Tag Archive | Christmas Countdown

Christmas Countdown Blitz 2019 ~ Day 5

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Christmas Secrets
by Donna Hatch

 
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A stolen Christmas kiss leaves them bewildered and breathless.

A charming rogue-turned-vicar, Will wants to prove that he left his rakish days behind him, but an accidental kiss changes all his plans. His secret could bring them together…or divide them forever.

Holly has two Christmas wishes this year; finally earn her mother’s approval by gaining the notice of a handsome earl, and learn the identity of the stranger who gave her a heart-shattering kiss…even if that stranger is the resident Christmas ghost.

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Day 5 CCB AuthorDonna Hatch is the author of the best-selling “Rogue Hearts Series,” and a winner of writing awards such as The Golden Quill and the International Digital Award.

A hopeless romantic and adventurer at heart, she discovered her writing passion at the tender age of 8 and has been listening to those voices ever since.

She has become a sought-after workshop presenter, and also juggles freelance editing, multiple volunteer positions, and most of all, her six children (seven, counting her husband).

A native of Arizona who recently transplanted to the Pacific Northwest, she and her husband of over twenty years are living proof that there really is a happily ever after.

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Top Ten List:

1. I adore cats–kittens are even more fun.
2. Claustrophia is one of my biggest challenges.
3. My favorite sports are water sports. I love swimming, boating, wake surfing, rowing around on a canoe, and simply walking along the beach of an ocean or lake.
4. I enjoy horseback riding and hope someday to take lessons so I can learn how to do it well. I’d also love to learn how to ride side saddle.
5. One of my favorite ways to have a good time with friends is having a tea party. I also love to play board games and card games.
6. Due to moves in my childhood, I attended 9 different schools including 3 junior high schools. Being the new kid isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
7. I love chocolate. Chocolate has seen me through many brutal revisions. But please hold the dark chocolate–in most cases, it’s too chalky and bitter. I love MILK chocolate, with or without caramel, and with or without nuts. Mmmmm. Salted caramel is a very close second.
8. My favorite color is blue scruffy shade of blue is beautiful. I also adore pink but there are a lot of ugly shades of pink so I’m pickier on that one.
9. Though I’m not a real gardener, I love flowers, and I find it rewarding to plan and then carry out ways to add color to my yard.
10. I love to dance–any kind–but most especially ballet and ballroom. I would dance every day if I could.

 

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Christmas Countdown Blitz 2019 ~ Day 4

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Love at Christmas
by Heather Tullis

 
Christmas is in the air.

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Pulling Garrett Johansson over isn’t the most auspicious beginnging to a relationship for Officer Lisa Weight, but at least she didn’t have to give him a ticket. Not that she’s looking for a guy—even if her mom says she should be.

Garrett is glad to visit his sister, Sheila, during the Christmas season, but he hadn’t counted on a major snow storm as soon as he landed in Kansas City. When his sister introduces the cop who pulled him over as a friend of hers, he puts their less-than-stellar beginnings in the past and gives her a chance. The more he gets to know her, the better he likes her. If only he didn’t live 1600 miles away in California.

With everything trying to keep them apart, can they still have a Merry Christmas?”

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Day 4 CCB Author

 
Heather Tullis writes sweet, small-town romance and cozy mysteries. She has published three dozen books. When she’s not dreaming up new stories to write, she enjoys playing with her dogs and chickens, cake decorating, trying new jewelry designs, inventing new ways to eat chocolate, and hanging out with her husband.

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Top Ten List:

10 Fun facts about myself:

1. I used to be an EMT for my volunteer Ambulance department
2. I used to write books in the back of the ambulance when we were on long trips home from dropping patients off at a major hospital 100+ miles away.
3. At one time I had over 150 chickens, ducks, geese, and guineas. Now I only have four hens.
4. My husband and I met in college and were the third couple to marry from those two apartments that year.
5. I’ve now published three dozen novels and novellas.
6. I didn’t realize I was going to be a writer until I was almost 24.
7. My husband and I were foster parents to 15 children over the course of two years and I still keep in contact with some of them.
8. I have over thirty nieces and nephews.
9. I once built an 8×8 A-frame chicken coop by myself in a single day. (Nail guns rock!)
10. I wrote the first draft of Love at Christmas in a single day.

 

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Christmas Countdown Blitz 2019 ~ Day 3

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Goodwill for the Gentleman
by Martha Keyes

 
Day 3 CCB CoverHe jilted her sister. She will never forgive him for it. Can her anger survive a snowing in and a Christmas truce?

