The Goals and Successes of the Ladies of Coffee Talk By Kishan Paul

Reblogged from www.coffeetalkwriters.com

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With just another day left in 2013, many are looking ahead with hopes and goals for the new year. The ladies of Coffee Talk are no different. I managed to drag these amazing women away from their busy lives and holiday festivities to find out what each were looking forward to in the upcoming year and to see what they felt they did well in the one they are about to leave behind.

This is what Aubrey Wynne (author of Merry Christmas, Henry) had to say about her accomplishments of 2013.

I published my first novel. Joined the CT group. Took my hubby on a long trip out east and taught him how to relax. For 2014, I want to: (1) Lose weight and be regular at the gym. (2) Get my next book published (3) Write something every day and at least 3000 words a week regardless of how busy I am. (4) Have more patience with my parents. (5) Stop saying, “I’ll do it if you can’t find anyone else.”

Isabella Harper, our youngest member in CT, had some major life changes in 2013.

I’m excited about completing April NanoWriMo, buying a house, and having our daughter. As far as 2014, I don’t really do “resolutions” because I feel like they kinda fall by the wayside as the year progresses. I like to call them goals. In no particular order: finish my MS and possibly publish, finish renovating our house, enjoy every second with my family, continue to eat healthy, expand my cooking/baking horizons, blog more often. Exercise is huge on my goal list this year, and I’m toying with becoming a “coach” of some sort… I haven’t figured that goal out exactly yet. I’d like to bring in some money of my own… maybe even open an Etsy shop. We will see…

Marianne Willis (author of Killer Temptations) chimed in from Australia.

I’m proud of the continual support from loved ones and new fans. My goal for 2014 is to write the next book in the bonded series as well as start a new book trilogy. I also hope to finish a YA paranormal.

Nessie Stranger (author of Living Dead Girl) what are you most proud of?

2013 brought lots of changes, like moving and getting my first publishing contract. As far as 2014, like Bella, I don’t necessarily do resolutions. In 2014, I hope to complete the sequel to Living Dead Girl and hopefully get that one published as well. I hope to become more financially stable, and better provide for my family. Maybe get better organized, too

Renea Mason (author of Symphony of Light and Winter) how about you?

In 2013, I became a published author and I’m excited that my book is successful. My family didn’t disown me. I met a lot of wonderful people. I recently took a new position in my company that will allow me to continue to grow and learn and I am most thankful for that opportunity.   

For 2014, I have two young sons and the other day I looked at the price of college.  WOAH.  So my resolution is to save more money for my boys. I already made a commitment that all of my book earnings will go to them so when they grow up and realize that Mommy writes smut, I can fall back on, “Hey, it paid for your college.” My second personal goal is to lose weight and stay healthy. Damn pumpkin roll. From a writing perspective, I’m looking to complete the second book in the Symphony of Light Series currently entitled, Between the Waters. 

Valerie A Twombly (author of Eternal Flame) what are yours?

I’m proud of signing with a publisher and releasing 2 books. My goals for 2014 are: (1) lose weight and work out more.(2) Publish book 2 of the Guardians series. (3) Work on a new series. (4) If time permits, work on Brock’s story for book 2 of Demon Heat.

For me, Kishan Paul, I have a lot I’m proud of as far as 2013. I completed my first novel, The Second Wife, and started querying. In the process, I discovered new friends, like my ladies at CT, and realized just what an amazing and supportive family I have. My goals for 2014 are to publish and finish my next book. I plan to keep learning about the art of writing and to keep learning about social media. I hope to express more gratitude and love to the people in my life. And my hardest goal of all: to bite my tongue and walk away.

I decided to end this post with CT’s other Aussie member and technology whiz. Michaela Miles, please share your accomplishments and goals for the new year:

My main New Year’s Resolutions are to keep in touch with family more often and take some more “me” time. After that, I have a few other things I’d like to achieve: I’d love to publish a few books, finish renovating our house, hire a manager for my businesses so I can write more, get out and exercise more, knock another year off my Uni degree, read more books, travel… just a small wish list

 For 2013, I am proud of joining the Coffee Talk ladies and really becoming interested and involved with their writing, publishing, and marketing processes. It’s made me become more involved with my own and given me much more advice and confidence than I’ve found anywhere else. I have also completed a novel and a short story, and plotted out a series of books in genres I’ve never considered before, and again that’s all down to the Coffee Talk ladies. Such amazing ladies – I raise my glass to each of you.

Well said Michaela.

To all our followers out there: We are humbled and grateful for all of your support and look forward to spending another great year together.

Happy New Year from the ladies of CT.

My Christmas Wishes Come True.

