Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Results Are In!

As long as I can remember, there's been a myth in our family that great-grandma Missouri Belle was half Native American. My uncle and I have had many fireside chats about her and how she came to be Indian. If it was true, it happened when Missouri's mother was keeping the homestead going while her husband was off fighting the Civil War. Was it rape, as my uncle speculated, or was it an impetuous love story? My mind buzzed with ideas, and I began doing genealogical research in an attempt to find out what tribe she was descended from.

We thought we had hit upon something last summer, when we found Missouri's grave. The name on her tombstone wasn't Missouri, but Missouria. My brother did a search and discovered there was once a Missouria tribe, but they disbanded in the 1800s, as their number dwindled. Paydirt! We were elated. So much so, my brother decided to give me the gift of a DNA test for Christmas.

I got the results a few days ago, and it revealed some fascinating stuff. My family is mostly from western Europe--Germany and Switzerland, which I knew about. Following a close second was Scandinavian, which I had no idea existed in my genes. More research must be done to find out if I'm related to any Vikings. I knew about the smidge of English in my blood, but was totally unaware of the 10% Irish in me. Since one of my heroes was Irish, this makes me very proud.

But the Native American? Not a trace was found--anywhere. The DNA revealed a drop of European Jewish, but not a bit of Indian. I discussed it with the family, and we think my uncle should get tested, since he's one generation closer to Missouri Belle, so we're not giving up entirely. But to say we were disappointed would be an understatement.

Fortunately, I love to write historical romances, and the impetuous love affair between my great-great-grandmother and her Missouria Indian can still happen. Stay tuned. Someday, you'll see Susannah Myers' illicit tale come to life. That fact that it's fiction rather than real-life won't really matter.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Thursday Threads--Get to know historical romance writer Meggan Connors

The Marker
By Meggan Connors
Genre: Historical Romance
Heat Level: Sensual

When her father loses her in a poker game, Lexie Markland is sent to work in the household of Nicholas Wetherby for one year to pay off the debt. Innocent, but not naïve, she is savvy enough to know she must maintain her distance from this man, who frustrates her with his relentless teasing but whose kisses bring her to her knees. Because although she may be just another conquest to him, it’s not just her heart in jeopardy should she succumb to Nicholas’ considerable charms.

Since his brother's death almost a year before, nothing has held Nicholas’ attention for long—not women, not booze, not even an excellent hand at cards. Nothing, that is, until he meets the woman he won in a drunken night of poker. Intrigued by his prize and her chilly reserve, he makes it his mission to crack Lexie’s cool demeanor. But even as passion explodes between them, the question remains: will Nicholas be able to take the ultimate risk...and gamble on love?


Sacramento, California
Summer 1874

    Nicholas Wetherby threw back his whiskey in a single swallow. He hadn’t touched his cards since he had first looked at them, casually raising bets as other players placed them. Recognizing Nicholas’s betting patterns as those of a man with a remarkable hand, the other players at the table folded, one after the other. All except one.
Idly twirling a silver dollar between his fingers, Nicholas leaned back in his chair, hooked his arm over the back and studied the last remaining a player, John Markland. Markland was a man who had been perpetually down on his luck since the death of his wife, and any good sense he may have once had must have died with her. Only an improbable run of good fortune brought Markland to this particular table, and he played like a man possessed. Nicholas had once heard he lived more or less hand-to-mouth in a seedy part of town with his daughter, and the stack of cash in front of him would keep him in food and booze for a good month. If the man had any common sense left, he wouldn’t push his luck—he would fold this hand, gather his winnings, and count both his cash and his blessings.
    “How much you got, Markland?” he asked.
    Tobacco smoke clung to the air as Markland mashed the end of his cigar between his teeth. Making a show of counting his money, he said, “Ninety.”
    Still not looking back at his cards, Nicholas tossed in a hundred dollars. A part of him expected Markland to fold over the casual way he placed his bet, as if he didn’t care about the sum of money being wagered. And, in fact, he didn’t.
“Well, that ought to cover it.”
    The desperate greed lighting his eyes poorly disguised, Markland stared at the cash in front of him. The problem with Markland was that he lacked both the fortitude and the skill to earn his money, so he had to win it. Pity he wasn’t even very good at that.
    Nicholas despised men like him. But then, Nicholas despised just about everyone these days.
    “I’ll sign over the house to you if you go all in, Wetherby.”
    Nicholas chuckled, but it felt hollow in his gut. “I’m sure it’s mortgaged for more than it’s worth. I think not.”
    He didn’t want anything Markland had to offer, but at least the betting was getting interesting. The familiar rush accompanying a big win caught his attention and pierced through the languor that had been dogging him for months. Ever since the death of his brother almost a year before, no amount of drink or women seemed to be able to fill the void in his life, though a big win at poker at least piqued his interest for a time. 
    “I’ll give you my watch,” Markland said, fishing into his pocket. “It’s pure gold.”
    Nicholas eyed the banged-up trinket his opponent dangled in front of him, acting like a street vendor hawking ‘genuine diamonds’ or some cure-all elixir. As if he would want such a piece of junk. Nicholas almost wished the man had more pride.
“I have a pocket watch, and I don’t need another,” Nicholas replied, swiftly losing interest in the betting and wanting to move on to the next hand. “Just call with the ninety and let’s be done with this. Except for the cash in front of you, you have nothing I want.”
Markland fidgeted in his seat and tapped his index finger nervously on the worn, green felt of the card table. His eyes shifted from Nicholas to Nicholas’s money, and over at the bar. “A moment, Wetherby,” he said, holding up his hand. “Barkeep!” he shouted to the man standing behind the gleaming mahogany bar. When he turned in their direction, Markland said, “Bourbon whiskey, for me and my new friend here. The ‘48, if you would.”
“Going for the good stuff, I see.”
    “Nothing but the best for me and my friends,” Markland said, raising a glass in a toast.
    Never one to turn down a free drink—especially not one as good as the ‘48—Nicholas nodded his thanks, replied, “Indeed,” and drained his glass. He placed it on the table with heavy thud and said, “Just call.”
    “No, wait!” Markland cried. “My daughter! If I lose, I’ll give you my daughter!”

Here's the link to Amazon:

Monday, December 23, 2013

Mary's Merry Christmas

I have to admit, this holiday season began all wrong. First, there was the upside-down turkey for the second year in a row. Only this time I couldn't blame my sister entirely, since I was at her house this year, slipping the bird into the oven. Then, I got sick for a couple of weeks with something my doctor proclaimed as the 'creeping crud.' That was her technical term for it. What it did was make me feel miserable, blowing (literally) through boxes of tissue and losing my voice (the horror!). Then came the loss of the mother of one of my dear friends. Not much to celebrate this year, eh?

