I thought it might be fun to talk about what Christmas traditions I have and what you do in your family and/or in your town. Trust me anything you do will exceed mine.
I’m embarrassed to report I’ve already missed the only two Christmas traditions I’ve ever had.
Here are mine:
Put up the Christmas tree and decorate it the day after Thanksgiving
Write up my Christmas letter and address the Christmas cards the weekend after Thanksgiving
Yep, that’s right, I only have two traditions and neither of them got done this weekend. <sigh>
I love hearing about Christmas traditions such as the friend who told me children in her family always get a new Christmas mug and a book on Christmas day. They make hot chocolate in the mug and read the book to the child. Very sweet.
Lots of people make Christmas cookies or have cookie exchanges. If I bake them, I’ll eat them.
In my book currently out, Christmas in Good Hope, they celebrate Christmas in a big way with lots of town traditions. The sisters make cookies together and the town celebrates all month. Writing this book allowed me to vicariously embrace all these wonderful traditions.
I’d love to hear your traditions, your town’s traditions, or someone you know who does something really cool this time of year.
Everyone who comments will be entered into a drawing to win a 10 book prize pack, books from some of your favorite authors! Consider it my gift to you. Sorry, US residents only.
Do You Dare?
I’m baaaaack! Thanks to Kristan, Jess and the rest of the Jaunties for putting up with me again.
They say the third time’s the charm, and I hope so because this my third visit here with the Jaunties. Good things come in threes, right? Only fitting, as I’m here to celebrate the third book in the Art of Seduction series, Triple Dare.
Triple Dare is little different from the first two books in the series: a little lighter in tone, a little more free-spirited and fun loving. But I hope it still has my trademark heat, humor and, most importantly, my absolute favorite thing to write: witty banter. Like this snippet between sisters Noelle and Ivy Nelson from Triple Dare, discussing photographer Ivy’s calendar shoot with sexy firefighter – and long-time friend – Cade Hardesty:
“Rumor has it you got to see him in his birthday suit.” Holly leaned forward. “Is he as scrumptious as I think he is?”
“First off, he was not ‘in his birthday suit.’” Ivy put air quotes around the last four words. “He was wearing a thong.”
“That much, huh?” Holly snickered.
Ivy ignored her and played with the zipper on her hoodie. “Second, it was all business.”
“And third, you’re married to People’s sexiest man alive. What do you care how Cade or any other guy looks naked?”
“Married. Not dead. I can still appreciate a fine male form.” Holly leaned in farther, resting her elbows on her knees. “So come on. Spill. How fine is he?”
Ivy let out a slow, resigned sigh. She hadn’t won an argument with her big sister in years, and it didn’t look like today would be any different. “Let’s just say December’s going to be a whole heck of a lot hotter next year.”
I think my love for writing dialogue stems from my years as an amateur actress. I was bitten by the bug at age ten and spent years performing in school and community productions. When I write, I literally hear the dialogue in my head, and I usually write it without any tags, actions or reactions just to make sure it flows right before going back and putting all the surrounding stuff in.
I also try to channel the guy who I consider the master of writing snappy, compelling, witty dialogue: Aaron Sorkin. He wrote the movies The American President and A Few Good Men and television shows The West Wing and The Newsroom. You really have to pay attention when you’re watching something he’s written. His dialogue is that tight and moves that quickly, yet still manages to reveal so much about the characters speaking and being spoken about. Like I told my editor, I aspire to be the Aaron Sorkin of romance. (A quote she promptly tweeted. Thanks, Dana.)
I love, love, love that the early reviews from Triple Dare call the dialogue things like “nice friendship banter,” “lots of light hearted banter” and “some of the best dialogue.” It’s a great affirmation that I’m not wrong in assessing dialogue as one of my strengths as a writer. Now, if I could just figure out that deep point of view thing . . .