Christmas is a time to delight in the unexpected and hope for generosity in mankind. It is a day of reflection, counting blessings, and being with those we love. A time to share memories of those special people still in our hearts but no longer with us. With the chaos of everyday life, we need this day to remind those close to us how much we care.

I would like to send a special holiday message to my Coffee Talk girls: thank you. Santa got it right. This group has been one of my most unexpected and cherished surprises of 2013. Your unconditional support and mentoring have sustained me through the best and worst of times. I don’t know what I would have done without you.

This has been a whirlwind year for me both personally and professionally. I am thankful for a loving and supportive family and loyal friends. My job is secure with good health benefits. In past years, I took these things for granted. With age, I have learned to appreciate all of the little blessings that are sent my way.

So may I extend a heartfelt Merry Christmas to all of my virtual friends I have met over the past year. The online support from so many of you have been a constant reminder of the good in all of us. In particular, I am  grateful for the friendships of Susan Stuckey, Jena Baxter, Chris Drew, Louise Redman and Belinda Mellor.

And Happy Holidays to Melange Books, LLC for publishing my first story. If you need to a little nudge to believe in the magic of Christmas again, let me introduce you to Henry. Cheers to all of us!

Aubrey

 Merry Christmas, Henry

Henry, a shy and talented artist, moonlights as a security guard at a museum and loses his heart to a beautiful, melancholy woman in a painting. As his obsession grows, he finds a kindred soul who helps him in his search for happiness. On Christmas Eve, Henry dares to take a chance on love and fulfill his dream.

Excerpt:

“The museum will be closing in five minutes. Please make your way to the nearest exit.”

Henry tore his gaze from the painting, and looked around at the weekend crowd hurrying by. No one noticed him. He always blended into the background. Henry the Trifling—that would have been the title of his self-portrait. A soft sigh escaped as he pulled his gray coat over the frayed cuffs of a cotton shirt. There were extraordinary people and there were ordinary people. Henry considered himself less than ordinary. He was insignificant.

“You’ll never amount to nothin’. Just like your worthless father.”

He shrugged off the memory of his mother’s nagging image and looked toward the last group of art enthusiasts headed in his direction.

This was his favorite part of the day. In a crush of people, everyone was equal. No one stood out in the sea of indistinguishable faces. There was no pressure to make witty or charming conversation. Henry liked people but had never been good at interaction. The anonymity of a crowd gave the illusion of belonging. For a man as painfully shy as Henry, it was the only way to mingle in a city like Chicago.

Casting a last wistful look at the lady in the painting, Henry took a deep breath and eased into the middle of the exiting crowd. A large woman trying to grab her boisterous child knocked into his left shoulder. She distractedly patted a chubby hand at the obstruction and mumbled a quick apology without glancing his way. Henry smiled and nodded.

The group approached the turnstile and bunched up, shoulder to shoulder, waiting for their turn to leave. Someone jostled him from the

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Aubrey Wynne

side and he felt the heat of another body against his back. He tried to absorb the vivid energy surrounding him. Last week a pretty woman had smiled at him. He had felt warm all the way home. He’d started painting her but had not yet decided on the setting. It had to be somewhere as beautiful and inviting as her smile—Venice, perhaps.

Stepping onto the sidewalk, he buttoned his overcoat against the early November chill. Christmas lights intermingled with the traffic lights, blinking and glowing on the wet streets. The wind had picked up and people rushed by with their heads down. Henry pulled his collar up against the icy sting of a light rain and quickly walked the few blocks to his small apartment.

Stopping in front of the dilapidated building, Henry looked up at his fourth floor window. He always left the light on so it seemed as if someone was home to greet him. He smiled as his thoughts returned to the woman in the painting. He would never forget that snowy December day she arrived at the museum. He had been working his usual graveyard shift and the day manager had needed help with a shipment arriving that morning.

*** *

“Hey, Henry, you want a little overtime?” the supervisor had asked. “Charlie called in sick and I could use an extra hand. Another rich collector remembered us in his will. We’ve got a pricey piece arriving in about an hour and I’d feel better with some extra security.”

Henry tried to wipe the smile off his face. Five years in the city and he still felt like a country bumpkin. “Sure.”

“The paper says a Rubens. Flemish, wasn’t he? But it’s a small one.”

Henry gave a whistle. “Impressive.”

“There’s a companion painting with it, artist unknown. We’ll have to find a spot for it in appreciation for the collector’s piece.”

An hour later, Henry held a priceless painting in his hands. God, he loved this job.

“The family probably figured they wouldn’t get any money out of the other one. But this one sure is a beauty,” the supervisor said as he reached for the Rubens.

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Merry Christmas, Henry

“Yes, indeed,” Henry replied, as his eyes landed on the second painting. “Striking.”

