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Monday, December 31, 2012

Saturday, December 29, 2012


Holiday Traditions
Kat Martin

What makes a Holiday tradition? It’s what families pass down to their children over the decades, even over the centuries. By necessity, oftentimes in the city, modern families give up some of those valued traditions, things like cutting their own Christmas trees, singing Christmas carols through the neighborhood, big family dinners, impossible in many city-size apartments.

Living out in the country in Montana, we’re fortunate to be able to enjoy a lot of old-fashioned traditions. A seven-foot evergreen tree, a fire in the big rock fireplace, snow-covered mountains outside the windows, deer wandering through the fields. We always have a big family supper on Christmas Eve, and everyone opens a few of his gifts. Christmas morning, the grandkids come over to open whatever is left beneath the tree and enjoy a Sunday brunch.

This year, along with the usual celebrations, I’ll be doing some Holiday promotions for my new book, AGAINST THE ODDS, the seventh book in my Against Series. It’s in bookstores December 18, just in time for Christmas shoppers.

In the novel, Christmas was once the heroine, Sabrina Eckhart’s, favorite time of year, a holiday she and her mother always eagerly awaited--until Rina’s Uncle Walter died on his way to the house on Christmas Eve.

It’s the inheritance Sabrina receives from her uncle--an abandoned silver mine in the West Texas desert--that gives her the courage to ask her long-time nemesis, Alex Justice, for help.

G.Q. handsome and indecently rich, Alex is a private investigator and an ex-Navy pilot. Sabrina met him when he was helping with security for her best friend, Sage Dumont. Though Sabrina doesn’t like him, she knows he’s good at his job and she trusts him to keep her safe.

Alex is just the man she needs to fly her into the desert in search of her late uncle’s property. Desperate for money, she’s determined to find the mine and make it productive, even if it means putting up with the cocky jet jockey she finds annoyingly attractive.

I loved this couple. I didn’t intend to write their story until I saw the sparks flying between them in AGAINST THE SUN. I could tell they would be perfect for each other--though it takes murder and intrigue for them to figure it out.

I hope you’ll watch for AGAINST THE ODDS while you’re out doing after Christmas shopping. Warmest holiday wishes, Kat

P.S. What Holiday Traditions do you celebrate in your home?

Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of AGAINST THE ODDS.


There's silver out there: Sabrina Eckhart is sure of it. And when she finds the hidden mine on that big piece of West Texas desert, all of her financial problems are solved. That is, if she can find it. The man with the skills she needs is private investigator Alex Justice─a former navy fighter pilot and a current pain in the neck.

When mysterious "accidents" start to plague their search, it seems Rina's multi-acre inheritance might be more of a curse than a blessing. And yet, there's still something sensual about the heat...his arrogance...her stubbornness...being thrust into each other's arms by danger...But the vultures are circling, and if they don't watch their backs, the relentless desert sun could be the last thing they ever see.



Friday, December 21, 2012



There is just something about the holidays that feels magical. The quiescent of gentle snowfalling outside as you sit indoors enjoying family, food and love. The tranquil moments parents get to enjoy seconds before their offspring burst into the room to unwrap all of Santa's goodies. The hushes words of love expressed without speaking a sound.

The entire holiday season is enchanting.

Holiday things that I love:

Reading, that should be no surprise seeing as how I am an author, but I love getting lost in the marvelous stories authors tend to weave with a holiday theme. Snowbound lovers-to-be, scorned companions who risk it all for true love, the proverbial 'kiss under the mistletoe' and the ambiance created allowing the reader to be whisked away.

Giving, whether it is gifts, laughs, or love. I am so there. I always prefer homemade, well-thought out gifts. Pictures of my wedding day made into a collage in a cheap picture frame, a memory book of special events... I can never get enough of sharing happy times.

Food (and the aromas), oh the food! The tantalizing smells from the kitchen of holiday cookies, the ham and all the trimmings and even the essence of pine from the tree- it all adds to the atmosphere and feel.

To help celebrate the upcoming holiday season, I want to give. I want to give one lucky commentator a PDF copy of my newest historical western release, Cody's Promise. Think controversy, 1898 Colorado and love all wrapped into a special gift from me to you.

Secret Cravings Author Page



Christmas – The unseen blessings

For many of us, the holidays are a time of insanity and trying to create the perfect holiday presentation. In all the hubbub and glitter, I think we often forget that Christmas isn't about the perfect placement of the cutlery, but rather, the placement of family.

Christmas, for me is about family, about celebrating with my son the wonders of the seasons. The driving around for hours, burning gas, drinking icy cold hot chocolate just to see the brilliant displays of lights. We get such a kick out of seeing the houses decorated, spending family time together, and knowing that's what the meaning of the holiday is.

It's not so much about who gets the best gift, or who can spend the most amount of money. Rather, for us it's about making sure that the ones who are closest to us understand and know that they're the best gifts we've ever gotten. Miracles are something that we often overlook because we're expecting something big, some glamorous display of magic with little thought to reality. Once a year we all get a chance to be reminded, the biggest miracle in our lives isn't the mansion we live in, or the diamonds on our fingers, or even the two vehicles in the driveway...but rather it's the children who run up and give us a hug. It's the smell of baking turkey and shortbread. It's knowing no matter what, we have gifts that have been bestowed upon us which can't be replaced by a trip to the store.

There are no warranties, no return policies, no instructions that come with the blessings and miracles we celebrate with the coming of the Christmas holidays. Instead, we have to look inward, to our faith, our hearts and find the true joy of our blessings.

To be entered into the draw for one of two ebooks (The Cowgirl's Christmas and Holiday Kisses - a Compilation of holiday themed shorts from Beachwalk Press's Beachwalk Babes) just leave a comment and the winner will be announced on December 23, 2012. Good luck.

URLs of importance: and




“Io, Saturnalia” by Rita Bay

Saturnalia was "the best of days," according to the Roman poet Catullus. The ancient and rather wild Roman festival honored the Roman god Saturn, one of the early agricultural gods. This festival of light which led up to the winter solstice was originally celebrated on December 17th and later expanded an additional week to December 23rd. Lighted candles, often given as gifts during the celebration, symbolized the search for knowledge and truth and the approach of the new year. The celebration ended with the exchange of gifts among family, friends, and the slaves.

IO SATURNALIA. Saturnalia was a holiday from all forms of work. Schools were closed, and athletic workouts were suspended. The courts were closed, so no justice was administered, and no declaration of war could be made. In Rome, the festival began with a sacrifice at the Temple of Saturn in the Roman Forum and a public banquet which was attended by Saturn’s statue that reclined on one of the couches used for dining. The revelers then took the celebration outside where shouts of "Io Saturnalia" filled the streets. (Io, pronounced "yo," was an expression of elation.)

MASTERS SERVE SLAVES. On December 18th and 19th, Romans continued their celebration in their homes. Those who could afford it sacrificed a suckling pig, a traditional offering for an earth-god, for the feast. The slaves and the masters reversed roles. The masters put aside their togas, donned skimpy outfits with peaked conical caps often traditionally worn by Greeks (and freed slaves), and served the slaves during the banquet.

