Small Town Christmas Baby – An Excerpt

Small Town Christmas Baby Cover Twins Bow-2I’m very excited for the upcoming Authors of Main Street Christmas box set! It’s scheduled to be released in October and we’ll keep you posted. We’ll have over ten novellas about the warmth of Christmas, romance and BABIES!

My story in the anthology is set in the small (quasi) fictional town of Hamlin, New Hampshire. This is the fourth book in my Small Town Romance series.

To give you a taste of what’s to come, here’s an excerpt from Small Town Christmas Baby:

Chapter 1

Lumberjacks adore New Hampshire. Trees grow faster here than Usain Bolt runs the 40-meter sprint. Julie, not being a lumberjack, had little appreciation for the giant trees with their enormous branches overhanging the Stillwater Inn. They’d need to call the tree chopper guy in again and it would cost thousands. Again.

She turned away from the window and vowed there was no way she would ask her husband for the money this time. She’d find it in the Inn’s budget if she had to make beds herself to save money.

Running her hand over her disappointingly small rounded belly, she turned her attention back to the cupcake frosting. One way to get a bunch of cash quick would be to win the Bake-off in Boston next month. She shoved aside the thought of rumblings from Jack about her needing to take care of herself and concentrate on the arrival of their first baby in a few months. Surely she could do two—maybe three or four—things at once. Lots of women did.

But as of today, Julie officially hated cupcakes. It was a shame because she was starving and she was staring at racks filled with all kinds of gems. But even the smell of her fresh-baked specials didn’t tempt her any more. These days she craved chocolate covered potato chips and hot dogs.

As she squeezed the bursts of frosting on the hundred and twelfth cupcake, the back door slammed and she looked up. It had to be Tammy. Only her oldest and best friend slammed the door open like that. It had always been Tam’s way to announce her arrival.

“You’re in time to help me.”

“You must be desperate. You know how I am with cake and icing—“

Julie waved her tube of icing.

“Not with that. I wouldn’t want your drool to contaminate the cake-lets. I need help with something far more important.”

“What the heck could that possibly be?”

Shoving aside the issue of tree-chopping money—because she knew deep down Jack would talk Uncle Billy into letting him pay on the grounds that Jack was part owner of the family Inn now since he was part of the family—she lasered in on the real gut-twister.

“I need to come up with a show-stopper of a Christmas gift for Jack.” She paused a beat while Tammy predictably rolled her eyes.

“Something I can afford on my own.”

* * * *

More to come when the entire set of Christmas Babies on Main Street by the Authors of Main Street will be available in a few short weeks.

In the meantime, look for the cover reveal soon!

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Pajama Eve

Image(Gratuitous – My Kid was/is a Super Cute Kid Photo)

Every family has their own blend of holiday traditions, at this time of year. My favorite is actually one I inherited from my ex in-laws; and although I didn’t keep the husband, I did keep Pajama Eve. Every person who spends Christmas Eve with me receives a new pair of pajamas to impress Santa, with cookies and hot cocoa on the side.

Even though my son knows what to expect, there is a part of him that is still excited to see what new set of PJ’s he is getting. It allows him the opportunity to open one present on Christmas Eve. Which used to be enough, but in recent years he now spends at least fifteen minutes trying to weasel one more present out of me before bed.  I suppose that is the new addition to the tradition, until he is grown. At least I hope it ends when he is grown.  🙂

It really gets everyone in the spirit of giving and receiving. Plus, who doesn’t love new warm pajamas on a cold winters night?

My other favorite tradition is having gooey, cinammoney (it should be a word, don’t you think?) pastries prepped and ready to bake Christmas morning. This is more important to me than whatever might be for dinner. I have included one recipe for this delightful treat below, but there are many varieties to choose from. I generally lean towards the ones with icing, go big or go back to bed!

Before I take my leave I just wanted to express how grateful we all are to our readers. The success we have had with our new Christmas on Main Street Boxed Set has really touched all of us here. We have been the #1 Inspirational Best Seller for more than a week and continue to rank in the top 1-3 in Romance and Anthology Categories. If you don’t have your copy yet, click the cover on the side bar and see what all the fuss is about!

Writing books is a career, true. But it is also a huge expression of who we all are or dream to be and to have it so well received has been thrilling for all of us! So, thank you again for all of your support, reviews and referrals. We are blessed! Happy Holidays and please share your traditions with us in the comments, maybe we will be inspired to try something new.

 

CHRISTMAS TEA RING 2009_1214SwedishTeaRing0014

Ingredients:
1 (1 pound) loaf frozen bread dough,
thawed (or make your own)
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Directions:
1. Roll bread dough into a rectangle 8 inches wide and 15 inches long. Spread butter over the bread, leaving about 1/2 inch of a long edge unbuttered. Mix brown sugar, cinnamon, and flour in a bowl and sprinkle the mixture over the buttered part of the dough.
2. Starting with the long edge opposite the unbuttered edge, tightly roll the dough over the filling; seal the roll along the unbuttered edge to make a log.
3. Lightly grease a 12-inch round cake pan or baking dish; place dough into the pan and form a ring, pinching the two ends together to seal. Use kitchen scissors or sharp knife to make cuts 3/4 inch deep into the outside of the ring. Twist the cut sections of dough slightly to reveal filling.
4. Cover the tea ring with a cloth, place into a warm area, and let rise until doubled, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
6. Bake tea ring in the preheated oven until lightly browned, 25 to 30 minutes. Cover with a sheet of aluminum foil after 15 minutes if tea ring starts to brown too quickly. Let tea ring cool in pan for about 10 minutes before removing to finish cooling on a wire rack.
7. Combine confectioners’ sugar, milk, and vanilla extract in a bowl to make a smooth frosting. Spread top of the tea ring with frosting.