Tuesday Tales: From a Picture

New TT imageSeason’s Greetings to one and all.

Welcome to this week’s Tuesday Tales.  With less than a week to go until Santa Claus comes, I’m almost ready. My wonderful daughter is hosting this year, so it will be a more relaxing Christmas day for me.

Many thanks to Jean Joachim for hosting this weekly blog throughout the year and to all of the participating authors who make me feel worthy of participating. May each of you find your Christmas miracle this year.

Since this is picture week, with a 300 word maximum, I’m going to bring you another tidbit from His Christmas Family.

Here is the picture. Tuesday Tales picture

And your scene.

Keitha laughed. “The next thing you’ll tell me is that you’ll be decorating the place for Christmas this year.”

He laughed. “I already have. In fact, I’ll be hosting the staff Christmas party on the 21st. It’ll be an all day affair with activities for the kids and a visit from St. Nick. Why don’t you drop over.”

Keitha shook her head. “Maybe I will. I’ve always believed in Christmas miracles. This sounds like one. Merry Christmas, Lee.”

“Merry Christmas, Keitha.”

“Uncle Lee,” Greta shouted running over with Diana and Fiona on her heels. “Look at what we made.”

Each girl held a small, round platter. The outside row was covered in artificial pine, with six shiny round  red, green, or blue  ornaments placed equidistant in the branches. In the center sat a miniature red, green, or blue house decorated with snowflake stencils. A string of miniature  lights completed the scene.

“These are gorgeous, ladies,” he said. “We’ll have to find a place of honor for them.”

“Mine will be going to Mom when she comes home, and Diana’s going to give hers to her mother,” Greta said. “She likes green.”

“That’s a wonderful idea. What will you do with yours, Fiona?”

The little girls pink cheeks reddened. “It’s for you so you’ll ‘member us,” she whispered. “The blue house matches your eyes.” She giggled.

Lee grinned, unexpected emotion clogging his throat. “I can see that. Thank you,” he answered. “I will cherish it forever.” He glanced around and saw Laurie, Zack, and Ben headed his way. “Here comes your mother. I’ll go put these in the car.”

He grinned and waved to Laurie before filling his hands with decorated platters. This was shaping up to be one of the best days ever.

That’s it. Don’t forget to check out all the other posts on  Tuesday Tales

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Time for Another Book Fair Down Under!

Banner Romance Book Fair

Here we are in the west, twelve days away from Christmas, and in Australia, they’re already one day closer! What plans do you have for the holidays? Will you be scrambling around madly trying to get everything done in time, or will you be putting your feet up and relaxing with a good book?

If you are one of the lucky ones with time to spare now, or if you are one of those scrambling like crazy, but will have time to read after the whole kerfuffle is over, check out the list of great romance novels available for your pleasure. http://irisblobel.com/122018bookfair/

There are an incredible number of great books available, many of them 99 cents or less, and some free to read on Kindle Unlimited.

The book I’ve entered into the Book fair is Same Time Next Year. 

The blurb:

A novel within a novel.
For three short weeks, Twyla Lancaster was the fairy tale princess who’d found her prince, but just like that, reality ripped them apart. Now, fifty years later, she needs to know why the only man she ever loved broke his promises. As she writes her memoir and learns more about that summer, she realizes things were not what they seemed.
Hormones raced, promises were made, but Twyla left Michael Morrison high and dry, and within weeks, married someone else. Grieving the loss of his parents and her betrayal, he turned his back on love, focusing on his military career. Now, goaded by his sister, he agrees to attend a wedding and reunion, knowing Twyla will be there. It’s time to find out why she lied to him all those years ago.
The moment the star-crossed lovers see one another, love blooms between them, but when Michael discovers Twyla’s secret, he’s devastated. Is love enough to erase fifty years of pain and betrayal?

Check out all the books. You won’t be disappointed!

Tuesday Tales: More From His Christmas Family and the Word BLADE

New TT imageWelcome to this week’s Tuesday Tales. Have you ever noticed that things that can go wrong usually do at the least opportune moment? A couple of weeks ago, I had one of those household accidents that you never expect. I rolled out of bed and jammed the ring finger on my left hand in an effort to stop my plummet to the floor. Now, in a splint for the next six weeks, everything takes longer to complete, so, I am sad to say, His Christmas Family will not be finished before Christmas. I will complete the story and publish it next year, so watch for it. I the meantime, here is one more clip from the story with the word BLADE

His Christmas FamilyJaw clenched, his fisted hands in his pockets, Lee stood staring out the window at the unexpected winter wonderland. Thank goodness he’d flown home a day early. The snowstorm had started during the night. Since then, thanks to a mixture of snow and ice, the streets and sidewalks of Payton Falls had turned into skating rinks.

