Tuesday, October 11, 2016

A Peek at My Fall Decor and Crocheted Scarf & Hat

Happy Harvest & Halloween!

I know Thanksgiving and Halloween haven't arrived yet, but I love the autumn season so much that fall decorating around my house begins as early as the fall equinox. I simply can't resist. It's also an ongoing process. It all begins with my stored decorations, but I always add to my collection when I see all the fall decor in stores. I do, however, typically wait until things go on sale (which is pretty early since Christmas hits shelves by early October...which seems crazy)...plus I always grab an online coupon to make my finds extra fabulous ;).

First off, I love to crochet when the cool weather hits. I'm not perfect at it and I'm not a pro, but I find it fun and relaxing. I've been wanting a super soft, fall colored, casual scarf and hat and, when I was in Joann's Fabrics recently, I found the perfect yarn. In fact, it's even called 'Harvest'! It's by Lion Brand Yarns (#377 for those who like to crochet or knit). I also added a rim to the hat using Lion Brand 'Herb Garden' (#410). I'm sorry that I don't have a specific pattern to use because I kind of wing it when I crochet. I can tell you that I mainly used a shell pattern with some single and double stitches in between...and a 6mm hook. I wanted it to have a loose pattern. Here's what I came up with (that's my totally Halloweenish black cat Nimbus inspecting my work in the first pic and his brother Storm peeking down from the upper corner in the second):

Rula's crochet handiwork
Another shot of Rula's crocheted hat and scarf

I also love owls and manage to include them in my decor year round. I have some that I only pull out for fall and others that transition through all seasons. I won't show pics of  all of them, but here are a few I incorporated into my fall decor:

Owl over Rula's fireplace. This one can hold a votive candle.

A recent owl 'bargain' I found, plus fall leaves from my backyard
By the way, I tend to include fall leaves around my home and they were all found on my property then dried/pressed by me. Free decor!

This very heavy owl is always in my kitchen. The mini pumpkins on top of votive candle holders are a substitute for real flames. No fire hazard here!
I seriously love pumpkins too! Talk about multipurpose decorating and getting your money's worth. They go from fall decor to jack-o-lanterns to roasted seeds and pie...and even chicken food! I especially like the white ghost pumpkins. So cool!

Pumpkins at Rula's front door
Pumpkins stacked on a planter at Rula's front door. Quick and easy decor.
Ooooh and then there's Halloween. 

Rula's butternut squash witch

A recent find on sale!
And a bit of spook. My teen son made the vials by filling them with water and food coloring and adding labels like 'Dragon's Blood', 'Basilisk Venom' and 'Mermaid Essence'. Can't have Halloween without some Harry Potter references!
I'm not done decorating and these are just a few of the things I've set out, but the season is young! :) Feel free to pop by this Pinterest board where some of the other Harlequin Heartwarming authors are posting fall/Thanksgiving ideas too!

What's your favorite fall decorating item or theme?

Friday, October 7, 2016

A Heartwarming Thanksgiving & Sweepstakes!

Happy October!! This is my absolute favorite month of the year. I'm a total autumn addict and can't get enough of fall colors, pumpkins and apple everything.

Now, I promised that I'd fill you in on some great news...

First off, Through the Storm was the final book on my first contract with Harlequin, BUT I recently signed a new SIX book contract with them. Yay!!!! The next three books will continue as part of my From Kenya, With Love series :) and the three after that will be part of another series...something a bit different but still Harlequin Heartwarming. I'm so excited about these next books!

Secondly, remember how After the Silence was honored as a Maggie Award Finalist? Well, this summer I found out that it is also an Aspen Gold contest finalist!! I'm so grateful and humbled!

Finally (for now ;)), what better way to usher in fall than with Thanksgiving themed stories and a huge GIVING THANKS SWEEPSTAKES (scroll down for details)? It might be awhile before my next Kenya book releases, but in the meantime, my connected short story, The Sweetheart Tree, is part of a 13 story Thanksgiving anthology releasing (along with scrumptious recipes...like my butternut squash cheesecake) November 1, 2016! A Heartwarming Thanksgiving is up for pre-order now! These stories were out for a limited time last year, but now they're back so you can have the keepsake collection to enjoy every year as a fall tradition.

"Count down to Thanksgiving with one of our 13 poignant Harlequin Heartwarming short stories. This is a time to get together with family and friends, and reconnect over pumpkin pie and hot apple cider…or read about the stories where heroes and heroines struggle to get their dream holiday!"

Snow Day Baby by Amy Vastine
Wedding at Turkey Run by Liz Flaherty
Her Thanksgiving Soldier by Leigh Riker
Mr. Right All Along by Jennifer Snow
Falling for the Cowboy by Sophia Sasson
The Marriage Gift by Tara Taylor Quinn
Heart of a Hero by Pamela Tracy
Thankful for You by Karen Rock
Autumn at Jasper Lake by Carol Ross
The Firefighter’s Promise by Kate James
Wedding of His Dreams by Cari Lynn Webb
The Sweetheart Tree by Rula Sinara
Married by Thanksgiving by Melinda Curtis



The initials were still there, carved in their tree…
Environmental activist Serena Myss thrives on difficult situations, so tying herself to a tree in her hometown to protect a wildlife habitat should be a no-brainer. Except she hasn't been back in five years—not since her brother died. Not since Austin, the man she loved, failed to save him. It's not just any tree, either. Serena and Austin carved their initials in its trunk and shared their first kiss under its canopy. But Serena's not one to let her emotions get in the way of a cause. Even if seeing Austin brings up all the pain she's tried to escape…and new feelings she can't ignore.


We are giving away a grand prize consisting of a $70 Amazon gift card and one previously-released, signed book from each of the anthology's 13 authors (approximate value of US $150). We are also offering three second-place prizes of $10 Amazon gift cards.
Check out this post for all the details and a link to enter: http://heartwarmingauthors.blogspot.com/2016/10/were-giving-thanks-sweepstakes.html

And there's more!

We're also hosting a FACEBOOK PARTY scheduled for November 3rd, 1:30 PM to 4:00 PM Eastern Time. All thirteen authors will be participating, sharing stories, recipes and more. And, of course, there will be lots of giveaways! Let us know if you're coming HERE.

Oh my gosh, I almost forgot. Remember last year's USA Today and Nationally Bestselling A Heartwarming Christmas anthology? The one that includes my story, The Gingerbird House? It's on sale for a limited time for only 99cents on Amazon!! And though I don't have a story in it this year, you can revisit Christmas Town, Maine and many of the same authors in A Heartwarming Holiday!

See? Isn't fall the best time of year? :)

Now, I'm off to buy more pumpkins and mum. You can't have enough pumpkins and it's hard to choose between all the cool colors and shapes. Plus, at the end of the season, my kids can do some fun pumpkin smashing so our chickens can have a feast :).