Christmas Giveaway!

christmas treeHi Everyone!!!

Today is a really good day because tomorrow kicks off my very first Christmas Santa Giveaway!!

Why am I doing this?

Well, #1 reason is because it’s a Christmas giveaway! Who doesn’t like getting Christmas presents, eh?

#2 reason is to say thanks for tagging along with me this year, commenting on my blog, and just being your super-duper selves!!

#3 reason – it’s fun to give away stuff!

What’s up for grabs?

There are 3 prizes:

3rd Prize:  a $5 Starbucks Gift card

2nd Prize:  $15 of Starbucks Gift cards

Grand Prize:

  • Undisclosed number of YA books signed by the authors (it’s a Christmas Santa surprise, but I can tell you it will be between 3 and 5 books)
  • Swag from several authors
  • a special gift from moi

How can you enter to win?

Simply follow the instructions in the rafflecopter link below.




Oh, and make sure you share with everyone!!

Who is eligible to win!

The giveaway is only open to residents of the continental United States (sorry folks, but shipping outside the U.S. is expensive.)

Contest begins November 20, 2015 and ends December 10, 2015. Winners to be announced December 11. Prizes to be sent to winners no later than December 14, 2015.

Good luck and

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!!!

Paper Wishes

Today, my writer buddy and friend, Jennifer Eaton, has a new book to share.

 The stories aren’t exactly ‘new’ to those of you who follow Jennifer.  They were originally published under the title “Jack and Jill” by Still Moments Publishing.  Sadly, the titles weren’t picked up when another publisher took over the publishing company, but where one door closes, another opens.  Astraea Press loved the stories so much they decided to pick them up and publish them under the title “Paper Wishes”.  I think the new title and  cover are brilliant.

Paper Wishes contains two stories:  Connect the Dots and A Test of Faith.  Both heartwarming stories follow Jack and Jill on their journey from friendship to love over Christmas and New Years.


Connect the Dots:  Jill writes her most intimate Christmas wish to God—and throws it away for its ridiculousness—but Christmas wishes have a way of coming true, even when you don’t know what you’ve wished for.

A Test of Faith:  One day after her Christmas wish comes true, Jill faces a wrenching choice that tests her deepest beliefs.  Will love prevail over conviction, or is happiness nothing more than a fairytale?

So, what are you waiting for?  Head on over to Astraea Press and grab your e-copy!  It’s only .99!!!  What a steal and so worth it!!!  

SWAG Giveaways!

Hear ye, hear ye!  Calling all YA authors.

I’m planning on one, maybe two, swag giveaways around Christmas.  I’m not sure if it/they will be open for international shipping or not at this time, but I still have time to sort that out.

If you have anything you’d like to have included in the swag giveaway(s) – buttons, magnets, pens, bookmarks, books – please contact me through my website (preferable) or comment here (may get lost in the shuffle of blog posts).  In the comment section, please put – Swag Giveaway in the first line.

Let’s make this a great Christmas for one, maybe two people!  Looking forward to hearing from you.


Jack & Jill Volume 1 – A Review

jack-jill-volume-one-coverToday, I bring you Jennifer M. Eaton’s, Jack & Jill, Volume 1, a collection of two endearing, romantic short stories.

From the back cover:

Connect the Dots

Jill writes her most intimate Christmas wish to God—and throws it away for its ridiculousness, but Christmas wishes have a way of coming true, even when you don’t know what you’ve wished for.

A Test of Faith

One day after her Christmas wish comes true, Jill faces a wrenching choice that tests her deepest beliefs. Will love prevail over conviction, or is happiness nothing more than a fairytale?


When I first read these stories as a beta reader, I fell in love with them.  I love them still.  The characters are vibrant, well-crafted and endearing, especially Jill’s young daughter, Nikki.  They work well together, and the reader can’t help but fall in love with them and cheer them on.

