Thursday, December 27, 2012


The Magic of the Season

This is the time of the year when people give a little more, smile a little more and love a little more. It’s the reason why 690,000 Americans are conceived during the Christmas holiday season. It’s that time of the year when people give love and receive love with open arms. 


You can feel the magic in the air during this time of the year. From Thanksgiving thru New Years there is a touch of human kindness that settle in each of us. We are happy to see those relatives that we hide from during most of the year. Yet, during the holidays, they are the very ones that give you memories that you will share at the next holiday dinner. 


We smile and accept gifts we know we will never use or wear. The one thing you ask for, leave hints for, pictures on the refrigerator with locations and prices, you still don’t receive. But, you smile and are thankful for what you do because we understand, it’s not about the gift but the thought behind the giving. 


Sitting at the dinner table we eat, no, stuff ourselves knowing we are going to pay the price when we step on the scales next week in the name of New Year Resolutions. Or some of us have a little to much to drink and have to stay the night for safety reasons. Oh, and the person who’s home we invade during the holidays, have to put up with family a night longer than planned. 


All of this is a part of the holiday season and we love it. As much as we complain, overspend and over eat, we love the feeling that the holidays bring. We love more, laugh more, and give more. It’s the spirit of love. 


With that in mind, sign up to follow this post and win an electronic copy of a Hot M.A.M.A. author book of your choice from Amazon. Altonya Washington, Angie Daniels, Bridget Midway, Cheris Hodges, Denise Jeffries, Kianna Alexander, Loretta R. Walls, Monique Lamont or myself, Iris Bolling. Email a copy of your sign up page to irisb@sirient.com with the name of the author and book you would like. 

Happy Holidays  

Iris B.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Twas the weekend of Christmas

Christmas Eve is my favorite part of the season. No, I'm not some big kid who looks forward to a man in a red suit sneaking into my house in the middle of the night. Were it not for my parents saying "I do" on December 24th forty-five years ago, I don't think I'd believe in the magic of love.

See, as a kid, I didn't sneak around looking for Santa, I wanted a little brother. That's usually what happened on the anniversary stories I saw on TV. Never happened around these parts, which in hindsight is a great thing.

Christmas Eve has always been a day filled with love and happiness in my home and the only holiday that it is mandatory for all of the kids to show up for. As the years progressed, the guest list grew, there were sister and brother in laws, a niece and three nephews. But the love was just the same. And there is always cake!

And since I'm late on posting, my mistake is your opportunity!
Follow this blog today and you're entered for a chance to win an audiobook of Recipe For Desire.
After you click the follow button, email me your mailing address at cheris87@bellsouth.net!

Happy Holidays!!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

All I Want for Christmas




Christmas to me is all about family. Catching up. Spending time together... sitting around... talking, that's what I look forward to most. This is the time of the year when I reach out and touch someone across the phone lines that I haven’t spoken to in forever.
I absolutely love the holiday season. Decorating the house, making a big dinner and inviting the family over for dinner. Those things mean more to me than all of the gifts in the world. Not that I don’t like getting them. In fact I am hoping someone buys me that Pandora bracelet I’ve been talking about all year [hint, hint].
Last year I finally tossed out the artificial tree that I’ve had for years. My kids were sick of looking at that pitiful thing. Instead, the day after Thanksgiving we went out and bought a beautiful fresh cut tree and together we decorated it with all these ornaments I got at Cracker Barrel last year after the holiday for 75% off. Then it was time to pull out the Christmas music, which everyone in the house is forced to listen to until the holiday season is over. LOL.
This month, during all of the shopping and holiday excitement I released, A Beau for Christmas. I was in one of my write-a-book-in-thirty-days mode and put my foot on the gas. I am pleased to have released the book earlier than expected. In addition, I also re-released A Delight for Christmas, which I hope will always be a holiday favorite. This has been an amazing year with plenty of surprises and I end the year reflecting on what I’ve accomplished and contemplating where I grow from here.
In 2013, I plan to come out the gate with my fingers blazing across that keyboard FULL SPEED AHEAD.  Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Having a holly, jolly holiday!

