Goodbye 2013, Hello 2014

So many changes in one year! The last thing I expected to be at the end of 2012 was a publishedImage author with not one, but six books published in 2013, and all of those books soon to be available in paperback as well as e-book. 

In 2014, I have one book scheduled for release in june, a short story in January, and a few others yet in the works. One is still be examined by a publisher, two others have been requested, and hopefully they’ll sell. In my to-do file, I have three to revise and submit. I hope 2014 will be as successful for me as 2013 has been. 

I would like to take a moment to wish you all a very Happy New Year. May 2014 bring joy and prosperity into your lives. May you be healthy, able to enjoy all the good things life has to offer. May you be gracious in your victories, more so in your defeats, and never forget, life is what you make of it.

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A Visit from Santa

Last night I went over to my daughter’s house for the annual family get-together and a visit from a very special guest. My daughter has four children–8,7,6, and 4 and a half. My 7 year old grandnephew and my 6 year old grandniece were there as well as my granddaughters’ 7 year old best friend.

There is nothing like the glow of happiness on the faces of children when Santa enters the house, his sack bulging with gifts for everyone there–not just the little ones, but the the 10, 12, and 18 year old as well as the rest of the adults. Each of us got to sit on Santa’s knee and get our gifts. My husband got a can of cashews, and I got a reindeer-shaped photoframe ornament. I think I’ll put the image of my first published book in it.

Each year, my daughter opens her home to all of us and arranges for the jolly old elf to make a call. We were 22 last night. We brought appetizers and wine, but she looks after everything else. It’s her contribution to the holiday. This year, all the kids were the perfect age. No one was afraid or cried, and even better, those under 10 still believe. We sang, had a few drinks, and the kids all loved their gifts–lego, knights in armor, and  zombie dolls to name a few. 

There is nothing as magical as Christmas through the eyes of a child. Merry Christmas. 

Do You Believe in Angels? I Do.

ImageA few years ago, I had an experience that changed me, and the way I look at life. I ended up in the hospital with a staff aureus infection in the chest wall just above my right breast. None of the antibiotics were working, and I kept getting worse. Finally, I was transferred by ambulance to Ottawa on December 22, and since I was  in critical condition, the poison having moved through my blood stream, emergency surgery was performed  to remove a baseball-sized abscess. 

I’ve been sick before, and I’ve been in pain,  but never like that. I was the only patient in the room, but I swear I never felt alone. At times, the pain seemed almost unbearable, but I felt someone there to support me. I was pretty out of it with the drugs and all, but I know how I felt, and that was loved. 

That Christmas Eve, my daughter came to the hospital and sat beside my bed. She read The Night Before Christmas to me from the book I’d read to her all those years ago. After she left and the nurses did what they could to make me comfortable, I had that sense of love again, the feeling that someone was there to watch over me, and make sure I made it through the night. By dinner time on Christmas Day, I’d turned the corner and everyone knew I was going to recover. 

I spent four months on IV antibiotics, but eventually, I was pronounced infection free. Each Christmas Eve since that night,  I’ve gone back to celebrating as I always did, with attending church and watching A Christmas Carol, but I will never forget the Christmas Eve when the angels watched over me. 

Comment on my blog,leave your email address, and you could win an ebook Holiday Magic gift set, Book One , Second Chance, and Book Two, The Perfect Choice. 

May the angels be with you in your hour of need not only at Christmas, but all year through. 

Don’t forget to check out other blogs too. Click the link below to access the list of bloggers. 

http://www.linkytools.com/wordpress_list.aspx?id=181905&type=basic

 

 

 

Holiday Magic and Christmas

Christmas is all about love. The first two books in my Holiday Magic Series were written with the holidays in mind. Everything is possible at Christmas when love and goodwill abounds.

Christmas is my favorite time of year. I’m a Christmas music junkie. I could listen to those songs twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week for the entire month and never get tired of them. I’m particularly into Neil Diamond’s Christmas albums. He does a great job on the traditional carols, but no one can sing Blue Christmas like Elvis.

