Wednesday, September 30, 2015

A Heartwarming Facebook Hop!

We are super excited to share that twelve of the Harlequin Heartwarming authors have put together an amazing set of twelve connected sweet holiday romances this holiday season! This collection of PG-rated holiday romances are all set in Christmas Town, a location introduced in the 2014 Harlequin Heartwarming release Christmas, Actually

A Heartwarming Christmas will bring you laughter, tears, and happily-ever-afters (no cliffhangers), for more than 1200 pages. Foreword by small town lover and New York Times bestseller Kristan Higgins (yep, KRISTAN HIGGINS!)

To celebrate its release on October 13, we are in the midst of a 12-Day Facebook hop that includes an Amazon gift card giveaway and excerpts from the stories. We hope you'll stop by our Facebook author pages and get your sneak peek!

Monday, September 28: Cheryl Harper
Wednesday, September 30:  Rula Sinara
Thursday, October 1: Anna Adams
Friday, October 2Leigh Riker
Monday, October 5:  Liz Flaherty
Tuesday, October 6Patricia Bradley
Wednesday, October 7: Anna J Stewart
Thursday, October 8Tara Randel
Friday, October 9: Melinda Curtis
Monday, October 12: Amy Vastine
Tuesday, October 13Carol Ross

Preorder your copy today!
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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Book Tour for When the Right One Comes Along . . . by Kate James

On tour with Prism Book Tours.

Book Tour for
When the Right One Comes Along
By Kate James

Tour Schedule

Intro to the Series

When the Right One Comes Along, is the first book in my K-9 trilogy. It's the story of trauma surgeon Jessica Hansen and San Diego Police Department search and rescue officer Cal Palmer. Although I have always had a profound sense of gratitude for the men and women who dedicate their lives to law enforcement, through my research for this trilogy I gained an even greater appreciation for the bravery and dedication of canine officers, and the intelligence and resourcefulness of police dogs.

The second book in the trilogy, When Love Matters Most, is scheduled for release on January 1st and will be available in select Walmart stores in February. This book tells the story of SDPD K-9 unit sergeant Rick Vasquez, veterinarian Madison Long, and Rick’s narcotics detection dogs Sniff and Nitro. If you enjoy When the Right One Comes Along, this book will provide an opportunity to revisit old friends, Cal and Jessica.

The third book is tentatively titled When the Sky's the Limit, and is planned for release in June 2016. It’s the story of K-9 unit captain Logan O’Connor and San Diego International Airport chief of security, Ariana Atkins.  When these two come together, their interaction promises to be explosive!

Happy reading!

Kate James

When the Right One Comes Along (K-9 Trilogy, #1)When the Right One Comes Along
(K-9 Trilogy #1)
by Kate James
Adult Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 293 Pages
October 1st 2015 by Harlequin

Brought together by disaster. Kept together by love.

In the aftermath of a deadly earthquake, it's chaos for trauma surgeon Jessica Hansen. Among the many victims, one patient stands out—San Diego Police K-9 search and rescue officer Cal Palmer.

Cal vows to help Kayla, a child orphaned by the disaster. But he needs Jessica's help. Will their shared concern for Kayla and for Cal's canine partner, Scout, allow them to put aside their personal torments and discover the difference love can make?

Kate James 2.jpg
Kate James spent much of her childhood abroad before attending university in Canada.

She built a successful business career, but her passion has always been literature. As a result Kate turned her energy to her love of the written word.

Kate's goal is to entertain her readers with engaging stories featuring strong, likable characters. Kate has been honored with numerous awards for her writing. She and her husband, Ken, enjoy traveling and the outdoors with their beloved Labrador Retrievers.

Learn more about Kate & her books on her  Website - Goodreads - Facebook - Twitter

Tour Giveaway

Grand Prize: Spa Gift Basket and a print copy of When the Right One Comes Along (US/CAN only)

2nd Prize: $50 Amazon gift card and a copy of When the Right One Comes Along (print if US/CAN, ebook if international)

Three 3rd Prizes: copy of When the Right One Comes Along (print if US/CAN, ebook if international)

The giveaway ends October 16th
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Grab Our Button!

