Lisa Costantino - Falconer and World Traveler

Happy Beach Day! Pull up a lawn chair and get to know Lisa Costantino.

Lisa is a Pacific Northwest novelist and travel writer, and a winner of Chanticleer's Top Pick for Women's Fiction 2012 for her beautiful tale of two women confronting the same issues in different centuries, Maiden's Veil. She  offers editing services, as well.

While she feverishly writes her next book that will be chock-full of mermaid lore and ancient traditions, The Winter's Light, I convinced her to do a quick post for us. Because I know Lisa as one of my critique partners and editors, I'm going to slip in a few interesting facts about her before she claims her privacy.

1. She donates her gorgeous hair to LOCKS OF LOVE when she gets a long ponytail
2. Lisa adores her dogs and lives on a large acreage with woods in her backyard where they run.
3. She and hubby are big SEATTLE SEAHAWKS fans
4. As an editor, Lisa is fastidious. She edited several of the novels on this BRA site.
5. Her house has extensive gardens, both flowers and veggies and she's known to post photos of her veggies on Facebook.
6. Lisa loves to go falconing when in Scotland!
7. She's an amazing photographer (not just garden veggies either!) and has sold a number of her best shots.

Okay Lisa, take it away. . .

Finish these Sentences

  1. When I was growing up ... I became interested in the paranormal early on, partly due to my fascination with the vampire soap “Dark Shadows.” I wrote my own novellas based on the show, typing them on paperback-size pieces of paper and binding them. I was writing vampire stories long before it became en vogue. Wish to heck I could’ve cashed in.
  2. I once ... participated in one of the UK’s oldest May Day traditions known as the Obby Oss, which has taken place in Padstow, Cornwall, since at least the 14th century. Midnight singing to welcome summer, followed by a daylong, town-wide celebration with drums, dance, and a mesmerizing song. And ale.
  3. I used to work as ... a graveyard shift proofreader. Three years of working the wee hours while going to college. It’s a tough shift during Seattle winters, let me tell you.
  4. Every day I ... try to write. Or at least think about writing. And exercise. Or at least think about exercising.
  5. I like to ... travel. Nothing makes me feel more alive. I love to walk cities, ramble trails, immerse in history, try new things, learn from people I meet.
  6. One day ... I’d like to spend a year living in a different country. Learn a different language. See the world from a different culture’s perspective.
  7. I am thankful for ... the fact that there are still enough open-hearted and intelligent people in this world to balance out the increasingly vocal loonies.
  8. I write best ... in the morning, before my brain starts processing the demands of the day.
  9. I am working on ... a novel set in Cornwall, with a skewed twist on mermaid lore. (And yes, the Obby Oss will make an appearance.)
  10. I have always wanted to... learn to fly.
Thanks for joining us Lisa, who I just realized we could call L Co, that is if you call Jennifer Lopez J Lo and Jennifer Lawrence J La and me, Kim Hornsby K Ho. Whoops. Never mind. 
Here's a photo of Lisa on the right and me in green in the center, one day when we went with our writing sisters wine tasting at Ste. Michelle Winery in Woodinville WA. Just for fun.
Kristi James,Laurie Rowell,Christine Fairchild,Kim Hornsby,Carmine Valentine,Lisa Costantino

Today's Question for Readers: 
Finish this sentence. I have always wanted to...


 Today on the BEACH, we have Kim Hornsby, Bestselling author of The Dream Jumper's Promise and co-founder of this site. Take it away Kim...
Christmas Day is a big deal for many people all over the world and one reason that writers look forward to the 25th is the possibility of garnering new readers through KDP FREE days.
If you are a writer and have a promotion listed for the Christmas season you’ve probably spent some time in the last few weeks listing your book on the sites that will advertise your freebie. These sites are golden, sending out daily emails to readers tailored to their writing tastes, showcasing the books that are either free or below $2.99 (considered a deal).
For new writers KDP SELECT free days helps to get readers, generate interest in your books, and lead them to other books. If you can’t imagine giving away your book, consider that if 10,000 people read it and like it, maybe 200 of them will go on to buy your next book. If you add a link to another book at the end, you’re more likely to have real sales for other books.

I’ve found over the last year of being published and going free several times, readers are more likely to write reviews if they paid little or nothing for the book. It's my opinion that paying $12.99 for a download makes a reader expect excellence in its highest form. Getting it free allows the reader to be pleasantly surprised. Although I don’t know how much my 5 star reviewers paid for my books, I have to think that many of them got it free. I’ve had 66,000 free downloads of one of my novels in the last year. Most won't read it, I realize, but some will and some will actually write a review.

And so, if you’re going FREE anytime soon, be sure to check out this site that has a compilation of sites that will advertise your freebie.    

In most cases the ad costs nothing. I recently submitted two of my books for free days starting December 25th and took out a few $10 ads for guaranteed promotion seeing it’s Christmas day and a lot of writers have promos running that day because people get ereaders for Christmas. We’ll see how many sites I’m featured on but after my kids open their presents, eat their breakfast and are busy bugging their Dad to hook up stuff, I’m going to be tweeting and promo’ing on FB, checking my Amazon stats and hopefully watching my books climb the free lists. Weeeeeeee!

My Gift to you this Christmas-- two free books!
Click on the links below December 25 - 27th for a free download of a Paranormal Romantic Suspense and a Contemporary Romance.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays Everyone!

Kim Hornsby is the author of The Dream Jumper’s Promise and The Husband Hunt, both free on Christmas Day! 

A Christmas Short Story from Kathy Wheeler

Today we welcome Kathy Wheeler to the BEACH. As well as being a multi-published author and just plain nice person, I hear that Kathy is a pretty awesome singer and might even sing Karaoke for you if you twist her arm! But today we're just going to have her tell us a story. Historical Romance please Kathy. . .

When Kim asked if I had a Christmas story, my initial reaction was “No.” However, I’d forgotten the Oklahoma Romance Writer’s did a fun anthology last year on the The post consisted of twelve different authors participating. With a predetermined setting and time period. Christmas Eve, Pemberton Hall, 1814. The series was titled My True Love Gave To Me. Each chapter within was labeled for the Twelve Days of Christmas. The fun, yet most challenging aspect of this adventure, was interweaving one another’s characters. As you read, note how many daughters, their personalities, what they wear, etcetera. We worked quite closely together to pull off this feat, as the entire venture was planned at our annual Christmas Party, leaving us less than two weeks to write, critique and iron out the details to match each other’s stories. The other chapters, and holiday anthologies can be found at
This was such a fun thing to do, that we managed several holidays as well. In any event, here is my Christmas chapter. I hope you enjoy it. 

Chapter Five
 . . .five golden rings. . .

