Something Different this Christmas

We all know Christmas is a time for giving, but sometimes that’s easier said than done. What do you buy older people who don’t have room for trinkets? And what do you get those doing well who buy what they want throughout the year? I find it tricky. I wander aimlessly around the malls, trying to find that perfect gift to show how much I love and appreciate my family and friends.

But here’s the thing. If I’ve been living my life correctly, they should they already know how I feel about them. I hope I’ve demonstrated many times through the year that they are a very important part of my life. Giving them something they really don’t need seems like a waste of good money. I know my hard-earned cash could be used more wisely.

This year I donated approximately what I would have spent on their gifts to a charity they support. I’m pretty certain they’d be delighted to know that because I love them, I donated enough money to buy an eco stove for a person in Nicaragua or a goat for a family in Uganda. I know my family won’t miss another throw for their couch or a bottle of wine or whatever else I might buy them.

And it feels great to know I’ve helped a person that desperately needs a hand up. You might want to try giving to a charity in someone’s name this year, too.

If you’re not sure where to find charities to buy such things, here’s the one I used. My husband has gone with them to third world countries and seen first hand the good things they do.

https://www.canadahelps.org/en/charities/change-for-children/

Merry Christmas, everyone!

 

Carol Presents: Angela Ford … Forbidden

A friend and BTGN author has kindly agreed to be a guest on my blog today. Here’s her bio:

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Angela Ford originates from Nova Scotia…Canada’s Ocean Playground! Her love of the ocean and sunsets are always in her heart and give her inspiration. Her love for words keeps her turning the page. She is never without a book, whether she’s reading or writing. Now residing in Ontario, Angela works in Finance – numbers by day – words by night. Her dedication to volunteer and involvement with cyber safety seminars gave her an Award of Distinction and sparked the idea for her first book Closure – suspense with a dash of romance that hit the best- selling Action/Adventure. Her next release, Unforgettable Kiss, delivers a romance with a dash of suspense. Forbidden released in June 2014…Closure’s sequel. Between two jobs, being a mom with a home always filled with teenagers and rather interesting stories; she is lucky to have one very patient and understanding man. But it is the furry family members who rule the house – a Puggle, two loveable cats and two unique Guinea Pigs. Every possible quiet moment she finds, she treasures and just writes about the moments to come. Angela is an avid reader of romance, a member of the RWA and thrilled to be part of her new family BTGN.

***

My goodness, Angela is one busy woman! Let’s read the blurb for Forbidden which was published on June 22, 2014

Forbidden coverAgent Jessica Resario thought she found Closure with the arrest of her parents’ killer. She allowed her heart to love again and married Tom. Knowing a married couple can’t be on the team together; Tom stepped down and decided to train at the FBI academy. Jess is promoted to Supervisory Special Agent.

She continues to deliver spine-chilling seminars to parents about cyber safety. One seminar introduces her to Tiffany Bennett’s parents who are quite concerned for their daughter’s safety from an Internet Predator. Jess leads the team to protect Tiffany and discovers that the past can creep back into your life.

Excerpt from Forbidden

Startled from her thoughts, Jess turned and saw Tom in the doorway with a concerned look on his face. He walked closer to her and set a cup of tea on her desk.

“I thought you might need this.”

“Thanks Tom. You always know what I need. I love you so much.” She smiled and reached for his hand. Just his presence in the room warmed her from the cold chill she felt.

“I love you too.” He leaned down and kissed the top of her head.

“Now spill it Jess. I know that look.”

She laughed at his remark. He knows me so well.

“I feel like I’m reading about Trevor stalking me. This girl is in trouble, Tom. She’s being stalked. I feel it in my gut.” Jess took a sip of her tea. The warmth and sweetness of that Earl Grey Cream was exactly what she needed to calm her.

“That look worries the heck out of me. But I learned a long time ago I can’t stop you.” Tom picked up her phone from the desk and handed it to her. “Call Mr. Bennett.”

“At this time of night?” Jess looked at her watch.