Henry’s boss laughed. “I’m talking about this one, Bud. The little one is worth the big bucks!” His boss headed toward the office to start the paperwork on the new museum pieces.

“Yes, of course,” he murmured, but his attention remained focused on the woman in the larger painting.

She sat on the edge of a rocky cliff, her face slightly turned as if looking over the edge. Her legs were out to the side, knees bent, a long, olive-colored skirt spread around her haphazardly as if blown by the wind. The stormy ocean breakers rushed between jagged rocks then turned into frothy waves that lapped at the sand. The details in the picture were crisp and stark, the color was minimal—just the woman on a cliff with the turbulent water below. But the overall effect created a hauntingly beautiful scene.

He felt her distress, her sorrow. His fingers itched to reach out and pull her from the painting and hold her, soothe her, give her comfort. Henry knew that if she could turn and face him, he would be looking at the most exquisite creature he’d ever seen. His hand shook as he reached out to touch the canvas.

“Are you okay, Henry?”

Henry drew his hand back quickly as if he’d been caught in the act of—of what? Touching a frame? Good lord, he must be tired.

“What? Oh, yeah, I just need some sleep. ” As Henry turned to leave, he took one last look at the woman who had just stolen his heart. Fate had given him a precious gift. He whistled “Angels We Have Heard on High” all the way home.

 

Siren's Song Book Blast and Giveaway: Beautiful voice, beautiful romance.

SirensSongBookBlitz

 

18389180

Jule Welsh can sing. She enthralls people with her bel canto voice. But it takes more than practice to reach her level of exquisite song; it takes siren’s blood running through her veins. Jule is starting her senior year at Cougar Creek High when her relatively normal world begins to resemble a roller coaster flying through a carnival scare house. Her mother is diagnosed as insane and committed, a psycho-stalker is snapping pictures of her to put into his homemade Jule-shrine, her voice is suddenly putting people into comatose trances, oh and the gorgeous new guy in town, Luke Whitmore, is interested in her . . . but also wants to kill her.

Release Date:  February 18, 2014             Publisher:  Spencer Hill Press

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18389180-siren-s-song?from_search=true

Author Website: http://www.heathermccollum.com/

Author Twitter: http://twitter.com/HMcCollumAuthor

Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HeatherMcCollumAuthor

Buy Links:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Sirens-Song-Heather-McCollum/dp/1939392829/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1387403052&sr=8-1&keywords=siren%27s+song+heather+mccollum

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/sirens-song-heather-mccollum/1116551194?ean=9781939392824

Excerpt:

“What will you sing?” Ms. Bishop asks. “Do you need the music?”

I shake my head. I usually sing a cappella. “‘Masquerade.’”

Ms. Bishop nods. “Whenever you’re ready.”

I climb the steps to the stage. The lights are dim. A single spotlight shines white light down on me. I close my eyes against the glare. I feel the magic of the notes form in my lungs. They take on a life of their own, like birds held captive for too long. They flutter excitedly and expand as the familiar opening cadence plays through my mind. I latch onto the end of the introductory stanza and fill my body with breath, the birds growing, dying for freedom; they fly up through my body and out between my lips. The sweet sound is born and euphoria and ecstasy mix to fill me. I wonder briefly if this is what getting high feels like.

With each breath my muscles melt and stretch, relaxing, moving with the internal beat that is as familiar to me as my own heartbeat. In fact, the music becomes my heartbeat. Absently, I’m aware that my arms are moving with expression, adding to the spell of sound that gushes like a great lyrical waterfall from my mouth. I understand the words, the emotion behind them. I’ve studied them my whole life, living with them as my mother rehearsed and explored her talent. They are as much a part of me as my clearest memories. Totally consumed, my mind floats with the notes. As I reach the end of the chorus, I blink but can’t see too much with the strike of the spotlight. I move to the edge of the circle of light. The technical guy doesn’t follow me.

My lungs fill again and I continue through the next stanza. My eyes glance across the still faces, locked eyes, like mannequins, spooky in their trance. Like their lives are suspended on the notes. Even though I would prefer to continue, I let the chorus end. The last note dissolves on my tongue like the last speck of a sweet candy.

A few kids shake their heads. Others blink. Lindsey mouths “wow” to the girl next to her.

Crack! I jump, my calm splintering away at the sound of rock fracturing somewhere in the back of the auditorium. Luke stares at me from the doorway. I can’t breathe. I can’t swallow. I can’t move. His eyes seem to glow with a strange light where he leans in, hands gripping the door support above his head. The muscles of his arms contract as if he’s lifting weights. But it’s the lock of his jaw, the scowl, accented by his piercing eyes, that manacles me to the stage. The tables have turned. Now I’m the one unable to break free. My heart takes on the frantic flutter of the bird, again trapped inside.