Not so fast. Take a look at my little dog, Mary, all dolled up for the holiday.
Three or four years ago, she was living a miserable existence as a puppy-mill breed dog. The only times she was picked up at all was to be abused. She still has a fear of being picked up, and can't do normal dog things like jump on the furniture or take a flight of stairs. But her life, compared to what it had been, is one big joy ride now.

So, the moral of this holiday tale is to take happiness wherever you find it. Circumstances may make it not the picture-perfect holiday you had envisioned, but there are bright spots to be found regardless. All you have to do is search for them.

Have a safe and happy Christmas, everyone!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Final Weekend To Save!

Amazon's Kindle Big Deal for Christmas will end on December 22. Two of my books--The Reluctant Debutante and Banking On Temperance--are for sale for only 99 cents each. But the offer expires on December 22. By that time, Amazon believes all the new Kindles will be loaded up and wrapped to place under the tree.

So, please add grabbing some great romances to your list of things to do this final weekend before Christmas.

The Reluctant Debutante

In 1855 New York, Ginger Fitzpatrick has absolutely no interest in taking part in the newest rage in America—the Cotillion Ball. Instead, Ginger would rather be rallying for women’s rights and marching alongside Amelia Bloomer. She meets and falls in love with a dark mysterious man named Joseph Lafontaine, who ignites her passion and makes her question if love and marriage is such a ridiculous notion after all. What she and the rest of New York’s high society don’t realize is that Joseph is half Ojibwa Indian, causing Ginger to fight for another kind of social justice. 

Buy Link:

Banking On Temperance

Set in St. Louis in 1857, this book follows the trail of a poor preacher and his family, who have decided to migrate to Oregon in order to keep their two young sons from having to fight in the impending Civil War. However, along the way to join up with a wagon train, the preacher falls ill, and the family is forced to winter over in St. Louis. Temperance Jones, the eldest, meets and falls in love with Basil Fitzpatrick, owner of the local bank. However, he can't help her fulfill her father's dying request to get his boys out of harm's way. 

Buy Link: 


Thursday, December 19, 2013

Thursday Threads--Linda Bennett Pennell

Today, I have the pleasure of introducing Linda Bennett Pennell and her fabulous book, Al Capone at the Blanche Hotel.

Genre: Historical fiction with romantic elements

Al Capone at the Blanche Hotel tells a story of lives unfolding in different centuries, but linked and irrevocably altered by a series of murders in 1930. 

Lake City, Florida, June, 1930: Al Capone checks in for an unusually long stay at the Blanche Hotel, a nice enough joint for an insignificant little whistle stop. The following night, young Jack Blevins witnesses a body being dumped heralding the summer of violence to come. One-by-one, people controlling county vice activities swing from KKK ropes. No moonshine distributor, gaming operator, or brothel madam, black or white, is safe from the Klan's self-righteous vigilantism. Jack's older sister Meg, a waitress at the Blanche, and her fiancé, a sheriff’s deputy, discover reasons to believe the lynchings are cover for a much larger ambition than simply ridding the county of vice. Someone, possibly backed by Capone, has secret plans for filling the voids created by the killings. But as the body count grows and crosses burn, they come to realize this knowledge may get all of them killed.

Gainesville, Florida, August, 2011: Liz Reams, an up and coming young academic specializing in the history of American crime, impulsively moves across the continent to follow a man who convinces her of his devotion yet refuses to say the three simple words I love you. Despite entreaties of friends and family, she is attracted to edginess and a certain type of glamour in her men, both living and historical. Her personal life is an emotional roller coaster, but her career options suddenly blossom beyond all expectation, creating a very different type of stress. To deal with it all, Liz loses herself in her professional passion, original research into the life and times of her favorite bad boy, Al Capone. What she discovers about 1930’s summer of violence, and herself in the process, leaves her reeling at first and then changed forever.

June 14, 1930
O’Leno, Florida

Jack jammed a finger into each ear and swallowed hard. Any other time, he wouldn’t even notice the stupid sound. The river always sorta slurped just before it pulled stuff underground.
His stomach heaved again. Maybe he shouldn’t look either, but he couldn’t tear his eyes away from the circling current. When the head slipped under the water, the toe end lifted up. Slowly the tarpaulin wrapped body, at least that’s what it sure looked like, went completely vertical. It bobbed around a few times and finally gurgled its way down the sinkhole. Then everything went quiet . . . peaceful . . . crazily normal. Crickets sawed away again. An ole granddaddy bullfrog croaked his lonesomeness into the sultry midnight air.
Crouched in the shelter of a large palmetto clump, Jack’s muscles quivered and sweat rolled into his eyes, but he remained stock-still. His heart hammered like he had just finished the fifty yard dash, but that was nothing to what Zeke was probably feeling. He was still just a little kid in lots of ways.
When creeping damp warmed the soles of Jack’s bare feet, he grimaced and glanced sideways. Zeke looked back with eyes the size of saucers and mouthed the words I’m sorry. Jack shook his head then wrinkled his nose as the odor of ammonia and damp earth drifted up. He’d always heard that fear produced its own peculiar odor, but nobody ever said how close you had to be to actually smell it. He prayed you had to be real close; otherwise, he and Zeke were in big trouble. 
The stranger standing on the riverbank stared out over the water for so long Jack wondered if the man thought the body might suddenly come flying up out of the sinkhole and float back upriver against the current. Funny, the things that popped into your head when you were scared witless.
The man removed a rag from his pocket and mopped his face. He paused, looked upstream, then turned and stared into the surrounding forest. As his gaze swept over their hiding place, Jack held his breath and prayed, but he could feel Zeke’s chest rising and falling in ragged jerks so he slipped his hand onto Zeke’s arm. Under the gentle pressure of Jack’s fingers, Zeke’s muscles trembled and jumped beneath his soft ebony skin. When Zeke licked his lips and parted them like he was about to yell out, Jack clapped a hand over the open mouth and wrapped his other arm around Zeke’s upper body, pulling him close and holding him tight. Zeke’s heart pounded against the bib of his overalls like it might jump clean out of his chest.
With one final look ‘round at the river and forest, the stranger strode to the hand crank of a Model T. The engine caught momentarily, then spluttered and died. A stream of profanity split the quiet night. The crank handle jerked from its shaft and slammed back into place. More grinding and more swearing followed until the thing finally coughed to life for good and a car door slammed. Only then did Jack relax his hold on Zeke.
“I want outta here. I wanna go home,” Zeke whispered hoarsely.
Lucky Zeke. Before Meg left home to move into town, Jack would have felt the same way. Now he didn’t care if he ever went home. 
Jack cocked an ear in the Ford’s direction. “Hush so I can listen. I think he’s gone, but we’re gonna belly crawl in the opposite direction just to be sure we ain’t seen.”
“Through that briar patch?  I ain’t got on no shoes or shirt.”
“Me neither. Come on. Don’t be such a baby.”
“I ain’t no baby,” Zeke hissed as he scrambled after Jack.
When the pine forest thinned out, Jack raised up on his knees for a look around. Without a word, Zeke jumped to his feet and started toward the road. Jack grabbed a strap on Zeke’s overalls and snatched him back onto his bottom.
“You taken complete leave of your senses?” Wiping sweat out of his eyes, Jack pushed his shaggy blonde hair to one side. “Check it out before you go bustin’ into the open.”
“Why you so bossy all the time? I ain’t stupid, ya know. Just cause you turned twelve don’t make you all growed up.”
Zeke’s lower lip stuck out, trembling a little. Whether it was from fear or anger, Jack wasn’t sure. Probably both. Peering into the night, he strained for the flash of headlights. Nothing but bright moonlight illuminated the road’s deep white sand. Finally confident that no vehicles were abroad, he grabbed Zeke’s hand and pulled him to his feet. With one final glance left, then right, they leapt onto the single lane track and ran like the devil was on their tails. 

