Thursday, November 29, 2012

The True Meaning of Christmas with Linda Swift

The Contest is closed. The winners are: Cheryl Peirson; Laurean Brooks, Paula Martin; and Teresa K. Congratulations gals!!

KAREN:  Linda Swift is a multi-published author with Kensington Publishers and Published with Rebecca J. Vickery, to name a few. She has over one hundred short stories, poems, and articles in print, and a play produced on WPSD-TV, an NBC affiliate. She's here today to chat about the true meaning of Christmas and she's offering a recipe for Pecan Pie. ...And that's not all. 

***CONTEST: She's also offering THREE digital copies of HER holiday book THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS. Read on to find out how you may be a winner! CONTEST ENDS DEC. 3RD AT MIDNIGHT PST.


MY BEST CHRISTMAS PRESENT 
by Linda Swift

As my children grew older, the Christmas season gradually became a marathon I began running right after Halloween. There were school and church functions, family gatherings, a house to decorate, festive food to prepare and shopping for gifts. No longer believing in Santa, the "want list" included specific brand names, colors, and whatever the current fads were. (these sometimes changed after the requested items were bought.)
 
Gift buying had become so complicated that I was designated to shop for my children's gifts from my parents and grandmother as well and my husband and self. One Christmas Eve, my daughter and I stood empty-handed outside the last department store on the block. She had asked for clothes this year and after searching all afternoon, still hadn't found what she wanted.

"You have to buy something," I said desperately.  "We have to spend Grandmother's gift money."

"I didn't see anything I want."  She looked near tears.  "I can buy something later."

"No, you can't," I raised my voice. "We have to put a gift from grandmother under the tree."

"Well, I'm not buying anything I don't want," she shot back.  "That is not what Christmas is all about.  This is Christ's birthday, not mine. "

We stood a moment in the cold wind, glaring at each other, and I suddenly realized the truth of what my daughter had said. I put an arm around her. "Okay, let's go home."

I don't remember how we explained to my mother the lack of a wrapped gift under the tree. But I do remember that on the way home we discussed how we would handle Christmases from this time forward. There would be no more marathon shopping sprees or pressure to spend money just to satisfy the gift-giving syndrome the merchants would have us think exemplifies the spirit of Christmas.
br /> We decided to introduce our plan now for the following year and give the grandparents time to get used to the idea. Feeling no gifts would be unacceptable, we suggested a token gift exchange, with each family member buying for the others.  Since little money would be involved, a bad choice would not be disastrous.  And each person would have a special celebration on his or her own birthday with larger gifts if they chose.

Even with prior notice, it was not an easy transition for them. As the next holiday season approached, they began talking of the usual large gifts. My daughter and I gently reminded them of the new rules and encouraged them to go shopping early. And me? I wandered through the stores, watching those harried mothers rushing about, arms loaded with packages. And I wanted to stop them and remind them that this was not what Christmas was all about. It had taken a stubborn teen-aged daughter to teach me the lesson and in so doing, she gave me the best present I ever had.  And to this day, each Christmas season, I enjoy her gift again.
* * * *
Our family Christmas wouldn’t be complete without desserts made from my mother’s coconut cake and pecan pie recipes.

This is my mother's no-fail recipe that differs from any other I've ever seen for pecan pie. The secret of its mild taste is using light corn syrup and white rather than brown sugar. An easy version of Kentucky Derby Pie can be made by adding a cup of chocolate chips. I make this pie often and it always evokes memories of my mother's wonderful desserts.

PECAN PIE
3  whole eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup light corn syrup
¼ cup melted butter
1 cup pecans, chopped
1 tsp. vanilla

Beat eggs slightly. Stir in sugar, corn syrup and melted butter.
Stir in vanilla and pecans. Bake 40 minutes at 375d. or until filling is slightly firm      
*Or cook 45-50 minutes at 350d.

****CONTEST: I will be giving three digital copies of my holiday book The Twelve Days of Christmas to the winners of this question:

What was your best Christmas present? DON'T FORGET TO LEAVE YOUR EMAIL SO I MAY CONTACT YOU IF YOU SHOULD WIN. CONTEST ENDS: MONDAY, DEC. 3 AT MIDNIGHT. I'LL POST THE WINNER ON TUESDAY. GOOD LUCK!!

