Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Blizzard Jonas & Chicken Pics

Blizzard Jonas has come and gone and we're still stranded at home! I'm not really complaining because we didn't lose power and I stocked up on supplies before the storm hit. Plus, food-wise, we have an unlimited supply of fresh eggs lol. Not losing power has made a huge difference, because when you're on well water and septic, power loss means water loss and no running septic.

It's hard to capture how hard it was coming down, but you can see visibility was low.
That said, our street hasn't been plowed yet. We started getting snow on Friday the 22nd. Schools were closed (and still are) and my digging began in earnest. I knew the heavy snow and blizzard were due to hit during the night and through Saturday, so I wanted to make sure the chickens had plenty of food and water (it kept freezing). Well, the snow came down so fast Friday afternoon that I by the time I dug a 2 ft wide path through 2 ft deep snow all the way to the coop which is about 60 ft away, I turned back and 4 more inches had already fallen. I made sure the flock was snug for the night (and most of the next morning). Saturday morning, it was really coming down and I didn't have the energy to dig, so I bundled up, balanced supplies (water, fresh greens, sunflower seeds, chicken feed etc...) in my arms and tried making it to the coop on foot. It wasn't easy. Talk about kick starting an exercise plan! The path I'd dug on Friday was completely filled so the snow was well over my knees. Picture all the leg lifts it took to make it to the coop and back! And these were blizzard conditions, so the wind didn't make it easy, but I'm stubborn when it comes to making sure everyone's taken care of (yes, I even filled the wild bird feeders at the creek before the storm hit).

Taken just outside the back door on Friday, when it had only been snowing a few hours. That's our grill to the left and the coop in the distance. 
For those of you who don't follow me on social media, here's a cute pic my teen son made of a few of my hens riding out the storm in a home theater. We came up with this idea after one of the Heartwarming editors joked that she hoped my flock was snug in my basement eating chips and watching movies ;). After all that digging, I kinda wish they had been!

Rula's flock entertainment
When I told my teen that the digging left every muscle in my hands and arms aching (not to mention my back and the tendinitis in my ankle) and that typing was going to hurt, he told me I should rely on my writing team and came up with this pic:

Notice the 'chicken scratch' and 'grainstorming' on their little papers lol
I must say, cabin fever entertainment for teens is not what it was when I was a kid! :)

Rula's dogs on Friday when the snow was still only a few inches deep

Rula's dog in the first path I tried digging only hours into the storm. There was a lot of snow yet to come!
Anyway, on Sunday, the sun came out and I had to re-dig all the way to the coop. I also needed to dig an area for the dogs to do their business. They had managed to do so in a small area during the storm (they were confused and reluctant), but my larger dog (think super tall poodle size in shoulder height) sank in the snow when she tried running off. I thought I was going to have to pull her out, but after some struggling, she made it back to the door safely.

Half-way to the chicken coop and looking back. 
Happy to stretch after being all cooped up!
Half of Rula's flock in search of grass
My reward for all that digging are the gorgeous views left by the storm.

You can see how the winds created patterned snow dunes much like those made of sand.
This pic and the next show the snow depth. Our fencing is a bit over 4 ft. Everywhere I stuck a measuring stick, I got confirmation that we got 3 ft of snow, plus deeper (4-5ft) drifts. 
We won't be opening that gate anytime soon.
Our land is set in a bit of a valley with a hill to our west side and creek to the east. This topography tends to invite strong winds to swoop down on us and any snow being blown, settles around our place.

Our creek. It's really there, running right behind the closest tree.

So glad I filled the bird feeders! This little fella was too cute.
I love seeing tracks in the snow. Plus it was so sparkly!
So after digging to the coop, I dug out an equally deep front walk (about 35ft) because our front door faces north and would take forever to melt. My husband and boys were working on our driveway, which took a couple of days (we're in the country so our driveway is just under 200 ft and the snow had drifted, making it at least 3-4 ft deep there). 

And as of this evening (it's after 5:30 pm Tuesday as I'm typing this), our street hasn't been plowed. The department of transportation did finally make it out to our neighborhood's streets today, but for some reason, they drove right past ours. We're the only street here that didn't get plowed, and yes, my neighbors and I called in to report the situation, but all they could do was to put in another 'work order' and hope to make it back by morning. Our neighbor and my husband are out there trying to clear as much as they can, but it's simply too much snow. When it's that deep, the smaller mowing tractor plow attachments and snow blowers don't work well.

