‘TIS THE SEASON

Well, folks it’s time to be jolly, sing our hearts out with the radio, and get tangled up in rolls and rolls of wrapping paper and ribbon. In other words, ’tis the Christmas Season. There’s nothing we can do to stop it after Thanksgiving, so we might as well go with the flow.

 

 

We’re warned every year not to get whisked away by all the hoo-ha, and we try not to, but come on, the best commercials are on this time of year. I cry at every Hallmark advertisement. And the major stores make it look so fun to shop. Still, I try to remember why we’re doing all this celebrating.

 

 

My personal Christmas runs the gamut from secular commercialism to the holy. I never forget why we celebrate the birthday that changed the world, but it is easy to get distracted by all the shiny stuff. And there’s nothing wrong with shiny stuff as long as we keep our perspective.

It is also a time to be sensitive to people who want nothing to do with Christmas. They have their reasons and we need to respect them. But if we can help make our blue friends or family members a little less sad by spending time with them and letting them know we love them, it might also help lessen their emotional slump.

 

 

In the thirty-six books I’ve written, only two have been Christmas stories.

 

 

Both have some tragic parts. Because life goes on, even at Christmastime.  Good, bad, ugly, you name it, life goes on, and we have to deal with all of it while baking cookies and pasting on our smiles. The holidays certainly aren’t easy!

 

So hang tough my dear friends and readers. If you can, do your part to make this Christmas merry and bright. But if that’s not who you are, or where you are at this point in your life, don’t push yourself. My one recommendation is to listen to the Christmas songs that make you smile and find a good memory or two to hang on to.

If that doesn’t help, then please try to find one friend to hug. Then look to that north star and think about the birthday we celebrate and the one who loves you the way Mr. Rogers did in his song “It’s You I Like…every part of you.” Because it’s true! Multiply that by a million and we scratch the surface of how much love there is for us. Then never forget it.

 

Happy Christmas to all and to all a Good Night!

Lynne

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ONE CHRISTMAS HE NEVER EXPECTED

Dear Friends and Readers,

The Christmas season is a special time of year. Ideally, it’s the season of happiness and goodwill toward others. With that in mind, I was hesitant to give my lovely Stephanie Bennett such a difficult and haunting past to overcome. As for carefree Phil Hansen—well, it just seemed cruel to put him through such an emotional roller coaster by simultaneously dropping two not-so-perfect people into his life. However, I’m a writer, and it is my job to make life difficult for my characters, so with my editor’s blessing I laid it on thick in One Christmas He Never Expected.

Stephanie needs a change of scenery for the holidays, and Phil is coerced into filling in as a caregiver for his preschool-aged half brother. Unbeknownst to both Stephanie and Phil, these story elements are the perfect ingredients for a Christmas miracle in the making.

I hope you enjoy this Santa Barbara Sunsets Christmas story, Book #3, the wrap-up book for people from the local clinic: His Second Chance at Forever, More than He Bargained For and One Christmas He Never Expected. I’ve grown to love my imaginary friends at the clinic, and I’m so happy I could help them all find their happy ever afters.

OUT NOW! Book #3 in the Santa Barbara Sunsets trilogy

RELEASE DAY OCTOBER 1st, 2019

Book Blurb:

Phil Hansen has a reputation as a playboy. One look at the new OB doc, and he wants to find the nearest mistletoe. What could be better than kicking off the holiday season with a fling? Except he sees heartbreak in her eyes.

Stephanie Bennett may be dazzled by laid-back Phil’s charm, and though she is long overdue for romance, she’s not ready to put her heart on the line again. Soon swayed by his “love is the best medicine” attitude, she gives in and comes alive in his arms.

Can the magic of the Christmas season help two reluctant hearts fall in love?

Until next time, make it a great one!

Lynne

 

 

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MORE MISSISSIPPI

Paddle of a steamer on an inland waterway

PART TWO ON THE MISSISSIPPI PADDLEBOAT TRIP

Thanks for indulging my recent and fond memories. I hope you enjoy the pictures.

We left off last week in a place called Clinton, Iowa and beginning with this blog we’ll pick up in Iowa’s oldest city. To be honest I’d never imagined visiting Dubuque before, but I’m so glad I did.  What a nice small city of 26,000 people. In the 1990s wise people on the historical society began redeveloping the riverfront and it is beautiful! Did you know that Dubuque has been on many list of bests? 100 Best Communities for Young People, The Most Livable Small City, and an all around Iowa Great Place. This little All American City seems to have it all.