Available at: Amazon

Blurb:
THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS

Contemporary Women's Fiction
 Ebook and print
 Publishing by Rebecca J. Vickery


Leigh and Russell have not seen each other in years when they come to Kentucky to spend the holidays with Leigh's Grandmother. Russell's own grandmother lived next door until her death and they had been in love before he left for college. Leigh waited for his return but to her disappointment, he never came back. When they meet again, the attraction between them is stronger than before but many complications exist. Leigh's husband and young son were killed in a car accident in upstate New York. She blames herself for her son's death and vows never to be a mother again. She left her elementary teaching job and moved to Florida where she sells real estate. Russell is a successful building contractor in Arizona, a divorced father of two, whose wife just remarried and will be moving overseas. She has offered custody of their girls, four and eleven, to him and he must decide now. When Russell asks Leigh to marry him, she thinks he needs a mother for his children and doesn't want the job. Will he be willing to say no to custody in order to get Leigh to say yes? Can she become Russell's wife if it means depriving him of his beloved daughters?

Linda Swift's Website

Monday, November 26, 2012

Meet the Authors of the 2012 Christmas Collection


The Wishing Tree by Cheryl Pierson
A war veteran with visible and invisible scars, mostly a loner, meets a special woman and her son. Will he provide their tree for Christmas and change his own life forever?

KAREN: What inspired you to write your tale? 

CHERYL: When a man goes to war, he comes home with scars that no one else can see. He is forever changed inside, no matter how he may look on the outside.  When I decided on my hero for THE WISHING TREE, my Christmas story in the Victory Tales Press 2012 Christmas Collection, I knew that he would have both physical and emotional scars that would separate him from a normal life. He goes through the motions, but being severely wounded in Iraq and losing one eye has set him apart forever. Nothing is the same for him, once he returns; it can never be, for our veterans who have seen things that civilians will never have to encounter. Six years have passed since his return and he has all but given up hope of attaining the dreams he once had. No one can encounter the horrors of war and then continue their lives as if that part of it hadn’t happened. That was why I chose for Pete, the hero in my story, to have had a soldier’s background—to bring awareness to readers that, no matter the war, no matter the era, the damages to our soldiers are the same. How is he going to handle it, once he finds a beautiful young woman who loves him, no matter what?

KAREN: Tell us what you liked most about the holidays:

Christmas is my favorite holiday. Growing up, it was always a time of happiness, good food and lots of laughter. I think my favorite part of Christmas is standing back and looking at the Christmas tree, once we’ve finished decorating it! It’s always “the best one ever.”

CHERYL'S Holiday Favorites:

My favorite holiday movie has to be “IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE”—I always cry in it at a couple of places, but especially at the end.  My favorite Christmas carol is “SILENT NIGHT”—I know there are lots of others— newer, more “hip”—but that one has always been my favorite through the years.  

Image of Cheryl PiersonABOUT THE AUTHOR: Cheryl was born in Duncan, Oklahoma, and grew up in Seminole, Oklahoma. She graduated from the University of Oklahoma, and holds a B.A. in English. She has taught numerous writing classes and workshops over the past years and also works on an individual basis with many of her students, and other authors, locally and nationwide.
Cheryl's most recent publications include "A HERO FOR CHRISTMAS", which is a collection of four of her historical western Christmas short stories (A Night for Miracles, Meant To Be, Scarlet Ribbons and Homecoming)in her own single-author holiday anthology. Blog: http://cherylpiersonbooks.blogspot.com/

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Holiday Surprise by John Duncklee 

Joe and Marge, once high school sweethearts, travel different paths when Joe decides to become a cowboy. Years later, on a special Christmas Eve, Santa Claus brings Joe a surprise.  

KAREN: What inspired you to write your tale?

JOHN: Few of my stories are inspired by anything in particular. I develop them from my experiences and people I have met during my 83 years.
KAREN: Tell us what you liked most about the holidays:

Christmas is a holiday and for me is another holiday during which I try to write my 2000 words a day.

JOHN'S Favorite holiday meal...

Refried beans frijoles refritos and tamales


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: John Duncklee is an award-winning author of twenty-five books. His published work covers fiction, non-fiction, satire, short stories and poetry. Prior to his writing career, John was a university professor in both the United States and Mexico, a cattle rancher, Quarter Horse breeder, designer of mesquite wood furniture, and served his country in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War. He lives in New Mexico with his wife, Penny, an illustrator and artist.

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Snowy Cocoon by Joshua R. Shinn

Ryan Yamada meets his former childhood email pal, Yuki Stanton, during high school. Will their friendship and blossoming love for each other persist despite her domineering father?

KAREN: What inspired you to write your tale?

JOSHUA: The desire to write my very first story and have it be a short story somehow connected to Christmas. Also, all of the characters in Snowy Cocoon are inspired by people I actually know.

KAREN: What does Christmas mean to you?

JOSHUA: To me, it's the time of giving,not getting. And you can give both through presents and through compassion towards others, even people who don't like you or understand you. Lastly, and most importantly, it's the birthday of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior since I was eight.

KAREN: What's your favorite holiday movie?