Al Capone at the Blanche Hotel now available from Soul Mate Publishing
Confederado do Norte  coming from Soul Mate in 2014



Twitter:  @LindaPennell

Buy link for Al Capone at the Blanche Hotel:

Sunday, December 15, 2013

You Live And Die By The Biscuits

As a self-professed reality TV viewer (see last Sunday's post for full disclosure), I watched a famous cheftesant contest last week. The person who went home because of a bad biscuit uttered the profound words "You live and die by the biscuits." His, in this case, had saggy, soggy middles, even though the top and bottom were gloriously golden. What had happened?

One of the judges explained that, for biscuits to be done right, the butter must be ice-cold, and cut into small chunks, not creamed, into the flour mixture. Then, during baking, these tiny chunks of butter melt, allowing for the biscuits to rise properly. I'm not enough of a baker to know if this is, in fact, correct, but it sounded logical. This particular chef obviously had creamed his butter instead of chunking it.

So what does a baking lesson have to do with writing? Allow me to explain.

Last summer, I attended a workshop with Margie Lawson. While the workshop as a whole was kind of all over the place, I did pick up one image that has stuck with me. She said to write each character's backstory in a series of bullet points and pretend you copied them onto a sheet of glass. You then drop the glass, breaking the points into little chunks of story and insert them, one at a time, into your manuscript. If you add in too much backstory at once--in other words, creaming it into the dough that is your story, you end up with a saggy, soggy, middle.

Every time I'm writing a story now, and attempting to insert some backstory to help the reader find out what makes my characters tick, I remember the image of the backstory on glass and only insert enough of a chunk at a time to tease the reader into wanting to learn more. At least I hope that will be what happens. After all, you live and die by the biscuits.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Get to know Elle Hill

Today, we get to know Elle Hill, who writes paranormal romances.
I read her short story in the Christmas anthology, and loved it, so I'm certain Hunted Dreams is a dynamite story.

Let's find out more about the novel.

Genre: Paranormal romance

Heat level: Sensual.

Hook: A woman trapped in an endless cycle of nightmares. A handsome hero committed to rescuing her. It’s just like Sleeping Beauty – except the dreaming damsel is the sword wielder and the hero is a psychic vampire feeding off her pain.


“The Leeches got their nickname from the way they eat.” Reed’s voice was even.
“They drink blood?” she breathed.
He shook his head. “A little less literal. The Broschi are empathic. They can feel and even evoke other people’s feelings, negative ones like fear, pain, horror.”
“Sun and stars,” she breathed. She got it.
She got it.
“They’re eating me,” she said, and laughed, but not humorously. “These superhuman, psychic Leech people are keeping me trapped in nightmares, eating my feelings.” Her chest felt heavy. She pressed her left hand against it and felt its gentle rise and fall.
None of this is real. All this drama, all this fear, all the pain and anger and malice. None of it exists except in the form of juicy brainwaves that these beings sip like mint juleps. No wonder she couldn’t die, couldn’t escape, couldn’t ever wake up.
Reed’s face was flushed, his nostrils wide. Her handsome hero. For a minute, she hated him, hated that he got to wake up, hated this situation, hated everything boxing her in this narrow world.
Katana glared at him for a moment. “I’m trapped in here,” she grated.
His face relaxed into compassion. Hers hardened.
“I know,” he said.
She stared at him for a moment longer. Finally, with a sigh, she leaned her head against the glass. “Who are you, Reed?”
“I’m a Leech, too, Katana.”




Purchasing the book:

Twitter: @ellehillauthor

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Dream Big

Okay, I'll confess it--I watch a lot of reality TV. I use the excuse that I only have eight stations at my disposal (six if you discount the Spanish and Russian stations), and I don't watch any crime or cop dramas, which annihilates most of the nightly lineup on every other station (Castle doesn't fall into this category, since he's an author).

But the fact of the matter is, I enjoy my reality shows. Not all of them, mind you. I draw the line at Miami, Shahs and Jersey. But everything else is fair game. I find some of the best lines for my contemporaries from watching these shows.

Recently, a new show started up that features a fashion blogger from Dallas. She made the comment that if your dreams don't scare you a little, you're not dreaming big enough. Sage advice from a fashion blogger, I thought. So, with the new year in sight, I'm offering up my dream list for 2014. They scare the crap out of me, so I think they're big enough.

1) Make it into the realm of "established" author. (10,000 sales, according to The Fussy Librarian)
2) Attend the RWA Conference in San Antonio.
3) Hit #1 on an Amazon list, at least for one day
4) Buy a new Mac to replace Old Faithful, who is now over ten years old.
5) Have one of my books be optioned for a TV movie. (Castle's daughter would be a great Ginger!)

So tell me, what are your dreams for 2014?

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Thursday Threads--Janis Lane

Say hello to Janis Lane, everyone.
She's got a cozy mystery for your enjoyment. Murder In The Neighborhood proves that even in a small town, there's murder afoot.

Heat Level: Sensual

A handsome detective and a sexy reporter team to capture a killer who threatens their small-town-American community, even as they are tempted by sweet romance.
A killer is attacking respectable citizens in picturesque Hubbard, NY and leaving corpses on their front steps in the middle of the day. Detective Fowler isn’t certain who causes him to lose the most sleep, a certain sexy reporter with bouncing curls and sparkling black eyes or the elusive psychopath creating panic in his small town community. Together the detective and the reporter race to find the monster in their midst and return the town to the desirable place where people come to raise their families in peace and contentment. Can they sort through their differences to find romance even as they search for a determined stalker with murder on his mind? The clock ticks down on a man in a rage with a deadly mission.

A young woman competently filling a pair of gray slacks and a blue sweater was backing out of a bedroom with her hand still on the door. She was slightly built but of medium height with a thick mop of curly brown hair cut just at jaw line. A tiny waist and the snug slacks accented a firm, rounded bottom that strained and rippled the material as she stepped backwards from the room.

