Birds of a feather

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They say that it isn’t your enemies you need to be worrying about. For the most part, your enemies don’t get you into trouble–your friends do.

 

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Now, some people see that as a sign of an exceptional friendship–the ones who get into trouble with you. They joke that a good friend will bail you out of jail, but a best friend will have been arrested with you.

I’m… not that kind of person.

I’m careful about my friendships. First of all, my free time is scarce and I want to spend time with people who are mutually beneficial. I work really hard, and I don’t want to undo that hard work in my downtime. Secondly, I’m the kind of person who enjoys a few close friends. It’s my personality type. So if I’m going to be influenced by only a few people, I need to make sure they are the kind of people I want to be rubbing off on my life. Kind people. Moral, compassionate, resourceful people. I don’t have to agree with my friends on everything, but I do have to be able to trust them.

Here’s how I see it:

If you have a goal for your life–an ideal you are struggling to attain–then I think a good question to ask yourself is how your friends are affecting that. Because some people will be incredibly well-meaning, and muddle up your life at every turn. It doesn’t make them bad people; it just means you aren’t going in the same direction.

So let’s say there’s a Very Important Person who can give you exactly what you’ve been working for all these years… But she knows nothing about you and has to figure you out based upon ten minutes spent with your friends… what would she think about you based upon those few minutes?

Would she want to help you in your goals? Be associated with you? Would she trust you?

And are you okay with how you appear by your associations?

It might be unfortunate, but people see us through the lens of our friends–the people we associate with. So I’m careful.

But that’s me. 😉

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My Free Read did WELL!

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Do you remember my Free Read on the Harlequin site called Thanksgiving With Her Boss?

Well, I just heard from Harlequin head office that it did incredibly well! My novella outperformed online stories published at similar times of the year over the last four years–and that’s all thanks to you, my readers. ❤ I’m so grateful for each and every one of you!

So if you haven’t read it yet, or if you want to recommend it to a friend, it’s still free on the Harlequin site!

 

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THANKSGIVING WITH HER BOSS

By Patricia Johns

A late-night kiss is the last straw. Emmie Thomas has tamped down her crush on her boss, Rob West, for almost a year, but she just can’t anymore. What else is there to do but quit and fly to her hometown of North Fork, Alberta, for her family Thanksgiving celebration?

When a mixup sends Rob to Alberta, too, he’s determined to get her back. But does he just want her to be his assistant again? Or is he finally ready to admit he wants something more?

It’s awkward…

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I always find visiting my books in the wild a little awkward. Most people don’t creep up on books and then take selfies with them. It’s… weird. Unless you wrote the book, of course, but no one assumes that straight off.

So this time, I visited my book in my local Superstore grocery store. I braved a blizzard to  get out there, but I would have braved the blizzard anyway, because we needed groceries and if you stop going places just because it’s snowing northern Alberta, you’ll never go anywhere.

So there it is… all beautiful and shiny on a shelf!

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Isn’t it gorgeous? ❤

And here I am taking a selfie with it… and this was a bit sacrificial on my part because a lady watched me like I was nuts, and I had to just soldier on as if this was rational and normal behaviour. Which it is… if you wrote it! Geez! No one thinks of that!

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So there you have it–my lovely book is out! I hope you’ll all pick up a copy. And if you see it in the wild, snap a picture and send it to me on Facebook. 🙂 I’ll post it so everyone can see. Plus, it would seriously make my day!

The Lawman’s Runaway Bride

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THE LAWMAN’S RUNAWAY BRIDE is now in stores! This is the second book in the Comfort Creek Lawmen series.

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Forced to work with the woman who left his brother at the altar five years ago, police chief Chance Morgan must also face his own guilt. Sadie Jenkins’s return to town stirs feelings he thought he’d buried along with his soldier brother, who died overseas. Almost kissing Sadie the night before her wedding was a mistake—one he won’t make again. For Sadie, planning a remembrance ceremony for the town’s military men will help build her event-planning business. But working with Chance is bringing up all the emotions she once ran from. Is she ready to finally take that leap into the future…with him?

You can pick it up anywhere books are sold! 

Or, if you prefer online:

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And if you haven’t read the first book in the series yet, this is it:

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Enjoy some brooding cops with hearts of gold. 

Cover Vs. Cover

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I just love it when Harlequin used my covers for their Cover. Vs. Cover promotion. It’s just fun!

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Can you spot the difference?? I had to ask someone one Facebook to point it out for me, in all honesty. It’s right in your face, but I just couldn’t see it. LOL

THE LAWMAN’S RUNAWAY BRIDE is in stores now, so pick up a copy! I think you’ll like this one! I really do!

We finally have snow again!

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Here in Northern Alberta, Canada, we’ve been having a crazy warm winter. It’s been this way for the last few years. We get a cold snap, then the temperature pops up to above freezing and everything melts for a while. It’s kind of unnerving to see green grass sprouting in January and February. It’s like the sound of a baby’s laugh when you’re home alone and you don’t have a baby. But it’s been happening the last few years!

