On the 10th Day of Christmas…Christmas memories and author Meggan Connors

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I got engaged on Christmas Eve.

My husband and I had plenty of opportunities to meet prior to actually meeting. Both my husband and I had come home from the same college and transferred to the same school closer to our parent’s homes.  Our classes had been next door to each other.  Still, we’d never met, despite having some of the same friends and living within fairly close proximity to each other.  I’m sure we had to have seen each other at a party, or at a  game, or simply walking down the street, but I can’t remember ever actually seeing him before.  Despite all these opportunities, it took the internet to finally bring us together.  I met him online amongst the millions of other people out there in the world.  Not on Match.com or anything like that, just a fluke meeting in a chat room discussing our school.  What are the odds?

We were good friends first.  We did finally meet in person – it was impossible not to after we learned just who the other person was.  Our classes were right there next to each other and we knew many of the same people.  Months later, we finally made it official and became a couple.

Later that year, we moved into a small house in a working class neighborhood.  We were poor college students with minimum wage paying jobs, but somehow we made it work.  We didn’t know what we didn’t have – we were happy just being together.  I saved what little money I could to buy him a couple Christmas presents.  He loved Fannie Mae fudge, so I bought a pound of it.

That Christmas Eve he proposed.  He wrote me a letter, got down on one knee, and presented a beautiful, modest, diamond ring.  While he was proposing, our fairly large rescue dog had gotten into the fudge.  We managed to get it out of the dog’s mouth, but it was beyond saving.  At the time, I was devastated.  He’d gotten me a ring, and I’d given him uneatable fudge.  But he didn’t care – he was happy just going out and looking at Christmas lights with me.

That is one of my favorite Christmas memories.  It was before we cared about things like fancy cars or vacations.  We didn’t have that much, but it didn’t matter.  It was really one of those Lifetime movie of Christmases, where all that matters is being in love and spending time with your friends and family.

I love a good romance, and author Meggan Connors knows how to write good romances.  This is one of my favorite books…

Highland deceptionWhen Kenneth Mackay, long-banished rogue and thief, returns to the Mackay holding at the request of his brother, he has no idea what he might find. He certainly doesn’t expect to be confronted with his twin’s imminent death, or with the plan his brother has concocted.  Ten years before, Malcolm made a tragic mistake, and, to preserve the family name—and his own skin—he allowed Kenneth to take the fall. Now that he is dying without an heir, Malcolm plans to atone for his mistake: by giving Kenneth his life back. All Kenneth has to do is assume his brother’s identity. But complicating matters is the unexpected return of Lady Isobel Mackay, the daughter of an English marquess and the wife Malcolm didn’t want. 

Isobel barely knows the husband who abandoned her even before their marriage, and she’d long since given up on having a real marriage with him. Yet when she returns to the Mackay holding far earlier than expected, she finds her husband a changed man. Despite the hurt between them, Isobel’s heart responds to this man who cares for his entire clan as if they were family. Who, for the first time, cares for her as if she is, too. 

Falling in love with her husband had never been part of Isobel’s plan. But when their future is suddenly in peril, Isobel must find a way to save him—from himself and from the deception threatening to tear them apart. 

MEET MEGGAN CONNORS

Link http://amzn.to/1yCyL0j

web address for my blog: http://megganconnors.wordpress.com/blog/

Twitter: @MegganConnors

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On the 9th Day of Christmas…Dessert recipe and author Kim Hotzon

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So, it’s that time of year that we’re inundated with cookies and candies.  I love sweets as much as the next person, but I don’t have the type of metabolism that allows me to indulge my every confectionary whim.  So, unless I want to end up doing double time on the treadmill, I have to find ways to satisfy my sweet tooth without adding to my waistline.

Fruit smoothies.  I know, not really a dessert, but they can be a sweet escape without the guilt.  I like to take a half cup of fruit – frozen works great, and combine it in a blender with a half cup of low-fat vanilla Greek yogurt.  Then add almond milk until you’ve reached a consistency you can live with.

Dessert?  Possibly.  But always deceptively delicious.

Speaking of deception…

HandsFullofAshes400Kim Hotzon’s new release, Hands Full of Ashes, is due to come out January 14th, 2015.

Olivia promises to fulfill her dying husband’s wish – to scatter his ashes around the world. Wading through grief and depression, she journeys to a remote orphanage in Uganda. Living amongst the children in their threadbare surroundings, she vows to fight for the children’s lives as she begins to fight for her own. While Olivia develops a passion for humanitarian work, the lonely director of the orphanage develops a simmering passion for her.

Just as time begins to heal the wounds of Olivia’s fragile heart, her world is shattered when she is involved in a violent encounter with an armed rebel group in the picturesque mountains of Uganda. Olivia flees to the safety of Rwanda, where she learns the truth of her husband’s unimaginable betrayal.

As Olivia hovers on the brink of an emotional collapse, her broken soul is reawakened with a startling new love – but her life is about to take another dramatic turn as she struggles to survive in a region left torn apart by civil war. It will take every ounce of Olivia’s courage to hang on to those she loves the most but it may come at a great cost to all of them.

