Reading for Stress Management

April is Stress Awareness Month. You probably already know if you are stressed out, but do you know how stress affects physical and mental health? Here are some interesting facts from the 2015 Stress in America survey conducted by the American Psychological Association:

The top three sources of stress for adults, in order, are money, work and family responsibilities.

More than one-third of adults reported an increase in stress and 78% of adults report experiencing at least one symptom of stress.

Symptoms of stress include: feeling nervous/anxious, feeling depressed/sad, constant worrying, irritability/anger, poor eating habits, changes in sleeping patterns, upset stomach, dry mouth, headaches, muscle tension, chest pains, fatigue, inability to concentrate, forgetfulness, jitters, increased frequency of colds.


Left unmanaged, stress can result in chronic, long-term health problems. Experts recommend a variety of strategies for managing stress, including exercise, deep breathing, medication, eating well, engaging in hobbies, spending time with friends/family, getting enough sleep and balancing life.

Reading is another effective strategy for managing stress. University of Sussex researchers reported six minutes of reading to be more effective than listening to music or going for a walk, reducing stress by as much as 68%.

The next time you are feeling stressed, reach for a book.

What are your other favorite stress management strategies?



Five Fascinating Facts about Regency-era Weddings

AWC_1400x2100One of the reasons many readers enjoy historical fiction is that it provides a glimpse into the lives, relationships and traditions of different countries and eras. Weddings and marriage are, by far, one of the most fascinating topics to research.

Here are five interesting facts I discovered about weddings and matrimony during the Regency era while writing my upcoming release, A Wedding Code (The Code Breakers series book 5, releasing April 25, 2017).

For many centuries, marriage was not based on love, but as a strategic alliance between families for monetary, social or political gain. Marriages were often arranged when the bride and groom were still children.

Although the popularity of love matches began gaining popularity in 18th and 19th century England, demonstrating passion for one’s spouse was considered déclassé.

Almack’s, a London social club, became one of the most prominent “marriage marts” of Regency England. Debutantes, who once sought to be presented at the King’s court, vied for vouchers from Almack’s patronesses so they could be presented there instead.

Regency brides did not commission gowns exclusively for their wedding. Most gowns were re-worn. Although any color or pattern was acceptable, blue, white, silver and light-colored hues were most popular. Instead, many brides cherished their wedding shoes as treasured keepsakes.


9e530191a39ec67342bab7e7c5c92f78 1795weddingshoe

Brides were given a wedding ring during the wedding ceremony, but men did not wear wedding rings.


What is your favorite contemporary or Regency-era wedding tradition?

Big Quiz Giveaway – Fun, Books & Prizes


Giveaways are great…until you discover you weren’t one of the lucky grand prize winners. LitRing is sponsoring a giveaway where everyone is a winner! Take the #LitQuiz to discover your next late night binge with a book tailored matched to your preferences.

Click HERE to get take the quiz. Be sure to browse the LitRing website where you can find lots of new releases, free reads and enter to win more than $1,500 in prizes.

Good luck and happy reading!

Meet me in Seattle


This weekend, Greater Seattle RWA is hosting the Emerald City Writers’ Conference. Held every fall, this is the largest romance writing conference on the west coast. Three hundred attendees are expected, including leading industry editors and agents, phenomenal speakers. I’ll be presenting two workshops at the conference. Maria Connor of My Author Concierge is my co-presenter for “I’ll Take Care of That For You: Working with Author Assistants” and narrator Pearl Hewitt is my co-presenter for “How to Find and Audition a Narrator for Your Audiobook.”



One of the conference highlights is the the reader appreciation event, Passport to Romance.

Where: Bellevue Westin Hotel
When: Saturday October 15th 6pm-8pm

Free and open to the public, this two-hour event provides an opportunity for fans of the romance genre to meet their favorite authors and discover new-to-them authors. All subgenres are represented, including historical, contemporary, women’s fiction, sci-fi romance and paranormal. Many authors will be giving away swag and free books as a way of saying THANK YOU to dedicated romance fans.



