Holiday Traditions

Holiday Traditions

With Christmas just around the corner, I thought it’d be a great time to see what holiday traditions others might have.

I’ve got plenty. First and foremost, I bake Christmas cookies and deliver them to friends and family several weeks before Christmas. When everyone is just waiting for them and haven’t had their fill. Plus, it’s one of the things to get off my to-do list. Yes, that is my kitchen and cookies I made this year!

Another tradition is celebrating the holiday on Christmas Eve at my house. Both my husband and my side of the family come. It’s a day full of food and gift exchanging for my side with the nieces and nephews. Christmas morning, we go to my in laws, and it’s the one holiday of the year I don’t have to host or cook. Yay me!

But my favorite holiday tradition of all is the 12 days of Christmas. Or my version of it. You see, my husband and I were high school sweethearts and back in the day I’d thought it’d be cute to give him a gift every day for the 12 days leading up to Christmas Eve. He’d get his real gift on Christmas morning, so I started on December 13th and ended on the 24th.

Back then I just gave him candy each day. His mother didn’t appreciate it and always made comments on dental bills, but it didn’t stop me.  As the years went on, the gifts moved away from candy and onto things like socks, ornaments, favorite foods, beer etc.

When my son was two and could understand the tradition, I started it with him. All 12 of his gifts (and hubby’s) are wrapped in their own wrapping paper to tell them apart, all gifts are stored in a big bag or box for them to draw out randomly each day. Kiddo still draws his and his father’s out like he’s done all along.

Truth be told, this is my favorite holiday tradition of all. Me giving them something to look forward to daily. Though it’s not as much fun for the kiddo at 18 as it was at 2, he still looks forward to it. Same with the hubby. They even give me ideas now and again of what they’d like to get on those days—and I find that very helpful!

So how about you? Do you have a holiday tradition? If not, how about reading some holiday stories? The authors at Authors’ Billboard have several Holiday boxed collections out right now for just 99 cents each. Grab them up and sit back and enjoy!

Happy Holidays to each and every one of you!

 

Blogging Elsewhere

So I told you all that I’m part of the Authors’ Billboard,right? A group of wonderfully talented authors that I’m learning so much from.

Well one of the tasks that I’m enjoying is blogging there once a month. But I realized I speak more of myself there than I do here. I don’t know why that is. Once in awhile I’ll post something personal, but not often.

I decided to share my two blog posts from there, here, you can read them too.

The first one was Taking A Chance.

With risk comes great reward. We’ve all heard this before, correct? Maybe we’ve said, “That’s right, I’m going to take a risk and I’m going to win.” Then you get all excited, you dive head first into the freezing cold water, come up for air and you wait. And wait. And wait.  “Where’s my reward?” you ask yourself.

That was me twenty plus years ago. I wanted to be a writer. An author. That was my goal. That was my dream. I’d started and stopped writing too many times to count, getting frustrated and giving up.

Then four years ago I told myself, it’s now or never and I made a plan. I’m good at making plans. And lists. Lots and lots of lists. My lists have lists and I’m proud of that fact!

My plan was to write one book. Start and keep going until it was done. Just to say I could do it. The finished product didn’t have to leave my computer, no one had to see it but me, but darn it all, I was going to finish that book.

Not only did I finish that book, Road to Recovery, but I wrote Road to Redemption and Road to Reality. Three books in draft form and I had no clue what to do next. So I started to search out editors, and since I’m a firm believer in fate, I kept coming back to this one editor.  Something pulled at me and said, “Reach out and see what she says.”

That risk I talked about before… well that’s what I did. My finger hovered over the mouse after I reread my email fifty times. The last thing I wanted to do was have a typo in the introduction email!

I didn’t have a long wait. I wasn’t floating in the cold water wondering when I could get out and grab a fluffy towel.  Now I’m not going to say my reward was instantaneous, because it wasn’t. I had a lot of work ahead of me, and I got right to it. Pulled out another ream of paper and made another list of where to start and how to approach it.