“Bravo!” Derek claps loud. No one looks toward the back. Didn’t anyone hear the impact?

I blink and Luke breaks the stare, turning. He’s gone.

SirensSongBookBlitz

Enter our giveaway and receive an ARC copy of Siren’s Song. (US only)

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/1ac0d410/

About the Author:

HeatherMccollum

Heather McCollum is an award winning, historical paranormal romance writer. She earned her B.A. in Biology from the University of Maine, much to her English professor’s dismay. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, Heart of Carolina Romance Writers and the Ruby Slipper Sisterhood of 2009 Golden Heart Finalists.

The ancient magic and lush beauty of Great Britain entranced Ms. McCollum’s heart and imagination when she visited there years ago. The country’s history and landscape have been a backdrop for her writing ever since. She currently resides with her very own Highland hero and three spirited children in the wilds of suburbia on the mid-Atlantic coast.

Facts about Jule and Luke

Jule:

  1. Her mother is an opera singer and has recently been committed to a mental health facility.
  2. Jule’s voice is rich, beautiful and, lately, has the ability to entrance people.
  3. Jule is starting her senior year at Cougar Creek High School in Summit, North Carolina where she will star in the school’s production of Phantom of the Opera.
  4. Jule is an only child and lives in an old house across from a new subdivision. She loves to sit on her wrap around porch with her dog, Mica.
  5. Jule loves lasagna and the smell of lilacs.
  6. Jule has a birthmark in the shape of a dragonfly on her chest.

 Luke:

  1. Luke has recently moved to Summit from Boston.
  2. Luke’s father was a pro hockey player and is now the coach for the local NHL team.
  3. Luke is very close to his “cousins” Matt and Taylin and all three of them have the same birthday, 31 October.
  4. Sometimes it looks like Luke has tattoos wrapping around his arms that look like dragons.
  5. Luke is fluent in French and can speak Scots-Gaelic.
  6. Luke has a hard time controlling his temper at times.

Aubrey’s Ageless Romance Café

Aubrey’s Ageless Romance Café

In this literary world, a handful of stories will stand the test of time. A modern classic novel holds the attention of every generation with a thoughtful plot, complex characters and a scene or two that lingers long after the final page.

These books will never be traded in at the paperback store or sold for a quarter at a garage sale. An ageless romance is passed on to your sister, then to her daughter who loans it to a friend. By the time it makes it back to your shelf, the pages are yellowed, earmarked and appreciated. And every so often, when you need to be reminded of the remarkable power of love, you dust off that old friend and peruse its pages again. These are the stories I want to share with you in Aubrey’s cafe. 

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The Present

By Johanna Lindsey

Published: 1998    Publisher:  Avon Romance    POV: Third person

Setting: England 1825 and a generation earlier

 Johanna Lindsey fans will love this book. In fact, her dedication reads: to the many fans who love the Malorys as much as I do. This present is for you.

I will admit, I have not read many of Ms. Lindsey’s books. However, my sister and I have a tradition of buying a Christmas book each year in December. This story is a result of that tradition. This year, we pulled it out and read it again. That should tell you something about the quality of the story.

The Malorys, a title family and members of the ton, gather at Haverston, the ancestral estate, each year for Christmas. They are quite a crew. Handsome rakes now tamed by spirited women with beautiful children following in the footsteps of their parents. Except for the oldest brother of the family.

Jason fell in love with Molly thirty years earlier. Molly fell in love with Jason. Great, right? No. Jason is titled and Molly is a servant. She refuses to cross the social line and let him risk scandal. So he marries within his rank and is miserable. So the two continue their affair until the wife finds out. Ah, now the can be together. Nope.

The wife, also extremely unhappy, threatens scandal if she does NOT get a divorce. Jason happily signs the papers and assumes he will now sweep Molly off her feet. But Molly won’t budge. She insists the ton will never accept her so the marriage will not work. They continue their secret affair and even have a child who is accepted by the social realm.

Fast forward to the present. The son is grown, now knows about his parentage, yet Molly remains obstinate. As the family gathers for the holidays, a mysterious present appears on the mantle. It stirs curiosity. The family, bickering and experiencing underlying tensions, are distracted by the mystery. It turns out to be a journal written by the grandparents, second Marquis of Haverston and his wife.

Within the pages are the ruminations and confessions of Christopher Malory and his gypsy wife, Anastasia. The fact that the Marquis’ wife was not of proper birth remained a secret until the discovery of this journal. The love story that unfolds is unique, well told and very romantic. Their lives also run eerily parallel to Jason and Molly.

Johanna Lindsey writes a Christmas story of love, betrayal and family. As Anastasia says in her note to future generations, “To our children and their children and so forth… we leave this written record to you, to be read at your leisure, and with your own imagination lending it life… And I give you fair warning: If you have been led to believe that we are individuals that could do no wrong, then read no further. We are human after all, with all the faults, passions, and mistakes that humans are known for. Judge us not, but perhaps learn from our mistakes.”

