Monday, December 11, 2017

BEST GIFTS CAN'T BE BOUGHT

I’m pleased to welcome Joan Reeves, USA Today and NY Times Bestselling author. Joan can’t respond to questions or comments today because—following an accident in which a truck knocked her down—her husband is treating her PTSD of the event by taking her on an anniversary cruise. Remember that your comment will enter you in the drawing for a Kindle Fire 7 on Christmas Eve.

What is your favorite childhood Christmas memory?

When my older brother—my sidekick in all the mischief we got into as kids—and I woke up shortly after midnight, our parents let us open a present. What we opened were Mickey Mouse flashlights. We were very young and thought flashlights were the coolest things ever. We spent the rest of the night playing and shining them on the ceiling. By morning, the batteries were dead!

What is your favorite adult Christmas memory?

My husband and I were married just before Christmas. On Christmas Eve, we came home from a party after midnight. He insisted I open his present to me. The jeweler's box held a pair of silver hoop earrings and a pair of gold hoop earrings. He told me, "I didn't know if you'd like the silver or the gold so I got them both." That told me that he would always go the extra mile to please me and make me happy. And he still does that. As you read this, we are celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary with a Caribbean cruise.

Is there a Christmas song that’s your favorite?

A.   Secular – “Please Come Home for Christmas” by The Eagles
B.   Religious – Just about all of them because my grandfather used to sing them all the time. I guess “We Three Kings” and “O Little Town of Bethlehem” stick in my mind. To this day, I can hear him singing them. He's been gone 35 years now, and I still miss him.

Tell us about your family’s Christmas traditions.

On Christmas Eve, we always have a gumbo (I'm from Louisiana originally.). After dinner, we go to Candlelight services at church then we come home and play games or work a giant jigsaw puzzle—sometimes both. It all depends on whether we have just one of our kids or all of them and their kids!

What about Christmas do you most enjoy?

Church services, having the kids home, shopping, Christmas music in the stores, laughing children, decorating, singing Christmas songs. I'm a sucker for all of it.

Is there something about this holiday that drives you crazy?

Only the repetitive ads for conspicuous consumption. *g*

What do you hope for this Christmas?

I'm a very lucky woman. I'm married to the most wonderful man, and we're still in love and love and like each other. Our kids are mostly healthy and happy. Rarely do my husband and I even give each other presents. Some years we've splurged, but other years we're just so darn content that we'd rather give to others than spend money on ourselves. The only thing I hope for are things that can't be bought: for people to stop driving and texting, for everyone to re-discover common courtesy, for politicians and adults in general to act their age—not their shoe size—for  school kids to embrace learning rather than video games and reality shows, for people to learn there are consequences for bad behavior, and, yes, for world peace without abandoning our Constitution and our freedoms.

Do you have a treasured Christmas food?

I love all of it from pralines to Cornbread Dressing.

Cornbread Dressing

First, make the Cornbread (can be done a day early)



Cornbread Dressing




1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow corn meal
1/4 cup sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/4 cup liquid shortening

          Mix dry ingredients well. Make a little well in dry ingredients and add eggs. Beat eggs until solid color. Add milk and shortening. Pour into greased round cake pan and bake at 425 ° F for 20 to 25 minutes.

CORNBREAD DRESSING

Cornbread (recipe above)
5 slices bread or pan of biscuits, dried and crumbled
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup chopped celery
2 tablespoons parsley flakes
1 stick butter or margarine
3 cups pan drippings and broth * (to make it vegetarian, use vegetable stock here)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons sage (more to suit taste)
3 eggs
3/4 of the boiled wing and neck meat if you wish to include them
3 cups broth and drippings from roasting pan

          In small skillet, melt the stick of butter or margarine. Add celery, onion, and parsley and sauté until onion becomes transparent. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, crumble cornbread and bread slices. Add broth and drippings, sautéed onions and celery mixture and the other ingredients above. Add 3/4 of the stewed meat you have reserved. Taste to adjust seasoning. Add more broth if dressing is too dry.

          Pour into well-buttered pan. Cook at 325° F for 30 to 40 minutes, until beginning to lightly brown on top. Don't overcook, as everything but the egg has already been cooked and you are just blending flavors and heating thoroughly.


Do you have a book you’d like to share?

