Christina Cole Romance

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This and That

this-n-thatI’ve got lots on my cluttered little mind this morning. First and foremost on the agenda is wishing my friends a very happy spring holiday. Whether you celebrate Easter, Passover, or the return of nature’s growing season, may you and your family be blessed.

We’re having a simple holiday, combining a bit of remodeling work with an easy cook-out — hot dogs on buns, coleslaw, chips, and dip. Probably some lemonade, too.

Next on the agenda is a little excitement. It’s always fun to log-on and find a new review. I loved the comments this reviewer made on her Amazon review:

He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not has so much for a reader…mystery, love, amateur sleuthing, and twists and turns within the pages. I will definitely be reading the first two novels in this series…its just that good.

– Ashley Schoen

Yes, dear readers. Nothing brings a smile to an author’s face faster than a favorable review. Knowing that you’re enjoying my stories makes all the long hours I spend alone here in MLWR (My Little Writing Room) worth it. I’m not alone in that feeling. Every author I’ve spoken to has made similar remarks. We love hearing from you.

If you read and enjoy a story, please spread the word. Tell us about it, and tell others, too. Post a short review at Amazon or Goodreads. It means so much to an author.

What if you don’t enjoy the story? When that happens, we want to hear from you! Let us know where we let you down and what we could have done better. Without you, readers, we’re nothing. We need to know what you’re looking for when you pick up a romance novel.

Moving on…item 3 on the list. Don’t forget the Petticoat Ball coming up on April 9. Shanna Hatfield is celebrating the release of her latest western historical, Thimbles and Thistles. Joining her and sharing hostessing duties will be the following authors:

Julie Lence, Kathleen Ball, Rachel Rossano, Peggy Henderson, Kristin Holt, Karen Witemeyer, Kayla Dawn Thomas, and me! My scheduled time is 11:30 AM to Noon — PDT. Here in the KCMO area, that means 1:30 to 2:00 PM. No matter which time zone you’re in, please plan on dropping by to say “Hello”. I’ll be running a little giveaway contest, and you could win an ebook copy of any of my romance novels.

Now, last, but far from least, I’m asking all my blog readers to show their support for childhood literacy. If you missed yesterday’s post celebrating International Children’s Book Day, here’s a link:

INTERNATIONAL CHILDREN’S BOOK DAY – REACH OUT AND READ

I’m a “Book Buddy” with Reach Out and Read, an organization which provides free books for children. I make a regular donation each month. During the month of April, I’m asking you to show your support by leaving a comment on this blog. For each comment, I will add $1.00 to my usual monthly pledge.

THANKS IN ADVANCE TO EVERYONE WHO COMMENTS!

Now, I’m heading off to work on the fourth book of “The Sunset Series”. No Regrets is due to the publisher in only a few weeks. It won’t be released until July, but you can begin reading it now on my “Snippets” blog. Let me know what you think!

Have a beautiful day!


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International Children’s Book Day — Reach Out and Read

In the midst of all the crazy, wacky, and bizarre celebrations this month is one that is near and dear to my heart. It’s International Children’s Book Day. The annual event is celebrated on — or near — April 2, the birthday of Hans Christian Andersen.

A popular picture that makes the rounds of Facebook pages is this one:

Child

 

It’s true. The gift of reading is one of the greatest gifts we can give to any child.  I cherish my memories of my grandfather holding me on his lap and reading to me — not only from “Little Golden Books” but from newspapers, encyclopedias, and poetry books.

On this day, many classrooms will have writing competitions, book award presentations, and special events with authors of children’s literature.  I hope that many families will also take time to celebrate literacy in the home by reading with their children or grandchildren.

Sadly, reading is a neglected activity in many homes, especially in poorer communities. The differences in the vocabulary skills and social skills between children whose parents read to them at an early age and those whose parents don’t is mind-boggling.

Please, take a moment to click and read this information:

The 30-Million Word Gap

Reading is fundamental to success in all areas of life, yet too many children are not given the opportunity to fully develop this essential skill. Many children simply aren’t exposed to reading. This needs to change. Every child deserves the benefits that come from reading.

