the power or ability to remove them from this horrid situation. It was impossible, of course, because she had no gifts—only misfortune. Poor Rogue also shared in the bad luck. He was a Gargdog, half gargoyle and half dog. His problem was his wings. A spell gone wrong, they were barely large enough for a pixie to fly with—useless wings on a grand creature. That’s what misfits were—rejects from Levare, banished from the world as though they never existed.

Her body trembled with the last bit of strength oozing from her limbs.

“Rogue goes with Tempest! I will not stay here without you,” the Gargdog growled in the form of words.

She smiled up at him, proud of his speech. “I see you’ve been practicing since they separated us.” It was her attempt to lighten the mood.

“I’m sorry, Rogue,” Tempest squeaked as she slipped another half-finger length.

“Rogue loves Tempest. Not want Tempest to die without him.” Rogue hung his head. She felt his sadness.

“Rogue, I don’t have much strength left,” Tempest said weakly. “I’m not afraid of death. You know I could never be Fedor’s bride. His touch would kill me, anyway. This way is better. I won’t feel a thing,” she lied, trying to sound brave.

“We will go together. Neither will I live under his control any longer.”

Her arms now shook uncontrollably. Her hands had no feeling, but her brain forced the signal to her fingers to grasp as tightly as she could. She closed her eyes and said a quick, silent prayer for all the other misfits who suffered like her and Rogue.

We’ve endured so much pain in our lives. Please, Creators, let us have a painless death. With her silent prayers complete, Tempest opened her eyes, looked up, and whispered, “I love you, Rogue,” and let go.

Caroline: Goodness, now I’m wondering how Tempest and Rogue survive. Where can readers find your books?



You can find the Amazon buy links to all my novels on my website.

Caroline: How can readers learn more about you?

Lawna: Please come visit me on my website, Twitter or Facebook. Send me a message and sign up for my newsletter! I look forward to hearing from you.

Thanks, Lawna. Since you mentioned QUINN'S CHRISTMAS WISH and gave the buy link, I'm including the cover and blurb for that book.

As far as twelve-year old Quinn is concerned Christmas has lost its magic. Since his father’s death life has lost its sparkle. His mom is now a widow struggling to put food on the table. Quinn is no help, and the mysterious illness afflicting him only makes things worse. Even Christmas, complete with decorated trees, ribbons and bows has no meaning…then along comes Jazira.

Jazira doesn’t know what happened to her former self, the eleven-year old little girl. She drowned, didn’t she, along with half the other folk of Bandit Creek in 1911? Somehow, she’s grown four furry legs complimented with a large wolf head and body. Scared and alone, she reaches out to Quinn and a strong bond is formed. Jazira learns Quinn, and his mother, are threatened by a wealthy powerful citizen of Bandit Creek. She is determined to protect her new family, no matter what.

Christmas Eve finds Quinn staring up at the adorned tree and muttering a quiet prayer. Will the Spirits of Christmas grant his wish, or will the evil surrounding Bandit Creek prevail once again?

I'd also like to direct readers to, where they'll begin a giveaway on December 22nd.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, December 17, 2012


Get into the spirit with these 
awesome holiday reads.

A Spirited Season by Karen Cantwell, Misha Crews, and Laura Lucas
Anthology, $1.99 Kindle, Nook, Kobo

What's a holiday without a little spirit? Join authors Karen Cantwell, Misha Crews, and Laura Lucas for half a dozen comical, fun, and warm-hearted Christmas tales. Soccer mom, Barbara Marr, is visited by the Ghost of Christmas Scary in "A Christmas Peril." Delaney Pearce isn't looking for a magic genie, but she finds one in "Make My Wish Come True." An antique ornament brings two lonely souls together in "Two Turtledoves." A jealous husband gets an unexpected surprise when attempting witchcraft to solve his marital problems in "Squawkin' Around the Christmas Tree." Something just isn't right when the lights go out during Kendall Rhodes' Christmas Eve party in "Jingle Spells." A rough-around-the-edges cell tower repairman discovers love in the least likely place in "O Christmas Tree."All profits from the sales of A Spirited Season will go to Children's Miracle Network Hospitals because everyone deserves a miracle.

