I’ve always loved Poetry.

I am sometimes told in review that there is a poetic lilt to my writing. I have always loved poetry, my favourites being Longfellow, Tennyson, Wordsworth, Coleridge and some of more modern poets.

My love of poetry started at the age of seven at the knee of my great uncle Will’ in a little village in Glamorganshire on the coast of South Wales. Uncle Will was a miner and also a scholar, who when not working long shifts down the  mine, taught the children of the village.  He introduced me to my first poem from a book The Thousand Best Poems in the World. This was a book published in 1891 by EW Cole. Some of the authors were famous, others anonymous as was a premise for some ladies writing in those times, most of the poetry held the flavour of nostalgic Victorian poetry.

As the festive season is nearly upon us I hope you will enjoy the one given below written probably one hundred and fifty years ago by an anonymous poet.  The poetry echoes the theme of my book written specially for Love at Christmas 2. This box-set has such a wonderful variety of stories both in the contemporary or historical style.

In the coming year, I hope to present some of these poems in my blog and website now nearly built.


‘Live for Something’

Live for something, be not idle-

Look about thee for employ!

Sit not down to useless dreaming –

Labour is the sweetest joy.

Folded hands are ever weary,

Selfish hearts are never gay,

Life for thee have many duties-

Active be, then, while you may.


Scatter blessings in they pathway!

Gentle words and cheering smiles

Better are than gold or silver,

With their grief – dispelling wiles,

As the pleasant sunshine falleth

Ever on the grateful earth,

So let sympathy and kindness

Gladden well the darkened heart.


Hearts there are oppressed and weary,

Drop the tear of sympathy,

Whisper words of hope and comfort,

Give and thy reward shall be

Joy unto the soul returning,

From this perfect fountain head,

Freely, as thou freely givest,


Anonymous. Just Before the Village Blacksmith by Longfellow

Page 207 The Thousand Best Poems in the World – First Series.

Published 1891


Katy Walters

Katy lives on the South coast with her husband and a loving hyper friendly dog who likes to greet and lick everyone on sight. She has a BA Hons (Psych) BA Eng.Lit. MA in Religion and Mysticism and a Hon Dr. Science for research into pain control.
She was a psychologist and hypnotherapist before changing direction for full time creative writing, Her main genres are historical romance, crime and science fiction.

Meddling Family and Holiday Hijinks

My contribution to Love, Christmas 2 is Almost Christmas in Connecticut, based on the classic movie Christmas in Connecticut.

The movie involves a war hero who’s invited to spend Christmas dinner with the cooking columnist whose articles nourish his spirit while he recovers in hospital. I brought the story into the twenty-first century by making the soldier female, and her love interest, a video blogger.

One of the things I love about the movie, besides starring Barbara Stanwyck, is the madcap mishaps caused by the fact the columnist can’t cook, and the additional premise maintained in her column that she’s married and has a baby. I’m not sure if there’s a specific trope for those; it’s not mistaken identity but false pretense creating conflict. This can often lead to trust issues, but following in the movie’s spirit I focused on the opportunity presented by the truth.

I already knew the hero, Tanner Frost, as his brothers have been finding love in my Small-Town Sweethearts series. I needed a heroine, though. One who currently served in the military, and who could mistakenly be described as a wounded warrior. I reached out to readers for some suggestions and realized how important it was to get Winnifred “Fred” Carmichael right, and not insult the entire military community and all of our true heroes. How could I portray Fred as an injured soldier in a silly, short romance without trivializing the work of so many men and women?

I turned to my high school best friend’s big sis, LTC Karen Maskew, USA, Ret. For guidance. With her help, I fleshed out Fred and how she came to be invited to spend Christmas with Tanner.

Here’s a tease from the book:

Tanner had a wild urge to cross his eyes and stick out his tongue when yet another woman snapped a picture of him as he waited outside the arrivals gate at Bradley International Airport. He put up with his aunt’s idea of starring in a video cooking show, but he hated the celebrity that came with it. If he signed onto his social media accounts right then he’d see his face plastered repeatedly on his timeline holding a sign that said Fred.

Fred. Who named their kids that? Tanner had his aunt to blame for his being in the airport, too. She’d come up with this great promo idea by having some soldier come to the farm for Christmas dinner. Somehow they’d have to keep Fred from discovering Tanner was just the front man for the vlog. His aunt did all the cooking, but she claimed her face wouldn’t draw the following his would. And she’d been right about the number of fans.

