President’s Day Beards or Not? by @AyalaRachelle #mgtab

I’m old enough to remember TWO holidays in February. Lincoln’s Birthday, February 12, and Washington’s Birthday, February 22. Back when I was in elementary school, it meant two activities where we would trace the profile of Abraham Lincoln, with the hawk nose, pompadour hair and beard, on black colored paper and another one with George Washington’s profile, with the sloped forehead and braid at the back of his head. In between, we’d cut out red paper hearts for Valentine’s Day.

In 1971, they changed it all. Conglomerated both Lincoln and Washington’s birthdays into a single holiday called President’s Day. Gradually, through the years, this holiday has become less about two of our greatest presidents, and more about sales and a three-day weekend. Maybe I’m old fashioned, but I miss the stories we told of Washington at Valley Forge, the reports we did on Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, and yes, even the cherry tree cutting, or how a little girl wrote a letter to Lincoln that changed history.

Hon A B Lincoln…

Dear Sir

My father has just home from the fair and brought home your picture and Mr. Hamlin’s. I am a little girl only 11 years old, but want you should be President of the United States very much so I hope you wont think me very bold to write to such a great man as you are. Have you any little girls about as large as I am if so give them my love and tell her to write to me if you cannot answer this letter. I have got 4 brother’s and part of them will vote for you any way and if you let your whiskers grow I will try and get the rest of them to vote for you you would look a great deal better for your face is so thin. All the ladies like whiskers and they would tease their husband’s to vote for you and then you would be President. My father is going to vote for you and if I was a man I would vote for you to but I will try to get every one to vote for you that I can I think that rail fence around your picture makes it look very pretty I have got a little baby sister she is nine weeks old and is just as cunning as can be. When you direct your letter direct to Grace Bedell Westfield Chatauque County New York

I must not write any more answer this letter right off Good bye

Grace Bedell

Lincoln apparently wrote back to her. Click here to find out how he responded.

For a more up-to-date transformation, check out this Article of an insurance salesman transforming into a cover model.

So, now that we’ve digressed. Which is it, ladies? Beard or no beard? And would you vote for a man on the basis of his beard?

My work in progress is a romantic suspense about a single mother who has to hide her baby from her crazy ex. She turns to her childhood best buddy and asks him to claim the baby as his own while she is being hunted by the baby’s father who wants to kill the baby. Both men are bearded and it takes place in the backwoods of Idaho in the dead of winter. It will be available in one of the new Author’s Billboard Boxed Sets!

In the meantime, please check out my FREE books, a Romantic Suspense, Broken Build, where a woman falls in love with the man whose life she ruined years ago.

Jen Jones falls in love with the man whose life she ruined.

And Playing Without Rules, a gritty story about second chances and overcoming domestic violence.

The specter of domestic violence hangs over Marcia and Brock. She’s keeping secrets. He’s keeping her heart. There are no rules when it comes to love.

Enjoy Your President’s Day! Let’s honor the Office of the President and the leadership and commitment it represents, whether bearded or not! List of Presidents with facial hair.

Check out my website, http://www.rachelleayala.net for more free books.

Rachelle Ayala

Rachelle Ayala is a USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance and romantic suspense. Her foremost goal is to take readers on a shared emotional journey with her characters as they grow and become more true to themselves. Rachelle believes in the power of love to overcome obstacles and feels that everyone should find love as often as possible, especially if it’s within the pages of a book.

Her book, Knowing Vera, won the 2015 Angie Ovation Award, A Father for Christmas garnered a 2015 Readers’ Favorite Gold Award, Christmas Stray received a 2016 Readers’ Favorite Gold Award, and Playing for the Save got the 2017 Readers’ Favorite Gold Award in Realistic Fiction.

She is also a writing teacher and founder of the Romance In A Month writing community. She lives in California with her husband and has three children and two birds.

Winter Blues and a Little Romance by @NatalieAnn121 #mgtab

I know those that are reading this could be from all over the world, but here in Upstate New York, winter is in full force.

