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Wednesday, November 25

The Matchmaker and the Marine @Lucinda Race #WordWranglers

The Wranglers welcome author Lucinda Race to the corral today. Take a look at her new release, The Matchmaker and the Marine!



Blurb:

She vowed never to date again. He swore he'd hide his handicap forever. Can undeniable chemistry overcome both their fears? 

Widowed matchmaker Melinda Phillips wants everyone to experience the kind of love she lost. Though she's committed to a lonely life, her skill at pairing perfect couples has her business thriving and her work in demand. But when she trips at a client's wedding into the arms of a handsome Marine, she can't help but feel that the falling has only just begun.

Adam Bell's amputated leg is a crippling reminder of his war-torn past. So after his girlfriend rejected his new body and kicked him to the curb, he pledged to protect his heart as fiercely as he defended his country. But after a chivalrous rescue during a friend's nuptials, he wonders if he's given up on love too soon.

Hired to find Adam the woman of his dreams, Melinda is surprised to discover the ideal candidate is herself. But as their relationship blossoms, the tortured former serviceman believes his hidden disfigurement will cost him everything again.

Can two broken souls let go of their traumatic pasts to give happiness a second chance?

Excerpt:

After making the short drive to the country club, Melinda parked in the crowded lot. As she crossed the parking area to the reception hall she daydreamed of how nice it would be to take off her pumps and walk barefoot. She reached for the brass knob on the carved wood door. Before she could turn the knob, it burst open. She took a step back. Her heel caught a crack in the stone step. She began to fall backward when strong hands caught her and held on tight. 

A deep voice next to her ear said, “It’s okay, I’ve got you.” 

Melinda looked up into warm brown eyes. It was the man from the chapel. 

“Um, thank you.” She smoothed her hand over her simple navy-blue dress and then pushed a curl behind her ear. “I’m not sure what happened.” 

“It looks like your heel got caught.” 

She gave him a small smile. “It’s a good thing you were there to catch me.” 

With a slight stiff bow, he said, “Adam Bell, at your service, ma’am.” 

His face held little emotion, almost formal, she thought. People strolled past them into the building, but Melinda couldn’t help but notice he carried himself with a distinct military bearing. Unsure if he was being old-fashioned or teasing her, she said, “We should go inside.” 

He crooked his arm and said, “I’d be happy to escort you safely through the door.” 

With a small laugh Melinda placed her hand on his arm. In a soft southern drawl, she said, “Thank you, kind sir.” 

“So, tell me, are you a friend of Stacey or Will?” he asked. 

“I guess you could say both.” She looked at him. “I’m Melinda Phillips.” 

His eyes grew wide. “You’re the matchmaker?” 

“I am.” As they stepped through the doorway, she withdrew her hand.


About Lucinda...

Award-winning author Lucinda Race is a lifelong fan of romantic fiction. As a young girl, she spent hours reading romance novels and getting lost in the hope they represent. While her friends dreamed of becoming doctors and engineers, her dreams were to become a writer—a romance novelist. 
As life twisted and turned, she found herself writing nonfiction but longed to turn to her true passion. After developing the storyline for The Loudon Series, it was time to start living her dream. Her fingers practically fly over computer keys as she weaves stories about strong women and the men who love them. 
Lucinda lives with her husband and their two little dogs, a miniature long hair dachshund and a shitzu mix rescue, in the rolling hills of western Massachusetts. When she's not at her day job, she’s immersed in her fictional worlds. And if she’s not writing romance novels, she’s reading everything she can get her hands on. It’s too bad her husband doesn’t cook, but a very good thing he loves takeout.

Tuesday, November 24

Thanksgiving Week Is the Best Time...

 


...for thinking about all the things we are grateful for and I'm going to do that in just a sec. First though, this week also feels like a good time for... get ready for it... shameless self-promotion. Right? So...to that end, on Friday afternoon, while you're lying around the house, stuffing your face with leftover turkey and pie (that's what I'll be doing, won't you?), I'll be at the Kiss and Tell Book Club Facebook group talking holiday romance. Stop by around 1:30 for a chance to win some fun stuff, including free e-copies of A Small Town Christmas and Christmas with You by yours truly. Love to see you there!

