Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Cheryl C. Malandrinos, Little Shepard


Our Christmas blogfest ends today with a children's story.  This time, there is a religious theme to the book written by multi-published author, Cheryl C. Malandrinos.  Thank you all for spending Christmas in July with us this month.  The authors and I appreciate your comments and support.



AUTHOR: Cheryl C. Malandrinos
BOOK TITLE: Little Shepherd
PUBLISHER: Guardian Angel Publishing
DO YOU HAVE A GIVEAWAY?: Yes.
WHAT IS IT?: One printed copy (USA only) and one PDF copy (International).
HOW IS THE WINNER TO BE CHOSEN?:  Random from comments received. Email address must be provided.
WHO WILL DELIVER THE PRIZE TO WINNER?: Mailed or emailed from Cheryl's home.

Tell me a little about your book.

Little Shepherd is the story of Obed, a shepherd in the hills outside Bethlehem on the night of Christ’s birth. When the angels arrive to announce the Savior’s birth, he wishes to visit the newborn King with the others, but he is anxious about his flock.

What gave you the idea for this particular story?

God planted this idea in my heart when my oldest daughter was only a toddler. Every time I would sing Little Drummer Boy to her, I would get this idea of a young shepherd. Originally I thought I was meant to tell the story of an adult Obed rediscovering the Savior he met as a boy. Over time, the Lord showed me this was truly a children’s story.

Is there anything in your story based upon a real life event? If so, tell me about it.

While Obed and his father are fictional, the story is about the first Christmas, which is told in the Gospel of Luke 2: 8 – 16.

Why did you choose to write a story with a Christmas theme?

Anyone who knows me can tell you I love Christmas. In New England, it often means snow is on the ground; but even when it’s green I decorate like crazy. Nearly every room in the house is decorated and each room has its own nativity scene.

While it’s fun to decorate and bake, Christmas is a time for us to celebrate the birth of our Savior—the fulfillment of God’s promise. That’s what we share with our children. The first thing we do Christmas morning is sing “Happy Birthday” to Jesus. The focus needs to be on him, not the gifts.

Do you see special challenges to marketing a book with a seasonal theme?  If so, what are they?

The main challenge is that your book has a limited selling period. I’m active online and try to guest blog once a month. I also volunteer in our schools regularly. Each year, however, the majority of books are sold between October and December.

How long before Christmas did you submit to your publisher?

I submitted it to the publisher late in 2008. It was accepted, after a few edits, in February 2009. Because Little Shepherd is a picture book, illustrations needed to be created. The book released in August 2010.

How and why did you choose this publisher?

I had reviewed several books published by Guardian Angel Publishing (GAP) prior to submitting to them. I liked what I saw, and spoke with publisher, Lynda Burch, at two conferences before sending her my manuscript. I also spoke to some of their authors. I felt confident Little Shepherd would find a wonderful home with GAP.

What about your book makes it special?

Reviewers have said time and again that Little Shepherd brings the Christmas story to a child’s level. Obed is anxious about leaving his sheep alone to visit the newborn King. What child hasn’t been unsure of what to do at times? In the end, Obed takes a step out in faith and is rewarded for it. This is an important lesson all kids need to learn.

What does Christmas mean to you?

Christmas will always be about the birth of our Savior. I grew up in a Christian home, and faith plays a large role in my family’s life now. Christmas is a time to celebrate family and the many blessings God gives us.

What is your favorite Christmas memory?

There probably isn’t one favorite memory, but knowing how hard my parents worked to give us a nice Christmas each year comes to mind. My dad supported a family of five on only one paycheck until I was 10. It was important to my parents that my mother be home for the children. We didn’t have a lot. We rarely ate out. Holidays, however, were always large affairs surrounded by extended family members.  We opened gifts in the morning, attended Mass, and the family started arriving in the early afternoon. It would be dark before everyone had gone home. Those were special times and the basis for the traditions my family celebrates now.

What was your favorite stocking stuffer?

My girls go out of their way each year to find something to put in my stocking that is just right for me. Scented candles are often put in there. One year it was an angel ornament that lit up and played music. I love that they know me so well they are always able to select just the right thing.

What was your favorite Christmas present?

When my girls were very young (2 and 4), my husband took them and their older brother to have professional photos taken. Everyone kept the secret. I had no idea they had done it, even though I had been bugging my husband about taking the kids in because our son was almost out of high school and would be leaving home in the not so distant future.  I was shocked and thrilled when I opened the box and found multiple framed photos of the children.

Where can people learn more about you and your work?

You can find me at:

I’m also on Facebook and Twitter at:

Thanks for having me today. I always enjoy a visit to your blog.



EXCERPT:

Off in the distance, a wolf howled. Obed moved closer to his flock, scanning the hills for any sign of a pack that might race in and steal his sheep. His family depended upon the sheep for food and their wool for clothing. No sheep would be lost under his watch.

He shivered inside his cloak. While the days were getting warmer, the nights still chilled him. He walked over to the large fire blazing inside the pit. He rubbed his hands together and held them up to the fire to warm them.