First, I visited St. Luke’s church to see the exquisite Tiffany windows.

My pictures don’t do them justice, but I had to share. The reason Tiffany windows are so vibrant is because the color goes through all layers of the glass.

 

 

 

 

 

Culture abounds in Dubuque with it’s own opera house and the hundred year old hotel now called Julien, but I couldn’t resist the quirky ride up the world’s shortest, steepest railway to Fenalon Place. What was I thinking??? Evidently some rich guy wanted to go home for lunch and he worked down there and lived up there, so…where there’s a will there’s a way. Honestly, I could not believe this creaky old cable lift could possibly pass a certification, yet here we all were riding up and down the darn thing. The view from the top was certainly worth it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I particularly enjoyed the small Museum of Art, but what caught my eye the most was this wire sculpture on the lawn out front of it. Neat, huh. You can see right through it, I could have spent a lot more time kicking around Dubuque, but we had more river boating to do the rest of the night and on to the next morning to reach another discovery and new favorite of mine – La Cross, Wisconsin!

What a lovely place, but unfortunately I didn’t get to spend much time there because we signed up for a much smaller boat ride in Winona, Minnesota (another charming place aka The Midwest’s Best Kept Secret).  The Captain was a kick and very knowledgeable, and most importantly he delivered on many eagle sightings. Here are just a couple:

First one isn’t real. This was also the first place we had rain.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plus some cute river turtles.

 

 

 

 

Winona has a fabulous history center where I took this picture

There is also an amazing Marine Art Museum in Winona. I could have spent hours and hours there! Wow

But we had more riverboating to do  and places to be.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunsets on the Mighty Mississippi are always gorgeous. I realize I’ve taking up too much time and will have to write a third blog because I want to share my experience in Red Wing, Minnesota at the National Eagle Center.

So, rather than cut that portion short, I will continue with Part Three of the Big Muddy River Cruise next week.

One last thing, I was tickled to see one of my books, Too Close for Comfort, is being feature in the top ten Sizzling Romance Novels Where Old Flames Reconnect And People From The Past Return at EZVID WIKI. See here.

thanks for reading!

Until next time, make it a great one!

Lynne

 

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UP THE BIG MUDDY, Part One


In August, my husband and I took a riverboat cruise up the Mississippi River beginning in St. Louis, Missouri and ending in Minneapolis, Minnesota. We’d done the lower Mississippi on the same paddle boat last year starting in New Orleans and ending in Memphis, and it sparked the desire to travel the rest of the way up north.

I’m setting my writer’s life aside for a bit to share some of our vacation photos.
We couldn’t go to St. Louis without taking a walking tour of the city and visiting the Gateway Arch, the 630-foot stainless steel monument also known as the gateway to the west during the westward expansion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And Cardinal Stadium. We love visiting ballparks. View from our hotel room.

We loved the diverse neighborhoods, especially what we saw of the oldest and liveliest Soulard district,  known for having the biggest Mardi Gras celebrations outside of New Orleans but also for preserving the historic homes and shops. We also loved the abundance of beautiful parks inside and outside St. Louis.

 

 

 

Later, after visiting the Louis and Clark State historic site and much more, we embarked on our old-fashioned steamboat for the rest of our trip.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Traveling on a steamboat on the Mississippi River took us back in time, and our first big stop was in Hannibal, childhood home of Mark Twain. What could be more fitting!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Along the walls in this museum in Hannibal were posters of the original paintings done by Saturday Evening Post master artist Norman Rockwell of illustrations from Tom Sawyer. They were wonderful!

The next official port of call was Clinton, Iowa, but we popped over into Fulton, Illinois to see the Windmill Cultural Center, first. The cities are so close one storefront was called Illowa. My husband is half Dutch and it was interesting to note that 40% of the residents in Fulton were also of Dutch heritage. Cute town!