Emma Caldwell doesn’t hate anyone—except for Hugh Warrilow, the man who jilted her older sister and left like a coward to join the army. Men are clearly not to be trusted, and Emma is determined not to give her heart to one. No, a marriage of convenience is the very thing to suit her.

Hugh Warrilow has been secretly in love with Emma Caldwell for years, so when the time comes to live up to both families’ expectations and marry her sister, he can’t find it in himself to do it. Disgraced and misunderstood, he joins to fight Napoleon on the Continent, hoping he will forget Emma and be forgotten by everyone he has disappointed.

An injury brings Hugh home—just in time for Christmas and the snowstorm that leaves him trapped under the same roof as Emma. How will he explain that his unforgivable act was motivated by how desperately he loved her? Her icy reception doesn’t leave him the chance, nor does it offer much hope for the season’s expectation of peace on earth and goodwill to men. “.

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Day 3 CCB Author
Martha Keyes was born, raised, and educated in Utah–a home she loves dearly but also dearly loves to escape whenever she can by traveling the world. She received a BA in French Studies and a Master of Public Health, both from Brigham Young University.
Word crafting has always fascinated and motivated her, but it wasn’t until a few years ago that she considered writing her own stories. When she isn’t writing, she is honing her photography skills, looking for travel deals, and spending time with her family. She lives with her husband and twin boys in Vineyard, Utah.

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Top Ten List:

10 fun facts about me:

1. I speak French (but I’m pretty rusty these days)
2. I am a photographer (though I have vowed never to shoot another wedding again—too high stress for this introvert!)
3. I shoot and design my book covers (except this one, ironically)
4. I have a travel addiction that started when I was an exchange student in France in high school. I’ve been to 28 countries thus far.
5. I am a twin mom which taught me I can do hard things
6. I love stinky cheese—except for Bleu cheese.
7. I have a master’s degree that I don’t really use (Master of Public Health)
8. I saw Jude Law play in Hamlet in London—we slept on the streets of Piccadilly to ensure we were the first ones in line for tickets. Worth it!
9. My four sisters are my best friends
10. I went to the school where High School Musical was filmed. They began filming the day after my senior year ended—oops! Now you know how old I am.

 

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Christmas Countdown Blitz 2019 ~ Day 2

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Special Delivery
by Didi Lawson

 
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Erin O’Neal loves Christmas, except not this year because she’ll be all alone for the holidays. To make matters worse, she receives a dog as an early Christmas present, but cannot keep it. The man who delivers the dog is the snob who has embarrassed her in public a few days ago.

When the snob, a handsome veterinarian, injures his ankle and needs someone to drive him home to Prescott for the holidays, Erin is available. Getting to know him better, she falls in love with him. There are only two obstacles: his girlfriend and her own dog phobia.

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Day 2 CCB Author
Didi Lawson exchanged her town car for a pick-up truck and learned to operate a tractor when she and her husband moved from Arizona to a farm in  Missouri where she now weaves her tales. Her love for writing started early in  life when  she entertained her friends with her stories, won prizes for he essays in high school and wrote road shows and poems for the youth group in her church. She enjoys the outdoors, her children and ten grandchildren, and keeps an active social calendar.

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Top Ten List:

10 fun facts about myself:

1. I have 10 wonderful and talented grandchildren
2. I live on a hobby farm in Missouri
3. We have a good-size cave on our property
4. Studied French in high school and college
5. Born  and raised in Germany
6. Came to the US to further my education at BYU
7. I have a German Shepherd dog and 2 cats
8. We also have chickens and peacocks on the farm
9. One of my ancestors is Henry VIII
10. I have OCD which drives my husband crazy

 

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Christmas Countdown Blitz 2019 ~Day 1

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Two Sisters and the Christmas Groom
by Zina Abbott

 
Day 1 CCB CoverAnnie Flanagan happily moves to Jubilee Springs to work as a maid for Delly Nighy, the daughter of her former New York City employer. For one thing, very few know that her next younger sister, Kate, has signed up with the Colorado Bridal Agency and started writing to an Irish miner, Michael O’Hare, in the same town. Both Annie and her mother back in New York grow concerned when the second man the bridal agency puts Kate in contact with is a miner in Central City. He’s not Irish—and he’s not Catholic. What is worse, she seems to prefer him over Michael.