Above him, the sky twinkled with millions of stars. Obed couldn’t remember a night so clear.

Suddenly, a bright light filled the sky.

Obed trembled. “Father, what is happening?”

His father dropped to the ground, his right hand blocking his eyes from the intense light.

Obed pulled the edges of his cloak closer to his face as he squinted up at the mysterious form hovering overhead. He shivered, but this time it was not because of the cold.


Monday, July 30, 2012

Quinn's Christmas Wish - Lawna Mackie




AUTHOR:  Lawna Mackie
BOOK TITLE:  Quinn’s Christmas Wish
PUBLISHER:  Self Published
DO YOU HAVE A GIVEAWAY?:  Yes
WHAT IS IT?:  Print copy or ebook of Quinn’s Christmas Wish
HOW DO YOU WANT THE WINNER TO BE CHOSEN?:  Those who leave comments will have a chance to win.
WHO WILL DELIVER THE PRIZE TO WINNER?:  I can deliver to the winner.

Tell me a little about your book.
Here’s my back cover blurb.
As far as twelve-year old Quinn is concerned Christmas has lost its magic. Since his father’s death life has lost its sparkle. His mom is now a widow struggling to put food on the table. Quinn is no help, and the mysterious illness afflicting him only makes things worse. Even Christmas, complete with decorated trees, ribbons and bows has no meaning…then along comes Jazira.
Jazira doesn’t know what happened to her former self, the eleven-year old little girl. She drowned, didn’t she, along with half the other folk of Bandit Creek in 1911? Somehow, she’s grown four furry legs complimented with a large wolf head and body. Scared and alone, she reaches out to Quinn and a strong bond is formed. Jazira learns Quinn, and his mother, are threatened by a wealthy powerful citizen of Bandit Creek. She is determined to protect her new family, no matter what.
Christmas Eve finds Quinn staring up at the adorned tree and muttering a quiet prayer. Will the Spirits of Christmas grant his wish, or will the evil surrounding Bandit Creek prevail once again?


What gave you the idea for this particular story?
Quinn’s Christmas Wish takes place in the fictional setting of Bandit Creek, Montana. A group of us authors got together and Bandit Creek was created. With over 30 authors participating in the series of books a variety of genres are available. I had always wanted to write a Christmas story. Quinn’s Christmas Wish is a paranormal Christmas romance. You’ll meet fascinating residents from the town and learn about the buried town at the bottom of nearby Lost Lake. It’s full of intrigue and excitement. My story takes place in 1911 but can range from 1867 to the present. Here’s the link to our http://banditcreekbooks.com/.

Is there anything in your story based upon a real life event? If so, tell me about it?
 There probably aren’t a lot of people that can say they knew a wolf, but I did. He wasn’t a pet. He came to me when he wanted to and usually not the other way around. For part of my life when I was a child, I grew up on a trap line. That was tough. Here’s another tidbit about my life on the trap line.

Scram was the name of the wolf cohabitating with a native Indian living on a trap line outside of the town where I grew up. Although I didn’t know him as a pup, I was told he survived when his mom had been shot. Appropriately named, whenever somebody came anywhere near the cabin, he’d be gone like a flash dashing through the trees.

For the most part, I stayed outside bundled in my snowsuit because I didn’t want to see the horrors taking place in the cabin (that’s another trap line story). I stayed in the snow alone, but I wasn’t really alone. I always felt Scram’s eyes searching me out from behind a far away tree. It took many weeks before he’d finally approach me cautiously.

Time progressed, but before I knew it, my patience paid off. Scram and I were almost inseparable. He could literally fling me off the ground by grabbing my scarf. I cried when I had to leave him ,and I think he was sad when I left as well. That animal will forever live in my heart just like my first memory of a Christmas tree. I miss him terribly. Quinn’s Christmas Wish reminds me of each wolf I’ve had the privilege of spending time with.

Why did you choose to write a story with a Christmas theme?
I love Christmas. It inspires me and it inspired me to write about a time of year that is so close to my heart.

Do you see special challenges to marketing a book with a seasonal theme?  If so, what are they?
I released Quinn’s Christmas Wish for December 1st, which I think was an appropriate time of year. I did a lot of blog tours. I did wonder how many people would purchase a Christmas story after the month of December, but sales have been steady.

What about your book makes it special?
I guess I’d respond by placing a quote here from one reviewer.
“I absolutely loved this story when I read it. Not to give away anything but you might want to use a tissue as a bookmark for this one - I hated to lay down my eReader to go find a box of Kleenex. Yet this is still a story I could read to my nieces and nephews at Christmas - every year. It is a classic tale of good people, family and strangers, reaching out to help each other at what can be a joyous or terribly sad time of year. The adult romance was lovely, and was handled appropriately for the historical timeframe, but the friendship between the little boy, Quinn, and Jazira, touched my heart in the way only childhood connections can. I would have liked to have a better understanding of the nature of Quinn's illness but otherwise Lawna did a wonderful job telling this story. And in answer to her question at the end of the story - a resounding YES, PLEASE!!!”

