Who doesn't love a Christmas story? I know I do. There's nothing so relaxing as to curl up with a steaming cup of tea and a good book.
It's even better if snow is falling outside and you're sitting in front of a crackling fireplace. I can almost smell the wonderful scent of wood burning and the shadows of the flames dancing across the room. Maybe there is a bowl of popcorn and a snoozing puppy at your side.
Sigh. We can't have it all. Or can we? We can certainly try.
Authors of Main Street are excited to announce we have a New Five Boxed Set Coming Soon!
My book for the upcoming boxed set is, Christmas at the Granger Inn.
I was reminded of early one evening when my son and foster son were on the trampoline in our back yard. They'd both come running into the house, as white as ghosts. Pun intended. :)
Both described a dark haired lady in a purple dress, hovering beside them. They were so scared, I couldn't help but believe them.
We live on the site of an old plantation years ago. I'm also reminded of hauntings that occurred in or around some of those homes.
Though I haven't written anything with a ghost before, one of the other authors mentioned she has a ghost in her story.
So, intrigued that I was, and after a lot of thought and a lot of what if’s, my ghost emerged. I found writing this story has been so much fun!
The authors have all new books in the boxed set, but not all of the wonderful stories have a ghost.
I hope those of you who do like them, enjoy my new ghost story!
Want to know how to get a FREE Copy of our New Boxed Set?
We'd love to treat you to five new books! Go to the right top of this page, sign up for our newsletter, and we’ll add you to our advance release program. You’ll receive an advance reading copy of our New Boxed Set for FREE.
We only ask that you be kind enough leave an honest review.
We hope you’ll consider getting your Advanced Review Copy.
We appreciate each one of our readers and love sharing our stories with you!
I wish you love, butterflies and music.
Please check out this link to my books, available at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Kobo, Apple and Smashwords.
A good while back I began what was to be Book 2 of a romantic comedy. The characters and story were fresh in my mind. I had great expectations at finishing the book in a matter of a couple of months. The storyline bloomed and began like this.
Life took over-and every time I tried to write, the book and my enthusiasm wandered.
I struggled with too much on my mind and had left the book too long. The story became fuzzy and I was unable to connect. A few months later I dug the manuscript from its file and read through what I’d written. I let it simmer, connected with the characters again and changed the outline. So, then I had this.
Things are looking up!
Now, I’m loving my characters again and appealing to my muse while I complete A Smoky Mountain Wedding in time for Christmas this year. I hope life is agreeable and the book comes to a close, because there’s Book 3 to jump into!
So watch out Muse! I won’t take no for an answer. :)
Name that deputy sheriff! He’s a twenty-five-year-old, quiet young man and as honest as the day is long, from Gatlinburg, Tennessee. When things get too busy around the jail, he gets a bit rattled. Think Barney Fife.
If you have a catchy first name, and if I use your suggestion, I’ll be happy to send you a free digital copy of A Smoky Mountain Wedding when it’s completed.
So send in your first names for the deputy sheriff! Grab a chance for a free copy of A Smoky Mountain Wedding.
I can’t wait to read the names you come up with!
You can leave a comment here or email me at nanacjd3318 @ att.net (No spaces between) Please put “deputy sheriff contest” in the subject line.
The deadline for sending in your names for the deputy is March 19, 2016. I’ll announce the winner on my next post, which will be March 23, 2016. In case of a tie, I’ll have someone draw for the winner.
Please don’t forget to leave your name and email so I may reach you. Thank you!
Good luck and happy reading!
Links to my books, available at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Kobo, Apple and Smashwords, can be found here: http://caroldevaney.weebly.com/my-books.html
We are live!
Authors of Main Street are pleased to announce our Fabulous Five – brand-new never before released Christmas romance novellas, by USA Today and National Bestselling authors, are available now.
Authors of Main Street are pleased and excited to reveal our beautiful Christmas cover for your viewing. A tremendous thank you and shout out to both Pepper Phillips for the cover photo and to E. Ayers for her hard work creating the cover for us. Both ladies worked tirelessly to bring the book together.
We’ve been relentless at planning an all new set of stand-alone Christmas novellas for your reading pleasure this Christmas season. We couldn’t wait to share.
This year has been hectic. As everyone else’s days go, life has taken us down different paths with deadlines and other obligations. Through it all, we banned together in a joint project to bring to you, our loyal readers, five new stories that are sure to warm your heart.
Imagine writing stories that include heavy snow, blizzards or just frigid weather when the weather outside sometimes hit over one-hundred degrees! Turning down the air conditioner cool enough to pull on a pair of socks and brewing a pot of coffee or tea helps!
