Christmas at Sable’s House – and a Contest

Christmas in the Country – with Sable and a Contest

Before I start rambling, the winner from last post is  Ginger Robertson for a book of your choice from me. Email me at sablehuntertx@gmail.com to collect  your prize. To qualify for a chance at a copy of Justice when it comes out, tell me something special about your Christmas traditions.

I spent a lot of my youth and young adulthood in the country. Dirt-road country. Places where the roads were so narrow that the trees met in a canopy overhead. There were no residential neighborhoods where the houses are only six to ten feet apart. The more likely distance between neighbors was measured in acres or miles. Still and all, as my grandmother used to say, we enjoyed getting together, especially during the holidays. But things don’t always work in the country like they do in the city.

Take shopping for instance – we had to drive two hours to a mall, an hour to a Wal-mart – so Christmas shopping was usually relegated to a one-day extravaganza excursion or we did it by mail-order. I can remember getting up before dawn and driving to Beaumont with full intention of getting all of my Christmas shopping done in one day. Of course the day would be punctuated by frequent stops for hot chocolate, croissants, burgers or pie – – but, still, it was a long, tiring and usually frustrating day. We approached Christmas present giving a little different than ‘normal’ folks. We went all out, but we used the gift-giving to purchase for one another things we really needed – like clothes or tools or appliances – things other folks would buy during the year, we bought during the holidays. Some gifts were frivolous, but mostly they were things we needed but wouldn’t buy for ourselves. Oh, but there was one important thing – – we had to make tripledamndog sure that everyone got the same number of gifts. If someone got more than the other it was a disaster. Because when we opened them, we did it one at a time and taking turns and if one person was left with three extra after everyone else was through – well, it wasn’t pretty. And we all had our gifts wrapped in one color – I was red, Jess was green and so forth.

Our Christmas tree was always real and came out of our own wooded pasture. Sometimes it was a pine, sometimes a cedar – but always imperfect. We would go out to find it about the second week in December because we didn’t want it to dry out and be a fire by Christmas day. The ornaments were collected over time, some ragged, some cheesy – all meaningful. I’m a proponent of multi-colored lights on a tree. None of that all white or all blue for me. The tree, the lights on the porch, the ones on the hearth – they are all multi-colored. And I collect Santa Claus – big ones, little ones, figures, some almost as big as me. And geese seem to play a big role in my decorating, I have several wooden ones that wear these huge bows during the holidays.

And Christmas dinner wasn’t just at Christmas. Let me explain. Nana was the primary chef at Christmas and she baked like her mother used to – and by that I mean, you didn’t make one pie, you made four. She would start about mid-December and make fudge and pralines and Martha Washington candy. Then came the fruitcake, then the chocolate fudge layer cake and then the layered white nut cake. There was pecan pie, chocolate, mincemeat and coconut and later, when my aunt married, cherry was added to the mix. We had ham, a turkey, a roast, a pork loin – cornbread dressing, 4 salads, chicken and dumplings, gumbo – it was an endless banquet for about three weeks. There was one part of our house that was always cold, the dining room and some of the desserts, etc, would be out in there all the time and you went in and got something when you wanted it. To a child, this was magical, like a gingerbread house where treats were always available.

I believed in Santa Claus, still do. I can remember hearing the reindeer hooves on the roof and finding presents left outside with snow on them, which was a feat since we rarely had snow. Santa would come early on Christmas Eve night, if I would hide and be good – I never saw him but my folks would yell and laugh after they opened the door to the living room where the tree was and find that he’d been by. Now, we save some gifts to open Christmas morning, but when I was young we did it all on Christmas Eve. Christmas Day was always a let-down and more for visiting and religious stuff than fun. So, speaks the spoiled child that was Sable.

One precious memory I have is caroling. I love to sing and I love the outdoors. We couldn’t carol like folks in the city could by walking from house to house. So, we combined three good things. We got to sing for neighbors and have a hayride at the same time. One of our neighbors who had a big wagon would fill it with hay, hook up the horses and pull us up one road and down the other so we could fill the countryside with a joyful noise. Sometimes they would bring us out treats, but mostly we left that for when we got through and all ganged up for hot chocolate, roasted hot dogs or some other type of goodie.

As I got older, those caroling trips took on a whole new light when I started cuddling with boys under blankets in the hay. Gave a whole new meaning to ‘keeping warm’ in the chilly weather.

Nowadays, things are a little different. It happens to all of us. We grow up. We lose family. We move. Our interests change or mature, I guess you could say. But in my life some things don’t change. I still go all out. My tree is full of presents for family. Stockings are hung by the chimney with care and two of them are for the dogs and they know which stocking is theirs and they sit under it and try to stare it off the hook. I won’t cook as much this year, I live in a place where there is decadent food on every hand so I don’t mind telling you that I haunt this French bakery for the perfect pastry.

fireplace1

Instead of caroling on country roads, I will walk on the huge, magnificent Trail of Lights down by the Colorado River in downtown Austin and I’ll post pictures of that on my post on the 27th. And it probably won’t snow – it might before winter is over – but snow is rare here. Today, it is a sunny 66 degrees and the next cold front won’t come in until Friday where we’re expecting a low of 37 on Saturday. I started to say I’d build a fire in the fireplace, but I have one on now. My feet stay cold.