Kathy L Wheeler

      Bartholomew Dixon, Viscount Weston, future Earl of Hartley, leaned a shoulder against the wall, one ankle crossing the other. Hand in his pocket, he fingered the four golden rings he’d already garnered by way of seduction. All he required was the fifth to win the bloody asinine wager one of the leaping lords of Boodles had challenged him to. Victory was but a hairsbreadth away.
    He glanced about the elaborately decorated hall with its myriad candles and greenery that covered every post, archway, and tabletop, searching out his final quarry. Lady Evelyn Powell. It shouldn’t be difficult. Her flaxen hair would be piled high, and those cool blue eyes would flash their mocking humor.  But he cared naught, all he required was the ring.
      Evelyn was a lovely enough widow. Though he knew she was uninterested, he found himself in need of a mistress and she was the ideal solution. Perfect in keeping his wayward thoughts from a certain Swann Goddess seemed fit to punish him, since he'd set eyes on her at her come-out last season.
     He preferred experience, not innocence. Evelyn was not so young as to speak only about the weather and current fashions. Lord Powell was rumored to have been somewhat less than skillful in the bedchamber, and Bartholomew knew he could offer her satisfaction in that area.
     Unfortunately, it was Philippa Swann's enticing purity that kept him awake at night. Had him tempted to throw aside all caution to make her his. The noose about his neck tightened when he thought of wedding and bedding that bewitching chit. Because a wedding is what it would take to bed her. He was not prepared to make that leap.
     Evelyn's ice cold demeanor, she wore like a coat of armor, was but a small hurdle. One little kiss as he took possession of the fifth golden ring might change her mind in taking him for a lover. The ring would satisfy the terms of that blasted wager.  He scowled. One he’d had no business making in that inebriated state two weeks past. By acquiring five golden rings and escaping the confines of marriage he would become two thousand pounds richer by midnight this Christmas Eve night.
     Not surprisingly, it had taken less than ten days to collect the first four rings. He’d called on each of the previous four birds separately, spent an hour or thereabouts charming her. A few caresses later—sometimes more—brought him one ring closer to instant riches. But it was that fifth ring that remained so elusive, trumping up the idea in dashing off a missive to Lady Powell flat out requesting it.
     Her response returned quickly enough.

My dearest Bartie, Whatever have you gotten yourself into now? But of course you are welcome to my golden ring. I have no use for it. But as I am leaving for Pemberton Manor, in moments, actually, I shall just bring it along. Their annual Christmas Ball, you know. Surely, you’ve been invited. Not to worry, my friend. 

I remain forever, your devoted friend,

     “I say, Weston, what are you about? Practically hiding behind the potted trees, are you?” Lord Griffith was more bumbling than the rogue he’d been since their days at Cambridge, his large frame having already morphed into a rounded middle. A bushy mustache compensated for the receding hairline. Lady Griffith’s early demise left Griffith without an heir and Bartholomew’s friend in dire need of a new wife.
     Bartholomew covered his shudder with a smirk. “I’m just awaiting my prey. Sooner or later all the ladies must make their way to the retiring room.”
     “Ah, you expect Lady Powell will just hand over the fifth golden ring, eh?”
     “That’s exactly what he expects,” Nathaniel Huntington, Duke of Hastings said, walking up. “Have you spotted the merry widow yet, Weston? You’ve only another two hours to fulfill the terms of your bet, you know.”
     “I caught a glimpse of her with the dowager Rowland, the old crow.” He scowled, then grinned. “Lady Powell’s silver gown is quite fetching.”
     “Egads,” Griffith said. “There’s Cockswood. Bah, I knew him before he was titled and just John Henry Edward Swann, now he struts as though he owns the place with his seven ducklings in tow.”
     Bartholomew chuckled even as something in his chest squeezed, constricting the air to his lungs. The procession of light pastels meandering by was a fascinating sight. All seven chits were dressed in a veritable rainbow of soft shades except for Lady Theodosia. She was pushing the unseemly age of thirty, and permitted to wear a more becoming shade of forest green. As the eldest, she led the pack beside her father, the Earl of Cockswood.
 The twins, dressed identically in pale rose, were the Ladies Georgette and Edwina. It was impossible to tell one from the other, even up close. Each flanked another sister, whose name escaped him. And yet another trio of Swanns’ followed just behind. One looked as if trouble were her middle name and still belonged in the schoolroom. Catherine, he thought. The girl was known as a hoyden, though she’d dressed up to snuff this eve in a modest lavender.
Charlotte looked a gentle soul. Too sweet for the likes of him, however, with that expression that appeared so awed by her surroundings. But for his cynical nature he thought he detected a hidden depth of pluck.
     But then his eyes settled on Lady Philippa, along with the familiar rush of longing. He savored the sight as she stood between her two younger sisters. His glance slid over her lithe form. Bartholomew straightened from the wall and pulled his hand from his pocket. Silvery blond locks arranged in an elaborately high coif framed a pert nose and slightly pointed chin. She had a stubborn air about her that did not spell ladylike compliance. She would keep a man on his toes or he would pay a hefty price. A challenge he planned on taking up once he'd taken care of this blasted wager business.
     Her gown, though still considered pastel in its soft blue, shimmered like spun silk. Hell, it probably was spun silk. With each step she took the color seemed to shift from blue to gray, to almost silver in the glow of candlelight. He frowned at the daringly low cut that showed a creamy bosom just beckoning him.
    A wave of disgust went through him at the onslaught of lust firing his blood, and he said somewhat harshly, “Mind you don’t get caught alone with one. It’s no secret Cockswood is set to rid himself of that flock. Every one of those seven Swanns’ is a potential wedding trap.”
     Hastings shook his head in mock sympathy. “And, not a single male in the bunch.”
     A sudden need for air attacked Bartholomew. “Excuse me gentlemen, whilst I locate Lady Powell. She has the one thing I require this eve,” he muttered.


