Inspired to Write the Donovan Family Saga

I’m happy to welcome Soul Mate author Gifford MacShane. Today, Gifford shares interesting tidbits about her historical fiction series.

Here’s Gifford!

Thanks so much, Joanne, for inviting me to share ten interesting things about my Historical Fiction Series, THE DONOVAN FAMILY SAGA, as a guest on your blog today! Childhood and history came together, inspiring me to create these books.

1. From the beginning, as a member of a large Irish-American clan, I wondered how other families interacted. I was one of seven siblings, and had a hard time understanding what girls with only one brother or sister did for fun, and if they could understand how close we were.

2. When I was a kid, station wagons ruled the roads. There were no DVDs playing on trips to my grandparents, so my father encouraged singing, as it was the least physical activity—with 7 siblings crammed together, “Punch Bug” could soon become a free-for-all! He taught us songs that were easy to remember; as a result, I’m addicted to traditional folk music and there are many snippets of traditional lyrics contained in my works.

3. At the same time, cowboys rode the airwaves, and I really, really wanted to grow up to be a cowboy. Not a cowgirl—they wore silly skirts and sat sideways on horses. I even had a cowboy name—it included “Junior”, as that was the only way I knew to designate myself as a boy. When asked in school (I think I was 8) who the greatest hero in history was, I answered “Roy Rogers”. When the teacher told me he wasn’t a “real hero”, I burst into tears.

4. My first library was a BookMobile. My grandparents lived in a tiny hamlet in Ocean County NJ. The Bookmobile would park at the local grocery store for several hours every week. Tired of kids’ books by the time I was 10, I asked the librarian to recommend something, and she gave me The Virginian by Owen Wister. Slam! Bam!! hooked on Westerns as a literary form. As a result, I read through my father’s entire collection of Zane Grey novels by the end of that summer, and still have and re-read those wonderful books.

Most of the heroes of Grey’s books lived by a code of honor. They may have stumbled from time to time, but they always came back to that moral center. I think that appealed to me so much because I knew the men I looked up to (my father, grandfather and uncle) lived by the same code. And they subsequently became the heroes in my books.

5. I was also influenced by my grandfather in another way. He was stricken with emphysema in his 40s, spent the last 20 years of his life confined to bed, but seldom complained. I learned from him that one must go on, no matter how challenging life might become.

6. Now my family history steps in: my father’s family were Irish immigrants. According to family history, my Great-uncle Sean was chased out of Ireland by the English, escaping by the skin of his teeth. The injustice of that hit me first: a man fighting for freedom from the overlords who invaded his country hundreds of years ago just shouldn’t have been hounded out of the only home he’d known.

7. More recently, I read about a memorial sculpture installed in County Cork that celebrated the aid the Choctaw Tribe in America gave to the Irish during the Great Irish Famine of 1845-1852. My mother has a smidgen of native blood, so the article caught my eye.

The beautiful sculpture, titled Kindred Spirits, was created by Alex Pentek at the Sculpture Factory in Cork, and represents the Choctaw Indians with nine unique feathers, shaped in a bowl that represents a bowl full of food.

8. Shortly before I saw this, my cousin began to create a genealogy of my father’s family. Comparing that history with the dates of the famine, I realized that his ancestors—coming from County Clare as they did—had to have lived through it. I dug into the details and learned it was a totally avoidable disaster that decimated Ireland’s population while food was being exported to England at astronomical rates.

I felt compelled to tell the stories of the survivors—the ones who somehow held body and soul together and found a way to prosper. I began, sporadically, to write.

9. Then, in my late 40s, illness struck. A genetic flaw on my father’s side made itself known. I was fortunate in two ways: I had cousins going through the same thing with whom I could commiserate and share ideas; and I’d finally have enough time to write the books that were stuck in my head for so long, even it was only an hour or so a day.

10. I initially had no plans to go beyond the original manuscript, Whispers In The Canyon. But the more I wrote, the more I realized that the fourth Donovan son, Daniel, was developing into someone quite unique—a Zane Grey-type hero, a man with a code of honor that withstood almost every adversity, and a deep and abiding love for a woman he never thought could be his. Because of all that, I believed Daniel deserved his own book, if only to see if he could find happiness with Annie. Since I’m not a plotter by nature, I had to write the book to find out.

Outcome: The Knight of the Range met up with a family of Irish immigrants. Together, they were generously sprinkled with folksongs and legends, and gave birth to the Donovan Family Saga. The series now consists of the original book, Whispers in the Canyon; the second book about Daniel, The Woodsman’s Rose; and a prequel novella, The Winds of Morning, which I wrote after readers requested more details about the family’s origins in Ireland.

Each story includes romance, traditional song lyrics and a dash of Celtic mysticism. On occasion, I’ve been told by a reader that they’d love living next door to the Donovans. To me, that’s the highest praise ever.

Blurb for WHISPERS IN THE CANYON

A woman’s survival depends upon the man who shot her brother.

Shunned by the village for her outlaw brother’s deeds, Jesse Travers is not sorry to hear he’s been killed while robbing a bank. Strangely enough it’s Adam Donovan, the man who shot him, who brings her the news.

Traumatized by years of abuse, Jesse doubts she can trust any man—especially this Irish immigrant with his volatile temper and gunfighter’s reputation. But now she’s alone, and he’s offered to help put her bankrupt ranch back on solid footing. A profound love for her canyon home is stronger than her trepidation, and she accepts his assistance.

As they work together to improve her ranch, Jesse begins to see that Adam’s true nature is far removed from his notoriety. She feels the first stirrings of love―an emotion she’s never known before. Then, as if to tell her she is unworthy of happiness, her past rises up with a vengeance and she is left with a terrible choice: retreat to a life of solitude and shame, or trust her heart and reveal her tragic secret, in the hope that Adam is the man she believes him to be.

Deceptively simple and poetic, this heartfelt western historical romance will tug at your emotions, make you laugh, cry, and even get a little angry, as it handles difficult topics with a sensitive touch.

Author Bio and Links

Gifford MacShane is the author of historical fiction that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit. Her novels feature a family of Irish immigrants who settle in the Arizona Territory. With an accessible literary style, MacShane draws out her characters’ hidden flaws and strengths as they grapple with both physical and emotional conflicts.

MacShane is a member of the Historical Novel Society and an #OwnVoices writer. A self-professed grammar nerd who still loves diagramming sentences, Giff currently lives in Pennsylvania with her husband Richard, the Pied Piper of stray cats.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon

All my books are listed on my author page at Books2Read.