There are some traditions in our family that I treasure above all others. My Christmas tree isn’t a themed one, unless you consider the theme the story of my life. I have ornaments that belonged to my grandparents–crystal icicles that hung on their tree when I was a child. I also have ornaments that were gifts from grateful students over the years–much better than scented soap and bath salts, although at one point I had an impressive collection of coffee mugs. I have ornaments I’ve made and ornaments made by my children. I also have ornaments from the places where we’ve holidayed over the years, and of course, there are ornaments to commemorate the birth of each of my grandchildren. 

In addition, I have well-over 100 pewter ornaments in there too–some from the city of Kingston, others to mark the passing of the years. I’ll get another one this year for 2013, the year that marked my debut as an author. 

Attending church on Christmas Eve is a big part of my celebration as is coming home afterwards and drinking egg nog and watching A Christmas Carol. Now that my grandchildren are older, four of them take part in our church’s annual Christmas Eve pageant. This year, they and their mother were the ones to do the first Advent reading and light the Candle of Hope. 

Here’s hoping your Christmas is filled with love and magic. 

 

 

Look Who Dropped By Today: Bethany-Kris

Thanks Bethany-Kris for joining us today. What’s a typical writing day like for you? 

A Day in My Writing Life…

Very rarely do I ever get a full day of writing in. I am, after all, the mother of an almost four year old and an almost three year old. Both boys. Both hyperactive. Both seemingly part monkey and part human with way too much of me in their mischievous blue eyes.

So, my days plotted out from point to point as a writer never really work out well. I have to work it around these crazy children of mine and write when they say it is okay for me to write…or give me time, you know what I mean. Add in the fact that I work a full time job from eleven at night until seven in the morning, and I get to a point where I wonder how on earth I can crank out a story at all.

There are a few things I could not live without to make my writing happen. My laptop—it goes with me everywhere in the day around the house. I’ll jot down a sentence through breakfast, force out a couple of paragraphs while the kids are bathing, and hide on the couch while they’re zooming around the living room as I try to get all the dialogue out of my head while I still can. Secondly, my spouse. He’s a very understanding man when it comes to this artistic, crazy person I’ve somehow become in my efforts to be an author.

These two things make it all possible for me. I write between the breaks I get when my kiddos lay down for bed, hiding outside on my deck with coffee and cigarette—two vices I can’t live without—and just vomit words. I used to need quiet (before I had kids and just plain old loudness), but now I almost swear I need the noise to get anything done. Otherwise, my head is too quiet and I somehow can’t think.

I get a few short amount of time after my children lay down for the evening to when I have to leave for work that I am able to write, and I use that time to the best of my ability. Clothes will go unfolded. The dishwasher will not be unloaded. These characters have a story to tell, and I’m just the instrument they’re using to get it out. 

And while I am at work, my mind isn’t at rest. My tote is full of papers that are covered back to front ni little jots of notes that I’ve stopped to scribble down throughout the night because hell, I might forget it come morning, or I’ll just be too busy to write it.

I’m always writing something…always, I just need to find the time. It’s crazy and hectic. I write what wants to be written when it says it has to be written. There’s no rhyme or reason to me, or how it all works, but it usually does.

Thanks to Susanne for letting me stop by to ramble out my thoughts!

About A Mile HighImage

Blurb: Olivia wants a vacation, that’s all, but when the airline screws up her plans for a week getaway to the beautiful Barbados, instead putting her on a new path that intertwines with the handsome, funny, and charming Sal, she can’t say no to his offer of joining the mile high club. Their meeting is explosive, attraction intense, and when the flight ends, Olivia is unwilling to part ways but unable to voice her wants. Still, fate is at work with its own plan, and where it finishes just might not be where it ends up.

There’s nothing quite like sex at a mile high. 

Excerpt from A Mile High

“Doubt it,” Sal put in quietly. “Pilot’s all ready to go, we’re away from the gates, and there’s another plane bussing in to take off behind us right now, probably. We’re taking off. Her friend will likely give her some Gravol, set her up in their little section there, and we’ll be on our way.”

