Posted by Anna Sugden Nov 4 2016, 1:00 am in Anna Sugden, firefighter hero., Harlequin Superromance, Rachel Brimble, Story ideas, Story inspiration, Templeton Cove
I’m delighted to welcome back Lair favourite, fellow Brit and my lovely Supers sister, Rachel Brimble! Rachel is here in the Lair today to celebrate the launch of the sixth book in her wonderful Templeton Cove series — Saved by the Firefighter — which is out this week. Great to have you here, Rachel. Pull up a comfy seat, grab your favourite tipple and Lair hunk and let’s get to it! Talking about inspiration (as if the Lair hunks — that pesky Golden Rooster definitely not included — aren’t enough inspiration!), in case some of our friskier BBs thought I meant something else … yes, I know how your minds work!
Thanks, Anna! It’s great to be back with you all.
One of the most common questions asked of authors is, “Where do you find your ideas?”. I try to answer this as fully as I possibly can, but it is actually a hard question to which any writer can give a definitive answer.
Ideas are everywhere – whether it be your own experiences, other people’s experiences, the news, historical buildings, modern buildings, holidays, museums, bars, celebrities…but my favourite is TV shows.
How many times have you watched a show and thought “I wouldn’t have ended it that way” or “surely that character wouldn’t have reacted that way considering her or his past” or “what if something different had happened instead of that car crash/gift being delivered/conversation.”
All of these scenarios provide me with a premise/starting point from which I can build an entire story. A lot of romance writers start with their characters, but I usually start with a premise or ‘what if’ question. As a very visual writer, TV shows provide me with images that I can use to get the creative juices flowing. Sometimes, I will take aspects of one character and blend it with aspects of another. I have had aspiring writers ask me if using TV shows in this way is in some way cheating?
On this question, I can give a definitive answer…absolutely not!
If you attended a writing class where the tutor gave ten students a premise, a character or a setting and asked them to write a story around that information, the likelihood is the tutor would receive ten completely different stories.
The same is true of an aspect I take from a TV show – whatever my creation is, I can guarantee it will bear no resemblance to my original source. Character actions, character traits and characters’ backstories will take care of that. I am a mix of a plotter and a pantser and ultimately, my characters decide the route any story will take.
For my latest release, Saved by the Firefighter (Harlequin Superromance), the inspiration to write a firefighter story came from watching The Smoke back in 2014 and then episodes of Chicago Fire. The series showed me how diverse both the characters and plotlines can be when based around a group of male and female firefighters.
I wrote this book during a very deep grieving period over the loss of my beloved black Lab, Max. I had no clue how dark a place I would go after losing such a constant and loyal companion. At first, I couldn’t write and then it struck me that I could vent my sadness, my anger and grief through my characters. The fact I write romance and ultimately, the story would end with a happy ever after, gave me hope that by writing the book, I’d be on the right track to find a way through my own grief.
I’m happy to say my thought process worked!
For the dog lovers among you, Max is the black lab and Rachel’s new fur-baby, Tyler, is the chocolate lab.
Inspiration is everywhere, it’s just a case of looking for it and waiting for that spark of excitement that confirms you are on the right track.
So, tell me is there a story, show or movie for which you’d like to rewrite the ending?
Saved by the Firefighter
How can she forgive him for what he didn’t do?
Photographer Izzy Cooper feels as frozen as her pictures. Trent Palmer might be the hottest firefighter in Templeton Cove, but she can never face him again. Not after he failed to save her brother. But when they’re forced together by a calendar shoot, the sparks between them are undeniable.
Izzy knows it’s not fair to blame Trent for the tragedy, but opening herself up to loss again isn’t something she’s prepared to do, no matter how determined Trent is to show her that pain is part of life and that love—their love—can make any suffering bearable.
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01JFHYGQW
Amazon US: https://amzn.com/B01FQX473Q
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/saved-by-the-firefighter-rachel-brimble/1123750035?ean=9781488006906
Rachel lives with her husband and two teenage daughters in a small town near Bath in the UK. After having several novels published by small US presses, she secured agent representation in 2011. Since 2013, she has had six books published by Harlequin Superromance (Templeton Cove Stories) and recently signed a contract for two more. She also has four Victorian romances with eKensington/Lyrical Press.
She also recently signed with a UK agent so is represented both sides of the Atlantic.
Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and Romance Writers of America, and was selected to mentor the Superromance finalist of So You Think You Can Write 2014 contest. When she isn’t writing, you’ll find Rachel with her head in a book or walking the beautiful English countryside with her family. Her dream place to live is Bourton-on-the-Water in South West England.
She likes nothing more than connecting and chatting with her readers and fellow romance writers. Rachel would love to hear from you!
Facebook Street Team – Rachel’s Readers
Posted by Donna MacMeans Mar 22 2016, 11:40 pm in Anna Sugden, Charming the Professor, Death Under Glass, Jeanne Adams, Joan Kayse, RITA contest, Susan Sey, Suzanne Ferrell, Trish Milburn
Can you feel the anticipation?
