Tag Archives: Christmas

HOLLIS AND IVY is out!

Spread the Christmas joy! HOLLIS AND IVY is out for all to enjoy. If you enjoy Hallmark Christmas movies, this sweet romance is for you! And if you like Christmas in general, it is for you. And if you like mountains, skiing, flowers, parrots, or coconut, it is for you too! (I’m having Oprah flashbacks). Basically, everybody should read HOLLIS AND IVY immediately!

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Unlucky Ivy Teague can’t win against her competition’s dirty tactics, and she will have to close her flower shop unless a Christmas miracle arrives at her door.

Hollis Dash has been sent to finalize a business deal with Ivy’s rival, but meeting Ivy upsets all his plans.

Can they both get what they want for Christmas? Only Santa knows.

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You can get it now from Amazon, Amazon.ca, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, iTunes and Google Play.

 

Chocolate Drops

I haven’t had these since I was a kid. Then we saw them at a bake sale and decided they were something that needed to be brought back into fashion for Christmas this year.

So far we’ve made two batches. I don’t know how they disappear so quickly. Fortunately, they are very easy (and kid-friendly) to make.

 

Boiled Chocolate Drops AKA Chocolate Haystacks

1/2 cup butter or margarine (125mL)
1/2 cup milk (125mL)
2 cups granulated sugar (500mL)
1/2 cup cocoa (125mL)

2 1/2 cups rolled/quick oats (625mL)

Put first 4 ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil for 5 full minutes.
Remove from heat. Stir in rolled oats. Drop by teaspoon full onto trays covered with waxed paper. Let harden. Makes 4 dozen.

Coconut fans can replace 1/2 cup of oats with 2/3 cup of coconut.

These harden quickly, so get them onto the tray ASAP.

(The recipe books says is great for first-time cooks, and they are. Easy and quick to make – there is no downtime to get bored.)

Hollis and Ivy – Sneak Peek

Only a week until Hollis and Ivy will hit your e-reader. Is December 11th circled on your calendar? I thought I’d tease you a little with a snippet from this sweet romance.

You can pre-order it now from Amazon, Amazon.ca, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, iTunes and Google Play.

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There were numerous chain coffee shops in the village, but Hollis preferred to try independents when he travelled. A food truck with “Coffee Run” painted on the side, set up on the street beside the main parking lot had caught his attention. It was brilliant marketing for a town built on ski slopes.

He wasn’t the only one with caffeinated intentions. Sunlight was barely peeking over the mountains, signifying the beginning of the ski day, and the line was trailing off after the morning rush. Hollis found himself standing next to a tall, gangly man with a red and white striped hat and matching sweater. A woman in a wool coat—obviously not a skier—fell in behind him.

The service was quick, the drinks were steaming, and the sugar was on the ledge beside the order window, beside a wide-mouthed jar of biscotti. Hollis took a deep whiff of his coffee before setting his cup on the counter. As he tucked his gloves in his pocket, he took a step to the side to make room for the next customer.

“Good morning. The usual?” the man in the truck asked.

“Make it a double, Joel. Thanks.”

Something about the woman’s voice made him smile. Clear and light and a little husky, like she was used to speaking quietly. He noticed it had the same effect on the food truck worker, who offered her a big grin. “One of those days, huh? Don’t worry, Ivy, we’ve got you.”

Then she directed that voice his way. “Excuse me, please.” She pointed at the biscotti container, and Hollis sidled sideways two more steps. He wasn’t about to come between a woman and her cookie. She grinned, and it hit him twice as hard as her voice. She was gorgeous. Her long, dark brown hair matched her eyes, and her friendly but anxious “Coffee, coffee, yay coffee” whisper made him laugh. A puff of wind brought the scent of spring, a reminder of it even though winter had barely begun.

