Do you believe in the magic of Christmas?

They say Christmas is the most magical time of the year, that miracles can happen on the day when we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. I don’t particularly believe in miracles, but there’s still some magic of the winter holidays left in my heart.

I loved Christmas when I was a child, even though my parents were not wealthy and we never had a pile of gifts under the tree. But we were better off than a lot of other people, and I’m grateful for that now.

As I became an adult, the practicalities and problems that come with being a grown-up took away a little of my holiday enthusiasm each year. Stretching the budget, organizing things, breaking my back in the kitchen… The real tree turned into a plastic one to avoid the hassle and the mess, buying gifts turned into a stressful process, even going shopping is less fun every year because of the growing lines and interminable city traffic.

However, this year I believe in the magic of Christmas more than I ever had. Why? Because my friends in the Authors’ Billboard practically put the most amazing present under my tree: a USA Today bestseller badge!

A little over a year ago, the seed of what seemed like a crazy dream took root in my mind: to become a USA Today bestselling author. Not only that, but I realized that if I made it, I would be the first Romanian in history to achieve this prestigious title. Since that moment, I worked relentlessly toward this goal, and I’m still amazed by how many incredible people I met on the way, people who joined me in my journey and fought hard to help me achieve my dream.

Together, we did it with the anthology Love, Christmas 2!

My story in this box set is a romantic comedy called Boyfriend Wanted for Christmas.

THE DESPERATE YET HUMOROUS QUEST OF AN AMERICAN BRIDGET JONES TO FIND A BOYFRIEND IN THE SEVEN DAYS SHE HAS LEFT UNTIL CHRISTMAS

Thirty-three-year-old librarian Andrea Sachse doesn’t have the time or skills to date. No man can ever live up to her dreamy book boyfriends, so why bother? But with her parents looking more desperate each time she shows up solo for their annual Christmas party, this year she’s determined to find herself a boyfriend by any means—fair or foul.

There are so many people I owe this accomplishment to, and who deserve a special THANK YOU:  Carmen, Mimi, my editor Sue, Jackie, all my wonderful co-authors of Love, Christmas 2 and of course, all of you, our dear readers and friends, who bought this box set.

The most meaningful THANK YOU goes to my husband, for being there for me, for believing in me, for offering moral and financial support, emergency hugs, pep talks, for playing housekeeper, tear-wiper, even chef when I was too exhausted, and never complaining when I worked twelve hours a day until 2 or 3 am, for keeping my spirits up with his endless supply of optimism, and for putting up with me – which is no easy job.

Each and every one of you who read this post, this victory is yours, as much – or even more – than it’s mine.  ♥ ♥ ♥

Now do you believe in the magic of Christmas? Here’s something that will make your holidays even more fun:  We’re looking for Santas and Reindeer! Visit our December Contest and YOU could win gift cards, paperback books, and book bundles. Click here to play! 

Wishing you the best holidays ever!

5 Favorite Summer Things To Do by Stephanie Queen

Like a lot of us, I find I have more leisure time in the summer. Work slows down, days get longer and energy goes up. Maybe it’s all a mirage, but suddenly there’s more time for the fun stuff in life.

Here are my top 5 fun summer leisure loves:

  1. The Beach. Breathing the salt air. Splashing in the ocean waves. Walking in the warm sand. Any of it. All of it! One of my favorite all time beaches is Gay Head Beach on Martha’s Vineyard (pictured above), a small island off the coast of Massachusetts and top summer vacation mecca. When POTUS vacations there, you know it has to be hot!

Speaking of which, POTUS plans a vacation to Martha’s Vineyard in my latest Beachcomber Investigations novel, Beachcomber Danger. The problem is there’s a credible threat to his life. But my hero and heroine, Dane & Shana will do their part to foil the threat. Of course, nothing is that easy and nothing good happens without a cost. Find out the price Dane has to pay when you read the book…

  1. Summer Theater. Maybe I’m a geek, but I love seeing those small productions done in all the vacation spots well off Broadway—mostly in the mountains. Revivals of long ago favorites like South Pacificor My Fair Lady, or my very favorite The Pajama Game. I’m heading up to the mountains in New Hampshire to see whatever they’re showing!
  2. Shopping. I know, I know. This is a great leisure activity any time of year (think Christmas) but it’s extra special when you can cruise the boutiques and shops in a vacation town, especially one that’s on the water, and duck inside for special sales and AC when the sun gets too hot. My favorite spot is in the Berkshires of Massachusetts, closely followed by Wolfeboro, NH on the shores of Lake Winnepesauki. Or any water front harbor town along the coast of Maine, like York or Kennebunkport.
  3. Ice Cream. I know it’s not an activity. Not strictly speaking, but eating ice cream cones, visiting shops or outdoor stands, especially if they’re along a beach or at a carnival, is classifiably a FUN activity! I enjoy the beach side stands at places like Old Orchard Beach in Maine or Salisbury Beach in Massachusetts among many, many others (closely followed by the stands that sell ‘Beach Pizza’!)
  4. Reading a Beach Book. This is the ultimate leisurely activity in the summer. Laying around with nothing to do but read for hours on end. On the beach or in a hammock or poolside. Or maybe in bed late at night, or before you get up in the morning because you have nowhere else to be. The ultimate definition of leisure activity!

