Thursday, December 24, 2015

#DecemberJoyathon2015: Christina Lauren's Favorite Things

It's the last day of our Joyathon and you're getting a two-for-one author visit today. The writing duo of Christina Lauren stop by and share their favorite things about the holiday season.

Christina Lauren is the combined pen name of long-time writing partners/besties/soulmates/brain-twins Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings. The coauthor duo writes both Young Adult and Adult Fiction, and together has produced eleven New York Times bestselling novels. Their books have been translated into 28 languages.

Decorating the tree(s): Christina has two Christmas trees in her house that are so beautiful whens she’s finished, they each look Saks Fifth Avenue worthy. Lo has one tree, and it’s cluttered with the kid’s handmade ornaments and the Santa-Riding-A-Giant-Pig ornament the kids won’t ever let go. But in either case, the ritual of getting the tree up, putting out the ornaments and decorating the tree one ornament at a time is the best way to dive right into the holiday spirit.

Holiday movies: Lo & her family will watch Elf approximately seventyeleven billion times between Halloween and New Years. Christina loves (and still watches) the TBS 24 hours of A Christmas Story.

CLo Christmas card: As if we weren’t basically a married couple already, we do an annual holiday card. The card in itself isn’t all that special, but sorting through the photos we’ve taken all year and selecting the ones to include never fails to leave us both a bit nostalgic.

Baking! Christina isn’t much of a baker these days, but nobody makes a pie like Lo (Christina's husband and daughter might already be planning how many pieces of Thanksgiving pecan pie they're planning on devouring). And Lo’s mother’s Christmas cookies come in about a dozen varieties, and are the reason Lo always weighs about 7 pounds more after the holidays than before. #worthit

Family stories: The Holidays are such a great time to share our favorite family stories—like the year Lo’s dad and uncle got so drunk they fell on the pile of presents under the tree and flattened most of them. Or the time Aunt Sharon invited some local Marines from Pendleton for Thanksgiving and it gave the holiday more meaning that we’d ever had before. Holidays are for family time—for better or worse!—and there’s nothing we love more than packing up the laptops, grabbing some eggnog, and fully immersing ourselves in the season.

Series: Wild Seasons #3
Genre: Contemporary Erotic
Page Count: 338 pages
Publisher: Gallery Books (September 15, 2015)
Dark Wild Night (Wild Seasons, #3)

What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.
But what didn't happen in Vegas seems to follow them everywhere.

Lola and Oliver like to congratulate themselves on having the good sense to not consummate their drunken Las Vegas wedding. If they’d doubled-down on that mistake, their Just Friends situation might not be half as great as it is now.

... Or so goes the official line.

In reality, Lola’s wanted Oliver since day one—and over time has only fallen harder for his sexy Aussie accent and easygoing ability to take her as she comes. More at home in her studio than in baring herself to people, Lola’s instinctive comfort around Oliver nearly seems too good to be true. So why ruin a good thing?

Even as geek girls fawn over him, Oliver can’t get his mind off what he didn’t do with Lola when he had the chance. He knows what he wants with her now ... and it’s far outside the friend zone. When Lola’s graphic novel starts getting national acclaim—and is then fast-tracked for a major motion picture—Oliver steps up to be there for her whenever she needs him. After all, she’s not the kind of girl who likes all that attention, but maybe she’s the kind who’ll eventually like him.

Sometimes seeing what’s right in front of us takes a great leap of faith. And sometimes a dark wild night in Vegas isn’t just the end of a day, but the beginning of a bright new life...

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Wednesday, December 23, 2015

#DecemberJoyathon2015: Olivia Miles's Favorite Things

We're getting so close to Christmas and the end of our Joyathon. Be sure to stop by and chat with our guest authors! Today, Olivia Miles stops by to share her favorite things about the holiday season which include holiday high tea, Elf on the Shelf, and holiday romances. 

OLIVIA MILES is a bestselling author of contemporary romance. She was the winner of Harlequin’s 2011 Happy Holidays Contest, and her story earned her “The Call.” Her books have since been released throughout the world. She is best known for her Briar Creek series, available through Hachette/Grand Central Publishing.

A city girl with a fondness for small town charm, Olivia enjoys highlighting both ways of life in her stories. She currently resides just outside Chicago with her husband, young daughter, and two ridiculously pampered pups.

