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Archive for 'Christmas'



‘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

Maddox

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.

Ravi

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!!

eBook Links:
Amazon US:  https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09KMC3X5X
Amazon CA:  https://www.amazon.ca/Ginger-Snapping-All-Gabbi-Grey-ebook/dp/B09KMC3X5X
KOBO:  https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/ginger-snapping-all-the-way
Barnes & Noble:  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/ginger-snapping-all-the-way-gabbi-grey/1140479206
iBooks:  https://books.apple.com/us/book/ginger-snapping-all-the-way/id1593193241
Universal Book Link: https://books2read.com/u/3yaArV

Audio Links:
Audible US:   https://www.audible.com/pd/Ginger-Snapping-All-the-Way-Audiobook/B09KS9C4Q4
Audible UK:  https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/Ginger-Snapping-All-the-Way-Audiobook/B09KS845F

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.

Personal links:
Website: https://gabbigrey.com/
Newsletter sign-up:  https://sendfox.com/gabbigrey
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/gabbi-grey
Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15456297.Gabbi_Grey
Amazon Author Central: https://www.amazon.com/Gabbi-Grey/e/B07SJVFX1M
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authorgabbigrey/
Facebook (page): https://www.facebook.com/AuthorGabbiGrey
Twitter: https://twitter.com/GabbiGrey
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.ca/gabbigreyauthor/

Genevive Chamblee: 5 Last Minute Holiday Gift Ideas!
Monday, December 20th, 2021

It’s all about the giving and not receiving, right? Unfortunately, some people missed the message and transform what should be a fun and caring activity until one of dread, disappointment, and even hostility. I’ll start this post with a story. Let me know in the comment section below if you can relate.

Several years ago, the place where I was employed used to have a Christmas “party.” At this point, I feel that I need to stop and make my first group of disclaimers. First, the reason it was called a Christmas party was because all the workers in the building only celebrated Christmas (a.k.a., no Hannukah, Kwanzaa, etc.), which says something about the diversity of the workplace. No one objected to Christian activities that occurred at this event.  If an employee did, indeed, celebrate another holiday or tradition during this time of year, they never discussed or acknowledged it with the majority of the other staff.

Second, when many people think of a holiday work party, many assume an afterhours event that employees bring a spouse or significant other. It would be a time for employees to let their hair down and socialize with dancing, catered food, adult beverages, and party clothes. However, that was not the type of party this was. The “party” that I’m referring to was really nothing more than an hour-long potluck lunch during most employees’ usual lunch break. There were few decorations, no music, and no adult beverages. The party began with everyone gathering for a group prayer over the meal, preparing their plate buffet-style, and then finding a place to eat in the small lunch area, conference room, or their office. During this time, the phones continued to have to be answered and business conducted. Thus, calling it a “party” is really an injustice.

When I first transferred to the building, which was comprised of multiple departments, the Christmas party also included playing Dirty Santa. I had no idea how this game was played and have later learned that there are many names and variation of rules. In a nutshell, the rules were that each employee would purchase a gift with a maximum value of $15.00 (later raised to $25.00). All gifts would be wrapped with no nametag and placed in a pile on a table. Each employee would select a number from a bowl to determine the order of which they would be allowed to pick a present. They would then unwrap the present for everyone to see. The players following had the option to either select a gift from the pile or “steal” (a.k.a., take) a gift that had previously been opened. The same gift could only be “stolen” twice before it was retired. Sounds fun, right? Well, it was—kinda—until Scrooge hit the scene.

Some of the problems were as followed. First, the departments had far more women employees than men employees. Many gifts purchased were gender-specific gifts, meaning usually male staff ended up with a gift they didn’t want or couldn’t use. Second, some employees were too lazy to put effort into purchasing an actual gift. They elected to purchase gift cards, and the game result in being a gift card exchange ceremony. Maybe it would have been slightly exciting if the gift cards had been from a variety of stores, but most were from Walmart. Those who were even too lazy to buy a gift card just put money in an envelope. And while I understand that many people appreciate cash as a gift, what is the point of playing a gift-giving game if it’s just swapping the same amount of cash? Is four fives better than two tens or one twenty? But the worst offense was that people complained about the gifts they selected as being cheap. (Remember, there was a maximum limit set.) They would argue that they had spent the full $15.00, and they only got a $10.00. One worker complained that she knew her Bath & Body Works shower gel, lotion, and body spray would have been worth $25.00 if sold at regular price but had been on sale but only $9.00 plus tax had been spent. They felt shorted because the gift purchaser hadn’t come out of pocket for the maximum amount. Yet, other contested the actual value of the gift that had been purchased, which resulted in hurt feelings from gift buyers. Needless to say, employees slowly began opting out of participating. Others resorted to leaving the price tags on the gifts to prove the value of the gift. This led to complaints of “tackiness.”

