Friday, October 20, 2017

Secrets Hidden in the Glass {+ Giveaway}


It’s always a delight to welcome bestselling author Cate Beauman back to Thoughts in Progress. Cate joins us today with her 12th full length novel and her first stand-alone title, SECRETS HIDDEN IN THE GLASS. Plus, she has a great giveaway.

Her multi award-winning Bodyguards of L.A. County series has over 500,000 copies sold and a 4.4 rating with 8000+ reviews.

You can buy her new release now at the following links!


          Stained glass artist Callie Davis is in desperate need of a vacation. Burnt out and on the edge of a nervous breakdown, she’s fleeing the pressures of her career and is taking refuge on Massachusetts’ tiny Carter Island. Callie yearns for long, lazy days and pretty walks on the beach—blessed solitude and an escape from the complications of her life. Then she bumps into gorgeous Nate Carter and everything changes.
          Sheriff Nathan Carter couldn’t be happier now that the height of the summer season has finally come and gone. After four endless months, tourists have packed their bags and headed for the mainland. The quiet days of autumn are about to befall the town—the way Nate and his fellow Sandersonians like it best.
          But nothing ends up quite the way Nate expects when he meets the beautiful blonde with the big blue eyes. Callie’s pretty smiles hide secrets—deep, dark mysteries that could cost them both their lives if they continue digging into the past and cross a killer’s path.

Join me in welcoming Cate as she shares the inspiration behind SECRETS HIDDEN IN THE GLASS. Welcome, Cate.

I always find the process of writing fascinating—imagining words and thoughts into subsistence that had once only existed in my head. Oftentimes, the undertaking is daunting. Months of research, careful plotting, planning, character development, and revising go into every page. There are many moments of doubt and worry. On occasion, there’s even a triumph or two. But finally, you type The End and you realize you’ve created a miracle of sorts—a story to share with your eager readers who are always waiting for what’s next.

I had such fun telling Nate and Callie’s adventure. There was something extra enjoyable about bringing Sanderson, Massachusetts to life—the fictitious, tiny town on the equally made-up Carter Island. Imagine dreaming up a beachy setting that gets to be exactly what you want it to be. Add a group of intriguing (and on occasion quirky) characters. Throw plenty of steamy romance and several sprinkles of mystery and suspense into the mix and you’ve got yourself one heck of a good time.

I hope you’ll enjoy Secrets Hidden In The Glass as much as I enjoyed telling it.


Read an excerpt from Secrets Hidden In The Glass:

     They started walking again, and a wave rushed up, washing over their feet.
     Callie gasped and stepped farther away. “Oh, my God, that’s cold.”
     Like ice water, but Nate shrugged. “It’s not so bad.”
     She looked at him as if he were crazy. “It’s freezing.”
     “It usually is for most mainlanders—blood’s too thin.”
     She stopped in her tracks and pushed her sunglasses onto her head, rewarding him with a look at her big baby blues. “Are you suggesting that mainlanders are wimps?”
     “I’m not trying to hurt your feelings or anything…” He shrugged again, struggling not to smile. “But you’re the one who can’t get your feet wet.”
     She splashed her foot in the surf as the next wave started receding.
     He chuckled, thrilled that Callie seemed willing to play. “That’s not showing me much.”
     She walked closer to the water, adding both feet this time.
     He came up next to her and took her hand, pulling her toward the actual Atlantic. “In up to your knees for three good waves.”
     She hesitated.
     He sent her a wry smile. “See? Wimp.”
     She grinned. “All right. Three good waves.”
     “You’re on.” He walked out with her, clenching his jaw against the bone-numbing cold, fighting the urge to swear.
     She gasped, then squealed as the first wave rushed past their calves.
     “We’ll count that as one,” he yelled over the pounding water, still walking farther out with her. “And here comes the next.” He braced himself, gripping her hand tighter as the current came in with a powerful rush and nailed them thigh-level.
     Callie screamed as she laughed and made a move to head to shore.
     He laughed too, pulling her back and bringing her closer to him. “Where do you think you’re going?”
     “It’s too cold,” she screeched.
     “I don’t think so, mainlander.” He hooked his arm around her midsection and held her in front of him as the next wave came in and sent a steamroll of water crashing into their waists.
      She screamed again, gripping his forearm as if her life depended on it, and threw her head back on a long peel of laughter.
      He let loose his own deep belly laugh, loving the way she sounded—that he could smell her flowery shampoo as she rested her body against his. That they were having fun.
      “Nate,” she fought to say. “Let’s get out of here.”
      He took her hand and they ran as best they could toward shore.
      She stumbled as they made their way to the ankle-deep water. “Cramp. My toes are cramping.”
      He moved to take her weight and carried her more than walked with her to the loose, warm sand free from the surf. “Bend your foot forward until it passes,” he said, slightly out of breath.
       She did as he told her.
      “Better?”
       She nodded her head as her teeth chattered and goosebumps puckered her skin.
       “Works every time.”
       “Your toes cramp too?”
       “Hell, yeah. That water’s like an ice bath. I never go in without a wetsuit.”
       Her eyes went huge as she gaped at him. “What are you talking about? What happened to your thick, native Sandersonian blood?”
       He chuckled, enjoying the gorgeous woman who’d forgotten she was shy. “My blood’s probably right on par with yours. I just wanted to get you out there.”
        She laughed and swatted at him. “That’s a dirty trick.”
        “Maybe.”


