Posted in Crimson Romance, Reading, Winter Fairy

Beat the Cold with Hot For Teacher

Look what came out today – Crimson Romance’s ten ebook bundle called Hot for Teacher and yours truly is included in this bundle of books that should take the chill off some cold winter nights.

If you haven’t picked up my Winter Fairy, this is a great time to do so. And if you have, there are 9 other romances featuring a teacher that you can get on the cheap, as in under a dollar for great reads from Peggy Bird, Lynn Crandall, Liv Rancourt, Nancy C. Weeks and more.

Pick up Hot for Teacher at AmazonBarnes&Noble, and more

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Posted in Blog Hop, Books, Christmas, Giveaway, Winter Fairy

Presents or Gifts? Choose your #ChristmasTreats

christmas treats buttonWhat are our favorite Christmas Treats? Books, of course! Stop by each blog for a chance to win fabulous books & gifties for the Holidays!  

As part of the Christmas Treats giveaway hop, I’m giving away an ebook copy of Tidings of Love: 7 Holiday Romance Novellas, which contains my Winter Fairy, AND a $5 gift card to Starbucks so you can treat yourself to a yummy coffee drink.

As the end of the year giving season grips so many of us in its clutches, I’m often struck by the absurdity of the Christmas morning ritual of ripping off piles of shiny wrapping paper to unearth items I bought for myself a month ago. Since reaching adulthood, I tend to get a lot more presents rather than gifts. What is the difference you ask? I’ve given this a lot of thought. Probably too much thought for the relative weight of the issues, but here goes.

A present is presented to you. The giver gives you something you requested. They spent the money to buy a specific item on your list. Or maybe, they wrote you a check or gave you the cash to buy the item for yourself for the express purpose of having something to unwrap on Christmas morning. There is not much thought behind a ritual presentation of an item you want, but a present shows the giver listened.

A gift is an item given from the giver’s heart. It is unexpected but thoughtful. The gift can be big or small, useful or not, but it expresses the relationship between the giver and the recipient.

I love giving gifts, but find it hard this time of year when I am under the obligation to shop and buy specific items for so many people. I spend a lot of time buying presents, but I try to include a few gifts as well. I shop for gifts year round, or more to the point, gifts shop for me. I can be purchasing the most banal household items and something will catch my eye. It could be a goofy paper napkin pattern or a sale on a flavored coffee that a dear friend loves. A gift something that will bring joy to a recipient, which in turn gives joy to the giver.

Books make terrific gifts and terrific presents. There are loads of books and other goodies up for grabs in the Christmas Treats hop. Enter my rafflecopter here to be entered for the ebook and giftcard and be sure to visit all the authors through the linky-list.


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Posted in Books, Christmas, Crimson Romance, Winter Fairy

Spotlight on Winter Dreams

I’m cheating this week by stepping into my own spotlight, but I’m sharing the stage with the six other authors who appear in Winter Dreams 7 Heartfelt Holiday Romances

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Winter’s crisp cold is the perfect backdrop for holiday lights, snowball fights, and starry nights by the fire, curled up with hunky heroes. Let these seven couples show you how to find the warmth of red-hot romance.

  • Christmas Dinner: Amanda dreads returning home single for Christmas, but the only available man is her rival for the TV anchor spot. Can the holiday spirit turn animosity into love? By Robyn Neeley
  • The Winter Fairy: Recuperating ballerina Penelope Glazier can enchant the young girls in her class, but will her magic work on Carson Langley, the sexy but straight-laced single father of her most talented student? By Lola Karns
  • Holiday Hoopla: Halle is about to lose her gift shop, until banker Blake walks into her life, dangling an offer that could save it all, or cost her everything. By Dana Volney
  • Wynter’s Journey: Twelve years after tragedy tore Wynter and Sam apart, can another predicament bring them back together? By Jennifer DeCuir
  • The Winter Promise: War throws Lady Emma and Lord Robert together, where they must decide if they can listen to their hearts – or if they would be wiser never to trust each other.  By Jenny Jacobs
  • Winter Storms: Daniel’s sailing accident cost Carly her shot at Olympic dreams, while his own athletic success was unhindered. Now he’s returned and they’re stuck in the Cornish village where storms lash them from outside – and within. By Lucy Oliver
  • Old Christmas: Casey needs help from the magic that walks on Old Christmas Eve to find her way back home, and to the love she left behind. By Kathryn Brocato

 

We hope you enjoy this terrific way to discover new-to-you authors. With these diverse stories, you bound to find something to love, especially since the bundle is priced under a dollar (US).

Now available through Amazon (US), Barnes&Noble, Amazon (UK),  and Crimson Romance.