 JOSHUA: My favorite Christmas holiday movie is The Grinch Who Stole Christmas; the Jim Carrey live-action one.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Josh Shinn, born on July 7th, 1991, has been a writer since he was fourteen-years-old, writing fan-fiction for fun and as an exercise to improve his skills. He graduated from high school in 2010 and currently lives in Texas. His mother is Laura Shinn, a fellow author who also is a cover artist and an editor. Being a born-again Christian since age eight, he enjoys discussing the Bible with others, fellow believers or not, and stands by his belief in Jesus Christ no matter what. 

You can find Joshua Shinn on Facebook.


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Gifts by Stephanie Burkhart

Will Christian and Famke's attraction interfere with them earning a spot on the Netherlands Olympic pairs skating team? Must they push aside their feelings to succeed?

STEPH: Thanks so much for doing this. Happy Holidays to your readers. May everyone have a blessed holiday season this year.

KAREN: What inspired you to write the story for the 2012 Christmas Collection?

STEPH: I just want to say I look forward to writing a story every year for the anthology. They're short, fun, and who doesn't love Christmas?

I have a criteria for my Christmas anthology stories: They have to have an international favor to them. Being in the military, I spent several Christmas' overseas in Germany and it really opened me up to experiencing the holiday in a broader fashion.

This year I chose to go to the Netherlands. I visited the country on several occasions in the late 1980's, early 1990's. Amsterdam is truly an international city. What I remember is that there was always a hidden jewel you could find – and did find – when you didn't expect it. Amsterdam has canals, great beer, and a wonderful tulip garden at the Keukenhof. My story is called "Gifts." Christian and Famke are pairs ice skaters hoping to be selected for the Olympics. Can they overcome past hurts to offer the best performance they can and earn a spot on their country's Olympic team?

KAREN: What does Christmas mean to you? 

STEPH: Jesus' birth offers hope to the world, so I try to impart that to my boys who are still young. Jesus birth is also filled love. It's a time for charity and faith. I do my best to impart this simple message to the boys while balancing commercialism and the demands of society. It's important to remember Christmas is in your heart and your family, and what you do or don't is a reflection of what's in your heart.

KAREN: What's your favorite holiday meal?

STEPH: Rib roast. We used to host an ornament exchange dinner for the boys when they were younger and we made a rib roast for it. The boys are a tad older now and it's hard to get everyone together so we made the rib roast our traditional holiday dinner.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Stephanie Burkhart is a 911 Dispatcher for LAPD. Her previous Christmas short stories include: Christmas in Bayeux, Feast of Candles, and a novella published with Desert Breeze called "The Faberge Secret."  BLOG: http://sgcardin.blogspot.com


 
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Kimberly's Christmas Cake by Chuck Tyrell
The year Kimberly turned eighteen, she made an extra effort to learn lots of woman things. Would baking a special Christmas cake for Russ Taklin help prove she had grown up?

KAREN: What inspired you to write the story for the 2012 Christmas Collection?

CHUCK: I'd never written a "romance" story, so I couldn't let the opportunity to give it a try go by without taking a stab at it. I had a character, young Kimberly McCullough, the protagonist in Big Enough, and I had my dear mother's recipe for Christmas fruitcake. Blend the two with a tall, rugged man trying to get a ranch going in the highlands of Arizona, and romance comes naturally. They say that the road to a man's heart goes directly through his stomach, but Kimberly took the long way around. The story was a joy to write, and it made me think that I could possibly write a full length Western romance novel.

KAREN: What does Christmas mean to you?

CHUCK: Christmas time is family time in my experience. It's when kids come home to spend the holidays with parents. It's when everybody picks up to go see grandpa and grandma. And the traditions families have seem to be kept alive by Christmas. Also, Christmas is the time when people loosen their purse strings somewhat to help people less fortunate than themselves. Lots of good gets done at Christmas, and it makes you wish that Christmas happened 52 times a year. (Every day would be a burden?) Of course Christmas is time to reflect upon our Savior and what he and his gospel mean to each of us. It is a time to reflect upon our own lives and see how we can become a little more Christ-like in our sayings and our doings. 

Chuck's Favorites: 

I've always had a soft spot for the movie "Miracle on 34th Street." Twas the Night Before Christmas brings happy childhood memories whenever I hear it. Each year I personally do the turkey. Sometimes it's galantine, sometimes it's baked whole, sometimes it's cut up beforehand and baked in shifts (some frozen for later use), but it's always there. As for Christmas fruitcake, check out my story--Kimberly's Christmas Cake.
 
