About Lola Karns

where the heart finds a home

Beat the Cold with Hot For Teacher

Look what came out today – Crimson Romance’s ten ebook bundle called Hot for Teacher and yours truly is included in this bundle of books that should take the chill off some cold winter nights.

If you haven’t picked up my Winter Fairy, this is a great time to do so. And if you have, there are 9 other romances featuring a teacher that you can get on the cheap, as in under a dollar for great reads from Peggy Bird, Lynn Crandall, Liv Rancourt, Nancy C. Weeks and more.

Pick up Hot for Teacher at AmazonBarnes&Noble, and more

Please 2017, or Hope Springs Eternal

After a year which wore out its welcome sometime in August, I’m really hoping for a better 2017.

Sure, a few great things happened in 2016 – I took two terrific vacations with the family (Jamaica and San Diego, CA), my near two-year battle with dizziness came to an end, and the Cubs won a World Series but on the whole, hope seemed hard to find.

I grieved for the loss of human beings who inspired me – David Bowie and his art of reinvention, Umberto Eco whose pinball scene in Foucault’s Pendulum is sexy perfection, and for Carrie Fisher, who lived life with such fearlessness, wit, intelligence and honesty that for this child of the 70s at least, she was a role model of both what not to do (the drugs) and how to live. When Mohammad Ali died, I grieved once more for my grandfather who died from Parkinson’s disease 35 years ago. And I grieved for my grandmother-in-law who passed away in the spring.

I grieved for the loss of civility, and for my hometown, the City of Chicago, which seems incapable of stemming the tide of violence.

In 2016, I suffered many professional shortcomings. I expected to end the year with an agent, or at least a contract. I put forth a solid effort, but simply put, I failed. It’s not a good feeling, even though I understand that larger industry consolidations make it harder for a well-reviewed mid-lister like myself to break through that magical ceiling that divides the best-sellers from the rest of us. It’s easy to get down and think about quitting, but then something magic happens.

January first, 2017 is a new day. My calendar is not entirely blank, but it may as well be a clean slate. Today, I will do some serious exfoliation and scrub off 2016. As of this writing, no-one has died in 2017, so there is no need to grieve. No-one has teased my children or been unkind to them. No-one has told me no. Look out 2017, here I come.

 

 

Spotlight on Dance with Destiny by Becky Lower

Today my spotlight shines on the wonderful Becky Lower and her latest Historical Romance, Dance with Destiny. I’m looking forward to reading this one in part because I’ve been learning about Ojibwa culture alongside my children as they learn Minnesota history in school, and in part because Becky Lower is an amazing writer.

dance-with-destiny-becky-lower3-webWilliam Myers feels it’s his duty to answer the call to fight for the Union Army—but his wife, Susannah, doesn’t agree. How does he expect her to survive with four small children in the cold Ohio winter during the three-month enlistment period? Angry and abandoned, Susannah learns soon after William leaves that she is also pregnant again.

Raoul Lafontaine is a half-Ojibwa, half-French-Canadian drifter who is more Indian than white. Also known as Lone Wolf, he has recently left the Ojibwa village in search of a fair-haired woman both he and his grandfather have seen in visions. She is important to him—but how? He will never allow himself to care for another—not after losing the wife he loved so much.

But Raoul could not have planned for the sizzling emotions that surface when he comes near Susannah, nor the love he feels for her children. When he realizes that Susannah returns his feelings, he knows he must leave—for how can he stay close by knowing she can never be his? William will return to his homestead, and they’ll once again be a family. One in which Raoul has no place. Or does he?

Will Fate relent and grant the love between Susannah and Raoul in this DANCE WITH DESTINY?