This Friday, March 25th, Romance Writers of America will announce the finalists for the various RITA and Golden Heart categories. Every author on this blog knows how it feels to be a Golden Heart finalist (Ahhh…those were the days!) as it was through the Golden Heart contest that we all met. However, the RITAs, the peer-judged contest for published Romance, is a step above as the entire book is judged and the competition is fierce.
So that’s what I’d like to talk about today. The RITA contest and the quest for the golden statue on the left. How it all works and which of us are in the running this year. I’m scattering the bandita books entered throughout the post. Be sure to look for your favorites. If you click on the title, it should take you straight to Amazon for purchase 🙂 .
Everything starts in October of the preceding year. That’s when the entry process begins. Registration opens promptly at 9:00 am central time and there’s a mad crush to get one’s book entered. You see, the contest can only accomodate 2,000 entries. Everyone with a book that has a copyright date of 2015 is eligible to enter. This is the only opportunity to enter the RITA contest, as a 2015 book can’t be entered in a later year. Self-published titles as well as traditionally published titles are eligible to enter one of 11 different categories. Those are Short Contemporary Romance, Mid-length Contemporary Romance, Long Contemporary Romance, Erotic Romance, Historical Romance Long, Historical Romance Short, Inspirational Romance, Paranormal Romance, Romance novella, Romantic Suspense, and Young Adult Romance
This year, I’ve entered my New Orleans time-travel, Charming the Professor, in the Paranormal category. In the past, I’ve had books in the historical categories so this is a bit of a first for me.
The next step is to turn in five printed books (no ebooks are accepted) so that five published author judges can read the work. An author can not judge a book entered into a category they’ve entered themselves, so it’s possible that one is assigned a judge that is not a fan of your particular genre. Hopefully, the book is strong enough to win them over. A cone of silence surrounds the books one is assigned to read. A judge can’t divulge the titles or the authors so no one knows who is reading what.
Jeanne Adams entered her novella Death Under Glass in Capitol Danger. A connected series of novellas by banditas Suzanne Ferrell, Nancy Northcott and bandita friend JD Tyler.
Each of the five judges is allowed to give a score from 1.0 to 10.0 (with 10.0 being the highest). Currently, no guidelines are given on how to judge the works. Each judge makes up their own system, but, in general, if the book is excellent, it will receive all high scores. Currently, the top score and the lowest score are dropped, so only the three median scores count. In 2014, I about cried when my one 10.0 score was tossed out for The Whisky Laird’s Bed but as the top scores are tossed out on all books, the work must be excellant to more than one judge. In addition, each judge must answer two questions: Does the story contain a central love story? Is the resolution of the romance emotionally satisfying and optomistic? if the story receives three negatives responses to either question, the book is disqualified.
Taking a turn from her normal thrilling romantic suspense books, Suzanne Ferrell has entered Turner’s Vision in Long Historical.
The scores must be turned into RWA by Early March where they tabulate the scores. The top 4% become finalists. However, no category can have fewer than four finalists, and no category can have more than 10 finalists. That means that in the popular categories, those scores have to be super high, while there’s some leeway in the less popular categories. This pool of the top 4% make up the finalists that will be announced this Friday. Truly being a finalist is a distinct honor as being the best of the best, but this is not the end of the contest.
Trish Milburn has three books in this year’s RITAs. All are entered in Contemporary Romance- Short The Doctor’s Cowboy, Her Cowboy Groom, and The Heart of a Cowboy Those are some great looking cowboys!
Which is a good thing as a great cover is important in winning a judge’s favor.
After the finalists are announced, a panel of judges takes over. All the finalists books in a category are read and scored in ordinal order: 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. The books winning the 1st designation are a highly guarded secret and isn’t unveiled until the big ceremony in July.
Susan Sey has entered Time for Trouble in Long Contemporary. Love this cover as well 🙂
I’ll tell you all right here that my dream is to win the golden statue, but I’d really be content with the finalist’s flag. You see, at the Literacy Signing on the Wednesday before the official start of the July convention, this year in San Diego, all the finalist get a red flag. I’ve been lucky enough to sit by RITA finalist during the signing (Sarah MacLean, and Sally MacKenzie – lovely, lovely ladies) and the line of people wanting to purchase their books is always long. Being a RITA finalist is truly a distinct honor that follows you everywhere in your writing career.
Joan Kayse has entered her Irish Fantasy, Ruarc: Bound by Stone in the Paranormal category.
Finally, the Saturday night award ceremony arrives. There’s numerous parties before the actual ceremony. The ceremony offers the chance to dress up in sequins and glitter. The award presenters are often the winners from the previous year. Nora Roberts always presents the RITA statue to the winner of the Best First Book category. We’re talking major drum rolls while the presenter opens the envelope and announces THE WINNER IS…
Man, I hope it’s one of us. One really cool thing, as a member of the RWA board, I get to call the finalists and let them know that their book was chosen as one of top 4% of all the books entered in their category. Not a small feat, but an excellent feeling. Cross your fingers for us. Let’s not forget:
Anna Sugden has entered A Perfect Catch in Contemporary…but I’m not sure what length. Anna?
My question to you: If you were a RITA judge, what quality would you look for in a finalist?