A quick, vague apology sounded over the plane’s announcement system, informing the passengers it would be another minute before takeoff. Given I had a bit of time to do whatever, I decided to use the bathroom. Excusing myself from our comfortable little cubby, I made my way through to the back of the plane, ignoring the questioning gazes of other passengers in coach who were likely wondering what had happened up in first class.

 In the panic-worthy, small as hell bathroom, I washed my face and hands, checking my face out in the mirror as a ding sounded above me. I looked up to see the seatbelt sign had appeared just as the pilot’s voice sounded over the speakers, asking everyone to buckle up and ready for takeoff.

Making my way back to my seat as quickly as possible, I had just moved in to sit down—Sal drawing in his stretched out legs to let me through—as the plane jerked forward. I yelped under my breath, trying to catch myself but between the black, peep-toe pumps with a four-inch heel on my feet, and the sudden movement, I ended up on something warm…and hard. Something that breathed, chuckled, and touched me.

Sal.

My brown hair created a curtain over my face. Huffing a breath and blowing strands out of my line of vision, Sal laughed in my ear, rocking both our bodies. I felt his hands skim above my knees where the flimsy material of the skirt I wore had risen up. Gooseflesh pebbled at the motion and I tried hard not to shiver when fingers grasped tightly to my legs.

“You okay?” he murmured. “Because I think you’re just fine.”

I nodded, trying really hard not to be embarrassed. I didn’t want to show how turned on I was by his palms to my flesh and the suggestive tone to his words. “Yeah, just surprised. I’m so—”

“Don’t be,” he interrupted, voice turning huskier than I expected. “Unless you plan on moving, that is.”

Teeth cut into my bottom lip as I fought the urge to exhale harshly. “I have to. We’re just about to take off, right?”

The dismissive sound he made under his breath didn’t help the lust raging through my senses. Those warm hands of his skimmed a little higher under my dress, making me groan quietly, grinding my backside shamelessly against his jeans when he whispered, “You ever join the mile-high club?” 

Available for purchase at the following:

Evernight Publishing

Amazon

Bookstrand

All Romance ebooks

Kobo

Barnes & Noble

ImageAuthor info: Bethany-Kris is a twenty-four year old Canadian author, lover of much, and mother of two young boys, two cats, and two dogs who works more than she should, writes when she can, and loves every moment of it. Living in a small town in Eastern Canada with her family and pets, she’s nearly always writing something…when she can find the time. Find her on Twitter, Facebook, and Blogger

Look Who Dropped By Today: Robyn Neeley

Robyn Neeley,author of the popular Crimson Romance book, Destination Wedding has dropped by to tell us all about her latest book, Christmas Dinner

Hi Robyn, thanks for stopping by and bringing along this delicious fudge recipe!Image

 

About Robyn
Robyn Neeley is an East Coaster who loves to explore new places; watches way more reality TV than she cares to admit; can’t live without Dunkin Donuts coffee, and has never met a cookie she didn’t like. If you have a must read romance suggestion or a fabulous cookie recipe, she wants to know. Visit her at http://robynneeley.com/

 Delicious Holiday Fudge!

2/3 cups evaporated milk

2 cups sugar

1 square of baker’s chocolate

1 stick margarine or butter

4 Hershey candy bars

½ cup of nuts

1tsp.vanilla

Stir first three ingredients well and bring to a boil.

Boil for three minutes. Add margarine or butter the last 1 1/2 minutes stirring all the time

Take fudge from heat and stir in Hershey bars (broken up) and nuts. Beat until thick, add vanilla, and pour in an 8 x 8 buttered pan. Add nuts to the top if you’d like. Put in the refrigerator until set, then cut into squares.

Image About Christmas Dinner

News anchor Amanda Turner used to love everything about the holidays—the eggnog sugar cookies, the tacky family Christmas sweaters, and a lawn decorated with so many multi-colored lights that 747s could land safely. That is until her boyfriend dumped her in front of the whole town on Christmas Eve. Humiliated, she fled her small town start a new life. Two years later, she’s finally ready to return to the scene of the emotional crime, until she learns that her ex is engaged. Now, the only thing worse than going home is going home single.

