The Promise of Spring by Tara Randel

While the parts of the nation are digging themselves from an especially snowy winter, the temperature is rising in Florida. After watching the news and seeing piles of snow in the Boston area, I remember why we moved to the Sunshine State years ago. The sun is shining and the days are warm enough for short sleeves and shorts. Azalea’s are blooming, which means other plants are starting to bloom as well. Before you get envious, let me just say; blooming plants…cue in the allergies.

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I’ve always loved the beginning of spring. I know we celebrate new beginnings around the first of the year, but as spring brightens up the world around me, I can see what the new year has to offer. I’m filled with expectation and ready to take on the new projects. There’s a spring in my step, if that doesn’t sound too cliché. (Blame the writer in me.)

 
But sometimes before we celebrate the spring, we have to get through the downtime of winter.

 

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: Ecclesiastes 1:1

 
Over the last few months, I filled much of my time studying the Word of God. I’m probably like most people. When I’m not consumed with a project I have to make time for one-on-one with the Lord. I took this winter to get my priorities straight and enjoy the wisdom the Word shares with me. Sometimes I’d tackle subjects that are personal, other times I’d do a Bible study. No matter what I did, it always brings me to an new place in my relationship with God.

 
I love the image of the bride waiting for the bridegroom. I view my study time as preparation for the days to come. The beauty of the spring days remind me of the things God has in store for me. Anticipation for the wedding day.
I encourage you to take time out of your day to read the Word. Spend time in the presence of the Almighty. If you have done so, even the weather won’t bother you. It’s all about perspective and keeping your eyes on what is important.

 
After a dry spell, I’m excited to have been offered new writing opportunities. There is nothing better than knowing I can take the talent God has given me and share it with others. I’ve never considered writing a job. No, I consider it a precious gift.

 
….but whose delight is in the law of the LORD, and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers. Psalm 1:2-3

Heartwarming Giveaway For Valentine’s Day

The authors at Harlequin Heartwarming want to thank our wonderful readers for their support, so we’ve put together a Valentine’s Giveaway perfect for those who love to read. My December release, Honeysuckle Bride, is included in the giveaway.

There is a grand prize and three additional prizes packages. Stop by to get registered!

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http://heartwarmingauthors.blogspot.com/2015/01/its-huge-heartwarming-valentines-day.html

New Beginnings by Tara Randel

For the past few months I have been attending bridal shows with a friend who is starting a new business. It’s so much fun to talk with the brides-to-be. Their excitement about the big day is contagious as they gush over their plans. The promise of a new beginning is appealing, no matter how old you are or how many years you’ve been married. Think back to those giddy days of young love and how you couldn’t wait to spend the future with the one you love. How you looked at life with hope for the best times yet to come.

When we start a reading a book, aren’t we filled with the same expectation? We are drawn to a book by a review, word of mouth or perhaps because it is our favorite author. When we open the cover, we’re hoping that the story takes us to a special place. As a romance author, it’s my job to do all the background work and bring you the special story. My characters demand their happily ever after despite the rocky road to get there, but I aim to deliver. This is why I love being an author.

Talking to the future brides is part enjoyment, part research. ( Sorry ladies!) My ongoing series for Harlequin Heartwarming is The Business of Weddings, so I constantly have my attention focused on the emotions of the women I meet, as well as keeping up with wedding trends. As I attended the shows, I kept an eye on the other vendors to see what is popular. At the shows, photographers, florists, bakers and wedding planners, the foundation of a successful wedding, are all represented. But I also have seen candy vendors, print material vendors, for invitations, and even financial institutions who offer help for the big day and beyond. One trend I noticed at all the shows were health specialists. Think about it, you certainly want to be healthy for the big day. Makes sense that you would want brides to get information on exercise and dietary advice.

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During the show, there are fashion shows featuring bridal gowns and bridesmaid dresses. The focus is not only on the gown, but hair and makeup as well. The brides-to-be love this part of the afternoon. As the show comes to an end, the women are full of ideas. They can now begin to plan their day.

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Being at these bridal shows jump started creative ideas for my future books. I always bring a notebook and jot down ideas, impressions and trends. Some might find research tedious, I find it exhilarating. I get more ideas for stories than I have time to write, but I can hope too!

So my good friend knows I’m helping her at the bridal shows, but really, she’s opened a whole world of possibilities for me. Possibilities I plan to share with my readers.

Tara’s newest release, Honeysuckle Bride, received a 4.5 star rating from Romantic Times Book Reviews Magazine.

Read an excerpt: http://www.tararandel.com/harlequin
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Christmas Is In the Air by Tara Randel

I can’t believe another year has come and gone. It’s almost Christmas!

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2014 has been a productive year, with two Harlequin Heartwarming releases, Magnolia Bride and Honeysuckle Bride. Rival Hearts came out in June. I’m now waiting for the word on proposals I sent to my editor.

