Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday Season!!

The elves are lined up and ready for Santa's visit! Are you ready for Christmas?
Ready or not, here it comes...

Have a very merry Christmas and a relaxing week! Whatever you do, and wherever you are, remember to take the time to enjoy the experience.  The music, the food, the looks on the faces around you...

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Cover Reveal: THE DEVIL'S TRIANGLE, by Toni De Palma

One of my fellow Crescent Moon Press authors had a cover reveal party yesterday - I know I'm a day late to the party, but what a cool cover! Check this out...
The Devil's Triangle
by Toni De Palma
When 17 year old Cooper dies in an attempt to burn down his school, he finds himself in the afterlife. Lucy, the Devil's sister who has crossed party lines, decides to give Cooper another shot at heaven. The deal? Cooper returns to Earth and has to find a girl named Grace. The rest is up to him.
While Cooper figures out his mission, he's thrown into the life he's always wanted. Great parents, a spot on the Varsity football team and a real future are all within reach. But what he really wants is Grace, a feisty girl with an abusive boyfriend that can pound Cooper into pulp if he doesn't watch out.
While Lucy plays demonic-puppeteer, clues to an unknown past between Cooper and Grace start to unravel. Cooper discovers that what's keeping he and Grace apart is far more sinister than anything this bad boy could have ever imagined.
Sounds pretty different - definitely adding it to my TBR list!!!

Find Toni and The Devil's Triangle here:

Monday, December 17, 2012

Quinn's Cookie Exchange: Peanut Butter Blossoms

I've celebrated the release of a lot of new books this year, but this idea takes the cake. Or the cookie. Christmas cookies, to be exact ;-)

I've been invited to participate in a Cookie Recipe Swap by the lovely and talented Angela Felsted. She's celebrating the release of her first full-length novel - CHASTE.

I haven't read it yet, but I love the simplicity of the cover, and apparently the main character, Quinn, is a boy who likes to cook! (Thus the idea for the whole cookie exchange thingee!)
The book's blurb goes like this:

When he steps into his physics class on the first day of senior year, Quinn Walker is too exhausted from staying up all night with his three-month-old nephew to deal with moral dilemmas. As a devout Mormon who has vowed to wait until marriage for sex, the last thing he needs is a very hot and very sexy Katarina Jackson as his physics partner. Regrettably, he has no choice.

Kat feels invisible in her mansion of a home six months after losing her older brother in a fatal car crash and will do anything to get her parents’ attention. Since her pastor father has no love for Quinn’s “fake” religion and her ex-boyfriend refuses to leave her alone, she makes an impulsive bet with her friends to seduce her holier-than-thou lab partner by Christmas.
She also has a trailer which you can see by clicking here:

CHASTE is available as a Kindle or Paperback from Amazon - click here to go to the page: 
Wow - adding that to my TBR list for winter - but right now, I'm busy baking up Christmas cookies and want to share one of our family's favorite recipes - Peanut Butter Blossoms. Yep, the ones with the whole Hershey Kiss stuck to the top!

Peanut Butter "Blossoms"

1/2 cup margarine
3/4 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup white sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 egg
2 Tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 ½ cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
white sugar for rolling
...and unwrapped Hershey Kisses

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cream together margarine, peanut butter, and sugars.Blend in egg, milk and vanilla.Add dry ingredients.

With clean hands, roll small amounts of dough into walnut size balls.Roll balls in sugar to coat. Place on baking sheet.Bake about 10-12 minutes.

As soon as remove cookie tray from oven, place one unwrapped candy in the center of each cookie, pressing chocolate down into soft, warm cookie.As the cookie cools fully, the chocolate will harden into place. Just don't try to pack them up until the chocolates have hardened or you'll get a big mess!

(Got "leftover" unwrapped candies? Me neither!)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Holiday Guest Blogging and Prizes!

My chair is empty today, as I've traveled over to Kate Evangelista's blog to talk about all things Christmas! Well, maybe not all things, but you know what I mean ;-)

Kate is a fellow Crescent Moon Press author, whose YA novel TASTE was one of the reasons I queried CMP in the first place!

Kate has been celebrating the Holiday Season all month with a series of guests and a ton of prizes and giveaways. If you haven't been over to her blog to check it out yet... you're missing out! GO! NOW!

Come visit me over there today at and be sure to leave a comment! I'm talking about my most memorable Christmas - and invite you to share a Christmas memory or two. There are 24 of us authors participating, and each of us is giving away some great stuff.

I'm giving away a paperback copy of my first novel, UNFOLDING THE SHADOWS, because it JUST CAME OUT IN PAPERBACK IN NOVEMBER! *yea*

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Countdown to Christmas: Already Got My Gift!

My husband and I just returned from a week away in Mexico... where we sat on the beach for long, uninterrupted stretches and drank margaritas from noon until night. We wiggled our toes in the sand, took advantage of the hotel's spa, and marveled at the blue green waters and shimmering orange sunrises.

The first week in December is not a popular vacation time in Los Cabos, and the resort was practically empty until the very last day of our vacation. Which was fine with us.

And... I finally got to indulge this fantasy I've had for awhile about sitting on an almost empty beach on a lounge chair with an umbrella and a table next to me, while a waiter dressed all in white trudges across a long stretch of sand carrying a tray filled with drinks just for me. And maybe some french fries.

It was awesome.

