Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year!

2015 is on its way out and 2016 is creeping in.
January 1 is New Year's Day It’s the first day of the year on the modern Gregorian calendar as well as the Julian calendar. In pre-Christian Rome the day was dedicated to Janus, god of gateways and beginnings, for whom January is also named. In present day, with most countries now using the Gregorian calendar, New Year's Day is probably the most celebrated public holiday, often observed with fireworks at the stroke of midnight, or the dropping of a ball, a shoes or other devices.

So finish off your goals for next year, head for a party, or watch the ball drop on TV, pour yourself a glass of bubbly and toast the new year.
May 2016 be a good year where you and yours are healthy, happy and work toward, or reach your goals.

Happy New Year everyone!     

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Flu, Surgery, Illness?

Okay, I’m fighting a cold and feeling miserable right now. No, I’m not looking for sympathy. I know there are many out there far worse off than me. But it got me thinking. I’m a day late with my Tuesday Tips blog. My brain just wouldn’t work yesterday. And I should be working on edits, but again, the brain won’t focus. I should be working on my goals and business plan for 2016. You get the picture. At least I don’t have any immediate deadlines.

I tried taking cold medication. It stops the running nose, but makes me feel like my brain is wrapped in cotton wool. So I’m not doing that anymore. I decided I have to force myself to do a little bit each day so I don’t fall way behind. I can scan through my email and delete. I can cope with that. Anything that needs reading or a detailed response I’ll leave for another day.

I’m guest blogging on Lyndi Lamont’s site, at so I can check for comments and do some PR posts.

I’ll take a nap and then try and do a little more of the basic – not too much thinking.

What do you do when illness strikes? How do you cope if you have deadlines looming?

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Happy Boxing Day

Boxing Day is a holiday traditionally celebrated the day following Christmas Day, when servants and tradesman would receive gifts, known as a "Christmas box", from their masters, employers or customers, in the United Kingdom, The Bahamas, Barbados, Canada, Hong Kong, Australia, Bermuda, New Zealand, Kenya, South Africa, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica and other former British colonies. Today, Boxing Day is the bank holiday or public holiday that generally takes place on 26 December and when the post-Christmas sales begin.
We had a quiet Christmas Day in Tucson. I talked to family and cooked a turkey breast with fixings. No snow but the weather is getting colder. Today it goes to a whopping 46 F and down to 25F tonight. As I write this the window is rattling the doors and windows.
I'm going to start planning my goals for next year; including a budget, writing and health. I really do need to lose weight and exercise more. (No, I'm not out returning gifts or hitting the sales.)

I've also changed covers on two books - Don't Go and Targeted. But the new cover for Targeted is only for the UK.

I need to go through my reading pile and try to read more. Anyone got any good suggestions?

It's hard to believe it's less than a week and we're in a new year.
Thank you everyone who has supported me with blogs and tweaks, and maybe even bought a book. I appreciate you all and wish you a 2016 that meets your expectations.
Now I'm actually going to go and work on my latest book Death Southern Style. Have a great post Christmas weekend, everyone.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

A Kiss and a Promise

Sleighing and Mistletoe for an Exquisite Christmas  

My story in the Exquisite Christmas anthology, A Kiss and a Promise, takes place on a wintry Yule afternoon in Victorian times. The year is 1887 and the winter was cold and snowy, a perfect setting for a sleighing party to collect holly and mistletoe to decorate the house. And provide a chance for a kiss under the mistletoe… 


Sophia gave directions to the best spot for gathering holly and mistletoe, and Harry steered the horses in that direction, bells attached to the harness jingling with each step. The weather had been beastly for the last month, but it had turned the estate into a winter fairyland. Silent snow-covered fields stretched as far as she could see, and each tree sported a layer of white, softening the stark look of the winter scene. The sky was overcast, and she suspected Harry was right to rush them along.

As soon as the sleigh stopped, Reggie jumped out, made a snowball and threw it at Cora as she exited the sleigh. She yelped and chased Reggie, Phoebe on her heels squealing with excitement. Sophia watched them with amusement. Oh, to be a child again.

But she was long past that sort of behavior. She’d had a season in London, after all. She glanced at Harry and caught a gleam in his eye. “Do not even think of joining those hooligans.”

