Wooohoooo, Tis the Season!! Not only for holiday fun, but for holiday books. Are you a fan of holiday stories? Do you have a favorite? And what are you reading now?
Dec 11 2013
The hero in my holiday novella, “Presents Under the Tree” in A SOLDIER’S CHRISTMAS barely makes it home in time for the holidays, showing up at almost midnight on Christmas Eve. Because while I’ll be travelling over the holidays myself, I’m flying into my Christmas destination four days prior to Santa’s big day. That should give me enough time to prep, right?
I’ve never done a Christmas on the road before and this one is making me a little nervous. Four days to find a tree in a snowy forest, put it up in a stand—allowing adequate time for falling over a few times and plenty of my husband grousing that we chose another crooked trunk—then decorating it. Plus shopping, wrapping, partying, baking, the Annual Christmas Cookie Classic (everything in my home turns into a competitive sport) and some serious, serious decorating. My sixteen year old is already plotting how fast he can unpack our 120 some Dickens’ Village pieces and arrange them.
Er… all of which would be fine. Kind of. Except that then, we have to pack the whole holiday back up two weeks later. And I know better than the manic family does that this is a bear of a task. And not nearly as fun as the front end! Sigh. But of course, I end up sounding the Scroogiest when I suggest maybe we rein it in a bit this year. Do we really need all billion Dickens’ houses in our china cabinet, on the sideboard and spilling out into the entryway (see the pic)? Maybe four would be nice.
One day, when they have families of their own and play a larger role in post-Christmas clean-up, they’ll find more discipline. This year, I know I’ll be tempted to just pack the holidays away on my own so they can go have fun. I don’t remember cleaning up a tree when I was a kid… I remember playing with toys! I guess I want my boys to have an insane amount of fun during that time, too. Inevitably, I’ll just let them enjoy their old friends for the holidays and use their vacation time snowboarding, ice skating, and playing hockey, all things we won’t get to do the rest of the this year.
Guess I won’t be playing Scrooge this year. And I’m sure the holidays will leave me exhausted. But still? I can’t wait. Happy Holidays, my friends! Wishing you and yours a fabulous, scrumptious, family filled, joyful season!
***Tell me about your favorite holiday ornament today… let’s trim a cyber tree and see what we end up with!! Here’s a shot from my tree last year… I love the ornaments with my sons’ cute faces that they made in grade school. I’ll give one random poster and advance copy of my January Blaze, My Secret Fantasies OR the December “Uniformly Hot” holiday anthology A Soldier’s Christmas, winner’s choice.
Also, please consider keeping an eye out for my upcoming holiday YA novella, Camp Christmas! If you have teen readers in your house, this is a free download. For details, as always, visit me at http://joannerock.com
I love hearing about holiday traditions. From family to family and culture to culture there are fun things we all include. For years on Christmas Eve, my husband and kids and me would go out for Mexican food for lunch, and then we’d go to one of the early Church services. But as our family has grown larger and the boys have significant others, that tradition has changed.
We have always had a big Christmas Eve party for family and friends with a traditional feast of turkey, ham, roast and all the fixings… but now we’ve changed it so that we have everyone bring Mexican food. We are a family who really loves Mexican food. It’s something a little different and it’s fun. And we don’t have to worry about splitting families, because EVERYONE from both sides comes to our house.
We also sit around and sing Carols on Christmas Eve. And this is probably one of my favorite moments during the holidays. It’s extremely corny, and sometimes the singing is horrendous, but we love it. We do have some singers in the family and that helps. But it’s really about the joy of us being together in one space for a brief time. It doesn’t happen often. We usually let the kids open one gift on Christmas Eve, but the bulk of the crazy unwrapping happens on Christmas Day.
No matter what your age, if you don’t believe in Santa, you don’t get gifts at my house. We still leave out milk and cookies (they always disappear). He brings stockings for everyone and surprise gifts always seem to show up. It’s magical.
Christmas Day, we are lucky in that everyone comes back for Christmas lunch. We have a big traditional meal with horrible things like cheesy green beans (Velveeta, green beens, sour cream, garlic, salt and pepper – sounds awful but it’s yummy) and lots of meats, potatoes and desserts. By around 2 p.m., I’m ready for my Christmas Day nap, which can last for a few hours. I wake up feeling like a zombie and then we play games and eat more food.
It’s freaking joyous and fun.
