Monday, May 29, 2017

Some Gave All...




Today is Memorial Day and it's a day that we celebrate the sacrifices made by the men and women of the armed forces along with their families and all first responders.

Most of us know someone who has served our country. Many have lost someone they loved in combat. I can only imagine how hard it must be to send your love one off to fight knowing they may not come home again.

So today, amongst the barbeques and the parties, let's take some time to thank someone who has given so much for us to have the freedom we do here in the USA.

This is truly the land of the free, because its the home of the brave.

From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank each and every one who has served our country or has lost someone who has served. Thank you so much.



Sunday, May 28, 2017

A Special Contest

 
 

I’m so excited about the release of DEADLY MEMORIES, my second Scorpion Team book and I can’t wait to share this story with you. Enter the contest below for a chance to win an autographed  copy. DEADLY MEMORIES.

Details On How To Enter Can Be Found Her:
https://gleam.io/LAPgu/deadly-memories-autographed-book.
 
 
 
WOMAN WITHOUT A PAST
Amnesia may be keeping Ella Weiss from remembering her past—but not from saving the little boy who's been her fellow prisoner the last seven years. After managing to escape her cell, all she wants is to find where little Joseph is being kept. Instead she runs straight into CIA agent Kyle Jennings. Kyle isn't sure if Ella is actually a kidnap victim or if she's working for the gunrunner he's been after. One thing he is certain of is her uncanny resemblance to the wife he thought he'd buried. To save a child's life and stop a terrorist from slipping through his fingers, he'll need to uncover the secrets of Ella's past—and whether or not she's really the woman he's never stopped loving.




 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 



Monday, May 22, 2017

Today for Make It Monday, I'd like to share with you my homemade Cinnamon Roll recipe. This one is granddaughter approved by all three of my granddaughters. They love them. This is Paula Deen's recipe and it's a terrific one.



 
Cinnamon Rolls

Total Time: 1 hr 50 min Prep: 20 min
Yield: 12 to 15 servings  
                                                                                                                                                                                     

Ingredients.
1/4 -ounce package yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup scalded milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter or shortening
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
3 1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour


Filling:
1/2 cup melted butter, plus more for pan
3/4 cup sugar, plus more for pan
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
3/4 cup raisins, walnuts, or pecans, optional

In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water and set aside. In a large bowl mix milk, sugar, melted butter, salt and egg. Add 2 cups of flour and mix until smooth. Add yeast mixture. Mix in remaining flour until dough is easy to handle. Knead dough on lightly floured surface for 5 to 10 minutes. Place in well-greased bowl, cover and let rise until doubled in size, usually 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

When doubled in size, punch down dough. Roll out on a floured surface into a 15 by 9-inch rectangle. Spread melted butter all over dough. Mix sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over buttered dough. Sprinkle with walnuts, pecans, or raisins if desired. Beginning at the 15-inch side, role up dough and pinch edge together to seal. Cut into 12 to 15 slices.

Coat the bottom of baking pan with butter and sprinkle with sugar. Place cinnamon roll slices close together in the pan and let rise until dough is doubled, about 45 minutes. Bake for about 30 minutes or until nicely browned.

I hope you enjoy them...
 
All The Best...
 
Mary Alford

 

Glaze:

4 tablespoons butter

2 cups powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 to 6 tablespoons hot water

 Directions                                               

 Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

Meanwhile, mix butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla. Add hot water 1 tablespoon at a time until the glaze reaches desired consistency. Spread over slightly cooled rolls.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Book Boxed Sets.

You've seen them, I'm sure. Beautifully packaged multi author book boxed sets that contain a certain genre theme.  Book boxed sets are a great way for the reader to get familiar with several new authors in the genre they like to read.

Today, I thought I'd feature a few book sets that I have book included in and maybe you can find some new authors that you haven't had the chance to read yet.

I'll be giving away an Kindle copy of Runaway Brides to one commenter. I'll announce the winner on Sunday! Good luck!


Runaway Brides

 
 
 
Enjoy 7 stories of weddings that didn't work. These seven brides flee their grooms and find true love where they least expect it. Whether your a southern gal or city, you'll empathize with these women as they search for a love everlasting.
 
 
 
 
 
This delightful collection of historical and contemporary romances contain couples not looking for romance, but with the help of a loved find love on Valentine's Day. Each story is titled from an actual candy heart and plays a major role in the romance. Sit down, relax, and experience love.
 
