Love Is Magic by Pepper Phillips

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Remember when you first fell in love?

I do. It was at a USO show at Camp Pendleton in California. My first appearance as a dancer, wearing black fishnet stockings and a white sweater, I danced before the Marines. While there was talking during the other acts, when I came on there was complete silence in the audience.

Finishing my act, I took a bow and the room exploded in applause. Afterwards, there was a dance with the entertainers and Marines.

I’d never felt so popular. I was tall, not quite six feet and hadn’t had my first date yet at seventeen. Yes, I was definitely a late bloomer. I was twirled around, had a fellow or two dance way too close for comfort, had my toes stepped on, etc., until finally there was a slow dance and one Marine stood out when he asked me to dance.

There are some memories that stay in your mind forever, and this is one of them. He smelled clean…wore a white dress shirt with a gray sweater. He wasn’t a good dancer, but for some reason it didn’t matter.

That was the beginning. Decades later, we’re still married and I can remember that night. It was magic.

Falling in love is magic when you think about it. Two people who manage to find each other among all the people in the world…

In Love Blooms on Main Street, my story isn’t about a young couple but an older couple who weren’t expecting to fall in love at their age.

This is your chance to buy ten stories for less than a dollar.

Take a chance on love at your favorite edistributor.

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And I hope you enjoy my story…

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LIVE!!! Love Blooms on Main Street is LIVE TODAY!

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Love Blooms on Main Street

Every flower tells a story. Just as the first fragrant blooms of spring stir the senses, Love Blooms on Main Street is sure to touch your heart. Ranging from sweet to spicy, these stand-alone contemporary romances are inspired by the symbolism of flowers, with each story representing a different flower.

The set can now be ordered from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and iBooks for the limited time price of 99 cents.

Here’s a closer look at the stories included in Love Blooms on Main Street:

Small Town Hot Shot Bride
by Stephanie Queen, USA Todaybestselling author
Red roses symbolize compassion and romantic love. Tammy is a hot shot in a small town, but she’s tired of getting left behind by guys just passing through. Will she get swept up by charming out-of-towner Roark and his runaway train attraction? Or will she derail him for good?

Perfect Match
by Carol DeVaney,
national bestselling author
Forget-me-nots symbolize true love and remembrance. Sometimes love needs a little push. Can two lonely hearts re-kindle their abandoned passion the second time around?

Heather of His Heart
by Leigh Morgan, national bestselling author

Heather symbolizes admiration, beauty, good luck and protection from danger. Heather has given up on the idea of finding romantic love. Billy never had the idea in the first place. When circumstances throw them together, they find that love, like heather, blooms in the most unlikely places.

To Have & To Hold
by E. Ayers, national bestselling author

Peonies symbolize compassion, happiness and prosperity. When Melissa meets Drexel, she realizes that the estate’s gardener has found something that she’s never had—happiness. But sometimes things aren’t what they appear to be, and she needs to follow her heart.

Love at the Apple Blossom Inn
by Kristy Tate, national bestselling author

Scotch broom symbolizes overwhelming and everlasting love. Small-town girl Janey Tyler falls for Eric Roudell, the quiet and reclusive music teacher. But will she still love him when she discovers he is really Derrick Cordell, the rock star?

Forever Your Valentine
by Susan R. Hughes, national bestselling author

Daisies symbolize loyal love. Attraction crackles between Faith and Cole when they meet, but since Cole’s career takes him on the road most of the year, Faith resolves to keep their relationship platonic. Will one night together ruin their friendship, or could they be falling in love?

Naomi’s Heart
by Pepper Phillips, national bestselling author
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Paperwhite narcissus has the most delicious fragrance, bringing spring into the room. Delighted that Ben is back in Boggy Bayou, Naomi teams up with him to enter the Egg Knocking contest. Can they win? Can Naomi figure out why Ben is kissing her? Can her heart stand it if Ben realizes that she’s not what he deserves?

Mother’s Day Babies
by Mona Risk, USA Today bestselling author

White lilies symbolizes virtue.
Can Love Bloom between a powerful TV Director who’s certainly not marriage material and a widow loyal to her late husband?