More than 50 authors–including me–will be participating in this event. If you live in the Seattle area, make plans to join us. You can pose with a sexy male cover model, mix and mingle with fans and authors alike, and celebrate romance! I hope to see you there!


Picture with Harvey Gaudan Stables

A Cantata of Love now available on audio, as well as print and ebook

jrsA Cantata of Love is now available on audio. Enjoy Chapter One, narrated by Pearl Hewitt, the talented voice actor who narrated the other three titles in the series. Click HERE to listen now.

Not an audiobook fan? Do you prefer print books while everyone else seems to have made the jump to ereaders? Have you ever wondered why you prefer one book format over another? Believe it or not, your format preference is motivated by a number of interesting factors. Here’s what research and scientific theory have to say about why readers prefer different book formats.

A 2011 survey revealed different buy vs. borrow rates for book formats. Between 54% and 61% of print and ebook readers preferred to own copies of books, compared to just a third of audiobook listeners. Of the 61 percent of audiobook borrowers, those with library cards were more likely to borrow instead of buy copies.

Many people assume that young readers prefer ebooks, which can be accessed on digital devices, but research contradicts this assumption. A survey of 16-24-year-old readers indicated more than 60% preferred print books, most who said they liked holding a book in their hands.

Ebooks don’t offer a sensory reading experience, but they deliver a wealth of practical advantages that appeal to readers:

  • Cheaper than print books
  • Instant access/immediate gratification
  • Convenience
  • Storage space is not an issue
  • Less conspicuous
  • Portability

People process information differently Educators recognize seven learning styles. A person’s (combined) learning style can influence which book format they prefer.

  • Visual (spatial): Preference for pictures, images, and spatial understanding.
  • Aural (auditory-musical): Preference for sound and music.
  • Verbal (linguistic): Preference for words, both in speech and writing.
  • Physical (kinesthetic): Preference for body, hands and sense of touch.
  • Logical (mathematical): Preference for logic, reasoning and systems.
  • Social (interpersonal): Preference for groups or with other people.
  • Solitary (intrapersonal): Preference for being alone and self-study.

Some research has been conducted on how personality traits impact entertainment preferences. The theory is that different types of content fulfill different psychological needs, such as mood, attitude and disposition.

Lifestyle undoubtedly influences what format readers prefer. One Reddit discussion thread demonstrates this in an example provided by WoodensBeard who wrote about having time in his late teens to “read books ad nauseum,” but later in life did not have space for storing books nor time to read them so he’d turned to audiobooks, listening while cooking, cleaning, traveling and using his computer.

So why do different people prefer different formats? Here are my unscientific, unproven theories:

People who prefer print books like the tactile sensation of reading, such as the weight of the book, the sound and sensation of flipping pages and the scent of books. They also enjoy the visual component of full bookshelves, catching sight of favorite titles/authors and the imagery of covers.

People who prefer ebooks are motivated by practical concerns such as cost and convenience.

People who prefer audiobooks like the convenience and accessibility, as well as the auditory “storytelling” component.

Authors know readers have difference preferences, which is why so many deliver their books in all three formats. When one of our primary goals is to connect with new readers, offering print, ebook and audiobooks amplifies our opportunities to do so.

If you would like to receive the audio version of A Cantata of Love in exchange for an honest review on Audible, please email me at

5 Ways to celebrate Romance Awareness Month, including 5 romantic reads

Did you know August is Romance Awareness Month? I love the idea of “raising awareness” about romance. I don’t think people intentionally become lackadaisical about romance, but life gets busy. Between work, family and other obligations, it’s easy for romance to get bumped to the bottom of the list.

Everyone needs a little romance in their lives. Your marital status doesn’t matter. Whether you are single, married or it’s complicated, you can celebrate Romance Awareness Month.

If you aren’t sure what I mean by romance, let’s look at the definition for a moment:



Here are five ways to infuse excitement, glamour, mystery, passion, love and romance in your life. Feel free to share your own ideas by comment on this blog post or visiting on Facebook.

Flirt a little.



Buy something silky, slinky, sensuous or sexy. It could be a new pair of shoes, lounging pajamas or lingerie.



