Category Archives: WIld Rose Press AUthor

Christmas/Holiday Traditions

Growing up in the 60’s, times were different. We didn’t have the Internet, Facebook, or any social media, so staying in touch with people who lived far away was usually done during the holiday season with the sending of the yearly Christmas card. Nowadays, we can keep in touch with relatives and friends a dozen times zones away much easier – and for no postage costs! People still do, though, send out holiday greeting cards, a custom that was started around 1843 by a civil servant in England called Henry Cole. He and his friend John Horsley designed the very first cards and sold them for a shilling each. As the quality of printing improved and people earned more money for “extravagant” items, Christmas cards became more popular. Again, back before the cyberuniverse ruled the world, the postal service did the majority of its delivering during two holidays every year – Christmas and Mother’s day.

I’m going to be honest and tell you I haven’t sent out holiday cards in years. The people I want to keep in touch with, I do, all year round. Facebook has made it possible to connect and keep up with people much more easily than ever before. I simply don’t have the time or the inclination to sit down and send a card to someone I spoke with yesterday! IF that’s a little Scrooge-y, okay. I’ll own that.

 

Another thing that was different when I was growing up was the Christmas tree and the ornaments we decorated it with. I don’t have one memory that isn’t filled with the tree being filled with those awful and cheap glass ornaments in a variety of colors. they were horrendously made and produced — I feel — simply to shatter. Truly. If you walked near the tree a ball would fall to the floor no matter how well you’d secured it, and shatter into ten thousand shards of glass that was almost impossible to completely sweep or vacuum up. I distinctly remember walking in my living room when I was eight in July and getting my foot pierced by the sharp remnants of a fallen, broken ball. The very first decorations put on trees when they became popular in the 18th century was apples, oranges, and -God Help me!– lit candles. Hallmark began producing specialized ornaments during the 20th century to depict all manner of thing and today, most homes in America that put up a tree, have at least one Hallmark-inspired or made ornament. I’ve been honest on my Instagram account and share pictures of the 4 trees I have in my home. Almost all of my ornaments – except for the tree filled with ornaments from the countries I’ve traveled to – are Hallmark ornaments.

 

Do you put a candle in your window during the Christmas season ( or one in each window!!)?

This tradition means different things to people of different faiths. Christians liken a lit candle to the Star of Bethlehem, guiding the wise men to the manger. The lights from a Menorah symbolize the miracle of Chanukah when a single jug of oil burned for 8 solid days. Irish Catholics used to put candles in the window to denote that the house was safe for Priests to enter during the Protestant uprising when Priests were in danger of being put to death. I like candles in the window because to me they symbolize that the way home will always be lit for whoever wants to journey there. The Alabama song Candle in the Window exemplifies this thought.

There are so many traditions that people hold fast to during the holiday season. I think that’s what makes our shared humanity so wonderful. Different cultures and diverse religions bring many things to the table. WOuldn’t it be nice if we could all respect, honor, and enjoy one anothers traditions?
So ( you knew this was coming!) what are some of your favorite Holiday traditions. I’m going to pick one person who comments and send them an ecopy of my Christmas book A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS. So….talk to me.

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under A kiss Under the Christmas LIghts, WIld Rose Press AUthor

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?

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

Why my Christmas Tree ornaments mean so much….

Memories can be captured several ways. I tend to like the physical way of remembering things – getting a program at a concert (despite the fact they are a gazillion dollars now!); keeping the seat stubs from a Broadway play. One way I love more than any other is the acquiring of Christmas tree ornaments. (BTW – that tree above is not one of mine!!!)

I routinely have 4 Christmas trees on display in my home each year.

Yeah…I know. But when you grow up poor, stuff takes on a new meaning when you have spending money!

Anyway….about those trees. Or more directly, the ornaments.

Since I’ve been married I’ve been acquiring ornaments of memories. I have one tree that is loaded with ornaments purchased from all the places around the world we have visited. I have another tree with all cooking and baking related ornaments because for several years I hosted an annual cookie swap with dozens of friends. As a thank you for them coming to my swap, they not only got cookies, but an ornament cooking/baking related for their own trees. I kept one for me each year.

My husband is not the lover of ornaments that I am…not even close! But there is one ornament that he insists get put up on our tree every year and it is the one he looks for when I’m done decorating. This is it:

Yes, that it a Goodwill box, and yes there is a tree sticking out of it. I want to tell you story behind this favored ornament.

