Free Promotion Opportunity with the Authors of Main Street

The Authors of Main Street want to shower our nearly 4 thousand followers with holiday cheer by offering free, or nearly free, contemporary romances.

Want to jingle with us? Here’s how:

  • Your book must be free, or 99 cents, by November 30th.
  • Send your buy link, log line (one sentence blurb over about 30 words or less) and cover image to kristyswords@yahoo.com. Please be sure and put PROMOTION in the subject line.
  • You must be willing to cross-promote on all your social media outlets and your newsletter.

We hope that this will be beneficial for all of us. If it is, we’ll run another promotion for Valentine’s Day. And maybe Mother’s Day. What about Arbor Day?

(No erotica, please.)

When You Least Expect Life to Take Over

This Summer has been super busy. Life always pops in to say, “Hey, did you forget about me?”

Well…no. How could I? Just when you think all is well, something slams the brakes on whatever you’re working on. Maybe that’s a good thing. We do need to stop and smell the flowers at some point.

We had several issues this Summer and frankly I’m happy to see Fall, its glorious colors and life back to somewhat normal. There’s something about Fall that revives my soul.

I finished Christmas at Apple Lake during a month long frenzy of writing until my fingers were basically numb, my husband became a bachelor and my house took a back seat. We rarely eat out, but hubby ate quick meals and several meals at restaurants that I had no say in how they were prepared.

If you think writers lounge around all day while words flow from their fingers to the keyboard, that’s mostly not true. While in a deadline from the gulches, many writers live in pajamas as they fight the inner editor to leave them alone until the story is down.

Christmas at Apple Lake Final

Christmas at Apple Lake is included in Christmas on Main Street Book 2, a collection of five fabulous brand new stories. If you haven’t gotten your copy yet, you can check it out at http://amzn.com/B016LF0IOA

I’m wrapping up Loving Lexi’s last couple of chapters and can’t wait to see it completed.

Lexi Warner works for The Corner Post as a reporter, in Water’s Edge, FL. She hasn’t had a serious relationship yet. She’s come close, but always ends the relationship before it goes too far. She doesn’t trust men that lie, and most of the men she’d dated, lied. When she meets Tyler Hawkes, she begins to learn to trust men. But will that trust be her undoing?

Tyler Hawkes, raised in foster homes, knows all about deceit and has a hard time trusting anyone. Since his wife’s death, he’s relocated to protect his past and has no desire to become involved again, until Lexi Warner breezes into town. Can Tyler learn to move forward, despite learning Lexi has kept from him that she’s a reporter and in town to interview the famous former sports announcer Tyler Hawkes? Can Tyler forgive Lexi’s indiscretion?

Thanks for joining us and reading!

My books are available at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Kobo, Apple and Smashwords.

You can find links on my website for all My Books

Please visit again, we love hearing from you!

A Spooky Day in the Life of Stephanie Queen

Myren's Hat

Myren’s Hat

Is it a coincidence that during this Halloween time of year (sorry if this doesn’t apply to you folks from non-Trick-or-Treating cultures) that black cats seem to multiply and the howling wind sounds like haunting ghosts? I think not.

Even the hastening darkness conspires to set the Halloween mood. Spookiness descends at the exact time when we all might be despairing about stocking up on light bulbs. So instead, we’re stocking up on candles, pumpkins and oodles of candy as if those innocent little children really would play tricks on us (Myren takes a different view of the children’s innocence than I do and uses this to justify his attempts at trickery).

So what’s your point? I can hear you asking now (yes, I’m a mind reader—but it only works on imaginary people who are reading my columns—then I get this fabulous insight about …okay, back to the point.)

My point is…well…it’s more an observation than a point. Let me illustrate with a snippet from a typical day in my life during this dark and dangerously spooky time of year.

First, I do not wake up to the sunlight streaming in the window—I only dreamed about that. Instead, the cat woke me—at first she looked like a black cat until I opened my eyes–with extra loud purring because even she knows about her role in the Halloween excitement. (She watches too much TV and I’m afraid all the commercials have affected her.) So in the murky morning dark I follow the sound of the cat’s purring (and occasional screeching when I misstep) to the light switch.

Fast forward to coffee-drinking—or I should say slow-forward since there’s nothing fast ghostsabout my pre-coffee activities (which include dressing and what-not) (what-not is a handy word isn’t it?). By the time I finish my last sip of coffee, bedecked in my orange and black sweater sprinkled with felt pumpkins, ghosts, witches on brooms and random scary flashing lights, I’m feeling awake enough to put on my Halloween crown. It’s the black one with orange-colored pumpkins and flashing ghosts. I grab my sunglasses and whistle for Myren my Chauffeur. (The sunglasses are to protect against flashes of scary lightening since there’s always a tremendously horror-filled thunderstorm lurking.)

Myren pulls up sporting his witch’s hat in place of the chauffeur cap and I’m sporting a big smile. I’m in the mood to thwart the whole purpose of the witch hat, which is theoretically to make me cringe in fear, isn’t it? Okay, maybe I’m always in the mood to thwart Myren. At least he’s not wearing the pumpkin head—that would kill me—I’d have to laugh out loud. I have a crown with…I digress—back to the day.

candhMy mission this morning is to get the candy. Oodles of irresistible, delicious candy of every kind imaginable to make my castle door the most popular in the trick-or-treating kingdom. (Myren is not on board with the mission exactly, but he knows which side his pumpkin bread is buttered on). I write for a living, so I know candy. It’s one of my major motivators. I’m like one of Pavlov’s dogs with M&Ms. But I digress…

We drive around and run in and out of countless candy stores—you know those fancy stores with charming pane windows with all kinds of mouth-watering delights on porcelain and silver trays in the window and the chunky candy-loving clerks inside.