A Bibliophile Christmas by Karen Wojcik Berner

Short Story, 99¢, Kindle, Nook, Kobo

From the author of A Whisper to a Scream (The Bibliophiles: Book One) and Until My Soul Gets It Right (The Bibliophiles: Book Two) comes a heartwarming holiday tale of friendship and family. Sarah Anderson and Annie Jacobs have not had the best of years. And now, here come the holidays. Great. Sarah's husband Tom is stuck in Boston after a nor'easter dumps a foot of snow on the day he is scheduled to leave for home. And Annie is working hard at picking up the pieces of her life after a painful divorce. But, maybe with a little help from their friends, Christmas won't be a total wash after all.

This holiday season, take a break from all the hustle and bustle, pour yourself a beverage, and have A Bibliophile Christmas.

It's a Dunder-Bull Wife by Karen Cantwell

Short Story, 99¢, Kindle, Nook

Dunder-Bull – the perfect little town bordering Barbara Marr’s not-so-polished Rustic Woods. Everything in Dunder-Bull is five-star rated, including the wives. As Barb puts it, “Dunder-Bull Wives make Stepford Wives look like couch potatoes.” Succumbing to the need to “measure-up,” Barb decides to prepare a grand and luscious Christmas feast for a party of twenty. The problem? Barb can’t cook her way out of a turkey-roaster bag. In usual Barbara Marr fashion, chaos ensues. Will she survive? Will her family fall victim to salmonella food poisoning? Will Martha Stewart ridicule her publicly?

A Barbara Marr Holiday short story, sure to tickle your funny bone and touch your heart at the same time. All profits from the sales of this short story go to the charity, Make-a-Wish Foundation.

Mistletoe in Manhattan by Talli Roland

Novella, 99¢, Kindle

As Little Missington's first Christmas baby in fifty years and the daughter of Christmas When You Like It party-planners, Holly West has been surrounded by the holiday spirit since birth. Trouble is, she's not exactly filled with festive cheer. In fact, Holly can't wait to ditch the tinsel and Santa suits for champagne and celebs, and become a party-planner to the stars.

When British TV star Dean Layton hires her parents' company to throw his holiday bash in Manhattan, Holly jumps at the chance to help, confident she can handle a little Christmas in exchange for access to Dean's exclusive world.

But New York and Dean's over-the-top demands are more than Holly bargained for. Can Holly deck the halls and make it a party to be proud of, or will this Christmas be one she'll never forget . . . even if she wants to?

One Snowy Night Before Christmas by Pamela Fryer

Novel, $2.99, Kindle

Jessica Jeffries hates Christmas. With all the commercialism, stress and chaos, there are a lot of people who feel the same way. But Jessie has more reason than most for hating it. She’s been robbed, dumped, caught pneumonia, broken her leg, and this year she ran over Santa Claus with her truck.

Tom Dunham’s holiday is turning out to be pretty awful. Not only is he suddenly responsible for a six-year-old daughter he hasn’t seen since infancy, but Amy holds him personally responsible for uprooting her, making it impossible for Santa to find her on Christmas morning.

Things go from bad to worse when Tom’s car breaks down on a freezing mountain road, but he gets a reprieve when a young woman who looks more like a Victoria’s Secret model than a tow truck driver comes to his rescue. Suddenly things are looking up—until she runs over an old man with an eerie resemblance to St. Nick.

The Billionaires' Christmas Club by Theresa Ragan & D.D. Scott

Novella, $2.99, Kindle, Nook

Grayson Hawk is a self-made billionaire. Although he dates a string of beautiful women, his work and fear of commitment keep him from forming any sort of lasting relationship. But a bet with good friend, Roswell Bellesconi, just might change everything: Grayson must temporarily trade his Manhattan penthouse for the streets of Brooklyn, NY, to find out if his Christmas donations make a difference at The Next Step, a non-profit organization that helps the homeless find jobs. Within hours of being dropped off, things go from bad to worse when Grayson tries to stop a purse snatcher in action. Hit over the head, Grayson wakes up in a strange new place where he is forced to see the world through new eyes.