And mid February is the worst for me. This is the time of year I start to feel the winter blues! I’m watching the calendar and counting down the days, just waiting for March 1st. Even though it can snow in March, it’s still almost spring in my eyes and that’s good enough.

In order to pass the time, I try to curl up with a good book. Anything to take my mind off the blustery snow outside the window in my sunroom. It’s not really a sunroom this time of year though. The first view is what I’m waiting for again! All the lush green out of my window with birds chirping everywhere. The second is some of the deer in my backyard trying to get cozy too.

If you’re like me and trying to wish some of the days in the calendar away and are looking for a good book to curl up with, go no further than three of the newest Valentine Day boxed sets just released by the authors of Authors’ Billboard.

There is a little bit of everything here and each set is only 99 cents! That’s 26 stories for $2.98!! Now where could you get a deal like that?

And if you haven’t read any of my books, Take A Chance is free until this Friday.

So grab a set or two…or three and snuggle in with some wonderful stories of love and romance.

Don’t let Blahuary and Blechruary get you down!

Wow, February 8th already. Where does time go? I hope your plans for the new year are rolling along nicely—and if they’re not, it’s not too late to get back on track. It’s never too late, in fact!

A picture of a very snowy yard.I’ve spent much of the month snowed in, literally and figuratively (Check out the picture of my view from my front door—and we’ve had more snow since then!), which always gives me lots of extra thinking time.

In the middle of January last year, someone close to me shared that it was Blue Monday. The term was unfamiliar to me at first. Apparently it’s a name given to a day in January (often, but not always, the third Monday of the month) that’s widely considered the most depressing day of the year because of a combination of “weather conditions, debt level (the difference between debt accumulated and our ability to pay), time since Christmas, time since failing our new year’s resolutions, low motivational levels and feeling of a need to take action.” (Thanks, Wikopedia. What would I do without you?)

The term resonated with me because the long dark months after Christmas can be tough for me too. It’s funny though, how knowing something is a “thing”—that others are affected similarly—can make it easier to bear. I’m not a wimp or an ungrateful jerk . . . it’s just a seasonal glitch.

Being kinder to myself makes low emotions easier to manage, but another good boost (and reminder) came from an unexpected place, a back issue (May/Jun/Jul 2016, to be exact) of my favorite magazine, Where Women Create

In her wonderful editorial column, From My Kitchen Table, Editor-in-Chief Jo Packham reflects on the passage of time, contemplates her life, and describes herself thus:

“I am 65 this year, and I am having an identity crisis—please do not try to talk me out of it or off the ledge that I seem to be looking over. It is my reality and I am not the only one facing it, who has faced it, or will someday face it. Being 65 is humbling, terrifying, something worth celebrating, nostalgic, lonely . . . a list of adjectives that goes on ad infinitum. But think about it: you can use those same adjectives regardless of what age you turn this year.”

Those adjectives really do apply to every age, and although I’m twenty years younger than Jo, the whole article resonated with me deeply. Her insight and descriptions of the ages and stages of life—“mid-20s, 30-somethings, 40-and-counting, 50-and-wishing, 60-and-panicked, 70-and-reflective, 80-and-byond”—struck me as so . . . accurate.

What I took with me from the read (now these are my thoughts, not hers exactly) is that we are all dying. We should feel a sense of urgency to live better, to love truer, to forgive more generously . . . to say what we need and express how we honestly feel, to live how we want to live, to conquer our fears (or push on in the face of them!), to embrace new challenges and pursue our dreams.

And conversely:

We are all living. We should feel a sense of urgency to live better, to love truer, to forgive more generously . . . to say what we need and express how we honestly feel, to live how we want to live, to conquer our fears (or push on in the face of them!), to embrace new challenges and pursue our dreams.

(See what I did there? No matter what our perspective on mortality is, how far it seems or close it looms, we should be living fully now.)

To heck with “blue” Monday. Each day is new. Each day. We will all (I’m so sorry to say) go through bitterly hard times, but hopefully we’ll find the strength to persevere when perseverance is needed and the bravery to start anew when quitting or ending something is needed or inevitable.

