Friday the 13th -Lucky for me and you!

I was born on a Friday the 13th (June), and that day has always been lucky for me! Today it’s lucky for you – and it’s better for your eyes too!

In the world of technology, where we all have our noses stuck to television screens, computers, tablets, and cellphones, if you’re like me, your eyes need a rest. Generally, I am up by 5:30 every morning and on the computer within ten minutes of waking up. That’s after using the bathroom and pouring that first cup of coffee. Somedays, I am literally on my computer working for 12-15 hours.

So when I have a few hours off, the last thing I want to do is read because I need to give my eyes a break. It doesn’t help that I’m getting older and my eyesight is starting to change. The problem is, I used to read voraciously. I could read a 300-page book in several hours, and I used to read several books a week. Now I might read a book every other month.

What I have started doing is listening to audiobooks. I get a chance to relax my mind, enjoy a story, and clean my house, or cook something good in the kitchen. Sometimes, I just sit back and do nothing while I enjoy one!

I love audiobooks, and I know a lot of people are starting to enjoy them too. That’s why I am slowly having my books turned into audio productions! And this is where the fun begins!

I currently have several books in audio, and I’m going to give away 25 copies of several of them to you! All you have to do is look over the books on the sign-up form and pick your first and second choice. Then in a few days, I will send you a link and a code to download it for FREE from Audible.

CLICK HERE to sign up for a FREE Audio Book!

COMING SOON TO AUDIO

Make sure to join my AUDIO ONLY newsletter that is used to announce new releases and offers the first change of FREEBIES on new releases!

JOIN HERE

Gingerbread Cake Means Christmas by @JoanReeves #mgtab

In our home, it’s not officially Christmas until I make Old-Fashioned Gingerbread.

Everyone talks about gingerbread men and gingerbread houses during the holidays, and both of those items are really cute. But, to me, they look better than they taste.

I don’t like crisp, hard-baked gingerbread cookies. Maybe it’s because my mom never made gingerbread people or houses. She made gingerbread cake and served it warm from the oven with a dollop of cream cheese frosting sprinkled with lemon zest on top. From scratch.

Oh, my goodness, the smell of the gingerbread baking made salivary glands go into overdrive. And the taste? Amazing.

Many people think it takes too long to make a cake from scratch so they buy a cake mix. I’m sure the cake mix is probably a good product, and you may want to try it.

However, I’d like to share my recipe for homemade gingerbread with you. It’s darker in appearance than the picture shown on the box. That’s probably because my recipe calls for molasses. That’s what gives it the darker color, rich aroma, and depth of flavor.

Old-Fashioned Gingerbread

  • 1/2 cup sugar, white or brown
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 1 cup hot water (hot from the tap, not boiling)
  1. Butter a 9x9x2 inch baking pan and set aside. Turn your oven on and set it for 350 degrees F.
  2. Sift flour into a small bowl along with the ginger, baking soda, nutmeg, and salt.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl, and add the egg. Beat well.
  4. Add the molasses to the butter mixture and beat well.
  5. Add the sifted dry ingredients to the butter mixture a little at a time. Mix well after each addition until all is incorporated.
  6. Carefully stir in the hot water and mix well.
  7. Pour the batter into the baking pan and place in the preheated oven.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 40-45 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  9. Serve warm plain or with a dollop of whipped cream or cream cheese frosting.

I made Gingerbread this past weekend so, for me, it’s officially Christmas!

Be sure and enter our Rafflecopter on our Home Page and check out all the wonderful Holiday Romances—books and box sets galore—you’ll find from the very talented authors of The Authors’ Billboard.

Holiday Romances by Joan Reeves

Above are a few of my Christmas Romances for your consideration. I invite you to sign up for my Newsletter which has new release information and giveaways too.

I wish you a Merry Christmas and a very Happy, Healthy, Prosperous New Year!

Why My Outdoor Lights Stay Up Until March

Why My Outdoor Decorations Stay Up Until March by @_NancyRadke #mgtab

I am one of those who put my outdoor lights up around Thanksgiving and don’t take them down until after March. I especially love the white fairy lights that cast a warm glow on everything. This year I plan to put up some larger, colored lights, but I still want the tiny white fairy lights around my windows.

So why do I leave my decorations up so long? It has nothing to do with decorating and everything to do with a slight amount of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). I live near Seattle where it gets dark around 5 pm, starting in November and continuing through February. I happen to be very sensitive to outdoor light or lack of it.

In the summer, I get up with the sun and am pretty much happy all day. I rarely close my curtains. (Some of my windows don’t even have curtains.) But in the winter, when it is dark out, it makes me want to sleep and not get anything done. Closing the curtains doesn’t work. I KNOW it is black on the other side. Pitch black. Dark as the inside of a wolf’s mouth at midnight.

One year I put up fairy lights as a decoration. I didn’t think much of it until I realized that it kept my windows from feeling dark. Even though I KNEW it was dark outside, it didn’t FEEL that way. I could leave my curtains open. Even with them shut, light shone on them from the outside, as if it wasn’t dark out.

I no longer wanted to start closing down at 3:30, 4 pm, and instead felt full of energy. Hooray! Fairy lights are wonderful. I put them on a timer so that they would come on before it started getting too dark and not go off until 10 pm. This worked so great that I left them up until the spring equinox was close enough that I no longer needed them.

So if you feel dreary during the long northern winter nights, get those fairy lights working for you. Don’t take them down in January just because the holiday season is over. You may be the only house on the block with your lights on, but if it works, keep them on.

My Christmas story this year, Three French Hens, takes place on a Montana ranch, with freezing cold weather, darkness, and the bank threatening to foreclose on a widow and her son. The hero finds his way to her door because she had put a bright light up on the barn to help guide herself back home. He thought at first it was a star helping him find his way. That’s the way I feel about fairy lights.

Click here for set containing this story.

The set shown here is Unforgettable Christmas Dreams, put out by the Authors’ Billboard. If you want to enter our monthly contest, click this link.

https://authorsbillboard.com/

Porch Bandits & Christmas

Christmas shopping has gone online, and delivery trucks jam the roads, zipping from porch to porch dropping off the goodies and gifts for all the good boys and girls. But there’s always the pesky porch bandit to ruin the stew.

There are traps, hidden cameras, and shotguns to use, but in Christmas Creek, Sheriff Brad Wing decides to set his own trap.

Who will he catch and what surprises await him?

This Christmas, Mimi Barbour and her group of merry writers have a special treat for you. What’s more fun than 18 short and fun stories centering on the Christmas spirit, loving, giving, and adventure? Treat yourself to 18 Christmas cookies while snacking on Christmas Shorts [quickie short stories from NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Authors].

My Christmas Creek Romance series is romantic and full of surprises, like a runaway sleigh on a wintry day. Every story weaves itself in a magical and unexpected direction, full of Christmas spirit, small-town hijinks, and love in the frosty air. Deck the Hearts, Book #1 appears in Love, Christmas: Songs of the Heart, and A Christmas Creek Carol, Book #3 is in Love Christmas: Movies You Love. And of course, A Christmas Creek Caper, Book #5 is in this year’s set Christmas Shorts. (Her Christmas Chance, Book #2 and Kitty, It’s Cold Outside, Book #4 make up the rest of Christmas Creek with more to come in coming years.)

Rachelle Ayala’s Christmas Creek Romance Series