When romance writers give love stories to the world, we do more than entertain – we share our hope for something better. These imaginative moments of happy-ever-after warm the soul and ripple outward. The world needs more love, and every bit helps.
We hope you enjoy this collection of heartwarming seasonal tales and delicious recipes by twenty-one Bestselling, Award-winning, and Multi-Published Authors from the international Exquisite Quills community: Victoria Adams, Rose Anderson, E. Ayers, Beverley Bateman, Lily Bishop, Barb Caffrey, Helena Fairfax, J.D. Faver, Jennifer Garcia, Romy Gemmell, Vonnie Hughs, Susan Jaymes, Gemma Juliana, Jean Lamb, Lyndi Lamont, Zanna Mackenzie, Janis Susan May, Dee Ann Palmer, Jane Leopold Quinn, Kaye Spencer, and M. S. Spencer.
[Names of authors appearing on this website are in bold above. See the Guest Author page for their previous posts.]
AUTHOR M. S. SPENCER SAYS:
Che Gelida Manina is a sweet, romantic story of how love can come a second time around—if you let it.
Grace is devastated by the loss of her husband—the most romantic person she has ever known—and is determined to avoid any contact with the things they had loved. She refuses to walk her beloved beach, or light candles under the stars, or listen to his favorite opera, La Bohème.
When she meets Edward, she insists that he abide by her wishes. He does without argument, but as the weeks go by, she begins to wonder if she’s made a mistake. Will she let the chance of an unexpected happiness slip through her fingers? Will Edward?
Che Gelida Manina, a heartwarming story of new/old love, can be found in the beautiful Exquisite Christmas anthology available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble—a perfect Christmas gift. Twenty-one authors share romantic holiday tales, as well as delicious seasonal recipes.
Try my contributions of Swedish Coffeebread and Lemon Rosemary Shortbread, both demanded by my children every Christmas.
Print 240 pp; ebook
(Createspace, November 2015)
Barnes and Noble print: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/exquisite-christmas-victoria-adams/1123047064?ean=9781519495358
Barnes and Noble ebook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/exquisite-christmas-victoria-adams/1123051071?ean=2940157928698
I’d love to hear what you think of the story:
Dee Ann says:
Thank you, M. S. Spencer, for sharing your story with us. I’m looking forward to a wonderful December.
Download the Kindle App to read on your computer or mobile device.
MEET ROMANCE AUTHOR JENNIFER GARCIA
In this wonderful season of the year, it has been my pleasure to feature some of the authors from this quickly read and inspiring collection of their short stories. Here is a taste of one by Jennifer Garcia. Dee Ann When romance writers give love stories to the world, we do more than entertain – we share our hope for something better. These imaginative moments of happy-ever-after warm the soul and ripple outward. The world needs more love, and every bit helps. We hope you enjoy this collection of heartwarming seasonal tales and delicious recipes by twenty-one Bestselling, Award-winning, and Multi-Published Authors from the international Exquisite Quills community: Victoria Adams, Rose Anderson, E. Ayers, Beverley Bateman, Lily Bishop, Barb Caffrey, Helena Fairfax, J.D. Faver, Jennifer Garcia, Romy Gemmell, Vonnie Hughs, Susan Jaymes, Gemma Juliana, Jean Lamb, Lyndi Lamont, Zanna Mackenzie, Janis Susan May, Dee Ann Palmer, Jane Leopold Quinn, Kaye Spencer, and M. S. Spencer. Happy Holidays! Every night, as my daddy taught me, I knelt by my bed and said my prayers. But tonight, I wanted to ask for something. “Now I lay me down to sleep … I pray the Lord my soul to take. Oh, please bring me a mommy. Amen”
“Come on, Frankie. It’s time to go to the park,” my dad yelled from downstairs.
“I’m coming, Dad.”
Wearing my play clothes, a long purple shirt and black leggings, I slid my feet into my shoes and ran down the stairs. I loved the noise it made, like a herd of elephants, as my dad would say, but I always pictured horses.
One last bang rang out, as I jumped off the last step and landed on my two feet. I turned the corner to see my dad at the door with our two Cane Corso dogs, Dante and Beatrice. Dad named them after some epic poem, whatever that was.
Our dogs were special, though. They were blue, well, they looked grey to me, and their hair was short and thick. I loved running my fingers through it, trying to make it stick up. They came from Italy, some sort of mastiff. I didn’t know, really, all I knew was they were big, real big and strong. But we trained them so well that they listened to all of their commands.
