Theme

Fall has arrived, and the Roses are falling all over themselves with ideas! Our November Fall topics are: Fall into Winter, Fall Overboard, Fall from Grace, Fall into Wrong Hands..

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Falling into Winter (fun)

This time of year means an event that I enjoy. It's the All-Town Open House.

My home town is small (5000 people) and Main Street is three blocks long with 3 stop lights. On the Sunday before Thanksgiving, they have the All-Town Open House, where every business is open for the afternoon, there are pony rides on Main Street, troubadours roam the town playing Christmas carols (in Victorian costume), and the movie theater has a triple feature of It's a Wonderful Life, Elf, and A Christmas Carol.

Across the street from the theater is Nature's Corner, a flower store and gift shop where you will find me busily signing books. The owner of the store stocks my books on site (because it's 40 miles to the nearest bookstore) so once a year, I'm in town to sign books, talk to people, hand out promotion, and generally have a good time. Friends of my family come to visit, classmates I haven't seen for a long time, and often it ends with a visit to the local bar where I end up having a drink with family and friends

My rule of thumb is that Christmas season starts on November 25, no matter what day Thanksgiving falls on. I want a month of build-up to the day, and I won't be shorted out of it just because of an overlapping holiday. So the Open House this year fell on exactly the right day. The day after, I was dragging out the Christmas boxes and getting ready to decorate.

I hope everyone has a great holiday season this year, and I hope you all enjoy the stories coming up in December from my talented co-bloggers (I don't write short stories, alas, else I would join them). See you all on New Year's Eve, when I'll be back to report in on my writing endeavors for the year. I'm aiming to finish my third book, and I have 6 chapters to go.

Wish me luck!

J L
jayellwilson.com


Sunday, November 23, 2014

Fall Into The Holiday Season by Margo Hoornstra



      I’m taking liberties with the theme choices for this month. Correction, this goes beyond liberties. I made up my own.
      It happens fast, doesn’t it? Summer ends, school starts, Halloween hits and – boom – before we know it we fall into the holiday season.
      Parties, shopping, decorating, shopping, tree lighting ceremonies, shopping, family dinners, followed by shopping.
      In our family, the transition from Thanksgiving to Christmas isn’t quite as smooth as it could be. In our family, which includes me, my husband, our four children, three in-law children and four grandchildren, we have six birthdays to celebrate before we can fully break out the holiday cheer.
     

That’s right, three of my four children and three of my four grandchildren made their entrances into this world in the short span of days between these two major holidays. Not all in one year, of course. But, they’re all here now. So, in addition to the hustle and bustle that comes with The Season, we squeeze in an assortment of birthday parties with presents and cake and all the age appropriate trimmings.

      I will admit I was the one who started this abundance of birthday-parties-in-the middle-of-the-Christmas-season flurry by giving birth to my second child, a girl, the Saturday after Thanksgiving. A few years later, in mid-December, we welcomed a boy and a girl.
      In my defense, the twins weren’t due until sometime in late January, but came early. Still . . .
      It seems each of my two daughters inherited their mother’s poor planning of childbirth dates gene. In subsequent years, they followed my lead, having children, all boys, in December. One even made his appearance in the early hours of Christmas Eve.
      My only granddaughter was born a couple of weeks before my birthday in the spring. The way birthdays are supposed to happen in order to better space out the giving and/or receiving of gifts.
      But I digress.
      For someone like me who is not fond of shopping anyway, having so many gifts to buy at one time can present (pun intended because I’m too tired to find another word) a challenge. Don’t get me wrong, I love giving my kids and grandkids gifts, I’m just not that much into fighting the holiday crowds to obtain said gifts to give. Others around the malls and such are in the Ho-Ho-Ho Santa mode when I’m looking for some non-holiday themed items. I’ll admit it, sometimes I simply resort to taking the easy way out.
      The older grandkids have my Amazon sign in name and password. They shop, put the items they want/like in my virtual cart. I go in click, click and voila – Instant Presents. They may not get surprises, and they are okay with that because they do get what they want.
      Gift cards are another solution to my aversion to shopping, as is the simple inclusion of cash in a card. Anyone who has kids—daughters in particular—knows that unless you’re terribly gifted (oops, there’s another pun) at picking out things they like, will wear or even use, gift cards are a great addition to our shopping portfolios. (While I know a couple of mothers who have the talent to choose acceptable gifts, I’m not one of them.)
      One stipulation we sometimes make in the grandkids getting gift cards situation is that Gram and Pa (that’s us) will be the ones to take them shopping. AFTER the holiday frenzy. Like in the middle of January. When the stores are replete with displays for Valentine’s Day, which is just around the corner. Yikes! Here we go again. Before you know it, we’ll be back into Summer.
      Until then, speaking of shopping and gifts and holidays and such – starting tomorrow and running into Thursday, do I have a sale for you. Actually, fellow Rose of Prose Jannine Gallant and I have a couple of sales for you. A couple of pre-Black Friday sales.
      Two, three book anthologies, for the reduced price of 99 cents each.
      Road To Serendipity by her and Saturday In Serendipity by me, again, just 99 cents each from November 24 - 27.
      A high school reunion leads six former classmates to unexpected futures. Join Kate and Tyler; Chantal and Flynn; Chloe and Adam; Amanda and Barry; Blane and Matt; and Bethany and Jake as they become re-acquainted with old friends and rekindle elusive loves.

