Friday, December 23, 2011

Day 15 of 15 Days of Christmas - Jessica Aspen Shares!

Today’s guest is Jessica Aspen, a prolific blogger, new author (her first book releases in February, and one nice lady (do you notice a pattern here…I know lots of nice people), who is sharing the fun of a family tradition.

Jessica also has a Little Red Riding Wolf T-shirt for the giveaway to one lucky winner!  So be sure to comment to get your name in the drawing!!  And to get on the Brit Trinket list for a prize from England…yet to be bought since the trip is next week!

Thanks Lizzie for sliding me into your blog! I’m excited to be here and share some holiday cheer!
It’s almost here. The night before Christmas approaches. I love Christmas Eve, even more than Christmas day because we go to my folks house for the evening and it is a rollicking good time. We not only have a fabulous feast full of fun foods, but we have Yule log for desert and a white elephant gift exchange. You haven’t experienced the true hilarity of Christmas till you’ve experienced an Aspen white elephant.
First of all everyone must bring two presents, not one, two. Why? Because the first year we had so much fun we wanted it to last longer. This also increases your chances of opening something really stellar and makes the stealing so much more complicated. Stealing? Did I say stealing?
Why yes I did.
For the un-initiated you have the choice of unwrapping a brand new gift or stealing from a friend or family member. We love to steal. And it gets complicated. You see many of us have partners so we manipulate the stealing, knowing that certain gifts are more popular than others you can steal something from your partner, so he’ll steal something you want, then someone will steal from you and you can steal something brand new. I did mention it gets complicated.
That’s why we have the rule that a present can only be stolen three times in an evening. But with so many presents to steal, someone needs to keep track. That person is my sister, Queen of the White Elephant. She sets the rules and keeps track, makes sure we all behave. And she is the worst thief of all. Watch out if you have something desirable like Godiva chocolates, or good wine. She’ll enlist her whole family in a complicated stealing back and forth that will have you spinning.
Whatever we come home with, we have a blast. It’s a fun way to work off the Yule log. From movie tickets to the very desirable Sham-Wow, you never know what will show up. Some years I make out like a bandit. And some years I end up with the reindeer that poops chocolate raisins.
Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I’ll leave you with the recipe for the Meringue Mushrooms to decorate theYule log. It’s not Christmas Eve without the Yule log!

Meringue Mushrooms

·         2  egg whites
·         1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
·         1 teaspoon vanilla extract
·         6 tbl white sugar
·         1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
·         1/3 cup chocolate chips


1.      Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F. Line  cookie sheets with parchment paper or aluminum foil.

2.      In a large glass or metal bowl, use an electric mixer to whip egg whites until foamy. Add cream of tartar and vanilla. Continue whipping until the whites hold soft peaks. Gradually sprinkle in the sugar so that it does not sink to the bottom, and continue whipping until the mixture holds stiff shiny peaks.

3.      Place a round tip into a pastry bag, and fill the bag half way with the meringue. To pipe the mushroom caps, squeeze out round mounds of meringue onto one of the prepared cookie sheets. Pull the bag off to the side to avoid making peaks on the top. For the stems, press out a tiny bit of meringue onto the other sheet, then pull the bag straight up. They should resemble candy kisses. Do not worry about making all of the pieces exactly the same. The mushrooms will look more natural if the pieces are different sizes. Bake for 1 hour in the preheated oven, or until the caps are dry enough to easily remove from the cookie sheets. Set aside to cool completely. Melt chocolate chips in a metal bowl over simmering water, or in a glass bowl in the microwave, stirring occasionally until smooth.

4.      Poke a small hole in the bottom of a mushroom cap. Spread chocolate over the bottom of the cap. Dip the tip of a stem in chocolate, and press lightly into the hole. When the chocolate sets, they will hold together. Repeat with remaining pieces. Dust caps with cocoa using a small strainer. Store at room temperature in a dry place or tin. 

Come into the woods with Little Red Riding Wolf, a spicy paranormal romance novella due out February 18, 2012 from Passion in Print Press. What if Little Red Riding Hood was a werewolf, and a sexy forest ranger wandered into her woods?  