About the Author: Charles T. Whipple is an international award-winning copywriter, journalist, author and novelist. His awards include Editor & Publisher Magazine DM Award, World Annual Report Competition Award, 2010 Oaxaca International Literature Award, and 2011 Global eBook Award. Whipple was born in Show Low, Arizona. He spent two and a half years in Japan as a volunteer youth missionary, and majored in Japanese History as a graduate student and grantee at the East West Center, University of Hawaii. He is fluent in spoken and written Japanese, and has long been interested in the fantastic aspect of traditional Japanese tales. Whipple lives in the city of Chiba, the capital of Chiba Prefecture, which encompasses the ancient Kanto Kingdoms of Awa, Kazusa, and Shimosa. Today, Chiba hosts the Magic Kingdom of Disneyland and is gateway to Japan via the international airport in Narita. He has one wife, four daughters, two sons, 18 grandchildren, and one dog. Whipple also writes western novels under the pen name of Chuck Tyrell.
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Family Heirloom by Gerald Costlow 
Alone at Christmas, Marian discovers an antique angel in ornaments from the attic. When she places it atop the tree, she begins a journey through time and her life will never be the same.

KARENWhat inspired you to write the story for the 2012 Christmas Collection?

GERALD:
  Actually, I read something from an author, I believe it might have been Karen, where she talked about how she loved writing time travel stories, and that inspired me to put my own unique spin on one. Then I looked through some old Christmas carols and one verse popped out at me, and the story arrived pretty much complete in my head.
 
KAREN: What does Christmas mean to you?

GERALD: Helping others. I love being a Secret Santa. I've been blessed with family and a wonderful wife and a good job, but I spent a few years working on a Suicide hotline as a young man and Christmas is a lonely time for many people.

Gerald's Favorite holiday meal...

GERALD: Oh, my wife is a wonderful cook and she does a ham every Christmas that beats anything I've tasted in a restaurant!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Gerald Costlow lives in Michigan with his wife and three dogs. His previous stories published by Rebecca J. Vickery include Mars Needs Men and A Distant Call.

His first two novels, The Weaving and A Plethory of Powers, were published in 2011 to great reviews. He has numerous short stories published over the past few years in anthologies and magazines including A Distant Call and Deal with the Devil from Publishing by Rebecca J. Vickery. His next novel, Crazy Jack, will be published before the end of the year.
To find out more about this fantasy romance author and his work, visit his website at: http://theweaving.blogspot.com
or at: http://onceuponaword1.blogspot.com/p/gerald-costlow.html 

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MISTLETOE, STAKES, AND YULETIDE CHEER BY KAREN MICHELLE NUTT 
Cassandra Hayes has been dating Tremayne Graystone, the vampire she’s been sent to eliminate. To stake or not to stake is the least of their problems when masked men kidnap them and hold them hostage. They realize all they want for Christmas is a chance to make their relationship work. Kisses under the mistletoe may not make this holiday merry, but they’re willing to give it a shot. 

What inspired me to write the story for the 2012 Christmas Collection?

I love the paranormal and my muse of late insists that I pen vampire tales. What else could I do? I combined a little vampire lore, a wee bit of the medieval Yuletide celebration with the Christmas holiday, and voilaMistletoe, Stakes, and Yuletide Cheer was created.

What does Christmas mean to me?
Christmas time is spending time with the family. We have a family dinner on Christmas day at my mother’s house. She makes her wonderful Italian dumplings, a family tradition passed on through the generation. They are yummy!!

My favorites: 
My favorite holiday movie is: While You Were Sleeping. 
Favorite book: The Gift a Magi by O. Henry.  
Favorite song: God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen.  
Favorite holiday meal: My mother’s dumplings of course. 
 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Karen Michelle Nutt resides in California with her husband, three fascinating children, and houseful of demanding pets. Jack, her Chihuahua/Yorkshire terrier is her writing buddy and sits long hours with her at the computer. 

Her new passion is creating book covers for Western Trail Blazers and Rebecca J. Vickery Publishing. In her spare time, she reviews books for PNR-Paranormal Romance Reviews. 

Whether your reading fancy is paranormal, historical or time travel, all her stories capture the rich array of emotions that accompany the most fabulous human phenomena—falling in love.

 Visit the author at: http://www.kmnbooks.com

If you're having trouble accessing the Rafflecopter, here is the direct link
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday: The Spirit of Love #3



It's Six Sentence Sunday and This is the 3rd snippet from The Spirit of Love.

Quick update: Brynna and Travis lost their son due to a tragic accident. Instead of turning to each other they drifted apart. However, they own a Ghost Hunting business and they were scheduled for a night at the Queen Mary. This is the first time they have seen each other in months.

Brynna and Travis have set up their 'ghost hunting' equipment. They may have had their first ghost encounter. In their excitement, they forgot they weren't a couple anymore. Join me at Karen's Shenanigan's on my website:
Six Sentence Sunday: The Spirit of Love #3

Monday, November 19, 2012

Outlaws, Ghosts and Vampires...Oh my!