You can find Becky Lower’s Dance with Destiny at Amazon 

beckylowerAmazon best-selling author Becky Lower has traveled the country looking for great settings for her novels. She loves to write about two people finding each other and falling in love, amid the backdrop of a great setting, be it on a covered wagon headed west or in present day small town America.  Historical and contemporary romances are her specialty. Becky is a PAN member of RWA and is a member of the Historic and Contemporary RWA chapters. She has a degree in English and Journalism from Bowling Green State University, and lives in an eclectic college town in Ohio with her puppy-mill rescue dog, Mary. She loves to hear from her readers at beckylowerauthor@gmail.com. Visit her website at www.beckylowerauthor.com

Facebook: http://facebook.com/becky.lower

Twitter: http://twitter.com/BeckyLower1

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/authorbeckyl/

Blog: http://beckylowerauthor.blogspot.com

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6159227.Becky_Lower

G+: https://plus.google.com/103332938863838564766

Amazon page: https://www.amazon.com/Becky-Lower/e/B008DTC15C/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1480527074&sr=1-2-ent

First Friday: Five great games!

I’m a huge fan of games, note I did not write board games, or card games or video games. I love them all. In this season of giving, whether to a loved one or to a toy drive, here are five games I highly recommend because not only are they fun, but they can also be adapted to accommodate a range of ages. I’m not part of any affiliate program. The links are there for your convenience.

  1. Labyrinth – The original German title translates as “the crazy maze.” Why? Because with each turn, the game board changes. As you race to collect treasures, you can work with or work against the other players to reshape the routes to the various treasures. It says 8 or up, but we started playing it when my son was 5 and he not only kept up with the adults, he usually beats us. This is a great game for spatial reasoning. Available at Toys R Us and other retailers.
  2. Perpetual Commotion – This is basically the card game I grew up calling “Nertz.” It’s a high-speed game with elements of solitaire that can easily be adjusted for younger players by dealing them fewer cards. You could also play in teams where one person is responsible for watching the feeder pile and one person flips the deck. It’s available at Amazon and other retailers.
  3. Richard Scarry’s Busytown Eye Found It! In this cooperative game, the highlight  is spinning a Goldbug, when sets off a timed search for objects hidden throughout the game board. Cards indicate if you will be looking for kites or hot dogs or something else in the overstuffed and often comical drawings of Richard Scarry. Unlike Hi-Ho-Cherry-O or Candyland, I have no urge to stick a fork in my eye to avoid playing this game. Available at Amazon and other retailers. 
  4. Apples to Apples – This game comes in myriad versions. I’m partial to the kids version, especially when playing with family because it contains cards such as “My mom” and “under the bed.” While the former should always be paired with “beautiful” or “nice,” the latter is best played on the person with the messiest room. Available at Creative Kidstuff and other retailers. 
  5. My last game I recommend this year skews older and is the newest one in my household, but also one became a quick favorite. Evolution: The Beginning. Even though the instruction book almost as overwhelming as those for King of Tokyo and Settlers of Catan (two other games our family loves), the card-based game play is straight-forward and fun. The artwork is beautiful and the structure of the game allows for multiple strategies to victory.  The action is low-key and it takes less than a half an hour making it a great way to wind down before bedtime. I believe it is a Target exclusive, but may be available through resellers.

So there you have it – some awesome ways to spend the time with friends and family throughout the winter. With these games, your only awkward discussions will involve what to play next.

If you have a favorite game, please share it below. Thanks.

Five things I’m thankful for

For my first Friday Five, I’m tackling gratitude, because this month, and this week in particular, I full of thankfulness. Here goes.

  1. I’m thankful birthday season is over and I do not have to deal with party invites and RSVPs until October rolls around in 2017.
  2. I’m thankful it’s boot season.

    These are on my wishlist.

    These are on my wish list.

  3. I’m thankful for Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy and finally getting relief for the vertigo I’ve endured for the last 18 months.
  4. I’m thankful that I’ll have writing news to share in the near future. Newsletter subscribers will be the first to find out what it is.
  5. I’m thankful I got to see the Chicago Cubs win the World Series. I grew up following them and learned the mantra “Wait until next year.” Waiting through a lot of next years taught me lessons in patience and hope that apply to my writing career. I wait for the next book to take off and be the one that gets on the shelves in Target, or at least gets a high-profile review. In the meantime, I sure do appreciate all you loyal fans, er readers, who’ve stuck with me. Can I add a 6th? Because if so,
  6. I’m thankful for you.

Spotlight on Denise Devine

Now that October is over, my life returns to the normal level of chaos and I can once again operate my spotlight. This time it found author bestselling author Denise Devine and her newest release A Merry Little Christmas.