Now I must tell you, life has been so crazy all I can do is say whew! I at least got my Christmas tree up. I laugh at my self because you would think that was a great undertaking. I opted for the small 4 foot one instead of the 7 footer. And that' saying a lot. I'm hoping to get the cards in the mail by the end of the week and not Febrary like 2010. Don't laugh, I know some of you who have already completed your shopping and the tree is trimmed to perfection and the cookies are ready to be eaten, but not me. I've been wondering around in a major procrastination mode acting as if it's going to get done without me. Not! So, I decided to kick off some holidy cheer and kick myself into holidy gift giving mode by introducing you to my next book that is due to be released in January 2013. I don't have the exact date yet but you will be the first to know, promise. The residents of St. Agnes, Eastern Shore Virginia are at it again. Lost in the Dark, book three of my St. Agnes series is on it's way. I hope you are as excited as I am. It was fun to write and some of the old characters are kicking it strong along with new ones. Dominique is still tough as nails, Jericho is tougher and if it wasn't due to Jasmine convincing eveyone Marcus is alive who know's what would have happened. I want to make sure every one has a great holiday so to toss in some extra cheer I'm having a contest. Who ever wins gets a fantabulous readers dream prize. The contents are being kept in the vault because I don't want to be responsible for any fighting on the internet. Trust me, you won't be disappointed. Here's how it's going down.First and foremost you gotta read my whole blog. Second, answer the secret questions at the end and email me your answers at contestwithDeniseJeffries@hotmail.com and leave the rest to me. The first person to respond to my contest gets their name tossed in the pot. For each correct answer you email your name gets tossed in and if you answer all five correctly you get an extra toss in. Wow, there are soooo many chances at winning this holidy contest, Santa is probably going to call me and tell me I've given too much away. Especally since I know most of you have been naughty. I know I have. So lets get started and good luck. I will keep you posted on more contest and exciting things happening as we get closer to release day!
LOST IN THE DARK You don’t have to hide in the dark if you’re already lost. Always ready to write that breakout article, journalist, Marcus Reed stopped at nothing to ‘get it done’… until now. Now, he’s awake and running for his life. Having awakened in a strange city, covered in dirt, grime and blood, not his own, the only thing he can do is seek help from the most unlikely source. The last thing Natalia Lucas needed was for this strange man to wander into her police precinct. Nonetheless, there’s something about him that has piqued her interest. His eyes tell her there’s more beyond the dirt and confusion… the amnesia, especially since he’s supposed to be dead, having been killed two weeks prior when his car blew up. Having vowed to help, they set out on a trek of constant danger. Natalia has secrets of her own and she does not want them uncovered. That fear alone could destroy the woman she’s worked so hard to become. When it’s discovered Marcus is still alive, whoever killed him will do anything to complete the task even if it means killing them both. Knowing breaking this case could put her on the map, she’s determined to put light where there was darkness. Bound by a common goal of finding the truth, they will do everything in their power to ignore the attraction that has ignited between them. As danger builds, will the passion between two ill fitted people be enough to save them or will the darkness they uncover destroy them both.
1. What is the name of my series 2. What are the names of four characters of the town? 3. What is the name of the first book of the series? 4. What is the book number of Lost in the Dark? 5. What do you do, in the dark? Don't forget, email answers to: contestwithDeniseJeffries@hotmail.com

Friday, December 14, 2012

Oh! Oh! Oh!

Don't you just love the holidays? Getting together with family, incredible food, everything all sparkly and shiny, a renewed love of Jesus, and, yes, the presents, both giving and receiving. It's what we all think about when we think of Christmas and the holidays.

So this holiday, I'm going to share an excerpt from my recent release, "O, Come", released through Whispers Publishing in November. It's also included in the Wonderland print anthology, which includes stories from authors Yvette Hines and Aliyah Burke.

Since I'm in a giving mood, I'm also giving away this story. The first person to e-mail me at Contest@bridgetmidway.com will receive "O, Come" in e-book!

Now enjoy this excerpt. Merry Christmas!

Cynda paused before answering. She tiptoed toward him. “Can’t a friend want to see another friend for the holidays? Does there always have to be a motive?”

Reid chuckled. “With you? Yes.” He raked his fingers through his hair and paced in front of her. “What in the world am I going to do with you?”

