Falling Down the Christmas Romance Rabbit Hole

It’s beginning to look a lot like the holidays and my favorite thing to do at Christmas, besides watch Christmas movies or bake cookies is read Christmas romances. There is nothing like a good Christmas romance anthology. Over the years I’ve read many, and each season a new one becomes available for the masses.

There’s the historicals, which are always marvelous because who doesn’t love seeing how in a time when couples had difficulty falling in love in the first place, let alone being alone together, a pair of romantically matched people find themselves declaring love for one another in less than forty thousand words.

Here’s a few of my favorites:

Christmas in the Duke’s Arms by Grace Burrowes, Carolyn Jewel, Miranda Neville, and Shana Galen ~ All the tales occur around an inn, in a small town. My favorite is a friends to lovers tale. twg-final-large

The Heart of Christmas by Mary Balogh, Nicola Cornick, and Courtney Milan ~ Delicious romance with rakes, benefactors, and unlikely heroes

All I Want for Christmas Is a Duke by Valerie Bowman, Vivienne Lorret, Tiffany Clare, and Ashlyn Macnamara ~ Dukes. Need I say more?

I’m mighty proud of the fact I’ve offered you stories by 11 different Historical romance authors, and they are all fabulous. This is just the tip of the romance iceberg because several other historical authors offer up full-length Christmas tales, including an entire series from Theresa Romain, which right now they are all together as a Holiday Pleasures Bundle in an ebook steal deal.

Then I have that ‘but wait; there’s more’ moment. Because I haven’t discussed contemporary romance. There is plenty of holiday joy to be shared around there. The ones I fell in love were the typically full length and the run the gauntlet from sweet to steamy. Regardless, they are all romances and feature Christmas in some capacity.

A few more favs:

Simply Irresistible by Jill Shalvis ~ first in the Lucky Harbor series.maybe-this-christmas

Last Chance Christmas by Hope Ramsey ~ part of the Last Chance series.

Maybe This Christmas by Sarah Morgan ~ a friends to lovers tale and part of her Snow Crystal series.

And, if you haven’t heard a fellow HSG blogger/author, Jennifer Shirk has her latest release in the Christmas contemporary romance category. Check out Wrong Brother, Right Match. A shameless plug, but I’ve already got it pre-order and on my list of holiday romances to indulge in.

Of course, as with all things, these are just a handful of Christmas romance books available. I’m leaving out Maisey Yates and her cowboys, and Jessica Lemmon with her Bad Boy for Christmas book. I could go on and on, but I do believe that will cut into my reading time.

Do you have a favorite Christmas romance book? If so, tell me, I’d love to add it to my list.

About Landra Graf

Landra Graf consumes at least one book a day and has always been a sucker for stories where true love conquers all. She believes in the power of the written word, and the joy such words can bring. In between spending time with her family and having book adventures, she writes romance with the goal of giving everyone, fictional or not, their own happily ever after.

What I’m Grateful For ~ #LynnCrain #AmThankful #amwriting


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First, let me apologize for being really, really late. While I love holidays, sometimes they make writing impossible and hard to do. Normally I would have scheduled my post but I thought I had plenty of time…and then I wondered where the month had gone…basically I had assure myself, yes, Lynn, it really is the 25th! LOL!

Yesterday was Thanksgiving Day here in the US and most of us gather around friends and families to celebrate our thanks for the year.

But this year, like no other, has been really hard for me and I have to constantly remind myself to be thankful. After, all we did an international move, found a new home in a new state and are renovating two house. As anyone knows, those last two can certainly take one over the edge in any country.

Still, there are many, many things I’m grateful for and I’ve decided to numerate them here for all of you. So here goes…

1) I am always grateful for friends and family. They are the ones that make happy, drive me crazy and are always there when I need them.

2) I am especially grateful for the folks here at Passionate Critters. We are our own special family, bonded for our love of writing and a deep caring for each other. Never have I been in a critique group who genuinely care for each other and are constantly trying to help one another. You guys ROCK!

3) As awful as the election was here in the US, I am grateful for it. I’m sure many of you are asking why but that’s an easy answer. I was gone from this country for 4 years and 9 months. I knew that people were having a bad time here and we were too but I did not realize just how unhappy people were. I didn’t realize they were struggling quite so much and now I do. I plan to do as much as I can for everyone, even if that means bucking the system if I must. Thank you America for letting me know we need to get the ‘we’ back in we the people.