It’s sad to say, but true. I won’t be going to church. I will take care of my spirituality at home, just me and the creator. Some things are better taken care of in private – that way I won’t offend anyone.

Writing wise, I’m striving to finish a book before Christmas and I have four more that have to come out in the next couple of months. So, I have a lot to do. But I will take time to make merry – for just a little while.

I hope you do, too.

Merry Christmas.

Sable

Posted in Uncategorized | 19 Comments

New book!

Hey all,

I wanted to shout from the rooftops this morning as I finished A Cowboy and a Country Song which is the 7th book in the Cowboy Dreamin’ Series.

This one is Jackson and Samantha’s story. Yeah, don’t ask me why I though it was a good idea to name all of these stubborn cowboys with J name. It’s been interesting keeping them straight.

Anyway, this book is due out on 1/19/15 and will be up for preorder soon on all the websites for your enjoyment, but I will leave you with a cover, a blurb and an excerpt to wet your appetite.

Until next month

~ Sandy

A Cowboy and a Country Song Cover

A Cowboy and a Country Song – Releasing 1/19/15

Blurb

Samantha Harris has the perfect life. As country music’s biggest and fastest rising star, she’s got it made from the fancy bus to lots of money, but she doesn’t have time for love. With a stalker hot on her trail, things can get ugly fast. Enter one hot, local cowboy named Jackson Young.

Jackson Young has had a wee bit of a crush on hot country star Samantha Harris for a while. Not one to miss an opportunity to get closer, he takes his soon to be sister in law’s job offer to be Samantha’s personal body guard for a benefit concert. When Samantha approaches him about a job on the side, he’s all for it until he finds out she wants him to be her fake boyfriend so they can find out who is stalking her.

Will the ruse become a reality and what happens when the stalker is revealed? Will all of Samantha’s demons tear her and Jackson apart before love can bloom?

Excerpt

The door flew open on the bus. Joshua, Candace and Samantha came down the stairs and in a heartbeat Samantha bolted around them to head to the back. “Who the hell are you and what are you doing loitering around my bus? Speak up, cowboy, I don’t have all day!”

Samantha got right up in his face, giving him first up close and personal look at the leggy blonde. She wasn’t wearing her customary black Stetson. The black short sleeved blouse hugged every curve, emphasizing her gorgeous breasts for his enjoyment. The jeans she wore hugged her hips, showing off her legs to perfection. Her long blonde hair hung to the middle of her back in a long, straight braid and he wanted to undo it so he could run his fingers through the soft strands. What drew him the most was her eyes. The blue orbs spit fire, right at that moment. “Ma’am?”

“Don’t ma’am me, Mr. If you don’t have any business being back here, get lost.”

“I’m Jackson, ma’am.”

“Jackson?”

Candace introduced him, indicating he had reason to be there. “Samantha Harris, meet Jackson Young, your security detail. He is Joshua’s older brother.”

“Security detail?”

“Yeah, Sam. Jackson is your personal body guard for the night.”

“Well shit on a stick. Sorry. I didn’t mean to go off on you so hard, but I’m always finding people hanging around my bus who shouldn’t be.”

“That’s what I’m here for, ma’am. There won’t be any loitering tonight. Unless they have a pass, they won’t be allowed near you and if you give me the nod to get rid of them, I’ll handle it.”

Sam looked him up one side and down the other. “Good. I need a decent man to guard my ass.”

“I’d be right honored to guard it for you, ma’am.”

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Who Needs Cowboys for Christmas? Guest Liz Talley

Hey, everybody!

Thanks so much for inviting me to come blog about something really easy to blog about – cowboys!

So, I know there is ALWAYS someone who likes to burst the fantasy bubble about cowboys by saying things like “No cowboy really looks like that.” Um, well, he could. And I do get it – being a real cowboy means sweat, spit and cow…uh, poop. And so, yes, cowboys are a fantasy trope just like billionaires are. I mean, come on, have you seen pictures of billionaires? Yeah. Ross Perot ain’t the sexiest beast out there.  So cowboys are fantasy fodder and I’m really glad they are because they’re fun to write about.

Thing is, my stories to this point, haven’t featured cowboys. My very first book (Vegas Two Step) did feature a Vegas nightclub owner who wanted to try his hand at ranching in Texas, but that’s as close as I’ve gotten to writing a cowboy until this anthology.

And to be honest, I had NO CLUE how much readers love men who sit in the saddle.

I’m amazed by the devoted readers who have to have their cowboys. And, I totally get it. After writing Reed McCormick, I wanted to write more. And luckily so did Kim and Terri. We’re finishing up other projects so we can rope a few new cowboys in a new anthology.

