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Posts Tagged ‘Sizzle in the Snow: A Soul Mate Christmas Collection’

In a few months my blog will turn five. I can hardly believe it. Just like I can hardly believe it’s already 2016. As I was taking the calendars down last night, I considered the fact it didn’t seem that long ago I put them up. And now I’ve turned their pages twelve times. I’m sure a few of you can relate.

And that got me to thinking about this blog. It hardly seems possible I started it, albeit very reluctantly, back in May of 2011. I had very little knowledge of what a blog really was, let alone the purpose of creating one. Yet I had been told if I wanted to be a serious writer, I needed one. So voila, Summersrye was created. Had I known then what I know now, I’d have skipped the nickname thing and just used my proper name. But I like Rye, and not knowing any better, it seemed acceptable. Honestly, I don’t recall how I ended up at WordPress. It might have just been the first blog site that popped up when I plugged in a Google search.

keyboard and notebook

I went through recently to see what kind of posts I’ve written and the transformation this blog has undergone. The results sort of surprised me. My first post was May 11, 2011, called “Starting out”. That was pretty much it for 2011. In 2012 there were a whole 17 posts. The content changed directions twice. First I was going to take a non-fiction manuscript and blog it piece by piece. Feedback was nil. I even sent out a post asking “Am I doing this right?” of which I got one response back. Okay, at least someone out there in cyber world was aware I was blogging.

directions sign

Then I got the contract for my first book, “Whispers in her Heart”, the book that would forever change my life. I was going to be a published author. Time to get really serious about this blogging thing. Right? My posts changed from the random and non-fiction snippets to lots of “Whispers” stuff.Whispers cover from amazon

 

 

2013 I posted about 48 times, (give or take one) I was learning book promotion and it showed. I started putting in progress on edits and cover creation as well as teasers for “Whispers”, and a few pictures of my first book signings. I included poetry and shared life happenings. I opened up just a little, trying to remember if anyone was reading this, they were a real person on the other end of the computer screen. I shared photos of my pets, who are part of my life. I shared personal reflections and works in progress.

chasing ideas

2014 I continued sharing anecdotes and photos of my pets. I was now reading other people’s books and trying my hand at posting my reviews. I was following other blogs and re posting things I found interesting. Now I had a few books out and was regularly sharing status and updates on “Whispers”, “Shimmers of Stardust”, and “When Clouds Gather”. I posted more times than ever before.

Recipe for writing success

 

 

2015 was much the same. Book reviews. Pet anecdotes. Personal situations. Personal reflections. I was getting pretty personal this year. My family of books was growing. Now we added “Chasing the Painted Skies” and “Sizzle in the Snow” Anthology plus more works in progress and two more slated for 2016. I had people contact me asking if I would please read and review their books. I added the new feature somewhere along the way of hosting authors, interviewing them and talking about their books. In exchange, I was usually hosted on their blogs. Giveaways were another new feature in 2015.

All in all, not bad for a kid who few thought would ever make a writer. I recall hiding in my closet, pounding away on an old manual typewriter I bought at a garage sale. I baby sat so I had money for paper, notepads, and pens. Finally my mother gave me an electric typewriter for either my birthday or Christmas when I was around twelve. To have access to the electric outlet, I had to move out of the closet and into first my bedroom and then a corner of the long harvest table situated in the living room. I guess she wanted to see her daughter once in a while.

old typewriter

 

So while looking back, I also want to look forward. What do I want this blog to accomplish in our brand new 2016? Well, I want it to be a communication point. First, I want to be able to share news with readers about new books, giveaways and anything else share-worthy. I want to continue having others from other houses on my blog, sharing news about their exciting new releases. Bonus if they offer giveaways too. I want to grow the book reviews. In fact, I just finished a sassy little story last night and will be posting a review this weekend. And I have that author scheduled to be hosted on the blog in a few weeks.

Writing is a gift

Of course I want to share stories and pictures of my zany pets. They are the world to me, as many pet owners will testify. I’d be tickled if readers shared their wonderful pet pictures. I will also continue to share personal reflections and observations. Sometimes life gets rough or crazy and it’s nice to talk about it on a blog. It may not fix it, but it makes handling it a little easier. I follow a few blogs of people who do that very well. I’ll probably go back to posting some of the poetry from time to time and maybe some short flash fiction or sample chapters. That has been in the back of my mind for a while too.