Later we caught a van driven by a local man who was a lineman for the county, to share the beautiful Eagle Point Park with its very own castle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My husband spent a lot of time as we cruised watching for Eagles and we saw many of them along the banks, high up in the trees.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Every night the dinners were grand, and the entertainment was topnotch with the occasional lecture dedicated to Samuel Clemens, a most amazing and forward-thinking man we’ve come to know as Mark Twain – who was once a riverboat captain on The Big Muddy himself.  Follow the link to find out the significance of this phrase and how he got his pseudonym. 1 – twain, 2 – twain, mark – twain…

For fear of boring you to tears, I’ll blog part two next week.

Until next time, make it a great one!

Lynne

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BACKLIST BINGO!

I love to write trilogies and look forward to sharing my upcoming Taylor Sisters trilogy for Harlequin Special Edition line in 2020, but that’s a blog for another day.

Today, I’m making a point about hanging around with the same publisher (Harlequin) for over thirteen years. After so long, one of the perks is a long backlist.

The beauty of a backlist is, the books have expiration dates when the author can ask to get them back. Which leads me to why I’m blogging.

Any author will tell you that of all their books there are always one or two that they hold a little closer to their heart. That’s how I feel about an entire trilogy I wrote for the Medical Romance line in 2009, which was published in 2010. It was set in Santa Barbara on the California coast, in a beautiful Victorian house turned medical clinic. Of course, that trilogy was never branded or promoted as a trilogy by the publisher, and it sold accordingly. >clears throat<

That’s where the backlist is such a blessing for any enterprising author. I asked (begged) for my rights back for each book in that trilogy as the contract expiration drew near, and surprisingly was able to get the North American Rights returned for all three. Yippee! But North America meant I could only sell the books is US and Canada. Which is actually a good thing, since there is a huge digital untapped audience here who has never heard of me or my books.


For those in the UK and Europe (Maybe even Australia) I’m here to tell you that all three books are still available in original digital format. In fact, the book I’m specifically talking about today is also getting republished in France in September as Un Bébé, Tout Simplement.

HERE ARE THE ORIGINAL COVERS

Which covers do you like better?July 17th will be the release of book #2 – MORE THAN HE BARGAINED FOR – (formerly The Heart Doctor and the Baby) in North America. It is available for preorder and is already for sale in print. I hope you’ll check out the digital book wherever you’re located. It’s one of my all-time favorites, and the very first book the wonderful and lovely Flo Nicoll edited for me. For that alone, I will always cherish the book.

BLURB:
The contract was straight forward – no obligations. But there was something he hadn’t planned on…

Jon Becker, divorced father of teenage daughters, is dedicated to his job and looking forward to a sabbatical.

René Munro longs for a baby. Thirty-five and single, her options are limited. Except…her colleague and trusted friend, Jon, seems ideal genetic material! Dare she ask him to help make her baby dream come true?

Until next time, make it a great one!

Lynne

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THE SCENT OF A WOMAN

For those who missed my Fresh Fiction blog in May, I’m repeating it here.

In my newest book, His Second Chance at Forever, (Book #1 in the Santa Barbara Sunsets trilogy) I write about a nurse practitioner who has different ideas from her brooding doc boss. In fact, it’s a main source of conflict between them right off. One of the fun things I included in a small secondary thread was how Claire Albright believes in alternative approaches to medical care for all-around wellbeing. She also believes in the calming effect of certain essential oils. Jason is clueless, and at first, more than a little skeptical.

For those who aren’t familiar with essential oils, they are concentrated forms of plants and flowers that are often used in massage therapy and aroma therapy. From my perspective, they are heavenly. More and more people are discovering them, too. What about you?

FYI: Breathing in essential oils goes to the part of the brain that is linked to emotions. Good ones. The soothing scents tend to cause a positive reaction in mood, blood pressure, and heart rate to name a few.

If you suffer from white coat syndrome (fear of seeing your doctor) you might appreciate how Claire set up soothing aroma therapy in the office waiting room without consent. Risking her new job, she uses Lavender, Frankincense, and wild orange at one point, and Lavender, Ylang-Ylang, and rosemary another time for the sake of nerves about seeing a doctor. Jason Rogers didn’t understand what was going on, but the patients liked the change, and the benefit was calmer people with which to deal. Win-win, right?

At another point in the book, I mention how Jason, a man who is permanently grumpy because of a heartbreaking reason, discovers that Claire often smells like cinnamon, and, like it or not, the scent is appealing to him. So much so, he can’t get her out of his head. Not a bad side effect, right? Soon, Jason lets his guard down and asks Claire to coffee. So, unbeknownst to Claire, her choice of alternative treatments for herself opened the door to romance.