Did you enjoy the excerpt?  You can read the first chapter on my website, www.catebeauman.com, or you can finish the whole book with the links below!


The Unofficial Secrets Hidden In The Glass Soundtrack

I love music! I can’t imagine a world without catchy tunes playing, especially when I’m writing. Music is inspiration. Melodies, beats, and the mood of each song help me portray emotions and feelings as I tell a story. It’s a rare day when I don’t have my headphones in place, bopping my head, while my fingers race across the keyboard. You can listen to the “soundtrack” for each book on my website www.catebeauman.com.

The soundtrack, of sorts, for Secrets Hidden In The Glass:
·        And Then You by Greg Laswell
·        Still Falling For You by Ellie Goulding
·        Beautiful Soul by Jesse McCartney
·        Cold Water by Major Lazer ft. Justin Bieber
·        Starving by Hailee Steinfeld ft. Zedd
·        Close by Nick Jonas ft. Tove Lo
·        Magic by Colbie Caillat
·        Until the Last Falling Star by Matthew Perryman Jones
·        I Can’t Breathe by Bea Miller
·        I won’t Let You Go by James Morrison


Author Cate Beauman
International bestselling author Cate Beauman is known for her full-length, action-packed romantic suspense series, The Bodyguards of L.A. County. Her novels have been nominated for the National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award, National Indie Excellence Award, Golden Quill Award, Writers Touch Award, Aspen Gold Award, Heart of Excellence Award, and have been named Readers Favorite Five Star books.

In 2017 FINDING LYLA was chosen as the Booksellers Best Award Winner, the Maggie Award For Excellence, and received the Holt Medallion Award. REAGAN'S REDEMPTION and ANSWERS FOR JULIE were selected as rare co-winners of the Aspen Gold Award in 2016. JUSTICE FOR ABBY received the 2015 Readers' Favorite International Book Award Gold Medal, while SAVING SOPHIE took the Silver Medal. SAVING SOPHIE was also selected as the 2015 Readers Crown Award winner for Romantic Suspense and FALLING FOR SARAH received the silver medal for the 2014 Readers' Favorite Awards.

Cate makes her home in North Carolina with her husband, two boys, and their St. Bernards, Bear and Jack.


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For a limited time: new subscribers will receive a free copy of Morgan’s Hunter and Falling For Sarah, books one and two in the Bodyguards of L.A. County Series!


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Thanks for stopping by today as Cate shares her new release, SECRETS HIDDEN IN THE GLASS. Doesn’t that title make you wonder what and how something could be hidden in glass or maybe why it’s hidden there?


Thursday, October 19, 2017

Seven Days of Us


I’m delighted to be a part of the blog tour for author Francesca Hornak’s newest release, SEVEN DAYS OF US.

Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Berkley (October 17, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 045148875X
ISBN-13: 978-0451488756

A week is a long time to spend with your family.

Now imagine being quarantined with them over the entire Christmas holiday.

That is the hilarious premise behind Francesca Hornak’s bright, wryly-observed debut novel, SEVEN DAYS OF US. This Is Where I Leave You meets “Love Actually” in a contemporary family drama about a dysfunctional British family, which was snapped up by Berkley’s newest Executive Editor with a substantial pre-empt. And internally at Penguin Random House, everyone is buzzing about this incredible book and fresh new voice.

Francesca Hornak drew inspiration for this situational dramedy from a friend who, after treating the Ebola virus abroad, was forced into a month-long quarantine upon her return home. In SEVEN DAYS OF US, we meet the Birch family as they re-enter each other’s orbits after years of fractured contact.

Eldest daughter Olivia, a doctor, has just returned from treating a life-threatening virus in Africa and must spend Christmas in quarantine. Her family, forced into lockdown with her, decides to spend the week in their crumbling and isolated country manor, Weyfield Hall. Under one roof for the first time in years, each arrives carrying secrets and simmering resentments.

We learn about each member of the Birch family and the secrets they keep through Hornak’s robust writing style and talented storytelling, compelling us to empathize with each character as the novel progresses.  In residence with Olivia are her unabashedly frivolous younger sister Phoebe, fixated on her upcoming wedding; father Andrew, sequestered in his study writing scathing restaurant reviews and longing for his glory days as a war correspondent; and sweet bumbling matriarch Emma, who’s hiding a secret that will turn the whole family upside down.

