Sharing My Christmas Reads

christmasreading2After surviving a grueling (but gratifying) November where I focused exclusively on my NaNoWriMo project, I needed to destress and start preparing for Christmas. To get into the mood of the season, I decided to look for Christmas novellas that can be easily read in one sitting.

Thankfully, I didn’t have to look too far.

Over the past year, six author friends–two Canadian and four American–have released delightful reads that transported me from the west coast of Canada, across the American Midwest and Southwest, to the eastern seaboard.


biggarnovellaWill a Christmas wish give a lonely author a family?

Mystery writer, Joel Carpenter, has no time for romance. He has a deadline to meet, and too many skeletons in his closet to trust the slightly spinny artist renting his house.

Christy Taylor has her hands full dealing with an ailing business and a diabetic daughter, she doesn’t need the temptation that is her landlord, Joel Carpenter.

Can a Christmas wish bring two stubborn souls together and give a little girl the gift she wants most?

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Maggie Abernathy, best friend Judy, and Judy’s two young sons travel cross country to visit John McIntyre and daughter Chloe at their Montana ranch. Maggie’s convinced herself that she’s only making the trip to fulfill her promise to visit Chloe, but once there she can’t help but fall in love with the horses, the land, the ranch, and the Montana ways of life. With Chloe’s loving antics, Winston’s gift, and a handful of wranglers showing her the ropes, will Maggie have the heart to say goodbye?

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Single mom Abby Jenkins runs a detective agency out of a haunted teahouse in the Pacific Northwest town of Sunset Cove, and while she finds tackling the usual supernatural suspects easy, she can’t face Christmas. She wants this one to be perfect for her kids. With a yuletide to-do list longer than Main Street, a jealous Viking-ghost boyfriend with existential issues, and unreliable witch powers, she’s in a twisted-tinsel, holiday funk, when the mayor asks her to find a missing angel. The statue, which sat on top of the Christmas tree in the town square for the last hundred years, symbolizes all that’s good about the holidays: love, peace and joy. Abby drops everything to look for the stolen angel.

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Fired two weeks before Christmas, distraught single mom Madison wonders how she’ll afford to pay for her young daughter’s Christmas gifts and still keep a roof over their heads. Sleigh bells and twinkling lights are the last thing on her mind—until a handsome stranger intervenes.

Successful architect Adam Donovan dives into his work by renovating an elaborate hotel after his wife leaves him. He barely notices it’s Christmastime until he overhears a young mother’s tearful plea. Stepping in makes Adam feel like Old Saint Nick himself.

Will Madison and Adam find holiday joy—and possibly love—after discovering Adam’s secret or will it tear them apart?

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jaegernovellaWith Christmas just a few weeks away, Gia San Valentino, the baby in her large, loud, and loving Italian family, yearns for a life and home of her own with a husband and bambini she can love and spoil. The single scene doesn’t interest her, and the men her well-meaning family introduce her to aren’t exactly the happily-ever-after kind. Tim Santini believes he’s finally found the woman for him, but Gia will take some convincing she’s that girl. A misunderstanding has her thinking he’s something he’s not. Can a kiss stolen under the Christmas lights persuade her to spend the rest of her life with him?

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hallnovellaThis romantic thriller is a steamy way to warm up your winter. Perfect for holiday reading, this Christmas novella will keep you on the edge of your seat.

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In Search of Christmas Novellas…

christmasreading2Having devoted the month of November to NaNoWriMo, I found myself facing several incomplete and postponed projects that needed immediate attention. I’ve been playing catch-up this month and spending fewer hours reading novels–one of my favorite pastimes.

To get into the mood of the season, I decided to search for Christmas novellas that could be easily read in one sitting.

I didn’t have to look too far.

Four author friends–two Canadian and two American–have released Christmas novellas. I treated myself to four delightful reads that transported me from the west coast of Canada, across the American southwest, to New York.

Enjoy!

biggarnovellaWill a Christmas wish give a lonely author a family?

Mystery writer, Joel Carpenter, has no time for romance. He has a deadline to meet, and too many skeletons in his closet to trust the slightly spinny artist renting his house.

Christy Taylor has her hands full dealing with an ailing business and a diabetic daughter, she doesn’t need the temptation that is her landlord, Joel Carpenter.

Can a Christmas wish bring two stubborn souls together and give a little girl the gift she wants most?

buynow


carsonchristmasnovellaJilted by her fiancé, librarian Maddy Jacobson is nursing a broken heart, when her best friend gives her an early Christmas present. Intended to be a fun, psychic reading in a spooky, tea house, the gift turns out to be life changing. Maddy becomes haunted by a mischievous, Highland ghost.