In any case, school is cancelled tomorrow too and we'll see what they say about the rest of the week. I've heard that someone in our area had to be airlifted (because of unplowed roads) to a hospital due to heart problems. I saw on the news that many died after suffering heart attacks while shoveling...and many more died from accidents and hypothermia. My heart goes out to their friends and families. Although it left us with beautiful scenery, Blizzard Jonas was powerful and dangerous...and deadly. I'm not about to complain about shoveling or a plow passing us by. At least my family is safe and sound.

If you were in the path of the storm, I hope you and yours are safe and sound too!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Harlequin Heartwarming Paperbacks in Walmart...and on Amazon/B&N!

Hi everyone and Happy New Year! 

I had a rather eventful end to 2015 including, but not limited to, the hard drive on our main computer dying (luckily it was still under warranty, but diagnosis and repairs stole a chunk of time), my line edits on Through the Storm being due (did I mention computer issues?) and...the biggie...the septic system alarm going off on New Year's Eve. We'd been having heavy rains and I thought it might be related, but it turns out a pipe in one of the septic tanks had broken. Luckily, the septic company called me back right away, instructed me not to use water (as in dishes, showers etc...) and the guy came out on New Year's Day for repairs (not warrantied). I'm so thankful that nothing backed in the house and everything was caught in time, so no major complaints here :).

And...I got my line edits done! So the third book in my From Kenya, with Love series, Through the Storm, is good to go! I haven't seen the cover yet, but it's already up on Amazon for pre-order and they have the blurb for the story up too. And I have awesome news!!! Starting this month, print copies/paperbacks of all Harlequin Heartwarming books will be available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble online!!! 

He's the biggest risk she'll ever take

Tessa Henning is no damsel. But she's definitely in distress. If her husband really is involved in the ivory trade, he'll come after her when he finds out what she's uncovered. Unfortunately, the only person who can help is Mac Walker. Stubborn, fiercely independent, danger-loving bush pilot Mac Walker—with whom she shares custody of their orphaned nephew. Though Mac's no knight in shining armor, he can keep her and their nephew safe in the Serengeti while they wait out this storm. But he can't protect Tessa from the strange weather brewing inside her, stirring up feelings for Mac she wishes she could ignore...

But that's not all...right now, print copies of current releases are also available in select Walmart stores nationwide (find a store near you by using the link on this page at Harlequin) and the Heartwarming authors are hosting a tour and Rafflecopter giveaway to celebrate! Read on for entry details...

On tour with Prism Book Tours.

We're thrilled to be spreading the word about Harlequin Heartwarming books now being available in local US Walmarts. Join in the fun by taking some selfies with a Heartwarming book or two to win a Walmart gift card. Heartwarming titles are also 35% off at Walmart through the end of January!

Ten Heartwarming authors are sharing their own selfies and messages at each stop of the tour! Stop by each day to check them out...

January 4th: I Am A Reader - Amy Vastine
January 5th: Mel's Shelves - Anna J. Stewart
January 6th: deal sharing aunt - Cari Lynn Webb
January 7th: Reading Is My SuperPower - Carol Ross
January 8th: Katie's Clean Book Collection - Catherine Lanigan
January 10th: Babs Book Bistro - Leigh Riker
January 11th: Love, Laughter, Friendship - Melinda Curtis
January 12th: Heidi Reads... - Pamela Tracy
January 13th: Christian Chick's Thoughts - Rula Sinara
January 14th: Bookworm Lisa - Tara Taylor Quinn
January 15th: Grand Finale

Tour Giveaway

15 - $10 Walmart Gift Cards
- Rules: To enter, take a selfie at a local Walmart with a Heartwarming book and post publicly on social media (can be your hands, your face, etc. with a Heartwarming book). Can enter once each day with a different picture each time. Those who post the same picture multiple times will be disqualified. Those who only post privately (so that it can't be viewed publicly) will also be disqualified.
- US Only
- Ends January 20th

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I may have had a rough end to 2015, but 2016 is off to a great start! I hope you all have a fabulous, healthy, happy and peaceful year :).

