Monday, December 31, 2018

First Book of the Year to Be Announced Tomorrow

First Book is sponsored and coordinated by Sheila at Book Journey. Here is what First Book is. The first book of the New Year should be:

A. A coveted book that you have wanted to read but have just not found the time.

B. A delicious favorite… one you have read before, but crave to read again.

C. Really whatever you want it to – it is after all YOUR First Book Of the year.

Make it AWESOME.

Then, once you have picked what it will be, email Sheila a picture of you with the book (send it to This adds to the excitement of the First Book. On January 1st she will post all the pics in a collage format of all of us around the world that are doing First Book. I do hope you will join us – friends, family, fellow book lovers.

What will mine be? You'll have to wait until tomorrow to find out.

It's Monday! What Are Your Reading? - Dec 31

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. It's a great post to organize yourself. It's an opportunity to visit and comment, and er... add to that ever growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye's Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date.

It is Monday again. Not just any Monday, but the last Monday of the month and the last day of the year. I hope 2018 has been kind to you. As I usually do this time of year, I've spent the last few days trying to wrap up some overdue book reviews. I'm not quite done yet, but I'm working on it.

These two are done:

I also read this book I borrowed from the library...

And reviewed this book...

I am in the process of reading this memoir by Welcome Wilson Sr. So far it is great. 

I never did finish this book, so I need to get back to it.

I also need to schedule time to read the following books for January virtual book tours:

What is in your pile right now? Do you know what will be your first book to read in 2019? 

Wishing all our readers a happy and healthy new year filled with a ton of blessings. 

Saturday, December 29, 2018

2018 Reading Challenges - Epic Fail

Graphic from ebaum's world

Sometimes you meet your goals. This year, I:

  • Participated in and won STORYSTORM
  • Increased my sales volume in real estate and listed more homes than previous years
  • Cleaned out my house
  • Sent out Christmas cards for the first time in four years
Sometimes you only make progress on your goals. This year, I:

  • Didn't send Clever Tom (my next picture book) out to agents, but I performed agent research and participated in #PBPITCH on Twitter a few times. 
  • Didn't finish Amelia's Mission (my middle grade historical), but I wrote several chapters and attended almost all our writer's group meetings to get feedback.
  • Didn't blog as much as intended, but have managed to keep five blogs going, resurrected another blog, and now contribute to two more blogs instead of only Christian Children's Authors

Then there are goals you simply don't even come close to. My 2018 reading challenges fit in that epic fail category. Since I knew time would be limited, and my responsibilities for my in-laws have increased, I promised myself to aim low. Well, the three challenges I signed up for never saw the light of day. 

I didn't even crack open one of the 12 books on my 2018 TBR Pile Challenge list. New books will always catch my eye, and virtual book tours are still of interest, so I have to realize that my TBR Pile will remain a mountain until I become independently wealthy and can stop working, or until I find the willpower to stop signing up for new virtual book tours. Neither seems likely.

On a good note, I read 43 books this year, which is 12 more than last year. I am going to set myself a reading goal of 50 books again this year and see how it goes. I'm also planning to join the 2019 Reading Challenge at Linz The Bookworm. It seems more manageable than what I have tried in the past. 

How did your reading challenges go? Have you decided what challenges you'll participate in for 2019? What will your first book be for 2019? 

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Book Presents from Santa

Well, Christmas is over. Aren't we all glad we spent weeks preparing just so it can be over in the blink of an eye? LOL! I met nearly all of my Christmas goals. The only one I didn't get to was baking for a few friends.

Was Santa good to you, fellow book lovers? I certainly hope so. He brought me this fabulous resource:

Craft an Engaging Plot

How does plot influence story structure? What's the difference between plotting for commercial and literary fiction? How do you revise a plot or structure that's gone off course?

With Write Great Fiction: Plot & Structure, you'll discover the answers to these questions and more. Award-winning author James Scott Bell offers clear, concise information that will help you create a believable and memorable plot, including: Techniques for crafting strong beginnings, middles, and endsEasy-to-understand plotting diagrams and chartsBrainstorming techniques for original plot ideasThought-provoking exercises at the end of each chapterStory structure models and methods for all genresTips and tools for correcting common plot problems

Filled with plot examples from popular novels, comprehensive checklists, and practical hands-on guidance, Write Great Fiction: Plot & Structure gives you the skills you need to approach plot and structure like an experienced pro.

I'm glad he stuck to a writing craft book this year, because I have fiction coming out of my ears.

I also gifted myself with some recent Kindle freebies.