We’re grateful to our readers for their trust and devotion, to allow us to entertain you once again. Whether the story is cozy, quaint, or humorous, it’s all about heartwarming tales of love and family during the Christmas season. They’re all sure to tug on your heartstrings.
There’s nothing like curling up on your favorite chair, a cup of your favorite beverage and losing yourself in a good book. I can’t think of anything that compares to stealing away, relaxing with a story that brings a smile, a laugh, or touches your heart during those special moments.
Here’s a sneak peek:
Welcome to Main Street. It’s not a place. It’s an attitude. It’s not Key West or San Diego or Halifax or Richmond or West Haven – it’s any town. It can be anyplace that you can imagine. The authors of Main Street create high-quality romances that warm your heart.
This year we are pleased to bring you five brand-new holiday romance novellas in a boxed set.
Mistletoe & Wine by Susan R. Hughes, USA Today bestselling author:
For Colleen Dixon, Christmas of 1986 seems sure to be miserable. Having just lost her job, her lover and her apartment, she figures a trip across the country to spend the holidays at her grandmother’s house might be just what she needs. Meeting Dr. Liam Clancy during her visit brings a whole new shine to her Christmas spirit.
Recently divorced, Liam never intended to fall for a woman again so soon, especially one who lives so far away. Can a holiday fling survive as a long-distance romance, or will the New Year bring the promise of something more?
Christmas at Apple Lake by Carol DeVaney, National bestselling author:
If you’re lucky in love, that second chance will come…
Sometimes love goes wrong, and the cost often defeats even the strongest of women.
If you overcome the sorrow of loss and have the courage and determination to believe, love will find you again.
A Magical Christmas by Pepper Phillips, National bestselling author:
During a weekend in Las Vegas, S. R. Lejeune decides to skip the trouble of courtship and propose marriage to the beautiful blonde sitting next to him.
His arguments for a quick marriage are so clear and concise that Jazz Morgan decides to take him up on his offer – especially after their mind-blowing kiss.
But can shared aspirations and a mutual attraction be enough to build a marriage? Maybe not, when S. R. comes to believe the worst of his new bride.
Can Jazz capture the heart of the man she loves? Or should she?
Sometimes it takes more than time for a marriage of convenience to grow into a forever love.
The Little White Christmas Lie by Kristy Tate, National bestselling author:
Carson Trent doesn’t know that the beautiful Millie Cruise who literally falls into his lap is really Camille Harper, bestselling romance writer.
Millie doesn’t know that she is headed for Carson’s grandmother’s inn in a quaint New England town.
Neither Carson nor Millie know that their lives are about to spin out of control thanks to a patch of black ice, a cow, and a little white Christmas lie.
Christmas at Mariner’s Cove by E. Ayers, National bestselling author:
It was just a little fib. Celine Colburn wasn’t expecting Prince Charming because that was the stuff of fairy tales. But when she met Frank Cresson, she found herself instantly drawn to him.
Just as they were getting to know each other, she becomes a witness to a horrendous motorcycle accident that left him unconscious. Except, a lie has a way of growing.
Have you signed up for our newsletter or followed our blog? It’s easy with the click of a button, and you’ll be all set to receive updated news. Don’t miss a single announcement!
I’m honored to be part of our Christmas set with the fabulous women who are Authors of Main Street.
I hope, you, our readers, enjoy and are excited about our newest project as much as we are!
Please share your thoughts on our gorgeous cover!
The authors of Main Street started discussing character reality over the weekend. So I thought I’d share my views with everyone. Let me say upfront, I totally know the difference between reality and character reality.
Yes, there are people who drop into a Neverland and no longer can separate the two. Somehow authors and other creative people manage to straddle the two worlds and remain sane. We talk about voices in our heads. We aren’t going to follow the voice who tells us to go rob a bank, but we might have our characters robbing a bank. So the separation remains.
For me, the creative process of selecting characters for a novel takes place in an odd sort of way. It’s not the same each time. Most of the time, I have a physical description that emerges first and then all the back story, quirks, etc. begin to pull together. I don’t start to write the story until I know everything (or I think I know everything) about the character, including how that character prefers his or her coffee.
Then I begin to play with the what ifs and I’ve been known to discuss this with my character. Not really, but I play a scene in my head to see how that character would behave in those circumstances. I tweak the scene and do it again. I do that until I have several scenes and I know my story is going someplace.
Occasionally, I get blindsided. In my upcoming Christmas release with the Authors of Main Street, I revisit Mariner’s Cove. It’s always been a favorite story of mine.
Frank was the younger, college-aged cousin who created havoc for the older cousin, Archer “Brook” Brooklyn, IV. But the irresponsible, bad-boy, Frank has played on my mind for years. And I wanted to use this quaint, New England, lobster town at Christmas. But every time I began to formulate plans for such a novel, it was as though those plans fell into a million little pieces of confetti and I didn’t know why.