Now for the grateful:

  1. Husband, Son, DIL, and Grandboy, who bring joy to my life every single day.
  2. Our Covid Pod--Husband and me, DIL's parents, and Son, Dil, and Grandboy. We are the Magnificent Seven. Taking care of each other, helping each other, staying away from the rest of the world as much as we can so we can gather, and taking all the precautions necessary to keep our little group of seven together, strong, and healthy.
  3. My sister.
  4. My writing bestie, Liz Flaherty, who cheers me on, loves me even when she believes I'm being truly silly, and keeps me centered, on track, and focused, when all I want to do is wander merrily around the Web.
  5. Moe, who listens, lets me cry, and is the president of my fan club. Thank you, honey!
  6. Har, who rocks as a friend and a beta and has faith that I am becoming a better writer with each book.
  7. My dear friends--y'all know who you are, right? I'm so blessed to have a large circle of good friends!
  8. My new home and my new neighborhood--we are simply delighted to be here.
  9. My church--Allisonville Christian Church--an open and affirming congregation where all are welcome and loved.
  10. My publisher--Tule Publishing--who believes in Nan, the author, and takes a chance on me with every book. Also in this one is my editor, Sinclair Sawhney, who is always kind and gracious, even when she has to say, "Nope, this isn't working."
Happy Thanksgiving to all our Wranglers--stay well, stay safe, and most of all, stay grateful! 



Saturday, November 21

.99 cent Sale - ONE MORE SECOND CHANCE by Jana Richards

ONE MORE SECOND CHANCE (ebook version) on sale for .99 cents!


 Dr. Alex Campbell has an agenda—finish his contract to provide medical services in Maine, pay off his medical school debt, and head back to his real life in San Diego. But when he meets Julia, all his carefully laid plans are put in jeopardy.

Julia Stewart, Lobster Cove’s high school principal, swears she’ll never let another man drag her away from the home she loves. Her aging parents need her, and the Cove is where she wants to raise her daughter. When her mother’s illness brings her and the big city doctor closer together, panic sets in. Her marriage taught her men don’t stay.

Can she put aside the heartaches of the past and trust Alex enough to accept the love he’s offering? Or will her fear of abandonment mean she’ll send him away forever?

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/More-Second-Chance-Lobster-Cove-ebook/dp/B00S46KSX6/ 

iBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/one-more-second-chance/id959306323

Read an excerpt on my website.

Friday, November 20

A Hairy Situation by Jana Richards

So, my province is back in lockdown. Bars and restaurants are closed except for take-out and delivery. Only essential stores, like grocery stores, hardware stores and pharmacies remain open, and then at only 25% capacity. In the last lockdown in the spring, liquor stores were deemed essential – I’ll have to check the rules to see if they’ve still got the green light. I’m pretty sure a lot people are feeling that a glass of wine is essential these days. I know I do.

There’s a long list of other closures and restrictions and recommendations. I’m not complaining. We need to flatten the curve and save lives. Healthcare is on the brink and we need to give doctors and nurses a chance to catch their breaths. This short, sharp lockdown was required to break the chain of transmission. 

But like the spring, the closing of my hair salon is going to bother me the most. I finally found a hairdresser who can wrangle my hair into submission and now I can’t see her. I know, I know. Getting a haircut is the least of my problems right now. But the struggle is real.

I wrote about my hair woes some time ago in Word Wranglers. I have very fine, very straight hair. Someone not familiar with cutting my type of hair can make a real mess of it, because every snip of the scissors shows up in my ultra-fine hair. More than once a hairdresser has been overzealous with the scissors leaving me with patches where my scalp shows. Or if they cut the hair on the crown of my head too short, it stands up like a rooster’s tail. Not good.