NOBODY’S CINDERELLA is a Christmas Romance.





This Christmas Cinderella should be careful what she wishes for! Darcy Benton is the oldest cliché in the world—a woman in love with her boss. Other than that, she's no-nonsense, practical, mature, and sober. She's just the kind of woman Chase Whitaker wants as head of accounting for his company. She's definitely not the kind of woman he wants in his bed.

Enter Darcy's meddling, matchmaking best friend who has a plan to transform Darcy into a hottie designed to attract Chase's interest. All it takes? A couple of little lies--and a wish on a Christmas star. Darcy should have heeded that old advice: be careful what you wish for.


Joan Reeves, Author



Joan Reeves is a NY Times and USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance. All of her romance novels have appeared on various bestseller lists. Her books are available in digital and audio formats with new print editions available this year. Several of her books are available in French editions through Bragelonne-Milady Romance, her publisher in France.

When not writing romance, or nonfiction to share what she has learned in life, Joan divides her time between the hustle and bustle of Houston and the quiet life of the Texas Hill Country. At their country property, she and her hero, her husband, attempt to grow wine grapes and fruit trees while battling gophers, skunks, armadillos, deer, fox, and the occasional copperhead snake.

Joan lives the philosophy that is the premise of all her romance novels: It’s never too late to live happily ever after.


Sunday, December 10, 2017

FEAST OF THE SEVEN FISHES AND A CAKE RECIPE

Please welcome Josie Riviera, a  USA Today bestselling author. Remember to comment to be entered in the Kindle Fire 7 giveaway on Christmas Eve. Also, Josie has an additional giveaway.

What is your favorite childhood Christmas memory?

I loved baking Christmas cookies and drinking hot chocolate. (still do!)

What is your favorite adult Christmas memory?

 (see above) J



Is there a Christmas song that’s your favorite?

I’m a professional musician, a pianist, so it’s hard to choose.
A.   Secular: "Baby It’s Cold Outside"
B.   Religious: Handel’s "Messiah"

Tell us about your family’s Christmas traditions.

My family is 100% Italian, which means the feast of the 7 fishes is a must on Christmas Eve.

Example of Feast of the Seven Fishes

What about Christmas do you most enjoy?

Spending time with family and good friends.

Is there something about this holiday that drives you crazy?

The commercialism.

What do you hope for this Christmas?

I hope my Christmas will bubble over with laughter and that our holiday traditions will remain, and we will all experience joy in the moment, not looking back to yesterday or ahead to tomorrow.

Do you have a treasured Christmas food? If so, would you care to share the recipe?

Because there are so many cookie recipes available, I’ll share one of our favorite holiday cakes. The pistachio cake is easy to bake, and the red and green is festive and fun.

Pistachio Pudding Cake


Pistachio Cake Recipe

Easy, fast, and festive, this recipe is always a treat! You will need:

One package of white cake mix- any brand
1 package of Pistachio instant pudding- sugar free may be used instead of regular
½ cup vegetable oil
½ cup water
½ cup milk
5 eggs
Blend cake mix with 1 package of pudding. Add oil, milk, and water.  Add eggs- 1 at a time, beating well with electric mixer after each addition.
Pour into a greased (or spray with cooking spray) tube or bundt pan.
Bake 1 hour-at 350 degrees.  May be done beforehand- as ovens vary.
Cool for 30 minutes, and invert onto favorite cake platter.
For a lighter and festive topping, sprinkle with sifted confectioners sugar and sliced maraschino cherries.

Optional frosting recipe:  (Spread on cooled cake)
½ pint heavy cream
1 package instant pistachio pudding (sugar free may be used)
1 container thawed Cool Whip (fat-free may be used)
Beat heavy cream until thick. Blend in rest of ingredients. Frost as desired.
Enjoy!

Do you have a Christmas book you’d like to share?

Title: HOLIDAY HEARTS: A Sweet and Wholesome Romance Bundle
Author: Josie Riviera
Genre: Sweet Contemporary Holiday Romance
Publisher: Macmillan

HOLIDAY HEARTS Blurb: 
Savor the magic of Josie Riviera's holiday romances--exclusively in one boxed set!