OK TO BE NAUGHTY. Gambling which was frowned upon at any other time for the citizens and forbidden to the slaves was permitted during Saturnalia. Rampant overeating and drunkenness was the rule. The Stoic philosopher and statesman Seneca (the teacher of Nero who eventually ordered Seneca to commit suicide) wrote "the greatest part of the city is in a bustle. Loose reins are given to public dissipation." In the years of the Roman empire, the Lord of Misrule, the Saturnalicius princeps, presided over the conduct of the holiday. He could give bizarre orders which had to be obeyed. ("Sing naked." or "Toss him in the Tiber. ")

CHRISTIANS STEAL THE DAY. Saturnalia was popular until the 3rd or 4th century AD when it died out with the rise of Christianity. Some elements of the celebration like caroling and the giving of gifts were intentionally carried over into the Christmas celebrations. The Lord of Misrule can also be found in the Italian carnival celebrations.

ABOUT RITA, HER BOOKS, & A GIVEAWAY. Rita Bay is an author of paranormal (Champagne Book Group) and historical (Siren BookStrand) romances. Her blog ( features daily posts on the history and culture of Europe and the United States omitted from the history books AND blurbs and excerpts of her books. Rita’s books are available from Amazon. Leave a comment and your name will be placed in a drawing on December 23rd for an eBook of Rita’s shapeshifter paranormal from Champagne Books, Into the Lyons’ Den.

Happy Holidays, Rita Bay.



Christmas is a Season

Someone said recently that Thanksgiving is a day, but Christmas is a season. They were referring to food, which, let’s face it, abounds this time of year. It got me thinking though about how far the truth of that statement reaches.

Beyond the food, we celebrate Thanksgiving for a day. The very next day we pack up our thanks and move into our plans for Christmas. We turn on the music, pull out the decorations, bake, watch movie after movie, shop and wrap, and so much more.

Of course, those are the actions of people who enjoy Christmas. There are some people who simply don’t care for the holiday. Others fall out of love with the crazy making of the season. And for some, Christmas loses its magic. It’s a saddening thought, but what if the reasons you loved Christmas died as the result of a sudden and tragic accident?

This was the track my mind took while planning and writing HER MIRACLE MAN. For Jennalyn James the answer was to retreat and shut herself off from life and most especially the holidays. Her only concession is to wear her I Believe in Santa robe her sister gave her. That is until she accepted a job to plan A Month of Miracles - as series of outings with kids who’ve spent too much time in the hospital. Kids who are finally well enough to experience some of the things they gave up during their illness, or thought they’d never see.

I smiled, laughed and cried as I wrote, because not even Jennalyn’s grief could withstand the magic of the season that I love so much. It wasn’t easy for her, but it didn’t take long for her to begin allowing some of the magic back into her heart. Kids have a way of doing that to us, after all.

What are some of the traditions you value the most? What holiday magic have you witnessed that will always stay with you?

Chat it up and you’ll be entered into a drawing for a $10 Samhain gift card. Even if you read Kindle or Nook you can still get your books there - they sell every format. :-)

A last wish brings them together. Only love can keep them there.

Samhain Publishing

November 27, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-61921-100-1 eBook

Pre-order the ebook: Samhain Publishing | Amazon - Kindle | Barnes & Noble - Nook

WHAT'S BEING SAID: Gina on Goodreads compared it to Nicholas Sparks saying... "You will laugh, smile, cry and likely all in the same page. ...I couldn't stop reading this book with its heart on its sleeve. Definitely a MUST READ..."


Children’s hospital administrator Ryland Davids was attracted to event planner Jennalyn James the moment he saw her. He thought there would be plenty of time to get to know her—until her younger sister, Sabrina, was admitted with complications from traumatic brain injury.

Sabrina’s bright courage broke through Ryland’s wall of professional distance, but once she drew her last breath, Jennalyn left the hospital and never returned. Though he understands her need for distance, there’s a hole in his heart that won’t heal. And a last wish from Sabrina he’s honor-bound to deliver.

When Jennalyn comes face to face with Ryland at a charity event, the pain comes rushing back, threatening to shatter her everything’s-fine façade. It doesn’t help that the lump in her throat is mostly her heart, leaping in response to his touch.

Despite her reluctance to return to the scene of her grief, she fulfills Sabrina’s final request to plan a series of Christmas events for the kids. Over the course of A Month of Miracles, Ryland and Jennalyn discover there’s the light of hope at the end of grief’s dark tunnel. But it may not be enough to heal her broken heart.



Christmas: the best time of year for romance characters to consider a change of heart...

Christmas is an important time of year for romance novel characters. It’s the one time of year when anything is possible; when stubborn heroes and heroines have the chance to re-evaluate their hard-and-fast views. So naturally, Christmas turns up in my novel, Unforgivable. After all, what better time of year to ask whether it’s possible to forgive the unforgivable?

Why is Christmas such fertile ground for the change of heart? Is it because it’s the one time of year when the world pauses for a moment? When everything just stops, if only for a day? Or is it something to do with older traditions?

It’s thought that the Christmas festival we celebrate today may share some roots with the Roman winter festival of Saturnalia, when the ‘natural order’ was turned on its head - masters dressed as servants and men dressed as women. Anything was possible. Perhaps this is why books and movies are full of Christmas-related changes of heart?

Unforgivable is the story of Rose and Gil, a Regency couple whose marriage was such an unmitigated disaster that they haven’t seen one another for five long years, since mere days after their disastrous wedding night. Gil and Rose behave horribly to one another: Gil cheats on Rose. Rose lies to Gil. They hurt one another so badly that forgiveness seems impossible. After all, how do you reach out to someone when you feel simultaneously ashamed of your own behaviour and outraged at the other person’s?

Rose and Gil have maintained one tiny thread of communication throughout their marriage – Rose’s annual Christmas invitation. So when Rose reaches a point when she finally withholds even this, Gil wants to know the reason why.

“Hello, Rose,” he said at last, lifting his hand to take off his hat. The wind immediately ripped through his dark hair, making it wild and unruly. It was whipping about his face, and his coat was fluttering, and the ends of his neckcloth were flying about too, but Gil, at the centre of all that movement, was as still as a rock. His hazel eyes fixed on her with an odd, wary look she’d not seen on his face before.

“Suddenly, I find I don’t know what to say,” he said with a humorless laugh. “After coming three hundred miles to see you.”

She stared at him, not knowing what to say either. She couldn’t imagine why he was here.

After a moment, he closed the distance that separated them. It took him two long strides. She had to tip her head to look into his face then, and when she did, it was to see that he appeared deeply troubled.

“What’s wrong?” she asked.

“You didn’t invite me for Christmas,” he said at last, and she wondered if she’d misheard him. His words were so unexpected, so at odds with his unhappy expression.

“Every year, you invite me for Christmas,” he added. “Except this one.”.....

What do you think - is Christmas a time when old resentments can be put aside? Do you believe in Christmas miracles?

Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Unforgivable.
About the Author:Joanna Chambers always wanted to write love stories but she studied law, became a practising lawyer, married and had two children before she finally got beyond staring at empty notebooks. She thanks the arrival of her children for the discovery of her muse and/or destruction of her social life.

Joanna is a passionate believer in the transformative power of love. She lives in the UK with her family. When not working, looking after children or writing, she can be found with her nose buried in an ebook.

Find Joanna online at

Twitter - @ChambersJoanna

Facebook -

Gil Truman has eyes only for the beautiful Tilly—until he is forced to marry plain, sickly Rose Davenport to reclaim the lands his father foolishly gambled away. After a disastrous wedding night tainted with his bitterness, he deposits Rose at his remote Northumbrian estate, soothing his guilt with the thought that she need never lay eyes on him again.