(https://books2read.com/ap/RDOkLr/Gifford-MacShane).

I’d appreciate it if you’d use this buy link rather than the individual Amazon links, as the two later books are available in many formats.

10 Interesting Facts about The Vampire with a Blanket of Stars


I’m happy to welcome multi-published author Susan Hanniford Crowley. Today, Susan shares ten interesting facts about The Vampire with a Blanket of Stars, Book 3 in the Arnhem Knights of New York Series and the cover reveal for Lady Fallon’s Dragons.

Here’s Susan!

I love writing paranormal adventure romance with a deep abiding passion. The Vampire with a Blanket of Stars is the 3rd in my series Arnhem Knights of New York, which is a spinoff from my first series Vampires in Manhattan. I will share with your ten fun-filled facts, then where to find me and my books, and a sneak peek at the cover of my upcoming novel.

Fact 1

I dreamt about Vampire Prince Răzvan and his story. It took about 6-8 months to have and write down all the dreams. Then it took a year and a half to research and verify the factual parts of the book.

Fact 2

The name of characters are very important to me. When I first had Răzvan’s name, I looked up the first and last name in Bucharest, Romania. There were several Răzvans, which didn’t bother me as it’s a popular name in Romanian history. However, I found a young man with the same first and last name as my character. Since my character lives in Bucharest for some of the time, I didn’t want a real person to be burdened with the name of a vampire mistakenly associated with him. I returned to the dreams and got a new clearer view of the name: Răzvan Forţă.

Răzvan means the bringer of good news. The name comes from the Geto-Dacians who inhabited the land that would become Romania.

His surname Forţă means force or power.

Fact 3

Half of the book happens during WWII in Romania. The few atrocities shown in the book actually happened.

Fact 4

Prince Răzvan is an older vampire than Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Both of these characters are fictional.

Prince Vlad III Dracula, also called Vlad Țepeș, who was a prince of Wallachia, part of Romania, was a real person who fought the Turks and frightened them from returning with a battlefield full of the enemies’ heads impaled on sharp poles. In Romania, he revered even today as a national hero.
Prince Răzvan is the 7th son of a King of Dacia, as Dacia was the land before it was Romania. Dacia existed between 168 BC and 106 AD.

Fact 5

It was common for royals that if you had an heir and sometimes a spare but if you had more sons, appropriate occupations for them would be to become a soldier or a monk. Daughters were married off to other royals to form alliances.

Răzvan became a soldier that fought for his country. When he became a vampire, he still fought for his modern day nation of Romania.

Fact 6

Vampires are called strigoi in Romania. What makes a strigoi different? In Romanian folklore, there is a living strigoi and dead strigoi. The living one blends in with everyone else. Day or night doesn’t make any difference. The dead one rises from the grave at night. What they both share is an intense love for whatever they loved in life. If a strigoi enjoyed great food, after death their love for great food would cause them to seek it and eat everything in a friend’s kitchen. Just an example.

Fact 7

The disintegration in sunlight is an invention of Hollywood.

My vampires can walk in the day but are cautious with overexertion in sunlight or spending too much time in their direct rays. The damage the sun does to human is sped up a little in my vampires. They wear protective clothing and sunblock. Spending two days uncovered in direct rays could kill most of my vampire characters.

Fact 8

Hoia Baciu is an actual place and one of the most famous haunted forests in the world. It is considered the Bermuda Triangle of Romania. It is famous for UFO and paranormal activities. Oh, it I mention it’s in the part of the country called Transylvania?

In my novel, I added to the paranormal activity there. (Laughs) I couldn’t help myself.

Fact 9

Readers have told me that they are astounded that many of my vampires of religious. Prince Răzvan has an old friend from the war who is a Romanian Orthodox (Christian) priest.

Fact 10

Other readers have said they were surprised that my vampires are just like ordinary people. Something bad happened to them (becoming a vampire) but they are able to use it for the good of others. They are heroes. When a vampire finds their true lifemate, that person is their beloved for all time.

Love helps all of us endure the hardships of life. Love is the strength of my vampires and other supernatural heroes and heroines.

Buy Links

To find all my books on Amazon both the Kindle and the Print, visit: https://www.amazon.com/Susan-Hanniford-Crowley/e/B004YXOGXG

To find them everywhere:
Nook | Kobo | Smashwords | Walmart Books

Where to find Susan

Website | Blog | Facebook | Facebook Author Page | Twitter | Instagram

Coming soon: Lady Fallon’s Dragons. This is a dragon adventure book with a sweet romance in it. Lady Fallon’s Dragons is a wondrous tale of contemporary dragons and a young woman fighting for her life. Here is the cover reveal!

Thank you for sharing my adventure with me today! If you have any questions, feel free to put them in the comment box.

10 Influences That Led Me To Become An Author

I’m happy to welcome author Beth Caruso. Today, Beth shares her creative journey and new release, The Salty Rose.

I’m thrilled and grateful to be on Joanne Guidoccio’s blog today. I’d like to share with you the top ten influences in my life that led me to become an author.

1. I loved to write witches’ cookbooks as a child. The concoctions I came up with included bloody, bony bananas, puffed dragon’s eyes, and sauteed troll toes. I wish I still had a copy of one of those cookbooks, but sadly, they are gone forever. At least the memories of badgering the neighbor boys to try these gruesome remedies remain.

2. I also had several puppets and a mini theatre which became the inspiration to create a couple plays, who-done-it murder mysteries. Unfortunately, I have no idea what became of them either. I wondered about writing in the future in only a fleeting way.

3. As a teenager I couldn’t get enough information about the Salem Witch Trials or colonial history. Fascinated to learn about the psychological motives of those who accused others and the possible connection to the supernatural, I was determined to learn more, and did so during countless hours reading and researching.

4. I forgot about my childhood interests of witch cookbooks, puppet drama, and long reads about witch trials to pursue more practical endeavors such as maternity nursing, public health, a Peace Corps tour of duty in Thailand, and an herbal apprenticeship in North Carolina, not realizing that these adult endeavors would give me the experience I needed to write my first novel.

5. Upon moving to Windsor, Connecticut in the winter of 2005, I truly had no idea that what I would discover there would propel me into the writing profession. It all started when my neighbor, Joan, casually brought up the fact that the townspeople of Windsor accused Alice ‘Alse’ Young of witchcraft during a deadly epidemic. Alice Young became the first person to hang for witchcraft in the American colonies on May 26th, 1647. I was shocked and outraged never having heard of Alice or her plight that took place forty-five years before the Salem trials even began—the spark that started all of them!

