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Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

Karibou Magic cover

“Karibou Magic” is a nice Christmas fantasy.  The reason for the misspelling of Caribou is actually the name of the town used for the setting. Karibou, Wyoming.  I was given a free copy of this book through Reading Alley in exchange for an honest review.

There were several pros and cons to this story. It was a short, easy read. Eva Mars Bowman, DVM is happily settled in Karibou, working alongside elderly veterinarian, Doc Nickolas. Thank to Doc and some special reindeer, Mars’ faith in Christmas magic has been restored. She is especially looking forward to joining Doc in their annual Christmas Eve sleigh ride.

Then Doc’s estranged son, Trebeck, returns to Karibou, and brings his teen daughter, James. Yes, the names are it bit unusual, and can stumble a reader at first. I backtracked when I first encountered the daughter named James but there is a story to why she’s called that.  Trebeck does not believe in nor appreciate Christmas and immediately he and Mars at at odds. He is rude, insensitive, and pretty much a jerk.

The quick friendship between Mars and James is heartwarming and very sweet. It seems they both needed each other. Things turn bad when Doc falls gravely ill just before Christmas. Trebeck ends up in control of Doc’s vet clinic, pushing Mars even further out of the picture. She goes from initially feeling unwelcome with his arrival to ready to pack her bags since he has taken over.

The resolution is good. What I did not like about this story was the sudden romance between Mars and Trebeck. They clearly did not agree on much of anything and the almost instant attraction seemed rushed and inappropriate. Granted there was some misunderstanding in the beginning, but still one normally doesn’t go from disliking a person for several reasons to thinking he/she is hot all that quickly.  Second, there were many types, incorrect and missing words and other grammatical words that slowed down the flow of reading. More editing or proofreading would have helped greatly.

Beyond that it was a cute Christmas fantasy. James, the reindeer and a three-legged dog add much to the story. Warning, have a few tissues handy as you’ll probably need them.

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Christmas typewriter BLOG

 

Christmas greetings. As I write this, it is less than a week from Christmas. Where I live, we seldom see snow, compared to where I used to live. It has been cold lately, though rumor has it the temperatures are supposed to rise again in the next few days.

I came upon this pretty picture sometime this summer and thought it would be  nice for a Christmas post. I love the old typewriter. Back then I had no clue how I would tie it to a post, and I am still not sure. I just like the photo.

However, looking at it, and listening to my friend chat on the phone, all got me to thinking. Mostly how Christmas has changed for me over the years. In times past, I loved the snow and the decorations, the songs and the celebration.

Well, the mounds of fluffy white stuff is now confined to memories and pictures.  I still decorate, though last year I had just moved into a new house literally a few weeks before and released two books within the two months before Christmas. I was too exhausted to decorate much then. This year I have put out two more books, both on December 2nd, with much promotional work to be done. This is alongside my already jam-packed schedule of working full time and other writing commitments. Frankly, I just lack the energy and drive to go too crazy with decorations, though the tree is pretty tonight.

Songs? I love Christmas songs, and have many favorites. Today I listened to the classic show on the radio and they played four hours of old time Christmas carols and classic favorites. I heard many I liked and some I had forgotten about, or at least who sang them.

That brings me to celebration. I don’t gather at a big table, alongside countless family. Nor do I meet at a restaurant with a group of my friends. My holiday celebration is a quiet, simple affair, often spent in retrospection. I do believe my Christmas day will go something like this:

I’ll rise at daybreak and after breakfast and two cups of coffee, will take my dog to the national forest. We will have the place to ourselves except for the wildlife we might scare away. I will sit by the river, deep in contemplation, prayer and meditation. I will return  home and journal my thoughts and feelings. Currently, I am on Chapter Nine of writing my journal. I’ve been there since October of 2014. I keep waiting for the sign it’s time to close out chapter nine and begin the next one.

At some point I will try a skype call to my dad, who lives abroad. We don’t see each other much so emails and skype keep us close. With the time zone thing, calls can be tricky. We’re planning it now. And in the early afternoon, I will join with friends and enjoy a delicious meal over great company.

In the evening, I will work, much like I am now, on the computer, the modern day counterpart to the trusty old typewriter. I will also spend a fair bit of time staring at the lit tree, contemplating the real reason for Christmas. It isn’t the presents, the food or anything else except the celebration and acknowledgment of Christ’s birth in Bethlehem.

At some point, I will retire to bed with a good book. Being both a writer and a reader, I love curling up with a few cats and a well written book. Nowadays I can do hand held or lap top versions. I prefer holding a real book and will probably opt for that. Max Lucado has a nice book, it’s on my shelf, that wonderfully tells the story of Christmas. I might dust it off and reread that again.

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December 5, 2015
SIZZLE IN THE SNOW: A SOUL MATE CHRISTMAS COLLECTION
Eight steamy romances by eight Soul Mate Publishing authors . . .

