December 1, 2015

Top Bloggers Nov 2015 @LSB_lsbooks #RLFblog

RLF Gems 
The Top Blogger for November was Liquid Silver Books. They win a month of free cover advertising on the blog which gives them two free ads this month. Our Top Blogger of the Year is also publisher Liquid Silver Books, which gives them a year of free advertising.

About Liquid Silver Books

Top Five Bloggers for the Month

Each month, the RLF Gems post ranks in the top ten, but is not counted, in order to focus on guests. The winners are judged by page views. Congratulations to each one!
1 Liquid Silver Books
2 Tess Delacour
3 Vicki Batman
4 Ciara Gold
5 Sage Marlow

Honorable mention: Salute to Veteran Authors, and CG Williams

Top Chatters for the Month

Chatter Award 
Because the person who gets the most comments in a month is not always the person who gets the most page views per month, I instituted the Top Chatter Award. This is the award for the person who receives the most comments. To win, a guest must have five or more comments (not counting the guest author's).
1 Liquid Silver Books
2 Vicki Batman
3 Tess Delacour

Romance Lives Forever features authors and new books. It has a blogger's FAQ page with a downloadable guide and six optional interviews. Readers can follow via Google+, Networked Blogs, Linky Followers, email, an RSS feed, and there's a blog button readers and authors can grab. Authors can share previous books. The blog uses author or publisher names as tags on posts, and author Twitter handles in the titles. The site is broadcast over Triberr with a potential reach of over 3.5M readers via its Twitter-linked network. Twitter mentions are also gathered in several ezines, giving the author additional opportunities for promotion. The Romance Lives Forever ezine features only guest authors, and the day's guest is on its front page every day.
New for 2015
Each post will be featured on the Romance Lives Forever Pinterest board within a few days after it goes live.

Share your book cover on Romance Lives Forever

Limited spots to share book covers are available. Cost is $3 per month, with discounts for covers posted for one quarter and up to one year. Covers can be changed monthly.

RLFblog Admin - Nicole Morgan

Author Nicole Morgan assists me with scheduling for Romance Lives Forever. She is the blog admin. Look for emails from her. Nicole and I want to ensure everyone who requests a spot on the blog gets a personal response. Please use this email if you have questions or need help: We both receive email sent here. You don't have to join a group or do anything special. This group simply provides a joint email for us and streamlines things for you. The email address is included in all downloadable interviews on the FAQ page.

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Guest calendar

My thanks to all who took part this month. You made Romance Lives Forever a great place to discover new books and authors.

Other participants this month in alphabetical order by first name are:

Sue Behon, Sarah Madison, Daisy Banks, Reana Malori, NJ Walters, Shanna Hatfield, Thanksgiving, Kristina Knight, Justine Lewis, Taylor Brooks, Sarah Madison, JoAnne Myers, Guy Ogan, Sabrina York, Colleen S Myers, Ani Gonzalez

November 30, 2015

Made For Me by @suebeehny #RLFblog #contemporaryromance

Cover Love includes a cover, blurb, buy links, and social media contacts for the author. Today's featured book is Made For Me by Susan Behon.

About the Book

Title Made For Me, Madison Falls Series, Book #3
Genre Contemporary Romance
Author Susan Behon
Book heat level (based on movie ratings): R
Sabrina O’Malley can’t stand the sight of Keith Sutton.
At least, that’s what she keeps telling herself. In all honesty, she loves sneaking peeks at the gorgeous, golden-haired construction foreman. It’s easy to forget how arrogant and irritating Keith is when she admires him from afar and can’t hear him talking.
The problem is, he’s always talking. Keith won’t let Sabrina forget her drunken and failed attempt to kiss him. He’s determined to get a do-over and she’s determined to avoid him at all costs. If he has to rile her up to get her attention, and that kiss, Keith is all for it.
Sparks fly when trouble comes to Madison Falls and they are thrown together in an effort to stop it. When Sabrina is targeted and comes under fire, Keith is resolved to keep her safe. To do that, he needs to get past Sabrina’s defenses.
Will Sabrina put her pride aside and give Keith a chance before it’s too late?

Buy This Book

Barnes and Noble

About the Author

Susan Behon, author of the Madison Falls series, enjoys creating a world that brings readers romance, laughter, and a healthy dose of sexiness. Susan graduated summa cum laude with a B. A. in English from Norfolk State University. She currently lives in Ohio with her very own romance hero of a husband and their two wonderful daughters.

Author Social Media

Amazon Author Page

November 29, 2015

The Boys of Summer a new #MMromance by @SarahMadisonFic #RLFblog

This quick interview includes info about the author, and introduces the story.

About the Author

Sarah Madison is a writer with a large dog, an even bigger horse, too many cats, and a very patient boyfriend. An amateur photographer and a former competitor in the horse sport known as eventing, when she's not out hiking with the dog or down at the stables, she's at the laptop working on her next story. When she’s in the middle of a chapter, she relies on the smoke detector to tell her dinner is ready. She writes because it’s cheaper than therapy.
Sarah Madison was a finalist in the 2013 Rainbow Awards and The Boys of Summer was the winner of Best M/M Romance in the 2013 PRG Reviewer’s Choice Awards.

