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December Giveaway and Cover Reveal!

It’s Friday! Yay! And it’s December. I love it!

So it’s a busy month. You know it. I know it. We have to grab hold of the bitty moments when we can. Are you stressed? Go buy that decadent coffee, sit at a table, inhale the aroma and rest for five minutes. Make that ten. Dream about the fantasy vacation in Hawaii until the tension releases. Whatever it takes–enjoy this month!

I have some fun things to share. Numero uno? I got the cover for Her Small-Town Romance, book three in the Lake Endwell series through Harlequin Love Inspired. Paperbacks will be in stores starting on March 22, 2016, and the digital book will be available April 1, 2016!

Cover Reveal (I adore it! The cover artists are amazing!!)

 

Her Small-Town Romance

 

The second thing I’m sharing? A giveaway!

I appreciate my newsletter subscribers, so I’m giving one subscriber a $10 Amazon gift card. If you haven’t subscribed yet, you can enter your email address HERE! I’ll never share your address, and you can unsubscribe at any time. The bottom of every page in my website has an easy sign-up form, too. The winner will be randomly selected on December 18, 2015 from my newsletter subscription list, so if you’re already a subscriber, you’re automatically entered. I will notify the winner via email.

 

Merry Christmas!

 

Lastly, newsletter subscribers just received the above information AS WELL AS the third installment to my serial short romance, “Love and Other Obstacles.” Parts 1 and 2 are permanently linked on my For Readers page, and Part 3 will be added there on December 11, 2015.

 

Phew! What are you doing this weekend?

 

Have a great day!

What Are You Reading?

Fall sports, writing a book, editing another and dealing with all the “senior” details of my daughter’s final year of high school have taken a toll on my brain–a BIG toll! I literally haven’t been able to read a novel in two months! (!!!) That makes me sad. Reading novels is one of my favorite ways to escape and recharge.

Last weekend brought an end to all the fall sports. I finished my first draft yesterday. The edits have been turned in, and I think I’m caught up on the senior stuff. What does this mean? I’ll be reading again soon! Yay!

I have a few selections, and I’m not sure which one I’ll choose first.

London Tides by Carla Laureano

*Sale alert!! The ebook is on sale for just $1.99 until October 31, 2015! Go to London Tides E-book Sale (linked) for details!**

I read Five Days in Skye, the first in this contemporary Christian romance series, earlier this year. I loved it. So romantic, so expertly written. And,  yeah, I thought the hero was hot! I’ve been waiting for the second book to drop, and it recently did! London Tides is on my Kindle, ready to go.

Maybe in Another Life  by Taylor Jenkins Reid

I saw this reviewed in a magazine. It looked intriguing, so I borrowed it from our library. It has one of those trippy choose-your-own-adventure-type storylines where we see how the heroine fares if she makes one choice and also how her life goes if she makes the other. I haven’t even cracked it open, so I can’t say much beyond that. Looks good!

On the non-fiction front, I recently finished Just Show Up  by Kara Tippetts and Jill Lynn Buteyn. It’s so moving, so inspiring and so practical that I can only say, drop what you’re doing and order this book. Right now.

Go on. Do it.

What do we do when a friend is going through hard times? I wish I knew. Do I call? Do they want to talk? Should I give them space? It’s hard. This book addresses all the sticky stuff. I found myself jotting notes and just sighing in recognition as I read Just Show Up. It motivated me to step up and make even small gestures to those around me suffering. Sometimes the small gestures are big. Did I need tissues as I read it? Of course, I did. This was written in the final days of Kara’s fight with cancer. It’s emotional and wonderful.  I can’t recommend it enough.

So there you have it. My fiction options and my non-fiction recommendation.

Your turn! What are you reading?

Have a terrific day!

Sneaky Ways to Write More and Other Updates

Sneaking words in…sounds covert and exciting and slightly dangerous! I’m sharing how I sneak more words in each day over at Seekerville! I’d love for you to stop by, plus there are two giveaways happening at Seekerville!

Here’s the link, “Sneaky Ways to Write More Each Day.”

I’ve added Part 2 of my serial short romance, “Love and Other Obstacles” to the For Readers page. If you missed Part 1, no worries. Both are linked on the For Readers page. Newsletter subscribers get first access to installments, so if you haven’t signed up, consider fixing that! Sign up HERE!