“If he’s as concerned as you believe, Jess, he’ll be awake.” Tom kissed her forehead and smiled.

***

Sounds like a timely story considering all the creepy predators on-line!

Thanks, Angela for being a guest on Carol Presents. It’s always a pleasure getting to know more about our author acquaintances. I look forward to reading more of your books.

Here’s how you can reach Angela:

Social Media Links

Blog – Romantic Escapes http://angelafordauthor. com

Facebook www.facebook.com/writerangelaford

Twitter www.twitter.com/AngelaFord67

Goodreads  www.goodreads.com/angelaford13

Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Angela- Ford/e/B00EAYZBYM/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1 LinkedIn http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=286030681 &trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile_pic

Pinterest http://www.pinterest.com/aford1507/pins/

Stumble Upon http://www.stumbleupon.com/stumbler/afor dauthor

Books to Go Now www.bookstogonow.com

 

Airport Security and Me

Going through airport security always makes me nervous. I have nothing to hide, but I worry I’ll do something wrong or say something stupid and a guard will hold me back from my flight. Let’s face it, those guys and gals are serious. They have an opportant job and I appreciate what they do. But they intimidate me terribly, so when they tell me to do something, I do it immediately and without question.

A few years ago, I wish I had questioned a bit more.

The morning of the flight, I double checked everything. Bottles of liquids in clear plastic bags. Check. Luggage dimensions and weight. Check. Travel documents and meds in carry-on. Check. No aerosol cans. Check. Nothing shaped like a knife or a gun. Check.

Next I checked my clothing. My sweater had a zipper, but that shouldn’t cause a problem going through security, because the zipper in my jeans never had. My shoes were easy to slip in and out of.  There was no change in my pockets and nothing in my purse that might look like suspicious.

I was going to whiz through security.

Still, as I got closer in line to the scanner, my anxiety increased. I took off my shoes and put them in one of the totes they provided. I set my carry-on and my purse in the tote, too. Then my cell. And my watch. Anything else? No. I was good to go.

When it was my turn, I walked through the threshold and it beeped. The guard asked me to step aside.

My mind scrambled. What did I do wrong? Then I remembered my belt. “I’m sorry,” I said. “It’s my belt buckle.”

“Undo the belt and undo the zipper,” he ordered. He reminded me of a dictator.

So I quickly complied. I undid my belt and began to undo the fly of my jeans.

Suddenly the guard shook his head wildly. “No, not that zipper! The zipper in your sweater. ” And then he began to laugh. He told the neighbouring guard and he, too, began to laugh. Soon all the security guards were laughing. It seemed such a happy place, I laughed along with them. Eventually the gaiety passed and they cleared me of any terrorist activity.

That incident left me with one burning question: Do I come by my stupidity naturally or is it a skill I have honed over the years without even knowing it?

PS. In less than ten hours, I go through airport security again. Wish me luck!

Gotta Love Febuary’s $1.99 Crimson Romance Sale

Happy Valentines Day

Happy Valentines Day

If you’ve been thinking about love, you’re in the right month. Not just because this is the month to give Valentines, but because this is the month that love is for sale–er, that didn’t sound quite right! What I mean to say is that for the month of February, you can buy a whole stack of e-book romances for a $1.99 each. Yup. Crimson Romance’s are on sale!

Whether you like sweet, spicy or something in between; historical or contemporary; time travel or paranormal; werewolves or vampires; or a combination of several genres, there is probably a book –likely more than one–that would satisfy your reading needs.

So it’s time to stock up on some great books at great prices. And that’s not all! If you phone in within three minutes you will receive, absolutely free, a …. oops I was going to include a hot hunk for your entertainment, but the shipping would be too much. Sorry. But I’m sure you can find someone on your own. 😉

If you’re not sure where to begin you can always start with my historical novel, Stubborn Hearts. It’s sweet, but a little sexy. You can check it out here: http://www.amazon.com/Stubborn-Hearts-Crimson-Romance-Ritten-ebook/dp/B008O8JYY8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1391308225&sr=8-1&keywords=stubborn+hearts

or you can go to http://amzn.to/1hOhqY2 to see all the books.  Happy reading!