Finally we end up at a Walgreen’s with a truck-load candy sale two-for-one giant bag special going on. The back seat of the limo is already crowded with boxes of truffles and Myren is observing that no kid’s mother is going to let them eat unpackaged candy and I probably only bought that for myself. (Okay, maybe he has a point, but in my defense, I wasn’t thinking. I was blinded by the smell of chocolate—or something like that.)

There are about two thousand brands to choose from. So after looking around, I grab up bags  and bags and carriages full. We ran out of space in the trunk—which was about the time my feet were getting tired and the daylight started dwindling.

Myren slammed the back door and we were off. I was looking forward to a chocolate snack and a not-too-scary movie (maybe Charlie Brown’s pumpkin) about now. And I was looking forward to all those cute little trick-or-treaters dressed up in fun elaborate costumes knocking at my door (I would find a way to keep Myren from scaring them away).

So my point is, don’t be too hard on all that commercialism and craziness at this time of year. It all serves a purpose. It’s all about overcompensating for the spooky starlight to keep our spirits up and chase the evil spirits away. Or to give us a headache to distract us from our depression about the dark and dangerous monsters. Either way, it’s not entirely a bad thing.

Beach Investig Series PosterStephanie Queen has some fabulous spirit-lifting and spirit-chasing novels perfect for reading this time of year. Check out her romantic detective series including her upcoming release Beachcomber Investigations and coming soon Beachcomber Santa. Visit her website at www.StephanieQueen.com for more information.

Children in books

Homework was done but Nine-year-old couldn’t watch her usual fun shows as Grandpa was monopolizing the TV with his boring news about some hearing. So what can a Nine-year-old do when she has nothing to do and it’s not bedtime yet?

Play of course. Except that Grandma doesn’t know many games. One wonders how Grandma graduated from school and college without learning some simple games as Money-Money and Master Brain. So be it. Nine-year-old took a few minutes to teach Grandma, not thoroughly, because this way, Nine-year-old could beat Grandma so easily.

Then we played Monopoly. Now, that was annoying because Grandma obviously knew this game and started winning. Honestly, the game became boring. Can you enjoy a game when you are losing to your old Grandma? Okay, so Nine-year-old took a break to put her PJs and then to eat an ice cream, but Grandma kept winning. How boring! That when Nine-year-old decided she was tired and stopped the game before we knew who won.

Now you know why I love writing about children and babies, and where I found my inspiration.

N Y T MD Christmas Papa

This book is book 5 in the Holiday Babies Series.

Last week it reached the USA Today bestseller list as part of Sweet Christmas Kisses 2.

A single mother with twin toddlers to care for, she can’t forget her past until a playboy’s kisses challenge her to believe in herself.

On pre-order for 99 cents at Amazon

 

M NYT-HusbandForAWeek

NEW Release, HUSBAND for a WEEK, reached the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists as part of Summer Fire and is available at Amazon   for 99c

From Florida to Sicily with emotion, humor, action.

Sicilian vendetta, fake husband, and an irascible matchmaking grandmother complicate Jonathan and Isabella’s lives. Can love conquer all?

What’s your sign?

Inspiration comes to me from many avenues when I’m attuned to them.

Sometimes, I’m just not in tune. That’s when paying attention to signs helps.

Sometimes stories just smack you on the head…if you read the signs.

Here are some signs I encountered whilst traveling.

IMG_1002   I’ll take this diversion any day…

…but hopefully not this one. IMG_1784

IMG_0703 IMG_0705 IMG_0707 IMG_0710IMG_0689IMG_0195IMG_0056IMG_0719IMG_0706IMG_0873IMG_1441IMG_1397

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What’s your favorite sign?

Leigh

Second Chance Love

Christmas at Apple Lake Final

Christmas at Apple Lake is included in Christmas on Main Street- Book 2. With Five Fabulous new romances in the boxed set, each book is sure to warm your heart.

I wanted to create a character that had lived too long under someone else’s control and finally comes to realize she’d lived in her husband’s shadow. Now she’s ready to break the mold, but finds her children are unwavering in their persistence to continue where their father left off before his death. They’d learned control too young and too well.

When Gage Landon meets Matt Street, her entire thought process takes a life changing turn for the better. She’s ready to live. Really live.

Does Gage come into her own or will she allow her girls to send Mom back into the plastic mold where they want her to remain?

______________________________________________________

Christmas Eve, Gage Landers stacked the girl’s Christmas presents and began to wrap. She envisioned the girl’s excitement the next morning, their sweet faces aglow with anticipation of secrets underneath the paper wrappings. Presents strewn under the lighted tree, the girls squealing and thrilled at the thoughts of waiting for Christmas morning surprises. Life was as good as it was going to get.

Gage and her husband, Ken had argued over money—again. In an outburst of rage, Ken had stormed out of the house without a word, slammed the door behind him, and roared off in his souped-up Chevy. He’d been drinking and his car had rammed a telephone pole. Ken had died in a freak accident along with the woman he’d cheated on Gage with.

That was the last time she’d seen her husband alive.

