Thanksgiving…Should be Every Day

Good family, good food, giving thanks at the table while holding hands with the person next to you…this means Thanksgiving to me.

The table is decorated to welcome each guest.

Thanksgiving table

There is so much food that it’s laid out buffet style.

Thanksgiving food

The dishes were:

Turkey, baked spiral ham, cornbread dressing, green bean casserole, broccoli with cheese, macaroni and cheese, etc., etc., etc….with cranberry sauce.

With one spoonful of each dish, you had a full plate.  It was delicious.

But what was more impressive was the friendship and harmony in the group.  We dined out in the woods, at a camp that my son has.  There were him, his wife, two sons, one with a girlfriend and a daughter. His and her parents, his two brothers, and a nephew.

Different generations, yet the table conversation was exciting…listening to the tales from different people was heartwarming.

What small town America is really about.  Family.

I’m thankful that every day I have my family are around me.  I’m truly blessed.

May your holiday season be blessed as well.

Being Thankful

Excited? Yes! I am.
Christmas on Main Street is considered a best seller on Amazon! I’m thankful.
I’m also thankful for the ladies who walk down Main Street beside me. We’re from different states and from different walks of life. We aren’t different in that our love of writing drives us every day to push the pen and harvest characters and their stories for our beloved readers.
In this season of Thanksgiving, there is more than enough in our lives to give thanks.
Thanksgiving Day is more than sharing a meal.

It’s when family and friends gather for time together and recall past times spent in the presence of loved ones. Loved ones who are still with us and those who have gone on. I’m thankful for the time and love we shared.
I’m thankful for my family, they keep me strong.
Years ago I wrote a poem on love. There are many ways to look at love, but I suppose the words in the poem sums up what love means to me.

Love Is

Love is a misty rain;
The caress of a gentle breeze.
Glistening snowflakes;
A mountain in spring.
A glorious sunset;
Or in a summer’s sky.
A baby’s touch;
A soft voice.
It is yielding;
It is the moment just before dawn.
It carries no force;
It issues no pressure.
Love is mellow;
Ageless and unselfish.
It is wisdom;
With kindness.
It is forgiving;
Of imperfections.
It is the calm;
In the midst of a storm.
It is the quiet;
Of a hushed moment.
Love does not scold;
Nor rebuke.
It is majestic;
Not for the faint of heart.
It is tender;
Soft as a baby’s skin.
Trusting, honest;
Consuming and strong;
Love is
~Carol DeVaney

What are you thankful for? Anything special?

A Smoky Mountain Wedding – Book Two, coming soon.
My books are available at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Kobo, Sony, Diesel, Apple and Smashwords.
You can find links on my website here.

Thankful for the Turkey and other Thoughts by Stephanie Queen

Myren's idea of Thanksgiving Turkey (kidding)

Myren’s idea of Thanksgiving Turkey (kidding)

Of course I’m thankful. Too bad about the turkey, but I love the American tradition of setting aside a day to give thanks. It’s particularly appropo for a country that has everything. Not that there aren’t some who could use more, but we’re a lucky lot just for living in the USA.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to go all patriotic-4th-of-July on you. I promise to keep my holidays straight.

Myren, my chauffeur and I will be feasting at my big family gathering. I told Myren he could have the day off but he told me I wasn’t about to cheat him out of a turkey dinner so of course he was staying. He might be outside right now running a turkey down. I saw him leaving out the back door with a turkey mating whistle and a hatchet. Oh, and he may have been carrying a bottle that looked like the one pictured here to the left. Not sure. It was all a blur.

So what am I thankful for? Besides my trusty chauffeur and my overly confident cat, I am thankful for all the people who read my books—most of all the ones who don’t know me and aren’t related to me. (I’m grateful for family and friends for an entirely different category of blessings.)

I’m grateful that I have a castle roof over my head, a pink velvet divan where I lounge write and soon a turkey in my plate, too.

My most prized blessings are my parents who still go to the gym every day in between Gun Smoke reruns, my healthy strong sons, my siblings, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, friends, cousins, once and twice removed and—well you get the picture. I have an abundance.  And I’m happy to say that I’m grateful every day.