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Now the Scary Part Begins

I’ve just finished writing my second novel. As my critique partners scrutinise the manuscript for errors, it’s time for me to find someone to publish it. I have great confidence in this book, but the thought of sending it out to a publishing house terrifies me. There is so much competition with other hopeful writers all vying  to catch the eye of an editor. The chance of rejection is high.

I remember, that before I found a home for my first book, STUBBORN HEARTS, I nearly gave up on writing. Waiting months to see if my book would be accepted for publication and then receiving a rejection letter … well, it felt like my writing confidence was punched right in the face.  I threw the manuscript in the back of my bedroom closet. Stupid me, why did I think I could write? But my characters drew me back. They deserved to have their story told. So I would haul the manuscript out, work on it some more and send it out to another place. It was a depressing cycle. And then acceptance came.

It’s hard to describe my feelings when I read the email saying they loved my story and wanted to publish it. First of all I let my doubts and insecurities surface. Really, they want my story? They loved it? Are they talking about my book? Then it hit me. I’m about to be a published author. OMG. Who do I call first? My husband, my mother, my kids? What a wonderful high that had been!

That high was short-lived when I was told I should be on Facebook, develop a blog, and network and promote like crazy. I had never looked at Facebook, and barely knew what a blog was. Promoting? Wasn’t that my publisher’s job?

Welcome to the new world of publishing, Carol. If an author wants her books to succeed, she better be out there getting them and herself noticed. It’s not about writing the best book you can anymore. That of course is top priority, but coming a close second is your committment to make it succeed. My committment is strong, but the know-how is sadly insufficient.

And now I’m faced with trying to entice a publisher to like my new manuscript. Wish me luck!

***

Okay, I put this blog post into a draft and then got busy and forgot about it. So here’s an update. I’m signing a contract for the above said book with Books To Go Now. Yeah! It is tentatively titled, HEARTS RACING.

Now I must get back to work on my next story! Will this insanity ever end? I hope not!

Where Did The Years Go?

My husband and I recently celebrated our fortieth wedding anniversary. I’ve spent some time thinking back over the years we’ve been together. I’m almost as surprised as probably half of our wedding guests that we made it this far. Who would have expected a naive seventeen year old woman, a girl really, and a young twenty year old man just barely on his own two feet to ever make their marriage work? But by the grace of God, we did. It was wonderful, tragic, easy, desperate and every other emotion imaginable.  We were friends, farmer and farm wife, lovers, father, mother, photo technician, picture framer, carpenter, artist, backhoe operator, and writer, but mostly we two birds flying with and against the wind. In our journey we were blessed by two wonderful children and now grandchildren.

Many people say they wouldn’t change a thing in their marriage. Oh, that I could! I wish I could take back the arguments we had, the hurt and pain we caused each other. I wished I had enjoyed my children more when they were young. I wish I had worried less and trusted more. But there is no going back. Only moving forward.

Soon we will be approaching retirement. What then? Travel? Take on a different job? We don’t know, but if we jump in with both feet like we did on our wedding day, it’s sure to be exciting!

Pull Up Your Pants!

I don’t often rant, but seeing young men walking around with their pants hanging halfway down their butts with their colorful boxers showing, well quite frankly, it drives me nuts! I mean really, do you have to? What is the point of this fashion trend? If these guys think they look cool, they’re delusional. I have found myself tempted to step on the ratty tatty heels of such pants to see if they’d stay up. Hey. I bet you’ve had the urge to do the same thing! I swear those pants defy gravity.

And please, don’t say they wear it that way because it’s comfortable. I’ve had elastic go out of a pair of sweat pants and believe it is not a comfortable feeling. And to have the crotch so low must surely chaff the insides of their thighs as these dudes stroll along, hands in their pockets. Maybe hands in their pockets help to hold their pants up.

