Category Archives: Blog Hop

Welcome to the Highway Café Christmas Blog Tour

2016ChristmasTour

The post may not be the top one but it’s there all three days.

Hi there, I’m Elf Sparkle

My job at the North Pole is decorating the wrapped packages with ribbons and bows or silk flowers or glitter. <giggle> I love glitter, and I love this job because I like making things look pretty.

Playing holiday music while I work keeps me energized. I switch between vocals like Celtic Ladies Christmas or carols by country artists and instrumentals like Mannheim Steamroller’s Christmas in the Aire.

My favorite holiday snack and drink. I can’t decide between pfefferrnusse cookies (spice cookies coated in powdered sugar) or thumbprint cookies (cookies rolled in chopped nuts with a dab of jam in the center). But I know my favorite drink is hot chocolate stirred with a mini candy cane.

I’m the Secret Santa for Elf Annie, who works in the kitchen concocting decadent hot cocoa for Santa’s sleigh ride and helping Mrs. Claus bake cookies. I’m giving Elf Annie a mini-grater for the final flourish of fresh cinnamon or nutmeg on top of the whipped cream Santa loves on his cocoa.

This winter/holiday recipe I got from my mother (although she was Midwest born and bred).

New England Cranberry Custard Pie

Ingredients:

4 eggs

½ teaspoon salt

¾ cup sugar

2/3 cup undiluted evaporated milk

1 cup water

1 teaspoon vanilla

½ teaspoon nutmeg

9” unbaked pastry shell

1 8-oz can whole berry cranberry sauce

3 tablespoons cornstarch

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon grated orange rind

¼ cup chopped nuts

Combine eggs, salt, 3/4c sugar, evaporated milk, water, vanilla and nutmeg. Beat well. Pour into pastry shell. Bake in hot oven (425°) 10 minutes, reduce heat to 350° and bake 20-30 minutes more, or until knife inserted hallways between edge and center of pie comes out clean.

In small saucepan, stir cornstarch into cranberry sauce then add 2 T sugar. Heat until boiling, then boil one minute, stirring constantly. Stir in nuts and orange rind. Cool cranberry mixture before spooning over the custard. Cool 3-4 hours before serving. Makes 6-8 servings.

My holiday gift to participants on this blog tour is that each task completed in the attached rafflecopter earns a chance in a random drawing for a print copy of One Winter Knight, a medieval winter holiday anthology of 8 stories, or an electronic copy of Silent Signals, a historical western novella.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
TAG LINE: Will the valley’s feud between cattlemen and shepherds keep Konrad and Anora apart? BLURB: After losing half his herd in the Great Blizzard of 1886, rancher Konrad Werner needs to safeguard his cattle. Tomboy Anora Huxley trains the Australian Shepherds and Kelpies that run the family’s sheep herd. Although cattlemen and shepherds are at odds, the pair discovers common interests. A threat is overheard, and Konrad rides out to Anora’s ranch to protect her. The tense situation reveals their true feelings. Will Anora be swayed by family loyalty, or will she listen to her heart that responds to Konrad’s silent signals? Buy link for all electronic formats: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/681040 Here are the sites for the other participating authors. Visit them for more holiday fun, recipes and giveaways. http://transcanadaromancewriters.blogspot.ca/2016/12/highway-cafe-christmas-blog-tour.html http://www.findingthewritewords.blogspot.com/ http://www.tenastetler.com/my-blog/ https://barbaraburkeauthor.wordpress.com/ www.writerknapsack.com http://msspencertalespinner.blogspot.com/ http://www.maureenbonatch.com/blog/ http://www.sorchiadubois.com/

http://www.carolhenry.org/

www.hywelalyn.blogspot.com

http://casimclean.com/casis-christmas-…cal-mystery-tour/ https://kaydenclaremont.wordpress.com/ http://mariahlynneauthor.blogspot.com/

http://kkweil.blogspot.com http://www.clairdelunebooks.co.uk/

http://nancyfraser.ca/wordpress/holiday-blog-hop/

My Sexy Ex–The One Who Got Away

 

OnWithTheShow_7680_300

Enjoy an excerpt of seven paragraphs from On With The Show

The man who’d spoken had his back to the door, a broad back that stretched the black t-shirt imprinted with Reinhardt’s Hardware, family owned since 1854. A fact the Reinhardt family was immensely proud of, but the crux of the reason she and Dietz had gone their separate ways. “Hello, Dietz.”

