Saturday, December 31, 2011

OUT WITH THE OLD...

The past year has become a blur, the time lost in frenetic activity. It is rare that I take any time these day for reflection, always instead pushing forward, forging on, but at this time a year ago, I made a truly terrifying and  life-changing decision. One resulting in the abandonment of a twenty year career and a cross country move (my second in two years).

Backtrack to 2008— A train wreck year of a year culminating in the loss of two beloved dogs,  the tragic accident and euthanasia of my horse, my father’s late diagnosis and death of lung cancer, and lastly the loss of  my livelihood. My layoff,  a huge shock was followed by eight months of unemployment with no prospects in sight. I know there are many people reading this who acutely understand this wrenching setback in one’s life.  

With real estate plummeting and fear of home foreclosure looming, I sought employment where it could be found — 1,000 miles away in Texas,  a temporary solution to an immediate need (so I thought.)  A year passed. Our home didn’t sell. My sons joined me. My husband did not. Our marriage was strained.
Fast forward to November 2010 —  Our house finally sold but no job for hubby in Texas. After living apart for almost 18 months we were facing the very real prospect of divorce. My second book was finished. I now had two more started. It was time to take a leap of faith. A stupid move in this economy? Perhaps.
I resigned from the job to reconcile my family and pursue writing full time. We tightened our belts several notches and have survived the year.
December 2011 — I’ve had two new releases in as many months, FORTUNE’S SON as Emery Lee and an erotic historical novella, A BREACH OF PROMISE written under a new pseudonym Victoria Vane. As of this week I have six more writing projects in various stages of development, four of which are out on submission. I am no longer discouraged. After forty seven years I have finally discovered myself.
I am a writer.
Writers struggle. Writers sweat. Writers push forward undaunted by rejections, forge ahead heedless of critics. It’s what we are. It’s who we are. We write because we must.
Wishing you all health, wealth, and infinite blessings in the year ahead.
Emery

Friday, December 30, 2011

SETTING THE BAR by Anne Elizabeth

As the holiday season draws to a close and the New Year is about to begin, I’d like to share my version of a very common practice – the Resolution List.  In our home, the Navy values of “honor, courage, and commitment” are key forces.  Since we are like most couples – both of us work, we have a lot of family, and scheduling is tight – we try to implement organization when and where it is practical.

Here’s my process: I sit down with a blank piece of paper and pencil to write out my greatest hopes and dreams for the coming year.

"Non Sibi Sed Patriae!" (Not for self, but country) ~ a US Navy Motto


Step One: For country and state: This is usually my loftiest goal area, and yet, somehow it ends up being one of the more successful realms.  Some of the items on my list may be small such as writing more letters and others may be larger such as helping more wounded warriors and disabled veterans to feel at home or settled in our area.  Whatever the aspiration, hope, or desire, I make sure it is on the page. 
 
 
I’ve learned that visualization is a strong part of succeeding.  If you can imagine it then the steps of how to make it work can usually fall into place.  If they prefer a different approach, there are a lot of people who can help you get involved with the veteran community, to aid our warriors as they come home.  Remember, every gift of time, energy, or money makes an enormous difference.  Kindness and love are the greatest presents of all!


Individuals play the game, but teams beat the odds. ~US Navy Seals 
 

Step Two:  For family: I usually begin with little items such as organizing the downstairs closets and coat areas then I move to clearing clutter.  From there, I consider tackling the piles in the office, the junk in the garage, and finally weeding out the closets.  Donations are usually sent to military families in need, a local church, or the salvation army.  When I look over the list and begin to feel overwhelmed, my husband reminds me of the above quote.  That together, we can do the tasks faster and more efficiently.  We are a Team.  So, make a good plan of attack and then get to work. 

"Can Do" "Construimus, Batuimus" (We Build, We Fight) ~
US Navy SeaBees motto


Step Three:  For me:  Afterward, I close my eyes and think about what I want to change in my own life.  What can I do to make my life easier or better?  Oftentimes, it starts with more sleep, more exercise, better diet, and more free time to spend with family and friends.  Knowing where to start is the first step.  Here’s my solution, I write a daily schedule providing the life changes I need such as a little extra sleep or relaxation time.  Then I write out the menu plan for the week, which forces my food budget to stay in line.  Lastly, I plan a day for family and friends.  It might not be every week, since I am a wife, a monthly columnist, a comic book writer, a romance author, and an organizer for several conferences and workshops.  But, I stick to my priorities. 


"The only easy day was yesterday!" US Navy SEALS motto


At the end of the process, I have a clear picture of what I’d like to achieve in the coming year.  I also allow myself to realize that some of the items on my list might fall short, but when a plan is made it is a full step closer to being achieved.  It all starts with your willingness to be brave.  To courageously step into the space of hopes, dreams, and desires -- to write them all down -- and see what a plan can do.
You are the key to your destiny!  It all begins with you.  And, when you need a little inspiration just remember you’re not alone.  There is a curly-haired wife of a retired Navy SEAL who is ‘on the go’ with you.  Hooyah!  Have a HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!





Thursday, December 29, 2011

So here comes the New Year....



So here comes the New Year….