A Kiss and a Promise is a prequel to How To Woo... a Reluctant Bride. You get a glimpse of Lydia and her brother Harry when they were young and carefree. The story also introduces two sisters, Sophia and Cora, who will have their own stories in the How To Woo series. 

The Exquisite Christmas e-book is now available at:

Barnes & Noble,
and coming soon to  iBooks and other retailers.

Here’s a bonus recipe that doesn’t appear in the anthology.

Lyndi's Cranberry-Blueberry Delight

1 14 oz. can of Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce
1 package of fresh small blueberries (about 4 oz.)
1 cup of golden raisins
Mix, chill and serve. That's it!

The recipe serves 8-10 ladies. (The attached photo doesn't reflect the full recipe. It's what is left over after a couple of days of snacking on it.) I’ve also spread it on turkey sandwiches in lieu of regular cranberry sauce.
Since it's so simple, it's easy to experiment. Add nuts for crunch or sweeten to taste, if it's too tart. I'm thinking about adding some of those little marshmallows next time for color and sweetness.

Author bio:

Lyndi Lamont is the racy alter ego of author Linda McLaughlin, who writes historical and Regency Romance. Since becoming Lyndi Lamont, she has discovered that writing sexy romance is a license to be naughty, at least between the pages of a book.

You can find more about the author and her works here:


Monday, December 21, 2015

Tuesday Tips and Tweaks

This week author Margaret Fieland, joins us with her tip. Margaret Fieland has been around art and music all her life. She is an avid science fiction fan, and selected Robert A. Heinlein's "Farmer in the Sky" for her tenth birthday.
She also has a new release out today.

Margaret’s Tip on Editing

When proofreading, I always go over everything at least twice. If the piece is short enough, I go over it twice without finding an error before I pronounce it clean.

Why? Experience. I worked for many years in the computer field, starting out in the bad old days when there was nothing but mainframes and the commands needed to run a job through a computer were arcane to say the least. After a near-disaster – I left a comma out of a command line and ended up deleting all of our source code – I made it a habit to go over everything more than once. I discovered that while I might go over something once and skip over all the errors, I was unlikely to do so twice in a row.

Blurb for Rob’s Rebellion

Colonel Rob Walker always does his duty, even when it means risking shaky relationship with his family. When he's ordered to bring the treaty negotiations between the Terran Federation and the Aleyni to a successful conclusion, he's determined to do just that, even when both sides would rather he fail. How can Rob pull off a miracle and avoid a war, one where both sides could be destroyed?

Excerpt from “Rob’s Rebellion”

Colonel Robert Walker led the squad of Federation Guard soldiers as they marched down the shuttle ramp and surrounded the unfortunate Major Reynolds, who waited on the blackened surface of the spaceport landing field.

Rob gazed across the port. The sands just beyond the black-paved surface of the field glittered with reds and blues, and the mountains, five miles distant, loomed purple. A fresh breeze blew the cinnamon scent of the flowers that clustered around the buildings. The beauty of the landscape contrasted with his sour mood. He was ordered to arrest the commander of the Federation base and take control of it, here on an alien planet where the native Aleyni would just as soon see the entire base drop into a hole and disappear. "Major Reynolds, you are accused of high treason and are remanded to the planet of New Oregon for trial."

A worried frown creased Reynolds' forehead. Rob was empath enough to realize Reynolds was uneasy. But Rob's message requested Reynolds meet him when the shuttle landed, nothing more. His unease, growing since he'd accepted the assignment, increased again. Was the major guilty of treason or not?

Buy Links:

You can find Margaret at:

Thanks Margaret, for dropping by and sharing that great editing tip.

Don’t forget to check back next week for another author’s tip or tweak.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Hectic Holidays vs Writing

During the sometimes hectic holidays do you find it hard to find writing time? If not, how do you handle it with the expectations of others to visit and share time together? Or do you appreciate taking a vacation from fiction to enjoy time with family and friends?

Great topic, Rhobin. Of course I do have a problem fitting my writing in over the holidays. J

What with shopping, baking, visiting, blogging, other social networking and everything else over the holiday season. I find it very hard to write I try to do at least a few words every day. I’m working on a romantic suspense set in New Orleans right now.
This year I have an extra challenge. I had a computer crash, (dead motherboard) so I had to get a new laptop about a month ago and it came with Windows 10. (sigh) So I’ve had to get used to the laptop and learn Windows 10. (I loved my Windows 7.)

