Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Three Cheers for Facebook

I became a Facebook fan almost immediately when the site was made available to the masses. Just by the nature of the site, I was aware that logic and good reasoning had to apply when using this technological wonder. Don’t post intimate details about your kids. Don’t post your address. Don’t reply to friend requests that seem questionable, etc. etc. But I used Facebook faithfully as a means to let friends, family, and even the occasional fan know what I was doing, when a new book was coming out (this month!!). I went through a phase of posting quotes from famous people, and recipes from friends with flour thumbs. I always enjoyed sharing photos of my trips, but only after I returned. Again, use common sense. Don’t let the world know you’ve vacated your home.

But I have never appreciated Facebook and the hundreds of contacts I have made over the years more than I have the last few days. On Sunday I experienced the heartbreak many of us have felt. I had to let go of my 16-yr-old rescue love of my life, Sparky. My precious pup had slowly gone completely blind and deaf, but still we persevered because he could still do many of the things he enjoyed, like eating, sleeping, walking. But on Sunday, dear Sparky let me know, as so many dogs will, that he was ready. The signs were obvious and I had to heed them. He went quietly with an injection to calm him and a second shot to stop his heart. My goodbyes to this long-time companion were heart wrenching.

I posted my sadness on Facebook the very same day, and I have received hundreds of comments from people who completely understand what I went through or others who, while they may never have had a dog, they have had to let go of something meaningful in their lives. Every comment helped me through the awful first hours and days. I read each one and became aware that people do care. In these days of almost constant turmoil, it’s good to know that a simple, heartfelt announcement of one person’s personal pain can illicit such tender response.

Maybe you are one of the folks who sent me a message. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Yes, Facebook is a time suck. Yes, it can lead to addictive behavior. Yes, people have and will continue to abuse the freedom Facebook affords, but for now, for me, it has been my warm, comfy blanket when I needed it most. 

What do you think of Facebook? Have you ever found it to be a support in the trials of your life?

Cynthia


Please check out my February Heartwarming release, RESCUED BY MR WRONG and all the wonderful Heartwarming books this month and every month.





Monday, February 20, 2017

Love is Blooming!

It's almost March, which should mean that spring is almost here, right? Well, let me start by saying that it does mean that our fantastic March releases are almost here!


As for spring, in Ontario we're still experiencing a winter wonderland . . .

. . . when I would much prefer this!

But I digress. Let's focus on the positives!

To celebrate our March releases, we have not one but TWO fabulous giveaways for our readers! Better still, we have a special guest author, Jill Weatherholt, joining us for our celebration with her March Love Inspired release, Second Chance Romance!

Isn't this a fantastic cover?

Before I get into the details of our giveaways, I would like to give you a little information about our books.

First, we have LeAnne Bristow's debut book, Her Texas Rebel.

Buy links: Harlequin © Amazon © Barnes & Noble © iTunes

Please join me in giving LeAnne a warm welcome to Heartwarming!

Next we have my release, Sanctuary Cove, and possibly the start of a new series.

 Buy links: Harlequin © Amazon © Barnes & Noble © iTunes

Next up, we have Tara Randel's The Wedding March, the latest installment in her acclaimed The Business of Weddings series.

 Buy links: Harlequin © Amazon © Barnes & Noble © iTunes

Our fourth Heartwarming book is A Song for Rory, the next installment in the sweet and talented Cerella Sechrist's A Findlay Roads Story series.

  Buy links: Harlequin © Amazon © Barnes & Noble © iTunes

Most people who visit our blog regularly will probably know Jill Weatherholt, as she never fails to leave a comment and engage with us and our readers. Well, Jill’s debut Harlequin Love Inspired novel, Second Chance Romance, releases on the same date as our Heartwarming books, so we are thrilled to have Jill join us for our celebration and giveaway. Here's the introduction to her book:


  Buy links: Harlequin © Amazon © Barnes & Noble

With our release day just over a week away, we are thrilled to kick off TWO exciting giveaways, with a combined approximate value of US $225!

Preorder/Purchase Sweepstakes


First up, we have our preorder/purchase sweepstakes as a way to say thank you to our readers. One lucky person will receive a spectacular Love is Blooming Potter's Passion Prize Pack consisting of a solid-wood, hand-made planter box, brimming with treats for gardening enthusiasts, a garden tool set, tote and folding seat, thirteen “ever-blooming” blacked-eyed Susan garden stakes, three pairs of garden gloves, 25,000 Harlequin My Rewards points, and three previously-released, signed Heartwarming books! (Approximate retail value: $170. Please check the end of this post for full details.)