     “Quit gawking, Lottie. You act as if you’d never set foot in a ballroom before.” Lady Philippa Swann was sandwiched between her sisters, Catherine and Charlotte, the two closest to her in age. She brushed fingers over another boring, blue-hued gown. She abhorred the light colors. Marriage was tempting if only to allow one to don more flattering colors.
     “For heaven’s sake, Pippa,” Cat said. “You’re just angry because you’re sick of blue. Don’t take it out on poor Lottie. Besides you look lovely. The light on that silk makes it appear almost pewter.”
     “That, of course, is so much better,” she returned. “What kind of name is pewter, besides?”
     Eleanor, their next eldest sister, disengaged her arms from the twins, turned, and whispered from behind her fan, “Good heavens, was Papa aware of all the scoundrels invited to Pemberton’s this year?”
     “Scoundrels?” Lottie squeaked. “Where?” Her breathless fascination was another worry entirely. Though Pippa had trouble believing in the wide-eyed innocence Lottie always managed to convey.
     “Lower your voice, Lottie,” Pippa snapped.
     “What on earth do you suppose the Pembertons were thinking?” Nora said. “Mind what Pippa says, Lottie.” A light shudder touched her shoulders.
     “Perhaps Papa was in on the planning,” Pippa said to Nora. “He has seven daughters to mete out after all. I suppose he and Mama are quite worn out with the lot of us.”
     “Don’t look now, but I do believe the Duke of Hastings has shifted his attention our way,” Cat whispered.
     “The man is nearing forty if he’s a day,” Pippa said crossly. “I have no desire to marry an old man.”
     “Forty!” Lottie exclaimed.
     Cat had the nerve to giggle. “He’s thirty-six, you silly goose. Very attractive too,” she murmured.
     Pippa rolled her eyes, though it was the one thing that peeved Papa beyond endurance. That, and tapping one’s slipper with any show of impatience.
     “Philippa,” he barked.
     “Sorry, Papa,” she said with the appropriate contriteness. Sometimes she thought he had eyes in the back of his head.
     Unable to resist, Pippa glanced over her shoulder at the Duke of Hastings. She did not find the duke so attractive as the man beside him, whose firm lips held a trace of mockery.
     She turned back to Nora. “Who is the duke’s friend?” Ha! Pippa knew exactly who he was. Viscount Weston. It wouldn't do in letting her sisters know, however. They would plague her to her death with never-ending questions. She'd danced with him before. Once. Her lower back still burned with the imprint of his hand from her one allotted waltz. Or perhaps she was just a romanticizing, idealistic fool.
     His dark hair was pulled back at the nape, his eyes a stormy gray. They bore right through her. A shiver of stark awareness skittered down her spine.
     “That’s Lord Griffith,” Nora said.
     Before she could stop herself, Pippa’s eyes rose upward again. “Not him.” She looked quickly at Lottie. “Do not get trapped by Lord Griffith, Lottie. The man’s on the prowl for a new wife. And he cares little of her age, beauty, or health. Well, perhaps, health is taking it a step far. He needs an heir.”
     Lottie nodded, wide-eyed.
     Stifling the urge to roll her eyes again, Pippa turned back to Nora. “Well?”
     “That’s Viscount Weston. He’s regularly banned from polite society.” It was Cat who answered softly. “He’s a rake of the worst sort. It’s said he seduced four golden rings from four different women in the past ten days. The wager supposedly requires five.”
     Pippa gaped at her younger sister. “Good heavens, Cat, how came you to know such things? It’s most unladylike.” Pippa tapped her foot, thinking.
     Her foot stilled. “Sorry, Papa.” She glanced back over her shoulder. The viscount was gone.
     A solid hour of dancing, and not a single step with the notorious Weston, to Pippa's profound dismay. Her slippered feet were killing her to the point where she was forced to escape the watchful eyes of her six siblings and over protective sire. She snuck away to the retiring room located atop the stairs.
    Blessed quiet met her as there was only one other occupant. Pippa recognized her as one of the French hens (known for their lovely fashion, not pastels). She was beautiful in her lovely silver gown and blond hair, similar in shade to Pippa’s own. The slightly older woman (she couldn’t be more than five and twenty) stood before the mirror staring intently at something in her hand.
     “It’s quite stifling, is it not?” Pippa said, dropping down onto a luxurious settee. She slipped off her shoes and let out a rush of breath.
     So lovely she was, Pippa noted from beneath her lashes. Her arranged hair resembled Pippa’s too, the only difference being the twinkling of articulately placed jewels.
     She turned to Pippa. “It is indeed,” she said. “You are one of Lord Cockswood’s duck—daughters?”
     Pippa narrowed her gaze at the near slip. “Yes, I’m Philippa.”
     “I am Lady Powell. I am thrilled to make your acquaintance.”
     “Likewise.” Pippa’s eyes were drawn to Lady Powell’s fingers that moved to and fro over on some small object she held.
     A slight smiled hovered on Lady Powell’s lips. She looked from her hand back to Pippa.
     Warmth infused Pippa’s cheeks to be caught staring so. “I’m sorry, Lady Powell,” she stammered.
     A strange light came into her cool blue eyes that raised the hair at Pippa’s nape. “That’s quite all right, my dear.” She opened her hand, displaying a golden band.
     Pippa swallowed and looked up at Lady Powell confused. “Your wedding band?” The fifth golden ring?
    She lifted a shoulder. “At one time.” Lady Powell stared back down at her hand. “Do you wish to marry, Lady Philippa?”
     “Well, yes, of course,” she answered slowly. A vision of Weston filled her muddled brain.
     “You know? I do believe this ring shall bring you wondrous luck.” She reached for Pippa’s hand and dropped the small gold band, then closed Pippa’s fingers over it with her own. It was hot to the touch.
     “I-I couldn’t possibly accept such a gift.” Pippa whispered, shocked.
     “Of course, you can, my dear. As I said, I no longer need, nor want it.” And before Pippa could blink Lady Powell swept through the door and out of sight.


     The crisp, chilled night air was just what Bartholomew required. He breathed in deep; reveled in the biting sting that helped settle the rush of lust that had blindsided him after setting eyes on Lady Philippa. She was but a child! But, oh how he wanted her.
     Beastly it was, that Griffith happened to know each and every one of those seven Swanns by name, age, and prospect. Griffith's soul was as black as his own, and Bartholomew had to clench his fist to keep from planting it in his friend’s bulbous nose.
     With renewed resolve, he vowed to get Evelyn’s gold ring, present all five to the ten leaping lords—as annoying a group of men as he’d ever knowncollect his winnings and disappear before need overpowered common sense.
     He took one last piercing breath and propelled his way back into the stuffy ballroom, carefully adhering to the shadows.
     He scrutinized the crush of couples crowding the dance floor. He spotted several of the Swann siblings, not Philippa, before shifting his gaze to the French hens. Evelyn was absent. Damn it. He’d missed her.
     The retiring room was located atop the staircase, and he edged his way in that direction. The lighting was sparse, but then he saw her descending slowly. Grinning, he decided her inattentiveness would serve him nicely, indeed. He caught the glint of gold in her slender hand and heightened desire gripped him. The silver gown she wore shimmered like molten moonlight against a snow covered ground.
     Something deep within tightened. He’d always thought her lovely, but enchanted? Yet, that was exactly his sentiment. He reached the foot of the stairs just as she did, and before she touched the last step, he wrapped her by the waist and had her ensconced within the nearest alcove.
     Her quick gasp was muffled by his lips covering hers. He groaned. Evelyn was very tasty, the ideal anecdote for quenching his lust for Lady Philippa. Hot, damp heat enveloped him with sweetness a man could only dream. Though she’d been married for long on seven years, if memory served, her mouth felt untried. Her resistance was short-lived, and to his greatest relief, her arms twined about his neck, her body pressing into his.
     Bartholomew traced plum-plumped lips with his tongue, and when she gasped in shock, he seized his advantage. His pulse raced with the unexpected vulnerability he sensed in her. Mayhap it was time he considered marriage, his future lineage. In concerted effort—because that was what it took—he tore his mouth from hers.
     Her forehead fell against his chest, her body heaving with rapid breaths. Soft scented lilacs assaulted his senses. She seemed slighter in build than he recalled, but he'd never held her this close. A sudden desperation for her surged through his blood. He was ready, he realized, for more than a quick tumble in the bedchamber. An unsettling predilection. “I wish to marry you,” he whispered.
     She stilled. The heated air he’d felt against his chest stalled.
     “Darling, you brought the ring?”
     After a long harrowing pause, she nodded hesitantly. Her arms fell from his neck, and a sharp coolness replaced the warmth. Head down, she distanced herself from his embrace. His eyes fastened on the fisted fingers she raised. In agonizing slowness, she opened her hand. There, gleaming like fire, rested the fifth golden ring. He was now two thousand pounds richer.
         “I suppose I shall have to marry you now,” she whispered, lifting her head.
     And just like that, the money ceased to matter. He still wanted her. Forever.
     Heat prickled his skin. Her voice sounded different—warm, trusting. He raised his gaze from her palm, meeting the shocked mien ofLady Philippa Swann.
     She couldn't be more shocked than him. Or thrilled. He lost himself in those blue eyes and pulled her back into his arms, a wild reckless grin consuming him. “Yes, I suppose you shall,” he whispered, and kissed her again. “Merry Christmas, darling.”

Kathy's Books

Cinderella Series ~ the collection
 available for a short time for only $2.99

A twist on Cinderella and her stepsisters available in one set. Learn what happens when Cinderella's shoe fits her batty-eyed sister in The Wronged Princess. Pricilla, The Unlikely Heroine, has no desire for her own fairy tale ending, or does she? And when Esmeralda, The Surprising Enchantress, just wants to marry and have children, she and Alessandro de Lecce end up trying to save Prince Charming's future heir and kingdom.

Kathy L Wheeler / Kae Elle Wheeler reads and writes historical and contemporary romance. She has a BA degree from the University of Central Oklahoma in Management Information Systems that includes over forty credit hours of vocal music.  As a computer programmer the past fifteen years, she utilizes karaoke for her vocal music talents. Other passions include fantasy football, NBA and musical theatre. She is a long time member of several RWA Chapters, including OKRWA, DARA, and The Beau Monde. As an avid reader of romance and patron of the theatre, her main sources of inspiration come mostly from an over-active imagination. She currently resides in Edmond, Oklahoma with her musically talented, attorney husband, Al, and their bossy cat, Carly.