Call Me Yours
by Kelly Rae, national
bestselling author Hydrangeas symbolize devotion and gratefulness. When Thad finds himself falling for Brianna, the only surprise is how natural it feels. It’s going to take more than words to convince her, but he will do anything to hear her say,Call Me Yours.

Old Enough to Know Better
by Joan Reeves,
national bestselling author
White roses symbolize new beginnings.
Stormy Clarkson, on the brink of fifty, is crushing on sexy Sean Butler. He’s been after her for six months, but she’s resisted every advance. One night he kisses her. That kiss changes everything!

We are all so thrilled to present these stories to you; as we feel strongly about love and relationships and how important a little happily-ever-after can be in a our fictional lives. Enjoy and thank you for being our fans, our friends and our supporters, with each new boxed set we write and publish!

Small Town Romance: Real or Fairytale? by Stephanie Queen

I’m on “Team Real”. Small towns are real. Romances are real–they happen all the Small Town Hot Shot Bride-2time–even in small towns (or else where would they get all those kids playing in the streets and the parks?)

It should come as no surprise however, that Myren, my chauffeur, is on “Team Fairytale”. He says small town romances remind him of Disneyland–all shiny and pretty on the surface,  and nothing but an illusion once you look behind the curtain.

So I said to Myren, “Quit looking behind the curtain.” I mean after all, why bother reading a novel if you’re looking behind the curtain to see what’s there?

What it comes down to is this: [Stephanie Queen Wisdom coming up] it’s a matter of being authentic rather than being real. It’s a matter of capturing the magic moments from life and blowing them up into a proportion that you can wrap your arms around and enjoy for a few hours as you read the story. The moments are real. Everyone has some in their life. The settings are ordinary and authentic. We all know a town with a charming Main Street that looks picture perfect at least sometimes.

The kind of magic moments that happen in small towns romances are particularly charming and have a tendency to make this reader very wistful. Because we could imagine being there, imagine that moment from our own life maybe. That first kiss with a guy you’ve admired from afar for months. Or the moment a special man proposed to you at the town fireworks display and you actually saw the explosions of color in the sky. Ordinary authentic moments.

We can look back or forward at our own lives to see moments like those in small town romance novels. Unlike a romantic suspense where most of us don’t have magical moments from our lives about capturing bad guys at gunpoint or being rescued by a super spy. [I’m on the record saying now that I’ve never been shot at.] The feeling I get from the larger than life stories is more like an escape into someone else’s life than wistfully remembering or imagining a snippet of our own.

That’s why I love writing small town romance novels–you know, the kind set on Main Street. Writing these lets me explore those wisps of time where the stars aligned and things were wonderful, and then expand on them. Writing these stories lets me re-imagine my world with some minor adjustments to make things exactly right. You know–the kind of world where the characters say the things you wish you could have said when you were there in that situation–when you were tongue-tied.

In my small town story world, things work out, at least for that magical moment in time, perfectly.  Until the next story starts with a new journey to the next moment of magical perfection.

You can read my latest story about Tammy from the small town of Hamlin who is wary of a charming guy from out of town. It’s a classic tale of a small town girl being swept away by the irresistible force of the forbidden stranger. Small Town Hot Shot Bride is available now in the Authors of Main Street Boxed set Love Blooms on Main Street.

Grandmothers in Books

While browsing through my old blog posts I came across the following one that brought tears to my eyes. It was published on my own blog in May 2008:

Today I celebrated Mother’s Day as a daughter, mother and grandmother. My son-in-lay invited four generations of women to lunch. My daughter and her two little daughters, 4 and 2, and my son’s daughter, 3, visiting from Chicago, my mother and myself.

Lunch was lovely. We ignored the spilled glass of orange juice, the I-don’t-like-it whining and the crumbles forming a hidden mess under the table.