SIZZLE IN THE SNOW_800x1200 (2) NEW

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BUY NOW
Buy Link

http://www.amazon.com/Sizzle-Snow-Soul-Christmas-Collection-ebook/dp/B0186SCT74

This Christmas season, Soul Mate Publishing and editor, Char Chaffin, presents Sizzle In The Snow: A Soul Mate Christmas Collection, an anthology now available on Amazon and Soul Mate Publishing. The featured authors and their stories include:
• Beth Carter http://bethcarter.com/, Santa Baby
• Amy Deason https://amydeason.wordpress.com/, Second Chances: A Christmas Story
• Crystal Firsdon http://crystalfirsdon.com/, ‘Twas the Crazy Night Before Christmas
• CD Hersh https://cdhersh.wordpress.com/, Kissing Santa
• Kim Hotzon http://kimhotzon.com/, The Snow Bird
• Ryan Jo Summers http://www.ryanjosummers.com/, Tamed by Christmas
• Tina Susedik http://www.tinasusedik.com/, Operation Santa
• Cheryl Yeko http://www.cherylyeko.com/, Christmas Eve Surprise

xmas girl

Welcome to our seventh newsletter in celebration of the release of
Sizzle In The Snow: A Soul Mate Christmas Collection.
Check your inbox every ten days for each newsletter. Inside you’ll find great decorating tips, recipes and cocktails, excerpts, craft ideas, song links, holiday memories, and personalized cards and poems by the authors!
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Book Cornerbook corner

Author Beth Carter shares a blurb of her short story, Santa Baby!

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SANTA BABY by Beth Carter

Unlucky-in-love Brooke Woods finds herself with a Christmas delivery and it isn’t from Santa. When her boyfriend leaves her for their neighbor, she heads to the nearest bar, meeting hunky, nice guy Anderson Bradley. The two only exchange first names, and their hot fling leaves them both wanting more but their anonymity makes that impossible.

Brooke never thought she’d end up in a hospital pregnant at Christmastime. Will a Santa Baby bring the new mother and father together or tear them apart?

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Cocktail Corner

Busy shopping, wrapping and socializing?
Kick back with a festive cocktail! mocktail pic

Recipe shared by CD Hersh:

Mocktail recipe:
Cranberry Sangria by the glass (original recipe by C.D. Hersh)

For each 8-ounce champagne glass you will need:

1/4 cup brewed Hibiscus Watermelon tea (we use Republic of Tea brand)
1/8 cup brewed Chamomile honey and vanilla tea (we use Twinings brand)
Sparking apple cider
1 rounded TBS jellied cranberry sauce (smooth or whole berry)
Fresh fruits (grapes, whole cranberries, pineapple chunks, peeled sliced star fruit, or peeled kiwi—or fruits of your choice)
Short skewer or sizzle stick

Directions:
Thread fruits on a skewer or swizzle stick and set aside.
Place teas and cranberry sauce in the glass. Mix until sauce is dissolved. Fill glass with sparkling apple cider. Enjoy!
Mock Champagne by the glass (original recipe by C.D. Hersh)
In an 8-ounce champagne flute, place ¼ cup white grape juice and 1/8 cup Chamomile tea. Fill glass with regular or diet ginger ale. To give the drink a holiday flare, add a slice of star fruit and a couple of whole, fresh cranberries to the glass before adding the liquids.

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Holiday Memory Corner     Oct 15 holiday memory

Crystal Firsdon has an unforgettable holiday memory to share . . .

Holiday memory
This holiday memory is more of a true story that’s been told for years. At 2 years old I was too young to remember when this happened. The story goes . . .

Christmas Eve in my family has always been celebrated at my maternal grandparents’ house with my mom’s side of the family. After a long evening of church, dinner, and presents, my parents brought my sister and me home only to discover someone had broken into our house by kicking in our back door. They ransacked the house and stole all our Christmas presents! (Side note: Yes, they ransacked the house, but the house was already a mess when they broke in. My mom was so embarrassed about the mess that when the police came, she blamed it all on the burglars—even the clothes thrown all over the bedroom floors.)

Christmas day was always spent at my paternal grandparents’ house with my dad’s side of the family, and by morning they had all heard what happened. My aunts and uncles snatched some of their own kids’ presents, changed the tags, and gave them to my sister and me so we’d have gifts to open from Santa on Christmas day.

A few days later the police caught who did it. They came to our house with a garbage bag filled with what they could recover, including a red velvet robe for my dad. (It was the 70’s, don’t judge.) I remember hearing stories that when they caught the man, he was wearing the robe. Nobody remembers if that part is true or not but my mom said the robe had obviously been worn when they got it back.

Luckily, none of my own Christmases that I remember have been that dramatic. I’ve grown up with that story and will someday pass it on to my own children when they’re old enough that it won’t scar them for life.

music corner

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Recipe Corner

Company coming over? Author Ryan Jo Summers dishes up her favorite holiday recipe:

TOTAL TIME: Prep: 30 min. Bake: 20 min.
MAKES: 4 servings

Basil Halibut Steaks       salmon basil

INGREDIENTS:
6 plum tomatoes, cut into 1-1/4 inch slices
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 to 6 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons minced fresh basil
Water
4 halibut steaks (1 inch thick)

TOPPING:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 cup soft bread crumbs
2 tablespoons minced fresh basil
2 tablespoons chopped ripe olives
Nutritional Facts
1 serving (1 each) equals 739 calories, 36 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 141 mg cholesterol, 492 mg sodium, 11 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 87 g protein.
Directions
1. Place tomatoes on a baking sheet; drizzle with oil. Wrap garlic in aluminum foil and place on the baking sheet. Bake at 450° for 20 minutes or until edges of tomatoes are lightly browned and garlic pierces easily with a fork. Place tomatoes and garlic in a food processor or blender; cover and process until smooth. Add vinegar, basil and water to achieve desired thickness; set aside.
2. Place halibut in a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Combine mayonnaise and mustard; spread over fish. Combine bread crumbs, basil and olives; sprinkle over mayonnaise mixture and press down gently. Bake, uncovered, at 400° for 20 minutes or until topping is golden brown and fish flakes easily with a fork. Spoon tomato sauce onto four dinner plates; top with fish. Yield: 4 servings.

