Category Archives: Family Saga

BUSY is a four letter word!

I saw a report on the news last night that stated 1 in 5 KIDS under the age of 6 are stressed out. For teens, the number is 3 in 5 and for adults, 1 in 2  are feeling so stressed it is effecting their health, their happiness, and they psychological wellness.

These numbers staggered me. If this is the normal amount of people experiencing stress on a daily level, what the heck must it be like during the holiday season? Those levels must jump to the stratosphere.

I found this definition of stress in my computer’s dictionary: a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances.

What is so demanding that 1 child in 5 under the age of 6 has to be stressed about? Well, the answer is probably clearer than I think. Single parent households, poverty, not having enough to eat, bullying. All those things will increase a kid’s stress levels, so I get that. Teens are so hormonally off the charts anyway, that the slightest tweak in a day can set their stress skyrocketings. Adults, well we all know the stressors attached to trying to make it in the world these days. Add in the very possible threat of nuclear war or a homeland terror attack and, well…’Nuff said.

The title of this blog is another factor in the stress I feel too many people around the holidays experience: we are friggin’ BUSY. Busy trying to squeeze in a little present shopping; having to attend the annual office party; getting the traditional cookies baked and wrapped and sent via a postal service that is getting more crippled every day. Then there’s the added stress of the relatives. People you’ve managed to avoid all year are now going to be sitting across from you at grandma’s table talking about stuff you’d rather not like politics, religion, healthcare.

Simple equation: BUSY + Holidays = STRESS. So when I call BUSY a 4 letter word, you know what  I mean.

Now, the antidote for all this stress, if there is one, should be bottled and given away for free. My simple solutions have worked well for me for years. I don’t stress out about all the stuff I need to do, places I need to go, or the people I absolutely need to see around the holidays anymore. This is what I do instead.

  1. Less is more in decorating. I used to decorate the entire inside of my house for Christmas. It got so cluttered I couldn’t move around in it. So, less decorations=less time decorating= less stress. ( Yes, I still have 4 trees, but 3 of them are little!)   
  2. You don’t need to have the party of the decade every year. I used to have a HUGE holiday party and did all the food prep. Yeah. It’s a wonder I wasn’t institutionalized for exhaustion after each one. Now, I have a simple, small dinner once a season with my closest friends, that I call a Christmas Comfort food Dinner. The menu is all comfort foods – mac and cheese, fried chicken, chili, and of course desserts. I tell my guests they can come in slippers, pajama pants, sweats, if they want. This is an evening filled with fun, good friends, and no stressing about what to wear, what to bring, and how long to stay. In fact, I have to shoo my guests sometimes out the door!!
  3. Do a Secret Santa for family gifts or have a Yankee swap. Now, I love presents, especially presents for me. This concept of not getting a present for and from every family member was a hard one for me to accept. But. In the end, it works out better. Less time spent trying to find the perfect gift for everyone, less time spent shopping and fighting the hoards, less time wrapping, carting, and obsessing if they’ll like it.  
  4. Realize the people you want to see and keep in touch with are the ones you already do. AKA, no Christmas cards. I stopped sending Christmas cards years ago because 1. it took forever to do, 2. I hadn’t seen nor heard from a lot of people on the list since college. With Facebook and other social media now, you can keep in touch with the people you really want to very easily. I don’t really care that a girl I spent one semester in college with now has six kids, all are traveling abroad ( and I’ve never met them) and she needs back surgery in the new year. I haven’t seen this chick since 1980. Wouldn’t know her if she passed by me on the street.  

Now, those are only 4 things I do to make the holiday season less busy and stressful. I’m sure you’ve got some good ideas as well. Share them in the comments section if you do!

And when I’m not busy – because I’m not! – you can find me here during the workday: Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// Book Me

 ANd because I’m a shameless self promoter ( AKA WRITER!) another way to destress is to sit back and enjoy a good book. I’ve got one sale right now for one more day. It’s alittle Christmas tale of love and family and food. Enjoy:

A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS.