Monday, November 30, 2015

A Heartwarming Thanksgiving Grand Finale & Facebook Party

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and month of November! I know this post looks similar to my last, but it's not a repeat (at least not totally ;). First of all, sorry for the late notice here, but for those of you on Facebook, we're having a big party today, 12-2pm EST (my hosty time is 1:40-1:48 EST)...see the link below! Come chat with the 13 authors of this month's free reads and comment for a chance at even more giveaways!

And for those of you who either didn't have a chance to read the free online stories, including mine...The Sweetheart Tree...or check out the blog tour posts, they're all listed below with direct links and extra details.

It's hard to believe it's the last day of November! Have a great one!

On tour with Prism Book Tours.

Grand Finale for
A Heartwarming Thanksgiving

Harlequin released 13 FREE short stories by beloved Harlequin Heartwarming authors during November via their site. You can still read these short stories through December 31st. The sale for 30% off Heartwarming titles also continues through November 30th. Grab the ones you want now!

A Heartwarming Thanksgiving Facebook Party

Join us for a grand ending to this month of wonderful Harlequin Heartwarming short stories with a Facebook party! All thirteen authors are stopping by and giving away more books!! Come join us on Monday, November 30th, from 12 pm to 2 pm EST HERE. If you can't make it, feel free to stop by later and check out the party.

If you missed any of the extra guest posts or excerpts for stories you might have missed, go back and check them out...

11/2: Snow Day Baby by Amy Vastine

Katie's Clean Book Collection - Short Story Guest Post
. . . when Harlequin came to me about this Thanksgiving short, I had to give Scott the ending he deserved. SNOW DAY BABY was born.
Sheridan pulled her hair over one shoulder. She had been a pretty girl who turned into an absolutely beautiful woman. Pregnancy looked good on her. Her skin was flawless and those green eyes had always been capable of taking his breath away.

Singing Librarian Books - Heartwarming Guest Post
You always know you’re going to get an emotional-satisfying read with a guaranteed happy ever after. Another great thing about this line – you can share these books with your friends, your mother, your sister, your daughter and not be embarrassed to say you’ve read them.

11/4: Wedding at Turkey Run by Liz Flaherty

Babs Book Bistro - Short Story Guest Post

. . . the Writer’s Lot in Life—which is nothing more than thinking “what if…” every time you turn around—took over, resulting in Wedding at Turkey Run.

“Sorry.” Although she wasn’t. Even taking into account the gorgeousness of his eyes, hair and smile, there was something about Zeke McNeil that set her teeth on edge.

Heidi Reads... - Heartwarming Guest Post
I was in Northwest Florida avoiding a terrible winter in the Midwest, but my heart was in the Northeast Kingdom. I made a discovery then, that not only were these books heartwarming to read, they were heartwarming to write, too.

11/6: Her Thanksgiving Soldier by Leigh Riker

Letters from Annie (Douglass) Lima - Short Story Guest Post
From the start, Caleb seemed to need his own story—and now he has it. I hope you enjoy reading “Her Thanksgiving Soldier.” I loved writing it.

Mel's Shelves - Excerpt
She tried to focus on her list, but it seemed his image was imprinted on her mind. Sleepy eyes and tousled hair. He looked good enough to…love? Even after yesterday when she’d cried in the car, and he’d kissed her, she wasn’t going there.

Brooke Blogs - Heartwarming Guest Post
Whether each author’s stories are funny or sad or both, they all contain lots of emotion. Heartwarming gives me the chance to explore some deeper issues with fully-realized characters to love.

11/9: Mr. Right All Along by Jen Snow

Katie's Clean Book Collection - Short Story Guest Post
Ah well, she gets her happily ever after in this Heartwarming Thanksgiving short Mr. Right All Along. Of course, not without a few bumps in the road;) 

Love thy Shelf - Excerpt
Her eyes lit up and immediately he knew where her thoughts were heading. “Cooking isn’t hard for you.” She grabbed his hands in her small soft ones, making his heart pick up speed. “Teach me,” she said.

Min Reads and Reviews - Heartwarming Guest Post
I’ve made a lovely home at Harlequin’s Heartwarming line. When my agent and I were looking for a place for my small town, contemporary, sweet series, it was the perfect fit.

