I am thankful for…..

…being a writer. It is not the easiest or the hardest job in the world. Sometimes it can feel like I’m frying my brain to come up with the perfect sentence and sometimes my body feels the abuse of butt in chair for long hours to get the job done. But it isn’t digging a ditch or being the guy with the shovel walking behind the elephant!!

…having writer friends. They are the people who ‘get you.’ Like the lovely ladies here at Authors of Main Street. It was serendipity that we all came together, get along, and enjoy doing the things we do, like the boxed sets of stories, together.

…getting to do what I’ve dreamed of all my life. Taking the scenes and voices out of my head, putting the words down on paper, and sending them out into the world for others to actually want to read. I pinch myself everyday that this is my life.

…all the amazing people I’ve met in person and online who connected to me through books–either the ones I’ve read or the ones I’ve written.

thanksgivingBlessings and Wishes for a Happy Holiday Season to all!!

 

 

Getting Ready for the Busy Holiday Season

It’s that time of year again. You know what I’m talking about. That time when we run non-stop, shopping, cleaning, cooking, entertaining…and we do it for weeks on end. Sometimes we wonder why we do this to ourselves every year, but the answer is obvious. We do it out of love–love for our families, love for our friends. We’re women, and it’s what we do.bigstock-Abstract-Christmas-background--26329868

But all that stress can wear you down, making you vulnerable to germs the family brings with them. So as you begin the marathon time of taking care of everyone else, don’t forget to take care of yourself, too. If you don’t, you may find yourself stuck in bed while others eat all that food you cooked!

Take at least an hour a day just for yourself. Take a long bath. Take a walk. Read a good book or watch your favorite television show while curled up on the couch with your hubby or your pet. Take a nap. Take time to just breathe and relax. Then get back to the hustle and bustle of the season, refreshed and renewed.

I’m the queen of cleaning for company. Here are my top ten tips for getting ready for visitors.

1. Make a detailed list of every single thing you need to do to get your house company ready, from washing the china to dusting under the couch. It’s extremely satisfying to mark each item off the list and you won’t lie awake at night trying to think of what you need to do the next day.

2. Do one room at a time, and don’t move on to the next until it’s completed. I used to bounce around all over the house, dusting, sweeping, etc. until I realized how much easier it was to stay in one room, working until everything on my list was done. I start in the farthest room from the main living area so I don’t give up. I know the main areas HAVE to get cleaned, so I save them for the final days before company arrives.

3. Make menus for every meal you’re going to cook well ahead of time and start picking up the items you’ll need well in advance. (Make a grocery list as you plan the menu) That way you’re not spending the rent money on groceries at the last minute or spending hours in the grocery store trying to get everything on your list.

4. Take one day to wash all the bedding and make all the beds. Yes, I know I just said do one room at a time, but you can strip the bed as you clean that room, then make the bed on that one day reserved for that chore. Seriously, it’s much easier and you won’t forget whether you changed the sheets or not.

5. Make a list for hubby and the kids, too. Why should you do all the work? Yes, I know sometimes it’s easier to just do it yourself, but it’s a bad habit to get into and it deprives the rest of the family of fulfilling their responsibilities. Check items off as they’re completed so they get that same sense of satisfaction.

6. Make gift wrapping a family affair. Fix hot chocolate and a favorite dessert, put on the Christmas music, get down on the floor, and get the chore done in a flurry of paper, ribbon, laughter, and fun.

7. Cook ahead if you can. Not everyone has the refrigerator or freezer space to do this, but it’s a huge help if you can bake and freeze cookies, pies, cakes, rolls, casseroles, and even candy ahead of time. Then you’ll have time to enjoy your company instead of being stuck in the kitchen.

8. Buy the best products you can afford for cleaning and polishing. While you might be able to pick up bargain products at the dollar store, there are some things worth paying a little extra for. One of my favorite products is Howard Feed-n-Wax Wood Polish and Conditioner. Why? Because I can dust with it and not have to dust again for a week or more. I can clean my hardwood floors with it and they’ll shine their way through to the new year. It can turn old, faded wood into something that looks brand new, including your kitchen cabinets. Yes, it’s more expensive that a can of dusting spray, but totally worth it.