Roswell “Ross” Bellesconi was born into an Italian royal family worth billions, and he’s spent his entire adult life protecting those just like him as a Personal Security Expert. He knows money and power, and he knows how to protect those who have it. What he doesn’t know is the first thing about women. So, when his bet with his buddy Grayson Hawk, leads him to serve From Dreams to Reality, an organization that helps women realize their dreams of owning and running successful businesses, Ross is in way over his royal head.

Murder Trims the Tree by Deb Baker

Novella, $2.99, Kindle, Nook, Kobo

When Gertie and her cohorts decide to do their court-ordered community service at the local assisted living home during the Christmas season, they get more than they (plea) bargained for.

The Christmas Grandma Ran Away From Home by Nancy Warren

Short Story, 99¢, Kindle

For every woman who's ever felt overwhelmed and under-appreciated at Christmas comes the story of a decent woman, a widowed grandmother, respected matriarch of a big, noisy family who snaps one holiday season and decides to run away for the holidays. Little does she realize what adventures are in store.

Long time widow Sandy Forbes is breaking out this Christmas. In her 71 years on earth she has stuffed and cooked 55 Christmas turkeys, baked hundreds of pies, turned out thousands of shortbread cookies and hoisted enough pine trees in her living room to reforest the Amazon. Her family love her. They come to her for every occasion, eating, drinking, squabbling and then leaving her with a mass of dishes andcrumpled holiday wrap. But this is the year everything changes. When she wants someone else to take over for one year, the family lays a big guilt trip on her and Grandma rebels. Sandy’s giving herself a gift this Christmas. She’s running away from home for the holidays.

Buffalo Nickel Christmas by Larry Enright

Novel, $2.99, Kindle

It’s Christmas Eve in sleepy little Gambier, Ohio, and a massive snowstorm is giving the rural town more than just a white Christmas. Roads are closed, everything is shut down, and the monster outside is angry, rattling the windows and howling in the chimney.

Harry Ryan has decided to stay at school over winter break to finish his term paper, but it’s not going well, and now he regrets the decision that has left him stranded so far from his family. You see, as well as being Christmas, December 25th is also Harry’s birthday.

As he looks out his window at the stark and beautiful campus, at the icicles on the bushes along Middle Path, and the snow pasted on the windward sides of trees, and the layers of vanilla icing covering the world’s chocolate cake, it reminds him of a Christmas a long time ago.

Hope for the Holidays by Dana Taylor

Anthology, $1.99, Kindle, Nook

Raise your spirits with these three stories of hope, family, and a touch of the angelic.

"Shiny Green Shoes"--1935 was a hard year on old Route 66. The unlikely friendship between a young, black girl and an aging white actress brings hope to a town down on its luck.

"Refiner’s Fire"--Nestled in her beautiful home in the San Diego hills, Dina Stein is determined to celebrate Hanukkah even without her ungrateful daughter. Getting caught in a natural disaster isn’t on her agenda.

"Patty’s Angels"--Los Angeles, 1960. California is a state of growing contrasts. Downtown LA and the suburbs are only minutes, yet worlds, apart. A little girl named Patty brings people together, with the help of her celestial best friends.

For a chance to win all of these festive stories, click here

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, December 15, 2012


Congratulations to Wanda H., winner of the Kindle Fire to one newsletter subscriber. I’ll continue other giveaways throughout the coming year(s). If you’re a subscriber, you may win next time. If you'd like to subscribe, you can do so about halfway down on the blog sidebar.

Each reader is appreciated, whether or not you subscribe to my newsletter or comment on this blog. I love writing books, and treasure readers who buy my books.

Currently, I’m working to complete the third book of the Men of Stone Mountain series, BLUEBONNET BRIDE. I hope to have it published soon. Joel Stone is sheriff of Radford Springs, Texas. Rosalyn, the new widow in town, has captured his heart. She has terrible secrets, and she is plagued by trouble. She needs a hero. Don’t we all? Fortunately, I have my own Hero and I cherish him.