Hubby moved to Wisconsin to start a new job six months before we got married. I stayed behind to plan the wedding and to finish up my Master’s degree. With just one course left, I didn’t want to leave until it was completed. Hubby was due to come back to NYC for our wedding which would take place the day after Christmas ( Boxing Day for you UK-ers). He had a small apartment that I would move into with him until we found our perfect house. As I’ve mentioned, Hubby is not the Christmas decorator in our family so the apartment was bare of all holiday accoutrement.

One day, on his way to work, he spotted a Goodwill box in the parking lot of the building he worked in. Sticking out of it was a fully tinseled Christmas tree, complete with the star at the top. Obviously, someone was going away for the holidays but didn’t want to just toss their tree into the garbage, electing to put it in the Goodwill box in the hopes some needy family would see it and have their own tree.

Hubby is a fast-on-his-feet thinker. He pulled the tree from the box- it still smelled fresh and evergreen-y – and drove it back to the apartment . The stand was attached ( smart donators!) so he filled it with water and went back to work. And that’s the way it stood in the apartment. No other decorations, just the tinsel and the star. He came home to NYC for a few days, we got married, and immediately flew back to Wisconsin because he didn’t have enough earned time for a honeymoon. Needless to say, when I saw the tree I was thrilled. And touched.

And then he told me the story of how he’d acquired the tree.

And I laughed because this is my hubby in a nutshell!

Of course, he had to share what he’d done with his co-workers before he left to get married. When he went back to work on Monday there was a wrapped gift from one of the people in his office. It was the above ornament, handcrafted by the husband of an officemate who is a woodworker. Every year now for the past 30 years that ornament sits in a place of honor on our Christmas tree and Hubby looks for it to make sure it’s there.

I love the thought of ornaments as platforms for memories. If I keep making more memories, though, I’m going to need a bigger house for all the trees!

I’ve got a Christmas book out that I hope makes memories for the people who read it. If you’re interested, here’s the link: A Kiss

And if you need to find me in cyberland, I’m usually here: Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// Book Me

 

2 Comments

Filed under A kiss Under the Christmas LIghts, WIld Rose Press AUthor

An #authorinterview with #Writer Mary Morgan

Another one of my fabulous Wild Rose Press sistahs is joining me today for a sit-down interview! Please give a warm welcome to Mary Morgan. Mary has a new historical book out just in time for the Holiday gift giving season!!! She’s giving us a little preview of it today and I’m sure after reading the blurb and excerpt you’re gonna head right over and click on one of the buy links! Here’s Mary.

