Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Sonali Dev | Kimi, A Heroine with Unique Challenges and an Even More Unique Spirit
Author Guest / December 29, 2017

Characters always come to me before plots. Plots in fact are something I have to wrestle down, often earning me a few hundred gray hairs before a book is done. But the characters, they are what make sacrificing my jet black locks worth every lost strand. When I started writing A CHANGE OF HEART, I meant to write a story about Nikhil, a doctor with Doctors-Without-Borders, finding healing after his wife’s death when he meets the woman who got his wife’s heart in a transplant. The woman was Kimi, a wealthy politician’s daughter who has been sick her entire life, and then her father acquires the heart that saves her but it’s by nefarious means. Despite all her physical challenges, Kimi was such a bright and optimistic character that she really was more a healer than someone in need of healing, so she just didn’t work as someone who fit with Nikhil, who really needed to resurrect the dead healer inside him. Jess — initially a secondary character whom the villain employs to entrap Nikhil — was that force for him. Nikhil and Jess just worked, leaving me with Kimi whom I loved, and I had to discover her story….

An Excerpt from HARD LANDING by Becky McGraw
Excerpt / December 28, 2017

Excerpt Hawk’s heart had never been so full, he thought, as he held his daughter to his shoulder and gently patted her back the way Maddie had shown him. Her gentle roar tickled his insides and he smiled. When Sarah sighed and snuggled into his neck, peace and contentment swept through him and he sighed too. No wonder Maria didn’t want to let Maddie have time with her. He understood now why evicting her, her baby and her boobs from the suite became necessary to get his time too. Sarah Elaine Hawkins, named after both their mothers, was the sweetest, most cuddly baby in the world. Irresistible when she turned on her charm. A chip off the old block. Forget the fucking test—call and tell them you don’t want to know. Just tell Maddie to tell them she had the baby in El Paso when you stopped for fuel. Tell her to put your name on the birth certificate. But it was too late for that. He’d set those wheels in motion, and there was no stopping that runaway bus now. Maddie’s disability payments and Sarah’s future now depended on those results, because of him. HARD LANDING by Becky McGraw…

Gail Ingis | IT’S TIME FOR SOME SCROOGE
News / December 22, 2017

My angel is all caught up in the holiday spirit. No matter what I say, she insists I take the time to enjoy the tree lights and sing Christmas carols. She even wants me to paint a winter landscape. She reminds me to be kind, patient and generous of spirit. She says, “Remember Scrooge? Of course! Who can forget the miser who turns into a kind and giving soul? A Christmas Carol is the classic Christmas Story by Charles Dickens that so many of us love to read at this time of year. It reminds us to have have joy and peace in our hearts and to be kind all year long. Scrooge, was a squeezing, scraping, clutching old miser. He hated Christmas, and said it was nothing but “humbug.” Well, we all know the truth don’t we? What ever you celebrate during the Holiday Season – it is a time for sharing and charing and giving. And that is what life is all about isn’t it? Here are the last two pages from the original book, A CHRISTMAS CAROL by Charles Dickens, pp115-116 (public domain-from the Library of Congress) But he was early at the office next morning. Oh,…

Dani Pettrey | X is for Xerach
Author Guest / December 22, 2017

Hi, friends! I’m super excited to share today’s word with you. It was a little interesting come up with an applicable word for X, but I found one, and I don’t know about you, but it really speaks to where I am right now with my recent health issues and some other trials I’m facing. It’s a word that holds so much encouragement, I feel God whispering it to my soul as I type this out. So, without further ado, x is for xerach! Yes, it’s a word. A wonderful word full of deep meaning. Xerach is: Plant succession starting on bare ground or rock (an empty place or a hard surface) and culminating in a mature climax forest. It is mature forest growing from the humblest of beginnings. A lone xerach flower blooming in the desert is a far mightier display of God’s might than a meadow full of them. If He’s planted you in a dry place, trust that He’ll bring you to bloom. God says in His Word: If you are struggling to grow in a dry, hard place, trust that God is at work and when you mature into full bloom, you will be a glorious…

Getting Cozy with the Best of 2017
Cozy Corner / December 18, 2017

It’s hard to pick the best mysteries of the past year, especially when I’m limited on space. I don’t feature a book I don’t love, so if you’ve seen it on the Cozy Corner, you know I adored it. Yet each year I torture myself by trying to list the best mysteries, and considering I never come close to reading all of the books in my to-be-read file, it’s an impossible task. What if the best is still at the bottom of that pile?! This year the challenge seemed even more difficult and my pile even bigger, which led me to choose books that resonated with me, for one reason or another, throughout the past twelve months. I hope you enjoy my picks for 2017’s best mysteries. ON HER MAJESTY’S FRIGHTFULLY SECRET SERVICE ON HER MAJESTY’S FRIGHTFULLY SECRET SERVICE by Rhys Bowen Royal Spyness Mystery #11 In the new Royal Spyness Mystery from the New York Times bestselling author of Crowned and Dangerous, Lady Georgiana Rannoch juggles secret missions from the Queen, Darcy, and her mother. But it’s all in a day’s work when you’re thirty-fifth in line to the British Crown. When Darcy runs off on another secret assignment,…