I also purchased this one with a promotional credit.

What are some books you received this holiday season? Have you chosen one to be your first book of 2019?

Monday, December 24, 2018

Free Seasonal Short: A Christmas Miracle by S.J. Hermann and Bella Emy

Little Suzy Dolton is inconsolable over the sudden and tragic death of her mother right before Christmas. Having lost faith in the most magical part of the year, her father, Jim, desperately tries to bring back the magic she has lost. When an unforeseen change of events takes over their little family on the morning of Christmas Eve, Jim’s faith and spirits are really put to the test. Will the magic of Christmas be enough to bring back the joy to their family once more? Or will they really depend on a Christmas miracle?

File Size: 3036 KB
Print Length: 54 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publication Date: November 20, 2018
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Language: English
ASIN: B07J6B127K

Purchase here!

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Bargain E-Book: Christmas in Harmony by Philip Gulley

Philip Gulley takes us to Harmony, Indiana, at Christmastime as inspiration strikes the inimitable Dale Hinshaw. Always looking for a way to increase the church's profit margins, Hinshaw brainstorms a progressive nativity scene that will involve the whole town, complete with a map like those for the Hollywood stars. Neither Pastor Sam Gardner nor the other members of the Harmony Friends meeting express any enthusiasm for this idea, but Dale is unstoppable. Meanwhile, Pastor Sam has his own concerns: he's having his annual argument with his wife, and he's worried that the four-slotted toaster he bought for her may be too lavish a gift.

Amidst the bustle of the season, the citizens of Harmony experience the simple joys and sometime loneliness that often go unseen. Sam comes to the realization that Dale, in his own misguided way, is only trying to draw meaning from the eternal story of Christmas. "In this unsettled world, it is good to have this steadiness -- the Christmas Eve service, the peal of the bell. . . .There is a holiness to memory, a sense of God's presence in these mangers of the mind. Which might explain why it is that the occasions that change the least are often the very occasions that change us the most."

File Size: 251 KB
Print Length: 106 pages
Publisher: HarperOne; 1st edition (October 13, 2009)
Publication Date: October 13, 2009
Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
Language: English

Purchase for only $1.99 from:
Barnes and Noble

Friday, December 21, 2018

Book Spotlight: The True Saint Nicholas by William J. Bennett

I had never heard of this book before. Now, I really want to read it. Have you read it? What did you think?

Former secretary of education, radio talk-show host, and bestselling author William Bennett blends his historical expertise combined with his gift for storytelling into a fascinating tale as he writes his first Christmas book about the actual story behind the man who ultimately became known as Santa Claus.

Saint Nicholas’s selfless giving is brought to life from its beginnings in the third century, far from where we stand today but ever so relevant to our lives. Reflecting on his life, we discover an inspiring story of devotion to God and a life example of eternal goodness for all time. The True Saint Nicholas: Why He Matters to Christmas focuses on three aspects of Saint Nicholas—the historical data of his actual life, his legacy in the centuries following his death, and the legendary status that transformed his likeness into the present-day Santa Claus. The book is designed to unveil the heart and life of someone who lived so long ago—and yet whose life remains an example for all people everywhere—an example that calls each of us to a higher order of generosity, giving, and devotion to others. A historical yet touching rendition of the origins of our modern-day Santa written by an in-demand spokesperson whose penchant for reminding us of the importance of virtue reacquaints us with the true meaning of Christmas.

File Size: 4520 KB
Print Length: 132 pages
Publisher: Howard Books; Reissue edition (October 14, 2009)
Publication Date: October 27, 2009
Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
Language: English

Book Spotlight: Merry Christmas, Eve by Stacey Bryant

When Eve Brant is forced to sell the business that has been in her family for over forty years, she expected to face a few obstacles. Starting over on Nicollet Island, a small island located on the Mississippi River in downtown Minneapolis, brings promise. But it also brings Mason Mitchell, the man who’d put her out of business.

File Size: 1482 KB
Print Length: 65 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publication Date: December 7, 2018
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Language: English

Purchase from Amazon!

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Author Interview: Lyn E. Ayre, Author of Fragments of A Shattered Soul Made Whole

When Lyn was little, her dad read poems to her that he had written; some of them were quite profound to a little girl. That was what began the expansion in her mind and her curiosity about words.

In her twenties, she wrote several songs, but raising children and a really satisfying singing career was how she used her creative energy. She was happy and felt grateful to learn more about photography, how to hand-build pottery from clay, working with liquid embroidery, and how to create acrylic paintings.