Ruggedly handsome, Cullen Macfie, the Highlander, has been dead for over three centuries, and never in all those years has he been so attracted to a woman, as he is to Maddy. He falls hopelessly in love and decides to woo her.

Can there be a future for a librarian and a naughty, Highland ghost?

A Highland Ghost for Christmas is a sweet, romantic comedy guaranteed to warm the cockles of your heart, make you laugh out loud and leave you craving a man in a kilt … and shortbread, of course.

buynow


jaegernovellaWith Christmas just a few weeks away, Gia San Valentino, the baby in her large, loud, and loving Italian family, yearns for a life and home of her own with a husband and bambini she can love and spoil. The single scene doesn’t interest her, and the men her well-meaning family introduce her to aren’t exactly the happily-ever-after kind. Tim Santini believes he’s finally found the woman for him, but Gia will take some convincing she’s that girl. A misunderstanding has her thinking he’s something he’s not. Can a kiss stolen under the Christmas lights persuade her to spend the rest of her life with him?

buynow




hallnovellaThis romantic thriller is a steamy way to warm up your winter. Perfect for holiday reading, this Christmas novella will keep you on the edge of your seat.

buynow


10 Favorite Craft Books on Writing

I’m happy to welcome back author Jo-Ann Carson. Today, Jo-Ann is sharing her top ten craft books and her latest release, A Highland Ghost for Christmas. I thoroughly enjoyed and highly recommend this delightful novella.

Here’s Jo-Ann!

I love craft books on writing, so today I thought I would share with you my ten favorites. Easier said than done!

Whittling my list down to ten, seemed impossible. I went to my shelf and made a stack of ten tossing one aside for another, shuffling them, and starting over again and again as the list didn’t seem quite right.

It was difficult to choose only ten.

Finally, I decided to look at it differently. I’ll be teaching a course on self-publishing soon and I want to have a basic list of ten books I would recommend to a new writer. That helped a bit.

Here’s my ten, ranked by the number of times I go back to them. I’d love to hear yours.

One – The Emotion Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi

513vzjihiol-_sx348_bo1204203200_“One of the biggest problem areas for writers is conveying a character’s emotions to the reader in a unique, compelling way. This book comes to the rescue by highlighting 75 emotions and listing the possible body language cues, thoughts, and visceral responses for each…. ” (Amazon)

Two – The Complete Writer’s Guide to Heroes & Heroines by Tamu D. Cowden, Caro LaFever, and Sue Viders

characters“All fiction writers want to write stories with great heroes and heroines–characters who leap off the page and capture the reader’s imagination. Heroic characters can be broken into sixteen archetypes …” (Back blurb) Amazon

 

Three – Save the Cat by Blake Snyder

save-the-cat“This ultimate insider’s guide reveals the secrets that none dare admit, told by a show biz veteran who’s proven that you can sell your script if you can save the cat!” (Amazon)

 

Four – On Writing by Stephen King

41w6ybzk-l“… It starts with this: put your desk in the corner, and every time you sit down there to write, remind yourself why it isn’t in the middle of the room. Life isn’t a support-system for art. It’s the other way around. (back blurb) Amazon

 

Five – Nobody Wants to Read Your Sh*t by Steven Pressfield

steven-pressfield_nobody-wants-to-read-your-shit“There’s a mantra that real writers know but wannabe writers don’t. And the secret phrase is this: NOBODY WANTS TO READ YOUR SH*T. Recognizing this painful truth is the first step in the writer’s transformation from amateur to professional.” (Amazon)

 

Six – Write. Publish. Repeat. by Platt Truant and Wright

514lbagvkhlWrite. Publish. Repeat is publishing for beginners and experienced writers alike. In 2013, Johnny B. Truant and Sean Platt published 1.5 million words and made their full-time livings as indie authors. In Write. Publish. Repeat., they tell you exactly how they did it: how they created over 15 independent franchises across six publishing imprints and 100+ published works, how they turned their art into a logical, sustainable business, and how any author interested in indie publishing can do the same to build a sustainable, profitable career with their writing ….” (Amazon)

Seven – Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

41scc3qs6bl-_sx317_bo1204203200_“A warm, generous and hilarious guide through the writer’s world and its treacherous swamps.” —Los Angeles Times (Amazon)

 

 

Eight – The Right to Write by Julia Cameron

51lds7v2wtl-_sx318_bo1204203200_“What if everything we have been taught about learning to write was wrong? In The Right to Write, Julia Cameron‘s most revolutionary book, the author of the bestselling self-help guide The Artist’s Way, asserts that conventional writing wisdom would have you believe in a false doctrine that stifles creativity.” (Amazon)

Nine –Stein on Writing by Sol Stein

51jzc-70fql-_sx310_bo1204203200_“This is not a book of theory. It is a book of useable solutions– how to fix writing that is flawed, how to improve writing that is good, how to create interesting writing in the first place.” (Amazon)

 

Ten – The Chicago Manual of Style

31inmkgexxl-_sx331_bo1204203200_This is the industry bible.