What’s your favorite part of reading a romance novel? The steamy scenes? The angsty introspection? The grand gesture? One lucky commenter will win their choice of a signed paperback (U.S. only, please) or e-book of Triple Time, the second book in the Art of Seduction series. Winner will be notified on this blog on Sunday, December 6.
And a whole lotta action…
Globe-trotting fashion photographer Ivy Nelson is home to help her family out of a jam. When she donates her services to a charity calendar, the last thing she expects is hunky firefighter—and object of all her hottest fantasies—Cade Hardesty to walk through the door. Cade is ready to get naked for a good cause, and the heat Ivy feels is anything but professional.
When a sexy dare turns into a scorching kiss, they can’t help but give in to their desires. But Cade wants Ivy in his bed for more than one night. Can the hometown firefighter convince the photographer that her wanderlust should lead her into his arms for good, or will one of them run before they both get burned?
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/triple-dare-regina-kyle/1122046216?ean=9780373798773
Regina Kyle knew she was destined to be an author when she won a writing contest at age ten with a touching tale about a squirrel and a nut pie. By day, she writes dry legal briefs, representing the state in criminal appeals. At night, she writes steamy romance with heart and humor.
A lover of all things theatrical, Regina lives on the Connecticut coast with her husband, teenaged daughter and two melodramatic cats. When she’s not writing, she’s most likely singing, reading, cooking or watching bad reality television. She’s a member of Romance Writers of America and her local RWA chapter. Triple Dare is her third novel and the third book in her Art of Seduction series for Harlequin Blaze.
“Going in or out?” Cade quipped with a smirk.
“Very funny.” Ivy blew a wisp of hair out of her eyes. “How about taking care of the conflagration about to erupt on my stove? That’s your job, right?”
“O’Brien’s on it.” He kneeled down so they were more at eye level. “Do you think I’d be here calmly making small talk if you were still in danger?”
“I was not in danger.” Much.
“Are you kidding?” His eyes flashed. “You’re damn lucky it wasn’t worse—which it would have been if it wasn’t for the state-of-the art security system Nick had installed. As it is, you’ll have to ventilate the kitchen for a few days to get rid of the smell. And you owe your sister and her husband a new saucepan. But that’s the extent of it.”
He tilted his head to study the half of her that had made it into the house. “Well, that and the fact that you’re stuck in the doggy door.”
She consoled herself with the thought that he was inside, not on the porch talking to her ass.
“Yeah, about that…” She held her hands out. “Could you, maybe, pull me out of here or something?”
He sat on his very fine butt, bracing his feet against the door on either side of her, and grabbed her forearms. As embarrassed as she was, she couldn’t stop the hum of pleasure that buzzed through her at his touch.
“Ready?” he asked, his gaze boring into hers. “On three.”
She swallowed hard and nodded.
He pulled. She stayed.
“Hmm.” He released her and wiped his hands on his bunker pants. “You’re really wedged in there.”
She rolled her eyes. “Tell me something I don’t know, Captain Obvious.”
Another firefighter, who Ivy recognized from the softball game as the company captain, appeared behind Cade, followed by two more.
A bigger audience. Fan-freaking-tastic.
“The rest of the house is all clear,” Cappy announced.
“Need some help rescuing your girlfriend?” one of the others asked. “Or are you with the blonde this week? I can’t keep your women straight.”
“Zip it, O’Brien,” Cappy barked. “And get in line.”
In a matter of seconds, they’d formed a human chain with Cade at the front and the guy Cappy called O’Brien as the anchor.
“Hold on tight,” Cade said, gripping her arms again. “Like last time. On three.”
“Shouldn’t we have someone push from—pardon the pun—behind?” O’Brien’s voice reeked of snark.
“I hate to admit it, but that’s not a bad idea.” Cappy pulled his radio out of his belt and pressed the button. “Sykes. Send a team around back. We’ve got a female trapped in the pet door and need some pushing power.”
Pushing power? What was she? Fudgie the Whale?
