Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Christmas Traditions

Louise M. Gouge here, wanting to talk about Christmas, my favorite holiday. I love it even more than my own birthday. It’s such a lovely season, a nice slow buildup to a wonderful finale on Christmas day. Our family has many traditions surrounding this holy day. Of course there’s the requisite cookie baking, which I’ve turned over to my daughter and granddaughter. Every few years we make my grandmother’s Lebkuchen. It's quite an undertaking, so that's why we don't make it every year.

2 quarts of molasses
1/2 to 3/4 lb. of citron or mixed candied fruits
1 1/2 lb. shortening
1 quart to 3 pints chopped nuts (mixed, pine or walnut)
1 ounce nutmeg
1/2 cup cinnamon
3 tablespoons ground cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup soda
2 cups sour milk (or cultured buttermilk)
2 cups hot water
1 1/2 oz. Lemon extract
1 box raisins
10 lbs. of flour (pre-sifted is good)

Make dough up stiff at night. Next morning, divide into batches. Roll as thin as possible. Cut into squares. Bake in pre-heated 350 degree oven for about 12 minutes. Long ripening improves the flavor of these cookies. If desired, an icing of confectioner’s sugar and water may be spread thinly over cookies.

Another tradition is our Hallmark picture ornament. In July, I hurry to my Hallmark store as soon as these lovely ornaments are released and buy enough for everyone. On Christmas Day, we take our picture in front of the tree, print them out, and slide them into the ornament. We have quite a collection of these!

We numerous other traditions, including Secret Santa, a collection of Nativity scenes, and the Advent Calendar, but I’ll leave you with this:

If performing an activity three times makes a tradition, I’m adding one more to my list for Christmas. During the 2014 Christmas season, I wrote a novella, Yuletide Reunion, which was released in October 2105. Then this time last year, I was beginning to work on Cowgirl Under the Mistletoe, my brand new December 2016 release from Love Inspired Historical. I mean, what can be more fun than writing about Christmas during this season? It sure put me in the mood to create great romance, drama, and excitement for my characters. So when I was asked to write another seasonal story for next Christmas, I jumped at the chance. I’m currently working on Cowboy Lawman (working title) scheduled for next Christmas, probably December. So this may turn out to be a new tradition for me! I couldn’t be happier! Here’s the story of Cowgirl Under the Mistletoe:
Deputy Grace Eberly can outshoot and outride most men in Esperanza, Colorado…but lassoing a husband is an impossible task. At least she has her good friend Reverend Micah Thomas to keep her company. When outlaws threaten their community, the two join forces to stop them, and Grace’s feelings for the reverend deepen. But she’s sure he’d never love a too-tall cowgirl in trousers and boots. Micah believes that it’s time to find himself a wife—someone sweet and ladylike who can help him better serve the town. So why do none of the elegant young women of his acquaintance stir his heart like the feisty tomboy deputy? As they work to bring peace to the community, will Grace and Micah finally see that they make the perfect team?

May God bless you this Christmas with many happy times and many happy memories to carry into the new year!





Monday, December 5, 2016

Craftie Ladies Contemporary and Historical Authors ~ December Releases

Jean C. Gordon here with what's new from our talented Craftie Ladies Love Inspired Contemporary and Historical writers. To buy any of these wonderful books, just click the book cover. And to learn more about the authors, click on their names.

Link to purchase site https://www.amazon.com/Yuletide-Redemption-Love-Inspired-Kemerer/dp/0373719981/ Yuletide Redemption

by Jill Kemerer
A MOTHER'S CHRISTMAS WISH
After an accident leaves Celeste Monroe to raise her baby nephew, all she wants is to provide one-year-old Parker with a happy life. She hopes taking a job caring for injured Sam Sheffield will help fulfill that goal. But Sam's determination to avoid the world throws a wrench in her plans. Despite his best efforts, Sam can't take his eyes off the pretty caretaker. Her strength and her loving nature has him falling for her—and her baby. But he refuses to burden them with a man who's not whole. Can Celeste convince Sam he's daddy—and husband—material in time for them to celebrate Christmas together?


https://www.amazon.com/Mistletoe-Daddy-Cowboy-Country-Kastner/dp/0373719949/ref=tmm_mmp_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1474140677&sr=8-7Mistletoe Daddy

by Deb Kastner
COUNTDOWN TO A CHRISTMAS BABY
After Vivian Grainger buys him at the town's charity bachelor auction, Nick McKenna feels obligated to provide his carpentry skills. He'll help the bubbly blonde construct her dream spa and beauty shop in time for Christmas—but the burly cowboy won't be sticking around. When he realizes Vivian is pregnant, though, everything changes. Seeing the joy she brings to everyone around her despite the difficulties she's overcome, it's clear to Nick that Vivian—and her child—are what's missing from his life. As they build her dream shop together, Nick will do his best to build a path to Vivian's heart.

