Thursday, December 19, 2013

Cat in the Lights ... with Author Carla Rossi

Buon Natale, Maria! Thank you for inviting me and Saber the Maine Coon Muse Cat to stop by your blog.

A writer friend once said it was true all writers have cats. She didn’t because she was highly allergic, and she often thought that might be why she wasn’t on the NYT Bestseller list. “After all,” she said, “I hear it’s almost impossible to even land an agent without a cat.”

So yes, I am a cat person.

And yes, I write every day with my cat by my side (or crawling across the keyboard, or swatting at my fingers…) Saber is especially helpful with tasks around the house – like untangling Christmas lights

and as a working writer’s cat, he often helps me brainstorm. I’m sure he’s responsible for the appearance of the kittens in my YA holiday story, How Nick and Holly (Wrecked) Saved Christmas.

Like most pet-loving authors, cats and dogs often make a way into my stories. Last year’s holiday release Dr. Noah and The Sugar Plum Fairy features a couple dogs and a yummy homemade dog biscuit recipe. I hope you’ll check it out and enjoy both holiday stories.

Holly Moreau and Nick Zernigan aren’t friends at school – or anywhere else. Especially since Holly blames Nick for her broken nose after a freak accident. But when they find themselves unexpectedly dropped with older relatives at a retirement complex over Christmas break, they must make peace. They have to. It’s the only way to survive karaoke night and a senior citizen Christmas dance.

Holly thinks Nick is a careless loser. Nick thinks Holly is a too-serious choir nerd. Can one party and a crime spree change their minds about each other? And can Nick and Holly remember the miracle of Christmas and find the answers to some of their hidden questions?

Buy ebook from Pelican Book Group

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Contact Carla: carla@carlarossi.com

carlarossi.com

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

My Christmas Puppy...Kind Of by Terri Weldon

I love Westies. And when my precious Ethel passed away I determined to give myself plenty of time to mourn before bringing another puppy into my home. Crosby, however, had an entirely different idea in mind.

A friend of mine who fosters Westies told me about him and my immediate thought was no way! He was a Christmas puppy, but somehow Santa dropped him off at the wrong house. And at eleven weeks old he found himself living with a foster mom, looking for his forever home.

Then I saw a picture of the little fellow and I thought he’s a boy, he will be so different from her. And he does need a home. So after just three months without a Westie, Crosby came to live with me.

I can honestly say life has never been the same. The first night he cried and carried on all night long! I went out the next day and bought a kennel for him to sleep in, a puppy playpen, and started taking him on walks. It had been so long since I had a puppy I forgot they could (and he did) get into everything – including my heart.

Now almost six years later I can’t imagine life without Crosby! He’s a sweetheart that loves everyone and is confident everyone loves him. He climbs up in my lap to have his head petted. And if I write too long and he feels ignored, he makes sure I know about it.

I won’t deny he’s been a challenge, but one adoring look from those beautiful brown eyes and I know he’s worth it! I’m thankful my Christmas puppy found his way to my house, even if it did take a few extra weeks.

Thank you for being here, Terri. Crosby is adorable!

Misty Winslow is determined to find her prince charming. She meets the man of her dreams through an internet dating service. Or is he?

Because the new dentist in town sets her heart a flutter.

It's love at first sight for Tyler Davenport, but before he can finish his first root canal Misty is involved in an exclusive online romance with Wes99. Tyler begins to get jealous of Wes99, his online persona!

Soon he's pulling out all the stops to woo Misty. As Christmas approaches Wes99 and Tyler both ask her to meet them under the mistletoe. Which man will she choose?

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Welcome Author Tanya Stowe

Today I'm happy to welcome author Tanya Stowe with her own story of her journey to publication:

After I wrote and sold my first book, I became a publishing “orphan”. My publishing house closed, leaving me with a half completed sequel. The industry began downsizing and my critique group, which between them had 30 books on the shelves, suddenly had only 6. As the new beginner, my future didn’t look promising. I decided to take on a full time job to help pay the mortgage.