 

Gia San Valentino is the beloved baby in her large, loud, and loving Italian family. Family dramas, passion, and food rule the San Valentino clan, and Gia takes it all in stride, her family the touchstone of her life. But with Christmas fast approaching she longs for a life and home of her own with a husband and bambini she can love and spoil. The single scene doesn’t interest her and the men her well-meaning family introduce her to are all wise guy wanna-bes, with old world views on women – the pregnant and barefoot kind – just the type of man she’s trying to avoid.

When Gia lends a helping hand at her neighborhood parish’s Christmas Festival she meets a guy who has all her requirements for perfect-man status. Tall, sweet, good looking, and from a big Italian family of his own, it seems she might finally have found a man she can give her heart to.

Tim Santini believes he’s finally found the woman for him, but Gia will take some convincing she’s that girl. A misunderstanding has her thinking he’s something he’s not.

 

Can a kiss stolen under the Christmas lights persuade her to spend the rest of her life with him?

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under A kiss Under the Christmas LIghts, Author, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Family Saga, Food lover, Foodie, love, Romance, Romance Books, WIld Rose Press AUthor

#BookSale #99cents just in time for the Holidays!!

Long before Christmas, Long & Short Reviews gave A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS #5stars – read why! http://ow.ly/zNcQ30gYApl The book is on Sale right now for just #99cents Give yourself a little holiday gift or the gift it to the romance reader in your life & order it today! Here’s the link: http://ow.ly/15A630gYArl

Blurb:

Gia San Valentino is the beloved baby in her large, loud, and loving Italian family. Family dramas, passion, and food rule the San Valentino clan, and Gia takes it all in stride, her family the touchstone of her life. But with Christmas fast approaching she longs for a life and home of her own with a husband and bambini she can love and spoil. The single scene doesn’t interest her and the men her well-meaning family introduce her to are all wise guy wanna-bes, with old world views on women – the pregnant and barefoot kind – just the type of man she’s trying to avoid.

When Gia lends a helping hand at her neighborhood parish’s Christmas Festival she meets a guy who has all her requirements for perfect-man status. Tall, sweet, good looking, and from a big Italian family of his own, it seems she might finally have found a man she can give her heart to. When a miscommunication has her believing he’s the new parish priest, her happily-ever-after hopes evaporate because he’s the proverbial forbidden fruit.

Or is he?

Buy Links:Amazon // Wild Rose Press  // Nook ( B&N) //

Excerpt:

He came toward me and I could see every ripple of muscle, every action and reaction of his gait, every blink of his eyes, as it happened. Detailed, distinct, delicious.

The bright sun shone low due to the hour, but it haloed around his form, bathing him in light.

He looked like an angel.

A dressed-all-in-black angel, but an angel, nonetheless.

“Need some help?” he asked when he was within a foot of me.

I still hadn’t moved, my fingers cemented around the ladder rungs. I couldn’t feel them anymore. Merda, I couldn’t feel anything I was so numb from just looking at him.

But I could hear. My blood, as it river-rafted crazily through my temples; my heart drumming like a heavy metal band in my chest.

And his voice. Mio Dio, his voice.

When I was six I had a terrible chest cold. Wheezing, choking on phlegm, unable to cough anything up. The doctor told mama to keep me warm and hydrated and the cold would ride itself out in time. Nonna Constanza, ancient even when I was a kid, scoffed and prescribed her own old world remedy. She sat me in her lap, cooing to me with her singsong voice and held a tiny shot glass up to my lips coaxing, “Tu bevi, Gia bambina. Tu Bevi.”

Drink, Gia baby. Drink.

She tilted the glass back into my mouth and I did. I drank every drop.

I don’t remember much after. Daddy told me later I slipped into a mini-coma for about sixty-two hours, bombed out of my head from the anisette nonna had dosed me with.

But this is what I do remember. The amber colored liquor slipped down the inside of my mouth to the back of my throat and onward into my belly, tasting of melted marshmallows and warming each place it touched like a million little hits of heat popping everywhere inside me. When it reached my tummy it settled and dug in, filling my senses with the sweet flavor of mama’s Sunday morning caramel rolls and sugar.

