Thank you, Delilah, for inviting me to guest on your blog.
Writing PROJECT DETOUR was a study of work-life balance for me. I was (okay, am) Brad. I get up early and tend my author work, drive into town to work a day job, then come home and get some words on the page. On good days, I even get a work out. On others, dinner is kind of a catch as you can sort of deal.
Basically I’m saying I run myself to the edge. Over and over. So when I had a character who got that part of my life? I knew I had to rescue him from this madness. If only one of us can get out, at least I’ve helped. And maybe I’ll learn something in the process.
I’m sure some of you have the same problem. When you’re at work, you’re thinking about home. When you’re at home, you’re thinking about work. And sleep? Forget about it.
But like I said, I’ve been learning some lessons in this journey. The best piece of advice I can give you is what they tell us on airplanes. Put your oxygen mask on first. Get enough sleep. Workout consistently. Eat healthy. And take time to relax. Taking care of yourself isn’t selfish, it’s necessity.
My other piece of advice? Write everything down. I have a yearly, monthly, and weekly plan. I set goals at the weekly level to reach my yearly and monthly goals. Then, I schedule the activity in. If it’s not on my weekly list to get done? I’ve probably forgotten about it.
And one more idea? Schedule in fun time. It might be taking your kid to the carnival or walking your dog (which kills two birds as you’re getting exercise.) But get out of your head and your house often to laugh.
What about you? Are you a proud workaholic? ~Lynn
Book 3 of the Castle View series is FREE on Amazon only 12/10-11.
Get your copy fast.
Sometimes fate resets the work/life balance scales.
Brad Castle had a plan for his life. A plan that crashed when a car accident stole his ability to do even the most basic tasks. On the verge of watching his Castle View Winery fail, he finally agrees to his mom’s badgering of hiring her assistant to help him recuperate. Every day is a struggle, but he won’t let his business and everyone that depends on him down. Besides, he only needs her for six weeks.
Destiny Brooks has bigger problems than a golden-boy who always had everything he wanted. Problems that included busting through the roadblocks in her path to open St. Josephs’ first Physical Therapy business. Even with his mother’s constant matchmaking attempts, Destiny won’t lose herself for the sake of a relationship, not again.
Can Brad open himself up to the possibilities of a world beyond work before Destiny finishes her assignment and moves on?
Lynn Collins is the romance pen name for New York Times bestselling mystery author, Lynn Cahoon. Lynn claims to be the unrecognized daughter of Barnabas (Dark Shadows) and says she grew up in a dark, dank castle on the moors, waiting to be rescued. Finally, as all good heroines do, she rescued herself and now writes about happily ever after’s in small town settings. Someday she hopes to write the next big gothic romance. She lives with her cat. Find out more at: www.lynncollinsauthor.com
So…. I wrapped up another story this past week—just in the nick of time. It releases next week! The puzzle is related (hint-hint!). I had already set up a pre-order for the story but had to change the description slightly, as well as the price (it’s cheaper!), because it turned out to be more of a novelette than a novella. I don’t think you’ll mind. For this writer, I begin a story, thinking it’s going to go a certain way, and then stuff happens. Crazy stuff I didn’t see until the characters encounter something surprising (right along with me!), and the story takes off in another direction. This story will require a sequel. But you’ll have to read it, and then you’ll get an idea of why. Hate being a tease, but hey, that’s my job, right? 🙂
In the meantime, I have to move onto other projects, like a certain SEAL stepbrother and a wedding…another bounty hunter adventure… I’m editing three stories for other authors—all due by the end of this month! I’ll be revising an old story I based very loosely on a Russian fairytale and releasing that this month—so be watching for it!
Play the puzzle—then I have a question for you.
Answer in the comments, and you might win a $5 Amazon gift card!
Which of my series would you like to see continued? Check this page for a reminder of what’s already there!
(Shame on me, I haven’t updated that page to show the Montana Bounty Hunters!)
Don’t miss out on FREE STORIES! Again, here’s the deal…
Throughout December, leading up to Christmas on the Delilah’s Collections website, I and some of the wonderful authors who’ve appeared in my collections will be giving away our stories! My suggestion, if you’re interested in collecting them, is to subscribe to the Collections blog. Look for the sign-up in the right column on that website. It says “Subscribe To Blog Via Email”—easy, right? That way you won’t miss a single offering. And beware! These free stories will only be available for a short time, so jump on them!