I am a strong supporter of the literacy program, Reach Out and Read. This initiative works with doctors, nurses, and other health care practitioners who actually prescribe reading — and give free books. In 2014, over 6-1/2 million books were distributed through the program. The children receive stories, and parents receive valuable advice on the importance of literacy skills and how to develop them.

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There are many ways you can help. You can donate online to Reach Out and Read or another literacy organization. You can contribute children’s books or volunteer your time with a literacy program, helping either children or adults who are learning to read.

You can also help by commenting on this post. I’m a Reach Out and Read “Book Buddy” — a supporter who makes a regular donation to the organization each month. In honor of International Children’s Book Day, I’m pledging to increase my donation by $1.00 for each comment I receive on this post.

What to say in  your comment? Why not give me the name of your favorite children’s story? Was it a fairy tale? An adventure? An animal story? If you’re like me, you still recall the magic as reading brought the stories to life.

Please comment and please share this post. At the end of April, I’ll tally up the comments and add the amount to my May donation as a special gift from “Friends of Christina Cole Romance”.

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THANK YOU FOR VISITING, AND A SPECIAL THANK YOU FOR COMMENTING AND SHARING!
What was your favorite childhood tale?


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What Do You Want?

One bit of advice I was given about writing

was to post a sign on the wall above my desk asking:

What does your character want?

The next bit of advice was, whatever your character wants, don’t let him have it.

No, I don’t actually have such a sign hanging up in MLWR (My Little Writing Room), but the idea behind it is solid. Good stories are built from conflict, and the two essential conflicts we all face in life are:

  • We have something we don’t want
  • We want something we don’t have

Learning to make a character miserable is one of the key principles for fiction-writing, but I’m not actually here today to write about my stories.

I’m here to answer another question from my handy-dandy little “Question and Answer” book.  Yes, it’s a question about what I want. When I read it, I felt a bit like a character in one of my novels, someone who’s being denied something I desire.

The question in full reads:

What was something you wanted today, but couldn’t have?

I find that a very awkward question since it’s not yet even 9:00 AM. Maybe the book is meant to be read at night. For me, it works better at the start of the day, so I’ll have to tweak this one a bit to make it work.

I could look back at yesterday. Was there something I wanted but couldn’t have? Maybe, but I can’t think of anything at the moment.

What about this morning? Have I wanted something I haven’t been able to get? Again, I’m sitting here staring off into the distance, unable to think of an answer.

Do I lead a charmed life? Do I have everything I want? No, of course not. I do, however, lead a very contented life. I’m happy with what I have.  I’m reminded of another sign I’ve often seen. I don’t have one of these hanging on the wall either, but maybe I should.

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I do believe this is true. Life offers so many beautiful moments for us to enjoy, so many treasures to experience.  Our world gives us blue skies, rainy mornings, gorgeous flowers, briliantly-plumed birds. We can laugh at the antics of playful puppies, curious kittens, new-born foals. We can know the love of tenderness of family and friends, and can be touched by random acts of kindness from others.  What more could we want than what we’re given?

Oh…I can think of a few things. I’m sure you can, too.

I wish I could snap my fingers and my messy house would instantly be in perfect order. I wouldn’t mind having a few more dollars in my bank accounts, and sure, I’d love to make the NY Times best-seller list.

If I had unlimited funds, I’d renew my subscription to Strategy and Tacticsa war-gaming magazine that I thoroughly enjoy but which is a bit pricey. I’d buy a lot more books, too. I’d make generous donations to my favorite charities and organizations, including Reach Out and ReadThe Cat House on the Kings, and the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary.

If money were no object, I’d probably splurge and buy myself lots of fancy kitchen gadgets, and I’d probably go crazy buying bath towels, bed sheets, candles, and oils. Yeah, there are lots of things I’d enjoy, but I see them as little luxuries, not necessities for a happy life.

Maybe as the day unfolds, I’ll think of something I might want…but can’t have. Right now, I can’t imagine what it might be. Unless…

Aha! I’ve got it. What I wanted this morning but couldn’t get was an answer to this question!