Happily ever after

 

 

 

 

 

The end result, I want 2016 to be a year of growth and connection both for this blog and my writing career.

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This month marks the debut of my inclusion in an anthology. This is a Christmas collection of short stories with seven other writers. To be honest, as excited as I was about being accepted for this new adventure, I was also pretty worried about it.

I didn’t know these other people, except a couple of them by name through social media. And we were to be working together on this project via email over a period of several months. What were they like? Sticklers for timeliness? Procrastinators? Folks who delegate or where they micro managers? We were supposed to be able to work as a team, but there were eight of us, plus an editor. Eight levels of experience and eight personalities and I wasn’t sure what to expect. What if they didn’t like how I worked? Or if I didn’t like their work style?

First came a need for a title. We each had titles for our individual contribution, now we needed a collective title. The suggestions began, over a string of endless emails, flying madly about like snowflakes in a blizzard. Some were great, while some I didn’t care for. I tossed a few suggestions in as well. After a breathless marathon, we finally picked our winning title: Sizzle in the Snow: A Soul Mate Christmas Collection.  I like it.

Okay, catch my breath. That wasn’t so bad. Next, we needed a cover. Everyone had suggestions on a cover. It ended up changing twice. Personally I prefer the second version over the first one we had.

Now we had a tentative release date, so I thought it would be smooth sailing from here on out. Wrong. It was just beginning.

First came the blurbs. A few of them. We needed long blurbs to post, about a paragraph, summarizing our story as succinctly as possible. We swapped blurbs like a plate of cookies. Try this, what do you think of it? Too much? Too little? Admittedly, it was a good way to get to know people. A kind of social recipe exchange.

We needed one-liner taglines as well. Condense your story down to one single line, around 12 to 15 words. This time we passed the drinks around along with the cookies. We needed to chisel just a couple of words off, tighten that tagline. This was September, but we were preparing hard and heavy now.

Our in boxes filled rapidly with one line tagline suggestions for our collective bundle of joy. We needed a twitter hashtag. Suggestions of places to advertise once we had all the goodies in place.

Goodies! Advertise! More to come. Our in boxes were now flooded with countless emails back and forth like a tsunami. We created a newsletter. I am forever grateful to the individual who captained that project. Topics were decided upon and assignments were scheduled. I hastened to get my materials submitted at least a month or two before the particular newsletter was scheduled to post.I couldn’t risk being the one who held up production of the newsletter.

Our editor created an awesome book trailer. And tweaked it a few times based on more email feedback.  https://youtu.be/ie_Gs9hhtJQ    We planned an ad in the December InD’tale Magazine and money was sent by all. Again, I sent my check the week it was requested, lest I hold up the process in a timely matter. We also had to provide two or three word synopsis of our works for the InD’tale ad. More email suggestions crossed the email highway like a herd of reindeer. Time and size really mattered. Two words, three max.

Okay, now round one of edits arrived in our in boxes. Time was tight. We needed to go through our stories, make revisions and get them back to the editor immediately, if not sooner. No procrastination.

We planned a Facebook release party. I felt like I was being swallowed by a typhoon. Not only did I not understand how they worked, the consensus was to hold it one evening. I work evenings. So I felt like the wallflower no one wanted to dance with. I apologized, probably a little too much, and offered to do what I could to promote. I bought a prize to offer into the pot of prizes. Everyone contributed something special for the multiple giveaways and the grand prize.

grand prize launch sizzle

Since I had released a full-length novel at the same time, literally on the same day, I felt torn between promoting both my book and the anthology. Plus I had held a rafflecopter giveaway earlier for my book and was running a couple of paperback giveaways on Goodreads for my earlier releases now in print. So my Give-Free-Stuff-Away- budget was running kind of thread bare by now. But I did purchase a pretty love dove Christmas ornament for the Sizzle grand prize. Something else to package up and take to the post office. Taxes should be fun this year.

