The Birth of A #Hero #mgtab #Inspiration @jacqbiggar

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Readers often ask where do writers come up with ideas for their characters? In my case, the birth of a hero comes from a variety of sources. News reports, television programs, books I’ve read; all are great resources.

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But my favorite characters grow organically from stories I’ve already written. For my new release, Missing: The Lady Said No, the idea for my hero, Augustus Grant, came to me from a previous book where the main character was a mystery writer suffering from writer’s block.

Gus is the character my hero, Joel Carpenter, (in the holiday romance novel Silver Bells) was writing about. I fell in love with the bumbling detective and decided then and there he needed his own story!

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Gus is smart, irreverent, a little bit clumsy (okay, a LOT clumsy!) and still in love with the girl he let get away.

Rebecca Hayes.

Here’s a short excerpt. Gus is investigating a murder at a horse ranch and runs into the one person he never thought he’d see again.

Becky stood at the top of the grand staircase and felt the world give way.

Augustus.

It had been too long.

And not long enough.

She couldn’t believe he was here. Or maybe she could. It had always been his dream to become a detective. After all, that was the reason they had split up, wasn’t it? He’d craved the excitement, and she’d needed stability. Safety.

Well, it was too late now, on many levels. The best thing she could do would be to put on a brave face and escape with her pride.

“Hello, Augustus,” she called. Careful not to let him see her trembling, she gripped the banister and reluctantly went to join the man who had stolen her heart. He was every bit as tall as she remembered. Still just as handsome, too. A few more lines around the eyes and mouth maybe. She shied away from his lips, focusing instead on the crooked tie and wrinkled shirt. A wry smile touched her mouth.

“I see you still haven’t figured out the right side of an iron,” she murmured.

He glanced down and ran a strong, tanned hand down his chest. Something fluttered to life in hers.

He met her gaze with a grin that slowly faded away. “I looked for you,” he said.

Oh, God.

This wasn’t what she expected. After leaving Bourbonville and moving here, to Balmoral, she’d second-guessed her decision often, but never realized maybe he did too, just a little.

“You’re the cop. You could have found me if you tried.”

As you can see, there are a lot of unresolved feelings between these two. The question is, can Gus make it right? You’ll have to read on to find out. 🙂

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This is part of a branded series set around the running of the famous Kentucky Derby. I hope you’ll enjoy my story and give the other books in the Chandler County series a try!

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A Gypsy’s Curse — @PRosemoor #mgtab

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I’ve been a carnival junkie since I was a kid. There were a lot of them back then, and my mom was into them as much as I was, so she always took me to every school carnival in the area. I loved the rides and the games and the weird stuff.

 

Gypsy fortune tellers were nothing but fancily dressed manikins in a glass box. You put in your money and a card came out with your fortune. So to my disappointment, they weren’t real.

 

 

Mom also took me to Riverview Amusement Park, Chicago’s version of Coney Island (which I also loved when visiting relatives in New York). It was nearly a two hour haul to get to Riverview. The train downtown, the rapid transit, then a bus.

But it was as exciting as it got because they had high excitement rides like roller coasters, six of them!

(The wooden rollercoaster here is the Coney Island Cyclone)

I almost fell out of Riverview’s Silver Flash that didn’t have proper restraints for little kids. Mom caught me when I was nearly halfway off the ride. That did not squelch my enthusiasm for rollercoasters.

Riverview had a midway complete with games and barkers and kewpie dolls…and really weird stuff.  A human freak show—the four-legged girl, the armless wonder, the mule-faced woman. The one that freaked my young self out was a woman who had the bottom end of a baby coming from her stomach. I didn’t know about conjoined twins at that age. I doubt many people did.

 

What Riverview didn’t have was a live fortune teller, at least not when I was there. I had to satisfy myself with another colorfully dressed manikin in a glass box.

 

When Rebecca York and Ann Voss Peterson and I decided to write our Gypsy Magic serial novel set in the Louisiana bayou country, we wanted to start with a carnival gypsy. A real gypsy.

 

 

 

It was all over now. Her only son, her beloved son, was condemned to death. For a crime she knew he could not have committed.

She gathered her strength for what she must do. From the pocket of her long skirt the old Gypsy pulled the bandanna with the objects. The pen. The crumpled paper cup. The metal tack. None was of great value. But they held the power she needed. For each had belonged to one of the people she was going to curse tonight.

