11-28 - Paty Jager

Friday, November 27, 2015


Merryvale is a village everyone would like to claim as a hometown once Santa starts loading his sleigh. Luckily for readers who love Christmas stories, author Robin Weaver is whisking us there once again this holiday season for a delightful laugh-filled visit.  

FULL CONTACT DECORATING is the newest title in Weaver’s series that starts with the mood-lifting CHRISTMAS TREE WARS. Her new novel, aptly dedicated to Christmas Tree Lovers everywhere, brings back many of our favorite characters.

Here’s a preview:

Katrina Snodgrass believes she can get her life back on track. If she can regain her title as the Christmas Tree Contest champion and re-snare the man of her dreams. Too bad soap-opera star, Tripp Anthony, isn’t interested—at least he’s indifferent until Hunter Montgomery arrives and convinces Katrina she needs to make her former flame jealous. The plan succeeds, but Katrina finds herself equally attracted to Tripp and Hunter, the man she loves to hate. Her heart is torn, but can she truly choose either man while she guards a horrible secret?

Here's a link to make it easy for you to buy an ebook copy of FULL CONTACT DECORATING for just $2.99. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 26, 2015



 Why do I write historical romance: Because I love history.

The most important aspects are:
You must be passionate about your subject in a historical novel. You might get away
without this passion in a contemporary but you won’t in a historical:

Historical Accuracy. Without that, your novel is doomed and so are you.

Write about an era that you are interested in.

I am not into Medieval or Regency, so it would be tedious tyring to do the research required for this, and I wouldn’t have the passion about it, and I am sure this would show in my writing.

 Research Options:
The internet (use with caution as you can’t be 100% sure that the person who posted knows what they are talking about).
Library reference books – a great place to start.
Quizzing elderly relatives (depending, of course, which era you are writing about)

2nd World War, Vietnam, Great Depression – all o.k. because they would have lived during these times.
Reading family diaries and/or letters.
Actually visiting places where you story takes place or somewhere similar.

e.g. I visited the old Melbourne jail for my novel, Daring Masquerade, because my heroine was jailed for being a spy. I wanted to see what it was like. The walls were solid bluestone, and cold, even on a warm day. The cell was small etc.

Name towns: Know the area. What grows etc. I always set most of my stories in N.E. Victoria because I know the area well. Mention a few main towns, but I never be too specific, because you can get easily caught out.  I always make up a fake town near a main town or city.

In my novel, Allison’s War, set in 1916, I said the heroine lived at Dixon’s Siding (made up name) i.e The left the farm at Dixon’s Siding, and after an hours riding (horses) reached Wangaratta.

I PURPOSELY DID NOT SAY Dixon’s Siding was (10 miles west of Wangaratta on the Greta/Myrtleford Road, because I didn’t know for sure, that there wasn’t a giant lake there or a massive quarry at that time (1916).


 Lauren’s Dilemma

1.30a.m., 25th April 1915. Gallipoli Peninsula, Turkey

Private Danny Williamson shivered in the chilly air as he waited on the deck of the troopship. In the darkness he couldn’t see land, even though someone said it was less than three miles away. When his turn came, he climbed down the rope ladder and found himself in an open boat. Excitement surged through him. He had travelled halfway around the world for this moment and was keen to give a good account of himself.

A.    Landing at Gallipoli 0130 hrs – not 1.30a.m. No soldier would say 1.30a.m. The army always uses the 24 hour clock

 My novel, A Wicked Deception is set in 1854 on the goldfields.

 On arrival at the homestead, Melanie unsaddled the mare and let her loose in the stockyards James had constructed from split logs. Surprising how neglected a house became after being left empty for a few days.
Within 5 minutes she had dusted the kitchen and was sitting down having a cup of hot milky tea?


Where did she get the milk?

  1.  Not out of the refrigerator that is for sure. She would have had to milk the cow. Water would have to be boiled on wood stove? She would have had to light the stove, maybe even cut the wood.
In Daring Masquerade 1916. The heroine goes to ring Colonel Andrew Smith. She punches in the telephone number –  and waits for him to pick up the phone? No.