Anyway, I breathe a big sigh of relief when the snow comes back again… like it did today. (At least the day I’m typing this.) So I took a few pictures.

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This is from walking my son and his friend to school. The kids were having fun in the snow and complaining that they wouldn’t have indoor recess because it wasn’t cold enough and the snow might very likely choke them to death. LOL! I was the wrong person to complain to. They’d have to take that up with their teachers. 😉

This is me–in all my winter-wear glory. I was trying to include the tree behind me, but it looked much more impressive in person. And then people were walking down the sidewalk, and a 39-year-old woman does not stand around taking more selfies to get the angle right with an audience. She just doesn’t. 😉

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So this is my Canadian winter. I hope you’re enjoying yours, too, wherever you hail from!

Put a twitch in your step

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Dress_form_(AM_2017.18.1-1)In my head, I’m 40 lbs lighter and ten years younger. Is anyone else like that? Now, I’ve tried on enough clothes to know what size to look for in the store, but in my head, when I see a medium on a rack, I figure it should fit! Which makes me chuckle a little as I type this.

I’m NOT a medium. I’m nowhere close. But seeing myself as a medium in my head isn’t just about size, but about how attractive I feel. For the most part, we’re fed that message that tiny=beautiful. If you look at the supermodels, there isn’t very much woman under those clothes. So I catch myself traipsing along with the societal messages twisted around in my head–seeing the size medium and feeling like that’s for me, because I feel beautiful.

That’s the thing–I do feel utterly beautifully at my current size. (Somewhere around size 14-16, depending on the cut.) I don’t want to change my body–it’s done well for me! I love the way I look and the way I feel. I just need to change my mental attitude about it. Beautiful isn’t necessarily a medium. Beautiful, in my case, is plus-sized.

92574efcfa9a1502a03cd5de9ed50d4d--ashley-graham-plus-size-modelI’m currently starting a brand new book entitled, HIS LITTLE GIRL’S HERO for Harlequin Heartwarming. The heroine in this book is plus-sized and gorgeous. This is my second plus-sized heroine for Harlequin Heartwarming. The first comes out in October of 2018. I like writing plus-sized, beautiful heroines because I think it’s high time we start recognizing that beauty has nothing to do with a clothing size.

When I read a romance novel, I like to put myself into that heroine’s shoes and feel what it’s like to be her for a few hundred pages. And sometimes I enjoy being the tall, lithe athletic type for a little while. But what I love more is seeing a heroine who looks a lot like me, and having her be the most beautiful woman in the room. With some extra padding, ample cleavage, a softened tummy and silky skin. When the hero sees her, he’s put under a spell. Her femininity is intoxicating.

And that’s how I like to feel about myself. No need to starve yourself–just shop in the right stores and put a twitch in your step. 😉

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Beauty begins in the way we see ourselves. 

Comfort Creek Lawmen

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This February, the second book in my Comfort Creek Lawmen series will be released, and you can pick up a copy anywhere books are sold!

Comfort Creek, Colorada has a county-wide police sensitivity training course hosted by the local police department. This is the location where the stubborn cops being disciplined for various infractions come to “do their time.” And they generally have an option: cooperate with the Chief of Police’s unique methods and assignments, or do the book work about feelings and appropriate reactions to them in the basement. This is the best patrolled town in America!

THE LAWMAN’S RUNAWAY BRIDE comes out this February everywhere Harleqins are sold!

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Winning the Lawman’s Heart

Forced to work with the woman who left his brother at the altar five years ago, police chief Chance Morgan must also face his own guilt. Sadie Jenkins’s return to town stirs feelings he thought he’d buried along with his soldier brother, who died overseas. Almost kissing Sadie the night before her wedding was a mistake—one he won’t make again. For Sadie, planning a remembrance ceremony for the town’s military men will help build her event-planning business. But working with Chance is bringing up all the emotions she once ran from. Is she ready to finally take that leap into the future…with him?

You can pick up a copy early on the Harlequin site, or wait until it hits the shelves in your local bookstore, Walmart or anywhere else you buy your Harlequins. But I do think you’ll like this one! 🙂

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You can also pick up the first book in the series, if you’d like to collect them all.

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A Family for the Officer 

Officer Bryce Camden never expected his two-week stint in Comfort Creek, Colorado, would mean diaper duty. But that’s exactly what happens when he stays at the local bed-and-breakfast where Lily Ellison is fostering an abandoned baby girl. Bryce is drawn to the lovely B and B owner, but being a dad is not part of his plans. His troubled past has shown him that he’s not the nurturing type. But he soon finds himself wishing he didn’t have to leave. Because Lily and the baby have taken root in his heart and made him think that maybe he could be a family man after all…

 

Surprisingly, I’m not alone in this

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I love Star Trek. A lot. I’m an absolute Trekkie, but I’m of the Star Trek: the next generation generation. I used to watch the new episodes as they came out with my dad as a kid, and now I’m introducing my own child to Star Trek because I think it’s good for him. Like a vitamin, but more entertaining. But I’m not alone in this. As I’ve connected with other writers (specifically writing romance), there are a lot of Star Trek fans in our ranks! And I think there might be a reason for this…

I can’t speak for everyone, but here is why I, as an optimistic romance writer, love Star Trek, and specifically Star Trek: the next generation so much:

  1. The Star Trek universe is just a happy place. The Federation is not only the strongest, but also determined to be moral and fair. They don’t interfere with other cultures and defend the under dog. Plus, they always win, and there is very little worry that they won’t. It’s just a question of how–and what personal lessons they’ll learn about humanity along the way. (A lot like the couples in romance novels always ending up together, might I add.) It’s soothing.