When I began writing this article, I couldn’t refrain from contacting a close friend who for many years has suffered from extreme holiday anxiety. At first, it may sound trivial, but anything that leaves a person close to your heart in tears and pacing the floor endlessly is not something that is easily overlooked. Her complaint is finding appropriate gifts for family members. Now, many people encounter this problem, and surely it isn’t something that leads to a trip to a therapist. However, her situation goes beyond this. Like many other people, she has a tight budget for purchasing gifts. To avoid too much holiday debt, she makes purchases throughout the year and sets them aside when she comes across a good deal. And when Black Friday approaches, she hits the sales for the best bargain. She legitimately spends hours considering and planning what to purchase for each person on her list to try in earnest to buy the perfect gift at a price she can afford. Only to, too often, find that her time and effort is met without appreciation.

To make matters worse, she purchases gifts for each person and is given a family gift in return. For example, she purchases individual gifts for her brother, his wife, and all five of their children, making a total of seven gifts. If she spends $20.00 per gift per person, that nearly $150.00 with tax. This can get expensive, especially when she has four brothers, four sisters-in-laws, and seventeen nephew and nieces. In return, she receives one gift from her brother in her family with a value of possible $10.00. Now, the value of her gift has never been a huge concern for her, and she isn’t concerned with quid pro quo. However, what has bothered her greatly is that gifts from her family feels like an afterthought. For example, several years ago, she was gifted stationary. Anyone who knows her is aware that she has not used stationary since high school over twenty years ago. Yet, stationary in and of itself on the surface does not seem like a terrible gift. However, had any of her family ever listened to her, they would have heard her express on multiple occasions of how she desperately was attempting to find ways to use up the stack of stationary she still had in order for it not to go to waste. In fact, she had inquired about places where she could donate it. The stationary they gifted her has yet to be used.

Okay, maybe you’re thinking that the stationary was an unfortunate misfire and that her family members got their wires crossed. The print on the stationary was completely not her aesthetic. Again, anyone who knows her would have recognized that she would dislike the print. It’s the last that indicates that no one considered her as a person when selecting a gift, and she felt like it was purchased out of “obligation.” According to my friend, she indicated that she would rather have been given nothing at all than given something meaningless that would do nothing but collect dust.

Now, what does any of that have to do with today’s topic? In a word: re-gifting and making those not-so-great gifts to you work for others. What? Re-gifting is tacky? Hold before tapping out and hear me out.

Over the years, my friend compiled a stack of gifts that she couldn’t or wouldn’t use. In her closet, she had a box where she would stack these gifts. At first, she would attempt to regift them to coworkers, but her coworkers didn’t want them, either. So, she decided to get creative and regift in a different form.

  1. Never regift a gift the same year it is received. In the case of my friend, she’d label who it was from and when she received it. This would ensure that it would not be given to the original gift giver, and if by the off chance the original gift giver saw it being opened by another, they likely would not have remembered gifting it the first time. (Many of the gifts were pretty forgettable.)
  2. Packaging is everything. When possible, remove the gift from the original packaging and re-box with fancy wrapping. This is when the dollar store can be your friend. Grab some inexpensive bows, ribbon, and wrapping paper and head over to YouTube for a gift-wrapping tutorial. Create an exterior packaging that looks like it could be on a Hallmark Channel Christmas movie. The receiver will be so blown away by the wrapping, the contents will be a less disappointing.
  3. Repurpose the item. My friend with the stationary issue used it to make origami. (She checked out an origami book from the local library.) She then purchased inexpensive frames and matting from the craft store and created tasteful wall décor, which she gifted. Another friend who had been gifted holiday kitchen towels used them to make throw pillows.
  4. Create the illusion of expense. Nearly everyone has someone on their Christmas list that erroneously associates cost with quality. Just because something is inexpensive does not mean that it is poor quality. For those who fail to grasp this concept, there is a solution—give gifts that cannot be easily priced in confusing packaging. An associate told me the following story. She is a makeup enthusiast and often receives free samples with purchases. Some of these samples were small vials of expensive perfumes such as Tom Ford and Dior. For years, she’d disregarded them in an old jewelry box. On a whim, she decorated the jewelry box with deconstructed white craft pearls, shells, and stones as a container for the scents. She found a dollar store plastic tray that she covered with a piece of velvet fabric she had lying around to create an insert to hold the vials. Here is where it becomes interesting. Proud of her project, she decided to share a photo on Instagram. Of course, on The Gram people like to have glam shots. With no mal intentions, she prepared a small display. When she took the photo, however, she ended up unintentionally snapping a portion of a giftbag from an upscaled department store that was sitting nearby. She hadn’t noticed the giftbag in the background when she uploaded. She posted the photo without a caption. Some people assumed that she had purchased the box as a sampler from the upscale store. One of those people was a snooty relative who without fail snuffed any gift that she perceived to be less than $100.00. She assumed the DIY projection was some mega expensive, limited-edition designer perfume set. Well, guess what she got gifted that year?
  5. This is a gift that can go a long way and bring a great many smiles without a huge cost. Break out those recipe books or search the internet for some homemade holiday yummies. Many people go for the traditional sugar cookies, gingerbread, or fruitcake. While these are more than acceptable, if giving as a gift, one may want to be more creative or step their game up a notch. This may mean searching for recipes that aren’t readily available in stores or almost exclusively found in bakeries (e.g., Pfeffernüsse or peppernut cookies, macarons, gingerbread fudge, Millionaire shortbread, or red velvet cheesecake bites). This can easily turn into a family activity and a fun way to spend an afternoon. Tins in all shapes, sizes, and designs are sold in multiple types of stores, or even go all out and gift in a ceramic cookie jar.

