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Archive for 'Christmas'

Saturday Puzzle-Contest — Someone’s checking his watch!
Saturday, December 3rd, 2022

Today, I’m up at O-dark-thirty to get this blog completed because I have to get a shower and get to the holiday craft show! My daughter and I have prepared for months but were still working up until yesterday because we didn’t feel like we had enough “stuff”—um, we do, but we always feel we could’ve done more. I’m leaving my space a wreck, paints and papers still on my desk and art table. Everything strewn around. I DON’T CARE. I have to shower and get dressed in the most obnoxious Christmas clothing. I’ll dig up a Christmas pin for my jean jacket… Should I bring Christmas fairy lights…? STOP!

I’ll leave you with the puzzle. Solve it. Then tell me how prepared you are for the season for a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card!

Today’s Tarot + Open Contests Ending Soon!
Sunday, November 27th, 2022

I’ve been pulling cards on Sundays to try to make it part of my planning process. Every Sunday, I update my work and personal plans to ensure I record what I accomplished and didn’t, then I turn my sights on the coming week. It’s not that I “believe” in the tarot, but because it centers me and reminds me of aspects of my life I wouldn’t otherwise consider when I set my plans. So, onto this week’s card…

Pentacles again. Hmmm. Well, first, I’ll study the art on the card. We have Daedalus, again, holding the pentacles close to his chest, like he won’t share them. Remember, he’s the father of Icarus. He’s also a skilled craftsman. Here, he’s observing his nephew Thalos as young Thalos crafts a gold bracelet. See that side-eye he’s giving the kid? He’s jealous of his skill and worried that he’ll surpass him. The child is engrossed in what he’s doing, unaware of Daedalus’s concern.

What does that mean for me? I’m not sure. I’m not here worried about another person surpassing me in skill. I write and I edit for other authors. I wish everyone well.  Truly. I don’t obsess over stats or even check mine often. A sin, I know, when writing is my business. I’m okay letting go of the worry of whether or not I write a bestseller. So, what else could this mean for me? I turn to the book…

It says that the card represents my holding too tightly to my possessions or things that represent my personal value. What could that be? Yes, I’m acquisitive, meaning I collect things. They’re things that bring me pleasure whether they hold value or not. Am I getting a little overwhelmed by my things? Yes. Simply put, I need to figure out what I want to keep and what I should let go of. In the near term, could this mean that I need to price my items for the coming sale so low that I can offload my inventory? Hmmm. Or does it mean I need to do some future planning for a huge clearing out of my spaces? Selling, tossing, giving away things? I’ll keep that in mind. I can’t do much about it until after next Saturday because I’m too busy trying to create inventory for the sale. I’ll put “weaning the horde” on my December To Do list.

In the meantime, I’m creating “stuff.” Here’s another Christmas card I painted…

Can you think of things I should offer to readers here in the future to help myself empty my bins and shelves?

Open Contests

  1. My New Favorite Thing… (Contest)This one ends soon! Win an Amazon gift card!
  2. Tell me a story… (Contest) — Win an Amazon gift card!
  3. Tell me a story… (Contest) — Win an Amazon gift card!
Carol Burnside: It’s Christmas…in October? (Contest & FREE Book!)
Tuesday, October 11th, 2022

UPDATE: The winner is…Chrissie Lege!

Are you feeling Christmassy yet? I know, I know. It’s only October, and where I live in Texas, the temps have fallen to a balmy mid-80s to low 90’s (F) most days. So, that’s our autumn weather. Even so, the stores are filled with Halloween and Fall décor of all kinds. They’re even showcasing some cold-weather gear, such as plush throws, knit hats, and gloves. And if that doesn’t start me thinking about the holidays, then the shelves full of Christmas stuff will!

Then again, maybe I’m more susceptible to thinking holiday thoughts because I wrote a Christmastime romance during the spring. It’s kind of an author woe that one must write holiday books months in advance, whether it’s a Valentine’s Day tale or any other holiday. Then we have to edit the book after our editor returns it. In addition, I followed that with a Thanksgiving-themed novel in my Sweetwater Springs series, then a Christmas novella in that same series. So, holiday themes all year for me.

You might ask, how does a girl from Texas write about snow and cold weather? Well, in between being born here and having returned here as an empty nester, I’ve lived in Colorado, northern Virginia, and Maryland. Believe me, this Texan has seen her share of the white stuff, howling winds, and the kind of cold that takes your breath. I’ve also done Christmas in Hawaii, but that’s a story best told when I have a Tropical Heat novella coming out.