“I can think up a lot of things we can do together.” She chewed on her lower lip and tugged the hem of the shirt she wore. “Why are you talking about me like I’m some baby left on your doorstep? I’m here. Isn’t that great?”

Had Reid imagined this moment when he would be alone with Cynda again? Absolutely. Now that he stood in the middle of that situation, he didn’t know how to proceed. He’d envisioned a long life together with her. Did she want that?

He stopped. “Do your parents know you’re here?”

“You mean my father, don’t you?” Cynda put her fists to her hips.

She shouldn’t have done that. Her shirt rose about a good four inches, nearly showing off her pussy again. Now Reid wanted to recall whether or not she kept that area completely shaved or did she have a cute landing strip of hair.

“Who knows you’re here?” Reid asked more directly this time.

“Let’s see. The woman at the front desk, Josie, Harold, and you.” Cynda crawled on the bed again and sat on the edge.

“No paparazzi?”

Cynda cocked her head. “Believe it or not, I don’t invite those leeches to follow me. I just want to live my life. Because of my last name, the media chooses to document my every move.”

Reid shook his head. “And you parading around naked and jet-setting across the globe has nothing to do with their interest, right?”

The smile returned to Cynda’s angelic face. “Have you been watching what I do, Reidy?”

He released and exasperated sigh. “Stop calling me that. Between you and Josie, I feel like I’m sixteen again.”

She giggled. “Did she call you Monkey?”

“All the time.”

Cynda did a full laugh this time.

“Luckily she only does it when we’re by ourselves.” This time Reid laughed with her. He hadn’t laughed like that with anyone in a long time.

“Wow, so you haven’t lost your sense of humor. I was starting to wonder.” She stretched her shapely leg out and tapped her toe against his knee.

That slight connection accelerated his heartbeat. He imagined himself holding her ankles and spreading her legs. From the way Cynda reacted to him now, it looked like she wanted to resume their relationship, at least their physical one. Could he be happy with that?

“No, I didn’t lose my sense of humor. But I did lose something.” He glared at her.

Cynda must have picked up on what he implied.

Reid continued. “Over the next couple of weeks, there’s a lot going on here. The Christmas tree lighting will be in a week. Not only are we doing a special holiday package for families like normal, but Graham proposed this new singles’ package that’s gone over like gangbusters. The place is packed. I’m working sixteen to eighteen hours a day to make sure everything is running the way it should.”

Cynda jumped off the bed and approached him. “Hey, look, I’m not here to cause you any problems. As a matter of fact, I would like to help you. You tell me what I can do to help run some of the events and I’ll do it.”

Reid snickered. That would be all he needed for Donald Richmond to hear that he couldn’t handle the holiday crowd and needed help from his most irresponsible child.

“I know what you’re thinking.” She drew an imaginary X over her chest above her right breast. “I promise not to get you in trouble. You can handle the family side since you’ve done that before. I’ll take care of the singles.”

Reid shook his head. “I can’t ask the resort owner’s daughter to work during the holidays. It’s bad enough that I’m working during the holidays.”

Cynda reached for Reid’s hand. “Hey, I’m sorry that you can’t—”

Not wanting to touch her right now, he pulled back. “Look, just stay out of my way and let me do my job.”

She shook her head. “Nope. Can’t do that. I’m here to help. I will not take no for an answer.”

“If the media catches wind of you working here—”

“They won’t. I’m not going to say anything. The guests might blab about me being here, but I’ll try to keep low-key.” She took a step closer to him.

“Low-key wearing that?” He pointed to her hair.

Cynda’s flashy nature didn’t appeal to his public sensibilities. In private, it drove him nuts. If they were still in a relationship, and she came to bed wearing one of those flamboyant wigs, he wouldn’t be able to contain himself.

He never saw himself as someone who would be into role play. Cynda brought out a different side of himself, one he didn’t want to explore.

Cynda brushed the hair from her eyes. “I won’t wear the pink, green, purple or blue one. Not in public anyway.” She smiled. “But I have to be me.”

Reid kept his position. “What if your father finds out?”

“I hope he does find out. Maybe he’ll be proud of me then.” She lowered her gaze to the floor.

For a woman who had ripped out his heart at one time, his own heart ached for her apparent pain. “Your dad loves you. He’s not ashamed of you.”