Over the last few years, I’ve embarked on an odyssey for “the one”, the hairdresser who could give me a cut I didn’t have to be embarrassed about. I asked friends and acquaintances for recommendations. I went through at least five different stylists but none of them panned out. While they were all lovely people and talented with other people’s hair, they couldn’t master my baby fine hair.

Like a scene from a good romance novel, I met Olive when I least expected it. On the morning of her wedding in September, my daughter arranged for a couple of hair stylists and a couple of makeup artists to meet us at a downtown hotel. We had a lot of fun getting ready. Olive did my hair, and though she didn’t cut it that day, she did a nice job. She told me she specialized in short hair cuts, so I figured I’d give her a chance. And I’m glad I did. It’s still early in our relationship, but I’m pretty sure she’s “the one”. 

At this point we’re not sure how long this lockdown will last. Until it’s over, Olive and I will be parted. Hopefully, we’ll be able have a pre-Christmas reunion. But by then I’ll be pretty shaggy.

What did/do you miss most in lockdown?

Tuesday, November 17

Dishing Up Gratitude - by Janie DeVos

 

       

     That time of year is upon us again when we settle down at the table before plates filled to overflowing with turkey and all the sides.  But for many homes in America, this Thanksgiving will look a little different than those in the past, and will sound a little different, too.  Gatherings will be much smaller and the cacophony of noise that usually fills the rooms will be a little softer, making many people a bit sad with the tempered holiday sounds.  But, for my husband and me, this won’t be the first small gathering we’ve had at Thanksgiving, and what we have found is that those smaller gatherings can end up being some of the most special. 

Several years ago, there were five of us at the table.  None of my husband’s family could make it, and neither could mine.  Two of the people with us were an older couple who lived behind us on a come-and-go basis, and the other was a divorced friend whose only child and his family lived in California.  After we’d eaten our fill of turkey and dressing, I passed around coffee and desserts, and, because there was just a handful of us, it gave us the chance to enjoy a more intimate conversation than one that was drowned out by too many voices vying to be heard above each other.  Looking around at my guests, I posed this question: “Other than the usual, ‘I’m grateful for family and friends…’ what particular thing are you grateful for in your own life—something that pertains to you alone?”  And their answers did not disappoint. 

“I’m grateful I survived breast cancer,” Martha said, after taking a sip of her black coffee and looking thoughtful.  “I’m grateful I was allowed the time to raise my children.  That was the worst part of it; wondering whether I’d be around to teach them more than just how to tie their shoes, or their left from their right.  I prayed for the time to teach them how to stand on their own, and think for themselves, and not only was I blessed to have been able to do so, but I’m still around to see my children teach their children those things.” 

Martha’s husband, David, was next.  “I’m grateful I ran out of money while studying to be a doctor.  I know that sounds odd,” he smiled, “but had I been able to become a physician, then I wouldn’t have become a speech pathologist, and that career has been beyond rewarding.  To see a child overcome a speech impediment, or to help someone regain their ability to speak normally after a horrific accident has been one of the greatest blessings of my life.  Besides, I made enough money to take care of my family, and pay for my kids’ college education, so it provided me with what I needed and more.  I’m grateful for all of that.” 

It was Gina’s turn, and our relocated-from-California, fabulous-painter friend replied without hesitation.  “It’s the land I live on,” she said firmly.  “Without a doubt, it’s my land.  I wake up each morning to a view that isn’t the same as it was the day before.  The light shifts and the colors change constantly.  Fireflies in my woods may inspire a painting of faeries foraging among the maples, and a summer shower moving across my open pasture brings about a play of light that makes me grab my brushes.  What artist couldn’t be inspired?  Everything I had in California, I lost in a mudslide, and the gentle land I live on now seems to have been waiting for me to come, to help heal those losses.” 

After a quiet moment while we digested each other’s answers, I turned to my husband.  “Glen,” I asked, "what are you grateful for?” 