Are you looking for some holiday reads or trying to find a book lover a gift? Search no further.
For those who love westerns, outlaws and charming cowboys: Wanted is a perfect escape. If you like ghost stories and the magic of finding a soul mate, The Spirit of Love will keep you spellbound. Even vampires and hunters enjoy the season. In the 2012 Christmas Collection, my tale Mistletoe, Stakes, and Yuletide Cheer will satisfy a vampire lover's thirst.    http://www.amazon.com/Karen-Michelle-Nutt/e/B002BLLBPE/

What's your favorite genre? Do you like holiday stories?
 
Wanted
E-book Available at:
Amazon Kindle
Barnes and Noble Nook
Sheriff Jace Kelly’s wife died giving birth to his remarkable daughter, Emma. She inherited the families’ seer abilities, but being only six-years old, she has the tendency not to know the difference between a vision and just an ordinary dream. So Jace doesn’t put too much faith in Emma’s recent premonition: marriage for him and a new mother for her, all because she wished upon a Christmas star.

When JoBeth Riley arrives in town, Emma is convinced this is the woman she dreamed about: dark hair, green eyes and shamrocks in her pocket. Only there’s one problem, she’s the notorious outlaw, Baby Face Jo.
JoBeth’s stay in the lumber town is meant to keep Shane Maverick, the leader of the outlaw gang from finding her and breaking her out of jail before the authorities have time to devise a plan to capture him.

JoBeth finds the Kellys a strange lot. A little girl, who believes her dreams are tales of the future and the rugged sheriff whose kindness proves a distraction. She’s an outlaw for heaven’s sake, but Jace is bound and determined to steal her heart.


The Spirit of Love
Price: 99 cents
Ebook Available at:
Kindle
Blurb:
A tragic accident leaves Brynna and Travis devastated. Instead of turning to each other for comfort, they drift apart. However, they must complete one more assignment—set on an old ship, The Queen Mary, during Yule, one of the most haunted times in the Celtic calendar. It is believed souls of the dead prevail and anam cara—soul friends can visit.
Will Travis and Brynna confront the spirit of love, allowing them a chance to heal and find their way back to each other?

2012 Christmas Collection
Available at:
Amazon Kindle
Smashwords
My story is: Mistletoe, Stakes and Yuletide Cheer
What’s a hunter to do when she’s fallen for the vampire she’s been sent to stake?
Cassandra Hayes has been dating Tremayne Graystone, the vampire she’s been sent to eliminate. To stake or not to stake is the least of their problems when masked men kidnap them and hold them hostage. They realize all they want for Christmas is a chance to make their relationship work. Kisses under the mistletoe may not make this holiday merry, but they’re willing to give it a shot.
The other stories in the collection:

The Wishing Tree by Cheryl Pierson

A war veteran with visible and invisible scars, mostly a loner, meets a special woman and her son. Will he provide their tree for Christmas and change his own life forever?

Holiday Surprise by John Duncklee

Joe and Marge, once high school sweethearts, travel different paths when Joe decides to become a cowboy. Years later, on a special Christmas Eve, Santa Claus brings Joe a surprise.

Snowy Cocoon by Joshua R. Shinn

Ryan Yamada meets his former childhood email pal, Yuki Stanton, during high school. Will their friendship and blossoming love for each other persist despite her domineering father?

Gifts by Stephanie Burkhart

Will Christian and Famke's attraction interfere with them earning a spot on the Netherlands Olympic pairs skating team? Must they push aside their feelings to succeed?

Kimberly's Christmas Cake by Chuck Tyrell

The year Kimberly turned eighteen, she made an extra effort to learn lots of woman things. Would baking a special Christmas cake for Russ Taklin help prove she had grown up?

Family Heirloom by Gerald Costlow

Alone at Christmas, Marian discovers an antique angel in ornaments from the attic. When she places it atop the tree, she begins a journey through time.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday: The Spirit of Love #2



It's Six Sentence Sunday and This is the 2nd snippet from The Spirit of Love. Come by Karen's Shenanigans for the next six...
 Six Sentence Sunday: The Spirit of Love #2

Here's a blurb if you're interested:
A tragic accident leaves Brynna and Travis devastated. Instead of turning to each other for comfort, they drift apart. However, they must complete one more assignment—set on an old ship, The Queen Mary, during Yule, one of the most haunted times in the Celtic calendar. It is believed souls of the dead prevail and anam cara—soul friends can visit.