So I’m excited to share my new passion with women (and men) who get it. So a bit about this unique anthology – Cowboys for Christmas was born out of Kim Law’s interest in doing something different. Kim writes sexy books for Montlake and she wanted to step outside her comfort zone and try an anthology. She talked to me about it and asked if I were interested. After we made some decisions about type of story and setting and what kind of book, we asked Terri Osburn to write the third story. And then we made a pretty important decision – we wanted the stories to overlap. When I was young, I loved novellas about three sisters or three brothers that were separate stories but bound in the same book, and we wanted that feel for this anthology. So they are separate stories, but they really work together to make a complete book.

Here’s the official blurb:

3 cowboys…2 weeks…1 wedding!
Three all-new stories by Kim Law, Terri Osburn, and Liz Talley
Claire, Georgia, and Mary Catherine couldn’t be more different, but they promised they would be there for one another no matter what. And when they all gather in Holly Hills, Texas, for Mary Catherine’s Christmas wedding, they’ll find they have one thing in common: hearts that are about to be branded—by unforgettable cowboys.

In “Love Me, Cowboy” by Terri Osburn, wallflower Claire would be more excited about the wedding if it didn’t mean running into Mary Catherine’s brother—the bull rider she once had a scorching one-night stand with…

Ivy League volleyball coach Georgia never wanted to see Holly Hills—or another cowboy—again. But a sexy veterinarian is making her rethink her vow to never marry a Texas man in “Kiss Me, Cowboy” by Liz Talley.

Claire and Georgia both think that Mary Catherine is getting hitched to the wrong man, despite how perfect he is. And in “Marry Me, Cowboy” by Kim Law, a local rancher with a wild reputation gives Mary Catherine a glimpse of what might have been—and what could still be…

And so I’m interested in what you think about crossover or connected stories done by three different authors. Do you like them? Are you willing to give them a try? Or do shared scenes and characters put you off?

Leave a comment and you can win a $10 Amazon gift card (for your next cowboy book!)

Thanks for inviting me!

LIZ

Excerpt from Kiss Me, Cowboy:

“Now we’re going to slice these apples for the pie,” Georgia said, picking up a paring knife and making short work of the cores. She slid in front of him, making sure she brushed the fly of his jeans.

“Jesus.”

She laughed, knowing she played with a new fire. “Now set the apple on the cutting board like this.”

She brought his hands around her, handing him the knife, and enclosing his hands with hers. “Nice thin slices. See?”

Reed’s lips found the sweet spot behind her ear, making Georgia glad she had short hair. “You slice, I’ll nibble.”

“Keep doing that and I’ll cut my finger off.”

“Then put down the damn knife. I’d rather have you for dessert anyway.”

Georgia pushed her rump back, trying to disengage him, but his arms stayed tight around her. “Reed, I really want to fix you dinner before I make you totally useless.”

“Oh, is that how it will be?”

“Damn straight. When I ride a cowboy, I ride a cowboy.”

Reed spun her to face him. “I’m not a cowboy. I’m a vet.”

Georgia looked up into his blue eyes. “Well then, I’ve only been waiting on you forever. All those cowboys were a total waste of time.”

He kissed her.

And Reed knew how to kiss—firm mouth, soft lips, hands cupping her face as if he drank from her. He tasted like cinnamon and a bit of apple. He tasted like home.

“Mmm . . . nice appetizer,” he murmured against her lips before dotting another hard kiss on her mouth and turning her back around. With a slap on her rump, he said, “Now cook me my dinner, woman.”

Georgia snorted. “I know you didn’t just say that.”

Reed snapped her with a towel. “It’s okay, I’ll get my own beer.”

“Ugh, Texas men.”

“I’m from California,” he called back.

“Well, you could have fooled me.”

Buy Links for Cowboys for Christmas:  Amazon /B&N / iBooks

All About Lizliztalley

From the time she learned to read to the present, Liz has always had a fascination with books.  As a child she remembers reading Little Golden Books instead of napping.  And, oh, the first time she read a romance – The Thornbirds – she was hooked.  She ate up the SuperRomances on the shelves of her aunt’s used bookstore, borrowed her grandmother’s Boons and Mills Medical Romances (loved those nurses’ caps) and snuck her dad’s westerns so she could read the “romantic parts” (which lasted about a page).  She inhales books, no doubt about it.

Of course, it never occurred to her to write one until her college roommate said, “You read so many of those things, why don’t you write one?”  The idea stuck and several years ago she did it! Instead of just reading those SuperRomances, she’s writing them.

Liz serves as President of NOLA Stars and also blogs on the 2009 Golden Heart blog –http://www.rubyslippersisterhood.com. She loves strawberries, fishing, retail therapy (especially at Target), and she’s a Virgo.  Liz married her high school sweetheart and has two smart, beautiful boys.  When not writing contemporary romances and still editing her historicals, she is usually found working in the flowerbeds or doing laundry.

Find Liz at:  Twitter / Website / Facebook 

 

 

Posted in cowboys, eBooks, Excerpts | 42 Comments

Studs and Spurs Anyone?

 

fireplace-2013-front-page

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, everyone! My shopping is not finished, my decorations not all hung, but I’m in the spirit, how about you?

