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Author Recommendation CARE AND FEEDING OF WRITERS Cover Reveals Writer's Tool Box

All He Wants for Christmas: Cover reveal and pre-order deets!

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All right. Me again.

Time for a cover reveal. Yes, I’ve chatted about SNOW IN LOVE, the sweet collection of holiday stories brought to you by #Readertainment available for pre-order on Amazon. (The woman to the left is how I envision myself. Darker hair, a far better red lip, but the caffeine is spot on! Glasses, too.)

But, now, here’s the tease for my story. Drum roll and wham:

ALL HE WANTS FOR CHRISTMAS…

A Greek god meets his match in his soon-to-be-ex unless a holiday hiccup that strands them both on a deserted Fijian Island provides them the chance to do more than talk!

What’s a love-starved mortal, hot for her husband but not the family demands better suited to Mt. Olympus, supposed to do?

Pre-order now for .99 cents!

SNOW IN LOVE: A sweet collection of holiday romances (8 diverse voices, 8 reasons for the season, and 8 ways to sweet release from whatever stresses you out!!)

PRE-ORDER NOW!!

.99 CENTS on #amazon

(Did I say .99 cents enough times?)

FREE on #KU

So now, my question to you, is are you TEMPTED? Teased? Encouraged to click? Crafting ads is such a different beastie than writing stories. Try it and you’ll know exactly what I mean.

That said, please, if you’re a reader, I want to hear from you. What did I miss? What did I hit? And how HARD? (Inquiring minds do nothing but ask endless questions. Sorry. Kinda.) The idea here is to please YOU. So consider that open season on letting it all out. Claws, too.

Writers, props all around, please throw a fellow a bone. Preferably with a lot of juicy meat on it because I tend to be low on iron. What a wonderful flaw considering red meat is my favorite. But hey, we can’t be perfect. Took me long enough to give up that crazy train. (Props to Ozzie Osbourne!)

Thanks for being here every last one of you. You’re needed and APPRECIATED, whether you leave a comment or not. Silent types are often the very best of friends. ((HUGS)) I look forward to hearing from you!

Write on!!

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Author Recommendation CARE AND FEEDING OF WRITERS Cover Reveals Holiday Musings New Release

SNOW IN LOVE: And it’s not even Fall!

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Okay, people. BIG changes going on at my house. Depression? NO. That’s SO last season and thank God. Thank you all, too. Very much.

Okay. I’m drawing energy from our bathroom remodel, too. BILs totally rock.

I’m here with big news. Really big. Life altering for me and about dang time. (Feel free to chime in below and tell me all about it. A kick in the skirts from good friends, delivered with LOVE, is better than any prescription. But I digress.)

Prep yourself for SASSY SCRIBES. My tribe–a fabulous collection of honest, emotion-filled, unashamed ladies who know precisely what to do when faced with life’s dramas–have a debut collection.

SNOW IN LOVE. It’s a sweet gathering of DIVERSE holiday romances that reflect us, the woman in all of us and the myriad voices that make us each unique. All in on place. And ALL FOR ONLY .99 CENTS … provided you order now. But, seriously, what is there to loose? (Anxiety? Disinformation? A Grinchy spirit?)

CLICK HERE–you KNOW you want to!

8 DYNAMIC romances

8 FRESH voices

8 REASONS to celebrate the SEASON (Cuddling up with those touching tales–and touchable heroes–that stir our hearts is a needs-must whether snow is flying or sun is baking. Am I right?)

Sweet HEAT at an unbeatable price. Order now at Amazon! Brought to you by Readertainment Press!

More to the point, I’d like to ask your patronage and support for our little tribe. Growing and, God willing, growing STRONG not only for ourselves but all of us. SASSY SCRIBES will bring you SWEET HEAT all-the-way! Want to see somethng? SAY something. We’re listening.

Look for more promos to come. More ENERGY. Collections. And all the tropes you love and more, explored from different points of view. But always with love. Empowerment is for EVERYONE.

Write on and huge HUGS!

Ann

p.s. Do drop the pairings you’d like to see in the comments below. Our bathroom remodel has me thinking harried career woman and the oh-so-capable craftsman next door! Helllo!