Posted by Anna Sugden Feb 13 2016, 9:04 am in A Perfect Compromise, Anna Sugden, Bandita Booty, Nancy Northcott, New Jersey Ice Cats
Thank you so much to everyone who stopped by and joined in the fun with Nancy and me on my book launch day! We had a blast – hope you did too.
Without further ado, the cats have eaten their treats and chosen a winner for the signed copy of A Perfect Compromise …
Congratulations to Kate Sparks!
Please email me via my website or the mailroom here with your snail mail details and I will get your prize off to you.
Posted by Nancy Northcott Feb 4 2016, 12:34 am in A Perfect Bouquet, A Perfect Catch, A Perfect Compromise, A Perfect Disguise, A Perfect Distraction, A Perfect Lucky Charm, A Perfect Party, A Perfect Reunion, A Perfect Selection, A Perfect Storm, A Perfect Trade, Anna Sugden, hockey romance, NJ Ice Cats, Stanley Cup
Today is a big day in the Lair, Anna Sugden’s launch party for the next NJ Ice Cats romance, A Perfect Compromise! I’m delighted to help her kick it off. So grab some canapés from the table, give Sven your drink order, and get comfy while we chat about the Ice Cats and their newest couple.
Thanks, Nancy! Sven – mine’s an apple mojito. I can’t believe book 4 is already here. It’s seems like yesterday when we partied to celebrate the launch of the first Ice Cats book – A Perfect Distraction – and now here we are celebrating A Perfect Compromise.
How does A Perfect Compromise fit into the New Jersey Ice Cats series?
This is Jean Baptiste ‘JB’ Larocque’s book. He first appeared in A Perfect Distraction and his antics caused Jake a bit of trouble. As part of the deal for rescuing JB, Jake took the rookie under his wing. So JB is kind of like another brother in the Badoletti-Jelinek clan.
JB is the character that readers – and my editor – kept asking about. Of course, he had to do some growing up first, before he was allowed to get his happy ever after. And, the right woman had to come along. I always kind of knew the kind of heroine who would be perfect for JB, but it wasn’t until I finished Ike and Tracy’s book – A Perfect Catch – that Issy appeared in my head.
Please tell us a bit more about JB and Issy.
The thing with JB is that he’s like all young hotshot sports stars. He takes hockey seriously, but nothing else. In JB’s case, coming from a farming family where he had to be responsible from an early age, being talented at hockey gave him a chance to escape and be free. So, he doesn’t want commitment or responsibility. He wants to enjoy life and have fun, not be tied down.
Issy also had a tough childhood and grew up with a lot of responsibility on her shoulders. Unlike JB, her parents didn’t work hard and didn’t worry about paying the bills or putting food on the table for their kids. All they cared about was partying. So she was the sensible one. The one who carried the family’s burdens. Once she left home, she was determined that she would never be in that kind of insecure situation again. So she’s got a solid life plan, a good job, her own home and eventually she’ll find a nice, solid, dependable guy to settle down with and have a family.
Uh oh. That doesn’t sound like JB and Issy are a match made in heaven.
They’re not, for sure. The problem is that when they meet, in a Caribbean resort, they fancy the hell out of each other. And they kind of like each other. They recognise that hey don’t have a future, but decide to have a holiday fling. Which would have been okay, except for an unfortunate bout of food poisoning. Issy finds herself pregnant and that’s where the troubles really start.
Would you like to share an excerpt?
Sure. This is just before JB and Issy meet. Prior to this, they’ve only seen each other on the beach.
“You owe me, man, and I’m collecting.”
J.B. responded by clapping Taylor on the shoulder as they walked toward the flaming torches stuck in the sand. “Want tips on how to chat up that hot blonde you were drooling over earlier?”
“Funny.” Mad Dog punched him in the arm. “Good thing you make your living handling a puck, not doing stand-up.”
J.B.’s grin faded. “Yeah, well my puck skills aren’t so hot, either. We wouldn’t be here now if they were. We’d be riding around town in an open-topped, double-decker bus, showing off Stanley.”
“We agreed you wouldn’t beat yourself up over that while we’re on vacation.”
“Sure.” Plenty of time for reflection and self-recrimination once he was alone. He owed Mad Dog, and repayment meant ensuring his friend had a great trip. Especially given Taylor was just as cut up about the loss, even if he tried not to show it.
He cracked his knuckles. “What do you need from the master?”
“Use your charm on the hot blonde’s mousy friend. Keep her occupied so she won’t mind when her roommate disappears with me.”
Ordinarily, J.B. wouldn’t have minded the request. Women were the perfect antitdote to a life filled with way too much testosterone. And the brunette in the red bikini wasn’t exactly mousy, though her dark hair had been scraped back into a severe braid. She was pretty in a girl-next-door way and her curves were definitely in all the right places.
What had given him pause was the stiff way she’d held herself, her full lips pinched, while supposedly relaxing. “She seemed a little uptight.”
