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Archive for 'Christmas'

EmKay Connor: The 5 Best Thing About Fake Dates
Friday, October 8th, 2021

There’s nothing artificial about the popularity of the “fake” trope in romance books. Phony fiancée, temporary wife, stand-in wedding date, boyfriend-for-hire, fake affair. Its popularity isn’t limited to books; how many fake relationship romantic comedies can you name? Here are a few to get you started:

While You Were Sleeping
The Proposal
Can’t Buy Me Love
To All the Boys
Leap Year
Green Card
The Wedding Date

Earlier this year, I signed up to write in a fake-date themed anthology. Picture me rubbing my hands in glee, and then picture me doing a happy dance when I learned the story also needed to include a holiday angle.

A holiday fake date—two of my favorite tropes. The story was already loaded with potential for fun, but I ramped up the humor and complications by setting my story in a small town filled with nosy neighbors and interfering friends.

Unwrapping Archie is one of 22 stories in Holiday Fake-Out, a 99¢ limited-time anthology headlined by Heather Graham. It’s the story of Archie Caddel and Anabelle Cypress, best friends since kindergarten, who find it convenient to let their family and friends assume there’s more to their relationship than just friendship. However, on their annual trip home for the holidays, their lie spirals out of control until the truth catches up with them. Things are further complicated when the close-knit townsfolk of tiny Joy Ridge, Pennsylvania, decide to give them a nudge in the right direction.

Let me tell you the 5 best things about writing a fake romance. I hope you’ll share what you enjoy most about reading these romances and check out the Holiday Fake-Out box set!

  1. Forced Proximity – Part of the farce is pretending to be in love, or at least infatuated, with each other, which requires the hero and heroine to act like a couple. That often means sharing the same bed, traveling together, or otherwise being joined at the hip.
  2. Friends to Lovers – taking a couple who think they’re “just friends” on a journey to romance is so much fun to write because the characters are just as surprised by the turn of events as readers.
  3. It’s Complicated – While faking a relationship seems like a simple solution to whatever problem the hero and/or heroine is dealing with, the plan is bound to fall apart at some point. Upping the stakes, shifting priorities, discovering what really matters in life can only happen after the (fake) happy couple has dealt with lots and lots of complications.
  4. Fake It Til You Make It – “Oh, you mean we have to hold hands and kiss and maybe do some other juicy stuff to convince everyone we’re a real couple? Twist my arm, baby. Especially when the hero is sizzling hot and irresistible, and I’ve secretly been fantasizing about him for years!” said every fake romance heroine ever.
  5. I Didn’t See That Coming – Most fake relationships only require the farce to last for a limited time. Tensions rise as the hero and heroine get closer and closer to the end point, wondering if maybe the romance is real, debating whether they should take a risk and admit they’ve fallen in love, questioning the possibility of a happy ever after instead of a temporary thrill. As an author, driving my characters and the readers to the edge and then wrapping up all the loose ends into a neat little bow is especially satisfying.

About the Author

EmKay Connor is the author of sexy, sassy contemporary romantic fiction infused with quirky humor and engaging characters. Her over-the-top, instalove, escape reads are set in tropical locations, rustic locales, glamorous destinations, and friendly small towns where her heroes and heroines discover passion and fall in love. For more information about EmKay Connor and her books, visit her website at

Merry Christmas, all! And, of course, a Puzzle!
Friday, December 25th, 2020

I’ve been up since O-dark-thirty! Had to beat the kids out of bed to get ready for the big day! Presents have been opened, and everyone was thrilled with their gifts. Watching the youngest kid open her gifts was so much fun! She’s still into Cabbage Patch dolls and Barbies, and her face lit up with every gift. I got her a fancy karaoke microphone. Her mom gave me a “you’re so dead” look before telling the wee one how cool the present was. (I love this part of being a grandma!)

My dd has already started preparations for our meal. We’ll have it early so one of her daughters can spend the rest of the day with her dad’s family, so we’re having a very early meal. A Christmas tradition we began three years ago (because, after Thanksgiving, we get pretty sick of turkey and ham), is to serve an international meal. So far, we’ve done Mexican, Senagalese, and today, we’ll have a German meal, complete with jaeger schnitzel, brats, sauerkraut, etc. And of course, lots of German cookies for snacking while we watch Wonder Woman 1984!