I hope 2014 has been an awesome year for you. I pray you have a beautiful Christmas, enjoying precious time with family and friends. Catch up on quality time with those you love, curl up with a good book and a cup of hot cocoa, or keep the season busy with shopping and visiting friends.

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Here’s hoping for a healthy, happy and prosperous New Year. 2015, here we come!

Reading In December by Tara Randel

Now that Thanksgiving is over, we move into the crazy, busy time of year. As I was thinking about my to-do list for the month, I realized that this year I have time to do the one thing I usually don’t do in December.

Read.

Yep. That’s right. Read.

I bought a couple Christmas themed books and I plan on reading all of them before year’s end. Anyone else up for that plan? There are so many wonderful books out this time of year and if we get too caught up in all the hustle and bustle, we might miss a treasure.

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(picture taken at Hollywood Studios)

Whether you sit down with a good book, or you read a beautiful Christmas story to your children or grandchildren, please enjoy your holiday season. You never know how a book might inspire you this Christmas!

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Just a reminder, my December release, Honeysuckle Bride, is now available. This is the last day to enter the giveaway at Goodreads.
https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/114663-honeysuckle-bride 

Read an excerpt: http://www.tararandel.com/harlequin

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December Release

I’m excited to announce my newest book release from Harlequin Heartwarming. Honeysuckle Bride is the third book in the Business of Weddings series. It will be available on December 1.

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One part happiness. Two parts love.

Relocating to the coast of Florida after becoming guardian of her best friend’s twin daughters could be the best move LA celebrity chef Jenna Monroe ever made. This is her chance to create a stable, loving home − something she never had. But can she be the mother the girls need?

Wyatt Hamilton thinks she can. The rugged charter boat captain, who came home to Cypress Pointe still grieving the death of his son, has faith in her. But the feelings he awakens in Jenna both exhilarate and frighten her. Because Wyatt no longer believes in forever… Unless she can convince him otherwise.

To receive a copy of my book, go to Goodreads and enter the giveaway.

https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/114663-honeysuckle-bride

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

 

Giving Thanks by Tara Randel

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Thanksgiving is right around the corner. Soon, our homes will be filled with guests, celebrating the season with a big turkey feast with all the trimmings.

As you get ready for the holiday, please take a moment and remember the less fortunate. The holidays can be difficult for folks with financial troubles. If God has blessed you, please consider donating your time, money or donation of food items to your local church, food bank or homeless shelter.

And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. Phil 4:19

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Through the love of Jesus and his blessings in our lives, people’s needs can be met. My church plans on giving out 30 complete Thanksgiving dinners to those in need. Raising the money was easier than we thought because deep down, I believe people are truly generous of heart. God has given us the capacity to love and give to those in need. Let the Thanksgiving season be a blessing to others this year!

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. 1 Chronicles 16:34

Godly Relationships by Tara Randel

Last night I attended a Girls Night Out at our local hospital. It was a wonderful community event that included vendors spotlighting their products, samples from local restaurants (YUM) and information about doctors and services available at the hospital. It was very well attended, especially if you considered the cupcake line. Longest one there!

I decided I didn’t want to go alone and invited a dear friend to come along. As Pam and I walked through the lobby, set up with tables for the vendors, I couldn’t help but notice that most of the women attending either came in a group or at least had a buddy with them. It got me thinking about how women thrive in a social atmosphere. I don’t know about you, but I love taking a friend along when I’m on an outing. I guess it’s the visiting and chatting that we enjoy, sometimes more than the event itself. Even after visiting every table at the hospital event, Pam and I went out for coffee, taking girl time to catch up on our busy lives.

As a society, we do love to gather together. It forms our community. Think about it, you probably love to be around friends, attend church or get together for reader or writer’s groups, just to name a few. We want to be a part of something. Something bigger than ourselves.

After I got home, I started thinking about relationships. My mind quickly focused on my relationship with God. It is so awesome to think that God created us because He wanted a relationship with us. Over the years of my Christian walk, I’ve gone from the early years of thinking of God as a hazy figure who sits on a throne in heaven, to understanding that He is my Father and my friend. I approach Him so very differently than I did in the beginning. There is an intimacy now when I go to God in prayer, when I spend my days talking to Him, when I spend my quiet time listening to his voice.

God created us for relationship. And because of Him, we have life. That is certainly something to praise Him for.

The Bible is filled with stories of people. People who had a relationship with God. People striving to get things right. Didn’t always happen, but God’s grace and the love of Jesus sure go a long way in making our walk here on earth special. Good times of bad, the spirit of the Lord is always with us. We are never alone.

Take a few minutes to think about the special people in your life. When you fellowship with your friends and neighbors, think about how much God loves us. He put those special people in your path. I know I plan on doing just that throughout the day.