HOLIDAY HEARTS Excerpt:
A sweet heartwarming story is the hallmark of a romantic holiday season. With this exciting offer exclusively from USA Today Bestselling author, Josie Riviera, you enjoy three emotionally satisfying sweet holiday romances, a trio all wrapped up and delivered directly to your inbox--just in time for Christmas! Bundle up and save!

A SNOWY WHITE CHRISTMAS
Margaret Snow no longer believes in fairy tales, but she's determined her young daughter will experience a real, upstate New York Christmas, not LA's face...everything. Giving up glitz and glamour to return to the trailer park is easy, but facing her high school sweetheart, Fernando Brandt, is another story. Especially when the sparks flying between them illuminate the insecurities that could prevent her from accepting the true gift of Christmas--unconditional love.

CANDLEGLOW AND MISTLETOE
When Noelle Wentworth's bus crashes, one deep, rumbling voice calms her racing heart--then a handsome face kicks it back into allegro. But love is a concerto she never learned to play. Noelle once saved Gabriel Waters from a high school bully. There's no recognition in her eyes, but there's something else that tugs at his heart--pain and distrust. Unexpected attraction burns warm and sweet, but their pasts could turn the promise of love to ashes.

A PORTUGUESE CHRISTMAS
Injured during a Portuguese surfing competition, Krystal is determined to defy doctor's orders to make it home to Rhode Island by Christmas. First, though, she has to get past handsome, arrogant Adolfo Silva.

Keeping Krystal safe is Adolfo's first priority, but this bold, courageous woman's wings won't be clipped. Somehow, he must convince her that spending Christmas with him isn't the end of her world. Because she's become the center of his.

If you love to binge-watch a certain wholesome holiday movie channel, Josie Riviera's holiday romance bundle is the perfect gift to yourself. Cozy up under a quilt with a cup of hot cocoa and enjoy!

Buy Links:

Paperback: 

GIVEAWAY
As a thank you from me to you for commenting today, I'm offering a free digital download of SEEKING CATHERINE, a sweet/spicy historical romance novella, when you subscribe to my newsletter. By subscribing, you'll receive sneak peeks, exclusive giveaways and stay updated on my new releases.

Here's the blurb: Bargained away to a brothel, she is beyond hope, beyond rescue...but not beyond the reach of the one man who can save her.
Here's the link:



Saturday, December 09, 2017

PLAYING MONOPOLY WHILE TURKEY ROASTS

Please welcome a bestselling author, Charlen Raddon, who also designs book covers.  Remember to comment to be entered in the giveaway of a Kindle Fire 7 on Christmas Eve!

What is your favorite childhood Christmas memory?

The smell of turkey cooking as I play Monopoly with my cousins.

Is there a Christmas song that’s your favorite?

A.   Secular:   “Winter Wonderland”
B.   Religious:  “Ave Maria”

Tell us about your family’s Christmas traditions.

My birthday is nine days before Christmas, so we always got our tree on that day and decorated it. Christmas morning, we would find gifts under the tree and the top of the buffet covered with fruit, candy, gum, and cookies. Mother always made us eat breakfast before we could open gifts and then my sister and I would take turns attacking the presents. We usually got a basket full of drawing stuff or sewing supplies, one big gift like a doll, or a bike, and a few small gifts like socks or a blouse Mother made. There would be coloring books, new crayons, and a book. Mom would cook turkey, stuffing, fresh green beans, Parker House rolls, mashed potatoes, gravy, yams, and we always had cranberry sauce.

What about Christmas do you most enjoy?

Now that my grandkids are grown up, Christmas isn’t as much fun as it used to be. I guess my favorite thing now is when they come over.

Is there something about this holiday that drives you crazy?

Not having anyone to go shopping with.

What do you hope for this Christmas?

A new chain to replace the one that broke on the diamond necklace my husband gave me last year.

Do you have a treasured Christmas food? If so, would you care to share the recipe?

I make a yam casserole that my family demands I make every year. The yams are mashed, and I cover them with a crunchy topping like you find on apple pie. Anyone who wants the recipe, write me, and I’ll send you my Christmas short story eBook. The recipe is in the back.

Do you have a Christmas book you’d like to share?