Merry Connor is struggling to feed her two children, pay heat bills and fix her secondhand car. Though she’s barely making it financially, life is good. That is, compared to two years ago when she lost everything—thanks to her lying, deceiving ex-husband. She’s come a long way since then and doesn’t intend to look back. Even so, it’ll be a long time before she trusts anyone with her heart again.

Tony Lewis hasn’t had a merry Christmas since his wife and son perished in a car collision three years ago. The holidays are lonely without his family, but his heart begins to mend when he meets Merry Connor and her two rambunctious kids. He can’t stop thinking about her and yearns to get closer to her. Will she turn him away once she learns of his connection to her ex-husband?

For a limited time, A Merry Little Christmas is on sale for $.99.

Buy Links:

Amazon USA

Amazon UK:

Amazon CA: 

D2D – iTunes:

Denise Devine is a USA TODAY bestselling author of romantic comedy, contemporary romance and she also loves to write inspirational fiction. She wrote her first book, a mystery, at thirteen and has been writing ever since. She writes about true love, happy endings and stories that touch your heart.

First Friday: The #TealPumpkin edition

If you’ve followed me on social media or on this blog, you may have noticed I’m a passionate supporter of the Teal Pumpkin Project to ensure even those with food allergies can have a safe and happy Halloween.

My daughter has severe peanut allergies and as much as we love Halloween around my house, it is a high-risk period because, let’s be honest, how many of us can resist a Reece’s? My daughter, yes, but some kids snack on a few and then dig their hands into a bowl filled with all kinds of treats and spread that peanut-butter around and let’s not talk about school lunch the next day. Instead, I’m offering 5 ways to get your house ready for a safe, fun and happy Halloween.

  1. Don’t let the kids grab the candy in a free-for-all when the bell rings. Have the designated door opener give each trick-or-treater a generous handful instead.
  2. Keep a bowl of peanut-free treats. We give out a lot of Skittles, Starbursts and Laffy-taffy. If a trick-or-treater gets a Snicker’s bar at my house, it is only because my children have returned home and we are redistributing the stuff they can’t eat. Wondering what candy is safe to give out? My Target had a terrific display and handy list of ingredients.
  3. Remember that peanut allergies are not the only allergies. Some kids are sensitive to gluten, eggs, dairy, or others. Accommodating all food allergies can be a challenge which leads to
  4. Offer a non-food alternative. I’ve given out Halloween themed rubber ducks, Play-dough (although it’s not safe for kids with wheat allergies), pencils, bubbles, stickers, spiders and noise makers. You can buy large quantities at Oriental Trading  but since I get less than 100 kids at the door, I head to Dollar Tree. With 12 pencils or a 4 pack of eyeball bubbles for a dollar, I can offer something fun and safe without breaking the bank.
  5. Last – but not least – make sure trick-or-treaters know you are part of the Teal Pumpkin project. Paint a pumpkin teal, hang a sign at the door, post a yard sign, or do the house up in teal. And don’t be surprised if you get a few extra thank yous. The Teal Pumpkin is such a small thing to do, but your compassion makes a huge difference to those of us on the front lines of food allergies.

 

 

Renewing a hobby: Instagram

I am a latecomer to the Instagram party. I thought about setting up an account dozens of times, but the thought, “I have to learn another social media network,” held me back.

This past month, I took the plunge. I want to learn more about it, because my kids will be on there. Also, I want to get back into photography and this seems like a good place to share work. Instagram has motivated me to make better use of my phone as a legitimate camera, capable of creating artistic shots, and not simply quick snaps because I cannot reach my digital SLR before the moment passes. I have a lot to learn, but I love this shot of a grasshopper.

A guest in my reading nook. #insectsofinstagram

A post shared by Lola Karns (@lolakarns) on

I have yet to post the obligatory #authorsofinstagram post of my work space.