 
 
 
Ten couples discover that love lost can be regained in this collection of stories by ten different authors reflecting love for the second time. Grab your favorite beverage, curl up in your favorite chair, and prepare yourself for a story that leaves you saying "Ah".
 
 
 
 
 
 
Imagine coming across a box of love letters from days gone by or receiving one by mistake? What if a child writes to Santa wanting a mommy? Or a young woman in trouble feels jilted? In these heart-warming stories of love, forgiveness, and redemption, couples find love at Christmas in surprising ways.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
MARRY ME
Baker Kylie McGraw is so done with romance. The move to Second Chance, Montana is supposed to be her ‘second chance’ at a new beginning. Kylie throws herself into opening her very own bakery in the Second Chance Lodge and tries to convince herself she’s content with what she’s created. That is, until a mysterious stranger shows up at the lodge and has Kylie rethinking everything, including her former opinion on love.

Aiden Wilder just didn’t happen to show up at the Second Chance Lodge. He’s there for a reason. To meet the owner of the bakery and find out if she really stole his grandmother’s patented cookie recipe. The one that made Grandma Wilder’s Cookies a household legend. The last thing Aiden expects to do is to find himself falling in love with the bakery’s very attractive owner.

DEAR ME
Tara Blevins is in desperate need of a second chance after her son’s death. But will she find it in the old lodge left to her by her cousin, or the man who broke her heart by promising her he’d love her forever.

Nothing about Tara and their troubled past adds up in Devon McAllister’s mind. Tara acts like he’s the one who broke off their relationship, yet nothing could be further from the truth. Devon tells her that after she left Second Chance, he wrote her several letters and gave them to her cousin to mail. When she didn’t respond to them, he believed he had his answer.


Was it all just a horrible misunderstanding? Tara tells Devon about the letters she wrote him. So why did Lisbeth want to keep them apart? And what might have happened if they’d each had a chance to read those letters?

LOVE ME TENDER
Jackson Rivers is back in Second Chance, Montana. Seven years earlier, he broke Kellie's heart when he married someone else. Can she trust him when he tells her, he wants a second chance to prove his love to her? And can Kellie find the courage to tell him he left more behind than just her broken heart all those years ago.
 
 
So if you get the chance, check out some of these great book boxed sets. Who knows. Maybe you'll not only find some great romances, but also an author that you'll fall in love with as well.
 
Don't forget to comment for a chance to win the boxed set, Runaway Brides. 
 
All the best..
 
Mary Alford
 

Monday, May 15, 2017

Review of Famous In A Small Town by Kristina Knight


https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-n-LJTrYJ7Wk/WOWnaM2gSGI/AAAAAAAANIc/OA9jkQwH54EVfq_eFaG-L2z79CKpfJH5QCPcB/s640/Banner%2B-%2BFamous%2Bin%2Ba%2BSmall%2BTown.jpg
On Tour with Prism Book Tours.


https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-LQc5ktr-cl0/WRIa9b-pBbI/AAAAAAAANnI/L8bf5sRvbt0KU-hJA5YAX5P0PScT9cfrACLcB/s400/9780373640270.jpg
Famous in a Small Town
(Slippery Rock #1)
Kristina Knight
Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 306 pages
May 1st 2017 by Harlequin Superromance


Lifestyles of the small-town famous


Forced to leave Nashville after a scandal, Savannah Walters has come home to Slippery Rock, Missouri, with a bruised ego and her singing career in jeopardy. As if that isn't humiliating enough, on her way into town she's rescued by her swoon-worthy childhood crush, Collin Tyler.


His hands are full running the family orchard and dealing with his delinquent teen sister, so Collin doesn't need to get involved with someone as fiery and unpredictable as Savannah. But the intense attraction between them can't be denied. And when disaster strikes, they'll both be surprised by who's still standing when the dust settles.




https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-i1gTh7Hc4sw/WRIx71pSzSI/AAAAAAAANn0/938pP4pmoMQP01gbT9LsVtJlJ3uqghptgCLcB/s320/Shareable%2B-%2BPurchase%2BProceeds.jpg
 
 
My Review Of Famous In A Small Town by Kristina Knight
 
 
One of my favorite types of romances to read is a small town romance. There’s just something about them that melts my heart. So when I found out about Famous In A Small Town, I was excited to have the opportunity to read it. Having never read one of Ms. Knight’s books, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but let me tell you, Famous In A Small Town was a delight.
Savannah Walters returns home to the small town of Slippery Rock, Mo after finding herself involved in a scandal in Nashville. Right away, Savannah runs into her childhood crush, the very handsome, Colin Tyler.
As sparks fly between Savannah and Collin, each seemingly have their own set of obstacles standing in the way of finding true love. You can’t help but root for Savannah and Collin, even when they are trying to pretend they aren’t attracted to each other.
Through all the twists and turns in their lives, the ending of this story will tug at your heartstrings and make you sigh.
If you love a good small town romance, then this one’s for you. Even though there are some adult situations in the book, I would recommend reading it with a box of tissues. You won’t be disappointed.
 