Yes, my Christmas short story, CHRISTMAS SUPPER SEDUCTION. It’s .99 on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MZXJS3Y




Charlene’s latest release is DIVINE GAMBLE. Here’s the synopsis:

SHE’S A SALOON WOMAN
For fourteen years Maisy Jessup has dealt faro in saloons, saving what she can from her small earnings so she can buy a house where she and her son can be safe from the man searching for her. Once again she’s escaped his wrath. Then Delilah, a saloon girl, is murdered and a high price is placed on the head of a hired gunman known as Wolverine who is suspected of killing her. Maisy resolves to avenge her friend. But when she finally finds the villain, she discovers two shocking facts—he’s innocent, and she’s in love with him. 
HE’S A MINISTER
The Reverend Brose Riker isn’t what he seems. As a hired gun called Wolverine, he barely escaped being hung for a murder he didn’t commit. Now, he’s posing as a circuit preacher and trying to protect Maisy Jessup from a man named Gold Kingsley who wants her dead and tried to hire Riker to find her. Years ago Riker saw her in a hotel hallway and never forgot her. He’s not about to risk losing her again.
ARE SECOND CHANCES TRULY POSSIBLE?
Even if Brose and Maisy survive Gold Kingsley’s vile plans, the future appears hopeless for them thanks to his reputation as a fast gun.  Will life grant them a second chance and allow them to find happiness?






Charlene Raddon, Author


Charlene likes to say she began her fiction career in the third grade when she told the class, during Show and Tell, that a black widow spider came down from the garage roof and bit her (non-existent) little sister to death.

After two years of college as a fine arts major, and a divorce, she moved to Utah, planning to wow the world with her watercolor landscapes—until her sister introduced her to romance novels. She never picked up a paint brush again.

Originally published by Kensington in the ‘90s, Charlene is an Indie author now. She writes western historical romance, except for one contemporary fantasy she hasn’t published yet. It’s a frog princess story about a man napping beside a pond. He awakens when a frog jumps on his chest. The frog kisses him. Suddenly, he has a naked medieval princess sprawled over him. Charlene has a vivid imagination and a romantic soul.

Please excuse Charlene now. She just heard a husky whisper from one of the dusty, shadowed corners of her office. Someone's lurking there, someone long, lanky and lascivious, beckoning to her. She has no intention of playing coy.

Visit Charlene’s webpage, http://charleneraddon.com and sign up for her newsletter.

Her book cover site is http://silversagebookcovers.com .



Friday, December 08, 2017

PEACE AND GOODWILL TO ALL!

Please welcome one of my favorite people, Jacquie Rogers. Remember to comment for Jacquie’s giveaway. Your comment also enters you for the Kindle Fire 7 on December 24.

What is your favorite childhood Christmas memory?

I grew up on a dairy farm.  Cows don’t take holidays off, so our celebration had to wait until Dad finished his morning chores.  On Christmas morning, my brother and I couldn’t go into the living room where the tree was (and Santa’s presents were!) until Dad got done with the milking.  Of course, we’d get up earlier than usual, so that made the torture that much worse. 

Mom would sit in her wheelchair and guard our door, but she also brought us hot cocoa with marshmallows.  Then, of course, we’d have to use the restroom, and you know that on the way in, we’d sneak peeks at the tree.  Sometimes we’d get a tantalizing glance at something really cool, but Santa was quite good at positioning gifts so we couldn’t see them from the hall.

Then I remember hearing Dad come into the house, and to prolong the agonizing wait, he had to clean up in the mud room before Mom would let us come out of the bedroom.  He’d take his own sweet time washing up.  LOL.  More torture!  Once he was finally done and dried off, he’d holler at us, and the stampede was on!  Fun times.

What is your favorite adult Christmas memory?

Christmas tree farm

That would have to be Mr R’s and my first Christmas together.  We’d bought a Queen Anne house that had a big parlor and two huge bay windows, so I wanted a tree that would fill it.  The scrawny things at the supermarket parking lot just wouldn’t do.  My sister told me about a nifty tree farm out by Parma [Idaho], so after much persuasive discussion—not all of it talking—I convinced him that we needed to go there.

We bundled up in heavy coats, boots, gloves, and stocking caps to search for just the right tree.  We tromped through the six inches of snow over every square inch of the five acres, evaluating every single tree.  I finally found The Perfect One—it was 12 feet tall and the trunk was at least 6” at the base.  Symmetrical.  Beautiful.  I had to have it.