If that isn't enough, visit this blog on October 4th for the kickoff of another exciting giveaway, featuring all four of our October releases!

Monday, September 28, 2015

When Did YOU Fall in Love with Reading? - with Kathy Damp

I remember the smell of the wood floors, the dust of books and wood.
The Pine Hills Branch of Albany Public Library
We lived on the top floor of this apartment building.

My love for reading began before I started kindergarten. At that time, as a one-car family, my mom packed up us three girls, bumped a stroller down five flights of stairs for a time, and stood us by the bus stop. Destination? The Pine Hills Library in Albany, New York for story time and checking out books.

From leaning all my young weight against the big wood and glass door to enter, the smell of wood and dust and the creaking floors, it was a different world. It seemed huge. Not sure if it's still there, but it would be fun to go back and see how big (or not) it seems now.
Make Way for Ducklings and Blueberries for Sal were filmstrips (Google "filmstrips" if needed) after the librarian read the book to us kids. Yep, sitting on the floor in front of her, necks stretched back to see all the illustrations, falling into the story, being on the Maine shores with Sal, worrying about the ducklings and grateful for that helpful policeman.

We girls learned to whisper in the library, fear and respect the librarian. After we moved to a small town in the Adirondack mountains, we leaped into each summer's reading program. [That preceding sentence required a leap into Google to see whether "leaped" or "leapt" was correct. Turns out either is.]

My mom read piles of books to us over the early years; then it was helping us sound out the words as emerging readers ("See Spot run. Run, Spot, run."), and finally turning us loose in the children's section.

 I moved on to Harriet the SpyCaddie WoodlawnA Wrinkle in Time.  Sweet Harlequin romance in junior high and high school, Georgette Heyer. Ah, reading.

My husband, on the other side of the bookshelf, so to speak, did not like to read, did not read well growing up. It wasn't until I got him a Kindle that he finally connected to reading...nonfiction. Although, as he likes to say, "I've read a romance once and liked it." (Yes, it was my Waiting for Sparks.)

So when and where did you fall in love with reading?



Friday, September 25, 2015

Do Opposites Attract? by Roz Denny Fox

When it came time to start thinking about what to write in a new blog for some reason I was reminded of an article I read a couple of years ago while waiting in a doctor’s office—Do Opposites Attract? At the time I recall thinking, of course, we romance writers put them in stories every day.

But now I wonder if it isn’t the deep-down similarities our heroes and heroines share that make them fall in love and settle down for a happily ever after.

My thoughts—in some areas what’s good about being different is that one or the other in the relationship makes up for whatever character trait is lacking in the other. Will it work if your heroine is very shy and your hero outgoing—life-of-the-party type. I’ve known couples who think and act so much alike they finish each other’s sentences. Would they seem boring as book characters?

What if one character, say the heroine is headstrong and independent and you pair her with an obstinate man who declares himself always right? Would an aggressive man (in real life) even be attracted to an equally aggressive woman? I remember once when my nephews were teens saying to my very competitive younger daughter—“you need to back-off sometimes, guys won’t want to date a girl who always wants to win.”

Have you ever had a sweet girlfriend who ended up marrying someone you think is a real jerk? If so, what makes the relationship work? Are they truly happy, or does she always give in for the sake of simply not liking confrontation of any kind? Are emotional differences easier to navigate than real differences? In life does “the odd couple” really work? If you’re a neat-nik, could you ever be happy living with a slob? Or say a home-body paired with someone who loves to party. Realistically how long might one person put up with quirks and habits totally out of sync with the attitudes or beliefs of a partner?

In our books we rarely pen couples past the point of time the “honeymoon phase” might wear off. Some authors of on-going serials have on-going characters, but I’ve noticed the marriages are always happy and solid in subsequent books.

I admit to being intrigued by couples who meet via the Internet and fall in love and marry in relatively short amount of time. Are they honest about likes, dislikes, beliefs, and deeply held convictions? How many men or women see little irritations in someone they seriously think they love, and go into marriage assuming they can “change” the other person? I do remember the article I read saying that if you’re not willing to change, don’t think you can change another. And yet debate is healthy. And compromise is a character building strength.

