Friday, February 27, 2015

Gratitude Post #7 - Great Role Models

The world would be a better place if everyone had people they could look up to who embodied values like honesty, honor and personal responsibility. I was so fortunate to have been raised in a family full of such people.

My father embodied all of these traits, and his death last year rocked me to my core. But he left a valuable legacy to me, my sisters and all of our children. Although he grew up in a world of privilege, he had a strong work ethic and we were expected to excel in school. Dishonesty was never tolerated, and both my parents taught by the examples they set -- lessons like showing respect to their own parents, community involvement, and being politically and socially aware.

My mother attended college in an era when not many women did so, and even completed her degree after having two children and losing her first husband to cancer in her twenties. She's been a lifelong activist who, even at eighty, is ready to go to battle for things she believes.

Our society seems to be lacking good role models these days. Kids look to Hollywood instead of their own living room, school or community to find people to emulate. I wish more people had parents like I did. The world might be a better place.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Gratitude Post #6 - My Man

At the very top of my list of things that I'm grateful for, is my husband. Yeah, I know it's corny and probably sickeningly sweet, but it's true. I couldn't post this on Valentine's Day since I'd committed to do a special Scavenger Hunt post (and because that would somehow lump it in with everyone else's lovefests), but since this time is right between that day and coming up upon our anniversary, what better time?

Maybe because I have one of those exceptionally wonderful relationships, I can spot them in other couples. And more frequently, I can sense when they are not so good. I've come to the conclusion that that the symbiotic spark my guy and I share is a rare flower, a gift that we both treasure, because we understand how truly unusual it is.

What works for us certainly wouldn't work for everyone, but we fit together perfectly. And this March, we'll have been married for twenty-five years. And not only do we still love each other, but we still genuinely like each other. I'm thinking that in this day and age of disposable everything, that's something pretty special.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Scavenger Hunt!

Coffee Time Romance Valentine’s Blog Post

The Grand Gesture

In romance novels, when all appears to be lost, the hero often does what’s known as ‘the grand gesture,’ which is basically a big, last-ditch appeal to win back his lover. This could be anything from giving up his inheritance to risking his life, to revealing the details of a long-kept family secret. The point is, it must be something that costs the hero a lot, be that emotionally, physically, or in some other way. And it has to mean something important to the heroine, enough to hopefully sway her over to agreeing to give their love another shot.
Since Valentine’s Day is the day for lovers, it’s only fitting to talk about those romantic gestures. In my latest book, THE SURROGATE HUSBAND, Dex makes such a gesture, not even realizing the effect it will have on Lucy.
In the real world, people often use the occasion of Valentine’s Day to grandstand a bit, to proclaim their undying love and devotion to their mate, sometimes by spending way too much money. Early in our relationship, my guy did that sort of thing to the tune of break-the-bank level!
Now that we’ve been married for a long time, he’s learned that those grand gestures don’t require any money at all. That’s not what they are all about. And frankly, he’s learned how to do this so well, that I have to brag on him. The man has figured out how to turn on the romance without spending a penny. What does he do? One year he drew a huge heart on our picture window with our names inside. Another time he made a similar picture on the windows of my car. There was another Valentine’s Day when he came to my workplace with a special lunch and served it to me on our finest China.
He’s such a romantic that he regularly writes sweet notes on my Facebook page. My friends get a kick out of it, and ask where they can find such an awesome guy.
I tell them that first you have to know what you’re looking for. Read a few romance novels, figure out what it is you’re searching for. There are bits and pieces of my man in every hero I write. How could I not have become a romance writer with a romantic guy like that?
When I get to the part of the book where the grand gesture comes, I love it when I can write that part in a way that involves no monetary cost. No giving up the inheritance, or the lottery money, just a gesture that comes straight from the heart. The kind that means the most.
What was the most meaningful Valentine’s Day gift you ever received? I’ll pick one commenter to win an electronic copy of THE SURROGATE HUSBAND on February 12.

Lucy Hamilton’s mother assures her great aunt on the old woman’s deathbed that confirmed bachelorette Lucy has eloped, in order to make the dying woman happy. When the unexpected happens and Aunt Bev recovers, Lucy must suddenly find a man to play her husband for a family wedding.  
The last woman that straight-laced accountant Dex Levian should pretend to be involved with is his sexy new client, Lucy, especially with the upcoming sale of his firm to a man who frowns upon mixing business with pleasure. But what red-blooded guy would turn down the opportunity to spend a romantic weekend with the sexiest woman in South Beach? When their charade starts becoming all too real, the consequences might be more than they are willing to bear.

Hi folks.
Here’s what you need to do to WIN: Comment below to be entered to win a download of THE SURROGATE HUSBAND. Then write down the word in the picture – you’ll need it on the last day of the scavenger hunt to be in to win a Samsung Galaxy Tab® 4 NOOK® 7.0!,
Head back to the Coffee Time And More Website to read the next post and find the next clue!
Good luck!

***WINNER ANNOUNCEMENT*** I picked Elisa Difino in a random drawing as my winner. Please contact me via my website,

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Gratitude Post #5 - Solitude

I've had times in my life when there's been too much of it. Those were lonely days, but it's been many years since I've experienced them.

These days are about finding enough hours in my schedule for family, friends, work, writing buds, spiritual pursuits, and everything else I want to do. Then there's all the stuff I have to do -- the medical appointments, errands I must run, all the little things in life that suddenly come up. They take up a lot of time.

Spending time with myself -- time I like to use to meditate, to take hot baths or to just decompress -- that time is always in short supply. But it's moments that I'm incredibly thankful for whenever I can grab it. The sounds of silence are blessedly welcome to my soul since day-to-day life can be so chaotic.

So I have no qualms about encouraging my husband and daughter to go watch a football game at a friend's house. I hate football. But more importantly, I adore a little solitude. I'm so grateful.

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