“You mean like you?”

Reid furrowed his eyebrows. “What are you talking about? I’m not ashamed or embarrassed of you.”

“Except you keep no pictures out in your home. You keep me in a drawer.” She pointed to his dresser.

“You snooped through my personal belongings? You had no right to do that.” His head pounded. Now he wanted her out of his home, out of his life.

“I’m standing here telling you that I’m trying to get to know you again. Just let me in.”

He crossed his arms over his naked chest again. “Yeah, because that worked out for me so well the last time.” Reid walked away from her. “I care about you.”

When she smiled, Reid knew he had to clarify his statement.

“As a friend. You and your family have done a lot for me. But I can’t do this with you again.” He looked at his rumpled bed. “You can stay here for tonight. Tomorrow night you move into the guest bedroom. If you’re here beyond that—”

“I will be!” She moved in closer to him.

Reid swallowed hard. “If you’re here beyond tomorrow, I’ll find you other accommodations.”

Cynda’s smile melted. Before speaking again, she regained intense eye contact with him. “Leaving you to travel was the hardest thing I ever had to do.”

Reid studied her eyes and her expression. Oh shit. This time she told the truth. Reid connected a bit to her pain, but refused to drop his guard around her, not just yet.

“I have no plans to leave. Not just yet.” She reached out to touch him. “While I’m here, I do want us to clear the air and reconnect again.”

Reid had no idea what Cynda meant by reconnecting and why her desire to do so had to be done now. Maybe she’d seen too many holiday movies. Either way, he couldn’t have her distract him from his ultimate goals.

“Get some sleep.” Reid stepped into his bathroom where he found Cynda’s bra and panties on his bathroom floor. A quick image of him snatching off those items from her body and throwing them on the floor flashed in his mind.

Reid really had to get away from Cynda or he’d do something he’ll regret.

He grabbed his toothbrush and toothpaste before he retired to his spare bedroom. “Clean up my room.”

“Yes, sir.” She saluted. “Wait.”

Reid turned around at the doorway.

“It’s been a lot time since we’ve seen each other. I don’t even get a hug?” She held her arms out.

He had imagined this scenario in his head for years, what he would do if he saw Cynda again. In one version, he would grab her into his arms and would refuse to let her go. In another, he told her how much she’d hurt him and refused to see her again. Right now, his feelings lay somewhere in between.

Reid approached her with great caution. He gave her a loose hug using only one arm, and tried pulling away from her, like mouse daring to take a chance snagging a piece of cheese from a trap. Then she held him even tighter.

Snap!

The light aroma he’d caught earlier now overwhelmed his senses along with the warmth of her body. He felt her nuzzling her face against his chest. All at once, heat engulfed his body.

On instinct, he embraced her like his life depended on it. Maybe it did. Maybe in order to move on, he had to have a tough conversation with Cynda and let her know his true feelings. Or maybe sleeping with her again would help put a period on whatever they had between them.

As though she could read his thoughts, she brushed her lips against his collarbone before fully pressing her lips against his neck. Although he didn’t want to, he let a moan escaped from his lips.

Reid rubbed his arms over her back, feeling silly that he still held onto the tube of toothpaste and his toothbrush that he’d grabbed from his bathroom. His body told him to drop the items and pick her up instead. His mind attempted to keep him grounded in reality.

She raked her nails down his bare back, and his cock responded. Cynda pressed her breasts against his chest, and the memories came flooding back. That night. The sex. His disappointment when she refused to come with him.

Reid panted. His damn traitorous body betrayed him. His foot without a shoe took a step toward his bed. The foot in a shoe remained grounded in its spot.

“Come to bed,” she whispered. “Come.”

Stay sexy,
BridgeT

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Cutting Through the Holiday Madness




Hey, Y'all,
Well, it's that time of year again. The time when the malls are filled with shoppers, some of whom will elbow you in the mouth to grab that last Barbie doll. Traffic is backed up, parking lots are full to capacity, your phone is ringing off the hook with charity solicitations and telemarketers. It's enough to drive even a genteel Southern lady like myself to reach for the bottle. (Relax, it's just moscato.)