Since I chose this topic I did some online research and found an article where experts say having more of the right similarities is more helpful in a relationship. Then I had to read on to see what “right” similarities are. I gathered it’s a matter of sharing more likes than not. One professor of psychology said he didn’t really think true opposites attract. For instance The Beast looks for Beauty not the other way around. Perhaps he never saw Shrek.

That particular article listed areas where a couple’s similarities are probably significant. Money, physical attractiveness, desire to have children, religion, and education to name a few. Also if long-held values, or how one half of a couple wants to spend their time is vastly different from the other, it will likely lead to a troubled future they say.

But, boy, another group studying the issue of opposites attracting think it’s true. They say people are naturally attracted to individuals who are different – it creates excitement. They conclude that when two opposites operate as a couple, they become a more well-rounded, better functioning unit.

I’m sure opposites do attract. The question that keeps running around in my head is: can a couple be too different, or too alike to insure a successful long-term relationship? To answer this I need you all to jump in and give your thoughts on this subject.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Countdown is On! (Tara Taylor Quinn) week from today is release day!  Book Two in The Historic Arapahoe Series.  You can click on the image to pre-order!

Marie Bustamonte does not trust or love easily.  Growing up with a philandering father and an overprotective mother, she comes by her reservations honestly.  So after only three months, how can she be falling for her best friend's bodyguard?  This isn't like her at all.  But Elliott Tanner is strong, gorgeous and...trustworthy.  At least he seems to be.  Of course, some things about him remain a mystery.  Protecting the privacy of his clients is Elliott's job.  That doesn't mean he's hiding anything from her.  Does it?

I'm really excited to be bringing you this story.  I think, in today's world, many of us struggle with trust issues.  I also believe that happiness depends on our ability to trust.  And that trust is still rewarded.

I come by this belief honestly, and from example.  My entire life I have watched a friendship between my mother and her best friend.  It's a friendship that has spanned more than 63 years, husbands who were ornery and cantankerous, distances a country wide, the death of a child, and most recently personal tragedy.  I know two things.  Loyalty exists.  And love is forever.

Once Upon a Marriage is the second in a series revolving around lifetime friendship.  The first book, Once Upon A Friendship was out in July.  If you missed it, comment here today to be entered to win an eBook copy.  And please note, because I am serving friendship this next week, the winning copy will be sent after October 6th!

Happy reading everyone!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Lee's New Hat

posted by Lee McKenzie

Everyone who knows me well knows I have a lot of hats, but this summer I needed a new one.

What was the occasion? An afternoon at the Kentucky Derby? High tea with the Queen? No, nothing so mundane as those.

This all started when my son announced that he and his beautiful girlfriend were getting married. This special day would be all about the two of them, of course, but a son’s wedding is a momentous event for the parents, too. Right? When I shared the news with my co-workers and commented that I had no idea what the mother of the groom is supposed to do, one of them said, “She’s supposed to buy a new hat.”

So I treated myself to a shopping trip to Roberta’s Hats, which is one of my favorite stores in the world. To see why, click on the store name and take a tour!

Once I found the perfect hat, the rest of my outfit came together easily...but enough about me.

Weddings are about the newlyweds and the happily ever after. Weddings are especially about the bride, and I love our beautiful daughter-in-law's classic style. I'm also delighted that they chose to have an intimate, informal and untraditional wedding in the backyard of the bride's family home. It made for a stress-free day, the attention truly was on them, and best of all they were able to relax and enjoy themselves.

And second-best of all, I had a really good reason to buy a new hat!

Thank you for joining me here today. Everyone has a favorite wedding story and I would love to hear yours! And I'll be making a random draw from all commenters and giving away another Magnolia Bakery shopping bag along with a copy of The Parent Trap to one reader.

The winner's name will be posted in the comments section here on Friday, September 25 and in next month's edition of my newsletter, Life in the Slow Lane.

Happy reading!