Dad always let me hold Dante, and I held the leash loosely in my hand, while he healed on my left. He’d stay there, following my every move until I gave him the “free dog” command. Our walk to the park was quick and when we got there I could tell the grass had been just cut. The strong smell hit my nose. I wasn’t sure if I liked it or not.
“Alright, you all go play, and I’ll be right here on my bench, okay?”
“Yes, Daddy.” I unclicked their leashes and wrapped them around my waist, like belts, and threw the ball for the dogs.
Jennifer Garcia’s love of travel began when she went to the West Coast to visit her father at the age of three. Her home until she was sixteen was a small coastal town near Boston. She currently resides in Los Angeles with her husband, two sons, and two dogs. Her lifelong love for reading and writing was put aside for many years while she made her way in the world and nurtured her young family. Even though she is older, and life never seems to settle, she’s finding her way. Believing she can do it all, with the help of her family, she worked on her first novel during the late hours of the night while balancing the rest of her life during the day. Jennifer believes in writing love stories that connect families and touch hearts.
Dee Ann says— It’s been a pleasure working with these twenty gifted women to produce this collection. We hope it will warm your holiday
ROMANCE FOR TEENS…AND BEYOND by BARB CAFFREY
You’ll find the links for the print and digital version of this book of holiday stories and yummy recipes below. Meanwhile, I happily welcome Barb Caffrey, one of the other twenty authors in Exquisite Christmas, to my blog this week! I think you’ll enjoy her explanation of the difference between writing for grown ups and young adults. Dee Ann
When Dee Ann Palmer agreed to allow me to write a guest blog for her, I wasn’t sure what to write about. Surely you’ve read her excellent books and stories, which are full of realistic romance – including her two short stories in the Exquisite Christmas anthology. (I have to admit to a partiality for her characters in “Snowfall,” myself.)
Then she said she’d not written any young adult stories. And as I have, why not talk about the difference between writing young adult novels with romance included as part of the story, and my stories in Exquisite Christmas, which deal with a long-term adult romance?
The main difference I’ve found in writing romance in my novels AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE and A LITTLE ELFY IN BIG TROUBLE, which features a teenage couple in Bruno the Elfy and Sarah, his mostly human teenage girlfriend, and the stories “Marja’s Victory” and “To Hunt the Hunter” in Exquisite Christmas, is that teen characters don’t exactly know what it is that they want. Everything is ahead of them. They are experiencing love for the very first time, and aren’t sure what they’re supposed to be doing – or when they’re supposed to be doing it. Whereas adult characters know exactly what they are doing and why they’re doing it, but don’t always know if their wishes are going to be reciprocated.
Anyway, as to Bruno and Sarah’s story…Bruno, you see, isn’t from our Earth at all. (He’s from the Elfy Realm, which is in a parallel universe.) He isn’t used to humans or our culture, and comes from a much more rigid type of upbringing. Where he’s from, people are usually introduced to prospective partners, and Bruno’s been told he’s too young to start looking. And because he’s an orphan and what amounts to a ward of the state back in the Elfy Realm, he never thought he had much to give anyone anyway.
And then we have Sarah, whose situation isn’t what it seems. She’s been told she’s younger than she actually is, because her parents wanted to keep her inheritance from themselves. And she doesn’t know at this point that she’s not completely human…she just knows she’s short, very smart, and is gifted at understanding other people’s emotions. And she, too, has never thought about romance before.
So this is all new to both of them, and getting to know each other during a crisis situation (Bruno’s mentor, Roberto, has been taken captive by a Dark Elf, who in turn is being aided by Sarah’s parents) has added a great deal of complexity to their nascent romance.
Clear as mud, right? So perhaps I should just show you instead…
From AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE, page 265-6:
“Now that you’re comfortable, will you please tell me what upset you so much?” Sarah asked.
“I will, dear,” he said. “But it won’t be easy. Will you sit beside me?”
She sat next to him on the side of the bed, midway down, and timidly took his right hand in her own. Bruno tried not to shake at the unexpected contact. He reached out for her left hand and held it, too. She let him, giving him a soft smile that told him as no words ever could that he was doing the right thing.
“Roberto told me what Lady Keisha withheld from you,” he said. “And it’s painful. I don’t want to hurt you.” He tried to pull his hands away, but Sarah tightened her grip instead.