Four GenerationsIt took fifteen minutes to sit the ladies for the picture of the century. Moving my mother and her walker to a strategic place, and then having her hold on the rail of the restaurant’s entrance stairs wasn’t too difficult, but gathering three laughing, squealing and squirming little girls and having them stand still for two seconds was an enormous challenge. But the effort was worth the pain. The children are growing too fast and we don’t know how long we will be blessed with my mother’s presence.

Sometimes Mother’s Day is a difficult time. I know it is extremely difficult for my cousin who lost her mother’s a week ago. For her and her family, Mother’s Day consisted in a trip to the cemetery to deposit flowers on a fresh grave.

 Enjoy your mothers and enjoy your day as a mother.

My mother left us two years later.

My contribution to LOVE BLOOMS ON MAIN STREET is MOTHER’S DAY BABIES, a novel full of emotion and humor. I had two great models for my middle-aged heroine, my mother and mother-in-law. Both always spoke their own minds and distributed good advice whether you wanted them or not. My mother-in-law was a funny person with a sharp wit. My mother told us to always ‘look your best’. She practiced what she preached.

My mother professed that being nicely dressed, combed and jeweled helped her forget she was a very sick person. The assisted living residents complimented her and tried to follow her example. The staff admired her positive attitude.

Most of my books include a grandmother among the characters. Depending on the setting of my stories, the children call her grandma, abuelita, nonna, yaya, or baboushka, but the grandmothers in my various novels have a lot in common.

Like my mother and my mother-in-law, tMothers Day Babies by Mona Riskhey adore their grandchildren, cook delicious meals, and often meddle in their children’s life —for the children’s good, of course. They are strong women who have encountered their shares of problems and learned life’s lessons from personal experience. They are also generous mothers who would go out of their ways for their families.

MOTHER’S DAY BABIES

This book is dedicated to the mothers we celebrate and those we remember with love.

Widowed for seven years, Barbara Ramsay lives and breathes for her five grownup daughters and their babies. She’s also used to chatting over the phone with her good friend, Lou, and soothing his stress. But why has he invited her to come to Paris with his TV Network crew?

Powerful News Director, Lou Roland is certainly not marriage material, yet he has suddenly decided he wants Barbara in his arms. Not an easy task when his pretty confidante from Kentucky proves so difficult to date—unless he follows her rules. Can the over-fifty confirmed bachelor and the widow loyal to her husband’s memory find true love and share a future?

MOTHER’S DAY BABIES: http://tinyurl.com/cz3v5a8

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Love Blooms on Main Street
Barnes & Noble Pre-Order: http://ow.ly/LCayI
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Amazon http://ow.ly/LF60i

 

What Brightens Your Day?

We all have different symbols that brighten our days. I’m partial to flowers. Any color, height or width.

Tickseed (Coreopsis auriculata) is a gorgeous plant. 11025733_10153205985003954_5160012850450597426_n[1]

Tickseed resemble daisies, which I’m fond of. They produce tiny seeds which resemble ticks. Before you know it, you’ll have more plants than you know what to do with. Make someone else happy. Give some away.

Speaking of tiny seeds, that’s how stories begin. Tiny thoughts lock inside your head, take root  and spread into larger  ones. Those tiny thought seeds are the foundation of stories when they bloom into characters and plot. It doesn’t take much to form stories from everywhere around us. Friends, family, strangers or the news. We take one instance and form entire novels from one tiny seed.

My granddaughter and grandson planted Shasta Daisies in a flower bed a few years ago and they also multiply. So make sure you have room for the flowers to spread.

I like to think of each petal on the daisy as a page or chapter in a book.

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This is a beautiful white Iris, a special friend from North Carolina sent me a number of years ago. I love sharing plants, whether it’s the next door neighbor or from states away.

Stories bloom as the seeds on one tiny Tickseed, to huge blooms from a bulb of an Iris plant.

Our new ten story box set is based on flower symbolisms. Each story has a different flower.

Love Blooms on Main Street is works of love from the Authors of Main Street. Grab a copy while it’s on pre-order.

My contribution to the set is a story close to my heart, Perfect Match.

A lonely woman. A guilt-ridden man.

A child in the middle.

A home where dreams might come true.