Say I Love You to everyone you love, including your furry friends.

i love you


Indulge in a decadent treat, something that will make your palate say “OMG”. Luscious chocolates, a gooey dessert, a bottle of wine or a meal at your favorite “special occasion” restaurant.



Curl up with a romance novel.

Ella Quinn

Click image to visit Ella’s website.

Callie Hutton

Click image to visit Callie Hutton’s website.

Maureen Miller

Click to visit Maureen Miller’s website.


Click to visit Jacki Delecki’s website.


Click to visit Roxanne St. Claire’s website.




Chill out with a cool read during the dog days of summer

The Dog Days of Summer run from July 3 to August 11 and refer to the sultriest days of summer. Early observers in the Mediterranean region discovered this period coincided with the conjunction of Sirius (the dog star) and the sun.

In honor of the Dog Days of Summer, I’m featuring some of my author friends, their canine companions and a favorite summer read.

Callie Hutton‘s four-legged friend Daisy. The Highlander’s Choice is a Scottish Regency historical.

chGunny, Chris Keniston‘s pooch pal, is also an aspiring author. If you like contemporary romance with military heroes, check out Aloha Texas.

GunnyAva Branson‘s four-legged friend Cosmo is decidedly more feline than canine. Fiery Seas, a contemporary romance, makes a great beach read.

Ava BransonC.B. Williams is bound and determined to fit her Golden Doodle Miki in one of those designer handbags. Champion of Entean is science fiction romance with a splash of fantasy.

MikiSugar keeps Teri Riggs company while working on contemporary stories like her recent release, Sunsets and New Beginnings.

SugarMy two Golden Labs, Gus and Talley, provided inspiration for the canine characters in my contemporary romantic suspense books, such as Men Under Fire, from the Grayce Walters series.

JD dogWho’s keeping you company during these steamy Dog Days of Summer?

Make a date with a cover model

Okay, you can’t really make a date with a cover model, but you can enjoy some delicious male eye candy at the 2016 Passport to Romance. This reader appreciation event, held in conjunction with the Emerald City Writers’ Conference, will be held Saturday, October 15, 2016, from 6-8 p.m. at the Bellevue Westin Hotel. Admission is free.

The cover model line-up includes Scott Nova, Derek Hutchins, Wayne Adams and Jacob Rodney.

PicMonkey Collage


You can also meet and mingle with more than 40 romance authors, including me. I hope to see you there!

A Code of Love named SELF-e Selection


Now you can find A Code of Love in Seattle libraries!

There are times when being a self-published author can be challenging. One of those challenges is gaining access to platforms automatically (or so it seems) available to traditionally published authors.

If you aren’t savvy as to publishing terminology like self-pubbed vs. trad-pubbed, let me help. Traditionally published authors are those whose books are delivered to the marketplace via a publisher, such as Harlequin or HarperCollins. Self-published authors, also called indie (independently) published authors, coordinate all aspects of book production (cover design, writing, editing, distribution) themselves.

Access to platforms like libraries and retailers is much easier for traditionally published authors as publishers have already negotiated these partnerships. With the increase in self-published books, platform gatekeepers (like librarians and store managers) are starting to recognize the need for some kind of entry point for indie authors.

SELF-e is one such program. Founded by BiblioBoard and administered by Library Journal, SELF-e provides an opportunity for self-published authors to introduce local libraries to their books. Books must be submitted for consideration and are evaluated for quality and professionalism.

A Code of Love, book 1 in the Code Breakers series, was recently named a SELF-e Selection. I’m proud of this endorsement, but more importantly, I’m grateful for the chance to share my book with local Seattle librarians and readers.

Connecting with libraries is an important means of discoverability for all authors, but especially self-pubbed authors. According to Library Journal, “Over 50 percent of all library users go on to purchase ebooks by an author they were introduced to in the library.”

The next time you visit your library, ask about the SELF-e program. You might discover a new favorite!

$3,000 Big Romance Author Spring Giveaway

Big Romance Author $3,000 Spring Giveaway April 1-30th, 2016.