Last time I blogged here, I tried to give away a 2015 Hunks calendar. C.J. Blair (Connie) left a comment and her name popped out of the winner’s hat. So, C.J. if you stop by today, I need you to email me your snail mail address so I can get your Hunky calendar to you before the first of the year.

I have to say, I’ve been admiring the lovely selection of cowboys on display in 2015 and can attest to their worthiness as true HUNKS. But just in case you have a taste for the 2015 Studs and Spurs Calendar instead, I’m giving away a copy of that cowboy calendar too.

As for what else I’m doing today besides trying to give away calendars, I’m sharing a peek at the first draft of my new book cover!

CUR_72dpi-1500x2000

Blurb (in progress): As soon as ruthless rancher, Cur Villalobos, marries Sara Meyers to get the water on her land, he leaves her at his house and goes back to work. He plans to forget about her now that he has what he needs. But Cur soon discovers that even a lone wolf likes a hot meal, a clean den, and his belly scratched.

Leave a comment below and your name will go in the drawing for a 2015 Studs and Spurs Calendar.

Wishing you bargains,

Scrumptious clothes, warm brandy, cold beer,

Parking spots, patience, temperance in eating holiday candy,

And all kinds of good cheer…

See you in 2015!

gs-winegem

faded-banner_____________________________

Web / Twitter / FB / Amazon / GR / 
 
Posted in Book Cover Art, Contest | 25 Comments

Rough Ryder, Book 3 of the Hot Country Series, Coming in January!

Rough Ryder High Res

I’m working hard to finish this book, and I’m having a wonderful time writing it! I’m always surprised when scenes like this pop into my head:

Ryder finished his last encore at the arena in Nashville, Tennessee and walked off stage as the house lights came up. During the concert, he’d tried not to, but he kept looking for Brooke. Looking for her sign and flashlights.

His lawyer reported that she hadn’t responded to his calls. Ryder could almost believe what the lawyer thought; that she’d given up. But he knew better. He’d just have to wait until she found a way to get to him. Despite having Schmiddy, his security guard, on the lookout, Brooke seemed like the type who could easily slip through any roadblock.

Ryder went directly to his dressing room and showered, then changed into a white T-shirt, jeans, and a leather jacket. He’d had to leave the McLairn Ranch before his father returned from his trip, which had been delayed because of weather. Ryder’s sister, Val, and her family had come out to the ranch to keep an eye on the place for a day or so, until Angus returned. Crazy old coot. He hadn’t told anyone where he went, and with whom. Ryder needed to get back there soon and talk to him, find out what was going on in that crafty mind of his.

A knock sounded on the door. The sponsor of this tour date had arranged an after party for some lucky fans who’d won tickets through a contest.

Ryder opened the door and stepped out. “Ready, Schmiddy?”

“Yes, sir.” The big man led the way down the hall and onto a freight elevator. “Checked the guest list. She wasn’t on there.”

Ryder let out a breath. He’d half-hoped she’d be there, but tonight wasn’t the night to deal with her. He had to be in South Dakota by ten in the morning.

The small room on the club level of the arena was packed with twenty contest winners and a dozen sponsors. Ryder walked in, and a round of applause went up. The sponsors were the first to greet him and have photos taken, then he made his way around the room, shaking hands with the contest winners and posing for pictures.

A shorter woman, heavy with wearing a really large cowboy hat with short, curly black hair sticking out from under it kept to the periphery. He would make sure she didn’t leave without getting a picture with him. The shy ones…

Those lips looked familiar. He walked toward her.

She stiffened.

“Hi. I’m Ryder Landry. Glad to meet you.”

She held out a small hand. “Gretta Hutchinson.” That’s what her nametag said, too, but she looked very familiar.

The photographer appeared beside them. “Get a little closer, please.”

Ryder slung his arm around her shoulder and leaned in. The scent of ginger and peaches… His smile amped up. “I had a feeling you’d be here, Ms. Davidson.”

Her body jerked. “Before you call Schmiddy over, let me tell you why I came.” Her voice shook.

****

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Have a great day!
Randi
“Rode Hard and Put Up Satisfied”
RandiAlexander.com
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CHRISTMAS FAVORITES

WhiteChristmasI hope you are all having a fabulous December and are nearly finished Christmas shopping. It’s a busy time of year and one I love so much. Christmas music is playing and I’m singing along. It’s a time of year for traditions and family and love.

Some of my favorite traditions are in the music and movies I usually listen to and watch at this time. My favorite Christmas songs are White Christmas, Santa Baby, It Came Upon a Midnight Clear, Baby it’s Cold Outside and Walking in a Winter Wonderland. For Movies, I love White Christmas, Holiday Inn, Miracle on 34th Street and Rudolph!

What are your favorites? (music, movies, books)

Another thing I love about December is the books with Christmas themes. I was fortunate enough to have a book out this month with Christmas in it and it brings back my characters from the UGLY STICK SALOON.

BOOTS AND WISHES

The best gift has nothing to do with the size of the BootsAndWishes300package

Married to the love of her life, Audrey Anderson is ready to get this baby show on the road. Except six months of timing sex around her ovaries’ cycle has not only dampened their spontaneity, it hasn’t worked. She’s still not pregnant.