Cheering at the parade for UConn Women's Basketball Championship

Cheering at the parade for UConn Women’s Basketball Championship

My most unusual blessing:  (aside from Myren, my chauffeur, who is not actually a drunk) Having UConn as my alma mater so I get to cheer for the most winning team in college sports history – the UConn Women’s Basketball team!  Yay Ra Ra!

I’d love to hear all about your most unusual blessings—don’t be shy!

Happy Thanksgiving to all of us!

Inspiration for a book

My contribution to CHRISTMAS ON MAIN STREET, a big box set of 11 stories by 11 authors, was a sweet comedy novel set on a cruise at set


What should Julia do when she catches her fiancé cheating on her with his receptionist a week before their fabulous Christmas wedding and honeymoon cruise in Spain and Italy?

Of course, sHer Christmas Cruise smallhe calls off her wedding to the unfaithful doctor. Tony, the nice clerk at the travel agency, does his best to console her. Going on a would-be honeymoon cruise alone is not fun. Rather than wasting a non refundable ticket, Julia invites him to come along on the cruise.

Tony Lorenzo is actually a successful psychiatrist who was only substituting for the travel agent. A cruise with the lovely Julia is a Christmas gift he can’t refuse. Even if at the moment she hates all doctors, Tony believes the magic of Christmas will bring them together.

Readers often ask me what inspired me to write a particular holiday story. For HER CHRISTMAS CRUISE, it all started on a cruise ship.

???????????????????????????????We were cruising in the North Atlantic toward Iceland and I got sick– I mean really sick with a bronchitis– from day one. Luckily I’ve brought the right medicines with me and I was determined to have a good time and relax.

Since I couldn’t brave the cold wind and low temperatures I spent a lot of time indoors and visited the beautiful ship thoroughly. The idea of setting a romance story on a ship started while I strolled through the long corridors and climbed to the various decks. I ???????????????????????????????wrote the whole first draft during the cruise. It was ideal for research.

Christmas is a beautiful time that holds fond memories for me. When my children were growing up we had wonderful Christmas reunions at my parents’ house. My mother cooked and baked for two weeks for no less than fifty people, children and grandchildren, sisters, brothers, in-laws, and a few good friends. My parents’ house was not big, but cozy and warm and so full of love and laughter. The children played and sled in the snowy hill behind the backyard. The adults played cards and cracked jokes. Oh yes it was a beautiful time that I try to reproduce now for my children and grandchildren.

But Christmastime also holds sad memories like the Christmas after my father’s death. He died in November and he had already planned to have the same celebration. He didn’t make it. But the whole family wanted to be with my mother. She was still wearing her black mourning clothes and spent the whole time crying and remembering. We did our best to cheer her up but we knew it would never be the same as before.

In addition to a fun Christmas story, HER CHRISTMAS CRUISE, that is part of CHRISTMAS ON MAIN STREET, I wrote a Christmas story with sad memories, AN UNUSUAL CHRISTMAS, that is bundled in CHRISTMAS HERE AND THERE.

Xmas Here and There5 - Trimmed

AN UNUSUAL CHRISTMAS. The story is set in Belarus where I used to travel for business to refurbish laboratories in a different life.

Dr. Jillian is always running away to the end of the world to avoid Christmas celebrations and the sad reminders of her dead son. But in Belarus, a baby girl, four little boys, and a handsome doctor will teach her the true meaning of Christmas.

If you like to travel and love to read, come and enjoy my international romances. Meet the spirited heroines and the alpha heroes who share irresistible chemistry in stories that simmer with emotion and sizzle with heat.

Feeling Nostalgic

ImageMaybe it’s that time of year for opening your heart and seeking warmth. Maybe this side of me got jump-started by all the truly touching holiday stories in the Authors of Main Street Christmas bundle. Maybe it’s watching my parents age and wanting them to be content and have someone to share their lives with. Whatever the reason, I’m finding this side of me bleeding into my writing.

Young love, love uncomplicated by other significant relationships both past and present, like young children or multiple ex’s, is all about passion and exploring the possibility of permanence, and passion again. Eyes are on the future and building a unit. While not necessarily easy to write, it usually forms the basis for most romance.