Until next time,

Lee McKenzie...writing fifty shades of pink
To Catch a Wife (Harlequin Heartwarming, May 2016)

Monday, September 21, 2015

Cops and their Canines . . . by Kate James

I have tremendous respect and appreciation for people who dedicate themselves to protecting us and our communities. No surprise to those of you who know me: I also have a great love of animals. What better way to combine these two things than to write about K-9 unit police officers, their dogs and love interests. This is how my K-9 trilogy came to be.

My October 1st release, When the Right One Comes Along, is the first book in the trilogy. The second book, When Love Matters Most, is scheduled for release on January 1st and will be available in select Walmart stores in February. The third book is tentatively titled When the Sky's the Limit, and is planned for release in June 2016.

An unexpected benefit of writing these stories was how much fun I had doing the research!

After obtaining the requisite security clearance and approvals, I had the great pleasure of spending a considerable amount of time with PC Jim Hilton of Ontario’s York Regional Police. PC Hilton is a K-9 expert and trainer, and is partnered with explosives detection dog, Max. PC Hilton was extremely generous with his time, knowledge and expertise, and I loved meeting Max.

I am happy to share with you some of the highlights of my day with PC Hilton and Max.
My first introduction to explosives detection police service dog (PSD) Max.

 Did you know police service dogs have their own police badges?

PSD Max’s badge.

PC Hilton was willing to put Max through some training exercises for me and demonstrate Max’s remarkable agility skills—a prerequisite for Max’s job.

PC Jim Hilton and his explosives detection K-9 partner, Max.

Would you think a police service dog could scale a six-foot barricade or climb a ladder...conditions the dogs can often face in the field while on duty? I captured the next picture while Max was demonstrating his agility skills.

PC Hilton putting Max through his agility exercises.

For all animal lovers, you’d be thrilled to see how enthusiastic and joyous Max is about doing his exercises. I was surprised to learn that Max’s positive reinforcement for a job well done is praise and a Kong toy—no treats.

PC Hilton shared with me some of the intricacies of the work he and Max are called upon to do, and the training exercises they undergo to ensure Max remains in top form. Did you know that the K-9 unit officers and their dogs have one of the most dangerous jobs in law enforcement? Read When the Right One Comes Along to find out why! :-D

Did you know that police service dogs often have their own “business cards?”

PSD Max’s “business card.”
Max’s bio is on his card. He was born on December 12, 2008 in the Czech Republic and was brought to Canada in March 2011 to become a police service dog. Did you know that most police service dogs are not bred in North America but imported from countries such as Germany, Holland and Belgium? Read When Love Matters Most to find out why!

PC Hilton even gave me reference materials to take home and peruse at my leisure!
Nothing like a little light nighttime reading.

It’s no hardship spending my time doing this type of research! I'm grateful to PC Hilton and Max for educating me with respect to the roles and responsibilities of the K-9 unit, K-9 unit officers and their police service dogs. If you get the chance to read my K-9 trilogy, I hope you enjoy it.

Happy reading and, as always, I would love to hear from you! 

Social Media Links: website, twitter and Facebook. E-mail:

Please leave a comment. One person will be selected at random to receive a signed copy of When the Right One Comes Along.
(Check the bottom of the comments section of this post tomorrow morning for the announcement of the winner.)

Visit my website for a new interview with Heartwarming authors Loree Lough and Cerella Sechrist. They talk about their books, writing, critter track identification, real-life heartwarming romance and more!

Go to the end of this post for an advance announcement about our upcoming Fall in Love this Fall giveaway, and visit this blog on Sunday, October 4th for the details!

When the Right One Comes Along

Brought together by disaster. Kept together by love.

In the aftermath of a deadly earthquake, it’s chaos for trauma surgeon Jessica Hansen. Among the many victims, one patient stands out—San Diego Police K-9 search and rescue officer Cal Palmer.

Cal vows to help Kayla, a child orphaned by the disaster. But he needs Jessica’s help. Will their shared concern for Kayla and for Cal's canine partner, Scout, allow them to put aside their personal torments and discover the difference love can make?