If you’re looking for a great Beach Read, check out my romantic detective series, Beachcomber InvestigationsIt’s on sale now for a limited time for $.99!

Stephanie Queen

About USA Today Bestselling Author Stephanie Queen
A romantic at heart and a writer by nature, Stephanie Queen has the enthusiastic soul of a cheerleader. So of course she loves creating stories where the good guys always win. Although she’s lost count of all the jobs she had before she settled on being a Novelist, her favorite was selling cookies as a Keebler Elf. She is a graduate of UConn (go Huskies!) and Harvard U and lives in New Hampshire with her family, her cat, Kitty, and her (real or imagined?) chauffeur, Myren.

I Can’t Believe It’s Already May! #mgtab

Hi Everyone!

Currently I am writing two new wedding stories which will be published in Authors’ Billboard boxed sets, so rather than expanding on that, I thought I’d share my review for my friend Mimi Barbour’s latest series (which of course would be a great gift for MOM!!)

Happy Reading and for those of you who are moms, Happy Mother’s Day!! 

Sweet Retaliation is Book #1 in the fabulous

Mob Tracker Series.

My Review Of Sweet Retaliation: 

A Gripping Series About A Sister’s Quest For Justice

When Cassidy’s twin brother is shot and killed by a gang member, she’s devastated, and becomes obsessed to identify the murderer and seek justice.

But to do this, she needs to be stronger, transforming from the good girl next door into a fearless fighter who puts herself in danger time and time again. Trace McGuire is the detective who’s assigned to solve her brother’s murder. Although the last thing he wants are complications in his life, he finds himself drawn to Cassie, but deeply concerned when she continuously risks her life to seek the truth.

Sparks fly when they decide to work together, and Trace finds himself wanting to protect Cass while falling for her hard. But they each have trust issues, and there are times when they withhold information from each other.

If you crave action, thrills, mystery, amazing characters—and of course captivating, sizzling romance—you’re going to love this series!

From The Author:

This book has been a revelation to me. In fact, the whole series has worked its spell.  It’s been bursts of magic mixed in with a hell of a lot of hard work.

Every once in a while, an author begins a new story, and as soon as it starts, the character takes over. This happened to me. I could picture this girl in my mind, a librarian whose personality had to be that of a shy, scared, insecure miss who did nothing when she watches some mob members kill her twin.

After that incident, she needs to change into a person who feels such revulsion for her behavior that nothing matters except that she seeks revenge for the death of her brother. How can she live with herself if she doesn’t?

Right?

But how can she – a weak woman who’s never stood up for herself – make it happen?

That’s when the magic starts…

From $3.99 to $0.99:

AMAZON

Sweet Retaliation

Book #1

The Mob Tracker Series

By NYT Bestselling Author

Mimi Barbour

Chapter One

What the hell was she doing following her brother, especially at night? Cassidy Santino didn’t do darkness. Not in the slums of a city like Las Vegas when, molasses thick, it threatened and terrified.

Gagging, sweating, she’d reached the end of her backbone. Thoughts of giving up and retreating gobbled up the small amount of bravery still hanging on by a thread, making her hesitate. Then worry for her twin, Raoul, kicked in.

Biting her lip, she eased forward so she could see around the rickety fence into the semi-lit alley behind a big warehouse. A group of men milled about in a circle. Two of them were head-to-head in a heated discussion. Adrenalin kicked in when she saw her brother step out of the circle.

Raoul’s shoulders were hunched in the same way he’d hold himself when their father had intimidated him as a boy. She watched him flinch and start to turn away. Then the man he’d been arguing with let out a bellow, backhanded him across the face and shoved hard. Before she could get her bewildered brain to accept the incident, Raoul went down and the other men crowded in and began kicking him.

No! Stop!

Her mind screamed the words, but her voice didn’t connect. It froze. When she opened her mouth fear struck her mute. Though she tried to release her rage, to force sound past the blockage in her throat, not even a peep escaped. She’d never felt so useless in all her sad, ineffectual years. Forcing her limbs to move, she fell forward onto her knees but couldn’t get her leg muscles to function.

Infuriating seconds ticked by as she watched the men work her brother over like he was a soccer ball, rather than a human being.

God! Please…

Movement, shuffling, a voice called out from another direction. “Police. Stop what you’re doing and back away. Get your hands up. Do it now!”

Thank you, Lord! Confidence arrived with the authorities, and Cassi felt a flood of energy. Springing to her feet, she started forward. Before she went two steps, one of the assailants stepped over to Raoul, extended his arm and a gunshot changed the rest of her life. She heard her twin grunt and saw his body jerk.

“No!”

Fear vanished under her instinctive urgency to get to Raoul. She ran. To help him, save him, give up her life for him. He was all she had in the world, the only one who mattered.

Blinded by grief, unaware of the loud gunplay going on around her, she fell to her knees next to his lifeless form. Before she had a chance to understand the danger, a man dashed out, swept her to the side and covered her with his own body.