4) NaNoWriMo is always a fun thing to do but this year it’s been especially important. I wasn’t sure if I’d ever get back into my groove of writing nearly 5000 words a day. NaNo proved to me I could do anything I needed to do to put those words down on paper. I promise to have a strong finish!

5) I am thankful that I can write and publish myself and others. I just finished another anthology piece and I clicked publish on it. I am so very, very grateful that authors can now take their career in their own hands and make it work for themselves. It’s an awesome life.

Yes, there are many, many more things that I am immensely grateful for but I just wanted to give you all for my top five. What are you thankful for in your life? If you comment, you’ll be entered into my monthly drawing for a $25 gift certificate that I run on my regular blog.

Thanks for stopping by and see you all next month!

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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 contemporary, fantasy, futuristic and paranormal tales, tame to erotic, for various publishers. Her home is in the desert southwest and she’s just returned from her latest adventure of living in Vienna, Austria while her husband worked his dream job. You can find her hanging out online at www.lynncrain.blogspot.com, https://www.facebook.com/LynnCrainAuthor, and on Twitter, @oddlynn3. She loves hearing from her readers at lynncrain@cox.net.

Life…one weird to the next!

So, as the year begins to wind down [yes, I just said that], it’s been in my face how life seems to be a long journey from one frickin’ mishap to the next. And lately, it’s a weekly occurrence. Today was my phone. Just died…not like blue-screen death, but a funny happenstance which included the words “no service” in the top left corner…when I do have service. Auto-pay every month on a darn go-phone and that doesn’t renew until December, so it’s not an issue with the service. Apple takes the phone…nothing wrong with the software…must be hardware. GREAT! For almost $300, they can fix it, but the authorized retailer suggested that might be dumb, because the iPhone SE is only $399. [insert crazy laugh]  So, it’s off to ebay I go…. to see if I can find a decent replacement for way less than either of those options.

Last week it was the laptop. More hardware. A loose wire.

And so on and so on…

….what was the point?

Oh! Right. Life. It can really kick us in the butt, right? Kids, spouses, cars, phones, homes,…always something, you know? And always when you least expect it, or least can afford it.

So, I’m sitting here, thinking about Thanksgiving and how tomorrow starts with pie making day. And I’m thankful that my phone is broken and has ‘no service’ because there isn’t a soul who doesn’t have an iphone who will be able to reach me!! I’ll open my wine early and peel apples and slice them up with my daughter who has been looking forward to this day for forever!!

And maybe…in the grander scheme of things, not having that phone working will be a blessing.

So, thanks Murphy.

With Love,

Beth

P.S. If you missed my new release this past week, make a sharp left to Amazon and get it now! <3

strikeback-200x300-1He would let her go if it would keep her safe…

Strong, self-reliant Nathan Hawkins—owner of Hawk Elite Security—can’t fathom a world in which he can’t protect the ones he loves. But the ticking time bomb of scar tissue in his head threatens to end his career and his marriage, even his life. But the scar tissue is nothing compared to the twisted enemy from Nathan’s past who returns, wanting Nathan to pay for his transgressions, pay with his wife.

As the bonds of her once rock-solid marriage disintegrate, Stacy Hawkins is ready to strangle her distant husband if that’s what it takes to break down the barriers. Then she meets a man who makes her feel special again, one who makes her long for what she’s lost with Nathan.

…she would give anything to reach him.

A vacation to their favorite spot in Belize isn’t enough to draw Hawk away from the team, especially when it seems that each mission in the past six months is rife with misfortune. And when Stacy becomes the target of a deranged killer out to punish Nathan, they must confront their own personal demons before they can triumph over the evil intent on leaving them dead.

 

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.

The Process of Failure

Fear of failure has stalled many a writer. In growing up, we’re taught that failure is bad. Don’t fail your test, don’t fail your classes, don’t fail the team, and don’t fail your family. Just. Don’t. Fail. At anything. When we ‘fail’ we are conditioned to believe that there is something fundamentally wrong with us. We are not worthy of success. (To this I say, “Hooey.”) We can be paralyzed by our seeming inability to do what someone else appears to do effortlessly.