 


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Thank You, Readers!

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Sales figures for March are in from my publisher, and I was able to make an increased contribution to Reach Out and Read by donating the royalties from Not the Marrying Kind. Thank you to each of you who purchased the book during the month of March, either for yourself or as a gift for another romance reader. Your support for the cause of early childhood literacy is greatly appreciated.

If you would like to donate directly to this wonderful organization — or if you’d like to learn more about their work — please visit their website:

Reach Out and Read


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A Different Sort of “Sneak Peek”

For the last two Sundays, I’ve shared short excerpts from “Keeping Faith”, the second book of my “Sunset” series — scheduled for release later this year from Secret Cravings Publishing.

Today, I’m going back in time from 1876 to 1872. This little snippet comes from the first book of the series, “Not the Marrying Kind“.  Here you can meet Katherine Phillips — better known as Kat — and share the moment when her father gives her a bit of news she’s not too happy to hear. 

Enjoy!

From: Not the Marrying Kind

“He’s taken quite an interest in you, you know.”

Although her father spoke the words in a calm, quiet voice, they set off waves of panic as Kat realized their meaning. Her chin shot up. “Who are you talking about, Pa?”

He chuckled. “Reverend Kendrick, of course.”

“Well, that’s plumb foolishness, and you know it.”

“He’s a good man, Kat, and he’d take very good care of you.”

Her jaw dropped and she stared at her father. Finally she found her voice. “Surely you’re not suggesting I—” She couldn’t bring herself to finish the thought. “No, I couldn’t!” She tried to laugh off the ridiculous idea, but the look on her father’s face frightened her. He couldn’t possibly be serious…could he?

Cowboy on Montana ridge at first light,mountain background

During the month of March, all royalties from sales of Not the Marrying Kind will go to Reach Out and Read. If you’ve already purchased your copy of the book, why not grab one as a gift for a friend? Your help in support of early childhood literacy is appreciated.

Want to know more about Kat and the other folks from “The Sunset Series”? Check out Riding Into the Sunset – Stepping Back In Time. Visit before March 25 for a chance to win an ebook copy of “Not the Marrying Kind” and for links to other western romance authors participating in the Cowboy Charm “Springtime in the Country” Blog Hop! Up for grabs in the hop is a $100.00 gift card…so hop on over and get started!

Springtime with the Ladies of Sunset

And…for more “Sneak Peeks” on this fine Sunday, click the link below:

Sneak Peek Sunday Banner

SNEAK PEEK SUNDAY


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Another “Sneak Peek” Sunday

It’s Sunday again, and that means another opportunity to visit with my friends and see what they’re working on. It also means I have the pleasure of sharing a few “snippets” from my own work. Last week, I shared a few lines from “Keeping Faith”, the second book of my “Sunset” series. It’s scheduled for release from Secret Cravings Publishing in July.

Today, I’m sharing a little more from the story. I do hope this arouses a little curiosity. Please, leave a comment and let me know what you think of this excerpt. It’s from the opening pages of the story.

CoachSNEAK PEEK FROM: “KEEPING FAITH”

 Awful thing when a man didn’t want to see his own mother.

Tom Henderson figured he ought to be glad — damned glad — she was coming to Sunset, but all he really felt was a lot of guilt. Or maybe it was shame. Most likely, a good dose of both.

But how else was he supposed to feel? No point mincing words. Some truths couldn’t be avoided. His mother was a drunk, a whore, and she’d killed a man. Now, she’d arrived on the afternoon stage, she’d be living right there in Sunset, and it would be Tom’s responsibility to look after her. Little wonder he wasn’t exactly thrilled by the prospect.

“You’re late, damn it.” Charlotte Henderson stood at the stage depot, her hands fisted on her broad hips. “I swear, you’ve never been on time once in your life.” As her son drew near, her eyes narrowed. “Probably out screwing around to all hours last night, weren’t you?”  The summer breeze ruffled her dirty blonde hair. She threw back her head and laughed. “That’s my boy, all right. At least you know how to have a good time, I’ll give you that. Never mind your poor, old mother waiting on you.” Before he could stop her, she rushed forward and clasped her arms around his neck. “So, was she a pretty one, Tommy? Or just cheap and easy?”