When Cali and Trace meet, Cali has walked away from a bad relationship. Trace can’t forgive himself for the death of his wife and Cali has no intention of playing second fiddle to his late wife. But, there is Dylan, Trace’s seven year-old son. Cali can’t resist the little boy and Dylan has embraced Cali far more than either Cali or Trace would like. Problems arise when Cali discovers Trace’s secret.

What are some of your favorite flowers? What do they remind you of?

My books are available at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Kobo, Diesel, Apple and Smashwords.

You can find links on my website for all My Books

Signs of Spring

Up here in Ontario, we are finally seeing spriscillang. The snow has melted away to reveal matted brown lawns. But that’s okay. Among the blades of dead grass, the first flowers are beginning to emerge. See that blue bloom my daughter Sophie is admiring? Look reaaaally closely. It’s a perfect little scilla. Just one tiny flower, but such a joyous sight after four and a half months of snow and record-breaking cold.

What better way to celebrate spring than with a brand-new boxed set bursting with romance and passion? Love Blooms on Main Street is now available for pre-order for only 99 cents.

Valentine coverEach story is inspired by a different flower. My contribution, Forever Your Valentine, has a pivotal scene involving daisies, which symbolize loyal love. At the end of a day trip to Pelee Island, while Faith and Cole take a stroll at sunset, she makes the decision to let go of her inhibitions and spend the night with him. Though neither of them is prepared to commit to anything deeper than friendship, the attraction between them is too strong to resist. Could they be falling in love despite their best efforts?

Old Enough to Know Better by Joan Reeves

Old Enough to Know BetterWhite roses are the flowers that symbolize Old Enough to Know Better because they represent renewal and new beginnings. I’m pleased to offer this sexy romantic comedy in our new Love Blooms on Main Street Romance Collection.

(This post includes a Giveaway. Read below for details.)

Backstory

That’s what Stormy, the heroine, needs even though she doesn’t know it or accept it.

Sean, the hero, wants to be her new beginning, but he knows he’s facing a serious challenge because Stormy is determined to have nothing to do with him.

Why? Because her track record with men sucks. She’s haunted by the mistakes she’s made. But Sean has a plan to win her heart. His plan? Whatever it takes!

The Writing Of This Book

When I wrote Old Enough to Know Better, I did something I’d always wanted to do. I used a literary motif. A motif is an object or idea that repeats itself throughout a literary work. I’d always admired books that successfully incorporated a motif of some sort.

An example of this is Texasville by Larry McMurtry, one of my favorite books. I loved the way McMurtry used the slogans on the tee shirts Karla wore to build characterization for her and Duane, her husband, as well as to indicate moods and situations.

My Motif

So in writing Old Enough, I placed a quotation by a woman at the beginning of every chapter. The quotation actually foreshadows the action and meaning of the scenes in that chapter.

I’ll give you a couple of examples. In Chapter 1, this quotation from Dorothy Parker appears: “There is entirely too much charm around, and something must be done to stop it.”

The chapter goes on to introduce cynical Stormy Clarkson who, despite herself, is attracted to the charming vineyard owner Sean Butler.

Chapter 2 begins with these words from Jane Smiley: “In my experience, there is only one motivation, and that is desire. No reasons or principles contain it or stand against it.”

Not only does that show the sexual tension that’s growing by leaps and bounds between Stormy and Sean, but it also is the underlying premise of just about any good romance novel ever written.

Older Women

Old Enough to Know Better is an older woman-younger man story so let me leave you with one of my favorite quotations about this kind of relationship. This was said, not by a woman, but by a man who knew something about women. Read the full essay here:  In Praise of Older Women by Andy Rooney.

“Once you get past a wrinkle or two, an older woman is far sexier than her younger counterpart. Her libido’s stronger, her fear of pregnancy gone. Her experience of lovemaking is honed and reciprocal, and she’s lived long enough to know how to please a man in ways her daughter could never dream of. (Young men, you have something to look forward to.)” ~ Andy Rooney

Giveaway

What do you think about older women-younger men relationships? Leave a comment with your email address and be entered to win an audio book, courtesy of Audible.com.