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Music CornerOct 15 music

Listen up! Tina Susedik shares her favorite holiday song:

Song Title: Mary, Did You Know?
By Pentatonix
Song Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ifCWN5pJGIE

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Craft CornerOct 15 craft corner

Looking for a simple craft to do with your children or grandchildren? Feeling crafty?
Amy Deason shares an easy to do, festive DIY craft:

My DIY craft is not very expensive and is totally cute and fairly easy to make.

il_340x270.667243691_awgo

· Shadow Box
· Scrapbook Paper
· Vinyl Lettering
· 1 1/2 packages of bells (any color, multiple colors might be festive)

**Your shadow box doesn’t have to say Jingle Bells. You can have it say anything you like: Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Let It Snow, etc. And for the interior, you don’t have to use bells. You can use whatever you want. The possibilities are endless.

DIRECTIONS:

1. Apply vinyl lettering to the outside of the shadow box.

2. Place box upside down and fill with bells.

3. Trim paper to approximately 9″ (9.25″ might actually work for the shadow box better).

4. Place trimmed paper behind the bells and close the box.

There you go, now you have a beautiful Christmas craft to enjoy for years to come.

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Holiday Card
What’s a holiday without a personalized card by one of your favorite authors? Author Kim Hotzon shares her holiday wishes:

holiday card

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Of course, as authors we love our readers, and we couldn’t pass up an opportunity to offer swag, free books, and a grand prize which was awarded to one lucky blog/newsletter follower!
Congratulations to our grand prize winner Brooke Patricia! Several other winners were chosen for free gift cards, books and prizes!

grand prize launch sizzle

Grand Prize
Thank you to everyone for joining our Facebook Launch Party on November 19th!
Missed the Facebook party? You can now purchase a copy of Sizzle In The Snow: A Soul Mate Christmas Collection!

http://www.amazon.com/Sizzle-Snow-Soul-Christmas-Collection-ebook/dp/B0186SCT74
Sizzle In The Snow Buy Link
Follow the authors’ blogs for a sneak peek of this wonderful collection.

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November 5, 2015

SIZZLE IN THE SNOW: A SOUL MATE CHRISTMAS COLLECTION

Eight steamy romances by eight Soul Mate Publishing authors . . .

SIZZLE IN THE SNOW_800x1200 (2) NEW

This Christmas season, Soul Mate Publishing and editor, Char Chaffin, presents Sizzle In The Snow: A Soul Mate Christmas Collection, an anthology available November 25th on Amazon and Soul Mate Publishing. The featured authors and their stories include:

Welcome to our fourth newsletter in celebration of the release of

Sizzle In The Snow: A Soul Mate Christmas Collection.

Check your inbox every ten days for each newsletter. Inside you’ll find great decorating tips, recipes and cocktails, excerpts, craft ideas, song links, holiday memories, and personalized cards and poems by the authors!

Book Corner book corner

We promised a sneak peek, so here goes . . .

Author Ryan Jo Summers gives an excerpt of her short story, Tamed By Christmas!

“Do you think we can still find a room or a cabin this late? I think I’d prefer going somewhere in Colorado. Aspen or Denver maybe.”

His face lit up as a smile touched his eyes. Gripping her hand, he squeezed gently. “I’ll check as soon as we get home. There’s bound to still be something.”

She pulled back. “Shane, I have to share something first, to be totally honest with you.”

“Uh oh.” He released her hand and leaned back, crossing one leg over the other, waiting. Again, his expression caused her heart to skip a couple beats. That baleful look he did so well.

She fiddled with her coat hem, trying to find the right words.

“Just try what comes to mind, Paige. It’s bound to be the most accurate.”

She drew in a breath, laced with cold air. “Sometimes I feel like we’re only lying to each other.”

His brows arched in twin peaks of surprise. “Excuse me?”

“I mean that our relationship is based on those lies. Like all we can do right is make love and there’s nothing solid beyond that.”

He shook his head. “I’m not following you.”

She fiddled with the hem again until he stopped her, resting his hand over hers. She wondered how he could feel so warm when she was so cold inside.

“Not actual verbal lies, I mean more to ourselves in thinking we even have a real relationship, beyond the sex.”

“Ah, I got you now.” He nodded, withdrawing his hand, leaving her even colder. His baleful look deepened, causing a chill to slide up Paige’s spine.

“Sometimes I feel as though there’s this wall between us. It’s real big. And I try but can’t figure out how to get over that wall.”

Her heart plummeted and she gave a mirthless laugh. “Lies and walls.” She held his gaze for a moment, licking her lips. “Are we really just kidding ourselves here, Shane?”

 

Cocktail Corner20151102_121651_resized

Busy shopping, wrapping and socializing?

Kick back with a festive cocktail!

Recipe shared by Beth Carter:

 

Jolly Appletini

I’m all about keeping it simple and festive around the holidays.

  • Simply buy a bottle of pre-made Appletini (I found mine at             T.J.Maxx.)
  • Then, mix one part green apple mix with one part vodka in a         cocktail shaker with ice.
  • Pour into a pretty martini glass and adorn the green           concoction with a red maraschino cherry!

