We Still Need Heroes by Rachelle Ayala #mgtab @mimisgang1

Photo by RODNAE Productions from Pexels

Heroes are the men and women who step up in times of crisis. They charge into burning buildings and rush toward disaster zones. They defend us against bullies and bad guys, and they stay on their jobs when others retreat. We appreciate our heroes because they inspire us and give us hope. They help us in times of need, and they do their duty while others are fleeing and hiding. We appreciate our heroes on special days like Veteran’s Day and anniversaries of their heroic acts. But do we understand the toll it takes on them and their families?

Being a hero entails sacrifice and putting others in front of self. Our military men and women not only fight bad guys but give aid and support to vulnerable populations. Our first responders put their safety at risk when responding to disasters or calls for help. Our health care workers stood at the front line to treat patients when an unknown disease sickened their communities. Every day, mothers and fathers put their children’s welfare in front of their own by working long hours to put food on the table or sacrificing for their education.

The qualities that heroes have: bravery, courage, resourcefulness, duty, honor, and sacrifice are still needed today. We need men to stand up for what’s right and women to nurture the weak and helpless. People to hold the line for freedom and individual liberty against the dark side of totalitarianism and mind control.

I’m grateful for all heroes: the police who catch criminals, the firefighters who save lives and homes, the military who secure our freedoms, the pastors who preach the Bible, the parents who protect the children, the essential workers who did their jobs, the patriots who stand against tyranny, and most of all, God who gave us his only begotten Son.

Forgive me for being sentimental. The 20th anniversary of September 11 just passed by, and while the ending of the war was not what we expected, it does not in any way diminish the heroism of the policemen, firefighters, and rescuers who charged into the buildings or all of the many military men and women who held the line against terrorists and warlords. They battled at tremendous personal cost and we owe them continued gratitude. Who knows how many attacks were prevented by their sacrifice?

Many years ago, I wrote about an Afghanistan War veteran, Tyler Manning, who returned home disillusioned and suffering from PTSD. He was homeless, subjected to flashbacks, and had lost his faith. It took a tiny four-year-old girl, Bree Kennedy, to see something special about him as he sat underneath a Christmas tree scavenging thrown-away food from a mall food court. I wish the war had ended better, but I know his effort was not wasted. Tyler’s story became a three-part Christmas series called: A Veteran’s Christmas.

In book 1, A Father for Christmas, Bree finds Tyler under a Christmas tree and brings him back to society and a romance with Bree’s mom, Kelly.

In book 2, A Pet for Christmas, Tyler returns to Afghanistan to work at a charity he founded, only to have it blown to bits. He and his translator then embark on a daring escape from Afghanistan with the help of a stray Kuchi dog.

In Book 3, A Wedding for Christmas, Tyler gets involved with a former Afghan female soldier and helps her get off the streets–all while trying to juggle his wedding to Bree’s mom, Kelly

Check out the first book, A Father for Christmas FREE.

A Father for Christmas by Rachelle Ayala

So let us remember to honor our heroes every day and to let them inspire us to give a helping hand and nurture those in need. All of us can be an every day hero by standing up for the values and ideals that made our country great and by giving our time, labor, and care to others. Like the children’s song says, JOY is Jesus, Others, You with yourself last.

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A Wee Bit Sassy by @AyalaRachelle #mgtab

Hello Readers! Spring is here and everything is turning green. From California to North Carolina, everyone is a wee bit sassy, reminding me of the bunnies, bears, and fawns coming out from hibernation in the Bambi movie.

I’ve been traveling this week and visiting with my newest granddaughter. She’s a sweet and feisty little one, loves to stretch out, and making the cutest little sounds of squirming and squealing. So I’ve been babysitting, baby clothes shopping, and loving on the little one, and thinking about writing sassy romances that are neither squeaky sweet nor hot-pepper steamy–what I call a sassy romance.

How do I define sassy? It all has to do with the heroine. She’s got game. She’s flirty and suggestive, but not overly aggressive and demanding. She can be nice but she’s got a bark when you cross her. A sassy heroine might have a snarky mouth but deep insides, she’s vulnerable and wants to be loved and accepted. She just doesn’t go about it by being sweetie-pie nice. She’s selective to who she opens up to.