With a slow move, the tall, black-haired man turned and ran his gaze over her face. “Well, Franziska Mueller…to what do I owe this pleasure?”

The smile on his lips didn’t reach his blue eyes. A fact she knew was totally her fault. “I just came in on the westbound train for my Thanksgiving visit and nobody was there to meet me. Erich Bruno happened by and he was driving me out to the ranch when he had to respond to a call.” Again, both her tale and her voice sounded pathetic. Inside her coat pockets, both hands drew into fists. God, facing Dietz one-on-one was harder than she’d thought the interaction would be. “Can I use your phone?”

“Pay phone’s outside the front door.”

Frustration tightened her body. All she wanted was to get to the ranch. “What is with this town and pay phones?” She paced away a couple of steps and back to face him. “Normally, I’d use my cell but the battery needs charging. I don’t have coins for a call.” Could she sound any more unprepared for life?

“So, you’re askin’ me for a favor?” Black eyebrows arched over crystal blue eyes, and he leaned an elbow on the counter. “Is that what I’m hearing?”

Connecting with that oh-so-familiar expression brought back too many memories. As much as she hated doing so, she pasted on her friendliest smile. “Yes, Dietz, I’m asking to…pretty please”—she added a fluttering of eyelashes—“use the store’s phone to call the ranch.”

BUY LINKS

All Romance ebooks

Amazon

The Wild Rose Press

Barnes & Noble

Google Play

KOBO Books

To read excerpts from the other authors participating in this week’s My Sexy Saturday, click here

Valentine’s Blog Tour

TransCRW ValentineBlogTour2016

One of the aspects of writing historicals that I love is developing characters who are caught in the middle of the immigrant experience and their new reality of living in the America of the 1800s. Some characters are the ones who have taken that immigrant voyage. Sometimes they are the next generation, born here but being raised by those whose early years were spent elsewhere. But, in my mind, they would still be immersed in the cultural traditions and ethnic cuisines of their home country.

In those times, oral tradition was important as a way to teaching, as well as keeping the family’s history alive. So the young ones would hear stories about the older ones’ experiences, and probably quite often. Well-established traditions from Europe would be carried across the ocean and kept alive in America.

Although the author of the first mention of nesting birds in relation to Valentine’s Day is disputed between Geoffrey Chaucer, Pardo from Valencia, John Gower from England, and Otton de Grandson from Savoy, the time period is acknowledged as the late 1300s in equating romantic love and February 14th. (Many scholars credit Chaucer’s Parlement of Foules as being the first recorded association.) Of course, that’s if you totally ignore the city of Rome’s festival of Lupercalia which was associated with fertility and celebrated on February 13-15.

The fact that in 1797, a British publisher printed a volume titled The Young Man’s Valentine Writer is evidence a practice was in place for penning notes to members of the opposite sex. This volume helped those less literarily inclined. The popularity of paper Valentines became so widespread that factories mass-produced them in the early 1800s.

I used the tradition of expressing romantic feelings through a Valentine in my story, Between The Lines. (which is included in the eight-author anthology, Lariats, Letters, and Lace.) My logic was the tradition would have been transported from England (in this case, not directly by my characters) and even people living in a small Gold Rush town would be aware of it.

Giveaway

Two copies of Lariats, Letters, and Lace will be given away by random selection from those who leave a comment.