You may have noticed a theme. Food is a big in our family.
I’d like to hear about your traditions. Do you do something quirky or fun for the holidays? Do you wear crazy hats? Do you have a special get together? Tell me. I want to know.
Happy Holidays and Hugs to All!
Dec 09 2013
Less than a month ’til my Blaze debut, STILL SO HOT! is on shelves and available through e-tailers, and I’m super excited about sending Elisa and Brett out there in the world.
The book starts with Elisa on her way to the Caribbean, feeling not-just-a-little-stressed-out because she’s not sure her client, TV phenom Celine Carr, has made it onto the airplane. They’re headed to St. Barts so Elisa can host Celine on a “dating boot camp weekend.” The idea is that Elisa can watch Celine in action, meeting and wooing men, and give her advice about how to be more effective, smarter, and healthier about her dating choices. (Little does either of them know that en route to the airport, Celine has picked up and brought along the only man Elisa has ever really loved. Can you say messy?)
We’ve all made some suspect dating choices along the way. I don’t mind admitting that I went through a looooong phase in college of going after men who weren’t remotely interested in me—and not remotely suited for me, either. When I finally met the man for me—now my husband of fifteen years!—and he was interested in me, my first move was to tell my friend to tell him to bug off.
Luckily for me, my friend forgot.
Sometimes we all need a little help from our friends.
Tell me any story of a friend who helped you get together with a guy you liked or helped you break up with a guy you needed to stay away from. Or tell me a dating horror story or about any time YOU could have used the advice of a dating coach! I’ll choose one random commenter (U.S. or Canada, please, and must be over 18) to win a signed, paperback copy of Still So Hot! Contest ends Thursday, December 12, 2013, 11:59 p.m. EST.
Dec 07 2013
The weather has finally turned cold just in time to bake Christmas cookies this weekend. I’ll be making Gingersnaps using the Joy of Cooking’s recipe, and Scottish Shortbread which is butter, rice flour, regular flour, and sugar. I also like Forgotten Cookies. These are a meringue with chocolate chips that you drop onto a cookie sheet, put them in a pre-heated oven, and then turn it off and forget about them until the next morning. Then I’ll convince myself that during the past year I’ve miraculously acquired the talent for cut-out sugar cookies and end up with angels with droopy wings and mutant reindeer.
What about you? Do you have a favorite Christmas cookie recipe? I’m looking for a good chocolate one.
And check out my brand-new website! We’re still migrating info from the old site, but the basics are in place.
Merry Christmas and I’ll see you next year!
Ok, Christmas, let’s do this! Yes, it’s only the beginning of December but it feels as if the holiday season has been here for weeks. I’ve already consumed an insane amount of chocolate and cookies, and I know many of you are finishing up the last of the pie and turkey from Thanksgiving. How do we keep ourselves healthy and sane during this frenetic time of year? Reading! So I hope you’ll do yourself a favor and make time to pick up the fantastic line up of sexy, festive stories we have this month in Blaze. Go on—give yourself a delicious treat that feels decadent, but has no calories!
Fans of hot cowboys, sizzling romance and holiday fun—here’s one for you. New York Times bestselling author Vicki Lewis Thompson gives you everything you’ve ever wanted in a Christmas story in COWBOY & ANGELS, the 15th story in the Sons of Chance miniseries. Trey Wheeler has been searching for the angel who rescued him from a car accident in the spring. Turns out it’s Elle Masterson, a ski instructor who has returned to Wyoming for the winter season. But she’s not here for long and will be leaving in the spring. Will the cowboy and the angel settle for a short-term fling? Or will the magic of Christmas work its way into their hearts? This book is so wonderful, and has an ending that will knock your socks off! It’s fun, witty, heartwarming and hot. What more could you want from a Blaze?
Do you crave a snappy, satisfying, sexy read? Look no further than A SOLDIER’S CHRISTMAS, part of our Uniformly Hot! miniseries featuring military heroes. These three captivating holiday stories will definitely keep you warm! You can always count on New York Times bestselling author Leslie Kelly to deliver a steamy romance, and she does in I’ll Be Home for Christmas, a story of timing (good and bad), and the smoking hot chemistry that keeps us reading romance! Joanne Rock keeps the fire burning in Presents Under the Tree, a story of a quickie marriage that turns out not to be a mistake after all. If Only in My Dreams by Karen Foley turns fever into fantasy into reality in this story of a wounded soldier returning home and the woman who is destined to help him heal.
