Where – and when – do you want to be this Christmas?

Pandemic got you trapped? How about a very economical (99 cents!) tour around the world with a few side trips back in time?
Dear Santa: A Christmas Wish is filled with NEW (and unique) stories from eighteen of The Authors’ Billboard ladies. None are the same. They don’t even take place in the same towns or eras.

How did we come up with our stories? I don’t know about the other authors, but my story, A PLATE OF CHRISTMAS COOKIES, was inspired by a real couple.

Many years ago, I witnessed two former high school sweethearts meet again for the first time in over thirty years. The magic – electricity, pheromones, or whatever it was – between the former teenage couple was both tangible and unforgettable. Two other items in the story: Mary’s obsession with the curlers in her hair and Jake’s discourse on what he was doing when they raised the flag for the second time on Iwo Jima, are real. Oh, and they really did get a happy ever after. Pre-order Dear Santa: A Christmas Wish and read all about it. It’s only available in digital format in this set.

Grab A PLATE OF CHRISTMAS COOKIES, only in Dear Santa: A Christmas Wish

Dear Santa,

For Christmas, we wish for our latest box set to be a bestseller.

Thank you,

Dani Haviland and the other authors of Dear Santa: A Christmas Wish.

18 Diverse wishes for the Jolly Old Man. Can he fulfill them?

Avoid Fear; Be Valiant by @JoanReeves #mgtab

Photograph of Franklin D. Roosevelt

FDR, 1933, Photo from National Archives and Records Administration, Public domain

In 1933, during his first inaugural address, Franklin Delano Roosevelt said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”

FDR was talking about the fear that was pervasive in America at that time. The stock market crash of 1929 not only bankrupted 20,000 companies but also threw 15 million people into unemployment. More than 23,000 people committed suicide!

When FDR was inaugurated as President, the country was in crisis. Many people were literally starving to death. Back then the homeless were called hobos, and they road the rails and hitchhiked across the country—looking for jobs and food. My mother was a toddler in the 1930’s, but she remembered hearing men knocking on the back door of her home, begging for a piece of bread or any bit of food her mother could spare.

So FDR faced a dead economy, massive unemployment, and unsettling rumblings from Europe. People were desperately afraid of not having food to eat or a roof over their heads.

Fear Sculpture

Fear Sculpture by Adina Mayo

When Roosevelt uttered those words about fear, he was issuing a call to arms to the American people to believe that the crises they faced could be overcome—to be valiant and not succumb to an overall feeling of fear and panic.

We face pretty much the same situation today, but millions of people have never had to deal with a crisis like this. They don’t understand that perilous times call for all of us to dig deep for faith and optimism. Even the most frightened of us have the ability to “gut it out” and be valiant.

Valiant

The dictionary defines this adjective as the ability to be brave or determined. Yes, determined. We don’t have to throw ourselves on a grenade to save others or any of the acts of bravery committed by soldiers and first responders. We just have to be determined.

Sign saying VALIANT

Valiant = Determined

Determined to: believe we as a country (whatever your country may be), and as a people will endure.

Determined that we will not yield to nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror but will be calm and think logically and follow sensible rules.

Determined to set a good example for our children so they will learn how to behave in crisis.

Determined that we will remain optimistic. Determined that we will help where and when we can.

Determined that we will not yield to panic and rush to testing stations when we have no Sign: Be a Warrior Not a Worrier.reason to think we have CoVid19, thereby conserving resources.

Determined to make the best of a bad situation. Determined that we will learn lessons from this awful experience.

Be safe. Be optimistic. BE VALIANT!

Diana Gabaldon and me

Is there someone in your life who made a huge difference even though you’ve never been introduced? Well, I have and her name is Diana Gabaldon.

Photo courtesy Variety – Terrence Patrick

How did she impact my life on such a grand scale? It started with a gift. My eldest daughter gave me a paperback book for Christmas. On it was a little handwritten tag. ‘The story of the most perfect man in the world.’ Yup. Outlander, the story of a time traveler and the man she fell in love with.