So this time Frank emerged, as a mature adult. He’s walked away from motocross as he physically can no longer compete, but he won’t give up the sport or his love of riding motorcycles. That put him in direct conflict with his family. And his need for the adrenaline rush of winning was no longer being fueled in a courtroom. I had enough to send him back to Mariner’s Cove and give him a chance to re-evaluate his life, and what he wanted.
She’s that self-sufficient Yankee who leads a rather boring life, but she’s enjoying it. She’s not about to be bowled over by a cute guy, especially a rich one. As a waitress, she’s seen plenty and she’ not looking for a guy to come save her from her horrid life. Because life is pretty good!
They have barely started their relationship when Celine is a witness to an accident that send Frank off his motorcycle. At that point, my head knew I had my Christmas story. But as I wrote it (I refuse to tell and give away anything) something emerged. It was one of those OMG moments. It had never come up in the first Mariner’s Cove book. And in my mind, at that moment, all sorts of things came together. It made prefect sense!
So yes, my characters will still catch me off guard. But how many times in real life have you been surprised at a close friend who reveals something to you?
Frank is real to me, as is Celine. The town is real – I’ve walked those streets, I’ve been aboard those boats, and I know the men who run them! Why? Because I’ve been in a hundred such towns. I’ve eaten those meals, known watermen, and I’ve known lawyers. I’ve been friends with the women who’ve been married to them.
And as for that accident… My niece was in a motorcycle accident with severe brain trauma. My hubby spent ten days in a neuro-unit. That means I’ve spent way too many days of my life coping with brain trauma. I’ve seen full recovery and death. These things affect the stories I write. But they also enrich the stories and make them more real. So by the time I’ve finished, the characters are as real to me as I can get them. And according to my reviews, they are real to the people who read them.
I’m willing to release a few advanced copies of my upcoming Christmas story for honest reviews. If you’d like a copy just let me know. You can go to the contact page here on my personal blog and leave me your email address. Just put ARC (Advance Review Copy) in the subject line and I’ll send you a review copy of this novella.
Yes, Frank has grown up. Lives are about to change. And once the wheel starts spinning, we all know that there is no turning back the hands of time.
I love writing. I love creating characters and stories that take my readers away from their mundane lives. And I love hearing from readers!
A review said of another novel of mine:
This is the second book I’ve read by this author. She seems to have a knack for creating self-contained domestic worlds which draw me in so completely that when I resurface from a long reading session, I feel quite disoriented and out of place in the real world. That to me, has to be the chief sign of an excellent story-weaver.
Do characters become real to you as you write or read them? Do you feel disoriented when you must face the real world? I’d love to hear from you!
Staying positive is half the battle. Many issues are overcome when you kick negativity to the side, or better yet, behind. Way behind.
Yes, Get Thee Behind Me Negativity.
We all have negative thoughts, I certainly do. But, I don’t wallow in bad things that happen for long. That’s the time I pull up my pants and take the bull by the horn. I know, I know, that’s a cliché, but it’s true.
As life and its struggles take a dip into a valley, I step back and assess the circumstances and actions needed to correct and deal with the issue at hand. When isn’t that the case? When I know I there isn’t anything I can do about the situation. Maybe the situation surrounds me, but doesn’t directly involve me. Mostly, I try to do what I can to help, but I step back at some point and realize I can’t fix every issue that hits me in the gut. All problems that hem me in aren’t my babies.
Negativity is harmful to health, and I don’t need outside issues bringing me down. None of us do.
There isn’t a roller-coaster effect to correcting issues without planning and action, if you aren’t actively involved.
Such is the case with my character in CHRISTMAS at APPLE LAKE. I wanted to create a character that had lived too long under someone else’s control and finally came to realize she’d lived in another’s shadow. Now she’s ready to break the mold, but finds her children want to continue where their father left off.
When Gage meets Matt, her entire thought process takes a life changing turn for the better. She’s ready to live. Really live.
Does Gage come into her own, or will she allow her girls to send Mom back into the plastic mold where they want her to remain?
Gage Lander’s husband, Ken, dies in a freak accident. She and Ken had just argued and Ken storms out of the house in a blind rage. He’d been drinking and the his car had rammed a telephone pole. Now, her girls blame her for their father’s death. They throw his death in her face; if they hadn’t argued, he’d still be alive and at home where he belonged.
Gage knows that isn’t true.
She believes in a higher being. She believes we are on this earth for a reason and it’s the same in death. We leave this world when our time here has ended, not before.
Gage fights to help her girls understand death and how to deal with their grief. But as in real life, that’s a long time coming. Gage realizes it’s hard to absorb death, much less understanding why, especially when the girls oppose her on every level.
Here’s a short excerpt.