What does Christmas mean to you?
Christmas is my favorite time of year. I can’t help but believe it’s a magical season. I love the closeness of family and friends and of course my four legged critters.

What is your favorite Christmas memory?
That’s an easy one! When I was little, my family and relatives went out for a Christmas dinner and dance. We lived in Jasper, Alberta, a place, which in itself is magical. When we left that night, we came out to a whole herd of elk. I know they weren’t reindeer, but it didn’t matter to me, I was convinced they were Santa’s reindeer.

What was your favorite stocking stuffer?
A lump of coal! Too funny. I didn’t know you could buy that stuff.

What was your favorite Christmas present?
My husband! Although we were married on December 3rd, I’ve always considered that my best early Christmas gift.

Where can people learn more about you and your work?
Please visit my website I’d love to hear from you. www.lawnamackie.ca


BIO:
I have always believed in fairy tales and when I got tired of the old ones I made up my own. Each story would have a hero and heroine, but they were anything but typical.

I devoured my first romance novel when I was a teenager. I couldn’t read them fast enough. Years later I stumbled across my first paranormal romance…an injustice would be done if I tried to explain my joy when I found this genre of romance. My passion was finally in print.

Now, with the help of my bizarre dreams and crazy imagination, I have started to write and intend to share my stories with you. I hope you’ll love them as much as I do.

I am truly blessed. My husband and my animals are my inspiration. We live on a small acreage in Didsbury, Alberta, with our most beloved companions, Dozer, Daisy and Mandarin.

Happy reading everyone, I would love to hear from you. www.lawnamackie.ca

Lawna’s Books
QUINN’S CHRISTMAS WISH – available through Amazon http://amzn.to/AforX1

IMPOSSIBLE TO HOLD – available through Liquid Silver Books http://www.liquidsilverbooks.com and Amazon http://amzn.to/Mr3CHc

ENCHANTMENT – available through Amazon http://amzn.to/L8K4An and Muse It Up Publishing http://museituppublishing.com


Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Christmas Coat: Memoriesof My Sioux Childhood



While I usually present interviews with the author, today's guest, Ellen Beier, is the illustrator of this Christmas-themed book.



AUTHOR: Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve
ILLUSTRATOR: Ellen Beier
BOOK TITLE: The Christmas Coat: Memories of My Sioux Childhood
PUBLISHER: Holiday House
DO YOU HAVE A GIVEAWAY?: Yes
WHAT IS IT?: one signed book
HOW DO YOU WANT THE WINNER TO BE CHOSEN?: Ellen will choose winner of book based on random drawing of comments LEFT ON THE CHRISTMAS COAT BLOG.  See below for blog link. Be sure to leave CONTACT INFORMATION.
WHO WILL DELIVER THE PRIZE TO WINNER?: Ellen can send a book within US.

Tell me a little about your book:
This story is based on a true event from the author's childhood, mid-winter 1945, on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota, when the author was 12. As Christmas approaches, the families look forward to donated boxes of clothes and items from congregations in the east, called "theast" boxes. Virginia is especially in need of a new coat, and her younger brother, of a pair of boots. However, as the daughter of the local Episcopal priest, Virginia is encouraged to consider others' needs before her own, and must hold back tears as she watches one of the older girls retrieve the loveliest gray fur coat. With an unexpeected twist, and against the backdrop of a Native American Christmas celebration, Virginia is surprised on the holiday eve with a gift of her dreams.

What gave you the idea for this particular story?
I am the illustrator.

Is there anything in your story based upon a real life event? If so, tell me about it. (see above)

Do you see special challenges to marketing a book with a seasonal theme?  If so, what are they? 
A book with a Christmas theme needs to be promoted well in advance of the holiday season. The positive side of this is that the holidays come around again year after year, and some special holiday books' following just grow stronger with time. Hopefully that will be true of The Christmas Coat, as a unique, authentic story of Native American Christmas in the 20th century.

How long before Christmas did you submit to your publisher? 
This book was in the works for several years.

How and why did you choose this publisher? 
Virginia D H Sneve has a long term relationship with Holiday House.

What about your book makes it special?
What is so special about this book is its authenticity in expressing both in words and pictures the celebration of Christmas among the Rosebud Sioux in the mid-20th century, when aspects of both Native American culture and Christian religion were part of the holiday and of daily life. As the illustrator, I researched both the author's history and the history of the Lakota Sioux extensively, reading everything I could get my hands on written by Lakota authors both present and past, including Sneve's semi-autobiographical Completing the Circle (1998).

What does Christmas mean to you? 
Christmas means time for family, food, song, and meditation on the gift of life.

What is your favorite Christmas memory? 
When I was a child in the suburbs of NYC, our school choir got to sing carols in Grand Central Station. We took the train in to the city and stood in the hallway as thousands of commuters walked by. Nothing tops that!

Where can people learn more about you and your work? 
I have created a blog which complements the book The Christmas Coat at: http://www.thechristmascoat.com
where children, teachers and parents can find Native American recipes (from the author), coloring pages, and more information about the author and me, the illustrator. Please visit and comment for an opportunity to win a copy of this book!