He thought he had seen those hips someplace before, but he waited patiently for the intruder to turn around. Would she recognize him outlined against the light? She finally did and gave a visible start and squeak of surprise.

“Miss Hampton,” he greeted keeping his voice quiet and noncommittal. He nodded with raised eyebrows, as he leaned against the doorjamb with his arms crossed in front of him waiting for her explanation. Her cheeks reddened slightly as she came toward him. He had never known such a rounded woman before. Everything about her made him think of succulent apples. She wasn’t fat. Just curvy round. He tried not to look down at her chest, which he knew would bring thoughts of Delicious to mind. He was slightly acquainted with Beverly Louise Hampton and more than a little wary. His attraction to her had his automatic defense mechanisms clicking, one by one, firmly into place.

“Hey, Detective Fowler,” she said warily by way of greeting. “I came in the back door from behind. I parked my car over on the next street because I knew the short cut through the yards. Used to ride my bike through here to get to school,” she babbled. “I guessed you would have all the official vehicles out front. I said hello to the police earlier,” she added, winding down and giving him a slightly apprehensive look. He knew she knew she shouldn’t be here.
She clutched a notebook to her chest nervously but tilted her chin up slightly. So, she wasn’t sorry she’d intruded herself into a crime scene. Just as he knew she’d monitored the calls to the police.
“Just because your daddy, a mannerly gentleman, by the way . . .” He gave her a hard stare. “. . . owns the newspaper does not give you the right to contaminate a crime scene, Miss Hampton, and you are perfectly aware of this fact,” he said between clenched teeth. He strode past her and walked through the house.


Sunday, December 1, 2013

My Contemporary Side

I love writing historicals, as anyone who follows my career knows. But in between all the history, I like to put together a contemporary that's more breezy than a heavy historical. I think it makes both my historical side and my contemporary side better if I bounce back and forth. The last thing I want is to have every book sound the same. The characters must jump off the page at you and have you, the reader, be rooting for them from the first scene. Otherwise, what's the point?

Blame It On The Brontes was my debut contemporary. There is more coming early in 2014. I'll be releasing The Road To Comfort (just saw the cover--Yum!) sometime in January, and then Voice Of An Angel in early 2014. I'm hoping having more than one selection will help the lagging sales of all of them. And, I hope to become more familiar with the haunts of contemporary readers. It's been a bit of a struggle. Authors and publishers alike try different promotional tactics. Some work, some don't. Time was when offering up your book for free for a day or two stimulated sales, since it raised you in the Amazon rankings. Now, we've been told that doesn't work anymore. Getting 30 reviews for your book in the first three days of its release was guaranteed to bring you lots of extra Amazon promotion. Now, that's been proven a falsehood.

What is an author to do? The answer is very simple, and very complex. Write the best book you possibly can, promote it at every opportunity, and keep your name out there. Easy-peasy, right?

So, here goes. Blame It On The Brontes has been voted #1 Best Baby Boomer Romance by Goodreads subscribers. It's three love stories in one book, wrapped around a central story line. And, best of all, it's on sale for four more days at only 99 cents! Grab your copy now, or load up that Kindle gift you're giving someone for Christmas. Charlotte, Emily, and Anne would appreciate it. Not to mention, I'd be overjoyed.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Romance Review's Year-End Blog Hop

 My Q&A bit for The Romance Review's Blog Hop happens next Tuesday, so I want to be ready for it. You will be able to find the answer in this short excerpt from my debut contemporary.

Excerpt from Blame It On The Brontes. 


Suddenly, Liam took hold of her hand and pulled her up off the bench. “Let’s go to The Quack. I’m heading back out to the lobster grounds in the morning, and I think we should have a beer before I go.”
They made their way into The Quacking Puffin, which had been inhabited by both locals and tourists for as long as Emily remembered. The place hadn’t been updated in more than thirty years, which was part of its charm, but the place was always clean. The lights were dim, except for the purple glow emanating from the jukebox. They ordered their drinks at the bar and then took refuge in a booth, where they surveyed the selections on the tabletop individual juke.

Here's a bit more about the book, which occupies the #1 spot on the Goodread's list for Best Baby Boomer Books. 

This novel was inspired by a jewelry-making class taught by a woman who has spent years collecting beach glass on the shores of Lake Erie and turning those rare pieces of glass into beautiful necklaces and bracelets. By the look of the necklace she tried to teach me to make, I realized at the end of the class that my talent was with the written word, not with the creation of jewelry.  The novel is set in coastal Maine. 

Three separate love stories intertwine around a central theme, as fractious sisters Charlotte, Emily and Anne Bronson, each in her forties, are in Puffin Bay, ME for their mother's funeral. Each is ready to sink her claws into the fortune their mother left behind. But their mother has other plans. Her substantial fortune won't be divided until the trio return to their childhood home and live together for a year.

 It's a request that pits sister against sister but could unite them in a common goal to find the friendship they shared as children, to create a family jewelry business and to win over the men of Puffin Bay. They have a year to figure it all out.

Friday, November 22, 2013

All I Want For Christmas--Day 12

A very fitting conclusion to my Twelve Days Of Christmas tribute is my own story in the Soul Mate Christmas Anthology. This Old House a story near to my heart, since I've always wanted to take a grand old painted lady Victorian and restore her to her former glory. I haven't made it yet--my homes have been elderly, but not grand. In this story, Beth is a realtor who buys, restores, and flips old
homes one at a time. This time, the house hasn't garnered any interest, so she's decided to make it a stop on the town's Christmas homes tour. Here's the hook:

Two old friends find they have more in common than a Christmas birthday as they reunite after twenty years apart.

And my excerpt:

   “Tell me again why we’re participating in the Historic Homes Christmas tour?” Beth's assistant Hannah asked as she fastened pine boughs to the banister and draped the fireplace mantle. She added wide velvet ribbon, winding it in between the branches.
   “Six months without so much as a nibble of interest on this place is enough reason. So we’re putting on the lady’s party clothes and showing her off during the town’s Christmas tour,” Beth replied. “Such a lovely home. Brings back memories for me.”
   “You and this home had a connection even before you bought it and renovated?”
The snippet of history flashed through Beth’s mind and made her smile. “I know the family who owned this house. Which reminds me, where’s the mistletoe I bought?”
   “Quit being cryptic. What’s mistletoe got to do with anything?”
   Beth pointed to the small entry foyer. “The very first kiss of my life happened in that spot, under some mistletoe.”