Life’s Projects by Tara Randel

Last time I posted, we were beginning a remodel of our house. I’m pleased to say, the work is almost finished. My husband is putting down the floor and then everything will be complete. Or will it? After the floor, we have to install baseboards, then paint. Finally, my favorite part, we get to move the furniture back in.

It seems as though life is a never ending project. Just when we think we’re near the end of one thing, another project pops up. The only constant in life is our relationship with God. He is there, every step of the way in our journey, giving encouragement, strength and most importantly, listening. His shoulders are wide enough to carry our burdens and his love is deep enough to touch us no matter what is happening in life.

Psalm 24 is one of my favorite scripture verses. When I read this, I’m reminded that no matter what life throws at me, I will worship the Lord. With Him, I’m never alone. He is in control. And knowing this, I can move from one project or circumstance to another, through joy or sorrow, and share it with the Almighty God.

Throughout the mess of the remodel and the stress of having the house upturned and my schedule out of place, I found myself thinking about the Lord more than usual. Praising His holy name for who He is. Maybe getting out of my comfort zone was a good thing. Even in change, God is bu my side.

Enjoy reading this Psalm. Take the time to meditate upon it as you go about your day.

Psalm 24
The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it on the seas
and established it on the waters.

Who may ascend the mountain of the LORD?
Who may stand in his holy place?
The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol
or swear by a false god.

They will receive blessing from the LORD and vindication from God their Savior.
Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, God of Jacob.
Lift up your heads, you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.

Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle.
Lift up your heads, you gates; lift them up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in.
Who is he, this King of glory? The LORD Almighty—
he is the King of glory.

Demo Day by Tara Randel

That’s right, demo day. Today begins the remodeling of my kitchen, living and dining room. Which means walls coming down, flooring coming up and general noise and confusion. And during this renovation I must also finish writing projects.

I’ve been emptying out cabinets for three days. Why do we let ourselves accumulate so much stuff! At least I can purge during this process.

While I’m excited, the prospect of not having a kitchen for 4-5 weeks is daunting. Good thing only my husband and I live in the house. Well, the cats too, but I expect they’ll be so wigged out over all the commotion that I won’t see them much.

It’s during times like this, when everything is out of my control, that I learn to trust in the Lord, because He is in control. No matter the circumstances of life, I know God is with me every step of the way. You don’t need a major remodel of your home to know that life can be messy and loud. But in those quiet times spent with just you and God, there can be peace and joy.

So while I clean out my cabinets and move furniture, I’ll sing songs of praise and thank God that he has me in his hand no matter what I go through in life. And if you’ve been through the renovation process and have a few words of wisdom to share. let me know!

My Take on the Writers Life by Tara Randel

Writing, like any profession, is hard work. Like anything worth striving for, writers put their heart and soul, time and energy, into making each project their very best. I can’t tell you how many times people, when they learn I’m an author, tell me that they want to write their special story and get it published. As with every writer, they have all these ideas they want to share. The first thing I tell them is, sit down and write. Even if you have no idea what is involved in putting a book together, the first step is getting words on paper. Later, after time has passed and I see that friend who wants to write I ask, have you started writing? Making notes? Jotting down ideas? Most of the time the answer I receive is, well, I don’t have time… If you don’t make the time, you can’t expect to be an author.

As a professional who loves what I do, I’ve learned that I have to sit down each day for a certain amount of hours if I want to be successful. This is my job. I have deadlines, word counts I need to reach and certain commitments I make to a publisher. This requires a lot of discipline. I have a day planner beside my computer so I can keep up with the demands of the week or month. Don’t get me wrong, I get great enjoyment from what I do, but I’m not naive enough to think that I can sit down and in a few hours throw something together and expect it to be any good. Writers spend hours carefully choosing words, and on top of that, spend addition hours honing the craft. I still read craft books, still go to writing workshops. To be my best, I put forth the effort to keep my mind coming up with fresh ideas and then applying those ideas to create a book.

Writing has to be a passion. It requires a huge commitment. Waiting is also part of the writers experience. Trust me, this isn’t for the faint of heart, but we do it because we are compelled to write. We have to do this. To those who don’t write, this concept may seem a little nutty, but hey, it is the truth!

No matter what genre we write for, there is an expectation from the reader. Again, this is where I have to make sure I work extra hard at delivering. That means a first, second, third, and probably more, draft of my story. And still I’m not finished. Readers will pick up our books and expect a story that touches their hearts and emotions. Which means I have to nail that. So I plot and I plan, I create characters that I love first and hope the readers will also come to love later.

Did I mention that I LOVE what I do? Every day I am thankful that I get to sit down at my computer and live in a world that I’ve created and hang around with characters I’ve come to think of as friends. Anyone who wants to join the ranks of the author can do so, just be prepared to put in the time. Once you do, you’ll see that a writer’s life isn’t glamorous, but it is very satisfying.