Historical Romance
Cinderella Series ~ the collection
The Wronged Princess – Book I
The Unlikely Heroine – Book II
The Surprising Enchantress – Book III
The English Lily
Cinderella Book Trailer

Contemporary Romance
Maybe It’s You
Lies That Bind

The Color of Betrayal

Help! I Need a Gift Fast!

Christmas/Hanukkah/Holidays/Festivus is quickly approaching and here on THE BEACH we have some ideas about how to keep your sanity.

Diana Layne, who has six children (9-31) and 3 grandchildren, (not to mention several Romantic Suspense Bestsellers!) has learned a thing about how to make gift giving easier!

Take it away Diana. . .


The days are quickly passing and Christmas will soon be here. Are you ready? If not, I have some links to last minute do-it-yourself projects!

I’m not much of a do-it-yourselfer except when I’ve been forced into it; times of too many kids and not enough money. More often than not, my projects never turn out as planned. One year, I had the bright idea to make candles . . . not too hard, right? Let me just say if the grid ever goes out and we no longer have electricity and have to go back to the candle days . . . I’ll be in the dark. #disaster

One project that did turn out well was a potpourri hanger made out of an embroidery hoop. Likely that turned out well because it was a church project and I had someone helping me step-by-step. I don’t have a picture but I did find one on the internet with instructions. Really, if I can do it, it’s pretty easy. The article suggests making them for Mother’s Day, but they do work for Christmas too. (Actually, I bet a lot of these projects work for any special occasion.)

Finally, though, my go-to homemade gift was cookies. I baked all kinds, but became most well-known throughout the family for my Russian teacakes. They look festive inside a small holiday tin and most everyone loves them. I’ll include the recipe at the end of the post.

Below are some links to pages with a bunch of other links—hopefully you’ll find something perfect to make for that last minute gift!

Really big list of Homemade Stocking Stuffers: Click here

Gifts you can make in under an hour: Click here!

Stocking Stuffer Candy Sleighs: Click here (I plan to make these for the grandkids)

Want the house to smell Christmas-y while you’re working? Click here.

And as promised, the Russian teacake recipe:

(The picture was taken with my iPod. I don’t have a camera; I pretty much flunk in the photography department, too. But trust me, they’re cute inside a little tin. Or big one, just depends on how much of a baking mood you’re in.)

Russian Teacakes

1 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 ¼ cups Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
¾ cup finely chopped nuts
¼ teaspoon salt
Powdered sugar

Heat oven to 400ºF.

Mix butter, 1/2 cup powdered sugar and the vanilla in large bowl. Stir in flour, nuts and salt until dough holds together. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place about 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until set but not brown. Remove from cookie sheet. Cool slightly on wire rack.

Roll warm cookies in powdered sugar; cool on wire rack. When thoroughly cool, roll in powdered sugar again. (I just put the sugar in a big bowl)

TIPS: Margarine or butter works equally well, but I prefer the taste of butter. I also use salted butter for this particular recipe, it tastes too bland without it, even though there is a bit of salt in the recipe itself. Do NOT use reduced fat butter, the cookies will turn out tough and rubbery (said from experience).

I always use a Bosch to mix them. If you mix by hand and find it’s not mixing well, the butter is not soft enough. If you use a food processor or kitchen machine and the dough is crumbly and not sticking together, again, the butter is not soft enough. The perfect dough should clean the sides of the bowls as it’s mixing.

I always divide the dough and leave part of it in the fridge while I’m rolling; otherwise if it gets too warm the balls won’t hold their shape. Also, if you find your balls flatten while baking, the dough needs to be chilled a bit. I do the first rolling of sugar when the cookies are just barely cool enough to touch-they need to be warm to melt the sugar.

Hope my ideas help. If you have your own foolproof last minute DIY gift, or if you’ve tried one of the ones listed, please feel free to share in the comments.

Best wishes for a fantastic holiday!
Diana Layne,

Check out Diana's Bestselling Amazon Series THE VISTA SECURITY SERIES. Just visit her Beach Read Authors page by clicking here.

Finding Inspiration for Writing Paranormal

Today we have author Elaine Calloway to share her inspiration for writing paranormal stories, from the setting to the characters... Take it away Elaine!


Whenever people learn I’m a writer, the inevitable question follows: Where do you get your ideas?

Contrary to popular belief, we writers don’t have a treasure chest in our brain, nor are we privy to any secrets at gathering ideas. In my opinion, ideas are the easiest part because they are everywhere. Interesting tidbits on the History Channel that spur questions, documentaries on TV about ancient societies and how they lived, seeing someone random in a café who inspires a character.

Ideas are easy. Formulating an idea into a workable, 300-page book is the challenging part. And yet, with the paranormal genre (like I write) choosing the right setting can automatically generate some ideas.

I grew up in New Orleans, a haven for the paranormal. There’s voodoo culture, haunted places, and sinister old homes with wrought iron gates. To me, these things aren’t just the setting--they can be used in the story to evoke a mood.

For example, I set Water’s Blood (Book One, The Elemental Clan Series) in New Orleans. I knew the place well, having grown up there. The water-locked city seemed fitting, given the book is about a Water Elemental. But I used a natural part of the scenery--the cemeteries--as a key role in the book. When I drove past them during a visit home, the idea just came to me. The cemeteries are such a prevalent part of the landscape. Why not make them into something with a purpose?

For Raging Fire (Book Two), I set the story in Manhattan and used the underground basements that open onto the street as ways the Fallen Angels could travel quickly from one place to another. The taxis, the cafes, the traffic, all made their way into the book in some form or fashion. These ideas basically began to form as I walked the streets of New York. The scenery automatically helps the plot.

One idea feeds another, which is one reason I always keep a notepad with me. Some writers use a tape recorder; either works. Just make sure to get the ideas down on paper. Some you might use, some you might toss. But don’t dismiss any of them initially.

I tend to always set my books in cities that can become characters in themselves. New Orleans, New York, San Francisco, Savannah. Those places are so rich with architecture and landscape, it’s ideal to make those things fit into the story.

Ideas are like snowflakes. Keep putting them together and eventually you have a snowball, then it gets bigger and bigger. Using natural landscapes in iconic settings helps spur those on. Brainstorming with a friend or critique partner helps, too.

Someone once asked me how I got the idea for The Elemental Clan Series. I have to rack my brain every time, since no one thing jolted the idea. “The Fifth Element” movie was on TV that week. I attended a few writer meetings where the topic was Fallen Angels. I’ve always been fascinated with the good versus evil plots, and all these things congealed together to form the outline for the series. Over the course of writing the books, I’ve written down a few ideas for offshoots or ways to continue the series. Will those happen? I don’t know, but the ideas are written down.

Always let those creative ideas “simmer” for a bit, and eventually those random things formulate a story.


Thanks for having me here today! Learn more about The Elemental Clan Series books on my Web site here. Books Three and Four will be released in 2014.
Elaine Calloway writes paranormal/fantasy books with romantic elements. She grew up in New Orleans with a love of gothic architecture, tall steeples, and artistic cemetery headstones.

When she isn’t writing The Elemental Clan Series or novels about ghosts, she enjoys movies, reading, and spending time with friends and family.  Connect with her online at

Pamela Clare's Scottish Rangers Visit for Christmas

Did you buy your copy of Pamela Clare's new I-Team book, Striking Distance (Book #6, Laura Nilsson and Javier Corbray’s story), because I just did and I can't wait to sink my teeth into those pages this weekend!

