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New Release: Brooklyn Blues, by R.E. Hargrave – PLUS review and GIVEAWAY.

BROOKLYN BLUES

by R.E. Hargrave

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New Release: WRAPPED WITH A BOW

Title: WRAPPED WITH A BOW
Tag: The Crazy Lady Authors
Present A Blizzard of Books – 9 Holiday Stories as Unique as a Snowflake.
Blurb: Come warm your toes by
our fire, relax, and indulge yourself with this box set of amazing tales. In
the spirit of the season, the Crazy Ladies present this gift of heartfelt
stories that will make you laugh, cry, and give thanks for the many blessings
in your life. From our heart to yours, we wish you a very Merry Christmas.
Stories:
Aubree Lane — The Kissing Ball
Cherime MacFarlane — A White Cat
For Christmas
RE Hargrave — Sugar &
Spice
Teri Riggs — True Love Never
Dies
Ella Medler — Frozen Heart
Mychele E. Gwynn — Sophie’s
Wish
Jennifer Bryan Yarbrough —
Christmas for Faith
Samantha Jacobey — Christmas
Candy
Holly Barbo — The Crystal
Snowflake
Add to Goodreads:
The Kissing Ball
Aubree Lane
Bio:
Aubree Lane lives in the beautiful foothills
of Northern California with her husband, two wonderful sons, and a super
special peek-a-poo named Tanner.
Blurb:
Sparks fly when the non-profit One in
One-Fifty and Melissa Ellison team up to create mistletoe magic for the town’s
Christmas dance. The hanging spheres of kissable kindness kickoff holiday
happiness and ornamental optimism, but all is not what it seems. An evil elf
lurks in the shadows, conspiring to prey on those most vulnerable. Will Melissa
find the miracle she needs to protect the ones she’s grown to love and respect?
*
A White Cat For Christmas
Cherime MacFarlane
Bio:
Born in New Orleans, I am proud to call
myself an Alaskan. I have lived here for 38 years, I have seen -40 degrees,
hauled water, made bear bacon and still live in a cabin. I have used a
fishwheel to catch salmon coming up the Copper River. I have cut firewood on
shares and worked as a cocktail waitress during pipeline days in a small lodge
on the Richardson Highway. I was my second husband’s chief mechanic’s helper
and roadie.
My second husband, a Scot from Glasgow, was
the love of my life. When I write Scots dialect, I personally experienced
hearing it from my in-laws. When my husband got on the phone to Scotland, after
5 seconds I could barely understand a word.
We moved to Wasilla to get warm. It barely
drops past -25 degrees here in the winter. I became a paralegal and worked for
over 26 years for the same firm. Thousands of documents I have written have
been before various judges all over the state.
Alaska is my home. I never thought I would
love it so much I’d never want to leave. The beauty of Alaska is a draw I
cannot resist. I love the people and the history. I have been captured by a
place I came to under duress. Life does play some interesting tricks on one. I
lost my first husband to alcohol. My second husband, the love of my life, died
as a result of disease. We were not apart more than 24 hours for 20 plus years.
I never wanted to be anywhere but with him. He was a man to run the river with
and was my biggest fan.
Blurb:
Mike has a very good reason to be careful.
His business leaves him open to threats and possibly violence. He is suspicious
of the woman hanging around the old dilapidated garage near the road. What is
she doing on his property?
Angie saw the little kitten on the way to
work. The poor little thing is living under the old shed. She wants to rescue
it before the temperature drops so low it freezes to death. The big man is
intimidating, but the kitten needs help, and she’ll take on the irate homeowner
if she has too.
*
Sugar & Spice
RE Hargrave
Bio:
R.E. Hargrave lives on the outskirts of
Dallas, TX where she prides herself on being a domestic engineer. Married to
her high school sweetheart, together they are raising three children from
elementary age to college age. She is an avid reader, a sometimes quilter and
now, a writer. Other hobbies include gardening and a love of a music.
A native ‘mutt,’ Hargrave has lived in New
Hampshire, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Alabama, Texas, and California. She is
fond of setting her stories on location in South Carolina and Texas, but its
anybody’s guess as to what the genre will be!
Blurb:
Lacey Harrison has been dealt an unexpected
hand in life: being a single mom. With her father’s help and that of the
residents at Royal Hills Nursing Home, she thrives and goes on to become a
successful baker. She is content with her life but knows that she and her
daughter Candy are missing something. Will things change for the better when Trent
Childress moves into town and adds some spice to her sugar?
*
True Love Never Dies
Teri Riggs
Bio:
Teri Riggs was destined to be a writer.  As a small girl she didn’t read bedtime
stories, she made up her own.  Who needed
Little Red Riding Hood or The Three Little Pigs when there were so many great
tales bouncing around in her head?  When