Tate Ryan, her tall, dark, and arrogant co-anchor, offers to pose as her boyfriend. There’s one problem, though: they barely like each other and he recently scooped her story on live TV. But she needs a ride home and a boyfriend fast, so Tate will have to do.

As she watches Tate interact with her family and town residents, fully embracing the spirit of the holiday season, she starts to see his kindhearted side. She can’t help but wonder if she was wrong about him. Perhaps he isn’t the conniving co-worker that she once thought. And her new feelings for him would definitely put her on the naughty list.

Tate has his own agenda for the weekend that includes telling Amanda he’s been in love with her since the first time they met. He’s ready to reveal all during Christmas dinner but fate has other plans.

Purchase on Amazon or Barnes & Noble

Enjoy an Excerpt from Christmas Dinner!

           “I’ll have another, please.” Amanda waved her empty wine glass and glanced up at the mounted television. Their explosive local story had made national news. “I really need to get out of this town,” she muttered.

             “Excuse me?” The bartender picked up her glass. He was wearing a Santa hat.

             “Oh, nothing.” She pointed at his head, changing the subject. “Do they make you wear that?”

             “Nah, I just like to get into the Christmas spirit.” He grabbed a bottle of wine, refilling her glass.

             “Christmas spirit,” she echoed dryly. She remembered that feeling. It was only two years ago that it was her favorite time of year-two heartbreaking years. “Thanks.”

             She took a long gulp and went back to brooding over Brad’s status update. What if she ran into him and his fiancée this weekend? Oh, God. What if she knew her?

             “Hey, Santa, think you could bring me a boyfriend to take home this weekend?” she asked sarcastically. Out of the corner of her eye, she caught a flicker of a man in a suit. She knew its owner immediately.

             “Why, Ace, are you taking resumes?”

             She spun around and shook her head. Tate had taken the empty seat next to her. Her knees briefly touched his. “What the- where did you come from? Are you following me now?” She drank her wine. “I hate you,” she mumbled.

             “I’ll take that as a no.” He pointed to her fresh glass. “I see you’re celebrating. Mind if I join you?”             

             She pushed off her seat. “Sorry, I was just leaving.” Her legs wobbled, and she felt a little tipsy. When had she become such a lightweight? She sat down to regain her equilibrium. “On second thought, I was here first.”

             The bartender came over. “Sir, can I get you anything?”

             “A stocking full of coal would be appropriate,” Amanda interjected sweetly. She glared at Tate and raised her finger directly at a group of women on the other side of the bar who were looking their way. She suspected they were gushing over Tate. Most women did.

             “See that cougar in the tight sequined silver top and black hooker stilettos? I’m sure she’s one of your fans. I’d bet my paycheck she’d love to have the great Tate Ryan make her night.”

             Tate nodded to the woman and pulled Amanda’s arm down. She felt his hand linger.

             “I think I’ll pass.” He signaled the bartender and said, “Hey, buddy, could I get a Manhattan?” Then he turned back to Amanda. “Okay, talk to me, Mandy. Why so glum?”

             “Don’t call me that. My brother calls me Mandy, and I’m angry with him right now, too.” She stood once again and reached for her purse, determined this time to get away from her co-anchor. “I think I’ll get a table-for one. Merry Christmas, Tate,” she said flatly.

             She walked over to the dining area and scanned the room for an empty table. There was one near the window. She plopped down in a chair.

             Tate sauntered over.

             “Oh, no. No, no.” She raised her hand in protest. “You are not sitting here.”

             “Look, you can’t still be angry with me for what happened earlier.”

             “Why can’t I?”
            
            “Ace, you know I didn’t sabotage you.” He pulled out a chair and took a seat.

            Amanda sighed. “I know.”

             “Listen, let’s order some dinner. My treat. I’m starving, and I’ll bet you are, too. We’ll eat, and you can tell me why you’re here drowning your sorrows because this can’t all be my fault. Start from the beginning. I’m a great listener.” He scrolled through his iPhone. “Was it really that bad of a day?” he asked, glancing up.

             “You can’t be serious. You did not just ask me that.”

             Tate shrugged. “It’s one story. There will be others.”

             “Not like this one.”

            “You really believe that?”