He’d learned the hard way to steer clear of uptight women. They were impossible to please. They took things way too seriously and saw hidden meanings in innocent words or actions, which led to unfortunate misunderstandings. Like the woman in the Atlanta nightclub who’d nearly derailed his NHL career. Frustrated he wouldn’t take advantage of her blatant offers—J.B. didn’t mess with married women—she’d turned the tables and accused him of coming on to her. It was only thanks to Taylor, Jake and his other teammates that J.B. had come through the crazy situation relatively unscathed.
Still he’d chalked that up to experience. It had taken a female stalker, then a woman who’d lied about him fathering her child, for J.B. to decide uptight women were trouble.
Taylor winced, understanding in his gray eyes. “Maybe she was jealous that I waved at her friend. Women fight over me all the time.”
J.B. snorted with laughter. “In your dreams, bro.”
“Who got the highest bid in the Ice Cats’ charity bachelor auction?”
“Yeah, yeah. Shame the winning bidder was your mother’s age.”
“Gilda was a sexy, mature lady with a great body, a lot of experience and an insatiable appetite.”
“Glad to hear she got her money’s worth.”
Mad Dog swore. “Will you help me out or not? We’re only here for a few days and you’ll never see her again.”
J.B. hesitated as they reached the torches. The women were standing by one of the tables closest to the shoreline. Taylor’s blonde looked stunning in an ice-blue sheath that dipped low and clung to her body before ending mid-thigh. But it was her friend that fired J.B.’s blood. She wore a strappy knee-length red dress. Her dark hair was loose, the slight curl at the ends dancing over her bare shoulders as she laughed.
“She’s not looking mousy or uptight now,” Mad Dog said. “Pay your dues, man.”
J.B.’s reluctance vanished. He strode forward. “You got it.”
What inspired you to write this particular book?
Aside from having a rather large soft spot for JB (but don’t tell him!), I wanted to write a story which showed that love requires work and compromise. JB was the perfect character to be at the centre of that story because hockey came very easily to him and failure is tough to swallow.
I also wanted to show another kind of strong woman who is a survivor. That seems to be my theme for heroines. Issy has already faced many challenges in her life. Just when she thinks she’s got everything organised the way she wants it, fate throws a spanner (or wrench) in the works. So she has to be strong once again and make some difficult decisions.
Ah. Spanner/wrench. One of your Two Nations Divided! How did you come up with the idea for that feature on your Facebook page and website?
Although I’m English and now live back here, I’ve spent a major chunk of my life in the US. Whichever side of the Atlantic I’m on, I tend to make mistakes and use the wrong word! So, when I was looking for a fun feature for my website and FB page, that came naturally. I’m always surprised by how many people follow Two Nations Divided – it’s associated with me almost as much as shoes, penguins and black cats! Oh and hockey *g*
How did you become interested in hockey?
I’ve always been a sports fan. I used to watch football (soccer) and other sports with my Dad and have always dated men who are into sports. Funnily enough, when we lived in DC, although I skated, I didn’t follow hockey. My first experience of hockey was years ago, when there was an exhibition game over in England, sponsored by Molson, where the Blackhawks played the Canadiens. I was able to go and watch and loved it. Fast forward to when we moved to New Jersey, back in late 2002, and Doc Cambridge asked if I’d like to go to a hockey game. We went to see the New Jersey Devils for the first time and were hooked. We got season tickets straight away. That was the season the Devils won the Stanley Cup and we were there! (that’s me with my boy, Stanley!) I’ve been a tad obsessed ever since.
Just how big a hockey fanatic are you?
Huge. As Cassondra and Donna will tell you, I get the scores sent to my phone! I read hockey news before I read other news. And I watch whenever I can (although the time difference is a killer). Not just my Devils either – I’ll watch whoever is playing and will watch European and English Leagues too. I might have a teensy obsession with hockey memorabilia too. You’ve seen my office, so you know I have the odd item on the walls!
The only think I don’t do anymore is read hockey romances. I stopped as soon as I sold because I didn’t want to ever be accused of plagiarising. So I have a stack waiting for me, when I finish writing the Ice Cats! In the meantime, I read other sports romances, though.
What’s next for you and the Ice Cats?
I am currently working on book 5 – tentatively titled, A Perfect Plan. It features recently retired Ice Cats captain, Scot ‘Scotty’ Matthews and Issy’s best friend Sapphie, from A Perfect Compromise.
I’m also finishing up a Valentine’s short story to give away on my website, called A Perfect Bouquet. This one features back-up goaltender Chaz ‘Monty’ Montgomery and a florist called Kayla, who doesn’t find red roses romantic. I hope to have an anthology of all the Ice Cats short stories available for sale in March, so keep your eye out for A Perfect Selection!
You can find more information about Anna and her books on her website. You can also connect with her on social media this way: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest
For a chance to win a signed copy of A Perfect Compromise, please comment below and tell us: Is there a sport you enjoy? If not, what do you like to do instead?
Posted by Nancy Northcott Feb 1 2016, 12:32 am in A Perfect Compromise, Anna Sugden, Nancy Northcott, New Jersey Ice Cats
This is Valentine’s month, so we’re celebrating!
This is what we have planned:
On February 4th, Nancy and Anna Sugden get together to talk about the latest release in Anna’s award-winning New Jersey Ice Cats series.