Will Travis and Brynna confront the spirit of love, allowing them a chance to heal and find their way back to each other?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Soul Friend

Anam Cara or Soul Friend is a Celtic belief where the souls connect and bond. The Celts believed when a person connected with someone completely, trusting and open, the souls form a deep bond.

An Anam Cara accepts the person as they truly are, but to have such a friendship the person must be aware of his or her own nature and experience the joys of others. If you are blessed with finding your anam cara, the Celts believed you have found ‘home.’

An Anam Cara represents a rare friendship that transcends time and distance…even after death. 

During Yuletide the Celts believed you Samhain is considered the most haunted time of the year in the Celtic calendar; Yule is the second.  Haunting starts on December 6th to December 20th. The spirits are more active as they wait for the rebirth of the Sun’s powers. 

This haunting is not the same as during Samhain, where the veil is thinned so that the dead can walk among us. The spirits of Yule are connected with the mystical and the psychic logic of the Solstice Season.  However, one can be visited from their ancestors, relatives, spirit guides or their soul friends (anamchara). 

Do you have a soul friend?

In The Spirit of the Love, Travis and Brynna have a second chance and the learn the true meaning of love and trust. Ebook Available at:
Kindle
Nook (available soon)
Smashwords

Excerpt:

Travis couldn’t believe how Brynna looked—energetic, so alive. She wore her favorite jeans that hugged her in all the right places, and he liked the way the green long-sleeved shirt brought out the color of her eyes. He scrubbed a hand across his face as a dangerous curiosity danced inside him. Why was she here? That hadn’t been part of the plan.

 

She wore her golden-red hair loose and tumbling carelessly down her back, enticing his fingers to slide through the stands. Blood pounded in his temples as he absorbed the idea of working with her again. He had loved her so much. Who was he fooling? He still loved her. It had been so difficult to let her go, and now she was here, speaking civilly to him—a complete contrast to the last time they ’d spoke.

 

He accepted the blame for their marriage ending. He’d screwed up big time. The moment he had opened the hotel room door in London, he should have closed it again. Instead, he allowed his loneliness to rule, and invited Tanya in for a nightcap. They polished off two bottles of wine and in the morning he woke up in bed next to her.

 

He would be the first to admit his guilt , but for the life of him, he couldn’t remember sleeping with her. Making it even worse, he didn’t even like Tanya or her crass ways of doing business. So, he not only hurt the woman he adored, but had insulted another, all in one night.

 

Tanya couldn’t wait to tell Brynna about the one-night stand. Her way of getting back at him for rejecting her, he supposed. Brynna packed up her belongings and moved out, though mentally she ’d moved out months before that.

 

“Earth to Travis.” Brynna snapped her fingers. “Quit the daydreaming. We have work to do.”

 

Travis blinked, coming back to reality and looked at the woman he would always love. God, she was as beautiful as he remembered. Both delicacy and strength were in her face, and her skin held a smooth color of peach-tinted cream. His eyes lingered on her lips. He wanted to reach for her, pull her into his arms, but he hadn’t the right. Not any longer.

 

“Are you going to help me or not?” She clearly wondered why he was staring at her.

 

He nodded and set down his camera cases. “I didn’t think I would ever see you again.”

 

Her brow arched . “I know I haven’t been reliable lately, but we co-own ‘Smith and Jones’ or have you forgotten?”

 

“No, I haven’t forgotten. I’m just surprised to see you is all. You haven’t joined the team on an assignment in a long time.”

 

“I wanted to be here for this one. I . . .” Her gaze met his. “I need this.” One shoulder lifted in a shrug. “Is there going to be a problem?”

 

“Of course not.” He never wanted anything is his life as much as he wanted to work with her one more time.

 

“Good, because it’s going to be a long night. Who else is showing up?”

 

His cell vibrated, making him jump. The theme music from the Ghostbusters’ movie broke the silence. He didn’t move.

 

“Are you going to answer that?”

 

That snapped him out of his trance. “Yeah, of course.” He walked away as he flipped his phone open. He spoke to the caller briefly then turned to Brynna. “That was Kenneth. The others already said they couldn’t make it, and now Kenneth bailed. He forgot about his nephew’s Christmas concert.” He tried to smile, but it felt more like a grimace. “It’s just you and me, kid. Like old times.” He held his breath waiting for her to respond.

 

“I’m okay with that. Working together is the one thing we do well.”

 

“Ouch.”

 

“Sorry, I didn’t mean it as a dig.” Her chin jutted out with resolve, disproving her statement.

 

“I guess I deserve it.” He gave her a loose-muscled shrug to show her remark hadn’t hurt, yet her words stung like needles and his voice betrayed him.

 

Her features softened and she closed the distance between them. Her light caress on his forearm made him flinch and her hand fell away. “I don’t want to fight.”