I really appreciate Delilah letting me appropriate her blog for today, so let’s see if I can entertain y’all.
As you can see by the y’all, I’m from Texas. Born in Houston, raised all over. And by all over, I do mean all over. Norway, Egypt, Dubai, Honduras… Daddy was an engineer who designed offshore o’l rigs. Yes, o’l. It’s cute how some people actually pronounce that silent i in the middle. *gg*
I married the Air Force just to stay on the move, and I must say, it’s worked out pretty well. 23 years later, we’re still married, and we’re pretending to have settled down in the Midwest. Just for a little while.
Along the way, I’ve picked up a lot of odd ideas and ways of looking at the world. One of those ideas is actually something I remember from living in Norway. I’ve never enjoyed the cold, but Scandinavians seem to pull it off with style. They embrace not just the wintry weather outside, but the full coziness of life when they come in from the snow and ice.
In Denmark, there’s a specific word for it: “hygge.” Not higguh, not hoogah, but heugeh (sort of like a yew sound). However you say it, the concept of hygge is basically…coziness.
Turn off the glaring LED Christmas lights. Instead, light a fire and some candles. Wear your favorite cozy sweater, or pull a soft blanket over your lap. Close up the Kindle and read a paper book in your favorite chair, with a cup of real hot chocolate by your side.
It’s also hyggelig to go out and meet with friends at a cafe where the phones stay in everyone’s purses and pockets. To go out for a hike in the snowy woods, then come back for a little mulled cider and a board game.
Hygge is those moments of peace and contentment found both in your own company, and in the convivial company of friends and family.
It’s a Currier and Ives post card. It’s a Dickens happy ending. And it takes a little work to set up, but when you can finally sink into that comfort, it’s worth it.
Have a happy and hyggelig holiday!
And in the spirit of holiday reading, I should also mention that I was very happy to be able to participate in an anthology that just came out called MERRY & BRIGHT. Nine new stories that are set in the Nocturne Falls Universe, you’ll be charmed by these sweet, fun shorts that are just right for reading while you wait for your cocoa to cool.
My entry, Magic’s Frost…
Lonely werewolf Dima Samarin looks forward to watching his favorite winter elf every morning at the Hallowed Bean. He rescues her unfinished novel from the perils of spilled cocoa, and becomes her hero.
Elin Bergstrom’s day job is at Santa’s Workshop, but she secretly writes sci-fi novels on the side. She accepts Dima’s invitation to the Christmas Ball, but when their date gets derailed by a drug deal gone bad, this elf isn’t about to stay on her shelf.
Sometimes a werewolf can use a little helpful frost magic to win the day, and save their date.
Lucky Albright’s unlucky streak is so long and wide that she’s been run out of one town and it looks like it may happen again.
When she finds herself out of money and out of gas in Temptation, Texas, a part time job from the kind owner of the Ugly Stick Saloon gives her a glimmer of hope that this time things will be different. Landing a fulltime job at a local ranch may just be her new beginning.
Trent Jameson and Isaac Moore have always believed you make your own luck, but a black cloud of disaster seems to hover over their new hand. Under a tumbling stack of hay, Isaac discovers what Lucky’s hiding beneath baggy clothes and a tough exterior. Enough sexy curves to satisfy both men’s appetites.
But it isn’t long before Lucky’s history starts wreaking havoc all over town. It’ll take a force of nature to help the ranchers convince the law, the Garden Club—even Lucky herself—that now is no time to hit the road.
Merry Christmas, dear Delilah fans! The air is filled with the scent of sugar cookies warm from the oven. With a hint of cinnamon. Pine boughs and red ribbon line the mantel where a fire licks at the grate. Sparkling ornaments drape the fresh-cut evergreen that reaches the ceiling, its wide fragrant branches sheltering stacks of gaily wrapped gifts.
It’s the holiday vision, the perfect scene where Santa will stop briefly to drop magic into stockings. Loved ones will gather to smile, share delicious food, and part with tearful hugs. We believe it, expect it, and as adults try to recreate it for our children—and for ourselves.
There is nothing in the vision about bickering spouses, too much alcohol, or racking up credit card debt we can’t afford.
Sorry—but sometimes reality sucks. We’ve all experienced the let down when our expectations aren’t met. It’s not just others who sometimes don’t measure up—we often disappoint ourselves.
Well, I say it’s time to kick that whole sick set-up out of our lives. We’re grownups and we’re in charge. We know nothing is perfect. So why do we expect it?