 A.      She dialled the operator at the telephone exchange etc. And she certainly didn’t use her mobile phone.

On her wedding night, her nightgown was exquisite, a soft, white polyester, lavishly trimmed with lace.
A. No polyester in those days.
Know the area you are writing about:  In my novel, A Rose In No-Man’s Land, the heroine is in England. It was December, the sun streamed down from a cloudless blue sky and Amy felt so hot didn’t know how she would be able to walk back to the railway station.

A.        It would be winter in England in December.

 Beware of modern language and slang.
A poor, uneducated person wouldn’t speak the same way as a rich, educated person.

 So, as you can see there are many pitfalls to writing historical fiction, but if you have a genuine love of history it is a pleasure to write in this genre.

Margaret's Website:

Margaret's Author Page on Amazon: 
All the books mentioned have been published by Books We Love and are available at Books We Love or Amazon


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Hated, Now Love the Holidays

by M. L. Buchman

Christmas. I grew up in a Jewish household with a Christmas tree...and that had nothing to do with the problems. Some people's families are dysfunctional, some are just plain crazy. Mine was the latter, but they packed 99.9% of the craziness into the holiday season...and not in a good way. (My big sister was way smarter than me...still is. Thinking back, I'm not sure that she left her room for the entire month of December. See? Way smart.)

Scroll forward a decade. It took my best friends years to convince me to come over for Christmas. (Let's just say I was a little gun shy.) When no emotional explosions occurred I started to think this season had potential.

Another decade on and I met an amazing lady with a six-year-old daughter. Wow! Who ever knew that Christmas could be such a cool holiday? Actual reindeer bells rattled on the roof over the kids bedroom. Great story books read while piled together on the couch. Letters from Santa. (Might have written a few of those myself in later years following the Tolkien tradition. Tolkien's are worth it just for the illustrations, though his letters are awesome as well. My illustrations...well, not so much.)

So, when I started writing romances, I will admit that I had been, reluctantly, converted into believing that Christmas was kind of cool. I fought it the whole way. But...I may have written a few Christmas novels in recent times. Maybe some Night Stalkers Christmas romantic suspense and perhaps another in my Angelo's Hearth contemporary foodie romance series.

And I just might have maybe enjoyed writing some short stories as well (though don't press me on the enjoying part of that):

Where all this is leading is the story of my latest Christmas novel. It's little picture is up above, but here, I'll repeat it for you because it just released today and a new release always makes me giggle because I just can't get enough of it (and yes, a grown man, I do giggle).

In Christmas at Peleliu Cove I took on a Jewish Christmas. I didn't even think about it until I was well into writing in the book . And I had an absolute blast! Maybe I finally outgrew all of that familial angst (Whew! About time.) It was a chance to take my romantic suspense world, my Jewish heroine, and Christmas all in the same hovercraft sleigh. I can't remember the last time I was this merry about writing a book.

And over the years, I've come to realize that is the secret of both writing for a career and of Christmas...Unbridled Merriness! Here's an example:

Nika Maier and the crew are waiting in the Well Deck, a cavernous space inside the amphibious assault carrier the USS Peleliu). They have been preparing their LCAC (landing craft air cushion) hovercraft for a possible mission when Craftmaster Chief Petty Officer Sly Stowell returns with the news.

“Make ‘er ready,” Sly’s call echoed down the ramp before he made the last turn into view at the head of the Well Deck. It was the same words he used to start every live mission. A training exercise started, “Let’s go prove we still know how.”

“Way ahead of you, Chief,” Nika replied as he swung into view at a quick stride. Then she couldn’t resist, “Had it all inspected and prepped before any of these jokers even showed up.” She nodded toward the rest of the crew.

“What?” Tom exclaimed and Dave just looked bummed. Jerome nodded as if to say, “Of course you did.”

She heard the distant sound of several small engines coughing to life up in the garages and her pulse picked up its pace. “What kind of heat are we packing tonight?” She and Jerome had to make sure that any vehicles were positioned so that the LCAC’s loading was properly balanced and she’d fly true.