Her hand clenched the pen. “Justice is blind,” she whispered, then joined the curse with the name of Wyatt Boudreaux. “Love is death,” she intoned as she crumpled the paper cup in her hand and said the name of Garner Rousseau. Finally she picked up the tack and said, “The law is impotent,” linking those words with the name of Andrei Sobatka.

Pushing herself erect, she stood and shuffled to the edge of the bayou, smug in her satisfaction that she had evened the score.

We had a great time with the carnival background and three cursed heroes. Would they ever be able to end the curse and find happiness with the women they love?

Each of these compelling stories ends with an HEA for the hero and heroine.  But only the full set will finally get to the bottom of the murder mystery. Be sure to read them all!

Get links for major e-retailers through Pronoun.
https://books.pronoun.com/wyatt/
https://books.pronoun.com/garner/
https://books.pronoun.com/andrei/

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Marry On April Fool’s Day by @JoanReeves #mgtab

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Tomorrow is April Fool’s Day so here’s a question for you. Would you marry on April Fool’s Day? I think you’d have to possess a very good sense of humor to do that.

In light of our changing culture, perhaps the better question is, would you get married? Ever. I have a couple of friends who refuse to marry. Each lives with the man she loves, but they absolutely refuse to marry.

In today’s world where couples live together and often have children without marriage, getting married seems to have become the ultimate commitment if not the ultimate love story.Weddings are celebrated in ceremonies ranging from small, family-only events to splashy galas costing as much as a house.

Ancient People Knew What Was At Stake

It wasn’t always like this. Ancient history tells us that marriage was first a private, domestic affair.

According to Curious Customs of Sex and Marriage by George Ryley Scott (out of print but available at used book outlets), the basic function of marriage was to multiply. After all, the population was small. Disease was rampant. Under-population was the big problem. The planet needed more people. Marriages were simply a way of sponsoring procreation.Bride Cartoon

You may kiss the bride. Go forth and procreate.

Women Were Valuable–Commodities

It didn’t take men long to decide that the value of a woman–daughter, sister, or a female related in any way that gave them domination over the woman–lay in making marriage contracts that enabled them (the men) to gain more wealth and power.

Yet, marriage was a hard sell to most men. Those testosterone-fueled beings didn’t embrace the concept. They took persuading which is probably why the dowry played such a big part in landing a man who would enhance a father’s power and wealth.

Perhaps that explains why so many nations (remember, just about all society was patriarchal) experimented with Polygyny, a form of plural marriage in which a man is allowed more than one wife, and Polyandry, a form of polygamy whereby a woman takes two or more husbands at the same time. So they could have many wives and get many dowries in order to expand their power base.

Along Came Monogamy

Eventually, in most civilized nations of the world, monogamy was accepted almost universally, at least in theory, as the perfect form of marital union.

As we all know, nothing and no one is perfect, but monogamy was probably what kept the world rocking along for a couple of millennia—dragging all of the customs and superstitions created along the way into our modern world.

Customs Transform To Fit The Times

Many marriage customs continue, with some slight alterations. Although some may still practice Marriage by Capture, that’s usually performed in an altered version called Elopement.

Betrothal in Infancy and Arranged Marriages still survive as do matchmakers. Even Marriage by Purchase survives in other countries although cynics assert that Marriage by Purchase is alive and well in western civilizations too. Just look at all the wealthy sugar daddies–and a few sugar mamas–who are always looking for sexy young sugar babies. Of course, maybe they’re all just looking for love like the rest of us.

Marriage of Convenience

Another classic tradition in the wedding arena is the Marriage of Convenience in which an unwilling man or woman is forced into a marriage. Sometimes this is because of the need for protection or for economic reasons. This is one of the most popular themes in romance novels.

I explore that theme in my romantic comedy, April Fool Bride which is on sale for only 99 cents today through April 16. (Be sure the price is 99 cents before you click Buy.) You can find April Fool Bride at: Amazon * Nook * iTunes * Kobo (U.S.) * Smashwords.

Blurb

Is it a marriage of convenience or something more? Something that sizzles like steam heat between Maddie and Jake that neither can resist!