February 14 will be our Valentine’s Day Bash with assorted banditas
On February 26, Nancy Northcott blogs about guilty pleasures. Join her and share yours!
What’s your favorite thing about February?
Posted by Susan Sey Jan 2 2016, 12:21 am in Anna Sugden, Donna MacMeans, New Jersey Ice Cats, Scotland Christmas Reunion, The Moor's Tear
Thanks to all that participated in the Romance Bandits 12 Days of Christmas…
On the 1st Day of Christmas SUSAN SEY gave away a Kindle copy of the Blake Brothers Boxed Set TROUBLE and a bag of Crapola Granola to SHANNON! Email Susan at firstname.lastname@example.org to claim your prize!
On the 2nd Day of Christmas SUZANNE FERRELL gave away an ebook copy of Close To Christmas and an ornament to JANE and COLLEEN C! Email Suzanne at email@example.com to claim your prize!!
On the 3rd Day of Christmas, CAREN CRANE gave away a copy of the anthology FORGET ME NOT to BRENDA RUMSEY! Email Caren at CarenCrane@gmail.com to claim your prize!
On the FOURTH day – AKA the FUDGE FIGHT between Cassondra and Jeanne – the winner is KATE SPARKS! (Please message Jeanne on FB within 30 days to claim your prize!)
On the FIFTH day – AKA – GRAVY WARS – the winner is Louisa Cornell – I have your email, so I’ll email YOU!! Congrats, ladies!!
On the 6th Day of Christmas TRISH MILBURN gave away a surprise pack, and it goes to…MARY PRESTON! Congrats!
Send me your mailing info either through the Lair mailroom or message me privately on Facebook
On the 7th Day of Christmas JO ROBERTSON awarded every commenter a free e-book of WITHOUT MALICE. I think everyone responded and got her claimed her copy. Thanks for participating!
On the 9th Day of Christmas, ANNA SUGDEN gave away a New Jersey Ice Cats ornament and a set of signed, limited edition, NJ Ice Cats short stories to … KI and to PISSENLIT! To apologise for not making it to the blog (due to bad weather, bad traffic and a bad migraine) she will also give away a free signed, limited edition copy of A Perfect Storm to any of the BBs who commented on her day. All winners, please email your snail mail details to Anna via her website or the Lair mailroom.
On the 10th Day of Christmas DONNA MACMEANS gave away a Mardi Gras mask ornament, a digital copy of THE MOOR’S TEAR, and a digital copy of SCOTLAND CHRISTMAS REUNION to…. BARB HEINTZ! Barb, please email your contact information to DMacWeb@wowway.com to claim your prize!
On the 12th Day of Christmas, NANCY NORTHCOTT gave a dragon ornament to…GAMISTRESS66! Please email Nancy via her website, nancy northcott dot com (no spaces) by January 8 to claim your prize.
The GRAND PRIZE Winner is SANDYG265. Sandy, everyone will mail separately, but if you’ll email contact info to Nancy per the listing for the 12th day, she’ll get it to everyone.
Congrats to all the winners, and thanks to everyone who joined in our celebration!
Hope you all had fun. I know we did. Jeanne and Cassondra will announce their winners a little later, but they will be announced 🙂
Wishing everyone a very happy New Year!
Posted by Anna Sugden Dec 22 2015, 1:41 am in A Perfect Party, A Perfect Storm, Anna Sugden, Christmas videos, cookies, hockey, Holidays, New Jersey Ice Cats, NHL, quick five, shortbread cookies
9 delicious hockey hunks!
I could just stop there, couldn’t I? 9 delicious hockey hunks … yum! We could all enjoy them. Who needs anything more?
See you all after Christmas 😉
Okay, as I’m getting dirty looks from Sven, who wants a proper Christmas post in the Lair, I suppose I’d better do this properly. Jeez – just because Zach and the other hockey hunks pilfered one or two (or several) of Sven’s stash of festive bubbly after their latest win …
It’s great to be released from my writing cave, so I can spend time with you all. Missed you! In honour of the occasion I thought I’d give you some festive cheer in the form of some hockey teams showing us how to celebrate Christmas, followed by a special Christmas Quick Five.
First up, the Belfast Giants and All I Want for Christmas is You …
Next up, the Sheffield Steelers took a different approach to a favourite English Christmas tune, Merry Christmas, Everyone …
Moving over to the NHL, the defending Stanley Cup champs have released a holiday album you won’t want to miss!
Heading north of the border, we have the Ottawa Senators’ rendition of the 12 Days of Christmas …
Ottawa Senators 12 Days of Christmas
Unfortunately, the Calgary Flames didn’t fare so well …
Calgary Flames Ugly Christmas Sweaters
And finally, that Christmas classic, The Night Before Christmas, from the Dallas Stars …
Dallas Stars The Night Before Christmas
As you might imagine, not all goes smoothly filming these videos …
St Louis Blues Outtakes
(I’m sorry the last four were only available on the NHL console.)