But when a shocking, unexpected visitor arrives, the family’s pressurized state will boil over, spilling problems—and possibly the deadly virus—outside the gates of Weyfield Hall.

Alternating between each family member’s point of view, SEVEN DAYS OF US is both a sharp-edged wink at difficult family holidays, and a character-driven look at the real failures, fumbles, and false starts that define family.

Like in Jade Chang’s The Wangs vs. the World, Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney’s The Nest, and Emma Straub’s The Vacationers, the hilarious, touching, and poignant idiosyncrasies of the Birch family manage to feel universal. Anyone who loves their family—in small doses—will relate to the inner thoughts of each character.  You can’t choose your family, but as the Birch family will discover, that might be the luckiest thing of all.

You can purchase SEVEN DAYS WITH US by clicking on this LINK.


Francesca Hornak is a journalist and writer, whose work has appeared in newspapers and magazines including The Sunday TimesThe GuardianElleMarie ClaireCosmopolitan and Red. She is the author of two nonfiction books, History of the World in 100 Modern Objects: Middle Class Stuff (and Nonsense) and Worry with Mother: 101 Neuroses for the Modern Mama.

Visit Francesca online @FrancescaHornak and follow the author on Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by today. What would you do if you had to be in quarantine for any length of time with your family or a group?

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

SMP Romance Holiday Blitz

 
It’s a pleasure to be a part of the blitz for St. Martin’s Press HOLIDAY ROMANCE titles today.

I will say this is going to be a longer than usual post because you not only find out about seven delightful books, but also learned more about the wonderful authors writing those stories. So sit back and enjoy.

Deck the Halls by Donna Alward

With shades of It’s a Wonderful Life, one man must face his past to find his future this Christmas.
In the last year, George's life has drastically changed. The formerly homeless veteran now has a job he likes, a family in the residents of Darling, VT, and for the first time in years, a home. But while his present is good, he's still haunted by the past, a past that appears shortly before Christmas when the older sister of his brother-in-arms hunts him down and finds him in Darling, working at the Ladybug Garden Center. 
Amy’s looking for closure for her family after her brother's death in the Middle East, but the serious man she finds working in Vermont doesn’t resemble the soldier she remembers from years before. This man is hardened and yet somehow fragile, too, and in her desire to find out what really happened to her brother, she learns more about George than she ever expected.
With a little Christmas magic and the whole town supporting them, can these two bruised hearts make a future together?

A busy wife and mother of three (two daughters plus the family dog), Donna Alward believes hers is the best job in the world: a combination of stay-at-home mom and romance novelist. Donna loves being back on the East Coast of Canada after nearly twelve years in Alberta where her romance career began, writing about cowboys and the west. She is the author of Somebody Like You, Somebody's Baby, and Someone to Love.


When do the holidays official start for you?

Donna:
December 1 - or the weekend just preceding it. That's when we get out the decorations and go crazy.

What's your favorite thing about the holidays?
Donna Alward_Marti Corn Photography

Donna:
THE MOVIES. I love sitting with my kids (who are of the nearly-adult variety) and watching holiday movies with a glass of wine or hot cocoa.

Are there any holiday traditions you do every year without fail?

Donna:
Tons! There are certain things we bake. We have a whole bunch of Christmas Eve traditions, including a barbecue (steak!), putting presents under the tree, going for a drive to see the lights, and watching The Polar Express. And even at their age, they still ask me to read 'Twas the Night Before Christmas.

What's your favorite holiday movie?

Donna:
I have too many - my fave depends on my mood. Top contenders: Christmas Vacation, Christmas with the Kranks, White Christmas, Love Actually, The Polar Express.

Do you have a favorite holiday book?
Donna:
Hmmm. I don't tend to re-read holiday themed books, but I'll confess that I have a soft spot for any (all) of the Christmas books in the Chesapeake Shores series. Those O'Briens... :)

What's your all-time favorite holiday song?
Donna:
Nat King Cole's version of The Christmas Song. Simplicity and nostalgia all rolled into one smooth voice.

What's your favorite activity during fall or winter?

Donna:
Cozy nights with a glass of wine and a book. LOL! Seriously though, I miss living near the Rockies, because the skiing there spoiled me for anywhere else.

What's your favorite gift you've ever received or given?

Donna:
One year my sister put together a recipe book with our mom's fave recipes over the years. She added some of her own, too, but if I want something that Mom used to make back in the eighties? It's in that book!

Do you have any items on your wish list this year?

Donna:
Yes! Yoga socks, books, and a kindle.

Any resolutions or goals for next year?

Donna:
Do better. :)

Christmas in Kilts by Terri Brisbain, Lecia Cornwall, Brownwen Evans, Lavinia Kent, May McGoldrick

Tis the season to fall in love! These five bestselling authors bring you great tiding of highlanders and romances this holiday season!