Mary Alford
 
 
 
 


About the Author


https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-0E7GJBJ6pyg/WRIa80pvYWI/AAAAAAAANnE/oXmEnIjc50MuQUcFWAC0902aIbR3P8LYQCLcB/s250/Kristi.jpg


Once upon a time, Kristina Knight spent her days running from car crash to fire to meetings with local police--no, she wasn't a troublemaker, she was a journalist. Her career took her all over the United States, writing about everything from a serial killer's capture to the National Finals Rodeo. Along the way, she found her very own Knight in Shining Cowboy Boots and an abiding love for romance novels. And just like the characters from her favorite books, she's living her own happily ever after.


Kristina writes sassy contemporary romance novels; her books have appeared on Kindle Best Seller Lists. She loves hearing from readers, so drop her a line!




Other Harlequin Superromance Books by the Author


https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-0lskJUnlYjc/WRIcU-ANB8I/AAAAAAAANnc/wzkxpxfKaIMifbbcGMuo610BgDEZPNOzACLcB/s320/Protecting%2Bthe%2BQuarterback.jpghttps://1.bp.blogspot.com/-L4Hll8-LnM4/WRIcUyS1M6I/AAAAAAAANng/qgkEKFQ6UhEHT4hc1K43dPFazB6oTUppACLcB/s320/First%2BLove%2BAgain.jpghttps://2.bp.blogspot.com/-VV2izEnf7no/WRIcVWkOFWI/AAAAAAAANnk/l79dKQMmR3M6WwcqpuS91dhUujlOkCLdwCLcB/s320/The%2BDaughter%2BHe%2BWanted.jpg


And coming July 2017, also in the Slippery Rock series...
https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-tg1F4rR-dDY/WRIcUzgbCDI/AAAAAAAANnY/ZDVrESy4pjo5ieiU954DBSviO5UmxsJ0ACLcB/s320/Rebel%2Bin%2Ba%2BSmall%2BTown.jpg


Tour Schedule


May 13th: Launch
May 14th:
May 15th:
May 16th:
May 17th:
May 18th:
May 19th: Grand Finale


Tour Giveaway


https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-2TUEpR2rPeo/WRIa9TJrLtI/AAAAAAAANnM/V0XiO4lWrkYGrpGWAMNN2Vi_-wU1OstIgCLcB/s320/GiveawayFamous.png


1 winner will receive a Prize Pack with a signed copy of FIRST LOVE AGAIN, swag and other fun items
- Prize pack for US residents only, if international winner is pulled then they will receive a $25 gift card instead
Ends May 23rd


Grab Our Button!


 

 

 

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Happy Mother's Day!



Whether you're a mom, stepmom, grandmother, aunt, or friend, chances are you've made a difference in someone's life and you may not even know it. So this mother's day, I'd like to wish you all a happy and blessed mother's day, and my prayer is that each of you will realize just how important you are to someone. Happy Mother's Day...


All the best...

Mary Alford

Friday, May 12, 2017

Great Christian love stories. Are they about the faith, the romance or something more?


Resuce Me
 
When I first started reading romance novels, (I’m about to truly date myself), the Christian romance genre was TINY.
 
Today, there’s a subgenres for Christian romance such as Amish, cowboy, small town, historical, and suspense to  name a few. No matter what type of Christian romance you like to read, there’s something for you.
 
But what makes a great Christian romance? Is it the faith element? The romance? The life issues that must be overcome in each book?
 
As a writer, I have to say, I’m drawn to creating stories filled with all of these things. Whether it be romantic suspense or contemporary romances, I love to fill my stories with the seemingly insurmountable drama in my characters’ lives that tests their faith and creates great emotion for the reader and well as for me, the writer.
 