In her thirties, she began to draw together all the scraps of paper and little booklets then put them in some order. She started to read some of it to her friends. Encouraged by their responses, she entered many contests and amassed many rejection letters. There was never a time that she totally stopped writing, but she could never really get started either.

Her late thirties, forties, and fifties saw an avalanche of words, which never ceased to fall out of the pen. She amassed several books - for kids, recipes, humour, short stories, and lots of poetry. She began a greeting card business and wrote all of it herself. She joined a writers' group and never looked back.

She’s taken many writing courses, most recently, How to write a great novel and How to write a great script, studied Writing & Publishing at SFU, and enjoyed various workshops all over the lower mainland of BC.

Connect with Lyn at:

Main Facebook:
Author website:
Artist website:
Perfumer website:
Podcaster website:
YouTube Trailer:

Member of the Federation of BC Writers

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in New Westminster, BC, Canada in the 1950s. My dad was a musician and didn’t send much money home, so Mom and we six kids had to move around a lot. Everything was scarce – food, free time, new clothes, and shoes. But even at that, Mom made what we had enough. I went to eleven different schools in the first seven years of schooling. The New Westminster Public Library was one of the two things that held me together. The world of words opened me up and set before me a buffet of ideas and opportunities. I read for hours every week. The other saving grace was Winnie Cooper, a selfless woman who took us to Sunday school every week, no matter where we lived. Today, I live in Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada only ten minutes from where I was brought home to after I was born.

When did you begin writing?

My father brought me a thick scribbler and a pack of pencils when I was eight, and I was off and running. Poetry seemed to fall out of the end of my pencil, and I worked hard to keep up with the flow of it coursing through me. I’ve been writing ever since. I write every day.

What is this book about?

As one person kindly commented: Fragments of a Shattered Soul Made Whole is a book about a woman who has a continual spiritual recovery from childhood sexual abuse, absent father, rape, lousy relationships, foster care, cancer, multiple health issues, addictions, alcoholism, and four miscarriages. After two failed marriages, she goes on to have a warm, heart-centered relationship with a loving husband for over twenty-nine years. She learns to develop nurturing relationships, a purpose-filled niche for herself, and beautiful hobbies, which eventually morph into her final career.
Lyn Ayre is a word-wizard who can shape shift even the most horrific life incidents into palatable paragraphs. She then blends them into a story of an unbeatable spirit who strives to pull the pieces of her life into a coherent whole.”

Lyn says:
"Writing has helped me to weave all of these threads into the tapestry of me. I am unique, as we all are. No two of us are alike. My story will resonate with many who struggle to overcome their demons and find a way to let their own light shine. I used the keys of willingness and faith to unlock my hidden spiritual potential. So can you."

What inspired you to write it?

At forty-nine, after my mother passed, I decided to write a book called The Life of Vi, but soon discovered I didn't know enough about her. So, I wrote my memoir on sticky-notes while working at an office full time. I'd write the note to get it out of my head so I could work, stick it in my purse, then word process them after supper. The book is called Fragments of a Shattered Soul Made Whole and ended up being over two hundred pages long. That's a lot of sticky-notes. Through writing this book, my mother's story was told incidentally from age seventeen to sixty-seven. Most of what I specifically knew about her is in there. Our stories are so intertwined.

How is it similar to other books in its genre? How is it different?

I’ve gone through some of the same things others have had to go through and overcome. I’ve incorporated them into my life and, by accepting that they happened to me and dealing with the ramifications of those incidents, have become a whole person. Like so many others, I found that writing is a way to get a clearer picture of myself, my life, and my destiny.

I am dedicated to helping others pull themselves up and out of their misery and suffering. Many people who have gone through what I have are in the helping professions. In those ways, this book, and its writer, are similar.

Every one of us is different, though we share similar experiences. No two, not even in the same family, will have the same perception of their life events. In that way, my book is different. It is my perspective and perception, skill set, creativity, dogged determination, and faith in LOVE – that beautiful universal underlying energy of it all - that paved the way for me to survive and thrive. Life still happens and all is not perfect – never will be. My beautiful husband of twenty-nine years died two years ago, and I’ve had to learn to make my way on my own. I honor him by living the very best life I can. My next book, Always is about my life from ages fifty to seventy, and the wonderful love story of my life with Norm. I’m sixty-seven now and have given myself three years to write it.

Where can readers purchase a copy?