“Ignorance is never good,” she said crisply, showing that uncommon maturity again. Then, in a different tone of voice, she said, “Look, Bruno, I don’t see how it’s going to help anything for me not to know. So please tell me?”
See, when I wrote all this, I needed to show that Bruno and Sarah were both innocents, falling in love, uncertain as to what was happening but wishing for it to continue. They aren’t sure what they want, except each other; they’ll fight to the death if they must for one another, and in this situation it may well come to that.
Note that Bruno does not take advantage of Sarah. He only goes as far as she’ll allow. He is an extremely polite young man—er, Elfy.
So, from two youngsters just trying to figure out where their love fits into a crisis situation and behaving in an age-appropriate way, we move to my adult characters Marja and Tomas, the protagonists of “Marja’s Victory” and “To Hunt the Hunter.” Marja is a shapeshifter and a woman of size; she is not young, and she doesn’t care who knows it. And her lover, Tomas, is a telepathic mountain Troll, eight feet tall…both of them have found one another congenial in both the business aspect (they are bounty hunters and detectives, of sorts) and of course as romantic partners.
Because I’m dealing with two mature individuals who’ve known each other for quite some time, different elements come into play. Marja can be anything she wants, and can take any form she wants – but I have a hunch that before she met Tomas, she wasn’t accepted much for herself or her talents.
For example, after Marja and Tomas find a thief in “To Hunt the Hunter,” Marja says this:
“She doesn’t love you, Stefan.” I couldn’t afford to show him any empathy—the man was a thief—but inside, I understood. It hurt to be rejected by someone you thought you loved.
::I’m here now, and I love you. Those other fools who passed on you do not matter anymore. So who cares about them?:: Tomas’s voice whispered into my mind.
While this is a very brief excerpt, it gets across the point that Marja knows how it feels to be rejected. And Tomas tells her, “It doesn’t matter anymore,” and calls the people who treated her ill “fools.”
Isn’t that what we want, as adults? Someone who understands us, and will buck us up when we’re feeling down?
But that’s not the end of the story with Marja and Tomas…oh, no. Because you see, Tomas wants to make it legal with Marja, and he’s not above a wee bit of trickery in how he’s going to go about doing it. (Further author sayeth not…at least, not about this.)
To my mind, writing about adults in love is a little different than writing about teens. Adults know exactly what they’re after, while teens are still figuring it all out. But when love strikes, it’s all new to the protagonists, regardless of age…the trick is in finding that newness, that special feeling, and making other people feel it, too.
FIND BARB AND HER BOOKS ON Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Barb-Caffrey/e/B00H8EROC8 Blog: http://elfyverse.wordpress.com Google-Plus: plus.google.com/101403408003727584589 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/barb.caffrey.1 Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2843982.Barb_Caffrey
SLEIGHING AND MISTLETOE FOR EXQUISITE CHRISTMAS
Lyndi Lamont says—
My story in the Exquisite Christmas anthology, A Kiss and a Promise, takes place on a wintry Yule afternoon in Victorian times. The year is 1887 and the winter was cold and snowy, a perfect setting for a sleighing party to collect holly and mistletoe to decorate the house. And provide a chance for a kiss under the mistletoe…
Sophia gave directions to the best spot for gathering holly and mistletoe, and Harry steered the horses in that direction, bells attached to the harness jingling with each step. The weather had been beastly for the last month, but it had turned the estate into a winter fairyland. Silent snow-covered fields stretched as far as she could see, and each tree sported a layer of white, softening the stark look of the winter scene. The sky was overcast, and she suspected Harry was right to rush them along.
As soon as the sleigh stopped, Reggie jumped out, made a snowball and threw it at Cora as she exited the sleigh. She yelped and chased Reggie, Phoebe on her heels squealing with excitement. Sophia watched them with amusement. Oh, to be a child again.
But she was long past that sort of behavior. She’d had a season in London, after all. She glanced at Harry and caught a gleam in his eye. “Do not even think of joining those hooligans.”
A Kiss and a Promise is a prequel to How To Woo… a Reluctant Bride. You get a glimpse of Lydia and her brother Harry when they were young and carefree. The story also introduces two sisters, Sophia and Cora, who will have their own stories in the How To Woo series.
The Exquisite Christmas e-book is now available at:
and coming soon to iBooks and other retailers.