            Amanda shrugged. “I don’t know what I think anymore. Let’s just order. Will you promise to leave me alone after we eat?”

             “Deal. Okay, where to begin? All right, why do you hate me? No. Wait.” Tate jerked his hand up in the air in a halt. “Don’t answer that. Let’s start with a softball question. Why do you hate the holidays?” He grabbed the other menu on the table.

             “I don’t hate the holidays.”

             Tate smirked. “Amanda, you pretty much tell anyone who wishes you a Merry Christmas to go to hell.”

             “That’s not true.”

            “Not to mention I had to twist your arm for you to do the kick-off story on this year’s toy drive.”

            “That hardly makes me a scrooge. I agreed to it, didn’t I?”

            He pointed at the window. “Speaking of toys, did you see that huge Santa and sleigh on the flatbed truck in the parking lot? It’s filled with all kinds of fun things. What do you think they’re doing with all those toys?”

            Amanda followed his gaze out the window. In the darkness, she could just make out a life-size Santa and sleigh. God, she hated sleighs.

             She could also see Tate’s reflection in the glass. The man certainly knew how to wear a suit. Why did he have to be so incredibly good looking? His eyes met hers, causing her cheeks to warm. She glanced away and reached for the breadbasket. “Does it really matter?”

             “I’m just trying to lighten the mood.” He flipped his menu to the other side.

             She sighed. He was right. It was common knowledge around the station that she wasn’t a big fan of the holidays.

             “You’re right. I do get somewhat uptight this time of year,” she admitted. “I was planning on going home tomorrow, but now I don’t know-“

             Tate looked up and interrupted. “You’re not going home for Christmas? Why?”

             “I don’t know what to do. My mother will kill me if I don’t. My older sister’s about to have a baby.”

             “Everything okay?”

             “With her, yes. It’s just I received some unsettling news about my ghost from Christmas past.”

            “Huh?”

            “Never mind.” She slid back in her chair and took a drink. “It’s just hard to be single during the holidays, I guess.”

            Tate studied her. “I wouldn’t have pegged you as the type of woman who gets down in the dumps for being single this time of year.”

             “I’m not.” She paused. “Well, maybe I am a little. You think you’re headed down this precise path to achieving all of your carefully planned out goals-good grades, great college, solid career, the guy, perfect marriage, great sex-“

             “Why, Ace, I could help you with that last goal.”

             Amanda rolled her eyes. Of course he could. She continued, “Adorable kids and a nice house.” She sat up in her chair. “Don’t get me wrong. I’m happy in Wilmington. I’ve got a wonderful career, good friends, and my beautiful beachside condo bought and paid for. It’s just . . . I don’t know. You think everything is on track and then a-“

             “Teleprompter jams,” he finished.

             Her eyes started to water. “Something like that.” She immediately looked out the window to hide the evidence. Tate could not see her cry.

             “So how long has it been since you’ve been home?”

             “Two years.” Amanda grabbed a piece of bread and broke it apart.

             “That’s nothing. What’s kept you away?”

            “Long story.” Amanda grimaced and shoved the bread in her mouth.

            “Might help to talk about it.”

             She swallowed. “If you must know, my boyfriend of five years dumped me two years ago on Christmas Eve in front of all my family and friends.”

             “Ouch.”

             “Tell me about it.” She picked up her glass and swung it up in the air. “Then I get a text tonight telling me to check my Facebook, and guess what?” she asked, her voice rising. She didn’t wait for Tate to respond. “The bastard’s getting married!” She slammed her glass down. “Freakin’ engaged.”

            “Is it really the end of the world?” Tate motioned for the waiter to bring Amanda a glass of water.

             “Clearly you’ve never been in a relationship.”

             “You just said you were happy here.”

             “I am.”

             “Are you still in love with him?”

             “No.” She shook her head. “He might have broken up with me, but I realized we really weren’t meant to be. It’s just . . .”

            “Just what?”

             Amanda stared at Tate. Why was he so interested in her love life? “I guess I don’t understand why Brad gets to have his happy ending before me. Two years ago he didn’t want it.” Her eyes watered. This time she couldn’t hide the evidence as one tear slid down her cheek. “At least not with me.”