Oil heiress Madeline Quinn needs a husband by the time she turns twenty-five in order to claim her full inheritance. Mad Maddie, as the tabloids christened her, has learned the hard way that men only see dollar signs when they look at her.

Maddie decides a marriage of convenience is the only answer. She turns to the one man in the world she can trust, her housekeeper’s son who always treated her like a little sister when they were kids growing up together.

Jake Becker hasn’t seen Maddie since the night she tried to seduce him. Why should he help the woman who changed the course of his life? Simple. Revenge.

Review

This is a wonderful love story. April Fool Bride is well plotted and beautifully told. As the story came to an end I found myself wanting to read more. I read a lot of books, but I don’t read them all to the end, and I only write a review on the ones I love. I thoroughly enjoyed April Fool Bride. 5 Stars!! ~ Mary Adair, Author

A charming novella with romance, passion, humor. Maddie needs a husband by April to be able to control her inheritance. The only man she can trusts to help her without taking advantage of the situation is Jake who was her friend when they were both teenagers. His mother used to work for Maddie’s family until the night her stepmother caught Maddie in Jake’s bed and threw him and his mother out. Now Jake is a successful businessman and doesn’t need the money or the lucrative deal Maddie is offering for him to marry her on paper for a year. Yet he accepts because…[*g*] Funny and sexy is the trademark of Joan Reeves’ books, add emotion and passion. ~ Amazon Reader Review

I wish you a Happy April Fool’s Day. Play a corny prank on your kids or your spouse. This is a day made for laughter–and romance if you work it right. *g*

Joan Reeves writes sexy–often funny–Romance Novels. Her books are available at major ebook sellers with new print editions coming this year. (Audio editions available at Audible and iTunes.) All of Joan’s books have the same underlying premise: “It’s never too late to live Happily Ever After.” Joan lives her Happily Ever After with her hero, her husband, in the Lone Star State. Sign up for Joan’s Mailing List/Free NL and get a free ebook. Connect Online with Joan: Blog * Facebook * Twitter * YouTube.

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Tourists Prayer (funny)

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Sharing a tourist prayer with those of you who are planing your next vacation:

Heavenly Father, look down on us your humble obedient tourist servants, who are doomed to travel this earth, taking photographs, mailing postcards, buying souvenirs and walking around in drip-dry underwear.

Give us this day divine guidance in the selection of our hotels, that we may find our reservations honored, our rooms made, and hot water running in the faucets.

We pray that the phones work and that the receptionists speak our tongue.

Lead us, dear Lord, to good, inexpensive restaurants where the food is superb, the waiters friendly and the wine included in the price.

Give us the wisdom to tip correctly in currencies we do not understand. Forgive us for undertipping out of ignorance or overtipping out of fear. Make the natives love us for what we are and nor what we can contribute to their worldly goods.

Grant us the strength to visit the museums, the cathedrals , the palaces and castles listed as ‘musts’ in the guidebooks.

And if perchance we skip a historic monument to take a nap after lunch, have mercy on us for our flesh is week.

For Husbands Only
Dear God, keep our wives from shopping sprees and protect them from ‘bargains’ they don’t need or can’t afford. Lead them not into temptation for they know not what they do.

For Wives Only
Almighty Father, keep our husbands from looking at foreign women and comparing them to us. Save them from making fools of themselves in cafes and nightclubs. Above all do not forgive them their trespasses for they know exactly what they do.

Available at Amazon

The perfect fiancé is a cheater and the fabulous Christmas wedding is off. But the would-be honeymoon cruise may fulfill the dreams of Julia and her unexpected companion.

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author, Mona Risk published more than twenty books, some translated in German and French.
She received an Outstanding Achiever Award at Affaire de Coeur Magazine and is a
Best Romance Novel winner at Preditors & Editors Readers Poll;
Two-Time winner of Best Contemporary Romance Novel at Readers Favorite;
EPIC’s Ebook Award Finalist; and Kindle Top 100 Bestselling Author

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Blame It On Chocolate @JoanReeves #mgtab #NewRelease

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Dog holding Valentine balloon.A funny thing happened on the way to writing this Valentine post. I didn’t get Blame It On Chocolate, a new entry in my short story series, A Moment in Time, finished.

Agh! Life has just been plain difficult since the New Year began. Of course, that was how 2016 was so I don’t know why I’m surprised!