Five years after the mortifying wedding night that destroyed all her romantic fantasies, Rose is fed up with hearing second- and third-hand reports of Gil’s philandering ways. She is no longer the shy, homely girl he left behind, but a strong, confident woman who knows how to run an estate. And knows what she wants—her husband, back in their marriage bed.

Gil doesn’t recognize the bold, flirtatious woman he meets at a ball, with or without her mask. Yet he is bewitched and besotted, and their night together is the most passionate he has ever known.

But when he confesses his sins to the beautiful stranger, the truth rips open the old wounds of their blighted history. Threatening any hope of a future together.



What Christmas Means To Me

by Joanne Stewart (w/a JM Stewart)

When I was little, Christmas was, of course, all about Santa and the presents. How many nights I’d try to stay up as late as I could until I just couldn’t stand it anymore, trying to catch a glimpse of Santa. Every noise outside was exciting. Could it be Santa’s reindeer on the roof? Tell me I’m not the only one.

Then one night, somewhere around fourth grade, I caught my parents putting out the presents. Santa was no more. I don’t recall being too disappointed, though, because you know, when it all comes down to it, I still got the goods. ;)

We decided to tell my son a few years ago that Santa wasn’t real. I’ll admit it. It was a lazy thing on our part. He was getting older and my husband and I were getting tired of having to wrap presents at two in the morning. Because we’d put it off until the last minute, of course. lol Surprisingly, my son took the news well. He didn’t have much to say about it, actually, for the exact same reason. He’s still getting the goods. He didn’t care where they came from. lol

My boys are older now. Teenagers. My oldest now has his license and a job. He’ll be eighteen in June. My youngest is twelve, going on thirteen in March. Christmases have morphed in the last couple of years. My husband and I don’t have any family nearby that we can share the holidays with, so for the last ten years, it’s just been us four. We’ve always tried to make Christmas something the boys would remember. We’d decorate the tree together, put out the stockings. My youngest, standing five foot nine and now taller than his mama, still enjoys the decorating. We have an old tree stand, given to us by my mother-in-law. It’s about as old as my husband, well over forty years. We aren’t entirely sure anymore. It still spins and it still plays Christmas songs. When my boys were little, that stand was always playing the songs. Oh how they loved to listen to it.

But really, for me, Christmas is about family. The boys are old enough now that it’s not all about the toys anymore. We’ve moved beyond Xbox’s and Gameboys and Hotwheels. Sometimes I miss those days. Now the holidays are about sitting around together. Enjoying the food and each other. Believe it or not, we actually enjoy spending time together.

I still believe in Santa, though. The presents may come from each other, but I still can’t sleep the night before because I’m too excited. And I still get up Christmas morning a little too early and so excited I can barely stand myself. My oldest is the same way. He gets up with me and we sit in the living room, eyeing the presents, wondering how long we have to wait until we can go pounce on my husband and his brother. This year, we’ll come armed with puppies who love giving kisses!

Wishing all of you, whatever you celebrate, the happiest of holidays. May your days be filled with the love and joy of the season.

I’ll be giving away a PDF copy of one of my books to one commenter. You get your choice of The Playboy’s Baby, featured with this post, or an ARC copy of A Second Chance at Forever. Because it’s Christmas, I think the choice should be yours. :)

They can't forget the past, but is it enough to create a future?

When an accident leaves her guardian to her six-month-old niece, Emma Stanton must return to her small hometown of Hastings, Montana to find the one man she's spent the last eight years trying to forget. She and Dillon had grown up together--he was her sister's best friend. But that hadn't stopped him from sharing a kiss with Emma that had followed her through the years. Now, not only must she break the news of her sister's tragic death to Dillon, but she must risk the only family she has left and tell him he's the baby's father.

Wealthy nightclub owner Dillon James has been used for his name and money one too many times, so when he comes face-to-face with Emma Stanton and her gorgeous lips, he's determined to keep things light. All he wants is to be the father his daughter needs, to make up for not being there for her and her mother. But spending time with Emma, as she shows him the ropes of caring for his daughter, is wearing down his defenses. Perhaps it's time he took a chance on love.

If only he can convince Emma to take a chance on him...
About the Author:
J.M. writes what she likes to call sweet and spicy contemporary romance. She’s a stay-at-home mom who lives in Seattle Washington, with her husband, two boys and their two very spoiled puppies. She’s been devouring romances for as long as she can remember. Writing them has become her passion.




Blogfest: Grace Burrowes


My Characters’ Christmas Wishes

Lady Louisa’s Christmas Knight is a love story written for two people notable for their pragmatism. Lady Louisa Windham, though the daughter of a duke, has accepted that she lacks fashionable blond beauty, has no a gift for small talk or flattery, and is unable to murmur platitudes when a blunt truth lurks close at hand. If this has left her lonely and misunderstood, well, she finds consolation in her scholarly endeavors and poetry, and knows better than to cling to impossible wishes.

Sir Joseph Carrington is similarly a practical fellow. He’s growing wealthy raising swine, has a limp that keeps him off the dance floors, and seeks not a wife, so much as a mother for his two small daughters.

Their initial Christmas wishes are thus modest. Louisa wants to leave the London social whirl to enjoy quiet holidays at the Moreland family seat. Joseph wants to nose around the ballrooms for a bride who won’t mind his gruffness and pig farming so very much, nor expect him to aggravate his old injury mincing his way through a minuet. He’s distracted from his half-hearted bride search by Louisa, by her grace as she waltzes, by the seriousness with which she applies herself to question of presents for Joseph’s daughters, by her ability to inspire Joseph to recite the kind of poetry he usually only shares with his horse or his favorite breeding sow.

Their wishes change, from a wish that the holidays not be too difficult, to a wish that each might be free to deepen their regard for the other. In Joseph, Louisa senses she’s come across a fellow who understands that life is not a frivolous undertaking, and in Louisa, Joseph has found a woman who doesn’t let details like a limp, a lack of humor, or a penchant for pig farming obscure a simmering attraction.

When Louisa is put in a compromising situation, Joseph steps forward as her champion, and tenders a proposal of marriage to her, though he knows he’s reaching above his station. He’s also reaching for a woman whom he respects and is attracted to, a woman whom he suspects—on the basis of some intimate examination of the matter—is attracted to, and respectful of, him.

Their wishes change again, to a desire to make the best of their marital bargain, even to a desire to protect one another’s best interests. By the end of the book, this focus on each other’s happiness and wellbeing has become much more than a wish, it has become a quest. On a snowy Christmas morning, with the help of some meddling Windham relations, the Prince Regent, and various other elves, Louisa and Joseph achieve that goal, and are left with no other wish, except offer a wish for a Happy Christmas to each other and to all of their many loved ones.

What are you wishing for this Christmas? Leave a comment and you might win a copy of Lady Louisa's Christmas Knight (US or Canada only please).

About the Author:
Grace Burrowes is a bestselling and award-winning author of historical romances. Her debut, The Heir, was selected as a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year for 2010 in the romance category, and Lady Sophie’s Christmas Wish won RT Book Reviews Reviewer’s Choice Award for Best Historical Romance of 2011 and was also nominated for the prestigious RWA RITA award. The author of the bestsellers The Heir, The Soldier and Lady Maggie’s Secret Scandal, Grace is a practicing attorney and lives in rural Maryland. She’ll conclude the Windham Family Series with Lady Jenny’s story in October 2013, and will begin a new regency series with Darius in April 2013. Grace has also begun a Scottish Victorian series, with The Bridegroom Wore Plaid hitting stores this December! Please visit or follow her on Twitter: @GraceBurrowes for more information.


