Archive | December 2014

The Twelfth Day of Christmas – Merry Christmas!!

On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…Brooklyn Elizabeth

The greatest gift of all. A Baby born in a manger. Jesus Christ our Lord!

The wise men brought precious gifts and laid them before the baby. Sometimes we get caught up in the craziness of this season, but all we have to do is remember the reason why we celebrate and our joy should abound. We forget why we give gifts, but if you’re like me, I have more fun giving than receiving. Besides, once you’ve received the greatest Gift of all, what more do we need?

Even so, I’ll never forget the look on my mother’s face this morning when she opened the gift we gave her. I’d had it in my closet for almost a year, waiting for today. I found it at an antique mall in Gatlinburg, TN. She’s tried for years to add pieces to her dinnerware–Stangl Pottery, the thistle pattern. It’s hard to find, and when I saw this incredible platter, I bought it for her. I think it brought tears to her eyes. She said she didn’t even know that there was a platter in the set. It’s nice to know we gave her something she’ll cherish.

I hope that you’re enjoying your Christmas with family and friends and that you’ve welcomed the love of Christ into your heart. God bless you in the year to come!
Day #12On the Twelfth Day of Christmas,

My true love said “It’s Here!

The tree is full of presents, so you

Must have been a good girl all year!”

The time has come to announce this year’s 12 Days of Christmas winners. I’m so glad you were able to join us and I hope you enjoyed our posts about the holidays and how we love to celebrate. I also hope you found a book or two you were able to relax with as you sat by the fire in the twinkle of the tree lights and sipped a cup of hot cocoa.

Click HERE to go to the Rafflecopter where the 16 winners are listed. If you are a winner, please go to my contact page (click HERE) and send me your home address so I can mail you your prize this next week.

ON BEHALF OF ALL PARTICIPATING AUTHORS IN THIS YEAR’S BLOG HOP

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The Eleventh Day of Christmas – Cynthia Gail

On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me…orlando26

An alternative to hot chocolate AND one of my dearest friends to host as my guest author!

First, the alternative.

On a cold winters’ day, it’s always nice to have something hot to drink.  I previously posted a recipe for Hot Buttered Rum. Today’s hot beverage is for people of all ages. It’s so easy that I don’t even need to post an official recipe.

Heat a cup of milk. Add  1/2 teaspoon of vanilla, and then several spoons of sugar. (The amount of sugar depends on your taste.) And that’s it! You now have ‘hot vanilla.’ It’s very delicious! You can adjust the amount of vanilla and sugar to suit the size of your mug. Enjoy!

And now, please welcome Cynthia Gail to my blog! Her book is the perfect Christmas romance to read while you sip your hot vanilla.

 

Winter’s Magic by Cynthia Gail

Winter's Magic

Owner of La Bella Vita, a five-star day spa nestled in the affluent suburbs of Nashville, Tennessee, Beth Sergeant knows her elite clientele first hand. She attended their private schools. She was even engaged, although briefly, to one of their most recognized bachelors. But she never fit in to their social-elite world.

After losing his parents to a car accident at a young age, Nick Chester was raised by his grandfather, the wealthiest man in Nashville. When he chooses to socialize, he has a never-ending list of exclusive events and beautiful women vying for his attention. Yet he never lets himself forget that everyone has an agenda.

Beth can’t resist Nick’s charm and accepts an invitation to dinner, despite her deep-seated insecurities. She proves she’s nothing like other women Nick’s dated and learns to trust him in return. But just as the last of their resistance crumbles and true love is within reach, challenges from Nick’s past threaten to destroy everything and force Beth to reveal her most guarded secret.

Pick up a copy today at Amazon.

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As part of The 12 Days of Christmas celebration, Cynthia donated a $10 Starbucks card, paired with a Bark Less Wag More coffee mug & author swag from Rachel Lacey to the prize list. Click HERE for this and many more random drawings. To follow the celebration, find a new recipe, pick up a holiday decorating or shopping tip, click HERE.