A little child still lives inside us, never quite able to let go of those promises, not just for a perfect glowing Christmas.These fairy tales that we learned as a child sit deep in our hearts, murmuring at us in quiet moments about what we wanted and couldn’t have. If only…
As adults, each of us in our own style finds ways to comfort that little child in us. We hang up pretty sparkling lights, even if it’s just one strand over a doorway. One rainy cold Saturday, we bake cookies and take half of them to an ailing neighbor. We watch the sunset in late afternoon, its orange rays penetrating the windows, and think of other holiday seasons and congratulate ourselves that we’ve lived another year, that progress of some kind has been made, that life surely goes on no matter what.
We thank ourselves for our strength and courage. We acknowledge our frailty and suffering. We make promises to ourselves about one thing (or more) we can do better, what we can hope for, work for, and what we can care about.
It’s the biggest gift that money can’t buy—taking care of ourselves. Understanding. Acknowledging. Once we’ve clasped that warm fuzzy to our chest, we can open our arms to others who also suffer the human condition, who like us hold a dream that can never quite be fulfilled. Give it to yourself and then give it to others.
It’s in that spirit that I extend these stories to you. Share them with friends. They’re free at Smashwords or 99¢ at Amazon.
A Taste of Love: Yuletide in Roman Camp (Caerwin of Britannia series)
A cruel wind blows across the midwinter lands of Northern Britain, flapping Senna’s cloak as she hurries inside the praetorium on the heels of the blustering Tutonius, legion cook and dear friend. In Rome, Saturnalia would last a week and include a day of relaxation for all the slaves. But, she sadly acknowledges, this is not Rome but a miserable outpost on the westernmost boundary of Roman-occupied Britannia.
Senna does her best to relieve some of her friend’s staggering workload as he prepares the holiday meal. The governor of all Britain will feast here tonight along with officers of three legions. Hurrying outside the fortress to the sprawling campgrounds of refugees, camp followers, and traders of all kinds, Senna shops for last-minute gifts for her enslaved Briton mistress Caerwin and food supplies Tutonius must have.
Upon her return to the kitchen, Senna blushes as Teutonius shares a moment of personal pleasure.
His Only Love – Novelette in the Caerwin of Britannia series (Gay Erotica)
As Saturnalia dawns and Rome’s Legio XIV Gemina prepares for the midwinter celebration despite their station on the far western border of Britannia, Greek slave Antius faces the disaster he set in motion involving his beloved master and legion commander, Marcellus. He takes refuge with his young lover even as an intimate betrayal unfolds between trusted friends.
Caryn hadn’t expected a snow storm when she hid away in a remote cabin to lick her wounds. She also hadn’t expected an overbearing park ranger to confront her. But the snow kept falling and the temperature kept dropping, trapping her at his cabin. What could possibly go wrong?
Flight delays, bad weather—what’s not to loath about holiday travel? Except this time there’s a man daring Giselle to do something she never imagined, something that exceeds her wildest fantasies. Is the temptation worth the risk?
About the Author
Please – if you enjoy these stories, lend a friendly hand and post a review—a few words helps other readers. Meanwhile, I’ll be up here in my home office staring out the window at the Ozarks woods, watching the wind in the trees and listening to my hound dogs bark at the deer. Voices will whisper in my ears as my hands move over the keyboard, and I’ll be thinking of you, dear reader, as I channel more stories onto the page. It’s a hell of a life, but somebody’s got to do it.
He’s grumpy, in pain…horny…and then he meets a woman as stubborn as he is… And she needs his protection. Uh huh. They heal each other, if you get my drift. 😉
Yeah, you should enjoy this one! Mac is the big brother of Lyssa from the first book, Wearing His Brand. The first three Texas Cowboy stories are closely related, and you’ll see all the characters reunited. Hope you love it!
Fresh from war, “Mac” McDonough wants just two things: whiskey to drown the pain in his damaged leg and a woman. But one look into Suki Reese’s haunted eyes, and he knows she needs the kind of muscle only an ex-soldier can provide.
Mac’s brooding gaze and hard body leave Suki Reece breathless and disturbed. The rugged ex-soldier won’t listen to a word she says until Suki distracts him with a sexy striptease. That gets his attention. Suki may have gotten the upper hand, but Mac is going to be on top.
I don’t have to say anything else, do I? Go forth and purchase your copy of Soldier Boy!