The settings are well imagined and beautifully written, down to the snow on the ground and the corporate reports sitting empty on the computer screens.  The reader can’t help but feel Jill’s pain at the corporate Christmas Party in Connect the Dots, or experience and sympathize with her inner turmoil in A Test of Faith.

While the plot of both stories is all about Jack and Jill finding the ultimate romantic someone in their lives, the stories are character driven, not plot driven.  Jennifer Eaton takes us deep inside her character’s psyches, and she is unafraid to expose their weaknesses and self-doubt.  While these stories are not religious in nature, there is an underlying theme based on faith and the importance of listening to and following what is in one’s heart, not what is in one’s head.

These stories are sweet, romantic and will touch the soft side of everyone who reads them.  If you’re a softie and a sucker for sweet love stories like me, then this collection is perfect for you.  And….seeing that this is Volume 1, I can only assume there will be a Volume 2 in the near future?  I can’t wait to see what Ms. Eaton has in store for our romantic couple.  Maybe a wedding???  That would be delightful.

I urge you all to get a copy of Jack & Jill Volume 1.  You won’t regret it.  The stories are sure to warm you anytime of the year.

Jack & Jill is available from Amazon in the following formats:



jennifer eatonAbout the Author:

Corporate Team Leader by day, and Ranting Writer by night. Jennifer M. Eaton calls the East Coast of the USA home, where she lives with her husband, three energetic boys, and a pepped up poodle.

Jennifer hosts an informational blog “A Reference of Writing Rants for Writers (or Learn from My Mistakes)” aimed at helping all writers be the best they can be.

Beyond writing and motivating others, she also enjoys teaching her dog to jump through hoops—literally.

Jennifer’s perfect day includes long hikes in the woods, bicycling, swimming, snorkeling, and snuggling up by the fire with a great book; but her greatest joy is using her over-active imagination constructively… creating new worlds for everyone to enjoy.

Ways you can connect with Jennifer:

Blog    Facebook    Twitter   Goodreads

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Do I read what I write? Umm… Huh? Do I have to answer that?

Today I have the lovely and energetic author, Jennifer M. Eaton, with me to promote CONNECT THE DOTS, her new short story released by Still Moments Publishing in their For the Love of Christmas anthology.

Jennifer is going to talk to us about reading what she writes.  Are you guys ready?  Take it away, Jennifer.

christmas pine and stars

Well hi-dee-hoo neighbors!  Good to see ya! 

I’m here to selfishly promote my anthology “For the love of Christmas” offer some words of wisdom on a topic of Jenny Keller Ford’s choice.  I do this hoping you will buy my book out of the kindness of your heart, because Jenny told me to is such a good friend.

So… What is the topic?

Reading books in the genre that you write.

Ummm… Really?  Can’t I talk about something else?  No?  Ugh.  Okay… so here’s the scoop.

I know that everyone out there who calls themselves an expert tells you to read inside your genre.  Their reasons are totally sound:

  1. Get a feel for the market
  2. Make sure the story you want to write is not already written
  3. Learn from the style of others writing in your genre.

There may be other reasons, but since I’m going to debunk anyway, let’s just hit these three.

Let’s chat about these:

  1.  If I read books out right now, they were contracted at least a year ago.  So, let’s say vampires ar in… I write a vampire book.  So do 100,000 other people.  Publishers get tired of vampire books saturating the market and stop requesting them.  Now I’m skunked, right?  In my opinion, write what you want to write.  Write what makes you happy.  If it’s good, it will probably sell.  You are going to spend six months or more with these characters… why stress out about writing characters you don’t like for a market that might not be there when you’re done?
  2. Who the heck cares if the story is already written?  How many different versions of Red Riding Hood are out there?  Ideas are not copyrighted.  You can have the same idea as someone else. The trick is to put your own slant on it… and if I didn’t read a book like it (in the genre) I’d have to put my own slant on it, right?
  3. Now that’s just ridiculous.  You can pick up on anything from any genre and apply it to what you write in.  If you do it well, it will transcend genre.