SYNOPSIS:
Virginia's coat is too small and hardly protects her from the frigid South Dakota winter. As Christmas approaches, all the children on the Sioux reservation look forward to receiving boxes full of clothing sent by congregations in the East. Virginia spots a beautiful gray fur coat but holds back tears as it is claimed by one of her classmates. Later, Virginia can't believe what Mama brings home. Based on an event from the author's childhood, this picture book captures the true spirit of Christmas.

This book has won the following awards:
*       Starred review in Kirkus Reviews 9/1/2011
*       Smithsonian Magazine Best Children’s Book 2011
*       American Indian Library Association (AILA) Best Picture Book 2011
*       Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC) Choice Book 2011



Thursday, July 26, 2012

L. J. Holmes, Santa is a Lady and The Christmas Wa




AUTHOR: L.J. Holmes
BOOK TITLE: Santa Is A Lady and its sequel The Christmas War
PUBLISHER: MuseItUp Publishing, Inc.
BUY LINK:


DO YOU HAVE A GIVEAWAY?:
L.J. is giving two sets away to people who leave comments on the blog today. Be sure to leave contact information.
WHAT IS IT?:
Two PDF copies of Santa Is A Lady and The Christmas War.
HOW IS THE WINNER TO BE CHOSEN?:
Each comment left will be awarded a number…so the more comments you leave, the greater your chances for winning. Tomorrow two numbers will be randomly chosen by L.J's Bingo Tumbler.
WHO WILL DELIVER THE PRIZE TO WINNER?:
Penny will deliver by email.


Tell me a little about your book.
Santa Is A Lady: Angie Brightwell is a survivor of a very serious car accident, who turned her life around and has become a successful author.  Beck Cavington is Angie’s best friend and owner of a Sweets Shoppe. It is the final crunch days before Christmas when Beck’s Santa Claus is arrested. Desperate to re-man Santa’s throne, prominently displayed in her store, Beck, unable to find a suitable MALE replacement, uses her friendship to coerce Angie to don the suit and climb upon the throne. BUT, Santa is NOT supposed to be a Lady…so trouble is bound to follow.

The Christmas War, Book Two in this Christmas Miracles Series, is Beck’s story and takes place on year later in Northeringale, a town known far and wide for doing the Christmas theme up with pride. Beck’s mother, on the other hand does NOT have the Christmas Spirit. Instead she is going behind her daughter’s back to get her good and married before her upcoming birthday, mere days away, whether Beck wants to get married or not…oh, and the gent has to be someone Irene Cavington has total control over. Failure for Irene is NOT an option…no matter what depths she has to sink to.

What gave you the idea for this particular story?
Santa Is A Lady came about after a local Santa really DID get arrested. I worked retail to help pay for my college, so I know how important the Christmas season is. What, I wondered, would a store owner do if Santa got arrested less than a week before the big day.

The Christmas War came about because of two things…three actually. The first my daughter, author Kat Holmes said I needed to revisit Northeringale and tell more stories about the people living there. I hadn’t intended to make this a series…but once she planted the idea, my inner voice, that I call Nudge, took over and there was no stopping Nudge.

The other two events have to do with my own history. Irene Cavington is modeled after my former mother-in-law. I was never able to confront her and take her to task, but I could here. The other event, my own marriage was arranged by my father. Through this story I wanted to map out a different course for Beck, but wasn’t sure I could. I never know where Nudge is going to take our stories, but wisely I follow.


Is there anything in your story based upon a real life event? If so, tell me about it.
OOOPS I think I answered this above.

Why did you choose to write a story with a Christmas theme?
Christmas is my favorite time of year. I’m a Christmas Light fanatic. My birthday falls on December 12th. As part of my birthday celebration, I would head up into the attic, bring down all the lights and spend the day teetering on porch railings, dangling atop rickety ladders, shimmying out on dubiously long tree branches to illuminate the house and all of our two acres each year. I was like a kid who’d been given access to the entire candy shop.

Do you see special challenges to marketing a book with a seasonal theme?  If so, what are they?
Yes, there are some unique issues in marketing a seasonal theme. For instance most people do not want to think about Christmas during the Dog Days of summer, but psychologically, that’s the best time. Nothing cools a mind faster than sinking into a snow blanketed Christmas story.

How long before Christmas did you submit to your publisher?
The first book was submitted in March 2010 and released in December 2010. The sequel was submitted in June 2010 but didn’t release until December 2011.

How and why did you choose this publisher?
My daughter’s editor at another publishing house recommended Muse to me, and I am beyond grateful. MuseItUp Publishing has been such a blessing for both Kat and me. I’m very happy here.

What about your book makes it special?
Christmas is about miracles. Santa Is A Lady and The Christmas War are Books 1 & 2 in my Christmas Miracles Series. The town of Northeringale boasts Christmas, taking pride in Decking The Halls and all places in between. Also LOVE is the biggest miracle and these books bring Christmas and love together creating dual miracles.