http://amzn.to/2fXCAal An Aspen Creek Christmas 

by Roxanne Rustand
SECOND CHANCE HOLIDAY
All Hannah Dorchester wants is to give her orphaned niece and nephew a happy Christmas. She's ready for anything—except their uncle Ethan Williams. Thirteen years ago she was planning their wedding and he was planning his escape—joining the military without even a goodbye. Ethan never meant to break Hannah's heart, but now the recovering soldier's back and he wants his late brother's kids. He's got one month to prove he'll be the better parent. But as they start sharing in the joys of the season, he's determined to show Hannah he's also become a better man. Could this be their final chance at family—and their second chance for love?

http://amzn.to/2h61zNR Pony Express Christmas Bride 

by Rhonda Gibson
WANT-AD WIFE
Mail-order bride Josephine Dooley's trip West was supposed to end in marriage to her intended groom—not with the discovery that he hadn't actually placed the bridal ad! Now her only choice is to convince Pony Express rider Thomas Young to wed her anyway to save her from her scheming uncle.
A bride shouldn't be a surprise package, and when Thomas finds out about his meddling brother's ruse, he plans to send his would-be wife packing. However, when he realizes Josephine desperately needs his help and a marriage of convenience is the only way he can protect her, he vows to become the husband she needs. But he quickly learns that it will be hard to keep his new bride at arm's length…because Josephine is his perfect match.


http://amzn.to/2gAigzXCowgirl Under the Mistletoe 

by Louise M Gouge
A COLORADO CHRISTMAS COURTSHIP
Deputy Grace Eberly can outshoot and outride most men in Esperanza, Colorado…but lassoing a husband is an impossible task. At least she has her friend Reverend Micah Thomas to keep her company. When outlaws threaten their community, the two join forces to stop them, and Grace’s feelings for the reverend deepen. But she’s sure he’d never love a too-tall cowgirl in trousers and boots.
Micah believes that it's time to find himself a wife—someone sweet and ladylike who can help him better serve the town. So why do none of the elegant young women of his acquaintance stir his heart like the feisty tomboy deputy? As they work to bring peace to the community, will Grace and Micah finally see that they make the perfect team?

Stay Tuned for Our Christmas Serial

Taking the opportunity to wish you and yours a Blessed Christmas season and invite you to read the Craftie Ladies' Christmas Reunion serial, a complete story right here on the Craftie Ladies of Love Inspired Romance blog. Lenora Worth will kick it off next Monday, December 12, and Terri Reed will wrap up the story on December 21. I'll be writing the December 19 segment.

Friday, December 2, 2016

It's beginning to look like Christmas--Lenora Worth

Good morning! It's sunny and chilly here in Florida. But Christmas is coming and we're going to get into the fun here on the blog. Join us beginning December 12th for a Christmas serial that will last until it's time for Santa to crank up his sleigh. So this is you invitation to join us for some fiction fun when we tell the tale of a "Christmas Reunion."

It's been a tough year with a lot of stressful things happening all around us. Bad weather and fires, people who are suffering, an election that left all of us just plain tired and distressed and lots of other things in life. But Christmas is a time to reflect on the good in our lives and celebrate the birth of Christ. And He is the one who gets us through all of this! So Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.
We hope you'll enjoy our story! Meantime, I have to start decorating! I have a wreath on the door. That's a start. Have you decorated yet? What's your favorite part of decorating?






Thursday, December 1, 2016

25 Days of Christmas

Hello Terri Reed here. Today, December 1st begins the 25Days of Christmas. 
This is the day I pull out my copy of The 25 Days of Christmas by Rebecca Hanford Bauer. 
Do you have a special way to count down to Christmas?  

If you're planning to start an advent calendar today is the day. 

Are you going out of town? Best to finalize your arrangements tonight, tomorrow at the latest. 

Sing a carol, light a candle and read a Bible verse. May your Christmas be merry and bright. 

Friday, November 25, 2016

Blast From The Past – Guess the author


It's that time when we glimpse into the past of one of our Craftie Ladies. The first reader to correctly guess this month's author will receive a print copy (US only) of the author’s upcoming release.

Ready? Here we go…
 
This is me on my horse Wimpy, back when I was twenty-two and still showing horses every weekend.  For anyone who is into horses now, I know the clothes and my equipment will give them a giggle, because even in the world of horses, styles really have evolved!