11/11: Falling for the Cowboy by Sophia Sasson

Kindle and Me - Short Story Guest Post
I wrote this story because for me, thanksgiving is about home. It’s a holiday where we get together with our loved ones and are grateful we have each other.

He’d grabbed a cowboy hat off a rack, placed it on his head, and gave her a broad smile, looking a lot like the star of a country western film.

Colorimetry - Heartwarming Guest Post
I read books because I want to feel; I want to laugh, cry, yell at no one in particular. I want the freedom to experience a range of emotions that aren’t of my doing. That’s also why I write for Harlequin Heartwarming. This is a line where the stories are driven by an emotional payoff; that moment when you clutch your heart and feel the words in your soul.

11/13: The Marriage Gift by Tara Taylor Quinn

Babs Book Bistro - Short Story Guest Post
The Marriage Gift is a lot shorter than any of my other work, but it’s classic ttq. Emotionally compelling. A little dark. And ultimately joyful.

Shrugging, prosecuting attorney, Corrine Armstrong, pulled the offensive piece of material off the small, but nice wooden dinette she’d purchased two months before but had yet to host a meal on. She used to host a lot of meals. All the time. She used to have a large, impressive dining room table, too.

Brooke Blogs - Heartwarming Guest Post
I’m thrilled to be spending time in this new Heartwarming world as well. Where my heart can spill forth freely! I hope you find the result a blessing in your life.

11/16: Heart of a Hero by Pamela Tracy

Writing Pearls - Short Story Guest Post
Heart of a Hero is Nathan’s story. Imagine finding out your whole history is not the one you were supposed to have? That the parents who raised you weren’t your parents and that the mother who gave birth to you never stopped loving, never stopped searching, never stopped praying.

Nathan nodded. He knew Agatha. Back when he was a cop in nearby Adobe Hills, Arizona, he’d occasionally called her needing information. She knew everyone.

Waiting For Wentworth - Heartwarming Guest Post
I love Harlequin Heartwarming. Within the pages of the books, I can go places I’ve never been, meet heroes and heroes having adventures, and always walk away knowing that Happily Ever After is the perfect ending.

11/18: Thankful for You by Karen Rock

Christian Chick's Thoughts - Short Story Guest Post
I’m absolutely thrilled with the second chance love story I wrote for a secondary character in another romance I’d set in the Adirondacks, RAISING THE STAKES. In that book, two best friends co-own a diner. I wanted to give Maggie James, a woman who admires the gutsy gals she grew-up watching in black and white films with her grandmother, the happily-ever-after she deserved. 

Beams whined overhead and plunged. One careened into the opposite wall in a shower of sparks. Eric doggedly kept his focus. They would make it out. Alive.

Getting Your Read On - Heartwarming Guest Post
I love writing Heartwarming novels because they are deeply emotional and extremely romantic. As they are “clean reads” the author has lots of page room to devote to developing the love between two compelling characters and their journey to find it.

11/20: Autumn at Jasper Lake by Carol Ross

I Am A Reader - Short Story Guest Post
I thought the story would be something light-hearted and not-too-serious with a hero returning or moving to Rankins to escape a difficult past. He’d want to be left alone. I intended for the folks of Rankins to make my broody hero’s alone-time impossible. . . . Some of that happens. But, as is usually the case when I start writing, my characters began to take on lives of their own. And they had other plans. Plans that surprised me.

Ryder could feel two sets of eyes on his back as he and Tag started toward the cabin. Something in him itched to turn around and see if he was right. What could it hurt to take one more glance at the lovely Jessie and her dog Fife? Cool it, Ryder, he told himself, women and dogs were both off limits.

Colorimetry - Heartwarming Guest Post
The emphasis on feelings like affection, respect, admiration and “like” reflects the necessities (in my opinion) that make up a strong and lasting relationship. True love, in other words, is the hallmark of Heartwarming.

11/23: The Firefighter’s Promise by Kate James

Mel's Shelves - Short Story Guest Post
[T]he precipitating event in The Firefighter’s Promise is based on a very personal experience. . . . It was an interesting process for me to try to put myself inside my husband’s head while writing this story to understand what he must have been feeling and thinking.