Secondary characters are allowed to explore mid-life romance, with all its complications; children, whether still in the home or grown, significant prior romantic relationships, character foibles or flaws that come as a result of life and the choices we make trying to make a living. Many times these budding relationships are fraught with humor, caution, and if one is writing romance, passion whenever we can fit it in. I find these characters and their situations interesting and fun to write. They, like me, still remember the wildness of first love and all the drama that goes with it. Time doesn’t mute the memory, but it does provide distance and the ability to smile at the good parts and hopefully let the rest go. While new love looks to the future here as well, it cannot escape what has come before because it has led to the formation of who these characters are now.

This year for me has been one spent thinking of my parents. They are not young. And although they have their children and grandchildren as well as a few good friends, neither has a companion to kiss good-night, hold hands with during the day, and sit quietly reading by the fire with on these ever cooling evenings. I don’t know if they are lonely, I can only project how I may feel in their circumstance onto them. I’d be lonely. I’d want someone to hold and be held by at night. I’d want a friend to laugh with and kiss who wouldn’t cringe at the thought of seeing me naked. For characters of this age, love isn’t about the future or the past, it’s about the now. In some ways now is the only time that matters. It’s hard for me to write about passion between characters I see as “grandparently” in the octogenarian sense, but I hope I still feel passion at that age as long as I have someone to share that part of my life with. It’s these characters, for whatever reason, that keep whispering to me, calling, however quietly, to be seen on the page.


Maybe nostalgia is why I wrote A Potters Woods Christmas, my short story in the Authors of Main Street Christmas bundle. I wanted to revisit Potters Woods and all the characters who populate it again. The founders of my alternative elder care facility are grandparents now, decades older than when they first met in Sparring Partners when they were already well into their lives. Reed and Jordon are still very much in love and very vital in A Potters Woods Christmas. I’ll visit them again when their grandchildren are grown, and while I won’t be writing scenes dripping with sensuality between them then, I hope to share their bone-deep connection on the page until it’s time for them to pass into the otherworld, hopefully in each other’s arms.

Here’s a song that makes me hopeful there is romance, companionship and love to be had at any age. I hope it brings a smile to you, as it always does for me. “Life’s too short for ‘ifs’ and ‘might have beens’”, so find the connections, my friends. It’s never too late.

Until then, pick up your copy of our bundle and fall in love. Happy Holidays!


Gratitude Giveaways

Welcome to my Gratitude Blog Hop! I’m offering a number of prizes and giveaways and all you have to do to enter is sign up for my newsletter! And you will want to do that because I only send newsletter when I have something remarkable to say. So, leave your contact info in the comment box and viola! You’re subscribed and entered. (If you wish to unsubscribe—after the contest, of course—that’s easy to do. Although I hope you won’t.)


Here are the prizes.Image



1st prize: A cupcake apron, cupcake cookbook and free coupons for my newly released novella, A LIGHT IN THE CHRISTMAS CAFÉ.



And for everyone who signs up: A coupon for my novel LOSING PENNY





And a bargain for everyone who comes by: You don’t want to miss the chance to buy this box set of 11 Christmas stories discounted to $0.99 for ONE WEEK ONLY. (My novella is #6)


 And, just to whet your appetite, here’s a recipe from the Cupcake Cookbook:Image







* 1 2/3 cups sugar
* 5 tbsp vegetable shortening
* 1 large egg white
* 1 large egg
* 3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
* 1 one-ounce bottle red food coloring
* 2 1/4 cups flour
* 1 tsp salt
* 1 cup reduced-fat buttermilk
* 1 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
* 1 tbsp white vinegar
* 1 tsp baking soda




First, beat your sugar and vegetable shortening for five minutes. You can do this by hand, but a mixer will help save some elbow grease. Next, add both the egg white and egg and beat them into the mix. In a different bowl, stir the cocoa and food coloring together and add it to the mixture. Alternately add a little bit of the flour and buttermilk until it’s all in there and mixed well. Stir in your vanilla, and then in another separate bowl combine the vinegar and baking soda. Stir it together well and add it to your mixture. The mix is finished now and ready to be poured into your cupcake pan or a lined muffin tin. Then bake it in a preheated oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit (176.6 degrees Celsius) for about 20 minutes.


But wait–before you rush into your kitchen and get out the cupcake pans, please go and visit all my blog hopping friends to see what else is on the menu. There are about 200 other authors and they’re all offering seriously cool stuff, but you have to go to to find them. 