After all these years, I still love horses, though after years of breeding quarter horses and thoroughbreds, we now have just three.  My husband calls them pasture ornaments because I don't have time to ride as much as I'd like, but just taking care of them makes my heart feel good!

Do you know who this is?  Well, here's one more hint. In 1995, this author’s first manuscript won the RWA’s Golden Heart in the long contemporary category.

Leave your guess in the comments to be entered in the contest. And be sure to look for more clues in the comment section throughout the day.

 

Good luck!

 

Mary Alford

 

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving by Leann Harris

I'd like to wish all our readers a blessed and Happy Thanksgiving. As my family gathers together, I want to remember the blessing of this last year, and offer prayers for those who are going through this season without a loved one.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

A Cowboy Creek Christmas

I'm incredibly excited that my first novella for Harlequin Love Inspired Historical releases this month! I was honored to be included with Cheryl St.John, a good friend and mentor.


Mistletoe Bride by Sherri Shackelford

Pregnant by a man who betrayed her trust, a mail-order marriage is Beatrix Haas's only hope. But when she arrives in Cowboy Creek and learns her intended groom has died, she needs a new daddy for the baby that's coming right away. Blacksmith Colton Werner offers the mother and child the protection of his name, but can their marriage of convenience ever lead to true love?

Mistletoe Reunion by Cheryl St.John

When Marlys Boyd moves West hoping to find acceptance for her doctoring skills, she's surprised to find her former fiancé, Sam Mason, running the local newspaper. And with the ladies in town determined to make a match of the doctor and the single father, she's not sure she can resist building the family they once dreamed of.

I'm actually working on *another* Christmas book for next year. I always have one word for each book, and the word for this book is 'tradition'. What holiday traditions do you treasure in your family? 

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Giveaway, FREE Online Read, and Yuletide Redemption!

by Jill Kemerer

You know that giddy feeling when you just want to jump up and down and clap your hands and spin a few times? I'm there! My first Christmas book, Yuletide Redemption, releases today! Hooray! This is the fourth book in the Lake Endwell series. Can you get over that cover? *swooning*



A Mother's Christmas Wish 

After an accident leaves Celeste Monroe to raise her baby nephew, all she wants is to provide one-year-old Parker with a happy life. She hopes taking a job caring for injured Sam Sheffield will help fulfill that goal. But Sam's determination to avoid the world throws a wrench in her plans. Despite his best efforts, Sam can't take his eyes off the pretty caretaker. Her strength and her loving nature has him falling for her—and her baby. But he refuses to burden them with a man who's not whole. Can Celeste convince Sam he's daddy—and husband—material in time for them to celebrate Christmas together?


***

And in other zippity-skippity news, I have a FREE Christmas novella featured on Harlequin.com's Online Reads for Love Inspired! A new chapter releases every Monday from 11/07/2016 through 12/26/2016. The first three chapters are live! I add the chapter links to my HOME page each week as they go live, and you can always find them at Harlequin.com, Online Reads tab, Love Inspired.

Here's the scoop on A Cradle for Christmas!



A Cradle for Christmas

With just days to go until Christmas, Heather Springfield is nine months pregnant and all alone. So she escapes to her family’s old cabin in Michigan. The happiest summers of her life were spent there…all until that last one that ruined everything. But she’ll have to do her best to focus on her baby and avoid Mason Aldridge, the boy next door and the one who got away
Mason’s never forgotten the sweet girl who once held his heart. So when Heather arrives one snowy night, her very pregnant belly triggers a fresh round of regrets. If things had been different, he might have been the man fortunate enough to call her and the baby his. But in the spirit of the season, forgiveness is in the air, and two old friends may just find their way to the best Christmas gift of all—a brand-new family.

Go to Harlequin.com's Online Reads tab (linked) and select Love Inspired. A new chapter goes live each Monday. The chapters can be read on your phone or tablet, or you can print them out!
***
Well, I love to celebrate, so I'm hosting two giveaways for Yuletide Redemption. The first is a November giveaway with lots of Christmas goodies (US only, 18+), and the second is a Goodreads giveaway of (2) copies of Yuletide Redemption (US only). The entry forms are below if you'd like to enter!



***

Goodreads Giveaway



Goodreads Book Giveaway

Yuletide Redemption by Jill Kemerer

Yuletide Redemption

by Jill Kemerer

Giveaway ends December 01, 2016.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway


Thanks for celebrating with me!

What are you looking forward to the most this Christmas?

Have a terrific week, and to all our American friends, Happy Thanksgiving!!