Fraternizing with humans is taboo, but when feisty werewolf Red runs into hunky new forest ranger Evan Brewster, she jumps on the opportunity to let loose her desires. Evan is stoked when he meets the petite red haired hottie, and combined with his new discovery of wolves in Colorado, thinks his career and life are made. Then Red pushes him away, her hostile brother threatens his life, and things begin to spiral out of control. Caught between her sexy lover and her pack can Red trust Evan with her secrets, or must she sacrifice her human lover and her heart?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Day 14 of 15 Days of Christmas -- Melissa Mayhue!

Today’s guest, Melissa Mayhue is a terrific author, a very nice lady and my friend.  To give you the idea of the kind of friend Melissa is, I’ll share a short little tidbit on what she did a few months ago when we met for lunch. 

It was Toddler day and of course, Toddler had selected her choice from the kid’s menu.  When our lunches arrived, Toddler eyed the plate placed in front of her and then looked across the table at Melissa’s.  Toddler being the shy little thing she is told Melissa, “That’s a lot of food.  Don’t you think you should share?”  My friend didn’t bat an eye and replied very seriously, “You’re right, it is.  Would you like some?”  Toddler spent lunch munching back and forth between her selection and the part of Melissa’s lunch she put on the kiddo’s plate.  See, a true friend who understands the minds of children and goes with the flow.
So join me in welcoming my understanding friend Melissa Mayhue and be sure to read through her blog because she’s offering up a great prize to the name drawn from comments!  And the winner also gets on the Brit trinket drawing list! 

Favorite Christmas

First of all, thank you so much to Lizzie for inviting me to come visit with you all today.  It’s been a long time!
My favorite Christmas… wow.  That’s a tough one.  I love Christmas.  Seriously love it.  Without a doubt, it’s my favorite holiday.  Unfortunately, that means that I have years and years of special memories associated with this time of year.  [And see what an expert “rationalize” I am?  It’s the fact that I love Christmas, not the number of Christmases I’ve had that make this difficult!] J
One lovely memory I have is of the gifts that my grandparents would send me when I was a little girl.  For weeks before Christmas, I’d begin the agonizing wait for the mailman to show up at our front door.  When their package arrived, there would invariably be something beautiful [and totally unnecessary, which made it all the more wonderful!] like an engraved bracelet or a white wool party dress… yeah.  Just what every seven-year old needs.  A white dress that has to be dry cleaned! [I’m sure my mother dreaded those boxes as much as I loved them!]
No matter what gift was inside, every year – even the years they got to come visit for the holiday – my grandpa always sent a jar or a can of candy.  You might know the kind… typical Christmas stuff.  Hard candy with gooey center.   I loved it.  Not because it tasted particularly yummy but because of its association with my grandpa.  To this day I can pop the lid on one of those cans and breathe in the nostalgia.  J
Did I mention how much I love Christmas? 
What about you?  What one thing out there, just by virtue or seeing it or smelling it or tasting it, makes you think of the holidays?
Share your one thing and Lizzie will choose one of the comments to win a copy of my December 27 release, WARRIOR’S REDEMPTION.
All my best to all of you.  May your holiday season be filled with the people and things you love best!
And please feel free to hunt me down on Facebook ~!/Melissa.Mayhue.Author ~ or stop by my website – – and say “Hi!”


MALCOLM MACDOWYLT sees himself a failed warrior, haunted by the death of the woman he married to become laird of Clain MacGahan. Neither his Viking heritage nor his claim to descend from Norse gods can restore his confidence in his ability to protect his people. His sister is held captive, her life in jeopardy, and his Magically powerful half-brother wants him dead. The last thing he needs is more responsibility, but that's exactly what he gets when his Faerie mother-in-law arrives seeking justice for her daughter in the form of an enticing woman from seven hundred years in the future.

DANIELLE DEARMON has waited fifteen years to discover the life she is supposed to live. She just never dreamed she'd end up in the thirteenth century with a handsome Scot bent on saving everyone but himself.

With the lives of those most dear to him hanging in the balance, Malcolm sets out to battle a powerful evil magic, only to learn that the redemption he seeks exists in the arms of the woman he loves.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Day 13 of 15 Days of Christmas - Lia Slater

Our guest today is Lia Slater, a delightful, warm and caring lady whom I adore.  Her smile, when I run into her at meetings for the group we both belong to, lights up my day.  Join me in welcoming Lia and leave a comment for a chance to win a PDF of one of her ebooks (her selection) and to get in on the Brit Trinket prize too.  Have decided all daily winners will get a Trinket and one name will be drawn for a bigger Brit prize.  All of which I will pick up during the upcoming trip!