Interview with Sarah Madison

Why did you write this book?
I had this image in my mind I couldn’t shake in which one of the main characters, Rick Sutton, is leaning against a Spitfire, dressed in a RAF flight officer’s uniform. I thought it might make a cool dream sequence, but when I began researching the Battle of Britain in order to get the details right, I was appalled at how little I knew of the time period or how much these young men sacrificed. The more I read, the more I needed to know.  I spent over a month immersing myself in WW2 history, finally coming up for air and realizing I had to do justice to their story. Finding a way to give my heroes their happy ending was the hard part, but never fear, I believe in happy endings.
What is your favorite genre to read?
I love mysteries and sci-fi/fantasy. I love historicals and romance, too. So if you want to make my day, give me a murder mystery set in the 1800’s with aliens. Actually, that’s kind of hard to find, which is why so many of my own stories have a weird mix of genres.
Who is your favorite character from fiction (not including your own)?
Oh, I have so many! Lord Peter Wimsey from the Dorothy Sayers novels, and Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice, for example. Sherlock Holmes. Spock. Amelia Peabody from the Elizabeth Peters novels. The lovely thing about a great character is that they are enduring—people remember them long after the book has been read. The Sherlock Holmes stories are riddled with inaccuracies and frequently told from a passive viewpoint, and yet we don’t care because Holmes himself was incandescent. His presence made the story come alive.
What are you working on at the moment, and will see from you in coming months?
I’ve got a couple of irons in the fire right now. I’m working on the first in a series of stories set in the 1950s about a couple of agents who investigate paranormal events—kind of like Ward and June Cleaver meets the X-Files. I’ve also got a Regency M/M romance in the works, as well as a contemporary M/M romance involving the sport horse world. I’ve also got paranormal sequels planned for the Sixth Sense series, and my vampire/shifter story, Crying for the Moon. I have LOTS of plans; just not enough time to write!
Please tell us about your latest book.
David McIntyre has been enjoying the heck out of his current assignment: touring the Hawaiian Islands in search of the ideal shooting locations for a series of film company projects. What’s not to like? Stunning scenery, great food, sunny beaches… and a secret crush on Rick Sutton, the hot, ex-Air Force pilot who is flying him around.
Everything changes when a tropical storm and engine failure force a crash landing on a deserted atoll with a WWII listening post. Rick’s injuries, and a lack of food and water, mean David has to step up to the plate and play hero. While his days are spent fighting for survival, and his nights are filled with worrying about Rick, the two men grow closer. David’s research for his next movie becomes intertwined with his worst fears, and events on the island result in a vivid dream about the Battle of Britain. On waking, David realizes Rick is more than just a pilot to him. The obstacles that prevented a happy ending in 1940 aren’t present today, and David vows that if they survive this stranding, he will tell Rick how he feels.

About the Book

Title: The Boys of Summer
Genre: Contemporary/Historical M/M romance
Author: Sarah Madison
Book heat level: (based on movie ratings): R

Buy This Book

This story is available for pre-order on Dreamspinner Press’s site at this time. Other links will be available after December 21, 2015.

Author Social Media

November 27, 2015

Serving the Serpent a new #fantasy by @DaisyBanks16 #RLFblog

This quick interview includes info about the author, and introduces the story.

About the Author

Interview with Daisy Banks

Why did you write this book?
After a visit to Wales during the spring when the turf is so vibrant on the hillsides I got the idea of the three dragons. I could see them hidden away in the depths of the mountains and then as I thought about it I found Ceri, the girl who is responsible for their care. I played with the idea for a while before letting the story run. Eventually the tale turned into a love story, with a Norwegian dragon in search of his mate and Leif, his servant who discovers Ceri is like him and serves the serpent.
What is your favorite genre to read?
I enjoy reading a great deal. I read all kinds of books, historical, paranormal, mystery, sci-fi, and both light and dark fantasy. I think fantasy remains my favorite genre to read. I love the world building in fantasy as it sparks my imagination. I also find fantasy is often a very visual read and I like seeing the images writers create.
Who is your favorite character from fiction (not including your own)?
My all time favorite character is Merlin. I’ve enjoyed every book I’ve read where Merlin appears. I suppose he is the archetypal teacher, the holder of secret wisdom and knowledge. I like that about him. I’ve also enjoyed stories that reveal Merlin’s humanity and his weakness along with his strength. I think writers can and will continue to explore the character of Merlin for a long time to come.
What are you working on at the moment, and will see from you in coming months?
At present I am working on promoting my book Christmas Carols and my new release Serving the Serpent. I have just finished two short stories for the Sexy to Go compilation boxed sets for December and the Christmas Special.
I will be offering a free read on my blog over the Christmas period and am working on a sexy sci-fi.
For next year I have a historical to complete, a murder mystery romance with humorous elements, and the final part in the Timeless Trilogy. I’ll also be writing several short stories for the Sexy to Go boxed sets. I guess I will be busy.
Please tell us about your latest book.
Serving the Serpent-Blurb:
In Wales, Ceridwyn takes up her inherited duty to care for the dragons in the mountains. Awed by them and the huge book about them, she is determined to prove her worth.
Far away in Norway, Leif has growing concerns for his sick dragon. He discovers only one cure will stop his dragon’s suffering. The mighty Herensuge must journey to find his bonded mate.
When they meet, Ceri and Leif make combined efforts to aid the dragons and discover an astonishing surprise. The great lore book each of them protects tells they have a responsibility to the future. At this rare and magical time, not only the dragon pairing must occur.
Join Ceri and Leif as they work to keep the sworn silence and keep the dragons safe. Friendship is growing between them, but will it be enough? Can love blossom between two chosen to serve the serpent?