We served these beautiful drinks at a Christmas party years ago.

 

Holiday Memory Corner

Cheryl Yeko has a wonderful holiday memory to share . . .

My writing career began when my husband gifted me a Kindle for Christmas. I rediscovered my love of all things romance and decided to try my hand at writing a romance novel. So, I checked out some books from the library, signed up for some online classes, and began my manuscript for Protecting Rose. It took a year to write and edit my first novel. In 2011, Protecting Rose finaled in the Launching a Star contest. This gave me enough courage to send it out to three publishers. I received two offers, and signed with Soul Mate Publishing.

Protecting Rose went on to win the 2012 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence. How fun is that!! Today I have eight books out, as well as a few boxed sets and short stories, including my short story for Sizzle in The Snow, Christmas Eve Surprise. I’ve continued to garner awards, and my latest novel, The Notary, hit number 4 in the romantic suspense category on Amazon and I rode the top-100 best-selling author list for two weeks in that category. It was an amazing feeling that I hope to repeat someday.

I just wrote “the end” on my latest book, Between Midnight And Dawn, which is due for release in early 2016. I have two other stories in the works, the third in my Hero Series, as well as a paranormal series in a writing collaboration with my BFF, Char Chaffin, under the pen-name of CiCi Cordelia. Our first co-authored short-story under this name, Sweet Equation, is due for release in January, 2016, in the anthology, Hot Encounters II.

So, lots of stuff going on. And I owe it all to love, and my husband’s wonderful Christmas gift.

It changed my world.

My Kindle Photo edited_edited-1 

Recipe Corner

Company coming over? Author Crystal Firsdon dishes up her favorite holiday recipe:

Holiday recipe

Easy and simple, that’s me. I stole this recipe (though it’s so simple I’m not sure recipe is the right word) from my mom. Whenever it’s made, everyone loves it and there’s never any left!

Ingredients:

1 container of peppermint ice cream

1 pre-made chocolate graham cracker pie crust

Directions:

1.      Take ice cream out of freezer and soften at room temperature for about 30 minutes. It should be easy to stir and smooth with a regular spoon.

2.      Scoop ice cream into graham cracker pie crust and smooth out to completely fill the pie crust. I usually put enough ice cream so that it’s ¼ to ½ inch high from the pie crust.

3.      Cover and put back into the freezer to refreeze, at least 45 minutes.

4.      Cut like a regular pie and enjoy!

Oct 15 musicMusic Corner

Listen up! CD Hersh share their favorite holiday song:

Title:

I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus

 

Song Link:

Jimmy Boyd: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UI8spatbGEo original singer of I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Clause.

A jazzy, rap, fun video of I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Clause for those wanting an updated version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D9Y08Ab9VLs

 

 

 

Craft Corner

Looking for a simple craft to do with your children or grandchildren? Feeling crafty?

Tina Susedik shares an easy to do, festive DIY craft:

 

Materials

·         Clear ornament bulbs. They come in plastic so they don’t break.

·         Different colored ribbon used for decorating gifts.

 

Instructions

1. Remove the hanging part of the ornament.

2. Place pieces of ribbon inside the ornament. You can use all one color or mix them up.

3. Replace the hanging part.

4. Attach a decorative ribbon as hanger.

 

Decorating Cornerdecorating corner

Time to bring out the mistletoe! Kim Hotzon has some great decorating tips!

Christmas Decor

Christmas is my favorite holiday of the year when I tromp downstairs and haul out boxes of Christmas decorations stacked in bins in the storage room. I love the ritual of carting boxes upstairs and unloading all the objects I’ve accumulated. Strings of lights, garlands, homemade ornaments and life-sized Victorian Santa’s that have seen better days come out of their dusty wraps and find their spot in the house.

I begin by setting up a Christmas scene on the fireplace mantel, using hand-painted wooden Santa figures that I crafted in the days before I had children. I place a sleigh and wooden trees on the hall table and string garland from the banister and around the front door. My trio of spindly pine trees are arranged in a corner by a window. Christmas lights create a wonderful mood, softening everything and when the snow comes, the house lights up in a soft, white glow.

No matter the layout or size of your home, Christmas ambience can be created with surprisingly few items:

  • lights (strings can be placed along mantels, banisters, counters, and around windows)
  • greenery (either fresh or bought, garlands herald the old days and bring a rustic warmth to your home )
  • groupings (placing similar objects together such as pine cones, Santa’s or angels, Christmas ball ornaments and so on.
  • candles (cinnamon, cranberry, apples and vanilla are great scents that remind people of Christmas)Enjoy decorating, even if your kids are grown. Arrange a night with a group of friends, mix drinks and get creative with a variety of crafts that everyone can bring supplies for. Trust me, as the evening unfolds, the crafts become highly entertaining!
  • newsletter 11-5

Holiday Card/Poem Corner

What’s a holiday without a personalized card by one of your favorite authors? Author Amy Deason shares this delightful and heartfelt poem:

MAY YOUR HOLIDAY SEASON BE FILLED

WITH LOVE AND JOY.

MERRY CHRISTMAS, AMY DEASON

 

 newsletter card 11-5

 

Of course, as authors we love our readers, and we couldn’t pass up an opportunity to offer swag, free books, and a grand prize which will be awarded to one lucky blog/newsletter follower! For a chance to win these prizes, follow and join the author’s blogs!

