Tuesday, February 14, 2017


The PINK HEART SOCIETY is having a major overhaul and will return in March!






Thursday, February 02, 2017

Time Out Thursday: Hobbies? What Hobbies?

Pink Heart Society columnist, Jill Kemerer, shares her biggest time waster and how she's ditching it to pursue new hobbies.



I have two quotes on the bulletin board behind my desk.

"Life Changes"

"Carve Out Time for Yourself"

Both of these sayings ring true to me, but I have a difficult time actually putting them into practice. In fact, I stared at my laptop for several minutes trying to come up with a topic for this post. Time Out Thursday...hmm...how do I spend my free time? More importantly, how do I want to spend my free time?

The answer wasn't inspiring.

The reality is that life does indeed change, and I don't always change with it. I used to have hobbies and things I couldn't wait to do outside of work. Years of raising children, managing our household, driving the kids to practices, running errands and writing book after book has sapped much of my energy.

At the end of the day I'm tired. I just want to sit on the couch, wrap up in a soft throw and not have to do a single thing. Beyond reading, which has always been my favorite hobby and one I'll never give up, I have few, if any, hobbies.

I do, however, have a huge time waster. There are three games on my phone I'm completely addicted to because I can swipe away and not expend much energy in the evening.

Even though I know I'm wasting my precious free time on these dumb games, I haven't deleted them. Why not?

I can't speak for anyone else, but for me, they are easy.

To pursue a hobby in my downtime requires effort. And, to be honest, part of me wonders if it will be worth it. Will it just be one more thing in an already crowded life? I don't know. I do know, I'm ready to try something new again.

I'm deleting my games. *I just deleted them. Wow. I feel free! We'll see how I feel tonight. I'm guessing...desperate.*

I'm bringing out the throw I've been crocheting for eight years (yes, EIGHT YEARS!!) and I'm finishing it. I'm recording the PBS show Spy in the Wild because it looks right up my alley--it has otters. I'm going to read a few genres I've never read before. I'm going to dream about vacations and bake new cookies, take more walks and figure out how I really want to spend my evenings.

There.

 I have no more excuses not to carve out time for myself. I'm ready for a new adventure. Are you?

How do you spend your free time?


Jill's fourth Love Inspired, Yuletide Redemption, is available at online retailers now. For all the purchase links, click HERE!



A Mother's Christmas Wish 

After an accident leaves Celeste Monroe to raise her baby nephew, all she wants is to provide one-year-old Parker with a happy life. She hopes taking a job caring for injured Sam Sheffield will help fulfill that goal. But Sam's determination to avoid the world throws a wrench in her plans. Despite his best efforts, Sam can't take his eyes off the pretty caretaker. Her strength and her loving nature has him falling for her—and her baby. But he refuses to burden them with a man who's not whole. Can Celeste convince Sam he's daddy—and husband—material in time for them to celebrate Christmas together?



Jill Kemerer writes contemporary romance novels with love, humor and faith for Harlequin Love Inspired. A full time writer, she relies on coffee and chocolate to keep up with her kids’ busy schedules. Besides spoiling her mini-dachshund, she adores magazines, M&Ms, fluffy animals and long nature walks. She resides in Ohio with her husband and two children.  Jill loves connecting with readers, so please visit her website, jillkemerer.com.


Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Talk Time Tuesdaywith Jenna Kernan

Today The Pink Heart Society welcomes columnist Jenna Kernan, who has some great tips for starting off the New Year right! Take it away, Jenna--

6 Guilt-Free Snacks for the New Year!

I know, I know! 2017 has burst in with exercise offers on TV as you contemplate why no one wanted that particular last Christmas cookie and solidifying chunk of fudge.
Writers do not have a reputation for healthy eating and are often portrayed surviving on nothing but cigarettes, grain alcohol and a strong sense of ennui.  I personally know more than a few writers who survive for long periods on black coffee and Skittles. But this is New Year even writers are thinking healthy.  So tuck away those pies, cookies and coffee cakes and try these 5 power snacks for a guilt-free boost.

1. Unsweetened Greek Yogurt and Walnuts

Ingredients: Walnuts, plain yogurt, Stevia.  Optional - fresh fruit. 
The walnuts give a nice crunch and the yogurt is creamy and sweet. The protein in the Greek yogurt will keep you satisfied longer and Greek yogurt has less carbohydrates and sugar than regular yogurt.  Add some Stevia to improve sweetness. The walnuts have healthy fats that are good for your skin and brain health.