So, there are five last-minute holiday ideas that can brighten the day for anyone and/or relieve some stress of decorating or gift-giving. No matter what holiday you’re celebrating, have a very merry and safe time.

What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with these points? Did you find any of this information helpful? Let me know your thoughts and opinions in the comment section. If you like this post, please click the like button and share it. If you’re not following me on Creole Bayou blog, what are you waiting for? There’s always room at the bayou.

Penalty Kill, book #4 in the Locker Room Love sports romance series is now available for purchase. Grab your copy at Amazon or at https://books2read.com/penaltykill for more options. Continue reading for the blurb and more information.

When the scandal of a double homicide threatens to destroy his career, this billionaire hockey player hires an ambitious sports agent to improve his public image. It’s time to let the puckery begin.

Timothée Croneau is that jock—the bad boy superstar with the naughty reputation. He’s handsome, arrogant, and a billionaire. He’s also the number one person-of-interest in a double homicide and recently traded to a losing team who is showing him no love. And wouldn’t it be just his luck that his career splashed in the toilet six months after his long-time agent kicked the bucket? Now, he’s stuck with Ryker Kitsch. An agent is supposed to fix his life, though, not break his heart.

Speaking of breaks, ex-athlete Ryker Kitsch wants his in the sports agency realm. He sees his chance to make a name for himself by helping rebrand his agency’s newly acquired hockey star, Timothée Croneau. The guy needs every lick of positive PR he can get. So, why is the devilishly gorgeous forward fighting him at every step and leaving Ryker to wonder if he’s been hired for a babysitting gig?

The mess Timothée is stirring was never in any contract Ryker was hired to handle. One thing’s for sure. Whether it’s a forecheck or backcheck, collision is inevitable.

Order your copy at:
Amazon: https://amzn.to/3ex0N9p
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/ B08YMYZF2S
Other book sellers: https://books2read.com/penaltykill
Amazon US: https://amzn.to/3ex0N9p
Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/30zhdWC
Amazon CA: https://amzn.to/3vjFmP6
Amazon AU: https://amzn.to/3cjyFnE
iTunes: http://apple.co/30xulf0
Nook: http://bit.ly/3bEi0w4
Kobo: http://bit.ly/30CNe00

Missed the three in my hockey romance series? No frets. Out of the Penalty Box (book #1), where it is one minute in the box or a lifetime out, is available at http://amzn.to/2Bhnngw. It also can be ordered on iTunes, Nook, or Kobo. For more links where to purchase or to read the blurb, please visit http://bit.ly/2i9SqpH.
Defending the Net (book #2) can be ordered at https://amzn.to/2N7fj8q or www.books2read.com/defending. Crossing the line could cost the game.

Ice Gladiators (book #3) is the third book in my Locker Room Love series. When the gloves come off, the games begin. Available at https://amzn.to/2TGFsyD or www.books2read.com/icegladiators.

For more of my stories, shenanigans, giveaways, and more, check out my blog, Creole Bayou, www.genevivechambleeconnect.wordpress.com. New posts are made on Wednesdays, and everything is raw and unscathed. Climb on in a pirogue and join me on the bayou.

If you have any questions or suggestions about this post or any others, feel free to comment below or tweet me at @dolynesaidso. You also can follow me on Instagram at genevivechambleeauthor or search me on Goodreads or Amazon Authors or BookBub.