Jackson would love to give Audrey half a dozen children, but he can’t stand the heartache in her eyes as each month goes by with no “plus” sign on the test strip. Hell, he’s ready to call it and concentrate on just being a happy couple.

When a runaway mother arrives at the Ugly Stick with a newborn in tow and needing a job, Audrey, ever the tender heart, takes them in—at the saloon and her home—despite the baby’s presence being a constant reminder of her own empty arms.

Baby Mia turns out to be a blessing in disguise, but just as life settles into a rhythm as pleasant as a cow pony’s lope, the runaway mama’s painful past comes roaring after her with the force of a prairie tornado, threatening to destroy anything in its path, including Audrey and the Ugly Stick Saloon.

Warning: It’s the holiday season at the Ugly Stick and time to wrap the saloon in mistletoe. No need for hot cocoa, there’s enough pull-out-all-the-stops heat between this sexy bar owner and her handsome cowboy to keep every reader warm.

Samhain Publishing | Nook |Amazon Kindle | Kobo

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Witches and cowboys, oh my!

One thing I dearly love about today’s romance novel market is the ability to push all boundaries and try something new. Mix things up and create the best damn story, no matter the genre or mixture thereof.

I decided to dip my toe in the mash-up pool and combine two of my favorite types of stories – westerns and witches. Not just any western, but an historical western. It was an exciting, different experience and I found myself really enjoying the world building.

There is always some level of world building when you write a book, but this new series, titled appropriately WICKED WITCHES OF THE WEST, had a new and large wrinkle – paranormal. Did I mention they live on a horse ranch in 1870s Texas? The Murphy girls are strong, independent and have unique powers of their own.

I built an entire back story about my witches, triplets named Maeve, Talulla and Rowan, that the reader never sees. However it’s what shapes the women’s powers and their lives, along with their father Gus and their teacher, Bird.

The first book belongs to Rowan, the eldest of the three by a few minutes. None of them are married and they are fast approaching their twenty-first birthday where they will ascend to their full power. In walks Jesse Nelson and their worlds collide.

Seriously. Fun.

I hope y’all will give Rowan’s story a try. It’s available on Kindle and in print for your reading pleasure. If you have Kindle Unlimited, it’s free to read!

Don’t forget – One lucky commenter each month (on all W&W posts) wins a $25.00 gift card!

Wicked Witches of the West Book 1

A rancher and witch. A down on his luck cowboy. A love foretold for hundreds of years.

People called them the Wicked Witches of the West from the time the Murphy triplets were five and accidentally set their house on fire. Nothing they did disabused the notion they were different from the rest of the children in Saddlebrook, Wyoming. After their mother died giving birth to them, the girls were in the care of their father, big Gus Murphy, who didn’t know a thing about how to raise three little girls.

Much less little witches.

When the Triad Ranch is at its lowest point, and Gus injured, Rowan, the eldest, runs the horse ranch as best she can, but things are desperate. Then Jesse Nelson appears and she recognizes him as the boy and then man of her dreams—her mate. She is drawn to him as her powers strengthen with each passing moment.

Jesse doesn’t know what to make of the crazy ranch, or the oddball characters on it, but he is hungry and alone. Rowan is everything he ever wanted and all that he can’t have. Little does he know what awaits him and Rowan when the world around them explodes with magic, black and white.

When Rowan ascends to her true power with her cowboy at her side, she and her sisters have to use their combined strength to triumph or die in the darkest of magic.

Posted in Historical Western Stuff, New Release, paranormal | 11 Comments

Merry and Bright

Happy December, y’all!

I don’t have anything cowboy or cowgirl related to talk about this month. I’m not going to talk about food either. You’re surprised, aren’t you? I am. Even though I have been doing my fair share of playing in the kitchen, I promise, I won’t talk about food.

Despite all that is going on in December, namely Christmas and college football bowl season, I always find myself looking forward, beyond December. I didn’t used to think this way, but with the nature of the writing business, how far in advance we must plan projects and publishing, it’s hard sometimes to simply exist in the moment or plan for other things until the business plans are set in fluid stone.

Maybe I’m the only one who feels that way, maybe not.

2014-11-28 21.47.19

The tree is up and only lit with the angel on top, so far. The sights and sounds, and yes smells of the Christmas holidays always make me smile, but it’s also for me, the beginning of the decluttering, the beginning of the organization that will take full effect in January and February, the beginning of the thought process of streamlining, eliminating, recharging.

I read a lot of books and articles on time management, despite the fact most of it rarely sticks with me for long periods of time. I read a lot of stuff about organization and living with kids and a husband and 6 cats, that’s hard to keep going for long periods of time, too, if I’m the only one that participates in keeping up with it.

I feel the most creative between August through about mid-February. I began months ago looking for a planner for 2015. I have searched high and low. Found many that were cheap and didn’t quite have the ‘IT’ factor I wanted. I found many that were very expensive that had too much ‘IT’ factor that I’d have spent more time planning than actually doing. And yesterday, I found one through a shared post on Facebook. It’s called Passion Planner. I ordered one immediately. One of the reasons being is that she’s a small business and I LOVE small business, she’s looking to help people find balance and creativity and action between personal and business time, and it appears to have just enough ‘IT’ factor that feels right. It’ll come in January and I can’t wait.