Twenty-nine had been way too young for Ken to die. If only she’d known, she’d have taken steps to improve their declining marriage. In addition, she’d have developed more independence.

Now, her girls blamed her for their father’s death. They’d thrown his death in her face, that if they hadn’t argued, he’d still be alive and at home where he belonged.

Gage knows that isn’t true.

She believes in a higher being. She believes we are on this earth for a reason and it’s the same in death. We leave this world when our time here has ended, not before.

Gage fights to help her girls understand death and how to deal with their grief, but as in real life, working through grief is a long process. Gage realizes it’s hard to absorb death, much less accepting why, especially when the girls oppose her on every level.

No one ever said happiness was forever. Gage knew all about forever. It wasn’t.

Her life was upside down now and righting it was up to her. No one could do it for her. But how was she going to go about it? Certainly her girls had their own idea of how she would get back on track. No, maybe that was an understatement. They wanted her to become a shadow of them, just as she’d been a shadow of their father. To live the way they wanted her to exist. Well…that wasn’t going to happen. She’d had enough control.

A shadow of what she’d known would keep her from being what she wanted to be. What she knew she could be. What she wanted was to overcome her situation without being under someone else’s thumb, even her girls. Maybe, especially her girls. As much as she loved them, and as much as they loved her, relying on them wasn’t fair to either of her girls, whether they realized it or not. And, they didn’t. At least now. Gage prayed both girls would come to appreciate she’d have to make her own way.

Ken hadn’t wanted her to work after they’d married, and since they both wanted children right away, Gage hadn’t argued, but felt blessed to have a husband take care of her and the children that blessed their home.

Now, being taken care of had blown up in her face. She wasn’t prepared, but life wouldn’t be put off.

Ken had been the decision maker for the biggest part of their marriage. She’d had enough of control during her marriage. Control she hadn’t wanted or needed, but she’d allowed her husband to feed on her insecurities, steal her identity and her free will.

Ken hadn’t been physically abusive he just liked things to go smoothly and his way. Gage’s decision to go along had been a terrible mistake. Still the marriage had been mostly good and she’d learned to adjust. Now adjustments from the past and into the future would be a test. A test she was ready to meet head-on once she realized control was a form of abuse.

Gage tossed in the king sized bed, finally flipped back the sheet and stared up at the ceiling. Her mind’s eye followed the swirls embedded in paint, paint she and Ken had applied together. For ten years she’d shared the bed with Ken and now that he was gone, she had a second chance at making things right for her girls.

Ken had no knack for finances. But, it wasn’t entirely his fault the house was mortgaged to the hilt, and the credit cards maxed out. The medical bills had stacked up and now it was up to Gage to do something about them. But what? She had no job, nor any skills other than organizing the house as one would a business over the years.

Gage wanted more for her children. More for herself. More than to simply exist.

So, the time had come to get up off her duff and do something about being head over heels in debt, to find a way to do what she had to do. By herself.

Here’s an excerpt from the first chapter:

Christmas at Apple Lake

Since there was a chill in the air today, she’d dressed in sweats and a warm top, and then ran a brush through her blonde hair and pulled it back in a ponytail. She snagged Radar’s, her buff/white Cocker Spaniel, leash, then set off for the park a half mile away.

For fifteen minutes Radar dragged Gage along the trail until she veered onto another track and headed around the bend toward Apple Lake. Gage ran until she was satisfied Radar would lay quietly so she could rest and think about dinner plans for the girls.

With both girls now away at college, they were so busy with their own lives they barely remembered to call once a week. It would be like old times if they’d spend Christmas with her this year since they’d spent the last three in Coldwater Creek with friends, but she wouldn’t push. On the other hand maybe she would urge them. It would be nice to have them for the holidays again. Maybe she would set her wishes in motion, and hopefully the girls would agree.

She couldn’t bear the thoughts of Mr. Moore spending the holidays alone, and considered asking him if he might join them and enjoy Christmas with a family this year. Her spirits lifted at the thoughts of Christmas with the girls. A family Christmas just may be possible this year.

Gage looped Radar’s leash over the back of a wooden bench and watched while runners came and went. They seemed so free from care, so together. Gage had finally learned to relax and treasure each day, whatever life offered.

Gage wrapped her hands around her knees on the chilly, but beautiful mid-December day in the park, the leaves blowing across the winding walking trail. I’ll Be Home For Christmas played in the background from the coffeehouse around the bend. She leaned her head back and took in a breath of the cool, lazy breeze that blew across the lake, which was motionless, except for a ripple here and there.

The past six years had been hard on the girls and herself. The last three were much better, financially and emotionally. Some issues never changed though.

The girls still denied that their father had an affair even when she’d confessed, that months before, he’d had an affair with the same woman who’d died in the car with him. She hadn’t wanted the girls to discover Ken’s cheating, but they’d overheard her on the phone one day. They wouldn’t listen to reason and had resented her ever since.

“My father couldn’t possibly have cheated on you,” Keri had said, and Lynn had agreed.

“We won’t speak of this again, girls. You can believe what you choose, but the truth will never go away.” Gage had long given up explaining their father had stormed out of the house on his own. He alone had made the choice to spend time with another woman, and not his family. One day she hoped they’d be old enough to understand.

Gage sighed and prayed this evening’s dinner would be peaceful. The girls still hadn’t given her their Christmas list. Christmas was two weeks away and that gave her little time if there were any gifts that required hunting down. She sighed. There was at least one for each of the girls that she ordered online or ran all over town to find. Plus she still had to put up a tree, deal with Mr. Moore and Mrs. Devon’s contract, and The Children’s Center.