CHRISTMAS at APPLE LAKE
If Gage had known, Ken, her husband, would die, she’d have planned for it. No one ever said happiness was forever. Least of all Gage. She knew all about forever. It wasn’t.
Her life was upside down now and righting it was up to her. No one could do it for her.
But how was she going to go about it? Certainly her girls had their own idea of how she would get back on track. No, maybe that was an understatement. They wanted her to become a shadow of them. To live the way they wanted her to. Well…that wasn’t going to happen. She’d had enough control.
A shadow of what she knew would keep her from being what she wanted to be. What she knew she could be. What she wanted was to overcome her situation without being under someone else’s thumb, even her girls. Maybe, especially her girls. As much as she loved them, and as much as they loved her, relying on them wasn’t fair to either of her girls, whether they realized it or not. And, they didn’t. At least now. Gage prayed both girls would come to appreciate she’d have to make her own way.
Ken hadn’t wanted her to work after they’d married, and since they both wanted children right away, Gage hadn’t argued, but felt blessed to have a husband take care of her and the children that blessed their home.
Now, being taken care of had blown up in her face.
Ken had been the decision maker for the biggest part of their marriage. She’d had enough of control during her marriage. Control she hadn’t wanted or needed, but she’d allowed her husband to make most of the decisions without a thought of what may happen if he wasn’t around.
And now that day had come. She wasn’t ready, but life wouldn’t be put off.
Ken hadn’t been abusive, he just liked things to go smoothly and Gage had gone along. Still the marriage had been mostly good. She’d learned to adjust. Adjustments now would be a test. A test she was ready to meet head-on once she realized control was a form of abuse.
Gage lay in the king sized bed, flipped back the sheet and stared up at the ceiling. Her mind’s eye followed the swirls embedded in paint, paint she and Ken had applied together. For twenty-two years she’d shared the bed with Ken and now that he was gone, the bed was lonely and empty.
Ken had been a good man but had no knack for finances. But, it wasn’t entirely his fault the house was mortgaged to the hilt, and the credit cards maxed out. The medical bills had stacked up and now it was up to her to do something about them.
But what? She had no job, nor any skills other than organizing the house as one would a business over the years. You’d think she’d welcome her children coming in and taking over. To make everything easier. To remove the burden of paying stacks of bills she had no way of paying. But paying her out of debt wasn’t their responsibility. Gage wouldn’t be part of putting them put in a position that would put a strain on their lives.
Gage wanted more for her children. More for herself. More than to simply exist. She’d existed long enough without their help and to burden her children financially wasn’t in her plans.
So, the time had come to get up off her duff and do something about being head over heels in debt, to find a way to do what she had to do. By herself.
Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share? Please do if you can. We’d love to read your excerpt.
Thanks for joining us and reading!
My books are available at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Kobo, Diesel, Apple and Smashwords.
You can find links on my website for all My Books
Authors of Main Street proudly announce their newest boxed set LOVE BLOOMS on MAIN STREET.
Grab your copy for only .99 for 10 stories!
The set is available for pre-order 4/15/2015 through 4/27/2015 and will go live and available 4/28/2015.
Available for Pre-order at:
We're really excited about this set of heartwarming stories for your reading pleasure. Be sure to watch the video.
Thanks to all our special readers and followers!
Every flower tells a story. Just as the first fragrant blooms of spring stir the senses, Love Blooms on Main Street is sure to touch your heart. Ranging from sweet to spicy, these stand-alone contemporary romances are inspired by the symbolism of flowers, with each story representing a different flower.
Small Town Hot Shot Bride by Stephanie Queen, USA Today bestselling author: Red roses symbolize compassion and romantic love. Tammy is a hot shot in a small town, but she’s tired of
getting left behind by guys just passing through. Will she get swept up by charming out-of-towner Roark and his runaway train attraction? Or will she derail him for good?
Forever Your Valentine by Susan R. Hughes, national bestselling author: Daisies symbolize loyal love. Attraction crackles between Faith and Cole when they meet, but since Cole’s career takes him on the road most of the year, Faith resolves to keep their relationship platonic. Will one night together ruin their friendship, or could they be falling in love?
Perfect Match by Carol DeVaney, national bestselling author: Forget-me-nots symbolize true love and remembrance. Sometimes love needs a little push. Can two lonely hearts re-kindle their abandoned passion the second time around?
Naomi’s Heart by Pepper Phillips, national bestselling author : Paperwhite narcissus has the most delicious fragrance, bringing spring into the room. Delighted that Ben is back in Boggy Bayou, Naomi teams up with him to enter the Egg Knocking contest. Can they win? Can Naomi figure out why Ben is kissing her? Can her heart stand it if Ben realizes that she’s not what he deserves?