“Keep down.” Rough, his hands hurting, he pushed her head under his chest while she wiggled to get back to Raoul. “Stop it. You’ll get us both killed.” His voice, hard and angry drew her attention. She shook away from his hand and looked at him, trying to explain that the injured man was her brother and he needed help. When their eyes met, the bit of light from the building’s illumination revealed his face.

Deep blue eyes, encircled with a dark outer ring of pure determination, penetrated for an instant, an order clear and visible that only a man in command could produce. Compelled to obey, but overridden by her need to get to Raoul, she kept pushing at him, until she felt him jerk and heard his grunt of pain.

One of those monsters had shot her rescuer. Disbelief overwhelmed and in seconds the relentless fear returned. Imprisoned and helpless, the horror of the moment clawed at her sanity. Surrendering to its magnetic lure, darkness claimed her and she knew no more.

READ THE REVIEWS

For the outstanding Mob Tracker series!

Cassidy is bereft when her twin brother is shot and killed by a gang member. She vows to find the murderer and wreak justice. So she remakes herself from the quiet librarian she is into a hip gangsta chick. She’s something else as well — an elite boxer and this gets her out of tough spots time and time again. Detective Trace McGuire is assigned to solve her brother’s murder and, in short order, he’s completely smitten by Cass. But he’s terribly protective and, while he is in awe of her fighting ability, he can’t help but be beside himself with worry as she throws herself into the line of fire time after time.

Ms. Barbour has written a gripping story about one woman’s quest for justice. She has deftly created marvelous characters that pull you into their story. This is a suspense-filled, full-bore non-stop action ride that you will absolutely love.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I just finished Sweet Retaliation by Mimi Barbour (Book 1 in The Mob Tracker Series).
Sweet retaliation is a book that you do not want to miss!
Cassidy witnesses something that no one should ever have to witness.
Her brother’s murder.
I loved Cassidy from the very beginning. She has it all – sweetness, kindness, sass and class.
Her character is written beautifully, she has such depth in her character.
We see her whole range of emotions and how she deals with them and we also see her transform from what you think is a sheltered, naive woman to a woman that is a force of nature!
Trace McGuire is a man who has seen it all and you feel fairly certain that nothing could ever surprise him as a cop. But he hadn’t met anyone like Cass.
He is completely unprepared for the woman that is as stubborn as he is.
I loved their chemistry and how their characters fit together.
I also giggled multiple times at their banter and especially at his reactions to Cass’s witty comebacks or remarks.
I am in love with this book and I’ll be following the series for more!
~~~~~~~~~~~~

Absolutely brilliant read!
From the very first page I was hooked in to this story. The action begins straight away for Cass and doesn’t really stop throughout. This is the first book that I have read by this author and I was really impressed with her writing style. She created characters that I connected with straight away and a plot that flowed seamlessly. This book really was a joy to read! I love mob/crime/mystery stories so I knew this one would be right up my street and it was! There were some fabulous twists and turns and my attention never wavered once! A brilliant introduction to a new author.
Cass was a fantastic character! After the first chapter I wasn’t suite sure whether she would do what she intended to do but as the story went on she showed her strength and was determined to bring her brothers killer to justice. I loved the connection between her and Trace! There was just something about them that I loved. She is probably one of the best female leads that I have read about in a while.
Trace – oh Trace how I love you! As soon as he appeared in the story I knew I would fall in love with him and I did! He was a really great character, independent, focused and not afraid to push the limits when needed. Together he and Cass were amazing!
I really cannot wait to read more from this author in the future and highly recommend this story! You will have a hard time putting it down once you have started!
Mimi Barbour did an awesome job!

Tamara Ferguson

Writing steamy yet sweet compassionate stories of fate that are wonderfully romantic, Tamara Ferguson is the multi-award winning, #1 international bestselling author of the Tales of the Dragonfly romance suspense series, the Kissed By Fate new adult romance series, the Two Hearts Wounded Warrior Romance series and the Daydreams and Dragonflies sweet romance series.

Taking My Cues From Nature For Spring Romance Suspense #mgtab

I Have Two New Releases In Romance Suspense!!

Plus Authors’ Billboard Will Be Publishing Several Romance Suspense Boxsets Very Soon.

I’m excited to say I’ll be a part of at least two of them this year.

Crystal Rock, Wisconsin…

Is a purely fictional resort town where my stories take place. The Dragonfly Pointe Inn has been restored, and in the process, it’s discovered that a human trafficking ring has been operating in the area during the years when the inn was abandoned.

Or has the trafficking been going on for much longer?

I do weave a slight element of fantasy through my stories.

Once two lovers kiss at Dragonfly Pointe? Their love is meant to last forever.

Continue Reading →

Tamara Ferguson

Writing steamy yet sweet compassionate stories of fate that are wonderfully romantic, Tamara Ferguson is the multi-award winning, #1 international bestselling author of the Tales of the Dragonfly romance suspense series, the Kissed By Fate new adult romance series, the Two Hearts Wounded Warrior Romance series and the Daydreams and Dragonflies sweet romance series.