2. Beat the Sweet with Hazelnuts

Ingredients:  Chocolate/Hazelnut Spread on large whole-wheat/whole grain cracker topped with sliced banana and/or almond slivers. 
Chocolate/hazelnut spreads ARE high in fat and sugar, but preferable to baked goods if teamed with healthy almonds which reduce blood sugar, cholesterol and help lower blood pressure and bananas that have heart and digestive benefits.

3. Wonderfully Salty and Low in Fat

Ingredients: Baked Tortilla Chips and fresh Salsa
You can buy or make the fresh salsa and glean the benefits of Vitamin C.  The baked chips help you fix the salt craving while leaving the fat behind.  Look up a salsa recipe - it's not very hard and only takes 20 minutes (minus the drive to and from the store).

5. Tutu Fruity

Ingredients: Blueberry Smoothie - Low Fat Soy or Almond Milk, Frozen Blueberries, Ripe Banana and dash of vanilla extract.
Blueberries are wonder foods and easy to keep in the freezer.  They have zero cholesterol and provide loads of fiber, foliate, vitamin C and B6 which makes them very heart healthy.  That soy or almond milk will add protein (plus calcium and iron) to keep you feeling full longer. 

6. Egg-cellent source of Protein

Ingredients: Scrambled or fried egg (6 grams of protein) on 1/2 of a whole wheat muffin topped with love salt sliced turkey-breast cold cut.  (My unofficial calorie count = 157)
You know how long it takes to make this?  Less than you'll sit in line at a fast food joint's drive-through for a 300 calorie (plus 13 grams of fat) breakfast sandwich.
SUMMARY:
Small steps are better than no steps and adding a healthy snack to your day is a nice start. 
I've switched out my afternoon coffee with green tea and made sure to eat up the last Christmas cookie so it will not tempt me.  Now I'm ready to be that lean, mean healthy-eating machine.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

~*~*~*

Publishers Weekly Bestselling author, Jenna Kernan, writes romantic suspense for Harlequin Intrigue.  Her popular APACHE PROTECTOR series continues in January 2017 with TURQUOISE GUARDIAN #1 followed by EAGLE WARRIOR #2, FIREWOLF  #3 and THE WARRIOR’S WAY #4

Get Jenna's FREE forty-two page prequel to her new APACHE PROTECTOR series  HERE.  

Follow Jenna 
@jennakernan, on facebook/AuthorJennaKernan


Monday, January 23, 2017

Male on Monday : I'm Holding Out For a Hero


Today on The Pink Heart Society, author Taryn Leigh Taylor wants your recommendations for the perfect alpha hero.

One thing I've always loved about romance novels is that they have the perfect hero for every palate. 

If you like your heroes responsible and steadfast, pick up a western.

If your perfect man is broody and fanged, paranormal might be your jam.

Does your ideal guy have a great sense of humour and a knack for? Check out the romantic comedy shelf. 

But despite the smorgasbord of hero archetypes, there is still one hero to rule them all. That's right, I'm talking the alpha hero. The enduring and beloved power player who loves deep--but not until he meets the strong-willed heroine destined to be his kryptonite, natch. Best of all, like his book-boyfriend counterparts, the alpha males comes in a variety of flavours:

He might work hard, play harder, and wear a suit like it was made for him:

 
Gabriel Macht as Harvey Specter in Suits


He might be dangerous and gritty, and know how to handle his weapon:


Charlie Hunnam as Jax Teller in Sons of Anarchy


He might be stoic and reserved and be worth ten thousand a year:


Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice


Or he might be a smart-ass battling his demons in his quest to save the world:

 
Jensen Ackles as Dean Winchester in Supernatural
I'm currently hard at work on my next project, and I need a little alpha inspiration to keep the words flowing. 


Help a girl out, and tell me which sexy alpha heroes get you hot and bothered in the comments below. (I'm not picky! He can live on screen or in the pages of your favourite novel.)


Taryn's latest release, Playing to Win, is available in e-format wherever Harlequin Blaze are sold.

Playing to win means playing dirty...