We will have regrets, even in the future, regardless of how much we decide here and now to live without them. The trick is to not let them hold us back or keep us down. Make amends and apologize when needed (and it will be needed), but remember: Each day is new. We are dying. We are alive!

I wish you so much joy and energy this year—and fun, too. May you embrace life at whatever stage you find yourself and regardless of our ages, may it be true for all us: the best years are still to come.

Find activities that bring you pleasure or contentment and do them. Cherish the people you love and who bring you happiness and spend your time with them.

Warmest regards always,

Ev

P.S. Just like years have seasons, I tend to have personal themes and ideas that I revisit in my thinking and my writing. A variation on my thoughts today was originally published in the Terrace Standard, January 25, 2017 as my monthly column “Just a Thought.” Thanks for reading!

Photo of Wedding Bands novel by Ev Bishop, a mug of tea, and a cozy fire

Don’t let Blechruary get you down! Bundle up and stay cozy . . . ahhhhhhh. 🙂

Ev Bishop lives and writes in a remote small town in wildly beautiful British Columbia, Canada—a place that inspires the setting for her cozy sweet romance series, RIVER’S SIGH B & B.

Book 1 in the series, WEDDING BANDS, is FREE right now, so go to your favorite eBook vendor and grab your copy today!

Ev also writes and publishes under the pen name Toni Sheridan.

In addition to writing novels—her favorite form of storytelling!—Ev is a long-time columnist with the Terrace Standard and a prolific scribbler of articles, essays, short stories and poems. To see her ever growing body of work, please visit her website.

When Ev’s nose isn’t in a book or her fingers aren’t on her keyboard, you’ll find her hanging out with her family and dogs, or playing outside with friends, usually at the lake or in some garden somewhere.

FEBRUARY BRINGS VALENTINE ROMANCE #mgtab

This year, I can’t wait until Spring. It’s been soooooooooooo cold in Illinois. But meanwhile, February’s here and I have two new releases coming out this month, as well as stories in two new anthologies now available for Valentine’s Day with The Authors’ Billboard!!

First Is A Valentine She’ll Remember. Two Hearts Unbroken (Two Hearts Wounded Warrior Romance Book 6) is my latest wounded warrior story, and this story is slightly different from the others in that my wounded warrior is a woman, who’s been through unimaginable horror when she’s captured in Iraq.

But despite her injuries as well as deep personal issues to resolve, Sarah Benton is finally ready to move forward two years later, and Lieutenant Brand Reardon is there to pick up the slack when Sarah’s life is once again endangered.

As my wounded warrior series continues, one element that’s changed is the twist of intrigue I began weaving into the stories beginning with Two Hearts Find Christmas. But despite the serious undertones, I still enjoy adding humor wherever possible.

Here’s an excerpt:

“Sarah. Sarah, are you okay?” Mel was asking with obvious concern. “Oh, I’m so sorry. What did I say?”

But Sarah didn’t seem to have the energy to open her eyes and respond as her whole body began shaking.

Suddenly, she found herself lifted to her feet and pulled into a warm masculine embrace.

“It’s okay, Sarah,” he whispered. “Everything’s alright. You’re alright.”

Opening her eyes, she blinked. “Brand? Uh…I mean, Captain Reardon?”

“Yeah, it’s me. And I’m even a Lieutenant now. I wasn’t sure it was you, though, when I first saw you come in. You look, uh…wow, like gorgeous. Not that I didn’t think you weren’t beautiful before.”

Sarah’s mind immediately snapped back to the present as she muttered, “You thought I was beautiful?”

He wore a wry grin. “Oh, yeah. Especially after seeing those legs.”

Wrinkling her nose, Sarah backed up and punched him in the shoulder.

Although Mel still wore a look of concern on her face, she began laughing.

“Um,” Sarah began. “What are you doing here in Crystal Rock?”

He gave her a huge smile, and Sarah remembered the reason she’d tried to stay away from him, even when she was part of his team.

She’d been attracted to him, this big giant hunk of a man, and it’d made her uncomfortable thinking of Jim, who’d been waiting for her back home.