If this kept up much longer, he might close down at noon and give everyone plenty of time to get home before dark. Sean would appreciate it as well. Just because he’d stopped driving ten years ago didn’t mean he couldn’t show concern for those who did.

Climate change at its finest. Last week, torrential rains, this week, a freaking snowstorm. Below him, cars continued to swerve left and right in the heavy slush, the windshield wiper blades and snowplows unable to keep up with Mother Nature.

Why was it that, no matter where you lived, come the year’s first snowfall, everyone suddenly forgot how to drive?

He watched as an older model gray minivan turned the corner too quickly and skid, narrowly avoiding the mailbox, before pulling into the employee parking lot. How did that vehicle manage to pass a road worthy test? Given the amount of rust on it, the thing could fall apart at any minute.

A dark-haired woman in a familiar blue coat, lugging a purse the size of a gym bag, got out of the vehicle and slipped and slid her way toward the main door. He shook his head. Laurie had occupied far more of his thoughts last weekend than she should have, especially since he couldn’t stop himself from turning on the phone and looking at her photographs. Try as he might, he just couldn’t place her. One thing was certain, she was terrified of him, and for some reason, that bothered him.

Watching her now as she tried to make her way to the building, he shook his head. Why did women insist on such ridiculous footwear? Heeled boots might look good, but they were ankle breakers on days like this. Hadn’t she learned anything from last week’s incident? He shook his head and turned away from the early winter storm. The last thing he needed was for her to look up and see him spying on her.

That’s it. Don’t forget to check out all the other posts on  Tuesday Tales

Political Correctness and Christmas: Is It Just Me, or Have We All Lost Perspective?

The Art of Debate:

four person holding app banners

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

It’s been a while since I posted an opinion piece and while my opinion may not matter to you, listening to other people’s opinions and accepting that everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion matters, and should matter to everyone.

The problem today, as I see it, is that everyone is entitled to their own opinion as long as it is the opinion someone else agrees is the valid one. In the past, people debated. They discussed their side of the story, and the other listened, and then rebutted the statement. No one worked up the crowd of onlookers to get them to support their side. They argued the topic logically and clearly. They didn’t scream for censorship, demand statues be removed, beloved authors’ books tossed out, and songs played for over fifty years to be banned. They agreed to disagree.

You didn’t like a song? You didn’t play it? You didn’t like a book? You didn’t read it? You disagreed with someone’s actions in the past? You vowed not to repeat the actions in the present or future. You did not vilify the people of the past. You respected that things were different back then. You were grateful that things are better now–well some things are better now, but as far as I’m concerned, we are heading in the wrong direction by imposing views and values on others simply because the unknown masses feel it should be that way.

low section of woman

Photo by Brigitte Tohm on Pexels.com

Case in point. I was amazed by the posts purporting that a Nebraska principal had banned candy canes. https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/school-principal-bans-candy-canes-believing-j-shape-represents-jesus I

didn’t actually believe it. I mean seriously? I’m glad clearer heads have prevailed.

I thought that was as bad as it got until I saw this today: someone has applied the same reasoning they are using to ban “Baby, It’s Cold Outside, to the Christmas story.

maria mery sant

Photo by JUAN CARLOS LEVA on Pexels.com

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2018/dec/7/eric-sprankle-minn-professor-says-virgin-mary-didn/

This is too much. It has to stop. We cannot keep looking at events from times past through the lens of today.

 

I am sick and tired of all the nonsense surrounding Christmas. Yes, it has become the most commercialized holiday on the planet, and most people don’t give two hoots– no offence to owls–about the real reason for the season, so why do we keep doing this year after year?  I’m done. I don’t care whether you say Merry Christmas, Season’s Greetings, Happy Holidays. Just to put things in perspective, there are 14 religious holidays celebrated at this time of year.

https://www.deseretnews.com/article/865642813/These-are-the-14-religious-holidays-believers-celebrate-in-December.html

and don’t forget the cultural feasts as well.

https://www.goabroad.com/articles/happy-holidays-celebrating-december-holidays-around-the-world

Now, on to the great music debate.