‘Tis the Season for Scandal...

Years ago Lady Louisa Windham acted rashly on a dare from her brother, and that indiscretion is about to come to light. She knows her reputation will never survive exposure. Just as she's nearly overwhelmed by her dilemma, Sir Joseph Carrington offers himself to her as a solution...

But Sir Joseph has secrets as well, and as he and Louisa become entangled with each other, their deceptions begin to close in on them both...

Praise for RITA-nominated Lady Sophie's Christmas Wish:

“An extraordinary, precious, unforgettable holiday story.” —RT Book Reviews, 4½ stars, Top Pick of the Month, Best Historical Romance, RT Book Reviews 2011 Reviewers' Choice Awards

“My Christmas wish for you is that Santa brings you this book...a joyful sensual read.” —USA Today Happy Ever After

“Supremely sexy, emotionally involving, and graced with well-written dialogue...a fascinating, enjoyable read.” —Library Journal

“Burrowes continues to write outside the usual Regency box with strong characters and humor similar to Amanda Quick’s.” —Booklist



How Does Santa Deliver Gifts to Millions of Kids in One Night?

By Madelle Morgan

You likely believed in Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny until at least age eight. Mom and Dad couldn’t afford that loot, so it had to be brought by magical visitors, right? Today kids are soooo smart. Preschoolers pull on Santa’s beard at the mall to check if he’s real, ask bright questions, and generally behave like miniature judges. “Prove you’re Santa,” they demand.

How fast does Santa fly? Rod Powers provides the scientific answer in his article. He quotes Santa: “As Albert Einstein proved in 1915, the faster one travels, the slower one experiences time. On my annual trip, what seems like 24 hours to you seems like weeks to me.” Santa apparently travels faster than starlight, with a climbing speed of 1 T (one twinkle). Rod tells us that Santa said, “My sleigh employs a 9 RP (Reindeer Power) power plant that is faster than any fighter aircraft in any military arsenal.”

U.S. and Canadian military organizations collaboratively track Santa and his reindeer on December 24. Santa Claus files a flight plan with the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), which monitors the sleigh flight via satellite. NORAD issued a press release with contact information so children can telephone, email or check a website to determine how close Santa is to his or her home on Christmas Eve. If the kids fret about leaving their residence in case they miss Santa, you can download an app to track Santa’s whereabouts on your smartphone.

Mothers, aunts, grandmothers: seeing is believing. Following Santa and his reindeers’ journey on the big night should convince the most suspicious little angel to believe in Santa for at least one more year. If the child “slays” you with more tricky questions, check out the FAQs on>.

But how do you react when the truth eventually comes out, you ask? Well, that’ll teach ‘em to believe everything they see on the internet!

What do you tell children when they ask if Santa is real? A print copy of my debut novel Diamond Lust will be mailed to a randomly-selected commenter.

Happy holidays to all, and to all a good night!

About the Author: Madelle Morgan lived relatively close to the North Pole in Yellowknife, Canada, now known as the Diamond Capital of North America, at the beginning of her civil engineering career. After completing three novels “for practice”, she sold the fourth to Ellora’s Cave. Her romantic suspense Diamond Lust is about a beautiful geologist whose life is threatened by smugglers at a remote diamond mine. The e-book is now $1.49 or less at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Ellora’s Cave. Read Chapter 1 and a free short story The Next Big Thing. Madelle blogs at, has Pinterest boards for her works in progress, and is an author at Goodreads.

Thursday, December 20, 2012



Christmas Wishes

This is a magical and happy time of year for most people, and a time when lots of “wishes” dominate our thoughts and hopes. For children they are excited weeks in advance, and I remember when I was a kid, Christmas Eve had to be the longest night of the year! It went on forever… As an adult I marvel at how patient my parents were while having their sleep interrupted on what must have been an hourly basis! It’s my firm belief that this holiday more than any other, touches the child that remains inside us all.

My sister and I tend to look back on our memories of childhood more as the holiday gets closer, too. We laugh a lot about the number of times we got caught sneaking out to the Christmas tree to see what Santa brought, and when those presents appeared it was magic! Like a lot of kids we left out cookies and milk for Santa, and they were always gone, the glass sitting in the sink with the plate still holding a few crumbs. As adults we take those things with an amused smile, but there’s also that wonderful sense of delight we remember from those special childhood days.

Despite all the stories I’ve written over the years, it was only this year that I decided to write a couple of pieces that are especially for the Christmas holiday and the spirit of love that is so much a part of the season. One of the two is called "Mistletoe Kisses", and won’t be out for this year’s holiday. One that will be out is "Holiday Wishes", the historical piece of the Duet release Silver Bells, from XoXo Publishing™. Set in Montana after the Civil War, it’s connected to the present by a pair of silver bell earrings passed through generations of a family. Brigit Aine is the author of the contemporary part of the two-story release.

As you celebrate this special season, it is my hope for you all that your wishes be heard and fulfilled. Enjoy the peace and happiness that is the heart of Christmas, and may you and those you love be Blessed, today and always.

Leave a comment for a chance to win an eBook from my catalogue and a $10 GC from XoXo Publishing.

About the Author:Canadian born and bred, and a lifelong dreamer, I began writing at an early age and can’t recall a time when I wasn’t creating in some artistic form. My life has had several on-going love affairs that shape much of what I write, the American West, Victorian England, cowboys, a passion for pirates, Greek Gods, and Ancient Egypt. The other endless love affair in my life is Italia and all its magic, beauty, and dazzling culture. That passion spills into all aspects of my life.

In the past half dozen years, I’ve signed with over a dozen publishers, and have released books in all lengths and genres, and it’s something I hope to continue to do for many more years. A visit to my website will show the diversity of what is currently available, and the mixing of genres and styles that will be employed in many up-coming projects as well. (All my social site links, etc., are on the About Me page.)


"Live the Romance, Become the Fantasy..."

** Best-Selling Author of 2011 **


Fantasy Pages (general):

Bound By Passion (adult content):

Clay Butler is a man who rules the quiet town of Cedar Springs with an iron will, and a code of honor that defines all he is. But the past haunts him, and the loss of a woman who was his second chance at happiness weighs heavily on his over-burdened mind...
Genre: Historical Western - sensual romance


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Christmas to us means a family gathering and it's a big deal for our small family. Gifts fill a large portion of our daughter's living room. There are huge stockings for each and every one, stuffed by various Santas over the previous week or two. It usually takes several hours as we open gifts one by one, going round and round the room in turns.

I'm often reminded of Christmas when I was a child. My earliest memories are of journeying from Wichita to Arkansas to be with my grandparents on my mother's side. Grandma would have stockings for all the children and in them would be an orange, a handful of ribbon candy, a couple of small toys. My grandmother remembered the Depression and lived thriftily as if she expected that to happen again at any moment. So there was not the abundance of presents like we have today.

It often occurs to me that perhaps we ought to go back to those ways. Those early Christmases when the emphasis was on visiting, telling stories, singing and enjoying a meal together are so special in my memories. Maybe it's just because I miss the people, most of whom are gone. Only us kids remain and we're all growing old ourselves. We seldom see each other, as we're all busy with our own core families.