A HIGHLANDER'S HOPE by Terri Brisbin
A village harlot who would never dream she could have a different life meets a Highlander who visits for the holidays and brings with him an offer and hope.
A HIGHLAND CHRISTMAS WAGER by Lecia Cornwall
When a snowstorm forces a charming lass hiding a broken heart to take shelter in a castle with three fine Highland lairds just days before Christmas, there’s a game afoot—who will be the first to win a kiss and maybe her heart.
A SCOT FOR CHRISTMAS by Bronwen Evans
She's ready to embrace her life and future as a spinster, he's trying to have one last hurrah before he gives into his family's wishes and proposes marriage to his neighbor, but fate has other ideas when the lady and the Scot meet at a holiday house party in the wilds of Scotland.
LEFTOVER MISTLETOE by Lavinia Kent
What happens when a highlander finds himself stranded, maybe kidnapped, with an English lady around Christmas... maybe the mistletoe will help answer that question.
SWEET HOME HIGHLAND CHRISTMAS by May McGoldrick
An encounter between an English officer and a desperate aunt trying to keep custody of her young niece leads to a little magic during the holidays.


When do the holidays official start for you?

Terri:
Thanksgiving!

Lecia:
We officially call it Christmas the day of the Toronto Santa Claus Parade, which is in late November. We watch the parade on TV, have our first toast of eggnog, and enjoy the season's first batch of Very Special Christmas Chocolate Chip Cookies. Then on the closest Saturday to December 13--that's my husband's birthday--we go out as a family to get our Christmas tree (we still have a real tree) and put it up. 

Bronwen:
Mid December

May:
The holiday season has no start or end in our house. We are a multi-cultural and multi-denominational family. One holiday hands off the fun to the next...and the next...and the next...And then we start again! Our full name is 'May Your Holidays be Endless McGoldrick'! (You can call us 'Festive' for short.)

What's your favorite thing about the holidays?

Terri:
Family! And now watching the grandkids celebrating!

Lecia:
Family and food.

Bronwen:
Guilt free reading and being with my family. Even an author needs down time.

May:
Family get-togethers

Are there any holiday traditions you do every year without fail?

Terri:
Our traditions have changed a bit as my sons married and grandkids began arriving. The one thing we still do is gather to decorate the Christmas tree at our house.

Lecia:
Christmas baking is a huge tradition for us. I make Very Special Christmas Chocolate Chip cookies, Quiche for Christmas breakfast, and Kulach (Ukrainian Christmas bread).

Bronwen:
Besides putting up my Christmas tree? I always make a pavlova with kiwi fruit for our Christmas day dessert. Remember it's summer in New Zealand.

May:
Before Christmas, we have a 'Gingerbread House Night.' I always think simple...graham crackers, candies, some frosting for the roof of a quaint little cottage. My competitive and mildly cutthroat family members, however, build the Golden Gate Bridge, the Taj Mahal, the Eiffel Tower, the White House...

What's your favorite holiday movie?

Terri:
Christmas Vacation and Elf   

Lecia:
Hard Question! The Bishop's Wife, perhaps, though Love Actually, White Christmas, and Polar Express are very close seconds (or thirds and fourths).

Bronwen:
I have three - Love Actually (one of my favourite movies of all time) and Die Hard and Lethal Weapon. I love action movies.

May:
Love, Actually

Do you have a favorite holiday book?

Terri:
I just love reading holiday romance anthologies!

Lecia:
I have a small collection of Christmas books that my mother used to put out as decorations every year. When I was little, I loved the one about old fashioned Victorian Christmases, and I adored the gorgeous illustrations in a children's book called Once In Royal David's City. My mother also had a book of poetry and stories called 1000 Beautiful Things, which includes a story called The Other Wise Man by Henry Van Dyke. I'm not sure if it's the memory of my mother reading that story to me or the story itself I loved, but I still have the battered book, and treasure it.

Bronwen:
No, but I will say one Christmas a friend kept telling me to read JR Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood as I had never read it. So I decided to read book 1. Well, over the Christmas break I read all 12 in a row!

May:
The Night Before Christmas

What's your all-time favorite holiday song?

Terri:
A Christmas Wrapping by the Waitresses

Lecia:
Another tough question! "Merry Christmas, Darling" by The Carpenters,
"J-I-N-G-L-E Bells" by Frank Sinatra, and anything from Loreena McKennitt's album To Drive The Cold Winter Away.

Bronwen:
Mary's Boy Child by Boney M

May:
Christmas is All Around You (Bill Nighy via The Troggs)

What's your favorite activity during fall or winter?

Terri:
I love walking in my neighborhood after a new snow.