Simple Treats for a Stress-free Holiday Season

The holiday season can be a stressful time of year. Shopping, baking, decorating—finding the extra money to do all these things. It’s not easy, especially for the starving artist types like, say, writers. Like me.

Simplicity is the key for me. I find out what the kids want, make a list and order online. As far as decorating is concerned, less is more at my house. My sons are old enough to help set up the tree, so that goes up first. I put out little holiday-themed knick-knacks here and there, hang the stockings above the fireplace, and we’re good to go. 

When it comes to baking, every year I have a tradition of making chocolate treats and sugar cookies for the kids. With almond bark I can make SIMPLE no-bake recipes. Plus a few little tricks my mother passed on to me that are tried and true.  

Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls: 

Almond bark, chocolate coating. You can find this in any grocery baking section. (I LOVE this stuff)
Creamy peanut butter
Powdered sugar 

Combine peanut butter and powdered sugar until you get a thick consistency. I’m not much on measuring, so add powdered sugar until you get rid of the “sticky” texture. Roll into balls. Set aside. Place three or four squares of almond bark in microwavable bowl and heat for about 1 ½ minutes or until completely melted. Stir to test consistency. Then, one by one, dip peanut butter balls into melted chocolate and set to dry on sheet of wax paper. 

And done! Kids can enjoy this treat in a matter of minutes. 

Other super-simple ideas: 

I also dip pretzels in the melted almond bark, which also has vanilla coating available. (Mixing the chocolate and vanilla gives a delicious taste!). Go a little crazy and coat some Chex or Rice Krispies cereal. Add melted marshmallows or raisins or both. For more of a decorative touch, crush some candy canes and top off the coating before it melts. Get inventive with ingredients. Maybe the kiddos can get in on the creation. I know mine do.  

Simple. Easy. I love it. The kids love it. And there’s no added stress.  

Wishing everyone a happy holiday, stress-free, season! 

Lia Slater 

PS – If you’re looking for a good deal on eBooks to help you through this holiday season, check out Book Lovers Buffet, where multiple authors (many genres) have temporarily reduced their eBooks to only 99 cents. Find two of mine under the erotic section. 

My other cyber places: 

Available Now:

Stripped Defenseless (an erotic romantic suspense) online from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and All Romance eBooks

Were Legends Series (an erotic paranormal romance series) online from Ellora’s Cave and most online retailers

Off Limits (an erotic contemporary short story) online from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, All Romance eBooks & Sony

As the Queen of Paqualette, Nayla is forbidden to have a husband or a human lover. Her life is a lonely and disciplined existence, so when she’s given the opportunity to choose a Were from her dungeon as her sex slave, she takes a chance. Werewolves are nothing but senseless monsters, she knows from firsthand experience. But after the one she selects to be her WereSlave turns out to be more of a man than she’d ever known, she must question her beliefs.
As the alpha leader, Mace is responsible for his pack. He’ll do anything to keep them alive, even give into the Queen’s sexual demands. But not unless he’s in control. Turning his enticing captor into the submissive is the only way to show her he’s more man than she realizes. Falling in love with Nayla is out of the question, but will he be able to leave her behind when his pack is finally free?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Day 12 in 15 Days of Christmas - Sandra Sookoo!

Today, Sandra Sookoo, another of my Facebook friends joins us.  I love Sandra’s quirky sense of humor and envy her prolific output!  The woman is a dynamo, a force to reckon with for sure!!!  I look forward to us being a conference at the same time because I definitely want to hang out with her…the pain we can inflict on some unsuspecting bartender…joy, joy!!!  
Time to grab that cup of coffee or whatever and sit back and read why she breaks a promise to herself each year.  And also how to get your name in the drawing for a great “swag bag” of goodies!!!
Now, heeeerrrre’s Sandra!!! 