“Ma, stop it,” he said, reaching up to disentangle himself from her smothering embrace.  “I wasn’t out fooling around.”

“Why the hell not?” Stepping back, the woman eyed the tall cowboy who stood before her. Her son. Her pride and joy. That’s what she’d called him from the day he’d been born. “Something wrong with you?”

* * * * *

Book 1 of “The Sunset Series” — Not the Marrying Kind — is now available from your favorite online booksellers. During the month of March, all royalties from sales of Not the Marrying Kind will be donated to Reach Out and Read, an organization dedicated to early childhood literacy.

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For more SNEAK PEEK SUNDAY

Click HERE

Sneak Peek Sunday Banner


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Giving Back

Writers are often advised to “write from the heart”. Unless we have an emotional investment in our characters and their lives, it’s difficult — if not impossible — to bring those characters to life for our readers in a meaningful way.

Writing from the heart can also mean sharing our personal beliefs through characters in our stories, not by putting our words into their mouths our our thoughts into their heads, but by finding ways in which the people who live within our stories can show others what we believe about life.

I write romance novels because I believe in love. I believe love is a powerful force for good. If we’re willing to accept love, it can heal us, strengthen us, help us become all we are meant to be.

But there’s more to writing romance novels than love and affection.

In the stories I write, I want to inspire readers, to show that each life is filled with possibilities, and that no matter how difficult things may seem, there’s always room for hope. A reader once remarked that when she closed one of my books, she always had a smile on her face. My stories, she said, made her feel good. That’s how I want each reader to feel at the end of a story.

The idea of love bringing new possibilities is one of the strongest themes in Keeping Faith, the second book of “The Sunset Series”. It is slated for release later this year from Secret Cravings Publishing.

Have you ever heard the insult, “Hey, you born in a barn or something?” Tom Henderson, the main character of Keeping Faith, literally was born in a barn when his drunken whore of a mother took a wrong turn after leaving the outhouse one April morning. He didn’t have a good upbringing and never received an education. Although he’s got dreams, they’re about as far away — and probably as unattainable — as the snow-capped peaks of the towering Rockies.

For Tom, love brings new possibilities, new opportunities, and new determination. He wants many things. Among them, he wants the ability to read and write, to do more than scrawl an ugly “X” to make his mark.

Literacy is one of the most valuable skills we can possess. For Tom Henderson, the chance to learn doesn’t come until he’s an adult. Most of us were much more fortunate, learning basic reading and writing skills as children in school, or, ideally, even before our schooling began.

With literacy, it truly is “the sooner, the better”. Parents and grandparents can do much to help little ones discover the lifelong joy of reading. Many literacy programs exist today to help create a world where every child has opportunities to develop language skills.

One of those programs is Reach Out and Read, and I am proud to be a regular contributor to the organization. Each month, I donate to Reach out and Read. Each month, I also invite friends to learn more about this organization and the work they do.

There are many ways you can help.

You can make a one-time donation, you can become a monthly contributor, or you can support the group by giving children’s books for them to share. Most communities have “drop-off” points where books can be delivered.

Please, take a moment to learn about “Reach Out and Read” and the important work they are doing to promote early childhood literacy, especially among disadvantaged children who might not have opportunities to develop reading skills.

In addition to my regular monthly contribution, I am also pledging for the month of March to donate all royalties from Not the Marrying Kind – Book 1 of “The Sunset Series” to the “Reach Out and Read” program. I’m asking for your support.

If you’ve already purchased your copy of the book, please consider buying one as a gift for someone you care about. Please, let your friends know that each ebook sold during March will go to support early childhood literacy.

Will you join me in my efforts to ensure that all children are given the priceless gift of reading?

Thank you.

Subscribers to “Keep Up with Christina” got a “sneak peek” at a scene from Keeping Faith.

Click here to subscribe to Christina’s monthly newsletter.