Thanks so much for asking, Cheryl. My book is now available in hardcover, softcover, and ebook-Kindle, Kobo, and Nook-at: ebook/dp/B07KWTFBNS

It’s noted on Google, if you’d like to leave a review there, as well as at Amazon:

If you'd like to leave a review at Goodreads, that's always helpful and appreciated, too:

It’s available through my publisher, FriesenPress. To save on courier charges, get together with friends should you decide to go this route so there’ll be only one shipping charge.

What is up next for you?

I’m concentrating on the "Made Whole" part of the book title and have begun to develop free podcasts on these topics: We live in a Sea of Ch’i, Crystal & Colour Healing, Sound & Light Healing, Shamanism - Drumming & Journeying, Getting the most from your Psychic abilities, Chakras & Ch’i, Hold Point Therapy & Meridian Technologies, Meditation & Peace, Manifestation Board & Intentions, How to Create the Life You Really Want, Music – it’s in our brain, Art – it’s in our blood, Freedom in Forgiveness, and New Beginnings. Podbean is hosting me at

As well, over the last sixteen years I created my own company and worked full time as an energy worker, seeing clients and teaching classes. I developed twenty-seven courses on the subject, and I’m in the process of turning those manuals into .pdf books for sale on my website at I hope to have all of this done in the next year or so.

I’m also an acrylic abstract artist and do several paintings each year. Every four months, I submit them for hanging at local galleries and libraries.

What is the most important thing readers can learn from your book?

I know it sounds like I’m just stringing clichés together, but clichés got their name for a reason – they are well-loved phrases with a lot of depth and meaning. Here’s my message, “Keep rising above it and don’t let it break you. You’re here for a reason. You are unique and an important part of the world at large. Share yourself, and your message of love freely, in whatever form that takes – sports, music, science, the arts, numbers, mommy, dad, writing, singing, you’ll know it when you feel it.” Love always, Lyn

Is there anything you would like to add?

I really appreciate you taking the time to interview me at this very important occasion in my life. Thank you so much, Cheryl.

Bright Blessings for a Safe and Joyous Christmas and New Years.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Book Review: Winter at the Beach by Sheila Roberts

This seasonal return to Moonlight Harbor is classic Sheila Roberts.

Christmas is coming and Moonlight Harbor's tourist season has gone out with the tide. How will the small local businesses survive? Jenna Jones, proprietor of The Driftwood Inn, devises a plan to hold a holiday festival to show people the beach is the perfect place to be around the holidays.

With tons of reservations, Jenna is sure Seaside with Santa will be a huge success. Mother Nature, however, has other plans. A storm blows through knocking out power and blocking the road out of town. It will take a lot of pulling together and a heavy dose of holiday spirit to turn things around.

Having read the first Moonlight Harbor novel, I was thrilled to have the chance to revisit this coastal small town filled with charm. Roberts did not disappoint with this sequel--not that I imagined she would. Like all her stories, Winter at the Beach tugs at your heartstrings and delights you with great characters you enjoy spending time with. Her characters are so genuine, so compelling, that you can't help but stay up late reading their stories.

Winter at the Beach is like a Hallmark Channel Christmas movie where there is romance, but it's not the focus. Instead of that sweet kiss at the end, your main character has made it through the stormy days of life having learned a bit and triumphed in one way or another. Jenna is relatable on so many levels that this series is destined to strike a cord with women from all walks of life. I can't wait to see what happens in Moonlight Harbor next.


“Do I have a motion that we sponsor a Seaside with Santa Festival for the weekend before Christmas?” Brody asked.

“So moved,” said Ellis. “I’m with you, kid,” he told Jenna.

“I’ll second,” Nora said and reached across the back of Tyrella’s chair to give Jenna’s shoulder an encouraging pat.

“All in favor?” Brody asked.

“Aye,” chorused almost everyone.


“Nay,” Susan Frank said. “I’m telling you all, this is a bad idea. Make sure you put that in the minutes,” she told Cindy.

“Motion carries,” said Brody. He smiled down at Jenna. “Looks like we’re going to be putting on a holiday bash.”

“Holiday disaster,” Susan grumbled from her side of the table.

What did Susan know? Blink, blink, blink.

Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: MIRA; Original edition (October 23, 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 9780778369950
ISBN-13: 978-0778369950
ASIN: 0778369951

I received a copy of this book from the author. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Vote Now!: 2018 Clean Wholesome Romance Readers' Choice Awards

Here is your chance to vote for your FAVORITE Clean Wholesome Romance books that were published this year! Voting for the 2018 Clean Wholesome Romance Readers' Choice Awards has begun! If you write or read clean wholesome romance it's time to cast your vote for this year's winners!