Round two edits came back. Time to dust off the fine tooth comb and get to looking. We were also asked to read the other seven stories, looking for anything that needed addressing. I got a couple of comments back saying how enjoyable my story was. That made me feel good. Those few thoughtful comments made all the encompassing stress well worth it. And I was learning how my fellow contributors were working together as a cohesive team. We were a creative and compassionate bunch of writers who all wanted to see our Sizzle baby shine bright. A shared common goal.

http://www.amazon.com/Sizzle-Snow-Soul-Christmas-Collection-ebook/dp/B0186SCT74/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Okay, the clock was ticking down. We were on track with edits and promo. With the exception of missing the Facebook Launch party, I felt I was carrying my weight equally among the team. Some team members had different connections then I, so they spread the news through their networking ways. I stuck to what I had done previously. I felt pretty good about this whole anthology thing. Enough so, that I might try to write and submit another someday.

Then the release day arrived. December 2. And it was all hands on deck to promote. And my other baby released simultaneously. I am fairly certain my butt never left the chair till it was time to leave for work.

SIZZLE IN THE SNOW_800x1200 (2) NEW

I went to work, feeling the adrenalin letdown after a big emotional and physical push. I’d been driving so hard for this day, and now it was here, and for the next nine hours, it was over. Time to regroup and catch my breath while I see what all of  our combined results would bring.

Rankings never mattered much to me before. Like weight and age, they are just numbers and tend to change a lot. So it caught me by surprise when the rankings suddenly became the newest topic to fill my inbox. It quickly became Canada against the US, and team Canada held a large margin win. We quickly swept into the top 100 bestseller rank with anthologies in Canada. From 100, we steadily climbed till my eyes glazed over and the numbers grew smaller. I admit, I did sneak a few peeks and dash an email off to the team, sharing our latest ranking status.

To my knowledge, team US never caught up with Canada, but we’ve done pretty decent in America as well. The competition between the countries did soon become infectious. And the shared joy over our first five star review felt like decadent chocolate fudge icing drizzled over an eight layer chocolate cake. Last I checked, there were two five stars up now.

So what did this whole experience teach me? When entering into an anthology, expect to work with creative,  diverse and exciting people. Expect to pull your weight as much as possible. And enjoy the journey. I was privileged to work with some special and talented authors. Perhaps one day we can do this again.

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soulmate_heart_llc

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November 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

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BUY NOW
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 available December 2 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

Welcome to our sixth 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!

xmas girl
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Book Corner

We promised a sneak peek, so here goes . . .book corner
Author Cheryl Yeko gives an excerpt of her short story, Christmas Eve Surprise!
She swung her legs back around and gave his chest a hard shove so she could get down, but he didn’t budge.
“Move,” she said with a glare. Trying not to admit to herself how good it was to see him again. He hadn’t changed. Except his crystal clear blue eyes were now clouded with worry. His full mouth pinched, a tense expression on his oh, so handsome face. His wavy dark hair was shorter than she remembered, but his sexy square jaw still looked as stubborn.
Staring into her eyes with a determined look, Steve slid three fingers between the buttons of her winter coat and lightly rubbed her belly. His other hand tucked a loose curl behind her ear. “Afraid not, sweetness. We need to talk.”
Her breath caught at both the feel of him touching her, and the sound of the endearment she’d thought never to hear again, bringing back all kinds of wonderful memories. But the hurt from his abandonment ran deep and she focused on that, and not on how great he looked or how good he smelled.
“There is no ‘we’ and I have nothing to say to you.”
Liar! She’d spent the last six months, two weeks, and a day thinking about nothing but what she would say to him if she ever saw him again. But now that he was here, standing before her, all she could think about was how she’d missed him, and how she wanted to run her fingers through his dark, wavy hair, just like she used to.
Pathetic!
But the way he looked at her with those piercing blue eyes still made her insides quiver and her breath catch. His well-muscled body was just as powerful as she remembered. And that mouth . . . God, the things he could do with that mouth.
The babies took that moment to start moving around again, and her belly undulated under his fingers. Dropping his gaze, Steve sucked in a deep breath and took a small step back. He brought both hands up to cradle her belly on the outside of her coat as the babies continued to play.
When his gaze rose to meet hers his eyes were filled with wonder, and just like that, her heart expanded with a feeling of love and affection for him.
Before she thought better of it, she said quietly, “I’d like you to meet your sons.”