NEWSLETTER! Want to get the latest information and updates about my writing projects, giveaways, contests, and reveals first? Click https://genevivechambleeconnect.wordpress.com/newsletter/ and signup today.

Until next time, happy reading and much romance. Laissez le bon temps rouler.

Do you own one of these? (Contest)
Tuesday, December 14th, 2021

UPDATE: The winner is…Karla Campos!
*~*~*

First, solve the puzzle! Share your time, if you like. Then we can talk.

I have two, although neither is Christmas/holiday-themed. One features an astronaut sitting in space. The other features the flying monkeys from The Wizard of Oz.

For a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card, tell me whether you have one, and if you do, what does yours feature?

Hot SEAL, Sinful Harvest by Parker Kincade and Hot SEAL, Silent Knight by Kris Michaels **AVAILABLE NOW**
Saturday, December 11th, 2021

We have two new SEALS in Paradise stories! The latest releases are by my friends, Parker Kinkade and Kris Michaels! All buy links are below!

Sinful Harvest

Cash “Inferno” Mancini is a take-charge, get-shit-done kind of guy. All he wants to do is help his family bring in the fall harvest, eat some holiday turkey, and then get his ass back to his SEAL team. If it weren’t for his unexpected roommate, he’d be halfway to done already. Cash had no doubt that Aspen Calloway was put on this earth just to annoy him. With her sweet smiles and cheery attitude. With her constant smiles and those pouty lips he’d like to…

Silent Knight

Author’s note: To this Christmas story I’ve also sprinkled two handfuls of Guardians and a dash of an assassin in a Christmas sweater! Come find some old friends and maybe a glimpse into next year’s first release in the Kings of Guardian Series!

Forced to take his ‘Use or Lose’ vacation days, Romeo Platoon Leader Ted (Bear) Black begrudgingly heads home to Hope City and all the nonsense surrounding Christmas. He’d rather stay in San Diego and spend his downtime working, especially when he’s unexpectantly reunited with the woman who was the star of the worst date he’d ever experienced.

Noel Laurent is heading home for Christmas. Her life in San Diego is lacking one thing. Snow! Christmas is the absolute most magical time of the year, and she can’t miss any of the wonderful traditions and events surrounding the season, even if she has to share her travels with the stoically silent Ted Black. Forced to spend time together, Noel is determined to infuse Christmas’s magic and wonder into her travel partner, despite his grumpy disposition. After all, miracles still happen, especially at Christmas!

More SEALS in Paradise Links

Hot SEAL, Heartbreaker by Cat Johnson
Available now!
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B089S5S3JL
iBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/hot-seal-heartbreaker/id1517407932
Nook: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/hot-seal-heartbreaker-cat-johnson/1137147753
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/hot-seal-heartbreaker

Hot SEAL, Charmed by Parker Kincade
Available now!
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08VWF7Q42
iBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/hot-seal-charmed/id1552125791
Nook: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/hot-seal-charmed-parker-kincade/1138748474
Kobo:

Hot SEAL, April’s Fool by Becca Jameson
Available now!
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08SBPCT8S
iBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/hot-seal-aprils-fool/id1548771062
Nook: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/hot-seal-aprils-fool-becca-jameson/1138617937
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/hot-seal-april-s-fool

Hot SEAL, In His Memory by Delilah Devlin
Available now!
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08PVV1KGQ
iBooks: https://books.apple.com/au/book/hot-seal-in-his-memory/id1543653235
Nook: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/hot-seal-in-his-memory-delilah-devlin/1138430889
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/hot-seal-in-his-memory

Hot SEAL, A Forever Dad by MaryAnn Jordan
Available now!
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08SC2FR3H
iBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/hot-seal-a-forever-dad/id1547818382
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Hot SEAL, Independence Day by Elle James
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Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08PSSV2GQ
iBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/hot-seal-independence-day/id1543730914
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Hot SEAL, Sweet & Spicy by Cynthia D’Alba
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Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08VWJY1PV
iBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/hot-seal-sweet-and-spicy/id1552473846
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Hot SEAL, Labor Day by Cynthia D’Alba
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Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08VWXS6MQ
iBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/hot-seal-labor-day/id1552472938
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Hot SEAL, Midnight Magic by Teresa Reasor
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Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08TT4CQFR
iBooks: https://books.apple.com/ie/book/hot-seal-midnight-magic-seals-in-paradise/id1550611527
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Hot SEAL, Sinful Harvest by Parker Kincade
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iBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/hot-seal-sinful-harvest/id1552135783
Nook: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/hot-seal-sinful-harvest-parker-kincade/1138748630
Kobo: 

Hot SEAL, Silent Knight by Kris Michaels
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Nook: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/hot-seal-silent-knight-kris-michaels/1138824132
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/hot-seal-silent-knight

Candice LaBria: Holiday Tradition (Plus, FREE in KU!!)
Thursday, December 9th, 2021

I am tagging on to Delilah’s “St. Nick” post. If you haven’t read it, you can find it here. https://www.delilahdevlin.com/blog/2021/12/05/st-nicks-night/. She wrote on her family’s Christmas traditions. Let me tell you about mine.