Still, as each Christmas rolls around, I get wrapped up in the joy of it. The celebration of the holiday, the gathering together. Eating daughter's cheesecake and granddaughter's special mashed potatoes that her dad won't eat because she puts garlic in them. Cutting another wedge of pecan pie cause it is, after all, Christmas. There's something special from our grandson who collects gourmet recipes and often prepares one himself.

Come to think of it, things aren't so different after all. We visit and laugh, someone picks up a guitar and we sing. And there we are making memories for them to recall in future years.

My Christmas gift to my readers is a Ebook Kindle copy of my latest book, Wilda's Outlaw: The Victorians. The winner will be drawn from the comments on my post. Be sure to leave your email address in the comment.

About the Author:
Velda Brotherton writes of romance in the old west with an authenticity that makes her many historical characters ring true. A knowledge of the rich history of our country comes through in both her fiction and nonfiction books, as well as in her writing workshops and speaking engagements. She just as easily steps out of the past into contemporary settings to create novels about women with the ability to conquer life’s difficult challenges. Tough heroines, strong and gentle heroes, villains to die for, all live in the pages of her novels and books.

Find the author online at




Where to buy her books:



The Christmas before the Titanic sailed…

by Jina Bacarr

With the holidays upon us, I’ve been wondering what Christmas 1911 was like for the Irish emigrants and passengers who would later board the Titanic in April 1912.

I remember a story I read in an Irish newspaper about a letter to Santa written in 1911 by children who hid their wish list in a chimney.

When it was discovered many years later, it was barely touched by time. As if nothing could douse the hopes and dreams of children adrift on their magical adventure of writing to the man in the North Pole.

Most likely the passengers who booked passage on the Titanic were just as excited about the ship’s upcoming maiden voyage.

It was an unusually cold winter in 1911. What was it like on that Christmas Day?

Did Irish widow Margaret Rice knit extra mittens for her five boys?

I wonder if Father Browne–then a theology student–received his new camera on that Christmas morning?

Imagine the joy in the heart of young Swede Dagmar Bryhl when her handsome fiancé presented her with a lovely watch.

Or the Irish holiday feast of turkey and ham and mince pie enjoyed by Nora Keane when she returned to Limerick to visit her mother.

When they raised their voices in O Holy Night on that Christmas Eve, they had no idea what part they would play on the ship of dreams when they set sail on the Titanic.

Father Browne sailed on the Titanic for two days and got off the ship at Queenstown on April 11, 1912. A wealthy first class couple offered to pay his passage to New York, but his uncle, the Bishop of Cloyne, ordered him off the ship. The future Jesuit priest took the last pictures of the Titanic and her passengers.

Margaret Rice was a steerage passenger. She and her five sons never made it to a lifeboat and perished in the tragedy. A surviving photo of her and her boys was taken before she left and has only recently resurfaced.

Dagmar Bryhl was traveling to visit an uncle in America in second class. She survived, but her brother and fiancé both perished. She was wearing the watch her beloved gave her on a chain around her neck when she boarded the ship.

Nora Keane decided to stay longer in Ireland than planned, but she had trepidations about traveling on Titanic’s maiden voyage. Her brother convinced her to book passage as a second class passenger. She survived the sinking, thanks to a ship’s officer who banged on their door and ordered her and Edwinna Troutt up on top. Nora was shocked when four hundred people showed up at the train station in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, to welcome her home.

These are a few Titanic stories from that Christmas of 1911.

As Katie O’Reilly, my heroine in TITANIC RHAPSODY, would say, “May the hand of an angel be upon your shoulder to guide you in your dreams.”

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

Read an Excerpt at:

Check out the Titanic Rhapsody book video on my website at:

(You can find Buy links for all e-book Readers on my website).

Follow me on Twitter @JinaBacarr

Merry Christmas, everyone!

WIN an e-book copy of my Titanic Romance novel “TITANIC RHAPSODY” from Ellora’s Cave by leaving a comment. I’ll pick out a lucky winner and post the name here in the comments section.

Katie O’Reilly runs away from the grand house where she is in service after being wrongly accused of stealing a diamond bracelet. The law is after her, and she has only one chance at escape—the Titanic. She boards the ship of dreams and runs straight into the arms of Captain Lord Jack Blackthorn, a dashing gentleman gambler who promises to be her protector. If she takes off her clothes.

Jina Bacarr loves to travel, indulge in dark chocolate truffles and spend rainy days in museums.

Jina is also a Titanic enthusiast and blogger. Follow her Titanic posts at



“Let There Be Light!”

I’ve always loved this time of year for lots of reasons. Being Jewish, I enjoy Christmas vicariously without the hassle of huge holiday shopping and battling mobs in malls. It’s also my birthday, and coincidentally, that date often falls during Chanukah, so I always felt especially blessed. As a young child, I thought all the decorations and fuss were for my birthday. (Okay, I was a very young kid at the time and wised up fast).

Chanukah, the Festival of Lights, is really a minor Jewish holiday in terms of observance, but because it coincides with Christmas, it’s turned into a major event on the calendar. So, what is the holiday? Basically, it dates back over 2000 years. During the Greek occupation of Judea, the Greeks attempted to destroy Jewish culture and defiled The Temple. The Maccabee family waged a civil war and defeated the Greeks. There was only one cruise of oil left to light the menorah in The Temple, but miraculously, the oil lasted 8 days until fresh oil arrived. Since that time, it has been the custom to light a menorah (more correctly, a Chanukiah) for 8 days, starting with 1 candle, each night adding another until 8 candles are lit on the last day.

Oil being significant to the miracle, it’s a custom to eat food that is cooked in oil. (This is not the time to count calories!). The most common foods are potato pancakes (latkes) or doughnuts, especially with jelly filling. They are sold everywhere in Israel during the holiday which is a school vacation to the delight of children. Stores are decorated, and lots of free activities are held for children. It’s just a fun time for everyone.

One of the precepts of lighting the Chanukah candles is to “publicize” the miracle. In recent years in the US, there has been a significant growth in public lighting ceremonies and this has spread to other countries more recently. Personally, I think the nicest way of doing this is something that is common in Israel. I’ve never seen this anywhere else, but there you can buy a glass case so you can light your Chanukiah and place it outside in the cold, dark night and it won’t blow out from the wind. It’s quite common to see apartment buildings with balconies where every apartment has a Chanukiah flaming outside in these glass cases. Even my teenage son and his friend, (you never know what teenagers will say) thought this was “cool.” It’s beautiful to walk the streets and see all these lights glowing in the dark. It’s heartening and moving and I can never help thinking that these candles bring light into our lives.

I wish everyone a joyous, happy and healthy holiday season with light in your lives too.

Leave a comment for a chance to win the choice of one of the Liberty Heights series books as a prize. Book 3, Hanky Panky, should be out in December. Book 1 , Animal Crackers, and Book 2, The Life of the Party are both out.



Feasting at Christmas for peasants in the Middle Ages

Guest blog by Lindsay Townsend

Feasting for a noble or a king in the medieval period could be a splendid, lengthy, expensive affair, where dishes were produced and shown to display wealth and power. What about feasts for the bulk of the population who lived on the land?

In an age without freezers and only limited storage methods – smoking, salting, drying, preserving, keeping – all foodstuffs had to be produced in time to the rhythms of the farming year. In the Middle Ages, that meant the Christian calendar. Feasts were allied to the high points of harvests, saints’ days, Christ’s life, the change of the seasons and the winter and summer solstices.