Ahem. When I was here on Saturday, I told you about an exciting new opportunity for you to check out some new authors and get some free short stories. Sadly, my giveaway is over, but Regina Kammer has one now! Love sexy Roman soldiers? Come on, you didn’t watch Gladiator and secretly lust over Russell Crowe’s fine, fine body?
You want your copy? Here’s the deal…
Throughout the month on the Delilah’s Collections website, I and some of the wonderful authors who’ve appeared in my collections will be giving away our stories! My suggestion, if you’re interested in collecting them, is to subscribe to the Collections blog. Look for the sign-up in the right column. It says “Subscribe To Blog Via Email”—easy-peasy, right? That way you won’t miss a single offering. And beware! These free stories will only be available for a short time, so jump on them!
The holiday season can fray the nerves of the most organized woman, and time spent on shopping, wrapping, baking and entertaining can erode the quiet time we enjoy with a book. What to do? Ease the holiday crunch with a short Christmas read and a super easy crock-pot recipe for Christmas candy your guests will love.
Here’s a sample of my contemporary short-read HER CHRISTMAS COWBOY, the standalone sequel to KISSING HER COWBOY, and a delicious recipe for sweet and salty holiday candy that can be modified for gift giving any time of year. I hope you enjoy them.
HER CHRISTMAS COWBOY
Tragedy brought them together, but joy met them on the other side.
Clearly, the man had no concept of his effect on her.
When Daisy pulled up to Trey’s house and saw him standing at the base of the steps to greet her in nothing but low slung denims and work boots, she’d found it hard to breathe. Suddenly, Jack Frost and his Pennsylvania winter lost their appeal. Who needed snow when a smokin’ hot cowboy waited for her? Welcomed her? Wanted her?
If she hadn’t come to Houston, she wouldn’t have met the handsome ranch hand who filled her dreams night after night. Trey had become her single compelling reason to work through her personal pain. That and the fact that she’d never give up police work. She’d find a way to succeed, one way or another. It was hard for a cop to be flexible, since theirs was a structured world, but she was trying her best to adapt to her new environment.
Daisy took a bite of her chicken salad while Trey munched his roast beef. They ate in companionable silence while Big Blue grazed beyond. Trey took a swallow of bottled ice tea and then spoke. “Would you like to spend Christmas Eve together, here? Maybe help me trim the tree?”
Daisy’s spirit lifted again with the invitation, though she tried to stay cool. She and her sister Rose had already been invited to Christmas dinner with Trey’s family, and she’d promised to bring homemade pumpkin pie and oven fresh bread. Rose was making apple pie and a side dish.
Daisy hadn’t expected to spend Christmas Eve with Trey too, but she was glad he asked. “Sure. I’d like that.” The heaviness around her heart broke free and her mood lifted. She imagined the two of them in an embrace, making love beneath the twinkling lights of Trey’s Christmas tree, and realized she was…happy.
It had been so long since she’d known the feeling it took seconds to realize what had come over her. She smiled and savored the moment. Trey made her happy. Spending Christmas with him was the best gift the season could bring.
There would be no snowfall in Texas. Or winter’s chill. No downhill sledding, hot cocoa, or ice covered boots. There might not be snippets of holly gracing the table, but there would undoubtedly be mistletoe. With that final thought, Daisy leaned over and gave Trey a deep, gotta’ get-back-to-work kiss.
He smiled at her, and just like that… Daisy found her Christmas spirit.
16 ounce jar of unsalted peanuts
16 ounce jar of salted peanuts
12 ounce bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
12 ounce bag of milk chocolate chips
(2) 10 ounce bags of peanut butter chips
(2) 1 pound packages white almond bark or use vanilla candy coating
Starting with the peanuts, layer all the ingredients inside the crock pot, and turn on low heat. Cover and continue on low for 2 hours. Remove lid and stir to combine the nuts, chocolate, peanut butter chips, and almond bark or vanilla. Replace lid and continue melting on low for another 30 minutes. Stir a final time, and then spoon the mixture onto wax paper, parchment paper, or non-stick aluminum foil. Allow the candy to harden for least one hour. Serve or package the candy for gift giving.
About the Author
Adele Downs is the award-winning author of more than 20 romance titles, including those written under another pen name, and a former journalist with hundreds of articles to her credit. When not writing in her home office in rural Pennsylvania, she can be found reading a book on the nearest beach, taking photographs, or riding in her convertible.