Failure as a writer can take many forms, and it can take us out of our comfort zone in a big way.

  1. Bad reviews of our work, or no reviews at all.
  2. Few or no book sales.
  3. Basic invisibility in the publishing world. No one seems to notice all the hard work you’ve put into your book. What if nobody reads it?
  4. Rejection letters.
  5. Your editor or critique partner doesn’t like the passages that you poured hours of work into and feel are some of your best work, and they suggest you cut them all.

Really, what would happen in your life if any of these things took place? I can tell you every single one has happened to me. And ultimately they didn’t change my life in the ways I thought they would. The sun still comes up, I still go to the evil day job. Still fix dinner, and still struggle to find time to write. Maybe I’ve failed enough times that it doesn’t matter as much as it used to. Or I finally understand that writing is a process, and what others may view as failure is really just part of one’s progression as a writer. I can’t not write, therefore I must continue on.

The act of writing is what brings me joy. Creating a vision with words and sharing it with the world fulfills me like nothing else. And yet, it includes failure. Just like it includes editing, proofreading, formatting and all of the other things that are necessary to make a book happen. Failure simply means discarding things that aren’t working and keeping at it, until you find out what does work. As I’ve come to understand this, failing doesn’t scare me nearly as much as it used to.

Here’s to embracing our failures because truly, they are part of our success.

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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 Bluegrass Country for life in the Windy City in a home she shares with The Man, a lonely cat, and her beloved dog, Lucy. When she’s not working the edj, you can find her writing or spending time with her extended family.

Sharing the Pain…

Marketing can be a painful process, but like many things, it’s easier if you share the pain. Cross promoting with other authors can be fun and is a great way of getting your books in front of new readers.

I love the idea of authors helping authors, and after all, there are enough readers for everyone. So here are a few ways authors can help promote each other…

  • Mention other authors in your newsletter, share their good reviews, release dates, add links to their websites and books. Tell your subscribers what books you’ve enjoyed reading or what books you’re looking forward to.
  • If you have a blog, invite other authors to participate.
  • Or set up a joint blog with a group of authors, like this one.
  • Do a Facebook party and invite your author friends to help you host. Same with Twitter and anywhere else you can party.
  • Tweet about what you’re reading.
  • Facebook about other authors you love.
  • Share their tweets and Facebook posts.
  • Produce a themed box set with other authors in the same genre.
  • Set up group sales or joint giveaways, and promote the other authors and hopefully they will promote you.

I recently released Flying Through Fire, book 6 in my dark Desires series. I shared my release day with fabulous author, Dawn Cartier, who writes wonderful paranormal books based in her home town of New Orleans. And I had the pleasure of meeting Dawn earlier this year in Las Vegas at the RT Booklovers convention.

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We tweeted and Facebooked about our releases and included links to each other’s books in our newsletters. Hopefully it introduced a few of Dawn’s readers to me, and vice versa. We also did a combined rafflecoptor giveaway which has a few days left. So please, go meet Dawn…

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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.

All The Don’ts I Learned Publishing My First Novel

I am never at a loss for words and yet I hardly know where to start this post. Information first, I think.

My novel, Infamous, is being released on December 14, 2016, by The Wild Rose Press. So… ya know, yay!

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That has literally been me since I signed the contract in April. And then it was me when I finished edits. And then it was me when I got a release date.

Like this whole process is so incredible-crazy-awesome, and yet so challenging. Editing is challenging. It’s one thing to kill your darlings. It’s quite another to have someone else say, “You know this scene, that you wrote with love and time and sweat and tears? It’s got to go.” Not that the editor was wrong, but someone else was murdering my darlings. Or, at least, asking me to obliterate them.

And then, that part’s all done, and you think, “Whew. Hard part is over.” But it’s not. Because then you realize, you know absolutely nothing about marketing. Why would you? You’ve spent 24-7 for years learning craft. Because, take it from me, kids, you’ve got to know craft before you worry about who will publish your awesomely fantastic story.

But, fine. Marketing. I can learn that.

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Marketing is hard. Mostly because many people who are giving advice don’t really understand it themselves. It’s more a laundry list of don’ts.