Voting runs from December 18, 2018 to January 2, 2019.

Book Blast & Giveaway: What a Widow Wants by Jenna Jaxon

Widowed by the Battle of Waterloo, the ladies of Lyttlefield Park are returning to London society—with their futures in their own hands . . .

The widowed Lady Stephen Tarkington, Fanny to her friends, has finished mourning her cad of a husband and is ready to enjoy her freedom. The kind of freedom neither a gently bred miss nor a close-watched wife is permitted: dressing up as Aphrodite for a masquerade, drawing gentlemen away from the party, and hinting at late-night assignations with her dance partners. All is going pleasurably according to plan—until the Roman god Fanny kisses during a masquerade turns out to be Matthew, Lord Lathbury, whose proposal she refused years ago . . .

Lathbury is charming, passionate, inventive, everything Fanny wants in a lover—but unfortunately, he’s on the hunt for a wife. He’s more than willing to use all his wicked skills to persuade her back to the altar, but he can’t wait forever. And now Fanny’s position is more precarious than she once thought. If the tongues of the ton set to wagging, it’s possible no offer in the world will save her from ruin. But does she want to be saved? . . .


Heart pounding, Fanny ran on tiptoes in an effort to keep up with him. This was madness. Wherever was he taking her? And what on earth did he have in mind? Oh, but she knew what that was. That deep desire in his eyes told her exactly where his intentions lay. Would she allow him to have his way with her? She didn’t quite recognize him; the mask hid just enough of his face. Still he reminded her of someone. Someone who had been most dear to her what seemed a lifetime ago. But that man had left London, swearing never to return to the ton years before. He’d retreated to his country estate and had not been seen in Town for seven years.

They raced down the corridor, Pollux still in the lead, Castor right behind her. That gave her some comfort. Pollux wouldn’t ravish her in front of his brother, or friend rather. Still, the urgency of his headlong flight, dodging wide-eyed guests left and right, persuaded her that this man would stop at nothing to get her alone.

He turned a corner into a deserted hall and slowed finally. Stopping at a door on the far end, he glanced around then put his hand on the latch. “Keep watch, Cas. No one enters.”

Castor grinned. “Not a soul, Pol. My word as a gentleman.”

Pollux pushed down the latch, opened the door into a shadowy room, and drew her inside.
The flickering fireplace across the room gave the only light. Fanny’s eyes took a moment to adjust to the dimness. A moment in which Pollux pulled her hard against him, crushing her breasts against his unyielding chest. He wrapped his arms around her, pinning her to him, and sank his mouth onto hers.

Buy the book at Amazon 

Jenna Jaxon is a multi-published author of historical romance in all time periods because, she says, “passion is timeless.” She has been reading and writing historical romance since she was a teenager. A romantic herself, Jenna has always loved a dark side to the genre, a twist, suspense, a surprise. She tries to incorporate all of these elements into her own stories. She’s a theatre director when she’s not writing and lives in Gloucester, Virginia with her family, including two very vocal cats and one silent one.

Jenna is a PAN member of Romance Writers of America as well as an active member of Chesapeake Romance Writers, her local chapter of RWA. She has four series currently available: The House of Pleasure, set in Georgian England, Handful of Hearts, set in Regency England, and Time Enough to Love, set in medieval England and France, and The Widows’ Club series, also set in Regency England and available from Kensington Publishing in both print and digital.

She currently writes to support her chocolate habit.

Find Jenna Jaxon online:






Jenna is giving you a chance to win a $20 Amazon/BN GC. Please enter using the Rafflecopter form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Spotlight: A Williamsburg Christmas by Anne Greene

Trent jilted Holly. Should she give him a second chance? Has too much time elapsed and is too much fire quenched for this 1955 romance to rekindle?

Holly falls in love with the sights, sounds, and scents of Christmas in Colonial Williamsburg during her first year living there. She’s a widowed mother raising 8-year-old twin boys by working as a waitress in a famous Colonial Williamsburg Inn.

Trent disappeared from Holly’s life ten years ago. Now he’s back and wants to marry her. Santa’s matchmakers complicate Holly’s decision by bringing new men into her life.

Paperback: 114 pages
Publisher: Independently published (September 5, 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1720099839
ISBN-13: 978-1720099833

Purchase here!

Monday, December 17, 2018

Book Spotlight: The Magical Christmas Do Over by Linda West

Three women, thrown together by fate, get a second chance to go back in time and change their lives forever.


