Thursday, December 1, 2016

December 2016 New Releases!

Boss On Notice (The Cleaning Crew)
Janet Lee Nye

 He can't trust himself… 

Josh Sanders just wanted to help. After all, Mickie Phillips is a struggling single mom who needs a job…and a friend. Fortunately, her administrative skills are perfect for the new branch he's running of the Cleaning Crew—a company of guys who clean houses. The downside? Mickie's a petite, blue-eyed temptation he definitely needs to resist.

Their arrangement was not supposed to include simmering attraction—or deeper, decidedly unprofessional feelings. But Josh's traumatic past has convinced him he can never be the man Mickie needs. Trust will only expose them to the most dangerous thing of all…love.

Christmas With Carlie (Poppy Gold Stories)
Julianna Morris

All he wants for Christmas…

Widower Luke Forrester's fortune can't buy happiness, but he's counting on it to give his twin daughters the magical Christmas they deserve at Poppy Gold Inns. Activities director Carlie Benton, with her upbeat seasonal spirit, definitely isn't impressed by money. She's all about holiday cheer and he can't resist.

While Luke and Carlie try to restore the sparkle in his kids' eyes, the heat between them melts the winter chill. And in the season of miracles, anything is possible—including a tempting second chance at love. 

A Mother's Claim
Janice Kay Johnson 

Who has the best claim on the child? 

It's been more than ten years since exhausted new mother Dana Stewart took a nap while her baby was sleeping and woke up to find him gone. The loss devastated her—and her marriage—and she's never given up hope of finding Gabriel. She never expected that when she finally did, he'd be almost a teen, his name would be Christian…and he and his uncle Nolan Gregor would want nothing to do with her.

Nolan, a former army ranger, proves as possessive of her son as Dana is. It's like King Solomon's worst nightmare: she can't rip her child away from the only parent he's ever known. But she's his mom, and she'll never lose him again.

 Tempting The Sheriff  (A Castle Creek Romance)
Kathy Altman

The hardest person to serve and protect is herself She didn't ask for a new deputy. Well, technically, she did ask. But Lily Tate didn't expect city cop Vaughn Fulton to come swaggering into her sheriff's office, making her feel things she has no right to feel. Not since she lost what she loved most in a tragedy she should have seen coming. 
Lily can see exactly where she and Vaughn are headed. As hard as he is to resist—and as much as he seems to want her—Vaughn plans to ditch the small-town life when his stint at the Sheriff's Department is over. Lily's already handled enough heartbreak. What kind of fool would make the same mistake twice? 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Giving Thanks

by Angel Smits

I know it’s not “cool” to be a “homemaker” in this day and age, but the women who’ve gone before me who were moms, wives, chief cook and bottle washers have my greatest respect.  No more so than this time of year, as I’m reminded of how hard that job can be!
            I go through my recipe cards each holiday season.  I have cards with handwriting that is now familiar, and grows more cherished as time goes by.  My mom.  My grandmother.  My great grandmother.  My mother-in-law.  Aunts.  Friends of mine, and family members.  Some of these cards are stained and worn, others are pristine, but still precious.  They are all pathways to delicious! 
            What a gift these women have left for me.  And the memories.  The process of making their recipes reminds me of watching these women, from the time I was little, as they worked on holidays.  (Have you ever tried to lift a 20+ pound turkey out of a hot oven?!  It's work!)  And as I mimic their actions, the scents of all those familiar dishes waft through the house.  More memories return.
            And they didn’t just do this once or twice a year, like I do.  They did this day in and day out.  Large families to feed.  Hired hands on the farms, as well as gatherings for the neighborhood and church.  Weddings and funerals back in the day weren’t catered.  The guests were fed by the ladies clubs and women’s groups.  By family. 
            They worked hard.  And I’m exhausted just getting my modern-day house cleaned and grocery-store-bought food prepared.  (I don’t even want to think about my grandmother who raised/grew and prepared the food that went on her table!)  I’ve heard about plucking feathers—and buckshot—out of soon-to-be dinner.  Yeah, pushing that shopping cart is much less work. 
            These thoughts seem even stronger this year, as I’m facing the deadline for my next book in the Chair at the Hawkins Table series.  I’m telling Tara’s story this time.  She’s the youngest of the clan, and is just starting out as a chef. 
            She learned to cook at her mother’s elbow, and now that her mom is gone, she misses her mother’s guidance.  When her sister, Addie finds the recipe cards of their family, it’s like getting a piece of her mom back.  I’ve been enjoying writing this book, and look forward to what those cards reveal to her.  And about her.
            Over on the Super Romance Facebook page this week, several authors shared their favorite recipes for the holiday.  Hopefully, you’ll pop on over there, after you’re finished here, and check them out.  And, please share something of yours.  I’ve already copied some of those to add to my collection of cherished recipes. 
            Here’s one that I’m going to try again this year.  (I usually screw it up, but I love this stuff!)  Grandma’s gone, but just seeing her handwriting—and her special instructions for me—makes me feel like she’s here for a short visit.

Hilma Strong's Yummy Toffee!

            Thank you to all the women out there who make our holidays so very special and warm.


Friday, November 18, 2016

Favorite Holiday Traditions

by Kristina Knight

I love the holiday season. I know, a lot of people say that. I actually do love it, from the too-early store decorations to the fact that the All Holiday music channel started on November 1st this year instead of waiting until Thanksgiving weekend.

I love the shopping and the wrapping and the baking and the cooking...and, yeah, I'll hit a wall about December 9th and wish it was over, but by December 12th, I'll be back in the spirit.

Part of my love of the season is thanks to our daughter - she's 8 this year, and is growing up way too fast, but she still believes in Santa and the magic of the season. She's eager to see where her Elf on the Shelf will have moved to over night (I don't like the Elf...stuffed animals/people who move are wrong, just wrong), and, of course, seeing all of the lights.

One of my favorite holiday traditions will happen next Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, and it will be repeated at least twice during the season: the three of us will load up into RadioMan's truck and drive around to see all the lights. There are several big displays in our city, along with a couple of singing light displays. I make cocoa for the car cups, we turn up the Christmas music and drive for a couple of hours. My favorite is the Christmas Tree House because they put a light show to music (including some Charlie Brown songs - LOVE). bebe's favorite is still Magic Street - there is one neighborhood in our town (pictured pretty lamely above) where every house will be decorated. House lights, tree lights, blow-ups and yard displays. It's like Christmas has thrown up all over the neighborhood and it's the best.thing.ever. RadioMan's favorite is a drive-through display near the lake. Charitable organizations and school groups put up individual displays - everything from a light-up couple being married on a snowy hill to an automated Nutcracker, and even a lone soldier, standing guard.

We'll drive through the displays (not all of them every trip), and we'll talk and we'll sip cocoa and we'll sing along to the radio...and it's just about perfect (it would be over-the-top perfect if we could take a horse-drawn carriage through the snow to see the far that hasn't happened). What I like about it the most is that we're making memories that bebe will have through her entire life. She'll remember when the lights on the Christmas Tree House were just slightly out of sync and she'll remember when Santa jumped out from behind one of the displays at the drive-through park and she'll be able to see that entire street filled with twinkling lights until she's 80. And we will have those moments, too.

What about you? Do you have a favorite holiday tradition?

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Inspiration in Quebec City

by Piya Campana, Assistant Editor

Old Quebec
Something about the second week of November has me craving travel. Last year around this time, I was eating my way through Brooklyn. The year before that was Reykjavik, chasing the Northern Lights, bathing in outdoor thermal pools, hiking a glacier and not-so-covertly keeping an eye out for Bjork.

This past weekend, the November travel bug bit again and I was in Quebec City. A short flight from Toronto, Quebec is one of the largest French-speaking cities in North America. The old town is gloriously European in feel, the local food and beer make me wax poetic and there are several interesting neighborhoods that are perfect for meandering evening walks.

Blood pudding!

A huge part of travel for me is definitely the food. I had some wonderful poutine (beautiful union of French fries, gravy and squeaky cheese curds), tourtière (flaky meat pie flavored with cinnamon and cloves, often served with fruit ketchup) and blood pudding (only when sampling this did I feel I earned Victoria's nickname for me: Adventure Editor. ...Well, maybe my attempts to speak French with Uber drivers counts, too). 

Other highlights included Montmorency Falls (higher than Niagara Falls by 98 feet, accessible from the city by public transit), a ferry ride across the St Lawrence River and several steep uphill walks to reach different areas of the city for spectacular views.
Me at Montmorency Falls

After each one of these November trips, I'm revitalized. Nothing like travel to bring a new perspective, or a new manuscript wish list item! A cozy Christmas romance set in La Vieille Capitalle, perhaps?

View from St-Jean Baptiste neighborhood
Have you ever taken a trip that was only very loosely planned, but turned out great anyway? Did it turn up somehow in your work-in-progress? I'd love to hear about it in the comments!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Party On!

Flying in to say that if you're on Facebook, you might want to pop into the Super Authors Facebook Party, happening today, from noon - 6:00 p.m. Eastern time. Prizes, laughter, and good times will be the order of the day. We might not look as fancy as we did here:

But on the other hand, no Spanx required. So kick off your shoes and come play with us. See you there!
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