     Amidst the scorching bursts of light, she saw him. Dark hair. Strong features. Blue eyes. There was a prick on her forearm and an odd taste in her mouth.
     She trusted those eyes and believed the voice that assured her he’d take care of her before everything went black.

Beck Valley Books - Heartwarming Guest Post
The Heartwarming series is for readers who enjoy well-written, deeply-nuanced stories that are clean and wholesome.

11/24: Wedding of His Dreams by Cari Lynn Webb

Bookworm Lisa - Short Story Guest Post
I had so much fun writing this story and watching Matt push Ruthie outside of her comfort zone. Of course Ruthie didn't budge easily from her by the book life, but Matt was more than up for the challenge. And Ruthie discovered the best happy-ever-after was the one she never planned for.

Kindle and Me - Excerpt
Matt squatted down and rubbed the golden coat of Lady, Steve and Becca's eight-month old Great Dane rescue puppy. But his focus remained on Ruthie as she circled around the tables toward him. He took in everything from her thick, loose braid that hung over her left shoulder to her scarf wilted against her belted jacket to her ease with the pony-sized dog that easily outweighed her by a good twenty-some pounds. 

Zerina Blossom's Books - Heartwarming Guest Post
I love strong emotional stories with characters defining what it means to be a part of a community, learning the value of family and discovering the power of their own happily-ever-afters. These are the types of stories I like to read and write.

11/25: The Sweetheart Tree by Rula Sinara

Reading Is My SuperPower - Short Story Guest Post
In my Harlequin Heartwarming Thanksgiving short story, The Sweetheart Tree, environmental activist Serena Myss doesn’t only take a short walk in the woods when her family suffers a tragedy…unable to cope with her emotions or loss, she leaves home for several years. In doing so, she leaves behind the very people who love her, including the man she once thought she’d spend forever with. . .

Officer Austin Shale had slapped handcuffs on plenty of wrists—most of them hairy—but never in his wildest dreams had he imagined locking them on the soft, slender wrists of Serena Myss. Well, maybe he had imagined it once or twice, but not with her shooting daggers at him with those piercing, hazel eyes of hers. She glared at the handcuffs he’d taken off his belt.

Writing Pearls - Heartwarming Guest Post
What I love about writing for Harlequin Heartwarming is that, although the stories in the line are fiction, they’re so true to real life that the pain, struggles and loss so many experience are as much a part of the characters’ journeys as they are ours.

11/26: Married by Thanksgiving by Melinda Curtis

Heidi Reads... - Short Story Guest Post
I love marriage of convenience stories, but if you aren't writing historicals or paranormals, it's hard to come up with a plausible plot for one. When I was asked to write a short for Thanksgiving, a marriage of convenience idea came to mind: one NFL quarterback - Clinton Hadley - desperate to get out of jail and play Thanksgiving weekend.

She glanced up at Clinton. He looked like the poster boy for the NFL. Finely chiseled features, crisply cut black hair, dark brown eyes that could dissect a defense in less than ten seconds. He was known for his ability to adjust a play on the fly, to take risks, to think outside the box. What line had he crossed? 

Love, Laughter, Friendship - Heartwarming Guest Post
There is physical attraction between the hero and heroine (and kissing!), but the love between them is more likely built on the foundation of one soul recognizing another than one perfect body being attracted to another.

We hope you found something to warm your heart and help you get into the holiday spirit! Don't forget to enter the giveaways, if you haven't already...


Goodreads Giveaway

13 Harlequin Heartwarming Books
Enter on Goodreads HERE.

Pinterest Giveaway

Pin one or both of these images to spread the word and enter to win this adorably festive Thanksgiving Table Set:

Pinterest Prize includes: four reversible, quilted placemats, four matching napkins, hand-painted matching napkin rings, matching table runner, matching quilted hot pad/trivet, floral centerpiece in pot, and hand-crafted pilgrim pair.
- Enter via the Rafflecopter below
- Open to US/CAN only
- Ends December 4th