Here’s the God’s honest truth:

  • Last Winter Red, in the Make Believe Anthology, is a Dystopian.  I don’t think I’ve ever read a dystopian, although I’ve seen movies.  In fact, I had no idea that is was Dystopian until someone told me.  Did not reading Dystopian hurt my story telling abilities?  Nope!  Seemed to work out fine for me!
  • Connect the Dots, in the “For the Love of Christmas” anthology, and its follow-up “A Test of Faith” coming out in January… they are both Contemporary Romances with heavy Christian influence.  Do I read Christian Romance.  Absolutely not! (Although there is nothing wrong with them) Romance as a whole is not my cup of tea, unless you mix some explosions in there.  I wanted to make my Romance “Connect the Dots” more interesting, so I decided to shove in a supernatural theme, and since it was Christmas, I went with God… Imagine me… putting God back in Christmas.  I’m such a rebel!  But that’s how this came about… I flexed a genre to make it interesting to me… and I didn’t have to read a bunch of stuff I didn’t like
  • Fire in the Woods is a contemporary YA Sci-Fi.  Nope, I don’t read it.  Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve even seen anything like this anywhere. Hmmmm.  That could be good, or bad.
  • Une Variente, which I am currently querying, is a Paranormal.  Now, I will admit that I have read a few Paranormal novels.  One of them was even a shape-shifter novel, like Une Variante.  I guess the only influence was that I thought “I can think up a better story than that” … and so I did.

What do I like to read?  Give me knights.  Give me Dragons.  Give me Elves.  Castles?  Oh Yeah!  Love it!

Why don’t I write it?  Well, I tried once, but since I read SO MUCH OF IT I could not come up with anything that I thought was original. The novel lays at the bottom of my closet, half-written.

See my dilemma?

No.  I will not start feverously reading inside the genres that I write.  The next book I pick up will be because it interests me… not because I need to do research.

And as for castles and dragons…. I’ll leave writing those to the people who do them best.

Do you read inside your genre?

christmas pine and stars

Thanks, Jennifer, and to answer your question, yes, I read inside the genre I write.  I also read outside the genre I write.  In fact, I read more in genre I don’t write than write in the genres I read.  Did that make sense?  

christmas balls and bells

Jennifer Eaton lives on the East Coast USA with her husband, three boys, and a pepped up poodle.  She hosts an interactive website aimed at making all writers the best they can be.

Her Dystopian novelette “Last Winter Red” is available as part of the “Make Believe” Anthology from J.Taylor Publishing.  Her Christmas Romance “Connect the Dots” is available as part of Still Moments publishing’s “For the Love of Christmas” Anthology.  Both are available in ebook format from and and Smashwords.

christmas balls and bellschristmas balls and bells

Last Winter Red:  In search of a husband, Emily leaves the safety of the city and risks her life stepping into the outside world.  What she finds there will question the foundations of everything she believes in.

Connect the Dots:   Jill has no idea what she wants for Christmas, but when it looks like her best friend Jack is going to get exactly what he asks for, Jill makes a Christmas wish that will change both of their lives forever.

You can stalk follow Jennifer at the following locations.  Tell her I sent you.






What do Atticus Finch, Scarlet O’Hara and Augustus Waters have in common?

What do Atticus Finch, Scarlet O’Hara and Augustus Waters have in common?  I revealed this secret to the lovely and talented author, Clare Davidson, as part of the Make Believe Blog Tour.  Why don’t you hop on over to her blog and find out, then when you’re done, offer up some of your own ideas either at Clare’s site, the Dreamweaver’s Cottage (here), or both.  I know I would LOVE to read your thoughts.

I have a bunch of folks winning a digital copy of the signed cover of the Make Believe anthology. This is only the cover folks, but it’s signed and it’s beautiful.  Look at it.


Ok, so who are the lucky souls to get their very own copy?

Congratulations to you lucky duckies!!!  Send me your e-mails, winners, and I’ll send over your own signed Make Believe cover to you ASAP.