Wow…where is time going? I remember when I was a kid, that space between weekends seemed soooo long and now, I discover myself looking around on Thursday, just hoping to catch a glimpse of Wednesday because I had a lot more stuff to get done!
Well for me, the New Year brings me the chance to look ahead and think about how I want to spend the next year. I always take a moment to look at my books, both contracted and the ones lurking in my mind that desperately want out! I’m just finishing up the last release for 2012. Yes, that’s how far in advance books get turned in for us writers. There is a great deal to do after we turn it in and I’ll get to polish my babies throughout the year before they ever reach the book shelf.
So 2012 will see, The Highlander’s Prize, A Lady can never be too Curious and The Trouble With Highlanders coming out. A Lady can Never be too Curious was my first Steam Punk and it was neat to challenge myself with world building once more. So now, I’m looking ahead to writing the follow up books. After that? Humm…this is where all those books inside my mind start waving their hands around like a class of first graders…me…me…me!
Writing isn’t the only thing I plan out. One of my goals this year is to ride my bike down to the ocean and back. For me that’s about 30 miles each way. When I was a kid, I’d just jump on my bike and take off without a care…over the last month, I realized I’ve buried that wild spirit in a mountain of maturity and responsible behavior. What if the kids need us…okay, both kids are taller than me and we have cell phones…So, I’m digging out, at least in one small way. My husband and I are going to train for our expedition and then…DO IT!
No New Year’s list would be complete without a mental goal either. I’ve got a lot of blessing in my life and I’m considering ways to share some of that bliss with others.
So whatever your own plan for the New Year…make them grand! I’m going to try and post a picture of me on my bike, if I fail, you can see it on my FaceBook page. I’d love to hear what everyone has planned for the year.
Cheers!
Mary Wine
MaryWine.com

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas in Australia

I’m writing this before Christmas so by the time you read this the presents will have been opened, lunch cooked and a few glasses of wine drunk—the family gathering is at my house this year so I will be needing a chilled glass of SSB before the day is out.

I live in Western Australia so Christmas is probably going to be about 40 degrees Centigrade, which google tells me is 104 Fahrenheit. I’m wilting just thinking about it. Plus with my fair skin I burn in about 10 mins.

While there will be turkey on the table, it won’t be served with hot sides, but there’ll be plenty of salads and some prawns on the BBQ. Because some members of my family won’t eat dried fruit I don’t do a Christmas pudding; I’ll be doing raspberry and lemon cheesecake, and spice shortbread instead.

I’m sure by the time this posts we’ll have finished the leftovers :).

The best part of Christmas in Australia is that the school holidays last for 7 weeks and more time at home with the kids and less time in the office is always a good thing.  

May your holiday be filled with good books and good friends!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Merry Christmas from Boston!

from Mia Marlowe...
The holiday is over. The tree looks naked without any presents under it. Everyone is tired of left-over turkey. The DH is headed back to work. We just put our oldest daughter on a plane this morning. I'm sad that Christmas is over and we only have several months of cold weather to look forward to. But we had a lovely Christmas here and hope you did too. Here are a couple pics I snapped on Christmas Eve at Boston Commons.

I was delighted to see that the decorations on Boston Commons included a menorah and this lovely creche. Evidently the PC Christmas police didn't make it to Boston this year. If our strength is in diversity, let's celebrate it and name things as they are. When I lived in Park City, UT, I learned that the predominantly Mormon population there celebrates July 24th (the day Brigham Young said, "This is the place.") with as much fervor as my family had always celebrated July 4th. When someone wished me a Happy July 24th, I thanked them and accepted the wishes in the spirit in which they were meant.

Since I believe words mean things, I wish people "Merry Christmas." If someone wishes me a Happy Hanukkah or a Happy July 24th, I know they simply mean me well and am not the least offended. So please accept my hearty Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I wish you all the best in 2012! What is your favorite holiday memory from this year's celebration?

_____________________

If Santa didn't leave a KINDLE in your stocking, don't despair. Pop over to my website and enter my new contest in celebration of the release of SINS OF THE HIGHLANDER. The grand prize is a new KINDLE and the random drawing will be held on January 31st. No purchase required, of course! 




Monday, December 26, 2011

Happy Day After Christmas! by Tracey Devlyn

Welcome to the morning after! If you celebrate the holidays, I hope you had a happy and safe gathering with your family, friends, four-legged BFF, or favorite movie.

The Devlyn household enjoyed a low-key holiday this year. Christmas Eve was spent at my sister-in-law's house, where about fifteen of us gathered. The adults participated in a grab bag exchange and the kids tore through their many presents in no time flat.

The hubby and I spent Christmas day alone. We have a long-standing tradition of eating crab legs while watching Little Women. Yes, my husband is a saint. Why this movie and not one of the more traditional stories like A Christmas Carol or It's a Wonderful Life, or even the humorous A Christmas Story? I have no idea. :)

There's just something about Jo March's journey into womanhood that speaks to me. At the start of the movie, she is not comfortable in her own skin. She feels her destiny lies beyond hearth and home and yearns to appease her writerly soul. Watching Jo conquer each of these elements never gets old. Each year, I learn something new from this story.

What movie do you watch time and again? I'd love to hear why.