Radar paced back and forth, then came that pitiful little whine Gage was familiar with. Radar had enough inactivity. “Aww…you hungry girl?”

Radar jumped up, and put her paws on Gage’s lap and yelped. “Okay then. Let’s get you home so you can tear into your food.”

When Gage grabbed the retractable leash and swung around, she bumped her knee against the bench and then stumbled onto the track and into a runner.

“Ouch,” Gage cried out. “Sorry.” She hobbled back to the seat and checked out her knee.

She was such a klutz. The man she’d bumped into stood over her, holding back a beautiful Chocolate Lab with one hand and a paperback book in the other.

“Are you okay?” he asked.

“I think I’ll live. It’s a simple surface scratch, the skin’s mostly intact.” She dabbed at her knee with the towel tucked in her belt loop. “Once I get back home, I’ll take care of it with a bandage and anti-biotic cream.”

Despite the sting of the injury, her mind was on the handsome hunk standing in front of her. True the Chocolate Lab was a perfect specimen, but not as much as his owner who stared back intensely. She couldn’t take her eyes off the man beside the dog. Oh wow. Don’t I look fetching this morning? No make-up and the worst clothes I have.

Hard as it was, she forced herself to take a deep breath and snap out of ogling the good-looking man.

“Good.” A concerned look crossed his face. “I shouldn’t have been reading while walking, otherwise I’d have seen you. It’s too busy on the trail. Would you like me to take a look at it?”

“Thanks, but no. I’m afraid it’s entirely my fault. I wasn’t watching what I was doing either.”

Radar danced around and tangled the leash around her legs. Gage bent and unwound the leash. When she did, Radar sat back on her hind legs and whined again.

The man’s lab sat quietly and cocked her head at Radar, as if to say, “What’s your problem, little one?”

“Matt Street.” He reached out a hand and gave Gage a firm handshake and a dazzling smile.

She liked a man with a strong handshake. Most of the time, it proved he was honest. “Gage Landon. And this,” she pointed to her dog. “Is Radar.”

Matt cocked an eyebrow. “Strange name for such a feminine little beauty. Sounds like a name a guy would use,” he said, and grinned.

“She honed in on every little thing when I got her. So I named her Radar.”

Matt patted his lab’s head. “This is my Prissy. She’s a great gal.” He grinned and stooped to pet Radar and introduce her to Prissy. “There, you see? They’re friends already. You two will get along fine.”

You two will get along fine. Did that mean he expected they’d see each other again? Matt was the first man since Ken’s death she’d had even an inkling of interest in and had resulted in a strange sensation inside her heart. Not to mention the chill bumps running over arms. She’d steered clear of men the past nine years, she simply hadn’t wanted to deal with the emotions relationships presented.

While Matt petted Radar, Gage gazed down on his head. There was nothing more charming than a full head of salt and pepper hair on a great looking guy. She’d always thought it was so distinguished. Well, most of the time anyway, but definitely in Matt’s case.

“I guess we’d best be getting back. Radar’s pretty hungry. I didn’t feed her before we left.” She grinned. “Me too. Hungry that is, and I could stand a cup of coffee right about now.”

Matt stood and rubbed a shoulder. “Coffee sounds good, I haven’t had any this morning either.” Matt settled a stare on her. “Maybe we could feed our dogs early tomorrow and pick up coffee at Joe’s Shack after our run. What do you say?”

“I’m not sure.” They’d just met. She knew nothing about this man. Gage gawked at him until she embarrassed herself. “I’ll grab coffee at home. Thanks though. Nice meeting you, Matt.” She pulled on Radar’s leash. “Let’s go, girl.”

Matt smiled, waved and then headed in the opposite direction. He turned back around and called to Gage. “I usually run about this time every day. It would be good to see you again. Think about coffee tomorrow. Okay?”

Gage couldn’t keep the smile off her face. “Maybe. I’ll see,” she said. “Take care of that shoulder.” Why in the world had she said that? She wasn’t his mother. She could smack herself sometimes.

“Sure thing,” Matt called over his shoulder. “And you take care of that knee.”



Christmas at Apple Lake is a stand-alone book. I hope you enjoy each of the FIVE books in the set.

You can read more about my books at:

http://caroldevaney.weebly.com/my-books.html

Please drop us a line and let us know how much you enjoyed the books. Thank you!

Falling in Love at Christmastime

Our brand-new boxed set, Christmas on Main Street – Book 2, includes five heart-warming Christmas romances. My contribution is Mistletoe & Wine, the fifth and final book in my Music Box series.

Mistletoe & Wine takes place at Christmastime in 1986. (The title comes from a 1988 Cliff Richard song that most North Americans probably haven’t heard, but I couldn’t resist using it.) If you read Heart’s Desire, then you’re familiar with Mavis and Will, an interracial couple who fall in love in the 1950s, despite society’s disapproval. Their daughter Colleen is the heroine of Mistletoe & Wine.

I was apprehensive writing from the point of view of a mixed-race heroine. The book Black Berry, Sweet Juice by Laurence Hill helped me grasp the challenges that a biracial child might face, figuring out where they fit within two racial identities. Hill’s book made me appreciate how important cultural identity is to an individual – something those of us born into a single culture don’t usually think about. But I didn’t delve very far into this aspect of the story, focusing instead on Colleen’s budding relationship with Liam Clancy, who is the grandson of Amy and Sean from Sense of Touch. Though I didn’t plan it ahead of time, I managed to tie up the series by joining the two families featured in the first four books.

