The Magic of Christmas

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Most people call this season a magical time, and when I think about what makes it so, I think of all the traditions that we revisit year after year—rituals that are shared by so many others at the same time that they become larger than our individual acts.

I love seeing cars with Christmas trees tied on top, people carrying bags of packages wrapped with red bows, neighbors stopping by with a tin of holiday cookies. And that special glow everyone gets decorating the home in sparkling lights and ornaments that we take out of storage only once a year and only at this special time.

When I watch Christmas Carol every year I can’t help remembering the way at age five, I hid behind the sofa the first time I saw the black-robed ghost of Christmas future. Then last year I saw my friend’s little daughter do the same thing!

Back when I was a dancer living in New York City, I once had a rehearsal that ended late at night and I didn‘t have the money for a cab. So I took the stairs down to the subway platform below street level—a dark and desolate place in a not-so-savory neighborhood.

There was only one other person there, and by the nervous look she gave me when I arrived, I guessed she wasn’t feeling too safe either. I just hoped the train would arrive before any bad dudes discovered two defenseless women were down in this enclosed space where I doubted anyone would hear a call for help.

It was almost Christmas and I clung to the joy that always fills me this time of year. I quietly began singing to myself “Deck the Halls.” The middle-aged woman waiting several feet away must have heard my tiny song because she started singing it too, joining me word for word. Soon we were standing close together singing one carol after another until the subway arrived.

We didn’t know each other’s names and we got off the subway at different stops, but when we parted we exchanged a smile that told me we had shared in the special magic that is Christmas.

 

Those special moments are what inspire me to write a holiday romance each year. This year’s romance is mistaken identity story about a toymaker who courts a cold-hearted investor in her desperation to help her sister’s family.

 

1800x2100_holidayluvbundle_2I’ve also bundled four of my earlier Holiday Luv romances into a boxed set.

 

Wishing you and yours a joyous Christmas, happy Chanukah, blissful Kwanzaa, merry Solstice ~ and of course a wonderful New Year.

Love, Christmas Boxed Set
Publication date: October 1st 2016
Genres: Adult, Romance

♫♪Put a song in your heart with 20 all-new Christmas Romances from NY Times, USA Today, and national best-selling authors. Each brand-new title is inspired by a Christmas carol and will lift your spirits and bring on the holiday cheer.♫♪

We Need a Little Christmas by Leanne Banks – Can a handsome cynic become a Christmas believer?

Frosty the Snowman by Mimi Barbour – Stranded in an Alaskan snowstorm, strangers Hali and Terry are forced to rely on each other for survival.

Last Christmas by Joan Reeves – Annabelle gave him her heart, but Rick threw it away. He wants redemption, she wants revenge.

Holly Jolly Christmas by Mona Risk – Pregnant at 18. Adoption would save the baby’s future but may cost her the man she loves.

Do You Hear What I Hear? by Patricia Rosemoor – Live-in-lovers Shelley and Jake are now in a cold war of their own over Christmas.

White Christmas by Rebecca York – Was she in a coma, or was she in a Christmas fantasy?

So This is Christmas by Denise Devine – He was her child nemesis, now he’s her best friend forever.

Grown Up Christmas List by Donna Fasano – All she wants for Christmas is to feel safe… then she meets her guardian angel.

Blue Christmas by the Sea by Traci Hall – Alone for Christmas, Tamsyn helps mystery writer Evan find his mojo–love is a gift neither can refuse.

Santa Baby by Taylor Lee – Lily’s only hope was that this time, he wouldn’t be able to find her.

Let It Snow by Stephanie Queen – A stranger and a snow storm on Christmas Eve create the ultimate test for Dane & Shana.

Merry, Did You Know? by Jennifer St. Giles – Can a Christmas Miracle change the future of a woman who doesn’t believe in love and a man who can’t love again?

O Christmas Tree by Alicia Street – Can Piper convince Cody to let go of his painful past and embrace the hope of Christmas and possibly love?

Sleigh Ride by Katy Walters – Miss Sophia Vale faces poverty. Enter the Earl of Breconbridge, renowned as a rake hell with a conscience.

Deck the Hearts by Rachelle Ayala – Can Holly’s jolly Christmas spirit help Grinch Gordon Gills save the town of Christmas Creek?

Silver Bells by Jacquie Biggar – Can a Christmas wish bring two stubborn souls together and give a little girl the gift she wants?

Hark the Herald Angel Falls by Michele Hauf – To earn her halo, angel Merit must convince the person who holds her earthly soul in limbo–her husband–to stop loving her.

Little Drummer Boy by Dani Haviland – How could a mere drummer boy help those stranded in the worst winter storm of the 18th century?

I’ll Be Home For Christmas by Nancy Radke – When former a former Navy SEAL plucks a woman from the Mediterranean Sea, he discovers a fighter tougher than he.

Santa Claus is Coming to Town by Cynthia Cooke – A big city girl reunites with a small town boy–magic. A Santa in need of an elf–Christmas magic.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

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Release Day!

 

Background With SnowflakesRelease Day is here! Come join the party!