“I’m here for the same reason you are,” he answered. “Retraining wounded warriors who want to remain in active service. I’ll be the Air Force liaison.”

She shook her head in amazement. How crazy was this? She’d never thought she’d ever see Brand again.

 

 

A VALENTINE SHE’LL REMEMBER

Memorable Valentine romances to sweeten the season of love.

There is no better way to celebrate the season of love than with each of these eight heroines and that one special Valentine they’ll remember forever.

And so will you…

SWEET AND SASSY VALENTINE

If you’ve ever been struck by Cupid’s Arrow, you know Love has the power to change you and your world. If you’ve ever been in love, then you know there is no feeling more exquisite than being held by the one you love. We, the twelve authors of SWEET AND SASSY ROMANCE, dedicate this Valentine Collection to you, the Hopeful Romantic!

Happy Valentine’s Day!!

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Tamara Ferguson

A member of the Romance Writers of America, Tamara Ferguson is the multi-award winning, #1 international bestselling author of the Tales of the Dragonfly Romance Suspense Series, the Kissed By Fate Series, and the Two Hearts Wounded Warrior Romance Series.

Her latest wounded warrior romance novella, Two Hearts Unspoken, is included in the top-ten bestselling Holiday Anthology, Mother’s Day Magic…With Love, which was also #1 in Wounded Warrior Fiction. Since being released independently, Two Hearts Unspoken has become a #1 International Best Seller at Amazon as well as a #1 International Hot New Release, and is the 2016 SILVER MEDAL WINNER at Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards for Military Fiction.

Presently, Tamara’s working on Two Hearts’ Christmas Wish, the fourth story in her multi-award winning Two Hearts Wounded Warrior series, Emergence, the third book in the multi-award winning Tales of the Dragonfly Novels, and a novella for the next installment of the bestselling Wedding Pets and Kisses anthologies, featuring stories by multi-award winning, bestselling and USA Today authors.

Since she remains a full-time caregiver for an autistic son, you can usually find Tammy working at home, where she spends a lot of time not completing her numerous home improvement projects, because she’s writing or helping author friends promote their books on twitter.

Winter Flu by Mona Risk

Winter may evoke beautiful scenery of snow and Christmas time, but winter is also the time when cold and flu spread; the time for sweaters and coat; and probably hat, gloves and snow boots on certain days.

We spend more time indoors in the winter, meaning that we are in closer contact with other people who may be carrying germs. In planes, buses or trains, at work or in school, we are pressed against spluttering commuters, misting up the windows with their coughs and sneezes. It is easy to see how this could send us over a tipping point that allows nasty germs to spread through a population.

A cold can leave us with the strange feeling that we’ve swallowed a scratchy throat, a running nose and a mild headache; if we’re unlucky, our body is wracked with a high fever and aching limbs for up to a week or longer.

The flu season arrives so predictably when the mercury drops that it is an integral part of winter. In the short days of winter, without much sunlight, we run low on Vitamin D, which helps power the body’s immune system, making us more vulnerable to infection.

This winter season brought a virulent epidemic of flu. I heard that a hospital in California put tents in the front yard to accommodate the flow of patients rushing to the ER and organize an efficient triage.

I was sick too. After three days on home remedies, my cough escalated and I visited my doctor who put me on antibiotics, cough medicine and even steroids. Stay on bed rest and a lot of fluid.

How can you protect yourself and avoid becoming one of the flu victims? I have developed my own preventive system based on doctors’ recommendations, on reading various books and on my grandmothers’ wise advice.

  • Get a flu shot I have been taking it for twenty years. It doesn’t guarantee that you won’t catch the flu but it helps avoid complication such as bronchitis and pneumonia. Avoid shaking hands and hugging too many ‘friends’ and young relatives. Children spread germs much faster than adults!
  • Keep a scarf in your handbag to wrap around your throat if it’s suddenly cold. When I fly I surreptitiously cover my mouth to avoid breathing the germs that the plane fans generously distribute.
  • Gargle with Cepacol morning, night and during the day. When I worked as a pharmaceutical analyst at Dow Chemical, the company placed bottles of Cepacol in the restrooms and insist that all employees gargle after washing their hands. I haven’t been sick during my years at Dow Chemicals.
  • Swallow a Vit C 500mg daily. It boosts your immune system.
  • Swallow a pill of Calcium, Magnesium, Zinc. Excellent to improve your immune system.

