Monday, 11 December 2017

12 days of Christmas - day 11

I can't believe how quickly the days are flying by - it's day 11 and almost the end of our giveaway. Today though we have a lovely post and giveaway from Lisa Hobman as she tells us about her Christmas traditions.

Our Scottish Christmas - Lisa Hobman

Christmas at our house has always been very much a family orientated, stay-at-home affair. Even when we relocated to Scotland our family would join us from Yorkshire for a few days to celebrate. Having a daughter we're used to waking up at silly o'clock to a very giddy, excited girl begging us to get up! Although in more recent years our human alarm clock has allowed us to sleep later - the joy of teenagers! 
Our morning routine consists of bacon butties and Bucks Fizz by the fire whilst Bing and Frank sing about all things Christmassy and our two dogs stare on in the hope of snaffling our leftovers. The gift opening then begins in earnest and has a habit of taking rather a while as we all examine what Santa has left for us by the tree. 
My parents relocated to Scotland to be with us three years ago so they usually arrive before lunch and another gift opening session begins! 
I have to confess to being the world's worst cook - I may exaggerate slightly but it gets me out of cooking the turkey! Hubby sets to in the kitchen complete with Santa hat and prepares a delicious feast whilst our daughter entertains her grandparents and I chop, peel and pour as instructed!
In my opinion the day is always over too fast but there have always been many wonderful memories created.

Book links

Amazon UK Amazon Dot Com Amazon ANZ

You can enter by clicking the link to win an e-copy of Lisa's book Christmas Presence

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Sunday, 10 December 2017

12 days of Christmas - day 10


Today I'm delighted to welcome best-selling author Laura Barnard

Laura Barnard lives in Hertfordshire, UK and writes romantic comedy or 'chick lit' as its so often described. In her spare time she enjoys drinking her body weight in tea, indulging in cupcakes the size of her face and drooling over hunks like Jamie Dornan, Ryan Gosling and Leo Dicaprio.
She enjoys wearing yoga pants and reading fitness magazines while sitting on the sofa eating chocolate. She's a real fan of the power nap, loves setting her friends up together and of course READING!
She writes not to get rich or famous, but because she LOVES writing. Even if one person tells her they enjoyed her book it makes the midnight typing worth it!
She's an Amazon best seller and also the winner of Favourite British Author 2016 - Two Peas in a Pod Reader's Choice Awards and Favourite Romantic Comedy Author 2016 - Obsessed with Books Indie World Awards.

Author links

Book Blurb

After a string of bad dates, Florence Gray is so over online dating. So much so, that if she has to survive another guy standing her up she might just do something crazy ... like accept the first proposal she gets. 

So when she finds herself alone in the bar, again, Florence can hardly believe her eyes-or ears-when Hugh Humphreys swoops in and presents her with an proposal so adventurous she can't believe she's actually considering saying yes.

Because, after all, twenty five days to plan a wedding is some feat and that’s while getting to know your fiancĂ©, their disapproving Mother and dealing with a jealous ex. Throw in the small matter of where they should live and you have Florence wondering what the hell she's gotten herself into.

Can you really countdown to a wedding like an advent calendar? Fall in love with a stranger and make them your husband? Because if she's going to make it down the aisle Christmas morning, Florence has to find out and fast.

Book link

You can win an e-copy of the book here:  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, 9 December 2017

12 days of Christmas - day 9


Today we have author Summerita Rhayne joining us. If you're looking for a Christmas read with a difference then her sensual Christmas romance set in Goa might be just the thing.

Guest post for Christmas giveaway
Goa is a focal point in India where Christmas is celebrated with great fervor and enthusiasm. People gather on the multitude of Goa beaches, coconut based sweets neureos, bebinca and other Christmas delights are found galore, churches get crammed for Midnight Mass attendance. In the lead up to New Year, it’s party time, the night sky is lit with fireworks and decorative lights jazzing up all the markets. Even in other Indian cities, although Christian population is in minority, you still find the spirit of Christmas: lights strung up, most get a tingle when they see Santa distributing sweets and gifts, the Malls are ablaze and colorful with the scenes of the Birth and the statues of reindeer sleighs. Kids enjoy getting pics clicked and being showered with artificial snow.
Although I’m a Hindu, Christmas has always meant a lot to me because I spent my formative years of study in a Christian school. Choir groups and carols, service in the chapel, the stories related by my silver haired kindergarten teacher, the sweets eaten greedily...all have a special place in my childhood memories. That's why my kids grew up looking for and finding presents in their stockings. We usually have a small Christmas tree around the season. So, I guess it was natural that while writing a series, I should spin them into a succession of Christmas romances. And what better place in India than Goa? That's why the two Christmas romances in the series, His Christmas Delight and His Christmas Surprise are set in Goa. The third and fourth, in the process of being written, begin elsewhere but who knows, might shift to Goa too. Hopefully, the third, His Christmas Miracle, will be released soon.