Mary: The Writer 

  1. What drives you to write? The passion of my stories. They demand to be told, and I love weaving a good tale. It’s the Irish bard within my blood, and writing is another way for me to breathe.
  2. What genre(s) of Romance do your write, and why? Historical, Paranormal, Time Travel, Fantasy. It’s a mixture of everything I love—from Celtic Mythology, history, and a yearning to return to the past. Often times, I’ve stated I’m a woman in the wrong century.
  3. What genre(s) of Romance do you read, and why? I’m an eclectic reader, and it depends on my mood. During the spring, it’s regency romances. Summer is a mixture of fantasy, contemporary, and non-fiction reads. Autumn is mostly paranormal (I love a good vampire romance). And during the holidays and winter, it’s mostly short holiday/winter romances, in particular the Harlequin seasonal historical. They’re short and a perfect way to keep me in the spirit of the season. It’s a ritual I started when I worked for Borders Books. The retail industry can put a damper on anyone working during that time of year.
  4. What’s your writing schedule? Do you write everyday? I write every day. Monday-Saturday, my day begins at 5:00am. I tend to all the business side of writing—from checking emails, writing blog posts, and scheduling social media blasts. At around 9:00, I go for a walk, bike ride, or yoga. Not only do I get in exercise, but also I’ve found this to be a good time to plot out scenes for the day. It’s what I call, “my character round table.” I’m listening to where they (my characters) wish to go. My writing hours are generally from 11:00 (thirty minutes for lunch) until 5:00-5:30pm (I turn into a pumpkin after 6pm). On Sundays, I print out what I’ve written during the week and do line-edits on the couch. I love looking at my book this way. It’s a wonderful time to edit, add, delete, and really read the story. I call this my “down time.” Recently, I’ve challenged myself to write seven to eight hours one day a week. It’s phenomenal. I shut out the real world and dive into my story early in the morning.
  5. Give us a glimpse of the surroundings where you write. Separate room? In the kitchen? At the dining room table? The magic happens in the corner of my bedroom overlooking my garden. My writing desk is an antique (approximately 300 years old). To my right is my father’s desk he had as a child. Books on writing, history, and Celtic mythology surround me. Ancient maps, stones (from my travels in Europe), and crystals are tucked into nooks within the desk. In addition, I’ve become a collector of blades—from owning a claymore to a small sgian dubh, a Scottish small, single-edged knife.
  6. Are you the kind of writer who needs total quiet to compose, or are you able to filter out the typical sounds of the day and use your tunnelvision? Yes, I require a quiet environment. However, I’m usually in my room with the door closed. I envy those that can go to coffee places to write. There’s too much energy, and I wouldn’t be able to focus on my writing.
  7. Do you listen to music while you write, and if so, what kind? If not, why not? Music is my muse, especially Celtic music. I have a huge collection of instrumental music on my computer. It fuels the emotions. The only time I don’t listen to music is when I’m doing edits from my editor. I need total concentration.
  8. How did you come up with the plotline/idea for your current WIP? Desmond O’Quinlan first appeared in Dragon Knight’s Axe, Order of the Dragon Knights, Book 3. He’s one of Fiona’s (wife of Dragon Knight Alastair MacKay) brothers. He kept tapping me on the shoulder (and sometimes yelling), requesting his story. Apparently, he had unfinished business with Alastair MacKay and was harboring resentment toward the Dragon Knight for leaving his sister. I loved returning home to Scotland, the Dragon Knights, and their families.
  9. Which comes first for you – character or plot? And why? The character. I see them all standing in a Great Hall within a castle, demanding their story. Usually, there’s a sequence of events that will place one before the other, but I’ve found that when the strongest character will voice his/her reasons, I’ll listen and go from there.
  10. What 3 words describe you, the writer? Passionate. Romantic. Bard. (Peggy here: LOVELOVELOVE that!)

 

Mary, The Person:

  1. Tell us one unusual thing about yourself – not related to writing! I’m a Beauty and the Beast fan. The television series (late 1980’s) starring Ron Perlman and Linda Hamilton.
  2. Who was your first love and what age were you? A boy in my history class and I was thirteen.
  3. If you could relive one day, which one would it be? Think GROUNDHOG DAY, the movie for this one – you’ll have to live it over and over and…. Summer Solstice 2000 on the Isle of Skye in Scotland. Mystical, magical, and one that remains with me.
  4. Do you like a guy in boxers, briefs, or commando? Definitely commando. 😉
  5. If you had to give up one necessary-can’t-live-without-it beauty item, what would it be? My hair products. I have curly hair. Enough said. (Peggy here: I sososososo relate!)
  6. What three words describes you, the person? Optimistic. Loyal. Generous.
  7. If you could sing a song with Jimmy Fallon, what would it be? “Lean on Me,” by Bill Withers.
  8. If you could hang out with any literary character from any book penned at any time line, who would it by, why, and what would you do together? Morgaine from “The Mists of Avalon.” I love this tale of her. She’s often portrayed as dark and evil, but this story spun a different perspective of the legend. We would spend the time together wandering the hills of Avalon.

I love the Actor’s Studio show on Bravo, so this is my version of it:

  1. Favorite sound: Children’s laughter
  2. Least favorite sound: Children crying
  3. Best song ever written “The Celts,” by Enya
  4. Worst song ever written “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer.” It has a catchy tune, but I can’t stand the lyrics. (Peggy here- you would not be surprised how many authors have told me this in their interviews! this is a very not-liked song)
  5. Favorite actor and actress Richard Armitage and Maureen O’Hara
  6. Who would you want to be for 1 day and why? ( It can be anyone living or dead) Queen Victoria. Regardless of her sheltered life prior to becoming queen at 18, she was an extraordinary woman.
  7. What turns you on? A man’s smile.
  8. What turns you off? Rude behavior.
  9. Give me the worst 5 words ever heard on a first date (here’s mine: “Is that your real hair?”) I’ve only dated one man, and he was the perfect date. My husband. (BEST ANSWER EVAH!!!!)
  10. What’s your version of a perfect day? Walking along the beach with my husband.