If I take a vacation from writing and don’t write for several weeks, it’s like working out at the gym. If I miss a few s days or a week, it’s really hard to get back that first day. I have a million excuses why I can’t get open that draft and start working.

I try to schedule a few minutes, maybe an hour in the morning or else late at night. Then I have most of the day for everything else including Christmas parades and concerts and time with family and friends. That’s working.

I look forward to hearing how everyone else handles their writing this busy time of the year.
I'm going to turn up the Christmas music and head over to check out the following sites for how they manage this time of year.
Merry Christmas everyone!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Check Out The Playboy Next Door

Check out Christina Tetreault's latest release.


After a blind date stands her up, Catrina Striker stops in O’Leary’s Pub for a sandwich, nothing else. Then Tony Bates, North Salem’s resident playboy, sits down next to her and destiny takes over. Cat knows all about Tony’s reputation, but that doesn’t stop her from doing something she’s never done before: invite him back to her apartment.

Tony Bates has always looked at Catrina as nothing but his buddy’s little sister, until a chance encounter one summer night changes all that.

Since the sudden death of his college sweetheart, Tony has kept all his relationships casual and fun. Everyone knows that, which is why Cat and Tony agree to keep their involvement a secret rather than risk Tony’s friendship with her brother. However, what starts out as a secret fling soon becomes much more, and Tony must decide if he’s ready to risk his heart again or lose the woman who completes him.

Across the café, Cat stopped to speak with Sue Adams, and she looked in his direction. She gave him the tiniest of nods and then said something to Sue before joining the line at the counter.

Thanks to the location of his table, Tony could watch her as she waited in line without anyone the wiser. While she waited, she spoke with the other customers in line, and he couldn’t look away.

Cat radiated friendliness. She had this sunny personality that called people to her. A person couldn’t be around her and remain in a bad mood. Even people she didn’t know well appeared at ease and happy around her.

He told himself that was one of the reasons he couldn’t stay away from her. He simply liked the way he felt around her.

Brendan Michaels, another lifelong North Salem resident, joined the line behind her. Right away, he placed a hand on her shoulder and started up a conversation. As Tony watched her shake her head at whatever Brendan said, he forced himself to remain seated rather than bolt across the room and rip Brendan’s arm off. Although many people wouldn’t mind seeing Brendan put in his place, residents would wonder why Tony had intervened because, by the looks of it, Brendan and Cat were only talking.

Tony ground his teeth together as she said something in response to Brendan’s statement. What was taking so long anyway? How hard was it for Skye to make Cat a cup of coffee? From behind the counter, Skye handed Cat her order. Cat stopped two more times before reaching him.

“Hi, Tony. How did the game go?” She made no move to sit. Instead, she sipped her coffee.

“We won by three touchdowns. It was like Beverly sent their JV team to play today.”

His hands itched to reach out and pull her close. Since that was out of the question, he wrapped his hands around his coffee mug.

“Big plans for the afternoon?” he asked.

“I’m meeting Kelsey here. What about you?”

“Waiting for my mom. She asked me to meet her. Why don’t you sit and keep me company until Kelsey gets here.”

She took the seat next to him, her knee bumping into his leg.

“So what kind of trouble are you and Miss Bancroft planning to get into today?”

She scooted her chair a little closer to him. “Shopping. She needs something for Mrs. O’Brien’s wedding.”

No one would ever call him a saint. Tony released his coffee mug and reached under the table. “A Saturday night at the mall, where’s the fun in that?”

He caressed her thigh, wishing she had on a skirt instead of jeans.

“Shopping can be fun, especially when you plan to get a few new things for yourself. Ella told me about the two new stores that opened last week. I can’t wait to check them out.”

He’d gotten an earful from his mother after her last trip to the mall about one of the new stores. She’d gone on for a good thirty minutes about how inappropriate the outfits on the mannequins were and how the store shouldn’t be allowed to hang photos in the windows. He loved his mom, but sometimes she could be a bit of a prude.

