About Once Upon a Word: We're a large group of multi-talented authors working together, to bring you the best romances. Please, stop by our websites and check out what we've been up to: Publishing by Rebecca J. Vickery and Victory Tales Press.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

HAVE YOU MADE YOUR RESOLUTIONS YET? by Linda Swift




A resolution is a serious thing.  Webster's has many definitions of the word but the one apropos to these words of wisdom  is "a decision as to future action."  It is a well-known fact that New Year's resolutions are made to be broken. People resolve to lose weight, give up harmful habits, be nice to an annoying family member, spend less money or save more, work harder, and the list goes on and on. Many resolutions are kept only a few days, some longer. But for however long our effort lasts, perhaps the time to resolve to take some action is well spent. It at least forces us to focus on what we would like to accomplish in the year ahead.

As I write this we are on the threshold of 2017 and I think most people are relieved to see 2016 pass into history. I always make a few personal resolutions as a new year begins and I imagine many of you do as well. (How long I keep them is another story.) But I'm not  going to talk about the personal issues I propose to do (or not). I want to share some thoughts on professional resolutions that relate to my writing life.

High on my list is a revision of my website which is long overdue. When I began my career as a     digital author about eight years ago, a website was a requirement with most publishers. I examined several sites, chose one I liked, and contacted the author. I learned that she had built it herself  and she encouraged me to do that. So with input from her and help from Go Daddy, I did. (Thanks, Celia Yeary). In the process I gained a wonderful new online friend. Websites are no longer of such great importance, but since I have a three year contract now in its first year, I need to update my site yesterday.

Updating my files and folders is also a nagging chore that I need to address.  I have finally surrendered to Windows constant brainwashing tactics and accepted Windows 10. This has forced me to buy a new wireless printer that is compatible with the change. Never mind that I have two perfectly efficient printers, one in Kentucky, one in Florida because they were too awkward to carry back and forth.  Yes, I'm aware that this is a sales gimmick but I am grudgingly learning to accept the"technical" things I cannot change. So with W-10 and a new printer in place, I resolve to tackle my tangled files and folders and try to sort then out.

I have always had a reputation as a well-organized person in every aspect of my life. But that involves tangible things. I find it much more difficult to organize material I can't see. And don't get me started on those flash drives my husband (aka the in-house techie) has filled with my writing information and photos. I keep wanting to print everything out and arrange it in a circle on the floor around me and sort it into kindred stacks! But I resolve to try harder to function better in cyberspace.


Twenty-something of my books are currently available online (and most also in print). It is like having twenty children screaming for my attention and constantly feeling guilty for neglecting them. I love each one dearly but will confess that I have favorites. I believe that if I spent more time promoting any one of them, they would reward me with higher sales.So I resolve to work more consistently on promo, using a fair rotation plan.

I have a finished semi-fiction book that needs editing and submitting. I also have a fiction manuscript that needs a final chapter written before submission. And I have a sequel to This Time Forever that is mostly in my head and should be written to bring that story to completion. I resolve to spend less time on Facebook and more time at my computer working in Word.

If you are counting, this is five resolutions to make me a more successful digital author. Will I accomplish these goals? Probably not, but in the words of  Robert Browning "...a man's reach should exceed his grasp, Or what's a heaven for?"

I wish you a happy, healthy 2017. May your dreams come true and all of your resolutions lead to success.

P.S.Oh, I almost forgot to add that I am also resolving to complete my monthly blog post here before the "last minute" that it is due to be published!



You can find me and/or my books at the links below:

My Books

My Web Site

My Facebook Page

Sunday, December 18, 2016

I'll be Home for Chanukah by Nancy Goldberg Levine @KMNbooks @rebeccajvickery #holidaystories #romance


Let's give Nancy Goldberg Levine a warm welcome!

KAREN: Why don't you tell the readers a little bit about yourself.NANCY: I worked for a weekly newspaper for fifteen years and a legal publisher for five years, and now work in public service.  I've sold more than sixty short stories and sold my first romance novel, "Tempting Jonah," in 1999. I have six self-published stories as well as four under my pseudonym, Vi LaNance. Under Goldberg Levine the stories are sweet contemporary romantic comedies, and the ones published under Vi LaNance are R-rated romantic comedies.
 