That’s what his voice sounded like: warm and sweet, thick, delicious, and soothing.

My entire body relaxed when I heard it. My paralysis flew and my frozen-in-place digits melted.

He’d held my stare the entire time, never wavering, never becoming distracted by something else. He looked straight at me; just me. Like a missile dead-eye-aimed for a target.

“Here,” he said, moving in closer, so close I could make out the actual color of his eyes now. I’d thought they were dark and from far away and they were. But seeing them now, face-to-face, I spotted little flecks of yellow and slivery shards of gold mixed into the center and surrounded by a ring of deep, rich, mink.

If his voice was warm and soothing, his eyes were hot enough to singe, and mama mia, I wanted to be burned.

 

 

2 Comments

Filed under A kiss Under the Christmas LIghts, Author, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Family Saga, Food lover, Foodie, love, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women

Why I love a #holidayRomance

So. There are probably going to be hundreds of blogs written in the next month by romance writers much more talented than I am about why we all love a holiday romance.

Be it a Hallmark movie, or a new theatrical wide-release Holiday RomCom, or even the plethora of new Christmas love stories that invade our Netgalley listings and Amazon review sites every year.

 

But, just why do we love a Holiday Romance story sosososo much? Valentine’s Day is the day devoted to Cupid and love. And yes, there have been a few movies and books devoted to that amorous day.

HeeHee – shameless plus!

But by and large, a Christmas themed romance book or movie just does — overall- better than any released at Valentine time.

Why?

I’m sure there are any number of reasons, but I’ve got a few of my own that I’d like to share.

First, the holidays tend to bring out the best in most of us. Oh, I know there are crabby, grumpy Scrooges out there – some I even know personally! And I’m not negating the people who suffer from depression, which can be heightened at this time of year. But overall, we collectively are happier during the holidays. And because we’re happier I think that tends to open our hearts up to the possibility of finding love. A Happy heart is an open heart, as a famous jewelry company keeps telling us!

Second is the Christmas Wish/Gift list. Most adults don’t physically write this list down on paper like they did as children. They tend to construct and keep it in their heads. And I just bet on every single man and woman’s mental wish list is a dream to meet the person of their, well, dreams. The guy or gal who will become their life partner. Their soulmate. And books and movies postulate that wishes and dreams DO come TRUE, so….

Third, Christmas Romance stories and movies all end HAPPILY. Like any good romance writer or romantic scriptwriter will tell you, you’ve got to make your characters go through hell and high water to achieve that everlasting love. As a romance reader myself – and not just a writer – I know that the more angst, turmoil, and tragedy the characters are put through, the more I root for them to wind up together in the end. I know what the ending will wind up being when I go it. It’s the journey I’m there to watch and read. And who doesn’t love a Happily Ever After ending?? Especially during the holidays!

Lastly, I always view the holidays as a time of rebirth. Sure, it’s Jesus’ birthday, and we should celebrate it like one, but for me, spiritually, it’s a time of rebirth, reorganization, and recognizing all the gifts I have. And  those gifts – the most precious ones – are the loves of my life! So, a holiday love story – whether it’s a finding a new love , or a retelling of an everlasting love, warms our hearts and make us just feel good.

I know there are oodles more reasons why Holiday romances sell well and touch our hearts, but to me, finding love and keeping it is the best!


I encourage everyone to see a new holiday love story this year and to read a new Christmas Romance novel. And as another shameless plug, I’ll offer mine up, here:

A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS

With Christmas just a few weeks away, Gia San Valentino, the baby in her large, loud, and loving Italian family, yearns for a life and home of her own with a husband and bambini she can love and spoil. The single scene doesn’t interest her, and the men her well-meaning family introduce her to aren’t exactly the happily-ever-after kind.

Tim Santini believes he’s finally found the woman for him, but Gia will take some convincing she’s that girl. A misunderstanding has her thinking he’s something he’s not.