After almost 10 years of putting my writing on the back burner, I decided it was time to quit my job and write full time once again. I completed a manuscript that I considered my best work and sent it out. I had lots of nibbles but no strong bites so I sent the manuscript to a book doctor. When she finished critiquing the work, I felt as if I was finished writing. I was so dispirited and frustrated, I considered going back to work and permanently shelving my writing career.

In fact, I even said out loud “I’m done, Lord. Point me in another direction because I’m finished. Tell me what you have in line for me next.” On the table beside me sat my Bible. I flipped it open and a scripture from Hebrews jumped out at me. “Perseverance is thy training.”

I ranted. I raved. I argued for days. No way could I endure more punishment from the publishing industry. At last, I realized I needed to be obedient. “All right, Lord. You win.” But if writing was what He wanted me to do than I would write for Him. I pulled out my very first manuscript, revised it as an Inspirational romance and sent it out. The story sold within 6 months.

Layne Mabrey is on the run because her ex-husband is determined to institutionalize their Down Syndrome daughter. Layne can't afford to get close to anyone--not even the gentle cowboy next door. Is it possible a Christmas miracle awaits Layne and Chloe on the Heart's Haven Angel Tree?

Thank you for being here today, Tanya and for reminding us that we should always persevere.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

THE CHRISTMAS GIFT by Anne Greene

I love the story of Mary, so young, probably only about fifteen, telling the man she loves that she is pregnant. And young Joseph, probably not more than twenty years old himself, loving her so much and believing the angel that yes, his betrothed though with child, was still a virgin.

How both may have been shunned by their families, but Joseph stepped up like a man and took his beloved Mary for his wife. How they walked to Bethlehem together. Despite tradition, I’m sure young Joseph couldn’t afford a donkey.

How Joseph lay down his tunic for his bride-to-be and there on the dirty floor of a manure-stinking barn delivered God’s own son. Can you think of a more lowly birth for the King of heaven and earth? What a picture to show that Jesus came not to be served but to serve. Only the Creator God could imagine such a birth.

Christmas is our time to rejoice, worship, and give. Let us make the most of the time until The One born so lowly comes again—only when He returns, He will come as King of Kings and Lord of Lords in all His splendor and glory.

What was the best Christmas gift you ever received? Leave a comment below.

A MARRIAGE COVENANT Why does a handsome, powerful noble of the highest rank in England stoop to marry a mere Lady of Lowland Scotland?

A GREAT SECRET Are the whispered stories about him true? With his shadowy past and strange behavior, what awful secret does he hide? Each change of clothes transforms him into a different man.

AN IMPOSSIBLE CHOICE Can Lady Cailin keep her vow to make her marriage happy and successful, unlike that of her parents, or must she arrange for the Duke's accidental death?

ANNE GREENE delights in writing about wounded heroes and gutsy heroines. Her second novel, a Scottish historical, Masquerade Marriage, won the New England Reader Choice award, the Laurel Wreath Award, and the Heart of Excellence Award. The sequel Marriage By Arrangement released November, 2013.

Anne makes her home in McKinney, Texas. Tim LaHaye led her to the Lord when she was twenty-one and Chuck Swindoll is her Pastor. View Anne’s travel pictures and art work at http://www.AnneGreeneAuthor.com.

Anne’s highest hope is that her stories transport the reader to an awesome new world and touch hearts to seek a deeper spiritual relationship with the Lord Jesus.

Buy Anne’s books at http://www.PelicanBookGroup.com. Or at http://www.Amazon.com.

Visit http://www.anneswritingupdates.blogspot.com for information on writing an award-winning novel. Talk with Anne on twitter at @TheAnneGreene. Visit Anne’s Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/AnneWGreeneAuthor.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Welcome Brady the Cat ... and Author Joanne Durgin!

I was denied the pleasure (a nice way of saying I wasn’t allowed) to have a “real” pet as a girl, so we had box turtles and frogs and assorted amphibians. Ugh.