About the Author

My husband and I live in the suburbs of Nashville, Tennessee with our eighteen-year-old son and three dogs. When I’m not working or writing, I can be found with family and friends. I love to bake in the winter, grill in the summer, and on occasion, I sneak away from everyone and curl up with a good book.

Connect: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

The Tenth Day of Christmas – Ann Lacey

We’re getting closer and closer to Christmas Day and I hope you’ve been enjoying this ongoing event!180370774108_0_BG

Today I’m going to share a special memory that was a family tradition for years. I’m sad to say that I stopped doing this after my son grew up. I fear that unless he carries it on, it may fade away.

My mother’s ancestors came to the United States from Holland. There, fruit was always a luxury. Something cherished and definitely savored. In Holland, instead of stockings, the children put out their wooden shoes for Saint Nicholas. Good children got an orange, and naughty children got a lump of coal. The tradition of the Christmas stocking came when they made their move to the United States. They were not the fancy kind that we have today, they were real stockings and socks. The special gift from Santa that every child treasured was always in the toe of the stocking. It was an orange. A small cut was made in the rind and a coin was inserted. My great-grandpa always threatened my mother with a lump of coal, but she was always a good girl and never received one.

Mom carried on this tradition for us. The coin grew over the years from a quarter to a half dollar, and if my memory is correct, we even got silver dollars. The last few years I was blessed with a Christmas stocking, the coin was no longer inserted into the orange, instead it was taped on. I think she worried that the dirty coin would ruin the orange. Makes sense to me!

These days we take so much for granted, including oranges. Maybe Santa should start putting them in stockings again. I think I’ll tell him that it would be a good idea!

Today I’m welcoming Ann Lacey to my blog!
A Second Chance for Murder by Ann Lacey

Ann Lacey A Second Chance For Murder  Book Cover

When a young woman is murdered during a party at the family estate and local authorities are unable to find the culprit, Lady Thora Mannington decides to take matters into her own hands and sets out to find the killer herself!

Fearing for his impulsive sister’s safety, her brother, Nyle turns to his friend Lord Garren Huntscliff for help. Though his investigating days are over, Garren cannot refuse his troubled friend. No sooner does he take on the case than two more deaths occur and he soon discovers that he is matching wits against a dangerous and clever killer. Complicating his effort is the lovely Lady Thora, who insists on joining forces with him yet refuses to adhere to his cautions, continually places herself at risk and is so disarmingly enchanting that he finds himself falling for her. Now Garren has two things on his mind, find a crafty and elusive killer and keep the reckless Lady Thora from becoming a victim herself!

Pick up a copy today from Amazon.

12 Days of Christmas Blog Hop Button with Frame

As part of The 12 Days of Christmas celebration, Ann donated a $25 Amazon card to the prize list. Click HERE for this and many more random drawings. To follow the celebration, find a new recipe, pick up a holiday decorating or shopping tip, click HERE.

 

About the Author

I spent much of my life in New Jersey but have also lived in Florida and Wyoming. I currently reside in the lake region of central North Carolina. Living close to water, there are days when fog rolls in off the lake and creates an eerie mist. I love it but my dog, Molly, takes one look and refuses to leave the house.

When I’m not writing I read (lately with the help of a powerful pair of readers). For me there’s nothing better than a good who-done- it or a steamy romance! On rainy days, I enjoy watching old movies especially film noir and I can spend hours in an antique store.

I have recently moved to North Carolina and I’m delighted to say that southern hospitality truly exists!

Connect: Website | Twitter

The Ninth Day of Christmas – Linda O’Connor

On the ninth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…

Something warm for a cold, snowy day!

Something warm for a cold, snowy day!

A dessert recipe! And boy are you in for a treat!

This recipe was handed down to me by a very sweet Grandma. It’s not one of those ‘quick and easy’ desserts. It’s something that requires time and lots of love, but is well worth the wait!