I found it in the midst of utter chaos. I was chasing down the perfect gifts for loved ones, planning a party, and juggling visiting family with different schedules, dietary needs, and pets. Facebook was my escape from reality. It was my coping mechanism—don’t judge. There was a picture depicting Jolabokaflod. I looked at that photo of a blazing fire with an inviting chair under the snow-covered windows. A hot beverage next to a pile of books lay beside it.  I was immediately transported to Iceland. The house was quiet; the fire crackled; all my friends were curled up with books. I wanted that. Okay, I lived on the gulf coast, so snow and a roaring fire were not realistic, but I could give books on Christmas Eve. Setting up little reading nooks and an array of warm beverages were possibilities as well. I was now on a mission to adopt Jolabokaflod. It helped me rediscover my love of the holidays. Gone were the worries of making everything perfect and attending every party. What fun I had shopping for the perfect stories for my house full of guests.

Jolabokaflod is the Icelandic tradition of giving books on Christmas Eve then going off to read them with a non-alcoholic hot drink. It started after World War II, when paper was not rationed, and booksellers were trying to hawk their wares. They published a list of books and mailed it to everyone in November encouraging the giving of books for Christmas.

At my house, the big night arrived—Christmas Eve. The weather was warm.  I kicked on the air to frigid, so people could snuggle up with cozy blankets.  I had chosen to keep my guests in the dark about the evening’s event, so their faces were filled with anticipation as I handed out the beautifully wrapped gifts. I even learned how to make fancy bows, which is a huge feat since I am the least crafty person on Earth. Thank you, YouTube. My drinks trolley overflowed with cider, teas, coffee, and hot chocolate. I explained the tradition. Then everyone took turns revealing their books. There were oohs and ahhs and a few puzzled hmms. Friends selected beverages and dispersed to find the perfect reading spots. It was amazing. We were alone but together, kind of like a silent book club. After a couple of hours, we gathered back for a late supper of roasted lamb and flatkaka to keep with the Icelandic theme. The conversation flowed and ranged. Huge success. It was all that I had hoped for and more. Jolabokaflod is now my annual Christmas Eve event. The participants and books change, but the feeling of discovery and friendship thrive from year to year. Give it a try.

If you are looking for a book gift, I highly recommend Passionate Ink’s Falling Hard anthology (which is currently FREE in KU!). It contains seven steamy stories to warm your cold December nights. Michal Scott writes of Eve trying to escape an unwanted marriage in 1898 in Who Can Find a Virtuous Woman. Ryley Banks’ hot ginger TJ comes face to face with his teenage crush, Harley. Who doesn’t love a hot ginger? Find out what happens in Hard Cider Crush. Calia Wilde’s Burned Bones doesn’t disappoint with demons, dragons, and scorching sex. Learning that there is life after tragedy is the story of Roger Callahan. Ryan T. Osborn’s Claiming Papa is a daddy story that stays with the reader. Jordyn Kross’ Open Enrollment has you rooting for Dr. Chandra Russell from the first paragraph. What a steamy alien love story that has you hoping for a sequel. “When it comes to love and death, time is just another four-letter word.” Deni Dawson has a way with words. In her Between Love and Death, you find yourself thinking about houses and ghosts in a new way. A Facebook (can you tell it’s my story?) reconnect of first love leads to more than chaste kissing in The Homecoming.

All proceeds for Falling Hard go to Proliteracy.org!!

Want a sexy variation on Jolabokaflod? Pick up an erotic novel from your favorite author, pour your favorite beverage for a special person(s) of your choice, and take turns reading passages out loud. You don’t even have to wait until Christmas Eve!

Do you have a book tradition that you would like to share? I am always looking for new ways to celebrate with books or just celebrate!

Thank you, Delilah, for letting me share my favorite holiday tradition with your readers. Happy Holidays and Reading.

XOXO
Candy

To find out more about Candice LaBria, visit her website at www.CandiceLaBria.com or her socials at Bria_writes on Instagram and Twitter and Candice LaBria on Facebook.