KAREN: Tell us your latest news. Do you have any current projects you're working on?
 

NANCY: I'm working on a historical set in the fictional town of Dannville, Colorado, (same setting as "I'll Be Home for Chanukah," called (working title) "Honeysuckle for Honey." It's set in 1896, and is about the man who owns the saloon and the new doctor who comes to town. It started as a dream about me and friends of mine living in this town in 1896.  
KAREN:  What is the name of your story and what inspired you to write this tale for the Let it Snow, 2016 Holiday Romance Collection?
 

NANCY: "I'll Be Home for Chanukah" is about a rabbi who's in the town of Dannville temporarily and who thinks he has the perfect family and a paramedic who is on a leave of absence but loves her town. She lives with her ninety-something Grandma Bernie and the rabbi is her best friend's brother. Her family back in Ohio is definitely not perfect. I liked writing about the fictional town of Dannville and these characters just showed up and started telling their story.
 

KAREN: When you were a child, what holiday story intrigued you the most?
 

NANCY: The story of Chanukah--how Judah and the Maccabees only had enough oil to last for one day, but the oil lasted for eight days--it was a miracle. I still believe in miracles, even though that sometimes gets me into trouble. I always believe, in the back of my mind, that anything is possible.
 
 
KAREN:  What do you think makes a good holiday story?NANCY: Stories about family and friends, not necessarily people with a lot of money, but ordinary people who persevere through difficult times.
 

KAREN: What is your favorite holiday movie or book?
 
 
NANCY: I read a book years ago, a romance set in Cincinnati (where I live) at Chanukah. It was called "Season of Light" by Lorna Michaels. I loved that book, and the setting. 

KAREN: What is your favorite holiday drink or food dish? 

NANCY: Peppermint hot chocolate, peppermint ice cream, potato pancakes, and jelly donuts. 

KAREN: What makes you interested in the genre you write? 

NANCY: I love romantic comedy--I hope I have a good sense of humor--and I like to write about ordinary people, although when I first started writing, I wrote about princesses and people with lots of money.
 




About I'll be Home for Chanukah - Dannville Dreamers, Book One
Paramedic Eve Preston is taking some boss-mandated time off from her job. Her parents don't understand her at all—they wanted her to be a doctor, and a wife and mother. She's perfectly happy in Dannville, Colorado being housemates with her Grandma Bernie and her cat, Simba. Then Rabbi Byron Sachs, her best friend's brother, takes a temporary job at Eve's temple and that changes everything.
Rabbi Byron Sachs is a city boy who thinks his family is perfect. When he meets his sister's best friend, Eve, he starts to re-think life in the big city. As he spends more time in Dannville, he learns that his family isn't perfect, and that life in a small town might not be so bad after all.
Can a great miracle in Dannville bring Eve and Byron together? 

Purchase your copy today 
Ebook:  Amazon /Amazon UK / Smashwords / iTunes /Nook
In Print:
Amazon /Amazon UK /Createspace / Barnes and Noble



~Enjoy a Snippet from I'll be Home for Chanukah~


The sanctuary at Temple Beth David is decorated in royal blue and gold. There are all kinds of Chanukah decorations – most made by the religious school kids. Paper dreidels and menorahs hang from fishing wire and blue and white paper chains. A menorah with five candles sits on the podium in front. I used to just come to temple for the Jewish New Year and Yom Kippur, but I find myself showing up at Beth David more and more. I like the members of the congregation and it feels like home. My best friend, Sirena Sachs, is a member, and so is my grandma Bernie. I moved to Dannville because of Grandma Bernie. I spent summers here as a kid, and stayed with my grandma, and I moved here for good about ten years ago after becoming an EMT.

Sirena approaches us carrying two pies, one Dutch apple and one pumpkin. She hugs my grandma, who's tall and slender. Grandma's hair is cut in a neat gray bob and her blue eyes twinkle.

I look at the spinach dip and potato chips grandma Bernie, short for Bernice, is holding. She's not one of those grandmas who whips up cookies in her kitchen or watches cooking shows on TV, but I'm closer to her than I am to my parents.

I tease her as we all walk into the kitchen. "Thanks for bringing the pies. What's everyone else going to eat for dessert?"