Oh, wait, she’d almost forgotten. In this town, she’d always be Jabba the Mutt, no matter how long she’d been gone or how much weight she’d lost. Precisely why she’d stayed away for almost thirteen years. And why she was leaving the minute her father was back in top form.
“Ready out here, Cap,” a voice crackled over the radio.
“Okay, like Cade said, on three.” Cappy returned to his place in line. “One…”
She felt a pair of hands on her ass. Could this possibly get any more humiliating?
She let out a squeak as the hands shifted, hopefully to find a better pushing position and not to cop a cheap feel.
“Enjoying yourself?” Cade quirked a brow.
Oh, yeah. It could get more humiliating.
“Hardly.” She closed her eyes to escape his teasing smile.
Grunts and groans, mixed with an occasional expletive, filled the room. She felt like a chew toy caught between two rottweilers as the firefighters tugged and shoved.
“She’s coming free.”
“One more and she’s out.”
With a pop, Ivy sprang loose, landing like a wet rag in Cade’s lap. She forced her eyes open to see him looking down at her with a shit-eating grin.
“Nice catch,” she uttered, scrambling off him.
A Thanksgiving Post
Hi, everyone! First, let me say how happy I am to be back at Jaunty Quills. This is such a wonderful site for readers and writers to come together.
With the holidays fast approaching, I thought it would be timely if I wrote a blog about Thanksgiving. It’s my favorite holiday. I don’t know whether I’d call myself a bona fide foodie, but I love everything that goes into preparing a feast for family and friends (except maybe trying to find a parking space at the grocery store when I go to shop for everything on my menu). I also love that Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on our blessings and to give of our selves without having to run up massive credit card charges.
Of course, Thanksgiving is not without its challenges. There’s the travel that’s often involved with the accompanying low-grade fear that some related incident–horrible delays at the airports and traffic snarls on the highways–will occur. Then there’s the family dynamics to fret over. Is sitting next to Aunt Myrtle akin to an airborne toxic event? Will she make snide comments about your spouse, observe how poorly children are raised these days, or categorically decline even to taste the dishes that you’ve contributed to the Thanksgiving feast? Ah, families.
When I was writing Once Touched, my new release, I decided to include a Thanksgiving scene because the book centers on a very close-knit family. The Knowleses own and run Silver Creek, a working guest ranch, and so entertaining, as much as ranching, is a part of their identity. Quinn Knowles, my heroine in Once Touched, loves her family, adores her soon-to-be sisters-in-law, and has great friends who are joining them all for the feast. By all rights, Quinn should be happily anticipating Thanksgiving.
She isn’t. You see, Quinn is unusual for a rancher’s daughter. She’s a vegetarian. An ardent animal lover and rescuer, she can’t bear the thought of the number of turkeys fattened and then killed each year for Thanksgiving (sorry to be a Debbie Downer here, everyone). A feast that stars a big dead bird is not her cup of tea. But this Thanksgiving, the mass slaughter of turkeys is only one of many things to upset Quinn. I decided to fill the day with the sibling rivalries, frustrations, and embarrassments that so often accompany the holiday and then inflict a particular humiliation upon Quinn.
For Quinn, as for so many of us, the holiday became a question of character. Would she act out and spoil the feast for everyone gathered or would she rise to the occasion and try and embrace the spirit of Thanksgiving? There’s a lot that happens on this day to Quinn Knowles, and I won’t say more because I don’t wish to spoil it for you, but I hope that when you read the pages, they make you smile.
Finally, I’d like to extend a parting invitation to you all: Some author friends (Jaunty Quill members among them) and I are holding a ‘Happy Booksgiving’ party on Facebook. It’s today and is from 4:pm-11pm (EST). We’ll be talking about our books, having fun, and giving away prizes. If you have a moment and would like to drop by, we would love to see you!
Here’s the link: https://www.facebook.com/events/922060661219977/
Here’s wishing you and your loved ones all the best on this Thanksgiving.