Not that long ago I saw a guy dressed in his saggy, baggy pants and he was pushing a baby carriage. It was all I could do not to go over there and tell him to grow up. If he is old enough to father a child, he should be old enough to know how to wear a pair of pants properly.

I did some research. Apparently, the saggy pants trend may have started in prison. No belts are allowed in prison because of the risk that they made be used for suicide. So the pants often sagged. But it is also reported that it was a way of stating that you had been “claimed” by another inmate as a receiver. And I’m not talking football here!

So, does this mean that guys who wear baggy pants are “receivers”? I don’t know. and I don’t care. But I do care about what I see when I’m walking down the street. I do not want to see some guy’s ginch, no matter how colourful. It’s insulting.

Pull ’em up, boys. Thank you. Rant’s over.

Welcome, Author Mary Schiller

Dear Readers: Today, I am thrilled to introduce M.J.Schiller, author of TRAPPED UNDER ICE. I had the pleasure of reading her book and it was a real page turner. It kept me up late at night and if any of you know me personally, you know I love my sleep!

I asked Mary to send me a bio and photo of herself so that you might get to know this talented writer better. She kindly obliged.

I was born in the heart of Tornado Alley, and I’ve been a bit mixed up ever since. Not really, but I’ve always wanted to use that line. The medical community has established no solid connection between the place of my birth and my off-beat personality.

I grew up in St. Louis and graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a degree in English education. I left the workforce, however, when my kids were born. Unbelievably I now have an eighteen year old and sixteen-year-old triplets! Yes, I write to escape teenagerdom. Although I love them dearly. I also escape via rock concerts and karaoke. My first book, TAKEN BY STORM, was published by Crimson Romance last fall, and my next book, the second in the ROCKING ROMANCE COLLECTION, titled ABANDON ALL HOPE will be coming soon!

Wow, four teenagers in the household. I’m impressed that you have time to write. I look forward to reading your third book, ABANDON ALL HOPE!

But right now, I want to concentrate on TRAPPED UNDER ICE. Before I read the blurb on the back  cover, I thought the novel might be an outdoor adventure. I was surprised to discover that it’s about a rock star in a band called Trapped Under Ice. His name is Chad Evans and … Okay, I’ll just post the blurb about the book because Mary can say it so much better than I can.

Rock star Chad Evans’s tortured past hides just beneath the surface. Even fans screaming out his name in ecstasy can’t drown out the screams of his childhood. He can usually keep it under control, but not always. Tonight the alcohol doesn’t seem to soothe.

Part of the crowd, Beth Donovan smiles, really enjoying herself for a change. But her smile isn’t usually this bright. It is the kind of smile that masks sorrow.  Three years just isn’t long enough to get over losing Paul. 

When a vicious attack behind stage brings this unlikely pair together, something changes inside of them both. But can a jet-setting superstar and a Midwestern lunch lady ever manage a real relationship? And even if they can, will the person sending Chad death threats take it all away? Or is it their fate to remain forever trapped under ice? 

Boy, such a great blurb … one of the reasons I picked this book to read.

They say that some people judge a book by its cover (please excuse the double hit–a cliché and a pun both at the same time), and others go by the blurb on the back, but I’m certain most of us like to flip through and read excerpts here and there to get a feel for the story and also for the author’s writing voice.

Let’s see what Mary sent as a teaser for her book. She tells me this scene is right after the first kiss. What I want to know is why didn’t she send me the kiss scene so I could post it for you? I guess that’s why it’s called a teaser!

 “Beth, I…” He could find no words to speak to her. This was all so different for him. He had never felt a kiss like the one he had shared with her—one that pulled from the inside out, originating in his core, not igniting on the surface and finding its way down. He pulled her close again and she laid her head on his chest. He leaned down to rest his cheek on the top of her head, and clasped it to his chest with one large hand. He wanted this woman in a way he wanted no other woman. But, for the first time in a long time, he was at a loss as to how to achieve what he needed.