Sirena laughs, puts the pies on the kitchen island, and takes off her coat, hat and gloves. "Traffic is crazy out there. I almost got here late and I don't want to miss services…" Her voice trails off as we go back into the sanctuary. We sit on comfortable banquettes covered with teal blue cloth. She's still looking around.

"How come you're so hyper?"

"Oh, I…"
Sirena twirls a lock of honey-blonde hair around her finger, something she always does when she's nervous. She's my exact opposite in coloring—my hair is dark brown, but I have lilac-blue eyes. Her eyes are brown and her shoulder-length hair is blonde. She's still doing the hair twist thing when I hear the sound of a low male voice.
"Hi, Sis!"
I glance in the direction of the deep voice and into brown eyes that remind me of a hot cup of coffee. A handsome man with hair the same color as Sirena's is standing there, smiling down at us. He's dressed in a navy blue sports jacket, a white collared shirt and a Chanukah tie with dreidels on it. He's wearing a yarmulke. I've seen pictures of Sirena's brother, but I've never actually met him. The pictures don't do him justice. He's tall and muscular, but not too muscular. I could develop a serious crush on him if I let myself.
Sirena makes the introductions. "Byron's taking over for a few weeks as Beth David's rabbi because Rabbi Goldsmith is in the hospital."
Uh oh. I shouldn't think about Byron's muscles, or eyes the color of coffee or anything else. Not only is he a man of the cloth, he's Sirena's brother, and he's only here temporarily. I try to sound as bright as the flame on the menorah candles. "It's nice to meet you. How do you like Dannville so far?"
Oh, that smile is my undoing. "I haven't seen much of it except Sirena's diner and well, here. Plus the Galloway Inn. That's where I'm staying."
Sirena runs Sachs's Dannville Diner and her food is legendary. "Well, you won't starve and you couldn't pick a better place to stay." Boring. If he has insomnia I'm sure my conversation will cure it.
"Nice meeting you," Byron says. "I've got to…" He looks toward the bima and walks to the front of the sanctuary.
Nice butt.
Grandma agrees with my assessment, and Sirena glares at us. Oh, no. I'd voiced my opinion of Byron, the rabbi's, butt out loud. I can feel heat rising on my face. "I'm sorry, Sirena."
"Nu, Evie?" Grandma says. "Why apologize? It's the truth."
He's my best friend's brother. He's a rabbi. He's only here temporarily. I repeat those words in my head like the prayers from the service.
"I just found out he was taking the job yesterday," Sirena whispers. "He didn't know if he could get the time off."
I remember her telling me that he's the chaplain at a hospital in Boston, where he lives. "I understand."
After the service, we move to the room next to the sanctuary, where all of the tables are set up for the dinner. Everyone brought something and it's buffet style, so Sirena, Grandma Bernie and I serve ourselves.
"May I join you pretty ladies?" Byron asks after my grandma, Sirena and I sit down.
"Sure," Sirena says.
He's right next to me and I inhale the crisp, clean scent of soap. "I really enjoyed the service."
"Thanks. I had to put everything together in a hurry since I wasn't sure if I could get the time off. So Sirena tells me you're an EMT."
Finally, something I could discuss that wouldn't put him to sleep. I take bites of the brisket and potato pancakes some of the congregants had brought, and then talk. "Yes. I love it." I don't tell him that I'm on vacation because I was working too many hours, and snapping at patients and staff.  I also don't tell him that things always seem to go wrong during the holidays, at least for me. This year, it was my vacation, last year Max and I had decided we were better off as friends. "My parents wanted me to be a doctor and then a wife and mother. I struck out on both counts."
"Maybe you'll do that, too, someday," Grandma Bernie says.
"Maybe. How did you get the name Byron?"
The conversation flowed like the apple cider mocktails everyone was drinking. At least something is going right for a change. "My parents met in college in a romantic poets class. So my mom decided to name me Byron."
"Are you a poet?"
"Not really, although I've written a couple of songs." He gives an "aww shucks" shrug of his broad shoulders.
"Anything I've heard of?"
"No. I guess you could say I struck out on the poet/songwriter front."
Sirena hasn't said much; she's just eating her dinner and casting surreptitious glances at me and Byron when she thinks we're not looking. I remind myself to tell her that I'm not interested in her brother. Although he is cute. Okay, he's adorable, but there can't ever be anything between us, so I have to think about Brad Pitt or George Clooney or someone like that.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Nancy Goldberg Levine has been writing since she was seven. In 1999, she sold her first print romance novel, "Tempting Jonah." She has also sold more than seventy short stories. She writes sweet contemporary romantic comedies about every day people (no millionaires here). She self-published her first e-books, "Mr. Short, Dark…& Funny" and "Mr. Tall, Tan…& Tasteless" in October 2012. To see these and other books in the 'Practically Perfect Hero' series, check your online bookstore.
Blog: Laugh with Me at wordpress.com/nancygoldberglevine
Facebook page is under Nancy Levine.
Pinterest: (this has boards for my stories and my alter ego, Vi LaNance's stories and other fun stuff: https://www.pinterest.com/vilanance/