About the Book

Title Serving the Serpent
Genre Fantasy
Author Daisy Banks
Book heat level (based on movie ratings): G

Buy This Book

Barnes and Noble

Author Social Media

November 25, 2015

A Romance for Christmas by Kayelle Allen #RLFblog #HolidayReads

A Romance for Christmas  
A cop at the door on Christmas Eve brings an unexpected gift. 

A sweet feel-good holiday romance. It's Christmas Eve, and the end of a year in which everything Dara loves was lost. Everything but her little girl and a fierce determination to survive. When a cop brings Christmas to her door, he brings another gift she never expected to get.
About the Book
Publisher Romance Lives Forever Books
Genre Sweet contemporary romance, holiday romance
Heat Rating Sweet
Date Published 10/19/14

About the Author

Kayelle Allen is a best-selling, award-winning author. Her unstoppable heroes and heroines include contemporary every day folk, role-playing immortal gamers, futuristic covert agents, and warriors who purr.

Buy Links

November 24, 2015

Penthesilia from The Wrath of Aphrodite by @CGWilliamsauth #RLFblog #Mythicfiction

C.G. Williams shares details about the creation of Penthesilia in the book The Wrath of Aphrodite.

About the Book

Title: The Wrath of Aphrodite Book 1
Genre: Mythic Fiction
Author: C.G. Williams
Book heat level (based on movie ratings): R
In the last year of the Trojan war, Penthesilia, an Amazon war captain, leads a contingent of fierce Amazon warriors to Troy, to ally with the great city against the Achaean forces. She wins victory in her battles with Achaeans and inspires the Trojan army anew. 
Her battles with Achilles are the greatest of all. Who will be the victor? The ruthless Achilles or the merciless Penthesilia? Both born under auspicious signs, both rumored to be the offspring of an immortal, and both matchless warriors, unrelenting in their bloodlust. Victory is within their reach, all they have to do is win the fight. Mortals and Immortals watch breathless for the outcome.During a brief conversation they insult the Goddess Aphrodite, mocking her greatest gift - Love. Furious with these two great warriors, Aphrodite retaliates and sends her son Eros with two arrows imbued with a love so potent and consuming, it will have only one outcome, destruction.
This story unfolds in a three Novella series.