Kate Flanagan, working as a scullery maid to help support her family, desperately desires to escape the dead-end poverty allotted to Irish women living in the lower east side of Manhattan in New York. Anxious to find a husband out west, she signs up with the bridal agency suggested by her sister. After living with her alcoholic father, she is leery of choosing Irishman Michael O’Hare for a husband. As much as she wants to live near her sister, dare she take the chance Michael O’Hare will not turn out like her da?

Annie and Michael grow closer as they work together in order to persuade Kate to come to Jubilee Springs. She needs to come soon—before winter sets in and disrupts the railroad service that will bring her to the high mountain mining community. Kate agrees to travel to Jubilee Springs before Christmas, but several factors, including the train, threaten to derail this romance.

Michael knows what he promised. He knows what he wants. In the end, will he marry the bride who has captured his heart?

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Day 1 CCB AuthorMy name is Robyn Echols. Zina Abbott is the pen name I use for my American historical romance novels. I’m a member of Women Writing the West, Western Writers of America, and American Night Writers Association. I currently live with my husband in California’s central valley near the “Gateway to Yosemite.”

I love to read, quilt, work with digital images on my photo editing program, and work on my own family history.

I am a blogger. In addition to my own blog, I blog for several group blogs including the Sweet Americana Sweethearts blog, which I started and administer.

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Top Ten List:

Ten Fun Christmas Facts about Zina Abbott

1.  My favorite Christmas carol is O Holy Night.

2.  My favorite Christmas decoration is a nativity scene including angel, shepherd, and three wise men.

3.  In second grade I made a lamb tree ornament out of a paper background, crayon eyes, nose, mouth, and hooves, and small cotton balls glued all over the body. This was before commercial cotton balls were sold. We used bulk cotton and rolled the small balls by hand. The paper and cotton are now yellowed with age, but I still have that ornament.

4.  I prefer green over red.

5.  As a child, each Christmas Eve my brother, sister, and I prepared a Christmas program we performed for our parents. We read the Luke 2 story of the birth of Christ, recited “’Twas the Night before Christmas,” maybe share some other short poems and stories, and we sang Christmas songs. We used our raised hearth as our stage. After, we had refreshments my mother had prepared and opened one Christmas gift each which she picked out for us—usually pajamas or slippers.

6.  When I started getting too much “give me, give me—I want” from my teenage children, I switched to blue, gold, and silver and put more focus on the birth of Christ instead of the red and green Santa ho-ho part of the holiday. (Please don’t send me articles about how red, green and other things we associate with Santa Claus, et al, have religious symbolism. I’ve read them.) The one non-nativity decoration my children asked me to bring back was a Christmas tree, which I did.

7.  I learned once my children became teenagers, the best gift in the world for them was gift cards. I took them shopping at the after-Christmas sales. The stuff they bought was always the right style, size, and color because they picked it out.

8.  When I was about two or three, my father, a very talented wood craftsman, built a wooden clothes rack in the shape of a giraffe for me that Christmas. He painted it white with yellow spots, although I recall the body, which was a flat bench/shelf, was brown. The horns were clothes hooks. We called it Jo-Jo Giraffe. It probably was only about four to five feet high, but to me at the time, it was HUGE!

9.  For many years, my favorite Christmas music album was The Messiah by Handel.

10.  Before that, I was rather fond of a Christmas album performed by Elvis Presley.

 

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Christmas Countdown Blitz -Day 18

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One Winter Night by Heather Tullis

 
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Jonah Owens thought moving to Echo Ridge to open his art gallery would solve all of his problems. The need to sell his grandma’s house adds an unexpected complication. It would be easier if his neighbor didn’t have all those farm animals.

Kaya Feidler’s family has owned their land for nearly a hundred years–long before the neighbors were there. There’s no way she’s giving up the animal therapy business she’s been struggling to make profitable. She gets a temp job helping Jonah in the gallery.

Spending time together is a recipe for romance, but can they overcome their own hangups to be more than friends?

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Day 18 CCB AuthorHeather Tullis has been reading romance for as long as she can remember and has been publishing in the genre since 2009. She has published more than twenty books.

When she’s not dreaming up new stories to write, or helping out with her community garden, she enjoys playing with her dogs and cat, cake decorating, trying new jewelry designs, inventing new ways to eat chocolate, and hanging out with her husband.

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Q&A With Heather Tullis:

1.  Describe yourself in 50 words or less.

I’m a small-town girl who loves writing sweet romance–even my mysteries have romance in them! When I’m not writing I and trying out new recipes, working in my garden, renovating my house, or getting sucked into someone else’s story.