Better yet, Pamela is visiting us today to share her Christmas novella, Upon A Winter’s Night: A MacKinnon’s Rangers Christmas Novella, which is based on her popular MacKinnon Rangers series. So get your copy of her new hot Scottish Historical Romance for some holiday happiness! Or comment for a chance to win a free copy from Pamela. Just tell us your best holiday gift ever and you'll be entered in the drawing!

How did Pamela answer that question?

"I can’t think of my best Christmas present ever, actually. I tried. I don’t care much for stuff, so it’s really the Christmases themselves I remember. Bubble Wrap Christmas (2008) was a good one. Both of my sons had been in very serious car accidents that yaer, so I told them that they were going to spend Christmas at my house wrapped in bubble wrap and that neither of them could go out that front door for three days. They obliged me, and we had a very cozy and close three days of Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and the day after."


Reunite with the MacKinnon brothers and their wives for Christmas—and a tale of love, new life, and redemption.

The war between Britain and the French is finally at an end, and the MacKinnons are looking forward to celebrating their first peacetime Christmas in five long years. While Iain and Annie have discovered that the pleasures of marriage grow deeper with time, Morgan and Amalie find themselves at bitter odds. Meanwhile, Connor and Sarah have a newborn son to cherish.

The family’s preparations for the holidays are interrupted when Iain learns that Britain has not paid the Rangers for the summer’s victorious campaigns. Unwilling to let men who fought under the MacKinnon name suffer deprivation at Christmastime, Iain, Morgan, and Connor leave the warmth of their frontier farm for Albany. There, they find their happy Christmas, and even their freedom, at risk at the hands of a ruthless British officer who holds a grudge against them.

With the men gone, Annie, Amalie, and Sarah do their best to prepare for the festivities despite differing traditions, a raging bull—and the gnawing fear that their husbands won’t make it home for Yule.

Events begin the day after the epilogue of Defiant ends. The story includes Joseph, Killy—and revelations about the fate of Lord William Wentworth.


Iain had spent much of the evening discussing Killy’s news with his brothers, and they had decided to leave for Albany in the morning to take up the matter with Haviland in person, while Joseph and Killy stayed to watch over the women and children. Though Iain hated to leave home so close to Christmastide, neither he nor his brothers could abide the notion that the men who’d fought under the MacKinnon name for five long years should be denied their due and made to suffer want, especially at Christmas when lack was so keenly felt.

“Do you think Haviland will listen to you?” Wearing only her shift, a shawl around her shoulders, Annie sat in the rocking chair, brushing her long hair, the flaxen strands gleaming like gold in the firelight. “If he has no honor, what is to stop him from clappin’ the three of you in irons?”

She spoke the words calmly, but Iain could sense her fear. Her worries were not just fretful imaginings.

’Twas a journey to Albany almost six years past that had started all of this. Wentworth had watched Iain fight a man who’d been about to kill a whore he’d used but didn’t wish to pay. Impressed by Iain’s skill, Wentworth had taken Iain and his brothers prisoner on false murder charges. He’d given Iain a choice between being hanged together with his brothers or fighting for the British as the commander of a ranging company. Not wishing to see his brothers die for naught, Iain had chosen the latter.

He put more wood on the fire, then turned to his wife. “Haviland cannae press us into service, if that is what you fear. The war is over.”

“That doesna mean he willna find upon some other treachery. You ken as well as I that he doesna care for you or the Rangers.” Her strokes grew agitated, her hand gripping her silver-handled hairbrush tightly.

“Come, moleannan. I willna allow harm to befall us.” Iain took the brush from her hand, set it aside, and drew her onto her feet and into his embrace. He held her tight, kissed her hair, the feel of her precious in his arms. His gaze traveled from little Mara, who would soon be one year old, to Iain Cameron, soon to be two, and he silently cursed Haviland again. “I hate to be leavin’ you and the bairns so near to Christmas, but I must.”

Annie looked up at him, cupped his cheek with her palm, understanding in her eyes, a soft smile on her lips. “I knew you’d be goin’ the moment Killy told me. If there’s augh’ you can do to right this wrong, you must go. Your men are as kin to us. Their troubles are our troubles.”

Iain looked into the eyes of the woman he loved and wondered not for the first time how he’d been so lucky as to win her for himself. “If only I’d known sooner, this would already be behind us.”

Why had the men not told him?

Killy said the men thought Iain and his brothers already knew. But, although it was true that neither Connor nor Iain had received a farthing for last summer’s campaigns, they’d thought little of it. For one, they had no need of the coin, the farm more than prosperous enough to sustain the three brothers and their families. For another, Connor had spent part of the campaign season in irons, while Iain had been pressed back into service after the campaigns had already begun. They had assumed that Wentworth had cut off Connor’s pay and hadn’t had time to place Iain on the rolls before the Wyandot had taken him captive.

“Let us pray that all will quickly be set to rights and you’ll be safely home by Christmas Eve.” She turned her head to the side, rested her cheek against his chest, her slender arms holding him close.

He tucked a finger beneath her chin, ducked down, and brushed his lips over hers. “Will you send me away wi’ a proper farewell, wife?”

A smile tugged at her lips. “But Killy and Joseph are sleepin’ in the next room, and the children…”

He slid his fingers into her hair. “Then you'd best no’ scream, aye?”


USA Today best-selling author Pamela Clare completed her undergraduate degree in Classics at the University of Colorado-Boulder and went on to study classical archaeology in graduate school. She began her writing career as a columnist and investigative journalist and eventually became the first woman editor-in-chief of two different newspapers.

Along the way, she won numerous state and national honors, including the National Journalism Award for Public Service and the First Amendment Award. In 2011, she was recognized by the Colorado Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists for her body of work, in particular her reporting on women in prison, with the Keeper of the Flame Lifetime Achievement Award.

A single mother with two grown sons, she writes historical romance and contemporary romantic suspense. She lives in her home state of Colorado in the shadow of the beautiful Rocky Mountains.
For more information about Pamela or her book series, visit

A Hodgepodge of Christmas Fun from various authors…Recipes, Excerpts, Free Books!

Hi...Alicia Dean here. Some of my author friends and I have gotten together to offer you recipes, a chance to win free books, and a glimpse into their latest releases. 

We would also love to hear from you. Do you have any special Christmas memories to share? Recipes? Holiday tips?

We hope you enjoy...Merry Christmas from all of us to you!


To consolidate info about the drawings for free books:

A different name will be drawn from the commenters to win each of the following: (6 winners in all)
  • An ebook copy of M.J. Schiller's Trapped Under Ice
  • A Wife by Christmas by Callie Hutton
  • A choice between Dream Jumper's Promise and The Husband Hunt, Kat's Season by Kim Hornsby
  • A choice between any of the books in the Moonstruck series by Silver James (Kindle or PDF version)
  • An autographed print copy of R.T. Wolfe's Best Selling Romantic Suspense, Black Creek Burning (Only U.S. Residents eligible)
  • A choice of any Alicia Dean title on Kindle or PDF
PLEASE BE SURE to leave your email address and your country of residence along with your comments!!!

*** Winners will be drawn Sunday, December 8, 2013


M.J. Schiller is offering one lucky commenter a free copy of Trapped Under Ice and giving us a teaser of her Christmas release Upon a Midnight Clear...