Yeah, I tried begging (“Mom, you can’t cuddle with a turtle!”), but nothing worked. Now my husband, Jim, grew up with big, rambunctious and affectionate dogs. So, as soon as we moved into our first house in California, we’d picked out a pure bred Yellow Lab within a week.

I have photos of Prince growing bigger during the next few months just as my expectant belly also expanded. Then came Polo, a Sheltie, in Philadelphia. Then Callie in Boston (after Polo died, I’d suggested no more dogs, yet guess who led the parade to find another puppy at the animal shelter?). Pointing at self here.

Then we moved to Indiana, and when Callie died suddenly at age eight, I said, “Sorry, but that’s it, people. No. More. Animals.”

Not that I don’t love dogs, mind you, but my mother also lives with us. She was bit by a dog as a child and has been afraid of all canines ever since. But…then along came Brady. The cat?!

Jim had never liked cats…until Brady. Like my father, Jim even made disparaging comments about cats. Even told a few bad cat jokes. You know the kind. For my part, I’m allergic to cats (and so is our oldest daughter) and let’s just say I’d met a few less-than-friendly felines.

Sure, they’re cute, but no thank you! Then…a little over a year ago, we noticed this sweet little cat that kept hanging around the house. He’d sit on our front step or on the back deck and the kids would give him food and water (against our better judgment). Talking with our neighbors, we learned several of them thought they’d take the cat in if no one claimed him. He looked like he’d been well-cared for, but he wore no collar.

We’ll probably never know if someone just dropped him off…or what. One night, as my girls and I were going into a store, the sky was dark and ominous and heavy rains were predicted. Jim said, “I’ll be back in a few minutes.” I knew exactly what Jim was thinking. He was worried about that cat!

Twenty minutes later, we came out of the store and there’s Jim in the car stroking that cat. I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or think it was one of the sweetest things I’d ever seen. Another twenty minutes later, we walked into a pet store. It was near closing time. I zeroed in on a sales clerk and said, “New cat owners here. We’re going to spend some money!” Within hours, our cat was named Brady (yes, after THAT Brady, as in Tom—Jim’s from New England and we are diehard Patriot fans).

So, male or female, cats are definitely divas. Brady is playful, cute as a button (look at that deceptively innocent face!), intelligent (yes, you can really tell!) and man, does this cat STRUT! Serious wiggles on the back end. It’s pretty hysterical, actually.

And guess what? After a few initial misgivings, neither one of us is allergic, amazingly enough! I’ll say that a cat’s meow is far less irritating than a dog’s bark (our dogs were all barkers).

We don’t have to go out in the freezing cold to walk Brady or let him out to do his business. And best of all? Seeing my husband with Brady on his lap, watching that other Brady on the big screen TV. Yeah, they’re buds. Pretty sweet. So, thank you Lord, for Brady the Cat.

Thanks for hosting me on your blog today, Maria. Blessings, friends!

Jacob Marston, Starlight, Iowa’s hometown hero made a long-ago promise to the Lord: he won’t kiss a woman until he knows she’s “the one.” Now at age twenty-eight, the rugged firefighter questions if it’ll ever happen. Then, he meets his best friend’s sister, and Jake believes he’s found the woman of his dreams. But what will she think when she discovers his vow?

When Julia makes an unexpected confession on Christmas Day, Jake shares his secret with her, and it looks as though happily-ever-after will make a holiday appearance.

But somehow, everyone in the tiny town of Starlight learns Jake’s secret, and he’s instantly transformed from town hero to laughingstock. Did Julia reveal his secret? Can Jake forget the humiliation and find his way under the mistletoe to share a forever kiss with Julia?

Dante Moretti, Texas-born goalie of an Italian World Cup champion team, expects Starlight, Iowa will be only a blip on the radar of his life. Grabbing a quick meal at Barney’s Diner during the holidays, Dante meets two women who capture his heart in very different ways. Then his rental car won’t start and leaves him stranded. Does the Lord have a plan for bringing him—and keeping him—in Starlight? Amanda Marston is excited to be home for her brother’s wedding. When she drops in for a cup of coffee at Barney’s, she’s charmed by the mysterious, Italian-spouting cowboy. Before she can blink, the handsome stranger is helping with projects all over town and working his way into her heart. Does God have a plan for Dante in her beloved little Starlight or will he take her heart with him when he returns to Italy?