Thanks Lizzie for inviting me on your blog!
One random commenter will win a packet of book swag including goodies from Bath and Body Works!  Please be sure to leave contact info. 
For me, I think romance and the holidays go hand in hand.  Every year I promise myself I won’t write a holiday romance for a variety of reasons.  But every year, I find myself scribbling away on stories set at Halloween and Christmas or even Valentine’s.
It’s a sickness I tell you LOL
There’s just something about finding love during the holiday season that seems a bit more magical than other days.  Maybe it’s all the theming.  Maybe it’s the glow of candles at all these holidays.  Maybe it’s the chocolate that’s in great supply during these times.  I’m not sure exactly what it is that sucks me in each time.
In a way, writing a romance during the holidays immediately gives out a cozy feeling.  You already know going in that it’ll be special, and if done right, leave the reader with a warm glow on the inside.  Let’s face it, holiday stories are set up to promote hugging and kissing.  Usually cool temps, crackling fires, holiday spices, parties, etc.
You hear that sound?  Yup, I’m getting sucked in again.  I’m in the pre-planning stages for two, yes two, Christmas stories for next year.
Send help.  And chocolate, preferably hot with mini marshmallows and a peppermint stick.
So, what about you?  What compels you to buy holiday stories year after year and season after season?  What’s that indefinable “something” that lures you into the sticky web of love and good cheer in a romance?
I’m sharing a peanut butter cookie recipe I recently made for mail away gifts. These cookies are awesome! They puff up and are just so cute when they come out of the oven!
  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • additional sugar (set aside in small bowl)
  • 48 Hershey's chocolate kisses (or pieces of Dove chocolate with is what I used)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In mixer, beat shortening and peanut butter until well blended.  Blend in sugars and beat until light and fluffy.
Add egg, milk and vanilla; Beat well.
Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; gradually mix in peanut butter mixture.  Depending on the weather (I know it sounds weird but humidity affects baking) you might need to add in another quarter cup of flour.  Dough won’t be crumbly and it will look sticky, but it’s not.
Roll out walnut to golf ball sized balls and roll in additional sugar.
Place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned.  They will spread a tiny bit but not much, just mostly flatten out.
Immediately place a Hershey's Kiss or Dove chocolate on each cookie and press down slightly.

Blurb for Not Just Make Believe (now on sale at Desert Breeze Publishing and Amazon for .99 cents through the end of the month)
Andrea Peterchef never thought her job would include a nine-year-old Piper and vomit.  Then she meets Max, a workaholic stockbroker with a voice like melted chocolate and she vows to help her charge and him reconnect as a family and maybe find the love she’s been looking for as well.
Maxwell Gildenthall is haunted by the 9/11 deaths of his girlfriend and his cousin—Piper’s dad.  Deadlines and data define his life—not baby dolls and dress-up.  When Andrea cajoles him into playing the part of dad, the benefits of spending time with the plus-size au pair are a bonus, but he can’t ditch the guilt.  
It’ll take more than a spoonful of sugar and a dose of Christmas magic to mend the broken family.  It’ll take the power of love.
Connect with me here:
Believing is Seeing blog:

Monday, December 19, 2011

Day 11 of 15 Days of Christmas - J.L. Langley

Today our guest is the wonderful, delightful, funny…J.L. Langley!  I have to confess I’d never read much M/M romance until I became friends with J.L but her Regency-SciFy hooked me.  Her writing opened me to a new genre, one that contains as I’ve discovered excellent authors and stories.  Another misconception I labored under is M/M is all about the sex…not true.  In some of the books I’ve read in the genre the sex is limited and when it does occur, it’s part of a natural process.

So join me in welcoming my friend…J.L. Langley!  She is offering up a PDF (winner’s choice) of one of her ebooks to the name drawn.  And don’t forget, that winner goes into the “Brit” trinket drawing.

J.L. speaks
Since I’m being a good girl and working on my WIP, I’ll make this short and sweet. I mean what can I say about Christmas that hasn’t been said?  Other than it would be really cool to be in a log cabin with snow on Christmas. Or heck forget the log cabin, just snow on Christmas somewhere out of the city would be neat. So not happening here in Dallas. I can remember only two Christmases in my entire lifetime that have been snowy. Actually, they were both more ice than snow.
On Christmas like most people, I bake cookie to take to my family’s celebration on Christmas Eve, for my family, and Christmas Day, for my husbands, and I’d like to share with you one of my new favorite recipes for cookies.

Cayenne Chocolate Cookies 

                         1 cup butter
                         1 cup sugar
                         1 cup brown sugar
                         2 eggs
                         2 cups flour
                         1 cup coca powder
                         1 tsp baking soda
                         1 tsp cayenne pepper
                         ½ tsp salt
                         1 cup white chocolate chips
                         1 cup pecans or walnuts, *optional* 

1) Preheat oven to 350°F.