Introducing Penthesilia

This interview is designed to tell readers about your hero or heroine.
Name: Penthesilia
Age: 23
Gender: Female
Birthplace: Themiscrya, the capital of the Amazon people.
Profession: War Captain
Ethnicity/Species (if not human): Amazon from Themiscrya, she is multiracial like most Amazons.
Describe his/her body build, skin tone, height and weight. Include any unique features such as dimples, freckles, or scars: Tall, muscular, olive skin, dark, curly hair, usually pulled back. She has scars from battles and a distinct three line scar from her buttocks to her thigh from hunting a wild cat. 
Who is the significant other in your character's life?
Tell us about this character, please.
Achilles is the Myrmidon war Captain with the Achaean army. He is a the greatest of the Achaean warriors fighting against Troy and he knows it. Brash and arrogant, he’s been educated by the great teacher Chyron and knows that his destiny of glory is to be made on the Trojan shore. What he does not know is the destiny of his heart is destruction followed by madness, or that his greatest love is also his greatest enemy.
How does your heroine dress?
Penthesilia is an Amazon warrior as such she wears armor into battle. Her hair is usually tightly plaited and secured back as to not make her vulnerable to an opponent. Her helmet is embossed with horse faces that cover her cheekbones, the nose of the horses meet over her nose merging with the protective plate that runs up between her eyes meeting with the skull protector. Below hinged plates with the horses legs nearly touch beneath her lips. When temperatures are cooler she wears a leopard skin beneath her armor to keep warm. She wears greaves, chest armor, thigh protection and carries a crescent shaped shield. She is armed with sword, spear, Labrys and arrows.
When not on the battlefield Penthesilia dresses in simple well made tunics. Not someone who requires much adornment except for a few pieces of prized jewelry here and there like an armlet she took from an enemy.
When she disguises herself to cross into the enemy Achaean camps to do recognizance, her hair is loose and she wears a scullery maids dress.
If you could only hear this character's voice (but not see her) what characteristic would identify her?
She has a pleasant mellifluous speaking voice and she has a loud, cutting, strident voice she uses in battle, which is quite distinctive.
How educated is this character?
Penthesilia is very well educated. She is the daughter of a Queen and she speaks several languages. She has spent thirty six moon cycles training to be an elite Amazon Warrior. She knows the history of her people and their allies and enemies. She is a priestess of the goddess Artemis.
Is the character book-smart, self-taught, widely-experienced?
Penthesilia is well read and she is constantly learning and experiencing new things. She has fought with a variety of enemies and always emerged victorious.
Does she scrape by, live comfortably, live extravagantly?
Penthesilia has lived by the highest standards of the Amazon court. She has also struggled to survive in muddy battlefields with only her wits and prowess to keep her alive. 
What is your character's viewpoint on wealth?
As an Amazon trade is important to the economics of their people. She has never wanted for material items, but wealth is something shared amongst there people and they wish to continue to thrive.
On what special skills does your character rely?
She is a matchless warrior with nothing to lose. The accuracy of her aim is blessed by the Immortals and she never misses.
Are any of her skills a source of pride or embarrassment, and if so, which ones and why?
Because her aim is divine her older sister was killed during a hunt when she stepped into the path of Penthesilia’s spear. She would give up everything to have her beloved sister back again.
What kinds of things does your character always carry (in pockets or purse)?
There are some Amazon fetishes for protection of the Goddess, but she doesn’t always carry them. She usually has a knife.
What is your character's family like?
Penthesilia’s mother is from a line of Amazon royalty. Her grandfather is Theseus, one of the great Kings of Athens. Penthesilia’s own father was a gifted warrior who was banished from his kingdom and during his wanderings he fought against Penthesilia’s mother Queen Otrere. During the truce ritual they laid together conceiving Penthesilia. She never knew her father but she was raised as the daughter of a Queen with a tight network of friends and family about her.
Is she close to family?
She is very close to her family and to her sisters.
Does he have children?
Penthesilia has no children, she had neither the time nor inclination.
Is your character involved in his community?
As a warrior to the realm of Amazon her life is dedicated to the protection of her community and people.
How well does she know the neighbors?
She knows the neighboring Kingdoms well, but this is her first visit to Troy. Once there she immerses herself and learns a great deal about the Trojan people and the royal family. 
Does this character see morality as black-and-white, or with shades of gray?
She is a very black and white person at the beginning of the story. But once compromised by the will of Aphrodite, lines become blurred. The only thing she has to hold true to is her sacrifice to the Goddess Artemis. 
How do others perceive your character based upon looks, and is is this assumption accurate?
The Amazon warriors are intimidating and it is an accurate assumption.
Does your character care about what others assume about him?
She cares what her fellow Amazons think of her and she cares about what Hector thinks of her, because she has a deep and abiding respect of him.
If someone from your character's past showed up, who would she most want it to be, and why?
She misses her dead sister and would give everything she could to have her alive and with her.
If someone from your character's past showed up, who would she most NOT want it to be, and why?
A king that she vanquished in a terrible war. He was destructive to the sacred Amazon forest and he killed her lover and fellow Amazon warrior Thalestris. 
Can your heroine keep a secret (why or why not)?
She discovers she is quite good at keeping a secret.
What secrets does your character know about people around her that she does NOT share?
It is her own secret that she doesn’t want to share.
What inner doubt causes your character the most difficulty?
She is drawn back to Achilles repeatedly and she knows her tactical information is complete. It is against her better judgment, she knows it’s madness yet she returns to him.
What past event causes your character the most fear?
The death of her sister hangs over her like a pall. 
What is your character's biggest need at the beginning of the story?
Redemption, cleansing and finally a sacrifice to the Goddess Artemis.
What is your heroine’s biggest hopes and dreams?
Penthesilia’s greatest hope is to honor her sacrifice to the Goddess Artemis. As for her dreams she has not allowed herself any thought of the future other than to kill the enemies of Troy.
What would help your character face hardship and meet any challenge?
Her dedication to her people as a defender of Amazon is where she finds her strength. Doing her service in the greater good of her people.
If your character could make any one thing happen, what would it be?
Bring her sister back.
What is your heroine’s biggest personal flaw?
She lacks empathy at the beginning from being battle hardened. By the end of the story she’s found feelings again.
When there is a setback, what doubt or flaw surfaces?
I think setbacks make her more determined to complete her tasks. Nothing will deter her from making sacrifice to the Goddess Artemis. 
How does your character handle challenges?
She’s extremely adaptable, her minimal warrior lifestyle does not leave room for attachment. And then one day she forms a very deep attachment to someone she should not even be on speaking terms with.
What is your heroine’s breaking point?
Penthesilia broke when she accidentally killed her sister during a hunt. From then on she has only a few things in life she really wants.
How does your character express disappointment?
Penthesilia retreats into solitude.
How emotionally expressive is your character to others?
Depending on the situation, she can be cold and aloof or if among friends and loved ones passionate and open.
When (if) she lies or is upset, what gives him away?
Penthesilia is one cool cookie. She doesn’t have any tells because that can get you killed on the battlefield. When confronted with her subterfuge and deception she willingly takes responsibility. 
Who in her life has the power to hurt this character the most and why?
Her fellow Amazons because they are her closest people. Hector, because she deeply respects him, he is better than this war without honor and Achilles, if he finds out the truth about her it would be catastrophic.

About Your Writer

Why do you think your writer chose to write about you?
I think C.G. Williams chose to write about me because she was fascinated by brief descriptions left by Homer. She wanted to write my story with complexity and richness of culture that she’d not found in other fictional writings about Amazons. She loves kick ass women that navigate their way through difficult terrain.
What do you wish your writer had not told others about you?
I wish that she’d left private the details of my affair with Achilles.
What other character from your book do you think your writer should write a book about, and why?
Any one of the Amazon warriors that came with me, for example Ainia the fastest Amazon to set feet upon this earth. Harmothoe the Amazon who has the gift of communion with animals and Bremusa who is a granddaughter of Hercules and a priestess of the Dark Artemis Hecate.
Why do you think your writer loves to write?
My writer loves to write because it takes her to a place outside this physical realm. She can travel deep into imagination and once that stream flows it is epically delightful.
Is there anything you'd like to say to your writer?
Thanks for telling my side.

Buy This Book

Author Bio

Born and raised in Alaska, C.G. Williams first started writing a Vampire horror story in the early 80s on a manual typewriter. From then on C.G. has had fun creating Science Fiction, Time Travel, historical pieces and a kick ass action tale of Amazon warriors. C.G. Williams enjoys fencing, Tai Chi, photography, museums, history, music, biking, hiking and beadwork as it all fuels the creative process. C.G. lives with partner Chris and two cats.

Author Social Media

November 23, 2015

Take Me [Sultry SoCal 3] by @AuthorTBrooks #RLFblog #99cents

Cover Love includes a cover, blurb, buy links, and social media contacts for the author. Today's featured book is Sub-Dominant by Sage Marlowe.