Christmas on Main Street presented by Joan Reeves

Main Street once was where everyone in small towns and even large cities congregated. People shopped on Main Street and, to the shop owners, were more than customers with money to spend. Indeed, shopping was a personal experience where the customer and owner exchanged news about each other’s family, neighborhood gossip fed the grapevine, and each person came away from the visit with a smile.

Remember how Christmas was once celebrated on Main Street? A parade with the local schools’ marching bands, decorations that spanned the street overhead, evergreen wreaths and red bows on all the shop doors, and a Santa who seemed to be everywhere, cheerily calling out, “Merry Christmas.”

This holiday season, you’ll find the Spirit of Main Street alive and well in a wonderful collection of eleven holiday romances, the Christmas on Main Street Box Set. The Authors of Main Street have poured their heart into these books, all with holiday themes. With the spirit of Christmas guiding them, they have priced Christmas on Main Street inexpensively as their holiday gift to you.

So, grab a mug of your favorite hot winter beverage, settle into your favorite chair, prop your feet up, and prepare to fall in love–with Christmas on Main Street.

May all your Christmas Wishes come true and may the New Year be full of the best Life has to offer. Merry Christmas! Joan Reeves

These popular, bestselling authors await you with Christmas stories on Main Street with a new holiday bestseller:

S The Christmas Wish by Tori Scott S

The Christmas Wish by Tori Scott. Merry is a long way from home and missing her family as Christmas approaches, until she falls right into Santa’s lap.


Her Christmas Cruise smallHer Christmas Cruise by Mona Risk. The perfect fiancé is a cheater and the fabulous Christmas wedding is off. But the would-be honeymoon cruise may fulfill the dreams of Julia and her unexpected companion.


A Snowy Christmas in Wyoming

A Snowy Christmas in Wyoming by E. Ayers. A Native American cowboy with his thirteen-month-old daughter and a national news anchorwoman have nothing in common, except for their pasts, but in this season of giving, will fate reach through time and give the gift of love?


The S TheChristmasCon 1400x2100Christmas Con by Jill James. Contemporary Romance. Two reformed jewel thieves, Robin and Ian, are on the job to retrieve a priceless necklace, but Santa has special plans for a reunion of the ex-lovers.


Small Town Glamour Girl Christmas by Stephanie Queen. Small town girl Julie STGGC_COVER-Final-Final-900hates being an Audrey Hepburn look-alike. When the big city man of her dreams comes to town for Christmas will she sell out to model in the city or settle into small town life on his terms?


The Christmas Gift by Pepper Phillips. When an opportunity to make money Christmas Gift by Pepper Phillips Spresents itself, eleven-year-old George faces the biggest decision of his life. Will he become a thief like his father or will he discover the fact that giving, rather than receiving, is the best gift of all?



A Potters Wood Christmas by Leigh Morgan. A plot to steal an ancient artifact in A Potters Woods Christmas by Leigh Morgan Sthe Bennett’s possession could be the key to opening an even greater prize. Will Cian find family and the spirit of Christmas again?


A Baby for Christmas by Susan R. Hughes. When Ryan opens his home to Paige, a untitledbeautiful stranger who happens to be pregnant, will it take a Christmas miracle to make them realize where their hearts truly belong?


A Light S in the Christmas Cafe by Kristy TateA Light in the Christmas Cafe by Kristy Tate. A food thief, a haunted house, a matchmaking grandmother and a handsome stranger: Are the apron strings tying Deirdre to her grandmother’s café tangling up her life plans or are they leading her to love?


What if...cover Revised (931x1280)What if…this Christmas by Kelly Rae. Will a marriage proposal be the end of Katie and Chris’ forever?


S A Smoky Mountains Christmas by Carol De Vaney

A Smoky Mountain Christmas by Carol DeVaney. Falling in love wasn’t in Tina’s plans. She’d survived the snowstorm, but could she survive the love of recently divorced Hank Gordon who’s sworn off women?

It’s Almost Here…Are You Ready?

So many things are happening at once that I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed. The recently released Christmas on Main Street Collection. The soon to be released Sweetwater Springs Christmas Anthology, which includes my first ever attempt at writing something historical. My own soon to be released book, #5 in the Lone Star Cowboys series.

Since this past June, I’ve had so much going on that sometimes I don’t know if I’m coming or going. Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and I have no idea if we’re having it at my house or if we’re going elsewhere. But the stores don’t really want me to think too much about that. That isn’t where the real money is. They want me to think about…CHRISTMAS! Even before Halloween got here, the decorations were out. The toy aisles were rearranged, expanded, and overflowing with toys.

