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Holiday Chat with Author Meghan Gorecki!

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Loveys, I’m so excited that my friend Meghan Gorecki is visiting the blog today to talk shop on the holidays! Meghan is an amazing editor and writer and person and–she’s basically awesome. So let’s chat!

What’s one of your favorite aspects of the holiday season?

The music! From the holiday hymns honoring Jesus’ birth, to the pop classics old and new that you get stuck in your head instantly—it’s all so happy and bright. I just love the spirit it brings and the warmth it ushers in even through the stress and hustle and bustle.

 

Oh! I LOVE holiday music. Seriously. I listen to it in June sometimes. What’s your favorite holiday movie? Oh gosh. Not gonna lie I sat here for twenty minutes thinking of one. Favorite holiday movie is probably White Christmas, followed closely by Little Women if that can be considered a holiday movie (hey it opens at Christmas, right?). And we can’t forget all the Claymation classics like Rudolph or The Year without a Santa Claus.

White Christmas and Little Women are both classic Christmas movies to me. We watched Little Women as a family every year of my childhood. So…cider or cocoa? Cider, actually! Cocoa is delicious but so very rich. Warm cider with whipped cream and caramel? Sign me up, any day, any time.
 

I’m a fan of whipped cream and caramel on anything actually. Are you partial to Thanksgiving or Christmas and why? Thanksgiving, for sure. The stuffing(!), the parade—and the reminder to count our blessings. And it’s kind of like autumn’s last hurrah, my favorite season, but I do still love Christmas too. Just partial to Turkey Day.
 

I definitely love both holidays as well. My family usually makes the same traditional meal for both, so it’s turkey again (or maybe a glazed ham!) and dressing and all the fixings. Okay. I’m getting hungry! Tell us about your latest novel! So my latest novel is coming out this April, and it’s a historical romance. Amongst the Roses follows Margaret Bryant, and Connor and Adam Doyle—three people from opposite sides of the tracks, brought together when the Civil War overturns all their lives. It’s set in Chambersburg, a large Pennsylvania city very near the Mason-Dixon line that saw three Confederate invasions during the four years of war. Here’s the official blurb:

The War Between the States shakes Margaret Bryant out of her comfortable upper-class life when her father enlists in the Army of the Potomac. Despite being safely ensconced above the Mason-Dixon Line in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, Margaret finds her strength tested by opposition from familiar faces and Confederate threats. Will she let a young man from a lesser station into her heart even as war rages ever nearer to the home front?

Restless Connor Doyle sees the war as a way to escape from his family’s farm and his identity as a poor Irishman’s son. His brother, Adam, torn between duty to country and his family, enlists alongside Connor. Adam dares to hope in a future with Margaret when he begins a courtship correspondence from the war front. The two brothers make a vow to protect one another at all costs, but when faced with death and destruction from all sides—will they be able to uphold it?

The three bloodiest days in America’s history bring these three together at Gettysburg and tragedy’s cruelty threatens to tear two hearts apart—and bring two unlikely allies together.

That sounds so intriguing! Meghan, thank you SO much for stopping by! Loveys, check out her Christmas novella. (I love the cover so much!)

Meghan M. Gorecki is an author of inspirational fiction about what God can make beautiful from the ashes of history, and hearts. A lover and avid studier of people, times gone by, and fiction, she has been writing since childhood and now houses her books under Northern Belle Publishing. Coffee and red lipstick color her days as a redhead from a box, alongside her treasured tribe of family and friends in her beloved hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Connect with her on social media and at her blog/website at: http://www.northernbellemeg.com (http://www.northernbellemeg.com)

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Wrapped in Red: A Three Rivers Romance NovellaWrappedinRedHolidayDiscount.png

A Steel City holiday romance sure to melt your heart.

The holidays haven’t been the easiest for Merry Grainger. Five years ago, she lost her grandfather and got dumped by her boyfriend right before Christmas. Each season since sees her determined to avoid getting hurt again, and so she keeps a steel-like grip on her hopeless romantic heart.

Music used to soothe Sam Shepard’s soul until the death of his biggest cheerleader broke his heart, family, and dreams into pieces. Now he’s focused on thriving in the city, and with the people, he’s grown to love—all to keep the hole in his heart from opening anew with every passing holiday season. Thrown together by a church play and meddlesome family armed with mistletoe, will Merry and Sam unwrap their guarded hearts to let in the true hope of Christmas—and each other?