Attention all awesome people! This month is a cool time to be a reader. 101 of your favorite authors contributed to one massive giveaway! Giveaway rules are listed on the rafflecopter. International peeps can play! Got any questions? Feel free to ask. There are 100 ways to enter for a maximum possible 500+ entries per person. The giveaway lasts the entire month of April, so come back every day and hammer away at a few more entries until you’re all done!

ONE PERSON WILL WIN $3,000 USD! That’s the biggest giveaway I’ve seen recently! Tell your buds! Don’t miss out. You’ll kick yourself if you miss this one.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
TERMS & CONDITIONS: Must be 18 years of age or older to win. No cash value. Void where prohibited. Open to international & US residents. *The winner will receive an e-gift card via PayPal in the amount of $3000USD for this prize.* Winner must have: 1. an email account, 2. may be requested to fill out additional paperwork for tax purposes, and 3. must have a PayPal account to accept the prize. We are not responsible for fees taken by PayPal for this transaction, nor are we in any way responsible for VAT and/ or taxes. We are not responsible for items damaged or lost in the e-mail. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. We hereby release Facebook of any liability.  By entering you agree that we are in no way to be held liable for anything pertaining to this giveaway. Winner(s) will be contacted by email 72 hours after the giveaway ends. You must claim your prize within 48 hours or it is forfeited and another winner will be selected. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send us an email!

Participating Romance Authors:

101 different authors came together to make this giveaway possible. If you’ve been looking for a new book boyfriend, or you’re literally famished between your fave author’s releases, check out some of my peeps! They write in various hot romance genres including contemporary romance, new adult romance, erotic romance, steamy romance, urban fantasy romance, dystopian romance, historical romance, futuristic/ sci-fi/ fantasy romance, Teen/ YA romance, inspirational romance and time travel romance!

Big Romance Author $3,000 Spring Giveaway April 1-30th, 2016

H.M. Ward
Kim Golden
Drew Jordan
Christi Caldwell
Scarlett Metal
Chris Almeida & Cecilia Aubrey
Heidi McLaughlin
Jenny Gardiner
Stacey Joy Netzel
Merry Farmer
Mallory Crowe
Julia Kent
Jean Oram
Vella Day
Meli Raine
Sherri Hayes
Jayne Rylon
Sarah M. Cradit
Erica Ridley
Christine Zolendz
Beverly Preston
Marquita Valentine
Melissa Storm
Dana Marton
Amy Bartol
Michelle Fox
Magan Vernon
Ainsley Booth
Venessa Kimball
Sidney Bristol
K.M. Scott
J.M. Miller
Zara Keane
Eliza Knight
L.P. Dover
Sadie Haller
Patricia McLinn
Suzanne Rock
Katherine Lowry Logan
Erin Richards
Tori Scott
Danielle Stewart
P.T. Michelle
Suzan Tisdale
T.M. Franklin
Evelyn Adams
S.E. Hall
Lauren Hawkeye
Josie Bordeaux
Melanie Marchande
Raci Ames
Catherine Gayle
Sam Cheever
J.M Cole
Brooke Blaine
Ella Frank
Allison Bell
Cristin Harber
Jacki Delecki
Tawdra Kandle
Sydney Logan
Laura Kaye
Laura Kamoie
Evie Harper
P.J. Fiala
Taylor Law
Pamela DuMond
D.L. Roan
Jenni Moen
LG Castillo
Rachel Schurig
Nina Levine
Rachel Hanna
Cheryl Bradshaw
Jessica Scott
Beth Yarnall
J.T. Geissinger
Stacey Mosteller
Kylie Gilmore
Maryann Jordan
Cari Quinn
Lauren Royal
Renea Mason
Christine Bell
Felicia Tatum
Fabio Bueno
RaShelle Workman
Nana Malone
Annika Martin
Sophia Knightly
Nikki Lynn Barrett
Marian Tee
Sarah Castille
Allyn Lesley
Ambrielle Kirk
Jami Davenport
Bonnie R. Paulson
Laura Stapleton
Kennedy Layne

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