The point is, we sometimes need to escape the craziness forced upon us by an extremely consumerist society. Remember the true reason for the season- whatever that is for you. For most of us, this time of year is about celebrating 2012 and looking forward to 2013 with the people we love most, our family and friends. It's my hope that we all experience the glow of love radiating from those who mean the most to us.

Aside from the joy found in good company, sometimes we need to have some "me time." As women we often struggle with that concept- we give and give until we ourselves are empty vessels, exhausted, frustrated, and ready to smack somebody. Don't do it. While violence may be temporarily satisfying, it often leads to criminal charges. Stop, take a breath, and step back from the situation. Take the time to fill your vessel, by spending time doing the things you love. Maybe it's a spa day. Maybe you want to sleep in. Maybe you want to fill a target full of holes at the shooting range. Whatever your pleasure,this year, don't forget to take time for yourself. My husband will be incredibly gratified to know I've passed the advice he's (repeatedly) given me  to the Internets at large.

If reading's your thing, good news! Everyone who follows the Hot MAMA Land blog today will receive one entry into a drawing for a free autographed copy of my historical romance, Kissing the Captain, along with a Kianna Alexander pen, fancy bookmark, and a few other awesome swag goodies. Want more entries? Check it out- you can get one more by leaving a comment about how you cut through the holiday madness, and yet another entry if you share the blog via Twitter with the hashtag (#hotmamaland!). You can get a maximum of three entries!

From my house to yours, Happy Holidays!

-Kianna

Friday, December 7, 2012

Paying It Forward...Quietly

With this being the month of December, I thought the following experience was most fitting to share. Some of you may have already read about this on my Facebook and Twitter posts from a few weeks back but this is a story that I don't mind sharing again and again.

So every Saturday during football season, we take our son to Chili's after the game- win or lose. Even though my guy's been playing for 6 years, I'm still not all that knowledgeable of the rules of the game. I am however, knowledgeable in drama and oh boy every Saturday you can be sure there are some interesting anecdotes that my son and his dad (who's also a team coach) have to share. These tales make for very interesting dinner conversations, I assure you.

This year my son's team had a very successful season. Unfortunately, they lost the final game and it stung a lot because the other team; from all that I've heard, did a lot of shady things during the season. It stung for my son's team to lose to folks like this. So...as we often do, we talked about the game and gave our son the usual parent pep talk. The talk that week had all the 'keep your head up' undertones but it was also a pat on the back for him to keep up the good work. As one of the smallest guys on the team, he's also one of the toughest and hardest workers. The head coach never fails to mention that when he speaks to the team.

Now we aren't sure if this had anything to do with what happened that day, but I just wanted to take time to set the stage. After the entrees, our waitress asked if we wanted dessert. We told her no and she informed us that our meal had been paid in full by the couple in the booth ahead of us. She (our waitress) also informed us that it wasn't necessary for us to leave a tip as the couple had been far too generous in that regard as well. After I found my voice again, I asked where they were so we could thank them.

The server explained that they didn't want us to know who they were- this was just something they wanted to do. They weren't looking for gratitude or admiration, they simply wanted to do a good thing. We were stunned. This had never happened to us. Ever. Had the couple overheard our comments to our son and thought we were worthy parents? What really stunned us was how quietly these...angels went about their actions without making a fuss or seeking notice. I think that's what really blew me away.

We always hear about folks who make grand, sweeping gestures of kindness. For me, it's those who quietly act, that really deserve so much of our admiration.

For the angels who paid our Chili's bill several weeks ago, Thank You and God Bless You Both. And for those of you who carry out similar selfless and anonymous acts of generosity, You Are Angels Among Men. May God Bless and Keep You All.

So now, I'm in the paying it forward mode and I hope it's a mode that never shuts off for me. In times like these, such acts of good will are not only right, they are necessary. Please feel free to chime in with your own experiences of when you were in the presence of angels or just comment on this post. Doing so, will get you automatically entered in the drawing for either a $20 Amazon Gift Card or  an autographed copy of my upcoming Kimani release- Provocative Territory for you and a friend. Follow the Hot M.A.M.A.s blog and enter to win autographed copies of the new book for you and three friends.

