Monday, December 17, 2012

Spread a little Christmas Cheer Week - Day 4

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

We're now on the 4th day of Spread a little Christmas Cheer Week. I'm happy to have Katherine Grey, Ranae Rose, and Sara Ellwood join me today to share their Christmas memories. Be sure to check the rafflecopter at the end of the post to see what goodies are up for grabs today. :)

© Vanell | Stock Free Images

Katherine Grey: "My Best Gift Ever"


I received my best gift ever when I was two years old.  I had to check with my mom on this because I couldn’t remember when I’d received the gift, only that I still have it over 35 years later.

© Petoo67 | Stock Free Images
My gift was a Christmas stocking.  It’s not just any Christmas stocking but my very first Christmas stocking.  My aunt bought it while on a trip to New York City.  It was made out of a soft red linen type material with white piping trim with a big white linen cuff with “Katie” written on it in fancy green script.  (Katie is what my family calls me.)  It used to have an appliqué of an angel made out of a white felt/gauzy material on the front of the stocking, but it came off years ago and was too fragile to be reattached.  Over the years, it’s held an assortment of small gifts, scratch off lottery tickets, lip balm, candies, nuts, and always an orange.

Every year my mother wants to replace it with a new stocking and every year I tell her that I want that one to be hung.  She’s made repairs to the seams and the cloth loop over the years, but considering its age, it’s in remarkably good shape.  I can’t imagine Christmas without seeing that stocking hanging by the fireplace.  I can’t explain how much this stocking means to me.  It just does.

Blurb: Mateo de Montayas, an impoverished Spanish count, comes to England to recover a stolen family heirloom and to satisfy his hunger for revenge against the man who destroyed his family. Arriving in London, he learns his hated enemy died three years before but has left behind a daughter. What better way to retrieve the heirloom and exact revenge than to use her to his advantage?

Teresa Darlington will do anything to keep scandal away from her frail mother and prove her father wasn't a thief, even risk her reputation in a race to find the missing heirloom before the Count does. But she didn't count on falling in love with the man determined to ruin her family. Can she find the heirloom before he does and protect her family, or will her heart lead her in a different direction?

Available at: Amazon

***For a limited time, Katherine's new release, An Unexpected Gift with the delicious Lazarus is available on Amazon as part of a pre-release promotion. Be sure to grab your copy at Amazon***

© Tompi | Stock Free Images

 Ranae Rose: "Favorite Christmas Memory"

One of my favorite Christmas memories is from when I was a child. It was the year my dad was honorably but unexpectedly discharged from the United States Marine Corps. For a few months after that, we lived with my great grandparents until he found a new job in the civilian world. Though it was a very long time ago, I still remember that Christmas well.

© Gage45 | Stock Free Images
I got a very cool pair of cowgirl boots that year, but that wasn’t what made it special – it was the fact that we spent it with my great grandparents, who were some of my favorite people in the world. They’ve since passed on, so I love thinking back to that Christmas. I can even still remember what ornaments were on the tree!

This holiday season, I’m busy with the December release of my latest novel, Battered Not Broken. It’s not a holiday romance, but its hero is a marine recently discharged from the USMC, so in that way, it reminds me a little of one of my own favorite Christmases.

Ryan Moore forged his own path when he defied his wealthy family’s expectations by joining the United States Marine Corps as an enlisted man. After a period of service that’s cut short by an IED explosion, the lingering physical and mental effects of war result in an isolated struggle to exist in the civilian world. He throws himself into competitive MMA fighting – the one thing he’s still able to excel at, even if every match is a risk he can’t afford to take.

His first encounter with amateur female fighter Ally Rivera ignites a spark of desire he hasn’t felt since before a bomb left its marks on his life and his body, but his flirtation with her turns out to be anything but harmless. She’s struggling to hold together a family ravaged by violence – a feat that isn’t easy when her father has been imprisoned, leaving her vulnerable to relatives who run a local gang. Can two unrelenting fighters overcome challenges they couldn’t defeat alone, or do the wounds of war and crime run too deep for even love to heal?