Lariats Letters and Lace cover_300

BLURB

Dance hall girl Daisy Shaddock and her miner brother, Perry, work toward a mutual goal of owning a book shop. Perry’s partner Walt Renfrid arrives in town, dreading the promise he must fulfill—delivery of a fateful letter. Recognizing Daisy, Walt can’t resist delaying his purpose for a few stolen moments in her company. Will the news he must deliver push her away or draw the couple closer?

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

KOBO Books

Other TransCanada Romance Writer authors participating in this blog hop are:

Winner from Danele Rotharmel Interview

Purple Teacup Journal and Notecards

Congratulations on winning the prize, Carrie!! I’m so happy for you!! I’ll be in touch privately.
I want to thank all of you who have stopped by and read this interview. I also want to thank those who commented. Your kind words have meant so much to me!
And thank you, Linda, for having me on your blog! I really appreciated the opportunity to chat with you and your readers!
I hope that you all have a wonderful day, and if you get a chance to read “Time Tsunami,” I hope you really love it!
Thanks again!
Danele Rotharmel

Grateful For Books Blog Hop

CLRNov

Why I’m grateful for books:

Growing up a shy child, books were the friends I wished to have. Reading about brave or adventurous story characters helped me absorb just a little of those elements. Pippi Longstocking was an elementary school favorite because she was so bold, outrageous and had super-strength. Not go to school? Sail away on the ocean with a horse and monkey as pets? Those actions were daring to imagine but very far outside my suburban experience. This is about the time I discovered the Little House books and what young city girl didn’t want to get into such innocent mischief like she did. I’ve re-read the series a couple of times, attributing the beginning of my love of historical fiction to that series.

When I hit that age when all girls seemed to yearn to own a horse, I discovered My Friend Flicka, The Black Stallion, National Velvet and Black Beauty. Those books were read and re-read, and plastic horses were integrated into my Barbie doll collection. Then I discovered the Nancy Drew series and imagined myself as a young crime-solving detective. And oh, Nancy drove such a sporty little car. During high school and college, pleasure reading took a backseat except for the occasional “must read” like The Exorcist or Roots.

While raising my kids, I always made sure to include a wide diversity of type of books in our family read-aloud titles. From their homework assignments, I was introduced to new authors and exciting characters in stories that became much-beloved. I remember one summer of several novels having death as a theme and those titles are imprinted as definite tear-jerkers. Like the movies you’re glad you saw but won’t seek out again for a repeat viewing.

Now, as a writer, I build on all I’ve learned from those stories and always have the fervent wish that a story I’ve created has the power to evoke emotion in the reader.

Please enter the rafflecopter giveaway below for a chance at the audio version (3 copies) of historical Christmas novella, The Ring That Binds, or an ebook of On With The Show, a Thanksgiving-themed contemporary novella. [if the icon doesn’t appear, use this link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/585af0479/? ]

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Also participating in the blog hop are the following authors:

Romancing The 8–Voting Round for Readers’ Choice Award

On this month’s post for the Romancing the 8 blog hop with other TransCanada Romance Authors, I’m announcing my entry in a contest.

perf5.000x8.000.indd

My Halloween-set novella, Unlocked Treasure, passed the nomination round for the Readers’ Choice Award sponsored by The Romance Reviews. From now until October 31st, voting continues and I’d love to have a good showing. Click here to be taken to the listing which appears in the Contemporary Romance category. A simple sign-in must be done.

BLURB

Aleen MacRae blames the lure of the sea for breaking apart first her family then her engagement. When her interest is caught by a man she sees both in person and in a dream, she resists—afraid to believe in her aunt’s prediction that her future is tied to the sea.

Braden Williams is on the hunt for treasure buried centuries earlier by Rhode Island pirates. His search brings him to the property where Aleen lives. Collaboration on genealogy research draws them closer, and Braden steers her toward his true passion–sailing.

Attending a party with Braden’s family lets her glimpse what she’s been missing. An unexpected discovery before her date with Braden forces a decision. Will Aleen play things safe or accept what this free-spirited man offers?