Heather of His Heart by Leigh Morgan, national bestselling author : Heather symbolizes admiration, beauty, good luck and protection from danger. Heather has given up on the idea of finding romantic love. Billy never had the idea in the first place. When circumstances throw them together, they find that love, like heather, blooms in the most unlikely places.
Mother’s Day Babies by Mona Risk, USA Today bestselling author : White lilies symbolizes virtue. Can Love Bloom between a powerful TV Director who’s certainly not marriage material and a widow loyal to her late husband?
To Have & To Hold by E. Ayers, national bestselling author : Peonies symbolize compassion, happiness and prosperity. When Melissa meets Drexel, she realizes that the estate’s gardener has found something that she’s never had—happiness. But sometimes things aren’t what they appear to be, and she needs to follow her heart.
Call Me Yours by Kelly Rae, national bestselling author : Hydrangeas symbolize devotion and gratefulness. When Thad finds himself falling for Brianna, the only surprise is how natural it feels. It’s going to take more than words to convince her, but he will do anything to hear her say, Call Me Yours.
Love at the Apple Blossom Inn by Kristy Tate, national bestselling author : Scotch broom symbolizes overwhelming and everlasting love. Small-town girl Janey Tyler falls for Eric Roudell, the quiet and reclusive music teacher. But will she still love him when she discovers he is really Derrick Cordell, the rock star?
Old Enough to Know Better by Joan Reeves, national bestselling author : White roses symbolize new beginnings. Stormy Clarkson, on the brink of fifty, is crushing on sexy Sean Butler. He’s been after her for six months, but she’s resisted every advance. One night he kisses her. That kiss changes everything!
Connect with dozens of authors in a celebration of spring. You can find other authors at the end of this post. The grand prize is an e-reader of your choice (up to $200 value). The second prize is $25 gift card. Also each participating author will offer a gift of their own. Winners will be chosen from comments so be sure to leave your email address. Only those visitors who visit EACH and EVERY stop are eligible for the grand prize.
I'm giving away a download of A Smoky Mountain Christmas to 3 readers who leave a comment below: Tell me what you love about the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee.
My recipe for Southern Potato Salad for Authors in Bloom.
This recipe feeds a lot of people! Great for church functions or family outings.
Southern Potato Salad
Feeds approximately 20-25 people
10 lbs. Red Potatoes (peeled or not, your preference) dice small
1 extra large Red Onion diced small (Buy an extra small red onion, in case you need more)
4 large stalks celery (including tops) Slice thinly or you can dice very small
2 8 oz. jars cubed dill pickles (Not sweet) (can use dill relish, but not as tasty) Drain well
3 or 4 tbsp. salt
4 level tbsp. yellow mustard (or to taste)
5 or 6 large boiled eggs, refrigerate to cool.
About 4 cups mayo. You may need more mayo, depends on how dry the mix is once you fold into potatoes, celery, onion and pickles.
(I use Hellman’s. I believe it makes a taste difference. You don’t want a thin or sweet mayo)
Step 1: Add peeled (or not) diced potatoes to pot, cover with water, add 3 or 4 tbsp. salt. Bring to a boil, turn down to low to simmer for about 15 min. Check potato for doneness after 10 minutes with a fork. If getting soft, take off heat immediately and drain. Do not rinse. In a 2 gal. bowl, refrigerate potatoes to cool. Takes about 30 minutes or so. If some are a little warm, that’s okay. Fold potatoes over a couple of times with extra large spoon to help cool. Do not stir. They will be too much like mashed potatoes. You can still use, but won’t have a good potato texture.
Step 2: While potatoes are cooking, boil eggs, peel and separate whites from yolks. Dice or chop egg whites. Mash yolks, with a fork not a blender or the mixture will be gritty, into about 2 or 3 heaping tbsp. of mayo until smooth. (As you would for deviled eggs) Stir in 3 or 4 level tsp. mustard into mixture. In bowl, mix 4 cups mayo with the mustard mix, add egg yolk mixture, then fold in egg whites. Refrigerate.
Step 3: Drain 2 jars cubed Dill Pickles. Dice onions, and celery. Add all ingredients to mayo and mustard mixture. Refrigerate.
Step 4: After potatoes are cooled, remove from refrigerator. Using a spatula to get all the mixture from bowl, fold in mayo mixture to potatoes. Do not stir too hard, you’ll have mashed potato salad.
If you’re going to add more salt, add it to the mayo mix, so you won’t need to stir potatoes more than necessary. Do not add more than a tbsp. of salt to mayo, it’s salty, plus the pickles are salty. Add more to taste though, if needed.