Watch the Love Blooms “Movie”

Love Blooms_Final_03-20-2015_ 2500Add Love Blooms on Main Street to Your Library

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Post Script

Bestselling romance author Joan Reeves lives her happily ever after with her husband in the Lone Star State. Her books, available as ebooks and audiobooks, all have the underlying theme that is her motto: “It’s never too late to live happily ever after.” Readers, sign up for WordPlay, Joan’s email list/newsletter. Joan also publishes Writing Hacks, a free newsletter for writers. Find Joan at SlingWords, her blog and follow her on Twitter.

Love Blooms in Shades of Heather

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I’m a big fan of people—as most authors are, at least from an observational standpoint. The odd, quirky, slightly battered-by-life people, who emerge stronger and better for the experience, intrigue me the most. These are true characters. People with passion burning in their souls for something more, something deeper, something simpler, something meaningful, seem to paint themselves into the tapestry of their stories with such color, one can’t help but love them, hate them, or admire them just a bit.

These are the characters I like to read about. So, it should come as no surprise that they are also the characters I write.

In: Heather of His Heart, Billy Landry is seeking redemption from his past where, although he lived by a code he considered honorable, darkness played so great a role he began to believe he didn’t deserve a life in the light. Until he settled in Shute Pond and met Heather Mencken. Heather, the oldest and best friend of Billy’s sister-in-law, has no intention of settling down permanently in the town she was born in before she sees the world and lives the adventures she’s only read about.

When Heather is plagued by a stalker, Billy Landry steps in–unbidden and full of orders he expects to be obeyed—and suddenly Heather’s whole life is an adventure of the kind she never contemplated.

I believe Happily-Ever-After is inevitable when two loving and intrepid hearts make it happen. Will Billy and Heather meld their lives into a loving adventure? Read: HEATHER OF HIS HEART in the newest Authors of Main Street box set: Love Blooms on Main Street, and find out!

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In this box set we each chose a flower as a theme for our stories. I chose Heather—and not only because I’m a Scot!

Heather symbolizes admiration, beauty, good luck, protection from danger, and is prized for its toughness. Heather thrives in extreme temperatures and in poor soil. It’s also a very useful plant that blooms in many colors. Heather is used to make brooms, in thatch for roofs, it’s added to beer as flavoring and heather honey is sweet and nutritious. A wonderful plant all around, just like my heroine, Heather, ‘H’, Mencken.

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I’m curious about what types of characters you like to read and write about. Please let me know what trips your trigger and makes you keep turning those pages. Does imagery—like we used with our flower choices—add to the story? It does for me!

Happy Reading,

Leigh

Time Travel Stories

I love time-travel stories and the what-if questions they carry. My husband feels differently. He once told me that he’s afraid that if he ever time-traveled that he would waste the experience just looking for me. I think it’s one of the sweetest things he’s ever said, and we’ve been married for a very long time, so he’s said plenty of sweet things.

highwayman 2 copy (2)now available for only .99 cents

The Highwayman Incident is the first book in the Witching Well series. I got the idea while watching a documentary about the Salem Witch trials. (Side note, documentaries are great for novel fodder. I got the idea for Beyond the Pale while watching a documentary about Rasputin.) Although I grew up in Washington State and have lived most of my adult life in California, I lived in Connecticut’s Fairfield County while my husband worked in Manhattan. I definitely have a tender place in my heart for Connecticut—despite its haunted past. Coincidentally, a whole host of my ancestors also lived and died in Fairfield County. I like to think of them whispering in my ear while I write this series.

I have three books planned for the Witching Well series, The Highwayman Incident, The Cowboy Encounter and The Pirate Episode. I published the cowboy at the end of January.COWBOY encounter

And The Pirate Episode will be published sometime in June.

I had three books planned for my Rose Arbor series, but in a few weeks my fourth Rose Arbor novel will be released in the Authors of Main Street boxed set, Love Blooms on Main Street, so you never know where my muse may take me!

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Posted by Kristy at 12:46 PM