Can a kiss stolen under the Christmas lights persuade her to spend the rest of her life with him?

 

Click here for a preview: A Kiss

Leave a comment

Filed under A kiss Under the Christmas LIghts, Author, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Family Saga, Foodie, love, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, WIld Rose Press AUthor

Inspiration is close by….

So, after missing last week because I had nothing to contribute to the topic, I thought long and hard about this week’s prompt. Originally, I had an entirely different posting planned. Then the terrorist attack in NYC happened. I tell you this because of the person I’m going to highlight as my inspiration.

My beautiful daughter lives in Manhattan. Now, she lives nowhere near where the attack took place. But she was four blocks from it at a conference during the time it occurred. Sitting in my little cocoon of an office in New Hampshire, writing away, I knew nothing about the event until she texted. Once she did, I was all over the news wires like white on rice.

The text said If you hear about a shooting on the West Side, just know that *** ( her boyfriend’s name) and I are okay. Can you just imagine the ice water that sluiced through my veins when I read that? As I said, I immediately turned the news on and watched the entire event unfold — as most of America did — in real time. What in the world did we ever do before we had cell phone cameras?

My instinctual reaction was to tell my daughter to come home. Move from her apartment, give up her job, come home where it’s safe and sound and I know you are okay.

That, as I said, was my first reaction. I did no such thing, of course, because we’re talking about my daughter here. She’d already lived through the Boston Marathon bombings when she resided in that town. She’d sheltered in place with one of my nieces who was attending MIT at the same time,  and survived the ordeal a stronger, more determined person.

When I’d asked her to move home then so I could be assured she’d be safe, her response had been, “Then that lets the terrorists win because I’d be running away from my lifestyle and the life I’ve made.  Their goal is to instill terror so we bow down to them. I’m not moving. I’m not giving in. Aren’t you the one who taught me the Tao of NGU NGI?” ( Never Give Up Never Give In).

Well, yes. I was. It’s very humbling having your words tossed back at you, especially when they’re used to prove a point.

So.

This time, when terror struck, I knew better than to state my case for her coming home again. My daughter, who was born in a tiny town in Wisconsin, is a true New Yorker. She’s got the grit, the determination, the steadfastness I so admire in anyone. She will go about her living her life — as all New Yorkers do — more determined, more focused, more kick-ass.

Oh, and just to walk the walk and talk the talk? She’s running the NYC marathon this weekend. No crazed lunatic of a terrorist is going to make her change her life.

I guess it’s pretty obvious now that my lovely daughter is the person who inspires me the most. She inspires me to be strong, determined, steadfast, daring. She’s encouraged me to live outside my little box, explore the beautiful world we live in, and to make each day a testament to freedom and love. By living her life as she does, she’s setting an example to people everywhere, especially her mother.

Now, the other authors in this blog hop all have people who inspire them that they want you to know about, too. Click on the links below and visit them. Leave some love and pass it on. And be an inspiration to someone if you can.

10 Comments

Filed under Family Saga, MFRWauthor, Strong Women

The end is in sight, #GoddessFishBlogTour

Today’s virtual tour brings me to the Mixed Book Bag. Drop by and see the five places I’d love to travel to learn about the native cuisine.

Leave a comment

Filed under Alpha Hero, Author, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Family Saga, female friends, Food lover, Foodie, Kensington Publishers, Literary characters, love, Lyrical Author, research, Romance, Romance Books, romantic suspense, Strong Women, The Laine Women, Uncategorized

…and another #GoddessFishBlogTour stop

I’m tired. Are you? Hee hee. This has been a world wind tour, that’s for sure. Today I’m 2 places at once. ( Didn’t know I was magical, did you?!) I’m over on Read Your Writes Book Reviews and Rachel Brimble’s Romance blog. Stop by both – you get 2 chances at that Amazon GC if you comment on each. Leave me some encouragement and love, though, too!