“… the authoritative, trusted source that writers, editors, and publishers turn to for guidance on style and process….” (Amazon)

 


A Highland Ghost for Christmas

highlandghost_cvr_medJilted by her fiancé, librarian Maddy Jacobson is nursing a broken heart, when her best friend gives her an early Christmas present. Intended to be a fun, psychic reading in a spooky, tea house, the gift turns out to be life changing. Maddy becomes haunted by a mischievous, Highland ghost.

Ruggedly handsome, Cullen Macfie, the Highlander, has been dead for over three centuries, and never in all those years has he been as attracted to a woman, as he is to Maddy. He falls hopelessly in love and decides to woo her.

Can there be a future for a librarian and a naughty, Highland ghost?

A Highland Ghost for Christmas is a sweet, romantic comedy guaranteed to warm the cockles of your heart, make you laugh out loud and leave you craving a man in a kilt … and shortbread, of course.

Buy Link


Jo-Ann Carson writes romance twisted with suspense and polished withdsc01318-large-web-view humor. Her strong characters take you on a fast and fun ride. Currently she’s writing the Gambling Ghost series, a collection of sweet, paranormal romances guaranteed to warm your heart, make you laugh out loud and leaving your craving a ghost of your own.

Jo-Ann loves to interact with readers on social media:

Website * Blog * Twitter * Facebook


shutterstock_104723360 (1)Your turn. What are your favorite ten craft books on writing?

A Woman Finding Her Voice – The Vancouver Blue Series

I’m thrilled to welcome Canadian author Jo-Ann Carson. Today, Jo-Ann shares Books 1 and 2 in the Vancouver Blue Series. I enjoyed reading and highly recommend Black Cat Blues.

Here’s Jo-Ann!

Thank you for inviting me to your beautiful blog Joanne. It is an honour to work with you. Your friendship and support is a blessing.

My latest release:

Black Cat Blues

blackcatbluesA nightmare waits in the alley . . .

Stabbed in an alley behind the Black Cat Blues bar, private investigator Jimmy Daniels clings to life just long enough to tell Maggy Malone a secret.

Maggy, a curvy blues singer with a sultry voice and a razor sharp mind is starting her life over after a lousy marriage. Reluctant at first to get involved with a murder, she tells no one the secret. But when the murderer stalks her, she changes her mind.

Maggy teams up with Jimmy’s brother, Logan, a handsome suit with a tidy view of life. They figure out the killer is looking for gold buried on Gabriola Island by the notorious, cult-leader Brother XII.

The body count rises. Will Maggy catch him? Or will she be his next victim?

Black Cat Blues is the first story in the Vancouver Blues series. If you like Indiana Jones and urban noir, you’ll love this story, which combines all of their best traits in a fast-paced, captivating and sensual, romantic suspense.

If you want adventure and romance in your life, buy Black Cat Blues today.

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About the Vancouver Blues Series

Vancouver is a multi-ethnic, international city that still has a wild-west flavor. Nestled between the rugged, coastal mountains and the Pacific Ocean it is stunningly beautiful. It used to be one of Canada’s secret jewels, but Expo 86 and the 2011 Olympics thrust it onto the international scene. It’s growing at an exponential rate and like a gangly teenager who wants to stay a child, but can’t, it’s experiencing growing pains.

I wanted to write stories that captured Vancouver’s urban vibe and unique culture. What I came up with is the story of a blues singer who’s had a rough life and is finding her voice.

The sequel launches April 18th:

Ain’t Misbehavin’

AintMishehavin_CVR_MED (2)A naked alderman, a haunted trattoria and a love that can not be denied.

When the manager of the Black Cat Blues Bar, singer Maggy Malone, witnesses a murder in her favorite trattoria, her life is upended. Known as the Naked Alderman, the victim is a controversial politician who wants Vancouver to be known as the greenest city in the world. He’s also the lover of Maggy’s best friend. Despite his noble ideals, his head ends up in the pasta.