6. I needed to know more about what happened to Alice. To be content with the few long-held assumptions about her did no justice to her suffering. I embarked on a years-long effort to research old historical records that no historian had ever bothered to look at fully such as Windsor land records. What I discovered evolved into a remarkable story that had never been told.

7. Had it not been for Alice Young, I may never have started down the path to be an author. Until that point in time, I merely mused about writing historical novels in a distant and nebulous future. Initially too shy and nervous to take on professional writing for the public, I remained private about my dream to write. But Alice and those who loved her beckoned me and would not let go. She demanded a concrete project to raise awareness about her death. To this day, I still do not know if the voices I heard during this process were my own or if they were from those spirits who witnessed Alice’s persecution so long ago. In any case, they brought Alice’s story to light and I knew there was no escape in telling it. I was compelled to do it for Alice Young and all of her generations of descendants. I’m so glad I did. One of Windsor: The Untold Story of America’s First Witch Hanging was published in October of 2015. It continues to raise awareness about the lesser-known Connecticut Witch Trials.

8. With One of Windsor, I’d learned a lot about historical research and genealogy as well as the profession of writing. The experience spurred me on to explore telling the story of another little-known female troublemaker in early colonial America, tavern keeper Marie du Trieux, who lived in the colony of New Netherland. I discovered her in my husband’s family tree. At the same time, I wanted to explore what happened to one of the main characters in One of Windsor after Alice Young’s death and the trajectory of the Connecticut Witch Trials culminating in the Hartford Witch Panic.

9. With both research from genealogy and history not used in One of Windsor, I was able to create a story about both Marie du Trieux and a contemporary counterpart in New England, trader John Tinker, the devastated cousin of Alice Young. Their stories started out separately but there was plenty of opportunity to merge them. The cover of The Salty Rose shows the exact moment when they meet each other outside of Marie’s tavern in New Amsterdam. I was fascinated to learn about so many astonishing pieces of early American history and how they came together in researching and writing for this novel. The result was The Salty Rose: Alchemists, Witches & A Tapper in New Amsterdam. It was released in September of 2019 and received the 2020 Genre award from the Independent Publishers of New England. I am so pleased and grateful to share more about it with this blog.

10. As any writer does, I am honing my skills and growing more deeply into this role as time goes on. I am still in the process of fully becoming an author. My current work in progress is the legend of a family kidnapping that took place among Sicilian immigrants in the early twentieth century. I’m also interested in exploring writing in other genres and currently have an outline for a ghost story.

Blurb

Marie du Trieux, a tavern keeper with a salty tongue and a heart of gold, struggles as she navigates love and loss, Native wars, and possible banishment by authorities in the unruly trading port of New Amsterdam, an outpost of the Dutch West India Company.

In New England, John Tinker, merchant and assistant to a renowned alchemist and eventual leader of Connecticut Colony, must come to terms with a family tragedy of dark proportions, all the while supporting his mentor’s secret quest to find the Northwest Passage, a desired trading route purported to mystically unite the East with the West.

As the lives of Marie and John become intertwined through friendship and trade, a search for justice of a Dutch woman accused of witchcraft in Hartford puts them on a collision course affecting not only their own destinies but also the fate of colonial America.

Excerpt

The Director General slammed the gavel down with the harsh thud of an ending.

“Marie du Trieux, you are hereby banished from New Netherland forever!” he said.

As I held on to the railing of a departing schooner, I remembered the jarring finality of those stark words against me. Looking back one last time at my town, a little place in the wilderness that had grown up with me—I longed to stay in the home where I gave birth to all my children, the location of my loves and of my losses.

This is the best place to begin recounting the story of how I played a part in the transition from Dutch New Amsterdam to English New York, my dear granddaughter.

I suppose the English will have their own tales to tell about the events that transpired but I want you to know my personal and secret version of the history of my beloved city before I am gone.

Having left New Amsterdam for the first time on that cold winter day in 1664, I felt unsettled, not quite believing that the time for my departure had finally come. Where had the time gone? How quickly had it passed? It had been nearly forty years since I first set foot on the shores of Manhattan with my mother, father, and little brother.

The view from our vessel, The Morning Star, was unrecognizable from the one my family saw many decades earlier. We had arrived to nothing but marsh, forest, and a few Indian canoes that approached our ship in greeting and curiosity. It’s easy to recall my excitement as a young girl of flowing dark hair seeing the Natives for the first time when we reached these shores many years ago.

But at the point of my expulsion, I wasn’t an adventurous, naïve child anymore. A mature and defiant woman who had faced her share of hardship and disappointment had taken her place. The Council of New Netherland and Director General Stuyvesant had told me they were finished with my repeated offenses and had given the order for banishment. I’d been in trouble with the authorities far too often they said. They’d insisted that my tavern be closed.

“So this is how it must end,” I uttered in disbelief to my son Pierre, your uncle, as we huddled together on deck.

Buy Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Author Bio and Links

Award-winning author, Beth M. Caruso, is passionate to discover and convey important and interesting stories of women from earlier times. She recently won the literary prize in Genre Fiction (2020) from IPNE (Independent Publishers of New England) for her most recent novel The Salty Rose: Alchemists, Witches & A Tapper In New Amsterdam (2019). The Salty Rose is Beth’s second historical novel and explores alchemy in early colonial times, an insider’s view of the takeover of the Dutch colony of New Netherland, and the Hartford Witch Panic with information she gathered from previous and ongoing research. Beth’s first historical novel is One of Windsor: The Untold Story of America’s First Witch Hanging (2015), a novel that tells the tale of Alice ‘Alse’ Young and the beginnings of the colonial witch trials. She based the story on original research she did by exploring early primary sources such as early Windsor land records, vital statistics, and other documents. She lives in Connecticut with her family. Beth kayaks and gardens to unwind.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Email

Giveaway

Beth M. Caruso will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour. Find out more here.

Follow Beth on the rest of her Goddess Fish tour here.

Spotlight on Return of the Raven

I’m happy to welcome Wild Rose Press author Judith Sterling. Today, Judith shares interesting facts about the protagonists of her new release, Return of the Raven.

Here’s Judith!

10 Interesting Facts About…

My hero, Griffin Nightshade:

1. His mother was American, and his father was an English concert pianist.
2. His parents died in a car crash on his 19th birthday.
3. He was a classically trained pianist and originally intended to follow in his father’s footsteps.
4. He got his PhD in history from the University of Chicago, specializing in medieval studies.
5. He has perfect pitch.
6. He can read and speak two dead languages: Anglo-Saxon and Anglo-Norman.
7. He makes a mean grilled cheese.
8. He has a “magical” ability: if he touches a person, he instantly knows what he/she needs.
9. He loves reading mysteries, especially those by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Dennis Wheatley.
10. When he retires from teaching history, he’d like to write fiction.