Please stop by my blog, between now and Saturday, and leave a comment for a chance to win a Christmas book from one of my all-time favorite authors.

While you're there, take a peek at my In The Flesh section on my website's Home page. If you're going to be attending any of those events, let me know. I'd love to meet you!

Goodbye 2011, Hello 2012!

Hugs,
Tracey

A LADY'S REVENGE, Coming April 1, 2012
http://TraceyDevlyn.com
https://Twitter.com/#!/TraceyDevlyn
http://www.Facebook.com/AuthorTraceyDevlyn


Sunday, December 25, 2011

Happy Holidays

Merry Christmas &
Happy Holidays!


Wishing you all bright and joyful holidays!



Saturday, December 24, 2011

Twas the day before Christmas...

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night...



We're supposed to talk about what we'd like to find with a bow tied around it on Christmas morning. I'm not sure you can put a bow around laughter and good times or put them under the tree but that's what I whispered in Santa's ear when I sat on his lap. And he told me to drag out "the poem" and read it again on Christmas Eve and I'd have both.



Husband, the poet in our house, wrote his own version of "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" when our children were little. Every year they asked him to read it again...so often that he could recite it by heart by the time the grandchildren were old enough to ask for it. It seemed fitting to share it with y'all since my blog date fell on the day before Christmas! So Merry Christmas everyone and here's hoping your day is better than old Jake's was!


JAKE'S NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS
by Charles Brown


'Twas the night before Christmas,
And all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring
'Cept a flea and a louse!
The family were all sleeping
In rooms overhead
While Father snored loud ‘nough
To wake up the dead,
And Mother lay sleeping,
A smile on her face,
In sweet dreams of diamonds
And satin and lace.
The children were all stacked
In their beds like sardines—
‘Cause this wasn’t exactly
A “family of means,”
And three double beds were
All they could afford
To accommodate company
And their own mongrel horde—
There was Sandy and Sally
And Rhonda and Sue,
There was Betty and Billy
And Otis and Blue,
(Now you may think that Blue’s
A strange name for a kid,
But it fit that line better
Than Bosephus did!)
And four or five others
Whose names I’ve forgot,
(And so have their parents
As likely as not!
But they had heard somewhere
Kids came cheaper in dozens),
And there were also and uncle,
An aunt and a handful of cousins.
An old hound was sleeping
Downstairs by the fire
With his old tail just inches
From a bare Christmas tree wire.
That old mutt would snore
And then he’d roll over
(Now I’d use his name here
If his name had been Rover,
But not all dogs are named that!
For great pity’s sake!
As a matter of fact,
This dog’s name was Jake!)
Now Jake, as I said
Just before I digressed,
Was in front of the fire
And was taking his rest,
And the flea on the dog
And the louse on the chair
Were both watching that tail
And that wire that was bare.
Now the flea and the dog
Had been friends a long time
(To have a flea for a friend
Is really no crime),
But the louse was a stranger,
I must here confess,
Brought home on the head
Of a kid, I should guess.
Well, old Jake would snarl
And his old legs would quiver
As in dreams he ran rabbits
Through fields by the river.
Then he’d pick up his tail
And he’d wave it around—
Like a frayed flag of victory—
Then drop it back down,
And the flea and the louse, well,
They wouldn’t breath, no sir!
‘Cause each time that tail
Got a little bit closer!
“Guess I’d better get down,”
Said the flea with a lisp,
“Or I might just by chance
Get myself burned to a crisp.
I suppose I could wake him
With a good solid bite?”
“Let him be,” said the louse,
“Its been a dull night.”
And the two, being vermin, a
And “birds of a feather,”
Sat down to await
What would happen together.
And for most of the night
Old Jake got along fine.
Though he moved his tail often
He missed that wire every time.
He would wave it around
And then bring it to rest
And miss that there bare wire
A half inch at the best!
Now the flea really thought
He should help his old friend
And was just about ready
To suggest it again
When the louse said, “You know,
Flea, I’m really quite bored.”
And old Jack laid his tail
Right smack down on that cord!
And yet “right smack down” is not
What I really should say
‘Cause he had his tail humped
In an odd sort of way
That left some tail on one side
And some on the other,
And those bugs held their breath
‘Til they thought they would smother!
“I thought he had done it,”
Said the louse with a pant.
“If he gets out of this one,
I’ll swear I’m and ant.”
Then Jake made a noise
Like a wheeze and a snore
And dropped his tail down
On that wire on the floor.
Then lights started flashin’
And sparks started flyin’,
And Jake didn’t know
If he was livin’ or dyin’!
He jerked is old head
Right straight up off the floor
With a look on his face
That hadn’t been there before,
And his ears stood straight up
And then started to wilt,
And his eyes spun around
And began to flash, “TILT”!
“Golly gee!” said the flea,
“Do you think he’s all right?
That look on his face
Is a horrible sight!”
And then with a noise
Like a growl and a roar,
Jake shot like a cannonball
‘Cross the living room floor.
He slid ‘round a corner
And shot down the hall
Rollin’ a throw rug
Up into a ball,
Went into the kitchen
In a long sidelin’ slide
That he just couldn’t stop
No matter how hard he tried;
Banged into a chair leg,
A whinin’ and scratchin’,
Diggin’ plumb through the floor tile
Before he got traction;
Then shot through the archway
And back down the hall,
‘Crossed the living room floor
And SMACK into the wall.
Now needless to say
That arrested his motion,
And some time elapsed
Ere he had even a notion
Of just where he was
And where he had been…
And what he should do next…
And where to begin.
He’d been asleep by the fire
The last he could remember,
Basking himself in
The warmth of its ember,
And from the pain in his tail
He guessed some varmint had bit it!
It would be just TOO bad
When he caught whoever did it!
But a search of the room
Turned up no one at all!
So he crept through the kitchen,
And he slunk down the hall.
He peeked under the table
And looked up the stair
And behind the sofa—
But there weren’t no one THERE!
Then Jakes anger faded
And he got kinda confused,
And licked his poor tail
And felt gen’rally abused.
“Well, Flea, the show’s over,”
Said the louse with a sneer.
“There’s never excitement
For long around here.”
But the flea was so glad
His friend had not come to grief
That he gave a wee small
Flea-sigh of relief.
The way old Jake’s head hung
Made him want to WEEP,
And Jake sadly decided
He’d best go back to sleep
But just as he got back
To the place where he’d been,
His left hind-foot stepped
On that there bare wire AGIN!
Well…what happened next
Really beggars description,
And I don’t really feel I could
Give you an acc’rate depiction.
To list all the details
Would take too much time.
(And to tell you the truth
I’m might near out of rhyme).
Suffice it to say that Jake
Caused such a clatter
The folks came down the stairs
To see what was the matter,
And bless’em but they were
Astonished to find
That their faithful old hound
Had just clean lost his mind—
A snappin’ and snarlin’
And growlin’ pure hate,
His eyes flashin’ sparks
Like the logs in the grate!
He had torn up the pillows
That Grandma had made,
And scattered the toys
Where the children had played;
And wreaked great destruction
Throughout the whole house
(Just barely missed killin’
His friend Flea and the louse!)
But before he could tear up
Another thing more,
A quick-minded youngster
Threw open the door,
And Jake roared right past him
Out into the snow,
And the child stood there gapin’
And watched that dog go.
When asked what had happened,
Jake didn’t reply;
He just kept a yowlin’
And shot right on by.
‘Cause he hadn’t the time
To make leavin’ polite
Or to say “Merry Christmas!”
Or even “Good Night!”



