Posts tagged with: holiday anthology

Holidays and Reading – Quick Five!

It’s a busy time of year. For the US Banditas and BBs, you have Thanksgiving next week. For the rest of us, who don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, we edge ever closer to the big Christmas holiday!

I don’t about where you are, but the Christmas ads started appearing in late September and Christmas in the shops was around that time too! Now, I love Christmas, but really? It gets earlier and earlier every year and the sales even start before Christmas now! I went into one well-known shop and they were already playing Christmas music in September! I said to the check-out girl that she’d be sick of it by the time Christmas rolled around and she said she was already channeling Scrooge and ‘Bah, humbug’!

We’re traditionalists in the Sugden household and wait until December 1st to start decorating – though now that Doc Cambridge is retired, we do tend to get the decs up as soon after the 1st as possible. Also, we’re very strict about taking them down again before Twelfth Night — it’s considered bad luck to have them up after that — so I like to be able to enjoy the lights and baubles and Christmas spirit.

As for getting the presents, my friends and family fall into two camps – the ‘organised and have it all finished before the decorations even go up’ crew and ‘where can I buy that on Christmas Eve’ gang! As everyone has got older, it has become harder to find presents, so we’re definitely ‘buy it when you find it’ shoppers. We also try to be organised, because we have so many parcels that have to be posted overseas and the last posting dates are getting earlier and earlier! For our friends Down Under, it’s December 3rd! *gulp*

Tiny TreatsOne thing it’s never too early for is holiday reading! I can buy holiday reads all year round! This year, with writing A Perfect Party for Tiny Treats: A Holiday Collection, I went on a holiday read spending spree. I can see I’m going to have lots of nice reads for the next couple of months! Of course, I’m always on the look out for recommendations, so feel free to tell me about great holiday reads.

That said, the holidays are also a time when I get long periods where I can just sit and read – such a luxury! So I often save up books by my favourite authors to read then. Especially the ones I still by in hardback! They’re very rarely holiday themed, but I enjoy curling up in front of the fire and getting lost in their worlds. (Though since some of them are romantic suspense – not too lost!)

So, over to you

1. What kind of Christmas shopper are you? Are you a ‘buy it when you see it’ or a ‘last minute panicker’ or a ‘start on Black Friday and get it all done by Dec 1st’ or something else?

2. When do you put your decorations up? ASAP, after Thanksgiving, Dec 1st, as late as possible, Christmas Eve?

3. When you do start reading holiday stories? As soon as possible, any time, after Thanksgiving, after Dec 1st, just over the Christmas to New Year period?

4. Favourite all-time holiday read?

5. What are you looking forward to reading this holiday season? Any recommendations?

And don’t forget to download your copy of Tiny Treats – it’s FREE! Just click on the cover and it will take you through to Amazon.

 

A Holiday Anthology For Everyone!

I’m excited to host some old Romance Bandits friends here in the Lair. Some of you may recall a previous visit from the gorgeous Regan Black. Well, Regan is back with a great anthology she’s put together with three other fabulous writers! Joining Regan is my long-time friend Kimberly Hope, plus new friends V.R. Marks and Jay Keelan.

Guys, we adore anthologies here in the Lair and we also adore holiday stories. So a collection of holiday novellas is sure to delight Banditas and Buddies alike. What can you tell us about this promising collection?

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Thanks, Caren, for having us here today.  Our holiday anthology, A Season for Romance, started as a bright idea over the phone one day when we were steadfastly avoiding work and a thousand miles separated us all. “Oooh. We should write a holiday anthology of short stories. We have plenty of time!” Things went downhill from there, kind of like this:

 

Kimberly Hope: I’m writing a Christmas story.

 

Jay Keelan: I’m writing a Christmas story, too.

 

Regan Black: {blushing} My story’s YA.

 

VR Marks: Mine’s a Thanksgiving story. Don’t give me any grief. You know we men are all about the food.