 

Hi Peggy! Thanks for having me on your wonderful blog today! I’m excited to share my new release, A Highland Moon Enchantment. I’ve returned home to Scotland and the Dragon Knights this holiday season.

When the O’Quinlan brothers entered the story in Dragon Knight’s Axe, Order of the Dragon Knights, Book 3, I knew each would demand their own story. Desmond O’Quinlan kept tapping my shoulder (and yelling in my ear), requesting a rematch with Dragon Knight, Alastair MacKay. Apparently, he had unfinished business with Alastair for leaving his sister, Fiona. In truth, I sensed a deeper meaning behind Desmond’s foul mood and growing anger at the Dragon Knight. However, Ailsa MacDuff will become his greatest challenge, and the real reason for his bitterness will be exposed.

The light of a Midwinter feast and the glow of a Highland full moon will weave its magic over these two warriors.

A HIGHLAND MOON ENCHANTMENT 

 

Blurb:

You first meet this warrior in Dragon Knight’s Axe, Order of the Dragon Knights, Book 3

Irish warrior, Desmond O’Quinlan has never surrendered his heart to any woman. He has no wish to have his soul tortured by love. Yet, the moment he locks gazes with Ailsa, his fate is destined for an adventure he never fathomed. He may have battled alongside a Dragon Knight, but his greatest challenge will come from within his own heart.

Ailsa MacDuff, a warrior among her clan, has no desire to have a man chain her to a life of obedience. However, that is before she meets Desmond. The temptation to allow this warrior inside her heart is a risk she dares to take, but one that could lead to a future of emptiness and sorrow.

When betrayal looms from within, the battleground of love is no match for these two warriors. Can the power of a Highland full moon be strong enough to unite or destroy them?

 

Excerpt 

His mind screamed to stay rooted in his chair, but his body betrayed him. Standing, he reached for her hand.“I will escort ye to your chamber.”

She eyed him with curiosity and stood. “Nae. Take me to the north wall. I hear the view of the loch is one that steals the breath from your lungs.”

“Done.” When her fingers slipped into his, Desmond fought the urge to crush her to his chest.

Placing her soft hand in the crook of his arm, he led her quickly out of the hall and up the stairs. Bending to the left, he took her along a corridor and up a narrow circular pathway. The torches flickered as he approached the door leading to the north wall.

A cold draft blew by them, and she shivered. Instantly, regret filled him realizing he had not considered to bring a cloak for her.

Desmond paused by the door. “Ye should not venture out into the biting cold without a cloak.”

Her eyes narrowed. “I simply wish to capture a quick look, not spend the night sleeping out there.”

Shaking his head, he pushed open the massive oak door. Brittle air slapped at his face while they made their way up along the wall.

 “’Tis cold,” she muttered, but chuckled softly and hugged his arm. “But ye are

warm.”

“We shall not tarry long,” he assured her and placed a warm hand over hers.

“Oh, sweet Goddess. Look at the moon, Desmond. Her light shimmers over the water. I have now witnessed the charm of the loch in sunlight and moonlight. Though our rivers are stunning on their own, they cannae rival this view. As I have told ye, our island is shrouded in mists, so ye cannae see verra far out into the sea.”

Desmond’s focus was not on the moon, but the beauty standing beside him. To take what he dared not possess. He marveled at her delight of the striking scene.

Ailsa turned toward him. “Thank ye, Desmond, truly.”

Her nearness was overpowering, seducing him in a way he had never known. Desmond cupped her chin. Her eyes widened, and her lips parted in invitation. Moonlight and lust danced within her eyes. No longer did he battle with his mind and body, and he slowly lowered his head.

And under the silent whisper of a full moon, Desmond captured her soft lips within his own. He

could taste her sweetness mixed with the wine, and desire shot through his veins. His hands shook as he placed them securely on her waist. As he deepened the kiss, she placed her hands around his neck. Desmond groaned, crushing her body against him.

Buy Links:

Amazon // B&N // iBooks // Amazon CA // Amazon UK // Amazon AU // The Wild Rose Press

A Little about MARY:

Award-winning Scottish paranormal romance author, Mary Morgan resides in Northern California, with her own knight in shining armor. However, during her travels to Scotland, England, and Ireland, she left a part of her soul in one of these countries and vows to return.