Here’s the description for Mistletoe & Wine:1980sCover.indd

For Colleen Dixon, Christmas of 1986 seems sure to be miserable. Having just lost her job, her lover and her apartment, she figures a trip across the country to spend the holidays at her grandmother’s house might be just what she needs. Meeting Dr. Liam Clancy during her visit brings a whole new shine to her Christmas spirit. Recently divorced, Liam never intended to fall for a woman again so soon, especially one who lives so far away. Can a holiday fling survive as a long-distance romance, or will the New Year bring the promise of something more?

You don’t need to have read the rest of the series to enjoy this story, although many of the characters from the other books make an appearance. The Clancys and Barkleys feel like family to me, and I hope readers will enjoy their journey as much as I have.

Susan R. Hughes is a USA Today bestselling author of contemporary and historical romance. Visit her website at susanrhughes.weebly.com.

Christmas on Main Street – Book 2 – We are live!

We are live! http://amzn.com/B016LF0IOA

Authors of Main Street are pleased to announce our Fabulous Five – brand-new never before released Christmas romance novellas, by USA Today and National Bestselling authors, are available now. 

Christmas tree over deep red background with snowflakes

Authors of Main Street are pleased and excited to reveal our beautiful Christmas cover for your viewing. A tremendous thank you and shout out to both Pepper Phillips for the cover photo and to E. Ayers for her hard work creating the cover for us. Both ladies worked tirelessly to bring the book together. 

We’ve been relentless at planning an all new set of stand-alone Christmas novellas for your reading pleasure this Christmas season. We couldn’t wait to share.

This year has been hectic. As everyone else’s days go, life has taken us down different paths with deadlines and other obligations. Through it all, we banned together in a joint project to bring to you, our loyal readers, five new stories that are sure to warm your heart.

Imagine writing stories that include heavy snow, blizzards or just frigid weather when the weather outside sometimes hit over one-hundred degrees! Turning down the air conditioner cool enough to pull on a pair of socks and brewing a pot of coffee or tea helps!

We’re grateful to our readers for their trust and devotion, to allow us to entertain you once again. Whether the story is cozy, quaint, or humorous, it’s all about heartwarming tales of love and family during the Christmas season. They’re all sure to tug on your heartstrings.

There’s nothing like curling up on your favorite chair, a cup of your favorite beverage and losing yourself in a good book. I can’t think of anything that compares to stealing away, relaxing with a story that brings a smile, a laugh, or touches your heart during those special moments.

Here’s a sneak peek:

Welcome to Main Street. It’s not a place. It’s an attitude. It’s not Key West or San Diego or Halifax or Richmond or West Haven – it’s any town. It can be anyplace that you can imagine. The authors of Main Street create high-quality romances that will warm your heart.

This year we are pleased to bring you five brand-new holiday romance novellas in a boxed set.

Mistletoe & Wine by Susan R. Hughes, USA Today bestselling author:

1980sCover.indd

For Colleen Dixon, Christmas of 1986 seems sure to be miserable. Having just lost her job, her lover and her apartment, she figures a trip across the country to spend the holidays at her grandmother’s house might be just what she needs. Meeting Dr. Liam Clancy during her visit brings a whole new shine to her Christmas spirit.

Recently divorced, Liam never intended to fall for a woman again so soon, especially one who lives so far away. Can a holiday fling survive as a long-distance romance, or will the New Year bring the promise of something more?

Christmas at Apple Lake by Carol DeVaney, National bestselling author:

Christmas at Apple Lake Final

If you’re lucky in love, that second chance will come…

Sometimes love goes wrong, and the cost often defeats even the strongest of women. If you overcome the sorrow of loss and have the courage and determination to believe, love will find you again.

A Magical Christmas by Pepper Phillips, National bestselling author:

Fingers faces in Santa hats with gift box isolated on white background. Happy couple celebrating concept for Christmas day.

During a weekend in Las Vegas, S. R. Lejeune decides to skip the trouble of courtship and propose marriage to the beautiful blonde sitting next to him.

His arguments for a quick marriage are so clear and concise that Jazz Morgan decides to take him up on his offer – especially after their mind-blowing kiss.

But can shared aspirations and a mutual attraction be enough to build a marriage? Maybe not, when S. R. comes to believe the worst of his new bride.

Can Jazz capture the heart of the man she loves? Or should she?

Sometimes it takes more than time for a marriage of convenience to grow into a forever love.

The Little White Christmas Lie by Kristy Tate, National bestselling author:

christmas lie white

Carson Trent doesn’t know that the beautiful Millie Cruise who literally falls into his lap is really Camille Harper, bestselling romance writer.

Millie doesn’t know that she is headed for Carson’s grandmother’s inn in a quaint New England town.

Neither Carson nor Millie know that their lives are about to spin out of control thanks to a patch of black ice, a cow, and a little white Christmas lie.

Christmas at Mariner’s Cove by E. Ayers, National bestselling author:

Mariner's Cove

It was just a little fib. Celine Colburn wasn’t expecting Prince Charming because that was the stuff of fairy tales. But when she met Frank Cresson, she found herself instantly drawn to him. Just as they were getting to know each other, she becomes a witness to a horrendous motorcycle accident that left him unconscious. Except, a lie has a way of growing.