BAKED RICE PUDDING

Ingredients:

1/2 Cup white rice (regular rice, not minute rice)     1 qt. milk     3/4 Cup sugar     1/4 tsp. salt     2 tblsp. butter or margarine     3 eggs     1/2 cup raisins (optional)     1 tsp. vanilla     1/2 tsp. cinnamon     nutmeg

Place 1/2 cup of rice and 2 cups milk in top of double boiler. Cover. Cook over water until rice is tender. Stir every now and then. Rice will absorb most of the milk. This will take close to one hour. Turn off heat. Add butter and raisins.

Mix sugar, salt, and cinnamon in large bowl. Add beaten eggs, vanilla, and other 2 cups milk. Add raisin/rice mixture. Stir. Pour into greased casserole dish. Sprinkle with nutmeg. Place casserole dish into a larger baking dish, setting in about 1 inch of water. Bake at 350 degrees until set. This will take about one hour.

As you can see, this dessert will take almost 2 hours from start to finish, but as I said, it’s well worth your time!! Enjoy!

Today I’m happy to welcome Linda O’Connor to my blog!

Perfectly Honest by Linda O’Connor

Linda O'Connor  Perfectly Honest   Book Cover

You never know where your words will take you.

When Mikaela Finn agreed to be Sam’s ‘fiancée’ for a weekend, she probably should have told him that she’s a doctor.

Sam O’Brien, aka ‘Dr. Eye Candy’, is trying to shed his playboy reputation and convince a small town hospital that he’s ready to settle down. But when his ‘fiancée’ helps deliver a baby in the middle of the meet and greet, it’s a bit of a shock. If he’d known the whole truth, he might have done things a little differently because somehow his ‘fiancée’ ends up stealing his job and his heart. Not exactly the change he wanted.

Lies and deceit – it’s a match made in heaven!

Perfectly Honest will be available at Amazon on January 14, 2015.

12 Days of Christmas Blog Hop Button with Frame

As part of The 12 Days of Christmas celebration, Linda donated a $5 Amazon card and ebook copy of Perfectly Honest to the prize list. Click HERE for this and many more random drawings. To follow the celebration, find a new recipe, pick up a holiday decorating or shopping tip, click HERE.

About the Author

I’ve been writing for three years, and I’m thrilled that Soul Mate Publishing will be publishing my latest novel, Perfectly Honest.I love reading romantic comedies so naturally that’s what I write. I never aspired to be a writer, but now I’m addicted. I love it. I balance writing with my work as a physician at an Urgent Care Clinic and being a mom to three sons (luckily grown and capable of throwing together a decent meal, in a pinch). Plus I like to keep active and cycle, cross-country ski, skate, walk with my husband, or dance every day.The idea to write came after working with young adults. There were some basics I thought they should know – mental health symptoms, birth control myths, how to take ownership of their health. I thought hey, if David Chilton of The Wealthy Barber fame can dole out financial advice in a barbershop, maybe I could dole out medical advice in a Romance novel. That’s how my first novel, She’s Not a Fan, was born.

For many years, I taught clinical skills to medical students and spent a lot of time writing detailed roles for actor-patients. It was great practice for developing characters in my stories. Joining the Romance Writers of America, taking online workshops, (and reading) all helped improve my writing. Medical school was challenging, but it was nothing compared to figuring out where commas go, POV, or sorting out verb tense (simple past, past perfect, past perfect progressive – did they know there were 25 other letters they could have used to name those things?)

Obviously I’m still learning, but I love the process.

I don’t write about people I know, but I definitely take inspiration from snippets of conversations or from the emotion I feel when I talk to people. My designated writing space is any place with a view of Lake Ontario, preferably outside (for three of the four seasons).