Tour Giveaway

Grand Prize: Harlequin Heartwarming Year Subscription (Provided by Harlequin and to US/CAN only)
$40 VISA card (US only)
13-Book Heartwarming Prize Pack: The Best Laid Plans, Back to McGuffy's, If I Loved You, Love, Lies & Mistletoe, First Comes Marriage, Once Upon A Marriage, Small Town Secrets, Winter Wedding Bells, If Not For A Bee, When The Right One Comes Along, Wedding of His Dreams, After The Silence, and A Memory Away (print copies if US, ebooks if international)
8-Book Prize Pack: The Best Laid Plans, If I Loved You, Love, Lies & Mistletoe, First Comes Marriage, Once Upon A Marriage, Winter Wedding Bells, If Not For A Bee, When The Right One Comes Along, and After The Silence (print copies if US, ebooks if international)
Ends December 4th

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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

A Harlequin Heartwarming Thanksgiving: Event Update & Details

November is flying by! Here's an update on the Harlequin Heartwarming November event. It includes contest entry details, Rafflecopter and links to tour blog posts by each author (the links will work on the day the post goes live). Plus, remember, additional giveaways by individual authors can be found at the Harlequin community when their stories go live. Enjoy!

On tour with Prism Book Tours.

Join us for
A Heartwarming Thanksgiving

We'll be highlighting 13 FREE short stories by beloved Harlequin Heartwarming authors that will be available from Harlequin during November via their site. Join the fun by stopping by any or all of the tour stops, stopping by the Facebook Party (with additional giveaways), and entering the fabulous giveaways! We hope you find something to warm your heart and help you get into the holiday spirit!

Read each story on Harlequin's site HERE through December 31st.
All Heartwarming print titles are 30% OFF during November from Harlequin as well! Use code HEART1115.

11/2: Snow Day Baby by Amy Vastine
Singing Librarian Books, The Power of Words, & Katie's Clean Book Collection

11/4: Wedding at Turkey Run by Liz Flaherty
My Love for Reading Keeps Growing, Babs Book Bistro, & Heidi Reads...

11/6: Her Thanksgiving Soldier by Leigh Riker
Letters from Annie (Douglass) Lima, Mel's Shelves, & Brooke Blogs

11/9: Mr. Right All Along by Jen Snow
Katie's Clean Book CollectionMin Reads and Reviews, & Love thy Shelf

11/11: Falling for the Cowboy by Sophia Sasson
Kindle and Me, The Power of Words, & Colorimetry

11/13: The Marriage Gift by Tara Taylor Quinn
deal sharing aunt, Babs Book Bistro, & Brooke Blogs

11/16: Heart of a Hero by Pamela Tracy
Writing Pearls, Wishful Endings, & Waiting For Wentworth

11/18: Thankful for You by Karen Rock
Christian Chick's Thoughts, Getting Your Read On, & Love, Laughter, Friendship

11/20: Autumn at Jasper Lake by Carol Ross
Reading Is My SuperPower, I Am A Reader, & Colorimetry

11/23: The Firefighter’s Promise by Kate James
Canadian Book Addict, Mel's Shelves, & Beck Valley Books

11/24: Wedding of His Dreams by Cari Lynn Webb
Bookworm Lisa, Kindle and Me, & Zerina Blossom's Books

11/25: The Sweetheart Tree by Rula Sinara
The Written Adventure, Reading Is My SuperPower, & Writing Pearl

11/26: Married by Thanksgiving by Melinda Curtis
Heidi Reads..., Love, Laughter, Friendship, & Singing Librarian Books 

11/29: Grand Finale
11/30: Facebook Party

Don't miss any of these FREE novellas! Stop by each of the tour stops each day!


Goodreads Giveaway

13 Harlequin Heartwarming Books
Enter on Goodreads HERE.

Pinterest Giveaway


Pin one or both of these images to spread the word and enter to win this adorably festive Thanksgiving Table Set:

Pinterest Prize includes: four reversible, quilted placemats, four matching napkins, hand-painted matching napkin rings, matching table runner, matching quilted hot pad/trivet, floral centerpiece in pot, and hand-crafted pilgrim pair.
- Enter via the Rafflecopter below
- Open to US only
- Ends December 4th