I'll be Home for Chanukah in the Let it Snow, 2016 Holiday Romances Collection is Ms. Goldberg Levine's debut story with Victory Tales Press.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

CHRISTMAS BETROTHAL by Barbara Miller @rebeccajvickery @KMNbooks #regency #christmas


Let's Welcome Barbara Miller!

Karen: Barbara, why don't you tell the readers a little bit about yourself.

Barbara: Barbara Miller teaches in the Writing Popular Fiction graduate program at Seton Hill University and is Reference Librarian at Mount Pleasant, PA Public Library. She has published historical and contemporary romances, mysteries, young adult books, a storybook and a paranormal novel. Two of her plays have been performed at the Pittsburgh New Works Festival.

Karen: Tell us your latest news. Do you have any current projects you're working on?

Barbara:I finished a Valentine story to get ahead of the game, then went back to a Christmas novel to be published in 2017. That story is built around carols so I get to play all my favorite music. 

Karen: What is the name of your story and what inspired you to write this tale for the Let it Snow, 2016 Holiday Romance Collection?

Barbara: Christmas Betrothal is about two people separated by war who come together to heal each other.

Karen: When you were a child, what holiday story intrigued you the most?

Barbara: Christmas Carol is a story I can read/watch in all it iterations and enjoy every time.

Karen: What do you think makes a good holiday story?

Barbara: Family and friends are more important than carols, food and decorations. Certainly more important than presents.

Karen: What is your favorite holiday movie or book?

Barbara: I have to say Prancer is my all-time favorite. If you have never seen it, you are in for a treat.

Karen: What is your favorite holiday drink or food dish?

Barbara: Egg Nog ice cream combines two favorites. Fruit cake run a close second.

Karen: What makes you interested in the genre you write?

Barbara: Christmas wasn’t the same sort of holiday in English Regency times as it is today. I want to experience the sort of Christmas they had. No presents or cards to worry about, but lots of visiting and feasting.

~ABOUT CHRISTMAS BETROTHAL ~
 
Captain Blase Westcott travels to Fernly, the family estate of his fellow officer, for the holidays. The two soldiers have been recovering at Westcott's estate after the terrible battle at Waterloo. Now Blase has agreed to spend Christmas at Fernly even though he suspects Lieutenant James Barnes wants to match him up with his sister.

After a successful spate of portrait work during the months after the Peace Celebrations, Christine Barnes has been invited to her uncle's estate for the holidays and knows they wish her to stay on afterwards. She loves Fernly and her uncle. She even has a soft spot for her doting aunt, but she fears staying there would prove impossible. Her cousin, Sally, has made it clear she doesn't want her there. Besides, she enjoys her independence. 

The presence of childhood acquaintance Blase Westcott during the holiday celebrations makes her think twice about her plan to travel the country painting portraits. Perhaps, she has more than one path she can choose from.