Don’t miss our upcoming Facebook launch party with tons of goodies to giveaway! Follow the authors’ blogs for a sneak peek of this wonderful collection! (FB launch date TBA).

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Sizzle in the Snow Newlsetter, vol. 3

October 25, 2015

SIZZLE IN THE SNOW: A SOUL MATE CHRISTMAS COLLECTION

Eight steamy romances by eight Soul Mate Publishing authors…

SIZZLE IN THE SNOW_800x1200 (2) NEW

Available November 25, 2015!

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book corner

STORY EXCERPT!

Each newsletter will feature an excerpt from 1 author’s story from the anthology. Next up is Kim Hotzon‘s Snow Bird. (Missed the first two newsletters? Go to my home page and click on the links for vol. 1 or vol. 2.)

Standing beneath him, she caught a glimpse of his butt encased in his jeans. He wore a navy fleece jacket and a matching hat. Even dressed like this, it was evident Tony had a sculpted, God-like physique. Her pulse raced as she pictured him naked, reclining on a sheepskin rug in front of a roaring fireplace. Or wrapping a white towel around his waist as he came out of the shower . . .

Lauren was startled when Tony nearly stepped on her hand. She had been so lost in thought, she hadn’t realized he’d almost descended the ladder.

“You all right? No need to be concerned,” he said. “It’s a small job. I need to cut a piece of wood and fit it in across the hole.”

She hadn’t expected he would work so quickly. How to devise a way to keep him around longer? “I was about to make a pot of coffee . . . can I bring you a cup?”

Tony hesitated, tucking a lock of hair under his fuzzy hat. His brown eyes were liquid, kind and warm. “Sure.”
•Kim Hotzon http://kimhotzon.com/, The Snow Bird

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HOLIDAY MEMORY

Tina Susedik has a wonderful memory to share . . .

Holiday Memory OCT 15 All four of my grandparents came over from Germany after WWI, and, of course, spoke German as well as English. As my siblings and cousins grew up, we learned a few words of German.

One Christmas when my parents were particularly short of cash for gifts, my mother decided to teach my two older sisters and me to sing Silent Night in German. I was six, my two sisters 8 and 10. We sang in three part-harmony. This would have been 1958.

I remember standing in the doorway between my Grandma’s parlor and living room. We were surrounded by aunts, uncles, cousins (there were a lot of them), and my two sets of grandparents. My mom played the piano. The room was dead silent. Everyone stared at us. Then we started singing (OMG. I’m starting to tear up as I write this). When we finished, tears were running down the adults’ faces, but none more than my grandparents.

This became a tradition whenever we were at my grandparents’ farm for Christmas. One year I had a cold, developed laryngitis, and couldn’t sing. I cried and cried as Barb and Pat sang without me. We’d had this dream of becoming the next Lennon Sisters and I ruined it.
•Tina Susedik http://www.tinasusedik.com/, Operation Santa

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Oct 15 music

MUSIC CORNER

Listen up! Crystal Firsdon shares her favorite holiday song!

Music Corner OCT 15I’ve always liked my Christmas music rocked up, so I’m partial to Mannheim Steamroller. Here’s one of my Christmas favorites, Carol of the Bells.

Song Link:

•Crystal Firsdon http://crystalfirsdon.com/, ‘Twas the Crazy Night Before Christmas

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COCKTAIL CORNER

Busy wrapping, shopping, and socializing? Kick back with a festive cocktail!

candy cane cocktail

Recipe by Cheryl Yeko.

Candy Cane Cocktail

Ingredients

1 shot vanilla rum

1 shot white chocolate liqueur (recommended: Godiva)

1 shot peppermint schnapps

Candy cane, garnish

Add all liquid ingredients to cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well and strain into martini glass. Garnish with candy cane.
•Cheryl Yeko http://www.cherylyeko.com/, Christmas Eve Surprise

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Oct 15 recipe

 

And while we are on a candy cane theme, here is a recipe by Amy Deason:

Candy Cane Bars

Ingredients:

2 (10 ounce) packages vanilla baking chips

1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract

1 1/2 cups crushed candy canes

1 dash red or green food coloring

Directions: 1. Line an 8 inch square baking pan with aluminum foil, and grease the foil.

  1. Combine the vanilla chips and sweetened condensed milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir frequently until almost melted, remove from heat and continue to stir until smooth. When chips are completely melted, stir in the peppermint extract, food coloring, and candy canes.
  2. Spread evenly in the bottom of the prepared pan. Chill for 2 hours, then cut into squares.

 

amy deason recipe pic

 

Now, those just look so yummy! Paired with hot cocoa and a good book, I’d be set for the night.

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A CRAFTY CREATION

If you’re feeling crafty, try this! Compliments of Ryan Jo Summers.

My DIY craft is felt snowmen. Super easy to make and fairly quick. They do not require lots of expensive items either. This would be a super project to work on with the kids.

Start with various sized bottles or jars. Mine all came from white bottles: supplements, OTC medicine, etc… Almost any round Felt snowmen part 1 NOV 25object would work. Also, white felt, black felt, orange felt. Amounts will be based on sizes of bottles and number of snowmen to be made. Lastly, glue. Elmer’s school style or hot glue are both fine.