All of which goes to show that just because these guys are hot on ice, they can’t be good at everything! 😉
And now, over to you for a Festive Quick Five. In honour of the season, I’m giving away a New Jersey Ice Cats Christmas Ornament and a complete set of my limited edition, Ice Cats’ short stories to one lucky commenter. Don’t forget, you still have a few days to download A Perfect Storm, my FREE December Ice Cats’ short story, on my website in the For Readers section here.
- Christmas sweaters – yes or no?
- Are you a fancy wrapper, with bows, ribbons and all the bells and whistles or a toss it in a gift-bagger?
- Worst Christmas present?
- Favourite Christmas ornament?
- What would you like Santa to bring you?
Oh, I nearly forgot … a Christmas cookie recipe. This is for Lizzie’s Sweet Treats Shortbread Cookies. Lizzie appears in the NJ Ice Cats short story, A Perfect Party (which is still available for download on my website, in the For Readers section here).
Ingredients: (approx 12 cookies)
150g self-raising flour
150g salted butter
50g golden caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence (optional)
Cadbury’s Chocolate Buttons or any chocolate pieces (optional)
Cling-film or plastic wrap.
Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F
- Add flour, sugar and butter (plus vanilla) to food processor or mixer and pulse until mixture is like wet sand.
- Lay out a large piece of cling-film on the counter and pour the mixture onto it.
- Using the cling-film to help keep the mixture together, press and roll, until you have a long, solid roll of dough, wrapped in plastic.
- Store in refrigerator for an hour.
- Slice dough into ¼” or ½” rounds and put onto a well-greased or sheet-lined baking tray.
- Cook for approx 15 mins. Note: timing depends on how thickly you cut the rounds.
- When cooked, use a spatula to slide onto a wire rack. Note: the cookies will be very soft when warm, so if they’re too fragile, it’s okay to let them cool on the tray for a few minutes to let them harden a little.
- (Optional) While cookies are cooling, add chocolate button to the centre of each cookie.
Note: If you don’t use metric measures, keep the flour, butter and sugar in the ratio of 3:3:1 (eg 6oz, 6oz, 2oz)
However you celebrate the festive season, I hope it is a happy, healthy and fun one for you and yours and that 2016 is a great year.
Posted by Donna MacMeans Nov 16 2015, 10:00 pm in Anna Campbell, Anna Sugden, Donna MacMeans, Susan Gee Heino
Hi all –
Thanks for sharing the Christmas joy via our Christmas novellas and short story posts. We have winners!!!
Ninfa – wins a copy of Scotland Christmas Reunion offered by moi, Donna MacMeans (www.DonnaMacMeans.com)
Saralee – wins a copy of A Pirate for Christmas offered by Anna Campbell (www.annacampbell.info)
Laney4 – wins a copy of Yuletide Lies offered by Susan Heino (www.susangh.com)
Charlene – wins the A Perfect Party and A Lucky Charm offered by Anna Sugden (www.AnnaSugden.com)
Please use the websites listed to send your contact information to the appropriate author.
Hope you all have a fabulous holiday season this year!
Posted by Donna MacMeans Nov 11 2015, 12:15 am in Anna Campell, Anna Sugden, Caren Crane, Christmas novellas, Donna MacMeans, Nancy Northcott, Saralee Etter, Short Stories, Susan Gee Heino, Suzanne Ferrell, Tawny Weber, Trish Milburn
Snow may not be falling where you live, but Christmas is just around the corner, as they say. Whether you’re buying books as gifts, or just looking for something seasonal to read curled up on the couch, here’s a number of fantastic Christmas books, novellas, and short stories to put you in the holiday spirit. I hope you can find something to your liking.
Widow Edith MacPherson faces a lonely Christmas in isolated Scotland at a time when the holiday wasn’t celebrated with glitz and glamour. She misses the comaraderie of her friends and festivities in London. However, when an acquaintance from her youth lands on her son’s doorstep, he awakens feelings that she thought she’d buried long in the past. A copy of Scotland Christmas Reunion will go to someone leaving a comment!
(Short story) Scotland Christmas Reunion
A Day of Thanksgiving? (note: This short story will only be available in November. Don’t miss this opportunity!)
When Ice Cats’ defenseman, Troy Davidson, sees his ex-fiancé at his parents’ Thanksgiving party, he’s determined to make things right. He screwed up five years ago, when he ditched their engagement party to elope with a movie star. Now divorced, he realises he’s only ever loved one woman. Charlotte Daniels claims she’s forgiven Troy. But can she trust him enough to take another chance on him and love?
(Short story) http://www.annasugden.com/extras/readers/
Snowbound! (This short story will not be available until December, but watch Anna’s website (above) for details 🙂 )
When Ice Cats’ forward, Vladimir ‘Vlad’ Ralinkov, gets caught in a snowstorm, on his way back from a game, he seeks refuge in his favourite diner. Could this be the opportunity he’s been waiting for to heat things up with lovely diner owner, Poppy Lambert, or will she leave him out in the cold?
A signed, limited edition of the first two short stories, A Perfect Party and A Perfect Lucky Charm will go to someone leaving a comment!