The cover is finished. All
I lack is the completed book.

My long-time friend, Nelda Liles of Plano, Texas, allowed me to use her bluebonnet photo as the background for the cover. Hero plopped a cowboy's photo over the bluebonnets. Finding the photo of a model who resembles the person in my head is always impossible. I don't use movie stars or magazine ads as  characters. The people in my books reside only in my head, and often there are no close models available. I like the man I chose for this book's cover, but he doesn't really look like Joel.

After that book, I’ll be working on Storm Kincaid’s book, Book 3 of the Kincaid series. I’ve taken Lisa N’s suggestion and will call Storm’s book THE MOST UNSUITABLE COURTSHIP. His heroine is a very determined German immigrant, Rina, shortened from Varina. Storm is determined to see justice; Rina wants revenge.

I’m also plotting a series of contemporary novellas set in West Texas near where Hero and I lived as children. My folks moved to California when I was a baby, then returned to Texas a few months before I was eight. I lived in Lubbock, Texas until grown and that area holds fond memories. I shared that area in BE MY GUEST and in The Wild Rose Press release, HOME SWEET TEXAS HOME.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


By Shirley Jump

Thanks so much for having me, Caroline! I always love visiting other blogs!

This Christmas, I released my first Christmas story in my Sweet and Savory Romances series, a novella called (click for link) THE BEAUTY CHARMED SANTA. I got to revisit the Chubby Chums from (click for link)  THE DEVIL SERVED DESIRE (a quirky self-help group for weight loss), and bring back reader favorite Arnold, who becomes heroine Stephanie’s friend and fellow elf when she takes a job at the mall to make extra money during the holiday season.

I love writing these books but they do create a bit of a problem. The recipes in them ALWAYS make me hungry. Each book has recipes written by the characters, and between the recipe research and the writing, I’m craving those foods by the time I finish. Since this was a Christmas book, it had plenty of recipes for cookies and other holiday treats.

The minute I finished the book and had a day off, I was in the kitchen for the rest of that day and part of the next day, making Peanut Butter Surprise Cupcakes, Oh-Oh Santa Cupcakes, Hershey Kisses cookies and Salted Caramel Shortbread (the shortbread is the BOMB). I love, love, love the Peanut Butter Surprise Cupcakes and have had a hard time resisting the last one. Link to Shirley's recipes here.

        Okay, truth be told, I just ate the last one a minute ago ;-) I considered it…uh, research. Yeah, for next year’s Christmas book!

People ask me why I put recipes in the books, and I tell them it’s simple—I love reading and I love eating. Recipes in my family were always accompanied by a little life advice and some quirky tips from my relatives. They’re never just mix this, add that. There’s all kinds of other stories and tips wrapped in with the measurements and baking instructions. That’s the kind of mood I wanted to capture with this series.

THE BEAUTY CHARMED SANTA (click for link) is the fifth book in the ebook series, and will be followed in February by a Valentine’s Day themed one, too. I hope it whets your appetite, not just for more books, but also for some of the Sweet and Savory Romances!

Oh, and if you’re like me and like both a bargain and instant gratification, snap up this limited edition bargain holiday bundle of four of the (click for link) Sweet and Savory Romances!



New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Shirley Jump spends her days writing romance and women’s fiction to feed her shoe addiction and avoid cleaning the toilets. She cleverly finds writing time by feeding her kids junk food, allowing them to dress in the clothes they find on the floor and encouraging the dogs to double as vacuum cleaners. Look for her Sweet and Savory Romance series, including the USA Today bestselling book, (click for link) THE BRIDE WORE CHOCOLATE, on Amazon and Nook, and the debut of her Sweetheart Club series for Berkley, starting with THE SWEETHEART BARGAIN in August 2013. Visit her website at or read recipes and life adventures at

Thanks to Shirley for sharing those yummy recipes along with her sensational books. I feel a round of baking coming on at our house. These recipes may become our new Christmas traditions.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, December 10, 2012



By Kaylee Baldwin

I love romance. I love writing romance, I love reading romance, and I absolutely love hearing how people met and fell in love. It’s one of the first questions I ask new acquaintances if they are married or in a relationship with someone: How did you meet?