 

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Merry Christmas with Rachelle Rea Cobb! (Author Q&A)

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Rachelle Cobb Headshot.pngTo me, the Christmas season is all about being with friends and family. So I’ve loved having author friends stop by the blog to chat about holiday-ish things! We’ll have a couple more as the month goes by. Today, my friend Rachelle Rea Cobb is sharing with us what she loves about this time of year. Grab a coffee and a Christmas cookie and let’s talk!
Q: What’s one of your favorite aspects of the holiday season?
A: I love so many aspects! I adore Christmas music, decorating the Christmas tree, classic Christmas movies and the Hallmark ones, Christmas lights, and Christmas parties with friends and family. And all the desserts! I have an insatiable sweet tooth. 🙂
Q: Me too. I LOVE all the desserts at Christmas. What’s your favorite holiday movie?
A: I love Going My Way with Bing Crosby, Christmas in Connecticut, White Christmas, and all of the traditional kids movies like Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Yet again I’m failing to pick just one, sorry! 🙂
Q: No worries. I have too many faves to pick one too! And Christmas in Connecticut is absolutely on my list! Cider or cocoa?
A: Neither! I dislike warm drinks. Strange, I know. Except I recently discovered I do like chai tea! 
Q: I like chai as well. But also . . . coffee. And cider. And cocoa. So, tell me, partial to Thanksgiving or Christmas and why?
A: Christmas. I wish it weren’t so commercialized, but I just love everything about Christmas (see above!). I look forward to it every year, and Thanksgiving feels like the kick-off  this special holiday season. 🙂
Q: I love Christmastime so much. It’s just such a special time of year. Tell us about your novels!The Sound of Silver.jpg
A: Dirk and Gwyn are the main characters in the Steadfast Love series, set in 1566 in England and Holland. While the Dutch Revolution and Reformation rage, can a Protestant man save a Catholic woman who believes him to be the chiefest of all sinners–and a murderer?
 
I’m also the author of the writing guide, Write Well, which I released earlier this year for those authors intent on learning the structure of writing so that they can get back to the heart and art of it. 🙂
Sounds wonderful. Thank you, Rachelle, and Merry Christmas, readers!
About Rachelle

Times gone by snatch Rachelle Rea Cobb close, so she reads and writes about years long ago–her passions include the Reformation, Revolutions, and romance. During college, Rachelle wrote the Steadfast Love series. Five months after she graduated, she signed a three-book deal with her dream publisher, WhiteFire. She’s a homeschool grad, Oreo addict, and plots her novels while driving around her dream car, a pick-up truck. In June 2016, she married a man with the same name as her fictional hero, and they live happily ever after in Small Town, South. Visit her website for more information:  http://RachelleReaCobb.com/. Or hop over to her Amazon page to check out her books: http://www.amazon.com/Rachelle-Rea/e/B00RZHIL1Q.

Holiday Letter Writing by Susan Mathis (Guest Post!)

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714fDFjKCKL__UX250_Friends, I’m super excited to tell you that my wonderful author-friend Susan Mathis is stopping by today to talk about making Holiday Letter Writing fun. (I absolutely need this advice!) Susan, thank you SO much for visiting and sharing some ideas!

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Every year most of us read “’Twas the Night Before Christmas.” I knew friends and family expected to hear from us at Christmas, but I was so busy. I knew that a simple Christmas card wouldn’t be enough. Then I had an idea. I simply changed the words and created “’Twas a Year of Adventure.” I rhymed a story of the whole year’s family events, and it was a hit.

I didn’t mean for it to become a tradition, but it did. A few years ago I grew tired of writing one more version of the poem, so instead I wrote a regular letter. Wrong move! There was mutiny in my Christmas card list—I had a dozen family and friends complain that reading the poem had become a tradition in their family! Now I know it has meaning to others, I take much more pleasure in writing it each year. You can, too.

Though it comes at a busy time in family life, writing your annual family letter doesn’t have to be a chore. It can be a fun family event, and become a family tradition. Here are some ideas to get you started.