“Besides, it won’t take all day. I told Kelsey I need to be home by seven because I have other things to do.”

Under the table, Cat ran her fingertips over his hand, and it reminded him of the way she’d caressed his chest earlier that week.

“How does that sound?” she whispered, her voice almost inaudible.

Visions of her in some new lacy outfits formed, and his heart rate accelerated.

“Four sounds better,” he answered, grateful for the noise in the café.

“Kelsey loves to shop. If I’m lucky, I’ll get her out of the mall by five.”

“I’ll be at your place by six then.” An hour should be enough time for her to get home. “Text me if you get home earlier,” he whispered.

Under the table, she squeezed his hand. “Your mom just walked in.”

Tony looked up as his mom walked toward them. Right away, Cat released his hand and reached for her coffee.

“Catrina, how are you?” His mom joined them at the table.

“Great, Mrs. Bates, and you?”

“Fabulous. I love being retired. Right after Maureen’s wedding, I’m off on a cruise with my sister for a week.”

He shifted in his seat as his mother and secret lover discussed Maureen O’Brien’s upcoming wedding, an event the entire town was talking about.

“Do you want a coffee or anything, Mom?” Anything to get him away from the table.

Buy Links:

About The Author:

I started writing at the age of 10 on my grandmother's manual typewriter and never stopped. When I am not driving my 3 daughters (ages 8, 6, and 6) around to their various activities or chasing around our three dogs, I am working on a story or reading a romance novel. Currently, I have two series out, The Sherbrookes of Newport and Love on The North Shore. You can visit my website or follow me on Facebook to learn more about my characters and to track my progress on my current writing projects.

Author Links:

Twitter: @cgricci

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Victoria Adams, Gingerbread and an Anthology

Hi, I’m Victoria Adams and I’m so happy to be here today.
I, along with 20 other authors, have recently released a collection of Christmas stories. Some of the stories include a recipe – which brings me to gingerbread.
I, will happily, admit, I love gingerbread. I love the snap of the cookie when you bite the head off (yes, I’m worried I might be a bit twisted). I love the way the flavor bursts into my mouth.

Confession time – I once at an entire box of ginger snaps when I was working on an essay in university. One hand wrote and the other hand grabbed cookies. While fun at the time, the tummy ache I had later – ouch!
I have a kitchen wall full of cookie cutters – large copper ones – a palm tree, a unicorn, a ballerina and yes, even a gingerbread boy.
But my most cherished gingerbread item is the recipe from an old cookbook in my mother’s collection. The recipe is for 12 dozen cookies (144 cookies, if you don’t feel like doing the math – lol)

My worse fault with the cookies – besides binge eating them – is my decorating. I’m terrible at it. Luckily, my daughter is great and it’s a wonderful time when we destroy the kitchen creating cookies.

Here are three samples of decorating gingerbread cookies. No they aren’t pictures of my cookies. The thought of pausing long enough to put some on a plate and take a photo is incomprehensible.

How does all this relate to my short story in Exquisite Christmas? Reese, my heroine, is a baker who is about to have her quiet life interrupted and her shattered love affair mended by a gingerbread cookie. And yes, I included the gingerbread recipe in the book.
Excerpt –

Reese loosened her grip on the teacup handle and pasted a smile on her lips. The well-dressed, blonde reporter seated across from her droned on about how she'd always wanted to be a chef. The Foodie life looked so glamourous. And sexy.

Glamourous? Sexy? Reese held back a snort. Burn marks on your inner forearms. Cuts on fingers. Splotches of icing decorating your face and white hair, not because of age, but because of flour. And the proverbial icing on the cake was stress.

She cast a glance at a half-iced wedding cake that was due to be delivered in twenty-four hours. Reese cringed, remembering the unfinished order for sixteen dozen Christmas cookies. Not a good time to be interviewed. Maybe if she locked the reporter in the freezer… Mentally slapping herself, Reese took a sip of her chocolate tea.

A curious emotion crossed the reporter's face.

Reese stifled a teenage eye roll. Here it comes. The dreaded question. So, what made you want to become a pastry chef?

The reporter shifted on the wooden stool. "So, what was it like dating Brandon Roberts?"