I love this time of year for the rush of ‘Do’ that I feel. I don’t mind the hustle and bustle, whether it be shopping or working or baking. We don’t have family here and we don’t entertain, so there isn’t much outside influence on our time and I can devote more to writing, creating, planning, organizing, etc… I have been using Pinterest more and more for these things too and I have to say I’ve been enjoying it. I take inspiration from others and how creative they are, where they find their inspirations and their projects outside work, whatever that work may be.

Two of my biggest influences of inspiration lately have been our own Leah Braemel and Delilah Devlin. I love their full blown engagement and enthusiasm into crafts and making things and creation beyond books. Those things are important and they are things I have sadly gotten away from this year. One of my goals this month and through the new year is to find that again.

So, as I’m goal setting, creating, planning, organizing, decluttering, baking, and writing… What are you going to be doing?

And while you’re considering it, I have a couple of things you can try…

One… My website has been completely redone. It’s beautiful. Looks nothing like it had before. And it’s just…WOW! I can’t stop looking at it and it is very definitely an inspiration to me. It was designed by Blackraven’s Designs to be pretty and functional and informative and engaging. Give it a look!

lissamatthewscapture2Two… My holiday book, Arresting Holli, is free until December 5th. It’s part of a MEGA sale with over 50 deeply discounted or free books from some awesome authors… For a list of all the authors and books, you can visit http://romancebookdeals.com/hot-for-holiday/

And you can download Arresting Holli from Amazon…

ArrestingHolli_200x300Holiday ‘Holli’ James looks forward to the week between Christmas and New Year’s. This is her one chance to get away from the hustle and bustle of her successful decorating business. The plan this year: a trip to New York City to see all the sights and lights.

What the plan didn’t include was a side trip to a small town jail in the middle of Pennsylvania. Nor did it include Officer Hunky.

However…

Single police officer, Michael, is working the holidays — again. With no local family and no interest in accepting the pity invitations to Christmas dinner from his married friends, he’s content to work and earn extra cash. Besides, this year looks to be as uneventful as every other year. Until he pulls a curvaceous spitfire over for speeding and discovers she’s wanted on charges of fraud.

As Michael begins to investigate and learns that Holli isn’t who her file says she is, sexual tension spikes between them. Answers are slow in coming due to the holidays, but Michael is soon granted permission to remove Holli from the jail cell and place her under supervised house arrest.

Only, his idea of house arrest is much more personal than the law ever intended.

Warning: Gourmet food, melting marshmallows, snowball fights, and handcuffs. What more could a girl on vacation ask for?

Have a wonderful December.

~lissa

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Cowboy Christmas

I should be announcing a new release, but life intervened and I have no idea when my next book will be out. Hopefully this month sometime, but possibly next month. So for this month’s post, I’m going to share about my last release–way back in June–and share a couple of favorite Christmas recipes.

What could be major enough to keep me from writing for several months? A full-on kitchen remodel. The kind where you tear out everything down to the studs and the floor joists. The kind where you cook in the living room and wash dishes in the bathtub. And yes, I absolutely adore my new kitchen, but now I’m having trouble switching my brain from design and decor to putting words on the page. But I will get my recalcitrant brain straightened out and get a new book out soon.

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My heroine in both the 5th book of the Lone Star Cowboys series and the final novella of the series is Mandy Wagner. She’s the cook for the Saunders’ ranch and, unlike me, loves preparing food for a crowd. I cook out of necessity, not desire. But my new kitchen makes me want to get in there and learn something new, be adventurous, take chances. But first I have a book to finish. So I’ve made myself a promise that, just as soon as I get this next book out, I’ll take a week off and learn to make gluten-free bread.

Here’s a short excerpt from What a Cowgirl Wants, the final (for now) installment in the Lone Star Cowboys series. Mandy is planning a Christmas fairy-tale wedding on a shoestring budget, and she encounters a few problems along the way.

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“Maybe we should just elope and skip all this.” Blake tossed the guest list onto the kitchen table and shoved a hand through his hair. “Then the decision wouldn’t have to be made at all.”

Mandy bit her lip to keep from reacting to Blake’s frustration. She had to be the calm one in this situation or nothing would get accomplished. “Blake, they’re your family. You can’t leave them out of the wedding. You just can’t.”

“Why not? I was gone for ten years, and not once did they try to find me or come see me.”

“That’s not true and you know it.” Mandy was there the day his parents showed up to watch him ride at the PBR finals. “Okay, maybe they waited too long. Maybe your dad wasn’t the best dad in the world. But your mom loves you, and you will break her heart if you don’t invite her to the wedding. And if you invite her, you have to invite the rest of them.”

“No, I don’t.”

Mandy stood and gathered the pieces of paper he’d scattered. “I’m done. When you decide to behave like an adult about this, call me.” She stormed out of the house and got in her car. She even managed to drive away before the tears started. Why was he being so stubborn about this?

