Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Find us on Facebook!

Did you know the Heartwarming Authors are on Facebook? Our author page is an easy place to stop and find out about this month's books. It's also allows us to engage with readers. Find out what movies we like or who's in the news! Come by, click like, and post a message on our board.

Monday, September 29, 2014

It's Goodreads Day!

Remember that old song? "It's good news week, someone dropped a bomb somewhere..."

Okay, you're younger than me and don't remember. Sigh. Anyway, instead of Good News, we're inviting you over to Goodreads...right here...Wholesome Romance - Harlequin Heartwarming

For example - today is also International Coffee Day! So Cerella Sechrist has decided to give away a copy of her first Heartwarming title, GENTLE PERSUASION (which takes place on a coffee plantation in Kona, Hawaii) along with a $5 Starbucks gift card on our Goodreads group.

Come on over and say hello, play some games, read up on what's new from Heartwarming in JUST TWO DAYS' TIME! Oh, sorry, didn't mean to shout, but that's when October books are out and one of them is mine.

If you stay a while, there's always great conversation!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Is Summers End The Time to Put Away Hot Dogs, Picnics & Barbecue? by Muriel Jensen & Roz Denny Fox

We’ve decided duo blogging isn’t easy. So after our September kickoff we will probably individually blog every other month. But since in late September we say goodbye to summer, we discussed what that really means. In some places it means goodbye to sun and to the freedom lazy days without school brings. Many people consider Labor Day the last hurrah for barbecues, picnics and serving hotdogs with potato salad.  How many of you bring summer inside during fall and winter? Do you stick a hibachi in the fireplace, or huddle around a fire pit in the snow? Who among you have picnicked in your living room?

MURIEL—With our iffy weather in Oregon, Ron and I have never barbequed very much.  We’ve picnicked a lot, and had a VW bus with the middle seat taken out so we could put in a table.  That allowed us to move the picnic inside if the weather turned on us.  The table was fairly good sized and was covered with a wipe-off map of the United States.  Kept us all occupied and gave us a lot to talk about over lunch.  When our neighbors were here last week for pizza and salad, we had such a good time that we vowed we’d be there in December in our parkas and mittens.  Sunshine isn’t essential to fun.  What do you think?

ROZ--I was blessed to have a husband who loved barbecue no matter the weather.  We also liked to picnic with friends rain or shine.  That served us well when we lived in Oregon and Washington State.  When it came to picnics it got to be a huge laugh.  Every time we planned a picnic with 2 particular sets of friends, we’d arrive at our chosen spot, only to have a storm blow up.  It got to the point we didn’t say the word, picnic.  One would call and say, “What do you have that you could toss together for a lunch?” And then if you said: “hot dogs and salad”, the other would say, “Meet you in an hour at X park.  I can’t you how many photos I have of us hunkered down at a rain-swept picnic table.  But what fun!

MURIEL--When I was a child on the coast of Massachusetts, the favorite summer event was a clambake on the beach.  My father and his friends would dig a large hole, line it with stones, pile wood on top and let it burn until the stones were red hot.  They’d place a cinder block on each corner to anchor the barbecue grate.  Then they’d pile on the food – a layer of seaweed first, then potatoes, seaweed, corn, seaweed, Portuguese sausage, seaweed, clams, and a final layer of seaweed.  They’d cover the hole with a length of burlap dipped in seawater.  It cooked about an hour until the clam shells opened and the potatoes were done.  I can’t tell you what that tasted like when you were sitting in the sand, watching the waved break, surrounded by friends.  It was magic.  In the winter, we cooked the same ingredients in a pot on the stove.  What it lacked in atmosphere was made up for with friendship and laughter.

ROZ—A clambake sounds like such fun. Something you could enjoy in sunshine or the misty seaside weather when fall creeps in. Muriel’s note made me remember one of our most fun picnics. Four of us took wine and bread and cheese into the mountains beyond Bend, Oregon on snowmobiles. When we stopped for lunch the sky was blue, the air so cold you could see every breath. The wine and laughs with good company warmed us.

Let’s hear some of your most memorable summer, fall, or winter barbecues or picnics.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Can I Come In? (Tara Taylor Quinn)

Knock. Knock.  I'm standing out here on the porch, suitcase in hand, with boxes in the truck waiting out on the street.  Not two ton of them.  Not like, everything I own, but...a lot.

I was invited to move in with you all.  So here I am accepting the invitation.  I want to tell you right up front that I have a home.  Two of them, actually, but it's so lovely here that I asked if I could make this my third home.  I was quite excited to be told that I could.  So here I am!

If you want to follow along with me while I get settled, I'll tell you a little bit about myself and then I'd love it if you'd tell me how I can contribute here.  What do you need or want from me?  How can I help?