Here I am—not even three years after Road to Recovery was published—my fourteenth book, Take A Chance, was released this month.

Rene Buchanan did what I did. She’d had a life she lived for twenty-nine years and when it wasn’t working out the way she always envisioned. When she knew there was more out there and she just had to find it, she dove into that ice cold water and took her chance. Luckily for her, Cole McGuire was there to hand her a nice warm towel, wrap her up tight and show her that her risk was both their reward.

You can read Take A Chance now. Available on Amazon.

The second blog post was Fall…Finally

It’s my favorite time of year!

Here in New York, Fall is running a little late to the party, but it’s in route…finally!

Fall symbolizes a lot of different things for different people.

—Back to school—Happy dance for all those parents out there.

—Football—Unless your team isn’t setting the red zone on fire…yes, I mean you Eli.

—Apple picking—Sad to say, this is the first time in sixteen years I haven’t gone apple picking with my son. He’s a freshman in college and too cool to do that.

—The changing of the leaves—The perfect time to take a scenic drive to Vermont. Unfortunately, thanks to motion sickness, scenic drives and me don’t play nice.

—The first frost—Still waiting for this to happen.

—Planting my tulips for spring—Again, still waiting.

You might wonder why I put planting of tulips on my list. To me, fall symbolizes the ending of summer, the beginning of my favorite season, and a kickoff to spring. The time when I tenderly plant those bulbs, spread the soil on top and wait months and months for them to make their first appearance.

Fall also makes me think of love and new beginnings. Jordyn Montgomery got her new beginning in All My Love. She picked up the only life she’d ever known in Florida and moved to Upstate New York on a hunch and with a purpose. While experiencing loss, loneliness, mystery, and love, she met Drew Palmer who stood by her through it all, and helped her find the new beginning she’d been dreaming of.

Each month I’ll try to remember to share my post on my site here, but please, take a trip to Authors’ Billboard and read what everyone else is writing about. You won’t be disappointed.

 

Follow Me…And Other Exciting News!!

You might have noticed that I changed the picture at the top of my website. If not, just take a look. The picture on the cover of All I Want has always been one of my favorites.

That’s not really what this post is about though. Nope, instead I’m going to let you know all the places you can follow me! You’re super excited, aren’t you? I know I am!

Drum roll please…I’ve got a Facebook page!! I know, shocking, but I did. I’ll explain more in a bit. And not only that, but I’ve got a Pinterest one too!

Now if I could only figure out how to get those little widget things at the top of my blog to make it easier for you to follow me.

Anyhoo…I’ll just make it easy.

My Facebook Page is here : Facebook

My Pinterest Page is here: Pinterest

If you don’t already follow me on Twitter, please do!!: Twitter

How about my newsletter? You can subscribe and find out what I’m working on and specials.  Newsletter

You can see me on Bookbub.

And Goodreads.

Now for the really exciting news…and the main reason I signed up for FB and Pinterest.  I’m going to be working with a bunch of wonderful and talented authors at The Author’s Billboard. You can follow them and me at their blog here : The Author’s Billboard

As you can see they’ve got a contest going for the month of September. Enter and win a chance for a $25 Amazon Gift Card. (my memes are at the bottom since I just joined the group last week, but they were kind enough to let me enter)

Not only are there wonderful contests, but they put out several boxed sets a year where you get a chance to read multiple stories from different authors (and hopefully find some new favorites!) for a low price! Check some of them out here. I’ll be included in one of the boxed sets for this Christmas!!!! (If I wasn’t so shy I’d insert a gif of me dancing around my office right now!)

Did you notice that the bulk of the ladies in this group are USA/NY Times Best Selling Authors??!!! I’m so excited to be working with them and learning everything I can from their experience and expertise! Fingers crossed, I’ll be following suit.

If you want to get to know them some more, follow them here on Facebook

And now that I’ve overloaded you with data (Your finger is sore from clicking on the links and following, right?) I’ll end this with a few short words… Follow Me!!!

Give Me A Chance…Prologue

It’s that time again. Time to start teasing you with a little bit of Give Me A Chance. You can buy the book here.

Here’s the Prologue to Max and Quinn’s story.

Quinn pulled the front of her zippered sweatshirt tighter together and tried to ignore the tiny hole her thumb just slipped through.

Stopping on the street corner, she looked around and saw the normal everyday traffic, people moving fast with their heads down. In her neighborhood, pedestrians didn’t make eye contact and it was better that way.

She reached down, pretending not to notice the frayed edges of the sweatshirt that was two sizes too big and decades old. As she placed the ends of the plastic zipper together and tugged, she hoped it didn’t break, just like she did every time she tried to close it. When it got caught up on some loose material, she yanked fast, the zipper closing all the way up to her neck.

Pulling the zipper down a bit, she readied herself and lifted her hood over her head. It’d keep the wind off her neck, not that it offered much warmth in the late fall of her Chicago neighborhood.

Neighborhood. That was a joke. It was the slums and anyone who said differently was only fooling themselves.

She took a steadying breath, dreading what she was about to do, but what she’d had to more times than she cared to admit. It wasn’t like she enjoyed it, but she had no choice. The kids were depending on her.

Lowering her eyes and straightening her shoulders, she marched into the convenience store like she did every few days. She knew how much she could spend, but she’d have to take a bit more.

Unfortunately, the balance on the EBT card her mother left on the table just wasn’t going to stretch enough for the four hungry mouths in the house.

Not knowing when her mother might return, Quinn figured she’d have to get enough to last a few days. Since it was Friday, she was pretty sure her mother wouldn’t show up again until late Sunday night, maybe even Monday morning…after Quinn had gotten her brothers and sister up and walked her brothers to school before heading there herself. The baby would be left with a neighbor, if she could find one who’d open their door.

Doing as little as possible, that was her mother.

Time to get this over with. Quinn opened the door, heard the bell chime, and walked over toward the pasta shelf. It was cheap, filling, and she could make it last, while spicing it up so the kids didn’t think they were always eating the same thing all the time. She learned to be creative in the kitchen thanks to a neighbor giving her herbs to grow on the windowsill in their tiny two-bedroom apartment.

With her head down, she moved quickly, grabbing what she needed, what she knew she had enough money for, then moving toward the other aisle. There was no soap or toothpaste left in the house. She’d used the last bit herself. They might be poor, but they could still be clean.

Shuffling the food items in her hands, she quickly and efficiently slid the toothpaste inside her sweatshirt on one side, then looked around, made sure no one saw her, and did the same with a bar of soap.

Her head was racing, her hands were sweating, and she was silently praying to a God that never seemed to answer her prayers. No matter how many times she’d done this, it didn’t make her feel any better. She was just glad she needed smaller items this time, not bigger boxes of feminine products. Those was harder to hide in her clothing.

She walked a few more aisles over, browsing for anything that might be marked down that she could rearrange and manage to squeeze in with the limited amount of funds she had.

After a few minutes, she decided to just buy what she had and save any remaining balance for another day. There was still one more week in the month anyway.

“What do you think you’re doing, you little punk?” she heard right before a strong hand gripped her shoulder tight.

She felt the tears well up in her eyes, but pushed them back, squared her shoulders, and tried to shrug off the hand…only it wasn’t moving. Time to be strong, time to talk herself out of this.

But when she turned to see who the hand belonged to, it wasn’t an employee or the store owner, it was a police officer.

Year of Change

2017 is going to bring on a year of change like I’ve never seen before. I’m ready to hold on tight and try to get through the ride.

Many are saying it’s going to be a fun year for me, but I doubt it. It always looks fun to others, but not the person going through it.

My entire life I’ve lived in the same small upstate rural county. For over 35 years I’ve lived in the same city. Heck, I’ve only lived in 4 houses my whole life! Only 2 houses with my husband of almost 23 years. But in the next 6-8 months I’ll be moving.

Not far, not really. Just an hour from where I am now. It’s going to be a great change in the scheme of things. I know that, I believe it, and I’m super excited. But I’m also scared, worried and anxious.

Change is good, but it’s also hard.Especially for someone like me who likes things to stay status quo.

When I look at all that is changing in my life next year though, none of it is bad! It’s all good. New house, new city, my son is graduating from high school and going to college. That’s part of the reason for the move.

He’s been a Type 1 Diabetic since he was 8 and doesn’t feel comfortable at this point in his life going away to college, but he’s a smart kid and got an amazing scholarship to a great private college. So we are moving closer to his college so he has less than a 10 mile commute rather than a 50+ mile one on a major highway. Even my husband’s commute will now be a fraction of what it currently is.

So that leaves me. I’ve currently got a 2 minute commute to my job (seriously, I do!) and it would be an hour after the move.  So, after a lot of thought, I told my employers I would be done working once we moved, giving them 6-8 months to find a replacement for me.

Imagine my surprise when a few weeks ago they offered for me to stay on full time and primarily work from home. I was shocked and humbled at the same time. For now, I’m going to give that a try.

So have patience with me. My books are still going to come out every 3 months. I hope that I won’t be disrupting my routine too much, but the truth of the matter is, the next 6 months of my life are going to be a tad bit crazy.

The goal is my writing will keep me grounded. And with any luck, I’ll have a ton of new inspirations to write about!

Here’s to 2017! Bring it on!

Give Me A Chance

give-me-a-chance

Cultivated by the wealthy and elite in New York City, plastic surgeon Dr. Max Hamilton seemed to have it all. A beautiful wife and two well-behaved children, along with a successful practice. But an ugly nasty divorce forced him to pick up his children and move north to Lake Placid away from everything that destroyed him. Now with things starting to normalize, he finds himself in desperate need of a nanny and housekeeper. That’s all. Nothing more, nothing less.

 

Quinn Baker spent her childhood in poverty, foster care and even detention centers. As an adult working two—sometimes three jobs—her fingertips still couldn’t grasp the edge of the vicious poverty circle to pull herself out. When she overhears of Max’s need for a nanny, she takes a risk and prays her past doesn’t come back to haunt her.

Two Years Ago

Two years ago this month my first book Road to Recovery was published. You can read about my excitement (and nervousness) here.

Rather than bore you with all the comings and goings of the last two years, I’m going to summarize how I did.

I’ve published 11 books within 3 different series!

The Road Series is 4 books.

The All Series is 6 books.

The Lake Placid Series had it first book published today! Second Chance.

I’ve sold over 12,000 copies, had over 137,000 free downloads and 37,000 books borrowed through Kindle Unlimited.

That’s not Best Seller numbers, but it’s pretty great in my eyes.

The bulk of my income has come from Kindle Unlimited. Now many authors are experiencing issues with the way book pages are being counting by Amazon and in November and December we are seeing significantly lower numbers. Fingers crossed their algorithm gets adjusted or corrected soon, but in the meantime, I’m thrilled with how the last two years have gone.

Here’s to the next two years, and with any luck, maybe I’ll hit the Best Seller list with one of my books!!

End Of The Year…

I’m thrilled 2015 is coming to an end!!! For me this year was a barrage of emotional upheaval.

First off, joy! Lots of joy on my writing end. I published five books in 2015. That’s right, five books! Granted, the last two from the Road Series were actually written in 2014, but just got pushed back on their publication dates. Still, five books is a lot. I’d like to say I could do that every year, but I would be kidding myself. Three-four books a year is my goal.

Aside from being such a wonderful year with my writing, on a personal level, 2015 was one of my hardest years. I’d had some major health issues, which I’ll blog about in another post soon. But as bad as those health issues were, I’m still very thankful and very grateful that things turned out well. That things weren’t as bad as they could have been, even though they were bad enough. And that I have a wonderful support group with my family, friends and doctors that helped me through.

So let’s move on to 2016 with a smile and a warm welcome. I’ve got four books lined up to publish. The last three from the All Series and the start of a brand new series too. I’m super excited and hope you are as well.

On that note, I’ll end with I hope everyone has a Happy New Year full of wonderful, joyous moments that may override any sad or unhappy ones.

Not the End…

The fourth book in the Road Series, Road to Reason, will be published early to mid April.  Ryan finally gets his chance. All those little teasers of him through the first three books have built up. I promise, you won’t be disappointed.

Let me back track a little. When I was writing Road to Reality, Mac’s story, I decided to introduce another family into the mix, the Harpers—old childhood friends of Lucas and Ryan.  It only made sense that their younger sister would be the one to bring Ryan to his knees.

In doing so, a new series started to play around in my head.  The All Series.  You can read more about my up and coming books here.

The first of the new series, All or Nothing, is about Ben.  I’m in the editing stage of that book and it’s my hope to have it out by early June. I’m going out on a limb and saying this is my favorite story of all the books I’ve written so far.  There is something about Ben and his struggle.  I know, I know, I shouldn’t have favorites, but right now, his story touches me deeply.

Just this week I finished the draft of All of Me, which is about Phil.  What I love about this story is it secretly starts in Road to Reason, and then comes crashing together towards the end of All or Nothing.

With any luck, in the next few weeks I might start Alec’s story, All the Way.

As I continue along with the Harper’s, all your favorite characters from the Road Series return. Their lives continue on and you get to see where they are, and how they relate to each other.  In my eyes, it’s all part of the circle of life. You meet and get to know these characters and then see their Happy Ever After, even after their story has ended.

So as you can see, it’s really not the end. But rather the beginning of life long friends, their struggles, their love and their own growth.

If you are interested in receiving a free advanced copy of my new books, check out my post here

Images

In order for me to effectively describe a person or a scene, even the clothing they are wearing, I need to get an image in my mind. I often do a quick search Online, find something that catches my eye, and go from there.

I’m sorry to admit this, but it’s more important for me to get an actual visual of the males (Heroes) in my stories, than the females. Chalk it up to being a chick, I guess.

The main reason I don’t put faces on my covers is because I want people to form a picture in their own minds of what the characters look like. And in saying that, I’m going to ruin any images you’ve formed right now because I’m going to share with you the characters in my mind. Sorry if it clouds your images. Or maybe it will help.

The funny part of this is, two of my characters are celebrities, so when I see their pictures I always want to shout out Lucas or Ryan. But I keep my lips sealed so those around me don’t think I’m nuts.

So here we go. For Lucas, Paul Walker. Not in stature, but in his looks. Look at that boyish grin…is that Lucas or what?

lucas

Jack. Jack was a tough one for me. I don’t know who this model is, but boy do I think of him when I think of Jack. Not overly muscular, but big, solid, built just like Jack. With that serious broody look to him. Hmm yum, as Cori would say.

jack

Mac. Okay, Mac to me is just hot, sexy and sweet, all wrapped up into one. Not so much rough around the edges at all, not like Jack is. So whoever this model is, he hit Mac’s facial features perfectly.

mac3

Ryan. Ladies, you’ve been given glimpses of Ryan as a playboy over the first three books of this series. And yes he is a playboy. Big, athletic, sexy, charming and very aware of himself and how he looks. Ryan is none other than Chris Hemsworth in my eyes.

ryan2

Please enjoy! And as always, if you’ve read any of my books, I would love for you to leave a review, or let me know your thoughts. Also, if you would like to receive a free copy of one of my books, check out how with the blog post Free Books.