9. Gather up all the items in the main living areas that don’t add to the charm that is your home at holiday time, stick them in a box, and put them in the garage. Things like magazines, newspapers you haven’t read yet, ragged couch pillows, knick knacks that don’t go with the holiday, junk mail, coupons, whatever clutters up the house and doesn’t add to the ambiance, get it out of the way. It will make your home look cleaner and more inviting, and it cuts down on things you have to keep picking up and cleaning around. You can bring the box back in after the holidays, but you might decide you like your house better without all that stuff. Also, clear the kitchen counters of things you won’t be using during the holiday time. Your kitchen will look better and you’ll have more room to work.

10. Try to finish your list at least a day or two before company arrives. That way you”ll just need to do one last speed clean of vacuuming, sweeping, and dusting before you reward yourself with a bubble bath and a good book–which will leave you refreshed and ready to take on the days ahead.

As I write this, I have company arriving in less than 2 weeks. We’re still in the process of a total kitchen remodel, so I have boxes stacked nearly to the ceiling, holding nearly every kitchen item I’m going to need. The living room is piled high with construction materials, sinks, flooring, paint, stain, tiles, boxes, and tools, and everything is covered in a thick layer of sheet rock dust and saw dust. We have at least another week of work on the kitchen, so that will leave me only one week to unpack the kitchen, clear out the construction mess, and get things ready for company.

Can I do it? Lord, I hope so. I’m going to try my best, but my lists are going to get a real work out. Somewhere on that list is a hot bubble bath and a copy of Christmas on Main Street that I’m hoping to re-read to get me into the holiday spirit. XMAS 2014sm 849 x 500

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope you have a great time with family and friends.

 

 

 

It’s Christmas on Main Street Again!

XMAS 2014sm 849 x 500

Last year the Authors of Main Street released Christmas on Main Street—11 holiday stories for only .99 cents. It was a soaring success, flying to the top of Amazon’s bestseller list. Tuesday, November 11, the boxed set will once again hit the airwaves, but this time we’ve added a story from our own bestselling author, Joan Reeves.

My book, A Light in the Christmas Cafe, is number 7. It was the fifth book I published, but it was my first completed novel, so of course, it holds a tender place in my heart. But that is true of all my books, and like all of my books, it’s completely family friendly. It’s a great gift for anyone ages 8-102! If you buy my book and write a review, please let me know so I can thank you with a 100% off coupon for any of my other books.

Christmas cafe copy

And to further sweeten the deal, we’ve created a companion book, Holiday Decorating.

2ddec800 x500

Our decorating book is a gift from the Authors of Main Street to our readers, and is free with each purchase of our Christmas on Main Street boxed set. Here we have gathered our favorite holiday crafts and traditions to share with you and your family.

Main Street once was where everyone in small towns and even large cities congregated. This holiday season, you’ll find the Spirit of Main Street alive and well in a wonderful collection of twelve holiday romances, the Christmas on Main Street Box Set. With the spirit of Christmas guiding us, we have priced Christmas on Main Street inexpensively as our holiday gift to you.

This boxed set is the perfect gift for a fraction of the cost of a card and stamp. For less than a dollar, your loved-ones can receive 12 heartwarming, holiday stories perfect for snuggling by a fire on a chilly night, or a quick read on the plane while traveling, or something to help you unwind after a hectic bout of shopping. And the companion decorating can help you add a touch of holiday cheer to your home and heart.

Merry Christmas to all our readers on Main Street! May you all find love to share this holiday season.

Snippets from Christmas on Main Street.

 Nobody’s Cinderella by Joan Reeves. Darcy Benton is the oldest cliché in the world–a woman in love with her boss.

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 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 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 Christmas 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 hates 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 presents 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 the 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 beautiful stranger who happens to be pregnant, will it take a Christmas miracle to make them realize where their hearts truly belong?

A 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…this Christmas by Kelly Rae. Will a marriage proposal be the end of Katie and Chris’ forever?

A Smoky Mountain Christmas by Carol De Vaney. 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?

Do you have a favorite holiday story to share? Please leave a two sentence blurb and a buy link. Share your cheer!