 

Kimberly: I’m writing a contemporary reunion story.

 

Jay: I’m writing a contemporary reunion story, too.

 

Regan: Mine’s a contemporary story. With a paranormal angle.

 

VR: No reunion. Sorry. But it is contemporary.

 

Are you sensing a pattern here? This is what happens when you throw four independent authors into one mix. Contemporary. Paranormal. Suspense. Multiple holidays. Yeah, our cover artist loves us. But there’s something in A Season for Romance for everyone.

 

All of the stories are set in small town North or South Carolina. Except Snow Covered Resolutions by Regan Black. That’s set in the Midwest.

 

So as release time closed in, we searched for any common ground beyond ‘contemporary’ and started shooting random interview questions back and forth via email. Here are the highlights:

 

Which Disney character would you be?

Kimberly: Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty (unless someone knows where to find the Hunstman from Once Upon a Time… then I’ll be whoever he wants me to be).  :-)

 

Jay: Rapunzel, because I have a frying pan and I’m not afraid to use it.

 

Regan:  Mulan because she can kick butt like my daring, adventurous heroines.

 

VR: The Genie from Aladdin. (short answer wins!)

 

What kind of pets “help” you write?

 

Kimberly: My Doberman keeps me at the keyboard, sometimes she even lets me type.

 

Jay: Like Kimberly, my dog keeps my toes warm after she steals my slippers.

 

Regan: Our two greyhounds usually let me write while they’re napping.

 

VR: Two cats. {crickets chirp in the silence} But they’re manly, Maine Coon cats.

 

“Common ground” might be a pipe dream in this anthology. Clearly, we’re all a little whacked. But the one thing that ties all our short stories together is that they’re all about discovering what matters most about heart and home.

 

So, it’s the holiday season. While you’re playing ’12 Days of Christmas’ on your iPod, we’re playing Sesame Street’s ‘Which One of These Things Is Not Like the Others?’ As illustrated here:

 

Kimberly: In my first sassy contemporary romance, The Heiress and Her Fake Fiancé, Jessica’s Grandma Violet is the town matchmaker. In my Meddling with Mistletoe in the anthology, we see Violet’s first matchmaking attempt, involving Jessica’s parents and a wine cellar.

 Jay: In Finding the Focus, when Ethan Myers, an award-winning photographer who is short on inspiration, leaves his studio for the road, he never predicted he’d run into the one woman he had never forgotten.

 

VR: We meet Sheriff Cochran in my romantic suspense novel, The Thief, but we don’t learn exactly how he feels about Ruth Williams, the owner of the local diner, until her annual Thanksgiving feast in The Sheriff’s Proposal in the anthology.

Regan: In Snow-Covered Resolutions, it’s New Year’s Eve and all the Pixie Chicks from my previous YA novels have someone special to kiss at midnight – except Austin. In this season of resolutions will she stick to hers, or will the snow-covered magic of Hobbitville sweep her up in a whole new adventure?

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In addition to the short stories, Kimberly Hope and VR Marks have both added the first chapters of the first books in these series to the anthology. And in the spirit of the season, we’re giving away one copy of the anthology and one of each full-length novel: A Season for Romance, Kimberly Hope’s The Heiress and Her Fake Fiancé, and VR Marks’s The Thief.

To enter, all you have to do is post a comment telling us which Disney character you’d be and why! Okay, Banditas and Buddies, which one will it be? I’m off to do some animated movie watching…I mean, research…

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Be sure to come back to the Lair on December 13 when we kick off the annual 12 BANDITA DAYS OF CHRISTMAS! Prizes and recipes every day!! Roosters. Books. Starbucks goodies. Books. Dragons. Books. Cookies. Books. Godiva. You know you want the cookies, for sure, so come home to the Lair for the Holidays! Who knows, you might win something, and you’ll be guaranteed to have fun!! (Did we mention there might be books?)