It was a cold December eve, some say the coldest in decades, and a blizzard warning was in effect. It was the Friday before Christmas and most of the other workers of Kennedy and Crane had already left for the Christmas holiday weekend.

Samantha looked at the clock and groaned inwardly. It was after 8 o’clock and her boss was in an extra foul mood even for her.
“Shouldn’t you be getting home to put on that awesome Chanel dress you bought for the big night?” She asked.

Macy spun around enraged, and Samantha sunk back.
Macy’s dark brows knit together and her brown eyes looked nearly black with the size of her pupils. She ran her hands through her short dark hair and then stared at Samantha with disbelief on her face.

“I got a text from Todd an hour ago. He’s gone off to LA with some friends for Christmas!”
Samantha’s mouth fell open. “What, why?” She stopped herself. “I’m sure he has a good reason Macy.”
Macy snorted. “Yeah, good reasons usually don’t come in a text. I’m losing him Sam.”

Macy plopped down in her chair and stared out the large picture window of her sleek office, and tapped her long manicured nails on her desk like a woodpecker.
“Says he’ll call me when he gets back…in a month.”
Samantha’s groaned inwardly. Poor Macy, it looked like she was getting the ultimate big let down. Broken up with at Christmas. No engagement celebration after all.

“Here’s a piece of mail you didn’t get.” Sam offered up happily as she placed it on Macy’s desk.

“Send it back.” Macy said dully without turning.

Samantha continued hopefully. “It’s not the annual Christmas invite from your mother Macy, that one is always in a red envelope. I always send that back. This is something different.”
Samantha looked at the pretty Tiffany blue colored envelope.
“It’s addressed to you personally, not the company.”
Macy cocked her head to the side intrigued.
Sam rushed on eager to bring some sort of happiness to her boss. “Maybe it’s a love letter from Todd with two tickets to Paris for when he gets back?”
Macy let out a big huff and gazed out the window at the oncoming storm. They both knew that wasn’t the case. Todd’s last minute text was just a breakup in disguise.
But if not Todd then who? Macy really didn’t have any close friends that would send her a Christmas card. Anyone that did know her at all, knew she abhorred Christmas. Too much money being spent in the name of sentimentality and tricky marketers as her father always said.

Macy waved her hand without looking back at Samantha as if she were a servant.
“Read it.”
Samantha scanned the letter, then suddenly, caught her breath and brought her hand to her heart.
Something in Samantha’s tone made Macy spin her chair around.
“Its from a friend of your mothers, a Ms. Carol Landers.”
“You have got to be kidding me!” Macy threw her hands up in the air.
Now my mother is having her friends beg me to come home and visit her? How utterly selfish!”
She shook her head in disbelief. “What is it with my mother? She ruins my life and then she stalks me! Can’t she see no matter how many times she begs me to come home for Christmas - I’m not going to Kissing Bridge to see her?”
Samantha swallowed uncomfortably and croaked out, “I’m so sorry Macy. But this letter says that your mother passed away yesterday, and you’re the only relative left to claim her body.”
She looked up sadly and met Macy’s stunned eyes.
“You have to go home to Kissing Bridge.”



Linda West is an Amazon best seller and author of the best selling series ‘Christmas Kisses and Cookies.’ She writes books that feature food and fun and includes her own recipes from her quaint beach café in Malibu.



Thursday, December 13, 2018

Guest Blogger: Hope Waters, Author of Twelve Days

Zoey Blake is having a perfect holiday season. Finals are over and it's time to head home for Christmas, but when she wins the Hartbreakers True Love contest to join them on their tour, she has a chance to follow her favorite band for twelve days -- and twelve steamy nights.

Mackenzie has been a player since and joining Hartbreakers has only edged up his game, that is until he meets Zoey. She's turned his world upside down and only she can make it right. Now all he has to do is convince her to stay with him forever. For a guy like Mack, that shouldn't be too hard but it's gonna take all he has and twelve days to win her true love.

Character Interview – Mackenzie Hart

Hi! Today, in our virtual studio, we have the creator of the Hartbreakers vocal group, Mackenzie Hart. Let’s all give him a round of applause.

(claps from our virtual studio audience)

Mack: Thank you! I’m happy to stop by…your…virtual studio. Wait, how did I get here?

Me: That’s not important. Let’s get started with the interview. How did you get all the guys of Hartbreakers together?

Mack: Uh, well, I’ve been singing since I could speak and when my high school vocal group went our separate ways after we graduated, I decided to get another one going. I met Gabe at an audition and it just took off from there.