Mary’s passion for books started at an early age along with an overactive imagination. She spent far too much time daydreaming and was told quite often to remove her head from the clouds. It wasn’t until the closure of Borders Books where Mary worked that she found her true calling—writing romance. Now, the worlds she created in her mind are coming to life within her stories.

If you enjoy history, tortured heroes, and a wee bit of magic, then time-travel within the pages of her books.

Visit Mary’s website at http://www.marymorganauthor.com where you’ll find links to all of her books, blog, and pictures of her travels.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

19 Comments

Filed under WIld Rose Press AUthor

Celebrating Christmas with two crazy families…

This Holiday Season I’m channeling my inner Attic Elf and while I’m playing White Christmas on a continuous loop on my CD player, I want to  tell you the inspiration behind my favorite family, The San Valentino’s of Manhattan,

My parents split when I was an infant and both remarried. My parents are of Irish extraction, my stepmother the same. My stepfather, though, was first generation Italian/American. This made for some memorable Christmas get-togethers during my childhood.

Christmas Eve was usually spent with the Italian relatives, starting at around 4 p.m. with the first course of the Feast of the 7 fishes. Every hour on the hour for 7 full hours a different fish course was served by my Sicilian-speaking-only step-grandmother.And with every course, a new bottle of wine would be served, so that by the time my mother, stepfather and I left, most of the relatives were gluttonously full and three sheets to the wind drunk. It made for many an interesting evening, especially when they all started spewing in Italian just so my mother and I couldn’t understand what was being said. (P.S. most of it was about us!!!)

Christmas day was always spent with Irish relatives, starting with Midnight Mass Christmas eve,( and yes, we traveled to them as soon as the last fish course was finished on the Italo side.) and culminating in a day of drinking and eating. And when I say drinking I mean it in the purely alcoholic sense. Unlike with the stepfamily, my mother’s family consumed more booze than food. And they started drinking earlier, too. Like noon early. There would only be two courses for dinner, which was usually served at 5 without any food before that, because my Irish grandmother didn’t want any of us to spoil our dinners and eat too much before the meal was served. I never understood how she didn’t equate the falling asleep drunks at the dinner table with the lack of food to sop up the afternoon booze. By seven p.m. most of them would be passed out in various lounge chairs and couches, the Yule Log blasting Christmas music in the background to drown out the yelling coming from the kitchen where my mother, her mother, and my aunt would be fighting about….anything and everything.

From the time I realized my family was different from all the other families in my school I started asking Santa for a different family every year for Christmas. The number one item on my Santa wish list was : a family that didn’t fight, drink, or yell. I think I actually wrote that for eight years straight. When I never got the family I wished for, I stopped writing it down.

But I never stopped wishing for it.

It wasn’t until I was married and made my own family that my wish turned into my reality.

When I wrote my very first Christmas romance, A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS, I invented the family I wished for as a child. The San Valentinos are loyal and loving and they do fight – but only in the best sense of the word because they fight for each other, not against one another. I got my wished-for family twice: One, I married; the other I created.

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. 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 // Barnes and Noble // KOBO // Google Play

Question for Readers: Do you come from a Big family or a small one? I’ll be picking one reader who comments to receive an e-copy of A Kiss Under The Christmas Lights. Comment in the comments section and let me know!!

When I’m not writing about crazy families you can find me here : Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// Book Me

And please visit these wonderful author blog sites for more Christmas in the Highway Cafe fun!

December 4
Holland Rae – https://hollandrae.com/
Susanne Matthews – https://mhsusannematthews.wordpress.com/
Sorchia DuBois – www.sorchiadubois.com
Mariah Lynne –
December 5
Tena Stetler – http://www.tenastetler.com/category/my-say-what-blog/
Maureen Bonatch – http://www.maureenbonatch.com/blog/
Peggy Jaeger – https://peggyjaeger.com/
Barbara Burke – https://barbaraburkeauthor.wordpress.com/
December 6
Kelly Kalmanson – http://kkweil.blogspot.com
M.S. Spencer – http://msspencertalespinner.blogspot.com
Hywela Lyn – www.hywelalyn.blogspot.com
Reggi Allder – https://reggiallder.blogspot.com/
December 7
Denyse Bridger – http://www.fantasypages.ca
Clair de Lune – https://clairdelunebooks.co.uk/
Karen Blake-Hall – https://kaydenclaremont.wordpress.com/
Casi McLean – http://casimclean.com/a-christmas-to-remember/
December 8
Darlene Fredette – http://findingthewritewords.blogspot.com
Daryl Devore – http://daryldevore.blogspot.ca
Gini Rifkin – http://ginirifkin.blogspot.com
Linda Carroll-Bradd – http://blog.lindacarroll-bradd.com