“Lots of little heat, Petty Officer Maier,” a deep voice wrapped in a soft Southern deeper and richer than Sly’s called out from the head of the loading ramp. “Fast and dirty heat. And a pair of RSOVs just in case.” Ranger Spec Ops Vehicles—they absolutely confirmed there was action tonight.

Nika glanced up the ramp to see Lieutenant Clint Barstowe arrive close behind Sly. The commander of the 75th Rangers platoon was a big man, and loaded for bear. Combat uniform, armored vest, and enough magazines for his rifle to take out an entire platoon of bad guys himself. He looked incredible. Not overly handsome, just damned good looking. Strong shoulders on a powerful frame. But mostly he radiated power—dark and dangerous. It wasn’t that you didn’t want to meet him in a trashy alley; even in broad daylight you’d best pray he was on your side.

His helmet was snagged on his belt, hooked over the butt of his knife. His service piece on the other hip and a rifle over his shoulder.

Then he totally spoiled the pretty picture by wearing a red Santa hat complete with white fur trim and pom-pom perched atop his Ranger-short black hair.

# # #

“Need to grow a white beard if you’re planning to live up to that hat, Lieutenant. Besides, you’re a little early there. And aren’t you from Arkansas? Do they even have Christmas that far south?”

Clint grinned at the heckler in surprise. Maier was always teasing people, but it was the first time she’d aimed a jibe at him in the eighteen months he’d been aboard.

“You snickering at my festive fedora, Petty Officer Nika Maier? Thanksgiving is a week gone; it’s December now. Where’s your Christmas spirit, Petty Officer?”

“I’m Jewish, Lieutenant. And we’re in the Southern Mediterranean where it’s seventy-eight Fahrenheit.”

“And you’re using that as an excuse not to be merry?”

“As I said, sir, Jewish. Against our religion to be merry because we don’t need an excuse to feel someone is out to get us—we already know they are. Besides, that’s not a fedora without a brim and an indented crown.” She picked up a three-foot steel pry bar used for tightening the vehicle tie-down chains and waved it at him, revealing a surprising strength in her slender frame. “Be glad to fix the latter problem for you,” her cheerful tone completely belied her prior declaration regarding merriness.

“And you never had a Christmas tree? I can only pity the poor, neglected child.”

“Might have had a Hanukkah bush, sir. Might have had pretty lights on it. Maybe even presents that were opened on December 25th. But I promise, I wasn’t merry about it.”
Wishing you immense merriness and a terribly cheerful turkey day!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015


 I am thankful my husband is on track for a complete recovery, although it will take six months to a year. I am thankful for his strength, his sense of humor and for painkillers. Lots and lots of painkillers..
I am thankful that, three weeks after major surgery, he is clear-headed enough to be concerned that I take care of myself. Which reminds me, I am very thankful to have time to pee again, and to have only two sleep interruptions to administer medication each night, and to have time to take the occasional shower.
I am thankful for a visit from grandchildren, and for Cribbage, and Words with Friends, and pets, and anything else that brings a smile to his face when I know he's in pain.
I am thankful my son can help with his father’s business, and that my daughter and her husband visit often and help with chores i can't do. Also for the anonymous kind neighbor who brings the trash can up the hill from the main road on trash day.
I am thankful I sprained my foot a week ago. I could have broken it. Dodged a bullet there!

I am thankful for the lovely view from our windows, our cheery fireplace and the perfect pumpkin pie recipe.
I am thankful for all the prayers and positive thoughts and healing energy that friends and family have sent/are sending to my husband. Also for family and friends who check on us and cheer us up via cards, texts or phone calls. And for my fellow Blog Queen, who has shouldered the entire workload for three weeks.
I am thankful for my sister, a long-term caregiver, who supports me and shares her wisdom with me. 
I am thankful my daughter-in-law offered to spend the night before Thanksgiving with us so she can cook the turkey in the morning and help prepare for company. And for paper plates, of course.
Most of all, I am thankful I can be my husband's caregiver.
~Sarah Raplee