Tour Giveaway

Grand Prize: Harlequin Heartwarming Year Subscription (Provided by Harlequin and to US/CAN only)
$40 VISA card (US only)
13-Book Heartwarming Prize Pack: The Best Laid Plans, Back to McGuffy's, If I Loved You, Love, Lies & Mistletoe, First Comes Marriage, Once Upon A Marriage, Small Town Secrets, Winter Wedding Bells, If Not For A Bee, When The Right One Comes Along, Wedding of His Dreams, After The Silence, and A Memory Away (print copies if US, ebooks if international)
8-Book Prize Pack: The Best Laid Plans, If I Loved You, Love, Lies & Mistletoe, First Comes Marriage, Once Upon A Marriage, Winter Wedding Bells, If Not For A Bee, When The Right One Comes Along, and After The Silence (print copies if US, ebooks if international)
Ends December 4th

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Monday, November 2, 2015

A Harlequin Heartwarming Thanksgiving Event: A month of FREE online reads, GIVEAWAYS & more!

Happy November, everyone! I told you I'd be back with an exciting post :). You're in for an entire month of FREE online reads at Harlequin.com, opportunities to win prizes, including Visa and Amazon gift cards, autographed books, Thanksgiving accessories and more! I'm one of thirteen Harlequin Heartwarming authors who've written Thanksgiving themed short stories that will be posted on Harlequin for all to enjoy. That's 3-4 stories a week, through Thanksgiving! 

Check out the schedule below. Mine is called The Sweetheart Tree, due to go live Nov. 25th, and it's linked to my 'From Kenya, with Love' stories (though each stands alone). In fact, many of the stories will be loosely tied to the various series written by Harlequin Heartwarming authors. What a treat! In fact, Amy Vastine's Snow Day Baby kicked off the month today! And it's not just about the free reads. There'll be fun, games and prizes at multiple online venues! Check out the links to each week at the Harlequin Community Event here (note: they won't go live until that specific week/day):

Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4

There's also a Prism Book Tour for the month long event. Enter a Rafflecopter drawing for fabulous prizes and read posts by each author on their 'release' day for behind the scene peeks at their stories. Check out the link for the tour schedule and list of prizes/drawings!

Giveaways include:

Goodreads - 13 books up for grabs! Enter HERE.

Pinterest - Thanksgiving table accessories (See the tour link to enter)

Tour prizes - A year long subscription to Harlequin Heartwarming (US/Can), $40 Visa card (US), 13 Harlequin Heartwarming book prize pack and 8 book prize pack (ebook if international, otherwise print on the book prizes)

More prizes - There'll be even more giveaways (details to come), including at our Facebook Party Finale on Nov 30th (consider yourself invited...just click the link and hit 'going':). All I can say is that there'll be tons of giveaways, such as these handmade, natural olive oil soaps and Thanksgiving towel, Amazon gift cards and more!

Discounts - ALL HARLEQUIN HEARTWARMING BOOKS WILL BE ON SALE FOR 30% OFF DURING NOVEMBER AT WWW.HARLEQUIN.COM! That's $1 off per book. Just enter the code HEART1115 at checkout. See details HERE.

Okay, I need to catch my breath! I think this is the first November where something fabulous enough to take my mind off stuffing and mashed potatoes has come along. Don't you love that books are calorie free? Oh and remember...the online reads above are free, but be sure to enjoy them during November and December...before it's too late! You can keep up with what's going on here (or on any of my social media sites), Facebook, at Harlequin.com, at the Heartwarming Author's blog, or Twitter using #HarlequinHeartwarming.

See you around and enjoy the fun!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Backyard Fall Colors, an Autumn Harper's Ferry Trip & Holiday News

Fall Fiesta Sugar Maple in my backyard
Most people know what a fall fanatic I am. Yes, I stumble and trip plenty (no really...I'm currently sporting one of those clunky brace boots on my right foot), but I'm talking about autumn and everything to do with it from the foods, colors, decor and holidays (I hope everyone had a Happy Halloween!). There are no words for how much I love the season (warning: photo binge ahead). And one of the first signs that fall has arrived in my neck of the woods is the sound and sight of Canadian geese migrating overhead. They never fail to be breathtaking and I just love them. Thankfully, I've never been in the line of fire of droppings. Apparently, they don't poop as much during flight.

