Short Christmas story now available at most ebook stores

A couple of years ago, I wrote a short (15,000-word) Christmas story and priced it at 99 cents. For most of its life online, it was available only for the Kindle, but now it is available at most ebook stores. In addition to Amazon, Christmas with Tiffany is also available at Apple iBooks, for Barnes and Noble, for Kobo Books, and Inktera. To buy, just click on the name of your preferred vendor in the previous sentence, and you should be whisked right to the appropriate store.

For those who haven’t yet read Christmas with Tiffany, following is a short description. And if you haven’t read it, be aware that it’s a sweet, second-chance-at-love story that’s set in a small town in Tennessee.

Tiffany-web-version

Tiffany Elwood’s small-town gift shop has become her refuge. The quiet ambiance she created there helps her find peace after losing her father to cancer and her boyfriend to the sophisticated lures of California. Now, with Christmas fast approaching, she has high hopes that the profits from her annual open house will help her support her mom and little sister through the coming year.

But her peace is disrupted when her tiny shop is inundated with ten times the number of ornaments she’d ordered, not to mention the return of that old boyfriend, Bain Lyndhurst. Every time she turns around, the former man of her dreams is in her shop, and there’s no accounting for his sudden affinity for purchasing Christmas decorations.

With the magic of the Christmas season to aid them, can the two star-crossed lovers rediscover the passion of their youth and establish the trust they need to face the future together?

Forgotten Christmas Tree on sale for 99 cents

I’m writing today because I wanted to be sure my blog readers know that The Forgotten Christmas Tree is on sale for 99 cents for the next few days. After that, it will go back to the regular price of $3.99.

forgotten christmas web copy 3The Forgotten Christmas Tree is the fifth book in the Barbourville Series, but it can also be read as a stand-alone book. The story of the main characters, Jim Markman and Abby Grant, starts and finishes in this book.

The Forgotten Christmas Tree was first published in the latter part of 2013 and took first place in the short contemporary category of the prestigious HOLT Medallion contest (see all winners in the 2014 contest by clicking here). It is available on Amazon where it has an average of 4.6 stars.

So, if you’re in the mood for an uplifting Christmas book and haven’t already read The Forgotten Christmas Tree, this is a perfect time to download it. You can go straight to the Amazon site by clicking on this link: The Forgotten Christmas Tree. Enjoy!

Barbourville series continues

In case you haven’t heard, I recently published The Bow Wow and Meow Campaign, the seventh in my Barbourville series. The Barbourville series is set in a fictional small town in Tennessee, and while each book in the series can be read alone, there is also some continuity of characters from the first book (A Summer Sentence) through the last. In fact, the two main characters in The Bow Wow and Meow Campaign (Casey and Josh) were introduced in the preceding book, At Home in Barbourville. Following is a short description of the story:

bow-wow-web-copyCasey Trent is on the fast track as associate manager for an upscale department store in the city. Josh Preston is owner of a rundown farm in the country outside Barbourville, Tennessee. Casey is known as an up-and-comer; Josh, who takes in abandoned animals, is known as the cat-and-dog man.

Casey figures they have nothing in common, but when Josh tries to interest the citizens of Barbourville in building an animal shelter, Casey offers to help. The town can’t afford to support the center, so she suggests that she and Josh collaborate to raise funds for an endowment. Thus is born The Bow Wow and Meow Campaign.

As they work together to plan their campaign, Casey begins to realize that there are depths to Josh she hadn’t previously suspected, but nothing has prepared her to learn the full truth about his past. Once she does, can she find a way to forgive him, or is their tenuous relationship doomed to fade away?

If you read this latest in the series and are so inclined, I’d appreciate an honest review on either Amazon or Goodreads. And if you’d like to know when the next in the series is published or receive information about my other books, please sign up for my newsletter by clicking here.

Thanks so much!

Memories of Spanish moss

As the title of my blog implies, I sometimes reminisce about events that happened in my past. I never know when something in today’s world will remind me of yesterday. This happened recently when my husband and I visited Hilton Head Island.

limbsOne of the most endearing qualities of the island for me were the numerous beautiful live oaks. Those trees are delights in and of themselves with their whimsical limbs that grow in a seemingly haphazard fashion.

live oaksCreating even more visual interest, however, is the Spanish moss hanging from them. I’ve seen Spanish moss in various Southern states, but to the best of my recollection, I’ve never seen the quantity of Spanish moss as there is in Hilton Head. I absolute love the atmosphere it creates.

thick moss copyI think I can trace my fondness for Spanish moss to my teenage years. I first saw this epiphytic plant during my junior year in high school when I went to Florida on a school trip. I remember thinking then that Spanish moss was a parasite. As a matter of fact, I had to research the plant for this blog to know what to call it. I learned that it is not a parasite and does not harm the tree, which is fortunate considering how thick it sometimes becomes. When walking on Hilton Head, I saw blobs of the moss where it had fallen off the trees, and I was reminded of the small piece I brought home with me from Florida when I was seventeen. I hung it on a nail in my bedroom and kept it there for years. It didn’t change, just hung there. I guess I eventually threw it away. Or perhaps my mother did. I don’t remember now. I just recall how enthralled I was by Spanish moss. I still am, obviously. :-)

Get your beach reading here

Many people heading for the beach enjoy having some light reading to take along. I suspect that’s why Amazon is running a special on romance novels for the next couple of weeks. Their Kindle Summer Romance Deal features 200 books for only $1.99 each. My book, Falling for Dallas, is included in the 200. If you’re looking for Falling for Dallas on the Kindle Summer Romance Deal page, it’s currently the 13th down from the top. (Good thing I’m not superstitious. :-) )

FallingforDallasFYI, Falling for Dallas is the second book in the Barbourville series (following A Summer Sentence), but it is also a stand-alone book. There’s no need for you to have read A Summer Sentence in order to enjoy Falling for Dallas. Following is a brief description.

Beth Ann Stanfield realizes that she’s no man’s dream girl. She’s a young widow with a son to raise, a huge medical debt to pay, and a monstrosity of a house that gobbles up all her extra cash. So when sophisticated, educated, and wealthy Dallas Vance moves in across Redbud Road, Beth Ann knows their mutual attraction is headed down a dead-end street. Can determination, stubbornness, and an abundance of love bridge the gap when two people are from such different worlds?

And while I hope you want to read Falling for Dallas, don’t forget that 199 other books are on sale right now too. Find your beach reading by clicking on the following link: Summer Reads.

And happy summer reading!

Have a Happy Fourth!

Here’s wishing everyone in the U.S. an old-fashioned, happy 4th of July. :-)

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Speaking of old-fashioned July 4ths, when I think back to the days when I was growing up in a small Tennessee town, one of my recollections is the annual Chicken Festival. If memory serves me correctly, the Chicken Festival (which started there in 1957) was held close to the July 4 weekend every year. (Although the Festival still goes on today, the event has moved to May.)

What, you may ask, does one do at a Chicken Festival? First, let me explain that the festival came into being because the poultry industry had recently brought much-needed jobs to the area. A chicken-processing plant had come to town, which provided work for many people, and many other folks started raising chickens to be processed for the food industry. An advertisement in the county newspaper calling for support for the first festival featured the wording “Poultry—Yardstick of Our Prosperity.” In other words the “broiler industry,” as it was called, was a godsend for the area.

When I was a college student studying journalism, the editor of the county paper hired me to work during the summers when I was home on break. Once I was assigned to write a series of articles about the chicken industry in the county, and one of the growers I interviewed gave me three baby chicks, along with food for them. My long-suffering mother made no complaints when I installed those fluffy yellow chicks in a box in my bedroom, but as everyone knows, chicks don’t stay little and cute all that long. Very soon I was donating them to a cousin who already had chickens and an appropriate place to keep them.

But back to the Chicken Festival. Members of the sponsoring civic club would set up at the county fairgrounds where they would barbecue hundreds of chicken halves and sell them to the appreciative festival attendees. The fragrance of barbecue sauce would permeate the air. Entertainment was also supplied and often featured singers from around the area. One year the entertainment included the popular Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs and the Foggy Mountain Boys. I wish I had been there that year.

Whatever your plans are for the Fourth, I hope you have fun and stay safe!

Thanks, HOLT Medallion readers!

Sometimes success sneaks up and blindsides you when you least expect it. That happened to me recently when I received a phone call telling me two of my books had placed first in their categories in the 2014 HOLT Medallion contest. The HOLT is sponsored by the Virginia Romance Writers, a chapter of the Romance Writers of America. Other winners and finalists can be viewed on this link: http://www.virginiaromancewriters.com/Contests/holtwinners.html

The really exciting feature of the HOLT, for me at least, is that it is judged by readers—some 250 across the nation. I’ve entered the HOLT in the past and some of my books have been named Award of Merit winners, meaning they ranked in the top five or six. But I knew the competition was stiff, and I didn’t really expect to come in first, especially for two books in the same year.

forgotten christmas web copy 3So which of my books won? (Only books published in 2013 were eligible to be entered in the 2014 contest.) One of my Barbourville series, The Forgotten Christmas Tree, won in the short contemporary category. I am delighted to know that readers enjoyed this story of a woman down on her luck who travels to Barbourville as a last resort. With her sister’s young son in tow, she is desperate to find some way to provide him with a Christmas tree, something she forgot the year before. I thoroughly enjoyed writing about this young woman’s struggles and successes, and I’m glad to know that readers enjoyed the story too.

cupcake-web-copyMy second winning book also centers around a holiday, Valentine’s Day. My Cupcake, My Love—which placed first in the romance novella category—is set in a fictional mountain town near the Great Smoky Mountains. The heroine owns a bakery and with Valentine’s Day coming soon, she’s busy working on goodies appropriate for the holiday. Her routine is interrupted by a former classmate, a successful novelist, who has recently returned to the area with his six-year-old daughter. The two clash over cupcakes, and it’s all Cupid can do to get them together by Valentine’s Day. :-)

There’s nothing more rewarding to writers than to know that readers enjoy their work, and my most sincere congratulations go to all the winners and finalists in this year’s contest.

And special thanks go to the many readers who took their time to read and judge the entries in the 2014 HOLT Medallion. This contest would not be possible without you! Thank you so much!