NEWS

Nov. 22 Ghosts of Christmas Past Corrina Lawson

Nov 23 Cowboys for Christmas Golden Hear Finalist Anthology

Friday, November 21, 2014

Gratitude

Hi, I'm Pippa Jay, author of scifi and the supernatural with a romantic soul. Here in the UK we don't celebrate Thanksgiving, but this year I have good reason to be both grateful and thankful. 2013 ended badly, and 2014 wasn't much better at the start. Disappointments and disasters in both my publishing life and real life had me on the verge of hitting the delete button for everything. I don't think I've been so near to giving up on my dream of being a published author.


But here I am, and today is actually release day for my fifth title of this year, and my tenth since my debut in May 2012.
EXCERPT | GOODREADS
Available at... Breathless Press

Amazon US | Amazon UK
Blurb:

In a city where Dark Technologies Inc. now runs the show, Kadie Williams has more immediate concerns than the fall of Blaze, their guardian superhero. Almost every morning for the last few months she's woken up with cuts and bruises on her body and no idea how she got them. There are no nightmares. No evidence that she sleepwalks or any sign of a break in. And nothing to tell her who's been cleaning up after her. As just one of thousands of civilians conscripted to slave away in the labs of Professor Dark, she knew there'd be trouble ahead. But she never expected it to be so bad, or so personal.
Desperate for answers, Kadie looks to the new defender of the night, the only person who can hinder the total domination of Professor Dark—Nocturnelle. The mysterious vigilante superhero came from nowhere with her cybernetic sidekick Shadow, set on putting an end to the brutality of Dark's regime. But as his laboratories work on a new secret super-weapon, Nocturnelle and Shadow may not be enough to save Nephopolis...or to save Kadie either.

***

Isn't the cover gorgeous?! Oh, I know I'm biased, but I'm also grateful to never have had a cover I didn't like so far (of course I do have my favourites, but I'm not telling, shh!). Next month my last release for 2014 will come out on the 19th December, making six releases for this year. SIX! Suffice to say, I'm not planning quite that many for 2015.

In the meantime, I am grateful that I didn't quit despite the temptation. That all the problems that hung over me and my family as 2013 shifted to 2014 weren't life threatening or tragic, merely depressing and expensive. I'm grateful that my kids are happy, healthy, and doing well at school, and that despite being a year older both myself and my husband are still going strong and still in love (not bad for 21 years). 

And right now 2015 is looking peachy (but I still have my fingers crossed, just in case). May your year be as good!


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Viva Las Vega

Well would you look at that....Thanksgiving is next week!  How'd it get here so fast?? For those of you not from the US, its the holiday when families and friends get together to offer up thanks to God for the many blessings we've been given over the years....and of course binge on Turkey, dressing and pumpkin pies (or in my case brownies, because I don't like pie).


Since moving to Arizona, our Thanksgivings have been small...just the sidekick and our four kids (and the occasional significant other of the kids). Which is fine, although I miss cooking for my aunt and cousins and their brood and enjoying the company. Our Thanksgiving celebrations is always the same. We start the prep work the day before, baking the pies and whatever desserts we plan to have, plus baking the cornbread for the stuffing. My oldest daughter is a nut for baking so I'll pass along some of that chore for her. Thursday, because the sidekick is an early riser, he'll put the turkey in the oven and the rest of the day will be spent making the side dishes, watching football and playing board games....which we also do after we eat.


This year, however, we've decided to do things differently. Since my younger daughter lives six hours away and has to work the day before and the day after Thanksgiving, I talked the sidekick into doing a trip somewhere in between her house and ours so we can all have Thanksgiving together. We decided on Vegas (of all places, but it was the only one available with our timeshare). It's only a three hour drive for her and she'll be up on Wednesday and leave Friday morning. Enough time. My oldest was even able to take off Wed-Sun and will spend the time in Vegas with us. Then, child number four, started a new job and informed us he would not be able to go because he has to work Black Friday. Kinda defeated the purpose of the whole plan!  Although, he wasn't really looking forward to the trip because he's not 21 yet and there's not much he can do there. So, he'll spend it with his best friend and his girlfriend. 