Lecia:
I love planning for the holidays, and being outdoors, that includes walking with my dog through the fall colours along the Bow River, baking and cooking for Thanksgiving (in mid-October in Canada), decorating the front porch for Halloween, raking leaves and putting the garden to bed for the winter, and stringing up the outdoor Christmas lights on one of the last nice fall weekends before it gets too cold (we don't turn them on until December 1, which was one of my father's rules). My now-grown kids still make ice luminaria for Christmas and New Year's Eve whenever it's cold enough outside to freeze a bucket of water (Try this, readers, they're gorgeous, and a little bit of Christmas magic in the dark. Fill a bucket with water. It freezes overnight, but the centre of the ice block stays liquid. Take the ice block out of the bucket, chip a hole in the top, pour out the water, and set the luminaria outside with a tea light candle inside).

Bronwen:
Well, it's summer in New Zealand at Christmas, and I love simply getting out my Kindle, pulling up my lounger, and lying by my pool reading a great romance book.

May:
Pick your own peaches. Pick your own apples. Pick your own pumpkin. Cut your own Christmas tree. And reading.

What's your favorite gift you've ever received or given?

Terri:
My favorite gift was when I arranged a surprise family trip to Disney World for Christmas! It was hard but I succeed!

Lecia:
When I was first married, my in-laws gave us airline tickets so we could fly to Calgary to spend Christmas together as a family. Christmas with my own family growing up was usually very stressful, but my in-laws filled Christmas with love, laughter, warmth, and fun. Although my children are grown (aged 23 and 26), I've been fortunate enough to have them home for Christmas every year, and to me that's the best Christmas gift of all. 

Bronwen:
I love giving, who doesn't. So I usually give anonymous gifts to my friends children. I knew one child was saving for a present but would be short, so I sent him a card with money in it from Santa. Seeing his joy was priceless. My most memorable gift was when I was 7 and I got my first puppy. I'll never forget seeing his little nose poking over the edge of the box and hearing his little barks.

May:
For all the years our sons were young, we hid Christmas gifts all over the house. Assembly and wrapping took place after the boys were asleep on Christmas Eve. I remember the year when I used the last bit of wrapping paper while congratulating myself on my precision and planning. What I didn't know was that Jim had yet to wrap my gifts.
The next day, we all lined up on the stairs and then raced down to see what Santa left for everyone. The most charming gift was sitting under the tree. A large black trash bag containing Nikoo's gifts...tied up with a bow.

Do you have any items on your wish list this year?

Terri:
None yet but there will be!

Lecia:
New books are always welcome or maybe just an extra shelf for my massive (and ever growing) to-be-read pile! There's also the traditional Miss America answer to this question--a wish for world peace--but doesn't it just seem more important than ever this year?

Bronwen:
Not really. I have a book wish list and at least everyone knows I'm easy to buy for.

May:
A cottage on the beach in Southern California. Jim says, "Keep writing."

Any resolutions or goals for next year?

Terri:
It's been a really difficult 2017 so my resolution for 2018 is to make sure my loved ones know they are...loved.

Lecia:
I always set goals in categories: personal, career, home/family, and new things I want to try. I'm usually good about achieving the career and family goals, but not so good at the personal or new ones. I already know that next year will be full of huge new challenges and opportunities for me, so at the moment my goal is to find my way through whatever comes with as much grace and balance as possible.

Bronwen:
I haven't thought about it yet, but I usually just wish for my family to be happy and healthy.

May:
Smile every day.
Write every day.
Make others happy.

The Christmas Cowboy Hero by Donna Grant

New York Times bestselling author Donna Grant returns to Texas, where a small-town legend just might find the greatest gift of all. . .

’Tis the season for ex-Navy SEAL Clayton East to come home for the holidays—even if the mood at home is anything but festive. His father is ill. The East Ranch is in financial trouble. And now it’s on Clayton, the prodigal son, to make sure his family doesn’t lose everything. 
Headstrong Abby Harper is like a mother to her younger brothers, who she’s helped raise since she was a teenager. Keeping them in line is no small task while she’s also working toward her college degree. And now that one of her brothers has been arrested for stealing cattle at the East Ranch, Abby is at her wits’ end. But there is a silver lining: Clayton East. He believes in second chances, and is willing to give one to her brother this Christmas. Letting beautiful Abby—and the inescapable longing in his heart—off the hook, however, is a whole ’nother story. Could it be that the woman of this local hero’s dreams has been back at home all along? 

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Donna Grant has been praised for her “totally addictive” and “unique and sensual” stories. She’s written more than thirty novels spanning multiple genres of romance including the bestselling Dark King stories, Dark Craving, Night’s Awakening, and Dawn’s Desire. Her acclaimed series, Dark Warriors, feature a thrilling combination of Druids, primeval gods, and immortal Highlanders who are dark, dangerous, and irresistible. She lives with her two children, a dog, and four cats in Texas.


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When do the holidays official start for you?

Donna Grant
Donna:
I'd say October 1st, because I get ready for Halloween. Then November 1st to get ready for Thanksgiving, but it day after Thanksgiving, it's all Christmas!