 

15 Comments

Filed under A kiss Under the Christmas LIghts, WIld Rose Press AUthor

#HolidayBookSale Donna Simonetta and A SWEETER SPOT

One of my favorite Wild Rose Press sistahs, Donna Simonetta, is having a book sale just in time for the holiday gift-giving season. A SWEETER SPOT is on sale right now! Below is a little preview to tempt you! And believe me…you want to be tempted. I loved this book so much that I reviewed it!

 

A SWEETER SPOT

Blurb:

Magda knows a 28-year-old shouldn’t run away from home, but Rivers Bend is the ideal escape. Helping out her best friend will get her away from her uber-wealthy, controlling grandmother and duplicitous ex. She doesn’t expect the quirky little town to feel so much like home. Add in hotter-than-the-sun Jeff and his daughter, and leaving seems as unthinkable as it is inevitable.

Raising Sam alone, Jeff knew he wanted her to grow up in his supportive hometown. The arrival of a feisty new tenant sends Jeff’s world spinning. Magda fills a void in his life that he’d like to make permanent.

Will love triumph over the most powerful woman in the country, and can they figure out how to make this happy-for-now in Rivers Bend into their happy-ever-after?

 

Excerpt: 

An errant curl had escaped her grandmother- approved French Twist, and she tucked it behind her ear. She smiled and said, “I am. I’m Magda Horvath. Bethanne and her family are the only ones who call me Maggie. That’s how I know you are who you say you are. Even without the photo I.D.” She picked up the wallet and tossed it to him. He caught it one-handed and tucked it into the rear pocket of his shorts.

“Sorry. Do you prefer being called Magda?”

She rolled her eyes. “As long as you don’t call me Elizabeth, or any of its corresponding nicknames, I don’t really care.”

“Okay,” he drew out the word. “I don’t know why I would ever call you Elizabeth, but since it means that much to you, I’ll be sure I don’t. How about I go with Maggie? You look like a Maggie to me.”

He squatted and held out his hand to the dog. “Who’s this little cutie?”

Maggie readied herself to intervene in case Petunia snapped, as she sometimes did with strange men. “Oh! Don’t do that. She doesn’t like…” She abruptly stopped talking as Petunia walked to Jeff, sniffed his hand, and wagged.

Jeff seemed to realize the wagging was an invitation to pet her, and he scratched Petunia behind her ears. The little dog wagged so hard that Maggie was afraid her back end was going to break off, and her one eye was closed in bliss. As Magda watched her dog bask in Jeff’s attention, she had no doubt he could use those big hands to bring any woman to a state of bliss.

When he smiled up at her, his eyes crinkled, and Maggie could swear her heart stopped for a moment. He wasn’t handsome in the way Pierce was—all delicate bone structure and whippet thin. Combined with his baby-fine blond hair, Pierce was almost pretty. Jeff was all man. Tall and muscular with his messy brown hair that looked in serious need of a cut. He wore a sloppy T-shirt and olive colored cargo shorts, but the baggy clothes did nothing to hide the hard body underneath. His nose was just a little too big and a tad crooked, as though it had been broken. His tan skin stretched across strong cheekbones, but it wasn’t the kind of orange tan you got in a booth. It was the tan of a man who spent a lot of time outdoors. But it was those gray eyes, with the little laugh lines around them that really drew her to him. They were full of intelligence and kindness—now that he knew she wasn’t a trespasser.

“She doesn’t like what?”

Magda shook her head in amazement, “Men. She’d been abused before I got her, and she doesn’t usually like men.”

He grinned as the dog rolled on her back to reveal her belly for rubbing. He obliged, and winked at Magda. “Maybe she’s just been around the wrong men.”