So what are your plans for this Thanksgiving? Are you traveling? Staying home? 


Whichever it is, my blessings to you to have a terrific day!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Gratitude

by Vivienne Lorret

When I’m stressed out—from managing appointments, errands, checkups, bills, house repairs, car repairs, family worries, etc.—and it seems as if everything is happening all at once, it’s difficult to be grateful. It’s difficult to stand back and to think of chaos as a thing of beauty. Tack on three book deadlines in six months and a full-blown panic sets in.

But wait…

Deadlines—that magic word that shocks me out of DEFCON 4 level anxiety.

I’m grateful for deadlines. Over the years of my writing career, I’ve received over a hundred rejection letters. Ninety-nine percent of those were form rejections.

Dear Author… It’s not you, it’s me. Well, actually… it IS you. But hey, keep your chin up and good luck finding another agent.

Over the years, I’d had a handful of requests for partials, and three requests for the full manuscript. Each rejection took its emotional toll. However, I’ve always been a writer. It’s part of who I am as much as my DNA is.

And so, I kept writing.

It took nearly twelve years of writing—mostly for friends and for myself—before I finally got “the call” from my publisher.

I’m still amazed by it. In fact, I often find myself wondering if it’s all a dream.

Then, I’ll remember how I’d babbled like a raving lunatic on the phone, unable to shut my own mouth. My brain had passed out and left my mouth to wander aimlessly. Yet, even though I’d thoroughly embarrassed myself, the most important part was that my dream had come true.

Now, when I’m stressed to the point of tears with life’s hiccups, stumbles and roadblocks, and the cursor is mocking me because I don’t have a clue what the next word should be, I step away from the computer, take a deep breath and say with immense gratitude: “I have a deadline.”



~ To find out more about Vivienne and her latest books, please visit her website at www.vivlorret.net

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Are simple things the best?

We don't have a thanksgiving holiday where I come from – and in some ways, it's a pity. It's easy to take for granted the way things are, and forget that we have a lot to be thankful for.

Travelling overseas is a fantastic way of putting your own life in perspective. Moving countries semi-permanently – from Australia to the UK – has certainly pointed out to me many things of which I take no notice on a daily basis.

For instance, I say 'overseas' when I mean 'international'. Not everyone's country is surrounded by water. For me, travelling means planes and passports. Here in Europe, people can drive to a dozen other countries with just an ID card. That's pretty cool.

Lindisfarne Castle in Northumberland
In Australia, most people live by the sea. We're an urbanised lot, on the whole – sure, we have the outback and all that Steve Irwin stuff, but most people don't live there. The sea means swimming and barbecues, not chilly wind and warm clothes. The sea is blue, not grey. And we Aussies certainly take the weather for granted.

Here in northern England? Do that at your peril. I wear what I call 'winter clothes' pretty much all year round. It's the thing I'm most looking forward to about going home next month: proper, honest-to-god WARMTH. Sorry, Northumberland, but you just don't have that here. I'll be able to throw away those vitamin D pills. Yay!

The other thing? Crowds. In Australia, we might not realise it, but we have loads of room. The rest of the world is a crowded place. Whatever you're doing, be it driving, shopping, eating out or just walking in the street – you're always in someone else's way. It's quite a shock.

I've had a lovely time in England, and the people are so friendly. I'm going to miss it! But when people here say to me 'You're not from around here, are you?' and I say, 'No' – I say it with a little warm fuzzy feeling of pride – but also with gratitude, for all the things we take for granted that other people just don't have. And with a twinge of sadness, because it's lovely here and soon I'll have to leave.

But I have to admit that when I get home, to my big house in its quiet street, and that stinking hot Aussie summer – I'm leaving for home in a few weeks, did I mention that?? – I'll be feeling pretty good. I've got much to be thankful for.

So what everyday things are you thankful for in your part of the world?

Monday, November 17, 2014

Four Ways I Find Gratitude Now

by
Christy Carlyle

I'm a planner, a list maker. I have multiple topical and categorized To Do lists, not just one. And I like to think long-term. My husband and I often talk about moving to Britain "someday," but I recently told him we should pinpoint a timeline and start planning, even if it's ten years from now. For some reason, he laughed at my suggestion.

