Christmas After the Action Report from Our House – Happy Holidays!

And suddenly it’s the Day After Christmas and a Monday and it kind of seems where has all the magic gone? We spend so long in preparation for the big day and then it’s over! But there’s always next year.

I hope the day was a good one at your house? We had the fun, early morning present opening – my grandson is very efficient, opens them all, starting with his stocking that I made him the year he was born, and working steadily through, then demanding everything be removed from the boxes so he can play. Major hit this year – a child sized “man chair” to replace the really beat up one in his room and a Cars 2 racing track from Great Uncle David in AL. But he also never let go of the Slinky my brother sent, which goes to show the classics are always in favor!

My favorite gift was a “I Can Haz Cheezeburger” daily calendar  for work. I adore the LOL cats, love cats anyway and the pictures and captions are so hilarious. I also loved my Roman centurion action figure (got the Ancient  Egyptian action figures last year!).

Best gift in the entire household was a Dr. Who Tardis stuffed pillow that my older daughter made my younger daughter from scratch, no pattern, no nothing. Or possibly even better – the cat ornament she also made free hand, matching her sister’s cat (who was totally unimpressed with any attempt to capture his uniqueness in felt).

We’re pretty disciplined at cleaning up the paper, bows and boxes as we go, and about putting away gifts. Each day this week I’ll make another bit of the holiday disappear – the stockings, the cards from friends and family, the wreath, the tree itself on New Year’s.

Just as I don’t do Black Friday shopping, I don’t go into the December 26th retail frenzy. I’ll venture out in a day or two, gift cards in hand. Need a new chair for this writing desk! But today I’m editing a WIP that has been requested for submission (fingers crossed!).

Off to snack on some delicious leftovers from yesterday’s turkey dinner, just wanted to check in, say hello and wish everyone a very happy last week of December!


Mistletoe Madness Blog Hop Giveaway WINNER – This Site Only!

The winner of my $25.00 Amazon Gift Card is JessS – Congratulations! Please contact me with your info and I’ll mail the gift card to you!

Thanks to everyone for stopping by and sharing the stories of your favorite ornament or your favorite holiday tradition! I enjoyed reading all of them, got a lot of new ideas. Some very heartwarming and fun comments.

The organizers of the overall Blog Hop will be announcing the Grand Prize Winner.

Best Wishes to All for a safe & fun holiday season!

Winner of Meet the Author Giveaway – June M!

The winner of the Meet the Author One Perfect Night Giveaway is

June M

(selected via random number generator)

Please contact me here so I can mail you the $25 Amazon gift card!

Thanks to Rachel for visiting and thanks to everyone who stopped by, whether you left us a comment or not, we were happy to have you at the blog. Happy Holidays to All!

Meet the Writer of One Perfect Night – Rachel Johns! Plus Giveaway….

   Today I’m so pleased to have my friend and fellow Carina Press author Rachel Johns visiting, to talk about  her new release One Perfect Night!

We’re also giving away a $25 Amazon gift card in honor of the book’s release. Just leave us a comment to be entered in the giveaway. I’ll choose the winner by random drawing at Noon PST on December 23rd and announce the name here (and on twitter).

Rachael Johns is an English teacher by trade, a mum 24/7, a supermarket owner by day, a chronic arachnophobic, and a writer by night. She rarely sleeps. Rachael received The Call from Angela James telling her Carina wanted to publish her book on April Fools Day and, when she told her friends, half of them wondered if it was a big joke. Luckily it wasn’t.

Here’s the intriguing set up for what’s going to happen on that fateful night…

Peppa Grant’s fellow employees may call their new CEO Mr. McSexy, but she’s also heard that he’s aloof and distant. Cameron McCormac certainly seems cold toward Christmas when she meets him at the company’s annual party…but he’s also the sexiest man Peppa has ever seen. And when he offers to forgive the damage she accidentally caused to his expensive car in exchange for accompanying him to his family’s holiday get-together, she agrees.