Instead of focusing on what’s wrong with “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” I have a few other suggestions. Remember, these are all tongue in cheek.

The Christmas Song:

Reason: Dangerous behavior, offends those who have lost homes and loved ones to fire.

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire? Need I say more?

Santa Claus is Coming to Town:

Reason: Stalker behavior

See you when you’re sleeping, knows when you’re awake.– Need I say more?

Christmas by The Chipmunks

Reason: Encourages children to be greedy and disrespectful, parental abuse

ALVIN! Need I say more/

Santa Baby

Reason: Promotes greed bribing Santa

Hurry down my chimney tonight with those gifts from Tiffany’s

Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer:

Reason: Disrespects the elderly. Animal involved in the collision might have to be destroyed. 

Clearly Grandma was a lush and no one really cares about her, only about the gifts.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Reason: Supports bullying,  singles out those who have birth defects 

Red nose, not being allowed to play in the reindeer games

I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus

Reason: Cheating? Subjecting a kid to soft porn. 

The kid seems to think Mom is being a little too friendly with the man in the red suit.

All I Want For Christmas is My Two Front Teeth

Reason: Offends those with a speech impediment and people with truly poor dental hygiene from malnutrition of drugs.

Kids do have trouble with certain sounds without their teeth, not to mention it’s hard to eat corn on the cob or apples.

Frosty the Snowman

Reason: Gender discrimination

Why not snow-person which would be more inclusive?

White Christmas

Reason: Racist

A white Christmas with snow is supposed to be good, A black Christmas, without snow is supposed to be bad.

So, in a nutshell–not to offend anyone allergic to nuts, like me, let’s take a moment to just stop and breathe, enjoy the season, such as it is and have fun again instead of over analysing everything.

Enjoy, the lights, the songs, and the joy of the festive season. I plan to.

Midweek Tease: From My New WIP!His Christmas Family

Good morning. Welcome to today’s Midweek Tease made possible by the wonderful Angelica Dawson.

As is my habit, when I finish one book, I start another. His Christmas Family, which I hope to release December 15th, is the product of two short stories, Her Christmas Hero,  and The Best Day Ever.  If you read either one, this scene is one that made the transition from the short story to the novel.

Blurb for His Christmas Family

His Christmas FamilyTen years ago, Lee Ostler lost his wife and children to a drunk driver just a few days before Thanksgiving. Suffering from survivor’s guilt, Lee blames himself, existing, not living, and refuses to celebrate the holidays. Running into the girl he admired in high school may be just the thing to crack the ice around his heart. Setting aside his pain and misery, he will do whatever he must to put a smile on her face again.

Life has dealt Laurie Wilson a lot of blows, but this year, the widowed mother of four has hit rock bottom. How will she give her children a magical Christmas when the cupboard’s bare, her wallet’s empty, she can’t work, and may well lose the roof over their heads? She needs a miracle, and if he happens to be the former high school quarterback she was too terrified to even speak to, this might turn out to be a Christmas to remember.

Here is your scene and today’s tease:

Pulling up the collar on her coat, head bent against the sleet, Laurie hurried out of the bank and collided head-on with two men, knocking the folded newspaper out of one man’s hand, landing on her backside on the cold, wet ground, her phone spinning out of her hand, her glasses askew on her face, and the contents of her broken purse spilling out all around them. Ignoring the icky wetness seeping through her coat into her body, she straightened her glasses, smudging the lenses with her wet gloves, reached for her useless bag, and stuffed her belongings inside it along with enough mud and water to make sure everything was ruined.

“Are you hurt, my dear?” the older of the two men asked as the younger one stepped in front of him.

“You, again,” the man growled, sounding more annoyed than concerned, freezing her in place. “That’s the second time you bump into me today. If you’re hellbent on getting my attention, you’ve got it. I’ll take responsibility for the first, but don’t you know how dangerous it is to text and walk, especially in this weather?”

Mortified, what little gumption Laurie had died when she looked up into the familiar eyes that went with the gruff voice berating her. Lee looked down at her, his scowl firmly in place.

Just what I need. Make a fool of myself in front of him, not once but twice on the same day.

Beside him stood Mr. Granger, the bank manager, whose assistant had been reluctant to authorize the mortgage and had only relented when her mother had agreed to cosign for it. What would he think of the mess she was in now? Third payment due, and she had to get money from her credit card to pay it. This didn’t bode well for the future.