Felt snowmen part 1

First, glue white felt around the empty bottle or jar. Then glue black felt around the top for a hat. Length will depend on overall desired size of hat. To make the hat brim, cut a hole in the center of a black felt circle slightly larger than the bottle’s/ jar’s diameter. Pull over bottle/ jar and glue in place.

felt snowmen NOV 25Lastly, add googly eyes, orange felt nose and cheeks. Tie ribbons (Christmas design or not) around hat and/or body. Use puffy paint to draw a mouth and outline the nose. If you have a tall enough snowman, glue some buttons under the mouth to indicate a torso. Viola! All done!

 

felt snowmen

•Ryan Jo Summers http://www.ryanjosummers.com/, Tamed by Christmas

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TIME TO DECORATE!

Bring out the mistletoe! CD Hersh has some great decorating tips!CDHersh-Decorate-1

Decorate your Christmas Table

Catherine loves to set a pretty Christmas table, which she changes yearly. (She has a thing for dishes.) She also loves napkin rings, which are often expensive. To satisfy her dish decorating habit, she came up with a quick and easy way to brighten up her Christmas table using last year’s Christmas cards. You have them right? Doesn’t everyone?

Here’s what you need:

Christmas cards

Clear drinking glass (which will allow you to see the pattern on the Christmas card) or other circle template. A 2 ¼ to 2 ¾ diameter works best.

A marking pen or pencil

Scissors

Craft knife

Ribbons-cord or ¼ inch satin works best. Coordinate them to match your cards or go wild with colors.

CDHersh-Decorate-2

Directions:

Position the glass or circle template on the Christmas card, choosing the part of the card you want to use as the base of the napkin ring.

Draw around the outside edge of the glass. Cut out the circle. With a craft knife cut two slots in the circle, spacing them about ¼ of the way from the edges of the circle. Thread a pretty ribbon, long enough to circle your napkins and tie a bow, through the slots. Slip the ribbon around your napkins, tie your bow, and you have a festive napkin ring for your holiday table. If you want to get even fancier, glue some lace or gathered ribbon to the back of the greeting card circle and cover it with another circle. Slit both front and back circles and slid the ribbon through. Tie the ring onto your napkin and enjoy.

Like this easy table decoration? You can adapt it using any themed greeting cards and have tailor made napkin rings for any occasion. If you add your guests’ names, the napkin rings double as name cards.

CDHersh-Decorate-3
•CD Hersh https://cdhersh.wordpress.com/, Kissing Santa

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A HOLDIAY CARDangel with basket

Beth Carter shares this delightful and heartfelt poem:

Christmas Tree Angel

Bejeweled with strands of pearls

Feathered birds and twinkling lights;

Glittering ornaments and velvet bows

Encircled our tree with delight.

Plump snowmen and toy soldiers

Carefully placed just right;

Shiny Red and Green Packages

Completed the joyful sight.

The most special gift of all

Topped our majestic tree;

A frayed, embroidered angel

Handmade by Mommy and me.
•Beth Carter http://bethcarter.com/, Santa Baby

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Whew, you made it to the end! We have a huge giveaway to go along with the release of Sizzle in the Snow, as well as a Facebook launch party. We hope to see you there. Details coming soon…

xmas girl
•Beth Carter http://bethcarter.com/, Santa Baby
•Amy Deason https://amydeason.wordpress.com/, Second Chances: A Christmas Story
•Crystal Firsdon http://crystalfirsdon.com/, ‘Twas the Crazy Night Before Christmas
•CD Hersh https://cdhersh.wordpress.com/, Kissing Santa
•Kim Hotzon http://kimhotzon.com/, The Snow Bird
•Ryan Jo Summers http://www.ryanjosummers.com/, Tamed by Christmas
•Tina Susedik http://www.tinasusedik.com/, Operation Santa
•Cheryl Yeko http://www.cherylyeko.com/, Christmas Eve Surprise

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October 15, 2015

SIZZLE IN THE SNOW: A SOUL MATE CHRISTMAS COLLECTION

SIZZLE IN THE SNOW_800x1200 (2) NEW

Eight steamy romances by eight Soul Mate Publishing authors . . .

This Christmas season, Soul Mate Publishing and editor, Char Chaffin, presents Sizzle In The Snow: A Soul Mate Christmas Collection, an anthology available November 25th on Amazon and Soul Mate Publishing. The featured authors and their stories include:

Welcome to our second newsletter in celebration of the release of

Sizzle In The Snow: A Soul Mate Christmas Collection.

Check your inbox every ten days for each newsletter. Inside you’ll find great decorating tips, recipes and cocktails, excerpts, craft ideas, song links, holiday memories, and personalized cards and poems by the authors!

book corner

Book Corner

We promised a sneak peek, so here goes . . .

Author CD Hersh gives an excerpt of their short story, Kissing Santa!

Anna Noel studied the trim backside of the Santa standing in front of her. He appeared younger than most of the Santas at the Santa Claus conference she’d chosen to attend this year. A lot more attractive than any Santa she’d ever met. For the briefest of moments she let her mind wander, lingering on ‘Christmas Wish Number Nine.’

Make love to Santa.

A heated flush climbed her chest as she envisioned the scene, and she flapped the jacket of her green elf costume to cool down.

Her gaze traveled over his hips, chest, and to the beginnings of a snow white beard; then to his shock of silver hair underneath the white-trimmed, red Santa hat.

Yep. Definitely a Santa she wanted to know. Too bad she wouldn’t be the elf to his mall Santa. They could have gotten acquainted. And more.