 

July Release by Tara Randel

I’m pleased to announce the release of my newest Harlequin Heartwarming book, Magnolia Bride.

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Married for a day, in love for life

Nealy Grainger knew that returning to Cypress Pointe meant an inevitable encounter with her teenage crush, and momentary husband, Dane Peterson. She could handle it. She wasn’t the wounded girl who’d left Cypress Pointe years ago, heartbroken and furious when Dane had annulled their marriage the day after they’d eloped.

Now one of L.A.’s most in-demand celebrity event planners, Nealy’s only come back for a vacation and to help with her sister’s wedding—not for a reunion with her long-lost love. But the more their paths cross, the more the sparks fly! Maybe their connection isn’t over just yet…

I had such a blast with this book. Watching Nealy and Dane get over the past and find the love they had once shared was a joy to write. I love wholesome books and if you haven’t given Heartwarming a try, check out the books.

If you read Orange Blossom Brides, come back to Cypress Point and catch up with old friends and make new friends. This book is a great summer read.

Visit Goodreads now and enter the giveaway for a copy of Magnolia Bride.

https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/98739-magnolia-bride

Summer Reading by Tara Randel

Summer is here! The kids are out of school. Hectic schedules slow down. We might have a vacation thrown into the mix. All in all, a perfect time to catch up on our reading. If you are anything like me, you probably have a to To Be Read pile collecting dust beside your bed. Even with hopeful expectations to sit down with a good book, life usually gets in the way of well intentioned plans.

Celebrate June’s release by entering to win a summer camping kit (grill, tent, and camp chairs) from Quilts of Love.

http://prmo.me/XNubt7

My favorite memories of summer revolve around reading. As a child, I signed up for the summer reading program at the library. I checked out more books than I could carry, but had a blast. Worlds I had never imagined opened up to me. Characters made an impression that stay with me even today. The life-long reader in me was hooked.

Later, in high school, I had required reading during the summer. As much as I loved reading, I didn’t necessarily enjoy the book list. I must admit, I like to pick out my own reading choices. Still, I learned a thing or two from the books and got good grades on my reports. When my daughters had required reading in school, I encouraged them to keep up with the book list, but still brought them to the library or book store to select their own choices. I’m proud to say I have well read and intelligent daughters!

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As an adult, I still read frequently, but those long days of summer hold special memories. To this day I love camping out at the beach for the day, soaking up the sun, waves and words on the page of the book I’m reading.

I hope you have reading plans this summer. Drop me a line and let me know how you plan on spending your reading time this summer.

Rival Hearts-available now. Magnolia Bride- July 2014

New Release by Tara Randel

I’m excited for my new release, Rival Hearts, on June 17. I so enjoyed writing this book and working with Abingdon Press during the process. Here’s a overview of the book.

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They both want the promotion. But will they find out that it is worth the cost?

Molly Henderson and Ben Weaver have been rival magazine writers for the same publishing group for years. When both come up for the same promotion, they find themselves in an unexpected competition to win the spot. Molly, editor of Quilter’s Heart, and Ben, editor of Outdoor Adventures, must switch roles, each working for the other for one month, then their publisher will decide the winner.

Can girly-girl Molly survive the outdoor adventures that Ben has planned? Can Ben navigate the perils of the social dynamics of quilting events without destroying a valuable quilt in one short month? More importantly, in this he-said, she-said situation, will Molly and Ben give in to their attraction and fall in love, no matter who wins?

I’m delighted to be part of the Quilts of Love series. If you are available, we’ll be having a Quilting Bee-themed Facebook party on June 17, 8pm EST. Stop by and visit!

“>https://www.facebook.com/events/1421634858096062/

Traveling the World-Two Hours Away by Tara Randel

I just finished a deadline for my tenth book. Yay! I never dreamed I would be able to make such a claim. So in honor of completing the book, my husband I decided to travel the world in a day, by driving two hours to EPCOT at Disney World in Orlando.

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There is no way I’d be able to afford visiting all the countries represented at EPCOT, but I can certainly enjoy a beautiful sunny day, strolling from country to country. As we were walking, I decided to snap a few pictures to share. Some of you may have vacationed at a Disney park, so you will recognize the sights. If you haven’t been, I recommend you put a trip to Disney on your wish list.

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We ate delicious sandwiches in France, enjoyed sweet pastries in Norway and went on a tour in England where we learned the history and art of tea blending, given by Twinings of London. I will admit, hubby wasn’t as interested about tea as I was. We enjoyed the gorgeous flower displays especially created for the Flower and Garden Festival.

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All in all a great way to celebrate meeting another deadline!

Do you have any vacations planned? Drop a line and let me know.

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