she grew up and became a mother to three little girls, she continued the
tradition of making up bedtime stories.
On the occasions she chose to tell conventional fairytales, Teri usually
gave them a bit of tweaking here and there or added a new ending.  Her girls loved it.
After her daughters had the nerve to actually
grow up and leave home, Teri discovered she had a passion for writing and
jumped right in.  It came as no surprise
she chose to write mysteries and happily-ever-after’s since that’s the genres
she loves to read.
Teri lives in Marietta, Georgia with her
husband, one of her daughters and two dogs that seem to think they rule the
world.  And some days Teri thinks maybe
they do.
Teri still frequently tells herself stories
as she falls asleep.  The only difference
now is she wakes up the next morning and turns her bedtime stories into books.
Stay in touch with Teri:
Blurb:
Samantha has mourned the tragic Christmas Eve
death of her husband for three years. During that time, she’s moved to a home
in the small town of Heaven’s Beach, has made plenty of new friends, and owns
the local art gallery. She should be happy. Instead, she misses Nate, the love
of her life, to the point of distraction. To make matters worse, her mind seems
to be playing tricks on her lately and she begins to see images that can’t
possibly be real.
With the help of her friends and mother-in-law,
Sami has finally decided it’s time to pull her life together once and for all.
But is it ever truly possible to move on?
Or is it a fact that True Love Never Dies?
*
Frozen Heart
Ella Medler
Bio:
Ella Medler is a U.K. author and editor. She
writes fiction in many genres in a seemingly vain attempt to slow down her
overactive brain enough to write non-fiction on subjects she knows a thing or
two about. She also does not believe in the starchy use of English and ignores
the type of rule that doesn’t allow for a sentence to be finished in a
preposition. Her books are action-driven, and well-developed characters are her
forte. Loves: freedom. Hates: her inner censor.
And in many other questionable places.
Blurb:
Quiet and listless, the glass heart sat
hidden under layers of unremarkable clutter, its secret safe. The human hands
had touched it often through the strata of debris, but until now, had never
uncovered it fully. At last, the yellow duster cut through the grime, and the
heart began to shift. It would most likely have frozen over again, up on its
high shelf, if the cat’s careless pouncing hadn’t made if fall into a box full
of tinsel. This is how the history of time and place began to change – with the
story of the frozen heart.
*
Sophie’s Wish
Michele E. Gwynn
Bio:
Michele E. Gwynn spent eight years writing as
a freelance journalist for newspaper, magazines, and contributed to sites
online such as Yahoo Voices, Open Salon, FashionErotica.com, AlwayzTherro.com,
and Examiner.com to name a few. Still, she always loved a good story and after
an attempt at screenwriting for the debut of Project Greenlight in 2000, she
decided that fiction was what she really loved creating so her fingers began to
type. She is now a published author (briefly under the umbrella of Beau Coup
Publishing before going Indie) of three series; the Kriminal Erotic Series (a
crime/detective series with steam), the Angelic Hosts Series (a spiritual
action/adventure suspense/mystery with a twist of romance), and the Harvest
Trilogy (a horror/sci-fi series inspired by a true event). She has authored a
stand-alone contemporary romance, Waiting a Lifetime, which is currently an
official selection for nomination in The Romance Reviews Readers Choice Awards
Winter 2015, and will be publishing her very first dark paranormal romance,
Darkest Communion, Halloween 2015. She has a lot of literary irons in the fire
planned for 2016 to include the first novel in her new series, The Ghosts of
Cardiff, (a supernatural murder mystery series), and a collaboration with a
fellow author as well which is still under wraps so “Sssh!”
Blurb:
A child of destiny, Sophie
Fairchild’s origins were a mystery to her parents, Nanette and Charles. Unable
to conceive on their own, Nanette had prayed to God every day at the Basilica
of the Sacred Heart of Montmartre located on the Rue du Chevalier-de-Barre in
Paris that He would bless her and her husband with a child. Found on their
doorstep one winter morning tucked away in a wicker basket, surrounded by two
fat cats and several doves, Sophie was the answer to their prayers. Five years
later, the Fairchild’s find themselves once again wondering from where and whom
Sophie came. After bringing home countless animals from stray cats to injured
birds, she has now befriended a homeless girl with no family of her own. Dogged
by tragedy, the young girl experiences heartbreaking loss. Stalked by darkness,
she enters the Basilica seeking change to buy bread, but ‘borrowing’ from the
donation box turns disastrous. Sophie watches as a child with sticky fingers
runs out of the church as if the very devil himself was in hot pursuit.