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  2. Every episode is character driven. Yes, they wrestle with bigger plot lines sometimes, but for the most part the show is driven by characters with their own quirks, insecurities, strengths and romantic interests. Like when Geordi fell in love with a computer simulated woman, or when Data wanted to be a father. There is also the relationship between the captain and the doctor (who really do belong together romantically, even though it never seems to happen). And there’s the counsellor and the first officer who had a relationship in the past, aren’t officially together, but are still tied with this undeniable bond.

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  3. Worf. He’s a Klingon, therefore filled with almost lethal doses of testosterone and one-liners about “human females” being too fragile for a Klingon’s… um… amorous advances. He is forced to tame himself, to be gentler than is his natural inclination and to learn about himself both as a Klingon and as a member of the Federation. And I developed a wild crush on him!

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    There was also an alternate timeline scenario where uber-masculine Worf ends up married to uber-feminine Deanna Troi. And of all the relationships (both hinted at and explored) in the show, this was my favorite! Worf was a much more interesting match than Riker, in my humble opinion, but alas, the show writers didn’t agree with me.

  4. Bright lighting and a minimalist set. I know that sounds like a dumb reason to like it, but those details are part of the cheeriness of the show. Everything is well lit, clean and optimistic. The Enterprise is filled with light. Even in the darkness of space, it glows a soothing blue. The Enterprise is like a light left in the window to call you home. It’s familiar, safe and clean.

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  5. Everyone is either likable or redeemable. And this is important! There are no bad guys that are so bad that there is no compassion for them. The Borg are the baddest of the bad guys, assimilating whole civilizations into their machine-humanoid hybrid cube collective. (Shudder!) But even the Borg are made up of individuals who were kidnapped, and you find yourself softening along with the characters, trying to find a solution that redeems those poor souls.

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  6. There is no racism among humans. There might be some between literal different races–like the human race and the Ferengi race, for example. (And they  have to struggle to grow and be better in those ways.) But every human being from earth is bonded in a mutual “human” experience. I like that.

Today, as I write this (a Saturday), I’m already planning some weekend Star Trek watching. It’s cozy and optimistic. I know the real world is seldom so cheery, but I do think that our stubborn dedication to putting some light into the world counts for something.

I do that with writing romance. 🙂

… for my age

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This calendar year, I will turn 40. I’m still 39, and will be for another ten months. So don’t get me wrong–I’m not rushing this! But 40 has started to loom a little.

I never thought I’d care very much, quite honestly. When I was 35, I liked the idea of turning 40. I’d heard that a woman’s 40’s are fantastic–freeing and fun.  But then, I snuck up on 40, and I’m starting to have a few misgivings… Mostly, because between the ages of 35 and 39 a whole lot of aging happens. A LOT. At 35, I looked like a woman in her mid-thirties–maybe even a touch younger! But at 39, I’m starting to look the part of a 40-year-old woman. It was bound to happen, but I didn’t think it would happen so fast. Or to me. 

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There are a few things I’m looking forward to, though:

  1. When I gain weight, people’s first thought won’t be that they’re the first to notice an unannounced pregnancy. (Sigh!) Instead, they’ll recognize my age, be relatively confident that I’m not waiting the traditional 3 months to announce anything, and think, That woman has found something delicious. I probably want some of it. That’s right–I’m a little bit fat. I really like food. And I’m okay with it!800px-Marianne_Berg_2
  2. Enjoying the fruits of my labors. I worked HARD during my thirties, and I have no intention of slowing down, but after a decade of writing my heart out and climbing in my writing career, I’m finally at a place where I can start enjoying some of that success a little bit. And I like it! So if I can do more of that enjoying, I think my 40’s will be great.800px-PingFu_lg
  3. Looking good for my age. Seriously! I know most women take that as an insult, but I honestly don’t want to compete with 22-year-olds! First of all, I’m a married mother, and I have zero desire to attract younger men. Mr. Johns is all I want. Secondly, I used to be 22, and I remember how tight my skin was, how firm and pert everything was, how cute I was when I rolled out of bed. That’s youth! But more than that, I remember how vulnerable I was, even when I thought I knew it all. I remember how prone I was to choose the wrong kind of guy. I remember how I looked up to “older women” for some kind of guidance and support. I have no desire to compete with those 22-year-olds. I want to protect them, support them, stand up for them. It’s their turn to be young.

 

So those are the things I’m looking forward to. I think my 40’s will be fantastic, once I get over the hump of seeing myself as a woman in my 40’s. Give me time.  I have ten months to get there.

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