My Favorite Time of Year! #mgtab @NatalieAnn121

My Favorite Time Of Year!

What is your favorite time of year? Do you even have one?

In Upstate NY most people are begging for spring after a cold winter. But oftentimes we don’t get a spring and it jumps right into summer. That is how it seemed to happen this year.

There was a record number of days over 90 and we even hit 100 a few times. We had 4 days over 90 just last week and frankly, I’m sick of it.

But now it’s September and I’m looking forward to my favorite time of year.  Fall!!

Nice days and cool nights. Sleeping with the windows opened. Football Sundays and best of all apple picking!

It’s a tradition I’ve had with my son since he was a toddler. We’d go once in September, pick a big bag of apples and I’d come home and make apple sauce and his favorite apple cake. I only make it once a year since it’s such a rich decadent dessert.

I love Fall so much, I just released a new book this week, Autumn Love. It’s based around a beloved community’s apple orchard. When the orchard got to be too much for Ali Rogers’ mom to handle she decided to sell it. Liam Sullivan is a contractor that wanted to bring the orchard back to life and found that it’s more than a business venture when he falls for Ali. Add in Ali’s meddling grandfather’s ghost and it’s a great book to curl up with!

This story has so many things in it that I love personally and I hope that you will too. It’s just 99 cents, or FREE to read on Kindle Unlimited.

And if you want to try out my famous Apple Cake, here is the recipe for you!

3 cups of flour

4 teaspoons of cinnamon

2 teaspoons of nutmeg

1 teaspoon of baking soda

½ teaspoon of baking powder

3 eggs

2 cups of sugar

1 cup of oil

1 teaspoon of vanilla

4 cups of diced apples (no skin)

  • Mix all the dry ingredients together and set aside
  • Beat eggs, then add sugar and oil
  • Add vanilla and then the dry ingredients
  • Once all is mixed well, add the apples. Mix until blended, but not until the apples are broken up. Using the mixer will bring some of the juices of the apples out and make the cake extremely moist, but you still want to leaves some small chunks in it.
  • Pour into a greased 13 x 9 cake pan
  • Bake at 350 for an hour (test by sticking a toothpick in the center. If batter comes away, continue to cook until the toothpick is clean)
  • Frost with vanilla or cream cheese frosting
  • Cover and keep at room temperature for about a week

Enjoy!

Not quite In the Spirit of Christmas? Tara either…

I’m a mom of eleven children and grandma to 14 so you’d think that being in the spirit of Christmas was a foregone conclusion. Not all the time. Life can get in the way and I find myself overrun by obligations, the day to day hassles of cohabiting with others and the sheer magnitude of the work involved in a big holiday. All but the final child is grown now, but some days I still just want to be an observer, not a worker bee. Then something happens; a sweet seasonal song sung by a four year old, or a hot cup of coffee and freshly baked goodie from my daughter, a grandchild helping me plan the holiday meals, or sitting down to watch one of my favorite movies during the season, The Spirit of Christmas. Then, I feel the magic and all is well again.

Here’s a taste:

In this rendition of that lovely movie, I don’t have a returning spirit, I have Tara who finds herself homeless, alone, and professionally blackballed just days after Thanksgiving. Sad and disillusioned, she goes home to Wyoming, where she was loved unconditionally, or so she thought until her car is repeatedly vandalized.

Tara is experiencing that not quite grumpy, but definitely begrudging feeling of going through the motions because it is required.The Sheriff, Chase Nichols makes it clear he is interested in more than solving the case, but is Tara’s heart so easily mended?

Want more? Here’s a nibble:

The hot air from the heater warmed her. “By the way, I’m Chase Nichols.” He eased the truck back onto the highway.

“Thank you for picking me up, Sheriff Nichols. My ex must have had a flat and neglected to tell me, among other things,” she murmured.

“Just Chase, and it’s obvious your ex neglected to repair it as well.” His tone was condemning. Tara’s first inclination was to defend Roger, but she closed her mouth. Roger was the reason she was even doing this, in the dead of winter. “Ex-husband?”

“Boyfriend.”

He nodded. “I’ll get you to the garage. They’ll fix you up in no time.”

“Thank you for your trouble.”

“No trouble. I was going this way and it’d be wrong to leave anyone on the side of the road in this cold.” He turned and grinned in her direction. “Besides, it wouldn’t look good if the Sheriff left a motorist stranded, would it?” She didn’t know what to say to that, so she didn’t respond with more than an answering nod of her own. He continued to watch her. “You shouldn’t be out here alone. New Yorker like yourself should understand about cold weather.”