                 While the story itself was outstanding, there were elements I did not care for. The dialogue occasionally threw me off with the improper grammar I did not expect from the upper crust. I am not used to the frequent use the word ain’t used. Some of the dialogue also seemed a little out of place.  But these minor issues did not slow down my reading.

I have not read any of the previous books containing the Malory family. It did not hinder my understanding of the plot and the tale stood alone without previous background knowledge. Ms. Lindsey provided the reader with any information necessary to the plot.

The Present is a perfect read for the holidays. I loved the romance, strong but stubborn men and feisty, intelligent women. I loved the family dynamics and might pick up another book with these likeable characters. But the star of the novel is the couple from the journal. Anastasia, daring and desperate, is a perfect match for the obstinate yet passionate Christopher. I recommend this for all historical romance fans that believe the magic of Christmas.

I give The Present three and half mugs.

3.5 coffee mugs

And the 14 Days of Christmas begins.

ChristmasHop

The 14 Days of Christmas Giveaway Blog Hop

This event is hosted by Insightful Minds Reviews & The Autumn Review.
The hop will run from 12:01am Dec 18th – 11:59pm Dec 31st.

Don’t you just love Christmas time?! The books based on Christmas themes just seem so much more magical for some reason! If you love to curl up with a good Christmas book, then you have stumbled upon the right Blog Hop! Tabby from Insightful Minds Reviews & Autumn from The Autumn Review have put together one awesome hop! So be sure to visit all blogs and enter to win as much as you would like! J But most of all; enjoy your reading.

The Christmas Story

One of my favorite Christmas movies of all time is ‘The Christmas Story’ set in the late 1940’s. A tale of a young boy who wants a BB gun for Christmas. He tries all kinds of clever strategies to talk his mother into buying one. Even Santa is no help “You’ll shoot your eye out kid!” In the end, it’s Dad who comes through for Ralphie.

This movie is nostalgia at its best. If you need to be reminded of why Christmas is such a wonderful time of year, include this on your Must-See list.

I will be giving away 2 copies of Merry Christmas, Henry and a $5.00 Amazon gift card. Please enter the rafflecopter for a chance to win the ebooks or gift card. US giveaway but also available Amazon.co.uk

MerryXmasHenry2 (1) copy

 Merry Christmas, Henry

Henry, a shy and talented artist, moonlights as a security guard at a museum and loses his heart to a beautiful, melancholy woman in a painting. As his obsession grows, he finds a kindred soul who helps him in his search for happiness. On Christmas Eve, Henry dares to take a chance on love and fulfill his dream.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/01288e3/

Congratulations to the Winners:

Tina Reiter – copy of ebook Merry Christmas, Henry

Maureen Carol – copy of ebook Merry Christmas, Henry

Karen Haas-$5 Amazon gift card

About the Author

 Aubrey's profile pic copy

Aubrey Wynne resides in the Midwest with her husband, dogs, horses, mule and barn cats. She is an elementary teacher by trade, champion of children and animals by conscience, and author by night. Obsessions include history, travel, trail riding and all things Christmas. She is a proud member of the Coffee Talk Writers.

Aubrey Wynne resides in the Midwest with her husband, dogs, horses, mule and barn cats. She is an elementary teacher by trade, champion of children and animals by conscience, and author by night. Obsessions include history, travel, trail riding and all things Christmas. She is a proud member of the Coffee Talk Writers.

A virtual trip to a ski lodge in Vail, Colorado. Oh what fun it is to ride a bunny hill today.

Wine and Chat with Cait and Aubrey Wynne

wine and cheese words

Aubrey Wynne

Aubrey

Buy now: Melange Books

Amazon

Amazon.co.uk

Barnes and Noble

December is a magical time of the year to spend time with family and friends. Some of us have a special someone, others dream of a spark that could generate chemistry so strong that you believe the person you see is that special someone, the person that makes you smile. In the world today, there’s so many different ways to meet someone: in person, online, but to see a portrait in a gallery and know the person is special that is magic.

Sitting by the fire on the leather couch in a ski lodge in Vail, Colorado, I can’t wait for one of my favorite peeps to arrive. Aubrey Wynne released her first book, Merry Christmas, Henry, a few weeks ago. It’s the perfect cozy Christmas read. Oh heck, I can’t tell you anymore, here she comes.

Cait: “Aubrey! It’s wonderful to see you.” I jump to my feet and hug her.

Aubrey: “I have been talking about this all week. My husband almost pushed me out the door. Thank you for inviting me.”

Cait: “You are welcome. Thank you for joining me.