 

“I don’t either.” He reached for her, but had second thoughts and shoved his hands in his pockets. “I never meant to hurt you.”

 

“I know. I didn’t mean to shut you out.”

 

He swallowed the lump of emotion lodged in his throat.

 

“Come on.” Her eyes sparkled with the possibility of adventure. “The ghosts are waiting to be found and we have work to do.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

MAGIC OF THE LOCH - Coffee Time Romance & More

Squee!  5 Cup Review! I'm happy dancing!!
Here's a Snippet of the review: "Magic of the Loch is a story worthy of a second read because the first will never be enough."
If you're interested, the full review is here:
MAGIC OF THE LOCH - Coffee Time Romance & More

Six Sentence Sunday: The Spirit of Love #1

I'm over at my website: Karen Shenanigans for Six Sentence Sunday!! I'm sharing a snippet from The Spirit of Love. Highland Press Publishing just released it as a single E-book after being featured in the Second Time Around Anthology. 

Six Sentence Sunday: The Spirit of Love #1

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Spirit of Love

Just released and only 99 cents. I love the cover!!
The Spirit of Love
 Publisher: Highland Press Publishing
Cover Artist: Leanne Burroughs
Word Count: 12,000
Rating: sensual
Genre: Paranormal, ghost, contemporary
Price: 99 cents
Ebook Available at:
Kindle
Nook
Smashwords
Blurb:
A tragic accident leaves Brynna and Travis devastated. Instead of turning to each other for comfort, they drift apart. However, they must complete one more assignment—set on an old ship, The Queen Mary, during Yule, one of the most haunted times in the Celtic calendar. It is believed souls of the dead prevail and anam cara—soul friends can visit.
Will Travis and Brynna confront the spirit of love, allowing them a chance to heal and find their way back to each other?

Monday, November 5, 2012

Here's Some Tales To Sink Your Teeth Into...

Got a thirst for vampire tales? Here's four tales to sink your teeth into...

Twilight's Eternal Embrace

Excerpt: In this scene: Bram and Adryanna meet for the first time. The Blue-eyed Devil Adryanna refers to is Bram.

"Have you come to join us?" She lifted her chin. "I was just going to show your friends the sting of my dagger. Mayhap you would like me to carve a tattoo on your forearm?"

His dark brows winged up and his full lips curved into a smile. "Perhaps later." He narrowed his eyes on the other two. "Begone, Fergal and Niven. Your fun is over this night."

The two youths grumbled, but they did not question the Blue-eyed Devil, who'd ordered them to leave.
Once they were alone, Adryanna wasn't sure if one threat was better than the other, but at least she'd have more of a chance with one Oiche Sith than with two.

"I mean you no harm," the Blue-eyed Devil said, his voice soothing in its claim, but her heart hammered, warning her he was a danger to her. Only she wasn't sure why. His stance spoke of no threat.

He had a wildly handsome face and the moonlight accented captivating shadows beneath his eyes. Her gaze fastened on his mouth and for a heartbeat of time, she imagined how those masculine lips would feel pressed against hers. With a sensuous mouth like that, his kisses would surely make a woman forget herself.

She met his steady gaze. The blood rushed to her head and she felt her cheeks flame hot. What was she doing? Then she knew. It was the Blue-eyed Devil's fault. "Stop it." She raised her dagger and jabbed it at him. "Do not come closer. I will not have you glamour me."

He lifted his hands in mock surrender. "I have done no such thing." His brows furrowed with concern. "What makes you believe such magic was done to you?"

He spoke the truth. Worry shadowed his eyes. Then she understood. It was not magic, but her body responding to him in a way she had not thought possible. She found him desirable. "No." She stumbled back to get away from him and almost fell, but he was quick, lightning quick as he came to her rescue. She thought meeting his gaze was unsettling, but his touch proved more wicked than casual glances. His hands came to rest on her waist, his touch burning through her shirt with raw heat. Don't look at him. Don't meet his eyes.

Damn her curiosity. Her eyes opened and she met his gaze. His eyes smoldered with desire, mirroring her own. He pulled her closer. There was no mistaking the hungry sensual growl in the back of his throat as he pressed his lips to hers. He didn't ravage, but took his time, savoring, tasting...seducing. She groaned beneath his tender assault before her brain registered what she was doing. Fear mixed with passion made her heart thump wildly.

Adryanna pushed at his chest, but he held her tight. She had to stop this before it was too late, before she no longer cared her enemy kissed her. Her dagger hand sliced through his shirtsleeve, hitting flesh. He let her go with a startled curse, but it was all she needed. She fled, her feet moving with sure strides as she made her way into the forest. She knew he could follow her, make her pay for drawing his blood, but he didn't pursue her.