  • Throughout the year, keep a family calendar that records events of the year. Then simply review it and form your ideas. If funny sayings are important to you, record them and use them as a basis of your letter. If sports, events, activities, growth milestones or achievements are highlights in your family life, record them.
  • Review the year as a special “Family Memory Night.” Read through your record and enjoy the power of sharing memories.
  • If you’re not a writer, don’t worry. People aren’t looking for polished works of art; they want to connect with you and know more about your family life.
  • Be sure to include information about every family member.
  • Save money. Use snapshots instead of expensive studio photography. Email your letter instead of snail mailing it. Remember, it’s the connection that matters.
  • Include an opening and a conclusion. It could be as simple as, “This Christmas we wanted to share more about our family by telling you about our ‘Family Firsts” as an introduction and “May the Lord bless you as you celebrate His birth” as a conclusion.

Tweak the timing

Too busy to even think about writing a letter at Christmastime? Make Thanksgiving, New Year’s, or even Valentine’s Day your special time to connect with family and friends. Establish it as a tradition, and your loved ones will look forward to it with love and anticipation.

Mix it up

There are lots of ways to format your letter. If your children are young, photos or simple drawings with captions may be a hit. A theme letter can be fun with older children. Choose a theme, let everyone contribute to the ideas and make it a family project.

A few ideas include:

  • Name Acrostic: Use the letters of your name to tell about your year
  • Family News: let everyone be a journalist and write an article for your newspaper.
  • The Top 10 Family events or funny sayings or moments to remember
  • Family Firsts
  • Family Statistics

History in the making

Whether you choose a different holiday, a certain format or both, try to stick to it. Not only will you make it easier and easier for you, your loved ones will look forward to it each year. Your letters will become a record of your family history, and maybe you’ll create a family tradition for others, too.

Susan G Mathis is a versatile writer and author of The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy. Susan has two Tyndale nonfiction books, Countdown for Couples: Preparing for the Adventure of Marriage and The ReMarriage Adventure: Preparing for a Life of Love and Happiness. She is also the author of two published picture books, Lexie’s Adventure in Kenya: Love is Patient and Princess Madison’s Rainbow Adventure. Please visit www.SusanGMathis.com. 

P.S. Susan’s novel The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy released this year and I recommend it! A duel storyline weaves together a family’s past and present. Hop over to Amazon and check out Susan’s books. https://www.amazon.com/Susan-G.-Mathis/e/B001JP31DI/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1)

 

Talking Holidays with author Toni Shiloh!

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DSC01664.jpgQ: What’s one of your favorite aspects of the holiday season?
A: I love the kindness that permeates the air during the holiday season! People who are normally standoffish will offer a smile and a greeting. People seemed to stop and smell the roses and remember people are what it’s about.
Q: What’s your favorite holiday movie?
A:I love Home Alone and Home Alone 2. What’s even better is I can watch them with my boys and have a good laugh. It’s a great family moment.
Q: Cider or cocoa?
A: Depends on my mood. I’m all for apple cider but hazelnut hot chocolate is fantastic.
Q: Partial to Thanksgiving or Christmas and why?
A: I’m partial to Thanksgiving for two reasons: food and football. I’m a Dallas Cowboys fan and they always play on Thanksgiving so I get to eat and watch TV. 😊
makingspiritsbright.jpgTell us about your latest novel!
A Sidelined Christmas is one of the novellas in the Making Spirits Bright collection. I was honored to join the other ladies in the boxset. Once they asked me to join them, I started wondering what could happen during Christmas. Since I’m a football fan, I made my hero a wide receiver, only he gets injured during the Thanksgiving game. What could be worse? Sidelined with a career-ending injury, he goes home to Peachwood Bay to recover and runs into his high school sweetheart.
Thank you for stopping by, Toni!
Check out Making Spirits Bright on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0773TC1TR

Toni Shiloh is a wife, mom, and Christian fiction writer. Once she understood the powerful saving grace thanks to the love of Christ, she was moved to honor her Savior. She writes to bring Him glory and to learn more about His goodness. She spends her days hanging out with her husband and their two boys. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and president of the Virginia Chapter.

You can find her on her website at http://tonishiloh.wordpress.com.

 

 

Book Signings and Football Games

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FullSizeRender (5)Loveys, we spent yesterday shopping for cars and Halloween costumes. And before that, my day began with me slipping and falling down the stairs at our house. Very unfortunate and I’m feeling it all over today. So this morning,  it’s a two-cup-of-coffee, blog, and talk-about-book-stuff kind of morning (and take ibuprofen).