Reese coughed. "Sorry. Tea went down the wrong…" She cleared her throat. "I thought this interview was about The Christmas Dinner. Not my former…love life."

The Christmas Dinner was an annual fundraiser. Cat lover, Reese was thrilled because this year the funds would benefit the local Animal Shelter. Chefs' names were placed into a hat and two were paired up. Together they would create a traditional turkey dinner. One chef prepared the bird and the vegetables. The other created the breads and pies. Reese had already planned out the pies. She was thinking of trying a different mixture of spices for the pumpkin pies. Should I add walnuts to the apple pies? She tapped her fingertips on the counter top.

The reporter giggled. "A bit of juicy back history will add some spice to the story." She leaned forward. "Did you really live with the Brandon Roberts? The sexiest celebrity chef on the planet."

"Brandon and I dated." Reese placed the teacup on the metal counter then folded her hands on her lap. "But it was a long time ago. Now, can we get back to the charity dinner?"

The reporter blinked. "You mean, you don't know?"

Reese checked the wedding cake and dismissed the vision of smashing it over the reporter's head. She really didn't have time to bake and ice another one. She brushed a stray hair off her forehead. "Don't know what?"

Blurb – When romance writers give love stories to the world, we do more than entertain – we share our hope for something better. These imaginative moments of happy-ever-after warm the soul and ripple outward. The world needs more love, and every bit helps.

We hope you enjoy this collection of heartwarming seasonal tales and delicious recipes by twenty-one Bestselling, Award-winning, and Multi-Published Authors from the international Exquisite Quills community: Victoria Adams, Rose Anderson, E. Ayers, Beverley Bateman, Lily Bishop, Barb Caffrey, Helena Fairfax, J.D. Faver, Jennifer Garcia, Romy Gemmell, Vonnie Hughs, Susan Jaymes, Gemma Juliana, Jean Lamb, Lyndi Lamont, Zanna Mackenzie, Janis Susan May, Dee Ann Palmer, Jane Leopold Quinn, Kaye Spencer, and M. S. Spencer.

Happy Holidays!
Buy Links

Author Bio – Victoria Adams, author of NA contemporary and contemporary romances was born and raised in Ontario, Canada. Victoria lives in the country where she takes long walks on her quiet country road and in the summer tends her flower gardens and vegetable patch and in the winter dreams about them, while they are buried under two feet of snow. Her large farm house now holds only her cat, herself, her husband and a ghost.

Victoria Adams is the alternate pen name to another author – secret identity. She is indie published.

Published works

Dancing In Circles  (Circles Trilogy book 1)

Circles Divided (Circles Trilogy book 2)

Circles Interlocked (Circles Trilogy book 3)

A Guy and A Girl

Red Tulip

Exquisite Christmas (anthology of Christmas Stories

You can find Victoria at:

Blog – Victoria’s Pages of Romance –

FaceBook page – Books by Victoria Adams -

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Christmas Yesterday or Today

I remember Christmas many years ago. I admit to being old. Back then the stores never put anything to do with Christmas out until after Halloween. The pumpkins and costumes were cleared away and out came decorations, chocolates, nuts, mandarin oranges and the gifts.
Christmas cakes and Christmas puddings were made in November but that was so they had time to age.

Christmas music began December first, maybe occasionally, after American Thanksgiving. Santa showed up after the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade or around December first. Christmas programs on television were shown in December.

Outside lights weren’t as popular but when they were put up, they didn’t go up until December first. In our house, we put the Christmas tree up about a week to 10 days before Christmas.

People did start making their Christmas gifts all during the year so they would be ready for Christmas giving.

Christmas today starts in late September and October. Decorations, gift ads and food are in the stores before Halloween. People put up their outside lights in early November. Christmas music in stores can start in early November. I guess they want to put you in the mood to spend more money. I find by the time December comes around many people are already tired of Christmas. It’s become so commercial the real spirit of Christmas is getting lost. Gifts are no longer hand-made but bought and need to be what the commercials tell you are the gifts to buy this year.
Your thought? How do you celebrate Christmas, if you do?

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Alice Orr's New Christmas Novella

Today author, Alice Orr joins us with her new Christmas novella, A Vacancy at the Inn. 