Merry Christmas from southern Oklahoma!

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Healing Power of a Fuzzy Face by C.H. Admirand

There is always a flurry of activity the weekend before Christmas because that’s when I usually bake…except for this year. This year I had a double-deadline (A WEDDING IN PURITY due on December 15th and copyedits for JESSE due on December 20th) I knew it was going to be a tight squeeze to get everything in. I turned in AWIP on time, but then the unexpected happened, our darling dog Ginger woke up on the 16th and we knew something was definitely wrong with her.

Our oldest son carried her to the truck for me and he followed in his car. Looking into Ginger’s sweet face with her Cleopatra eyes, I could see that she was in pain and knew that she wanted me to fix it. My heart broke because I knew I couldn’t. The Vet showed us her x-ray and explained that our dog had a cancerous mass that burst—she was bleeding internally—and there was nothing they could do, except ease her suffering. How do you say goodbye to a faithful friend after 12 years? My husband, our oldest son, and I were with her when she passed. The aftermath was like a huge black vortex sucking us down into the darkness. I knew she was going to be the last dog we ever had, how could we even think that another dog 
    would take her place?

Saturday morning our youngest son was frying an omelet and stopped and looked at me asking, “Who’s going to eat the extra egg that doesn’t fit in the pan?” I had just eaten a piece of bacon—except for the fatty part on the end, I always saved that for Ginger—and just stared at it. When I started crying my husband grabbed the piece of fat and ate it. After finishing his coffee, my hubby got up and opened the closet reaching for Ginger’s leash before he stopped, looked at us and put the leash back and sat down.

I was working on my copyedits and switched screens and Googled animal shelters in our area. As our oldest son walked in for breakfast, I had the info, aside from the one in town where we adopted Ginger 12 years before, there were two really close by. I finished my tea and told my guys I was going to the shelter and before I could ask the room was suddenly charged with positive energy and my guys were united with one thought in mind: rescuing another dog. They were ready to leave before I could grab my sweatshirt. 



I was waiting for the one dog to look at me and silently ask me to take him or her home—the same way Ginger had. Ginger had been a Christmas puppy before she’d been given to the shelter.  She never really liked when we put up the tree, but she came to accept it and really loved opening her presents with her little weasel teeth.   We went to two shelters on Saturday. The last one on Sunday. We saw all of the dogs except the one being walked. When they brought her back, I didn’t even see her face at first—I couldn’t get past the fact that she was the skinniest dog I’d ever seen. 

 Her ribs were showing and her hip bones and shoulder bones were protruding from her too-thin body. I knew then that no matter what, we’d be rescuing that poor little dog.  Josie is tan with two tiny black eyebrows, a black beauty mark on her cheek and a black muzzle. The shelter had her down as a Shepherd Mix, but we’re thinking there might be hound in her. Josie’s story is so sad—she was born in a shelter in New York State, and was transferred to one in New Jersey—she’s never lived outside of a cage in a shelter. Once we heard her story, we knew she needed a chance at her forever home—just like we’d given to Ginger.