Meet Kim!

Website: www.kimhotzon.com

Twitter: @KimHotzon

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On the 7th Day of Christmas…Finger food and author Darcy Flynn!

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On the 7th day of Christmas, I’m going to give you a super-simple recipe for a great appetizer that is portable, has no need for silverware, and doesn’t require any heating.

I was at a party the other day and the hostess whipped out a tray of honeydew melon, wrapped in prosciutto, stuck on a tooth-pick with a piece of mozzarella on the top.  It was simple and delicious.

Who would have thought such a pairing would work out so well?  I love unconventional couples – in my food and in my romance.  Darcy Flynn’s novel, Rogue’s Son introduces us to just such a couple.

Rogue's SonTough, driven Kit Kendall has replaced her frills and dresses with no nonsense haircuts and wranglers, years ago. As owner of Sage Brush, the once thriving west Texas bed and breakfast ranch, she now struggles daily to keep her business afloat. Since McCabe Resort Lodge reopened next door as a multi-million dollar hotel, her financial difficulties compound, as she suffers one cancellation after another.

Just when she thought things couldn’t get any worse, Kit’s childhood sweetheart turned nemesis returns as the new owner of the resort that’s now putting her out of business, resurrecting memories she thought she’d buried long ago.

Cowboy, entrepreneur Sam Dawson has returned to Sugar Creek, Texas after six years of exile with a secret that could destroy Kit’s happiness. He left town because of it and for the past two years has secretly tried to make it right. Having failed, he now returns to make one last attempt to undo the tangled web created by his father.

Set in motion by his father’s Last Will and Testament and with the clock ticking, Sam has only weeks to convince Kit to sell him her ranch or reveal the truth that will break her heart.

Buy Link:

Rogue’s Son: http://amzn.to/1u4Zk93

Meet Darcy Flynn:

Social Media Links:

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On the 3rd day of Christmas…Cocktails and Author Ryan Jo Summers!

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My true love isn’t much of a bartender, so today I’m sharing a fairly simple cocktail idea with you.  My drink of choice is wine, but every once in a while I like to get a little crazy and incorporate some clear liquids into my diet – vodka.  I had a trainer once who told me if I had to drink, make it simple and make it clear for the least amount of calories.  So, I tried flavored vodka and diet soda – simple and without a lot of the sugar you find in typical mixers.  So, the adult root bear float – vanilla vodka and diet root beer.  Mix to taste.

Nothing goes better with a cocktail than a good book.

Ryan Jo Summers

Darby Adams has a successful Bed & Breakfast Inn, a wonderful son and a happy life in the coastal town of Driftwood Shores. Then a guest is found dead in one of her rooms. Suddenly she is the number one suspect and her world is spiraling out of control.  The surviving family wants answers so they hire new-in-town private investigator Sam Golden to undeniably prove her guilt and have her put away. Sam begins his new case in a dual role, in the guise of being Darby’s much needed friend while looking for the evidence to send her to prison.

Until strange things begin happening at the B & B–scary things. Finally Sam has to question his thoughts  on her guilt or innocence. Meanwhile, Darby leans on Sam to weather each new challenge and threat. Feelings begin to develop between Darby and Sam. Until Sam is forced to tell Darby the truth about him, effectively destroying what trust they had.  Until a new threat forces Darby to trust Sam once more. She will bet her freedom and life on  his skills, but can she trust her heart?

Learn more about RYAN JO SUMMERS

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blog web address:  https:www.summersrye.wordpress.com

website is http://www.ryanjosummers.com/

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BetterU Challenge – 12 Week Intervention (T-14 weeks)

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Days 1-2 (Technically, still pre-days.  I’m trying to lose ten pounds before weigh in!)

The BetterU Challenge is a great opportunity the American Heart Association provides for women to start their journey to better health.

When I received the application via email, I said to myself, “Self- what do you have to lose?”  The answer—about thirty pounds.  So, I filled out the application.  After all, things have been a bit slow to get back to normal after the second baby.  Let me clarify—the ‘baby’ is now almost three.  Prior to ‘baby’, I ran 5k’s, had a normal BMI, and was probably the healthiest I’d ever been.

And then my coworker cursed me.  He told me that once I lost all the weight and started feeling good about myself, that I’d end up pregnant again.  And he was right.  I gained well over fifty pounds, and to my surprise, the baby didn’t weigh nearly that much.  After the baby,  I entertained the idea of losing the weight.  I joined the gym, signed up for Weight Watchers, bought some Fiber One bars.  It didn’t really work out that great.  Rather, I didn’t really work out.

So, nearly three years later, I filled out the application, not thinking much would come of it.  After all, I’m not really obese, just ‘fleshy’.  Imagine my surprise when I received the notice that the American Heart Association believed me to be unhealthy enough to necessitate intervention.  The next 12 weeks will be spent learning to be healthier with the assistance of diet and exercise coaching, culminating in a big reveal at the ballroom at Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana.