About the Book
Title: Take Me (Sultry SoCal Series 1)
Genre: Erotic MM Romance
Author: Taylor Brooks
Book heat level: R
   Clint Rodham has spent years being a loyal employee to Elite Imports. Despite being one of their top salesmen, his boss no longer sees him as the golden boy. Now being ostracized for his sexuality, he fights to keep the job that he not only loves, but is a natural at.
   Rick Tanner just moved to Southern California from Kansas. Being a homosexual personal trainer in a small town filled with old-fashioned people who didn’t understand his way of life left him with little career opportunities.
   One hot summer night, Rick is locked on the rooftop and Clint comes to his rescue. As a thank-you, he offers his hero a cold beer. With the California heat rising and desires building, the two find themselves in a storm of passion. Neither of them are able to resist. Neither of them want to. They both want to take what is within their reach, just beyond their fingertips.

Buy This Book

Right now you can get this title for only 99 cents on Amazon only 

About the Author

Taylor Brooks first fell in love with writing when she penned her first book for Siren Publishing, Take Me. She’s also an avid reader and finds herself drawn to the stories of gay lovers, and finds the passion in such stories absolutely beautiful. This also explains why her genre of choice for her writing is GLBT.
In addition to her Sultry SoCal, Rocky Mountain Man Hunt, and Z Pac Alpha Shifter series, Taylor has many stories brewing inside her head just itching to break free. Stay tuned for more as she strives for exciting ways to tease and please her readers.

Author Social Media

Website (site under construction)

November 22, 2015

Sub-Dominant by @SageMarlowe #RLFblog #MM

Cover Love includes a cover, blurb, buy links, and social media contacts for the author. Today's featured book is Sub-Dominant by Sage Marlowe.

About the Book

Title Sub-Dominant
Genre Erotic Gay Ménage
Author Sage Marlowe
Book heat level (based on movie ratings): R
When relocation agent Eric Swann is assigned to ease young Connor Prescott into moving back to London, he expects the boy to be more enthusiastic—and less irritating. 
Used to roaming freely among his mother’s D-list celebrity friends, Connor is anything but happy when his father decides to put him on a leash—a leash with a far too attractive handler on the other end. Secretly craving a man who knows how to yank his chain and show him exactly where the limits are, Connor does what he’s best at. He manipulates Eric into giving him what he wants, making the man reveal a side of him that Eric himself isn’t ready to accept. 
Trained by one of the quirkiest Dom/sub-teams in the country, Dom Tyler Kane knows exactly how to handle a toppy sub. He keeps Connor on his toes, er, knees, in the bedroom, but when his capricious lover sets his heart on pushing yet another limit, Tyler finds himself not only with a dominant sub but also with a Dom who has yet to accept his true identity. 

Buy This Book

About the Author

Sage is a multi-published author of MM erotic romance novels and novellas and loves exploring the flavours of gay erotic fiction. 

A willing slave to all the fascinating guys who keep queuing up and want their stories told, Sage can almost always be found cooking up the next hot story or daydreaming about new ways of rubbing sexy male bodies together to make the sparks fly.

Author Social Media

November 21, 2015

Publisher Week Day 7: Holiday Surprise @LSB_lsbooks #RLFblog #Holiday

Liquid Silver Books presents Spotlight on The Holiday Surprise

We asked six LSB authors to write an original, 5 part story about a holiday surprise. Authors Anneka Ever, Olivia Night, Kristine Bria, Vicky Burkholder, Allison B. Hanson, and Errin Stevens are pleased to bring you 6 holiday short stories to warm you heart and get you in the holiday spirit.

Enjoy Part 1 of each story is below and come back during the day for parts 2 through 5 in the comments.


Lea Eisig peered at the cookies through the oven window. Well, they sort of look like the ones in the book. Her experience in baking cookies was limited. Usually she grabbed a roll of slice-and-bake dough at the grocery store and threw a few hunks on a non-stick pan. Truth be told, sometimes she just grabbed a spoon and ate the raw dough straight from the end of the plastic sleeve, warnings be darned.
            Baking cookies from scratch was a whole new experience. The last hour had been a hair-raising adventure in measuring, sifting, and mixing. She was covered in flour and somehow had gotten orange marmalade in her hair. On the plus side, I smell good. She looked at the brand new bottles of spices with regret: ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves. What a waste of money, she thought, knowing she would never use them again.
            Her phone buzzed in the living room. As she ran to grab it, she knocked a plastic measuring cup of molasses from the counter. Gooey syrup splattered on the floor.
            “Shoot!” She flapped her hand at it and hurried out of the kitchen.
            The caller was her boss, Tracy Day, Queen of Home Living. That was literally her title; she had it printed on her business cards. She was founder and CEO of a lifestyle media empire that catered to the handmade is superior crowd. Her legions of fans spent hours – and millions of dollars – trying to emulate Tracy’s projects in cooking, crafting, decorating, and gardening.
Lea was part of the senior-level marketing team, on call twenty-four hours a day. Tracy did call at all hours and expected her employees to drop everything to attend to her. Lea was no exception.
“Good evening, Ms. Day. How can I help you?”
She spent the next ten minutes trying to soothe Tracy’s jitters. They had a huge presentation with some overseas investors. Tracy Day, Queen of Home Living, was going global. At the moment, however, Tracy Day, Queen of Home Living, was going ballistic.
“I mean, can you imagine? Charlotte was actually going to make dessert with that jiggly boxed junk! Well, I fired her on the spot.”
Lea cringed. Poor Charlotte. “I’m sorry to hear that, Ms. Day.”
“I hope I can count on you to bring something that’s worthy of the Tracy Day name.”
“Yes, ma’am. The holiday spice cookies from your second book. Completely from scratch. Organic eggs. Vanilla beans. Locally sourced molasses.” The whole snotty nine yards.
 “Excellent. I’ll see you tomorrow.” She hung up without waiting for a response.
Lea tossed the phone on the couch, rubbed her forehead, and took a deep breath. She smelled the bitter scent of burning cookies.
“Oh no! No, no, no!”
Black smoke drifted through the kitchen door. Now she remembered the package of batteries – intended for the smoke alarm – she had shoved in a kitchen drawer. After opening the front door, she hurried into the kitchen and threw open the windows. She ran around the counter and slipped in the molasses. She hit the floor hard, landing on her hands and knees.
Coughing, she crawled toward the oven. Suddenly she felt herself being picked up by a pair of strong hands and tossed across a broad shoulder like a sack of cement. Jolted up and down, all she could say was “Umph!”
A moment later she was dumped on the cold ground outside her house. Before she could get a look at her rescuer, he disappeared back inside. When he returned, he kneeled next to her and said, “Good thing I was home.”