Speaking of Halloween costumes–we are smack-dab into October, and we’ve ALREADY had snow in Colorado. I’m not ready and I’m pretending it didn’t happen. I want fall to last as long as possible. And as for fall, my sister Sara and I got to celebrate the start of autumn by taking a quick trip to Lynchburg, VA, to do a book signing at our alma mater, Liberty University. Which was all kinds of fun and exciting. It was College for a Weekend so the campus was even busier than usual. We spent Friday at the Barnes and Noble on campus for the signing, then had a table at the Saturday football game as well.

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And for a writer, there’s pretty much nothing more fun than talking about books with people. I’m so, so grateful for every person who stopped by. It was something I’ll never forget. The fact that we were back at Liberty made it all the more special. The people there are awesome, and it feels like home.

There’s something exhilarating and terrifying about putting a book out there, loveys. On one hand, you pour your heart and soul into a story and want to share it. On the other, of course it won’t be for everyone and that’s entirely OK. But the support of those who do connect with the characters and feel moved by the story means so much.

I loved every part of working on The Last Summer. Locking myself away in my office, writing to the sound of country music. Stopping and rereading and rewriting until the scenes came together the way I wanted them to. And then, going over edits and comments and direction from my editors Marisa and Meghan. I loved their insight and sometimes hilarious comments and encouragement. Writers need help, lovey. Editors are so important. Post edits, seeing the typeset version of the book is so exciting (that’s when the interior design is finished and it starts looking like a real book!). Then the cover reveal and the realization that you’re getting close. And when the final proofs come, you painstakingly go over every line because this is your last time before press. And there’s nothing like the feeling of opening that first box of printed books. Because it’s passion and effort brought to life.

That’s why–when you add all that in–you understand how special it is to see people take your book in their hands and ask you about it. And when old friends and new hand you their copy to sign–those are moments you tuck in your heart and keep forever. And then . . . you start all over again with the next book.

So thank you to everyone who’s read The Last Summer. Thank you for reviews and text messages and encouragement. Thank you for sharing copies with friends. And a special thank you to my dad, for always being my champion and for helping so much with the book signing. All my love.

 

(And as a P.S. For anyone who’s not yet subscribing to my newsletter, hop over to my blog and sign up (https://brandybruce.blogspot.com) to stay tuned on all updates about follow-up books!)

Giveaway! Fall into reading!

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Hi friends! I’m part of a fun fall giveaway with multiple authors! Whohoo! Free books! Enter to win!!

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

Progeny by Tosca Lee

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Progency_without-quoteSo . . . I just finished reading Progeny by Tosca Lee and I have to talk about it! This was really good YA fantasy. I was hooked from the storyline and the main character was likeable and relatable. One of my favorite things about this book was how well the author wove spiritual themes into a fantasy novel (that’s not strictly a Christian novel). She’s not afraid to create flawed, realistic characters in this fantasy setting, while at the same time explore questions about God’s existence and add in religious elements. Since I’m someone with a spiritual bent to begin with, this aspect of the story really connected with me. But even for someone who is nonreligious, this aspect just rolls into the storyline completely seamlessly. I’ve found that with lots of YA fantasy books, I enjoy the first novel in a series, but then find myself not invested enough to want to keep going. With this one, I’d like to know what happens in book 2. I know not every story can hook me like Harry Potter or Hunger Games (where I want to buy the next book as soon as it releases, even if it’s at midnight!) so it’s nice to read something that pulls you in and makes you want to keep going with these characters.

Here’s the Amazon blurb:

New York Times bestselling author Tosca Lee brings a modern twist to an ancient mystery surrounding Elizabeth Bathory, the most notorious female serial killer of all time.

Emily Jacobs is the descendant of a serial killer. Now, she’s become the hunted.

She’s on a quest that will take her to the secret underground of Europe and the inner circles of three ancient orders—one determined to kill her, one devoted to keeping her alive, and one she must ultimately save.

Filled with adrenaline, romance, and reversals, The Progeny is the present-day saga of a 400-year-old war between the uncanny descendants of “Blood Countess” Elizabeth Bathory, the most prolific female serial killer of all time, and a secret society dedicated to erasing every one of her descendants. It is a story about the search for self filled with centuries-old intrigues against the backdrop of atrocity and hope.