For me, snow does have a magical quality about it while it’s coming down, especially if I can watch it from the safety of a warm house. And there’s something almost ethereal about a moonlit night making the snow appear to glow and sparkle. It definitely adds to the ambiance and holiday spirit in a Christmas book.

Writing holiday books also makes me think of gifting and in that spirit, I have a holiday short story that also contains sample chapters of other works I’ve written – for FREE. Check out HOME FOR CHRISTMAS when you have a minute. And while I’m feeling generous, I’ll give a $5 Amazon gift card to one lucky commenter.

In my latest release, Fake Fiancé for Christmas, Lia and Ryan have both the snow aspect of the holidays, as they live in Denver, and a southern Christmas when they travel to the Atlanta area to celebrate the holiday with her family.

Fake Fiancé For Christmas

Faced with a broken engagement due to her guarded heart and her family expecting to meet her fiancé during the first Christmas without her Gran, Lia Taylor decides to take her friends’ advice. She’ll take a fake fiancé home for Christmas.

Ryan Barton grew up in foster homes, unaware he had a family until he met his grandmother at sixteen. Lia’s offer of a noisy family Christmas with a big elaborate meal sounds like heaven, even the part about pretending to be her fiancé.

As Lia and Ryan get to know each other and practice casual touching, hugs, and kisses, their feelings grow. They decide to try for a real relationship with the promise that when either of them withdraws due to old fears, the other will pull them back.

But what will save them when they both withdraw in fear? Are their recent feelings strong enough to save their new relationship or will they hide within the safety of their guarded hearts?

Others retailers:

About the Author

“Sizzling romance with heart and humor”

Carol is an award-winning author of Sweetwater Springs, a series of contemporary, small-town romances with serious sizzle and a generous dose of southern charm. Her personal second-chance-at-love story resulted in marriage to her high school sweetheart.

Carol has also written several standalone books not connected to any series. Her Tropical Heat novella characters find love and passion on islands and beaches. Writing as Annie Rayburn, she produces Crainesian mashup romances that are sci-fi, paranormal, erotic, contemporary, and alternate history.

Find Carol on the web:

A special shoutout to Delilah Devlin for hosting me on her blog today. Thanks so much! I appreciate it.

Is it too early? (Contest)
Monday, August 1st, 2022

UPDATE The winner is…Joy Boutwell!

I used to be a last-minute shopper. You know, the one who hit the mall the night before Christmas to buy all the gifts. No kidding. It was horrendously stressful, but I hate shopping (unless it’s at a flea market!), so I procrastinated over Christmas.

These days, with online shopping, it’s soooooo nice. And I can stretch out the expense over several months instead of having all the bills hit at Christmas. I start early. Typically, in August. I list everyone I want to purchase a gift for then methodically start knocking it out. This year, I have six people in the house and my aunt to buy gifts for. I really, really try to consider Christmas cards for others, but again, I’m a horrible procrastinator. This year, I’m going to do better. I have a list. It’s getting “codified” in my planner. It will be done.

So, my question for you is whether you’re a procrastinator or do you squirrel away gifts over the year to give at Christmas time? A second question! Do you have any ideas for what I can do for my readers through my website or my Facebook pages? I was thinking about giving away free stories (downloads), mailing hand-painted bookmarks, and maybe doing one mailable gift for one lucky winner. Any ideas would be appreciated! I want to send some small handmade items to a couple of folks who’ve been part of my Team Delilah, too. I’ll put it in the plan!

So, for a chance to win your choice of one of my downloadable books, comment below!

‘Twas Days After Christmas… (Contest)
Tuesday, December 28th, 2021

UPDATE: The winner is…Carol Cox!

Okay, so I wanted to do a “‘Twas the Night After Christmas” post and write a short poem about shredded wrapping paper and round bellies, but I’m too lazy for that.

I haven’t just been in a food coma; I’ve been in sensory overload. Too many lovely gifts, too many wonderful, eatable treats—the biggest box of Russell Stover’s chocolate I’ve ever seen (and which is now nearly empty). I’m not stepping on the scale until January 1st when I begin my 50th New Year’s Resolution diet.