Leave a comment

Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Family Saga, Foodie, Kensington Publishers, love, Lyrical Author, research, Romance, Romance Books, romantic suspense, Strong Women, The Laine Women

Week 2 of the #BookTour wrap-up

Just in case you missed any of the tour stops for week 2, here’s a listing with links. Be sure to drop by, leave some love, and be entered for a chance to win an Amazon GC at the end of the tour.

Monday, October 2 Danita Minnis

Tuesday, October 3 Up ’til Dawn Book Blog

Wednesday, October 4 Hearts and Scribbles and Nickie’s Reviews and Interviews

Thursday, October 5 Nancy Fraser

Friday, October 6  Fabulous, and Brunette   and Two Ends of the Pen

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Family Saga, female friends, Food lover, Foodie, Friends, Kensington Publishers, Life challenges, love, Lyrical Author, Romance, Romance Books, RWA, Strong Women, The Laine Women

#Release day and more of my #GoddessFishBlog tour


Pardon me, but I’m a little giddy today! A SHOT OF LOVE is out in the book reading world and the reviews have been amazing so far!!!!

I’m on Up ‘Til Dawn Book Blog today talking about my favorite movie scenes. This was a fun blog to write, so stop by and tell me yours!

Leave a comment

Filed under Author Branding, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Family Saga, Food lover, Foodie, Friends, Kensington Publishers, Life challenges, love, Lyrical Author, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, The Laine Women

#GoddessFishBlogTour….Week 2 begins

I can’t believe I survived the first week!

Today I’m visiting Danita Mantis. Stop by…leave love!

Leave a comment

Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Family Saga, Food lover, Foodie, Kensington Publishers, Life challenges, love, Lyrical Author, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, The Laine Women

2 weeks….

As promised previously, to ramp up interest for my Lyrical Shine 10.3.17 release of A SHOT AT LOVE, I’m posting little excerpts from the book. The last time you got to see Gemma for the first time through Ky’s eyes. Today, Gemma gives you a little glimpse of the FBI agent who pisses her off and turns her on at the same time.

Enjoy!

Gemma paced the small room for the hundredth time, her arms folded across her chest, desperately wanting to hit something.

No, not something. Someone. Agent Pappa-pain, or whatever the heck his name was.

For over two hours she’d been confined to this cramped, windowless, and drab room. During the first, she’d written, in full detail, everything she’d witnessed on the street corner. Agent Winters had guided her through the questions while she wrote the answers in her smooth, precise script. When they were finished, he’d left her, promising to return shortly.

            His definition of shortly was exceedingly different from hers.

With a heavy sigh, she plopped back down into a metal chair, arms still crossed.                        Agent Moron. Reconsidering, she added, a hunky moron, but one none-the-less.

Reconsidering, she added, a hunky moron, but one none-the-less.

She’d been speaking on the phone when she’d turned and seen him approaching her. Her first thought had been serious eye candy. Clad in a supremely well-fitted dark blue suit, he simply tore up the pavement on his way to her, those long legs striding with purpose and determination in each step. His face was a contradiction in origins. Deep, milk chocolate colored hair, cut just a bit too short for her liking, had soft, gold flecks framing his temples and the top of his head. His skin was a light golden brown, giving the impression he spent a great deal of time in the sun. Eyes the color of the sea at sunrise, so light green, they almost appeared crystal with the sun hitting them, were surrounded by jet-black eyelashes Gemma admitted she was jealous of. His face was angular, the jaw tapering into a rock solid V at its tip, a small crevice winking out right below his lower lip.

All-in-all it was a face she wanted to photograph, knowing just the way she’d capture it. The fact he’d yanked her along after him like an errant child got her dander up. Coupled with the way he’d carelessly held her camera made her want to kick some sense into him.

God, what a day.

PreOrder Links: Amazon //Apple //Google // Kobo // Nook

When I’m not trying to sell my soul in the weight of books (!) you can find me here: Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Alpha Hero, Alpha Male, Author, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Family Saga, Food lover, Foodie, Kensington Publishers, Literary characters, love, Lyrical Author, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, The Laine Women