Cameron needs a date to the family party to get his matchmaking relatives off his back. Their chemistry is instant and undeniable, leading to an incredible one-night stand. But Peppa wants love and family, while Cameron’s only interested in temporary pleasure. When their relationship takes an unexpectedly serious turn, will he run the other way—or will he give love a second chance?

And now for some Q&A with Rachel:

What do you love most about being a writer?

Ooh there are so many good things. Being able to work in my pyjamas (HUGE bonus), being always close to the fridge (not good for my hips), meeting so many awesome people through blogs and organizations, seeing your cover for the first time, the thrill of creating new characters, the thrill of finishing a book… I could go on and on. It’s my DREAM job – you can experience so many other careers without actually going and doing all the training.

Any advice to a new writer?

If you aren’t a member of a Romance Writing organization, join. Then meet up with other like-minded writers and develop networks. My writing friends are my support system and I wouldn’t be without them. Also READ, READ and READ some more in the genre you want to be published. I’ll go further to say if you’re targetting a particular line or publisher, read them too. And of course, you must put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard 🙂

What’s your typical day as a writer like?

I’m a mum and small business owner so I don’t have a typical day. I get one kid-free, shop-free day a week and on that day I try to write as much as I can. Other days I aim for 500 – 1000 words in the evening or while the littlies watch Playschool and Wiggles in the morning. I DREAM of having a typical day!

Who’s on your Must Read List?

So many authors that I don’t have enough time to read them all. Lisa Jewell, Susan Wiggs, Jenny Crusie, Liane Moriarty, Sarah Mayberry, Kelly Hunter, Heidi Rice and Shannon Stacey.

What do you love most about this  new book and why?

You mean aside from the fact it was the first one someone ACTUALLY wanted to BUY? 🙂 I love it because it’s a Christmas story and also because I can relate very much to the hero and his difficulties sleeping.

What inspired the story?

I’m hoping my next Carina novel will be Hollywood Heartbreak, which was actually inspired by two different things. I read an article about a teenage paparazzi and decided I want a hero who was one in his past too. I also decided after Heath Ledger died and was nominated for an Oscar that I wanted to write about someone who was going to the Awards to accept an award of a dead family member. Somewhere along the lines, I realised these two ideas meshed perfectly together.

What’s next for you?

I have a single titled semi-rural romance coming out next June with Harlequin Australia. JILTED is about a runaway bride and the farmer she left at the alter.

What one thing would you take to a desert island?

Diet Coke (a never-ending supply) (VS sez Yes, folks, I can definitely attest to the fact that she’s a dyed in the wool diet coke lover!) and my e-reader. Whoops, that’s two things.

Who’s your favorite fictional character?

Mary Poppins – who wouldn’t want to be like her? Practically perfect in every way 🙂

Here’s an excerpt from One Perfect Night that will leave you wanting MORE, I guarantee:

“Are you two spending Christmas with your family?” asked Lisa, one of the other cousins.

Peppa opened her mouth to speak and, as she did so, she felt slight pressure of what felt like warm flesh against her stocking-covered calf. She looked up to catch a glint in Cameron’s eyes. So the collision hadn’t been an accident. “Um, yeah.” She hated lying, especially to his family when they’d been so welcoming and lovely. “I love Christmas and spend every one at my parents’ house in the Blue Mountains.”

“Oooh, I love the Blue Mountains,” said Cameron’s Uncle Norm.

Thankfully, discussion wandered to everyone’s tales of daytrips and school excursions to the popular tourist destination and, bar the odd well-placed smile and murmur of agreement, Peppa didn’t have to make much contribution to the conversation. It soon became apparent that Cameron’s fingers against her skin were definitely not accidental.

As the meal and conversation progressed, so did the boldness of his hand. Her mind ordered her to resist the sensations that flooded her body at his touch. Her body didn’t listen. It was all she could do not to visibly swoon as his fingers trekked slowly up her leg trailing a hot path and shooting a delicious heat right to her core.

“Can you pass the potatoes?” asked Cameron, his fist nudging between her knees.