Drummer Boy by Anneka Ever  

Part 2 - 7:00 a.m. | Part 3 - 8:30 a.m. | Part 4 - 10:00 a.m. | Part 5 - 11:30 a.m.

Wish Granted – Part 1


            Amelia hustled quickly between her car and the entrance to her apartment. She had a love/hate relationship with this time of year. She loved celebrating with her family. The house would be all toasty and warm and would smell like whatever everyone had pitched in to cook for Christmas dinner. She loved the fireplace crackling with tree limbs (and probably some newspaper). And she loved spending time with her family and the people she considered her family. Amelia was lucky. Her best friend Kelly and Kelly’s family always spent Christmas with Amelia’s family.
Kelly and Amelia’s dad’s Jack and Jerry had been best friends growing up and had remained friends. Her dad and Jerry owned a construction company together. They had started from the ground up right after high school graduates, just the two of them. Slowly, over the years their company grew as did their success.
            It had practically been preordained that she and Kelly would be best friends. They were born two months apart and grew up three houses from each other. Their mothers had started them on play dates before they could hold their heads up, let alone hold a conversation.
            But Amelia also hated this time of year. The freezing temperatures mostly. For some reason if she got cold (which was as easy as going in between her car and her apartment), she could never get warm again. Never. She would come in and bundle up, but hours later her nose was still cold, her toes were still cold and most annoyingly her butt was still cold. Yes, her butt.  
            However, if Amelia was really being honest with herself, the actual reason she both loved and hated this time of year was mainly Grant Lane. Grant was Kelly’s brother.
As pathetic as it was, Amelia had been in love with him since kindergarten. Even more pathetic she remembered exactly when she fell in love.

22 years ago

She had been out front of their house, riding bikes with Kelly and had totally kicked it. Totally and completely wrecked. Amelia almost went up and over the handlebars, but because she wasn't going all that fast she kind of awkwardly flew forward and then down the right side of the bike. Thankfully, she hadn't had the forethought to be embarrassed at her lack of ability to crash a bike, she was only focused on her scrapes and, soon to be, bruises. Grant, who was ten at the time, had come out of the garage, where he was doing who knows what, and had helped her into the kitchen. He had silently cleaned up all of her scrapes and placed band aids over them. He hadn’t seem bothered by Amelia’s little girl sniffles and hiccoughs. And when he finished fixing her up he gave her a big, handsome smile and kissed the bruise that was forming on her cheek, said “There, all better.” and then helped Amelia off the table. And that was it. She was in love.


            When she was a child she loved him as only a child could. She worshipped him like he was a hero. Amelia would follow him around like a shadow and looking back she couldn’t remember a single time he showed annoyance with her, or her puppy dog ways.
So now at twenty- seven Amelia (still hopelessly, pathetically in love with Grant)  both hoped that Grant would be there for Christmas and also hoped that he would be out doing whatever superman stuff he did for a living. Protecting annoying, rich chicks, trailing corporate traitors, flying through the air instead of driving and kicking terrorist ass like a ninja- that kind of stuff. Okay, so he actually worked for a high end security firm, but Amelia liked her version better.
            Amelia quickly made her way up the stairs to her apartment and she heard her cell beep as she closed and locked her door.
            The text was from Kelly.
“Mom says to make double your regular recipe of crab dip for tomorrow.”
Great. That could only mean one thing. Amelia felt the one side of her scale disappear. The hope that Grant would be out saving the world had vanished. Now, excitement, terror and giddiness took its place. Grant loved her crab dip. Shit, shit, shit. Grant was coming to Christmas.

Wish Granted by Olivia Night     

Part 2 - 7:30 a.m. | Part 3 – 9:00 a.m. | Part 4 - 10:30 a.m. | Part 5 - 12:00 p.m.