Her and me both. Magda felt her knees go weak at his playful expression. Cold fish, indeed! Watching this man pet her dog had her hot enough to melt the zipper on her skirt.

Buy Links:

Amazon // Wild Rose Press // B&N // Amazon UK // KOBO //

Bio:

Donna Simonetta writes the kind of books she loves to read––contemporary romances filled with heart, heat, and humor, like the books of her favorite romance writers, Susan Mallery and Jill Shalvis.

A Sweeter Spot is the first book in the Rivers Bend trilogy, which is set in a fictional small town, populated by quirky characters. But if you prefer a big city setting and a little fantasy mixed in with your romance, try Angels Fly. A heartwarming story, set in beautiful San Diego, about getting a second-chance with your first love, with a little help from some unlikely guardian angels.

Writing is Donna’s third career. She has worked in the business world, which she decided it wasn’t for her. So she went back to school to get her MLS degree, and worked in a school library, before deciding to pursue writing on a full-time basis. Donna lives in Maryland with her husband, who is her real-life romance hero. They enjoy traveling to visit far-flung family and friends, and spending time on the beach with an umbrella drink and a good book.

 

You can connect with Donna here:

Facebook //Twitter // Goodreads // Amazon // BookBub

 

 

 

 

 

 

6 Comments

Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, love, Romance, Romance Books, WIld Rose Press AUthor

Gift a Book, Part 2

Yesterday I told you why I love to give –and get — a book for a holiday gift. Today I want to talk about the kinds of books you give to others.

The type of reader is as diverse and sundry as the genres of books available. From autobiographies to YA, from biographies to Military history. From Cookbooks to Craft books; True Crime and Murder to Cozy mysteries. And of course, my favorite, Romance.  Within each of those genres are several subgenres and to find the perfect book for the book reader on your list, you need to wade through all the varieties, skip over some of the styles, and comb through all the different classifications of each genre and subgenre.

Sounds like a lot of work, doesn’t it, just to find a book. Well, it may be a little tedious, but it’s sosososo worth it when you find the perfect one.

This is a very abbreviated list of the types of books I would give to my book reading peeps and family. Very abbreviated!!!

Babies: ( for Mommy and Daddy to read aloud) Goodnight, Moon 

In a great green room, tucked away in bed, is a little bunny. “Goodnight room, goodnight moon.” And to all the familiar things in the softly lit room—to the picture of the three little bears sitting on chairs, to the clocks and his socks, to the mittens and the kittens, to everything one by one—the little bunny says goodnight.

 

Toddlers: If Animals Kissed Goodnight

If animals kissed
like we kiss good night,
Giraffe and his calf
would stretch their necks high
and kiss just beneath
the top of the sky.

In a cozy bedtime chat with her mom, a young girl wonders how animal families might say good night. Would Wolf and his pup “kiss and then HOWL”? Would Bear and her cub “kiss and then GROWL”? But what about Sloth and her baby? They move soooo slooowwwww . . . they’re sure to be kissing from early evening until long after everyone else is fast asleep!

Beginning readers: Any of the Berenstain Bears books and of course, my all-time favorite, The Little Engine That Could

Young readers: Trixie Beldon, Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys ( dated, I know, but they all teach good concepts such as critical thinking, sharing, and trust)

Tweens: The Fault in Our Stars


Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

Teens/YA: The Beginning of Everything

Varsity tennis captain Ezra Faulkner was supposed to be homecoming king, but that was before—before his girlfriend cheated on him, before a car accident shattered his leg, and before he fell in love with unpredictable new girl Cassidy Thorpe.

Adults from 20-100: I like true crime/history/biographies. Two of my absolute favorites, and which I’ve read more than once each are Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

Shots rang out in Savannah’s grandest mansion in the misty,early morning hours of May 2, 1981.  Was it murder or self-defense?  For nearly a decade, the shooting and its aftermath reverberated throughout this hauntingly beautiful city of moss-hung oaks and shaded squares.  John Berendt’s sharply observed, suspenseful, and witty narrative reads like a thoroughly engrossing novel, and yet it is a work of nonfiction.  Berendt skillfully interweaves a hugely entertaining first-person account of life in this isolated remnant of the Old South with the unpredictable twists and turns of a landmark murder case.

and Under the Banner of Heaven   

This extraordinary work of investigative journalism takes readers inside America’s isolated Mormon Fundamentalist communities, where some 40,000 people still practice polygamy. Defying both civil authorities and the Mormon establishment in Salt Lake City, the renegade leaders of these Taliban-like theocracies are zealots who answer only to God.