She didn’t want to go home because her mother would take one look at her and demand to know what was wrong. And then her mom would try to fix it, dragging her father into it.

The car turned at the railroad tracks, almost of its own volition, and Mandy found herself at the Triple S. Should she go in, or just keep driving? Nancy would want to know what had happened, too, just like her mother. But Nancy wouldn’t try to fix it. She’d help Mandy figure out how to fix it herself.

What if Cooper was there? He’d side with Blake. He almost always did. Not that Mandy could blame him since he and Blake had been friends for the past ten years, but she needed an unbiased male point of view.

She’d almost talked herself out of going inside when Jake Reilly walked out of the stable. Mandy really liked Jake. He was the calmest, most level-headed and even-tempered man in her circle of friends. She could talk to him without worrying about him taking sides.

She hopped out of the car and hurried toward the arena where Jake was headed. She wasn’t being unreasonable, was she? Blake had a family, and family should at least be invited to the wedding. Whether they cared enough to show up was up to them. That’s what she hadn’t been able to get through to Blake. To him, an invitation meant they’d show up, and he didn’t want his father there.

“Jake!” Mandy shouted as she entered the arena. At first she didn’t see him in the shadows, but he turned when she called out.

“Is something wrong, Mandy?” Jake dropped the saddle he was holding and hurried toward her.

Mandy shook her head. “No, everything’s fine. I just need some advice.”

“Okay. Let’s go back to the stable where it’s warm.” Jake led the way to the stable and ushered her into the office. He took two soft drinks from the refrigerator and handed her one.

Now that she was here, Mandy didn’t know what to say. She sipped at her drink, wondering where to begin.

“Why don’t you just spit it out, and then we’ll sort it out later,” Jake suggested.

Mandy poured out the whole story about Blake’s reluctance to invite his family to the wedding. “I don’t understand. This is an important event in his life. Does he think his rich family won’t approve of him marrying a poor working girl? Is he ashamed of me? I mean, I know I’m not like his fancy sisters-in-law, with their chic haircuts and perfectly manicured nails.” She held out her own plain, undecorated nails and sighed.

Jake waited until she’d finished her story before speaking. “I know you feel like this is about you, but let’s look at it from Blake’s perspective for a minute. Now, I don’t know the whole story, but I’m pretty observant and one thing I noticed when his family was here for his birthday was that his father disapproved of Blake’s choice of career, despite his big win. He didn’t approve of how Blake dressed, talked, or even how he ate his food. Blake saw it, too.”

“I know,” Mandy said. “His father has always been like that. But his mother loves Blake and it would break her heart to miss his wedding, I think.”

“I’m sure you’re right. But how would you feel if your father questioned everything you did, or even the person you’ve become? Would you want to be around someone like that?” Jake drained the last of his drink and tossed the can into the trash. “And how will you feel if his father decides your wedding doesn’t fit his social agenda? I suspect that’s Blake’s real concern—that his father will insist on making you get married in Houston, with a big fancy wedding you can’t afford. And his father would probably even insist on paying for it, which would hurt your parents and wound your father’s pride.”

“You think Blake is trying to protect me? Oh God, I never thought of that. I assumed he was being stubborn and selfish. I owe him an apology.” Mandy knew Jake was right. It fit everything she’d seen from Blake in recent weeks. “So how do we handle it?”

Jake thought for a minute. “I’d suggest inviting them, but wait until it’s too late for his father to interfere with your plans. Send the invitation maybe a month before the wedding, once you have all your plans in place. And only speak to Blake’s mother from that point on. If you give Mr. Kaufman an inch, he’s gonna take the whole mile.”

Mandy gave Jake a hug. “Thank you. You know, even though I’ve known you most of my life, I just now realized how smart you really are.”

Jake laughed. “Not so smart, but when you don’t talk much, people tend to forget you’re there. You can learn a lot about people that way.”

Here’s one of Mandy’s favorite Christmas candy recipes. I hope you all have a wonderful holiday filled with love, laughter, and happily-ever-afters.

Mandy’s Christmas Bon-Bons  

 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1 stick of margarine or butter, melted

3 cups flaked coconut

1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

1 can sweetened condensed milk

4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (2 12-ounce packages)

1/2 pound paraffin wax (1 1/2 blocks)

  1. Cream together the butter and powdered sugar until smooth. Add the coconut and stir until well mixed. Add the walnuts and condensed milk and stir again. Roll into 1 inch balls and arrange on waxed paper covered cookie sheets. Chill for at least 2 hours.
  2. In double boiler, melt paraffin wax, then melt chocolate chips in the wax. Dip bon bons in the chocolate and return to pan to cool.

My easy-peasy coconut stacks

1 bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted

1 bag of shredded coconut

Mix together and drop by heaping teaspoonfuls onto waxed paper.

See? Told you it was easy!

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Cover Reveal–Another Rhinestone Cowgirl

As the weather is getting colder, what better way to warm up than with a sexy cowboy? Book 2 of the Rhinestone Cowgirls series, PRESSURE RISING, is available for pre-order at Amazon. Release date is January 10, 2015.