Love a tortured Irish hero? Kate Hoffman’s THE MIGHTY QUINNS: DEX is a marvelous read that shows what the love of a good woman can do! Dex Kennedy has led the life of a vagabond over the past ten years. As a news cameraman, he’s traveled to war zones all over the world—and now he’s determined not to go back to working with a camera. But Marlie Jenner desperately needs him to help her with a documentary. Her career is on the line because of it! Dex’s instant attraction to Marlie scares him off…but it also tempts him. He may be in no shape for a relationship, but all he can think of is taking Marlie to bed. I’ve got a feeling he succeeds….
You wouldn’t think a man in a Grinch costume could be sexy—but you’d be wrong! Tawny Weber puts the X-rated in Xmas in the utterly charming and insanely hot NAUGHTY CHRISTMAS NIGHTS. Hailey North and Gage Milano are competitors in a bid for a department store contract. Their business? Lingerie! Hailey’s Merry Widow line is all about romance, eroticism and lace, but Gage is selling pure sex in black leather. They each have high stakes for winning the contract…but the bigger problem seems to be fighting their magnetic attraction! Their professional rivalry turns into a red-hot rendezvous they can’t seem to avoid. Tawny knows how to make the holidays sexy, and when it comes to spicy Christmas stories, this one is a winner! Check out the cover—wouldn’t you want to unwrap that man as your present to yourself? Yummier than chocolate!
So, in between the shopping, the baking, the cooking, the wrapping—and if you’re like me, the constant watching of It’s a Wonderful Life—give yourself a break and sit down for a relaxing read that will warm your heart and curl your toes. All of us at Harlequin Blaze want to wish you the happiest of holidays. And if you tell me which of our sexy holiday covers you like best, I’ll enter you in a draw to win one of five sets of our December Blaze titles. Merry Christmas, all!
Kathleen Scheibling, Senior Editor
I spent my Thanksgiving in the emergency room. I’m glad to be back home with a wide variety of medication and my trusty laptop. That could be a dangerous combination but I keep dropping off to sleep once the meds kick in.
As you can imagine, I’m happy Thanksgiving is over and now it’s time to look ahead at the winter holidays. I’m one of those people who enjoys reading Christmas romances because it adds to the anticipation. (But I only read them once the season starts!) I’m looking forward to reading the Christmas stories Blaze has out in December.
Do you have a Christmas romance novel on your TBR pile? Name one in the comment section before November 30, midnight Pacific Time. One commenter will win a $10 USD Amazon e-mail gift card. Good luck!
**UPDATE: Congratulations to Jane! Her name was chosen using random.org and she receives the Amazon gift card. Thanks to everyone for sharing.**
Wishing everyone in the U.S. a Happy Thanksgiving, and everyone not in the U.S. a fabulous Thursday
Nov 27 2013
I think I’ve mentioned in previous blogs that I’m a list maker. I keep a notebook with a Daily/Weekly TO DO list, and a longer term list of goals for both my personal and writing life.
Nov 22 2013
When I started writing COMMAND PERFORMANCE, I wrote wherever and whenever I could–when my son napped, while I was on bed rest in the hospital awaiting my daughter’s arrival, and on vacation when family members were on hand to watch the little ones. Now, with deadlines looming and a three year old who no longer naps, my husband and I decided to hire a babysitter to watch my almost two year old three mornings a week while my son attends preschool. And, because he is truly the best husband ever, he invited me to use an empty office at his company, located on Wall Street.
I love writing romance from Wall Street. The space is quiet. No distractions. When I sit down at that desk, I know that no one will wake up needing a diaper change or refuse to nap unless I hold them. I don’t mind the bright light or the blank white walls. I know some authors create storyboards and post pictures of the inspiration behind their characters or setting. For me, it is all in the words. I keep piles of notes beside my computer.
The rest of the time, I write from home, when the children sleep or my husband volunteers to take them out. And I usually have help from my Burmese cat, Puma, who predates the little ones in our household. Puma has been “helping” me write since I first started. Sometimes she adds her own touches, sitting on the space bar or adding a page filled with a single letter.
For the authors visiting today: where do you write? And to the readers, are you interested in learning more about an author’s process? I was a reader long before I started writing and I’ve always been fascinated. But maybe that’s just me:)