In the meantime, there will be cat photos. And nature shots, and food, and whatever else tickles my fancy. Follow me, @lolakarns, on Instagram

Spotlight on Private Wolf by TL Reeve

After getting a replacement light bulb, my spotlight is once again functional. This time it found fellow Decadent Publishing author TL Reeve and Private Wolf, part of the Black Hills Wolves shapeshifter series. After reading this tease, I can’t wait to read it. Curious? Read on!

privatewolfShawn Blu, tracker and private investigator, has come home. As a pack tracker, he’s ready to defend Los Lobos and use his contacts to find pack members and bring them back into the fold. So, when Miss Fern, his aunt, asks him to find Brienne Talbert, he’s happy to help out. What he isn’t expecting is to find his mate.

Brienne left home at sixteen, knowing she’d return to the Black Hills and Los Lobos one day. As it stands, in six months she’ll graduate with her master’s degree and there’s no way anyone will stop her now. However, when the hunky slab of wolf Shawn Blu shows up with a tempting offer—a week with her pack, no strings attached—she’s willing to reconsider her harsh stance about not going home.

When one weekend turns into a mating she hadn’t planned on, will she be able to leave it all behind and return to school, or will the call of her pack be too much to turn her back on?

Not convinced? Here’s an excerpt:

Shawn Blu walked into Los Lobos Café and spotted his aunt at a table near the far wall. In front of her sat a paperback book and a mug, along with a pastry. Behind the counter, Ero took the order from a new female. Her long dark hair was pulled into a messy bun, and her gray eyes glittered with—arousal? If the other wolf noticed, he appeared indifferent to it. Oh well. Bypassing his normal routine, of ordering coffee and Danish, he marched over and sat at the table where his aunt waited. Fern glanced up at him. Her warm, affectionate smile greeted him.

“Good morning, Auntie.” He leaned in and kissed her cheek. “That twinkle in your eye says you’re up to no good.”

Fern laughed and patted his hand. “I have a job for you.”

A job. Why hadn’t she mentioned it last night when he came over for dinner?

Why did they have to meet in the café? “Okay. What is it?”

“Well, technically, it is two jobs….”

“Okay.”

Ero approached with a cup in one hand and a sweet treat in the other. “You didn’t order. I see why now.” He grinned then winked at Fern.

“I didn’t want to interrupt your time with Cynthia,” Shawn teased. “She’s interested in you.”

“Don’t I know it.” Ero frowned. “But there’s…the spark’s not there.” He glanced at his brother, Luc, who sat in his usual spot.

“Say no more, I understand.” He did, too. They were waiting for their perfect mate. Might be a while, but Shawn had a feeling it would happen. “Thanks for the coffee.”

“You’re welcome.”

Taking a sip of the piping-hot brew, he waited for Ero to leave before returning to the conversation with his aunt. The way Fern watched him—assessing him—left him uneasy. “Should I be afraid of what you’re going to ask of me?”

“Never,” she assured him. “In fact, you’ll win tons of brownie points with Miss Claire if you do this for me.”

Private Wolf Buy Links

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2blSSYZ

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2cfceo9

Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/2bv9wqz

Bookstrand: http://bit.ly/2bGeR1F

Google Play: http://bit.ly/2bmzSML

ARE: http://bit.ly/2bFXLfK

iBook: http://apple.co/2bVJX1A

Smashwords: http://bit.ly/2bTfD82

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2cieafU

Author Bio

TL Reeve, is a bestselling, multi-published author with Cobblestone Press, Decadent Publishing, Evernight Publishing, Loose-Id and ARe Books. Living in Alabama, TL misses Los Angeles, and will one-day return to Southern California to ride the waves at Huntington Beach. When not writing something hot and sexy, TL can be found curled up with a good book, or working on homework with a cute little pixie.

You can sign-up for her newsletter at: http://eepurl.com/bv07fn

First Friday 5 Back to School

My kids (finally) go back to school on Tuesday. They are ready and so am I, especially since those days my husband works away from his home office, I’ll be alone and unsupervised. I’ll be free from the pressure of being a role-model. Here are five things I’m looking forward to doing, although not necessarily all on the same day:

  1. Ice cream for lunch.
  2. A two-hour power nap.
  3. Cake for lunch, possibly with ice cream on the side.
  4. Finish the manuscript I started in April.
  5. Binge watch something. Should I rewatch Firefly, Fargo, or Orphan Black? Should I try something new like Stranger Things or Mr. Robot? What do you suggest?
    With any luck, I’ll get through a couple of programs before the next school break.