2) Cream butter and both sugars until fluffy.

3) Add eggs and blend well.

4) Add cayenne, cocoa, baking soda and salt and blend very well. It's important to blend this stage completely so that heat is evenly distributed.

5) Add flour and blend.

6) Fold in chips.

7) Refrigerate for one hour.

8) Drop teaspoonfuls onto lightly greased cookie sheet.

9) Bake 10-12 minutes.

Love was never part of his plan…until it pounced.

 With or Without, Book 4 
With Abandon

As heir to an old and proud heritage, Aubrey Reynolds works and lives for his family, his employees and his pack. Agreeing to watch after a visiting werewolf is no big deal—until he discovers the newcomer is his mate. His very male mate…which is a very big deal, indeed. Revealing his sexuality was never part of Aubrey’s well-ordered life plan.
Much as he loved caring for his eight younger brothers, Matt Mahihkan knows it’s time to grab the opportunity to attend college in Atlanta. Realizing Aubrey is his mate should have been a delightful experience…except Aubrey treats him more like a dirty little secret than a lover. Yet Matt is a patient man. Aubrey can’t stay in the closet forever. Can he?
In time, they settle into a comfortable, if complicated, routine. Until a rogue werewolf with an axe to grind forces Aubrey to add to the wedge of secrets driving him and Matt apart, leaving Matt exposed to danger…and Aubrey forced to choose between love and duty. 

Product Warnings
Contains color abuse with a really bad sense of fashion, a southern accent from hell, sex on antique furniture, a pouncing playful werewolf, obnoxious siblings, liberal use of a color identifier and impatient sex. No lightning bugs were harmed in the making of this book.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Day 10 of 15 Days of Christmas - Shelley Munro

Today the wonderful Shelley Munro is here to share with us.  I love Shelley!  She is one of the nicest people I've met in my social site connections...always willing to share her time to answer questions and make suggestions on issues one is pounding their head against the wall about.  So join me in welcoming her and indulge your senses in her bread recipe and the blurb she shares with us on Christmas is Coming!  

And Shelley has a game for us at the end of her blurb.  Answering her question gets you into the drawing for her prize and on the list for the "Brit" trinket drawing too!!  SO be sure to answer!!!

Hello, and a big thanks to Lizzie for inviting me to visit today. Since I live in New Zealand my Christmas takes place during the summer. No, we don’t spend Christmas day at the beach. Or at least I don’t! This is a brief description of my Christmas day:
Over excited nieces and nephews tearing around the house.
Warm sunshine beating down from overhead.
Shorts and a T-shirt.
The scent of sun block and the scramble for deckchairs in the shade.
Steaks, sausages and seafood cooking on the barbeque.
The pop of corks from bottles of my favorite NZ sparkling wine.
The crunch of my favorite dessert: pavlova and strawberries.
The sigh of relief when we walk into our own peaceful home!  

One of my favorite recipes to make throughout the year is Beer Bread. It’s a quick and simple one, versatile and perfect if unexpected guests turn up and you’re out of bread. It’s also very good to make during the winter to accompany soup.
Beer Bread
3 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt (I use about half of this)
1 can beer (400ml or .845 pints) – If your can is smaller, make up the amount with water. Don’t use low-alcohol beer
1 handful of grated cheese (about 1/3 of a cup)
Preheat the oven to 200 C (400 F). Mix the flour, baking powder, salt and beer in a large bowl and combine well. Tip into a well-greased loaf tin or two smaller tins. Sprinkle the cheese on top of the dough. Bake the large loaf for 50 – 60 minutes. (That’s what the recipe suggests. With my oven I find around 30 – 40 minutes works so you might have to experiment with cooking times) Bake the smaller loafs for a shorter time – around 30 minutes depending on your oven. Tip out and cool on a wire rack before slicing. This bread also makes good toast. 

My latest release is CHRISTMAS IF COMING, out now at Ellora’s Cave. Here’s the blurb:

 Christmas is coming. Give your lover the gift of pleasure… 

Gaby Montgomery works for Fancy Free as a condom designer. Recently she’s been designing sex toys and testing her inventions with fellow designer Marc, but they’ve parted ways. The timing couldn’t be worse because she’s stuck without a willing test subject for her sexy products. 