Have you signed up for our newsletter or followed our blog? It’s easy with the click of a button, and you’ll be all set to receive updated news. Don’t miss a single announcement!

I’m honored to be part of our Christmas set with the fabulous women who are Authors of Main Street.

I hope you enjoy reading the book and are as excited about our newest project as much as we are!

Please share your thoughts on our gorgeous cover!

Looking Forward to Christmas Boxed Sets

Here on Main Street, we’re gearing up for our Christmas boxed set. I sent in my story for formatting. My cover is finished.

christmas lie white

Here’s a teaser:

TO GRANDMOTHER’S HOUSE WE GO

Millie sat at the window of her Brownstone apartment watching shoppers scurry down New York’s busy streets. Head-lights, streetlights, and the just-hung Christmas lights sparkled on the slowly drifting snow.

“Meow,” Byron cried as he jumped into Millie’s lap. He settled down with a purr.

“It’s just you and me this year.” Millie ran her fingers through the cat’s thick fur. She tried telling herself she needed the solitude, she deserved a respite from her demanding career, and she didn’t have the time or the energy to devote to cultivating meaningful relationships, but the longer she sat at the window watching everyone else pursue their Christmas with such purposefulness and pleasure…

No, that couldn’t be right, could it? There had to be a few Ebenezers in the crowd. She couldn’t be the only one wishing Christmas would pass her by. Leaning back into her wingback chair, feet propped up on the ottoman, she closed her eyes. It was just so embarrassing

How could she, one of the world’s most beloved romance writers, be alone for the holidays? Again? She’d taken a cruise to the Holy Land last year, thinking what could be more spiritually uplifting than Christmas in Bethlehem? But it had been a tour full of senior citizens complaining about their food and hotel beds. At least it had been better than the Christmas the year before with Liam in Monaco.

Refusing to think about Liam, Millie stood, knocking the sleeping Byron to the floor.

He complained loudly while arching his back and stalking away.

“Maybe this year we’ll just stay home,” Millie announced to no one since Byron had twitched his tail and disappeared into the next room.

Her landline’s shrill ring broke the silence. She studied the phone. She’d been meaning to shut off the service for months, but just hadn’t gotten around to it. Or at least that’s what she told herself. The truth was, it was her mom’s voice on the answering machine, and Millie couldn’t bring herself to throw it away, even after all these months.

Millie listened to her mom ask the caller to leave a message. No one who really wanted to talk to Millie ever used the landline. Her friends and business associates always called her cell…well, they usually texted or sent her an email. No one, other than scam artists and telemarketers, called her landline. Millie stood in the center of the apartment where she’d lived as a child, waiting.

“Hello? Camille? Hello?” An elderly woman’s voice warbled through the room. “You probably don’t remember me, but I was a friend of your Grandmother LaDonna. My name is Joy Baker.”

Joy Baker. Millie didn’t recall her grandmother ever mentioning a Joy Baker, and that was the sort of name she would have remembered because she really liked baked goods, and a joyful baker seemed like a good person to know.

“Anywho, I was hoping you’d give me a call. LaDonna told me you are a writer, and I have a little business proposition for you.”

Millie frowned at the phone, debating. Her head told her this happy baker person was probably a crook, but her lonely heart urged her to pick up the line.

Joy heaved an audible sigh. “I know you don’t know me…but I also knew your Grandpa Horace and your Uncle George. I run a little inn out here in Chickory, New York, and, well, it could use some publicity. I just thought maybe if you’d like to come and stay—” Click.

The answering machine only allowed a few seconds per message, which often took the callers by surprise. Millie smiled, wondering if this joyful baker was on the other end of the line, still yammering, completely unaware she’d been silenced mid-sentence.

Millie honestly couldn’t remember her mom, grandparents, or her Uncle George ever mentioning this Joy Baker, or Chickory, but the information tickled in the back of her mind. She settled down on the sofa and pulled her computer onto her lap.

Seconds later, images of an upstate village with a church on every corner flashed on the screen. A springtime shot showed the town green’s gazebo surrounded by tulips and crocus. Another image had the gazebo decked in autumn’s bright fallen leaves. At this time of year, Millie knew there would be a blanket of snow. And sure enough, she soon found images of Chickory, New York in full Christmas glory. It looked like a picture perfect place to spend the holidays…if you had someone to share it with.

Millie closed her eyes against the flashing recollections of her grandparent’s home in upstate New York. Sledding with her bright cheeked mom and dad, hanging the lights with her Uncle George, Aunt Helen, and little Midge, the poodle.

Ring. Ring.

The phone. Millie poised her fingers above her keyboard waiting. Once again, her heart told her to pick it up, but her sensible voice kept her in her chair.

“Oh dear,” Joy Baker’s voice floated back into the room, “I must have been cut off. Now, as I was saying, the old house belonged to my grandparents and their parents before them, and I’ve recently converted it into an inn. It’s just beautiful, if I do say so myself. My niece, Lorraine, is an artist and she’s made the whole thing just as cute as a button from the attic to the basement, but the thing is—” Click.

Millie typed in lodging, but the closest place to stay was a Motor Motel fifteen miles down the parkway.

If Joy Baker didn’t even have a website no wonder her inn was failing. A place could be cute right down to its cement foundation, but if no one knew it existed, it would always be empty.