Gail Ingis | A Christmas Concert to Remember
Author Guest / December 17, 2017

This past Sunday, December 3, Tom and I took the 90 minute drive up the Palisades, across the Bear Mountain Bridge, around the bending roads and up the hills, to the West Point Cadet Chapel in West Point, NY. West Point is actually the name of the town, the home of the United States Military Academy where Handel’s Messiah was being performed. Our daughter-in-law, Joanne Ingis, was one of the voices in the visiting chorals. The voices echoed like angels in this beautiful chapel. A standing ovation followed the 90 minute concert. Well deserved, I must add. Joanne, part of a New Jersey choral group, practiced numerous hours over many weeks for two performances: #1 Hawthorne Bible Church in New Jersey, #2 here at the Chapel. On December 19th, Joanne will sing with the choral group at Rockefeller center.and then the next evening, she will be singing Getty Irish Christmas in Carnegie Hall. A few of the voices, Cadets joined the chorals and featured a female Cadet soloist. This was not the first time I visited West Point. My son Rick’s friend got married in this Chapel, and oh my, it was beautiful. The services were followed by a reception…

Cate Cameron | The Joys of Being Single for the Holidays (and all the rest of the year!)
Author Guest / December 15, 2017

I know, it’s a strange theme for a romance novelist to explore. Aren’t I supposed to be dedicated to the ideal of True Love? Don’t I believe that the only way to have a Happily Ever After is for the main couple to be together? Well, in books, sure. That’s all lovely. But in real life? I love being single, and I especially love being single at the holidays. The only time I appreciate singledom more is when I screw up. Like, when I do something totally stupid. A few years ago I ran into a post in a parking lot and tore the bumper off my three-month-old car. Absolutely no reason for it, totally careless, no way to blame anyone else and it was likely going to cost me a small fortune. Still, I smiled all the way to the auto dealership. Because I didn’t have to feel guilty. I didn’t have to confess my stupidity, didn’t have to defend myself if my partner went ballistic, didn’t have to feel grateful if he was good about it. I made a mess, and I took care of getting it fixed. That easy. And that’s why I love being single. Holidays…

New Rule: No Holidays allowed until I finish dying my Easter Eggs.
News / December 14, 2017

I used to love holidays. Easter eggs, Halloween costumes, even flag day was fun. But since my kids have left home (Yippee, empty nesting!), I can’t be bothered to notice the passing of days. Well, that’s not exactly true. I count days by words written and deadlines missed or (fingers crossed) made. So now that we’ve finished Thanksgiving and are heading toward Christmas, Hanukah, and Kwanza (not to mention Omisoka, St. Lucy’s day, and New Years) guess what my holiday plans look like. Plans? Who plans? I’m going to sit by a fire and read while my cat tries to drink my wine Husband is doing the tree and outdoor lights. I’m shopping to feed 1000 (aka my teenaged nieces and nephews). And amazon is delivering the rest. What holiday? Talk to me after I finish my next grizzly bear shifter romance. (Sign up for my newsletter /// here to get a sneak peek…um, coming as soon as the book is done. Which will be soon, I swear!) Pass the egg nog. My manscripts are written, the presents are bought, and… bwahahahaha! I couldn’t even finish typing this because it’s too ridiculous for words. I’m turning off the news, my…

Spotlight on Patricia A. Wolf
Author Spotlight / December 14, 2017

Christmas With A Bite by Patricia A. Wolf Sometimes the holidays totally bite… Available now — .99 cents until 1/7/18 House of Elysian Entangled Covet December 2014 On Sale: December 15, 2014 Featuring: Mara Livingston; Connor Reece 175 pages ISBN: 1633751589 EAN: 9781633751583 Kindle: B00Q1YU43M e-Book Add to Wish List Read An Excerpt Buy CHRISTMAS WITH A BITE: Kindle | BN.com | iTunes/iBooks | Kobo | Google Play This Christmas, Mara Livingston is determined to start over. But as she’s driving to her “new” home, a freak winter storm forces her off the road. Now she’s stranded in the middle of nowhere. Then he shows up. And there’s something strangely familiar about him… Connor Reese never expected to see Mara again. Nor is he prepared for the onslaught of emotions–including an unimaginable rush of desire–she stirs within him. Now he has a chance to claim the woman he’s always wanted. Except, there are a couple of small details that Mara doesn’t know. The first is that Connor is a vampire. And the second is that if his family finds out about Mara, she will most certainly be killed… Buy CHRISTMAS WITH A BITE: Kindle | BN.com | iTunes/iBooks | Kobo…

Elizabeth Keysian | Five Scandals and Scoundrels that influenced me
Author Guest / December 13, 2017

I’ve always been attracted by the image of the heroic highwayman, even though the myth puts a golden gloss on reality. So I squeezed a highwayman into the plot of A PERILOUS PASSION—well, two, actually, although neither steals anything more valuable than a pocketful of eggs. My imagination was fuelled by the stories of Claude Duval, and James Maclaine. Duval was a Frenchman who took to highway robbery on English roads after the Restoration of Charles II. A great one for the ladies, Duval robbed them with courtesy and flattery, flouting his handsome looks. When he was executed, aged only 27, it is said a number of disguised but obviously wealthy female mourners came to pay their last respects. James Maclaine, “The Gentleman Highwayman”, worked in partnership with a bankrupt apothecary called William Plunkett. The elegantly-dressed Maclaine pursued the ladies, in search of an heiress or someone with a substantial dowry, but never quite made it to the altar. His clothing and lifestyle were paid for by highway robbery, although he tended to lurk in the background while Plunkett conducted the actual hold-ups. Maclaine, having accidentally grazed writer Horace Walpole with a pistol shot, then wrote him a letter of…