That said, it takes a special kind of hero to tango with a sassy heroine. He’s strong and has his own issues, but knows the give and take of the two-step. It’s a give and a take with strong sexual attraction but a slow burn on the falling in love. The clothes stay on and our sassy heroines and heroes don’t get ahead of themselves, but neither do they play hide and seek with their feelings. It’s too naughty to be nice, plenty flirtacious and feisty without steaming up the sheets, and a lick and a tease on the physical size.

I love writing sassy romances. I’ve marked my books [Sweet, Sassy, Steamy] on my booklist https://rachelleayala.net/books

Some of my favorite sassy heroines are Marisa Monroe who’s an outspoken nursing aide who’s bossy but always down on her luck. Seems she’s a little too abrasive for most of the bad boys she meets–until she hires not one, but two (mistakenly) for a dating reality show she’s determined to win. Check out her Irish (St. Patrick’s Day) romance for FREE [March 13-17], sassy as can be. Bad Boys for Hire: Liam

Don’t forget to enter the monthly contest here at Authors’ Billboard! There are so many wonderful books and stories, sweet, sassy, and otherwise!

Fifty Ways to Love your Lover (and Friends)

Photo by Katerina Holmes from Pexels

It’s Valentine’s Day, and all through the land, flowers are given and brunch is being cooked. But did you know that love can be shown every day and in little or large ways? The key is surprise and changing things up. Neuroscience has shown that humans get habituated fairly easily to both good and bad stimuli. For example, the first time you tasted a particular dish or dessert, you had a memorable moment of thinking it was the best ever. The next time you went back to that restaurant or cooked the dish or picked up the dessert, you wonder, did it change? Or it wasn’t the way I remembered. It’s the same with rewards and gifts, as well as things people do for you. Your first kiss? The first time a guy gave you a trinket? Going on a first date? Your first [fill in the blank]?

So, let’s change things up a bit this Valentine’s Day. We’ve come off a hard year of social isolation and the inevitable loneliness. If you have someone with you, count yourself lucky, but you don’t have to have a special someone to love someone else. Just send out some love and that itself is a sweet reward.

Here are fifty ways to show someone you love them.

  1. Say, “I love you.”
  2. Give a hug.
  3. Tuck a note saying “I love you,” in an unexpected place.
  4. Talk to him, and make sure you do a lot of listening. Paying attention is love.
  5. Respect his opinion, especially if it differs from yours.
  6. Go on a walk and don’t talk, just be together.
  7. Play a game: Checkers, backgammon, gin rummy, etc. where it’s the two of you only.
  8. Play with your pet together. Appreciate your pet and let them run back and forth between you.
  9. Cook together, or watch him cook or have him watch you. It feels more like love and less like a service when you’re interacting.
  10. Do an activity together you’ve been putting off.
  11. Trade backrubs and footrubs.
  12. Ask for his opinion on what you should wear before going out. Shows you value his observations.
  13. Form a book club of two. Agree to read the same book and discuss after finishing.
  14. Ask him if there’s something he wants you to do but hasn’t asked.
  15. Play a harmless prank on him. Good for laughs and retaliation.
  16. Take something off his “honey-do” list. Either do it yourself or hire someone.
  17. Show appreciation and tell him so.
  18. Surprise him with a gag gift–not socks or ties, but something funny.
  19. Find something he’s better at than others and tell him so.
  20. Declare a work-free day. No chores. No fixing things. No mowing grass.
  21. Join him on an activity he goes alone.
  22. Let him talk about his childhood without interjecting your own.
  23. Suggest he splurge on something you know he’s been secretly wanting.
  24. Play music together and do funny dances. Let him play his selection.
  25. Mix shampoos and conditioners together and come up with love potion names and blurbs for them.
  26. Exercise together or sit by and watch him exercise or vice versa.
  27. Invite his family to your celebration so no one will feel left out.
  28. Find a good trait about his mother and tell him how you appreciate her.
  29. Let him do things his way. If he ties the socks together instead of folding one into the other, let it be that way.
  30. Surprise him with his favorite dish or dessert.
  31. Let him sleep in or make sure you do not disturb him when he’s napping.
  32. Give him a stuffed animal to sit on his pillow. [Hey, it’s over 30 tips and I’m digging deep here].
  33. Collect a photo montage of his best moments and make a poster.
  34. Read him a passage from your favorite romance novel [I have over sixty, hint, hint]
  35. Ask him to make a muscle and admire how big it is.
  36. Give him a pedicure so his lethal toenails won’t snag you in bed.
  37. Shoot hoops with him.
  38. Stay up late and tell ghost stories, then go exploring in a dark barn.
  39. Go birdwatching and look for lucky birds–they all are. Hummingbirds, crows, bluejays, cardinals, and sparrows.
  40. Write him a love letter and tell specifically what you love about him.
  41. Go shopping with him for a his/her set of something. Be creative.
  42. Have a private karaoke night and sing love songs together.
  43. Cheerfully help him witht he yard work. Rake leaves while he mows.
  44. Hold hands while out for a walk in the park.
  45. Find strange places to take selfies together. Caption them.
  46. Play remember when. Write down separately and compare notes. You might be surprised when he doesn’t remember things the same way as you.
  47. Play spin the bottle. Hide in the closet for your kiss.
  48. Have a pillow fight.
  49. Take a drive out in the countryside with no where in mind. Top down if you have a convertible.
  50. Finally! Let him surprise you with an outing [no help from you or looking up directions].