“I’m from Wyoming and I didn’t plan it, all right? It just turned out that way.” Her tone snapped, but she was dangling precariously at the end of her rope. If she weren’t so close to the ranch, she would have just stayed the night in the next town.

“You sound worn out.” Concern laced his words. “We’re almost there.”

“I’m sorry. I left New York in the early hours day before yesterday, it’s late, and I’m ready to be home.”

He whistled. “You drove that far, alone, in a couple of days, in the middle of winter? Your daddy knows you did that?”

He did listen, she’d give him that. “I’m an adult, Mr. Nichols—”

“It’s Chase, and I get you’re grown but I bet you’re always a little girl to your daddy.”

She hesitated, his correction putting her off her line of thought. He was right. “In answer to your question, yes, he knows I’m coming. And it isn’t that far. I was careful.”

“Mmm hmm.”

Want to read more? Then how about a healthy Bite of each story in this wonderful collection of 26 Christmas novellas by some of your favorite authors and hopefully find a few new ones to enjoy while you wait for the full holiday meal … October 2018

Amazon US Book Bites 11

 

 

 

Best-selling author in Regency and Contemporary Romance, Alyssa Bailey, is a dyed in the wool Texan living amid the beauty of Alaska. She loves writing about consensual power exchanges between strong, intelligent, sassy women who are not afraid to make a stand and men confident enough to give his woman space, but Alpha enough to keep her safe in spite of herself.  If she can throw a little mystery, humor, and suspense in her stories, it’s even better. Her characters are from varied eras and walks of life. Come take a stroll with her.

 http://alyssabailey.com/ 

 

What if Ebenezer Scrooge were a Romance Author? Love, Christmas #mgtab @AyalaRachelle

My hands-down favorite Christmas story is the one about Ebenezer Scrooge, a stingy, cold-hearted miser who encounters the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future. Therefore, it is with great pleasure that I re-imagined Ebenezer Scrooge’s story and made him a modern-day romance writer on a deadline.

I can’t wait to share Ebony Cruse’s story with you. She’s an obsessed romance writer who is determined to ignore the charms of her childhood friend, Marine Blaze O’Carroll, so she can write ten thousand words a day.

Too bad, the characters from her past, present, and future won’t let her rest. Join Ebony, along with her cat muse, Sugar Pops, on a very special Christmas night adventure.

Here is an excerpt:

“That’s enough. I’m giving you two a timeout.” Ebony slammed her laptop lid shut. The cracking sound coming ominously from the plastic top startled her cat, Sugar Pops, from his nap.
“Meow.” He yawned and butted his head against Ebony’s hand while pawing her leg for attention.
Ebony picked up a fishing pole toy with a yarn mouse attached to it and cast it. Sugar Pops pounced while she kept the mouse just out of reach.
After a few tosses of the fake mouse, Ebony checked her digital timer display. She’d been writing all day, and she had nothing to show—except a worn delete key.
Her miscreant characters, Abby and Blaze, didn’t want to do anything but have sex. Normally, Ebony would let them go at it all day and night, but she had a deadline and she needed a real, human-interest story for a boxed set dealing with wounded warriors. All proceeds would go to a veteran’s charity, and the organizers specified sweet and sassy, not steamy and erotic.
She used a precious minute to play with Sugar Pops, then dished out a bowl of cat food for him. Since her characters were in timeout, she doled out a few more minutes to brew a pot of strong, all-nighter coffee and fix herself something to eat.
She shivered as she opened the refrigerator and extracted the half-eaten carcass of a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken from the grocery store deli. Shriveled lettuce hung like discarded rags over the chicken bones, and a half-empty can of soda, which had long gone flat, sat on the counter.
The Cruse farmhouse was drafty and cold, but since Ebony was alone, she saw no reason to turn on central heating. Instead, she sat at the kitchen table in front of an antique, cast-iron stove. A single light bulb burned above her, and dishes were piled in the sink in front of a frosty kitchen window.
Ebony had no time for housework. No time for cooking and grocery shopping. No time to do laundry or make her bed. She wore no makeup, did not do her nails, and her hair was a frizzy mess. Lifting her arm, she took a quick sniff and decided showering could wait another day. She did, however, sacrifice time from her writing by brushing her teeth twice a day. It wasn’t as if she was a complete slob!
It wasn’t easy writing ten thousand words every day, but Ebony had to keep up the pace if she wanted to live off her writing.
Boom, boom, boom. Someone knocked on the heavy farmhouse door.
“Ebony,” a deep voice shouted. “I’ve brought your groceries.”
It was Jake O’Carroll, Ebony’s mother’s ex-boyfriend, and he always looked after her whenever she used the old farmhouse for a writing retreat.
Ebony started for the door, but Jake had the door opened already. He bumped it with his hip and carted in bags of groceries which he stacked on the counter.
“Ho, ho, ho,” Jake laughed. The Santa hat on his head bobbed. He looked as ridiculous as the rest of the Christmas Creek community who acted as if they lived inside a perennial Christmas snow globe by dressing as elves, fairies, nutcracker soldiers, and old Victorian merry-makers all year round.
Ebony waved him off. “There’s nothing to ho, ho, ho about around here. I’ve only written a thousand words today. The sun’s going down, and I have to pull an all-nighter if I want to write nine thousand more.”
“Those words will come when you least expect them to,” Jake said, rubbing his white beard. He was always an optimist, even when dating her investment banker mother who’d put work ahead of family and relationships. “Why don’t you take the evening off and come watch the Christmas tree lighting at the town square?”
Ebony’s jaw dropped with aghast. “I can’t possibly do that. I have to get back to work as soon as I eat. Thanks for bringing the groceries by.”
While they talked, Jake unpacked the groceries. “Would you mind me staying here for dinner? I’m sure you can use some company.”
“I thought you wanted to go to the Christmas tree lighting.” Ebony felt itchy as she glanced at the kitchen clock. Three minutes had passed since Jake stopped in. “Thanks for bringing my groceries, but I have to get back to work.”
Ebony dug in her purse for the amount she owed and pressed it in Jake’s hand. The older man had been a loyal boyfriend to her workaholic mother, and Ebony appreciated him looking after her whenever she was in town.
“Will I see you at the Gala Ball this year?” Jake asked as he stepped to the door. “You can’t come home to Christmas Creek and not attend the ball. Everyone will be there.”
“It depends on if I finish my book,” Ebony said, not wanting to say ‘no’ to him a third time. She half-pushed him out the door by patting his back. “Have fun at the tree lighting ceremony.”
Once the door was closed, Ebony leaned her back against it for a split second and took a deep breath. The last Christmas she spent with Jake was the one her mother never made it to. Jake and his son, Blaze, had waited with her at this very farmhouse from Christmas Eve until the day after Christmas, but her mother never showed up.
She had been an investment banker and had instructed them never to contact her while at work. Unfortunately, she passed away in her office on Christmas Day, leaving Ebony orphaned at the age of seventeen.
She couldn’t leave this farmhouse fast enough. When she turned eighteen, she hitchhiked to the city and lost touch with Blaze when he joined the Marines.
That was the last Christmas she’d ever celebrated and the last time she saw Blaze, her almost-step-brother.
The timer rang, jerking Ebony out of her useless daydreams. She rubbed her hands together and was ready to go back to her story.
Sugar Pops had finished his food and was lying on the counter with one leg straight in the air while he groomed his underbelly, clearly content and not in need of attention.
Ebony opened the lid of her laptop and sat in front of it, staring at her document.
The cursor blinked. Blinked. Blinked.

[End of excerpt]. Please Pre-Order Love, Christmas, Movies You Love, Boxed Set to get the rest of Ebony and Blaze’s Christmas Carol Romance. Meanwhile, check out another excerpt narrated by the fabulous Trei Taylor on Audiobook, or order the Paperback (regular print) or (large print) to get a head start on Christmas gifts and reading.

The Return Home and writing emotional stories…

Tomorrow I have a new release coming out. It’s the 4th book in the SARICH BROTHERS series and it’s a little different for me because it’s not a suspense story. I’ve written contemporary romance before, but it’s not my go to genre is. I generally like to start with a dead body or a missing person or some kind of crime to solve. The Return Home, however, is about a soldier who comes home having losing his entire team and having been tortured. Not only is his body damaged, but so is his mind. His mother’s neighbor happens to be a Dr and she specializes in PTSD.

It’s a story about healing hearts and digging deep into one’s past and allowing those emotions to come to the surface.

My contribution to the Love Christmas is also an emotional love story as well where I tackle the topic of being a widow. Both my hero and heroine are widows. The heroine lost her husband almost nine years ago. Her husband died while deployed leaving her to raise their child, who never met his father. My hero lost his wife and son while he was deployed and carries a lot of guilt. They meet in a cabin a few days before Christmas during a major snow storm when a mistake is made in their reservation and there are no other rooms available. They are stuck together and during the Christmas season they both learn that they can find love again.

I’ve really enjoyed writing a more emotional story and I hope you will enjoy reading them!

 

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