Ring in the holiday season with 17 all-new, stand-alone stories from New York Times, USA Today, national bestselling, and award-winning authors. Sweet Christmas Kisses 3 takes you around the globe from small-town USA, to London, England, and even to Africa with a foreword written by USA TodayBestselling Author Donna Fasano. Don’t miss out on this sweet romance boxed set that’s sure to touch your heart, make you smile, and put you in the mood for Christmas.

Mona RiskOn Christmas Eve by Mona Risk

She yanked him out of her heart years ago. But fate throws him in her path again and his tender gaze erases her loneliness. Can they forgive each other and create a new future?


Christmas Holly by Christine BushChristine Bush

Can a lonely single father of five-year-old triplets find love on a South Carolina beach? It might just take a Christmas miracle!


Mistletoe and Sage by Lyn CoteLyn Cote

New deputy in town, a single mom, two wounded hearts with a puzzle to solve together—will love spark under the mistletoe?



A Merry Little Christmas by Denise DevineDenise Devine

Merry Connor and Anthony Lewis search for treasure and find true love.

 



The Christmas Gift by Raine EnglishRaine English

When Riley Wayne receives a dog for Christmas, it’s not just the pup that makes her heart flutter, the rescue group’s handsome owner does too.


Untangling Christmas by Shanna HatfieldUntangling Christmas

Tricked into helping with Silverton’s Festival of Trees, electrician Mike Clarke battles faulty outlets, tangled lights, and a woman determined to share the spirit of the season.


A Christmas on Miracle Mountain by Ciara KnightCiara Knight

When it takes a miracle to heal a heart.



The Kampala Peppermint Twist by Milou KoeningsMilou Koenings

A twist of fate. An overbooked flight. Christmas in Africa will flip her life upside down.


The Road Not Taken by Magdalena ScottMagdalena Scott

Francie Standish Carrington has some tough decisions to make and a lot of questions about a past she thought she understood.


A London Christmas by Roxanne RustandRoxanne Rustand

When Catriona heads to London for Christmas to meet a guy she met online, he steals her purse and disappears, but will a handsome photographer in the pub end up being the man of her dreams?


Her Christmas Secret by Alicia StreetAlicia Street

Desperate to help her sister’s family, Lila courts a cold-hearted investor for her handmade toys, but learns Christmas has a way of bringing surprises where they’re least expected.


Kristin WallaceFalling For You at Christmas by Kristin Wallace

One expectant mother. One gorgeous innkeeper. Three days that will change her life forever.
 


Second Chance Christmas by Merrillee WhrenMerrillee Whren

A young boy helps his estranged parents find love again at Christmas.



Christmas Eve Wedding by Cindy Flores Martinezcindy-flores-martinez

A maid of honor is swept up in the chaos of planning her best friend’s spur-of-the-moment Christmas Eve wedding.


Secret Wish by Victoria PinderVictoria Pinder

Luke Morgan doesn’t believe in miracles, but this season Christmas brought him Caro Soliz, the family maid.


Candleglow and Mistletoe by Josie RivieraJosie Riviera

A rising pianist and a pro stuntman winding down his career find love amid the glow of Christmas candles.


Couple by Christmas by Pat Simmonscbc-1-adj

Divorcee Derek Washington wants to reconcile with his ex-wife by Christmas. Although he’s got a plan, with the help of his six-year-old son, Derek only has two weeks.


Join the authors for the Release Party, Tuesday, Sept. 27 on Facebook!

 

You can purchase the book at your favorite online retailer:

Kindle    iBooks    Nook
Kobo   Google Play

Would you let your son be a dancer?

Caucasian male dancer

Many prominent male dancers tell stories about taking their sisters to ballet class and deciding to give it a try—and finding that they love it.

For one thing, ballet, modern dance, hip-hop and many of the performance-oriented forms require athleticism that is every bit as challenging as most sports. An advanced-level dancer can easily measure up, if not surpass other athletes in terms of strength, endurance, and of course flexibility.

While times keep changing and gender roles are expanding, there are still parents, mostly fathers, who do not like the idea of their sons studying dance. Maybe it’s the music? Or the ability to look graceful while doing something hard? Or the fact that they wear tights in ballet? Having spent a good part of my youth in dance studios and my early adult life as a professional dancer, this baffles me.

As a dance teacher I often encountered parents who weren’t too happy to have sons who danced. I remember one teen who was particularly gifted. I helped him develop his skill and later apply for and receive a scholarship to the prestigious North Carolina School of the Arts. His father called me up and lit into me, saying, “What have you done to my son?”

Little boy break dancerSo how could I not use this subject in one of my romance novels?

In Kiss Me, Dancer the divorced father of a talented boy runs head-on into a determined dance teacher and sparks fly in more ways than one.

Kiss Me, Dancer is on sale for the rest of September. The whole Dance ‘n’ Luv series is now available to read free on Kindle Unlimited.

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Sitting Fit

Whether we’re reading or writing or working in an office, most of us spend way too much time sitting. And the latest research on what that does to our health is downright scary—from back pain to obesity and even the increased risk of life threatening illnesses.

The good news is that making ourselves get up and move can change the picture.