Please visit all the authors on the Authors in Bloom Blog Hop>
1. Dianne Venetta (INTL)2. Catherine Chant3. Rose Anderson - Calliope'sWritingTablet4. Author Jennifer Lowery5. Stories from Mina Khan6. Jennifer Chambers7. J. D. Faver~Bad Girls Need Love Too. . . (INTL)8. Tara Manderino9. Pam's World10. Pens or Quills- Through the ages-A Search for Enduring Love11. Living With The Muse (INTL)12. Sara Walter Ellwood13. Mindy Hardwick, Author (US)14. LENA HART15. Author Carol DeVaney16. Feather Pens, Tartan Dreams17. Gemma Juliana - The Joys of Spring18. Romantic Suspense Author Alexa Grace19. *lizzie starr *romance with a sparkling twist20. Jennifer Conner Best-Selling Author21. Hearts & Scribbles ~ Jennifer Faye22. Judy Baker, escape to where the essence of romance mingles23. Janice Seagraves, Author24. Joachim Books25. Elizabeth Rose Novels (INTL)26. Books and Paintings by JoAnne27. Wild Peppermint in a Suburban Jungle - Roxanne Snopek28. Diane Burton - Adventure and Romance29. Isabella Norse, Romance Author30. Beth Caudill - Author Blog31. Sharon Kleve's Romantic Ramblings US32. Joanne Jaytanie~This is not your mother's romance. . . 33. Kimberly K. Comeau34. A Land of Fire and Ice with Sibelle Stone35. Ines Johnson36. Amber Daulton37. Periodic Pearls | Margaret Evans Porter's Blog38. Writer's Corner39. Karen McCullough40. Alice Orr41. Musing from the Middle Ages & More. . . by Romance Author Sharon Struth42. BloominThyme
The other day, a friend and I were discussing dinner. After I told her what I was preparing that night for dinner, she said, “You should think of writing a cookbook.”
Well, I laughed. When people ask for a recipe, it takes a while to measure ingredients as I prepare whatever dish they’ve asked for. Then, I hope and pray their dish turns out.
Most everything I cook is done naturally. I throw everything together without thought. I don’t do recipes well unless it’s a baked item. Exact ingredients and measuring is crucial to the outcome. Still substitutions, such as apple sauce for oil, a sugar substitute for sugar and in some instances, wheat flour for white flour works beautifully.
Since my husband is a heart patient and we’re both diabetic, preparation for any meal is quite a challenge. Oil, sugar, and starches are three of the most troublesome items to deal with. But I manage to work around all of it with a bit of switching ingredients.
Not all dishes turn out perfectly and usually require a couple of times, or more, to get it right. I keep at it until the dishes are palatable.
Cooking reminds me of writing. While we prepare our characters for inclusion into our stories, substitutions, changes must be made. There are times a name, age, location and other factors, simply don’t fit the storyline. That’s when we roll up our sleeves and adjust where needed.
While we’re at it, we add in emotion, scents, touch, feeling, etc. Those elements enhance characterization, and the storyline. As a reader, as well as a writer, a book filled with more than salt and pepper, holds my attention and keeps me turning pages.
So break out the spice jars! Enjoy cooking, writing and reading.
If you haven't gotten your copy of Christmas on Main Street, grab a copy while it's still available. In the spirit of Christmas on Main Street, this collection of twelve heartwarming stories is only $.99. A terrific bargain for your reading pleasure.
While it's still available, snap up a copy of our FREE Holiday Decorating book as our gift to you.
Look for Love Blooms, from Authors on Main Street due to release in April. I'll post the link here and on our blog when it's available.
Thanks for visiting. I wish you butterflies, music and love.
A Smoky Mountain Christmas Wedding, (Book Two) of the Smoky Mountain series.
Since the cover isn't ready yet, I've chosen a temporary image.
There is love and pride among the Southern Souls who live in and around The Great Smoky Mountains. They’ve always held a special place in my heart.
As I bring Tina and Hank’s second book to life, and within their story, I’ve tried to convey the breathtaking beauty that lies in the heart, the people and surrounding areas of the Smoky Mountains. The air is sweet and crisp, clouds hover low, while lush green mountains rise to meet them. In the Spring, nothing compares to its beauty, including abundant wild flowers and rushing waters to dangle your toes for a spell. During Winter, the mountains are enveloped in snow, rendering the rolling hills a spectacular panorama.
Please enjoy the first chapter of A SMOKY MOUNTAIN WEDDING, (Book Two) while I'm finishing the continuation of Tina and Hank's story.
Please click on my contact page and let me know how you feel about Chapter One.
You'll find that page will ask you to join my mailing list. Please do, if you wish to join. If not, simply unclick the box next to the request.
And without further ado...here we go!
A Smoky Mountain Christmas Wedding (Book Two)
Now I’ve gone and done it.
