Saturday, December 15, 2012

Spread a little Christmas Cheer Week - Day 2

If you are looking for the Holiday Gifts of Love Blog Hop, check out the Christmas Giveaways Galore post on the 14th. :)

© Papelita | Stock Free Images
For Day 2 of Spread a little Christmas Cheer Week, I'm happy to have Courtney J. Hall, Rosanna Leo, and Sheri Fredricks join me today to share a Christmas memory. Be sure to check out the rafflecopter posted at the end of the post to see which prizes are up for grabs today.

© Stanicat | Stock Free Images

Courtney J. Hall: "Philosophy of Christmas"

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a churchgoing person. I never have been, except when I was a kid and my parents made me. But while I don’t actually celebrate Christmas, I do celebrate Christmas.

I love everything about the holiday. I’m a cold-weather girl, so I adore the idea of snow even though here in Philadelphia we rarely have white Christmases. I love driving down the street and seeing houses strung with lights. Even better – I love going to Longwood Gardens, the enormous arboretum and botanical garden just a few miles from my home, to see their 1000+ acres of lit trees, holiday floral displays and the colored water show. I love Christmas music, Christmas cookies, Christmas shopping, and the assortment of Christmas pajama pants I’ve collected over the years – one with snowflakes, one with reindeer (complete with red rhinestone noses) and my 2012 addition, one with candy canes.
© Neilld | Stock Free Images

But my favorite part about the holiday is togetherness. That might sound clichĂ© or generic, but it’s the truth. Being surrounded by family – and those friends I consider family – is, to me, the true meaning of the holiday. Of course I love getting gifts – I can’t imagine anyone saying they don’t enjoy getting gifts and actually meaning it – but I love giving them even more. I’m aware of the reasons why gift-giving is part of Christmas, and even though I may not subscribe to the ideologies that gave rise to that particular tradition, I still love the looks on my 10-and-7-year-old cousins’ faces when they open something I picked for them. I love the laughter during the Yankee Swap at my in-laws’ house on Christmas Eve when someone chooses a gift that looks good but ends up being a Shake Weight. I love seeing my dad get so wrapped up in paging through the book I bought him that he forgets about the rest of his presents. Christmas, to me, is about making people happy, and then spending the rest of the day being happy that they’re happy. Cheesy? Probably. But at 31 years old, it’s not about how many presents I get or how many days off of work (although that is certainly nice; don’t get me wrong). It’s about being with the people I love and celebrating what we have. Too often over the last few years, the Christmas holiday has been used as a tool to divide people. But in my opinion, it shouldn’t matter what you celebrate in the month of December, whether it’s Saturnalia or Yule, Christmas or Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or Festivus. Happiness, togetherness and love – that’s what it should be about.

Blurb: Cade Badgley has just returned from an overseas diplomatic mission when he learns that his father is dying. Cade has no interest in filling his father’s shoes, but the inheritance laws of sixteenth-century England leave him no choice: he is the new earl of Easton, with a hundred souls dependent on him, a rundown estate, and no money in his coffers. A friendly neighbor offers to help, but at a cost: Cade must escort the neighbor’s daughter Samara to London and help her find a husband.

Samara, a tempestuous artist, would rather sketch Mary Tudor’s courtiers than woo them. But her beauty, birth and fortune soon make her the most sought-after young woman in London. As Cade watches her fall under the spell of a man he has every reason not to trust, he must balance his obligations to Easton against the demands of his heart and the echoes of a scandal that drove him away from his family twelve years before.

Saving Easton will be published through Five Directions Press in Spring 2013.

Rosanna Leo: "Best Xmas Gift Ever"

Thanks so much to Melissa for allowing me to join in the fun!

Allow me to begin by saying this: I am not really a girlie girl.

Growing up, while not a tomboy, I definitely was too awkward to be a real girlie girl. Oh, I wished for the big fluffy bed with the princess pink sheets on it, but never had one. However, there was one thing that was distinctly girlie about me.

I loved my Barbies.

I had 11 of them. Ballerina Barbie, Cindy, and a whole assortment. These delicate creatures were my favorite Christmas present of all time, and I spent hours as a girl dressing and undressing them, pretending I had even a modicum of their grace and beauty.

Now, as a child of Italian heritage, there were no Barbies that looked like me, and it made me sad. Nowadays, you’ll find these dolls in every color. But in the 70’s I certainly never ran into brown-haired, brown-eyed dolls. They just didn’t exist.

Until the day I got HER.


One year, I received her and Donny as a set. They were never out of my reach. Finally, a doll that I could relate to! This was huge for me as a kid. I gazed at her as if she were a portrait from the Sistine Chapel.

My career as an erotic romance novelist was mapped out from that time, even though I didn’t know it. You see, I didn’t own a Ken. But…I had Marie’s brother, Donny. As vile as it may sound now, I proceeded to undress Donny and Marie and pose them in situations I barely understood. They made the beast with two backs quite often. Not a single genital between them, but hey, a girl’s got to have her sexual awakening at some time!

I miss those dolls sometimes, but they were so well-loved, they eventually fell apart. Even Donny’s purple socks went missing. However, I’ll never forget the little thrill I received when I hid them in my room, and began to undo all those tiny purple snaps…oh dear. Too much information?

As we celebrate the holiday season, I hope you all have a similar little thrill! Season’s greetings!

Blurb: This was supposed to be her year. However, after losing her job and discovering her fiancĂ© cheating, Maggie Collins has her doubts. When her grandmother dies, she hits rock bottom. Maggie travels to her grandmother’s home in Orkney, Scotland to sort through her gran’s things, only to discover the old woman has left her a seal pelt as her inheritance. She also learns that others are after the pelt.