#prerelease #romance #contemporaryromance #holidayromance #Thanksgiving #Christmas #Kwanzaa #NewYears #Holidays #cleanreads #cleanandwholesomeromance

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Cover Reveals New Release

Worst Mistake or Best Thing Since Adam woke up to Eve??

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You tell me, dear readers.

I’ve received the proper blessing of one and all in this attempt to remain sane — not quite penning psalms but that’s okay!

I’ve been hunkered all summer penning Christmas romance. FUN much?? YESSSSSSSS! Covid has brought about a shift in yours truly. And getting my humor on has taken the forefront.

About time!

I hope you’ll enjoy the laughs and the ticklish situations that have provided me with the escape needed to exercise ‘true charity’ at home. Where it counts the most.

So here we go:

Career climber, Victoria “Tori” Barkley lied about being married to keep promotions coming and offers best refused off the table. A girl’s gotta eat and eat well. But when her mistletoe mistake—a Finnish meat bus with a full beard and hair to spare—presented himself as Santa Claus with a tempting sprig, instinct said, “YES!” And with all the passion she’d pent up far too long.

Sorry, Santa. We’re trending a wee bit younger for this part. But you’ve got the twinkle in your eyes down cold!

Must be why she got pregnant!

But when Edvin Arn Auliksen, shunning career crazies and gobs of cash inherited by a family whose lifestyle he hates, discovers he’s a father, the high-mountain hermit swaps snowy peaks for New York City. Victoria won’t get away with her lies. Or her attempt to have a fake “husband” show up at a corporate Christmas party where he’ll be paid to make a scene and quietly agree to a divorce. Edvin will play that part but with a different end in mind.

The question now is if Victoria will recognize her baby’s father. Tall as ever. Clean shaven. Mountaineer skills and rippling muscles wrapped in Armani instead of red velvet. The meat bus is on a roll. And he’s not stopping until he secures a very Merry Christmas. For his baby girl and Victoria, the only woman he ever thought of marrying. If she’ll let him.

Available now on #AMAZON

FREE on #KU https://amzn.to/34fJsNg

#reunionromance #secretbaby #Christmas #forcedproximity #fakerelationship #contemporaryromance #steamycleanromance #sweetromance #romanticcomedy #secondchanceromance

Write on, my people. Read on. And please, follow my blog and let me know your thoughts. I really *DO* need your encouragement!

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Author Recommendation CARE AND FEEDING OF WRITERS Holiday Musings

Merry Christmas~and the very best of the season’s greetings to ALL!

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Let me start by saying THANK YOU for the well wishes, prayer, and positive thoughts offered for a happy family reunion. Las Vegas was the bomb. A complete success and an entree to more of the same–warm family gatherings where “being there” for each other is the top priority.

In between Black Jack successes — the Grinch is seriously blessed in this way — slot machines, “Staying Alive” with the Australian Bee Gees, and Beetles LOVE (an utterly amazing experience at the Mirage one must witness to believe), our family moved forward to a new understanding. A new bond of acceptance, support, and mutual appreciation. (That happens when you get old. LoL.)

Much like my experience here with my extended writer’s/readers community. Being real is so much better than the false fronts we too often come to believe we need. (I still have some old habits to shed, but I’m working on it ;^)

So here’s a taste of the fun we had:

It was “Club MO” that was the real success. The make-shift disco where we could “relive” the ’70s in boogie-nights fashion. LoL. If you get the chance to go–GO!
If you’re “into” Beatles, you’ll dig this. If you’re not, you’ll be awed by the visual, audio, experiential buffet that supplies something for everyone–even the marvel-seeker who has to see things to believe them!
Clara Bow–the “IT Girl” flapper of the ’20s–would turn heads today. And how! Visiting the Mob Museum’s speakeasy taught me something of my grandparent’s world–times change, but people don’t. If liquor ever got outlawed, I just may turn to bootlegging–it’s in the blood!

Of course, there was plenty of GOOD EATS! We dined at Sinatra’s at the Encore (The Vegas must have for the Paisan in all of us) and Gordon Ramsay’s Steak House at the Paris–if you’re into MEAT, this is the place to go. And the Mob Museum–a relatively new addition to the Vegas experience–proved to be highly educational.

The colorful display of softcover, hard-boiled mystery novels from HARD CASE CRIME in the Mob Museum gift shop touched my core.