Since she was blocking the way in and out of the bank, she’d amassed quite a crowd, further adding to her humiliation. She swallowed her tears. She would not cry—not here, not now.

Reluctantly reaching for the outstretched hand, she allowed Lee to help her up, ignoring the electricity coursing through her at his touch.

“I’m so sorry. You’re right of course,” she babbled, trying to wipe the muddy mess off her coat before it stained and sending the disgusting mixture onto his navy overcoat. “I should’ve been paying attention, I—”

“Stop,” Lee ordered, cutting off her apology. “Just leave it. You’re making things worse.”

Laurie looked up at the splotches of mud she’d sent flying onto his coat. “I’m so sorry.” Before she disgraced herself any further, bottom lip trembling, she turned and hurried away from him and the bank manager, slipping and sliding in her rush. The last thing she needed today was to fall and break something else, but she couldn’t stand there under that accusing gaze a second longer.

She managed to make it back to her vehicle, just as the skies opened once more.

Thanks for reading this week’s tease. Please check out the rest of our teasers.

 

#MidWeekTease December 5, 2018


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Tuesday Tales: Continuing with His Christmas Family with the Word CRAZY

New TT image

Good morning. Welcome to December. The year’s flown by in a blur ans here we are just three weeks away from Christmas. Are you ready? I’m not!  This week, I’ve decided to give you another look at my Christmas sweet romance which I hope to finish by December 15th. Ambitious? Maybe, but I do work best under pressure.

Thanks to Jean Joachim for making this weekly blog hop possible and for inviting me to be part of this awesome and select group of authors. This week’s word is CRAZY, another one i couldn’t fit into my historical romance. I hope you enjoy another peek at Lee and Laurie’s adventures. And, since I do hope to finish this one soon, it has a cover!

Enjoy!

His Christmas FamilySitting in the first class lounge waiting for his plane, Lee pulled the soggy newspaper out of his overcoat pocket, hoping it wasn’t too wet to read. He’d dropped it when he’d collided with the brunette for the second time that day. As soon as he did, a pink cellphone landed on the floor at his feet.

“What in blue blazes?” he muttered, bending to pick it up.

Could it belong to his mysterious, klutzy brunette? Hilda had named her—a Mrs. Something. Talk about two people being thrown together. Maybe it wasn’t hers. He could’ve accidentally picked up someone’s phone inside the bank when he’d set the wet paper down on the counter to sign the slips.

He stared at the older model android cellphone. If it did belong to the brunette, he would have a chance to apologize for his gruffness. She’d been devastated, as if life had kicked her one too many times, her eyes brimming with tears behind her copper-framed glasses, as she’d tried in vain to tidy herself up. In retrospect, he realized what a jerk he’d been.

If she hadn’t run away as if he were the devil incarnate, he would’ve pulled her into his arms and told her not to worry, that everything would be fine—and she probably would’ve screamed assault and called for the police. It was a good thing she’d hightailed it out of there before he did something too crazy for words.

How could a complete stranger affect him this way? But she wasn’t a stranger. He was as sure of that as he was of his own name.

When Marnie had died, he’d packed his heart in ice, determined never to let a woman into his life again. He wasn’t a saint. Sex was an appetite that needed to be fed every now and then, and there were plenty of women willing to satisfy his hunger, but he didn’t get emotionally involved with any of them. With this woman, he’d felt the familiar jolt of awareness go through him when he’d helped her up, but there had also been a sudden need to protect her, and he didn’t even know who she was. But he did know one thing. She was married, and married was off-limits.

Given the cellphone must’ve gotten as wet as his newspaper, it probably wouldn’t work, but he pressed the on button anyway.

That’s it. Don’t forget to check out all the other posts on  Tuesday Tales

 

 

Midweek Tease:A Last Peek at Murder & Mistletoe

MWTease15Welcome to this week’s midweek tease. November is almost over. It seems time has sped by at a remarkable pace this year. Only 4 weeks left before we welcome 2019!  To close off the year and usher in the holiday season, I bring you another tease from Murder & Mistletoe.

Thanks to Angelica Dawson and all of the wonderful talented authors who take part in this blog hop each week.

Murder & Mistletoe is a Christmas romance but one with a unexpected twist.

Enjoy.