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Cocktail Corner

Busy shopping, wrapping and socializing?
Kick back with a festive cocktail!
Recipe shared by Crystal Firsdon:         hot toddy

I don’t drink but once every few years or so. The last time I drank was because I went to a wine party and found myself in possession of a bottle of wine afterward. It took me a month to drink the darn thing because I only had one glass every Saturday evening for 4 weeks. And by glass, I mean coffee mug. I don’t own a wine glass. The only reason I was able to get the cork out was because I found a very old Swiss Army knife of my husband’s that happened to have a cork screw on it!
So for my Christmas cocktail, I asked my mom. Here’s what she gave me:
Hot Holiday Toddy
1 shot of rum
5 oz. ginger ale
Mix it in a holiday themed mug and microwave for 20 seconds.
Repeat every half hour until you’re in the holiday spirit.

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Holiday Memory CornerOct 15 decorating

Amy Deason has a heartwarming holiday memory to share . . .
My husband and I started dating in January of 2011 and by June of that same year, we knew that we belonged together. So in October 2011, we moved in together. One of my most favorite holiday memories is of Christmas 2011.

It was wonderful. The children and I baked cookies for Santa while Shaun kept sneaking in and stealing them.

Snuggled together on the couch, nibbling Christmas cookies and drinking got cocoa, we watched Christmas specials including Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, It’s Christmas Charlie Brown, and A Christmas Story.

Before bed, gathered on the floor beside the Christmas tree that we had decorated together, Shaun read The Night Before Christmas. Tucking the kids into bed, we knew they were so excited for Christmas morning. And we were too. We had a wonderful little family.

amy deason pic 1

The next morning, the kids ran into our room and pounced on the bed, their voices happy and excited. We wanted to sleep in but there was going to be none of that with 3 kids on Christmas morning. What were we thinking, sleeping in?

One by one, we took turns opening presents and I, of course was taking a million pictures. While the kids and Shaun (the big kid that he is), played with all of the toys, I made a breakfast of pancakes, sausage, bacon, and eggs.

It was one of the most wonderful and special moments of my life. One that I will carry with me forever.

I hope that everyone has at least one holiday memory like this.

Merry Christmas,
Amy Deason

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Recipe Corner

Company coming over? Author Kim Hotzon dishes up her favorite holiday recipe:

Homemade Cranberry Sauce            cranberry sauce

1 12 ounce bag frozen or fresh cranberries
1 cup white sugar
1 cup orange juice
lemon zest
Rinse cranberries and place in saucepan along with sugar and orange juice. Add 2 teaspoons of lemon zest. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook mixture, stirring constantly, until cranberries ‘burst’, about 10 minutes. Lower heat and continue stirring until mixture thickens (approximately 10 minutes). Remove from heat and place in serving bowl. Garnish with lemon zest. Serve at room temperature. *Leftover cranberry sauce can be refrigerated for several days afterward.

_____________________________________________Music Corner

Listen up! Ryan Jo Summers shares her favorite holiday song: Oct 15 music

Titles and Song Links:
Gloria Excelsis Dao link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLS6qZt9WLQ
Sleigh Ride https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OATi34PKNPw

Winter Wonderland https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J5daQbThsDU
Snoopy vs The Red Baron https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oxzg_iM-T4E

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Craft Corner Oct 15 craft corner

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

My DIY is filling Pringles cans with home-made cookies and wrapping the cans with festive Christmas paper. I saw this suggestion on Facebook and think it’s a great idea!

beth craft

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Decorating Corner
Time to bring out the mistletoe! Tina Susedik has some great decorating tips!

Kim H Christmas Memory

Decorating Idea: This one is very simple. Find a pair of skates – or like I did, use one that hasn’t seen ice in years. Tie the top of the laces together for hanging. In the skates, place pine cones, pine branches, holly, berries, etc. to decorate. You can use real or those found in craft stores. Hang on a door. I place mine on the wall beside our entryway door.

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Holiday Card
What’s a holiday without a personalized card by one of your favorite authors? Authors CD Hersh share their holiday wishes:

CDHersh-Card-1

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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!
If you missed the party, don’t worry! You can still enter giveaways and pre-order a copy of Sizzle In The Snow: A Soul Mate Christmas Collection by visiting and following the authors’ blogs! Follow the authors’ blogs for a sneak peek of this wonderful collection!

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