Take care and Best Wishes For A Joyous Holiday Season!
Love,
AlTonya










Sunday, December 2, 2012

Guest Post: Laura Browning

 















This Sunday's guest is none other than Laura Browning. Show her some love, y'all!




I grew up in a family of readers. My father read non-fiction and action-thrillers. My mother was more organized. God, was she more organized. The woman had a reading list probably before anyone had ever thought of the 100 Books Everyone Should Read. We were regulars at the library where I worked my way through every horse book known to man and became an instant expert on everything from archaeology to Russian history.
We were also letter writers. I remember carrying on weekly correspondence with my eldest brother’s then fiancée, beginning when I was nine years old. And honestly, if I had to track my love of writing back to anything, I’d say it’s rooted in reading and the letters back and forth with my sister-in-law.
But I was going to be an artist, not a writer…until a school friend handed me my first Harlequin Romance.
We both dreamed of writing our own books. I actually finished a horrifyingly bad gothic romance written in longhand when I was sixteen. Shudder. I’m not sure where it is, but I hope it’s gone to a better place—like the dump or up in smoke. Like most romance couples of that long ago, he was rich and experienced and she was young and naïve. I even had a sex scene in it, which is pretty good for someone who had barely even kissed her boyfriend. But hey, writers are supposed to have imagination! Besides that, I’d read some Barbara Cartland, too, so I already knew that having sex was so divine, even the first time, that the angels would sing. Wow, I’m making myself gag.
I eventually went into journalism and became a very snappy and cynical news producer. I am not ashamed to admit, though, I was still a romantic at heart. So I continued my attempts to write a romance novel. I had tons of ideas. In fact, ideas have never been a problem for me. I’ve gotten inspiration from riding horses, from songs I like and from people around me. I try to get ideas down on paper as soon as they occur. The danger is, since I’m a pantser, I start getting too detailed and the next thing I know, I’m already twenty thousand words into a new manuscript and backpedaling to write down character and plot details in a separate file so I don’t have to keep hunting them in the manuscript.
Serious writing began about seven years ago, but I still hadn’t worked up the nerve to do anything with it. It’s not easy hanging yourself out there. Having someone rip into your writing is a bit like having skin flayed from you with a metal tipped whip. So I was a chicken. My husband gave me the kick I needed, and in 2009 I submitted to The Wild Rose Press with two paranormal novels The Silkie’s Call and The Silkie’s Salvation. Both were accepted. I enjoyed writing them and may eventually do more, but my heart is really in contemporary romance.
With my confidence back in place, I pulled out a manuscript that had been sitting in my stash and submitted to Lyrical Press. That submission became Winning Heart, the precursor of the series I’m doing with them on the Barlow-Barretts, a family of media moguls similar to a combination of the Kennedys and the Hearsts. Bittersweet came out in December 2011. Book 2, Balancing Act, released last month and, I’m thrilled to say, will be coming out in print in December! And Remember Me comes out February 3. Three more books are either in the process of submission or being written.
The bottom line for me is I love to write, and I feel incredibly blessed to be able to teach students to write, too. You see, I gave up the TV career and now teach English at an alternative ed high school. Watching a teenager get fired up about something she’s writing is almost as good as finishing a manuscript. Almost…lol.
Here’s the blurb for my latest release, Balancing Act: He has high expectations. And she exceeds every one.
Seth Barlow picks his teeth with the bones of secretaries he's chewed up and spit out. Except Tessa Edwards. She's completely unruffled by his bad attitude--and completely undone by his touch.
But Tessa is balancing on a high wire with no safety net. Her job is the only thing that keeps her from losing custody of her little brother to her money-hungry aunt and uncle, who care less for the dyslexic child than for the hefty trust fund that comes with him.
When ten thousand dollars goes missing from Barrett Newspapers and shows up in Tessa's personal bank account, not even her budding relationship with Seth can help Tessa keep her job...or her little brother.
Warning: One bad-tempered boss, one super-efficient secretary, and a whole lot of sparks!
Oh, and I have to include a picture of the cover of Remember me, too, because I absolutely love this cover! You rock, Renee!
You can find me at www.laurabrowningbooks.com or on facebook at Laura Browning author.
Hey, thanks so much for letting me share some of my writing journey with you. I love hearing how people end up as writers.