Geese flying over my house in October
However, my chickens are quite generous with their droppings ;). Yep. They're full of that generous, Thanksgiving spirit (probably thankful they're not turkeys). I love their poop for compost...but not so much on my patio. I've decided that I'm going to have to put a tall, decorative fence around my patio. I'm tired of hosing it down. I'll spare you a photo of what it looks like after they have a flock party. Interestingly, they never fly onto the gas grill or fire pit. Hmmm...Nope, those stay clean and chicken poop free.

Fall colors behind Rula's chicken coop
In chicken news, the girls are looking mighty sad right now. Fall is also molting season and boy are they molting. I think I have as many feathers in my yard as chicken droppings. Sadly, we also lost two hens last month. Two large dogs from the neighborhood got loose and dug a huge hole under our fence, then crept under, attacked my flock and killed/ate one of my new Rhode Island Reds and one of my original hens, a Buff Orpington named Pumpkin (that was seriously her name...Pippa and Papaya's sister...but of course the dogs didn't know that they'd gotten Pumpkin in the fall...I don't think). It was brutal. I caught them in the act, but way too late. It was a muddy, rainy day but I finally managed to chase them off, clean the remains, lock the rest of the flock up safely and haul a wheelbarrow full of wet, heavy sod uphill to fill the hole they'd dug. Things have settled back to normal now, though. I'm currently at 28 chickens (4 of which are roosters).

Morning light through the fall leaves along my creek
Looking up at the treetops along my creek
This weekend, we took the boys on a road trip to Harper's Ferry, WV. For those of you who don't know, Harper's Ferry is a historic town located right where the states of West Virginia, Virginia and Maryland meet. The Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers also meet right there at a point between the states. When you're standing in town, you're surrounded by cliffs and hills. It's stunning scenery, especially in the fall. And I got a lovely romance author surprise while I was resting on a stone wall...a couple got married in a simple, natural ceremony right there along the river. The only tell-tale sign of a bride was the green and white floral wreath she wore on her head. It was lovely. 

Sorry for the long post (playing catch-up :), but here are some of the pics I took of Harper's Ferry:

Harper's Ferry river view
Harper's Ferry - looking back on our way up to the cemetery
Harper's Ferry
Harper's Ferry
The Harper's Ferry cemetery...on Halloween
A sweetgum tree at the corner in Harper's Ferry
And pics of fall colors in the woods at Harper's Ferry...

I couldn't stop taking pictures! Trust me there were too many to post here. We made it home just in time to get ready for trick-or-treaters who never showed up. That made for a lot of spare candy. Not good with kids in the house.

And finally (I swear I'll stop after this lol), a quick release update. I was so swamped the past month or two that, although you might have seen posts and links to my latest release on my website, Facebook or other sites, I failed to make it back here. Not only did A Heartwarming Christmas, the anthology I'm in with 12 other Harlequin Heartwarming authors, release on October 13th...it made both the Amazon, Indie and USA Today Bestseller lists!!!! Totally thrilling!! All the stories in it are connected (but stand alone) and take place in the same town in Maine, but the anthology is also broken down into four 'books' of three novellas each that are even more closely tied together. The group I'm a part of is called The Gingerbread Men and it consists of three stories about a mom and her two daughters who unexpectedly find their soul mates during the holidays (The Gingerbread Heart by Liz Flaherty, The Gingerbread Pony by Patricia Bradley and The Gingerbird House by me). You'll soon be able to buy the trio of stories, although you can't miss the deal on the entire 13 in the anthology itself! The individual novellas will be available in both ebook and print coming soon.

You can read my related guest posts here:
The Carus Chronicles - A Heartwarming Home

And the anthology authors also put together a holiday craft and recipe ebook! I have a few gluten free recipes and a craft in there myself ;). Is this a cute cover or what? You can find it on Amazon in both print and Kindle formats! 

 Ah yes, I slipped straight from fall into Christmas! But don't worry, I haven't skipped over Thanksgiving. I'll be back tomorrow (yes, that fast...call it a post binge, but so much is going on) with HUGE, FANTASTIC NEWS and links to a November Thanksgiving Harlequin Heartwarming promotion that kicked off today. You can also check out the Heartwarming Author blog for a sneak look at what's going on :). Let's just say it involves free online Thanksgiving reads, insanely great giveaways and my story is linked to my Harlequin Heartwarming series!

See you very soon!