Josie is settling down in her new home. She’s skittish and still shies away if we move too suddenly. She’s eating like a starving wolf, but is starting to put some meat on her bones. She still prefers to sit in her cage with the door open and watch us, but is venturing out more and more exploring her new domain. I write in the kitchen (my office is still a mess) and she follows me whenever I’m gone for more than a few minutes. While Josie will never replace Ginger, there is enough room in our hearts to love another dog.

So this Christmas I already have everything that I need: a loving family and a puppy under our Christmas tree who is slowly healing the ache in our grief-filled hearts.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Gift to Our Readers This Holday Season!

By Danielle Jackson, Sourcebooks Casablanca Publicist 

Last Christmas, I received the gift I had been coveting for well over a year—a KINDLE! I love it. I love it so much, at the beginning of the holiday shopping season this year, my boyfriend said to me, “What can I get you this year to top last year? You use that thing EVERYDAY.” And it’s true :-)

As we all know, eBook are an ongoing conversation in the publishing industry—love ‘em or hate ‘em, eBooks and eReaders are here and growing in popularity. eReaders have become a wonderful way to discover new authors and promote their books!

To celebrate the holidays, Sourcebooks has put announces its most extensive eBook promotion to date!  From December 21, 2011-January 8, 2012, purchase the first book from a Sourcebooks author for only $1.99—books that are the first in a series, or the first book that Sourcebooks published by that author (and a few extra for good measure).  More than 65 exceptional books ranging from young adult to adult fiction, romance, and non-fiction.  For complete details, please visit our landing page devoted to this promotion: http://www.sourcebooks.com/it-all-started-when.html. The complete list of titles is listed below.

What’s a gift you’ve given that the recipient has truly used to its fullest extent? What’s a gift you’ve received that was one you’ve never forgotten? Or, what are you hoping to find under your tree this year?

Happy Holidays Everyone—See you in 2012!!!!

SOURCEBOOKS eBOOK DEALS! It All Started When… First in “Series” for $1.99
Dates: 12/21/11 - 1/8/12

Romance
1. 50 Ways to Hex Your Lover by Linda Wisdom
2. Awaken the Highland Warrior by Anita Clenney
3. Call of the Highland Moon by Kendra Leigh Castle
4. A Certain Wolfish Charm by Lydia Dare
5. Cover Me by Catherine Mann
6. Cowboy Fever by Joanne Kennedy
7. Cowboy Trouble by Joanne Kennedy
8. Demons Prefer Blondes by Sidney Ayers
9. A Duke to Die For by Amelia Grey
10. The Fire Lord’s Lover by Kathryne Kennedy
11. The Goblin King by Shona Husk
12. Heart of the Highland Wolf by Terry Spear
13. Heart of the Wolf by Terry Spear
14. The Heir by Grace Burrowes
15. The Highlander’s Sword by Amanda Forester
16. I Dream of Genies by Judi Fennell
17. In Over Her Head by Judi Fennell
18. It Happened One Bite by Lydia Dare
19. Kiss at Your Own Risk by Stephanie Rowe
20. The Legend of Michael by Lisa Renee Jones
21. Love Drunk Cowboy by Carolyn Brown
22. The Making of a Duchess by Shana Galen
23. Making Waves by Tawna Fenske
24. Merely Magic by Patricia Rice
25. The Mistress’ House by Leigh Michaels
26. One Fine Cowboy by Joanne Kennedy
27. The Return of Black Douglas by Elaine Coffman
28. Romeo, Romeo by Robin Kaye
29. SEALed with a Kiss by Mary Margret Daughtridge
30. Slave by Cheryl Brooks
31. Strange Neighbors by Ashlyn Chase
32. Taste Me by Tamara Hogan
33. Tyler by C.H. Admirand
34. What a Goddess Wants by Stephanie Julian
35. Wickedly Charming by Kristine Grayson

Fiction
36. Child of the Northern Spring by Persia Woolley
37. The Darcys & the Bingleys by Marsha Altman
38. God is an Englishman by R.F. Delderfield
39. The Greatest Knight by Elizabeth Chadwick
40. Hawk of May by Gillian Bradshaw
41. The Highest Stakes by Emery Lee
42. The Immigrants by Howard Fast
43. The Kingmaking by Helen Hollick
44. Millie’s Fling by Jill Mansell
45. Miranda's Big Mistake by Jill Mansell
46. Mr. & Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One by Sharon Lathan
47. Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife by Linda Berdoll
48. An Offer You Can’t Refuse by Jill Mansell
49. The Pemberley Chronicles by Rebecca Ann Collins
50. Perfect Timing by Jill Mansell
51. Plain Fear: Forsaken by Leanna Ellis
52. Rumor Has It by Jill Mansell
53. A Secret in Salem by Sheri Anderson
54. Skipped Parts by Tim Sandlin
55. Staying at Daisy’s by Jill Mansell
56. Take a Chance on Me by Jill Mansell
57. To Conquer Mr. Darcy by Abigail Reynolds
58. A Weekend with Mr. Darcy by Victoria Connelly
59. When Harry Hit the Hamptons by Mara Goodman-Davies 
60. The World from Rough Stones by Malcolm Macdonald

