Saturday, December 2, 2017

Holiday treats for your sweet tooth

 Holiday romances

Thanksgiving is behind us and we're coming up on that holiday sweet spot--early enough in the season we're still feeling warm and fuzzy, before we've been exhausted by holiday shopping and baking and what can seem like an endless parade of parties and family visits.

Or maybe that's just my introvert showing. 

At any rate, it's time for sweet holiday treats, classic movie marathons, and best of all, cozy holiday stories! It's no secret that I love writing holiday stories. My first book was a short in the Dreamspinner Press Advent Calendar collection in 2012 (Traditions from the Heart), which means I celebrated my five-year publishing anniversary on Dec. 1. Hard to believe I now have 20 books out with Dreamspinner! (And five of them are holiday stories!) And how fitting is it that book 20 was also a holiday short story for the Advent calendar? It was so awesome to have my 20th book come out on the 5th anniversary of my first release. *g*

                                                                                             AMAZON   BARNES AND NOBLE  DREAMSPINNER   KOBO

What I'm reading


I've been working feverishly on Under a Blue Moon, the sequel to Camp H.O.W.L., and now that it's safely in the hands of my editor at Dreamspinner I can gorge on some holiday reads. 

I've already read (and LOVED) the holiday offerings from Caraway Carter and Hunter Frost. They're both feel-good reads that are a little outside the traditional holiday story. 

We'll be working on getting our Christmas decorations up in the Baker household this weekend, and I always make a batch of peppermint bark to sustain us. I bought the expensive stuff for years until I realized how easy it to make yourself. Though now we probably eat way too much of it through the holiday season. *g* Once you make this for friends I promise it will be what they ask you to bring to holiday parties forever after. It looks impressive and tastes great, and you don't have to tell them it's dead simple to make!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

WIP Wednesday: Christmas in June

If you follow me on Facebook you know I've been in a self-imposed holiday music hell for the last week or so as I finished up my Dreamspinner Press Advent submission. I'd been working on it on and off for months and found I needed to buckle down and focus or I'd never make the deadline.

My kids were beyond tired of Christmas pop, so they were thrilled when I picked them up from camp yesterday blasting the Hamilton soundtrack. That's right, my Advent draft is finished!

I'm so excited to introduce you to Grant, Josh, and Aubrey in today's excerpt. As you can see (that's them in the snowglobe), Josh and Aubrey are ridiculously adorable together, so I'm sure you can sympathize with how irresistible Grant finds them when they walk into his art studio looking for Christmas craft lessons.

Audiobook news

Between that and the Tall, Dark, and Deported audiobook coming out on Monday, it's been an exciting week for me--and it's only Wednesday! Dorian Bane does an amazing job on it, so I hope you'll listen to the sample. I love the way he makes Crawford and Mateus come alive and infuses both of them with so much personality. This is my first title to be released in audiobook and I thought it would be weird to hear my words but it was so much fun to listen to. (And now that I don't have to listen to holiday music in the car on my commute, I can listen to the entire thing today when I head in to work later! *g*)


The wreath Thing 2 and I made last Christmas.
And now, enjoy some crafty Christmas fun with Josh, Aubrey, and Grant from my latest WIP. Grant is talking Aubrey through making an ornament wreath (see the picture) while Josh listens. He's been flirting with Josh for several lessons and decides it's time to double down on his innuendo...even though he's pretty sure Josh is straight.


Grant rooted around in the basket and found the set of glittery rub-on letters he’d put in earlier. “You said you were giving the wreath to your aunt, right Aubrey?”

Aubrey shifted her focus to him without missing a beat. “My Aunt Jo.”

“Well, if you think she’d like it we can monogram the wreath with her initials. I think it would look great with the frosted ornaments you’ve picked out.”
Aubrey squealed. “She’d love that!”

“Okay. Well, once we get your wreath glued together we’ll put these letters on the three ornaments that are in the center. What do you think? Top or bottom?”

Josh made a choking noise from the next table where he’d sunk into a chair with his coffee. Grant looked up, startled, and then caught the accidental innuendo. Instead of backing away from it as he should have, he dug in deeper. “If it was for me I’d say bottom. It’s my favorite position for things like that. It’s always better on the bottom.”Josh’s coffee sloshed when he put it down abruptly, spilling over his knuckles as his coughing fit continued. Grant didn’t know if that was a good thing or not, but at least he’d tried.

“I want to put them at the bottom,” Aubrey said, blessedly oblivious to the undertones. “Monograms are the things with the letters from her name, aren’t they?”

Aubrey’s wreath was all arranged, so Grant turned on the glue gun to warm it up. He’d gone with an assortment of bright colors for his, laid haphazardly. It was a big contrast to Aubrey’s carefully laid pattern of understated colors. They looked great next to each other. He’d have to take a photo for the studio’s Instagram when they were done. And maybe a few with Aubrey and Hot Divorced Dad for his own personal scrapbook of students with their art.

“You can do monograms two ways. You can do the first letter from her first and last name only or you can add her middle initial, too,” he told her. Josh had recovered from his coughing fit and was watching them with a veiled expression, his long legs splayed as he lounged in a chair that was meant for someone much smaller than him. Grant’s knees were practically touching his ears, so he could sympathize.

Aubrey studied her wreath. “It would be nice and centered if we do the one with three.”

The kid had great instincts. Grant hoped she’d become a regular, and not just because Josh came with her. He didn’t know if she had any natural talent for drawing or painting, but her eye for color and design was well beyond her age. He’d bet that carried over into artistic talent, especially given how well her father could paint.