We sit on the couches a table dividing us. A tall golden-haired, green-eyed man sits at a nearby table.

Cait: “Aubrey, he looks like the hero in my latest manuscript, Second Chances.”

Aubrey: Long sigh. “Absolutely mouth-watering. He is just how I pictured Ryan if you swap out the skis for a skateboard. If he’s an instructor, I’m up for a lesson.”

Cait: I laugh.“Speaking of delicious, Merry Christmas, Henry, is a wonderful story. Would you give a little detail about the book?”

Aubrey: She smiles and tears her eyes away from the gorgeous blonde. “Henry is a handsome and talented artist but painfully shy. His life revolves around his painting and best friend Melinda, the owner of an art gallery. While working as a security guard in a museum, he becomes infatuated with the portrait of a woman. When Melinda accepts a marriage proposal, Henry realizes he must find his own happiness. So he comes up with a plan that depends on his artistic skill and the magic of Christmas.

Cait: “The story is so unique. I don’t believe I’ve ever read anything like it. What inspired you?” Arches eyebrow. “Have you ever admired a pic of a guy?” I laugh.

Aubrey: Giggles. “Good grief, as a teenager my wall was filled with posters. I spent hours drooling over and talking to Robert Redford, Paul Newman and John Travolta. And of course, Starsky and Hutch. Oops, I think I just gave away my age.”

Cait: “Too funny.”

The Ryan-like character from Second Chances winks at Aubrey. She winks back.

Aubrey: “I need a drink. I think the ski instructor is flirting with me. Maybe he likes cougars?”

Cait: “It appears so.” I’m smiling so hard my cheeks hurt. Aubrey’s a hoot.

The waiter arrives, bringing glasses of wine I ordered when I first arrived.

Cait: I hold up my glass. “A toast to your first release and to all the ones that follow.” Our glasses clink.

Aubrey: “Yes, indeed.” She holds up her glass. “Here’s to more great romances in the New Year.”

Cait: I set my glass on the table and reach behind the couch. “I have a surprise for you.” I pull out the picture of the woman Henry admires. “The owner of the ski lodge loved your book so much they had a painting made of it. They want it hung in here. We get to do the honors of deciding where it goes.”

Aubrey: “I’m honored, and such a wonderful way to celebrate my first publication. The design and setting of this lodge would have pleased Henry.”

We crossed to the wall Aubrey decides. She lifts it up and places it against the wall. Strong arms reach over her head and grab the sides of the frame. The Ryan-like character smiles down at her. “I’ll do this for you.”

Cait: I smirk and step back, giving them a moment, and sip more wine.

Aubrey: “It just keeps getting better, Cait.”

Ryan marks the wall and retrieves the hammer and a nail from a side table. “Great story, you must be the author, Aubrey Wynne. I heard you’d be by today.”

Aubrey: “Yes, I am. Thank for your help. So do you like romance or are you more the action and adventure type?”

“I’m the action, adventure type. You interested?”

I choke on my wine, the liquid rushes up my nose. Ugh. I hate that.

Aubrey: “If I were a little younger… Seriously, though, you remind me of someone. But he’s already taken.”

He hammers the nail in the wall, hangs the picture, and steps back admiring his handy work. “Very pretty.” He turns to us. “See you in Second Chances, my destiny awaits.”

Ryan leaves and our mouths gape.

Cait: “Wow, you have a fan and I have a nose full of wine.”

Aubrey: “My heart just skipped a beat.”

Cait: I let out a breath and stare at the picture. “He’s right, she’s quite beautiful. Would you tell us about her?”

Aubrey: “Her name, according to Henry, is Rebecca. She is a beautiful, melancholy soul and I think that is what attracted Henry. It became his mission to make her happy.”

Cait: “What is your favorite part of the book?”

Aubrey: “The ending.”

Cait: “My next question was to ask you to read your favorite part, but we don’t want to give anything away. So, would you give an excerpt from another part of the book?”

Aubrey:

“Hey, Henry, you want a little overtime?” the supervisor had asked. “Charlie called in sick and I could use an extra hand. Another rich collector remembered us in his will. We’ve got a pricey piece arriving in about an hour and I’d feel better with some extra security.”

Henry tried to wipe the smile off his face. Five years in the city and he still felt like a country bumpkin. “Sure.”

“The paper says a Rubens. Flemish, wasn’t he? But it’s a small one.”

Henry gave a whistle. “Impressive.”

“There’s a companion painting with it, artist unknown. We’ll have to find a spot for it in appreciation for the collector’s piece.”

An hour later, Henry held a priceless painting in his hands. God, he loved this job.

“The family probably figured they wouldn’t get any money out of the other one. But this one sure is a beauty,” the supervisor said as he reached for the Rubens.