The word empty made Millie cast a glance at her calendar. She had half a dozen parties penciled in, but not one of them filled her with anything other than dread. And the most dreadful one of all was happening tomorrow night. The annual Book Bash. Simone Shusterfield hosted it every year at her South Hampton mansion. Simone liked to collect writers and artists the way some rich old ladies collected designer purses and pedigree poodles. Her publisher insisted she attend, barring raging illness or a family calamity. But Millie didn’t have any family…or did she?

Could this Joy Baker count as an old family friend? And could her failing business be called a calamity?

Millie smiled. Of course, she wrote fiction for a living. She could make up anything she wanted to. She did it every day. And she got paid for it. And if she could think of a reasonable excuse to avoid Simone’s party and not have to watch Liam kiss his beautiful fiancé beneath the mistletoe, then she would go to Chickory, or just about anywhere.

Ignoring the frantic be-sensible-voice in the back of her mind, she looked up the distance. If she took the early morning train to Scranton, she could rent a car from there and be in Chickory by noon. She didn’t even have to stay the night. She’d just stay late enough to ensure she’d miss the party.

Her sensible voice scrambled for reasons to stay in the city. What if there’s a blizzard and she’s trapped there for weeks? What if this Joy Baker is a serial killer? Who’s going to take care of Byron if something should happen?

Telling her sensible self to shut up, Millie reserved a rental car in Scranton. Picking up her phone, Millie shot her friend and neighbor, Dorie, a quick text. Dorie’s daughter, Amber, often cat-sat Byron when Millie traveled. Then she headed for her closet, pulled out her overnight bag, and dusted it off.

The next morning, she had to run to catch the nine-fifteen from Grand Central. With her bag slung over her shoulder and banging against her side, she slipped into the train seconds before the doors slid shut. Taking a deep breath, she headed for the one available seat. At this time of the day, most of the commuters were students, retirees, and mothers with children.

The only vacant seat was next to a man about her age, early thirties, with wavy brown hair. He had a strong jaw, a thick dossier in one hand and a red pen in the other. Unless he abandoned his place on the aisle, she’d have to crawl over his long legs to get to the window seat.

Their eyes met, and for one small moment, the world around her froze, like a black and white photograph. The train lurched, sending Millie onto the man’s lap.

“I’m so sorry,” Millie said, scrambling over him and pulling her bag with her.

“It happens,” he said, “although not very often, and almost never unless I’m wearing a Santa suit.”

But something like this had never happened to Millie before, and she wondered if he had experienced the same time-stopping moment. Pulling down her navy sweater, she adjusted her pea coat, and to cover her flushed cheeks, she tucked her bag beneath the seat in front of her, refusing to meet his eye again, and wondering what would happen if she did.

“Do you often wear Santa suits?” she asked, finally raising her gaze to meet his. His eyes struck her again. They were the color of chocolate, but this time the world continued around them. The train clacked away from the city. Lower Manhattan’s gritty landscape flashed by the windows. Mothers hushed crying babies. Conversations filled the air.

“No. Almost never,” he said, his voice thick with humor, “but I will be tonight.”

“Are you going to work at a mall?” He didn’t look like the plump bearded guys who sat at Macy’s this time of year.

“No. I—never-mind.” In an obvious effort to change the subject, he nodded at the book in Millie’s hand. “My grandmother reads her books.”

Millie flushed with pleasure. She loved hearing from her readers. “Then she must have excellent taste.”

The man chuckled, his laugh as warm as eyes. “No. Quite the opposite, in fact. She’s a connoisseur of The Helping Hands Thrift store. She loves the hunt and the kitschy.” He wore a luscious camelhair coat so soft that Millie longed to touch it. He had a Burberry scarf draped around his neck and a gold watch on his wrist. He didn’t look like the sort of man who frequented thrift shops.

“Sounds like my kind of gal,” Millie said.

His lips twitched. “That sappy writer’s books fill my grandmother’s shelves and her movies are all over the Hallmark station. I have to watch at least one whenever I visit my grandma.”

Millie bristled and tucked the book in her pocket, praying he wouldn’t see her picture on the jacket cover and realize she was the sappy writer his grandmother loved.

“What takes you out of the city?” Millie asked, taking her turn to change the subject.

“My grandma. She told me she had a Santa emergency.” He sighed and shook his head. “I hope this isn’t another one of her ploys.”

“Ploys?”

He nodded. “She’s a schemer.”

“A schemer and a thrift store shopper. I like her already.”

“How about you? Why aren’t you headed to work?”

“Who says I’m not?”

He laughed, and something about the sound filled Millie in a way she couldn’t describe. It was as if she’d been hollow inside, but this man’s laugh filled a space she hadn’t even known existed.

“What do you do?” he asked.

Millie’s thoughts scrambled. Come on, you write fiction. She thought up something close but not quite the truth. “I’m a travel writer.”

She was a writer, and at the moment she happened to be traveling. Good one.

“Oh yeah? That’s great. I love to travel. Where have you been?”

“Hmm, lots of places, of course.”

He smiled. “Of course. But where are you traveling to now?”

“There’s a brand new inn in Chickory, New York. I’m going to check it out.”

His face paled, his lips pressed together, and a calculating look filled his eyes. “Is that so? What magazine did you say you work for?”

“I freelance.” Sometimes.

“Ah.” He cleared his throat, a low, grumbling unhappy sound. “So, you’re coming all this way to see this new inn.”

She nodded. “The Snowfield Inn. I even love its name.”