Young Adult
61. Beautiful Dead Book 1: Jonas by Eden Maguire
62. Merlin’s Harp by Anne Eliot Crompton
63. Stupid Fast by Geoff Herbach

Non-Fiction
64. Battle 100 by Michael Lee Lanning
65. Best Little Stories from the Civil War by C. Bryan Kelly
66. History Buff’s Guide to the Civil War by Thomas R. Flagel
67. It Was Over When... by Robert K. Elder
68. Killer Book of True Crime by Tom Philbin and Michael Philbin

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

All I want for Christmas is...

***Please forgive any typing errors or general rambling...deadline before holiday and I am running on no sleep and holiday chocolate.


ONE MORE TIME ....ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS....




THREE HOT MEN!

No....well maybe:) But I better leave them for my readers.


So now that they are back on the shelf, there is only one wish I ever have on a holiday or a birthday and that is that my kids and family to be safe and happy. I mean who wouldn't trade anything in our lives for that to be true? I try to remember that. To focus on what is important. That brings me to the second most important thing after wishes in the holiday season -- giving thanks. So I want to say thank you to all the people who have come into my life and my writing career and been such supportive, amazing friends. I have a close writing friend who is always a sounding block, and that for a writer, is a blessing. So shout out to Donna Grant!

I also am involved with an on line group called 'The Dangerous Women' that myself, and four other wonderful authors, put together. The on line groups stays active and fun because of our moderator. Thank you for all you do Melissa.

Last, but by all means not least, I have a smaller group, my Underground Angels, who really are my angels who help me with so much. ( Waving at my extra special angel Wendy). So last night, I told the angels how excited I am about LEGEND OF MICHAEL being on sale today for 1.99. The next thing I knew they were planning how to spread the word. So I want to say an extra special holiday thank you to my Angels who are out there telling everyone to BUY Legend of Michael today:) (Actually today through January the 3rd)

So thank you my angels and keep screaming from the mountain tops. Michael for 1.99!:)

Here is a little about the man himself....



Barnes and Noble

Kindle


Three hot men...
HE IS A LETHAL WEAPON...
One of an army of human soldiers injected with alien DNA, Michael is a legend within this new race, split between good and evil. Untamable, he has walked on the dark side and returned to the light. Feared and misunderstood, he leaves everything behind, including the one woman destined to be his mate.

HE IS HER ENEMY...AND HER DESTINY...
Cassandra holds the key to Michael's power, and his pain. With loyalties divided and against insurmountable odds, Cassandra's heart propels her to Michael's side-but can her love do anything but destroy him...

No ordinary woman can control a creature such as Michael, and only one thing is clear-the world will never be the same...

****

So happy holidays everyone and may your family and friends be safe and happy! I'll leave you with a holiday cartoon that reminded me of a few holidays I've had -- you know -- when families show love and joy in that cranky family kind of wonderful way you laugh about later. I am imaging the snowmen and the rabbit as a few family members but in the living room fighting over a remote not the carrot.



Tuesday, December 20, 2011

All I Want for Christmas is You- by Sara Humphreys

This has been one hell of a year for me professionally. Unleashed, the first book in my Amoveo Legend series, was released in October and as if that wasn't enough,  my agent sold my Dead in the City series to Sourcebooks in another five book deal. It's been an absolute dream come true but truth be told...I didn't dare to dream that big.
This year far surpassed the goals I set out for myself as a writer and I'm extremely grateful for everything that has come to pass.

One of the coolest things I've gotten to do this year, is get to know some of my readers. It is an enormous thrill to meet/tweet with/chat with/FB with someone who read and enjoyed my work. It's a humbling, flattering and thrilling experience all rolled into one.

After connecting with readers via FB, Twitter, blogs and even face-to-face at book signings, I decided I wanted to personally connect with as many folks as possible.

You may be asking yourself...why?

 It's not a purely ego driven thing. Really it's not.

 Sure, it's nice to hear that someone enjoyed what I wrote but it's more than that. I find it fascinating to hear what various individuals take away from a book.  Did they connect with the heroine and the hero? Was the villain really evil or did he/she come off as a wiener?  Was the sex sizzling, salacious or sappy? Was the twist a surprise or was it a "Duh" moment?

I know...you can't please everyone...and that's okay because I don't expect to. However, I am interested in what readers are drawn to, sucked into or repelled by.

 Let's be honest, I would love to  hear that they thought it was the most spectacular book they'd ever read. Hey, what author wouldn't? However, more than that, I'm interested in connecting with the individual who loved it, liked it or....*gasp* not-so-much.

So, what do I want for Christmas? I want to get to know my readers.

So I've put together a contest!

Want a chance to win a $25 Amazon or B&N gift card? Have you read Unleashed?

If you answered yes to these questions then here's what you need to do to enter.

1. Upload a picture of you with your copy of Unleashed onto the Amoveo FB page. It could be your paperback or the book cover on your Nook or Kindle.

2. Make sure you do it by 11:59pm on 12/31/11

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to you and yours!