Sneaking Up On Santa – Part 1

With her cashmere camel coat draped over her arm, her scarf carefully tucked in the sleeve so it would be ready on her return to the cold, brisk air of Manhattan, Claudia pulled her rolling carry-on Louis Vuitton suitcase across the tarmac toward the Savannah airport. Inside she looked about for a man in a black suit and tie then headed toward the only person in uniform.
A black-haired trunk of a man in a plaid flannel shirt and jeans cut into her path. “Excuse me,” she said, trying to step around him.
“Ms. Finch?”
Her name had her stumbling, mentally and physically off balance so she toppled into the lumberjack and dropped her suitcase handle leaving the expensive leather to fall to the tile. “Wha—?”
In one deft turn, he caught her and scooped her suitcase up off the floor. Taking her elbow, he steered her toward the exit. “I hope your flight was smoother than your landing.”
“Should I know you?” Unamused by his joke, Claudia tugged her arm free.
“I’m Ethan,” he stated and strode through the endless cloud of humidity toward a shiny wooden-paneled maroon Jeep Wagoneer. He opened the passenger door and glared at her with emerald eyes ringed by lashes her friends would pay for. His terse lips only served to emphasize the squareness of his jaw.
She forced herself to provide a civil explanation. “I was expecting...”
“What? A chauffeur from a fancy hotel? This ain’t the Ritz, lady.”
Her perfect holiday vacation started on a less than perfect note. “I’m sorry. Okay?”
“Not really,” he muttered as he stowed her suitcase in the back, leaving her to climb in and close her own door.
With her words so rudely deflected, Claudia pretended not to notice him buckle his seatbelt and crank the engine. Instead she began furiously punching at the keyboard on her phone, texting her best friend. Arrived safely...
Claudia screamed and stumbled into the open door. Without releasing her phone, she stuck her head inside the vehicle and barked, “What was that for?”
“Some of us have things to do. Your flight was half an hour late which means I’m already behind schedule.” His left hand gripped the steering wheel, knuckles whitening. “When do you think you’ll be ready to go?”
She crawled in the ancient SUV and answered with a slam of her door. Hello? Isn’t this your job? The bed and breakfast had touted having someone—likely him—at her service for the next five days she had booked at O’Malley House in Moss Point, Georgia.
When Ethan manually rolled down his window, she sniffed the salt air, closed her eyes, and couldn’t help but smile. They exited the highway and crossed "creeks" that were wider than New England rivers, passing long docks from marsh-front homes with small fishing boats tethered to the ends. Rounding a turn, she gasped as they entered a picture perfect version of a small southern town. Massive oak trees canopied the avenue. Victorian homes with wrap around porches sprawled across manicured lawns. Palmettos and palm trees grew in random clusters throughout the medians. A tiny, perfect white wooden church caught her eye then was gone.
She looked ahead and gasped at railings draped in greenery interspersed with bows and magnolias. Matching wreaths hung over the glass of double doors. "It's beautiful," she whispered under her breath.
For the first time since they’d met, Ethan’s tone softened. "It's home. Let's get you inside."
Sneaking Up On Santa by Kristine Bria          
Part 2 – 8:00 a.m. | Part 3 – 9:30 a.m. | Part 4 – 11:00 a.m. | Part 5 - 12:30 p.m.

Christmas Lost and Found – Part 1

Holiday music piped through the speakers in the bland room. Even though the guards had put up red and green streamers and a little ceramic tree in the corner where the coffee maker usually sat, there wasn’t much you could do with industrial tan. But none of it mattered to Tess. She didn’t do Christmas. Not for two years, and never again. It was just another day to get through. She pasted a smile on her face and studied the little girl sitting next to her desk.
“Mommy says manners are real important. Mommy says only aminals don’t use manners.”
            Tess smiled at the little girl sitting in the too-big chair, her legs swinging as she chattered and clutched a stuffed snowman to her chest. The endearing face with light brown hair separated into two long braids tugged at Tess’ heartstrings. It had been two years since her own little girl had died – along with her husband – victims of a driver full of too much Christmas cheer and snowy roads. Helping this little munchkin had brought the memories rushing back, along with the pain. Tess sighed and clicked the general announcement button on the PA system.
As a security guard for the Columbia Mall, she often helped lost children, but none pulled at her as this little girl in her snowflake patterned sweater and white leggings did. Tess made the announcement and sat back to wait. Technically, she was off-duty, her shift having ended ten minutes ago, but she wanted to stick around and make sure the little girl got safely hooked back up with her parents. As she waited, a pang of pain twined through her. This time of year, she should be happy, right? Celebrating. Enjoying the season. But all she felt was sadness. She’d have preferred to take the entire season off, but that wasn’t an option. Instead, she often worked extra hours, giving those who actually had families time to be with theirs.
“You’re mommy sounds like a very smart person,” Tess said. Yeah, smart enough to let a little one like this out of her sight, especially this time of year. Didn’t the woman know what could happen to kids these days?
“Oh, she is!” The little girl went back to the coloring book and crayons Tess had dug out of her desk drawer. “Mommy is pretty too. Like you.”
Tess bit back a snort. Yeah, she looked real pretty in her black pants and gray uniform shirt, practical shoes made for walking the mall beat all day long and shoulder-length hair pulled back in a tight knot. Real pretty. She glanced up as a tall, frantic, incredibly good-looking man in jeans and off-white fisherman’s sweater burst into the security office.
“Daddy!” The little girl jumped from the chair and launched herself into the man’s arms.
Tess thought she wouldn’t mind doing the same thing. Where the devil had that idea come from? She hadn’t looked seriously at a man in two years – not from lack of trying on the part of her friends. She just hadn’t found anyone that sparked her interest – until now. This guy, though, had definite possibilities. A head taller than her 5’5” frame, well-built, tanned, dark hair that fell over his brow and the most amazing green eyes she’d ever seen. Shame he was married.