Having spent my early adult life as a professional dancer, I already have trouble sitting for too long. But being a writer and editor and loving to read for pleasure in my spare time, that’s what I do for most of my days.

Here are some tips for staying fit and counteracting the negative effects of prolonged sitting that have helped me.

Set a timer. I try to get up every fifteen minutes.

Move your arms and legs when you get up. Maybe play one of your favorite tunes and dance, or if you’re at work, go to the ladies’ room and march in place for a full minute. So what if a co-worker comes in and thinks you’re a bit odd.

Sitting for so long often means our butt muscles lose tone. A good exercise for that is to get down on hands and knees and lift your leg behind you. I recommend at least two sets of ten on each leg. And if you want to get your stomach muscles involved, reach out the opposite arm as you lift the leg.

So how do you keep yourself fit when you have to sit?

 

Guest Author Josie Rivera Explores the Romany Culture

Guest author Josie Rivera shares some tidbits from her research on Romany culture from her latest historical romance releasing today.

sp1500x2400-1Gadje Gadjensa, Rom Romensa.”

This is a Romany (Gypsy) saying that means “Gadje with Gadje, Rom with Rom.”

So what is a gadje? A gadje in the Romany language means “not one of us.” Many Rom prefer to not allow outsiders (us) into their lives. It’s no coincidence that in my hours, days, and months of researching the Romany for Seeking Patience, little information was available. Odd, because the Rom have lived in many places throughout the world for centuries. They’re a widely-traveled people. Yet there is little written history regarding their origins, although recent evidence points to an emigration from India 1500 years ago.

I believe the reason there is little information available is because the Rom simply prefer it that way. They are a proud people who keep to themselves. And they are nomads, forever on the move, traveling by horse and wagon in caravans.

It is no secret that the Rom have suffered persecution, prejudice, exclusion, and discrimination for centuries. The “Gypsy” stereotype includes a criminal, fortune-teller, blacksmith, thief, and musician, a dark-complexioned, shadowy figure. But why do so many of us harbor this unfair prejudice? Perhaps because of the Rom’s nomadic existence, lack of a solid religious belief, and exotic clothes and lifestyle. Their dialect is distinct and related to Sanskrit. Their tradition is oral, for they didn’t have the luxury of building libraries.

One belief shared by all Rom is cleanliness. Mahrime means unclean or polluted. To avoid mahrime, clothes covering the top half of their body are washed separately from clothes on the bottom. Certain parts of the female body are considered unclean, and doctors are sometimes avoided because they deal with illness. And, a Rom can become polluted by being too close to a gadje.
These are some of the issues examined for her new Regency Historical Romance SEEKING PATIENCE

Now available on  Kindle  iBooks  Nook    Kobo

Do people prove their worth by strength, or by character?

Half-Romany, half-English lord, he lives a perilous Gypsy life … until a sweet English rose saves his life, and perhaps his soul. Widowed by a cruel husband, she’s given up all hope of love. Brought together in peril, they dare to reach for a brighter future together.

Luca Boldor, Romany leader, lives a nomad’s life in Regency England with his Gypsy caravan. Believing his noble father abandoned him at birth, he refuses to acknowledge his English blood, or live a settled life. But when a vicious attack by a rival leaves him bleeding on an English lady’s doorstep, he has no choice but to accept her help. Her gentle faith stirs his heart in a way he has long denied.

Lady Patience Blakwell, widowed countess, lives in near poverty. Her husband’s heir uses threats to keep her from demanding her rightful inheritance. With a few faithful servants, she exists quietly in the country, only her faith keeping her strong … until the day a bold, handsome Gypsy collapses in her hall. He’s unlike any man she’s ever known, and she’ll confront any subterfuge to keep him safe.

But when a secret from Lady Patience’s past emerges, Luca must face his own past, or lose her and all hope of love. Will this strong man humble himself to open his heart for his lady?
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Best-selling author Josie Riviera writes Historical, Inspirational, and Sweet Romances. She lives in the Charlotte, NC, area with her wonderfully supportive husband.They share their empty nest with an adorable Shih Tzu who constantly needs grooming and an old house forever needing renovations.

New Book from Jacquie Biggar

 

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THE GUARDIAN ~Book 1 of Mended Souls

Paranormal romantic suspense

Lucas Carmichael and Scott Anderson had it all, money, fame, and fortune. But one night’s stupid mistake takes everything they thought they cherished and dumps it upside down.
A car accident ends Lucas’ life and leaves Scott injured and bitter.
As the local ME, Tracy York, investigates the case, discrepancies begin to point to more than a simple drunk driving incident. When threats are made to Tracy’s life can Scott and his guardian angel, Lucas, protect her, or will she become another casualty?
Amazon US      Amazon International

Jacquie Biggar copyJacquie Biggar

I live in paradise along the west coast of Canada with my family and love reading, writing, and flower gardening. Oh, and I can’t function without coffee! Preferably at the beach with my sweetheart. 🙂

I write Romantic Suspense with tough, alpha males who know what they want until they’re gob-smacked by heroines who are strong, contemporary women willing to show them what they really need is love.

I’ve been blessed with a long, happy marriage and enjoy writing romance novels that end with happy-ever-afters.

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