Concerned, she takes off after her, finding her hiding in a dark alley. Still,
Sophie knows she has nothing to fear, and once again, she brings home a
homeless stray determined to help, unaware that darkness follows. With
Christmas fast approaching, Sophie seeks a way to give her new friend, Cecilia,
a very special gift…with the help of an angel or three. But will she be safe
from the prophesy that her kind act has put into play?
*
Christmas for Faith
Jennifer Bryan Yarbrough
Bio:
Jennifer Bryan Yarbrough is the author of the
Porter Kingston Series. Lost and Found is her first published novel in this
series. Other books in the series are Found By Love (Book 2), Found at Last
(Book 3) and her recently released book, Eden’s Kiss (Book 4).
Jennifer also writes under the name J B
Yarbrough for teens. You can check out her short story under that name, The
Tree House, on Amazon.com.
Jennifer currently resides in Oklahoma where
she was born and raised and lives with her husband and 3 children. When she
isn’t writing she is spending time with her family or reading and finding new
authors to love.
Blurb:
Christmas… That one word brings so many
different emotions to the surface for Faith, and none of them good. After her
boss forces her to take a holiday vacation, she spirals down into terrible
loneliness.
Having no friends or family in her life,
Faith finds herself spending most of her time at the local diner. It’s there
that she meets her first friend; Prudence, a loud and opinionated waitress who
turns out to be the mother figure Faith always dreamed of having.
When Prudence’s single, gorgeous nephew,
Alek, appears out of the blue, Faith starts to question why she has always chosen
to be alone. Alek tries his best to show Faith the life that she has been
missing out on, and decides to show her the true meaning of Christmas. His
charm forces her to let down her guard, to have a little faith, and to trust
him, but in the process, she begins to question everything about herself. Can
Faith trust a man she barely knows not to hurt her as her own family has done?
Will love heal her lonely heart, and will there finally be a happy Christmas
for Faith?
*
The Crystal Snowflake
Holly Barbo
Bio:
Holly’s world is shaped by her love of
family, the beauty of the natural world and an irrepressible creative drive.
She has always been curious and sees life through questions. These four
characteristics color her writing voice and her stories frequently evolve from
her asking “What if….?” Her tales tend to have non-urban settings with nature
contributing to the plot, building discordant themes inside a seemingly
peaceful refrain.
Holly weaves alternative worlds with threads
from today.
Find more of Holly’s books here:
Blurb:
When Chayse’s friend is murdered before he
can get protective custody, she and her department in Homeland Security are
thrust into a race to stop a destructive cyber worm from wiping out all bank
and stock market records during Christmas break. The good news: there’s an
inoculating code which will stop the worm. The bad news: it’s hidden in a
special crystal concealed in the sculpted walls of a beautiful ice hotel in the
Lapland region of Sweden and the terrorists are searching for it too. As the
snow flurries of November freeze into December, each side rushes to find the
crystal with entirely different goals. Will the Christmas holiday bring
destruction for the Western financial systems?
*
Christmas Candy
Samantha Jacobey
Bio:
Anyone who knows me could tell you, I am a
friendly kind of person, never met a stranger and take up conversations
anywhere at any time. I work hard, and my mind never seems to shut down, as I
wake up often in the middle of the night with ideas pouring out and demanding
to be dealt with. Of course that means much of my books were written in the
middle of the night.
I grew up and still live in the great state
of Texas where everything is bigger, where we have warm weather and a central
location. I love my state, my town, and my family, which includes my four sons,
my significant other, and many friends as well.
I have thoroughly enjoyed writing this story
and hope that you will love reading it just as much. And of course, there will
be many more adventures to come.
You can follow Samantha Jacobey at:
Blurb:
Life isn’t always sweet, even for girls called
Candy.
Candice
Parker’s life has never been easy. Plagued by losses and setbacks, each day is
a struggle for the petite brunette and her young son. When fireman Gary enters
her world, he is one mistake she refuses to make; but after tragedy strikes,
she may not have a choice.
Gerald
Ford has never been what anyone would call settled. Always keeping things
simple, he lived a fast and furious lifestyle, with no intentions of slowing
down. However, when he inherits his family’s ancestral mansion on his thirtieth
birthday, he considers the possibility that it’s time for a change. Could this
complicated young woman be his Christmas Candy?
Buy Links:
 