Here’s hoping you are enjoying your day, too.
I wish you all the merriest of Christmases!

Merry Christmas Puzzle!

When you have some time for yourself, enjoy the puzzle version of the ornament! My Christmas gift to you!

Susan Saxx: A Refuge Bay Christmas #1 — Their Daughter’s First Christmas (Contest–2 Winners!)
Thursday, December 24th, 2020

UPDATE: The winners are…Elaine and Laura!

Come to Refuge Bay. Where trouble is brewing in a young girl’s heart this holiday season…

Dear Reader: There’s something special about Christmas.

Yet, it’s also worrisome, and daunting, in a weird way,. There’s so much hype about the happiness, that, especially for a young girl, newly adopted, who’s not quite sure about her place in the world or in her new family, it brings all those emotions to the forefront in a jumbled up, messy way.

Messy Christmases. We all know about those. Right? 🙂

When I wrote A Refuge Bay Christmas #1: Their Daughter’s First Christmas, Trasher’s voice and heart, came to me, loud and clear. (Trasher is the name of the young girl—there’s a whole story there.)  As did the voices of her 2 gay dads, Nathan and Og. They notice something’s definitely off with their new, young daughter, the one who came from a background of abuse, and whom they’re crazily committed to. They all live together in an old century home in Refuge Bay, just off the Chesapeake Bay.

The whole story simply came, and early readers are really enjoying it.

Here’s the blurb!

A Refuge Bay Christmas #1: Their Daughter’s First Christmas

An Orphan. Two Gay Dads. Her First Real Christmas. And It’s scary…

When Nathan and Og fell in love, little did they realize their union would culminate in an adoption: that of the six-year old runaway child they found at Hope House. Now her first Christmas is fast approaching, and everything is hard for the orphan who’s never had a real family. She’s still dealing with ghosts of the past, and she’s trying to do it alone. How can Nathan, Og, and the whole gang at Hope House, show her everything Christmas can be, in a forever family? Most importantly, how can they make sure that the Refuge Bay community’s unparalleled Christmas magic will work its special miracle…on her?

Early reviews:

“A great read. This reads like a warm fuzzy blanket or an awesome Hallmark Christmas movie! – Goodreads Reviewer

“I don’t know what it is about this series, or these people but I am totally hooked!”– Goodreads Reviewer

Please note, this book can be read as a standalone, though readers will enjoy the additional details provided by the main series.

If you’re in the mood for real heart with a dollop of sass, some fun, and two men (as well as a whole community of people) that deeply love a newly rescued, feisty orphan who’s used to solving her own problems, you’re invited to enter their world this Christmas season, as well as that of the century home they live and love in, Hope House.

Other Retailers:

~Susan Saxx~~


For you today? An Early Christmas Gift: Here’s a Christmas Giveaway for TWO lucky commenters!
For a chance to win an e-book copy of Nathan Unwrapped, the first book in the series, let me know in the comments below:   What is your favorite Christmas story trope? I literally can’t wait to hear what you have to say, because I’m crazy about the holidays too! :))

***For ANOTHER chance to win, follow the fabulous Silver Daggers blog tour for this book here:

And…Merry Christmas!

About the Author

Susan Saxx is a top 2 Amazon bestseller with her m/f small town military romance series, Real Men. She has a passion for the small towns of North America, and sets her compelling stories in the north country (Jack’s Bay), mountain country (Terrence Point, Dawson Ridges, Golden) and Chesapeake Bay area (Refuge Bay), replete with quirky yet big-hearted neighbours always willing to lend a hand–and an opinion, whether requested or not. Susan has also started writing m/m romance and has garnered excellent reviews with her first book in the genre, Nathan Unwrapped.

Susan also loves Christmas. Enjoy the many holiday books in her series! Check them all out at Amazon and her site:

Learn more about Susan, her newsletters and her books at

Flea Market Finds and Christmas Puzzle Contest!
Saturday, December 19th, 2020

I’m late posting today! My dd decided this morning that the family needed an “outing”. So, off to the flea market we went! We love going because, not only are we inveterate junkers, but the local flea market is open, well-ventilated, and no one’s ever there! The few who were there all stayed masked!