First, no, don't pick up that box.  It's heavy and I've got someone here helping me with it.  It's filled with my Superromance author copies.  There are about sixty more, just like it.  Wait, what, you want to try one?  I'd be happy to share.  As you can see, there are a lot of them.  I'll tell you what, you spread the word to your friends here, and I'll give out what I have here in this smaller box.  It's one we can lift.  I think there are ten of them here.  So...anyone who wants to gather around, a free book in exchange for suggestions - tell me what you'd like to see in Heartwarming, give me an idea of what I can do for you here - and I'll give away free books (E-copy) to randomly chosen commenters until they're gone. 

Oh, I see you've noticed those boxes.  Those are my MIRA titles.  While a lot of them are Romantic Suspense, there's also a brand new one, The Friendship Pact.  It's straight women's fiction.  The story of best friends, the sacrifices they'll make for each other, the challenges they face, and, heart-breakingly, the things that come between them.

Ah...the little gold treasure chest. I have one just like it in my other two homes as well.  That's filled with my true life love story.  My husband and I wrote it together.  It's called It Happened on Maple Street and was published by HCI books, the true life publisher.  They did the original chicken soup for the soul books.  And twelve step books.  Maple Street is a survivor story.  And I won't say anything more about it right now. 

So...where do you want me?  I've got a laptop.  Diet coke.  Wine (for the evenings, I like just one glass when I'm done working for the day).  Frosted Mini-Wheats.  And Netflix so I can watch my old re-runs to fall asleep at night.  I also don't go anywhere without a copy of the movie, Mary Poppins.  It's a guaranteed middle of the night dragon slayer.

Whew.  I'm tired.  Move in day is exciting, and exhausting, too.  So, share some wine, and tell me what I can do for you here.  I've got the 'box' of e-books (ttq 2014 releases) right here in it's own folder on my computer.  Leave a comment, give me a suggestion, and I'll start drawing names!  Prizes up for grabs are listed below.  Click on the covers to find out more about them!

a. tnWifeByDesign b. tnOnceAFamily c. tnTheFriendshipPact d. tnHusbandByChoice e.tnChildByChance

Wednesday, September 24, 2014


What is it about puppies I wonder that turns people to mush? Little did I realise, when my husband announced that he was going to get a dog of his own, that I was about to find out. ............................................ We've had lots of dogs over the years, from Welsh Collie's to Jack Russell's: Our current dog, Fred, is a slightly ageing and very precious Jack Russell (well he's supposed to be a Jack Russell but he was a rescue dog so we do have our doubts) Our daughter's four terriers also live on site as do our son's two, a Ridgeback and a terrier cross, so any new arrival had to be able to fit in. .......................................... We wanted to try and get another rescue dog; it's just so rewarding to feel as if you've given a needy creature a chance in life and dogs in particular are so accepting; they just take what life throws at them and love unquestioningly. All the ones we could find however turned out to be unsuitable with children or chickens or other dogs and in our situation, with visitors, children, chickens, other dogs and horses around all the time, that's definitely a no go. You take on a dog for twelve years plus so the last thing we wanted were problems from the start. ........................................... That was when we decided to go down the puppy route and thought that a chocolate Labrador might be perfect for us; friendly, sweet natured, good with kids and easy to train, that's what we'd heard. What we hadn't realised was that they sell like hot cakes and you have to buy them almost as soon as they're born. ........................................... We duly found a litter of five week old puppies at a breeders not so far away and set off, with our very excited ten year old granddaughter, to choose one -which was a mistake we realised as she chose the tiniest girl in the litter. Three weeks later we picked up Little Lucky and enrolled on one traumatic week. .......................................... We've just built a new house and didn't really want it to smell of poop so I was determined to be rigorous. For the first few nights I got up every time she made a sound, to take her outside; by the fourth day I was shattered and she'd managed to poop everywhere anyway. Why is it that you walk around with them on the grass and then come back inside only to turn your back for one second to find that they've pooped on the carpet? And why is it I wonder that, although she is my husband's dog, it seems to be me who does all the cleaning up? When asked he said that she could be my puppy but his dog! ........................................... One week on and we've made some progress. She's sleeping all night and we seem to be doing better with the toilet training. She has lots of visitors of course; everyone who comes to the Riding centre wants to see her and we've even taken her with us to the pub. Fred, our old Jack Russell seems to think that we've bought her just for him; he's got a whole new lease of life, playing and running around like an idiot... Oh no, hang on a minute, what's that on the rug. Here we go with the disinfectant again! ........................................... So exactly what is it about puppies then I wonder, that turns everyone to mush? I think I now know the answer to that question. It's their cuteness, their neediness, their innocence and their appetite for life, like children I guess. ............................................ And that I think is exactly it. Having a puppy is like having a baby, to hold and to cuddle and to love. And believe me all the hassle is worth it for the love you get back. They need you that's the thing, and doesn't everyone need to be needed. ............................................ And it is love after all, remember, that makes the world go round.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Anticipation and Inspiration