And now a few tips from my grandmothers —useful tips that really, really work:

  • Suck on ginger candies such as Ginger Chew from Trader’s Joe. They may taste bitter the first time. Some of my friends spat them right away and yelled at me, but others got used to the taste and liked them.
  • Snack on pumpkin seeds from Publix or Kroger supermarkets–very rich in zinc that boosts the immune system.
  • Savor a tablespoon of honey with a few drops of lemon before you sleep.

Do you have any special suggestion to avoid catching a nasty cold? Please share with us?

You can follow Mona Risk at BookBub and join my newsletter.

While you rest and relax enjoy a few good books by New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors.

Mona Risk

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author, Mona Risk, received an Outstanding Achiever Award from Affaire de Coeur Magazine. She’s a two time winner of Best Contemporary Romance of the Year from Readers Favorite; a winner of Best Romance Novel of the Year from Preditors & Editors Readers Poll; and an EPIC Award finalist.
Mona Risk’s name has often been posted on the Amazon.com 100 Most Popular Authors in Romance list, and her books have garnered: Top Pick, Outstanding Read, Sweetheart of the Week, and Best Book of the Week from various reviewers, and received two mentions in Publisher’s Weekly.
Mona lives in South Florida and has traveled to more than eighty countries on business or vacation. She writes contemporary romances, medical romance, romantic suspense, and paranormal fantasy. Sprinkled with a good dose of humor, her stories are set in the fascinating places she visited or more simply at home.
If you like to travel and love to read, come and enjoy her international romances. Meet the spirited heroines and special heroes who share irresistible chemistry in stories that simmer with emotion.
 View website

Organize and Plan by @JoanReeves #mgtab

outdoors

De-clutter, organize, and plan. That’s my mantra at the beginning of every year. Since I’ve spent most of this month doing those 3 things, I thought I’d talk about that today.

One thing I’ve discovered about myself over the years is that I love to do those 3 things. Maybe it’s because I come from a long line of disorganized people who lived in cluttered houses.

My mom–God love her–saved every scrap of everything. She had a house full of newspaper clippings, files, books, and a gazillion other things. The only problem was that she never could find anything because it was all jumbled together.

Some people are just like that. My mother-in-law was like that too. I guess my Darling Hubby and I were destined to find each other! Seriously though, some people are just made that way, and others aren’t. Since our youngest daughter was born, I tried to instill in her the principles of organization, neatness, and all those other habits.

Of course she just ignored everything I said and went her merry messy way until this past year. Suddenly, she’s reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo.

For the last 6 months, she’s been cleaning out closets and cupboards, donating or selling stuff she hasn’t used in years, and quoting the book as if she never, ever, in her life heard anyone–like her mother–tell her any of the things in that darn book! Now she’s got her equally messy husband reading the book.

I haven’t read the book, but I have some simple rules to keep the house neat, organized, and always looking good enough for company.

8 Rules for a Neat House

1. Everything should have a place. Organize your stuff so it is in a logical place, i.e., tools in the garage, household cleansers under the sink, etc. If you have to store things you don’t use often but want to keep, get clear storage containers and stick labels on them that list the contents.

2. If you take something from its place, return it to the same place.

3. When you change clothes, immediately hang up the clothes if they’re okay to wear again or put them in the hamper to be washed.

4. If you have a snack between meals, rinse the dishes and put them in the dishwasher.

5. Load the dishwasher immediately after eating.

6. Empty the dishwasher last thing at night or first thing in the morning.

7. Take the trash out every night.

8. Before you go to bed, walk through the house and see if anything is out of place (ask the person who used it to put it back where it belongs), if there are glasses or cups scattered on the coffee table, etc. (ask the person who used them to take them to the kitchen and rinse them, etc.), if there are clothes laying on the floor (ask the owner to deal with them), or toys not put away (ask them to do it NOW).