 “Yes, indeed,” Henry replied, as his eyes landed on the second painting. “Striking.”

Henry’s boss laughed. “I’m talking about this one, Bud. The little one is worth the big bucks!” His boss headed toward the office to start the paperwork on the new museum pieces.

“Yes, of course,” he murmured, but his attention remained focused on the woman in the larger painting.

She sat on the edge of a rocky cliff, her face slightly turned as if looking over the edge. Her legs were out to the side, knees bent, a long, olive-colored skirt spread around her haphazardly as if blown by the wind. The stormy ocean breakers rushed between jagged rocks then turned into frothy waves that lapped at the sand. The details in the picture were crisp and stark, the color was minimal—just the woman on a cliff with the turbulent water below. But the overall effect created a hauntingly beautiful scene.

He felt her distress, her sorrow. His fingers itched to reach out and pull her from the painting and hold her, soothe her, give her comfort. Henry knew that if she could turn and face him, he would be looking at the most exquisite creature he’d ever seen. His hand shook as he reached out to touch the canvas.

“Are you okay, Henry?”

Henry drew his hand back quickly as if he’d been caught in the act of—of what? Touching a frame? Good lord, he must be tired.

“What? Oh, yeah, I just need some sleep. ” As Henry turned to leave, he took one last look at the woman who had just stolen his heart. Fate had given him a precious gift. He whistled “Angels We Have Heard on High” all the way home.

Cait: “This has been great, but the slopes are calling our name. Maybe, you can fall into Ryan?” I snicker.

Aubrey: “I’m not known for my grace or balance. It would be a perfect ending to a perfect day.”

Cait: “Would you leave your contact information for the readers?”

Alternate Website: http://www.coffeetalkwriters.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aubrey.wynne.7?fref=ts

About the Author

Aubrey Wynne resides in the Midwest with her husband, dogs, horses, mule and barn cats. She is an elementary teacher by trade, champion of children and animals by conscience, and author by night. Obsessions include history, travel, trail riding and all things Christmas. She is a proud member of the Coffee Talk Writers.

Favorite books of 2013: get in on the giveaways.

It’s hosted  by Bookhounds and I Am A Reader Not A Writer. Get ready for some fun and great books. The clincher here is each stop gives away one of their favorite books from 2013. So you know the story has been approved by one of the stop hosts. Be on the look out for occasional gift cards throughout your travels. Some books are digital, others print. A few authors even agreed to send books international, so don’t be afraid to join in if your aren’t from the States.

Best-of-2013-Hop

I will be giving away your choice of the Kalieri Tales by Susan Stuckey to three winners. 

51yKGgpcl+L._SL160_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-dp,TopRight,12,-18_SH30_OU01_AA160_

Kaserie, a slave girl possessing potential magical powers, is held by the ruthless and brutal Halurdow, who intend to corrupt her talent for their own use. She escapes and flees to the Temple of the Twin Gods where she must not only confront her formidable enemies, but also her own father. A Kalieri Tales Novelette

51ZfsCPf7lL._SL160_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-dp,TopRight,12,-18_SH30_OU01_AA160_

Elderly and frail, Jezrei is tasked with the safety of more than twenty children when the City of Azraelis is attacked by an enemy bent on slaughter and subjugation. How can one old man hope to stand against an entire army?

51x-AS6VybL._SL160_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-dp,TopRight,12,-18_SH30_OU01_AA160_

Ranger Thaenad, aided by a group of Black Wolves, rescues a group of women and children from certain death at the hands of the butchering worshippers of the Dark God. As he guides them toward safety, a traitor within their group exposes his every move to pursuing enemy forces. Are Thaenad’s skills and magic capable of neutralizing the traitor and overcoming the enemy?

51EPnt59tRL._SL160_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-dp,TopRight,12,-18_SH30_OU01_AA160_

The Halurdow conquer everything in their path, destroying and crushing the Kalieri wherever they find them. After conquering the Isle of Ipsen Watch, they’re stopped by a magic shield protecting the Ipsen mainland. The key to this shield is the only survivor of the Halurdow attack on Ipsen Watch: an old woman. A young shaman sits with the woman night and day, working to get the secret of the magic shield from her. Today, she will succeed.

 For a chance at any of these exciting adventure stories, click on the rafflecopter link below. 

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/01288e2/

Check out the rest of the stops for more holiday surprises. 

http://www.linkytools.com/wordpress_list.aspx?id=213378&type=basic

Last day to get in on 12 Days of Christmas Blog Hop.

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12 Days of Christmas
December 1st – 12th 2013
Hosted by: As You Wish Reviews & Confessions of the Paranormal
Sponsors: As You Wish Tours & Book Dragon Designs

Day 12 copy

Welcome to the 12 Days of Christmas Blog Hop!!!