From Bandita friend Saralee Etter: Dutiful, practical Lydia Potts knew that her father, a wealthy commoner, planned to announce her engagement to a nobleman at their Christmas house party. But she didn’t expect her prospective fiancé to be in love with another woman!
Anthony wasn’t usually so reckless but something about the unknown lady’s sweet manner and big pansy-brown eyes made him want to share a bit of juicy gossip with her. Everybody knew Lord Danville needed to marry an heiress to save his family from financial ruin, but nobody but Anthony would mention it to the heiress herself.
To fix the mess he’s created, Anthony must woo Lydia on his noble friend’s behalf—and Lydia will have to decide between duty and desire.
This story features some characters also seen in A Limited Engagement, another Regency romance by Saralee Etter. This is a sweet romance (kisses only, no sexual content).
(Novella) Lydia’s Christmas Charade
Pursued by the pirate…
Bess Farrar might be an innocent village miss, but she knows enough about the world to doubt Lord Channing’s motives when he kisses her the very day they meet. After all, local gossip insists that before this dashing rake became an earl, he sailed the Seven Seas as a ruthless pirate.
Bewitched by the vicar’s daughter…
Until he unexpectedly inherits a title, staunchly honorable Scotsman Rory Beaton has devoted his adventurous life to the Royal Navy. But he sets his course for tempestuous new waters when he meets lovely, sparkling Bess Farrar. Now this daring mariner will do whatever it takes to convince the spirited lassie to launch herself into his arms and set sail into the sunset.
A Christmas marked by mayhem.
Wooing his vivacious lady, the new Earl of Channing finds himself embroiled with matchmaking villagers, an eccentric vicar, mistaken identities, a snowstorm, scandal, and a rascally donkey. Life at sea was never this exciting. The gallant naval captain’s first landlocked Christmas promises hijinks, danger, and passion – and a breathtaking chance to win the love of a lifetime.
Anna is offering a kindle copy of A Pirate for Christmas to someone leaving a comment!
(Novella) A Pirate For Christmas
When Aimee Brandon flees from a cult’s compound into a freezing Wyoming winter, she knows she has to survive and find help in order to save her mother and protect innocents from the cult’s plans. When she collapses on the cabin steps of former CIA agent Gideon Oakes, her plans are put on hold as Gideon nurses her back to health and they wait out a wave of snowstorms. The last thing Gideon wants is to return to the outside world, the one in which his mistakes cost lives. But if he doesn’t get Aimee to the authorities, he might be responsible for even more deaths. What neither of them expects is to fall for each other in such a short amount of time, but there’s no arguing with the truth. This man who wants to hide from the world and the woman who has to return to it, find love in the least-expected place at the least-expected time.
(Novella) Safe In His Arms
Close To The Mistletoe is part of a 19 e-book bundle releasing on November 17th for $0.99. It’s the fifth installment in Suzanne Ferrell‘s popular small town Westen series and will be published as a stand-alone title in December.
When teacher Holly Murphy walks into Westen’s only bar to help her friend celebrate a divorce, she doesn’t expect hot carpenter Nick Fisher to save her from an embarrassing situation. His heated kisses awaken something deep inside her, but when someone sets his sights on Holly, will Nick be the one to protect her close to the mistletoe?
(Boxed set) Mischief Under the Mistletoe
From NYT Bestseller Tawny Weber, A SEAL’s Proposal
Being the best means making sacrifices, but do vows made at 16 hold true at 24?
Duty First, Duty Only…
As a teenaged Sea Cadet, Sam Morelli joined the elite club his brother formed with other teens, focused on a single goal: to become Navy SEALs. Membership required a vow that once he became a SEAL, the team would be his only commitment. Distractions like relationships or dependents would be forbidden. Eight years later, on the cusp of achieving his goal, Sam has forgotten that vow. But Bryanna Spencer hasn’t.
Sugar, shoes, and a sexy SEAL…
Numbers whiz Bryanna Spencer loves chocolate, designer shoes, and Sam Morelli. She’s always dreamed of one thing: being Sam’s wife. Raised in a Navy family, she knows the rules: to be a great SEAL, a man can’t have a woman weighing down his thoughts. Bryanna’s been nibbling on sweet, sexy, better-than-chocolate-covered-caramel Sam for four years, but Sam’s dream of being a SEAL has been with him longer. His dream is her nightmare.
Some vows are made to be broken…
With Sam home on leave for Christmas, Bryanna has one last chance to prove to Sam that he wants her more than he wants his SEAL Trident. But time is running out. Once he finishes the last phase of his training, she may lose him forever. But Sam may have different kind of vow in mind…
(Novel) A SEAL’s Proposal
From Bandita Buddy Susan Gee Heino: Yuletide Lies–A Regency Christmas Novel
Amid mistletoe, mystery, and a motley menagerie, the greatest gift this Christmas is love.
Cassandra Loring awakes from a nightmare to find herself in a mysterious castle, tended by a host who thinks she’s someone she’s not. Lord Braden has secrets to hide and is willing to do just about anything to save his crumbling estate—including marry an heiress he’s only just met. As their Christmas Eve wedding approaches, will deception bring ruin, or will truth rescue them both?