The paperback is available at Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/Exquisite-Christmas-Romance-Authors-Holiday/dp/1519495358/
Lyndi Lamont is the racy alter ego of author Linda McLaughlin, who writes historical and Regency Romance. Since becoming Lyndi Lamont, she has discovered that writing sexy romance is a license to be naughty, at least between the pages of a book.
You can find more about the author and her works here:
Dee Ann says—
It’s been a pleasure working with these twenty-one gifted women to produce this collection. We hope it will warm your holidays.
Looking forward to a wonderful December…
Download the Kindle App to read on your computer or mobile devices
I LOVE STORIES OF ANCIENT EGYPT, AND HAVE READ THE SERIES BY ELIZABETH PETERS — A FRIEND OF OUR GUEST AUTHOR — AND NOW I HAVE A NEW AUTHOR’S EGYPTIAN STORIES TO READ.
I’M PLEASED TO WELCOME, JANIS SUSAN MAY also known as JANIS PATTERSON!
In another life, I was a talent agent who worked with actors for stage, screen, TV, commercials and radio. Now that sounds glamorous, but it really wasn’t – it was a lot of hard work. It was in Texas, not in LA or NYC, which brought about its own problems. There were a lot of similarities, though, like knowing that once an actor was typecast, it could be the end of his career. Once you’re only thought of as the plucky comic relief sidekick or the second villain, you can pretty much be nothing but that the rest of your life and not really have much room to expand your repertoire.
It took a while for it to occur to me that the same thing could happen in writing.
I’ll be honest – I love Ancient Egypt. Always have, in scholarship as well as reading and writing. However, there is a relatively small readership for Egyptian set/Ancient Egyptian stories, so I have always tried to have a wide variety of settings in my books, but I seem always to come back to Egypt. As Janis Susan May I did a rather steamy time travel romance called PASSION’S CHOICE, where the clueless heroine is thrown back in time to the building of the female pharaoh Hatshepsut’s temple Deir el Bahri (which is one of my favorite places in the world). Things are complicated because she is thought to be a pleasure woman, but when someone notices that except for coloring she is almost a double for the Pharaoh’s daughter Neferure she becomes embroiled in politics and power plays – all against her will. I’m sorry now that I made it such a sexy story, an act into which I was pressured by one of my early publishers. I think the story would have been better as a clean one, but – c’est la vie!
A couple of books later, inspired by our trip to Egypt in 2010, I wrote a modern romantic adventure called THE EGYPTIAN FILE (again as Janis Susan May), which released on my birthday last year. It is about a woman who while trying to fulfill her father’s final wish gets mixed up with antiquities smuggling, a lost treasure and a murderous rival as she runs across Egypt with the help of a handsome cab driver. It was great fun to write, and because of it I gained two new and wonderful friends who helped me with the facts and research – Jane Akshar, who rents some of the most incredibly beautiful holiday flats in Luxor, and Dr. Dirk Huyge, Director of the Belgian Archaeological Mission to Elkab. The book has sold well, especially among my Egyptomane friends.
After that, in my Janis Patterson persona, I wrote a cozy murder mystery set at a scholarly Egyptological conference entitled MURDER AND MISS WRIGHT. This took place in the States (Chicago, actually) but was brimming with antiquities, theft, murder and Egyptologists, who are indeed very diverse and fascinating people. MURDER AND MISS WRIGHT will release next month in both ebook and paperback. As I love both forms and figure a lot of other people do too, I try to do all my books in both ebook and paperback.
And then, in spite of my love for Egypt, I decided that I should do something else. I didn’t want to be typecast as That Egyptian Writer. I began to think about projects and finally settled on a historical mystery (again written as Janis Patterson) set in New Orleans in 1916. (Why then and there? I don’t know – it just seemed sort of a good idea at the time and I still think the story is fascinating. I do intend to write it someday.) My Egyptomane friends, however, didn’t like it. They wanted another book about Egypt. At lunch one day a particularly close friend, who also is a professor at Southern Methodist University, took me to task about not doing another Egyptian book and half-seriously threatened vague karmic consequences if I didn’t write one.
I’d really like to know what connections she has. Whatever they are, they are most efficient!
During the writing of THE EGYPTIAN FILE Dr. Huyge and I jokingly started talking (by email) about how we should write a mystery about the dig house at El Kab. (Yes, it is spelled two ways – El Kab and Elkab.) The house was built in the early 1900s as a retirement home by an English Egyptologist named Somers Clarke. He loved his home so much he never left it – and I mean that. His grave is in the courtyard. He is also reputed to haunt the place.