Deals like this are too good to last.

Posted in Books, Christmas, Crimson Romance, Winter Fairy

Bundle up with Winter Fairy!

My debut novel Winter Fairy is getting a new look and some great company in time to celebrate the holidays.

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For less than a cup of coffee or cookie at a bakery, you can get Winter Fairy and six other holiday titles, Christmas Dinner by Robyn Neeley, Holiday Hoopla by Dana Volney, Wynter’s Journey by Jennifer DeCuir, The Winter’s Promise by Jenny Jacobs, Winter Storms by Lucy Oliver and Old Christmas by Kathryn Brocato.  For the cost of one full-price e-book, you can get all seven, plus the coffee and cookie. Now that’s a deal. Enjoy. You deserve it.

Available now through Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Crimson Romance direct.

Posted in Christmas, First Friday Five, Winter Fairy

First Friday Five – Holiday Cheer Specifics

By now, you’ve likely been inundated with ways to simplify the holidays, bring on cheer, buy the most stuff for the least money and how to give thoughtful homemade gifts. ‘Tis the season indeed. Most of the articles and gifs serve to remind me of my handicraft foibles, and make me guilty that I’ve spent too much, too little or all my money in the wrong place.  Add in all too frequent encounters with any Alvin and the Chipmunks song, and the cacophony threatens to put this writer of holiday stories in a bad mood.  Sound familiar?

As an antidote, I’m sharing 5 specific things that reawaken my holiday cheer. Maybe they’ll work for you.

1. Spritz cookies.

From SouthernPlate.com

If your mouth is watering, then you know exactly what I mean. These buttery gems are not the easiest cookies to make. You need lots of butter, a cookie press, patience, and strong arms, but the results are worth it.

2. Cheese and Cracker Trays.  Count calories in January. For now, pass the espresso parmesan, or the warm brie, or the cheese curds, or the …. you get the idea.

3. Illuminated Trees.  I love twinkling lights, but whether in a front yard or a family room or on a city street, illuminated trees make my heart pitter-patter. Lights on a house or a building don’t have the same organic shapes.

4. Even though my mom never cooked chicken and collard greens, I have a soft spot for Run DMC’s Christmas in Hollis, the song and the video.

5. And if all else, fails, there’s nothing like a cup of hot chocolate spikes with a candy cane.

This list has made me hungry. Time to put number 4 on the radio, drink some 5, set out some 2 to nibble on while I make 1 so they will be ready in time to take a stroll to see number 3.

What puts you in the holiday spirit this season, no matter what you celebrate?

P.S. – My holiday romance, Winter Fairy is being rereleased as part of  Winter Dreams: 7 Heartfelt Holiday Romances.

Posted in Bad Traveler, Blog Hop, Books, For Writers, On Writing, Winter Fairy, Writing

My Writing Process.

The lovely Lynn Crandell

invited me to discuss my writing process. You can find her at http://thewritewaycafe.blogspot.com/.

1) What am I working on? I’ve been doing some rewrites on a first person New Adult before sending it to the agent who expressed an interest. No names or details yet, but I’m excited for this manuscript to emerge from its chrysalis. I’m plotting a follow-up to my forthcoming release. And Bad Traveler will be available soon from Decadent Publishing. I’ve gone through several rounds of edits, but am pleased with the final product.

Winterfairycover2. How does my work differ from others of its genre? A fellow writer once described my work as “sophisticated.” The word applies to my first release, Winter Fairy, but I also try to blend highbrow and lowbrow culture and humor. Also, I’m inclined to give at least one if not both of my main characters an unusual job or hobby. I have so much fun doing research. Did you know there are professional pet food tasters?

3. Why do I write what I write? People are fascinating, especially when they interact. When I sat down to write my first book, I knew relationships would be at the core. In my first two published works, the romantic relationship takes the lead, but I’m still experimenting with genre. I love an optimistic ending. I hope my readers do too. When life seems overwhelming (the cat’s sick, the toilet flooded and the hubs has to work late again), laughter and hope between the pages of a book can be a lifeline to sanity.

4. How does my writing process work? Slowly. My process evolves with every IMG_0477book. In my first manuscript, I struggled with character consistency. I’ve tried fill-in-the-blank sheets for characterization, but this last time I tried using a bubble-idea chart. I love the organic nature of it. I identify the GMC for major plot points before I begin writing, but I allow fluidity in how I get there. I also tend to hand write my first drafts. The motion of the pen on paper helps me focus. It probably slows me down because of the duplicate writing time, but I find I don’t obsess over the little squiggly lines on the computer screen.

Want to read the results?  Winter Fairy is available now at Amazon, iTunes, Barnes and Noble , Google Books and more.