Gaby’s roommates Liam Richardson and Fletch Darcy both want a serious relationship with her, and now that she’s free, it’s time to make a move. But how do they decide which one will date her? Fletch finally suggests they share. Liam is skeptical but agrees the scheme might work, which allows Fletch to move on to step two of his romance plan. Fletch doesn’t just want Gaby, he wants Liam as well.

The loving is hot, their days full of fun product testing, exquisite pleasure and laughter. Everything is perfect until the outside world intrudes, putting their budding relationship under stress. This time their love and friendship might not stand the pressure. 

Publisher’s Note: Want to have more fun with the characters in this book? Then pick up Fancy Free! 

Today, I’m giving away a download of FANCY FREE, which is the first book in this series, or if you prefer a non-erotic romance, you can pick PLAYING TO WIN, a romantic suspense instead. All you need to do to enter the draw is complete this statement:

The thing I like best about Christmas is________

Shelley Munro lives in New Zealand with her husband and a rambunctious puppy. She writes contemporary and paranormal romance for Ellora’s Cave and Samhain Publishing and historical romance and mysteries for Carina Press. You can learn more about Shelley and her books at her website

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Day 9 of 15 Days of Christmas - Lizzie T. Leaf

Today, you’re stuck with me!  Yep, I have a new book releasing today, Howling Under the Mistletoe and I’m the guest author.  The winner of a copy of a PDF of an older Christmas ebook from a now out of business publisher will also be entered into the “Brit” prize drawing.

This time of year has always been about tradition for me.  When my daughter was small we started the tradition of baking cookies.  It is still going on; only now we bake with the added assistance of three sets of little hands.
The house was decorated and the tree put up Thanksgiving weekend.  This year we put up one small table tree.  The cat is driving me crazy with even that much.
Christmas morning was the day for opening gifts and then the fabulous family dinner.  This year, the family will gather on Christmas Eve to stuff ourselves and exchange gifts. 
There will be no opening of gifts at my house Christmas morning.  Santa came early with the booking of a trip that requires leaving Christmas Day afternoon.  This is a big tradition broken since I’ve never traveled on Christmas Day before.  We’re headed for London with the two oldest granddarlings and that is gift enough to carry my husband and I through lots of years.
At my daughter’s house they’ll open Santa gifts Christmas morning, but that’s because the “girls” insisted.  The Tween, who is all about emotion and drama, said there had to be a law tradition be honored, and when my daughter turned to the Teen, the logical one, she sided with her sister.  Now mom gets to add, rushing around to make sure they haven’t forgotten something, to the list of opening gifts, getting them fed and shuffling us all out to the airport because we know parking will be impossible.
So this year I find myself with two emotions…sad for the break in tradition, but happy that we get to share something with two young girls who think their grandparents arte “cool” enough to still hang out with, let alone travel with.
And today I get to celebrate the release of a spicy Christmas short, Howling Under the Mistletoe, a spicy little story with a bit of a twist.  Hope you enjoy it.
But most of all, I want to wish everyone Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas whatever your traditions or if you’ve decided to break with them. 
And to add a punch to your celebrations up here is a drink recipe that can be popular with adults with the added alcohol and with the younger group minus the booze.

Cranberry Punch: 

1-1/2 oz Vodka
2 oz cranberry juice
1 oz apple juice
1 oz pineapple juice
1 oz Sprite or 7 Up 

Shake Vodka and juices with ice and strain into glass.  Top with soft drink. 

Howling Under the Mistletoe
by Lizzie T. Leaf
When Miki Heart collides with Paul Bennet under the mistletoe, she had no idea he would be the answer to her dreams of passion as well as the solution to her health issues.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Day 8 on 15 Days of Christmas - Christina James

Our guest today is the delightful Christina James, author of erotic romance and romantic suspense novels.  A very talented who loves to push the envelope with her contemporary erotic romances with her alpha males and strong heroines, Christina’s books are a read that plays with your emotions.  She pushes you from needing ice water, to laughter and to ….aaah in situations that are hot, funny and touching.

Being mom to two children (their middle names is how she derived her pen name) and a couple of yellow labs who think they are lap dogs, she has a busy life before writing is added to the mix.