From Once Touched:
A dusty red truck pulled up alongside him. The girl jumped out of it. He still couldn’t think of Quinn Knowles as anything but a little girl. Of his memories of Silver Creek Ranch, the ones of her as a pigtailed kid stood out.
She’d been kind of cute, with a cowboy hat that was a couple of sizes too big for her. It used to slip forward, covering her face, and he would tip it back up just to see how long it took before it slid down again. Each time he adjusted it, she’d give him a gap-toothed grin. She’d been one happy kid on the back of that shaggy Shetland.
Because his parents had drilled home the fact that he was extremely lucky to be riding out with the Knowleses and learning how to cut cattle from the herd and rope them, he was okay with leading her around—it gave him a chance to study the horses in the corrals and pastures. He’d lift her onto the saddle, guide her pink cowboy boots into the stirrups, and walk by her pony’s side while she chattered to the pony as if he were her best friend. No matter how long they walked, she never wanted to get off that pony. What had she called it again?
He hated that his memory, like his body, kept failing him.
He frowned as he tried to retrieve the name. He’d been able to identify all the horses on the guest ranch—they’d been his gold standard against which every horse he’d ridden since was measured.
No matter how spotty his memory, it was hard to reconcile the pipsqueak that she’d been with the Quinn Knowles of today. With her coltish legs, she stood nearly as tall as he. She must be in her twenties . . . so, not a girl. Yet she nevertheless struck him as impossibly young. Not surprising when he felt as old as death.
Giveaway Alert! I’d like to give away an e-book copy of ONCE TOUCHED. (Giveaway is open internationally.)The great and generous Kristan Higgins will choose a winner at random from readers who leave comments below. Please comment by Wednesday, November 25, 2015 to enter the contest.
Here’s a question to get the ball rolling:
Q: What’s your favorite Thanksgiving tradition or dish?
Back Cover Copy for Once Touched:
The youngest of the three Knowles siblings, Quinn has in her blood the love of the land and its beautiful creatures. Raising enough money to build an animal sanctuary is a dream Quinn lives every day—while fending off her family’s well-intentioned matchmaking schemes. Though harboring secret fears about intimacy, Quinn soon realizes she cannot fight her growing attraction to a man who has suddenly entered her life.
Scarred by his months in Afghanistan and the violence he witnessed there through his camera lens, photojournalist Ethan Saunders throws himself into hard ranching work as a prescription for healing. But falling for Quinn has given him the one thing he thought he’d lost forever: hope. Ethan discovers that Quinn, like the innocent animals she rescues, is shy, and afraid of entrusting her heart to a man. Passion soon awakens Ethan’s strength, and his tender seduction may be just what Quinn needs to believe in herself—and in his love.
Buy Links for Once Touched:
Where To Find Laura:
There are plenty of places you can find me!
My website is www.lauramoorebooks.com. I have a newsletter that you can sign up for.
You can like and follow me on Facebook: www.facebook.com/LauraMooreBooks
On Twitter: www.twitter.com/LauraMooreBooks
Bestselling contemporary romance author Laura Moore’s first story filled a coffee stained notebook before she realized she might actually have written a love story that others would enjoy. Ride A Dark Horse was published a year later.
An accomplished equestrian and lifelong animal lover, Laura Moore lives in Rhode Island with her husband, two children and their black Lab. Their cat, Zevon, keeps them all in line.
Gratitude is big these days. We encouraged to feel grateful as much as possible, keeping gratitude journals and notebooks, practicing 100 days of gratitude, and reading self-help books that focus on gratitude. All good things designed for mindful living, and to bring more blessings and peace into our lives.
But you know what? Gratitude is not for sissies. It’s freaking hard to feel grateful when you’re battling the flu and can’t afford to miss work, or your bank account is looking too low before the holidays, or an irritating family member is causing too much drama on top of everything else–including the car breaking down while you’re running out to the drive-through bank in your pjs.
Then there’s that thing you’ve been wanting and striving for, trying SO darn hard to make it happen. And then someone you know just waltzes into it, making it look easy as a walk in the park. Double whammy – grumpiness AND jealousy. Ugh.