QUESTION

My research revealed an unique event that takes place  at Brown University in Providence, RI at midnight on Halloween night.  Attendees enter a darkened Sayles Hall with flashlights and get comfortable. A spotlight highlights the balcony and an organ recital begins. Does your city have a one-of-a-kind event to celebrate the holiday?

BUY LINKS

All Romance ebooks

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

KOBO Books

The Wild Rose Press

Other participating authors

Gini Rifkin

Romancing The Eight Blog Hop

 

Story Inspiration for Stepping Out Of LineSteppingoutofLine_med

 

The dozen years I lived in San Antonio, Texas sparked a love of the cowboy myth and an appreciation for rodeo as a sport/lifestyle. Sure, many of the competitors at the local and regional rodeos work weekdays herding cattle, fixing fences, managing stud services, and worrying over the latest beef prices. But come Friday and Saturday nights, they transform into the heroes of the rodeo arena. They become the football quarterbacks (another Texas passion) who drive hard for the goal—be it roping a calf in the fastest time, or staying upright for the longest period on the back of a bucking bronc or bull.

Dev Laredo has lost track of how many bones he’s broken as a saddle bronc rider. Like Kevin Coster in Bull Durham (one of my favorites movies), Dev’s too old for this shit, he’s too old for the buckle bunnies. But he’s determined to finish out this season to earn money for his younger brother’s college tuition—he’ll fight through his latest injury to do it

Roxie Starr is an ex-Vegas showgirl who dismisses rodeo performers as being the same as Vegas guys—all flash and show, and no commitment. Since returning to Wayback, she’s refused to date anyone associated with the rodeo. She wants a real cowboy—solid, down to earth, one who will be there when the going gets tough.

Can two bruised souls overlook their differences and give love a fighting chance? Stepping Out Of Line, a contemporary western romance, is published by The Wild Rose Press.

BUY LINKS

All Romance ebooks

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

KOBO

GIVEAWAY

Anyone signing up for the soon-to-be-compiled inaugural issue of my quarterly newsletter is eligible for a drawing of an ebook of this title.

Click here to sign up.

Please visit the other authors participating in the Romancing The Eight Blog Hop follow:

Darlene Fredette – http://www.findingthewritewords.blogspot.ca/

Denyse Bridger – www.fantasypages.ca

Gini Rifkin – http://ginirifkin.blogspot.com/

Books That Make Your Heart Flutter Blog Hop

Books That Make Your Heart Flutter

As someone who has read thousands of books over her lifetime, I can think of two aspects of a story that make my heart flutter.

First, I can get swept away and be unable to put down a book that has a driving plotline. One action leads into the next and both put the protagonist in even worse danger to the point that the reader can’t imagine anything possibly getting worse…and then it does. A couple of books come to mind here.

One is The Hunt For Red October by Tom Clancy with the basic plot being a Russian submarine commander wants to defect to the free world. The format of the novel was that action occurred on three primary stages (settings)–US government, Russian government and the sub itself. Each scene flipped to a different setting and the reader knew the ultimate showdown had huge consequences. I remember reading part of the novel aloud on a long drive the length of California. (before audio books, folks)  Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton was another that hooked me. Other authors who write similar compelling works are Lee Child, Michael Connelly,  Camilla Lackberg, John Grisham.

Recently, I read Zoo by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge, which has been turned into a TV series. Partially because of the extremely short chapter length (1-4 pages each) but also the almost non-stop action of incidents and events that propel the protagonist forward.

The second type of book that makes my heart flutter is a well-written romance that really digs into the characters. Especially stories that start out with flawed characters who think they have done something that makes them unlovable. Like The Wives of Bodie Stone by Maggie Osborne or Portraits by Stef Ann Holm–both historical novels have heroes who were in prison.