My heroine, Margaret, Lady Ravenwood:

1. Her mother died at her birth because of the Ravenwood curse.
2. She also lives under the curse: unless a Ravenwood heir is conceived in love, the mother dies in childbirth.
3. Like Griffin, she has perfect pitch.
4. She has a lovely singing voice.
5. She enjoys gardening and skillfully makes medicines to treat Ravenwood’s people.
6. Although she’s beautiful, she sees herself as unattractive to men.
7. She has an ear for languages.
8. Her spirit leaves her body when she sleeps, allowing her to travel to different times and places, visit with deceased loved ones, and glean important knowledge.
9. She loves ravens.
10. She excels at keeping secrets.

Book Blurb

Margaret, Lady Ravenwood, is trapped in a loveless marriage and firmly entrenched in the medieval world. Along comes Griffin Nightshade, a historian from the future whose soul resonates with hers. He persuades her to return with him to the 1950s, but heeding her heart means courting danger from a curse that could spell her doom.

Haunted by his parents’ sudden deaths, Griffin knows all too well the pain born of love lost. He guards his emotions, but Margaret delves deep and goes straight to the soul. She’s hard to resist…and harder to set free.

The heart’s desire and history’s demands don’t always agree. Yet true love is eternal.

Excerpt

Dressed in blue-striped pajamas, Griffin stood in front of his bed. His gaze shifted back and forth between two books. Usually, he was a decisive reader, but tonight was different. He’d had Margaret on the mind the entire time he perused the library shelves, and even now, the sound of her bathwater filling the tub next door plagued his focus.

Nevertheless, he’d narrowed the choice to two books: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles or Dennis Wheatley’s The Devil Rides Out. He’d read both before and enjoyed them immensely, so he couldn’t go wrong with either one.

So what’s it going to be? Murder on the moors or black magic on Salisbury Plain?

Margaret’s clear-toned voice penetrated the wall between their bedrooms. She was humming the first part of the sonata he’d played tonight. Not only did she have an ear for language; she also had one for music. She had perfect pitch, too, as did he, which allowed him to discern that she hummed the exact same notes he’d played on the Steinway. Her singing voice was just as lovely as he’d imagined it might be.

His brow furrowed. He had no business imagining anything about her, least of all her naked body slipping into a warm bath and—
Stop! He huffed and rubbed his mouth with his hand. Then he refocused his attention on the books for the umpteenth time. Come on now. Murder or magic? Magic or murder?

“Griff!” A note of panic tinged her voice.

Meg! In trouble!

He dashed into the hall and into her bedroom, then flung open the bathroom door. She stood in the bathtub, clad in bubbles whose brethren spilled over the side of the tub onto the floor. Luckily, the white foam covered all but her neck, head, and one shoulder.

“There’s too much of it.” She gestured to the mess and sent a cluster of bubbles flying through the air.

“I can see that. Are you hurt?”

“No, just unnerved. They kept building and building until I feared they might cover the entire chamber.”

“First, let’s turn off the water.” He reached into the sea of foam, found the faucets, and twisted each one in turn. “How much of the soapy liquid did you use?”

“The whole bottle.”
His eyes widened. “Well, that explains it. Only a small amount is necessary.”

“When Hannah showed me how to use it, she simply turned the bottle upside down to demonstrate pouring. I assumed all of the liquid was needed.” With a rueful expression, she looked around her. “Obviously not.”

She was adorable. And underneath those bubbles, she was nude. Time to go!

“Well, I’m glad ʼtwas nothing serious. I’ll just be going now.” With an about face, he headed for the door.

“Wait.”

Uh oh. What does she want now? He turned back around.

“I must know something, and you’re the only one who can help me know it.”

A warning bell pealed in his mind and urged his heart to quicken its pace. “What do you want to know?”

“Earlier, you called me attractive, but you haven’t seen all of me.”

Only by the grace of those bubbles! Did she intend to bare all? No…modesty would prevent that. But the look in her eye—that steady gleam of determination—made him nervous. “Surely you don’t mean—”

“I do. All of my married life, Evoric has mocked me and deemed me unappealing.”

“To him mayhap.” Or eunuchs. Otherwise…
Adamantly, she shook her head. “To all men. Or so he says.”

He is such a sleaze. “He’s just trying to make excuses for his own failure.”

“That may be, but I’ll never know for certain unless you look upon me yourself and give me your honest opinion.”

Dear God. How did I get myself into this mess? “I really think ʼtis better if—”

“Griff.” Her violet eyes pleaded with him. “I know I’ve asked a lot from you, but I need this. Otherwise, I’ll wonder about it the rest of my life.”

How could he deny her the chance to rebuild her self-confidence? He took a deep breath, pushed it out, and braced for what would come. “Very well. Show yourself to me.”

Buy Links

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Barnes & Noble | Apple

Author Bio

Judith Sterling is an award-winning author whose love of history and passion for the paranormal infuse everything she writes. Whether penning medieval romance (The Novels of Ravenwood) or young adult paranormal fantasy (the Guardians of Erin series), her favorite themes include true love, destiny, time travel, healing, redemption, and finding the hidden magic which exists all around us. She loves to share that magic with readers and whisk them far away from their troubles, particularly to locations in the British Isles.

Her nonfiction books, written under Judith Marshall, have been translated into multiple languages. She has an MA in linguistics and a BA in history, with a minor in British Studies. Born in that sauna called Florida, she craved cooler climes, and once the travel bug bit, she lived in England, Scotland, Sweden, Wisconsin, Virginia, and on the island of Nantucket. She currently lives in Salem, Massachusetts with her husband and their identical twin sons.

Social Media Links

Website | Facebook | Goodreads | Bookbub | Amazon | The Wild Rose Press

Virtual Book Tour: Theft Between the Rains

I’m happy to welcome Canadian author Luba Lesychyn. Today, Luba shares the best moments of her creative life and her new release, Theft Between the Rains.

My Ten Best Moments as a Writer

Travelling to Southern Italy

When I was looking for a publisher for my first book, I decided to attend the Women’s Fiction Festival in Matera in Southern Italy because a part of its program included ‘speed dating’ sessions with publishers and agents. It was a long trek from Toronto, but I fit in a side trip to Rome as well. But Matera is like no other place I’ve visited. The Unesco World Heritage Site looks like something out of Lord of the Rings.