Connect: Website | Facebook | Twitter

The Eighth Day of Christmas – Meda White

Today I’m supposed to tell you what my favorite Christmas song is. There are so many that it’s hard to choose!! From “Silent Night” to “Oh, Holy Night” to the silly songs like “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer.” The latter song is one that my grandson told his grandpa, “That’s not a very nice song. It would hurt Grandma.” So I’m happy to say that song is not my choice. But it sure brings out some fun memories.AIDEN-CHRISTMAS09-2

Because I’m a fan of old movies, and particularly fond of musicals, this time of year is a great time to watch “Meet Me in St. Louis.” In that movie, Judy Garland sings, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” That rendition is my pick for my favorite Christmas song. It’s bitter-sweet, and if you’ve never seen the movie, go out and get it. It will warm your heart on a cold winter day. I had the privilege of singing it in a Christmas musical years ago. Sigh…Good memories.

I love having my family close for the holidays. Sadly, we’re spread across the country these days so it makes it a little difficult. But I’m blessed with incredible memories. Memories that are often times brought to life by simply hearing a song on the radio or watching an old movie. I hope that you’re making memories with your loved ones that you can hold in your heart forever.

 

I hope that you’re finding some good books to read this holiday season! Today I’m happy to introduce you to my guest author, Meda White!

 

Play with my Heart by Meda White

Meda White PlayWithMyHeart850 Book Cover

Southern musician and closet geek Liz Baker enjoys her quiet life. While in Los Angeles helping her brother with a house project, the simple life gets complicated when British television actor Ian Clarke walks into the picture.

Ian enjoys his celebrity status in Hollywood and is determined nothing and no one will get in the way of his plans for success on the big screen. He never counted on meeting a woman like Liz, but she’s the only one who can help him with a personal problem.

Forced into close quarters where priorities and cultures clash, an intense attraction catches them both by surprise. Secrets, old lovers and the paparazzi threaten their new dreams and a chance for love could be lost forever.

Play With My Heart is a finalist in the 2014 BTS Reader’s Choice Red Carpet Awards.

Pick up your copy today from Amazon.

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As part of The 12 Days of Christmas celebration, Meda donated Bodycology Moroccan shower gel & lotion, plus author swag to the prize list. Click HERE for this and many more random drawings. To follow the celebration, find a new recipe, pick up a holiday decorating or shopping tip, click HERE.

About the Author

Meda White was born with Georgia clay running through her veins, and she continues to enjoy the Southern lifestyle with her husband and Collie.

She’s a member of Romance Writers of America and affiliate chapters: Southern Magic, Georgia Romance Writers, and Contemporary Romance Writers.

When not writing, you might find her singing harmony, attempting to play guitar, shooting zombie targets, quoting movie lines, traveling, teaching yoga, or explaining the meaning of her unusual first name.

Connect: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

The Seventh Day of Christmas – Jessica Jefferson

On the seventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me…

Yummy!

Yummy!

A finger food recipe!

Today I’m going to share one of the first things I ever learned to make. I was in elementary school when I mastered these. Easy. Inexpensive. Tasty!

LITTLE PIZZAS

Split English muffins or use regular bread. Toast in toaster. Spread with olive oil, or regular vegetable oil. Sprinkle with garlic salt. Spread with canned spaghetti sauce or tomato sauce. Sprinkle with oregano. Top with sliced or shredded mozzarella cheese. Bake in preheated oven at 375 degrees for 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted. You can also add other toppings such as black olives, or whatever your favorite pizza topping might be.

Today I’d like to welcome Jessica Jefferson to my blog!

Taming Miss Tisdale by Jessica Jefferson

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Miss Tamsin Tisdale believes herself to be completely unsuitable for London life. After a myriad of social mishaps, and the potential ruination of her family name, she’s shipped away to her cousin’s northern estate. Only after she accepts the type of existence Society dictates she must follow will she be welcomed home.

Marcus Winston, the Duke of Grayson, has a lackluster reputation. The last in a dying line, he’s endured a protected life—rank with privilege, but encumbered by isolation. After a brief encounter with rebellion, he learns the devastating consequences of his carelessness and willingly accepts living life from inside his gilded cage.