You can purchase your copy of LET IT SNOW at:
Ebook: Amazon /Amazon UK / Smashwords / iTunes /Nook
In Print: Amazon /Amazon UK /Createspace / Barnes and Noble


 ~Enjoy an Excerpt from Christmas Betrothal~



Christine slid off her mare outside the stable when she saw the coach and team of four she had
passed near the road. It wasn't a coach she recognized, but the horses looked magnificent and were all being groomed. She'd do her own mare and get a better look at the animals.
"Need some help?" a soldier asked. His uniform had a captain's epaulets and he was familiar, especially his voice. She'd met so many officers in the Peninsula she struggled to recognize him.
She stared at his handsome face a moment, the dark hair and brown eyes . Realizing she hadn't answered him she found her voice. "I can manage. Is that your coach?" She was hoping when he spoke again he would jog her memory or volunteer his name.
"Blase Westcott, James's friend. Don't you remember me?" He took her gloved hand in his and she noticed a tremor in the movement. Of course, she remembered him now. She had the oddest notion that if not for the gloves he would have kissed her hand. How different he was from the schoolboy she remembered. He'd been wounded in the arm if she was any judge.
"Yes, of course, Captain Westcott. Do you remember me? Christine Barnes, itinerant relative."
"Call me Blase as you used to." He smiled, then turned and loosened the cinch on her mare's saddle one-handed while she held the reins. "Excuse the uniform. None of my old suits fit me. I hope to get civilian gear soon."
"Most men would sport the red uniform as long as they could."
"It's a time in my life I want to forget."
"Understandable."
He laughed and she admired the way he did it.
"You don't have any reason to wander now. The war is finally over."
"I am self-supporting. But they said James would be home, so I thought to see him."
"I saw you in Spain but only at a distance. You look well."
"I like to keep up appearances." She did not protest when he started currying her mare.
"I know this breed, Andelusian."
"I brought her back from the peninsula."
"You stayed there with your father, even when he was in the field?"
"Where else would I be except with Father?"
He smiled up at her and nodded. "Where else indeed?"
"Before we go in, tell me about James. Was he badly wounded?"
Blase hesitated, then resumed brushing the mare. "No one is well wounded."
"Of course," she mumbled, biting her lip.
"He took a ball in the thigh, but he will be fine in time."
"Thank you for telling me."
A groom approached and took the mare. "We have her box ready, miss. I'll hold her feed till she's cool."
"Very good, Nate."
"Shall we go in?" Blase asked.
He held his arm out in a way she could not refuse, though she did not need anyone's help. Suddenly it hit her that James might have brought him home because of her. Was he waiting in the stable to meet her or merely overseeing the care of his horses?
It would not be the first time an eligible bachelor had been invited where she was staying with the sole purpose of marrying her so as to save her uncle the embarrassment of explaining her living alone. She would have to step lively to avoid his suit since she suspected him to be a charmer. However, did she really want to avoid marriage forever? Perhaps a flirtation at least would lift her spirits.
A few flakes of snow began to fall, standing out on his red coat. Perhaps there would be enough overnight to cover the gray landscape with a clean fresh blanket for Christmas.
At the back door they were greeted by Foster the butler and one of the footmen.
"Show the captain to his room, please," Foster said to the underling. "Miss Barnes, dinner has been put back half an hour to allow the gentlemen to change." Foster glanced at the dark-green riding suit whose tail Christine had tossed over her arm.
"They're soldiers, Foster. That was probably an unnecessary precaution."
He glared at her boots. Foster had never approved of her, so it amused her to shock him as often as possible.
"I shall be down in ten minutes," Christine said. "You may time me." She trotted up the stairs, leaving Blase to stare after her.
When she glanced back he was smiling at her again. It was a disarming smile, an understanding smile. As though he already knew her better than she knew herself. Or did she just wish that to be so?



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
For more information about Barbara Miller and her works, please visit her website.
or email her at scribe@fallsbend.net

Saturday, December 10, 2016

My First Christmas Without Santa Claus

My Sister, Mary (on the left) and Me When We Were Believers

I’ve never been a mom so I’ve never had to confront the age old question whether to tell the kids to get those Christmas wishes to Santa or tell the little cherubs there is no Santa and that all their presents are from Mom and Dad.
I can only rely on my own childhood experiences to determine which way I would have gone with the dilemma of truth or consequences about Santa. 

My parents went with the age old concept of a jolly old guy with a white beard dressed in red who made toys at the North Pole and delivered them to the good children of the world riding on his sleigh pulled by eight flying reindeer ALL IN ONE NIGHT!