In Plain Sight
 

So, what do you think? Are great Christian love stories about the faith, the romance, or the life issues? I contend they are about all of these things. Great Christian love stories can be filled with faith, romance and life issues, but they always, always leave the reader wanting to know what happens next in the hero and heroine’s lives. And if you’re like me, you’ll end up reading those books over and over again.

 

All the best…

 

Mary Alford

www.maryalford.net

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Review of Amish Refuge by Debby Giusti






As someone who loves Debby Giusti's books, and who is a fan of Amish suspense, I looked forward to reading this book and let me tell you, it doesn't disappoint.  This story pulled me in right from the start and I couldn't put it down. I loved the twists and turns of the suspense, and the romance between Miriam and Abram was satisfying. I would definitely recommend this story to those who love Christian suspense as well as fans of Amish romantic suspense. Thanks, Debby, for such a great story.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

So You Want To Be In Pictures...

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, the chances are you’ve seen one book trailer at the very least in the past year. If you are an author, you may have tried your hand at creating one, or if your talents don’t tend to gravitate in that direction, then you may have paid someone to turn your book into a video trailer. So today, I thought I'd talk about book trailers.  

 
What is a book trailer and why should I care?

According to a previous article on the subject by bestselling, author Allison Brennan, book trailers are the hottest new thing in promotional tools for writers.

Book trailers are a short visual commercial that gives the viewer and idea what a particular book is about, including the tone of the book as well as its genre and main characters.

It doesn’t matter who you are:  

Most authors will tell you, finding a surefire promotional tool that works 100% of the time is like finding the goose that laid the golden egg.  It just doesn’t happen, folks.  In fact, for the most part, promotion can be a game of trial an error.  

As an author myself, I created my own book trailer for several of my books. Here’s the latest for Deadly Memories, my June Love Inspired Books, and one of my older ones for Forgotten Past, my first Love Inspired Book.

 

 

 

I’ll let you be the judge on which is the best.

Authors such as Barbara Freethy, Brenda Novak, Sylvia Day have turned their bestsellers into videos. Marketing expert and author M.J. Rose has been using book videos to promote her books since 2001 because, “The impact of imagery is greater than the impact of words.”

 But does it work?

Sheila Clover English is a firm believer that Book Trailers are the wave of the future. Do book videos sell books? “According to booksellers and authors, they do,” Clover English says enthusiastically. “One major bookseller called us to say that airing one of our videos increased their on-line traffic 50 percent. Independent booksellers are even dedicating on-line pages to books that have book trailers. You can watch before you buy. Borders Group, Inc. has featured some of the trailers both on their site and in their on-line newsletters.

Christine Feehan’s Web traffic has increased 700 percent since she started showing the videos on her site.”

“Several booksellers have told me they enjoyed them,” JoAnn Ross (No Safe Place) said. “Did that make them order more books? Again, who knows? I can foresee the day when chain bookstores will run book videos in their stores, the way Blockbuster runs movie trailers. If I were an independent bookseller, I’d have a computer monitor set up on my checkout counter, running all the book videos I could find today. What better way to get customers talking to you about what kind of books they like to read? Which, of course, opens up the opportunity to hand-sell more books! And isn’t that what we all want?”
 
 
So, recently, I decided to put on my investigative garb and conduct a little survey on the subject. I did a flash poll where I asked both readers and writers alike to comment on these two questions:

 

Are book trailers an important factor in you purchasing of a particular book or do they matter at all to you.

 

And the results?

 

Well, they are as wide and varied as most things are in the publishing world.

 

Of those who responded to my poll, I learned that most would watch a video if it is easy to access and if they had the correct connection (if you are trying to view a video with dial up it can be very frustrating).

 

But did it make a difference in whether or not a possible reader would buy the book? From the responses I received, I would have to say, no. 

 

So what have I learned from all this?

 

For me, I’ve learned that book trailers are useful, and yes, there is a target audience for them, but I wouldn’t put all of my promotional money or efforts into that single basket.

 

The most successful form of promotion for any writer starts first when an author sits down to write their book. Write the best book you possibly can, write what’s in your heart and the chances are you will find your target audience.

 

 

All the best…

 

Mary Alford

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Tuesday Encouragements...


Being Still

 

One of my favorite Bible verses is Psalm 46:10: Be still, and know that I am God. If ever this message was needed, it is in the hectic, fast paced world we live in today.

With so many things claiming pieces of our time, most of us are running at full speed nonstop. Even when we lay down to sleep, our thoughts are busy on what must be done the following day. I hate to admit this, but even someone who is retired like me can find it hard to slow down and be still. Between deadlines and editing, the days fly by.

That is until Friday.

On Friday our nine year old granddaughter comes to visit and everything stills. It’s been that way since she was born. We devote the entire day to her and whatever she wants to do. It doesn’t matter how silly it may be. We’ve built ant homes. Searched for fairies. Tried to create a gummy pill that would turn us into kitties. Wherever her imagination takes her, we’ve done it all and it has been just as much fun for us old folks as it was for her.  So on Friday’s the fast paced world can just speed by without us.

This last week, our granddaughter taught both my husband and myself a very valuable lesson in the importance of being still. With the weather producing a picture perfect summer day outside, we couldn’t stay in this house for long. Before we knew it we were staring up at blue skies and watching puffy white clouds float by.

I’d forgotten how much fun it is to find the hidden imagines in clouds. A dinosaur. A lion. A ship. There all there if you look. If you haven’t sat outside and watched the clouds go by, I suggest you do it as soon as possible because it is cathartic.

You can literally feel the stress seeping from your body. Soon, I forgot all about looming deadlines as we laughed and spotted the blessings of God in the clouds above.

When my granddaughter asked if I thought God spoke to us in clouds, I said absolutely. He certainly had spoken to us that day once we grew still and realized God is everywhere around us, waiting for us to seek Him out and bless us with the gift of stillness.

So in this busy world we live in, I hope you have your Friday. If you don’t, then you should create one. Be still. Know He is God.

 

All the best…

 

Mary Alford
www.maryalford.net

  

 

Monday, May 8, 2017

Food For Thought...


I love to cook, it’s one of my favorite hobbies. Whether I’m preparing new recipes or tweaking some old classics, cooking is a passion, just like writing.    

One of my favorite recipes is Spaghetti and Meatballs? It’s like a comfort food at our house, especially when it’s cold out or when you have to feed a big hungry crowd.  Serve it with some garlic bread and you’ve got yourself a meal.

Here’s a secret about my writing. In just about all my books, you’ll find my characters preparing one of my favorite recipes. The same was the case in Rocky Mountain Pursuit.   

My main characters Jase and Reyna share a romantic meal of spaghetti while hiding out from some very bad guys. Jase and Reyna didn’t have much time to prepare their meal. They used premade sauce, but I guess if you were on the run, it would taste wonderful. I hope you’re not on the run and can take the time to try out this recipe and enjoy it. It’s well worth the prep.    
 

Italian Spaghetti Sauce with Meatballs

 

 

Ingredients

          MEATBALLS

          1 pound lean ground beef

          1 cup fresh bread crumbs

          1 tablespoon dried parsley

          1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese

          1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

          1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

          1 egg, beaten

          SAUCE

          3/4 cup chopped onion

          5 cloves garlic, minced

          1/4 cup olive oil

          2 (28 ounce) cans whole peeled tomatoes

          2 teaspoons salt

          1 teaspoon white sugar

          1 bay leaf

          1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste

          3/4 teaspoon dried basil

          1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions

1.         In a large bowl, combine ground beef, bread crumbs, parsley, Parmesan, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, garlic powder and beaten egg. Mix well and form into 12 balls. Store, covered, in refrigerator until needed.

2.         In a large saucepan over medium heat, saute onion and garlic in olive oil until onion is translucent. Stir in tomatoes, salt, sugar and bay leaf. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 90 minutes. Stir in tomato paste, basil, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and meatballs and simmer 30 minutes more. Serve.

I found this and many other of my favorite recipes at: Allrecipes.com.  
 
 
 
About Rocky Mountain Pursuit:

IDENTITY: CONFIDENTIAL 

Everyone believes agent Jase Bradford is dead—everyone but Reyna Peterson. Only he can protect her now that someone wants the information her CIA husband died to secure. As the one member of their spy team not killed, Jase must remain in the shadows. Yet when Reyna leads the enemy right to his mountain refuge and blows his cover, Jase risks his life for hers. As his best friend's beautiful widow scales the walls around his heart, whether out of loyalty or love, he makes it his duty to secure her safety. But when their pursuers trap them in the snowy Colorado mountains, will it become his final mission?


All the best...

Mary Alford
www.maryalford.net

Featured Author Melanie Snitker

   When she published Finding Peace, the first book in the Love’s Compass series, in 2015, Melanie D. Snitker had no idea just how many p...