Monday, November 23, 2015

My Go-to Holiday Book

By Courtney Pierce

Image: Dave Clegg
One of my greatest fears of getting older is that I’ll become a fuddy-duddy―a cynic, a com-plainer, a tiresome grump. Something happens to my psyche after eleven months of negative media: talking heads blathering about doom and gloom, celebrities sending career-ending tweets, kids bullying one another on Facebook, hackers stealing our souls, and politicians clawing for their nanosecond in the spotlight. People battle for parking spaces, get road rage in traffic, and cut in line. By the end of the year, I suffer from so much toxic buildup that I even bark back at the dog next door:

“Quiet! I’m trying to write over here! Geez.”

And another thing―all the big bills come in the fall: increases in health insurance, car registration, and property taxes. The relentless begging mail flows in to guilt me with pictures of abused animals and hungry children. After Black Friday, my faith in the human spirit has hardened like the pesky arthritic knot on my knuckle.

On the first of December, at sundown, my emotional alarm sounds. 

It’s time.

After washing my hands, I step to the den and run my finger over the spines of vintage books like a stick on a picket fence. I slide out only one and gaze at its olive-green cloth cover, the same book I’ve read every December for thirty-six years: an 1866 "Cheap Edition" of Charles Dickens’s Christmas Books, a collection of five holiday classics: A Christmas Carol, The Chimes, The Cricket on the Hearth, The Battle of Life, and The Haunted Man. I crack open the spine to savor the pulpy aroma of wisdom on the foxed pages.

Only one story will be read per day. And for that solitary hour or so, the world slows its spin as the sun crawls behind the Douglas firs. Golden sparkles peek through their branches and disappear, igniting those on the newly erected Christmas tree inside. An aroma of evergreen freshness fills the air. I turn on the lamp’s switch with a soft click. A gas fire flickers and warms the living room. I recite the tiny, two-columned prose aloud, making the cat curl upside down in my lap, her whiskers twitching when my speech takes on a melodic quality. The long-lost style of sentence rhythm and vivid descriptions allow me to taste the words. I save the best one for last: A Christmas Carol.

As I read―some paragraphs twice―my cynical thoughts shed like the last hangers-on from the maple tree outside. They, too, will fall and decompose to feed my garden. As with each passing year, I stand tall against Ebenezer Scrooge’s miserly declaration, refusing to “be boiled with my own pudding” and “buried with a stake of holly through my heart” should I deign to utter the words, Merry Christmas.

After closing the book, I gaze out the window, astonished at how a simple short story can restore me to a place of inspiration and charity. My dial is reset. I’m able to take stock in the good and catch all those quiet acts of kindness that people do, acts that no one talks about on the news. 

For the next six months, I’ll be a courteous driver and let the guy with a lonely can of soup go ahead of me in line. The free turkey, a reward for having spent so much, will be donated to one who has none. In spring, tulips will pop like a Monet with the unfurling of new maple leaves. Then, the dog days of summer will be too hot to wave at the neighbors. The ban on watering my lawn will make me thirsty, and some recall of tainted food might ruin the Labor Day barbecue. By Halloween, I’ll have shut off the porch light to protect my pumpkin from vandals. Woe be to the critters who dare ring the doorbell―they’ll release the fuddy-duddies inside.

Again, it'll be time for my detox of Dickens.

And this, my last post before Christmas, I deign to wish you all a Merry Christmas and the best of every culture's benevolent holidays. Seven days from now, you'll find me reading by the fire. See you all on the other side on December 28th, newly inspired and getting ready to release my new book, Indigo Lake, into the world. 

Courtney Pierce is a fiction writer living in Oregon with her husband of thirty-six years and bossy cat. She writes for baby boomers. Her novels are filled with heart, humor, and mystery. Courtney has studied craft and storytelling at the Attic Institute and has completed the Hawthorne Fellows Program for writing and publishing. She is also a board member of the Northwest Independent Writers Association and is active with Willamette Writers, Pacific Northwest Writers Association, and Sisters in Crime.