She really should squeeze them together tightly, but two could play at this game and she wondered how far he’d go. Smiling sweetly and lifting the serving dish of crisp roasted potatoes, she opened her legs a fraction.

“Thanks.” He gave a dangerous grin as one hand took the bowl and the other slid up the inside of her thigh.

She gulped, her heart threatening cardiac arrest and sweat pooling under her bra-line. If his fingers trespassed any higher, he’d feel her desire through her stockings and know how hot she was for him. Her cheeks at fever-pitch, she pushed back from the table. “Excuse me, Rose, can you tell me where the bathroom is?”

Auntie Rose grinned and pointed down the hallway. “Second door on your left, sweet.”

Inhale. Exhale. Peppa monitored her breathing as she walked briskly down the corridor. She almost fell into the bathroom, trying not to slam the door as she fled to the sink. What the hell was she doing encouraging Cameron when she knew all too well the fallout that could come about from an office romance? Turning the cold tap on full blast, she bent over and splashed water against her cheeks. Thank God for waterproof mascara.

How was this happening? In three years with Tim she couldn’t once remember feeling so physically out of control. So bamboozled. Since their break-up she’d barely noticed anyone of the opposite sex, never mind this raging desire. She wanted Cameron more than she’d ever wanted anyone and if his little performance under the dinner table was any indication, he wanted her equally as much. His attention made her feel like a woman again. She closed her eyes and rubbed her temples, hoping to soothe some sense into her head. In no one’s planet was sleeping with the big boss a good idea. Not that the fantasy currently sending the blood rushing through her veins had much to do with sleeping.

A knock at the door sent her head spinning toward it. She held her breath, staring at the handle, frozen. In her haste, she’d forgotten to lock it.

“Penelope?” Cameron’s deep voice rumbled through the door. “Are you okay?”

One Perfect Night is available now at Carina Press, Amazon , Barnes & Noble. Visit Rachel’s blog Ramblings of a Romance Writing Mama!

Mistletoe Madness Giveaway! (Scroll Down Below Six Sentence Sunday)

To enter to win the $25.00 Amazon gift card that I’m giving away on THIS blog as part of the Mistletoe Madness Blog Hop, just leave a comment here (Or below on my original posting about ornaments) about your favorite ornament OR winter holiday tradition! I will select the winner for my individual giveaway by random drawing after midnight December 23rd and will announce the winner here and on twitter.

Please hop over to the Contest page to find the other great stops on this Mistletoe Madness Blog Hop and be sure to get yourself registered here for the Grand Prize –   a Nook Color pre-loaded with books from our sponsor authors and many more.


And another Giveaway:


For another great Giveaway please visit the Carina Press  Here Be Magic Blog! At the HBM blogsite We’re giving away one Kindle FIRE (USA only) as the Grand Prize,  e-book basket full of great novels as second prize and a $25 gift card as third prize.  Easy to enter  yourself in the drawing once you navigate to the HBM page.


Happy Holidays!!!!!!!!

Six Sentence Sunday

From a WIP in process short story, set in Ancient Egypt:

               Kai threw his shoulders back, stood at attention and stared straight into Pharaoh’s eyes. “Sir, my mother is sick and we have no deben for a healer or medicines. My sister has sold all our possessions already and now the landlord threatens to take her as a slave in payment of our mounting debt. Young though I may be, I’m the man of the house, it’s my job to provide for my mother and sister, so I thought – “

“You thought soldiering was an honest profession and pays a fair wage,” Pharaoh said, picking up his crook and flail. “I am pleased to accept the oath of service from my newest recruit.”


Go to to find all the other great excerpts!


Mistletoe Madness Blog Hop! Major Prizes

Over 50 authors participating! Many terrific prizes and fun blog entries to read!