FABULOUS introspection and character development. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it!

I absolutely love the straight-shooting, first person narratives of what “could” happen to a regular Joe in a big, bad city. HARD CASE is dedicated to revisiting the era of pulp fiction classics, providing reprints of cult classics from authors like Donald E. Westlake and new infusions by today’s talented authors–Stephen King to name a more popular contributor.

Books are a lot like people. You may not relate to every one, but each has a unique something to offer. A tale to tell. A lesson to teach. A voice Taking the time to listen–sans judgement–can be the best way to grow and find that elusive peace that we all seek this time of year. And all year round.

Thank you all. Merry Christmas. Peace be to you. And blessings for one all–all year long.

Write on!

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Author Interview Author Recommendation CARE AND FEEDING OF WRITERS

Sydney Winthrop, boxed-set sister #3, discusses the slings and arrows of “supportive” family! Special guest star: Last Light Falling’s Jay Plemons!

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All right, guys, the countdown to Christmas is ticking. LOUDLY. It seems that way with deadlines, real or self-imposed, going blizzard in the confines of an otherwise calm headspace.

Imagine this scrolling in your mind when you’re supposed to be sleeping. Pretty menacing, no?

But I’m the nervous type who often imagines things being far worse than they are–could be why I write Romantic Suspense in between sweeter, contemporary romantic offerings like Her Toronto Tycoon! (Mercy Nation: Diamond Dogs Book 3 and a host of other sweet, but deadly romances are on the horizon.)

I’m absolutely not alone, though. My boxed-set sister, the multi-published, prolific Sydney Winthrop is right beside me in the metaphorical trenches. So let’s get to it.

(Warning: This is going to be a quickie. My black sheep family reunion in Vegas–a real nail biter–is under a week away. (That’s a shout out for prayers in case you were wondering. I’d prefer a Merry Christmas instead of headlining the news.) **********************************

1.) So, Sydney, are you a panster or a plotter? And why? (What does method bring to your stories?)

Am I the ONLY plotter?

I am totally a panster. I have a friend who completely outlines her story before she writes a word. One day I asked her, “How did you know who the murderer was?” She looked at me in astonishment and quipped, “How can you NOT?” (Team panster scores – AGAIN!)

My characters speak to me as I go. In Fibers of Freedom, I thought Brutus Keller was the bad guy and figured I’d either kill him off or he’d go to jail! He turned into a good guy, fortunately for Duo of Death and Romance, as he’s one of the billionaires! (I‘m glad this Brutus didn’t get in close for the kill!)

2.) Do you find family to be a support, a distraction, or an integral element of your writer’s life?

Writers may not be Julius Caesar, but naysayers are often those who envy our position and throw their lot in with those who would kill us. If not in truth, then absolutely in spirit! Watch out!

Two days ago, I would have said they were a support. Today, I have to say, they are not all in support. My husband is, unequivocally. So is my mother! (That’s experience talking.)

One of my daughters has voiced the opinion I’d make more money in a real job and should do so. (OUCH!) Well, true. I would make more money. It’s up to us as writers, however, to make writing a real job.

3.) Tell us a little about the method you bring when you sit down ‘not to work.’ My sweet spot for invention is between 2 and 5 in the afternoon. Mornings I edit. Around those times, if writing is a real job to me, I need to update my book bibles. File. Blog. Market. Research. Learn what other authors in my genre are blogging. That is all work related to my job. (And clearly visible to those like your husband, good man, and your dear mother who likely know better what constitutes a real job!)

Does it pay real money? And how long do I continue before I decide I need a real job? That answer is different for each one of us.

************************************************************************

Sydney’s kept pretty busy not working! Check it out on Amazon!

No, kidding, Sydney. Self-determination gives rise to GREAT authors, fantastic fiction, and worthwhile experiences. Gray has its place, but not globbed over everything. So, good on ya, Sis, for the amazing display of patience, wisdom, and restraint–qualities that are required in any startup when dealing with those “frenemies” who would get close to better position the knife. (Et Tu, Brute?)

But it’s that time of year. My gift to my readers, my sister Stacey, and to those naysayers who may foolishly believe that real jobs are all about paychecks, are the wise words of Jay Plemons, a very talented author who is seasoned in following where the spirit leads. This charitable soul lifted me up from my own puddle of WHAT when I was splattered by friendly fire only last month. (Out of the mouths of babes.)