Mr R had quite a tussle cutting down that tree.  He got down on his back in the snow and sawed and sawed and sawed.  Just as the tree was tipping, his stocking cap came off, exposing his follicley-challenged head, and steam billowed out!  I laughed so hard.  We loaded the tree into the pickup and headed for home

The next challenge was getting the tree through the front door.  Well, that’s a whole other story that involves a considerable amount of bad language.  Finally, once he managed to get the tree upright in the parlor, we proceeded to decorate.  He put over 1,500 lights on it, plus other decorations and garland.  It was the most beautiful tree ever!

Then the cat climbed it and tipped it over.

Is there a Christmas song that’s your favorite?

A.   Secular – Carol of the Bells
B.   Religious – O Holy Night

Tell us about your family’s Christmas traditions.

My daughter and grandkids cook all sorts of delicious goodies.  We start a week ahead of time and bake cookies.  Usually there’s an assortment of monster cookies, chocolate chippers, sugar cookies, peanut butter cookies, gingerbread people (because as my grandson pointed out, the cookie cutter doesn’t designate a particular sex), pumpkin cookies, persimmon bread, pumpkin bread, and fudge. 
On Christmas Eve, we bake pies—generally apple, lemon meringue, pumpkin, and custard.  Of course, that day is also spent dashing about looking for scissors and tape to wrap the last presents.  Or, in my case, all the presents.  Then we wait for Santa to come.

Christmas Day, Mr R and I usually have strawberry waffles while we wait for our kids and their families to show up.  Good grief, it’s no wonder we gain weight over the holidays!  Then we prepare the turkey and whatever other fixin’s we can do ahead.  By then, the horde has arrived.  We unwrap gifts, laugh a lot, maybe sip a bit of wine then have our big Christmas Dinner.  By the end of the day, we’ll all very ready to hit the hay.

What about Christmas do you most enjoy?

The Christmas Spirit—peace and good will to all—and hanging out with family.  I just wish my other daughter, who lives in Boise, and her family could be here as well.  I also love Christmas carols and reading Christmas romances.

Is there something about this holiday that drives you crazy?

The commercialism really gets to me.  I long for the olden days when we actually made our gifts and didn’t hammer our credit cards until they squawked.  And I really get annoyed when stores put out their Christmas displays before Halloween.

What do you hope for this Christmas?

A nice visit with my family, good health, a new house, and an RV so we can visit our special friends in Texas more often.  Oh, and I’d like my Muse to whisper in my ear.  She’s been rather quiet lately.

Do you have a treasured Christmas food? Would you share the recipe?

I like it all, unfortunately.  And I didn’t learn to cook using recipes, so that makes it hard to share, especially since I’m a dumper, not a measurer.  But for those of you who don’t eat grains or sugar, here’s a recipe for custard that’s a tasty treat.

Custard


Sugar-Free, Grain-Free Lactose-Free Custard
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
4 Eggs, whisked
Add:
1 tsp Vanilla
½ tsp Cinnamon
Sweetener equivalent to ½ cup of sugar (or to taste)
Dash of salt
Whisk and add:
2½ cups Almond milk (unsweetened)
Whisk as you drizzle the almond milk into the egg mixture.  Pour into 8” baking dish, put it in a water bath, and bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Note: this is even better in an Instant Pot.  Pour into oven-proof pan and cover with a double layer of paper towel and foil, then add 1½ cups water and the trivet to the inner liner, place pan on the trivet (use a foil sling), then pressure cook for 17 minutes, 15 minutes NPR.  If it’s not done, just cook it a few minutes more.

Do you have a book you’d like to share?

I have four Christmas novellas, and the first three are on Kindle Unlimited so if you’re a subscriber, you can get them for free.  Click on the link and you can read an excerpt of each.

I Heard the Brides on Christmas Day








How The Texan Stole Christmas








A Gift for Rhoda








Faery Merry Christmas











GIVEAWAY!

I’m offering How the Texan Stole Christmas to one lucky commenter.






Jacquie wearing her four WILL ROGERS
GOLD  MEDALLIONS and holding the
books for which she won the awards

First of all, I can't wait to tell you that the first two books of the Honey Beaulieu --  Man Hunter series won four Will Rogers Gold Medallions for Western Humor. FOUR! I'm still hyperventilating. And the first book in the series won Chanticleer's Laramie Grand Prize. It's such an exhilarating and at the same time humbling experience to win such prestigious awards and to know that someone else loved these characters as much as I do.