2. What do you love most in the world?

Snuggling up with a great story and a cup of cocoa.

3. What inspired you to become an Author?

I’ve always had stories in my head, even when there wasn’t a book anywhere in sight. When I was going through a rough period in 2000, I decided to write one of them down and I haven’t been able to shake the desire to write for long since then.

4. What is your favorite Winter / Holiday tradition?

Spending time with family and friends and putting up the tree! Oh, and making really terrific food.

5. What is your trick for getting past writer’s block? And what advice do you have for other authors who are struggling to tell their story?

For me writer’s block usually means that I don’t know where the story is going, so I sit down and do some journaling about the characters and the story until things start to flow and I’m able to figure out where I was going wrong. Very occasionally it’s not about the storyline, but because my brain is legitimately pre-occupied with something in my real life and then sometimes you just have to put the story aside while you work through whatever is demanding all of your attention–just make sure that it’s a legitimate real-life problem and not an excuse to procrastinate that you’re using instead of putting the words on the page.

6. Now that we’ve gotten to know each other, tell me a story. It can be long or short. From your childhood or last week. Funny, sad, or somewhere in between. Just make sure it’s yours. What’s your story?

When I had been out of college for a few months and was still looking for a job, I took on a bunch of temp jobs, including a one-shift job rolling burritos at a frozen burrito factory. I was told the shift would last for 8-10 hours, or until the batch was done. I worked 14 hours that day and have had trouble eating frozen burritos ever since–and it’s been nearly twenty years.

 

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Christmas Countdown Blitz -Day 17

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The Billionaire’s Blue Christmas by Jennifer Griffith

 

He needs this job to honor his late wife.
She needs to complete her late fiancé’s bucket list to be free.

Day 17 CCB CoverFormer action-movie star Chet has counted the days since he lost his wife last New Year’s Eve almost a year ago. When he’s given a shot at starring in a reboot of her favorite TV show, he jumps at it. But there’s a catch: the producers won’t hire him unless he can prove he’s regained emotional stability—by bringing a steady girlfriend to his five auditions.

Which means: five mandatory dates for this bereft widower.

Social worker Holly lost her fiancé to war. With his good life snuffed out too soon, she feels compelled to finish his bucket list of unselfish deeds. But four years later, several remain, and they’re ridiculously impossible. Until she accomplishes her soldier’s dreams, she can’t even consider moving on with her life.

When they meet on the beach at Getaway Bay, what she doesn’t know is homeless-looking mourner Chet is actually Colt Winchester, screen star and fashion icon. What he doesn’t know is that he’s a means to an end.

When their walls start to crumble on their Christmas season dates, can these two find love again, or will they forever be chasing ghosts?”

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Day 17 CCB Author

 

Jennifer lives in Arizona where she writes escapist fiction she calls “Cotton Candy for the Soul.”

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Q&A With Jennifer Griffith:

1.  Describe yourself in 50 words or less.

I’m a wife, a mother, and I love a great book. I write sweet, escapist fiction I call “Cotton Candy for the Soul.”

2. What do you love most in the world?

Easy, my family. This will probably sound dull! But it’s so true. They’re the reason I do pretty much everything, even writing the fluffy, sweet romance novels I’m constantly trying to come up with. I’m a wife of a handsome, brilliant lawyer/judge, and we have these five amazing kids who delight and challenge us, and I’m just … all in when it comes to them.

3. What inspired you to become an Author?

My husband! I was a writer, majored in writing in college. My jobs out of college were all political writing in the U.S. Senate and in the U.S. House, answering letters, writing press releases, and such. But when I quit a day job to do an all-day-and-all-night job raising kids, I was getting a little brain dead. My husband suggested I write a novel. I thought, no way. I only write technical things. But he encouraged me. And so I began. It took me six years to complete my first novel, and he cheered me on, making sure I had the proper tools and at least a little time now and then to create and edit. He’s my biggest cheerleader, and now he helps me plot and rework stories. I am probably the luckiest writer there is, in that matter. Plus, everything I know about romance, I’ve learned from him.

4. What is your favorite Winter / Holiday tradition?

Ooooh, pie. Hands down. I’m part of a big, food-loving family on my husband’s side, and on Thanksgiving we get together and eat. But what I call the “pie count” is part of the fun. There’s just so much pie! Often, I’ll count pies and count people, and I’m often hoping for a greater than 1:1 pies:people ratio. We eat dinner on Thanksgiving, and then pie from morning to night the following day. And there has to be whipped cream. Lots of it. I married into a really fun family.