Me: That’s so cool. Oh my God, I love Gabe.

Mack: Yeah, all the girls like him. Hell, I like him too.

Me: (mouth drops open) you’re my hero.

Mack: Thanks, I think. Next question?

Me: Oh (shuffles note cards) how do you come up with your songs?

Mack: We have had the privilege of working with some of the best songwriters and producers in the business. We’ve had some great ideas that have been shaped and molded into the songs you hear on the album.

Me: Do you have any tidbits about new music from Hartbreakers?

Mack: Our next stop after the Twelve Days tour is a small break for the holidays — and this is the first year we’ll be home for Christmas — then we’re headed for Europe. After all that, we’re headed into the studio to record our next album.

Me: That’s so awesome. Change of direction. Favorite place you would like to take a date?

Mack: I’d love to take a girl out to dinner and then…I love walking on the beach so I’d take her there and hold her hand…

Me: (swoons) I’d love that.

Mack: (nods) did you have another question?

Me: Yes…um… (shuffles note cards again) do you get along with the other guys?

Mack: Oh yeah, we’re like brothers, or at least what I imagine having a brother is like because I’m an only child. We fight sometimes, which is understandable because we’re around each other practically 24/7, especially Brad and Gabe. Their fights can be legendary.

Me: Gotcha. Last, but definitely not the least, what do you think about the contest where a group of girls is going to come on tour with you for twelve days…and twelve nights and have the ultimate fan experience?

Mack: We’re pretty excited about it. The concerts are going to be amazing. We love our fans and are looking forward to giving the winners a great ride.

Me: (raises eyebrows) a great ride?

Mack: Uh… yeah, you know, like on the tour bus… like their tour bus. The winners get their own tour bus and we’ll be on our tour bus. (nods) yeah.

Me: (nods with wide eyes) yeah, that sounds really awesome.

Mack: so… are we good?

Me: Yes.

Mack: You’re not going to ask about whether I’m wearing boxers or briefs?

Me: why would I ask about that?

Mack: We always get that question. I don’t know. I don’t make the rules.

Me: No, I don’t want to know about your underwear.

Mack: Great. Now, how do I leave?

Me: We’re in a virtual realm. We can’t leave.

Mack: Oh. Well I guess we’re stuck here then.

Me: Yup. Good times.

Thanks to The Book Connection for asking Mack and I to stop by. Take care and be excellent to each other!

Hope Waters has been writing romance for over thirty years, traveling the globe but finally finding true love and now lives in Florida with her family.


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Monday, December 10, 2018

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? - December 10

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. It's a great post to organize yourself. It's an opportunity to visit and comment, and er... add to that ever growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye's Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date.

Welcome back! It is Monday again, and it will be a busy one for me. I have a new condo listing and will have two more listings go live by the end of the week. I also have meetings scheduled. I'm hoping to make this coming week hectic, so that maybe the next two won't be so bad. Say a prayer that it works out.

Not a lot of reading going on because I am getting ready for Christmas and have been cleaning out the house. It is amazing the amount of stuff you can collect over 20 years. I'm feeling much better about the state of things right now.

I'm trying to finish these two:

I am also starting this one because I am reviewing it this month:

Then I will go back to this one:

What have you been reading? Anything I should be adding to my list?

Friday, December 7, 2018

Book Spotlight and Giveaway: For the Love of Laura Beth by Aubrey Wynne

The Korean War destroyed their plans, but the battle at home may shatter their hearts...

Laura Beth Walters fell in love with Joe McCall when she was six years old. Now she is counting the days until Joey graduates from college so they can marry and begin their life together. But the Korean War rips their neatly laid plans to shreds. Instead of a college fraternity, Joey joins a platoon. Laura Beth trades a traditional wedding for a quick trip to the courthouse.

The couple endure the hardship of separation, but the true battle is faced when Joey returns from the war. Their marriage is soon tested beyond endurance. Laura must find a way to accept the tragedy thrown in their path or lose the love that has kept them anchored for so long. With a determination that only comes from the heart, Joe relentlessly fights an invisible enemy...for the love of Laura Beth.

Praise for For the Love of Laura Beth

Warmth, compassion, heartache, faithfulness and more are emotions you will experience as you read this. I was completely immersed in this Korean War era tale, the historical details making the story come alive.

Aubrey Wynne did an awesome job with this Historical book. Thank you Aubrey Wynne for a very beautifully written story!!