Preorder/purchase any of our five March releases for one entry for each book and register your purchase here. The sweepstakes runs from today until March 30th.

* Alternate method of entry available. Please see Official Rules on the entry form for details.

Help Us Spread the Word!


Here's your chance to win another gardening gift pack and this giveaway is super easy to enter. The Love is Blooming Gardener’s Dream Prize Pack is a gardener’s dream come true and arrives in a pretty planter. We’ve included three previously-released, signed Heartwarming books to read while you soak your cares away with the bath salts included in the prize pack after a hard day’s work. (Approximate retail value: $55. Please check the end of this post for full details.)


Enter using the form below. You can enter each day until March 30th!

Love is Blooming Sweepstakes
Winners will be announced right here on the Heartwarming blog on March 31st.

Best wishes with the giveaways, and happy reading!
LeAnne, Kate, Tara, Cerella and Jill

Prize Pack Details


Love is Blooming Potter’s Passion Prize Pack

Potter’s Passion: This planter box is ideal for gardening enthusiasts. It includes a book of backyard tips and hints, gardening accessories, candies and teas, and comes in a beautiful solid wood tote box with a handmade floral bow.

Garden Tool Set, Tote and Folding Seat: This kit includes a garden tool set with a folding seat and a detachable storage tote, all-in-one. The garden tools are conveniently stowed in the outside pockets for easy access, while other garden items can be stored in the attached tote. The garden stool has a lightweight aluminum frame with strong 6000 denier polyester seat and tote. The kit includes gardening seat, hand rake, trowel, digging fork, spade, rake and a weeder.

Blacked Eyed Susan Garden Stakes: Thirteen “ever-blooming” blacked-eyed Susan garden stakes.

Three Pairs of Women's Soft Jersey Garden Gloves: Three pairs (green, pink and blue floral print) 100 percent cotton jersey gloves with knit wrists and dots on the palms.

Harlequin My Rewards Points: 25,000 Harlequin My Rewards points, sufficient for three books.

Three signed Heartwarming books: Honeysuckle Bride (The Business of Weddings) by Tara Randel, When Love Matters Most (San Diego K-9 Unit) by Kate James, and Harper’s Wish (A Findlay Roads Story) by Cerella Sechrist.

(Approximate retail value before shipping costs: $170.)


Love is Blooming Gardener’s Dream Prize Pack

A gardener’s dream come true arrives in this pretty planter. After gardening, you can enjoy a refreshing cup of English Breakfast Tea, and surely appreciate the moisturizing Green Tea Lotion, cleansing Green Tea Bath Gel, Exfoliating Body Scrubber and soothing Green Tea Bath Salts to soak your cares away after a hard day’s work.

Three signed Heartwarming books: Magnolia Bride (The Business of Weddings) by Tara Randel, When the Right One Comes Along (San Diego K-9 Unit) by Kate James, and The Paris Connection by Cerella Sechrist.

(Approximate retail value before shipping costs: $55.)


Saturday, February 18, 2017

Your Reading Wish List

Are you looking for some great books to read each month in 2017.  
Here are some current and upcoming novels by our Heartwarming authors.  Feel free to print this list, keep it tucked in your purse, and take it out every once in awhile to remind you, "Yes, this is what I need to read today!" Don't forget, you can preorder the books in both print and e-book format several months in advance of their release date.

Your Reading Wish List



February
The Husband She Can't Forget by Patricia Forsythe

A Cowboy to Keep by Karen Rock

March
Her Texas Rebel - by LeAnne Bristow


Sanctuary Cove by Kate James

The Wedding March by Tara Randel

A Song for Rory by Cerella Sechrist


April
Holding Out for a Hero, Scorpion Falls series, Book One, by Pamela Tracy
Protecting the Single Mom by Catherine Lanigan

May
His Twin Baby Surprise by Patricia Forsythe

Last Chance Cowboy by Leigh Riker

June
A Baby on His Doorstep by Roz Denny Fox (Harlequin Western)
Girl in the Spotlight, Two Moon Bay series book one, by Virginia McCullough
July
Family of his Own by Catherine Lanigan 
Home to Stay, San Diego K-9 Unit series, by Kate James
Afraid to Lose Her, Book #1 Hope Center Stories series, by Syndi Powell
The Charm Offensive by Cari Lynn Webb
August
The Alaskan Catch, Northern Lights series book one, by Beth Carpenter
A Dad for Charlie, A Butterfly Harbor Novel, by Anna J. Stewart
The Sergeant's Temptation, by Sophia Sasson
Sept
For Love of a Dog by Janice Carter

