GIVEAWAY, Grab a Hot Beachy Read for those Cool Fall Nights & First Posse Member of the Month!

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Hi everyone! I hope you are having a fantastic fall so far! I’m in Florida and I have to say, the days are just divine. Perfect weather, perfect temperatures. I’m loving every single day here! IMG_3867

If you’d like to feel like you’re in Florida (especially if you are living in a cold weather place), you can still buy all three books in the Sweetheart Sisters series! The Sweetheart Bargain kicked it off, followed by The Sweetheart Rules and all-new The Sweetheart Secret! Or, if you’re in a cooking mood, check out my Sweet and Savory romances—starting with The Bride Wore Chocolate.

This month, I’m featuring a spotlight presentation on my Posse Member of the Month. The Shirley Jump Reader Posse is a great group of hand-picked readers who help spread the word about my new releases. I love them all, but thought it’d be cool to pick one Posse Member of the Month to focus on and give a little shout-out to. I’m sure you’ll love meeting Ramona, who is an avid reader of Shirley Jump romances and one of the best author cheerleaders I’ve ever known. Read on after Ramona’s profile to see the surprise I have for my readers this month!

RamonaRamona Kersch Kekstadt

From: Chicago, IL

  • My earliest reader memory was 4th grade when I ordered books from the Scholastic order forms. Love Judy Blume books. Read them all.
  • My favorite book now I can read again and again: When Snow Falls by Brenda Novak. It’s just a really feel good book, and I can relate to.
  • My favorite place to read is my couch. That couch is in my kitchen. Funny as that sounds it’s the outside deck furniture moved in for the winter last year and never made it back out. So it’s my peace haven so to speak. Look out to the protective lands in my backyard.
  • My favorite kind of book is contemporary, but love to mix it up. Reason being I love the happily ever start. I’m a big sap when it comes to romance.
  • My favorite Shirley Jump book~The Christmas Baby Surprise. It was my very first book of Shirley’s and I just fell love with the story line. And was hooked on her books.
  • I love Cakes, all different kinds. Chocolate Fudge cake my favorite.
  • I love Dogs, allergic to Cats.
  • A cool fact about me: I love to karaoke.

 

 

To celebrate Ramona’s month, I’m giving away an ebook copy of any of the books I mentioned in the newsletter this month (one of the Sweetheart Sister books or one of the Sweet and Savory books). There’s a ton of ways to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

 

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Weekend Road Trip with Cupcakes :-)

64830_10152730165045230_1913703337_nThis weekend, I got to explore a little more of the state of Florida and meet a TON of wonderful, awesome readers! I was invited to speak at the First Coast Romance Writers meeting in Jacksonville,

Me and Elizabeth Wilson

Me and Elizabeth Wilson

FL., which is kinda diagonal across the state from where I live. When I realized I’d pass right through Ocala, FL, to get there, I knew I had to stop at A Novel Idea Bookstore to do a signing with the wonderful staff there (I had met them at a previous RWA conference).

A Novel Idea is a FABULOUS bookstore (in fact, I think they should add the word FABULOUS in their name. Not just because they serve cupcakes and wine at their booksignings, either. Okay, maybe ESPECIALLY because they serve cupcakes and wine at their booksignings). Honestly, they are warm and friendly and welcoming and I can’t wait to go back. Check out these cupcakes Debbie Barao made. AHHHHHMMMAZING. I wanted to eat all of them but that isn’t really cool when there are other people standing at the table waiting for one. 😉

Me and Debbie Barao

Me and Debbie Barao

She also made awesome carrot cake cupcakes, so clearly, Debbie has mad baking skills!

The booksigning went well–lots of talk about books, shoes, all my favorite things 😉 Here’s some pics (and don’t ask me why I have that weird smile with Debbie, or why I am hanging on her shoulder like some kind of stalker. I think it was because I wanted to stay close to those cupcakes 😉

Me and DJ Kelly Wright

Me and DJ Kelly Wright

If you’re ever in Ocala, definitely stop by their store! They were sooo nice!

Then I drove up to Jacksonville and spent the day talking writing with First Coast Romance Writers. Had a lot of fun, a lot of laughs, and made some friends. A great weekend road trip all around (and did I mention DONUTS at the FCRW meeting? I think I’ll have a sugar high for days 😉

Shirley

 

 

 

Tips for Putting More SPRING in Your Step

I love this guest post from Samantha Hunter! I’m a runner, not so much a walker, but I think anything that gets you out and moving around is awesome!

Put More Spring in Your Step!

unexpectedtempationBy Samantha Hunter

We walk pretty much every day, and have since we got our first dog 12 years ago. Actually we walked before that, usually about three miles a day, and having a dog to walk with us just made sense. We have winter gear, rain gear, mud gear, and whatever it takes to get out for our two-plus miles a day, but it’s so much nicer to have the walking path dry and clear and not to have to worry about being run over by snowmobiles. I love walking on new Spring days when we’re likely to see more wildlife – definitely birds, but also turtles, frogs and rabbits, all emerging from the cold months to find food.

So the nicer weather in and of itself is good for making me want to walk more and longer –especially after some winter walks felt like… well, you can imagine. Our trail is not always groomed, so we slug through as much as a foot of snow, as long as it’s manageable for the dog, or we put on trackers to walk over ice and through ruts carved into slush and then frozen – that’s probably my least favorite walk.

But Spring is the season that begs for walking after being closed up all winter. If you don’t walk regularly, this is the time to think about getting out and doing it, before the summer heat, when it’s harder (but still a lovely time to walk). If you’re like us, and you have a dog, you know dogs love their exercise, so taking your dog out is the best possible way to make sure you walk every day. (I advise, if you don’t have one, get one – the best and most affectionate exercise machine you will ever have). J

You can check out sites like this one, The Walker’s Site (http://www.thewalkingsite.com/beginner.html), that will give you good advice and programs for starting to walk regularly. You could also read up, and a book I’ve always liked is Chi Walking (http://www.amazon.com/ChiWalking-Fitness-Walking-Lifelong-Health-ebook/dp/B002XQAAW2/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1395428904&sr=1-1&keywords=chi+walking+danny+dreyer), though I have to admit, I don’t “Fitness Walk.” We walk, in the dry weather, at a pace of about 3 mph, maybe faster on some days. Now and then we mix that with a little jogging. But you have to do what’s good for you. If you try to work too hard too fast, you are likely to give up. If you want to run eventually, start by walking – and work your way up to it.

Walking is a good option if running is too strenuous or causes injury to you. Running is better for losing weight as a targeted goal, but walking at a brisk pace (this is important – working up to at least a 15 minute mile) will offer similar health benefits without the chance of injury. But the way I see it, walking has a lot more benefits than health: you can think, have a conversation, or simply enjoy and observe your surroundings. You can walk to new areas of your city or try new paths.  You can take pictures and visit with other people on the path instead of running by them. I do suggest finding a safe place to walk, somewhere where you don’t have to worry about being hit by a car or that sort of thing, so you can enjoy your walk, and to do some kind of stretching before and after, as walking can leave your muscles tight.

And Spring is the perfect time to start a walking habit that I hope would see you through the rest of the year – I know I hate to miss my daily walk, and I try never to do so. 

Do you walk daily? Is it something you’d like to start?

Now’s the time! Don’t forget, also, to enter the giveaway! Lots of great prizes below!

Samantha

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