Reservations at where she’d ditched her brain rolled inside her head. “Not only have I committed to a man I barely know, but a child neither Hank nor myself, know barely more than a stranger.”
“Headstrong isn’t always an enduring quality,” Rae said. “Admit it. You lead with your heart instead of your head.”
Once Hank and Evan boarded the helicopter, its rotors swirled a dusting of snow around the clearing as it ascended, then banked left toward Hank’s Smoky Mountain cabin.
From the open door of her sister, Rae’s, mountain home, Tina sucked in a breath and watched the two special guys in her life disappear into the night.
“That’s ridiculous.” Their opinion of each other reared its ugly head. Tina slanted her head. “And you are forever nosey. Because you’re my sister, I’ll overlook that nasty comment.”
Rae stood beside her and delivered a familiar eye-roll. “Hey,” she held up her hands, palm side out. “I didn’t bring it up.”
“Bring what up?” Tina’s mom rounded the corner with a tray of coffee and tea biscuits. “What’s going on in here? Are you two at it again?”
Tension dangled between Tina and her sister. “Okay. Let’s drop it,” Tina said.
“Drop what?” her mom asked.
“It’s nothing, Mom. I simply made a comment and as usual...Rae’s sarcasm took over.”
“I don’t know why I can never get a straight answer from either of you.” Her mom heaved a sigh. “Why can’t you girls get along? Is that too much to ask?”
“You must admit it’s a little bizarre to agree to marry a man you’ve known less than a week.” Rae looked over her glasses and aimed her chin toward her chest. “Plus, take on a child...a strange child.”
“Leave Evan out of this. You know nothing about him.” As Tina jerked her head around, her heart quickened. “I’d like to think you were here for me no matter what I choose. Since that isn’t the case…”
“With a prisoner for a father,” Rae muttered.
“You never change, do you?” Tina exhaled. “I should’ve known encouragement is too much to expect. You know nothing about Hank or Evan.” And you don’t know me as well as you think either.
“What do you really know about either of them?”
Tina pushed back a wisp of blond hair from her forehead and glared at Rae through her hazel eyes. “For the record, Evan is young, only seven, and extremely bright. Not strange. He has no one else. We’re it. He’s already bonded with us and I won’t leave him to fend for himself. You don’t understand how scared and alone he feels…but you should.”
“As far as encouragement goes? Not a chance. I think you’ve lost your mind. I’d be lying if I said I approved of this crazy stunt you’re about to pull.”
“Stunt? Stunt?” Tina jumped up, stood over Rae and whispered. “One more nasty crack out of you and I’ll—”
With both arms on the table Rae rose and, with her legs, pushed back her chair. “You’ll what?”
Tina’s mom moved between the two, tea pot in hand. “Okay. That’s enough. If you insist on harassing one another, do it outside.” She sat the pot down and glared at them. “You know what? I’m worn out from years of breaking you two apart. Do whatever you want, but don’t come sniffling to me if one of you gets hurt.”
With mouths wide open, both Tina and Rae gawked at their mom.
“Mom,” Rae whined.
“Aren’t you a bit old to whine?” her mom asked.
Tina’s eyes flickered while a smile crept over her face as she faced her mom. How many times had she wanted to put Rae in her place? “Thanks, Mom. Those words are spot on what I’ve wanted to hear all my life.”
Thinking back, Tina envisioned Rae while she threw routine tantrums. Thanks to her dad, Rae had been spoiled and hadn’t gotten over having her own way about most everything, even now. After a while it was easier to give in. But now, she wasn’t a child and Tina refused to repeat the process she’d disliked all her life.
“You’re such a faultfinder—a little past your prime for kid’s games.” She edged toward Rae and pointed at the door. “As long as we’re playing games...Outside.”
“Don’t even think of it.” Rae crossed her arms and narrowed her eyes. “What’s come over you? You’ve become overbearing since you’ve met Hank.”
“You’re begging me to take Mom up on her suggestion.” Tina grinned and stretched an arm toward the door. “Don’t assume I won’t think twice about going a round or two with you.”
“Of course she didn’t mean it.” Rae slid a nervous glance at her Mom. “Did you?”
“I wouldn’t go as far as to say I didn’t mean what I said. No comment on the subject. Work it out.”
Rae folded her arms again and set her jaw. “Then I’m not going anywhere.”
“Why doesn’t that surprise me?” Tina laughed. “Something ought to be done about your sassy mouth, but getting even isn’t my idea of fun or the way to remedy family issues.” She bit down her bottom lip, then rolled her eyes. “Even with you.”
“You two are no longer young girls.” Tina’s mom tapped the table with a French manicured fingernail. “We’re family. Please sit down. See if you can act your age.” While she waited for them to sit, she poured three cups of steaming green tea, placed an orange-cranberry scone on a plate and laid a napkin beside. She turned to Tina. “Now, sweetheart, tell me about Hank. This man you’re so taken with.”