I’m giving away (1) One cowboy keychain to (1) One winner. Comment below and you’re entered.

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Carrying a shotgun lands her into trouble…and under the spell of a cowboy

Pearl learned the hard way that DJ is a poison that needs eradicated from her neighboring land. Although she hates him with a passion, killing him isn’t part of her plan. When the shotgun fires and DJ is wounded, she wishes she left the gun at home.

DJ has a pain in his butt—literally. Thanks to Pearl with her poor shooting skills and temper.  He knew all along that she had it out for him, but shooting him in his backside was a little too close for comfort. When she shows up on his doorstep— after prodding from her family—apologizing and offering to ‘nurse’ him back to health, he can’t help but imagine all of the opportunities at his fingertips. His sweetest revenge would be to prove that she has feelings for him, and with a little of his country-boy charm, she might lose the emotional barriers and stop treating him like the devil’s spawn.

One touch and Pearl is hooked. Changing the bandage on DJ’s nice, tight buns starts a fervor within her that leads her down a delicious path—and straight into DJ’s strong, awaiting arms.  She realizes shutting him out isn’t as easy as building another wall of protection. He’s in her blood and she’s addicted. And her cowboy is determined to unlock all of her closed doors.

Excerpt:

He brought his fingers to her silky panties, tracing the elastic. He spread his hand wide. “You’re so soft.”

His calloused palm made every hair of her body stand upright. Her pussy quivered.

“Love the silk and lace.” He skimmed his fingers over the material. “Purple’s my favorite color now.” One corner of his mouth lifted.

Her nipples puckered and chills raced through her. He bent close, placing his hands on either side of her hips. The mattress dipped under his weight and she slid on the comforter but he kept her from going far. Needing something to hold on to while the waves crashed over her, she threaded her fingers through his still damp hat hair, fluffing the soft, ebony locks. How could a rugged cowboy be so tender? And something she’d never guessed—he was also a true gentleman.

As he leaned closer, he buried his mouth against hers as he pushed her back into the satin blanket, tucking one arm up under her. He held her tight against his body—skin against skin—and she’d never felt anything more pleasurable. His cock rubbed her inner thighs, the crisp hair prickling her sensitive flesh, awakening every part of her.

She traced the line of his lips with her tongue, lapping up his sweetness. His tongue slid deeper, tickling the roof of her mouth and the inside walls. Her throat tightened, her breathing labored.

He did crazy things to her body, jittery and fuzzy things. She brought her hips higher and rubbed his shaft. She was ready. Full of need.

“Not so fast, baby,” he whispered against her lips.

She sank her nails into his back, holding him close. “I want you.”

“You say that and you’re making it hard for me to take my time.” He lowered his mouth and slid his tongue along her neck to her collarbone. He nipped at the skin and planted moist kisses. Slowly, he made his way downward, dragging his mouth and teeth across her tingling flesh, sampling as he went.

She arched her back as warm sensation burst between her legs. Her pussy was throbbing with wet need. Desire swirled inside of her chest and puddled in her belly.

He hooked the material of her bra with one finger and tugged it to the side. He traced one pert nipple with his tongue, then suckled the puffy mound until the cherry red nub stood thick and moist from his kiss.

“You taste so good, and I haven’t even gotten to the best part.” His breath heated her skin.

Pre-order now!

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Pressure-Rising-Rhinestone-Cowgirls-Book-ebook/dp/B00QEFXXX6/ref=sr_1_11?ie=UTF8&qid=1417389466&sr=8-11&keywords=rhonda+lee+carver

If you haven’t read Book 1, UNDER PRESSURE, grab it now!

Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/Under-Pressure-Rhinestone-Cowgirls-Book-ebook/dp/B00N57TK10/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&qid=1417389800&sr=8-9&keywords=rhonda+lee+carver

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And if you’re looking for a Christmas novella, I have just the thing for you…

UNDER THE MISTLETOE. Available for pre-order at Amazon. Release date is December 4.

Buy here: http://www.amazon.com/Under-Mistletoe-Rhonda-Lee-Carver-ebook/dp/B00PWREZV6/ref=sr_1_10?ie=UTF8&qid=1417270691&sr=8-10&keywords=rhonda+lee+carver

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Alex wants more from Santa than a lump of coal…
Dreading the holiday, Alex is grumpy and down on her luck. Another year alone–another year that her parents will needle her about her single status. Stopping in Vegas for a little fun before she’s forced to face her family solo, she hopes for a big win but didn’t expect it to be wrapped in worn jeans, flannel and a cowboy hat.
Jax is having a bad day. A bad month. But when he wins big his holiday cheer improves. And who better to celebrate with than the lovely lady who caught his eye at the slot machine.
Alex isn’t looking for a holiday romance, but she does have a solution to her problems. Jax would make a perfect boyfriend—even if she must pay him. Money well spent to keep her parents off of her back for the week.
Santa has a plan. The gift Alex and Jax find other the tree is more than cash for services.

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