I did however belatedly publish Last Chance New Year, another short story in A Moment in Time. It was, of course, a month late. Do you see a pattern here? *sigh* I’ll stop moaning and tell you a bit about Last Chance New Year.

This highly sensual romance short story should be available at all ebook sellers within a day. For now, it’s only at Smashwords and Amazon Kindle, and it’s only 99 cents.

In 2015, I thought it would be nice to start a short story series for all those little ideas that pop into my head. Thus A Moment in Time Romance was born.

After all, A Moment in Time is all the heart needs for Love to blossom.

The first short story was LuvU4Ever, and it was about Noelle and David Morales at a crisis in their marriage.

LuvU4Ever is free at all ebook sellers: Kindle * Apple iBooks * Kobo * Nook * Smashwords.

This past Christmas I started writing Last Chance New Year in which David and Noelle play matchmaker for two of their employees who are obviously in love with each other but haven’t done anything about it. They don’t know it, but one of those employees has also decided to remedy the situation.

Cheyenne SmithCover of Last Chance New Year by Joan Reeves, better known as C. A. Smith to her co-workers, decides New Year’s Eve is the perfect time to give in to insanity and throw herself at Luke Harper, the man she loves, and hope that he catches her.

By tomorrow, Last Chance New Year should be available at all ebook sellers.

As I said, it’s live only at Smashwords with Kindle for now.

A Taste of Chocolate

Actually, it’s a taste of Blame It On Chocolate which should be ready to publish in a couple of days. Here’s a teaser to whet your appetite.

Excerpt, Blame It On Chocolate by Joan Reeves © 2017

In years to come, Chloe Elliot decided if she ever told anyone about this night that she’d blame it on chocolate. Okay, maybe that and the bottle of Merlot she and her best friend and sister-in-law Sarah had drunk with the Valentine chocolates from the heart-shaped box Sarah’s husband—and Chloe’s big brother—had given his wife.

At the moment, Chloe’s heart beat so hard and fast that she ought maybe she was in danger of having a heart attack. Wouldn’t that be just peachy? They’d find her dead in this closet. Wearing nothing but red hooker stilettos and outrageous, hot pink lingerie beneath her khaki trenchCover of Blame It On Chocolate by Joan Reeves coat.

No way. She willed her heart to settle down. Besides, she was too young for a coronary, wasn’t she? She’d just turned thirty today. A Happy Fricking Valentine’s Day and Happy Birthday combined. What a catastrophe.

Don’t panic, she told herself again. She wouldn’t have a heart attack. She didn’t dare. What would her mom say if she was found dead—like this!—in the coat closet in her brother’s insurance office? And her dad? She shuddered at the thought.

Chloe took a deep breath and released it slowly. Then another. The roaring in her ears subsided enough that she could hear the sounds beyond the closet door. Nothing. Maybe Hunter had left. Please God let that be the case. She pressed her hand over her heart to still the wild pounding, certain it was beating so hard that it interfered with her hearing.

She listened intently. Nothing. Oh, thank the good Lord above. Relief made her weak in the knees. She swore to go to church every Sunday and to never, ever, do anything remotely crazy again. Her hand was on the doorknob when she heard his voice. Goosebumps raised on her overheated skin. Who was he talking to? She didn’t hear another voice so she decided he must be on the phone. Slowly, she removed her hand from the doorknob and held her breath.

No one had a voice like Hunter Cole. Instead of baseball, he should have gone into broadcasting or acting. She imagined that voice could charm a woman out of her panties as easily as the perfection of his hard-muscled body. Even in high school when he’d been a senior, and her brother’s best friend, and she’d been a lowly freshman, one look at him had turned her brain to mush and her body to molten lava.

Why couldn’t he just go away?

Chloe’s feet hurt in the crippling stilettos, and she needed to pee. Plus, she could hardly breathe in the confined space. At least her nerves had settled so she might as well wait it out.

A little of his conversation seeped through the door. She strained to hear what he was saying.

“…a dozen of your best red roses…big heart-shaped box of chocolate…address…tonight even though it’s late.”

Chloe’s heart no longer pounded. It might have turned to lead in her chest or maybe plummeted to her toes. He was order flowers and chocolates for a woman. Another woman. Not for her.