Hello, and thanks so much for having me! I'm Olivia Miles, and I write (mostly) small-town contemporary romance. The holidays are my favorite time of the year, if not the busiest, but I try to make the most of them despite some harried days, and each year I try to add one new tradition. Some work, some don't (like the Santa train that was stuck in transit for about four hours, with no bathroom, no way off, and oh, maybe eighty screaming kids), but however they turn out, the memories make them worth the effort!

Of all the holiday activities, my favorites are:

Holiday High Tea - This is a new tradition for us, started last year. We go downtown (Chicago) and enjoy a proper English tea while listening to carolers. It's really festive and my daughter just loves it!

The food and drinks - There is no other time of the year when you can justify so much indulgence! I do allow myself a few extra treats and cocktails around Christmas, especially anything with eggnog or candy canes.

Our elf - While there may be some nights I have to all but drag myself out from under the warm duvet because I've realized with a surge of panic that I forgot to move the darn thing, I do love the tradition of hiding the elf for my daughter. The years of believing in the magic of Christmas are so fleeting, and this addition to each day really helps me to cherish this time in my child's life.

Christmas breakfast - I love the leisurely pace of Christmas breakfast. After all the work that goes into creating a picture-perfect morning, it's nice to finally sit back and relax.

Holiday romances, of course - Christmas romances are my favorite. I love the covers, I love the themes, and I love writing them. In fact, I love writing them so much, that I have had to pull back on how many I write, because I could probably find a way to make every book I have ever written a Christmas story....and deep down, I think every book I have ever written would be even better if it was set during the holiday season. :) There's just something extra magical about this time of year, and because I love creating a sense of setting and place, I do really love decorating my fictional small towns, too.

Happy Holidays!

Series: Briar Creek #3
Genre: Contemporary
Page Count: 356 pages
Publisher: Forever (October 27, 2015)
Hope Springs on Main Street (Briar Creek, #3)

Sometimes love is where you least expect it . . .

What do you do when your cheating husband proposes to the "other woman"? For Jane Madison, it means you keep calm, carry on, and sneak candy bars and wine for dinner. Jane's grateful for her adorable little girl, yet she yearns for the love that was missing from her marriage. Only one man ever really "got" Jane-and she's stunned when he returns to Briar Creek. But a single mom can't date her ex's best friend . . . can she?

Jane's still kind, beautiful-and far too good for the buddy Henry Birch tried to stop her from marrying years ago. Laying eyes on her now is like a much-needed ray of sunshine. Back in town to sell his family's old house, Henry wants to close a bad chapter in his life and move on. But time with Jane and her sweet daughter has him flirting with the idea of happily ever after-if he can convince her to take a second chance on love . . .

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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

#DecemberJoyathon2015: Lauren Smith's Favorite Things

Note to self: put building a snow fort on the list of 'must do' during winter. Today, Lauren Smith stops by to share her favorite things about the holiday season which include movie marathons, snow forts!, and hot books.

Lauren Smith is an attorney by day, author by night, who pens adventurous and edgy romance stories by the light of her smart phone flashlight app. She’s a native Oklahoman who lives with her three pets: a feisty chinchilla, sophisticated cat and dapper little schnauzer. She’s won multiple awards in several romance subgenres including being an Breakthrough Novel Award Quarter-Finalist and a Semi-Finalist for the Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Award.

Every year I get so excited about the holidays. It’s a time to come together, celebrate with family, eat insanely good food and to curl up in front of the fire with a good book.

What do I love most about the holidays? Here’s must list:

Decorations- I’m seriously addicted to decorating my house for Christmas. I do a tablescape on my large dining room table every year. Each year it’s a little different, and I try to tell a story. I’m thinking this year I’ll do Santa and the North pole.

Snow forts- Now I’m not always lucky enough to get snow in Oklahoma to do this, it’s certainly one of my all-time favorite winter holiday activities. My brother and I get serious about our forts and we’ll stay out there all day waging war on each other with slush balls.

Cooking- I’ll admit, I’m not the best cook in my house. My mother wins that award, but I love being her right hand in the process. She tells me what to do and I make it happen. And boy, does the food come out good. After we eat our holiday meal…it’s a given that we’ll pass out on the couch for two hour naps.

Movie Marathons- A Christmas Story, A Miracle on 34th Street, Holiday Inn…I can go on and on. Holiday movies are wonderful and I always cry during the courtroom scene on A Miracle on 34th Street. Maybe it’s because I’m a lawyer and the idea of trying Santa Claus and having to do with it being about your belief in Santa, call me old-fashion, but it turns me into a blubbering mess.