Sign up for my newsletter or follow this blog to find out the release date for Bad Traveler.

I have tagged three wonderful writers, Jenna Jaxon, Karen Y. Bynum and Tamara Hughes to continue the fun. Since Tamara does not have a blog (yet), I’m hosting her answers next Monday. See you then!

Posted in Crimson Romance, First Friday Five, Food, Lists, Reading, Winter Fairy

5 Winter Boredom Busters

Cold enough for you? If you’re in North America, chances are high you’re a little tired of winter at this point.  Maybe my “First Friday Five” this month will help.

5) Snow shoe.  If you don’t own a pair of snow shoes (and I didn’t until about two weeks ago), bundle up until you can’t move your arms and take a nature hike.  Chances are a little sunshine and fresh air will do you good.

4) Bake something with cinnamon. Your home will smell warm and cozy. Snickerdoodles anyone?  Or try this recipe from Fleishmann’s Yeast for a One Dish Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake (click for the link). It’s one of my favorites.

3) Do a puzzle.  If you have a cat, you will enjoy a bonus game of hide and seek since the cat will need to sit in the middle of the puzzle before sneaking off with pieces adhered to paws.

2) Crank up  the heat, play beach music and have a limbo contest in your living room. Bonus points for bare feet.

1) Read a book.  If you’ve already read my book, Winter Fairy, then let yourself be transported to a tropical destination. I recommend Hawaii, the setting for Robyn Neeley’s Destination Wedding and Sarah Madison’s The Boys of Summer.

If you haven’t read Winter Fairy, February 2014 is a great time to pick up your copy.  Winter Fairy by Lola Karns is one of many Crimson Romance titles on sale at Amazon for $1.99 all month long.  Winterfairycover

Posted in Christmas, Crimson Romance, Music, Winter Fairy

A tradition of carols

Christmas carols evoke those long gone “days of yore” making the coldest of hearts warm a little during the winter holiday season, but did you know they are by and large an invention of the Victorian Era?

Although no-one knows for certain when singing carols took off, singing and dancing were important parts of the pagan traditions in pre-Christian Europe. As the Church in Rome spread from the third to the fifteenth centuries, they grafted elements of the pagan festivals onto the liturgical calendar, hence the proximity of December 25th as Christmas and the winter solstice. The songs from this period are lost to history as are many of the details of the celebrations.

Historians do know carols were sung. How? Because when Oliver Cromwell and his Puritans came to power in mid-Seventeenth century England, they banned them. Cromwell set out to destroy all the trappings of the Roman Catholic Church and anything associated the church. Since Christmas appeared on the liturgical calendar, the celebration of Christmas largely disappeared from the public record. People may have caroled in the comfort of their home, but going door to door was a punishable crime. The Puritans brought their non-celebration traditions with them to America, so you were unlikely to encounter a band of roving carolers in Plymouth, Massachusetts.

Caroling takes off in the nineteenth century, both in the United States and Europe. Myriad forces brought sweeping changes in what historians call “The Age of ISMs.” In the wake of industrialism, the American and French Revolutions , nationalism and romanticism, governments and other institutions recognized the power of public ceremony to bring citizens together, increase patriotic good will, and reduce civil unrest. Queen Victoria encouraged artists of the day to develop and promote a cozy feel-good holiday.  Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, published in 1843, embodied the new Christmas ideal. Simple plainsong chants using words evoking the nostalgia ideal were laid over traditional melodies – think “Christmas is coming”.

The surge in civil pride meant many towns, cities and churches formed orchestras and choirs. People needed songs to sing. James Pierpont wrote Jingle Bells as a simple song for children to sing during a Thanksgiving program. The audience demand for a repeat performance at the Christmas concert ensured its holiday superstardom. The beautiful paring of word and melody of Silent Night almost didn’t happen. A broken church organ and the threat of a music-free Christmas Mass in Austria led Pastor Josef Mohr to ask a composer friend to develop a simple melody to accompany a poem he wrote.

With Thomas Edison’s 1877 invention of the phonograph, people could listen to songs performed and recorded thousands of miles away. Recordings “fixed” the sound. Listeners developed an expectation of how a song should sound and did their best to reproduce it.

By the time recording technology and radio entered most homes the mid-twentieth century, the Christmas nostalgia idea held tremendous cultural sway. Magazines and advertising showed people how Christmas should look; radio and phonographs created the soundtrack. Demand for additional music and a need to lift wartime spirits brought a new wave of “traditional” songs.  The much beloved White Christmas, imbued with irony by composer Irving Berlin, managed to both fun at Christmas nostalgia, even as it became part of the carol canon.