Now that's out of the way, here's a little about me. I'm a former software designer, campaign manager, deli clerk, and cow milker but always a bookworm. Reading is my passion--westerns, fantasies, mythologies, and historicals of any era, all with a dash of romance. If an author can make me laugh, I'll buy every book he/she ever wrote. 

While I'm a country girl by birth, I currently live in suburbia with my very patient husband who is also my IT Guy. I don't think you can ever take the country out of a girl's heart. That's probably why many of my stories often take place in Idaho where I grew up. (Hearts of Owyhee series, the second Honey Beaulieu too, and some of my novellas and short stories, too.)

For the latest news, subscribe to the Pickle Barrel Gazette, my newsletter at  my website
http://www.jacquierogers.com  You'll get a free short story, too!

For fun times, join my Facebook group, Pickle Barrel Bar & Books. http://www.facebook.com/groups/JacquieRogers/

Why the Pickle Barrel? Because in the Old West, the pickle barrel was prominent in the general store and that's where people would hang out and gossip--sort of the Facebook of the late 1800s. Yep. That's how it was. We do have fun at our version of the pickle barrel, so join us.
You can find all my books and events on my website and I'd love for you to come visit. Drop me a line and let my know you've read my book. I really enjoy hearing from readers.
Amazon author page:

BookBub:

Instagram:



Jacquie and Mark  Rogers





Thursday, December 07, 2017

BAKING AND MAKING CANDY MAKES MEMORIES

Welcome Paty Jager, an award winning and bestselling author.  Remember to leave a comment to be entered to win a Kindle Fire 7 on Christmas Eve!

What is your favorite childhood Christmas memory?

My favorite Christmas memory is the baking and candy making that went on in our house. My paternal grandparents lived with us. Grandma would make peanut brittle, divinity, and cinnamon candy while my mom made fudge, rocky road, and toffee. Grandma made cookies and my mom made fruitcake laced with her favorite fruity wine. They spent weeks making all the goodies. There would be trays and containers piled on the counter until the night we made all the plates that were given to friends, neighbors, coworkers, bosses, and teachers.  I still make candy, cookies, and quick breads to give to neighbors and friends.

What is your favorite adult Christmas memory?

I don’t know it it’s my favorite but it’s the most memorable Christmas. When my mom was still alive, we would switch which grandparent’s house we went to for Christmas. One year we had traveled the 6 hours to my parents. We had a nice Christmas and as we tended to do when the kids were younger we left late afternoon for the drive home because the kids would sleep most of the ride. Two hours from home in a snow storm, the old Chevy van we had at the time, started acting funny. My husband was a truck driver and did his own mechanic work. He managed to get us to a small community that consisted of a grain elevator and a house. This was before cell phones. He walked to the house and asked to call his dad to come get us. They invited us all in to stay warm until my father-in-law arrived. It turned out they were the parents of a boy I’d gone to school with. We stayed warm and had company until my father-in-law arrived and towed the van home. The kids and I rode with him while my husband froze in the van.  

Is there a Christmas song that’s your favorite?

A.   Secular – "Grandma Got Ran Over by a Reindeer"
B.   Religious – "Silent Night"

Tell us about your family’s Christmas traditions.

When the kids were small, Christmas Eve we would watch the Muppets Christmas Carol and we open presents Christmas morning. My oldest daughter continues the Muppet Christmas Carol movie with her kids.

What about Christmas do you most enjoy?

My favorite part of Christmas is the hunt for the perfect gift for everyone. I love seeing the happy expressions on the recipients. I also love the baking for friends and neighbors.

Is there something about this holiday that drives you crazy?

I think the most aggravating thing is the way the retailers push the holiday to fill their pockets.

What do you hope for this Christmas?

If you mean a present, I don’t really have anything on my list. We are hoping to trade my car in on a pickup. It would be nice if that would happen before Christmas. We’re traveling to be with grandkids so I guess I would hope that we have good travels.

Do you have a treasured Christmas food? If so, would you care to share the recipe?

Hmmm… The only thing I can think of is I love gingerbread cookies. I have a good recipe from the Family Circle Magazine.