Christmas especially, covering the darkest time of the year and preceded by the fast of Advent, was celebrated for almost two weeks by all classes. No work was done in that ‘quiet’ season of the farming year and people celebrated by dancing, singing, story-telling, drinking and eating.

In the countryside, some lucky peasants might be fed within their lords’ manor houses over Christmas as part of the Christian tradition of charity and share in rich dishes and strong beers. Other peasants would feast at home. Meat, as a luxury, would certainly be enjoyed, usually in the form of bacon, salted beef or mutton. Such cuts would be made into stews or slow roasted. Pepper was used as a spice by all classes and at Christmas carefully hoarded spices such as ginger, some dried herbs from the kitchen garden and perhaps even exotic fruits such as dried raisins might be added to the stews to add different flavours. We know that peasants had access to exotic spices and dried fruits because the Sumptuary Laws forbade indulgence in both rich clothes and expensive foods by the ‘lower’ classes.

Fine wheat bread, if peasants could produce it (by grinding the flour in secret away from their lords’ mill) would be a treat. River fish or eels would make a change from the usual salted dried cod of winter-time. Waterfowl, chickens, and – once they had escaped and bred from their specially constructed warrens – rabbits, could be caught, roasted or turned into stews and pies.

Hard cheese, which would keep through the winter, might have been part of a peasant’s Christmas feasting and certainly there would have been pottages, vegetable one pot stews made from the cut and come again greens and root vegetables (not potatoes yet) from the kitchen garden.

As well as food treats, peasant households would decorate their homes for their Christmas feasts. Holly, ivy and mistletoe were cut and brought indoors to make the Christmas Bush that hung from the rafters. After Christmas there was the festival of wassailing in cider apple districts. People would gather in the orchards and light fires under the trees, dance round them and drink to them.

The lengthening days of early spring were often times of sparse commons for everyone as winter stores were eaten and the new crops and growth were still not ready. The hard fasting of Lent, and before that the feast of Shrovetide when all the dairy food ‘luxuries’ not allowed during the fasting time were used up, gave way at last to Easter and another round of feasting.

Leave a comment for a chance to win an ARC of Lindsay's medieval romance novel, The Snow Bride.

About the Author:
Lindsay Townsend is fascinated by ancient world and medieval history and writes historical romance covering these periods. She also enjoys thrillers and writes both historical and contemporary romantic suspense. When not writing, Lindsay enjoys spending time with her husband, gardening, reading and taking long, languid baths – possibly with chocolate.

Find Lindsay online at

Twitter: @lindsayromantic



South for the Winter
There have been a few winters when my husband and I wonder if maybe we would like to be “snowbirds”. Here in Oregon “snowbirds” are retired people who go south for the winter. Usually towing trailers or driving motor homes to Arizona, New Mexico, and even Mexico. Some have houses they live in during the winter months to avoid the snow and cold here up north.

We aren’t retired yet. So, it’s something we can keep thinking about. Our main concern is the fact we aren’t ones to sit around playing cards or working on hobbies. We like to get out and be physical. With this in mind about ourselves(We didn’t do well on a cruise)our next option is flying to a warm tropical place during the coldest part of the winter. We could hike and sightsee and enjoy the warm weather while everything back home is under snow and frozen. Maybe be gone a long weekend or a week, but no longer.

We’ve yet to try this adventure for lack of someone to feed the cattle while we’re gone. But one of these days, when we no longer have cattle, we are going to fly south to a tropical island.

Do you have “snowbirds” in your area who head south in the winter? Are you a “snowbird”? If so, what is your favorite place to winter?

I’ll be choosing one person who comments to win a Christmas ornament. Please leave an e-mail address so I can contact you for mailing information.

If you prefer reading about tropical places to traveling there, my latest action adventure romance, Secrets of a Mayan Moon, is set in the Guatemalan jungle.

Child prodigy and now Doctor of Anthropology, Isabella Mumphrey, is about to lose her job at the university. In the world of publish or perish, her mentor’s request for her assistance on a dig is just the opportunity she’s been seeking. If she can decipher an ancient stone table—and she can—she’ll keep her department. She heads to Guatemala, but drug trafficking bad guys, artifact thieves, and her infatuation for her handsome guide wreak havoc on her scholarly intentions.

DEA agent Tino Kosta, is out to avenge the deaths of his family. He’s deep undercover as a jaguar tracker and sometimes jungle guide, but the appearance of a beautiful, brainy anthropologist heats his Latin blood taking him on a dangerous detour that could leave them both casualties of the jungle.

Secrets of a Mayan Moon is available at Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords.

About the Author: Wife, mother, grandmother, and the one who cleans pens and delivers the hay; award winning author Paty Jager and her husband currently ranch 350 acres when not dashing around visiting their children and grandchildren. She not only writes the western lifestyle, she lives it.

She is a member of RWA, COWG, EOWG, and EPIC. Her contemporary Western, Perfectly Good Nanny won the 2008 Eppie for Best Contemporary Romance, Spirit of the Mountain, a historical paranormal set among the Nez Perce, garnered 1st place in the paranormal category of the Lories Best Published Book Contest.

You can learn more about Paty at her blog, her website, or on Facebook and Twitter @patyjag.



All members of my family are musical except me. And it was after a performance of her husband's band at a casino in Mississippi that my daughter had an almost fatal accident. While standing on the sidewalk in the wee hours of morning as he loaded his equipment, she was run down by a casino employee (high on drugs), thrown onto the windshield of his car, which hit a wall and caught fire. She was helicoptered to a trauma hospital in Memphis with multiple injuries. Her dad and I made a four hour-long drive in three from Kentucky when we were notified and after an all-day wait, she had hours of surgery. Our first miracle was that she lived.

We lived in a motel for a month, taking turns with her husband, sitting at her bedside, so that she was never alone. When word spread that she was injured, fans of her band and her husband's filled her room with flowers. There were so many and the scent was so heavy that one physician who entered remarked "Why, this is like a funeral home."

Too weak to travel to her home in Nashville, she was moved after a few weeks to a rehab center nearby. And when she was finally able to travel, my husband and I went ahead to prepare her condo for an invalid. Both bedrooms were upstairs and not wheelchair accessible so we had to buy a bed for the living room. A new stove and dishwasher were also needed if I was to prepare nutritious meals. After a couple of days of frantic shopping for appliances, a bed, and groceries, then a frenzy of cleaning as we had been warned of her wounds getting infected, we fell into bed for a few hours sleep before her homecoming.

Sometime after midnight, I was awakened by a loud noise like someone hitting a wall. I tried to ignore it but it only got louder. Muttering something unprintable, I staggered to the window and looked out. And there by the front steps was a lone figure doing something with wood and a hammer. At first, I couldn't figure it out, and then it dawned on me. A man was building a ramp over the concrete steps.
Something we had not even thought of!

I called my husband to wake up and join me and together we determined that it was the young man next door. We had met him, his wife, and son when we came two days ago and had heard our daughter and husband speak of them before. They had come to Nashville from New York City because he wanted a career in music. For now, they were both employed at the nearby mall, where he worked a late shift as a security officer. Since they had lived in a big city, they had no car and both walked the couple of miles to their jobs as they had no other mode of transportation. My daughter and husband had loaned them their car at times for buying groceries and other necessities.