Scanning the arriving passengers, he looked for a guy in uniform. Or fatigues. Whatever a soldier would wear to travel.

A tall, slender woman on crutches stopped in front of him, letting a duffle bag drop beside her. “That’s me.”

“I beg your pardon?” He wished she’d just take a photo and move along. The number of people coming and going were growing on his nerves.

“I’m Fred. You’re Tanner Frost, right?”

He ducked his head, dropped the sign and reached for her duffle bag. “Sorry, I expected a guy.”

“I get that a lot,” she said.

There was no mistaking her for a guy. She was clearly fit but had noticeable curves. He liked the look on her. He’d bet if she took her auburn hair out of the bun she wore, it would reach her waist. He wouldn’t mind seeing her all dressed up.

Hefting her duffle bag, he guessed she hadn’t brought a fancy wardrobe, which suited him fine. He had no idea what his aunt planned for their week, but it wouldn’t include clubbing or fancy restaurants. Their vlog was about home cooking, so there would be lots of that.

Luckily he’d found a parking space not too far from the arrival gate, since they had to move slowly to accommodate her crutches. She slid into the truck with a lot more grace than he could have pulled off, and he tossed the crutches in the back.

He didn’t talk while driving the maze they called an exit at the airport, but then settled back and relaxed. “So, you’re from Mississippi?”


“And you’re a marine?”

“National Guard,” she answered, laughter obvious in her voice. “I’m guessing you knew as much about this as I did.”

He ducked his head again and glanced out the side window. “Yeah. My aunt handles the behind-the-scenes stuff. You didn’t email her?”

“No, that would be my niece. She’s six. I’m so embarrassed! She said she wrote that I was a wounded soldier.”

Pointing at the navy canvas boot over the cast on her left foot, he said, “There is that.” He grinned and she smiled back.

“Wounded soldier gives people the idea I was injured in combat. The only thing I was fighting was the pile of rubble when a church got hit in a tornado. We didn’t even arrive until an hour after it passed through the town.”

“So you rescue people from disasters? That’s impressive.”

“It sounds bigger than it is in reality.” She seemed determined to belittle her part in the Guards. “We don’t get called out often, which is good because it means people don’t need our help. I’m really a tester at a cheese factory.”

Well, that was different. “I don’t think I’ve ever met a cheese tester.”

“That’s okay.” She grinned. “I’ve never met a vlogger, either.”

“Are you a follower of the vlog?”

Her mouth twisted to one side. “Um, do I get sent back home if I say no? I really don’t want to disappoint my niece. She wants a picture of us together, by the way.”

Her answer relieved him, if he was honest with himself. Aside from the need to keep her from finding out how little he really cooked, he wouldn’t have to put up with starry eyes and heavy sighs. He could be himself, as long as she didn’t have her phone handy to snap random photos.

Download your copy of Love, Christmas 2 today!

Ari Thatcher

USA Today Bestselling author Ari Thatcher is the naughty side of sweet romance author Aileen Fish. Ari has always loved sexy romance where love takes the leading role. Reviews have called her work “captivating” and “compelling”, and her characters “intelligent, intriguing and realistic.”

A Road Trip for Inspiration

This past weekend my husband and I took a fun roadtrip so I could get a first hand perspective of a town for an upcoming book that I am co-writing with another author (Love Inked, The Twisted Love Series). It was a spur of the moment decision to head up and check it out and one I am so glad that I made! 

Sunday morning, hubby and I jumped in my car and hit the PA Turnpike to go west and then north to the little town of Centralia. Now, it might sound that exciting to go visit a small town in the middle of no where, but this town has some serious history. If you search Centralia PA, you’ll see it listed as the Town that is No More. Google lists it as a Ghost Town.

Why is that? Well, it’s because Centralia was once a up and coming mining town, and in 1962 while burning some rubish at the landfill, they started a fire in a mining shaft below ground. Today, the fire still burns underground (and is expected to burn at least another 200 years) and the entire town has been evacuated (expect about 7 residences who refuse to leave). The history is quite fascinating, and my visit there was awesome!

The series that I’m writing with Amy Manemann is a Romantic Suspense/Police Procedural series, and while the majority of it takes place in Philly, Centralia is going to play a big part in the upcoming books. Love Inked, Book 3 in the series will introduce the town, and Book 4 (Title not announced yet) the two female detectives will visit.

Now what’s in Centralia? Not much. A bunch of streets that have no signs, but navigation will tell you what their names used to be. A lot of plots of land overgrown between the roads, broken cement stairs that used to lead to homes, and lots of graffiti! There are a few homes left, and a municipal building along with a church and two cemetaries.

What I also found there was a whole lot of inspriation for our series. As I looked around, I could picture where things would happen, and I felt like Kali (the character) was ready to take on the investigation!  That little creek in front of me here, well let’s just say that you might see that again on the pages of a book.

All in all, my hubby and I had a great time. Not only doing the reseach, but just spending the day with each other. I’m blessed that I have a husband who is so encouraging and willing to help me out! Now I can’t wait to figure out my next location so we can visit that one too!

If you want to know more about my trip and the Twisted Love Series, join the Twisted Love Series Addicts Group on Facebook, and check out the first two books, Love Lorn by Amy Manemann and Love Torn, by me. Those two books give the back story on the upcoming Book Love Inked that releases on January 3rd.





Stacy Eaton is a USA Today Best Selling author and began her writing career in October of 2010. Stacy took an early retirement from law enforcement after over fifteen years of service in 2016, with her last three years in investigations and crime scene investigation to write full time.

Stacy is very involved in Domestic Violence Awareness and served on the Board of Directors for her local Domestic Violence Center for three years.

Thanksgiving – our way of celebrating. Is it the same as yours? @mimisgang1 #mgtab

Do you and your family go around the table each Thanksgiving and say what you’re thankful for from the year before?

Is it a Canadian thing?

No – it can’t be. I have no doubt many of you all over the world carry on with this same tradition.

When our family followed our custom this year, the comments began as usual. One glowing friend brought up how happy her and husband were for their new baby grandson. A totally acceptable reason for thanks.

Another couple mentioned the rented house they’d moved into and how much roomier it was from their old apartment. Good!

Of course, my neighbor and her husband thanked the heavens for him coming through his recent by-pass and for his returning health. This was one we all agreed with.

But then the teenagers around the table got really serious and reminded us all of how sad it was out there in the rest of the world.

They listed other reasons why we’re lucky. It started off about the California forest fires and how gloomy it was for those poor people who found themselves homeless and in some cases, without the funds, enough years or the energy to be able to start fresh. For us older folks at the table of twelve, it hit home how blessed we were not to be in a similar situation.

Then another of the youngsters brought up the immigrants who had walked so many hundreds of miles with only their children and their prayers to be able to reach a safe haven. That made us all stop and think. Not only had those poor souls lost their homes, but because of civil unrest, cruelty and terror, they’d fled their country – leaving behind their customs and identities.

What a sobering moment! Having our young people remind us of those situations. As I looked around the table, I saw their parents pride for their offspring’s empathy. I know I felt overwhelmed with pleasure that our kids paid attention at all.

Therefore, I guess what I’m most thankful for are our truly intelligent youngsters – their big hearts…

And their huge potential.


Blessings for you, your family and your friends. Enjoy a wonderful day.

Happy Thanksgiving from the ladies of the Authors’ Billboard.

Hugs, Mimi

Mimi Barbour

NYT & USA Today, best-selling, award-winning author, MIMI BARBOUR, has seven romance series to her credit. She also has many single titles and a huge number of box sets – her own and multi-author collections.

Mimi lives on the East coast of Vancouver Island with her husband and writes her various romances with tongue in cheek and a mad glint in her eye. She’s been known to say: “If I can steal a booklover’s attention away from their everyday grind, absorb them into a fantasy love story, and make them care about the ending, then I’ve done my job.”

**Visit her blogs at http://mimibarbour.com / http://Authorsbillboard.com

**Sign up for her monthly newsletter at http://mimibarbour.com

Her reviews are numerous and incredibly positive:

“Love Mimi Barbour, love her books. When you can read a book that within just a few words, you are brought right into the book. You feel, taste, see everything going on. Great story lines. Fantastic characters, fantastic plots, story lines like real life both honest folk and of crooks. Humor that will have you giggling then full on belly laugh. You may even shed a tear or two. All in all, Mimi never disappoints.” ~ Reviewed by Shirleen Miller