 

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On Monday, I accidentally linked to Jeanne Takenaka’s blog early. If you’d like to stop by and find out my biggest life lesson and enter to win a copy of my book (link to entry form is at the very bottom of the post), go to “Life Lessons: Making an Effort–Guest Post by Jill Kemerer and a Giveaway.”

 

The fabulous Cheryl Malandrinos interviewed me and shared it on three blogs!! I talk about my childhood and writing journey. Pop over at The Book Connection: “Interview with Jill Kemerer.”

Boy, it got hot here. I would have preferred the warm weather in early August, rather than September, but at least it’s not snowing yet, right? Tomorrow night is college football kickoff. I’m sooooo ready. Yes, I will be watching the University of Michigan play at Utah on every television in the house! Woo-hoo!!

What’s going on with you today?

Enjoy yourself!!

Writer’s Life: Keli Gwyn

Family Of Her Dreams

Welcome to another edition of Writer’s Life, my interview series with authors of inspirational or sweet romance novels. I’m so excited to have Keli Gwyn on the blog today! Keli and I connected online years ago, and she was the first person to ever interview me. Since then, we’ve met in person and kept in touch. I love Keli’s writing–her debut, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, was one of my top picks when it released. Keli now writes for Love Inspired Historical, and Family of Her Dreams is out now! Keli is giving away a copy to one blessed commenter, instructions below!

Let’s get to it!

1. What about writing makes your heart sing?

Those days when my characters are chatting away, the words are flowing freely and the story is coming together fill me with such joy that I feel like singing, even though my singing voice leaves a lot to be desired. Sometimes I sing anyway. It’s a good thing my cats aren’t music critics, although I have caught the fellows flinging their paws over their ears when I’ve had a good writing day and burst out with some goofy ditty I’ve composed on the spot.

 

2. What is the biggest hurdle you’re facing right now as a writer?

I wage an ongoing battle with the Doubt Dragon. The pesky fellow loves to perch on my shoulder and whisper in my ear.

“What were you thinking? Surely you can do better than this?”

~or~

“Look at this dreck. And you call yourself a writer?”

~or~

“Egads! This is the best you can do? Why don’t you just call it quits?”

I really need to invest in a muzzle and slap it on the noisy naysayer.

3. What do you do to fill your creative well?

I walk. Strolling past the stately Victorian houses in my historic town of Placerville, California can transport me back in time and get the ideas flowing. If I’m working out a gnarly plot issue, my husband and I will often hit our wonderful hiking trail and brainstorm solutions.

Gwynly confessed recently that he likes to get me talking about my stories when we’re walking because I unconsciously up my pace when he taps into my passion for writing. Since he’s a foot taller than I am and has a much longer stride, he likes it when I cover ground more quickly. I’m glad he let me in on his secret. Now I can walk and talk writing guilt free.

 

4. What are you working on now?

I’m preparing the first draft of another historical romance set right here in Placerville. The story takes place in 1872. My main characters are reunited after many years apart. Each has endured loss due to the War Between the State. They both harbor secrets that prevent them from pursuing anything more than friendship, forcing them to fight their growing feelings for one another.

Thank you for hosting me, Jill. I enjoyed answering your fun questions. I’d like to end by asking your blog’s readers a question.

Do you enjoy singing, or are you hesitant to sing in front of others?

 

***

Keli, I fight the doubt dragon A LOT! I think it’s awesome you sing when you write! I’m not a singer. Well, I do sing in the car, but it’s not pretty. I would love to stroll past the Victorian homes you mentioned. How delightful! The architecture of yesteryear was gorgeous. Thanks so much for being my guest!

***

Family of Her Dreams

A Family to Cherish ~

Headstrong Tess Grimsby loves her new job caring for the children of a recently widowed man. But she never imagined that she’d fall for her handsome employer. Yet Spencer Abbott is as caring as he is attractive, and Tess can’t help but feel for him and his family. Though, for the sake of her job, she’ll keep any emotions about her boss to herself.

Between his stationmaster responsibilities in a gold-rush town and trying to put his family back together, Spencer has his hands full. He soon finds his new hire’s kind personality warming his frosty exterior. But could he ever admit to seeing her as more than just an employee?