Jay’s words: I support you all the way. Never give up a talent that makes you happy. You’re awesome! (Isn’t THAT awesome? Talk about finding your tribe.)

And the message? We’re each tasked with a variety of jobs. One of which is the primary care and feeding of our true selves. Jay’s writing is raw and real. But if you’re keen to explore the edgy depths of a dystopian world to find exactly what faith can do, read him. Meanwhile, Sydney and I will tool the avenues of inspirational romantic suspense–and sweet contemporary–taking readers on our journey of self-discovery, wherever that may lead. A job, yes, but also a joy. Much like my writing and reading family!

I’d like to thank Sydney, Jay, and each and every one of you. Thank you for being yourselves, frenemies included. To discover more about the works of Sydney Winthrop, stop by her author page:

http://bit.ly/SYDNEYWINTHROP

Read more about Jay Plemons at:

https://www.lastlightfalling.com/

Write on!

Categories
Author Recommendation Cover Reveals Holiday Musings New Release Writer's Tool Box

Christmas is the time for THANKSGIVING: and SWEET deals too good to miss!

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ALL ABOARD!!!

Sorry, guys, but I’m too excited not to jump in!

Don’t let the fair weather fool you — there’s mystery, mayhem, MONEY, and Christmas Snow inside this sweet ROMANTIC deal!
You know you want to take him for a spin!


Check out the #BESTDEAL for #CLEAN #BILLIONAIRE romance to leave the dock. All ashore who’s going ashore, but for those who want to take a ride–GET READY–you’re going to #LOVE this trip!


Money, mystery, adventure, fantasy, #ROMANCE, and with #CHRISTMAS to boot. Consider gifting a friend!! ‘Tis the season! Available NOW on #Amazon for only $3.99.

That’s FIVE stories for less than a dollar each. #HELLO!!

ROMANCING THE BILLIONAIRE: 5 RICH ROMANCES is, without question, the #BESTCHRISTMASGIFTEVER for the sweet reader in your life! (If you’re not guilty-as-charged, you absolutely have at least one woman or man on your #Christmaslist who appreciates #adventure #romance #international #fantasy #mystery, and at the very least, a fabulous #DEAL!

Please, don’t dismiss the men in your life who, while not saying so, often appreciate the best in ALPHA heroes, STRONG heroines, FAMILY values, and an engrossing story. ROMANCING THE BILLIONAIRE is a GREAT read for men to get in touch with what women like. Talk about the gift that keeps on giving.

Who’s to say that fiction can’t be factual when it comes to learning what others find deeply satisfying?

So here’s what you get:

Is this a murder for hire, a revenge killing, or a political assassination? Is the man with no memory a drug dealer, an FBI agent, or a billionaire?
While incognito, her Royal Highness- Princess Lucy Christianson offers assistance to a soot-covered, motorcycle-riding firefighter only to discover she just aided the one man her family wants her to marry.
She must return to her classroom in North Carolina at the end of her sabbatical. He would give her his fortune if she would stay and become his Lady Caroline.
How could she have given their child away? And how could Caro be so blind to a kindred spirit who, like her, is determined to do the right thing? But the right thing means finding the baby’s true mother, something Caro must convince Perry to do, even if it breaks his heart… and hers.
The cozy mystery series set in Saint Joseph, Michigan continues. It’s Halloween and Suzette can’t stop screaming.

Read all 5 stories for FREE on #KindleUnlimited. (Can’t beat that!) Your passage into passion-filled mystery and romance and fantasy is just a click away at:

http://bit.ly/ROMANCINGTHEBILLIONAIRE

#FGMNauthors #cleanromance #billionaireromance #cleanandwholesome #romanticsuspense #Christianfiction #contemporaryromance #newrelease #mustread #amreading #Christmasgift

And for all you WRITERS out there, take a look at this lovely setup. It’s a win/win for writers to gather together with one’s family–OUR TRIBE–and work together in a set to bring readers the stories they love. The mystery they crave. And the romance that’s often what it takes to put that secret smile on our faces.

Share the love. Share the #BOOKS. Follow my blog. PLEASE. And always….

Write on!