 
Unusual Christmas Traditions 
Around the World
#2


The Legend of the Christmas Spider
A long
time ago, a mother prepared for Christmas Eve. She cleaned and scrubbed her
home, chasing the spiders from the living room with her broom. The spiders fled
to the attic and listened to the excitement below as the Christmas tree was put
up and decorated. When all was quiet again, the little spiders crept back
downstairs to see the beautiful tree. They were filled with happiness as they
crawled along every branch, admiring the glittering beauty of each ornament.
But alas, by the time they had finished climbing through the tree, it was
completely draped with their dusty, gray cobwebs.
When
the Christ child came, He smiled as He looked upon the happy little spiders,
however, He knew the mother would be heartbroken when she saw the shrouded
tree. So He reached out and touched the webs and, blessing them, turned them
into silver and gold. Now the Christmas tree sparkled and shimmered and was
even more beautiful than before. Thus the custom to have tinsel of silver and
gold and a spider ornament amongst the other decorations on the Christmas tree
was born.


Author Unknown

 

 
3 Comments

Posted by on December 7, 2015 in Guest Posts, News

 

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Waiting for the Tree and Being Creative

santa 1I can’t wait. I’m one of those people who can’t keep the grin off their faces come Christmas time. I’ve celebrated Christmas all over the globe, and I have fond memories of all of them, indiscriminately.

There were the times when I used to decorate the tree under the watchful eye and witty direction of my grandfather. He always bought candies wrapped in shiny foil, and I loved swamping the poor tree in them. Somehow, they tasted better when ripped off the branches.