The last thing Maggy wants to do is chase another murderer. She’s worked hard to keep the Black Cat afloat and sort out her life, which is complicated by two, hot men, and acts of sabotage at her dock community on Granville Island.

But when the body count rises, Maggy decides to catch the killer.

Ain’t Misbehavin’ is the second story in the Vancouver Blues series. If you like ghost stories and urban noir, you’ll love this book, which combines all of their best traits in a fast-paced, captivating and sensual, romantic suspense.

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Bio

joanncarsonJo-Ann Carson has lived most of her life on islands off the west coast of Canada, surrounded by snow covered mountains, lush rain forests and pristine beaches.

Growing up, she dreamed of traveling the world like James Bond, searching for relics like Indiana Jones, and finding true love, so it’s no surprise that in her Mata Hari Series she combines elements of adventure, danger and steamy romance.

In her Vancouver Blues Series she slides into the realm of Urban Noir and explores the dark side of the city. These books are mainstream suspense with strong romantic elements and are very-Vancouver.

Wanna Connect (and get a free book)?

Thank you for reading about my Vancouver stories. If you would like to know more about me, check out my website which has all my social media links and/or sign up for my newsletter. All new subscribers are sent a free e-copy of my first book, Covert Danger, the story of a single woman living a double life.


Featured on Sisters of Suspense

sistersofsuspense

Last week, the lovely and talented Jo-Ann Carson invited me to join the Sisters of Suspense, a dynamic group of Canadian and American authors who write romantic suspense. Honored, I accepted the invitation and look forward to learning, sharing, and growing with these wonderful companions.

Today, I’m sharing my reinvention story on the Sisters of Suspense blog.

Spotlight on Covert Danger

Covert Danger

A Single Woman… A Double Life

Free – May 12, 13 and 14th

covert14
High fashion model, Sadie Stewart, is a dedicated undercover CIA agent used to getting her man. But this time she’s chasing a power-hungry international arms dealer stealing ancient Egyptian amulets. Brilliant, ruthless and slightly wacko, he’s a hard catch. She’s willing to risk everything to stop him, but the handsome Sebastian Wilde, who looks like a modern Viking, keeps getting in her way. Her independence is shaken as he stirs feelings in her that she thought only existed in fairy tales. Can she put their attraction aside and get the job done?

When Sebastian sees Sadie in a high speed motor-boat flying down the Grand Canal in Venice, with the Italian military police hot on her tail, her beauty and courage intrigue him. He has a personal vendetta to stop the trading of looted art, and when it looks as though she’s involved in that shady world, he decides to stop her. Could the femme fatale really be that evil?

Their adventure spans the globe with scenes in Venice, Florence, Amsterdam, Cairo and New York.

Can they work together and stop the heist planned for the Met Museum of Art? Protecting the relics becomes their shared goal, but it’s not all about ancient magic and power. Love hangs in the balance.

A cross between Indiana Jones and Covert Affairs
Award Winning
Smart, Sexy Suspense

Meet the heroine, Sadie Stewart:

Why did you become a spy?

I love living on the edge. I never know what’s going to happen next. I tell people I do it because I’m making a difference in a seriously messed-up world, and I believe that, but the adrenalin rush is what keeps me going.

Does your code name Mata Hari fit?

I love sex, everything about sex… But Mata Hari’s reputation as a femme fatale is hard to live up to. Sensual, sexual… mesmerizing. Being compared to a legend is tough.

But… men say I nail it.

Do you believe in the supernatural power of ancient Egyptian amulets?

Heck no. I value relics for their beauty and history. They belong in a museum where everyone can appreciate them. I don’t believe in magic. But I have to admit I’ve seen some pretty weird things happen around them.

What attracts you to Sebastian Wilde?

Oh my! Where do I start? He’s six feet five inches of man. He looks like a Viking Warrior, with long sun-kissed blond hair and blue eyes the color of the sky at dawn. He smells rugged and when he kisses me my whole world tilts. That’s what first attracted me to him. Then I got to know him and truly lost my heart. There is no other man like Sebastian. There is no other man for me.

Meet the Author, Jo-Ann Carson

DSC01318 Small Web viewJo-Ann Carson has lived most of her life on islands off the west coast of Canada, surrounded by snow covered mountains, lush rain forests and pristine beaches.

Growing up, she dreamed of traveling the world like James Bond, finding archeological treasures like Indiana Jones, and finding true love. In her Mata Hari series combines elements of adventure, danger and steamy romance.

Links:

To acquire a book:

Free on Amazon

May 12, 13, 14

To contact or follow Jo-Ann on Social Media go to her website:

www.Jo-AnnCarson.com