            As he tried to sort through the jumble of emotions interwoven in his head, he slowly became aware that the shoulders of the woman he was holding had begun to shake and tears were dampening his t-shirt.

            “Beth. Beth. What did I do?” he queried, trying to lift her face. That voice in his head bounced out of the shadows, you’ll wind up hurting her in the end, and then danced off to some other deep recess of his mind.

            “You didn’t do anything,” her muffled voice came from his chest, where she was trying to bury her face in her hands. “Dammit,” she blurted out, pounding him suddenly in the chest. “What the hell is wrong with me?”

            “Wrong with you? There’s nothing wrong with you.”

            “Oh, so you often have women who break down sobbing when you kiss them?” she cried bitterly.

            “No.” He had to laugh. “This is a first.”

            She raised her head from his chest, the tears still shining on her cheeks, and began to laugh, too.

            “Oh, there you two are.” Roger crossed the threshold onto the deck. Beth turned away from him, and although Chad’s arms were around her, the bassist could tell he’d interrupted some sort of conversation. “I just thought you’d want to know, the band’s playing one of our songs.”

            Chad and Beth started laughing. The idea of an orchestra playing Trapped Under Ice was absurd, and pretty soon the three of them were in hysterics.

            Roger was glad to see her laugh. If she was crying, like he thought she was when he’d come out on deck, she needed the pick-me-up. She was a nice girl, and he really wished she weren’t getting involved with Chad. Chad was his best friend, but he was also an emotional basket case, and that wasn’t good for anyone.

Sounds great, right? So, reader, now that you know a bit about M.J. Schiller and her book TRAPPED UNDER ICE, allow me to recommend this book to you.

TRAPPED UNDER ICE available at Amazon, BN.com, Smashwords, Kobo, the I-bookstore, Diesel, and other ebook retailers.

You can find MJ Schiller at www.mjschillerauthor.blogspot.com, MJ on FB, twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

I want to thank Mary for taking time out of her hectic schedule to send me this information!

Old Fashioned Christmas

Sometimes I think it would be wonderful to travel back 100 years and celebrate Christmas the way it used to be. It was less about shopping and more about a baby boy born in a manger. On Christmas Eve, people bundled up in heavy coats with scarves, mitts and blankets. They placed foot warmers in the sleigh and enjoyed a nippy sleigh ride to the little white church with the tall steeple for the candle lit service. The church walls seemed to expand with sounds of Christmas Carols. The pews were packed with families. These were the people you’d known throughout the year: the ones you visited with in the general store, the neighbors you helped during the harvest, the ones you invited to share a meal and the ones who welcomed you into their homes.

Can you feel it–the warmth and love shared by friends and loved ones? Can you feel it–the hope for the world delivered with the birth of a child?

My wish for you is to experience an old-fashioned, Christ-filled Christmas this year. Spend time with those you love. Share with those less fortunate. And give thanks for The Savior born in a manger. May your upcoming year be filled with blessings.

To Put You In the Mood

I don’t know what type of mood you were thinking about, but I’m writing about getting in the mood for the upcoming holidays. Sorry if you were expecting something else!

So, to get the festive spirit moving, I thought I’d share a bit of my book STUBBORN HEARTS. Let me set it up for you. The Christmas Concert is in full swing in the one room schoolhouse where Beth teaches. The children have worked very hard to make this year’s concert the talk of the town. But Beth has just found out she was supposed to choose among the men someone to be Santa. She is flabbergasted because no one told her she was expected to do that. Desperate to save the concert from disaster, she asks Tom Carver, the local blacksmith, if he will do it. Lucky for her, Tom is just beginning to take an interest in Beth.   Please read on:

“Tom, I need to speak with you,” she whispered.

Tom frowned. “Now?” he whispered back. “Can’t it wait until the concert is over?”

“No, I’m sorry it can’t. Please.” Conscious of disapproving looks cast upon her, she quietly slipped to the back of the room to wait.

She watched Tom excuse himself. As soon as drew closer, Beth pulled him into the cloakroom and closed the door behind them.