What's your favorite thing about the holidays?

Donna:
The decorations. I love to see it all!

Are there any holiday traditions you do every year without fail?

Donna:
We spend Christmas Eve at my parents where there is a bunch of finger foods. Then Christmas Day everyone comes to my house where we have gumbo (Cajun tradition). Then we head to the movies about about 2.

What's your favorite holiday movie?

Donna:
It's a toss up between White Christmas and Love Actually and Christmas Vacation. We watch them every year.

Do you have a favorite holiday book?

Donna:
No. I'm an equal opportunist for holiday books. :)

What's your all-time favorite holiday song?

Donna:
White Christmas

What's your favorite activity during fall or winter?

Donna:
Around me we have the Texas Renaissance Festival, which is the largest in the US. It always begins at the end of September and runs until Thanksgiving weekend. It always signals the begin of fall for us.

What's your favorite gift you've ever received or given?

Donna:
I received my long-haired Chihuahua for Christmas. She was unexpected, but so amazing!

Do you have any items on your wish list this year?

Donna:
Walls. The flood from Hurricane Harvey took everything, but I'd like walls and doors for privacy again. lol

Any resolutions or goals for next year?

Donna:
I try to make some improvement each year. For 2017 it was balance. I'm not sure what 2018 will be yet. I might still need to work on balancing everything.

A Season of You by Emma Douglas

It’s Christmastime in the quaint island town of Cloud Bay, where love is always in season...

          Will has believed in love at first sight since the day he first laid eyes on Mina Harper five years ago. There was only one problem: She was happily married. Then, when Mina’s husband was killed by a drunk driver, Will figured she’d want nothing to do with a guy who owns a whiskey distillery. So he’s kept his feelings locked away, knowing that not even a Christmas miracle would be enough to melt Mina’s heart. . .
Mina believes her days of true love are behind her. Since losing her husband she’s kept to herself, content to do her own painting and stay out of the limelight that comes with her famous family. But when, after a freak accident, Will comes to her rescue, Mina can’t quite get him out of her mind. As curiosity turns into a fling during Cloud Bay’s first Christmas Festival, she finds it harder to convince herself that her feelings for Will are just mistletoe-inspired. Could Mina be ready to lay the past to rest and finally admit that what she really wants for Christmas—and forever—is Will?

Emma Douglas would love to live in a world where professional napping was a thing. But until then, she thinks writing books is a pretty awesome alternative. When not writing about imaginary people, she can be found reading, doing something crafty, binge-watching TV, playing her latest song crush on repeat, or singing badly in her car. She lives in Melbourne, Australia in a tiny house stuffed full of books, too many craft supplies and two cats who take up more space than you would expect. Find out more about Emma at www.emmadouglasbooks.com.


When do the holidays official start for you?

Emma Douglas
Emma:
After my mom's birthday which is early December!

What's your favorite thing about the holidays?

Emma:
Getting together with my family and friends and just having a good time with the people I love.

Are there any holiday traditions you do every year without fail?

Emma:
Making the plum pudding with my mum and watching Carols by Candlelight which is broadcast on TV here in Oz on Christmas Eve.

What's your favorite holiday movie?

Emma:
Die Hard

Do you have a favorite holiday book?

Emma:
The Father Christmas Letters by J.R.R Tolkien. Gorgeous illustrations and funny! They're letters he wrote to his kids (as Father Christmas) each year, telling the stories of what had been happening at the North Pole that year.

What's your all-time favorite holiday song?

Emma:
O Holy Night because I love the melody.

What's your favorite activity during fall or winter?

Emma:
I do Christmas in summer here in Oz so that makes it swimming or otherwise avoiding the heat. But in winter I have a weird liking for walking in the cold, as long as I can thaw out with a good book afterward.

What's your favorite gift you've ever received or given?

Emma:
Both my current cats I gave myself for Christmas but that probably doesn't count. I got a membership to the local zoo which was fun as I like to wander around there. Other than that, like a true bookworm, every year I love getting books.

Do you have any items on your wish list this year?

Emma:
Nothing big but I'm sure I'll come up with a list of books and art supplies that would be great to get.

Any resolutions or goals for next year?

Emma:
Both to write more and to have more time for non-writing things. Maybe I need a clone for Christmas?

Christmas at Two Love Lane by Kieran Kramer

The best gift of all is the one you share with someone else. . .
          From the moment he strode through the iron gate and into the offices of Two Love Lane on a crisp December day, it was obvious that Deacon Banks was something different. He wasn’t a Charleston native, not with that adorable Yankee accent. And unlike the usual client at the elegant matchmaking agency, he had no interest in finding a woman to marry—just a few no-strings dates while he was in town. 
Macy Frost takes her professional services very seriously—how could she not, when she’s rumored to be a direct descendant of Cupid? Tech entrepreneur Deacon says he’s just trying to make his social-climbing aunt happy by being seen out and about with a few prominent beauties, but Macy insists she can make her client fall in love…for real. And Deacon can’t help but think she might be right. As charming as the palmetto trees and magnificent harbor may be, it’s the beautiful, breath-of-fresh-air Macy who’s become Deacon’s favorite part of the scenery. But can the hopelessly romantic Southern belle stop trying to fix him up and just let Cupid do his work on her own heart?