She used the tongs to pull a long, chocolate-topped cookie from the jar. He wasn’t sure of her next move; it happened too quickly to see. But after that, he saw her arm jerk, and watched in amazement as the cookie went up, executed a perfect backwards, double twist, and splashed down in his coffee.

Nobody spoke. Until she gave a horrified gasp and said, “And I’d like to buy the handsome man in the tan jacket a biscotti.”

Candy Cane Cookies

These cookies taste like a pepperminty dream. Making them is a … less pleasant dream.  Unlike other recipes on my blog, DO NOT MAKE THESE WITH CHILDREN.  As a grown-up, I get exasperated trying to roll and shape the delicate cookie dough. With kids, it will be an exercise in frustration.

But I promise you they are worth every single fiddly minute.

Candy Cane Cookies

1 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 cup icing (confectioner’s) sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla flavoring
2½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp almond flavoring
¼ tsp peppermint flavoring
½ tsp red food coloring

Mix first 4 ingredients together well. Add flour, baking powder and salt. Mix well.
Divide dough into two equal portions. To one half, add almond flavoring. To the other half, add the peppermint flavoring and food coloring. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. (DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP)

Roll 1 tsp of each color dough into ropes about 5-6 inches long. Lay side by side. Pinch ends together. Twist to form a spiral. Keep dough and rolling surface cool. Place on ungreased cookie sheet and shape to form a cane. Bake at 350F for about 10 minutes until pale gold. Cool on baking sheet 2-3 minutes then remove. (Transfer with care; these cookies are delicate.) Makes about 2 to 3 dozen, depending on how big you make them.

Based on recipe from “Company’s Coming: Cookies” by Jean Pare, 1988

Peanut Butter Marshmallow Squares

Christmas isn’t Christmas without holiday baking, so let’s start with something easy to make, and a good way to get the kids involved in baking.

Unfortunately, these can’t be sent to school because they do contain nuts (I’ve heard of a Wow-butter version but have not tried it myself.) They are fine – and always popular – at home and work potlucks.

Peanut Butter Marshmallow Squares

1/2 cup butter
1 cup peanut butter
1-300 gram bag of butterscotch chips
1-200 gram bag of mutli-coloured mini-marshmallows (you can use white but why be plain?)

Melt the butter, peanut butter and butterscotch chips over a low heat. Remove and let cool a little as to not melt the marshmallows. Pour in marshmallows. Coat thoroughly. Press into a 9″x13″ pan. Chill in fridge for 1 hour. (You can line the pan with parchment paper for easier removal.) Cut and serve.

Sale-a-brate paperbacks! And free e-books

LSB Cover Art Template for PhotoShopAs an early birthday present to yours truly, I’ve put my paperback copies of Screen Idol and Drama Queen on sale at 33% off! They are only $5.99 each until the end of April. (That discount is on the US prices. I’ve discounted the UK and Euro prices as well.) You can find links for all the e-formats of the first two Hollywood to Olympus books here.

Canadian friends, unfortunately Amazon does not allow me to sell from their .ca site, so orders have to go through the US. However, they still offer free shipping if you meet the minimum order of $35 so LSB Cover Art Template for PhotoShopyou might want to add in some other fun stuff you’ve been thinking about.

I hope to have Leading Man available in paperback format by the end of June but in the meantime feel free to grab the e-book format of your choice. Amazon.comAmazon.caLiquid Silver BooksKoboiTunesB&NAReGoogle Play

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Christmas Wish is free on Kindle for two days  (April 17th and 18th), so get your holiday groove on.

 

Christmas Contest – All about the ornaments

I did not worship at the altar of Carrie Bradford (of Sex and the City fame) but I definitely associate the show with New York City. When I made my first visit to the Big Apple in 2012 the show had been off the air for eight years but it was too late; the impression was already set. So when I bought my traditional trip souvenir, I picked one that I felt would always remind me of New York City. It’s similar to this one:

http://st.houzz.com/fimgs/4cf167af0407bcb4_3206-w144-h144-b1-p0--traditional-christmas-ornaments.jpg

There are two schools of thought when it comes to Christmas tree decoration. The first school is the design tree idea, where the lights and ornaments and ribbons are all colour coordinated. These trees look gorgeous and high classed and elegant.