“What’s the matter?”

Beth wrung her hands, not certain which would be the best way to approach this. Finally she just blurted it out. “Tom, I need you to be Santa.”

“What?”

“I never realized it was up to me to find someone. I thought—well, never mind, it doesn’t matter now what I thought. Oh Tom, please just say you’ll do it. Otherwise the children will be devastated and the concert will be ruined and it will be all my fault.” She reached out and grasped his forearms. Realizing she was squeezing them a bit too much, she released her grip, and clasped her hands nervously between her breasts.

“But I don’t know anything about kids.”

“You’re good with Davy.”

“You think so?” Tom smiled. Suddenly, he shook his head. “I can’t be Santa. What if Davy recognizes me?”

Beth shook her head. “He won’t. He’s so wound up, he wouldn’t even recognize me if I were Santa.”

“Good. Then you do it,” he said, taking a step toward the door.

Beth grabbed his arm again. “Please.” Her bottom lip began to tremble. “I’m begging you.”

“Oh, all right, I’ll do it. Where’s the suit?”

“In the cellar, but I’m too afraid to go down there to get it.” She handed him a wall lantern.

*          *          *

Tom lifted the trap door in the floor and grimaced. He could understand why she didn’t want to go down there herself; the place had always given him the willies. Lantern in hand, he proceeded down the stairs into the dank smelling cellar. Above his head, the schoolroom’s floor reverberated from activity and dust from the floor joists sifted down onto his shoulders. He looked around, and sure enough, he found a large box marked “Santa Suit.” He set the lantern down and carried the box awkwardly up to the cloakroom, and then went back to retrieve the lantern. When he returned, Beth was shaking the creases out of the suit.

She held the pants for him. “Hurry, we haven’t much time.”  While he stepped into them, draping the loose suspenders over his shoulders, she delved into the box and came out with a silky white wig and beard. She slipped the beard over his head, unmindful of the stinging snap she gave his chin with the elastic, then slapped the wig on his head and topped it off with the red stocking cap.

“I’ll need a pillow or something,” Tom said, holding the red pant’s expansive girth away from his body.

“Here.” She grabbed a couple of coats off the stack on the table and stuffed them down inside.

Tom grinned lasciviously from ear to ear behind the beard. Who’d have thought the prim little school teacher would be shoving her hand where she definitely had no business shoving it. When he felt himself becoming aroused, Tom grabbed the coats from her. “I’ll do it. Get the jacket.”

She held it while he shoved his arms into the sleeves and then came around front of him and buttoned it over his lumpy girth. As if he were a helpless child, Tom held his arms out as she wrapped the wide black Santa belt around his waist and cinched it tight to hold the “belly” from slipping down a pant leg. She stood back to scrutinize the Santa before her.

“How do I look?”

“Passable, but your suit’s all creased.”

“Well, what do you expect?” he retorted, “I’ve come all the way from the North Pole in a sleigh.” His eyes twinkled behind the beard, like the jolly old man himself.

Beth laughed in relief, hugged him around the neck and kissed his bearded cheek in gratitude. Then embarrassed, almost mortified—her cheeks flaming nearly as deep red as the flannel suit—she shoved the empty box under the table.

“The class is going to recite ‘A Visit from Saint Nick.’ Come in anytime near the end.” She slipped back into the classroom and Tom hoped no one would speculate about the school teacher’s heightened color.

He stood listening at the door for his cue, unable to ignore the sweet familiar scent of her hair lingering in his silky beard nor the memory of her arms around him. He’d been as surprised as she was by the impulsive hug and kiss. He wished he hadn’t been wearing the beard. Then he would have felt her lips upon . . . Stop it! He was beginning to be aroused again. Wouldn’t that make a great entrance? Santa walking in with an erection.He forced himself to think of the children and what he should do when he got inside.

“and laying his finger aside of his nose.” Oh hell, that was his cue. Taking a deep breath and nearly choking on a bit of beard fluff, he opened the door.

I hope you enjoyed this sneek peek at my book!

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