Oh, and don’t forget the

grand prize giveaway - christmas2

On December 30th I will give away an e-book copy of the MAKE BELIEVE anthology, just in time for New Years.  What do you have to do to win?  Just comment on my blog between now and December 29!  That’s it.  Very simple, very easy.

Until tomorrow …

How about some cheese straws with that martini?

Happy Friday!!!

Wow, am I the only one who has had a crazy week?  I guess it’s to be expected with only 11 days to Christmas.  Do you have all your shopping done?  Not me.  As always, I’ll be hitting  the stores up until Christmas Eve.  What can I say.  I like the last minute hustle and bustle.

Today, I’m taking a little tour later over at Brook Syer’s blog.  If you don’t know, Brook is a hubby, a dad and is also the author of THE BRAINIAC series and you can read all about them here.  He has graciously decided to help me and the Make Believe gang promote the anthology by interviewing me on his blog today.  That should be up later on his site under Author Interviews.  He’s a fun guy so make sure you head over and say hi and thank him for spreading the Make Believe goodness.

Speaking of goodness, yesterday I posted a recipe for a delicious alcoholic drink called Reindeer Trax.  But what about those treats you have to have on the table for your guest when they come over for your Christmas party?  Or what if you have to take some sort of food to a holiday party?  Well, do I have the perfect treat for you. This is my grandma’s recipe for her famous cheese straws.  You cannot go wrong with these delightful goodies.  Enjoy and Bon Appetite!


  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon powdered mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2/3 stick butter (1/3 cup)
  • 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon water
  • 1 teaspoon each celery seed and paprika


Sift the first 4 ingredients into a mixing bowl. Add butter and 1/2 cup of grated cheese and cut into a coarse crumb consistency. Add water and toss lightly. Shape into a ball. Roll to 1/8″ thick – sprinkle 1 side of the dough with 1/4 cup of cheese. Fold dough over and sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup of cheese. Roll again to 1/8 inch thick and cut into 4″ strips that are 1/2″ wide. Sprinkle with celery seed and paprika. Bake at 350° for 12 to 15 minutes. Makes 5 dozen. (For other variations, you may substitute garlic powder for the celery seed and paprika, or leave plain.)  Serve with marinara to add an extra zing.

And, speaking of parties, Robin Coyle has all the info on a super-duper virtual Christmas party taking place tomorrow night.  Why don’t you pop in over at her place and let her tell you all about it.  It’s going to be a fantastic get together.  Hope to see you at the big shindig!

Quote of the Day:  

A smile is a curve that sets everything straight. ~ Anonymous

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#MakeBelieve Blog Tour and other Goodies!


December 3 kicks off the official #MakeBelieve blog tour.  I’m so excited.  When I found out 6 months ago that my short story, The Amulet of Ormisez, would be published in the anthology, December seemed so far away.  Now, it’s here and I can hardly contain my excitement.

In celebration, every day between December 1 and January 3, I’m going to give away to one lucky person who comments on my blog either an autographed Make Believe bookmark or a digital copy of the Make Believe cover signed by all the authors.  Then, on December 23, I will pick one random name from everyone who commented on my blog between December 1 thru December 22 and that person will win their very own e-copy of the Make Believe anthology, delivered to your Kindle or Nook in time for  Christmas (I hope).  🙂  It’s my way of saying Thank You for being there for me on this incredible journey to publication.  So mark your calendars and come back every day to increase your chances of winning.  Please feel free to check out all my blog tour dates here and stop by and say hi to my lovely hosts.

Also, please make sure you stop by the other author’s websites and blogs to see what they’re doing to promote the Make Believe Blog Tour.  They all have giveaways and contests going on, so make sure you visit often to increase your chances of winning something fantastic.  You can find their links below.

Jennifer M. Eaton

J.A. Belfield

Kelly Said

Lynda R. Young

Terri Rochenski

Once again, thank you so much for staying with me and reading my ramblings.  I appreciate every single one of you.  Big hugs to all of you.  Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays…and may the odds be ever in your favor to win a Make Believe goody!