Amazon buy link: Click Here

Mall Santa Dylan Fischer is not at all ready for Delaney Kelly's request! ~
“Well, Santa, since my daddy went to heaven, I want a new daddy.”
Dylan sat stock still, his heart in his throat. He’d heard kids ask for everything from the newest video games to snow, but this was a new one. He pulled back. “You want…a daddy?” His voice sounded odd in his ears.
The little girl nodded, appearing prayerful as she clasped her hands in front of her, the knuckles turning white. He gazed into her sweet face and began stroking her hair absentmindedly. At a loss, he threw a quick glimpse at his elf assistant. With her head cocked, she listened for the next name in her walkie-talkie, not looking in his direction at all. Scanning the crowd, he hoped to find some inspiration, something he could say to the child on his knee which would somehow be right in this situation.
That’s when he saw her face. 

 And kindergarten teacher Keira Kelly doesn't know what to think about the hunky EMT come mall Santa! ~

Keira couldn’t sleep. Had she really kissed the cute paramedic? And how did she feel about that? Well, there was a reason she couldn’t sleep. The reason was, she really kissed the cute paramedic, and she wasn’t at all sure how she felt about that. Her body told her one thing; it was sensational. Her mind, well that was another story. Kevin hadn’t even been gone a year. For someone she’d promised to love all her life, that wasn’t very long. On the other hand, the past eleven months seemed like a lifetime for her, and maybe it was time to move on, make some changes in her life.

But they don't have long to figure things out before a murderer comes UPON A MIDNIGHT CLEAR!

Comment below to be entered to win a free e-copy of M.J. Schiller's TRAPPED UNDER ICE!


Callie Hutton has an awesome recipe, a Christmas story on sale and a GIVEAWAY:

Miss Merry's Christmas, on sale from 12/1 to 12/6 for .99 cents!!!

Amazon Buy Link: Click Here

England, 1817.  David Worthington, Duke of Penrose dislikes Miss Meredith Chambers, the American governess who accompanied his new wards. He especially detests his attraction to the insufferable woman, and is anxious for her replacement to arrive.

Merry is thrilled when the Dowager Duchess Penrose hires her as a companion. Now she can stay with her beloved charges. But can she ignore how her heart thumps when the pompous duke gets close? 
Two people determined to ignore each other, despite the pull between them, and the sparks that fly whenever they're together.

ONE LUCKY WINNER will receive an ebook copy of  A Wife By Christmas.


Boil 1 cup of butter with 1 cup brown sugar, about 3-5 minutes until it pulls from the sides.  
Line a cookie sheet with foil and spray it with pam. Line the sheet with 1 sleeve of saltines.  
Pour the butter/sugar mix on top and bake in a 375 oven for 7 minutes.  Take it out and put 12 oz. bag of Chocolate chips on top and return to oven (oven off) just to melt. 
Spread the melted chips with a knife. Cool, then put it in the fridge for 3 hours to set. Then crack it up with your hands. 
DELISH and very addicting! 

Merry Christmas

Anna Kittrell has a fun poem and some awesome stories for you to check out:

Read her version of the classic ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas’ - It's hilarious and creative. You don't want to miss out!

Check out her stories:

Amazon Buy Link: Click Here

Deason McKindle dreams of breaking free. Free from the ex-wife whose cheating ways landed his fist in his boss's face, free from his dead-end job as a trash collector, free from small-town Oklahoma. In two weeks, his dream of a fresh start in Montana will come true.

His dreams scatter when he saves Charis Locke from her abusive ex-husband. The gratitude in her eyes awakens a passion deep inside him. But when he later discovers the ex-husband's corpse in a dumpster, Deason's charged with murder. Instead of breaking free, he loses every freedom he's ever known.

Charis thought she couldn't love any man other than the Alzheimer's patient she takes care of. But when Deason is arrested, she can't let him go to prison without a fight. As fate would have it, Charis has finally fallen in love, and only the key to the killer's identity will unlock her dreams.


Skinbound - Winner of the 2013 International Digital Awards for Short Suspense : (ONLY 99¢ - One of the Tales of the Scrimshaw Doll stories that inspired her Christmas poem)

An ancient scrimshaw doll--does its gypsy magic protect? Or destroy?

As a child, Darcy Vaughan cowered beneath the malice of her twin sister, Scarlett. Now, Scarlett is back and Darcy hopes to establish the sisterly bond she's always longed for. Instead, Scarlett tries to destroy Darcy's life--and her new relationship with the town doctor.

Dr. Cabin Creighton returned to his hometown near Lake Chickasha, Oklahoma to take over his father's practice. One look at Darcy and Cabin wants nothing more than to love her forever. But a guilty heart and memories of his deceased wife are holding him back.

When someone from Scarlett's past reappears, bad things start to happen. Darcy and Cabin struggle to keep their love alive, but as danger draws closer, Darcy finds herself once more at her sister's mercy, with nothing but the yellowed bones of an ancient doll to protect her.


Available December 11, 2013 from Prism Book Group: - YA Christian Suspense

Is the power of forgiveness really stronger than a Witcha’be spell?

New to the small community of Redbend, Molly Sanders is delighted when she and Lenni Flemming become instant friends during the final weeks of her first Oklahoma summer. However, Bianca Ravenwood, Lenni’s best friend and self-proclaimed witch in training, is less than thrilled. In fact, she’s cursing mad, vowing to destroy Molly while honing her craft in the halls of Redbend High School. 

Molly’s new school becomes a waking nightmare as Bianca, beautiful wannabe witch, targets her in a jealous rage. Plagued by terrifying, inexplicable occurrences and an embarrassing case of panic-induced hiccups, Molly is unable to escape Bianca’s snare. 

But if Bianca refuses to back down and Molly refuses to stand up, not only will Molly lose the best friend she’s ever had…she may also lose her sanity.

About the author...

Anna Kittrell has written stories for as long as she can remember. She still has most of her tattered creations—leftovers she was unable to sell on the playground for a dime—written in childish handwriting on notebook paper, bound with too many staples. Her love of storytelling has grown throughout the years, and she is thrilled her tales are now worth more than ten cents.

Facebook Author Page:

Barbara Edwards offers a heart-warming Christmas story for only $1.99!

Amazon Buy Link:  Click Here


Widow Noel Martin never breaks promises, and she promised her kids they’d have Christmas at her childhood home in Connecticut. But driving across country takes money. Noel is broke when a snowstorm blows them into a tiny Minnesota café owned by a man who can change her mind. She accepts his offer of a job. Despite her attraction to him, she makes it clear she is only temporary help.

Dan Longstreet isn’t adopting any more strays, but he needs a waitress. Dan works so hard to make his café a success, he doesn't have time for love. Though Noel’s slender blonde beauty stuns him and her two adorable children tug at his heart, he denies how they threaten to change his life.

When tragedy strikes, their new-found love is the first victim. Noel can't stay and Dan can't leave. Will their journey be the gift that reunites them? 


“Christmas? Same as last year. Shut the place and go to bed.”  Dan Longstreet answered his portly customer. Ernie’s out-of-shape belly hung over the last stool at the cafe counter. The mingled odors of frying grease, wet wool and disinfectant sat heavy in the heated air of Dan’s place. Sleet rattled on the frosted windows.  
“That’s a shame, Dan. You need a wife and a couple rug-rats. A man should have more holiday spirit what with Thanksgiving in three days.” 

“It’s not the right time, Ernie. So how about finishing up so I can close?”

“I ain’t in no hurry to drive home in this storm. Seems every year they get earlier in the season.” 
Ernie smoothed his full white beard before he gestured at the frosted window.

Dan grinned at his friend’s twinkling blue eyes and wheedling expression. “In a few hours these roads will be impassable and I don’t want you bunking here again. You snore like an asthmatic bull!” 