Strong characterization and deep point of view go a long way to guarantee my reading pleasure. I strive for those two elements in the stories I create. In my latest release, Forged By Fire (part of the anthology, A Cowboy Celebration from Prairie Rose Publications), I created a hero, Berg, who thought an event that happened in his past made him undesirable and therefore, he shies away from people.  One simple act of kindness makes Ivey, the cook of the boarding house, to look at him in a different way.

Forged By Fire is just one of four historical stories included in Prairie Rose anthologies set in a Texas town.

Leave a comment about a book that made your heart flutter and the reason why for a chance to win your choice of a print copy of :

Cowboys,Creatures,andCalico_thCowboys, Creatures and Calico, Vol 1. (Halloween setting) with other stories by Lorrie Farrelly, Tanya Hanson, Sarah J. McNeal, Shayna Matthews and Cher’ley Grogg

 

 

_Present for a Cowboy_tnPresent For A Cowboy (Christmas setting) with other stories by Gail L. Jenner, Lorrie Farrelly, Sarah J. McNeal and Livia J. Washburn

 

 

????????????????????????????

Cowboy Kisses (Valentine’s Day theme) with other stories by Lorrie Farrelly, Kristy McCaffrey, Gail L. Jenner, Gil McDonald, C. Marie Bowen, Tanya Hanson, Beverly Wells

 

 

Double your chances of winning by signing up for the inaugural Fall issue of my quarterly newsletter.

http://eepurl.com/bjKueH

To be eligible for the giveaway, comments must be made by 11:59PM PDT on Monday, August 17th. (Newsletter sign ups always accepted)

Then visit others who are participating in this blog hop.

Romancing The 8–Dreams of Gold

DreamsofGold_w7787_300

Here are eight paragraphs from the opening scene of my western historical novella set in 1870s Wyoming, Dreams Of Gold:

‘“Hey, driver.” He shot a glance at the top seat. What the hell? A slender, yellow feather bobbed above the driver’s seat. He set a boot on the wheel hub and levered himself up for a better look. On the near side of the seat slumped the stage’s regular driver, Pete McGinnis, blood staining the right side of his shirt. Quinn stretched to lay a hand on the young man’s chest. Relief shot through him when he felt a shallow rise with each labored breath. Alive, but struggling.

Twisting to his left, he scanned the nearby storefronts and spotted a young boy scratching a stick in the dirt. “Hey, Billy. Run and fetch the doctor.” From a vest pocket, he pulled out a coin and flipped it at the boy’s feet. “Hurry now.”

As soon as the boy started off, Quinn turned back to the coach. “Ma’am?” The female now leaned against the back of the seat—head still down, stiff arms extended. “Miss?” He reached a hand over her fists and pulled on the reins. Under his touch, her arms trembled, but her fists remained clenched. Was the woman deaf? He hopped down and jogged around the back of the coach, glancing through the window at empty bench seats.

With a hand braced on the side of the coach, he set the brake. “Miss, release the reins.” He gently pried open the young woman’s gloved fists so he could tie off the reins. Under the hat brim, her eyes were squeezed shut, and he feared she might be injured, too.

“Are you hurt, ma’am?” He glanced over her slim figure clothed in a dark green jacket and skirt. Lean legs outlined by the dusty skirt and a rounded bosom moving in quick rhythm woke heat in his gut. At the inexplicable reaction, he clenched his jaw. Assessing possible injuries was part of his duty, but ogling a defenseless lady was not.

Had she fainted? He slid a finger under her chin and lifted. Her skin was as smooth as silk. Light brown lashes lay against creamy cheeks dusted with freckles. “Ma’am?”

She moaned, and her eyelids fluttered and then opened. “Are we safe? Did I drive us to a town?”

Hers were the greenest eyes he’d ever seen. Jade…that was the color. The intensity of her gaze hit him like a roundhouse punch straight to his chest. “You’re in Bull City, ma’am. I’m Sheriff Riley. Can you tell me what happened?”

BUY LINKS

All Romance ebooks

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

iBooks

KOBO books

Google Play

The Wild Rose Press