Oct
A Priceless Find, sequel to a Child’s Christmas, by Kate James

Nov 
A Cowboy’s Way, Rocky Mountain Cowboys series Book One, by Karen Rock

Dec
It was Written in the Stars, by Liz Flaherty
Mica's Baby, (working title) by Catherine Lanigan
Playing Reindeer Games, Northern Lights series Book Two by Beth Carpenter



Friday, February 17, 2017

National Read America Day

By Shirley Hailstock

It's February, I know that. National Read Across America Day is March 2nd and I'm putting this here because you might want to do it and you'll need time to prepare.

Every year I go back to school to read to the kids on National Read Across America Day. All kids have short attention spans, so you need to keep them engaged while you read the story. One year I was going to read The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss. The night before I was to read, I walked into my clothes to decide what to wear (school starts early) and I saw all the hat boxes I've been keeping for when they come back in style.





I pulled them down and opened them. There were all styles of hats from the Pill Box hat to a Sailor's Cap. Props, I thought. The idea to give each kid a hat to wear came to me. Kids love things to do, especially "touch me" things.



At school the next day, as I read the story and something would mention a hat, I'd quickly point to a student and indicate how their hat was in the book. Once it was a flower. The football helmet was protective. The bridal hat (with veil) was a hit with a smiling little girl with freckles.



I learned that I not only read the story, but the kids loved being part of the story by wearing the props. So if you're inclined to read to your own child or to an entire class, take props and draw them into story. They'll remember it and may be instilled with the joy of reading.


Remember national Read America Day - March 2, 2017. Read to someone.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Cats and dogs and horses, oh, my!

by Helen DePrima

I’ve always felt pity for kids who don’t grow up with animals – pets, livestock, or both. I can’t recall not being surrounded by critters both indoors and out. We had a constant supply of barn cats, some of whom were elevated to indoor status, and a succession of border collies as well as other dogs introduced from time to time. Chickens pecked around the back steps and goats gamboled in the barn lot.

And equines, of course – ponies and work horses and mules and our own saddle horses cast variously as cow ponies or Indian war ponies or cavalry chargers, depending on what adventure tales my cousins and I were reading at the time.


When my husband and I moved to New Hampshire after his graduation from vet school, our family’s circulating menagerie shifted from farm stock to wildlife, birds and animals brought to his clinic either injured or orphaned. My kids grew up surrounded by blue jays and beavers and baby bats, squirrels and opossums and porcupines, hawks and owls and herons. As well as cats and dogs, of course.




Now we’re down to a single dog, an opinionated Shih Tzu who behaves well when it pleases her, certainly not because she feels compelled to do so. We just lost our beautiful Maine Coon to cancer, adopted as a rescue only two years ago, but are in the process of acquiring another. Maine Coons are unbeatable for beauty and personality as well as mousing talents.


Our house may suffer in tidiness because of our four-legged family members, but I truly believe that providing loving care for animals makes us more completely human.

by Liz Flaherty

Gabe
I am not--are you ready for this?--an animal person. This doesn't mean I don't like them; it means I don't connect with them very well. I used to say every dog around knew when I went to work for the post office, because they hated me from that moment on. Even my grandson's dog, Buddy, barks at me the minute I get to their house and the worst thing I've ever done to him is give him treats and pat his head. Gingerly.

I do have some memories of animals that give credence to Helen's pity for kids who grow up without them in their lives.

I grew up on a small farm. Where there were cows. We milked them by hand. They all had names, and we got attached to them. Or hated them. Cora, the Holstein, stood still and placid until the milk bucket was nearly full and then she kicked it over and slapped the milker in the back of the head with her tail in one easy motion. Myrtle loved us all and when we petted her, she would lean into us and knock us flat. The barn cats showed us how they could dance when we sprayed milk directly into their mouths. At milking time, when the cats gathered in the stable with the cows, our collie, Mort, babysat the kittens in the hayloft. He lay with them snuggled into his fur until their mothers came back.

We had free-range chickens and ducks before it was in vogue. They ranged all over the barnyard, which would have been fine if there'd been litter boxes for their use. I grew up barefoot. Do you get my drift? We also had pigs, about whom I will say nothing. Shudder.

We still live in the country. We love the deer who visit our yard on nearly a daily basis and enjoy the birds, but we don't have any livestock or even any dogs. 