“I’m glad I took a chance as a sales rep with MCI.”  (This was a large, but now defunct telecommunications company Glen worked for in the ‘80’s.)  “I ended up doing all right,” he said, with that typical sweet smile of his.  And he had done all right!  Shy by nature, trying sales as a way of making a living was taking a bit of a risk, but his humble nature had worked in his favor: He’d ended up becoming one of the company’s top sales people in the country, year after year, because of the strong and trusting relationships he built with numerous high-level customers.  

“What about you, Janie?” Martha asked.  “Bear your soul,” she chuckled.  “What are you grateful for?” 

“The recipes and the traditions,” I replied, getting up and walking over to my open cookbook on the counter that was jam packed with loose pieces of paper.  These were the family recipes I had collected over the years, most of which were from loved ones now gone.  I picked one out and brought it back to the table.  It was a torn and food-stained piece of yellowed paper that had my grandmother’s writing on it.  It was her recipe for corn pudding—the same corn pudding we had just eaten. 

“I’m grateful for the people who taught me how to do this,” I said, passing the recipe around. I’m thankful they showed me how to make people feel loved and appreciated by the foods they made.  They never made me help much in the kitchen, though,” I admitted, feeling a little guilty for the many times I came rushing in just in time for dinner and then hurried off to be with friends right after the pie.  "Mama used to say that she figured I’d absorb what I needed to know by just being around the women—who consisted of my mother, aunt and grandmother. And, somehow, I did.  Somehow, it all soaked in and now I’m doing what they did year after year.  I’m carrying on their traditions, and I’m grateful to them…I’m grateful for them,” I said, feeling the dulled-yet-still-there pain of missing them for the hundredth time that day. 

We finished our coffee a short time later then we walked our neighbors home, carrying a couple of dinners’ worth of leftovers with us.  We lingered at their door for several minutes, stretching out our time together for as long as we could before the sun started slipping behind Arbuckle Mountain, heralding the end to the day and sending us back down the darkening gravel road. 

It’s been ten years since that Thanksgiving, and I remember it like it was yesterday.  A certain bonding took place at our table, making the memory of it more vivid than many of the larger gatherings that have taken place since then.  Though David has since passed and Martha is in a nursing home down in South Carolina, and Gina has gotten remarried and is busy with her new family, I will always be grateful for that dinner we shared when everyone dished up a little of themselves. 

 Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!  May it be one you remember for many years to come.   

Friday, November 13

Let's Catch Up!


 Good Morning! It's raining here in the PNW and I'm listening to the raindrops hit my AC and the wind whip my chimes on the patio. The perfect writing and reading weather. Too bad I have to head to work in twenty. 

Look! There's my book that's being sent out in December via @OnceUponaBookClubBox. I'm the second name from the top of the tree. 

So, in my last post I said I was going to be doing NaNo. And I have been. Not as diligently as I should be, but I'm chugging along. 

The hardest part is giving myself permission to write badly and not go back and edit. That's killer for me. 

The best part is a ghost showed up in the story unexpectantly. And I think I might let him stay. In fact, I'm kind of excited to write more of him. 

This past weekend, my sister took us to Skamania Lodge for a Mother/Daughter getaway. I'd never been there and thoroughly enjoyed it. The capper was waking up Saturday morning to the news that Joe Biden had won the election. 

Later that morning we drove into Hood River to go to an upscale Goodwill--who knew that was even a thing?--and a winery, and cidery (?). When we got to the main road in Hood River, there was a group of Biden celebrators on a corner cheering, holding his flag, and waving at the cars. It was quite hopeful.

I'm not a wine person at all. But, I wanted to go for the research for my book. I enjoyed the salami, cheese, and bread, tho. And this dog, Jazzie, was just the sweetest thing--while we still had cheese and meat on the table. LOL

At the cidery, I had a lovely hot cider and we had gouda, chedder, and pear quesidillas. Mmmm good. My sisters each got a line of sample hard ciders and I sipped a couple before deciding to stick to my delicious hot cider.

So, all-in-all, writing's going pretty good and I'm hopeful about our future. 

Mask up and stay well!