I hope you found some ideas for a smashing Valentine’s Day. Please check out my three Valentine’s romances. If you listen to audiobooks, go to https://smarturl.it/ContactRachelle and request a free promocode [specify US or UK] for Valentine Hound Dog (sweet), Valentine Wedding Hound (sweet), or Going Hearts Over Heels [steamy]. – while promocodes last.

request from https://smarturl.it/ContactRachelle

And, another Valentine’s gift for you [Free ebook on Amazon, Feb 14-15], Going Hearts Over Heels. Ginger is a fast talking New Yorker who wants to try life in the country—along with hot country boys. Marsh yearns for the excitement of the big city and a certain redhead who has his imagination sparked. Ginger and Marsh decide to trade places over Valentine’s Day, except neither one expected their hearts to get in the way of their heels.

Going Hearts Over Heels (click to go to Amazon)

Toy Soldier Christmas: A Christmas Wish

Christmas is a magical season because our hopes and wishes turn towards love, family and friends. No matter how the rest of the year has been, we can always look forward to wishes come true. I grew up paging through the Sears Christmas Wish book, dogearring pages and wondering what my father would wish for. I even looked through the Craftsmen tools and the “boring” adult sections. While I wished for rock tumblers, hula hoops, bead and craft sets, my sister wanted a dog, and my brother wished for electronic sets. Some years, we wished for my dad’s job or his health, and the year my grandfather was sick, we wished for him to get well.

Sometimes, it’s not the wishes that came true that are important, but the ones which spurred you to take action or make changes to improve yourself that make a big difference. When I was invited to participate in the Dear Santa: A Christmas Wish set, I thought about a wish that didn’t come true. My grandfather still passed away, but the many hours praying and wishing for him to recover changed me from a girl hiding the Sears catalog under my bed.

Dear Santa: A Christmas Wish – 18 author brand-new never published before Christmas romances

Purchase places:

AMAZON.COMAMAZON.CAAMAZON.UKAMAZON.AUAPPLEKOBOB&N,

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My story is called “Toy Soldier Christmas”.

One of my unfulfilled Christmas wishes was a Nutcracker toy soldier. I thought it would be cool to have one that could really truly crack nuts. When I sat down to write my story, I thought about the theme of the Nutcracker, where broken toys are to be cherished and not discarded. An image of a broken soldier came to me, a man who lost parts of his body returning home and dreading the holidays. My friend who I walk with works at a place fitting prosthesis for breast cancer survivors and that inspired me to write about a woman who also believes she is broken.

Both Nutmeg Brown and Craig Brockman are facing their first Christmas after their traumas and are in denial. They wish someone can fix their broken lives, but they turn away from family and friends. Nutmeg heads to Christmas Creek and finds a broken Nutcracker soldier under her Christmas tree. It’s the one she lost long ago and thought her mother threw away. She tucks her broken nutcracker doll in her bed, but when she wakes up the next morning with a real soldier, the fun and games and the healing begins–but not without a few failed wishes and a change of heart.

Toy Soldier Christmas by Rachelle Ayala in Dear Santa: A Christmas Wish

I hope you will enjoy Nutmeg and Craig’s Winter Wonderland of Wishes. May all your wishes come true or lead to another wish. Looking forward to sharing all of the Dear Santa stories with you this October 27. [Pre-order our set today so you don’t forget and join us at a Dear Santa Party on Facebook, October 28. Please Join the ABB Party Place beforehand.]

AMAZON.COMAMAZON.CAAMAZON.UKAMAZON.AUAPPLEKOBOB&N,

GOOGLE PLAY