So let’s ask Christina questions and probe into her ‘dark’ secrets with our comments (like she has any), or at least find out what she’s planning for us in her next release.  And all today’s commenters will be entered into a drawing for a PDF copy of her romantic suspense Web of Lies and is also entered into the “Brit” trinket drawing I’ll be doing…prize to be picked up in England over the Christmas holidays. 

The multi-published Christina is sharing one of her favorite recipes with us today.  One that may bring back memories for you too…I know it did me, of the enticing aroma of cinnamon wafting through the kitchen Snicerdoodles are pulled out of the over.   


1 ½ cups sugar
2 eggs
½ cup margarine (softened)
½ cup shortening
Cream all of the above together
2 ¾ cups flour
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. baking soda

mix all of these with the above ingredients 

Chill dough 

After chilling, make dough into balls and roll in a mixture of sugar and cinnamon. 

Place on ungreased cookie sheet. 

Bake at 400 degrees for exactly 10 minutes.

For the Love of a Woman by Christina James 


When Marly Hampton offers a handsome stranger a meal and a place to sleep, it’s only for the weekend after he breaks down in her small town on the outskirts of the Smoky Mountains. But the mysterious Mitch Allen stirs emotions in her long thought buried. A widowed, single mom raising her son, Marly has no time for romance. Or is that about to change? 

Mitch won’t be staying in town any longer than it takes to repair his truck. The former Boston detective has hit the open road to run from painful memories. Falling in love is the last thing on his mind. When he’s accused of murder, Mitch comes out of retirement not only to fight for his reputation but also for the woman who has opened his heart. Can they both face a past that stands in the way of their future before they lose what could be? Or will the evil lurking nearby succeed on destroying them?


Mitch watched her face change, like a light bulb went on in her head. “Actually, I would like to impose on you for something, if that’s okay?”

He cocked an eyebrow. “Absolutely.”

“Can you look at the stove?” Without waiting for him, she turned and walked from the room. He had no choice but to follow.

His gaze focused on her slender frame. Of course, his eyes weren’t too tired to follow the sway of her hips. The small but curvy little bottom was certainly a sight for sore eyes. It had been too long since he’d noticed a woman. She wasn’t even dressed up and she had his mouth watering.

Those long legs and smooth curves teased his sexual appetite, something that hadn’t mattered lately. Slowly, he walked behind her, enjoying the view even knowing she was probably off limits. The sign out front had said, The Hamptons. Was it normal to be jealous of something so easily?

In the kitchen, reality struck Mitch like a lightning bolt. Why was he being such a dumb ass, fantasizing over this lovely lady when he roamed the States looking for a reason to explain his existence? Must be lack of sleep.

Marly’s voice broke into his thoughts. “The storm knocked out the lights. That happens a lot around here, too. We lose all the modern day comforts like electricity and communication. And when the lights go on again, I have to re-light the pilots by hand, but today I just can’t get it going and I’m losing patience.”

“I’ll give it a try but can’t promise anything. My specialty is not stoves.” He rested his cane against the kitchen counter.

“Do what you can if you don’t mind. It’s got to be better than what I’m doing.”

The stove was old but fit in with the style of the kitchen just fine. There was a small wooden table with four chairs by a window. Lace placemats and a vase of yellow flowers that had seen better days were neatly placed on the table. Cherry wood cabinets lined one wall and another wall held shelves with knick-knacks. It was a very quaint space, big enough to move around for cooking and cleaning but cozy enough to enjoy a quiet dinner.

Marly leaned closer to Mitch. She smelled of lemons and herbs, the scents tickling his nose. Strange combination. Maybe she had cleaned with something lemon scented, and the pork chops marinating by the stove were the source of the herbs.

He studied the stove, not really knowing what to do. When he began to light the pilot on top of it, Marly grabbed his arm.

“No, not there. There.” She opened the oven door and pointed.

“Okay.” He studied the inside. “Just how did you do this before?”

“You have to light the pilot through that small hole while turning the knob and, when the flame hits the gas, it’ll light.”

“That doesn’t sound too comforting for the guy sticking his head in the oven.”

She laughed, the sound tightening his gut into a knot. Her hand fell onto his shoulder, the touch raising the hair on his arm in awareness. “I wouldn’t put you in harm’s way. I’ve done this hundreds of times and never got burnt. The flame goes down into the stove not up.”