In addition to the Christmas novellas, JoAnn Durgin is the author of The Lewis Legacy Series (Books #1-4 currently available, Book #5 coming in the spring of 2014), and a standalone novel, Catching Serenity.

She is an estate administration paralegal in a Louisville, Kentucky law firm and lives with her family and Brady the Cat in Southern Indiana. JoAnn loves to hear from readers! Visit her at www.joanndurgin.com or via her Author JoAnn Durgin page on Facebook.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

My Bouncy Boo Bear

Today I'm joined by author Delia Latham, whose little Boo Bear has stolen my heart! Tell us about Boo, Delia:

At the risk of being shot at or spit on, I have a confession: I've never been a pet person…until Boo Bear—my terribly spoiled Pomeranian.

When we got him, he was barely weaned, and just a tiny little ball of fur—as was his sister, Willow, who claimed my son's heart and also came home with us.

But Willow and Obie have their own home now, and Boo…well, he has the run of our home, and thinks he owns it.

Maybe he does. I'll have to re-check the deed…

Our routine has changed in a number of ways since Boo bounced into our lives.

For example, my husband and I never liked the idea of pets on our bed, but Boo doesn't give a fig what we like or don't like. He has claimed our bed as his own—at least at night, when he bounces up beside me and curls himself into an itty bitty ball right behind my knees.

He's quite the gentleman though. If I come to bed after he and hubby have already burrowed in, he politely jumps off and waits until I get settled before coming back up and staking claim to his chosen spot. During the day, the guestroom bed is his, no matter how hard we try to keep him off it.

Seriously, shouldn't I just run him off? Naw, he'd just come back! In the words of an old song by Susan Wray, "What'cha gonna do with a dog like that?"

Boo's a dancer. When he's showing off for the neighborhood kids, all of whom think he's just the cat's meow (sorry, Boo!), you'd think he was on stage. Those cute little front paws fly high and swat the air with amazing grace, and he struts around like some kind of doggie star. He does the same thing when he's excited…or just walkin' in tall grass and feelin' the joy of life. It's way too cute!

I used to laugh and tease my brother-in-law for turning into an "old softie" when he got his little chihuahua, Angel. But it seems the old adage that states "what goes around comes around" is still true. Even when applied to pets. If you don't want to be wrapped around a little furry paw, don't get a puppy—especially a gentleman dancer of a Pom! (Hmm…maybe we should have name him Astair! Naw…I like Boo.)

Boo's turned both my husband and me into "old softies." But he's worth it.

Delia Latham is a born-and-bred California gal, recently transplanted to Oklahoma where she lives with her husband Johnny. She’s a Christian wife, mother, grandmother, sister, and friend—but above all, she treasures her role as child of the King and heir to the throne of God. She enjoys big, loud, happy family gatherings. When she’s not writing, she loves to play piano and sing, read, enjoy nature’s beauty, and design marketing products for authors.

At twenty-one, Lea Dale is well-adjusted and happy, despite the facial scars she's carried since infancy. She has friends in the highest of places, possesses colorful vision (since for some reason she can see auras around folks), and her family and friends adore her. Corrective surgery is a possibility, but not one Lea has felt the need to consider…until wealthy investor Laren Meadows walks into her life and turns it upside down.

Suddenly, Lea is painfully conscious of her lack of perfection, given Laren's flawless looks and ultra-charming personality. What a blessing that he's attracted to her despite her scars—and even her special angel seems to approve of the match.

Then a secret from Laren's past threatens to destroy any hope of a future for the two of them. Now there's only one way for Lea to know if Laren's love is true, but taking that action could mark the end of their relationship.

Can love survive such a tangled mess of physical and emotional scars?