Author links:
Amazon page:

Twitter handle: @SummeritaRhayne 
Meanwhile, here are the Amazon links for the first two, the stories of the Tollinger brothers, Jay and Dan respectively:
His Christmas Delight:
His Christmas Surprise:
His Christmas Delight started as a short story and built up into a novella. I loved writing the heroine Myra, as the ultra helpful and social, quintessential Goa girl, who does odd jobs for everyone, yet has a dream to have her own book shop. Jay, the hero, is suffering from a setback because of PTSD. How these two find their HEA is the puzzle solved in His Christmas Delight. You can win an ecopy in the rafflecopter below.
His Christmas Delight

You can enter the giveaway here a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, 7 December 2017

12 days of Christmas - day 8

Penhaligon's Pride: a stirring, heartwarming Cornish saga (Penhaligon Saga Book 2) by [Nixon, Terri]It's day 8 and I'm delighted to welcome Terri Nixon. Terri writes about Cornwall where she grew up and below is a lovely depiction of how her family spent Christmas in a tiny Cornish village.

Living in A Christmas Card

Many of us look back with a deep sense of nostalgia over Christmases of bygone days, and we probably romanticise them to some extent, which is no bad thing. I’m the same, but I’ve come to realise I don’t need to don the old rose-tinteds to make them into the kind of Christmases you read about in children’s books, or see portrayed on the relentlessly jolly adverts in the run up (ie: from around mid-June…)
Growing up in a little picture-postcard village on the edge of Bodmin Moor (North Hill: the same village Daphne Du Maurier wrote about in Jamaica Inn) we really did experience all the traditions you’d expect. I was a member of the church choir as a child, and we used to go around to all the outlying villages carol singing, giving out cards instead of collecting money, but otherwise as traditional as it got: standing in little huddles, about six people to a single carol sheet, and with erratic torchlight dancing across all the words but the right ones. Descants and harmonies, the lot. Most of them were even deliberate! Although my friends and I were constantly getting clipped around the ear by the vicar, for singing, shall we just say, creatively modified words…
In order to be excused church on Christmas morning, my brother (who was an altar boy) and I would always opt to attend the midnight service on Christmas Eve instead. I can vividly remember the excitement of staying up past my bedtime, watching the clock hands seemingly going backwards, and knowing the best was yet to come. TV programmes that usually signalled my dismissal to bed now only meant that things were about to turn completely brilliant. Then it was on with coats, hats, scarves and gloves, and torch batteries checked – it was a half mile walk to the village from our house, up and down narrow, winding lanes, and there were no street lights or houses.
We’re not a particularly religious family – I only joined the choir at the age of 9 because it was a condition of granting my request to join the youth club – but there is something spine-tingling and utterly magical about standing in a packed church, with holly and berries decorating the pews, singing carols at the top of your voice and sharing it all with your very best friends.
Even the walk home was memorable; stomping along with my mum and brother, freezing cold but jittering with excitement and anticipation, scared to look up at the sky in case I accidentally saw Father Christmas and got scratched off his list. Once home we were allowed one glass of mulled ginger wine, and a mince pie, before stretchy parental socks were hung up by the fire, and finally, finally, Christmas Eve turned into Christmas Day.
And that’s when it got really good.


Terri is offering a signed paperback of EITHER Penhaligon's Attic  OR Penhaligon's Pride plus some book swag. Please note this competition is UK only due to postage costs.

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12 days of Christmas - day 7

Today I'm delighted to welcome author Suzie Tullett. Suzie writes contemporary humorous fiction and romantic comedy. Her novels include Going Underground and Little White Lies and Butterflies, which was short-listed for The Guardian's Not the Booker Prize. She has a Masters Degree in Television & Radio Scriptwriting and worked as a scriptwriter before becoming a full-time novelist. 