My parents were pretty dang crafty about the whole Santa thing. None of Santa’s presents were wrapped. My parents realized my sister and I would immediately know the truth if we ever found any of the wrapping paper from Santa’s presents with the regular present wrapping paper. Kids are like little detectives and they are relentless about seeking the truth. My sister and I would have investigated even the trash cans looking for any suspicious wrapping paper.

Sometimes we would try to trick them by picking up one of the unwrapped presents and ask, “Is this from you, Mom?” or “Is this from you, Pop?” They would either say, “No, not from me”, or throw the question back at us with something like, “I don’t know. Who do you think it’s from?” Very cunning, indeed.

Naturally, they liked to reinforce the Santa Claus myth by reading T’WAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS to us on Christmas Eve. I have to say, I was all in, a genuine believer. It was the most magical time of my life, those years of wonder and belief.

And then I turned eight.

I questioned everything on Heaven and Earth. Was Jesus real? I would sit on the monkey bars on the playground behind the school across the dirt road from our house and stare up at the sky and ask God to send me a sign if Jesus was real. Was Santa Claus real? Some kids in my class had already made the transition to the dark side and had become nonbelievers. They didn’t have a problem with standing on the teacher’s desk to announce the cold words, “There is no Santa Claus.” So, I went to the “knower of all things”—my parents. They insisted Santa was real. He was the spirit of Christmas, of giving joy. For the first time, I doubted them. I felt they were trying to evade me. It shook me up on the inside to doubt them.

My older sister, by one year, and I decided to investigate. If the parents were responsible for the presents they said were from Santa, they must have them hidden somewhere. Down the rabbit hole of doubt, deception, and discovery we went. We searched every closet, every dresser drawer, every cabinet, and then under our parents’ bed. It was there in the quiet, shadowy place under their bed where we discovered our portable record player and other presents that would be declared as gifts from Santa.

A battle began inside me in that moment. I felt elation that my sister and I had found our presents and discovered the truth about Santa, and the stilling reality that our parents had lied and there was no Santa Claus. We looked at one another for a moment as the light of Christmas magic died in our eyes and then, wordlessly, we put everything back under the bed just as we found it. Sometimes the truth hurts, but it also enlightens.

For a time, it felt like God had died and my parents had told me an unforgivable lie. How would the world ever move back on its axis and make me feel happy again?

And then the enlightenment part came to me. My parents had given me a gift, a magical childhood filled with wonder, belief in things beyond what I can see, touch, taste, or feel except in my heart and spirit. They fed my imagination and made me feel anything is possible. That’s a powerful and wonderful feeling and I am so grateful for it. Memories of my parents and Christmases as a “believer” have sustained me through some tough times.

I’m certain it must be a difficult decision for parents whether they tell their children about Santa Claus or tell them the stark truth. Did you tell your kids about Santa Claus, or did you tell them their presents were from the people who loved them completely? What was your Santa experience?




I want to wish all of you a wonderful Christmas filled with joy, wonder, and gratitude. And for those of you who celebrate another kind of holiday, I wish the greatest of happiness.



Sarah J. McNeal is a multi-published author of several genres including time travel, paranormal, western and historical fiction. She is a retired ER and Critical Care nurse who lives in North Carolina with her four-legged children, Lily, the Golden Retriever and Liberty, the cat. Besides her devotion to writing, she also has a great love of music and plays several instruments including violin, bagpipes, guitar and harmonica. Her books and short stories may be found at Prairie Rose Publications and its imprints Painted Pony Books, and Fire Star Press. Some of her fantasy and paranormal books may also be found at Publishing by Rebecca Vickery and Victory Tales Press. She welcomes you to her website and social media:





Wednesday, December 7, 2016

A CHRISTMAS WEDDING By Celia Yeary

I offer a story about a Christmas Wedding—but the wedding is not between the hero and heroine. It is 99cents on the Kindle and 95 pages long.
You’ll have to read it and learn what happens.
A CHRISTMAS WEDDING
 BLURB:
Kailey Lovelace, maid of honor in her brother's Christmas wedding in Austin, Texas, hopes the best man Alex Dunn won't bolt when he sees she is six feet tall and has frizzy hair. At the airport, she almost loses her breath when she learns he's even taller and looks like a dream. If only he likes her enough for the week of the wedding to go smoothly.
Alex Dunn, recently discharged from the Army, can't believe his good luck when he meets his partner for the wedding. Kailey is just the right height and gorgeous, as well. He looks forward to a pleasant week in Texas.
What could possibly go wrong?

EXCERPT:
         Shelley had poured out her heart in-between bowls of popcorn, wine, and chocolate. Both she and Kailey had overdosed on such rich indulgences.    
The doorbell rang…and rang and rang. Kailey stumbled to the door and peeked through the security peephole. Alex. And Sam.
With a little adrenalin perking her up, she opened the door, standing there in her lacy black bra and a pair of too short sweat pants that came to mid-calf. She pointed a finger at both men and said, “If you laugh, you can just turn around and go home.”
Sam groaned and covered his eyes. “Sheesh, sis, put on some clothes.”
She glanced at Alex. He stood with his hands in his coat pockets, grinning, looking from her eyes to her breasts, and back to her eyes. Funny, she wasn’t embarrassed. I’d have on less if I were in my swim suit. And she liked the little thrill that ran through her.
Leaving the door open, she turned away, waving her hand at them. She looked around the room, under the table, behind the sofa, when finally she found the sweatshirt—one of Sam’s, too—behind a door. Pulling it over her head, she walked as straight as she could to the sofa, shoved Shelley’s feet to the side, and sat down.
“Sit up, Shelley. The guys want to talk.” She glared at both of them. “Well, sit, both of you. I’ll get a crick in my neck looking up. Hey, Shell, wake up. Look who’s here.”
Shelley slowly moved to a sitting position and barely glanced at Sam and Alex. They’d taken the chairs facing the sofa. Alex still had that stupid little grin—it used to be intriguing, now it was stu… no it wasn’t. Who was she trying to fool? He still displayed that dimple, the one she couldn’t take her eyes off when he did that little mysterious smile thing.
Sam leaned forward, propped his arms on his thighs, and linked his fingers. “Shelley, what the hell are you doing? You’ve got to tell me. I’m going crazy, here.”
 Amazon Link:

Celia Yeary
Romance, and a little bit of Texas

Monday, December 5, 2016

RAFF'S CHRISTMAS MIRACLE BY Teresa K. Cypher @Teresa_Cypher @rebeccajvickery @KMNbooks #christmas

Let's give Teresa K. Cypher a warm welcome!

KAREN: Why don't you tell the readers a little bit about yourself.

TERESA: I grew up in the hills and hollows of western Pennsylvania. My husband and I live within sight of the family farm I grew up on. I love it most when the kids and the grandkids come to visit. Nothing is quite so heartwarming as having the whole gang together. I work outside the home for a biotechnology company. My escape is into fictional worlds I’m creating.

KAREN: Tell us your latest news. Do you have any current projects you're working on? 

TERESA: Thanks for asking. I do have a  work-in-progress, a scifi-ish novel currently called “Dai Klavven”—the name of which is likely to change before publication. 

KAREN:What is the name of your story and what inspired you to write this tale for the Let it Snow, 2016 Holiday Romance Collection?   

TERESA: I wrote Raff’s Christmas Miracle for VTP’s 2016 anthology.  I typed the first 3000 words while vacationing at the Outer Banks in North Carolina. Our second day there, after everyone went to bed, I had the upstairs to myself. In the (rare-for-me) solitude of those dark hours, listening to the wind and the sound of waves crashing in the wake of hurricane Matthew, I felt a touch of the loneliness that growing older brings… Old friends, family members, opportunities…gone, replaced with the bitter sweetness of regret. I soaked in the atmosphere, and the switch flipped on. Raff was born in my writer’s head, and he and I mulled in the murkiness of yesteryear. We decided that beyond regret, if Raff dug hard enough, he’d find hope—and a chance to find redemption, to take a bad decision from years ago and learn from it.

KAREN: When you were a child, what holiday story intrigued you the most? 

TERESA: Oh, it sounds weird, but A Christmas Carol. I’m not sure what version I saw first—but it wasn’t until my teen years that I got around to reading it.

KAREN: What do you think makes a good holiday story?

TERESA: Love. There must be love—and it’s made even better if there is redemption.

KAREN: What is your favorite holiday movie or book? 

TERESA: I absolutely love the book, The Polar Express. I tear up every time I read it.  Just for the record, the bell isn’t broken. I can still hear it ring.

KAREN: What is your favorite holiday drink or food dish? 

TERESA: I am known as the gingerbread lady in my small part of the world. I’m going to go with gingerbread cookies. As far as drinks go, I really like cranberry juice and mint ginger ale over ice.

KAREN: What makes you interested in the genre you write? 

TERESA: I write two genres, thus far. For VTP, I write holiday romance. I love Christmas—and I love love. Everybody could use more of both in their lives. Science fiction is the second genre I write. For me, it is complete escapism. It’s a fantastical sort of genre where anything—limited to perhaps only the laws of physics, can happen. Creating worlds is incredible. If I had a superpower, that would be it. Wait…

That is my superpower.



RAFF'S CHRISTMAS MIRACLE:

Raff, retired and alone, befriends Mandy-a single mother of two who lives down the road from him. The young woman reminds him of Angie, his high school sweetheart and the only girl he ever loved. He and Angie had planned to spend their lives together, but many years before, on the Christmas they announced they were getting married; her father whisked her away to find a good man, the "right" man.

Three months before Christmas, when the rat-infested mobile home Mandy rents, burns to the ground, he offers to let them stay with him in his big, old farmhouse.
Their short stay turns into a longer one, and Raff discovers that he likes having children in the house, and he likes Mandy's company. She's alone in the world, and he wants to help her and her kids get back on their feet.
As the holidays approach, while Mandy searches for her birth mother and then has to choose whether to meet her or not, Raff is forced to face his memories of the Christmas long ago when Angie broke it off with one phone call, and then she moved away.
Is there still room in his heart for the one true miracle of Christmas… the miracle of love?
Amazon /Amazon UK / Smashwords / iTunes /Nook

In Print:
Amazon /Amazon UK /Createspace / Barnes and Noble
 

 

~Enjoy An Excerpt from RAFF'S CHRISTMAS MIRACLE~

The main character, Raff, retired and alone, has taken in a young mother, Mandy, and her two children after their rental home burns. The kids are at school and he and Mandy are sitting at the table in his farmhouse having coffee and sharing stories.  Raff speaks first:

"My grandmother's name was Grace. Grandpa always called her Gracie, just like George Burns used to call his wife."

"I've seen a few George Burns reruns."

"Lord. Sometimes I forget how old I am." He laughed in spite of himself. "They lived here all of their married lives. Here with grandpa's parents. And his parents...let me see... Sometimes I lose track of the generations. His parents lost it during the depression. Yep, that was it, my great-grandad's family lost it during the depression, and he vowed to get it back. After he married my great-grandma, he did. As the story goes, though, she came from money. She was head over heels in love with him, but he only had eyes for the farm and for farming. She proposed to him, and told him how much money she'd bring to the marriage. Grandma said she actually drew it all out on paper, that she'd have enough to get the farm out of hock. The rest is history."

Mandy looked puzzled. "Not great history, though."

"Huh? What do you mean not great?" He took a slug of his coffee and plunked down the mug.

"I meant that it wasn't a great story for her, for your great-grandma. She had to buy love."

Raff laughed. "I see what you mean. I should have added that grandpa may have allowed a woman to purchase his name, but she stole his heart and there wasn't a thing he could do about it."


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Teresa Cypher was raised on a farm in the hills and hollows of very rural, western Pennsylvania. She grew up during the era when Walt Disney was the Sunday evening show, and once a year, the TV networks aired The Sound of Music, and Cinderella. She was a teenager when Star Wars was first released, but she'd already daydreamed about romance in space after watching every episode of Star Trek that was ever made. So it's no surprise to those who know her best that she writes Romance and SFR. 
She treasures all things family, her husband, her adult children, and her grandchildren. Her Cocker Spaniel, Leo, is her writing buddy. She thinks she has the best friends a human could have. Though she loves what she does for a living, working for a global Biotechnology company takes up far too much of her time, and she's looking forward to the day when she can begin her full time writing career.

You can find the author online at: