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Some Favorite Winter Things

 

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For many, the winter season can bring the doldrums from the gray skies to the snow clouds gathering above. I am probably one of the few people you’ll ever meet who absolutely loves winter and all that it can bring. So here is my top ten list of favorite winter things.

  1. Winter Sports ~ When I was much, much younger I used to love to ski and sled and play in the snow. That’s actually how I met my husband. The poor man volunteered to teach me and one of the very first things I do is to plow into him. The only thing I could never get into was skating and that’s because I have weak ankles. With skiing, the boots are stiff and can hold me up. And I know that there are tons more winter sports out there, I’ve just never tried them. These are my favorites.
  2. Mulled Wine ~ Over here in Austria it’s called ghulwien and it’s incredibly delicious.
  3. Hot Chocolate with Peppermint Schnapps ~ It goes along with skiing.
  4. Snow ~ This is my number two favorite thing of the season. I love snow. I love how it tastes, how it feels and how much you can actually do with it. You do remember Eskimo igloos…right?
  5. Cloudy Skies ~ I love cloudy skies in general but I love the ones that I know will bring the snow. iStock_000000457633Medium
  6. Sitting in Front of the Fire ~ This one ranks right up there. Our flat here in Austria does not have a fireplace and I’m so missing the one I had at home. I could just curl up in front of it with a good book and a warm blanket.
  7. Cabins ~ My in-laws have a cabin-like condo at Lake Tahoe that we used to go to a lot. It was the very last one in the complex and is but against Forest Service land, so nothing is behind it. During the winters it would get so calm and quiet and oh so, wonderful when you’re tucked snug inside. I have visited a few cabins that have made me feel the same way in my life time. It’s my hope that one day, I will have a cabin in a snow covered world.
  8. Christkindlemarkts ~ Here in Vienna, Austria, they have these wonderful Christmas markets that start mid-November. The first year, it was odd because I was so used to celebrating Thanksgiving. Austrian’s equivalent to Thanksgiving is usually in October and therefore isn’t really significant to the Christmas season like it is in the US. These markets have made me see the holiday in a whole new way. I love the tradition it has given me and I will sorely miss it when I am back living in the US.
  9. The Holiday Season ~ I love the holiday season. I probably start it a little too soon as I decorate my home for Halloween though Christmas decorations can’t go up until after Thanksgiving. While I don’t do all the things here in Austria that I normally do in the US, we have started one tradition that I think I’ll keep going. We don’t set up the tree until December 15th or later. This allows family to come to visit and help us do that wonderful task of putting up the lights and the ornaments on the tree. When I get home, I definitely plan to have a weekend set aside where the whole family comes and we decorate our very special tree.
  10. Family ~ This is my very favorite thing of the whole season. As kids grow older, they go off to do their own thing. But rest assured, they come home for Christmas when they can and the get-togethers are awesome. For me, the holiday season and everything that comes from it revolves around family time.

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I am sure that each of you has your own top ten list for the winter season. I’d love to hear what yours are and I plan to reward one commenter with a $10 Amazon gift certificate just for letting me know. Don’t forget to leave me your email address so I can get hold of you if you’re the winner.

See you next month!

 

About Lynn Crain

Award winning author Lynn Crain has done it all in her life. From nursing to geology, her life experiences have added to her detail rich stories. She loves writing full time as she weaves fantasy, futuristic and paranormal tales, tame to erotic, for various publishers. Her home is in the desert southwest though her latest adventure has taken her to Vienna, Austria with her husband of many years as he works his dream job.

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What the cold brings….

Coffee.Fall - latte

Cocoa.

Soups.

Turtle necks.

Blankets.

Hugs.

Kisses.

 

 

Anything to stay warm! Like a good book… and this teaser from my recently released, Unwanted Vows.

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photos-sexy-couple-kitchen-beauty-image35253808

“This might kill me, but I’m going to remove your shirt and touch you in a completely objective manner.”
She giggled as her hands slid down his belly, and with no warning, slipped into his pants. “Maybe we should both get undressed and…check each other out.”
Worry and anger rolled beneath the surface of his desire. “It’s not funny–”
Hands on his hard flesh cut him off. He sucked in air filled with her scent.
“It doesn’t hurt that much.” Her words cut through the cloud of frustration, the cloud of need that made it impossible for him to see her clearly.
“Don’t let him ruin this for us,” she whispered. “Please.”

~*~*~

To safely raise her daughter, Samantha Hollister must join wounded U.S. Army veteran Morgan Lawrence in rediscovering an old love that never truly disappeared.

WOUNDED
Samantha Hollister is done relying on other people to take care of—or abuse—her. Her ex-husband is out of the picture now…like her family home, the haven she intended to seek. Her father just sold it to her high-school sweetheart, the man who abandoned her many years ago for the army. The man who still makes her heart flutter. But Samantha has vowed to never be led astray again. She has a daughter.

WANTING
Despite being injured in action, Morgan Lawrence lives life to the fullest. Each day is a gift, and after five years he is finally one step away from opening a resort for wounded veterans like himself. Unfortunately, a woman stands in his way. And while she has changed, Samantha remains everything he’s ever wanted. Now it’s a matter of helping her see which promises are meant to be broken, and that being strong doesn’t mean one has to fight alone.

About Beth Rhodes

Beth jumps into life with both feet...or head first. Impulsive and spontaneous to a T, she joined Passionate Critters and never looked back. She loves writing and reading, which made this wonderful group of woman a perfect match for her.

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Turning Over a Healthier Leaf

Sorry, this is a day late, since it’s been that kind of week.

I’ve been thinking a lot about wellness lately. A week ago I finished my second book. I wrote 13,500 words in three days–an unprecedented burst of creative productivity for me, so I had to ride it out. The next day, of course, I woke up with a pinched nerve in my neck so bad I had to lie in bed for hours, unable to move my head unless it was to suck down more ibuprofen.

This was a bit of a wake up call for me. During last winter’s Polar Vortex I gained about 15 pounds, none of which I’ve managed to lose, although I will admit I haven’t really tried very hard. I love to eat and I hate to exercise, so you can see where this has led.

Writers, or so the stereotype goes, often live unhealthy lives. They drink too much, eat a lot of bad-for-them foods, and exercise very little. This is not always true, of course, as evidenced by Julia Quinn‘s treadmill desk and Susan Elizabeth Phillips‘ Facebook pics of all the healthy meals she eats and crazy hiking trips she takes. I drink more wine than I ought, could happily eat Lay’s Lightly Salted potato chips all day long, and time not spent working, writing, editing, blogging, cooking, chauffeuring the kid around town, reading, sleeping, or washing the dishes is usually spent watching Hulu or playing Angry Birds Transformers.

But as I mentioned, the pinched nerve woke me up to the fact this is probably not the best way to live, and after a lovely massage yesterday I am ready to turn over a new leaf–now, before all the crazy holiday stress eating starts. Weight Watchers tracking has begun, as has the new exercise regimen–20 minutes on the trusty old NordicTrack I’ve had since 1989. Wish me luck, for I will need it.

Are you a fitness fan, or do you struggle with staying motivated to exercise? Favorite bad-for-you food?

About Marin McGinnis

Clevelanders are tough, a bit cynical, and just a little crazy, and Marin McGinnis is no exception. She writes Victorian era romance, set in whichever locale takes her fancy at any given moment. When she's not chasing after big dogs or watching tweenagers skate around Ohio hockey rinks, you can find her hanging out here with her HSG friends, at marinmcginnis.com, or on Twitter @MarinMcGinnis.

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Write That Book Newbie!

One of the great things about all the changes in the publishing environment is that anyone can publish a book. If you can read, and follow instructions for the most part, you can be a published author. How cool is that? You don’t need all those stuck up publishing companies and all their hateful gate-keepers who’ve got it in for you and your story. Don’t get me wrong, some of the reputations are well deserved, but not all of them.

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Alas, one of the saddest things about all the changes in the publishing industry is that anyone can publish a book. Sometimes it works out great. The author will make use of all the industry professionals available today. Editors, proofreaders, cover designers, and formatting gurus. They’ll publish a killer story and have fabulous success. And sometimes is doesn’t work out well at all.

If you’ve never written a book before but you have a great idea for one that just won’t leave you alone, at least give yourself the benefit of trying to find out the things you don’t know. Most new writers don’t even know what they don’t know. If this sounds like the voice of experience, it is. I’ve been there. And years later I’m still learning new things about my craft.

This isn’t about me; it’s about your prospective readers. Readers read certain genres over and over again because they enjoy them. These genres have rules. Readers have expectations and they rely on those rules to be entertained.

If you’re a rule-breaker, good for you. But at least do your reader and yourself the service of learning the rules first so you can break them properly. Then the exception will be clear and make sense to your audience.

Where do you learn these rules? Writers groups, writer’s conferences, friends that are writers, writers who’ve written books about how to write in certain genres. One of the concerns I hear most is that if I join a group someone will steal my story idea. Yes, we’ve all heard the horror stories of plagiarism. However, by and large, most writers have so many of their own ideas, they aren’t interested in yours. Do your research. Learn your craft to the best of your ability. Then write your heart out. Write, edit, publish. Repeat. Then repeat again. Here’s wishing you a lifetime of success.

Do you belong to a writer’s group you’d feel comfortable recommending to others? If so, tell us in the comments. Thanks!

 

About Sutton Fox

Sutton Fox has been published by Lyrical Press, Gypsy Shadow Publishing and wrote a bi-monthly column for an auto racing magazine for several years. She traded life in the fast lane of Atlanta for life in the slow lane, in the hills of Bluegrass Country. Her existence is never dull as she works to blend city expectations with country reality. When she’s not writing, you can find her relaxing on the deck with a good book, or cooking for family and friends, which is another story...

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Sci-Fi Favorites!

I have a new release this month. It’s something a little different for me as it’s not really romance. It’s a short story called No More Lies, in a sci-fi anthology, The Telepath Chronicles, which contains fourteen stories all on the theme of telepathy.

telepath chronicles

No More Lies – Blurb

They promised her a world with no more lies. A better world.

Kaitlin grew up as part of a covert operations group, using her particular talents for what she has always believed to be the greater good. But when her twin brother disappears, Kaitlin must decide where her loyalties lie.

 

I mainly write romance now, but in all sorts of sub-genres, including Science fiction. But Sci-fi was probably my favorite genre long before I ever got interested in romance. I grew up reading Arthur C Clarke, Robert Heinlein, Frank Herbert, Anne Mccaffrey and many more.

There is so much scope in science fiction, just about anything can happen, the possibilities are as limitless as the universe itself. All the same there are certain tropes that draw me back again and again to both books and movies. So here are my top ten favorite sci-fi tropes:

 

  1. Robots – think Terminator, best robot movie ever!
  2. Aliens – think Aliens, just about my favorite film.
  3. Time travel – Terminator and Doctor Who.
  4. Genetic modification – Gattaca.
  5. Space colonization – Aliens, Dune, Firefly…
  6. Telepaths – The Telepath Chronicles – honestly, it’s great – try it!
  7. Evolution – Planet of the Apes?
  8. Cloning – Never Let me Go, The Island.
  9. Cyborgs – Star Trek, Doctor Who.
  10. Artificial Intelligence – 2001 A Space Oddyssey

 

Any other sci-fi addicts out there? If so what is your favorite sci-fi trope?

About Nina Croft

Nina Croft grew up in the north of England. After training as an accountant, she spent four years working as a volunteer in Zambia which left her with a love of the sun and a dislike of 9-5 work. She then spent a number of years mixing travel (whenever possible) with work (whenever necessary) but has now settled down to a life of writing and picking almonds on a remote farm in the mountains of southern Spain. Nina writes all types of romance often mixed with elements of the paranormal and science fiction.

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Guest Post — Karen Swan

Pumpkin Latte

Pumpkin Latte

Okay…Bethanne here with our Guest Blogger for November 11th. I have to admit something. Today, I listened to “Rudolf the Red-Nose Reindeer.” Partly circumstantial, once I had the song going, I actually enjoyed myself. *gasp* So, it’s fitting that all those wonderful Christmas books are coming back out of the woodwork. And today, Karen Swan is here to answer a few of our pertinent questions and tell us about her Christmas book. So pull up a chair and your favorite cold weather beverage, and Enjoy!

~*~*~

A little something personal….

1. What were you doing the last time you really had a good laugh? Skiing. I say skiing. I mean belly boarding on a sheet of ice down a Swiss mountain, eating snow and laughing my head off. My children now think I’m a legend.

2. What is your favorite curse word? Bollocks. It’s got that very British Richard Curtis / Blackadder vibe to it and it’s a hugely satisfying word to enunciate, perfect for stubbed toe moments.

3. Do you still have your tonsils? I do. But not my wisdom teeth, my virginity or my sanity.

A little something professional…

4. What sparked the idea for this book? It was prompted by a feature I read in an Interiors magazine about a chic Textiles Designer in Venice. They photographed her on the balcony of her apartment which was all distressed plaster and chandeliers, a plate of figs before her and she was top-to-toe in Marni and Prada. I was intrigued: Her hair was dark and bobbed, mine is long and blonde; she looked enigmatic, I looked girl-next-door; she eats figs; I eat apples. She grew up with a canal outside her window, I grew up with an oak tree outside mine. I wondered how much each of us was products of our upbringings and environments. Would I have been more like her if I’d grown up in Venice? Would she have been more like me if she’d grown up in London? It made me start to think about whether you can ‘shift’ identity with place? If I was to put the same woman in three different cosmopolitan cities, like New York, Paris and London – would she remain the same in them all?
5. Did you experience times when the story didn’t go the way you planned? What did you do? In every one of the eight books I’ve written, there’s always been a surprising development that I didn’t forsee and the books never end up being exactly as I imagined at the beginning (although that’s generally a good thing.)
I always start writing with a good idea of the broad strokes of the story – who, what, where, why – and I usually pinpoint three or four major scenes that I have to work the story towards, but what I can never be exact about is how I’m going to get the story to and from those points.
I deliberately don’t try to plan it too much in advance. Getting to know your characters is like getting to know real people and it takes time. You can’t rush or force it, else it feels contrived and it’s those ‘bridging’ scenes that really develop flavour, colour and emotion – and that’s where the surprises tend to come in. It’s not unusual for me to write something that, even four seconds earlier I’d had no idea I was about to write. When it happens, I tend to take myself off for a cup of tea and ring my husband to get his opinion but invariably, I take the view that if something’s a surprise to me, it’ll be even more of a surprise to the reader.
6. When did you first consider yourself a writer? Only when I wrote my first scene and it actually looked and read as though it belonged in a real, proper book. It gave shape to the narratives and daydreams that filled my head and I realized I’d been telling stories all my life – I just hadn’t brought them out of my head. I couldn’t believe it hadn’t occurred to me before then. Of course I was a writer!
7. What inspired you to write your first book? I had worked as a journalist and written a couple of non-fiction books. It was my agent for those who kept urging me to give fiction a try. I kept resisting – I’d never done any courses and hadn’t particularly enjoyed creative writing at school, although I’m an obsessive reader. But then, one afternoon, I suddenly and unexpectedly had some free time. I was at a loss, unsure what to do with myself, so I took my laptop down to the library and stared at the screen. I had no great inspiration: no characters, no plot, no start point, no hook, no twist. No idea. But then, gradually, this image began to form in my mind of two women sitting in a garden in London, watching their toddlers play, talking about their marriages… I jotted down their conversation and realized, as I read it through, that it was really rather funny and sharp. I could hear their voices, their tone, so clearly; I inherently knew their background and pasts and in the space of an hour, they had become real to me. All I had to do then, was give them a story in which to inhabit, a framework in which to exist.

And just for fun!…

Leather or lace? Leather
Black or red? Red
Satin sheets or Egyptian cotton? Egyptian Cotton
Ocean or mountains? Mountains
City life or country life? City Life
Hunky heroes or average Joe? Hunky Heroes
Party life or quiet dinner for two? Party Life
Dogs or cats? Dogs

~*~*~

Author Bio: Karen Swan began her career in fashion journalism before giving it all up to raise her three children and an ADHD puppy, and to pursue her ambition of becoming a writer. She lives in the forest in Sussex, writing her books in a treehouse overlooking the Downs. Her first novel, Players, was published in 2010, followed by Prima Donna and Christmas at Tiffany’s in 2011.

XmasAtTiffanys

 

In the wake of a heartbreaking betrayal, a young woman leaves the Scottish countryside to find her destiny in three of the most exciting cities in the world—New York, Paris, and London—in this funny and triumphant tale of fulfillment, friendship, and love.

Ten years ago, a young and naïve Cassie married her first serious boyfriend, believing he would be with her forever. Now, her marriage is in tatters and Cassie has no career or home of her own. Though she feels betrayed and confused, Cassie isn’t giving up. She’s going to take control of her life. But first she has to find out where she belongs . . . and who she wants to be.

Over the course of one year, Cassie leaves her sheltered life in rural Scotland to stay with her best friends living in the most glamorous cities in the world: New York, Paris, and London. Exchanging comfort food and mousy hair for a low-carb diet and a gorgeous new look, Cassie tries each city on for size as she searches for the life she’s meant to have . . . and the man she’s meant to love.

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About Beth Rhodes

Beth jumps into life with both feet...or head first. Impulsive and spontaneous to a T, she joined Passionate Critters and never looked back. She loves writing and reading, which made this wonderful group of woman a perfect match for her.

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  • OUR LATEST BUZZ!

    Bethanne Strasser LETTERS FROM HOME from Entangled Publishing is available now! *** Out now from Ellora's Cave, HOW TO CAUSE A SCANDAL by Tina Vaughn *** Nina Croft's LOSING CONTROL is out! *** Debora Dennis's holiday novella, CUPCAKES & CUPID is available. *** Congratulations to Julie Jarnagin now represented by Nicole Resciniti of the Seymour Agency!