Anyway, this was my haul…

On the left is a decorative tin ($2). I plan to cut it up to make jewelry with the pieces! The plates are Fiesta ware and were only $1 apiece! We’re adding to our collection. The little box in front contains a vintage metal toy ($8). It has a key to wind it up, then it pecks as it walks. It’s heavy for being so small. It’s going on my desk! Those balls? They’re decorated tiny Christmas ornaments made into earrings. My dd and I are wearing them on Christmas day. Lastly, the jar is a vintage (1950s) powder jar ($10) with a swan on top of it. I collect those as well, so was thrilled to find it!

Christmas Puzzle Contest

Play the puzzle then tell me your favorite winter view for a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card!

Ho! Ho! Ho! — Christmas Puzzle Contest!
Tuesday, December 15th, 2020

UPDATE: The winner is…Denise!

Christmas Puzzle Contest

Comment for a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card! What do you suppose they’re giving each other for Christmas? 

Open Contests!

Don’t forget to enter these contests, too!

  1. Christmas Puzzle Contest! — Win an Amazon gift card!
  2. Christmas Puzzle Contest (3 Winners!) — Win a FREE book!
  3. Holiday Movie Recommendations (Contest) — Win an Amazon gift card!
Holiday Movie Recommendations (Contest)
Sunday, December 13th, 2020

UPDATE: The winner is…Samantha Rowe!

We’ve been doing a lot of movie nights here. The weather’s crap and getting colder. COVID keeps us close to home. We like getting out dinner trays or putting out finger foods or popcorn to settle in for a night at the movies in the living room.

So far, we’ve watched Elf (always a must!), The Christmas Chronicles 1 & 2 (everyone enjoyed them), Godmothered (ONLY the 7-year-old liked it), White Christmas (only I enjoyed it—but I insisted they watch the classic at least once in their lifetimes!), Home Alone, and Operation Christmas Drop (a one-timer). Last night, we watched Last Holiday (3rd time for me, 1st for kids)—everyone enjoyed it!

So, my question to you for a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card is what should we watch next?

Slow Saturday… (Open Contests)
Saturday, December 12th, 2020

‘Tis the season to be lazy… Fa-la-la-la-la… 

Or at least it is for me. Our Christmas shopping began in late summer, and I purchased the last little things I needed at the beginning of this month. Yes, I have to wrap all the crap, er, wonderful gifts. I really do think everyone will be pleased. So, what’s left to do?

Work. However, that’s the last thing I want to do. See, there are all these delightfully awful Christmas movies to watch with the fam. We plan our lives around movie nights, now. Last night it was Godmothered. The 7-year-old loved it so much she asked, “Can we watch it again? Please!” Loved the concept. Hated the execution. Tonight, we’re hoping for a better experience with the Jamie Dornan movie, Wild Mountain Thyme. Please, someone who watched it when it released yesterday, if you hated it, don’t tell me!

We’re doing take-out a lot this week. All those homecooked meals for months are wearing on us. It’s so much work! Thank God for drive-thru and carry out. We’re having Greek gyros for lunch but home-cooked pork shops tonight. Nothing “healthy”. I’ll get back on the WW bandwagon on Monday; I’m just not in the mood for counting points.

I have edits to do for one of my favorite clients (I have to say that because we’re related 🙂 ), but I’m dragging my feet on them. I have another set right behind them, so I really do have to make some progress! And I have my own book to power through. I’m stuck in Chapter 5 and not sure where this story is going. I need “think time” but I’m not thinking much these days. I’m ready for Christmas!

How about you? Are you procrastinating or charged up? Are you ready for Christmas/holiday fun?

Open Contests!

Enter while you can! 

  1. Christmas Puzzle Contest! — Win a FREE book!
  2. Flashback: The Pleasure Bot (Contest–3 Winners!) — Win a FREE book!
  3. Christmas Puzzle Contest! — Win an Amazon gift card!
  4. Christmas Puzzle Contest (3 Winners!) — Win a FREE book!