To add to her frustration, Maggie’s dreams are filled with luscious images of a long-haired man, images that draw her to the magical beaches in Orkney. Although she’s lost her trust in men, this dream man inspires her with a lust she’s never known before.

Calan Kirk has also been dreaming. Dreaming of Maggie, the mortal woman who arouses him as no other woman ever has. Meeting her in the flesh when she arrives in Orkney is nothing short of spontaneous sexual combustion. But she is a human, and not to be trusted. He needs the seal pelt, not a red-haired temptress.

As a thief ransacks Maggie’s grandmother’s house, Maggie and Calan are thrust together. They must search for the animal skin, a mythical relic which once found, will either bring them together or rip them apart forever.

Avilable at: Amazon

© Nejron | Stock Free Images

 Sheri Fredricks: "A Christmas I'll never forget"

When I met my husband and spent Christmas with his family for the first time. . .I thought they were nuts.

The ranch house looked festive on the outside, decorated with HUGE pine wreaths on the wrought iron gates of each entrance. More pine boughs dipped and rose in garlands, adorned with pinecones and ribbons.

The interior certainly put other homes I’d seen to shame. Potpourri dishes added their spicy fragrance, twinkle lights were everywhere. Framing windows were more strands of pine garlands with cranberries and popcorn woven in and decorated with colorful glass balls.

© Josefbosak | Stock Free Images
And I’ve yet to mention the tree!

Ribbons, bows, edible ornaments :), paper stars glittered by the sticky fingers of children, and the most elegant tree topper: a porcelain doll dressed in a red robe trimmed with white feathers.

Candy bowls on every flat surface, cookies on plates, relish trays of meats, cheese, and veggies, and a ham roasting in the oven. You were full by the time you reached the kitchen.

I came from a home where Christmas wasn’t celebrated as much. We exchanged presents while standing next to a two-foot-high fake tree made of silvery tinsel atop our TV set. To say I had the “Oh My God!” factor walking through my in-laws’ front door is putting it mildly.

But it’s a Christmas I’ll never forget.


Man by day, Centaur by night, Rhycious is a remedy maker who needs his own healing.

He's the royal physician, famous for his cures. War and posttraumatic stress disorder has broken his spirit, preventing him from finding true happiness. Then a direct order from the queen to investigate an uprising forces him out of his secluded cabin at the edge of the forest.

Patience is an optimistic, good-natured Wood Nymph who works as a mediator to ensure harmony within the Nymph sector.

Environmental pollution in the aquifer stream that feeds the taproot tree of her heart is slowly killing her. Resigned to the fact she will not live long, she sets out to discover the mysterious disappearance of her sister. Experience has taught her to deny herself the love of a male, but the gruff Centaur is different. He doesn't push his expectations on her, only his healing nature.

When Rhycious loses his grip on reality, he believes his inability to control his disorder will drive Patience away. Nevertheless, desire flares, and Patience draws him close. Kidnapping and betrayal turn their mythic joint venture into a deadly bout.

Will their love endure when survival hinges on trusting each other?

Available atAmazon

The prizes today are a $5.00 Amazon Gift Card, a digital copy of The Selkie, and a digital copy of Remedy Maker. So three winners will be selected on the 23rd. Be sure to enter the rafflecopter to win. See you tomorrow for three more authors! :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Hi, Thanks for sharing the great post :)

    Happy Holidays

  2. Love these stories too - although I'm having a visual about "Donnie and Marie". Keep them coming.

    1. Hi Daryl! That's what I'm here give you crazy mental images! Merry Xmas!

  3. Being up in Canada - most of my Christmases were white - except for the ones we celebrated in Florida!
    I am never going to be able to look at Donnie and Marie the same again.
    The house sounds like it was fabulous. No wonder it took Sheri's breath away.

    1. Hi Victoria! LOL- aw, come on...look at them. You know you want to! Merry Xmas!

    2. I'm still laughing at the Donnie & Marie dolls! Buahahaha!! Oh, Rosanna - you crack me up!
      Yes, the hubby's mom could decorate like a pro, cook like Chef Ramsey, and tend her flower & veggie garden that knocked me over.

      Thanks for stopping by!!

  4. Thanks for having me, Melissa! Merry Xmas!

  5. This is so much fun! Thank you for having me.
    Merry Christmas, Melissa. *CHEERS!*

    1. Lovely post Sheri. I can just see it! Merry Ho Ho Ho!

  6. Great post, Courtney! I love watching the kids open their gifts too. Merry Xmas!

  7. Cool post. Great prizes. Thanks for the giveaway.

  8. Thank you for the great post! Merry Christmas!

  9. Merry Christmas to all of you. Wishing you many sales.

  10. I had Barbie, Ken, and this other doll that I can't recall the name but I rarely played with them. It was more fun playing outside and running around with the other kids.
    bituin76 at hotmail dot com

  11. Thanks for the hop!

    mslasha at gmail dot com

  12. Thanks for the giveaway!
    by.evie at yahoo dot com dot br

  13. Great Christmas memories, ladies.

  14. I'm flattered to be sharing a post with such talented writers! And thank you, Melissa, for having me! This was really fun :)

    Happy holidays, everyone!

  15. Great posts, everyone! I'll never look at dolls the same now!

  16. Thanks for spreading Christmas Cheer!

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year (or whatever Holidays you celebrate between now and then).