             Tate grabbed a napkin from the table dispenser and handed it to Amanda. “Let’s turn this around.”

             “How?” She sniffed, dabbing her eyes.

             “Okay, here’s how I see it. Your sister is radiantly pregnant and about to pop out your mother’s first grandchild. Is your brother in a relationship?”

             “Yes, with my best friend from high school.”

            “I see.  It’s all making sense. There you will be at Christmas dinner, sandwiched between both couples. You have a great career and some would say a pretty good life here down south, but the humiliation of what happened with Brad will be the unspoken elephant in the room all weekend. Am I painting an accurate picture?”

             With each stroke of his verbal brush, he certainly was. “I think you should order your dinner to go,” she said icily. It had obviously been a bad idea to share her love life with Tate.

             “I think I can help-no, I know I can help you.”

             “Help me? How?”

             “If you brought a new man home, it would show everyone that you’ve moved on.”

             “Maybe, but it’s not like I can rent one.” She thought for a second-could she?

             “No need.” Tate reached for his drink and took a sip. “You can take me-free of charge.”

            Amanda studied Tate. Was she hearing things?

            “Take me home with you and introduce me as your boyfriend. I’ll fill that seat at Christmas dinner this year.”

      “I was kidding with the bartender.” Amanda scoffed. The idea of bringing home a handsome boyfriend was intriguing. It would prove to everyone she was over Brad and past the humiliating breakup. But this was Tate. Handsome, yes. Her boyfriend? She didn’t think so. He rattled her on most days. They’d never pull it off.

Look Who Dropped By Today! Christy Newton

Check out Christy Newton’s latest book, Trust Again. 

Image

Once broken, can the heart really trust again?

Dreams of escaping her small town brought Ellie Oliver to New York only to find that life there wasn’t all she’d hoped. Seven years later, she is returning to Pleasant Valley, Indiana with new hopes and secrets. She wants nothing more than to fade into the slow pace of small town life and forget about the demons of her past.

 Jacob Jones is at loose ends. At twenty-six a man shouldn’t be starting his life over from scratch. Finding himself out of work, Jacob looks for a new home in PleasantValley. He is ready for the single life just enjoying the company of close friends. All that changes when he takes a job remodeling the town’s toy shop and comes head to head with its new owner.

 

Ellie and Jacob bring out feelings in each other neither were looking for, but both can’t deny. Can they truly trust again or will their shattered hearts refuse to mend?

Trust Again Excerpt:

      “I want to tell you about my past and why I am so untrusting. I’ve never told anyone this. Not even my dad.” She paused and looked down at her hands resting protectively in his.

     “Please tell me,” he whispered and kissed her cheek next to her ear.

     Ellie nodded and moved her eyes back down to their intertwined hands. “I lived with an abusive man in New York.” She didn’t look up to see Jacob’s reaction. “The first time he put me in the hospital, I convinced myself it was the booze and he convinced me he would never hurt me again.” Tears crept down her cheeks. Jacob’s fingertips gently wiped them away. “The second time he put me in the hospital, I knew he’d do it again. But it was too late. He had me right where he wanted me. Alone and afraid. He said if I ever left him, he’d kill me. Because if he couldn’t have me – no one could. I accepted the abuse as part of my life and learned to cover it up well. Not even my coworkers knew. Sure they thought I was clumsy, coming in with little bruises on me now and then. But what they didn’t see, were the larger ones underneath my clothes.” Jacob’s hands tensed around hers.

     “The hospitalizations were covered up as car accidents and in New York that isn’t so uncommon. If I came into work sore, I just shrugged it off as over-excising from eating too much candy at work. The city isn’t like PleasantValley – people don’t get into your business. If you say you’re fine, they take your word for it. Bryce doesn’t know where I am. I never told him where I was from because he was big city and –” She paused for a tight laugh. “And I was embarrassed of being an inexperienced, small-town girl.”

     Jacob wrapped his arms around her and hugged her as if she were a fragile china doll. “He’ll never hurt you again.”

Look for more about Trust Again at

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/19082863-trust-again

You could win a free copy at:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/1a24cd6/