Then there’s the time when the man who was to become my husband and I got stuck in a train, in a snowstorm in southern Romania, with just a sandwich each and a bottle of Fanta to share between us. What a magical day that was! The local station master rounded up some kids from the village nearby and brought them along to sing Christmas carols underneath our windows. I was moved to tears. Almost sorry they dug us out of the snowdrift and got the train moving again.

carolers1And then in Bishkek (ex Frunze), Kyrgyzstan, when I spent two days searching for Christmas trees, to my driver’s increasing annoyance. Kyrgyz people are Muslim, and the few Christian Russians celebrate Christmas on the 7th of January, so I was way too early, looking for a tree mid-December. And then, at a traffic junction, just as we decided to call it a day and go home, I spotted a huge truck full of trees crossing right to left, right in front of me. Tolik caught my eye and drove like a bat out of hell, cutting across three lanes of traffic and breaking about a dozen traffic rules, hot on the trail of the runaway Christmas tree truck. He honked and flashed lights and shouted out the open window until the truck’s bewildered driver pulled over. Then my awesome, dedicated driver jumped up in the truck, on top of the hundreds of trees, and proceeded to pull them out and stand them up to show them to me, one at a time. I chose quickly… within the first fifty, anyway.

And there’s the time when the wallpaper fell right off the walls in the baby’s nursery, pulling large lumps of plaster and wall off with it. And the Kiev one, when I was holding onto my husband’s waistband as he leaned out of the seventh story window to clear the snow off the satellite dish with a long-handled broom, so the kids could watch the Cartoon Network. And the time when my kids were ill Christmas Eve and were not even aware of the pile of presents under the tree, hidden by just one fluffy blanket, as the poor darlings were being fed medicine and cough syrup in the living room… And the time when we had to take the seats out of the car to fit all the presents in… And the time when we only had hugs and promises we gave each other… And so many others in between.

I loved each and every one of them.

And this one, the first one in Ireland, is going to be special, too. I can feel it in my bones.

We won’t be able to go looking for a tree until Wednesday, but I couldn’t do just nothing, so here’s how some of yesterday and today was spent.

garland1

And this is what my living room looks like today. Lovely.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The wreaths are only half done, so you can see those next week. 🙂

 
10 Comments

Posted by on December 8, 2013 in News, Sunday Feature

 

Tags: , ,

NaNo Bites the Dust and Other Seasonal Thoughts

I’ve come to the conclusion November is the wrong month for NaNoWriMo. I mean, I don’t know about others, but I’m not so perfectly organized that I lose all Seasonal Anxiety long before Christmas. In fact, the opposite is true.

santaFar back in the days when office work was my life and my family was an unimportant detail – sorry guys, you know it’s true, but you still love me – I used to be ready for Christmas by the end of August. I used to know what my kids wanted with some degree of certainty, and when I didn’t, I could just sit by their sides when they wrote the letters to Santa and… um… influence point out advantages of toys I’d already bought, wrapped, and stashed in a friend’s attic for last minute collection. Santa always agreed with me.

I’m not proud of how I acted but, in my defense, I was young, confused, and had been raised to believe a good career was the topmost priority for the modern woman.

No wonder I was feeling so displaced!

Anyway, to cut a long story short, the days when I was chasing career advancement at (almost) any cost are long gone, and so is the nice income and security for what tomorrow would bring. You see, once I got a couple of my clients to communicate to my management how impressed they were by my quality of service, I knew I wouldn’t lose my job, unless I quit.

hamster wheel

Me, in my corporate days. Picture the hamster in a pin-stripe suit.

And quit I did, one day, when I realized I knew more about my work colleagues than my own husband and kids, and that team-building events were being organized outside work hours. It dawned on me I had become a willing slave.

So I changed the status quo. I began working for myself and taking in what my kids were saying (my husband will confirm I continued to ignore him, so he didn’t get a much better deal). I had far less disposable income, but I had time with my family. I had contact with the people who mattered to me. And we were happy.

The recession hit and I still considered myself lucky, because I was in control of my own life, and I was living it right, though in an unconventional way, if you judged it by society rules. I was there to teach my children how to cope with the day-to-day living, how to budget, how to save, how to cut back, and how to care.