The story reignited my fascination with time travel that H.G. Wells had lit when I was a teenager. When checking her website to see if she had more books, I noticed we were born the same year and both attended the same university at the same time. I wondered if she had endured the same jerk I had for Freshman English. Until he came into my life, I loved writing. What stuck with me, though, was her declaration that if you love to write, WRITE!
My passion to create stories had returned. What would happen if I fell into Outlander? I couldn’t get that idea out of my head. Little themes kept sprinting through my head, twisting through forests of elaborate scenarios, bumping into encounters between her fictional characters and mine.
So, overcoming the literary passion-gutting of my Western Literature professor at NAU thirty years earlier, I started to write again. Working full time and with a daughter in school, all I had were late nights and stolen moments for my new obsession. Of course, I couldn’t use Outlander, so I created a different fictional time travel story. The premise remained the same, though: an older woman is rejuvenated and awakes in a different time, interacting with fictional characters from her favorite romance novel.
I didn’t publish anything for a long time, but I did keep writing. Did I even want to be published? Well, sort of. I wanted my novels to be available to my daughters and granddaughter (no male heirs). Being published had to be the best way to do that. Photocopies and journals were easily lost. Searching library systems for Nana’s name would be easier.
I had four books written before I published my first one. The first two in the series still weren’t ready to be shared and I knew it. I cringe when I look back at my early drafts. But you know what? The passion kept me going. Now if I reread my stories, I smile with pride. I didn’t give up. I didn’t think I’d ever finish that first book (now free), Naked in the Winter Wind but I did. Right now, I’m working on number thirty-one. Take that, NAU Professor!

No matter who inspires you, take that kernel of desire and work toward your dream, revel in your passion. Do no harm and be respectful, and who knows, maybe you’ll be an inspiration to others, too!
Thanks, Diana!

Love living the life of the rich and famous but without the debt or paparazzi? Check out ALL THAT GLITTERS: GLITZ, GLAM, AND BILLIONAIRES. See if your Mr. Marvelous is in here.

Where do you get your ideas? by USA Today bestselling author Nancy Radke #mgtab

Click here for link to Amazon.

So it is finally summer and I’m considering ideas for my next series. Readers sometimes wonder where we get our ideas, so this time I’ll write about what inspired one of my books.

The Handsomest Man in the Country (free) came about when I decided to try writing a book similar to those of Louis L’Amour. Starting with the end of the Civil War, I placed my heroine, Mally, in the mountains of Tennessee, and started writing. I had a theme, that of not judging a person by his looks. Also I had my great grandmother’s written account of her and her husband coming west in a wagon train as first-person background information.

All her life, Mally has wanted to marry the handsomest man in the country. She is a very pretty girl and looks forward to her teen years and having the boys come courting. The nearby neighbor woman has sons her age, with the most handsome one being Gage Courtney. Gage lets her ride his horse, and she decides he’s the one for her.

Then the Civil War begins. Her father and the Courtney boys leave to fight. She loses both parents at the end of the war and the Courtney boys are nowhere around. Following her father’s wishes, she sets out for Missouri to find her uncle and his wife. They have also lost their farm and are all ready to start west for Oregon Territory. Mally joins them, but soon a marriage of convenience forces her to marry a man she’s never met, one who makes her mules look good after he shaves off his beard. (That idea came from a TV show I once watched where the man looked quite handsome until he shaved.)

Trey Trahern knows he isn’t a man that girls would ever look at twice and considers himself fortunate to have Mally as a wife. He knows she was forced into this marriage and tells her that he will stay with her, but will release her if she wants out.

Soon after they are wed, the man of her dreams, Gage Courtney, rides up and joins the wagon train. Trey invites him to build next to them. What is Mally to do?

The rest of the Trahern books tell about the Trahern boys and their cousins and sisters. Now 13 books in all, it is a series I almost didn’t write, but which has turned into my best-selling series. You never know where a storyline will lead you.

Next series I’m considering writing is one based upon fairy-tales like Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, and The Ugly Duckling. I’ve been watching The Adventures of Merlin on TV and like the magic element, although I don’t know if I will put it in or not. Comment below if you have a story idea you’d like to see developed. My books are always clean and wholesome.

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