An Arctic blast from the opening door fluttered napkins on the deserted tables in the darkened cafe, extinguished the two remaining candles and ruffled the sawdust spread on the floor to absorb the melting snow. Dan casually checked the baseball bat hooked under the counter. Only trouble arrived this late. 

His gaze latched on the petite female and he swore he smelled spring flowers. And sunshine. He couldn’t take his gaze off her as she undid the knitted green muffler wrapped three times around her coat’s up­turned collar to reveal a thin pinched face. 

His chest ached with the urge to cradle her in his arms: she was so cold. Even with her knit hat pulled down over her ears, her high cheekbones and the up­-tilted tip of her nose flamed as bright red as a cheap statue of a Christmas elf. She blinked in the bright light.

Dan’s pulse leaped like a startled deer. He knew everyone who frequented the Deer Run Lounge and Cafe. She was no local wife searching for an overdue husband or one of the three women who made a living, if you could call it that, picking up the lumberjacks and mill workers for an hour or two. 

His blood heated but he managed to control his urges by slowly polishing a clean glass and setting it in the rack for the next day’s trade. Dan nodded hello. 

Her over-sized man’s winter coat trailed to her ankles, but she visibly shook. He wanted to tell her to take off her coat and get warm. She removed her gloves, pulling the fingers off one by one until her white hands shone in the dim light. A pale circle around her ring finger marked the recent removal of a band. 

She returned Dan’s stare. “Is that sign in the window still good? Do you need an experienced waitress?” Her flat, emotionless voice didn’t match the way her fingers twisted round and round her gloves. His palms itched to cover hers until she calmed.

“Yeah.” He nodded slowly, his mouth dry. Something in him yearned for her to be more than a passing stranger. His breath hitched. “Pine Rapids, Minnesota isn’t jumping with help. The last girl quit without notice.” 

He knew better than to expect a gift to blow in the cafe door, especially one that made his blood pound. 

“Your husband outside?”

“What?” she followed his gaze to her bare hand. “No, I’m a widow. I traded my ring for a tank of gas and a tire yesterday.”

His heart pinched: life was hard everywhere.

Nancy Fraser shares a Christmas Anthology from four different authors:  

Erin’s Gift by Nancy Fraser - Chicago 1924
Erin O’Mara is a sensible, hardworking young woman...that is until she lets her two best friends talk her into a visit to a speakeasy! Widower, Seth Harrison, has no intention of falling in love again but will he be able to resist the sweetness of his son’s new nanny, Erin O’Mara—his sister’s best friend?

An Eternity of You by Sophia Garrett - England 1833
The Duke of Sharrington left Rebecca with more than a broken heart six years ago—he left her with a son. He’s rekindled their passion with his return, but it will take a Christmas miracle to earn her heart.

Letters at Christmas by Amber Lin - England, late Regency
After three years at sea, Captain Hale Prescott has the means to marry the love of his life and his best friend’s sister. Sidony Harbeck, however, might never to speak to him again. Despite their whispered adolescent promises, he never wrote her a single letter…at least, none he ever sent.

Eight Tiny Flames by Crista McHugh - 1944 Ardennes, WWII
Lt. Ruth Mencher has always secretly admired Capt. Joseph Klein, but it takes the lighting of a Hanukkah candle to uncover the spark of mutual attraction. Each night awakens a new facet of their relationship, but as the Battle of the Bulge begins, the approaching Nazi forces threaten to tear them apart.

Excerpt from Erin’s Gift:

“Well, well, well, what have we here?” The desk sergeant stared down over the huge wooden barrier, his thick Irish brogue filled with amusement. “Miss Harrison, Mr. Packard.” Glancing in Erin’s direction, he added, “Don’t tell me these two have roped another of their Hyde Park friends into skirting the law?” He shook his head and rubbed a meaty hand across his whiskers. “What’s your name, girlie?”

“Erin. Erin O’Mara.”

“Saints be, they’ve drawn a fine Irish lass such as yourself into their sordid business.” The officer turned his attention to Abby.

“I suppose you’ll be wanting to call that shyster brother of yours, now won’t you?”

Abby nodded. “Yes, Officer O’Malley, if you wouldn’t mind.”

O’Malley motioned toward the single phone on the table opposite the desk. “You can give him a call, but you’re going into the tank with the rest of lawbreakers until he gets here. No more special treatment just ‘cause your father’s a councilman. Understood?”

“Yes, sir,” Abby said. She started toward the desk and then turned back to ask, “Did Mrs. O’Malley have that baby yet, Sergeant?”

“Not yet,” the man acknowledged, shaking his head. “You’d think after ten, they’d just walk out on their own.”

The “tank” as Officer O’Malley had called it was made up of three jail cells, side by side. Women were housed in the first, the middle one sat empty, and the men were placed in the third. The young officer in charge of escorting them to their cells opened the door and motioned them forward. “Miss Abby,” the man said, “I’m surprised to see you back so soon.”

Abby laid her hand against the officer’s smooth cheek. “Oh, Tommy, you know I couldn’t possibly go more than a week or two without seeing your handsome face.”

The cell door had barely shut behind them when two women of questionable virtue began whistling and making wild moaning noises. The older of the two laughed heartily, her amusement ending in a rough-edged cough. “Oh, Tommy,” she whimpered, “I missed you so much.”

“Leave it alone, Kitty,” Officer Tommy warned. “And don’t you be trying to steal anything from these two young ladies.”

The woman called Kitty shook her head. “Don’t want nothing from these swells, Tommy-boy, ‘cept maybe a ciggy if they’ve got one.”

“Not us,” Erin said, shaking her head. “We don’t smoke.”

“Well, la-de-da, aren’t you a couple a good girlies.”

Buy Links:


Like most authors, Nancy began writing at an early age, usually on the walls and with crayons or, heaven forbid, permanent markers. Her love of writing often made her the English teacher’s pet, which, of course, resulted in a whole lot of teasing. Still, it was worth it.

When not writing (which is almost never), Nancy dotes on her five beautiful grandchildren and looks forward to traveling and reading when time permits. Nancy lives in Atlantic Canada where she enjoys the relaxed pace and colorful people.

Twitter: @nfraserauthor


Kim Hornsby is offering one luck commenter the choice between an ebook copy of her  Paranormal Suspense THE DREAM JUMPER’S PROMISE or her Contemporary Romance, Short Story THE HUSBAND HUNT – Kat’s Season

And check out this fantastic Christmas Anthology: Christmas by Candlelight - 5 Heartwarming Christmas Stories by 5 Romance Authors, including Bestselling Amazon authors Kim Hornsby and Lori Leger - $3.99 -Less than 80¢ per story!

Amazon Buy Link: Click Here

Kim Hornsby Amazon Author page:

Kim's story in the anthology is Christmas in Whistler


Hurt by her ex-husband and his scheming girlfriend, Daria Stark hopes to leave her heartbreak behind during a week-long ski trip over the holidays. Can a sexy frenchman
distract her before she heads home to reality?


Christmas in Whistler always meant snow. That’s what Daria’s friend Joanne said. “Whether man-made for the ski runs, or made in the clouds, there will be snow for Christmas.” 
That was good enough for Daria. This year, she’d need a winter wonderland to distract her and Whistler sounded pretty close to perfect, all things considered. “I’m coming for the holidays.” 

The need to get out of town didn’t rear its ugly head until the reality of Christmas finally hit her on the twenty-third. Her precious little girls were spending Christmas with their father and his girlfriend, who also happened to be the reason the family imploded in the first place. She would be alone, four miles down the road from her daughters. On the not-fair-meter, Daria figured the needle would be spiking near the finish line. But, in the spirit of good mothering, she handed over her cherished girls at nine that morning to a man who’d cheated on her, and the woman he’d done it with. She’d smiled and wished everyone a very Merry Christmas. 