And don't forget to click on the poster to the right and head over to The Romance Review's Year End Blog Hop and visit other participating blog sites. Lots of fun, games and prizes are up for grabs.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Unconquerable Callie 
by DeAnn Smallwood
Genre: Historical Romance
Heat Level: Sweet


Callie Collins, a proud woman in the late 1800’s is a liar and a darned good one, a master of the dubious art. She is also a dreamer. Her greatest hope is to reach a new life in South Pass City Wyoming, where she can open a bakery and live an independent life. To be successful, she will need her greatest gifts of deception to date. As a woman alone, she has to prove to Seth McCalister, the wagon master, that she has the wherewithal (a wagon and a set of oxen), the stamina to survive months of drought, dust, hardships and even risk of death, and a mythical fiancé who waits at the end of the line. McCallister is uneasy, but also mystified by the audacity and determination of the young woman. He allows her to join the train west. What he doesn’t realize is there is no fiancé. To make matters worse, Callie is in love with Seth McCallister, too. For the first time, the lies that have brought her so far in life threaten to keep her from her one, true love. McCallister is a man of strong character and Callie feels certain that once he realizes her deception, he’ll turn away, ashamed of his love and trust in her.


She left the empty dining room and, with shoulders squared, set out for the general store. The town hummed like a beehive of angry bees, streets crowded with wagons of every description, vendors set up on any available space offering any and all items needed for the trip west. If you wanted it, Independence had it. You just had to find the right stall or store.
 Callie strolled past each vendor seeing-without-seeing the wares. There would be time to stock her wagon once she had one. She reached for the door to the general store only to have it shoved open from the inside, hitting her with such force she went tumbling backward down the steps. She landed on her rump in the dusty street, hat askew, petticoats up over the top of her fashionable buttoned shoes.
 Before she realized what had happened, she was pulled up into strong arms, then flopped over a masculine forearm while a large hand administered rib shaking blows to her back.
 “Breathe.” The order came harsh in her ear while he smacked her back again.
 “I said breathe, lady.” The stranger shook her.
 “Stop,” Callie gasped weakly, head wobbling from side-to-side. “Stop pounding my back and shaking me.” She forced the words out between squeaky intakes of air.
 As sudden as the earthquake had started, it stopped. She remained in a tight vise against the man’s chest.
 Then he spoke again, his voice full of anger. “What in the hell, begging your pardon, Ma’am, but just what were you doing on the other side of that door?”
 Callie pulled her head back and attempted to focus. How dare he! He’d just pushed her down two steps, into a dirty street, showed her petticoats to passersby, knocked the breath out of her, pummeled her back to black and blue, and then berated her for standing in front of a door leading to a place of business.
 “You . . .”
 “Hush,” he barked. “I hollered to ‘Stand clear’ before throwing open the door. Are you deaf?”
 No, she hadn’t heard. She’d been thinking, worrying, about that dratted wagon. Anyway, it certainly wasn’t her fault and as soon as she freed herself of a pair of strong arms and a man smelling of witch hazel and the clean scent of wood smoke, she’d tell him so.
 “We were rolling out kegs and barrels. You could have been hurt. I’ve seen some dumb stunts, lady, but standing there with your head in the clouds when someone is trying to prevent an accident, is just, well, it’s just crazy.” With that, he released her and set her firmly on her feet. He brushed off the dust clinging to her dress.
Callie eyed him apprehensively and backed away only to feel the heel of her shoe teeter over the edge of the step. She flailed her arms and would have tumbled back down the steps again if, quick as a snake, he hadn’t reached out and grabbed her.
"Ma'am,' he growled, "you'd better get home to the safety of your kitchen and not venture out without your husband on your arm. You're a menace." And before Callie could put her tongue into action, he picked her up like a doll and firmly set her to one side while he stormed down the steps. He was part of the crowd before she could speak all the unladylike words that were on her lips.
Of all the egotistical males, she had just met the king. How dare he admonish her to home and hearth? How dare he knock her down, brush her off, and scold her in front of everyone? Men. If she ever needed proof she’d done the right thing in seeking independence, there it was. A tall, strong, pigheaded stranger who just happened to have the deepest pair of blue eyes she’d ever seen.


Soul Mate Publishing:
Other books by DeAnn:

Death Crosses the Finish Line

Sapphire Blue

Montana Star

Wyoming Heather

Tears in the Wind

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

All I Want For Christmas--Day 11

Christmas stories abound in this compilation from Soul Mate Publishing.  And when you're finished, don't forget to click on the poster to the right and possibly win some extra Christmas gifts for yourself from The Romance Review's Year-End Blog Hop.

A Year And A Day
By Tina Susedik

A year after her husband's death, will a widow find love again?

After losing her husband due to a fall from a deer stand, Cara doesn't think the year since his death have made her lot any easier. Despite her depression, she attends her sister's Thanksgiving Day feast and, despite her irritating sister, find a reason to have a good time. And perhaps a future.

Sky's End: A Thell'eon Holiday Behest
By Lesley Young

An alien teaches his human captor a lesson in the real meaning of goodwill...

Evolution has created a superbly attractive male species, and human females have a hard time resisting them. But on the day of the Revelation, Cassiel must figure out if Or'ic wants her for her gifts or if he wants her for herself.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

All I Want For Christmas--Day 10

 Here are a few more encapsulations of the stories in Soul Mate's Christmas anthology. Believe me when I say there's something for every taste in this compilation.

Don't forget to click on The Romance Review's blog hop poster to the right, to visit other participating blogs, to play games and to possibly win some really nice prizes.

A Most Unexpected Gift
By Tracy Hewitt Meyer

On a lonely and desperate Christmas Eve, Cami Monroe receives an unexpected gift that will change her holiday, and her future, forever...

Cami had always loved Jake, from the time they were in high school. But he broke their engagement six months before their planned Christmas Eve wedding, sending Cami into a tailspin. Now, on Christmas Eve, it was her sister getting married instead of her. She had to get through the ceremony and push the ghost of Jake aside for one evening.

The Wishing Wreath
By Donna Shields

A second chance at love is only a single Christmas Wish away...

American Vivian is hired as a governess to the small princess Sophie, in the island country of Eclaire. She becomes friends with a man she believes is a stable boy, but he instead is the handsome Prince Antoine. When he informs Vivian of his true identity, Vivian makes arrangements to head back to the States, but has time for one more wish on a magic Christmas wreath.

Monday, November 18, 2013

All I Want For Christmas--Day 9

 Three more delightful stories to entice you. And please visit The Romance Review's blog hop by clicking on the poster to the right to visit more blog sites, play games and possibly win prizes. Thanks!

A Christmas Surprise
By Janis Lane celebrating the birth of the Christ Child, a man and a woman are given a second chance at love, but will they find the courage to ake what is so freely offered?

Two widowed neighbors try to find the courage to move forward in their lives, rather than continue to live in their private grief. This is a very touching, perfect, story about people opening up the second chapter in their lives.

A Christmas Affair
By Kristi Lea

A lake-effect blizzard, a woman's effort to spice up her marriage and the husband who's content with their current matial status quo makes for a Christmas Eve neither will ever forget...