Attica Books

While in Matera pitching my first book, Theft By Chocolate, to publishers and agents it went horribly. But several weeks after returning home, I received an email from Attica Books, based in Oxford, England to say they wanted to publish my book.

Praise from My Older Brother

My late older brother was a genius and I thought he’d think my work was inane, so I was really hesitant about having him read my humorous art theft thriller. After reading it, he told me he thought it was brilliant. I thought he was pulling my leg at first, but he started to break it down scene by scene and discuss his favorite bits.

Live Interview on National Television

Because of the timing of the publication of my book, I missed the deadline to have a booth at Toronto’s renowned book and magazine festival, Word on the Street. But the college where I had done my creative writing program asked me to be one of their panelists and I ended up being interviewed on a national news program by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation about my book.

Book Launch

My formal book launch didn’t take place until about six months after it was published, but it was held at the headquarters of a preeminent Toronto chocolate maker and involved chocolate-making demonstrations and a presentation on the art of chocolate-making. It was a standing room only event and I couldn’t have had more fun.

Reading at the ROM

My books are set in Toronto’s Royal Ontario Museum, where I had worked for more than 20 years, and I was invited to do a reading there. I was terrified that the academics and other museum staff would crucify it for the artistic license I used in the book, but instead, they have been so positive about both books and the Museum staff have been some of my biggest supporters and fans.

Weathering a Snow Storm

I travelled around the province doing readings with my first book, and one of those landed in the middle of winter in a community a couple of hours drive north of Toronto. There was a snow storm that day and I wasn’t sure I was going to make it, let alone any guests. But when I arrived, the room was packed and the people were some of the most friendly and appreciative I have ever met.

Praise from My Mom

My mother had mobility issues in her later years and she didn’t get out much. But with the help of my brothers, they got her to one of my readings and she was beaming at the end. I’ve always been very shy and dislike attention and she couldn’t believe how much I came to life reading from my book. She even said that she thought maybe I missed my calling as an actress. I’m not so sure about that!

UK Launch

Besides launching my book in Canada, I also launched it in the UK and did readings in London and Edinburgh. That was the experience of a lifetime.

Book Events Go Virtual

I was just getting started promoting my newest book, Theft Between the Rains, when almost without warning, it became a very different world. Most of our lives are currently taking place in our homes and in Canada our isolation rules have been very strict. But libraries started doing virtual events with authors and I have been so lucky to land of plethora of these events. And now I don’t have to travel in snow storms to share my work.

Blurb

What would you do if you worked at a reputable international museum and art works listed as still missing since WWII began showing up on your doorstep?

That’s the substance of the newest urban art theft thriller Theft Between the Rains by Luba Lesychyn.

Drawing on her more than 20 years at Canada’s largest museum, Luba reintroduces many of the affable and quirky characters from the prequel, Theft By Chocolate. Also resurrected is the malicious art thief who has been on the world’s most wanted criminal list for decades.

Theft Between the Rains takes readers behind the scenes at museums and to parts unknown of Toronto. And with water being a character unto its own, Luba uses both humor and thriller elements to weave a page-turning story while simultaneously illustrating how changing weather patterns and flash flooding are impacting metropolitan centers globally.

Excerpt

Lying slumped back in a chair, my body felt as though a truck had dumped a load of concrete over me. I mustered enough energy to crank my head upwards, but my brain was foggy, punch-drunk, as if I’d overdosed on gluten. In a mirror on the opposite wall, I caught a glimpse of my reflection. What was that dark mark on my throat, small and round? My head drooped downwards, and I noticed the door swelling open, incrementally, a sliver of light growing by millimeters. And then…a leg came into view. And, another. Where was I? Who was this coming in? Was I asleep, having one of those 3:00 am witching hour anxiety dreams? Should I get up? I couldn’t get up. Neurons were misfiring. I knew that person at the door. He was saying something to me…but the words seemed out of sync with what I was hearing.

Why did this guy sound like Johnny Cash…singing “Hurt”? Oh my god, it was Marco Zeffirelli, and now he seemed to be screaming at me, but it sounded as though he was underwater.

“Huh, what’s going on?” I said. Was I on some kind of drug trip? I didn’t do drugs. Did someone drug me?

Marco’s hands came towards the sides of my face, tugged at something, and the music stopped. Oh, right. It was all coming back to me. I had been listening to my iPod while working at my desk.

Author Bio and Links

Luba Lesychyn is a popular Toronto-based mystery writer, a graduate of the Humber School for Writers, and a respected author in the library readings and events circuit.

In her two books, she draws from her more than 20 years of work experiences at the Royal Ontario Museum (Canada’s largest museum), and her time working for a private museum consulting firm to write humorous, international art theft thrillers featuring amateur sleuth Kalena Boyko. Her newest book, Theft Between the Rains, is a sequel to Theft By Chocolate (about a woman looking for chocolate, love and an international art thief in all the wrong places) published in 2012 by Attica Books and launched in Canada and the UK.

Luba currently spends her time writing and virtually touring Theft Between the Rains in which lead character Kalena Boyko returns to find herself pulled into international art theft intrigue when masterpieces missing since WWII start appearing on her doorstep.

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Giveaway

Luba Lesychyn will be awarding a print copy of Theft Between the Rains to a randomly drawn winner (US or Canada ONLY) via Rafflecopter during the tour. Find out more here.

Follow Luba on the rest of her Goddess Fish tour here.

Spotlight on A Summer Wedding at Cross Creek Inn

I’m happy to welcome bestselling author Cheryl Holt. Today, Cheryl shares ten interesting facts about the characters of her new release, A Summer Wedding at Cross Creek Inn.

10 Facts About My Characters

1. In my new novel, A Summer Wedding at Cross Creek Inn, I have several protagonists and four main storylines.

2. My character, Jennifer, is a nice, fun, pretty girl from a nice, ordinary family who doesn’t know her fiancé very well and shouldn’t have gotten engaged to him.

3. My character, Amy, is her sister who suffered a tragedy at age seventeen. She’s been grieving and punishing herself for over a decade, and she’s ready to move on with her life.

4. My character, Sharon, the groom’s mother, was incredibly hurt when her husband divorced her for a much younger woman. She has been grieving and furious with him for fifteen long years.

5. My character, Crystal, is a trophy wife who always has schemes fomenting, but they all finally unravel.

6. I write great characters, so the novel also includes tons of secondary characters who cause plenty of mischief for the main characters.