I oooh and ahhh (and secretly think about putting their story into a book sometime) and remember how special romance is.  But in the nine years since I met my husband, I’ve learned more about what real romance is than I ever thought I would. 

I met my husband the day before Valentine’s Day 2004. We were both coming off of relationships and were dragged by well-meaning friends to a Valentines dance held by a college that neither of us actually went to. About half-way through the dance, I noticed him, our eyes caught, and he smiled, so I went over and introduced myself. He asked me to dance (“When you say nothing at all” by Allison Kraus) and we instantly connected. I had never talked to anyone as easily as I did with him. We were married eight months later. 

I was pregnant with our first son within two months of being married. It was a crazy time. We were both going to Arizona State, working full-time, and I was sick night and day with my pregnancy. Then it felt like the floor dropped out from under us. When I was five months pregnant, we found out that our baby had major birth defects that would require surgery within hours of being born for him to survive. He had a myriad of other health problems that could be seen through ultra sound and all signs pointed to our son having Down syndrome.

My husband and I mourned for who we’d thought our son would be and all that he’d have to go through. I learned then that Jeremy had a sturdy shoulder to cry on and a very practical mind. It was time to adjust to a new way of thinking. We were going to have a very special child
Pregnant with my husband, Jeremy

Our beautiful baby was born that next summer, and my husband and I held hands when they wheeled our six pound miracle away—just minutes after birth—to prep him for surgery. Time seemed to crawl over the next several hours while we waited to hear from the doctor how everything went. The surgeon had assured us that the surgery should go fine, but I knew they were cutting into major organs (his stomach and intestines) and this was my baby. My sweet little baby that I’d only held for seconds before he had to leave.

Our grip on each other tightened when the surgeon came into the room late that afternoon. He said our son had come through the surgery great.  And—even better—we could go see him. We sat on either side of his incubator and took turns sticking our hands in to touch his hands or feet or the top of his fuzzy head. We looked at each other in wonderment at our beautiful miracle baby—and what the two of us had made together. 

Our son in the NICU following surgery

My husband and I passed our eighth anniversary last month. In this time our son has had countless hospital stays, nineteen surgeries, and he is scheduled for three more surgeries in the next few months. We’ve also had three other healthy and energetic children. I got progressively sicker and sicker with each pregnancy—until this last baby where I lost eighteen pounds and was on an IV for six weeks because I couldn’t keep anything down. My husband says we’re done having kids (he doesn’t want to see me like that again), but I kind of want one more. We’ll see. We’ve got plenty on our plate right now.

When I was younger, I thought that romance meant that my husband would buy me flowers (turns out I’m allergic, so he buys me chocolates), download songs that make him think of me, hold my hands at the movies, pull my chair out for me at restaurants. And he does do all of these things now and then.

We've still got it!

But I’ve decided that romance is more than that. True romance is loyalty. It’s commitment. It’s sharing grief and joy. It’s holding hands when it feels like the world is crashing down around you. It’s knowing that there’s at least one other person in the world that understands what you’re going through. 

Almost every day, my husband and I say to each other: I’m so glad I met you. Because that’s where it all began—at a Valentines dance neither of us wanted to go to. And that’s why I love hearing the “How we met” stories and why I love reading them as well. They are just the beginning—a promise—of the amazing romance to follow.


When Kaylee Baldwin isn’t writing, she’s usually chasing after her four children, checking her email, trying to get motivated to train for that race she shouldn’t have signed up for, hanging out with her pretty awesome husband, and reading whatever good book she can find. She graduated from Arizona State with a degree in English Lit. Her published books are MEG'S MELODY and ALL I WANT. 