The night was freezing cold and the guy was bundled up in a jacket, sock cap, and gloves as he determinedly hammered away at those boards until he had the ramp finished. And as I stood there watching with tears in my eyes, I felt such gratitude for this simple gift of kindness. It was truly more beautiful than the roomful of flowers I had tended every day. And even more special because I felt it had been a financial sacrifice to buy the lumber as well as a difficult task to build it in the middle of this frigid night.

My daughter came home, and after a fourth surgery and many more weeks of intensive therapy, she was able to walk again. And the much-used ramp was finally taken down. Now only a few scars remain to remind her and us of that almost fatal night. And this is the second miracle.

The neighbor couple went back to New York City after a time because their family needed them there. But I will forever remember them with gratitude for this gift from their hearts that meant so much.

Linda is giving away a print copy of Mistress of Huntleigh Hall, her new release from Publishing by Rebecca J. Vickery.
About the Author:
Linda Swift divides her time between her native state of Kentucky and Florida. She is an award winning author of published poetry, articles, short stories, and a TV play. Linda holds an Education Specialist Degree from Murray State University with post-graduate work from U. of Alabama and was a teacher, counselor, and psychometrist in the public schools in three states.
Linda's first two books were published by Kensington. She currently has twelve e-books(also in print) and seven short stories available from six publishers. Additional books and short stories are scheduled for 2013. For more information, please visit her website at

Find Linda online at





Christmas is more than just gifts. It is a time when traditions and family bonds are formed. A time when you can forget the stress of the daily life routine and relax and enjoy what you have. I have never been comfortable receiving gifts, especially since my birthday is a week before Christmas the gift giving when I was a child was melded into the two holidays. As I’ve grown older, I’ve learned that I feel really good in the role of gift giver. I think this spawns from my role as a nurse and my need to nurture.

As I started this post, I thought about asking what your favorite Christmas traditions were, but as I sat here and typed I realized that my own traditions have changed over the last couple of years. I’ve started to give more, and not in the traditional sense. I’m talking to my community. These are very difficult times. Americans have lost jobs, are homeless, and hungry. I too, struggle, but especially this time of year think how I can give those a chance to garner a bit of holiday cheer.

Now, I donate. Donate to toy drives, donate food/turkeys to food and homeless shelters, and donate coats to the drives that collect coats to those that don’t have them. Especially with those in the Northeast who have been hit hard by Sandy, donations of any kind will be very important this holiday season.

It’s very easy to Google local food banks/shelters in your area. Ask your local Fire stations if they’re doing Toys for Tots. The American Red Cross is taking donations for Sandy relief. So get involved in your community. It’s a tradition that really does make you feel good from the inside out!

I want to thank Marianne and Judy for hosting this blog hop today! If you leave a comment on your favorite holiday tradition, I will draw a random name and you will receive a free e-book of my new release, The Doctor’s Deception. And, I will take it one step further. For every comment I will donate one bag of food to my local food bank.

Thanks for stopping by!


About the Author:
A graduate of University of Nebraska Medical Center, Kathleen Grieve earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Science and Nursing in 1994. She has been a dedicated nurse for more years than she cares to count, serving most of those years in intensive care. Always writing, Kathleen chose to pursue yet another career- that of a writer. An avid romance reader of all genres since age 13, she decided to try a hand at writing her own novel in the summer of 2006.

She draws a lot from the real-life medical drama she experiences as an intensive care RN for her novels. Writing romance is a creative outlet where she can effectively deal with the daily stress and sorrow, adding levity and humor to situations that provide a happily ever after when there isn't one.

Find the author online:

Kathleen’s Website:

Kathleen’s Blog: Keeping A Pulse on Life And Romance:

Social Media:

Follow Kathleen on Twitter @KathleenGrieve


At Evernight Publishing:


The Doctor’s Deception Available at Evernight Publishing December, 2012

Hard-headed, straight-laced Dr Stone Lassiter is one heart surgeon about to lose everything he’s worked his entire career for. He is locked in a battle of wills against the nurses of the surgical intensive care unit of Deerborne County General. At first, the new doctor was definitely drool-worthy. Sexy or not, the nurses have had enough! Their secret weapon? Unsuspecting SICU nurse, Faith Daniels, a cool green-eye blonde that turns Dr. Lassiter’s head every time she’s near. Poor Faith has the “worst luck” in drawing the short straw and is forced to work with Dr. Lassiter repeatedly. Will the nurses’ plan to have Dr. Lassiter fall in love with one of their own work in softening him toward the nursing staff? Or will the little white lie Stone tells Faith to enlist her aid to obtain his goal destroy the fragile bond of love that has developed between them?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012



It Might Be a Wonderful Life but it was a Pretty Lousy Christmas
Winter colds are awful. Being sick at Christmas is pretty bad too. However, being the only well person in a family full of sick people on Christmas Day has got to be the worst. My sophomore year of high school this happened to me. Everyone in my family was sick, and all my friends and their families were sick. Somehow, I alone managed to avoid the plague. The result being that after my family opened gifts through their Dimetapp haze, they stumbled back to bed and I ended up spending Christmas Day in front of the TV.

If you’ve ever had this happen to you, then you know that the only movie on any station on Christmas Day (circa 1990) is It’s a Wonderful Life. Now, I’m sure this really is a wonderful film, after all, hundreds of critics and millions of fans can’t be that wrong, can they? I wouldn’t know. Like the food you ate that you swear made you sick and you vowed never to eat again, It’s a Wonderful Life is the movie I cannot watch nor remember with any kind of fondness. It pains me to say this because I love classic movies. My December release, Studio Relations, is set in 1935 Hollywood. It is the story of Vivien Howard, a vivacious female director and Weston Holmes, a handsome studio executive who must overcome their professional differences to find love during Hollywood’s golden age.

Being an old movie buff, I dislike having such a negative view of a classic like It’s a Wonderful Life, especially since I can’t let the Christmas season pass without watching Christmas in Connecticut and Miracle on 34th Street. So I ask you readers, should I give it another shot or just stick with my other classic Christmas favorites? Weigh in on this holiday favorite, or tell me about one of your own. One lucky commenter will win an e-book copy of Studio Relations. I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season and a happy New Year!

Vivien Howard hasn’t forgiven Weston Holmes for almost derailing her career five years ago. Female directors in 1930s Hollywood are few and far between, and a man who coasts by on his good looks and family connections can’t possibly appreciate what it took for her to get to where she is. But when the studio head puts Weston in charge of overseeing Vivien’s ambitious Civil War film, she realizes she has a choice: make nice with her charismatic new boss or watch a replacement director destroy her dream.

Weston Holmes doesn’t know much about making movies, but he knows plenty about money. And thanks to the Depression, ticket sales are dangerously low. The studio can’t afford a flop—or bad press, which is exactly what threatens to unfold when an innocent encounter between Weston and Vivien is misconstrued by the gossip rags. The only solution? A marriage of convenience that will force the bickering duo into an unlikely alliance—and guide them to their own happy Hollywood ending.

About the Author:
A dedicated history and film buff, Georgie Lee loves combining her passion for Hollywood, history and storytelling through romantic fiction. She began writing professionally at a small TV station in San Diego before moving to Los Angeles to work in the interesting but strange world of the entertainment industry.

Her traditional Regency, Lady’s Wager and her contemporary novella Rock ‘n’ Roll Reunion are both available from Ellora’s Cave Blush. Labor Relations, a contemporary romance of Hollywood is currently available from Avalon Books. Mask of the Gladiator, a novella of ancient Rome is now available from Carina Press.