I do love my outdoor cats, Gabe and Susie. Gabe came to us as a baby 12 years ago, Susie several years later. She was a stray, and starved--we don't know how old she is. Gabe is the black one, Susie the tortoiseshell. They sun themselves on top of the trash can. We have seen the man who picks up our trash literally lift them off the lid, empty the can, and lift them back up. Not that they are lazy or spoiled. Well, yes, maybe.
Susie and Gabe

I put animals in my stories, because they are such a warm and sweet part of the fabric of our lives. It goes right long with being a Heartwarming author. Aren't we the lucky ones?

And maybe I am an animal person after all. At least sort of. Especially if the animals are cats.


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

An Introduction of Sorts

Good morning! Laurie Tomlinson here, and this is my very first post on the Harlequin Heartwarming authors’ blog! My debut novel, With No Reservations, releases in May, and I couldn’t be more excited to be part of this amazing lineup of authors.

So, let’s get to know each other.


Yesterday was my tenth Valentine’s Day with my soccer playing engineer husband who is nine years older than me. By day, I wrangle our two small children and run an editing and PR consulting business. And at night? That’s when the story magic happens.

I’ve been writing since I was old enough to hold a pen but didn’t start my first novel until 2012—working full time from home with an infant. I spent Friday nights hiding in a corner of my favorite coffee shop with my laptop, because even though I was afraid people would find out what I was doing, I knew that, if I shed the wifely, motherly, employee parts I loved about life, helping a story unfold felt the most like me.

Nowadays, I’m much more unabashed in the pursuit of my dreams and am passionate about helping others own up to theirs, too—including my characters. My stories often begin with people (like you and me) who have big goals and painful pasts and really loud doubts in their ears. But I think there’s nothing more romantic than the give and take between hero and heroine as they fight those obstacles, make their whispers of hope more powerful than the doubts, and support each other’s pursuits.


This is where those stories come to life, a space my husband created while I was at a conference a few years ago. I write to celebrate that romance, to illuminate the beauty in the middle of the mess, and, of course, to defend hope. Disclaimer: there's also a lot of food in my books, so do not read on an empty stomach!

If you’re a writer, what do you write for? Readers, why do you pick up a story? I’m looking forward to getting to know you all--or, as we say in Oklahoma, all y’all!


Laurie Tomlinson is an award-winning contemporary romance author living in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Her stories are fueled by faith, steaming mugs of tea, and her belief that life should be celebrated with cupcakes and extra sprinkles. When she’s not writing, she enjoys baking with her two little sous chefs and testing new recipes on her husband—especially if she doesn’t have to do the dishes.


You can connect with her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AuthorLaurieTomlinson or her website, www.laurietomlinson.com. Be on the lookout for her inspirational romantic comedy novella, That's When I Knewreleasing in March with the Love at First Laugh collection and her debut Harlequin Heartwarming novel, With No Reservations, arriving in May.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017





Happy Valentine's Day by Patricia Forsythe
It’s such a thrill to be the one who gets to blog on Valentine’s Day.   This is a special day for romance writers because our whole reason for being is to tell stories of romantic love, which is what Valentine’s Day celebrates.  This day is really special to me because it was on February 14, 1984 that I learned I’d sold my first romance to Silhouette Books.  Yes, I’ve been around for that long.  At that time, I had a writing partner, Barbara Jean Hicks, who has gone on to write some wonderful children’s books.
We heard the good news about our sale at a meeting held by a Silhouette editor and featuring authors Nora Roberts, Dixie Browning, and Barbara Faith who talked about ‘How to Write a Romance’.   The editor was specifically looking for submissions to an inspirational romance line, which was what Barbara Hicks and I had submitted.  When we introduced ourselves, the editor’s response was, “Oh, yes, I remember your names.  We want to buy your book.”
We jumped up and down and shrieked in her face, then Barbara broke all land speed records as she drove us home so we could tell our families what had happened.
In many ways, romance novels have changed drastically in thirty three years, but in the best ways, they have stayed the same. They still tell the story of the journey of two people to a loving, committed relationship.  In spite of the bad things that happen in the world, all the people who are hurt by those who once claimed to care about them, we humans still believe in love.
I hope this day is a very special one for you!


Patricia Forsythe is the author of many romances, both traditionally and electronically published.  Her most recent release is The Husband She Can’t Forget, book two in her Oklahoma Girls series, which was released this month.  Book number one, At Odds With The Midwife was released in November 2016, and book three, His Twin Baby Surprise in May 2017.