I absolutely adore Christmas. When my sons were young, the festive season always started on December 1st. The Christmas CD would come out. The tree, festooned in decorations, would go up. And a glass or two of Baileys, which I always associate with this time of year, would be poured. I’d put together a sack of random gifts and anyone visiting the house throughout the month had to put their hand in and take one, lucky dip style. And as if that wasn’t enough, I forced my home-made mince pies on to anyone and everyone, whether they liked them or not. Santa’s visit was always highly anticipated, as was seeing the children’s faces when they awoke Christmas morning to find he’d left them gifts, a reward for their good behavior during the past year. Celebrations lasted right up to the New Year, when we’d hold a big party for friends and family. When it came to Christmas, I loved everything about it.
But then my sons grew up.
To be fair, the first time they planned on having a Christmas without us, they did give us 6 months’ notice; a notice period that was very much needed considering how bereft we felt when they broke the news. What were we going to do? After all, Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without them.
At the time, we had a little holiday home on Kalymnos, one of the Greek islands, and we decided to spend our first son-less Christmas there. We both dreaded it, with only each other for company it was certainly going to be a quiet one. And different. Unlike in the Yorkshire Dales, there’d be sunshine instead of snow; we’d have to build sandcastles instead of snowmen. There’d be no giant mountain of wrapping paper to collect and excited chatter around the dinner table would be replaced with calm conversation.
As it turned out, all these things were quite lovely.
We had a leisurely Christmas day, beginning with a lie in. Exchanging gifts felt more tranquil and intimate. We took our time cooking Christmas dinner, for once a joint effort, something you can’t always do when you’re feeding the masses. And we drank too much champagne, even if I’m not sure there’s actually such a thing as drinking too much champagne. We spent time walking the dogs along the beach. For the first time ever, Christmas day was peaceful and relaxing. Yes, we had our moments. Talking to our sons through a computer screen wasn’t the same as giving them a Christmas Day hug. One minute their Dad was consoling me, the next I was consoling him. But what we also had was real quality time as a couple for a change. No distractions, just us.


You can win a copy of both Suzie's books, available internationally, by entering here

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Tuesday, 5 December 2017

12 days of Christmas - day 6

On day 6 of our 12 days of Christmas I'm delighted to welcome author June Moonbridge. Today she tells us about her Christmas Eve celebrations.

Plans for this Christmas Eve

Thank you Julie for inviting me to your event. I’m really glad to be here.

Those who know me, know that our Christmas Eve is not ordinary or better quite traditional. Last year I wrote a blog post about our family's Christmas tradition which you can read here:

But it looks like this year's Christmas eve is not going to be like that again... it's not  going to be the same, but it's going to be something like it was in the past, when I was a child, and a teenager too.

You see, I come from a fairly big family.  My parents have four daughters and I'm the youngest. During the 24th of December each year nothing but festivity stuff was going on in our house. 

All four sisters were working together. Decorating the house, putting up the Christmas tree - well, this is the part of tradition I planted into my own family - no tree before Christmas eve's day - after a light lunch, we start to prepare food for Christmas dinner. 

When I was 'old' enough I took over the cooking. My mother taught us all how to cook very early. None of us escaped that - and some other - home chores. And I thank her for that. So around the age of fourteen/fifteen I volunteered to do the cooking, and preparing the kitchen table for the dinner. I always had such fun with it. And when the food was always well accepted, I was very proud of my cooking skills. 

Still today, I love to cook for a large number of people. I like to take time and do it properly. Do something new and something traditional. Mix things up.

You can imagine our Christmas eves' dinners. All family sat together behind the table, eating, chatting and having a good time and then all four sisters went to Midnight Mass.

Afterwards, my parents always greeted us with some mulled wine and mum's potica (nut roll) which is her speciality.  She does the best ones. 

She gave me the recipe on my wedding day as a part of my dowry, but haven't made it so far... That's another 'tradition' and sadly not the one would happily wait for it. 

Around 2 am on Christmas day we usually went to bed and our parents played the Santa... 

Happy memories... 

This year is going to be similar. As the Christmas Eve’s day is going to be on Sunday, me and my sisters - at least two decades elder - with our families, are going to get together at my parents' house. 

Trying to relive at least some of the past we loved and still cherish.

Have a Merry Christmas everyone… or Happy Holidays… I like it both ways as long as the one who says it means well.
All That the Heart Desires – Blurb

At twenty-five, Desire Hart has experienced enough grief for a lifetime.

Changing everything in her life - her identity, her hometown and her country of residence, Desire is determined that nothing will prevent her achieving from finding her missing son. Not even love.

On a spring evening, she meets the golden boy of F1 racing, Lorcan Shore, and finds herself falling for him. Struggling to suppress her feelings, she realises he could help her get closer to the child she believes is her long lost son.

But nothing goes according to plan. Her identity is revealed by the press, Lorcan has a terrifying accident, and the trail to her son finishes in another dead end. So Desire does what she does best - she runs away.

Set against the glamorous backdrops of Monaco, Paris and Nice, ‘All That the Heart Desires’ mixes romance and mystery as Desire struggles to come to terms with her past.

Will she learn to accept love into her life again?

You can find June at the following links:

Book link

You can win an copy of June's book by entering the Rafflecopter here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks so much for taking part June