The conference registrar drew her out of her Christmas fantasy with a loud, “Miss? Are you with this Santa?”

“What? No. I don’t have a Santa. I’m here alone.”

Sexy Santa turned and held out his hand. “Me, too. I’m Sam S. Klaus.”

A smile curled her lips as she took his hand. “As in Sam Santa Claus?” His warm palm sent tingles through her fingers as he gently squeezed them.

He flashed a slightly lopsided grin. “You have the same warped sense of humor as my parents.” He gave her a mock bow. “Sam S. for Santa, and Klaus, with a K.”

“That’s your real name?” He’d let go of her hand. She fought to keep from grabbing it back. A real Santa Klaus? How great was that?

“The same, and you are?”

“An—” She stopped, suddenly unwilling to reveal her name. A rollercoaster of emotions raced through her, suggesting she might hit number nine with this Santa. If she did, and it didn’t go well, she wouldn’t want Sam Klaus to know her real identity. “An elf who needs a Santa,” she hedged. “How about we team up? I’ll be your personal elfette, and you can be my Santa.”

Oct 15 cocktail

Cocktail Corner

Busy shopping, wrapping, and socializing?

Kick back with a festive cocktail!

Recipe shared by Tina Susedik!

 Tom & Jerry

Ingredients:

6 eggs

1 1/2 pounds powdered sugar

Cream of tartar

Cloves

Allspice

Cinnamon

Nutmeg

Rum

Brandy

Separate eggs. Beat yolks and white separately. Add a dash of Cream of Tartar to whites before beating. Beat yolks until frothy and whites until very stiff. Combine. Gradually beat in 1 1/2 pounds of powdered sugar. Add a dash of cloves, allspice, and cinnamon. Put batter in cup. Add shot of brandy and 1/2 shot of rum. Add boiling water to top of cup. Top off with a dash of nutmeg.

 

Oct 15 recipe

Recipe Corner

Company coming over? Author Beth Carter dishes up her favorite holiday recipe:

 

Pumpkin Rum Cake

1 yellow cake mix

1 15 oz. can of pumpkin

3 eggs

½ c rum or ½ c coconut rum (I like the coconut rum.)

½ c chopped pecans, toasted (Sometimes I skip the toasting!)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Combine the cake mix, pumpkin, eggs and rum. Beat on low speed to blend, then beat on medium speed for two minutes. Fold in pecans and pour batter into greased 12-cup Bundt pan. Bake for 45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 20 minutes and turn onto serving platter. Frost with Orange Glaze (yummy). See below.

Orange glaze:

¾ c powdered sugar

2 T plus ½ tsp orange juice

1 T orange zest

Mix powdered sugar, orange juice and orange zest until smooth. Spoon glaze over top of cake allowing it to run down the sides. Enjoy! We enjoy this for Thanksgiving, Christmas and throughout the fall.

~Beth Carter

Oct 15 holiday memory 

Holiday Memory Corner

Ryan Jo Summers has a wonderful holiday memory to share . . .

Many years ago I married a man who had custody of his two sons, six and three. We wanted this first Christmas as a family to be very special for everyone, so we headed to the closest Toys R’ Us with lots of cash and left the kids with Grandma.

Hubby and I were like kids ourselves as we both pushed our carts up and down the aisles, discussing which child would love what present the best. We wrapped and decorated and couldn’t wait to see the boys on Christmas morning. The presents were piled so high and far out, we could hardly reach the tree to plug it in. But it was all worth it when the kids came downstairs that first morning and exclaimed we must have bought out the whole toy store!

Oct 15 music

Music Corner

Listen up! Amy Deason shares her favorite holiday song:

Title:

All I Want For Christmas Is You

By Mariah Carey

Song Link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yXQViqx6GMY&list=RDyXQViqx6GMY

Oct 15 craft corner

Craft Corner

Feeling crafty? Kim Hotzon shares a festive DIY craft:

Holiday Ornament Ball

Oct 15 Kim ornement

When my children were young, we spent many weekends crafting homemade ornaments for our tree. This is a simple craft that is inexpensive, and makes a great gift too!

Supplies:

  • scraps of fabric (the more festive pattern the better but plain greens, reds, whites, stripes, etc. work well)
  • festive ribbon (for handle)
  • glue gun
  • glue sticks
  • foam balls from craft store

Steps:

Cut squares of fabric and wrap around foam ball. Glue in place with glue gun. You may need to cut different sizes of squares to fit the ball, depending on the size. Smooth fabric in place with your fingers. Leave a little opening at the top of the ball and insert a loop of ribbon, securing under the fabric with the glue gun. Press down, hold for a minute until glue sets.

Oct 15 decorating

Decorating Corner

Time to bring out the mistletoe! Crystal Firsdon has some great decorating tips!

There’s always a theme to what I do: easy and simple. For years, I never knew what to do with the Christmas cards I received, so I stood them on any available vertical surface. As you can imagine I had to re-stand them up every day and sometimes several times per day, and they made my tables and shelves looked cluttered. Finally I came up with a solution: cards on a ribbon. (In my mind I’m the one who invented this, but a lot of you probably do this already)

First, I cut a 3-5 foot piece of cute, wide Christmas ribbon.

Next, hang it from a higher shelf by taping the top of the ribbon to the flat surface of the shelf. I place a Christmas picture over it, making sure it covers the tape. I’ve learned that several cards are heavier than you might think, so use a lot of tape.