Available atAmazon

***Battered Not Broken's official release is December 19th. Be sure to pick up a copy.***

1492580 - © Lemonpink | Stock Free Images

Sara Ellwood: "My Favorite Christmas Memory" 

Thank you, Melissa, for inviting me here today to share a memory, and to preview my upcoming release, Gambling On A Secret, with your  readers.

One of my favorite Christmas memories is also one of probably my most distressing as a child.  I was about four of five years old when this happened. 

My parents put our tree up on Christmas Eve. It was always a big deal for me to watch the tree go up, knowing Santa was on his way, but this particular year was really special because I helped decorate the tree with my mother’s antique balls. Usually we would have a real tree, but for whatever reason this year, we didn’t. My dad swiped an artificial tree from my grandparents’ attic and we put that up.

It wasn’t as pretty as our real trees (remember the bottlebrush trees of the 70’s?) but it wasn’t bad once all the lights and decorations were put on it. After the tree was done, I sat on the couch and just stared at it, proud that I got to help in the process of putting up the tree.

Then came bedtime. I finally went to sleep with the preverbal sugarplums dancing in my dreams. When morning came, I jumped out of bed and ran to the living room to stop dead in my tracks. No, it wasn’t all the presents that stopped me. It was the god-awful silver contraption pretending to be a Christmas tree in the spot where my beautiful tree had been!

I let out a howl, at least this what my parents tell me I did. All I remember is being so upset I refused to even open up my gifts.

© Artsandsoul | Stock Free Images

So, why for the switch-a-roo? Apparently, my dad accidentally took my aunt’s tree from the farmhouse attic, not one of Grandma’s old ones. My cousins had come to our house (they lived on the other side of the farm with my grandparents house in the middle) and demanded their tree back. Dad and Mom quickly took it down and the only tree in the attic was the old silver one. They decided to put it up in the place of the one I’d helped decorated because they felt I had to have a tree.

Trust me, I think I would have preferred not to have a tree compared to the wire and tin foil masquerading as a tree. To this day, I hate silver trees. I prefer artificial ones because of my allergies and the fact I put my trees (I do two of them) up the week after Thanksgiving and leave them up until the Epiphany, which is usually the weekend after New Year’s Day. But I’ll never put up a colored tree, especially a silver one.

So, do you have any memories from the Holidays that may not have been good then, but over the years the memory warped into a favorite one?

Now for a Few Presents for You: 
*One commenter from will win a piece of custom jewelry. (US and Canada only)
*Another will win a copy of my January 7 release Gambling On A Secret.

Blurb: When Charli bets everything on a secret, will she find the deck stacked against her?

Former runaway-turned heiress Charli Monroe is hiding her sordid past and planning a future in Colton, Texas. Attending the local college for a degree in social work, she intends to raise cattle on her newly purchased ranch, which she plans to open as a home for troubled teens. Only a few glitches—the Victorian mansion is crumbling, the barn needs a roof, and her oilman neighbor wants more than friendship. When she meets Dylan Quinn, Charli is willing to take a chance on the town drunk to help her rebuild the rundown ranch.

Dylan has his demons, too. The former Special Forces commander can’t get past his ex-wife’s betrayal and the botched mission that left him with much more than a bad limp. Certain the greedy oilman next door to Charli wants much more than just her heart, Dylan’s even willing to stop drinking in order to protect her.

When things get dangerous and secrets of the past are revealed, is he only looking out for his new employer, or is she the new start he so desperately needs?

CONTENT WARNING: Details abuse of a minor, drug abuse, alcoholism, swearing, spicy sex, murder.

Available on January 7th at: Lyrical Press

***Be sure to check back tomorrow for three more awesome authors and a chance to win more goodies***

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Hi Melissa,
    Thank you for allowing me to share my best Christmas gift ever.

    1. Spending time with my family. Getting to see what Christmas is through my children's eyes.

    2. Hi Becky,
      I agree that Christmas is so much more fun with children. I don't have any of my own but delight in watching all of my nieces and nephews open the gifts I get them.