Honestly, some days it feels a heck of a lot easier to wallow in self-pity and evil moods.
But gratitude IS undoubtedly good for us, both body and soul. Research has proven that a dozen times over. So I work to make it work, especially on the days when I’m feeling just a tad ungrateful. I have to say, I usually feel better once I make the effort. I realize how truly fortunate I am to live in this time and place, with all the blessings of modern life (especially indoor plumbing. Oh, boy).
So here’s my Thanksgiving edition of Things I’m Grateful For, big and small:
That I get to spend another Thanksgiving with my 92 year old Dad. As you can see from this recent picture, he’s in AMAZING shape. And this is a guy who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease four years ago. And yet he can still carry on a nice conversation, remembers all his children and friends, and is one of the happiest people I know. How can I NOT feel grateful with him in my life?
The beach. We spend winters in Florida, by the ocean. I love walking on the beach. There’s nothing like a fresh ocean breeze to strip away the daily crud, and make you feel a bit more peaceful and a bit more grateful about your life.
Thanksgiving dinner. Okay, I admit it – I love spending time with my family on the holidays, but I’m so about the food. That’s the Italian in me, I guess. I grew up in a big Italian family that conducted elaborate meals, starting with the antipasto in the afternoon and stretching on through soup, pasta, mains, and then several desserts. We finished with candy and nuts, and dessert wine. Almost all of it was lovingly homemade by various relatives, and all of it was delicious. To me, a good holiday dinner is truly about love. I might regret eating so much afterwards, but I’m always grateful for that abundance in my life and a family to share it with.
For all my U.S. friends and readers, here’s wishing you a happy, healthy, safe, and grateful Thanksgiving!
To celebrate this holiday of gratitude, I’ll give away a print copy of my Christmas Regency romance, His Mistletoe Bride. Do you practice gratitude? Does it come easily to you? Just tell me how you keep the positive in your life for a chance to win the book.
Every year for Thanksgiving I spent with my parents, sisters and extended family until I moved to the UK. And for the last four years, I’ve really struggled to make Thanksgiving for my husband, son and I special. It’s not a holiday here. My son always has school, my husband work, my daughter was in college in the US. I can’t ever really figure out how to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade without seeing it on some illegal download tv channel and I don’t know how to make a holiday meal that we eat at dinner time. For some reason my family always eats holiday meals at 3 p.m. Maybe because we are Italian-American and there is always too much food?! I really don’t know.
But we always take the time to say what we are grateful for. We FaceTime with my parents and usually I would do that with my daughter (Coco) but she’s here this year. Lukey is in college and still can’t come home so we are having our big day on Saturday when he can be here. My parents will be celebrating a low key holiday since my dad is getting a pacemaker put in today. Which for me just reinforces what I’m grateful for.
This year has been a particularly difficult one. Not like my annus horribilis of 2007, but it’s had challenges that I hadn’t anticipated. My dad, the strongest man I know, the one who has always taken care of all the bad things in my life had a heart attack this summer. I’m still trying to wrap my head around how a man who is in better shape then most men thirty years his age could have had this happen. But it did happen and I’m so grateful that he’s recovering and doing better.
My little worries that I’d have Thanksgiving with just four members of my family instead of all sixteen of us seem trivial. I feel so blessed that he’s recovered quickly and that I can talk to him every day. He is chattier now than he was before and that’s exactly what we all need. His health scare brought us closer than I would have thought.
I’m grateful for many things and have a gratitude journal that I keep on my desk and jot an entry in every day. But I’ve been focusing on the little things lately. I don’t need to be grateful for the big when life is really lived in these small moments. Like talking with dad or making my mom laugh. Seeing my daughter’s face every day now that she’s living over here, a funny text exchange with my son and making my husband smile. I know you all have these moments as well. These things that make life sweet and worthwhile.
Happy Thanksgiving to you. I hope this year is full of blessings for you and your family.