Not to go too technical, but did you know that the antioxidants in cinnamon have anti-inflammatory properties? This is another tidbit I enjoyed researching while writing this book, so load that stuff on your oatmeal, cereal, or smoothies all you want!

IT ALL STARTED WITH A SCENT

When Jason notices and likes Claire’s scent, he doesn’t realize she smells that way because she uses it as part of her Lupus treatment. All he knows is he likes having her around and catching the special fragrance, and her scent drives him a little crazy. Which is the part of the story that begins to bring him back to life again, and eventually, as they each work through their personal issues—because that’s what we do in romance—into the open arms of his new love. Yes! Another happy ending. sigh

Have you heard of essential oils? If you have, do you use them? If not, I hope I’ve piqued your interest.

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THE REST OF THE STORY…

THE REST OF THE STORY…

First off, I am happy to call myself employed by Harlequin. I have been fortunate to write many books for them, currently working on number thirty. Most people know of them, many have preconceived attitudes and roll their eyes, others are avid readers of series romance.

Here’s the news – Harlequin is turning 70!!!

 

They’ve written a great blog about their trailblazing in publishing which you can read here

I’d like to add to their story.

Harlequin has published an interesting history at their blog which I linked to above. One thing stood out to me that two other important players were not mentioned, and both are women. Yes, the most well-known publisher of category length romance in the world is Harlequin and it was founded in 1949 by Richard Bonnycastle, a Canadian, who specialized in reprints of books such as westerns, thrillers and classics.

For those who used to watch 60 Minutes when the wise curmudgeon Andy Rooney closed out the show, you’ll remember the phrase I’m using regarding the trailblazing Mr. Bonnycastle. So here we go:

AND HERE’S THE REST OF THE STORY…

Bonnycastle’s wife, Mary, and the first acquiring editor for Harlequin – Ruth Palmour, discovered a surprise at the local library. A Large assortment of well-written medical romances published by a long-established London firm.

In 1957, at the request of Ruth Palmour, Harlequin began buying the rights to those romance novels from the English firm Gerald Mills & Charles Boon limited. Heard of them? They’ve been around since 1908. By 1930 Mills & Boon concentrated on women’s fiction, and during WWII the books proved to be popular as an escape from reality.

The first romances Bonnycastle bought from M&B were doctor nurse stories. (Yes, the conflict centered around a Lordly doctor and a subservient nurse) Of course we’ve come a long way, baby! These little doctor nurse stories written by women for women became so successful that, in 1964 the Canadian company began to concentrate on them, and soon romance comprised the entire Harlequin LTD list.

Interesting, right? Where would Harlequin be today if Mary and Ruth hadn’t opened the door to the solid romances published in the UK?

Now, here is a bit of shameless self-promotion (a requirement for every author these days of digital dominance), along with, I hope, an interesting tidbit.

My May 14th release is a book I’ve had the rights returned to me on from Harlequin Mills & Boon. I’ve updated it and changed things out and in, but overall it is the same story that Harlequin bought and published back in 2010. Yes, it is a doctor nurse story. I believe we still love to read them, though mostly these days, the books tend toward doctor/doctor romance. Currently, in the USA, statistics show more women are applying to med school than men.

Now for the SSP:
Here’s the book and the blurb.

He’s stuck in the past. She shows him their future.

Sweet Romance
The brooding doctor Jason Rogers prefers to keep people at a distance and his pain tucked safely inside. So what if he’s a grouch? He doesn’t care.

Claire Albright isn’t afraid to waltz into her new boss’s office and give her opinions. The fact she has a tagalong little girl, Gina, who reminds Jason of the daughter he lost, only adds to their bristly start.

Soon, against Jason’s will, Claire and Gina inject hope back into his dull existence. Dare he dream of a life he never thought he’d have again?

Here are links to two early 5 Star reviews:

Always Reading

Older/Smarter  

On sale Mary 14th, 2019 – book #1 in Santa Barbara Sunsets trilogy.
I hope you’ll check it out!

DO YOU HAVE ANY HARLEQUIN TRIVIA TO SHARE? PLEASE COMMENT.

Until next time, make it a great one,
Lynne

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SPRING CLEANING YAY OR YUCK?