“We’ll do three, then. You’ll need to find her initials in capital letters.”

Aubrey talked to herself as she chose the letters. “Josephine Clarke.” She frowned and looked over her shoulder at Josh. “What’s her middle name?”

“Lynn,” Josh said without hesitation.

That must mean this aunt was his sister. Between the shared last name and his certainty about her middle name, it made sense.

“Hmm.” Aubrey dug through and found an L. “Mom’s middle name is Lydia.”

“And mine is Leonard,” Josh said.

Aubrey giggled. “So you all have the same monogram?”

Josh’s ex hadn’t changed her last name? Didn’t women usually do that after a divorce? And her name started with J, too? They’d probably had one of those weddings with their initials engraved on everything. It would have been cute. Grant kind of hated her for that.

The light on the glue gun clicked off, signaling it was ready to use. Was Aubrey ready to handle it on her own? Grant flicked his glance from the glue gun to Josh, who shrugged.

“She’s used one before, but I don’t know how closely Jill supervised.”

So the ex’s name must be Jill. Josh and Jill. It’s too adorable to hate them. Ugh.

“I’m allowed to hold the pieces together,” Aubrey said. She waved a hand dismissively.

“You have to put the glue on.”

Well that settled that.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

WIP Wednesday to celebrate the upcoming release of Tall, Dark, and Deported!

It's almost release day for Tall, Dark, and Deported, and I admit I've been spending most of my time writing blog tour posts instead of working on a WIP. I'm going to share a favorite scene from the book for #WIP Wednesday instead.
I hope you'll join me at my tour stops for a few video readings, a killer recipe for homemade hot pretzels, and a tongue-in-cheek look at what an author does on release day, just to highlight a few. *g*

Tour stops:

March 25: MM Good Books: A primer in our favorite category romance tropes

March 29: Kimmers Erotic Book Banter: Why Crawford and Mateus's story makes good fiction but bad reality

March 30: Open Skye: Meet Mateus and Crawford

March 31: My fiction Nook: Video reading

April 1: Alpha Book Reviews: Top 10 things authors do on release day

April 3: Novel Approach: The Auntie Anne's copycat recipe you never knew your life was missing

April 4: Love Bytes: Video reading (featuring those delectable pretzels)

April 5: Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words: Interview

April 6: Boy Meets Boy: Video reading

April 6: Kimi-Chan Experience: LA Times Festival of Books and what's next

And now for the promised excerpt: Mateus and Crawford met only hours ago, but they're already married. It was a ploy to keep Mateus from being deported, but Crawford is finding it has some bonuses for him, too. Namely, making his ex-husband and co-worker Davis cattily jealous. 

Tall, Dark, and DeportedRelease date: April 1

“I had no idea you were getting married,” Davis said when he finally tore his eyes away and looked at Crawford. His cheek twitched, just like it always did when he was annoyed, but that was the only giveaway to show he wasn’t as enthusiastically pleased as his tone suggested. Davis always had been excellent at reading situations and acting exactly as he should. “And that you were bringing your new husband along to Vancouver.”

“They were just married today,” Michelle said helpfully.

The twitch grew more pronounced. “Is that so?” he asked, giving Crawford a speculative look. “Well, then, I must agree with Michelle. We insist you take the penthouse suite. And you’ll join me for dinner tonight, won’t you? I was planning to dine here at the hotel with some of the management staff, but since this is a special occasion, I think that can wait. We can have the concierge secure a reservation somewhere appropriately festive.”

Crawford’s mouth fell open, but before he could let loose a scathing retort—leave it to Davis to make Crawford’s remarriage all about him, Jesus—Mateus spoke up.

“That is so kind of you, but I have plans for my husband tonight.” Mateus’s voice was like velvet, making it clear that those plans he so glibly referenced were definitely not for public consumption. He ran a proprietary hand up Crawford’s back and down his arm, twining their hands together.

Davis visibly flinched, his eyes widening. “Tomorrow, then. I insist. My treat, to celebrate. It really is amazing to see Crawford married again,” he said, his composure returning with his smirk. The look he gave Crawford was speculative, like he could see right through him. He’d always been a lot better at reading people than Crawford had. After all, he’d correctly sized Crawford up as a chump, hadn’t he?

“Ah, I don’t know if I’ll be done with him by then, but I don’t want to keep him from his work. I suppose I can share,” Mateus purred.

Davis colored a bit at the insinuation that he was nothing but a coworker. “I do wonder why you chose to get married right now,” Davis said, a gleam in his eye. “The timing is a bit curious. I mean, you hadn’t said anything about your husband-to-be in any of our conference calls, and then you get married the day you’re going to see me?” He turned to Mateus and lowered his voice conspiratorially. “Surely you know who I am. I can’t imagine Crawford hasn’t told you about me.”

Crawford felt like he was in the middle of a tennis match or a particularly vicious argument on some Real Housewives spin-off. He knew he should intervene, but he couldn’t seem to make himself speak. It would be so easy to smile and shrug Davis off, claiming they were tired and needed to get up to their room. It would be totally plausible that newlyweds would want alone time, but it was also mortifying that the clerk and the entire lobby would assume he and Mateus were going upstairs to have sex.

“Oh, he has,” Mateus said, his smile still firmly in place. He squeezed Crawford’s hand. “Shall we go up, meu amor?"

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