As I’ve said, this is a very abbreviated list. I could go on for pages about the best books to invest in, but time is short and money is fleeting, so….

Of course, you can always gift one on my books to the romance reader you’re buying for( shameless plug, I know!) if the Christmas Spirit moves you. Here’s a complete list to peruse. Peggy’s books

 

Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// Book Me

Leave a comment

Filed under A kiss Under the Christmas LIghts, Author, Author Branding, Contemporary Romance, Kensington Publishers, Literary characters, Lyrical Author, MFRWauthor, Strong Women, WIld Rose Press AUthor

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

The day that changed my life

Another week, another interpretation of this blog title. Personal? Professional? Neither? Both?

Okay, throwing that virtual dart on the wall again I’m gonna go with professional.

The day I pick is the day I learned I was going to have my first romance novel published BY A REAL PUBLISHER!!!!

I was at the 2014 RWA conference in San Antonio – my very first RWA conference.

I’d already gotten the email from Rhonda Penders, publisher of The Wild Rose Press, that she wanted to see my entire manuscript after I’d come in first place in a contest she’d judged for unpublished writers. I’d sent it along about a month previously to an editor, who coincidentally, told me she would be attending the conference and thought it might be nice to put a face to my “email voice.” We decided on a date and time to meet.

At the appointed hour I made my way to the registration desk and met with the person whom I’d been corresponding for the past month. She was absolutely lovely. We discussed many things – the conference, the weather in San Antonio – but we skirted around the topic of the book she was reading for me. I thought that was a telling sign: she hated it!

Finally, I had to get to another course so I shook her hand and thanked her for being so kind and gracious in meeting me. Before she let me go she said when I got home I would be receiving an email that might make me happy. In a word, WRP had decided they wanted my book for their list. It took me a second to realize she meant they wanted to publish it. A loooooooooong-ass second. I was so silent, standing there, still holding her hand, I fear she thought I was having a stroke or some kind of medical emergency.

The moment dragged on and I swear I couldn’t form a sentence right then if I’d been jolted by lightning.

Suddenly, a group of women walked by, all laughing, and that noise jarred me out of my paralysis. I smiled – or I think I did – squeezed her hand, and thanked her. Again. Like, five times! She laughed, told me I was welcome and encouraged me to  get  along to my course.

I don’t think I did. If memory serves, I went back to my room and cried. For an hour. I cried so much I had to redo all my makeup before that evening’s event.

I honestly don’t remember much more about that day because all I did was replay what she’d said about publishing my book on a virtual and continual loop in my head.

That was 2014 and I was a naive addition to the publishing community. Three years later and I know a little more about what to expect after signing that contract.

But even today, every time an editor tells me they want my book for their list, I still feel like that naive little publishing-virgin and have my Sally Field moment.

 

It’ll be fun to see what the other writers in this blog hop have decided is their best day. Click on their links to read what they’d written for today.

 

9 Comments

Filed under #Mfrwauthors, Author, love, Romance, Romance Books, RWA, Skater's Waltz, WIld Rose Press AUthor

#Goodreads #giveaway

T’is the season. Well, the shopping season. If you want to get a quick jump start on your holiday gift getting and you feel lucky, enter my GOODREADS GIVEAWAY for my Holiday book A  KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS. From 11.1-11.10 You can enter to win one of 5 signed copies ( USA residents only because, you know…shipping!) of the printed book and I’m including some special Holiday presents along with the books. SHHHHHH! only the winners will know what those are.

Think you might want to enter for a chance? Well, here’s a little sumthin’ sumthin’ to whet your appetites:

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?

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.

Or if you don’t want to enter the giveaway but would like the book to gift to yourself, a friend, SEVERAL FRIENDS (HeeHee), here are the buy links for the places you can find the book:

Amazon // Wild Rose Press // Kobo // Nook //

And if you need to find me, I’m usually here:  Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// Book Me

 

Leave a comment

Filed under A kiss Under the Christmas LIghts, Author, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Food lover, Foodie, love, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, The Wild Rose Press, WIld Rose Press AUthor