Christmas on Main Street – Relaunch 2.0

cover copyThis Tuesday, November 11th, we will be relaunching our Christmas on Main Street boxed set. This year we have added a new book, by Joan Reeves, an exceptional member of our group who was not able to participate last year. This means 12 heartwarming love stories, for a fraction of the cost, of getting them separately. It’s a real Christmas Deal! One that you guy gift OR even better, a special gift you buy yourself. 🙂

NOBODY’S CINDERELLA by Joan Reeves:

Darcy Benton is the oldest cliché in the world–a woman in love with her boss. Other than
that, she’s no-nonsense, practical, mature, and sober. She’s just the kind of woman Chase
Whitaker wants as head of accounting for his company. She’s definitely not the kind of woman he wants in his bed.
Enter Darcy’s meddling, matchmaking best friend who has a plan to transform Darcy into a hottie designed to attract Chase’s interest. All it takes? A couple of little lies.
And a wish on a Christmas star. Darcy should have heeded that old advice: be careful what you wish for

To read more, check out Christmas on Main Street, our buy links will be up on the blog, the right hand side,this Monday 11/11/14.

Christmas on Main Street 2.0

Christmas on Main Street 2.0

We are trying something new in the marketing world with this new book, it’s called ThuderClap. We would really appreciate your support. It’s easy and should be fun to see how far our reach can go with the help or readers, friends and such. Click on the link below and you will be able to participate. Thunderclap is using the power of social media to extend the reach of all sorts of campaigns, whether they be non-profit, social awareness of even book releases like ours on Monday. Your support on Facebook and Twitter would be greatly appreciated!

https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/18561-christmas-on-main-street-11-11

Make you sure you also take advantage of our companion booklet, filled with design ideas, from the Authors of Main Street. It’s our gift, a thank you to every reader, reviewer and supporter of us individually and as a group. We could not do it without you!!

The link for this FREE gift to you will also available to you on our website on Monday. We hope you and your family enjoy our ideas and if you try them and we would love to see what you have created, please post photos on our Facebook page so we can ooh-and-aw, over your work!

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorsofMainStreet

Christmas is Coming!

Christmas is Coming!

Thank you for visiting our blog today, in the spirit of Christmas, we would love to hear what decorations or prep work you are getting ready to do, for the holiday season. Do you decorate for fall and Thanksgiving first, or jump right into the red and green of the Christmas Season? Whatever your holiday traditions are, we are so grateful that you spend a little time with us here on the blog and in our books!

Wishing you well, in fiction and real life!

Kelly Rae 🙂

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like…

Don’t smack me, I wasn’t going to say Christmas. Honest! I was thinking more along the lines of this:

t-day

Thanksgiving is such a fun season and along with friends and family–the price of butter finally comes down!

butter That right there is something to be thankful for! I’ve been known to buy 20 to 30 pounds at a time when the price goes sub $2/lb, and I fill my freezer for the baking days ahead.

Speaking of baking, it’s one of the favorite past times of the season. I’ll be trying a new recipe I just discovered and wanted to share it here–to get that baking mood buttered up.

Apple Roses (h/t Betty Crocker)

apple roses

Roses never smelled—or tasted—so sweet! Our apple crescent rose pastries are ready in 45 minutes and are a delicious addition to any brunch.

  • Prep Time 20 min
  • Total Time 45 min
  • Servings 9

3 medium apples

4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Flour, for sprinkling
1 roll Pillsbury™ Crescent Recipe Creations® refrigerated seamless dough sheet
5 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

 Heat oven to 400°F. Grease or spray 9 regular-size muffin cups.

  • Wash and core apples. Thinly slice each one, leaving the peel on.
  • In 2-quart saucepan, heat 4 cups water, 4 tablespoons sugar and the lemon juice to boiling. Add the apple slices; boil about 3 minutes or until apples are soft. You want to be easily able to bend them without breaking.
  • Drain apples, and place on paper towels to dry and cool completely.
  • Sprinkle flour on work surface, and roll out dough sheet. Sprinkle 5 tablespoons sugar and the cinnamon on surface of dough. Using pastry cutter (or pizza cutter), cut dough into 9 (1-inch) strips.
  • Arrange cooled apple slices end to end down each strip. Carefully roll up each strip, and place in muffin cup.
  • Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until nicely golden. Remove from pan, and cool on cooling rack. Serve and enjoy!
  • If you are unable to find the dough sheet, you can use regular crescent roll dough; just press perforations to seal seams while rolling out.