Because I am always looking to the future, to goals and aspirations I want to achieve, I have to be conscientious, purposeful, about living in the moment and being grateful for right where I am and exactly what I have now. This moment is precious and that includes this day, this week, and this year that has seemingly flown by at lightning speed.

I am as determined to appreciate what I have now as I am to accomplish my goals in the future, but I have to admit to sometimes becoming so busy that I forget to be grateful. These are four methods I use to remind myself to embrace the moment and be grateful for the here and now.

1. Daily Gratitude Journaling - "Count your blessings." This is a phrase my grandmother used to say to me. I knew what it meant, but I didn't understand the importance of it until I grew up. I don't literally count blessings, but I do journal most days and I start or end each journal entry by naming and expressing gratitude for someone, some experience, some part of my life—right here, right now.

2. Take a Walk - When even my multiple To Do lists fail to make me feel like I can manage my life, or circumstances begin to feel overwhelming, I take a walk outdoors. Being under the open sky and in nature helps me readjust my perspective. I'm part of a much greater whole and the beauty of nature is hard to ignore.

3. Reminisce - Time flies! Where did the time go? Is it that day already? I find myself saying words like these much more often than I'd like. And it's really just another way to say I'm stressed or feel behind, that time isn't on my side but somehow seems to work against me. At such moments, it really helps me to look back. If I think the week has flown by, I'm usually not acknowledging everything I have already accomplished in three or four days. Ironically, looking back makes me feel better about where I am in the current moment.

4. Simple Pleasures - As busy I love to be, I am a big believer in
taking time to "smell the roses." And I mean that literally! My husband can attest to my inclination to stop and smell flowers I spot in the grocery store or when we're out and about. But it's not just about how good roses and hyacinths smell. Spending time looking at art, having a chat and glass of wine with a friend, or just cuddling up to watch a movie with my husband—indulgence in sweet, simple pleasures never fails to inspire a surge of gratitude and make me savor the here and now.

Do you have techniques that you use to ground you when life feels overwhelming? Are you so busy you have to remind yourself to "stop and smell the roses" like I do?

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Christmas Hope

Hi! I’m delighted to be a guest on Romancing the Genres! Thank you, Judith, Christy and Sarah, for inviting me!

I’d like to introduce you to my most recent offering, a holiday novella called Christmas Hope, where appearances deceive and hope leads to love.

Here’s the back cover copy:

Sam Bledsoe prefers his reclusive existence. A one-man landscape business keeps a roof over his head and food on the table—and keeps his badly scarred face away from curious eyes. But when a woman faints on her way from neighbor Maggie Ross’s house, he doesn’t hesitate. He rushes to help while grappling with memories of the incident that burned him so badly.

The father of her unborn baby showed his true colors when he showed her the door. The apartment she has lined up isn’t available until the first of the year, and with Christmas and a storm on the way, living in her car is no longer an option. Becca appeals to her no-nonsense sister for help, but Maggie, unaware of Becca’s pregnancy, chooses that moment to dish out some tough love.

When Sam comes to Becca’s rescue, their battered hearts collide. In a moment of holiday magic, they discover that Christmas hope applies to all, even to them. And will hope lead to love, the most precious Christmas gift of all?

The inspiration for this story came from a couple of different places. I swim, and one day I noticed one of the lifeguards at my pool has a prosthetic leg for an above-the-knee amputation. He got my imagination going, and initially, Sam, in Christmas Hope, was going to be an amputee. Then I saw an article about the WoundedWarrior Project* that focused on burns—and in my imagination, Sam’s injuries morphed, leaving him with a bum knee and a mangled face. He now had a different set of problems to overcome.

Part of the inspiration for Becca came from a niece whose tattoos tell much about her, if one is willing to listen—or can create a barrier of preconceived notions, much like Sam’s facial scarring. The other part of Becca’s inspiration came from a widely circulated story from China about forced abortions. While it wasn’t an element that I spent much time on in the story (it is a Christmas story, after all), I wanted to include that as part of my attention to women’s issues in my writing. Becca also had to face the challenges of single motherhood so (unfortunately) common to many.