Christmas Lost and Found by Vicky Burkholder
Part 2 – 1:00 p.m. | Part 3 – 2:30 p.m. | Part 4 – 4:00 p.m. | Part 5 - 5:30 p.m.

Home for the Holidays – Part 1

She sat on the pull-out bed and looked around her father’s den. Being home for the holidays after four years should have been a great thing. But here she was, staying in the room where her heart had been shattered the last time she was there.
This time it would be different. Kayla didn’t need to worry about her brother, Ryan, showing up with his business partner and best friend. She was going to have a Liam-free Christmas with her family. If only she could block out the memories of what the two of them had done in this lumpy bed years ago.
It had been the Christmas after she’d graduated from college. Liam and her brother Ryan had just opened a landscaping business. Up until then, she had been happy to flirt with Liam. He’d occasionally put his hand on her back in passing, but nothing more.
She didn’t know why he was so different. Having four older brothers meant her home was always filled with guys. But she’d always treated those guys as extensions of her brothers. Not Liam.
From the moment he’d stepped in their house with those sad, dark eyes and messy blond hair, she knew she’d never think of him as a brother.
She’d never expected him to feel anything for her. She’d been wrong.
“Do you have everything you need?” her mother asked as she stepped into the room. Her father’s den was a well-stocked man cave. Complete with its own refrigerator and bathroom. Located above the attached garage, it offered privacy as well as access to the house without having to put on a coat.
“It’s great. It looks the way I remembered.” The same sports memorabilia hung on the walls. “The TV might be bigger.”
Her mother nodded and patted her shoulder.
“Josh and his family will be here soon.”
“When is Ryan getting here?”
“He said he and Liam would get here tonight. But I don’t expect them until tomorrow afternoon.”
Kayla could feel her eyes go wide as her mouth fell open.
“Liam is coming? You said he couldn’t make it this year.”
“He had plans to go to skiing, but they fell through at the last minute. I told him we had room so he’s coming.” Her mother tilted her head to the side. “What’s wrong? You don’t like Liam all of the sudden? I thought you liked him.”
She did like him. Too much. More than he liked her apparently. After he’d come knocking on her door that Christmas Eve four years ago, she’d shown him exactly how much she liked him.
It had been perfect. Only the lumpy pull-out had kept it from being magical.
But the next morning she’d woken up alone. And at the breakfast table on Christmas morning, he’d acted as if nothing had happened between them.
She hadn’t come home for Christmas since because every year Liam had been visiting. The only reason she’d given in to her mother’s pleading this year was because she’d been assured Liam wasn’t coming.
Now she was going to have to see him.
“It will be so nice to have the whole family together for Christmas again,” her mother said, spreading on an extra layer of guilt.
“It’s going to be great, Mom.”
Just great.
Home for the Holidays by Allison B. Hanson
Part 2 – 1:30 p.m. | Part 3 – 3:00 p.m. | Part 4 – 4:30 p.m. | Part 5 – 6:00 p.m.

Beach-Bound – Part 1

He knew where he was before he opened his eyes.
First he heard the surf, the rhythmic rush and crash of waves hitting the shore perhaps ten yards from where he lay. The fresh sea air tickled his nose and awakened him further. When he shifted, sugar sand cascaded from his hair, brushing his face as it fell to the ground beneath his cheek.
His eyelids lifted to reveal a weak December sun whose light barely penetrated the gray carpet of clouds covering what appeared to be his own private beach. Diffused and dim, the sky was still too bright for early morning; he guessed the time to be maybe ten? Perhaps closer to noon.
What was he doing here? His mind was clear, his perceptions crisp… but he could not recall the events leading to his current circumstances. He drilled his memory, encountering only blackness until a single image surfaced like the too-brief revelation of a dark landscape by a flash of lightning. A party in someone’s backyard… no, on the beach, at night. There was a fire and laughing; and strange, beautiful women drifted around him and several other guys, everyone a stranger. The women were extraordinary – their eyes, their skin, their hair – every feature, every movement fascinated him. He and the other men examined them hungrily, riveted. He felt like a predator hunting the one he would choose… but then maybe he and the others were prey, there for one of them to select. His mind shuttered and the picture disappeared.
He decided to work his situation backwards instead, to search for tangibles in what he could see and understand at the moment. He was on his back with his face turned toward the ocean, and he was blanketed under an enormous pile of seaweed. Which he supposed he appreciated since he would otherwise be dead from hypothermia. He started to disentangle his arms, and then quickly tucked them back into his body for warmth, and because he apparently needed to make a stronger inventory before he acted as he didn’t seem to be wearing anything underneath all this kelp. This was a significant problem he wasn’t sure he could solve – it felt like it might actually snow – and he peered up the beach. He had an insubstantial memory of parking his car in a lot possibly located just to the north. He calculated the time it would take him to traverse the half-mile stretch and immediately abandoned the idea. He wasn’t sure the lot was even there, and in any case, he’d never make it in this cold.
He lifted his head as high as the weight of his cocoon allowed and noticed markings in the sand next to him. Someone had left him a note.
Seth - Go to the house over the berm.
An arrow pointed behind him and he followed it to see where it indicated. He glimpsed the roofline of a simple, heretofore unnoticed shack, a brown-shake Cape Cod perched on the otherwise bleak landscape, not too far from where he was. Seth fought his way out of his nest and sprinted to the cottage.

Beach Bound by Errin Stevens
Part 2 – 2:00 p.m. | Part 3 – 3:30 p.m. | Part 4 – 5:00 p.m. | Part 5 – 6:30 p.m.

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