Everyone has a YUMMY cookie recipe to share and there are some extra little treats scattered around the Hop too, so be sure to visit each of the Authors and Bloggers blogs to make sure you don’t miss out on something SWEET!

Also for an extra special something in your stocking check out the Rafflecopter GRAND PRIZE Giveaway below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Rafflecopter Share Link
http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/ZmU3ODJlOTQzODNlMTU4NTgzYzZlNmJiYWJjY2MxOjc4/

Grand Prize: $150 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal Cash
First Prize: One (1) eBook from Every Participating Author

I hope you are on Santa’s Nice List!

Buckeyes

Buckeyes
 Makes 30 cookies| Hands-On Time: 30m| Total Time: 1hr 15m

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 pound bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Directions

  1. With an electric mixer, beat the peanut butter and butter at medium speed until creamy. Reduce the mixer speed to low and mix in the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and salt (the mixture will be crumbly).
  2. Roll tablespoonfuls of the dough into balls and place on a wax paper-lined baking sheet. Freeze until firm, about 15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in a double boiler or a medium heatproof bowl set over (not in) a saucepan of barely simmering water, melt the chocolate, stirring often, until smooth. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
  4. Resting each ball on the tines of a fork, lower it into the chocolate until it’s two-thirds covered. Refrigerate on the baking sheet until the chocolate is firm, about 30 minutes.
  5. Storage suggestion: Keep the buckeyes refrigerated, between sheets of wax paper in an airtight container, for up to 3 weeks.
  6. Enjoy!

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Available on Day 12 and a chance at a $5.00 Amazon gift card.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Merry Christmas, Henry (ebook)

by Aubrey Wynne

MerryXmasHenry2 (1) copy

Henry, a shy and talented artist, moonlights as a security guard at a museum and loses his heart to a beautiful, melancholy woman in a painting. As his obsession grows, he finds a kindred soul who helps him in his search for happiness. On Christmas Eve, Henry dares to take a chance on love and fulfill his dream.

Aubrey's profile pic copy

About the Author

Aubrey Wynne resides in the Midwest with her husband, dogs, horses, mule and barn cats. She is an elementary teacher by trade, champion of children and animals by conscience, and author by night. Obsessions include history, travel, trail riding and all things Christmas. She is a proud member of the Coffee Talk Writers.

Linky – Author’s List

Blog Hop_Button copy

It's the Best of 2013 Blog Hop. Giveaways Galore!

It’s hosted  by Bookhounds and I Am A Reader Not A Writer. Get ready for some fun and great books. The clincher here is each stop gives away one of their favorite books from 2013. So you know the story has been approved by one of the stop hosts. Be on the look out for occasional gift cards throughout your travels. Some books are digital, others print. A few authors even agreed to send books international, so don’t be afraid to join in if your aren’t from the States.

Best-of-2013-Hop

I will be giving away your choice of the Kalieri Tales by Susan Stuckey to three winners. 

51yKGgpcl+L._SL160_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-dp,TopRight,12,-18_SH30_OU01_AA160_

Kaserie, a slave girl possessing potential magical powers, is held by the ruthless and brutal Halurdow, who intend to corrupt her talent for their own use. She escapes and flees to the Temple of the Twin Gods where she must not only confront her formidable enemies, but also her own father. A Kalieri Tales Novelette

51ZfsCPf7lL._SL160_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-dp,TopRight,12,-18_SH30_OU01_AA160_

 Elderly and frail, Jezrei is tasked with the safety of more than twenty children when the City of Azraelis is attacked by an enemy bent on slaughter and subjugation. How can one old man hope to stand against an entire army?

51x-AS6VybL._SL160_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-dp,TopRight,12,-18_SH30_OU01_AA160_

Ranger Thaenad, aided by a group of Black Wolves, rescues a group of women and children from certain death at the hands of the butchering worshippers of the Dark God. As he guides them toward safety, a traitor within their group exposes his every move to pursuing enemy forces. Are Thaenad’s skills and magic capable of neutralizing the traitor and overcoming the enemy?

51EPnt59tRL._SL160_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-dp,TopRight,12,-18_SH30_OU01_AA160_

The Halurdow conquer everything in their path, destroying and crushing the Kalieri wherever they find them. After conquering the Isle of Ipsen Watch, they’re stopped by a magic shield protecting the Ipsen mainland. The key to this shield is the only survivor of the Halurdow attack on Ipsen Watch: an old woman. A young shaman sits with the woman night and day, working to get the secret of the magic shield from her. Today, she will succeed.

For a chance at any of these exciting adventure stories, click on the rafflecopter link below. 

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/01288e2/

Check out the rest of the stops for more holiday surprises.