Categories
Digging Into History Dishing with Di

Dishing with Di: Could this be Spring?

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December 21st marked the “official” opening of winter, yet spring has been teasing us in Maine.  Rain and wind has cleared the snow and ice off the roofs, melting much of the white stuff off the ground.  This is winter? The officials must be wrong. Considering we got snow two days before Halloween, what’s a gal to think when we have patches of bare ground at Christmastime?  Other than the still bare trees, it looks like spring.  We even had a day that got up to 50*.  A few days ago I rode home with my window down because my car was so warm.

Sunny, snow-free days can make for a “warm” winter drive!

In Oregon this would be due to what we call a Chinook, and the temps would be 30-40 degrees warmer than we’re experiencing.  Old Man Winter said I’ll give you a pretty day with the sun shining down from a clear blue sky, but I’m keeping it cold enough so you don’t forget what season we’re dealing with.

Deciding to take what I could get, I headed out for a little adventure and drove down to the Pemaquid Point Lighthouse, located halfway between Muscongus and Sheepscot Bays.  A pretty drive no matter what time of year.

An unchanging friend

The light was commissioned by President John Quincy Adams in 1827, but had to be replaced in 1835 due to the use of seawater in the mortar.  The light was automated in 1934 and added to the National Register of Historical Places April 16, 1985.  It is currently owned by the U S Coast Guard and licensed to the American Lighthouse Foundation.  The residents of Maine voted for this lighthouse to be on the 2003 quarter when the US Mint honored all 50 states with that particular coin.


Pemaquid Point Lighthouse Museum

For me, seeing it again after twenty years, was like greeting an old friend.  One who had changed very little.  These days a long ramp leads up to the lightkeeper’s house, now a museum.  The museum is only open when volunteers are available.  Evidently, those volunteers must’ve been getting ready for Christmas.  The white picket fence, surrounding the house, now holds more ground and was festooned with green wreaths sporting red bows.  The row boat we’d climbed into for photo ops all those years ago was missing. Still, the view is breathtaking. 

A dazzling view

The sun glinting off the waves as they beat upon the rocks, as they’ve done for thousands of years.  Ice hiding down in the crevices of those rocks, as water trickled beneath that crisp layer.  The wind whipping my scarf into a knit weathervane.  No snow covered the ground, but the grass was frozen and bare places gave a glimpse of mud season to come.  Stately pines speared up into the sky forming a windbreak for the house.  Across the small cove houses peek out beneath more trees.  Imagine the view those home owners must have!

Okay, it was “chilly” outside the car

While the lighthouse park was by no means crowded, I was not the only one willing to brave the brisk wind to enjoy this beacon of safety. Along my drive were various holiday decorations to be enjoyed, people bustling from shop to shop, or gathering to visit family and friends.  What I found most impressive, aside from the lighthouse, was the huge chunks of ice slowly moving down the Kennebec River.  Last year Coast Guard cutters had to break up the ice on that same river to help prevent flooding.

What a difference a year makes!

Most of my day was still spent inside, but when that interior is a car, and you can stop at any time to take in a view, listen to water flow, or simply to appreciate the architect of a building, you feel as if you’re outside.  I view soaking up some sun and fresh air as my Christmas gift to myself.

Make sure to tuck a little adventure into your own stocking!

THANK YOU, Di, for another dish. And something to consider whether it’s Christmastime or not. Maine may not be on many people’s radar for a vacation adventure, but you’re giving us good reason to check it out. Whether it’s reading your Men of Maine series, trekking north in person, or both!

Write on

Categories
Holiday Musings

Santa Claus – Essential Personnel

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Christmas Eve is Serious Business

There’s no bah humbug at Peterson Airforce Base tonight, not even amid potentially grinchy government shutdowns. Santa Claus DOES NOT stop his Christmas deliveries. The 1,500 person crew of NORAD Santa Tracker, consisting of military personnel and volunteers, are busy on rotating two-hour shifts. Giving up time with friends and family to do something kind for other people’s children.

Santa making his appointed rounds

Keeping satellites trained on the red suited wonder and answering children’s questions—if Santa Claus is real, where his travels take him, and what they’d like to receive—is the order of the day. All day. Santa’s duties take him around the globe, after all. Sounds expensive.

But no worries.