So, Monday 1/20/2014, I thought I’d get a jump on the whole thing.  My older exercise clothes were a bit snug, so I purchased a new ensemble for the occasion.  It may have looked more flattering on the hanger.  This inspired the question, “Should I wear Spanx with my exercise clothes?”  It’d go a long way to iron out all those lumps and bumps.  My pants made my legs look like two sausages in black, shiny casing, with my bottom resembling two pork roasts covered in Lycra.  The whole thing left a lot to be desired, but I applied my new coral lipstick and went onto rediscover my treadmill.

Jazzy Dance Moves

Jazzy dance moves in the new exercise clothes

Treadmill

The treadmill in the basement/jungle gym for kids

Diary:

A mix of exercise, eating, and writing (I think they might all be connected!)

Monday 1/20 – Thirty minutes of walking twice in one day.  Severe overage on my Weight Watchers Points.  There was this red velvet cupcake, and the wine, and then the frozen pizza for dinner . . . Will try harder tomorrow – made healthy soup.  Sales fell on book (insert pouty face).

I made these . . . and then ate them.

I made these . . . and then ate them.

Tuesday 1/21— Ate healthy soup.  No comment.   Walked during lunch at work.  Received bad review, plus an addendum to a previous bad review (what’s up with that?).  Then ate two Valentine’s Day cakes.

Turkey sausage, northern beans, and a lot of vegetables.  Needs . . . bacon.

Turkey sausage, northern beans, and a lot of vegetables. Needs . . . bacon.

Thursday Threads with Collette Cameron

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TheViscountsVow3_850

The Viscount’s Vow by Collette Cameron

Genre: Historical Romance/Regency

Heat Level: Sensual

Amidst murder and betrayal, destiny and hearts collide when scandal forces a viscount and a  gypsy noblewoman to marry in this Regency romance sprinkled with suspense and humor.

Part Romani, part English noblewoman, Evangeline Caruthers is the last woman in England Ian Hamilton, the Viscount Warrick, could ever love—an immoral wanton responsible for his brother’s and father’s deaths. She thinks he’s a foul-tempered blackguard, who after setting out to cause her downfall, finds himself forced to marry her—snared in the trap of his own making.

When Vangie learns the marriage ceremony itself may have been a ruse, she flees to her gypsy relatives, declaring herself divorced from Ian under Romani law. He pursues her to the gypsy encampment, and when the handsome gypsy king offers to take Ian’s place in Vangie’s bed, jealousy stirs hot and dangerous.

At last, under a balmy starlit sky, Ian and Vangie breech the chasm separating them. Peril lurks though. Ian’s the last in his line, and his stepmother intends to dispose of the newlyweds so her daughter can inherit his estate. Only by trusting each other can they overcome scandal and murderous betrayal.

 “A brilliant tale combining Regency romance with exotic Romani culture.”

 Excerpt

“You didn’t eat much, wife.”

They were alone on the dance floor. Ian deftly twirled Vangie around his aunt’s smallish ballroom, mindful of the interested gazes watching them.

Stealing a glance at the smiling and nodding onlookers, he suppressed a frown. He felt like a curiosity on display at Bullock’s Museum. He wished others would take to the floor, so he could dispense with the devoted bridegroom facade.

The twelve courses at dinner had been torturous. His wife hadn’t taken more than a dozen bites nor said as many words. He’d tried to eat the succulent foods Aunt Edith had gone to such efforts to have prepared, but his anger made everything dry as chalk and every bit as tasteless.

“I’d not much appetite, my lord.”

He chuckled. “Don’t you think you might address me by my given name, wife?”

“Why?” she asked pertly. “I’ve known you but four days, certainly not long enough to be so familiar with you.”

He lowered his head, breathing in her ear, very aware every eye in the room was trained on them. He’d give them something to gossip about. “Because I want you to, wife, and you did promise to obey.”

He nipped her ear.

She jumped and a tiny yelp of surprise escaped before she clamped her lips together. Her eyes were shooting sparks again; only this time they were directed at him.

“What’s my name, wife?”

“Please, don’t call me that. I too have a name, as you well know.”

Drawing her closer, her breasts pressing against the breadth of his chest and cresting the edge of her bodice, he murmured, “Indeed, but Evangeline sounds . . . angelic, and we both know you’re no such thing.”

“Pardon?” She stiffened, trying to shove away from him. “I don’t under—”

His head descended again. “Say it, or I’ll trace your ear with my tongue.”

He grinned as her breath hissed from between clenched teeth. She stumbled, her fingers digging into his shoulder and hand. A very becoming flush swept across her face.

“Will you cease?” Her worried gaze careened around the room. “We’re being watched.”

Voice husky, he said, “Say my name, sweeting.”

Giving her a gentle squeeze, he started to dip his head, caressing her elegant neck with his hot breath.

“Ian, your name is Ian,” she gasped breathlessly, twisting her head away.

 Contact Collette

Website: http://collettecameron.com

Blog: http://www.blueroseromance.com

Facebook Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/collettecameronauthor

Facebook Book Page: http://facebook.com/viscountsvow

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Collette_Author

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/13595899-collette-cameron

She can also be found on WordPress, Tumblr, LinkedIn, and Google+

Buy Link

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