M&M teaser

Going home for Christmas can be deadly.
Candy Kayne agrees to go to Black Oaks, the Georgia plantation her ancestor reluctantly left after the Civil War, to meet the family she’s never known and help Steve set a trap for his wife’s killer. Even the wildest tales have a kernel of truth in them and as she learns more about the family’s history, she realizes that coming here may have been the biggest mistake of her life.
Losing Amy almost destroyed Steve Anderson, but when Candy steps into his life, her sweetness chases the dark gloom away. But when he realizes the man who murdered his wife may have set his sights on Candy, he’ll do whatever he has to in order to keep her safe.

Here is your tease:

Steve moved closer to the wheelchair, his gaze fixed on the blackened chest. “Where did you get that? We removed all the things we could find from the shelves and cupboards.” His brow furrowed deeper, the twinges of a headache dancing in his temples. “Was it yours? Did you leave it there as a kid?”

“No.” Luke cradled the box. “Had I known it was there, I would’ve retrieved it years ago, and if I had … The firemen found it a few days after the fire when they were checking for structural integrity. It was between the floor boards in the bedroom above the library next to the vent they’d cut for the fire. They turned it over to the investigators. Special Agent Winston brought it over to me thinking it had nothing to do with the arson. He couldn’t be more wrong. That house still harbors secrets.” He looked up, his gaze freezing Steve in place. “And I’m not the only one who knows it. Someone murdered Amy because of it.”

Steve’s blood pooled in his feet, leaving him cold. He hadn’t told anyone about what Harvey had said, and he doubted the agent would’ve offered that information to his uncle. How did he know she’d been murdered?

Moving over to the bar, he splashed scotch into a glass, drained it, letting its heat burn away the ice surrounding his heart. He poured an inch of the amber liquor into the crystal tumbler and carried it to the chair next to the old man, dropping into it when his legs wouldn’t hold him up any longer.

“Go on,” he growled, fighting to keep his pain and anger hidden. “I don’t know how you know my wife was murdered, but if you know who killed her, why haven’t you told Winston?” If he held the glass any tighter, it would shatter.

“It’s not that simple,” the old man admitted, his eyes downcast. “I don’t know exactly who killed her, but I know why she was killed. The person who did it was looking for this among other things.” Luke rubbed his hand along the top of the box, residual soot staining his fingers. “I’ve learned over the years that even the most farfetched stories have a kernel of truth in them.” He raised his head and held the box out to him. “Leon had to break the lock. Have a look inside.”

Curious, Steve placed his glass on the table and opened the chest, revealing not the shiny rocks and antique toys he’d expected but a black velvet bag and a small book. From the size of it, it was a diary. He opened the bag first. Inside was a double strand of diamonds separated by a row of pearls with a tear-shaped emerald at the clasp. He gasped.

“Where do these come from? They can’t be real.”

“Six months ago, I made a choice I’ve come to regret,” Luke said, his voice raspy with unshed tears. “For better or worse, I have to pursue it to the end, and I need your help to do it. I decided it was time to collate the Kayne family history. I was fifteen when my grandfather, Ezra Kayne, the founder of Kayne Consolidated, died. As a child, I used to sit on the floor at his feet for hours while he told me tales of his youth. He often mentioned his grandfather, Tobias, who raised him, since his own father died at Appomattox. We’ve always known the captain was a cruel taskmaster with a vicious temper. One of the stories Grandpa told me centered around Amelia’s Tears, a diamond and pearl necklace Tobias gave his wife after the war, a visual memorial of the sons the conflict had taken from her.”

“This necklace?” He held it up, the gems sparkling in the light. “Diamonds and pearls in 1865?” Steve raised his eyebrows. “That makes no sense. No one had the kind of money needed for something like this when the country was trying to heal and the South was reeling under taxes and poverty, straining to rebuild and make ends meet.”

 

Murder & Mistletoe is available from all Amazon stores and is free to read on KU. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07K27QSLD

or at Amazon.uk

Lastly, heads up,  Amazon has been working in the background, and it seems many international readers are currently unable to view some KDP books on Amazon.com. The problems vary from the book not being there to messages like “This title is not currently available for purchase”. If that happens, please check the Amazon link associated with your e-book purchasing. This won’t affect US  readers or those of you with an American IP address. Sorry for any inconvenience this may cause. 

Please check out the rest of this week’s teasers. 

MidWeekTease November 28, 2018