Of course, things left lying about can also be gathered, concealed, and held for ransom. I did this when our kids were teens, and I was tired of tripping over stinky Nikes among other things scattered about the house. After I’d picked up the kids’ detritus a few days and wouldn’t give it back unless they did extra chores or paid a dollar, they became neater. It was almost magical!

As much as I like organizing, planning, making lists, and all of that left brain stuff, I think I’ll write a book with a heroine who loves that. Of course, the hero would have to be a slob. That’s all the conflict the poor woman could stand.

After You’ve Finished Tidying Up…

Take a break and read the Sweet and Sassy Valentine Collection by 12 New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Authors.

This romance collection is an Amazon Exclusive. It’s only 99cents and is available for pre-order now.

The collection contains sweet romance and sexy romance. Indeed, there’s something for everyone. I think you’ll love it.

Joan Reeves is a New York Times and a USA Today bestselling author of Contemporary Romance. All her fiction have the underlying premise:  It’s never too late to live happily ever after. Joan lives her happily-ever-after with her hero, her husband, in the Lone Star State. Join Joan’s Reader Friends and be the first to know about new books and giveaways, plus you get a free ebook just for signing up!

 

Joan Reeves

NY Times and USA Today bestselling author Joan Reeves makes her home in the Lone Star State with her hero, her husband.

They have 4 children who think they are adults and a ghost dog, all the ingredients for a life full of love and warmed by laughter.

Joan lives the philosophy that is the premise of her romance novels: “It’s never too late to live happily ever after.”

 View website

Joys of Life by Mona Risk

When you have been hit by a drama, you can’t continue looking at life in the same indifferent way. The death of a person close to you, the discovery of a health problem, the loss of a job, and other things can gnaw at your heart, make you suffer and somehow restructure your way of thinking, your perspective on life.

A French author, Alfred de Musset said that to write beautiful poetry one must have tasted real sadness. To write a book that touches readers, an author must dig deep in his/her own emotions and write from the heart.

Having experience problems, pain and frustration, in the past months, I felt disconcerted for a while, unable to resume my old routine, because whether I like it or not my routine has changed. In an effort to regain my self-control, I started looking around me.

And what I saw amazed me.

So many friends smiling, extending a helping hand, offering words of comfort, encouragement and support. So many of you, here on this loop and others, without whom I would have taken a longer time to smile again. Thank you.

I also saw people suffering because of difficult economical circumstances, and needing financial help.

I saw lonely senior citizens looking at me with sad eyes and telling me ‘your mother was lucky to have you visiting, we don’t have anyone here’.

I saw children begging me to play and laugh with them. Little did they know how their company helped me.

I saw handicaps teenagers who needed a drive–or someone to need them.

Again I looked around and saw a beautiful scenery: a palette of amazing colors in the trees. When I lived in the North, I never missed walking through parks and taking pictures of the foliage. In Florida, a stroll on the sand while watching the waves restores my good mood and fills me with inspiration for my stories. Nature offers a whole array of joys to taste.

Socializing is something I avoided, as I never had enough time to just sit with friends and chat, share a meal at home or in a restaurant, play a game or watch a movie. To think of it, I stopped watching movies or TV shows eons ago. Now I make it a point to follow the news and enjoy a few shows while knitting. Yes, knitting. To be honest, I hadn’t touched knitting needles since my son was four years old. Now I am knitting a long scarf for his daughter.

Another precedent for me. I volunteered to help baking at our church. Cooking I handle well, but baking! Good Lord, baking is something I avoided like a virus. Baking contributes to add pounds to one’s hips. But I decided it was time to show some goodwill by cooperating in the church’s kitchen. I was very proud when my cookies turned out to be nice-looking and delicious.

Now, I look around for little joys.

Unexpected good news can add tremendous joy. The success of our boxes, Unforgettable Romance, Unforgettable Heroes, Unforgettable Christmas, Sweet and Sassy, Sweet and Sassy Christmas and now Sweet and Sassy Valentine, definitely put a smile on my lips and kicked my muse back into work.