Now she didn’t feel just ridiculous. She felt humiliated. How had she let Sarah talk her into this? If Sarah knew Hunter so well, why hadn’t she known that he was interested in a woman? She’d never had a chance. If she’d known Hunter was seeing someone, she’d never have done this. She felt a tear trickle down her  cheek. She swiped it away, determined to shove her stupid fantasy to the back of her mind. And she would just as soon as she escaped the closet.

Silence now filled the office. Had he finally left? Surely it was obvious to him that her brother hadn’t asked to meet him here. He should be leaving and racing over to his honey’s house to reap the rewards of the Valentine gifts that were probably being delivered at this moment.

Nothing had broken the silence for almost five minutes. Relieved, she opened the closet door and stepped out.

Right into Hunter Cole’s arms.

Valentine's Day note with rose.I hope you enjoyed that little teaser. Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day with your true love.

Joan Reeves writes sexy Contemporary Romance Novels–available at most ebook sellers. Check out her Amazon Author Page for a list of books.  (Audio editions available at Audible, and iTunes.) All of Joan’s books have the same underlying premise: “It’s never too late to live Happily Ever After.” Sign up for Joan’s Mailing List/Free NL and receive a free ebook. Connect with Joan Online: Blog * Facebook * Twitter * YouTube.

 

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Precious and Free

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Just because something is free doesn’t mean it has more value than an item that cost hundreds of dollars (or more).
Is that heavy diamond ring you received from that *#!% ex-husband more precious than the beach glass and copper wire ring your now departed daughter made you for Mothers’ Day, years ago?
Is a mass-signed hardcover copy of the current NY Times best-seller more dear than your great-grandfather’s journal of his trek across the Plains with a handcart in 1863? (I really have this!)
I believe value is rated by the heart and not the calculator.
One of a person’s greatest blessings is to know this and to realize that the dearest in life isn’t always tangible.
Savor and recall those tender or giddy moments: the view of sunsets and rainbows of grandeur with that special someone, the excitement of helping that little tyke ride her bicycle by herself for the first time, the birth of that puppy that is now gray-nosed but still full of love for you.
These are most precious and dear and can never be purchased, at any price.
And be generous to yourself and others. Keep a journal and record these events that mean so much to you. Plus, you can relive them when you’re feeling blue and give yourself an attitude adjustment!
And who knows? Maybe your great-great-granddaughter will find your journal and enjoy those moments with you, long after you’re gone.

In the meantime, though, here are a few freebies (good until February 14th, at least): http://bit.ly/2kiByrI  DatePromo.com runs lots of events where folks can win or simply click and acquire (you’re not buying if it’s free, right?) e-books.

He’s not what she thinks he is.

My book, Aye, I am a Fairy is part of this promo and free until February 14, but you can read it at no cost after that on #KindleUnlimited. It may be 2nd in the series, but The Fairies Saga is written so you can read in any order. Just think of it as released in Star Wars order. ; )

 

 

 

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New Year Black-eyed Peas @JoanReeves #mgtab

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New Year's 2017 Graphic ImageNew Year’s Day is on the horizon. In the South, the first day of the New Year calls for Black-eyed Peas.

Some home cooks think cooking these beloved little legumes requires too much time and energy so they opt for the canned variety.

So I thought I’d share this really easy slow-cooker method. You just do a little prep work, throw them in your slow cooker or Crock Pot, and in about 6 hours you’ll have the most delicious black-eyed peas you’ve ever eaten. So if you want to serve black-eyed peas at midnight on New Year’s Eve, put them on at 6pm.

Black-eyed Peas the Slow Cook Way

1. Pour a 1-pound bag of dried black-eyed peas into a colander and wash them. Then place them in a cooking pot with 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Let boil for 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat and pour into the colander and rinse.

2. Place the rinsed peas in the slow cooker.

3. Add 3 cups of water to the slow cooker.

4. Add your choice of a pork meat product: 1/4 pound of bacon, fried crisp and crumbled OR 1/2 pound smoked ham, cubed OR 1 ham hock.

5. Add 2 medium-size onions, chopped

6. Add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt. I give this range because some bacon and ham can be very salty. So start with a little salt and add more if needed when they’re almost ready to serve.