Anticipation, anticipation
Is makin' me late
Is keepin' me waitin'- Carly Simon

          I look for inspiration a lot because I’m not one of those writers with loads of delicious ideas teeming through my mind. I have one occasionally, and usually it’s one someone else already had and had better. I wrote most of a story once with a St. Bernard named Murphy as an important secondary character, but before the manuscript was even finished I read a book featuring a St. Bernard. Named Murphy. The book was better than mine, too, so I quit cold and waited for something else to come along and inspire me.
          Anticipation. Because I know it’s out there waiting. Somewhere. All I have to do is wait. And look around some. It will happen somet—
          There it is!
          I was at a meeting. The speaker was a doctor talking to us about women’s heart issues. She was a great lecturer—funny, intelligent, and relating well with her audience. But that wasn’t what inspired me. No, what lit the end of my writer’s pen was that she had gorgeous snow white hair.
          So I don’t have a grasp on what my heroine’s story is, or even her name. I’m not sure who the hero is. But I know the woman he doesn’t yet realize he loves will have thick white hair, dark blue eyes, and a smile that lights up the room.
          I sought inspiration all over Ireland, in its shades of green and the gazillion sheep with colors painted on their backs and the potato famine graveyards surrounded by dark iron fences. And in its pubs. I hardly even drink, but our trip included at least one pub a day, usually two, and occasionally three. They were lovely dark musical places, with soft brogues falling easy on our ears and sometimes children dancing with flashing feet and unmoving arms and shining eyes.
          The inspiration I sought did indeed “keep me waitin’ ” until the storefront of a particular pub in Kinsale provided an aha moment for a book called Back to McGuffey’s. McGuffey’s Tavern is in a Vermont town nestled into the Green Mountains, but it was born on a picturesque Irish street. This story of Ben and Kate and how they find each other again—or do they?—is my very first Harlequin Heartwarming and I am so excited.
          It’s hard to pin down inspiration, and sometimes it’s not a “know it when I see it” kind of thing. If I’m going to use a clichĂ© (and I nearly always do), inspiration fits more into the “I don’t know art, but I know what I like” category. Because all of a sudden, it’s there, and I know it and it’s wonderful. Like the anticipation that led into it, it makes my heart sing.  And maybe dance a little.
        Liz Flaherty retired from the post office and promised to spend at least fifteen minutes a day on housework. Not wanting to overdo things, she’s since pared that down to ten. She spends non-writing time sewing, quilting, and doing whatever else she wants to. She and Duane, her husband of…oh, quite a while, are the parents of three and grandparents of the Magnificent Seven. They live in the old farmhouse in Indiana they moved to in 1977. They’ve talked about moving, but really…37 years’ worth of stuff? It’s not happening!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Questions Asked of an Author

By Patricia Bradley
photos by Cheryl Meints

The other day I spoke to the Friends of the Iuka, Mississippi, Library about writing and my books. What do you suppose the first question was when I opened the floor up for discussion? It was the same first question I get at every book signing or speaking.

Yep, you guessed it. "Where do you get your ideas?"

I used to dread that question because I really don't know where my ideas come from other than God. Not that I don't want to give God the credit.

But you see, I not only write Heartwarming romances, I also write suspense books where people get killed. I'm not sure it's a good idea to connect my inspirations on how to murder someone to God.

My response that day was: Out of thin air.

And it's true that my ideas come from seemingly nowhere. I will hear a news story or watch a movie and a character will pop into my head. Matthew's Choice is an example. I saw a news clip where someone had reached the pinnacle of his career, and remarked to the reporter that it wasn't quite what he'd thought it would be. 
That started the what if process, and after a lot of what ifs, the story was born. 

Another thing that I get a lot isn't really a question. "You ought to write a book about my life story. It would be a best seller." 

Now why would  those words strike fear in the heart of a writer? For one thing, reality doesn't make good fiction--it's too hard to make it believable. And fiction has to be believable. Life doesn't. People are really disappointed when you don't want to use their story.

Another offer that ranks right up there with the life story is, "I have this really great idea for a book, but I don't have time to write it. Would you like to hear about if for your next book? It's really hard to explain that writing just doesn't work that way.

Another question I get is, how long does it take you to write a book? Again, this changes almost from book to book. Some take longer than others. My first book took five years to write. After I received a contract, I realized I didn't have five years to write the next book. I had to learn how to write faster. In.A.Hurry.

Now, I don't want you to think authors don't like for you to ask questions. They do, but some questions are really difficult to answer, and the answer might be different on any given day--that's why some of these answers are a little tongue-in-cheek.

In fact, if you're a reader, go ahead, ask me any question you'd like. If I can't answer it, I'm sure some of the other Heartwarming authors on the blog can. And if you're an author, what's a question a reader posed that gave you pause?

Oh, and here's a couple of more photos of me at books signings. In the one to the right, I was signing a copy of Matthew's Choice, and someone offered to tell me their life's story for my next book.

And they didn't come just to hear me...by the time I finished, all the cake was gone.

Don't forget to leave a question!