Hot fires and even hotter books – After the presents, after the cooking, it’s time to kick back and relax. There’s no better way than grabbing a romance novel and curling up before the fire to read while the snow falls outside.

How do you like to celebrate the holidays?

Series: Love Bites #1
Genre: Paranormal
Page Count: 113 pages
Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd. (November 24, 2015)
The Bite of Winter (Love Bites, #1)

She is theirs to claim. They are hers to save.

Zoey Blake is about as far down on her luck as she can get. A car crash took her parents, leaving her destitute and on the street. When she’s attacked by another homeless person, her lifeblood drains away as her fading vision is filled with the face of a handsome stranger.

Ian Kennedy, a century old Irish vampire, never could resist rescuing a stray. As a few drops of his blood heals Zoey’s wounds, he realizes she’s a sweet, tempting, flesh-and-blood woman. But there’s one problem. Connor, who made Ian promise decades ago: no more mortal lovers.

After another vampire murdered his soulmate, Connor O’Shea swore never to let amortal woman pay the price for loving him. Until he feels Zoey’s skin and tastes her lips.She makes him want to break that vow.

Zoey finds herself caught in their web of seduction. But as Christmas draws near andher grief deepens, happiness seems far out of reach. And Ian and Connor join forces to prove their love is sacred, special…and forever.

Warning: This book contains two scorching-hot Irish vampires, one lady with plenty of pluck but zero luck, naughty lingerie, and enough Christmas cheer to redeem even the darkest creatures.

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Monday, December 21, 2015

#DecemberJoyathon2015: Cathy Maxwell's Favorite Things

There's still time to enter our grand prize giveaways as well as all the other guest authors' giveaways. Today, Cathy Maxwell stops by to share why food, lots of holiday light and being with family are her favorite things about the season. 

Cathy Maxwell’s enthusiasm for life graces the pages of her books and are the topic of the talks she gives to readers and writers groups about her chosen career.

She is no stranger to the limelight. After graduating from college, Cathy started off as a news broadcaster. She later decided reporting was boring compared to making news and joined the navy. After a successful stint in Naval intelligence, including a tour with the Pentagon, Cathy proceeded to pursue writing. Now, she has 30 published romance novels (and five anthologies) to her credit, many of them spending significant time on the New York Times and USA Today mass market best-seller lists. It’s clear that Cathy has succeeded in achieving her goals to a rare degree!

This native of Olathe, Kansas now resides in Virginia with children, horses, dogs, and cats. When not writing or tending her beloved animals, she is likely to be busy with one of many local charities or packing her bags to research her next novel. Cathy’s motto is “travel light” and she enjoys meeting her fans all over the world.

1. I love going out to the barn on Christmas Day. If the weather is good, I ride and it seems to be one day of the year when my horse and I are completely compatible, perhaps because I am so relaxed and happy.

2. Lights—the more lights the happier I am.

3. Free food days. I am always on a diet. Such a bore. But I splurge over the holidays. I pick my food battles.

4. Being with my family. (Yes, I mentioned the horse first but horse lovers will understand. By the way, I count the dogs and Gracie the Obnoxious Cat as family members.)

5. Mass. There is something about services around the holidays. Perhaps it is that we are all a bit more forgiving, more aware of what we have, more thankful. Even folks who don’t like church seem at peace during the holidays.

Series: Marrying the Duke #1
Genre: Historical
Page Count: 384 pages
Publisher: Avon (November 24, 2015)
The Match of the Century (Marrying the Duke, #1)

In New York Times bestselling author Cathy Maxwell’s glittering new series, wedding bells are ringing… until the return of a rake throws a bride’s plans— and heart—into a tailspin.

Every debutante aspires to snag a duke. Elin Morris just happens to have had one reserved since birth. But postponements of her marriage to London’s most powerful peer give Elin time to wonder how she will marry Gavin Baynton when she cannot forget his brother, Benedict.

Already exasperated at being yanked from the military to meet “family obligations,” now Ben must suffer watching his arrogant sibling squire the only woman he has ever loved. Joining the army saved Ben from sinking into bitterness, but seeing Elin again takes him back to the day they surrendered to their intoxicating desire.

As the wedding draws near, Elin tries to push Ben far from her thoughts. When danger brings them together, there is no denying their feelings. But can Elin choose love over duty…?

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