The second school of thought is the one I subscribe to. My tree is the most colourful, mismatched, unprofessional sight of the Christmas season. I have old ornaments, new ornaments, scratched ornaments, repaired ornaments, and a huge box of one-offs that don’t match anything else and I love each and every one of them. Every two or three years, I get ambitious with Christmas baking and there are gingerbread men hanging from the branches. (Those may or may not make it to the 25th depending on how often I get the munchies while watching television in the evenings.)

Every ornament on my tree has a story. A lot of from my childhood but my most recent ones are from trips I’ve taken.  New York was the designer shoe. The Vancouver Aquarium is the mercury glass Nemo. Do I really have to explain the Mickey Mouse ears?
I love that my tree tells the story of my life.

All I need now is to get a stained glass ornament to remind me of Joanne Jaytanie and her book Christmas Reflections and the amazing experience of being part of the Forever Christmas collection. (Yes, Joanne, that is a hint!)

Today and tomorrow you can enjoy Candy Cane Kisses and Christmas Reflections for free on Amazon.

In the meantime, Joanne and I (and Sharon and Angela, the other amazing Forever Christmas authors) are doing an awesome giveaway so be sure to enter and tell your friends!

An autographed copy of Forever Christmas, signed by all four of the authors, plus each of us will add little swag. I have added a signed bookmark of Christmas Reflections along with a handmade bookmark.

To enter~

Download both free books and copy and paste your receipt number. If you have already purchased one or both books, then you will need to tag a person and that person must download both books and paste their receipt. Both you and your friend are then entered and you will have 2 entries.

Please paste all entires below in my comment section.

Winner will be chosen by Random.

MERRY CHRISTMAS

CANDY CANE KISSES is out!

Candy Cane Kisses coverI’m ahead of my time. You may not be ready to get into holiday activities but let me help put you in the mood.

My short romantic comedy CANDY CANE KISSES is now out exclusively on Amazon. It is the fourth and final book in the best-selling series, Forever Christmas. The western Washington town of Glenville is threatened with the possible loss of their 100 year old Christmas tree farm to an outside corporation. Four friends join together to keep the tradition alive and create new opportunities with the rebirth of the Forever Christmas tree farm.

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All bakery-owner Lindsay Leeds wants for Christmas is for her former high-school crush Sheriff Keith “Bodey” Bodewell to quit playing games. The sheriff has been dancing around asking her out for months and Lindsay is tired of it. His “fake girlfriend” ploy was cute and it was sweet that he recruited her friends to find out what she likes, but enough is enough. She’s a busy woman and he needs to step up or he’s going to lose his shot.

How can a woman who runs two businesses be so clueless when it comes to managing her heart? Bodey has dropped more than enough hints that he’s interested, but Lindsay isn’t catching them. Just when the sheriff is running out of ideas on how he can convince her to be his for Christmas, Lindsay gives him a clue about what it will take for him to get a date. And the answer is pretty simple. At least, it was supposed to be. Christmas is days away and his plays keep failing on a spectacular level.

It’s going to take the jolly fat man to make this holiday romance happen.

Here’s a sneak peek:

Lindsay didn’t join in the teasing. Instead, she sent him a death glare. “It was you,” she accused.

“Me, what?” He knew damn well what. Margaret called him at the department to give him a heads-up. For such a bright woman, Bodey could not figure out how Lindsay remained oblivious that the entire town was helping him woo her.

“You, you, you… Wine thief!” she shouted.

“I didn’t steal anything,” he protested.

“No, you bought it, snatching it off the shelf from under my nose.”

“You said it was good.”

“It was mine!”

She was a little more attached to her Moscato than he’d anticipated.