Dream on....

Monday, December 19, 2011

Grace's Christmas List

I am the luckiest lady imaginable. In the past year, Sourcebooks, Inc., has put four books on the shelves for me, one of which, “The Heir,” was a PW Best Book for 2010, while “The Soldier” was an honorable mention Best of the Best for The Library Journal in 2011, and “Lady Sophie’s Christmas Wish” was nominated for RT’s Best Historical Romance of 2011. The first two books made bestsellers lists, a gift that does not befall many talented writers in the course of long, hard-working careers.

What could I possible want for Christmas? A Nobel prize? An antidote to global warming? A cure for common cold?

I shouldn’t want anything for Christmas for myself. Christmas has come in the past year so often, I ought to change my address to the North Pole. And yet…

I am human, and I have been a reasonably good girl, sooo….

What I want for Christmas, for my life, is wisdom, perspective and good company. I want these things badly and I want them largely as a function of having become a published writer.

Along with all the big fun and good times, being a tadpole author has meant some rough patches as well. There have been some strongly critical reviews, and they have thrown me into a tailspin of doubt and bewilderment. There have been difficult decisions regarding the business end of publication, and making those decisions has been a lonely proposition. Then there’s the utterly confusing state of the entire publishing industry, and the befuddlement in store for anybody trying to ensure that book sales are strong. We’re told to blog, facebook, tweet, website, social network, and yet, nobody seems to know for sure if those tasks sell books, or simply channel anxiety about selling books.

I get daunted by these challenges, I lose my way with the writing, I forget the good news and make a mantra of the problems.

I’d like to find the wisdom to let the doubt and bewilderment bounce off me. I want to keep the problems in a healthier perspective—an unkind review hardly matters compared to poor health, homelessness, or a marriage in trouble. Fortunately, I’m stumbling onto some coping mechanisms, and maybe these are the Christmas gifts I need to make sure I find under the tree.

First, when I’m discouraged, the most helpful thing I can do is encourage somebody else. When I enjoy a book, I make sure to do an online review of it in as glowing terms as I can manage. I judge contests to try to give back to aspiring writers the generosity shown me when I was among their numbers. I thank people—it’s easy to forget this—and I positively wallow in the acknowledgements paragraph for each book.

Second, I try to protect the writing by “hermitting,” usually by spending time alone at home, but also by driving to the West Coast and back. The noise fades, the ideas come, and the joy seeps back in when I’m holed up in my imagination.

Third, I try to put myself in the company of positive people, people with a constructive outlook on their lives and (if applicable) their writing. Company such as this steadies me and helps me return to the pure pleasure of writing romance novels.

For Christmas this year, I wish you progress toward your heart’s desire, and—just in case you could use them too—I also wish you wisdom, perspective and good company.

Unless there’s something else you’d like to find under your personal tree?

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Home for the Holidays

by Tamara Hogan

Weasel lends a helping (?) hand

Christmas. It's a time to get together with friends and family, to catch up, to chat, to exchange presents...and of course eat too much.

Home for the holidays. It resonates, doesn't it?
Mr. K waits for his turn

In my family, we tend to gather at the home of my youngest sister, the only one of us to have produced a grandchild - a dear girl named Taylor that we all adore and shamefully overindulge during the holidays. In addition to my sister's home being centrally located, the house has a huge family room equipped with a fireplace, with enough room for everyone to sit comfortably for hours.

Because we will be sitting there for hours. We open our gifts in rotation, from youngest to oldest, one gift at a time, cycling through everyone until all the gifts are open. Though my niece finds this approach excruciating, there are several benefits: 

- everyone gets to ooh and aah over every gift, and
- there's time to visit and talk - with breaks in the action for pie, of course!   

(There's also the inevitable round of "boy toy" and "sweet young thing" jokes as my Mark, nearly five years younger than me, opens his gifts immediately after Taylor in the rotation. ) 

A couple of years ago, Australian comic and musician Tim Minchin released what's become my favorite Christmas song, "White Wine in the Sun", about the joy he experiences spending the holidays with his family:



"Home for the holidays." However you define home, and holiday, the season is about togetherness - whether with your family of origin, the family you've chosen, or some fortunate combination thereof.

The people who make you feel safe in this world.

So however you celebrate the season, whenever and however you and your dear ones gather, I wish you glad holiday tidings, much happiness, and some white wine in the sun.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Dream On

by Elisabeth Naughton

There's not much that catches my interest as far as gifts go. I'm hard to buy for, I'll admit it. If I see something I can't live without, I'll buy it when it's on sale. And my hubby is a gem and surprises me with gifts throughout the year for no other reason than he likes to keep me happy. (Because 1. He's a smart man and 2. We've been married long enough that he knows a happy Elisabeth equals a happy house.) But while thinking "big" for this blog post, I came across this. And oh yeah, Santa. I'd definitely take one of these:


This pool just looks so totally awesome. No ugly hole in the ground during the winter months! I'd definitely like one under my tree...er...in my backyard. And while I'm at it, I'll take a pool boy to manage the pool and a masseuse to ease my stress over watching the pool boy manage said awesome pool.

No?

Bugger.