Daria headed to the airport to catch the puddle jumper plane from Seattle to Vancouver, Canada. Armed with a new polar jacket, and snow pants and boots packed away in her suitcase, she guessed she could make it up the sheer face of Mt. Everest quite comfortably in her new getup. She knew she looked like the Michelin Man in so much padding but looking sexy was not on her list of things to do this Christmas.

Silver James has a brand new Christmas story, part of her popular Moonstruck series - AND, she's offering a free Kindle copy of CHRISTMAS MOON or any title in the Moonstruck series. (If the winner does not have a Kindle or Kindle app, a PDF copy will be provided)


The Wolves have been busy since blowing up half of Louisiana. Thanks to the government, there’s a bounty on their heads so they’re living off the grid. But Christmas is here and the kids want to know if Santa will find them this year. Not a problem until the phone call asking them to find and rescue a pregnant girl. On December 20th. In New Mexico. Piece of fruit cake, right?

Walking into a firefight with a drug cartel is never easy, but with Hannah’s wrath and Liam’s first change on the line, Mac and the Wolves face a harder choice—save the girl or save Christmas.

Secrets, lies, and betrayals are more personal under the Christmas moon, and it might just take the magic of Santa to help the Wolves save the day and make it home to their families in time. Because in the end, it’s all about family.

Warning: Santa’s making his list and when the Wolves go into action, they’ll find out who’s naughty and who’s nice.


“Mommy, does that mean Santa won’t find us?” Cody stared up at Annie, his gaze darting between her and Sean.

Picking up a rock, Hannah hurled it against the nearest tree. She muttered curse words, aware of big eyes watching her every move. After counting to a hundred, for the second time, she inhaled deeply, held her breath then exhaled in one long gust. Turning to face the crowd now gathered outside the RV, she slid into her role of commanding officer like a chameleon changing colors.

“It will be okay, Cody. Santa is full of magic and he knows where all the good little boys and girls are sleeping on Christmas Eve. At the rate Liam is going, he’s liable to get coal and switches in his stocking.”

Cody’s eyes widened so much Hannah could see the whites all the way around his pupils.

She closed her eyes briefly then opened them and tried again. “Santa will find us no matter where we are, Cody. And there will be a tree and presents and Christmas dinner.”

“You bet, Cody.” Jacey stepped over to side with Hannah. “I’ll make cinnamon rolls for breakfast and we’ll figure out turkey and dressing and all the trimmings.”

“Olives? I like olives.”

Annie rubbed her son’s shoulder. “Absolutely olives, Cody. The pitted kind and I won’t even fuss if you eat them off the tips of your fingers.”

R.T. Wolfe is offering one lucky commenter a signed, paperback copy of the best selling romantic suspense, Black Creek Burning, Black Creek Series Book 1.  (Only U.S. Residents eligible)

Amazon Buy Link: Click Here

After six long years, Brianna Chapman is finally able to cope with witnessing the murder of her parents. Then, dead animals start showing up on her doorstep, her tires are slashed and her yard is scorched by an unexplained fire. But Brianna refuses to reopen her parent's six-year-old arson-murder cold case, along with all the old wounds. 

Nathan Reed sees the incidents differently and quietly begins an investigation of his own. As Nathan's and Brianna's lives and passions intertwine, Nathan discovers a painful truth. Brianna's parents weren't the arsonist's target. Brianna was.


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One man can fulfill her destiny…the other can fulfill her fantasy.

To quell the rise of evil vampires, Liberty Van Helsing must embrace her newfound Hunter destiny. But she has a great deal to learn, and Eli Barkley—the vampire who has been teaching her—has already betrayed her once. Her goal is to shut Eli out of her life and become a better hunter on her own—and to focus on her new romance with hot Australian, Ryan Kelly, a human she can trust.

But when a rogue vampire begins savagely killing young women, the authorities insist Liberty work with Eli to find the murderer. Liberty must overlook Eli’s epic betrayal and find a way to get along with him if they are to stop the unknown maniac and protect innocent lives.

Yet, the more time Liberty spends with Eli, the more her unwanted attraction to him grows. She starts to question her feelings for Ryan—are they real, or could Eli be ‘the one?’ As Eli and Liberty delve further into the murders, clues surface that point to Eli as the culprit. Can she trust him now? Or will she have to plunge a stake into his heart, breaking her own, just when she’s learning to believe in him again?

“Rough night?”
Liberty jumped at the sound of Eli’s voice. Speaking of darkness and evil
She turned a glare on him. He stood directly behind her, hands shoved in his pockets, yet he’d been in the bar only seconds ago.
“Don’t do that,” she snapped. She looked back at the tiki bar. “How the hell did you…?” She shook her head. “Never mind. You’re a vampire. You move with the speed of light.”
He grinned and slanted his upper body toward her. “Yeah, but we’ve got all that darkness brewing inside. Ironic, isn’t it?”
She swung away from him and took hold of the door handle. “Whatever. I’m tired, so you’ll understand if I don’t feel like hanging out and bantering with you. Besides, your dates are waiting for you.”
She snorted a laugh. “No. Sympathetic. Better them than me.”
“Why is it I don’t believe you?”
“Maybe because you’re delusional?” She gave him an overly sweet smile before turning away to jerk the car door open.
“I see you’re still pouting because I didn’t tell you I was once a big, bad vampire.”
“It doesn’t matter. You warned me early on not to trust you. I should have listened.”
“And now you should put on your big girl panties and get over it. You’re a hunter, Liberty. You need to toughen up.”
Toughen up? Was he kidding? She’d risked her life last night, had worked her ass off training, and he was calling her a wimp. To hell with him. She started to slide into the car, but his voice stopped her.
“You can be mad at me all you want, but you can’t completely shut me out.”
“Watch me,” she bit out, not turning around.
“Let me ask you something. What difference would it have made if you’d known in the beginning?”
She slammed the door and whirled on him. “At least I’d have known who—what—I was dealing with.”
“Would you still have let me train you?”
“I’m not sure. But I had the right to know. To have all the facts before making that decision.”
“If you had chosen not to let me train you, how do you think you would have fared last night? Not knowing the truth was for your own good.”
She gave a bitter laugh. “Yeah, and I’m sure you’re all about what’s best for me.”
“Look, you’re going to have to put all that behind you. Like it or not, you still need me.”
“No, I don’t. I’ll keep practicing. I’ll be fine.”
“You can’t take that chance. If I hadn’t saved your ass last night, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.”
Just like him to throw that in her face. She huffed out a sigh of irritation. “Thanks, but from here on out, I can take care of myself.”
He stepped closer, backing her up to the door. The only way she could get away from him was to climb inside the car. But she didn’t.
“What’s wrong?” He raised his eyebrows, amusement lifting the corners of his mouth. “Are you afraid of me now?”
She tilted her chin up and met his eyes. Eyes that were molten grey in the semi-darkness. “Not afraid. Pissed off. There’s a difference.”
He chuckled. “Well, it’s nice to know I have an effect on you.” His gaze dropped to her throat. “Your pulse is beating like crazy. Right here.” He stroked a finger down her neck, sending heat skittering over her flesh. Damn him. She sucked in a breath and clenched her teeth.
“I can see it.” He dropped his hand, and his gaze locked onto hers. “No matter how much you’d like to be, you’re not immune to me, Liberty Van Helsing.”
She swallowed hard, trying to slow her racing pulse. “I need to get home. Let me go.”
His lips curved in a grin, and his voice lowered to a near whisper. “I’m not touching you.”

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