7. The groom’s family is uber-rich Hollywood royalty. The bride’s family is…normal.

8. The bride and groom shouldn’t have gotten engaged, but isn’t it too late to complain?

9. I am known as the “International Queen of Villains,” so I write some of the “best” villains in American fiction. They constantly have schemes in the works, but they never succeed in implementing them.

10. My characters all (and always) get his or her just desserts—for good or ill!

Blurb

From New York Times bestselling author, Cheryl Holt, comes a sparkling, fast-paced novel about the complexity of family—and all the ways they can drive us crazy.

The lavish Layton-Benjamin wedding promises to be an event to remember, and the groom’s wealthy parents have spared no expense to impress their guests by hosting it at the exclusive Cross Creek Inn, a private mountain retreat tucked away in the heart of the Colorado Rockies. But the bride and groom are from completely different backgrounds, and they’ve only known each other for a few months, so it’s been a ‘hurry-up’ engagement that has everyone worried.

When the groom arrives late and tempers start to flare, it’s clear the wedding is a minefield that has to be carefully navigated. As parents and friends begin taking bets over whether the happy couple will make it to the altar, secrets are revealed, new loves emerge, and true happiness is finally found.

Book your visit to the Cross Creek Inn! A witty, fun summertime story about family, friendship, and finding out what matters most—that only Cheryl Holt could tell.

Excerpt

Sharon…

The view out the window of her suite was spectacular, and Sharon was trying to enjoy it. She was surrounded by thick, verdant woods, and off in the distance, stark mountain peaks rose, seemingly to the stratosphere. Even though it was mid-July, they were dotted with snow.

She’d never been what might be described as a mountain person. Being a typical Californian, one who’d been born and raised in Los Angeles, she’d had her auras read and her chakras aligned and her pores opened. She was a water person, and she lived on the beach in Malibu where she could stare out at the ocean.

Still though, the Colorado scenery was beautiful, and she had to remember that it was and focus on that fact. It was awfully quiet though, and the silence would take some getting used to. In Malibu, with its lone highway that was constantly clogged with cars, there was always a hum of traffic. It was a regular drone that never ended.

She wondered if the serenity and isolation might gradually drive her crazy, but then, she was staying in Colorado for four short days. She could endure any torment for four days. Couldn’t she?

On Sunday morning, after Eric and Jennifer departed on their honeymoon, she would head back to California, and the appalling weekend would be over.

As the mother of the groom, she should have been more excited, but she couldn’t muster the necessary enthusiasm. Initially, she’d decided she wouldn’t attend, but friends had nagged until she’d changed her mind. So…here she was, but she wasn’t glad about it, and she had to alter her mood, bury her misgivings, and forge on with a positive attitude.

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Author Bio and Links

CHERYL HOLT is a New York Times, USA Today, and Amazon “Top 100” bestselling author who has published over fifty novels.

She’s also a lawyer and mom, and at age forty, with two babies at home, she started a new career as a commercial fiction writer. She’d hoped to be a suspense novelist, but couldn’t sell any of her manuscripts, so she ended up taking a detour into romance where she was stunned to discover that she has a knack for writing some of the world’s greatest love stories.

Her books have been released to wide acclaim, and she has won or been nominated for many national awards. She is considered to be one of the masters of the romance genre. For many years, she was hailed as “The Queen of Erotic Romance”, and she’s also revered as “The International Queen of Villains.” She is particularly proud to have been named “Best Storyteller of the Year” by the trade magazine Romantic Times BOOK Reviews.

She lives and writes in Hollywood, California, and she loves to hear from fans.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Giveaway

Cheryl Holt will be awarding an autographed print copy of the book (US ONLY) to 10 randomly drawn winners via Rafflecopter during the tour. Find out more here.

Follow Cheryl on the rest of her Goddess Fish tour here.


Through the Ages

I’m happy to welcome author Everley Gregg. Today, Everley shares ten interesting facts about the origins of her medieval series–The Forgotten Flowers of Flanders–and her new release, The Warrior and the Wildflower, Book 1 in the series.

Here’s Everley!

Thank you, Joanne Guidoccio, for inviting me as a guest on your blog today! I’m very excited because what has, truly, been a lifelong dream of mine is finally coming to fruition. I’d like to share with your readers ten interesting facts about how my new medieval romance series, The Forgotten Flowers of Flanders, came to be.

1. I was smitten when I was in the second grade—not with the cute boy across the aisle, but with history. And not just history in general, but with a particular place and time: 15th Century Flanders. How did this happen to an innocent 8-year-old? I was last in line to pick a book out of the interlibrary loan box. The one I ended up with was filled with colorful plates of paintings by artists in the Netherlands in the late Middle Ages.

2. Nightmares: long after the book was returned to the library, my nights were filled with terrifying nightmares starring the characters depicted in some of those paintings. My curiosity about the age, and the painters, piqued. I began researching artists such as Jan Van Eyck, Hieronymous Bosch, and Pieter Breugel. The essay for my senior English project (for which I earned an “A+”) discussed the symbolism behind these apparently religious, yet secretly secularly motivated works of art.

3. Obsessed with all things medieval, I signed up for Latin courses in college. The language, it seemed, came naturally to me. My professor could not believe how well I spoke it—as though I’d spoken it before. (I am not good with learning other languages—English is the only “other” one I ever learned!) I also signed up for a course in Medieval Manuscript Illumination, an education that will guide the plot for my third book in The Forgotten Flowers of Flanders Series. The heroine of Book Three is a manuscript illuminator.

4. The trip: Due to a totally serendipitous event, I found myself traveling to the place I’d always wanted to visit—Belgium. There I was the guest of a gracious couple who listened to me blabber endlessly about my obsession with the region, and who took me to the places I’d longed to see, both in Belgium and the Netherlands (which used to be . . . Flanders!) ‘Twas the most magical week of my life.

5. I began writing romance novels in 2012, along with a memoir and several nonfiction titles. But were they historical romances? Nay. I had it in my head that I was “not yet good enough” to do justice to the stories in my head.

6. After publishing six novels in the paranormal and contemporary romance genres, I finally decided to follow my true calling. Was I yet “good enough”? I didn’t know. I figured I’d take a leap of faith and ask my idol in the genre, Kathryn Le Veque, to act as my mentor. Did I expect a response? Nay. Did I get one? Aye! To my surprise, I did, along with some hard-to-swallow advice—followed by an offer of a contract with Dragonblade Publishing.