Colorful characters come alive in Courtney's latest novel, The Executrix. When three middle-age sisters find a manuscript for a murder mystery in their mother's safe after her death, the book gives them a whole new view of their mother. Is it fiction? . . . or truth? Sibling blood becomes thicker than baggage when Mom becomes larger in death than she was in life.

The second book of The Dushane Sisters Trilogy will be released in early 2016. The cover will be an original painting. Indigo Lake continues the three sisters' middle-age orphan journey of life, love, and laughs. Protecting Mom's reputation might get them all killedor give them the story they've been dying to live.

Visit Courtney's website at Her books can be purchased at Windtree PressAmazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo Books, and at several independent bookstores in the Portland area.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Futuristic Holidays & Christmas In Spaaaaace! #holiday #romance #scifi

Hi, I'm Pippa Jay, author of scifi and the supernatural with a romantic soul. When it comes to my main genre of science fiction romance, I've always found imagining Christmas in space or on an alien planet a bit of a stretch, but last year I finally came up with something that satisfied my wish to write a Christmas story set in the future on another world. I set it on a planet in permanent winter and rapidly approaching its winter solstice, an astronomical event common to any planet. It's...still not finished. Ooops? 

But while I'm still struggling to finish mine and get it out into the world, because I am a scifi romance author at heart, I've found some Christmas (and other holiday) themed SFRs for you to try.


Noelle In His Heart (Celestial Seasons #1) by C.E. Kilgore Details here:
A Christmas romance with a Sci-Fi twist!
Noelle has made the same wish for the past six years to the angel on top of Father Nathan’s Christmas Tree. All she wants for Christmas is someone with warm arms to hold her and who can understand that she has commitments – commitments which include the twenty-six children at the foster center she volunteers for.
Stranded on Earth six years ago, Steve and his crewmates have done a pretty good job of secretly finding a place in human society, but it doesn’t erase the loneliness that hits hardest around the holidays. He longs for companionship and someone who will understand that his alien heart can love just as deeply

Hey, Santa: SciFi Holiday Romance by Jessica E Subject
She doesn’t want a lot for Christmas… 
Claire Otton dreads spending another holiday alone. When her best friend convinces her to approach the sexy mall Santa, she takes the chance and asks him out, hoping for so much more. 
He’s waiting under the mistletoe… 
Although Andreas Castellanos blends in on Earth, he knows he will never belong. But when the gorgeous woman he’d been staring at invites him to dinner, he has a hard time saying no. 
All they’re asking for… 

Can these two lonely souls find magic together or will their secrets steal their chance of a happy Christmas?

Ghosts of Christmas Past, Corrina Lawson,
Christmas can be murder on a relationship that’s on the rocks.
The Phoenix Institute, Book 3.5
As Christmas approaches in crumbling Charlton City, Detective Aloysius James and his partner, Noir, are at a crossroads. Figuring out how to reconcile their careers with their relationship is harder than catching the bad guys.
Now that Noir has learned to control her invisibility and is making a name for herself among the city’s artist collective, Al senses there’s something she’s keeping from him. And he doesn’t know how long they can remain partners. Or even lovers.
Noir isn’t sure how Al would take it if he knew how deeply he has touched her artistic soul, or how he could react if he saw the secret drawings that have helped heal the wounds of her past.
When a murder lands them on opposite sides—Al ready to arrest a suspect Noir insists in innocent—they’re going to need to unwrap all the ghosts of their pasts to make this Christmas the first of many. Or it could be their last. Warning: Contains explicit, desperate make-up sex. Also, pie.