Kieran Kramer, author of the Impossible Bachelors series, was born in Washington, D.C. to an Air Force pilot father and actress/singer mother. She grew up mainly on Johns Island, a rural sea island near Charleston, South Carolina, where she helped build her family’s log home. Having worked for the CIA and as journalist for The Charlotte Observer, Kieran is now a stay-at-home mom. She once won $34,000 on Wheel of Fortune, and also won on Family Feud. She’s been married to her naval officer husband, Chuck, for twenty-one years, and they have three children.


When do the holidays official start for you?

Kieran Kramer
Kieran:
Thanksgiving Day, as soon as I turn on the TV to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade! Can't miss the Rockettes segment, ever!

What's your favorite thing about the holidays?

Kieran:
Inhaling the delicious scent of the Christmas tree, seeing the twinkling lights, hanging out with the family and our friends.

Are there any holiday traditions you do every year without fail?

Kieran:
I always make frosted sugar cookies, and I always try to watch as many Christmas movies as I can. I also try to go to the Holiday Boat Parade in Charleston harbor!

What's your favorite holiday movie?

Kieran:
It's a Wonderful Life; I never get tired of it!

Do you have a favorite holiday book?

Kieran:
Definitely How the Grinch Stole Christmas....

What's your all-time favorite holiday song?

Kieran:
Away in the Manger sung by Julie Andrews--the UK version of the melody

What's your favorite activity during fall or winter?

Kieran:
Baking bread, using my crockpot, reading cozy books, buying myself winter clothes, going to parties, eating holiday cookies

What's your favorite gift you've ever received or given?

Kieran:
My favorite gift is having my family all together in one place. Nothing matters more. Sometimes we can't all be together, so I cherish the Christmases that we can celebrate under one roof.

Do you have any items on your wish list this year?

Kieran:
Yes, having my own little family together again--the last two years some of us have been overseas. But if I have to mention something from the store, I'd love to have some canvases and paint and painting lessons!

Any resolutions or goals for next year?

Kieran:
Yes, to slow down and get centered, to really look around each day and marvel at this beautiful world filled with people who all want to love and be loved. I refuse to let the haters in. Oh, and I have to keep dancing to my Alexa, haha!!

With this Christmas Ring by Manda Collins

A wallflower determined to fulfill a dying promise, the rogue she jilted years ago, and an orphaned baby are all brought together amidst the magic of Christmas in this new novella from Manda Collins. 

Miss Merry Parks makes a deathbed promise to a schoolfriend that her infant daughter will be taken to her absent father. There’s only one problem—to find the baby’s father, she’ll have to consult his cousin, Viscount Wrotham, the man she jilted five years ago. The man she couldn’t forget. 
Alex Ponsonby, Viscount Wrotham, is stunned to find Merry Parks—looking more lovely than ever--on his doorstep with an infant in her arms. His shock soon turns to dismay when he learns his own cousin William is the man who abandoned his wife and child. As head of the family he’s duty bound to see right is done. But he can't let this opportunity pass. He’ll take Merry and the baby to his cousin, but he’ll woo her back in the process.
Merry agrees to travel with Alex and the baby to Wrotham Castle, where the entire Ponsonby family has gathered for Christmas, but her plans to see the baby settled then leave are ruined by a snowstorm. After five years apart, Alex and Merry will spend the week getting reacquainted. Perhaps it’s the spirit of the holiday, or the magic of the season, but there could be something else in the air this Yuletide…A Christmas Reunion.

Manda Collins is the author of the Studies in Scandal series, The Lords of Anarchy series, The Ugly Duckling series and the Wicked Widows series as well as several other Regency-set romances. She spent her teen years wishing she’d been born a couple of centuries earlier, preferably in the English countryside. Time travel being what it is, she resigned herself to life with electricity and indoor plumbing, and read lots of books. When she’s not writing, she’s helping other people use books, as an academic librarian.


When do the holidays official start for you?

Manda Collins
Manda:
The first frosty morning when there's a nip in the air and I can feel that winter is on the way. I love that feeling!

What's your favorite thing about the holidays?

Manda:
Getting together with family and friends is the best. We don't necessarily see one another all that much during the year, but we all make time during the holidays.

Are there any holiday traditions you do every year without fail?

Manda:
I listen to carols sung by the King's College Choir every year and spend at least one day boiling cloves and spices on the stove to get the house smelling like Christmas.

What's your favorite holiday movie?