A husband, intimidated by his wife's business success, drives through a blizzard to get to his wife's side for Christmas Eve. This is a true 21st-century scenario that brought tears to my eyes.

The Christmas Snow Ball
By Lanora Mangano

Christmas comes early for two unsuspecting high school crushes, reunited fifteen years after one horrible rumor kept them apart...

Bullying is not a new phenomenon, and in this case, it kept two people meant for each other apart for fifteen long years. A most satisfying tale.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Winter Comes To My Blog

I know I've been pushing Christmas hard these past few weeks by featuring the Soul Mate Christmas Anthology, but now I'm talking about a different kind of Winter.

Winter Austin, to be exact.

She's the author of a series of Crimson Romantic Suspense books. This series begins with Relentless, where we first meet Cody and Remy, and is followed by Retribution. Her latest, Revenge, Book Three in the Degrees of Darkness Series, was just released on November 13.
Beautiful name, beautiful lady. What more could you want? Let's find out more about her and what she's been up to, shall we?

And don't forget to click on The Romance Review's poster to the right and visit some other places on the Year-End Blog Hop. Many great prizes are up for grabs, along with some fun games to play.

Now, here's Winter!

What is your current project about?

      Book 4 in my Degrees of Darkness series, this is the wrap-up book for my characters Cody and Remy, called Reckoning.

What’s next for your readers?

      It is actually book 4, set to release in March of 2014. So far the responses for the previous 3 have been great and I hope my readers enjoy the wrap-up to this pair and their crazy dangerous lives.

Why do you write in the genre you do?

      Because I have this insatiable need to create danger and action and throw characters into chaos every chance I get. I sat in a writers class being taught by a best-selling suspense author who stated that if you were the type of writer that was a glass half-empty person, then you make the best suspense authors. You’re always looking for the worst possible scenario for everything. I’m this type of person. While my heading might say Romantic Suspense, I’m truly and clearly a Romantic Thriller author.

Do you have an idea for “the” book of your career? Have you already written it or is it still an idea bouncing around in your head?

      For a good chunk of my life I’ve been a military wife. Having lived through a deployment and watched some of our soldiers, marines, sailors, and airmen come home with the longstanding effects of TBI’s and PTSD I’ve been longing to write a book with a character coping with this. I’ve actually started said book and it's a lot different than what I’ve written and published before, this book is definitely more of a thriller. Whether this is the book of my career or not is up for debate.

If you could choose two people to have dinner with, from any time period, real or fictional, who would you want at the table?

      Dick Francis, because I have to beg him, how did he come up with a different crime and new character with a different career that somehow tied into horse racing with every book.

      And Red Skelton, cause I love laughing and that man has always made me laugh.

Are you a dog or cat person?

      Both, and it’s really hard to choose between them, and I guess that’s why I have both. Though I like having more than one dog, but only one cat.

Would you rather vacation at the beach or the mountains?

      Ooo, that’s a toughy, since I’ve been to the mountains and never been to the beach I’d like to go to the beach next. But I still love the mountain areas and would love to go back, especially in Colorado.

Sun or fog?

      Most definitely sun, fog is okay, but then I’m a Mid-west person and being out in the timber areas with fog is pretty cool.

Book Blurb:

In New Orleans, justice is best served with a heavy dose of revenge, and Remy LeBeau intends to tip the scales in his favor. For good.
Forced to take a mandatory vacation from the Dallas PD, Remy leaves his girlfriend, Cody, to protect her from what’s to come. If there’s to be any chance for a normal future for the two of them, he has to face his enemies and finish what they started—alone.
Cody Lewis gave up on someone once before, but not this time. She needs to come to terms with Remy’s past and her own as she seeks him out among the historic and deadly streets of New Orleans. But she got more than she bargained for. Those who oppose her will find you don’t get in the way of a determined Texan; especially a woman in love.
As Remy closes in on the nameless faces who have controlled his life for too long, his ability to save himself and those closest to him is tested, putting everyone he cares for in grave danger. And this time, Cody may face the reality of his death.
by Winter Austin
Romantic Suspense
Sensuality Level: Behind Closed Doors

Buy Links:

Saturday, November 16, 2013

All I Want For Christmas--Day 8

What, you say? It's too early for Christmas? Never! In my greeting card job, I've put up all the Christmas cards weeks ago. What about Thanksgiving? you interject. Ah, that's just a foodie holiday. My belief is people are so stressed in their daily lives that it takes a while for everyone to get in the holiday spirit. So the stores start hauling out fake trees and tinsel in October to nudge people in a Christmas direction. Our anthology was released in November to help people shift into that spirit. Here are three more stories from the anthology. If one of them makes you smile, we've done our job.

And, don't forget to hop over to The Romance Review's year-end blog hop and sign up for some presents of your own! Simply click on the poster to the right to get there. And enjoy!

Meeting Mace
By. C. T. Green

Encountering a scorching hot elf wasn't at the top of SERA agent's Christmas list... first line of this story made me smile. You'll have to read it to find out why. The first page had me chuckling. This is a perfect paranormal Christmas story with a sexy pointy-eared man who will make you sigh.

Forever In My Heart
By Sarah Hoss

Pledged to each other and eagerly awaiting a Christmas wedding, a young couple discovers Fate may have other plans...

If paranormal's not your thing, try this Highlander tale about two lovebirds eagerly awaiting their wedding night--until duty called. Kilts, or the lack thereof, make this an engrossing story.

A Highlander For Christmas
By Dawn Ireland

Legend has it that if the need is great enough, and the hearts pure, the magic of Christmas will guide the way, crossing all barriers to help two lost souls become one. Such was the case on this Christmas Eve...

This is a poignant tale about families lost, and a new family being formed. It comes complete with a damsel in distress and a kilt-wearing rescuer. Very touching.

Friday, November 15, 2013

All I Want For Christmas--Day 7

 Since I did not receive information from the other contributors to the anthology, and don't feel comfortable pulling out excerpts from someone else's work, I've decided to cover the remainder of the short stories in a review format. Here are the first three.

Christmas Came With The Courier
By Julia Bade

When a handsome courier shows up at Christy's door to serve her with a lawsuit, he finds the woman of his happily-ever-after, but this single mom isn't ready or willing to give her heart away again...

This is a sweet story about a twice-wed woman who isn't prepared to risk love one more time. She has two little girls to take care of and debts piling up outside the door. But the courier who served her with papers is about to deliver more than a document. He wants to be part of her life and deliver her the happy-ever-after she doesn't think she deserves.

An Island Christmas
By Joy Connell

Even in paradise, the ghosts of Christmas past can spoil the view of decorated palm trees and warm coves.

A cowboy on a tropical island is just what the doctor ordered to cure Celia's heartache. Sam is a no-nonsense pilot who flew into her life when she most needed him. Recovering from an aborted Christmas Eve marriage a year previous, Sam gives Celia the strength she needs to find pleasure again.