WAIT! I’m not ready. Not yet. I’m still trying to figure out how I’m going to decorate my house this year with a rambunctious, mannerless Great Dane puppy in residence. (Not mine, my daughter’s.) It’s already destroyed two couches, an ottoman, a live indoor tree, my favorite sweatshirt, the silver necklace hubby gave me for Christmas two years ago, several pillows, a quilt, dishes (that she knocked off the counter and broke), and my arms, which look like I’ve been in a battle with barbed wire.


Don’t let that sweet, innocent face fool you. This is from three months ago. She’s now three feet taller, thirty pounds heavier, and runs like a race horse. Through the house, through the yard, through my office… Oh, and did I mention her name is Merlin? Hmmm, maybe that’s why she’s such a devil.

Where can I put the tree that she won’t destroy it? Or the presents? What about my stuffed snowmen? My breakable display pieces? How will I put out a brunch buffet Christmas morning, as is our tradition? What do I do about my son and his girlfriend who are coming home for Christmas, when the dog has taken over my house and leaves a trail of destruction behind her?

Thank goodness that cup of coffee she knocked over on my desk didn’t land on my laptop. You’d have heard me scream all the way from Texas.

The day after Thanksgiving? Yeah, I’ll start thinking about Christmas then. Not before. Until then, I have a book to finish.

What about you? Have you started shopping already? Got your decorations up? When do you start thinking about Christmas?

If you need help getting in the mood for the holidays, grab your copy of Christmas on Main Street by the Authors of Main Street, on sale now.

AoMSX 800x500 S The Christmas Wish by Tori Scott S

Remembrance Day – by Susan R. Hughes

37093_remembrance-poppy1In Canada, every November 11 on Remembrance Day, it’s our custom to wear poppies on our lapels. At 11 a.m. we observe a minute of silence. In elementary school we were instructed to spend that minute thinking about all those who died during the major wars in which our nation participated (WWI, WWII, Korea) and I have done this faithfully every year since.

Each of the books in my Music Box series takes place in the aftermath of a war — WWI, WWII, Korea and Vietnam (the third and fourth books are yet to be completed). I’ve always had the utmost respect for members of our armed forces and have never forgotten the sacrifices they’ve made, even though these wars occurred before I was born. The numbers of young men we lost in the world wars was staggering. I often think about their families—especially parents who lost all their sons at once—and I think about the soldiers who came home and had to deal with painful memories as they carried on with their lives.

There are some people who object to Remembrance Day, thinking we are glorifying war. They couldn’t be more wrong. It’s a day to remember the tragedy of war and to thank those who risked or gave their lives for the freedom we enjoy today. There’s an old saying – “Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.”

In elementary school we all learned the poem “In Flanders Fields,” written during WWI by Canadian Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae. It refers to the red poppies that grew over the graves of fallen soldiers, and this is why we wear poppies to this day. The poem always touches me, no matter how many times I read it.

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the National War Memorial, Ottawa

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the National War Memorial, Ottawa

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.


Dracula – Jill James

So, I lost a few of my favorite shows this season; Fringe and Alphas. I have very eclectic tastes in television watching: CSI, Bones, Ghost Hunters, Haven, and Hawaii 5-0 (ok, can’t resist Alex O’Loughlin) So, I was feeling the loss of some good sci-fi. Granted, Dracula isn’t really science fiction, but he’s not really fact either. The new show has this steampunk feel to the show, taking place on the cusp of the Industrial Revolution. The world of Dracula has a flavor of a world just on the edge of change. And also displays the uber-hot Jonathan Rhys Meyers.


The dialogue is witty and snarky at the same time. The characters pop off the screen. The costuming and sets are spot on for the feel of London on the edge of the turn of the century. I’m going to really be paying attention, because they make Dracula seem like a misunderstood, can’t help he is a vampire and the Industrialists, feeding off the poor are seen as the bad guys in this story.

What exciting new shows have you found this season? If you are a writer, what show concept do you wish you had written, or has gotten you excited to write?

TheChristmasCon 200x300Jill James, writer of contemporary and paranormal romance.

The Christmas Con is available separately and in the boxed set
Christmas on Main Street with the Authors of Main Street