His skin burned now, but not from the fire, from her touch. The only reasonable explanation was the lack of a woman’s touch over the last few months. “Yeah, well, the way my luck has been lately, I don’t want to chance it.”

“Trust me. You’ll be fine.”

Something in her tone convinced him she meant what she said. So he got back to business. He used the top burner to light the long wooden stick match. The smell of lit matches immediately stunk up the room as he placed the burning stick over the small hole in the bottom of the oven and turned the knob until he heard hissing gas.

“Now move it around a little,” Marly instructed, leaning over Mitch’s shoulder. He nervously obeyed, expecting an explosion at any moment. “No, go this way.” He obeyed. “Try to move it so that the tip goes into the hole just enough.”

With all his strength, he concentrated on the task, but couldn’t help thinking of sexual images as she talked about tips and holes and moving around. She was driving him crazy. This was insane!

He glanced up at her. “Do you want to do this?” he asked, with a little more annoyance than was necessary. If truth be told, he was more annoyed with himself than with her. Hell, she was only telling him how to light the damn stove and he was getting a friggin’ hard-on.

“Sorry,” she said quietly, removing her hand from his shoulder. “I’m a hands-on type of person. I don’t like delegating duties. I prefer to do them myself.”

“Well, since you’ve so nicely delegated this to me, would you mind giving me some room to work with?”

“Fine,” she agreed, but only moved back an inch.

Turning back to the stove, Mitch wanted to get it done so he could eat then get the hell out of there before his dick was tortured anymore. He needed to get as far away from Marlena Hampton as possible. He was far too comfortable around her.

Wiggling and turning the stick proved harder than it looked. Just when the match had gotten too short and threatened to burn his fingertips, he heard a ‘poof’. Marly straightened, clapping.

“You did it. Now we can eat.” Into the stove went the pork chops and a casserole dish containing scalloped potatoes.

The sight made his stomach growl. “How long until we eat?” Mitch asked, grabbing his cane and walking back toward the doorway, placing as much room between him and Marly as possible.

“About an hour.” Filling a pot with water, she placed it on top of the stove, lit the pilot and turned to him. “Mitch, tell me something.”


She walked slowly to him, stopping in front of him, her head angled up to look in his eyes. “I haven’t let a serial killer or escaped convict into my home, have I?”

Mitch studied her face—the high cheekbones, small pointed nose, and tiny beauty mark along her jaw. Her eyes searched his. “Not any more. I gave that stuff up years ago,” he teased.

He totally expected Marly’s face to drain of all color, but she surprised him with a big smile while laying her hand on his arm. Those slender fingers with long manicured nails dug slightly into his skin. The funny sensation was even more distracting. He was just tired. Just overtired.

“Do you want a shower before dinner?”

Oh, God, the woman was killing him. He strategically placed the cane in front of him to hide the ever increasing bulge in his jeans. He could easily picture her in the shower with him.

“That sounds like heaven. Let me grab my bag. I left it by the door. At least I was smart enough to grab a change of clothes before leaving the truck behind.”

“You would’ve been smarter if you had listened to my dad.”

He sent her a quelling look. Her hands flew up, palms out. “Okay, that was a low blow, but I can’t help it. Your stubbornness has obviously wiped you out, walking around on that bad leg. And don’t try to deny it. Come on. I have an empty apartment over my garage where you can shower.”

He only offered a grunt and turned to follow her into the living room. They passed the seven-foot long flowery couch with two armchairs of the same pattern. There was a decent size television, although it was an older model, and a small stereo system in the room. A few end tables had lamps and pictures on them. Mitch studied the picture of a man in military uniform. Must be her husband.

The woman wasn’t free. Besides, if she were, what the hell would he do with her? He had a bum leg, a fucked up life, and was on the road to nowhere.

So he channeled his thoughts to dinner and sleep. He grabbed the duffel bag and followed her out the front door and down the steps to a large garage. Forcing himself to keep up with her pace even as his knee screamed only added to his misery. She had only given his cane and leg a cursory glance. Either good manners or a lack of curiosity kept her from inquiring about his injury because Marly struck him as the type of woman who wouldn’t think twice about asking what’s wrong.

Hadn’t he hated that from people? Was he disappointed that Marly didn’t bother to ask about his injury? No, that wasn’t it. He was just surprised since every person he had run into after the accident had always asked the inevitable question, “Why do you need a cane at your age?” A nightmare. That’s why.