Okay, in that case, I'll ask for kids who don't argue (a girl can dream), dogs who don't chew (my furniture can't take much more), and a winter without too much rain (I live in the PNW. Winters here mean rain, not snow.)

Actually, you know what? Nix all of the above. I'll just take this instead (though the pool boy and masseuse would be useful here too):


"Hubby? Remember that whole thing about keeping me happy????"

What over-indulgence would you wish for if money wasn't an issue? (It's fun to dream!)

Friday, December 16, 2011

DEAR SANTA, By Kathryne Kennedy

Dear Santa,

Well, I suppose it’s been a long time since I’ve written you. But our theme for this month on our Casablanca blog is what I would like under my tree, so I figured, who better to ask than dear old Saint Nick?

Gosh, how old was I when I last sent you a letter? Nine? Ten? I can’t imagine what I asked for. Maybe a doll. Maybe roller skates. I remember getting a pair about that age and loving them. When I was young, it was a wonderful time of egocentricity, where the world only revolved around my own wants and needs. I couldn’t really comprehend the Big Wide World, nor did I truly have much awareness of it beyond my own sheltered life. I was blessed with a great childhood. No one in my family got sick. No one close to me had died. The only thing I lacked was a bit more entertainment, so I imagine my list to you was comprised of only those things.

But I’m a big girl now. So I’m afraid that what I want under my tree is going to be difficult for you. Maybe impossible. But it’s a short list, so see what you can do:

A package of World Peace. If you can’t manage it the whole year, then I would settle for Christmas day.

A box of Healing. You know, kinda like Pandora’s box, but good stuff coming out of it instead of bad. Maybe a cure for Cancer. For Diabetes. For Epilepsy. For Aids. I tell you what, although I have a personal preference, you can pick. I’ll take any one you’d like to tackle.

A basket of Answers. Okay, I know, this one may sound strange. But I figure if I had some answers, we could solve a lot of problems. Like, the economy. Which means people are out of work. Which means children go hungry. So, maybe with a few answers, we can fix all those things. And again, I’ll settle for just one Big Answer. You get to pick.

I think there’s a reason why I haven’t written you for years. My list just keeps getting harder to fill. It was so much simpler when I was a child. But you know what? I still believe in you, in the concept of Christmas and the magic it can bring. So I’ll be looking under my tree this year for a mysterious box. Or package. Or basket.

And if you can’t quite manage it this year, I’ll be waiting for next.

With Hope and Love,

Kathryne

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Greatest Gifts

by Leah Hultenschmidt
Senior Editor

So back at Thanksgiving, I listed the many many many many reasons I'm so grateful for my amazing Casa authors. Now time for this year's Fire authors. So to the spectacularly talented crew who makes me feel like a teen all over again--you guys rock!

Katherine Grace Bond--SUMMER OF NO REGRETS is the book I wish I had when I was 13. Powerful, poignant and fun all at the same time.

Zoraida Cordova--Really, you had me at mermaids and the seedy paranormal underbelly of Coney Island. But then I got to experience your infectious energy first hand. This is going to be such a fun ride!

Kim Culbertson--You gave me an amazing trip to Rome in INSTRUCTIONS FOR A BROKEN HEART. How could you not love that?

Janet Gurtler--Your deft touch with teen emotions is unparalleled, and you manage to connect with every single reader. And you have a Canadian accent. ;-)

Geoff Herbach--Sometimes I call you for no reason but make something up just so we can have a good laugh. Does that make me a stalker? You have readers crazy laughing one minute and with tears in their eyes the next--a truly original and unbelievable talent.

Leanna Renee Hieber--You inspire anyone who meets you to be better. And I think that's the greatest gift in the world.

Miranda Kenneally--CATCHING JORDAN is one of those books that I want to read all the way through every time I open it. A manuscript from you is a present in my inbox.

Eden Maguire--Haunting, evocative and sexy. The Beautiful Dead are incredibly addicting!

Joy Preble--Holy cow unbelievable. The Dreaming Anastasia series has everything I love--strong female character, hints of fairy tale mixed with historical fact, and that tortured hero you just have to root for.

Lisa & Laura Roecker--Pink hair rocks! And so do you! We've been having a lot of Trixie Belden vs. Nancy Drew debate lately, but I'd say it's LIAR SOCIETY all the way. No one beats Kate.

Karen Schreck--You manage to be heart-wrenching and uplifting all at the same time. Thank you for spotlighting our young soldiers in WHILE HE WAS AWAY.

Jessica Shirvington--I don't even know where to start except to say I tore through the first three books of the Embrace series and can't wait for the next. Violet is a Buffy for our times (but with angels!), and those guys... Hold on, I need to fan myself.

Christine Siefert--Love, love, love the scary/crazy social "what if.." issues you delved into with THE PREDICTEDS. You have an amazing imagination!

Cameron Stracher--To have WATER WARS compared to The Hunger Games is a pretty amazing gift!

Jeff Strand--I have to be careful I'm not sipping a drink when opening one of your emails or else it will come out my nose--because just about anything you write makes me laugh. There's no question that 2012 is going to be the year of VOODOO.

Sloane Tanen--You are witty and clever beyond measure--in addition to having an incredible eye for art!