 

       Beat the rush, get your deal ahead of time. Put the turkey in to roast and put your feet up to read. Before you put your head down to forge into the Black Friday brouhaha.
      Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone! However you spend it, enjoy this holiday and the others to come.
      Join me next month on the 10th, 11th and 12th for a special short story, my gift to you, Santa's Second Chance.

       For more about me and my stories, please visit my website



Saturday, November 22, 2014

Falling into Winter? Noooooooooo! by Leah St. James

Fall into Winter -- just the theme makes me cringe and want to curl into a fetal-like ball. So why have I chosen it as my topic this month? Maybe because my reaction to winter is so potent. And because I now live in a part of the country where "winter" comprises about two and a half months instead of four, and snow accumulation seems to max out at about ten inches, over three days. (Big grin and sigh of relief.)

As a kid in Central Jersey, I LOVED snow. (Most kids do, right?) I remember making snow forts with neighborhood kids, having snowball fights, building snowman families--starting with one ball and rolling across the lawn until I'd accumulated the right size for the base, etc.  I remember walking to and from school with snow up to my knees, even as a teen. At college in central Pennsylvania (where we got lots of snow), I remember walks across a hushed campus after a snowfall, looking up at a star-filled sky and thinking of the beauty of God's creation.

Then real life happened. I got a job that demanded my presence, snow or no snow. That meant digging out my car in the early morning hours, scraping the half-inch of encrusted ice from the windshield and chipping away at the door handle so I could get it open to start the defroster. 
It meant navigating roadways that weren't always cleared, up and down the gently rolling hills, learning how to steer when the car decided to spin, and how to stay back -- waaaaay back -- from the car in front of me whose driver may or may not know how to drive in the white stuff. I'll never forget the  year of the ice storms -- 14 to be exact. The ice was so thick on our street, the kids used it as a skating rink. (I kid you not. It was about six to eight inches thick.)

But  I dealt with it. It's what you do. 

Then came the winter of 2007. My father-in-law was dying of cancer and was staying with us under hospice care. When he passed away, we took him back to his native Poconos in Pennsylvania. After we got there, after the arrangements were made, the Valentine's Day blizzard hit.

Yeah, that was us in the lilac part.
(Screen shot from Weather.com, from the link above. )

I remember driving to the funeral in a foot of snow. My husband, a Pennsylvania mountain boy who'd been raised on driving in that kind of weather, steered while our sons and I gripped the car's panic bars. Every so often we'd have to get out and push the car through a particularly deep patch. Somehow we made it safely, we said our good-byes, and we vowed to move as far from a big-snow-producing region as we could get.

Today I live in an area that calls those a ten-inch accumulations a "blizzard." Today my hubby shovels our sidewalk with his feet. Today I look at pictures of snow, smile and nod and say how pretty, then thank God the "stuff" isn't headed my way, at least not in a big way.

So when I wrote Christmas Dance, about a southern woman living in the north, it wasn't hard for me to transfer this distaste of snow to my heroine.  Alexandra Anderson is married to a workaholic husband, and she's lonely. It's Christmastime and the biting winds of a northern winter only make her feel more alone. Alexandra is looking for something, or someone, to warm her soul. 

Here's an excerpt: 

Cold was the enemy, at least in Alexandra Anderson’s mind, and this part of Jersey, in December, seemed to have more than its share of days that made her defend herself in gloves and scarves and fur-lined hoods. And that was inside the house. 

She smirked at the joke she’d told herself as she entered her three-car garage through the house door. Her giant SUV sat idling—she’d started the ignition remotely minutes ago—and its engine rumbled with suppressed power, its vibrations traveling from the motor to the cement flooring, right through the soles of her boots. She climbed into the gentrified tank, yet another defense against the cold, then sighed with bliss when her butt hit the warmed leather seats. 


Who would ever have thought she’d end up driving a vehicle like this, she wondered as she settled her purse and checked her mirrors—then took the opportunity to smooth the line of her lipstick. Who would have thought she’d ever want a vehicle like this, period, for that matter. When she’d left her home on the North Carolina shore three years before and headed north to marry Ben, she knew the winters would be harder, but Lord, there was hard, and then there was hard.


She’d expected to wear heavier coats. She’d expected to turn the heat on sooner in the year and turn it off later. She’d expected she’d have to put her shorts and flip-flops away for a good apart of the year, too. But she hadn’t expected days where no amount of layering, or consuming hot, spiked beverages, or turning up the thermostat, could touch the bone-deep chill that saturated the air, inside and out, making her feel like one big popsicle. 


Nobody loved popsicles more than Alexandra, but living the life of one wasn’t her druthers. She missed home. She missed the moderate winters. A person could go outside in December without being bundled up like Nanook of the North. Oh, she’d admit there had been days here in Jersey, or even a few spells, where the bite left the air and a body could breathe without feeling like their lungs would freeze, but today wasn’t one of those days. Today was a Nanook day—gray-skied, frigid-aired and down-right nasty feeling. Like Mother Nature wanted to pick a fight with the world.




Alexandra Anderson has a loving husband who provides for her every need.Sam Herrmann is married to his college sweetheart, and together they have three healthy, boisterous boys.
What happens when two married people take a look at the perfect lives they've created and decide it's not enough? What happens when those same two people catch the eye of a stranger, and like what they see?
A story of love , marriage and parenthood. A story of hope.

Leah writes stories of mystery and romance, good and evil, and the redeeming power of love. Learn more at LeahStJames.com.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Not Fall, but winter weddings by Barbara Edwards


My new release, Late for the Wedding, part of the Twelve Brides of Christmas Series from The Wild Rose Press is a Christmas tale to be released November 24, 2014.
After my novella, Gift of the Magi, was a best seller in Amazon's Holiday Romances last Christmas, I was asked to contribute to this series. The basic idea was to use two turtledoves from the Christmas carol. I thought it would be easy but a romance, turtledoves, a wedding as topics took awhile to combine into a story I think you'll enjoy.

I've added the two links to pre-order Late for the Wedding.

Late for the Wedding (Twelve Brides of Christmas Book 2) by Barbara Edwards


Late for the Wedding by Barbara Edwards
Blurb: Heather Green will do anything to make her twin’s wedding perfect. Despite an impending nor’easter, she sets out with the wedding dress, cake, favors and cake topper in her car. As the snow piles up, her car is wrecked and she barely misses injury in a major accident.Nicholas Burnes would rather be ensconced with his latest cuddle than drive a tow truck, but his brother needs his help. He reluctantly agrees to help Heather find a way to the wedding locale, but when the storm closes the roads, he ends up offering her shelter in his penthouse.Warm and rested at last, Nick and Heather explore their powerful attraction to each other, only to part when he delivers her, on time, to her sister’s wedding. But weddings breed weddings…
Excerpt:
She strained to see past the broken windshield. Her throat hurt when she swallowed. Other vehicles lay tangled in a mess, not just the truck and her car. She prayed another car wouldn’t hit her again and inhaled to calm her racing pulse. She finally got the seatbelt lock to release, forced her door open and stood. Her knees shook and she had to hang onto the sagging door for support. She stared around. Headlights glittered like monster eyes. Her vehicle was at the edge of a horrendous multi-car pile-up.
Sirens wailed like lost children. Blinding red and blue lights flashed everywhere as emergency personnel rushed by. Her hands shook as she dragged on her cashmere coat. Time squeezed and expanded like an accordion being played. A fireman asked if she was okay and ran on at her nod.
She brushed moisture from her face and realized she was crying. She pillowed her head on her arm, the roof supporting her as she wept.
“Hey, lady, you okay?” A gentle hand gripped her shoulder.
This time the questioner stopped to listen.
She looked up into scorching blue eyes so bright they could have been a propane flame.  Her skin warmed and her pulse leaped as if it recognized the message in them. They promised heat and comfort and strength like the hand on her shoulder.  He’d pulled his knit hat down over his forehead and his lower face was covered with dark stubble that matched his thick black eyelashes. His hands were splotched with grease and he smelled like oil and fuel fumes. His quilted jacket was stained and patched, his boots wet and cracked, but he exuded strength and caring.
She swallowed. Her mouth was suddenly dry. Another fixer-upper, like her ex, she briefly thought, although with those gorgeous eyes he might be worth the trouble.

 I’m Barbara Edwards and a native New Englander. I’m a graduate of the University of Hartford with a Master’s degree in Public Administration. I write poetry for myself and novels when I need to tell a longer tale. I’m fascinated by the past so naturally turned to writing historical romance. The dark paranormal stories evolve from nightmares. The romance comes from my belief in people’s basic goodness and longing for love. 
  I lived in Florida for several years and am past president of the Central Florida Romance Writers and a member of Romance Writers of America.
When I returned to Connecticut, I founded the Charter Oak Romance Writers, a Chapter of Romance Writers of America, along with several close friends
My husband is a retired Police Sergeant. We share an interest Civil War re-enacting and travel the Eastern states to participate in events. I love visiting museums, galleries and battle sites, gathering information for my stories.
I taught Romance Writing at Manchester Community college for three years.
I’m fond of gardening and growing antique roses with limited success. 
Most of my exercise is when my Belgian Shepherd, Dixie, demands a walk. 

Please follow, friend or like me. I love to hear from my readers.
Amazon Author’s Page http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003F6ZK1A



Thursday, November 20, 2014

Fall, Stress, and Writing Variety

Laura Breck



This morning was one of those days! Hubby was scheduled for a minor outpatient surgery at – believe it or not – 6 AM! The alarm clock buzzed at five, I looked out the window to see a brand new inch of snow coating the ice-packed roads. Yay! 

It’s amazing how fast people drive at 5:35 in the morning, in the dark, on powder-glazed skating-rink streets. I, of course, am the poky person in their way, but I can brag that I’ve had only one crash in my entire life, and that was decades ago.

The surgery center waiting room held a variety of people, which kept my interest during the two-hour wait while hubby was in the OR. A German couple, two burka-clad women, a lovely Korean couple, and a second-generation, elderly Italian man who made me laugh when he tried to tell his wife how to organize her purse. She slapped his hand away, which made me laugh even more.

I love writing multicultural books, exploring the diversity of our world. As a full-time writer, I realize I don’t get out enough. I don’t mingle with people who would be great inspiration for my stories. And that has to change…but not until these darn streets are cleared off! LOL

FALL - October 17

WINTER - November 11


Happy Fall/Winter!
Laura
~Smart Women ~Sexy Men ~Seductive Romance
~Dancing in a Hurricane is available in digital formats at Amazon, Smashwords, and Barnes & Noble and in paperback at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Createspace
~Love in the Land of Lakes is available in digital format at Smashwords, All Romance Ebooks, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon, and in paperback at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Createspace