What does Christmas mean to you?
Enchantment. How can anyone not look at the Christmas Light displays and not be enchanted?

What is your favorite Christmas memory?
Santa coming to our house to deliver one present to every child Christmas Eve.

What was your favorite stocking stuffer?
We didn’t do stockings. Santa coming the night before with that one gift was probably our equivalent of stockings.

What was your favorite Christmas present?
I know this is probably going to sound weird, but the presents weren’t really what mattered. I loved turning off the house lights, sitting in my rocking chair with my baby in my arms, reciting from memory, THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS while watching the tree lights twinkle before us.

Where can people learn more about you and your work?
Naturally at my publisher’s sight www.museituppublishing.com , but I also have my own blog where I post free short stories I write here and there http://linsownauthorsplatform.blogspot.com
You can also check my MuseItUp Author’s Page for a run down of all the books I have available  http://museituppublishing.com/bookstore2/index.php



EXCERPTS:
SANTA IS A LADY:
He didn’t look to the left; he didn’t look to the right; he made a direct beeline for Santa’s North Pole Throne and Angie’s vulnerable lap.

It had already been an eventful day. Although Angie knew when she did it, it was probably a petty thing to do, she arrived at eight o’clock, not the earlier seven-thirty Beck had commanded the night before. It had given Angie a fleeting moment of righteous tit for tat pleasure. Of course, Beck had not been the least bit amused and had shown her annoyance in the manner she helped Angie get into her Santa disguise.

Angie turned a deaf ear to Beck’s litany of complaints, but by the time the doors actually opened, Angie’s body felt a bit tender from Beck’s “loving” ministrations and her limp seemed a bit more pronounced as she made her way to the North Pole Throne and another day locked into Santa cheer.

The doors opened onto a stream of Santa fans that had been lined up in the cold that formed a queue from Santa’s throne to the door. Many had brought digital cameras demanding Santa and their cherubs pose this way and that. Santa felt old before her time by the half hour mark.

The line worked its way down as the minutes moved on. The cash registers’ ka-chings had also gradually filtered, in Angie’s mind, blessedly into silence as the store emptied of Beck’s sainted customers.

Into that silence, though, he vaulted.

Known throughout all of Northeringale and twelve of the fourteen surrounding townships, Julian Harper arrived. Some people looked at Julian and saw an adorable though outrageously precocious scamp. Angie knew better. She’d babysat Julian once, almost a year ago, and had yet to fully recover from the experience. He was, to put it kindly, the proverbial bull-in-the-china-shop. Nothing he did was done by half measures including lurching up onto Santa’s lap where he landed with an inhuman thud.

Angie’s hip screamed out a chorale of yelps and she had to force her lips not to give voice to the silent screams within her. Biting down on waves of rippling agony Angie spouted her usual, “What can Santa bring for you, my fine boy?” spiel.

Julian Harper’s repertoire didn’t consist of sitting still either. Angie looked around frantically for the boy’s mother. And wondered why she’d allowed him to come into Sweets and Treats without her. No doubt to get her own reprieve from the little hellion, Angie thought sourly.
Julian Harper boosted himself up into a standing position so he could stretch over Santa and check out the long fall of Santa curls running down Angie’s back, catching his grubby paws in the acrylic locks. His fingers, sticky from whatever he’d had in them before coming into Sweets and Treats became ensnarled in the phony mane literally handcuffing Julian’s hands and the wig together.

Using his feet, Julian kicked out to get leverage, then jabbed, and jumped all over Angie’s lap trying to free himself from his captivity while screeching right in her ears at the top of his lungs. Angie, sensing the approaching disaster screamed for Beck to come and prevent the serious trouble about to fall upon them. Just as she screamed, though, Julian’s booted foot bulls-eyed down on Angie’s already battered hip. Another scream, this one loudly vocal and crammed with Angie’s suffering rent the air.

Beck reached the wildly out of control Julian and pulled him and Santa’s wig away from Angie in one powerful sweep.

Julian, his paws filled with the fake Santa hair, stared at Angie’s hairless Santa and began squealing, “Santa’s a fake” over and over again loud enough to wake the dead. He also began wriggling frantically in Beck’s hold, but she held onto him for dear life carting him into the back of the store where the bathroom waited to get his grubby hands free from Santa’s wig.



THE CHRISTMAS WAR:
Northeringale, no matter how close to Christmas it might be, was not a fantasy land at three o’clock in the morning, especially in the middle of nowhere. Two cars were parked on dirt packed, back roads, dark and quiet sentries of the nighttime’s unrest and so far from Main Street it would take someone lost and equipped with night vision goggles to see either the vehicles or the secretive occupants inside them.
One car, a newer model, American made, was the place chosen for the occupants’ summit meeting.


“Have you got it?”


“Right here.”


“Good, and everything is here?”


“Yes.”


“When?”


“Still up in the air.”


“You’ll have to go back then.”


“Why?”


“We need to know when.”


“I don’t like it.”