Drizzle with caramel, or sprinkle with more cinnamon and sugar for added goodness.

What’s your favorite recipe of the season?

Deadlines!

The authors here on Main Street have been super busy, and I get to tell you about it and reveal the covers. We will be re-releasing Christmas on Main Street next Tuesday. But instead of eleven books in the boxed set there will be twelve! Joan Reeves is joining us this year.

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And to make it all even more fun for everyone, we are going to be 2ddec800 x500releasing our newest book, Decorating on Main Street! You’ll get to see all those fun things we do with the instructions on how to do them.

So it’s been crazy at my house. I got the fabulous job of making the covers for both books. Plus I’m supposed to have a holiday book coming out by mid-November. Will someone please add a few more hours to my day? I really need them! I’m so behind on my holiday book!

October was filled with deadlines and so far November doesn’t look much better. But my madness has been filled with writer things, and my home front (once I got past October 9) has been rather quiet, so I won’t complain too much. When I look around on Main Street, we’ve had several authors dealing with some very serious situations.

Two of our authors lost parents in October. It’s very hard to say goodbye to someone we love and close that chapter in our lives. Both authors are mourning, yet like the rest of us on Main Street, they are trying to meet deadlines, too.

I am more than happy to put October behind me. November has become a milestone month for me. My oldest daughter was born on the first. I was married in this month and I refuse to celebrate another birthday this month even though that number on the calendar glares at me. I’ve reached that point in my life where I no longer want to be reminded that I’m having a birthday. If I don’t celebrate then I haven’t had one, and I’m not any older!

I looked at my daughter and I told her that I had her when I was two. She laughed and told me not to worry about it because she was only twenty-nine. Yes, I raised her right! If I could convince her daughter to stop having birthdays, we might be able to pull this off. Inside of me, I’m still thirty-something, but I’ll only admit to be being forty-five.

The trees around here in the SE corner of Virginia are just turning color. And tonight’s first freeze should snap them all. I love autumn. It comes a little late here. The ocean and the Chesapeake Bay help to hold our temperatures up. That means it delays our need for heat and the heating bills that come with it. We actually had a very mild October and I only had to take the chill out of the air a few times, but yesterday’s blustery weather seems to have ushered in the colder fall weather and I’ve had to wear my winter coat in the evenings.

So November is is here, we set the clocks back and I didn’t didn’t realize it until after 11:30 PM on Sunday that it was only 10:30 PM. I really do need to get away from my computer and pay attention to the world around me!

In spite of the craziness that always seems to surround me, I’m excited about this beautiful month. I can’t wait for our books to release. I can’t wait to get my holiday book published and maybe I’ll find a few days to enjoy the colors of nature. Until then, I’ll be a gopher and only stick my head up from my computer hole for a moment or two until I’ve met my deadlines.

And just because we’ve passed Halloween, it’s not too late to read A Skeleton at Her Door. It really is a Fall romance. This weekend I found a book coverreview of it on a blog  and the reviewer said, “The biggest plus here is Ms. Ayers’ strong sense of craftsmanship. The set up of A Skeleton at Her Door is masterful.”

I just love reading good reviews! If you love a book, review it. It’s the nicest thing you can do for an author. I promise that review made my day.

Trick or Treat! Angie Robertson opens her door and finds a six-foot tall skeleton on her doorstep. Is it a trick or a treat?

Angie thought the man at her door was her neighbor. Except he wasn’t. Dressed for a charity event Tom Meyer winds up on the wrong doorstep and this just might be the best thing that ever happened to him.

What if the skeleton was a really nice guy who’d been burned by enough women that he’s lost faith in ever finding someone who could be faithful?

A Skeleton at Her Door is a sensual romance. It’s about trusting, putting the past away, and finding love when it’s least expected. It’s also about blending two households, parenting, three children, and sneaking off for some adult time.

 Amazon International Buy Links.

http://authl.it/B005MZ9X74