Holly Evans is intelligent, educated and crazy about sports--so how did she end up prancing about in a miniskirt and teasing her hair like some broadcasting bimbo? Of course, since she's already iced her journalistic integrity, Holly might as well indulge in a little fangirl lust for the ripped captain of Portland's hockey team.

Luke Maguire sees right through Holly's bunny disguise, and he's ready to pull her into the locker room and strip it all off. Then Holly discovers someone on the team is profiting from a little over/under betting. Suddenly her lusting for Luke is going head-to-head with her reporting instincts. And if she's caught offside, there's no telling what the penalty will be...



Taryn Leigh Taylor likes dinosaurs, bridges and space, both personal and of the final-frontier variety. She shamelessly indulges in cliches, most notably her Starbucks addiction, her shoe hoard and her penchant for falling in lust with fictional men with great abs. For more on Taryn, check out her website, or catch her on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

#WriterWednesday: Putting In The Work

Pink Heart Society columnist Kristina Knight talks about putting in the work - even when you don't want to.

I've always been able to see the accomplishments that other people have made so much more clearly than I can see my own. That is both a blessing and a curse. I've never been a conceited person (benefit). On the other hand I think its important to self-esteem to really 'see' what we've done.

RadioMan and I started biking two springs ago. I don't care what they say, riding a bike for the first time in ... well, too many years, isn't easy. It's hard. There is balance to be re-learned, peddling to master. That first ride I barely made it around the outside loop of our neighborhood (a 3 mile stretch). I had to stop once and I wasn't fast; I think those 4 miles took a solid 30 minutes. I liked biking but I wasn't at all sure I could do it.

The next day, same result.

The following day, same result. And an added pain - literally - in my, ah, rear end. I wanted to quit.


Obstacles aren't just in exercise programs. Obstacles can be anywhere - a particularly hard class in school, chasing a dream or making a change from Job A to Career B and most definitely in our writing. Every time I start I new book the same fear hits me: this will be the book I can't write.

The same summer I started biking, I really thought I'd hit the writing wall because I started a book that I just couldn't get a handle on. I started it, stopped it, re-started and stopped again so many times I wanted to scream. I tweaked characterization, motivation, goals and conflicts so many times I just wanted to toss the project in the trash. So I started something completely different...and the messed up characters from The Project That Wouldn't Let Me Write It bugged me until that new project imploded, too. So I started tweaking and fiddling and tweaking one more time.

No, there was no lightbulb moment and at no point did the heavens open and angels begin singing...but hard-fought-for-word after hard-fought-for-word made it onto my pages. Conflicts and resolutions came into that book that I'd never imagined. Good conflicts and good resolutions and eventually I was able to write The End - something that, had you asked mid-summer, I'd have said would never happen.

I don't have any great advice on how I worked through the block that was that book except this: every day I made a little bit of progress. Some days it was a thousand words, some days it was figuring out a single conflict moment. And all those little bits of progress turned into a book that I'm really proud of (The Daughter He Wanted, my very first Superromance for Harlequin).

What is better is that I can look back at the battle of this book and I can see how this particular battle changed my writing process and how I approach a story. It changed how I look at writing, in general, in a good way. This book, as awful as it was in the middle of it, has made me a better writer and has inspired me to open another blank document and start the process all over again. This time, I'll remember the battles I fought to write that book. I'll draw on the strength that kept me on that bike for 18 miles and I'll remind myself that I can....even when I think I can't.

Oh, and the biking thing? I kept trying, even through the pain, because each time I rode there was a moment when I didn't hurt and when I remembered how much fun I had riding my bike as a kid. My goal was to be able to ride 20 miles per session by the end of the summer...I hit 18, and I think that is a good accomplishment. 

How do you work your way through a block?

Kristina Knight's latest release, What the Gambler Risks, released October 3 from Crimson Romance:

Twenty-something ice queen Sabrina Smith enjoys fame and fortune writing about her life of celibacy. The fact she's the Oldest Living (Supposed) Virgin in Vegas? Just keeps her readers interested in how she juggles dating in Sin City.

Jase Reeves knows Sabrina's secret - that she's not nearly as cold as she would like people to think - and he's through keeping it. He didn't intend to have a one night stand with the Vegas Virgin but he can't get her out of his head.

When Jase returns to Vegas Sabrina has one goal: stay away from the handsome gambler before he melts her career - and her heart.