Gingerbread Star Cookies


Ginger Stars
1/2cup unsalted butter softened
½ cup granulated sugar
1 egg
¼ cup molasses
2 ¼ cup flour
¾ teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon ground ginger
¼ cup chopped crystallized ginger
1.    Beat butter and granulated sugar in bowl until creamy. Beat in egg and molasses. Combine flour, baking soda and both gingers in small bowl. Stir into butter mixture. Divide dough in half; shape into disks, wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate 1 hour.
2.    Heat oven to 350°. On lightly floured surface, roll half of dough to ¼ inch thickness. Cut out stars. Transfer to ungreased baking sheets. Gather scraps, refrigerate and re-roll for more cookies. Chill cookies 10 minutes to firm.
3.    Bake cookies at 350°for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Transfer cookies to wire racks to cool.
4.    Decorations. Blend 2 cups confectioners sugar with enough water or milk to make it spreadable. Ice the cookies and add decorating sugars.

Do you have a Christmas book you’d like to share?

The novella that finishes up my Halsey Family series is FREE until December 30th.

A HUSBAND FOR CHRISTMAS
Final Novella in the Halsey Homecoming and Halsey Brothers Series

Shayla Halsey wanted to be home for Christmas, but never imagined her travels would include spending the night in a brooding stranger’s cabin. Snowballing events cause her to look inside herself and recognize maybe it wasn’t being home she wanted as much as it was to have a home.    

Mace Walker has his life in order and doesn’t want it disrupted again. Yet, when he discovers a woman stranded in the snow, he has to help her—despite her overbearing, reckless fiancé. In a matter of days, Shayla turns his life upside down, forcing him to decide between leaving or facing the consequences.


A HUSBAND FOR CHRISTMAS Excerpt
Mace Walker led his horse down the road. The dandy, dressed in linen rather than wool, couldn’t be too smart to have driven that fool contraption from Baker City in this kind of weather. One look at the young man’s face and he could tell the dandy hadn’t done a lick of work in his life nor had to use common sense. The man on his shoulder was as light as Ruby, the prostitute Mace fancied in Pendleton.
The woman riding Red was a pretty thing. He could have sat on that noisy contraption staring into her robin egg blue eyes for hours. They were a contrast to her dark brown, curly hair. Thoughts like that would get him in trouble. He didn’t need any trouble from the Halseys. They were his best customers right now. With everyone ooing and awing over the horseless carriage, not as many people needed a good farrier.
“What’s your name?” Shayla asked.
He liked her name. It was pretty, like her.
“Mace.”
“That’s an unusual name.”
She paused, no doubt hoping he’d say more. But he was a man of few words. It was a good trait to have when you lived alone.
“Do you have family around here?” she asked.
He ignored her question. He’d had a family once. Thinking about it only made him sad and lonelier.
The little lady blew out air like a horse clearing its nostrils.
“You aren’t much for conversation, are you?”
“Nope.” He smiled, knowing the one word would aggravate her.
To his surprise, she didn’t ask any more questions or say a word until he stopped in front of his barn.
“This is a large barn. Do you farm?”
He turned to help her off the horse. She stared at her injured arm, and then down at the snow. Mace reached up, circling her with his empty arm and gently lowering her until her feet touched the ground. She kept her right hand tucked into her coat pocket. Knowing enough to keep the injured arm still, brought his estimation of her up another notch.
“I’m a farrier,” he said, leading the way to his small three-room cabin. He’d never had a need for anything larger.
At the door, he kicked the snow off his boots before stepping inside.
He smiled when Shayla did the same before entering.
“I’ll stick this fellow on my bed.” He shoved the door to his bedroom open with a shoulder and placed the dandy on the bed.
Shayla followed him in and placed a hand on the knot forming on the man’s head. “Randal, why can’t you behave like you have a lick of sense once in a while?”
Her comment tipped Mace’s lips into a smile. He’d thought maybe they were a couple, but she talked to the man more like a sister would talk to a brother.
“Can’t do anything for him until he wakes.” Mace cupped the elbow of her good arm, escorting Shayla out of the bedroom and into the main room. “Take your coat off. I’ll round up some bandages.”



Paty Jager is an award-winning author of 32 novels, 6 novellas, and numerous anthologies of murder mystery, western romance, and action adventure. All her work has Western or Native American elements in them along with hints of humor and engaging characters.
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