One of my favorite parts of the holiday is trimming the tree. I really am like the Hallmark commercial – I enjoy opening the bins and unwrapping all the old favorite ornaments, telling the family stories that go with them to whoever is helping me. We have the complete range of decorations, from those Hallmark Keepsakes of all types, to Lenox carousel animals to the paper and glitter ones my daughters made in school (and the ones my grandson now makes), and everything in between. My late husband made stained glass windows, boxes, houses…and ornaments! So every year we have about ten beautiful ornaments that he made, which bring us smiles as we position them on the tree.  I have three ornaments left from my childhood, my favorite being a very silvery plastic pinecone from the 5&10 cent store, bought with my allowance.

But perhaps the ornament that ties us most closely to the family history that has come before is the little Santa pictured below.

He belonged to my great grandparents and dates back to early in the last century. He’s made of pipecleaners and felt. I think the branch he’s clutching is a more recent upgrade but otherwise he’s in very good condition, if a bit slimmer than the St. Nick of today. He has a rather serious expression, maybe mentally reviewing his list of naughty and nice. My grandmother gave him to me when I was a little girl because she knew I liked him so much (and she preferred big shiny colorful glass ornaments).

I’ve cherished him ever since and he sits perched on our Christmas tree year in, year out.

I think he brings us special holiday cheer and good luck!

To enter to win the $25.00 Amazon gift card that I’m giving away on this blog as part of the Mistletoe Madness Blog Hop, just leave a comment here about your favorite ornament OR winter holiday tradition! I will select the winner for my individual giveaway by random drawing after midnight December 23rd and will announce the winner here and on twitter.

Please hop over to the Contest page to find the other great stops on this blog hop and be sure to get yourself registered here for the Grand Prize –   a Nook Color pre-loaded with books from our sponsor authors and many more.

Six Sentence Sunday

From a WIP in process short story, set in Ancient Egypt:

              “I wish to enlist as a soldier in the army, now, today. “ He swallowed hard and forced the next words out, blushing with embarrassment. “And I need the first month’s pay in advance.”

A ripple of laughter went through the assembled nobles, soldiers and commoners.

Pharaoh quelled the merriment with one upraised hand, leaning forward to study the boy’s face. “You must have some compelling need for such an – unusual request?”


Go to to find all the other great excerpts!


5 Secrets of Highly Successful Women (Applied By Me To My Writing)

Marie Claire magazine recently published a short article on “5 Secrets of the Highest-Paid Women,” which caught my eye because of course who doesn’t want to be highly paid? And I also wondered if any of the suggestions would transfer to this strange and wonderful pursuit of being an author.

1. Always be yourself. (Indra Nooyi, PepsiCo CEO) Good point for authors as well. I have to write my own stories, with my particular style and vision. I may wildly love the paranormal romances that someone else creates, but if I’m not feeling angels and vampires, or cowboys and aliens, then I need to write what does spark my creativity. I pay attention to what’s going on in the world of paranormal romances of course, but if I have a hot idea for something set in a different place, then I need to pursue that. Maybe it will sit on the shelf for a while or maybe it’ll be the next hot new thing. Who knows?

2. Your name is your brand, so guard it with your life. (Rachel Ray, Chef)  I can see several applications of this advice to writing. I only have one opportunity to engage and favorably impress any new Reader, so I owe them my best efforts. I owe my existing Readers what they expect to find in a book by me, nothing less! And when I’m out on social media, blogging or tweeting, I’m representing my “brand” to the world so I try to be consistent, not say something if I don’t mean it. Always put forth high quality work.

3. Don’t waste energy combating haters. (Beyonce, Singer)  The book pirates I spend time shutting down today will pop back up tomorrow, so while I’m not saying don’t fight the piracy, I should consider the  energy investment vs. writing new stuff.

4. Make sure your (significant other) is fully committed to you – and your success. (Sallie Krawcheck, Wall Street) Pretty self explanatory!

5. Position yourself for the job you want. (Maria Sharapova, Athlete)  I guess here I’d say for myself as an author, be open to new ideas, seek out the tools of the trade, classes, workshops, network, use social media to connect with peers and Readers – the last author who got to sit in a garret and just write was probably Jo in Little Women!