Copyright © 2015 by Harlequin Enterprises Limited
Cover and cover copy text used by arrangement with Harlequin Enterprises Limited.
® and ™ are trademarks owned by Harlequin Enterprises Limited
or its affiliated companies, used under license.

Visit Keli’s Victorian-style cyber home (http://keligwyn.com/library/my-books), where you can find purchase links for Family of Her Dreams on many of the major booksellers’ sites.

 

***

Keli Gwyn

Keli Gwyn ~

Award-winning author Keli Gwyn, a native Californian, transports readers to the early days of the Golden State. She and her husband live in the heart of California’s Gold Country. Her favorite places to visit are her fictional worlds, historical museums and other Gold Rush-era towns. Keli loves hearing from readers and invites you to visit her Victorian-style cyber home at www.keligwyn.com, where you’ll find her contact information.

***

Keli Gwyn Giveaway!

Keli is giving away a copy to one commenter! If you’d like to be entered, simply leave your email address in the comments below. The giveaway is open until midnight, June 13, 2015 and is open to U.S. residents eighteen years and older. I will select a random winner and contact the winner via email.

***

Back to Keli’s question:

Do you enjoy singing, or are you hesitant to sing in front of others?

Have a terrific day!

Hero Inspiration! From the Start by Melissa Tagg

From The Start By Melissa Tagg

Inspiration for from a hero: Colton Greene in From the Start

by Melissa Tagg

So when Jill and I decided to do a little blog swap and talk about the inspiration for our heroes, it sounded like a fab idea. Yeah, I thought, I can talk about Colton Greene…the main guy in my new book, From the Start.

Then I sat down to write the post. And gulped.

Because I have no idea where Colton came from.

For one thing, the guy’s a football player. A former NFL quarterback. And I…am not a football girl. The most fun I’ve ever had watching football was during this Super Bowl party when I was a teenager. I spent the whole game boasting to these guys about how awesome I was at ping-pong. Seriously, I was so busy flirting bragging, I probably saw all of three minutes of the actual game.

And then after the game, I lost at ping-pong. Big-time. Score one for humble pie.

Too, Colton has been through tragedy—the likes of which I honestly can’t imagine. (Except I guess I can because I imagined this story into being. But still.)

Plus, he doesn’t really look like any famous actor in my head. Although when it came time to give my publisher cover ideas, I might’ve thought, hmm, this might be a great excuse to Google Chris Hemsworth…but really, it wasn’t until I saw my actual cover that I had a solid picture of him in my brain.

All that said, I don’t know if I can pinpoint any one thing that inspired Colton.

BUT.

I may not know what originally inspired him, but I do know what it is about him I can most relate to. And that’s this: Deep down, Colton knows there’s more. He’s had dreams stripped away, his vision of the future is murky at best. At the start of the story, he’s fumbling to find his place and catch any hope for the future.

But as his story continues, he starts to sense there’s more…that the boundaries he’s drawn around his life are too small. His turf is bigger than he realized before.

And I get that. I get that whisper in my spirit. “Melissa, there’s more.” That feeling that my journey has only just begun and it may not end up looking anything like what I’d planned…and that God’s imagination is world’s larger than mine.

I’m not sure I know what inspired Colton, but I know how he ended up inspiring me. 🙂

***

Melissa, you make me giggle (not about the God part–that was inspiring)! I never liked football much until high school, and it wasn’t until I was almost thirty that I actually enjoyed watching it on television. I’m a big University of Michigan fan, and I’m a Detroit Lions fan, but it’s hard being a Lions fan. I’m guessing you could beat my buns at ping-pong. You still got it, girl! Congratulations on your new book! I can’t wait to read it!!

***

From the Start by Melissa Tagg

From the Start ~

Kate Walker used to believe in true love and happily ever after. While her own love life may have left her brokenhearted, it hasn’t kept her from churning out made-for-TV romance movie screenplays…until a major career slump and a longing to do something meaningful send her running back to her hometown of Maple Valley.

Permanently sidelined by an injury, former NFL quarterback Colton Greene is temporarily hiding out in a friend’s hometown to avoid the media and the reminders of all he’s lost. Maple Valley seems like the perfect place to learn how to adjust to normal life. The only trouble is he’s never really done normal before.

While Kate plays things safe and Colton is all about big risks and grand gestures, they both get what it’s like to desperately need direction in life. An unexpected project gives them both a chance to jumpstart their new lives, but old wounds and new dreams are hard to ignore. Starting over wasn’t part of the plan, but it just might be the best thing that’s ever happened to them.