In time, we sold the business on and I welcomed the chance to do something with all my unfinished writing. I found a publisher and kept writing. I volunteered at the local theater, built props, made costumes, even wrote a play. I found time for myself and began learning to play the piano – another childhood wish I’d never found time for.

grabbing handStill, the costs of living rose and rose, and there seemed no end to this hike. We learned to live on little. And then I found self-employment carried severe risks. No, not in the way you’d think. I’ve never NOT had work. The opposite: I’ve not had more than a few days off since the beginning – less holiday than I was getting in the damned office. I had all the work I could do, and still it wasn’t enough. One minute, we had enough to live on, the next some other tax appeared that would draw our bottom line closer to absolute minimum. The Christmas presents became scarce, and I remember one year when all we had were ‘promises’ we made each other. We still have each other, and that’s a win!

The hit that flattened me came just this week. At the time i thought I still stood a chance to finish my NaNo project this month, and have it out by Christmas. Now, I’m sure I won’t. I just can’t get into it right now, because inside I am in shock. I’m sure in time all this will get sorted, and everything will return to some sort of normal, but that rational thought only occurs when the shivers stop. Illogically, I still hope bad things only come in threes.

A working family tax credit failed to materialize into our account. No matter, we said, we’ll talk to the right people, write to them. Response time: fifteen days. Ok. We need to be careful with what we spend for fifteen days. We can do that. If necessary, we can draw some funds from the business paypal account.

On Friday, Paypal sent me a notification saying I exceeded some EU-imposed threshold and therefore I couldn’t withdraw money from my account until I provided some paperwork. Paperwork which doesn’t exist in the UK, I might add. Any attempts to provide enough information to satisfy the bureaucrats in Brussels have so far proved to be unsuccessful. (As an aside, I had already spent five weeks fighting – and ultimately winning – this same battle earlier in the year. What changed? Who knows? The ways of the bureaucrat are intricate ones.)

So now we only had my husband’s pension to live on. Not ideal, but do-able, just, for a limited time. Only on Saturday morning we noticed his state pension didn’t get paid into our account. Blankness was the only thing in my mind at that particular moment. Complete blankness. Perhaps a glitch. Perhaps a trainee employee pressed the wrong button. Perhaps the planets have lined up wrong. Perhaps this year was just set to test us. I can honestly say it was my lumpiest, so far. But I didn’t let it get me down. I got up, dusted myself off and went on with life, hopeful things would get better. Now… Now I’m not sure I even want to get up anymore. Inside, I know I will. I always do. I’m built on some sort of bounce-back DNA not yet cataloged.

Whatever it was that caused this would be fixed, given enough time and finding the right people.

glass

But what happens in the meantime? Whichever way I look at it, the glass is empty.

And since I’ve had a lot of ponder-time lately, my mind keeps coming up with questions. How can it be possible, in this day and age, to leave a family of four people with two dependent children with no income? Let me repeat that: no income. None. How is it acceptable to give no notice when doing something like limiting an account? I guess there is a good reason for setting your European branch in Luxembourg, Paypal. What gives you the right to sit on my money, Paypal? And dear UK Government, how comes you find it fit to stop a pensioner’s only income – the one he worked for all his life – without notice, or at all, in fact? It’s his money, not yours.

Why does the choice to live your life with and for your family feel like a mistake?

My only hope is that tomorrow, when the ‘offices’ open for business, we find a real person to talk to, someone with a brain and who is capable of rational thought. And that it won’t cost us more than the credit we have on our phone. Otherwise, when the cupboards are bare and the last penny of our savings has fizzled out… Well, this could be a Christmas to remember!

~ Despite the rant above, it will be business as usual in my office. I have some editing to do and some authors to support. And I have a family to love, who loves me back. ~

broken baubleElla’s letter to Santa

Dear Santa, I could do with a real miracle right about now…

 
12 Comments

Posted by on November 24, 2013 in News, Sunday Feature

 

Tags: , , , , ,

 
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