The chocolates were pretty awesome, as were the rest of the gifts, but, for me, the best part of Christmas was watching the kids unwrap their presents, one at a time, waiting to see what the other kids got, and being supportive and excited for each other, saying how cool everything was. I’m used to them tearing into the wrappings like the Tasmanian devil, but this time, they were there for each other. And yeah, it took forever to unwrap gifts, but it was worth it. Even at O-dark-thirty in the morning when I could’ve been sleeping in. 🙂

So, I’d love to hear something about your favorite Christmas memories—from this Christman/winter holiday or one in the past. Share for a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card!

Merry Christmas & Happy Holiday! Plus, a Puzzle Break!
Saturday, December 25th, 2021

I’m up at O-dark-thirty because the 8-year-old will wake soon. I have to enjoy these times while I can because, one day, she won’t still believe in Santa. Her mom wasn’t as smart as me. I “preserved” the magic of Christmas by telling my kids Santa doesn’t leave gifts for kids who don’t believe. I’ve never heard them deny Santa’s existence! 🙂

Here’s hoping you have a lovely day. While you sip your hot cocoa in a lull during your holiday activities, enjoy a puzzle. My Christmas gift to you.

Gabbi Grey: What’s with instalove? (Contest)
Friday, December 24th, 2021

UPDATE: The winner is…Adisen!

I have an admission to make—I was never a fan of instalove.  I mean, how do two people meet and just, like, know?  To me, love takes time.  Time to get to know the other person.  Time to figure out if you’re compatible with them.  Time to sort through all the baggage you both are carrying.  (Because you don’t get to my age without some serious baggage…)

Maybe I’m showing my age.

When I sit down and put pen to paper, though, logic and common-sense fly right out the window.  Of course, my couples are going to meet and know.  Of course, everything is going to go right.  Of course, there’s going to be a dark moment of the soul when all looks lost.  Of course, they’re going to wind up together.

Now, in my mind, these progressions happen gradually.  There might be attraction, but the characters have to work through their deep emotional wounds before they can find their happily ever after.  And I do love to make my characters suffer.  What’s the worst thing that can happen?  Make that happen.  Think things can’t get worse?  They can.  But I’m always working toward the happily ever after.

Up until this latest release, all my stories were novellas.  Longer than a short story.  Shorter than a novel.  A nice in-between place.  The problem?  Between the emotional wounds and the action of the tale, that’s a lot of story to fit into a tight package.  Readers have assured me I’ve done it well.  Reviewers have decried “instalove”.

Ginger Snapping All the Way was supposed to be different.  It’s my first full-length gay romance.  The plan was for it to be a novella, but the story quickly got away from me, and writing long was my only option.  I don’t regret it.  I love this book.  I believed since the book was longer, I could avoid some of the instalove criticism.  Except, it’s not the length of the story, but the length of the time the characters are together that determines instalove.  Yes, Maddox and Ravi are only together three days before they figure it out.  They know.  And yeah, that makes it instalove.

So, heap on the criticism.  Decry that it’s not realistic.  I’ll stand by my story.  These guys fought hard to be in a place to accept love. Love that is freely given.  Love with no expectations.  A true happily ever after.

And, of course, a cute dog.

I would love to know what you think about instalove.  Drop me a comment for a chance to win a $5 Amazon GC.

Ginger Snapping All the Way


I’m not a fan of Christmas. I’m happy to stay up in my mountain cabin and let the silly season pass me by.  But when a friend asks for a favor, I can’t say no.  Now I’m stuck in my cabin during a snowstorm, trapped with the most beautiful man I’ve ever met—who can’t wait to get away. He just might break my heart when he goes.


I’m racing to get home for the birth of my goddaughter when mechanical troubles force my plane’s emergency landing. There are no beds at the inn due to a horrendous storm, but a friend says she knows a guy who won’t mind putting me up until the bad weather passes.  Now I’m trapped with that man, and I must decide if I stay, hiding from the rest of the world, or go and face my past to earn a shot at my happily ever after.

This is a 72k word, hurt/comfort, lumberjack/nurse, grumpy/sunshine, forced proximity MM romance novel with a moderate amount of angst.

Pre-Christmas Release price: 99 cents!!

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Excerpt from Ginger Snapping All the Way…

“Give me ten.”