As I receive Christmas cards, I simply staple each card to the ribbon. If I get more than expected, I hang another ribbon.

One reason I love this is because I’ll find my kids opening the cards to read them and see who they’re from. I also like that the funny cards are mixed with the more serious and sentimental cards. It totally fits my family’s hodgepodge decorating style!

 

Holiday Card Corner

What’s a holiday without a personalized card by one of your favorite authors? Author Cheryl Yeko sends her holiday greetings:

Oct 15 Cheryl greeting

Of course, as authors we love our readers, and we couldn’t pass up an opportunity to offer swag, free books, and a grand prize which will be awarded to one lucky blog/newsletter follower! For a chance to win these prizes, follow and join the author’s blogs!

xmas girl

Don’t miss our upcoming Facebook launch party with tons of goodies to giveaway! Follow the authors’ blogs for a sneak peek of this wonderful collection! (FB launch date TBA).

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12 Days of Chrismtas Blog Hop Buttons

No, there won’t be geese a-laying or maids a-milking, at least I don’t think so. But there will be gifts–for you!

12 days Christmas gifts many

Here’s how it goes: twenty-two of us Soul Mate Publishing  authors have teamed together to bring the Twelve Days of Christmas to our blogs. Starting tomorrow, December 14th, we will each share a little about ourselves and have a short host of one Soul Mate Author. We will be talking about all things Christmas; our favorite movie and song, our favorite holiday memories, sharing some great recipes for desserts, cocktails, appetizers and decorating tips. It’s our way to bring the Twelve Days of Christmas to our readers and spread some Christmas cheer–and gifts.

12 days numbers

In addition, readers will get a chance to win a nice prize donated by each author and at the end of this blogging festival, there will be a rafflecopter on December 25th for a really neat grand prize which holds something donated by each of the participating authors.  (We love our readers and fans!)

So check back to this blog tomorrow, and the connected blog of the hosted author, and come back each day for your chance to win awesome prizes, learn more about the Soul Mate authors and pick out your next few books to add to your wish-to-read list.

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Today I went house shopping. I have been doing a lot of the behind the scenes beginner things for a little while now, but today I actually began touring available houses. I feel it is about time to move from my present locale. And I usually follow my feelings. So while I am excited about the prospect and all it entails, I am also a little depressed by it. I had not thought myself ready to leave my cozy home, house hunting is work (as if I am not busy enough already) and moving can be hard on a lot of things. So I feel a real sense of yin and yang in that this is the thing to do, it’s what I had wanted to do but it seems to be happening quicker then I had imagined.

The whole thing sort of reminds me of one of my favorite movies: It’s a Wonderful Life. The one with Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed .

wondrrful life movie poster

I could watch this Frank Capra film production over and over at any time of year. To me it’s not just a Christmas story. It’s a story about love and living.

Why? Well because a major part of the show is now resonating within me lately. The Bailey family spends their time at the Savings and Loan Building, providing families with their own house–‘four walls and a roof” as a character phrased it once. The Savings and Loan Building and what it represents is a pivotal part of the movie, as is the developing romance between the main characters, Mary and George.

So now that I am searching for my own four walls and a roof and it’s scary and exciting all at once. Kind of like falling in love can be. In my case, there are all the stages and steps and searching and time. All the questions about things I’ve never considered before. So I am surrounding myself with people who are knowledgeable on the things I don’t know to join me on this journey to home ownership.

With the right mindset, I can find the fun and adventure in this. And I will take a lesson from the movie that no matter what happens, it’s a wonderful life. In this case, my reminder is in the form of a character called George Bailey.

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This weekend I shampooed the carpet in the living room and am now ready to think about putting up the Christmas tree. Yes, a little early I know, but it seems it is never up long enough so each year I resolve to get the tree, lights and decorations up earlier the next year in order to enjoy them a bit longer before it’s time to take them down again. So it is a definite must on my November calendar.

However, I have a new predicament I did not have last year at this time. Pepper, my 18-year-old cat, has been having eye issues and recently been bumping into things. She’s been checked out and is not completely blind, but there is no doubt she has vision concerns. Scrapper, my almost 17-year-old Papillion also has cataracts which affect her sight. So both or either one of my old girls are prone to slam into things any given day. Thankfully I am not prone to moving things around much and tend to keep things where they are for years.

Except now I am planning on temporarily removing the cat tunnel/cave I brought back from Ireland and replace it with a tree and boxes of presents smack dab in the middle of the living room. And to add insult to injury, I am planning on running a thick power cord over part of the living room to plug in said tree. What will my sight impaired golden girls think about this? And let’s not forget old Scrap lost her hearing about three years ago so that just adds to the mix.

Some friends suggested I run a child safety gate around the tree, and I have an old ex-pen from when I had puppies that might fit the bill. But it would still give Pepper and Scrap something else to bump into. So I have to consider, which is better to bump noses with–a bristly tree bough or stumble over a shiny box or wonk noses with a wire barricade? That does not account for the trip hazard of the power cord which I can only tape down and hope they remember it’s there after the first stumble.

It’s that time of year I start to stare longingly at each picture of pretty Christmas scene I spy, eager to create my own bit of Christmas joy within my own little world. I look around the yard and walls, envisioning where I can place this or that, tying everything together neatly just like in the adverts. But the reality is this is most likely going to be the last Christmas I’ll share with my golden girls. I want it to be a safe time for them as I celebrate the season.

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