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!
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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!
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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!
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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
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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.**
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Wishing everyone in the U.S. a Happy Thanksgiving, and everyone not in the U.S. a fabulous Thursday
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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.
Every January I list my yearly goals, both writing-related and personal for the coming new year. Then at the end of each year, I look back to see which ones I met and which ones I didn’t. This is a good exercise for self-motivation since I don’t have a boss looking over my shoulder. It’s my way of being proactive in my writing career. This year I’ve been sidetracked by surgery and was horribly late turning in my most recent Blaze manuscript.( A “Wrong Bed” story with a sexy firefighter hero which I hope it will be out next summer, 2014- I’ll post the cover when I get it!)
The surgery was a gastric sleeve, which has enabled me to lose 65 pounds so far and I hope to lose another 80 to reach my goal weight. I’m so excited to be feeling more energetic and becoming healthier. It feels good. I feel renewed. And so grateful. And this brings me back to my original topic: Lists.
Years ago, one New Year’s Eve, I made a Gratitude List, a list of things I was grateful for. Let’s face it; New Years Eve is always a little depressing once you get to be my age-ahem. I tend to look back over the past year and, after the shock of how fast it went by wears off, I usually think of all the things I could have done better, (mothering) should have done more of, (exercising) or flat out didn’t do at all (lose weight). My antidote to this gloomy reflecting was gratitude. I wrote a list of 10 things I was thankful for. Here’s my list updated for 2013.
I’m grateful for:
1. My patient husband, loving me for 25 years
2. My amazing kids, growing into caring, responsible adults
3. My mama-always there for me
4. My sisters and brothers-in-law, loving and supportive
5. All my writing friends, especially my critique partners, I couldn’t write without them
6. All the awesome Romance authors who write so many wonderful romance novels
7. All the dedicated public school teachers who have helped my children over the years.
8. Skilled doctors and surgeons who really care about their patients
9. The abundance of beautiful music in the world
10. The incredible Life I’ve been privileged to live
Want to join me in making a list? It really is a great way to beat the blues. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.
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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.
I’ve read interviews with authors who say they write anywhere, but I admit I appreciate peace and quiet, and a somewhat helpful cat.
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:)
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I can’t believe that Thanksgiving is next week, and counting the weeks until Christmas, I knew I had to get a move on working on projects I wanted to make for people. For me, this means mostly gifts that I sew or bake, and usually some combination of the two, though it might also be something canned or preserved from summer, like jam.
This year, I’m making several sewn items — small, stuffed mice (no pictures yet) to match Christmas table runners — here’s a picture of one in progress (though the material choices are different for each person, I do like this pattern). I’m thinking each table runner and mice will be given with a homemade Chocolate Babka (you can find the recipe I use here — it’s fab! (I add cinnamon to the filling, btw), and maybe a jam or some other small item. If I’m really good, I’ll have time to make a few handmade totes to put it all in.
These are small, quick projects. Other years I’ve made Christmas tree skirts or quilted wall hangings (or whole quilts) though those are all larger projects I start months ahead of time. My husband likes to make homemade chocolates as well — my favorites are his chocolate-dipped Candied Orange Peel and Salted Caramels. :) He also makes a spicy dark chocolate truffle we like to call “hot rocks.”
I still have so many wonderful handmade items that others have given me, but especially my mother’s, most of which were Christmas items that we still use every year. Friends make some of our favorites, and my sister often makes me a particular fried cookie that I love with honey, and I make her favorites, too, with extras to put in the freezer. My brother-in-law painted us a landscape one year (he’s very talented), and there are many others (one of my first Christmas stocking stuffers from my husband was a travel coffee cup with a decorative panel he made himself). My mother-in-law’s embroidered Twelve Days of Christmas panels take their place on the living room wall every year.
All gifts are cherished, but hand made ones always have a little special something because they take precious time to make, of course.
Do you make any handmade items at the holidays? Some seasonal favorites? A particular craft or talent you have for sharing with others? What are some of your favorites that you have received? Share, and I’ll choose two winners from the comments to receive a copy of my January Blaze, UNFORGETTABLE (which is also a handmade gift, when you think about it…
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It’s almost release day for my Cosmo Red Hot Read from Harlequin, and though it won’t be released until November 26th, you can pre-order it right now. I’ll warn you, though…if you thought my Blazes were steamy…wait ’till you read Definitely Naughty!
Read an Excerpt!
Single Gal Seeks Naughty Inspiration
Aubrey Hayes @windowUndresser
Window dressing at Le Muse lingerie = best job ever. LOVE. But must design The Ultimate Window Display Of Hot Sex before Xmas. #panic 24h
A Hot Guys Trading Card just fell from the sky. Could this beautiful piece of man be my muse? It’s raining men. #hallelujah 23h
OMFG, Detective Liam Flynn even hotter in person. May explode into a million pieces of lusty lady bits. #HandcuffMeNow 15h
It’s on. Have convinced the über-hot cop to be my naughty muse until Xmas. Two weeks of sex, here I come! *ahem* 14h
Muse Plan already working. Creative juices flowing. And Detective Liam Hotness is the best “inspiration” ever. Owe the Fates BIG time. 8h
But I only have him until Christmas. Keep it together, Aubrey—and DON’T fall for him. #SexNotLove 3m
Get your copy at Harlequin Get your copy at Amazon
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Get your copy at Kobo Get your copy at Books-a-Million
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