  • Don’t schedule your tweets throughout the day.
  • Don’t not schedule your tweets/posts, or you risk flooding someone’s timeline and being obnoxious.
  • Don’t try to sell your book.
  • Don’t not craft the perfect tweet/post to sell your book. How? We don’t know.
  • Don’t use too many hashtags.
  • Don’t forget to use hashtags.

I could go on, but I won’t because we’re not getting anywhere.

  • Don’t waste valuable blog space complaining about marketing.

Oops. Sorry about that.

But, really, it’s all good. I’m very excited to finally join the ranks of published authors. In the six months between signing that dotted line and today, I’ve finished book two. Of course, there will be edits, but… *sigh*. I’m learning so much, in between the edits and the dont’s, I’ve picked up a thing or two that I’m putting into practice.

I’m signing off, but I’d love to know about your first publishing experiences! Please share, because there’s always more for all of us to learn.

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Never-seen-anywhere-else excerpt:

infamous-_-available-december-14Justine put her fists on the bed and dipped her head until they were cheek to cheek. Turning to face him, she let her lips skim across the stubble on his cheek. A short sound escaped him at the touch. So like a growl, it inflamed her. She’d wanted to experience all of him, to touch and taste, a savage need to possess him took over. To take his mouth, to take him inside of her, until she drove all thought from him, the way he’d done to her. His scent flooded her senses, leaving her breathless, as she sought his kiss.

He pulled back to look at her, his eyes as unreadable as ever. He lifted his hand to her cheek and stroked her bottom lip with his thumb. “What is it?” she asked, her breath still coming in uneven bursts.

“I don’t want to give you the wrong idea.” His hand dropped and he eased himself from the mattress.

“About?”

He crossed behind her, to the door, and she twisted on the bed to look at him. Her robe gaped open with the movement, and she yanked it together with a hand, exposed now.

But he wouldn’t meet her gaze, wouldn’t look at her at all, so it didn’t much matter. He looked at the TV, the window, the floor. Everywhere but at her. “About us.” Finally, he let his gaze rest on her.

Justine flinched slightly, and she hoped he hadn’t noticed. She forced herself to maintain eye contact. “You should go now.”

Sawyer spoke her name, his voice soft and full of pity. For her.

“Don’t. Don’t say it like that. Pathetic Justine, so unwise when she chooses a lover.” Justine climbed off the bed and walked the ten steps across the room to stand in front of him. “You know, I never thought I’d meet anyone more emotionally broken than me.”

“I’m trying to do the right thing here, which is a pretty novel experience for me, so…give me a break.”

Justine whirled away, grabbed his jacket off the chair where he’d dropped it earlier, and threw it at his head. “Get. Out.”

Sawyer caught the jacket before it slapped him upside the head, which disappointed her. He opened the door and then wrenched back around to look at her. “This is twice I haven’t taken advantage of you when you threw yourself at me. Next time, I’m using you for sex. You couldn’t possibly be more pissed by that.”

“There won’t be a next time!”

The door slammed behind him, and she jumped, staring at it for the longest time. She couldn’t get back in that bed, not now. She’d been so foolish, attributing feelings to him he didn’t have, to rationalize her own desires were getting the best of her.

Pre-order now!

About Lori Sizemore

Lover of nail polish, pens, her Kindle, and fresh coffee. She likes romance filled with messy, real characters and lots of snarky banter. Reading was (and still is!) her BFF; when she discovered writing she fell in love. Come for the snark. Stay for the story.

  • Our LATEST Buzz!

    Cyn D. Blackburn's Wrapped Up in You releases on November 13. *** The first two books in the Cupid's Cafe series were released in June by Lori Sizemore and Landra Graf *** Lori Sizemore's Infamous was released on December 14. *** Julie Jarnagin's Cowgirl in the Kitchen is available now. *** Bethanne Strasser LETTERS FROM HOME from Entangled Publishing is available now! *** Nina Croft's latest books, Her Fantasy Husband, a hot contemporary romance from Entangled's Brazen line, and The Order Boxed Set, a compilation of the three full length novels, plus a new novella, exclusive to the boxed set, both released in April 2016 *** Debora Dennis's holiday novella, CUPCAKES & CUPID is available.