Weighting For Christmas
By Patricia W. Fischer

I'm glad I put a hot, naked guy on my Christmas wish list, but I didn't think Santa would actually deliver one.

This is a Bridget Jones story about a sassy, curvy woman who had one disastrous date with a sexy doctor. Six months later, he conspires to get them back together, just in time to grant one of her Christmas wishes.

And, don't forget to click on The Romance Review's poster to the right and visit more blogs on the hop. Loads of fun and prizes are available. Check it out. 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Viscount’s Vow by Collette Cameron
Genre: Historical Romance/Regency
Heat Level: Sensual
Amidst murder and betrayal, destiny and hearts collide when scandal forces a viscount and a  gypsy noblewoman to marry in this Regency romance sprinkled with suspense and humor.
Part Romani, part English noblewoman, Evangeline Caruthers is the last woman in England Ian Hamilton, the Viscount Warrick, could ever love—an immoral wanton responsible for his brother’s and father’s deaths. She thinks he’s a foul-tempered blackguard, who after setting out to cause her downfall, finds himself forced to marry her—snared in the trap of his own making.

When Vangie learns the marriage ceremony itself may have been a ruse, she flees to her gypsy relatives, declaring herself divorced from Ian under Romani law. He pursues her to the gypsy encampment, and when the handsome gypsy king offers to take Ian’s place in Vangie’s bed, jealousy stirs hot and dangerous.

At last, under a balmy starlit sky, Ian and Vangie breech the chasm separating them. Peril lurks though. Ian’s the last in his line, and his stepmother intends to dispose of the newlyweds so her daughter can inherit his estate. Only by trusting each other can they overcome scandal and murderous betrayal.

“A brilliant tale combining Regency romance with exotic Romani culture.”


“You didn’t eat much, wife.”
They were alone on the dance floor. Ian deftly twirled Vangie around his aunt’s smallish ballroom, mindful of the interested gazes watching them.
Stealing a glance at the smiling and nodding onlookers, he suppressed a frown. He felt like a curiosity on display at Bullock’s Museum. He wished others would take to the floor, so he could dispense with the devoted bridegroom facade.
The twelve courses at dinner had been torturous. His wife hadn’t taken more than a dozen bites nor said as many words. He’d tried to eat the succulent foods Aunt Edith had gone to such efforts to have prepared, but his anger made everything dry as chalk and every bit as tasteless.
“I’d not much appetite, my lord.”
He chuckled. “Don’t you think you might address me by my given name, wife?”
“Why?” she asked pertly. “I’ve known you but four days, certainly not long enough to be so familiar with you.”
He lowered his head, breathing in her ear, very aware every eye in the room was trained on them. He’d give them something to gossip about. “Because I want you to, wife, and you did promise to obey.”
He nipped her ear.
She jumped and a tiny yelp of surprise escaped before she clamped her lips together. Her eyes were shooting sparks again; only this time they were directed at him.
“What’s my name, wife?”
“Please, don’t call me that. I too have a name, as you well know.”
Drawing her closer, her breasts pressing against the breadth of his chest and cresting the edge of her bodice, he murmured, “Indeed, but Evangeline sounds . . . angelic, and we both know you’re no such thing.”
“Pardon?” She stiffened, trying to shove away from him. “I don’t under—”
His head descended again. “Say it, or I’ll trace your ear with my tongue.”
He grinned as her breath hissed from between clenched teeth. She stumbled, her fingers digging into his shoulder and hand. A very becoming flush swept across her face.
“Will you cease?” Her worried gaze careened around the room. “We’re being watched.”
Voice husky, he said, “Say my name, sweeting.”
Giving her a gentle squeeze, he started to dip his head, caressing her elegant neck with his hot breath.
“Ian, your name is Ian,” she gasped breathlessly, twisting her head away.

Contact Collette
Facebook Fan Page:
Facebook Book Page:
She can also be found on Wordpress, Tumblr, LinkedIn, and Google+

Buy Link

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

All I Want For Christmas--Day 6

Teaser Time!

This excerpt is brought to you by Larynn Ford, who wrote another one of the short stories from SMP’s Chrismas anthology this year.  It’s titled CHRISTMAS BLESSINGS.
The hook: ~ Killed the night before their wedding, a ghostly groom finds a way to return from the dead to be with his true love … ~
The excerpt:
Lila scanned the faces of her tour group for any indication someone else heard the voice. She read disbelief, anticipation, but no hint of surprise on a single face. Not one inkling anyone else caught the whispers of a name—her name—floating on the air.
Did I imagine someone calling to me?
Not her imagination. She worried her bottom lip between
her teeth as she searched each face again. Nothing. No one else seems to hear this.
The lights in the historic library had been switched off during the ghost tour to hopefully entice some resident spirits to reveal themselves. Fragrant cedar boughs cascaded from the staircase railing, filling the air with holiday scents. The colorful glow of festive lights strung along the streets spilled in through the windows and reflected off the gold and silver ornaments dotting the evergreens.
Chrissie, her best friend, had chosen this ghost tour on their weekend getaway. Even on a friendly face she read no surprise, nothing out of the ordinary. Yet, the voice calling to her was real.
Familiar. So familiar.
But he had been taken from her a year ago. The night before their wedding.
Get the anthology today!

And, don't forget to click on The Romance Review's poster to the right and visit more blogs on the hop. Loads of fun and prizes are available. Check it out. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

All I Want For Christmas--Day 5

Please click on The Romance Review's poster on the right to join in the blog hop all month long. Over 400 participating authors, and prizes given away daily. It's great fun! 

Today is all about Elle Hill! Her story is called Hunted Holidays.

Hunter Jade's assignment to guard the new guy turns into a life and death food fight, sparking romance among the rutabagas.

Sounds like fun, doesn't it? Here's a taste:

The second thing she noticed about him was his tie. A tie, as in little-silk-noose-around-his-neck. Granted, the swirly, blue and silver teardrop shapes (called argyle or paisley or something like that) looked kind of sharp against his white, button up shirt. But, still, who wore ties while cooking for needy families?

The first thing she noticed was his eyes; huge, black-fringed, and blue as a smogless L.A. sky. Gazing into them, she stumbled just a little before skidding to a halt in front of him at ten minutes past three.

“Sorry I’m late,” she said.

He smiled and extended a hand. “Jade,” he said, and his voice was cheerfully melodic, a perfect radio voice. “I’m Jensen. Pleased to meet you.”

Cherubic blue eyes or not, she didn’t want him getting the wrong idea. She brushed her hand against his, nodded, and said, “Yep. Let’s go.”

Want more Elle? Here you go:

Monday, November 11, 2013

All I Want For Chrismas--Day 4

Don't forget to visit the other blogs on The Romance Review's Blog Hop by clicking on the poster to the right. Hundreds of blogs to preview, loads of prizes and games.