“But will you still love it in July?”

“Why wouldn’t I?”

“When it’s sunny, no one wants to stay in a snowfield.”

She raised her eyebrows. “I think that depends on how sunny it is. There’ve been plenty of melting hot summer days where I longed for a good snowfield.”

“It’s a ridiculous name for an inn,” he said in a tone that made her wonder why he should care.

“Do you know it?”

“I’ll be playing Santa there tonight.”

“Really?”

“Yes, you should come.”

“I won’t be staying long. This is just a day trip.”

“You’re coming all the way to Chickory for the day?” He nodded at her bag. “Then what’s that for?”

“I have my computer and just a couple of things in case I decide to stay the weekend.”

“So, there’s hope.”

“Not really. I’m mostly trying to avoid a party tonight.”

“Not a party person?”

“I like parties, but this one…” She took a deep breath, looked out the window, and relived the pain. “My ex is going to be there with his fiancé.”

“You’re divorced?”

“No, but Liam and I…we’d been together a long time.” She didn’t know what made her open up to this man with the chocolate-colored eyes, maybe it was because she thought she’d never see him again, or maybe it was because she hadn’t told anyone for so long about how badly she’d been hurt, or maybe because she liked the way his gaze touched hers, but she found herself telling him all the sordid details: the purple panties under the sofa, the anonymous posts on her writing blog asking her why if she was such an expert on romance was her boyfriend partying with Scarlett McFaye?

“Wait, your ex is marrying Scarlett McFaye?” His eyes widened. “Wow, just wow.”

“Yeah, I guess that’s what Liam and all the rest of mankind think, too.”

“Hey wait, don’t lump me into Liam’s camp.”

“I can’t believe I told you all of this.” Millie flushed and looked out the window. “I don’t even know your name.”

He reached out and took her hand as if to shake it, but he didn’t. Instead, he held it in his own. “I’m Carson Trent, but tonight, if you come to the inn, you can call me Santa.”

When she didn’t respond, he gently squeezed her hand. “This is where you tell me your name,” he said.

“I’m Millie Cruise.” But most of the world knows me as Camille Harper, AKA the sappy writer.

They parted at the train station. Millie had a ridiculous desire to give Carson a hug, even though she had just met him. Her sensible voice told her to shoulder her bag, casually wave, and get her rental car, but her feet shuffled and she stuttered over saying goodbye.

“Are you sure you want to rent a car?” Carson asked. “I’m going there anyway, and it’s a three-hour drive.”

“That’s really nice of you, but how would I get back?”

“You ride back with me on Sunday night.”

“Mmm, no.” For once, she agreed with her sensible voice.

“Do you know how to get to Chickory?” Carson asked.

“My phone does.”

“Of course.” He looked deflated. Taking her hand, he said, “If I’m lucky, I’ll see you again.”

She left her hand in his. “Do you believe in luck?”

Pain flashed in his eyes. “Not really. Do you?”

“I want to…but it often lets me down.”

“Then let me give you my card, just in case you…” His voice trailed away, but after he cleared his throat he added, “In case you need anything or get lost.”

“Thanks.” She scanned the card. It was heavy, cream-colored with bold navy print. Carson Trent, Principal, Trent and Tavenor Investors, Your Business Partners. She pocketed the card, thought about giving him hers, but quickly changed her mind.

Her sensible voice told her she couldn’t hide her identity from this man forever, but Millie was getting pretty tired of her sensible voice.

Why not tell him who you are? A less sensible voice demanded to know. After all, you both live in New York. Why not meet? Why not date?

Millie shut down all the voices in her head because she now realized they had all stopped being sensible the moment she had first seen Carson.

“Nice meeting you,” she said, tightening the grip on her bag and turning away.

She didn’t look back.

If any of our writer friends have a Christmas story, please share it with us. Be sure and leave a buy link in the comments.

The Seasons and Writing – Jill James

autumn leaves 3I’m enjoying the feel of autumn returning to Northern California. We don’t get the colors of the Northeast, our leaves usually just turn brown and fall off, but we do get that slight chill to the air in the morning. The one that lets us know winter will arrive someday. The one that allows for a cup of hot tea nestled in your hands. By noon it is warm and breezy, and late afternoon can get into the 90s. But evening arrives a little sooner every day and the warmth disappears like a wisp of fog at sundown. Returning to that beckoning chill.

These are the days that I love to write. During the summer, my office is an oven, with my arms sweating and making puddles on my desk and my legs are sticking to my leather chair. It is easy to fall asleep at my computer in the middle of the day, in the middle of a thought or a snippet of dialogue. When my brain seems to forget how to spell and what a comma is for. LOL In the winter, my office is an icebox and I have fingerless gloves for my hands and a quilt on my lap, with my feet in socks and slippers. When I want to type fast to keep my fingers warm and I’m not sure what words I’m putting on the page. These days are my favorite, the in-between days. I have my mug of coffee and my window open for fresh, slightly chilled air. My brain can breathe and the ideas pop. This is when the stories happen and take shape much easier.

It is a time to write and to read and to get things done before all the madness of the holidays begins. Like getting my latest book up for preorder in time for Halloween, releasing October 26th. I’m already working on Book 3. (See! Better weather, more writing) If you think The Walking Dead could use some more romance, then the Time of Zombies series may be for you!

TheZombieHuntersWife 200x300Click on cover to preorder!
Walk with the dead, Jill James


Do you do different activities related to the season?