An emotional read about the life, fears, and love during the Korean War! Aubrey Wynne begins each chapter with a thought-provoking quote. As a Midwesterner, who often visited Chicago in the 1950s, this romance includes well-researched historical details about Chicago, the era, and journalism. Aubrey Wynne blends history with a nicely paced full of family dynamics love story.


Excerpt 1:

“Men always want to be woman’s first love – women like to be a man’s last romance.”

Oscar Wilde

Chapter One

Late April 1949

Kankakee, south of Chicago

It was the kind of first kiss all girls dreamed of, hoped for, and rarely received. The kind of first kiss a girl saw in the movies or read in romance novels. The kind of first kiss a girl only whispered about because the moment was too precious to share.

A moment Laura Beth Walters had waited over ten years for. She sighed and leaned her cheek into the hand that still cupped her face, afraid to open her eyes.

Joe put his forehead against hers. “So this is love.”

Her lips still tingled from his touch. Her heart clamored against her chest. She wondered briefly if life would ever be this sweet again. Yes, this was love.

She’d known it since first grade, but Mom said boys were a bit slower in the cleverness department. She peeked through her lashes and looked into his deep chocolate eyes. His lids were half closed, and a sated smile played on his lips, as if he’d just tasted something heavenly. Me, she thought wickedly. The moon threw shadows across his strong jaw and square chin. He was the most handsome boy in Kankakee. No, in the state of Illinois. No, in the entire Midwest.

“Yes, Mr. McCall, I do believe it’s love.” She ran her fingertips down his cheek, the coarse, dark stubble bristly on her skin. Warmth spiraled through her with the intimate gesture. “What do you think?”

“I think I understand why my mom smiled at me, and my pa thumped me on the shoulder when I left tonight.” Joe moved his hands around her waist, pulling her close. “So your parents will let you go to the prom with a senior?”

Laura shrugged, trying for poise but failing miserably when the grin would not leave her face. Daddy had been reluctant to let her date. Her mother had come to the rescue, convincing him that sixteen was old enough to date a boy they trusted. The McCalls lived down the street and owned the local mechanic shop. Joe was a hardworking, polite boy. Their families attended neighborhood barbecues, community, and school functions together.

“I’m practically a senior.”

“And Roger Willard will be practically comatose if he ever buys you another soda. I saw him giving you the eye last week.” He leaned closer and whispered in her ear. “I don’t know how I missed you graduating from the Bobbysox Brigade and becoming such a dish, but I’m crazy about you now.”

Their first date had come about by accident. She had been at the drug store, having a malt with a group of friends early last March. Tuesdays and Saturdays were her favorite days because Joe worked then. He looked so handsome in his white hat and jacket—like a sailor or a doctor.

Laura had ordered a strawberry malt and was waiting for Joe to make it. He’d rubbed her head, still treating her like a child. “Give me a minute, kid.”

“I’ll buy that,” Roger said to Joe as he slid onto the stool next to her.

Joe had nodded and glanced over his shoulder, a puzzled expression on his face as he took in the other boy. “Nah, I got it for her.”

“I said I’ll buy Laura Beth the malt,” Roger had repeated through clenched teeth.

Joe, a scowl on his face, had set the malt on the counter with a thud that made the other girls giggle. “Fine. Like I care who buys it for her.”

But Joe had rubbernecked from across the counter while the teenager tipped his head close to Laura’s and made her laugh. He studied Roger, then his sweet childhood friend, and then frowned at the boy as if something was definitely off. She knew the second it hit him, recognized the shock on his face.

“You’re sweet on her. Sweet on my little Laura Beth.” He shook his head and then looked at her again, as if for the first time.

“I’m done here in half an hour. Wait for me,” Joe had said, with a glower at Roger.

“Sure, Joey, I’ll wait,” she replied in her sweetest voice, and then continued to talk Roger.

Bestselling and award-winning author Aubrey Wynne resides in the Midwest with her
husband, dogs, horses, mule and barn cats. She is an elementary teacher by trade, champion of children and animals by conscience, and author by night. Obsessions include history, travel, trail riding and all things Christmas.

Her short stories, Merry Christmas, Henry and Pete's Mighty Purty Privies have won
Readers Choice Awards. Dante's Gift and Paper Love received the 2016 Golden Quill, Aspen Gold, Heart of Excellence and the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence.

In addition to her Chicago Christmas novellas, Aubrey will release two more Regency
romances in 2019. Once Upon A Widow series will officially launch in March 2019, the Wicked Earls’ Club will release again just in time for the holidays.

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