As pop-culture has grown more fragmented in the twenty-first century, I doubt we will see a new “traditional” carol gain enough traction to become a classic, but I have a suggestion.

“Winter Weather” is a personal favorite from the Squirrel Nut Zippers. Check out the cover – it looks like an LP but was initially released as a CD. When you play this tune, notice how it sounds like it could have been written a hundred years ago even though it dates way back to the late 1990s.  Hope this link works for you.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQ_2UTLDlgo&list=PL436A7D26C6CADE6B

What are some of your favorite carols, new or old?

Note: I have drawn from multiple sources for this work, including, but not limited to: Kittler-Gramophone, Film, Typewriter, Muir-Ritual in Early Modern Europe, Hobsbawm & Ranger eds. The Invention of Tradition, Slate.com, WhyChristmas.com

To learn more about my caroling past, visit me at http://www.crimsonromance.com/featured/do-you-carol/

Posted in Blog Hop, Giveaway, Winter Fairy

TRR YES! party and giveaway

Hope you’re having fun at The Romance Reviews’ Year End Splash Party!    I  love a party, especially one with good food and better friends and prizes.  There are more than 400 participating authors and publishers, which means there are more than 400 prizes up for grabs during the whole month of November. The Grand prize is a $100 Gift Certificate! Now that’s a party!

Widowed doctor, Carson Langley, hero of my contemporary romance, Winter Fairy, also enjoys good food. He may not care much for ballet, shopping and prizes, but he would like to become better friends with his daughter Eloise’s  ballet teacher, Penelope, especially after she offers to babysit Eloise so he can do some Christmas shopping. Hope you enjoy and don’t forget to answer the question at the main TRR site for your chance to win a copy of Winter Fairy and more.  The question for my site goes live on NOVEMBER 5TH

Winterfairycover   Wandering in and out of stores, he covered most of his list. He had so many bags for Eloise he’d put one round in the car already, but the feeling that he was forgetting something—or someone—nagged at him. Checking his watch, he had plenty of time before the stores closed. He looped past the food court and theater as a movie let out. Couples spilled out. Everyone seemed to be holding hands and smiling, except him. As he walked past a store with frilly shiny and sparkly bangles and baubles, he decided to pop in to find a headband to go with the bright red holiday dress Eloise picked out in a catalog. Seeing the silver fairy necklace as soon as he entered, he realized who he left off his list.

    He thought about Penelope more than seemed appropriate. None of Eloise’s other teachers invaded his thoughts the way she had. He had physical needs and desires. But the frequency with which she appeared in his dreams left him restless and tired. Every morning, he ran through his personal litany of objections. She was too young. She had to be at least twelve years younger than him since she went to high school with John.  She acted too much like a kid to be capable of disciplining one. She was going away. She would leave him and Eloise and break both their hearts. He couldn’t go through that again.

   He should put down the necklace before he reached the register, but it still hadn’t left his hands, even as he sorted through the headband display. The chain caught on one of the bands—what could have become a tangled mess actually turned out fortuitous. When he reached for the chain, he spotted a headband the perfect shade of red to match his daughter’s dress. As he gently unwound the chain from the headband’s bow, the fairy charm fell against his palm. The fairy’s legs crossed delicately about mid-calf. Penelope had folded her legs the same way at the kitchen table last week. He grinned as he paid for both items, and not because he had finished his shopping.

  Walking across the parking lot, the cool air slapped his face. Stars twinkled, a sight leaving him awed. Perhaps, he should stop moping and move on. Damn the consequences.

Penelope is waiting for Carson to return home.  Read Winter Fairy to find out what happens next.

To be entered to win your copy of Winter Fairy and be eligible for the $100 Gift Certificate, visit Total Romance Reviews Year End Splash!

Sign up for the newsletter here

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Posted in Reading, Winter Fairy

How do you find books?

Like most writers, I’m also a reader.  Back in the olden-golden days of yore, I discovered new books by browsing the shelves at my local bookstore and seeing what covers jumped out at me.  As bookstores disappeared near my former home, I relied more and more on my public library and their eye-catching displays.  I also discovered Goodreads.

It’s been more of a challenge to find quality ebooks.  I know they are out there, but it can be overwhelming, especially if you don’t know the author and the cover is in basic black and white.  And that is why I’m so excited to share one of my latest “discoveries” as both an author and a reader.

Have you met The Fussy Librarian? My book, Winter Fairy is being featured Wednesday.  The Fussy Librarian offers personalized ebook recommendations. You choose from 30 genres and indicate preferences about content and then the computers work their magic and send you a daily email. Check it out at www.TheFussyLibrarian.com

Since most of the books have a low price point, your wallet won’t even be mad at you.  Happy Reading!