He grinned. “Take fifteen.” He headed to the bathroom while I detoured to the walk-in closet to snag my terry towel bathrobe, and then I shoved my feet into my faux sheepskin lined leather slippers—a gift from Hillary. I’d be chilly by the time Princess did her job, but Ravi’d warm me up right quick. I opened the door to find my pooch planted at the door, tapping her metaphorical paw.

She’d obviously heard voices and decided she’d been patient long enough.

I ruffled the fur on the top of her heard and she gave me the stink eye. Ah, so all was not forgiven. Hard to say whether the bribery bone was going to get me back into her good books.

She followed me as I headed down the stairs, flipping on lights as I went.

Her nails clacked on the hardwood floor.

Time to trim them again.

One of the few things I didn’t enjoy as her owner. The thought of cutting her to the quick terrified me, but the alternative was going into town to the groomer’s and that was too much peopling for me.

Man, I really had to re-examine my life. If taking care of Sofia meant going into town, I should make the effort. She was probably due for some shots as well. I’d call Dr. Zephyra’s vet clinic and make an appointment for her. I opened the back door and was hit with a blast of frigid air.

Sofia balked.

I nudged her gently with my toe.

She glared.

I pointed.

She shrugged. And finally stepped out.

The nice square I’d cleared yesterday had almost another foot. All while we’d slept. Uh, thank you, universe. This meant I’d get my delicious gorgeous man for another day. Yum. I had plans. So many plans.

My stomach rumbled. I considered. Okay, yeah, dinner’d been about eleven hours ago. But I didn’t want to stop for food. I didn’t want to stop for anything. Princess Sofia finally squatted, and I did an inner cheer. My legs were turning into ice as she deigned to do her business. And with all the snow that’d accumulated against her belly, I now needed to grab a towel. More time. It would take more time to dry her off, and I needed more time with Ravi. Was I allowed to hope the snow never stopped?

Sofia tried to dodge around my legs, but I was quicker. I halted her progress and kept one hand clutching her collar while the other closed and locked the door. I snagged her towel, and she gave me a baleful look. Seriously? If someone offered to rub me down and I was wet, I certainly wouldn’t complain. Especially if that someone had tan skin, deep dark-brown eyes, and a killer smile.

My cock sat up and took notice at that thought. Sighing, I wrapped Sofia in the towel and rubbed vigorously, all the while thinking of other things I’d love to rub. When she was drier, I put her down.

She bolted for her bowl and nosed her very expensive kibble. And gave me that look.

I swear to God, the dog was psychic. Or I’d given in to her demands once too often—I wasn’t sure which. I moved to the cupboard and pulled down the very expensive wet food. And cursed. I hadn’t brushed her teeth the last two nights. After a very expensive dental bill, I’d decided I’d rather brush her teeth every night than lose another thousand bucks. It’d also cost her three teeth. That was really the determining factor.

And she didn’t really fight anymore. She just liked to put on a good show.

Sighing, I dumped the food into a bowl and separated it into Sofia-appropriate sized bites. I barely put the bowl on the floor before she’d scarfed most of it down. No delicacy here—she ate like a starving wolf after a long winter. Or like she hadn’t been fed for a month. Sheesh.

Hot chocolate. And ginger snap cookies.

I pulled the milk from the fridge, then grabbed two mugs. It took entirely too long to prepare two mugs, but in the meantime, I grabbed a sandwich bag and added four cookies. I’d prefer presenting the cookies on a nice plate Hillary had insisted on giving me—because she insisted I would eventually have company—but two mugs and a plate was just too much to carry. I doubted Ravi’d care how I presented the cookies.

I snagged Sofia’s wet-food bowl off the floor and put it into the dishwasher. Then I selected a small frozen soup bone for her.

Her eyes lit with glee—a double treat.

Enjoy it, pooch.

Not going to happen again any time soon.

Unless Ravi stays…

Nope, not going there.

I held out the bone, and she angled her head to grab it with her little teeth.

She made a beeline to her bed in front of the fireplace. She dropped the bone and sniffed it, clearly trying to decide the best way to approach this.

About the Author

Gabbi lives in beautiful British Columbia where her fur baby chin-poo keeps her safe from the nasty neighborhood squirrels. Working for the government by day, she spends her early mornings writing contemporary, gay, sweet, and dark erotic BDSM romances. While she firmly believes in happy endings, she also believes in making her characters suffer before finding their true love. She also writes m/f romances as Gabbi Black.

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