7. The first book in the series, The Warrior and the Wildflower, features a heroine who was born with a birth defect: a club foot. So was I! In the mid-20th century, the defect was fixable. In 15th C. Flanders, it was not. Eva, though she’s set her sights on the life of a lady, has a few obstacles in her way, among them being a “creple” and having more than her share of hubris, i.e., pride.

8. In addition to an obsession with the Middle Ages, I have also always been a horse fanatic. Of course, my first hero, Mathieu, had to be a horseman (ostler), as well as one who trained the hunting birds for the court. Falconry has also been a lifelong fascination of mine.

9. Once I dove into my pre-destined genre, the stories now come easily. I finished The Warrior and the Wildflower in just two months. The second book, The Knight and the Rose, I completed in less than three months, during a time of extreme stress and distraction: the holidays, Covid, and my husband undergoing major surgery.

10. Why, even after being advised that I’d set my novels in the wrong location—”they should be set in England or Scotland”—did I push forward with the series set in Flanders? First, because Ms. LeVeque said she was willing to “give the series a try.”

Second? I simply had no choice. A lifelong obsession should not be ignored, no matter what the outcome.

The Blurb

Fifteenth Century, Burgundy.

Eva of Utrecht is an unrecognized, illegitimate daughter of the Duke Philip III. She fears she will never rise above her roots as a simple tailor’s daughter. Her birth defect, a club foot, brands her even less desirable. When the missive arrives inviting her to attend the May Day Festival at Coudenburg Castle, hope rallies.

Under Lady Isabella’s wing, Eva blossoms into a confident young woman—one blinded by pride. She sets her sights on the life of a lady, determined to win the love of a gallant knight. Little does she expect her heart to be swept away by a simple horseman who’s shunned his chance at knighthood.

Mathieu of Liège was on a warrior’s path when he brutally witnessed how power can taint the title. He bears the scar on his face and the horrible memory as reminders. The ostler believes he does not need the sword and spurs to uphold the principles of chivalry. He leads a simple life, training the horses and hunting birds for Duke Philip’s court. Mathieu, though, is lonely, and dreams of finding a lady love to share his life, one who will appreciate his quiet strength and infallible dignity.

When Matthieu falls hard for Eva, he must find a way to convince her of his valor… even if he doesn’t wear the armor.

Can their love take flight?

Buy Links

Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Amazon AU

***Releases on Amazon TODAY!***

What’s Next?

Book Two, The Knight and the Rose, will be released later this spring. Please visit my website and sign up for my mailing list so you will know as soon as the title goes up for preorder!

More About the Author

Everley Gregg grew up in upstate New York. She married her happily-ever-after love at 19, and they will celebrate 43 years of marriage this year. She earned her MFA in creative writing from Lesley University. Everley has three children and two gorgeous grandchildren. After retiring from her full-time career in laboratory science, she now writes full-time. She also writes supernatural suspense and contemporary romance under the pseudonym, Claire Gem.

Everley loves to connect with her readers! You can connect with her here:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Giveaway

One person will win a $25 Amazon gift card and a paperback. Another will win a paperback. Find out more here.



Honoring President Abraham Lincoln

Born this day in 1809, Abraham Lincoln served as the 16th President of the United States from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. He led the country through its Civil War and preserved the Union. He also abolished slavery, strengthened the Federal Government, and modernized the economy.

An extraordinary man and leader, he is consistently ranked among the greatest American presidents.

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I’m honoring his birthday by sharing 10 favorite quotes:

Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.

Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.

Determine that the thing can and shall be done and then… find the way.

Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed, is more important than any other one thing.

In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.

You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.

Don’t worry when you are not recognized, but strive to be worthy of recognition.

Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.

Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.

I leave you, hoping that the lamp of liberty will burn in your bosoms until there shall no longer be a doubt that all men are created free and equal.


Virtual Book Tour: Love, in Writing

I’m happy to welcome author Elsa Winckler. Today, Elsa shares her favorite books and new release: Love, in Writing.

My Ten Favorite Books

I was born and raised in a very small town in South Africa where at the time, the only entertainment were the movies and the library. So I read. A lot. And getting lost into a story is still something I can’t do without.

Anne of Green Gables – Lucy Maud Montgomery.

It was lovely to discover the fanciful, imaginative and dramatic Anne – living mostly in my own imagination, I could relate on so many levels.

The Little Prince – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

I was very young when I read this the first time and although at the time I didn’t quite understand what it was about, there was something about the story of the little prince in space talking about loneliness, friendship and love that touched my heart. Years later, I bought myself a copy – it’s still one of my favourite reads.

Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen

I’ve known about Jane Austen and I’ve read the stories and I’ve seen movie adaptations of most of them, but it was only while doing my Honours studies at the age of 45 that I really learnt to appreciate Austen’s gentle mockery of the world she lived in.

Middlemarch – George Eliot

I also discovered George Eliot during my studies and Middlemarch is one of those books I try to reread regularly. Such a rich, character-driven story with so many layers, I still discover some each time I pick up the book.

North and South – Elizabeth Gaskell

I fell in love with John Thornton the minute Margaret sees him for the first time. It looks at how the industrial revolution changed people’s everyday lives but for me it’s the love story that makes this a must-read.

Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte

Aaah – the passion, the story, Heathcliffe! He’s also one of the heroes I lost my heart to a long time ago. ‘Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same’ – how can you not fall in love with this story!

A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara

This book nearly destroyed me – I didn’t sleep for two nights! Brace yourself before you read it but do read it. The most challenging, upsetting but beautifully written story with no mercy for the reader, I’ve ever read. It follows the lives of four friends, but it’s Jude’s story that nearly ripped my heart out.

The Little Paris Bookshop – Nina George

Even the English translation of this beautiful story has the flow and the rhythm of the original version. Heart-wrenching but beautiful.

The Language of flowers – Vanessa Diffenbaugh

Another beautiful if heart-breaking story about a girl who was brought up in the system but who finds a connection to the rest of the world through flowers.

Happy Ever After – Nora Roberts

And my list cannot be complete without a love story! I love Nora Roberts’s writing and this one is my favorite, probably because of Malcalm Kavanaugh 

Blurb

A hardcore Science Fiction writer and a softhearted romance novelist clash on the sunny South African coast…

Margaret Parker is a hopeless romantic whose fantasies fuel her writing. For Graham Connelly, science fiction is the perfect genre to express his cynical worldview. A chance meeting in a lift leaves them both interested and aroused — with no clue as to the other’s identity.