Amazon  B&N  KOBO  iBooks 

You can find out more the book and Kristina on her website, and feel free to stalk follow her on FacebookTwitter or Instagram

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Talk Time Tuesday: Male Beauty versus the Intensity of the Beast by Melinda Curtis

My husband and I recently discovered that one of our college age children had upgraded our Amazon account from regular prime (free shipping!) to prime with video. Being busy adults who barely venture onto Netflix, we decided to be daring and check out some Amazon shows.

Nothing we've watched so far would have what I used to call Heartthrob Heroes. But once you get into a series and fall prey to the intensity of what society might call "Average Joes", you tend to fall in love regardless.

For example, take Sneaky Pete. Giovanni Ribisi plays what should be a very unlikable guy - a thief and con man, who needs money to rescue his brother from a mobster. After three years of listening to his cellmate Pete talk about his estranged family (who was in the "bond" business), our hero decides to impersonate Pete and try to swindle or steal the money needed to save his brother. As the series progressed, I began to realize Giovanni's got something sexy going on. It's his confidence, his swagger, his street smarts, and his heart.

Who knew?

Or take Goliath, starring Billy Bob Thornton. Now, I'm not much of a Billy
Bob fan and I can't really say why. But this non-traditional hero (a drunk lawyer who's burnt out and washed up) sinks his claws into a woman (now there's an image). Billy Bob played a smart, tortured hero and got his sexy going on.

And this is why I love reading different authors who take regular guys and make me root for them - not just to save the ranch, win the big game, or come home safely from war, but because they make me fall in love with Average Joes who face the crappy hand they've been dealt or the impossible situation they've backed themselves into. They face it. They endure. And they win my heart.

Are there any unlikely heroes you've fallen for without meaning to? Guys you wouldn't classify as a traditional hunk or what Hollywood used to call a romantic lead? Tell me about it.

Melinda Curtis is an award-winning USA Today bestselling author of over 30 books. Her latest release, The Bridesmaid Wore White, is installment #5 in the popular sweet romantic comedy series.



Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Crafting Characters

For today’s Writer’s Wednesday I’ve decided to share an excerpt from my tutorial “Crafting Characters: Strengthening Your Motivation To Write”. This is a brief publication that I decided to create when asked by new writers what it takes for me to keep my head in the writing game. You may obtain this title in full online at no charge.



Excerpt:
In addition to delving into the soul of your characters, giving focus to their backgrounds is yet another method/way of maintaining motivation to complete your story. This is a bit more of a task when the characters are brand new. When the characters are part of a series, this gives the author the chance to flesh out facets of the character’s persona that may have been planted in earlier stories in the series.
For instance, the readers already know that the hero of A Lover’s Beauty Taurus Ramsey and his cousin Quest Ramsey (A Lover’s Dream, A Lover’s Soul) don’t get along, but the reader isn’t given the benefit of knowing why when Taurus is first introduced in book one in the series A Lover’s Dream. Taurus’ appearance in the book is brief, but it was memorable enough to peak the reader curiosity to know more about him.
When a book is a standalone, it is just as relevant to flesh out character aspects which have been planted earlier. In my 2004 release In The Midst of Passion (Kensington/Dafina Books) my hero Alex Rice was extremely complex. We discover early in the story that he owns a paper but spends little time there- why? We learn that he has a love/hate relationship with his cousin Melissa-why?
As the story progresses, we return to this seed and others planted. We learn that Alex desires to have a legitimate interest far removed from his former occupation as a killer-for-hire. This seed opens up a host of other issues within the story. We also learn that Alex’s strained relationship with his cousin has much to do with racial issues revolving around the disapproval from his mother’s family towards Alex’s father.
As earlier stated, occupation can open another trail of issues within your story. For my first traditionally published novel Remember Love, our hero, Trinidad Salem’s profession did not mix well with his wife Dominique’s career as a reporter. The emerging events created chaos in their marriage and well-being.
Personal interests go a long way in bringing life to your characters- making them more real to the readers and to you the author. Giving focus to your characters’ food or clothing preferences, musical tastes, sports interests even their choice of transportation can offer many entertaining insights into your characters and often allow for various plot twists.
**Remember: Make the most of character interests. Use them to add substance to your plot instead of simply adding numbers to your word count.**