A Galactic Holiday: SciFi Romance trilogy

Do androids dream of electric sugar plums?
A detective who refuses to modify her body teams up with her cyborg rival to track down a burglar who is putting toys into homes. A solitary ice miner finds love and friendship while stranded on the surface of Galileo. And two hardheaded negotiators put their differences aside to evade an assassin and save their planets. Enjoy these visions of Christmases yet to come with three science-fiction novellas from Carina Press.
How the Glitch Saved Christmas, by Stacy Gail
Galileo's Holiday, by Sasha Summers
Winter Fusion, by Anna Hackett
Stories also available for purchase separately. 86,000 words

Even Villains Have Interns is set around Christmas and ends with a Christmas Day proposal (psst, recommended - this is one of my favourite series!)
It's Chicago's favorite city son vs Delilah, daughter of Dr. Charm. America's second city will never know what hit it. 
Bootleggers, drug dealers, crooked cops, and dirty politicians... Chicago has always had a reputation for indulging in the finer vices of life. That’s why Doctor Charm’s favorite daughter found America’s Second City so appealing; criminals are never boring. As second in command for the powerful Subrosa Security group, Delilah Samson finds opportunities to use her superpowers at every turn. Whether it’s stealing a priceless French painting from a mobster or stopping a drug deal, she’s game. 
In fact, the only thing she doesn’t care for is Chicago’s favorite native son, Deputy Mayor Alan Adale, the man who made Lucifer jealous. Sinfully handsome, or possibly just sinful, Adale has been pursuing Delilah since she first arrived, and she’s been dodging. 
When she finds ties between the new kingpin in town and a drug The Company wants to buy so they can create more superheroes, Delilah takes the gloves off. Teaming up with the spooky Spirit of Chicago, she aims to take down the dealers, the mobsters, the kingpin, and The Company. All without falling in love with the one man capable of capturing her heart. 

Old Terran holidays:
Yule -

Starlander's Myth by Melisse Aires

Asteroid miner Jack Starlander stumbles upon the illegal sale of a woman and child with unusual abilities. Jack once fought to free slaves and can't abide slavers. In the ensuing shoot out, two important men die. Jack, Sophie, her daughter and Jack's close neighbors are forced to flee to safety. Their journey takes them into deadly danger. 
An Antiquarian with her own ancient secret, Sophie knows old stories may seem fantastical but have a core of truth. She recognizes the mythic thread in the old Starlander legend. Perhaps his family's myth can save them. 
Futuristic/Alien holidays:
The Festival of Lights -

Gifts of Jangalore by Aurora Springer

Adventure & romance starring psychics and aliens.
On the eve of the festival of lights, Rosa Spruce is alone and half the galaxy away from her home planet. On the remote planet of Jangalore, she serves as the guard for Psi Master Varan. He is a man of immense power and influence, well above her lowly status. Their hazardous venture seeking the ancient site within the jungle will require their combined psychic skills for success.

Discover the Grand Masters' Universe in this short story.


Thursday, November 19, 2015

It's the most wonderful time of the year

Happy Thursday Everyone! Thanks for stopping by. I’m Terri Molina, and I write Tex-Mex romance. You can learn more about me at

Thanksgiving is next week---Yes, already! This year flew by faster 
than a turkey trying to run from the farmer’s ax (probably not a good analogy as turkeys can only run about 25 mph).  
Thankfully, the grocery stores take care of the catching and cleaning of the bird.

Anyway, I love Thanksgiving--having family and friends around the dinner table and giving thanks for all the blessings we’ve been given.  But most of all I love the food!  I mean, really, who doesn’t?? 

For nearly thirty years I’ve been the one cooking dinner. Not because I have to….because I want to. I love preparing the meal and desserts.  The past few years my children have been volunteering to help….which is fine, I’m not that obsessive about it, and our menu is generally the same each year:
·         Turkey,  
·         cornbread dressing & gravy,
·         green bean casserole,
·         cranberry salad,
·         croissant rolls
…somewhat traditional.  And I’ll probably limit the desserts to just pie…which I don’t eat because I don’t like pie (unheard of, I know. )  Then of course we’ll eat the leftovers for a couple of days and do it all over again at Christmas.  Haha

Another of our traditions is ’game night’, which, even now as adults, my kids enjoy, Pictionary being the favorite. We do two teams -- girls against boys-- and use a large white board to draw the pictures.  This year we’re adding a new game…one we started on my birthday… a Lip Sync battle. 

So, what are some of the traditional / not so traditional things you do during the holidays?