I was astonished. Civilians are NEVER invited to stay at dig houses. Dr. Huyge had to get The Husband and me official governmental permissions from both the Ministry of Antiquities in Cairo and the Aswan Governate to stay at the dig house and have free reign of the dig site. He did it, too. We went this March for a lovely couple of days, then added on a couple of weeks and stayed in one of Jane’s flats in Luxor to make it a proper holiday. (Hey – if you’re going all the way to Egypt, gotta make it worthwhile timewise, right?)
So – again in my Janis Patterson persona, I’m now about one quarter done with the new book, which is called A KILLING AT EL KAB. I’m hoping to have it available by this winter.
And you know what? If I’m now typecast as That Egyptian Writer, I don’t care a bit. I’m having too much fun doing what I want to do and writing about a place I love.
Thanks for coming by and reading my musings – remember, I’m going to send a copy of THE EGYPTIAN FILE to one lucky commenter!
Note from Dee Ann: You’ll find Susan’s books at http://www.sefkhat-awbi-books.com/janis-susan-may-romance
TODAY I WELCOME AUTHOR VICTORIA ADAMS TO MY WEBSITE.
Last week, author Lizzi Tremayne of New Zealand graced this page Today please meet Victoria Adams.
Victoria lives in Ontario, Canada with her husband and pets. They’re currently attempting to tame a feral kitten abandoned in their barn. When she isn’t writing, she’s in her garden or off in class studying Rags Sharqi, a form of Egyptian Belly Dance. She’s been writing since she was little. As she grew up, she tells me her writing style matured. Now she focuses on contemporary romance for adults and sweet romance for new adults.
Victoria and I met when we had short stories accepted for A Holiday Anthology Volume 2, a 2014 collection of short, winter romances produced by the Exquisite Quills Yahoo Group. Her story, Gingerbread Dreams, is charming. My story is A Night To Remember, and my work-in-progress is developing its 2,000 words into a longer work. The anthology is free on Smashwords and Barnes and Noble. The 2013 anthology is also available.
DANCING IN CIRCLES
One born into privilege and a charmed life surrounded by love and family. The other born to violence on the streets as the gang leader of the notorious Shoresmen. A young, idealistic co-ed, Julie, meets the jaded, cold gang member, Robert, and cracks his icy shell, allowing the warmth of her love to awaken his soul.
Robert stood near the beer line and watched as a brunette in a tight short skirt and low cut top strutted across the room and stood before him.
She dropped her gaze to his feet and moved it up to his hips then linked gazes with him. “Hello, tall, dark and totally fuckable.” She dragged her tongue across her top lip.
Robert’s chuckle started with a shake of his shoulders then moved to the crooked grin on his face before it erupted from his mouth.
She stepped in closer, slid her hand down his stomach and rested it on the inside of his thigh.
Robert didn’t release his gaze from hers. “What? Ya want me to just rip your clothes off and do ya here?”
Her pupils dilated.
Robert flicked her hand off his leg then glanced left and right to see who had slipped their arms around his.
“Tonya.” Tricia waited until the girl looked at her. “This gorgeous hunk of maleness is more man than you could ever handle.”
Jennifer flicked her hand. “Go away now. He’s all ours.”
Tonya turned on her heel and stormed off.
“Thank you. But I coulda handled that myself.”
“We’re just protecting Julie’s property.” Tricia winked and wandered over to speak with a friend.
Jennifer released his arm. “Tonya’s the school slut.”
Robert snorted. “Figured that out all by myself.”
You’ll find the cover for my contribution — How to Seduce a Knight — in the left column here and, if you’re interested, an excerpt can be read on my Bookshelf. Here’s the story line:
Gloriana, princess of the golden dragons of the high mountains, has a sacred destiny to fulfill, but first she’s required to mate and produce an heir. In human form, as Arondele and hiding her true nature, she’s fallen in love with Rodick, a powerful knight in the enchanted kingdom of Ahnerion. After learning they have broken a dragon law for which the penalty is death — for both of them — she abandons him. If discovered, she will die but he will be safe.
Blazing passion fuels Rodick’s hunt to find her. When he learns what she is, and knows to have her he must either outwit or battle her father, the powerful and fearsome king of the golden dragons, will his love stand the test? Will he and his princess survive?
BUY ON BARNES AND NOBLE