When Love Matters Most

Keeping her safe 

Could their backgrounds be any more different? Rick Vasquez, a K-9 unit sergeant with the San Diego Police Department, fled drug-related violence in Mexico as a boy. Madison Long, who recently became primary veterinarian to the SDPD’s canines, is the privileged daughter of a judge. A product of his upbringing, Rick’s dedicated his life to curtailing cross-border drug trafficking and preventing other young boys from being drawn into the dark world of the cartels. But all that Rick and Madison value, including the growing love between them, is threatened by the dangers of Rick’s job, and the risks he’s determined to take…

Friday, September 18, 2015

The Pursuit of Dreams

Hi everyone, Sophia Sasson here, waving hello as this is my first time on the blog. I’m the newest author for Harlequin Heartwarming, a dream come true for me, so I thought I'd write about pursuing your dreams.

You know how you sometimes stand in front of the shower, and pretend to accept an academy award? Or pose for the flash of reporters on the red carpet? Maybe air guitar that awesome rock performance? I pretend to sign books.

"You have to dream before your dreams can come true." 
-- A. P. J. Abdul Kalam

I was the kid who needed to be told to put her book away at the dinner table. My parents would often take books away from me because I was reading too much. I started sneaking my mother’s Mills and Boons when I was twelve years old. I’ve always been writing, but just for fun. I did the safe thing in going to college, all the way to getting a doctorate degree in public health, and working hard at a regular job. Become an author? That’s just crazy!

When I returned to work 4 months after giving birth to twins (no maternity leave here in the U.S), my heart wasn't in my job. I saw a speech Steve Jobs gave where he encouraged students to pursue their passion, to do that one thing that made them get up before the alarm went off in the morning.

Could I really become an author? Walt Disney started from nothing and built an empire. All because he had the courage to pursue his dreams. Why shouldn't I at least try?  Before I knew it, I had written a book. I started entering writing contests, and submitting to publishers to see if I was any good.
My first manuscript was rejected (and for good reason). I should’ve been discouraged, but I learned that rejection is a rite of passage for writers. JK Rowling was rejected by several publishers for Harry Potter. So was Dan Brown for the DaVinci Code, JD Salinger for Catcher in the Rye, and L.M Montgomery for Anne of Green Gables. Even Dr Seuss received a harsh turn down. I kept at it, improving my craft, and focusing on writing stories from the heart. Stories I wanted to read.
And before I knew it, Claire Caldwell at Harlequin Heartwarming found my work and decided to get me a contract. My debut novel, First Comes Marriage comes out in February. But before that, Harlequin will be publishing one of my short stories in November as a free online read along with twelve other Heartwarming authors. More to come on that.

So go ahead and dream. If mine can come true, so can yours.

Tell me, what do you dream of doing one day? Or, are you already living a dream?

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Celebrating September

Hi, it’s Helen DePrima! September always means harvest and country fairs to me. Although my “farm” now consists of maybe a quarter acre of vegetables, I take as much pleasure in digging potatoes for winter storage and shocking corn stalks as I did growing up on my grandfather’s farm in Kentucky. My grandfather and uncles cultivated with horses and mules ; we never owned a tractor. At an early age, I learned to drive our work team Maude and Dobbin while the men loaded bushels of
potatoes on the heavy sled in the fall. Another farmer leased our back acreage to grow corn; after the big harvester stripped the fields, my cousins and I would glean the ears the machine had left, loading them into the trunk of my uncle’s ’37 Chevy. My grandfather paid us a nickel apiece for ears shelled for winter horse feed. Often we worked until dusk, blowing on our fingers to warm them from digging in the chilled soil for each ear and then gathering in my grandmother’s kitchen for hot chocolate and gingerbread.
 * * *
Nowadays, I get my draft-horse fix at the local agricultural fair in late September. A trip to the Deerfield Fair begins with a stop at our favorite French-fry stand which uses only Prince Edward Island spuds, far and away the best for fries. Next stop: real lemonade fresh-squeezed while we watch or hot cider, depending on the weather – some years fair time calls for caps and mittens, other times for sunscreen.
We make quick tour through the needlework exhibition to admire quilts and embroidery and then on to the horse-pulling arena to watch teams of draft horses and oxen move a steel sled loaded with 500-lb. cement blocks. Many of the teams have active careers in farming and/or logging between competitions. The day always ends with a stop for apple crisp or fried dough on the way back to my truck.
Liz Flaherty here. There is a sweetness to September. Not just the smells (oh, yum, apples) or the tastes (oh, yum, spiced pumpkin anything) or the sounds (oh, yum, corn popping), but just how it feels.  By the way, no, I don’t have a small fixation on food—I have a great big one.
September gives me a chance to capitalize on that fixation. It is the season of Church Suppers in the Midwest. Our church has a soup supper, the one up the road has a harvest supper, and chicken-and-noodle dinners abound. No one ever keeps track of how much you eat, there is always pie, and you get to see friends and neighbors you haven’t seen since...well, last September.
It’s also football time. Recent events have lessened my love for the NFL, but there’s little that I find more entertaining than elementary, middle, and high school football—you know, when they still play for the love of the game and look so cute in their uniforms. There is always a well-stocked concession stand involved, too. Popcorn, nachos.
Oh. Food again. I thought at first that was the sweetness I was talking about, but in reality it’s the “we gather together” socialness of church suppers and school athletes that give me particular joy in the month. Well, that and the pie.  

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Where do you get your ideas? by Syndi Powell

A lot of writers get asked, “Where do you get your ideas?” Answers can vary, but it usually has something to do with a character or a situation that would not leave the writer’s mind alone whether awake or sleeping. The harder question to answer is “What if you don’t have any ideas?”
That’s where I’ve been struggling since the beginning of the year. It’s time to start writing new stories, but the ideas I’ve had were either rejected or lost steam after a few pages. While it’s true my health and personal life have moved to center stage in my mind, I find myself yearning for a good story in which to lose myself. One that I will be eager to sit in front of my computer and pour the words from my head on to the screen.
In the meantime, here are some things I’ve been doing to spark my imagination:
1.       Reading, reading, reading. I usually average reading two to three books a week, but lately it’s been in the four to six range because my appetite for story has been ravenous.

2.       Research. Some of the ideas I’ve had that haven’t worked out have needed some additional research. I’ve almost worn out my library card with the books I’ve been checking out in the hopes that the research will set one of my ideas on fire.

3.       Watching TV/listening to music. Sometimes my ideas come from a news story or a song lyric, so I’ve been listening to a lot of Elvis Presley and the Beatles lately.

4.       Daydreaming. It may look like I’m staring into space, but my mind is furiously imagining different scenarios.

5.       Eating healthy and exercising. With the occasional chocolate, of course.
The truth is, there is an idea in my head that won’t let go of my imagination. But it scares me to death to think of writing that story because the emotions are still raw. Then again, that’s what makes the idea so great.

What do you do when you don’t have any ideas?

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Writing a series: the good and the bad by Cynthia Reese

I'm saying goodbye to the Georgia Monroes. 

When I first dreamed of writing for publication, my inspiration came from authors who wrote a series: a recurring character and her adventures, a series of novels about a family. As a reader, I loved stories like that. 

Wouldn't a series, I thought, be easier than coming up with a new set of characters each and every book? I wouldn't have to create a new town or new back stories ... It would be marvelous!

And then after five books in, I finally sold a series idea, the Georgia Monroes, a rowdy family of firefighters. 

I was pumped! This was going to be easy!


The first thing I realized was that I had more people to keep straight. In absolute frustration one day early on, I had to sit down and draw up a complicated family tree of who was related to whom, which sister was older, which kids belonged with which Monroe. 

I'd always pooh-pooed those family trees at the beginning of those 1980s family sagas. Couldn't the author keep it straight?

Ahem. THIS author couldn't. 

And then, when I thought that was smooth sailing, I realized, shoot, I've got to figure out the layout of the town. My characters in one book couldn't be visiting a different downtown than they would in the next book. The courthouse had to look the same. The fire stations had to be the same. 

After that, though, I thought I was surely finished with all my notes. Until ...

Until I realized that Ma, the gentle and wise matriarch of the Monroes, had a different kitchen in book 1 and book 3. 


I've never re-read my prior manuscripts as closely as I did for this series. 

I hope I got it right. And I admit I have a lot more sympathy now for, say, Rex Stout of the Nero Wolfe detective story fame. Stout inadvertently moved the famous brownstone his fictional detectives lived in at least once, just by changing the house number. 

The worst part about writing a series? I still have it to face. I have to say goodbye. 

I've grown to love this family I created. I thought by now, three books in and one to go, I'd be sick of them. After all, the only way Agatha Christie could keep writing Hercule Poirot stories is that she wrote one where she killed off the famous detective. 

But I'm not at that point -- this family has gotten under my skin, and I love spending time with them -- especially wise Ma, who always has a warm, home-cooked meal at the ready, with a side of sage advice. Oh, yeah, as my sister, one of my beta readers, says, everybody needs a Ma. 

I think writing this last book in the Georgia Monroes series will be hard because it will be bittersweet. After all, it's going to be one long goodbye for me. 

Monday, September 14, 2015

Just, like, that...or how many crutches do you use? by Cheryl Harper

I just finished working on a Christmas novella that was just over 19,000 words when I finished. How many of those words were "just"? The answer: 52. Not in the final, final, final draft, but at one point (quite near the finish line, too), I used the word "just" an embarrassing number of times. That wasn't even the worst offender. I have this handy worksheet named "Things to Fix Before Sending" that includes a list of all the words I get stuck on: just, probably, really, very, nod. There are so many and my list keeps growing.

With every new editor, I add something to the list.

I write like I talk...except I don't drawl away the G at the end of any -ing word when I'm writing. I cringe to think how many times I use the word "just" in a week. Or worse: LIKE. My favorite spoken crutch of all time is like, often in combination. "It's like..."

Argh. What's the old saying? Knowing is half the battle. At least I am sometimes aware when I hear myself hitting "like" too hard. What about you? If you're writing, what are some words you have to watch out for? Anything you know you say too often? Unfortunately, when I get a handle on one phrase or word, another pops up to take its place. For this novella, it was "crazy." That might have had something to do with my day/week/month at the time. Anybody have a great tip for eliminating these filler words?

My dog Jack has worn accessories other than his collar one day in his life. I snapped this picture on that day. He has a helpful message for me.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Sit-Down Saturday: Harper’s Wish in 140 Characters Or Less by Cerella Sechrist

I really like Twitter. I love the brevity of those 140 characters. So, when thinking about my Sit-Down Saturday interview for the release of Harper’s Wish, I thought it might be fun to do things Twitter-style and keep my answers to 140 characters or less. It’s a fun, bite-size way to learn more about the story! Let’s see how I do…

If Harper’s Wish had a subtitle, what would it be?

Harper's Wish: A Taste of Humble Pie - because Harper gets a taste of humility after she loses her critic's job and goes to work for Connor.

What’s the theme of Harper’s Wish?

A little bit about regret and wishing you could undo actions of the past but also about the bravery it takes to pursue your heart's desire.

Which actor/actress would be part of your dream cast?

Kevin Ryan would play Connor, and Elisha Cuthbert would play Harper. See more casting in yesterday's Heartwarming blog post from Loree & me!

Kevin Ryan as Connor and Elisha Cuthbert as Harper - they make an adorable couple, am I right??

What’s your favorite scene?

When Harper & Connor attend the July 4 festival and watch the Skipjack races on the bay. It's just one of those warm & fuzzy moments. <3

What was the best part about researching Harper’s Wish?

Visiting the Chesapeake town of Havre de Grace, MD with my BFF: we stayed in a B&B, visited 2 coffeeshops, took photos, and laughed a lot.

Who is your favorite character in the story?

Surprisingly, it's Erin, whose story I'll get to tell in Findlay Roads #3. I know what's going to happen to her, even though she doesn't. :(

What song would you choose as the “theme song” for the story?

My Wish For You by Rascal Flatts: not just b/c Wish is in the title but also b/c country music is a big part of the next Findlay Roads book!

What’s your favorite thing about your hero, Connor?

His Irish accent and the fact that he's a chef. A handsome Irish lad who will cook for me? What's not to love, I ask? Plus, I can't help...

...loving how protective he is of those he loves - his daughter, his sister, his employees...and eventually, Harper... #crushingoncharacters

(Okay, so that was actually two tweets, but forgive me just this once…for Connor’s sake. And it wouldn't be Twitter without at least one hashtag thrown in there.)

What's your favorite reader response to the story?

"Really, Cerella?! Can I strangle you for torturing Connor some more? I'm feeling protective of him. It's the Irish accent." #readerprobs

What are you writing next?

The sequel to Harper's Wish, featuring Connor's sister, Rory. Remember how Sawyer breaks up with her in this book? There's more to the story!


So, now it's giveaway time! And what better way to enter to win an autographed copy of Harper's Wish than by tweeting about this interview?

Use the form below to tweet your entry, and you'll be entered to win a personalized, autographed copy of Harper's Wish, from me to you!

Win an autographed copy of Harper's Wish by Cerella Sechrist

But of course, that's not the only giveaway going on during this release month. You can also enter to win a $50 or $25 Amazon gift card and signed copies of Sweet Mountain Rancher and Harper's Wish from Loree Lough and me. Read this post for details!

And if you're not signed up for my newsletter yet, visit this link and get subscribed so I can send you the details on how to win the adorable prize package, created in honor of Connor's restaurant, the Rusty Anchor!

About Cerella:

 CERELLA SECHRIST lives in York, Pennsylvania with two precocious pugs, Darcy and Charlotte, named after Jane Austen literary characters. Inspired by her childhood love of stories, she was ten years old when she decided she wanted to become an author. These days, Cerella divides her time between working in the office of her family’s construction business and as a barista to support her reading habit and coffee addiction. She’s been known to post too many pug photos on both Instagram and Pinterest. You can see for yourself by finding her online at Harper’s Wish is her third Harlequin Heartwarming novel.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Red Carpet Edition: Sweet Mountain Rancher and Harper's Wish | by Loree Lough and Cerella Sechrist

Release month is finally here, and we're celebrating now that SWEET MOUNTAIN RANCHER and HARPER'S WISH are available to readers!

Welcome to the red carpet edition of our "We Talk to Ourselves...a Lot!" blog series as we unveil the cast and characters of our two latest releases!

First up, Loree would like to introduce you to the characters (and her wish cast) for SWEET MOUNTAIN RANCHER, the second book in her Those Marshall Boys trilogy:

Here's the all-star lineup for Loree's dream cast for the story!

Next up, we're pleased to welcome you to Findlay Roads, Maryland, a small town in the Chesapeake Bay region. HARPER'S WISH is the first in a four-book series centering around Findlay Roads and its inhabitants:

Let's give a round of applause for Cerella's wish-list cast!

Now that you've met the cast of both novels, how about a chance to win the books, along with an Amazon gift card?

We had so much fun over the last two months, offering both the Endless Summer and Beach Reads giveaway that we decided to offer THREE prizes this month to celebrate our releases!

Use the form below to enter and remember to check back next month for another edition of "We Talk to Ourselves...a Lot!"

Sweet Wishes Giveaway from Loree Lough & Cerella Sechrist :: Three Winners of Amazon Gift Card & Autographed Books Giveaway

About Loree:

With nearly 5,000,000 books in circulation, best-selling author Loree Lough's titles have earned numerous 4- and 5-star reviews and industry awards. She splits her time between her home in Baltimore and a cabin in the Alleghenies (where she loves to show off her “Identify the Critter Tracks” skills). The release of Once a Marine (#1 in the “Those Marshall Boys” series for Harlequin's new Heartwarming line) brings Loree’s number of books in print to 104! Loree loves to hear from her readers and answers every letter, personally. Visit her at Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and!

About Cerella:

 CERELLA SECHRIST lives in York, Pennsylvania with two precocious pugs, Darcy and Charlotte, named after Jane Austen literary characters. Inspired by her childhood love of stories, she was ten years old when she decided she wanted to become an author. These days, Cerella divides her time between working in the office of her family’s construction business and as a barista to support her reading habit and coffee addiction. She’s been known to post too many pug photos on both Instagram and Pinterest. You can see for yourself by finding her online at Harper’s Wish is her third Harlequin Heartwarming novel.