Besides the themes of finding hope and family in unexpected places, the necessity of looking beyond outward appearances shows up in both Becca and Sam. It is a rare person who is able to quickly look past differences to find common ground.

May we all develop that ability.

Most of all, during this holiday season, may we nurture and repair our relationships. May each of us find peace amid the hopes of Christmas!

*A portion of the proceeds from Christmas Hope will be donated to Wounded Warrior Project

Award-winning author Leslie Lynch gives voice to characters who struggle to find healing for their brokenness—and discover unconventional solutions to life’s unexpected twists.


Leslie lives near Louisville, Kentucky, with her husband and 
her adult children’s cats. While not engaged in wrestling the beautiful and prolific greenery of their yard into submission, she flies as a volunteer for the Civil Air Patrol, loves the exuberant creativity and color of quilting and pottery…and, of course, writes.


You can find her at:
Twitter: @Leslie_Lynch_


Christmas Hope is available through the following vendors:
Amazon  
Kobo  
Nook   

Check out the rest of Leslie’s Appalachian Foothills series:

Hijacked – Secrets, suspense, and healing.  

Unholy Bonds – When justice serves but fails to heal.  

Opal’s Jubilee – Where truth is as elusive as mountain mists.  





Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Holidays Have Officially Begun by Paty Jager

At least for me. 

Once Halloween hits, I consider the next 63 days part of the holidays. November is all about giving thanks and gearing up for a family and friend-filled Thanksgiving.  The day is spent watching parades on TV and thinking ahead to Christmas. December means sending Christmas cards to family and friends, purchasing gifts, decorating, and baking. I love the spirit of Christmas.The coming together and giving-whether its time or gifts. Then comes New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. My mother-in-law always has family and friends over for a big meal on New Year’s Day.

Then it’s the gift of another year and another set of goals and adventures.

Speaking of gifts, every year about this time I like to give readers a gift and this year it’s two short western historical romance stories. You can find them in my Western Holiday Duets novelette. It’s free on all major ebook venues. If you don’t have an ebook you can download and read it on your computer.

Both of these stories came from different circumstances. Christmas Eve Promise started as a fun activity when a reader tossed out five words on a western romance forum asking the authors to use them in a paragraph or short story. My paragraph grew to a short story and then to a longer version that is in this novelette. The second story, New Year’s Kiss, started on the sister blog to this one- Free Reads by the Generistas.
    
Western Holiday Duets 
Two historical western romance short stories.

Christmas Eve Promise
Sheriff Jubal Denton promises Suzie Harper they’ll marry Christmas Eve. Two weeks before Christmas a breakout at the Willow Bend jail sends Jubal across the state in an attempt to capture the outlaw. Christmas Eve arrives. Other members of the posse have returned, but where is Jubal?

New Year’s Kiss
Edda Rae Bartlett is pacing back and forth on New Year’s Eve waiting for her beau, Cort Haywood. He said he had something important to tell her before the end of the year. And there are only a few hours left to this year. Her best friend arrives, dragging her to a party and into a game her friend learned while traveling. Edda Rae likes the fact she is elbow to elbow with Cort, but soon learns everyone in the room knows something about the game but her. 

Download links:
About Paty:
Award-winning author Paty Jager and her husband raise alfalfa hay in rural eastern Oregon.  On her road to publication she wrote freelance articles for two local newspapers and enjoyed her job with the County Extension service as a 4-H Program Assistant. Raising hay and cattle, riding horses, and battling rattlesnakes, she not only writes the western lifestyle, she lives it.

All her work has Western or Native American elements in them along with hints of humor and engaging characters. Her penchant for research takes her on side trips that eventually turn into yet another story.

You can learn more about Paty at her blog; Writing into the Sunset  her website; http://www.patyjager.net or on Facebook; https://www.facebook.com/#!/paty.jager , Goodreads http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1005334.Paty_Jager  and twitter;  @patyjag.


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