“No one suspects do they?”


“Are you kidding?”

”Then we have to proceed as is.”



“Not quite. I’ve delivered what we agreed upon. If I have to go back, I’ll need a few more devices to fully cover every contingency.”


“Of course. This should take care of it.” A bulging envelope exchanged hands and scrutinized by a knowing eye. “Well? Will that do?” A nod of the head was all the acquiescence needed. “Call me when you have news.”


The silence outside, occupied only by some nocturnal creatures, was broken when a car door slammed and the engine roared to life. Shortly thereafter a second vehicle’s motor growled too. One car went north, the other went south. Neither vehicle engaged its headlights until a good distance had been driven. No chances could be taken. Not now. Not ever.



Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Elizabeth Coldwell, Be Good To Your Elf (erotica)




AUTHOR: Elizabeth Coldwell
BOOK TITLE: Be Good To Your Elf
PUBLISHER: MuseItHOT
DO YOU HAVE A GIVEAWAY?: Yes
WHAT IS IT?: An ebook copy of the book
HOW IS THE WINNER TO BE CHOSEN?: Leave a comment on the blog with contact information. MUST BE OVER 18 TO WIN
WHO WILL DELIVER THE PRIZE TO WINNER?: Elizabeth will email the winner

Tell me a little about your book.
It’s about Maddie, who looks like she’ going to have to spend a very dull Christmas on her own, until she gets a job working in Santa’s grotto and meets Tyler, who’s also going to be alone. Naturally, romance blossoms.

What gave you the idea for this particular story?
As with a lot of my stories, the title came first – it’s a pun on the Journey song, Be Good To Yourself – and the situation sprang from that.

Is there anything in your story based upon a real life event? If so, tell me about it.
There’s a moment where Maddie attends a carol concert at the town church, and steps outside afterwards to discover it’s started snowing. That actually happened to me when I was at university, though the service was in early December, rather than on Christmas Eve as in the story. Snow is beautiful when it’s falling – when it’s settled and turned slushy, or frozen, not quite so much…

Why did you choose to write a story with a Christmas theme?
I love Christmas! I suppose it’s the big kid in me, who still gets excited about giving and receving presents, enjoying a big Christmas dinner with the family and meeting up with good friends. My birthday’s a few days before Christmas, too, so that adds to the festivities.

Do you see special challenges to marketing a book with a seasonal theme?  If so, what are they?
Not many people want to buy a Christmas story in the middle of the summer, so usually you can only promote it in the run-up to the big day, when people are thinking about getting in a holiday mood. I’ve written summer-themed stories, too, and they seem to strike a chord with people all year round, maybe because when it’s winter in one part of the world, it’s summer somewhere else.

How long before Christmas did you submit to your publisher?
A good eight or nine months, and I got the acceptance in June or July.

How and why did you choose this publisher?
I went with Muse because Lea was launching the imprint and put a submissions call out on the Publishing Trove Yahoo group. Something about the way she promoted herself and her vision for the imprint gave me the impression I’d enjoy being part of the Muse family – and I do. They’re a unique crowd!

What about your book makes it special?
A little bit of Christmas magic…

What does Christmas mean to you?
Time with friends and family, the Boxing Day football games that are a big tradition in England and a chance to relax for a few days.

What is your favorite Christmas memory?
When I was 30, my partner and I spent Christmas in New York. The highlight of the trip was taking a helicopter ride over Manhattan on Christmas Day – incredibly scary but so exhilarating and utterly memorable.

What was your favorite stocking stuffer?
Last Christmas, I baked some ‘spooky’ biscuits, in the shape of ghosts and pumpkins. Maybe not the most seasonal present, but it hit the spot with the people I made them for!

What was your favorite Christmas present?
A beautiful pillow spray bought by a friend from a South London-based aromatherapy company called Verde. It gives me sweet dreams – and when I dream, I get story ideas.

Where can people learn more about you and your work?
You can find me at the (Really) Naughty Corner – http://elizabethcoldwell.wordpress.com



EXCERPT:

I just had time to get back to my dorm room and change into a plum-colored sweater and my favorite plaid skirt. I dashed down to St Luke’s, half-expecting Tyler to have changed his mind. But there he was, sitting in one of the pews towards the back of the church, holding a candle which flickered gently. I took the candle and hymn book I was offered and went to join him.

It was a beautiful service. No matter how many times I’d heard those same carols in the
grotto over the last few days, they sounded fresh, as the small choir at the front of the church led us in a rendition of each one. From time to time during the reading of the lessons, I took a peek at Tyler’s handsome profile, softly illuminated by the candlelight, and wondered what he was thinking about.
When we walked out of the church at the end of the service, snow was falling. Big, fat flakes drifted to earth, already beginning to settle.

“And I thought this only happened in movies,” Tyler said. Suddenly, he pulled me into his
arms and gave me a long, lingering kiss. “Merry Christmas, Maddie.”

When we finally broke the kiss, I was breathless and my heart was hammering in my chest. It had been a while since anyone had kissed me quite so thoroughly. “Where did that come from?” I asked.

“I’ve been wanting to do that since the first moment I saw you. You have the most kissable lips.”

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Sue Lyndon, Snowed in with Santa (erotica)




AUTHOR:  Sue Lyndon
BOOK TITLE:  Snowed in with Santa
PUBLISHER:  Books to Go Now
BUY LINK:  Amazon and Barnes and Noble
DO YOU HAVE A GIVEAWAY?:  Yes
WHAT IS IT?:  E-copy of Snowed in with Santa
HOW IS THE WINNER TO BE CHOSEN?:  Random person who leaves a comment with their email address will be chosen - MUST BE OVER 18 TO WIN
WHO WILL DELIVER THE PRIZE TO WINNER?:  Sue will send by email

Tell me a little about your book.
Snowed in with Santa is a quick, erotic romance read with a holiday twist.  The heroine is a recent college graduate who takes a seasonal job as an elf in the local mall, and the hero is suckered into volunteering as Santa.  This short story is for adults only and contains light elements of bdsm.

What gave you the idea for this particular story? 
Like all my stories, it just popped into my head when I was brainstorming a kinky holiday-themed story.

Is there anything in your story based upon a real life event? If so, tell me about it.
I have friends who live in the Roanoke, VA area, so I choose this area as the location for my story since I’m familiar with it.  The rest of the story is purely fictional.  No, I’ve never worked as an elf in a mall . . . yet. J

Why did you choose to write a story with a Christmas theme?
I wanted to enter an erotic romance short story in a contest Books to Go Now was running.  I didn’t win the gift basket, but I still received a publishing contract.

Do you see special challenges to marketing a book with a seasonal theme?  If so, what are they?
I’m happy to say I had a pretty easy time marketing Snowed in with Santa.  I don’t think the seasonal theme presented any special challenges, however sales have slowed since Christmas.

How long before Christmas did you submit to your publisher?
Two months before Christmas.

How and why did you choose this publisher?
I write science fiction and fantasy under a different name and have published with Books to Go Now in the past.  I think they’re a great e-publisher and I’ve published several ebooks with them now and couldn’t be happier.

What about your book makes it special?
It’s a quick, sexy read with a lot of emotion packed into it.

What does Christmas mean to you?
To me, Christmas means spending lots of time with family and friends. 

What is your favorite Christmas memory?
I think the first Christmas after I had my first child was my favorite Christmas memory.  My husband and I were new parents and in a new house, so we hosted Christmas for the first time.  It was nice to have both sides of the family together under our roof.

What was your favorite stocking stuffer?
Hmm…is it crazy if I say chapstick?  I’m always misplacing mine, so I’m grateful to find a few packs of it (strawberry flavor, please) in my stocking.

What was your favorite Christmas present?
One year I received a fully stocked wine refrigerator.  That was a pretty cool present!

Where can people learn more about you and your work?
Please feel free to visit my blog or my Amazon author page.  I’m also active on Twitter @SueLyndon.




Snowed in with Santa:
Alana has no choice but to accept the seasonal job as an elf in the local mall, not unless she wants to lose her apartment. She didn't expect the man under the Santa costume, a volunteer named Jared, to be such a hunk, either. But just as the sparks between them fly, Jared tangles with a thief and is escorted out of the mall for violating the manager's 'hands off' policy.

Jared can't believe he was fired from a volunteer job just because he single handedly apprehended a thief in the mall. Worse yet, he won't get to wish Alana a Merry Christmas and ask her out on a date. What he doesn't expect is for her to show up on his doorstep in the middle of a snowstorm . . . 

Friday, July 20, 2012

Jane Wakely, Christmas Hope




AUTHOR:  Jane Wakely
BOOK TITLE: Winter Wonders (Winter Anthology 2011), contains my story, Christmas Hope
PUBLISHER: Whimsical Publications
DO YOU HAVE A GIVEAWAY?: Yes
WHAT IS IT?: $10 Amazon Gift Card
HOW IS THE WINNER TO BE CHOSEN?: Jane will choose the winner using Random.org.
WHO WILL DELIVER THE PRIZE TO WINNER?: Jane will send a gift card through email after she notifies the winner!

Tell me a little about your book.
Winter Wonders features nine short stories, in a variety of genres, all with a winter theme. 

Authors include: Regina Puckett, Jenny Twist, Sharon Donovan, S.M. Senden, Paul McDermott, Angela Adams, Melissa Hosack, Janet Durbin and Jane Wakely.

My short is called, Christmas Hope.  Here’s the blurb:

Karen loves Woodland Springs, the town she grew up in.  While her dream of owning a bakery in her home town came true, she doesn’t know if she will ever reach her dream of having a family of her own to share it with.  After the humiliation of her ex-boyfriend, she doesn’t think she will ever find someone to love.

Jason Matthews moved to Woodland Springs to fill a veterinarian vacancy.  After years of school and interning, he is ready to start a family.  When he meets Karen, he knows she is the one.

After a misunderstood Christmas present, will these two be able to have the family they both hope for?

What gave you the idea for this particular story?
Hmmm…I’m not really sure where I got the idea for this story exactly, but I’ve always liked the idea of living in a small town; Woodland Springs was an easy setting to create. I answered a submission call and the story had to have a winter/Christmas theme. I knew my story would focus around Christmas, and a small town bakery owner.  The rest of the story sort of wrote itself.

Is there anything in your story based upon a real life event? If so, tell me about it.\
LOL…Yes there is.  In Christmas Hope, my heroine has a pet Dachshund that gets sick from eating too much paper. I got the idea from our Dachshund. She got sick from eating too much cardboard when she was a puppy. 

Why did you choose to write a story with a Christmas theme? 
I saw a submission call for stories with a winter or Christmas theme. 

Do you see special challenges to marketing a book with a seasonal theme?  If so, what are they? Typically, most readers only read holiday stories during the specified holiday.  Once the holiday passes, sales slow or stop and you have to try again the following year.  I think that’s the biggest challenge.  Otherwise, most readers seem eager to read holiday stories, especially those with a Christmas theme.

How long before Christmas did you submit to your publisher? 
Almost three months.  The submission call had a deadline of the first week in October.

How and why did you choose this publisher? 
I chose this publisher specifically for the themed submission call.  I had seen it in an email on one of the yahoo groups I belong to.   

What about your book makes it special? 
Lots of things!  Aside from being my first published story, it is a sweet romance that takes place in a small town.  I finally moved to a small town in January, but didn’t see it until the end of November—after I had written my story.  The similarities are amazing, right up to the Christmas tree in the center of town. I like it so much, I think Woodland Springs needs expansion and I am planning at least two more books in the same setting.

What does Christmas mean to you? 
Christmas means happiness to me.  I love the whole festive frenzy of the season…decorations, Christmas music, cookies, friends, family…it really is the season of Joy!

What is your favorite Christmas memory? 
I have a memory from when I was little of going to our local outdoor mall and being amazed by the decorations.  (This was many years ago—there was still a Woolworths there!)  That feeling has always stuck with me and one of my fave things about Christmas is to see everything decorated. 

What was your favorite stocking stuffer? 
Chocolate!  I had chocolate in my stocking every year! :)

What was your favorite Christmas present? 
I can’t think of one present that stands out from the rest, but I love receiving gift cards for books, craft supplies or coffee!

Where can people learn more about you and your work?
Friend me on Facebook: www.facebook.com/janewakely
Follow me on Twitter: @JaneWakely
Friend me on Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/janewakely



Jane Wakely—Excerpt from Christmas Hope (Winter Wonders, Winter Anthology 2011)


Thankfully, the weekend was finally over.  Thanksgiving weekend was always packed, so she was extra tired.  Delightful was only open in the mornings from seven to noon and then again in the evenings from five to eight, but sometimes she had to bake during her off hours.  Usually she baked in the mornings when she had Janice out front helping, but over the busy holidays, they were always empty up front by noon. 
           
She sat down with a cup of coffee, doing a mental inventory in her head and planning out her Monday.  She was happy Delightful was closed on Mondays and Tuesdays; she could sleep in tomorrow.  She closed her eyes thinking about it and heard the bell on the front door ring.
           
She must have been really tired; she’d forgotten to lock the front door.
           
Karen opened her eyes, and her heart skipped a beat as she looked at the most handsome man she had ever seen.  He was tall, she could tell from her sitting position, and he had hair so black it reminded her of the wigs the children had worn on Halloween.  His eyes were a smoky grey, and when he smiled, she saw a dimple on his right cheek.  Though covered in a jacket, she could tell that he was lean and muscular.  She opened her mouth to say something and nothing came out.
           
He smiled. “Hi.”
           
Somehow she found her voice, though she didn’t take her eyes off of him. She had never seen him before, and she liked the view.  “I’m sorry, we’re closed. I--I forgot to turn the lock.”
           
“Oh.  Do you think I could get a quick cup of coffee?  I just got into town, and I don’t have a coffee machine yet.”  He smiled again, his expression hopeful.
           
“Okay.  Why don’t you sit down, and I will pour you one to go.”
           
“Thank you so much.  It’s really cold out there.  I think I need a warmer coat.” He laughed as he said it, and his dimple showed prominently. 
           
She looked at his coat as she made her way back to the table.  It was thin, especially for this weather.  He hadn’t been wrong when admitting he needed a thicker one. “It’s going to get colder. You really do need to get a warmer coat, and fast.  Cream and sugar?” 
           
“No, black is fine.  Thank you so much.  I’m Jason,” he said as he stood and pulled out his wallet.
           
“Don’t worry about it.” She waved her hand. “This one is on the house.  I’m Karen.” She sat down at the table as she said it, and he sat down too.  Delightful was closed, and she was tired, but she didn’t want him to go just yet.
           
“Are you visiting family?” she asked as she sipped her coffee, curious about where he came from. 
           
“No, I just moved here for work.  I don’t know anyone in this town.  Well, except you.”  He smiled again.