After all the rain we’ve had this winter in SoCal, I am super happy to see the sun shining, and seeing the sun shine reminds me it’s spring. Yay!

But spring reminds me that it’s time to clean. Yuck.

 

Deep cleaning is not my favorite. Over the years I’ve discovered ways to trick myself into thinking I’ve done enough to count, though.

I’m not clairvoyant but I can hear your thoughts – If it’s beautiful outside, why stay in and clean? Oh, the irony! That’s why I try to make it as quick and painless as possible.

Here are the four things I do to pretend I’ve participated in what we call spring cleaning. Trust me, they are all easy.

  1. Change the shower curtains (if you still have them, like I do) and rings 
  2. Wash the grommet curtains or loop curtains and clean the rods. Send traditional drapes to cleaners
  3. Go through the closet and drawers and give away the clothes you keep thinking you’ll fit back into
  4. Go through your books and give stacks and stacks to local friends of library or senior center or both!

Then all you need to do is clean your house like you always do. Or not. Deep Cleaning – take a hike!

This is the part where avid book readers get lucky.

Once I’ve gone through my office closet and discovered how many extra print books I have, I have a reason to host another book giveaway.

Heads up Lynne Marshall newsletter subscribers – watch for the Spring-Cleaning edition coming your way soon! (sign up here)

Here’s a non-cleaning tip for everyone – Amazon currently has my Delaney Brothers trilogy on sale for a dollar off each book.

You can check that out here. I have zero control on when or for how long these deals run, so check out this one poste haste.

I hope I’ve given you some easy tips on how to practice faux spring cleaning. Have fun! Or not.

If you’re like me, just grin and bear it with a wink, it’ll be over soon enough.

Until next time, make it a great one,
Lynne
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Getaways and St. Patrick’s Day

Wishing everyone a great weekend and a glass of green beer if that’s your poison. I’m a Chardonnay girl myself, and I don’t need my drink to have green food coloring to enjoy it on St. Patrick’s Day or any other day.

Before I continue, I wanted to let you know about a sweet 99 cent deal that will continue until midnight on St. Patrick’s March 17th. A SOLDIER’S SECOND CHANCE She owes him the truth. He wants to get even. But that old chemistry keeps messing up their plans.

Last week my husband and I took a postponed trip from February (due to heavy rain) to Cambria, California. A quaint little town on the beautiful central coast, just a hop, skip and jump from San Simeon. Below are several pictures from the coast, Hearst Castle, and other stops from our morning hikes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From the rugged and gorgeous shore to the William Randolph Hearst outdoor Grecian pool to his “castle” designed by the incredible architect Julia Morgan, to indoor cottages used by the Hearst family and famous guests,

300 year old tree

 

to the indoor pool. Then back to the glorious views down the long and winding path back to the rest of civilization and back to the coast

 

where sea elephants beach for months at a time while pups get strong enough to take to sea.

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  • The weather was at times rainy, but mostly sunny and brisk. Our meals were delicious, especially the one at The Sea Chest which was within walking distance from where we stayed. We ended the trip with a long drive home and a visit with our granddaughters.
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  • Do you like road trips? Share one of your favorites in the comments.

Until next time, here is my wish for you on St. Patrick’s Day and all the year through:

Now, make it a great one!

Lynne

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Five Things I love About Valentine’s Day

If It’s February, there seems to be one thing on most people’s minds. What to do about Valentine’s Day? This is the month that both wrecks havoc with men and promotes high expectations with women. I know there is a huge political debate buried somewhere in that statement, but I’m NOT going there. Instead, I’m simply going to share the five things that I love most about Valentine’s Day.

  1. It encourages people to show their feelings to someone special
  2. Love is in the air
  3. The day usually involves chocolate (I rest my case)
  4. Or gifts – and jewelry is always a good idea
  5. It is the second most popular day to get engaged.

#5 probably surprised you right? Well, the MOST popular day to get engaged turns out to be Christmas.


Since I mentioned I like gifts so much, I wanted to share a gift I have for you! For the next five days, February 8-12, The Doctor’s Indiscretion, a sexy romance on my indie list, is free. Get it at Amazon:

Here is the link: Enjoy!

Wishing you a romantic day and many, many more.

Until next time, make it a great one,

Lynne

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