5. What is your trick for getting past writer’s block? And what advice do you have for other authors who are struggling to tell their story?

For me, if I know what motivates my character and what his/her biggest fear is, then I can get past the block. I find when I’m blocked it’s because I just don’t know my characters well enough. Once I know them, I can tell their stories.

6. Now that we’ve gotten to know each other, tell me a story. It can be long or short. From your childhood or last week. Funny, sad, or somewhere in between. Just make sure it’s yours. What’s your story?

Remember Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure? Well, the follow-up was Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, an inferior movie, in my opinion. However, its title perfectly mirrors my experience … with fake eyelashes.

You may shake your head in a mix of horror and pity. It’s raw, it’s real, and it’s got a lot of jumps in verb tense. (Sorries. Lots of sorries for that.) It’s the tragic history of me and my eyelashes, also known as The Great Lash-tastrophe.

In the late summer, before attending a couple of writing conferences, I decided I need fake eyelashes.

Not sure why I came to this conclusion, since my normal eyelashes are actually one of the features I am okay with on myself. Eyelashes and ankles! As for everything else in between? Well, let’s not talk about that.

Before I had allowed myself to give it too much thought, I’d texted my hairstylist and she’d slotted me in for the following morning at nine. No backing out now.

I go through the nearly two-hour process (which sucked away nearly a whole morning of writing time—a precious commodity since I have kids at home and mornings are my only chance to write) and come out with these holy cow look at her lashes.

If I’d been in a movie, they would have needed their own line in the credits.

I mean, did I like them? Heck, yeah. They looked amazing. I asked my stylist how much I owed her. When she told me, I kept it together, but inside I was falling off the tilted table. H-h-h-how much? And h-h-h-how often do I have to redo this? Oh, twice a month? Oh. Oh … okay.

The things we should research, people! The things!

So, I go through life with these awesome lashes. I don’t have to put on mascara. I don’t really even have to wear other makeup or even really do my hair, since they’re the only noticeable feature on my person. I. Am. LashLady.

Until…they begin to trickle out. My stylist warned me this would happen, which is why a fill is necessary after a couple of weeks. I hemmed and hawed about just caving and getting them filled, but we had a sudden household expense, and I realized that many dollars a month was just stupid when I have a kid in college and another teen about ready to need auto insurance.

Not happening.

So I allowed lash-attrition (lash-trition?) to occur. After another couple of weeks, only the Truly Glued lashes remained. The brave, the strong, the ones that could have doubled as the legs of a black widow spider—which is basically how my eyes looked now. Like I’d killed a few beetles and done some kind of ritual sacrifice involving my eyelids.

Something had to be done. But not something crazy-expensive, but what?

Walgreens drugstore to the rescue. Turns out they have an enormous selection of false eyelashes and glues—from subtle to LashLady made of “faux mink” (whatever that is. I grew up in the country with neighbors who raised mink, and I saw very little resemblance.) I choose something middle of the road, and what looks like a durable glue.

Maybe my first mistake (besides doing this in the first place) was not watching the YouTube how-to videos. Instead, I forged ahead. Who needs how-to videos when you’ve got common sense?

Ummm… Forty-five minutes later, I’m sitting on my countertop in my bathroom (a place I’ve never once sat in eighteen years of owning the house), with little tiny balls of black glue all over my clothes, the countertop, the sink, an unlucky hand-towel, the floor. Some even ventured as far as the tub.

Plus, my top and bottom eyelashes are glued together. I can’t separate them. I’ll be blind. Forever. And I’m late to take my daughter to school.

At this point, what could I even do? I peeled them off, but now my eyelids were red and swollen—plus they still had the beetle-legs on them from the earlier stylist lashes. At which point I discovered that my natural lashes that had been quite nice were bare stubs.

Disgust at my vanity gave me some kind of adrenaline-fueled superpower, because I reapplied glue, reapplied the sticker-lashes, and stomped out of my bathroom, swollen eyelids and all.

And they didn’t look too bad. Other than the blobs of grey glue mushing them together in some areas.

Let’s just say that today, I’m wearing simple mascara on my formerly quite-nice lashes. They may grow back. Fingers crossed. Something about this feels like one of those fairy tales with an obvious moral. However, shouldn’t I come away from this wiser?

Probably, but the truth is, I’m going to buy another set of the faux mink lashes later today. This will not defeat me.

 

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