Margaret has been looking for a face to match her new fictional hero — and Graham’s is it. Graham has been looking for proof that innocence and optimism still exist — and he’s found it in Margaret. But fantasy isn’t reality, and both Margaret and Graham are used to controlling their fictional worlds. Can they step off the pages long enough to find their own happy-ever-after?

Excerpt

Margaret gaped. His mouth was moving but it took a few minutes for her befuddled brain to process what he was saying. She was fascinated by his face, the movement of his lips, the taut skin of his cheeks. Her eyes couldn’t move away from him. He was really beautiful. What was he saying? Gradually, his questions penetrated her brain.

“What… Who are you? You must be mistaken. I was at a par—”

He nodded and put his hands into his pockets. “Is this how you’re going to play it? You’re going to pretend you don’t know who I am?” He was smiling, but it wasn’t a nice smile.

She had no idea what the man was talking about. All she knew was she had to get out of the elevator, and fast.

Margaret swallowed and shook her head. Breathing had become so difficult and for a minute, she worried she might faint. He was standing right in front of the door and she started to squeeze past him so she could get out as soon as the elevator stopped. He turned with her, his eyes never leaving hers.

“Like I said, I don’t mind taking you up to my flat…” His voice dropped to a whisper. “You really do have the most amazing eyes.”

He walked closer, and she stepped back. And still he moved closer. She tried to step farther back, but was blocked by the side panel behind her. Their faces were about two centimeters apart. There were tiny flecks in his eyes. His musky male scent seeped through her entire being. She swallowed. He scowled but she didn’t feel threatened. His gaze dropped and a hiss escaped through his teeth.

Margaret looked down. The top of her lacy, red bra was clearly visible from this angle. Her eyes gaze flew back to his.

Leisurely, his gaze connected with hers again. The sudden flash of desire in his eyes robbed her of the last of her breath. As if in a trance, he lifted his hand and tucked a lock of hair behind her ear. With a look of fierce concentration, he trailed his fingers down her cheek.

His eyes darkened; he cupped her face in his hand. Around them, the air sizzled with strange electricity. He had the palest of blue eyes, she thought. A sound penetrated her befuddled brain. It had come from her throat. His eyes mirrored the confusion she was experiencing. Then, as if stung, he dropped his hand and stepped back.

Buy Links

Amazon | Kobo | Barnes & Noble | iTunes

Author Bio and Links

Elsa has been reading love stories for as long as she can remember and when she ‘met’ the classic authors like Jane Austen, Elizabeth Gaskell, Henry James The Brontë sisters, etc. during her English Honours studies, she was hooked for life.

She married her college boyfriend and soul mate and after 45 years, 3 interesting and wonderful children and 4 beautiful grandchildren, they are now fortunate to live in the picturesque little seaside village of Betty’s Bay, South Africa.

She likes the heroines in her stories to be beautiful, feisty, independent and headstrong. And the heroes must be strong but possess a generous amount of sensitivity. They are of course, also gorgeous! Her stories typically incorporate the family background of the characters to better understand where they come from and who they are when we meet them in the story.

Website | Personal Facebook Page | Author Facebook Page | Twitter | Goodreads | BookBub | Pinterest | Wattpad | Instagram | LinkedIn

Giveaway

Elsa Winckler will be awarding a copy of a short story (“Plan B”) to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour. Find out more here.

Follow Elsa on the rest of her Goddess Fish tour here.

My Favorite Holiday Movies

I’m happy to welcome back award-winning author Vicki Batman. Today, Vicki shares her favorite holiday movies and new release, Sommerville Holidays Too.

Here’s Vicki!

During the holiday season, if a holiday movie is on TV, I’ll watch. I can’t say the number of times I’ve seen some of them. They are a part of me and my holiday season as much as buying a Christmas tree, baking goodies, and partying with friends and family.

So here goes my top ten list of My Favorite Holiday Movies:

White Christmas –I have three sisters and this is a favorite of ours because of the “Sisters” number. The best time is when a lot of my family is together to watch this one, and we sing all the songs.

Stalag 17 – Why a WW2 movie set in a German prisoner of war camp? Because it is set on Christmas Day. And William Holden is incredible in it.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas – Seriously, doesn’t your heart melt when the Grinch’s heart grows three sizes that day?

Charlie Brown Christmas – I LOVE the part when Charlie Brown discovers the beautiful little tree, jumps up and down, and the friends sing “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing.” I have to sing too.

Millions – Came out years ago. When England is switching their currency to Euros, two brothers discover a bag of pounds. There is a beautiful scene when they see their late mother who is on her way to sainthood.

Love Actually – I’ve actually heard people say they aren’t fond of it, but I love it. The guy with the placards, the rock star, the writer, and many more find and lose love at Christmas. Great cast.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer – I remember when this one released and being entranced. And yes, I love the songs, too.

The Bishop’s Wife – classic Cary Grant as an angel, helping a minister find his way at Christmas time.

Star in the Night – This one is a must see! A Western take on the Nativity Story. It’s short and tender and won an Oscar.

While You Were Sleeping – an adorable film with Sandra Bullock and Bill Pullman who find love during the holidays.

I love to write short stories and have written many holiday ones. I’m happy to share my latest—Sommerville Holidays Too, three delightful tales full of fun and forever possibilities.

Blurb

Love blossoms in the small town of Sommerville in these heartwarming holiday tales, filled with fun and forever possibilities.

The Great Fruitcake Bake-off: When five-time baking champion Samantha Greene teams up with new neighbor, Dixon Roberts, for The Great Fruitcake Bake-off, they discover baking a prize-winning entry is complicated, bad guys are plotting to take the crown, and first prize isn’t just about a ribbon.

Christmas Romeo: When two feuding co-workers win Christmas river cruises at the company holiday party, they discover each other isn’t so bad after all.

Twinkle Lights: When the owner of a Christmas tree stand, which benefits the children’s hospital, has a heart attack, a do-gooder and a reformed high school delinquent turned lawyer show their holiday spirit and staff the business. The twosome meet the challenges of running the establishment and begin to fall for each other. Yet, when the revenue goes missing, fingers are pointed.

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Author Bio and Links

Vicki Batman has sold many romantic comedy works to magazines, several publishers, and, most recently, three humorous romantic mysteries. Along the way, she has picked up awards and bestsellers. Avid Jazzerciser. Handbag lover. Mahjong player. Yoga practitioner. Movie fan. Book devourer. Chocoholic. Best Mom ever. And adores Handsome Hubby. Funny, sweet, and quirky, Vicki’s latest stories are full of her hallmark humor and romance and will delight all readers.

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