“Any funding involved was approved before the budget standoff,” the AP reports. Not that Americans were really concerned about that. Christmas comes despite the Grinch, a fictional nasty often used to paint someone else as the bad guy.

The greatest gift too often forgotten

But God is good. He gave us His only begotten Son. His gifts are without measure for those who receive Him. And His Spirit remains. So, like it or not, the tradition of giving and receiving—often in secret with no thank you—won’t stop. It can’t. Not even when folks commercialize Santa Claus to excess. And why wouldn’t they if they don’t know the story?


So if you know the meaning of Christmas, and the origin of Santa Claus, pass it on. Most don’t know that the fantasy gift-giver is based on the 4th century Bishop of Myra, St. Nichols who purportedly, “rescued three girls from being forced into prostitution by dropping a sack of gold coins through the window of their house each night for three nights so their father could pay a dowry for each of them.” Wiki continues to explain that, “after his parents died, Nicholas is said to have distributed their wealth to the poor.”

So, despite the marketing mayhem, Santa Claus is about giving. Spreading joy and good will to those you know and those you don’t. The NORAD Santa Tracker is too!


“Colonel” Santa

Terri Van Keuren, Rick Shoup, and Pam Farrell—the children of NORAD’s “Colonel Santa” also known as Colonel Harry Schoup—recall how it all began to NPR:

Terri remembers her dad had two phones on his desk, including a red one. “Only a four-star general at the Pentagon and my dad had the number,” she says.

“This was the ’50s, this was the Cold War, and he would have been the first one to know if there was an attack on the United States,” Rick says.

The red phone rang one day in December 1955, and Shoup answered it, Pam says. “And then there was a small voice that just asked, ‘Is this Santa Claus?’

The straight-laced Shoup, not one for monkey business, wasn’t amused. But the crying boy on the other end of the red phone eventually convinced the colonel the call was no joke. So Schoup ho-ho-hoed and subsequently discovered from the child’s mother that the classified number had been advertised by Sears. Oops.

Maybe not a wrong number!

The red phone kept ringing. Shoup assigned airmen to play Santa. Something that seemed silly at first, but the children were overjoyed. Newspapers called and were told that NORAD was tracking Santa. And why not? The red-phone number was blown. The world was on the edge of cold-war explosion. Kids were traumatized by air raid drills and talk of the bomb. (Those duck-and-cover exercises were still in force in the ’70’s.)

But instead of going Grinch, Colonel Shoup picked up the duty Providence supplied. He embraced his inner Santa–giving to those who needed something. Even if it was the assurance that they were covered where Santa Claus was concerned. “He got letters from all over the world, people saying, ‘Thank you, Colonel,’ for having, you know, this sense of humor. And in his 90s, he would carry those letters around with him in a briefcase that had a lock on it like it was top-secret information.”

His children all agree that despite their father’s serious contributions to the safety of this nation, his actions as Colonel Santa are those of which he was most proud.

Thank goodness for essential personnel, and the Christmas spirit that lives on despite grinches, government shutdowns, and a penchant for commercialism that that would have us ignore Santa Claus when we need him the most.

Write on!

Categories
Dishing with Di

Dishing with Di: Multi-published author Diana Tobin reveals the roots of inspiration in time for Christmas.

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Diana Tobin–perfect for the holidays!

Hey, Guys. Christmas is coming on like a freight train. My mind is reeling with things to do–and memories of Christmas past. I’m scheduled for a mini-family reunion in December, too. Las Vegas here I come. Bright lights, big city as the saying goes. So much to plan.

And the perfect time to recommend Di’s Christmas romances. Take it away, Di, and tell us again what brought you to pen your two holiday tales:

A few years ago I was privileged to have a Christmas story I’d written published, titled SANTA NICK.  I wanted to share with others the things my family and I did to celebrate the holidays in southern Oregon. 

The fun begins at Thanksgiving at Medford, Oregon’s Craterion Theater Gingerbread Jubilee.  This is not only a treat for the eyes, but also the delicious aroma of ginger and sweets amidst all the oohing and aahing. 