Manda:
The Thin Man starring Myrna Loy and William Powell as Nick and Nora Charles. (Of course MY favorite holiday movie has witty repartee and murder in it!)

Do you have a favorite holiday book?

Manda:
That would be Christmas Angel by Jo Beverley. It's one of her early Company of Rogues books and I love the way Lucien and Beth and her children become a family over the course of the story.

What's your all-time favorite holiday song?

Manda:
The Holly and the Ivy.

What's your favorite activity during fall or winter?

Manda:
I'm not really the outdoor type (though I have been known to go outdoors) so I like to snuggle up inside with a cup of hot chocolate and read. Or knit.

What's your favorite gift you've ever received or given?

Manda:
My grandmother gave me the gift of the love of reading. It's the best thing I've ever been given.

Do you have any items on your wish list this year?

Manda:
I'm at an age now where the things I wish for aren't material (though obviously there are some that I'd like--a new car, for instance) but stuff like health and for my family to be safe and happy. I wouldn't turn down a pretty scarf, though!

Any resolutions or goals for next year?

Manda:
Just to keep writing books that my audience enjoys reading!

HOPE AT CHRISTMAS by Nancy Naigle

Sydney Ragsdale is divorced, but her husband is still calling the shots. In an attempt to shake free from his hold, she and her daughter, RayAnne, head for tiny Hopewell, North Carolina to the only asset her ex has no control over – a decaying farmhouse that once belonged to her grandparents. She finds solace at The Book Bea, the bookstore she’d loved as a child during her summer stays. 
Kevin MacAlea, Mac to his friends, is the local high school history teacher and baseball coach. Father of a twelve-year-old son, he’s Hopewell, North Carolina’s most sought after bachelor. His young bride abandoned him and his son just before Christmas and has never come back. It has left his son bitter about Christmas which is hard for Mac who loves the magic of the season. He’s been the Santa here in Hopewell since the year Seth was born. 
When a catastrophe forces The Book Bea to close before the end of the year, everyone in the small town is feeling the loss. While Sydney is already off-balance by the bad news, her ex-husband breaks a promise to their daughter that sends Ray Anne running away. As Sydney tries to figure out what her next steps are she discovers all of the answers are right here in Hopewell.

USA Today bestselling author NANCY NAIGLE whips up small-town love stories with a dash of suspense and a whole lot of heart. Now happily retired, she devotes her time to writing, antiquing, and the occasional spa day with friends. A native of Virginia Beach, she currently calls North Carolina home. Nancy is the author of Christmas Joy.


When do the holidays official start for you?

Nancy Naigle
Nancy:
I used to believe I was an "after Thanksgiving" gal when it came to gearing up for the holidays, however, the last two years I've had Christmas books come out in October so I'm totally amped up extra early. Hallmark's Countdown to Christmas starts in late October too, and I’ll be tuned into those movies no matter when they start. So, Merry Christmas with a pumpkin and turkey feather on top!

What's your favorite thing about the holidays?

Nancy:
The smell of pine from a fresh cut tree throughout the house, and getting more intense every time I vacuum up the needles. Warm aromatic afternoons of baking. Crafting homemade gifts. Fellowship. Christmas movies and cocoa. Glossy gift wrap, and wire ribbon that makes a simple shoelace bow look pretty on a package.

Are there any holiday traditions you do every year without fail?

Nancy:
Baking cookies. Old family favorites, and a few new recipes which always results in at least one complete #fail.

What's your favorite holiday movie?

Nancy:
My favorite all-time holiday movie is the original Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is still my very, very favorite. I’m not embarrassed to admit that I still tear up when the Abominable Snowman bonks poor Rudolph on the head. Thank goodness for good ol’ Hermie the wanna-be dentist!      

Do you have a favorite holiday book?

Nancy:
I love all those special sized hardcover holiday books. I have a shelf dedicated to them. One that I really love is by Debbie Macomber -- THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT CHRISTMAS. The beautiful gold cover perfectly envelopes the warm story inside.

What's your all-time favorite holiday song?

Nancy:
Silent Night.

What's your favorite activity during fall or winter?

Nancy:
Bundling up and stargazing on a chilly night.

What's your favorite gift you've ever received or given?

Nancy:
Homemade gifts. Always!  Among them, an old Singer sewing machine with the metal frame turned into a table, a handcrafted snack jar made out of wood with a mason jar, loop potholders, and homemade Christmas ornaments. A girl can never have too many ornaments, right?

Do you have any items on your wish list this year?

Nancy:
I don't have any tangible items on my wish list. Making happy memories is all I wish for this year.

Any resolutions or goals for next year?

Nancy:
To live a healthier lifestyle, and figure out how to do that while integrating more book events into my schedule so I can meet more of the dear readers who’ve blessed me with spending their free time reading my books. Thanks, y’all.

Thanks so much for stopping by today. I hope this has got you in the holiday spirit. What’s your favorite holiday movie?