"Alice Orr is a brilliant writer who has a Number One best seller hidden in her pocket. I look forward to more of her work," says one Amazon reviewer. 

I say “Thanks!” I love to write. Especially romantic suspense novels and blog posts. I’ve been a workshop leader, book editor and literary agent. Now I live my dream of writing full-time. I’ve published thirteen novels and four novellas – both traditionally and independently – plus a memoir so far. I wrote my nonfiction book, No More Rejections, as a gift to the writers' community I cherish. A revised edition is now in progress. Amazon says, "This book has it all." About my romantic suspense, Amazon says, "Alice Orr turns up the heat." Most of all, I like to hear from readers. Visit my website at I have two grown children and two perfect grandchildren and I live with my husband Jonathan in New York City.
Alice – to share this story with you.


      I once had a friend named Marjorie. We've lost track of one another but I remember her well. Mostly I remember hours spent at her Formica-top table which was designed for a kitchen but stood in her dining room because the kitchen was too small and cluttered to allow for table space.

     The Formica was not the finest grade and bore visible evidence of hundreds of coffee chats. Nests of circles linking and overlapping and intertwining. Each circle was a memory left by one of the many women who trekked from near and sometimes fairly far to sit at that table.

We came to talk to Marjorie and be listened to in a way we might never have been before.

     Listened to as if what we had to say – and ourselves as well – were worthy of the serious consideration and respect not always accorded to virtually powerless single moms. We would speak our piece and drink our coffee and leave behind a cup ring no amount of scrubbing could erase. Always we walked away less burdened than when we arrived.

Too often we neglected to consider the burden Marjorie herself bore. Primarily because she carried the weight with such grace and good humor. She had several children with multiple problems linking and overlapping and intertwining into a thicket of trouble pretty much impenetrable for a mother alone with few resources beyond her own generous nature.

Yet I only once saw her allow the bramble scratches from her thicket to show. The details of that day's dilemma and why it was more of a calamity than the many dilemmas before it were lost in time long ago. The indelible part is the image of Marjorie and what she did.

She sat still for a while – apparently calm. At last she rose from her chair slowly and deliberately. She turned without saying a word or looking at any of us and walked to the window. She struggled with the sash which was swollen closed by years of moisture and disrepair. I started to move toward helping her but something in her manner told me I shouldn’t.

I watched as she forced the window upward and leaned out. It was a brisk autumn day. The wind whipped her short reddish brown hair as she turned her face to the sky. She stayed like that for a moment – halfway in the room and halfway out – before uttering a single word.

"Help," she almost but not quite shouted. She pulled her head back in then. She shoved the window down and returned to her chair.

"Does that really work?" I asked mostly because I didn't know whether to laugh or cry and needed to say something so I wouldn’t do either. When Marjorie looked at me her eyes were clear. Her face was free from tension. "I think so," she said.

I’ve been known to tell this story as an amusing anecdote but I don't really think of it as funny. I think of it as one of the most elegant exercises in faith I’ve ever witnessed. I have also used it myself many times – with or without a window. I encourage you to do the same.

New Christmas Novella

A Vacancy at the Inn  – available now – is the first Christmas Novella of my Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Series featuring the Kalli family – and now the Miller family too – in stories of Romance and Danger. A Wrong Way Home is Book 1 of the series. A Year of Summer Shadows is Book 2. A Villain for Vanessa will be Book 3.

All of my titles are available at

Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Series Christmas Novella
Luke & Bethany’s Story by Alice Orr

On a cold December day Bethany Miller and her son Michael arrive in Riverton.

She grew up on Riverton Hill in remote upstate New York where her complicated family still lives. She moved away to escape all of that and more. Now she’s back because of complications in her present life with what is best for her son. She hopes the Miller family will be a Christmas blessing for Michael. She’s less hopeful about what this homecoming will be for her.

The last thing Bethany wants is further complication. That means the last person she needs to see is Luke Kalli staring down at her from the roof of Miller’s Inn. They shared a glorious connection before she fled from here. The power of that encounter and the deep feelings she experienced came at a tumultuous moment in her life. They were yet another strong reason to leave Riverton Hill on Riverton Road and never return – until today. She has no idea this place will put her son in peril.

Check out this new novella.

Thanks for joining us, Alice.