  2. Great post, Mel! Katherine and Sara are new to me, so thank you for sharing their favorite memories, and the blurbs :) I'm a sucker for any book that takes part in Texas, go figure ;) And Ranae, cool boots! Can you believe I don't own a pair?!

    1. Hi Msromanticreads,
      Those are cool boots, aren't they? I don't have any either. Guess there's not much use for them in Upstate NY. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. Great post! Sara, yours made me laugh. What a shock. LOL

    1. Hi Sharon,
      I'm glad you enjoyed the post. Sara's made me laugh too. Thanks for stopping in. :o)

  4. Wonderful posts! Hope you all have a very Merry Christmas!

    1. I'm glad you enjoyed them, Ilona. I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas too.

  5. All three posts were wonderful! Great treasures and memories. But spending time with family is the best of all.
    Sherifredricks @charter .net

    1. Hi Sheri,
      I agree, spending time with family is best of all. I'm looking forward to seeing all of my siblings, their spouses, and all the nieces and nephews on Christmas day. I'm glad you enjoyed our posts.

  6. I was about 8 and my sister was 5. We had talked our grandparents into letting us sleep Christmas Eve outside in their RV. We were busy chatting and giggling when we heard sleigh bells outside. Needless to say, living in Florida with no snow, that they MUST belong to Santa's reindeer. We both immediately pretended to be asleep.

    Thanks for sharing your Christmas Memories. Merry Christmas!

    Bookworm (dot) judy (at) gmail (dot) com

    1. Hi Judy,
      What a great memory. You and your sister were brave to want to sleep out in the RV all alone. Thanks for sharing your memory with us. :o)

  7. Awesome memories everyone - happy and sad ones

    1. I agree, Daryl. Thanks for stopping by.

  8. I remember growing up and my dad was always like, 'ah, Christmas....' not a bad attitude, sometimes I think he did it because it would get my little sister and I all riled up. As a matter of fact, the box with the decorations was labeled 'Christmas $hit' by him....all in good fun I promise.
    One year while he was working, my sister and I decorated the inside of the house w/ lights.......everywhere. The look on his face when he walked in and then walked back out was, Oh my it still makes me laugh out loud!
    Thanks for sharing in the posts above.....
    Sebrina_Cassity at yahoo dot com

    1. Hi Sebrina,

      What a fun memory. I could just imagine his expression when he saw all the lights. Thanks for sharing one of your favorite memories with us. :o)

  9. I couldn't finish your rafflechopter because and interview was superimposed on it.
    I miss being with my parents and grandparents at Christmas.
    Seawitch Reviews at yahoo dot com

  10. Hi Z,
    Sorry you couldn't finish the rafflecopter. Hopefully it's been fixed. Christmas makes me miss loved ones more than at any time of the year. Best wishes for a wonderful holiday season to you and your family.

  11. Another special holiday memory is making cookies and candy with the women in my family!

    Especially miss making rock candy with my grandma and very sad she will never meet my daughter... at least not for a very long time.

    1. Hi Theresa,

      I still make cookies every holiday season with my mom. Perhaps you can keep the tradition of making cookies and candy alive by sharing it with your daughter.

  12. When I was a kid, my friends and I would make homemade instruments so we could use them for caroling.
    bituin76 at hotmail dot com

    1. Hi Jan,
      Oh my goodness. I hope you all were musically inclined. LOL. I remember when my nephew was trying to learn how to play the saxophone. Let's just say ear plugs were required. :o)

  13. Loved reading your Christmas memories.
    Sara, I would have screamed too, seeing a silver tree in place of the green one...

    1. Hi Brenda,
      I've enjoyed reading everyone's Christmas memories too. Thanks for stopping by.

  14. Thank you all for stopping by and sharing your memories too. Hope you all have a great Christmas and a wonderful New Year!

  15. It was so great to have you ladies stop by today. Thank you so much again. :)