However, a chance meeting with the brazen Miss Tisdale gives Marc the opportunity to reinvent himself into the man he’s always dreamed of being. But when his deception comes to light, and ghosts from both their pasts threaten to unravel the intimacy they’ve come to cherish, will either of them set their fears aside long enough to embrace love? Or will Miss Tisdale’s stubbornness divide them?

Pick up your copy today at Amazon.

12 Days of Christmas Blog Hop Button with Frame

As part of The 12 Days of Christmas celebration, Jessica donated a $10 Starbucks card, paired with an autographed PB of Marked from Jeanne Hardt to the prize list. Click HERE for this and many more random drawings. To follow the celebration, find a new recipe, pick up a holiday decorating or shopping tip, click HERE.

About the Author

Jessica Jefferson makes her home in northern Indiana, or as she likes to think of it – almost Chicago. Jessica originally attended college in hopes of achieving an English degree and writing the next great American novel. Ten years later she was working as a registered nurse and reading historical romance when she decided to give writing another go-round.

Jessica writes likes she speaks – which has a tendency to be fast paced and humorous. She is heavily inspired by sweeping, historical romance novels, but aims to take those key emotional elements and inject a fresh blend of quick dialogue and comedy.

Connect: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

The Sixth Day of Christmas – Sophia Kimble

On the sixth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…

A beautiful Christmas tree!

My tree!

My tree!

For years I went to the tree lot and got a ‘real’ tree. I never ventured into the woods like they did on “Christmas Vacation,” but I think that’s probably a good thing. I don’t like the cold that much! Still, I love the way a natural tree smells. It was fun picking out a tree until the time came that money was exceptionally tight and trees seemed to get higher and higher in price.

About seventeen years ago I succumbed to an artificial tree and loved it! Putting it together was always enjoyable and I knew I could bend the wires to make it look just right. Hanging ornaments was easy, too! This year, I passed the tree on to my son and enjoyed helping him and my grandson put it together. It’s amazing that the tree has held up for so long. Guess I picked a good one! What I loved most about putting up the tree was reminiscing over every ornament. I was happy to pass on that tradition to my son and hopefully that tree will give him another seventeen years of enjoyment.

 

Today I’m very happy to introduce you to a friend of mine, and fellow author, Sophia Kimble!
Protect Her by Sophia Kimble

Sophia Kimble ProtectHer_850HIGH  Book Cover

Golden Alexander is trapped in a nightmare.

Trying to flee her hallucination of a demon, she runs heart first into the brooding alpha male she’s been dreaming about for years, and then her nightmare really begins.

Kris Pietka is done with women…he’s broken. But when he meets Golden, an overwhelming need to protect her tests everything he thought he knew about himself, and the paranormal.

A bond forged centuries ago thrusts them together as they search for a way to break an ancient Druid curse prophesying their demise. Racing against the clock, they travel from Vermont, to the Carpathian Mountains in Poland, and the Scottish Highlands in search of answers and a way to break the curse.

But something evil watches—it covets, and time is running out.

Will fate allow love to prevail against unbeatable odds, or will Golden wake to find it was all a delusion?

Pick up a copy today from Amazon.

12 Days of Christmas Blog Hop Button with Frame

As part of The 12 Days of Christmas celebration, Sophia donated a $5 Amazon card, paired with a set of hand-painted ceramic penguin holiday mugs from Ryan Jo Summers to the prize list. Click HERE for this and many more random drawings. To follow the celebration, find a new recipe, pick up a holiday decorating or shopping tip, click HERE.

About the Author

Sophia Kimble has always wanted to be an author, but for years, life got in the way. She wouldn’t change a thing about how her life turned out, though. Her family keeps her laughing and loving. Her wonderful husband and two extraordinary children stand beside her every step of the way and make this journey called life worth living.

Sophia has worked as a nurse for twenty years, but has put that career path aside to devote her time and imagination to writing down the stories that keep her up nights.

She takes her love of the paranormal, history, and genealogy, and weaves them into tales of family, fated love, and supernatural occurrences.

Connect: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads