Archives

Bargains in Christmas Reading

As December arrives, many of us begin “getting into the Christmas spirit,” and for me, that involves unpacking Christmas ornaments, listening to Christmas music, and, of course, reading Christmas stories.

If you, too, love reading stories set during the Christmas Season, you might be interested in three Christmas ebooks that are bargains at just 99 cents each.

christmas wishes box set3First, the recently published anthology titled Christmas Wishes: Seven Stories of Second Chances is an extra special bargain because it contains seven stories for a total of 99 cents. I’m honored to be included in this anthology along with award-winning authors Leanne Tyler, Mallory Kane, Kate McKeever, Juli Alexander, Donna Wright, and Karen Hall. You’ll definitely want to buy this limited-edition anthology before it goes off sale. Just click on the following link to go to Amazon and buy Christmas Wishes.

forgotten christmas web copy 3 Next, one of my own Barbourville novels, The Forgotten Christmas Tree, winner of the 2014 HOLT Medallion in the short contemporary category, is on sale at the moment for only 99 cents. Although it’s the fifth book in the Barbourville series, The Forgotten Christmas Tree can certainly be read alone. I’m happy to say that Amazon reviewers have rated it 4.6 stars. The price will soon revert to the usual $2.99 so grab it before it goes up by clicking on Forgotten Tree.

christmas-at-tiffanys-web-versionLast, and certainly not least in my opinion, is the short novella titled Christmas with Tiffany. This somewhat older story was first published in November 2012. Because of its length, it stays at 99 cents the year round, but it’s popular enough to rate 4.5 stars on Amazon. If you’re in the mood for a heart-warming Christmas story, click on Tiffany to buy.

And here’s wishing you all the joys of the Season!

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!

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!

Forgotten Christmas Tree on sale until Dec. 28

forgotten christmas web copy 3Just a quick note: My fifth Barbourville book, The Forgotten Christmas Tree, is on sale for 99 cents until December 28. Then it will go up to $1.99 for a couple of days, then to $2.99, and finally back to its original price of $3.99. Even if you’re not in the mood for more Christmas reading, buy it for your Kindle at this special price and save it until Christmas of 2014. 🙂

My Regency Christmas story now available

If you enjoy Christmas stories, be sure to check out Crimson Romance’s December 23rd release, an anthology entitled Bells Will Be Ringing. The anthology consists of four stories set around Christmas. Three are contemporary (Her Secret Santa by Monica Tillery, His Hawaiian Christmas by Diana Jean, and Gavin Fever by Angelita Gill).

Cover for Carey's story

My historical story, Merry’s Wonderful Christmas Gift, is set in a country village in England in 1817 in early December. The heroine, Merry Damonson, once loved Christmas but now the season serves only to remind her that Edward, the man who had asked her to be his wife, deserted her just before Christmas the previous year when he inherited an earldom. Now this man she had hoped never to see again is returning to the neighborhood and he has brought a woman with him. What hope does a simple country girl have when the beautiful and sophisticated Regina seems to have firmly attached herself to Edward? But perhaps all is not what it seems as Merry learns when she begins helping Edward’s mother plan a Christmas ball. Can she and Edward learn to let go of their misconceptions and allow the magic of the season to bring them back together again?

When String was King: A Reminiscence

As the title of my blog (“Writings & Reminiscences”) proclaims, I occasionally lapse into a reminiscing mood. That is what I’m doing today.

First, let me share with you a photograph of an item (I don’t know the actual name to call it) that was given to my mother by her sister-in-law (my Aunt Della Lester Bertram) many years ago. There’s a message written on the back (“To Iris, From Del, Dec. 14”). I wish my aunt had included the year, but I’m guessing it was around 1930, give or take three or four years.

apple

As you can see, this could be mistaken for a purely decorative item, an apple with stem, part of a branch, leaves, and something resembling pine cones in the lower left corner. (Not sure why pine cones would be included.) However, this apple served a utilitarian purpose. It was a string dispenser, as you can see in the picture below. A ball of string was stored in the hollow back and fed through a small hole in the bottom of the apple.

string

Why would anyone need a string dispenser? Remember that this was in the days before twist ties, tape, and the various other closure methods that are in use today. Too, string was used by manufacturers to sew together the tops of cloth bags such as were used at that time for animal feed, flour, and other staples. I can still remember my mother unraveling the string across the top of a cloth bag and adding that string to the ball she kept inside the hollow in the back of her string dispenser, which hung on the side of a kitchen cabinet for as long as I can remember.

back

I suspect that this string dispenser was a Christmas gift from my aunt to my mother. In any case, it served an important purpose for many years and remained in Mom’s kitchen until she passed it along to me a few years ago. I don’t use it to dispense string, of course, but it hangs on my wall and reminds me of bygone days when string was a necessity of everyday life.