***

Melissa Tagg

About Melissa Tagg ~

Melissa Tagg is a former reporter, current nonprofit grant writer and total girl. She writes romantic comedy for Bethany House, and is also the marketing/events coordinator for My Book Therapy, a craft and coaching community for writers. When she’s not writing, she can be found hanging out with the coolest family ever, watching old movies, and daydreaming about her next book. Her newest book, From the Start, is out now! Get a preview with her free enovella, Three Little Words. She blogs regularly and loves connecting with readers at  http://www.melissatagg.com and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

***

Do you enjoy football? If yes, what team do you root for? If no, what’s your favorite sport?

Pop on over to Melissa’s blog today to find out my inspiration for Reed Hamilton in Small-Town Bachelor!

Have a terrific day!

We’re Talking Heroes with Jessica R. Patch!

Just The Way You Are

We are in for a treat! Jessica R. Patch, author of make-you-sit-back-and-sigh heroes, graciously agreed to answer my pressing questions today. Let’s talk about heroes!

Jess: Yes! I love talking heroes. I may have just swooned over the word. Yep. I did. I swooned.

Jill: Well, you know I love heroes, especially YOUR heroes! In Hope Under Mistletoe, the first in the Seasons of Hope series, Knox is a bad boy. Frankly, I liked him. A lot. Were you nervous about writing a bad boy for the Christian market?

Jessica: Not at all! I think there are a lot of women married or dating men who were once “bad boys.” Or they dated one in their past. In fact, the more flawed a person is, the more I enjoy writing them because the redemption is even more powerful.

Jill: And did you have as much fun writing his journey to redemption as we did reading it?

Jessica: Absolutely! I wrote this story originally for myself. I was burned out to be honest and I just wanted to write for ME. What I like to read. No rules. And out came Knox and Eden. It was utter enjoyment.

Jill: Your new story, Just the Way You Are, surprised me with its hero. Who knew Pastor Gabe—the opposite of a bad boy—could be so dreamy? (Yes, I said dreamy. It comes from my childhood love of Scooby Doo cartoons.)

Jessica:  Jinkies, Jill! Thanks! Hahaha He was dreamy in a completely different way than Knox. I had so much positive feedback about Knox and his “hotness” I admit to worrying what readers would think of Gabe since he’s not a “bad boy” but a solid Christian man who happens to be a pastor. But I think they’ll be happy. I was.

Jill: Which of Gabe’s qualities is your favorite?

Jessica: I love that Gabe knows how to balance being a red-blooded man and a pastor/Christian without crossing lines or boundaries. I love that he knows how to give a great kiss but also listen to the heart of the woman he loves. That’s such a romantic sigh-satisfying kind of man!  And I love his sacrificial love for Audrey. He’d give up everything for her. Do anything for her.

Jill: Okay, share the celebrity inspiration for Knox and Gabe with us! Pinterest links would help. We’re not gawking—just curious. Drooling a little and curious.

Jessica: No drooling…um…not! Ha! For Knox I knew immediately that Colin Farrell would fit his looks, build, and “bad boy” image. Here is Knox. I hope you guys love the board it was so fun to make! https://www.pinterest.com/jessicarpatch/hope-under-mistletoe/

Gabe was a little harder to picture in my head. At first I thought Daniel Gillies from The Originals…swoon, and I pictured him often when I wrote Hope Under Mistletoe, but then when I got to Just the Way You Are, he didn’t quite fit. To be honest, he was too sensual. I know. I said sensual when discussing a Christian book. I wanted an attractive man, with a softer/friendlier face. So I went with a young Noah Wyle. https://www.pinterest.com/jessicarpatch/just-the-way-you-are/

This was a fun board to create too! Especially all the Easter fun!

Jill: I know you’re an avid romance reader, as am I. What do you want in a fictional hero?

Jessica: I want a manly man. Rough. Gruff. A bit unpredictable and wild. A man who knows how to use snark and wit and then at the same time have a soft inside. A man who would move heaven and earth to give the woman he loves what she wants and needs. I want hero who knows how to do sweet and thoughtful things for his heroine, even if he feels like an idiot doing it. And I’m a sucker for the cliché tall, dark, and handsome. Can’t. Help. It.

Jill: What turns you off in a fictional hero?

Jessica: If a hero doesn’t know how to flirt, I turn my nose up. Is that shallow? Well, if it is, then I’m shallow. I want a hero who knows how to flirt and get a girl’s heart rate going.

Jill: This is a toughie, but can you pick an all-time favorite hero from a novel you’ve read? I know, I know—there are so many!

Jessica: Oh. My. That is so tough. Grr…I really adored Colonel McLinn from The Colonel’s Lady by Laura Frantz. I’m pretty sure I fanned myself good. He was dreamy. I read a saga by Nora Roberts called The Chesapeake Bay Saga. In the first book, Cameron Quinn stole my breath. I occasionally still think of him. It’s been 15- 20 years since I read that I think. This is just too hard.

Jill: I loved Colonel McLinn!! That book. Mm-mm! So good!! Thank you so much for your input on heroes today, Jessica!!

Readers, Jessica is generously offering a free digital copy of Just the Way You Are, the second in the Seasons of Hope series, to anyone who signs up for her newsletter! This is a limited time offer until April 24th!  What are you waiting for? Sign up!

***

 Just the Way You Are

Just the Way You Are ~

When Pastor Gabe asks Audrey Gilbraith to use her mad florist skills to help him design a prayer garden, she’s all in, especially since it helps take her mind off the fact she’s about to lose her job and her apartment. But working closely with Gabe and not falling for him is complicated. She’s not pastor’s wife material, and she has the past to prove it.

Gabriel Brookson wants out of Audrey’s friend-zone, but when he pursues her romantically, he ruffles more than a few feathers in his congregation. How much is he willing to give up for this wonderful, quirky woman, and will Audrey accept him if he risks it all?

 

***

 

Jessica R. Patch

Jessica R. Patch ~

Jessica R. Patch lives in the mid-south where she pens inspirational contemporary romance and romantic suspense novels. When she’s not hunched over her laptop or going on adventurous trips in the name of research with willing friends, you can find her sneaking off to movies with her husband, watching way too much Netflix with her daughter, dominating her son at board games, and collecting recipes to amazing dishes she’ll probably never cook. Her debut novel with Harlequin Love Inspired Suspense will release in January 2016. She is represented by Rachel Kent of Books & Such Literary Management.

 

***

 

What qualities do YOU love in a fictional hero?

 

Have a terrific day!

Revisiting Favorite Books

I remember when I fell in love with historical romance novels. My youngest had just turned one. My sister-in-law mentioned Jodi Thomas, and I decided to try one of her books. Oh, my! I was hooked! Most of Jodi’s books at the time were set in Texas in the late 1870’s. The heroes were strong and tough but had a tender side underneath all those ranch-hardened muscles. And the heroines were spunky and caring. The Texas setting did something to me. I still love those books!

 

Soon I found Regency romance. Stephanie Laurens, Eloisa James and Julia Quinn became my go-to authors. I also loved Elizabeth Boyle. But about eight years ago, my tastes changed, and I began reading more and more inspirational (Christian) romance. I still do. I read many other genres, too.

During our last move, I donated 90% of my book collection to our library’s book sale. I kept several of my absolute fave books, and the other night, I cracked open a vintage Stephanie Laurens, Devil’s Bride. This is not a Christian romance! It’s pretty spicy–warning you now! But I just love the hero and the heroine and their interactions. Plus the suspense thread kept the story moving.

Another book I revisit from time to time is Mary Wibberley’s Man of Power. This is a vintage early 80’s Harlequin Romance. It’s classic! A modern (at the time) Cinderella tale with a twist. It made a huge impact on me because of the mouthy heroine (virtually unheard of in earlier Harlequins), the awesome settings, and the hunky hero. Mm-mmm! Love that book!

Do you ever revisit a favorite book? Please share the title!!

The super-hilarious–and one of my best friends–Jessica R. Patch had me and the characters from Small-Town Bachelor play a game of Would You Rather (linked) on her blog today.

And my author crush (if you remember, a few years back I got overly excited to meet her at a conference!), Becky Wade, is hosting me on the fabulous, Inspired by Life and Faith blog today! I’m sharing my love of Michigan lakes.

Both blogs are hosting giveaways of Small-Town Bachelor, so stop by!!

Have a terrific day!!

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