“Mom...” With Hank she’d spent the most unbelievable week ever. Even through all the havoc. He was real. He was honest. He was loving. He had a kind nature and to top all that, he had gorgeous robin’s-egg blue eyes. She wasn’t about to give him up, no matter what her sister thought or said. He was the best thing that ever happened to her. Period.
“Your future is important. It would be generous of you if would share what kind of man has stolen my daughter’s heart. Now is as good a time as ever to discuss your young man.”
My young man.
Tina sat at the long wooden table, a lump in her throat. As she thought of her dad and how much her mom must grieve for him, that old still-missing him, dull ache crawled inside her stomach. She got up and pushed back the curtain with a thumb, and gazed through the window at the snowfall, which was nothing more than a light spit now. Visions of her dad on a sled with herself and Rae, throwing snowballs, building a snowman, brought back happy memories no matter how tough it was to reminisce.
Perhaps Rae didn’t deserve to know her heart’s desire, but she was her sister and she loved her. No matter what. She glanced at Rae, examined the look on her face, and found nothing but that old familiar sulk. Would Rae wait to trip her up? Maybe. But then, Rae was spoiled. Would she jump again at the least slip-up? Maybe. Tina sat back down, sipped at the tea, curled her feet under her, and then decided to have another go at trusting her sister. Good or bad decision, she was going for it. Like her mom said, there was no time like the present to spill her insides.
“After Jerry and the inexcusable experience with him, of which you both are aware, I had zilch intentions of becoming involved with anyone for a long, long time. Fate or God played a hand at the chance meeting with Hank.” Tina winked at her mom. “Okay, let me rephrase that. I don’t believe it was unintended. I believe God brought us together.”
Rae sniffed and rolled her eyes again “Less than a week is not enough time to be with someone, and then plan a life together, however you slice it.”
“Look, it isn’t as though we’ll tie the knot tomorrow.” Tina’s eyes squinted as her nose scrunched. “You can be acquainted with someone forever and still not know them.”
“Good heavens, you have no idea what this man is like. Give it more time,” Rae said. “Time to discover if you have enough in common, time before you make a lifelong commitment. Time to see if you’ll get along.” Rae held up a hand, examined her fingernails, then focused on Tina’s face. “Who knows, you may actually hate each other.”
“You weren’t there, Rae. Hank’s a good man. I believe that. I feel it in my bones. You didn’t see how gentle he was with Hatchet when she delivered her foal. With Sam, his dog.” A soft smile spread across Tina’s face. “The topper is how completely and trusting Evan took to him. His natural fatherly instincts practically floored me.”
“But is that enough for marriage? For a lifetime?” Rae let down her guard and softened toward Tina. “I’m sure you won’t believe it, but I do have your best interest at heart. I only want you to be happy.”
“Since when?” Tina turned and recalled Rae’s jubilant expression on her own wedding day. “Who’s to say I wouldn’t be as happy as you are?” she asked over a shoulder.
“Who’s to say you will? Couldn’t you have waited before you said yes? Can’t you wait? Wait until several months pass?” Rae asked. “Time can bring out the best or worst in a relationship.”
“What would you have me do, Rae? Flip a coin?. Hank’s a special guy, one of those guys you meet once in a lifetime. I believe that. You know what? I’m done here. I shouldn’t have to explain myself to you. To anyone.”
Her mom hadn’t said one word while she and Rae passed remarks back and forth. “Mom, you’re awfully quiet,” Tina said.
“Honey, I’ve always taught you to listen to your heart. Happiness is the only thing in this world I wish for both you and Rae. If Hank makes you happy, then I’m the last person to discourage you. It’s your life. You’re a grown woman If Hank is who you choose, then it’s certainly not up to me to interfere.” She nodded at Rae and patted her shoulder. “Nor is it Rae’s.”
Tina noticed Rae, however, had chosen to cross her arms and clam-up, rather than ramble on about whatever comeback was on her mind.
Tina’s mom took her hand in hers and with tears in her eyes, spoke soft and low. “I’ll always be here for you. You know that. You’re my child, my heart. But if he ever hurts you...I wouldn’t be much of a mother if I weren’t concerned about your happiness or who you choose to spend the rest of your life with.” Tina’s mom laid a hand on her arm. “I haven’t heard you mention once that you love Hank,” she whispered. “Beginning a marriage without love is asking for trouble. Especially with the addition of a child.”
“Falling in love wasn’t in my plans, Mom. It simply happened.”
Carol's a wife, mom and grandmother. She's won numerous awards in short story publication. She lives in the sunny South with her husband who patiently awaits his time away from her writing.