Her feet didn't stop until she reached the safety of her village. Coomkeen lay calm and peaceful as the people slept. "What you should be doing also instead of kissing a bloodsucker." Her fingers lightly touched her lips, still tender from the Blue-eyed Devil's caress. She hated him for what he was, but her body didn't seem to care. With a touch of his lips, he awakened the woman in her. She didn't scare easily, but this frightened her. He had not used glamour, and yet, he still held a power to make her knees weak.
She turned, glancing toward the dark forest. The hairs on her arms stood up and she felt a tingle down her back. Had the Blue-eyed Devil followed her after all? The leaves rustled in the wind, but no one emerged from the shadows.

Kindle

Excerpt to Autumn Moon (Jairec has been bitten by a Chiang-shi (vampire). He is seeking help from a seer. Jairec is speaking first.

“This doctor will know how to help me? He’ll be able to turn me back?”

“I only know the elixir of life will be found there.” She hummed and weaved back and forth as if receiving some kind of psychic advice from the other side. “Autumn moon is your destiny. You must accept the elixir before the festival’s end. If you do not, you’ll remain cursed and walk among the undead for all eternity.”

“Dr. Lei will hand over the cure. Just like that.”

Her dark eyes riveted to him. “I never said it would be easy. He will most likely want to kill you.”

“I’m already dead, a vampire. Or what did you call me—a chiang-shih?”

She chuckled with no mirth. “I do hate the newly dead,” she mumbled. “No moron. He will perform a ritual sending your sorry ass to hell.”

Love's Eternal Embrace (Vampire Tale of Ireland's legendary Dearg-du.)
Kindle
Nook
“I am most curious, Sir Knight, how would you please me?” she asked him.

“How…” His brows furrowed. “You can read my mind.” He didn’t ask, but stated the obvious.

“Among other talents, I assure you.” Her hand touched his and he shivered. Her touch was like ice, but it also increased his desire to have her.

“You are cold, milady.” He drew off his mantle and draped it around her. Her eyes widened in surprise at the gesture.

“You are too kind, Sir Knight.”

“Liam, please. My friends call me Liam.”

Her smile curved wider, revealing straight white teeth. On his journeys many women over the age of ten and nine had begun to lose their teeth, but not this woman who lived among the trees. His gaze focused on two of her teeth that appeared pointier than the others. The villagers claimed a female fiend lived in the forest, but surely this woman with thick dark hair could not be such a creature. He didn’t fear her, but longed to hold her. As her gaze slid over him, appreciation gleamed in her eyes. The wind still blew about them in a fury. A storm threatened the night, not ghosts or fiends. “And what may I call you, fair maiden?”

“I was once called Glamis Drui.”

“Lady Glamis Drui.” He raised her hand to his lips. Her flesh was still cool, but she didn’t shiver. The wind seemed not to bother her in the least. “Do you have shelter, milady? We must wait out the storm.” His gaze swept over her comely figure with appreciation.

She stepped closer as if to inhale his essence. “Will you break your vows of celibacy and warm me this night then?”

She knew he was untried, but he failed to wonder how and question her further. He wanted nothing more than to be with her.
“Aye, I am yours.”

In this Christmas Collection, only my story is a vampire tale: Mistletoe, Stakes and Yuletide Cheer

In the scene below: Cassandra Hayes has just found out the vampire she's suppose to kill is Tremayne Graystone, the man she's been dating. They're in the forest behinds his house and she's already shot him once with a crossbow, but Tremayne believes the relationship can still be salvaged.  Tremayne is the one speaking.

“I’ve been minding my own business for centuries before such a job—as preternatural hunters—existed. I work, pay my taxes and I don’t go around killing innocents.”

Shrrrthunk!

He looked above his head where the arrow sat lodged into the tree trunk. When had she moved? “That was damn close, Cassandra."

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday: Mistletoe, Stakes and Yuletide Cheer #3

It's Six Sentence Sunday:
In this Scene: Cassandra (hunter) is questioning her time with Tremayne (vampire). He's a killer or so she believes. She's perched in a tree ready to take another shot at Tremayne with her bow and arrow. She will not allow him to sink his teeth into her.  Then it dawns on her that Tremayne has never attempted to bite her.... Hmmm... why not? http://www.kmnbooks.com/karens-shenanigans/

This is the last day to vote for your favorite Halloween Blog Flash. What's your take on eerie?
The Lady of the Cliffs by Karen Michelle Nutt
http://www.kmnbooks.com/the-lady-of-the-cliffs/

Friday, November 2, 2012

A Wicked Haunt-o-Ween Thank You!

I want to thank all the authors who participated and offered such fantastic prizes. You're the best! Readers without you, we wouldn't have this event. So thank you for following us and participating. We love you guys and gals!!