Pretty Near Perfect

by Jolene Perry

The last thing Norah needs is to be attracted to anyone – especially in her deceased fiancé's parents' home. Collin’s starting a new career, and has no business getting involved – especially while staying with his roommate’s family, who very kindly offered to take him in for the holidays. Unfortunately, you just don’t always pick the most convenient time and place to fall for someone.

Six Days of Christmas
by Kaylee Baldwin

When Natalie goes home with her best friend for Christmas, she expects plenty of quiet time to work on a winning ad so she can turn her dream internship into her dream job. Instead, she gets time-consuming Christmas festivities, a house full of children, and Jimmy, her best friend’s brother - someone who makes her question everything she’s always thought she wanted.

Twist of Fate
by Rachael Anderson

When a postcard meant for Kenzie winds up in Ty's mailbox, Ty's faced with a decision. Should he tell her that her fiancé is breaking up with her and let it ruin her favorite holiday, or should he do what he’s wanted to do since he met her - make a move and hope that he can win her over before she discovers there won’t be a wedding after all.

Author Jolene Perry

Jolene Perry is an enigmatic figure. She is most often seen behind her laptop, staring at the words flying onto the screen with reckless abandon.

She survived growing up in rural Alaska, driving like a lunatic, and her husband’s careers in the military, as a perpetual student, and an Alaska State Prosecutor. She also survived as a middle school math teacher using her degree of Political Science and French.

One day Jolene was playing her guitar (probably some-thing juvenile for her kids) when she wondered what it would be like to write a song for a rockstar, and her first book was born. (that book is shelved)

She now lives a very glamorous life as a stay at home mom, elbow deep in dirty dishes and peanut butter sandwiches. She doesn’t even attempt to keep up with the laundry because non-writing time is precious, and her family is sorta awesome.


Author Rachael Anderson

Rachael Anderson is the author of four contemporary romances: Divinely Designed, Luck of the Draw, Minor Adjustments, and The Reluctant Bachelorette. She's the mother of four, can't sing, doesn't dance, and despises tragedies. But she recently figured out how yeast works and can now make homemade bread, which she is really good at eating.


Author Kaylee Baldwin

I grew up in Mesa, Arizona, and graduated from Arizona State University
with a degree in English literature. I currently live in southern Arizona with my husband, Jeremy, and our three children. When I am not writing, I enjoy reading, starting new craft projects, and spending time with my family.


Tour Giveaway
$25 Amazon Gift Card
Ends 12/24/12

Open to anyone who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent's permission. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.


Monday, December 10th
Laurie's Thoughts & Reviews - Review and; Interview or Tens List
Why Not? Because I Said So! - Review and; Excerpt
Reader Girls - Review and; Excerpt
A Writer's Life... Caroline Clemmons - YOU'RE HERE, THANK YOU!

Tuesday, December 11th
Froze8's Blog - Promo Post
Books Beside My Bedside - Excerpt

Wednesday, December 12th
The Lucky Ladybug - Review and; Guest Post
Literary Time Out - Review

Thursday, December 13th
My Guilty Obsession - Review and; Guest Post
Bending the Spine - Review

Friday, December 14th
Day by Day in Our World - Review and; Interview
Reviews by Martha's Bookshelf - Review and; Guest Post
The Book Bug - Review

Saturday, December 15th
Bookworm Lisa - Review and; Guest Post
Karey White - Review

Sunday, December 16th
My Devotional Thoughts - Review and; Guest Post
Tumbling in Books - Review

Monday, December 17th
Kaisy Daisy's Corner - Review
Books, Books the Magical Fruit - Review and; Interview

Tuesday, December 18th
Books Complete Me - Review

Wednesday, December 19th
Min Reads & Reviews - Review
Musings by Maureen - Review
Rachelle's Writing Spot - Review and; Guest Post

Thursday, December 20th
LovLivLife Reviews - Guest Post & Excerpt
Every Free Chance - Review and; Guest Post

Friday, December 21st
Some Like It Paranormal - Review
A Book A Day - Tens List and; Excerpt

Thanks for stopping by!