Jill Kemerer writes Christian romance novels with love, humor and faith for Harlequin Love Inspired. Jill loves coffee, M&Ms, fluffy animals, magazines and her hilarious family. Visit her website, jillkemerer.com, and connect with Jill on Facebook, Twitter and sign up for her Newsletter.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Craftie Ladies Suspense Authors ~ November 2016 Release

Jean C. Gordon here with what's new from our talented Craftie Ladies Love Inspired Suspense writers. To buy this wonderful book, just click the book cover. And to learn more about Dana, click on her name.

http://amzn.to/2cZhubxAbducted
by Dana Mentink

When the high school sweetheart she never expected to see again bursts through the door of her medical mission clinic, nurse Sarah Gallagher can't hold back her shock. But Dominic Jett isn't there to catch up. He's trying to save a life, and the thugs on his tail will stop at nothing to catch him. Now abducted and imprisoned on a remote island, Sarah and Jett become pawns in a tug-of-war between a powerful drug lord and a devious madman. And their only chance for survival is working together to find the valuable painting the dangerous men are searching for. But with someone trying to kill them at every turn, can they locate it in time to keep their reunion from turning fatal?

Thursday, November 17, 2016

All Work and No Play

By Debby Giusti

I’m sure you remember the old adage, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” Like Jack, I need "playtime" in order to become inspired. New sights and sounds and experiences drive creativity and help me come up with fresh ideas. Yes, I love to write, but I also need time away from my computer.


Last week, my husband and I traveled to the North Georgia Mountains with a group of friends from church. One of our stops was at Mercier Orchards, in Blue Ridge. The orchard and farm covers more than 300 acres and has been owned and operated by the Mercier family since 1943. We ate lunch at their restaurant, shopped in their store and watched truckloads of apples being brought in from the fields, then unloaded, sorted, weighed and boxed for delivery.



The relaxing getaway, the picturesque countryside, falling leaves and cool, crisp mountain air renewed my spirit. I came home refreshed and ready to get back to work. I also came home with twelve pounds of delicious apples.


What type of getaways do you take to stimulate your Muse and prime your writing well?


Care for an apple?

Happy Thanksgiving!
Debby Giusti



PLAIN TRUTH
By Debby Giusti

AMISH COUNTRY SECRETS
When widowed doctor Ella Jacobsen is attacked and left for dead in her childrens’ clinic, the peace she’s found in Georgia’s Amish country is shattered. Someone is after something in her clinic and wants her out of the way...but what are they looking for? Ella knows only that  her life is in the hands of army special agent Zach Swain. Zach can’t resist the vulnerable but headstrong Ella, who stares down danger to care for the people she loves. With one look, the loner soldier goes from investigator to protector. To save Ella, he must uncover the secrets that swirl around the idyllic community. And he needs  to do it fast, because Ella is running out of time.

Order HERE!



Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Christmas Wish Lists by Christine Johnson

Did you make wish lists for Christmas when you were a child? I remember carefully going through the toy catalogs and circling the items I wanted for Christmas. I’d then mark a big “C” so my mom would know I was the one who hoped to find this cherished item under the tree on Christmas morning.

We lived far from shopping, so catalogs were a great way for us to browse the season’s offerings. As an adult, I also realized the advantage of having children “shop” by catalog rather than in the store. Impulse buying was out. Mom couldn’t be influenced by plucking an item off the shelf and waving it in front of her face.

Perhaps that’s why I love the movie, A Christmas Story. Ralphie works so hard to “hint” to his parents what he wants. Knowing his mother disapproves only makes him try harder. Thinking back to some of my oddball requests as a child, the one that must have perplexed my parents was my deep desire for walkie-talkies. These little gems would allow me to stay in contact with my brother while we, ace child detectives, were on the hunt for evidence. (Can you tell I read all the Nancy Drew books?) They were also pretty expensive, and I didn’t think I stood a chance of receiving them.

Then came Christmas morning. At the appropriate time, after dad turned on the lights and we wished mom Merry Christmas, my brother and sister and I raced into the living room. To my utter joy, there sat my walkie-talkie set. My delight was so great that I remember it to this day, many decades later.

Christmas tree


Imagine asking for something even more audacious than a pricey gift from the catalog. In Mail Order Mommy, little Sadie wants a new mother for Christmas. She writes about this for her school paper, even suggesting exactly who that new mommy should be. Once her teacher reads this, the adults get involved. Unfortunately, Sadie’s father doesn’t want to get married to anyone but especially not to the woman Sadie named. She resembles his late wife far too much. How will Sadie ever get her Christmas wish?

Did you make Christmas wish lists when you were a child? What gift did you most want—and most fear you wouldn’t get?

Mail Order Mommy


Christine Johnson
Mail Order Mommy (LIH, Nov 2016)