As always, writing is a joy, a passion and a soothing relaxation. My new story, A Bride for Prince Paul, is set in Paris and a fiction island in the Channels, Rensy Island, a twin of Guernsey Island. The story of Prince Paul and Dr. Amy Tyrone is a precursor to the romance of British Prince Harry and Megan Markle.

Tell me, please, where do you find your joys? How do you get over sadness, frustration or anxiety?

 

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author, Mona Risk published twenty-five  books and “knows how to pull a reader into the minds of her well-crafted characters. Her work takes us on a journey be it local or overseas.”~Night Owl Reviews.

Mona Risk can be found at:
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Mona Risk

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author, Mona Risk, received an Outstanding Achiever Award from Affaire de Coeur Magazine. She’s a two time winner of Best Contemporary Romance of the Year from Readers Favorite; a winner of Best Romance Novel of the Year from Preditors & Editors Readers Poll; and an EPIC Award finalist.
Mona Risk’s name has often been posted on the Amazon.com 100 Most Popular Authors in Romance list, and her books have garnered: Top Pick, Outstanding Read, Sweetheart of the Week, and Best Book of the Week from various reviewers, and received two mentions in Publisher’s Weekly.
Mona lives in South Florida and has traveled to more than eighty countries on business or vacation. She writes contemporary romances, medical romance, romantic suspense, and paranormal fantasy. Sprinkled with a good dose of humor, her stories are set in the fascinating places she visited or more simply at home.
If you like to travel and love to read, come and enjoy her international romances. Meet the spirited heroines and special heroes who share irresistible chemistry in stories that simmer with emotion.
 View website

To goal set or not to goal set . . . It’s not even a question!

I used to always stay up extra late on New Year’s Eve, past the time all the celebrations ended, to light some candles, have a cup of tea, and journal about anything I was happy, sad, angry about in the past year, write out my hopes for the new year, and generate a huge list of resolutions.

In recent years, the timing changed, becoming a few stolen hours on the first or second of the month. The journaling remained, but the huge list of resolutions morphed into a sheet of more specific goals, with tangible steps on how to attain those goals.

This year, I spent the first week of January reflecting and planning for 2018—and I’m not done yet. I’ve created an official goal document (LOL—but totally not joking!) with five separate goal categories, but my year-at-a-glance calendar needs filled out and I plan to start utilizing a handy dandy little app (or so it appears on first glace) called Perfect Day (but spelled as Perfct Day).

I realize how much attention I put into goal setting might make me sound a little OCD, but I find time spent looking back, considering the present, and contemplating the future very helpful. Sometimes it’s a little bittersweet, but mostly I find a lot of joy and rekindled ambition and motivation. I tend to be someone who beats myself up for never doing enough. Taking stock of accomplishments and met goals helps me shut the mean voices up.

So what about you? Do you create a map to help you make it to your goals, or are you more of a seat-of-your pants life traveler?

Whatever your approach, I hope 2018 is full of new (fun!) challenges, met goals and happy surprises. (No matter how much of a planner you are, we all need nice surprises once in a while.) And, of course, I wish you tons of cozy reads and life-affirming, thought-provoking, page-turning stories!

Ev Bishop lives and writes in a remote small town in wildly beautiful British Columbia, Canada—a place that inspires the setting for her cozy sweet romance series, RIVER’S SIGH B & B.

Book 1 in the series, WEDDING BANDS, is FREE right now, so go to your favorite eBook vendor and grab your copy today!

Ev also writes and publishes under the pen name Toni Sheridan.

In addition to writing novels—her favorite form of storytelling!—Ev is a long-time columnist with the Terrace Standard and a prolific scribbler of articles, essays, short stories and poems. To see her ever growing body of work, please visit her website.

When Ev’s nose isn’t in a book or her fingers aren’t on her keyboard, you’ll find her hanging out with her family and dogs, or playing outside with friends, usually at the lake or in some garden somewhere.