It was also interesting to watch the resort prepare for the Holidays. Christmas is pretty big in Mexico, and every morning we'd notice new decorations or some new addition to a holiday display - there were decorated trees in every corner and a plethora of poinsettias all over the place. Check back next week when I get my photos organized to share with you...
Big thanks go out to my little sister, who came and stayed at my house to take care of the kids and dogs and keep everyone in their busy routines. I couldn't have done it without her and boy I hope she knows how much I love and appreciate her! (Everyone should have a sister as wonderful as mine!)

Going away in December meant I had to get the Christmas cards done early (check), get the tree up and decorated (check, mostly), and get everyone's schedule organized in a binder so that no one missed a lesson or got left standing around at a bus stop... and I guess everything went smoothly.

I missed my daughter's week of basketball tryouts (she made the team) and my son's first high school winterfest with the music department (he says he was a good helper with selling christmas trees) and my older son's first basketball scrimmage (but I was home in time for his first "real" game last night.)

And now I'm home. Back on Cape Cod where the beaches aren't nearly as warm this time of year, and the ocean isn't nearly as blue. I'm already caught up with both emails and work, and now I know I need to get back to my writing. And enjoying the December Holidays in more traditional New England ways than walking barefoot on warm beaches...

The only problem is that now I know there won't be any big gifts for me under the tree on the 25th. I've had my big Christmas gift already. And I'm okay with that. More than okay.

What are you hoping for under your tree? Are you headed somewhere warm to celebrate the holidays?

I recommend Mexico. Especially if there's a waiter with a tray of margaritas.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Countdown to Christmas: To Snow or Not to Snow?

So...... Christmas and Snow. They go together for most people, especially in New England. I guess not so much in warmer climates where there's never any snow anyway. But I've always had a white Christmas... in fact, as a kid, I remember being ultra-panicked the year there was no snow.

How would Santa's sleigh be able to fly?

Would they have to cancel Christmas?

Christmas Eve was a real nail-biter... and then Christmas Morning... my sisters and I got up and sprinted anxiously down to check under the tree... and Santa had made it! And there were three new shiny bicycles sitting there with big red bows on them and BOY, were we glad there wasn't any SNOW so that we could go right out in our pajamas and test out those bikes!!

So... it all worked out. Since we've moved to Cape Cod, I think we've only had one white Christmas. Which is okay with me. And the kids don't seem to mind either way. They don't really like wearing snow pants and boots anyway.

Only the Puppy is praying for snow this year.

How about you? White Christmas or No? What do you prefer?

Friday, December 7, 2012

Countdown to Christmas: Cookie Stroll This Weekend!

The 7th Annual Holiday Cookie Stroll will take place tomorrow, Saturday, December 8, from 10:00-3:00, rain or shine, in historic Bass River, South Yarmouth.

The "ticket" is actually a cookbook with the recipes of all cookies served on this two-mile walking tour to ten sites, including the Cultural Center of Cape Cod and an Open House at the South Yarmouth Library.

Last year, I went with my mom, my sister and my neighbor. Mom was in the middle of her first round of chemotherapy before her surgery, so she was a little weak but still enthusiastic. She loves Christmas, and loves checking out historic homes. It was a fun day. We took it slow, and there's a trolley if you need a break from walking.

The cookbook comes with a festive drawstring bag for collecting cookies along the way. Free trolley transport will be available between groups of houses. All proceeds go to support the South Yarmouth Library. This year's honorees are Trustee Emeritus Priscilla Conner and the late John Conner, both former trustees and treasurers of the South Yarmouth Library Association.Hot cider and cranberry bread will be served at the library, where visitors will see a display about the Conners.

Tickets are $15.00. Children under 12 are free but only ticket holders receive cookies. Tickets are limited and may be purchased at the South Yarmouth Library, Bass River Shoe Repair on Old Main Street, and Adrene Jewelers in the Hearth and Kettle Plaza.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Countdown to Christmas: Decorating the Tree

I love decorating the Christmas tree. Unwrapping the ornaments, getting out the boxes and bags of garlands and lights- even untangling the lights is okay with me. I turn up the carols and get into the holiday spirit - the zen of tree decorating, you might say.

But. I have to admit, it's always more fun when I have helpers. It may take longer (and I may need to sneak back after bedtime and rearrange some of the ornaments...) but it's always more fun.

This year, I did most of the tree decorating alone. Not nearly as much fun, especially since there's no one to laugh with. No one to drape the garlands on themselves like they did when they were little, or laugh with me about some of the silly things we put on the tree from year to year.

Not going to do that again. Next year, I'm picking a day when everyone can help, or the tree will stay bare until Christmas Eve!

What about you? Do you have a slew of helpers at the ready, or do you enjoy listening to carols and taking your time?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Seventeen and Counting...

My oldest child turns seventeen today. It's hard to believe he was ever so little and cute and goofy... well, he's still cute. And still pretty goofy. Just not so little.

Happy Birthday, Kiddo. Hope the coming year brings great things your way!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Countdown to Christmas: Baking Cookies!

While I love baking cookies any time of year, the holidays are my FAVORITE time to break out the rolling pin, the colored sugars, the M+Ms... oh, who am I kidding about the Ms? Those are good all year 'round!

But seriously, I love baking Christmas cookies, and am so thankful that my daughter loves to be right by my side baking up a storm! (and that she is weird and doesn't like eating Ms, so more for me!)

She even helped me out with an article about Creative Cookies for the Holiday Issue of CapeWomenOnline magazine, you know, that place I'm supposed to be working today but am too busy baking cookies (I wish!)

Anyway, check out her story and our recipes for old-fashioned Stained Glass Cookies and Peanut Butter Blossoms - yes, the ones with the whole Hershey Kiss sitting on the top! You can find the recipes in the Creative Women section of CapeWomenOnline magazine, along with photos.