7. Add 1/4 teaspoon coarsely-ground or cracked fresh ground black pepper.

8. Optional: 1-2 cloves of minced garlic if you like garlic. I use a little garlic because I don’t want to overwhelm the flavor of the peas.

9. Kick it up another notch with a few drops of Tabasco if you like this Creole flavoring. I always add 4-6 drops of Tabasco.

10. Final option: add a can of diced tomatoes to the mixture in the slow cooker.

Once everything is in the slow cooker, stir to mix well. Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for 4 to 6 hours. The aroma as they cook is mouth-watering.

I always serve these with cornbread and rice. Like most legumes, black-eyed peas are an incomplete protein so if you want to serve them as a complete protein main dish, serve them with steamed rice.

I hope you’ll try these. They’re really delicious and so easy to make that you may find yourself making them even when it’s not New Year’s.

Of course, remember the bottle of chilled bubbly.

My New Year Wishes For You

May you and your family have good health, good relationships, vocations and avocations you love, prosperity, the ability to endure and persist when life throws curve balls your way, and peace within.

Joan Reeves writes sexy Contemporary Romance Novels–available at most ebook sellers. Check out my Amazon Author Page for a list of books.  (Audio editions available at Audible, and iTunes.) All of Joan’s books have the same underlying premise: “It’s never too late to live Happily Ever After.” Joan lives her Happily Ever After with her hero, her husband, in the Lone Star State. Readers, sign up for Joan’s Mailing List/Free NL and receive a free ebook. Connect with Joan Online: Blog * Facebook * Twitter * YouTube.

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A Holly Jolly Christmas by Mona Risk

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The holiday season has officially started. For Christians, it’s the Advent and the joyous preparations to celebrate Jesus’ Birth. For Jewish, it’s the Hanukkah and lighting of the Menorah. Both traditionally happy celebrations.

I am not trying to depress you, but being a realistic person, let me ask you, what if the coming days are not particularly happy? One of our dear friends lost her husband this week. I wonder how her holiday will turn. Another friend just had open-heart surgery and four by-passes. We hope he will recover soon. Oops, sorry if I’ve depressed you. Not my intention. Life is not always rosy.

In my story, Holly Jolly Christmas, the heroine’s father is very sick. He knows his days are numbered, and he fight hard to build as many happy memories for his family as he can. His Christmas must be a Holly Jolly Christmas. And it does. Even after he passes, he leaves a last letter to his wife Barbara, and his five daughters–a legacy of hope and clear encouragements.

Dear Family:
Life MUST continue. Claire and Tiffany, I count on you to ace your studies and go to college. Roxanne and Madelyn, do your best at work, but remember that a career is not enough to fill a heart. You need a loving partner. Heather and Jeff, take good care of your baby. Barbara, you need to learn to live again. Loneliness is not good.

HOLLY JOLLY CHRISTMAS is my contribution to the USA Today bestseller anthology, LOVE, CHRISTMAS. You’ll love this heartwarming collection of 20 all-new Christmas stories from NY Times, USA Today, and national best-selling authors. Every title in the set is from a well-known Christmas carol and we hope while reading these delightful stories, they will put a song in your heart.14481843_10207545069410046_3314279722083324058_o

http://bit.ly/LoveChristmasUS
http://bit.ly/LoveChristmasKobo
http://bit.ly/LoveChristmasBN
http://bit.ly/LoveChristmasApple

HOLLY JOLLY CHRISTMAS is the prequel to the Holiday Babies Series

With high moral values and a strong sense of unity, the Ramsay family counts five daughters—Madelyn, Roxanne, Heather, Claire, and Tiffany, and their mother Barbara. Later, stepdaughter Monica Roland joins the clan.
Christmas Babies: Can a career fill her life? (Madelyn and Dr. Nick Preston)
Valentine Babies: Can he love a woman expecting another man’s baby? (Roxanne and Dr. Greg Hayes)
Mother’s Day Babies: Never too late to find love and happiness. (Barbara and Lou Roland)
Wedding Surprise: Is it the worst or best wedding surprise? (Claire and David Wheeler)
Christmas Papa: Who’ s my papa, Mommy? (Monica and Michael Wheeler)
meme-2On Christmas Eve: We want a mommy for Christmas. (Tiffany and Dr. Matthew Alonso)

Free today: RIGHT NAME, WRONG MAN

 

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