(Novel) Yuletide Lies
Susan will give one person leaving a comment a copy of Yuletide Lies!
Another boxed set! This is from the Bluestocking Belles. You may recall their blog on Monday. All proceeds go to The Malala Fund to ensure every girl has access to 12 years of free, safe, quality primary and secondary education.
(Boxed set) Mistletoe, Marriage & Mayhem
Here’s a boxed set that, while not Christmas themed, is inspired by the Christmas spirit of giving in that the proceeds go to prevent Alzheimer’s and support brain health research!
Caren Crane is participating in an anthology of ten short stories by ten different authors, all set in the world of Tammy Falkner’s Reed Brothers’ tattoo shop. The authors are donating 100% of the proceeds to benefit Alzheimer’s and brain health. Join Tammy Falkner, Jane Charles, Ava Stone, Marquita Valentine, Lexi Eddings, Lj Charles, Andris Bear, Caren Crane, Jerrica Knight-Catania and Diane Franks to help combat this terrible disease!
Caren’s story in the anthology is Lakewood Confidential: Tondra is struggling for attention on the New York art scene when a chance to ink notorious hip-hop legend Lakewood lands in her desperate hands. The reclusive rapper shares a part of his history he’s never told anyone, forcing Tondra to choose between ensuring her own success and safeguarding Lakewood’s secrets. This story is a prequel to Caren’s fourth, as-yet-untitled Cross Springs novel.
Available for pre-sale now and live on Thanksgiving Day!
(Anthology) Forget Me Not
Magic & Mistletoe, Nancy Northcott‘s Light Mage Wars holiday story, asks whether a bookworm and a badass can find love. It will be out in late November.
Peri Lee grew up in a dangerous neighborhood, worrying each day that her loved ones might not make it home. Now a mage teacher, she loves her quiet, bookish life. Deputy Shire Reeve Roland Wade is a good guy but not much of a reader, not the type he figures Peri needs. Especially since his linebacker build, broken nose, and badass attitude remind her of the thugs who haunted her childhood. As though that weren’t enough, his job puts his life on the line daily. Will Peri’s fears doom their chance for a relationship, or will they find their own special magic under the mistletoe?
And just in case you missed it last year…Tiny Treats!
Extremely short vignettes from several of the Romance Bandits and others – all for the affordable price of FREE!
(Anthology) Tiny Treats
So there you have it. Holiday stories to take you through Thanksgiving, Christmas, the holiday season and well beyond!
Which one of the above would you like to find under your tree (or in your Kindle 🙂 ) The prizes noted above will go to someone leaving a comment!
Posted by Jeanne Adams Apr 30 2015, 12:08 am in Anna Campbell, Anna Sugden, Australia, Books I Love A Latte, Caren Crane, Cassondra Murray, Dan Churchill, Donna MacMeans, Jeanne Adams, Rae Latte, Tawny Weber
Hey gals and guys!
It sure is quiet around here with all the Banditas busily writing away! Sven is NOT happy with us, but the staff has taken several much needed vacations. You know, we kept them hopping around here all the time. No one’s had a vacay in what….nearly 8 years! Grins.
So, anyway, I wanted to let you in on a little secret. Remember how we used to have Author Invasions, back in the early days? Some of you will remember us invading the Good Ship Revenge, RomanceNovelTV and many more!
Well there’s another invasion today. A goodly number of the Bandits, along with some other wonderful NYTimes, USA Today (TAWNY! SQUEEEE!), and Amazon Bestselling authors are invading the www.BooksILoveALatte.wordpress.com blog. Rae Latte has been gracious enough to host many of the Bandits, and today is no exception.
The FUN, FUN, FUN part, however, is that there’s a really sexy man involved. He’s from Austrailia and his name is Dan Churchill. www.DanielChurchill.com.au He’s the #FoodDude He believes that #RealMenCook
Well, ’round here, as you know, WE believe that #SexyHeroesCook. So a bunch of us invaded Rae Latte’s blog and brought our Heroes (and Heroines!) over to prove that Dude Food is cool. That’s the title of Dan’s Cookbook… Dude Food, A Guy’s Guide to Cookin Kick-Ass Food.
This cookbook is one I really like. Not only do the recipes sound awesome, but the pictures are GREAT! (Snork!) I’m buying it for Hubby for Father’s Day. It’s so simple – but good – that any Dude could do the recipes. Grins.
So if you’ve got a moment and you want a bit of a tantalizing taste of my next book, DEAD RECKONING, and Cassondra’s hero from HONEY BEND, and one of Tawny’s heroes, and Donna’s and Caren’s, heroes from Anna S’s NJ Ice Cats, one of Anna C’s heroes…you get the idea.
If you’re tantalized by #SexyHeroesCook then pop over to Rae’s blog beginning at 9 in the morning and going til 9 at night.
Other authors featured include some fab authors, some of whom have been our Lair guests – Natalie Damshroeder, Sandra Lake, Jade Lee, Barbara Devlin, and more.
You’ll be glad you checked it out…I’ll be on at 11 am Eastern!!
See you again, HERE, on the 8th May!!