When not writing, Georgie enjoys reading non-fiction history and watching any movie with a costume and an accent. Please visit for more information about Georgie and her novels.

Find Georgie online at:


Twitter: @GeorgieLeeBooks


Buy Link
Studio Relations -



A Taste of Christmas – Mariah Lynne

Each year, as I unwrap precious ornaments from my childhood, I am reminded of family holidays and traditions past. My father immigrated to the US from Naples, Italy. I find it ironic that I now live twenty minutes from Naples, Florida.

Southern Italians, especially Neapolitans, begin their holiday on Christmas Eve with a very special meal, The Feast of The Seven Fishes. Growing up in New Jersey, I remember my mother and father taking me to my Aunt Maggie’s (Michelina’s) on Christmas Eve to celebrate with cousins, aunts and uncles. As we walked through light snow, past bushes filled with colored lights, to climb the two steps up to her back door, aromas of fresh bread, sauces, and homemade desserts greeted us from her kitchen.

Once everyone arrived, we gathered in her dining room. Laughter, homemade wine and animated conversations soon filled the room. An ecru lace tablecloth crocheted by my grandmother covered her long dining room table. Red Poinsettias and a special paper mache nativity from Italy decorated her mahogany sideboard. All the children gasped when we saw her Christmas tree with all the colorful packages underneath through the doorway to her living room. She always had a present for each of her nieces and nephews to open after dinner.

This night was very special. All of our problems were left at the door. Only love and happy thoughts of Christmas filled the minds of guests eagerly anticipating dinner, not just any dinner, but a dinner to remember. My aunt and grandmother cooked all day. My mother brought her homemade biscotti, some almond, some anise, for dessert to be served with homemade cannoli (pastry).

Soon, the oohs and aahs were so loud they could be heard on the street. My aunt and uncle carried in the china platters of food. The Feast of The Seven Fishes was about to begin. The menu was the same each year: calamari, baccala (salt cod), clams with linguini, crab (a N.J. delicacy) in a tomato sauce with angel hair pasta, anchovies, baked flounder, and shrimp cooked in olive oil with lemon butter. I’ve watched the Feast presented on the cooking channel by professional chefs, but believe me when I say that none could ever compare with Aunt Maggie’s labor of love.

Living by the sea, I keep the tradition of serving fresh seafood on Christmas Eve. Not as big as the Feast but one that fits our smaller gathering: New England Clam Chowder, Baked stuffed shrimp or Shrimp Scampi, Parmesan Crusted Grouper and, of course, I bake my mother’s homemade biscotti.

Here’s my recipe for Shrimp Scampi!


1 POUND OF LARGE SHRIMP (16-20), peeled and de-veined







RED PEPPER FLAKES TO TASTE-at least ¼ teaspoon



Heat sauté pan on high. Reduce heat to medium. Add olive oil and butter. The butter should melt, and foam before reducing. At that point, add the garlic, red pepper flakes. Stir until edges of garlic turn brown.

Once the garlic cooks, add the shrimp and the white wine. Stir to blend the shrimp with the butter, olive oil and wine while continuing to coat the shrimp with the mixture. Spread the shrimp evenly in the pan before increasing the heat to the highest setting. The wine should boil for 2-3 minutes.

Turn the shrimp over so the cooked sides are facing up. Boil the wine for another minute before removing from heat. Add parsley, lemon juice and black pepper. Toss to combine. Salt to taste.

Serve over rice or, my favorite, angel hair pasta. Enjoy and Happy Holidays!

Leave a comment to win a Love Gypsy pen and magnet.

About the Author:Mariah Lynne always had writing on her radar but it took her a while to get there. Growing up in New Jersey, she graduated from Syracuse University with a degree in English education. After teaching junior high for two years, she went to work for a small daily paper as a copy- reader in the newsroom. She and her husband decided to move to a Florida Gulf coast island while they were still young enough to enjoy the outdoor lifestyle. Jobs were scarce on their island so they each went into business. Mariah opened a video and home entertainment center. She was active in her national trade association serving as a regional chapter president for six years. During that time, she wrote weekly entertainment columns and reviews for two of the island’s newspapers. She also freelanced, ghostwriting autobiographies of successful realtors for a national yearbook.

She loves where she lives and enjoys watching the dolphin and manatees frolic in the lagoon behind the island home she shares with her husband and ten year old shelter adoptee Max. THE LOVE GYPSY published by The Wild Rose Press, a time travel romance, is her first book.



Florida homicide detective Brianna Breeze can't seem to catch a man unless she handcuffs him. So her best friend decides to take matters into her own hands and tricks Brianna into seeing the Love Gypsy, a time traveler's friend noted for her extraordinary matchmaking skills.

When a tall, muscular man wearing jeans, a black leather jacket, and slicked-back 50s hair bursts in on her first visit, Brianna is bewitched. Despite the gypsy's warning not to get involved with him, Brianna can't get him out of her mind—even though she, more than anyone, knows the pitfalls of romancing a stranger.

A present-day murder, a mysterious vintage car registered in the distant past, and a smoking gun complicate the puzzle. Brianna doesn't know if her lover from the past is a murderer or a savior, but she's willing to risk time travel to find out.



New Year’s Dreams

When “The tumult and the shouting dies/ the Captains and the Kings depart,” (Rudyard Kipling) there is a lull, a time to reflect, reevaluate and plan ahead.

As a writer of romantic suspense, travel sagas and motivational essays, I turn away from the holiday insanity and make goals. Not resolutions. Resolutions are easily lost in the minutiae of real life. Setting goals gives us wiggle room to get there within a loose framework of uninterrupted time. We all have interruptions, unexpected events and reversals of fortune. I spent a lifetime, fifty plus years, putting serious committed writing on the back burner and simply living. The fortuitous outcome of that is that now I have something to write about. The disadvantage is I missed many opportunities to be published.

Just getting published should never be one’s goal. Creating a good product, a clear voice, an interesting and entertaining message, an experience for the reader, even dropping in a little wisdom or showing readers a different perspective is something a writer can be proud of.

We want to leave behind books that people reread and enjoy, finding little nuggets to incorporate into their own lives. Show don’t tell works for both fiction and motivational nonfiction. It’s like a transfusion or a graft adding to readers’ experiences.

Make a list of books you’ve read more than once. Those written in haste with the metronome of an editor or an agent marching up the author’s heels are not among them. The keepers are those that were written with forethought, life experience and a love for language. From historical fiction to metaphoric fantasy, these meaningful books contain a message pertinent to readers’ real lives.

Here is my list: Robinson Crusoe, by Daniel Defoe; Kon Tiki, by Thor Heyerdahl; Tales of the South Pacific, James A. Michener; Into Thin Air, by Jonathan Krakauer; Alice Through the Looking Glass, the second Alice book, by Lewis Carroll; The Year of Magical Thinking, by Joan Didion; A Turn of Mind, by Alice Laplante, The Chemistry of Tears, by Peter Carey, and a few others I’m rediscovering.

Think about your favorite “old friends” and make it your goal to write something memorable.

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About the Author: Julie Eberhart Painter, a Pennsylvania transplant now living in Central Florida, is the Champagne Books author of Mortal Coil, Tangled Web, and the 2011 Book of the Year, Kill Fee. The sequel, Medium Rare released December 3, 2012. And, Daughters of the Sea, a paranormal coming Jan 25, 2013 from MuseItUp Publishing.

Visit Julie’s Web site at

Twitter: @JulieEPainter