Today, Lynn Cahoon takes over the blog with her lovely Christmas story, Top Secret Santa.
--Two strangers, each starting a new life, realize visiting Santa really is about Christmas magic....--


Noelle watched the door close behind him with a pang of regret. She’d probably never see the guy again. Which was exactly the way she wanted it, she reminded herself. She dressed in her street clothes, hung up the elf costume, and shut the locker door. The arm of the Santa suit hung out of an adjoining locker and she opened the door to tuck the fabric back into the stuffed space.

As she stroked the soft fabric, she thought of her own Santa visits over the years. After she’d grown up, she’d asked for more intangible gifts. Excellent grades on her finals, for her parents to be happy, and, if not for world peace, maybe fewer wars raging over the planet.

This year she asked for the moon . . . to fall in love with someone ready to love her back.

Want more of Lynn? Check her out here:

Sunday, November 10, 2013

All I Want For Christmas--Day 3

 Click on The Romance Review's Year-End Blog hop button on the right to be eligible to win over 400 prizes during the month of November!

The spotlight today turns to Cynthia Racette today with her entry, A Child Is Born.

Two teens, assisting with a church Christmas pageant, discover the true meaning of the season through their own Christmas miracle.

The man who'd helped them stood by, obviously wanting to make sure they were okay.

"We're okay. Just a little shaken." Val eyed him more closely. He wore a beige tunic in a rough, coarse material. Over it he wore a dark brown cloak that looked like linen and on his head a black cloth with a woven band that kept his long hair back. There were others walking around, all wearing the same type of clothing in different colors, materials and ornamentation.

Sweating in her winter outfit, Val pulled off her gloves and coat and Jason did the same. The foreign man reached out tentatively, and felt the mohair of her fluffy green sweater. "Where did you get this? Persia, perhaps?” He pointed to her leather boots. “You must be rich."

He touched Jason's soft flannel shirt, tracing the plaid of green, blue, and red. "How do you weave colors such as this?"

"Uh, I don't know." Jason finally glanced around. "I wonder where we are. Can you tell us the name of this town?"

The man looked at them oddly. "Why, it is Bethlehem, of Judea."

As Jason and Val stared at him in disbelief, a frisson of awareness ran the length of Val's spine. It couldn't be. But a glance around confirmed the momentous truth of what had happened. Her eyes told her it was possible, but she wasn't sure she believed her own sight.

Somehow, on Christmas Eve, they had landed in Bethlehem. And a look around told them it was not the Bethlehem of today, but rather many years ago.

How to reach Cynthia:

Released August 28: Uncharted Fate
Released 2012: Windswept
Novella: Married to the Job, to release fall 2013

Saturday, November 9, 2013

All I Want For Christmas

 Christmas Miracles, by Anna Bloom

Anna says about her story...

I love my characters in what I like to call ‘My Crimbo Short’ and I love the fact that within a few thousand words I was able to give them a great ending. I’m also proud of the fact that even though it is short I managed to tick all my writing ‘must-do’s’. It’s funny, sexy, sarcastic and has a swoonworthy guy in the lead. . .
I’ve read the other stories in the collection and they are all AMAZING and so worth a download.
Here is the hook for Christmas Miracles….
~ Jude gave up on Christmas last year when her husband walked out, but anything could happen this holiday season, thanks to a new man and a Christmas miracle . . . ~

I hope you will all give it a read and enjoy Jude and Adam’s festive tale and we all can start feeling Christmassy together . . . now where is my tinsel?

Please click on The Romance Review's poster on the right to join in the blog hop all month long. Over 400 participating authors, and prizes given away daily. It's great fun! 

Friday, November 8, 2013

All I Want For Christmas

The idea for a blog hop for this anthology kind of got lost in the shuffle, so, to do due diligence to all, I'm going to feature one story a day for twenty days. Since Jo Richardson provided me with material, she'll go first. (Yes, I'm that lazy).

Excerpt from Lost In Christmas by Jo Richardson:

I make a mean version of taco salad, but just as I’m getting ready to sit down and devour the food, there’s a knock at my door. Berkley looks up at me expectantly while my brow dips a little.


I have to answer it, I realize, but before I do, I kneel down to get eye level with my best friend.


He tilts his head.

“Guard dog.”

Berkley growls and it sounds ferocious enough, so I stand and grin. “I’ve taught you well, young padawan.”

I review some defensive techniques I learned once upon a time as he follows me to the door. When I open it, all is forgotten because the man standing in front of me doesn’t look like a threat at all.

He’s tall and looming, yes, but his face seems, nice. He’s soft around the eyes and perfect around the lips. As they move to say something I can’t hear him because I’m too busy noticing his broad shoulders. Not too broad, though, they’re just right. I won’t mention the scruffy five o’clock shadow forming along his jaw.


My mouth snaps shut and I blink.


“Can I use your phone?” he asks slowly as he kicks his shoes against the stoop. He begins to take a step forward, assuming I’ll just say yes. Berkley lets out his version of a warning bark and I put a hand to the man’s chest.

“I don’t have a phone.”

He laughs. “Everyone has a phone.”

I push a little harder. “Not this everyone.” I’m trying to stand my ground, but honestly, I’m faltering here.

“Do you have a cell phone?” he asks.

I narrow my eyes. “Yes, why?”

He pulls his out. “Because maybe your cell range is better than mine.”

I try to remain strong. “Cell phones don’t generally work this far up in the mountains.”

But he is a persistent man. “Think I could try anyway?”

I purse my lips.


He seems honest but I’ve seen this show before. Man plays desperate, woman falls for his boyish charm, never to be seen again.

I peek down at my dog, whose bark has always been a million times worse than his bite. The only thing this guy has to worry about is getting tackled and then subsequently licked to death all over his face. Or maybe his jawline.

He has a nice jawline.

I make a rash decision that he’s indeed not a threat and open the door for him, a questionable, “sure” squeaking out.  The smallest of smiles plays at his lips when he realizes he’s won.


He stands at the doorway as I retrieve my phone and when I hand it to him, he tries over and over and over again to call out, to no avail.


“Told you,” I say when he hands it back. “Are you lost? I can—”

“No I’m not lost,” he says with a snide huff. “I just . . . need some directions.”

I recognize defensive mechanisms when I hear them. “So, lost,” I reiterate with an eyebrow quirk.

“No,” he insists. “The GPS on my phone is shit with the signal up here in no man’s land, and I can’t just drive around until it’s strong again. I’m late as it is.”

“I see.”

Totally lost.

Jo Richardson
Coming Soon! Cursed be the Wicked

Please click on The Romance Review's poster on the right to join in the blog hop all month long. Over 400 participating authors, and prizes given away daily. It's great fun!