That same weekend the nearby historic Jacksonville, once the county seat, trims the town with cedar garlands, white lights, and a magnificent tree. Victorian carolers roam the streets as you enjoy cocoa or hot cider and warm up with roasted chestnuts.  Kids of all ages want a visit with

Father Christmas and often he can be spied walking about town, his faithful elves following.  For many years a man brought his matched pair of Belgian horses to pull a wagon giving rides around town.  Hearing the bells on their harnesses always brought a smile.

Providence Hospital’s Festival of Trees is usually held the first weekend of December, an annual fund raiser for this place of healing.  Trees are decorated in a variety of styles, colors, themes that can’t help but get you into the spirit of the season, not to mention wanting to try some of those ideas at home.  I twice had the honor of helping to decorate a tree for this event; once for the bank I worked for the year the festival came to Medford.  Again for the Southern Oregon Spartan Jr. Hockey team.  Entertainment, prizes, and a visit with Santa round out the festivities.

Naturally, there are school concerts and programs to attend as well as those put on by local theater groups.  A drive around the valley to see the many light displays homeowners put up is always a must.  The baking, too!  I like traditional cookies as well as trying a new recipe.  Exchanging baked goods with friends while trying not to sample too many at one time is tricky.  Christmas Eve I always baked what was traditional in my family, walnut roll for Christmas breakfast.  This is ground nuts mixed with honey and raisins and rolled up inside a bread dough–a legacy from my Slovak grandmother.

I don’t really have a recipe. (Isn’t that always the way with family traditions?) But here goes:

SLOVAKIAN WALNUT ROLL

Ingredients: A basic sweet roll dough, chopped walnuts, raisins, and honey.

I finely chop the walnuts, add raisins, and honey, so it’s a sticky mixture. Roll out the dough like for cinnamon rolls, spread nut mixture, roll up and bake. Maybe 375* @20-25 min. YUM!

We can’t forget the shopping, the wrapping, and placing all the goodies under the tree.

But, I write romance.  I like those happy endings, no matter how much the couple suffers getting there.  So, I needed more than just fun holiday traditions.  Remembering what a friend of mine had to deal with got my writer’s brain spinning.  She was pregnant with her second child when her husband was killed in an auto accident while in the company of another woman.  A woman he was giving more than a lift home.  I had my heroine, Jenny.

Jenny’s marriage was nearly doomed from the beginning when she becomes pregnant.  Impending fatherhood does little to improve the marriage, which is proven when her husband is killed in a car accident while with his latest mistress.  Jenny is doing her best to raise her daughter, Faith, but has to deal with a ditzy interfering mother-in-law.

Getting into the spirit of the season, Jenny and Faith decide to have a fun day in Jacksonville where they meet Father Christmas, aka Nick St. Clair.  Nick pretty much falls for the two females on sight, but Faith’s Christmas wish clinches it: she wants Santa to bring a husband for her mother.

Nick knows he’s the man for the job.  He wants to be a loving husband to Jenny and a father to Faith, but first he has to help heal Jenny’s heart so she can accept the magic of Christmas and Santa.

As for my friend who inspired this story, she, too, got her happy ending, a number of years later.

Earlier this month my second Christmas story was published, CHRISTMAS WISHES, which is part of my Men of Maine series.  Single mother, Claire, wants to give her daughter, Grace, the best Christmas ever by starting their own traditions.  Dr. Marc Baxter is more than willing to help by sharing his family’s traditions, along with some ideas he has for them to celebrate being together.  The cover of CHRISTMAS WISHES shows Claire wrapped in a quilt I made.

Both are available at Amazon now:

http://bit.ly/DIANATOBIN

I hope you enjoy both of my holiday books and I wish you all the best for the season and the New Year!

THANK YOU, Di. Whether you’re a reader, a writer, or both, there’s much to glean from seasoned women sharing their stories and all the ingredients that make for a complex, satisfying life.

Write on!

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Author Interview Wisdom Reblogged

Sit-Down with Cynthia Hickey: Best Selling Author and Publisher

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Is your weekend off to a slow start? No worries. Today’s Saturday Sit-Down is brought to you courtesy of The Mimosa Blossom.

So stay a while and get to know Cynthia Hickey, best selling author of A Nosy Neighbor Mystery Series and editorial head behind Winged Publications.

Christmas with Stormi Nelson: 2 Short Christian Cozy Mysteries is out now. Who knows? You may just find the series you’re looking for. And the inspiration to

Write on!